He’s a Chain Breaker

I’d like to think I’m not addicted to electronics as often as I harp on my kids about keeping off them…

Don’t get me wrong I think electronics can be a blessing, but at times they’re a distraction when life needs my attention, and they’re a temptation when I want to keep my distance. My husband and I have actually limited the amount of time our kids are allowed to spend on the ‘hypnotic devices’ to just a few hours a week. We’re afraid the kids would risk relying on the glossy screens to feed, clothe, shelter, and nurture them otherwise.

Having said that, last week my phone started misbehaving and I couldn’t pull up internet. ‘Mrs.-I-Don’t-Have-An-Electronic-Obsession’ was whining around because she couldn’t, for the life of her, figure out why it would be acting up. Unfortunately I’m referring to myself in this paragraph.

So I called my service provider to clear up the confusion because of course i was just sure it had to be a problem on their end!!!! *Side note: Whenever I have to make those calls I desperately dread it because I can’t always make out the broken English.

Imagine my shock and dismay when the man on the other end informed me I’d reached my data limit. For the record I had no trouble understanding him relay that piece of information…lol.

And I’m pretty sure I know what threw me over my monthly limit. I got started on a music video kick a few days before and came across some videos of Zach Williams (Gospel Christian/Rock music artist) and then it was game over from there. I just played video after video.

I couldn’t help it.

The videos were from a live recording he did at Harding Prison last year (2018). The, once drug and alcohol addicted, musician aims to bring a message of freedom and hope through Jesus, to those who have taken the harder route in life, those struggling to find self-worth.

I guess what spoke to me (while watching the videos) was the fact that these men are sentenced to prison time—sitting behind bars, some of them perhaps for life..most of society would quickly label them as men in chains and bondage…men stripped of everything…
worthless…losers…druggies…

But when I watch the videos I see broken, yet humble men radiating hope and a future—arms lifted in surrender to God, hearts open to receiving Christ as Savior…men free from condemnation.

And then I realize a stark reality…the bridge between these men behind bars and anyone who has decided to trust and follow Jesus, really isn’t very far after-all. Spiritually speaking before we trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior we were all held captive…slaves or chained-prisoners to sin, wrapped in bondage, with no hope.

These men, although physically prisoners, are our brothers in Christ as they accept Him into their lives…no longer slaves to sin…free from the bondage. The same gospel message that set us free, sets them free.

To be honest, I can’t even begin to watch these music videos from Harding Prison without goosebumps and a side of hazy tears. They just move me to want to do better as a person, as a Christian, to keep on-track spreading the gospel message. Jesus’ death was for all. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but God has shown His love to us by sending His Son to die for us while we were still sinners. (read Romans 3 and 6 for further study)

He died for me, for you, for the men at Harding Prison…breaking our chains of bondage and setting us free from the wages of sin. Our gift from God through Jesus Christ means eternal life when we choose to believe, only then are we truly set free.

No doubt, at times in our Christian walk, we may feel enslaved to do things on our own again, disregarding the freedom we have when we follow Christ; therefore we must remember to make a commitment, day after day, fully giving ourselves to Him because He’s the real Chain Breaker and He sets believers free from the prison of sin.

FYI: My data on my phone has renewed now…but there’s a good chance I may reach my limit again.😉

Here are links to some of the videos, just tap or click on the video picture…praying you can watch them through fresh eyes and allow the words to soak in through a Jesus-like perspective.

Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

 

Pocketknife Lessons

My son eagerly inquired for what seemed like the hundredth time, “so mom did he text yet? I’m really wanting that pocketknife, did dad text you yet?”

“No Warren, he sure hasn’t.” I responded in a gentle but exasperated voice.

My boy and his dad had made a deal (a few days before) pending good behavior—If my son (Warren) held up his end of the deal, showing respect and a good attitude, he’d eventually receive a mini-pocketknife from his dad’s scant collection and on the flip side: poor behavior and lack of respect and bad attitude would equal no pocketknife.

