Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Finding Gratitude

I had thought I would do a video for this post. I'm really trying to stretch myself these days, and video's are an area that really intimidates me. I'm not sure why. I used to speak in front of hundreds of people at a time.  Anyway, I decided I would write this out because I was really afraid I wouldn't get through the video without blubbering & shedding every tear in my head.

This time of year is hard for me. There, I said it. I feel guilty for it being hard because I know that part of it is my own attitude towards our living situation right now. We still live with my husbands parents and sometimes I just don't understand why the Lord would continue to keep us here. Then there are days when I know why he has. But that doesn't make it easier. 

So, gratitude can sometimes be hard for me. 

Then today happened. 

Last night, me along with 6 other dear friends threw a Christmas party for our Young Living team members. It was so much fun to love on our team members and bless them. 

We asked each guest to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to our local food pantry. They gave so generously and today the kids and I had the pleasure of delivering the items to the food pantry.  We pulled up to the little building and were surprised to find people already in line for food. 

The kids helped me to unload the car and as I stood there waiting to speak to the coordinator I looked at those in line. How humbling it must be to stand in line for food because you have no money to buy it. I thought to myself, "That could be us". 

You see, that was us at one time, except we never stood in line for food. We had no money for food. We tried to stretch our dollars as far as we could but it would never go far enough. I know what it is like to open my refrigerator and not see anything there to prepare for dinner. I know what it is like to go to bed at night and not know how we will eat the next day. It's a horrible way to wake up.

We had to rely on the government for a time to purchase our food. We were issued a card to use at the grocery store. It was humbling and humiliating. I felt as though all eyes were on me as I swiped that card to pay for our food. 

I can still remember the day when I left that card at home because we were finally able to buy food with our own money again. There was freedom and empowerment in that. 

While I'm thankful I never had to stand in line to get food for my family, I recognize that sometimes God uses ways to provide for us that we may not like. I was thankful we could have plenty of food, but I never liked how the Lord provided that food for us. I'm just being honest here. I thought I was being thankful. I thought because I would say with my mouth, "Lord, thank you for providing us food" that I had a heart of gratitude. But, really...I didn't. 

Gratitude is one of those attributes that leads to other attributes. When we practice gratitude we experience joy, freedom and happiness. 

We are told to be thankful! We aren't asked. I find that very important in scripture. I never find the Lord saying, "Can you be thankful?"  "Can you have gratitude?" 

No. He says, "Be thankful". It is His will! 

I think that is because he wants so much for us, he created us to live an abundant life. He came so that we may live and live life more abundantly! Yet, our attitudes so often hinder us. We are unable to experience His joy because we can't find gratitude hidden in the life he has given us. 

I am a work in progress. I'm not going to tell you I'm all there because I'm not. Obviously, because the Lord keeps bringing this up I still have a lot of work to do. But that is the wonderful part about living this life for Him. He never gives up. He's always there, waiting for us to "get it". His love never ends and his mercies are new every morning! 

I challenge you to write down things in your life right now that you would like to change. I'm talking circumstances, things happening around you. Read them out loud. Now, rewrite them and turn them into a prayer of thanksgiving. Pray them daily for 30 days. Come back here and comment on this post and let me know how you are doing. 

Did you find your gratitude?

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Company's Coming! {free download}

Don't get mad at me for saying this but.....

Thanksgiving is in less than a month! You know what that means right?

Christmas is in two months! You know what that means right?

Company in your house!

This is good news and bad news!

Good news...time with your family!

Bad news...time to clean

But it really isn't that bad! I have found ways to get my house ready for company without it becoming a major event. Ok that's a lie. It will always be a major event, but it's a good one.

Here are 4 simple ways we get ready for company.

1.  I get my kids involved. I make a list of all that needs to be done and they choose what they will do. If no one chooses, then I assign them. There is always a reward involved. Even I like to be rewarded when we tackle the task of prepping for company.

2.  I divide the house up into zones. Sometimes that's how we assign jobs, by the zone. Often we will work on the house for several days, one zone at a time.

3. Gather all our tools. I make sure we have easy access to what we need to get that zone cleaned up. If several people are cleaning, I make sure they each have a spray bottle of cleaner and a cloth. Here is the cleaner I use to clean my house with.

4.  I try to make it fun. Try is a really big word. Sometimes I just want it done. Other times I turn on our favorite music, set a timer, give a challenge or whatever I can think of to get it done with a smile on all of our faces.

A few years ago I learned of the importance of reducing the harsh chemicals in our house. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before. But it was shocking to me what is in the common cleaners I was using and the harmful effects it was having on our health. I have a son with asthma and realized the cleaners and candles I was using was only making him more sick!

Here is an article that explains what these ingredients are and why we need to avoid them. 

Instead of a bucket of cleaners under my sink that could be really dangerous if my little kids got a hold of them, I only have one bottle of cleaner. It works great. Saves me money. It's very versatile.

Download this PDF of simple recipes that I use when I clean my house! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Day I Quit

You know you have said it too. "I quit".
I've been quitting for years actually.
I've quit motherhood.
I've quit marriage.
There was even a time in my life when I just wanted to quit living. But I didn't quit...obviously.

Life is hard. Right? We all agree? That is not a new revelation. I am not sharing profound, mind blowing information with you. Life is hard. It is messy. It is daily.

God never promised us that life would be easy.

A few days ago I had let so many things overwhelm me. (It didn't help that my quiet time was severely lacking.) I went to bed that night totally and completely done. I was quitting my business. I told the Lord I was done. I gave him all kinds of lame excuses too. I had to use a lot of oils to get to sleep that night. My mind was so unsettled.

The next morning I read Psalm 25.

How faithful our God is to be patient with us when we lose sight of the vision He has given us. His words draw us back in, remind us of His confidence in us and the love that we can't live a day with out.

I didn't quit my business. In fact I have a renewed love for it! The Lord continues to put lovely people in my path and I am so thankful for each of them!

Psalm 25:4,5
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Danger of the "What-if" Thought

Before I knew it, my heart was racing, hands were sweating and I was unable to move. All because I had a thought.
A "what if.." thought.
I wasn't facing an actual situation yet. I was thinking it into existence though and my whole body was reacting.

I was overcome with fear over something that had not even happened.

What is wrong with me? God, what are you doing?

"This isn't me." He whispered to my spirit. "I don't create fearful thoughts and worry."

And then he reminded me of what Paul said in 2 Timothy. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, and timidity, but of power, love and self discipline."

Then I opened my bible and it fell open to Isaiah 43.

Do not fear, I have redeemed you.
You are precious and honored in my sight.
Do not be afraid, I am with you.

Dear Lord, the enemy wants so badly to see me walk in fear rather than joy. He knows I am less useful to you when fear rules in my mind. Thank you for giving me the power to take every thought captive and make them obedient to you. That is my heart desire!