Hearts Without a Home!

There is a saying that goes, 'a friend in need, is a friend indeed'.  But really, its more like 'the ones who help those in need, are indeed the friends!

How many of us have friends in need? How many of us overlook those needs hoping someone else will help them out, or just send up a quick prayer that God would bring someone to help them? (all the while hoping it doesn't have to be us)  Well, now it's our turn to be that "someone else." It's time for us to take a stand for what we believe to be right, and make a difference in the life of someone else. 

A family I know consisting of a Dad, Mom, four sons, and three daughters is in need of a home. They have lived the past decade moving from house to house, with no permanent dwelling, and they have trusted God to provide for their needs day by day. 

As of this coming week they are homeless. They have taken yet another step of faith and are trusting God to provide for their family, all the while doing whatever they can to make money and provide for their financial needs. But they simply don't have enough time to raise the funds they need on their own. They need committed friends, and compassionate strangers to step up and make a way in the wilderness of their lives.

And that's where we come in. Over the past few years I have learned so much from this family by watching their journey of hope and trust in God. No matter where they are living, they have had a sense of joy and contentment that is simply astounding. And all the while they haven't been thinking about themselves, but about the other families in the world who are just like them. They realized that there must be other families with fathers who have lost their jobs, or can't find work, and as a result they find themselves homeless. And so they devised a plan to help solve their own problem and help others in the process. 

All they need is us to join them in not only helping them be able to purchase a home for their family, but for others as well. Yes, they need a house & land, but they know that they're  not the only ones out there with this need!

Their vision is huge, but simple; place needy families all across this nation, into peaceful, stable & secure homes, where they can thrive, not just survive! I've seen the power of social media, how it can be used to accomplish goals that otherwise may seem insurmountable! And I'm asking you to contribute in any way that you can-- whether it means buying a rubber bracelet, a para-cord wristband, and/or a scarf, or whether you want to just plain donate..it ALL makes a difference!

Please check out this link for more information and be prepared to share in meeting the need of this dear family....and please spread this vision on to your friends and blogs. For with God all things are possible! 

"One thing have I desired of The Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of The Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of The Lord and o enquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion, in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me and He shall set me up upon a rock, and now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies, therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy, I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto The Lord. Hear O Lord, when I cry with my voice have mercy also upon me and answer me. When thou saidst unto me seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, thy face Lord will I seek" Psalm 27:4-8

The Oven of God's Testing!

Recently, we've been doing a Bible study in Romans weekly with some friends. It's been really encouraging to see how much we have to be grateful for. Paul really explains the Christian struggle, and them encourages us with the Christian's strength in Christ. This week were studying chapter 8 and I can't wait to see what new insights I'll discover. 

Anyhow, each week, we've been having dinner and desert along with the Bible study, and this week it was my turn to make desert. It seems like since the beginning of the study, we've all been making cakes for desert. So in keeping with tradition, I thought I'd try this Chocolate Cake I saw on my friend's blog. I was a little nervous about trying a new recipe, (especially since the Hummingbird Cake last week turned out so well) but after reading how well it turned out for my friends, I got the courage to give it a try. And turn out it did. I was simply shocked. Not only was the recipe easy to follow, the cake also cooked really quickly, and the frosting was like none I've made before. It was like a dream cake and thanks to Evan's help with the frosting we were all pleased with the results. It will definitely be added to our recipe book. 

Wile I was making the cake, and for a while after that, I was thinking about how our life is like a piece of cake. We start with God's blueprints, the Bible, (like the recipe) but He can see the finished product. Nevertheless we still have to be made, and whipped, and poured into a pan, and cooked at very high temperatures, before we turn out. 

In the process we have countless opportunities for failure. Some of us choose to not read the recipe, and just put the ingredients into the pan, and hope it turns out. Some of us throw out the recipe, and use our own ingredients. Some of us use the right ingredients, and the right measurements, but get the instructions in the wrong order. And some of us ( very few) follow the recipe, and go through the oven of God's testing, and come out like a beautiful cake. It's not because we did the right thing, and used the right ingredients, it's because of the oven of God's testing...for without it we would simply never turn out. 

Sometimes after we've accomplished good things, we try to take the credit, and claim we are responsible for our success. But just like the cake, we would be nothing without the oven. This thought struck me in a very real way, when I realized how often I'm trying to jump out of the oven of God's testing. I don't want to get cooked. I think I'll be ruined by the heat, but in the end God is the only one who can see the finished product, if only we would just have the faith to trust Him in through the fire. For it's only after we've been baked that we can be cooled and frosted with the ornaments of God's grace and a testimony to share with others. 

So next time you feel the "oven of God's testing" being turned on, think of your life like a piece of cake. It has to be baked for the true flavor and texture to come out, it has to be baked for us to eat it, and it has to be baked before it can be frosted with delicious icing that makes it more beautiful than ever before. God is in the business of reconciliation. He's knows that we, (just like the cake) must change our texture before we can be frosted. We must be tried before our true flavors come out. But don't be discouraged by the oven. God is with us through it.  He's holding our hand all the way, and He can see the finished product of our lives, and if we'll just trust Him....I promise you the end will be more beautiful and satisfying than you could ever imagine. 

