All In How I Look

Society is more and more sophisticated, and I take more and more for granted. But when I look around my house, I see:

A cabinet full of dishes, so I don’t have to wash the same set over and over.

A dishwasher that makes it so all I have to do is rinse the many dishes I have.

A pantry full of food. So much food that it goes bad before I eat it.

A microwave so I can reheat a meal in seconds.

A stove and oven so I don’t need to start cooking one meal as soon as I clean up from the last.

A machine that just boils water so I don’t have to stand over a fire to make a cup of tea.

Lights that turn on when I flip a switch so I don’t have to carry a lantern around or go to bed at sundown.

A heater so I don’t have to risk burning my house down to stay warm at night.

An air conditioner so I am not sweltering in the Georgia heat from April until October.

A TV that has many channels that I can watch any time I want.

A washing machine that makes it so I don’t have to scrub my clothes.

A dryer so I don’t have to hang my clothes to dry all day.

Enough clothes that I can go a long time without having to wear the same ones.

A car of my own so I don’t have to walk miles to get groceries, uphill both ways.

A bed so my aging back doesn’t have to get sore from sleeping on the floor.

A phone that helps me look up useless information or send people messages that they receive immediately.

Many books, including the Bible, to keep my brain engaged.

Music to lift my spirits.

Thoughts that I can change on my own.

I am a blessed girl. How are you blessed?

Linking with Holley Gerth


When You Grow Tired of Praying for Someone’s Salvation

Sometimes it seems God doesn’t hear you, doesn’t it? You pray for a family member or friend to come to know Him, and you get nothing. He seems so far from you and your part of the world that you might as well just stop trying.

But don’t stop.

No, another person’s salvation does not depend on you. God doesn’t need reminders from you that these people are living in darkness. He is more aware of that than any person here and wants their heart more than you can understand.

Praying for someone to be saved grows your own faith. It may appear you aren’t trusting God to work, but in reality it makes it clear you are trusting God’s timing. He knows best when something should happen and will make it happen at the perfect time.

Continuing to pray for someone helps you develop patience. Of course you want things to happen right away, but that isn’t how eternity works. Having to come to God day after day, and maybe year after year, grows your ability to wait and you will need that ability in every area of life.

The more time spent praying, the more time spent with God, period. You can’t help but grow closer to God when you spend more time in His presence. He longs to hear you talk to Him daily, especially when you bring unselfish requests to Him.

When all you can do is sit back and wait and pray, God gets the glory. Sometimes you need to act, but God always does the heavy lifting in someone’s heart. You never want to try to claim that it was you when it was God all along.

While you are waiting, keep your own relationship with God strong. Everyone around you needs to see all He does through you. They need to see the peace that only comes from knowing God. Your view of life here is flawed, but God knows what still needs to fall into place. Trust Him.

Keep praying. Keep living. Keep opening up to God, and things will happen at the right time. God’s time.

Linking with Holley Gerth

We are the Rich Christians

Reading Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald J. Sider has really opened my eyes, more than I thought they were already open. Much of what he had to say felt depressing, until he talked about how we can help the poor and marginalized around the world.

One of the biggest things we can do is a micro loan. I had heard of these before with less detail. There are many charities that support adults and children in poverty, but micro loans are different. These are small amounts of money loaned to start a business. Sometimes it involves training and sometimes it means buying a sewing machine so a mother can support her family. The loans vary in amounts from $50 to $500 usually and are paid back. The family is given justice, dignity, and purpose. Opportunity International is one of the organizations brought up in the book.

There are also advocacy programs to help end hunger around the world. It can seem impossible to know how to help or what is needed, so it can help to look to these programs for guidance. Through them, you can find out ways to get your community involved, get help with dealing with politics and hunger, and donate to the right companies. An important step to helping others is to learn about the issues that matter and get connected to where you fit in with these programs. Bread for the World and The Micah Challenge are groups mentioned in the book.

As Deuteronomy 15:7-8 says, “If there are poor among you in one of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be selfish or greedy toward them. But give freely to them and freely lend them whatever they need.” All of us able to read this are rich compared to much of the world and it is up to us to help them. If not us, then who?

Where do you donate or volunteer that will help eradicate hunger and poverty around the world? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Linking with Holley Gerth

Lessons Learned from a Life Well Lived

This week I lost a friend. My buddy, Jason, went to heaven at the age of 35. He spent his whole life in a wheelchair because of spina bifida but was cheerful, loving, and encouraging. Monday, the day he passed, I saw a comment he had made to me a few years ago that he had known Jesus since 1994. That, and picturing him dancing in heaven, made me smile.

Several things have occurred to me in the days since this happened. One is that we don’t have to do big things to make a difference. We don’t have to be Billy Graham or Mother Teresa to leave our mark. Each of us is here for a reason and nothing is too small. Jason told me multiple times that he wished he knew what he could do to help others. He wanted to start a ministry for people with disabilities. That was the kind of heart he had. When something big wasn’t happening, he felt defeated. He would feel like he wasn’t enough.

What Jason didn’t seem to realize was that his ministry was to encourage everyone around him. I tried to tell him many times how much he inspired me and lifted my spirits. No matter what was going on in his own life, Jason offered to pray for us and asked if we needed help. He was always looking outside himself at what he could do for others he loved.

This sad time has also taught me in a new way that people are always watching us. (Not in a creepy stalker way.) With the age of the internet and social media, it has become even easier to observe someone without them being aware of it. We are all touching lives and hopefully leaving them better. We can offer our assistance, prayers, and a listening ear. Even when a person doesn’t respond or declines our offer, it means something to them. They may be going through something and what we said was just what they needed to hear. Silence doesn’t mean our words and actions mean nothing. They may mean everything.

