Friday, May 9, 2014

FMF: Gratitude

Happy Friday, most lovely friends!

Today is that special day of the week: Five Minute Friday!! Every week Lisa Jo Baker sends out a one word writing prompt. We, the masses, then have 5 minutes to write on that word! No thinking, no editing, and no looking back. 

I love FMF because I just get to heart and brain dump and share that mess with a giant FMF loving community! I hope you will jump in as well!!

This week the word is: GRATITUDE.


Let me share this verse from Deuteronomy 12:7 the NLT:
There you and your families will feast in the presence of the Lord your God, and you will rejoice in all you have accomplished because the Lord your God has blessed you.
This week I shared about celebrating Thanksgiving in April. This verse was a driving force behind my reason to host it for the second time this year.

Is God not our GOD? Aren't our lives to be poured out as living sacrifices? Trust me, I am still learning TONS about God and how to do this myself. But I still find Him so deserving of my praise. When I gathered with my family to feast and celebrate what we were thankful for, it was a small token of praise. To announce publicly that I am thankful for friends, family, and overabundance of food.

The Lord has blessed me so very richly. That is not to say that I don't have problems, just like everyone else I do. But I yearn to find that little nugget, that tiny piece of joy in every day. Reminding myself of the goodness of God, of what He has blessed me with, changes my perspective every time.

I rejoice in what God has blessed me with. It is all, every little bit, HIM. If I could host a thanksgiving meal everyday with my family, I would! Don't wait once a year to tell God and others why you are thankful; do it every day.

My heart is full of gratitude for a God who cares for me so much.


Thanks for stopping by The Christian Sugar Addict!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Thanksgiving in April

It all started last year. April 2013. Our baby was six months old. The weather was horrible. It kept snowing and snowing and snowing and we were trapped indoors with a young baby. We needed something to look forward too. At least in the winter there are holidays to celebrate to distract from the cold and the snow. But here in Spring?? Easter had come and gone. We had nothing to look forward too. 

So we made up a new holiday: Thanksgiving in April. We bought a turkey, invited over the family, and we all crammed into our tiny dining room and living room. Together we sat down and broke bread. I had a six month old baby, and I invited over my entire family. I cleaned, I baked, I colored, I crafted, I raised a child.

And it was wonderful. Just having that something to plan, to look forward too, raised the spirits of everyone. We could squeeze together as a family and talk and laugh and eat in the middle of a very snowy April. 

So around comes April 2014. The weather is less snowy, but still cold. And I have this desire, this ache to gather with my family once again and just give thanks. Give thanks for the returning birds, for a healthy child, for a family who loves me. So once again, we planned Thanksgiving in April. We bought a turkey, invited over the entire family, and we all crammed into my tiny living room and dining room. 

Leftover pecan pie

This time I wanted the focus to be on God, on giving thanks to Him in all things and for all things. I put together a few Bible verses and tucked one at each place setting. I asked them to share what they were thankful for. As we ate dinner, my family would read those Bible verses aloud, one by one. 

And I could feel it inside, a warming from the inside out. A joy. A love. A gratefulness. A gratefulness towards a loving and kind God. To a God who has blessed me so completely with a great family who loves the Lord. 

Throwing this dinner involved some work, but it was so worth it. To see my smiling family gathered around reading Bible verses aloud, proclaiming His goodness, giving thanks for His blessings. Thanksgiving shouldn't just be something we celebrate once a year. Stopping, pausing, Selah, is something we need in our lives on a day to day basis. Our Lord deserves our gratitude and praise on a day to day basis. Not just once a year! We need to make it a focus, to train our minds to see His good. 

For me, celebrating Thanksgiving in April is just a small way to keep my mind focused on being thankful. A reminder that hey, November has long been forgotten and is still a long way off, but we can, and should, stop and give thanks. 
I forgot to take pictures of the fam :/ Here instead a just a few of the dishes

Do you remember to give thanks to God in the day to day?? If so, how does this look for you?? If not, what is one thing you can plan today to make gratitude your focus??

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Small Picture Tour of inRLMN 2014

Here is a very brief picture tour taken with my Galaxy s4 of the in(RL)MN 2014 meeting:

Quotes from the (in)courage team were everywhere

The ladies had each table decorated so beautifully. Much need in this dreary MN spring

Our crafts were jars covered with book pages. Inside each one is a tealight
I love how mine represents me. Some ladies had perfectly organized
jars with verses or themes. I just wanted mine to be completely
covered with Christian words. "Imitators of God", communion
love, Jesus, friendship, God, and Bible verses. 

