Monday, July 29, 2019

Something new!

I have purposefully not said anything yet, because I didn't know any of the details, but now that I do have some of those, I thought I'd share.  Before I start, let me back up a little.

I've worked full time and part time jobs ever since I was first married.  Until I started this homeschooling journey, that is, and then I was called to be ONLY at home during these years that I've done this.  (This year will be our eighth year of homeschooling.)  I've been feeling a little restless, though, as two have finished school now and the other two are going into their junior year.  The older they get, the less they need me to be around.  And even if they DID need me, I'm only a phone call away.  Factor in that Jonah and Noah are now driving, and you see what has brought me around to this point.

Since I've been feeling a little restless over the last year or so, I would pray almost every single day, or at least as often as the Lord would bring it to my mind, that if He wanted me to work again, that He would let me know.  I've never been opposed to going back to work someday, but I never knew what it would be that I would do.  I've thrown around a couple of ideas in my mind, but I would always lose interest in them after a bit, and I wouldn't ever follow through.  And people always say to me something like, "You're a good writer, you should write a book!", but the Lord has never given me the idea for one.  I'm not opposed to that either, but as much as I love to write, I have no idea what I would sit down and write about.  (I don't say that to brag, by the way, but the Lord has given me a love of writing and reading, and just words in general, and if you or me, or anyone else has a love of something like that, they're usually good at whatever it is.  The same could be said of cooking~if you love to cook, chances are, you're pretty good at it.)

The last time I sat and actually prayed over this again, was a few weeks ago.  I was in my car, and I was alone, of course, because teenage boys don't like to ride around with their mama, once they're driving.  (Side note: if you ever see me driving and my mouth is moving, know that I am talking to Jesus.  I do that best while I'm in the car and less distracted.)  I think I was on my way to swim with my mom in love, and I said something like this: "Lord, you know I feel idle right now.  If you want me to work outside of my home again, will You let me know?  Or show me what it is You want me to do?"  I had thought about volunteering with Life Choices and being a coach to expectant moms there, and I had also been thinking of applying to my local library, because I know of a job opening that will probably happen at the end of this month.  Needless to say, both of those ideas never happened, and I never felt impressed to begin the steps of applying to them.

Of course when I prayed that day, as usual, I know that the Lord heard me (1 Peter 3:12), but I didn't feel a tug in my heart, or a quickening of my spirit or anything, but I surrendered it to Him and I told Him I would do whatever He wanted me to do.  I went about my day and continued on as usual.  (Keep in mind, I've been praying this pretty consistently for the last year to year and a half.)  The next day, my friend Amy from church asked if we could chat on the phone, and when we did, you'll never believe what she asked me.  She asked me if I would pray about coming to work with her in the women's ministry at our church.  (She is the women's ministry director at our church.)  I'm smiling so big as I write that sentence, and honestly with teary eyes, because how faithful is the Lord?  I actually welled up with her on the phone, and I shared with her about how I had JUST prayed over the idea of going to work outside of my home again, and then she called me and asked me this.  Of course, I told her I would pray about it first, and talk to my husband and sons, and that I would let her know.  I talked to Todd that night, and he said the words I knew he would say, and that was that he would support me in whatever decision I made.

I did take a couple of weeks, though, and really prayed faithfully about this, before jumping in with my answer, because I have been guilty of doing that before, only to have it end with horrible results.  I have issues with wanting to be fully committed, or not committing at all.  I texted Amy back almost two weeks ago, and told her I would take her up on the offer.  This will be the third time I've been offered a job at our church, and though the first two had the wrong timing, this one is perfectly timed out.  I know that with the way the everything played out, that it was nothing short of the Lord working it all out before us.  I look forward to starting on Wednesday, and having a regular schedule, at least for now.  As events take place, I might work a little more in the week of, but for now, I committed to two days a week, assisting Amy in her role as women's ministry director.  I have zero expectations, because I wasn't expecting this at all.  I told her today, after we met, that I wasn't the least bit overwhelmed with all the information she gave to me, as long as she didn't mind the questions I'll be sure to have.  She doesn't mind.  I love this friend, and really look forward to getting to know her even better, and working alongside her.  I really look forward to getting more involved outside of the walls of our home, and getting to know more of these women.  The Lord crossed my path with Amy a little over a year ago, and we've already seen Him answer at least one prayer that we prayed with together.

Like I said earlier, His faithfulness and His kindness always amaze me.  Because really...who am I?  The answer to that is nobody, but a forty something year old wife and mom, who loves Him with everything within me.  The more I know Him, the more beautiful I see that He is.  Not that I physically have laid eyes on Him, but how could He not be?  He blows my mind.  I'll leave you with this picture of my home away from home that I so love, but that now really will be my new home away from home.  I'll always be grateful that the Lord brought our family to Collierville First Baptist church.  And also, I'll end with a word of encouragement to anyone praying for something.  The Lord hears every single prayer that we utter.  He may not always answer in the way that we want Him to, but He will answer in the way that He knows will be best, and it will be according to His will.  He will work all the details out for us, regarding whatever we pray for.  Sometimes, though, we have a hard job.  That is that we have to lay down what we're asking Him for.  Here is what I mean~when I pray for something, like regarding me going to work at our church, I will say to Him, "Lord, You know that this is something that I want, but more than that, I want what YOU want.  So if it's not for Your will for me to do this, then help me to move on, and help me to be okay with that."  And every single time, He will either change my mind, or He will let something happen, like He did for me, regarding this.

So do not give up, and do not lose heart.  Be faithful in praying, not always for what you want, but for praising Him for who He is, thanking Him for all that He has done (like saving us!), committing our lives to Him, and sharing with Him in every area in our lives and pouring it all out before Him, and always be mindful of repenting of sin areas in your life, allowing Him to be Lord over our lives.  God is no genie in a bottle.  He is God, Creator and Savior of the world.  He is sovereign, and we can trust Him with our lives.  If He has numbered the stars in the sky, chances are, He can handle our junk.  (Said with tongue in cheek.)

I don't write this for applause, I write to encourage and to remember.  As always, thank you for taking the time to read.  Love to all.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

all about books

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone texted me and asked me about books.  It's no secret that I love to read, and I do love sharing with people which books they might love.  My list is so long, of good books and authors, but I thought I would share about my best hobby today.  I know a few people who are going on vacation soon, so if that's you, then here you go.

I'll start with the genre of Christian fiction.  I have several authors whom I love, some I like, and two all time favorites. 

