Wednesday, February 28, 2018

doing life with others and sharing the love of Jesus

If you attend a church service, you hear the term ministry thrown around all the time.  At my church, there are some amazing ministries that people I know and love have and/or participate in.  This one sweet lady gives bibles away to people.  She keeps them in her car and readily hands them out.  Another friend goes and visits people in the hospital and makes sure they know where they're going when they die.  I have a young friend who lives in North Memphis and has foster kids come and go, plus all the neighborhood teenagers.  She provides snacks and bible study.  Others I know go on mission trips often. 

And if you're anything like me, that all sounds so good, but it also seems a tiny bit overwhelming.  I always wonder, what can I do?  I'm a stay at home mom.  I homeschool my kids, which means I don't go to all these places where I can really focus on sharing Jesus with others.  I go to church, I see my (believing) friends, I am always around family or friends. 

And yes, I often fall into the horrible comparison trap.  It's hard not to when you hear all these cool stories of what other people are doing.  And if I'm completely honest here, which I say that I am real and open all the time, I do not have the spiritual gift of evangelizing.  It's not my gifting, but to an extent, we're all called to do all the spiritual gifts at some point.  When it's your gift, though, it just easily flows and is almost supernatural, it can be made to look so easy.  (I'm thinking of two people who have this gift, as I write this.  One is a young man at our church, and the other is our missions pastor.)  So for someone like me, who does not have that gift, it's hard for me to start up a conversation where I can share with them the gospel. 

Sometimes I feel a twinge of something about this, but I'm not sure if it's conviction or shame.  Conviction is good and from the Lord.  But shame is NOT from the Lord.  He will never make us feel ashamed of something we've done, or not done. 

Does anyone besides me ever feel this way? 

I always pray about this, and I always ask the Lord to use me as I go about my daily life.  When I prayed this on Monday (for the umpteenth time), He gently reminded me of a couple of things, and I wonder if anyone else needs to be reminded of something similar as well? 

One is that sharing the love of Jesus with others looks different for different people.  For me, a non-evangelizing type person, it can look like encouragement.  I love to talk to people when I go places.  (Costco, Kroger, Annie's nails, the hair salon.)  Exhortation (often called encouragement) is one of the spiritual gifts, and it is in my top five.  I am a very quiet, reserved, introverted person, but for some reason, I love meeting new people and striking up a conversation.  Sometimes they don't want to talk back to me, though, so I make sure and make eye contact, smile, maybe offer a helping hand, and then sometimes if we're in line and they don't want to talk, I will pray for them silently.  I do this with the people checking me out, as well, because sometimes you just cannot get one word out of them.

About this gift of exhortation, it doesn't JUST mean encouragement.  It also means that if I have a friend who I can see struggling with a particular pattern that could be harmful (like being too busy, or gossipy), I know that I need to say something.  This gift goes both ways, and I have to both.  (I only do this with people who either ask me for advice, or ones I'm close enough with to be able to speak my mind lovingly.) 

Also, about this particular spiritual gift, the Lord showed me a long time ago, that I need to always look the part of someone who would love to be approached.  For instance, I tell students (and my own boys) all the time that when the Lord so drastically changed me all those years ago, He changed my countenance.  I used to walk around looking mad all the time, before, I had someone tell me that.  So I asked Him to change me.  And now?  My "resting face" is one that looks like I'm smiling.  I'm not always, I promise, it's just another piece of evidence of how the Lord transformed me.

I had an incident happen on Monday while I was getting my nails done.  (Real life, hello.)  I love the place I go to, and I love those dear people who work there.  I talk to them all the time, but sometimes the owner isn't as friendly with a new customer as one would like her to be.  A lady next to me was asking her all kinds of questions about colors (I love nail polish and naming all the OPI colors is my super power), and I was able to help her a little, when the owner wasn't answering.  That one small statement I made struck up a twenty minute conversation between us.  Her name was Lisa, and she and her husband moved here from Dallas for his job, but their grown daughters live in California.  She asked me questions like what was there to do here (not much, unfortunately) and why I had this certain look about me.  She was super kind and said something about how I seemed to be glowing.  As sweet as that was, it was a tiny bit embarrassing, but I thanked her for her kindness and said, "Well, hopefully, you're seeing the love of Jesus that is within me."  And I invited her to church. 

Friends, that is one small way that the Lord used me this week, and normally I wouldn't think that was a big deal, but He reminded me that He gave me that opportunity and I could have just brushed it off, but instead, I talked about Him. 

