"Our family will base our success on one thing...our impact for the Kingdom of Christ." -Rick Burgess

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Post of 2011

On this last day of 2011 I’ve found myself challenged by Tsh Oxeneider's 20 Questions.

What a wonderful way to reflect on God’s work in my life throughout this past year.

These questions were really tough for me.

Age has not been kind to my memory, so these questions really knocked out the cobwebs and made me dig deep in the vault that is my mind.

I really stirred up some dust in there.

20 Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Our summer was one of the best, if not THE best summers that we have ever experienced. We took lots of short trips and spent tons of time at the beach with my in-laws, and spent lots of time with great friends that we love dearly. We truly enjoyed every minute of the Summer of 2011.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Without a doubt it was when Jeremy (sweet hubby) had to go back out of town for work. It was a HUGE adjustment after having him home for a year and a half.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

School has been a joy for us this year. So thankful that this school year has been smooth sailing. Another joy would have to be this blog. I never knew how much I needed to write things down. God has used it to mature my walk with Him. It’s great therapy from the Greatest Therapist EVER!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

Ten months without progress on our house.

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.

Growth. Thankfulness. Joy.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

Strength. Patience. Love.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).

Blessed. Humbling. Challenging.

8. What were the best books you read this year?

1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst, The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Sterns, Bringing up Girls by Dr. James Dobson, Journey to Significance by Kimberly Sowell

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

God will always be at the top of this list.

Then, my husband, Jeremy. My love for him grows with each passing year. 2011 marked 14 years that
God has given me with my best friend.

2011 also brought with it some very special relationships.

I’ve enjoyed relationship growth with church family, reconnected with old friends, and found some precious blogging friends. I have to name a few that have stood out in 2011.

First, Mrs. Jacque Byrd…I don’t have enough words to describe this blessing. God brought you into my life this year and I am all the better because of it.

Relationship with Mrs. J, led me to her precious daughter Jen, who has captivated our entire family. Her joy is infectious.

The year brought the blessing of “The Power Hour”. A prayer group started by my one-of-a-kind friend Sharon Morgan. Stay-at-home mother of 4 and strong woman of God. She started this group so that we could pray for our kids and their school. I gathered with Sharon, and our friends Andrea White and Candy Fain. Together with these women, I shared life and prayer. Some weeks that hour of prayer was the only thing that got me through. Thank you Father for them.

My Bible-believing, God-loving, Praying, Sunday School Class, led my Mr. Jerry Hawsey. I could write an entire post just about these guys. We’ve faced some tough stuff this year. I’m so glad God saw fit to let us go through it together.

I love it how God sends you who you need, when you need them. One of my dearest friends is Twilight Carden. She and I both encountered major life changes in 2010. Life got in our way, and pulled us in different directions for a while. I thank God for reconnecting us in 2011. I Love You!

And now for the end of 2011. I just didn’t know what I was missing by not being apart of the blogging world. The ladies I’ve met through blogging are simply AWESOME! They are going to change the world for God and I’m so thankful that He’s allowed me to read their words. I’ll put links to their names so that you can share in the joy that they’ve brought to me. Jana @ Grace for my Mess, Melissa @ Beautiful Mommy Feet, Sarah @ My Life is Like the Shoes on my Closet Floor, Val @ Stumbling Barefoot, Jamie @ Creating Home Journal, Ann @ A Holy Experience, Lisa-Jo @ The Gypsy Mama, Emily @ Chatting the Sky.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

I’ve learned to choose joy….thank you Sara.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I’m doing better at expressing my feelings, and not keeping them bottled up.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

I’ve gone from depending on Spiritual leaders to feed me, to feeding myself on God’s word. 

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I’ve maintained. Is that an answer?

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

See answer to question 9... J

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

Working on our property, and our house and getting things accomplished. Learning to drive our tractor was an all time high for me. Talk about feeling empowered!! Woo Hoo!

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

The same as #15.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Pinterest. BaaaHaaaHaaa!

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

Studying God’s Word and Serving in my church.

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

How to REALLY give thanks, and how to find joy through that thanksgiving. It has really been life changing for me.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.

I think I’ll share the words to a song, maybe even a link….

The more I seek You,

The more I find You,

The more I find You,

The more I love You,

I want to sit at Your Feet,

Drink from the cup in Your Hand,

Lay back against you and breathe,

Feel Your Heartbeat,

This Love is so deep,

It’s more than I can stand,

I melt in Your Peace,

It’s overwhelming.

-Kari Jobe

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!

SEE YOU IN 2012!!!

