"The Gift Shop" Week 1

October 29, 2010

Next week is November. It's official. CHRISTmas season will have begun. With that, I want to set aside Friday's as a special opportunity to feature unique gift ideas. I know that I struggle from time to time with what to give. I have a limited budget, but I want to give something that will be appreciated and not your "run of the mill" gift. So, here is the kick-off of  an Eight Week Series of Feature Friday.  The theme~ "The Gift Shop"!  I will try my best to include an item for children, women, and men each week.

For the children on your list how about this little number from Lily's Kids....


My kids have these, and we LOVE them! They are personalized for free and cost $24.98 - $29.98 depending on the size you order. If you watch, you can get them on sale around the holidays.

Now, I LOVE this little number for the ladies on your list. You know, the ones who have everything and need nothing. Super Cute! They are about $10. 
Now, for the man in your life. Oh boy. It can get a little difficult when you're trying to stay away from specific "hobby" related items (and yes, drinking beer is considered a hobby to some men). So, here is something that I think is cool and unique. If you haven't guessed, I love all things personalized. It costs about $12.98 from Lilian Vernon.

(Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any products listed. They are just things that I think are interesting.)

 "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35


Peeping "Dana"?

October 28, 2010

Have you ever been driving down the street at night through a neighborhood of gorgeous homes? They all have their lights on and you wonder what's going on inside? Dying for a peek of what it must look like? Then you see a house with it's curtains open and you slow down to soak in as much of the inside as you possibly can~ trying to get ideas of how others live and decorate? (Okay, if you're a guy reading this, you cannot relate. You'll just have to trust me on this one.) Well, that's kind of what it's like reading various blogs. If you haven't noticed them, on the right hand side of this page, toward the bottom under "Other Blogs That I Enjoy..." is a list of blogs that I actively read. Some are about home schooling, some have a more spiritual base, many are about Frugal Home Decor! My hobby! Oh yeah! I get to peek into the windows of the homes of all these women who are very much like me and steal their best ideas!

I was recently inspired to do a kitchen "decorate-over". I'm sorry that I don't have any "before" pics to share with you, but here are the afters. I know it doesn't seem like much to you, but the only money I spent was $11.99 for a set of 3 apothecary's that you'll see on top of the microwave. The re-do's purpose is to provide a more functional space that looks clean and neat! Mission accomplished.
The microwave HAD to stay where it is. No options. I have a small kitchen. There was a convection oven just to the right of the stove where the "coffee station" is now. By removing it I am sacrificing the oven and the convenience of it, BUT, I am gaining valuable counter space.

To the left of the stove is a picture frame that I intend to put pictures of people I actually know and hang it on the wall. Who says that you cannot have photos on the wall in your kitchen?

The "stand" next to the microwave is actually a cake stand that I had in the closet. It's base was white with blue snowflakes on it, so I only took it out at CHRISTmas time. Well, a little bit of paint and we've got a year-round candle stand! I really like it. The picture does not do it justice. My fridge sure looks junky. Sorry. But I just love the idea of pics of my family on display there. Sometimes we must sacrifice beauty for things that are more important.

My coffee station. I love the way this functions. And believe it or not it looks way better than what was here before. I absolutely love my paper towel holder! I've had it since the "rebuild after the hurricane". It's wrought iron and really pretty! These pics just don't do my kitchen any justice!

The point of this picture is to show my knives in a mosaic candle holder. They were in a wooden block, but, we all know how beautiful those things are. This is much better looking and they are still within easy access for adults, not Aubree!

Blogging! It can be such a source of encouragement and inspiration. I have found both in several different blogs. And I sincerely hope that my blog is encouraging and inspirational to you, too!


