Rebecca Duvall

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God’s Creation

23 cherry blossomThe last few nights there have been some amazing sunsets with vibrant swirls of yellow, orange and red. It takes my breath away. Can you picture the colors of a recent sunrise or sunset in your mind that you had the pleasure of experiencing?

One of my favorite parts of God’s creation is the changing of the seasons. In the spring when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom and a gentle breeze hits. It looks like it’s snowing on our street when this happens. That’s my kind of snow, beautiful without the chill. In the fall, I’m surrounded by the brilliant bright colors in the trees. It stops me in my tracks! What’s your favorite part of the changing of seasons?

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. ~ Genesis 1:31-2:1

The beauty of God always surrounds us, day and night. This should cause us to fall to our knees and praise Him. Why don’t we? Have we become so occupied with ourselves that we fail to see God’s glory all around us?

23 fall tree

I’m thankful for the rain that quenches the thirst of the earth and all that’s in it. I’m thankful for the sun and the life, and warmth, it brings to the earth and all in it. I’m thankful for the lakes, rivers, mountains and fields where we can come together and play, regardless of the season. Which is your favorite season to get out and play? Where is your favorite place to play? I prefer to play in the warm summer months. I don’t have a preference where I play, as long as it’s somewhere I can soak in the heat of the day.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wonders you have surrounded us with here on Earth. I pray we would not forget You are the creator of all the earth, Amen.

Furry Friends

20 KittyI can’t remember a time I didn’t have a pet. Growing up we always had at least one cat and on occasion a dog. My mom was a softy when it came to puppies, so she would often come home from the grocery store with one. We never had the puppy for long. It would either chew up everything in sight or my brother and I wouldn’t help take care of it, so it had to go.

I’m a cat person myself. I think dogs are high maintenance, and there’s only room for one thing that’s high maintenance in this house, and that’s me.

A few years after our last move, my family decided the only thing missing was a dog. We had three cats, which seemed like more than enough animals to me, but they insisted they needed the comfort of a dog. Of course I was promised everyone would help take care of the dog and I wouldn’t even notice it was around. I knew, in reality, I would be the main one doing all the work. I soon gave in and within a few months, we had Layla, a yellow lab from Canine Companions for Independence. She was meant to be a breeder dog in their program, but flunked out due to chronic ear infections. The day we brought her home, she was two and fully trained with over twenty commands. She’s now eleven, and continues to bring us comfort.

20 Layla

Recently, we welcomed a black lab into our family. Her name is Kepi. She’s also from Canine Companions for Independence. She didn’t flunk out of the program. She’s a facility dog and works with my husband, who’s a Law Enforcement Chaplain, as a Chaplain dog. She lives with us and goes out on chaplain calls with him. She brings a smile and comfort to those who are hurting.

20 Kepi

 

This is a difficult time of year, when many of us mourn the loss of our loved ones. I’m thankful for the way our animals bring us comfort. I think they can sense when we aren’t well or when we’re feeling sad. How do your pets bring you comfort?

Emma and Kitty, two of our cats, are sisters. Emma’s a princess, tiny and petite, and Kitty is a scaredy-cat, fluffy and squishy. Earl, a stray black cat my daughter found out in the country hanging on to life, is the only male pet we have. He follows us around, like a dog, and is quite the talker. I’m thankful for the different personalities each of our pets have.

20 Matthew 5-4

I’m excited to see how God will use my husband and Kepi to bring comfort to the community. How has God brought comfort to you and your family this year?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the comfort you bring us through the animals in our lives. I pray You would protect them from those who wish to bring harm to them. Help us to see that animals are part of your creation, Amen.

20 Emma20 Earl

Restaurants

19 restaurantToday, Amy and I had the pleasure of visiting with Ashley and her boyfriend Scott during lunch. Going out to eat is an extra special treat because I don’t have to cook the meal (like usual) or clean up after it.

I’m embarrassed to say, I found myself getting irritated while at the restaurant. We had to wait to be seated, even though there were many tables and booths available. Then, they took too long to take our order after we asked for a few extra minutes to look over the menu. I even decided it was taking them way to long to fix the meal, as if I have any idea how long it would take to prepare any meal.

