Family Finances Binder


Exodus 5:1-9:12

“Why have You brought all this trouble on Your own people, Lord? Why did You send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as Your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And You have done nothing to rescue them!” Then the LORD told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of My strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!” Exodus 5:22-6:1

This morning I felt like my life was spiraling out of control and I was desperately crying out to God for something solid to hold onto. I wanted routine and normalcy and order, so He pointed me to my office/library. Specifically, He pointed me to my desk/command center. And I have spent almost the entire day today working on getting it re-organized right along with my finances. My desk has always been the command center of our home, but for the last few months there’s been a huge fish tank sitting in front of my desk making it next to impossible to get to pretty much anything on the desk. I made do with my little “desk in a bag” but now that I have my desk back I’m ready to renovate! I started a Pinterest board that I’ll probably continue adding to as I find other ideas for our “Command Center“. A couple days ago I found a GREAT pin for a finance binder and normally I would have used it to inspire me in making pages of my own. However, God has really been pressing on me to keep it simple silly and stop re-inventing the wheel!!! So, I just printed off the beautiful PDFs I found at www.Dimplicity.com.

You can find them all here, there are TONS of them!

Well, of course after all that work today I want to show it all off to my friends!

You can download the cover here.*

I used some of the dividers that I already had and was using in another binder that I just cleaned out.

These are the calendar pages I made for the reading plan… that I never finished… so I used them for this binder and they’re PERFECT! :D You can download them here.*

I also added some clear plastic sleeves to the binder in order to slide bills and papers into them and then back out when they’ve been paid without having to punch holes into them first. I didn’t want to use my three-hole punch for EVERYTHING.

These two pages are for long term to do’s and wish lists. It’s a place to actually write down all those things that you walk around the yard with your husband day dreaming and planning for. I’ve read a lot recently that if you have those kinds of things written down somewhere you will much more likely to actually do them.

(In the clear plastic sleeve at the end of the section.)

A little more dreaming…

Well, once I got my binder done, I wanted to keep going! And I had found these super cute envelope templates on www.Dimplicity.com and I just had to make some of those to go in my wallet!

There’s nothing like getting all organized to get you pepped up and ready to do things right! Am I right? :D

I’m hoping to tackle my menu planning supplies soon and turn them into a menu planning/recipe binder tomorrow in the truck on the way to the derby. I absolutely LOVE those templates I made and I use them constantly. They’re a great way to get a lot of information into a small space and done quickly. But right now all my favorite recipes and my templates are all shoved into the kitchen cabinet in file folders that don’t fit in the cabinet quite right. So they’re all curled up and difficult to sort through when I’m looking for something specific.

*So, I can’t seem to get my computer to send these files to the blog in order to make them available to you!!! Grrrr!!!! But I’m going to try again in the morning because they’re SUPER CUTE! And we girls are all about things looking pretty, am I right??? So check back to the blog again later and these links may be working at that time. Sorry for the delay!

 

Categories: 365 Life, Exodus, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Prayer Requests


Exodus 1:1-4:31

“When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her. When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him.” Exodus 2:5-6

Friends, I have something written for today, but it’s just too personal to share at the moment. I could use your prayers for wisdom and guidance though. I’m feeling a change, perhaps some drastic changes, on the horizon and I want to be ready for them when they get here. Your support of my life and writing means the world to me, but more important to me is God’s will and my obedience to it. I’m sure you can understand and agree.

Also, if you’d like to begin praying for this week’s derby, we’ll be visiting the Tippecanoe county fair on Saturday night! :D Thank you for everything that you do for us. We appreciate it all so very much!

Categories: 365 Life, Exodus, Season 3 | 2 Comments

Trapped


Esther 5:1-10:3

“Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” Esther 6:6

Have you ever just wanted to freeze a single moment in time and stay there, just a little bit longer than all the rest? If Haman had known what was coming up next in his own story I think this is the moment he would have chosen to freeze. In his mind at this point, he is the one that the king is preparing to honor and so he’s suggesting to the king how he himself should be glorified. You know, because who would the king wish to honor more than Haman? At this point in the story Haman hasn’t fully considered who exactly he’s dealing with, and he won’t fully come into that realization until it is far too late for him to back out of the trap he has set and it ends up springing on him.

