Tag Archives: birthday

Letting go of tradition

Although gingerbread cookies are a common Christmas tradition, it isn’t one of ours.

Our family has always baked cookies at Christmas, but for some reason gingerbread men wasn’t one of them.

However, we have had a family tradition of gingerbread houses.

These were last year’s and we had a good time making them.

But this year, I have needed to let go of some family traditions.

One of them being the baking of gingerbread houses and then the activity of putting them together on Christmas Day.

Instead, Anne and I baked gingerbread men and she is currently busy making frosting so people can decorate their own.

I only frosted two dozen for putting out with the other cookies.

We will have many things which are different this year, but I’m certain it will still be a lovely holiday.

The Lord reminded me yesterday that it is best to hold tightly to Jesus, rather than traditions.

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
Matthew 15:1‭-‬6 NKJV

It is easy to get carried away in trying to follow things as they used to be or to uphold the expectations of others and ourselves.

But if our traditions are encroaching upon our joy at the birth of our Savior the tradition needs to change.

Because it’s our hearts that truly matter, not what foods we eat nor what gifts we give or even how fancy our decorations.

If we manage to fulfill every obligation and check off all on our lists, but fail to worship the One whose birth we are celebrating, then we’ve sadly missed the point.

Christmas is about Christ Jesus.

May we each set aside whatever is needed so we can truly worship the King of kings whose birth we remember on December 25.

I’m thankful to God that He has altered some of our traditions and I’m praying we can remain focused upon Him.

I pray the same for you and your family.

May God bless and keep you dear reader.

Merry Christmas!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your birth and the opportunity we have to celebrate it. Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me of the importance of You in the midst of all our preparations. Lord, please help us to remain focused upon You during the family, food, and fun. Lord, please bless those who are struggling, the hurting, the sick, the needy, and especially those who mourn. For although Your birth was an incredible gift and reason to rejoice not everyone was glad and that led to great loss. May we never forget those among us who are suffering. Thank You that You love each and every one of us. Thank You for Your salvation, Jesus. Happy birthday! Amen.

Happy Boxing Day!

It’s a holiday in the UK and always follows Christmas.

As my friend once said, “You know, it’s for boxing up your things”.

What a great idea!

After all it takes a great deal of effort to get everything out, I love the idea of setting aside a day to put everything away and make things tidy.

We certainly will be doing some of that today.

But more than cleaning and reorganizing, I’m going to be thanking God.

Our youngest girl turned 18 yesterday.

She’s a beautiful young woman and I’m so glad to have her in my life.

I praise God for the friendship we have and the beautiful way she has blossomed.

Yesterday, as we all enjoyed opening gifts and making gingerbread houses and eating loads of goodies, I just felt so blessed.

God has been so good.

His way is perfect.

His plans are best.

When we moved here, Anne had to leave her job, her friends, and most of her family.

It was tough for her.

But He has given her so much here.

She helps me around the house, cooking and cleaning.

She helps watch the grandbabies and she sometimes stays with Sis to do chores there.

I’ve watched her walk in the Lord grow.

She’s been learning how to do things she never would have if we’d not moved.

As we cleaned up and chatted last evening, my heart was so full.

God gave us such gifts in each one of our children and I am so grateful.

Although, letting go is difficult, I like watching to see what God is doing.

I know I can rest in His will for our family, every single one of them.

He made them and He loves them even more than I do.

Praise God!

As we “box up” today, I’m going to treasure the beautiful memories while prayerfully waiting for all the Lord has in store.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for our beautiful daughter. Lord, thank You for our family. I praise You for all Your blessings. Please continue to walk with each one of us and guide our hearts and minds. Lord, You alone are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Another birthday

Birthday supper!

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
Psalms 126:2 NKJV

Despite the circumstances, which are not a little concerning.

Looking away from the tragedy.

My eyes are turned to God.

His incredible blessings are worth pause and reflection.

