Archives for November 2013

Reminders and Reasons to Give Thanks

GiveThanks

I woke up today with both reminders and reasons to give thanks from Scripture. I pray God moves and blesses you through them too.

 

Reminders to give thanks:

Psalm 100:4-5
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 107:1
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

1 Chronicles 29:12-13
“Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Psalm 105:1-2
“O give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works”

Psalm 95:1-6
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”

Reasons to give thanks:

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 40:5
Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

1 Timothy 4:4
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.

 

I’m very thankful for you.  Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

What I Wore Wednesday 11.27.2013

It’s Wednesday when I share my outfits from the week.

I pair my outfits with inspirational photos.  Read more about that here.

Email and RSS readers need to click over to the site to see the inspirational photos.

 

 

I have clearly moved into the just be warm and not care about fashion phase of the winter.  It was COLD this week.  With all these cold, short days, it’s been hard to remember to take pictures but I did snap a few.

 

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I had to include this one because this is really how it looks trying to get a picture indoors.  Emma is working on homework and the dogs would NOT leave me alone. They thought the remote in my hand was a treat.  Bella is jumping up and down like, “Pick me, pick me, pick me.”  Tucker’s all, “Bella, chill so she’ll give us this treat.”

 

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Let’s connect!  Like AmyJBennett on Facebook.  Follow me on Pinterest (where I post these inspirational pictures),Instagram (where you might sneak an early peek of an outfit) orTwitter.

Linked with The Pleated Poppy

The Gift Guide For HIM {and a read-along}

The Gift Guide for Him: He wants you image source

 

Sunday afternoon we finished up the 6th birthday gathering at my house this month.  Does your family have birthday months like ours?  July and November seem to be where many of our birthdays cluster. 

I was walking through the living room yesterday morning and I said it under my breath, “I am DONE with birthday season.”  And then I laughed because hello, Christmas–something about the biggest holiday of the year celebrating a birth.  Birthday season was just starting.

So I started thinking about birthdays while I was getting ready and what that might mean for Christmas.  What is it that really makes the day for the birthday person? 

Decorations are fun.  I think people agree because, um, Pinterest.  But it’s not necessary, really.  Unless you have a reality show or lots of time and money, do people (at least around me) ever decorate for adults.  For kids, yeah, but birthday themed plates are as far as we go for adults.  Unless of course it’s the big 4-0 and then some black balloons are in order.

Food is pretty central to the celebration. Whether you go out to eat, cook dinner in or just share some cake and ice cream, it’s a staple.  But I wouldn’t say it MAKES the birthday terrific.  (Except my Mom’s chocolate cake.  That seriously makes my birthday).

Presents are welcome at any age, but by the time you’re an adult, it’s just your spouse and parents participating.

I thought what REALLY makes a fun birthday is people.  When people simply remember your birthday and recognize it.  It’s why people love their Facebook accounts on their birthdays.  Two words from all their friends and it’s like BAM! Day. Made.  No cake, no decorations, no presents.  You don’t even need a fancy image.  Just the nod from your friends that they remembered you.

And so after thinking through all that, I thought about Christmas and how Jesus might want us to celebrate his birth.

Yeah, we decorate and have meals and give presents, but he interrupted my Christmasy thoughts and whispered what he really wanted.

It wasn’t even a gift given for an angel tree or service at a food bank.

Here it is, come close:

He wants me. 

And he wants you.

He wants us not to eat or decorate or swap presents or even serve because of him, he wants YOU.

He wants the nod, the time, the recognition that it’s all about him and you’re so crazy thankful that the real gift is Him.  He loves us so much and we’re a gift to Him!  It’s the whole reason He came!

So let’s not read stories ABOUT him or serve FOR him or gather with family BECAUSE of him.  Let’s be WITH HIM because he’s with us.  Emmanuel.

Sit at his feet this season.  Listen after you pray.  Sing songs of praise to him all by yourself. Whisper gratefulness as you go.  However it is that the two of you connect, do that.

