November 26, 2012

Hanging Monogram Charger

The easiest craft idea!

Charger, wooden letter, glue gun, & sandpaper to de-stress the edges of the letter.

August 15, 2012

It's All a Matter of Perspective

Well Done (Worship Wednesday)

This girl is so precious! Love this song!

I'm headed down this narrow road
Chosen by the few
And all that I know is
You told me to follow You

I'm taking a risk and leaving it all
Not knowing what I'll go through
But I'm not alone
As long as I follow You

So when my life's a leap of faith
I can hear You say

Well done, well done
I'm gonna chase You, Lord
I'm gonna show the world Your love, woah
I'll run, I'll run
I'm gonna run this race
To hear You say well done

If people walk with me, talk with me, looking for truth
They're gonna find out soon
If they're following me then
They're gonna follow You

So let my life speak loud and clear
Lord, I wanna hear

Well done, well done
I'm gonna chase You, Lord
I'm gonna show the world Your love, woah
I'll run, I'll run
I'm gonna run this race
To hear You say well done

I'm so glad that I get to serve You, Lord
You're the only One I am living for, woah
I'm gonna run straight into Your open arms
I'm gonna follow You with my all heart, woah, woah

Well done, well done
I'm gonna chase You, Lord
I'm gonna show the world Your love, woah
I'll run, I'll run
I'm gonna run this race
To hear You say well done

August 14, 2012

Others, but Not Me

One thing I know or have realized about myself is that I will fight to the death to defend or protect my family or a family member. I will stand up for them. I will fight, fight, fight. You don't mess with my family, oh no you don't.

If I know my family member or even a friend is wrong I will play peacemaker to the nth degree. I can play devil's advocate like no other. Yea, I do this for friends too.

I am a peacemaker. I like love and roses and everyone to just be nice and get along.

I've learned that I can help others and give others great, sound and helpful advice. But when it comes to me personally I don't always stand up for myself or fight for 'me' necessarily. I can't give myself good, sound advice like I can everyone else. I can be there for everyone else. I can always find the silver lining and the good in other's situations. I can help others in their struggles. I can bring peace amidst chaos.

I can be calm in the midst of a storm.

But when my own brain wreaks all havoc I can't help it be still. Anyone else this way? :)

July 31, 2012

I Surrender

Here I am
Down on my knees again
Surrendering all
Surrendering all

Find me here
Lord as You draw me near
Desperate for You
Desperate for You

I surrender

Drench my soul
As mercy and grace unfold
I hunger and thirst
I hunger and thirst

With arms stretched wide
I know You hear my cry
Speak to me now
Speak to me now

I surrender
I surrender
I want to know You more
I want to know You more

Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

July 18, 2012

Carry Me To The Cross (Worship Wed)

I love this song by Kutless! It grabs me from the first lyric where it says "When the path is daunting, and every step exhausting, I'm not alone, no, no".

Every word of this song I trust will bless you as it does me.

July 17, 2012

Self Focus

-We were not created to focus on ourselves.

-Self Focus causes us to worry what others think and to live to please man over God. It causes us to live in the shadows. Focus on God so you never have to walk in darkness.

-When we focus on our weaknesses there is no room in our minds to focus on God's strength. -Renee Swope

-Insecurity is another form of selfishness, when our focus is so inward we can't be consumed with God at the same time. -Susie Larson

-We were made for more than the shadow of doubt, fear of man, others opinions, insecurity, etc.

Take time to listen to this great message with Susie Larson & Renee Swope 

Triggers of Self Doubt : Comparison, Conflict, Criticism

July 16, 2012


God is Fair & So is His Favor

I heard a sermon once in which the preacher made the statement that "God is not fair". The words bothered me so much immediately. I have since really struggled with that 'claim'. As it depicts God in a light that I personally feel, is so false.

Since the sermon that I heard, God has shown me continuously, verse after verse, there's a reason that message has bothered me so much. I have read scriptures that say otherwise.

God IS fair.

Some definitions of 'Fair': Free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decisiona fair judge. Free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. 

I think about how as a parent I attempt to make things fair for my children. How it's my job as a parent to bring about that "fairness" and do things in  a "just" manner. Because, Life is not fair. People are not fair. Situations are not fair. Hardships are not fair. Circumstances are not fair. There are more things on earth that are NOT fair, than fair. So it's my job to keep things in my home as fair as I can. As a parent I love my children equally. Not one more than the other. They are each so different from one another. Each with her own strengths and weaknesses. Talents & gifts. Each with her own endearing ways. I could never love one more than the other. They are each so precious in their own ways. They each brings something no one else ever could to our little family. And in my raising them, I believe in treating each one fairly, free from bias, prejudice or favoritism.

Through life & all the unfairness it brings I believe we can have peace in the fact that we serve an incredibly fair God. We serve a just God. When life and all it throws at us is unfair, we can rest in knowing our God is righteous and just, good and FAIR. Our God loves His children equally and counts us as precious in our own ways. He sees what we each bring to the table.

