Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Small Group Gratituesday





Good morning everyone. Once again Tuesday has rolled around. A day to stop and count our blessings. It's interesting, my blog was never intended to just be about Gratituesday. The past few months it has turned into that and I intend to change. This ties into what I am thankful for.

I have found myself wandering in a desert the past few months. Ever since I got back from Haiti I haven't gotten my bearings. My apprenticeship has been rough since getting back. I have been gone from the body of believers so many Sundays and Wednesday night services I feel like a visitor.

My small group that I am a part of hasn't seen me much either. So many changes in life right now. SO many decisions to make about the future. I have found myself eating more and praying less. It's been five months since I got back and at times I have felt like I am disappearing.

Thankfully the other night I was able to go back to my small group. What a blessing it was. I have truly missed being a part of the group. During prayer time I shared my struggles in several areas of my life and once again I was reminded why fellowship is so important.

I have walled myself off from those who are most important to me. The stress of the apprenticeship and the long hours have taken a toll on my mind and my body.  Today I am so grateful for a group of people in my life who keep the heart and arms open for me.

For this group of believers I am thankful. What about you? What are you grateful for today? I would love for you to share with me.
In Christ Alone,
Jill



Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gratituesday



Count your blessings name them one by one! I recently spent two weeks down in Kentucky visiting our son and daughter in law waiting for their fifth baby to arrive. My daughter in law typically goes right around her due date. They wanted as much help after the birth as possible so they wanted me to get really close to the "due date" as possible.

Plans don't always work out like we think. On the day I was supposed to go I was sick as a dog. Laying in bed I could hear my lungs rattling so I drug my sorry body to the emergency room at 4a.m. to be told I indeed had bacterial pneumonia. I spent the next three days curled in a ball taking all my medicine like a good little girl. The doctor had assured me I could still deliver the baby safely if I wore a mask and waited a couple of days.

So I drove down to Kentucky feeling like I had run a marathon. I got to the community Saturday evening. I checked on my daughter in law and discovered her baby was straight posterior with a hand up to her chin. Now she is very tiny herself. At the time I guessed the baby to be over seven pounds but less than eight. Heart rate of baby sounded great so I went to bed hoping baby would make her appearance soon.

Son woke me up early Sunday morning and said it was time to have the baby. Mama had been laboring most of the night. I jumped off the couch and said thank you LORD. That was quick. Unfortunately as the sun came up it was obvious baby was not coming. We spent the next 10 days doing essentially the same thing over and over again. I took her to a chiropractor to try and get baby moved out of the posterior position with no luck.

I texted my boss while in town for the chiropractor appointment and she wisely told me to keep my hands off of Mama and wait patiently for the best outcome. I listened to the baby's heart rate every night before bed and was assured all was well.

This continued for ten days. Poor Mama had such hard contractions day and night with no signs of active labor. I prayed and played with the other four grand babies. We read and we read and we read some more. I tickled and snuggled each of them. I cooked and took naps when my grand children went down for naps.

Finally the day arrived. I was making dinner and Mama dropped to her knees in the kitchen. Her back was just killing her. She was much more comfortable on all fours than standing up. Son and I had dinner with the children while Mama was in the bedroom. Something seemed different this time so it was decided son would take the children to a neighbors right after dinner. I washed the dishes while he tended to the children. I listened to the babies heart beat and was assured all was well.

I got the room set up for the birth and quietly waited. Son came back and asked if there was time to take a shower and Mama said just hurry. As he stepped out of the shower I could hear her say get Jill. Less than twenty minutes later I caught my beautiful grandson. He stayed posterior and never rotated. He came out with a full head of brown hair. Mama and baby did beautifully.

This was my very first time to catch a grand baby. I feel so blessed. It was also my 100th birth. I am thankful for the wise words of my mentor Wendy. I sat on my hands till it was time and the birth was perfect. I am thankful for a son and daughter in-law who trusted me to be with them. Finally I am thankful that God saw fit to bless our family with another grand baby. Thank you LORD.

Blessings













Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, March 11, 2014




One foot in front of the other. Putting on the blinders like the horses do in the race of a lifetime. Only focus, focus and focus some more on the gifts. Don't look to the left or right. Littered there are past failures and hurt. Look straight ahead at the gifts. 

So much to be thankful for today. Thankful for the reminder that looking in the ditch won't bring the joy we all so desperately crave. Look up, see the sun poking through the clouds? One more snow storm they say. Storms can batter the sails. They look like they will be torn in two. 

Ann Voskamp says this, The only way to keep in time with your Beloved… is to keep counting blessings. The way to keep the rhythm of life — is to count the ways He loves. Joy is a habit: wear it. 

Joy is a habit. Count the blessings and name them one by one.

1. The love of Christ endures everything

2. The cares of this world are tossed into the ditch so I can look forward 

3. A husband who loves

4. Children that find ways to serve

5. People who believe in me

What are YOU thankful for today? I would love to know.



Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gratituesday










As time goes by I am more convinced than ever of the importance of a grateful heart. Our attitude is so critical to a life lived well. I am reminded of Corrie Ten Boom who wrote the life changing book The Hiding Place. If you could wrap that book up into just one thought it would be this. No matter what  circumstance you are facing, attitude will determine how you cope.

Our life circumstances can and will change on a dime. There are things that happen that are beyond our control. A spouse dies, a teenager rebels, a baby gets luekemia. All of these beyond what we can control.

What we can control is how we face the challenges that are put before us. We can become bitter and withdraw or we can be thankful for everything that comes our way.

