Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Awarad

Thanks to Joy A. Mead (https://joyamead.com/) who was so sweet to nominate me several months ago for the Versatile blogger Award. Joy writes a beautiful blog about “Christian reflections on everyday happenings, motherhood, & transatlantic life”. She shares adorable stories about her children and husband that are so relatable and you feel like Joy is speaking to you across her kitchen table sharing a pastry and a cup of coffee or tea.

I decided this was the perfect time for me to participate because I get to share with my friends fifteen other bloggers that I enjoy following. It is also the perfect timing because I am going to be taking a little break from blogging to move.

My husband and I have been working the past 7 years on making plans once we are empty- nesters. Well that time has almost arrived. As God’s word tells us in Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” God certainly has established our steps, stepping up our plans to moving a year ahead of our schedule. Moving into an apartment for a year before we make our final move to our “empty -nester” home is now the plan and it is moving along quite smoothly. (all moves have some hiccups and we have had a few, but for the most part it has been a pretty smooth considering we are doing this all during a pandemic!)

So during this time I hope you will check out these amazing Bloggers. I’ll be back in July with more devotionals and blogs sharing God’s Word of Love, Joy, and Hope.

Part of the Versatile Blogger Award is I have to share seven interesting facts about myself. So without further adieu:

  1. I love traveling with my husband!
  2. I once rode my bicycle from Houston to Austin for the MS 150 Bicycle Ride! It was super fun and exhausting.
  3. I have ridden my bicycle over the causeway to Galveston Island. (Not like other people haven’t, but it was pretty scary to me)
  4. Besides being an Elementary School teacher for 23 years I have also had my Real Estate License in two states. I loved helping first time buyers find their first homes.
  5. One of my favorite past times is to watch HGTV and the DIY channel.
  6. I have self diagnosed myself with “squirrelaphobia” My definition: An acute fear of squirrels. Yes, I am deathly afraid of those creatures! Seriously, if I am out walking in the neighborhood and see a squirrel on my side of the sidewalk or anywhere approaching me, I will cross the street. Silly, but true.
  7. I am a native Hoosier!

And here are my Nominees!

  1. Joy A. Mead http://joyamead.com
  2. T.R. Noble Inside Cup https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/
  3. The “F” Word https://faithfood.blog/
  4. Grace Over Pain https://graceoverpain.com/
  5. Proverbs 31 Wanna-be https://srmiller1988.wordpress.com/
  6. Real Christian Women https://realchristianwomen.blog/
  7. Laura Bon https://laurabon.com/
  8. Becoming His Tapestry https://becominghistapestry.com/
  9. Beauty Beyond Bones https://beautybeyondbones.com/
  10. In His Service and Loving It https://inhisserviceandlovingit.wordpress.com/
  11. My Way Home https://mywayhomelife.wordpress.com/
  12. Heather C. King- Room to Breathe https://heathercking.org/
  13. Karina’s Thought https://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/
  14. Michelle Lesley https://michellelesley.com/
  15. The Godly Chic Diaries https://gcdiaries.wordpress.com/

When you consider nominating a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them.

Until July, Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy and enjoy reading these amazing blogs!

Bible Study

“Pray-cessing” through Competent Mistakes

Hi Friend. We have “Exhaled” through week 1.

Have you taken a minute to try a little “Square Breathing”? I love it. When I start to get a little anxious or feel that “Error Terror” start creeping in I just take a quick minute to breath. Let’s give it a go!

This week we’re reading about making “competent mistakes”. I don’t know about you, but when I read in Cheri’s Chapter 2, “I was more terrified of nothing than I was of failure.” And she goes on to say, “Doing nothing is worse-far worse-than making a mistake”.

Seriously! You mean I need to do something and take the chance of ….FAILING!!

I love Amy’s words on page 27, “Change and growth happen on the inside for a long time before anything exhibits on the outside.” She says a second later, “We can set aside our fear of trying to change by understanding that failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen. It’s a part of growth.”

For me, acceptance that failure is just a part of life and part of growth, I also have to find acceptance with the wave of feelings that come with change.

