Thursday, July 26, 2018

some things I am not willing to ever live without

It's been a while!  Goodness, it has been a whirlwind of a week, but I sort of think that this is my new normal, for whatever reason.  I feel like I have so much to write about, but some of it is not mine to tell, so for that reason, I'll stick with this little idea the Lord gave me today.

I thought I would share about some things that I will NEVER live without.  I'll include reasons why, and I pray that it encourages you.

I saw this several months ago, and I "found" it again on my phone last night.  Priorities are important, and almost every single day, I have quiet time in the morning.  I don't necessarily wake up and have this time anymore, because I found that I'm not awake enough at four or five a.m. to read through some verses that aren't always the easiest to process.  So I allow myself time to "wake up", then I pray and read the word of God. 

I said that I do this almost every day, because that is the case.  Yes, I prefer to have this time with the Lord every single day, but life just happens sometimes, and you get a text saying your best friend is in labor, and well, your mind turns to mush until you are able to get there and see her and pray with her.  (True story.  That was my Tuesday.)  Missing every once in a while is to be expected.  I will say this, though: don't miss too many days in a row.  First off, for me, I turn into a monster when I don't spend time with God in prayer and in His word.  Also, too many days missing this time turns it into a habit, and before we know it, it's hard to get back into the better habit of spending time with Him everyday.

I encourage you to make this a priority in your life.  If you don't enjoy this, pray and ask God to help you LONG for Him and for time alone with Him.  That's what I did a very long time ago, and He answered that prayer by drawing me to His word.  Ask Him to help you crave it more than you crave water or food.  We need our daily bread, and He is Living Water and Bread of Life.

Lately I've fallen back into the habit of just getting a sheet of paper and writing out what the Lord showed me in my reading that day.  (I just started reading through Romans again this week, and it is so good!  The Lord is teaching me even more than He already has in the past, because I have some people and some situations that I am praying about, and when I opened up this book on Monday, it pertained to what is going on right now in our life.)

This is where I attend worship services each week.  I will never neglect going, because quite honestly, life is hard all the time, and I need someone ahead of me in the faith to pour into my life.  My pastor is that person.  He is a wonderful preacher and shepherd to his flock.  I miss it when I don't go (I had to miss one day a couple weeks ago) and I miss him when he's not there.  We need fellowship with a body of believers, and most of my friends have come from the family I attend worship services with.  It's been that way ever sine my boys were little bitty.  (We did not faithfully attend services for a few years.)  There is such a sweetness that comes from worshiping with a body of believers.  I have no other thing in my life that can compare with that.  (Thankfully we can watch the service on livestream through our website, but it's just not the same.)

(I have been loving my chronological bible reading this week!  I made a couple of verse images on the YouVersion bible app.) 

(It was equally as wonderful today and I wrote a whole page of things that jumped out at me.)

See?  All these verses are so good, and so encouraging!  I know context is a thing, but all these things still are true today, about God.  His word says that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I have so many things that are so important to me, in my life.  My relationship with the Lord is the greatest.  I love Him so much, and I love spending time with Him.  My family comes next, in the order of my husband being first, then my sons.  Everything and everyone else comes after the five of them.  I love spending time with our extended families.  I love spending time with my friends.  My husband's hobby (and second unpaid "job") is working with the sheriff's department, and my hobbies include time with friends, reading, and watching shows or movies on Netflix and Hulu. 

All of these things are things I always want to make time for.  Sometimes life does get too busy, and before I know it, a couple of weeks will have gone by without quality time with my husband.  We do our best to remedy that quickly, though.  I try to talk to my sons regularly about life and what is going on with them.  I love singling them out and taking one with me to do something.  I love spending time with all our parents.  I get to run errands a lot with my mom, and I swim with my mom in love in the summer months, and on Fridays, I see my dad.  I love teenage girls, and I try to make time to pour into some of them.  That can happen in community group or in a pool playing marco polo with them and unintentionally almost drowning my best friend.  (That happened.  Sorry, Missy.)  I have a new opportunity coming in the coming months that I am excited about, that will allow me to help disciple younger women within our church family.  I also have a dear lady ahead of me in life, and I've been meeting with her every other week, getting to know her, and her getting to know me, and we just sit and talk and encourage each other in our faith. 

