I hope your summer, so far, has been an enjoyable one! Ours is flying by yet I feel like we haven’t been terribly crazy-busy so I’m not sure how the time is moving this quick!?
We went on vacation a few weeks ago to Moab, Utah and spent a lot of our time hiking which was amazing and so beautiful.
My girls had 4-H this past week and brought home grand champion and reserve champion ribbons for their dogs. Paige, our oldest daughter, showed her chicken and rabbits and also received grand champion and reserve champion ribbons for them.
The rest of our summer memories will consists of our church campout at the lake this weekend, a youth group trip that I’ll go on as a sponsor, a few days at church camp, and then VBS. School will start mid-August for us and will be here before we know it!!
Today, on the blog, I’m veering away from my usual “life lesson post” and wanted to share an affordable and creative gift-giving idea with you instead…
A few weeks ago I got together with some friends as one of them was soon-to-be moving away. We wanted to celebrate her and wish her the best so we met up for Mexican food and fellowship!
I love gift giving, I’m not great at receiving gifts BUT love giving them. In my effort of being thrifty I wanted to come up with an inexpensive but thoughtful gift for my friend who was moving.
Not really sure how I came up with the idea, guess it was the Holy Spirit’s prompting, but I was lead to the ‘salt and light’ verses and came up with a gift idea that paired up with that piece of scripture.
I bought a garden light for the encouragement that we are to let our light shine, and a package of sunflowers seeds to represent that we are the salt of the earth.
I also threw in a candy bar and pop, just for fun, as a reminder to ‘stay sweet’.
Because the cost was reasonable (under $3 per bag) I ended up giving each of my friends one of these gift bags when we met up for supper to show my appreciation for them.
It’s no secret that the cost of EVERYTHING is going up these days. Groceries, fuel, insurance…all have seen an increase.
It’s frustrating but it’s a part of life right now. God’s word, however, reminds us to not worry—that we need only trust in Him. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Gift giving is something God has put on my heart as a way to encourage others and I’m not about to allow a harsh economy to step in the way of that.
After putting these together I was thinking of other scriptures and gifts that would go well together:
flower seed packets, a watering can, and gloves
“And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” —Isaiah 58:11
a peace lily plant
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13
a fruit basket
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. —John 15:4-5
If you have any ideas for inexpensive gift-giving and encouragement share them in the comments! Have a blessed weekend!!
Hopefully you’ll be able to watch this video—if not it’s of our hedgehog, Pixie, in her little activity area, almost in panic mode with a toilet paper tube stuck on her head as she scurries around.
Before anyone thinks they should call the animal abuse hotline let me set this disclaimer: our hedgehog will repeatedly put herself in this predicament. Within seconds after I free her, she typically runs straight back to a nearby tube, shoves her face in and then scampers back and forth with her head and the protruding tube swinging side to side, just like the hundred times right before!!!
Because hedgehogs are curious and like to explore I had read somewhere of providing them with not only their caged habitat but an extra space to play and “nose” around.
Pixie’s playpen includes a bridge made of popsicle sticks my daughter and husband created for her, a pvc pipe, plastic Easter eggs, and of course the empty toilet paper rolls.
Why our hedgehog chooses those cardboard tubes to mess with over everything else, I’m not sure but it is entertaining to watch.
It’s interesting though because, at times, she’ll have a tube covering her head and will calmly walk around this way. Other times she even falls asleep with one on. But nevertheless the freak-out moments always give way—where Pixie seems to go into panic mode probably wondering how she ended up like this and it’s then that I remove the tube and she relaxes once again…before eventually going back.
Like Pixie aren’t we sometimes prone to live in the moment, running to the things that we think are good and will satisfy, only to wind up in a frenzy?!
We’ve committed to a new diet but a handful of Doritos won’t hurt anything…until we’ve finished off the bag.
We’ve promised ourselves to save money but then the clothing magazine we’re subscribed to arrives and we “innocently” browse…and a shopping spree and overstuffed closet ensue.
