Thankful for my Defender

Thanksgiving ushers in reflection. Reflection on what causes gratefulness to rise up within us. Reflection on the past year. The ups, the downs, the progress or lack thereof.

This year, getting a handle on my health and exercise has been one of my greatest accomplishments and reasons for gratitude. I feel so much better! I can move better, and I enjoy being active. I have even started running with my husband and Molly. They want to run more often; I want to do it without feeling like I need to vomit. They went to a running coach for some tips and have passed them on to me. So far, so good. We have been running a mile at a time and practicing our form, cadence and breathing. The little metronome has been quite helpful in that it gives me something to focus on rather than focusing on how in the world I am even going to make it til the end of my run.

I am also super grateful for this past year and my time with the Lord and in His Word. I am in the book of Romans and just about five weeks away from finishing the whole Bible! I don’t read the Bible through every single year, but when I do it is one of my greatest joys and provides much spiritual growth.

One theme that I notice when I read through the Bible is God being our Defender, the One who fights for us, who prepares us for the “nexts” in our lives in ways we don’t even know at the time He is doing it.  He keeps us from dangers. He carries us through extremely tough times. He does the work.

2 Kings 6 tells a story about the king of Aram warring against Israel and wanting to capture and kill Elisha.

“He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And Elisha’s servant said to him, ‘Alas my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ “

{2 Kings 6:14-16}

I can so imagine what the servant was thinking. He’s looking around at the horses, chariots, and the great army and then he is looking at Elisha. Scratching his head, he looks at Elisha in disbelief.

“Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

{2 Kings 6:17}

Wow! Lord, I pray that You would open my eyes to see Your army of protection and rescue. I am not alone! I am worth being fought for. I haven’t always experienced that with earthly relationships, but never once has God given up on me or folded His arms and just decided that I was too tough a case. He is always fighting for my good and His glory. I am worth it to Him.

Psalm 141:8 “For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord; In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.”

Psalm 142:2-4, 5b   “I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.Look to the right and see; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul…’You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.”

Psalm 18:2-3, 16-19, 28-30 “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies…He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me…For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him”

Psalm 139:5 “You have enclosed my behind and before and laid Your hand upon me.”

Psalm 3:3, 5&6 “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory and the one who lifts my head…I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.”

Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Thank You, Lord, for being my Defender. Open my eyes to see You fighting for me. And for the times I don’t see it, help me walk by faith and know it is happening. You are my refuge and strength. You are a very present help in times of trouble, and I praise You for that! Amen.

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Thanksgiving 2018

This year my parents came to our house for Thanksgiving. We so enjoyed having them here. But before they got here on Tuesday,  Josh and the kids went to a Hornets game Monday evening. I watched them from the warmth and comfort of my home and spotted them on television.

Ruby and I made Aunt Marcy’s pumpkin bars since she wasn’t able to bring them and celebrate Thanksgiving with us. They were delicious!!!

We enjoyed baked potatoes and chili that first evening with my parents. The next day we smoked ribs and served potato salad and cole slaw and corn on the cob. I would have made a yummy salad, but the warnings about romaine lettuce had begun circulating, so I opted out of taking a chance on the salad.

Thanksgiving preparations began on Wednesday when I made a new recipe–Cranberry Relish. It was actually really good. But by far, the best thing on the table is sweet potato casserole. YUMMY!! And my kids always want an Apple Punch that a friend from Georgia shared with us one year, so that was a must! There was a slight debate on which dressing is best (my grandma’s or Josh’s grandma’s recipe). We just agreed to disagree, but if he has any hopes of eating his favorite, he best get the recipe written down and get to practicing.

Josh smoked a turkey this year and it was divine. I wish I had taken a better picture of the food because everything we soooooo pretty and delicious. The pies are gonna be able to stick around the house for another 24 hours and then they are going in to the garbage!!! I cannot have this stuff in the house and be trusted. It’s Thanksgiving DAY, not Thanksgiving month.

