Where Are You Humble Hearts?

Photo & verse from You Version Bible app

A while ago I wrote about my poor little Eli dog; our Yorkie who is medicated for seizures and jumps wildly at the drop of a feather with anxiety.

If you missed that post I’ll update you real quick:

In July of last year we made it a rule that Eli can’t be on our bed or the couch or anywhere that’s more than a few inches off the floor unless someone is holding him. The reason being, when Eli ends up somewhere like that he’ll jump down without thinking twice, smack his baby noggin, and go straight into a seizure. I’m not even exaggerating at all. But I’m super stoked to report that he actually hasn’t had one single seizure since enforcing this rule.

Subsequently my dog wants absolutely nothing to do with me, like he completely resents me over this deal. He mopes around the house more often than not. Anything other than moping, is him sleeping or spastically eating canned dog food.

If a dog can experience confusion and perhaps depression, Eli’s there.

Sad right?

And try as I might, because Eli’s a dog, I just can’t convince him that this is in fact for his own good.

Boy how symbolic this has been of my own walk with God at times. There have been seasons in life where God has put up roadblocks and warnings for the benefit of my own good, but I’ve completely missed acknowledging the betterment of it all.

Instead there’s almost this questioning attitude toward God, similar to Eli’s behavior with me.

I’m thinking more recently how so many of us feel disappointed regarding the election outcome and how our government stands at this point. There’s a lot of unrest and discouragement within many of us, especially as Christians.

But…as I’ve pondered these things two words have come to mind: submission and humbleness.

And (to my surprise) when I studied the word submission here’s one of the top scripture write-ups that showed up — repeatedly.

Romans 13:1-7

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Notice those words Paul used…respecthonor…and those words were in reference to governing authorities. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like the sound of that right now.

I realize Paul was writing encouragement to those of his own time but I believe this piece is included in the Bible for our present good and direction too.

Obviously if government is forcing us to disobey God we are not called to do so. On the flip side we must try to live at peace so long as there’s no conflict to our beliefs as Christians.

We may not like where things are headed but there are going to be some things in place that we can’t get around. I’m not a fan at all when I think of the likelihood of paying higher taxes. This is where submission plays in, like it or not…but it’s what God’s word shows us to do.

Contrastingly a mental red flag goes up as I consider the government approval on abortion support, a topic I strongly disagree with. In this very thing I have every right to stand against this idea but I must do so responsibly, not irrationally. Thinking of things like this takes courage and a humble approach. But we do these things for God — not man, not government.

Our SUBMISSION must always be built from the foundation of God’s ways, anything that goes against His way gives us the opportunity to HUMBLY take a standpoint from His angle hoping to show others Jesus in the midst.

I’ve heard my kids spew words of irritation and hate too much lately regarding their concerns, probably much of what they’ve heard from their Dad and me. I can’t be raising hostile hearts. My home needs to be a place for kindness, not madness.

Perhaps this election was put into place as a time for us to practice humbleness and to stretch our faith in the Lord — full reliance on God and His truth sounds pretty obedient and desirable to me.

We need the direction of God’s word in our lives, otherwise we’re rampant cannonballs just waiting to unleash…which brings me back to my sweet little Eli. No doubt my dog is distressed over changes in his own tiny world BUT the thing about Eli is that he remains calm and cool through it all which in turn is furthering his life. He may be a touch on the edge of defiance towards me right now but I wouldn’t ever desert him regardless…neither will God with any of us as we submit humbly — solely keeping inline with His word.

Together let’s pray for hearts that represent Christ well during these times.

Relying On God More Than Ever

For years I’ve been such a control-freak and I’ve written about it openly in past blog posts. If our world has shown me anything lately it’s that I’m learning I have little control over much.

Sure I can control my choices, my attitude and my response, but apart from that I have no say.

But God.

He is fully prepared. All-knowing. Powerful. The perfecter of control.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’

The real truth is that ultimately God has and is in control over every single little detail and part of life, and I’m actually finding such peace in seeing that I have control over very few things. Trying to take control of “things” or areas of life is exhausting. The sobering part of this is that in realizing I have minimal control, it’s forcing me to rely heavily on Jesus — knowing, trusting and believing that He has got absolutely everything in His hands, and in His care and His perfect control.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me lately that they’re living in fear, and I (myself) just haven’t been. But I think it’s because I’ve been drawing my strength from the Lord by reading His word and through prayer and reading devotions. I’m certainly frustrated by the circumstances of our world but it’s not causing me fear or anxiety.

