May You Have a Christ Centered New Year

As we finish out this year and bring in the new - may I wish you a very Happy New Year:

May your steps be ordered by God Almighty and may you know His will for your life.

May you find purpose and joy in serving and loving those God has allowed to touch the very fibers of your being. Allowing those you love and hold dear to see Christ through you.

May you find contentment - not in things - but in position. Your position in Christ - adopted into the Family of God. Assured with the "blessed Hope" that this life is not the end; but rather only a dressing room for eternity.

I wish you understanding of those around you who do not know Christ personally. May your heart be filled with the knowledge of their need - and through this knowledge and God's wisdom may you be able to minister to them - Christ - allowing them to see that in Him lies all contentment and satisfaction for which they are longing.

May you find complete security in His love for you. Resting fully in the fact that God's love is offered to us - not because of what we do, or what we accomplish - but because we are. We breathe and are alive - thus He loves. Oh the unsearchable riches of God!

I pray that this upcoming year brings you to a deeper knowledge of Christ. Yet, knowing as I pray this - a deeper understanding of Christ often comes through "fellowship of His sufferings".

I pray that this upcoming year allows Heaven to be caught in a clearer perspective. I trust that Heaven becomes real to you - allowing your heart to be turned away from the cares of this life and focused anew to the riches of His awaiting home for you - a mansion and the joy of being in His presence for eternity.

It is with these thoughts I wish you a Happy New Year. Not filled with the frivolities and temporal things of this life - but rather may your New Year be filled with Him.

"Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things that are before I press towards the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

"That I May Know HIM!"

Blessings my Friends - May your year be filled with Christ.

(If you do not know Christ personally - please write me I would love to share Him with you - He is everything you could ever want - and will love you deeper than any you have ever known.)

Candlelight Dinner with the Family

My husband has been working almost non stop on our bathroom since Thursday morning. James has been close behind him - finding tools, and running downstairs to get another coat of paint on the cabinet doors he is finishing. (We are almost done with the project and I am eager to show you my "after"pictures once everything is in it's place.)

It had been a long day for everyone trying to do everything that needed to be done. My husband stayed up all night last night getting the flooring in - slept a few hours and then was right back at it this morning. Needless to say, by 4:30 this afternoon, we were all getting tired.
The girls and I decided to make it nice for dinner - being Daddy was so tired and worn out. (He also was at the hardware store trying to find a part to get the sink to work.) So while he was out - we set to work at dinner. It was not anything fancy; but we wanted to make, (as Zak would say,) "our hardworking, awesome Dad", feel extra special at dinner.

A pot of chili was quickly assembled - with Abbey browning the meat and making sure it was flavored with plenty of pepper. Rachel busied herself at the kitchen table making a double batch of corn muffins. Mom got the spices into the chili pot and then set to work making homemade ranch dressing. After the meat was done, Abbey adorned salad plates with fresh greens and peppers cut "just so". The table was set beautifully with our normal everyday dishes. We thought it would look nice to add a candle or two. Then we added more - and more - - actually, by the time we were done there were candles running down the center of the table. It looked so nice! And all for a pot of soup and a plate of salad. But it was, oh, so wonderful.

We made sure we all were sitting quietly reading together in the front room when Daddy walked in. When he had left the kitchen was in disarray with tools, and what not from his long project. He came home to a house that was quiet and seemed to be a bit more in order.

What a beautiful dinner we shared together this evening. Simple and yet perfect. For it is not in the culinary delights that we find joy, or in the completely tranquil life we have made for ourselves that adds security; but rather it is taking time to make the people in our lives feel special and know that they are loved.

How blessed I was tonight to sit around a candle lit table with those most dear to me in this life. We laughed and talked as we ate our salad and enjoyed our simple soup and tried to make Daddy feel like a king - (even though his back was feeling very sore!)

I trust you are finding the blessings in your life today and everyday. I am so glad you stopped by.


New Look - New Name

I thought I would start the new year off on a different foot - - or should I say a different name.