We’ve decided to take a social media break, but when we find out our family reunion invite and details are posted on Facebook we intend to log-in and “just” quickly check it out…only to get distracted by the dozens of notifications we’ve missed over those weeks of absence…hours scroll by.
Ugh!!! And we were doing so good!
Let’s take a look at Proverbs 26:11 for a little insight on this:
‘As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.’
Disturbing and to the point but attention-grabbing, especially when we realize we have a situation of our own that’s maybe not in our best interest but has taken hold of our self-control and led to foolishness.
God never leaves us stuck though. He always provides a way out just like I do for Pixie.
1st Corinthians 10:13 reminds us, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you’re tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Such hope in those words! God will speak rationale over us and our choices but we must have listening and obedient hearts before our choices make us out to be fools.
Check out Ephesians 5:15-17 with me:
“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
WE CAN KNOW HIS WILL BY—
Being in the word
Communicating to Him through prayer
Holding one another accountable
Slowing down, listening, and following His guidance through the Holy Spirit
My hedgehog will likely continue to return to the cardboard toilet paper tube time and time again because she has a bittersweet relationship with it and also because she lacks human wisdom.
We on the other hand, as Christians, are equipped and able. God’s word has zero error along with never failing direction so we are without excuse. Yes sin exist, but so does will-power and God desires to love and lead us in overcoming. I don’t want to make a fool of myself so I’ll humbly accept His offer.
Girls high school wrestling became an official sport in Nebraska this past school year with over 700 young ladies across the state joining.
My daughter happened to be one of them.
Sitting in the crowd learning and observing this aggressive sport was a new thing for this mom. I sat in the bleachers every meet I was able to make it to, squirmishly and anxiously watching as my girl wrestled, and really every time I’d watch any of the kids wrestle; it’s an intense sport and I could hardly handle the nerve-racking human-pretzel-like shapes they’d sometimes end up in. Doublemint gum became one of my closest companions as I’d smack on it to try and “bridge” the stress.
One particular match we went to included both boys and girls wrestling. There’s an image instilled in my mind in which this young man was held down in a headlock position. His opponent, nor the ref, showed any mercy as the kid strained with every ounce of energy trying to free himself while his neck was twisted to the side, against the mat, in the most awkward placement.
I kept my rookie-fan thoughts from slipping from my lips but I could barely contain myself. And finally the man seated behind me, who I would guess was probably a seasoned onlooker, spoke aloud, “he’s gonna break his neck!”
And seriously it truly looked that way.
Maybe it was the prayer I whispered, but miraculously the kid was able to remove himself from what looked like a certain loss and went on to defeat his neck-holding opposer.
Afterwards, though, he sat in the stands rubbing his neck for comfort. The pain he must have felt in his neck, I felt in my heart. Yes, I was happy for his win but watching the grapple to get there was harsh and I felt sorry over the pain he was in.
Looking back on this I’m reminded of the way Satan similarly works.
Negative thoughts or spiritual warfare step across the boundary line of our Christian life as Satan urges them on from a ref’s standpoint. With all relentless effort they go in for the “shoot,” and if we’re not prepared, at times, we get knocked down.
Y’all satan’s efforts are real and they are strong, he wants us away from Jesus—plain and simple.
He “shoots” to fill us with lies. The weakness he overloads us with can sometimes cause us to feel like we’d make a great contender for the heavy weight class regardless of our physical appearance. His hope is to place us in the bracket of vulnerability without our consent. He’s not a fair player. Ruthless and sneaky.
From a humble crowd watcher, though, we hear these straightforward words: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
This (Holy Spirit) fan has given us honest but serious words as an explanation of our predicament but then takes care to go on with the answer to overcome our troubled situation, boldly chanting: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
It’s the encouragement and prompting we need for the perfect pin, at just the right time.
WE ARE NEVER TOO FAR FROM OBTAINING A WIN.