I live a pretty simple life, and I do not work outside of my home, so I have time to do these things.  A list like this can look different for different people, but the point is this: spend time on what is important in your life, but make God first, if you're a believer.  Get a notebook or a planner and just write the plans out.  Sometimes it helps just to get it on a calendar.  I keep up with everything on a paper calendar that stays open to the week on the desk in the living room. 

And then, just get started.  Jump in, wherever you're at in life.   I used to love to wait and start fresh at a new week, or a new month, but now that I'm older, I have discovered that there is just no time like the present.  So if it's Thursday and you're reading this, just start today. 

I can talk about this all day, but if you would like to know more, reach out.  My email is  I am on Instagram as jenlloydgoodwin.  Comment on here.  I'd love to share more with you. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Favorites

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

I'm posting this YouTube video first, because it is my favorite thing that I've seen around the interwebs all week long and I boohooed my way through it yesterday.  Click on it and watch it for yourself, but I promise, it does not feel like forty-one minutes, but more like ten.  This is one of my favorite authors and speakers, Lisa Harper, talking about the goodness and faithfulness of a redemptive God.  You will never be sorry you watched this, my friends. 

I shared it on Facebook after I watched it, and apparently, a few of my friends needed to see it yesterday as well. 

Also, I have a little story to tell you.  I promised to write about this earlier in the week, I can't remember which day, but just know this: it does not paint a perfectly with-it, put together version of me.  I have been accused many times of being "fake", but I promise y'all this, and if you don't believe me, just ask my husband: God took away my ability to be able to lie well.  (I am guilty still, of saying that I'm fine when someone asks me how I am, even if I'm not.  So I do still do that, yes, because just because people ask you how you are, DOES NOT MEAN they really want to know how you are.  Because of that, I will not say that I no longer lie.  But about life in general, and the big stuff?  I have no poker face.)  Lisa even talks about this topic of our messy selves in the above video.  I struggle.  I know we all struggle.  Let's not attack one another over social media when we post about something the Lord showed us and accuse someone of being fake.  Also, let's not bash one another when one of our own is struggling.  We never know what people face, and what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes.  But I digress.  Here's my story. 

Y'all, I'm getting older.  My eyes are no longer what they once were, and I struggle with reading most days, even with my reading glasses ON.  Because of that and the fact that I have to use a booklight to read at night in the living room, my darling, doting husband bought me a floor lamp to have beside my chair.  Isn't that the sweetest thing?  When he told me he had bought me this on Prime Day this week and that it would be here on Thursday, my response was considerably less favorable than one would imagine.  Immediately, I wanted to know what it looked like and why had he bought me a floor lamp, when I wanted TWO NEW TABLE LAMPS????, and before I even realized what was happening, this flood of ungrateful words just kept coming out of my mouth. 

(This is the second time in our married life that God taught me a lesson through my husband and through a tangible item or appliance in our home.  The first time was through a washing machine.  Ours was broken, and though our dryer was fine, I wanted a new shiny set of those beautiful colored front loaders that had just come out.  But Todd repaired our old one, instead, and much to my dismay, at the time.  And once again, I wasn't very grateful.  Then one day, God had me reading in the book of Philippians, in chapter four, in the verses before verse thirteen.  Paul was Paul was telling the church at Philippi that he had learned to be content with a little and with much, that whatever his circumstance, he knew that he could do anything through the Lord, who strengthened him.  And like a lightning bolt to my heart, the Lord showed me through that passage, that He is the only One who would ever be able to bring contentment to my heart.  Not a person, not an inanimate object, but HE ALONG was my contentment, and even my joy and definitely my peace.  For years, I had those verses taped up to the cabinet in my laundry room above the washer and dryer, because I didn't ever want to forget what the Lord taught me.  And of course, later on, I went back and apologized to my husband, and then began to thank God for a handyman of a husband, who is able to save us all kinds of money by repairing things around our house himself.  He has a brilliant mind, my Toddley, and I thank God for him all the time.)

And then we hung up, because I was being a brat and he was mad, and rightfully so, though really it was more that he was hurt and upset, not mad.  And not even one minute after we hung up, God brought deep, deep conviction to my heart.  If you're wondering why and how God brought upon me deep conviction, it's because of Psalm 51.  I pray this Psalm to the Lord every single day almost, and this is just further proof that the will of God is found within His word.  Here is what Psalm 51:3 says:

"For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me." 