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him which knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Here's some pictures of the finished cake. I wish you could taste it:)   

Eden's Evaluations: Birthday Bash! (Prize Included!)

Eden's Evaluations: Birthday Bash! (Prize Included!): Today, March 15th, is Eden's Evaluations 2nd Birthday!!! I am so excited!!! Check out the post, and be sure to enter to win the prize:)

Snow Fun, & Random Pictures!

I thought I'd take a break from writing to post some pictures of what our family has been up to recently. Enjoy:) 

This is an "old" picture from December, when Evan thought it would be fun to try on some colorful shades while shopping. 

In mid-January we were excited to go skiing with friends for the first time in over a year. 

It was a beautiful day, and we all enjoyed ourselves. I'm sorry I didn't get more pictures. 

Here's a few pictures of times with friends this year. 
Notice our Red, White, & Blue sunglasses:) 

This is another "old" picture from December, but I still wanted to share it. 

A special moment with Mom. 

We all enjoyed attending the wedding and reception of some dear friends in January. It looks like Evan thought the gifts were for him:) 

Fun times with our favorite little girl. 

This is what happens when you try to take a "girls only" group photo. 

We enjoyed spending time with some friends and somehow we all got into trying on Evan's sunglasses. 

I couldn't bring myself to put them on with my eyes open. 

Mom really got into the style:) 

In ealry February we celebrated my birthday as a family, and had a wonderful day together. 
(Pictures above is a photo of my Birthday resolution I made for my parents) 

Mom and Dad gave me the most beautiful roses. 

Evan decorated the dining room....

And set the table beautifully.

The streamers made a star shape above our heads. Only an artist would think of such a creative way to do streamers. 

I was also surprised to see this beautiful rose plant arrive from my sister. 
It was so sweet of her to remember my birthday. 

I guess you can tell my favorite colors are red and pink:) 

Dad once again made delicious Crepes. 

And Evan invented this new napkin fold in the style of a rose. 

 Mom gave me these cute socks. I have a small collection of "fun" socks for Christmas, so it was exciting to get these valentine's day ones. They have bunny rabbits, and hearts on them, and they say I Love You. 

Just after my birthday, God answered my prayers and blessed us with over 8 inches of snow. 
It was so beautiful, and it came down so quickly it was hard to believe we were still in Oregon. 

Evan went a little overboard in his excitement, and came out in the snow with shorts and a t shirt. 

Actually he was trying to act like a Californian. I still can't believe he actually did this. I love snow, but the most I will do is go barefoot in it for 5 minutes. (Which is nearly torture) 

Of course, when snow comes you can't help yourself, and you just have to build a snowman. 

Even though the snow was so powdery, Evan and I managed to build a reasonably big (5') snowman. 

Using buckets to compact the snow, we were able to build a nice snowman. And it was SO much fun. 

The finished snowman/ woman with it's creators. Just after this picture we jumped in our van and drove 2 hours to WA for a conference. It was so fun, and adventurous to drive in the snow, and although it took us 2 hours instead of 1, it was still worth the drive, and we all enjoyed every minute of our time in the snow. 

We can tend to go a little overboard with valentine's day. 
Evan got up early, and made a delicious breakfast of Scones, (heart shaped) eggs inside toast(heart shaped) fruit salad, coffee, Fresh Rasberries, and numerous delightful candies. He also set the table very nicely, and folded the napkins beautifully. It was a wonderful breakfast. 

After breakfast we all went out for a drive in a rental car we were thinking about buying. We had a nice time driving arround and even listened to some of our favorite valentine's day music ( i.e. When we're Together:) But, before we left, we had fun taking photos with these red sunglasses a friend gave me. 

Mom really looked good in them. 

And so did Evan. 

Notice how we all had red on. We all seemed to get into the spirit of valentine's day this year, it was so much fun. After our little excursion, we returned home, and Evan and I took the rental car for a drive, (around our driveway:) and then I made pizza for dinner (heart shaped:) It was a wonderful valentine's day, and we all enjoyed spending it together. 

And to top of the events of the past month, I was very excited to be the proud owner of this new pair of glasses. After about an hour of trying on different frames, I had selected about 20 frames as favorites, and finally narrowed it down to these. They have the solid frame I was looking for, style on the sides, and they aren't dark black which is something I was trying to avoid. I'm so pleased with them. Isn't God good to provide for our basic needs and to even bless us beyond all that we could even imagine. 

It's been a very good season of reevaluating and reconfirming my beliefs in God, and growing in my relationship with Him. He has shown me just how selfish I am, and how little I'm really willing to give up to His control. Oh, for a deeper trust in Him!  I can get so easily focused on what I could be doing, that I forget what I'm supposed to be doing. It is so difficult to cultivate a heart of genuine gratefulness for each situation God puts me in. So often I feel like I could plan things out better than God, and I begin to murmur against His ways. And that's when I realize how my perspective must change. God's ways (no matter how hard) are always best, and no matter how often we may fail, He is the one that gives us the courage to keep going, and that's what counts. 

Anyhow, that's just a little tidbit, of what I've been learning recently. 
I'm sorry for making this such a long post, but I hope you enjoyed the pictures. 
I'd love to hear how things have been going for you, and what you've been learning recently. 

Here's a passage that has been very encouraging to me recently. 

11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand ispower and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." 1 Chronicles 29: 11-14