Use the (Clipper) Guard…

Oh boy I’m almost ashamed to write this — but last Thursday was, as usual, hair day at the nursing home for me. I showed up physically prepared but for some reason my haircuts on the residents weren’t going smoothly. It was, as some say, literally a bad hair day.

Friends, I knew it was bad when an elderly, frail man took a seat and I began buzzing what little hair was there. While free-handing with my little clippers and no attached guard I got a bit too close and scalped the poor fella!! …Just a little area but scalped nevertheless.

Most are probably familiar with clipper guards but if not I’ll quickly elaborate. Guards are used as an attachment on clippers and quite handy when you’re cutting the hair real short. They act as sort of a safety method and help control how long or short the haircut will be…that is if you choose to use them…

Immediately after my haircut-foul my mind raced to the fact that we don’t have to do life on the edge, nor solo, or at risk — instead God acts as our guard.

Check out these verses; the first one uses the word ‘guard’ and the other ones strongly imply it’s importance.

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” —2 Thessalonians 3:3

“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” —Psalm 3:3-5

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” —Psalm 32:7

The following Sunday when our pastor gave his message I sat in awe as his words on healthy boundaries poured over my heart. It was so similar to where my mind had been focused in light of concentrating on that one simple yet profound word: guard.

God longs to guard our minds and our hearts over fears, hurt, and failures but we must be willing to attach to Him. Just like I have a choice in using or not using the guard on my haircutting clippers (taking the chance of styling a bad hair day if I refuse to use one) we have one of the most important choices each and every day…will we attach to God as our guard or risk going alone?

The beautiful thing is that even when we choose against His guard and end up in regret it’s still never too late…

Remember I mentioned my neglect of using the clipper guard on my little old man, well I was thankfully able to blend over the hair and cover up my mistake to the point the haircut looked normal.

Consider the idea that at times we try and do life without God yet once we become aware of our egotism and call upon Him He is quick to come to the rescue, saving us from ourselves and stepping in as our guard. Every. Single. Time…no questions asked. Surely the best form of God’s guard shows up through Jesus (in the act of the cross) saving us from the punishment of our sins as we choose to trust and believe.

Because He loves us that much.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.’ —Isaiah 54:10

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16

Choosing Positive Thinking

One of the benefits of following Christ is that we get to take on the perspective and mind of Him.

Those unfortunate circumstances we experience throughout life we can choose to dwell in the yuck or counteract with truth of what God would say over them.

For me this is what that might look like

Growing up with a mom who has epilepsy I could choose to focus on how scared I was every time she’d have a seizure when I was a kid — but instead I’m learning that in my adult life I have compassion and understanding for others as a result.

The multiple situations of sexual abuse in my childhood years — I’m reminded of the many times I’ve now been able to connect with other girls and women who have experienced the same nonsense; conversation has formed a bond between us.

Participating in the party scene as a teen and in my early twenties is such a regret of mine but I love how I can look back and see how God grabbed my attention and changed my life, turned me to Him and has given me several opportunities to speak my story out these days and turn the glory to Him.

Negative thoughts are exhausting but the good news is we can actually get to a point where we adopt and desire a positive mindset no matter the circumstances. And I feel like as Christians we’re blessed with a clearer opportunity to do so, more so than someone who’s not following Jesus. Those who don’t know the freedom offered through God do not understand “true release” from the burden.

I have a best friend who is a volleyball coach —

one of her player’s parents mocks her, ridicules her, and degrades her weekly — accusing her of being a poor coach.

When I see my sweet friend I see a woman of strength and perseverance. Someone with dedication and commitment and a huge heart for the Lord. The only way and reason she pushes through is because her hope is placed in Christ. She chooses to believe His word of truth over the lies of someone else’s sin.

Maybe there’s a negative thought pattern, a festering lie, or mental battle taking root in your life — to overcome fill up on what Jesus says is true about you and take on His mindset to knock down the negatives.

Romans 12:2 says:

‘Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.’

God’s word tells and shows us that we are able to overcome, Romans 12:2 is just one example of many.

We can make the choice to surround ourselves in healthy Christian friendships, daily prayer and scripture. Listen to worship music. Seek out a good Christian counselor if needed…Renewal of the mind in a positive Christ-like way is sure to inhabit our thoughts once we make a desired habit of doing these things regularly.

Negative scenes are bound to play out this side of heaven, but when we fully navigate with ‘Christ in us’ our thought patterns won’t align with the chaos.

Do yourself a favor today and tomorrow and every day following — be thankful, respectful and sensible of the life God has breathed in you — and waste no more time feeding Satan’s senseless antics.

