Necessary Luxury

It’s that time of year again. The end of October. School is in full swing and Christmas is right around the corner. Now is the perfect time.


Even if you have to force yourself, do it. Find a way to take something off your plate or say no to the next person who asks you to help. We can only do so much, and our families need us. Don’t take my word on how important rest is. Here are some verses and quotes.

Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Elisabeth Elliot: “Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.”

Mark Buchanan: “Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”

Alan Cohen: “There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”

Charles Spurgeon: “Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”

Shirley Conran: “I make no secret of the fact that I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep beneath it.”

I hope that some of these words sink in and you go off with a book, a blanket, and a cup of coffee or tea. If you don’t take the time for yourself, no one else will!

Deeply Satisfying

Even those with the best of intentions can be led astray. Can I get an Amen? The good part is that we have a loving God who wants a relationship with us. He wants our hearts and our devotion. He keeps correcting us and guiding us, but as we see in the Bible, there comes a time when the goodwill stops.

David was a man after God’s own heart. He spent his life seeking God and trusting. When David was caught in sin, he repented and begged for forgiveness. He didn’t care how he looked when he was praising God; he just did it. David had sin issues, but the most destructive issue of a lack of humility or dependence on God was not one of them.

David’s son, Solomon, had great promise. Because of how much God loved David, he told Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted. Instead of great wealth or power, Solomon asked for wisdom. (I am not sure that would be my first wish, but I hope it would at least be in my top 3.) God was so pleased, He gave him wisdom AND riches and honor. Solomon was set! All he had to do was walk with God.

Solomon had everything he could want. (Except indoor plumbing. That might have been a deal breaker for me.) There was peace, which his father fought his whole life to attain. He had all the food he needed and much more. There were also lots of ladies. Apparently too many ladies.

According to 1 Kings 11, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. They were from nations that God had told the Israelites not to marry, as they could pull the Israelites away from God. If one could pull a heart away from God, think about the damage that hundreds could do. So Solomon, aka the wisest man alive, disobeyed God. God gave him opportunities to turn back and repent, but not forever.

King Solomon may have been wise, but it didn’t do him any good when his heart was not right with God. He worshiped other gods. He broke God’s heart.

The other day when I was thinking about David and Solomon, the words that came to me were deeply satisfying. All David needed was God. He would be out in a cave, running for his life, but he only needed God. He was afraid for his life, but he always knew God was on his side. All the wisdom in the world means nothing when you stop seeking after God.

This is what I want in my life. I want to run after God with all my heart and not get sidetracked. I want to always remember that He is all I need. I want to desire nothing so much as I desire God. He is mine and I am His. We go together like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread and milk. (Maybe that last one is just me.)

God is all I need. In Him, I am deeply satisfied.

Linking with Holley Gerth

Little Gestures Add Up


As today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary, I thought I would write about something I have learned. Yeah, it might not be a long post….

What has struck me lately is how much I appreciate the little things. (I also am easily amused. Do those traits go together?) I love when my husband does something that he knows makes me happy, like washing the dishes after grilling dinner. He also knows I love hydrangeas and bought me a tea towel with hydrangeas on it for Mother’s Day. Seeing that on display makes me very happy! When we pay attention to the little things that make our spouse tick, it makes a huge difference.

For my part, I like to buy James his favorite candy or make him cookies that he loves. Nothing is better than seeing him smile at the end of a long day! I included this picture from our wedding because James said he loves it. I try to remember things like that and tuck them away. None of these things cost much, but they have a great payoff. When we do even the little things out of love, it shows. The other person sees how much they are loved and thought of all day.

Every Friday morning during the school year, we get the girls on the bus and go to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. It is kind of like a mini date at a time in our lives where we don’t get big nights out often. As much as I love getting dressed up and going to a fancier restaurant, I love our morning dates! They sustain us through the many months we don’t get the bigger ones.