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Here are some other photos we took when Josh decided to bring in the Christmas tree from the carport.

Today we enjoyed a quiet morning, grabbed some lunch, watched some football, and now Josh, Mack and Ruby are at the movies. Molly and I went to ULTA at 7:00 this evening, which technically means this is my first year ever participating in Black Friday shopping! I have never been interested in getting out in that mess, and we obviously waited long enough that it just seemed like a regular shopping day. There were no crowds or long lines. Now we are safely back inside sitting by the fire and enjoying the quiet. That is my kind of Black Friday shopping!

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving with their family and friends. I know we did!

10 years of blogging

If I was paying close enough attention, I would have blogged three more times to get to 10 years AND 1,000 posts.  But as it is, I am at 10 years and 998 posts. Still a long time and a lot of words on this-here blog.

I knew ten years of blogging was approaching, but I don’t really know how to celebrate. The kids asked me how much money I have made blogging, and I told them exactly zero dollars. This started as a way to keep up with the funny stories from the crazy days with little kids. My parents and Josh’s parents loved reading the stories since they have never lived near us. And I am so thankful I finally started blogging because as we look back at some of the posts, there is no way I would naturally remember all of the funny stories.

This evening we decided we would “celebrate” by going back and choosing random posts to read together. It will be funny to read the silly stories and see the photos I have posted.

The blog continues to share some personal stories from the kids, though much less since the kids are at an age where they don’t really want the world to know details about their lives. Can’t blame them.  I share about homeschooling and good books I have read, as well as some devotional thoughts. I love words and writing, and I hope one day my love for words might culminate into something worth reading.

But for now, in this season of carting kids to and fro, schooling three very different kids every day, laundry, cooking and cleaning, supporting Josh, and trying to take care of myself, this space on the world wide web will have to suffice for me to play around with words. Thankful for ten years of memories recorded here.

 

Halloween {and football and Rolo}

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The Dawson kids and Noah came over to trick-or-treat. Julie, Josh, Summer and I handed out candy to all the Hulks and Harry Potters. Chubby WonderWoman was my favorite–she was so smart. How do I know she was smart? I could tell because  she purposely chose several Reese’s Cups for her candy basket, careful to skip over the KitKats and bubble gum.

The night before this, Mack played his last flag football game. It was the first game they lost, which was heartbreaking. But Mack played so well all season, and he loved every second of it. Here are a few photos and a video of some amazingly kind words from his coach.

We realize we haven’t exactly set Mack up for football greatness and scholarships since we home school, but I still know God has a perfect plan for Mack. When I am tempted to worry about his future, I am reminded to cast all of my cares on the Lord because He cares for me…and He cares for Mack even more than I care for Mack. And He withholds no good thing from His children. That’s awesome!

Lastly, little Rolo went to Social Pet today for an enrichment class and some grooming.  She has been super anxious and whiney in the car lately, which hasn’t been her normal until just a few weeks ago. Also, when I take her to pet stores she seems to be fine with other dogs UNTIL they get close to her. Then, she tries to nip at their faces so they will get away from her. It is super embarrassing. So today she had a great class. First she was alone and then they added a low-energy dog that played with her a little. Then, Bo, another enrichment little doggy came in to play. He is high-energy, and Rolo did great with him as long as he didn’t touch her. When he touched her or backed her in the corner, she would nip at him so he would give her some space. I don’t know what I think of that because I think it is ok if she knows her limits and expresses them, but….I wish she wouldn’t be so quick to need her space. ANYWAY, overall they said she did awesome all day and warmed up to the other dogs and played really well with them. We are planning to have her go five or six weeks in a row to keep her getting used to other dogs. She is totally exhausted when she comes home from her play days. Even now she is sleeping next to Molly in a chair. Such a sweet dog!

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It’s been a great week, and I am so glad it is almost Friday. We are ready for the weekend!!!