12.16.2014

Trusting in God and Not Circumstances



I have always been a worrier, a ponderer, and at times can even be an obsessor. I stalk my own thoughts and obsess over the "what-ifs." I can make elaborate scenarios and live them out before they ever come to fruition, and most times they never even do. I like to think that I have made a good amount of progress in this area, and have learned to trust God more and more. But, in the end I am still a work in progress.



Last night though, I had a revelation. I realized that the sin isn't necessarily just in the worrying and lack of trust, but in trusting circumstances over God. I am constantly living by my circumstances and not by God's sovereignty.

You see, I realized I always have my eyes on the circumstances around me. I completely limit God. I know in my head that God is more important than circumstances, and I know that He is sovereign, but so often my heart needs to line up with my head.

In trusting in what is going on around me, I am limiting the power of God and what He can do. I have seen time and again how he blows me away with His provision and His grace. He has been merciful and forgiving and faithful. He has amazed me with things beyond my dreams, and yet this small voice deep down in my soul, continues to seek comfort in circumstances rather than in Him. I continue to want everything around me lined up, giving me comfort and hope. Yet, He is the only HOPE. There is no hope in the future without Him.

Because the bottom line is, if the circumstances around me weren't comfortable or easy, or even blessed...God is still the same. I don't praise Him for what He DOES but who He IS. So why, oh why do I trust the things going on around me? He was there for me in the darkest times of my life, the same as He is in the brightest. He is always the same and always constant and He deserves no less worship in either time.

I have also seen when I've been the darkest, He was preparing me for bigger things. The dark things are always used for good, so no matter what the circumstance, my job is to rest in Him and let Him lead me through the mountains and the valleys. I can be assured even though we are living on the mountaintop these days, the valleys are coming. So instead of obsessing over the "what-if," I must live in the "what He is." So when those days come, I am not taken by surprised, disappointed, or discouraged, but I will continue to live with my eyes on Him and who He is, knowing He remains in control of all things.

In the end, no matter where we are...we are only seeing a glimpse of our life. We only know a limited amount...


but if we were to pan out of the scene we are in and see the big picture, the full plan He is working on...we would be amazed.


So many times looking back, I see what I thought was an awful circumstance, was truly a blessing in the bigger picture. He uses it all for good...and I must trust His bigger picture.

No matter what the circumstance is, I rest knowing He created the very circumstance, whether mountain or valley...for for His glory and His purpose alone. My eyes need to be fixed on Him and not what is around me, knowing that He is on the throne no matter what is going on around me. I trust in Him alone.




12.12.2014

Keith & Kristyn Getty At Carnegie Hall AND A Discount Code for YOU!

Local Readers! I am SO excited about this special event!

Joy: An Irish Christmas with Keith & Kristyn Getty and Friends!


Next week, I have the privilege of attending this concert at Carnegie Hall!



Join Keith & Kristyn Getty (Modern Irish Hymn-writers who wrote In Christ Alone) and special guest Ricky Skaggs next Wednesday Dec 17th 7.30pm at CARNEGIE HALL as they present ‘Joy-An Irish Christmas’ an evening of music joyfully celebrating the birth of Christ. Accompanied by the Getty's band of top bluegrass and Celtic folk musicians and step-dancers and a 250 voice choir, the evening is an energetic unique blend of modern hymns, Irish folk music, and some of our favorite Christmas carols!

The ticket prices range from $15 to $125 and there are limited quantities left in each section. 
 Use the following discount code CAR19850 to get 20% off tickets

The event is nearly sold out, so move fast to join the other 3000 people who will be at Carnegie Hall next Wednesday


Tickets Available in person at the box office  at 57th and 7th
or call 212 247 7800
or online at www.carnegieHall.org





12.11.2014

Trusting God's Will


I have struggled at times with trusting God completely...I would say I trusted Him, but deep down was clinging for dear life to myself. This house move has taught me so much about trusting in His will alone.

We're almost three weeks into our move, and quite frankly I feel like we have always lived here. It feels like home, more than anything. I still marvel each time I look out the window, that we actually live here. My country house that I have dreamed of, is even better in reality.

I look back at the journey that got us here, and what stands out to me is that this was God's will.
I see it so clearly now, from the house that fell through in the Spring, to how this one worked out in perfect timing- His timing. Even though during the process this seemed scary, daunting, or even uncertain, I recognize the feeling that came knowing this was His will. The fears never took over, the worries never controlled, and the uncertainties were given to Him. The times where I wanted to give in to my fears, I was able to push through trusting His plan. And I see now, how His plan worked for our good.

Obviously, we can never stop God's will and often times it is hard to discern what it even is. That is where true trusting comes in. True reliance on Him, and never ourselves or our own plans.

Even now, there are things that get thrown our way...unexpected house expenses or things that we need to do, and it all is wrapped in knowing this is His will, so it is OK. No matter what comes our  way, I am certain this is where we are to be.

I feel so at home. I feel so at peace in this house. I feel like it was made for us. It's exciting to uncover God's will and not question every detail. To just rest assured knowing this is the plan, no matter what the future brings. He brought us here, and His purposes will be seen in time, and that is exciting.

