Scripture Memory Team – January 15, 2015

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 My verse for January 15th is from Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV):

“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.”

In late December of 2014 I received an email from Living Proof Ministries about participating as a guest blogger on their website as part of the Scripture Memory Team for 2015. I was thrilled and excited and everything in between! I began to pray about what God would have me share and He led me to the theme of seasons, which has been a constant in my life for quite a while now. It’s the beginning of a new year and I had been reading through Ecclesiastes in my devotional time in the mornings.  Below is a copy of the post from the Living Proof Ministries website, and the link to the post is HERE.  The beginning portion is from Beth Moore and then I share my guest post below. I pray God will use His Word to strengthen your life. 

Hey, everybody! You are in the exact right place to submit your Verse 2!

This is such a fun first for SSMT! Remember in the SSMT informational post when I told that, while I’ll still be doing all the SSMT posts on the 1st of every month, the one on every 15th would be written by various sisters in our blog community? Welcome to the first one! It took me about 5 seconds to decide who we should ask to kick off our SSMT guest posts. My beloved friend, Jan Morton, has been an active member of this community from its inception. I fell in love with her by watching her interact with countless women in the comment line, ministering to them and encouraging them and mothering them and making them laugh. And through that connection, we became personal friends. Our SSMT guest bloggers throughout 2015 will be from various age groups but this one happens to be right at my age and in a very similar season in her personal life and serving life. Those of you who have been around a while know that Jan Morton became so dearly loved in this community that we early on named her the “Mayor of Siestaville.” So, without further hesitation, please grant me the honor of introducing you to one of the mightiest women in the faith that I know. Jan, we are so honored to have you host us today! Thank you for investing in us!

GaJan-Dec2014Happy 2015 Siestas! This is such a privilege for me to share with our SSMT. I adore this community! My name is Jan Morton. I’m a pastor’s wife from Georgia. [I am also “GJ” for Gran Jan/Georgia Jan.] I’ve been married to my husband Gary for 37 years. Only 20 years old when we got married¸ we were way too young but who knew? ☺ We have two grown married sons, two sweet daughters-in-love, and 5 delightful grandchildren ages 6, 4 ½ , 4 ½, 2 ½, and 17 months – Gran Jan’s JOY! I love gardening, singing in choir/praise team, reading, quilting, and serving in the women’s ministry of my church. I work in our local school system (26 years now) as the Administrative Assistant to our Superintendent. A new ministry I’m involved in at my church is called Taste & See, a mentoring, encouragement time for women. Cooking and conversation! We get in the kitchen and wonderful things happen. Isn’t the kitchen a great place to gather? It is at the Morton home!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” ESV

The word says: For everything [it says everything], there is a season and a time for every matter/purpose/activity under heaven. Everything – the entirety of; a great deal, especially of something very important, EVERYTHING!

God has been drawing me to the theme of seasons, and that is what I want to share with you today. All of life relates to seasons. The beauty found in the four seasons of a calendar year to the seasons of our lives. I’m in the season of life known as the empty nest. Just me and my man like when we had “only just begun.” I’m loving this season, especially being a grandmother. Looking back as a 57 year old woman can do…I can truthfully say I’ve learned in every season of my life. I pray to grow old gracefully and stay relevant and young at heart.

What is your season of womanhood right now? Are you in SPRING – a young woman in school or just beginning a career or education or newly married? How about SUMMER – in the “zone” raising children or building a career or marriage? Maybe you’re in AUTUMN – children grown, and you may be looking toward retirement? Or perhaps you find yourself in WINTER – your senior years as a woman, perhaps a widow, reflecting on past seasons and all that God has brought you through.

WHEREVER YOU ARE, BE ALL THERE. This is what God is showing me because in the busyness of life I can easily lose focus. Don’t be longing for another season and miss what’s going on around you now. This deception is one of the biggest lies of the enemy of our souls; the distraction and discontentment with where we are today. Embrace your season: SEASON – SAVOR EVERY AVAILABLE SENT OPPORTUNITY NOW! Some are more enjoyable than others, sure they are! Just as changes in seasons bring mosquitoes in summer or storms in winter, there are extremes in our lives. Some of you empty nesters may suddenly find yourself caring for both your grandchildren and aging parents. Some of you young women may be longing for marriage. Some of you stay at home moms or single moms may have to go into the workforce for a season to pay the bills. If our entire lives were one continuous season we wouldn’t have the changes we desperately need to help us grow. As much as I love to garden, if every day were spring or summer, I wouldn’t have autumn to harvest, or winter to dream and plan.

