Thursday, December 20, 2012

Praying For You

Fell swoop statements blaming this tragedy and every single other one like it on "guns" - "mental illness" - "the parents" or whatever other "thing" you want to shake your finger pointing at is not the answer.  The answer is getting off our derrieres and accept responsibility for our actions and lives.  When something doesn't go "right" it's not time to blame every thing and every one around you for it, it's time to take a deep breath and look at the situation and see where you can go from here.
I hear the sentiment "How could God let this happen?" whenever a tragedy happens.  Columbine, 9/11, Oklahoma City Bombing and now Newtown.  That frustrates me so.  How could He prevent it?  How many of us turn to Him in the midst of our every day joy?  How many of us turn to Him in our time of need?  How many of us get up each morning and say a prayer for Him to guide us through all that which is in store for us on this day.
Look at it this way.  In the beginning there was only one, a man and here's what happened.  God said to him, eat from any tree in the garden, except that one.  Genesis 2:16-17 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die."  Except that ONE, Adam heard Him say it.  Here's a garden of trees, full of fruit, ready to nourish you and I tell you to eat of them, enjoy them, please just don't eat the fruit of that one tree.  It's your choice which fruit you eat, how much you eat, when you eat and why you eat that which you choose for the day.  I just ask that you refrain from eating of this one tree, that's all.
God also says it is not good for man to be alone and after much thought creates woman.  God leaves man and woman to their FREE WILL and goes back to His duties.  Now, let me ask you this.  Why did He not prevent the following then?  Genesis 3:1-6 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”  “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.  “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”  “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.  “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”  The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 
Ah, yes, if He can prevent anything from happening, why not that?  Why not prevent the first sin, the first time man and woman fail to do as He asks, why "let" the serpent trick His precious creation?  Because with the first words He spoke He gave man FREE WILL, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden..."  Yes, I take this discussion very seriously.
God did not breathe life into the man and directly tell him, you may eat of this tree on Monday, sweep the pathway on Tuesday, water the flowers on Wednesday and so forth.  He gave man free will to tend and watch over the garden in the way the man saw fit.  God believed in man, believed in his ability to make wise choices and in order for man to make those choices, God blessed him with freedom and a brain.  Need more proof that God immediately blessed man with a mind of his own?  Genesis 2:19-20 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one.  He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals.  See, we already made it back to the freedom thing, God let man name the creatures, every single one, God didn't do it, didn't tell man what to call the creatures, God simply created and trusted man to manage the rest.
Okay, so back to the forbidden fruit.  Even then, in those early days of creation man and woman couldn't help but want that which they couldn't have.  Genesis 3:6a The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. Smooth talking and convincing got through to the woman that the forbidden fruit wouldn't kill her, but give her wisdom and knowledge of right and wrong.  She quite likely had no clue what that even meant but just the same longed to have it.  We've all heard the phrase, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."  Is this where the phrase began?  I'm serious, Genesis 3:6b So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.  Think about it, he didn't question her, making sure the fruit she was giving him was from the appropriate trees, he just accepted and ate it.  We are still the same way, surrounded by advertising, media and peer pressure that says "this is acceptable", "this is normal", and "everyone else is doing it" so we can hardly help ourselves but to do it as well.  Think of all the things that we try and willingly accept because it was recommended.  Exactly like Adam when Eve handed him the forbidden fruit, we simply accept and consume because surely whatever we're given is always given to us with our best interests in mind.
This is where we are falling into brokenness.  Instead of establishing our values and morals upon Biblical principals we are constantly bombarded with the ways of the world.  In turn if you don't "accept" the ways of the world you're being intolerant, close-minded and even prejudicial.  We are born as imperfect, broken human beings into a world of chaos and distress.  As a parent it is my responsibility to raise my child into a responsible, caring, giving and serving individual.  It is also my responsibility to teach them that even though we are broken and sinners we are loved and forgiven.  God has given me a list of commandments that He holds most important and it is my best interests to follow these commands.  These commands are not outdated and antiquated but the are still a standard in which we should treat and hold our family, friends and neighbors accountable.  We are faced with a million obstacles in life that make us who we are, I see these obstacles as the crosses we've been given to bear.  The crosses we bear in life are not excuses to live by but reasons to live on.  Live on, because you don't even have to bear the crosses in your life alone, God is always willing to take it upon himself for you. Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Your Father doesn't want you lost and burdened, He wants you to turn to Him and let Him guide you through this broken world.
These crosses we bear, sins we commit and pain we face is where we fail each other.  We accept that which is around us in abundance is what we should also want and do.  We instinctively know the difference between right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, where we all differ is how we view these differences.  This is why I'm praying for you today.  I pray that the next time you see someone you know and say the standard "hi, how are you" to them that you pause long enough to look them in the face and see if their "pretty good, you?" response is an honest one.  In turn if someone does the same to you and you're not "pretty good" then please don't say you are.  If your day has been rough, say so, we all end up there at some point and need to be heard when we're crying and broken.  The other problem is we live in a "me" world and it's easy to look around and think that everyone else has it together and "I'm" the only one that doesn't when in all honesty the reality is quite likely the opposite.  Know that we're all broken, we're all hurting sometimes and we all need to know someone cares.  So rather than point a finger at guns and mental illness when tragedies occur, see the fingers on your own hand that are pointed back at you and ask yourself what you can do in your own neighborhood to prevent another one.
God gave us all free will to use as we see fit.  We are still living in the "garden of Eden" only it has developed into December 2012 and it is our responsibility to tend this land we are on.  It is our responsibility to come together as a community, taking care of each other, helping each other and serving each other.  Does a nation come together in celebration at the end of a beautiful December day?  Does a community come together in awe of a rainbow?  Does a family come together in joy over a meal at the dinner table?  These are the beautiful things that God blesses us with regularly but do we notice and rejoice over them as we should?  We usually keep on going, caught up in our own little worlds, focusing on tomorrow before today even ends.  How many parents hugged their children tighter and made sure to share kisses good-night with their families last Friday?  Did they do that Thursday night in the midst of "normal"?  The real problem with tragedy is that we have to face one in order to be thankful for all that we have.  God knows the number of our days before we are even born, of each and every single one of us.  No matter if you are blessed with 95 years, 32 years, 6 years, 5 weeks, 2 days or even just hours of life, they are the ultimate gift God has given you and your loved ones.  If you had known the way these lives would end would you sacrifice even knowing these lives?
We choose to make each day everything that it is.  We choose, not God, every step we take and the direction we go.  Here is my prayer for you, starting today and every day I pray this for you.  I pray that you can go forward today not wondering at how God could let this tragedy happen but that you forge ahead living and loving more passionately because of it.  I pray that you see not the pain in the tragedy but the blessing in the love that pours out afterward.  I pray that you hug the friend with sad eyes, even if they say they're doing "pretty good" because you know that there is more to life than just words spoken in casual conversation.  I pray that your neighbor takes notice when you're struggling with what life has tossed your way and reaches out to hold your hand in that time of need.  I pray that you see the wonder and glory of God when you're knocked to your knees with no air in your lungs and yet you know He is hearing every word you're crying out.  I pray that you can feel how truly close to Him you are when you're kneeling there at His feet.  I pray that you know that you are never alone, your Father is beside you, I am thinking of you and you are, without question, absolutely loved in all your beautiful imperfection.  (I know that you are because I know that I am.)  I pray that you feel in your heart that you and your story has value, impact and power in this world.  I pray that you use that amazing power to share your Father's love, absolutely amazing love, to all those you touch every day.  I pray that you believe everything I have written here, whether I know your name or not, I love you and appreciate the impact you leave on my life.  Most importantly I pray that you go and be the change you want to see in this world.  That truly is how to change this world, start right there at home, within the walls that you exercise your amazing and beautiful free will.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz
Deo Volente - NMV

Friday, November 9, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Quiet

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Jeepers, it's been a while.  The whole 30 days did not go well for me.  I got a few days done but life, to-do lists, being tired and, well, life got in the way.  Yup, life twice, I did that on purpose.