Because no matter what is taken away, my soul is safe in His hands.

That one truth is far more valuable than any temporary trial.

But He has done so much more than just save my soul.

Throughout this journey of chronic illness He has been so faithful.

Days when I prayed for just the ability to breathe, His patience would enfold me.

Times of debilitating pain, His Spirit strengthened me.

When disappointment or discouragement would taint my perspective, His Word would wash away the stains of sin and the lies of the enemy.

And if all that were not enough, He has blessed me with a wonderful family who loves and cares for me daily.

Friends who have kept up with all our bumps and bruises, praying and encouraging us.

Then He placed us in a new church which has loved and supported us.

A neighborhood where we can be at peace and enjoy the quiet.

Yes, this year has been very full of change and stretching and learning.

I’m so thankful for another birthday.

After all we have walked through and all that is happening right now, I can say with assurance:

“The LORD has done great things for us!”

And:

Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalms 124:8 NKJV


Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being both our Creator and our Savior. You alone are all we ever need. Father, as we walk in this place, we humbly seek Your face. Please help us to look to You, and to find comfort in Your truth. You alone are the Almighty God and we can rest in that, no matter what happens. Thank You for being our Salvation, our Comforter, and our Refuge. We trust You, Jesus, no matter the circumstances. Amen.

A Mighty Man of Valour

When our son was born a phrase jumped out at me from the Scriptures.

1 Chronicles 7:9 KJV — And the number of them, after their genealogy by their generations, heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour, was twenty thousand and two hundred.

It’s actually used several times in Scripture.

1 Samuel 16:18 NKJV — Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him.”

David made mistakes, but he was the greatest King Israel ever had and more importantly, he was a man after God’s own heart.

So, I prayed this over our son.

“Lord, make him a Mighty Man of Valour.”

I don’t remember exactly when, but within the last year, I was praying that same thing for our son again and the Lord spoke.

Why don’t you pray this for your other son?

I was like Job.

Nothing to answer.

However, I began to add our son-in-law to my prayers in a new way.

I was praying for him regularly, but not in the same ways I was praying for our son, born into our family.

It was clear, I’d missed a step.

Marriage is just as much a joining the family as birth.

We were thrilled when our daughter married our son-in-law.

He’s a godly man, who truly loves all of us, and we love him.

And I praise God for him.

Infact, getting to live in his home with our daughter and baby was such a blessing.

He treated me as a cherished guest.

Sometimes, when I couldn’t leave my room, he’d bring me a plate of food and sit on the floor to chat while I ate.

There are so many thoughtful things he did for me while I was there.

He’s always willing to help in anyway he can.

He’s a humble guy too.

When I try to let him know how much I appreciate him, he simply points to Jesus.

Or he’ll say, “It’s all God.”

So why am I going on and on about him when I know he’d rather me not tell everyone what a blessing he is?

Today is his birthday.

And this is my small way of thanking God for adding this young man to our family as a son.

Because:

Psalm 127:3a NKJV — Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,…

And I think that includes adult children who marry the ones born into our family.

Happy birthday, son!

May God richly bless you!

Birthday Season

Today is another birthday.

Our Bell is 19!

Monday we celebrated Anne’s upcoming birthday.

She will be 17.

Last week was Jase’s birthday.

Every year we celebrate birthdays along with Christmas.

Each year we’ve done it a little different.

I remember one year when a large portion of our extended family would be traveling. We decided to give all three a combination birthday party. I baked three cakes and we lined them up to sing and blow out candles.

Last year was unique. Anne was turning 16 so around lunch time on Christmas Day, our oldest daughter and her hubby transformed our house into a birthday party and we had cake, ice cream, and Anne opened gifts.

It doesn’t seem like a year already.

Where did my youngest’s girl’s 16th year go?

How did our Bell get so close to 20?!

Yet, I’m so thankful for it all.

Each year is a milestone.

Every person a gift from God.

What is better than to stop and praise God for each individual than by celebrating their birth?