And boy if that doesn’t remind me of Satan I don’t know what does! Satan sets traps all day every day and yet over and over they only end up springing on him in the end. Just look at the Son of David. From day one Satan was out to trap Jesus. From Herod trying to convince the wise men to come back and tell him where the child king was so that he too could “worship” him. To that night at the Last Supper when Judas fled from the room to meet up with the Jewish officials in order to capture Jesus away from the crowds. Mmmm, but that’s my favorite trap of all! That was the trap that Satan set fully expecting it to end Jesus and the Father’s plans for saving the Jews. I don’t think Satan had any clue what his actions would do. Unlike God, Satan is not omnipotent or omnipresent. He can’t know the future before it happens, nor can he be in all places at all times. I believe that he truly had no clue to the breadth of God’s actual plan for Jesus and His death on the cross. Satan set a plan into motion that He will regret for all of eternity.

Satan set a trap to kill Jesus, and he succeeded, but little did he know that his success was his ultimate undoing. It was through Jesus’ death that the rest of us can LIVE. It is through the blood that Jesus shed on that cross that we are eternally forgiven. It is because He died that He was given the opportunity to rise again from that sealed grave and to prove to one and all once and for all that He was, is and will always be Christ the Messiah! Satan sets traps every day. And while *some* go off and capture us in their teeth; ALL of them are his ultimate undoing! Every. Single. One of them.

Right now there is something that you’re feeling trapped in; a dead-end job, a financial situation you can’t seem to climb up out of, a marriage that just feels miserable, a child that has broken your heart with a rotten decision, whatever it is – give it to God. That trap may have sprung on you, but it doesn’t have to be YOUR undoing, make it Satan’s!!! Take that mess he’s made of your life and allow God to turn it into a message! I’ve made so many bad choices in my life; choices that affected me for a very long time and still do to this day. But that doesn’t mean that they have to be my prison. What if they are my key?!? And they can be if I let them. I can take those bad choices and decide that I’m not going to let them define me. Just because I burn one tray of toast doesn’t make me a bad cook. Just because I misspell a word doesn’t make me a bad writer. Just because I stumble doesn’t make me a bad dancer. It just means that something happened. And I can choose to allow that thing to drag me down or wake me up. Learning to walk isn’t about falling down, it’s about learning how to control those falls and more importantly how to get back up.

Sunflowers have a special place in my heart, mostly because once upon a time I had the privilege of meeting a very special one who taught me a very important lesson. Bloom where you’re planted – no matter what.

This sunflower was growing at the end of my neighbor’s driveway from a seed that he had spit out. As in this seed had been:

Harvested,

Seasoned,

Roasted,

Packaged,

Purchased,

Chewed up,

Spit out,

Still managed to SPROUT,

IN A DROUGHT,

Avoided being mown off,

And grew into a beautiful little sunflower right where it had been planted.

It had literally been through sunflower seed hell AND BACK and STILL managed to grow and bloom right where God had planted it. In a spot He knew I wouldn’t be able to miss it, or its story. ;)

You too may be feeling like you’re going through hell and perhaps even back, but I have Good News for you. Jesus died for YOU. Jesus loves you more than life itself and He would rather die than to live one more day without YOU by His side for all of eternity. No matter what you’re going through, no matter how trapped you feel right now, know this. Jesus loves YOU. He loves you and He is with you, no matter what. He has promised never to leave you or forsake you and He isn’t able to lie so He must have meant it when He said it. No matter what you’ve done, He will NEVER leave you. And really, believe it or not, there is nothing new under the sun that you could have done that He hasn’t seen before. I can guarantee it. On the cross Jesus made the choice to forgive you once and for all. Now you need to make the choice to forgive yourself.

Categories: 365 Life, Esther, Season 3 | 3 Comments

The Ring of Power


Esther 1:1-4:17

“The king agreed, confirming his decision by removing his signet ring from his finger and giving it to Haman, son of Hammedatha the Agagite the enemy of the Jews.” Esther 3:10

Over the last several weeks I have been training to be a manager at Dollar General. It started simply enough, I was allowed to watch the other managers perform the managerial tasks. I got to peek into their world and see what it was that they were doing. Next they started punching their numbers into the computer and then stepping aside to let me do the returns and exchanges while they stood directly behind me to guide me through the process. Then they started handing me their numbers written on slips of paper so that I could put their numbers into the computer myself and begin performing the tasks on my own. But then came the day when the store manager came to me and handed me his register key. I placed it on the top of the register, not feeling quite worthy to actually put his key into my pocket. He had just handed me his numbers and his key, as far as the system knew every time I used those things in the computers I was him. It was a big day.