Here take a look at the proof I found. (There are many verses that talk about God being fair and how we should be fair like him, these are only a portion.)

Genesis 18:19 I have chosen him so that he would command his children and descendants to live the way the Lord wants them to, to live right and be FAIR. Then, I, the Lord will give Abraham what I promised him.

Leviticus 19:15 Be fair in your judging, you must not show special favor to poor people or great people, but be fair when you judge your neighbor.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is like a rock; what he does is perfect, and he is always fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong, who is right and fair.

1 Kings 9:4 But you must serve me as your father David did; he was fair and sincere. You must obey all I have commanded and keep my laws and rules.

Job 34:17 Can anyone govern who hates what is right? How can you blame God who is both fair and powerful?

Psalm 9:8 and he will judge the world in fairness; he will decide what is fair for the nations

Psalm 9:16 The Lord has made himself known by his fair decisions

Psalm 33:5 He loves what is right and fair; the Lord's love fills the earth.

Psalm 89:14 Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth are in all you do.

Psalm 103:6 The Lord does what is right and fair for all who are wronged by others.

Proverbs 21:3 Doing what is right and fair is more important to the Lord than sacrifices.

Isaiah 30:18 The Lord wants to show his mercy to you. He wants to rise and comfort you. The Lord is a fair God, and everyone who waits for his help will be happy.

Jeremiah 9:24 But if people want to brag, let them brag that they understand and know me. Let them brag that I am the Lord, and that I am kind and fair, and that I do things that are right on earth. This kind of bragging pleases me," says the Lord.

Ezekiel 18:25 But you say, 'What the Lord does isn't fair.' Listen, people of Israel. I am fair. It is what you do that is not fair!

John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

2 Thessalonians 1:6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you

Hebrews 6:10 God is fair; he will not forget the work you did and the love you showed for him by helping his people. And he will remember that you are still helping them.

I believe favor comes from God. I believe His Favor is fair because God is fair and favor is available for all of us who love Him. Favor can be bestowed upon all of God's children. Anyone who loves God can pray for favor and should pray for favor. 

God rewards. God gives. God takes away. God is fair. God will be fair.

Life isn't fair. Circumstances are not fair. But God is fair and we can find favor with Him.

Favor = (noun) an attitude of approval or liking (verb) feel or show approval or liking

Fact is God loves us all. When we strive to do what pleases the Lord we can find favor with him. Though we all fall short, God still approves of us. Like when our children fall short, nothing they do or don't do could ever make us love them less. If God didn't love us, He wouldn't have sent His son to die in our place. God created each of us. We are loved even when we fall short.

Favor as a form of favorite would imply that God has favorites, which Romans 2:11 says For God does not show favoritism.  

Therefore, God does NOT have favorites or favor certain children. God does not bestow his favor upon only certain followers like some game of chance or by a lottery system.

If salvation is available for all of us and Jesus died for ALL mankind wouldn't that mean we all have favor available to us? Proverbs 8:35 For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD. Are you following? Favor IS for all of us who love God.

We shouldn't brag about our blessings or things we receive or have. To speak in a way such as to say "Favor ain't fair" is an 'in someone's face' statement which sounds like 'I am more spiritual than you or God favors me more because of this or that'. 

And this isn't how God works. Favor IS fair. We all can be blessed. Anyone who loves and serves God can receive God's favor. Being blessed with this or that, while the person next to us has something less at the moment doesn't mean they are less than us as a person or christian. It doesn't mean you have done something that warrants a bigger amount of favor. Someone having more money or less, a higher social standing or less, a job or a loss, a family or striving to have a family, etc. doesn't mean more or less "favor."

We can ALL count our blessings and should NEVER compare our blessings or favor to anyone else's.

Sure, favor can come in different forms. We don't all receive the same rewards and blessings in life. Because we're all different. We all have different talents, strengths, weaknesses, struggles, needs, wants, desires, etc. 

God is fair. So I believe His favor lines up with His fairness.

And that favor is absolutely available to all of us.

Psalm 5:12 Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Proverbs 3:34 He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.

Proverbs 11:27 Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I really believe this!  God truly is fair and anyone can find favor with Him

Count your blessings. Don't compare your life to anyone else's. We have all been created as equal and are loved equally by God. Embrace your salvation. Strive to follow the example set before us and live a life of righteousness by being fair in your day to day interactions with others. Find peace in God's ability to be fair when all else isn't.

July 13, 2012

God is Faithful

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 
Look at what God has done: No one can straighten what he has bent. When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember: God gives good times and hard times, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

Deuteronomy 5:10 
But I will be faithful for a thousand lifetimes to those who love me and obey my commands.

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God. He will keep his agreement of love for a thousand lifetimes for people who love him and obey his commands.

July 11, 2012

I Love Summer

I am absolutely not, in no way, shape or form saying this is the right way of doing things or the only way. It just happens to be my personal way that I want to share with my readers.

