Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Joy in a Box

Operation Christmas Child is a perfect opportunity for kids to learn the joy of giving. They totally love picking out little items and packing them into shoe boxes to be sent to needy children around the world!





Inexpensive but useful items can be obtained at your local discount store.  We purchased most of our items at the Target Dollar Section, Family Dollar and The Dollar Tree. We learned that simple toothbrushes are the most appreciated item!





For instructions on how to pack a shoebox or what to include (or not include) click HERE.  We tried to include both practical and fun items.




Are you participating in Operation Christmas Child this year? If you haven't packed a box yet, there's still time . . . but not much.  You'll probably need to put your box together today as boxes are being collected this week and taken to distribution centers.  

If you have a story of how participating in Operation Christmas Child has blessed you or your family, I'd love to hear it!  Please share in the comments or over on my Facebook page!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marriage Monday: Growing Together when Times are Tough {Link up}









Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I hope you are enjoying my series of posts on how to maintain your marriage during a crisis. There are many types of crises that couples might encounter as they navigate the storms of life together.  Many times these trials tear marriages apart, as couples lash out at each other instead of clinging to one another and to the Lord during troubled times.  My hope is that this series will encourage you to hold fast to the Lord and to your husband during the good times and the bad. 

Have you read all of the other posts in this series?  Here they are, in case you've missed one.  (Just click on the title to read that post.)


How to Build up Your Marriage During a Crisis

Persevering through the Trials (Reader Testimony)

How Your Marriage Can Survive a Health Crisis (Reader Testimony) 







Responding to Trials with Grace 

Communicating during a Crisis

Staying Close Physically during a Crisis


Today I want to share this testimony from my friend Angela, who has been walking down the difficult path of unemployment with her husband:



It has been 5 ½ months since my husband lost his job.  We did not think it would take this long for him to find another full-time job; however, we are thankful for the part-time retail job he started 2 months ago.  During this time, we could have easily become angry and blamed the economy, the smaller area we live in, the past employer and others for the situation we are in.  But, that would not help anything and is not the way of our Lord. Instead, we have decided to accept the situation we are in and trust our all-knowing, sustaining and loving God  - Jehovah Jirah – God the provider.  

We chose to praise God through this trail.  We chose to trust in Him completely for all of our needs, including the financial ones.  We know as Christians that we are promised trials during our time on earth, but that through Him, we can overcome (John 16:33). We will press in closer to God and listen to what he is trying to teach us through this trial and where he is encouraging us to grow in our Christian walk.  God uses difficult situations in our lives for many reasons: to get our attention, to get us back in His will, to draw us near to him, to help us grow – with a little push sometimes.  We know that it is important for us to keep our focus on God and listen in the quiet hours for his small voice guiding our hearts according to his perfect will.  

Even with our eyes set on God, it has been difficult to go without any income for 3 ½ months and then for 2 months on a much smaller income unable to meet all of our financial needs.  I admit, there have been many days when we have not known where our next meal would come from, if the lights and water would stay on, if we would have a car to drive and a roof over our heads.  God has reminded me constantly of Matthew 6:26 - “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”.  Oh how that verse has brought so much comfort to me lately!  I have held onto that promise, as we are called through our belief in him to take hold of his beautiful promises.  Wow!  How God has shown Himself to us through providing for us.  Just when we thought the lights would go out or we were struggling to come up with another meal, He has always met our needs.  I have started to see Him as a “23rd hour” God.  Just when we can not see a way through, He shows up in an awesome way!


Now that you have a picture of what we've been going through, let me share with you how it has affected our marriage. You may not realize how much of a husband's identity is tied to being able to provide for his family, until it is all lost in the blink of an eye.  As taught to us in 1 Corinthians 11:3 - “..the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”  So, when the head of a family suffers a loss, it effects everyone in the household.  

I have painfully watched my husband go through an array of emotions.  I have heard that there are stages you go through during a loss.  I have seen my husband experience quite a few of these.  There have been many times I have felt helpless, wanting to take his pain away, but, I had to leave it to the Lord.  I know and trust that he is in God's hands.  I know that God is working in the midst of our situation.  I have to make sure not to get in God's way, but, to support my husband as instructed in Ephesians 5:22-24.  I know that prayer is the best thing I can do for him right now.  