…I’ll be doing the same.

Motivated and Persistent

Of our multiple animals, we have a six year old Yorkie, Eli, who I’ve written about in the past. Eli was a gift to me, from my husband, for our tenth wedding anniversary.

For most of his life the poor little guy has had seizures due to a head injury that happened when he was just a puppy which makes him pretty fragile. Long story short, he’d jumped from my arms and smacked his little noggin on our wooden deck outback and from that time on whenever his head (or neck) are impacted you can bet he’ll go right into a seizure. He’s on seizure meds that control ‘random’ seizures (which he was prone to after the head injury) but he still has them when he encounters impact regardless of the meds.

As an example — Eli was sleeping on my bed recently when he heard me come into the house, he got excited and decided he was going to jump down and greet me. I was just walking through the bedroom door and couldn’t catch him in time before he clumsily hit the wood floor with a thud. The seizure that followed was one of his worst and honestly I wasn’t sure he’d come out of it. I prayed in my heart like crazy in the moment, God spared him and as a result Eli is never allowed to be on our bed again…no exceptions!!

He’s stinking cute!

We’ve now bought him a large dog bed and situated it near our bed but it’s taken him some time to get used to. Our bed is pretty high from the floor and this is something we should’ve bought and started years ago.

At nighttime he’s restless for a short while and the little clicking of his paws can be heard as he pitter patters from one side of our bed to the other, hopeful that either my husband or I will lift him up to his preferable place of sleep and familiarity. I feel bad because he doesn’t understand and I miss him cuddling up next to me…although I have been able to sleep better now.

Eli teaches me a “good” lesson applicable to my life as a Christian — I want to be so incredibly dedicated and familiar with Jesus (in my faith and relationship with Him) that I can’t stand to “feel” separated or distanced from Him.

Like my dog, I want to be so faithful, motivated and persistent in pursuing what brings me comfort and peace. For Eli it’s snuggling in close to my husband or I and falling asleep next to us on our bed or begging relentlessly for canned dog food — and for myself as I work on authentic Christianity it better be my relationship with the Lord that brings me satisfaction and security in my life without hesitation. Every. Single. Time. No exceptions!!

That means that if (or when) I’m putting God second it would bother me so much I’d be stir crazy. When something tries to distract me or come in the way I’d be unsettled. When Satan attempts to send me on a hazardous detour route, I’d notice the red flag warning immediately and head straight to the One who’s already paved the perfect path.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. —Colossians 1:17

Because Eli’s a dog he’s always going to live impulsively by selfish means and very sure-hearted in what he wants even if it’s not always the best choice for him; likewise as a Christian we’re to live selflessly yet with a devoted heart strongly fixed on Jesus…Eventually at bedtime Eli grows tired, loses interest in claiming a spot on our bed, gives in and finally tuckers down into his new, more safe, bed. Contrastively we as Christians can’t choose second best, we must strive ahead determined to keep Jesus first in our lives.

For you, are you persistent in keeping Jesus number one in your life? If not what is standing in the way?

Hello again…finally!!

I ended up taking an unexpected blogging break over the past few weeks…and it feels awkward. I’m almost overwhelmed on where to pickup so I think I’ll post a little picture/description Summer update today and a devotional thought and hopefully (next week) be back to the routine of once-a-week regular posting.

As July hit, quarantine became a long thing of the past in my world, all of a sudden I’ve been bombarded with kid’s sports schedules, an increase in helping with my grandma, a camping trip, 4-h projects and presentations, a plethora of meetings, plus the ability to catch up on hair at the nursing home (something I’ve not been able to do since March, thanks to Covid).

I think I imagined that after quarantine things would slowly be introduced into my calendar again — not at all the case. I was hoping I could gradually welcome these things back in and it would feel like a breath of fresh air but instead it’s quite the opposite, and I can’t seem to catch my breath…to be honest I don’t like it.

While I was reading my Bible recently I came to Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were fulfilling Paul’s second missionary journey. Their mission (this round) was to visit and check-up on the cities that Paul had already preached in through an earlier journey. Reaching Philippi, a Roman ran colony, they faced trouble after Paul called out an evil spirit from a slave woman who was “used” to predict the future. Verse 19 says, “When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.”

They didn’t care that Paul and Silas has just performed a miracle (through God) and meant it for good over this woman. They didn’t care that these men were there to speak ‘Jesus’ to the crowds…they were too wrapped up in worldliness and as a result Paul and Silas suffered under their physical violence and landed behind bars.

Some of us may feel like we’re emotionally echoing the lives of Paul and Silas — like we’re caught behind sturdy immovable bars. With Covid and face masks, perhaps living in the fear of uncertainty or dealing firsthand with racial injustice, or (like me) overwhelmed with a busy schedule, we just can’t seem to shake the locks loose.

