Category Archives: Simple Life Heartenings

I LOVE celebrations!! Celebrations provide opportunities for making memories. I have 20 plus years of experience in weddings, birthday parties, wedding and baby showers, luncheons, corporate events and more. I am praying for the Lord to provide an opportunity for my party planning business, Celebrations By Melanie, to grow and provide memorable events. Please check out a few of the events on my Facebook page!

Gratitude

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Gratitude can renew your mind (Roman’s 12:2) and transform the way you see your circumstances.

Gratitude…. Expressing it and surrounding yourself with it, is truly life changing. God’s Word and His promises are full of His many blessings, giving us countless reasons to voice our gratitude and thankfulness. But sometimes gratitude can feel tough to find in a world full of busyness, neglect, distractions and doubt.

My heart this Thanksgiving season is to encourage us all to grow a gratitude so that a heart of thankfulness will flourish in each of our lives. That the seeds of truth from God’s Word that are planted in our hearts, nurtured and cultivated will EXPAND our hearts. Deep roots will awaken anew the wonder of God’s blessings, the steadfastness of His love and the assurance of His faithfulness.

I hope you will join me in the coming days and weeks. Yes, I know, I should have gotten started a few days ago but here we are. Every day, Lord willing, I will post a challenge, thought, question, something to ponder and sprinkle a whole lot of Jesus and the Word of God here as we look toward Thanksgiving.

Grab a notebook, journal or a stack of paper from your printer, dry erase board, make a note in your phone💡 😂 Simply put find somewhere to write things down. Write out a prayer. Document moments of gratitude. Take note of ALL things you have to be grateful for and all the ways you see God blessing your life. Every moment. Every truth. All of this will be seeds planted that will steadily grow a more grateful heart, a faith that strengthens AND deepens AND inspires.

Ready for a new view through the window we all call real life? Not to worry, just a short share daily on my end. Want to know the truth….. If am being honest, my soul is in desperate need of refreshing and I’d love to have you alongside of me for this journey!

Finally- that beautiful view of your world through the window…. Go ahead and look. It is the same old circumstances and the same old struggles. But even in the middle of life real and hard, it is beautiful. It is YOUR story. A story of redeeming love and goodness. Something hopeful. Something praiseworthy. Something to be thankful for.

In the Bible, Paul understood suffering, hardship and difficulty. There were many times he was grasping for gratitude.

“Always give thanks in EVERYTHING.” Ephesians 5:20

Romans 12:2 speaks to the renewing of our mind can transform the way we see our circumstances. No matter the view.

Hope and a heart of gratitude….. in spite of our circumstances.

Pause this moment- Take a deep breath and refocus your attention on God. Tell Him who He is in your life, what He has done for you, what you love about Him and why you are grateful.

Gratitude transforms us. Hope you’ll join me!!

“Fix your eyes on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” Romans 12:2

Have been worshipping LOUD over here on Hardin Rd today. Check out this amazing song called Gratitude!! 👇

Preparing Our Hearts For Thanksgiving Gratitude and Christmas Joy

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Just in case you wondered why the Family Dollar drop-in visit yesterday……

Well of course all the running around was for a couple future DIY Christmas projects!! A little create and connect going on over here.

My mother-in-law Bobbie Caldwell is and has always been so creative. The work of her hands continues to bless others and our family. She has always enjoyed making her home a warm and inviting place. I so love that about her.

I also LOVE making beautiful spaces in our home for every season. Since she is living with us now, I wanted to add some fun, thoughtful and creative ways that we can engage with each other, the grandkids in order to make her Thanksgiving and Christmas super memorable this year.

So I bought a new, smaller Christmas Tree which has totally made me rethink how I normally decorate. Well- according to Monty Self our “new” forever Christmas tree has arrived so that we can get rid of the “old” big tree he struggles with and grumbles about getting up the stairs every year. 🤔🙄

For My Fall/Thanksgiving table scape I could not find any small pumpkins that I loved. So I purchased cream napkins from Target and made small pumpkins by repurposing old round nakpkin rings. Add a stick and you have a “custom” pumpkin to match the vision. Pictures to follow. Wish I’d made a video while making them. 🤦‍♀️

Secondly, Bobbie loves the front porch and back porch outdoor spaces at our home. {So do we} She has already spent many hours sitting and rocking the days away. So I wanted to make each space warm and thoughtful. Like home for her. So I grabbed a new rug, changed up the plants, added throw blankets for the cooler days and festive pillows. I still have one empty wall that has inspired me to add a special word of welcome and a message.

