Monday, April 30, 2012

Junk Food

The kids just finished up eating lunch.

LIZA: I want a piece of candy.
ME: Nope.
LIZA: Awww... why not!?
ME: Because you had ice cream and candy yesterday and we need to take a break from all the junk food.
LIZA: It's not junk food! It's yummy food!
ME: It's still junk food even though it's yummy.
LIZA: Cuz it makes a big pile of junk in our tummy??

ha!

Wisdom from a 5 1/2 year old.

Isn't it the truth though!!

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Setting an Example

Setting an example is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Random things keep happening that bring me back to these thoughts. The thing is... we are ALWAYS being an example. Whether we are a good or bad example is up to us.

Example: a pattern or model, as of something to be imitated or avoided.

 The other weekend I went to the Tim Hawkins concert at my church. Mike and I went in, put our coats down to hold our seats and then went back to the lobby to help out with collecting tickets and other things that needed done. About ten minutes later I just went to check that no one had moved our stuff (lots of people were throwing coats down and heading back out to the lobby). When I got to our seats I saw that someone had moved our coats to one chair and took the other seat. It was a man with a bunch of kids. I simply said "My husband and I were actually sitting here. We just stepped out to help for a little while." And the man just stared at me like I was stupid. And the kids were watching. Finally the man just says "well there are other seats over there."

I was kind of surprised. All those kids watching... he was setting an example... an example that it was ok to just do as you pleased, regardless of others and offer no apology. But I was setting an example too. They were also watching me to see how I would handle the situation. I simply took my coats and went to find other seats. There was nothing else to do other than cause a scene... and I wasn't about to do that over seats.

We were being watched. Setting an example.

Another thing that happened recently... I was out to eat with some friends. I ordered french onion soup and a chicken salad. When I got my check at the end I noticed that the number seemed low and after checking the details I realized I was not charged for the soup. I could have easily walked out and not paid for the soup. No one needed to know. But you know what... I do pep talks with my kids which include yelling and pumping our fists in the air as we are on our way to places. They usually go something like this...

"I do what's right! All the time! I do what's right! Even when no one else does! I do what's right! Even when it's hard! I do what's right!!"

I do what's right. It's how I teach my kids to live and I should have the same standards for myself.

I am being watched. I am setting an example.

I know we all mess up from time to time though. In those moments we can choose to let our example remain a bad example or we can continue on to right the wrong, apologize, set things right. By doing that we become a good example of how to walk through life in a Christian way. Not perfect... because we will never attain perfection... but in a way that we wouldn't mind others copying.

What kind of example are you setting today?



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saying Yes (Part 4)

Self-publishing a book was a learning process for us. Each step. Each decision. A lot of time, money and thought went into it. Some parts of the process were easy. Sometimes we had to really fight for what we wanted.

We continued moving forward. One foot in front of the other. Weeks turned into months.

There were some setbacks in the process. It took time to work them out.

There were times where we lost the excitement because it got hard. It's not easy giving your ideas to someone else and hoping that they can produce what is in your head. When they don't get it right you have to try again. And again. And sometimes even one more time. Phone calls. Emails. Thinking and rethinking. Making sure that you get every little thing just right.

Days where I thought we would never see the book finished.

And just when we thought we were done we found one more thing that needed fixed.

That is the only thing we are waiting on. One little tiny error that absolutely needs fixed.

All those yeses waiting on one last little detail.

So close!

Waiting isn't easy. But it's worth it.

And since I have to wait just a little longer... so do you. :)

But do you remember how I did a mini photo shoot with Mike a while ago because I needed a photo for something we were doing??

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It's his author photo and it's on the back of his book. I think I did a fine job. :)

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I should be able to give you all of the details about the book any day now!! Trust me! You'll know at the earliest moment possible. :) It's taken much longer to get this book done than we wanted it to take... and a lot of that was our fault. But it was our first one and we had to figure some things out. Either way... it's done and we are waiting for it to arrive in the mail! The day it comes is the day I will share it with you in detail!

