My Word

I am in the mountains today.  A short weekend retreat.
My last morning here.  
The sun is peaking out of the rain clouds this morning.
Breathtaking.
This weekend we watched Eat, Pray, Love.
Great movie!
If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.
Finding a “word” for things is a theme throughout the movie.
I threw out a word last night to a friend as “my word”.
I did it in he midst of conversation, almost jokingly.
But I have been thinking more about it.
And then this morning as I did devotions, 
I happened to read a blog about this subject.
For the first time ever, the writer had felt God giving her A Word;  “intentional”.
Got me thinking more about my word.
“Simplicity”
That is the word I gave my friend last night.
I am not really sure where it came from either.
I hadn’t really thought about it before last night.
But as I look back at the few months of my life,
I am seeing that word at work, so to speak, everywhere.
It’s as if God has been using that word in my life
and just now decided to reveal it to me.
I am not sure I would have truly gotten it otherwise.
I think I may have a word for my year.
Simplicity.
One definition I read says;
“the quality or condition of being plain, natural or easy to understand”
The other definitions basically say the same in different words.
Then I looked up “complex”,
because simple is listed as the opposite of complex.
Complex;
“Not easy to analyze or understand, complicated or intricate.”
Interesting isn’t it?
Almost wondering what this all means?
For me it’s more than just simplifying my life,
although that has been a big pattern in my life lately,
but it’s somewhat about how I approach things.
It’s just so easy for me to allow things to consume me,
Trying to understand why things are happen the way they do, 
trying to figure them out and solve them.
I worry about me, others, what I am doing, how I am doing, 
and how others perceive how/what I am doing.
I worry about how things will play out, what will happen 
and how I play a part in it all.
That was a big part of 2011 for me.
I sit here this morning, watching the sun break through the winter barren trees,
 hearing the words that I have heard in my prayers
over and over in the past year;
Let Go.
I think it’s truly time I do that.
Let go of trying to figure it all out.
Let go of worrying about it all.
And trust that God can do it.
And so I walk into today, into this week
with my word;
Simplicity.
It doesn’t mean 2012 will be all easy.
I know that.
But I know God is here.
He is at work.
And he can handle the complex a lot better than I can.
So I will give it all to him.
I will let go and let God
and enjoy the simple beauty he shows in the every day.

Each Day…

“It’s quiet.
It’s early.
My coffee is hot.
The sky is still black.
The world is asleep.
The Day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive.
It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun.
The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day.
The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race.
The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made,
and deadlines to be met.
For the next twelve hours, I will be exposed to the day’s demands.
It is now that I must make a choice.
Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose.
And so I choose.
I CHOOSE LOVE
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.
I choose love.  
Today, I will love God and what God loves.
I CHOOSE JOY
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.
I will refuse the temptation to be cynical…
the tool of a lazy thinker.
I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings,
created by God.  I will refuse to see any problem as anything less
than an opportunity to see God.
I CHOOSE PEACE
I will live forgive.
I will forgive so that I may live.
I CHOOSE PATIENCE
I will overlook the inconveniences of this world.
Instead of cursing the one who takes my place,
I’ll invite him/her to do so.
Rather than complain that the wait is too long,
I will thank God for a moment to pray.
Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments,
I will face them with joy and courage.
I CHOOSE KINDNESS
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.
Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.
And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I CHOOSE GOODNESS
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.
I will be overlooked before I will boast.
I will confess before I will accuse.
I choose goodness.
I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS
Today I will keep my promises.
My debtors will not regret their trust.
My associates will not question my word.
My husband/wife will not question my love.
And my children will never fear that their mother/father will not come home.
I CHOOSE GENTLENESS
Nothing is won by force.  I choose to be gentle.
If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise.
If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer.
If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.
I CHOOSE SELF-CONTROL
I am a spiritual being…
after this body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.
I choose self-control.
I will be drunk only by joy.
I will be impassioned only by my faith.
I will be influenced only by God.
I will be taught only by Christ.
 I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
To these I commit my day.
If I succeed, I will give thanks.
If I fail, I will seek His grace.
And then, when this day is done,
I will place my head on my pillow and rest.”
– Max Lucado
When God Whispers Your Name

Time that flies

 made by Bev Jennings
I guess we say it all the time, don’t we?
“Where does time go?”
Here I sit.
It is August already.
Was it not just yesterday that I was wishing for the sun of summer?
Was it not just yesterday that I was awaiting the birth of my daughter?
Was it not just yesterday that I was preparing to move to NC?
Was it not just yesterday that I was celebrating my wedding day?
It’s just crazy, but it is true.
Time flies by way too fast!
Today I have been pondering that,
and reminding myself yet again to enjoy each day as it comes,
with all the joys and struggles.
For in a blink of an eye, this day will be gone.
All the worrying, stress and running in circles really won’t get me far.
So once again, I surrender my day.
And I pray again for peace and joy,
patience and kindness,
love and forgiveness,
laughter and wisdom.
That today I may wrap my arms around my kids often,
smile and embrace my husband more than once,
breathe deep,
and live.
Thank you, Jesus
For the air I breathe and the life I lead.
May I never take it for granted,
and may I live in love,
accepting love and giving love
without condition.
Fill me this day with your presence
and may the fruits of the Spirit guide my thoughts, words and actions this day.
You are my strength.
Amen.

