Reviewing {Everything}...Official Blog Tour!

“I know that God never gives us more than we can handle, but I am telling Him that I am *there*. I am at the outer limit.” 

I spoke those words on February 2, 2004. God has spent the intervening 8 years teaching me how very wrong my theology was. I now cringe when I see that same philosophy being shared by others. "God never gives us more than we can handle."  I want to yell..."Oh, yes, He does!!"  

As I've shared before, I can't even remember exactly what I was referring to at the time I said those words.  What I do know is that two days later, I was in the back of an ambulance in a snowstorm in the middle of the night headed to a hospital 2.5 hours away from home, in premature labor. That was the beginning of a long string of things I could definitely not handle...6 weeks in NICU for our tiny preemie...an extended separation of our family with Billy in Fort Smith with the kids and me in Little Rock to be with Ammah Grace in the hospital...a sharp health decline for my dad leading to his death in December of 2004...discovery in 2006 that one of our children had been the victim of a horrible crime at the hands of someone we trusted...diagnosis earlier this year of a frightening medical condition in one of our children.  

God has taught me in the last 8 years that He often gives us more than we can handle...because He wants us to realize how weak and powerless and helpless we truly are, so that we can then begin to get a tiny understanding of how big and powerful and faithful He is.  He wants us to learn that we cannot handle anything on our own, so that we will learn to truly trust Him. 

One of my favorite parts of Mary DeMuth's new book, Everything, is the section on practicing resilience, which is a discussion of one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11. In this section, Mary also discusses this false belief that "God won't put you through more than you can bear."  She explains that many people use 1 Cor. 10:13 as support for that statement, but points out that that verse is talking about temptations, not life circumstances. 

1 Cor. 10:13 promises that God will always "provide a way to say no when you want to say yes to sin", according to Mary, but it in no way promises that God will cease putting us through circumstances that are more than we can bear. In fact, as she points out, Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 1:8-10 that God did bring him more than he could bear, "to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."  

I have been so privileged to be part of the launch team for this book. Mary has long been one of my favorite authors, and God has used her writing over the years in tremendous ways in my life.  Everything, subtitled "What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus", has been no exception.  

Mary writes about authentic, deep spiritual growth, not from the perspective of having "arrived", but from the perspective of "a fellow struggler, as one who doesn't often feel Jesusy or strong or faith-filled."  She shares her personal experiences on the journey to becoming an "Everything Christian"...one who joyfully relinquishes her everything to Jesus and in so doing, realizes the crazy growth that leads to maturity, to becoming more like Him daily.  

Everything is not just a book of personal experience, however.  It is based solidly on Scripture.  Mary carefully tears down much of the "sound-bite Christianity" of the day, and takes the reader back to Scripture for the hard...but infinitely worth it...truths of God's plan for our spiritual growth and maturity.  She leads us away from the "steps" of "All You Do Is" (AYDI) religion to the necessity of laying down our lives...dying to our own desires and embracing Jesus's Lordship, which is not the end of a progression, but our everyday call.

As I read this book, there was much that resonated with me and confirmed work God has already been doing in my life.  There were also those areas in which my heart pounded a bit and I felt a twinge of a desire to fight what God was saying through Mary's words.  I was challenged, convicted, and mostly excited about God's plan for us to live as "Everything Christians."  This is one of those books I'll be coming back to again and again.  I already need to re-read her sections on "Holy Inebriation", Living in Community, Surprise Disciplines, and Relinquishing Money.

This is also one of those rare books I encourage everyone to read.  For those living the "Everything life", it offers encouragement.  For those struggling, it offers support.  For the apathetic, it offers  challenge and motivation.  For the lost, it presents clearly and powerfully the Gospel of Jesus.

Everything is available for purchase at Amazon, CBD, Barnes and Noble, or check your favorite bookstore. 

Thanks for visiting Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  If this is your first time here, please take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.  Or subscribe by email via the box in the sidebar.  I'd also love to hear from you in the comments or via the email option on my profile page. 

I'm in the process of {slowly} journaling through Everything here on the blog.  If you'd like to keep up with those posts, you can follow the blog through one of the methods above.  Be sure to check out previous posts on Everything as well:

 Last, but very certainly not least, please be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour here.  I have been so blessed to be part of an amazing group of bloggers on the Everything Launch Team!  You will not want to miss what they have to share about this book! 