So happy to be here and the subject "Quiet" couldn't be more timely as far as I'm concerned.

Quiet, nope that doesn't always make me think of the noise level around me.  I have times it reminds me to quiet the pace at which I'm racing.  After a month of chaos while preparing for our annual bazaar fundraiser at school, I'm enjoying the quiet of a shorter to-do list.  The quiet of a pace that instead focuses on cleaning house, lunch, supper, laundry and homework.
These are the times to really appreciate the the quiet of God's calming presence.  In the midst of the storm there are always the moments when the seas quit raging and a deep breath of relief is taken.  My "God's Heart for You" perpetual calendar (Amen for Dayspring and Holley Gerth) has been a source of peace and quiet in these most recent days.
October 26 - A harsh word stings our spirits...God is there.  A bad day threatens to discourage us...God is there.  A disappointment knocks the wind out of our sails...God is there.  No situation or circumstance is too large or small for God.
October 29 - You with those tears in your eyes, that heaviness in your heart, that bad day hanging on your shoulder...  Will you let the arms of heaven hold you close? God whispers these words in your ear, "Oh yes, I know about loss.  I know it's hard to live in this world.  I understand."
When the world is raging around you, find the quiet in the one place it ALWAYS is waiting for you.  Your Father's waiting arms.
Sorry, I ran long finding and quoting the calendar.  Forgive me.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 26 - 31DSS

Colossians 1:15-18 (MSG)
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels, everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He made it all. He has organized every detail. He manages it all. None of my life is chance or happenstance but a part of His great plan.

I can enjoy great comfort in this knowledge.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24 - 31DSS

Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

This isn't something our parents said to keep us from counting the number of gifts with our name on the tag at Christmas, it's a true piece of wisdom.

I love how often I am reminded of the simple truth behind these words.

That which you give will be multiplied and returned to you. Give the first tenth of everything you reap.  More of the same from the pages of the Bible, I'm just not familiar with exactly where from.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23 - 31DSS

Galations 5:13 (NLT) For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Galatians 5:13-15 (MSG) It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then.

A good reminder as the election is just around the corner and the opponents are slinging mud.  I read a blob post yesterday (since I'm posting late) that talked about such things.  We should always be focused on the good we're doing rather than the bad that others are doing.  That is our purpose, to serve one another in love.

Make your choices deliberate and wisely.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 21 - 31DSS

1 Timothy 4:8 GNT
Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.

On a day where my pain level is a 12 (rated on a scale of 1-10) while I "rest" this verse seems an appropriate reminder where to store my strength.
Hope the chiropractor has an opening tomorrow because this back/hip pain has got to go. :0(
Got any prayer requests? Share them, I'm conversing with God a lot today.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 19 - 31DSS

Isaiah 26:3 You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.

Help me to always remember this in all I do.  That my purpose is to glorify you, following where you lead, doing as you ask and trusting that you are always in control.

From daily life to elections, facing times of great joy and frustrating trial, you are there as a faithful beacon on the foggiest of days and a glorious sunrise on each new day.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18 - 31DSS

Isaiah 55:8  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord . "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

His plans are not our plans.  We aren't meant to understand his plans.  Here is yet another time I hear him asking me to trust in what great works he is creating. Having faith that all things do come together for a great and beautiful good.

Such a simple yet complicated request.  One only made a bit more undertakeable only because I know what He faced for me.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17 - 31DSS

Proverbs 3:7 (NLT) Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.

This is one I could just read and reread again and again. Using it to remind myself where to turn in times of uncertainty and need.
These 17 days have not been what I've hoped but they've been good anyway.  Praise the Lord for all His great works each day!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 15 - 31DSS

Luke 6:37-38 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Agree to disagree.  Such a simple phrase but sometimes that's all we need to remember.  There are times in life that you will be faced with something or someone that you disagree with.  This is a daily thing, yes, daily.  A coworker, spouse, child, friend, anyone, no one will do things the exact same way you do them, nor do you want them to.  This is what makes us individuals.  We cannot judge another's decisions and being mindful of that is supporting their right to choose.
We are blessed with many options regarding just about anything in life and while I choose one way and my friends choose another, it is my responsibility to respect their decision.  It is not my right to question the validity of the choice or say negative things about it, they deserve my support regarding it.  The way we handle these choices and situations is a great measure of the God's grace shining through us.  We all are created human, full of human failings and yet God has forgiven us for every transgression before we even commit it.  Instead of carrying the barrel of righteousness and judgement with you each day, walk with the ladle of wisdom and grace sharing such blessings to others wherever you go.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 14 - 31DSS

Mark 8:36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

This is one of my favorite verses because it is something we all have to deal with daily.  We live in a society that puts value on how much and what you have, such a materialistic world.  A person's worth and status is based upon how you compare to your neighbor.  Bigger is better, more, more, more and spend, spend, spend.
It is hard to not get caught up in this mindset, a true trap of the devil.  Selling your soul for the next new thing.  I read a book awhile back that hit this on the head, hard to read but such a valuable point.

Value your soul.  Evaluate what's really important.  Less is more.  Live a simple life.  Set true priorities.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13 - 31DSS

Romans 8:38 NLT And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Taking such sweet comfort in this tonight.  Lots of thoughts tonight, just not ready to write it out. Say a prayer for me, leave a note below and I'll happily return the favor.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 12 - 31 DSS

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  NIV

James 3:13 If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.  NLT

Oh, how I love to read the different translations of the Bible and someday it would be such a blessing to be able to read it in the Latin or Greek translations as well.  The words written down for us are a true guidance of how to walk the walk and talk the talk.
It is not just about making attendance each Sunday at church, logging your daily devotions and making the appropriate comments.  It is in how you handle those moments but also in how you handle the every day details that life tosses at you.  The stranger stranded on the side of the road, the neighbor with a broken down car, the mom with kids in tow at the grocery store, in those moments, are you being Christ's hands and feet?  Are you reaching out in love and stepping over to help?  This is what we are called to do in His name.  Treat others as you are loved, unconditionally and with abounding grace.

Go, do, be - let God's love shine through you.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11 - 31DSS

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good; his love endures forever.

Open that gratitude and keep counting all the ways He loves us.
The sunshine, the rain, the harvest, the child's awe at combine and tractor rides, the sweet memories of said rides.  The coolness of fall days, the quick pain of an accident, the passing of a loved one, the sadness at watching your child walk a "different" path than which you had planned for her.
It is in these small things that He showers us with love.  It is in the presence of simple beauty and scary weakness that He is always good to us.
God love is always there, He is always caring, always patiently waiting.  Whatever path you're on, wherever you're going, whatever the choices, whomever you're with.

Amy Grant sings it beautifully in Better Than a Hallelujah Sometimes.

God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

God loves the drunkard's cry
The soldier's plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful,the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

The woman holding on for life
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

The tears of shame for what's been done
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful,the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
Better than a choir singing out, singing out

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful,the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful,the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)
Better than a Hallelujah
(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day Ten - 31DSS

2 Samuel 7:22 "How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears."

What beautiful rejoicing we can partake in with this knowledge.  What reassurance we have in His amazing grace.  There is nothing like worshipping our wonderful father and feeling his love.

This isn't shaping up like I planned but I sure am enjoying this journey anyway.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day Nine - 31DSS

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

One of my favorite verses, an absolute favorite.

