31 Days of Praise {Day 10} Better Plans

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jer 29:11

Though this story has been told many times and it is lengthy, I believe it is worth retelling, especially coming off of the Christmas season as we just have. It is the story the the Three Little Trees, and is a beautiful reminder that God has plans for us, plans that are more beautiful than anything we could dream up. I’m not sure who to credit the story to, as it’s been all over the internet for years, so if you happen to know, I’d love to give them the credit!

Three Little Trees

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked at the stars and said, “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world !”

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world !”

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in the busy town. “I don’t want to leave theh mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”

Years passed. The rains came, the sun shone and the three little trees grew tall.

One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. “Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure,” the first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong, it is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters,” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kinds !:

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me,” he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenters shop, but the carpenter fashioned her into a feedbox for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold nor with treasure. She was coated in sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and saved into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “”What happened, ” the once tall tree wondered ? “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God.”

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night golden starlight poured over the first tree as a woman and her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew that he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat The traveler fell asleep as the second tree sailed quietly out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered, she knew she didn’t have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew that he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldieries nailed a man’s hands to her. She felt ugly harsh and cruel. But, on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’ love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

So the next time you feel down because you didn’t get what you wanted, just sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

Praise God today not only for what he has done for you, but what he is GOING to do for you!

Please visit the other ladies who are participants in the 31 Days of Ministry Online:

Amy Bayliss {Cajun Inspired} : 31 Days of Heart Matters
{A Martha Heart} : 31 Days of Prayer
Karin {Mommy Matters} : 31 Days of Intentional Parenting
Jenny {867-53oh9} : 31 Days of Social Media
Dawn {My Home Sweet Home} : 31 Days of Encouragement
Lisa Boyd : 31 Days of WordPress

*Links to all posts on this subject can be found here.

Hope of the World

You might remember I’m in a Homeschool Co-op…one of the teachers worked with our 4th-8th graders this first semester to put on a Christmas drama…I know that barely anyone reads my blog anymore, and chances are if you do, you’re a friend on Facebook, and you’ve already seen this. HOWEVER…I’m putting this out there just on the off chance that it could be a blessing to some passer-by. 🙂 Remember…it may be cliche, but Jesus IS the reason for the Season.

*note the strikingly tall and beautiful girl in the white shirt is my eldest daughter, thank you very much. 🙂

Mary Had a Little Lamb (The Christmas Version)

Mary had a little Lamb, who lived before His birth;
Self-existent Son of God, from Heaven he came to Earth. (Micah 5:2)

Mary had the little Lamb, see Him in yonder stall –
Virgin-born Son of God, to save man from the Fall. (Isaiah 7:14)

Mary had the little Lamb, obedient Son of God;
Everywhere the Father led, His feet were sure to trod. (John 6:38)

Mary had the little Lamb, crucified on the tree
The rejected Son of God, He died to set men free. (1 Peter 1:18)

Mary had the little Lamb, men placed Him in the grave,
Thinking they were done with Him, to death He was no slave! (Matthew 28:6)

Mary had the little Lamb, ascended now is He;
All work on Earth is ended, our Advocate to be. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Mary had the little Lamb, mystery to behond!
From the lamb of Calvary, a Lion will unfold. (Revelation 5:5,6)

When the Day Star comes again, of this be very sure;
It won’t be Lamb-like silence, but with the Lion’s roar.

(written by Marv & Marbeth Rosenthal)

Hope your Christmas is beautiful and joyous. I am leaving for the family farm today (without hubs- he’s coming after he gets off of work today) and we will return in a couple of days. Our family tradition has always been that we spend Christmas on my husband’s family farm.

We’ll eat Christmas eve dinner, read the Christmas story from the Bible and then let the kids open one present each. (yes, I finally went Christmas shopping for a couple of things – God is good). Then we’ll stay up all night watching old movies and talking and just spending time together until we can’t hold our eyes open anymore.

The kids will have fallen asleep hours ago (except for Katie, who, at eleven, is quickly growing up and able to stay awake longer than the others) and once they are all asleep, we’ll drag out the Christmas stockings that I made for the years ago (they are HUGE — big enough for most of their presents to fit it) and fill them with the presents from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc so they have something for Christmas morning.

And nothing is wrapped, by the way, because that’s just how we roll. Everything goes into the stocking unwrapped and the kids wouldn’t have it any other way. I understand the excitement of “unwrapping” and prolonging the opening of the gifts…but I honestly see it as a waste of time and money to wrap a 97 cent Wal-mart toy just to throw away the paper and bows. It kills me.

