Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Ten Highlights from 2012

We thank God for His presence, provision, and protection this past year. How thankful we are that God is always in control and that He is good and loving all the time! 2012 has been a memorable year in many ways.

1. After having MRI done, I was diagnosed with Adenomyosis.  I chose to not have my uterus removed and just to live with pain :).

2. Alyssa (our 19 yo daughter)'s short story, "Deadly Delirium" was published as an e-book by Musa Publishing in February. It's available on Amazon.com and on Musa Publishing's website.

3. This year, Alyssa passed the baton to Isaiah (our 11 yo son) in being a fundraiser for Steps for Life. We're so proud of him for raising $1,500 for Pregnancy Resource Centers; he got 2nd place in his age group.

4. In June, I took a trip to Thailand (after being away for 20 years) to visit my ailing dad. He passed away while I was there. I was extremely grateful that God allowed me the opportunity to see and share the Gospel with my dad for the last time. You can read my testimony of God's amazing work throughout my trip here.

5. In August, Alyssa started taking Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) classes and she has been enjoying it tremendously.

6. Our family had a wonderful vacation at Wallowa Lake in September. We had a great time fishing, motor-boating, paddle-boating, hiking, tram-riding (up to Mt. Howard), scenic driving (to Hat Point), miniature golfing, playing games, and just chilling out together.

7. We're so thrilled that Josiah (our 14 yo son) finally decided to be baptized. Eric (my husband) baptized him at Ramona Falls on September 14th.

8. Josiah enjoyed being part of a football team. His team, the Newberg Tigers, went to the championship game and got second place/silver medals.

9. Alyssa has been working as an on-call technical writer/editor for a local mechanical engineering firm. She also continues to volunteer in the preschool class at church. In addition, she is an online missionary through Global Media Outreach.

10. On Dec. 13th, Eric took Josiah to the Blazers vs. Spurs game (Josiah's birthday gift). They had a blast!

By the way, this year I had the coolest birthday date on 12/12/12 :). We thank God for giving us opportunities to continue serving Him in LJ Fellowship (LJ stands for Love in Jesus/Loving J.O.Y.--Jesus. Others. You.), an outreach to the international students who attend George Fox University. I also had a blessed time participating in a Christmas Flash Mob at Washington Square Mall on Dec. 22nd.

Here are some snapshots of our 2012.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

CHRISTmas Letter 2012

 Joy to the world; the Savior has come! It's the most wonderful time of the year because people around the world join one another in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our Immanuel. We hope and pray that you and your family will savor the season of worship and fellowship as the year draws to an end. Please keep in your prayers those who are grieving and mourning during this time as we cannot imagine how hard it must be for them.

How thankful we are that God is always in control and that He is good and loving all the time! 2012 has been a memorable year in many ways.

Alyssa is now 19 and will be majoring in Digital Communication Arts (with an emphasis in video production) at Oregon State University in Fall 2013 while going through AFROTC there. A third generation Beaver :)! She has received the Academic Achievement Award so far and is waiting to hear if she gets the Presidential Scholarship or not. Alyssa's short story, "Deadly Delirium" was published as an e-book by Musa Publishing. It's available on Amazon.com and on Musa Publishing's website. Alyssa has been working as an on-call technical writer/editor for a local mechanical engineering firm. She also continues to volunteer in the preschool class at our church. In addition, she is an online missionary through Global Media Outreach. Alyssa enjoys Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense), videography, photography, music, and movies/TV shows.

Josiah is now 14 and is in 9th grade. We're so thrilled that Josiah finally decided to be baptized. Eric baptized him at Ramona Falls on Sept. 14th. This year Josiah enjoyed being part of a football team. His team, the Newberg Tigers, went to the championship game and got second place and silver medals. He also still enjoys playing basketball. On Dec. 13th, Eric took Josiah to the Blazers vs. Spurs game (Josiah's birthday gift). They had a blast. Josiah's favorite team is the Blazers and his second favorite team is the Spurs.

Isaiah is now 11 and is in 6th grade. This year Alyssa passed the baton to Isaiah in being a fundraiser for Steps for Life. We're so proud of him for raising $1,500 for Pregnancy Resource Centers; he got 2nd place in his age group. Isaiah enjoys playing basketball, Wii, and games on his laptop.

Eric is still working for the City of Woodburn. He took our family to Wallowa Lake for vacation in September. We had a wonderful time fishing, motor-boating, paddle-boating, hiking, tram-riding (up to Mt. Howard), scenic driving (to Hat Point), miniature golfing, playing games, and just chilling out together.

