Easter, Family Life, love, Miracles, The Cross, God’s Faithfulness, wedding

A Miracle


It’s a few days before Easter.
  And as I reflect on the cross and the miracle of Jesus rising from death, I am awed once again.  That the Son of God would die for me and you, is miraculous in itself.  But it didn’t end there, he conquered death and our sin, so we can live victoriously now and forever!! This causes me to reflect on the miracles God has performed in my life .  And really, there are many. Some are big and some are seemingly insignificant to anyone but me.  I have a story that I want to tell that reminds me that to the God who overcame death, NOTHING is too small for him.  I call this story The Miracle Mixer. It’s all because of God’s faithfulness that this story is possible.  I love this scripture, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:19.

 

This story begins in 2009, when I became reacquainted with a friend whom I had not seen in 17 years. Cathy had two little boys back then.  I remember her boys being cute and well mannered and Cathy as a smart mama who sewed and made beautiful things.   The last time I saw her, her oldest son, Witt was 10 and my second daughter, Claire was 5.  I have a picture of our homeschool co-op group sitting on a wall dressed in Medieval costumes and Witt brandishing a sword and looking brave and Claire sitting with her sisters and friends, just past the toddler age herself.  Fast forward 17 years, now Cathy and I each had two more daughters.  My daughter, Nan, and Cathy’s daughter, Rose, became  fast friends in the Bible Study we attended that year.  This was Cathy’s first and only year attending this particular Bible study. I had been going for years, but had decided not to attend this year because I had young teenagers that I was homeschooling and I felt I needed more time at home to accomplish that.  But God impressed upon my heart that I should attend, so I signed up at the last minute.  I’m so glad I did because we spent each Thursday after Bible study, together, eating lunch, becoming fast friends again.  And as you might have guessed we re-introduced Witt and Claire and they fell in love and married a year later.  We could not be more in love with this godly, caring and handsome man and we are so blessed to call him our son.  Nan loves to take credit for bringing Witt into Claire’s life.  

 

And now here is the mixer story. The  circumstances and timing of these previous and next events, that I’m about to tell you, can only have come from our good Father, who sees all and knows all.  I think of the story of Esther in the Bible.  She saw God work on her and her people’s behalf through what seemed like random circumstances. God used her for big things, to save her people.  We might never be called to do anything big like she did, but we are called to be faithful and to bring all our requests and needs before God.  Have you ever seen God work on your behalf?  What seems so random to us, is all a part of Gods plan for our lives. 

 

I told you Claire and Witt fell in love and wanted to get married. Before this, Claire had been a nanny for a missionary family in Paris, France .  While there she took French lessons and applied to culinary school, as her time as a nanny was drawing to a close for she loved Paris.  And she already loved to cook.  She was accepted to the school, but due to many reasons, some financial and some logistical , she disappointedly decided to come home, not sure what God was doing in her life. She finished up her college education at a local University, with a degree in creative writing. It was during this time she met Witt, fell in love and became engaged. 

 

Weddings are exciting and this was our second one with three more weddings to plan one day. We had college educations to pay for, braces, contacts and just the general expense of a large family living on one income.  Someone was giving Claire a kitchen shower and she had on her registry many wonderful things, but one thing she wanted more than anything was a Kitchen Aid Standup Mixer.  The one she had chosen was cream colored, Almond they called it.  It was out of my price range at that time in my life.  I remember praying that God would show me what I should get Claire.  I wanted to get a very special gift for her, one that would be useful but something she really wanted.  

 

I remember going to lunch with my husband on a Tuesday , we usually went on Fridays .  Hart worked from home then, so we had made this our special treat. But I grabbed him from his office on Tuesday and said let’s go get some thing to eat so we can talk. We went to our favorite, but inexpensive, hibachi restaurant in our small town.  I remember telling Hart about the kitchen shower for Claire.  He said he wished we could afford the mixer but it was not in our budget.  After our Friday lunches we usually browse Goodwill where Hart likes to look at the books and I wander the store.  So on this Tuesday he asks me if I still  want to go to Goodwill. Sure, I said and headed over to the appliance section. And what did I see on the very bottom shelf, covered in dirt , but a Kitchen Aid Mixer!!  Excidely I pulled it out and called to Hart, we plugged it in.  It worked!   I looked in the mixing bowl and there were all three accessories! We couldn’t believe it!  We took it to checkout and paid 25.00 for it. I remember getting it home and washing it with just hot water and soap.  How surprised and taken aback I was as I looked at it.  This mixer was in perfect condition , not a scratch on it and it was the prized Almond color!!  The only thing missing was the original box!  How did I get Claire’s dream mixer for 25.00 when on the registry it was listed for 399.00! All I could do was to exclaim God’s goodness and faithfulness . When I took my gift to the shower and told the story of God’s blessing  and provision there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

 

I love the many stories of George Mueller, a man of God who prays about everything .  He once said if you receive a parcel and it is tied up in string and you can’t open it because you don’t have a knife or scissors, pray about it and ask God to help you untie the knot.  How I love that illustration about how nothing is too small or insignificant to God .  God knew Claire would need to be in the US so she could meet the man we had been praying for since her birth, that both Cathy and I should attend the Bible study that year and that God would arrange it so I would be at that Goodwill  store, on that particular day, that someone had decided to get rid of a perfectally good mixer.  It’s times like this, that I can always go back to when my days seem hard and I feel like can’t see what God is doing in my life right now. These memories strengthen my faith and I know that God cares about the seemingly insignificant things in my life.  I can be sure he is working on my behalf, my family’s and yours as well. 