It may seem like God is dragging His feet during these times but scripture shows that God’s not worried about time. His “concern” is that we surrender and become obedient. It’s not our right to groan about His timing. He’s been faithful throughout Bible history, He has in the years since and will continue to.

When we become impatient regarding God’s timing we can hold onto these scriptures:

Psalm 90:4 ‘For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours.’

Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’

Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.’

If there is change happening, it’s within us — God is simply unchanging and He is faithful.

For a recovering control-freak all of these scripture-truths are good news as I lean into my faith — trusting in God’s flawless plans more than ever.

May any changing happening be for the better, drawing us nearer to Him.

Rejection to Blessing

What I’m about to share has been such a valuable lesson learned.

We had a really sweet Christmas spent with loved ones, delicious food, and a strong sense of Jesus’ love because He’s the reason we celebrate this season.

Sounds pretty good so far right?

It was, until the Monday morning after Christmas arrived along with a certain Fed Ex drop-off to my house. I knew what it was before even opening the door to retrieve the delivery. It came in two packages actually and they were both decent sized.

My husband had been excitedly building me up for a Christmas gift that he had chosen for me — and even though it was coming a few days late he thoroughly expected me to share the same joy and an equal amount of excitement as he had about giving me this gift.

And now here it had come, perfectly intact and waiting to be opened…I, however, reluctantly placed the two boxes on the floor of my living room, wondering if at any point my anticipation of the contents would grow.

Here’s the secret…I knew what was in each of the boxes because in my husband’s two week long excitement he caved and told me what he’d gotten me…in the larger box sat a cricut (craft) machine and in the other box were all kinds of paper accessories and tools to be used with the machine.

You’d think with me being a craft junkie I’d have been bursting at the seams —that I would’ve flagged the Fed Ex guy down long before he turned onto my little dirt road, tore into his truck, and rifled through his deliveries, grabbed my boxes and had them opened and my cricut to use before making it back into my house!!

But that was not at all the case and here was my hang up…my mom has a Cricut and I make it a point to get together with her a few times a year (at her house) to make projects. It’s super special to me and I look forward to those times.

The thought of having my own Cricut overwhelmed me in the fact that I was nervous I wouldn’t use my own enough and that it would be a waste. Or that suddenly my love of going to my mom’s to ‘create’ may dissipate because I might as well use my own machine, at my own home.

I was also irritated because I’d wanted to cancel Internet after this pandemic stuff recedes and we wouldn’t need it for school anymore, but the Cricut only works with Internet so there went my hope of canceling soon and on top of that the Cricut uses a program in accordance with a monthly fee…for a thrifty spender this goes against all my self-made budget rules.

You guys I was a ridiculous mess because while those thoughts flooded my mind I also felt extremely guilty because here my amazing, thoughtful husband had just spent his own “fun money” on me and I was an unappreciative basket case…or more accurately a cold-hearted jerk.

Later that afternoon I finally had the boxes opened and the Cricut and accessories out but my whining sat on full display right along with my generous Christmas present.

Within hours I’d determined I wasn’t going to keep it, I’d package it up and ship it back to Cricut the next morning…I’d even emailed the company to tell them I needed a return started and I’d also contacted a woman who owns a local craft store to see if she had any interest in it. To send the boxes back was going to cost over $80 in shipping so my disappointment grew even more.

I went to bed annoyed of the Cricut…and myself just as much.

Tuesday morning I still felt the same but I was absolutely determined to have God help me see the big picture and sort out my crazy!!

I started thinking about how He gives me unconditional love, an abundance of mercy and grace, the ability to write, and blessing after beautiful blessing…time and time again. All of these most wonderful gifts God gives me graciously and without hesitation.

I know without a doubt I’ve taken any of those things for granted…more than once…more times than I can count.

And when I really think about it, it hurts my heart to think of people who aren’t believers — those who never accept, experience, or choose to receive God’s good gifts.