Pretty simple formula to process.

…maybe not for an eight-year old boy with an abundance of extra energy.

#thestruggleisreal, right?

First off when this deal was initially communicated a deadline must’ve been overlooked and never discussed. Warren seemed to be failing at recognizing that patience and self-control are two very important and necessary components of respect. Both of which he was lacking as he repeatedly questioned me asking if his dad had messaged yet to give a timeframe on this deal.

In other words I believe he actually wanted to know ‘how long must I practice and display being EXTRA nice?’ (Um, for the rest of your life son)…After all he’d been holding doors open for others, using an abundance of more-than-usual verbal manners, and even helping tote things to and from the vehicle with our busy on-the-go schedule…all without being asked to do so.

So per his request, I had texted my husband (who was at work for the day) to see just when this “positive attitude for pocketknife” exchange might happen and in the meantime Warren was anxiously awaiting his father’s response.

Finally when he asked for the hundred and first time if I had heard back yet, this is what took place: Continue reading “Pocketknife Lessons”

I’m Adding Handmade Jewelry To My Etsy Shop

So most of you reading this probably had no idea that I have an Etsy shop; I’ve actually never mentioned it on the blog.

About three or four years ago I started an Etsy shop, Simply Rustic Looks, https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyRusticLooks because I was making too many projects and needed somewhere to go with them. I began selling on Etsy and never got terribly involved with it, but did end up selling quite a bit nevertheless. Some of the items ranged from rustic pallet signs, crocheted scarves and hats—to chalk-painted mason jars, including customized gifts as well. Nathan helped whenever I needed more pallets for the projects, but otherwise he’d rather steer clear of a paint brush of any type!!!

In the last few years I’ve become quite a minimalist and have thinned out a lot of the materials I used to make some of those original Etsy projects I was selling, though some are still listed on the shop’s page…and in 2018 I began little by little purchasing jewelry pieces—charms, bracelets, chains, stamp blanks, leather, etc…which take up a lot less space than the projects I made in the past. Continue reading “I’m Adding Handmade Jewelry To My Etsy Shop”

Bread Doesn’t Have To Be A Weakness For Me

Since the start of this year (2019) I’ve been avidly avoiding gluten and dairy products and so far I’ve been successful.7f7f0dce-8785-40e5-811d-c8cd9cee7cd7

I have an auto immune disorder (psoriasis) and I’ve discovered if I keep my distance from the two I can manage a little better. I’ve gone on these kicks before over the past couple of years where I give special attention to my diet and more often than not I’ve failed miserably…and I’m blaming bread!!!

Bread is my weakness! I mean who doesn’t love a loaf of homemade banana bread smothered in melted butter or a warm slice of garlic bread next to a plate of spaghetti (which I also bypass now due to gluten sensitivity)…

I’m a sucker for bread of all types.

Several years ago I was down in Mexico and had eaten days worth of Mexican food (which I love) but I was craving bread after a while. As it turned out our missions team headed out for a morning of shopping and happened to spot a bakery. I made a beeline straight for that store, probably even stopped traffic on the busy streets of Tijuana just to get there. I walked in and the smell about made me black-out. It was like Subway on steroids, it was glorious—dinner rolls, pastries, biscuits—sweet superfluous loaves of bread. I thought we’d stepped through the doors of Heaven. Continue reading “Bread Doesn’t Have To Be A Weakness For Me”

Cramming Everything In (Perspective on Priorities)

Just wanted to reblog a fellow blogger’s recent post (Ann from Seeking Divine Perspective) I always love her words of wisdom🙂
Hope y’all are having a good start to the new year! Blessings and enjoy this post!…

Seeking Divine Perspective

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

The teacher stood in front of the class holding a large beaker. He  placed several  large rocks inside, and asked the class if they thought he could fit any more in, or was the beaker full? The students replied that it was full.

But then the instructor took out some smaller stones and placed them around the larger ones, and sure enough, they fit.  “Now is it full?” he asked. The students hesitated to answer.

