Monday, November 26, 2012

give thanks...always

The Thanksgiving holiday season quickly becomes a memory as people race into the Christmas spirit following before their turkey meal.  I dislike that the spirit of thanksgiving can easily be characterized and associated with the month of November.  So, as an every day reminder, I decided to include the phrase "give thanks always" on a piece of pottery I painted at a moms night out a few months ago.  As my blog series "my thankful heart" comes to an end, may we be challenged to give thanks always; in every month, season, day, year and moment.

I painted the pottery piece yellow and then free handed the embellishment and 'give thanks always'.  The swirl design above and below the embellishment was a stamp available at the pottery location, Bees Knees.

my thankful heart - day #22

Today I give thanks to God for:
the incredible blessing of life

I have shelter over my head, food on the table and family to fellowship with. I am blessed to be a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend.  I have a Savior and know I am going to spend eternity in heaven. I have been gifted with talents and abilities as well as a spirit of encouragement and kindness. I live an abundant life and my heart overflows with joy and thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

my thankful heart - day #21


Today I give thanks to God for:
 His faithfulness

God is God!

The truth is, on this Thanksgiving Eve, I know a lot of people suffering and enduring trials.  It is hard to look beyond the present moment and recognize God's blessings and be thankful. My encouragement is to look at your past and identify God's fingerprints; He has been faithful and He WILL be faithful in this season.  There are a lot of questions we will not know answers to this side of heaven, but His love endures forever and He WILL use all things for His good. Trust in the Lord and walk by faith; He will not disappoint!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

my thankful heart - day #20


Today I give thanks to God for:
the one my soul loves
There are so many things that have crossed my mind to write about my husband, the one my soul loves. I will try to just highlight a few.  I love to watch him greet our son and the joy that fills both of their faces.  I love that he is pursing his dream even though it has meant years upon years of education and training. I love to watch him interact with our son. I love that he is a man after God's heart.  I love being silly with him...we might never grow up! I love that he is passionate about people and caring for their needs.  I love knowing that at the end of the day, my best friend is by my side. I love that whenever he enters a room or I see him from a distance, my heart still skips a beat.  I love that music speaks to his soul and he shares it through humming, singing or his famous lip trumpet. I love that he can read my mind and knows just when I need to talk, cry or laugh. I treasure the time that we get to spend together especially since it is minimal in this season of life. I love that when I put my head on his shoulder, it feels like the 'perfect fit.'  Husband, you will always be known as my 'love' and I am so blessed that God made me for you, and you for me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

my thankful heart - day #19


Today I give thanks to God for:
precious memories with my family

A few special memories have been placed on my heart this week.  One year ago today, was our handsome son's child dedication service at our church.  It was such a memorable day to have our immediate family and close friends surround us with their love and support as we committed to bring up our child to experience the love of Christ.  It was also a special day as we enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with our dear family following the service. It was a celebration of our love and dedication to the Lord and our commitment to family. What a blessing it was to be together!
A second memory on my heart this week is that of the year anniversary of my grandmother's death.  It is unbelievable that one year has passed.  So many things remind me of her (esp. tea, cookies, ceramics and the kitchen) and I hold those moments close to my heart.   She was devoted to her family and raised six children who strive to be the best possible and to set and example for their children.  She has left a beautiful legacy and I pray that I can represent her well as I continue to be influenced by her life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