On top of all of that, God has also given me a charming husband who was so stoked to give me a Christmas present and yet my mindset was to push it away, just as I’ve done in my gifts from God at times.

…The funny part is I never heard from Cricut about returning the machine nor did the local craft store lady get back to me. These two things plus my mom speaking practicality to me validated that I should keep the Christmas gift and enjoy it!! Plus the internet has truly been helpful so it’ll stay as well — and mom and I are sharing the cost of the monthly Cricut program fee and it’s features.

The truth is none of us know how long we have on this earth. To not enjoy the blessings or gifts we receive from others and especially from God is absolutely foolish. (Side-note: Those are partial words from my mom’s wisdom that I gathered.)

I can choose to focus on petty earthly expectations and risk missing the blessings, or I can take a look at how God works through gifts of all sorts and enjoy seeing His goodness.

Although I am now thoroughly excited about my Cricut and currently have plans to make about a half a dozen things —most importantly is that it’s always the giver that’s the best part of our lives. And when we consider God’s giving to us we’re pointed to the love of Jesus…a gift that never runs dry and never disappoints.

Have you chosen to receive His gift?

Here are a few things I’ve made from my mom’s Cricut in the past:

Today I have plans to head over to my moms with my computer. I’ll create a few things there but then cut them from my own Cricut machine at home later on…so we’re still getting together, having fun, and creating crafts and memories! I’m looking forward to it!!

Take me to Alicia’s Etsy shop

If you’re interested in having a custom sign made, message me in my Etsy shop or on the blog I’d be happy to help!!❤️

Happy New Year

Happy New Year shout out to all of For His Purpose readers!!

Thank you so much for the love, support, encouragement, and conversation I’ve witnessed through this blog. Never did I imagine when I started keeping a blog a few years ago that it would grow to over 500 ‘followers’…I hate using that term but for lack of better words I’ll let it fly today.

A quick fun-fact I praise God for is that in the almost 150 posts I’ve written there has been over 7,000 visitors to the blog and I have never, ever had one negative comment left on my blog…ever! It’s always been nothing but encouragement and thank you’s!

And for that I’m so incredibly grateful because you guys don’t understand how much it encourages me to write and then to have someone leave a comment saying those words blessed them in a remarkably relatable way! Praise be to God!! I’ve been through some tough times, much of which has spilled out in my posts — blogging has played a huge part in helping me heal and I’m thanking you along with Jesus for helping me make a message out of a mess!

Y’all are amazing!

One last thing that has been on my heart lately is that with any New Year always comes talk of New Year’s resolutions.

I set goals at this time of the year and what bothers me is that I feel I’m guilty of becoming narrowed in on a calendar date and if you’re like me you can relate to this…There’s something catchy and refreshing to grabbing hold of January 1st and thinking ‘now is the time to go all out, to strive for that expectation, to set the bar high and be all in.’ What happens, at times, is by the second or third week the “set-prize” somehow manages to lose its luster and suddenly dreams are crushed and goals are kissed goodbye.

I’m in need of some extra motivation. When the downward spiral starts to slide in and take away my plan or focus I want to be ready…and just maybe you get what I’m saying and can benefit too!

Here are a few tips I came up with to help keep us on track:

Share your goals with someone. It’s super sweet to have someone help hold you accountable. Whether it’s a year long Bible reading plan, healthier eating habits, an exercise program you want to tackle this year let someone help you build your passion.

Write it down, even daily if you need to. There’s something about writing words down and rereading them (daily) that is powerful.

Understand that foul-ups are gonna happen. Mouthwatering Cherry Cheesecake is gonna outclass a day of workout at times and that’s okay. When this happens just pick up where you left off…which leads me to my next tip and sort of the main point of my post:

If you come up with a random new goal on any given date…the 26th day of March or the 18th of November…whatever day it may be and you decide there’s a new goal you want in your life don’t waste another moment, don’t wait for the first of the year to come around. Start that hope-driven vision ASAP! Any day is as good as January 1st and it’s never too late to go for the goal.

We’ve got this!!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10

Merry Christmas!