There have been many blessings in this trial.  We have been able to spend more time together than normal, because of the large amount of time he would usually be away at work.  When he became somewhat depressed, we started taking several walks together during the day and evening.  During these walks, I have resisted the urge to talk, like we women tend to like to do.  Instead, God has taught me just to be there beside my husband and remind him how much I love him, job or not.  I did not marry him for what kind of job he had or how much money he made.  I am reminded of the many qualities and characteristics that caused me to fall in love with him in the first place.  As we take these walks, my husband has slowly begun to talk. and I listen and pray with him.  We realize that we are united in this struggle and know God is in the midst of it and will carry us through it.  Our prayer life together has been strengthened, and we are learning that we can trust and lean on each other in the tough times.  We also have the assurance that we can endure other rocky roads together in the future.  

I think of Adam and Eve and how God said “It is not good that man should be alone: I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18).  God has joined husband and wife into one flesh, because they need each other to endure life's trials.  These trials make our marriage stronger and draw our marriage into the center of God's will.  For that, I am thankful because we are walking in it together under God's loving wings.  We will make it and you will too as long as you follow God's ways and lean on him always, especially during your difficult times.   




Angela shares that God has been waking her up in the middle of the night with words that must be captured on paper. As her heart overflows, she is faithfully recording all that God is teaching her. She is not sure if the words which she spills in the moonlight will find their way into a book or a blog someday, or if they will stay safely tucked away in a quiet journal.  But wherever He leads, she will follow. I appreciate her willingness to share some of her story with us today.




Your Turn to Share:


I'd love to hear your testimony of how God has worked in your life, making your marriage stronger in spite of difficult circumstances.  Please leave a comment!


I've been receiving emails from many readers who are being blessed by this series and who have a story of how their marriage survived a time of great testing. Do you have such a story? I encourage you to share from your heart by leaving a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at elizabeth@yestheyareallours.com to share your testimony/potential guest post.




If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!



Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!






marriage mondays


Blogs I link up with from week to week:

What Joy Is Mine

Happy Wives Club

Photobucket

The Alabaster Jar

















http://aproverbs31wife.com/category/of-family-matters/helpmeet/

Courtship Connection









































I Choose Joy!




Wise-Woman-Builds

Messy Marriage















Wifey Wednesday button




http://judithwholeheartedhome.com/wholehearted-wednesday-linkup/













Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post. Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name! Thanks! :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

From my Front Porch ~ November 15, 2013




Welcome back to my weekly series, From my Front Porch, where I share updates from my home and family. My hope is that you'll fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea and imagine us sitting together on my front porch, chatting about life and catching up on the latest news!  I hope you'll join me each Friday on My Front Porch!  








Around the House

I missed meeting with you last Friday.  Honestly, the weeks rush by way too fast, and I just needed a chance to sit and catch my breath!



Today we are nearing the end of our house tour with a stop in the bonus room.  This room is located over the garage, half-a-floor up from the kitchen, and half-a-floor down from the bedrooms.  This cozy room is used for reading books, doing school work, watching movies, playing video games, and just "chilling."




Here's a look at one of the school desks . . . and a glimpse of our chalkboard wall.



And here's the rest of the chalkboard wall and the other school desk.  Chris and Luke generally do their school work in this room.



This couch faces the bookshelves and TV shown in the first picture.



Having a chalkboard wall is a fun addition to a bonus room, school room, bedroom or kitchen!  Hannah and her friend, Kendra (pictured below), painted this one the week we started moving into the house last March!




Do you have a chalkboard, chalkboard wall, or message center in your house?  



Family News

Last weekend we celebrated Kristi's 24th birthday!  She wanted to have a bonfire and roast hotdogs and marshmallows . . .  so that's what we did!  :)  It was a perfect chilly night for a bonfire and we had a fun family time around the fire!




I made a Texas Sheet Cake for Kristi's birthday cake.  This cake is delicious and very easy to make.




On Monday, Alan and I went to Jacksonville for the day to start our Christmas shopping and stock up on food at Costco!  Here we are starting out on our adventure!





Our day started off in an unexpected way when we were rear-ended before we could even get out of town!!  :(  Thankfully, no one was hurt and we were soon on our way!  We enjoyed our day together shopping and eating lunch at the Cheesecake Factory!  YUM!  :)



Thanks to all those who voted for my daughter, Ashlyn, in the Global Encounters T-shirt Design Contest!  We are still waiting on the final results!  As of this posting, the race was too close to call!  I suspect they are recounting votes and looking for hanging chads!  ;)

My kids had so much fun campaigning for their sister!  I posted one of the videos they created in my last post, and even though the contest is now over, I've just got to show you the video they created yesterday!  This spoof of Facing the Giants is hilarious and I know you will enjoy watching it!  ;)







Thanks for stopping by my front porch for a visit! I'd love for you to take a moment to "sign my guest book" (leave a comment!)  ;)  Also, if you have time, please drop by and visit with my dear friend, Lori. When she has time, she blogs from the front porch of her cozy little log cabin nestled in the woods of the South Carolina mountains.  You will enjoy her warm and witty writing style!  Tell her that Elizabeth sent you!  :)








Please join me again next Friday on my front porch!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Need You!



