February 2019

And just like that, it’s February. This happens every year, except I always think that this time I will be prepared. I am not. But that is ok! We will move forward whether we want to or not. How are your resolutions looking? Or have you even made any this year? I have to admit that choosing a word for my last years’ focus instead of making “resolutions” was a wonderful choice for me. I actually made some progress in becoming more content. I still have a long way to go, but I actually saw progress. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to repeat the process again this year. I even picked out a word. But, I’m not sure it’s working. Maybe I’m just not focused enough, maybe I didn’t include God enough in my thought process. Either way, I’m just not feeling it this year. So, I am reevaluating. I am praying about it more, and I am taking my time. Just because I want something to be, doesn’t mean that it will. Control is something a lot of people struggle with and have a hard time letting go of. Just because I want to focus on something, doesn’t mean that is what God wants me to focus on. And so, I need to be more open to that and just let Him take control. Always easier said than done. But I will work on it. Hhmm, maybe that is my focus for the year and it took me writing this to figure it out. Either way, I will continue to pray, and think about it, and see where God leads.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

How is your year looking? So far, it’s been cold and snowy. I’m not complaining about the snow! Last year we had a cold spell during January and our pipes froze. They froze so badly we had to call the plumbers. It wasn’t cheap. Then some other things happened and it just started the year off on a bad note. It didn’t necessarily improve all that much, however, my point of view changed. Even if it was just a slight adjustment, it was still an adjustment in the right direction. I am almost afraid to say anything about this year, but so far, not nearly as bad!

In fact, we have a special little something to look forward to this year. We are expecting baby number 7 sometime in late March/early April. We are all very excited and the kids can’t wait. I have to say, that is one of my favorite things about our children. They are all so very excited whenever we announce a pregnancy. It makes my heart feel full and just their whole perspective on the JOY of a baby gives me hope for the future. Maybe we won’t change the view of our entire nation (although we do pray for this!), but if we can just teach our children how much joy a baby, any baby, brings, well then, we are at least doing something right. If their focus is on the value of life, all life, instead of on things and toys and how much more full our house will be ;), well then, that’s alright with me!

So Happy Belated New Year everyone! And remember, each and every day is a new chance to refocus on our God, reevaluate His calling in our lives, and focus on the joy He gifts to us every day. God Bless and have a wonderful day!

Romans 15:13

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

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P is for…

Perfectionist. Does this word describe you? I used to think I wasn’t a perfectionist. After all, I am a world class procrastinator. I have trouble putting things away when I am done with them. I can even be termed messy. Disorganized for sure. But a perfectionist? Aren’t perfectionists neat and orderly? Don’t they always want things picked up and put away? Don’t they have a place where everything goes? Don’t they care enough about their work to make sure it is done on time and then gone over multiple times to make sure it is perfect?

Well, it turns out I am a perfectionist. It has taken me a long time to accept and understand this view of myself. I just didn’t understand how I could possibly be a perfectionist and not have a clean house and have everything put away in a neat and orderly fashion. It turns out, God created us all differently. And my perfectionism doesn’t have to look like someone else’s. Instead of spurring me into action, my perfectionism is paralyzing. I am afraid to even start something for fear of it not being done perfectly. And so instead of taking a small step towards beginning, I just stay still, out of fear. Instead of taking a small step towards cleaning up my craft area, I think about the fact that I would love to have it cleaned up. It would be so wonderful to have that nice little space to work on projects. But I don’t have the time to go through everything. I don’t have the time to get it all cleaned up right now. And so all I do, is think about how nice it would be, but don’t actually take any steps towards making it happen.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This is very frustrating. It is frustrating for me and for those who have to live with me. I am constantly struggling to keep the counter cleaned off, and usually fail more often than I succeed. (You don’t want to see it right now…trust me!) I have finally come up with a somewhat successful laundry routine. As long as I remember to nag, I mean ask, the children often enough to fold, that part runs pretty smoothly. Which is a good thing considering there are many people in this house who need clean clothing! But the other parts….like keeping things picked up, organizing items, making a permanent home for things that need a place, those are the things I struggle the most with. I would much rather toss something down on the counter to deal with later than take the extra two minutes and put it away now. Why don’t I take those extra two minutes? This is something that I don’t completely understand about myself. This is something I am still trying to come to grips with and overcome. Just put it away! Just do it now! But, there is always something else that needs to be done that obviously needs my attention right this second. Or at least, this is the constant battle in my mind. It’s not true. I know it’s not true, but it takes time for me to overcome old habits. It takes longer than I would like and I often get discouraged. See, there is the perfectionism again. I want to be better now! Not later. I don’t want to take time, I want to be the “perfect” woman right this very minute.