In today’s reading the king has handed Haman his signet ring. Much like my Store Manager handing me his numbers and key, the king was handing Haman the power to sign onto the computer as the king. Anything Haman did, said, or wrote down and then sealed with that signet ring was backed by the full power of the king – as if the king had done it himself. Today I want to gaze at the inscription on that ring a little more. I want to dig a little deeper into the meaning of the ring itself and what that means to us as Children of God.

There is another instance in the Old Testament of a signet ring being passed on to someone; we can find it in Genesis chapter forty-one. Joseph has been through a very long and difficult journey, from his childhood home, to slavery in an Egyptian officials home to being a prisoner in Pharaoh’s jail. Then one day Pharaoh has a troublesome dream and Joseph is the only one in the kingdom who is able to interpret it. Pharaoh is so grateful to him for his wisdom and assistance that he “said to Joseph, ‘Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne will have a rank higher than yours.’ Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, ‘Kneel down!’ So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. And Pharaoh said to him, ‘I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.’” (Genesis 41:37-44)

There is another story of a king bestowing absolute power upon a man of great worth,

“The the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him – but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples. ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:16-20

Acts 7:55 says that “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”

Luke in chapter four of his book, tells us about a small portion of the power of Jesus’ authority:

“Once when He was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon – an evil spirit – began shouting at Jesus. “Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One sent from God!’

Jesus cut him short, ‘Be quiet! Come out of the man,’ He ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further. Amazed, the people exclaimed, ‘What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey Him, and they flee at His command!’” (verses 31-36)

The King’s authority is powerful indeed! In Luke chapter ten, Jesus chose seventy-two of His disciples and sent them ahead of Him in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit. He told them,

“‘Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting Me and anyone who rejects you is rejecting Me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent Me.’ When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to Him, ‘Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!’

‘Yes,’ He told them, ‘I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them .Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirit obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.’”

There is another story of a signet ring in the New Testament, it can be found in Luke chapter fifteen. It’s the story of a son who completely humiliated his father by basically telling him that he wished his father was dead so that he could have his inheritance now rather than later. So this loving father divided his estate between his two sons and then watched his youngest son walk away from his home and his entire family. It broke the father’s heart. After much time had passed the son ran out of money and found himself starving, working on a pig farm, contemplating eating the pig’s food. He decided that even the servants in his father’s house were taken better care of than this! So he decided to humble himself before his father and return home in the hopes that perhaps his father would accept him back into his home as a servant. He had no hope of becoming his son again, he had rejected that right the day he asked for his inheritance early. As the son trudged down the road, head hung in utter shame, he heard the sound of rapidly approaching feet and looked up to see his father hurtling himself through the space between them. His SON had come home!!! As the son began his rehearsed speech asking for his father’s blessing to work in his home as a servant, the father cut him short, “Quick!” he said to the servants, “Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’

In that time, servants didn’t wear robes, they wore rags. They didn’t wear the finest sandals money could buy, they went bare footed about their chores. And they certainly didn’t wear a ring with the family symbol on it! My friend, each and every one of us is that son! We’ve all walked away from our Father at least once in our lives, if not over and over and over again. And yet each and every time we humble ourselves enough to pray, He hurtles Himself through space and time to embrace us with a longing that only He could possess for us. Through the blood of Jesus, YOU have been given all authority over the powers of darkness, YOU! You wear that signet ring of power on your finger because you are a member of the family, you’re a Child of the One True King!!!!! In Jesus’ name! Hallelujah!

 

* I apologize; I have not had time to edit this! Please forgive my typos or grammar mistakes if there are any!!!!!

Categories: 365 Life, Esther, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Throw Off Your Former Way of Life


Ephesians 2:11-6:24

“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the Truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:21-24

This verse stuck out to me today. When I read the words “throw off” I immediately had to start searching. I started in the original Greek. “Throw off” is the word “apothithemi” which is a compound word:

*apo: denotes any kind of separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed.