my thankful heart - day #17

Today I give thanks to God for:
my parents

My love and appreciation for my parents has continued to deepen over time.  As I have embarked on the journey of adulthood and now parenthood, I have experienced life with a new understanding and give thanks for my parents and the role the have had in my life. I give thanks that my parents set boundaries for me.  I give thanks that my parents made sacrifices so that I could have certain things.  I give thanks that my parents taught us self-control.  I give thanks that my parents guided our choices.  I give thanks that my parents have always been there to listen and provide advice.  I give thanks that my parents were invested in our friends and activities we participated in.  I give thanks that my parents made us a priority.  I give thanks that my father worked hard to provide for our family and allowed my mom to stay home and care for us when we were young. I give thanks that my parents pray for me and my family.  I give thanks that my parents are an example of a committed marriage. In September, they celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary; a special love story that only God could plan and orchestrate.  They truly have been through the test of love: through sickness and health, joys and sorrows.  My parents have stuck through the peaks and valleys clinging to God's goodness; His love and the love they have for one another.  There have been great joys and heartache.  They have been through job loss, extreme medical conditions, and financial stress. They have celebrated successes in their lives and of their children including the addition of two grandsons. Through it all, they have encouraged, loved and depended on the Lord and one another.  I have learned much through their example and hope that I will also demonstrate the true definition of love - a life long commitment of seeking the other person's highest good. 
Thank you mom and dad for all that you are, have been and will be in my life.  Much love.

Friday, November 16, 2012

my thankful heart - day #16

Today I give thanks to God for:
my twin sister, Emily

Emily, you are my 'wombmate' and the bestest sister and friend I could ever wish for.  God created something amazing when he created twins. You understand me like no one else.  You can read my mind.  You can make me laugh until I cry.  You are very hospitable to me and my family. When life takes me in many directions, you are always constant. You encourage me to be a better person. You are dedicated to and an advocate for educating young souls. You always help me bring focus back to God. You can make me so mad I want to scream.  You have stood by me through every storm.  You are my 'chick-flick' movie companion.  You are the one who has traveled the most to visit me.  You tell me the truth even when it is hard.  You have helped celebrate every milestone I have accomplished.  You are known as 'auntie' to my little love. You are the one I can do heavy damage with in retail therapy. You support my dreams.  You make me think outside the box.  You laugh at me when I am silly & do random things. You are the one that I look to for advice.  You have no idea how incredibly blessed I am that God choose me to be your twin.  You are an amazing, talented, dedicated, sincere, fun-loving woman that I get to call my sister and friend.  I love you so much!

my thankful heart - day #15


 Today I give thanks to God for:
my daddy

Happy birthday to my daddy!  I will never be too old to be "daddy's baby girl"!  I am so thankful for the life of my father and the support he provides to me personally and to our family.  We truly learned the value of life following the car accident of a drunk driver and my father back when I was in the fourth grade.  It has been an experience that has changed our family and my father's quality of life.  My daddy is one of my everyday heroes; enduring pain and suffering silently on a daily basis while holding onto the hope of our future and the joy and mercy that comes with each new day.  I love you daddy and know that God is still writing your life story and using you to inspire others!

I saw this on Pinterest and it reminded me of my father's life journey:

God is good

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

my thankful heart - day #14

Today I give thanks to God for:

I absolutely love to feel the warmth of the sun on my face.  Looking out my window at this present moment, the sun is displaying rays of warmth and beauty. I love it!  If you know me well, you know that I am often cold and the change from summer to fall and fall to winter are not always delightful to me.  The shining sun is a welcome blessing to me.  Unfortunately enduring winter in the Midwest, we don't see the sun on much of a regular basis and that saddens me.  So, today I will be thankful that the sun is shining and warming my soul!  I am also thankful as the sunshine reminds me of the love of our Lord.  Psalm 119:27 states The Lord is God, shining upon us.  I am thankful to be reminded the warmth of the sun on my body represents the warm welcome and comfort I find in the Lord.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