My two favorite authors in this category are Robin Jones Gunn and Neta Jackson.  Robin Jones Gunn has written a series of books called Sisterchicks, and these books are like comfort food for my soul. I pull them out all the time and read them all over again.  I'm missing some in this series, so if that is you and you have mine, may I have them back?  I'm missing one or two.  I think I know who has them, though.  Anyway, I never tire of these.  I have read her books since I was in high school.  She wrote a series of books called The Christy Miller series, and she is still adding to them.  Of course, Christy is a married woman with kids now, but I love it when series go on and on like that.

Neta Jackson wrote my other favorite series of books, The Yada Yada Prayer Group series, and I read those every two years all over again as well. 

Other authors I love are Karen Kingsbury (though she can be really repetitive), Melody Carlson, and Robin Lee Hatcher.  I get all those from the library.  Some I like are Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock, Lori Wick, Katherine Reay, Jan Karon, Francine Rivers, Angela Hunt, Denise Hunter, and Debbie Macomber.

If this is your category, you would do well with any of these.

Because of how much I read, you have to know I do not just read that category.  A favorite fiction author I've read for years is Danielle Steel, but her books are so much better than they used to be.  There are no sex scenes (I really cannot do that at all, and have put books down because of it), the language is mild, meaning there is some but it's not terrible and I can skim over it, and they're just always interesting.  I need to be pulled in with a book right away.  One rule of thumb I live by with reading is that life is too short to read books I don't love.

I've read one book that I loved by Dorothea Benton Frank (Same Beach Next Year), and every book I've picked up by her since then I've stopped reading. 

I enjoyed this book last week by Elin Hilderbrand, and my friend gave me two more by her.  I've tried to read some of her other books, but I've stopped with them as well.

I love Sally Hepworth, and have loved almost every book I've read by her.  She's not written that many, but I'm currently reading one of her newer ones, The Family Next Door.  It's good so far!  I can tell it's going to be kinda creepy, though, but in a good way. 

I had such high hopes for this book earlier in the summer, but it majorly disappointed.  The back description said, "For the Nora Ephron fan!", but it was all lies.  Nora would have done so much better.  (For anyone who doesn't know, she was the brain behind You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and a few other greats.)

I love Emily Giffin, but some of her books are a little more risque than others.  One that I loved by her was her newest one, All We Ever Wanted, one that was so relevant to this day and time and where I am in life with my teenage sons that I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks. 

Another set of authors I love who co-write, are Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.  I just got their newest in the mail yesterday that just released, The Two Lila Bennetts.  I have loved most of what I've read by them, except for one, which was Girls Night Out.  I think the plot just disturbed me, and I had two nightmares during the time I read it, so I know it made me lose sleep, and not in a good way.  That being said, I've loved all the other books they've written so much that I will always keep reading.  My favorite by them was The Year I Turned 40, which I read the year I turned forty.  Appropriate, right?

I need to wrap this up because I have to leave in an hour, but I hope this inspires someone to turn off the television and put down the phone and pick up a book.  I make time to read, which is how I read so many books.  I'm currently reading number forty two of 2019.  That's a lot, even for me.  I also read fast, but mainly, I just make the time.  I'll have time today while I'm running an errand, so of course I'm taking my book with me.  I mostly borrow from the library, and I read actual books.  E-readers are not for me, though I do use one occasionally.  I love the look, weight, feel, and smell of books.  I'll never stop as long as I live.

Now, if I read all these books and don't read the most important one, then there is a problem.  The bible is my favorite of all time, and I've read it cover to cover many times.  I'll keep reading it that way until the day I die.  I read in 1 Corinthians this morning, along with my church family, and am looking forward to maybe reading chronologically again next year. 

This is the only life changing book I'll ever read.  The more I read it, the more I see how much I need Jesus, and it helps me grow in my relationship with Him.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Hello Monday linkup & Weekending

Happy Monday to you, friends!  I am linking up with Tanya over at The Other Side of the Road, and friends, for this blog post today. 

I actually started to sit down to write this post at eight a.m., but instead, I spent time with Jesus at the kitchen table.  I've been having my quiet time each day, but these past few weeks, I've been using the bible app on my phone to read each morning first thing, but I really do not like using that app anymore.  It doesn't feel the same to me, and I know there's nothing wrong with that, for anyone who does use it, it's just not for me.  I like the feel of my bible, and I like making notes in the margins to look back on, so I think that is the reason behind my crazy brain. 

Can I just stop here a minute, and say that I am so glad I went back to the table for this?  I don't know what it is that does this, but for some reason, when I sit in there, I am far less distracted.  I sat down to write out some things I want to pray for this week, and a few things I want to pray AGAINST (a critical spirit, a bad mood, discontentment, comparison), and I had such sweet time with the Lord as a result.  When I can write things down like that, it helps me concentrate more.  I also turned my phone to completely silent, and I turned it over so that it wouldn't interrupt and be a distraction. 

I was inspired in my quiet time this morning because of the sermon our pastor preached yesterday.  He mentioned those things I prayed against during his message on overcoming temptation.  I loved the message, because I do not want to fall into that, and temptation doesn't just come in the forms of drugs or alcohol.  He mentioned the ones I listed above, and he also mentioned gambling, lust, pride, and a few other ones.  It's funny when we think in the terms of being tempted, how we don't realize all the other ways the enemy can tempt us.  One huge area for me is distraction, which is why I turned off all the sounds on my phone and turned it over.  I think that I am overly connected a lot of times.  While it's not a bad thing to use social media in positive ways, for me, I have realized that I need to set limits on the time I spend there.  (I just removed the app from my easy access folder that I have on the main screen of my phone.) was a sweet morning with Jesus, and I just wanted to share about that.  As for the rest, I thought I'd document some of my weekend.  (You know that a lot of the reason I blog is for my own self.  I love using this little slice of internet to remember things in my own family, but I also love to share about Jesus and the quiet time I have with Him, and I love sharing about food and good recipes, books I love or don't love, and I love to encourage on here.  For anyone who didn't already know that, those are the reasons why I've done this for more than ten years.  The blog has evolved a lot over those years, the older the boys have gotten, but I am so fond of looking back.)

I don't think I ever shared this last week, but I found this picture on Instagram that Rachel Martin posted, and immediately loved it and the message of what it says about friendship. 

I have said this to my boys for as far back as I can remember...that to have a good friend, you need to be one first.  That has been the case most of my life~I've been a better friend than the ones I used to hang around with, and the Lord finally showed me this and helped me in letting go of them.  I love them and will pray for them always, but sometimes, we just have to move on.  In the last fifteen years or so, all this has changed, but I am so thankful to God for the friends He has put into our lives.  Not only for ME, but for our whole family. 

