Merry Christmas!

To all my friends (aka awesome readers),  I want to wish you a wonderful and very

Merry Christmas!

I’m so grateful for the hope that we can celebrate this time of year.  The most precious gift ever!

I hope that your time is filled with family, friends, love and joy….

and food!

Mmmm, food!

Thanks for walking on this journey with me. I love hearing from you and just knowing you’re out there.

~Sarah

Christmas 3

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

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Sunset shot by me

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Grateful.  What an awesome prompt.

I’m grateful for so many things but it sometimes takes a prompt like this to stop and look at how deeply God has blessed me.

My family.  Wow, my family.  I could go on and on for the next half hour about my family and how grateful I am for them.  My man.  Loves me.  Shows it so often.  He keeps me from worrying my mind into insanity.  Though he would say I’m pretty much already there.  My kids.  They make me laugh, make me cry, teach me, love me.  So grateful for the blessings they are and the mom that they make me want to be.  My parents, brothers, sisters (all you in-laws are included).  I am so grateful for the family that God has put together for me.  May we continue to grow with one another and not be complacent in our relationships.  May I never take you for granted.

My friends.  I am so grateful for all you wonderful, crazy, beautiful, messed up people!  You’ve blessed me in countless ways and I hope that I can return the favor!  From my BFF to all you fantastic people I’ve only met online, you mean a ton to me.  I love that I can share this life with you.  I love that we can talk about whatever comes to mind.  We won’t always agree but we will have one heck of a discussion about it.  If you follow my blog at all, you know I like talking about storms.  How could I not?  Storms are incredible.  Not only are they incredible, but I never imagined that my world would be so blessed with an amazing community of chasers and enthusiasts.  The best a girl could ask for.  You guys make storm season even better!  To you, my writing friends that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, thank you.  You write with me, care about me beyond my writing, love me and push me to be better!  You rock!

Well, it didn’t take long to knock this out and I could keep going but I’m going to end here…  where it all began.  God.

It doesn’t take long for me, at any given moment, to see how my life would be a mess without my Father.  Anything good in my life is Him.  He’s given me all these people listed above.  Even the ones that try my friendship, make me wonder if it’s worth it to be the kind of person I am, I’m so blessed to learn and grow with each situation.  Makes friendships richer and makes me a better person, if I allow it to.

He’s given me His all and all that I have.  So.  Very. Grateful.

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Want to get in on Five Minute Friday?  It’s the time of the week where we just write without worrying that it’s just right.  😉  Find the link below and join this awesome community!

5minutefriday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa’s website (click the 5 minute Friday image above for the website).

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

~Sarah

Spring Days

Spring Day shot by me

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  Sorry to those of you who visit on occasion to see what’s new.  I have a lot coming up in the days ahead, but for now it’s 5 minute Friday time.  Yes, I know I’m a day behind.  🙂

From Pinterest

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I was sitting on the couch this afternoon, watching 3 different versions of a puppet show of ‘Goldilocks and the 3 bears’ by my kids.  Each version was crazier and garnered more laughs than the last.  My son was last and started it out by saying ‘and Goldilocks tried the porridge.  This one is too hot, this one is too pillow-y.’  I think porridge and beds got a little mixed up in his story.

As I sat and watched the productions, watched the joy and excitement, held my husbands hand and shared a smile with him… I was overcome.

over·come

verb: to affect someone very strongly or severely

I was overcome with joy about how very deeply, profoundly and amazingly blessed I am.  I was so struck with this thought that, before I knew it, tears began to fall.

Surrounded by the family I had hoped for since I was a child.  In the living room of my beautiful home.  In a wonderful city that may be super cold some days but is a pretty darn safe place to raise kids.  In this country where, though not perfect, I am able to enjoy many freedoms.

So many thoughts went through my head.  It was like a movie of blessings in my world.

So, I sat.  Mind and emotions wrapped in a cocoon of such profound joy and thankfulness that, even now, I can’t explain how it felt.

Except to say that I felt an incredible sense of joy.  These lyrics are the closest I can come to explaining how I felt.

‘Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.’

If I could even find words to begin to write in the skies about how loved and blessed I felt in that moment, I know that it would indeed take more than the sky to write this love note to my Saviour.  Truly there aren’t words strong enough.

Instead, I’ll have to let the Holy Spirit translate the inexpressible feelings to the One who has blessed me so much.

Thank you, Father.

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This post is not meant to be, or come across as, bragging.  This was just a reminder that I had today of how the Lord has blessed me.  We may not all be blessed in the same way, but we are blessed.  Sometimes the reminder is strong, like the smell of rain approaching.  Other times it’s subtle, like a shift in the wind.  We just need to remember to look for the blessings and not forget to thank the One who has blessed us.

Ahh, Friday (uhhh… Saturday).  How I enjoy Five-Minute Fridays.  Where a bunch of us just write, without worrying it it’s just right.

5minutefriday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa’s website (click the 5 minute Friday image above for the website).

