Day 360

I grew up in the great state of Oklahoma and when I was in 4th grade I spent a lot of time learning about the state’s history in my Social Studies class.  We studied Indians and Sooners and even had our own land run on the front lawn of the school… everyone dressed in settler clothes and carried lunch pails made out of coffee cans.  I got to do a lot of fun projects that year and this morning when I was reading my Bible I was reminded of one in particular.  Buffalo branding.

Indians would take a steel rod that they had carved their trademark symbol on, get it blazing hot, and then press it into the hide of their buffalo, leaving a permanent brand on the animal so everyone would know who it belonged to.  Our class books had pictures of what some of the symbols looked like and our assignment after the lesson was to design our own trademark symbol.  I can still see in my head the brand I created.  I used my initials at the time, S.N.

Animals aren’t the only things that used to get branded by a red hot piece of steel.  Slaves, human being slaves, used to get branded too.  For the same reason, their owners wanted everyone to know who owned them.

Galatians 6:17 (AMP) …for I bear on my body the [brand] marks of the Lord Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me]!

Paul had been branded.  Not by a steel rod, but by the stones that had been thrown at him and the beatings that had wounded him as he spread the good news of Jesus.  He had some serious battle scars, but he wore them proudly, much like a war veteran wears the scars he received while in combat for his country.

Why was Paul proud of the ugly marks that He bore on His body?  Because they let everyone know that He belonged to Jesus.  He was branded, like a slave or like livestock with a “J.C.” trademark symbol and it testified to Jesus’ ownership of Him.

John 16:33 promises us that in this world we will have trials and tribulation.  In other words, we most definitely will go through things that leave marks on us; things that hurt us, that scar us, that wound us, BUT the same verse also tells us to take heart, because Jesus has overcome the world.

As a believer you have two options when trials come your way.  You can let the enemy mark you by running from God, blaming God, and getting bitter toward God OR you can let Jesus mark you by running to God, believing He is good and only does good, and depending on Him to see you through whatever the devil has thrown at you.

How you respond in the face of adversity determines who you really belong to, who really owns your heart.

We are in a war, a war that has already been won, but a war in which we will receive some battle scars in.  If you are walking with God and He is truly the Lord of your life and you go through a trial that leaves a mark, you are in good company, you are among those who Satan hates the most.  You are one of the ones that threaten him because you remind him so much of Jesus.  He wants to wear you down and mark you as his own… don’t let him.  Let every wound, every scar, every hurt transform into a permanent brand that reminds you and everyone else who sees it that you belong to the Lord!

1 Peter 4:13 Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

  1. The scars in my life are proof that I belong to Jesus.
  2. Trials make us partners with Christ.
  3. He has overcome the world!
  4. We don’t have to try to hide the trials we go through, but we can turn them into testimonies that helps us lead people to Jesus!
  5. WE get to choose whose brand we want stamped on our lives.
  6. 4th grade Social Studies.  That was a neat class.
  7. Breakfast by the pool at Nana & Papa’s.
  8. Papa always has the best tasting fruit.  Strawberries, blueberries, and peaches were all very good today!
  9. Gussy did some preaching and praise and worship for everyone this morning.
  10. Papa fixed Gus’ messed up haircut he got in Texas yesterday.  It looks great now!
  11. Gus did good when the clippers came out!  Those used to scare him quite a bit.
  12. Kids got to swim for a while this morning.
  13. Listened to a great message on hearing God’s voice.  I can never be reminded enough about how important it is to listen for that still small voice.
  14. Taco Bueno, Papa’s treat.
  15. I got to take an awesome nap in a big cozy recliner.
  16. This last minute trip to Tulsa worked out.  We really needed some down time.
  17. Utica Square.  I always love being there with the trees, the bells, the squirrels, the fountains, and the shopping.
  18. Nana & Papa got Gus a new Lego Star Wars book complete with a mini Lego Han Solo Figure.
  19. Gus was overly thankful!  The whole store knew that that little guy received something that made his heart very happy!  Made me want to buy him every Lego book and mini figure available.
  20. Nana & Papa got Beau some Melissa & Doug wooden slicing fruit… perfect for her new passion for cooking.
  21. Yummy dinner at Pei Wei.  Another Papa treat.
  22. Josh got to spend his night doing one of his very favorite things, producing music!
  23. The next Ken Blount Ministries album is going to be awesome!  Got to hear all of the songs Josh has been writing and they were all so good.
  24. Beau was acting like she was starting to not feel good, but by the end of the night she seemed to back to her happy little self again!
  25. Found a Starbucks giftcard!
  26. Gus told me he wasn’t sure what Sunny wasn’t going to look like but he was sure she would be beautiful!  Such a sweet brother.
  27. My 13 year old niece Ryan saw an angel a few nights ago.  Such a cool story!