Cheri addresses our feelings on page 35. If you’re not there yet it’s okay, but I don’t want you to miss what she says here. Cheri writes, “What if your feelings are telling you about the state of your heart after you gave the best you had? After you opened yourself up? After you were bravely vulnerable?”

But here’s the real doozie, “Feeling bad while you’re learning something new doesn’t mean you did bad. Often, it’s a signal that you’re getting really good at making competent mistakes.” (Cheri Gregory, “Exhale”)

Wow! Boy have I needed that tid bit of info for awhile! But really how freeing it is to open up and be vulnerable, to learn and grow no matter where we are in life. And sister, we can do it all with the strength of Jesus!

I love the word Amy and Cheri introduce in the book, “Pray-cess” If you haven’t found it yet, there is an amazing glossary in the back of the book. On page 224 is the definition of “Pray-cess”.

I’m spending some time this week “Pray-cessing” over giving myself permission to fail and not quit.

Romans 8:31 reminds me, ” What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

My question for today:

How do you see your life changing when you hand your mistakes over to God and trust Him to take care of them and you?

Let’s “pray-cess” over this question. I’d love for you to share your thoughts in today’s comments.

I will have a drawing each Friday for a fun give away. Be sure to comment to be entered in the drawing for a set of thirty-one Bible verse cards from the Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls Etsy Store!

Each Friday I will post the links to the “Grit ‘N’ Grace” Episodes. Amy and Cheri give us a great resources to add to our tool boxes. Click the links below! If you haven’t listened to Amy and Cheri, you are going to fall in love and learn so much!

Day 2: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode136/

Day 3: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode111/

Day 4: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode127/

Before you go, Amy and Cheri ask us to “Write a prayer to ask God to do His work in you until its completed. As Him for clarity and strenth for the difficult truths” I’ve shared my prayer below, feel free to share yours or any prayer requests you have in the comments. I’d love to pray for you!

Heavenly Father, Your word tells me that the good work you have started in me will be carried out to completion. I ask for your spiritual wisdom and insight so I may grow in your knowledge. I pray my heart be flooded with light so I can understand the confident hope you have given me. Father, when I feel weak and not enough let me remember “Your grace is sufficient and your power is made perfect in my weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). Lord you are my strength and my defense when I feel I am stuck or when I feel responsible for everyone. Be with me as I pray-cess through and make the necessary changes that I have so needed to make. In your son’s holy name, Amen.

Devotion

Three Action Steps To Your Calling

Phil 1 6

Do you ever wonder what God is calling you to do? Have you ever thought that you even have a “calling”?  The word calling by Christians often implies someone that is being “called” by God to serve him in a position as a leader in a church setting.  A pastor, a women’s ministry leader, a worship leader, or a children’s minister to name a few.

But what if I told you that God has a special “calling” just for you.  One he started even before you came into this world.  Actually he has had several “callings” for you in different seasons of your life and there are more to come! Super exciting right!

Look at these famous Bible characters who God called and equipped with all they need and he made sure to get them to the finish.

Esther, the beautiful Jewish girl who became queen and saved her people and herself from being killed.  God made sure she had courage and confidence at just the right time to save His people.

Noah, built the Ark when God called him.  It was a huge job.  God gave him the skills and energy to accomplish the job.

Moses, OMG, lead God’s people out of Egypt! And did you know that he hated public speaking!  God gave him this amazing ability to lead and speak.

So how do we figure out this “calling” thing for our lives you ask?  Well friend, we start by scooting in real close to Jesus.  Just like God called and equipped so many more people we read about in our Bibles, He will do the same for us.  “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23).  When we are in God’s word daily, learning and growing to be more like him, he will direct us to our special assignment He has just for us.

John 10:3-4 reminds us, “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Which leads me to the second action step to know our “calling”, pray scripture.

Sometimes, well I’ll speak for myself here, I get caught up telling God what I want when I pray instead of asking nicely, praying for God’s will in my life.  When we pray God’s word back to him, we stay focused on His will, not our selfish agendas.  When we pray scriptures in search of our “Jesus Jobs” we will know God’s voice and we will follow it where He leads.

