All of the Good Things

good things{Creamy Pumpkin Pie Tea from Bulk Herb Store, pretty catalogs, cozy blanket}

Do you ever feel so blessed that you feel you cannot contain it?
That you cannot adequately describe or detail or express
the emotions that well up in your soul when you stop to look~
really look~ at all the.good.things. in your life?

And I don’t mean that your life is trouble, stress, or pain free?
I mean, how, that even in the dark times, you see the beauty.
Even in the pain, you experience joy.
Even in loss you know the fullness of Christ.

What a mercy that God allows these parallels to exist.
What a gift of grace that we live in a sin-cursed world
and yet . . . because of HIM we still have soul peace.
And not only soul peace and joy, but the ability
to enjoy relationships and countless comforts.

~~~~ Gratitude Dissolves Disappointment ~~~~
This quote has been challenging me in the past month!
It’s hard to stay grumpy or made or wallowing in self pity
when you give thanks as Scripture tells us to do.

The part that attitude plays in our outlook on life,
and eventually even in our reality, is too great to measure!
Did you know that scientists and psychologists are discovering that
our body doesn’t know the difference between our thoughts and our reality?

good things{The Living Word of God . . . not just paper & ink}

I’m sure this is why God tells us to “keep our heart with all diligence” …
to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”…
to rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, give thanks,
sing to the Lord. sing praise . . . and countless more commands
that teach us to guard our thoughts and to think about GOOD things.

So yes, I sit there this morning giving thanks for all of the good things
and looking ahead to a month of joyous celebrations of Jesus and His people . . .
and those who are yet needing to hear the Gospel so that they can be His too.

good things{Our annual “wish book” for giving tangible hope and the Gospel to Asia ~
choosing the gifts to give has become a favorite December tradition}

Of course, the best things in life aren’t “things” . . . they are people,
and I hope you feel as I do that you’ve got THE BEST.

My wild-haired baby at 10.5 months
good things
She thought she was tough on this riding toy. :)
good things

Twenty-Two Cousins . . .
good thingsplaying for hours on end for 3 days straight Thanksgiving week.

good things

This Man Who Has My Heart More Than ever. . .
It’s a funny thing how we are still the same people we were when married,
and yet we never stay the same . . . as human beings we are constantly learning,
growing, adapting, developing . . . and am loving the journey alongside Phil.
good things
good things{compliments of our child photographer}

Rewinding the Camera to Mid October to that one time when
{for the first time, but hopefully not the last time} I earned a trip for two with our amazing company,
Plexus Worldwide, to the most gorgeous resort/hotel I have ever laid eyes upon!
Well, ok, I haven’t laid eyes on many resorts. Or possibly none at all?
But even those who have, said that this one was pretty special!
Due to circumstances which hindered my husband or my sister Heidi from attending with me . . .
I was so very honored and overjoyed to have a bestie, Clarita, enjoy the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando
with me, where we were treated to massages, fabulous food, educational and inspirational training,
and times by the beautiful pools catching up with each other and our wonderful team members!
It was truly a gift in every way. And I am so grateful!

orlando 2 orlando orlando 3

Of course, baby was my traveling companion . . .
and I treasured this gift of time with her as well, because she’s a fourth born,
well, one can imagine that life is busy . . . and so when I get to have any of my children
one on one, getting to spend time with them individually, it’s something I really enjoy!

orlando{photo credits to Clarita!}

Thanks to my friend Kristen and the company who paid for my flight to Orlando
so that I could be a “help” to Kristen with her shopping list at Bloomingdale’s~things for the missionary families,
I was able to use my own travel voucher to have my Mom fly to our house for 8 days!!
What a treat!! She was able to help out with the children for the few days that I was gone,
and then we still had 4+ days to spend together when I returned!
I love my Mom. So do my husband and children!

gramma and baby
gramma & baby
gramma and baby
{The eldest daughter giving me “that look” because, being the mean, impractical mother that I am,
I had just informed her that she should go change into her *nice* boots . . . not snow boots. What a bummer! :)}

gramma and baby

A Family Week at the Cabin in Mid November . . .

good thingspuzzles . . .

good thingsFamily Devotions . . .

good thingsReading . . .

good things
good thingsSuper fun chores . . . ;)

good thingsChildren playing in the snow one day, and warm autumn air the next,
while their wary mother kept an eye out for bears.

good things
good things

good thingsgirlies . . . and lots of personality to go around!

good things
good things
good things

And That One Beautiful Snow Day in November . . .
good things
I’m so grateful for all of these good things . . .
and I’m looking forward to the celebrations and opportunities
that await us all in this new month!

May your December be blessed.
With so many good things.
But if nothing else, may you know Jesus.
He is the Wonderful One and the Giver of all that is Good.



A Few Summer Memories from My Sweet Old Camera

The thing about my phone camera that I love:
I take a *lot* more pictures of daily moments . . . because it’s with me everywhere we go.

The thing about my phone camera that I don’t always like so much:
I pick up my sweet old SLR less often to get those really quality shots.

But today I was looking back over the “capturings” on this sweet old SLR
and decided it was time to do just a little documenting of a few special moments
at summer’s end and the beginning of autumn.