Just this weekend, we spent time with a family we used to attend church with.  We were so close with them, that when my husband and I went on a mission trip together, we made them our "just in case" people, meaning that if anything had happened to us, they would have taken our children.  Years may go by without us seeing one another, but we always just pick right back up.  When we saw them Saturday night, it was like no time at all had passed.  That, my friends, is some kind of special, and incredibly rare.  They're more like family than friends. 

The Lord has also given me some of the best, most godly women that I am so fortunate to walk alongside.  For anyone who is reading this and is discouraged in this area, keep praying about this and stay faithful in attending a church home.  That helps tremendously.  The more you plug in somewhere, the more people you meet.  Just remember, you don't have to be best friends with everybody.  There are some women who are more like acquaintances to me, and there are some that I am extremely close to and comfortable with, and whom I share things with that I don't share with others.  (Hello, just last Wednesday night in our small group class, I mentioned something I made them promise to keep within those walls.  It pertained to the faithfulness of God, and how He intervened in my family.)

You can see why this picture above encouraged my heart so much.

On a much lighter note, I spent some time with my best friend Friday night, catching up and watching a Hallmark Christmas movie.

And her dog.  I can't forget sweet Max.  He sat in my lap a lot, and I shared my ice with him. 

On Saturday, I ran a few errands, then I went to the first birthday party of the baby girl of one of my best friends.  I don't want to share pictures yet, because they haven't done that yet, so out of respect for them, I'll share them after she actually turns one. 

That night we went to our friends house that I mentioned above, the Colemans.  The older boys weren't with us, and her older sons weren't there either, but we did take Jonah, Noah, and a couple of their friends who are girls, Shea and Madeline.  Shea and their daughter Hannah are best friends, and it gave them time to spend together as well.  They had a blast, as did we, and I loved hearing all the laughter coming from upstairs as we played cards downstairs.  It was such a fun night, and we all left with full hearts. 

I was at church by eight yesterday morning (I rode with my hubby), and then back by three for choir practice.

This cutie dropped me off.  (Partly because I thought he may need my car, but mainly because it was raining and he kept me from getting wet.) 

My husband and Graham worked last night, and Drew had a couple of friends over for a guys' night.  We ate pizza and cookies for dessert, and as they sat at the dining room table and played poker, I watched a show or a few on Hulu.  Jonah and Noah were with their friends and swimming.  I turned in early, because I was falling asleep. 

Today I have a hair appointment to get my hair colored.  (Praise hands emoji.)  I love hair day.  I've already bought groceries for the week, and I know what's for dinner tonight.  It's like a miracle.  Dinner rut, anyone?   

I thought I'd share this, if you're local to me.

This is a free event we have coming up, on August 6th, which is a Tuesday night.  Dinner will be served, and we will be talking about bible studies and classes that will be offered this fall.  Sign up online!  Here is a link for you:  Let me know if you come, we can sit together! 

I need to run and eat lunch really quick, so I'll end with that.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Thursday Encouragement

For a couple of years, I got out of the habit of attending Wednesday night church.  I used to go to youth each week for this, but it became evident that if I wanted to keep my sanity, I had to stop going.  There is a crowd always in attendance that is extremely disrespectful (well, this used to be the case...not sure if it's still like this, but I never wanted to go back to find out) and that kind of behavior makes me really nervous.  (Anxiety, anyone?)  Anyway, once I stopped going to youth, I didn't know where to go.  It became a habit that all the boys would go, and that would be the night my husband and I would eat alone together, and talk and catch up.  Sometimes we are like ships passing in the night.

That being said, in 2019, I made a commitment to being in bible study every single Wednesday night.  We were studying Malachi, and I was a small group leader, so I had to be there.  But I came to love these nights again.  That group was such an eclectic mix of ladies, that by the end of our time together, we were having the greatest discussions.  When Malachi ended, I wanted to keep up the Wednesday night attendance, because I am a creature of habit.  I knew if I stopped, even if only for a few weeks, that it would be hard for me to get used to going again.  So I joined in with the ladies going through the bible chronologically.  My favorite teacher ever of all time teaches most Wednesday nights (Mrs. Barbee), and even though I didn't read along with them for more than a week or two, just to go and sit under her teaching is such a blessing.  Some ladies from the Malachi study joined us, and I loved getting to see them. 

I am not in there with them currently, as we are going through the next study we'll do as a women's group each week in the summer, but I will join back with them once that study starts.  I'll be leading just one time each week in this study on Galatians (when we did Malachi, I led twice each week), on Monday mornings, so that frees me up to go back to chronological bible study on Wednesday nights, unless my friend Amy needs me for something.  My point in saying all of this is to encourage you (again) to find a place to plug into at your local church, if you haven't.  I cannot imagine what my life would look like if not for the women in my church.  In recent weeks, I've joined in with a few of them after church each week for a sweet time of fellowship and laughter.  I treasure that time that I get like this...these are the women I tell everything to, whom I look up to, and who point me to Jesus.  I don't ever want to experience life without them involved in mine. 

This is such a privilege, to be able to attend a service with a body of believers.  It's one I don't take for granted, because when I go each week, the Lord always reminds me of my persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe, who have to meet for worship secretly.  I pray for them each week, as I sit in my car before I walk inside on a Sunday morning.  (I like to sit in my car and pray for a while, in preparation for worship each week, and this is always a good time to pray for those being persecuted for their faith.)  It may come to this for us someday, and I want to be prepared for that.  I believe that attending services now will help me to be encouraged and prepared for that in the future. 

Something that helps me be faithful to this is the fact that my best friend picks me up for church every week.  💙  She knows I like to leave my car if one of the younger ones needs it, because they do sometimes drive separately if they're giving someone a ride.  This is such a small thing to do and to get started, but the hardest part is often just getting started.  I know that surely there is someone out there who is needing some encouragement in this area of attending a place of worship, and needs a gentle push.  Consider this my push.  I don't know if anyone reading this is anyone like me, but I can talk myself out of just about anything.  I can think of a million reasons why I should just scratch the original idea and stay home.  It's so easy for me!  I have to pull myself out of that mindset, though, and force myself out the door.  I am an introvert, so maybe that's the reason why I do this kind of thing, but it is so nice to just stay home.  As much as I love being at home, being at home TOO MUCH is a real thing for me, and I can quickly become a little down in the dumps, if I let too much time pass.  I can only take so much alone time.  When I say I have to pull myself out of that mindset, I mean that I go ahead and get dressed and I set everything out for me to be able to easily grab on my way out the door.  I don't know why, but doing all of that helps me. 