Day 359

Last July, our little family of four headed to the doctor’s office, excited to find out if baby number three was a boy or a girl.  My son Gus was four years old at the time and he just knew it was going to be a boy, he was looking forward to confirmation.  We waited in the exam room for what seemed like forever.  The kids were watching Sesame Street videos on YouTube to pass the time and to keep them from wrecking the place when finally, the doctor came in.  It was show time.  My husband Josh held our one year old in one arm and the video camera in the other.  Gus was sitting beside me in a little chair.  We were all quiet as the doctor started the scan, and then he got quiet too.  I knew immediately that something was wrong.  A few seconds later he said, “I’m so sorry you guys, but the baby’s heart has stopped beating.”  Gus was still little enough that he didn’t catch that, but he did catch that his mom was upset.

Someone handed me a towel and I began to weep into it as quietly as possible, but Gus knew that something was wrong… that this wasn’t the way this was supposed to go.  He began to cry too.  Josh who was also devastated not only about the baby, but because he knew I was crushed, came over and let me know that Gus was starting to get upset.  I knew I needed to be strong for him.  I composed myself, took the towel off my face, and smiled at Gus and told him not to worry about mom.

After the appointment was over we walked to the car and Gus asked about the baby.  I told him we thought there was one in my tummy, but there wasn’t.  He seemed okay with that explanation so we left it at that.  He has never really asked about it since.

I’m 20 weeks pregnant again, with my 4th.  We decided this time around we would find someone to watch the kids during my doctor’s appointments… not because I was afraid of bad news, but because I was afraid it might bring back bad memories for Gus.

Yesterday, I was scheduled for my 20 week anatomy scan, which is the longest and most in depth ultrasound of the whole pregnancy.  I had asked one of my sweet friends if she could keep the kids for me and she said would, but a few hours before the appointment she got hit with food poisioning and had to cancel.  I thought about calling another friend, but decided to just take the kids along.  They were both excited.  I prayed a quick prayer and asked God to guard Gus’ mind from any flash backs from last July.  I didn’t want the happy moment to get spoiled for him or for me.  I printed some Bubble Guppies coloring pages, packed some crayons, and dum dums and we headed to the office.

Both kids were happy and care free the entire visit.  Gus got to see his new little sister’s face on the ultrasound monitor and watch her put her tiny hands in her tiny mouth… the very thing he gets in trouble for all of the time!  He thought it was funny.

I sure don’t like that my friend  was sick yesterday, but I’m glad we ended up taking the kids with us.  We got back a happy moment that was stolen from us last year.  I was thinking about that before bed last night when I opened up my YouVersion Bible to see that this was the verse of the day,

Job 19:25 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.

Redeemer – one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs.  This title is peculiarly applied to Christ.  He redeems us from all evil by the payment of ransom.  (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)

But as for me, I KNOW that my Redeemer lives!  And I am so thankful that with everything else that he holds in His hands, He took the time to redeem a special moment for me and my family yesterday and that there is more where that came from.

  1. My Redeemer Lives!!
  2. He did stand upon the earth and He will do it again!
  3. Jesus has redeemed so many moments for our family over the last 20 weeks and I know there is more where that came from.
  4. He holds the whole world in His hands, yet He still takes time to minister specifically to me.
  5. That Job 19:25 just happened to be YouVersion’s verse of the day yesterday.
  6. God’s grace covered Gus while we dealt with the loss of Felix last year and God kept him from experiencing any flashbacks yesterday.
  7. My Redeemer Lives by Nicole C Mullen.  One of my mom’s favorite songs.  I listened to it this morning after I wrote this blog and it wrecked me and the make up I was putting on.  Powerful!
  8. I told Josh what I wrote about and that song and he said he woke up with a different song, but same title in his head.  This is a great song too and amazing we both woke up with songs about our redeemer on our hearts.
  9. Clean house!
  10. All caught up with laundry.
  11. Josh woke up early and did breakfast with the kids so I could get my blog written before we headed to Tulsa this afternoon.
  12. While Josh and the kids were at the breakfast table I heard Beau tell him, “Daddy, you are the best snuggle-er in the whole wide world.”
  13. Beau then told me, “Mommy, you are the best reader in the whole wide world.”  She’s gotta be the most adorable two year old in the whole wide world!
  14. Gus got his hair cut today and he did so good, especially considering he had to be very still for about 40 minutes!
  15. I was not happy with how the hair cut turned out, but we were on our way to Tulsa and it just so happens Gus’ Papa used to be a barber and he’s going to fix it for him tomorrow.
  16. Gus’ ears!!  I hardly ever see them with his little mop top hair.  I’m looking forward to having them out in the open for a while.
  17. Yummy salad for lunch.
  18. Safe drive up to Tulsa today.
  19. Love, love, love doing the 4 hour drive with Josh.
  20. Got to talk through some ideas and get some advice from Josh on how to prepare the message I am going to teach in September.  Feeling much better about the whole speaking thing.
  21. The kids traveled great.  Beau even took a pretty good nap on the way in!
  22. Drove through a refreshing, great smelling rain shower.
  23. Mazzio’s Pizza!
  24. I rarely splurge for a fountain drink, but if I’m at Mazzio’s I must get a Cherry Coke.  It did not disappoint.  I want to know Mazzio’s Cherry Coke secret.
  25. Nana & Papa treated us to Andy’s Custard for dessert.
  26. The kids went to sleep so good tonight.  We didn’t have to get on to them one time, which is usually not the case when they have to sleep in the same room!
  27. Fun night visiting with Nana & Papa.  We haven’t gotten to really hang out with them in a long time.

