January 25, 2016

Admitting You Are Wrong

Photo by Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
There are times when you have to bite the bullet and say you were wrong. You made a mistake. You totally blew it and it was all your fault.

I hate having to say that.

I like to be good at everything. I like to learn new things and feel like I can do anything I set my mind to. So to mess up, or make a mistake... well, it doesn't sit well with me.

I am the same way at work. I like to feel like I am competent, indispensable, excellent at what I do. I suppose there are days when I am on top of things, but most of the time, I mess up. And sometimes I mess up BIG. 

I had that kind of day last week where I stumbled across something in my file that had been missing. I could have just said nothing and no one would have known that the missing item was all my fault, but then I would know and it would eat at me, knowing that I was in the wrong. Keeping it a secret just to make myself look better would always be a weight on my shoulders.

So I bit the bullet and told my boss. Then I called the person who KNEW they had turned it in and said "Yes, you did turn it in and I lost it. It was all my fault and I am so sorry."

Yes, it was an honest mistake, and still, I do not know how it got in last year's file...weird. But it was still a mistake and one that I needed to own up to.

The thing is, we all make mistakes. We are not perfect and never will be. But saying you are sorry and admitting your guilt is the first step to healing. 

It's the same way in our spiritual walk. We are fallen people who will never hit the bull's eye. We will always miss the mark. But we have a Savior who takes away the sins of the world. He loves it when we come to him and say we messed up, because then he can wrap His strong and loving arms around us and say, "It's okay. I got you covered." And He does. His blood...the blood shed for us...covers our sins and makes us pure and clean...spotless. We are mistake-free in His eyes. 

I don't know about you, but I like that way of living much better. Just admitting I'm wrong, gaining forgiveness, and feeling free.

Freedom is why Christ came, you know.


Have a blessed Monday!


January 11, 2016

I'm Doing Documented Life 2016

I totally failed in my attempt to do the Documented Life Project last year. In my quest in being brave and opening up an Etsy shop, I was busy with keeping stock in the shop while working a full time job, which left little time for play. This year I'm making time for things that I love and things that I enjoy and the Documented Life Project is definitely one of those things. The cost to join is $12 and you can buy the basic supplies on the site as well (or just use what you have).

The format is a bit different this year, using a small binder and print outs for calendars. I really like the chunky feel of it with all the added pieces, colorful art cards, and lots of lists. They are calling it an un-Planner because there really is no set way to do anything...you can make it like you want and add whatever you want.

There is monthly theme and a weekly challenge to incorporate into the u-planner, which gives some direction, but you are free to fly with what works for you. I love that.

Here is what I started with (I did purchase the kit.)



I started by painting the outside of the binder, printed out the calendar pages, and worked on the challenges for the past 2 weeks. I love how there is a bit of color here and there. You can do as much as you want or as little, which works for me with my busy schedule.














How are you staying organized this year? 


January 05, 2016

31 Years With John

 Today is my 31st Anniversary. I know it's rather cliche to say, but I always feel like I am the most blessed of women to have nabbed John. He's kind, handsome, funny, hard-working, giving, and best of all, a man who follow the Lord with his whole being. That is what makes our marriage so good...because John models his life after the Lord and loves well, not unlike how God loves us.

It's on our anniversary when I think of how John and I got together. I had moved to Houston right after I graduated from high school to attend a small Bible school that was affiliated with John's church. I was 17 and the day I moved was the day hurricane Alicia hit. I was friends with John's sister but was always too shy to ever talk to John much, but he sat by me some during the Bible classes, and I was able to converse with him more and feel more comfortable. (I had always had a crush on him, so it was really hard to get words out!)

After 2 weeks in Houston, I turned 18 and was thrown a surprise party by many of the students at the school. I quickly noticed that John wasn't there, but later found out that he was with his parents at their anniversary dinner. We had church after the meal and John sat by me. He told me he was sorry he couldn't come to the party but he had something for me after church. Oh my goodness....I couldn't concentrate on anything that went on during that service!

After the service, John took me to his house, which was next door to the church, and gave me a dozen roses. I had never been given a dozen roses before and quickly hugged John, telling him thank you. When we made it back to the church, everyone was shocked. "John???" "John gave you flowers?" "John must really like you." "John never even dates!"

I was a happy, happy girl.

We've been inseparable ever since (and I like it that way!).



January 02, 2016

My Mamaw: Maggie Mae Smith 1916-2015

I attended the funeral of my Mamaw today. She would have been 100 years old next month. We had a small visitation before a small graveside service in McKinney and it was a beautiful tribute to a life of faith lived well.

