Our First Christmas Away From Home

Well, with my husband in the hospital recently and still recovering along with tight finances, we were not able to make it home for Christmas.

At first, I wanted to pout and cry – better not or Santa won’t come…or I could be simply being ungrateful for all that God has provided and brought us through this last year.

then, we got a message from our church asking if they could provide food for our Chrsitmas dinner.  We already had provisions from Thanksgiving (hubby was in the hospital at the time so we never used it) so we did not have a need for a meal; instead, we asked them to bless another family that had more of a need.

Yet, I was still upset that we would be spending Christmas alone and without the usual trappings until I remembered my own words to the church.  That there is probably someone out there who would be spending Christmas alone or may not be able to afford a meal themselves so we decided to look for a couple of people that would be alone.

Things became clearer and my pout disappeared as I asked around to see if there was such a person in this small town.  We learned of one such couple and asked them to dinner, they accepted.

An older couple, one of the first people to greet us at this new church, and who prays for my husband’s health, came to our home for dinner.

Of course, I went into nervousness, worried that my food would not be good enough as I experienced with new ways of making sweet potatoes, turkey, and even stuffing.  Even making a homemade apple pie for the first time in like at least 15 -20 years because husband wanted it.

Or would there be enough?

Well, we had more than enough and the food was delicious.  The pie was delicious even with the crumbling crust and too many apples!  The stuffing – made in the new crockpot – was delicious and everyone was too full to eat of the pie!  Though I talked my hubby into eating some today and he did – he agreed!  It was delicious!

Above all, the evening was a blessing as we fellowshipped with this couple. They prayed with us, told stories of their life, as we showered each other with fellowship and blessings.

Then, I learned as I tried to call them to wish them a merry Christmas, that my parents, alone during the holidays, had invited people from their church too…the same way we had.  They were too busy to talk to us!  I say with a smile as I’m glad they had the fellowship.

So, the lesson learned here is that even if you are full of people at the dinner table, or even alone during the holidays, bless someone with a meal and company by inviting them to the table.

After all, Acts 2:42 (NIV) reads:  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

In conclusion, we wondered, if we were still living near family (who we do miss), would we have opened our eyes and seen the needs of others?  Perhaps God moves people out of their comfort zones to open our eyes and see a need.  Perhaps we are finally seeing why God moved us here and perhaps our hearts are being opened even more to the needs of neighbors as we may do this more often and perhaps make it a monthly ministry to break bread with our neighbors.

What are your thoughts?   How did you make someone else’s life brighter for the holidays?  What can you do differently in the upcoming year?

Blogging and Life

I am posting a short blog today to let you all know that I have not forgotten you, my faithful followers.

Life has been hectic with the start of a new class on Matthew plus church, bible study, and household stuff that is keeping me busy.  Plus the job situation has been hopping with interviews, sending out resumes, and two upcoming interviews.

Prayers needed for one strong job lead that is a part time job with great pay – perfect so I can continue to do school and have time for other household stuff and draw closer to God.

Hopefully, there will be an announcement soon about a change so stay tuned and I hope to be back to blogging this weekend.  I may just do 2 blogs a week as time permits so I hope you continue to follow.  Blessings to each of you and may your vision be fulfilled as you seek God’s purpose for your life.

Blessings, Ann

Negative stress vs positive thoughts…which one?

Well, countdown is here…for the next ten days we will be busier than ever with the last round of packing, cleaning apartment, saying good byes, contacting utilities and other important people plus school.  Yep, while moving, i’ll be facing the challenge of having internet and still do my schoolwork…God give me strength.

Yeah, things are getting a little stressful especially as hubby faced a minor medical issue this morning.  All us well now but I pray the stress is not getting to him…it will be a big change for him (and me).

Some of the stresses included the following:

1) moving to a new location far far from family (never done that) though we’ll have know some people who are close by.

2) Going to a new church – hope we find a  good bible believing one who is welcoming and will encourage me as I work towards going into ministry.

3) Needing to find a job – to cover some of the expenses even if it’s part time

4) Taking care of Dene while at work and on my own…will be a big change without family nearby.