This old gal has learned some things in 57 years of seasons:
• Our constant, never-changing, faithful Lord Jesus is with us in every SEASON, in everything.
• Sometimes seasons overlap – in fact, several might descend on you at once. Sometimes joy and sorrow meet in a season.
• You may think springtime has come, but unseasonal cold snaps may occur and you better be ready. Memorizing God’s Word is a lifeline.
• Ask God to give you a strong focus in your season today and receive it as the gift it is, embracing the wonder. God will provide your daily bread.

“Which is the happiest season of life?” was asked of an older woman. She replied: “When spring comes, and the flower buds are breaking through I think, ‘How beautiful is spring.’ And then when summer comes and covers the trees with heavy foliage and singing birds are among the branches, I think, ‘How beautiful is summer.’ When autumn arrives with golden fruit, and the leaves bear the gorgeous colors, I think, ‘How beautiful is autumn.’ And then comes winter, and there is neither foliage nor fruit, and I look up through the leafless branches as I never could until now, and see the stars shining in God’s home.

Embrace whatever season you are in now. RIGHT NOW. Don’t long for another season. I know the days may be long, but at my age, the years seem so short. So wherever you are, be all there. Because of Jesus, one day we will be “SEASONED TO PERFECTION” and live with Christ for eternity. Let’s get there one day at a time and savor our seasons as God wills. Because He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

GRANJAN

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Scripture Memory Team – January 1, 2015

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Happy New Year! Every other year Living Proof Ministries in Houston, Texas sponsors a “Scripture Memory Team.” I have participated each time and 2015 will be TEAM 4! The first was 2009, then 2011, then 2013, and now 2015! The plan is so do-able and also very motivating. You commit to memorize two verses (of your own choosing) each month, for a total of 24 for the year. I will be posting my verses here each month on my blog. All the instructions to participate are found here: 2015 SCRIPTURE MEMORY TEAM

My verse for January 1st is from 1 Peter 1:3 in the NIV –

His divine power has given us everything we need
for a godly life through our knowledge of Him
who called us by His own glory and goodness.

I love this verse and I’m praying His divine power will give me everything I need for 2015 – to live a godly life in Him – through my knowledge of Him and the truth that he called me by His own glory and goodness! AMEN!

GRANJAN

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A Year to Remember…2014!

Here I sit on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014. This has been a very blessed year for me and mine. We have all been healthy and strong. My husband is leading worship with more joy and passion than I’ve ever known him to, and he takes such good care of me and our home and family. Our church is growing with lots of new young families. Both my boys have experienced growth in their lives – Jeremy in ministry as a pastor and Jonathan with leadership awards and job growth in his career. My daughters-in-law are delightful – loving my sons and taking good care of their homes and children. What more could this mama desire for her family? I received a promotion and began a new job June 1st within my same organization. My parents and sisters and their families are all well. My heart is full…

Sometimes when I have the time, (or just because it brings me joy) I will scroll through the pictures on my iPhone. I did just that earlier this afternoon and picked out one (sometimes more) special favorite for every month from 2014. Letting pictures do my blogging has become common for me, so here I go again.

January 2014
Atlanta was hit with a huge snowstorm in January. This is the view from the passenger seat of my husband’s truck as we drove back home from the airport. My flight (and all flights) were cancelled for several days. I was meeting my friend and we were scheduled to fly to California to appear on the “Wheel of Fortune!” YES!!! Hopefully we will be rescheduled in 2015. We are ready to buy vowels and spin that wheel! 

January

February 2014
This is a picture of my youngest grandchild, Abe that was on the big screens in the church where my son Jeremy (Abe’s father) is the Pastor. My husband and I were there for a special service of dedication of Abe’s life. It was also my husband’s birthday. It was a great weekend – our first time to hear our son preach since he began his ministry at First Baptist Cartersville in September 2013, just one month after Abe was born. A very special weekend.

Feb

March 2012
This is my mom on her birthday! My sisters and I took her to lunch at a fun Mexican restaurant and celebrated her life and had a great time. We always do. I love my mom and I’m thankful for her faithful, consistent life. No drama! Just love and support.