A Betty Crocker Kind of Mom

October 27, 2010

There is something about fall that makes me feel, well, more domesticated. Less like a dog, more like Betty Crocker or June Cleaver. I want to throw some flour and sugar into a bowl with an egg or two, slide it into the oven for 45 minutes and pull out a chocolate lava cake. (Isn't that how it worked on "Leave It To Beaver", or was it "Bewitched"?) I want my children at my side stirring in a bowl, learning about the ins and out of the kitchen, with everything perfectly clean and tidy, no one fighting, smiles on every face. (This is MY fantasy. It can be as unrealistic as I want it to be.) I want to spend an early afternoon at the park, feeding the ducks and playing on the swings, my camera snapping gorgeous shots worthy to be framed.

I know that one day (all too soon) my kids will have grown up and moved out. They will have their own adventures in life, creating their own stories with their own kids. I don't want to have lived every single day doing the same things- dishes, laundry, scrubbing toilets and floors, planning to go to the park tomorrow and never getting there. I don't want to wake up one morning, pack a lunch for us, grab my camera, hop in the car to realize I am the only one around. I don't want to have to eat the chocolate lava cake by myself. Okay- maybe I do! But, I don't want to make it by myself.

Just like I have every other Tuesday set aside for "library day", I could easily set aside every other Friday for "memory day". I could will write it in my lesson planner in ink. It will be a day for us to go to a movie, or go to the park, or bake a new dessert, or build something together using every single Lego in the house, or make a puzzle, or paint a picture, or have a picnic.

I have been handed such an amazing gift on a silver platter.  I am blessed with four absolutely beautiful, smart,  funny, caring kids. I have the privilege of not only staying home to care for them day to day, but I am their teacher! I can lace our days learning ABC's and 123's with learning of the great love, mercy, and grace of our heavenly Father. I have such a golden opportunity to be a memory maker with them, to build a bond that cannot be challenged.  I must be very careful to treat this gift with the respect and reverence it deserves. I must not waste it away on things that will simply not matter one day.

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

"So I concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God." Ecclesiastes 3:12-13


I Am. It Does. I Do. I Will. Join Me?

October 25, 2010

Am I my brother's keeper? Yes. I am.

Does my heart break when someone I love dearly is hurting so badly on the inside that they lose themselves? Yes. It does.

Do I cry tears for those who have none left to cry for themselves? Yes. I do.

Do I worry about the innocent ones, affected by life, who cannot understand the ebb and flow of it all? Yes. I do.

Do I want to wrap my arms around my friend who is broken and somehow heal her aches? Yes. I do.

Do I step up and offer all I have to those who need more than I can give? Yes. I do.

Am I overwhelmed at the magnitude of pain that one human can suffer and endure? Yes. I am.

Will I drop to my knees and beg my heavenly Father to pour out His mercy and love on those who cannot even climb that high to theirs? Yes. I will.

Will I ever stop loving, giving, hoping? No. I will not!

"If a tree is cut down, there is hope that it will sprout again and grow new branches. Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it may bud and sprout again like a new seedling." Job 14:7-9

"The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." Proverbs 27:9

(Please, go down to the bottom and click // pause on the playlist and then come back here and click > play to be blessed!)

Please take a few minutes to say a prayer for those who are hurting, those who have lost themselves in a world of pain, those who have forgotten and those who remember, those who are faced with the possibility of losing  someone in their life that they cannot imagine living without, those who have been mislead and fooled, and for those that love these people. If you've prayed with me, would you please leave a comment and tell me?


Sacrifice the Battle to Win the War

October 24, 2010

Relationships. They can be so complicated at times. They can be difficult to endure. Sometimes the only thing harder than staying in a relationship is walking away from it. So, how do we make our relationships work? How do we keep things healthy and respectful? How do we survive them?

