Monday, May 28, 2012

My First Guest Writer!



I have written this blog for probably close to six years. Occasionally, Jeannie Hopes will post. It's always good and usually entertaining. 


Today, "NiseyB" is my guest. She is my first guest! She is a housewife and mother of three (ages 8, 5 and 1). She strives to be a Proverbs 31 woman too.


Most recently, the topic between us and another "31" woman has been  how to save money and provide for our families on one salary. We know it can be done. There is much sacrifice needed. There is the uncomfortableness of being uncomfortable. But there is Peace in our struggles. 


I received this email from NiseyB this morning. There are a lot of great tips that I just couldn't keep to myself, so I am sharing her wisdom and love with you. Enjoy!




Ok, here are just odds and ends that contribute to my strategic approach to keeping the budget tight for food and household items.  Also, keep in mind you have bigger kids than I do (although my kids are big eaters!).  Any thoughts ideas you have, I'd love to hear them!!  

I get the paper almost every week, I also have a few "sources" for extra coupons.  I do not cut coupons unless it is something I would most likely use or need - I do not buy things just because I have a coupon.   I do spend a reasonable amount of time going through the Shoprite and Acme paper seeing what is on sale and matching it with coupons.  I rarely stockpile anymore unless it is really a BARGAIN.  I try to shop for the week.  (Although I'd love to have a pantry overflowing with food, I am finding that if I buy just for the week it keeps the cost down).  

I stick to my familiar stores where I know the prices are best - Shoprite and Aldi are my main two.  Once in awhile I get a few things at Acme if they are on sale and I have a coupon (example - this week I am getting Mayo for $1.50 a jar!).  Shoprite takes competitor's coupons.  If you have a KidsStuff coupon book there are $5 off for Acme in there - Shoprite will take them, Shoprite will also take the Giant $1 doublers, etc.  Shoprite took the $10 off $20 coupons that came out from Bottom Dollar.  

I try to make due - if I  run out of something we just use an alternative or do without until the next shopping trip.  I try to keep grocery shopping trips to a minimum.  Ideally one trip to each store per week.  

Aldi's great for: eggs (they are like .87 cents right now!!), bread, cereal, condiments, flour, sugar, baking spices, fresh fruit and veggies, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, tomato and pasta sauce, etc.  

I try to make a meal plan and stick with it - more like a list of meals we would have for the week and then make whatever is most convenient that night.  I usually make a big pot of rice at the beginning of the week and make at least two meals around that.  I also try to food prep for a few meals at a time (like the big pot of rice).  If I know I am having beef in two meals, I will cook it all at once and then split it apart.  I usually make 5 lbs of meatloaf at a time and split it into 3 loaves.  

I have a notebook and I keep a running balance of my money, when I spend something I subtract it from that balance.  I also have been keeping a little note of what I spend and what I save at the grocery store.  I just love seeing how much money I am saving my family!!  When the paycheck hits on Friday I add that back into my running total.   

I do believe most of all that it requires prayer and dependency on God to provide, supply and STRETCH His money for our family.  He does ... you both know, it's one of those things you can't always explain on paper!!  

Favorite Meals:
Homemade Pizza
Saucepan Lasagna (cuts back on cost b/c you don't need the Ricotta cheese or as much mozz cheese)
Rice and Beans - sometimes with salsa or beef, sometimes in fajita's - lots of things to do with rice and beans
Rice and squash/ zucchini
Taco meat w/ beans over cornbread (also usually add salsa)
Spaghetti - sometimes with beef in the sauce and sometimes with garlic bread on the side
Meatloaf
Crustless Quiche (eggs w/ bisquick mix - we add goodies like red peppers, onions, cheese, etc)

One more thing for me too that has made my life simpler.  After reading the I Used to be so Organized book the one frustration that still stood out to me was LAUNDRY!!!!!  I asked the Lord to really help me have a better system.  I LOVE that God cares even about our LAUNDRY!!  So, here is my new system and it is really working for me!!  Sunday night I throw in the socks and underwear in a load (hot water).  Then Monday morning I do the darks and the whites.  I put the socks in the dryer along with one of the loads I am doing, I hang the underwear.  So, all the laundry gets done on Monday morning essentially.  Then it is in a pile, I fold it and put it away (that is the part that requires the most discipline).  I put all the socks into a basket and they get sorted out when everyone starts running out of socks.  I still do a load of towels or sheets during the week when they pile up.  I try to hang as much as possible on my line or the hanger I have in my laundry room.  I feel like this is a huge stress out of my week.  I don't question should I throw in a load of laundry - I know when I do the laundry and everyone has sufficient clothing until we get there.  




