Sunday, December 25, 2011

December at a Glance

With Jonathon's work being primarily outside, he has been blessed with average weather this December.  Hoping that the weather doesn't get too extreme before spring arrives.  And yes, we are looking forward to spring already.  But in the meantime, we have to occupy ourselves with fun to help it go by faster.  : )

Our good friends, the Brothers, planned an amazing date night for a handful of couples at our church.  The theme for the night was Sushi, so the party area was decked out in japanese decor and filled with learning of how to use chopsticks and how to make a sushi roll.  The food was amazing along with the fellowship of friends.

We also had the honor of dinner with some old friends, Aaron and Sadie, and new friends, their 4 children.  I used to babysit for her when she was a girl and used to attend church with her family.  What a pleasure to meet her 4 children and see how our children played together.  The fellowship was sweet with much discussion of the Scriptures and even some singing before they left.  I think our children were very happy to meet and make more friends!

The happenings as of this weekend are the boys have hand foot and mouth disease.  Not sure where it came from, but they've got it.  We are doing our best at helping them through it and looking forward to it running its course and leaving.  Tonight papa and the girls left to return a Redbox, so the boys and I stayed home and read books.  Well, Josiah read books.  He sure is a good reader!  Then when Benaiah saw that I had the camera out, he wanted to "cheese" for me.  Poor boys, with their nasty looking faces.  Will be glad when it's out of the house!

 And as if having a horrible rash around his face wasn't enough, Benaiah tripped and cracked his head on our bed today.  Puffed it out and looked pretty nasty.  We are something around her as you can clearly see. 

A great way to end our evening tonight, with music and song.  He is our everything, the beautiful One, the one we adore, worthy of all of our praise!  Today at supper when we prayed, Benaiah, during the prayer was telling Jonathon to pray for his ouchy.  Jonathon did, but apparently it wasn't enough, so Benaiah closed his eyes super tight and said his own prayer for his ouchy, with a hearty "amen" at the end.  The prayers of our children are such a blessing to us and hopefully to our Lord! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Science Central Field Trip

We took a fun filled day with Christi's parents to Science Central.  It's always wonderful when you can count fun outtings for school!  They learned a lot and had such a good time doing it too.  We were there for a jam packed couple hours, and we all experienced some new things.  

We started out with a competition between Grandpa Dan and Alegra with the magnet race.  Can you tell who won?  Grandma was pretty excited her side won.  : ) 

 This was our first demonstration we went to about weather.  There weren't very many children there, so our's got to participate and help the scientist out....even Benaiah. 

 Benaiah loved this area of course! With water and boats, what little boy wouldn't like it?  The adults got into it too, playing with the children's toys.  : )

 This was one of everybodies favorite spots, the tidal pool.  What amazing creatures God has created for us to enjoy and learn about!

 We damed up the water so the boats would actually float down the river for Benaiah.  He was so excited when we let the dam loose. 

 It's so fun seeing the children experience new things for the first time.  Even the simplest of things can be fun!

 The shadow room proved to be one of the highlights too.  The things we do!

 Good thing we had somebody tall with us!  And somebody short to hand us blocks! 

 Yay!  We did it!

 The weather channel had some pretty cute meteorologists that day!  : )

 The last demonstration we went to was amazing!  He was working with different elements and the last one was putting hydrogen in a balloon and blowing it up.  What an explosion that made!  Incredible!

And we ended with doing some of the eye puzzle exhibits and crawling through the sewer.  The above picture is in the room called the confusion room.  The children loved it, but for us older ones, it made me feel like the world was spinning.  Crazy!  

We had such a good day!  Then we topped off our day with a supper stop at Logans Roadhouse.  Yummo!  Good memories were made and everybody was so glad Grandpa Dan was there since we don't get to see him very much.  Was a specia treat for sure!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Difference- Grace & Mercy

Some time back, my mom asked me what the difference is between grace and mercy.  I don't even remember when it was that she asked me this, but I have been contemplating it and seeing if God's Word can give a clue into the answer.  Here is what I found.