I'm not all that successful at doing my daily writing this year.  I'm struggling to follow through on many of my routines right now.  Not sure what kind of funk I'm in honestly.
Off to get me some rest and prepare for whatever tomorrow may hold.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day Six - 31DSS

What an amazing weekend.  I already mentioned that I am in Milwaukee, WI to attend the Women of Faith conference with a friend.  It is my second year to attend and my friend's first.  Such a blessing and so uplifting.  All of the speakers talk to me and share inspiration that spoke directly to my heart in some  way.  What a great way to start my month and even in a way inspire me for my 31 Days of Scripture Studies.

My verse for today - Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Our God is an amazing God
He reigns from heaven above

Such a perfect scripture for me today as I spent the day rejoicing in His greatness and basking in the warmth of His love as shared amongst all these women today.  Yup, I do believe I picked the right theme for my 31 days and it will be a wonderful journey to take this month.

Amen and God Bless!!

TFF(S) - Welcome

Yesterday was Five Minute Friday and while I enjoyed checking out other's posts, I didn't take time to write one myself.  So, here I am Takin' Five for Friday on Saturday and happy to do so.



I don't always think of welcome as a word but more as an action.

You welcome someone to your home, family, gathering and yet you don't necessarily "say" the word welcome much, do you?

Just like as God welcomes us to Him.  It's an action, He says "come to me" calling your name and welcoming you with open arms, no matter what the time of day or night.

God's family welcomes you and I with open arms at all times, in all circumstances because we all are loved by the greatest Father.  He asks us to love each other as we would want to be loved and that means to be welcoming and caring in all circumstances and ways.


So, welcome to FnF and thanks for stopping by.  It is great having you here and a blessing to me.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Day Five - 31DSS

A weekend away.  Yes, I ran away from home, well kind of.  I made the trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to enjoy the Women of Faith conference with a girlfriend.  So, okay, I didn't run away but I do have the privilege of a "mom is getting away" weekend.  Those are precious and priceless.

So, the verse for today makes me smile.  I love to look around and appreciate the beautiful things around me and today is no different.  Starting with the quiet of a household that I tiptoed through while I got ready and loaded the car before taking off, greeted with a beautiful sunrise as I got on the road and so much beautiful scenery on the long drive of the day.  These are the things that I am blessed with only because of what the Lord has done.

Matthew 19:26 - Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

With God all things are possible.
Enough said for me.


Glorious Morning

Filled with wonder
Awestruck wonder

Holy, Holy, Holy

With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore you


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day Four - 31DSS

Well, I missed days two and three.  I did "study" on both days I just didn't get up early enough to study AND write, so the second part got left out.

So, back at it I go.

1 Timothy 1:15 - Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Calling me to due diligence of being mindful of my actions.  Even the smallest thing that is my sin.  I am human, I do sin.  We all do.  There is nothing that we can do that protects us from doing so.  We all err and this is the weakness that was in us since the fall of man when Eve fell for the deception of the snake.  The weakness we're borne into as being human.  The weakness that we all face each day.
This weakness I can handle because He has done His duty and has already taken this burden from me.  I shall go into the world with every effort not to sin and spend my days glorifying my father but when I fall I can rise again with His help because He loves me enough to always have a hand out to grasp.  Being an example and glorifying Him through my sin is a blessing enough to keep me going whenever I face a trying time.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Day One - 31DSS

This morning was not a fabulous kick-off, like I'd hoped, but all the same I'm here and going to follow through anyway.

Today's Scripture (NLT) -Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.

This is a good one.  It reminds me that God's grace is for ALL people.  Not just the ones sitting in the church pews on Sunday, not just for the ones in the missions fields around the world, not just for the ones that are doing all the rights things and saying all the right words but for ALL OF US.

I mulled it over all day and only just am taking time to capture my thoughts in writing but I think that's a good thing today.  Earlier today I was talking with a friend about how we should "hate the sin but always, always love the sinner" and that even if we don't approve of what someone is doing with their life doesn't mean we can't support them anyway.  We all sin and yet God wants us all to come home to Him anyway.

Here is the perfect quote to wrap this up with - Grace is when God gives us what we don't deserve and mercy is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve.  ~Unknown

Shower grace upon everyone around you each day, do this from the abundance of grace that your Father showers upon you, He has blessed this world with enough for each and every one of us and then some.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days of Scripture Studies

Time to join and her friends for 31 days of blogging.  I joined in last year and it was quite fun and I'm quite excited to take part again this year.
I was struggling to come up with a theme for my 31 days and in pondering what it was that I need to "work on" the answer became clear.  I want to be better about my morning "time" - as in getting up and spending time studying scripture and preparing for a GOOD day instead of the standard OKAY day.

So, here's my commitment to you, to me, to Dad, so hold me accountable people, I deserve it.  I deserve to "Maximize my Morning",  I deserve to start my day side by side with my Father, I deserve to begin my morning grounded in the truth, my family deserves it, my home deserves it and last but not least, by Father deserves it.

We all deserve nothing less!!

I even had some fun creating the button to go with this.

So, how am I picking the scripture to study?  Simply by using the one that is given to me through my daily scripture reading on the YouVersion app on my phone.  Then, I can read it multiple times a day, pray over it and take time to dive deeper during my "study time" of the day.  I've enjoyed the daily scripture for a while now and love to mull it over and pray on it throughout the day so taking it a little deeper will be fun as well.  I can NOT even think about making this complicated, it has to be ASAP (as simple as possible) for me to have success with this.

As I go along I will also copy the new link for each month into the "comments" section here as I'm not so advanced as to have linky stuff set up over here.  It will be so much fun to do this with you all, such a blessing as well, I'm sure.

Deo Volente - Nicki


I am encouraged because of my Father's amazing live and (in) reminds me regularly, of this I am so thankful!
I happily stop over at for regular reminders that I'm not walking alone in this crazy life of mine.  I have sisters all around the world, walking this life of faithfulness and grace because our Father loves us.

By doing so you will not only feel the love of your God-family, but you will also get chances to participate in giveaways, book club studies, preview great deals and participate in great "community" things that you will not find anywhere else.

Something like this.  The offered to send me a bundle of cards and all I had to do was commit to sending them out to people that I want to shower love on.  I couldn't pass up on that, not for anything.  Gotta love those (in)spired deals!!

The Redeemed Card Collection that I received.
Simple and yet, so beautiful!

Pictures from - - since I didn't take time to do it myself.  THANK YOU!!

So much fun to bless my loved ones with these!  My grandparents that are dealing with health issues and the weariness that age brings with it.  A dear friend that I haven't spoken to in years but love like a mother anyway, I hope it was a wonderful surprise.  One was fitting as a sympathy card for a family that lost their husband and father, a good man.  I even plan to hide one this weekend for my husband to find as I leave for a couple of days to a Women of Faith retreat with a girlfriend.  After dealing with five kids, I'm sure he could use a smile, I know, I do it every day.

This quick "challenge" has reminded me just how much fun it is to send a card to a friend.  It is such a sweet moment when you receive a card in the mail, no matter the occasion.  Off to figure out who's week I can brighten starting tomorrow.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz
Deo Volente - Nicki Veenstra

Friday, September 28, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Grasp

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

It's been a while, but here we go..


Grasp, it's within grasp, it's just so hard to grasp, the thought of grasp is hard to grasp today.

Life is downright confusing some days and then you toss in dreams and the things around you that are happening, known as harsh reality and it's hard to grasp what's what and even why things happen the way they do.

The only comfort I have some days is that I am always safe in my Father's grasp.  He holds tightly to me, my heart, my cares, my dreams and lifts me up when I am falling.  I am not alone, I have a comforting hand grasping mine and guiding me through these days.

I look around and see that there are beautiful things all around me and that if I don't slow down to see them they'd be but a blip in the radar of life.  They can be so much more, I can sit back and grasp in my mind the beauty of the sunset, the happy sound of combines and tractors rumbling along in the midst of a harvest season.  I can enjoy the children running around like maniacs because the sound of their giggles is something that lasts only an instant but can remain as a memory for years to come.