So I pray, "Lord, please keep my sin always before me."  And He does.  I pray that for my husband and sons, as well, that the Lord would always bring about conviction quickly, and that none of us would be able to rest until we have confessed our sins to God and repented of them. 

And then I pray, word verbatim, verse 10 of this same Psalm.

"God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me." 

And He does.  Each time He brings about conviction, and we confess it to Him and then repent, He forgives us of our sin. 

I love what verse 17 says:

"The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.  You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God." 

God desires for us to come broken before Him.  Not perfectly put together and with it all the time.  He doesn't want eloquent and flowery words, either, not if we don't mean them.  He DOES want to be our burden bearer, though, and I am pretty sure that He doesn't mind when we say the same things to Him over and over and over.  I also don't think He minds when we cry out to Him in our anguish or anger over a situation.  That's just my opinion.  He wants all of us, and He wants us to come to Him humbly and broken.  That means with our junk and with our messy selves.  He knows our struggles, and He knows what it is like to struggle!  When Jesus walked  this earth, He experienced rejection, loneliness, temptation from the devil, and many more things than just those, but those are some big ones for me.  He knows what it is like. 

I tell you that story to remind myself and, God willing, someone else, that just because we are believers does not mean that we are perfect.  I cannot count how many times I've heard someone say, "Well, so and so is a Christian, and she did this and that (fill in your own blanks there)."  I do not know why people think we always have it together.  I wonder if it's not our fault, though, that people think this about those of us who are believers and followers of Jesus?  Is it because of a picture that we paint of our own perfect lives? 

I'm preaching to myself there.  In this day and age, it is always so tempting to do that on social media.  It's why I like to open and honest there, too, and it's why I shared this image yesterday. 

Because though I not one to curse, those words I spewed off to my husband over the lamp thing?  If that wasn't foul language, I don't know what else would be that.  Perhaps that is why the Lord made me love this verse so much.  Just ask my friends.  I quote it ALL. THE. TIME.  Everyone who knows me knows this verse is one I claim as my own. 

I share other things on social media, too, not just images like this.  But I have to remind myself all the time to be careful and to examine why I post things.  If it's because I want attention, then I should not post something.  If it's because I want to encourage someone, though, or inspire someone for something useful (like with dinner ideas), then I will go ahead and post.  Sometimes I just like to share fun memories.  Social media is whatever you make it, and I know I always want mine to be mainly about Jesus and pointing others to Him.  (I have many friends on different social media outlets that are not believers.) 

That is when I would pray Psalm 51:10 again, asking Him to create a clean heart for me, or I might ask Him to purify my heart. 

So that is pretty much how my week has been.  I pray that God uses these words today, in the heart of someone who needs encouraging.  I'll leave you with two last adorable pictures from the past weekend that were some of my favorite moments.  These are my precious great-nieces, Kinsley (left) and Kylie (right).

I could just eat them up.  I got lots of kisses on their cheeks while they were here visiting. 

Thanks for reading, friends.  If someone would like to talk more, feel free to comment or reach out through my email.  It's  You can also find me on Instagram as jenlloydgoodwin.  Love to all. 

P.S.  I did talk to my husband again after my ungratefulness that day, and very genuinely apologized and told him the Lord had instantly convicted me of being so bratty.  And, as always, he quickly forgave me. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

a weekend with family

My sisters, niece, and great-nieces came in town Friday night.  They all live in Colorado, and we had a bridal shower to attend this weekend, so they flew in for that, since it's the only one they'll be able to come to.  My nephew Tyler is getting married in September.

My twin great-nieces are eighteen months old now, and it was so. much. fun. getting to see them run all over the place.  Needless to say, even though Todd was working Friday night, Graham was on a date night and Drew was at a church event, Jonah, Noah, and I went to grab a bite to eat and headed out to Mom's house.  We were the official welcoming committee.  Also, it was good that we were there because we were able to help unload #allthestuff.

We got it all inside, and they sat down to eat a yummy, albeit late, dinner.  Kinsley is on the left, Kylie on the right.  Auntie Jen made sure they ate while Mommy and GiGi (my sister Lisa) ate their dinner.  After this I helped Erika give them baths.  My heart was thrilled to be able to help out!

