A Way of Life

For the past two years I’ve done Thankful Thursdays here on the blog. I’ll be doing them again this year as well.

Thankfulness is a way of life.Being grateful is a choice and attitude. For Christians it’s a requirement as well.

Ephesians 5:20 ~ And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:2,3 ~ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

 

To give thanks in ALL circumstances. To count it all joy. To have an attitude of gratitude.

On November 1st I’m going begin the weekly Thankful Thursday posts. These weekly posts will supplement something that I try to do daily, a thankful list in my journal. These intentional practices help remind me to be thankful no matter what.

I also plan on making a Thankful Tree. The Thankful Tree will be a great way to include my husband and our daughters. I’m going to make one similar to  one that I saw on Pinterest. It’s the cutest thing!  {Branches from the yard, a mason jar filled with nuts, and pretty card stock for leaves.} 

My sis in law did a thankful tree last year and I just loved it! It was a great way to teach her children about giving thanks. (She’s a wonderful mommy) Discipling my niece and nephew every day. Being present with them and teaching them about Jesus.

Maybe you’ll join us on Thankful Thursdays or even with making your own Thankful Tree. Thanksgiving really shouldn’t just be a November thing. It’s a way of life.

There are so many cute ideas for trees on Pinterest. I have pinned a few on my HOLIDAYS board on my Pinterest page. I’ll share a picture of mine when I make it.

{New here? Lets’s be blog friends! Sign up here for email updates and/or Like my FB page. Still planning a giveaway on the FB page. Over halfway to the goal.}

Until Next Time,

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What are 3 things that you are thankful for this week? 

I am thankful for:

1) Thankful for each one of you! That you take the time to read these words that I share.

2) Thankful that Logan wanted to be homeschooled and wouldn’t give up until I said YES. She is now a college student at age 16 with 3 college core classes under her belt and signed up for 3 more next semester..FREE because of the Accel program. 

3) Thankful that I was able to take my Momma and daughters last week to North Ga. and spend time with family up there! 

Picture Perfect

Can I speak bluntly for a moment?

Women need to stop wearing masks and stop assuming that everyone else has it all together. We need to be real and transparent and share the good the bad and the ugly. (No, I don’t mean to rant or tell all.. Face it, nobody wants to hear it all) I’m saying share the real you, not just the “highlight reel” or the “photoshopped version”. And we also need to quit comparing what we assume others are to how we think of ourselves.

None of us are perfect. None of us have it all together. Just because we have a great photo that looks like we do..doesn’t mean it’s real. Or maybe it is at that moment. What about after? Is it always picture perfect?

And I’m not saying that a great photoshopped photo is bad! Trust me.. I love them. I’m just saying that if we want to reach other women for Christ, then we might need to let them see that we don’t have it all together all of the time either.

How can one relate to someone that pretends to be perfect? Nobody is perfect. Nobody has it all together. Why do women,especially, believe the lies that we tell ourselves? Why do we compare our wrong thoughts about ourselves to what we assume to be real about another woman?

What if instead of assuming, and comparing, and being prideful, that we were real?

It is a pride issue ladies.

Call it what it is.

You can’t pull a weed from the top and expect it not to grow back. You have to dig deep and pull the weed out at the root.

And I’m not saying that we should vomit negativity. I’m saying that we need to deal with ourselves. Deep digging. Get real with the root. Take off the masks. Stop assuming. Quit comparing. Walk in faith.

Walk in belief.

The belief that God is enough and that he doesn’t make junk.

The belief that not every other woman has it all together.

Yet, if they do have it more together, then what is their secret?

I’ll tell you the secret. It’s found in Philippians. The secret to contentment is belief and faith in Jesus.

Paul found the secret to being content.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

The truth is that we are all dealing with our own insecurities. Yet, we don’t have to be in bondage to those insecurities. God doesn’t talk to us the way we talk to ourselves. Why do we?!

Faith is the secret.

Faith that Jesus is enough. That Jesus provides all that we need and at just the right time.