Grasp this life with both hands.  Holds tight to the preciousness that it truly is and enjoy it.  Don't hold tight to the stress, drama and worries of this life, but hold tight instead to the comfort that comes from the love of your Father.  Feel the love in the grasp of His hand.

8:46 - ran a bit over, but HAD to finish the thought.
Have a blessedly beautiful Friday!!  I'm spending the afternoon with the school kids on a bike ride for Go The Distance Day.  Gonna be GREAT!!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Get Out of Your Own Way

I've seen this before and I love it, so for safe keeping I'm, saving it here.  A great one to look back on when I get frustrated!!

Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it:
Your words, your dreams, and your thoughts have power to create conditions in your life.
What you speak about, you can bring about.  If you keep saying you can't stand your job, you might lose your job.
If you keep saying you can't stand your body, your body can become sick.
If you keep saying you can't stand your car, your car could be stolen or just stop operating.
If you keep saying you're always broke, guess what? You'll always be broke.
If you keep saying you can't trust a man or trust a woman, you will always find someone in your life to hurt and betray you.
If you keep saying you can't find a job, you will remain unemployed.
If you keep saying you can't find someone to love you or believe in you, your very thoughts will attract more experiences to confirm your beliefs.
Turn your thoughts and conversations around to be more positive and power packed with faith, hope, love and action.
Don't be afraid to believe that you can have what you want and deserve.
Watch your "Thoughts," they become words.
Watch your "Words," they become actions.
Watch your "Actions," they become habits.
Watch your "Habits," they become character.
Watch your "Character," for it becomes your "Destiny."


~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Things Lost

It's one of those times when you long for that which has been lost.  Whatever it may be, we all have those things that we lose and long for it's return.  I have a couple things missing.  One is a necklace that Jayme gave me, it's just a simple chain but it rarely left my neck.  It had two pendants on it, one a sapphire (a gift the Valentine's day of 2003, the same day I first miscarried a precious child) and a diamond pendant that he gave me Christmas 2010.  They're just pendants but they meant so very much to me.  The chain broke one evening and I set the whole thing up and it hasn't been seen since.  Over a year and it has yet to turn up.
Just last week I was going to print some pictures from my old phone's memory card.  I had it in my pocket and somewhere through my day it was lost as well.
While I am sad and pray for the safe "finding" of these things I feel somewhat silly as well.  My grandparents reminded me that I can pray for help from Saint Anthony for such things.  He is the patron saint of all things lost.  Now I lay in bed praying over such things and this is what makes me feel silly.  "Dear St. Anthony, please come around. To find something that can't be found."
I'd much rather pray for my friends that "lost" everything in a fire but I'm quite positive that doing so will not return the locks of hair, pictures, wedding band, cherished items and memories that are missing.  Can you put into words how to find the security of "home" once it's gone.  This has become a challenge for me as that which I am searching for is minor in that which I see others facing around me.  I know I have faith and I'm quite willing to "let go and let God" but I have my moments of feeling lost in life and wonder if I'm doing it "right".  To take the road less traveled by, to forge a path where no road has been paved, to let go and let God is a far cry easier to say than to do most days.
Searching for things lost, really is about far more than a few minor possessions, it's about life.  It's about finding the faith that will get you through when things get rough.  It's hoping you're doing the "living" thing well, being God's servant, a supportive wife, a leading and teaching mother, a caring family member, a helpful friend.  We all get lost on these paths, feeling alone in the scary backwoods of life.  When "life as we know it" crashed around our ears in the blink of an eye with any number of things that shake the ground we stand on.
So in all honesty whether you're looking for something and praying for Saint Anthony's help or if you're just crying out to God for some peace in your day, you are NEVER alone, NEVER.  We are His sheep and we can get separated from the flock but The Good Shepherd always knows where we are and is only just a quick prayer away.

We all understand these words - I once was lost but now am found.  Oh yes, no more beautiful thought than this.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,  That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,  Was blind, but now, I see.
So face those moments of things lost in this life because we have been found by a Father that loves us beautifully and tenderly, unwavering and true.  You need only ask and He will be there and even when you're in a dark and lonely place there is always the light of His love to warm you and guide you.  Trust in Him the One that will never forsake His precious child, You.  Never lost but always found, always, in the watchful eyes and loving arms of Our Father.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mended Through my Father

Here's the story of what prompted this blog post.
Now for the fun part!! :)
We want to know how God has mended you from a previous place of brokenness or a place of brokenness for which you are currently praying for mending. Let’s encourage one another by sharing our stories so we know that we aren’t alone. And, in celebration of Angie’s new release, Mended B&H Publishing is going to give one of you who shares your story a day at a spa near you for you and a friend! Get a facial, pedicure, manicure, massage . . . the whole works! Here are the details on how you can share your story and be entered to win:
  1. If you have a blog, write a post reflecting either on an area in which you have been mended or a place of brokenness for which you are seeking to be mended. Include the following text in your post an explanation that this is in celebration of Mending releasing and specify that “it can be purchased here or here.”
  2. If you don’t have a blog or prefer to share via video, record a video sharing your story of brokenness/being mended and upload it to youtube. In the description explain that this is in celebration of Mending releasing and specify that “it can be purchased here or here.
  3. Then, come back to Angie’s blog and add the link to where you’ve posted on your blog or youtube to the linky on this post. Each person who adds their link will be entered into the drawing to be selected at random. And . . . you may be able to be entered more than once! Each post/video will be checked by the publisher at the conclusion of the contest and for every 25 “likes” (Facebook) or tweets of your post by your readers, your name will be entered again! The more your friends respond, the more entries you receive!
  4. All submissions must be posted by 12:01AM on September 11. A name will be drawn and the winning post will be posted on Angie’s blog on September 13 as a way to announce the winner.
Here's Angie's (I LOVE her!!) story.

Here's my story.
Broken, yep, for sure.  I spent several years in a shattered state and I was quite clueless about it.
34 years ago two high school teenagers were dealt a circumstance that forever altered their lives.  A teenage pregnancy.  As a junior and a senior this young man and young woman had not really any kind of clue what life was really about.  They were quickly learning, very quickly.  In February the wed, at the prompting of their parents - it was the "right thing" to do at the time.  In May their baby girl was born.  An infant borne to two near children themselves.  There were times of struggle and trials and there were times of joy and celebration as well.
I was the child born to these two.  There were times that I felt very much the pain of being the "thing" that kept them from living their dreams.  I was the obstacle that stood in the way of their freedom.  I eventually had a brother and the two of us have experienced the love of family but we have also felt the pain of family.  Our parents did what they could and we are the result of those years.  I look back through the years and we had good times, we did.  The good times tend to be in the shadows of everything else that has happened though and easily forgotten.
I still carry these scars as my self esteem, worth, concept were extremely low for years.  I never measured up.  I was an inconvenience, a frustration and even a hindrance.  I rarely did something right and was more often in the way than a help.  I wasn't smart enough, hard working enough, good enough, anything enough.
My husband has been dealing with the repercussions of those first 20 years for the last 12.  My children also deal with them as well.  I know that things are better though.  Simply because my Father, the best Daddy ever loves me.  He loves me so much that He knew all of these things, knew what all of my days would hold and has always been there for me.
In the last 12 years He has spent endless hours mending all those broken places.  The scars are still there, will always be there but those are how I have the compassion, empathy and ability to love others through their pain and I wouldn't trade them in for anything.
He has brought me here where I can capture the thoughts in my head, share them, pray over them and use them in ways that I can only dream of.  He has brought me to communities like, Women of Faith, Inspired to Action and so many others so that I know I'm not alone.  He has given me "friends" like Angie Smith, Holley Gerth, and hundreds of others that I'll probably never meet but are my soul sisters, because God loves us all and we're all His children.
I have these days where everything falls apart around me.  I fall into the mire that life sometimes is and get bogged down by the sticky mud of life, only to sit and cry in the mess around me.  It is in those moments that I can rejoice.  I can rejoice because God's got it all.  I don't have to struggle on in this life, stumbling along and tripping over everything.  I can reach out for the hand He is offering and I can feel His love because I am His.

