Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Jesse Tree

"Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." - Isaiah 11:1-2 NASB

Advent  has begun and around our house we are counting down the days until we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Last year we picked up a resource from to use during Advent.

If you subscribe to her blog, you will get a link to the Jesus Advent devotional (redistribution any other way is expressly forbidden or I would just post ours here). It has paper ornaments for your Jesse Tree (you have to make your own tree) and a family devotional for each day leading up to and including Christmas.

Our Jesse Tree with all the ornaments

I freehanded a tree on some MDF and cut it out with a jigsaw. I wanted to paint the top of the stump a lighter shade of brown, but ran out of time. Maybe I'll add that this year.

If you make a Jesse Tree, I will warn you to take into consideration how many ornaments it needs to hold. I made ours without much planning and they barely fit.

Each day, we read the devotional as a family and pick one of the kids to hang the corresponding ornament. We really enjoy it and I hope you do as well.

May your family have a wonderful Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

39 and thankful...

I turn 39 today. I live a blessed life. Thought I would share a few of the things I am thankful for. These are not ranked (since the smell of sawdust comes before the Bible...)

1. Jesus and the cross
2. Kellee and her HUGE heart
3. Eli and his compassion for others
4. Ethan and his enthusiasm
5. Emilee and her creativity
6. Elliot and his hugs
7. Evan and his big smile
8. Eden and her mischievous spirit
9. Mom for showing me God is real
10. Louis for encouraging me to pursue computers
11. Memaw's bear hugs
12. Papaw teaching me how to work
13. Dad's warm personality
14. Lena's kind nature
15. Jean's relentless pursuit of Truth
16. Bob entrusting his daughter to me
17. Friends who care
18. A long awaited baby Bentley
19. The smell of sawdust
20. The Bible in my heart language
21. Bacon, eggs and toast
22. Time spent in prayer
23. Good coffee (French pressed)
24. Hymns
25. Memories of my older brother
26. A bike ride
27. A walk with my wife
28. My Kindle
29. Building Legos with my kids
30. Hearing the prayers of my children
31. The fact that God can use us despite our brokenness
32. Family and friends near and far (but always close to our hearts)
33. Health
34. The kindness of others
35. Pumpkin pie and Cool Whip (saturated fat and hydrogenated oil, mmmmmm  good)
36. A best friend for a wife
37. Six great kids who are so understanding
38. LOVE
39. That first Sunday when the tomb was empty…

God has been good to me. Much more than I deserve.

"Indeed, You have made my days [as] handbreadths, And my age [is] as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state [is] but vapor." Psalm 39:5 NKJV

"You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." James 4:14b NASB

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Missionary Penny

Now you can always remember to pray for a missionary when you see a penny...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Join me in "singing with the Stars and Whales"

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise the LORD from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps;   Psalm 148 (various verses)

Are you ready to praise the God of the universe? I hope you found time this past week to spend with Him.

Below is my favorite video on the web at the moment. I can't watch it and not stand amazed at our God.

(If you can't watch the whole thing, jump to the 10 min mark where he puts it all together.)

Louie Giglio Stars Whales Mashup from Ryan Sarpalius on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

God will provide - even in a Cracker Barrel off I-95

That's catchy. Maybe someone can work that into a song.

On our way home from training in Orlando, we stopped for dinner at a Cracker Barrel (Friday is fish day - we recommend going with the cod). After sitting in the van for so long, Eden was more in the mood for a place with a playground, but we wanted a real meal. She was a little feisty at first and I told Kellee maybe we should go. But Kellee said she would take her for a walk. Unbeknownst to us, there was an older lady sitting at the next table watching. The cashier came over to us later and said, "Did you know her?" And we said, "Who?" She said the lady sitting next to us paid for our ticket on her way out. She didn't want us to know who she was. Just a sweet gesture.

Well, that's not all. After Eden had settled down and we were having a great meal another older lady came to our table. She said she was from Pennsylvania (rules out an angelic visit) and that she had a neighbor who had 12 children and she liked to help them out too. She stuck a folded bill in my hand. We told her how nice she was and about what we are doing and where we had been.

The cashier must have been watching us because she came shooting over after the lady left and asked if we knew her too. We said no and got to share with the cashier what we are doing. It was neat.

I thought about staying around for a while longer, but we needed to get on to our hotel for the night. When I got to the van I checked and she had given us $100!

It was another reassurance that our Sovereign God is faithful. He knows our needs and He truly will provide.

And if anybody needs directions to that Cracker Barrel, let me know...  ;-)

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19