*tithemi: to lay off or aside, to wear or carry no longer.

I love the beauty of words and the way they work together to create something meaningful to the reader!!! What a fantastic picture that this one simple word creates! It starts with the picture of a complete and total separation from the old sinful nature and former way of life where you had fellowship with lust and union with deception. And yet here is Paul urging us to throw that off and lay it aside as though it were a coat and to wear it no longer. But to rather let the Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us in order to renew our thoughts and attitudes. In this way the new nature is being put on like a coat and worn in order to better represent the image of God as we go forth and preach the good news with thanksgiving for our salvation.

In Mark 10 we read a perfect illustration of this very thing.

Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and His Disciples left town, a large crowd followed Him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, He’s calling you!”

Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

(Mark 10:46-52)

This healing of Bartimaeus is a perfect example for all of us. He was blind and wanted to see. He hadn’t SEEN Jesus, but rather had heard of Him and that He was near. And in that unseeing faith he called to the Jesus who heals blind men like him. He called and the people around him shushed him. Right now there is something that you may be blind to, an answer or a blessing that you know is there you just can’t quite see it yet. And in your blindness you’re calling out to the One who has the power to heal you, if only He would hear you. And in your calling there are voices, perhaps small voices that only you can hear. Perhaps louder voices that everyone can hear, who knows. Either way, inevitably there are voices that are telling you to, “give up” to “stop trying, it’s never going to happen”, or to “let it go”. But you’ve got to ignore those voices and keep raising yours above the din of the crowd in order to gain the audience with the King that you seek.

Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me and I will answer you; and tell you great and unsearchable things which you do not know.”

Jesus heard Bartimaeus and He hears you and I when we call. And what was it that He said to Bartimaeus when He heard him? “Come here”. Is that not the very same thing He tells us when we’re blind and in need of some divine vision and perspective into our situation? “Come. Allow Me to heal your wounds. Come. Allow Me to make you whole. Come. Let Me show you something you’ve never seen before. Come.”

And what was Bartimaeus’ reaction when Jesus said to “come”? He didn’t just come, he threw off his coat and jumped up away from it! Now there are two things you need to know about that coat. 1) The coat they are referring to is most likely a coat of a certain color that would have denoted someone who was crippled and allowed to beg at the gate to the city. So, it’s quite significant that he’s throwing off this coat that signifies that he is a cripple. At this point Jesus hasn’t even healed him yet, He has just called Bartimaeus to Himself. But already Bartimaeus knows that Jesus is going to do for him what He has done for countless others – He’s going to heal him. 2) The word used to describe the action with which Bartimaeus threw his coat was the Greek word “apoballo”. It too is a compound word in the Greek that begins with that same prefix “apo” as before. However, the suffix of the word is a little different. Where Paul tells us to lay aside our old self, or sinful nature, Bartimaeus isn’t just completely separating himself from his old crippled self, he is “ballo”ing his coat.

*ballo: to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls

Bartimaeus threw down that coat of shame with such force and vigor because he knew that he was NEVER going to need it ever again. He knew that the moment Jesus paused in His journey for HIM that his life would never be the same.

My dearest friend. You have been crying out to Jesus for something. It’s been a long time in the coming. Like Bartimaeus, you’ve heard about Jesus doing these things for others and you’ve been watching for Him to show up in your city so that maybe, just maybe, He’ll pass by on His way and notice YOU. Beloved, He is HERE with you right now. He has heard your cry and He has stopped right in front of where you are and called you to “Come”. Throw off that coat of your past life and RUN to Jesus. He holds your new coat in His Word. “GO, for your faith has healed you.”

Like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon after much waiting, it too springs forth a new creation. No longer destined to crawl on the ground and eat leaves it’s new self is formed to fly on the slightest of breezes and feed from the sweet nectar of the heart of a flower. A butterfly holds no lasting love for its prison-like cocoon; it leaves it behind with little more than a flit of its newly formed wings. So too we must leave behind the things of our former self, and everything that that may mean. We’ve got to keep moving forward and press on toward the goal, never allowing anything to hinder us in our progress toward the awaiting arms of our Savior at the finish line; the One who has been waiting for us to come along.