"A" still homeschools Josiah and Isaiah. In June, she took a trip to Thailand (after being away for 20 years) to visit her ailing dad. He passed away while she was there. She was extremely grateful that God allowed her the opportunity to see and share the Gospel with her dad for the last time. You can read her testimony of God's amazing work throughout her trip on her blog. She enjoys spending time with her family, putting Scriptures on the photos she has taken, reviewing Christian books & DVDs, and serving God in any way she can. By the way, this year she had the coolest birthday date on 12/12/12 :).

We thank God for giving us opportunities to serve Him in LJ fellowship (LJ stands for Love in Jesus/Loving J.O.Y.--Jesus.Others.You.), an outreach to the international students who attend George Fox University. We just hosted a Christmas party for them last Friday. It was so much fun! We're excitedly looking forward to participating in a Christmas Flashmob this Saturday at Washington Square Mall. Let's continue to be bright lights in this world of darkness and spread the Good News of Great Joy to all!

May the Lord bless you and fill your heart with peace, joy, hope, and love now and always! Have a very Merry CHRISTmas and a wonder-filled New Year!

Living in love with the Lord of our lives,
Eric, A, Alyssa, Josiah, & Isaiah

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: Not Just A Hearer But A Doer by Yolanda Shanks


ISBN: 978-0985361600 | List Price: $12.95 | Format: Hard Copy | Page Count: 144
Not Just a Hearer but a Doer - Deliberately Living Life Devotional Study

About the Author: Yolanda Shanks
Multi-published author, speaker, blogger, teacher, wife, grandmother—Yolanda Shanks wears many hats, but the one she most resonates with is her role as an advocate for living life to its fullest.

Shanks’ award-winning first book, Destined to Live, Despite Me, continues to be a source of hope for those battling effects from a prior suicide attempt. It garnered an enthusiastic Kirkus review, which stated the book was “a commendable guide for finding meaning after considering suicide.”

Her second book, Not Just a Hearer but a Doer (released June 2012) challenges the body of Christ to act upon scripture. In the Fall of 2012, she released a third project, entitled Destined to Live, Despite Me – A Cause to Be Thankful.

Check her website (www.YolandaShanks.com) for book events in your area and for weekly wisdom from this lover of life and committed Christ-follower.

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/yolandashanks

Facebook URLhttp://www.facebook.com/yolanda.shanks.75


MY REVIEW:
I collect devotional books :). I'm glad to add this book to my growing collection. I really enjoyed reading Not Just A Hearer But A Doer. There are 31 devotionals for 31 days, written in a Bible study format. Each one consists of observation (main Bible verse), background (about the verse), interpretation, application, and an empty lined space for writing down your thoughts. Additional memory Scriptures are included in some of them. These devotionals are short, easy to read, Biblically sound, and insightful. The book covers various topics such as self-control, love, service, giving, integrity, spiritual investments, and more. The author uses everyday experiences as springboards for spiritual application from God's Word. She encourages readers to put Scripture into action...to live a life of faith and love deliberately....to be doers, not just hearers.

"Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22



Saturday, December 1, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness 2012

For the month of November, I posted on Facebook daily what I was thankful for. I'd like to be able to look back someday so I'm reposting all of my 30 thankful status here.

1. I'm thankful for restful sleep. I hardly ever have trouble sleeping. It's truly a blessing.
"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8


2. I'm thankful for LJ Fellowship. I thank God for giving me opportunities to share His love with the international students and to serve Him alongside a group of awesome brothers and sisters in Christ. I love God and people ♥; His love causes me to love loving everyone :)!

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." ~Jesus
 


3. I'm thankful that the Lord has kept Josiah safe (without any serious injuries) throughout all the football practices and games so far. Having a kid playing football really makes parents pray much more :)! By the way, Josiah's team won the playoff game today and will be playing the championship game next Saturday. 

4. I'm thankful for the wind (especially when it blows on my face during a car ride or boat ride). It feels so good and refreshing! I know why dogs like to stick their heads out a car's window :).

5. I'm thankful for freedom in Christ and freedoms in this country. Please don't take for granted your freedom to vote and make your voice heard!

6. I'm thankful that God is always in control. I'm thankful for His sovereignty and faithfulness!
"Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting YOU ARE GOD." Psalm 90:1-2
 
 


7.
I'm thankful for fine shelter...fire in our wood stove...and fuzzy socks :).
Please pray for and help out the homeless.