March

April 2014
In April I went to Callaway Gardens with a dear friend, Sharon Riley. We attended the Birds of Prey Show and I am still tickled pink with the timing of this picture of a Great Horned Owl. I literally stuck my iPhone up and snapped the shot as this great bird flew over my head. The bird’s talons touched the top of my head as it flew over…wow!

April

May 2014
May was so special for my three oldest grandchildren! Zeke graduated from Pre-Kindergarten, and my 2nd and 3rd grandchildren (Madie and Jackson) celebrated their fourth birthdays just two weeks apart. (Each of my daughters-in-law had children born in May of 2010.)

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June 2014
A big summer shower produced some GIANT puddles here at the Morton Farm. The weather cleared and was great for puddle jumping and running followed by s’mores. This was a special memory and these two grandboys had a blast together. 

June

July 2014
The Fourth of July was a great week! I was off work and the weather was unseasonably cool and my boys and daughters-in-law and all five grands were here. We had a big breakfast together and then they all fished in the pond. This picture was impromptu and has become so precious. I have it framed at work and here at home and on my computer desktop. I am one blessed Gran Jan! 

July

August 2014
August 22-23 was a weekend that had been planned and prayed for since April of 2013! Our church was blessed to host Priscilla Shirer of Going Beyond Ministries for a women’s conference. All 2,200 seats of our church were filled and we had overflow seating in the choir loft. It was a glorious weekend that I will always remember. Many lives were touched and I pray that eternity will bear the results of this weekend. 

August

September 2014
Little Miss Emery, grandbaby number four, celebrated her second birthday with a Minnie Mouse themed party. Here she is with her daddy (my son), and sweet mama. (I made Emery’s birthday shirt!) It was so much fun and she is absolutely precious. She and big brother Jackson actually spent the night last night here with me and Pop. We made cookies, watched Frozen and had a big time. Gran Jan’s JOY.

September

October 2014
My sweet man and I went to the beach for a few days in October. We rested, ate delicious seafood, walked on the beach, shopped, and had a wonderful time. This time away together was way long overdue. We also visited a brand new church called Sunrise City Church in Fort Walton Beach that is being planted by two young men and their wives and two other couples that we’ve had the privilege to know most of their young lives. It was a great trip with special memories.

October October2014

November 2014
Back in September my best friend Lanie and I had a “sew-in” and I made these Christmas jammies for the grands. I gave them to all five of them on Thanksgiving and they donned them for a picture for me! It just doesn’t get any sweeter than this! More Gran Jan’s JOY!

November

December 2014
This picture was just last week on Christmas evening after our family tradition of breakfast on Christmas Day night. I love my family. As I’ve looked back over my camera roll today the themes of faith and family are everything to me. This blog is a record of the legacy I pray to leave for my grandchildren especially. I am very humbly grateful for God’s grace on my life and I sincerely mean that.

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No party tonight here at home, but lots of celebrating in my heart! We have always preferred a quiet New Year’s Eve. I like to think about the year that is leaving and anticipate the dawning of a brand new year. May the Good Lord bless you all in 2015 with His great love. He is so faithful!

GRANJAN

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A Time For Everything

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, and the first verse of Chapter 3 may be the most well known passage, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.”  Everything – all of life translates to seasons. From the beauty found in the four seasons of a year to the way the seasons of our lives change.  Everything.  To everything there is a season. 

Autumn may be my favorite season on the calendar, but I look forward to Winter and the joy the Christmas season brings, then there is the anticipation of a new year in just four weeks. I really love gardening in the Spring and Summer too. Each season brings its own beauty and joy. I want to savor some family memories here on Gran Jan’s Joy, so I’m going to post some pictures from our lives for the past several months…seasons and times for which I am so thankful.

Summer Family Breakfast with Four Generations at the Table!

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Zeke and Madie in the cornfield across the road from our farm.

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Sweet Emery in a dress I made for her…

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A trip to the Farmers Market with the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables…

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Gran Jan’s JOY – all five of them!

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Riding backroads…Georgia Red Clay

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My oldest son and his family enjoying time at our pond…

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My youngest son and his son fishing…

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Grandyounguns…there is nothing sweeter!  I love that they are all so close in age.

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Moonflowers from my summer garden…it was dark by the time the bloom unfurled.

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Sweet peach ice cream on a hot summer evening…

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Summer storms and rain puddles for grandsons to jump!

