Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Faith Filled Fiction Find-- HIS SAVING GRACE by HEATHER GRAY!

Guess what we are having on the blog now? Books!! and Book recommendations! <3 *squee*

I absolutely love this book! It was the first regency I ever read and I fell in love with the genre. It's so funny how one misunderstanding can lead to a bigger issue than originally occurred.

His Saving Grace by Heather Gray
Will she be able to save him from himself?
Grace finds herself wed to a man who loathes her.  She is shunned and exiled to the farthest corner of the land. It wouldn't hurt so much if he hadn't once been her best friend.
Thomas became a duke long before he was ready. Now he can't go anywhere without women trying to entrap him into marriage.  He expected better from his childhood friend.
How can friendship, let alone marriage, thrive in the face of bitterness, suspicion and misunderstanding? 
What's to be done when the hurtful choices made in anger have lasting consequences?
It takes a special kind of person to see past the pain to the beauty that lies beyond…
Love Faith Fiction? Come join my Faith Filled Fiction group on Facebook. Click HERE.
**Disclosure. Encourage 365 is affiliated with Amazon's Associate program which means I get a small... small amount of money if books are bought from my site.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to all the Imperfect Mothers in the World

To all the Mamas in the world who love their kids so much. They do the best they can...

To all the Mamas with pinterest fails...

To all the Mamas who burn toast and mangle bacon...

To all the Mamas who dread reading facebook on Mother's Day because of these fun little things...

K-LOVE Fan Awards's photo.
(from facebook)
And you are sure you don't measure up.

To all the Mamas who try, but fail...

To all the Mamas who cry because they feel like their kids will one day bring them on Dr. Phil (true story... one of my fears...)

To all the Mamas who love their kids, but who have human, frustrated screaming moments ("Get in the car, NOW! We are late!")

To all the Mamas who don't feel special enough to have a special day...

You are loved.

You are special.

You are human.

You will make mistakes.

You will yell sometimes.

You will have a bad day.

Your kids will cry.

You will cry.

You will feel like a failure because you don't measure up to Proverbs 31 (or... in my case... Titus 2 too...).

Hug your kids tightly.

Kiss them on the forehead.



Let them see you happy.

Let them know that Mama loves them-- no matter what.

Even on your bad days...

Even on their bad days...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY-- IMPERFECT MAMAS! I bet there are more of us than we realize.

~Kelly (who wants to do good-- but has to accept that she's not perfect.)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

But.... I can't! {For the Jeremiah's in the World}

One of my favorite books is in the book of Jeremiah. I feel like him a lot.

At first he's all, "I can't do that God... I'm just me. I'm nobody special."

And God was all...

"I made you. All you have to do is open your mouth. The words will come."

My friends: Stop obsessing over Frozen!! Me: Don't you see? I can't. Just Let it go people, seriously

I'm paraphrasing of course. Jeremiah wrote it much better than I could, but the idea is the same.

Jeremiah never saw himself as much, but God chose him to tell everybody about Him.

And did Jeremiah have it easy because he did it? Nope. He was laughed at. Mocked.

Can you imagine the people in his little hamlet rolling their eyes when "Bible Thumping Jeremiah the Christian" came walking by? I bet that was really fun....

Or the glares... or the constant worry that he'd be arrested, beaten or killed?

But he did it. He wasn't happy about it all the time, but he did it.

God could have called a more 'qualified' person-- someone with a huge following who could get thousands to crowd around- to get people excited about being in the 'in' crowd and not care anything about the message being delivered.

He could have picked a politician who had influence over laws.

He could have picked someone better looking (not that I know what Jeremiah looked like.. he could have been very handsome for all I know), taller, skinnier, more muscular-- better...

But God chose Jeremiah for a reason-- He knew that Jeremiah would do what He told him to do.
 photo jeremiah1_zps221f36f8.jpg

That is a huge quality to God. Think about it... do you love any of your kids more than the others? There are some that get on your nerves at different times (I have 3 girls.. I know :) ) but you never would think of them as any better or any worse than another child.

I think we forget that a lot about God. He doesn't' care if you have a million dollars or $1-- He doesn't' care if you run a million person church or if a small group meets for church in your living room every Sunday. He loves each of us equally....

And here's the rub... As parents, we see qualities in our kids that they don't see in themselves. WE see ourselves as we 'THINK' we are... God sees us as what we 'TRULY' are, what we are 'CAPABLE' of, and what HE MADE us for.

