A Shield Around Me

Welcome to November! I can hardly believe we are two months from 2017!

This week I have been feeling a little under-the-weather. I’m not sure if it is allergies, or not getting enough sleep, or planting 50 flower bulbs on Sunday for next spring. The tulips and irises should be beautiful if they come up, but the digging and planting left me sore!

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been staying up late watching the Cubs in the World Series. Wow, it’s been a historic run on several levels! But, it certainly has been a little stressful at times! 🙂 Go Cubbies!

candy

Halloween was fun, but I have mixed feelings about this holiday, and am usually glad when it’s over. I don’t like the scary nature of it, and hate seeing ugly creatures everywhere. But I do enjoy when the kids dress up. And, it’s always fun to see neighbors and greet people!

Candy or not, we should do that more often!

Indeed, I was extra proud of Lydia on Monday night. She dressed up as a fairy this year, and we trick-or-treated with neighbors on our block. Lydia was eager to pass out candy at home, as well. In fact, she was so generous that she worried we’d run out. My little problem solver, she added her own stash of candy… and nearly gave it all away! I had her keep some of her favorites (pictured above), but was glad to see her giving heart!

This week, we’ve had a few more back-to-back early mornings and late nights. All good things, but it does add up. Thankfully, each morning is a new start!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).

I’m also aware of the fact that the holidays are fast approaching. Last year this season was pretty rough for me (emotionally). I think there were a unique set of reasons it was difficult, and I am hoping this year is better. Thanks for your prayers!

wooden-heart-with-cross

I love what Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I think of this verse often. When I am tired or stressed, or not feeling well physically, my thoughts and emotions can quickly become off-kilter.

So, with all the above, I have been drawing closer to the Lord. When I need a little boost, the best thing I can do is come to Him. His grace is sweet and His love has no bounds!

Lately, I have been taking mini-breaks from whatever I am doing, just to sit and be with Jesus. In these moments, when I am prone to doubt or discouragement, I need extra doses of His love. I might just sit and soak up His word. Or, I might pray, write, cry, or sing.

But one thing is clear: I need to reconnect with the Lord! Jesus comforts and encourages me. He restores and protects my wayward heart. He leads me and gives me peace.

psalm-3_3

I have found The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word, by Joyce Meyer, to be helpful. This little book has scriptures organized by about fifty topics. There are many categories, like anxiety, worry, stress, or determination, etc.

A book like that makes scripture verses easy to find and meditate upon.

“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

–Psalm 27:14

The sooner I come to Jesus, the faster I am able to refocus and regroup. He is the only thing that does not change in this unpredictable world.

He is my Anchor, my Shield and my Strong Defender! Praise the Lord!

**********

Lord Jesus, thanks for all You do for me. Please help me rest in Your love and grace. Remind me to come You for refreshment, and seek You first. In Your Name, Amen

Question:  What is your go-to response to stress?

Task: At the very first sign of distress, stop and seek Jesus!

Finding Grace #32

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

sunset-sky

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This week was another restful week. Actually, it was quite busy…but I just took each thing as it came instead of spinning my wheels to get ahead. That really helped me not feel overwhelmed. By God’s grace, I decided if something didn’t get done, it was not a big deal. Thankfully, the most important tasks got finished!
  • I had many things to do because…Lydia and I flew to see family and friends in Illinois! We went to celebrate my mom’s birthday and host a party for her. My mom loves a good party (she’s an excellent host!), but it has been years since we had one in her honor! Perhaps I will write more on this later!
  • Lydia’s nearly a pro at flying, having been on approximately 25 flights in the last few years. No, we have NOT traveled to that many places…but rather we have at least two connecting flights each time we fly! It’s fun, and for this trip, the time-savings quickly outweighed the cost-savings of driving twelve hours. And, Lydia loves all the sight-seeing and people watching in each airport!
  • Depending on the day, the weather might be similar in Fargo and my hometown in Illinois. Fargo is often cooler, of course! But I have grown used to Fargo’s weather and actually enjoy it. Heading South is a warm welcome, but it can still be difficult to know what to pack. Still, I’m proud of myself for fitting all of my clothes and toiletries with Lydia’s in one suitcase!

*******

These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #31

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

frozen-yogurt

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This week was more restful than expected! I still completed most of my normal activities, but for some reason it felt easier. I think it was primarily God’s grace and faithfulness pulling me through, because I certainly didn’t finish everything on my own! In fact, I postponed a few activities and am catching up on them today.
  • Instead of completing my to-do list each day, I simply did my best before putting it aside. Then, I relaxed by watching a movie with Lydia, accepting an impromptu dinner with some neighbors, reading some books for fun, and practicing some yoga.
  • Throughout the week, I felt God rearranging a few of the tasks…and some ended up not needing to be done after all. If I had rushed ahead to finish these items, I would have been frustrated to do the work for nothing. Thankfully, I let Jesus set the pace, which meant more peace for me!
  • Lydia’s preschool is across the river into Minnesota. This means a little longer drive and more refueling for me! It’s been chilly at the gas pump lately! But, the trade-off is that I am enjoying sunny skies and beautiful fall colors in red, yellow, and orange foliage along the highway!
  • In other news, it took two weeks for Lydia to get enough ‘tokens’ on her chore chart to beat her previous score….but we went out to celebrate with frozen yogurt this weekend! She’s had a better attitude (most days) and is eager to help around the house. Praise God we didn’t have to go another week because she might have lost some steam! 🙂

*******

These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #27

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

mums

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • So many interesting things happened this week! Lydia started her first week of preschool. So that was pretty big! She did great and is enjoying it so far. And, we are both adjusting to have a (more) set routine. I’m thankful for this transition year before school ‘full time’ next year!

  • I lead at team at my church; our goal is to plug people into volunteer ministry. We discussed upcoming events, changes for this fall, and welcomed another member to our team! It is an honor to help people understand how God made them and watch them thrive in their God-given strengths.
  •  This week the neighbors on our street had a block party. After living here for about six years now, we still have never met everyone. So, the party was a great opportunity! Lydia played well with all the kids, and I met some “new” friends too. We had so much fun staying up late. We got home around 10:30pm!
  • Today, while Lydia and I ran some errands, we enjoyed perfect weather of lower seventies and sunny skies! We also picked up some pretty mums, two mini pumpkins, and some bulbs for spring. It is fun decorating for fall!

*******

These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #26

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

autumn leaves

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • Lydia and I had another full week! We had preschool orientation, where Lydia had fun meeting new friends. Truth be told, she did fine—but I was the one who needed the heads-up! Parent handbook, school pictures, fundraisers, and birthday treats…serious stuff!! I should have known, but somehow I hadn’t even considered the additional things to remember each week (or month)! Lydia will do great, no doubt. But I’m praying for a smooth transition…for ME! 😉

  • On Thursday and Friday, we had play dates with good friends at two different parks. Both families have two girls, and each of my friends has a girl close to Lydia’s age. It was great to catch up with my “mom friends” and encourage each other. In one case, the little girls came home with me while their mom ran an errand. At that point, it was just after the area schools let out, and the neighbor kids also came over. So there were about six lovely little girls all playing together! It was so much fun to watch them interact! (And by God’s grace, it was drama-free!)
  • Today, while I was mowing the lawn, I noticed one of my new trees is starting to change colors. About 30 leaves are already turning red! I have also seen a few red trees on our block—so pretty! We’ve started to have some cooler temps, though nothing out of the ordinary. In the next month or so, the weather will change dramatically! Thank You, God, for the beauty around us!

*******

These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?