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Homemade Fig Preserves…

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Front Porch Swings on Summer Saturday Mornings…

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My dad and my youngest grandson Abe…I love this picture so much.

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Zeke’s First Day of Kindergarten…that season came too soon!

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Sitting by the pond and the firepit my husband built for me on a cool summer evening…

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Sweetest (and best) little soccer player…Jackson Morton!

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A ride with my parents and this…the house my Dad lived in when he was 15…a true memory lane trip.

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A painting party with some sweet friends…girlfriend therapy…

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Baby quilts I made for new grandchildren born to two special friends, Pat Boutwell & Joan Falldine…

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Emery’s Minnie Mouse 2nd Birthday Party…Delightful! (I made her shirt, made me so happy!)

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My youngest son ordained as a deacon at our church…no words to describe my joy.

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1 & 2 Thessalonians Bible Study, “For not all have faith, but the LORD is faithful.”

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A trip to the beach in October with my sweetie…it was so special!

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While at the beach we attended Sunrise City Church – a highlight of the Fall Season for us.

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Meeting Eric Metaxas at Covenant Care’s fundraiser and getting my book signed…

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A text with grandgirl Miss Madie sporting a GranJan creation…day made!

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White violas in a strawberry jar…one of my Fall traditions…

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Coming home to find love notes from my husband all over the house…what a blessed woman I am!

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Fall cotton fields…I love living in the country…

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Christmas dresses for my grandgirls, made at a weekend sew-in with my BFF Lanie!

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Babysitting our youngest grandchild, little Abe, two weekends in a row this past month!

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These pictures cover lots of time from this past Summer and Fall and each one is a sweet memory for me. I’m so thankful for my family and the JOY they bring to me. I’m also thankful for this season of my life…grandmothering these young ones. I can truly say I’ve loved and learned in every season of my life and I pray that continues to hold true for me as long as God leaves me here. He is so faithful.

GRANJAN

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Happy 30th Birthday Jonathan – Your Mama Loves You!

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Happy 30th Birthday Jonathan!

October 22, 1984! A beautiful October morning in Athens, Georgia 30 years ago today when you made your entrance into the world! “I bet you’re hoping for a little girl,” folks at church would say.  I would answer back, “No, I’m hoping for a healthy child and God knows exactly what his Daddy and I need.” Yes God knew, and he blessed us with YOU – a beautiful healthy baby boy we named Jonathan.  Jonathan means “God has given, God’s gift.” Indeed. IMG_8106You were a good baby even though you had your “days and nights” mixed up for a while…I enjoyed those peaceful days taking care of you and your 3-year-old big brother Jeremy, and your sweet daddy got up with you most nights.IMG_8105Sunday, December 30, 1984 was the day we publicly dedicated you to the Lord and declared to raise you up in a Christian home. This was Central Baptist Church where your dad served as the Music & Youth Pastor.  Dr. Ben Glosson is holding  you in this picture. IMG_8104You loved music at an early age and would sit at the piano and play softly – never banging on the keys, just moving your chubby little fingers up and down the keyboard.  As you grew older many nights you would go to sleep listening to music. God put the gift of music in your heart at a very young age.IMG_8103You started walking at 9 1/2  months old. Your brother was so excited he insisted we call your daddy to come home from the church so we could all celebrate! And so we did! IMG_8102Your big brother loved you so much – and he still does! Psalm 133:1 was our brotherly verse – “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” IMG_8081

