Category: devotional thoughts

I’ve been using a worship song as mine. We sang it at Immanuel this
morning, which reminded me that I’ve been wanting to write about this
for a while!

We will seek you first, Lord.
You will hear our voices
early in the morning and late in the night.
We will sing your praises,
giving you the glory,
offering our lives to you
a holy sacrifice.

May our praises rise as incense, O Lord, to you.
May our worship be a fragrance, O Lord, to you.

Isn’t that just about perfect? I am finding that when my day
begins by seeking God’s face, making time to come before Him, that day
goes infinitely smoother. We will seek you first, Lord — before we
get caught up in the business and busyness of our routines.

A few months ago, when it took ages to get Susannah to sleep each time
she woke up, I sang this song to myself in the darkness of her room.
You will hear our voices early in the morning and late in the night.
That’s the special territory of Mommy, at least in our house – those
early morning wake-ups and late night nightmares. How beautiful to use
those times as the chance to bring our little ones to the Father in
prayer!

We will sing your praises, giving you the glory…. I think of this
when we literally sing God’s praises together, dancing around our
kitchen in the soft sunlight, baby pajama’ed feet and stinky little
boy feet and slippered Mama feet tromping to the beat. And I think of
it when I take a moment to point out the majesty of creation, a small
act of mercy, or an instance of providence – I want to always sing the
Lord’s praises to my kids, so they will recognize when to give Him the
glory in their own lives.

And no matter what I do- as I fold the laundry and wipe the noses and
clip the coupons and drive to the appointments and cook and clean and
read and teach- this is my heartfelt prayer: offering [my life] to
You, a holy sacrifice.
The more I embrace the idea of living out my
sacrifice in my mundane moments, the more those humdrum activities
have begun to bless me and to teach me.

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I got this in my email inbox this morning – it’s a good follow up to my post about being so tired!

“The human body’s need for sleep has always amazed me. God has designed us to literally “turn off” like a machine for eight hours or more each night. Science tells us sleep is something our bodies need to do. It is not an option. During our sleeping hours, some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and certain hormones are produced by many of the body’s major organs and regulatory systems that continue to work.

Unfortunately, as a young homeschooling mom, I was missing out on my much needed sleep…” Read the rest here.

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Susannah was baptized into the family of faith this morning at Immanuel United Methodist Church.

Every time I hear the baptismal vows, I get choked up. Tears well up in my eyes as the enormity of the task before us parents hits me again. “Will you nurture this child in Christ’s holy church, that by your teaching and example she may be guided to accept God’s grace for herself, to profess her faith openly, and to lead a Christian life?”

We were blessed to have two of Susannah’s five grandparents, and one aunt, uncle, & cousin present today. I feel so grateful that our kids are growing up surrounded by an extended family that isn’t just joined by blood, but by our saving belief in the power of His Blood. Sometimes I worry about this sacred duty – to teach them in every word, every action, about God’s amazing grace – about Christ’s preeminence in our lives – but it’s comforting to have the support of our fellowship of believers. And that’s why I love the last part of our baptismal covenant: the congregational pledge. “With God’s help, we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.”

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When we lived in Florida, we participated in an awesome Sunday School class led by Gay Robinson. One Christmas season, she gave us all a handout with information about Jesse Trees. A Jesse Tree is a simple tree (often just a bare branch anchored in a pot of sand; but it can also be a fabric “tree”, or a real or artificial Christmas tree) that is decorated with one ornament each day during Advent. The ornaments represent characters and themes from the Scriptures.

The thing I love about the Jesse Tree is that it’s not just a “chocolate-a-day” Advent countdown. It’s a way to focus on the great truth of the Bible: that God loves us and that He sent His son to save us. The story of Christmas doesn’t occur out of the blue, you know. It’s not like one day God suddenly thought, “Hey, that Mary chick looks cool. I’ll send an angel her way and see what happens!” No. He had a plan all along, from before the world began, from the moment that He breathed life into Adam. The Jesse Tree makes it clear and poignant that the entire story of Scripture points toward Christ and the salvation we can only receive through him.

From the research I’ve been doing, it appears that Jesse Trees can either emphasize the lineage of Messiah from Adam to Christ; or they can emphasize Old Testament themes, events, or covenants; or they can trace Old Testament prophecies about the First Coming of the Messiah.

This list is slightly modified from the one that Gay handed out. I wanted to primarily trace the members of Christ’s lineage who are mentioned in Matthew 1 (#1-14, 20-23); to fill out the list and have one ornament for each day of Advent I added the Old Testament prophets (#15-19).

Day

Ornament Character/Meaning Scripture
Jesse

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Every Sunday night after church, a pastor and his wife have the same snack. He makes two slices of cinnamon toast, and every week he brings her the heel of the bread. One Sunday, after years of this snack, the pastor’s wife bursts into tears when he hands her the slice of toast. “Honey, what’s wrong?” the pastor asks. “Every week you bring me cinnamon toast on the worst slice of bread! What an insult!” she sobs. The poor, confused pastor stammers, “But, but, but honey… the heel is my favorite piece!”

Sometimes, when you think a person isn’t showing you that they care, they actually are showing you love in the only way they know how.

And sometimes, when you think you’ve done everything possible to tell someone how much they mean to you, it turns out that they haven’t been picking up on your message.

Love speaks so many languages. Make sure that you’re speaking the same language – or at least find some subtitles!

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A’ight, y’all – we’ve got some great advice happenin’ in the comments section and a grand total of, like, 3 votes in my totally unscientific polls. You guys!!! This is a serious plea for help! :-S Help a sistah out, get your little tuchus to the comments, and drop some wisdom on me. ….seriously…. help….

I did my first Blogger poll off to the right (for Kari, that’d be your other left….) and it looks like at least a few of you would like to hear from Chris once in awhile. I’ll see what I can do to get him blogging for a little of the male and/or medical perspective. The rest of you seem pretty happy with the status quo – more pictures! more writing! more pictures with writing! No problem. I have you covered.

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I am so incredibly frustrated. I didn’t get Jonas in for his 15-month Well Child Checkup before we left Nashville, thinking that I’d just get him in a little early for his 18-month WCC and it would even out. When we got here, I found a D.O. in Family Practice that’s pretty near to our house and called to see if she is accepting new patients. She is – but she won’t make your first appointment until she has all your medical records. So her receptionist or office manager or whoever sent me those HIPPAA forms to fill out and mail to our old doctors. I got the one for Jonas’ pediatrician in the mail asap…. and yesterday it was returned as “undeliverable as addressed”. Well, for Pete’s sake, I sent it to the address on their website! Monday morning I’ll call them and find out the proper address. Or maybe I can fax this to them, which would speed the process a bit. At any rate, I’m starting to worry that Jonas won’t get that 18 month WCC until he turns 2!

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New Poll starts today, and I’ll leave it up for a couple of weeks. Actually, there will be two versions: one for parents and one for non-parents. My current quandry and heartache has to do with Church Nursery. Most of you know that we didn’t take Jonas to the nursery when he was little. It was easy to wear him in a sling or carrier, let him nurse and snooze during our Sunday School and worship service, and that was that. Plus, my ideals for Attachment Parenting included not handing him off to strangers during his first year of life. Fast forward – when Jonas was about 14 months old, we started taking him to the nursery at Bellevue United Methodist in Nashville. While we were there, Chris and I never got involved in an adult Sunday School class. (I know, I know… terrible.) Anyway, so Jonas only had about 50 minutes in the nursery without us each week, and every single week it was like I was torturing him. He would burst into tears as soon as we

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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