I keep saying, "The more you make, the more you spend". I figure that once the money is gone, then we can't spend it anymore. So we are on a strict budget. It's going to be painful for a while until we adjust. And we will adjust.

Please share your favorite inexpensive meal in the comment section. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer 2012 Wish List


With only two more weeks of school left for Kayla (and my schedule changing) I've made a "tentative" list of fun things to do this summer. Tell me what you think and what you would add. These are mostly things that can be done in a few hours to a day and don't need to be expensive. I'd love to hear your ideas!


• Go to a dude ranch/resort
• Ride a horse
• Spend a day at the lake
• Go to The Movie Tavern to see a movie
• Eat icecream at O Wow Cow!
• Vacation with family
• Have frozen yogurt at Kiwi’s
• Go to The Franklin Institute
• Go to a rock concert
• Go to an amusement park
• Go to an aquarium
• Go to the zoo
• Make root beer floats
• Camp outside
• Make tie dye shirts
• Go to Crystal Cave
• Go to Hawk Mountain
• Visit Kutztown University
• Make funnel cake
• Go to a drive in movie
• Go to the beach
• Go bowling
• Watch fireworks
• Visit the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
• Visit the Mutter Museum
• Visit Bushkill Falls
• Visit Longwood Gardens
• Visit Springton Manor Farm
• Visit The Three Little Pigs at Merrymead Farm

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pending Strike

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29


We received a phone call yesterday stating that the teacher's union INTENT is Strike June 4th. OH MAN, was Facebook fired up.


Yes, everyone is up in arms. But the superintendent did not say the strike will begin on the 4th. He said their intention is to strike. Now everyone has plenty of time to negotiate in the next week. Also, people have a heads-up to make arrangements for their children.


(I'm here working on a new Spinach Brownie recipe if you need me!)


I have no worries about this topic. This is not something that is registering on my stress meter. I am working on my anxiety. And nine out of ten times it involves money, not a teacher's contract, by the way.


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34


What do I worry about? Not much. My life is great. I am a housewife. I am a stay at home with the cats owner. I try new recipes. I do crafts. I take walks. I memorize scripture like Matthew 6:25-34. I am enjoying my life immensely. I feel ten years younger. 


In my own little world it hardly ever rains.


Let me tell you one thing though, people don't like my "happy-go-lucky" attitude. They want to know my opinion. What side are you on? You can't be on the fence.


I do have an opinion. I have an opinion about EVERYTHING. But there are certain topics that I WILL NOT discuss or debate with you. If you get me started, I will. But be careful when I tell you my opinion because it might not align with yours. You may be totally shocked by what I have to say.


Besides the lack of contract, I will not discuss homosexuality or abortion with you. 


How do I keep my even-keel disposition? I've learned over the years that my words do more damage than help. I've learned that I want to build each other up not tear each other down. And I've come to know the Truth that God is sovereign. He's got this. He does not need my help nor my opinion.
(Hebrews 13:8).  So why get my panties in a bunch (eww, I hate that!) 


I can choose my choices but I can't choose my consequences. I can choose to get all hot and bothered and red in the face but I can't choose my blood pressure. So I choose to walk by faith. 


And PRAY. 


Try it. Pray for the school board. Pray for the union leaders. Pray for the teachers.


You will feel better. You cannot be angry when you are praying for someone. Believe me, that comes with YEARS of experience on my behalf.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fundraising


There have been years that I fundraised BIG. There have been years that I have not fundraised AT ALL. This year at a last ditch effort, I sent out 50 letters in hopes to raise $50. My neighbor sent the first donation, a check for $50. My goal has been met. (I did raise an additional $15 since them). With only 26 days until Relay 2012, my excitement builds. It is such a great event. It is family friendly. It is fun and it is for a great cause. My suggestion: find one near you!