IMG_8097Here are some of my favorite pictures of you…you were such an easy child to raise, with an easygoing temperament and you especially  loved your sleep! [I believe that is still true!] Many nights you would say, “I go night night,” and you’d get your blanket and go to bed…”IMG_8100IMG_8099IMG_8098Your daddy was so proud of you and this picture was taken at church one Sunday. You loved to come to “big church” and find your daddy there. Just like your kids do today…IMG_8101You were definitely a mama’s boy for a good while…and I loved every minute of that season, it was just too short!IMG_8089We moved to Houston County Georgia when you were just a little over 3 years old, so really this is home to you and your dad and I have thanked the Lord many times for the privilege to raise you and Jeremy in one community, in one church…  This is you with our Bassett Hound Beulah.  You loved that dog so much!IMG_8094You always made friends so easily and loved going to school at Second Baptist Kindergarten and Bonaire Elementary when you were young. Here you are on your first day of Kindergarten!IMG_8095IMG_8082IMG_8096Sports were a big part of your life early on and you easily won the “50 yard dash” on Field Day every year [except one…and we won’t talk about that]! You could run so FAST! Here you are with friends and neighbors Jackie and Miles Bell .  I love that Jackie is now our dentist…another joy of living in a community for a long time – lifelong friends!IMG_8092Birthday parties with the Morton family tradition of a “Giant Cookie!”  You remind me so much of your son Jackson in this photo!IMG_8093Your 13th Birthday – October 22, 1997 – officially a teenager! You were a Bonaire Middle School student and getting more handsome every year – loving life which included sports and friends and family time!IMG_8107IMG_8090Football, Basketball, Soccer, Track…you played them ALL and excelled! You were the first “Mr. Jaguar” at BMS! I loved it – because your good grades counted too! [I’m a proud mom – still am!] BMS SPortsHunting season was a good time for you and your dad and brother – love this of you three in camo!IMG_8091You started showing more interest in music and began playing guitar – and we are so proud of your musical gifts! IMG_8085High school years came with more sports! Your dad and I LOVED watching you run up and down the field like the wind…and especially when you caught a pass and scored a touchdown!IMG_8080Such a handsome young man – all dressed up in his tuxedo! Still handsome today!IMG_8083Lifelong friends with the Nash Family – this was a quail hunt with Jack, your dad, Jeremy, you, & Ben Nash. Good times – your dad always said you were a good shot..Quail HuntYou and your brother on the blue sofa – the one that y’all finally BROKE from flying down the hall, turning and landing on it in mid-air.  This was one of those rare occasions when you decided to share…[Psalm 133:1]IMG_8088High school graduation, Warner Robins High – Class of 2003! Happy times and with none other than your buddy Tal Talton! More good times to celebrate! IMG_8084I always believed that God had someone special chosen just for you…and this beautiful young woman came into your life at just the right time…Miss Erin Lee Hutto, the answer to our prayers for your life and future. IMG_8087Your wedding day came before your dad and I were ready to let you leave the nest, but what a beautiful day it was! June 7, 2008 – and we loved that you wrote a song especially for your bride and sang it to her…Erin&JonathanHere we are celebrating YOU today – your 30 years of life, but now you know the JOY of celebrating life. because on May 24, 2010 YOU became a daddy when your son was born! You have embraced that role with more passion than I ever imagined – you are a wonderful father to Jackson and Emery! We are so proud of you!JW&JHere you are at the Morton Farm teaching your son how to fish.  My boy and his boy – pure JOY!PhotoSweet Emery Caroline – your girl! We love her so much and she adores her Daddy too!EMERY-JWYour beautiful family – a wonderful wife and two awesome children, a son and a daughter – God has blessed you so much. It has been a JOY to see you grow into the man you are today.  Yes, you are a man, but you will ALWAYS and FOREVER be my baby boy. JonathanFamily-2013

IMG_8113Happy Birthday Jonathan – I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH!

~Mom

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Pastor Appreciation at SBCWR!

October is Pastor Appreciation Month! Second Baptist Church Warner Robins is blessed with seven awesome pastors and they are all featured in the video below! As a Pastor’s wife, I say thank you to everyone that had a part in this (Kevin Cher, Lindsey Myers and others).  

I wanted to share this video to introduce them to you! I am married to wonderful worship/executive pastor Gary Morton and he has served at Second Baptist, Warner Robins, Georgia for over 26 years.  WE LOVE OUR CHURCH! Thank you also to Pastors Jim, Mike S, Matthew, Dawson, Jimmy, Mike D, and Ben! You are a blessing to so many folks! Thank you for leading and loving us!

Love & Blessings,

Gran Jan

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The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst

I’m in a new job – I started June 1, so tomorrow will be four months. It’s a great job but a hard one. I’ve been working with my current employer for 25 years, but this is a new position – working as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools. Even the title is, well, long. It has been so hard yet at the same time so rewarding. I’m learning so many new things and although it is challenging, I’m discovering that being stretched means I’m still flexible…and that is rewarding in and of itself.