Mercy (compassion) is what we receive from Him when we should be killed from our sinful lives.  He keeps us alive to give us that chance to walk in His ways.  Grace (the divine influence upon the heart, with a reflection in the life) is what we receive from Him to help us walk with Him and in the ways He desires us too.  Now let's look at Scripture and see if that lines up. 

Let's start in Genesis where the first mention of grace is.  In Genesis 6:8 it says, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."  It goes on to say in verse 9, "This is the geneology of Noah.  Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.  Noah walked with God".  I had never thought about this portion before.  Noah didn't need mercy at that point, because he was already a just and perfect man, which is evident in that the Lord spared his life during the flood.  He needed God's grace to help him make the choice to obey God's instruction to him to build the ark and continue serving the Lord.  Well, that lines up with just that one example.  Onto Psalm 84:11, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!"  Here the Lord is giving grace to the upright.  Again, to those who trust and follow Him, He is giving grace to help them continue obeying Him and walking in His ways. 

Luke 2:40, "And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him",gives us a glimpse of it as well in showing that Jesus also was given grace.  Why?  He was given grace to walk in God's ways, because He needed to be sinless in order to be the perfect sacrifice for sins.  Without God's grace, He wouldn't have been able to live this earthly life without sinning.  That is another great example!  I am just in awe at how He reveals to me the answers that I desire when I seek Him in His Word.  He is so faithful!  Let's read one more about grace, and then we'll see what it says about mercy.  In the Gospel of John, the first chapter, it says that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  This is a fascinating portion of Scripture, but let's continue further on in this chapter.  In verse 14 it goes on to say, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth".  Again this shows that Jesus came in the flesh and had God's grace and truth helping Him to walk sinless.  Skipping down to verse 17 it says, "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ".  I was shocked at this portion!  How many of you would say that this portion reads that the law was for Moses, but now that Jesus came, we have grace and don't need the law?  Read it with the application of what all the other portions of Scripture we have already read have verified to us that grace is.  The law was given to Moses on tablets of stone.  The New Covenant is that God's law should be written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-33).  So, Jesus didn't come to do away with the law, He came to bring grace and truth, which is the purpose of helping us walk according to God's ways.  So, he is saying here, the law came through Moses, but Jesus was sent to bring the grace and truth that you need to allow that law to be written on your hearts, so you can obey them and walk in His ways.  It meshes with everything else so clearly. 

Mercy shows more of His compassion on us.  In Numbers 14:18 it says, "The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation".  This is talking about those who have done wrong.  He gives mercy to those who need forgiven.  They need to die for their sinful lives, so he gives mercy and let's them continue living.   Let's go to what Jesus Himself says about mercy.  Matthew 9:13 says, "But go and learn what this means:  I desire mercy and not sacrifice.  For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance".  He desires mercy because He doesn't want any to perish, but to choose Him.  Mercy extends their opportunity to choose Him and repent of their sins. 

Let's go to Ephesians chapter 2 to wrap this up.  It sums it all up quite nicely and as I read it, I again marveled at His faithfulness to give me one portion that clearly says exactly what He sees the difference of grace and mercy being.  So here goes, try to stay with me. 
Ephesians 2:1-10 says, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest you should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them". 
Now let's break that down a bit.  It starts out in verses 1-3 talking about the sinful ways that we once were.  Verse 4 expresses God's great mercy towards us by not killing us because of our sinful ways and letting  us live to choose Him, because He loves us greatly.  I read verse 8 in a new light this evening.  We all know this verse.  But do we really know what every portion of it means and on into verses 9 and 10?  I didn't, but I do now.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith", it's our faith that causes us to believe that God exists.  It's His grace that causes us to walk with Him and that obedience to Him will save us.  "and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God", is saying that we can't obey Him on our own, it's His gift of grace that helps us obey.  "not of works, lest anyone should boast", is relating to those deeds that some may think will get them to heaven.  Works that are of the flesh more to "show" or "boast" that you are a good person will not save you.  But He does say that we were created for good works.  What works is He talking about?  In verse 10 it says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them".  He prepared them beforehand?  His grace is given to help us walk in the ways that He established in the very beginning, that He created us to obey.  Wow, this passage covers it all!  Blessing the Lord for this revelation in my heart!  He is writing it on my heart and His Word says by this I will know that I am of Him.  That's right where I want to be. 