Be still and give him you.

 

Part of the way I connect with Him is through reading His word and the words he’s given others.  I’m planning to read through Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift.  It’s a daily devotional leading up to Christmas.  I’ll be posting a thought about it each day on my Facebook page

I’d like to invite you to read along with me and make that part of your season.  The readings start on Sunday December 1st.  If you’re in, that’s GREAT.  I’d love to process Christmas with you.  If not, that’s great too.  Just remember—give him YOU. He’s crazy about you, friend!

A Girl on Fire

catchingfire

I’ve just returned from watching Hunger Games: Catching Fire and aside from the fact that it was a brilliant adaptation of the book, I feel like the girl on fire.  Except the fire is not in a twirling skirt, but in my bones.  I was awakened to a reality that I have been glimpsing for years but today–today it is more apparent than ever.

For those that haven’t read or seen the movie this will make little sense, but I must say it anyway.

We are the capitol.

I am the capitol.

We like to think we are Katniss, brave and fighting strong, but for most of us, it is not the reality.

We are the ones with outrageous outfits and outrageous amounts of food and a sickening self-absorption.  We are the ones obsessed with entertaining ourselves at the cost of others. We revel in opulent surroundings and we ignore the ones hurting around us. 

We pretend that there are not people who are hurt and oppressed and dying of hunger when we have so much.  We are in the midst of the holiday that is about God coming to this earth and sacrificing his life and we have turned it into a free for all and excuse for more, more and more.

Yes, there is a movement for social justice, but we have so far to go.

We are the Capitol.

We love Katniss because she fights against the powers holding the districts down.  She’s willing to give her life to protect the ones she loves.  She hurts when the downtrodden are hurt.  She self-sacrifices when it is for the betterment of someone else.

How many of us really and truly do that?

We think our enemy is corporations or the government, but our true enemy is not an institution.  We are our own worst enemy.

Our greed. Our selfishness. Our gluttony.  Our indifference.  Our time and money prove our allegiance.

In the movie at an opulent engagement party, the game maker says to Katniss, “If you put your morals aside, you can enjoy yourself.”

That is what we have done in America.  We’ve put our morals aside and have been enjoying our lives, ignoring a world that is hurting.

Put your drinks down.  Take the masks off.  We need saving from ourselves first.

Wake up, friends!

We must first fight to realize and overcome we are the capitol so we can do the true work like Katniss we love so much—saving others in spite of ourselves.

We do not celebrate Katniss by braiding our hair and buying makeup from CoverGirl.  We celebrate the beauty that is The Hunger Games by laying down our pride and giving up our lives for the least of these.  It is a shame if we take anything else away from this series.

I sit in my suburban house with all of my stuff without all the answers.  I don’t have a 12 step program to getting this right.  But I do know I’m going to try.  I’m asking myself these questions.

What is one thing you can do to wake up from the materialistic culture we’re in?

Who is one person you can reach out to this season?

What is one gift you can buy from an ethical source to help someone else?

What can you say no to buying for yourself this week?

We must be asking these questions of ourselves because, friends, WE. ARE. THE. CAPITOL. and I know we don’t want to be.

Five Minute Friday: Fly

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I pulled in the driveway this morning from taking the girls to school. I spotted a bird at the tip-top of the neighbor’s oak, perched and ready to fly away.  I couldn’t move to go inside and yet didn’t have a reason to stay either.  I waited until he swooped into our yard, his movement sparking my own.

As I sat, I thought of the week, ready to call it a terrible one, and yet couldn’t.  It’s been a week of highs—friends visiting from out of town last-minute, sharing a table of new recipes and family gathering around to celebrate births.  But it’s been a hard one too—unexpected ER visits, stomach viruses, tears of fear and longing for friends.  It hasn’t been terrible, but it has been terribly high and low—a week of through sickness and health, till death do us part and stripes of motherhood sewn on.

I sit at the top like the neighbor’s bird–waiting, perched and ready to fly.