Sweeping Those Cheerios, Again!

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Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of Heaven.

Today is snowday number 4 in a row for me. My kids have been home much more than usual, and I am left wondering if my life is meaningful enough.

I am a teacher! I teach math, reading, writing, manners, respect, time management,  and responsibility.  When teaching is taken away from me, I am stuck wondering if I am completing the work I am called to complete while here on earth.

Cleaning, laundry, washing dishes, and wiping sticky finger prints off windows does not feel like God’s work. However, I was reminded this week that many women are called to do God’s work inside their home. Some of us are called to do God’s work inside and outside our homes.

Steven Curtis Chapman has a song that compares sweeping up cheerios to mission work. He makes it clear that it doesn’t matter what our daily tasks are. We still do them to honor and glorify God.

My job for this weekend will be caring for my kids and cleaning house. Both of these fulfill the Proverbs 31 way of life.

Proverbs 31:27-28
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Creating a home where my family is warm, loved, safe, and joyful is as great of a job as any issued by God. It is challenging, rewarding, and honors Him. As I enter our weekend, my focus will remain on doing my best for our family. There will be plenty of time Monday to focus on my students.

Blessings!

Time Wasters! Caught and Convicted!

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“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

What temptations drive you crazy? Do you struggle with alcohol, drugs, gambling, anything illegal?

Perhaps you fall into a different category. My temptations are perfectly legal. We would even say harmless, but that would actually be a lie.

I am tempted by food, but able to control it with my addiction to running.

The real problem in my life is time wasters! Candy Crush Saga, Pinterest,  Facebook, television, googling topics of interest!  All a waste of my time, yet I strive to justify every minute that passes.

I know! Many of you are either laughing or arguing that Jesus’ temptation would have been greater if he had carried a smart phone in that desert with him for 40 days.

What tempted Jesus? Satan! What is the root of my temptation? Still Satan. Even if my phone is his method!

I bet there were moments when Jesus wished he could just sit back and fish with Peter. Instead, he did his Father’s work diligently. 

I bring this up because I wasted an incredible amount of time today. This snow day for my school turned into a wasted day of very little productivity. Now I have twice as much on the list for tomorrow. 

Feeling convicted yet? Trust me! I am!

Blessings!

Snow Days, Hot Chocolate, Hot Soup, and Hot Woodstoves

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“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

The forecast calls for 3-7 inches of snow, runny noses, subzero windchill, and two kids who want to build a snowman. Tomorrow will be a day of which we all seek comfort. We will want a break from the cold and blustery winter.  Seeking shade on a hot, summer day is so far from thought it hardly seems possible to feel warm in shorts and t-shirts while playing outside.

We all experience seasons in our lives when we search for comfort.  At this time in my life, I long for the comfort of quiet mornings when I sit back with a cup of coffee and everyone else sleeps. In thirty years, I may long for noisy chaos of children running through my house.

Our source of comfort, regardless of season or age is always the same. We always find comfort in God, our Father, Jesus, our friend who walked the same Earth, and the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us as we journey through this life.

We may not always feel His presence in a Holy manner. Sometimes His comfort arrives in cups of hot chocolate, a hug from a spouse, or a phone call from a friend.  I belive God uses us to comfort others and allows us to experience His love through others.

What are you doing tomorrow?  Will you bring comfort to anyone? Will you allow God to comfort you?

Stepping Out of Our Synagogues

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“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcism nor uncircumcism counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

Want to live like Jesus? Really? Luke 4 shows Jesus teaching in his hometown only to be driven out by an angry mob. Are you willing to step forward and live like Jesus if it means making the friends and family in your life mad?

I struggle all the time to balance daily to-do lists, raising my kids, working, caring for my home and husband, and trying to do something in this world to make a difference. I am the queen of great excuses.

Why do I not volunteer at soup kitchens or pregnancy centers? My family! I have to take care of my kids. Why do we not go on a mission trip? Our jobs don’t allow much time, and who would keep my kids?

I am slowly working my way through a study of Luke. While reading about Luke on goodmornimggirls.com, I found a quote I wanted to share with you.

Whitney writes, “If we want to truly live like Jesus, we need to step out of our “synagogues” of schedules and selfishness and step onto the streets to love the broken in need of a savior.”

That requires living in a bold and courageous way. It means setting your own family aside occasionally to serve others. It means trusting God for enough strength and time to meet everyone’s needs. It means sacrifice.

Do we show love through action?

I don’t know about you, but I have some things to think about today!

Blessings!

Oh the Easy Life!

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Yeah right! Life isn’t easy!

Are you in a tough spot? How about friends or family? Is life smooth sailing or are facing rough times?

I used to think that all good Christians had easy lives. I thought if you went through life doing what you were supposed to do, life would be easy. Then I realized a few things about this world.

Cancer doesn’t play favorites. Anyone can lose their job. It isn’t always easy to get pregnant,  stay pregnant full term, delivery successfully,  or be survived by your children. Good people are widowed at 30. Good people watch their homes burn. Good people struggle with sin.

Here’s the thing. Even Jesus struggled! He dealt with temptation.  He was frustrated by those who wouldn’t listen. He was sinless, yet tortured and crucified.