We spend a really great August weekend in Indiana with my Dad’s family on the farm
where I was born and raised the first 10 years of my life.
It was *so* good to see cousins and their children, aunts & uncles again . . . and of course MY family!
These are my lovely sisters in law, sister Katelyn, my beautiful mother, and my daughter. :)

Sleepy-head summer mornings when bed-heads are common and I could just mush all four of them to pieces . . .

Summer sun and fruits and flowers in my kitchen . . . bringing us their last bits of joy before the next season of loveliness:
apples, pumpkins, mums, and other goodies replace them.

Harvest Season beginning . . . fields turning golden . . .

A visit to Virginia in mid September to visit Phil’s grandmother, tour grand caverns, take in a friend’s barn sale,
visit his aunt, and just enjoy some family time together. It was a lovely time!
The pies above are a gift of love from a grandmother to her grandson . . . because she knows that he has always loved her coconut cream pies!
She is a fascinating woman with stories to tell and a gallery of paintings that she has worked on over the years.

That’s it! Short and sweet. More to come soon. :)
I hope you all have a great week!


Our Life is a Breath . . . But the Lord Endures Forever!

“Thou, O LORD, shalt endure forever;
and thy remembrance unto all generations.”

{Celebrating D’s 7th birthday!}

The events of a certain Tuesday night in August
will not soon be forgotten in our family!
How our beautiful daughter escaped a run-in with a golf cart
with minimal abrasions and a fractured ankle seems near-miraculous to us,
and I have been living with a profoundly grateful heart to the Lord
for His gracious hand in protecting her from more serious injury or death.

While making the drive out the long lane to the scene of the accident,
I was praying constantly and crying aloud to God for mercy and grace
for whatever we were going to see and face in the minutes ahead.

And two things were perfectly clear in my mind:
That if my child were to die, the two things I would want her to know would be:
how much I loved her and enjoyed to be with her, and secondly,
how deeply I would long for her to know and love the Word of our God.

The first one is understandable to me because I am, after all, her mother.
But the second desire, so strong in my heart at that moment, surprised me a little!
I know that if any one of my children should pass away in these young ages,
Jesus would carry them gently into Heaven ~ our forever home.
So why this strong desire for them to know Him and love His Word?

It was a clear reminder to me that all of our lives~from beginning to end~
are ordered and ordained by the Lord, and I want this “middle” part
of our existence and time on earth to be just as filled up with Him as our eternity will be.

I want the blessed privilege and joy of introducing them to THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE.
To know that they, as much as is possible while we live on this side of “the dark glass”, knew Him.
To know that their transition from this earth to their forever home is just as natural as breathing.

So that whether we live or die, our lives would be His,
spilling over as a lovely fragrance of worship to Him.
He is worthy!

So, as we begin this week with our more organized “book learnin’” education,
at the forefront of my mind is that deep desire to enjoy the days with my young ones around me,
and in all of the reading & writing, , cutting & pasting, learning & growing,
to love the Lord our God more than anything, and to hide His Word in our hearts.
It’s a treasure rare that will guide us into life abundant here,
and allow us to transition confidently into life eternal whenever He calls us there.

I am ever grateful.

{Celebrating C’s 5th birthday!}

This was my FB post last week which tells about God replacing
Claudia’s favorite shirt which was cut off of her the night she was hurt . . .

Thanking The Lord for His mercies on our family in sparing this beautiful daughter’s life two nights ago.
We don’t know exactly how she escaped a run-in with a golf cart with minimal bruises and just a broken ankle,
but we are grateful. Phil & I know Jesus is the anchor of our souls for the trials and sorrows of life
when things don’t “turn out” as we’d like, but for today we rejoice in the gift of protection and life!

// The mercies of God What a theme for my song
Oh I never could number them o’er
They’re more than the stars in the heavenly dome
Or the sands of the wavebeaten shore 

For mercies so great, What return can I make
For mercies so constant and sure
I’ll love him, I’ll serve Him with all that I have 

As long as my life shall endure 

They greet me at morn when I waken from sleep
And they gladden my heart at the noon 

They follow me on into shades of the night
when the day with its labor is done 

His angels of mercy encompass me round
Wheresoever my pathway may lead
Each turn of the road some new token reveals 

Oh For me life is blessed indeed.//

When the paramedics came, Claudia’s favorite pants and one of her favorite shirts got snipped right off of her . . .
Hours later in the ER when she was coming around to seeming more like her normal self,
one of the first things she mentioned is that she wished they hadn’t cut her clothes . . .
I didn’t have too much hope that we could find an exact replacement but told her we’d check~
and we’d get her a similar one if we could.
Her Aunt Lil, knowing about this, stopped at Carter’s yesterday and later sent me this text,
“Clearance.thee ONLY one.size’s that for God loves claudia?!!”

The EXACT shirt and size she had before . . . And the only one left?
Yes, that was a tear-jerker for this mother!



{At an earlier date with the favorite shirt. :)}

Holding them near . . . and purposing to love the Lord and His Word as we journey on together!

“For all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass.
 The grass withers, and the flower falls,but the word of the Lord endures forever.
And this is the word that was preached as the gospel to you.”

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