Friday, December 31, 2010
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (NIV)
Too often we all look back on the final day of any given year and see all that has transpired in our lives. This, for the world in general, has been a year of challenges. The "change" that was to occur didn't pan out quite as well and despite being in a recession, so many companies still raised prices while people at home lost everything, from homes, families, and jobs.
Yet we sit today on the threshold of another year of possibilities. A clean slate if you will, to make some changes in where you find yourself today. I know for me, I spend a lot of time dreaming of what I want to see happen in my life and where I'd like to see change. I don't want to look back a year from now and see nothing has really changed. My newest quote is "If nothing changes, NOTHING changes."
In 2010, change happened all around me. Once more my storms came raging and yet despite it all I held fast to my faith that never fails. My friends may offer their words of encouragement, but nothing compares to faith in God. It's the one thing that never changes, can always be trusted, and always perseveres to the end.
I began the year with an unknown diagnosis of a debilitating pain I had since November in 2009. After seeing doctor after doctor, I prayed for an answer, someone who would see me with fresh eyes. I found such a person and in the end of March of 2010, I was scheduled for surgery for multiple cysts on my ovaries and some exploratory surgery while they were there. I awoke with a partial hysterectomy. It was the worst surgery my Ob-Gyn had ever done, but I was pain free.
In my trials, I was convinced that this was going to be my new life, much like Paul had to endure his unknown thorn. Once I was settled in my heart to accept this, things changed. God answered the call. My faith passed through the fire and I was not burned.
Steve found work in July of this year and even though that has posed its own challenges, we still see the fruit of God's provision in our lives. While so many lost everything, God held fast to our daily bread. Our kids remained healthy, we didn't lose anything that wasn't worth losing, and during it all, I saw that the things we worry most about, never happen. We give so much power to the enemy when we can't fix our own problems.
If we merely step out of the way, God can do His work, in us and through us, and in it all, bring about glory to His name.
So, my dearest readers, if you find yourself, adrift and lost in violent storm or if you feel like you are literally in the fiery furnace with flames all around you in your life, rest assured in your faith in Jesus Christ, that God has His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. You will come through this, not smelling of fire, or drenched to the skin, battered and bruised but stronger and more confident than ever before. If you still remain undecided on whether God is right for you, I ask that you give it 30 days. Pick up a Bible and begin reading in the book of John and ask God to reveal Himself to you. His word, NEVER FAILS or comes back empty.
I wish you all a blessed and abundant New Year in 2011 and would ask that you would leave a comment and share what you have learned this year in closing out 2010 on a positive note.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
You remember Christmas cards right?
Racing to the mailbox around Christmas time, getting the most amazing beautiful cards with handwritten sentiments from family and friends from afar. They were mailed to you from people you had been in contact with, and to this day, I still have some of my favorites saved, not only for the sentimental words inside but for the wonderful pictures that decorated the outsides.
So what happened to them???
Over the last few years, I've notice that I have gotten fewer and fewer of them. The ones I do get now come from Hallmark, with a notice to save $10 off my next purchase of $50 or more, or from the real estate companies looking to have me call them to refinance my home.
Now I've been getting pictures of children and families printed out on their home computers or from a local printing company with no handwritten sentiments. Just the pre-printed statement wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.
The other thing we get are what I've come to call Brag Letters, or the annual Family Christmas letter. I even tried one of these a few years back, and try as you might to not brag about what you and your family did, you inevitably do, thus the term Brag Letters. They start off telling you what their children are up to, what they have accomplished, and where they are all headed off to next.
What I really miss, is the old fashion Christmas cards that you add to your Christmas decorations around the house and marvel at the brilliant art work on the cover while tearing up at the heartfelt words on the inside. Those are memory makers!
So please share with me, how do you feel about the changes in Christmas cards? I'd love to hear your comments. Next year, my goal is to get Christmas cards every day in December and share them with you next year.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Sharing a little humor to all my wonderful blogging friends you have immensely blessed me this year in so many ways. Praising God for the gift of your friendship and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday Jesus, the best gift of all!!!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I got this story in my email this morning which brought a tear to my eyes. Not just in what the story is about, but the grace and love of God that this woman shared through seeing her actions speak for her. I hope it touches you in the same way. Merry Christmas and I hope you all have a prosperous and blessed New Year! ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat
THERE IS A SANTA -- I MARRIED HER
by Michael T. Smith
One of the my wife's duties at work is to go to the post office
every day and pick up the company mail.