At our house we call the month of December the “Birthday Season”.

Which I love.

I have the privilege of sharing the joy in the birth of each of our three youngest children with the insurmountable joy of the birth of my Savior.

Truly December is the Birthday Season!

Dependant

He’s legally our dependant.

And in many ways he depends upon us to provide for his needs.

Yet, I was very aware yesterday (it was his birthday) he may not always be.

Although his life is vastly different from the average, he’s made some astonishing progress.

He’s not going to meet the same milestones as other people do, but I’ve been encouraged lately about his future.

With our move and my health I’ve come to depend upon him for several things.

He takes the trash out and he makes sure the cans are on the curb Monday morning.

He vacuums.

He does nearly all my yard work.

He helps in the kitchen or tidying up around the house.

It’s been an incredible blessing.

I depend upon him for his love and kindness.

He’s often ready to make me a cup of tea or sometimes he just holds my hand when I don’t feel well.

He goes with me to the allergist to get my shots.

I asked him yesterday if he wanted to go.

He looked at me a little surprised.

“I’ve never missed one yet.”

He’s very good at remembering landmarks and notices details faster than I do.

Which has become great when driving in unfamiliar areas.

I’m a country girl and this town driving has me often lost.

He prays for me.

His eagerness to learn about God makes Bible study a joy.

It’s been such a blessing to have all of our children.

Each one is special and valuable.

Each one so very precious.

All of them have made personal commitments to follow Jesus and I pray for them daily.

As they grow and leave home (I’m down to only two at home!) I’m so thankful for the time I’ve had.

Psalm 127:3 KJV — Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

It’s so true!

I praise God for our dependants, may they always be dependent upon Jesus.

38

image

Okay…

Here it goes.

I’m 38 today.

It’s a little bit startling,
but I’m super thankful.

You see about four years ago my life changed dramatically.

And I made a few promises to the Lord which I intend to hold to for the rest of my life.

One of these is to rejoice in His grace each of my birthdays.

The reason being,
I wasn’t certain four years ago I would have another one.

Being aware of your frailty brings a few things into view which would otherwise go unnoticed.

1) My age is nothing to be embarrassed about.

I am always going to speak my age with joy (even when it seems odd) because I have no guarantee of reaching another.

2) Each day (even the difficult ones) are a special gift.

How I choose to look at my circumstances, react to my neighbors, even in how I spend 15 min can reflect on whether or not I’m leaning on the Lord. After all each day is from Him, I should rely on Him to direct it.

3) People are far more important than tasks.

I know I’ve stated it before and there are those who know this naturally. I’m not one of them. I get all wrapped up in my lists and scheduling and miss the people all around me.

4) Each person’s value was complete at their conception.

My worth to God will never depend on what I do. He paid the value long before. So in each way I am able to serve Him is actually for my benefit as it draws me ever closer to Him. The only thing I can ever do that changes anything is to believe in Christ Jesus as my Saviour. Even when I’m so ill I can not care for myself, He values me.

5) You can never be too thankful nor too loving.

As I lay on my back, being wheeled into the operating room full of strangers, with exception of my doctor, I tried hard to thank each one. It was tough because I kept crying. But I desperately wanted them to know I appreciated what they were doing for me. In my eyes they were saving my life.

As I received visit after visit from so many people both in our home and at different church functions I felt the enormous love and concern of others. At one point the kitchen was full of teenage boys who had brought over a banquet their mother had prepared for our family. I was amazed as their own home has more than 8 members.

As I have lived day in and out since recovery I’ve been impressed at the need to be loved all around me. The lady at the grocery store, the girls on our basketball team, the friends I’ve had for years, even my own children and parents and siblings. Saying a heartfelt “I love you!” never gets old.

So,
I’m 38 today.

And I wonder what the future holds.

And I thank God for what He’s taught me this far.

And I pray
He will help me
live out the lessons
He’s given.

And I praise Him
for today.