Day 358

When I was in 5th grade a group of cheerleaders from the high school I would eventually attend came to my elementary school.  Dressed in their uniforms, complete with red striped Asic tennis shoes, they did a cheer in our cafeteria and talked about how much fun it was to be on the cheerleading squad.  They handed out fliers with information about 6th grade cheer tryouts.  I was mesmerized.  I didn’t know anything about cheerleading, but I wanted to give it a shot.  I tried out that year with girls from all over my 6A school district and I made it!  I loved everything about it.  The friends, the ribbons, the pom poms, the uniforms, and the fun.  But each year the dreaded try out week would roll around agains and each year the squads got smaller and smaller.  In 6th grade close to 50 girls made the cut, but in 9th grade only 16 girls made it.  We had the best varsity squad in the nation when I was in 8th grade.  I was there at Disney World when they competed for the title and won first place, so it was very competitive.

I couldn’t wait to be on the varsity squad… Friday night football at the big stadium, going to the elementary schools to recruit future cheerleaders, Disney World trips, going to state with the football team… varsity was a big deal, but I never made it past JV.  At the end of my 10th grade year I tried out and didn’t make the cut.  I was beyond crushed.  I had one of those shirts that said “Cheerleading Is Life… the rest is just details” and it wasn’t far from the truth, so I was pretty much devestated.

My whole family knew how much I loved being a cheerleader and they knew how important the varsity tryouts were to me, so I had a lot of prayer going into that week.  When my Grandma Wagner heard the news she said to my mom, “Well, I haven’t been praying that Sarah would make the squad, I’ve been praying that God’s Will would be done in her life.  He must have other plans for her.”  My mom shared that with me and I’ve never forgotten it.

I remember thinking to myself, “Hmmm.  That’s interesting.  Maybe Grandma has the right idea.”  Maybe my “help me make the squad” prayer wasn’t what I should have been praying, because I didn’t even know if making the squad was part of His will for my life because I had never taken the time to ask Him about it.  I wish I would have.  I know He would have told me I wasn’t going to make it and not to even bother trying out.  I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and embarassment, but nevertheless I learned a great lesson through all of that high school drama; His will should always be top priority when I pray.

Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.

There are certain things in the Bible that we know without a doubt are His will.  Salvation, healing, peace, forgiveness, joy, etc., but then there are things like, should I buy this house or that house, should I take this job or that job, should I go to this university or that one, that we can’t look up scriptures on to find the exact answer we need.  There was nothing in the old or new testament about the varsity cheerleading squad, but my Grandma knew the Lord’s prayer and she knew that the best thing she could pray for me was that God’s will would be done in my life, and it was.

I ended up graduating a year early and getting married the very next year; something that never would have happened if I had made varsity.  I’m glad God doesn’t answer all of our prayers, because sometimes we pray the wrong ones.

Your will, will disapoint you.  His will, will not, so when you come before God in prayer, let Him know that what you value most is HIS will being perfected in your life.