I’m ashamed to have let myself be so critical. I should have been focusing on the company I was with, not on judging those serving me. I have no right to judge them. Even though I was their customer, I’m not the center of their world. I don’t know the circumstances of the server’s life, or what may be going on in the kitchen or with other customers.

As I grew up, my parents owned a few restaurants. I never worked in any of them, but I do know it’s hard work and the pay isn’t all that great either. I’m thankful for those who give their all and do their best, even when dealing with annoying, over demanding people. I’m thankful for those who keep a smile on their face and let the ignorant comments slide off their back as they bend over backwards to satisfy the unsatisfiable customers. I’m thankful for having the choice where to go out to eat and the funds to do so. I’m thankful for those who prepare the food, serve the food and then clean up after it.

19 John6-35

I find myself continuously surrounded by food. We seem to have become a society that has the need to feel full. When we start to feel hungry, we over exaggerate by saying “I’m starving!” If we focus on the one thing that can truly fill us, Jesus, we won’t feel the need to constantly gorge on other things, for He is the bread of life.

19 revelation 3-20

Are you feeling empty?  Can you hear Jesus knocking?Have you opened the door to your heart and invited Jesus into your life? He desires to come into your life and fill you with His love, grace and mercy. Let Jesus, the only One who knows how to fill you, feed you.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the many ways Your Son, Jesus, fulfills our needs. I pray we seek to be filled eternally by Jesus, not temporarily by the world, Amen.

High Maintenance

17 NailsYears ago, while on a camping trip, I was told I was high maintenance. My response was, if having my hair done and wearing makeup means I’m high maintenance, then yes I am. This was even before I started getting my nails done.

 

I’m thankful for those who work in salons to help make us beautiful on the outside. I’m thankful for the whining and complaining they put up with day in and day out. They always make those they’re with feel special. I’m especially thankful for the beautiful ladies, on the inside and out, who take care of me each month.

17 1Thes 5-11

I’m very blessed to have friends who take care of my beauty needs. One puts up with my indecisiveness regarding what color my hair should be each month. Dark with a touch of red, no forget the red, not to dark, but not to light. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure those annoying sparkles (grays) are covered! Another friend takes wonderful care of my nails. We chat and catch each other up on what’s been going on in our worlds. It’s like friends meeting for coffee, but not. I’m thankful for the way they make me feel, loved and beautiful on the inside.

I’m thankful for the time I have to get my hair and nails done each month. I’m thankful to have the money to spend on such a luxury. I’m thankful for the husband who’s okay with my beauty needs. I’m thankful for the familiar faces I run into while at the salon and the new friends I sometimes make.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wonderful and unique ways we are each made. I pray we would see each other as beautiful talented gifts, with a special purpose for You, Amen.

 

 

Friends Who Bake

15 holiday treatsA few days ago when I arrived at Bible study, I was greeted by a delicious bag of goodies. A few days later, I was tempted by a counter filled with scrumptious holiday cookies in the lobby at church (I did give in to this temptation), and moments ago, I was pleasantly surprised by one of Santa’s helpers dropping off mouth watering homemade sweet treats. (Pause as I lick my fingers and wipe crumbs from my face)

16 Heb 13-16

 

I’m thankful for those who have been gifted with the ability and desire to bake. I’m thankful for those who share what they bake with those not gifted with the ability or desire to bake. That would most definitely be me. (the no ability or desire!)

I’m thankful for those who spend many hours and lots of money to make delightful holidays treats to be shared with friends and family.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the many gifts and talents You have given to us. I pray we would use them for the good of others, Amen.

 

Home

15 pillowsTo me, a home is a place where you feel comfortable and safe. A place to gather with family and friends. A place to keep your stuff. A place where you can just be yourself.