As November rolled into December, she noticed a Salvation Army
Santa standing on the corner. Each day she saved her coins and
dropped them in his bucket. He'd smile, wish her a Merry Christmas,
and continue to ring his bell.
The second week of December came with a cold front. At night
the temperature dropped below 0 and the daytime temperatures barely
made it to 14. Santa stood in the frigid winds and continued to ring
"You must be freezing," she said to him, as she dropped her
coins in his bucket.
"I'm so cold!" he shivered. "I can't feel the bell in my hands.
And my feet? I don't know if they're there anymore."
The next day, she dropped her coins in the bucket and handed him
several chemical hand and foot warmers. "Try these," she smiled.
"We had them in our car in case of and emergency. I think a Santa
freezing is an emergency. Don't you?"
Santa took her offering. "God bless you, ma'am. I cannot thank
A week later, a new Santa stood ringing the bell. "What
happened to the other Santa?" she asked.
He paused his ringing to inform her, "I'm sorry to say, he's
very sick today."
She dropped her coins in the bucket and walked away with a heavy
heart. Her hand and foot warmers were not enough to prevent Santa
from getting sick. She prayed for his health.
Later that day, a co-worker came into her office in tears. "I
don't know what I'm going to do."
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"It's my ex-husband." Her co-worker wiped a tear from her eye
and continued. "I don't have any money to buy my boys anything for
Christmas. I called my ex last night and asked if he was sending
money for them. He told me times were tough and the boys would have
to suck it up and that they'd get over it." She began to cry harder.
"I don't know what to do. They're teenagers and will understand, but
it breaks my heart that they won't have anything this year."
My wife hugged her co-worker. "I'm sure everything will work
out. It's Christmas. Believe in miracles."
That evening, she sat down with me and told me about her
co-worker's situation. "Hun, I know we don't have much to help, but
I'd like to get her a gift card from Walmart or something. Maybe
fifty or a hundred dollars. We'll just get ourselves less this year.
Last year we couldn't afford to buy anything for ourselves and still
had a wonderful Christmas. It's the giving that counts."
She paused and looked at me. "I feel bad for those boys," she
continued. "I want to send it to her anonymously. She'll never know
where it came from. It will make her so happy."
I saw the look in her eyes and knew she wanted my blessing, but
I also knew she was going to do it anyway.
"Yes?" he smiled. "Give her the hundred. She needs it more than we do."
She reached up and held me. Warmth spread through my body -- a
glow like no other. I held her and realized there really is a Santa
Claus -- I married her.
Amazingly, at the same time Ginny was picking up the gift card,
my company was handing out Walmart gift cards to all of its employees.
"Give and thou shalt receive" was proven to be true today!
-- Michael T. Smith
Monday, December 20, 2010
Let the rain, rain, rain, come down, down, down....and keep our Kat real happy!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Yup it's official. Despite many attempts to hold back. I jump in with both feet and did it!
No more blonde!
After looking at picture after picture of myself, I wanted a change and decided to go darker for the winter. So now my profile picture reflects the new me.
I would love to know you're thoughts. Please feel free to tell me your honest opinions. I am looking for honesty. Sorry for the quality for now, but I wanted to send it to you with my camera phone and will post a better one later.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I sat here tonight talking to my oldest daughter who is a senior in high school. We have these talks from time to time and I think I treasure these moments more than any we have, except for the ones about relationships and boys.
Tonight's discussion was about God, whether we think the world we end in 2012 as most believe, what do I think heaven will be like, and what happens to Christians that change their minds after they say they were believers before.
WOW a lot to take in huh?
It's sad to see her see Christianity as a religion like most of her peers. I explained the history of Christianity from the days of Jesus' birth until modern time and that its now a way of life instead of a religion.