*******************************************************************************

April 2012


Hello Friend,

We are coming up on our seventh consecutive year in our participation in the American Cancer Society’s signature event, Relay for Life. Many things have changed in our lives since we began in 2006. But one thing remains the same, that being the diagnosis of cancer.

My goal this year is to send out 50 letters in hopes to raise $50 by asking you to donate one dollar to my cause. My hope is to educate one new person on the statistics of cancer. My hope is to add one new person to our team. My hope is to get one step closer to finding a cure for this dreaded disease.

Can you help me with at least one of the above desires?

We will be dedicating the entire day on Friday, June 15th to meeting these goals. For more information, please contact me. Thank you!

With a sincere heart,
Theresa 
The Journey Begins Here 

“For we walk by faith not by sight”. 2 Corinthians 5:7



  • Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that starts in certain types of very primitive nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. This type of cancer occurs in infants and young children
  • There are 2 main types of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and Non- Hodgkin lymphoma
  • About 56,460 new cases of thyroid cancer (43,210 in women, and 13,250 in men) will be      diagnosed in 2012.
  • About 15,500 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2012.
  • The most important way to lower your risk of basal and squamous cell skin cancers is to limit your exposure to UV radiation. Practice sun safety when you are outdoors.





********************************************
Our first year we wore white t-shirts with the logo in purple. The second year we wore purple with black lettering. (Not digital pics). The third year everyone wore pink t-shirts, even the men! In 2009, I ordered "gold" and this is what arrived! (We wore these for two years. It's the only year that we did that. It makes it hard to keep 2009 and 2010 separate). This year we will have blue t-shirts but a different shade.

Relay 2009



Relay 2010


Relay 2011


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Proud Momma




I looked back at my calendar and it's hard to believe that we have only played six games. Maybe I am counting wrong. But this has been the LONGEST month of our lives. I have prayed soooo much about this topic that it almost seems RIDICULOUS. I mean, there are bigger things in my life than little league. There are bigger things in the world than little league. But I know that God cares about every little detail and He knows my heart before I even utter the prayer. 

And He knows that I have not been able to share this with you because it was just so stressful and heartbreaking.

We have learned a lot in the last month. We have learned patience. We have learned tolerance. We have learned the power of positive thinking. We have learned the necessity of encouragement.

Daniel has not had a very good month. He LOVES baseball but he has not been loving it this time. There are many challenges. But life is filled with challenges. Thursday night Daniel had a great game in the out field. But he has not gotten a hit yet. He can hit well. He hits really well when the pitches are fast. But as he approaches the plate, he is already defeated. Thursday after the game we talked about all of his great plays and all he said was, "yeah but I struck out." 

Last night at bedtime, Daniel said "I don't want to play tomorrow." My heart was just aching for him.

Did you know that it takes five positive comments to counteract that one negative comment?

Yesterday morning we watched Facing the Giants. Then this morning I played two scenes for Curtis to watch with Daniel. There is a line from the movie from a father talking to his discouraged son. He asks his son if he did his best and his son says "I knew I was going to miss it before I kicked it." His father's response is, "Your actions will always follow your beliefs. If you accept defeat, then that's what you will get."

Curtis said "That's you, dude."

So the team was guided by the assistant coach and the LOVE OF MY LIFE, Coach Curtis, today for the first time. His debut had him nervous as could be. The team that has been playing for the last five games DID NOT show up this morning. A completely different group of boys were out there with confidence and enthusiasm. Boys that have yet to get a hit, hit the ball. Boys who were scared of the ball had the courage to go after it. And Daniel was one of those hitters. He had a beautiful hit out to center field! It was so overdue.

I didn't even know what the score was because it didn't matter. They were winners in my mind. So when the team was up one run in the bottom of the last inning, it turned in to quite a nail biter. Curtis said he wanted to throw up. 

There were two kids on base (the tying and winning run) and two strikes on the batter, when the batter hits a fly ball out to center field!

MY KID made a diving "shoestring catch" (per Curtis) to end the game. You would have thought it was the World Series. The team, coaches and crowd went wild.

shoestring catch
n. Sports
A running catch made near the ground.