So I guess this is the last TO BE CONTINUED...

:)





Saturday, April 28, 2012

Full Bloom - Conclusion


God wants us to live life in full bloom. We do that by:

Believing
Loving
Obeying
Opening Up
Moving Forward 

When we bloom we open up our hearts to others. We expand our world. We have influence and we prosper and flourish. When we bloom we let everyone see all the beauty we possess.

Beauty attracts… and I’m not talking about outward beauty. When we bloom we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Our strength, our influence, our greatest beauty will come out of those vulnerable moments. Those moments where we open up and let others see our hearts… just like a flower in full bloom lets us see all of its beauty.

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Another example of beauty and how it attracts... think of a peacock. When it has its feathers closed up you might stop for a moment and notice that there is actually a peacock near. But when it opens its feathers it's amazing! It's beautiful and rare. People stop to stare.

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It's time to BLOOM!!

You only have one chance at this life. We don’t know how long we each have. Will you live it as a blooming flower bearing good fruit? Or a closed up bud?


Saying Yes (Part 3)

I had given up my money for my new camera. I had used some of my savings putting off house buying for who knows how much longer. Mike was working constantly on getting the details of his book together.

And then God made me cry. Amazingly happy tears. Because He didn't have me make sacrifice after sacrifice without letting me know how much He loved me.

It happened about two weeks after I had told Mike to use the savings. God's love being shared with the world was more important than me having my house. (I thought laying down the dream of a camera was hard! ha!) I hadn't regretted using the savings or the camera money. I knew it was the right thing. God doesn't always ask us to do what is easy. In fact, most things He asks of us are hard... in our own strength.

But I don't know that there is anything more exciting than living a life following God.

Anyways... back to what happened two weeks later...

Someone told us that they were going to bless us by helping us with a down payment on a house!! They had NO IDEA! the things that we were laying down at home in order to follow God. This person didn't know that I had told Mike "the house can wait. Go write that book and spend as much money on it as necessary."

God is good! God is EXCITING!

I thought I had delayed my dream of owning my own home but through obedience to God I had moved it up to NOW. With the help of this wonderful person and what we had left in savings we will be able to get a house as soon as we find one we like.

To be continued...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Saying Yes (Part 2)

Sorry to leave you hanging yesterday with the "to be continued..." :) I had a hard time keeping myself from saying more haha. But it was fun. :) If you missed what I wrote yesterday you may want to start by going back. You can do that by CLICKING HERE.

**********

Mike began work on his book. Each step was a learning process and it was a lot of fun working on this new project with him. But it wasn't always easy.

I had already given Mike my camera money. Our goal was to do it without dipping into our savings... savings for a down payment on a house. I want a house. Like three years ago! I didn't want any setbacks with the savings.

We brainstormed ideas for the book. Mike wrote the words. We worked together to come up with the ideas for the illustrations. And then we decided that the package we had paid for wasn't enough. It only gave us ten illustrations. Each additional illustration would cost $189.

I kind of wanted to cry.

We thought of different ways we might be able to make it work with only the ten illustrations. Or maybe just an additional two or three.

I had gone to spend some time at Panera Bread. It's my place. I can clear my head and think. I was thinking and journaling and decided that we needed to do whatever it took to make the book look great. I was tired of seeing the world do awesome things and then Christians do mediocre things because we don't have the money. This book was God's idea. This book had a message that God wanted Mike to write. I figured if it was God's idea it was going to be done the best way possible and that God would just take care of things.

I went home and I told Mike that I would not stand in the way of this book being amazing. "Use some of our savings if you have to. I can wait another year for the house."

We bought the extra illustrations and progress was being made on the book.

To be continued...