(Please don't take this as me being boastful...I promise, I am only boasting in the Lord and His goodness.  He gave me brevity I usually don't have, and He directly answered a prayer for me that day, because I had asked Him to use me.  I pray this everyday, and most times I do not see an answer like I did on Monday, but I know He hears, and I trust that He is always at work within me.)

The second thing He reminded me of was the gift of prayer.  (Remember yesterday's post about how I sometimes am so tempted to skim over that part of my quiet time?  That is the enemy trying to weasel his way into my life and way of thinking.)  Well, I love to pray.  The Lord has used several people in real life who have taught me on this subject.  One is my friend Denise.  She loves to pray and encouraged me to get a prayer partner and to meet weekly with her.  I did that a few years ago, and though Abbey and I haven't been super consistent since last summer, we are on a three week streak of meeting again, and I am so glad. 

Another lady who taught me on this was Denise's friend Ann.  Ann taught me that praying for myself is also crucial.  It's like the airline stewards who tell you to use oxygen first for yourself, and then go and help others, if the plane is in distress.  If I don't pray for myself and my own heart and junk I often have going on, I'm not sure if anybody else will.  Also, I don't always tell other people my junk, so if I didn't pray for that, I know nobody else would. 

I used to keep a prayer notebook and I would use it almost everyday.  I do still use that every once in a while, but sometimes it seems too overwhelming, and I don't always have a whole hour to spend in prayer.  When I don't use that, I pray according to the acronym ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication.  Thank you, Jason Holmes, for that.  He's our student ministry pastor.  The people who know me are good about reaching out to me for prayer, so when they do, I usually stop right then and pray.  If I don't, I'll forget.  I text them prayers, sometimes, like I did with a friend on Monday night, and sometimes I will call them and pray over the phone, because I don't know what else to say or do for them when times are so hard.  When you ask me to pray and I say I will, I promise that I am true to my word.  I usually will write it all down in my journal so that I won't forget.

I wanted to share this, because I know there are other people like me, who wonder what they can do, when it comes to sharing your faith.  These are just a couple of really practical ways that are easy, and that the Lord showed me this week.  I pray that these words are an encouragement to you as you go about your daily life.  There is nothing too small that you can do to make an eternal impact in someone's life, if you're a believer and follower of Jesus like me.  Don't let the enemy try to get you to think any other way. 

Thanks for reading, friends.  Love to all. 

(About that picture at the top: sometimes displaying all the fruits of the Spirit are what others see in us, as well.  All those things represent Jesus, and if that evidence of His presence in our lives is missing, I believe that it would make one wonder about our salvation.  The way we act can be a stumbling block for someone who is not a believer and follower of Jesus.  So, that's just one more thing to think about, and it's one other way I pray, for the Lord to display ALL those qualities in me as I go about daily life.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

when God answers

In case you didn't know, and I can't remember if I wrote about this or not before or during Christmas, I was in a bit of a slump with my quiet times pretty recently.  I think it started when we got Chip, our newest pup, because he would wake up at three or four every morning, I would get up with him and then just fall back to sleep on the couch with him in my lap.  Because of all that, I am so sad to say that my quiet times were almost nonexistent for a few weeks. 

And then one day, it just dawned on me that I had let that go.  (It can seriously happen to any of us, and we have to guard that time like nothing else.)  I was in a bad mood more often than not while I was at home, I was tired, I think I may have been even a little down in the dumps.  (I wouldn't say "depressed", but definitely just down and very discouraged.)  I will add here that this is where the enemy most loves to work against us in our lives.  I don't like to give him too much credit, but when he sees that we are not firmly planted and rooted in the word of God, he will definitely attack us in ways that can only be described as spiritual warfare. 

When I started back, I had to pray and ask God to help me.  I had gotten out of the habit, and to stick with it again and start fresh, I desperately needed His help.  Throughout this time, I would still pray and worship the Lord, though, because how could I not?  But I would pray and then I wouldn't follow through with the obedience part.  Or I would read the bible and skip the prayer part.  It was all very scattered, though.  I would read for a day, and then I would skip three. 

But the Lord is always so good, and He did help me.  I wasn't very consistent with the time of day that I would do this, but I figured something was better than nothing.  Once I let go of the time of day, it got easier.  My new normal right now is that I get up super early to deal with the dogs.  This morning I was up at 4:30, because bless Chip's small bladder.  (We all went upstairs by 11:30.)  I always fall asleep with him again an hour or two, then I get up and feed them, have coffee, turn on the news, and right as the boys are all waking up, I am sitting down to have quiet time.  I am fully awake by then and I am able to grasp more of what I am reading in the bible at this later time.  I pray throughout the day, all day long off and on, but I concentrate the most on this before I start reading the bible.