In my neck of the woods the kids are out of school for the Christmas break and of course there’s a snowstorm today!! You can’t tell from the pictures but it is blowing like crazy with 75 mph wind gusts. I’m sure my kids would’ve rather it hit yesterday (their last day of school) so they could’ve had a possible snow day (one extra day off) but that wasn’t in God’s weather forecast. Actually though they enjoyed their last school day…because it was filled with treats, crafts, and…well…laziness really!

Some would say that’s what Christmas is all about — treats, crafts, lazy days…baking, presents, etc. BUT like the theme of my post last week was based on — when you take Christ out of Christmas you miss the best aspect and the absolute only reason for celebrating the Christmas season!

Today’s devotional thought: Out front of our house we have a small evergreen tree that is growing bigger and bigger all the time. I gauge how much it’s grown by how many strands of lights I wrap around it every Christmas season and it never falls short of needing and earning an extra strand each year when I decorate it. I think this year there are three or four strands wrapped around it. I could just buy an extra long set of lights but it’s just as easy to keep adding a strand each year.

This growing tree, wrapped with its many lights, reminds me of how when we ground our faith in Jesus we see His light in an exceptionally dark world. Jesus’ unchanging light grows bigger to us the more we spend time in His word, connect with Him in prayer, and share His message all for His glory.

While we draw closer to Jesus and echo His ways that radiant “Jesus-light” is reflected to others through our words and actions and the closer we grow to Him the bigger His light can shine and work through us.

Light always serves a purpose — and God’s grace in sending His Son to the earth is without a doubt the most beautiful and purpose-filled. Jesus is truly the most perfect light, ready and willing to shine His brilliance over our Christmas celebration. May God’s gift of Love and Light be the spark that illuminates our lives with joy not just at the Christmas season but every day of the year!!

Sweet ‘Christ’mas blessings to you all!!

With love,

The Witt’s

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” —John 8:12

Here are some fun recipes we’ve tried over the past week! Enjoy!

Link for Gluten-free Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

Link for Cowboy Cookie Recipe in a Jar

Link for Cake Pops

Link for Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

Celebrating ‘Christ’mas No Matter What

The other day I did some grocery shopping and actually checked out with a real person. This is something I never do anymore, I always opt for online grocery pickup or the self checkouts because the lines are usually shorter and my time is typically crunched. This day though I had a basket heaping full of the essentials and a gift card that can be stubborn so I decided it’d be easier to shop in-person and hit up the live cashier route to pay.

As I placed my items on the conveyor belt I could hear the customer ahead of me and the cashier as they made small talk. The woman checking out placed the last of her shopping bags into her cart, commenting she “just can’t get into the Christmas spirit this year, you know?” The cashier nodded helplessly as if she seemed to agree and without elaborating they finished the transaction and both moved on with their day.

And I just haven’t been able to get that bleak comment out of my head.

I get it for sure, but it’s sad.

It’s sad how much we’re impacted by life and fickle feelings — and yet Christmas comes regardless as a celebration of Jesus’ birth which is the absolute best truth ever. We just can’t risk missing that reality and the joy that should take place in our hearts because of it. Jesus is the only reason Christmas is even a thing.

Despite everything going on around us or how things have played out this year or any year, Christmas still comes, and it’s such a wonderful reminder of God’s faithfulness. He is why we celebrate — and in Him nothing has changed.

Literally as Christians, the most precious part of our lives was wrapped in the highest amount of God’s love in the form of our Savior, Jesus. Every ounce of that thought should be remarkably beautiful and profound to us. We should feel joy and gratefulness at the mention of Christ’ name and the idea of His unique life.

When we look at the recordings of Jesus’ arrival (Matthew 1 & 2 / Luke 1 & 2) even that season wasn’t all cinnamon sticks and mistletoe. The lives weren’t flawless of those who were aware of Jesus’ greatness. There wasn’t a picture perfect scene when Christ’ due date arrived. Perhaps Mary would’ve preferred a bed at a Motel 6 rather than straw in a stable but regardless Jesus birth wasn’t stopped!!!

Oh when I think of how imperfect all the details were, I’m humbled.

Physically our Christmas celebration may indeed look different this year, but our hearts have no reason to when we’re focused on Him.