I received a gift card a couple of weeks ago from Tammy Slayton for the Lifeway Bookstore. (Tammy was the Event Coordinator for the recent Priscilla Shirer Live conference recently held at Second Baptist Church, and she is a delight!) I went to our local Lifeway store and purchased a new book with my gift card. The title appealed to me because of the busyness of my new job and all that accompanies long hours… The book is by Lysa TerKeurst entitled The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.  Click on the title here THE BEST YES to read more about the book and order one for yourself.

This list below was featured on K-Love radio one morning last week with the author herself reading them. She is a marvelous speaker and I hope to hear her in person one day.  This book, along with what the Lord is speaking to me in my time with Him is more of the “Sacred Echo” in my heart and life.  I pray it encourages you too…I love her use of the word “seasons.”  And as I said, I’m in a very busy season of life right now.  Good, strong, blessed, healthy, and thankful – but busy.

TEN WAYS TO GRACIOUSLY SAY NO WHEN YOU FEEL PRESSURED TO SAY YES:

Personal:
1. While my heart wants to say yes, yes, yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.

2. I am honored by your request but I’m in a season of refocusing my priorities and have committed not to add anything new right now.

3. After living at an unhealthy breakneck pace for too long, I’m learning to realistically assess my capacity. Though I would love to say yes, the reality of my limitations means I must say no this time.

4. I so appreciate you asking me, but I must be brave and decline this opportunity. Saying no is hard for me but necessary in this season. Thank you for understanding.

5. I’ve promised my family not to add any new commitments to my schedule right now. Thank you for our friendship that allows me to be honest with my realities.

Professional:
6. Thank you for thinking of me. Your project sounds wonderful. However, as much as I would love to be involved, I can’t give your project the attention it deserves right now.

7. While I would love to connect about your new project, I’ve discovered this is one of those activities I must give up while trying to ____________________ (write my book, start my business, stick to my project, etc.) Saying yes would just enable my unhealthy habit of procrastination. Thank you for understanding and helping me push through to the finish line.

8. There is nothing more that I love than helping others in my field get started. Unfortunately, I get so many requests for this that I’m no longer able to meet in person. So, I’ve created this attached document with my best advice. (Create a standard PDF for instances like this so you only have to type out your advice one time.)

9. While I don’t have time for a lunch appointment, I’d love to connect for a few minutes over the phone. I can talk from 8-8:30 AM.

10. Thank you so much for caring enough about me to want my involvement. Unfortunately, I’m not able to participate this time. But I’m certainly cheering for your continued success.

Blessings to you on this last day of September. We are entering the sweetness of my favorite “season” on the calendar…Autumn. I hope earlier nightfall and cooler temperatures will find me reading more of this book and embracing the truths Mrs. TerKeurst so wonderfully shares.

GRANJAN

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Priscilla Shirer – Beyond Beyond!

psl - church signI still remember what I was doing that beautiful Spring morning (April 2013) when I “got the call” from Lifeway! “Hello, Jan? Would Second Baptist Church Warner Robins, Georgia, be available as a host site for a Priscilla Shirer Live Conference in 2014? ” Let me think….YES! I had been working in my garden and I was taking a little break to drive around our pond in my golf cart.  I nearly drove the cart into the pond with excitement as I called to share the news with my friend and women’s ministry team partner, Cindy Schult. I even asked her if she was sitting down! Our team had been praying for a couple of years about hosting an event and the time finally came when we decided it was time to move on…God’s timing is always perfect. What seemed a long time away from the call actually occurred last weekend (August 22-23, 2014) as 2,000 women gathered to worship together and hear the teaching of one of God’s gifted servants, Mrs. Priscilla Evans Shirer.

I wanted to give a recap here and also share what a joyous journey it was for me, Cindy Schult and Teresa Thomas, women’s ministry leaders from Second Baptist.  Our Lifeway Coordinator for the conference was Tammy Slayton, and we loved her within 3 minutes of our first meeting. (I can’t say enough about how wonderful every single aspect was for our team. Lifeway was a JOY in every way!) Cindy is a woman of  great detail and handled every detail to the fullest. Teresa was our Prayer Coordinator and she was amazing. Her weekly prayer updates were a highlight for me and many others. I’ll never forget the night we met to pray over every seat in our church! We also had two young women, Kala Raines and Lindsey Myers who helped with all things social media and Google docs.  Love those two girls!!! Many many many of our ladies served in so many ways – hospitality, food service, encouragers, bookstore, and on and on.  God knows who they are and I pray He rewards them for their faithfulness to serve.