With summer almost over, this is a great time to prepare to jump in somewhere at a local church.  Usually when school starts, new classes start at churches.  I always love this time of year, when things feel fresh and new again.  With a class like the chronological class, it is ongoing all year long, and anytime is a good time to just jump in.  I am not shy about this, even though I am a major introvert.  Somehow, the Lord lets this come easy to me, and I don't mind going even when I don't know people all that well.  I was thinking about this last night, as I sat with some of the other small group leaders as we met and talked about our bible study homework.  This time a year ago, we didn't know each other well, and I found it hard to speak up.  A year later, we all know one another very well, and we have such great discussions each week.  I love walking along in life with like-minded women of God, who love to study His word.  At this point in our relationships, we can all freely admit when we struggle with something, or if we don't understand something, or we can share with each other that we normally wouldn't say with just anyone else.  All these things are gifts from the Lord, and I am always so grateful to Him for those women He puts in my life.

I think another reason why I write all this is to encourage you to realize when the enemy is at work in your life.  He doesn't go after those who aren't close to the Lord, He goes after those of us who ARE, and he definitely works in our moods, in the way we think, and in the things we do.  There is a bible verse in Ephesians that talks about not giving the enemy a foothold in life, and this is what I equate it to.  If you're an extrovert and you stay home alone for too long, be careful in that.  He knows that being around people can uplift and encourage you, and if you stay home alone for too long, he will have a heyday with you.  He can turn that night into a pity party like no other night you've ever had.  Don't let him trick you into thinking of comparing yourselves to others, either, or to other friendships you see around you. Don't let him trick you into being too busy.  I think busyness and distraction are a couple of his favorite tools to use in our lives.  I know that's been the case in my life, and I'm sure eventually, it'll come to that again.  I have to fight every single day for time with the Lord.  It's so easy for me to get caught up in doing other things.  I think that is why time in the MORNING is so important, before the busy part of the day starts, as best we are able. 

Well, I just looked at the time, and I am about to be late to my dad's house, so I need to stop there.  I pray this encourages you, though!  I pray you'll consider getting involved, if you're not already.  Accountability is never a bad thing.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

things I love right now

I love uninterrupted sleep....but for the second night in a row, I don't know what that is.  Noah was laughing hysterically at two a.m. and I might have told him to shut up.  (#momoftheyear) 

I really want to go wake them all up in an obnoxious way.  Would that be rude?  I think not, considering I laid in bed, wide awake, from one forty five a.m. to almost five a.m.  My husband suggested figuring out how not to be a light sleeper...but short of medication, I don't think there is a way to not be the way I am.  I may or may not have been snippy with him as he suggested I not take a nap to try and help this problem, but I need one most days, from fifteen to thirty minutes.  I am my father's daughter, and get it from him.

Moving on, now. 

Have y'all seen that Face app?  I have no plans of posting what I did on the app last night before I went to bed, but I texted a picture to my friend of her and me, and we've pretty much been cracking up ever since.  It is so creepy!  I uninstalled the app after the picture I saw.  (I'm laughing.)  They're even talking about it on The Today Show this morning.

Speaking of my favorite morning show, I love Dylan Dreyer on there that fills in for Al Roker a lot, and after she shared her story a few months ago about secondary infertility, she announced this morning that she and her hubby are expecting a baby boy in January.  I cried.  I love her family and follow them all on Instagram, but her little boy Cal, is the cutest thing ever and the kid loves food.  He reminds me of how Drew was at that age, and how he ate everything with no question.  Who am I kidding?  He is still like that.

Look at this adorable picture my friend shared with me the other day. 

This bride decided to ditch the idea of a traditional flower girl for a flower grandmother.  I'm not going to lie...I would love to do this someday! 

I love this one, too, of the two grandmothers sharing in the occasion.  How fun is that? 

I don't have a picture, which is when you know it's good, but I love catching up with best friends I haven't seen in a while.  Last night my friend Andrea and I went to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and closed the place down.  After that we crossed the street and went to Starbucks, and only wrapped it up before a thunderstorm hit.  Neither of us wanted to drive home in the rain, and she had farther to drive.  I've said it before on here, but I will always be so grateful to the Lord for how He put us together. 

I met her the same year I began our homeschooling journey.  It started out rough for us, when we tried that K-12 program, and to make things better for Jonah and Noah (who were begging to return back to their elementary school), I needed to change our plan all together and we needed something fun to look forward to each week.  My friend Lori told me about Renewed Moms, which was a place we could go each week that offered fun classes for homeschool students.  While the kids were in class, the moms had bible study and fellowship. 

I signed us up, and was put into Andrea's small group.  The minute I met her, it was like our hearts clicked, and she has been the greatest help to me in these eight years.  We both felt like we'd known each other forever.  I don't remember being in her group after that, because I later became a small group leader as well, but we stayed close during that time, and even after we left the group, we've remained that way.  We try not to go longer than one month go between visits, and we've been pretty good at keeping it up.  I think last night was the first time in about five weeks that we've seen each other.  We had #allthethings to catch up on, and we laughed ourselves silly.  She is so good for my soul, and she always points to Jesus. 

We will be friends forever. 

Remember yesterday when I mentioned the bible study the ladies in my church are starting in August?  I was emailed a link yesterday, and I thought I would share it with anyone who is local to me and interested in joining us.  Click HERE for everything you need to know.  Even if you've never participated in a bible study before, consider joining us!  It's never too late, and what better time to start than right now?  I'll share this on Facebook, as well, but I would love if you'd prayerfully consider coming.  If you're a believer and follower of Jesus like me, we need to be women who are in the word daily.  I love our way of studying, slow and verse by verse. 

Speaking of verse by verse, this was my pick of the day out of this morning's reading.

I love this verse, and always have, but I love the reminder that God is faithful, and He will always provide a way out.  Temptation is something all of us will battle at one time or another, but He never lets it overtake us...we always have a way that He will give us to overcome whatever we may face.  I say all the time that we are never immune to easily falling away from the Lord.  A prime example of how we may fall away can be something as seemingly innocent of missing a Sunday of church attendance.  If we miss too many, it easily becomes a temptation to keep on missing.  I have found the more I miss, the easier it is to miss.  So, I don't miss.  Or, I try not to, as best I'm able.  (I miss when I'm sick, like REALLY sick and when I'm out of town, but even on those days, I always watch via livestream.)

Temptation comes in many, many forms, and I find this verse so encouraging.  God is so very faithful.  I want to always be faithful to Him, in return. 

Well, that's about all I can think of for now.  My brain feels fuzzy this morning.  I am going to do some bible study homework.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

wash, rinse, repeat

(This cracked me up when I saw it, and then I remembered that not only did I go to Walmart, I went to the capital of Walmart with my best friend!  Fun times.)