The reason I share this is because I know this happens to everyone.  Maybe someone needs to be encouraged today.  Maybe it's something you've been neglecting as well, or maybe you're being too hard on yourself about this and being all legalistic on times and places that you sit and read and pray.  I was that way too!  Legalistic, I mean, because I was used to getting up early, getting my coffee, and then sitting down right away to pray and read.  But then real life hit when the new puppy came, and it all flew out the window.

Don't give up, though; the enemy wants you to do that, and nothing would please him more.  I once did a bible study on the armor of God by Priscilla Shirer, and in that she suggested that our prayers are what is holding off the battle going on in the heavenly realms that we don't see.  I believe that with everything in me; as much as the bible talks about praying continually, I know those words are there for a reason.  If this is you, if you need some help, or if you have a question about where you could start in this, will you please reach out to me?  I'll include my email, so you don't have to comment for others to see.  It's  A lot of you are friends in real life, so text me!  Or message me on Facebook.  I don't claim to know a lot about anything, but I know what it is like to struggle in this, and I am full of good ideas that others have handed down to me over the years.  I promise, I can give you some suggestions. 

I would love to help you out with this, and point you along in this way.  The one thing I can say now, for you to start, is to ask God to help you.  If you know you SHOULD BE doing this and don't have the desire to do so, ask Him for the want to.  I've prayed that very thing myself, and many times.  And I'm sure that some day in the future, I will pray it again.  I promise, He will answer you in this prayer, because He wants us to know Him more and He wants us to want more of Him.  And we get that by praying and in reading His word. 

Thanks for reading today.  I pray that the Lord uses this and encourages the ones He means for it to reach.  Love to all. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  It's been a weird and rainy week.  Anyone else experiencing so much rain that you keep seeing GIANT earth worms everywhere you look?  My puppy has tried to eat one or four.  BLEH. 

Rain is NOT my favorite, and I am ready for it to move along, now.

I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals, and her friends, for this blog post.

(I was not kidding about those earth worms.  One was almost a foot and a half long the other night, and I was convinced that what Noah saw was a snake.  It wasn't.  It really was a giant earth worm.  Todd brought it inside to show me.)

I have some favorite moments from this week and a few other favorite things as well. 

Monday was one giant blur.  I think I took three naps.  D-Now recovery is no joke, and I felt like I'd been in a wreck.

Tuesday was nothing worth noting, other than a giant trip to Costco.

Wednesday was my favorite day!  I had lunch with a dear friend of mine, and we sat there for almost two solid hours catching up and just getting to know each other better.  I love times like that.

Wednesday night was also when my husband started feeling really sick, so while he rested on the couch, I finished my library book, then started this one.

I've had it for about a month now, and I've been putting it off because I knew I would love it.  (Anyone else do that?)  Sure enough, I finished it yesterday afternoon.  It might be my favorite so far, in 2018.  I'm trying to read more. 

Then, I started this one last night.

I love Agatha Christie, and can't help but wonder why I've never read her books before.  They remind me of adult versions of Nancy Drew.  I devoured all those books when I was a teenager.

Reading is my favorite. 

I came across this article via Facebook the other day, and loved it so much that I thought I'd make it one of the favorites for today.

Click here to read it.

It's about growing up in the eighties.

Also, most of you know how much I love Travis Cottrell, and today he has a new album that releases.  He advertised it this morning, with a link to this song you can find on YouTube.

Just know that this one will be on repeat for a while, and that it's my new favorite worship song. 

My sweet hubby stayed home yesterday because of how bad he felt, and we enjoyed a day of being lazy together.  He sat on the couch all day, and I read, in between making the bed and doing the minimal amount of laundry.

I love days like that.  It was cold and dreary and pretty perfect.  Except for this weird eye thing I have going on again, but whatever.  (I look like someone punched me in my right eye, and it feels like there is sand in it.)

Well, speaking of making the bed and laundry...I need to get to it.  Have a great day and weekend!  Here's to hoping we don't need an ark to get around in this weekend.  All the rain has just situated itself right here in Memphis, it seems like, and is not going away soon. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesday Things

As I write this, Kathie Lee Gifford is preaching on The Today Show, the segment with Meagan Kelly.  She's talking about how her entire family came to faith in Jesus through the ministry of Billy Graham.  When I say she is preaching, I mean it.  She just shared the Gospel on national television.  I love her, and her boldness.  She didn't mince words either, and used the name Jesus, and the phrase "hope in Jesus" in what she was saying.  I don't normally watch the Meagan Kelly part of The Today Show, but I kept it on when I heard her say that Billy Graham died this morning.  I'm glad they talk about things other than politics every once in a while. 

