A Time For Everything

Written By Jen

This post has taken me awhile to write.  I am writing it to say I will be gracefully exiting our GraceFullHome blog.  My reason is fairly simple, it’s a season of movement in my life.  All the movement is keeping me out of the office and that’s where I write my blog posts, so I am finding myself in a predicament.  What am I doing moving about?  Time for myself, my family, my friends, my job and even time for God.  I am looking forward to the next adventure that God has for me as we move about.  I am not sure where we are going but I well know my guide.  I wanted to thank all of you for reading my posts.  I think I may have laughed out loud when Amy asked me to join her as English has always been one of my worst subjects.  I have NEVER had a good grade on a paper I have written.  Writing has always been a weakness of mine.  I was quite thankful she asked and I am thankful you all have endured my lack of eloquence and loose grammar.  I have enjoyed this journey together.  My interest in writing has grown.  The thing I will miss the most is my time brainstorming with Amy and my connections with all of you.  Thank You again for all your comments and conversations that have come from this time we shared on this blog!  Amy, will keep on rocking it here on Grace Full Home!  I will be reading along with the rest of you!

Thank YOU!

JEN

If you get the chance… PLAY

Written By Jen

My kids have had some opportunities that have been exciting lately.  These opportunities include auditions, competitions and standing in front of a lot of people as they watch how you perform on the spot.  It’s exciting, but it can also bring anxiety, nervousness and even an urge to drop out instead of giving it a try.  The question, what if I fail?  I think when we have the fear to quit, it helps to go down that road, what if you do fail?  What’s the WORST thing that could happen?  I have found, it’s usually not that bad.  Enjoy the game!  Play, because it’s fun to play the game.  If you don’t win… At least you got to play!  Do you remember all the second, third or fourth place people in games?  What about the last place.  I don’t.  PLAY.  It’s fun!  To ease some nerves my kids and were singing, “ain’t no rock, gonna cry in my place.  As long as I am alive I’ll glorify HIS HOLY name.”  Of course we made up words to fit the situation and  laughed.  It helped to bring much-needed perspective to the moment.  Win or lose, 1st place or 6th place, as long as I am alive I’ll glorify His holy name!  That, takes the pressure off and allows us to enjoy doing our best, having fun, win or lose.  PLAY.

Talk of the Town

Written by Jen

Drama!  “She is pregnant and they are not even married!  On top of it, they are TEENAGERS!”  Bring on the gossip.  Been there?  There are a whole lot of moms and dads who have.  Just ask, it’s not easy.  I just saw the bravest young girl in her teens have an unplanned child and give it up for adoption.  The pictures of her holding that baby in her hospital bed still makes me teary.  She was brave enough to carry that child and face the judgement of the world.  To publicly announce what happened one night.  She loved and carried that baby and anguished through the birth.  Then, gave it to someone who had been longing for a child.  All without a daddy by the bed.  Let the talk of the town loose.  If only everyone knew everything I did in the dark the town would have enough to talk about for days and days and days.  In this story, I see God’s hand.  It’s not easy to be a pregnant teen.  It sure isn’t easy to be a man, a teenage boy, who stands up and becomes a man.  Of course the Christmas story is different from this one, however, I think that young man Joseph, stood up.  He rose to the occasion.  Joseph was COMMANDED in a dream by an angel, and did EXACTLY what the angle said (with out swearing or questioning).  For the record if you think an angel looks like those flying statues in Night at the Museum, I challenge you to picture warriors.  Whoever told Joseph was no pansy.  He spoke truth into an unbelievable situation, commanded him to do something brave against society and maybe even his own instinct, and Joseph did EXACTLY what the angel COMMANDED him.  Joseph’s part in the Christmas story is pretty unbelievable.  He shows amazing leadership, trust in God and strength for his family.  This young man is doing what is right and I just wish I knew him.