Categories: 365 Life, Ephesians, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY


Ecclesiastes 8:1-12:14 & Ephesians 1:1-2:10

“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done kama so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. ” Ephesians 2:8-10
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Mmmmmm…… fresh blueberries!
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Then I have to include pictures from last night’s derby!
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Hoppy the toad


“Hoppy” the toad.
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Adding some last minute touches…
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Ready to head out!
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Right before the heat, Anna just had to try those cartwheel things those other girls were doing.
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It was a quick run for us this week. He made two full track hits right off the bat. One of those hits ended shifting the gas tank forward knocking his fuel pump completely OFF! This caused fuel to begin siphoning out of the tank into the car floor! It took him a couple seconds to notice that there was anything wrong but once he did he unbuckled and jumped into the back seat where the fuel tank was. That’s when I realized something was seriously wrong. Not to mention that while he was unbuckled and in the back seat not paying attention to the arena, one of the cars that he had full tracked earlier was headed his way to full track him back!
Because God is so good and REALLY looks out for us (and I’m sure your prayers don’t hurt either) the officials noticed that something was wrong and stopped that other car in his tracks with a red flag just in time. They called the fire truck over to hose the fuel out of His car and then pushed him off the track.
So while he was the first one out and didn’t win any money or awards for the time that he was out on that track EVERY eye in that arena was on him and the 7×70 message!
It was EXCITING that was for sure!
It could have been SO MUCH WORSE than what it was and we thank God for that!
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All in all it was a good night. :-D

Categories: 365 Life, Ecclesiastes, Ephesians, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Making Room for the NEW


Ecclesiastes 2:12-7:29

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him?” Ecclesiastes 2:24

Since starting at Dollar General three months ago life has changed dramatically. In the beginning I held on to the belief that this was going to be a short gig. Something that I would do for a couple weeks, maybe a couple months until everyone wised up and decided that maybe it wasn’t that good of an idea after all. I knew that God was using this job to humble me in ways that cleaning the toilets and scrubbing the gunk out of the bottom of the dishwasher doesn’t. And I was mad. I was mad and oh so resentful that God was making me do a job that had “nothing” to do with my calling. For three months as I’ve gotten more comfortable in my new surroundings some of the resentment and anger has slipped away, but it has left behind something I wasn’t expecting. A longing for my children that I’ve never had. I’ve never had it because I’ve always been with them. I’ve always been there to watch them and make them lunch. While they were preschool age I was in the same building with them 24 hours a day unless they were with another family member. When they started school things changed and I wasn’t with them all day long, but they were at school with their friends and learning and being kids and that was OK. Now I’M the one that’s away from them and it’s hard for me.

At the beginning of the summer I was still clinging to the hope that this working outside the home thing wouldn’t last very long and so missing them wasn’t so hard for me. But lately, since I’ve started manager training, things have gotten really real. This isn’t a short time gig. This isn’t something that I’m going to do for a few weeks and then walk away from it.

I had a text conversation with my prayer partner at the beginning of the week about how much we missed each other and spending time together. It’s been part of the price of working at DG. The 20-25 hours that I used to spend with my friends in prayer and Bible study are now being spent ministering to the customers and employees at DG. Anyway, it was that very conversation that shook something loose in me that night. It was my friend expressing the very feelings that had been plaguing me that enabled me to speak to those feelings and tell them what was going to happen. There were two revelations that stuck out to me that night as I put the dog to bed and then lay down myself.

If I never let go of the past I can’t ever fully grasp the future.

And,

This is my life.

As wonderful as that last season was, and it WAS WONDERFUL. I can’t stay there. For everything there is a season and that was LAST season. Just like last winter’s clothes, I can’t keep wearing them throughout the summer! It would be silly and really uncomfortable. At some point I have to realize that that season of my life is OVER. It happened and was wonderful and was also filled with a lot of really hard moments, like the winter snow and cold, it’s melted away. And with that the sun and warmth and fun of summer has begun. Slowly but surely, it’s happened. It came all the same. And the last thing I want to do is to go swimming at the beach in long johns and a puffy coat! I want to shed all those winter layers and let that glorious sun caress my skin. I want to feel the sand between my toes and the water splash between my feet. I want to smell the spray of a fresh breeze that can carry all my troubles and worries from last season with it.