On a much different note, I loved my coffee this morning.  We have both a regular coffee pot and a Keurig, and we use them both.  I give the contents of the coffee pot to the boys, usually, and I use the Keurig.  Well, we've talked about how we don't love the coffee pot coffee much these days.  It tastes bitter every once in a while, or just not as good as it once was.  I love the brand Keurig cups that we use-they're bold in flavor, and the Kirkland brand from Costco.  While I was there yesterday, I picked up a new (to us) type from the Kirkland brand, and I love it.  I'm not sure if Todd likes it as much, so we may have to go back to the other kind again for him, or in addition to this one, but I actually used the coffee pot today.  It's so much cheaper doing it that way, but I always love the Keurig cups we buy, and they do not sell that type by the bag or container.  It's only found in the K-cups.

This is what the bag looks like. 

Also, it is STRONG, but I like my coffee practically walking on its own.

Have I mentioned before that we are coffee snobs?  No Folgers or Maxwell House for us.  We like whole bean, grind it yourself coffee that is special, and not the Starbucks kind.

Moving on.  (I REALLY like coffee.)

I saw this on Instagram this weekend and loved it.  I reposted it from Shellie Giglio.  It reminded me of the weekend...we were so busy and intentional all weekend, that I hardly looked at my phone.  The only time I really ever even picked it up was to take the occasional picture, though I didn't even really do that until Sunday morning, or to look through Instagram late at night when I was laying in bed.

And you know what?  I didn't miss my phone even a little.

I worked on cleaning the house yesterday and on Monday, I put it all back in order.  Being gone for a whole weekend makes it really messy when people start coming back home.  I love a clean house.  I love everything to be orderly and in its place.  I worked a lot on my own bedroom yesterday, too, and I even cleaned our fan.  Someone bumped it the other day with something, and little dust particles went all over my (white) bed.  It's clean now! 

I dusted this little trinket box, and I realized that it is considered "vintage".

I think I've had it since I was about ten.  I have always loved hearts, even as a young girl.  I would put my ring and stud earrings inside of it.  Nowadays it sits empty, but I still love it. 

I am going to lunch with a really sweet friend today!  I am really excited about it, because we have been wanting to do this for a while and finally committed a date to the calendar.  Other than that, it's kinda slow around here today.  The boys will be doing school work and there's church tonight.  It's rainy and cool today, though, and that always make me want to read a book, so hopefully I'll finish the one I'm reading currently so that I can return it tomorrow. 

Have a great day!  Thanks for reading my blog.  Love to all! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Post D-Now Update

I love this weekend with the student ministry at our church home.  I love it...I cannot say that enough.  My husband and I were raised in A/G churches, so this D-Now thing is new to us.  Graham was first invited to one with a friend back in sixth grade, and every year since, our kids have gone.  This is a baptist church thing.  We have been attending CFBC for seven years now.  We joined after a couple years and have no plans to change any time soon, or EVER.  We love our church family, and it was events like this one that drew our kids there, and eventually, all of us.  The children's pastor at the time had a motto: reach the kids, reach the whole family.  It worked.

D-Now weekend is a discipleship program.  It's a weekend long retreat that is in our town, and all the students and leaders stay in host homes.  There were over 170 students in attendance there this year!

You can't even see all the students, because it was so wide.  Several decisions were made to become followers of Jesus for the first time ever, and I know of several who prayed about renewing or deepening their relationship with the Lord.  We always begin on Friday night at seven with worship, then session one by our speaker.  The last two years it has been a student pastor and speaker from Mississippi, Jason Curry.  The students (AND adults) love him.  After session one, we go back to our host homes, pig out on junk food, then have small group time, where we talk about the message from that night.

I love small group time the most.

We go to bed, then wake up and have quiet time, breakfast, then meet back at the church at 10 or so.  Session two happens then, followed by lunch, then games, and service projects or break out sessions they can choose from, then we break to go back to the host homes to eat more and rest.  Dinner is always around six, then session three, then small group time again (this night is always the best), then we go to bed and meet back at the church the next morning at nine.  It officially ends after morning service, but our last session is always Sunday night.

The point of these weekends are for students to know the Lord.  Or to know MORE of Him.  We are always provided with things to say to challenge them in this.  Relationships are made new again, or start for the first time, fellowship happens, and we always go from the weekend refreshed and exhausted.  Ha!  Maybe that's just the adults.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

This was Drew's host home and fellow seniors.  Insert crying face emoji here.  I can't believe it's his last D-Now as a student.  He can come back next year and help lead, though, if he wants to do that.