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

Merry Christmas!!

To all my friends (aka awesome readers),  I want to wish you a wonderful and very MerrChristmas!

I’m so grateful for the hope that we can celebrate this time of year.  The most precious gift ever!

I hope that your time is filled with family, friends, love and joy….

and food!

Mmmm, food!

Thanks for walking on this journey with me. I love hearing from you and just knowing you’re out there.

~Sarah
Christmas banner 2

To the King Forever

Worship
Today it is Thanksgiving in the US.  All over the place there are people getting together with family and friends around food and football.

Sitting at the table with my kids I was struck with how much I have to be thankful for.  Yes, there’s the family, friends, food, football.  A warm home on a cold day.  A job that brings in money.  I am thankful for all these things but something much bigger, much more worth celebrating hit me.

Someday this will all be gone.  The home, the food, the football, the home, the job.  It will all be gone.

One day, for those of us who choose to believe, we will be blessed in a way that we can’t even begin to comprehend in our flawed human minds.

I was listening to music, as is regular in our home, and ‘Endless Hallelujah’ by Matt Redmen began to play.  This song never fails to stop me in my tracks.  The promise, the fullness, the purity of what we will one day know always staggers me.  Here are the lyrics:

When I stand before Your throne
Dressed in glory not my own
What a joy I’ll sing of on that day
No more tears or broken dreams
Forgotten are the minor things
Everything as it was meant to be

And we will worship, worship
Forever in Your presence we will sing
We will worship, worship You
An endless hallelujah to the King

I will see You as You are
Love You with unsinning heart
And see how much You paid to bring me home
Not till then, Lord, shall I know
Not till then, how much I owe
Everything I am before Your throne

And we will worship, worship
Forever in Your presence we will sing
We will worship, worship You
An endless hallelujah to the King

No more tears, no more shame
No more sin and sorrow ever known again
No more fears, no more pain
We will see You face to face
See You face to face

And we will worship, worship
Forever in Your presence we will sing
We will worship, worship You
An endless hallelujah to the King

Even just reading over them, I am tearing up.  My heart longs for the day when all the tears, shame, sin, sorrow, fear and pain are banished.  Not just for one day… but for ETERNITY.

And we will worship.  Forever in Your presence we will sing.  An endless hallelujah to the King.  The picture in my head is breathtaking.  What does the picture in your head look like?
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If you haven’t heard ‘Endless Hallelujah’, here it is.  It is amazing!!

Modern Day Paul

Pastor Saeed 3

This is a different kind of ‘World Moment’ today.  A much more important one.  One man’s life hangs in the balance and we may be able to change it for the better.

Many of you may know Pastor Saeed’s story, but for those of you who don’t, here it is.  This is taken from www.savesaeed.org.

“Most of us know that there are places in the world where Christians undergo immense persecution for their faith. But distance breeds forgetfulness, and for too many of us, out of sight does mean out of mind. We cannot, however, forget our imprisoned brothers and sisters.

Saeed Abedini, a 33-year-old Pastor, father, and husband from Idaho, is currently imprisoned in Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. On 28 July 2012, during a visit to Tehran to visit family and to finalize the board members for an orphanage he was building in Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard detained Saeed, asserting that he must face criminal charges for his Christian faith. After intense interrogations, Saeed was placed under house arrest and told to wait for a court summons. On 26 September 2012, instead of receiving a summons telling him where to appear, five members of the Revolutionary Guard raided Saeed’s parents’ home in Tehran, confiscated many of Saeed’s belongings, and took him to an unknown location. After four days the Revolutionary Guard informed the family that Saeed was in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin Prison.

Saeed remained in solitary confinement for approximately four weeks before he was moved to Evin Prison. During solitary confinement, Saeed was only brought out of his small, dark cell to be subjected to abusive interrogations.

Saeed has been beaten and threatened with death for his faith. In a letter Saeed penned from prison on 10 January 2013, Saeed said: I am “told I will hang for my faith in Jesus” and that he suffered “intense pains after beatings in interrogations.” He appeared before Judge Pir-Abassi on 21 January 2013, to present his defence  The lawyer confirmed in Iranian news that Saeed was on trial for intentionally undermining the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches. Saeed and his attorney argued that his intention in gathering with Christian believers was motivated solely by his faith and that he had no intent to undermine the government. Judge Pir-Abassi had requested Saeed’s lawyer go to the media and state that the trial was conducted fairly and that he would be let out on bail soon. Yet, the family had sought bail in the past, and was repeatedly denied.

One week after Saeed had presented his defence, he was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. He has been in prison for more than 220 days.
Saeed had been denied medical treatment for infections that resulted from beatings. The ward doctor and nurse refused to treat him because, as a Christian, he was considered “unclean” and an infidel. Saeed’s family in Tehran may visit Saeed on Mondays, but he is not permitted to make phone calls, cutting him off from his wife and two young children in the U.S.

