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

 

 

 

Stone Sunday Chronicles – Last week!

Today began early as we were scheduled to serve as MVP (most valuable parent) in Saw’s class today. It began with Tony and I working together to throw a pork loin roast into the oven. Fortunately (albeit grudgingly) I am learning to bathe the night before so there’s only makeup and hair to contend with. Easy breakfast with farmers cheese (tvorog), honey, granola and banana. Sammy would love a return of my “famous Sunday muffins” but he and I are going to have to make it a routine to mix the dry ingredients the night before.

Way before we had kids, Tony and I were involved in a large Sunday school class where everyone was having kids before us. I loved that class and the people in it and was very passionate about encouraging others in their relationship with Christ. One of the members had twins at one point – and then “fell of the face of the earth.” And I remember it making me sad that she no longer attended our class, or church, that I knew of. Perhaps to make it more challenging, I think her husband worked on Sundays. And although our class visited and encouraged her, nothing changed. However, believing that a parent, as a Believer, had the greatest responsibility of leading their child to faith in Christ, and in my opinion, worshipping with other believers is a part of the process of teaching them to live out God’s Word, could not understand her absence and rememember thinking “God didn’t give you those babies for you to drop out of church!” Well, this was my simple prayer when I got home and was changing clothes “Thank you Father, for helping us to work through the challenges of GETTING to church! Thank for for the tenacity and perseverance it often takes on a Sunday morning to not give up and to keep moving us (especially 2 small people!) forward so that we can live out our faith by worshipping with other Believers.” Because believe me, I encountered some small, yet viable opportunities this morning to throw my hands up in the air and say “FORGET IT! IT’s TOO HARD!”

Our time was well spent in worship (didn’t get there for song, only message). Pastor is still preaching on 2 Corinthians and giving/money. It’s been a great series. Tony is PUMPED about starting Dave Ramsey’s course in a few weeks.

Our next tour of duty was changed – we were to be MVP’s in Sawyer’s class (a breeze) but were asked before worship if we could switch to Sammy’s class. My response: I’m not prayed up for that! That class is 30+ strong. But we were willing – and always will be, to step in where we’re needed. Sammy was NOT happy about Momma being in his class, but Dad is the fun man of the two of us and was able to win him over by playing a game of “ball” in the fish tank (no fish or water) and this won him over easily. They divide the boys and girls up after getting started and we were in charge of sharing about Jesus being in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, how hard it must have been for him and how He made the right decisions to lean on/into Father during this testing. We made a 80 link chain yellow/black, representing day and night. My Sammy was a great help. I don’t know who was the rowdiest, the girls or boys. But both groups LOVED my husband. This is how it always is. Our previous next door neighbors had a daugther – she saw me more than Tony (he was working nights at the time), but she ALWAYS remembered his name and would ask about him – and then say “What’s your name again?” Anyhow, we survived 30+ kindergartener’s and were glad to get home!

Since I’m finishing this post a week late, I can’t remember much past that! But there were a few things I thought worth reading. Maybe a sentence or two.

Handwritting

The night before I got to stay up WAY later than I like to. It was a wonderful time of chillin’ out since after waking up from our Sunday nap I’d been going nearly full-speed to accomplish some things. Only some things. I’m decluttering a little here – a little there. Which reminds me, I need to post our furniture in our newpaper and on Craigslist. That may sound like major decluttering…but I’m at least keeping one chair (so far…) and a friend is loaning us (for a few years till they build) a leather chair with ottoman – can’t wait for that piece!

Anyhow! So Sunday night I spent time really cleaning up my kitchen that was a total wreck (and we ate Sunday dinner out…) and actually enjoying it. I also read 2 chapters in The Secret (Beverly Lewis, Seasons of Grace book 1). And then I got to write 3 notes that needed to be written.