I am certainly not claiming to be an expert, but, I am "an old pro" do have several years of experience. If I had to give advice on the subject (Hey, it's my blog, I can pretend that everyone wants to know my thoughts on the matter. LOL) I would probably have to say that one of the most important things to remember in a stubborn battle for your own way when you are both wanting different things and seem to be deadlocked, you should do a mental evaluation~ "How badly do I want this versus how badly he wants that?" For example, when Freddie wanted to hang a deer head in my living room, I would assess that he probably wanted it about a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, where I didn't want it about a 79 on the same scale. I won. When he didn't want to go to California on vacation last year and I did, I wanted it about a 7 and didn't want it about a 9.9. He won. I could go on and on for days. My point is, you have to pick your battles wisely. You are not always going to win each and every time. But, we must remember to put others first, be quick to make sacrifices, and become selfless. This is a good strategy at not losing the war!

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

"Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him." Ephesians 4:2


Fall on Your Knees

October 20, 2010

PRAYER- conversation with God- in praise, thanksgiving, or intercession

We've all done it. We will all continue to do it. Sometimes it's to thank God for answered prayer. Most of the time, it's to ask for something. We ask for safety, we ask for blessing, we ask for forgiveness, we ask for guidance, we ask for peace, we ask for healing.

I have been praying a lot lately for intercession on behalf of someone else. Okay, I've been begging. I just don't know how to do this. Every time I think about this situation I pray. I have no idea how God is going to answer my prayers. I feel desperate. I am afraid that I'm not praying correctly. Maybe I'm not worthy for Him to hear me. (Crazy, right?)  I wonder, do I need to keep praying ALL the time for the same thing over and over again? If I ask once, doesn't God know the desires of  my heart? Am I being like a little kid begging for that piece of candy before dinner who won't take no for an answer- "Mommy please can I have some candy? Please? Please? Please? Please?" Until mommy snaps in frustration and annoyance. Has God's mind already been made up in regards to how this is going to end? Or can we intervene if we all pray enough  for the outcome we are hoping for?

There have been times in my life where I can absolutely remember that there was constantly a prayer on my heart. I never ceased to pray to God. I gave it as much thought as I did to breathing. And I prayed not only for intercession, but also in thanksgiving and praise. I prayed ALL THE TIME!  Then, at some point, I became skeptical I guess. I'm not sure exactly what happened or didn't happen. Maybe my prayers were not answered in the way I wanted them to be or in the time frame I was hoping for. But, I'm sure I began to think that it didn't really matter what I asked for because God was going to fulfill His will regardless of what my will was. It's not that I stopped praying altogether. It's just that I lost the energy and the confidence, I guess, to be faithful, diligent and constant in prayer.

I do know that God takes care of us. I do know that God loves us. I do know that God wants the best for us.  I just don't always know what "the best" is.

I am obviously being convicted in the area of my prayer life. My heart wants to be obedient. I want to be someone who has favor with God. You know how some people seem to have a "direct line" to God and when you need prayer, you always ask them to intervene on your behalf? Well, I want to grow into that person. I admit that I probably haven't been praying enough recently. I need to come to God more often in repentance. I need to come to God more often lifting Him up in praise for all that He gives to me and all that He spares me from. I need get back to the place where there is constantly a prayer on my heart without me having to even think about it.

"But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, if you are pure and live with complete integrity, he will rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end with much." Job 8:5-7

"And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don't be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!" Matthew 6:5-8

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful." Romans 12:12


My Earthly Treasures

October 18, 2010

I am so proud of my children. I know that I often whine complain blog about how they are sometimes disrespectful to each other or me, but, they are usually very kind and loving kids. It warms me from top to bottom to see the older ones care for the younger ones, or to see one of them offer something to the other out of love, or one take up for another to me when they're in trouble. I love to see that they have adoring, sweet relationships with each other.

I love how Aubree is such a girl. She loves lip gloss, princesses, puppies, babies, bubble baths, and tea parties! She loves to play with Brant~ don't tell him I told you, but, he sometimes will let her dress him up in her princess outfits. Shhhh! She adores Karli! Nothing excites her more than when her sister will paint her nails for her. She also demands her own way. She is a queen.