8. I'm thankful that my kids are cheerful givers and don't get into consumerism. They enjoy shopping (for others in need) through gift catalogs from World Vision, Gospel for Asia, and Samaritan's Purse. We are blessed so that we may be blessings to others!

Please check out the gift catalogs from these worthy Christian organizations. Your gift(s) can make an eternal impact! Did you know that $1 can pay for 200 Gospel tracts and $4 for 8 New Testaments?

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." ~Jesus

9.
I'm thankful for my awesome husband who loves me as Christ loves His Church! I'm thankful for our Christ-centered marriage!

I was stunned and amused (I even laughed out loud) when I checked my FB messages in the "others" category (for the first time) and found several emails from men (some claimed to be Christians) trying to hit on me. Yikes! My profile clearly shows I'm married. I'm saddened by the decline of morality in this world.


10. I'm thankful for indescribable joy, peace, and contentment I have in Christ.

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

11.
I'm thankful for all the men and women who have served and sacrificed so that I may enjoy many freedoms in this country.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Psalm 33:12a

12.
I'm thankful for God's Word, my light and my delight! My spiritual bread daily nourishes and strengthens me!

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105
"Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." Psalm 119:24
"Man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." Deuteronomy 8:3b

13.
I'm thankful for my eternal hope, security, and confidence in Christ. O blessed assurance!

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:22-23

"I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." 2 Timothy 1:12b


14. I'm thankful for Christ-centered, God-honoring hymns and worship songs. Those which are rich in deep thoughts about God, reverence for God, expressions of praise to God, and intimacy with God!

15. I'm thankful for my good health. Even though I do live with intense pain on and off, I am truly thankful. There are many who struggle so much more.

16.
I'm thankful for my friends...near and far...on and off Facebook. All have enriched my life; their friendship means a lot to me.

17.
I'm thankful for God's amazing grace and boundless mercy!

18. I'm thankful for massages I get regularly from Eric and occasionally from the kids :). Oh...so relaxing!

19. I'm thankful for God's constant presence and omnipresence!

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5b


20. I'm thankful for God's forgiveness! And I'm thankful that I live with very forgiving people :).

"He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities...As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:10, 12

"If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared." Psalm 130:3-4

"In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8


21.
I'm thankful for smiles and laughter that fill my days :).

22. I'm thankful for faith, family, food, and fun. I know from Whom all my blessings flow.

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.” ~Dante Gabriel Rossetti


23. I'm thankful for my three children, bright and beautiful blessings from the Lord. They love Jesus! They're thoughtful, thankful, truthful, faithful, helpful, and joyful.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 4
 


24. I'm thankful for God's unconditional, unselfish, unending love ♥!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
" Psalm 63:3-4

"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:26


25. I'm thankful for hugs and kisses from my hubby and kids. I'm glad I live with affectionate people :).  

26. I'm thankful that I can talk with my Heavenly Father anytime anywhere about anything. We are super close :).

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live." Psalm 116:1-2
 


27. I'm thankful for high tolerance for pain, any relief from pain, strength and energy in spite of pain :).

"I love You, O Lord, my Strength." Psalm 18:1
 


28. I'm most thankful for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior!
Because of Him, I am who I am today...born again and blessed, complete and content, forgiven and free, saved and sanctified, treasured and transformed! Because of Him, I have a purposeful life, meaningful life, abundant life, and eternal life.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ
lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24
 
29. I'm thankful for being able to stay home with my kids and homeschool them. I get to train and teach them, pray with them, instill God's principles in them, make memories with them, play with them, learn along with them, listen to their wild & crazy (creative) ideas, hear their laughter and music (piano-playing, singing)...and just be there for them...through it all...the good, the bad, and the ugly days :). Wouldn't trade it for the world!
 
30. I'm thankful for each day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it :). Every day is a gift from God!

Each day is an opportunity to love and serve God and people.
Each day is an opportunity to know Him more and to make Him known.
Each day is an opportunity to encourage and edify others.
Each day is an opportunity to live for God...to be used for His glory and His kingdom.
And each day is an opportunity to practice thankfulness to the Lord.
 