I love what Lysa Terkeurst (Proverbs 31 Ministries) wrote in one of her past blog posts: Sin—recognize it, reject it, replace it with LOVE.
What a great mindset and way to quickly and efficiently ward off Satan’s attempts before they have a chance to put us in a “cradle hold.”
The lies we sometimes believe, the embarrassment we might feel, or the negative peer pressure we face…ALL Satan’s game, ALL SIN…and ALL must be refuted!!!!
We must be aware of the evil Satan causes, and learn the truth to winning that Jesus coaches. This way we are mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared.
And as we focus on Christ (through the thick and thin) we trust the victory is ours every single time because He’s already won the championship by defeating sin and death on the cross and we are truly within His divine circle. He pulls us together to declare the perfect win—filled with glorious celebration for His purpose.
In God’s Heavenly championship, no longer do we sit anxiously in the stands or at the risk of a full nelson…instead He holds us closely, proudly, calmly, victoriously.
Recently I was invited to a ladies gathering —just a sweet night of worship and fellowship time.
One of the women in our church was hosting at her house and I was unfamiliar with the address but thought I had a pretty good idea of the location. Nevertheless I typed it into Google maps this way I could have some reassurance.
Once I got closer to my destination though I began second guessing the directions my phone was offering. It pointed me to continue driving forward another half-mile but my unreliable self-made navigational skills were urging me to take the next left instead.
Reluctantly I listened and followed the GPS directions rather than my wavering mind. This is rare for me.
But guess what…I made it (without fail, rerouting, or wasted time) right to my destination.
After the evening was finished, and I was on my way home, I couldn’t help but ponder the irony of my “almost-wrong turn” I about made on the drive there.
I thought about how similar to my faith-walk at times…
God guides with perfect accuracy and I second guess, opting for my own curvy path—mindless to yield to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
It’s interesting how, often times, I’ll ask God for direction or comfort over something I’m struggling with and He readily answers through a Bible verse, the words of a song, time in prayer, or the wise words of a friend and yet I completely miss the ‘spiritual’ road signs.
This is such a work in progress for me.
To help navigate life’s roadblocks, I love the reminder and truth of Jesus’ words spoken to the disciples in John 14:26-27:
“But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I will give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
What a great depiction of how the Holy Spirit moves and will never lead us astray.
Allowing Him to speak into us will deter us from getting stuck by the wayside.
When our thoughts and actions align with what God’s word teaches it’s a clear indication that we’re allowing and listening to the Holy Spirit as He pours into our hearts with truth, love, encouragement, healthy thoughts, peace and positivity. When we feel and sense those things we’re surrendering to God’s faithfulness rather than our stubbornness.
The Holy Spirit will always usher us within the guardrails of peace and Jesus’ way—anything other than this just isn’t of Him and must be dismissed from temptation or acceptance. I can’t come up with a better route to take as I journey through this life toward my Heavenly destination.
My little nephew, Jensen, had a sleepover with us and anytime this happens, as long as the weather cooperates, you can usually find us outdoors.
A fast-paced game of tag might be happening (FYI I’m the tagger a majority of the game because I’m not as quick as I once was!!)…other times a soccer ball is getting kicked around, or bunnies and chickens are getting spoiled with hand-fed fresh greens from the yard.
Last night though the kids spotted a perfectly whole robin egg settled against the grass and very carefully my nephew had picked it up and brought it to me to examine. We walked back over to where he’d found it and from what we could tell there wasn’t a visible nest in sight!!
To a six year old a small misplaced egg is a big deal so we patiently wandered the backyard in search of it’s original home.
As the sunset sky grew to darker shades I knew we’d better choose an alternative option—a vacant dilapidated nest (most likely leftover from last year) that we’d found in a low branch of an apple tree would have to do!
We gently placed the round treasure amongst the old brittle looking bed of tightly packed mud mixture and then the young nature lover next to me scooped up a handful of grass and placed it over top, “for a blanket Aunt Alicia.”
Oh my heart.