1 Peter 3:3-4

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment

such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a

gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”

Does that sound like the spirit of a gentle and quiet woman? I already know the answer. I struggle with the answer. It trips me up time and time again. How can I be gentle, quiet, kind, patient, etc., until everything is lined up? How can I be like that until everything is perfect? How can I get anything done until the house is cleaned up? How can I pick up the house if I don’t have a place for all the stuff? How?

Galatians 1:10

“Am I trying to win the approval of men, or God?

Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men,

I would not be a servant of Christ”

Well, right there is my answer. Everything in life doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to journey closer to God. I don’t have to do x, y, and z first. I just have to try and seek God’s approval. Everything else will follow. If I am seeking God’s will and approval for my life, then I will be making a forward journey. I will become the woman God is calling me to be. I will be gentle, quiet, patient, kind, etc.

Proverbs 31:26

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

Her husband also, and he praises her:

That’s what I want my legacy to be. I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be her now. But I’m not. I am still on my journey. I am still struggling to “get it right” (ie perfect). But here’s the good news. Here is the positive in all of this, I have a God who loves me. A God who wants me to succeed. A God who is with me every step of the way and who picks me up every single time I stumble and fall.

Lamentations 3:22-23

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.

Every day is a new day. Every minute is a new opportunity for me to put my faith in God and follow Him wherever He leads. I just need to choose to do so. Life doesn’t have to be perfect for me to follow our Lord. I simply need to follow.

 

Are you a perfectionist?

 

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 2

henry-ford-whether-you-think-you-can

This is a new quote that I just found recently. I have to admit, it’s a new favorite! The words are absolutely true. How we view life, or a task, is exactly how it will go. If you are sure of failure, then that’s all you will find. However, if you envision success, then you will find it! It may not be in the shape or form you expected, but when you have a positive outlook, then you are sure to find a success somewhere. I chose this quote, because again, as I have stated before, I tend to have a negative outlook on life. I am working to improve this however, and I think I may just have to put this quote up somewhere I will see it every day. Changing our normal view of life can be challenging, but all things are possible through God.

Philippians 4:11-13

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Again, thank you to Linda from Amazing God Stories for the nomination!  Her granddaughter is seriously cute, and getting cuter!!

I would like to nominate Sharon from How to Beat Depression & Anxiety.  Her posts are a nice pick me up and have great analogies and life lessons.  Please check her out!

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

It’s been quiet around here. Sorry about that. I wish I could say it was because I was taking a much needed break and recharging and reconnecting with God and my family. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The truth of the matter is that I have been working on our end of the year homeschool evaluations. These have taken up all of my brain space and I have not had any leftover. Now that they are finally finished (Halleluiah!) I am hoping to get back to my regular once a month posting. 🙂 And I figure, what better way to do so then to kick off with three days of posting!

Way back in May, Linda from Amazing God Stories nominated me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. I am finally getting around to actually doing it! I have been especially enjoying her Life is a Beach posts and the pictures of her adorable granddaughter.

Ok, onto the first quote:

If you don’t have children, who will you download your files to? –J.K.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This quote came from my husband. Can you tell he works with computers all day? We were driving in the car one day with the kids and were talking about the point of life. All of a sudden this phrase just popped out of his mouth. It was funny at the time and still makes me laugh, but it is also so true. What is the point of living and learning if we don’t have anyone to pass our knowledge down to? Of course it is good to learn and grow for ourselves, but without passing on our knowledge, how can we hope to influence the world towards good? If we keep all of our life experiences and knowledge gained through those experiences to ourselves, then really, what was the point of them? I know that some would argue that it is the betterment of ourselves. Sure, to some extent that is true, as it should be. But, that is also ultimately a selfish viewpoint. And selfishness is something this world has too much of. We should seek to share our knowledge with others so that we can bring others and through that sharing, ourselves, closer to God. So whether your children are biological, adopted, or otherwise, download your files to them. Pass the knowledge, love, and life onwards!