This is a new season. It’ will contain new worries, new troubles and new hassles. But it will also hold treasures untold! Treasures that I won’t get to hold, if I keep clinging to the old worn out ones that have been so dear to me. I may not be able to see or understand all the plans that He has for me. But I can look around and see all the good He has given me in this life and know that whatever the future holds, He is the one who is holding it. And that means I can trust that it will be good for me. No matter what it is. So, I decided that there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in my working at Dollar General. It’s His plan for me for right now, and therefore it WILL contain pleasures and those pleasures are from the hand of God. Apart from Him I can do nothing. BUT. A part of Him I can do EVERYTHING! Including working at the one place I’ve dreaded working for the last four years. God MUST have something awesome there waiting for me and I’m not about to miss it all because I was clinging to the past! I want to grab onto this new season with both hands, grab the bull by the horns so to speak! I want to get everything out of this life that I came here to get! I want to do everything I was sent here to do and be everything that God created me to be. And if He created me to be a manager at Dollar General in Sheridan, then by golly, I’m going to be the best manager they’ve ever seen this side of the highway! I don’t want to miss a blessing because I was holding myself back from loving this next season of my life. Every season has good in it if you’re willing to see it.

Lord, please open my eyes to SEE You and my ears to HEAR You. Open my mind to KNOW You and my heart to FULLY RECEIVE Your love for me in this new season of life. Thank You for opening my hands and prying out the old in order to make room for the new! You are so good to me! Thank You Jesus!

Categories: 365 Life, Ecclesiastes, Season 3 | Leave a comment

There’s Power in the Blood of Jesus


Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12 & Ecclesiastes 1:1-2:11

“How blessed you are, O Israel! Who else is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will stomp on their backs!” Deuteronomy 33:29

My friends, I owe you a deep apology for ignoring you for the last two days! Trust me when I say that you have been on my mind the entire time. If I was struggling to keep up before Derby Season came underway, then I’m sinking in the high tide right now! And unfortunately, you were the ones to take the back seat these last two days. But fear not, though you were trailing behind me a bit, you were certainly NOT forgotten!

So, first of all, to catch you back up! Not only is it derby season, but summer tennis started this week too! :D Starting summer tennis meant catching back up with the coach. Coach is a pastor who leads a 24 hour prayer-line called, Fervent Prayer. He is also a night janitor for several local businesses. One night about a month ago there was a sewage leak in one of the businesses. He was taxed out with work and tennis and decided that he didn’t want to take the time to use gloves, a mask or a clean-up suit and said, “It’s just poop”. Low and behold he caught a super bug that took him three weeks of all different kinds of meds to cure. Throughout the entire process he had been keeping us updated with prayer request texts. And with every text our family would say yet another prayer for poor sick Coach. Until finally I received this text, “To all my tennis friends getting gout on the 4th was a bad idea. I have relapsed. Doc says one more week on meds sorry no tennis.”

At this my spirit rose up inside me and said, “Enough is enough!!!” I usually use the Swype feature on my phone when texting and simply swish my index finger across the screen, but this text needed to be more emphatic so I punched those letters in one by one with both thumbs the old fashioned way, “Well in Jesus’ name I rebuke that sickness! It must flee from your body and report to Jesus immediately.”

A week later I found out what the effects of that very text were. Coach was telling us about the kindness of his fellow believers and how his Methodist friends prayed for him, his Baptist friends brought him food and his Pentecostal friends cast the devil out of him. To which I raised my hand and proudly said, “That was me”! He looked at me and then explained to the others gathered what had happened when he received that text from the floor of his bathroom writhing in pain. He SAW the Spirit of Infirmity come out of him. Coach said, “You don’t normally expect to actually SEE something like that happen, but I did. He was blue and had black circles around his eyes and when he looked at me hatefully it felt like he was sucking my soul right out of me. It was definitely something I will never forget!”

Can you see why I just HAD to tell you about his story!!!???!!!

