Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jesse Tree Devotion

There may be no one interested in this, but I have taken all of the Jesse Tree devotions that I have written for our family and converted them into a pdf document. The documents contains all 25 devotions with scripture references as well as the ornament templates and a supply list. I have written the devotions and created simple ornaments with young children (preschool-elementary) in mind. So many of the excellent devotions I have found for the Jesse Tree are too advanced for my kids, so I wrote my own. If you have children in this age group and if you want a free copy of the Jesse Tree Devotions, just comment with your email address and I'd be happy to pass it along to you! It has been such a blessing to our family and I'd love to share it with yours!

Advent Begins

Today we finished our Tree of Thanks

and we begin our Jesse Tree, our 25 day advent devotion, our eagerly anticipating His birth.

I love the Jesse Tree! It is one of my most favorite of our holiday traditions. I love how it traces God's plan of redemption from creation to Christ's birth. I love how it is a tangible way to keep our focus on Christ, everyday. I love how much our kids love it. If you are not doing an advent tradition, you need to do a Jesse Tree. Here is a link to the devotions we use for our Jesse Tree. If you are interested I can email you the templates that I use for our ornaments. Just comment with your email address. Do it! You will not be sorry. Tonight we begin!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgivng....

We spent our Thanksgiving at the beach! A very sweet and generous family here in Rock Hill offered us their beach home for free. And we invited our friend Ruth and her brother Eiji to join us. Ruth and Eiji's parents are IMB missionaries in Japan, so no going home for Thanksgiving for them. And we were to thrilled to have them join us. We had an absolutely wonderful week at the beach. The weather was amazing, the kids were great, Ruth and Eiji were great company, the food was yummy. We got to relax and enjoy one another. And Ruth even came shopping with me on Thursday night/Friday morning for Black Friday craziness. I can't think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving.

Ruth and I have been reading One Thousand Gifts together this semester and we finished the book at the beach... so appropriate. A week filled with so many gifts. A holiday that we no longer celebrate once a year, but everyday, every moment, every breath. A way to love a God who constantly, faithfully, unconditionally, undeservingly showers us with His love.

"Crazy, I know, but until eucharisteo had me write the graces on paper, in my own handwriting, until it altered my mind to see the graces in the details of my very own life, I hadn't really known. With every grace, He sings, "You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you" (Isaiah 43:4). "For you are a chosen people.... God's very own possession" (1 Peter 2:9)..... He chose me- us! To be His bride! True, that's the intellectual premise of the Christian life, but only as the gifts are attended, not as ends but as means to gaze into the heart of God, does the premise become personal, God's choosing so utterly passionate. So utterly fulfilling." One Thousand Gifts p. 204
 "Is there any greater way to love the Giver than to delight wildly in His gifts? (p. 219). So count the way He loves, a thousand, more, never stop, that when you wake in the morning you can't help turn humbly to the east, unfold your hand to the heavens, and though you tremble and though you wonder, though the world is ugly, it is beautiful, and you can slow and you can trust and you can receive each moment as grace." (p. 224).
376. warm sun on skin

377. the sound of the surf

378. the greatness of the ocean and sky

379. they can't resist the ocean



380. walking hand in hand on the beach

381. her first time at the beach

382. warm ocean breezes

383. nightly card games

384. three monkeys in a king sized bed

385. watching them love our kids


386. siah in the sand


387. the flavors of thanksgiving food

388. a generous family

389. a kind stranger named phylis

390. a hot pink sun hat

391. my four together

392. perfect, unadulterated joy




393. talking God on the beach

394. building sand castles

395. an explosion of color




396. reading a good book

397. the sound of their laughter

398. christmas music on the ipod

399. listening to guitar music

400. the three brothers at sunset

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gifts

My friend and I have been reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts together. And recently she told me about her favorite Lecrae song. Jack loves Lecrae so we already had the album on our iPod. I really like Lecrae, too, but had not listened to this song a lot. After she told me about it, I listened to it and it is my new favorite song. It says everything so well. Every moment a gift so undeserved that I shouldn't have known. And so I live and breathe and make this list to make my boast in Him alone.

 
351. middle of the night snuggles with siah, nose to nose

352. baby rolls

353. brother unity


354. christie

355. mild fall temperatures

356. anticipation of time away

355. late night talks

356. spiritual talks

357. tree of thanks




358. remedy church

359. cry of the broken

360. family photo session


361. pumpkin cookies

362. her blue eyes


363. josiah and owen hugs

364. dinner with friends

365. singing

366. apples and peanut butter

367. the incredible colors of a fall sunset

368. laughing with him

369. kitchen experiments


370. reading a good book

371. belly button

372. eden on the phone with daddy

373. visiting with an old friend

374. jamie

375. when she smiles at her brothers

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family Pictures

One of the very sweet girls who is a leader in our BCM asked if she could take pictures of our family. Photography is a hobby and she wanted some practice shooting a family. Man is she talented! Check out these awesome shots she got!






 (You'll probably be seeing this one on our Christmas card!)





Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sandy

God's blessings are always so undeserved, so immeasurable and so perfect. That's how I feel about my friend, Sandy. Her friendship came out of nowhere a few years ago. Looking back now, I can't really remember how it happened that we became friends. God just brought us together like He so often does and I am so very grateful. I guess we can all say that we have lots of wonderful friends but there are a few who are really special, really close. The kind with whom time and distance know no boundaries. This is my friend Sandy. She has been a loyal sounding board, a faithful confidant, a fun friend, someone who I could rely on, a friend who sticks closer than a brother. We've traveled halfway around the world together. Our kids love each other. Our husbands love each other. God is so good, isn't He? Today, I am eternally grateful to God for blessing me with Sandy. Today is her birthday and I miss her. But the beauty of it all is that no matter where we live, I know we'll always be friends. Happy Birthday, Sandy. I wish I was there to celebrate with you. I am praising God for your life today and for His awesome plan in bringing our families together. I love you.

PS- We have no pictures together!! I have lots of Jack and David and of our kids and even one of you and Jack! We need to rectify that!



Friday, November 4, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago today we were in Rock Hill seeing Winthrop for the first time, meeting the students at the BCM. One year ago tomorrow we found out baby #4 was on the way!

Looking back, I see God's great faithfulness to us- an amazing ministry, a town we love, the Chambers, a rental home we can afford, wonderful renters for our house in GA, a great group of college students, and our sweet baby girl. It is so clear that God ordained all of the days of the past year- that He was taking care of every detail. He brought us to such a sweet place of ministry and such a sweet place in our family. I am so grateful for all that He has done for us and all He continues to do. For all my life I want to "give Him the glory, great things He has done!"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Four Faces

Love these four faces. Fuller than full is my heart.