Friday, November 29, 2013

Things I learned in November (and October)

Turkey Day is now a leftover and November is pretty much gone. 


It’s Christmas season.  But before I jump into the chaos of it all, I’m looking back to see if there’s anything I learned this past fall.

Back in the summer, I joined in with Emily Freeman’s invitation to share at the end of each month things you’ve learned that month.  So, why not give it a try?  I’ve not done this every month…and obviously I haven’t because I’m combining October and November this time! 

So here’s 10 things I’ve learned recently.

1)  How to use an iPhone.  Yep.  I got an iPhone for the first time for my birthday last month.  (Thanks hubby!)  I really like it.  I’ve also been great entertainment to my friends and family (who’ve all had an iPhone or iPod years before I got an “i" something) as I learn how to use this thing.  When I talk slowly and clearly to Siri it makes my husband laugh at me.  I guess learning all the things I can do with it will just take time.  But I’m glad I can amuse others while I do.

2)  I found a new recipe…of course on Pintrest.  Delish!  Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Fried Rice.   Check it out and you might like it too!  Thanks Pinterest!  

3)  Here’s a fact I never knew until I was watching a Saturday morning show Animal Atlas with my daughter:  Every gorilla has a different nose print like humans have different finger prints.  Did you know that? 

4) The pastor at our church posted a story on Facebook on JFK’s 50th anniversary of the day he lost his life.  He said that many people don’t know this but another conic figure died the same day as JFK:  C.S. Lewis. Lewis was, and continues to be, well known for writings like the Narnia collection, Mere Christianity and other bestselling books.  His words pierce the soul, make you think, convict the heart, and make you smile and cry.  They take you away into another world while at the same time teach you and make you want to live those morals and truth in which he wrote.  I wish I had more time to read more of his books…

5)  When you pray audacious prayers, God will answer them.  Where do I even start with this one?  That will become another post, another day.  Here’s a peek: it has something with a dream and reality.

6)  This month we experienced for the first time the unique joy of welcoming a beautiful 2 year old orphan, and now daughter, from Haiti to our dear friends’ family and home.  Having waited for almost two years, this precious girl finally came home!  To see her being held tight by her new mom, riding down the escalator at the airport at 11:30 at night was a gift.  It was a blessing to have been part of our friends’ long journey. 

What makes me even more excited now is that we get to experience it for our family in the not too far away future as my dear sister and her family will adopt a child from China to be part of our family!   Can I say excited?!  Joyful?!  I can hardly wait to experience that welcome and hold  our  new niece or nephew for the first time! 


7)  My cool, young friend who keeps me feeling young, told me about Evernote.  I love it.  It’s just the neatest place to keep and organize my blog posts, grocery list, documents, and all other sorts of things.  I can share them with others, too…especially with my young friend as we’re working on a project together.

8)  It really is worth just asking the question even though it’s not easy.  It can actually become a true gift.  All you have to do is invite with your doors wide open and more often than not, they’ll walk in.  And that’s just the beginning of the joy still yet to come.

9)  And last but now least and the most fun thing I learned this month was the Fox song… “What Does the Fox Say?”   Maybe it’s been around for months and I’m a little slow.  I heard it for the first time last weekend at my sister’s house.  That song is quite unique but that’s why it’s become such a big hit.  (And being a big Dancing with the Stars fan, what a fun dance Derick and Amber – this season’s winners – performed to that song.

10)  “Selfie” is the official “2013 Word of the Year” from the Oxford Dictionary.  I’m going to have to chew on that one for a little bit… (And not only did I learn that selfie is the word, but I never knew that Oxford chose a “word of the year” each year!)


Thanks for stopping by!  Maybe you learned something new too.  So now it’s officially Christmas season.  May this upcoming month be one where you make time for rest, reading Christmas stories with your family, laughter with friends, a heart to give to others in need and joy this season. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It will never end!


In two days it’s Thanksgiving. 

Giving thanks.

Having gratitude.

Being grateful.

All to God.

And back when the first Thanksgiving meal was served, they displayed their food on the tables to display all of their thankfulness. They were thankful for their harvest, the instructions the natives gave them, their new life, their new home.  But when it all came down to it, they were thanking God for all of those things. They were thankful for all He provided.