As I was preparing to write all this down for you I got a text from the Northview blog coordinator, my first blog submission was set to publish that day! And guess which one it was. Signs and Wonders! (That’s the link to the Northview version, here is the link to the original full length version too.) It was the post about how Jesus used signs and wonders to PROVE that He was, and still is, the Messiah. By following His example we too should be using signs and wonders to prove that we are His followers. He has given us His authority over the powers of this world and we’re destined to reign with Him over them.

I don’t know about you my friend, but I would LOVE to see some amazing signs and wonders from the Church in my day! Not just from the charismatic side of the Church, but from the whole CHURCH! There is POWER in the blood of Jesus. And if you’ve claimed that blood of Jesus over your life and your home then there should be some power in your life and your home! Amen? Let’s do this friends!

If you would like to pour some of that power out on yourself right now then take some time watching this video as many times as needed. This one a POWERFUL song!!!! I’ve SEEN God work wonders through it!

Categories: 365 Life, Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, Season 3 | Leave a comment

He’s Got This


Deuteronomy 30:1-32:52

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Well friends, I have a praise report to share with you today!

My son Gabe has been best friends with, we’ll call him “Phoenix”, since Kindergarten. The two of them have been inseparable since that first year. They were constantly visiting each other’s houses. Until one winter we got a call from Phoenix’s mom with some sad news. There was something in our house that Phoenix was allergic to. It seemed like every time he would come over he would have horribly bloodshot eyes and a headache. None of us, including his allergist, could figure it out but we assumed that perhaps it was the two cats. So since that day Phoenix hasn’t been able to come over to our house and play other than a few nights when we had big backyard parties for the last day of school. And even then he stayed outside.

Well, at the beginning of this summer Phoenix had a sleepover with their group of five friends and they all decided that they each should have a sleepover at some point during the summer so that they could all see each other at least five times while school was out. Yesterday was our turn for Gabe’s birthday. Watching those boys play was pure bliss. They were SO EXCITED to see each other, it’s been over a month, and they’re used to seeing each other every day. I can’t even come up with words to describe how good it was to watch their joy in relationship to each other. My Little Pony is right, Friendship is Magic! Anyway, concerned with Phoenix’s allergies as soon as we sent out the invitations Sean and I prayed that God would make it so that Phoenix could be here and that He would keep his allergies from flaring up. When we found out that he was actually coming I was floored and beyond excited. Best friends since Kindergarten are a very special thing not to be taken lightly. All evening last night Worry kept gripping my throat and causing me to once again pray for Phoenix’s lack of an allergic reaction. We’ve missed him so much over these last few years and I so wanted him to be able to come back. And every time I would start to pray, God would stop me cold in my tracks to the throne room with an, “I’ve got this covered. And you know it, so stop WORRYING.”

When I woke up to a THUD at 5:30am from across the house my first thought was of Phoenix, was he ok? I prayed. God stopped my worried refrain, “I’ve got this.”

Around 7am when Phoenix emerged groggy and silent from Gabe’s room Fear crept into my heart, “Is he ok? Will he get to come back?” I looked him in the eye and asked him if he felt alright, it wasn’t like him to be this quiet and I was scared. He nodded silently eyes half closed, “Yeah. I’m ok.” Deep breath girl, God’s got this remember. Whew.

A couple hours later Phoenix was whisked away by the mom taxi along with the other boys and I breathed a sigh of relief, we made it. But then I got the text from Phoenix’s mom:

“Great news!! Phoenix’s allergies are NOT bothering him after being inside with your fur babies!! Not sure what happened but I’m pretty excited!”

Feigning a confidence I had not had just a few hours earlier I replied, “We prayed! Simple as that.”

“Well it worked!”

Then I confessed to the enormity of the miracle, “He actually spent a lot of the night on Gabe’s top bunk which is Socks’ favorite place to be. I actually bought new sheets for Gabe yesterday to help Phoenix with his allergies and Gabe never even put them on!”

But his mom wasn’t done filling me in on what God had done for us, “Awww. That was super sweet of you. The crazy thing is, Phoenix’s eyes aren’t even bloodshot (the standard). Did you use to have a different type of pet way back when? The Dr still never figured out what he’s allergic to so I’m very interested.”

