Blessings this Week: 07.31.2015

Last day of July, my friends. This summer is buzzing right past in a flurry of sandals and campers and flowers and fruit. 

And through it all, God is good. He's faithful to us. And counting my blessings is one way that I remind myself of just that. 

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Sweet corn on the grill and lazy Sunday afternoons

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My favorite coffee mug right on top of the stack

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In Season: Faithfulness

The “Fruit of the Spirit” spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23 are love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness (gentleness), and temperance (self-control).

The seventh quality, faithfulness, is a characteristic of God that is established in believers through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As believers lay down their flesh daily to make room for the Spirit to fill the area instead with these divine godly qualities, faithfulness grows inside that believer.

Faithfulness literally means “fidelity which makes one true to his task or promise,” and “steadfast, dedicated, dependable.”

This God-given quality causes the believer to be able to be faithful and loyal to others, in a way not seen by the world. Faithfulness instilled by the Holy Spirit in the believer is necessary to stay loyal to God, each other, family and friends. The results will be less heartache and broken trust, which is the temporary faithfulness the world offers.

God, the Father, really holds this particular quality in high esteem, and this is one quality that He will really expect you to operate very strongly in. Not only in your own personal relationship with Him, but He also wants this in other personal relationships with your family and friends. In other words, He wants you to be faithful and loyal to your spouses, children, parents, and good friends.

If God brings you a wonderful mate, wonderful children, and wonderful friends, then He will expect you to stay loyal and faithful to all of them in your personal relationships with them. A true friend will stay by your side for life, through thick and thin and for better or for worse. Just as God will stay faithful to you in His personal relationship with you, He will expect you to stay loyal and faithful in your own personal relationships with the other people in your life.

This is one quality that God the Father is really watching all of us on. He is watching who is going to stay true, loyal, and faithful to Him, and who will stay true, loyal, and faithful to the friends and family that are brought into our lives.

Faithfulness is not only needed in our own personal relationship with God, but it is also needed in our own personal relationships with our friends and our families.

Once you are saved and have entered into a true personal relationship with the Lord, one of the first things you will really have to grab a hold of is holding fast to the Lord and staying faithful to Him for the rest of your eternal life. Once you are saved and have entered into a true personal relationship with the Lord, there is no turning back. Ever!

Here are two verses that will show us how important the quality of Faithfulness really is and how accepting this great gift from God can make such a difference in our daily lives.

Study these scriptures along with the others you have already listed for yourself as you accept the truth about yourself and just how ‘faithful’ you really are. Remember: ‘it is being there through thick and through thin’. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead.

1. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)

2. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)
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Angie Benjamin is a wife and mother currently living and raising her two little ones in Botswana. She loves to study the Bible, learn new things, and be an encouragement to others. She writes about faith, family, homemaking, books, and life in Africa on her blog, Bloom and Grace!

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Thank you for sharing with us, Angie!

What does Faithfulness look like in your life?

As always, stay tuned for the rest of our study in the Fruit of the Spirit! 

You can follow along by liking my my page on Facebook, or by checking out the In Season Pinterest board

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Blessings this Week: 07.24.2015

Some days, some weeks, finding those blessings is easy, you know? This week has been one of those for me. 

Don't get me wrong- there are still less-than-ideal situations. There are still frustrations and challenges. There's still stress, unmet expectations, demands on my time... but just a glance around, and God's incredible goodness is evident. 

Small snail on a branch

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The Answers (The Ones We Know Right Now, Anyway)

I realize that as some of my friends and family have become my (ominous music) blog readers, there has been some surprise about our struggle with infertility.

Because many of our dear family and friends... didn't know that we were dealing with this.

Honestly, this journey that we've been walking is so private, so personal. I still don't talk about it well. I still have wrong attitudes, hurt feelings, and lots of sore spots about it. And it's a long convoluted story... and how much do I share? It's just awkward.

But when I started putting words out on this blog, sharing what God's doing here in this time, here in this moment, here in my life... well, it's all kind of colored by the journey we're walking right now.

You know?

Every realization, every reminder of God's faithfulness, His goodness, His grace, comes back to what we're struggling with in this moment.

The way I see God is through the lens of infertility. 

That's the season I'm in.

And that's why I chose to share a little more about our journey.

But I also realize that I've left a lot of gaps- a lot of information unsaid, a lot of questions unanswered. And honestly, a lot of that was because we didn't have answers. And a lot was because it just didn't fit in this space.

This isn't an infertility blog. That's not the purpose of this little corner of the internet. So I didn't give many details, didn't share many thoughts on all that.

But that doesn't mean that I don't have stuff to say.

I want to let you know that even if you learn that you're not able to have children, or that having kids will be a struggle, it's okay. Life moves on. God is still good. I want to be an encouragement to those on this same path.

So today, I'll be sharing answers, the ones we know anyway, and filling in some of those gaps in our story of infertility.


In Season: Goodness

In the list of fruits of the Spirit, goodness can be an easy one to skip over. It sounds generic--joy is such an active, usually obvious fruit-- and self-control, also noticeable in a person's life. But goodness? What does it look like?


Blessings this Week: 07.17.2015

I count my blessings- to remind me to be grateful, to remind me of God's kindness and grace to me, and to help me get my attitude where it needs to be- in a state of awe and wonder at His goodness.

Sunsets over this beautiful lake of ours

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Supper out with friends

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Tipsy Houses and people-watching


In Season: Kindness

When Ally asked for writers I thought it was a great idea, but once I got down to it, I felt a bit stuck. Who knew that kindness could be that complicated?