Maybe we should start seeing ourselves as God sees us. He wouldn't be telling you to do that think you KNOW He's telling you to do... if He didn't think you could do it.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

"Let It Go": My 'One Word' for 2014 and how I'm doing with it in May--

Every January, I pick a word to be my 'motto' for the year. Last year it was commit. The year before that, it was Love. This year, I chose 'Let Go'.

The irony of this is I had never watched Disney's FROZEN when I picked those words. I had never heard the song on the radio (I listen to KLove mostly... ). I hadn't heard LET IT GO until the 2014 Academy Awards...

... Doesn't she do a great job!?
I love that song now!
I love it so much... I have the FROZEN CD in my car... yes, Yes I do. And if you pass me, my mouth will be wide open, signing at the top of my lungs-- The kids may or may not be in the car when this is occurring ;)
I love the message in the song... let go of worry. Let go of who you are 'supposed' to be. Just let go--
To be honest, I'd forgotten all about my words for 2014. I hadn't been on this blog in months and I'd forgotten what my motto for the year was-- how sad, because they fit so well.
I have a hard time holding on to things. When I get mad, I stay mad. I might not bring it up again, but I'll stew on it every once in awhile and not fully get over it...
Let it go...
 photo fc799532b9b17cbf41de488ad4bc0828_zps6a0b0f85.jpgI get depressed sometimes. I get down-- mainly on facebook. Do you let facebook get you down? Do you look at everyone's presents from their husbands or their book sales (me ;) ), or their blog followers or whatever they have that you think you want and get jealous of them-- and then depressed with what YOU have...
Let It Go...
There's about 300 things I don't understand in the Bible. I just-- don't understand. I'll talk about them later-- There are things that I don't understand (or can't do for whatever reason) that makes me get upset reading the entire thing. I'm a black and white person... either it is or it isn't... I like rules and knowing exactly what I'm supposed to do-- I like things spelled out. I like order. I like knowing what's going to happen. I've let maybe 5 verses in the entire Bible keep me from reading it... (how sad is that)...
LET It Go...
 photo 0b7ce50dc6aa163da1f6346cfff7f5ee_zpsf891dae2.jpgDo you know I'm not a perfect parent? Or a wife? Did you know you aren't either? But, are you like me, you just assume everyone else is awesome and you (I) missed the 'parenting/wife' guidebook? Do you screw up and feel bad about it for days?
A lot of times I like to be by myself just so I don't screw anything up....
(say it with me)
We aren't perfect. The world isn't perfect. Our spouse isn't perfect. Our life isn't perfect.
And other people's aren't either.
(I think the quicker I realize that, the better... how about you?)
SO, how have I done with  my ONE WORD: Let Go?
Well, to be honest, pretty pitifully ;) I've given up so much-- and a lot of it isn't a good thing to drop. I've sort of slid. I've been down. I've let things pile on instead of letting go.
So now I think it really is time...
 photo 2b8662ee1180dce8a9fc10015891fa78_zps7337ae36.jpg
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.

For life is more than food,
and the body more than clothes.

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12:22-26
So my "One Word" is two this year... ;)


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Missional Women

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Large, Man-eating Spider (Or how Perception can turn you bald)

The other night, I was taking a bath, minding my own business. My kids were asleep. The husband was asleep. It was about 12:30 at night (because that's the only time I can take a bath without someone barging in ;) ).

I had gotten some new washcloths for Christmas. So, I was laying down with one of them laying on my stomach (you don't have to picture that if you don't want... this does have a point.. ;) )

Okay, so it's late, I'm alone..... I look down, and there is the MASSIVE spider on my stomach!

I didn't see the entire spider... I just saw it's leg, and it's leg was huge!

Not wanting to freak the spider out and have it bite my head off, I just laid there, looking at the spider's leg, trying not to breathe too deeply and startle the massive giant.

The more I got to looking, the more I noticed, "Hey, this feller's not moving."

I was happy about it at first because... well, it wasn't moving. My internal organs were safe! Huzzah!

Then, I got worried that the spider might be calculating its move and would, in fact, jump on my face and suck out my brains.

Don't think I laid there until the water got cold thinking all of this... It took maybe ten seconds, but you know how time slows when you are terrified.

Then I looked.... REALLY looked at my gigantic spider foes massively long leg.

Then I looked up at the bathroom light over the sink.

Then I looked down on a string from the washcloth on my tummy.

Then I turned a funny shade of red and let out a big ole breath.

My gigantic spider.... was a thread and a shadow. The lights made a shadow on the thread, making it look like a big spider leg and my imagination did the rest.