my thankful heart - day #13

Today I give thanks to God for:
our home

In 2008, my husband matched into a general surgery program in Michigan.  This was a very exciting and busy time in our lives. In three short months, we got married, went on a honeymoon, my husband graduated from medical school, I completed my 5th school year teaching kindergarten, and we moved to a new state. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it but we survived and live to joyfully talk about it! We strongly considered purchasing a home but God had better plans for us!  We honestly looked at dozens of homes, had an offer not accepted, and just continued to feel uneasy about the situation. One God detail led to another, and we found ourselves at our current apartment community office touring a 2bed/2bath apartment.  We negotiated a deal and signed our lease within the same day.  With the housing market, economy and uncertainty of my husband's future career, it has been revealed to us time and time again that purchasing a home was not meant for us in this season of life.  Today I give thanks to God for the shelter He did provide for us; our apartment.  With creative storage and organization, I have done my best to make our apartment functional and a safe haven for our family.  It will always hold a special place in our heart as each 'first' memory is made  - the home that we brought our first born son home, hosting family and friends, hosting Thanksgiving in 2012, and many other life events.  I will continue to give praise to God for knowing just what we need in each season of life.  Our apartment is a perfect space for our little family in this moment. 
  I give thanks for a kitchen and the opportunity to prepare food for my family and share a meal together.  I give thanks to God for our pantry which stores food; meaning we have the resources to feed our family. I give thanks for a living room where we can gather together to play and spend time with one another.  I give thanks for 2 spacious bedrooms that store our personal belongings and give us separate space. I give thanks for our bed and our son's crib that we get to rest on a comfortable surface.  I give thanks for 2 bathrooms that provide the resources to be sanitary, properly dispose of waste and model good hygiene.  I give thanks for our furnace; that we can warm our home to a comfortable temperature when it is cold outside.  I give thanks for our closets; that we have clothing, shoes and space to store items.  I give thanks for a washer and dryer inside the apartment; that we can have clean items to wear and use all in the comfort of our own home. I give thanks for my crafting space; that I am able to have a space to use my talent of creativity. I also give thanks for my in-laws who are storing my teaching supplies and other items. 
Oh how I thank you and praise you, God, for providing for our every need.

Joshua 24:15 
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Philippians 4: 19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 12, 2012

my thankful heart - day #12

Today I give thanks to God for:

Technology is unbelievable and I am amazed at the knowledge God has blessed individuals with to create and improve the features of technology.  I am thankful for my television and dvr.  I might not record many shows, but I do have the opportunity to do so if I wanted. I am thankful for our blueray and the opportunity to watch movies and the many other features I am not knowledgeable about.  I am thankful for my alarm clock which wakes me every morning. It still functions well after 13years of use! I am thankful for my cell phone which gives me the opportunity to talk to friends and family as well as text them.  I am still living in the stoneage as I do not have a smart phone but I am thankful for the device and it's capabilities. I am thankful for my  laptop that allows me to do work, store photos, explore the world wide web (do people even say that anymore?) to be inspired and educated, listen to music and communicate with individuals in my life. I am thankful for Skype which allows me to talk with my long-distance family and friends.  I know my little love is also thankful for Skype as he can call his Granddad any time and get to say hi and see him via his phone. I am thankful for our itouch which provides music, Internet, calendar, games and other applications.  I am thankful for my camera which allows me to capture moments in time and have a visual document to cherish. I am thankful for my video camera which allows me to replay special moments in my life.  I am thankful for my GPS which helps me locate places and arrive at my destination in the quickest route. I am thankful for my baby video monitor that allows me to see and hear my little love while he is in his crib. I am thankful for the technology in my car that allows me to start the car in advance and open my doors and trunk hatch by the push of a button. Even though I might not have the latest and greatest version of certain technology items, my life has been enriched because of their capabilities and I give thanks.  I wonder what will be introduced next?

food for thought

Firm believer. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

my thankful heart - day #11

Today I give thanks to God for:
the military men and women who have served our country 

Veteran's Day...the day in which we honor those that have served our country.  I could not be more proud of those who have dedicated their time and talents to protect The United States of America.  
A friend posted the following on Facebook this morning that really resonated in my heart and mind:

Only two defining forces ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom. I'm eternally grateful for both.

May we each be more mindful in showing our appreciation to those we know and those we encounter in our daily lives who have served or are currently serving in our military.  For what they endure for us, we can kindly do a little act of kindness for them.

Today I remember these special people who have served our country:
My grandfather, George, who served in the Navy.
My grandfather's brother who served in the Navy.
Matt's Granddad who served in the Army.

