{Family} Thanksgiving

What do you get when you mix family and food with a side of silly kids and extra blessings?selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_1

THANKSGIVING!selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_2This year we got an extra special blessing with the early arrival of J4. selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_3 selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_4 Tyler was very entertaining making thankful banners, playing with the trains, and going after Boppa’s ipad to see choo-choo’s.selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_5 selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_6 Sam was a joy with her art and twirling and Elsa’s hair flying out behind her.selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_7 selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_8 Dessert gave us chocolate faces and sillier kids right before bedtime.selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_9 Then there were late night tricks while Kristin was holding Joey, which made Rob laugh.selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_10 To end the night, Kris was sent back to Chicago with a sibling huddle and The Ryan Express revved up for J2 to take a spin.selah_candace_rose_Thanksgiving_11Happy Thanksgiving…and Marry Christmas!

{J4} Majestic, Glorious Splendor

I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.
Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
Psalms 145:1-7

selah_candace_rose_J4_1Joseph.
God will increase.
Robert.
Bright flame.

We are told to tell of the mighty works of God.
You are one of those works, Joey.

You are a miracle, you know that?
Never forget.
selah_candace_rose_J4_2 God has already worked in and through your life with might and for His glory.
Circumstances may have looked grim.
They still do sometimes.
Life may have looked scary.
It still does.
But there is a spark of hope still burning, flickering.
Alive.
selah_candace_rose_J4_3

You will learn soon enough that life is hard and you don’t always get what you want – or even sometimes all you need – but you will also learn that God is sovereign and has plan for you and even in the muck of life, He has a purpose for you and a plan for good for you.

But remember.
You are a miracle.
God sees you, He loves you.
He. Created. You.

Where there could have been devastation and death there is instead life and hope and provision and love.
Your life is a monument of the hidden, sacred miracles of God moving in our lives.

selah_candace_rose_J4_4 So many people have prayed for you, your parents, and your brothers. We have prayed in anguish over masses and things lost. We have prayed in joy for your birth (in Minnesota no less!). We have prayed blessings and protection and God’s will over you.

When I pray for you, I hear echoes of these verses from Isaiah 61.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

selah_candace_rose_J4_5We marvel at all the little details God has worked out to bring you to life.
You are part of His Majestic, glorious splendor.

So. Welcome to the outside, Joey. Enjoy life. Get used to snow. Choose joy over sadness. Walk with Christ ever closely.
I love you.

{Advent} God’s Messenger

But Jesus is constantly trying to make us understand that God’s ways are not our ways, and that God’s love is far less selective and far greater than ours. “Is thine eye evil because I am good?” God asks in Matthew’s Gospel after he has finished paying all the workers the same wage. When God blesses those we deem unworthy, does our jealousy make our eye become evil? Are we, like the elder brother, like Jonah, upset at God’s forgiveness? Daily I need a deep and penitent awareness of how much greater God’s love is than my own. – Madeleine L’Engle

“The people of Nineveh listened to Jonah, and they start loving God. They learned to do what God said and to stop running away from him – just like Jonah. Many years later, God was going to send another Messenger with the same wonderful message. Like Jonah, he would spend three days in utter darkness. But this Messenger would be God’s own Son. He would be called ‘The Word’ because he himself would be God’s Message. God’s Message translated into our own language. Everything God wanted to say to the whole world – in a Person.”

Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish. He prayed:
“In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.
He answered me.
From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’
You heard my cry.
You threw me into ocean’s depths,
into a watery grave,
With ocean waves, ocean breakers
crashing over me.
I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away,
thrown out, out of your sight.
I’ll never again lay eyes
on your Holy Temple.’
Ocean gripped me by the throat.
The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.
My head was all tangled in seaweed
at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.
I was as far down as a body can go,
and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,
O God, my God!
When my life was slipping away,
I remembered God,
And my prayer got through to you,
made it all the way to your Holy Temple.
Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds,
walk away from their only true love.
But I’m worshiping you, God,
calling out in thanksgiving!
And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!
Salvation belongs to God!”
Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.

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Jonah 1-4, Hebrews 1:1-2

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.