  1. His will!
  2. Unanswered prayers.
  3. My praying Grandma.
  4. I got to graduate in 2002 instead of 2003.
  5. I got to get married in 2003!
  6. Cheerleading is what gave me the extra credits I needed to be able to graduate early.
  7. Breakfast in bed!
  8. Gus turned the tent Josh made them a few days ago into the Bat Cave.  I love watching his imagination run wild.
  9. Got to see Sunny at the 20 week anatomy scan today and the doctor said she looks great!
  10. Ultrasound technology.  It really is so neat to be able to see what’s she is up to in there.
  11. Got to put some pictures of the scan on a flash drive, not sure what most of them are, but I did get a few of her pretty face!
  12. Her sweet little hands that were moving around a lot next to her sweet little mouth.
  13. Gus & Beau came with us today and Gus really liked getting to his little sisters face in black and white.
  14. Had such a peaceful day today.  No fear at all going into the check up.
  15. Bubble Guppies coloring pages.  They kept the kids busy while we were waiting.
  16. My doctor never keeps us waiting long!  When I was pregnant with Beau and Felix I had to wait 45 minutes to an hour every single visit.
  17. I’m well on my way to my New Year’s Resolution of gaining 35 pounds by the end of this year!!  Praise God for my healthy, growing girl!
  18. My cousin in law Jordan is celebrating his birthday today!  He’s one cool dude!
  19. My pastor, Robert Morris, is celebrating his birthday today!!
  20. Brandon Anderson is celebrating his birthday today.  A faithful friend and a faithful ministry partner.
  21. Brandon helped us redo our bathroom at our old house in Tulsa.  He did a beautiful job and didn’t charge us a dime for his time.
  22. Beau saw 10 minutes of Bobby Flay on Food Network which inspired her to get our her little kitchen and pretend to cook for the next 45 minutes.  She had so much fun using some of my real kitchen whisks, measuring cups, and colanders.
  23. The kids got to run around in the backyard while I cleaned and Josh mowed.  They came in with pink faces, smelling like wet dogs, and smiling from ear to ear.
  24. Mexican hoagies for dinner.  Not as good as my mom’s used to be, but still tasty.
  25. Unexpected check in the mail!
  26. Got my hair washed and dried this morning so I wouldn’t have to do that and pack for Tulsa all in the same night.
  27. 358 posts written, 7 to go!!

Day 357

Today, my little brother Zachary turns 26!  I was thinking about him this morning… about how fast time goes and about how thankful I am that we got to grow up together.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were walking to school together every morning after watching “Rugrats” or that I was cheering for him at one of his little league baseball games.  But, he’s no longer the little guy sporting a Jurassic Park baseball cap, Boever’s Elementary t-shirt, Texas Ranger shorts, tall socks and big tennis shoes.  Now, he’s happily married with a sweet little one and half year old daughter teaching history at the school I graduated from.  While reminiscing about the past this morning and thinking about Zach I had a flash back of the time he fell from a tree about 9 feet.

Our older Michael decided to build us this awesome tree house in the backyard and by awesome I mean one piece of ply wood placed between two branches so that we could stand on it.  It was nothing you would see on “Treehouse Masters”, it technically wasn’t even a house, but we thought it was awesome.  Michael then got another awesome idea.  He decided to get a rope and tie it to something across the yard and then take the other end of the rope and tie it up in our “tree house” to a branch, add a sturdy cylinder tube and we had ourselves a zip line.

I was in the back yard playing when the zip line buzz started.  Zachary was probably 7 or 8 and he couldn’t wait to try it.  When Michael had it just about ready he called Zach up to the treehouse.  I could hear Michael telling him to just stand still for a second, but Zach was too excited to hear.  He grabbed onto the sturdy cylinder tube and stepped off the tree house board.  He fell straight to the ground.  Michael hadn’t  secured the end of the rope to the branch in the tree yet and Zach and his little tailbone were now very aware of that.  Everyone in the neighborhood was now very aware of that.  Zach was crying, my mom came rushing outside, and the treehouse and zip line were never seen again.  I think Mike got in pretty big trouble over that, I’ll admit, it wasn’t the brightest idea, but he wasn’t trying to create something that would hurt us, he was trying to create something fun for us, Zach just jumped the gun.

Hebrews 10:36 (AMP) For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Zach never got to perform and fully accomplish the will of our big brother’s zip line idea because he was lacking patience!  We probably could have zip lined like 10 or 15 times before our mom realized what we were doing and made us take it down, but that didn’t happen.  No one got to enjoy the promised tree house zip line to the full.

I think sometimes we can act like an 8 year old little boy when it comes to God’s will.  We get excited and eager to do what it is that He has planned for us to do, so excited that we can’t hear His voice telling us to hold on just a second while He makes sure everything is in place for us.  We know what He is calling us to do, but we don’t feel like waiting around with steadfast patience and endurance while He’s tying up loose ends for us, so we  jump out in front of Him and we fall.