 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crowned by the King: Wear & Share God's Love

"You will be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord" Isaiah 62:3

I'm so excited to tell you about this wonderful ministry called "Crowned By the King". A beautiful crown necklace is used as a tool to share God's love in a unique, creative way. When you give away a necklace to a girl or woman, also known as a "Crowned Moment", you send her a message of hope and worth at the same time. She will be reminded of her true identity in Christ. Check out how the ministry works here.

There are three kinds of "Crowned Moment" opportunities: the Compliment Crowned Moment, the Need Crowned Moment, and the Gift Crowned Moment. I really like the idea of the Compliment Crowned Moment so I prayed and asked God to show me whom I should give a necklace to. While I was praying, a specific young lady came to my mind so I thought if nobody compliments on the necklace, I would just give it to this lady (the Gift Crowned Moment). However, this evening, at a gathering with some international students (we are part of an outreach that ministers to international students who attend our local university), that lady (whom God placed on my heart/mind to share the necklace with) was the first and only person who complimented my necklace. Happily, I gave her the necklace (with the pouch and brochure). I shared with her the meaning of the necklace, the ministry concept, and about my prayer. I told her that she is God's princess--a daughter of the King of kings and that she is loved, cherished, and beautiful. She is a Chinese student who received Jesus as her Lord and Savior last year. She was so touched by the necklace that she quickly went to show it to her friends and then asked her boyfriend to put it around her neck. I know she felt very blessed! That made not only her day but also my day :)!

Check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/crownedbytheking! They have giveaways from time to time.

Thankful Heart: Day 30

I Thank God for My Home

When sunrise lights the morning skies
Over our village paradise
And roosters crow their "wake-up" call
For us to hear, both one and all,
I thank God for my home.
It's not a palace for a king;
It's just a country cottage, small,
But, oh, the joys it ever brings,
Joys nestled there within its walls.
Here family lives with God as Guide;
Here love for one another reigns.
All things are taken in their stride;
Concern for each one never wanes.
The windowsills hold flowers, bright,
That shed a ray of welcome here
And beckon to the flowers outside,
The gardens with their floral cheer.
When sunup fills the earthen floor
And touches on each village door
And folks begin their work each day
In their same good old-fashioned way,
I thank God for my home.

~Loise Pinkerton Fritz

"A thankful heart is not only a happy heart, but also a healthy and beautiful heart!" ~Me

"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."
Colossians 3:16

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 29

I Offer Thanks

I offer thanks for friends so dear,
For every word of joy and cheer,
The quiet moments I so love
And blue skies there so high above,
The special dreams that are my own
And every beauty I have known.

I offer thanks for Springtime days
And happiness on country ways,
The precious laughter of a child
And tiny violets growing wild,
The brook that murmurs as it flows,
The magic of a Junetime rose.

For sun and rain and gentle earth
The miracle of Spring's rebirth,
Each Autumn color bright and bold,
For snowflakes soft and Winter's cold,
The sea that rushes to its banks,
For God and love--I offer thanks.

~Garnett Ann Schultz


"Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever." Psalm 136:3-4

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 28

Sing with Thanksgiving!

Keep a happy song in your heart
Wherever you may go--
And sing it out in praise to God,
Then feel the blessings flow!

Our God is pleased when we sing praise
And offer Him our love--
So He will bless our hearts with joy,
And comfort from above.

Think of the peace He offers you
Through the privilege of prayer--
And how He's always near to you
To show how much He cares.

Consider the world He's given us
With plants and birds and trees--
There's so much to be thankful for!
We should be on our knees...

So sing with thanksgiving in your heart
For all that God has done--
And thank Him most especially...
For Jesus Christ, His Son!

~Denise A. DeWald

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song."
Psalm 28:7

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 27

Thank God for Little Things

Thank You, God, for little things
that often come our way,
The things we take for granted
but don't mention when we pray,
The unexpected courtesy,
the thoughtful, kindly deed,
A hand reached out to help us
in the time of sudden need--
Oh make us more aware, dear God,
of little daily graces
That come to us with "sweet surprise"
from never-dreamed-of places.

~Helen Steiner Rice

"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:15

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 26

Thank You

I thank You, God
For little things,
Happiness that
Children bring...
Fuzzy kittens,
Soft to touch,
Frisky puppies,
Birds and such.

Clouds suspended
In the sky
Raindrops on the
Meadow, dry...
Freshened grasses
Shrubs and trees,
Flowers kissed
By honey-bees.

Frozen droplets
Cycled ice...
Snowflakes on my
Nose...oh, nice!
I thank You, God,
Each little thing
Tells Your love,
Makes my heart sing!

