May 17, 2016

Ce-le-brate good times, come on......

Whew. Is it May, or is it May?

I really think May is busier than December. For those of us with kids in school, it can become quite hectic.

So, let's lighten the mood, shall we?

This week in my county, it is our last week of school. Since my children started school over 10 years ago (whoa!), this has been my favorite week of the whole year.

Over the years we have celebrated this week in many fun ways. Most of these ideas are from other mother's that I saw do them first hand, or ideas the kids and I thought up together. These are not very pinterest-y, but they are a whole lot of fun.

Here are some of the things we do, or have done over the years to CELEBRATE this week:

Make a totally weird and different lunch than usual. Put random snacks in their lunch boxes instead of the ol' sandwich and chips thing.

Put food coloring in their bottled water--their favorite color. This may not be cool for "big" kids, so use discretion. ;)

Leave them a note each day this week somewhere in their book bag, folder, or lunch box.

Eat out one night, or three. You can make it really cheap. Look for cheap kids meals.

Cook their favorite breakfast one day this week. Let them pick the menu.

Same for dinner. Let each kid pick dinner and let them help you make it. OR, let them make it themselves.  Warning: This can get crazy. And a tad messy.

On the last day of school, surprise them with a Summer bucket. You can get a beach pail from the dollar store and put little things in the bucket that your kids would like. Crayons, markers, sidewalk chalk, bubble bath, candy, etc. Big kids like this too! Just use big kid items instead. ;)

Make a Summer bucket list this week with your family. Again, get a bucket from dollar store, and get clothes pins. Write activities to do this Summer in marker on the clothes pin, and pin it to the rim of the bucket. When you do the activity, throw the clothes pin in the bucket! Kids love this. Any age!

Motherhood can be so serious at times. My hope is that my children will remember that life is to be celebrated! Every day is a chance to celebrate. To be thankful. To choose JOY.

Joy is contagious. It affects all who enter into its presence.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Don't you love that?

How do you celebrate?



looking for clothes pins,

jill







May 4, 2016

How's your lamp?

I have had the great pleasure of being under the tutelage of many mentors. Most, I have never met. The following post was written by one of them.

However, she and I have a coffee date on the books for next week! I finally get to meet her!

Coffee and Suzanne. Perfect day.

Be blessed by Suzanne Chambers. I am sure she will soon be on your mentor list as well.



How's Your Lamp?

by: Suzanne Chambers
Livingletters4.blogspot.com

Her lamp does not go out at night
Proverbs 31:18b

I have often joked that long ago I tore Proverbs 31 out of my Bible -- too intimidating (and convicting)!  Seriously, some woman is writing about the kind of wife she wants for her son - who in the world can live up to that!

In my now, uh, mature years, I see this passage in a new light.  It's still quite convicting but no longer am I intimidated by it nor tempted to obliterate it from my Bible.  Today I want to focus on one of my most favorite lines.....Her lamp does not go out at night.

For years I read that and thought, yeah, this woman must live in a constant state of sleep deprivation.  Having barely survived the foggy brain months of helping a newborn adjust to life on the outside, I  truly wondered how having a lamp on all night could be considered worthy of emulation.  For the life of me, it seemed to be something to avoid like the plague.  And, if this was just merely describing reality, well, I just could not join that place on the pedestal.  I mean, I really need my sleep to function.  Much less to be superwoman.  (Thank goodness for TAB)

Then I learned what the verse means.  Very helpful.

It does not mean that we should stay up all night.  Thank goodness!

Here, the word lamp is used to convey the light of her soul, her influence, her instruction.  Light that continues to shine when life is dark and uncertain...in the night.

There are many "nights" in the life of every woman.  Times when financial security is stripped away.  Or relational stability is shattered by unfaithfulness. Or death. Times when she is plagued by fears, not only about the future, but also about the very moment of now.  Times when the condemning voice of parenting failure echoes incessantly.  Or when the shakiness of her own emotions threatens to be her undoing.  Darkness.  Night.

During those times, lots of lamps flicker. Some even go out completely.