If we want to fully accomplish God’s will we have to fully rely on His timing and wait patiently for Him to give us the all clear.

I know for me, once I get a glimpse of the awesome things that He has planned for my future, it’s hard to stand still.  I want to grab onto a  cylinder tube and zip into His promises, but I know I won’t get to enjoy those things to the full if I can’t practice patience.  Be excited about what God has in store for you, but don’t let that excitement hinder your ability to hear God’s voice.  If you wan to receive and carry away what He’s promised you, you are going to have to learn how to be faithful while you are waiting for the red lights to turn green.

Hebrews 12:1 (AMP) …and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us

  1. God ties up all the loose ends!
  2. If we wait patiently we will receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised.
  3. We can run and be patient all at the same time.
  4. God has good things in store for all of His children.
  5. 26 years ago today my little brother Zachary was born!
  6. I had a really great childhood and Zach played a huge part in that.
  7. Rugrats and Hey Arnold!  Some of favorite shows.
  8. Little league baseball.
  9. Space Jam & Angels In The Outfield.  Some of our favorite movies.
  10. Zach didn’t get seriously injured the day he fell out of the tree.
  11. I have a big brother and a little brother.  I hope Beau and Sunny have the same set up!  Every girl needs a big brother that looks after her and a little brother that she looks after.
  12. Michael was always thinking of ways to invent more fun.  It really is a miracle none of us kids ever had broken bones.
  13. Boevers Elementary.   Loved going to school there.  K-5!
  14. Zach is happily married to his high school sweet heart, Tosha!  So thankful God brought her back into his life.
  15. Ava Sophia!  My cute little niece.  It’s pretty cool seeing Zach as a dad.
  16. 17 years ago today my nephew Colton was born!!
  17. I have had the song we sang in the four year old class stuck in my head all day, but what a great reminder that God’s plans for us our good!
  18. Sweet quiet time out in my back yard on a lovely summer morning.
  19. Sunday afternoon nap!
  20. String cheese.  My new favorite pregnancy snack.
  21. Watching Beau pretend to be me.
  22. Josh grilled some awesome chicken sandwiches for dinner.
  23. Hanging out with Josh and being entertained by the Food Network this evening.
  24. Sunny was moving so big tonight.  I even saw my tummy move from the outside a few times.
  25. Josh’s “day at the office” was teaching kids about their God given destinies!
  26. Home movies.  I watched a few of me when I was Beau’s age tonight.  It’s so fun to see the similarities in the two of us.
  27. Get to see Sunny via ultrasound tomorrow!!

Day 356

In Galatians 4 Paul writes to the Galatians to let them know that he is concerned about them and their walk with God.  He feels like he’s going through labor pains with them all over again.  The first time he went through the laboring process for them it was more like a miscarriage because Jesus wasn’t fully formed in them, and Paul doesn’t want that to happen again.  He let’s them know He will labor for them until Christ is fully formed in their lives, and then in verse 20 he writes something that totally captured my attention this morning,  I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.

Paul wished he could address the Galatians face to face so that he had the option to change his tone.  He knew they wouldn’t be able to pick up on his emotions correctly just by reading the words he had written.  Instead of concerned, they might of thought he was angry.  They might have mistaken his love for them as disappointment in them.  He may have wanted to convey a since of urgency and seriousness, but it’s not easy to pick up on how serious someone is without hearing their voice.   If he could see the people and they could see his facial expressions and hear the sweetness or the concern or the anger behind his voice, they might understand his heart better, but he didn’t know how else to help them, so he went with the letter.

We all have people in our lives that are close to us.   People that live under the same roof as us, people that work in the same office space as we do, people that we come into contact with pretty much every day of the week.  There is not a great distance between us and them and so we, unlike Paul, have the luxury of changing our tone.  We have the option to express our hearts through the tone of our voices.  We can look into the faces of the people we are closest too and decide which tone we need to use as we address them… which tone will minister to them most effectively.

This morning in my quiet time I prayed that God would help me to set the tone for my home today.  That He would use me to see to it that my family would wake up to a wonderful morning filled with His presence, because in his presence is fullness of joy.  To set a tone, you have to watch your tone.  If you want the presence of God to continue to linger after your quiet time is over you have to guard it.  You have to watch what you say and how you say it.

You can set the tone for yourself and for the people that you are in close proximity with just by being more mindful of how you speak.  The sweeter I am to my kids the sweeter they are to me.  If I make a point to speak kind words to my husband throughout the day, the vibe between the two of us is going to be a good one.  If I join in with people who are griping and complaining, the wonderful presence of God is going to become a lot harder to pick up on.

