Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Countdown 2010.......

 Is your heart racing?  Did you make it to the before crack of dawn sales after Thanksgiving?  I pray that you enjoyed yourself, but now that your shopping is finished, lets sit back and relax....enjoy the moment over some coffee or tea and think about how you want to do THIS Christmas differently than last year.

Some  years, I've been in such a mad dash to get to extra activities that I don't have  the time to really ponder the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ and His birth.  This year we are doing an advent devotional called Jotham's Journey.  I have never read it, but I hear it's wonderful.  I'm really purposing to focus on the reason for the season in our home and activities.  It's challenging to keep everything in perspective, especially since a baby may land on our doorstep at any moment....

One of the ways we start our Christmas festivities is a gathering of five generations of "Neely" women to share, laugh and play the "take-away" gift game.  The Neely women were a group of 6 girls that were led by a single mother and grandmother.  Those women taught six young girls integrity, faith and femininity.  They learned to trust their Provider.  

My grandmother told me a story about a time, when literally the cupboard was bare.  She said they prayed together for God to provide what they needed.  Instantly, they heard the "rag-man" calling for rags in the street.  They scurried around their modest home joyously gathering rags.  Those rags provided enough money to buy beans for their evening meal.  A simple,  modest and healthy meal.  He provided day after day.  

That life did not afford Wii's or amazing ski vacations or even a designer wardrobe, but it provided love, hope and joy.  I pray that all I do this year would be from that legacy my Grandmother "Memommy" left me!  

I've added Christmas music to my playlist.  I love it and I pray you enjoy as well.  

Isaiah 9:6
"For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government there will be no end."

Hilltop Blessings, 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are You Ready ? What Seasoning Are You Using?

As I was getting ready last night for my Thanksgiving preparations, God taught me a little lesson.  I got both of my silver chests out to find two distinctly different situations.  I opened my grandmothers box of very old silver and sadly discovered that it was severely tarnished.  Then I opened my wedding silver and discovered that it was sparkly and new looking. 

While doing this, I was thinking about all the people coming to my home and praying that they would be blessed and that I would be a blessing in any situation.  Then the Lord sweetly showed me that we can be just like that silver....we can be ugly and tarnished on the inside or we can be shiney and sparkly. 

"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Matthew 12:34b

I pray that as you prepare to either have family in your home or be a guest in another home that you prepare your heart and mind to be loving, kind and gracious.  I pray that your words are seasoned with salt and that every precious child of God you come in contact with will be blessed by your encouraging attitude of love and grace and mercy.  (even if they don't deserve it!)

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone."  Colossians 4:5-6

To be quite honest sisters, I pray I'm not setting myself up for some terrible failure, but I know our Father wants us to be loving and kind in any situation.  Lets have a wonderful holiday season and rejoice in all our blessings.  Give Thanks To The Lord, For He is Good!  His Love Endures Forever!

Hilltop Blessings,


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Give Thanks To The Lord....even the little things!

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind"
Psalm 107:21

This verse took on new meaning for me recently and it being the season of Thanksgiving, I thought I would share it with y'all!

After living for several years with an oatmeal colored berber carpet, and three little boys who live in mud and dirt, our carpet cleaner refused to clean it again.  She had been faithful to the last gummy spot of black gumbo mud...but she wouldn't budge on that stuff again and I was glad.  It was time....time for some new flooring here at on the hilltop.

I looked for about six months and went back and forth on what to do.  Finally I settled on a laminate flooring that my husband and few angels laid down a couple of weeks ago.  My sweet man carefully cut the carpet in sections and neatly rolled it up and placed it beside the road along with the nasty carpet pad.  

There was a lot of the stuff and we knew that we were going to have to pay our trash service quite a bit to remove it.  I was happy to pay anything to have it gone!!!  Throughout the day, several people came and took a few rolls of it, but there was still A LOT of it left.  Towards the end of the day, I saw a precious woman standing at our gate.  

I went out to see what she wanted and in broken English she asked if she could have all of the carpet.  I was thrilled to give her the carpet!  What a blessing for me right?  Talk about my self-centered self....she needed it to cover her floors that had nothing on them!  She said she and her children were cold, because they had no heat.  She said that her husband had died ten  years ago and she had been supporting them on her meager housekeeping business, she said business was bad enough this last  year that she lost her home she had been paying on for 16 years!  She said so much in those few statements.  My heart broke for her.

Here I was getting new carpet because it was "old" and "spotty" and she just wanted to be warm!  I ran in the house looking for a portable heater and found a small one.  When I brought it out her sister was there.  They rejoiced over something so small.  Her sister brought a truck to remove the rest of the carpet that she couldn't cram into her small car.  They worked together packing the truck with the rest of the carpet.  

Then her sister "Karina" asked me the question: "Are you a Christian?"  I answered affirmatively and told her I wanted to pray for them.  I gathered hands right there on our busy little country road and prayed for my new sisters in Christ.  What a joy to share with them and rejoice at God's provision for them.  I was so humbled.

Berenice was able to have a family member lay  her carpet in her little home.  She was so thankful for her feet to be warm.  Can  you even imagine?  What a shift in my mindset on what I "need".  Since that time, I've been able to find another heater for the girls and their families.  They are so grateful to be warm.  

I'm praying that God brings us other opportunities to minister to the needs of people in our area.  I pray that as you go through this season of Thanksgiving, that He would show you ways to bless and be blessed.  God loves you and I pray you never let go of his unfailing grace!

Hilltop Blessings,