But some continue to shine.  Even brighter, illuminating the surrounding night.

A lamp that shines in the night is possible, not just for the Proverbs 31 woman, but for all of us who trust in the Light of the World.  Knowing that He cares for us in the night and that He is still sovereign over the night, and that all His ways are good.  That He is faithful and compassionate and at work on our behalf in a thousand ways we cannot see. And that He is our greatest treasure, the object of our heart's desire.

Our lamp-light can get clouded.  Busy schedules that crowd out the seeking of  The Light.  Too many voices that dull the ability to hear Truth. Unconfessed sin.  Relationships in disrepair.  Unforgiveness.  Disobedience.  All these dim the visibility of the Light in us.

This lamp, Scripture tells us is our eye.  If our eye is clear, our life is full of light.  If instead, our eye is bad, then our life is full of darkness.  And if the light that is in us is darkness, how great is the darkness!  (Matthew 6:22,23)

What our eye is focused on determines the brightness of our light. 

Focus on the goodness of God, the treasure of Christ...and our lamp will not go out at night.

But if we focus instead on what this world has to offer....darkness.

May 3, 2016

A cluttered mind.....

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Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 16:5

This verse from Psalm has been on my heart a whole lot lately. When you let the words burrow deep into your soul, you start to feel a peace that blankets every inch of your body.

He, alone, is my portion.

He, alone, is my cup.

He makes my life secure.

The end.

Why do I wrestle with Him then?

Why do I allow other things to fill my cup that never even satisfy?

Why do I worry and have an anxious heart when He is what makes my life secure?

This one little scripture has caused many undoings in my soul. In a good way.

I'm on a de-cluttering mission.

De-cluttering from so many things that fill my cup. Things that are not necessarily bad things, but they clutter my cup and then confusion strikes. I look into my cup and I cannot make out one clear thing because of the clutter. Too many good things can still be clutter.

For example, how many calendars does one woman need? For heaven's sake, I have three right here next to me. My phone, my refrigerator calendar, and my cute little Lilly Pulitzer day planner calendar. Not to mention the apps on my phone that I schedule things on. Really? I'm tired just thinking about all that.

Another example--devotionals. Sigh. Yes, good good things. But, Lord, how many daily devotionals do I need to read? I get two delivered daily to my inbox. I have three devotional books sitting on my night stand as we speak. I also have signed up for daily devotionals on my bible app. Whew, I'm tired!

He, alone, is my portion.

Here's my take on too many devotionals, too many podcasts, too many blah, blah, blah....

Maybe God just wants a one on One date with me? Why do I have to be a third wheel and include Beth Moore or Lysa Terquerst on every date?

Would I like it if I went on a date with my man and he brought a friend along to help us along with our conversation?

Something I have observed about the life of Jesus...He was constantly getting away from people to be alone with God. He knew He needed his cup filled. From His Father. One on One.

Please don't misunderstand me. I love devotionals. In fact, this post that you are reading is a devotional, I suppose.

However, we need to be careful how much we ingest each day. My doctor once told me that it is good to take vitamins, but not to overdo it or my body will react negatively. In other words, too much of a good thing is too much.

I have a tendency to be on the side of  "too much".  I  think, "well, if a little is good, then a LOT must be better!"

[You can look under my bathroom sink and see the truth of this played out. I mean, how many hair products does one woman need?]

I have a challenge for us. How about before we ingest anything, we ingest His Word and then we invest time in prayer with Him.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

If the Lord is to direct our steps, we must hear from Him. Personally. One on one.

After our time with Him, He may affirm His words to us through a devotional or a person. However, we don't need to clutter our cup with too much "stuff". This only causes distraction and confusion.

He, alone, is my cup.

We will know our assignment each day instead of walking around in confusion when we spend time with Him.  He will lead us each day. In every moment.

When we know He is enough, and our assignments are directed by Him, we have security.

He, alone, makes my lot secure.

When our minds are crowded and cluttered, it creates a lack of peace. It creates confusion.

God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33


Decluttering,


jill