This stage is what made me be a tech team widow all last week.  None of this stuff stays put.  It is all set up and torn down the week before and the last night of D-Now.

Co-leaders!  Left to right: me, Laurie, Kittie, and Missy.  Kittie was our host home friend and she and her sweet hubby were the most gracious of hosts.

All our ninth grade girls!  This group of girls is phenomenal.  They're new to us this year: Missy and I lead them in community group on Sunday nights, which also takes place at our friend Kittie's house.

Saturday, in our team colors (maroon) with our friend Teresa.

The ninth grade won second place in the games part of the weekend and got an ice cream sundae bar as a reward.  We all enjoyed every single bite.

Sunday morning and tired eyes.

This was a small group of the ninth grade guys.  There are so many of them, they have to split into three homes.  My Noah is the fourth from the left.  Chandler is on the far right, and he's one of their mentors and student staffers.  I do not have one picture with Jonah.  I have one with Graham, but it's blurry.

I love seeing our students on stage with us as we worship on Sunday morning in church.  The students always sit right in the front on this day, and I love seeing them worship.

It was an amazing weekend.  I now know a lot of the ninth grade girls a lot better, and I feel like it was a productive weekend, meaning that we all left challenged and changed.  I pray that what they took away stays with them forever and that they continue to grow closer to God in their relationships with Him.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for us!  Love to all.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

little ways we can love someone all 365 days of the year and some random pictures from my phone

Happy Wednesday! 

Happy Singles Awareness Day!

Happy Valentine's day!  (But I'm really not much of a fan of this day.)

I think I hit all the options for this day in those greetings. 

We don't do anything to celebrate on this day, but we do lots of daily, mundane life type things for each other all the time, and I thought I'd share about a few of them. 

Just a couple of days ago, I noticed that I had a full tank of gas.  I needed some last Thursday, and my sweet hubby took my car and filled it up for me when he went to run an errand that night.  He does that ALL THE TIME, and I am always so thankful when he takes time out of his busy schedule to be a gentleman.  I always make sure and thank him when he does this, because everyone needs to hear how appreciated they are every once in a while.

I make coffee and lunch for him every morning before he goes to work.  I started this a year ago, after I heard a preacher say that every morning he would pray and ask the Lord how he could serve his wife that day.  I started doing that, and this is the idea the Lord gave me.  I make his two cups of coffee, his giant cup full of ice water, and his lunch.  Granted, his lunch is nothing fancy, just some cheese sticks, a Cliff bar, and some fruit everyday, but it's one less thing he has to do in the morning. 

Todd takes care of everything car and outside related at our house, and I take care of all the inside related things.  However, he has been known to do anything inside that needed to be done, like vacuuming up the copious amounts of dog hair, changing all the light bulbs, fixing all the things that need repairing, and starting laundry.  He's handy.  (One thing he did a while back was buy all new more efficient light bulbs.  I love lamps and the front porch lights and the light above the kitchen sink, and knowing that, he bought me these bulbs so that I can leave them on all I want and it cuts down on our bill.)

I put away all his laundry after it's been washed, dried, and folded.  I could ask him to do it, and sometimes I do just that, but most days?  I just put it all away for him.  He has so little time at home, and I am here all the time, so why wouldn't I do that for him? 

These are just a few ways that we show love and honor to each other, but I could go on and on.  We've found that all these ways work really well for us, and with our schedules.  And to each his own, right? 

Moving on now, look at these gorgeous tulips I bought the other day at Kroger!

I love having fresh flowers in the house, and Kroger has the best selection of flowers for $7 and under. 

Truth.  If God loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Snail mail made me cry like a baby this week.  Seriously.  This was from my dad, y'all. 

Look at my little Chip!  He's so wrinkly sometimes, and his favorite spot is still in my lap.  I love this dog ridiculously, even when he drives me bonkers.  He's growing up so quickly!  I wish he would stay little forever, but even when he's fully grown, he'll still be my little lap dog.

We cuddle every morning between five and seven.  He always wakes up to be let outside, then he goes right back to sleep until I move, then eventually they eat breakfast, around seven thirty.

That's about all I've got for today.  I am staying home all day to do some things around here, then I have to be at church tonight at five thirty.  The rest of the fam will be there as well, and I'll end up back here alone until I go to bed, most likely.  I'm thinking they'll end up staying late at the church setting up for D Now.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

a favorite song, and a request

When we pray:

Strongholds are broken. 

Lives are changed.

Hearts are softened again, when once they were hard.

Our focus changes from ourselves to the others around us.