They gave prayer of thanksgiving and praise.

“Go through His gates, giving thanks;
walk through His courts, giving praise.
Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.

Because He is good,
His loyal love and mercy will never end,
and His truth will last throughout all generations!”

(Psalm 100:4-5 The Voice)

Because He is good, His love and mercy will NEVER END!

Never end!

And how is there any way I can thank Him enough for all He’s given?

He says to offer Him gratitude and praise. Offer him...offer…like a sacrifice.

I’m to offer Him gratitude as a gift. It’s pretty easy to be grateful when all is good in my little world and everything’s going the way I want it to, or when I’m in a good mood. But offer Him gratitude when your child is struggling at school or testing boundaries?  When you have to wait?  When it’s really difficult to love someone who hurt you?  When someone who’s dear to you is fighting cancer?  When our country looks like it’s falling apart?

But because it’s so hard to give God thanks for those things, that means it’s a sacrifice.

Sometimes I think just saying “Thank You” for something seems such a shallow sacrifice compared to the sacrifice Jesus gave on the cross.

His love is so amazing, if what He asks me to offer Him is simply gratitude.

Gratitude for all He is, all He’s made, all He’s given me, all He’s done for me and all He’ll continue to do. 

Yet giving Him thanks is worship to Him.

Because of that I want to try to thank Him all the time not just in November.


Still giving God thanks for all things including:

#1771  the first smell of Christmas trees tied up outside the grocery store

#1772  lunch with a friend at her home

#1773  Dad going to eat lunch with his daughter at school when she especially needed encouragement

#1774  Started to read Circle Maker by Mark Batterson at Discount Tires

#1775  no rain at the soccer tournament (even though it was freezing cold!)




#1776  Thanksgiving with my family a week early

#1777  Seeing our kids wrestling with cousins and laughing the entire time.


#1778  The smell of smoke coming from a neighbor’s chimney on a cold morning walk.

#1779  My husband who knows my favorite things…which includes peppermint milkshakes from Chick fil a.  He brought one home the first day they started selling them.

#1780  God longs to hear our requests (Phi. 4:6)

#1781  when you know friends are praying for you

#1782  chaperoning daughter’s field trip to Old Salem, NC

#1783  the 6 years my daughter’s class has been together in the Spanish Immersion program.  What a gift!  What amazing friendships!  What an amazing group of kids and parents!



#1784  my college friends…those kinds of friendships that never end. 

#1785  our college friend came to visit (and go to Blue Ribbon!)


#1786  our long-time friendships with friends who took care of our dog over the weekend!

#1787  there was a 2 hour delay at school because it gave me and my son time to dance the Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal song on wii game that morning.  (I just had to after watching Dancing with the Stars couple perform a dance to that song!)  

#1788  a dream which seems to becoming true

#1789  no restrictions!


multitudesonmondaysbutton2  joining in with Ann Voskamp counting joys

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thoughts at a stop light

It’s Five Minute Friday where Lisa gives a word to write about for 5 minutes and then stop!  So, here’s from today’s word  FLY



I was sitting at the stop light as I waited for it to change.  In the corner of my eye I see a dark shadow flying through the air.

It was a large swarm of dark feathered birds grouped tightly and then all of a sudden they went in all different directions trying to claim a spot on one of the wires that held up the stop lights.

It was as if they were playing musical chairs, the chirping had stopped and they all had to quickly find a perch or one would be left fluttering with no where to land.

I had forgotten that this time of the year it’s pretty common to see flocks of birds flying overhead this time of the year.  They’re on their way to a warmer place.

Wouldn’t it be nice to lift your wings and just fly away with a group of friends to a warmer and inviting place where you could just get away from the noise and chaos?

It reminds me of Isaiah 40:31  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles…”

But until that day comes, I’ll wait and enjoy the gift of seeing the beauty of birds in harmony in song and flight.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Accept some quietness

My calendar is full.  My hands are full. 

Are yours?

Is that a silly question?  I don’t think I’m the only one.

I was looking back at a post I wrote last year around this time.  Honestly, things haven’t changed and I need the reminder that:

“In quietness and trust is your strength.”   (Isaiah 30:15)




“I hope in the next month and a half we’ll all make time for quiet.  There’s already Christmas music playing in stores, on commercials, decorations are even up on some downtown poles already.  So early!  Think of them as reminders to be quiet.  Even if just for a moment. 