Listen, in the messy situation Paul and Silas were dealing with they still didn’t get downhearted; rather they praised and sang hymns to God (vs. 25) even resulting in leading their jailer and his household to Christ in the midst. They found joy in the tribulation.

Here’s my favorite heart-grabbing piece of this story from Acts 16:40, “After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.”

Catch those inspiring words from verse 40, ‘they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them’.

You see, when Paul and Silas were finally released from prison they didn’t mope around, they didn’t waste time wandering where to start again. They boldly faced their God-given mission, ‘meeting with their brothers and sisters and encouraging them.’ It would seem (to most) that after enduring such hardship they would be the ones in need of encouragement, but their faith flipped that thought-pattern right around and they embraced the opportunity to be the encouragers and God was glorified because of it.

I don’t know what struggle you may be facing (or what may feel like prison walls) but I pray that we would all have that ‘Paul and Silas mindset’ in trusting and praising the Lord regardless of the obstacle. God is so much more than good enough to stay with us — no matter what side of the bars we’re on. He’ll break them down in His perfect timing but it may not be until we reach Heaven.

When we share stories of God’s faithfulness we encourage others and point to Him, just like Paul and Silas did some 2000 years ago…and note how it’s still talked about all these years later.❤️

Thanks for reading, before I end here’s some of our July adventures:

Cherry picking in the backyard

4th of July celebration

Camping trip

Soccer season

Plus these two (below) actually getting along:

4-h week

Football League (he begged for and now dreads going)

Lastly one of my husband’s best friends passed away this weekend; he was such an amazing man — full of life, loved giving gifts (and a hard time) to anyone, and made the best BBQ food ever…please throw some prayers up for the family and friends of this man.

Sunday a sweet and humble uncle of Nate’s passed away after a long battle with cancer…praise for no more pain or suffering but prayers for peace and healing for family and friends.

Thanks so much!

A Finished She Shed part 2

Last Fall I posted A She Shed in the Making part 1 where I shared that Nathan had this brilliant idea to build me a she shed as a fifteenth anniversary gift! I’m pretty sure by the time we hit up the building material store he was wishing he’d have never entertained the idea…but alas six months later the she shed is pleasantly finished! When my husband started it at the end of last year the weather turned pretty cold so he made sure he got it buttoned up on the outside and the inside waited until warmer days over the past month. I’ll share photos and let them do the talking.

Also if you’ve hit up this post due to a tag-link and are in the midst of planning or building a she shed then WELCOME!! Let us know if you have any questions or need hints on how to go about this or that. We have quite a few cost saver tips too!

Continue reading “A Finished She Shed part 2”

Mystery Blogger Award

Thank You Gail of gaillovesgod.blog for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Gail has a wealth of Biblical knowledge, a ginormous love for God, and shares her testimony in a way that points to Him! You can check out her blog here! Thanks so much Gail for the nomination!❤️

Here are the guidelines…

• Put the award logo on your blog

• Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

• Mention the creator of the award
The creator of this award is..Okoto Enigma

• Answer the five questions you were asked

• Tell the readers three things about yourself

• Nominate ten to twenty bloggers

• Notify the bloggers that you nominated them by commenting on one of their posts

• Ask your nominees five questions with one weird or funny one

• Share a link to your best posts

Three things about myself:
1. control-freak….yikes!
2. I’m reading a book to help deter that flaw (Control Girl by Shannon Popkin)
3. Jesus is my saving grace!! Continue reading “Mystery Blogger Award”

His Words Always Guarantee Truth

A few years ago my family was fixing to head to our favorite camping spot for Labor Day weekend. Out of excitement with the thought of our adventure I scrambled around the house to take care of last minute things before leaving.

In the midst of my hustle and bustle my little seizure filled Yorkie (Eli) ended up under my feet and I tripped over him. He rolled, must’ve bonked his poor noggin and went straight into a seizure. A very loooong seizure — one that sent me into a panic and directly to the phone to call our vet clinic.

“Red Willow Animal Clinic, how may I help you?” the woman on the other end began.

“I just kicked my dog!!!!! …And now he’s having a really bad seizure!!” I explained hysterically.

There was a “paws” before the woman on the other end of the line instructed me on what to do and set up an appointment for the next week to get Eli in for x-rays of his neck area.

Side note: Every time Eli’s neck gets jarred just right it sends him straight into a seizure but normally they don’t last that long.