I can do anything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Imagine it, anything.  I can be an amazing daughter, granddaughter, sister, wife, mother, friend - I can do anything and I can do it well (amazing, beautifully and lovingly) because HE will give me the strength, tools and guidance to do it.
I am not what I once was because He has mended me and is making me into something beautiful.  He has always been working in my life, I know that now.  I will never, ever, doubt it again!!

Thanks, Angie.  This was a great opportunity because I have been getting mired in the muck and forgetting just how loved I am.  You are such a wonderful blessing!!

LuvNHugz~SupportNPrayerz to All of my God-Family!!
Deo Volente - NMV

Friday, August 17, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Stretch

It seems as though this five minutes I ever take to write over here.  That makes me sad, in some ways.
Anyway off to take my turn after Lisa Jo does the prompting. As always, thankful to be here and to have you stop by.

I ponder on stretching past my comfort zones often.
I rarely do it, but I ponder it a lot. A LOT.
I'm getting better about it but it's so easy to stay where it's comfortable and safe that it makes it quite tough.
Once again I sit in the quiet and enjoy this moment (I'm camping with the five kiddos tonight) of peace after another day come and gone.
I love my job...the wife/mom/sister/daughter/woman/being me one.
I spend my day watching others as well. Watching how their lives are impacted by everything around them. That is making me more passionate about my "other" job, the one as part of The Finding Freedom Team.
We all deserve amazing things and we'll never have them without stretching once in a while.
10:17 (I ran long, that's what happens when I do this from my smartphone.) ;0)

Have a blessedly beautiful weekend!!

Takin' Five on Friday - Stretch

It seems as though this five minutes I ever take to write over here.  That makes me sad, in some ways.
Anyway off to take my turn after Lisa Jo does the prompting. As always, thankful to be here and to have you stop by.

I ponder on stretching past my comfort zones often.
I rarely do it, but I ponder it a lot. A LOT.
I'm getting better about it but it's so easy to stay where it's comfortable and safe that it makes it quite tough.
Once again I sit in the quiet and enjoy this moment (I'm camping with the five kiddos tonight) of peace after another day come and gone.
I love my job...the wife/mom/sister/daughter/woman/being me one.
I spend my day watching others as well. Watching how their lives are impacted by everything around them. That is making me more passionate about my "other" job, the one as part of The Finding Freedom Team.
We all deserve amazing things and we'll never have them without stretching once in a while.
10:17 (I ran long, that's what happens when I do this from my smartphone.) ;0)

Have a blessedly beautiful weekend!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Breathe Deep

How in the world does this happen?  My family sucks.  Now, yes my husband and I have issues and I'm learning more everyday about parenting my children but I'm not even talking about them.
I'm so frustrated with MY family, my brother, my mother and my father.  Our family is quite interesting.  If you look back through my posts you'll find bits and pieces of the story so I'm not gonna cover anything I possibly already have.
My mother lives with us, having a financial mess to deal with she moved in December 2011 so that when she had her knee replacement surgery we could help her.  We also wanted to be able to ease financial burdens in the meantime as well.  My dad is living who knows where and we "talk" to him maybe once a month.  My brother is eight years younger than me and I attempt to help in any way that I can whenever I can.  I know that I wasn't there in times he needed me and I will always feel bad for that.  In the last five years I have gone to court with him, taken him to probation meetings and pretty much felt like I was on call as I needed to be.  In the last two years I have had the pleasure of watching him mature and manage the details of his crazy life.  I am so damned proud of him in all honesty.  This is where the guilt comes in.  I feel bad in the times of his life that I wasn't there for him because I was wrapped up in my own life as a young wife and mother.  Yes, I know that it wasn't my job to raise him and give him the tools to get through life as a solid man, he is my brother.  I also am quite aware of where my parents lack in their abilities to teach us and love us in the ways that which they should have.  There again I fully understand that when they launched into a life of marriage and parenting they were 17 and 18, so they had a crazy long road ahead of them.  What I don't get is why I, at 33 years of age I feel like I am failing the three of them in some major ways.
I am never more than a phone call away.  In order to help my brother save money we helped him manage a bill which we credit card auto pay and he is to reimburse us for each month, last paid in May.  In April he was given the ability to have a "work permit" and since he didn't have a car borrowed ours for "a couple weeks" until he figured something out, still has it.  I attempt to rarely assume that my mom can "just watch them" (the kiddos) because she's not just a built in and free baby-sitter, she deserves her own life.  In knowing that paying bills is a task I give my brother the benefit of the doubt and figure he'll pay the bill eventually.  I in turn take plenty of heat from the hubs about it.  I will occasionally ask for his help with mechanic type stuff because he knows what to do and I'll happily consider us "even" in turn.  Dad, well he's not around much.
The frustration comes when I get ignored for days or then cursed at for bringing it up.  I had no idea I'm so freaking dis-repectful and in turn that's what I deserve.
I don't have anyone that I want to "bother" with this so I came here to vent instead.  I could go on and on, this really is very much a short version of the story.  I feel somewhat better already.
If you stopped by this is proof that I am real and willing to "run off at the mouth" sometimes.  Something I ask of you, say a prayer for me (and my crazy, messed up family) I think I need it!
Deo Volente

Friday, August 3, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Here

Lisa Jo dares us to write every Friday, just write for five minutes. No editing, no thinking, just writing.

Here, I am, here.
Things have been crazy the last few weeks.  (You've seen my posts.)  I just keep conversing with God about it all.
ME - I know you know what's going on, but isn't this a bit much to handle?
GOD - Patience
ME - Buuuuutttt, Daaaad!!
GOD - Peace
ME - Okay, fine, I get it, you're doing BIG things.
GOD - Yup, some day, you'll understand more but for now be right where you are, I'll guide you.

Well time is up so I guess that's all but the prompt of "here" is quite timely for me right now.  I'm trying to remember to be "here" as I walk through these days. 
Physically, emotionally, faithfully - HERE.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz
Deo Volente - NMV

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Takin' Five for Friday - Beyond

Okay, yes I know it's 6:14am on Saturday but I need to catch up in Five Minute Friday fashion.
Today's prompt "beyond" is a good one too!

There is life BEYOND where you are right now.
When we get lost in the chaos that is life as we know we wonder what really is next.
Why all the sorrow and sadness, weight and worry?
It's simple because there is laughter and happiness, flight and freedom in it as well.
With new life there is also death to face.  With health comes times of sickness.  There is a victory at the end of the race, sometimes it is just a REALLY LONG race.
I hear people questioning why God let "this one" live in the Aurora, Colorado shootings, but let "that one" die.  I really don't see it that way.  It's not as simple as Him "letting" something happen.  It's the trial of life as we know it.
The good with the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.  Without trials we wouldn't know true joys.  I'm not sure why I "understand" that, I just get that there is something "beyond" what we have going on right now.

Maybe it just gives me peace about it.  Maybe it makes the troubles more bearable, whatever it is, I take great comfort in knowing My Daddy cares and knows the bigger picture.

The beautiful bigger picture of what's beyond today.

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz
Deo Volente - Nicki

Friday, July 20, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Enough

It's been a while but I'm sitting at the county fair and two kids are wandering aimlessly with friends.  Then there four are playing in the dirt, either sweeping up repeatedly or driving tractors through "their farms" ahh, sweet childhood.
Okay on to stealing five minutes for me.  I definitely need it.