Accept quietness as a gift.  Then re-gift that gift and give quiet back to God. 


Be still. 

Be silent. 



Be quiet…as the season begins.


Quietly counting:

#1758  I'm thankful for joy that comes through Christ!

#1759  thankful for an evening in front of the lit fireplace with hubby.

#1760  Thankful - even though convicting - reading these words today from the book "Anything" by Jennie Allen: "I don't want to go to heaven and see what I could have been a part of but missed because I was selfish or scared."

#1761  finishing the book “Anything” by Jennie Allen and almost every sentence highlighted


#1762  I'm thankful for the reminder to be joyful always, pray always and give thanks always no matter what the circumstance and that I'm not the only one who struggles doing that always. But what a great truth to try to live by! (1 Thes. 5:16-18)

#1763  family movie night after a busy week.

#1764  God designed laughter to be such an essential need! 

#1765  Ellie is finally home with our dear friends…and their beautiful adoption story!


#1766  celebrating and welcoming her with family and friends

#1767  to serve with love

#1768  doing really nothing over the weekend

#1769  playing Pictionary board game with the kids

#1770  giving away books to children




Joining in with Ann Voskamp and counting joys

Friday, November 15, 2013

Piles and piles

Joining in with others at Five Minute Friday where you take a quick five minutes and just write to see what flows out.  Today’s word is TREE.


Almost all the leaves are off the trees. 

Piles of them need to be raked, jumped in, and moved to the neighborhood street.  Almost every house has a pile of leaves at the end of the yard.


Piles and piles.

Each family has piles of stuff.  Stuff like the piles of paper that need attention on demanding work days, piles of homework and papers mom needs to sign, needing to be at three different places all at the same time.  There’s piles of laundry, dishes in the sink and just stuff on the kitchen counter - the collect-all place. 

Those piles can overwhelm and exhaust.

Why not pile life with more joy, laughter at the dinner table, love notes tucked in lunch bags, conversations that lifts up and not tears down.  Pile grace, hope and peace on top of all the piles of everyday stuff that swamp and sap energy. 

Those piles of grace, hope and peace will somehow make the piles of stuff a little smaller.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Count with me?

I realize I haven’t posted my joys and thankfulness as much in October as I was busy focusing on promises from God.  But I was still counting and snapping and just feel like sharing them so I can come back to this and be reminded of JOY on days where I could use them.

I remember reading in One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp when she wrote, “daily practice of the discipline of gratitude is the way to daily practice the delight of God.”  Joy is hidden when we start giving thanks.  

In November, many make an extra effort to show their gratitude.  I’ve even seen on Facebook many friends posting each day this month something they’re thankful for.  The holidays are knocking on the front door and somehow we seem to stop and take a breath and be thankful.  But why just the month of November?  Why not all year?  We say we’re thankful for our family, our home, our Starbucks coffee, but we wouldn’t be abundantly blessed with those things if God had not given them to us.  So, first I choose to thank God first.  Thank Him for His sacrifice which is the upmost gift to be thankful for. 

Won’t you join me in counting thanks?  This month, feel free to make a comment below and share something you thank God for…not just what you’re thankful for.  What is something you thank God for that’s more than something you physically have?   Thank God for who He is and what He’s done and for His promises and grace and forgiveness.  Then, we’ll see the little gifts in our daily lives are because of Him. 


Still adding to my count of thankfulness…all gift from God!

#1710  great surprise birthday gift from my hubby

#1711  daughter in a play with more confidence each time

#1712  lunch with GMG friends…community and fellowhip

#1713  makes you laugh: watching I Love Lucy chocolate candy episode with the kids

#1714  makes you laugh: a friend’s story about thinking it was 6am when it was really 2am

#1715  watching videos of when we got our dog when he was puppy

#1716  watching videos of kids and the creations they made

#1717  laughing at the dinner table with our family

#1718  son taking pictures with my phone on the way to school at God’s sunrise art



#1719  daughter playing in sprinkler…on October!  Thanks God for warm fall days.