My cousin, Curtis, said the eulogy, my husband John said the prayer, and my brother-in-law, Steven, sang the Lord's prayer and led a couple of hymns. My father did the main talk and spoke about my Mamaw's life. There were things said that I hadn't heard before and I so I thought I'd get the notes from my Dad and share them here.


Maggie Mae Smith
February 17, 1916 - December 28, 2015

Maggie was born in Whitehouse, Tennessee and lived through times that bred strong, durable, hardy people. They had no automobile and walked to church and school.  Her father was a tobacco sharecropper and she had to drop out of school at the end of her 9th grade year to help on the farm. She developed a strong work ethic and faith that characterized the rest of her life.

She was a teenager when the Great Depression hit in 1929. Money was scarce, but they survived living off the produce they grew on the farm. Later she began to date, but would dismiss any suitor that did not profess faith in Christ. Entertainment was scarce, but there were plenty of church functions, picnics, and socials to keep them busy.

In 1933, there was a 3-day debate between a Baptist preacher and Church of Christ preacher. People came from all over by way of buggies, wagons, horseback, cars, and by foot. Maggie was sitting in a pew, listening to the debate when a sweet potato rolled along the floor and hit her foot. She just kicked it back behind her to get it out of the way. The sweet potato rolled a couple of pews back to hit the foot of a young man named WT Smith, who had traveled from Kentucky to hear the debate. Looking up to see where the potato had come from, he spied the lovely Maggie. He decided pretty quick that he needed to move to Tennessee and court Maggie.

Maggie had expected to be a the wife of a farmer, but WT was determined to be a minister of the gospel, and so she accepted that role and became an exceptional helper to him in his ministry. She was an excellent cook and hostess, which proved invaluable as WT was known for bringing home guests without any notice.

They served at 7 churches in Texas, beginning at San Antonio and ending up at McKinney. Since ministers didn't make a bunch of money, Maggie supplemented their income by sewing for the public. At one point she drove from McKinney to Sears in south Fort Worth to bring in money.

She was a faithful wife and as WT's health declined in their later years, she nursed him until she was no longer capable of taking care of him on her own.

Maggie has serious blows to her own health, with osteoporosis and arthritis making it difficult to make it through the day pain free. And then at 90, a stroke left her right arm and leg weakened. But determined not to give in, Maggie kept doing all that she could to be independent. She even went to renew her license and they told her she still had a couple of years left on her license. (though after her confession of her stroke, they wrote her a letter asking her to come in for a test) That put an end to her driving.

Her abilities declined and she got to where she could barely stand without a walker. She would continue to make her bed and attempt to do her own laundry. She was determined to stay active and began crocheting dishrags. She made hundreds of them, giving them as gifts to those around her. It was a small thing, but she did what she could do for others.

She was a woman who didn't expect life on a silver platter. She dealt with whatever life shoved at her and faced them head-on. She did what had to be done.

Her mind was good until the end, though her body weakened until she could do nothing. She hated the forced inactivity, but endured it as she had throughout life.

She had a simple, strong, immovable faith all her life. She knew what she believed and never wavered. Toward the end, she often said she was ready to go and be with the Lord and she achieved that goal on December 28, 2015.

At the end of her life, Maggie Smith could say as Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."

As the last chapter of Maggie's life closes, we celebrate a life well-lived. She was the kind of person strong families, churches, and nations are built upon. Her life is worth emulating as a shining example of strength, perseverance, endurance in the face of difficulty, and a strong belief in the Lord.

Hers was a life that inspires us to persevere...to stay strong...to not waver. We should be inspired to accept with grace the tasks God gives and the limitations life imposes. We should be encouraged to pursue the same goal as she, following her shining example with assurance that we too can experience "death swallowed up in victory" as she now does.

**************************************************************************

I'm thankful for the godly heritage that I have. If it weren't for my descendants passing down their faith to their children, and to their children, and so on, I would not be where I am today. I would not be who I am today.

I love living with the assurance of knowing that I am the Lord's and He is mine.

Thank you, Mamaw, for being God's child and sharing His love to all. You made a huge difference in this world.