So back to the story at hand-

The Dollar Tree now owns Family Dollar and has really amped up the game for DIYer’s. So my day yesterday was centered around my doc appointment with a stop into Big Lots, Marshall’s, Walmart and Family Dollar. Gathering the needed items has been a mission of late and truly a labor of love.

I just wanted to share with you how passionate I feel we should be about following our hearts as it relates to the things that will bring meaning, fullness and joy to the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. The Lord has already started preparing my heart for the busy days ahead. Most all of the “gathering of goods” is done. Now to enjoy the process and live present in each moment that the Lord allows us.

Our homes are sacred! It is where most of life really happens. Our values, commitments to one another and the passing on of faith and faithfulness dwell there. So at peace in this season of our lives. Just had to share a glimpse of our “perfectly imperfect”world.

Thanksgiving- gratitude

Christmas- the coming of our Lord

Share the joy…..

Preparing Him room today in my soul…..

Maybe we’ll share a Facebook Live when we get down to crafting.

For Everything There Is A Season

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This room holds so many sweet memories. We purchased our little plot of land in the mid 90’s, built our home in 1998 and it would become our forever home after Monty’s retirement from the US Air Force in 1999.

This was our Ashley’s room and a little differently decorated for our busy high schooler. Truth is, it changed very little through the years. High school. College. Purchasing her first home. Securing a career that she was made for. Finding the love of her life. Marriage. The same….. that is until we welcomed our first grandchild Mason Blake into our tribe.

New paint. The daybed with trundle replaced by a crib for our grandson. Every new grand-baby to come Emma Mae, Abbey Glenn, Nolan Edison and William Tyler have slept peacefully beneath our beloved family tree. The room has held such fullness of love for our #tribeoffive Surely, this room filled with toys and a toddler bed became a mainstay of our every day.

To everything there is a season. Monty’s 90 year old mom’s health had been failing over the last couple months. She was in a place where we felt it was time to bring her to our home. She agreed it was time and for the best. So, we needed our 4th bedroom to be with us upstairs, which meant moving the playroom downstairs.

So after the flip-flop of rooms was complete, we moved Bobbie in. She now enjoys a beautiful bedroom fitted with her childhood bedroom set and lovingly says it feels like home. A special thank you to my sister-in-law Dianne for helping me sort through clothing and putting things away.

We have spent many hours making her room feel special. Today, we were finally able to get the curtains up, adjusted her heated throw, managed all of her special things and put the family pictures in the places she wanted them. We would not have it any other way. We will forever cherish the memory of this new and beautiful journey!

Early spring of this year Bobbie battled breast cancer. She has been doing well but we have sadly learned that her cancer has spread. Not the news we wanted to hear but she is so happy, at peace, comfortable, safe, enjoys the porches on warmer days, loves it when friends stop by, family are in and out and we have found a beautiful rhythm for her (our) days over here on Hardin Rd. We will forever be chasing sunsets and tonight the beginnings of this day’s end did not disappoint.

Today, we met with workers who will help us navigate her life and health in the weeks and months to come for as long as the Lord wills. We find rest in knowing that God has ordered the number of her days. And so we are settling in, believing God for peace, His perfect will and comfort over the days that she have been given.

We know that God is with us all in every season of our lives. When we face the unknown, we can trust that He is in control and working out every situation for our good. She has led us well, is at peace with God and it is our joy to walk alongside of God’s beloved. He has been so good to her and she gives thanks daily for His faithfulness.

In Isaiah 46:4, God speaks over His beloved Israel- We know He is the same God. The same yesterday, today and forever. His love and compassions never ceases. What an incredible truth to know as we face the end of our days.

To these words we cling.