God doesn’t promise an easy life. He just promises to help us through. He tells us that all things are possible through Him. He never told us He would make it easy.

Pray for those around you facing struggles. Help when you can. Be the window to Jesus they may need.

Blessings!

Celebrating Successes and Accepting Failures

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January 4th has come and gone. Are you still working on your resolutions? What’s that? Something messed you up?

I get it! Power outages, ice storms, and bitter cold can put a kink in your plans! However, let’s take a few moments this weekend to celebrate our succeses.

I planned my January meals with Pinterest.  I bought groceries according to the plan. The forecast for a storm did not require a trip to the grocery store for this girl. We are set!

My living room still looks great! I didn’t get much done on the bathrooms, but all other housework is caught up.

I still fit in my new jeans!

Reflect upon those items checked off the to – do list.  Be proud. Praise God.

Now look at the areas that aren’t going  well.  Why? Are you going to give up or keep trying?

Have you prayed about it?

God loves making changes in our lives! I always feel like God is closest to me when He is trying to mold me differently.

January is such a crazy month! We try to start our year in a certain way. Then life happens. Does your life need to change before you can?

Good luck to you if you are trying to make changes. I pray your resolutions are strong and new habits are forming.

Blessings!

New Beginning: Jesus Starts His Ministry

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Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Are there goals you want to achieve this year? Are you starting a new adventure?  Here are some thoughts based upon Matthew 2 and 3.

Jesus had a mission. He was to begin His ministry here on earth. How did He do it?

1.  First he set his life right with God. He followed orders, was baptized, and received God’s blessing. Always begin with God.

2. He faced temptation.  He spent 40 days searching his soul, facing Satan, and standing by His faith in God’s plan. Remember that your journey will not always be easy. Now aren’t you glad God is already with you?

3. He gathered support. Jesus found His disciples to take this journey with Him. Even Jesus enjoyed the moral support from His friends.

Think about how you are going to reach your goals this year! Remember,  all things are possible with God.

Blessings!

John the Baptist According to Middle Schoolers

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As usual, my middle schoolers gave me great writing material yesterday at church.  After Christmas, I decided to dive into the life of Jesus.  We began a study of the book of Matthew.  Specifically, we were discussing how Jesus got from the manger to his ministry.  More about that topic later….

During our study, we read Matthew chapter 3 about John the Baptist.  The kids remembered our discussion about Elizabeth and her relationship with Mary from the Sunday before.  They even knew that John the Baptist would be beheaded later in the book of Matthew.  However, my students didn’t really know why John the Baptist was important in the life of Jesus.

As talked, here are the important points they discovered about John the Baptist.

1.  Eating locusts was probably gross.

2.  He probably smelled terrible since he wore camel skins.

3.  Point two was contested because he spent a large amount of time in the Jordan River.  They water may have kept him clean.

4.  Jesus needed to be baptized to signify his coming of age.  The baptism didn’t cleanse Him of sin, since he was sinless.  However, it showed that he was now old enough to begin his ministry to the people of Israel.  It was sort of like a coronation ceremony for a new king or queen.

5.  John the Baptist was perfect to baptize Jesus because they were related, John the Baptist knew Jesus was the son of God, and John the Baptist was humble enough to serve Jesus.

The lesson to be learned, I think, is that we all have to humble ourselves to serve Jesus.  It doesn’t matter where we live, how dress, or how smelly our lives may be.  Our job is to create a relationship with Jesus, jump in the river with him, and do what he asks us to do.

Blessings!

The Cows Must Think We Are Crazy

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To recover from the massive eating events of the holiday season, my mom and I went for a run yesterday.  I am visiting their home for the holidays,  so we are in the middle of rural Virginia. As we ran by a field of cows, they mooed at us as if they were telling us we were crazy. I guess they truly believed we were insane.

A cow’s job is to get fat. It eats all it can, sees a vet if it gets sick, and eats some more. Unless bred, it just has to get fat. I bet the cows watched us try to burn off the fattening foods and thought we were breaking the laws of nature.

Do we do that? Do we watch others and think they are going against the plan for life? Do we judge them for doing what they think is best?

God gave us each a unique set of gifts. We are to use these gifts according to His will. Others are given different gifts with different jobs in life.  Rather than criticizing like confused cows mooing at runners, we should accept that others may be living their lives according to God’s will. It doesn’t matter if it matches our perspective of the world.

Which are you today? The judging cow or the crazy runner?

A Gift to Yourself

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Merry Christmas to all of my followers! I am so thankful for the comments, support, and visits to my blog. Since I began this journey in April, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is to give gifts to yourself. Allow me to explain.

The most common comment I get is “How do you do it all?”
I don’t.  I have help. I married an amazing man. We have family close. However, I combat fatigue, burnout, and feelings of inadequacy with gifts to myself.

My favorite gifts include coffee out and nights when I leave dirty dishes, unswept floors, and dirty laundry for an early night in bed.

This Christmas,  give a gift to yourself. You may be up to your ears in cooking, hosting, wrapping, and cleaning up the mess afterward. Give yourself a break. Take time to enjoy Christmas.  Pray. Be thankful. Slow down. Remember to celebrate the life of Jesus.

Merry Christmas and blessings to you and your families!