Do It Scared

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I came to a writer’s conference with a book proposal in hand. A publisher loved (maybe that’s a strong word) my concept. The interview was going superbly until she asked THAT question, “Do you have a platform?”  Stammering around, I informed her I had a blog with approximately one follower who was also my best friend.

Done. I was done.  Put a fork in me.

She asked me, “So, why don’t you get more?”

In my logical safe head, I don’t have any other followers because I don’t attempt to get them.  Getting followers would require that I post my posts to social media.  I would have to expose myself and be vulnerable. That sounds horrible!

I’m afraid I’ll sound stupid. I’m afraid of rejection. It’s junior high all over again with added weight and a few wrinkles.

Why do we do this?  The message is not ours to give. The message comes from God. They are His words, encouragement and hope that He wants to give to the ones He loves with all His heart.  We maybe the only connection to just that one.

We may be uncomfortable and exposed, but what a tiny price for such a marvelous privilege.

I answered that publisher honestly.  She said what I knew to be true, and it’s something we have to apply to most of life. She said, “Do it scared.”

Behind the Pulpit

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Behind the pulpit, you usually find a great man.  Behind the great man, you usually find a great woman.  This is what you expect.  This is what you hope for.  This post is for the pastor’s wife.

You have a special place in my heart because my mom is one of you.  I recently spoke at a conference for pastors’ wives.  It was supposed to be from a pastor’s kid’s perspective.  I thought it would be fairly easy.  As I was preparing, I was finding out more and more about these sweet women.  Their stories reminded me of ours.  Their homes were like the one I grew up in.  My dad was a pastor at a larger church, but they were experiencing the same pain and difficulties that we did.

My heart was broken for them.  You see, more than anything, the devil wants to take away our faith.  He would love to have our marriages, our children and our churches, but the greatest prize would be our faith.  You think it would be harder to tear away our faith living in a pastor’s home.  But, many times that is the easiest place.  When you live so connected with that occupation you see things that are unthinkable.  They are things you would expect to see out in the world, but not taking place in God’s precious church.   The people that are put so high up on pedestals in our congregations seem to fall the hardest.  Every time we don’t see it coming, but it does.  It knocks the wind out of us.  It takes a little bit of our faith because we are utterly confused and completely stumped that someone that makes the claims that they do would participate in the behaviors that they do.

We ask ourselves, “Is this it?  Are these the best people Christianity has to offer?”  I struggled with this so much.  I still hear stories that blow me away.  But, I prayed.  I shared my frustration with Christ.  This is what was pointed out to me.  Colossians 3:1-2 says, “He is your life.  So, if you’re serious about living this new resection life with Christ, act like it.  Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is.”

I have to look up.  I can’t get caught up in the challenges, questions and difficult things right in front of me.  It is imperative that I change my perspective to God’s perspective and focus on eternity.  I will think on what is lovely, noble and pure.  I will look at people through Christ’s perspective and with his love instead of the devil’s judgement, accusation and hate.

It’s interesting.  How many times have people seen me fall off my pedestal?  God always picks me right back up.  It is so easy to see someone else’s sin as worse than ours.  I thank Him for His constant grace, forgiveness and love.

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Every Little Thing is Going to be Alright

It is amazing how much I love my husband.  Some never get to experience that, “blow me away I would die for you in a heart beat love”.  It is a gift and it is incredible.  But, even better than that, and this just hit me really hard this morning, is the love I share with Christ.  There is nothing like it!  I am head over heels in love with Someone I have never met in person.  And when I begin to worry about things, take my eyes off of Him and let to do lists and worries overshadow Him I almost just fall to pieces.  I was reminded this morning that every little thing is going to be ok because I have Him.  The other things don’t matter.  For real, my eternal security is set.  I might mess up today as a wife and mom (most likely I will).  I might have the dreaded disease I found on Web M.D.  (crossing my fingers I don’t).   I might not get that stupid to do list done (not going to happen).  But, I have Him always and forever.

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “He is your life.  So, if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.  Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is.

Upholstered Chair Makeover with Pearl’s Paint Chalk Paint

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I couldn’t believe it when my mom showed me a picture of an upholstered chair redone with chalk paint!!  I have been going through the agonizing process of ripping off old fabric and cording and attempting to make something look great.  That didn’t work so well.  Then, when she told me about this, I found two old upholstered chairs for $5 each at a sale.  Since I make my own paint (and sell it :)) I decided I didn’t have much too loose.  It is  AWESOME!!  This went on simply and then I just distressed it a bit on the wooden frame.  They are now sitting proudly in my office, and it has put a smile on my husband’s face because I paid $10 for our chairs!