 

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,

he will not depart from it.

 

I would like to nominate Christina from Justified and Redeemed. She is a wonderful young woman who is well on her way to blossoming into an example of a Proverbs 31 woman. She is a great example for all young women going through their season of singleness as well as for the rest of us. I learn a lot from her posts and always leave with something more to think about and ponder. Head on over and check her out. 🙂

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Optimism is not my forte

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times,

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

I am not an optimistic person by nature. I am more of a ‘the glass is half empty and is most likely going to stay that way’ type of person. This is probably part of the reason this verse has resonated so much with me. I want to be the type of person who is constantly blessing God and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life. And there are so many blessings. But they are so hard for me to see at times, and I become overwhelmed with LIFE and when I open my mouth, it isn’t praises that come out. It’s complaints, it’s whining, it’s why oh why aren’t things easier?? And let’s just be honest, it isn’t a good model for the children, my husband, or even myself. After all, if we let ourselves dwell on the negative, what are we going to think about? If we take our focus off of God and all that He has blessed us with, we don’t see those blessings. We just see the negative in life. And my friends, there is a whole heap of negative. We see it everywhere. In the news, online, in magazines, EVERYWHERE there is Satan trying to bring us down. Trying to distance us from all the good in life. All the good that God has placed there. The laughter of a child, the sun shining through the trees, the colors of autumn, the smell of freshly cut grass. All of it, goes away as soon as you take your eyes off of it.

Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn
Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn

My husband is a wonderful reminder to me of all the good God has given us. Anytime I start to feel this way, he will so often, even without me sometimes saying anything, mention something good that God has blessed us with. And with that reminder, I am prompted to bring my focus back to God. It isn’t always a smooth process, honestly, it’s usually with me kicking and screaming. But I’m trying. I’m trying to let go and let God. I have heard this phrase so many times in my life. And I’m going to be honest, I never truly understood it. If you think about it, what does it actually mean? It means total and complete surrender. And as a child, when I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, I didn’t understand surrender. I still don’t completely get it, but I feel like as a thirty-something year old, I am beginning to understand. Even just a teeny tiny bit. Because after all, it’s never too late. It’s never too late to accept God’s gift to us. It’s never too late to change your life path. Even though it won’t be easy, it’s never too late to change your focus and behavior. You won’t get it right the first or second, or even the thirtieth time! But, we need to pick ourselves back up, recommit to following our God, and step out in faith. I am not an optimistic person, but taking this step of faith, is for me, a step towards optimism itself. If I can believe that God sent His only Son to die on the cross to forgive my stupid, repetitive sins, then I guess I can count myself as an optimistic pessimist who is learning to bless our God at all times, and to continually, no matter how difficult life may be, praise Him with my words and actions.

Are you an optimist, pessimist, or a realist?

A Beloved Child

The other night when I was putting G and Baby Z to bed, I started praying. Now this is not an unusual occurrence for me. I have admitted before that my “serious” prayer time is usually at night. This is just how it works out for this season of our lives. I have great dreams of waking before the children and getting in some morning prayer time, but it’s just not our reality.

Anyways, as I was sitting there, actually spending some real, quality time with God, I heard Him speak. Now, we all experience God in our own ways and in different manners. Sometimes it is just a feeling, or an emotion, but other times, it’s actual words. I’m going to admit something else here that is a bit painful. It’s been a while since I have heard Him actually speak. It’s not because He hasn’t been talking, I’m afraid I just haven’t been listening closely enough. I have started reading my Bible again on a fairly regular basis. I try to read a quick chapter at night, again, after the kids are in bed and, mostly, asleep. Remember how I said I have outgrown my bonsai faith? Well, never has this been more evident to me than in the past week. I have been hearing His voice for the past couple of nights and after such a long period of not actually hearing, it has been like water to my parched soul. It has been such a wonderful thing. I missed hearing His voice. I missed hearing what He has to say to me. And boy, has He been talking now that I am actually listening!