18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

 

In closing, this is a young man who stood up and followed God, without kneeling to the talk of the town.  What about when he takes his family to Egypt later.  Courage.  Strength.  Maybe fear?  What is he thinking as he watches his son turn into a man.  How does a dad watch his son, the Son of God, who God put under his household, become a man and bear a cross.  As you read Joseph’s encounter and as you go on reading, remember this step of faith Jospeh took when He did EXACTLY what the angel commanded him.  To me it seems a heavy load, but I think in our life, we can see him as an example.  When we look at the big picture it can seem impossible.  Look at the responsibilities God brings to you.  Be faithful in what He has put before you.  One little step at a time. Immediate obedience is so much easier.  I appreciate when my kids respond with immediate obedience.  Joseph did not delay or only do half of what he was asked. He believed God and trusted him.

Show Me Your Strength

Written By Jen

I really do want to see how strong you are!  That sounds fun!  Isn’t that why we love the amazing race, the biggest looser, the voice, I even like P90X videos.  Show me your strength.  Show me what you can persevere through.  Show me joy that comes from trial.  I want to see you work and really I want to see what work accomplishes.  Show me your strength.  Let me see your character as you work.  What role does forgiveness  mercy, grace, perseverance and sweat play in your accomplishments.  Can I trust you?  Would I follow you?  Who are you?  I want to watch your story.  How do those stories change us or do they?  When I see others who have lost tons of weight do a work out, I think, surely I can get through this hour if they can.  How does the strength of another give us the courage and the strength to take another step?  It’s pretty powerful.  I admire leadership that leads others to somethings better.  There are a whole bunch of leaders out there who are leading people nowhere or dragging people down.  What good is that?  What kind of stories do you follow?  What kind of leaders influence you?  What kind of everyday peeps impact your life?  Relating back to the Christmas story, Mary had been following some stories. Mary knew who her God was.  She knew His character, she had been watching His strength as it was seen through generations before her.

Joy is an amazing gift!  Sometimes it comes from sorrow or is coupled oddly with anguish, like in child-birth.  It is interesting to me how sometimes I can grieve and yet be so thankful for the one I am grieving for the love we shared that I also feel joy.  Mary is in awe here.  She and Elizabeth are simultaneously experiencing the unbelievable.   Mary responds with praise and thanks to God.  She KNEW who God was.  She knew who He said he was to Abraham.  She knew his promises.  She believed him.  She knew His Strength.  Check out her response to God.  I put it here in the Message version because I fell in love with it.  I really want to highlight and bold all my favorite parts for you, but maybe you can find your own.  Here’s what she said to God.

46-55 And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.

 

I told you I fell in love with this translation of Mary’s response.  I could see God a bit through her eyes and I could see why she believed, why she followed, the strength she admired and the God whose name is above all other names!  The following are a few of my thoughts as correlated with the verses as I read!  All I have to say is Hallelujah.

Is giving Mary and Elizabeth children showing His strength?  Part of His story?  Part of His trial?

Is HIS holy name set apart from all others a glimpse of His strength? (Thank you that Your name is not like any other name!)

How does His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him show His strength?  (Wash over me.)

When He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts did He not win our love? (Isn’t this the hero in every movie we love?)

He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. (Admirable indeed.  No one is beyond His reach.)

He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.  (He knows and loves His people.)
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.  (He is caring forth a plan.  A redemption plan.  A hero, in a movie we love.  Hold onto your seats, the Word is becoming flesh and about to dwell among us, Immanuel, God with us.  Mary, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Joseph and the whole world is in for a wild ride.  The  hero is about to shake things up.)

 

 

Free Melted Snowman Printable

Written by Jen

HI!  I was asked to bring water for the class party this year.  Easy enough.  My girl friend saw a melted snowman label to put on the water bottles.  I loved the idea so I made one of my own.  All you do is print the labels.  Cut them.  Remove the original label and then replace the label with the adorable melted snowman label. I wanted to share it with you so you can print them and use them too if you like!  Have FUN!!  Click here to Print.

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