Everything Release...Tomorrow!!


Today's Launch Team graphic for Mary DeMuth's Everything. :)

I LOVE this quote, and it has been so timely for our life lately.  Obedience sometimes involves risk...but obedience always brings blessing.  We've so seen that recently in the latest adventure to which God has called us!   Sometimes leaving the "good old days" is scary...and at times it even seems foolish...and yet, how many times do we miss out on the blessings of the adventure because we're afraid to take the risk?   Even typing that seems so silly...if it's what God is leading us to do, how can we even see it as a risk? 

Everything  releases tomorrow.  It's an excellent read, and I'll be reviewing it soon during the blog tour.  In the meantime, you have an opportunity not only to read a great book, but to get some great freebies in the process.  Read all about it on Mary's site.  

Also...please be in prayer for Mary's family.  Her youngest daughter, Sophie, has been in the hospital for the last several days, and the doctors are having a hard time diagnosing her.  Please pray for Sophie and the rest of the family as they go through this scary time. 

Thanks for visiting Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Want to make sure you don't miss any posts?  Please take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.  Or subscribe by email via the box in the sidebar.  I'd also love to hear from you in the comments or via the email option on my profile page.  You can also pin this post on Pinterest using the button below. 



"Cornbread Hating Yankee Converting Cornbread" {Food on Friday}

These photos are of the "shallower" version using the 9-inch skillet.  See below for info on my preferred "deeper" version. :)

So I married a yankee.  Not just a yankee...but a yankee who hates the Razorbacks.  Proof that love does crazy things to people, given that I'm a lifelong Southern Girl who came home from the hospital (in downtown Birmingham right after Arkansas beat Alabama in a bowl game, no less!) in a hand-crocheted Razorback sweater and booties. :)  The first song I learned to sing after "Jesus Loves Me" was Flatt and Scruggs's "Wabash Canonball", and I'm pretty sure that "WhooPigSooie" was among my first words. :)

Now, my yankee husband has lived in the South for 35 years.  He's picked up a few Southernisms along the way...particularly his love for chicken fried steak, sausage gravy and biscuits, fried okra, and pecan pie. But for all the years I've known him, he's turned up his nose at other southern favorites...grits,sweet tea (which I have to admit, I'm not fond of, either *blush*), and cornbread.

Cornbread, that is, until recently.  As I explained in my recent guest post on my friend Tauna's very cool blog, cornbread was one of the things I was most excited about baking when we were given an oven after a long period without one. And not just any cornbread, but our friend Diane's "Good Cornbread" recipe. Yummmm.

What I wasn't prepared for, though, was my husband's sudden affinity for the stuff.  He LOVES this cornbread. He's suggested I make it for dinner and insisted on taking leftovers in his lunch.  Last night he told me he liked it better than homemade chocolate chip cookies. That's pretty big, y'all. *Grin* 

So...although I've shared the recipe before, I thought I'd share it again, given its new status as "Cornbread Hating Yankee Converting Cornbread".  (I've always said it needed a better name than the "Good Cornbread" title that was on the recipe card our friend Diane gave us so many years ago.  Not sure if that's really what I had in mind, though. ;-D)

Here it is...

Diane's "Good Cornbread"
1 c. cornmeal
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients together. (She doesn't, and neither do I :)). Beat one egg and mix with buttermilk. Add to dry
ingredients just before putting in oven, as they will rise in the bowl if prepared too far in
advance.  Add a hunk of bacon grease to the pan, place in oven and heat oven to 450.  Keep pan in oven until grease is smoking. Add batter and bake about 20 minutes. Makes an 8 inch round skillet of cornbread.

A couple of notes...
(1) For more info (and an illustrated tutorial, especially particulars on the bacon grease part), see my guest post on Creative Confetti
(2) As I explained in that post, I don't currently have an 8-inch iron skillet, and I can't justify making this in my 8-inch glass pie plate anymore when I do have larger iron skillets.  As any good southern cook knows, cast iron makes anything better (and healthier, which I'm obviously quite concerned about when I post a recipe that begins with "Put a hunk of bacon grease in your pan." Gotta make up for that bacon grease somewhere! ;-))  I made it as written in a 9-inch iron skillet for the guest post tutorial, but I've since discovered that if I double it, it's perfect for my 10.25-inch iron skillet.  I like the thicker version better, for one thing, and for another, the bigger the better at the rate my people go through this stuff! 