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We Don’t Have To Be Right. We Have To Do Right.

Anything regarding my family and kids or Monopoly I’m just right about.  Don’t question me.  This was my take until just this weekend.  After 39 years of living I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I just don’t have to be right.  But, I do have to do right.  In Numbers 20, Moses sent messengers to the King of Edom to ask if he and the Israelites could pass through their country.  He made it clear that they would only pass through and pay for anything that they might have to have.

The King of Edom said absolutely not, and if you do, we will come and try to kill you.  Moses asked once more and this must have really ticked the King off because he came out against them with a huge powerful army.  Then, the Bible says, “Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory, Israel turned away from them.”  That’s it.  They just turned away.

YOU KNOW MOSES WAS RIGHT!!  He could have so taken them down.  He had fought a billion (well a bunch) of battles and God was with him.  He could have taken Edom, but he chose not to.  Because Edom was a country that had come from Esau – the brother of Jacob (Israel), he chose to DO right.  He let it go.

How hard it is to just let it go.  But, we are called to do right and have the same attitude of Christ Jesus.  I will remember this the next time we are involved in an ugly game of Monopoly.

Release Creates Peace

Starting is the hardest part of anything.  Go ahead.  Think of anything that seems a little overwhelming (my teenage son’s bathroom), a bit difficult (getting a  13.1 sticker on my back car window), or challenging (coming up with an awesome secret #13).

There are things that are overwhelming because they have to get done.  My son’s bathroom comes to mind.  Then, there are things that are dreams for us – the somethings we wake up thinking about and have a passion to do.  These dreams are mostly hidden and just for us.  Your parents might know because it’s been on your heart since you were three.  Your husband might know because you have to share it with someone or you might explode!  One or a few of your closest friends might know because you are that fortunate to have someone you can trust with your deepest secrets, hopes, fears and dreams.

But, we all have a hidden something – a dream that gets lost in our everyday lives.  We don’t want to pursue this dream because it’s a risk.  The older we get, the more control and assurances we want that what we will attempt will succeed.  Failure is not an option because we  cannot afford the time and money that could potentially be lost on our dream – time that we could spend doing something practical like cleaning the bathroom.

Christmas of 2013, I decided I was going to make some drastic changes.  Perfect timing with the new year in front of me and resolutions to be made.  I’m still not on time – ever.

I was in fact a hoarder (not quite like the tv show).  I am a sucker for sentimental.  I can attach a memory to a paper clip.  If you are one as well, then you know what I mean.  I had a storage tub (the $20 one – so you know I am talking big tub) of clothes that I wore from our dating season and first year of marriage.  I wanted to start somewhere and create a home of peace and space.  So, I decided to start with this tub.  Rip the bandaid off.  I had all of those clothes chopped up and made into a quilt.  I love this quilt!  And, whenever I USE it, I have the warmest feeling and I tell my kids about it- even though they could care less.

Next, I went through the tubs of my kids’ school years and threw away stuff and put the keepers in the largest 3 ring binder I could find for each of them.  It felt great!  It feels great!  I still have a LONG way to go.  But, I started.  You have to start where you are.  Ghandi said, “The best way to get something done is to begin.”  So the year of 2014 was the year of decrease instead of increase.

The best way to begin is to release.  Release creates peace.  Go ahead. Put that motto on anything you’ve got going, and it is true.  Let’s start with the closet.  Jam packed and full of crap.  It is crap that could become someone else’s blessing…except maybe the pajama pants.  Why, oh why, do we hold on to that shirt we will probably might wear?

Put that motto on something a little bigger – like that one room in your house that collects everything that you don’t know what to do with.  It houses items that you might one day pull out again to decorate with.  Honey, that ain’t coming out again.  It should have been given away in the 90’s.  And, why in the world do we need 27 half used seasonal Yankee candles?  I know the 2nd coming could be getting closer.  We might truly loose our electricity.  But, I am going to gamble a little bit and throw away 21 of them, so I can have some SPACE!

Isn’t space nice?  Freedom – you can stretch your legs and BREATHE.  Breathe peace and life into others.