 

What are some ways you’ve seen God working on your behalf or your family’s?  I’d love to hear about them, for it gives God the glory and strengthens the faith of those reading it.

 

Have a very blessed and wonderful Easter!  For Christ is Risen, Risen indeed! 

Love, Nancy

gratefulness, unselfishness, letting God, morning pages, morning ritual,, mornings, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Morning Pages

I’m not a morning person by nature. I’m a two cups of coffee and maybe I’ll talk to you kinda person in the morning. Some days it is three cups and a shot of espresso but whose counting…

Unless I’m on vacation. Then I can’t wait to wake up. I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to see what the day holds!

Who doesn’t love waking up to Mickey waffles??
Or when the kiddos wake up before the sun is up but then God puts on this display
Baby Piper
Sunrises over the ocean are worth waking up for
Waffles on the dock at Aylen Lake, Ontario

But everyday mornings, I’d rather hit snooze. Then one day it all changed. As the girls got older, started sleeping better, I started to see I valued my mornings. I learned I love sipping my coffee and watching the sunrise. Reading my devotional and having some alone time before the craziness that is our lives starts.

I read the book, “The Artist Way” last year. The author suggests doing what is called morning pages. You simply write down whatever comes to your mind. Not documenting your life. Not to pass down to your grandkids or to be published. Never to be read again. It’s like brain dumping on paper. The author, Julia Cameron says any thought that causes anxiety that is left in the brain creates chaos and turns off creativity. I have found by simply writing down my thoughts, however dumb to me or petty, it is so relieving. I have come to really enjoy that time. And I leave feeling refreshed. Something that has been bothering me greatly feels less urgent. I can think more clearly about it.

Julia Cameron says, “The morning pages miniaturizes our Censor. The Censor is part of our leftover survival brain. Any original document pretty dangerous to our Censor. Morning pages will allow you to detach from your negative Censor. It may even be going to seem like a grumpy cartoon character. Doing your artist date you are receiving opening yourself to insight, inspiration, guidance.”

Amelia Island Plantation

I have found that taking the time, even if it is five minutes, even on my most stressful crazy days sets the tone for my day. I usually read my devotional, do my morning pages and end in prayer. Just taking that time every morning has been so helpful in maintaining a better stress level and having a clear mind.

You can use any notebook for morning pages. It takes a little bit of time to get used to just writing what comes to your head and not journaling. But once you do, it really is amazing how therapeutic it is. If you are worried about people reading what you write and it is inhibiting how freely you share, take the paper you wrote on and trash it. Ball it up, burn it or tear it to shreds. Remember, the goal isn’t to document but to free your mind. And once that starts to happen, you will start to notice a difference in how you feel about mornings too.

Enjoy the sunrises of life friends! And a good cup of coffee.

-Lauren

Lent, Seasonal, Uncategorized

An Awakening

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is the first day of Lent, which is the 40 day period before Easter. When I think of Lent these words come to my mind: awakening , reflection, gratitude, repentance.

Lent is more than an ancient tradition observed by some. To me it is a time of “setting apart” for the next forty days. I find that I am more focused, more attentive to the where I am spiritually in my life. I allow myself to take extra time for this reflection. It is no coincidence that as this awakening begins in me; the earth is awakening from the cold, long winter. The earth is in the process of its own rebirth. I tell myself no matter how hard and long the winter may be, Spring always comes. Each day there are more and more signs of it.

  The birds are louder and their songs sounds more joyous because the sun is coming up sooner, warming the ground, making it easier to find food.

Spring reminds us that God made a promise after Noah made a sacrifice “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22.

Lent can allow us to make a sacrifice in thankfulness to this promise of the new season.

Perhaps by observing Lent, it gives me the opportunity to be more aware of God’s goodness and his beauty. I can reflect on his sacrifice, to repent of anything I’ve allowed to come between us and to love God with an undivided heart.

How do you observe Lent? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions .

-Nancy

Family Life, Motherhood, new year goal

Here’s to a peaceful 2019

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” Isaiah 26:3. This is the verse that helped me survive, grow and become stronger in 2018. It was a crazy year of unknowns, death, disappointments and lots of travel up and down I85. But it was also a year of births, adoption, a wedding and many celebrations. Through it all, the hard and the good, I had the support of my husband and family. And I love that God promised me perfect peace because I trust in him and try to keep my thoughts on him. This was my mantra last year. One of my daughters asked me how I was getting through all of these things and I shared with her this verse. It will be my verse for this year too. Part of being healthy is to live without stress or fear. Therefore my mind has to stay on Jesus and it will be my life’s goal to try to live in God’s perfect peace. I know it doesn’t mean the absence of trouble, but peace while in the turmoil. Thank you Jesus!

So Happy New Year!! May 2019 bring each of us closer to Jesus and to our families and friends!! “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, …guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7.

Family Life, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

Why am I Thankful?

‘The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.” – Norman Vincent Peale

When I think about what I am most thankful for, it’s never anything I own. It’s always my family and friends. The people we do life with. The ones who get you through the hard times that make the good times so much sweeter. I’m thankful for my house but I am more thankful for the people inside who make it a home. I’m thankful for my car, but I am most thankful it gets me safely to North Carolina and Tennessee to spend time with family. I’m thankful for all of the Thanksgivings spent lingering around the table talking with loved ones, some who are no longer with us. I’m thankful for memories of Thanksgivings past. The tears my Grandfather Gordon always cried when the whole family gathered in my Grandparents’ kitchen and held hands as my Dad prayed. He was the only one who could get through a prayer without crying. My Grandfather always treasured seeing his family gathered together. It moved him to tears every holiday. I’m also thankful for Thanksgiving memories made with my in-laws. We’ve spent Thanksgiving at the beach, different houses; one year everyone crowded in our tiny three bedroom house to celebrate Thanksgiving and to celebrate the birth of my youngest daughter. Even with all us crammed in that tiny space my heart was so full.x

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is. – Ernest Hemingway

So today, let’s list-actually write down or type out what we’re thankful for. List the little stuff…like the sunshine dancing on the floor, lighting up the room after a week of rain. Or the art work or photograph that makes you smile every time you walk by. The smell of something yummy cooking or the scent of some delicious takeout. I made a list to share of what I’m thankful for. As I wrote it, I felt like they say the grinch did, and my heart grew three sizes.

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.‘ – Willie Nelson

What I’m thankful for.

A wonderful, amazing husband, two sweet girls and two loving eccentric old lady dogs.

A house that is now home. Fully renovated and repaired.

A tribe of amazing friends. I never thought I would have such amazing girlfriends in my life but I really do.

I have two sisters living in Georgia. One is only fifteen minutes away.

Sunsets.

My bother- in -law is home safe after almost a year in Afghanistan.

This month I got to spend time with all four of my sisters. Really good quality time.

The beach.

I have three adorable nephews and three adorable nieces.

I’m thankful for my large shower. After ten years of trying to balance on one leg crammed in a corner, in our old house, this large shower still makes me happy.

Traveling.

I’m thankful for all the trees around our house that are gorgeous red and yellow colors.

Good food!

I’m thankful for a dinning room full of tropical house plants that make my heart sing when I walk by.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to homeschool our girls.

Sushi and sake.

I’m thankful for art, music and classical education.

I’m thankful for long summers and short winters.

I’m thankful for hard seasons that make sweet seasons even sweeter.

I’m thankful for my grandparents. I’m thankful my daughters got to meet all four of them and still get to spend time with my Memom and Granddaddy Wilder.

I’m thankful for my huge extended family.

I’m thankful for the 13 foot Christmas tree my husband picked out in true Griswold style.

I’m thankful for the men and women serving our country.

For the missionaries spending their Thanksgiving in a different country away from their family.

I’m thankful for Whole Foods bakery making gluten free pecan pie.

I’m thankful for a pool where we made so many good memories with friends and family this summer.

I’m thankful I can call my mom whenever I want to.

I’m thankful my youngest daughter is so creative.

I’m thankful my oldest daughter is a little scientist.

I’m thankful God is the same God who created the world, changed the hearts of kings and then sent us His Son.

I’m thankful for forgiveness and salvation.

I’m thankful I’m the daughter of the Most High Warrior.

I’m thankful my kids love Jesus.

I’m thankful for coffee.

I’m thankful for extra thick memory foam on a king sized bed.

I’m thankful for sparkle lights .

I’m thankful for Christmas.

I’m thankful for Disney World. And being able to be a kid again.

I’m thankful for my wonderful family I was blessed with when I got married. Now I can say I have six sisters.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Maya Angelou

I am thankful for you, reading our blog each week and coming along on this journey with us. Comment and tell me some of things you’re thankful for this year and if you’re already decking the halls or waiting until after Thanksgiving to decorate.

” What if today, we were just grateful for everything?” – Charlie Brown

I wanted to share some pictures of the people and things I’m thankful for. Post some pictures what you’re thankful for in the comments!

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