Brant is our helper. If Freddie or I are doing something he wants to jump in with both feet and do it too! He prefers it to involve power tools or high speed kitchen gadgets, but a spray bottle will work just as well. He has the most heart-warming, laugh evoking, mischievous grin. He also wants to be just like us. He is a follower.

Drake could have been an only child. It wouldn't make a difference to him. He's just as content playing a video game alone or trying to build a fire in the yard with his brother and the neighbor boy. He loves getting compliments and making me proud. He is also quite emotional, in a boy kind of way. I also enjoy listening to him speak. He uses the biggest, fanciest words he can. He is an intellectual.

Karli amazes me every single day. She can be Miss Attitude one minute and Miss Awesome the next.  I can literally see her battle with raging hormones and come out victorious more times than not. She also kind of reminds me of me when I was her age in that she has a desire to be different. She wants to be unique. She doesn't want to fit into a mold. I love that about her. It makes my heart smile. I also envy how she doesn't let someone else decide how she feels about herself. If you don't like her~ Oh, well. She can pull this off without being unfriendly or arrogant. She knows who she is and she doesn't need anyone else to make her valuable. She is also very trust worthy and responsible. When I see her with Aubree, I have no doubt that she is going to be an amazing mother one day. She is always looking out for her siblings, making sure to keep them in check so they don't get hurt. She is a care taker.

I have a great life. I am humbled daily. I serve a mighty God who loves me in a mighty way. I have children who truly love the Lord. I pray that I do justice to the responsibility bestowed upon me. I want to do well by my children. I want to be an active participant in a life well-lived and I want to leave a legacy of love to my greatest treasures on earth!

"Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure and right." Proverbs 20:11

"The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure it is to have wise children. So give your parents joy! May she who gave you birth be happy." Proverbs 23:24-25


My Favorite....

October 16, 2010

... Sayings

1. The days may be long but, the years are short.

2. Build a bridge and get over it.

3. You don't have to want to, you just have to do it.

4. Whatever!

5. I love you more. I will never love you less. There is nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you.

6. What was (their/your) intention?

7. Perception is reality.

8. When you die, you will stand before God alone to account for your (re)actions.

9. Does that show the love in your heart?

10. Don't judge me.


Peace Amid the Mess

October 13, 2010

In life, things get messy sometimes. It can be difficult for many of us to function efficiently at all amidst all the clutter and chaos that is happening around us. But, we should not focus on the things that are out of place. We need to focus on finding God's peace amid the mess. We need to remember that we can rest in His arms when we get tired. His grace is sufficient. We need only ask.

(Remember to go down to the bottom of this page and click the // pause button then come back here and click the > play button to be absolutely blessed!)

"I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 17:33

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Philippians 4:6


Wait for it.... wait for it.... wait for it.......

October 12, 2010

Patience. It's not my favorite thing in the world. I don't like to even talk about it, because I am afraid that God will give me circumstances in which I will need to develop my skill at it. Ridiculous, right?  "Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows." James 1:17

I've always known that I am not good happy about being patient. But, really, who is? None of us enjoy waiting for something~ whether it's for an argument to end, tempers to settle,  a new car, prince charming, financial excellence, or a baby. We, especially today, are a people of "I want what I want when I want it." We are used to everything happening now. We get annoyed if our internet connection is too slow, or if our cell phone's reception is less than perfect.

"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law." Galatians 5:22-23  If I am honest in my desire to be a Spirit Tree why should I fear patience? It is obviously a fruit of the Spirit. Something that I have perceived to be a bad thing, is actually proof of the way I live my life.