I love this song by Tauren Wells, and the lyrics that go along with it, because they are so true. 

I say all this to ask of a favor from anyone who may read this.  This weekend at our church is an annual event for the youth in our church.  It's called D Now (Disciple Now) and it's a weekend long retreat that is within our hometown.  Students will arrive at church (after dropping off their bags for the weekend at their host homes) for service, and afterward, we will all end up in the host homes to spend the night.  Saturday is back at church for a service that morning, then lunch, followed by a project usually, dinner, service again, then our last night at the host homes.  It officially ends after church on Sunday morning, but our final session is always on Sunday night.

This is my FAVORITE thing to do with the students, because it's so concentrated on pouring into them.  The services are always amazing and I love all the one on one time we get with the students.  I love pouring into teenagers the things that matter, that are of eternal value, and I love having that one on one time where we get to ask them all kinds of questions about their faith, questions like if their relationship with God is where they want it to be, or if they could pick one word to describe it, what would it be.  Their answers always surprise me, and there have been years when we've had to exhort a student based on something they've either written or said or posted on social media.  The talks go long sometimes, but the time with them is priceless, and I love getting to know a group of teenage girls.  At some point during the weekend, we are always asked to have a one on one talk with each student in our group.  I was astounded last year when I asked around, about how many students said their leaders never did that.  For my group, that was always one of the most favored parts of the whole weekend. 

Three of my boys will be attending (Drew, Jonah, Noah), Graham will be a co-leader of middle school boys, Todd will be there helping with tech, and I will be a leader.  Will you please help me to pray for all of this? 

Here is how you can pray:

* Pray for students to know there is only one way to salvation, through Jesus alone.  ONEGOSPEL

 * Pray for students to develop a dependence upon prayer, a passion for the word of God, and an urgency to tell others of the hope they have in Jesus.  ONEMISSION

* Pray for connections to be made relationally that encourage fellowship in the body of Christ.  ONEFAMILY

* Pray for our leaders, host homes, Jason Curry (our speaker), The Gafford Band (worship leaders), and those helping behind the scenes during the weekend.

* Pray for no sickness, no injuries, no pettiness (jokes/pranks), and for all to be encouragers instead of discouragers. 

Like I mentioned above, this is a short, extremely intense weekend of discipleship that is exhausting for the leaders, but SO WORTH IT, so I'm asking you to also pray for supernatural strength for us leaders.  If this tells you anything, I always come home and sleep for at least three hours on Sunday, and I am always totally worthless on Monday.  I have ended the past three years physically sick after this event, and I don't know if that is just happenstance or if it's because it's mentally/physically/emotionally draining and my immune system is worn down.  Whatever the reason, I would LOVE if you would help me to pray for all of this. 

Thanks so much, and I look forward to updating early next week on how it all went.  Love to all. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this post. 

I haven't had tons going on this week.  I can't quite get over a cold I've had.  Most days I feel fine, but I've had a couple of set backs.  Because of all that, I've not done a lot this week.  I did venture out a few times, though.

If this tells you anything, I made a giant trip to Kroger on Monday.  When I say "giant", I'm referring to the bill.  We needed so many things.  When I make a trip like that, after being very low on food in the pantry, it's everyone's favorite.  We've had all kinds of yummy things to eat this week.  I even bought a lot of freezer novelties.  These boys of mine sure do love something good to eat, and even better if it's something I don't usually buy (like corndogs and soft pretzels). 

According to the reactions I got on social media, these were one of everyone's favorite posts this week.  I read during the super bowl Sunday night, in between commercial breaks.  I would put down my book to watch the commercials.  This halftime show was my favorite in a long time.  I love Justin Timberlake.  My favorite commercials were the one with Eli Manning doing the dance and lift from Dirty Dancing, and the Hyundai commercial with the #HopeComesStandard hashtag.

I haven't read anymore since Sunday night, by the way.  I said before that I go in spurts, and I've not picked it back up all week.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the week.  We've been training young Chip (in the middle) to sit and shake.  They were all sitting so pretty for Jonah as he worked with them this week. 

In case anyone doesn't know, I'm reading through the bible again in chronological order this year, and I had to play catch up from being so sick last week.  I always forget how much I love the book of Exodus!  So much happens in this book, and so much of it is stuff I can relate to (like Moses' lack of confidence in himself).  I've gotten so much out of every reading this week, something different each time.  I love that verse in chapter 14, about the LORD fighting for us.  One major theme I saw this week was God is our Provider. 

If you're needing a place to read, I would suggest Exodus.  It is so good!