The first note was to my Momma. Sadly, I have to look up her address b/c that’s how rare I send her mail. But she does just live down the road…is that ok? Anyhow. In Sunday worship as our choir was singing a lovely version of “Jesus Paid It All”, tears were streaming down my face (and my hankies were not with me – more on my special hankies later) and all I could continue to utter to my Heavenly Father was “Thank you.”

Most of my growing up years it was just me and Mom. She and my dad had divorced when I was two; he was an alcoholic and was rarely a part of my life, until eventually not at all. She remarried a wonderfull, much older man that had been a part of her life since before I was born. He is who I refer to as Dad (passed away when I was in college from recurring cancer). They divorced when I was 13. All that to say, she was single mom most of the time. And considering who I am today, I think she and my Heavenly Father did a wonderful job!

So as I sat with my Love and my Sammy in worship Sunday morning, my heart was full of gratitude for a Mom who thought it was important to get us to church. During my early years she was also a Sunday school teacher for toddlers and I can still see the classroom table in my mind and a sweet smile on her face as she taught. Funny, thinking about it. Someday I hope to teach the two years olds – inspired by my Mom and Mrs. Clay, who has taught both my boys to “read from the bible.”

My faith is of such value to me that I have not words to express it. He is my ALL in ALL. And I’m so grateful for the grace given to me to believe in Him. My faith in Him is the only thing I will take from this world when I see Him face to face. So blessed was I to pen a note to my Mom, thanking her for listening to Him by taking us to church so that my foundation of faith could begin that way. She thinks I could be a pastor (which is hillarious, considering I’m Baptist and women are not in the pulpit!) What would have happened to me if I had not had that foundation in my early years to build upon?? And although I strayed from Him in college, there came a point when I began to hear Him calling me back to Him and I said “YES!” I haven’t looked back since.

The other two notes were to two of our ministers at church – a dear friend being promoted to Sr. Associate Pastor and the other moving from Youth Pastor to Develop Pastor. These are great men of God and our family was so delighted to rejoice in Father’s leading in their lives. We are blessed to belong to a wonderful church family with a staff that is….Father listener’s. Grateful for those men who faithfully serve.

B/c I missed the mail man yesterday I got to hand-deliver Mom’s letter as she kept the boys last night while the hubs and I shopped. I could tell it meant a lot to her. “Her children arise and call her blessed.”

Praying with one eye open!

Funny, I was thinking about my last blog post today (Worshipping with one eye open!) while in church – not realizing it was the last post I’d made!  But today I was laughing as Tony went to take my hand during the last prayer and I was laughing (quietly, of course) and praying with eyes open as Sammy was slipping into the isle…ready to GO!   Pastor Glynn is a wonderful man of God and preacher/teacher of God’s Word, yet I find myself wishing he would get on with it so that church is over!  This, of course, is only due to the movability of my son!  Today I was telling the Lord while in church that I felt like a black momma cat with it’s back arched and claws dug in – and I wanted to be that fluffy gray kitty with brown spots all curled up and comfy. 

I WAS grateful for the portion of Pastor’s message that I heard (with my ears consciously, Thanking Father in advance for whatever portion I “missed” would make it to His Spirit living in me).  It was on coveting.  I appreciate the opportunity to take that back to Father for His examination in my heart.  We are in the process of decluttering again as it seems the walls are closing in (and there’s not even a Christmas tree up yet!).  I have experienced Father’s gifts of things needed…and even wanted.  And when I see His hand bring a gift – oh, the joy!  And then His joy b/c of MY joy over His gift!  So, I ushered to Him all that is in my living room (even my dresser and coffee table, hand-made by my great-grandpaw Roberts and my grandmother’s small library table – one of her first pieces of furniture).  Everything is HIS.  So declaring He may take out and put in whatever HE wants!  And wondering if I should read up on Feng Shui! 🙂

And speaking of bringing in – He brought in some cool curtain panels for our bedroom that I’m anxious to tea stain and hang this week!  And needing to google if 100% polyester will tea stain!