“I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born. And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray. I’ve done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back.” Isaiah 46:4

{Day 25} Waiting On The King -25 Days of Advent

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{Day Twenty-Five}

The big day is HERE. It’s Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth.

As you open up gifts, remember the gift God gave us: the Rescuer! You could even sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus as a part of your day’s festivities. Then snap a pic and tag us on Instagram (@mrocommunitycenter) to show us how YOU celebrated Jesus’ birthday this year!

Sometime this week, consider celebrating Jesus’ birthday by inviting a few of your closest friends and family members over to read the story of his birth in Luke 2 or watch this video!

https://youtu.be/FrOBJo6LNfw

Merry Christmas to your family from our Motor Racing Outreach Family. May all your dreams and wishes come true!! You are so very loved!!!

{Day Twenty-Four} Waiting on The Lord -25 Days of Advent

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{Day Twenty-Four}

Merry Christmas Eve

Well, Christmas is almost here!

Before you begin celebrating, carve out some time to read the Christmas story in the Bible as a family.

You can look it up in Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 2:1-20

The Coming Birth of Jesus

“In the sixth month after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. He was sent to a virgin. The girl was engaged to a man named Joseph. He came from the family line of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel greeted her and said, “The Lord has given you special favor. He is with you.”

Mary was very upset because of his words. She wondered what kind of greeting this could be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. He will rule forever over his people, who came from Jacob’s family. His kingdom will never end.”

“How can this happen?” Mary asked the angel. “I am a virgin.” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is old. And even she is going to have a child. People thought she could not have children. But she has been pregnant for six months now. Nothing is impossible with God.”

“I serve the Lord,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me just as you said it would.” Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:26-28

Jesus Is Born

“In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law. It required that a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world. It was the first time a list was made of the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be listed.

So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David. He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.

While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn.

Angels Appear to the Shepherds

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were looking after their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They said, “May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!” The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger. After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over.

The shepherds returned. They gave glory and praise to God. Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told.” Luke 2:1-20

What is YOUR favorite part of the Christmas story?

Check out this story! We started with it. You can also end with it as well!

http://49gwb73j4zuj2z3clp19vafg-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Waiting-For-The-King-Web.pdf

{Day Twenty-Three} Waiting On The King -25 Days of Advent

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{Day Twenty-Three}

An Astounding Story

Jesus wasn’t a typical baby. He was the king, and God made that clear. Watch God’s Story: Christmas (below) as a family to find out some of the extraordinary things that happened to show Jesus is the Rescuer.

Why do you think God allowed all those amazingly crazy things to happen?

God’s Story Christmas

https://vimeo.com/70354897

You can also make up your own crazy Christmas story. The beginning can be as simple as, “Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to fly.” Then add to it, one person at a time. See how wild you can make it.

(But remember, the extraordinary story of Jesus’ birth…is all true!)

{Day Twenty-Two} Waiting For The King -25 Days of Advent

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{Day Twenty-Two}

Away in a Manger

The Bible is the story of God’s rescue plan for us; Jesus was sent to earth to save us from our sin. That’s what John 8:12 means when it says Jesus is the LIGHT. Even though He was the light of the world, He was born surrounded by animals and hay.

If your neighborhood has a local, live Nativity scene, it could be fun to visit.

What’s YOUR favorite Nativity animal? Have your parent share with me at melanieself@go2mro.com

To remind yourself of how GREAT God is, write down some of your favorite Bible verses.

Here are a few of mine.

Micah 6:8

The Lord has shown you what is good. He has told you what he requires of you. You must treat people fairly. You must love others faithfully. And you must be very careful to live the way your God wants you to.

James 1:19

My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry.

I Corinthians 13:4

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.

Phlippians 4:6

Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him.

Philippians 4:13

I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.

Jeremiah 29:11

“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.

John 3:16

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.

Isaiah 40:31

But those who trust in the Lord  will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak.

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be terrified because of them. The Lord your God will go with you. He will never leave you. He’ll never desert you.”

Put them them in a stocking. For the remainder of Advent (Christian Faith: the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas.)

Encourage your Christmas experience by pulling a verse out of the stocking each day and then read together as a family.