I saw this on Instagram this week and cracked up laughing.  It is so true!

Amazon Prime is my favorite way to shop for almost everything.  (Not clothes.)

I'll end with yesterday.  We saw my mom and stepdad for the first time in forever at lunch, and we saw my in-love's for dinner last night. 

After dinner, we ended at one of my kids' favorite places of all--the sheriff's department base.  I took pictures, but I'm not sure about how much I can post, but here's just one.

Any day that they can all see where Todd goes before a shift with the sheriff's department is a favorite day for all.  He's on ES, which stands for Emergency Services.  Rachel was with us, and because Graham is going through this class to join right now, I think she now appreciates having a picture in her head of where he has to go for classes, then later on for work, after he graduates.

It was a fun night.  (We ate at two of our favorite places yesterday-a Mexican restaurant, and CiCi's pizza.) 

And lastly, on Sunday night at church, my favorite kind of service is coming up.

It's a night of praise and worship.  It's not at all a concert, but just a night of singing praises to God.  If you are local to me, I'd love to have you join us!  It starts at six, and it's at my church, Collierville First Baptist Church.  These nights are always spectacular, and nobody ever wants it to be over.  My specific prayer for this night is something I read yesterday in Exodus 24--and that is that the appearance of the glory of the LORD would be like a consuming fire.  Rain down on us, Lord Jesus. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

all about books

First off, on the Sweet Blessings blog [], she has made these printable scripture cards.  I love this verse and memorized it a few years ago, but I printed it out today and am going to put it on the front of the refrigerator.  I'm of the belief that scripture all over the house is a great thing and is an easy and fool proof way to get it into your heart.  Go over to her blog for more, if you're interested. 

Somehow, on Sunday night, I ended up at home alone during the super bowl.  I was supposed to have gone to a watch party with our community group teenagers, but sickness prevented me from going.  Jonah and Noah still went, though, and Graham and Drew went their separate ways as well.  Todd ended up at a friends' house and that left me alone to do whatever. 

I did turn it on, because I like to be informed, but between commercial breaks, I started a new book.

I've never read anything by this author before, but this is a delightful book.  It's similar to Nancy Drew, but set in modern times.  I'm halfway through it already. 

People always want to know how I read so much, so I thought I'd share a little about that today.  My love of reading began in first grade, at Collierville Elementary school.  Mrs. Shawl introduced me to books, and that's when it clicked.  I remember my first book.  It was a Garfield the cat book.  I read any and every single thing I could get my hands on.  I don't know what she said or how she encouraged her class, but it just happened.  My mom and dad loved to read as well, so I had great examples before me.  Since a very young age, I have read very fast.  [Not speed read fast, but still.] 

I would beg to go buy more books, and both my parents always made sure that happened.  I wonder if they ever got irritated with me for wanting to shop for nothing else but books.  If they did, they never acted like it.  I don't really remember going to a library, because at the time, there was not one convenient to us.  I bought a lot of books at a grocery store.  There was a Kroger on Sanderlin in Memphis, that my mom would take me to every once in a while because she knew how much I loved their book section.  [They had the best around.] 

On Saturdays, I loved to go to my little hole in the wall bookshop that was my favorite, The Book Depot.  My dad would take me and drop me off and come pick me back up about three hours later.  I would sit in their floor and look through every single book in my section. 

It was great having parents who encouraged me so much.  As a mom, I've tried to do that myself with the boys, but they don't love this hobby like I do.  They've all read and they all WILL read, but I pretty much have to force them.  Out of all of them, Drew has loved reading the most, going through all Rick Riordan's books, and all the Harry Potter books.  His preference is definitely fiction.  Graham's is non-fiction.  Noah likes non-fiction and Jonah prefers fiction, but nothing mystical or fantasy, just something realistic.

Not that they read all the time, but when they do, that's what they like.

I always have books waiting on me.

This is the stack on my nightstand.  Just give me all the books.  I am constantly receiving/borrowing/buying [as cheaply as I can] new ones.  

I make time to read every day almost.  [I did not yesterday.]  I'll use a book mark and set it ahead a few chapters, and I'll make myself go until I reach it.  Usually when I do this, it will have gotten really good, and I'll keep going that night after we eat dinner, and sometimes I will read as I cook dinner.  

If I go somewhere that I might have a wait, or if I have time to myself, I take my book with me.  

This year, I'm using a book journal.  My sweet friend Andrea bought me this one, and I was updating it this morning.  [I am counting the book Adorned one time, because I'm reading it with two friends and we meet and talk about it every other week or so, a chapter at a time.  So I counted it in January, but not February, though it is just written down.]  