I continued studying and the Lord took me to Revelation 2.  I wasn't sure why, until I read the first part of it.  I believe that it relates to the "works that He prepared beforehand".  Revelation 2:1-5 and this is Jesus speaking, "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, these things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.  And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.  Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place- unless you repent."  If they were laboring for His name's sake how could He still say that they had left their first love?  They weren't doing those first works that He established, God's Law from the beginning .  Fascinating!  He never ceases to continue showing me His Truth.  I love it!

So, I challenge you. Really think on the difference. Have you accepted His mercy that has prolonged your life despite how you have lived in the past.  You can always start over and receive His grace that will help you obey and walk with Him.  There is no better place to be than walking with God and pleasing Him in all that you do. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Buck and Boys Makes For a Fun Morning!

It seems some of my fondest memories are when my dad would come home from hunting and say he shot a deer, and it was time to go track it.  I loved being in the woods.  I never went and sat with him, but we always went along to track and find the deer.  My dad was a successful hunter.  Sometimes he would hunt in Michigan and Indiana, bow and gun, and have more than one deer hanging in our barn.  School kids that road the bus with us would comment on how many deer he had shot and some of the boys that were also hunters would marvel at how he could get so many.  I would just smile and agree that it was number 5 or number 6 for the year.  And then to grow up to also enjoy hunting, created more memories with my dad.  I only had time to hunt one year, but it was a successful year.  I believe my dad was just as excited when he heard my gun shot across our 56 acres, than when he would shoot his own.  That was an exciting morning the year we both got bucks the same morning.  And great memories made with close friends and neighbors that will last forever.  

So, here is the story for the year, in picture form, of my dad taking Josiah and Benaiah to track a buck that he shot. According to Jonathon, Benaiah didn't seem all that excited or interested in what was going on at the time, but that is all he's been talking about since he's been home.  And Josiah, well, he too has a love for the woods and the outdoors, so he was super excited.  This grandpa was proud that morning, not just to have shot a nice buck, but to have his boys there with him.  And we can't forget Mike Troyer who has been a part of our family's hunting stories ever since I was a little girl.  Some friends and stories just never get old and remain special in all of our hearts for a lifetime.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homeschool Cooking Class

We had a very fun cooking class at the church with all of the homeschoolers.  It's something CLB CeLeBrations hosted and boy was it fun and busy!  We invited children from preschool on up, so we had varied ages, therefore varied foods we made.  Check out the pictures below to see the fun we had!

You know what, just check out our blog CLB CeLeBrations to see all the pictures and get the scoop on how the class/party went.  It was packed with lots of educational ideas, fun and of course, food.  You'll enjoy all the children in their aprons and seeing the process of many foods.  So, check it out over there and save me typing time.  : )

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ron and Linda Bovee Whitney got married!

We were so blessed to be able to plan and host a reception for Jonathon's mom, Linda.  God has truly blessed her with a wonderful husband who we know will take care of her.  If you want to see the party details, check out the CLB CeLeBrations blog for this wonderful event.  This post is more of the family and guest pictures.  Everyone enjoyed visiting with one another so much and just spending time celebrating.

 Our family enjoyed the time with Jonathon's mom.  What a blessing and time to celebrate!

 Our four children.  We are so blessed!

 Michael and his wife, Tara.  The baby they are fostering, Jacob. 

 Benaiah wanted to be in the pics and clearly is taking a liking to Grandpa Ron.

 Ron, Linda, Jonathon, Michael and Miranda

 Ron and Linda with her sister, Judy from California and her husband, John.

 Linda's sister, Hazel.

 This is the Bovee table and a Cook. 

 Todd is the young man that Linda stays with on occasion.  He likes Diella and everyone really. 

 Sisters and in-laws.  I think one of them made my camera malfunction.  : )

 Todd made a great toast in honor of Ron and Linda.

 These are our good friends, Phil and Casie (and Aviyah).

 Christi and Casie

Ron and Linda with the hosts of the party.
It was such an enjoyable evening!  Thanks for letting us bless you  with this!