We all hear of the grand gestures, which are great. The world needs those, but they don’t get us through the day to day. The unsung heroes of gestures are the ones that are small and add up to a great life. This includes the people who make coffee for their spouse every morning. It is also the people who pay attention to the acts of service or types of activities their spouse enjoys and then does them without being asked and without expecting fanfare. Just to make them happy. Just to make them laugh.

What things can you do for your spouse that would have the most meaning for them? What would show them that you see them and love them more than anyone else on the earth? Figure that out and go do it. Every day if you can.

Linking with Holley Gerth


Are You Kidding Me?

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Why is it so hard to obey this? Why can’t Jesus’ commands be easy, such as, “Go and have fun!” I would also prefer, “Enjoy your life and be nice to nice people.” But love my enemies? Can’t we just ignore those people?

Here are some reasons to do as we are commanded:

God is a God of justice. If we are truly being abused, He will take care of it. We don’t have to try to take our own revenge. Since He created everyone, including the ones against us, He is much more creative and effective than we could be. By praying for them and being kind, we are leaving the outcome in God’s hands.

Our peace is more important than making sure someone is punished. When we hold onto that pain and unforgiveness, it hardens us and makes us constantly anxious. However, when we let go of our right to seek retribution, we can move forward in our own life. Who wants to be stuck in limbo anyways?

When we love everyone, we set an example for those around us. People are watching us, whether we know it or not. They are looking to see how we behave. If we only are kind to those who act kind to us, what credit is that to God? Anyone can do that! If He is living inside us, the power to love the unlovable comes from Him and not our own strength. Let’s show that to the world.

Seeing God work gives us more faith. If we begin to pray for someone who has hurt us, our hearts will soften toward them. We will actually notice love for them. That is a sure sign that God is at work in us, as loving a persecutor is not a human trait. Feeling God work through us like that is a great reminder for us of His power!

God wants us free from all bitterness and that means not holding on to hurt. No matter what someone has done, we are to love them. Since we can’t do that on our own, we must first pray for them. God will supply the forgiveness and love in time. This may seem like the hardest and most unnatural thing to do, but it really is the wisest.

Start praying for those who hurt you and see how God moves!


Linking with Holley Gerth

A Dose of Election Reality

Here is a little secret: after the election next month, we won’t all be happy. I know, I know. Shocker. Here is another thing people don’t seem to realize: the president of the United States isn’t in control of everything. Crazy, huh? Well, I decided to think of some things for all of us to do instead of wringing our hands. (Or perhaps while we wring our hands?)

If we aren’t happy with how the government spends the country’s money, let’s spend ours the way we think it should be spent. Let’s lead by example. Let’s pay our own bills, save some, and give the rest.

Do you think the U.S. should only help those who need it here in the states after the hurricane? Then donate to the flood victims on the east coast. Give clothes, household items, and money to them. Do you think we should be helping Haiti, the poorest of the poor? Then you should donate to Samaritan’s Purse and Food for the Poor. If you agree with both sides, find a way to help people here and in Haiti.

Are you worried about race relations? Get involved in your community. Reach out to people of a different race than you. Have real conversations about people’s experiences and let them be honest. If it is not the same as yours, don’t judge them.

Do you think we have lost kindness? Be that kindness you miss. Smile and make eye contact. Be polite and maybe hold a door open for a stranger. Do a random act of kindness.

Are you concerned by the amount of people in need? Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Visit elderly people or someone else you know who might be lonely. Maybe they don’t need the government as much as they need you.

Is there an issue that you are passionate about? Whoever the next president is, you can make change there. Abortion, gun control, women’s rights, immigrants. Get out there and help. There are so many organizations that need volunteers.

For the love of America, don’t berate someone who is voting for someone different than you are. This country only works when we allow each other to be different and truly embrace those differences. We don’t have to agree but we do have to respect other opinions.