After so much uncertainty last year and panic about the first house we tried to buy, I totally can see the difference in trusting God's will. This time around, even when it was hard, it seemed right. That situation that happened with the first house falling through, was still part of His will..so that we could learn and grow from it...and in the end, I believe to make us appreciate even more what we have now.

The Lord never ceases to me amaze me.
If you are struggling with understanding His will these days, just rest. Just stop trying to figure it out, and completely know that nothing can stop His plan, and His will ultimately will be done, no matter how much fretting, worrying, or panicking we do.

That is a hard lesson to learn sometimes, but oh, so worth it.




12.04.2014

Simple Advent Activity and Calendar


My daughter wanted to make an Advent Calendar for us. She came up with activities for each day, and wrote them on little papers, and then arranged them into the shape of a tree.

Some activities include:

*Do someone else's chore for them
*Look up Bible verses about snow
*Read Luke Chapter 2
*Send a card to someone
*Make cookies
*Say something nice to someone
*Pray for someone


I love that she took the initiative to do this for the family on her own. It's simple, but meaningful!



12.02.2014

Twenty Six Feet

I actually began composing this post in my mind the week we were packing our moving truck. Then things became so incredibly chaotic and stressful, it never was written. Until today, I was reminded of it- my thoughts drifted back....

We rented a 26 foot U-Haul truck to move from the house we were selling to our new home. We have the most amazing friends who came and helped us pack it. All along, I wasn't sure how it would work- how would we fit our entire house contents into 26 feet? The weeks before I was purging and purging...all along in the back of mind knowing I only had 26 feet to pack. It was quite freeing actually. A simple girl like me, forced to pare down even more. In order to fit into 26 feet.

The morning of packing came, and within two hours, all of our stuff was packed into 26 feet. With room to spare even! It was sort of weird feeling to look at my driveway, and this truck, knowing all of our earthly possessions were tucked into 26 feet.




It makes you rethink possessions, and stuff, and material items. It makes you realize that life is about so much more than stuff.

A truckload fit all of our earthly possessions, 
but it could never contain the eternal. 
Praise God for that truth!

Now, since we've moved I will admit having a much bigger house does make for easier days in some aspects. We have room for guests.  The first night we moved in, we had a houseful of helpers for dinner, and I marveled at a full kitchen and living room, while food was served and joy was felt. We weren't serving the food in shifts because there was no room in the kitchen, and we weren't all sitting on top of each other. We have room to keep things much more organized because it doesn't feel nearly as cluttered. We have empty drawers and cabinets and closets because I just don't have that much extra stuff. I find myself not wanting to fill any of it on a whim either...because I have seen that 26 feet is enough to hold all the temporal, and I don't want to hoard the temporal.

I am marveling in the dream come true of having land and space for our kids to play. And He has given us even more than our hearts desired. I am thrilled to have room, but we will use it for God's glory and will continue to point back to HIM- this is all from Him and we will use it to honor Him in every way.

So I am stuck between a world of 26 feet and more square feet than ever. I rejoice in the blessings God has bestowed on us, but I place my HOPE in the eternal. Whether 26 feet or much more square feet, this earth holds nothing compared to what is to come.






12.01.2014

Super Simple Fudge Recipe (with Gluten-free Pretzels!)


As you all know, I like simple. And that includes cooking. I don't like elaborate recipes, and if I see a list of ingredients that is long or has too many unique ingredients, I dismiss it. That is why I LOVE this super simple fudge recipe. I have been making it for years and it makes  a great homemade gift at Christmas. I must admit, when people ask for the recipe, it is one of those embarrassing answers, "Oh, it's like 3 ingredients and no time at all!" Ha! But that's ok, I'm not trying to impress anyone, just enjoy the result and the time together!

Well, last night my daughter and I made the usual fudge recipe, with a twist! Over the years, I have added toppings to this recipe such as Heath crunch or crushed oreos. Sometimes I even make it with other flavored chips- white chocolate, peanut butter, etc. This time I had an idea! pretzels! Now, I have been gluten-free for 11 weeks, and there are many things I miss. So this recipe just gave me such excitement because I could eat it!

Here it is:

3 cups chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
a dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few handfuls of Gluten-free pretzels  


Crush pretzels in a ziplock bag and set aside.

Melt over  low heat on stove- chocolate chips, milk, salt, and vanilla. Stir constantly until all melted and no lumps. Remove from heat. Pour into wax paper lined pan. Top with crushed pretzels, and push them down with a spoon so they set with the fudge.

Refrigerate 30-60 min. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Super simple, gluten free, and delicious!



11.26.2014

Our Journey to Our Dream House PART 2

Closing day was approaching and we were all anxious. Packing up, moving, and all the last minute details were really at the height of stress. Just one more week to go, I kept reminding myself. It will all be over soon.