I like to be cozy when I’m in my home. As soon as I get home from a day out and about, doing this and that, I like to get my PJ’s on, even if it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

I’m thankful for the home God has allowed me to live in. I’m thankful for the many wonderful ways God provides for us to be here. I’m thankful for the family He allows me to live in the home with. I’m thankful for the floors to scrub, toilets to clean and windows to wash.

15 John 14-2-3

Have you ever tried to picture what the room Jesus is preparing for you in Heaven will look like? The room you will have in God’s house?! It blows my mind to think I will someday live eternally with God in His home! I think my room will be filled with kitties and squirrels with a rainbow across the ceiling and a heater (turned up high) hanging down in the center of the room. There will definitely be a lot of pillows and blankets to cuddle up with when I take my mid-afternoon naps too. What do you imagine your room will look like?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the eternal room in heaven being prepared for all believers. I pray all believers would recognize the urgency in spreading Your word those who do not know or believe, so they too may have a room with You one day, Amen.

 

Rest

9 restingUnder normal circumstances, my favorite time of day is bedtime. I enjoy a good nights sleep. I’m one of the few, it seems, who needs and looks forward to, a full eight to nine hours of sleep. I appreciate sleep so much, that I often anticipate it throughout the day. Then when my head hits the pillow, I’m out within minutes, if not sooner. Often, my husband says I fall asleep while he’s talking to me.

The rest I’ve experienced today, I can’t say I find enjoyable. Having a lazy day in bed watching television all day is a fun way to rest. Staying in bed because you’re sick and your body aches is not a reason I would like to stay in bed. Why are kids always so good at sharing their germs, especially with mom?!

9 Genesis 2 2-3

I’m thankful God made our bodies with a need to rest. I’m thankful God modeled for us that it’s okay to rest after hard work. In fact, he commanded it.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

I find my to-do list gets longer and longer each week, with very little sense of accomplishment, especially this time of year. I have decorating to do, gifts to buy, hide, find and wrap and parties to attend. I’d like to have a new dress or shoes to wear to one of these parties, but that’s not likely to happen.

God makes it very clear with the 4th commandment; we are to take time to rest. I don’t think God expects us to all take Sunday off and do nothing, like they did in the Old Testament. I think we are simply to make time, weekly, to rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Take time out to fellowship with one another and share what we see God doing in our life. When was the last time you stopped to enjoy your hard work and the people God has placed in your life?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for allowing us time to rest. I pray we would set the to-do list aside from time to time and enjoy what You have allowed us to accomplish, Amen.

 

 

 

 

The Church

8 church peopleI used to look forward to the weekend because it meant time to catch up on sleep and be lazy. Now I look forward to the weekend because I get to hang out with my church family Sunday morning. I find myself making excuses to be there for both services. I do enjoy sleeping in, but if I only go to the second service, I’ll miss seeing half of my church family. I don’t want to miss seeing anyone! I love my church family!

I’m thankful for my church family because….

  • they love me for who I am
  • they comfort me when I’m feeling down
  • they inspire me when I’m feeling defeated
  • they pray for me, even when I don’t ask
  • they praise God along side me
  • they worship God with me, even though I sing off key
  • they thank God for the gifts He has given me
  • they encourage & support me & my family during our trials
  • they help me be accountable to God
  • they point me to God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit
  • they allow me to pray for them
  • they offer guidance through God’s Word

Sunday mornings are the best! First I have the privilege of talking to a few to find out how their week went and maybe share what’s going on in my corner of the world. Then when the service starts, I get to praise and worship God together with everyone as one body, which is my favorite part of the morning. Especially when they sing one of my many favorite worship songs. What’s one of your favorite songs to sing in church?

8 1Cor 12-12

During the sermon I feel like a little kid having a story read to me. It’s awesome! The best part about the sermon lately is we have a different person preaching each week. I know some people don’t like that, they need consistency, but I love hearing different peoples perspectives. Each person has different stories to share about how God is speaking to them through His Word. To me, a great sermon is hearing God’s Word as well as something from the heart of the speaker. What do you enjoy about the sermon?