Paul wished he could change the tone of his voice, you don’t have to wish that.  You are not in a long distance relationship with the people you come into contact with everyday.  Set the tone for yourself by waking up each day and getting into God’s presence and then use your voice to set the tone or to change the tone if it needs to changed for the people that you do life with.

  1. In His presence is fullness of joy.
  2. I can set the tone or change the tone with my voice.
  3. That one little verse really changed the way I went about my day.
  4. I get to do life with my favorite people in all of the world.
  5. Gus came out of his room first thing this morning fully decked in his batman costume.  He was setting a tone for sure.
  6. Got some good Bible reading in last night when I woke up wide awake at 2 a.m.
  7. Bills paid!
  8. Have yet to pay anything for all of my pregnancy check ups and ultrasounds.
  9. Josh took the kids to run errands with him this morning so I could have a few hours of alone time.
  10. Enjoyed getting dinner ready and in the crock pot and listening to a great message servanthood.
  11. Gus is doing great two days into his 7 day break from video games.  I am really proud of him!
  12. Gus loves books.  He spent a good 45 minutes just looking through some of his favorite picture books this afternoon.
  13. Pastor Robert is back in the pulpit!
  14. Feeling Sunny move around during the message.
  15. Great, challenging message tonight.
  16. Wonderful worship.
  17. Over 100 kids got saved at Wacky Week.
  18. The hilarious conversation I had with Gus on the way home from church about what kind of girl he wants to marry.
  19. Mikayla Corbo.  Gus’ first crush!  Too bad she’s 13 years older than him and taken, but he knows how to pick em.  She’s beautiful inside and out, so cute to me that he’s picked up on that.
  20. Kids both had a great night at church and were so full of joy for the rest of the night.
  21. My friends John & Dana had their little boy Frankie this morning!  Loved waking up to see his cute little face on Facebook.
  22. So many of my friends on FB have newborn babies.  Seeing all the pictures of them makes me so excited about Sunny!  Newborns are so fun!
  23. My first attempt at BBQ ribs was a success!
  24. Tried a new cucumber salad recipe and it was a hit.
  25. My healthy, growing boy who is all of a sudden too tall for his church pants.
  26. Josh found a shirt he really liked yesterday and last night when he was hanging it up he realized he got the wrong size, went to take it back and was able to exchange it the size he needed.
  27. Beau is in a contant state of skip, hop, or bounce.

Day 355

Here is another question from a 10kreasons reader that I have been meaning to answer for months but just haven’t had a chance to.

“I enjoy waking up to read your blog and am always like, I want that. I want the knowledge and understanding of these scriptures like you have.  I have to ask what are you doing differently? I’m reading through the whole bible with my church. So I am reading it, but it’s like reading a foreign language so it never really clicks for me. Any advice would be very much appreciated.”

I’ve totally been there before.  I have always been a good Christian girl that reads her Bible and has scriptures memorized and there were even certain scriptures and passages in the Bible that I had some great revelation on, but before I started to read and study to write for this blog the Bible was mostly just the book I read every night before bed because I knew it was good for me.

I would highlight favorite scriptures, but I never went beyond that.  A highlighted scripture is great and all, but what I’ve learned over the past year is that if I want that scripture to stand out in my life and not just on the pages of my Bible I have to meditate on it and to do that I had to change my whole Bible reading routine.  Instead of reading at night when I was absolutely exhausted I started to get up and read in the morning.

I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. to ensure myself plenty of time to get in the word before my two early risers wake up and when it goes off I pour myself some orange juice, spend some time in worship, some time in prayer and then I ask God to speak to me as I open up His word.  I usually read and study for 30 minutes.  I don’t follow a Bible reading plan, because I don’t feel like I absorb as much when I am trying to read a certain number of chapters each day, I simply rely on the spirt of God to lead me to a chapter, a book, a story, or a verse that He would like to share with me that day.  If you are quiet for a few minutes you will usually hear a still small voice showing you where to get started.  For instance, you might think of the word “angels” and then you can spend your morning looking up scriptures about angels.  Or you may think about a verse you saw someone post on Facebook and feel led to study that.  I just read wherever the spirit takes me.

Once I begin to read if a verse stands out to me I dig into it.  I use the Blue Letter Bible app, which is free to download on your tablet or smart phone, to do my digging.  Within the app you can type in a scripture reference and then find commentaries on that scripture, find other scriptures that relate to it, compare it in several different translations, look up the original Greek and Hebrew word meanings in the concordance, and get Biblical definitions of the words in the verse.  It is an awesome all in one study tool!  I also love, where you can search your scripture reference and view more commentaries and related scriptures.