That egg doesn’t stand a chance—not after the shaking it received earlier to “see if there was anything inside” or never mind the fact that it’s in an old nest without a mama to warm and hatch it, and who knows how long it’s already sat in our backyard.
…But to my nephew it was worth every effort of saving.
I share this sweet and dedicated story this morning because I’m reminded that there are times in life when we too notice ourselves left hopelessly on the ground—we’re emotionally, physically, or spiritually down.
And it’s in those moments (and even in the good times) it’s crucial that we look up, our gaze fixed on Him.
God willingly scoops us up into the palm of His hands, placing us exactly where He wants us if we allow Him to. And sometimes it may not make any sense. Sometimes our situation may not even change in the midst of His rescuing. For a time we may still feel much like an abandoned blue egg wondering what’s become of our fragile selves and if we stand a chance.
But God doesn’t leave us all alone. He’s with us and nurturing us from His heavenly realm regardless of what Satan tries to tell us.
…To God we are worth every effort of saving.
In our frustration.
In our bitterness.
In our anger.
In our hurt.
In our confusion.
He won’t give up on us.We lean into God with every fiber of our being and it’s then we expectantly watch and experience His transformation process breaking through in our lives.
Isaiah 43:18-19 has this to say:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Those words don’t mimic a God who would allow abandonment do they?
Instead He provides a way…the only Way.
Our God is working and moving in our lives, even if we can’t see past the shell around us and just at the right time He hatches something beautiful and remarkable in our story. He always has a perfectly divine plan but we must be willing to soften to His ways.
The reality is, the robin egg in my backyard isn’t going to have the opportunity to hatch but that doesn’t mean it’s a wasted moment. God still used it to give Jensen a chance to show care and concern. It still offered a hope-filled lesson and provided a story For His Purpose…
Isn’t it interesting how God can teach into us even in the littlest details if we’re willing to be attentive?
I finished up the school year substitute teaching for a junior high class last week.
Beforehand, as the time grew closer to that particular sub day I thought to myself, “what on earth was I thinking taking that sub job? School lets out for summer break two days later and those kids are gonna be filled with anticipation!”
Alas my too-late-to-back-out-now teaching day arrived. I made sure my most optimistic attitude wouldn’t be counted absent and I shot up a prayer for a sweet day to take place…
As kids gradually trickled in for the morning to begin I was surprised to be met with a classroom full of quiet, ready to learn kids!!!
What!?? What is this??!!
I was grateful and humbled because this certain grade can be a bit unruly. God was offering His blessing over my simple but genuine prayer request.
After a few classes had rotated through a new one came in…
Amongst them a group of three boys sat at a table in their assigned seats. They quietly talked among themselves which I allowed because they were keeping busy on schoolwork all the while and no one else in the classroom seemed bothered by it.
One of the boys in that group of three is charming but also has somewhat of a bully reputation. I could hear their conversation and it grew intriguing as he made a comment that sounded very far-out and supernatural. Without delay the other two boys (who happen to come from Christian homes) spoke up, kindly disagreeing with him, and channeled straight into their faith and backed up their beliefs by defending the Bible and poured into this misled kid with so much truth…it was seriously a beautiful blessing to witness!! God was glorified!!
Afterwards, because we live in small town USA and everyone knows everyone, I reached out to the mamas of those young evangelists. I wanted them to know of their son’s bold but patient and caring words to this boy and it in turn blessed both moms to get a glimpse of their son’s faith in action.
1 Peter 3:15 is such a good reminder for us to ‘always be ready to give a reason for the hope in us.’
God can use any one of us at any moment, in the most unexpected of ways. Because of this we have so many opportunities to point others toward Jesus but we must be familiar with what we believe. We dig into the word with enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn and grow. We come to love our God with a committed relationship and we speak to others sharing about His goodness. As we do so we fulfill our end to 1 Peter 3:15…just like those two boys did.
Our world is much like a classroom…just waiting for answers…let’s show and teach them Jesus.