This post has nothing to do with laundry or cleaning.  At this point in the summer, I think I'm just trying to survive.  For instance, JUST when I finally fell asleep last night (around eleven thirty), I heard Drew's truck rev up as he and his friend made a late run to Kroger.  I'm assuming this, because I woke up to the remnants of midnight pizza on the stove, counter top, and kitchen sink. 

Seriously.  Midnight pizza, after the dishwasher has already run its cycle.

I know, I know.  I'll miss these days, but I was irritated last night and trying to just keep it all to myself as I rolled over and tried for the millionth time to fall asleep. 

Also, my youngest two keep using all of the gas in Madame Blueberry, and I was aggravated about that as well. 

I'll be so glad when school starts back, but don't tell any of them I said that.  I love that they're having so much fun this summer, I really do, I am just someone who loves and craves routine.  This happens to me every summer, mid July. 

Just keeping it real. 

I need to clean the house and catch up on laundry again, but for some reason, I'm struggling with the "want to" of doing anything other than sitting and either watching a show on tv or reading a good book.  I don't know if it's the heat or just me being extremely lazy or what, but I feel like the whole house is in disarray.  I know it's just all of the coming and going of busy sons, but the whole house needs attention and they need to be home to do their share. 

I get to a point where I can take everything for only so long, and then usually, I reach the point of explosion.  I'm seriously praying even right now, that doesn't happen, and I stopped writing this for ten minutes and made a list of things to do all over the house, including in the garage.  I feel better now that it's all written down, and knowing that by the weekend, it'll all be how it needs to be again.  (I often pray 2 Corinthians 10:5, about taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ Jesus, and it certainly helps me, especially with putting things back in perspective.) 

Also, part of the mess is mine and my husband's.  We need to figure out what to do with a couple of things, and I need to work on two piles in our bedroom.  I come to a point when there's so much to do that I get overwhelmed, until I stop and write it all down and then just start tackling it all.  I'll start on several of the things on my list today during the day, after I've caught back up on my bible study homework.  (I'm not going anywhere today, until tonight, when I'll hopefully get to go out to dinner with one of my best friends whom I haven't seen in way too long.) 

In the meantime, other than losing my self control over the condition of my house, I've been reading some books.  Some I love, some I didn't.  I started this one over the weekend, but really got into it and to the halfway point last night.

I've never read one of her books before, not that I can remember.  I think I've tried one or two, but I stopped because I couldn't get into it or because I lost interest.  This one is really good, though.  I have another library book waiting on me when this one is done, one by Sally Hepworth, whose books I always love. 

There are a couple of movies I want to watch either on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon right now, too, so I'm going back and forth.  (Christopher Robin, Mary Poppins Returns, 5 Flights Up...there are several newer ones that Netflix recently added.  I was pleasantly surprised.)  I'd like to watch Hallmark Christmas movies, too, but it doesn't seem to be in the cards for me to do so, so I'm having to find other movies to fill some time. 

Some other thoughts...

I have a couple of things I'm praying about right now, within the church body we attend.  One is just an overwhelming urge to pray for my pastor and for the other lead pastors.  I was talking to my friend the other day, and a pastor shoulders a LOT of burden.  If you don't have your church pastor on your everyday prayer list, consider adding him. 

I'm studying the book of Galatians right now, and it is so good!  In a month from now, the women in my church family are starting up the fall semester study, and we'll be going through this study that my friend Amy wrote.  It is just like how we did Malachi back in January...we will start in small group, and discuss the homework and pray, and then we'll meet in the larger group and Amy will teach.  I'd love for you to join us, if you're local to me and would like to plug in somewhere.  There will be a Monday morning option or a Wednesday night option.  I tried to find a link, but there isn't one posted yet.  As soon as it comes out, I'll share about it again, for anyone who may want to join. 

I'm not wearing the walking boot anymore!  I've been out of it since last Thursday.  I am still being really careful, but it doesn't hurt anymore.  It is hard to walk around without limping...and I keep on catching myself correcting it, even though I'm not in pain.  I know that sounds weird, but six weeks in a boot will do that to your walking gait.  Also, it feels so good to dress in different clothes.  Because of the boot, I was only wearing shorts or dresses, mostly dresses.  I had on actual pants on Sunday at church!  (Again, I have only been wearing dresses there.)

I got my nails done last week.  I said I wasn't going to do that, but I caved.  I'll continue with this for a while, and then I'll stop again.  It's a pattern. 

I didn't cook one time last week.  We lived on sandwiches.  I made the fixings for nachos last night, and only Todd and I were here to eat them.  Well, Drew had some as an appetizer before he went somewhere for dinner, but I'm not counting that.  I'm making their favorite meal tonight for dinner, so I'm on a roll this week.  (Rolling my eyes at my own self.)

Well, I need to stop procrastinating and get moving on this day.  Thanks for reading!  I'm in a better mood now that I wrote all of this than I was when I first started.  Six hours of sleep and me are not good for each other...I need another hour, at least.  I know, I'm complicated. 

Love to all. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

the greatest summer of their lives

I remember when my kids were all this age, and our summers consisted of checking things off their wish lists for the season.  Their lists would include things like sleeping on the trampoline in the backyard (I said yes, they always chickened out!), watching all the Harry Potter movies in a day or two, going to see a movie at the theater, going to the children's museum, going to the zoo with Pappaw, going out for ice cream, going to our town square on a Friday night and exploring the trains, shooting fireworks with Big Daddy, spending the night with Mimi, and other fun and simple things that cost little to nothing.  Keep in mind, we always had friends over, and we usually went on a trip with Todd's parentals for at least a weekend, and those were the days. 

I had NO IDEA at the time, that these days would always be what I look back on as the glory days.  We were so prone to jumping into the Suburban at the drop of a hat for a trip to the pool, the splash pad, or local park loaded down with all the essentials for a picnic.  We did something fun almost every single day.  I would take a break for one day a week and let them have one friend over, and I would spend that day cleaning and catching up on laundry.  Young moms, if you are reading this, savor these moments.  They are fleeing.  The days of being able to plan out their activities were the best days ever. 

I write all that to say, that once they hit a certain age, this will no longer be the case.  I listened to a podcast last week (The Big Boo Cast by Sophie Hudson and Melanie Shankle) about how the days of going to the pool with your kids was over before you even could blink.  The "lasts" sneak up on you.  The last time the boys and I swam with my mom-in-love, I think Jonah and Noah were thirteen, maybe fourteen at the oldest.  I had no idea they would no longer want to do that so soon!  And when they were that age, it was just those two going with me, Graham and Drew had long since stopped going.  What happens to them is the fact that with their driver's licenses comes great freedom.  And that has been the case this summer. 