If you have older children, they may enjoy this great Awaited Comic Book!!!

http://49gwb73j4zuj2z3clp19vafg-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Awaited-Comic-Book.pdf

{Day Twenty-One} Waiting For The King -25 Days of Advent

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{Day Twenty-One}

A White Christmas

We don’t know exactly what the weather was like when Jesus was born. But in a lot of Christmas movies and songs, people hope it snows this much.

https://youtu.be/V4Oosy-ZtGY

Grab some paper, a pair of scissors and follow these steps to make the perfect indoor snowstorm. (https://www.almanac.com/content/how-make-paper-snowflakes )

Then read Isaiah 60:1-3, which is all about how God announced that Jesus would be like a bright, shining light to cover the darkness of the earth -kind of like snow.

Zion (heaven) Will Be Glorious

“People of Jerusalem, get up. Shine, because your light has come. My glory will shine on you. Darkness covers the earth. Thick darkness spreads over the nations.But I will rise and shine on you. My glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light. Kings will come to the brightness of your new day.” Isaiah 60:1-3

{Day Twenty} Waiting For The King -25 Days of Advent

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{Day Twenty}

A Christmas Feast

One night this week, plan to eat a “Christmas dinner” together. Let your kids decorate for the meal by coloring pieces of paper to make placemats, wrapping up homemade “presents” or building a centerpiece “tree” out of sticks and leaves you find outside. Then invite a friend or two to celebrate with you.

For an extra challenge, you could use red and green ingredients. Try making pizzas with pepperoni and green peppers, green eggs and bacon or spaghetti and green beans.

During dinner, read Isaiah 9:2-7 again.

“The people who are now living in darkness will see a great light. They are now living in a very dark land. But a light will shine on them.

Lord, you will make our nation larger. You will increase their joy. They will show you how glad they are. They will be as glad as people are at harvest time. They will be as glad as soldiers are when they share the things they’ve taken after a battle.

You set Israel free from Midian long ago. In the same way, you will break the heavy yoke that weighs Israel down. You will break the wooden beams that are on their shoulders. You will break the rods of those who strike them down.

Every fighting man’s boot that is used in battle will be burned up. So will every piece of clothes that is covered with blood. All of them will be thrown into the fire.

A child will be born to us. A son will be given to us. He will rule over us. And he will be called Wonderful Adviser and Mighty God. He will also be called Father Who Lives Forever and Prince Who Brings Peace.

The authority of his rule will continue to grow. The peace he brings will never end. He will rule on David’s throne and over his kingdom. He will make the kingdom strong and secure. His rule will be based on what is fair and right. It will last forever. The Lord’s great love will make sure that happens. He rules over all.” Isaiah 9:2-7

Thank Jesus for coming to rescue us!

https://youtu.be/NDL3Eq5YWjA

{Day Nineteen} Waiting For The King -25 Days of Advent

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{Day Nineteen}

Christmas Lights

By now, you’ve probably started seeing some Christmas lights decorating houses, trees, stores, or even cars.If you have some up at your house, turn them on (or ask your parent to light a candle). Then read John 8:12.

Jesus’ Witness Is True

“Jesus spoke to the people again. He said, “I am the light of the world. Those who follow me will never walk in darkness. They will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12

What do you think Jesus means when he calls himself “the light of the world”?

Try turning off all the lights, except for those Christmas lights (or candle), and walk through your house.

Did you notice that even though it’s dark, you can still see?

That’s because light ALWAYS overcomes darkness and guides us in the right direction—just like Jesus (the light of the world) will always overcome evil and show us where to go!

Christmas lights reflect the light that Jesus is to the world. When you see light displays, notice the lights and remember to thank Jesus for coming to the world. You can tell him how much joy and hope his light brings you by singing along with this song: 

All Our Hope

https://youtu.be/Ul1oRGws1io

Take some time to thank God for providing light to our world.

Just for fun.

See how far people have gone to light up the world @ Christmas! No matter how magnificent the display, there will never be anything more glorious than the light of the world Jesus our Savior!!

Check out this crazy Christmas light display!!

https://vimeo.com/54649301