Here are three Psalms to pray for God’s guidance for your calling:

Psalm 43_3Psalm 143_8Psalm 25 3 4

Finally, we must obey.  Yeah I said it, obey the calling.  We might not think that what we hear God calling us to do is really for us, it’s too hard, too time consuming, not in the right geographical area, so on and so forth, but I promise you if God made the call, its right. Have no fear, Hebrews 13:21 is here to settle your soul, “may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

So this brings me back to our verse today, Philippians 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT) We must have confidence friend, not only in God but in ourselves as we go out with our callings.

I am throwing Hebrews 10:35-36 into my memory verses “ So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (NLT)

And I remember when the going gets tough in my calling, Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (NLT)

Friend, I hope you will join me in late August and September for the study of “Exhale” where we will learn more about our “Calling” and Losing Who We’re Not, Loving Who We Are, and Living Our One Life Well”.

You can order the book and study guide at this link: Exhale Book

Watch for more information on the Exhale Book Study coming soon!

And the Winner of Last Month’s Give Away is:

Julie McElwee!!!! 

Until next time,

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

 

 

Devotion

I Love You but You Are Driving Me Crazy

 

gensis 2 23 24

According to Weddingwire June is the third most popular month for weddings in the past two years.  I just attended the wedding of one of my nephews in a beautiful mid-west, quaint farm setting.  During one of the dances, the DJ asked couples to keep dancing if they had been married for a specific number of years.  He kept going until one couple remained on the dance floor.  It just so happened to be my parents, the grandparents of the groom, left alone, swaying to the music. My parents have been married fifty-eight years!  The DJ asked my nephew and his new bride to accompany my parents in the center of the dance floor.  He then proceeded to ask my parents what advice they had for the newly married couple to get them to fifty -eight years of wedded bliss.  My mom answered first, “Just hang in there!” My dad, the quiet guy he is agreed.

This past winter, I participated in a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study where we studied Karen Ehman’s book, “Keep Showing Up, How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy”.  Chapter One starts out, “Why is this so hard? I can’t do this anymore! I cried out to God as I sat crossed-legged on the bedroom floor of our very first apartment, my eyes stingy with hot, salty tears”

Now, those of you reading this who know me well, and those of you who don’t are going to find out super quick, I won’t be giving you advice on marital bliss.  You see, I have sat feeling exactly like Karen Ehman not once, or twice, but well I am not proud to say three times.  She is exactly right.  Marriage isn’t easy.  You have to, as my mom said to my nephew, “just hang in there”, and as Karen says, “Keep Showing Up”.

We find the  “Mr. or Mrs. right”, fall in love, and have expectations of the “perfect” life together.  Our “happily ever after”.  Then just like that, you are living with who? Who is this person who doesn’t pick up after themselves, makes snide comments, doesn’t appreciate your cooking, forgets your birthday, and argues with you.  What? A disagreement?  We never had a single tiff while we were dating! You thought getting married and living with the person of your dreams was going to be, well… dreamy, not a nightmare on some days.

Now, don’t get me wrong, what can be better than traveling, laughing, sharing in a hobby or a mutually loved cause with the one you love.  But we do, and I speak from my own experience here, have to manage our expectations of what it really means to say “I do” in front of God and our friends and families.  It means it isn’t going to be easy everyday and we are going to need Jesus to help us to “Keep Showing Up.” (And the wise words of Karen Ehman!)

psalm 46 1

My first two marriages, I didn’t keep showing up.  I quit showing up on my first marriage due to abuse and for my safety I needed to leave. My second marriage ended sadly because of addiction and because I had turned away, forgetting about God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.