No matter the chaos, the changes we’re experiencing, or the unknown we can still rejoice because the greatest gift ever was born 2000 years ago and by our faith we get to be a part of that ongoing blessing.

There isn’t anything capable of altering this truth.

It brings me peace and joy this Christmas season knowing and trusting that as things may seem undesirable or unstable, God is still fully in control — just as much as He was back in what was surely a dirty but most purposeful nativity scene stable.

Sweet ‘Christ’mas blessings to you all!!

‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
—Matthew 1:21

God, help me to celebrate Christmas because of you and your love for the world. Things may not look the same as last year’s traditions but still you are the same. You are unchanging and faithful and you are the perfect reason for every Christmas season. AMEN!

Upward Faith

With last week bearing Thanksgiving, I’ve gotta be honest, I felt far from thankful on a holiday that’s renowned for thankfulness and gratefulness here in America.

It just felt off in so many ways. My brother and his family were in quarantine at the last minute and unable to join us at my house for Thanksgiving dinner, another half of our family celebrated out of town and it didn’t work for us to go, and the large Witt Thanksgiving lunch we have the Saturday after every Thanksgiving holiday (where always more than fifty gather) couldn’t happen due to Covid number-restrictions.

Side-note: I feel like writing this whole post on how sick and tired I am of Covid and everything it entails but I’ll refrain because this whole thing would turn dark real quick and that’s the opposite of my point.

Over the past few weeks my morning Bible reading has been in Hebrews and I’m now at chapter 11. As a reminder this is the chapter known as the “Hall of Faith.” Versus 4 through 12 note the commendable faith of ‘Bible heroes’ such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah.

It’s versus 13 through 16, however, that have really captured my heart:

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The things they were promised — the acquiring of the land of Canaan, the consummating of numerous descendants, the Messiah in the flesh — they never saw these things fulfilled in their lifetime. BUT, and this is the motivating and inspirational piece for me, they embraced the idea and strong belief that one day those things would come to fruition, even if it meant not seeing them happen in their present time. Referring to themselves as ‘foreigners and nomads here on earth’ they trusted in greater blessings by longing for a ‘better place, a heavenly homeland.’

None of them were perfect people, but they also didn’t have their faith hung up by unanswered hopes and earthly letdowns. Rather they held onto heavenly hope that God would one day fulfill their desired promises — and because of that we read their names in Hebrews 11 pointing straight to their encouraging faith.

You guys, we are in the same boat as those mentioned above. As believers who hold onto faith in God, His ways, and His words we trust that this is absolutely not our world to find contentment and fulfillment in. Our faith is in a God who is so much bigger than the issues and hardships we’re facing. Even if it’s just petty whining over broken holiday traditions — God is still moving, but at His will and His perfect timing. His leading has the power to take our focus away from earthly discouragement.

For me, I know I can’t get so selfish as to think of last week’s Thanksgiving from a place of my own “deserved” comfort.

True Thanksgiving points me to Christ and His home.

Disappointment doesn’t line up with faith and when I choose to be optimistic, realizing that this earth and even a holiday fixed on counting blessings isn’t the real object of true blessing, then I turn my eyes to Jesus — trusting and believing that in Him lies the real hope. It’s in Him where my faith is tied, knowing this life and all of it’s surprises (good and bad) are so far from the true goodness and rich blessings found in our permanent Heavenly home…just the same reassuring faith we find in the lives of those mentioned in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11.

With that, I can thank God passionately (no matter the circumstances) for His word and my trust in Heavenly faith — for His purpose.

November DIY Fabric Coasters and Camera Strap

Well the month is already more than half way over but at least I’m getting this out before the last day of November!!

Since I’m sharing two DIY’s I’ll waste no time and jump right in!

The first DIY features these sweet little machine-sewn fabric coasters. If you’re not a sewing gal (or guy) but happen to have a sewing machine tucked away pull it out and don’t sweat a thing. These coasters are so easy to create that my twelve year old daughter took over and finished them up!!

For one coaster you will need:

Sewing machine/threaded in any color

Scissors

Sewing pins

A stick to push finished corners into place

4 different colors of fabric

Iron

Begin by cutting your fabric into 5 inch squares. Use whatever colors you’d like but create some type of pattern similar to my picture below…so for the fronts of your coaster you’ll want 2 matching colors and then another 2 matching colors, one solid color for the backside, and lastly another color which will be hidden on the inside as a liner piece.