Worship. How wonderful to hear our voices praise the Lord together!!

Photo Apr 26, 5 02 10 PM
I'm in there somewhere!! :) Note THREE babies! 

Well, I DID warn you it was going to be brief :) But I just wanted to share even just this small glimpse into what (in)RL was like, and maybe to persuade you into attending next year :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

in(RL) 2014

It has come and gone! In(rl) 2014 went by far too quickly. This was my second time attending and I was a lot less nervous than the first time. This time when I walked into the room, I was greeted by familiar faces. But I confess: I was disappointed that many faces I wanted to see weren't there. Instead there were many fresh faces. Only a selfish person would be disappointed by that. 

But God was working.

The ladies seated at my table were people I could connect with. Two other ladies have husbands who have deployed. One lovely lady I knew from the previous year and every time we chat I fall in love with her honesty and grace. Another girl and I connected over our daughters, both girls close in age. I think we could both sense the toddler-age craze in each other's eyes. We even have tentative plans for a play date!

Each lovely lady brought something wonderful to our table and our discussions. I was blown away by how God orchestrated events so I could chat and connect with these particular women. I would have loved to meet and get to know all of these ladies! But God knew who we all needed to connect with the most. He is ever faithful! 

That's not to say in(RL)MN went off without a hitch (anyone else still have ringing ears??). But lovely Amanda kept it all running so smoothly. We hardly noticed, and I dare say everyone had a fabulous time!

The theme this year was about telling our stories. I have heard and seen such wonderful bravery as a result of this conference. I am not sure I am ready to tell all of my story just yet; I think I am in the middle of mine and am still struggling to figure it out, what it is and how to work through it. Hearing all the testimonies from the lovely ladies on the video was incredibly (in)couraging. They all had such beautiful things to share. I have pages of notes and quotes in my journal!

The in(RL) conference was worth it. Make time for this conference next year, ladies. Mark it on your calendar now. Make community and relationship an importance in your life today!

Have you shared your story in real life? Have you been willing to go deep with others? Are you willing to go beyond the shallow? 
We all have a story, and I am desperate to hear yours.

Photo Apr 26, 5 02 10 PM

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1 John 1:9

Join the GROW linkup with Faith at Faith, Fun, and The Fergusons!! This past week we spent time meditating on 1 John 1:9. 

Way back in the day we looked at 2 John 1:9, so now we jump ahead exactly one chapter to 1 John 1:9!
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (NLT)

So lovely people, this week has happened. Things have happened. And so I present to you some bullet points :)

  • What God calls us to do: confess. Simply confess. If we don't confess, He can't forgive. Confessing means we feel bad, contrite, about our actions. We understand we did wrong and want to change. Actually admitting and coming to terms with our wrong (aka sin), softens our hearts and we are ready to receive God's gift of forgiveness. If we don't acknowledge our wrongdoing, well...why should we be forgiven?? We obviously don't feel bad and we don't want the change. 

  • Well, why do we need forgiveness?? Ooo buddy is that an important conversation. I can only offer a short reply here: Sin separates us from God (Eph 2:12) and leads to punishment (Matt. 25:41). Forgiveness leads us back to holiness (aka GOD) and eternal life (Romans 6:23, Titus 3:7). And if God is Love (1 John 4:16), that is where I want to be! Loving and being loved for all eternity?? Sign me up!! And isn't that how that famous quote goes: "The greatest thing in life is to love and be loved.." My answer: more JESUS

  • God is faithful and just==can I get an AMEN??! Interesting that it is tied to our confessions and forgiveness here. I think it relates to Philippians 1:6 which says "For I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." See my co-relation there? No? Well, God sees our sin and he can't stand sin. God wants us to be holy, just like he is the very Holy (1 Peter 1:16). He wants to perfect us, He wants us to be our best, but like I alluded to in bullet point #1, we have to be willing. God is faithful to not leave us where we are at. And thank God (thanks God!) that that is the Gospel Truth!

How did you like my bullet points? :) But I hope that both you and I can drive this point home. All we have to do is admit we did something wrong/bad/sinful. That's probably the easiest part, right?? To realize we aren't perfect and made a mistake? Okay, well not always. But it IS pretty important. If we want to grow and have a booming relationship with God, we need to start with confession. 

Do make a point to confess regularly? I know it is an area I need work in! Even more important, do you believe the truth of Philippians 1:6??