January 01, 2016

My One Word for 2016

Photo by markuso at freedigitalphotos.net
My word for 2015 was Brave and it was by far the best word I've ever chosen. I couldn't say no to anything last year. I had to face my fears and just do it. And it was liberating. I achieved far more than I ever thought possible

I re-opened my Etsy shop during Spring Break and had 44 sales. That doesn't even begin to count the orders that I received through Facebook, text, or email. Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off big time. I even said yes to speaking about my Bible journaling - HUGE. I don't enjoy speaking in front of people. It's just plain scary, but I did it and was proud of myself for even attempting such a thing.

I've been praying about my Word for 2016 for the past couple of months and wasn't really happy with what the Lord was throwing at me continually. The word SURRENDER kept surfacing.

I don't like that word. At all.

To me, surrender has always mean giving up....being dominated by someone or something.

Yes, I know, that's a good thing when it comes to the Lord. I want to give up of myself to Him. I want to become less and have Him become more. I want to be dominated by His love and His goodness.

I really struggled with this word until I really heard the chorus of a song we sing at church...The Stand.

I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
I'll stand
My soul, Lord, to you surrendered
All I am is yours




A heart abandoned. My soul surrendered. All I am is Yours. THAT is the kind of surrender I want. I want to live totally abandoned to the Lord this year. I want to be fully given over to Him and what he wants for me this year.

That doesn't mean living like a wet noodle, waiting for Him to work. That means following whole-heartedly wherever He leads. That means giving up things in my life that will stifle my relationship with Him. That means leaping in faith toward whatever project He puts before me.

It means a year of excitement. Living with abandon to the Lord of all.

Yes, my one word, Surrender, is being redeemed.

I can't wait to see what He is going to do this year!

Do you have any New Year Resolutions or a Word that you are focusing on this year?


October 26, 2015

What's So Great About Silence and Solitude?

Photo by kyasarin @ pixabay.com
I was asked to share what the Lord has been impressing on my lately at church yesterday. My first thought was the word Brave, because that has been my word for the year and I have really been focusing in on that. But lately, God has been putting before me the discipline of solitude and silence. 

For the past month,  I’ve been setting aside part of my quiet time to practice this spiritual discipline and I’ve found that it is hard! My mind gets to wandering and certain sounds distract me, but I’m learning to just let those thoughts drift by and go back to just being quiet. There’s no agenda, no formula, no checklist to go through. It’s enough just to be in the presence of the Lord.

I know I talk about being brave a lot this year, but what I’ve found in this practice of solitude and silence is that it takes a lot of courage to sit silently before the Lord. When you get still and you quiet your soul, you are laid bare before the Lord. You aren’t lifting up another person in prayer. You aren’t telling the Lord the things that you need. You are just you, sitting in silence, in the presence of the Almighty God. It’s the place where you set aside the things of the world and focus on the one thing that matters most. And you realize, it truly is enough just to be in the presence of the Lord.


It may take me years to get good at sitting quietly in His presence, and maybe one day I will be able to truly listen with ears to hear, but right now I am finding more of His peace and more of His love…which makes me braver each and every day.


October 12, 2015

Our True ID: Loving God

Photo by thawats
freedigitalphotos.net
We have been studying the early stories in the Bible and my goodness, it is a bunch of failure and heartbreak. Things seem so hopeless and yet, God does something amazing in each and every situation to redeem the person and/or situation.

So often we feel like a failure in life. We aren't successful in our jobs. Marriages are crumbling. Children don't seem to have a relationship with the Lord. Relationships are broken. Sin has overtaken us. But there is hope. There is always hope.

We need to look back at those people of faith in the beginning of time. Adam and Eve - the very first family- totally messed up and broke the one rule God had. And then later their son murdered their other son. Abraham and Sarah lied to the rulers of the land because of their fear. Jacob was a deceiver and had a totally dysfunctional family. Moses was a murderer and later let pride get in the way of seeing the promised land.

Failures.

What do we do when we feel like a failure? When you feel hopeless, what should you do?

You love God, the very one who loves you no matter what.

Listen to the great Jewish Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This isn't a pep talk. It isn't a formula to be successful in life. It isn't even a set of standards to live up to. It's an encouragement to just love your God. To be in His presence. To soak up His essences and become like Him. To be in communion with Him, continually. He wants so much to be in a relationship with you and share all that He has for you.

So turn your attention to the Lord. Love Him. Love him with all that you are.

This is our true ID....our imprint. We have His stamp on our lives because we love Him. We leave a mark....His mark...on the world when we love Him, because His love is powerful. His love is strong. His love makes us brave.

Love God and love others. This is your True ID. 


***Thanks to John Ketchersid for another great sermon 10/11/15.


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