When I think about it, I have had to be patient my whole life. There were the typical things that require patience like waiting for Christmas morning or my birthday, but, the most shaping event was waiting for me to get pregnant. It took six years! That's a long time to wait for something that you think you cannot live without~ for something you don't want to live without. Having come out the other side of the battle with patience with FOUR beautiful, healthy, smart kids, whenever I'm faced with this challenge I should look at it as a God-given opportunity to grow. {So much for the self-pep-talk. I'm still scared. I know firsthand how painful it can be. Ooops.}

During those years of my life, when much patience was required of me, my favorite scripture in the bible was  "Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:14 I wasn't necessarily aware at the time that I was growing in the "patience" department, as crazy as that may sound, but, I knew that this was the message that God was giving me, without a doubt. Not only are we supposed to wait patiently for God's timing, we are supposed to do so with courage! {Again, not my strong suit.} When I felt as though I could not hold on any longer I would cling tightly to this verse, like it was God standing on the sidelines of my life cheering me on to an overtime win.

"God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

I am not excited, anxious, or zealous to see where God brings me in the patience department. I have had my fair share of exercises and the scars to prove it. But, I know that He loves me, He wants the best for me. And if He brings me down a long, slow road, then I will remember that He is walking it with me.


I'm Not a Spring Chicken Anymore

October 11. 2010

My favorite season by far is fall.  (See "15 Reasons Why Fall Is My Favorite Season") Here in South Louisiana we suffer from HOT summers, but also, the humidity makes it almost unbearable most days. So, when fall arrives, it is more than welcome! The crispness of the air is like waking up full of energy and excitement! For me, it's like a new beginning filled with promise.

I feel like I am entering into the fall season of my life. In the spring, I was young, new and fresh.  I was oblivious to the "ways of the world". I had no fear of the "summer" that was to come. I actually looked forward to it. Then summer came, and I must admit, I suffered through the heat and humidity. Every once in a while, I was able to cool off with a dip in the "pool", but it was a long, hot summer. Winter is going to come, eventually. It will be a time for me to slow down, snuggle up, and sit tight. Hopefully, the love of my family and benefits of a life well-lived will warm me during the days of bitter cold.

Right now, it's fall. And I am loving it! Don't let anyone tell you that life does not get better with age. I think that I am just now coming into the best years of my life. I have the benefit of time and many life lessons under my belt. The learning process can be and has been painful. I have survived the "sunburns" of  many mistakes and misconceptions. I have survived the "summer heat" of the terrible two's with my children. I have survived the "drought" of finding myself as part of a couple in my marriage. I have survived the "heatstrokes" of naiveté, inexperience, and ignorance. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying, by any means, that I've finally got it all figured out. I am not arrogant enough to believe that it's nothing but smooth sailing from here on. After all, allergy season is the worst in the fall, isn't it? Many of us suffer from sore throats, runny noses, sneezing, and sinus infections in the fall. I know there's no such thing as perfect outside of The Trinity. But, this stage in my life is really pleasant. I've endured enough to have a tiny measure of true wisdom. Many of the growing pains have subsided. And I'm gonna enjoy this season to the fullest before winter arrives!

"Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom." Psalm 90:12

P.S. I think that we should not have to do any housework in the fall!


Who's to Blame?

October 7, 2010

I had been doing such a good job of keeping my cool and not yelling at, barking at,  bullying my kids in an attempt at getting obedience. Today, I blew it. I raised my voice at one some of them once more than once. I am so disappointed in myself. I just don't know what got into me today. I am short and I don't understand why. (No people, it's NOT because I am only 5'3".) It's not my kids' fault at all!  I am going to take the blame on this one.