Lord Willing,

Tracey

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Favorite Tweets of 2011

Please keep in mind that I only started tweeting the last part of 2011.

The list of favs will be longer in 2012.

And the winners are....(no real prizes will be awarded...sorry)

 Katelyn Stephens
I can't make someone fall madly in love with Jesus, I only make the introduction. Ephesians 3:14-19
 
LysaTerKeurst
When the rhythm of my soul is survival instead of revival, I will come unglued.
 
Sometimes you have to give a man a fish to eat for a day. But eventually you have to solve why he was hungry to begin with.
 
EWomen Extraordinary Women
"The donkey didn't say 'Look how great I am that they are showering me with Hosannas'. He knew who it was for!"
 
angela_thomas Angela Thomas Pharr
Kids need their mom to pray in secret with the door open.
 
 Lisa-Jo
At the end of all things we will bring only what we have given away with us.
 
When a Jesus girl rises up to give unexpected grace when she could have done an attitude cuss, the mystery of Christ is seen.
 
 FaithBarista
In the moment you feel yourself holding your breath, stop and close your eyes. Take a breath. He's with you. Jesus. Faithfully. Loving you.
 
 (in)courage
Because friendship is all that will show up at our funerals.
 
 Lisa-Jo
The only moments that matter, are the ones no one knows about. Link
 
"Wisely & slow. They stumble that run fast" ~Shakespeare. Yes! "Life isn't an emergency. Only the amateurs hurry"
 
Jesus laid it all down to wrap His divinity in our dust. I marvel again... At what dust-covered love looks like.
 
"Today I am a woman desperate for God to breath a great vision on my soul"
 
 Tim Keller Wisdom
Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you.
 
: God's plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day.
 
"...and the courage to show up for your own life."
 
 Lisa-Jo
Writing. It's not a competition. It's a calling.
 
 Jennifer Rothschild
People either make a way to overcome or make an excuse not to.
 
HolleyGerth "When life gets hard the lies get loud. But in the middle of all the noise, there is still what’s true."
 
AnnVoskamp "We give thanks to God not because of how we feel – but because of Who He is."
 
 
 Brooke McGlothlin
Don't let other people's choices make you feel judged. Do what God has called you to and let Him be your judge.
 
lwfministries Love Worth Finding
I want to tell you something big, plain & straight. Salvation isn't a reward for the righteous, but a gift for the guilty.
 
 Louie Giglio
Dear Iran, it's called the gospel dilemma. Execute Pastor Nadarkhani = more Jesus. Let him live = more Jesus! You can't kill eternal life.
 
 
Thanking God for a blessed 2011.
 
Looking forward to what He has in store for me in 2012.
 
Following His lead,
 
Tracey
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Perspective


I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary and Joseph this Christmas Season.

Wondering what they must have felt in those days and months leading up to Christ’s birth.

As a mother I’m usually drawn more to Mary’s story. I can feel how uncomfortable she was riding atop that donkey. Pain with each bump as she tried to cushion the blows to the Baby King.

However, this year I’ve tried to see things from Joseph’s perspective.

I’ve tried to step into his shoes and walk the lonely path to which he was called.

A lonely path indeed.

How many men do you know who would have, stepped up to the plate so to speak, the way that Joseph did.

What a responsibility!

Not only was he taking on the responsibility of a child he did not concieve….he was taking on the responsibility of caring for God’s Own Son. The Messiah!

A friend blessed me this month by introducing me to Jason Crabb’s Christmas CD. My favorite track tells the story through Joseph’s eyes. I hope it blesses your heart as much as it did mine.



I pray that in these last few days before Christmas,  you can take time to walk around in the shoes of Mary and Joseph.

In the words of Ann Voskamp....take time to “steep long and slow” in the joy of our Savior’s birth.


Merry Christmas,

Tracey
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ARE WE THERE YET?

MOOOMMMMM!?!? Are we there yet?

Anyone who has ever been on a trip with kids has heard this statement resounding from the backseat pests passengers.

It always makes for such a joyful trip….NOT!

Yet, I feel like it’s the question that the Lord has heard me whining asking from His proverbial backseat.

“ARE WE THERE YET LORD?”

“HOW MUCH LONGER LORD?”

“I’M TIRED LORD!”

“REALLY LORD, REALLY!?!”

I sound like one big fat, manna eating, meat wanting, cloud following, COMPLAINING Israelite.

You see, my family and I have been on our own sort of journey through the wilderness.