Too many of her friends have been turned off by Christians in general based on what I would call you're extremists. Bible Thumpers, People who view things in Black and White and live in a world of such hypocrisy. They judge everything on their own standards as they view them from the Bible. I'm not talking about all "Christians" just the ones that give the word "Christian" a bad name! They make talking to people they have hurt that much more difficult because they have been "burned" in the process. Now they don't want to know the God we know and love!
Try explaining to her friends why they don't want to be Christians based on actions of people before us. I simply explained that sometimes people can give others the wrong impression of what Christians should be, instead of the lives we should be living.
People should see Christ living within us through our actions, our words, and our thoughts. Yet because we live in a world of sin, we ALL fall short. The only perfect one who was able to master this, was our Master, Jesus Christ, perfect in every way.
How sad it is to think of how many people walk around believing the worst of us based on our actions and not Jesus'. How many lives could be changed simply by showing unconditional love to one another, helping those less fortunate, and truly putting others needs above our own. A true servant's attitude. How would people see us then, without our "label"?
I can only hope that the conversation that I had tonight with my daughter, will give her the courage to change her life and see things through the eyes of others, trying to live the example that Jesus set and leave the judging of people and their actions to God. Unless we are endowed with ultimate knowledge to see into their hearts, minds and thoughts, ours is simply to love them as Jesus did.
Let us all look at the light that we shine forth that only others can really see. Do they see Jesus reflected in us, or do they see someone that they can't draw near to for fear of being judged and labeled?
I, for one, want to be seen as a follower of Christ, not a labeled as your stereo typical "Christian" by the worlds standards. I want to be judged by Gods.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I am posting an email I got this morning from Chuck Swindoll that I feel bears importance in technology laced society. Hopefully this will touch you as much as it did for me. - Love and Hugs ~ Kat
Upholding Human Dignity
by Charles R. Swindoll
A few winters ago in Stockholm, Sweden, an eighty-four-year-old woman sat for two months on her balcony before a neighbor discovered she was dead. The woman was found sitting in a chair, dressed in a coat and hat, her forehead leaning against the railing.
A neighbor realized something was wrong when she saw the woman sitting on her balcony around the clock, despite freezing temperatures. "I accused myself for not having seen her earlier," she said later. "I hope this dreadful story makes us better at keeping in touch with our old neighbors."
Isolationism is not a Scandinavian phenomenon; it is a human tragedy. For fear of poking our nose in someone else's business or getting involved in something that could backfire on us, we have trained ourselves not to stop, look, or listen.
But in a fast-paced world where only the fit survive, it sure is easy to feel dehumanized. Our technological age has made us more aware of our insignificance. Our suspicion that we are not loved for who we are is confirmed daily by the impersonal nature of twenty-first-century living. We make a phone call and "voice mail" takes over. If folks are not home, we can talk to an answering machine. If we don't even want to talk, we can e-mail or "text" instead. If we need money at 2:00 A.M., we can drop by the local ATM machine.
Machines write for us, answer phones for us, get money for us, shop for us, think for us, rent cars for us. They can even sign our letters. And the result is scary. A subtle erosion of individuality, followed by a no-touch, don't-bother-me-I'm-too-busy coldness, leading to a total absence of eyeball-to-eyeball interaction, resulting in the ultimate: more loss of human dignity. This is excused because it saves time and keeps us from getting hung up on knotty things like relationships. They say that's healthier?
What's so healthy about becoming completely untouchable?
Machines can't hug you when you're grieving. Machines don't care when you need a sounding board. Machines never affirm you when you are low or confront you when you are wrong. When you need reassurance and hope and strength to go on, you cannot replace the essential presence of another human being.
Christ came to save people. Human beings with names and personalities and fingerprints and faces. Upholding human dignity is worth the effort every time.
There's no substitute for the personal touch.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
It's been so long since we've seen him that it's so hard to remember what he looks like. Looking back it seems like ages but it hasn't really been that long at all.
Even though you talk to him every day, it's not the same thing as being there together. Nothing feels better than when your together.
You keep checking your watch wondering just how much longer it will be. There have been delays in the past when you were sure he was coming home, but you're hoping this will be it.
