Around the Colvin Cottage: Lavender is Amazing!

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What a fun week!  I worked Monday and Tuesday, but the rest was pure summer fun!

As a teacher I love my summers, but I miss my friends.  I got to see some of my favorite girls from work on Wednesday.  Our conversation dwelled upon the political nature of church. We all find it sad when differing interpretations of the Bible split churches and causes some Christians to avoid church.

Thursday was all about family!  Big Daddy was off from work.  We took the kids out for lunch and played all day.

Friday, the kids and I joined a friend to explore a lavender farm.  Yeah, I know.  It sounds odd and bit boring.  Actually, we had a great time.  The kids loved the farm animals, except the very ugly turkeys.  It smelled amazing from all of the blooms.  I bought some great products.  We even cut our own bouquets to bring home to dry.  My house looks like a wreck right now, but it smells great!  The farm is called White Oak Lavender.

The lavender was awesome!

The lavender was awesome!

When we got home, we started baking.  I signed up to bring cookies to a fundraising event for our church.  We had to bake 72 cookies, plus a few for us to eat at home.  Of course, Super Hero Son helped with the icing. Then he fell asleep on the couch, full of cookies and enjoying the aromatherapy of lavender.

Iced Cookies Ready for Sale

Iced Cookies Ready for Sale

Fast asleep!  Yep, that is icing on his face.

Fast asleep! Yep, that is icing on his face.

I hope your week was as much fun as ours!

Blessings!

Don’t be the “Average” Christian

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Amazing! I hope I can put into practice the words I read in my Bible!  Anna wrote this beautifully over at Journey of Faith.

talk the talkSometimes I wonder what Christians would look like if they stopped reciting the scriptures they have memorized in their head and start living by them, literally.

If instead of spouting out words when they seem to fit the occasion, we turn those words into action.

Because often times I see so many discouraged, purposeless, fearful, hopeless, faithless people and I wonder why.

It makes me wonder if we actually believe what we read in our Bible’s every day.

It makes me wonder how we would live if we lived by God’s Word, instead of read it for our morning devotion only to forget to follow it a few hours later.

If you believed that God cares about you more than you can imagine (1 Peter 5:7), that you have nothing to worry about because He will provide for you (Matthew 6:25-30), and that He has a…

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Inspiring Women: Lisa Jacobson

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I have decided to add a new section to my blog.  This section, entitled Inspiring Women, will highlight women who inspire others.

Our first candidate is Lisa Jacobson.  Lisa is a blogger at Club 31 Women.  She often has guest blogs at places such as Time-Warp Wife.  Lisa’s husband works from home as a literary agent and writer.  Together they raise their 8, yep 8!, children and a host of animals.  She homeschools her kids and devotes her time to being a Proverbs 31 woman.

I encourage you to check her out.  She may inspire you as much as she inspires me!

Who inspires you?

Blessings!

The Gift of Grace: Easily Received, Not Easily Given

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ballerina

When I was a kid, I thought grace applied to ballerinas only.  When I heard about God’s grace, I thought it meant His beauty.  I didn’t understand that grace is a gift He gives to us. I don’t remember the moment when I understood that grace had more to do with attitude than beauty, but I know that this is an area in which God is still working in my life.

I tend to be a believer in “you reap what you sow.”  I want those who work the hardest to gain the most.  I want those who follow the rules to come out ahead.  However, I am starting to understand God’s grace.

My pastor has said that the difference in mercy and grace is simple.  Mercy is not getting the punishment we do deserve; grace is getting the good things we don’t deserve.

I am aware of the many blessings I have because of God’s grace.  I wasn’t the perfect child, but I was given awesome parents and a great brother.  I am not the perfect wife, but I was given an amazing husband.  I am not the perfect mother, but my children are among the greatest blessings I could ever imagine.  I didn’t work hard or follow the rules to gain these people in my life. Their presence can only be explained by God’s grace.

Having accepted the fact that God has shown unrelentless grace in my life, I have to give grace to others.  Here is where God is working on me!  I am quick to yell at my kids, quick to fuss at my husband, and way too quick to judge others.  I pray that God helps me daily to remember to offer grace to others.

How has God shown his amazing grace in your life?

Blessings!

What is a Devotional?

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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV)

Superhero Son asked me what “devotional” means.  He asked because he heard me talking about the upcoming book, With Unveiled Face, which is a daily devotional.  I tried to explain and found that my explanation was crazy complicated.  I decided my explanation better fit my adult audience rather than a four year old.

We learn from the Bible, Psalm 1 for example, that reading scripture allows a life source into our daily routine.  This life source is like a tree growing near a river.  The constant flow of information sustains us throughout our lives.