Yup, I've had enough. I'm walking around in a fog lately. Friends with twins that get crazy sick then a month after they start to return to wellness (on their 3rd birthday) their home burns to the ground.  Leaving this awesome family homeless and with nothing but charred memories.  Then there's my dear friend working on rebuilding his marriage.  That tender moment when he thought all was well and then his breath is knocked out of his lungs when he's told otherwise.  How about the sweet young woman that is now watching her family from heaven instead of loving on them here.  Grandparents in hospitals.  Car accidents prevented by listening to God's priceless whispers.  A shooting in Colorado movie theatre.
Worlds turned upside down.  People brought to their knees in prayer.
I've had enough heartbreak I want to see these amazing things God has planned in action.
Off to see the beauty in the day, as it is all around us.  Just like this sunrise and the flowers that are dancing here in His light.  This is where I'll find the beautiful works of our Father, in the every day blessings.

Oh, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shattered Pieces at Your Feet

How do you know which direction to go when your world has been turned upside-down?
Trials can make us or break us.  The trials of life can be the crutches of why we struggle, the stairs where we stall and fail to finish our climb or the mountain peak that we scale to see the beautiful things in the valley with a bird's-eye view.
What's hard is seeing the precious pieces of life as we know it laying shattered at our feet.  When everything around you has been turned upside-down which way do you look first?
UP! So now you look at me like I'm nuts, right?  Up, what in the world do you mean by that, you wonder.  Look up to your heavenly Father.   The one that knows you, inside and out, for the good and the bad, through the rain and drought, the happy and sad.  He will ALWAYS be there to walk through life with you, He will never abandon you to fend for yourself.
Just this week I have seen trials that would send anyone to their knees.  A family home burned to the ground on Sunday.  Nothing left, there may be a few things to save and put up as keepsakes but honestly practically nothing left but the clothes on their seven bodies.  Monday a young mother was called to heaven far too soon in life.  I know that not all of us will have the privilege of growing old but knowing she leaves behind a grieving husband to a young son and infant daughter makes the loss of her sweet life so difficult. Don't forget the man that on what should be an average week night finds his marriage crumbling around him.  When we hit a crossroads in life we wonder "if this is all there is" and look to see if there is "more put there".  The struggle is in how to forge through on that road WITH the one you vowed forever to.  Is it easy?, but in the long run it will be worth it to face your trial in the moment and deal with it.
Do I have any advice for any of these people?  Look up. Look to your Daddy that cares about everything you ever do and lean on Him, let Him carry your burdens.  The ones with the burnt home? They said, we always knew that if we lost it that it wasn't where our true treasure lies.  What a priceless sentiment.  If only we could all remember that.
What of the quote...Your actions show what your heart is made of...cuts me to the quick today, that one does.  What are your actions showing today, this minute.  They say the true character of a man is how he treats animals, children and the elderly. Why? Because they have nothing to offer him in return but love and appreciation.
Pray for those you know are struggling and just in general those around you.  Look up to your Father for guidance and listen to what He tells you.  You've got this because He's got you!
LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz
Deo Volente - Nicki

Friday, June 15, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Path

It's Friday and Gypsy Mama always prompts us to write, simply write, without question, without reservation, for just five minutes.


"Two paths diverged and I, I took the lesser traveled and THAT has made all the difference."

Okay, so I KNOW I didn't quote that right but you know what I'm talking about.  That Robert Frost poem that we all studied in school at some point.  I think every single English teacher uses that one to try to teach us something.

Isn't it easier to stay on the well traveled one?  To stay in the familiar?  I'm so happy in my little world.  Under this rock I call home.  I really don't stay up on the gossip, I really don't miss the time-clock punching/working world, I could care less about coffee time and chatting about "Who did what?!?!"  Generally content to do laundry, make my bed, plan meals, serve my home and help my neighbors.

Though there are times that I wished I got out a bit more.  Had "girlfriends" that did Bible study at the coffee shop, went shopping occasionally and just "got out" more.  Maybe I wish that sometimes I was more than what I really am.

So, this is what I do.  From the comfort of my home I step out of my comfort zone and hang out in the community, Bible study with my friends across the US, dream in my blog world and work from home my own little business.

What if it was time to move across the country?  Go on a mission trip halfway around the world?

 I guess it'd be time to step on that "lesser traveled" path then wouldn't it.


Deo Volente

Friday, June 8, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Expectation

It's Friday and Gypsy Mama always prompts us to write, simply write, without question, without reservation, for just five minutes.

Love doing this!


Expectations go deep, they can get us in trouble, they can break our hearts.  They're tricky things.
Have you ever considered what God's expectations of us are?  Does He expect us to be perfect, sinless giving and forgiving always?  Amazingly there's no way He could.
He has expectations of us being us, being human, imperfect, sinful, broken, lost, confused and everything else that makes us, well us.
That is awesome.  What a gift that He knows we aren't, won't, even can't be perfect and so the fact that He expects us to fall and loves us unconditionally anyway is the BEST gift we could ever have.
I in turn take such amazing comfort in my Father's love of me just as I am.  Now, that is an expectation I love having, the expectation that He is always there for me, yup so amazing!


Go, walk your walk and explore the road before you.  Take with you the expectation of crazy unexpected gifts from your Father!


Big Things

Big things are happening.  Some is of our making is some is of the Lord's making.  Either way things are happening, great and amazing things, things that are making me smile.

We have lived in this old farmhouse for eight years, that means we've spent eight years on projects.  Starting with gutting the upstairs and putting in new wiring, heating, insulation, sheetrock and all that fun stuff.  We also updated the stairway to the upstairs, a few rooms in the main level, all new windows, a few new doors and since we had finished the inside we tackled the outside.  Last summer saw we gave the house a facelift.  New siding and steel roof (the Three Musketeers Bar house - chocolate brown roof, creamy tan siding).  We also added this wrap around porch to the front of the house.  I should go track down the before pictures.  The transformation has been a lot of work, but it has been such an amazing experience.  This summer we're finishing things.  I started this retaining wall/garden in March and this week we completed it.  Kudos to all you landscapers out there, that is HARD work!!  I'll happily climb on a roof and put steel on any day over tackling that brick laying project again.  Now to figure out what to plant...ugh.  Anyway, we get to celebrate some freedom from projects by going camping this weekend.  Oh, some much deserved relaxing is headed our way!
See so much is happening.  We've been working for eight years and now every time I pull in my driveway I just smile.  The whole satisfaction for a job well done is just awesome.
God is so great that way.  You work hard, lean on Him in faith and He will provide exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.  We have become a "God will provide it" family.  Ask me at any given point about something and that is most likely exactly what I will tell you.
We have been facing many things over at school as well.  The kiddos attend a small Christian School close by (55 children total K-8) and we have teachers retiring, marrying and moving on and honestly it's just one of those crazy seasons over there.  We needed to find part time choir and band teachers, a 5th/6th grade teacher and a principal (and possibly more that I'm missing - we use many hands with our curriculum set up) for next year.  We have a tentative 5/6 teacher and there is someone coming in for an interview next week for the principal position.  I have said for many months that God would provide us exactly what we need in the people for these positions.  He always has great plans and (again) will provide exactly what we need when we need it. (Please say a prayer for us if you could, that we be patient and content with His timing and provisions.)
Anyway, I'm feeling good about things.  Our group of teachers is amazing, I love each and every one for the things that they bring to Peoria Christian.  I know that we all work together to do amazing things in the lives of these children.  As parents, leaders, friends and God's servants we are giving these children an absolutely wonderful foundation for their lives.  Being involved in the happenings at Peoria Christian has taught me so much.  I'm not the teacher (never ever wanted to be one) type, so homeschooling would be quite a stretch for me, in turn I feel amazingly blessed to be able to have the option of Peoria Christian for this crew.
As it goes these are a few of the thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for the last several days.  God provides for His faithful servants.  Not always in the ways we expect, much less in the time frame we'd desire, but He does provide.  He alone ultimately knows what we need and is always at the ready to have it waiting.  From working on our house to serving at the school I feel the amazing things God is doing.  Yes there are things I see happening, but in the end I truly feel that He is right there orchestrating something awesome.
Blessings to you today.  Go see and feel the beauty of God around you.  Hear the birds, feel the warmth of the sun, see the garden growing, go on a grateful things hunt and count His gifts, they are everywhere.
Deo Volente - NMV

Friday, June 1, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - See

Gypsy Mama prompts us again today and so my mind takes off wandering and wondering.