You see - when I started blogging - it was a new and exciting world to me. It also was an uncharted path for me that I wanted to pursue with caution; both for myself and my family. Thus, I decided to use a "pen" name. It was not a far fetched name for me - it did not take me hours to come up with my writing name - and at the time it just made sense. "I would use my middle name. "

I have enjoyed using my middle name - and in some ways it seems to separate the blogging me with the real life me. However, more and more of my "real life" friends are visiting and reading my blog - and more and more of them continue asking - "Why do you use the name Jane?"

So - for the new year - I am changing my blog name to match the real life name I am known by.

So for all of you "real life" friends out there - it is me.

And for all of my friends in the blogging world may I say...

"Hello, my name is Martie; I am so pleased to meet you...

Thanks so much for stopping by - May I personally wish you a Happy New Year.



(I would love to know - did any of you start with a pen name and then change over to your real name? Are any of you using a pen name at this time? )

Memory Tree -

Kelli over at "There's No Place Like Home" hosts a show and tell every Friday. Hop on over and see her special treasures along with links from others who participate in this fun little activity!

I had wanted to share this show and tell Friday last week; but I was out of town for a doctors appointment. So, for this Friday's show and tell I wanted to share with you one of my Christmas trees. (Yes, I have more than one - I actually have 5 trees total throughout the house - my husband is still in disbelief).

This Christmas tree we call our "Ally Tree" in memory of our daughter Allyssa. The tree holds ornaments that we have purchased in memory of her; or that others have given us in memory of her.

This was her first Christmas ornament. She was no longer with us for her first Christmas; but spent her first Christmas in Heaven.

These two ornaments were gifts. Each given to us in memory of her. (Notice the angel wings - I do not believe that she was an angel - but it is a reminder that she is listening to them sing and praise the Lord each Christmas we are apart).

This is one of my favorites. I purchased this one days after she died. I had the lady put her name on the heart. On the back of the heart it says - "Love Mom and Dad".

The tree topper is a plaque given to us in memory of her. It seemed a perfect place to put such a gift. I have the tree sitting in the dinning room in the middle of the picture window. During the holiday season the tree stays lit all the time. Along side of her tree is a picture of Ally when she was 3 months old. On the other side of the tree is a plaque given to us that says, "Trust me, I have everything under control. - Jesus" And so He does. Our lives are perfectly fashioned in His hand - lovingly laid out. The good times and the bad. All to bring us to a closer picture of Christ.

I am so thankful for the ability to remember. I am also so thankful for the faith to look ahead with assurance and know that she is waiting for me in Heaven. Someday we will be reunited. Until then, I will be thankful for the time we had with her - and remember.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks for walking down this memory road with me. I am so glad you came! I trust you have a wonderful Christmas this next week. Merry Christmas!

May God Bless you one and all - and in Him I pray you find HOPE,


Operation Lunch Time

How to disguise a rice cake so your kids will eat it - - (because it's 15 minutes before lunch time and you just found out there is no more bread).

How a 5 year old decorates a rice cake - because he does not care what it looks like - or what it is as long as he is able to "do it myself..."

The disguise worked well - only the 14 year old suspected that something was up - she also is smart enough to know that if she spoke up and gave away the secret - she may possibly lose her birthday. :)
Thanks so much for stopping by. I am so glad you did.

Baking Bungalow

I am feeling better. I was so excited yesterday when I got up and actually felt good. I still am getting tired easy - but I have not felt this good in months. I am so thankful to the Lord.

Well, the added energy has made me get some things done around here that I was not sure were going to get done for the holidays. Normally we send a plate of goodies over to the neighbors and sing carols to them. (I was thinking that I was not going to be up to it this year) Needless to say, we spent this afternoon baking. It was fun. We divided up into teams and went to work on various cooking projects.

We made reindeer cookies...

...and 'kiss' cookies...

...and covered pretzels....

...and cereal bars with holiday sprinkles...

...and turtles...

We will tackle the rest tomorrow afternoon and be ready for going out on Thursday.

In the midst of all the baking - I find out that we need 12 bags of goodies for the Christmas caroling at the church tonight. AHHH. So - with sugar, flour and drying pretzels surrounding us we broke open the bags of candy Daddy brought home and assembles 13 treat bags for the night. It went well; and the Zak joined in the fun too.

