Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving from One

I don't typically think of this passage during Thanksgiving, but when I read it this morning, I saw myself and my tendencies and was convicted.

And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at this feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

{Luke 17:11-19}

 I see a lot of similarities between these lepers and myself. 
  1. The lepers had a problem. They were physically ill and desired relief. I have all kinds of "problems," be it sin issues, emotional issues, struggles in attitude, etc. 
  2. The lepers cried out to God for help. "Have mercy on us." Often I pray that God would help in a certain situation, maybe even relieve some stress somewhere or make something "go smoothly." 
  3. God answered the lepers' prayer. So many times God has answered what I've asked of Him. Even my selfish prayers wanting relief from some pressure somewhere.
Here's where it gets really convicting. Nine of those lepers held out their hands, got what they wanted, and never gave Christ a second thought. Who knows where they went from the priests. Back to their friends? Back to their families? Back to their jobs? Back to the way they had lived before their affliction? Back to their unthankful thinking. When living unthankful is such an ingrained habit, it doesn't take much to fall back into that rut and into that way of life. 

Not all ten lepers neglected to give thanks, however. One came back. One. This one's remembrance of thanksgiving made such an impression on Christ and this book's penman, Luke, that its account was included for us all to read for hundreds and hundreds of years to this day. It was put in there for a reason. This leper asked, received, and came back to give thanks and to glorify. This was a Samaritan whose life was given back by a Jew. This leper now cleansed was in a state of utmost humility, indebtedness, and gratitude. We are sinners now cleansed by the almighty God. Is "falling down on our faces" and "glorifying" and "giving of thanks" our life habit? Does God know us, that when He gives us what we ask, we are sure to glorify and thank Him for it? 

This is a passage of thanksgiving with which we all can identify and grasp. Everyday we ask, we receive, we are showered with blessings. We are given beautiful, redeemed lives by One who loves us and has given everything for us. Be the one out of ten. Go back and give thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This year it has hit me harder than any other - that when Thanksgiving rolls around, I kind of pop into the "oh yeah, it's that 'give thanks' time of year" mode. Suddenly I'm aware of how often I complain and how, really, if the things I didn't give thanks for disappeared overnight, I'd be left with ashamedly little. How when someone says "thanksgiving," I more often think the day as opposed to a manner of life. I long for thanksgiving to be how I live, not just something I celebrate. 

If every breath I take, every moment, is grace, my life should be one big thank-you. 

And so here's a "thank-you" list. These are things I love and am grateful for. The list is dedicated to God, the Giver of all gifts, the Giver of all.

  • my husband, Christopher. my love, my dream come true, my example, my leader
  • my family, both sides! love you all. you have made my life beautiful. 
  • my darling friends. you trust me enough to share your friendship with me, and you listen to me and pray for me and laugh with me. I treasure you!
  • salvation - full, free, forever
  • grace unmeasurable, lavish, undeserved
  • the beauty of golden sunlight at sunset
  • laughter of little children
  • the Bible, truth for every day, every situation
  • beautiful books with beautiful stories that make me cry
  • the ocean
  • the brokenness before forgiveness, the restoration afterward
  • kisses when he comes home :)
  • warm, soft, enveloping light
  • all those family inside jokes
  • hot chocolate in the morning
  • knowing someone understands you
  • love, all of it - giving, receiving, witnessing...
  • smiles
  • a word fitly spoken
  • Psalm 13:6
  • playing violin and piano without reserve
  • specific answered prayer
  • the Thanksgiving church service full of Scripture, singing, and testimonies
  • dinners that turn out perfect
  • dinners that don't turn out perfect, but it's still okay :)
  • candles
  • that moment when you let all worries cease because you have given it to God
  • when someone sings the last note of "Happy Birthday" off-key
  • Faure's "Pavane"
  • 4 days of no work for the husband
  • baking cookies with no time schedule
  • hearing a song for the very first time, and loving it
  • driving with the window down and the heat on my feet
  • the faithfulness of my GOD
  • the beauty of His holiness
Thank you, Hannah Nicole, for inspiring me to write (type) out a list! Your blog goes on here as well. I absolutely love the beauty, poetry, and simplistic loveliness of your posts. :)

"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." {Hebrews 13:15}

May your Thanksgiving, friends, be full of beauty, grace, and the goodness of our great God. Happy Thanksgiving!

An Anthology of Thanks | Hannah Nicole

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All is Grace

This Thanksgiving season, would you consider reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? It will change the way you see - and live - life. Make Thanksgiving thanksliving. All we receive from God is grace. This book has left me in tears and complete and raw conviction many times. While it must be read with Scriptural caution and consideration, it is an excellent reminder of how we should view our lives and how we should continually look for joy in the everyday and thank God for the abundant grace He showers upon us. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

more from the camping trip

I said I'd post more from our S.S.'s camping trip to the Quad Cities. Thankfully I didn't say WHEN I would post. :P Here are a few more I found on my family's computer.

Chris showing me how to shoot his .380. (I was very scared of it. :P)

I was the only one lucky enough to walk right into a fresh, and I mean fresh, cow pie. 

I had the opportunity to spend a bunch of quality time with one of my lifelong best friends, Laura.

On our way home, we stopped at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL. Chris and I loved the huge combine.

My wonderful friends. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

around my yard

 It stands tall and strong, despite the cold and wind.

Quiet and lovely.

The sun lights up our backyard!

Golden Cornbread

It's my favorite. :)

Golden Cornbread

1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C cornmeal (I use yellow)
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 C sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C whole milk
1/4 C shortening
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8x8 or 9-inch pie pan. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk, shortening, and egg and mix only till well combined. Pour into greased pan. Bake 25-30 minutes. 

Do NOT even THINK about making this without the HONEY BUTTER!!

Mix 1/2 C softened butter and 1/3 C honey on high speed until light and fluffy. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

currently reading

  • What Did You Expect?  by Paul David Tripp
  • Tommy and Grizel  by J. M. Barrie
What are you reading? I need a new list. :)

2 months :)

Chris and I were married 2 months ago today. And yes, it does feel like it has flown by, as we've stayed very busy since then. 

I wanted to list some of the things marriage has taught me so far. 

  • Be the first to say you're sorry. Don't wait for the other because "he started it" or "what I said was justified," etc. 
  • Everybody is selfish, including you, so recognize the areas you're putting yourself first and work on putting the other ahead of yourself.
  • Talk about expectations - in ANY area! You never know what you'll discover about each other's expectations. Some need to be dumped, some need to have a reality check, and some perhaps can be fulfilled by the spouse in a tender way, drawing the two closer together.
  • Communication is key! Talk to your spouse about everything, from silly to serious.
  • If you're exhausted, odds are your spouse is too. Go the extra mile and do one sweet thing for him before going night-night. 
  • Be observant of his desires, even small ones. He notices when you pay attention to his wishes, even if he just mentions them in passing. 
  • Don't make deals. ("I'll do this if he does this.") 
  • Pray for each other fervently. You know the most about your spouse next to God. Pray like it!
Those are just a few of the things God is teaching me through this wonderful relationship called marriage. I love you, Christopher, and am so thankful God brought us together! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

more baking

Today I had the pleasure of having my sister-in-law Aimee over all day. We played violin and piano a little bit, but mostly we baked. We made:


While my rolls actually turned out looking like the picture, the cookies did not. Picture tall cookies with blobs of white frosting and no melted chocolate and you'll get it. But boy do they taste good. 

That makes 4 different kinds of baked desserts I have in my home right now. 

How utterly dangerous. 


Fall Party

Last Saturday marked the first party Chris and I ever hosted at our new house. :) We had our former Sunday school class over: the college-age singles. We had a wonderful time eating chili and desserts, drinking coffee, hot chocolate, and apple cider, making s'mores, riding the four-wheeler, playing charades, and just good ol' talking. :) Thanks for coming over, everyone! We greatly enjoyed it!