"Do you see it?"
"See what?"
"That, that over there."
"Right there!"
"Huh?!  Um, no.  What, where?"
"Ugh, never mind!"

Ever have one of those moments?  Where you see the perfect beauty in a moment and no one else around you sees it, or when someone catches a glimpse of beautiful sweetness and you're the one that misses it.

It's hard to always be ready to "see" life as it is and catch these moments.  Life in it's broken beauty, where things are so messed up they're beautiful.  How can it get so crazy around here and the only sound I hear is chaos but yet it's still absolutely the best music to my hears.  Laughter, squeals of delight, screams of joy, shrieks of excitement.

To see the moment for what it is, God's greatest gift.  Everywhere, every single thing.  The blessings in the tough times because it shows us what and who really matters.


Have a blessedly beautiful weekend!!
SupportNPrayerz - LuvNHugz
Deo Volente - Nicki

Oh, How Does Your Garden Grow

My garden is full of green plants, deep green growing beauty...from a distance.  Up close it's a little less beautiful because those big green plants are all thistles.
I have managed to figure out this gardening thing a little bit.  I don't get a garden in early, I don't plant a whole lot, but I do enjoy the little garden I have, this year.  This has been an evolving process.  I first helped with a garden several years ago.  My friend Marie and I attempted one, I don't know that it ever grew anything, I never (I say never because I'm being completely honest) went and worked in it.  My Mom Veenstra and I started one and I walked through it a few times but honestly she did all the work in that one as well.  Such a good gardener, ain't I?
Then my dear sweet husband decided we could just till one here at the house and have our own.  We planted a few things and grew weeds, lots and lots of big scary weeds.  Well, I know the other stuff grew, it's just that the weeds got bigger and completely choked everything else out.  The next year was pretty much the same scary mess, I planted less because I knew how much of a disaster the year before was.  Last year was much better.  Still keeping it simple I discovered a few tricks to keep ahead of the weeds.  PREEN, amazing tool, don't think I shall ever garden without it again.  Newspapers and grass clippings, best ever other tool in my arsenal.  When we disc/till in the early spring I mix PREEN in everywhere.  After a few weeks (at least, though usually in my case, several) I start planting.  Laying newspapers around the plants and topping seeds with layers and layers of grass clippings.  You may not see much dirt in my garden because there is such a layer of everything else, but the few weeds that do come through are so easy to get rid of.  LOVE IT!
Anyway on to this year and my beautifully green garden.  Thanks to the PREEN I don't have much for weeds in my garden.  Nor did I have anything planted besides potatoes until this week.  I did have plenty of thistles growing though.  So after stopping to get a few plants at the greenhouses this week I tackled the garden with my new found Time At Home (what a concept, school is out and now we get to be home during the day, YAY) and learned a few things.
1 - Quite likely it doesn't matter what kind of gloves you have on pulling thistles out is going to HURT!
2 - Thistle roots go DEEP, a single sturdy root that sets down and could teach us all a lesson or two. (Seriously one was the length of my forearm!)
3 - After pulling a five-gallon bucket of thistles you start to appreciate them.
Say what?  Yes, I said appreciate them.  Think on this, they can grow anywhere, despite anything you throw at them and regardless that there has been practically no rain for weeks they were a beautiful deep green.  They aren't a pesky little thing that just lays around in the way, they know where they wanna grow and set down their roots, deep.  Prickly on the outside yes, but they've gotta have some defense system, no one likes them.
I can appreciate that.  I can appreciate that because once I take the time to weed my garden I can see the beauty in what I have accomplished.  I can feel the satisfaction in a job well done.  I will most definitely enjoy the foods I will be growing and most likely take joy in watching them grow.
My gardening adventures are really only just begun I would say.  The years so far have been fun though because I may not have been successful in the vegetable garden but I'm seeing some success in the life garden.  The garden that is growing an 11 year old, an 8 year old, two 4 year olds and a 3 year old.  Ha, small wonder that the vegetable gardens were what they were in the past years.
How does your garden grow?  The garden of your heart?  A life garden?  A patio garden?  A small flower garden (oh I hope to tackle these someday too) or a large one?  We're all cultivating and growing something each day of our lives, enjoy the beauty in your garden.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Opportunity

It's been a while since I've done this, but I'm back because it's worth it!!

Love taking the time to capture these five minutes with Gypsy Mama and her "group" it's such a pleasure.


Opportunity, it means so much.

I find myself learning to reflect that each day is an opportunity to make it all that it can be.  I can choose joy (miss you Gitz!) or I can choose gloom.  I can see the beauty in a post jammies sandbox adventure or I can see the mess that in brings inside.
Opportunities are everywhere and each opportunity of living is more gifts within itself.  It's not just about a new job, experience or venture into the unknown, it's about living.

It's the chance to write unedited blabber from within because we can.  Because we're truly capturing what we're thinking.  It's the opportunity to be completely honestly real and know that we're accepted (and accepting) because of who we gather 'round this bonfire with.

It's a chance to be me.  In whatever form I let it take.  In whatever direction I go.  See the opportunities before me for what they are, God's blessings.


I just jump in on these five minute Fridays but I'm enjoying a reason to look up words in the dictionary.

Opportunity - a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something

Oh, yeah, that's SOOOOOO a God thing!!!