My 26-year-old daughter, Ashlyn, has a heart overflowing with love for children and sharing the gospel.  So, naturally, she loves mission trips, especially when they involve orphans! In addition to working a full-time job in a busy pediatrician's office, plus running her own photography business, she spends her "spare time" working extra jobs (babysitting and house sitting) and scrimping and saving so she can go on three-week mission trips with Global Encounters each summer.  





Having an opportunity to love these hurting, unloved children and share with them the unconditional, unfailing love of Jesus is what keeps her going all year long!




Currently, she is a finalist in a mission T-shirt design contest sponsored by Global Encounters where the first prize is a $300 scholarship for her next mission trip!  Her T-shirt design, Sent with Love, is fabulous, and if chosen will appear on all 2014 Global Encounters mission T-shirts!




She really wants to win this contest!  The competition is fierce, and her design is running neck-to-neck with that of her primary competitor.  Which is where you come in.  Would you do me a favor and take a minute of your time to vote for Ashlyn's T-shirt - Sent with Love?

You can vote on Facebook and on Twitter:


I really appreciate your support and help with this project!  The whole family has gotten on board, and is promoting Ashlyn's T-shirt design on Facebook and Twitter and encouraging their friends to vote!  Her brothers and sisters have even been creating promotional videos in support of Ashlyn's T-shirt campaign!  :)  (Aren't large families the greatest?!?)  You can watch one of their crazy videos here:


video



Today is the last day for voting!  So, don't delay!  Vote Now!  :)



Monday, November 11, 2013

Marriage Monday: Staying Physically Close during a Crisis {Link up}








Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I hope you are enjoying my series of posts on how to maintain your marriage during a crisis. There are many types of crises that couples might encounter as they navigate the storms of life together.  Many times these trials tear marriages apart, as couples lash out at each other instead of clinging to one another and to the Lord during troubled times.  My hope is that this series will encourage you to hold fast to the Lord and to your husband during the good times and the bad.

One problem that couples must overcome during a crisis (or anytime) is a lack of communication or conflicting communication styles.  To read last week's post on communicating during a crisis, click HERE.  

Have you read all of the other posts in this series?  Here they are, in case you've missed one:

Responding to Trials with Grace 

How a Wife's Unwavering Faith Strengthened her Marriage During a Crisis (Reader Testimony)

How Your Marriage Can Survive Childhood Leukemia (Reader Testimony)

How Your Marriage Can Survive a Season of Unemployment (Reader Testimony)

How Your Marriage Can Survive the Loss of a Child (Testimony of Amy Roberts)

How Your Marriage Can Survive the Fire

How Your Marriage Can Survive a Health Crisis (Reader Testimony) 

Persevering through the Trials (Reader Testimony)

How to Build up Your Marriage During a Crisis


Today I want to talk about staying close physically 
during a crisis.  Unless the crisis is of a physical nature that prevents a couple from coming together, it is important for a man and wife to maintain their intimacy even during a deep, dark valley.  

What if you "don't feel like it?"  Do it anyway!  ;)

Why?  Because you will prevent a host of additional problems by maintaining this part of your relationship.  1 Corinthians 7:3-5 instructs:

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.  Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 

The enemy is looking for any opening he can find to get his foot in the door so he can enter into our homes and destroy our marriages and our families. Maintaining our intimate times with our husbands is one way we can help protect our marriages, as stone by stone we build a wall of protection against temptation from without and cement it together from within.  How strong is the wall around your marriage?

"I am my beloved and my beloved is mine."  ~ Song of Solomon 6:3





Your Turn to Share:


I'd love to hear your testimonies of how maintaining intimacy even during very difficult times helped hold your marriage relationship together. 


I've been receiving emails from many readers who are being blessed by this series and who have a story of how their marriage survived a time of great testing. Do you have such a story? I encourage you to share from your heart by leaving a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at elizabeth@yestheyareallours.com to share your testimony/potential guest post.




If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!



Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!






marriage mondays


Blogs I link up with from week to week:

What Joy Is Mine

Happy Wives Club

Photobucket

The Alabaster Jar















TheBetterMom.com

http://aproverbs31wife.com/category/of-family-matters/helpmeet/

Courtship Connection








































I Choose Joy!




Wise-Woman-Builds

Messy Marriage















Wifey Wednesday button




http://judithwholeheartedhome.com/wholehearted-wednesday-linkup/













Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post. Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name! Thanks! :)
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