Okay, so here goes my lame attempt at trying to figure out making excuses for why I am so cross today. I think it's because I fight the daily fight, just like all you mother's out there, to try to stay on top of the LONG list of things that need to get done in a day. I have been battling the laundry baskets all week. They keep filling up on me behind my back. I hadn't mopped in so long that I had all but invited the rodents to dine on my floors, so I finally decided to mop. (Okay- I do sweep every day.) In an effort to keep it looking like I just mopped I literally have not stopped mopping since yesterday. The mop is still standing in my kitchen ready for service. I have four kids. Do we really need to talk about dishes? I have two boys. Do we really need to talk about toilets? Anyway~ I guess that I am just struggling to keep up with the housework AND schoolwork AND extracurricular activities that take me outside of the house. That, and maybe I cannot seem to fall asleep before midnight. I gotta stop taking it out on my sweet, innocent little babies, who, by the way, NEVER make messes, ignore me, scream at each other or behave rudely. ;~)

"It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city." Proverbs 16:32


Time Management

October 6, 2010

I enjoyed the fact that I was able to stay home all day today. I took advantage of having no extracurricular activities and decided to assess Karli's winter wardrobe. She's been telling me, "I have no clothes that fit me, Mom." Well, when your "tweenage" girl tells you this you take it with a grain of salt, especially when there are about twelve pairs of jeans in her closet. Low and behold, I think we managed to squeeze into two, maybe three pairs of jeans. We weeded out about seven dresses and several shirts, and you wouldn't believe me if I told you how many shoes. Needless to say, my girl has grown a lot since this past winter.

When does that happen? It seems like she was just traipsing around my house in her diaper babbling something about how much she loves me. Now, not so much. Her hair has to be just so before she will even think about walking out the front door. And clothes, oh, please don't get me started! She certainly has a style all her own, with comfort being in the forefront. She is growing into such a responsible individual. She asked me today when would I let her stay home alone. Somebody kill me!

I loved them being babies, but I also enjoy seeing them come into their own. It's kind of cute when Drake says, "Don't scream out my name at the football game. If you have to scream say 'Go Packers'."  Brant will not let me kiss him in front of his friends anymore, and even though it's kind of heartbreaking, it's also kind of funny. Even little Aubree is starting to grow up some. I look at her and I can remember her before she was mobile. I would hold her on my lap and talk to her and she would laugh and coo at me. She is still that same little girl, but, now she is more mobile and definitely more articulate! I cannot believe how fast my kids are changing before my very eyes.

Before I know it, they will each be driving away in a car loaded down with their "life". I need to make sure that I make this precious time count for all I can while I have it. I need to make sure that I know that they know that I love them more than I love myself. I need to make sure they know how to take care of themselves- how to cook and clean, how to shop and budget, how to trust their instincts, how to use a map and a bible, how to respect others and themselves, how to live a life of integrity. And I want them to know that they can always come home!

"And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord." Ephesians 6:4


Out of the Mouths of Babes

October 5, 2010

Today was a very busy day for me. I left the house at 9:15am and was gone until almost 8:00pm with the exception of 30 minutes of time for me to unload groceries and get Drake dressed for football practice. He hitched a ride with one of our friends to practice while I went to pick up my two little kids from my mother-in-law and then I met them at the football field. It took about an hour. In that hour Drake had filled her in on the entire goings-on of our day AND where we might be going on vacation next year AND how long of a drive it was for our last vacation AND how much we spent in gas on said vacation AND what we ate and how much he thinks we spent on the food~ which, by the way, he said was $50. I wish! LOL. Kids. 

I don't usually have anything to hide. I try to live my life in a way that I would not be embarrassed for others to know. There are things, of course, that I like to keep private. We all do. But, it's not because I am ashamed of how I conduct myself daily. 

What do your kids tell their friends about your life? Do you cringe to think about it? Are you afraid to find out? Or, are you just happily curious? 

Our kids don't miss much. They see and hear way more than we think they do. Often my kids have repeated to me things that I said when I didn't know they were listening. I really should be very careful to guard my lips at all times. 

You know, this is also a good reminder to me of how God sees everything I do. I cannot hide from Him. I must always be mindful of not only my actions, but my innermost thoughts as well. I am accountable to Him always. I need to be sure to live so that I will not be ashamed to stand before Him and account for my life.