Full Bloom - Move Forward



I've been sharing the Full Bloom series this week. It's the message I shared last Saturday with the women who came out for Butler Praise and Coffee. If you have missed the other posts you can catch up...
Intro
Believe
Love
Obey
Open Up


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M is for Move Forward

I've been sharing steps to living a life in a full bloom... a life that prospers and bears fruit. We must first believe in God and believe that He is who He says He is. Then we need to love others and love God and we can do that by obeying God and opening up our life and sharing it with others.

The final step I have to living a life in full bloom is always moving forward.


If you keep looking to your past, whether it’s because they were the good old days or years of sin or torture that leave you with hurt and guilt, you will always be looking in the wrong direction. Being stuck in your past will never get you to the place you need to be. Deal with it once and for all, find freedom from it, grab the lessons and then keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

As I thought of moving forward and letting go of the past two pictures came to mind. The first picture was of someone driving a car forward while looking back over their shoulder. They will only go in circles (if they don't crash!) and never really get anywhere. You go in the direction that you are looking.

The second picture I had was of a dog chained to a stake in the ground. Your past is full of stakes in the ground... things that happened to you, decisions you made. The stakes mark things along the timeline of your life. But unlike dogs, the only person that can chain us to our past is ourselves. No one else puts that chain there. If you are stuck to your past YOU have to do what it takes to cut that chain. But as long as you stay chained to any stake in your past, you will never be able to move forward into all that God has for you.

Just like the dog... that squirrel runs past him and he decides to chase it but he can only get so far before that chain yanks him back and forces him to stop.

Your chains that are attached to your past will do the same for you. It will be impossible to fully follow your dreams and live in full bloom if you remain chained to the stakes of your past.

I know that some things can be really difficult to deal through and find freedom from but God wants that for you! Freedom! He wants to help you deal through it and find healing in your heart. He wants to help you pound those stakes of your past so far into the ground that you are never able to find them again. 

If we want to go anywhere we need to release the chain to our past. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He'll show you how to do just that.

What is holding you back today? What do you need to release yourself from?

 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So What DOES Happen When Women Say Yes to God?

Over the past year or so I've been working at going all out for God. Always saying yes. Believing He is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.

This past winter I did the Bible study What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst. It was by far one of my favorite studies to go through. When you read the title you might think "well I say yes to God." But do you? All the time? In every area of your life? Lysa really challenged all of us to live out a radically obedient life.

So... I've been doing my best to say yes to God always. And I have to say that I am at a fun place where I can look back and see a chain reaction based on those yeses.

Let me share a story...

Back in September I was asked to crochet a baby hat for a friend. We worked it out and I sent her the hat. I also posted it on Facebook and that started about four months of non-stop orders. For the first time in six years I was making money. It was fun! I was saving every penny because I was going to use it to buy myself a new camera... something I have wanted for a looong time now but was out of reach because I knew I needed at least $2000 before I started looking. Yeah. Expensive hobby. But I was on my way!

Somewhere along the way though Mike had a dream. Not the kind you have at night... but the kind of dream that God puts on your heart. He wanted to write a children's book and felt like God was saying "It's time." He looked into it. He contacted some people. He got a price.

That price gave me A LOT of anxiety. Mike had just been laid off for the winter (happens every year with his job). That means we had a lot less money coming in and we were going to need $3000 to self-publish a book. I wanted to scream NO! We can't do it! But I kept my mouth shut and went to bed praying that I would have peace.

Because saying yes isn't only about saying yes to the things God puts on my heart. It's also about saying yes to the things God puts on my husband's heart.

I woke up in the morning with peace. And I gave Mike all the money that I had saved toward my camera. (A very hard thing to do.) He began working on his book.

To be continued...

Full Bloom - Open Up


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O is for Open Up

Live life with open hands, open lives and open up your mouth!

Open hands
Don’t be greedy with what you have been blessed with. We are blessed to be a blessing. It's easy to become attached to our "things" but when we can open our hands and share and give we can reach others in small and big ways.