And that’s just it we haven’t really changed anything; not detergents, not brands of cat litter or their food. In fact, we ADDED a pet dog! But we did the one thing that really makes the difference, we prayed and He answered. God has said to us, “Do not be afraid or discouraged (or worried) for the LORD will PERSONALLY go ahead of you. He will be with you, He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” He loves you that much my friend. If only we would trust Him that much. (Yes, this is the pot telling the kettle not to worry.) ;) From one worry wart to another, my friend, don’t be afraid; He’s got this.

Categories: 365 Life, Deuteronomy, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Defining Mothering


Deuteronomy 28:1-29:29

“The LORD our God has secrets known to no one.” Deuteronomy 29:29

You know what? I have a secret. You’re never going to guess what it is.

*whispered aside* “I have dirty dishes.”

Shocking. I know. But it’s true!

Tonight is Gabe’s second birthday party, a sleepover with his four best friends, I don’t know what I was thinking! As I was racing home from work tonight to try and do a *little* more cleaning before they all got here, I was more compelled to clean my desk than the sink FULL of dishes. Which I found interesting, but since my desk is right in front of the front door I supposed it made sense because the other mom’s most likely wouldn’t be coming all the way into the house, but rather just standing in the entry way. But then later, as I was cleaning up that sink full of dishes after dinner so that I would have room to make breakfast in the morning, a thought occurred to me.

“Why don’t we want other moms to see our dirty dishes (or desks for that matter)?” I mean, it’s not like they don’t have them too. Or that they assume that you don’t since you never actually USE those things right? (That’s sarcasm by the way.) We don’t want those other moms to see our messes. Why? Do we feel like those messes will make them think we’re a substandard mom? I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly had those thoughts before! Tonight being one of them!

As I stood scrubbing the mold from the Rubbermaid lid pondering the mortally shameful consequences of getting caught with dirty dishes, a revelation of monumental proportions came to me. If I’m defining my quality of mothering by the cleanliness of my house, or the number of loads of laundry I get done in a day, or the cuisine that I’m serving my children, then what kind of a mother will I be when I am no longer able to do those things? Take a moment to read that sentence again and again until you can feel the Truth of that statement lifting something unnecessary from your shoulders.

Sometimes I get so focused on the temporal I forget the importance of the eternal. Dirt is temporal, memories are eternal. When my children leave this nest if I’ve defined my mothering by the temporal tasks alone, then I’ll suddenly find myself a mother no longer! And yet NOTHING could be further from the Truth! There is so much MORE to mothering than cleaning and laundry and cooking!

Mothering is LOVING!!! And that NEVER ends!

It never goes away and it never stops.

There was a funeral I attended once where every single person that stood up to talk spoke of how much of how important cleanliness was to their mom. They said a few other things, but mostly, they told stories of how they got in trouble for making messes. That’s just not what I want my kids to remember about me when I’m gone. There will come a day when I leave this earth and my children will gather in my memory and reminisce about me. And when they do, what do I want them to say? “Boy, Mom sure could keep a good house!” “Mom was so good at keeping our clothes clean and organized.” Or “Gosh Mom was such a great cook!” No. Not me.

I want them to remember the way that I held them when they were sad. I want them to remember how I sang while I cooked dinner, and perhaps burned it on more than one occasion to the point of setting the smoke alarms off. I want them to remember how I watched their favorite shows with them and how I played cards with them until bed time while the dinner dishes sat in the sink waiting until we were done. I want them to remember dancing with me in the kitchen to our favorite songs. I want them to remember how I hugged them so tightly at night that we joked that their heads were going to pop off. And then I said, “I love you” with all the emotion and sincerity that those simple words could possibly muster. I want them to remember how I showed up to every recital and play and program, even if I *might* have forgotten about it right up to the very last second; but I was there. I want them to remember how I sat there on the sidelines at the tennis court season after season cheering them on, just for hitting the ball back across the net; even if it didn’t go into the right box on the court.

No. I’m not the perfect mom. I don’t have a perfect house, or a perfect yard. Our laundry is NEVER done and neither are my dishes. But you know what, that’s OK. Because while those things may not be getting done all the way all the time, my kids KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them and that I will always be there for them if it is in my power to do so. I think that’s a mothering definition that will far outlast me. Don’t you think so?

Categories: 365 Life, Deuteronomy, Season 3 | Leave a comment

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