More Happy Things From Today

Faith requires trust.
Absolutely.
LOVE this local storefront Christmas window display!!!
So cool.
Burlington finds. I somehow have magically destroyed all my wine glasses with stems.
Gonna go with stemless from now on. 🙂
I couldn’t believe the box, but this one glass holds an entire bottle of wine.
NO I did not drink all this! LOL. #JustTesting
You know your men need a haircut when they can look like this!!! LOL
#PhotoEditingFunny

A few of my favorite things!

Flamingos!!! If there was such a thing as a “spirit animal”,
this would be mine.

My “Walk In Love” bracelet from the Discipleship Walk I just went on.
Plus, multi-(bright) colored silicone wedding bands!
A visual representation of where I am in my life right now.
So tired of doing what I “should” or “ought to” or what everyone expects me to.
So tired of doing what everyone else is doing.
So tired of going with the flow, blending in, trying not to stick out.
Afraid people won’t like or accept me if they knew the real me.
**Well I’m getting off this crazy train.**
I’m starting to live the life that God has designed for me!!!
Found this at the public library today! Can’t wait to delve in!!!
When your sweater tag brings you warm fuzzies cuz it’s absolutely perfect.
#Love+Joy
The cutest children’s books I just discovered.
Pikachu socks!!!

#WalkInLove #RejoiceAlways

This is How I Fight My Battles

“Surrounded (Fight My Battles)”
(“To The One” version)

There’s a table that You’ve prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies
It’s Your body and Your blood You shed for me
This is how I fight my battles

There’s a table that You’ve prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies
It’s Your body and Your blood You shed for me
This is how I fight my battles

I believe You’ve overcome
And I will lift my song of praise for what You’ve done

This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how

In the valley I know that you’re with me
Surely Your goodness and your mercy follows me
My weapons are praise and thanksgiving
This is how I fight my battles

I believe You’ve overcome
And I will lift my song of praise for what You’ve done

This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how

This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You

This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You

My weapons are praise and thanksgiving.”

Our weapons are also God’s Word, prayer, community with other believers, music…

Even the weakest Christian is stronger than Satan. We have the victory!

Scripture says Satan prowls about the earth like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Get that: he’s not really a powerful, roaring lion– he’s LIKE a lion. De-fanged. De-clawed. On a leash. Defeated.

At the name of Jesus, Satan & his demons will flee. Even if you can’t think of anything to pray, just say the name “Jesus!”. It’s the most powerful one-word prayer ever!

Walk in Love today, my friends. And Rejoice Always.

Where would I be without God?

Love Love Love this song. Dancing to it this morning on this frosty fall day. After yesterday’s blog post about Following God, this song has become a follow-up anthem running through my mind.


“Me Without You”– TobyMac

Raindrops rollin’ off my brim
Streetlights got the pavement glistenin’
Touchdown, I fall into Your arms
Right where I belong
Your everlasting arms

And where would I be
Without You…

I’d be packin’ my bags when I need to stay
I’d be chasin’ every breeze that blows my way
I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It’s true
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
Don’t know where I’d be without You
(Wooooah, without you)

Flashback, step into the scene
There’s You and there’s a very different me
Touchdown, You had me at believe
You had me at believe, You did

And where would I be
Without You, without You…

I’d be packin’ my bags when I need to stay
I’d be chasin’ every breeze that blows my way
I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It’s true
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
Don’t know where I’d be without You

(Where would I be…)

[WHISPERING]
(I was so deep,
So incomplete
Til’ You rescued me
Yeah, You rescued me)

You rescued me
You are mine, I am Yours
You rescued me
And I am Yours forever
You saved me, remade me

And where would I be

I’d be packin’ my bags when I need to stay
I’d be chasin’ every breeze that blows my way
I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It’s true
That I’d be packin’ my bags when I need to stay
I’d be chasin’ every breeze that blows my way
I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
So true
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou
Don’t know where I’d be without You

That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou
That’s me without You-ou-ou-ou
Don’t know where I’d be without You

#WalkInLove #RejoiceAlways

I Will Follow

I WILL FOLLOW: by Christ Tomlin

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone

Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve, I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone
In you alone

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve, I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

In you, there’s life everlasting
In you, there’s freedom for my soul
In you, there’s joy, unending joy
And I will follow

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve, I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve, I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you

I will follow you
I will follow you
I will follow you


While I listened to this song, I caught a vision of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. They went, they stayed, & they moved based on God’s movements. By day, He guided them by a pillar of cloud. By night, He guided by a pillar of fire. (See Exodus 13:21-22.) The Israelites had a VISUAL leading of God, like an actual real thing to see with their very own eyes.