So this morning I’m getting our clothes and the goodies we baked yesterday together to take out to the farm. Floy’s mom (affectionately known as “Lulu” by our kids) is picking us up to take us out there to spend the day with her before he joins us. We’ll cook and get the queso going, unpack all the sweets I made yesterday and just ENJOY each other.

I can’t wait.

Hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright…


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A Holiday Impasse

I have started this blog post no less than 5 times. I have 3 drafts sitting in my drafts folder that I started and have absolutely no idea how to finish.

Other moms compose witty, humorous posts about their crafty and adventurous days with their kids while I find myself wanting to escape to some place where I can have a day to myself to just be. Other moms seemingly have it all together, while I am falling apart at the seams on a daily basis.

Christmas is three days away. I have not decorated my house (save the tree, which the kids did), I have not baked one Christmas item, addressed one card, created one newsletter, or purchased/made one gift for anyone.

I am at an impasse. I want to find the words to explain what I’m going through, but they escape me. I want to cry, but I can’t.

God has just been too good to me this year. He has seen us through some of the worst times in not only our financial lives, but our marriage as well. I should be expressing my thanks and giving Him the glory He so deserves.

The most a reader can ever really witness in a blog post is 10-15 minutes of a writer’s day. And while I try to blog about the good things that God has done for me, I realize that I spend an inordinate amount of time feeling so sorry for myself and the situation I find myself in, that more often than not, I miss the mark. I want to be so much better than I am. But there are sadly, some things I forgot to tell you.

I forgot to tell you that God has miraculously kept our 13 year old van running in spite of the fact that it has over 200K miles on it.

I forgot to tell you that even though the deal fell through on my husband’s truck and it didn’t sell, we were able to get his licensing fees paid.

I forgot to let you know that someone who doesn’t know me outside of reading my blog sent me $200 when I talked about my husband’s licensing problems to help us pay for said licenses.

I forgot to tell you that a precious, dear client sent me embroidered gifts for my children when I wrote that Christmas would be sparser than ever this year.

I forgot to share with you that our church picked us as the family that would receive the food basket one month when our cupboards were so bare, I was literally in tears about having to cook another pot of beans.

I forgot to tell you that our prayers were answered when my husband found a temporary job through the Christmas holidays that would enable us to keep our lights on and food on the table.

I forgot to let you know that just about the time I am ready to throw in the towel and cry, God does something else to renew my faith and keep me going. He is my sustainer and without His mercy and grace and the sacrifice that his precious Son Jesus made, I would be inconsolable this Christmas season.

I forgot to tell you that I am so incredibly thankful for Christ Jesus who took on the form of a man to redeem the world, who will forever BE a man, who now sits at the right hand of my Heavenly Father, and is making intercession for me when I can’t find the words to express my feelings.

I forgot to share with you that Jesus is the sweetest name I know.

Do you know him?

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Happy Thanksgiving

There is much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season…friends, family, church…God has generously continued to provide for us, despite the turmoil of the financial markets, etc. We have food to eat this Thanksgiving, friends and family to share it with, and a nice home that is paid for. What else could one ask for?

So here’s a little Thanksgiving humor, because I like humor and everyone else is all sappy, so I like to be a little bit different:

Black November
A Turkey’s Lament

When I was a young turkey, new to the coop,
My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop,

Then he sat me down, and he spoke real slow,
And he told me there was something that I had to know;

His look and his tone I will always remember,
When he told me of the horrors of ….. Black November;

“Come about August, now listen to me,
Each day you’ll be thick, where once you were thin,
And you’ll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin.

“And then one morning, when you’re warm in your bed,
In’ll burst the farmer’s wife, and hack off your head;

“Then she’ll pluck out all your feathers so you’re bald’n pink,
And scoop out all your insides and leave ya lyin’ in the sink,

“And then comes the worst part” he said not bluffing,
“She’ll spread your cheeks and pack your rear with stuffing”.

Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat,
I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat,

And decided on the spot that to avoid being cooked,
I’d have to lay low and remain overlooked;

I began a new diet of nuts and granola,
High-roughage salads, juice and diet cola,

And as they ate pastries, chocolates and crepes,
I stayed in my room doing Jane Fonda tapes,

I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half,
And tried not to notice when the bigger birds laughed;

But ’twas I who was laughing, under my breath,
As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death;

And sure enough when Black November rolled around,
I was the last turkey left in the entire compound;

So now I’m a pet in the farmer’s wife’s lap;
I haven’t a worry, so I eat and I nap,

She held me today, while sewing and humming,
And smiled at me and said “Christmas is coming……..”

~Author unknown

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