5) Getting to know new people – i’m shy and tend to avoid some social situations because the shyness can be overwhelming.

6) the move itself especially with our elderly parents driving, loading, and unloading…

Even with these stresses, we are relying on God to help us and looking at the blessings, which include the following:

1) Quiet, peacefulness

2) It’s in Eastern Washington – my most favorite place to visit

3) my dad has property over there that I can finally explore – just need to watch out for rattlesnakes (stay tuned for a blog on this)

4) Montana and Idaho are nearby – more fun places to explore!

5) My grandparents’ old farm turned to county wildlife park is closer – another relaxing and quite place.

6) I’m close to the Columbia river – my most favorite river in the whole wide world…it’s calming and relaxing.  I grew up near it and found it peaceful and beautiful!

7) Traffic is awesome there – rarely any backups!

8) It snows – yes I love snow!

9) blessings of our parents who are helping with the move

10) and the list goes on….

What is the point of these lists?  I was reminded as I read a textbook that negative thoughts should be replaced with positive ones.  The positive will help with conflict and you will be able to see things in a different perspective.

After all, according to Philippians 4:8 (KJV):

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Therefore, in conclusion, look for the positives and replace the negatives.  When you do this, your stress will be relieved and you will have a more positive outlook on life.

As to the answer to the title, I am choosing positive thoughts!

So, what negative thoughts are crowding your mind?  Can you think of anything positive to replace the negative?  Feel free to comment.

Quick update on our journey…

Hello, I have not forgotten about you, my faithful followers.  This week I am in the midst of working on a final with plans to look at housing in the Spokane area.  We have three prospects so praying that all goes well in finding the home that God has chosen for us. 

Additionally, I am praying that all is well with each of you and may God bless you.  Stay tuned for a new blog about the progress on hunting for a new home.  Perhaps we will have good news; otherwise, we will be heading back next week to look again.

Again, blessings to each of you! 

The Blessing of Shoes

When I met my husband and we became engaged, I packed up my belongings to move to his hometown.  As I packed, I realized that I did not need all the stuff I had so my mother-in-law taught me a phrase called “bless someone with that” so into the blessing box went the things went I no longer need.

With this phrase in mind, over the last few days we have been going our belongings to figure out what to put in the blessing box including several pairs of shoes.  If I’m not wearing them, why bring them with us to Nevada?  I mean, how many pairs of shoes does a person need?  One item in particular was a pair of high heels that I wore once since my feet do not like high heels.  This pair was placed on the blessing chair in my building and was soon off to a new home as they blessed another person.

What does it mean to bless someone?  According to dictionary.reference.com, blessing is defined as an act bestowed by person by giving a gift, mercy, favor, or even special words to another person.

God wants us to bless people and help the needy.  After all, according to Acts 20:35 (NIV), it is more blessed to give them to receive.  A needy person could be someone who is barely scraping by or someone who may need something like a pair of shoes but money just happens to be tight.  Thus, when they see something like a pair of shoes, they have been blessed with a gift.

These shoes were no longer valuable to me yet the person who has them probably finds them to be quite valuable.  We often have something that has some intrinsic value to it.  On the other hand, when you bless someone, this item becomes a completely different value to the person who received the gift.  After all, someone’s junk could be another person’s treasure.

For example, I think of the time when I was young and my grandfather worked at a local dump (the kind that was in the middle of nowhere and not so big as they have them now).  He found an old radio at the dump and brought it home and it was given to me.  The radio was a blessing even though someone probably dumped it thinking it had no value.  This radio was eventually passed on to another family member but I’ll always remember the blessing I received from it as I listened to my favorite music as a kid.

Finally, not only does an object have value, people have value as well.  God especially values people no matter what they have done.  Even if they have gone so low that they feel like they are living in a dump, He picks them up and restores them.  He delights in blessing His children, even those who have not called upon the name of Jesus.

How do you view your life?  Do you see yourself as valuable and that you are a blessing?  A gift as well someone who has been blessed with a gift?