I was so choked up with emotion that I started to cry. It was awesome. It was the best game that they have played this month. 

So, if we win, we praise Him. If we lose, we praise Him. And I am definitely praising Him double time today. I am in awe of the emotions that the Lord has given me. I love that my eyes leak when my heart is overflowing. I love that baseball can do that to me, especially baseball that my son is playing. 

This is the baseball that our family loves. This is the baseball that we have been missing for the last month. And everything happens for a reason. My God is sovereign and He has had His arm around us the whole time.

With only three games left, nothing can deflate us now!



Our athletic associations pledge:

Pledge 

I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stumbling INTO grace

Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman by Lisa Harper




CONTENTS:

Part 1: Real Life

1. Ewe Scared: Jesus and Scary Things
2. The Very Real Problem With Pantyhose: Jesus and Binding Things
3. Take a Load Off: Jesus and Fattening Things
4. No Fangs Allowed: Jesus and Dangerous Things
5. Cat Appreciation Day: Jesus and Little, Sweet Things

(This chapter had me in sad tears!)

Part 2: Real Gifts

6. Johnny come Lately: Jesus and the Gift of Forgiveness
7. Getting Our Squeeze On: Jesus and the Gift of Touch
8. The Bride Who Tripped Down the Aisle: Jesus and the Gift of Good Humor

(This chapter almost had the tears running down my legs. Hilarious!)

9. Who's Got Your Back?: Jesus and the Gift of Community
10. Busyness Isn't A Spiritual Gift: Jesus and the Gift of Rest

Part 3: Real Growth

11. Empathizing With Enemies: how Jesus Helps Us Become Less Critical
12. Liar, Liar! Pants on Fire! How Jesus Helps Us Become More Honest
13. Putting Down The Pen: How Jesus Helps Us Become More Content
14. Carrying Home a Giant: How Jesus Helps Us Become More Dependent

(This chapter again had me in sad tears!)

15. The Galvanizing Effect of Gratitude: How Jesus Helps Us Become More Grateful

Each chapter begins the same: So, today I've been thinking about...

I loved the book! This is the book I bought at the ladies retreat last month. It took me less than a month to read it, which is huge for me. This is also the book that is autographed with the scripture Zeph. 3:17 in the front.

I underlined certain things that stood out to me. Here is just a few:

"Buckling under the weight of my own life is what helped me fall into the arms of God. I didn't just stumble into His grace. I collapsed there in a messy heap and you now what? It's by far the best thing that's ever happened to me."


"We can become more dependent on God by trusting Him with the full weight of our lives."


We can become more content by giving God the sole authorship of our biographies."


"Most of us still water the plant of self-righteousness on the windowsill of our heart." 

LOVE LOVE LOVE that quote because it is so true for me.

"The older I get, the more convinced I am the admittedly flawed sinners are the most credible witnesses of Jesus, because people with scars can't fake more perfection. It's glaringly apparent we can't save ourselves".


"I'm learning that the roots of gratitude grow deepest in the sober soil of remembering how hopeless my life is without God."


"We become more grateful by searching for God's goodness and mercy in the oft-present ruins of everyday life."


 “I think intentional gratitude, especially for the small gifts that come wrapped in ordinary paper (or fur), is a necessary ingredient to living out an authentically joyful story.  When we recognize that clean water, cold watermelon, red leaves in October, warm coats on cold days, and even a cat purring against one’s legs are small demonstrations of our Redeemer’s plan to bless mankind, it cements our hope and security.  It anchors our prone-to-wander hearts to the truth of God’s sovereign goodness and grace and to the fact that, regardless of what we’re currently walking through, we can rest in His absolute affection”


"Christians have to make Christ our main course, not a side dish. The Bread of Life must become the biggest thing on our plate. Nothing tastes as good as being loved by Jesus feels."


My next book...Well I have never finished "Becoming a Woman who Pleases God." That's a really slow read because there is so much scripture to look up. You really have to meditate on it. 


So I think I will read:






Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012




Today to celebrate our totally amazing, generous and loving Mom..Theresa and I took our Mom to The Melting Pot! It was her first time there and she called it The Dipping Pot when she told her sister where she was going, lol! And because we love our daughters (and just love to spend money on them..ahem!) we took our two girls!