~Anna Lee Edwards McAlpin

"I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your Name forever." Psalm 86:12

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 25

Lord, I Thank You

Lord, I watched the dawn this morning
As the sunlight filtered through,
And I thought about how Your love
Streams from heaven and warms me, too.

Then I heard the birds sweet chorus
And I thought about Your care.
For I know You watch the sparrow--
When one falls You are aware.

As I gazed upon the flowers,
Lord, I found Your peace was there.
Little flowers do not worry--
They just rest within Your care.

Lord, I thank You for the beauty
As I greeted this new day,
And especially for the lessons
That You taught in Your own way;

For the sun and birds and flowers
Are reminders of Your care,
And of promise for provision
To Your children everywhere.

~Beverly J. Andreson


"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of you Father. And event the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

"We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, for Your Name is near; men tell of Your wonderful deeds." Psalm 75:1

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 24

I Thank Thee, God

I thank Thee God, Thou Father mine,
For all that Thou hast made;
For having sent down Thy dear Son,
Who succors, seeks, and saves!

I thank Thee God, Creator mine,
For all the lovely things;
Such as the bird in joyous flight,
Which makes one's cares take wing!

For Autumn leaves in varied hues,
So pleasing to the eye;
And even Winter's stormy blasts,
When snow descends from sky!

Especially, oh Thou Father mine,
For tender warmth of Spring;
When budding leaves and flowers in bloom,
Make saddened hearts to sing!

For Spring's not only pleasing be,
For seeing flowers in bloom;
But most of all symbolic be,
of Christ, Who rose from tomb!

And even Summer, oft times hot,
Means walks along the shore;
Where seagulls in their joyous flight,
Can make the spirit soar!

But most important thing of all,
My Father God above;
Is joy through which we scale the heights,
 And depth of Thy great Love!

~Sancie Earman King


"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:26

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 23

Thanksgiving Day Everyday

Oh precious Father, as we bow
Before Thy throne today,
We count the many blessings
Thou hast showered upon our way.

The comfort of our humble homes
Our health and happiness,
The strength provided for each day
To meet the strain and stress.

We thank Thee for Thy precious Son
Who brought salvation free,
And for this mighty land of ours,
A land of liberty!

So, Lord, help us to give Thee thanks
For all that we hold dear,
Not only on Thanksgiving Day
But each day of the year.

~Unknown


"As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more.
My mouth will tell of Your righteousness, of Your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone
.
" Psalm 71:14-16

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 22

Our Prayer of Thanks

We humbly bow before You, Lord
On this Thanksgiving Day,
To lift our prayers of gratitude
For all Your caring ways.
As You have blessed our harvest, Lord,
Let us remember, too,
That we should share with those in need
As You would have us do.
Around this festive board today
Are those we hold most dear,
And in our midst Your presence, Lord,
Seems so very near.
We're thankful for this land we love,
For sod and sky and tree,
For pilgrims who braved unknown seas
That all may worship free.
We're thankful for each blessing, Lord,
You send along our way;
But may our greater "thanks" be shown
In serving You each day.

~Kay Hoffman


"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him....joyfully giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." Colossians 3:17, 1:12

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 21

We Thank Thee

We thank Thee, Lord, for ev'ry blessing
Flowing from Thy bountiful hand--
Golden field and orchard laden,
Harvest rich throughout our land;
All Thy beauty of creation,
Foaming sea and silver strand,
Verdant vale 'neath purple mountain,
Forest green and shining sand.

We thank Thee, Lord, for friends and loved ones,
And sweet joy and love they give
Through blest fellowship and kindness,
Making rich this life we live;
For our homes where love abideth,
Where those weary may receive
Rest and comfort by our fireside,
Where tired spirits may revive.

We thank Thee, Lord, for Thy salvation
Given through Thy wonderful Son,
Through His sacrifice at Calv'ry
On the cross--the vict'ry won!
When we climb the heights to Heaven,
After work on earth is done,
We shall thank Thee, Lord, forever,
For Thy greatest Gift--Thy Son.

~Kathryn Thorne Bowsher

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 20

In Thanksgiving

With a heart of thanksgiving
And a heart filled with love,
Gracious Father, we thank You
For Your gifts from above...

For Your manifold blessings
You bestow day by day,
For Your love and Your guidance
As we travel life's way.

Lord, we thank You for good times,
For unhappy times, too,
Because often in trials
We draw closer to You.