We stayed until about nine thirty and came back home.  On Saturday we all went out to shop for the shower (well, I was along for the ride, because we already gave them their gift).   It was hotter than Hades here this weekend, and by the day's end, I was beat.  I love the South, I really do, but I do not love this awful humidity.  I can't breathe well when it's as hot as it was.  We had kind of a late lunch that day, and later that night we went out to Mom's again, but this time for dinner.  All six of my family members were there with me.  That's a rare thing.

I helped them eat their dinner (they don't need help, but I wanted to do this and Erika was kind enough to let me) and helped bathe them again.  We discovered that Kinsley loves Memphis barbecue and they both love to dip any and everything in sauce.  She was tearing up the meat and BBQ sauce!  We had Corky's barbecue.

On Sunday I got all my people out the door for church and got dressed myself, but for the bridal shower.  I was ready a little early, so I was able to sit and watch the worship service on our livestream.  I rode with Trish and Lisa there.

Here are a few pictures from the shower.

I love their engagement photos!  They're such a gorgeous couple.  Everything was decorated beautifully, and she had a great turnout.

I loved this part that hung above the table where Terri sat with the moms.

It's hard to tell which kiddo this is, but I THINK it's Kylie.  She loved making the chair rock.

Again, I am not sure, but I think this one is Kinsley.  We shut this door to contain them inside a little nook area where they could play while we watching Terri open gifts.

I'm sad that we only got one picture, but this one is better than nothing.  Left to right are Erika with Kylie, Terri with Kinlsey, Lisa is on the ground kneeling, then Debi, Trish, me, and Mom.

Sweet Terri is gorgeous and looked the part of a beautiful bride.  I've enjoyed getting to know some of her family members at her last two showers.  I am so excited for them!

After the shower, I came home, fell asleep, and then woke up to a torrential downpour, ending with the power going out for about six hours.  We killed the time playing Skipbo by candlelight and I went to bed at ten thirty.  Todd and Graham worked with the sheriff's department, Drew was at friend's house watching a movie, and Noah was at his friend's house.  It was Jonah, Alex, and me here last night playing Skipbo and killing cicadas in the kitchen.  Not even joking.  Graham cut a tree out of the road that was laden with poison oak (praying that he doesn't get it), and Todd hit a deer on the way home (but I am praising God that he is okay).

It was an eventful weekend, but especially that particular night.

It can only get better from there, right?  Maybe I shouldn't say that...

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for this blog post. 

I thought I'd share a few favorites this week that are a little different. 

I'll start with an incredible book by one of my favorite authors. 

This book just keeps getting better.  I've just not been making time to read.  I'm halfway through it now, thanks to a good wait at a doctor's office yesterday and the fact that I read a lot last night while my hubby watched a show on Hulu.

Next up is what I use to read the bible chronologically each day.  There are several different chronological reading plans, but this is the one the women at my church are using.

I've been in Psalm all week, and I LOVE EVERY DAY OF READING.  It's been so good and very timely.

Speaking of Psalm...

Oh, I love this verse.  I saw this on Instagram yesterday from Sweet Blessings Shannon and borrowed it.

Favorite cute image on the internet all week:

 I reposted this from Country Living Magazine.  "Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside."

I shared this with my ninth grade community group girls because I loved it so much.

One of my favorite Timehop memories from this week:

We had been up for more than twenty four hours on this particular night and after she got the grumpies out, she crossed over into delirium and I was little scared of her.  We were at high school beach camp with a bunch of students (as in thousands in the city of Daytona Beach) and we were roomies and bed buddies.  I still feel sorry for the poor teenage girls who shared our room.  We were beyond exhausted all week, but MAN.  We had fun.

This is so random, but my sister Debi shared this with us a couple of weeks ago when she went on a weekend getaway with her hubby. 

I can't even take all that gorgeous landscape around them, but this is the BEST picture of them and I might have printed it out. 

We all think it should be their empty nesters' Christmas card this year.

I'll end with two last pictures.  I took these pictures on Sunday to share with my friend Amy.  We had met for about an hour on Friday of last week and I was telling her about the greatest marriage advice I've ever heard.  It all came from my friend Sunday's mom, Mrs. Teresa.  I  took a picture of the inside covers of her bible and copied all that she had written inside my own bible.

I thought someone else might need to read this too.  Excuse the lighting, I was at my church and it was this color before the service started. 