Seriously though, Kayla enjoys fine food and the one food she can't live without would be cheese! Amanda is a cheese fiend too..they both would have been fine with a pot of cheese fondue and spoons! Everyone enjoyed the salads too (except Amanda who does not eat anything green)

Below is some advice in case you ever find yourself at The Melting Pot..it would have helped us too, ha!



Fondue Etiquette
Dipping
After you spear a small piece of bread, dip it into the fondue to coat it with cheese. Remove it, but hold it over the pot for a few seconds to allow the extra cheese to fall back into the pot instead of all over your hands and face. This also gives the cheese time to cool.

If you are really worried about dripping, you can bring the bite to your mouth with a small plate underneath it. Or remove it entirely from the fork and put it on the plate. These steps are, for the most part, unnecessary and take a bit of the fun out of fondue.

*We didn't blow these pieces of advice, yippee!



Don’t double dip
Dipping a morsel of food, taking a bite and then dipping it back into the pot is just as bad as touching the fondue fork with your mouth. Make sure you cover the bread with enough cheese the first time, and you will have no reason to double dip.

*I didn't notice anyone double dipping! We were all related but still..germs, yuck!


Don’t dip with your fingers
Besides being incredibly unnecessary and rude, dipping your fingers into a pot of steaming, melted cheese isn’t the safest thing to do.

*Kayla did pick up a cooked piece of steak with her fingers to eat though! At $40 a pop, I think that's allowed!


Don’t lose your food in the pot
Well, it’s not rude or anything, but you should be aware that tradition dictates that the person who loses food in the pot has to buy a round of drinks or the next pot of fondue.

Eating meat fondue
Spear the raw meat so the ends of the fork protrude slightly through the meat. This will keep the meat from burning and sticking to the bottom of the fondue pot.

Unlike cheese fondue, meat should be removed from the fondue fork and put on a plate before eating.

Meat fondue is usually accompanied by small dishes of sauce. Use a regular dining fork to dip the cooked meat into the sauce. Once again, no double dipping!

*This is where our trouble and barbarian behavior was displayed! No one ever told us to cook our meat/seafood while on the fondue fork! We tossed all of it in the pot and used the "rescue spoon" to fish it out! It wasn't until we looked at several other tables doing it the correct and dignified way that we learned of our lack of manners! But really, I don't care because the food was fabulously cooked!!

As for buying the next round of drinks...we had water, except the girls (who had sodas)! We joked with them at the end that it was their sodas that took the bill over the top..and Kayla pulled the $3 out to pay for hers (wow, she is gullible; I had to tell her later that it was a joke!)


Another tradition says that a woman who drops food in the pot has to kiss the person next to her. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on her fellow diners.

*Not a problem here; except maybe for Kayla as she's not a touchy feely type of kid! But there definitely were hugs and kisses as we bid farewell at the end of the night!






So MAYBE we should have read this article before going to The Melting Pot for Mother's Day today, lol. But I can definitely say that we enjoyed ourselves..even if it was a bit stressful cooking our entrees! (This time went much better than the first time Theresa and I went..when we babbled so much that the food was either undercooked or overcooked and lost in the pot!)

Happy Mother's Day


A Mother's Hands - Susie Eller
Proverbs 31 Ministries


"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

She held out the soft white blanket scalloped in pink ribbon. "I'm not sure I want to give it to her," my mom said. The stitches were a bit looser than my mother's past handiwork, but I could see love in every crocheted inch.
I held her hands in my own. Her once slender fingers were bent and swollen at the joints. I imagined her holding the crochet needles and weaving the yarn in and out for hours and days, until the blanket was complete. It is an heirloom for her first great-grandchild, one created with pain and love.
I think I take my mother's hands for granted. They have caressed my cheek. They have made me wear a coat (even when I protested that I was a mother of three grown children). They have dialed the cell phone she loves, and hates, so she could talk to "her Suzie." Her hands have penned cards that showed up in my mailbox saying "I love you."
An old 70s song says, "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future." There is truth in those lyrics. I see the passage of time in my mother's hands. I also see it as moments pass into hours and then into days in a whirl.
Life is always busy, like this month when the white board on the refrigerator lists church events, dentist visits, showers and weddings and graduations, as well as other details like pay the bills, mow the lawn, clean the house.
Recently I realized that my mother was moving further down on that list. A week passed. A month flew by. The phone calls came. "Hey, Suz, just calling to say I miss you."
One day I received an email from a friend. Her mom was sick. For the next few weeks I prayed, reading every update. One night I read the email from my beautiful friend that expressed her love for her ailing mom, and prayer for strength to say goodbye.
Suddenly it hit me how little time I actually devoted to my mother. I held the email and wept. The next day I made a date with my mom. She was like a girl; she laughed on the phone as we made plans.
My mom and I had the best time at lunch and I was inspired to make a point to love on her more frequently. So I came up with "Love Points" which include a few things I try to do each week.