Matt's PawPaw who served in the Army.
Matt's uncle, Denny, who served in the Army.
My uncle, Bruce, who served in the Army.
My uncle, Denny, who served in the Marines.
My cousin, Ty, who served in the Marines.
My cousin's son, Jake who is currently serving in the Marines.
My brother's best friend from childhood, Charlie, who served in the Army.
My friend, Kev, who is currently serving in the Coast Guard.
And the list could continue with people I know from high school (Aubrey) and people I know from college (Brian) and a friend's sister's husband (Jesse)....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

my thankful heart - day #10

Today I give thanks to God for:
family members who travel to visit us

In 2003, my husband and I moved to Michigan from Illinois for husband to complete his residency.  It has been quite the journey to say the least and we are so thankful for our family's support; specifically their willingness to drive 6hours to Michigan and visit!  Now, I must state that the birth of our little love has highly influenced our family's visits the past 2 years...but we are thankful nonetheless!
Last weekend, we hosted Granddad and had a fun visit with him.  This weekend, we are currently hosting Grandma Bev and Aunt Beth. Our home has been full of laughter & activity and it brings joy to my heart.  We are truly blessed that we have such loving, fun-spirited family members who want to come and spend time with us. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

my thankful heart - day #9

Today I give thanks to God for:
my son

Today my little love is 20months old! Unbelievable!  I am so thankful that God choose me to be the momma of this handsome little man!  The journey of motherhood/parenthood has really been a time of learning and growth.  I have become more aware of the way God is in every detail of our lives.  There are so many life events and milestones that have occurred in our little love's life and I am just so thankful that the Lord has seen us through each one and will continue to do so.  I am thankful for the safe delivery of our little (big) love who was born via c-section at 37wks due to his size of 9lbs5oz.  I am thankful for God's healing hand in the journey of little love's heart murmur.  I am thankful that my little love sleeps well.  I am thankful that my little love is a fantastic eater!  I have yet to find something he won't eat!  I am thankful for the precious smile that highlights my son's face the majority of the day. I am thankful for my little love's sweet spirit.  I am thankful for the special bedtime routine of singing and cuddles every night.  I am thankful that I have the opportunity to stay home with my little love and experience his daily growth and learning.  I am thankful that my little love is a momma's boy and makes me feel so special on a daily basis!  Man, I love that boy!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

{gift giving} girlie necklace onesie

In true spirit of celebrating my creativity, I would like to show you the gift I quickly made during nap time today for a birthday party tonight! {woah, talk about last minute! But if you know me well, my best work is done in the 11th hour...}  The party we attended was to celebrate the 1st birthday of husband's co-worker's daughter.  The theme was princess and included cute decorations, theme-related games and of course a tiara cake! We had fun at the party and enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the life of Aleha.

Of course every gift needs a corresponding card!  I made the 1 card with some scrap card stock and cut a "1" using my Cricut.  I then added some baker's twine and called it complete!  This was definitely a "less is more" project. Today was my first attempt at creating a girlie necklace onesie.  I think it turned out so adorable!  I wish I could see darling Aleha when she wears it!  I heat transferred black fabric circles and then adhered a magenta fabric flower I made.  I just love all the cuteness!  There is a reason God gave me a I would blow the budget quickly on clothing and accessories! 

my thankful heart - day #8

Today I give thanks to God for:
my gift of creativity

It brings joy to my heart to use my gift of creativity. I love creating!  My passion for creating began as a young child.  I can still remember one of the first stamp sets I received for Christmas from my Aunt Marcia.  My passion for creating has intensified throughout my life. Crafting is my outlet to reduce stress, do something valuable, and spread joy through my creations. I have dabbed into a lot of areas of crafting including home decor, paper-crafting, sewing, drawing, implementing art in the classroom when I was employed as a Kindergarten teacher, jewelry making, stamping, etc.  God continues to grant me opportunities to use my passion to bless others through teaching classes, sharing ideas, and creating items for other individuals.  In the process of creating, either a decoration for my home, a scrapbook of memories, or a collection of jewelry, I try to embed each item with love; making it a unique and special creation.  In the last two years, my newest endeavors include the creation of this blog to share and document ideas as well as selling my creations on  It is so rewarding to use my talents to inspire others.  Thanking God for my creative mind and blessing my hands to create beautiful work.  Please consider supporting my passion and sharing my resources with your family and friends.  Thank you for supporting my love of creativity!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