Devote means to concentrate upon or dedicate to something.  It comes from a Latin word from which we get the word “vow.”  I always thought of a vow as being a promise.  Therefore, if we are devoting our lives to living for God, we are promising to follow Him.  He explicitly tells us over and over to dive into scripture.  The New Testament tells us that scripture is “God-breathed.”  Whether you believe that God guided the hands that wrote the Bible or guided the decisions of which books to include in the Bible, does not matter. What matters is whether or not you devote your time to reading His Word.

A daily devotional assists us in that promise.  I don’t always use a daily devotional.  Sometimes I work my way through a Bible study or simply read through certain books of the Bible.  I bet you could have guessed this, but Proverbs is among my favorite books.  I am currently working through a study from my Bible app on my tablet.  I love technology!

My revised explanation for Superhero Son was that a devotional is a book we read everyday that helps us understand the Bible.  He proceeded to tell me that I wouldn’t need it if my Bible had pictures like his does.  If only it were that simple!

Do you study the Bible daily?  How has it impacted your life?

Around the Colvin Cottage: Two Weeks of Family Time!

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The past two weeks have FLOWN by!  I suppose the entire summer will follow just as quickly.

We began our summer break with the mad rush to finish the book.  IT IS FINISHED!  The book shipped to the publisher a little more than a week ago.  With Unveiled Face will be released this fall, probably around October.

Finished manuscript!

Finished manuscript!

Trying to compile the pages manually before I arranged them on the computer.

Trying to compile the pages manually before I arranged them on the computer.

To celebrate the book, the end of school, and my husbands hard work recently, we headed to the lake for a long weekend!  Our kids love water, pools, boats, and all things related to vacation!

Darling Daughter's first boat ride.  Yes, her vest is inside out!

Darling Daughter’s first boat ride. Yes, her vest is inside out!

Superhero Son is quite the pirate.  His paper towel roll was a perfect accessory.

Superhero Son is quite the pirate. His paper towel roll was a perfect accessory.

Having fun in the pool with the kids.

Having fun in the pool with the kids.

On our way back home, we stopped at the Safari Park at Natural Bridge.  This drive thru zoo allowed us to feed the animals as they approached the car.  Some were friendlier than others.

Big Daddy poses with an elk cow.

Big Daddy poses with an elk cow.

After our day with tigers, cheetahs, kangaroos, and giraffes, we headed back to our home, sweet home.

Each day, Superhero Son does his “work.”  Basically, this is preschool activities to prepare him for kindergarten.

Superhero Son loves his fingerpaints.

Superhero Son loves his fingerpaints.

We also spent a couple days visiting family.  One of my uncles has been ill with a series of strokes.  Thankfully, he is now home and resting.  The remainder of our summer has promise of more fun for our family.

What has your family been up to this week?

Blessings!

The Beliefs and Explorations of a Child

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I am amazed daily by my children.  Two of the greatest lessons they have taught me is how to explore this world and how to believe.

This past weekend, my family of four traveled to the lake.  The condos where we stay have a private beach where I took the kids in the mornings before my husband was awake enough to make plans for the day.  This was the first time Darling Daughter really played in sand.  She was so funny trying to figure out what all she could do with it.  She tried her best to clean up all of the sand by filling up all of our buckets.

I just sat back and watched her try new things with sand.  I realized that we should all explore our world this way.  Sometimes we are too afraid of getting dirty.  We won’t just dig in and see what life has to offer us.

Superhero Son is my instructor on believing in what I thought to be impossible.  He thinks Jesus is the greatest superhero in the world.  He is probably right!  When I feel frustrated or powerless toward a situation, he will tell me to just get Jesus to help me.  He demonstrates total submission and faith in God.

We were reading a library book last night.  Superhero Son asked me to read all of the words on the first page, the title page.  I told him about the author.  He asked what “author” meant.  I tried to explain that the author was the person who wrote the book, but a publisher made lots of copies of it.  He immediately told me that I was an author because I wrote a book, and maybe a publisher would make lots of copies so kids all over earth could read it.  I told him that would be nice, but unlikely.  He told me that Jesus could probably take it all around earth for me if I asked Him for help.

I just sat and stared at him for his complete faith that Jesus would do such a thing.  I realized that I need to listen to my kids and believe a little more in the power of God.

What lessons do your children teach you?

Blessings!

Convicted: Time to Dig Back Into the Bible

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You know those moments when you hear a song or a devotional or even overhear a conversation, and you suddenly feel convicted?  Yep!  That was me this morning in the car.

