Seeking Great Things

Are you seeking great things for yourself?Do not seek them!” Jeremiah 45:5

This lesson is not an easy one to learn, for we all want to erect our work for God on the summit of a mountain, where it will be seen by all the world. We easily forget that sometimes the greatest work we can perform for Him, is to do the little things He gives us to do, quietly and sweetly.  (J.R. Miller)

Day 3

I am so thankful for the beautiful season of Autumn here in Virginia.  Last weekend Michael and I went to the western part of the state to visit some friends and to get away!  We stayed in a bed and breakfast that was really nice…as were the hosts.

On Saturday we were able to visit some nearby places and the above is Mabry Mill.  I took this picture with my phone!  We were about a week late for peak foliage but the colors were still gorgeous.

I’m thankful that we have four seasons here but my favorite is the fall.  God’s creation at its best!

Day 2

I am a homebody.  There’s no place that I would rather be than home.  Studying the Word. Working on projects.  Baking.  Cleaning.  Reading. Listening to music.

I am thankful for my home.  Our family moved to Virginia in 1990 and this house as been our home for 22 years.  Yes, some of the walls are crooked and the bathrooms need updating but that’s ok. This house is full of memories and love.

Thank You, Lord, for providing this home and filling it with joy, laughter, sorrow and everything else good that You have given us.

Repost: Margin

I wrote this post in January 2007 but thought I would share it again now that school and other activities are starting up again. The concept of “margin” has been such a blessing to me and I hope it will be to you also.

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The first time I heard about “margin” was at a workshop given by a local homeschool speaker, Shelley Hendry, in 1998. She was giving a workshop on the Titus 2 woman and encouraged us to put margin in our lives. Like margins around the edge of a sheet of paper, we need to have margins around all the areas in our lives. 

The principle of margin is from the book, “Margin” by Dr. Richard Swenson. He has also published a book called “The Overload Syndrome”. I highly recommend both of these books if you wish to put the principle of margin in your life.

What is this margin and how do I create it? Margin is a “white space” around all you have to do during the day. It’s allowing time in your homeschool to work on character qualities when the need arises. It’s allowing time for the unexpected when you are heading out the door to church or on errands. It’s thinking “can I do this (activity, work, etc.) without relationships suffering or losing my sanctification?” It’s having enough time in our day that we can joyfully go about our duties as wives and mothers. It’s planning your life with a cushion for mistakes.

One practical way to do this is when running errands. If you have little ones, you know that nothing takes “ten minutes”. Allow extra time for things to go wrong. Remember that an errand involves stopping what everyone is doing, getting ready, getting everyone into the car, driving to the errand, doing the errand, loading everyone back into the car and driving home. Once you are home it takes a while to unload everyone (and things if you’ve gone shopping) and to unwind and get back to your daily routine. Allow time for this!

Allow margin for time to do important things. If you are so tightly scheduled that when your child asks you an important question you don’t have time to answer it, then you need margin. If you have outside activities so crammed together that you are in a panic when a child loses a shoe or there is a detour in the road, then you need margin.

One of the things that Shelley said during the workshop that stuck with me all these years is “life is not a dot-to-dot”. It’s not about getting from one place to the next in the quickest way possible. We need to have time in our lives to worship the Lord, train our children, manage our households, and care for our husbands. If we are on a dot-to-dot journey, then those areas will be neglected and we “will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:5).

Do you have margin in your life? If so, can you share some of the ways you accomplish this? If not, will you prayerfully ask the Lord to help you in this area?

July in Pictures

Fourth of July Fireworks!

Jessica and Anthony

Morgan and Julianne, Jessica

Michael and Me

Flowers by my mailbox

Beach Trip

Our new grill
Jared back from his 3-week trip to Colorado Springs.  He was training servers at the new Bonefish restaurant.

Mollie and Alex, friends of Juianne.  It was Mollie’s singing debut!

I love this picture of Morgan and Julianne

I didn’t take this but this is a picture of a huge storm cloud coming our way!  This was taken just up the road from us.

Brooke and Richard, who came to the 4th of July baseball game with us

The Family Circus

“Family Circus” creator, Bil Keane, dies…

I didn’t know Bil Keane or his family but I certainly felt like I did!  I grew up reading “Family Circus”.  I was about 7 or 8 when my dad brought home one of their books.  I still have it–even after 47 years!  It’s falling apart and I’ve since bought another copy but I still kept that one.

Ever since I received that first book I’ve been collecting them and have almost the entire collection.  To me, “Family Circus” celebrates marriage and family life back in the day when it was a more innocent time.  When family values were important.

I know his cartoons were cheesy sometimes but they were very sweet, too.  I guess I am really nostalgic about them.  They remind me of growing up in the 1960’s when it was so much different than today.  His cartoons were about things that I could relate to and about families that I knew.  Did this ever happen in your home?

I don’t know if his son will continue his legacy but I’m glad I have a lot of his books because I will never be too old to read them.  It will be a sad day, indeed, when there’s no “Family Circus” on the funny pages.

Quiet Days at Home

This week has been full of quiet days at home.  I enjoy those so much.  I am able to catch up on chores, complete the entire cycle of laundry (wash, dry, fold AND put away), bake some goodies, spend time studying the Word and have a leisurely hour or two of reading.  I still have to take and pick up Julianne from classes but the rest of the days are gloriously free of obligations.  I try to savor them when they appear because lately they have been few and far between.

I finished Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World.  As Kay Arthur said, “Every Christian who is actively serving the Lord needs to read it…and then keep on the shelf to be read again, for it contains timeless truths I need to keep as intimate friends.”  I agree!

Up next is:

The subtitle is “A Woman’s Guide to Intentional Living”.  One of the things that I truly am striving for is live intentionally.  Not to just go along during the days, weeks, months and years without a specific plan or just reacting to what comes my way–but to live for Christ intentionally.  Seeking ways to serve Him and others.  Enjoying fellowship with Him.  Those things don’t happen naturally.  I’m looking forward to reading this.

On quiet days it sometimes feels like I should be “doing” something…some activity or service…but then I realize that I am doing something.  I am serving my family and the Lord.  Even though I am home, I can still send a card of encouragement or make a phone call.

Thank You, Lord, for quiet days at home where I can savor You and serve You and enjoy life to the fullest.