I’m gonna waste no time and get straight to raw transparency here…I’ve been in a season of life that feels like perpetual nagging in my heart and mind—downward spiraling thoughts of inadequacy, brokenness, and just flat-out self-depreciation. And it’s been tough, so tough.
I’d love to blame Covid, from a week of being cooped up in my room, away from family over the Thanksgiving break, allowing my thoughts to trail…but I’m certain the overwhelming distress would’ve caught up to me at some point regardless of Covid-isolation…Satan and a fallen world are the real culprits.
In this struggle, however, God has lead me to and blessed me with the kindest, most patient, sense-talking therapist one could ever imagine; and (as a result) even though I’m still surrounded by deep waters I can feel God’s strong presence keeping me afloat.
I’m probably 30 years past-due on counseling sessions so the content of discussion with my therapist is wide and harsh. I’m thankful for my husband and mom to debrief with afterwards.
The encouragement is sincere and passionate and for that I am grateful. Though the shoreline is a far distance off yet, my hope is fixed on an anchor of faith.
Friend, maybe you too are facing waves of difficulty in some way, but I pray you’d join me—embracing the calming, reassuring reminders of ‘God-for-us.’ I’ve compiled 22 affirmations of God’s faithfulness backed by scripture, with the intention that the solidity of these words would become more than just simple phrases and all about rich, heartfelt truth and comfort.
Read into them, pray through them, allow every single word to embody you…I’ll be doing the same.
GOD LOVES ME.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3:16
God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8
We love because God first loved us. —1 John 4:19
GOD HAS SAVED ME.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18
For anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. —Romans 10:13
GOD FREES ME FROM FEAR.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:7
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “do not fear; I will help you.” —Isaiah 41:13
GOD PROVIDES ME WITH SAFETY.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33
The righteous person may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all. —Psalm 34:19
The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. —Psalm 121:7-8
GOD HEALS ME.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds. —Psalm 147:3
GOD IS MY HELPER.
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. —Psalm 121:2
So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? —Hebrews 13:6
GOD CARES ABOUT ME.
Give all your worries and your cares to God, for He cares about you. —1 Peter 5:7
GOD EQUIPS ME.
All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17
GOD POINTS ME TO TRUST IN HIM.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6
When I am afraid I put my trust in you. —Psalm 56:3
Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. —Psalm 84:12
GOD DESIRES FOR ME TO REST IN HIM.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. —Matthew 11:28
Be still and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10a
GOD STRENGTHENS ME.
For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. —Philippians 4:13
Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s scheme. —Ephesians 6:10-11
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. —Psalm 29:11
GOD COMFORTS ME.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —Psalm 23:4
GOD FILLS ME WITH JOY AND HOPE.
You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. —Psalm 16:11
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. —Isaiah 40:31
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11
GOD LEADS ME.
In their heart humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. —Proverbs 16:9
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. —Psalm 119:105
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. —Psalm 23:2
GOD IS WITH ME.
Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9
The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” —Exodus 33:14
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10
GOD BLESSES ME.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. —2 Corinthians 9:8
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. —Psalm 84:5
GOD FORGIVES AND REDEEMS ME.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9
As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. —Ephesians 1:7-8a
GOD HAS MADE ME NEW.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. —2 Corinthians 5:17
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. —Galatians 2:20
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18-19
GOD GIVES ME PEACE.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23
GOD HAS CHOSEN ME.
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. —Deuteronomy 14:2
For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. —Ephesians 1:4
GOD DIRECTS ME TO LOVE OTHERS.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. —John 13:34
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. —Philippians 2:5
GOD WANTS ME TO LOVE MYSELF.
I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. —Psalm 139:14
To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper. —Proverbs 19:8
For no one has ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as the Messiah does the church. —Ephesians 5:29
In my kitchen, above my sink, hangs a hand-painted wooden sign that reads “farmhouse”. It’s perhaps the most prominent piece of my house stating it’s theme or style—a literal label to reinforce what I hope is the obvious.