Well, I need to run!  My dad will be here soon and I have laundry calling.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

life lately

This week has been slightly crazy, because our church is hosting Backyard Kids' Clubs all over our cute little town.  Some started on Monday night and some will end on Friday night.  The one my boys are at has been Tuesday through Thursday nights, so after that is over at eight, they go do something fun with the other high school students.  It's been pool parties and Sonic for them each night, and they're all living their best life.

On Monday night, though, Todd and Graham had a guys' night at the shooting range.

This is their favorite thing to do, I am fairly certain. 

On Tuesday night, Todd had a mandatory meeting for the sheriff's department, and I went (along with two other friends who rode with me) to a friend's house out in the boondocks.  We were going to watch a movie, but we ended up just eating and talking all night.  #storyofourlives

We're going to read another book together for our book club, so I'm excited about that.  We will talk more about the book the next time we get together. 

Drew met with an academic adviser at Southwest and she recommended all of his classes for him.  As of yesterday afternoon, he is all registered and orientation is on Monday.  I'm so proud of him!  He had signed up for his classes and then found out they were all over the place, so when he told Todd about this, Todd went to see a contact friend of his he has that works at Southwest.  (He has two such people there at the Union campus that he knows.)  The lady led him to his other friend, and when Todd told him what was going on, he just called Drew himself and told him what to do, and who to stick with, because certain professors are better than others.  So he dropped all the classes he had just registered for and started over, and now his schedule makes so much more sense. 

He will be on the Union campus two days a week and the Collierville campus two days a week.  And one of the people that Todd knows there?  Y'all.  He is the DIRECTOR OF NURSING.  I kid you not.  (Drew is majoring in nursing.)

God is so good to us to do things like this.  And there are too many of them to count!  I had to tell you the story, because God gets all the credit for that.  Imagine my delight when I read this verse yesterday!  I read it later than normal, at night, because I left yesterday morning for the majority of the day.

I love ALL of this verse, but that first part just jumped right out at me.  "The Lord guards the inexperienced."  WE are inexperienced.  He guards us and He helps us all the time.

Meanwhile, shouldn't they all still be about this age?  It flies by!  Sometimes Timehop just about kills me with all the cute memories, and today was one of those days.  I remember this like it was yesterday. 

Today I'm spending some time with a couple of friends, one this morning, and one later on in the day, if the timing works out.  Also on my list for today is grocery shopping.  I've put it off all week long. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

my other blog

I'm not writing on this one today, but I did write a post over on my other blog.  I started that one six years ago, and the Lord recently brought it back to my mind and has been giving me some ideas of what to write, along with an idea or two for something more in the future.  I have no idea what that means, but it seems like the Lord is at work here, and it's exciting.  (I actually JUST said those words to my dad last Friday.)

So if you are interested, you can hop over there and have a look around, because it's a lot different.

And just because I like a picture, I'll leave you with this one above.  I took this as we drove to Branson back in May, and this verse was one I read this morning in my quiet time.  I love it.  From the rising of the sun to its setting, let the name of the Lord be praised.  Psalm 113:3.

Thanks for reading, friends.  Love to all. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

the weekend

I was so tired coming into this weekend!  When my dad was here on Friday, I couldn't stop yawning the whole time we talked.  I tried to take a nap when he left, but that never happened.  My friend Missy and I had made plans with our community group girls to get together on Friday night for dinner and swimming.  We haven't seen them regularly all summer long, so it was fun to catch up with them a little and to see them have so much fun together.  They requested Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner, so Missy shopped and I made the dinner, and they helped with the sides.  We had Caesar salad, the best garlic bread ever and brownies to go along with the pasta.  We sat inside and ate dinner, then we all got in the pool.

And we took zero pictures of the girls, but I did take this one of the chickens and swan.

More than I wish I had pictures, I wish I had video footage of those girls trying to get onto the chickens.  It was hilarious, and we saw that none of them are very graceful.

I'm smiling so big right now.

We had just a small group of girls, only four could come, out of about ten or twelve.  But that was okay, and we had fun with the ones who were there.  The cool water felt so refreshing, and though we had put an end time on the party, we extended it, because we were all having so much fun.  It was so much fun seeing them all be kids again, because things are different for them nowadays.  This was only for our group of girls, who will be sophomores starting in August, and this was girls only.