#1720  son had good camping trip with his Link Group from church

#1721  husband cleaned out the garage

#1722  Classic Hymn “Standing on the Promises” plays on my Pandora ‘piano’ selection as I post Day 21 Hold Tight Series. Wow.

#1723  gorgeous, autumn, sunny day being spontaneous and going to the fair with my husband and kids


#1724  fun seeing the winning pumpkin


#1725  big treats of fair food




#1726  birthday wishes from friends and family

#1727  learning a new card game

#1728  the tradition of costumes, chili, cool nights and time with friends

#1729  beautiful leaves in peak colors


#1730  never having been as excited and vocal in a meeting about Jesus ever!!

#1731  hearing the date when our good friends’ get to bring their new daughter home from Haiti

#1732  all the family and friends who wished me a Happy Birthday

#1733  Cedar Rock Park on a pretty Saturday afternoon with grandparents

#1734  son hanging around


#1735  daughter auditioned for a play and got a great role!

#1736  daughter going with group of leaders and 20+ other 5th and 6th graders from church to SuperStart conference.


#1737  sun rays shining through colored leaves

#1338  completed 31 Days!

#1739  the feeling of freedom!

#1740  breakfast and lunch with a friend and dreaming and taking the first leap!

#1741  playing in the leaves



#1742  Joining Facebook friends posting something each day in the month of November that I’m thankful for.  I’m thankful to read what others are thankful for! 

#1743  Day 1: I'm thankful that my husband’s grandparents have come to spend a few days with us and spent a rainy day together playing Mexican Train!

#1744  Day 2: I'm thankful for a beautiful, fall day outside at Cedar Rock Park with family.


#1745  Day 3:  I'm thankful for my husband Scott Hildebrand, who rescued my engagement ring today that I accidentally dropped in a crack between the seats in the van. It took a lot of work but he got it out and proposed to me again in our laundry room. He must still really love me...I'm so thankful!

#1746  Day 4:  I'm thankful for all the teachers I've had in school in my life and for the ones who've taught my children.

#1747  Day 5:  feeling of excitement and anticipation never really felt before

#1748  Day 6: I'm thankful my daughter has the heart to give. Today she made rainbow loom bracelets for our friend to take to Haiti to give the children there. She even convinced her other friend to make some too!

#1749  Day 7:  I'm thankful Billy Graham is giving one more cry out to America about our HUGE God's enormous love for us.

#1750  Day 8: Thankful for my vision...

#1751  Day 9: I'm thankful to have a day to work on books and albums with friends today! We believe in the importance of sharing your stories and passing them on to our children and generations to come!


#1752  Day 10:  I'm thankful for our next door neighbors. They take care of us all the time, spoiling our kids like their grandkids, gets our mail, and loans us whatever we need. Love to be able to call them neighbors and friends. And they gave us a beautiful poinsettia plant yesterday too! Thank you!!

#1753  the joy to invite others to study the bible with me

#1754  being asked

#1755  stepping onto the water

#1756  an excitement that’s not quite explainable but oh so fun!

#1757  starting a new bible study on Thanksgiving through Good Morning Girls




Friday, November 8, 2013

Truth is…I’m a little excited.

I’m a little excited.

It’s an excitement that keeps me awake as I try to get to sleep at night and wakes me up way too early in the morning with my mind racing.

It’s an excitement of anticipating something I’m still trying to completely grasp.

I’m still excited even though it’s a little overwhelming.

Truth is, I’m still scared half to death going into this unknown territory I’ve never travelled before.


I can’t remember many other times in my life where I’ve been this excited about something…to begin to understand that the sky’s the limit!  All of my life I’ve always cringed at even the thought of change and stepping out of my comfort zone.  But now I’m starting to cringe when I think “What if I choose to ignore this stirring that’s growing in me?”.  I don’t know if I want to know the answer. 

I’m praying that this feeling of wanting to help other women grow closer to Jesus will only expand.  It's easy for me to hide in my shell though, so this is an audacious prayer for me!  

Yet...I am choosing to get out of my comfort zone.  I am choosing to be vulnerable.  I am choosing to find joy.  I am choosing to cling to hope.  I am choosing to trust Him...with everything...for anything.



{Today is Five Minute Friday and I’m joining in with others in this community and wrote the thoughts stirring in my head for 5 minutes.  Today’s word is TRUTH.}