Once I was glad no one saw my antics, I thought Hey! That's how life is! I need to blog about it! (my honest thoughts at 12:30 am...)

(perception... or photoshop?)

There are things that seem so big to us, so scary, so horrible that we don't want to either see them or go through them. And some things are. There are some things in life that are horrific.

And then there are threads on washcloths.

Our perception of problems can sometimes make our problems bigger. Our minds tend to jump to the
worst possible scenarios (our minds and 'Dr. Google'). Our perception is often skewed by our fears and the 'what ifs' in life.

Psalm 147:5         
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Have you ever done those mind tricks? You know, the one where a dancer is spinning one way... and if you REALLY concentrate you can make her spin the other way. It all has to do with perception and how we see something.

How we see an issue...

What if we saw everything smaller than they really are? OR for what they actually are? What if we stopped letting fear control our perception of the world, of our marriages, of our friendships, of our jobs, of church, of the internet, of life?

What if we saw our giants as just a small ant?

What if we saw things that aggravate us as 'not' the end of the world?

Well, I suppose if we did that (if *I* did that), we'd have a lot less gray hair ;)



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Time For Anxiety

I never really thought that I had anxiety. I mean, I know a worry... a lot. I stress... a  lot. I hate talking in person... a lot (because what if I say the wrong thing... which I tend to do? Isn't it better to just be quiet than say the wrong thing? Hmmm....)

Free Stock Photos: Natural Beauty 7 Picture. Image: 195218But a few days ago, I read a post about Anxiety. It sort of fit me to a tee.

About a week ago, my husband's cousin died of complications from H1N1. He was just 36. He was a preacher and had a wife and 2 small girls. That sort of gets you thinking. If you can die of the flu, how safe are you in the world?

Now, I'm not stupid. I know you can die at any time. A car crash. A house fire. A flippin' meteor can fall on your head.

I get that.

But the flu?


Thus started the 'Do I need a flu shot?' debate in my head. This post isn't about that. It's your personal opinion if you get one or not. Some people do. Some can't. I've never had one.

The fear of the unknown. I think that's what leads to my personal anxiety. I like knowing where I'm going. I like knowing specifics. I'm kind of like my six year old that way. She freaks out if she doesn't know what's coming next. I guess she got it from me (yay... she didn't get my eye color, but got my anxiety. Poor kid...)

A lot of times, I feel like a failure because I don't know what to do. Like being a mother. If there was a handbook, I'd be all over it ;) Some people seem like a natural. I feel like I just make kids cry. Ever have days like that? They aren't pleasant.

I knew I wanted my first post of 2014 to be about anxiety because, like always, there is so much we don't know. A war could break out tomorrow for all we know (now you are worrying about it, aren't you? Admit it ;) )

Psalm 139:23-- Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

I'm guessing God doesn't have to search me too thoroughly to know my anxious thoughts ;) They are pretty apparent (well, to me anyway. My husband says I'm hard to read...)

Philippians 4:6-- Don't worry about anything: instead; pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I don't know about you, but that seems pretty good to me.

What I get out of this? Two things:
ONE: There is no use in worrying. Things will happen like they are going to happen anyway.

TWO: There is no use in worrying. Things will happen like they are going to happen anyway.

I watched an episode of ER the other night (Yes... yes I did). There was this lady who was afraid to get out of her house. The therapist finally convinced her to do it, and all these terrible things happened. Was it a coincidence or would it have happened anyway? I'm thinking it would have happened anyway.

There is no since worrying about the future because the future will be what it'll be. That's both comforting and scary. We can change certain things: we can NOT drink and drive. we can NOT over eat. We can wash our hands after meals so we don't get sick.

But we can't control others. We can't make them NOT drink and drive. We can't NOT make our spouse live healthy. We can't force our preacher to use germx and spread germs.

There are things in life we can't control, and that's scary.

But it also makes every day a miracle.

Yesterday is gone. Have a fight with your spouse. Okay, let it go. It's over. You can't take it back, but you can learn from it today.

Tomorrow may never come. It's a scary thought, but it's true. There is no use in worrying. Things will happen like they are going to happen anyway.

Focus on today. How can you live today to make life better for those around you? Will worrying about tomorrow hamper your happiness today?

Has any of this helped me? I don't know. I still worry. I think all parents worry whether we want to or not. When you have people who depend on you, it happens.

But that doesn't mean we should let it control us.

There are such things as accidents. You can't control everything. We have to understand that.

My verse for this week...
Philippians 4:6-- Don't worry about anything: instead; pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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