Just a few days before the closing, there was a problem with the sale of our house. Apparently someone forgot to record a mortgage we had closed on the property when we refinanced 12 years ago, so it could not close now without proof of that mortgage being cancelled. We spent hours upon hours going through all of our paperwork from the last 12 years and this paper was nowhere to be found. The bank was out of business, the lender, etc. NO one had any idea where it was. Our attorney became a detective trying to track it down. It was an intense two days. Here our moving truck was ready to be rented and we weren’t even sure if we were closing. Friends were on standby to help us pack the truck. The stress level was high to say the least.

Finally, the attorney was successful in finding what we needed, and that problem was taken care of. SO it would be smooth sailing now…right? 

The stress level was about to go even higher than I imagined…

We were supposed to close on both houses on Friday. Thursday all of our very best friends came and helped us pack the truck. Which can I just say how incredibly blessed we are? People literally took off of work to help us move. People just showed up that we didn’t know were coming. God’s servants are truly special people. I was in awe of how they served us.



The whole while the truck was being packed, it was still unsettling though because we still didn't have confirmation we would close the next day. And if we didn’t close, the truck would be packed and would need to be returned on Sunday. What we would do if we didn’t close and our whole life was packed into 26 feet of truck?  Needless to say, I was stressed. I had trouble sleeping and eating. I just felt so anxious.

Yet, amidst the anxiety I knew many truths. That God had a plan for all of this. That this isn’t suffering compared to what many people go through. That He would work it all for good. And that I needed to surrender to Him.

Well, Friday came and it was CLOSING day. Yet, I still didn’t have confirmation that we would actually close. In fact, our attorney told us it would be impossible to close on our new home if we didn’t close on the home we were selling by 2 pm. There wouldn't be enough time for the funds to transfer and we needed the funds from the house we were selling to purchase the new home.

As the clock ticked, my anxiety levels peaked. What would we do if we closed on our house that we were selling, but not on the purchase? We had a truck filled with all of our earthly belongings that needed to be returned Sunday, and we may not have a home until Monday.

Well, 2:00 came and went. I knew that the attorney said it would not be possible to close now. So we resigned ourselves to the fact that at least for the weekend, we would not have a home. We asked the truck rental to extend the truck another two days, and they said it was probably not possible, but then they said, by a miracle it was! Ok, so one problem solved. We would keep our belongings on the truck for the weekend, but where would we go?

At 3 pm we were told the buyers of our home were coming to walk through the house and then they would be closing. I told my husband I needed to get out of the house and take a ride in my car.

I got in my car and prayed...prayed out loud…really, really loud. I cried out literally to God. I knew that we couldn’t close on our new home until Monday, and I just had to surrender to His plan, no matter how much it scared me.

I was screaming out loud (yes, that was me...the crazy lady in the car yelling and crying...;) 
Psalm 20:7:
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."


As I was driving, crying, praying, the phone rang. It was my realtor and she said:
“Honey, we are going to close tonight.” 

WHAT??? WHAT?? 

I kept believing I would not trust man for the outcome but God.  And I HAD surrendered to the plan not working out the way I wanted. 

And then, GOD made the impossible, possible.

At the last hour- actually it was PAST the last hour. 
And He stepped in.

The people buying our home said they would sign the check directly over to the account needed to purchase our new home, so we didn’t have to wait for money to transfer. 
Oh.my. crazy. 

I never in million years thought of this, and here God was making a way.

The next several hours were a whirlwind. I was beyond exhausted, physically and mentally. In a very surreal way, I showed up at our attorneys office at 6:30 pm on a Friday night to sign the papers to close on our new home. He said the deal was done but since the attorney on the purchase had left the office, we just needed to wait until Saturday for him to come and approve everything. He said he would call me Saturday, and then we could officially enter our home.

And He did. 

And we rejoiced. 

After one last sleepless night with high anxiety, I have never rejoiced so much out loud in my car as I drove up to my new home...


There were many more small miracles taking place throughout this whole process. Too many to list. The story is already long enough, but I must say this:

God always, always knows best. His plans are always better than ours. All of the things that happened over the last 18 months, were linked together in perfect order to fulfill His plan. They were all linked together to teach ME, to helps us grow as a family, and to further my dependence on Him alone.

After all, He is sovereign. How could I dare think I have any control. Even in suffering, He wants us to have faith. He wants us to hold on when we think we can’t anymore.

He has blessed us beyond measure in our new home. I keep thinking I will wake up and it is all a dream! The home we purchased is large enough for all the entertaining and guests we have dreamed of. The property is more than I ever hoped for. It is just too much to comprehend that after all this time, God answered our prayers abundantly more than we ever hoped for.

Had we bought the first house (the white house), we would have been doing lots of work. This house is brand new. The farmhouse was great, but smaller than this house, and much more expensive. Here's the kicker...we are paying about $40 more on our mortgage a month for this house, than our old house. For that little bit, we have SO much more! Tons of living space, brand new home, a garage, basement, a barn, acres of property...It is crazy. God has blessed us abundantly, and this truly was the house meant for us. It IS better, far better, than all of the others!

This morning in our Bible time, we read all of Psalm 20. We also talked about how we will use this home for His glory and to honor Him. May we praise Him daily, in all things...and continue to Simply Live for HIM!

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!