I cannot count the times Jonah has said to me since March 11th (the day they started driving), "Hey, Mom, we're going out for dinner with friends tonight, so don't worry about making a big meal."  I mean, I know that in a way, that sounds so nice, but I'm thinking, where in the world did my babies go?!  I know I say it all the time, but this phase of life is so weird.  They have money in their pockets, and they have options on which vehicles to drive at any given moment.  They have it so good! 

This summer they have had the greatest time of their lives, hanging out with friends.  Some of their friends are ones they've been around forever, but they've made several new friends in recent months, and you have NO IDEA what that does for my heart.  This entire year (from last August until right now) has been a huge struggle for them at church with the youth.  The changes that have taken place have been huge, and hard for them to walk through.  With that being said, this summer has been full of hope for them. 

I remember being this age, sixteen, and in my first summer ever of driving a car solo.  Those were the greatest days ever.  I know Graham and Drew would say the same thing, about their first summer of driving without parents.  I am so thankful for my dad instilling in them around the age of nine, a love of driving anything and everything they could.  And I am so glad that my husband would always work with Jonah and Noah on driving with him, because this time it was something that was so hard for me.  Graham made it so easy, and I think it got harder with each permit they got at age fifteen.  It's not easy, teaching teenagers to drive, but it is necessary.  The goal is to let them drive all they can, that way they'll be totally confident by the time they go back to get their license. 

Next summer will be good, too, but it won't compare to this summer, when the excitement over driving alone was fresh.  We let them go out every single night, as long as we approve of and know who they're with and what exactly they're doing.  They go out to eat, they hang out at Sonic or Chick Fil A, they go to friends houses, they swim with friends.  It's nothing extravagant they ask for, but we let them enjoy their time off from school, and we let them go all they want, within reason.  Occasionally we will do something as a family of six, like we did last Thursday, but we let them enjoy being sixteen.  We've never been the type to micromanage or hover over them, and so far, it's worked for us, with our sons.  Just last night, Todd was sitting in the living watching UFC fighting, and Jonah and his friend came downstairs to eat a snack and hang out.  When he got up to go to bed, the friend of Jonah's talked him into staying and hanging out with them.  Todd was telling me this before he left for work this morning, and he was telling me he never would have said no to that request, because that doesn't happen all the time. 

We are soaking up these days, needless to say, as are they.  I know my time with them like this is getting shorter and shorter, and I don't want to take it for granted.  One final, and random thought: I am so glad that their childhood days like in the picture at the top of this post were before the days of social media.  I could never have competed with what young moms today face. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

weekending and catching up {again}

I was so tired on Friday last week, that I couldn't even with a Friday Favorites post.  I slept until six forty, and woke up in a panic thinking for sure that Drew had overslept and was late to work.  That was not the case.  I promptly fell right back to sleep in my recliner downstairs.  I did manage to wake up and pull myself together, and I asked my mom if she wanted to go run errands with me.  I needed hand soap for the downstairs bathroom, and some other things from Walmart, and then we ate lunch and just enjoyed each other's company.  Todd stayed home all day and thoroughly enjoyed himself.  He was sore from the day before, from playing around on the lake.

But that was what I wanted to write about.  We joined some sweet friends who are like family at their camper at a lake a couple of hours away for the whole day.  It was one of those magical days that you never think will turn out quite the way you think, and everyone had the best time.  {We KNEW we would have fun, the boys weren't excited about going, because of not having anyone there that was their age.  Once we got there, though, they asked if we could stay until later that night, when the original plan had been to leave around seven.}

I always appreciate friends who let us tag along.  We weren't in a hurry to leave our house that day, and after dropping off Chip with my best friend {who is literally THE BEST EVER}, we started heading toward Lexington, Tennessee.

This was the view that greeted us.  It was our friends, the Essarys, Tiffany's dad and stepmom, her brother, his wife and their son, a friend from church who also has a camper there named Tom, and the six of us.  The guys all immediately jumped into the lake.

I mean...I had forgotten how beautiful it is here.  A few years ago, Jeremy and Tiffany invited us here for an adults only weekend, so this was our second time there.  We're going back in a couple of weeks, this time on a Saturday.

They all played on tubes on the lake, and they swam until they were exhausted, because they all snoozed in the back seat in the car on the way home, while Todd and I were grumpy together and argued over coffee.  {Jesus intervened, though, no worries.}  I almost just spit out my coffee as I wrote that.

I ended up not swimming because of my foot, and because Jonah warned me that the ladder getting out of the lake would kill it, so I heeded that advice and just enjoyed talking to Tiffany's dad most of the day.  I was a little bummed about that, but I still had a lot of fun.  This is when you know you're a parenting adult...when you just have fun watching all the people you love having fun.

At one point, we all thought the sky was about to fall, so we started cleaning up hurriedly.  It never rained a drop, though, despite what that dark sky looks like.  While half my family sat at the end you see above, I was at the other end with my feet up and hanging with these two who came to join me.

These were the only pictures I took of them the whole day.  They were cracking me up.  Drew kept on kissing Noah's cheek and they were laughing so hard.  Drew had come over to sit by me and talk, which NEVER HAPPENS, so I was soaking it up.  We ate dinner soon after this, then they swam a little more.

After dinner, they all went and anchored down to watch the fireworks.  I stayed behind and helped with clean up and then FINALLY sat down with my friend Tiffany, who has the hardest time sitting and relaxing.  It was the only real chance we got all day to sit and chat.

Part of me dreaded going that day, because of the intense heat we'd been experiencing all week, but under the shade and trees on their deck and with a fan by me, it was so pleasant.  Not much can beat great friends, good food, and just being together.  It was a really fun day, and one I will remember for a long time to come.  The older the boys get, the fewer times like this we have.

Another Christmas miracle occurred, and the SIX OF US also went to eat dinner with my mom and stepdad on Saturday night.  That never happens either!  It was a great weekend, after this lake day, and I enjoyed having my husband around nonstop.  We even had a date night on Friday night, and went to Red Lobster to eat.  We spent the morning at church on Sunday, and I was back there by three for choir practice, then I came home and ate dinner and watched a show on Hulu while Todd worked a shift with the sheriff's department.  Today I am swimming with my mom in love, and I can't wait.  Grocery shopping will have to wait until tomorrow...and tonight pizza is for dinner.

Well, I need to run, but have a great day!  Thanks for reading, and love to all.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

changes and such

Happy Wednesday!  I have grand plans today.  (Not really.)  Tonight is the annual night of fireworks in our little town.  This is also known as my stepdad's favorite holiday.  ;)  My dad and I were talking last week, though, about how I have never been a fan of them.  They make me nervous and always have.  Add to that the year Drew stepped on a sparkler and got a second degree burn on the bottom of his foot, and well, there you have it.  

