Serving the Lord with Gladness


Psalm 100 has always been a favorite of mine. 

This Psalm starts with a wonderful call to worship.

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before Him with joyful singing." 

Notice the words joyfully, gladness and joyful. This is not a call to serve God begrudgingly or with bitterness. They have absolutely no place. Instead, we serve our God with joyful hearts, with gladness and with happy singing. I love that! 

For whatever reason, I almost always have a song in my heart. Usually it's an upbeat, joyful praise song. Sometimes I remember the words, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I make up songs and make up words to go with them. To me, a joyful heart equates to a happy, singing heart. 

The Psalm continues. "Know that the Lord Himself is God. It is He who made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." 

This section is a great reminder of God's bigness, how He is wholly other than us. He is the Creator God. He is the Sustaining God. He alone is God. 

Then the Psalm concludes, back where it began - with praise! 

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to the Lord, bless His name. For the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations."

What a beautiful Psalm. What a beautiful reminder of God's part in this world - faithfulness, lovingkindness, goodness- and our part - thankfulness to Him, serving Him with gladness. He is so worthy! 

Serve Him with gladness today in whatever you do! 

Girls Getaway Weekend


My 11-year-old daughter and I just enjoyed a great girls getaway weekend together! 

This was part Christmas gift and part educational opportunity. At Christmas, I gave her a paper that explained that in January, she and I would enjoy a girls getaway weekend. We would stay at a hotel with a pool. We would get manicures and pedicures. We would eat out. We would relax and just hang out together. 

And that is what we did. 

However, I also had a bit of a hidden agenda. I had purchased Passport to Purity - a boxed kit that contains CDs, a parent guide and a "travel guide" for your preteen, all published by Family Life Today / Dennis and Barbara Rainey. This is a wonderful resource to begin a discussion with your preteen about the birds and the bees, all the changes they can expect the next few years, and to set some standards about dating. 

I admit that 11 seems young, as my girl isn't even thinking anything about boys or dating or the like. And yet, that is kind of the point - to give her a heads up before the changes take place, before her emotions are out of control and before her sexual drive awakens.

So we stayed at a nearby hotel with a pool, while Dad played Mr. Mom with the other two kids at home. We ate at her favorite restaurants. We enjoys manis / pedis for the first time ever (for her). We relaxed and listened to the CD sessions, did the object lessons / projects that they suggest and had some good discussions on this topic. 

I think she is 100% more prepared for her teen years now. And we are able to have open dialog about a sensitive topic, which I hope can continue. 

Thank you, Passport to Purity, for providing the resources we needed to make this a success in every way. 

Antique Barbie Kitchen Set


My mom is in her early 60s. When she was young, she received a Barbie Kitchen Set as a gift. She has kept it through the years and brings it out on occasion.

It is so neat! There is nothing like it on the market even today, which makes it all that much more special as it was made 50+ years ago. There are four pieces - a refrigerator (that opens and has play food inside), an oven (with a door that opens, and a turkey on a turning spit), a dishwasher (with real water that runs through it), and a sink (also with real water that runs out the faucet).  

While we visited over Christmas, she showed this set to my children for the first time. So fun to play with toys that Grandma played with those many years ago. 

Baby Girl Fun


Here are a few random fun shots of baby girl. 

Oh, how she loved playing with a vacuum popper at Grandma's house. She's taking her first shaky steps now, going a little further and gaining confidence each day.

She eats everything offered her, which is wonderful. 
Peppers, onions, meats...she's not picky at all. 
Here she was greatly enjoying some mashed potatoes.

When packing for our trip to Wisconsin for Christmas, 
this little one fit right in the luggage. 

Babies always love to play in big empty boxes. 
She is no exception.

She was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the Christmas gifts at this celebration. 

We all are loving having this little lady in our family. She stole our hearts long ago, but we continue to delight her presence each day. Watching her giggle as she discovers new things, seeing her understanding develop as she learns more words, experiencing her first unsteady steps around the house, playing peek a boo... all bring us joy and remind us of that innocent wonderment of childhood. What a delight!