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!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Greater Joy : Sunday Solitude

What a wonderful reminder this verse is as we start a new week.

Psalm 4:6-8 speaks volumes to me.

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
    Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
    than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

The joy we experience from the Lord is truly better than any material possession that we could have. Some days are harder than others, but at the end of the day we can lie down and sleep knowing God is in complete control of whatever we are experiencing.

That is peace my friend!

Peace the world does not understand.

If you are on Facebook, visit my page; Joy Moms. It's my place to encourage moms, share life and hopefully add a little humor to your day on occasion. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood without Jesus is impossible!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chemica Free Spring Cleaning! {Free Download}

Here in Texas, the weather is just about perfect. The days are warm, but not too warm. The evenings are cool, but not too cool. I love this time of year!!

This time of year also brings about a desire to clean & toss out! We have been working on minimizing our stuff. Now it's time to start cleaning.

It has become really important to me to pay attention to what we are using in our home for cleaners, body care products and air fresheners. It only made sense to make changes in those areas if we were making diet changes too. What good does it do to eat healthy if I'm coating my body in chemicals?

Did you know that the average person uses at least 300 chemicals a day and 80 of those before breakfast?  The biggest pollutants are fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air freshener plug-ins and candles.  We are literally poisoning our families when we use stuff that we can't pronounce in our home. Your bright blue dish soap doesn't need to be blue to clean your dishes. When I began to read labels I realized that so many of the ingredients used in the cleaners I was using were toxic!  Many of the ingredients are known to cause asthma or they are endocrine disruptors. That just means that they interfere with the way your body produces hormones.

Think about this...it only takes about 26 seconds for these chemicals to reach your blood stream!

I know what it is like to use chemical cleaners in my home. I saw the side effects but didn't realize they were possibly related to the cleaners we were using.  I began researching the ingredients I saw on the labels and did not like what I was learning.

Tossing the chemicals and cleaning with healthier products was a no-brainer for me! I'm not a DIY kind of person. I have a Pinterest board packed full of great DIY recipes, but that is where they sit. If I can't make it super fast I won't do it. But, I have learned to make a few things that have really helped me.

Dyer sheets are super easy. If I don't use these, I use wool dryer balls and add essential oils to them! So easy & work so well! (I buy my essential oils here)

When I went to the store and saw how expensive the "green" cleaners were I thought, there is no way I can afford this.  I tried using Vinegar & baking soda on everything but I cannot stand the smell.

Enter in Thieves Household Cleaner! (I buy mine here.)

Seriously friends! This stuff is the secret to my super powers when it comes to chemical free cleaning! I have learned to use this stuff to clean my house from top to bottom! It doesn't just work really well, but it smells really good. The ingredient list is short! It even has essential oils infused in it.

I love that it is safe. I can mop my floors with it and when Charlie was crawling, he crawled right through it and I didn't worry about him getting it on his skin.

I love that it's cheap. One bottle is so concentrated that it makes over 20 spray bottles of all purpose cleaner. That's less than $1 a bottle! I couldn't buy the "green" cleaners that cheap.  And since it makes so many spray bottles, that means it lasts me a long time. Double win!

I use Thieves cleaner on my windows, floors, counters, walls, doors, dishes, in the laundry. I've cleaned the inside of my car with it. It is safe on granite and tile. 

I don't just use this in a spray bottle. I've learned to make a few other recipes with it. I think this Tub & Sink scrub is my favorite!

It works so well. Like you wouldn't believe it! Our septic system backed up into our bathtub. My husband wouldn't let me get a new bathtub. I thought there was no way we would ever get that tub clean again. I used this scrub and it came so clean you couldn't even tell what had happened.

My kids are playing outside a lot these days! Which is great, but when they come in they have a bit of an odor about them! One of the products we tossed out was plug-in and aerosol room fresheners.  I love to diffuse essential oils.  But I also like to make room sprays. I keep one in each bathroom and I've even kept one in my car for when those stinky boys jump in.