After I hung up with the vet clinic’s receptionist it occurred to me how I had incorrectly explained the scenario with my poor dog…great grief I just told her I kicked my dog…seriously?!…my family wasn’t at all surprised because they’ve grown use to my unfailing ability of impatience and not thinking before I speak.

In the time since that phone call I’ve thought about how extremely important it is to convey messages and communicate well. Continue reading “His Words Always Guarantee Truth”

Hope Through Unity

Several years ago my oldest daughter and I had the opportunity to travel to Acuña, Mexico with my husband’s aunt and uncle. We were joining up with men, women, and children of all ages from all over America as part of a missionary group with an organization by the name of Casas Por Cristo (Houses for Christ). Their main goal is to share Jesus’ love by blessing and serving a family in need through a house building project in one of their designated building-locations.

When we all arrived in Acuña we had a large group of around 100 volunteers with a gymnasium that served as our gathering hub for sleep, food, cold showers, and devotions. We were split into even groups on the first day so a total of five homes would be built in Acuña over a four day period.Our team of twenty-ish made an immediate connection with the same like-minded purpose — to mesh work and Jesus’ love through building a house for a sweet Hispanic family…and goodness the family was precious.

The father and son worked on what would become their new home right along side our team, while the mother and grandmother made it a priority to fill us up everyday on authentic local dishes and Mexican hot cocoa and donuts. Side note: If you’ve never had Mexican hot cocoa you’re missing out! It’s actually available in Walmart stores so make sure to treat yourself!As we came to the end of our mission trip, with the house nearly completed, there was a moment where we all gathered for a dedication ceremony.

David, our Casas Por Christo team leader, translated what the Hispanic father wanted so desperately for our team to know. Continue reading “Hope Through Unity”

Be Alert and of Sober Mind

Note: All of this is written with the respect of prayer for those who are suffering firsthand with sickness or loss of a loved one due to Coronavirus. My hope is that this is all quickly resolved to alleviate the added stress that has impacted many.

With amusement parks shut down due to Covid-19 I’ve been thinking who needs Disneyland anyway when there’s a wave of roller coaster emotions right in my own home!?

After I hit publish on last week’s post I was bound and determined to keep my positive upbeat vibe going that I was feeling, but Satan came in quick like a wrecking ball…man I get tired of him. I’ve intended to enjoy this downtime, making the most of it by spending time creating memories of healthy bonding with my family.

A far cry from reality…

Since that last post I’ve dealt with lots of unexpected..a mess of canceling travel plans through Expedia, transitioning my grandma from her home into a nursing home, and trying to figure out and set up my kids new elearning school schedule…holy moly that last challenge has brought full assurance that I am absolutely not tech savvy at all! Surprised I can even maintain this blog!

Overall I have the choice to keep a positive attitude regardless, but sometimes I get overwhelmed with change and forget to take my stress to the Lord immediately. On the other hand I neglect to remain aware that Satan is always on the prowl, even when (actually especially when) I’m at my highest points.

The other day I was thinking how in the world did my household dramatically go from happy, silly, and dancing like no one was watching last week (see last post with video) to whining, bickering, and a lack of mercy and grace with one another in a matter of one day…??

With perfect timing the words “he prowls around…looking for someone to devour” quickly swept in over my thoughts so I pulled out my trusty and faithful “Thought-navigator” and turned to 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This was exactly what I needed reminded of — to consciously stay alert of Satan’s scheme-filled tactics 24-7.

I couldn’t just cut that idea off right there, I had to read the entire context of the passage.

The words surrounding 1 Peter 5:8 are so encouraging and applicable to what we’re all dealing with that I’m super excited to share them with you: Continue reading “Be Alert and of Sober Mind”

The Matthew Project

…Where to even begin this post?…I’m currently taking a class by the name of Perspectives, some of you may be familiar with the name. It’s probably one of the most challenging (yet spiritually rewarding) classes I’ve ever taken — lots of reading, extra studying, and gobs of extensive vocabulary that I’m not always familiar with. This class thoroughly drives home the point of seeing Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19 come to fruition as Christians literally live out these scriptures by fulfilling the calling in each of our lives.

Matthew 24:14 And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

When our lives follow Jesus and we have a healthy relationship and right standing with Him, we as Christians know how incredibly important Matthew 24:14 truly is. And we longingly look forward to the day of Jesus’ return. In the meantime however Matthew 28:19 absolutely has to be happening and requires our obedience!

As I’ve studied in Perspectives, my little self-focused world has been rocked in a huge way as I gain a new “perspective” on my role in helping to spread God’s word to the ends of the earth…even if it’s just right in my own community — which brings me to the idea of this very post.

K stay with me!! Continue reading “The Matthew Project”