You've done all you can to get ready, you've made sure the home is all tidy just the way he loves it. You've made sure that you look just right. Seems no matter how hard you try to look your very best, he is just happy to see you and take you into his arms and tell you how very much he loves you.
Just thinking about how much you've missed him, makes the anxiety you're feeling even worse. Butterflies in your stomach? Ha! This feels more like tanks rolling into battle complete with air defense as a back up.
Just how much longer will it be?
How much longer before you see his amazing, beautiful face?
How safe will it feel when he wraps his arms around you and holds you tight?
How soothing will it be to hear his voice call your name and tell you that he loves you!
You begin to pace the floor, back and forth, expecting to see him at any moment.
Oh it could be the very next time you look up and see him watching you, to see just how long it will take before you look up and notice he's been watching you.
You smile and your eyes begin to mist. Oh it's been so long. So long for so many things. You have so much to share with one another. Time to tell each other what you've missed since you've been apart. Time to tell each other what you mean to one another. How much you love him if its possible to love him more.
At times it feels as if time has flown by and at other times, it seems to crawl or not move at all.
Suddenly, the time is here before you know it.
You look up and see his face.
He is smiling!!!
He has his arms open wide and he is walking towards you. Now he begins to run.
You run towards him trying to make any distance between you both disappear. Your smiling and crying at the same time as you both embrace. His arms feel so good around you and you never want to let go.
He tells you that you will never be apart again. That there will be no separation any longer for either of you. This time it's forever. This time he promises that nothing will take you away from him. He holds you tight and when you look up, he is crying as well.
You turn and walk side by side, looking at one another, never taking your eyes off each other for one minute. He calls your name and you just know your home. It's the ultimate homecoming.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Don't believe me, check out this video:
The answer is as much as they can until the farmer gets home, plus 1! Enjoy something fun for your Saturday!
Friday, December 3, 2010
I've had the pleasure of sharing in a daily advent online that features some amazing music videos that are fun and amazing. I wanted to share it with you and your family. These advent days are only available on the actual date so if you miss it, you can't go back and see what you've missed. Trust me, you don't want to miss any.
What better way to countdown the days of Christmas, then viewing this online. It's sponsored by Dr. David Jeremiah whom is the author of so many great books as well as his own personal ministry for Jesus.
To view the advent calendar, click on the link below. Once there, select full or small size for your video. I suggest the full size! Then click on whatever the surprise is, today's is the Silent Monks and you won't want to miss this.
Please let me know what you thought of today's if you get a chance to view it. Here's the link and enjoy!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Isn't it time we focus on what's important everyday? I challenge every blogger to donate something to this dream and make it happen.
You can read more about Dax on the link below:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
So many of us are looking for ways to save money and make our dollars go farther. Here are some great tips I found and thought I would pass them along to you.
- Gift Cards?
Everyone is asking for them and what better way to save on those returns than to buy gift cards. However rather than pay full price here are some great options on ways to save.
- You can get a $25.00 gift card for $ 10.00 on Restaurant.com
- Visit GiftCardRescue.com to purchase discounted cards from more than 250 retailers, including Target, Best Buy and Starbucks.
- Looking for the best prices on something before you buy and want to save gas before driving around town looking for deals?
- Check out a few price comparison shopping sites - such as PriceGrabber.com, BizRate.com or Nex Tag.com - to ensure you're getting the best deal!
- Digital Discounts? - Looking for free shipping or on line discounts for some of your favorite retailers? Search such coupon codes on sites like RedPlum.com, RetailMeNot.com and Coupons.com. You can also try FreeShipping.org and ShopAtHome.com which also has cash-back codes or search Google using "free shipping codes."
- A great app to add to your smart phones is bar-code scanner. Simply scan the bar code of the item you are looking for, and the phone will find the location where you can purchase it.
- For those of you still looking for the best deals when shopping without the use of your computer, Monday's are usually the best days for sales and the largest selections of the items you're looking for.
Would love to know some of your shopping tips to help all of us stretch our dollars a whole lot further these days so please share your comments!