I posted on my FB page:
"When you think of Kindness (as in the Fruits of the Spirit), what springs to mind?"
Thankfully I got serious answers. One of the comments that popped up was about random acts of kindness.

I love random acts of kindness, and as my primary love languages are Acts of Service and Thoughtful Gifts, so Kindness is one of my favourite fruits of the Spirit.

I think it’s also the idea that we live in this world where horrible and harrowing things are reported on the news each day and random acts of kindness are a way of reminding people out there that there are still good things going on in the world. Recently I've been in the supermarket and the person in front of me has had a full trolley and I've had three or four items and the person has let me go in front.

When Chris, my husband was a student in Hull, there were two routes to get across the River Humber. There's a toll bridge, or you can drive further up the estuary to the one of the next main bridges and cross there for free. If Chris could spare the money, he’d take the toll bridge and pay for the car behind as well as his. It would often confuse both the teller in the booth as well as the driver behind. Whenever he told me about doing it I would want to be a “fly on the wall” in the car behind to see their reaction.


5 Obsure Movies

Planning a road trip? Rainy vacation? How about a movie night?

If you really want to get a movie that no one (and I mean NO ONE) will have seen, I humbly suggest these five obscure movies. Hidden gems, if you will.

Some of the links below are affiliate links**

1:: So Dear to My Heart

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The tale of a little boy and his black lamb. This movie was made in the 1950's, and it's just wonderful. There's a combination of animation and live action that works really well without being cheesy. There's a curmudgeonly grandmother who loves her grandson deeply. There's dancing and running barefoot through the woods. It's all glorious. And in true 1950's fashion, bad behavior has consequences, back talk is not allowed, and Granny expects a lot out of her little grandson. And it'll make you want to go to the fair. 

2:: Charlie the Lonesome Cougar

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So, so funny. This story of a cougar that's figuring out his place in life (with lots of mishaps along the way) is full of funny outdated sayings and ridiculous situations. And then there's a dog named Chainsaw.

3:: Brighty of the Grand Canyon

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Spectacular views of the Grand Canyon, a fuzzy-faced donkey, adventure and justice. This is the story of a donkey with a mind of his own that befriends an old prospector. When a thief kills the prospector to steal his claim, Brighty enlists the help of a few old friends to help him get justice for his friend.

4:: Far and Away

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I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise. That said, I really like this movie. The movie follows the journey of two very different young people from Ireland as they journey to the USA and become part of the Great Land Race that shaped modern day America.

It's rated PG 13 for some very good reasons (they stay in a brothel for a couple of months, and Tom Cruise is a prize fighter for a while... and he loses at least one tooth), but the story is sweet and the (probably wildly inaccurate) historical background is interesting.

5:: Breaking the Press

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A movie about a teenage boy caught up in worldly things, this Christian movie follows the story of the Prodigal Son. A good message and a well-put together plot. It can be a little cheesy (hello, Christian films), but it's very easy to relate to... and there's basketball.

So there you have it- my five favorite "you've never heard of 'em" movies!

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**Affiliate links what? An affiliate link (mine are through Amazon) is a link that directs you to an Amazon webpage. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, whether it's a purchase of a product that I recommended or something else you find on Amazon while you're looking around, I will receive a small commission of your purchase, at absolutely no additional cost to you. **


Blessings this Week: 07.10.2015

Well, then. 

Another week is gone, and here I am again, doing the work of counting out blessings. Really, I could be counting other things. You know? I could be counting all the unchecked boxes on my to-do list. I could be measuring all my failures this week. I could be pointing out disappointments and hurts.

Instead, I'm taking the time, the space, to remember something much greater than I am. I'm reminding my very-human heart, my ever-forgetful mind, of the grace, the goodness, the awe-inspiring love of my Creator. Because not only is He so deserving of my praise and thanks, but also because it puts my heart, my attitude, where they need to be.

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Fireworks over the lake... while in a boat on the lake.

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Little dog Nellie yapping in time at the firework pops


In Season: Patience

Fruit of the Spirit


To be honest, it isn't my strong point. It really is my strongest struggle.

I love hitting mile marks and checking things off my to do list. The time between each mile marker and goal, I stress, I tap my foot, and I annoy until I finally get to where I want to be.

Most girls drop hints every once in a while that they are ready to get engaged; I started bugging Simeon at least once every day until he finally proposed. Patience was a foreign word to me until I came to Christ and learned about the Fruits of the Spirit.

As I read about Patience through a wonderful Bible study my senior year of high school, I started to realize that the patience thing that I wasn't good at wasn't the only type of Patience there is, according to God’s Word.

In God’s Word, Patience isn't all about just waiting, waiting, and waiting some more.

Just like most of the Fruits of the Spirit, Patience isn't just that straightforward and self-focused.

While we all could do with the kind of Patience that takes learning how to wait gracefully, God’s version of Patience can also be centered around others.


Blessings this Week: 07.03.2015

Rainy day weekends

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Visits and quick fishing trips 

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Afternoons on docks and that lake smell


Close Encounters

It was a little after 6:30, and I was finally walking home for the day.

Work had been long, often frustrating, and I still had quite a "To Do" list under all those piled up papers on my desk.

I looked up from the sidewalk and saw him.

A little boy, probably about ten years old, standing in the parking lot at Camp.

My first, split-second reaction was, He's not supposed to be there. Where is his counselor? Chapel started ten minutes ago. 

And then I noticed how still he was. He was just standing there, stock-still (not typical for a ten-year-old boy). His eyes were fixed on a spot just beyond him.

And I looked.