Broken Pieces

This year at the beach, Zachary did the inevitable,
He took notice of shells and wanted to “get them for his collection”.
It’s really one of those things that all kids eventually do, isn’t it?
Last year he hardly noticed shells,
but this year they were a focal point of our trip.
As we walked along picking up shells,
I of course was looking for the big ones, whole ones,
beautiful ones that were clean and perfect.
Zachary on the other hand could have cared less.
He picked up every little piece of a shell that he could find.
At one point I came to the realization of what I was actually verbalizing.
As we were picking up shells, 
I would acknowledge the ones he found, of course,
but then I would find a whole one and exclaim,
“Oh but look at this one, Z!  Isn’t it beautiful!”
He would answer, “Yeah, mom, it is!” and toss it in his bucket of pieces.
The realization of what I was saying and doing literally made me stop in my tracks.
For goodness sake, have I really gotten so lost in being a grown up
that I focus more on the whole and the perfect and forget
to recognize the beauty in the simple and plain and broken?
Watching Zachary’s excitement and hearing the awe in his voice
every time he found and picked up a piece of a shell
really touched my heart
and spoke truth and reality to my being.
How thankful I am that Jesus looks upon us with the excitement, awe 
and love that Z had for those shells.
 I am not perfect, not always clean and beautiful.
I try, but am not always successful.
Thankfully I am forgiven and and made new.
How often when Z is playing with friends,
do I get frustrated in his behavior. 
That he is not always nice to his friends.
That he is sometimes mean and hurtful.
That he does not always share well.
That he is sometimes crabby and selfish.
(Am I describing him or myself, seriously!)
And yet I love him all the same.
He is 4, yes, but he is also human.
So am I.
And as God continues to pick up the broken pieces of my life,
forgiving me, challenging me and loving me through it all,
I am humbled.
I am convicted.
My devotion this morning was “The Good Samaritan” story.
Oh how I have heard it so many times.
This morning the author touched on the point
that how often are we so much in a hurry that we miss the obvious right in front of us?
How often are we so focused on our life, our to-do lists and our agendas
that we walk right past what needs our attention the most.
Oh how guilty I am of this.
I do it far too often.
I want to stop.
I need to stop.
And take in all that life is handing me today,
the whole and the broken,
take it, pick it up, wipe it off and see the beauty in it all.
Dearest Jesus,
may I be always changing, always growing,
always mending.
And may the same grace and love you show to me every day,
be an active, breathing, moving way I live my life,
in relation to my own family
and all those around me.
Amen.

Couponing

Yes, this is an actual picture of my coupon book.
I spent a couple of days organizing my coupons for Super Doubles at HT this week.
I have become a bit of a coupon fanatic, 
but not nearly obsessed as some can be
and not always as good at getting most for your money like some are,
but I do enjoy it and appreciate the benefits!
After we moved to NC in 2008, 
I decided to get serious about using coupons.
I’ve always used them.
 I would cut out what I wanted and what I needed.
No real strategy, just thought it was good to use them.
Saving money is good, right?!
Once we started having children,
and I began to stay at home,
I wanted to do what I could to save and do it right.
So I decided to take a couple of workshops.
WOW!
Did I learn a thing or two!
There are some great “secrets” to using coupons and getting the most out of them.
I really had no idea!
But once I began to learn the “secrets” to really using them,
I could not believe what I had been missing out on!
I was getting in the groove quite well before I had Marin,
and then I let it fall to the wayside.  
Now I am back at it and having fun again!
Here is my HT shopping trip today.
$80 worth of groceries for $13.97!!!!!
AWWWW YEAH!!!!
How?
It’s actually not hard at all.
It may take a little work, depending upon how you want to keep coupons.
I clip mine and put them in a binder so we can use them anytime.
Some people just file the whole coupon insert from the paper.
When HT has super doubles or triples, 
then I gather the ones I want,
and thanks to wonderful people like my friend Mandy from
I compare online what I have to what is on sale and worth using.
Many people, like Mandy, make lists online for you showing what is on sale,
 which coupon to use, which weekly coupon insert it comes from
 and how much it will cost in the end.
I compile my own list and head to the store!
This was my best shopping trip yet.  
Sometimes I get great deals, 
sometimes I don’t have the right coupons.
Either way, I really love saving the money.
Just had to write about it, because if you use coupons here or there
or don’t but have thought about using them,
I will attest to the fact that if you learn how to really use them,
they will change the way you shop, for the good!
If you are interested in learning more,
check out Mandy’s website. 
She does Couponing 101 workshops, and I learned the most from her.
She is actually going to be doing a blog series soon that relates to her workshop.
She is a great saver and a fantastic person!
Blessings friends and Happy Shopping!