And honestly, we as women, need each other.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT)

Maybe, just maybe, if we would stop assuming and take off the masks, we would see that we are not all that different.

To me picture perfect is showing the real you.

The real you (or ME) that messes up. Fails daily. That Desperately needs Jesus every single second of every day.

Love,

Heather

Give Thanks or Complain ~ Thankful Thursdays

 

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Ephesians 5:20 ~ And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Give THANKS for EVERYTHING? Even when the kids are fussing? When the puppy (who is 18 months old) is still tearing things up on a daily basis? When the kids talk back? Give THANKS?

Well….that’s what HE said.

Give THANKS for EVERYTHING.

Other than the FACT that it is a COMMAND….

Maybe it is because when we give thanks we are believing that HE can bring good from anything.

Maybe the reason is because thanksgiving chooses to see the good in even the worst of situations.

Maybe it’s because GIVING THANKS brings joy and hope and belief that GOD IS GOOD and HE really will take care of everything.

Our circumstances are always changing. For some…our days are up and down..because of multiple people in our household whose circumstances change too. This leaves EACH ONE OF US with the choice…to Give Thanks or to COMPLAIN. 

There is ONE THING that never ever changes for believers..well..at least one..

 

~ GOD NEVER LOVES US MORE OR LESS THAN HE DOES AT THIS VERY MOMENT ~

 

Hebrews 13:8 ~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

1 Chronicles 16:34 ~ Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

 

So…. TODAY… I am choosing to give thanks for:

1) My children…even on the days that I want to pull my hair out…because..They are healthy..precious..a gift from God..and I have them here with me still.. Oh how I love my girls…So, this means being thankful even on the days that parenting is tough.

2) Cloudy and rainy “spring break” days…because…they give us down time…time together in our home..time is precious..

3) Tough times…times and situations that I don’t always understand..times when I am feeling hurt and confused..because honestly..it is in those times when I cling to GOD even more and grow…

4) The way God speaks to me..in HIS time..through fellow believers…when they confirm an answer to a question that I had asked of my Father God..HE is so faithful….

See, giving THANKS to GOD doesn’t deny that what you are feeling or have experienced may be awful or that your heart may hurt… No, giving thanks is trusting HIM to lift you up and that HE can and will take care of you. Giving THANKS when you are hurting is an act of love to GOD…it is saying: “God, I trust you and I know that YOU have already won and that the enemy has NO power over me as your child.”

What are you going to thank GOD for today? Not just the easy things..

 

            Until Next Time,

 

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Thankful Thursdays ~ March 21st

 

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I decided to start posting these “Thankful Thursdays” again. See, it is easy to get out of the habit of practicing thanksgiving, and I need little reminders from time to time. Maybe you do as well.

While doing one of my morning daily devotions, One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp, I just really became convicted of my lack of daily thanksgiving. I mean, it’s easy to give thanks in the exciting and good things that occur on a day to day basis. Yet, we are commanded to give thanks for the not so good stuff too.

Believe it or not, I actually found myself thanking God today for the not so great things that I face …and it wasn’t that hard after all. When we thank HIM for the yuck, we realize that HE is greater than any circumstance that we may face. We are truly TRUSTING God to be enough. And, isn’t HE really enough?

These words in my devotion today really stuck out to me:

I’m not sure how my life stands. How my inner and outer walls stand, how I make a home. Unless we make it a habit to give thanks, we habitually give our family grief. Unless we consistently speak praise, we consistently speak poison. Unless we are intentional about giving God glory throughout the day, our days unintentionally give way to grumbling. ~ Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts Devotional..Devo 40)

 

It takes being intentional in order to bring God glory. Gratitude must be continuous. Our words are either pleasant or like poison. POISON. Convicted.

Matthew 12:35-37 really hit home this morning..and really made me want to be more intentional about my giving of thanks to God. Read it and really think on it…This is JESUS talking..

 

Matthew 12:35-37 (NLT) ~ “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

 

May our words be words of grace…and thanksgiving..bringing glory to God. May we always give thanks in everything..even the yuck. May we think before we speak..and not use words carelessly.