Linking up today with Ann Kroeker for Food on Fridays.  Be sure to hop over there to see what foodie stuff others are talking about this week, as well as to check out Ann's blog.  (She's one of my long-time blog inspirations!)

Thanks for visiting Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Want to make sure you don't miss any posts?  Please take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.  Or subscribe by email via the box in the sidebar.  I'd also love to hear from you in the comments or via the email option on my profile page.  You can also pin this post on Pinterest using the button below. 




Another Road Trip! {Claremore Guy Penrod Concert}

First...I know.  I haven't finished the series from the Minnesota Road Trip in MAY.  *blush*  It's coming, I promise.  Two of the last three posts on the series are partially completed in draft.  As is the post on the Gaither Vocal Band last month.  And the post on our first trip to Claremore in July for the Steve Ladd/Jonathan Martin/Michael English concert. *sigh*  Not to mention a whole bunch of non-concert-related posts that are either started in draft or on my "to write" list.  So many blog posts, so little time!

But as those who know me well know...I'm not a chronological person.   I recently saw a post where a blogger explained her (I think it was a female) blogging process.  I haven't read the post yet, but I think it would be interesting someday to write such a post of my own.  I'm guessing that mine would be pretty different. :)  What I post at any given time is influenced by a variety of factors...including inspiration at the moment and my current level of brain fog. Some posts are easier to write than others; some take more concentration and focus.  Photo editing is also a big issue...for instance, concert photos, in general, take a lot more post-processing time, which adds to the wait time. 

These particular concert photos, however, are the exception.  That would be because we arrived in Claremore Friday afternoon only to discover that while I'd been very careful to pack my camera, second lens, and extra memory cards, my battery was still at home in Fort Smith.  NEVER have I wished so much for a camera with standard off-the-shelf batteries!  More on that later. :)  Anyway, the up side to having to use my tablet for the photos on this trip is that they didn't take long to edit. :)  (And since they weren't high-quality pics to begin with, I had some fun with the editing on some of them.)

Downtown Claremore.  I'd love to spend more time exploring it!
This concert was an on-again, off-again plan for a long time.  Jodie was going, then she wasn't, then she was, and then she wasn't.  Adding me to the road trip didn't come up until much later in the process, and that was pretty on-again, off-again, too.   More on how "on-again, off-again" morphed into actually hitting the road in a minute. :)

As mentioned earlier, we'd been to a concert in Claremore in July.  We were amazed that this relatively small church has an amazing concert ministry...many of the "Gaither Friends" have been coming to Claremore Nazarene for years.  That night, someone pointed out to us the lady in charge of bringing these concerts to Claremore, and we were even more amazed.  She looked like someone's dear sweet grandmother (which we later discovered she is :)), not a concert promoter routinely hosting many of Gospel music's greatest (which we discovered she also is!)

While we were still in the on-again, off-again process (at least Jodie was...I don't think I was even in the process yet :)), Jodie and John received the news that John's young cousin had been killed in action in Afghanistan.  Jon Ross was from Claremore, and they began making plans to be there for his funeral, a week before the concert date.

In the meantime, Jodie had been in contact with the local concert promoter, Mrs. Shirley.  After she mentioned in a message that they were going to be in Claremore for the funeral of her husband's young cousin, she got a phone call from Mrs. Shirley.  In one of those neat "It's a small world God things", Jon Ross had actually attended Claremore Nazarene Church as a youth, and Mrs. Shirley's son-in-law, a former youth pastor there, was going to be speaking at the funeral.

The funeral was a whole story of its own.  Just hearing about it secondhand from Jodie moved me to tears more than once.  The honor this community showed their "hometown hero" was amazing, as was the testimony that he left behind. 

To make a long story not *quite* so long :), Jodie and Mrs. Shirley were talking about the upcoming concert and the fact that they were expecting an overflow crowd (the Claremore Naz concerts are by love offering only; no tickets are sold), and Jodie mentioned that she thought we should skip the Claremore concert to leave those seats for someone else, since we already had tickets for the next night's concert in Van Buren.  Mrs. Shirley replied not to worry about the seats and to go ahead and come, and that she would have seats reserved for us on the second row.