Fold those front four squares in half and then take an iron over all six pieces once you are at this point.

Now it’s time to layer; pretty sides face-up on all layers. You’ll want your inner (hidden) piece on bottom, then comes the backside piece and then the top pieces need to be layered in a woven pattern with the cut edges facing out. Probably best if you just check out pics to get the idea!😉Once everything is lined up neatly pin it all the way around like the photo above, and then sew all the way around the square about a half inch from the edge (removing pins right before you get to them). Make sure you back stitch at the start of sewing and then back stitch when you’ve made it all the way around the square and back to the starting point.

Cut off any extra thread and turn the material inside out. With a dull pointed stick (or closed writing pen) poke the inside of each of the corners so there’s no bulky excess fabric within. (See photo above)

Now you can iron over the front and back sides to give a flat and tidy finish.

That’s it!! Super simple!!

Now while you already have the sewing machine out why not put together a classy, personalized camera strap?!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Sewing machine/threaded in any color

Fabric cut to 8 x 44 inches (length can be customized to your preference)

Sheet of leather (found on Amazon or in craft stores)

Metal hooks and rings

Scissors

Embroidery thread/needle

Iron

To start, be sure your fabric is ironed smoothly and fold it in half with the inside facing out. Pin along the long open side and sew about a half inch from the edge, removing pins as you come to them; only sew down the long edge, leaving the short ends un-sewn. See photos below. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and at the end. Cut off any excess thread.

Once you are finished sewing along the edge you’re ready to turn your neck strap inside out.

For the leather sheet you’re going to cut a piece in the shape of a bow. It’s easiest if you draw half of the bow on paper first, fold it in half and then cut. Then follow up by tracing your cutout onto the leather sheet and cutting that out, you’ll need to do this twice (one for each end of your neck strap). Follow photos below.

After you have the leather sheet cut out it’s time to put everything together.

Put the leather through the ring, then lay the fabric end on top of the leather, fold the leather over (tucking the fabric ends inside).

Start the embroidery thread (about 30 inches long) on the inside part of the leather so all of the work is hidden to give a neat and clean look. Be sure the end of the thread is double knot tied and begin hand-weaving the embroidery thread through the front and back of the leather piece; work all the way around the edge like the photos below.

Once you make it around, double knot and carefully cut the end piece off, and then repeat this entire process on the other strap end. Attach the metal clips to the key rings, and then clip those onto your camera’s strap holder clips.

That’s all there is to it!!

The coasters or the camera strap (maybe even both!!) would make great Christmas gifts or any-time-of-the-year gifts!

As usual if you end up doing these DIYs I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Blessings!!

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” —Psalm 31:24

Disappointed But Not Hopeless

Y’all I was gonna try and avoid this post and publish this month’s DIY instead — but every time I try to write something else my thoughts take over — can’t avoid reality so I guess this is meant to be. I’m just being honest and hopefully something can be gained from where I’m going with this post.

During the middle of the night, recently, I woke up abruptly, this feeling of ‘unrest and overwhelm’ flooded my mind.

I won’t get terribly political (I hope) but here was some of what was rallying around up there: ‘for crying out-loud my husband works in the oil field, Biden seeks to replace oil with renewable energy…how will that impact our means of providing??…And popularizing abortion — an ugly option that isn’t a part of God’s plan. If you don’t want a baby, don’t have sex…Rape? Convict the criminal, not the innocent baby…there’s always adoption or the Witt residence. The desire to abolish the death penalty for a hardcore criminal but yet give the green flag go for an unborn human to receive the death penalty?? Come on. Call me crazy but I’ll never understand any reason or logic in that. Ever.’

**I’ve heard too many stories of doctors telling mamas their unborn child will be born with defects only to later give birth to a completely whole and healthy baby who grows up to do amazing things...And when the doctor happens to be right, well you go on and love that baby and every breath of their life just the same way Jesus does..

Sometimes it’s battle of the mind field running my life and I just need God to drop a truth-bomb. Because I know those thoughts obviously portray opinion, judgement and disgust.