There’s certain characteristics I’ve poured into this little haven of mine to encourage a farmhouse look—in all honesty it probably has more of a modern-farmhouse-look rather than the traditional-farmhouse-style but either way it feels like home—cozy and welcoming.
Our house has been an ongoing, slowly evolving project since we moved in five years ago.
The main rooms gradually went from a deep green wall color to a dramatically brighter atmosphere with the help of soft white paint, over the course of a few years.
And last year my husband and I added ceramic tile floor (with a wood look) in the living room, kitchen and dining areas.
Shiplap found its way into the pantry space, which kinda seems to be a staple concept to any newly renovated farmhouse.😆
Even my decor shifted from way too much to basic and uncluttered—requiring lots of trips to the second hand store and a yard sale or two!
All of these personal touches I’ve added for the sole purpose of visually bringing together a farmhouse vibe. Simply put, I just love the look of a farmhouse atmosphere and my guests seem to appreciate it too.
As Christians a similar concept should be true of us — our “spiritual fruit” characteristics should be noticeable to others through the work of the Holy Spirit indwelling within us. People should be able to tell we’re Christians as we share and show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22–23)
When nonbelievers see or witness these things in us they experience Jesus’ example. We won’t get it right every time because sin longs to thrive but the goal is to be always arriving.
We need to be grounded in the sureness of what we’re aiming to convey. Getting into God’s word, listening to worship music, spending time in fellowship with other believers, and prayer—all of these things encourage us to know and love God. The outcome moves us to grow, nurture, and appreciate our relationship with the Holy Spirit and to expose the fruits of the spirit toward ourselves and in our interactions with others.
With my house, I’ve aimed to give it a farmhouse feel and I’m pretty confident most visitors get that idea when they step inside. With my faith, however, my hope is that I’m fixated on a Christian theme with the characteristics of spiritual fruit setting the tone, and pointing others to Christ.
In keeping with the analogy of this post we probably all have a bit of “housework” we could do. Let’s not waste another moment—our world is in desperate need of Christ-centered neighbors willing to open the doors of their heart to any and everyone.
If you have time go listen to the old hymn “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” for a little extra motivation!! I’ll be doing the same!
I thought since I’m just getting back into the swing of blogging again, today’s post will be light…but “sharp.”
Some of you may remember last summer, the post about mine and my oldest daughter’s brilliant idea to buy three hermit crabs when we vacationed at South Padre Island.
Wellllll…none of them made it to the new year. We tried. The accessories they required that amounted to well over a hundred dollars proves we tried.
But those things are high maintenance and apparently we weren’t doing something just right.
Sooooo…during January, when I was home and sick with the most ridiculous cold I’ve ever had, I started doing some thinking…about how we had an empty cage just sitting around not being used and how that perfectly fine cage should be getting some good use if it’s going to stay in my home.
Without wasting much time deciding what should occupy that space, I began doing some research on hedgehogs!! Man, Pinterest is not the place to look if you’re just in the beginning stages of entertaining an idea! It’ll leave you with a desperate yearning for whatever it is you may be searching over!!
Needless to say it didn’t take much convincing for myself or the rest of the family to decide this could very well be our next best mistake!!
After learning that the cage we already had would be too small we were too smitten over these little creatures to back out now!
We located six week old babies at a town about an hour from us, the kids evenly pitched in their money…$170 total and then Dad and I bought the newer, larger cage and necessary accessories.
My son named her Pixie.
She’s grown soooo much, probably double the size since we brought her home.
We have a lot of fun watching her explore and even her sassy attitude is quite entertaining. It takes her a bit to warm up when we take her out of her little home but she’s getting more used to us and is pretty motivated by her cat food pebbles! I’m convinced she’d do just about anything for her food.
It’s interesting how animals are so relatable to humans. Food, water, air, sleep, and then there’s also mannerism. The attitudes—humans have them and so do animals, especially hedgehogs!