My husband worked that night, and he ended up working Saturday and Sunday nights as well, because it's been three weeks since his last shift, and he was missing going on ride-outs.

The next day I went and ran a couple of errands, and that night it was just Jonah, Noah and me for dinner, so we went to a local pizza shop nearby.

Sunday was church as usual, then I was home for the rest of the day.  I had leftovers for lunch and dinner and I watched tv all day and took a nap.  It was GLORIOUS.  The boys all just hung out either here or at church with their friends, and Noah went to a friend's house to spend the night, but other than that, we all just had a lazy night.  Two out of four of my kids don't feel great and that started yesterday.  I'm pretty sure it's just a sinus thing, but after he meets with his freshman counselor at Southwest this morning, Drew is taking himself to the doctor for the first time in his life.  Eighteen is nice for that reason.

As I write that, I have to say that I am so thankful to God for healthy kids.  They almost NEVER get sick and we rarely go to see doctors.  They get little bugs or viruses from time to time, but it's things like colds, or stomach viruses, the kind of thing that goes away on its own.  Truly, I realize that is a gift from the Lord, and I am so grateful.

On a side note, I am back in Psalm again, for my chronological reading, and I am loving it!  I love this that I read over the weekend.

I love the reminder here that we are still to bear fruit for the Lord, even in our old age.  That makes me think of my dear elderly friend, Mrs. Audrey, who adopted a group of teenage girls and their teachers (my friend Scottie and myself) and prayed very faithfully for us.  She would make her way up the stairs to the youth area from time to time, even, sharing with us what the Lord had shown her in her life lately.  She has since gone on to be with Jesus, and her sweet and precious husband Mr. Frank joined her in eternity shortly after she passed away, but I am so thankful to have known them for a short while.  And I am so glad for the hope we have in Jesus, and that we will see our loved ones again someday!

The older I get, the more heaven-minded I become, and the more I want to follow very closely, or as closely as I can, the word of God.  I always pray that the Lord would make me obedient to Him and His word, and just this morning, I asked that His will would be done in my life, NOT mine.  I am a creature of habit, and I love for things to stay as they are, if it is something that works well.  Regarding a certain area in my life right now that I help out in, though, it looks like things might change in the fall.  I don't want to hang on to something I should let go, but I also don't want to let go of something that I should try to hold onto.  Ultimately, though, in my praying this morning, I was reassured once again that God is in control.  He knows the situation, the plans that will take place, and I trust Him with the outcome.  I trust Him.  I trust Him.  Sometimes I have to keep on saying that until I  truly believe it in my heart and feel the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Well.  Once again, things took a turn on here as I started writing, but maybe someone needed to hear some of what I just said in the two paragraphs above.  I trust the Lord with this blog, too, and I pray that He uses me even in the mundane things of my life.

Thanks for reading, my friends.  Love to all.

(I don't know why, but I feel like I need to say again that you can find me on Instagram as jenlloydgoodwin.)

(Last one: I started updating on my other blog again.  You can find that blog here.) 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  Although Friday felt like Tuesday and then Wednesday felt like Saturday, so I don't know what this day feels like, but whatever.  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for this blog post. 

So even though I can't ever seem to cool off unless I am submerged in a body of water, and it's not at all my favorite season, I really do love the summer.  I love the laid back days and I love the thought of Independence day and fireworks (without loving the fireworks my family always shoot off), and I especially love getting together with friends and not having to rush to get ready for the next day, like when my kids are in school.  (Well, doing school work, they're not IN school.  We homeschool.)

Moving on, now, with some favorites from this week.

Have any of you read this book?  I haven't read the whole thing, but I pulled it out again this week to start over with.  This is a collection of her newsletters that she would send out a while back, all put together in one book.  Some of this is like reading pages from a journal.  Other parts are stories of some things she has experienced over a life lived for the Lord.  It is wonderful, and I highly recommend it and recognize it as one of my favorite books of all time.  It's all beautiful and uplifting and will inspire you in your walk with God.

I love this picture!  It's one of my favorite memories of something fun we did with my dad on one of our infamous Fridays with Dad.  That is a thing, yes, and even a blog I started ages ago of tales from our weekly dates that have been happening for the past thirteen years.  I need to update it and start posting to that again, because it's been forever.  This was a day when we took all the boys to the children's museum in Memphis.  He was loving this simulation of flying a propeller plane, and eventually I had to tell him to share with Jonah.  I'm laughing as I write that.