I’m thankful God uses the church, to bring different people together. People who, outside of the church, would never cross paths. He brings people of all ages, talents, stages in life and areas of the world together to be unified in Him, with one purpose, to love & worship Him.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for creating a place where we can come together to worship & praise You. I pray we would hear You during the sermon, regardless of who is speaking, Amen.

Family

6family-treeI’m thankful for the family I have that live outside the walls of my home. It’s comforting to know that when things get overwhelming or seem confining, I can reach outside my home to others, who are also my family, for help.

Family are the people in your life that you don’t get to choose (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc). They’re the people God places in your life. I’ve learned from experience, that God does not randomly place people in your life. There’s a purpose, a reason, behind each person in your life. Whether you meet them at the check-out counter or know them for a life time. Either you are to be a help to them, or them to you, or maybe you are to experience something together. Regardless, there is a reason each person you encounter is in your life.

6 1Tim 5-8

I love my family because we get to experience life together on a more intimate level. There are times when I need help or encouragement, like when my husband was ill, and they offered support and their unconditional love. There are other times when they looked to me for prayers or help when going through something tuff. Then there are those times when we come together to celebrate a happy occasion or lean on one anther when devastation hits.

There are times when families don’t get along. You have different opinions or thoughts about things, so you chose to distance yourself from each other. Sometimes we need to remember it’s not important that everyone agrees with us. We each have our own opinions and sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree. Different ideas is a wonderful thing, otherwise things would be boring. Who in your family do you need to reach out to and reconnect?

6 Romans 12-10

God calls us to love one another, even when we know their flaws and have seen them at their worst. I’m thankful for the family God placed in my life. These are the people God gifted in a special way just for me. Only He knows what gift that is and when it will be used. It’s as if each family member has a special hidden gift for me. How has someone in your family helped you in a time of need?

There are also times when God gifts me in special ways so I can be of help to my family. Like when my mom was diagnosed with Cancer and I was able to care for her and be what my family needed at the time. How has God enabled you to help someone in your family?

I’m looking forward to living life with my family, as we, together, experience the gifts God has placed in our lives.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for each family member you placed in our life. I pray we would recognize the ways you have gifted them. I also pray we would boldly use the gifts you give us to help them when needed, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Children

4 parentingWhile I was growing up, I always thought kids younger than me were weird, gross and had a funny odor. This stuck with me as I became a young adult. I was never the one to offer to hold a baby, and if you asked me to, I would look at you as if you were crazy, as I said ‘No’. I didn’t even want to be near a baby, or anyone much younger than me. I just couldn’t relate.

The first fulltime job I had while I was studying Accounting was as a Bookkeeper for a daycare center. I thought, ‘no big deal, I’ll be back in an office. I won’t even notice the little smelly people with runny noses’. That didn’t work out very well for me. You see, my desk was in the front lobby so the parents could check in with me as they dropped their kids off. I was able to see every screaming kid as they walked in. Lucky me!

For the first month or so I didn’t seem to notice the little monsters as they arrived. I was busy learning the routine of my job and putting names to faces, parent’s faces that is. I had no desire to get to know the strange little people being carried in.

4 Mat 19-14

Then it happened. One of the little monsters walked over and handed me something. My heart melted! I don’t remember what I was handed, probably because I was hypnotized by the adorable little voice. In that moment my heart changed. I suddenly had a strong desire to know more about the little people who spent their days there with me. After that day, you could always find me on my breaks in the toddler room. Actually, I think I spent more time in that room than at my desk.

I’m thankful God changed my heart toward children. I’m thankful God gave me the gift of three beautiful children (2 daughters and 1 son). I love how each of my children are completely different from each other and I get to be at center stage watching them grow and change as they experience life. They each help me see the world in different ways and I am incredibly thankful for that.

Sure, there are some extremely difficult things to go through as a parent, but the joy, laughter and fun far out ways those times. I simply need to trust that God gave me these 3 to raise because I have what they need. I also need to remember that God will enable me to be what they need when they need it.

4 Eph 6-4

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of children and the way You allow us to teach them. I pray we would courageously raise them in a way pleasing and honoring to You, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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