When Pixie feels threatened those sharp quills standout in every direction; once she realizes we don’t want to harm her she relaxes but it takes some convincing.
And I get it.
I can be quite reluctant even in God’s care, and yet I know His intentions are for good but boy there are times I’m incredibly reserved in my trust.
Being Pixie’s caregiver, I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m going to do everything I know is right and good to provide and nurture this prickly pet, but she isn’t always with me on that mindset.
When I compare this to my own relationship (with God as my caregiver) I think how silly I must seem to God when I hold tightly to that lack of trust.
Just like I want the best life for Pixie and I know I’m trustworthy to her, God knows and desires the same when it comes to He and I!
Check out Isaiah 26:3 with me, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” —Isaiah 26:3
I love the boldness and certainty in those words…no hesitation found there. No lack of trust. This is how I want my faith to align with our Lord and I pray you’d join me! No poking around, just smooth and comfortable trust in Him.❤️
I took quite a long and unexpected blogging break—in fact this is the first post I’ve written in this new year, the last was at Christmas time!
Toward the end of last year I received my cancer diagnosis, had surgery, worked on recuperating, got Covid, worked on recuperating from that, struggled with depression, and finally (with much gratitude) celebrated Christmas!!
The new year started with an obnoxious head-cold throughout most of January. It was probably worse than my experience with Covid.
Meanwhile I had begun radiation treatments which were every Monday through Friday morning at 8 AM. I had thirty-three treatments and typically was in and out of the clinic within 15 minutes.
The nursing staff at Anderson Radiation are some of the kindest, most caring women I’ve ever met! I would pray over them on my drive into town and thank God for His healing every morning and it became such a blessed part of my daily routine. I’m thankful to be on the other side of it but I miss seeing each one of those gals!
That break from blogging was so necessary as I felt I needed to step back, catch my breath and truly gather my health—both mentally and physically.
Radiation can be exhausting as the high-energy beams not only kill cancer cells but also affect healthy cells too. I had and still have a lot of fatigue especially toward the late afternoon but this will subside with a little more time.
I couldn’t help but notice as I’d walk into the radiation room each morning how incredibly thick the door is. It has to be close to two feet thick and operates by mechanically sliding open and closed in a side to side motion. After making a comment to the techs they explained that the walls of the radiation room are actually eight foot thick and since the door can’t possibly be that thick it’s made from very heavy material causing it to weigh 22,000 pounds!! This might seem drastic but it’s for protective measures to those outside of the treatment room.
When I’d go in for treatment they’d have me lay down on the table, adjust me with precise measurements, then exit the room (closing that 22,000 pound door behind them) and then using computer technology they’d operate the radiation machine to move around me and target the area needing treatment at just the right dose.
As I look back on that time the word protection so accurately describes what I saw and felt. Radiation was quick and painless but I was amazed at how much every little detail mattered— from the very thick walls, to the heavy door, down to a sliver of body placement being set just right…all of it points back to protection.
Protection for my best interest and for the medical staff.
I’m reminded of how much God’s protection is ultimately even greater and bigger than any of those necessary precautions though—how His protection stretches far beyond any of the thickest walls or heaviest doors in the world.
Psalm 32:7 says this, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Protection. What a beautiful and filling hope and truth. I pray we take comfort in what the Lord’s word says and allow that peace to settle over our hearts and minds.
Sometimes things happen in our life where we might be prone to think “why didn’t God stop this or protect us from that?” And getting through those trials can be incredibly challenging BUT we also must be quick to believe and trust that God is protecting us from things (little and big) every single moment without us even recognizing or knowing it at all!!
He moves, works, and plans in His own perfect way all the time; and always with a divine purpose. We must be ever thankful for His protection—known and unknown.
God deserves our glory. As we’re living and breathing we have reason to praise Him no matter our circumstances. He is good.
Thank you for connecting with me again sweet friends. God willing I’ll get back on a regular blogging schedule!
Have a blessed weekend!!
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. —Nahum 1:7