I was driving Superhero Son and Darling Daughter to their sitter’s house to play with their friends.  I was listening to Spirit FM and Linda’s Devotional came on. http://lindadevo.podomatic.com/entry/2013-06-19T06_19_42-07_00

It was all about the power of the Bible.  Her message was not new to me.  I fully understand that my Bible has great power.  She said that we were never made to live without  our Bibles and stressed the need to read it daily.  I completely agree, but I haven’t been doing it!

I think I justified myself and my laziness by arguing that I was too busy finishing a devotional book, With Unveiled Face, due to be released in October.  Wasn’t writing a devotional book enough?  Clearly God thinks not!

As I listened to Linda reading scripture about the power of the Word of God, I felt so convicted.  I knew I had to get busy with my own studying of the Bible. I know God has these great plans for me, my writing, and my teaching of youth in our church, but those plans can’t happen if I don’t keep studying.

So here is my new problem.  Whenever I am ready to start over in my Bible study, I always feel overwhelmed.  There is so much I don’t know or understand.  I have read through the entire Bible, but that doesn’t mean I understood even the surface of each book.  Thankfully the internet and my Bible app on my tablet have a wealth of starting points!  I might even be able to argue the need to go buy a new journal just for this purpose!

Blessings!

When Jesus Chooses to NOT Calm the Storm

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Constant thunder rumbling, lightening flashing so often the road remained visible despite the night sky and fog, rain sheeting down so hard the windshield blades couldn’t keep up.  But the worst element of our drive home last night was watching  out for flooded roads.  I cautiously traveled the route my father-in-law said would be best.  After a few minutes, my shoulders, jaw, and hands hurt.  I realized I was tensing my shoulders, clenching my jaw, and gripping the steering wheel harder than necessary.  I prayed!

Last night Jesus chose to NOT calm the storm around me.  I had to travel through it until I got home.  Despite how hard I prayed for the rain to calm or for the flood waters to recede, they did not.  And let me tell you, folks, I was SCARED!

Finally, when I wasn’t sure I could take it anymore, familiar lights pulled behind me.  My husband was now driving his truck just behind my car.  I relaxed.  I realized the both of my kids were sound asleep in the backseat.  I thought they might be afraid of the storm, but they were comforted by my presence with them in the car.  They thought they were safe because I was there.  I felt safer when my husband appeared.

New thought!  Sometimes Jesus chooses for us to have to drive through the storms.  In fact, He may even place them in front of us on purpose.  However, when the storm doesn’t calm, He sends us comfort.  I admit, there are times when I cannot feel the presence of God in my life.  There are bad days when I feel alone.  Thankfully, I believe that during those lonely, fearful times, God sends people to us to comfort us.

I believe my husband was sent to me ten years ago to be a great force in my life.  He has always been a huge encourager, and he often believes I can accomplish anything, even when I am not so sure.  When I need comfort, he is here.

When my kids are scared, they have both of us.

When Jesus chooses to NOT calm the storms in your life, who comes to comfort you?

Blessings!

Does This Make My Pride Look Fat?

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I struggle with my pride!  A LOT!  I recognize boastful pride in others because I deal with it in myself.

This past week, part of my conversation with our youth kids at church centered around worldly desires.  I stated that one of my worldly desires that I need to give up is my need for recognition for my efforts.  Allow me to try to explain!

When I work incredibly hard cleaning the house, cooking an amazing meal, and successfully caring for our children, I want my husband to recognize my hard work and praise me for it.  It doesn’t matter that my role in our home is to clean, cook, and care for the kids.  When I take on a huge load of work at school, carry committees, and lead others, I want my administration to recognize my accomplishments.  Again, it doesn’t matter that these duties fall under normal teacher tasks.  Sound familiar?

The problem is that God commands us to do all things as if we are doing them for Him.  If that is the case, He gets the credit, not us!  I am slowly learning that!  I mentioned before that I am a slow learner.  God usually has to work on me for a long time before the point gets across.

I caught myself this week calling someone out because of their pride.  I felt their pride was getting in the way of effectively doing their job.  Then I remembered that I have to step back and put my pride aside as well.

The book, With Unveiled Face, is almost finished.  Actually, I will finish it within hours of writing this post.  It will go to the publisher in the next 24 hours.  I feel like God is yelling at me loud and clear, “Remember, Jessica, this is NOT your book.  It is mine.  You do not get to take credit for it!  This is my tool to use in the lives of others.”  It is quite humbling, actually.

It is an odd feeling.  I usually have this great sense of accomplishment when finishing a huge project.  I sit back, relax for a while, and imagine the comments I will get from others praising me for my work.  (Yeah, that sounds really big-headed doesn’t it?!) This time is different.  This time, instead of sitting back at the finish of a project, I have already begun to look ahead to the next.

Does your pride interfere with the rest of your life?

Blessings!