After my 30 minutes is up that doesn’t mean that my time meditating on what I’ve studied is up.  I continue to think on it and let it roll around in my head for the rest of the day.  I chew on it and chew on it and chew on it until I get revelation of it.  God will show me a picture or use my kids or something that happens in my day to reveal His word in a way so that I will always remember it.  Revelation you get for yourself is always more memorable than revelation you get from a pastor, teacher, friend, or writer, because you have to put more work into getting that revelation.

Once I receive a revelation and I get what God wanted me to get I write it down.  I have retained so much more of what I’ve studied over the last year than I have in all of the other years I’ve ever studied combined and I know it’s because I took time to write about it.  Get a notebook or open up a word doc and put to paper what God put in your heart.  Also, share what God reveled to you with someone else.  Your kids, your small group, your spouse, a friend, your mom, or whoever will listen.  Explaining to someone else what God has explained to you will also help that revelation and understanding to stick.  You may get even more revelation as you are explaining it.

Most importantly, you just gotta practice.

Hebrews 5:13–14 (VOICE) No one who lives on milk alone can know the ins and outs of what it means to be righteous and pursue justice; that’s because he is only a baby.  But solid food is for those who have come of age, for those who have learned through practice to distinguish good from evil.

“Milk is what you get from someone else, like a baby from its mother. Meat is what you get when you hunt.” – Bill Johnson

If you want to get some meat when you study the scriptures, you’ve gotta commit to the hunt and when you commit to the hunt God will begin to open the eyes of your understanding like never before.  The Bible will become your favorite book instead of one that seems like it’s written in a foreign language.

  1. The Bible is full of good meat!
  2. When we commit to the hunt God opens the eyes of our understanding.
  3. Blue Letter Bible app.
  6. You Version app
  7. David Guzik, Matthew Henry, Gills Exposition, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown, Vines, Spurgeon.  Learned so much by reading commentaries and sermons from those great resources.
  8. I’ve learned how to chew and chew and chew until I get revelation.
  9. I have all that God showed me over the last year in writing and will be able reference back to it for the rest of my life and I can share it with my kids and grandkids.
  10. Awesome, rainy, and sleepy sabbath day morning.
  11. The kids had so much fun playing with Josh in the tent that he built them.  He is a way better tent builder than I am.
  12. Loved just being at home and being lazy and letting the kids play and make a huge mess with tons of their toys while I watched from the couch.
  13. Listed some items I’ve been wanting to list on e-bay this afternoon.
  14. Took a great nap on the couch.
  15. I can sleep hard!  Josh said I slept through all kinds of army men noises coming from Gus who was playing just a few inches away from me.
  16. “Turbo” movie afternoon!  Super cute movie.  Both of the kids loved it.
  17. Beau has become a movie going pro this summer.  She’s been to 4 already and she’s done great at all of them.
  18. Good batch of Sour Patch Kids!
  19. 40% off sale items at Gap.
  20. Found a perfect “little sunshine” onesie for Sunny!  It’s going in the hospital bag for sure.  Can’t wait to see her in it.
  21. Got a cute new maternity shirt!
  22. Got Beau and Sunny some great little shorts for next summer and they were super, super cheap.
  23. Beau will just bust some moves in the middle of a store if a good song comes on.  “Moves Like Jagger” was doing it for her while we were at The Gap.
  24. PB&Js for dinner courtesy of Josh.
  25. The strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries we got at the grocery store this week are extra delicious.
  26. “Heavy Weights” movie night with Josh.  I loved that movie when I was 10 and it was still pretty awesome at 28.
  27. Stayed up late to spend some more time hanging out with my very favorite.  Making the most of the short weekend!

Day 354

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a 10kreasons reader named Donna who said she was “struck” by the idea of being thankful for 27 things each day, but she was wondering if she could do it.  Could she stay consistent?  Could she think of new things to list each day?  She said she wasn’t sure, but she was going to try.

With 353 days and 9,676 reasons under my belt, I thought I would offer her, and anyone else out there who has thought about making their own daily thank you lists some advice and some motivation.

As most of you know, the idea for this blog came about one night when I was chopping an onion in my kitchen and thinking about what we had been through a month earlier.  I could see us in the hospital room waiting to deliver our son still born and I could hear us singing “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.  I remembered the day we got home from the hospital, that song still playing in my head, telling my husband that if we sat down and made a list we probably could come up with 10,000 Reasons to praise and thank God for.  As I was recalling all of those moments I grew curious as to how many things you would have to be thankful for each day for an entire year to reach 10,000 Reasons.  I sat down my chopping knife, washed my hands, and did the math on my iPhone.  The answer was 27.39.  I immediately felt challenged by the Holy Spirit to do that.  To list 27 things every day for 365 days.  So I went for it and it has forever changed my life.

The mindset I had to take on knowing that at the end of the day I was going to have to list out 27 things I was thankful for changed the way I looked at life.  I knew I had to be focused on the good things, big and small instead of negative things.  I was more attentive and more present in every moment because I was searching in every moment for something list worthy.  Instead of being tempted to gripe and complain when a flight was delayed or while I was waiting at the doctor’s office with a ridiculously sore throat I was busy searching for God’s goodness.  I can honestly say, that since I started listing, I’ve never had a bad day!  It’s impossible to have a bad day when you spend so much of your time thinking about all that you have to be thankful for.  Motivated?  Good!  Now, for the advice part.

Ask God for your number.  My number was 27 for 365 days, but He might want to start you off listing 10 things a day, or 15, or 5, or 3!  He might want you to list for a month, 6 months, or an entire year.  If God hadn’t spoken to me specifically about 10,000 reasons I would have given up long ago, but it was an assignment from Him, so I knew I could do it.

List every night or every morning.  Have a special notebook or a place you can list on your phone or computer that you can pick up and write in every night before bed or every morning before you get out bed, no matter how tired, how sick, or how unmotivated you may be.  You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after making the decision to end your evening or start your day by writing down some things that you are thankful for.

Makes notes throughout the day.  Early on I noticed that if I didn’t make a note on my phone about a certain moment I was thankful for, that I might forget about it by the end of the night.

Share your list with someone.  Sharing my lists every day with all of you kept me accountable.  I made my mission public and there was no way I was backing out after that.  Tell your spouse or your sister or your closest friend that you are listing however many things over however many days and ask them if you can email or read your lists to them every day once they are complete.

Be creative, but don’t be afraid to list the same things more than once.  I am thankful for my kids every day, but instead of just writing their names down and leaving it at that, I try to write something about them specific to that day, a special moment I got to share with them that made me feel beyond blessed to be their mother.

I know there is something special to this listing thing.  I know that God was looking for ways to make my list each day, and I know if you start your own list He will be looking for ways to make yours too.  I’m not sure who said it, but I love this quote, “It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.”

If you want everyday to be a happy day, a joyful day, a good day, then make everyday a thankful day!

  1. 353 days of listing.
  2. 353 good days!
  3. I have formed a healthy, healthy habit of being extra aware of the goodness of God.
  4. God gave me an assignment and then gave me the grace I needed to complete it… almost.  11 days to go!!
  5. Beautiful sunrise this morning.  The pinks and blues looked like the perfect nursery colors.
  6. I was so impressed with the pretty sky I did my Bible time outside and it was lovely.
  7. Praying for Sunny this morning and right when I laid my hand on my tummy she started moving around.  She’s already so sweet!!
  8. Fridge and pantry are full!
  9. Realized I didn’t have my phone after I got in the car to head home from Target, went back in and found it pretty quickly.  It was lying on the kiwi’s.
  10. Got a front row parking spot.  Which was extra nice since I had to go in and go out twice!
  11. Overcast skies kept the temperatures down.
  12. Started my 20th week of pregnancy!!!
  13. 20 weeks left to go!!!
  14. Very productive work afternoon.
  15. Last day of Wacky Week was a success.
  16. Wacky Week is over!!  Ready to have my husband home all day tomorrow!!
  17. Beau got to take some of the balloon decorations home with her.
  18. The fine people at Taco Bueno made dinner for me and the kids tonight.
  19. Gus and Beau got home tonight and started pretending Wacky Week.  Gus got his microphone out and kept telling us to scream if we were having fun.  He was the MC, the band, the drama team, and the teacher.
  20. Found a great little bag of army men at the dollar spot today.
  21. Teresa & Becca gave me their maternity clothes last year!  Wearing one of their dresses today!
  22. 94.9 was playing Christmas music today.  It’s impossible to hear Jingle Bell Rock and not smile.
  23. 5 months til Christmas!!
  24. We are going to have a new stocking to hang this Christmas.
  25. Josh got home a lot earlier than I thought he was going to get home.  Tear down of Wacky Week goes by way faster than set up!
  26. Got to listen to Steven Furtick’s “Sun Stand Still Message.”  Good stuff.
  27. In bed by 10:00!  Looking forward to a good nights rest!