(The second row seats were one reason I was crushed to discover my camera battery was back in Fort Smith.  Probably my only chance EVER to take pictures of  Guy in concert from the second row, and no camera!  Of course, I was also very thankful that if I couldn't use my "real" camera, we were so close.  I was able to get some photos...albeit low-quality ones...with my tablet.  I wouldn't have been able to get ANYTHING if we'd been any farther away!)

 So...Friday afternoon found us headed toward Claremore.  We discovered they have a Boomerang Diner, so we decided we'd have our late lunch there.  Yum! :)

Next stop...Boarding House Books...a quaint little used bookstore.  Jodie and I can't pass up a good used bookstore. :)

This was in front of the bike shop next to the bookstore. :)

The Claremore City Hall sign...my first attempt at this photo was when I discovered my camera battery hadn't made the trip with us. 

My traveling companion...Jodie always has a well-organized "Road Trip Kit"ready for the navigator. This one even had a cute vintage car on it. :)

The flags were still at half-mast in Jon Ross's honor.  Words can't describe the emotions...

I just fell in love with this little town.  I can't wait to go back! 

Here we are!! (A couple of hours early...but none-too-soon, as the parking lot filled up fast!) 

The stage ready and waiting...

The "reserved" sign on our pew. :)  We met some of the neatest ladies who shared the pew with us.  That's one of our favorite things about these concerts...meeting others in the family of God and feeling an instant kinship...kind of a little tiny taste of what Heaven will be like! 

Finally...the concert itself!  These pictures are not in order.  This was during "Even When We Do".  The photo on the screen was one I hadn't seen before of Guy and Angie in their younger days.

"Will You Be The One?"  Always convicting.  Isn't little Lacey cute?!

He opened with a number of hymns off  of his latest cd.  He had the whole group singing with him, and it was an awesome time of worship.  As I've shared before, Guy's concerts are much more than entertainment...they are very much times of worship.  People attending for the first time are often heard to say, "We've just been to church!"  And it's true. 

Guy not only sings, he does a fair bit of "preaching", too.  For many who love Guy's ministry, that "preaching" is almost better than the singing itself.  I was ready this time with pen and paper for the notes I inevitably end up taking during Guy's concerts. :)  At the two previous concerts I'd attended, we were going through serious "storms of life", and God ministered to me tremendously through both the song and spoken word. I didn't feel like I "needed" the concert as much this time, going into it, but I think God spoke even more to me through this one than the previous ones!  Here are some of the highlights...

Regarding those who accuse Christians of using God as a "crutch":
 I don't need Him for a crutch...I'm way more needy than that!  I need Him for total and complete life support! "In Him we live, and move, and have our being..."

 Regarding church...

We don't "go to church", we ARE the church.  We are to be "on" for Him all the time. 

Regarding Satan...
Satan doesn't care about us.  Satan only cares about us as a way to "get to" God.  The best way for Satan to get to God is to hurt His children...just as the best way to hurt an earthly father is to hurt his children.  Think about the wrath of an earthly father against someone who hurts his children, and then imagine the wrath God has stored up for Satan!

Regarding using the gifts God give us (and the theory of evolution)...
 God gives us gifts, and then we hone them to use for him...(discussion of gifts and people such as blind pianist Gordon Mote who do extraordinary things with them)..."And to think that that just happened from some amoeba and it evolved into Gordon Mote - I'm a man of faith, but even I don't have THAT much faith!"
Regarding true Christianity...(This reminded me of Bro. Gary's saying, "If you is what you was, then you ain't!")...
If there's no change, then there's been no change.

Regarding Christian growth...(This one reminded me of a blog post I've been planning!)...
If you're going to flourish, you have to get with the Family of God and dig in and be discipled, because until then, you're just a convert.

Regarding our faith not being "part" of us, but everything we are...
 It weaves in and out of every decision we make...We're walking, talking letters, and people are reading us all of the time.
Regarding church programs...
It's people...just people!...not programs.  Programs are only to facilitate helping people.  At the moment the programs take precedence, they should go away.
 Regarding story...
 Your story is important.  It's a privilege to get to share with others the grace and mercy He's showered on us.   It is all about Him, but it's enough about us that He sent His only Son to die for us.