my thankful heart - day #7

Today I give thanks to God for:
the sound of my husband's alarm clocks

I understand that my family and close friends probably can not believe that I just wrote that as something I am thankful for instead of something that I strongly dislike.  I must admit that it is slightly surprising to myself also but as I wrote in the last post, I am trying to find God in all the details. So today, I am finding something positive about the rooster cawing, the garbage truck backing up and the pager beeping sounds I hear every morning at the butt-crack of dawn. 
When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I am thankful he spent the night in our bed and not working overnight at the hospital.  When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I can give thanks that he has a job he is waking up for and that he is willing and able to provide for our family.  When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I always wake up first and have to wake him up to turn the alarm off.  I am going to try and be thankful that I can be his 'helpmate'.  When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I want to have a better attitude and give thanks for another day. I want to praise God for the opportunity  to live for him and share his love.  Do you give thanks each morning for the blessing of another day?  Let's try not to grumble at the sound of the alarm but give thanks and commit to living another day striving to be more Christ-like.
Lamentations 3:22-23 states: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
**Disclaimer - I was reviewing my documented posts from last year during "my thankful heart" series and came across the exact post listed above. Just this morning I was reminded how annoying my husband's alarm clocks are as I am shouting at him to turn them off.  And then I read this post and God reminded me I need to change my annoyance and be thankful instead! So, I copied and pasted the message and hope tomorrow I can express my thankfulness instead of shouting!**

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Please use your right to vote today.  What a blessing is the opportunity for the citizens of The United States of America to have a voice in electing our government officials.  Do the right thing and cast your vote!

my thankful heart - day #6

Today I give thanks to God for:
the freedom I have been granted to cast my vote on the election of government officials

Below is a message posted by my pastor discussing why he voted twice today.  I voted twice as well; did you?

I voted...twice. You should too.

As a citizen of the USA, I fulfilled my responsibility and took full advantage of my privilege by voting for the individual I decided was best qualified to lead our country for the next four years. Since I'm fallible and they're fallible, it's possible that I'll look back on this vote with some regrets. But, I strongly believe I made the best decision available to me. Of course, it's also possible that my vote won't win the day. I'll be stuck with the results of other people's votes. Though I hate that part of it, if I cast my second vote correctly, it removes the sting.

As a citizen of God's Kingdom, I voted Christ Lord over my life...again today. You see, this vote (decision) has to be made daily. Of course, my vote doesn't make Him Lord. He's Lord with or without my vote. My vote only has to do with whether I use the choice He's given me to submit to Him as experience the benefit of His presence, wisdom, protection, and guidance. And, to be honest, my selfish self runs a pretty aggressive campaign against Him on a daily basis. But, today selfish self lost and Jesus won.

And, it never fails...when He's Lord of my life...I always win. No regrets. When I cast the vote to be Lord over my own never fails...I lose. Significant regrets. And, with this vote, I can't blame anyone else. My vote determines who is Lord in my life. The same is true for you. (Checkout Romans 12:1-2)

So, for me, today's a great matter who wins that other election. How about you?