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All the tickets were GONE several months before the event, so Lifeway asked if we could seat women in the choir! YES! This is a view from the choir loft. (Our awesome photographer was Keith Thomas, husband to our prayer coordinator Teresa.)

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We had a sweet time of fellowship with Priscilla during the break Saturday morning. She is so kind and genuine. She even expressed how at home she felt among us and she loved the diversity of the women attending the conference!  We loved on Priscilla and showed her true Southern hospitality! (That’s Cindy and me standing, and Teresa, Priscilla, and our pastor’s wife Stephanie seated.) 

PSL - Anthony

I love this picture so much! Priscilla also enjoyed the worship led by her brother Anthony Evans.  My favorite song of his was “The Mercy Tree.” His energy in leading worship was contagious – it was so awesome to hear 2000 women singing praises to Jesus!

Me and Priscilla - first arrivedHere’s me and sweet Priscilla right as the event was beginning Friday  night! She is adorable. Look at that smile!

psl - from sound boothHere’s a view from the lighting booth way up high that my friend Amy Yaughn took. I loved seeing the church “full to the brim” with women praising and praying together.

Priscilla shared “THE FIVE P’s OF BIBLE STUDY” Saturday morning.  She uses this as she studies the Word of God for herself and in her devotional time as well.  Here they are:

1. POSITION yourself to hear from God.

2. PORE over the passage and PARAPHRASE the major points.

3. PULL out the spiritual principles.

4. POSE the questions. 

5. PLAN obedience and PIN down the date. 

Here are also some “nuggets” that I wrote in my notes:

  • God does not just speak to be heard, He speaks to be obeyed.
  • God’s sovereignty allows us to be in the place where He can use us and show us His power.
  • God Margins: the space between my experience and His majesty!
  • The enemy tries to keep us from what God has for us because He knows our position in Christ.
  • Fear causes us to forget the faithfulness of God.
  • The enemy can’t form the weapon if we don’t hand it to him.
  • From Exodus 14:13-14 ~
  •      BE FEARLESS – do not engage in fear in any way
  •      BE STILL – plant your feet – stand firm
  •      BE WATCHFUL – see the salvation of the Lord all along the journey
  •      BE QUIET – train yourself not to open your mouth in complaint

There are dozens more pictures and comments on the Priscilla Shirer Live Warner Robins Facebook page!  Click on this link to see them: PSL – WARNER ROBINS

I am so thankful to the Good Lord for allowing me to be a part of this event and to serve the women who attended.  I pray still that lives,  homes, marriages, and families will be impacted for eternity as a result!  

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
forever and ever. Amen.

GRANJAN

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My Story – Blessed Assurance – Jesus is Mine!

Today is the 29th anniversary of the day I became a believer in Jesus Christ (July 7, 1985). One of my sweetest memories is the day my Granny Maloy shared her story of salvation with me – so today I am re-posting from my blog archives below where I wrote “my story” five years ago on July 7, 2009. I want my grandchildren (and everyone who will) to be able to read about the day Gran Jan met Jesus. Because I love to tell this story…

Jan Morton

Please let me share the wonderful day that Heaven Came Down for me! It was 24 years ago today, on July 7, 1985. I was 27 years old…a young minister’s wife and stay-at-home-mother to two little boys who were not quite one year old, and not quite four years old, and the absolute joys of my heart. Here is my story… It was a Sunday morning and our routine was the same. As was his custom, my early-bird husband was already long gone to the church, and I was home getting myself and my two little fellas ready for church. Another “sameness” to the routine was the nagging doubt that had filled my heart for quite some time. I knew deep inside that something was just not right. My heart was heavy and unsettled. I was lacking peace…but I had lots of pride. After years of being a church member and A.G.G. (Always Good Girl), the realization that I was trusting my goodness and not His grace were ever before me. For you see – I had never seen myself as lost. To be found you must first be lost. I was a card-carrying, rule-following, obedient hypocrite. But on that hot summer day of July 7th as the Sunday morning service was nearing an end, I could take it no more! The plagues of doubt were destroying me…but the Holy Spirit of God reached down that morning and brought the deliverance I was desperate for. I quickly slipped out of the choir and made my way to the front of the church. I took the Pastor by the hand. I told him that I had been going through the motions – and that I had never truly accepted the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for my sins. I had lots of “cranial” knowledge but no “cardio” knowledge. My head was full – my heart was empty! The surprised Pastor told me to have a seat on the pew and fill out a card to “join the church!” I gently told him that was what had gotten me off track years before…and this time I wasn’t joining the church, I was joining with Jesus! I turned aside and knelt down at the altar of that precious church and for the first time in my life realized my lost soul needed a Savior – a Redeemer – not a religious experience. I remember praying and asking Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart. My heavy heart was lightened, and the pride in “what would the church members say when they discovered the Music & Youth Pastor’s wife wasn’t even a Christian?” would worry me no more! Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! There’s an old hymn of the same title by J.W. Peterson that I absolutely love. Go here Heaven Came Down to listen to the festive melody that reminds me of a carousel at the fair!