It's so funny, because Jodie and I have said often of our former and current pastors, "They say the same thing, just in a totally different way."  The same is true of Guy and the both of them.  He says so many things that remind me of things Bro. Kent or Bro. Gary have said...he just says them in different words. :)

I didn't take notes on anywhere near all of Guy's "preaching" Friday night...those were just the highlights I did write down.  I was amazed at how much he said this time about people vs. programs, and about our lives not being compartmentalized with "faith" being one of the segments, but rather the foundation of, as Ann Voskamp puts it, "a seamless one-piece life".  These have been themes God has been reinforcing in all kinds of ways in my life lately...and this concert was such an encouragement and challenge in those areas for me. 

I think one of the reasons I struggle with these concert posts is that it's difficult to put the experience into words.  As I've heard from more than one supporter of Guy's ministry, "You just have to experience it."  It's not about the hair, or the voice, or the man himself...and he'd be the first to say that.  It's all about the God He serves, and the message that He has given to Guy to share.  I tried to sum it up in my Facebook status when we got home Friday night...

Went on a little road trip adventure yesterday with the Road Trip Adventure Queen...there are not even words to express what a tremendous blessing it was (nor can I begin to describe how much we laughed along the way!) So thankful...for the gift of fellowship with friends with whom we can talk deep things of the Lord one minute and be laughing hysterically the next...for new friends who feel like
old friends because we are one in the Body of Christ...for a sweet little town where the flags are still at half-mast in honor of one who served his country and his Savior well. As far as the concert itself...local folks who are going tonight...prepare to have your socks blessed off! As much as I love Guy Penrod's music, his "preaching" is my favorite part of his concerts...and that was certainly true last night! I kept thinking, "He's been listening to Bro. Gary's sermons!" An incredible time of worship...looking forward to another one tonight (with my girls and a "few" friends! ;-))

(More on Saturday's concert in another post...stay tuned! :))

I've said before that Guy's guitar players/backup singers are the BEST.  Love hearing Jason Ahlbrandt and Jonathan Crone play!  This time he also had his keyboardist, Jason Tucker, along.  Really enjoyed hearing him, too!

Thanks for visiting Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Want to make sure you don't miss any of the upcoming concert posts?  Please take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.  Or subscribe by email via the box in the sidebar.  I'd also love to hear from you in the comments or via the email option on my profile page. 

Previous related posts:

MN Concert Posts: Part 1 ~ "Let's Start at the Very Beginning"

Part 2 ~ "We're Going on a Road Trip!"
Part 3 ~ "A Road Trip with Mrs. Jodie is Always an Adventure!"

Part 4 ~ "The Friends Who Live in Our Computers"

Part 5 ~ "At Long Last...The Concert!"

Part 6 ~ "Concert Quotes" 

Lavaca Concert:

Miscellaneous Guy, Etc.:


Edited to add...I had planned all along for this to be a focused on Glory post, and then finished it in such a hurry yesterday that I completely forgot to add that!  Anyway, focused on Glory is a collaborative blog series with Creative Confetti.  Be sure to hop over and see Tauna's latest! 


Daybook Monday...on Tuesday...

I have a long, ever-growing list of blog posts waiting to be published.  This is actually yesterday's post.  I'm determined, barring emergency (or just a crazy, chaotic day like yesterday!) to post today's post later today as well...a very special focused on Glory post.  We'll see how that goes. :)

FOR TODAY ~ 09 October 2012

Outside my window...Beautiful fallish day...65 headed to 72.  I could take a month or two of this! :)

I am thinking...that sometimes the hardest days are not the ones filled with tragedy, but the normal, mundane, plodding along days...the days when children bicker and the to do list never gets made, much less done, and great dreams and plans disintegrate into too many interruptions and not enough discipline, and we start out feeling like we can handle it all...because after all, it's just a normal day...until suddenly we are hearing "failure" echoing through our minds and hearts and then, if we pay attention, we realize that we can't handle *any* of it...which on the days filled with tragedy, we tend to realize, but on the mundane, plodding days it's easy to forget...

I am thankful...for an incredibly wonderful weekend, full of worship, fellowship, and refreshment.  Two Guy Penrod concerts in two days, a road trip with the Road Trip Adventure Queen, and another wonderful Sunday at our sweet little church...basking in God's blessings, even as we've settled into the mundane chaos of the work/school week. 