Blessed Father, we're grateful
We are safe in Your care,
With no fear of tomorrow
Knowing You will be there.

For Your greatness and goodness,
And Your excellent ways--
In thanksgiving we offer
You our love and our praise.

~Beverly J. Anderson

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name." Psalm 100:4

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 19

Be Thankful

For smiling faces--helping hands
A friend who always understands,
The very greatest of all lands
Be thankful!

For golden sun up in the sky
A cloud of white that's sailing by,
A mountain that is climbing high
Be thankful!

For joys so rich--each shining dawn
The dewdrops on a summer lawn,
And sunset when the day is gone
Be thankful!

A God of love--a whispered prayer
A hope when life would send a care,
A liberty and freedom rare
Be thankful!

~Garnett Ann Schultz

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." Hebrews 12:28

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 18

Every Day's Thanksgiving

A sunrise every morning,
The moon and stars at night,
A garden in the springtime
Ablaze with colors bright...
A cottage filled with laughter,
A field of golden grain,
A picnic with your loved ones,
A rainbow after rain...
A sunset in the meadow,
Twilight on the sea,
The majesty of autumn,
Each day a memory...
A bride and groom in summer,
A mother's lullaby,
A snowfall in December,
The smell of pumpkin pie...
These little things remind me
My God, how great Thou art!
And every day's Thanksgiving
Within my humble heart.

~Clay Harrison
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 17

Things To Be Thankful For

The good, green earth beneath our feet,
The air we breathe, the food we eat,
Some work to do, a goal to win,
A hidden longing deep within
That spurs us on to bigger things
And helps us meet what each day brings,
All these things and many more
Are things we should be thankful for...
And most of all our thankful prayers
Should rise to God because He cares!

~Helen Steiner Rice

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."
Colossians 4:2

Friday, November 16, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Still, I Will Praise by Renee Bondi

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

CLC Publications (August 24, 2012)

***Special thanks to Blythe Daniel for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Renée Bondi is a popular speaker and recording artist who has shared the stage with Sandi Patty, Larry King and Point of Grace. She has been featured in magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman and Woman’s World and on shows, including “The 700 Club,” “Hour of Power,” and TBN. Renée is the founder of Bondi Ministries. Among her many awards and honors is Woman of the Year from the California State Senate and recognition for Outstanding Service to the Community from the U.S. House of Representatives. She lives with her husband and son in Southern California.

At age 29, Renée s future was incredibly bright. She was engaged and had a beautiful singing voice, a thriving career as a music teacher, and a loving family. But then one night a bizarre accident left her a quadriplegic. Renée lost not only all use of her arms and legs, but also her singing voice she could barely speak above a whisper. Through even this, Renée remained hopeful and held tight to her faith. Her unbroken spirit and amazing physical progress baffled the medical field and even surprised those close to her. She miraculously began to sing again and went on to live more fully than she ever dreamed. Whether performing or sharing her victorious story Renée are uplifted and mesmerized by her angelic voice, music and messages. Most importantly, all who hear Renée are encouraged to pursue a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Praising God hasn’t come easy for Bondi. She shares, “For most of us, praising God in difficult times doesn't come naturally. We praise God on the mountaintop, not in the valley. After becoming paralyzed, I found when I chose to lift my eyes and heart in praise to Christ, I experienced a much deeper peace and strength I didn’t have before. Praising God changes my focus, which changes my mind and then my heart and ultimately my attitude.”

Her book is filled with personal stories that emphasize how important worship has become in her life and brings to life some well-known and more obscure Bible characters who praised God in the good times and also in the tough times.





Product Details:
List Price: $18.99
Hardcover: 175 pages
Publisher: CLC Publications (August 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619580136
ISBN-13: 978-1619580138



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Please go HERE and press the "Look Inside" button on Amazon to read the first chapter of this amazing book.

Thankful Heart: Day 16

A Prayer of Thanks

Thank You, God, for everything
I've experienced here on earth
Thank You for protecting me
from the moment of my birth
And thank You for the beauty
around me everywhere,
The gentle rain and glistening dew,
the sunshine and the air,
The joyous gift of "feeling"
the soul's soft, whispering voice
That speaks to me from deep within
and makes my heart rejoice
Oh, God, no words are great enough
to thank You for just living,
And that is why every day
is a day for real Thanksgiving.