If you want more recipes that you can use in your own home, I have a free download for you.

If you are interested in learning more of how you can incorporate Young Living products into your daily life contact me to check out my website.

If you are on Facebook you may find my page helpful as well.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Her Name is Joy

As a teenager her life was reckless and her heart rebellious.

One wrong decision gave birth to more wrong decisions and eventually she became a statistic. She was pregnant, not married and still in High school.  And then she became another statistic when she saw no other way out and had an abortion. This was nothing she planned or wanted for her life.  But she saw no other way.

The shame she carried was like an over stuffed suitcase, carrying it everywhere she went wondering if others could see it too.

Her life took a turn in the right direction when she met a man who was like none of the others in her past.  She told him her secret and instead of turning away from her he turned toward her and loved her. It was a love she had never experienced before, a love that was full of mercy and grace. His love for her was healing and together they learned the important gift of God's forgiveness.

They married and had 3 children.  Even though she knew she was forgiven for aborting her baby, the pain remained and she rarely spoke of her past.

Years later when her children were grown an opportunity arose to help young women at a local crisis pregnancy center.  Her intentions were to only volunteer at the Center to help keep shelves stocked and to do the jobs no one see's.  She had become very good at doing little things that matter greatly but no one ever saw. Thankfully, the Lord had other plans for her.  Eventually she told her director about her past and offered herself to help young women considering abortion. This was a huge step for her.

Over the span of a few weeks as she worked through a Bible study in preparation to lead others through it she came to find complete healing and freedom from her past.  This freedom she experienced produced a joy in her heart that she could not describe. This joy brought healing from her past. This joy represented the forgiveness she lived in and the grace that covered her.

As she came to the end of the study she was to name the baby she had aborted. She knew exactly what name to choose.

She named her Joy.

How fitting to name this baby in such a beautiful way as if to say, "Through my sorrow, you have brought me joy".

Joy would have been my big sister.  How appropriate is it that as my own mother is walking this spiritual journey with the Lord, I am walking through my own and we are both, though walking separate paths, walking in joy.

Though our paths are different what is the same is the joy of the Lord that comes after the mourning, suffering and trials.  Sometimes it comes while still in the midst of the trials, like I have experienced.  But joy is there for us!

His joy.

This joy that brings healing, protection, causes our heart to sing and our soul to worship.

This joy is ours!

I pray as you walk the path the Lord has laid out for you, whether it is one of difficulty, heartache or ease you will choose his joy to carry you through.

If abortion is part of your past and you still struggle with healing from it, please seek help.  There are many ministries available to counsel and encourage women who once chose abortion. Many towns have Crisis Pregnancy Centers who offer counseling and most churches have resources to share.

Below are a few ministries who offer help to women.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Be Transformed: Keeping our Mind on Jesus

This past week, Romans 12:2 was my verse that I was to pray everyday. And I want to be honest, I didn't do it everyday like I wanted to. I allowed my mornings to be hijacked by other things I lost my quiet mornings. But as soon as I could, I was drawing away for prayer and meditation on this verse.

 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

There are several key words that continued to stand out to me, but the phrase, "be transformed by the renewal of your mind" played over and over in my mind all week.

I had to evaluate what I spent my time thinking about, what did I fill my mind with (images, words, etc.) and what did I spend my time worrying about. It all boiled down to my mind and what it is in it.

There are several scriptures where God is telling us what to do with our mind.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Matthew 22:37, And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

There are so many more, I'll let you look them up. 

So, what is the big deal with our mind? Why does our mind need to be renewed in order for us to be transformed? I'm so glad you asked!

The  mind is the core of our being. What our mind is filled with, determines what we do, what we say, how we feel, how we respond. Nothing in us can change until our mind is changed.

I love when I find a science connection to Scripture. I did a simple search on YouTube on the science of the mind and found a short, but fascinating video that explains how our brain works. 