In the kitchen...A little baking today...cornbread for supper tonight and chocolate chip cookies for dessert (because I haven't made any in 5 days...we're in cookie withdrawal around here. :))

I am wearing...mismatched sweats...ACK...keepin' it real, I guess.  Still catching up on laundry, and I need to finish digging out the cold-weather clothes asap! (Although it's supposed to be back in the low 80s here soon...nothing like the weather in Arkansas to keep one hopping!)

I am creating...Hmm...my first thought was "not much", and then I realized that I'm actually creating quite a lot at the moment...Bible Study material for our new youth Bible Study time at church, a little surprise for someone later this week, photo edits of this weekend's concert(s) to share, a new prayer journal, and hopefully some freshly cleaned, organized, and painted spots in the house later this week!

I am going...to be HOME all day today.  Yay! :)

I am wondering...what is up with my Kindle.  And my Kindle App for Android.  Weird stuff with downloading and archived books.  Guess I need to add "figure out what's up with Kindle" to the list. :)

I am reading...I'm on the launch teams for two great books right now, Mary DeMuth's Everything, and Kim DeBlecourt's Until We All Come Home.  I'm somewhat immersed in both, working on launch team projects and trying to get reviews finished.  Other than that, I'm reading some interesting online articles on small churches, writing/blogging, preparing our kids to stand strong as teens and young adults, and bulk cooking/menu planning. 

I am hoping...to knock a big chunk of my list out today, after a less-than-optimally-productive day yesterday. :)

I am looking forward to...teaching youth again...starting twice a month youth Bible Study on Sunday nights this coming Sunday! (Local folks...message me for details...everyone is invited!)

I am pondering...Bro. Gary said Sunday night, "The character of our redemption should cause reverence."  He added that we need to stop and examine ourselves and remind ourselves of what God has done for us.  We are bought with a price, and that should affect our behavior, our attitudes...everything about our lives.  I have a story to go along with that...but that will be another blog post. :)

A favorite quote for today...Wow.  So many good quotes from Guy Penrod this weekend...which will have their own blog post later...and more good ones from our pastor Sunday...which will also make it onto the blog soon, I hope.  It's hard to narrow down to just one here...but I suppose I must. :)

It's people...just people...not programs.  Programs are only to facilitate helping people.  At the moment that the programs take precedence, they should go away. ~ Guy Penrod

One of my favorite things...listening to a child who's struggled deeply lately share heart-thoughts that reveal God's work producing steady, solid growth...grateful for His grace and mercy!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  normal routine (I hope!) the rest of the week, other than possibly working for my mom a few hours while she's out of town. 

A peek into my day... (Well, this is my day only because I so badly need to get the rest of these from the weekend edited and posted! :)  The girls with Guy Penrod at Saturday night's concert...

Thanks for visiting Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Don't want to miss a post?  Please take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.  Or subscribe by email via the box in the sidebar.  I'd also love to hear from you in the comments or via the email option on my profile page. 

Linking up with Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook today. Please visit her for more Daybook posts.


Pondering Heaven Tonight...

Pondering Heaven tonight...missing my dad more this week than I have in years, and wondering why that is suddenly so...thinking this weekend how much he would have loved our little church...the kids bringing a bargello pillow home from my mom's the other day...I remember sitting beside him reading a book and chatting intermittently while he made it almost 35 years ago...previewing Keyboards at Christmas music and thinking how much he would have loved singing in it (and listening to the keyboardists!)...thankful for the blessing of a Godly husband who is a Godly father to my children...remembering how much my daddy loved him!...reading my friend Kecia's blog through tears as she remembered her dad this week on what would have been his birthday...thinking about Mr. Tom and that big smile and those twinkly eyes and hearing him say, "Remember What You Know!"...thankful for the blessing we both had of Godly dads, even though we wish we'd had them around a little longer!...most of all thankful that we know they are in Heaven, worshiping at the feet of Jesus...what an awesome thought!...and that we will see them again someday and worship there with them!...realizing that Heaven is so far beyond what we can imagine...and imagining it's pretty amazing!...Pondering Heaven tonight...

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
 ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased men for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation. 
 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
~  Revelation 5:9-13 



Pinning {Everything}

Another great quote from Mary DeMuth's upcoming book, Everything...