Pastor Saeed 2

In late February it became known that Saeed was suffering from internal bleeding, an injury from beatings he endured during interrogations. Doctors examined Saeed in early March and determined that his injuries warranted immediate attention, and, in their medical opinion, he needed to be treated in a non-prison hospital. For a month, the Iranian regime ignored this advice. In an attempt to appease international pressure, on 8 April 2013, the Saeed was taken to a private hospital. Before doing so, guards forced Saeed to change his prison uniform to that of a murderer. Saeed resisted, the guards beat him, and forced him to wear the uniform. When Saeed arrived at the hospital he was never admitted or treated because, according to the guards, the doctor on staff was not present. Saeed has reported that several cell-mates  who appear to be connected to the Iranian intelligence police, have threatened to suffocate Saeed while he sleeps.

Recently, Saeed’s condition became even more serious. Having been denied medical attention, he was thrown into solitary confinement. Beforehand, Saeed complained of kidney pain. He and the several other prisoners wrote a letter to prison officials in peaceful protest of lack of access to medical attention. In response, Iranian officials placed ten prisoners under solitary confinement, Saeed among them. Last time he was in solitary confinement, his medical condition substantially worsened. There is no reason to believe this time will be different. Saeed is now cut off from any visitation.

A petition has been started in Saeed’s name, and it quickly received overwhelming media attention. Secretary of State John Kerry has called for his release, the White House has called for his release, and the House of Representatives held an emotional hearing that highlighted Pastor Saeed’s plight. Multiple nations have called for Saeed’s release, and ACLJ attorneys have argued his case before the United Nations. Saeed’s petition has over 610,000 signatures and a letter writing campaign to encourage Saeed has garnered over 50,000 letters. Artists such as Toby Mac, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mercy Me, Skillet, Relient K, and Audio Adrenaline have been involved, and lent their voices to raise awareness.

There is still much to be done. Keep up with Saeed’s story through the Be Heard Project. Share his story on social media using #SaveSaeed and #BeHeard.”

Here is a letter from Pastor Saeed:

We’re working through Philippians in church these days and I cannot help but see the similarities in Pastor Saeed’s letters and the Apostle Paul’s.

Both struggle and face hardship in prison.  Both of them talk of desiring to see God move in the lives of those imprisoned around them.  Both encourage the believers that read or hear the letter to remain steadfast and seek the Lord in times of trouble.  Amazing men of faith in times of terrible persecution.

I hope that you will join me in reaching out to the Iranian government to release Paster Saeed.  After nearly a year of imprisonment and torture for his faith, it’s time for him to go home to his family.

You can sign the petition, sign a letter and join in the fight to get Pastor Saeed home, here:

http://www.beheardproject.com/saeed

Also, you can join in the prayer vigil to be held on September 28th!

Pastor Saeed 1

Thank you.
~Sarah

Five Minute Friday: Last ~ The Tie That Binds

Someone I follow on Facebook posted an article today and I wanted to share the article with you, as well as my thoughts on it.  Since this is my blog, I can do that.

The article here is wonderfully written.  I would encourage you to click the link and read it.  Go ahead, I’ll wait here until you get back.  You’ll better understand my point of view if you read it.

My thoughts on this article are pretty short and to the point but I feel they need to be shared since the writer didn’t touch on a very important piece that is key in this discussion.

First, let me say that I agree with what this writer said.  The buck should rarely stop at the child.

Sadly, society is trying their hardest to bind the hands of the parents.  We’re told to not ‘step on the kids rights’ and told that discipling is the same as trying to murder a child.  Yet, that same society screams and cries (and points fingers) when the kids who we weren’t supposed to discipline run rampant.  It’s a double edged sword for a parent who wants to do the best to raise their child to be a responsible, mature adult.

Parents either fear disciplining their kids in public lest they get arrested, or they wipe their hands of parenting and hope the kids can get it right themselves… which they seldom can do without guidance.

Sorry society, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Either you want to roll the dice and hope that our kids turn out okay as you attempt to tie our hands behind our backs, or you want us to parent our kids to the best of our ability. Not with abuse, but with controlled, loving discipline.

“…our objective as moms and dads is to transform our sons from immature and flighty youngsters into honest, caring men who will be respectful of women, loyal and faithful in marriage, keepers of commitment, strong and decisive leaders, good workers and men who are strong in their masculinity.” ~ Dr. Dobson

With very little changes to that sentence it encompasses what we want for our daughters as well.

I know that there are some bad parents out there who make very bad, and deadly, decisions.

However, the majority of us raise our kids with discipline and not abuse.

We love them and want them to do life well and that is why we will discipline in love, now.  Not waiting until they are running with gangs, killing others and destroying themselves to step in.

baby

Who gets the last say?  The same One who had the first say.

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If you want to get in on Five Minute Friday, here are the details:

5-minute Friday
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

And the fun. And the heart of this community.. – See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/#sthash.fF1a3h5R.dpuf

Thanks for coming to visit!  I hope that you’ll come join us every Friday.  🙂

~Sarah