Romans 5:1-2 says, “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”

God wants peace, space and freedom for us.  Release creates peace in the most important spots in our lives (not just our closets) – – our relationships and our souls.

When I release obligations that are not on track with my goals there is time for the ones I love most.  There is time to focus on the dream that God has placed inside of me. I can clearly see the next best thing I can do for Christ no matter how small because I have the time to be aware.

When I release bitterness and focus on what is good, noble and pure then loves exudes out of my heart.  I can forgive no matter how deep the wound. I can allow God to examine my heart. He can show me where I need to grow and change.

When I release fear I can experience living a life of surrender and freedom.  2 Timothy 1:12 says, ” …because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”

When I release pride and insecurity I don’t have to take myself so seriously, and I can appreciate others for their gifts and talents.  I can learn and grow in wisdom.

When I release my perspective, I can look at people and things with God’s perspective.  I can pray for His love to abound in me.  I can pray for wisdom and understanding that He promises to give if I’ll just ask and believe Him for it.

When I release greed then contentment comes.  I am able to focus on treasures in Heaven instead of some more shoes on earth.  I am able to give to those who are in desperate need and pray they will come to know Him.

Release isn’t for sissies.  It’s for women who are serious about real change and making a colossal difference in the lives of those who intersect with theirs.  Release creates peace but also leaves a legacy.  I want my children to say about me that I wasn’t just a talker.  I want them to say she lived out what she read and said.  She put everything…no, she released everything, into the capable hands of her Father.

When I release all of these things, I’m simply obeying and trusting. The very thing I have always known to do.

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Soup with Italian Seasoning

This is a great soup with a little kick!  My kids even like it.  If yours don’t – no worries!  Just put it in the refrigerator for the next time you need a great meal!

 

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Ingredients:

5 T Olive Oil

1/2 cups chopped white onion

2 T minced garlic

2 cups packaged carrots washed and ready

2 cups diced potatoes

2 cups frozen green beans

2 quarts vegetable broth

2 cans chopped tomatoes (We love Muir Glen Fire Roasted)

1 can corn (or frozen)

1/2 tsp pepper

1 T Italian Seasoning (or a little more if you want)

Saute the garlic and onions until soft and translucent.  Add the carrots, potatoes, and green beans, and continue to cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth and increase the heat until it simmers. Once simmering, add the tomatoes, corn pepper and Italian seasoning.  Reduce heat to low and and cook until the vegetables are fork tender.

 

 

Scripture Memorization

Scripture memorization is something we all long to do…  What if we really did it?!?!  Nothing crazy – 5 million verses.  Just 3 verses a month.  Chose three verses.  Take one verse a week.  During the last week of the month, review what you have learned.  During times of trouble they will come to you.  During times of doubt and fear you will be reminded of His words

 

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Money Saving Apps

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I can’t ever find that stupid coupon I actually took the 30 seconds of my life to cut out, or I forgot it, blah, blah, blah…  I DO always have my phone with me, and I have learned about some awesome apps that save me money.  Let’s just start with Target because that’s where most of us are.  Cartwheel has saved me alot of money.  All I have to do is scan the products as I put them in my cart.  Sometimes, I feel like I have hit the jackpot.  Other times, not so much.  But, I’ve saved quite a bit.  And, I check out with my Target debit card, I save 5% on my total bill.  YIPEEE!  I love it when someone ahead of me is asked by the clerk if they are interested in the card.  I say, “Yes, you are!”  It’s not a gimmick!  It’s for real!!”  (They really need to use me in a commercial).

I stumbled across Wal-Mart Savings Catcher, and I love it!!  All you do is scan you receipt, and Wal-Mart finds all of the ad matches.  The place you scan is at the very bottom of the receipt.  It is almost too good to be true!  You have to wait a couple of days for them to look, but I’m good with that.  I love getting an email that says, “You saved $3.23.”  Then, the next time you go, you just simply present your email with the # they send you.  They take that amount off your next purchase!

Shopkick is my latest fun time!  You get kicks (or points) for walking into stores.  You get kicks for scanning certain products.  I got enough points and received a $5 Target gift card!

Ibotta is incredible!  You simply check it out before shopping, push the items you want rebates on, push the redeem button,and take a picture of your receipt.  After $5 worth of rebates you can get cash back!

These are amazing because I’m not spending money just because I have a coupon.  Money is being saved on the stuff I actually buy!  If you have any great money saving Apps, let me know!