Don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t go into my other marriages wanting or thinking they were going to end in divorce, not at all.  I grew up in a household with exemplary examples of wedded couples who kept showing up for each other through thick and thin.  Both sets of my grandparents had been married well over fifty years and as I mentioned, my parents have been married fifty-eight years.  I know for a fact, it hasn’t been and wasn’t always wedded bliss for any of them, but they kept showing up for each other.  Through The Great Depression, various wars (at home and abroad), sickness, loss of jobs, loss of children, life.  Hard, messy, tough, life.  The married couples in my life kept showing up, kept loving, kept honoring, kept serving, and kept praying for one another. Those are the examples I had and had intended to follow.

Today, I truly believe that God broke many chains and I am free from so many lies of the evil one. He brought this amazing, some days sandpaperish man (When you read Karen’s book Chapter 2 tells you all about the “Sandpaper Spouse”!)  into my life for me to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of my life! Today I don’t believe and react to the lies I was once listening to. As John 8:44 reminds us, “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Friend, we don’t have to listen to the lies Satan tells us about our marriages and our spouses. The simple truth is, some days it is hard to see this I get it, but our spouses are not the enemy.  Satan loves to spin webs of lies, its his job and it is our job not to get tangled and stuck in them. (I promised I wouldn’t give marriage advice, I learned all this from the book, emoji happy face!)

If you are crazy in love with your spouse, which I pray you are and if you are not I will pray for things to change in your relationship, then “Keep Showing Up” is a must have tool to add to your marriage tool kit.  A few others I have in mine now and use constantly are my bible (several versions) and another wonderful book by Sharon Jaynes “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.  Sharon shares how to use scripture to pray for your husband literally from head to toe!

I am a super sap when it comes to weddings.  I will be the first to admit I quickly get caught up in all the sparkle, romance, pomp and circumstance, and cake of course! And I don’t think any of that is a bad thing as long as we as family and friends of the bride and groom continue to stand by their sides through all the ups and downs life is going to throw their way,  We don’t need to be a bunch of Debbie Downers when called upon as Christians to share  marital advice with young couples. We need to be honest with them and lead them to Jesus when life starts to turn the wedded bliss in a wedded blister!

I’d love to hear from you.  What do you do to Keep Showing Up in your marriage.  When you comment in the blog today you will be signed up to win a copy of Karen’s book “Keep Showing Up” and Sharon Jaynes’ book “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

In the Meantime,

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

Friday Joy

Only Four Days To Exhale!

Exhale book 4 days

Hi Friends,

Happy Friday and its time to say good-bye to May!  Do you know what that means, only 4 days until the launch of Amy Carroll’s and Cheri Gregory’s book, Exhale!

Check out the website Exhale Book, while you’re there, take the “Love Who You Are Personality Quiz”.  I did and found out I’m a Connector.  More about that later.  I’d love to hear what personality type you are, share in the comments.

When you join me for the Exhale study in July we will delve deeper into the quiz and the results.

Freebies

Pre-Order today for these AMAZING Free Bonuses!

Stay tuned for more posts in the next few days as we count down to the Big Launch!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Amy Carroll’s and Cheri Gregory’s “Exhale” Launch Team.  The opinions expressed here are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Devotion

Irritable…Discontent…Restless… Help Is Not Hidden

Isaiah 46_4

Friend, It is so easy in our ever so busy lives today to get irritable, discontent, and restless, so much that we can start to spin out of control. Maybe not just start to spin but whirl like crazy.

God’s Word is living and breathing! It fills my soul and brings me peace and calm when I start to twirl and whirl in this world.  Meditating and praying Isaiah 46:4 can take me from the crazy of a Tilt-a-Whirl to a front porch swing in a matter of minutes.

Heavenly Father,

I know that you have created me and you are with me until my hair is gray, and grayer than it already is!  I have witnessed you carry me through other turmoils and I know you will carry me through today, hour by hour; minute by minute.  Father, thank you for your life sustaining Word, love, grace, and forgiveness.  I have faith that in your time, Father, you will rescue me from the whirling and twirling I am feeling right now.  In the meantime, I will keep my eyes laser focused on you.  My ears and heart open to hear your word.  And I will rise up and go on with the God assignments you have already planned for me today, living and breathing your word and truth.  In Jesus Name, Amen.