If I loved it, I put a heart beside it.  I loved the first Agatha Christie I read.  There needs to be a heart beside the Robin Jones Gunn one I read in January.  I love that entire series, and have re-read all of them about three times.  

So that's how I read a lot.  I read fast and I make time almost every day.  I have all the time in the world right now, because I don't work outside of my home.  When I've worked in the past, I've still read a lot, though, just more at night and on weekends.  I also love all kinds of books.  Christian fiction, regular fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, biographies, you name it, I love it all.  I like to read different authors, too, always "trying on" new ones.  I love some historical books, but mostly I love anything set during WWII.  

That reminds me...I need to try one I forgot about...I also have an Amazon book list that I am always adding to, and I have a library note on my phone of books I want to read.  

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I am sitting here at the computer desk in the living room, and I am loving that the sunshine is pouring in the windows.  Chip loves it too, because he just laid down to sunbathe beside me.  (Yesterday ended horribly dreary, plus I felt rotten all day.  I think I'm feeling better now, though, because I am thinking of what to cook for dinner tonight.  That's always a good sign.)

I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for this post.

I'm going to be girly for a minute.  Please excuse me. 

I got my nails done on Wednesday morning, and this is what I'm currently wearing on them.  It might be my new favorite red.  (It's hard to find a normal (blue) red.

It's the one on the right.  I always wear dark colors from fall to winter, but every year at this time, I'm ready for something fun and bright.  Plus, it's February, and Valentine's day is coming up, so why not red?

Having pretty flowers around the house is another favorite thing.  I bought these last week at Kroger, and they're still going strong.  Their $5 bouquets are amazing and last for two weeks, at the very least.  I will say, that to help them stay fresh longer, use the packet that comes inside the bouquet, and then after about four days of having them, dump out all the water and fill it again with fresh water.  Then I do that every couple of days from then on.

(I also still love this wood thing you see on the table and the table cloth from Christmas.  They're all my favorites!) 

Todd and I went on a date Saturday night, and it was my favorite night of the whole week.  This was us, ending at Lowe's on the aisle with wall tile.

I've had a cold or a sinus infection all week, and this was what I had for dinner Wednesday nights.  I'd planned on going to church, and was excited because it would have been my first night in the chronological class that I'm going to, but I felt horrible and stayed home instead.  This soup is my favorite!  You should try it.

When you can't taste much, this is something you actually can.

Our bedroom has always been my least favorite room in the house.  Thanks to our makeover gift to each other at Christmas, it's now my favorite.

I still love it so much, and am so thankful for a pretty room.  I love the color on the walls.  It's a navy blue color and it's so peaceful. 

Yesterday was when I felt the worst, and though being sick is not my favorite, the actual day was.  I did this all day long.  Sat right there, cuddled with Chip, drank hot tea, read or watched Netflix.  I watched a shameful amount of episodes of Madam Secretary.

That's about all we've done around here this week, other than school work for the boys.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Have a great day and weekend.  Love to all! 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Happy February!

I keep seeing this meme all over social media, that says that yesterday felt like January 74th.  I would have to disagree.  I love the month of January.  I love winter, I love new beginnings, and I love cozy nights at home.  January delivers on all of that. 

That being said, I cannot believe January is over and that February is here.  Time is rolling right along, and before I know it, I'll be taking Jonah and Noah to get their drivers permits next month.  My stomach just dropped a little at that thought.  I am thrilled that they're my last ones to teach driving skills to.   

Back to the new month thing, though, I started off the new year by reading more.  I love to read, but it goes in spurts sometimes, and I'll go weeks or months without picking up a book.  I received a really cute journal for my birthday from my friend, and I'm using that to log the books I read this year.  I read four and a half in January.  (One is an ongoing book that I am reading with two friends.  We meet and have lunch and discuss the chapter we read the previous week.  It's the book Adorned by Nancy Wolgemuth.)

I'm already half way through my first book for February, one I've been wanting to read and that I picked up on my library trip the other day.  I blame Netflix on reading less.

With the new month comes a new plan for writing out Scripture!  I love the topic this month.

For a printable version, visit

This is my third year of writing Scripture, and I do get behind sometimes.  And that's okay.  I don't try to catch up, because then I'll get overwhelmed.  If I miss a day or a few, I just pick back up on the day I start back and go forward from there.  I cannot encourage you enough in making this a part of your morning quiet time routine.  To write it out is to put deep within our hearts.

Have a great day!  Love to all. 

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

  Hi, friends! As you can tell, I'm forcing myself to be here often, because my life needs to resume some sort of normalcy right now; th...