Monday, April 22, 2013

The Secret of Life's Joy

I just finished reading this most exceptional book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I don't do many book reviews because frankly I find many books just aren't worth sharing about but this one is meant to be shared. 

Beautifully and expressively written, Ann takes you along on her very personal journey of faith, one that many will find familiar as we all have asked ourselves the hard questions about life at one point or another. Tightly woven throughout is the idea that the secret to having life's joy is in being thankful to God in all things. Admittedly easier said than done. 

This is not just naming objects that we are glad we have but instead slowing down enough to live in the moment, consider the things only God can do, and GIVE thanks. Eucharisteo the Greek word for thanksgiving from the root word charis meaning grace and chara meaning joy! The unexpected part is that as you give thanks your trust in God grows because you are naming the blessings, growing closer in your relationship with Him, growing your faith, living with a God-given well of joy. 

There is always something to give thanks for. "Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18  Oh, but what about the hard times, like when your kids get hurt, or the air conditioner has to be replaced unexpectedly, or a job falls through, or your mom announces a terminal illness. How can you be thankful then? It's then we have to learn to trust in God's hand when we can't see His plan. Ann challenges me by her words, "If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment - am I not ultimately rejecting God?.....The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt he is." You have to choose to believe that God is good and that He loves you. Further, because that is true, He will work all things for your good and His glory according to His purpose. 

A most humbling experience, that as you are being filled with thanks for the blessings of God, you are also being emptied of self. It's the discovery of knowing "our endless desires are fulfilled in endless God." He is trustworthy. And when we trust Him, He will change our desires to match His. Glory! Give thanks!

Take a joy dare of your own. See if you can discover 1,000 gifts God has given to you. Read more about Ann Voskamp's journey on her blog, A Holy Experience.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

All in a day's work....

Last week this is what our back yard (and neighbors back yard) looked like....behind the bubbles...

After about a day's worth of work and a LOT of help from some pretty sweet friends.....

As many great home improvement ideas as my husband and I have, we are NOT do-it-yourself kind of people. We just haven't acquired those skills yet. Words and BBQ dinners cannot express how grateful we are to the friends God has allowed us to meet that teach us while lending a helping hand. Thanks to Warren, Tyson, Rodney, and Stanley we have a nice fence standing in our back yard that makes life in this neighborhood just a little more enjoyable. May God bless them for putting up the fence and putting up with us.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Disney Magic – the Highlights

Disney Magic – the Highlights

Saturday – All Aboard!
ª   Adventure’s Away Deck Party at Goofy’s Pool Stage
ª   Visit open house at Oceaneer Lab & Club and Welcome Party
ª   Showtime: Let the Magic Begin in Walt Disney Theater

Sunday – At Sea
ª   Kids swim in Mickey’s Pool & Slide
ª   Kids make Flubber in the Oceaneer Lab and attend Mouseketeer Training in the Oceaneer Club
ª   Mom & Dad attend seminar in Vista Spa Fitness Center
ª   Showtime: Twice Charmed in Walt Disney Theater
ª   Spa Bingo with Grandparents
ª   Hats off to Peter Pan in Oceaneer Club
ª    Cabaret: Bean & Bailey comedy in Rockin’ Bar D (we knew them from when they visited Central Baptist Church in Bearden, TN while we were there – so funny!)

Monday – At Sea
ª   Wake up with Disney Junior in the Promenade Lounge
ª   Oceaneer Lab: Animation Cells, 4th Pigs Pasta Palace, Ratatoullie Cooking School, Eggsperiments
ª   Oceaneer Club: Heffalump Hunting, Little Einstein’s Adventure
ª   Showtime: Mark Nizer (juggler, magician, comedy) in Walt Disney Theater
ª   Swimming in Mickey’s Pool

Tuesday – Grand Cayman
 ª   Seven Mile Beach – sun, cool water, collect coral and shells, eat lunch
ª   Pirate Crafts in Promenade Lounge
ª   Pirates in the Caribbean Party (bad weather so fireworks cancelled and party cut short)

Wednesday – Cozumel
ª   Tour: Mayan ruins and Discovering Mexico museum, lunch, shopping
ª   Story time with Belle
ª   Goofy’s Rock Stars and Guitars dance party
ª   Showtime: Freddy Fusion in Walt Disney Theater
ª   Fireworks and dance party on top deck

Thursday – At Sea
ª   Character Breakfast
ª   Character Dance Party – Lobby Atrium
ª   Showtime: Disney Dreams in Walt Disney Theater
ª   Friendship Rocks Show (our kids sang on stage with Mickey & Friends)
ª   More swimming in Mickey’s Pool

Friday – Farewell for Now
ª   One last family breakfast with Timur and Maria
ª   Disembark & drive home

This is but a brief glimpse at all the fun we had on vacation from the 480+ pictures we made and many more memories.