Monday, November 5, 2012

my thankful heart - day #5

Today I give thanks to God for:
good health

If you viewed my family history, you would see a documentation with a multitude of disease and illness listed.  Just in the last week it was discovered that my father's sister has a brain tumor and my uncle's sister was admitted to the cardiology unit at the hospital for fluid around her heart.  It is a scary reality to know that disease and illness occur and more than likely at some point in your life, you will develop one.  Today give thanks that I am relatively in good health.  . My first hospital stay was when my son was born via c-section at the age of 29. The only bone I have broke was of a toe.  I don't have to take any medications on a regular basis. I am blessed! 
I am also thankful that I believe in the one true healer - God. He is one that can bring peace, comfort, and strength during a time that we don't understand why or what is happening to our bodies...or that of a loved one.  Being a doctor's wife and having exposure to the medical field, I also know that the knowledge and range of procedures and treatment change almost on a daily basis due to research and best-practice documentation.  I know that those receiving medical attention are well cared for.
I continue to pray for my family members and those friends who encounter medical issues both personally and via family members.  Praying for ultimate healing, knowledge for doctors, and that I remain healthy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

my thankful heart - day #4

Today I give thanks to God for:
my father-in-law.  

I am so blessed to have married into a such a wonderful family and would like to acknowledge the love, admiration and respect I have for my father-in-law.  He has always taken interest in my life and invested time and effort into getting to know me as an individual.  He knows my love for orange slices and Coke and treats me to them often. He is a man after God's own heart and I am so thankful for his Godly example. It gives me a great peace to know that he prayed for his son's wife before I was even in his life and that he continues to pray for me on a daily basis.  I am thankful that I am able to confide in my father-in-law and respect his opinion.  It is a blessing to know I can call on his wise counsel when needed.  I know his love for me is great as he will listen to me tell stories and express my views even when he rather be doing something taking a nap!  I receive encouragement from my father-in-law and I know that he believes in me; as a wife, daughter, mother, friend and leader. I love the way my father-in-law loves my son.  I admire his commitment to being a positive role-model in my son's life and know that my children will always have a special bond with their Granddad.  I am thankful for times of laughter and fun that I can experience with my father-in-law and our family. It is a blessing that although we live in different states, we are able to see each other about once a month...because they want to see their grandchild. I am thankful that my husband has such a great example of a husband and father in his dad.  I am thankful that this list could be much longer because there are so many other reasons I have such love, admiration and respect for my father-in-law...but I will stop here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

my thankful heart - day #3

Today I give thanks to God for:
the miracle of life.

I had the opportunity to meet and hold my friend's newborn son today.  He was just about 20hours old when I got to welcome him to the world.  Can I say God's perfectionism just amazes me!  Studying his little features and seeing the beauty in the creation of man brings my heart into a season of thankfulness. A precious little being, created in the image of God, surrounded by nothing but love and joy. Praying for the Evensen family as they bond with baby E and transition to a family of six.

Friday, November 2, 2012

my thankful heart - day #2

Today I give thanks to God for:
the blessing of celebrations!

This specific date in time we join in celebrating:

-  my mother-in-law's birthday
-  an employment opportunity
-  the birth of baby Evensen

-  the engagement of Greg and Ashley
- and the blessing of each day as my aunt was diagnosed with a brain tumor today.

Each and every day has a reason to celebrate!  It might not be a 'big' life event like a birth or wedding but something is worth celebrating in each day.  What did you celebrate today?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

my thankful heart series - 2012

Happy November! Today kicks off my November series: my thankful heart. As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to be intentional on counting my blessings and giving thanks to God for the work he is doing in my life; the people, places, things and moments that make this life worth living. Each day, I will document something I am thankful and possible post a corresponding photo. Please consider joining me in giving thanks for the multitude of blessings God has granted you.

I love focusing on the blessings we have been granted.  I began this series last year {2011} as I launched my blog and I love that the foundation began as a documentation of things to be thankful for.  My intent was to create a new banner for the series this year but due to the recent computer issues, I do not have a program accessible to create something new. I decided that will not limit my without further delay...I introduce to you My Thankful Heart Series November 2012!!

 Today I give thanks to God for:
the MOPS ministry at NorthRidge Church.  

It brings peace to my heart to learn that I am not alone in the journey of motherhood.  Knowing that I am accepted, cared for and respected despite my faults refreshes my soul.  Thanking God for the women that are involved in the ministry as a member of leadership or a participant.  God has called each of us there for a reason and I give thanks for the resources and individuals that have blessed my life due to my involvement.

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