 

 I am thankful for the sweet friends that God has blessed me with..who send me random messages and let me know that they love me and are praying for me. I am thankful for the gift of prayer and that I can pray for others and talk to God anytime and anywhere. I am thankful for healthy children.

What are some things that you are thankful for today?

 

 Colossians 4:2 ~ Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

 

 

              Until Next Time,

 

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BE Little Again

 

Puddle Jumping
Puddle Jumping

 

   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

It’s been raining..raining…and raining some more in our “neck of the woods”. 🙂 Puddles everywhere. As we were getting ready to leave one of the buildings at the women’s retreat that I was at this weekend, the bottom fell out. Yuck. No umbrella….

That’s when one of my dear friends reminded me of something. She said we could play in the rain..have fun..enjoy it. Me, being the spontaneous person that I tend to be…said, “OKAY”! So, four of us took our shoes off..rolled up our pants..and commenced to playing in the rain. We ran straight to the biggest puddle that we could find. We got WET..and it was so much fun!

 

We are back home now, and it is STILL raining. So, this morning, I chose to have a good attitude about the wet weather. I threw on my rain boots and embraced the rainy weather. I don’t always do this. Some days I complain about it. I’ll let you in on a little secret….Enjoying the rain is so much better than complaining about it. 🙂

I enjoyed splashing in the puddles outside. (If you don’t have a pair of rain boots, you should really consider getting some. They don’t have to be expensive..just rubber boots…so you can play in the water. )

It’s all a choice. Perspective. How you look at things…

Every single day..In every single circumstance, we have a choice to make. Find the good or dwell on the not so good.

Back to puddle jumping…

On the way home from school and appointments, I shocked my girls. See, a few minutes earlier it was the typical not so joyful car ride home..that some of us parents are blessed with at times. All day I kept thinking about how fun it was to “play” in the rain this weekend. So, I just blurted out: “I want us to put on our rain boots and jump in puddles when we get home!” 

My youngest just smiled really big and giggled and said: “OKAY!” Not so sure that my oldest was quite as excited at first..(she may have thought that her Momma had finally lost it)….BUT, she did it. 🙂 We all had the best time. Just being. Just puddle jumping. Water splashing. Fun.

Our youngest having fun!
Our youngest having fun!

Because…….sometimes, we forget to just be.

   We forget to play.

   We forget that the simple things are the best things.

   That memories made are precious.

   That just jumping and splashing in the rain can make you feel pure joy. 

   Perspective.

   Changes everything.

Making Memories...
Making Memories…

 

I’m quoting my dear friend now: “Sometimes it’s nice to forget all our cares and be little again” 

   (Thank you, Amanda..for reminding me of this truth.)

So, I am challenging you to “be little again” every now and then. AND…if you’ve been looking at something in a negative light, to try to find the “good” in it. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t so bad after all.

 

 

         Until Next Time, 

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That’s. Not. Healthy.

I’m good at stuffing. Stuffing drawers. Stuffing cabinets. Stuffing closets. AND, yes, stuffing my feelings. Throw it all in and hurry and slam it shut before it falls out or comes undone. Just, out of sight, out of mind.

That’s. Not. Healthy.

So, to be honest..it took me writing out my testimony to realize some of the reasons that I stuff. Some are just hereditary..and some are because of choices made.

So, after realizing some truths, I began to make some changes.

And..I began to change.

Now, I still fight the battle of stuffing. No, I’m not a hoarder by any means.I have no problem throwing away stuff.  I just tend to get overwhelmed and want to forget about it. That’s the case with organizing my home and my emotions.

You can’t break a lifelong habit overnight. It takes intentionality….To make healthy changes. It takes work.

When it comes to being unorganized…I found that admitting I can’t do it alone helped me a lot! I asked for help from someone near and dear to me..(she knows who she is). She’s a natural at this sort of thing. So, we organized and MAN, is life getting easier! I can focus better. It is awesome!

