Since I was "gone" so long and have now promised to update what I did while I was "away" I am going to chat it up about the holidays at the Gladden Casa. But first - how was YOUR Christmas???
Our Christmas started off with a surprise celebration. On the 23d, Richard purposed to Lizzy and it was very romantic how he did it. He took her to all of the places that have had some meaning to them throughout their 9 years together. They went bowling (their 1st date) went to his Mom's old house (where they spent so much time and where he told her he loved her for the first time) and lastly to Tempe Lakes where they spent their 1st anniversary. This is where he finally popped the question, down on one knee with a ring and everything. I guess there was a lot of crying and then Lizzy begged him to bring her home to tell us. On the way to our house he reminded her that she had not said yes yet. There were lots more tears once she got here. Her ring is beautiful and she is so happy!
We had a wonderful Christmas here. The Grandkids were in heaven and loved all their toys and all of the munchies. They were so sweet, London opened a box and there were batteries in it and she clutched them to her chest and screamed "I have batteries!!!!" right after that she opened the gift that she needed the batteries for, but it didn't lessen her joy over the batteries. Kids are so darned cute! The girls also got a car for Christmas. . .
The day after Christmas us 3 girls (Bryanna, Lizzy & I) went out for lunch and then to go look at Mother of the Bride dresses (their idea), I found 2 that I really like and that the girls both liked. Then we decided to just take a peek at the bridal gowns and next thing I knew we were heading back home to get my Mom (Lizzy would not try on any dresses without Grandma there). After trying on several dresses she found THE ONE! We ordered it that day and it wasn't supposed to arrive until May but is now hanging in my closet! The wedding is not for over a year - I guess I need to get my closet cleaned up so it doesn't get smooshed in there.
And I gotta share my Favorite Christmas gift this year - it came from Gary, although the girls helped him shop. . .
A bowl of rocks!!!!
Okay, so it's more than just a bowl of rocks to me. I actually asked for this and nothing else for Christmas. Here's why. . .
I have been having some ongoing dental issues and frankly don't have the $15,000.00 to fix the problem. And yes that is really $15,000.00! So back in Nov I woke up and had a really bad abscess in my mouth and somewhere I needed to be. My mouth was really hurting and more than that it really scared me. I started praying and really pouring out my heart to God and sharing my fears about the whole situation. Then I had to get showered and dressed and turned on the tv. There was this preacher on and I didn't really want to listen to him but I did it anyway. It was amazing - it was as if he had been in the room with my while I was praying! That night they were replaying his broadcast and so I made it home in time to watch it and take notes. Since then I have been doing a really interesting study on the scriptures he used (Mark 5:21-43, about the woman with the issue of blood and Jairus' daughter) and also studying some of the names of God (Jehovah Rapha, Shammaw, Jireh and El Shaddai). This all lead me to start writing things on stones that God was teaching me. This then led to me trying to find how I wanted to keep my rocks and display them. So of course I went onto Pintrest and I found how I wanted to store/display them and asked for the supplies for Christmas from Gary. Also when I found the idea for displaying my stones they called it an "Ebenezer" and referred to the Bible. I wasn't familiar with this name/term so I looked up "Ebenezer" in the concordance and found the scripture in 1 Samuel 7:1-12 it means "stone of help". Are you familiar with this scripture?
Here is a shortened version of the story -
The Israelites were returning to the Lord with all their hearts and had given up their idols and confessed their sins to God. Samuel had told them all to go to Mizpah. Then the Philistines planned an attack on the Israelites. When the Israelites got word of the planned attack they were afraid and asked Samuel to continue to pray to God on their behalf. Samuel continued to pray and made a burnt offering to the Lord. When the Philistines made their attack on the Israelites, God intervened and the Israelites slaughtered them. Then Samuel set up a stone (Ebenezer) between the two cities of Mizpah and Shen as a reminder of how God had once again helped them. This was only the beginning of their deliverance from the Philistines, but the stone offered them hope and encouraged them that God would indeed complete their deliverance from their enemy. The Philistines restored to the Israelites, the lands they had taken from them and stopped invading the Israelites territories. The hand of the Lord continued to be against the Philistines throughout all of Samuel's life.
Okay so I am getting ready to make my "Ebenezer" (write on my stones and put them in their container) Thursday evening after bridal shopping and I start studying this story more and guess what God revealed to me? I couldn't make this stuff up my friends!
So the town of Mizpah means "The Watchtower" or the "Watchman". It was a place of security and of peace, where the people were accustomed to meet in great national emergencies. Samuel gathered Israel to Mizpah for prayer in the light of the Philistine threat There, in deep humiliation on account of their sins, they renewed their vows and entered again into covenant with the God of their fathers. It was a period of great religious awakening. David also moved his parents there for safety during his persecution by Saul.
The town of Shen means "The Tooth" it can also mean "ivory" and "crag". It is a feminine noun (the word crag means - a steep, rugged rock; rough, broken)
So, all of that to say - I believe that I am to be "living" in "Mizpah" (a place of security and peace as well as spiritual renewal) and my Ebenezer (”Stone of help") is standing between where I am and my teeth that are rugged, rough and broken!
I am constantly amazed at how personal God is with us through His Word and how many mysteries there are in His Word if we just take the time to look for them and to listen to Him!
It is also kinda fun that Gary is now excited about his gift to me - he didn't really "get it" when I asked for it. He asked if he could also write his prayers etc on my stone. I of course told him yes - anyone is allowed to grab a stone, write their prayer on it and through it into the bowl.
Well, I have another bridal appointment in the morning so I better say goodnight.
till we meet again. . .