Proverbs 28:25
The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper.

Don't be greedy! 


Open up your lives
Are you leaving room for others? Or are you so busy that you can go two weeks without stopping to have a real heart-to-heart with someone? Have you made room in your circle of friends for that new person? Have you opened your heart to others? Your home? Women need relationship… Make time for those relationships.

Be intentional!


Open up your mouth
Share your story, your beliefs, your testimony. Share what you have learned. It will encourage others and strengthen them. God has given you a voice and I know that if you stop and think about it that there is a message that God has written on your heart to share. Share it… whether it is with one person at a time or in front of an auditorium or in a book. Share that message!

Romans 10:14 (NLT)

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?


None of these things should be hard if you are living a life of love and obedience.


1 Corinthians 6:11-13 (The Message)
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.

Let your world expand as you open up and let others in.


 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stupid...

Today in the car...

LIZA: Moo mo has it. What is moo mo has it?
ME: That would actually be "rumor has it".
LIZA: *thoughtful* Rumor has it. *pause* What does rumor have?
ME: I really have no idea Liza.
LIZA: Is this a stupid song?
ME: I guess it is.
JASON: Yeah. It's a stupid song.

Ya know... every time I say stupid Jason happens to catch me and yells "WE DON'T SAY STUPID MOMMY!" until I respond with something along the lines of "You're right Jason. I'm sorry for saying it."

But Liza says it and it's ok.

Pretty sure the girl that Jason calls "sister" rules his world more than I do.


Full Bloom - Obey

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I've been writing about things that are necessary for living a life that is in full bloom. We want to live in full bloom so that we can flourish, thrive and prosper.

If you haven't read the previous posts you can catch up...
Intro
Believe
Love

 O is for Obey

Yesterday we talked about the importance of love and that we show we love God by obeying His commands.

1 John 5:3-4
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.
 
So... if we are believing and loving God, then obeying Him shouldn't really be all that hard.

We need to get to a place where we obey God not because of rules and legalism but because we love Him. We love Him so much that it would never occur to us to disobey.

God says… I do. Make it a way of life. Let nothing hold you back. Not fear, insecurity, your past or inabilities. Because when you obey you will find your life and heart enlarged. You will find that you can do much more than you ever thought possible. You will learn so much about God.

John 14:15
If you love me, you will obey what I command.

God LOVES us. We need to trust that love. And we need to obey whether we understand the why behind it or not. We need to obey even when it is hard. I know that sometimes it has seemed that God asked me to let go of things that I loved. Sometimes it was for a season and some things I've had to let go of forever. It's always hard. I don't always understand why and sometimes I really don't want to. But I know that if I just trust God with what He is asking of me that I will open up my life in ways I never knew possible. God always has our best interest in mind. He cares about us. We need to just trust Him and obey.

What's fun about obeying God is that you eventually come to a place where you can look back on a string of "yeses" and see how they all lead to where you are at now. Just like I can look back and see how years of leading Bible studies has made my heart grow and open up to women. It also grew in me a passion to help others learn truth. At some point along he way I felt that I was to start a blog for women. I loved doing that! And I learned a lot of things that are helping me in other areas that I am stepping into. The Girl Talk Blog taught me some very valuable lessons in leading and ministry.

I then was asked to lead a women's ministry at my church. I'm just finishing up with my first year of that and it's been a growing experience. Easy yet extremely new and hard at the same time. But the things I've been doing in the past have equipped me for now. And another part of my now is Butler Praise and Coffee. Each step has been training for the next. Without all of the yeses in the past I may not be doing much of what I am doing today. Either that or I would be completely unprepared.

I could have chose to stay a closed up bud, but in saying yes I have begun to open up and bloom.

Saying yes may not always be easy. It may sometimes require sacrifice. But God is always looking out for our best interest and we need to trust and obey.

What is God asking of you today? Will you say yes? 


 

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