"Don't try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn't know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done." Proverbs 24:12


We All Have Choices

October 4, 2010

I found myself sitting down at my computer singing as loud as I can along with the music that plays when you arrive on my blog~ filled with thankfulness and praise. And I think to myself.... "if people saw me right now what would they think?" I quickly realized that it doesn't matter what people think of me. I do not want to spend my eternity in hell because I was worried about people thinking that I'm weird- I want to spend my eternity in heaven. You know, if you hold back from God because you're worried about what everyone thinks of you, you just might find yourself paying for that in a torment of eternal fire.

The thing is, I realize that Jesus died on the cross for ME. He was sinless. He did no wrong. He was PERFECT! He deserved heaven. But, He knew that one day, I would be born. He knew that I would sin and do wrong, over and over. He knew I would be imperfect and would not deserve to spend eternity in heaven. He loved me so much, that He paid the price for my sin. He did not just die. It's one thing to die for someone else- but He suffered! Once I became aware of His love and mercy, I wanted to live for Him because He died for me. I am not trying to be a "religious freak" pretending to be better than everyone else. Lord knows I am not. I am still flawed. I still sin. I am not perfect. I don't always do a good job~ but, I try my best to live my life the way that God wants me to. It is hard enough to do with the whole "being human" thing, but, if I have to worry about being "cool" too~ well, let's just say I'm doomed.

So, I choose God. The way I see it, I am going to do my best to get through this temporary life. I have to keep my eyes on the "prize".  My heart has been changed and I have different desires than I had before. I am going to follow my heart. I am going to listen to the voice of God. I am going to praise Him. I am going to embrace the feeling I have when He fills me with His spirit. That feeling is what fuels me. It is just what I need to keep going down this road which is sometimes very hard and lonely.

What about you? What do you choose? Do you choose to blend in so as not to appear "weird" to the rest of the world? Or do you choose to follow your heart straight into the arms of God?

(Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the // pause button on "Songs That I Love..." then come back here and press the > play button.)

Soul:  the individual's essential self, life, or being

"If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33

"If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?" Matthew 16:25-26


Our God is Greater!

October 3, 2010

Isn't it ironic how the devil attacks you where you are the weakest? We all have an area of our lives where we struggle. For some of us it is in our work, others can be in our relationship with our significant other, and for others still it is our relationship with our children. It makes no difference, wherever Satan sees a crack, he will make it his business to pick at it and pick at it until he does even more damage in his relentless efforts to destroy us. But, we do not have to concede in defeat. We can stand on the word of God and claim victory over anything the evil one can throw at us. 

I am not saying, in any terms, that it is easy to fight the devil. I have my own battle that I fight daily that takes a toll on me. I often have doubts that creep into my mind and tell me that I am failing, that I am not doing a good job, that I am going to lose what I hold most precious, that others will suffer because of my shortcomings. And sometimes, I start to believe these lies, even when I know better. Despite the fact that I am making conscious efforts to do better, be better, give better, I still get vulnerable and afraid. 

I cannot win by my own strength and abilities. I rely on encouragement, reassurance, and advice from my friends and family, and most importantly, I rely on God to give me wisdom, strength, comfort, and peace. I have to constantly be mindful to NOT let myself fall victim to those doubts and fears that keep playing in my mind over and over again. I have to learn to trust myself. I have to believe that I am being led by God to do the right thing. I have to learn to constantly seek His will.

So, let us remember that we should always be there for our friends when they struggle. Always step up to offer help and encouragement. Remember to lean on our friends when we are weak. And always, seek God! He is the ultimate friend. He has promised to never leave us. He is our strength and our refuge. 

"He will protect his godly ones, but the wicked will perish in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone." 1Samuel 2:9

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." Psalms 46:1

"For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need." Philippians 4:13

"If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." Romans 12:8

"I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears." Psalm 34:6

(Please, scroll down to "Songs That I Love..." and click the // pause button, then come back here and click play on this video!)