In April of 2010 God moved our cloud. We moved out of our home to do much needed renovations. Our family of five, moved from our 3 bedroom home of 12 years, into our 31 foot, fifth wheel, travel trailer. During the renovations, our house, which was on the market at the time, sold. We closed the sale in June of 2010 and God moved our cloud again. He moved it out to our dream property. The property that we’d waited 12 years for. The property that He’d blessed us with and had chosen just for us. The property that was ours free and clear. The property that we’d build our future on.



Fast forward to October 11, 2010. Six months of camping in our fifth wheel and we break ground on our new home. The home that God has led us to pay for our of our pockets. Our Word from Him is “NO LOAN!“ So we take our step of faith and we trust Him as His cloud hovers over our cozy little home on wheels.

I love seeing progress! I felt like we were really getting somewhere! Board by board, nail by nail we watched as it went up. It’s all dried in(construction talk for the walls are up and the roof is on). Then….HALT! No money means no moving forward. So we wait.








We wait…for a year.

October 2011.

We have brick!




I never knew I could be so excited about brick and mortar. But even in the midst of the brick excitement, I wander wonder. I feel doubt creeping in, and the doubt makes the complaints seep out. The questions come from the backseat…”HOW MUCH LONGER GOD?”

And still the cloud stays put.

I pray and I wait.

God leads me to the book of Numbers, where He walks me through the journey of the Israelites.



When I question...“ARE WE THERE YET?”

He answers…”We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you’. Come with us, and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised good things to Israel.” Numbers 10:29

When I question “REALLY LORD, REALLY…NO LOAN?”

He answers…”…they buried the people who had yielded to the craving.”

Numbers 11 gives the account of the people complaining about the manna and asking for meat. So God gave them what they wanted..what they asked for…but the ones who yielded to the craving…the ones who weren't satisfied with what God had already given them…were struck by a plague. My craving is to be in my house…to get a loan from the bank to hurry up and finish it….but by God’s strength alone, I WILL NOT yield to the craving.

When I whine...“I’M TIRED! WE HAVE NO SPACE! WE ONLY HAVE ONE BATHROOM!”

He answers…”Now when the people complained it displeased the LORD.” Numbers 11:1 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against me?” Numbers 14:27

When I ask...“HOW MUCH LONGER?  ARE WE EVER GOING TO BE DONE WITH THIS HOUSE?”

He answers...“How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?" Numbers 14:11



So here we are….December 2011. Then end of another year. One year and eight months of living in our temporary home.

Our temporary home…

You know what? Really, the whole world is our temporary home.

PRAISE GOD! This world is temporary…this time is temporary….He has something so much better in store for us…we just have to be patient and obedient.

Our cloud WILL move…..in HIS time.

So until then we wait….with JOY in our hearts….with PRAISE on our lips….with THANKSGIVING as our song!

I close with words from JOB 2:10…

“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

Amen.

Rejoicing as I wait,

Tracey

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Friday, December 2, 2011

From Tired to Refreshed

Today's post is a conglomeration of jumbled up thoughts that need to get out of my brain, and Five Minute Friday.

So here I go.

I guess Lisa-Jo must have been reading my mind this week because TIRED is exactly what I've been. And when I say TIRED, I mean the crying kind of tired. I can sooo relate to Lisa-Jo as she was sitting in her warm car and the tears came. I've been there....this week even.

Throughout my week of "tired", God has been whispering to me.

"Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

He sent my rest last night. We had no where to be, no homework, and we had supper at home!

Then this morning He put a cherry on top and gifted me with refreshing and renewal of my spirit.

I'll give you a sneak peak into my morning.

6 am...I wake to a phone call. A call for my oldest from a friend who needed a ride to school. This of course gets her up and at em' right away. Middle and youngest follow suit. Everyone is up on time! I even get breakfast cooked (and they actually eat it). Everyone is dressed, bellies full, teeth brushed, backpacks packed,  lunches packed and we are out the door on time! All of this PLUS not one single argument or whine. You see this is a rarity at our house. There is usually at least one person in a foul mood at all times. (Oh how I love tweens!)

So here we go...off to school...Christmas music streaming from the car speakers. When suddenly He makes His presence known.

He comes bringing the perfect gift for me today. (Because His timing and His ways are always perfect)

 He brings me the gift of laughter all wrapped up in the form of my sweet middle "KP".

She comes out of no where with something tooo funny and the oldest laughs...REAL...pure and genuine, long and sweet, from deep down.

They all laugh....I laugh.







And it feels like PURE JOY!

The weight lifts, troubles clear.
I feel the refreshing and renewal that you feel after a good cry. But instead of tears, He gifts LAUGHTER...sweet laughter.

Thank you God for this blessing...this timely gift of Your Grace.




Laughing all the way,
Tracey
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