Write. Leave a note in an unexpected place.
Give. Spend time with no strings attached (help work in the garden, go to lunch, sit and chat).
Touch. Especially if your loved one is older or widowed and they are not touched in positive ways any more. (Massage their hands. Hold their hand. Touch their face or hair.)
Affirm. Tell them one encouraging thing that you believe about them.
I pray I stay committed to showing my mom love. And that I have many more opportunities to hang out with her. But more than that I pray I don't take her for granted.
Life most likely won't slow down. But as I devote time to worthwhile endeavors, I don't want to forget that in the grand scheme of things, holding my mother's hands is one of the most priceless investments I'll ever make.

Dear Lord, thank You for my loved ones. Life gets so hectic, and sometimes it's hard to slow down long enough to show them how much I care. Please help me to slow down and recognize what is of little value so that I can invest in people with immense value. In Jesus' Name, Amen. (Susie Eller)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Being a Housewife

I have to say that I LOVE it!

I have been having such a wonderful time taking care of my husband and children, that I forgot to blog.

I haven't been here in a week! So what have I been doing? Pretty much the same thing as always: running the children to their activities, planning meals and trying to save money and keeping up with the laundry and dishes. The house isn't any cleaner. And I am ok with that.

But one thing that has changed is that I am cooking. A lot. I have tried a few new dessert recipes. I have "pinned" many recipes that I want to try also.

Tonight I spent my Friday night grocery shopping and then making Buttermilk Pancakes for the week. I will make French Toast tomorrow to freeze for the week as well.

On the menu this week is Chicken Fingers, at Daniel's request.

I wish this post was more exciting but I have to admit that my life has become less exciting. And that totally appeals to me. It's not boring. It's PEACEFUL. I am content.

Now don't get me wrong. I do have those anxiety moments that sneak up on me that play through my head something like this: "You better make a Plan B when you can't pay the bills." But over the last month (Sunday will be a month exactly), I have been able to pray through those thoughts.

Do the birds worry? Then why should I?

But the best part is, I feel like I am five years younger. AND I lost three pounds! I was really excited to see 118. I haven't been under 120 in a while. Who would have known how three little pounds would put such a smile on my face! (Before you throw something at the screen, I am only 59 inches tall.)

I also have been reading more. Each day, I sit down for about an hour in the afternoon and have a cup of Teavana and read. It is totally quiet and totally PEACEFUL.

My energy has returned also! I was struggling to stay awake past 8:30 pm. I was grumpy and couldn't wait for the children to go to bed so that I could go to be. There were some nights that I would say good night and they would put themselves to bed. I had to give myself a time out. I felt bad because I felt I was missing out on this precious time. But I knew that I needed to distance myself. I was beyond exhausted. Stressed out. But now, I am up to 10 sometimes 10:30 pm. I have to force myself to go to bed because I am still getting up between 5 and 5:30 am.

One of my favorite times of the day is when I walk to school with Daniel. I have missed doing this for FOUR  YEARS. I didn't know how much I missed it until I started doing it again.