Sometimes I think it’d be great to see God’s direction so clearly like this for myself. I mean how cool would it be to physically see God’s movement & direction & calling on the earth?

But hey, He DOES show us. Maybe not in such a flashy style. But He def leads & speaks to us clearly.

*Through His word. When we read it & spend quiet, contemplative time thinking about it & how it can be applied & believing it.
*Through music. It brings images & visions to mind, stirs within us feelings, helps us memorize God’s word. It moves & encourages & fills us with hope & peace.
*Through meditation. We sit quietly thinking on God’s word & listening for Him.
*Through journaling. Written prayers & pouring out our hearts to Him.
*Through sermons, podcasts, & Christian speakers. They have an amazing way of helping us make sense of God’s word.
*Through fellowship & sharing life with one another. The conversations that bring sweet encouragement & perspective (& sometimes loving rebuke).
*Through nature. It brings inner tranquility & rejuvenation.
*Through Christian literature & devotionals. They help give us clarity & perspective & bring truths to our remembrance.
*Through coincidences. Things/situations that only God could have orchestrated.

God’s leading is all around us when we have spiritual eyes & ears that are open to His prompts. Are we looking? Are we listening? And will we follow?


Following is hard– I’m not gonna lie. Maybe because as an American we are proud of our *independence* & we take that into all areas of life? Maybe some of us are just natural born leaders & we want to be out front? Maybe it’s our sin nature that wants to shake it’s little fist at God & do things “our” way? Perhaps it’s a combo of all three. But whatever the cause, following can be hard.

It means we have to put our wants/desires to the side.
It means we have to put our complete trust in the leader.
It means that we’re not “in the know” concerning all the nitty-gritty details.
It means we have to have faith that the leader not only knows what they’re doing– but that they’re capable of doing it.
It means we’re not in control.
It means surrender.

These are NOT easy things to do.

But our God is not like man. He’s not fallible. He doesn’t make mistakes. His ways are only good. He knows all things. He holds all things. He IS capable. He IS trustworthy 100%.

And He loves us– oh, how He loves us (John 3:16).
He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us. Plans to give us a hope & a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
His way is perfect & His word is flawless (Psalm 18:30).
He abounds in goodness & truth (Exodus 34:6).

Follow Him.
Go where He goes.
Stay where He stays.
Move where He moves.
Serve where He serves.
Love who He loves.

In you, there’s life everlasting
In you, there’s freedom for my soul
In you, there’s joy, unending joy
And I will follow

#WalkInLove #RejoiceAlways

Self-Care

This is probably one of those topics you’ll hear me coming back to again and again here on the blog. It just cannot be stated enough how important it is. Self-care brings sanity, calm nerves, hope, & happiness.

I SO freakin’ wish someone would have pulled me aside as a young mom and explained just WHY self-care was SO ridiculously important. It would have made me a better wife, mom, friend. I would have just been a HAPPIER person.

Along the mothering way, I got it in my head that it wasn’t ok for me to make time for me.

Let me tell you where that (dumb) idea came from…

Several years back when I had five little ones under the age of 6 (yes, you read that right), let’s just say I was SWIMMING in exhaustion & overwhelm. I had very little support. My parents lived in another state, I was relatively new to the community, my hubby was trying to establish his business & so was gone a lot, all my friends/family were either busy with their own babies or were working. I felt so alone.

So I tried reaching out to a Christian lady from my church for help. All I needed/wanted was an afternoon off: a couple hours to regroup, take a nap, maybe get some backed-up house work accomplished. She had older kids & so I thought maybe she’d have some availability.

My request didn’t go over well. She turned on me… and I’ll never forget that look in her eye or the biting tone in which she spoke to me…

She said… “YOU got yourself into this mess…
this is YOUR problem… I will NOT help you…”

I was beside myself. It felt like someone sucker punched me in the gut & knocked all the air outta me.