I trust you are enjoying your week before Christmas. Thanks so much for stopping by - I am glad you did.


KP / PO - (Kitchen Prep - Pays Off)

My Kitchen Tip this Tuesday helps take the hectic out of our mornings! At night before we go to bed ( on an ideal - everything is going great night - sooo -- not every night) I try to get everything ready for breakfast the next morning. My kids are all old enough now to get their own breakfast around. I try to have everything ready and out so that they can just eat what is on the menu for breakfast that morning.

I am trying to get my kids into the habit of drinking herb tea in the morning. There is so much nutritional benefit from herb tea. Unfortunately, I did not start this habit early enough with some of my kids - for they do NOT like tea. (We are working on this, however). I have the tea pot filled with water the night before.
The pot that I use to cook the oatmeal in, I fill with the correct measurement of water, place the canister of oatmeal beside the pot, along with the measuring cup that I need for the oats. I set the bowls on the side of the stove so the kids are able to dish up their own cereal in the morning.

I also get out the blender and 'fixins' that I need to prepare my morning nutritional shake. If I do not do this - I talk myself out of doing it. I feel sooo much better after I get my vitamins in for the day!

I try to have out a nice pitcher for the kids and their juice or milk. I have tried to locate pitchers that are easy to pour. It has not been too difficult at local thrift stores.

Then, in the morning when I get up, I get things started and have everything ready for when their sunshine chores are done in the rooms upstairs. This way, they can come down and eat when they are ready. It has been a nice change this year from last year when everyone had to be here at the same time.

So - this is the Kitchen Tip - be prepared for the day ahead of you - and you are a lot less likely to get frazzled. However, I think it is more of a sanity tip than a kitchen tip! - (...oh well)

Thanks so much for stopping by. I am so glad you did.

Beloved Sleep

"...for so He giveth His beloved sleep..."
(When this particular 'beloved' is given sleep -
several other 'beloved' enjoy the quiet.)
Trust you are having a wonderful and restful holiday season.
Thanks so much for stopping by - - I am glad you did!

The Lamb Of God

"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world!"

Today I pondered The Lamb of God -
The Lamb whose power had prevailed over death...
The Lamb who rose victorious...
The Lamb who was found worthy..
The Lamb who took away my sins...
The Lamb who saved me...
The Lamb who redeemed me...
The Lamb who is coming back for me...
What power within Him, what majesty -what love!
Someday -
His eyes will look upon me...
His tender eyes...
His loving eyes...
His forgiving eyes...
Someday -
The hands that bled for me...
The hands that were wounded for me...
His hands will touch - me!
Someday -
My knees will bow before Him...
My knees will touch holy ground in front of The One who gave everything for me.

Today -
"through a glass darkly...
Someday -
"face to face."

What a day that will be, when these eyes will behold - The Lamb of God...

"Even so Lord Jesus ...COME!"

He Cares for Me!

I am learning to trust in the Lord. I want to wholly trust in the Lord. To seek Him for every area of my life. I am so glad that God - The Creator of the Universe - cares about every little thing in my life. "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand, when I awake, I am still with thee". Daily I am learning to lean upon Him - to rely upon Him, and to seek His ways for my life.

Last year, around this same time, I became very ill. Since that time I just have not been able to get back to feeling "right". I have tried several things to help - but nothing seemed to work. My husband and I have been praying and asking God what we should do next. We have a doctor who has been a great help to us in the past and finally felt that we needed to contact him and see if we could get in to see him. He has quite a waiting list and we were confident that it would be several months before he would have an opening. I made the call on Monday morning. He "happened" to be able to make an opening for me on Thursday afternoon - of the very same week! In about 30 minutes time - we had an appointment scheduled and babysitting for the children provided. It appeared that God had opened the door for us to go.

We were able to find out what was wrong and begin treatment for it. (Seems that I have a bacterial infection in my liver. The infection has also spread into my pancreas.) It is going to take some time - but I have to tools I need to help my body get better! I am so thankful for a God that cares for us and opens doors for us when we need answers.

This morning I read in my devotions II Chronicles 16:9 - "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." How strong He has showed Himself to me! How humbling and awesome to think He cares for me! I stand amazed at His love.