Here’s what I have to remember: I’m not perfect, nor are my thoughts. I’m desperately in need of saving grace as much as anyone else.

In the quiet hours of the night, minus my busy mind, the Holy Spirit cut in — reminding me of a verse I haven’t read or heard in a very long while:

This verse, with such faultless timing, comes from 2 Chronicles chapter 7 when King Solomon and the people (Israel) had just finished worshiping God at a freshly built temple (a place to worship God) dedicated to Him.

Solomon sends the people home and later the Lord appears to him setting ground rules (including the above verse). He was the leader of what was known to be a stubborn nation and if Solomon followed God’s plan, blessing would come…if not, a nation (Israel) would come to ruin.

Eventually sin ensued and most of the kingdom was lost (see chapter 12). Solomon had lost his way to idols in the form of power, riches, and sexuality and as a result Israel suffered.

I can’t help but notice how applicable this verse is even now, all these years later. That’s the beautiful thing about scripture — it never fades out.

God wants our attention. He wants our hearts. He wants our repentance.

God wants the same requests of us that He asked over Solomon along with Israel.

Our leadership is corrupt. We, as sinful people, are problematic. None of us are perfect.

BUT…

We’ve all been given the same fair opportunity and we all live under the same God-willing expectation:

To humble ourselves. To pray. To seek God’s face. To turn from our wicked ways.

Just as recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Perhaps when we do so, God will hear from Heaven and heal our land…united as one.

Will we act in obedience to God’s direction or push it off just as Solomon did with a trail of destruction dragging behind?

I can only do my part…take up self-control, admit fault, seek forgiveness, cling to God, and aim to do better through His perfection, which is where I’m at right now.

I don’t want to live in anger or disgust and I can only overcome that negative mindset because of God’s goodness, mercy, and grace with grounded faith as I commune with Him.

By my example and others who are on the same page, I pray that a testimony would show to those watching and that a contagious result would follow for His purpose.

I pray that we (as a nation) truly would encourage one another and work toward a turn around — with God as our ultimate leader and hope for healing. Only by His way will we move forward.

Tips on Becoming a ‘semi’ Minimalist, etc. (part 2 of 2)

Cont. from part 1 ‘Throughout the process of eliminating debt I began to feel a weight lifted with every bill paid off…and I wanted “more”….more of that feeling, so I began to purge belongings.

Over the years (and especially during that time of paying off financial debt) my relationship with Jesus was growing and as I read scripture like, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,’ I realized that ‘stuff’ and following Jesus don’t go hand in hand.

It’s a lot of maintenance to keep stuff:

  • It breaks and if you’re that attached you find yourself glueing parts back together that will never be the same in the end anyways.
  • It needs dusted.
  • It multiplies and takes up space, creating clutter.
  • It gets outdated.

I started weeding out belongings first by telling my mom to get rid of all that junk of mine she had at her house from when I was growing up. I figured if I hadn’t missed it over all these years chances are I wouldn’t and had no use for it anymore. So it went away without me thinking twice about it..except the baseball cards..I still have the darn baseball cards.

In my own home I went through and got rid of anything that seemed cheap or cheesy. Things I hadn’t used in months could go too.

This is something I still do at least twice a year (purging) and usually just one room at a time.

I want to be able to appreciate my decor, not be overwhelmed by the sight or burdened by the upkeep. Less is more in this case. It allows you to focus and enjoy your blessings.

To sell, toss, or donate once I decide I don’t want it anymore??…

Anything that has some value I sell on my mom’s Facebook account. Anything that is broken or stained I throw away. Anything that is still nice looking and usable (but I don’t want to mess with selling) I donate to second-hand stores.

MY ADVICE: Take inventory!

Get rid of things you have too much of!

For example our family of five has seven bath towels in our home. There’s no need for more than what you need or will use.

Saucepans: 1 large, 2 medium, 2 small

Skillets: 1 large, 1 medium, 1 small

Large soup pots: 1 tall, 1 short

We don’t need a dozen towels, pots or pans, coffee mugs, mixing bowls, etc when chances are we’re only going to use so many at one time.