If you are truly scared about the direction of this country, don’t let that fear paralyze you or make you indifferent. Let it guide you and motivate you. Figure out where you fit in and help. Roll up your sleeves and get to work bettering the country. Do what you can and remember that it will all work out.

Last but certainly not least, get out there and vote on election day! Honor those who have sacrificed so much for us to have that right, and let the nation know your opinion. We are counting on YOU!


Linking with Holley Gerth

Sugar and Spice With a Touch of Sass

My daughter continues to blow me away. She inspires me in ways generally reserved for much older and wiser people. She LOVES to give. The child is broke on a regular basis, but when she does get a dollar, she gives it away.

Recently I handed Lauren a few dollars for helping me babysit. She had been saying how she had no money, so silly me thought she might save it. Nope. We were at the register at Lifeway Christian Store (my toy store) and she took one of those bills and put it in a little donation box they had. She didn’t care where the money was going and just wanted to help.

The next week, we were at the beach. We ordered her a Shirley Temple and she loved it. When our waiter brought her a refill, she told me she wanted to tip him a dollar. I made sure to get his attention so she could (somewhat awkwardly) hand it to him. The look on his face when a ten year old tipped him was priceless! He ended up bringing her a container of grenadine.🙂


Two nights later, we were at an open air event. There was a man playing a guitar quietly in the background next to his guitar case. Lauren walked right up to him and put a dollar in the case. He was so shocked! He told me to have her take it back and that he wasn’t here for that. I told him she wanted him to have it. Lauren turned to me and said she likes to see people’s faces when she gives.

In case you think I am saying this because I think I am a great parent, know this. I have 2 children. The other daughter doesn’t give nearly as much as her sister. If you look at it this way, we are batting .500. They both have their strengths, such as Kaitlyn is good at making cat noises. All I can do is encourage them both!

This is also not saying Lauren is perfect. She loves to spend some money at Justice, the clothing store for tween girls. She loves anything “super cute.” I constantly hear “Mom, why do people think sassy girls talk like that?” when I mimic her. (For the record, I say it in my Valley Girl voice. I don’t know where this sassy girl thing came from. Do kids now not know about that? Sad.) She seems to have the right idea though. She loves to shop and loves to give. It appears to be equal.

Sometimes it takes kids to show us how to act. My daughter keeps me giving freely. She gives with true joy and just wants to make people smile. What can you learn from your child?

Linking with Holley Gerth.

Wide Open Spaces

Last week was the first vacation we have had in 2016. I was so happy to have the first night away in a year! I decided to take a break from writing for the week as I was feeling dry and without words. (For anyone who knows me, that takes a lot!) Just like my week off last year, I brought a notebook so I could write if I found words. And just like that other time, I didn’t think about cracking it once. Rest and time away is so good for the soul.

The four of us stayed in a condo on the Gulf side of Florida for a few nights and had a great time. The highlight was showing our girls where Mommy and Daddy got married almost 13 years ago. The girls did not fight or complain the whole night. It was a true miracle! We recreated wedding pictures, using two children and an iPhone. They didn’t even complain about seeing their parents kiss.🙂

One of the things I love about the ocean is the way it makes me feel. When I look out over the water and it seems endless, I feel so small. The earth has been here for so many years and it will be here until Jesus comes back. All of the problems I had been thinking about melt away when I think about how many other people have gone through it and come out on the other side of it. My issues aren’t new or different, regardless of what I tell myself. Even the times that seem hopeless are going to work out.

On this trip, I saw three things that always bring me peace: the ocean, a sky filled with stars, and big fields. Not only do these things make me feel connected to God who created them and me, but they remind me that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Perspective is such an important part of life and seem to also be the first thing we lose when life gets busy. I love my job and taking care of my family, but I need to remember to breathe and enjoy the moment.

For me, just glancing at anything big in nature causes me to let out the breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. It calms me and helps me remember what is important in life. What does the same for you?

Linking with Holley Gerth