So, I have to say that this new gig of mine is the life for me!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Girlfriends in God - Mary Southerland


Today's Truth
"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10, NKJV).
Friend to Friend
Jesus lived and died so that we can experience abundant life, a life exuding joy, a life so full that others crave to know the source of that fullness. Jesus did not come so that we can merely survive life. Pagans can survive life. Jesus came to be our joy. 
I came across this quote: "Joy is the flag that flies above the castle of our hearts indicating that the King reigns within." If that is true, then why are so many women living lives with little or no joy? I'm afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy, allowing him to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams and unrealized goals are some of his favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him to use. 
It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain, we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, joy is buried under a mountain of self.
Joy is not the result of outward circumstances. Joy is an inside job, a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Every trial or loss, every defeat or victory measured against this confidence can be counted as joy. 
The Apostle Paul was a man of great joy. By human terms, he had every right to be angry and even bitter. Persecuted, imprisoned and facing His own death, Paul says, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12-12, NIV).
The expression, "Have a good day" is a common greeting. I heard about one woman who, when told to have a good day, responded, "Thanks, but I have other plans." Sound familiar? We rise to face each day with a perspective of pending doom instead of the certain joy that is ours through Jesus Christ. God created the world in a process of one day at a time. At the end of each day, He examined his work and announced: "It is good!" We, too, can learn to see the good in each day. We can learn to be joyful. How?
  • Check your heart.
"My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God" (Psalm 84:2, NAS).
In this verse, "heart" literally means "body and soul" or "whole being." In other words, what's down in the well comes up in the bucket. Real joy is found in and flows from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God's very presence in our lives is His eternal reminder that Jesus died on a cross, rose from the grave and is coming again. Have you turned your heart and life over to Jesus?
  • Choose to rejoice.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2, NIV).
We cannot avoid pain but we can avoid joy. The pursuit of joy is a matter of choice. Our inward perspective does not have to reflect our outward circumstances. We can choose joy!
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, a baseball cap on his head, ball and bat in hand. He was muttering, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung at it and missed. "Strike one!" He picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, "I'm the greatest hitter ever!" He swung at the ball again. "Strike two!" He paused, examined his bat and ball and threw the ball into the air, missing a third time. He cried out, "Wow! I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"
Yes, the pursuit of joy is a matter of choice and perspective. It is also a matter of obedience. As Christians, one of our spiritual priorities should be joy.
"One ship sails east.
 One ship sails west.
 Regardless of how the winds blow, 
 It is the set of the sail
 And not the gale
 That determines the way we go."
 (Author unknown)
Set your sails for joy, girlfriend! Celebrate! Revel in who God is, in what He has done, is doing and will do in your life when you choose joy.
Let's Pray
Father, I come to You with praise in my heart and on my lips. Forgive me when I doubt You and what You are doing in my life. Please help me to walk by faith – not by sight. Teach me to see my daily life through Your eyes and show me how to walk in Your joy.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
How would you define joy? Would the people who know you best describe you as a woman of joy?
Read Psalm 16:11. "Being with You will fill me with joy." What does this verse say to you about the connection between God's presence and a life of joy?
What is blocking the flow of God's joy in your life? Is it a sin you need to confess? A relationship you need to make right? A step of obedience you need to take? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what action you need to take to experience the joy of the Lord.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

For my Daniel



He Is Just a Little Boy
By Chaplain Bob Fox


He stands at the plate
with his heart pounding fast.
The bases are loaded,
the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him,
he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment
would send his team home.
The ball meets the plate,
he swings and he misses.
There's a groan from the crowd,
with some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries,
"Strike out the bum."
Tears fill his eyes,
the game's no longer fun.
So open up your heart
and give him a break,
for it's moments like this,
a man you can make.
Please keep this in mind
when you hear someone forget,
He is just a little boy,
and not a man yet.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sidewalk Prophets Music



Sometimes I think
What will people say of me
When I'm only just a memory
When I'm home where my soul belongs


Was I love
When no one else would show up
Was I Jesus to the least of those
Was my worship more than just a song


I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You


If love is who I am
Then this is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back


I want to live like that
I want to live like that


Am I proof
That You are who you say You are
That grace can really change a heart
Do I live like Your love is true


People pass
And even if they don't know my name
Is there evidence that I've been changed
When they see me, do they see You


I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You


If love is who I am
Then this is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back


I want to live like that
I want to live like that


I want to show the world the love You gave for me
I'm longing for the world to know the glory of the King


I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You


If love is who I am
Then this is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back


I want to live like that
I want to live like that




Click HERE to listen. Currently, this is my favorite song, (because I want to live like that!)