If she’s thinking this… then… are other people thinking this, too?
Was there really NO ONE who’d be willing to help me?
Were my children & I really THAT much of a burden to others?

To say I was crushed was an understatement. Something inside me shriveled up & almost died that day. In my immaturity I lost hope of every asking for help in the future.

From that day forth, I was set on a mission to be absolutely independence.

I don’t need anyone anyway.
You’re right– I DID get myself into this “mess”.
I’ll carve my path out myself.
I don’t need sitters.
I don’t need help, esp if it’s going to be given begrudgingly.
I don’t need time off.
I don’t need breaks.
They’re MY “problem” & I’ll figure out how to solve things on my own.

Every time I felt like I couldn’t take any more, I’d simply need to replay this lady’s statements in my mind & I’d be able gird up my loins for more care-taking.

Fast forward four years… when I quite literally had a break. My body started shutting down with adrenal fatigue, anxiety, food sensitivities, digestive upset, & panic attacks.

So started my path to self-care.

So started my *having* to ask for help.

So started the hard task of *accepting* help.

“The Lord is Shepherd, I shall not want. He MAKES me lie down in green pastures. He LEADS me beside quiet waters. He RESTORES my soul. He GUIDES me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. ~Ps. 23:1-3

If you don’t take a rest, God may very well MAKE you take a rest as He did with me.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to something debilitating before you take a needed Sabbath.

Now that I’m older/wiser, I have completely forgiven this woman. As the years have passed, I have witnessed her go through crazy tumultuous family ordeals. Perhaps I caught her on a very bad day.

And NO… one woman’s opinion does NOT speak for everyone else!
And NO… my children & I are NOT a burden to society! (And neither are you & your children!!!)

A HUGE part of my healing has been SELF-CARE.

I’d done SO much caring for other’s that I’d nearly forgotten to take care of me!

How can I give from an empty cup?

Why do airlines say adults/caretakers get the oxygen FIRST before children?

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you & was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. ~1 Cor. 6:19-20

Take care of your temple, ladies!!!

If you’re like me a few years back, you may be thinking:
*I don’t know where to start.
*I don’t know what self-care looks like for me.

First of all, go back to your childhood. Children are FANTASTIC at self-care techniques & doing things to soothe themselves and make them happy. Start there.

*Did you spend a lot of time outdoors in nature?
*Did you like hot baths or showers (or swimming in pools/lakes/rivers)?
*Did you paint or write?
*Did you have a fuzzy blanket to snuggle to?
*Did you like warm milk or reading books before bed?
*Did you love long car rides & travel?
*Did you like to ride your bike for hours?
*Did you have a hobby?
*Were you one of the unique kids that actually liked sleep & naps?
*Did you like to play sports?
*Did you like going to your room & being in solitude?
*Did you blast your music or sing at the top of your lungs?
*Did you like cooking with your parents or grandma?
*Did you like gardening or landscaping?

What did you do as a child that you could get lost in?
What soothed you?
What calmed you after a long day?
What things made you happy?

Guess what? Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t do these same “kids activities” to bring you peace & pleasure. If it makes you feel any better, I have a special fuzzy blanket that I cuddle up to each night because I love the way it feels on my skin. So soft. Relaxes me instantly. If you had a cuddle blanket as a kid, go ahead & get you an adult version. No one will know… and honestly, no one will care. Do what you need to do for you.

Self-care can also come from another angle. Take a look at these other forms:

*If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
*Say “exactly” what you mean.
*Don’t be a people-pleaser.
*Trust your instincts.
*Never speak bad about yourself.
*Never give up on your dreams.
*Don’t be afraid to say “no”.
*Don’t be afraid to say “yes”.
*Be kind to yourself.
*Let go of what you cannot control.
*Stay away from drama & negativity as much as possible.
(This was from a meme I found online forever ago… don’t know who came up with it– but I give them credit.)

Other forms of self-care could be:
*eat life-giving/healthy foods
*don’t eat lifeless/unhealthy foods
*move your body daily with loving movement
*take a shower each day
*brush & floss regularly
*get pedicures/manicures
*get a massage
*see your doctor(s) regularly
*take your vitamins
*wear clothes that flatter you & make you look/feel great
*tame the clutter in your house

Self-care can come in so many different shapes & sizes.
It does not have to take hours & hours out of your day.
It does not have to cost a fortune.
And there ARE people that will help you get that time off!