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

So as I sat there, I was hit with this passage.

Matthew 3:17

“And behold, a voice from heaven said,

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Now the significance of this passage for me was the fact that one word was changed. Just one word changed the whole, entire meaning for me. It no longer became just that passage in the Bible where God revealed Himself to His Son and told EVERYONE that He was pleased with His Son. Oh no, it became much more. It became about me. Me, personally. Instead of “This is my beloved Son” it became, “This is my beloved Child”. And God was talking about me. I am His beloved child. I may stumble, I may fall, over and over and over again, but I am still His beloved child in whom He is pleased.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

When we search for God, we always, inevitably find Him. He always makes Himself known to us. If we search diligently, He will not fail us. For we are His beloved children. All of us. We are not perfect like Jesus, but God loves us just the same. God loves me as He loves His Son, because I am His child. Just as Jesus is His child, so am I and everyone in this world. We are all children of God and He loves EACH and EVERY single one of us. Such a simple concept, but so completely revolutionizing. Hold onto that knowledge, hold onto the fact that when we are doing God’s will, He is pleased with us, just as He was pleased with Jesus. He loves us, without fail and without wavering. Forever and ever.

What has God been saying to you lately?

 

Faith is like a bonsai tree

I admit to having a bit of a fascination with bonsai trees. There is just something about the minuteness of them that makes me happy. I love the idea of trimming them up the way you want and shaping them into something unique. Unfortunately, I don’t have any at the moment, but that is due to a lack of space in the windowsill more than anything else.

Bonsai trees, for any who may not be familiar, are trees that are grown in small pots. They are miniature trees that the grower may prune and use wire to train in the way he wants the branches to grow. The root systems are bound inside the small pots which keep the trees miniature. The practice originated in China and then migrated to Japan where the Japanese really took it and made it their own. I find the practice extremely fascinating and really wish we had lots and lots of room for lots and lots of miniature trees 🙂

Psalm 92:12-14

12The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,

they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

13planted in the house of the Lord,

they will flourish in the courts of our God.

14They will still bear fruit in old age,

they will stay fresh and green,

Did you also know, that if you take a bonsai tree and plant it, that it will grow into a “regular” sized tree? Of course, you have to be sure to plant it in the correct soil and climate for the type of tree it actually is. Otherwise, it will perish just like any other tree that is planted in the wrong place.

Copyright Roses at Dawn 2018

Mark 4:4-8

4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

So where a seed, or a tree, is planted counts. If a tree is not planted in the right soil, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for that tree to grow and produce fruit. Just as if we are not firmly planted in the soil of God’s Word, we will wither and die. I admit, I am guilty of this one. I will do well for a while, I will read the Bible faithfully every day, and then life will happen. And I let it fall by the wayside. I don’t keep myself firmly planted, with my roots unbound and growing deeply, in God’s Word. It is a fault of mine that I am aiming to improve this year. It goes along with my whole focus for the year on contentment. How can I find contentment if I don’t actively search for it in God’s Word? How can I expect to grow and change into the woman God is calling me to be if I don’t let Him have more tree to prune and shape? If I am limiting myself to my tiny pot of knowledge in God’s Word, there is only so much growth and shaping that can be done. It will still be done, but not on the magnificent scale that it could be. Instead of staying a small, tiny, easy to overlook tree, shouldn’t I want to grow to become the massive, growing tree of faith I could be? The truth is, I do want to be that tree. I do want to be the pillar of faith and wisdom that I could be. I long to be her. I pray to be her. But I can’t be her, if I don’t let God help me grow. I can’t grow if I purposefully keep myself planted in a tiny pot. So I’m challenging myself. I’m challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone (my teeny, tiny pot) and let myself be planted in the wonderfully rich soil of God’s Word and to see how big I can let God grow my faith. Because I’ve outgrown my bonsai faith. I’m ready to move onto some heftier pruning and wire shaping. As long as I let God handle the growth, I’m ready to be on my way.

Jeremiah 31:28

28Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down,

and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to

build and to plant,” declares the Lord.

 

How is your growth? What passages have you been reading lately?