The boys always like to walk over to the park across the street from the neighborhood we live in with their friends, and we let their friends use our driveway to park in.  Todd usually walks over there with them as well, and I did for a few years, but truthfully, I'm happy to just watch from my driveway.  Last year I didn't even go outside.  I know, I know, all this makes me sound ancient, but that's okay.  

Speaking of friends and friend groups, our youngest boys have been hanging with a different crowd lately, and I never thought that would happen.  They like to stay in their comfort zones regarding friends, and I'm so proud of them for branching out.  And lately, they've been with a lot of girls, which Todd and I are thinking to ourselves, "FINALLY!".  Noah brought over one girl last night so that we could meet her, since they've recently moved back here.  They're always together, so we both wanted him to bring her back here.  He met her parents a couple of weeks ago.  Call me crazy, but they're loving the freedom that having their driver's licenses brings.  They're gone after dinner, usually, and home again by curfew.  We're fine with it all, as long as they keep us updated on where they are.  All afternoon yesterday and into the night, they swam together with all these friends and ended up at one of the girl's grandparents house.  Jonah was in his happy place, because they had some pretty old and antique cars.  

This week, Drew's schedule at work is from six thirty a.m. to three thirty p.m. everyday.  That being said, I've been up by about five thirty each morning, and enjoying my coffee downstairs fifteen minutes later.  It hit me this week, while I was sitting there, that I needed to get back to having my quiet time first thing each morning.  A friend on social media always says that we should put the Word (of God) before the world.  Rather than get up and grab my actual bible, I opened up the bible app on my phone and read from there.  And I've been doing that every morning since.  I used to do this every morning, putting the Word before the world, but then Chip came into our lives.  

I also love the app, because I can highlight the verses and even turn them into images.  Which is where I got the two I've shared so far this week.

Today I finished the book of Romans, so tomorrow it's on to 1st Corinthians. 

Do y'all listen to podcasts?  If so, share them with me!  I do enjoy listening to them from time to time, preferably something clean and uplifting, or at least funny.  As I'm writing this, I'm listening to a couple of my favorite bloggers and authors, both of whom I've met with my best friend at my side, Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson.  They have a monthly podcast, The Big Boo Cast, and you can click HERE to listen.  

This particular one hits a chord with me, because they're talking about how our summer days with our kids at the pool ended way before we realized that would happen.  Time really does fly, and once they hit a certain age and start making their own plans, they no longer like to swim with Mama and the friends you choose for them.  I realized this two or three summers ago, when it just started being my mom in love and me swimming at her neighborhood pool.  #babiesdontkeep

Speaking of friends you choose for them, I love this picture above.  This was from four years ago when they went on a mission trip to the Navajo reservation.  This was such a fun thing to do with friends.  

I read this yesterday.  It was good.  Out of five stars, I would give it three.  It reminded me so much of Army Wives, but wasn't quite as good.  And that makes me miss the actual show, Army Wives.  I hate that Netflix removed it from their list of shows.  It's one that I would watch every so often, because I have always been fascinated by military life.  Also, as of last night and two days into July, I've finished two books, so I'm confident July will be a better reading month for me.  After I finished this one and wrote it down in my reading journal, I picked up another library book I got on Saturday, Courting Mr. Emerson by Melody Carlson.  I love all of her books, and she is considered a Christian fiction writer.  I'll read more today, when I go to my dad's house with Noah, to visit, while Noah cuts his grass for him.  

Well, I really should go do some laundry now, I suppose.  It's been a couple of days, and I prefer to do it in the morning hours, rather than later.  I hope y'all have a great day and holiday!  I'm looking forward to our tomorrow at the lake.  I'm thankful for friends that let us join in their fun.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

simply Tuesday

I will forever think of Emily Freeman when I think of Tuesdays.  (This was a great book she wrote a few years ago, about the simplicity of a Tuesday, and sharing in life with those around us.) 

What I write below are a compilation of random things or thoughts I have had lately. 

First up is that I am forty two years old, and for the first time ever in my life, I filled in my eyebrows yesterday, just because I wanted to give that a try.  I have a picture, but I'll do you all a favor and NOT share it, but I did share it with my mom, sisters, and niece, because OF COURSE I shared this revelation with them in our group text. 

The difference was astounding.  At least, I thought so.  It is so hot here right now, that I cannot hardly wear a full face of makeup.  Yesterday, I did my eyebrows, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. 

I had to share this, in case I'm not alone.

If you want good, honest book reviews, you should visit Shay Shull's blog, Mix and Match Mama.  And read all the comments.  Some of the best book reviews come from the comment section on her blog.  I was reading and had my Amazon book list of 2019 open while I was reading and added several books. 

Speaking of being bookish, I had a great trip to the library on Saturday.  I also finished a book yesterday that I called my fourth and final book of June (because I started it in June) and am looking forward to reading more this month. 

June was Hulu's fault.

Also, this month I will start my thirty-seventh book of 2019.  I counted just last night.  If you don't keep a reading journal, you should consider doing so.  I love looking back on what I've read, what I've hated, and what I've loved.

I am still reading along in the new testament with the people from my church family, but I've not been keeping up with it in the journal I bought.  I still make notes and read the same way, but the notes I make each day, I keep in my actual bible.  I love marking up my bibles, and I love looking back. 

That wasn't the verse I actually picked for yesterday's reading, but it jumped out at me just as much.  I love when that happens, and I love the book of Romans!  We will finish it out this week and keep moving right along to 1 Corinthians. 

If you need a place to read along, just jump right in with me.  Anytime we start a new book, it's a good place to start over.  And sometimes, I read first thing in the morning on my bible app on my phone.  I try to do this early, early, so that I can go ahead and get it done for the day.  I do fall behind sometimes, I just don't stay too far behind, or it will overwhelm me.  That is my advice and tip of the day for bible reading.  I read one chapter a day, five days every week.  A lot of the time, I read each chapter more than once. 

I'm going to Costco today, and it's ridiculous that this excites me so much.  I love going to Costco.  Even for the mundane things that are on my list for this day.  I love looking at their books, but I rarely buy one.  My mom and I are doing this together today, because it has been ages since I've seen her or spent time with her.  Seriously, it's been more than a week.  We always miss each other at church. 

Also, we are FINALLY moving forward on all our home improvement stuff, and today starts the whole process!  I am excited, but I'm kinda NOT excited because of all the mess it'll bring, but I know it's only temporary.  I'm just grateful we are finally able to do all this.  Today we get new garage doors!  I can't wait to see them. 

