God's Stirring

God is stirring in my heart and the themes are destiny, choice and restoration. I just finishing reading David Housholder's book, The Blackberry Bush and a few quotes continue to propel what God is doing in me forward.  On a side-note, I have to say my reading time has been minimal this past year. I start to read at night and fall asleep so quickly or don't even read thinking about the time I will be up in the middle of the night with a precious 2 year old! :)  This book is different, as the author is a  dear person in my life. My former teaching pastor and boss who hired me at a pivotal point in my career moving from the teaching world to ministry. This book was one that I knew I had to read to honor him and knowing how God speaks through Pastor Dave. So glad I did.

"...Destiny is fixed and freedom is real. Don't ask me how the two fit together, but they do. And the pivot points in our life story are tiny shifts that lead us to a whole new future." (pg. 167 The Blackberry Bush) 
The theology of predestination vs. free will. I have often wrestled with this and growing up I took it as ...what is going to happen is going to be...almost as if I didn't have choice in it. For me, spiritual apathy followed this mentality.  Yet, I knew that I had a choice to make and of course my choices would affect my future. But, when I really grasped that God has a plan for me and I can choose to SEEK AFTER and follow HIS ways, the power of God started really moving in my life. Knowing I have a destiny and calling that is unique for me individually and YET within that plan I have choices is challenging. That is one of the reasons I love this quote from Dave's book..."Destiny is fixed and freedom is real" And the PIVOT POINTS have led me to a whole new future and one that I am constantly thankful for. I look back to the summer/fall of 2007 in feeling the call to go on my first mission trip to India and think, "What if I didn't go?!" India 2008 was a major PIVOT POINT! This morning I was again brought to tears thinking of what if I would have chose to stay in my comfort zone like I wanted to? Literally that thought almost shakes me because I am convinced that I would have missed experiencing God's heart for the orphans and therefore missed Abby. I am not trying to be dramatic...just the thought of my freedom to make choices almost scares me (a good and holy fear of the Lord). The prayer..."Not my will but yours Lord" is comforting. The thoughts that as I seek Him...he always makes it clear..."writing on the wall" so that I don't miss him also brings me comfort moving forward. Again, I feel like I am at a pivot point in my spiritual journey. One that is going to require more of me. One that is going to again call me out of my comfort zone. I know the faithfulness of God in the past and that His ways are always better than mine and yet. And yet...I also know I am still "hanging on" to comfort and wanting to play it safe at times. I can justify many things.  While singing the song "All to You" and the lyrics...
I'm living my life for You
And I'm giving everything to You
Not holding back, from every part
I'm giving it all to You
I found myself wanting to sing/insert, "I'm trying"! Because really...I am still holding on in some areas of my life, I can justify holding back some parts. AND YET...I KNOW BETTER! God's plans are always WAY BETTER THAN MINE! So...my prayer is that I will continue to surrender ALL and go ALL OUT in this wonderful, crazy journey that the Lord has me on in serving in His Kingdom here on Earth. It will require sacrifice. It will require more of me. 

"Oh God...thank you for your patience, your grace and your compassion for the lost, the vulnerable, the widow and the orphan. Let me not miss the pivot points that you have for me that will continue to lead to the amazing future that you have for me and for my family."

Will have to blog on the "Restoration"word another day. This is all I can process for today! :)


Scott's 40th!!!

Well...this is our year to turn 40! Scott and I were high school sweethearts. I was a grade older than him, but he has an August birthday so we are really only 4 months apart. Still, he loves to call me his "old lady". :)

In our group of friends, for the most part, we are the last to turn 40 and so I have watched all the other ideas for parties, etc. Many have gone ALL OUT but Scott said he just wanted family over and to keep it small. So, we did that on his birthday which was Sat. However, with the help of some friends, I was able to surprise him with a special night! I even called his work to make sure he would be home by 4:30 to leave in time! A golf course had a couple's night with a Murder Mystery theme. Prizes and Prime Rib dinner too! We played best ball with 2 other couples. One of the guys was the grounds keeper at the course and I was joking with him every time I made a divot. :) We had a blast! Best of all for me, my only good tee shot of the night WON a contest for the women! HA! Golf is really one of those games that you just have to practice and I sure don't do that these days. However, it was the PERFECT thing to surprise Scott with and made such a fun night for him! He loves to golf and even loves it when I golf with him. What a great guy! Seriously, I hit the jackpot with my husband!!! Knowing him for 26 of his 40 years is pretty special too!

 Closest to the Pin Award!
 The deer decided to join us!
And to top of the fun, the course made this fun "cake" for Scott. Snickers and a free round of golf! Combined with my gift card I won at a local restaurant, I think we'll be driving back to that town. Well, maybe I won't golf...they gave him 18 holes and that is just WAY TOO LONG for my golf attention span! :)


A Great Place to Order Canvas Photos

One of my new favorite looks for displaying photos is canvas and I recently found out about Easy Canvas Prints. EasyCanvasPrints.com, is where you can upload your own photographs, art, or designs to have printed on gallery wrapped canvas and it really is EASY! Easy Canvas Prints offers high quality, gallery-ready prints at an affordable price which I love! 

I chose a 10x8" with a .75 wrap which was perfect for the picture frame stand that I already owned:

Let me know if you decide to try one from them. The service was quick and I was very satisfied. :)


Family of 5 for ONE Year

I am feeling very sentimental about August 5th. In fact, not sure if we celebrate the day Scott and I picked up Abby on July 31 or Aug. 5. You see....on August 5, 2009, we found out about our Abby! It was the day we first saw her beautiful face!!! The day that we had been dreaming of for a year (and little did we know that we would have another year before we got to hold her)!

I'll never forget when this picture came up on my computer! Seeing that she had a BUTTERFLY on her dress (when God had been speaking to me through butterflies all year) was amazing!

Then on August 5, 2010 our dream of being a family of 5 came true! We were united at the airport and it was a beautiful celebration with family and friends! This year has been so wonderful and I just wanted to attempt to put a video together (quickly..just started last night) to document our year together! 

Our 1st Year as a Family of 5 from Jennifer Needham on Vimeo.