I have come to view summertime as a time to rebuild my family. A time to regain focus. A time for the kids to let loose and shed off anything negative from the prior school year. A healthy break. A break from friends, a break from routine and major structure.

Summertime is a time to undo any negative behaviors. It's a time to build stronger relationships as a family.

Summertime is a party.

Summer is like one big continuous weekend!

I love summer!

Our kids are involved in NOTHING.

I don't do summer school. I don't feel the need to plan all of these activities to keep the kids busy or involved. I just want to be home. Altogether. We fly by the seat of our pants more than anything, but that is what allows us to do the fun things. Sleepovers, Chicago, Fairs, Noah's Ark, Spencer Lake, Family time, Pools, Lakes, Grandparents, Cousins, Three Bears Lodge, etc. Fun isn't a chore because our weeks are crazy with "activities".

Carter will do a week of camp. We do a VBS. And a reading program at the library. But these are all fun things that make the kids think of SUMMER!

Now, don't get me wrong. I, like every other mom, have my days that my little chatterboxes drive me bonkers with their nonstop talk and sometimes endless arguing. But I never, ever regret the way we do summer. I never wish time would fly by. I am not "ready for school to start". I never am. I don't roll my eyes about my kids being home.

About a week or two before school starts we begin our routine of earlier bed times, more structure, etc. Once school does start we are back in the swing of things like no other. But we are ready because we've valued our time together as a family! Just like during the school year, when Monday hits we are ready because our batteries have been recharged with the weekend.

I LOVE summer. I love having my kids home!

June 27, 2012

Forgiveness (Worship Wednesday)

I love this song by Matthew West and this story that goes along with it. Beautiful!

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just to real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…
It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Help me now to do the impossible
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

June 22, 2012


Definition of "Redeemed"

to buy or pay off; clear by payment: to redeem a mortgage.

to buy back, as after a tax sale or a mortgage foreclosure.

to recover (something pledged or mortgaged) by paymentor other satisfaction: to redeem a pawned watch.

to exchange (bonds, trading stamps, etc.) for money or goods.

to convert (paper money) into specie.

to discharge or fulfill (a pledge, promise, etc.).

to make up for; make amends for; offset (some fault, shortcoming, etc.): His            bravery redeemed his youthful idleness.

to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, by paying a ransom.

Theology to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner.

Exodus 15:13 

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

Isaiah 43:1

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

June 21, 2012

When Worry Makes Me Weary

I was so incredibly blessed by this devotional yesterday. Hope it touches you as well. I believe it pertains to so many of us.
"When Worry Makes Me Weary"
Renee Swope
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
As we drove home from a weekend in the mountains, I felt a heavy sense of dread and sadness. Laying my head back on my seat, I told my husband, J.J., "I don't want to go home."
After talking through my reasons with him, I realized the stress and strain of countless commitments - at home and work - were taking a toll on me. I just wanted to go back to the mountains where I could rest.
J.J. encouraged me to make a list of everything on my plate and ask God what I needed to cut back. At first I resented his suggestion. It felt like he'd just added one more thing I "needed to do." Yet I knew J.J. was right and eventually I made the list.
Then I asked God to show me where to make changes. Much to my surprise the changes I sensed Him leading me to make weren't in my schedule - they were in me.
God didn't show me I needed to cut back at work or in ministry. He didn't show me our kids were in too many activities. He didn't lead me to take a sabbatical, although I was kind of hoping He would.
Instead, I sensed it was worry - not my workload - that was making me weary.
I thought about the months leading up to this point and realized I'd spent almost as much time thinking and worrying about deadlines as I spent working on them. Some days my concerns about commitments and meeting people's expectations had consumed me.
I had let my mind dwell on the possible outcome of several different decisions - all at the same time - and it left me depleted mentally, emotionally and physically.
Honestly though, until I stopped and talked to God about it, I didn't recognize my mental mayhem as worry.
My mind is wired to think a lot so I'd gotten used to the constant flurry of motion in my brain. Yet anxiety had crept in slowly, causing tangles in my thoughts, a tightening in my chest, and tension in my neck. Some days I couldn't stop thinking about ALL I needed to do.
Instead of going back to the mountains to rest, I sensed God wanted me to find a resting place in His presence right in the middle of my busy life. Through today's key verse from Matthew 11:28, He invited me to come to Him with the worries that were making me weary.
Do you sense Him inviting you to come to Him today?
He promises a place to quiet your thoughts in His presence. "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (Ps. 91:1-2 NIV)
He offers freedom from the captivity of your concerns when you bring them to Him:"'Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. And I will lead you back from captivity.'" (Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV)
Today, instead of letting our worries make us weary, let's respond to God's invitation and come to Him - asking, seeking and finding a resting place for our restless thoughts.
Dear Lord, when my concerns consume me, help me remember You are there inviting me to come to You and talk about all I'm thinking and doing. Show me if my workload or my worries are making me weary and help me trust You with both. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Here Renee gives some practical tips to help our weary souls :)