I Sing Because I'm Free

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Walk in love

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The gorgeous evening sunset

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:2

After praying and pondering, this is the verse He has impressed on my heart and mind for the New Year.  Walk in love, die to my SELF, and do all things as an offering to Him.

Our recent snow-storm really challenged me to put this verse into action.  As my youngest daughter likes to say- It’s about to get REAL up in HERE… especially when you are cooped up in the house for days on end together!

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The snow was coming down so hard, you could barely see!

So on Sunday morning, before anyone else was awake in the house, I snuck outside for a quiet walk to watch the sun rise.  The only sound was the crunching of my snow boots in the cold, crisp air.

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Perfect start to the day after the storm- with an early morning walk!

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I LOVE snow-covered trees!

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The glow of the sun rising in the distance 

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My walking buddy- with his snow-beard!

But then it got “real up in here”. After everyone was up and moving, we all went outside.  The girls were playing and building a snowman- while hubby and I took shifts digging out our driveway.  That’s where the whole “walk in love” thing went awry.  He had his way of doing it, and I had mine.  And then, just in the nick of time- He brought along a Good Samaritan to save the day!

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My hubby and I were all smiles after the driveway was cleared.

A neighbor down the street came walking by with his new snow blower, with his wife and children in tow.  Without skipping a beat, he began clearing our driveway from the street and worked his way to the area we had already cleared.  And within minutes, he did more than we had done all morning together!

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The good samaritan moving on to help clear the next driveway!

As I watched him and his family help clear driveways, I couldn’t help but think of Ephesians 5:2- walk in love.

Love is about offering yourself…giving and not asking anything in return for it. And while I have intentionally been trying to walk in love, the real goal for me is to not have to “try”… but to just do it!  I am so thankful for our neighbor and his kindness- and for God’s perfect timing!

When we walk, especially in snow -our feet are not so steady.  I am thankful for God’s faithfulness, and how He gently extends His hand of grace to help us get back on track!

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Our lovely snowman made by the girls

After spending the rest of the day of playing, sledding, and relaxing, we had the most amazing sunset- reminding me of His faithfulness and the wonders He creates all around us.

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These poles always remind me of the cross

IMG_0729If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

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This too shall pass

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As I sat on the couch, my dog began to slowly whimper beside as he subtly attempted to get my attention.  He needed to go outside, and I needed to bundle up due to the cold air that has settled in here.  I layered up while he ran in circles around me, and as I opened the door, I noticed the pink hued sky.  It glowed with the promise of a new day.

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I wasn’t outside more than a couple of minutes, but reveled in the beauty.  I quickly ran inside, gave my dog his “treat” and glanced out the window again… and nothing.  Nada.  Not even a hint  of the colors that captivated my eyes just moments before.

What a simple reminder from Him to seize the moment, find joy, and revel in the beauty of NOW…

before it’s gone.

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23IMG_0619

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Even if…

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even if the sky 

grows dark and gray

even if the night

overshadows the day 

even if-

I will praise you

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even if those clouds 

swell up with rain 

even if the sun 

never shines again 

even if- 

I will praise you 

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Even if doubt 

whispers in my ear 

even if circumstance 

tries to bring fear

even if-

I will praise You. 

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You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

 Psalm 30

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Lift your eyes

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Our church silhouetted against the cerulean sky that day…

I saw a sky so blue 

I thought it was the sea

Your love swept through 

and it carried me

 away 

from everything

that held

me

down

I saw a sky so blue 

I thought it was the sea

Your love swept through 

and it carried me

away

from sinking sand

back to

Solid

Ground

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121

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As I plopped my things into my mini-van, I noticed the sun pushing through the clouds.  We hadn’t seen much sun around these parts of town for a while.  Sure enough, I drove out of my neighborhood and streams of sunlight came bursting through the clouds.

Thank You, Lord, for the sunshine today!

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The sky was so blue, I couldn’t help but notice and smile.  I love how He can use something as simple as a brilliant sky to remind me of His greatness!  And the air- it was strangely warm for this time of year! The day was shaping up to be a good one from the start.

I have been a bit discouraged lately.  A dry cough has plagued me for weeks- since before Thanksgiving, along with various other annoying symptoms…not a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but HUGE for someone who wants to SING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS 24/7!

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But God is always so faithful.  He is faithful to see us through the tasks He calls us to do.  And after leading worship during the morning service, I sat down between my husband and my oldest daughter.

I thought of that cerulean sky and how beautiful He had made this morning already.  And then I got the best gift…

My daughter, who is becoming quite a lady these days, picked my arm up and put it around her and snuggled up to me.  With legs crossed identical to mine, we bobbed our right legs up and down in perfect time together.  She elbowed me at every funny story the pastor recited, and glanced to see if I was paying attention to the scriptures and words that grabbed her attention.  As I looked up scriptures on my phone, she leaned in close to read along with me.

It was such a blessing to feel so connected to my soon-to-be teenager, and as I felt her lean in close to me it was as if God Himself was giving me a giant hug.  Sitting between my husband and my daughter, I was overwhelmed with God’s amazing love.

 And just maybe these “seeds” we’ve been planting all these years in her life are taking root in her heart and mind 🙂

God is good.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:10-11

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The After-Christmas

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Our new additions to the tree… new ornaments are always a favorite!!

Maybe I’ll keep on Christmas-ing

do you think anyone would know?

If the lights keep shining on the inside

will my outsides be aglow?

while everyone de-decorates

I feel a bit of gloom

cause deep down in my heart

for CHRISTmas- there’s still room…

One of my FAVORITE parts of Christmas is the “after- Christmas” that happens when we visit all our extended family, reminding me that Christmas is not reserved for one day, it is Christmas anywhere and everywhere He is with us!

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Being silly together is always my favorite!!

And one of my very favorite gifts I receive every year is not one that’s wrapped.  It’s spending time with my family…

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what photo is complete without bunny ears?!

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And my Christmas is not complete without a “selfie” with my mom and sister…

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Me, Mom and my Sissy

So we sat together.  And each of us struck up our best pose…

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and with every snap… NO!  Not that one! lol… I have never been photogenic.

For fun, my hubby took a picture of my sister’s husband taking a picture of me taking a selfie of all of us.

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And a picture just doesn’t capture the depth of the silliness of the moment.  The joy of laughing with my mom and sister- those are moments I always treasure 🙂

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My lovely momma 🙂

So even though we put away our tree and all the trimmings today, it’s still Christmas for me. I’m keeping my nativity set on my piano, and I’ll keep on playing those favorite Christmas songs for a little while longer…

 “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”

– Laura Ingalls Wilder

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