Fireworks from far away are my favorite. 

Fireworks up close are NOT my favorite.

They make me so nervous and Drew had a thing happen between him and a sparkler and his bare foot one year and ever since, they make me a nervous wreck.  And they're unpredictable and you never know where they're going to go.

That being said, this night was one of my favorite nights of the week.  We went to my mom's house on the fourth for dinner and to play with the fireworks that Bill and Graham bought.  I stayed inside and watched the one in New York with Mom, because she's not a fan either.

This is not at all spiritual, but I love a good James Patterson book, and this one is INCREDIBLE.  The voice that Bill Clinton offers with all his presidential knowledge adds another level of depth that leaves me wanting more of it every time I sit down to read.  I think I may stay home and read all day long tomorrow, because I want to know what happens.  I highly recommend this book, for anyone who loves or even doesn't love James Patterson. 

(One of my favorite books of all time is one by him, titled The Beach House.)

Well, my daddy is going to be here in ten minutes, and I need to dust a tiny bit before he comes, so I will stop for now.  Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend, friends.  Love to all. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

encouragement for social media

In sitting here this morning, and after praying a little and then reading in my daily reading plan, I thought I share about how my friend encouraged me a few weeks ago, on this whole subject of social media.  I don't really know why I even thought of this, except that I often pray that the Lord would use me somehow, and I know He has done that through my blog.  So maybe someone needs to hear this today, or maybe someone needs a bit of exhortation on the whole social media thing.  (I slightly hate that word 'exhortation', but that is one of my spiritual gifts, and I know it needs to be used from time to time.)  And I say that to challenge you to think about how you use social media.  I ask myself this same question all the time, trust me, and it's a battle to try to stay humble in this day and time and to think about my reason even for being on there to begin with. 

These images are ones I've shared in the last couple weeks. 

Without saying too much about this, a few weeks ago, I became so discouraged by a young friend of mine who judges very harshly through her social media accounts.  We all know that type of person, so I won't go into further detail, but that night, I actually deactivated my Facebook account.  I've considered this in the past, especially in the last few weeks, and I've removed the app completely from my phone a bunch of times.  (I don't love Facebook, because it seems to have a different feel to it and with that there is judgment like I experienced that day from a young girl I know, there is a heaviness, and most of what I see is extremely negative.)  So I deactivated my account, and then I called my friend to check if she could still "see" me on there.  She could not, but then we started talking.  She encouraged me to re-think my decision to do that, because most of what I post is something from scripture, and there are a lot of people I am "friends" with on FB that are not believers.  She knows I always pray for them and who knows if the Lord will use a bible verse I post to draw them to Himself. 

She encouraged me to keep posting things (through Instagram, because that's the social media that is my favorite) and to just go and hide all the people who are always so negative and judgmental.  So I took heart to what she said and logged back on, which is how you reactivate the account.  Nobody except her even knows that I deactivated it for a very short while.  I prayed about all the feelings I had about people and social media at the moment that I was going through this, and I asked God to help me NOT take every little thing to heart, or to be easily offended.  And He has helped me in this, and then I went and hid a LOT of people. 

I chose to hide these people because I don't love all the negativity they project on social media outlets.  And on other accounts of theirs, it's not that way, it's just Facebook, where everyone (myself included) shares articles on every topic under the sun.  Again, we all know that type, and often, we do the same thing!  After all, did you know that social media has made everyone experts on everything?  (Said jokingly.) 

So I have taken into consideration all of this, and I am just keeping on doing what I always do.  I post things from my quiet time, and often.  The Lord always highlights something for me in His word, almost every single day, and if it encourages my heart, I figure it'll have that same effect on someone else.  I post about books I read, because people know that I love to read and ask me for ideas for themselves.  (I can ALWAYS talk about this!)  I post old pictures of my boys, because once the teenage years hit, they are far less agreeable to standing still for a quick picture.  I love architecture and cool things like abandoned houses or old buildings, so I post pictures of that from time to time.  I love nature and always seem to be taking pictures of clouds or sunsets or a beautiful patch of flowers or my mom's bushes.  And I love cooking and beautiful plates of good food, so often times I will post a picture of what we ate for lunch or dinner, and then later will share the recipe with folks, because we all get into cooking ruts, and I am always needing inspiration for dinner.