I feel like blankets are another thing that accumulates easily in our house. Instead of four-plus blankets the kids are now each allowed only two. There’s no reason for more than that. We keep a few in storage for guests and from time to time I make sure the blanket area hasn’t surpassed its allotted number, apparently that’s a popular gift we receive.

I’m also trying to be more attentive to buying quality items as well...(thanks Nathan)!

For the longest time I was buying plastic containers and then when spaghetti sauce or something similar would stain the dish I would get annoyed by how gross they looked so I would throw them out and buy new. Now I’ve purchased glass containers with dark lids to store those types of foods; and plastics are still used but only for foods that won’t stain.

I try to decorate with simple, practical things that serve a purpose and echo the word ‘timeless’…by doing this I’m saving money in not trying to keep up with the latest trends.

Financially we have our necessity bills only: house payment, electric, insurance, and phones…thanks to Covid an internet bill until the kids aren’t at a chance of needing it, and then I’ll waste no time canceling it!!! Can’t wait!!

Using a budget and set amount in cash envelopes (for groceries, fuel, animals, and fun money) each pay check has allowed us to grow our savings account.

For phones we use a tracfone (Straightalk) at $45 a month with unlimited texting and talk and 25 GB of high speed internet.

We don’t do home internet (typically) or cable etc. because we don’t have time for it or an interest. Instead we lift weights (at home), play card games, read, play catch outside, or get creative for entertainment and family memories.

I understand many people enjoy tv programs etc. and that’s fine, do what works for you!!!

I know groceries can get expensive so to save on cost in that area we eat a lot of chicken and use turkey burger instead of beef (sorry cattlemen, I’m saddened by this too). Steaks? — ya well the only ones we ever see are the ones you poke in the ground.

We eat very clean and healthy…lots of fruits and veggies and manage to feed two gluten free people (which isn’t a cheap option) all while maintaining a $400 a month grocery budget. That amount covers not just food items but toilet paper, soaps, other bathroom essentials, etc.

No soda pop or Little Debbie snacks make their way into this home unless grandparents have spoiled their grandkids..that’s the only exception!❤️

I use the Walmart grocery app to order groceries that way I have more control of my spending habits in that way.

The animal’s food budget is $50 a month: feeding three rabbits, five chickens, two kittens, and three small dogs.

When purchasing material items I try to keep in mind a few questions — Is it good quality? Does it serve a purpose? Do I have a place for it? Is it going to end up in storage or a donate pile soon?

Y’all, the bottom line is that none of this is perfected by us; just a few weeks ago during my quarantine I went to our storage room (curse those anyways!!!) to where many unused items had collected and although it was easy to take them to the second hand store or toss some of them, I wondered how in the world we even had all of that and where had it nested beforehand??

Purging and organizing is an ongoing process. It takes time and self control to take these steps, and even encouragement from others!

Organizing…like items should stay together and never overpopulate their space.

Keepsakes…my kids are each allowed a large tub and can keep (as they’re growing up) anything meaningful in there (stuffed animals, awards, crafts). Sometimes if they’ve grown tired of something they’ll toss it to place something new in there, never overflowing their box. I use a wooden hope chest with the same process for myself.

When it comes to memorabilia or hand-me-downs from loved ones (especially those who’ve passed) it can be tough to make a call on ‘keep or toss’. If that piece means so much to you because it truly helps you feel closer to your loved one then by all means ABSOLUTELY KEEP IT!!! But if it doesn’t mean anything to you and you’re only hanging on to it for their sake, let it go. It’s not your beloved “memory-treasure” of them.

None of those things will bring our loved one’s back unfortunately.

Stuff is just simply that…stuff!! It’s never as good as our memories…those are the true keepers.

So while considering materialistic things and deciding what stays or goes remember that our memories and relationships deserve the most attention. Those can be built to last, they won’t fall apart if you mutually cover them in love, they grow more cherished with age, and they are the true and most important gift that keeps giving!!

Guys, if you’ve made it this far chances are you’re passionate or interested about this just like me. This post is waaayyy too long, but I hope you’ve found it helpful.

Message me with your own tips, advice or questions!!!

In the meantime, Happy Purging!!

Take me to part 1 Becoming a (semi) Minimalist