None of our kindness is wasted. All of it matters, and we should live like we believe that. We should be a friend, even when our own life isn’t easy. We should be a light to all who are watching, whether we know who that is or not. Everyone is seeing how we handle the good and the bad and it leaves a mark on their heart.

In the days before Jason went to heaven, his Facebook feed was filled with prayers and love and support. I prayed that Jason knew how much he was loved and how much his presence on this earth mattered to all around him. We were just returning all the love he gave to us. He was so sweet and did so much for his family and friends. As a fellow Georgia football fan, I will say for my friend, “Go Dawgs!” You now have the best seat in the house. One day, we will see you again.

Linking with Holley Gerth

Orlando….and Beyond!

Last week was Winter Break around here, so we headed farther south. About a billion other people joined us. Orlando seemed crazier than we had seen it in the past, especially for February. Also for the first time, we did no Disney!

The whole point of this trip was to get our little Harry Potter lovin’ girl to Universal Studios for the World of Harry Potter and some butter beer.  We made it there and had 4 other days to play. While the lines were long and the day was hot, Lauren loved it. Kaitlyn enjoyed it too.

Lauren’s favorite day may have been Universal, but her Daddy and sister loved the NASA Space Center visit. We drove out and spent most of the day checking out shuttles and learning about space exploration. We all agreed they look bigger in person.

The days in between were spent by the condo pool and a day at Cocoa Beach. I read a whole book, mostly in sunshine. We even ate dinner in front of a shark tank one night.

My favorite part of the whole trip was all of it. No, it wasn’t perfect or close to it. My favorite thing was just being together. When I said this, James said to the girls, “In case you didn’t know it, Mommy’s love language is quality time.” Oh they know it, as it is their love language too. Whether we were relaxing by the pool or playing putt putt or running around the parks, I just wanted to be together. I don’t know how long the girls will want to hang out with us. I don’t know the future and what will happen to us. All I know is I want these memories stored away.

Mission accomplished.


Linking with Holley Gerth

Do You Care for Your Heart or Your Heart?

February is all about the heart. It is the heart health month with Valentine’s Day smack dab in the middle. We learn the signs of a heart attack and ways to take care of our hearts, but we don’t think enough about guarding our biblical hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Our hearts are the essence of who we are and determine the course of our lives and affect everything we do. We tend to allow so much to go on around us, not thinking how it permeates our hearts.

Of course, it is important to take care of our physical bodies. They are precious to God and He created them in His own image. The way I see it is that we focus on the physical aspects, which is what we can see, feel and touch. We know the condition of our bodies at all times, but we ignore the spiritual part. It is like a bride and groom who only prepare for their wedding day and not the marriage. They focus on what they know will happen that one day and not for the ups and downs of married life. That is us when we only think about our physical bodies.

According to 1 Timothy 4:8, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Taking care of our bodies is definitely worthwhile and allows us to do more in life, but that can’t be all we do.

The biblical heart includes our feelings, desires and even thoughts. It represents so much of who we are and where we are going. Physically, we eat healthy foods and exercise daily. These are habits we incorporate to keep strong hearts and bodies. Do we do enough to keep the heart of who we are strong? Going to church and doing nice things for people are great, as is using kind and uplifting words. Those things are not necessarily daily practices though.

Reading the Bible and praying every day are wonderful practices to keep our hearts centered on God. I think it can be too easy to do those things and then “forget” who we are the rest of the day. I am God’s child and created to do great things, and so are you. Do I act like that all the time? Sadly, no. Throughout our days, we need to learn to focus on the good and uplifting and let go of the negative. This is not saying to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to what is happening in the world around us, but to do what we can and encourage others to do the same.

The biggest way I think we can strengthen our hearts is by using them. Working on developing compassion and viewing everything we do in light of how it may help someone takes our hearts from beating to thriving. Pumping life into people around us is a feat that takes a lifetime to accomplish and makes us stronger a little bit every day.

Taking care of our hearts will affect us and those around us here on earth, but doing so will also be beneficial for our eternal lives. If we are to love God and people well, there is work involved. Let’s be consistent in our efforts, not just one month, but every day of the year.


Prayer Changes Me

Our church started a 4 week series on prayer. Don’t you just breathe a sigh of relief when you read that? There is always something to learn about prayer, and I am learning about it on different sides these days!

God must be trying to teach me lots about communicating with Him. Over at Linda’s blog, we are doing a 6 week study on the book, “Invitation to Solitude and Silence” by Ruth Haley Barton which has fascinated me. I am 2 weeks in to my new practice of sitting alone, allowing God to just be with me. I am not asking for anything for 10 whole minutes a day! If I want my relationship to grow deeper, I must not be the one always talking. Not easy for a chatty person who likes to fill silences.

Then we started the prayer series at NorthStar on Sunday. The fact that God will never leave me alone for the rest of my life just blows me away. He even thinks of me when I don’t think of Him. You know how often I just go about my day and either don’t talk to God or send Him up a quick prayer? Most of the day.

Wisdom is something that I strive for in my life, but I won’t truly gain any until I allow God to go through my days with me. Yes, it seems crazy that the God who is in control of the universe and has major fish to fry also wants to get up close and personal with me. He wants for me to seek Him out not only when I feel really good or really bad.  God just wants to be with me. Period.

Communicating with other people isn’t that different from communicating with God. Both require talking and listening from both parties. A one sided conversation will never get very far, so I have been trying to give God a chance to get a word in. While He wants to know my heart, I also need to know His. I need to feel His love and nearness, and that is tough to do in this fast paced world. Taking time to be alone and quiet every day gives me the balance I need.

Working on my prayer life is something I will do for the rest of my life. I believe that this is an area that will grow exponentially the more I put into it. It is time that will always be well spent.

Linking with Holley Gerth