1. Oh what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget.
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend, He met the need of my heart. Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Chorus: Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! When at the cross the Savior made me whole. My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day. Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

2. Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s family divine.
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made, when as a sinner I came.
Took of the offer, of grace He did proffer,
He saved me, O praise His dear name!

3. Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time.
I have a future in heaven for sure there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day, when at the cross I believed.
Riches eternal and blessings supernal, from His precious hand I received.

So on this my Spiritual Birthday, I wanted to share my joy with you. The joy of knowing Jesus and the blessed assurance that it isn’t about what I do – but about what He did! It isn’t about my works, but the wondrous exchange of His death for my life! Born on November 16…Born Again on July 7! (Pastor’s wives make such better church members when they get saved!) :)

Because He Lives,

GRANJAN

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Anniversary Week & Blackberry Cobbler Too!

It’s been a great week – Gary and I celebrated 37 years of marriage this past Wednesday on June 11th.  I’m thankful for my sweet husband…for the way he leads and loves. I had no idea as a young 19-year-old bride what a great man he was. I just knew I loved him and wanted to be his wife. God in His great plan for me unfolded a happy home that now includes two sons, two daughters-in-love, and five amazing grandchildren.  All because two young people fell in love and got married.  Here we are…about to begin our journey.  We’d only just begun…  I wish you could see Gary’s baby blue leisure suit because it matched the baby blue Pinto car.  He was also very proud of his white patent leather boots that matched his wide white belt.  And the platform wedge shoes I had on? They are back in style today!

PINTO

Today before church the discussion turned to cobblers as a group of us ladies were in the choir room.  Some of us cook the fruit, some don’t, some of us sweeten the fruit, some don’t.  All I know is last night I made a blackberry cobbler that my husband told me was the BEST I HAD EVER MADE! So I wanted to share my recipe that happens to be the way my mama and my Granny also made cobblers.  Starting with these beautiful berries right from my garden sure was wonderful!

Blackberries

BowlofBerries

I have posted my recipe for CHOCOLATE COBBLER on my blog as well as my recipe for PEACH COBBLER if you want to see those recipes.  The blackberry cobbler recipe below is identical to the peach cobbler recipe, but I didn’t take pictures while making it last night as our “Father’s Day Celebration” grew and Gran Jan had to hurry! [First it was just me and Gary and my mom and dad.  Then my younger sister Jo called and had a change of plans, so she came.  Next we heard from our son Jonathan and he and his wife and two children came, so the party of four quickly turned into a party of 9!]  It was great except for I sure missed my Cartersville Crew…

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

9 x 13 casserole dish
4 cups of fresh berries
4 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 stick of butter
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of milk (not skim)
1 cup of sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse berries and put in pan on stove with water and sugar to make a simple syrup.
Bring to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Melt 1 stick of butter and pour in casserole dish.
I use a wire whisk and mix sugar and self-rising flour well, then add the milk.
Whisk sugar, flour and milk until creamy and pour over butter.
DO NOT STIR!
Now ladle the cooked berries over the batter so they are evenly placed.
DO NOT STIR!
Slide into pre-heated oven and bake until bubbly and browned (about 45 minutes).
Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.
This has been a great weekend that began Saturday morning with coffee on the front porch and ended this evening with sitting in the swing by the pond while Gary fished a bit off the bank. There was also blackberry cobbler making, an awesome time of worship at church, playing with grandkids, honoring my dad and husband for Father’s Day today, and even weeding the garden!  Life’s simple pleasures really are the best, so don’t forget that vanilla ice cream on the cobbler… 
GRANJAN
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