This winter has been brutal in some ways here in Michigan, We have had multiple snow storms, ice storms and wind storms. All of them have been challenging. The car accidents, the navigation of countless pot holes as big as little swimming pools and broken wheels. All of that has been challenging. However, the snow reminds us once again of the beauty and magesty of God. A field that is covered in snow that sparkles like a thousand diamonds is gorgeous. To see the field untouched reminds me of the hearts that God sees through the lens of Christ.

So much to be thankful for today. What beauty can you see? I would love to know.
In Christ Alone,





Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Radical or Bodacious Christianity?



It's time to start writing about the practical lessons from my time in Haiti. Following Jesus wherever he wants to take us can seem at times radical. in fact, there are quite a few books about "radical" Christianity. The word seems to be overused in my opinion. Since I have a tendency to not follow the crowd I wanted to find a new word for radical. According to my hand thesaurus some words for radical are, profound, primitive,essential, organic and my favorite, meat and potatoes. None really grabbed me. I have always been a fan of the word bodacious so I looked it up. Some of the definitions for bodacious were, sassy, bold, cocky, spunky and plucky. None of those words really describes Jesus so back to the drawing board.

For now I will just use the word radical, at least until I find a better word. The word Christian has become for me a meaningless word. My intention is not to offend but millions of people call themselves Christians and I think it too is overused. People ask me at times what kind of Christian I am. I have come up with the word plain, just a plain old Christian. A Jesus follower who is just plain and simple. So what is so radical about that you might ask? 

It's hard in the 21st century to be plain and simple in anything! Our culture screams at us 24/7. Even McDonald's has multiple T.V.'s blaring at us. I went to a new gas station the other day and there was a T.V. at every single pump. We are bombarded everywhere we go. So just what messages are we being given?  We are not anybody unless we have _____ just fill in the blank. It could be a Disney vacation, a toothpaste, a credit card or my all time favorite, a purple little pill to cure ED. 

My life will not be meaningful unless I have more "stuff". I am here to tell you that more "stuff" only makes us more fat and hungry for more. We need the latest and the greatest and I don't care if it's a new kitchen tool or a new garden hose that doesn't kink. We need more and more and more. Does anyone feel like we are on a crazy merri-go-round? That merri-go-round gets faster and faster and faster. 

I remember a very wise king who decided to try everything this world has to offer. He got it all. He got the fast cars, the women, the gold and the worship and drugs to heighten the whole experience and he said it was ALL meaningless. Every drop meaningless. 

So want to know what I learned in Haiti? I learned once again that "stuff" does not satisfy. I want to spend the next couple of days looking at "stuff" and what it all means to us. 
Come join me as we take a look at radical and bodacious Christianity.
In Christ Alone,
Jill


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Grandma's Feather Bed Gratituesday



The very famous country music singer John Denver had this very cool song about his Grandma's feather bed. I loved that song when Rich and I were first married. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be the Grandma in the song!

With two of our grand girls spending the night to watch some Olympic glory we decided to not kick out son from his bed/ So the only other place was our bed. Since Rich has to sleep in his chair most nights for pain management I end up sleeping alone. So our 10 and 8 year old grand girls climb into our bed. They think the bed is pretty fun anyway since it has some remote controls to move the head and feet up and down. I could hear them giggling in there playing with the bed.

Then me, the grandma came to bed and try and wiggle into place. I tried to move the wiggly grand daughter to no use. I had no clue that this particular grand girl liked to swim in her sleep. Her legs go up and down just like doing the breaststroke in water. Who would have known?  How exactly did she kick me in the mouth? No clue. It was such an interesting night of sleep.

Now don't you think for a moment that I am complaining. You haven't lived till you have slept with a couple of grand children in your bed. Even in sleep they are full of energy and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I just love being that grandma in Grandma's feather bed!

What are you thankful for today? Would love to know.




Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Being A Brave Woman


She walks the streets seeing with her hearts eyes, a hurting world. The masses are scurrying from one place to the next without seeing who stands near them. She lives in a world where the right thing to do is now wrong and the wrong thing to do is what is right. How could this have happened in such a short time?

Slowly over time one principle, one truth after another turns upside down. The culture makes this very slow shift like the frog in the water that gets turned up so slowly that it is too late by the time the frog knows what is going on.

But she notices and has noticed for a very long time and has days when she feels powerless to make a difference. The jeers for how she chooses to dress, so old fashioned. When everyone else wants to show as much skin as possible, even in church. When other women mock "those women" who chose to be obedient to God and His Word.

I think of the woman at the well. And the naked woman brought to Jesus found in the very act of adultery. The shame she must have felt. Then her shame turns into victory because it simply does not matter what others think. What matters is the LORD and Savior who bids her come in. To drop the destructive way of life and walk with Him. She is no longer invisible.

All this life offers is pain, heart ache and rejection. The rejection hurts no matter what your age. The mocking and the stares by other women go unnoticed to everyone else around but the invisible woman knows. The old mantra, "sticks and stones can broke my bones but words will never hurt me" is a lie. Words do hurt and they do have consequences.

Just how many women feel invisible? Who have days that feel the crush of rejection. Who just need the courage to stand up and be counted. It is those women that God has a tender heart for. Do not be afraid to be different. Do not be afraid to walk the path less taken. You may feel invisible but you are not. One person can make a difference because if you have the light inside of you it is very hard for others to not notice.  God sees and God knows.

So play to an audience of ONE. God promises that someday all tears will be wiped away. For that is the promise that brave women hold on to.

In Christ Alone,



Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".