~Helen Steiner Rice

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice." Psalm 105:1-3

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 15

I Thank Thee, Lord

I thank Thee, Lord, for all You do
To help me make my dreams come true
I thank You for the sun that shines,
Good health and for my peace of mind.

When things go well I oft forget
That I am always in Your debt.
I ask for help when times are tough
And when the going is hard and rough

But oft forget to thank Thee when
All things go well and right again.
So thank Thee, Lord, for all You do
To help me make my dreams come true.

~Dolores Karides 

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night." Psalm 92:1-2

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 14

God's Wondrous Blessings

We are grateful for bountiful harvests,
Blessed in golden fruit and grain.
We are grateful for richly fertile fields,
Blessed in showers of falling rain.
We are grateful for a steadfast family,
Blessed in unity's loving touch.
We are grateful for bonds of friendship,
Blessed with smiles that mean so much.
We are grateful to go to churches where
Blessed in faith, we bow our heads in prayer.
We are grateful to have God's gifts divine,
Blessed in wonders of His love and care.

~Elisabeth Weaver Winstead

"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations...The heavens praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones." Psalm 89:1, 5

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 13

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord,
for all You've done
To make this day
a pleasant one
And for Your love
and gentle care
That catered to my needs
and fare;
And thank You, too,
for guiding me
Around the falls
I could not see--
And for each choice 
You helped me make
On many roads 
I had to take.

It's been a very happy day--
Because You walked, with me, today--
But I would be, twice blessed, anew--
If we could walk tomorrow, too.

~Michael Dubina


"I will give You thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation." Psalm 118:21

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 12

God's Blessings

I thank God for the blessings
That He bestows on me,
I know I am not worthy
And cannot hope to be.

He always has inclined His ear
When I seek Him in prayer,
And when I need a helping hand
I always find Him there.

I kneel to Him each new born morn
And, too, at close of day,
And offer my most grateful thanks
In my own humble way.

Without His countless blessings
So void my life would be.
He has enriched it every way
By blessings given me.

~Harold F. Mohn

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live...I will offer You a sacrifice of thanksgiving." Psalm 116:1-2, 17a

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 11

For the Blessings of the Year

For each beauty that I know,
For the gifts Thou dost bestow:
Clothing, home, and family dear,
For my friends both far and near;
Thank You, Lord, You giveth me
Every blessing full and free.

Thank You, Lord, for snows that fall,
Summer rains, and birds that call;
Thank You, Lord, for food we eat;
Fruit and grain; and seasons sweet.
Thank You, Lord, You marked by hand
Every bounty of the land.

Thank You, Lord, for healing sure,
Goodly moments, calm and pure;
For Thy guidance, peace and cheer,
For each blessing of the year...
Lord, these words I lift to Thee
Knowing well Thou lovest me.

~Roxie Lusk Smith

"O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever." Psalm 30:12b

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 10

Praise the Lord!

If you can smile when your heart is broken
and laugh in sorrow's face...
If you can ignore the harsh word spoken
with humility and grace,
Praise the Lord!

If you can resist the next temptation
and rebound when you fail...
If you can sing through tribulation
and pray when fears assail,
Praise the Lord!

If you can finish the race you started
knowing the race is won...
If you can sail the course you charted
through storm and setting sun,
Praise the Lord!

If you can forgive the sins of others
who brought you pain today...
If you can respect all men as brothers
and always earn your pay,
Praise the Lord!

If you can befriend the lost and friendless
with kindness from your cup...
If you can prevail when doubts seem endless
refusing to give up,
Praise the Lord!

~Clay Harrison

"I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips." Psalm 34:1



Friday, November 9, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 9

Thoughts of Thankfulness

For happy times of joy and mirth,
for harvest riches from the earth,
for challenges that test our worth--
we thank You, Lord, for all of these.

For nursery songs a mother sings,
for fireflies and bluebirds' wings,
for all life's gentle, little things--
we thank You, Lord, for such as these.

For peace that sheathes the warrior's sword,
for noble deed and kindly word,
for lands where freedom's voice is heard--
we thank You, Lord, grant these increase!

For home and hearth where we can rest
among the dear ones we know best,
for all good things whereby we're blessed--
we thank You, Lord, for gifts like these.

For every church and holy place 
where we may come to seek Your grace
and know that no one's rank or race
will cause Your love for us to cease.

We thank You, Lord, and pray that we
may closer grow in harmony
till goodwill clothes humanity
in robes of brotherhood and peace!