Thanks so much for stopping in - I am going to rest for the night overwhelmed with the truth that He cares for me.

Goodnight and God Bless,

His Chosen Path for Me

This week marks the anniversary of our daughter's home going. I wanted to take some time and remember.
I remember the ultrasound telling us we were having a girl and the sign on my hospital room door that read: It's Another Girl!. I remember thinking what it was going to be like for my husband to be in a family of all girls.

(July 1, 1997)

I remember her smile - her blue eyes so full of life. I remember ringlets of curls atop her head - curls with a hint of red that made me wonder if carrot top would ever become her nickname.

I remember doting sisters who tried to share sippy cups and pacifiers with her - an act of true endearment for toddlers and infants! I remember the amazement we felt when I found out that God had blessed us with yet another baby growing within me. I remember holding her - still so small herself, and feeding her - and realizing that another baby was growing inside of me. I remember wondering how I would ever manage four little ones.
(Our family Christmas picture - 1997)
I remember the family night God allowed us to have - where we giggled and played together. I remember her laugh as she watched her sisters get horsey rides on Daddy's back. I remember whispering in her ear that when she was bigger Daddy would give her a ride too! I remember how we took the girls' pictures that night by the Christmas tree - to send out with our Christmas letter - never knowing that this picture would accompany her memorial card 4 days later.

(Our Girls - December 12, 1997 - 8:00p.m.)

I remember the next morning when everything changed. I remember finding her - and calling my husband to come in quickly. I remember the 911 call; and the paramedics and police officers that arrived that morning. I remembered hoping that they would get her breathing again - but absolutely sure in my heart that she was "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" even as they worked. I remember hearing the phrase, "I am sorry, we have done everything we could..." and feeling my knees give out from underneath me.

I remember picking out the small box that would be the final bed for her little body and reminding myself that she was no longer there - but safe in the arms of Jesus.

I remember being surrounded by so many friends and love. Coming home without her - and finding our home filled with friends. A kitchen full of food - and house filled with even more care and concern than I thought was possible. Ah, how I remember the memories we shared that afternoon of the child allowed to stay with us for only a little while. I remember how everyone was worried that the baby within me would not make it due to the stress I was under. I remember everyone begging me to eat and to rest - even though I had no appetite and the tears flooded my pillow at night.

I remember her funeral. We were surrounded by friends, family, emergency workers. I remember that one so little had touched so many lives - and somehow death and life seemed easier to understand when looking at it from God's perspective. I remember praying with my husband as we stood alone at the grave site - asking God to give us grace and help us. I remember leaving the box there - and feeling how cold the winter air was - trying to remember that we were not leaving her - only her body - she was safe.

I remember the tears - so many tears. How vividly I remember God comforting me. I remember understanding that the path I had thought I would walk - was not to be. God had another path for me. It became my responsibility to surrender to His will for my life - for His path was best. Oh, how many times my will had to surrender to His!

I remember giving birth to my son - 6 months later - a week before her first birthday. I remember missing her so much and loving this new little one so uniquely - for through the tears that had been and were to come - God would make my heart to smile again.

I remember 7 years later - God allowing us to adopt our youngest son on Ally's birthday - and knowing that God adds and subtracts from our family as He sees fit. I remember the strong assurance I had that God's ways are best - and He truly does heal broken hearts!

On Thursday, it will have been 10 years. I look back and I remember. Those memories have brought back tears - but more than tears - the look back shows God's marvelous grace. I now have journey quite aways down this divinely chosen path - and yes, it was best for me. For I have had God minister to me in a way I would have never known down my chosen path. I have seen Him heal a broken heart - I have learned so much! His way was best for me!

For all of those who walked this path with us - who came and comforted us during this difficult time. SO many sent gifts our way to show their love and concern. Thank You! I went through her box the other day. I was surrounded once again by your love and concern. SO many cards, gifts and memories filled my mind as I looked through her things. The cards that were sent - we have kept each one. We will never forget her - but we will never forget the love from others that helped this path to be easier. Thank you!!

Allyssa Hope Spurgeon
July 1, 1997 - December 13, 1997
Waiting in Heaven.