I am also ridiculously excited about tonight.  I will be at my friend's house watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  It's Christmas in July!  And I no longer have the Hallmark channel.  We will be eating comfort food and laughing and talking and catching up and not talking about sad things.  I can't wait. 

I feel like I am always on the fence about getting my nails done again.  I'm leaning toward starting it up again.  I love changing the color, but I also love how great they look all the time without chipping when I get them done.  If I were to do this, it would be gel or dip.  If I just wait a day or two, I'm sure this will pass and I'll just keep doing them myself.  I also keep forgetting to buy polish remover.  It helps to have that on hand.

Well, I'm pretty sure my mom may be halfway to my house, and I'm not dressed yet.  So, have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading my mindless posts.  Love to all. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

hello Monday linkup/ weekending

I didn't mean for a week to go between posting again, but sometimes, life happens.  I don't remember a whole lot of last week, but it was minimally busy, and I think I was just worn out every single morning.  (Sometimes I have trouble sleeping, or I sleep fitfully...I think I just had a lot on my mind from the weekend that had happened prior to last Monday.)

That being said, I love a fresh, new week and a new month!  I'm linking up with Tanya at The Other Side of the Road, and her friends, for this blogpost. 

I got the weekend started by having Dad over on Friday.  We usually go somewhere for lunch, because he likes to eat out, but I wasn't in the mood to leave home.  I made a super easy and quick lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and chips.  We had some fruit for dessert, and I made some of those break-and-bake cookies. 

After lunch, we sat and chatted and solved all the world's problems, and we talked about the importance of praying for our President, and then all of a sudden, it was three fifteen and time for me to take him home. 

I almost always stop at the end of their driveway and take a picture.  Sometimes of the lake, sometimes of these trees that my Pappaw helped him plant many years ago.  I have always loved pine trees, and I especially love this pine tree lined driveway.  It's so beautiful out in the country, and everywhere I look, I see God's beautiful creation.  One day a couple of weeks ago, there was a blue heron standing in the shallow waters of their lake.  It was beautiful and majestic looking, and then it gracefully flew away.  I love when I see things like that. 

That night for dinner, Todd, Graham, Jonah and I met up with my in-love's at a local place for dinner.  It was really good!  All the guys got catfish, but my mom and I opted for a smoked pork chop (her) and chicken (me).  We came back home after, and the guys here all went and did their own things. 

On Saturday, I decided to cook an actual meal (usually they all eat out and I eat something leftover), so I went to my happy place, and then to Kroger.

I got some great books to read this time, and can't wait to read them.  I haven't been great at reading lately, because of binge watching shows on Hulu.  (I'm rolling my eyes at that.)  My goal for July is to read more.  I only read three books in total for the month of June, and most of what I picked up to read, I put back down.  Life is too short to read mediocre books.  That is my new motto.

We ate dinner together Saturday night, then everyone did their own thing again.  Toddley worked a shift, and I watched episodes of my latest show. 

Yesterday was church!  I have to stop here and confess something.  If I don't feel great, I don't always want to go to church.  I seriously debated on staying home and watching the livestream.  I am still in a walking boot (on my left foot), and the entire right side of me hurts.  Well, mainly that foot, ankle, and knee.  I wear a shoe comparable in height, so it's not that, I think it is just that this boot is heavy and I am forty two.  Like I said, I contemplated staying home.  But I also missed last week, when my best friend's brother passed away, so I really don't like the idea of missing weeks in a row.  The more you do that, the easier it is to keep on missing.  I forced myself to get up and get dressed early, and then I left home at nine thirty, even though church doesn't start until ten forty-five.  I drove through McDonald's to get breakfast, then sat in the church parking lot while I ate. 

I often go early, then sit in my car and pray before I walk in.  I no longer attend a Sunday school class because most Sundays I sing on the praise team, and since I no longer help teaching in the youth, I never really found another class.  Because of all that, I still like to go early and pray before I walk in.  I do that to prepare my heart for worship, which is something I never thought much of until the last year.  I mean, I did sort of do this kind of thing before, but now, not a week goes by that I don't do this before walking into the building. 

But back to how I had contemplated on staying home from church.  I forced myself to get up and get dressed and to leave the house before it became too tempting.  Sometimes we just have to do that...force ourselves to get up and get moving.  The enemy wanted me to stay home yesterday morning, but I refused to cave in to what he wants.  I do think he messes with us any chance he gets, and while I don't ever want to give him TOO much credit, I think that really, we don't give him enough.  We don't realize, often times, how he operates within us who are believers.  There is a verse in Ephesians, I believe, that says not to give him a foothold.  And the bible says that he is the prince of the world, though Jesus is King. 

The more we miss out on attending a worship service, the easier it is to make that a new habit.  I didn't grow up that way, though, and we've not raised our kids in that way.  If one of them got sick when they were little, that one child and one parent would stay home, and the rest of us would go.  Even after attending a very late night dance in high school, my older boys still went to church the next day.  I let them make that call, but I was proud of them for their decision.  If you're a young parent reading this, read this again.  Make attending worship services a priority in your family!  It doesn't say anywhere in the bible that you must do this to go to don't.  I do believe you can worship anywhere, but when you actually attend a service, the church body edifies and encourages one another.  It is so good to sit under a Godly pastor. 

It doesn't stop with Sunday, though.  I spend time with the Lord almost every single day.  (Notice I said "almost" everyday.)  I always talk to Him, and the older I get, the more I am inclined to praying before I do anything else.  I was talking to my best friend about this last night, the importance of praying before committing to something.  I write all that to encourage you.  Find a church family you can call home.  As long as the church is sound in doctrine (the Word of God), any church almost would suffice.  There are some we need to beware of, I believe, that are not based entirely upon  Scripture.  You also want a church that actually addresses sin.  You would be shocked at the number of them today that don't ever mention sin.  It's all grace.  (And there is a time and a place for grace, but before we receive it, we must first acknowledge our sin.)

Moving on, now, I pray that encourages you. 

The rest of yesterday consisted of eating lunch at home, then going to choir practice (I've missed it!), and then coming back home and eating dinner and putting my tired foot up.  Todd and Graham worked a shift last night, and I went to bed moderately early after washing my hair.  I LOVE cool showers when it's hot outside, right before bed, and then climbing into cool sheets.  It took no time at all to fall asleep.  I am looking forward to a short week around here and going to the lake with friends on Thursday.  It's been ages since we've done that, and floating in a lake on a noodle sounds heavenly. 

Since today is the first of the month, here is the new Scripture writing plan for July.

I love doing this and always look forward to a new, fresh month.  I didn't do great at this in June, but that's okay.  I will start over with today and just move forward and try my best to keep up. 

Well, laundry and Kroger clicklist are calling my name.  Thanks for reading!  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...