Yesterday we sang a song by Chris Tomlin “I Will Rise.”  One of the fav part of the lyrics is “I will rise when He calls my Name” – I know this full  well, as well as I know my name, He WILL call my name one day and I WILL see Him face to face.  It IS well with my soul.

 

Captured by God’s Love

Last Sunday my Sammy came home with this precious necklace (for me) that says “I Love Jesus.” It was meaningful to me not only because he gave it to me, but because of what it said and that he gave it to me. It is my heart’s desire that my love for Jesus comes through and that others feel that love, despite my many, many, many mistakes.

So this morning I was up early enough to have some (alone time) with God. Going to Him with a particular need, I said “Father, what are we going to do about that.” Immediately came to mind the verse “Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Prov. 3:3) I hugged that verse, if you know what I mean. I DID need to not allow love nor faithfulness leave me – and to put them around my neck (to be displayed through my actions/words) and write them on my heart (remember; cling to; inner determination and fortitude).

So this morning Sammy brings me my necklace. And my verse came to mind – as my necklace “I Love Jesus”, was now bound around my neck. Loved it.

God again loved on me through what I considered a miracle. I had dropped off (old) black and white negatives last Thursday at Walmart. They are of my grandparents and it was hard relinquishing them. At the last minute I said “Hey! Let’s put them on a CD!” Anyhow, long story short. They weren’t suppose to arrive until the 28th – thus delaying on of my mother’s gifts (gasp!). I did not know of such a delay when I dropped them off. I sent up a quick prayer, for He is in all things. I made a call – no luck. So I’ll have to wait and stick a note in a giftbox for my mom. He came through – with photos. Photos. Inconsequential, or seemingly in the scheme of life. But He did it for me and I KNOW He’s ecstatic over delighting me with this surprise! Photos. Part of me is perplexed by His care – but the other part of me totally gets it. He’s in charge. Even if that hadn’t come through early, He knows that I know He’s in charge. Grace. Pure Grace. And He knows that in light of His ability to pull off early delivered photos, He’s speaking volumes to me about the other things on my heart I want to give up hope on. So I’ll give those seemingly hopeless things/thoughts/desires to Him – and wait. Knowing He can and He will when it’s time. And even if He doesn’t, He knows I’ll still believe in Him, on Him, and proclaim His faithfulness to all generations.

Away in a Manager

Shepherd Boy Gabriel welcoming Baby Jesus
Shepherd Boy Gabriel welcoming Baby Jesus

Yesterday Sammy and I decided to forego his naptime so he could go with me to pick up some additions to our nativity scene.  This year I was after a Shepherd to add, but while I was there decided to pick up the Gloria Angel as well.  The angel I have used in the past is from Southern Living and is currently laying on the counter in pieces, waiting for me to find the cement glue and fix her.  This morning Sammy was adament that I make the effort to rescue the Three Wise Men from the office closet.  They are also from Southern Living and were a gift to me quite a few years ago.  I think they are beautiful. 

 

 

 

He's the reason we celebrate!
He's the reason we celebrate!

I have waited YEARS to purchase a nativity scene because I was never happy with the face of baby Jesus.  Yes, that’s my past perfectionism at work.  However, I have learned that I know what I’m looking for and when I find it, I KNOW that’s IT.  Thus, there’s a lot of waiting involved since I don’t become obsessive about the hunt. 

 

 

 

Sawyer visiting with the Holy Family
Sawyer visiting with the Holy Family

So I purchased the Holy Family probably about 3 years ago.  It is made by Fontanini.  “The figures are made in Italy of virtually unbreakable, child-friendly polymer.”  Other than being quite pleased with how baby Jesus looks, that was the 2nd plus to this collection.  In fact, I think I saw this collection probably a year before I purchased it, knowing when I saw it that is was the ONE for me. 

 

 

When Sammy was little(r) I wanted him to be able to play with nativity set and not get crazy about it getting broke.  Now Sawyer Wayne is having his turn with it as well and it is precious to watch them.  The first night we set them out, Sammy took them down and put them in the Noah’s Ark boat, with the Webbles House and Barn, and they were traveling to their new home.  LOVED IT!  They were all back in the boat last night.