It will make you a better person… promise you!

So what will you do today to fill your cup?
What things can you participate in that bring a smile to your face?

**Here’s an excellent template if you need help brainstorming:

#liveawakened #livefullyalive #lifeabundant #selfcare #yourenotbeingselfish #rejoice #takecareofyourtemple #SHINE

Shine

When I first became a Christian, I’m talking like mid to late 90’s y’all… the VERY first Christian song I ever listened to was Newsboys “Shine”. To this day, I STILL love it. If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, enjoy this flashback:

“Shine”– Newsboys

Dull as dirt
You can’t assert the kind of light
That might persuade
A strict dictator to retire
Fire the army
Teach the poor origami
The truth is in
The proof is when
You hear your heart start asking,
“What’s my motivation?”

And try as you may, there isn’t a way
To explain the kind of change
That would make an Eskimo renounce fur
That would make a vegetarian barbecue hamster
Unless you can trace this about-face
To a certain sign…

[Chorus]
Shine
Make ’em wonder what you’ve got
Make ’em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored
Shine
Let it shine before all men
Let’em see good works, and then
Let ’em glorify the Lord

Out of the shaker and onto the plate
It isn’t Karma
It sure ain’t fate
That would make a Deadhead sell his van
That would make a schizophrenic turn in his crayons
Oprah freaks
And science seeks a rationale
That shall excuse
This strange behavior

When you let it shine
You will inspire
The kind of entire turnaround
That would make a bouncer take ballet
(even bouncers who aren’t happy)
But out of the glare
With nowhere to turn
You ain’t gonna learn it on “What’s My Line?”

****Ahhhh, such happy teenage memories. 🙂

That word SHINE has become my life mantra.

An equally important life word: REJOICE.

To me, they go together like Indiana & sugar cream pie. Or Indiana & tenderloins. Or Indiana & corn. Or Indiana & Purdue. You catch my drift.

The two words (shine & rejoice) are absolutely inseparable in my eyes. They are my life goals:

To: Shine for Jesus.
To: Rejoice in Jesus.

It’s what I’m here on this earth to do: to spread His light in this dark world!

“In the same way, let your light SHINE before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matt. 5:16

Jesus came that we may have LIFE, and have it to the FULL.
~John 10:10

I’m done hiding in the shadows because my light might “offend” someone.

I’m done covering up my light so it’s more palatable.

I’m done fearing to risk stepping out & walking God’s adventure.

I’m done fearing man & what he thinks of me.

I’m done playing it safe.

There’s a hurting world out there that needs my light, my empathy, my compassion, my help, my heart.

I may not be everyone’s flavor, & that’s ok.

But I gotta do what God put me on this earth to do!!!

I’ve gotta live “on mission” for God!!!

He’s got people for me to shine on.
He’s got opportunities where my light can shine.
He’s got a mission field that needs my light.

And guess what…

He’s got the SAME THING GOING FOR YOU!!!

Do *you* know why you’re here?
Do *you* know what God’s mission is for you to accomplish?
Do *you* know what your skills, talents, abilities, & gifts are?

Is fear holding you back?
Does anxiety have it’s grip on you?
Are you holding back?
Are you afraid that you’re “too much” for the world?
Are you afraid that you’ll be rejected or ridiculed if you really step out?
Are you afraid of failure?
Are you bogged down with thoughts like, “other people are so much better/more gifted/more talented/more connected… I just can’t compare.. why try”?

I’ve got two very helpful words for you:

STOP IT.

Rather, tell Satan to stuff it!!! All these fears & doubts are totally from him, NOT God.

Did you catch that? Fear is a SPIRIT! And it’s NOT the spirit GOD gave us!!!

You have every right and privilege of telling Satan to go away in the name of Jesus. He HAS to listen. In fact,

Resist Satan and he WILL flee from you! He HAS to. Jesus’ name is SO powerful!

This is just a FANTASTIC song. Seriously listen to the lyrics!!!

Don’t let Satan steal from you the fullness of life that God has in store for you.

Be courageous!!!

As the leaves fall this season, focus on letting fear drop away from you!!!

#liveawakened #livefullyalive #Jesus #becourageous #shine #rejoice #bravery #takerisks #increasedfaith #abundantlife #letgooffear