Deo Volente!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dive In

Yes, it's practically summer in Iowa and we've already had the slip 'n slide out. I however am not talking about diving into the pool, I'm talking about diving into the working from home world.
I have a very good, amazing single mom friend that has been talking about wanting to be home with and for her daughter.  Saying that punching a time clock just isn't what she really wants to do as a mom.  I have this amazing opportunity at my fingertips (have for a while) but have been too scared to do anything with it
Yes too scared.  Step out of my comfort zone?  Um, have you met me?  Introvert extraordinaire and completely aware of it!!  I constantly remind people I live under a rock and am content with that.  Living in my own little bubble and I know that when I'm needed the message will get to me, sometimes late, but it will get to me.  The only time I jumped out of my comfort zone (yes I usually crawl out) was signing on with BeautiControl.  Something I will never regret and will always be a part of.  That company and my BC friends (family) taught me so much about myself.  They taught me that it is okay to take care of me and to put my needs first.  I need to be happy and healthy, centered and loved in order to best love those around me.  I did SPAS and went to meetings, and will ALWAYS be active with my reorder customers and with Julie and the team around me.  Quietly active as my (our family) schedule doesn't leave much time for me to really work that business.  That is sad for me because I love taking care of other women, letting them know that it is okay to take care of themselves and in turn taking care of myself.
The great part is that BC opened me up for the opportunity I am ready to take advantage of.  I NEVER would have thought I could manage a Melaleuca business.  I wouldn't have seen the possibility in it.  I struggle to do SPAS because I want to be home at night with my crew, at their ball games, watching a movie with the hubby or whatever.  Adding a SPA to the schedule was always really hard for me.  Getting a sitter be it Dad, Grandma, whomever, was a juggling act that became a struggle.  Add to that juggling an inventory, managing a downline and if I had to take time off I felt like I was starting all over.
What I've realized I can do is work something that works with my schedule and fits my terms.  I can work my business during the day.  Listen to a conference call while silencing the phone so we can still play, sending email while cuddling a kiddo in my lap, helping a mom (or dad) provide a healthier home, so that it's a happier home, oh yeah, I can do that!!  I can contact people, work when it works for me and if I want to go on a field trip or we have a crazy busy month that I can't "work" very much, it's okay because I don't get behind and have to start all over.
What do I do?  I share an amazing opportunity of switching stores.  You don't have to go to the big box stores for all your cleaners, wasting time choosing the best one from 30 while knowing that they're poisonous or caustic chemicals you're bringing in the house and spending more than you should because of impulse buying displays.  I build friendships.  It's a customer base of wonderful people that shop their online store for safe cleaning products, amazing vitamins and great personal care items for taking care of themselves and their families.
The best part, switching stores is to each customer what they want it to be.  Say what?  Yup, if she simply wants to take care of her family by buying cleaners, shampoos, vitamins and laundry detergent each month then she can.  If he wants to share it with his brother, sister or neighbor and build a customer base then he can.  The possibilities are endless.
I love shopping in our little local stores.  The hardware store that has all those basic necessities and the helpful friendly faces.  The clothing shop that has unique finds and someone that will help me find the fit and color to best suit me.  The bookstore with books, gifts, comfy chairs and the smiling face that will order whatever it is they don't have.  Having my Melaleuca business is just like having that shop.  I get to help people, serve them and their families in their health and wellness needs.  The main difference is I don't have to lock and unlock doors for store hours.  I can work whenever it works for me, I can make a difference every day without worrying about the overhead.
Oh, I'm so excited about this.  Excited that my husband won't have to work a hundred hours a week (feels like it) and that he'll be able to be home with us when we want him here.  We'll be able to do things together as a family that we couldn't do without this income.  We can bless others and grow friendships and make memories.
I guess if you're gonna dream, dream big!!  I always knew God was taking care of us, I just find it amazing to see how these things come together.  LOVE that BIG PICTURE!!!

Deo Volente

PS - If you want to join me, to dive in and dream big, just email me!  What if you just wanna wade in and make a difference at home?  That works too!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Real

On real, really, I LOVE this!!


I just had this conversation with a girlfriend tonight that I love the other moms that make me feel normal.  You know the normal I'm talking about.  The oh, yeah, I lost my cool this morning because the first thing the kids did post waking up was start fighting over (fill in your blank) and I was "not in the mood" and ripped into them growling, "this is NOT how we start our day!"
Oh yeah, that's the REAL I love, the real that reminds us we're all moms that reached the end of the rope occasionally and have to hug out an apology with the sweet son and dear daughter caught in the moment. Also remembering those happy husbands that we scowl and growl at because, yup, that's also what happens when we don't communicate EVERY DETAIL.  I remind myself that my husband is just another member of the so sad husband club, going to bed alone because, no, I'm just not in the mood or maybe I do have a headache.

Okay so it's now 12:00am

But I'm on the couch, in what feels like 80 degrees with a boy finally passed out on my lap, listening to DH snore away and what's sad is that I'm HERE typing away on the phone instead of sound asleep resting up for day three of three Tulip Time 2012.
Ah, so real.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Community

Community, it's what makes where you live a home.


After the death of a loved one the love of your community is what shines through.  Upon the death of our grandmother this week the community around us pulled together in amazing ways.
Be it the people from church, work, school or neighborhood.  They are the community that wrapped us in their loving arms and shared the sweet memories of years passed.

They are the community that held our hands during a long day full of tears and aching hearts.  She is the one that drops me a text saying 'hello' after weeks of busy distracting us and showing just how great God is.  It's the ladies assisting at school and helping me through a crazy day.


Oh, and it is HERE. Community found in Five Minutes, SDG, facebook, blog circles and yet online in(RL).

Oh, how I love that God has me right where He wants me!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Until Next Time

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but my posts this month have dealt often with death.  That's because it is everywhere I turn these days.  Death isn't a bad thing, but it is a very sad thing.  It's a happy thing though too, because all those sweet loved ones are whole, healthy and happy again.
It's so hard to accept that they're gone though.  No more phone conversations, no more hugs and I Love Yous, you've had the last laugh, shared a last memory.

Until Next Time

Michael, Karen, Jack, Fred, William, Sara and soon sweet TJ as well.  Oh, I'm sure there's so many more, these are the only ones that I either know or know of.  I have a feeling I even forgot someone.
It's so overwhelming, so emotionally draining, so sad and such a reality check.  I just keep remembering these three words...Until Next does bring a bit of peace.

Until Next Time

When I see you again, healthy and whole, happy and carefree.  I know that you'll be watching over us, your loved ones and enjoying the beautiful company of our Father and Jesus.  I know that you're smiling, laughing and loving, having been reunited with your family and friends that I never even knew.  I know that some day there will come a time when I (and everyone else) will get to see your smiling face again.  That we will feel those arms around us in a loving hug and feel a sweet kiss on our face.  I know that you are with the ultimate caretaker and lover, the one that cares for us through everything and loves us exactly as we are.  He is the one that gave me you and for that I will be eternally grateful.

So, Until Next Time, I Love You!!

LuvnHugz - SupportNPrayerz to any and all dealing with this, I am here for you!

Deo Volente
Nicki Marie Veenstra

Friday, April 20, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Together

This is what the third Friday in a row? I think I've set a record quite possibly.



Oh,  so many choices today.
I'm feeling the theme of community this week and I believe I'll take a leap in that direction.

My first thought is that "together we can do anything."

The simple care that many hands make light the work.  Rather than lugging a burden around alone, share it with someone else.  I don't mean to hand off the burden to someone else, but to ask for help.  If you're feeling lost and alone, drop to your knees and ask Your Father for some help.

It doesn't mean that He will take away the pain, hurt, loneliness but He will provide comfort in the best way He can, through His unconditional love.

When you're working on a project or having a stressful day there is always someone there to be a shoulder to lean on.  Be it a dear friend, family member, co-worker, fellow church member, another parent or even a stranger.  Every person in your life is there for a reason.  Put the request for help into God and He will provide everything you need.

Together, we (God and any one of us) can do anything!!


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another First

I did it, I linked up with a group.
AND I'm figuring out how these "button" things work too.
Anyway, I linked up with the Soli Deo Gloria group, what a sweet little place to be!
I've been a lurker over there at different times.  I'm good at that, lurking.  Reading and absorbing all this encouragement and love from all these wonderful people I've never met.  Happy to be a lurker.
I'm learning it's so much fun joining in on these conversations and experiences though too.

It's been a month where I've needed it.  Seems like every where I turn I need to feel God's love.  The best part about that is whenever I feel the need, He meets it by sending me right where I can get a dose of that beautiful amazing grace blessing love.

Anyway, not much but a random ramble today, simply because I can.  It's gonna be one of those weeks.  Some sweet friends are saying their final good-byes to an amazing man, their grandfather.  The man that once made this house a home with his family is now also enjoying his days with Our Father.  Another family is dealing with the amazing experience of saying good-bye to their 14 year old son after a farming accident this weekend and yet finding the strength to share him with the world by blessing others with his life as an organ donor.  More work this week on finishing up the house projects of soffit and landscaping.  Friday and Saturday will find me and our school family spending time laughing in fellowship and whipping up a few dozen batches of homemade ice cream for the Tulip Time festivities in 16 days.

Every day there are a million blessings for us to count.  The hard blessings, the beautiful blessings, the blessings that bring us to our knees in pain and gratitude and the blessings that build us up in our love for our Father.

Go, enjoy your day.  It's the only Tuesday, April 17 2012 you'll ever have, so make the best of it and live every minute to it's fullest.

God is so great, so great is He!

LuvNHugz - SupportNPrayerz, for you in all that you do!