I just share with other people things I love to see, and figure if I like it, they will too.  And if not, well, the option to KEEP SCROLLING is always there.  I had someone get mad at me for posting too much one time.  Y'all.  Then get thee off of social media.  That's what I wanted to say, anyway, but I didn't.  I quit posting for a while because of what they said, and this was someone I'm fairly close to, but then I figured I wouldn't let what they said bother me.  And I also figured that the enemy wanted me to listen to that person, but I stopped listening to what she had said and started posting again. 

I think we all need to be encouraged and exhorted from time to time.  I love posting things that are uplifting, because who needs all the negative junk that's always out there?  It's literally all around us, so I like to be a light in the darkness.  The bible tells us that God Himself is light, and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5).  And Jesus said that He is the light of the world (John 8:12).  I take those words very seriously, and I try to be that same way.   And also, for those of us who are believers and followers of Him, we might be the only glimpse of Jesus that someone ever sees.  I know that for me, He has given me a verse image on Instagram right at a time that I needed it.  One morning just a few weeks ago, He had me see a verse out of Jeremiah three times before eight thirty in the morning!  It was about Him refreshing those who need refreshing, which was right what I was going through at that moment in time.  So He can even work through social media, my friends.  There is nothing that is impossible for Him, and His Holy Spirit leads and guides us.  It's so strange to think about, but I know He has done that for me, and if that is the case, than He can do the very same thing for someone else. 

That's about all I had to say about this topic.  I pray that it encourages someone today, and I hope it challenges you to think differently than everyone else.  For those of us who are believers, let's share more of Him!  I love seeing such things on social media, I couldn't care less about selfies and pointless or mean spirited stuff.  If that is something you want to do, then just pray and ask Him to help you in this.  I promise, He will. 

Thank you for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

catching up from the weekend

Todd, Drew, Jonah and Noah just returned home from youth camp in Chattanooga, Tn last night.  Todd left on Wednesday after lunch, and the boys left Thursday morning.  I thought I would miss the house being loud, and while it did get really quiet at times, I thoroughly enjoyed the alone time with my oldest boy.  I was also glad to have another human in the house each night when I went to sleep.  

My mom let us come over for dinner Friday night and Graham wanted to drive us out there, so I let him.

I love this kid.  He is so proud of his truck, and after a very long stint with a Bronco that never seemed to run right, I am so thankful he has a dependable vehicle now.  He is in the process of getting it just like he wants it, and is having the time of his life.

This was on our way home, and look at that sky!  I love a good sunset.

On Saturday, Graham played disc golf, and I stayed home with the dogs.  That night, my sister Trish and I took my dad to dinner for a belated Father's day celebration.  We ate at a really good Mexican restaurant called Frida's, we walked around Barnes and Noble for a little bit, then I took them to a park that my boys love.  

This is Hinton park in Collierville, and there are xylophones of differing sizes on one of the play areas.  We were all playing with them, and it was just a really fun and memorable night.  

On Sunday we went to church, and I had lunch with Mom right afterward.  We went to a sandwich place nearby, and Graham and Rachel joined us.  I came home and took a nap, then that night Missy came over with her food, and we ate dinner (I ate my leftovers from Saturday night) and then we watched a Christmas movie.  My favorite, actually, The Family Stone.  

It is July, friends.  As in, Christmas in July.  It's a thing, don't pretend it's not.  Most of you know how much I adore Christmas.  :)

Yesterday morning I went to dear friend's house and before we realized it, two and a half hours had flown right by.  I went to the grocery store to replenish the pantry for my family coming home, and then came home and did laundry to free up the washer and dryer for all the camp laundry, then by six last night, we were all back under one roof.  Well, Graham worked a shift with the sheriff's department, but mostly, we were all home together.  

They all had a blast at camp, and this was the theme of the week.  You matter.  It's also Jason's (the youth pastor) life motto.  I was so glad to have them back home, though.  None of them really wanted to talk, though, because they were all exhausted, and Todd was in bed by seven thirty and asleep by eight.  He slept for TWELVE solid hours.  

And two of them are still sleeping right this moment.  I am doing laundry all day long, washing my hair in between (that is a chore), and I am going to Costco for some very important essentials, like coffee.  

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

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