~John C. Bonser
"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 8

Let Us Take Time

Let us take time every morning
To turn to our God and say
Thanks for another restful night
And the dawn of a brand-new day.

Thank You for the blessings and gifts
You've given us all these years,
And for the times You helped us through
Life's many heartaches and tears.

Thank You for this beautiful world--
For the flowers, the birds, and the trees,
And for so many precious children.
We thank You for all of these.

Your blessings and gifts outnumber, by far,
The stars that shine above,
But the one we treasure the most of all
Is Your overwhelming love!

~Doris A. Orth

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 7

Oh God, how great is Thy handiwork
Of nature's mighty works on display,
For miles of breathtaking beauty,
No pen of man could portray.
Such splendor is given to Thy landscapes,
To places both high and low,
So that great or small might behold it,
We know that our Lord planned it so.
I thank God for eyes to behold such splendor
And for a heart attuned to His own,
So I can appreciate the wonders of autumn
Long after it has come and gone.
I thank You, God, for each season
Whichever it may be,
For I know there is beauty to be found
If only our eyes will see.
Let me not take for granted this great universe
You've given for us to enjoy and share,
We know from Your Word, eye has not seen or ear heard
The joys You've prepared for us there.

~Thelma Grace Ide

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge."
Psalm 19:1-2

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 6

Blessings Counted...

...For sunshine, for quenching rain,
For relief of our pain.
...For green leaves on trees so tall.
For winter, spring, summer, and fall.
...For midnight, for afternoon,
For starlight and for the moon.
...For laughter,
For children's smiles,
For walking with us across the miles.
...For tears of joy, for hearts that care.
For the ability to love,
For the ability to share.
For gentle guidance,
For constant love,
We owe our thanks to God above.

~Marsha Smith Meigs

"I will bless them...there will be showers of blessing." Ezekiel 34:26
"Blessings crown the head of the righteous."
Proverbs 10:6a

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 5

Father, We Thank Thee

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee;
For tender grass so fresh and sweet,
Father, we thank Thee;
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee.
For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee;
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee;
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 4

Thank You, Lord

I marvel at the splendor that surrounds me,
The beauty that expands from sky to sea.
Oh God...how can I ever start to thank You...
For all the wondrous things You've given me?

I thank You, Lord, for trees that grace the woodlands
For every growing thing that's bright and fair,
For mountains high and every golden meadow
For wherever there is beauty...You are there.

I see the stars...I feel the sun
Your majesty spreads far and wide.
I've seen the light...I feel Your love
I am safe because I know You're at my side.

I thank You, Lord, for many countless blessings
For promises and answers to my prayer.
I never want, or fear...because You love me.
Dearest Lord...because I know You truly care.

Thank You, Lord...for loving me
and being there.

~Patience Allison Hartbauer

"Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds." 1 Chronicles 16:9

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful Heart: Day 3

Thankfulness

My God, I thank Thee Who hast made
The earth so bright;
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right!
I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.
I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace,
Not known before.
I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls,
Though amply blest,
Can never find, although they seek,
A perfect rest,
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus' breast!

~Adelaide Anne Procter

"Thou hast made us, O Lord, for Thyself and our heart shall find no rest till it rests in Thee." ~St. Augustine

Friday, November 2, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: The Sparkle Box

Author Bio
Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.  

Illustrator Bio
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life.  After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

  Website: http://www.idealsbooks.com/The-Sparkle-Box-Jill-Hardie/dp/0824956478

My Review:
I was surprised to find that this book talks about a Christmas tradition that our family has been doing for years! I read the book to my kids and they laughed because they already knew about the plot :). Every year after Thanksgiving, my kids start preparing their gifts for Jesus. Christmas is the time when we celebrate our Savior’s birth. We want to give Him gifts (though we do things for Jesus all year through). The Sparkle Box is a delightful book with a wonderful message. The boy in the story looks forward to opening a mysterious box on Christmas morning and what he finds in the box helps him realize what the true meaning of Christmas is. Beautiful, vivid illustrations...warm and inviting! I only wish they didn't include the wise men in the nativity scene (they were not there when Jesus was born). The book includes one sparkle box and a note from the author at the end of the book.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." ~Jesus


GIVEAWAY (open to all, including international residents): You can win a copy of this book.
Deadline: 11/16 at midnight (Pacific time)
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share one of your family's Christmas traditions.

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"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."