Now, as far as the emotional stuffing goes…That is a work in progress. There’s a thin line we have to be careful of. To still bridle the tongue and glorify God in everything.

To keep in mind that making a big deal about feelings…makes it ABOUT ME…not God.

To trust HIM in every situation and at the same time to deal with emotions, hurts, and feelings instead of stuffing them down. Pretending that they don’t exist. That’s. NOT. Healthy. But trusting HIM and giving it ALL to HIM to handle…That’s WAY BETTER than stuffing.

Psalm 28:7 ~ The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.

So…I’m still a work in progress. Learning what to stuff and what not to stuff. Learning that everything has a place and that includes emotions.

I challenge you to look at yourself…Are you a stuffer? Or are you an exploder? Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Unglued, is a fantastic book.. She talks about the four reaction types. Most of us are more than just one type of reactor. Here is her blog post where she discusses the four types.

I’m so glad to know that God is not finished with me yet.

Philippians 1:6 ~ being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Until Next Time,

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Thankful Thursdays ~ October 25th

I must admit, some weeks are more challenging than others. Some days it is more challenging to find the joy in the yuck. Those moments when we choose to find the joy in the yuck..those moments define us.

Earlier in the week, I had a day of inconveniences and little aggravations. I caught myself feeling aggravated and stressed out because I couldn’t get something simple taken care of…simply. Ever had a day like that?

Roadblocks.

Detours.

People are watching us. They are watching us to see how we handle the “yuck”. Our kids, our friends, our families, and strangers..Yes, strangers..are watching to see how we (Christians) are handling those things.

I’ll be real honest with you.. It was quite a battle. Fighting self. Wanting to whine and complain. Whining and complaining. Stopping myself from whining and complaining. Feeling guilty. Repenting. Starting fresh.

See, Jesus instructs us to NOT grumble and complain. Being “human” isn’t an excuse. As Christians, we have The Holy Spirit in us..so we aren’t just human.

 

Philippians 2:14 (ESV) ~ Do all things without grumbling or questioning

 

Romans 8:9 (NIV) ~ You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

 

 

Every day we have choices to make. We get to make those choices.. They matter. Even when it’s harder than usual to find joy in a situation that seems like NO joy can be found in it, there IS JOY TO BE FOUND.

 

Even when it feels like a game of hide and seek..keep seeking the JOY.

 

 

“Joy’s a function of gratitude. And gratitude’s a function of perspective. Counting gifts changes my perspective – & my LIFE” ~ Ann Voskamp from her book…One Thousand Gifts

 

“All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him.” ~ Ann Voskamp…One Thousand Gifts

 

 

God cares about the tiny details. HE cares and provides. HE allows. HE knows that we can’t do this thing called life alone. WE can do it with HIS strength.

 

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) ~ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

So, without waiting any longer, let me share with you some of the things that I am thankful for today and this past week.

 

 

1) that THIS is not home. This place.. This world is temporary and my citizenship is in Heaven.

2) for conviction by The Holy Spirit, JESUS in me, that tells me when I’m not glorifying my Savior.

3) that my Jesus loves me.. HE loves ME.. And I’m not always easy to love..

4) for this wonderful group of women (Dstudy group) that I get the privilege to grow with and teach them and learn from them as well..

5) for beautiful..awesome sunsets and sunrises that never grow old..

6) for the pure JOY that my nephew expressed to me when I surprised him with a visit today..

7) for getting Lysa TerKeurst’s book, UNGLUED, for $1.99 today! (on iBooks and Amazon)

 

I guess I’ll stop for now… on here.. But I can promise you that my gratitude journal of 1000 gifts is continuing to grow every single day. For when we continue to look for the good and counting the joy, that is when we know what true joy really consists of. Thanksgiving. Grace. Joy. They go hand in hand.

 

Here is the Simple Truth my friends: There is JOY to be found in EVERYTHING…Because GOD created EVERYTHING & GOD is ONLY GOOD..HE is GOOD.

 

What are YOU thankful for?

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME,