Stone Sunday Chronicles

It is a month from my latest post of Stone Sunday Chronicles.  My husband did hijack the computer two of those weeks, editing his GoPro fishing videos.  And probably my other Sunday late evenings were spent going to bed at a decent time.  Nonetheless, here alas, is another chronicle of our Sunday, my favorite day of the week.

If you asked my husband his favorite part of Sunday corporate worship, he’d definitely say “preaching.”  He’s not much of a singer, although he confesses to singing in his heart and mind ;)  Me, it’s always been the music.  I was raised in the Church of Christ, so at that time we sang Acapella from the hymnal.  I was all about it.  When I hopped over to the Baptist in college, I sang in the BSU choir with an electric keyboard and loved it!  I’m also an instrumentalist, so I’d just say, music moves me.  One of the songs this morning caught my heart – Raised to Life – and here’s why it spoke to me.  You see, I want to walk in Truth.  I want all of the abundant life God offers me this side of heaven.  In John 10:10 (NIV) it says 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  Well, I want it to the full.  And I believe that to have that, I get to practice believing Truth revealed to me in HIS Word.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”  I want to live that!

So, here are the words that landed in my heart – and with each repeat, I could sense a reminder to believe HIM:

Sin was strong
But Jesus is stronger
Our shame was great
But Jesus You’re greater

Some days it’s seems like the opposite, huh?  But Truth is that HE is stronger and greater than our sin and shame!  Isn’t that glorious!???  I hope you will come along with me and choose to hang your hat on this Truth and walk in it!

Through the message this morning, I was challenged to consider what lies/false gods I am hanging onto as I seek to enter the promised land of this abundant life, here and now.  My other challenge was to consider how I am perceiving those who are non-Christian around me.

Our 2nd hour was spent with 11 fabulous 4 year olds.  We had a great time telling the story of the woman at the well.  One of the things I’ve begun to do with them is practice reciting scripture with me.  They are each so happy to come say scripture with me and get a sticker!  I still think they like my husband better than all of us!  He had been out two weeks and they were each so glad to see him and ran and gave him a hug.  Today was also Teacher Appreciation day, and one of our child’s families made us small yummy treats and our Preschool leader gave each teacher a wonderful hand-made pie for serving.  We are grateful for the privilege of serving these children in His Name.

Husband and I had an afternoon date time as we dined alfresco and it was so relaxing.  The boys enjoyed time with their MeMe.  I came back after an afternoon of doing nothing and made Scrambled Eggs in Muffin Tin.  This recipe is so easy to work with; I threw in diced baked potato to saute after my sausage had cooked.  The boys were delighted to have it as dinner (as I don’t cook on Sunday nights, so this was a treat!) and husband gets a few for an early morning breakfast.  Score for me!

Here’s the link for the Raised to Life video.  I hope you have time to enjoy worshiping – basking in His love for you and choosing to believe and walk in Truth revealed.

God’s Best to you,

Stacy

In ALL things

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When I’m going through a particularly difficult time in life, I put on my Euchareste0 bracelet given to me by a dear friend.  When I would see it, it reminds me to give thanks.  Strong’s defines eucharisteo (pronounced yoo-khar-is-teh’-o) this way:  to be grateful, i.e. (actively) to express gratitude (towards); specially, to say grace at a meal:–(give) thank(-ful, -s).  Thankfulness ushers me into His presence.  Ingratitude leads me further to despair.  Thankfulness reminds me of what I truly believe about my Heavenly Father:  He could be trusted in all circumstances.  Ingratitude leads to the false belief that I’m all I have to see me through, counting out God’s presence and help.  The painfulness of a solitary journey through difficulties lead me back to Him pronto!  Make sure, He doesn’t leave when we choose the opposite of Truth – yet when we walk in unbelief, we are acting as if He’s not there.  That, I’ve found, is painful for myself and I believe for Him as well.

1  Thessalonians 5:18 New International Version (NIV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

The Message (MSG) puts it this way:  16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Life is difficult, full of problems, challenges, dreams unfulfilled, failures, disappointments. One of the conversations I continue to have with my children is: What are you going to do with disappointments? When things don’t go your way? How are you going to respond? And they think….and I allow them to think. Offering them the opportunity to prop themselves up on the Truth of God’s Word.  My prayer is they will choose to lean into God’s Truth to see them through anything.

M. Scott Peck’s take on “life is difficult” goes like this….I think I like it.  I want to transcend it.  John 16:33 (NIV) puts it this way:  Jesus is speaking and says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Several other versions say “take courage” or “be of good cheer.”  I find that possible when I’m looking to the One who is with me through it all.

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So how can we cultivate this giving thanks in all circumstances – thanking Him no matter what happens?

  • Speak out loud your faith in Him – when I’ve found myself floundering in unbelief, I’ve gone back to what I know about Him, and I begin to speak it out loud.  And you betcha, other people, especially my children, have been around during this time of remembering who He is to me.
  • Handwriting scripture – during the holidays, my boys and I were practicing our writing most days by writing out scripture; it was such a blessing to each of us.  We would remember the Truth throughout the day and it would minister to our hearts (well, at least mine – I’m trusting it was in there’s as well).  I’ve been meaning for us to get back to it – here is a great resource for that at Sweet Blessings.  She has a daily scripture writing plan for each month.  If you’re a recovering perfectionist like myself, get yourself a pretty notebook – but if that’s not near TODAY and  your heart is needing some speedy recovery TODAY ushering into HIS presence, get a blank piece of paper and get to it!  You’ll be blessed!
  • Sacrifice of Thankfulness jar – I’ve wanted to try those “Thankfulness” jars during the month of November, or a yearly jar of gratitude.  But those are for the wonderful things happening, big or small.  Perhaps what we need is a sacrifice of thanksgiving jar, because we’re wanting to practice giving things in the hard spots of life, trusting God to see us through.  Then at the end of the year, we would read the slips of paper of the hard things, and recall God’s faithfulness to see us through.

God’s best to you and yours,

Stacy

 

The Stone Sunday Chronicles

Today seems like the best day ever to TRY to begin my weekly Stone Sunday Chronicle where I’ll share a bit of our worship experience.  Why is today the best day ever?  Because HE IS RISEN!  Celebrating this Truth for me and my family brings me great joy.

By God’s grace, we woke up  late but made it to church early enough to get some coffee!  So today, we find ourselves in worship all together, including my youngest who is 9, as on other Sunday’s he is in his classroom.  So while I’m taking notes on my phone app provided, he’s taking his own…my heart exploded with joy as I unfolded his church bulletin I was about to toss in the trash to find the following:

So, I’m thinking he gets it.  That Christ passionately pursues him with a never-ending, never-forsaking love.  To love the heart of Christ is to recognize His heart for you.  My Momma-heart rejoices and turns to pray that my dear one will daily recognize the Truth of God’s love for Him that sent His Son Jesus to the cross to bear the weight of our sins – so that we could be with Him forever.  And that God IS with him NOW, by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in his 9 year old heart – a seal of promise that my boy belongs to God.

Well, this one also offered up a hilarious moment that I hoped did not turn into a meltdown, as Pastor ask for those wanting to accept Jesus to raise their hand, to which he did.  Why?  Because he wanted to do it – again (he’s already accepted Christ several years ago), so that….he could get the new bible they were offering to new believers (this child needs a new bible…).  So I joyfully promised him a new bible forthcoming.

After worship, our oldest and husband and I then serve in our preschool ministry.  I love seeing these kids each Sunday.  All of the 4 year olds were together as we waited to go see our special guest, an Illusionist that would present the gospel.  Each Sunday, seeds of Truth are being planted in the hearts of these children.  Our family considers it a privilege to be a part of something bigger than ourselves – seed planters that others will come along and water, and God will grow in His time.

Our afternoon was spent with both sides of our family as we celebrated Easter with a burger cookout.  My man is the king of the pit.  We were blessed with great time together.  Our oldest wanted to lead in our prayer of blessing.  Past the food, he was looking forward to some basketball court time with his dad and uncles.  I was delighted to visit with one of my SIL, my Mom, and a friend that stopped by.

May you and yours be blessed,

Stacy

 

 

 

Day 2 – Photo of the Day

IMG_4744 (3)  C is for Clarinet

Last year I’d entertained the thought of selling this beauty.  She is a Buffet B-flat Clarinet R13.  We have been together since about 9th grade, so over 3o years.  She and I had much fun all the way through college marching band.  I played some before kids, performing with our local community band and teaching lessons for a short season.

So I thought I’d take her in to our local music store and discuss a trade for some stringed instruments.  I have a great desire to learn something along the lines of guitar, ukulele, dulcimer.  Someone had asked me “Do you think you might play again?” Well, I haven’t all these years, so I thought I’d get her out and see what I thought.  Well, I’m still smitten with her.  I think she and I still have places to go we had not traveled previously.  So, I’m thinking she’s a keeper.  And we’ll have to save our pennies for the other instruments.  Isn’t she beautiful?

Day 1 – Photo of the Day

F is for Friends

So, I purchased a new toy this week – a Canon Rebel Ti2.  Thrilled.  My small goal is a photo a day (I took 95 today) and to work my way through the alphabet…in no particular order, obviously.  But I thought this photo was the best.  They’ve been friends for several years now.  When B’s dad purchased the land across from our home, our boys would rush over any time Mr. I came to work on the land, and to add icing to the cake?  He had children close to our boys age.  Their land makes kickball and night tag great fun.  B came to the park with us today for fishing.

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Where He Leads

Since having children nearly 7 years ago, I am still learning to be content with the daily activities that are necessary to make a loving home go round-n-round. It has been a long journey to arrive at a “respectable” level of contentment. Along the way, I’ve had my faithful supporter, guide, comforter and friend, Jesus in me. My “Jesus-with-skin-on” has come in the form of many – first of course, being my husband, who I’ve learned has much greater insight than I’ve previously given him credit for! Becoming a Mom has been gloriously wonderful and at the same time, rock hard!
My learning contentment has meant I’ve had to lay aside my envy. Along this journey these past 7 years – 2 precious boys later, I’ve seen beautiful Mothers around me spinning plates so beautifully. Weaving a web of personal creativity. Serving others. And yet my Heavenly Father, for me, has set the boundary lines close in. The writing and speaking I dream of doing to encourage and uplift women to the heart of God is just that – a dream. For now, the boundaries are set in. When He gives me the “YES!” I’ll move – but not until then. I know His will and plan are perfect. I’ve had many years to practice trusting Him.
So when He had me and the kids enroll into Bible Study Fellowship this year to study Isaiah, I was stunned by the peace He gave me while sitting in intro that morning. The peace He gave I’ve described as almost touchable. Wild peace from Him. And as I began to get into the study, it didn’t take Him long to speak to a heart longing to hear more from Him. He gave me an assignment.
In response to one of the pointed questions of “what specific situations of oppression and injustice could you work to resolve?” My response was to “encourage and invest in the lives of young moms who are overwhelmed by being a mom (single) – speaking Truth into their lives.” He continued to point me in a direction – His direction. And before long, I found myself in volunteer training for Hannah House, a maternity home for pregnant women, 13-29. It had just moved it’s 20+ year ministry from Glenrose, Tx to East Texas and was in need of volunteers. I had no idea where I fit in until I wrote on my training card “willing to talk about a day in the life of a Mom.” To which the director replied, “GREAT! We had moms in Glenrose that would have a girl come in their home once a week to see what it’s really like to be a mom.” Well, I was just thinking about giving a talk about the ins and outs of my day, but no, Heavenly Father had a different plan – to open my home to these beautiful pregnant women – speaking Truth into their lives and loving on them through my family.
To date we’ve had girls the past three Friday mornings. It has been a joy to host these women. To pray for them. My boys have embraced each one; prayed for each one. They have had the blessing of doing a little bit of each thing we do, between chore time, reading time, watching me teach as we “do school”, cooking. They’ve seen me discipline each child – the not so fun, but necessary part of parenting. We’ve loved on them and shared a meal with them. And my two little evangelists have both asked each girl “Do you know Jesus?” Wow. I would have never dreamed. As I described to several friends of mine, He’s placed me out of my comfort zone and in a very vulnerable place. But HE is here with us, making Himself known to those who are hurting. And we are blessed.
Are you interested in writing or speaking to women and leading them to the heart of God? If your heart is to serve women and lead them to the Heavenly Father, check out the She Speaks Conference. I’m going to! Maybe I’ll see you there!

Dogless in East Texas

Dear Arlis

This is how it all started: (husband) “There are Australian Shepherd Puppies for sale.” (me) googling and researching Australian Shepherd. Musing and even asking him “Is Heavenly Father suggesting we get a dog?” (husband) “What’s He telling you??”

That was how the conversation/consideration began which quickly took a turn for the worse.  For in one day oldest took the antenea off Ole’ Blue (94 Ford) and decided to see what banging on the already-cracked windshield might yield. It yielded a $175 new windshield and a boy that gets to rake the front yard this season.  And that afternoon husband’s glasses fell apart. The $300 frames. Replaced by black frames for $60. He lookes very astute, I’d say.

So for several weeks the discussion ended. Until the pain of unexpected expenses could fade just a bit.

The discussion picked back up as I compared a Wii to a dog. I’m lo-tech. And I plan to stay that way. Our kids are 6 and nearly 4. They need to be outside, outside, outside. I need to be outside, for that matter! And I don’t want another thing I have to monitor or limit. Dog won. And was approved.

I diligently began seeking the Stone Family Dog. Researching the breeds I think we’d be interested in, which are Border Collie, Blue Heeler, Australian Shepherd and possibly, Lab or Golden Retriever.  Our past dogs were both Schnauzers and we loved them.  But we wanted our boys to have a big boy dog.

I went through a series of dogs:  Kady, a beautiful border collie; Pepper, a 15 lb. Fox terrier/Blue Heeler that stole our hearts on the web site. Next was Lucy, an Australian Shepherd at our local humane shelter and Fraydo, a black and white short haired Australian Shepherd mix.Then there was Danny, a border collie black lab mix.  Beautiful markings and trained perfectly for our family.  

Surprisingly my dog-lover heart was able to rebound from several disappointments.  What I found was that working with rescue organizations is a bit interesting.  And I think there are some interesting practices occuring within these organizations.  Perhaps I’ll leave that for another blog entry.  I was able to walk through our local humane society without wanting/believing I needed to rescue every dog there. 

So over a week ago we spent some time with what seems to be an obvious choice, although previously eliminated – our neighbor’s 2 year old Border Collie, Arlis.  Dear Arlis came to our neighbors as a stray over a year ago.  One day he followed them home from a walk down the street.  No one responded to their info posted of a found dog and so they chose to keep him. 

We’ve had the pleasure of helping care for Arlis when they have been away.  When he’s darted out their door, we’ve come to the rescue and lassoed him to safety.  But youngest was not convninced he was for us until we had Arlis over to see if he would not jump on him.  Several larger dogs, including Arlis,  have knocked him over and he doesn’t care for this, of course.

But as we sat down to have the dog discussion several weeks ago, Sawyer’s testimony to his dad was “He not jump on me!’  And so it became final:  when our dear neighbors, who have become dear friends, move into town next month, we will get the pleasure of homing dear Arlis. 

For now, we are housing him during the holidays while our neighbors are away.  Arlis has been the perfect gentlemen and he and I have enjoyed some quiet time together after every one has gone to bed.  He enjoys being inside – and is perfectly content to be outside, guarding, waiting, watching.  This morning he was joyfully playing with his new tennis balls – alone or with us! 

Making a decision guided by Father brings peace.  There’s poop that obviously needs to be scooped in the back yard, as there are now at least 3 pairs of shoes that need to be de-pooped.   Yesterday he got out the back gate once and had to be lassoed.  This did cause a bit of anxiety, but after marking his spot, he seemed to tune back in to his name!  Tony and I were doing prep work in the kitchen last night for todays meal – with a 45-50 lb dog lying in the middle of the floor.  “Oh, excuse me Arlis!”  After finishing placing the gifts under the tree I got a perfect pic of our “Christmas dog” laying at the foot of the tree.  He is part of our Christmas this year!  And tonight I’ve enjoyed the company of a sweet and gentle dog lying at my feet while I end this beautiful day.

A year ago I was very uninterested in having another dog.  What a difference a little time makes!

Merry Christmas, Arlis!