January 9, 2014

Choosing to Be Joyful

A question I get very often is "how are you always so happy and smiling?" Let me tell you, and Travis could testify,  I am absolutely not always happy. There are days where I'm simply tired and completely frustrated.  There are people who frustrate me and moments that my patience is pushed to the max. Today is one of those days; my body is worn out, my mind is full of thoughts,  I don't know what to do,  and I just feel like crying. We all have those days, you know what I'm talking about. Everything that could go wrong does.

In those moments and on those days we have a couple choices.  We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves, complain about our life and by our attitude cause our situation to get worse. Or we can choose joy. Choosing joy isn't easy and sometimes may even feel like you're being fake. 

Honestly my friends,  our feelings don't matter though. If they did,  we would all be divorced and without jobs because I know we all have moments where we don't feel like going to work or don't feel in love with our spouse. 

You may feel too tired to get into the Word; do it anyway and see how being connected with God gives you a lift. You might feel like crying; try smiling at a stranger instead and see the blessing you'll receive. You may feel like complaining about your situation; list all the goods things and blessings in your life instead.

Joy is something that each and everyday I make the conscious effort to choose. Joy isn't based on my situation. It's not even based on whether I'm happy or not.  Actually joy and my happiness shouldn't be connected at all in my life. 

You see,  joy is something we're commanded to have: "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances,  for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thes 4:16)  God's will is for me to be joyful simply because Christ is in my life! Wow!

When hard times comes,  which they do to everyone, it's sometimes not easy to be joyful when life seems to be crumbling around you. But you can have joy in the fact that Christ is your friend and the Creator of the universe has your back.  Friends,  I pray that today we're all able to choose joy!

Good bless you,

January 7, 2014

One Step Closer to Debt Free!

After closely reviewing our remaining debt, we realized that we were paying way too high of an interest rate on one of my student loans and the current mortgage interest rate was substantially less than we were currently paying.  After meeting with our bank and spending some time in prayer and crunching numbers, we determined that a refinance would be a huge positive in our finances.  In this refinance process, we took out an extra $10,000 to pay off my smallest but highest interest student loan.

As we make a $10,000 payment on Wednesday to payoff this student loan, that means we are one step closer to our goal of being debt free other than our house!!

This is such an exciting step in our lives and I know this hurdle will spur us on to continue with this long and tedious process!!  As we look forward to the rest of 2014, I pray that we are able to make progress on the remaining $14,000 in order to be another step closer to our dream of adopting a child debt free!  :-)

January 6, 2014

Christmas 2013

I just realized that I never posted pictures from Christmas, so for those of you who don't have Facebook, here's some pictures!  :-)

We started off our Christmas season by making a gingerbread house at the library!  We were there about ten minutes and Lucas decided it was done.  He had a great time, though, and was extremely proud of his finished product!

We then visited with Santa at the village Christmas celebration and Lucas asked him for a race car!

Then Christmas morning came and we had fun watching him unwrap his presents and say "Thank You!" after opening each one!  His favorite gift this year was his "racecar" from GT and Aunt Tana!

I can't describe to you how blessed we are to have this little man in our lives!  He's such a passionate, curious guy and has a spirit that will carry him well throughout his life.  Most important of all, we're raising him to understand that God loves him and Jesus is his friend!  It was so precious to hear him talk about Baby Jesus as he saw a nativity scene, and pray to God at each Christmas meal!  :-)  We are blessed beyond imagination!!

January 5, 2014


"This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." -Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth." -Isaiah 4: 18 (NKJV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail." -Job 14:7 (NIV)

"Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." Colossians 3:10 (NLT)

Our God sure does love to make things new!  Everyday, a new child is born, a beautiful new sun rises, and each twenty-four hours, we have a fresh start.  Even in death, God brings about newness, as Believers receive a new home and new body.  

As we embark into this new year and we are bombarded with a snow storm, I am reminded of God's newness.  Each winter, He wipes the slate clean by bringing frost and snow, in order for flowers and trees to have a new life each Spring!  Although this snow brings us inside and depresses some of us, we must remember that it is needed to create a newness this Spring.  :-)

And as I've had time to reflect today, I realize that God gives me a newness each twenty-four hours.  Every day, I have the opportunity to wipe my slate clean, forgetting the issues of yesterday and looking forward with anticipation and hope.  I can choose to forgive the people who have hurt me, repent of my sins from the day, and passionately look forward to all that God provides me in the new day ahead.

Let us all look forward to the year ahead of us with anticipation, seeking Christ fervently!  Let us all wake up each morning with a freshness that only God can provide, allowing Him to shape each day.  Let us press on to reach the end of the race, as Paul writes in Philippians...

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." -Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)