The teacher pulled out a small bag of gravel and slowly poured it over the beaker, giving the container an occasional shake, until the gravel reached the top.

Now is it full?” he asked. The students said nothing.

Next he got out a little bag of sand and began spooning it over the beaker. As…

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That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!

I was trying to figure out what woke me from a deep sleep this morning at 4:15. And then I heard the loud cry of our rooster crowing on the front patio, which happens to be located next to my bedroom window.

Yesterday afternoon our rooster (Blackie) flew the coop, literally. He must’ve had enough of the hens out there and decided to relocate, hence the reason he’s now been perched out front of our house for the past day.

After about a dozen crows this morning before 5 A.M. I finally turned to my husband, “that’s it, I’m gonna go outside and talk to him!!”…surely my husband questioned my awkward statement but nevertheless I stepped out front (barefoot and nearly frozen immediately). I stooped down to eye level with the rooster and calmly stroked his back and spoke softly to him. He nestled down closer to the table he was sitting on and relaxed as if to say, “that’s just what I needed, thank you!”

I tiredly went back inside and crawled into bed and got a few more hours of sleep—beautiful, quiet uninterrupted sleep. It wasn’t until after 7, the sun was beginning to light the sky, the rooster let out a few more crows. This time his noise was gladly welcomed, with the 7 o’clock hour seeming a bit more fitting.649C1F7D-178A-4F25-9DFA-0EFC19F7F366

Not only have Blackie’s crow-times been off lately, he’d also flown into our living room window several times yesterday. And today as we’ve had wind gusts of 35 miles per hour he still insist on sitting out front in the blistering openness of frigid cold.

Although he has a warm home, plenty of food, and many lady friends to keep him company something out in the chicken coop just isn’t quite right for him.

I think of the many times I can relate to the odd mannerism of my rooster’s—the times that I’ve been confused, unsettled, and distressed much like this new adopted behavior of his. Continue reading “That’s Just What I Needed, Thank you!”

All I want for Christmas is…

All I want for Christmas is…a “prepared” Mary-like heart and attitude…

I’ve been substitute teaching quite a bit lately.

No worries, my homeschooled kiddos have a couple of amazing substitute teachers on the days I work so they’re well taken care of, academically speaking…Because I’m sure some people are reading this and like, “Gasp! What about your poor homeschooled kids when you sub?”…no worries I can assure (anyone who’s worried about it) they need a break from me, they’re fine! Don’t lose sleep over it. They’re doing great with their schoolwork with or without me at their side.

…Okay that whole paragraph above might very well be my holler of defense in regard to someone who recently hounded me about homeschooling and subbing because they’re anti-homeschooling…people are funny, even if you go to church with ‘em.

I feel better after stating that.

Moving on🙂…Every time I show up at the school it’s always the same procedure: arrive 20 minutes early, sign in at the office, head to my classroom for the day.

There’s always an organized folder with sub-notes sitting on the teacher’s desk, waiting for me to read through so I have an idea and schedule for how the day should run. And on every occasion there’s always papers tucked somewhere in the sub-folder which cover the proper procedures for handling emergency circumstances.

Can I just be honest for a moment?

I never, ever thoroughly read that part of the notes, just a little browse and that’s good enough for me. That’s part of my practical mindset. I get at least a general idea of where the emergency placards are located in the classroom, which the teacher would collect along with the students before hurriedly scuffling out of the room or school in the event of a crisis situation.

In fact, recently when I subbed, I quickly went over the emergency notes and glanced up and remember thinking, ‘K placards are near the door, good deal, it’s not like anything will happen anyway but if so I’d gather my students, emergency placards, and locate the nearest seasoned teacher in the hallway and follow her lead!’

I’ve discovered though that this limited-thinking is not okay, AT ALL, because last week there actually was an emergency situation at the school where I sub so often, where I had just subbed a few days prior. Continue reading “All I want for Christmas is…”