My only rules are the figures are to be returned before we eat/leave the house/before naptime and bedtime.  When I came in yesterday from my Mothers League meeting (which was wonderful, by the way!), I didn’t see baby Jesus anywhere.  So the hunt was on.  Sammy found him and we returned him to his rightful place. 

 

Jesse Tree and Nativity Scene
Jesse Tree and Nativity Scene

We are also enjoying our Jesse Tree.  We missed doing our Jesse Tree ornament and reading last night so we will double up tonight.  Sammy was up early so he has already colored his ornaments.  This morning at the table I brought our nativity scene and read to the boys out of Matthew (?) about the Shepherds and Angels.  We’ve also been listening every morning during breakfast and while I cook diner a CD I purchased last year that has the reading of the Birth of Jesus – it is lovely and so soothing.

 

 

He is indeed our Reason for the Season.  It is my hope to make changes each year, by His design, to honor Him as we celebrate.  It is so NOT about us or the gifts – it is ALL about HIM and the gift of HIS birth.  He is worth celebrating!

 

These are a few of my favorite things…Jesus

blog-for-christmas-post-004.jpgblog-for-christmas-post-003.jpgChristmas tree

This afternoon after lunch my Tony and I along with the boys will celebrate the birth of Jesus with some Walmart cupcakes and songs.  I can’t wait!  He is the reason for our celebration. 

As I look at my Sawyer, a mere 10 months, I think of Mary and how she must have marveled at her Son.  Sammy is 3, and I’m certain she took delight in Jesus at this precious age – busy, inquisitive, loving, compassionate.  Was she challenged with discipline issues??  As I do, surely she embraced each moment of challenge seeking God’s guidance.  A recent sermon our pastor preached on Joseph revealed a great deal about him I had not previously gathered.  Although we think we don’t know much about him, he was obedient to God’s leading each time he’s mentioned in God’s Word.  Certainly they knew their Son was special for many reasons. 

What I like about Jesus’ birth was his humble beginnings.  And actually, humble he remained.  He’s been my friend and held my hand for many years now.  I praise Him for He is as real to me as the air I breathe – yet I can not physically see both.  But I need both.  I can’t imagine my life without Him.  1 Peter 1:8 & 9 (NIV) says “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  AMEN!  Oh, how grateful I am for the grace given me to believe in Him! 

As Sammy and I have discussed having a birthday celebration for Jesus, I can see the look in his eye, wondering “what do we give Jesus on his birthday?”  I’ve told Sammy the best gift we have to offer Him is ourselves.  I’ve trusted Father to convey the truth of that to Sammy’s heart.  The nativity scene was out this morning and when Sammy woke up he said “But where is Baby Jesus?” Literally, he’s on top of the fridge, but I told Sammy when we celebrated His birthday we would put him in the manger.  But he also wanted to know “Really, where is Jesus, Momma?”  So I explained that He lives in mine and daddy’s heart because we believe in Him.  Ah, Father, help me navigate these questions with truth and grace!

So Jesus not only had humble beginnings, but He remained so during His life here, because He came to serve, not to be served and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28, NIV).  He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, as scripture foretold, “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”(Matt. 21:5, Isa. 62:11, Zec. 9:9).   He bore my disgrace and shame willingly by being crucified for my sins – He was completely innocent of any sin (John 19).  He rose from the grave (John 20) Praise HIM!  He is indeed alive and seated at the Right Hand of God in the heavenly realms (Eph. 1:20)!  And He is coming back at just the right time. And when He does, according to John in Revelation 19:11-16, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True….on his head are many crowns….on his robe and on his thigh he has the name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Rejoice all ye people!

By the way, that’s not my Chevy Chase Christmas tree pictured above.  That’s a tree from Oakland Height’s Baptist Church Festival of Trees.  The tree had on it the Name’s of God.  It was my favorite of the festival.  Beautiful!