Now I understand why I must fill my mind with the truths of scripture.  Now I see why scripture tells us to love the Lord with all of our mind. It matters so much! This is how I can know and discern the Lord's way for me. There is so much of the world blasting untruth that if I do not prepare my mind, I may begin to believe it.

So, what happens when we are transformed by the renewing of our mind.

We can know the will of God.
We know what is right and acceptable in his eyes.
We know God!
We are transformed!

Oh Lord, I know that on this side of Heaven I will never get it right. But help me to fill my mind with the truth that you are faithful, trustworthy and worth of all praise and honor. May I experience the mind of Christ through your promises and be transformed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trusting Him through the Fog

It is part of our human nature. The fear of the unknown. We don't walk in the dark without a flashlight.  Faith does not come natural for us. We struggle with it. We often push it aside because it seems easier to fear than have faith, even though the fears we allow to creep in can initiate a chain reaction of fear based actions. And then we have a whole new set of problems.

In my last post I shared how I am Praying with Anticipation in 2017.  Prayer is one of those ways we prepare ourselves to be ready for what could cause fear in us, but instead we choose to trust God. Prayer brings us into the presence of God in a way that nothing else can.

January 1st I was walking our dog Ruby early in the morning. It was very foggy. Visibility was just about zero.  As Ruby & I were walking, I began talking to the Lord, not expecting him to talk back.  I know...I'm still learning what this "praying with anticipation" thing is all about.

I was basically complaining about the fog.
Lord, this is a crummy way to start the new year off. Fog so thick we can't see where we are going.
And then He began to whisper to my spirit...

Look at that fog, he said. Let that fog serve as a reminder to you that I can be trusted, especially when you can't see what is in front of you. When you don't know what direction I am taking you, trust me anyway, because I am taking you in a direction that others can't see. They don't have to trust in what I'm doing, only you do. My ways can be trusted.


My head knows I can trust God. I know his ways are perfect.  I know he loves doing new and exciting things. But my heart often has a more difficult time believing it. And I am pretty sure that is why He has me praying Deuteronomy 6:5 this week.

Until my heart is completely consumed with the agape love for the Lord, trusting him will always be a struggle.  I don't know about you, but I'm so done with struggling!

Fill me with your love oh God. Make my heart so consumed with your love that trusting you is second nature, something I don't have to consciously think about because I just do it. Help me to not fear the foggy days, but to face them with courage, knowing that you are leading me and will make my steps firm. A-men

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Praying with Anticipation in 2017

Several weeks ago I began asking the Lord to show me a direction for 2017.  I was surprised at what he showed me.

I would not say that 2016 was a great year. Sure, there were plenty of blessings and great things that happened. There were many times I could see the Lord at work.  But when I think back on the year as a whole, it was a struggle. Not because we had so many trials, but because I struggled.
I struggled with God.
I struggled with our current living situation.
I struggled with my business.
I struggled all of 2016 and I shouldn't have.

It was not a year of submission or surrender. It was a year of struggle.

So, when I asked the Lord for a word for 2017 and he said, "Pray with Anticipation", I was a bit surprised.
Pray? That is what you want me to do? Don't get me wrong, I know how important praying is. It just wasn't what I was expecting. I realized that most of my struggle last year was mostly because of my lack of true prayer.

True prayer is not..."God! Why? Why? Why?" which is what most of my prayers were.
True prayer is pausing, praising and then petitioning.

So, then I asked, "What do I pray?" and he gave me 12 verses to pray.

I have decided that I am praying these verses, one verse a week three times a day. At the end of the 12 weeks either I will just start all over with the same set of verses or He will give me a new set of verses.

Can I just tell you that I already see a huge difference in my spirit. I am not struggling. I am resting. I am full of His peace & joy. I am excited about this new year. I don't know why, except that God has placed within me an anticipation and it is energizing.

Will you join me? Will you pray with me these scriptures? Or maybe the Lord has different scriptures He wants you to pray.  I know that when we pray his words back to him, He is free to do remarkable things through us!

He is ready to do something new! Are you ready?