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Monday, May 15, 2017

Come on over to the new home of Living Letters!

I'd like to invite you to visit my new website,  - the new home of Living Letters!

Thank you!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Check out the new website!

Guess what!  I have a new website!

Here's the address -

You'll find that my new friend Becca Allen did a great job designing it - take a look around, please!

So, starting this week, posts will  come from this new place instead of from blogspot. If you have any trouble receiving them, please let me know so I can figure it out.  (aka - Ask Becca...)

Tks for being great blog friends - I hope you'll hang around!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Tongue

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31:26

My friend Irene taught about this verse in our Proverbs 31 Woman Bible study last week. Her message was chock full of powerful lessons. My hand hurt from taking notes so intensely!

I can't do her lesson justice (from my chicken scratch notes) but I want to share the lines from her teaching that got imprinted on my heart...

1. The reason the P31 woman speaks with wisdom and kindness is found in vs 25 - Strength and dignity are her clothing,And she smiles at the future.   
We can't give what we don't have; therefore, we need to clothe ourselves with humility (I Peter 5:5).  Strength. Dignity. Confidence in God's goodness.

2. Unhelpful conversation breed quarrels.  We should ask ourselves "Is this going to hinder or advance the Gospel?".  That includes posts on social media...
Irene quoted Robbie, one of our pastors at WFBC - "The Gospel is offensive. Nothing else should be."

3. When a difficult situation arises (as in, I am tempted to "stand up for my rights" or point out someone's error) I need to listen to the still quiet voice in my spirit.  Is He saying "This can't be your mission"?

Irene was a vessel of Divine wisdom and grace last week. If you know her, ask for her notes. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When the lamp goes out

We've spent several  posts on how to keep our lamp burning, how to strengthen ourselves in body, soul, and spirit so that His light can shine in the dark nights of life.

But sometimes, in some places, for all of us, the lamp goes out. We get tired or discouraged or just plain"burned out".  And we feel defeated. In fact, we can feel so defeated that we don't try to get the lamp back on. Countless Christ-followers have found themselves in dark places and felt so hopeless they just decided to stay there. They didn't think there was any way out. So they spend the rest of their lives feeling depressed or useless or trying to medicate themselves out of it with all sorts of remedies.

I don't want that for you and me. I want us to know that, if somehow we find ourselves in the dark night of despair, if we've lost our joy and our lamp has gone out, we don't have to stay there. We can get the light back on.

I know I love lists and this seems too complex a subject to "list" our way out but I do think it's helpful to have some action to move us out, some steps to take to climb up, some things to do to find hope.

So here is my "A" list for Attacking Depression- I pray you find some encouragement. And, let me hear from you - I really do care.  My address is  I'm leaving the light on for you....

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Still keeping the light on

She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.  Proverbs 31:17,18

We've established that we need to be strong in order to keep our lights shining, to not burn out, to have a life message for the world and the next generation. We've seen that such strength is not merely physical, but also from our soul.Even if we become limited in physical strength, we can always increase in soul and spirit strength - those are the most important!
 And in the last post we learned how to strengthen our soul.

Now - how to strengthen our spirit...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Keeping the light on...

She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

In the previous post, we established what it means for our lamp to not go out at night, that in the dark times of life, our light - our message to the world - keeps shining.

And this requires strength.

Three different kinds.

First, is physical. While it is sometimes overemphasized or pursued from a wrong motivation, we need to realize that our physical health is an important factor in our being able to keep the light on in the dark times of life.

I hope you took the chance to visit Transfit and get some ideas for strengthening your body. Now let's see how we can strengthen our soul ...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Keeping the light on for you

I am studying the Proverbs 31 Woman with a great group of gals. We are having a wonderful time learning not to resent or be intimidated by Scripture's portrayal of this woman but rather to glean from God's Word how He wants to manifest these Truths in our own lives.

As always, His Word is rich and deep...and life-changing.

We recently examined verses 17 & 18. I want to share with you what we found...

She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Update: Operation Declutter

Dining room - done.  It was honestly easy - not too much clutter gets stuck in there.  Although I did manage to clear out some Christmas pieces from the hutch.  And some linens.

Now I need to take care of the laundry room.  This will be the last of the easier rooms.  The others are going to be a challenge.  I need some motivation. Can y'all send me some tips that keep you going? How's your progress?  I know several of you are doing the same thing - how're you doing?

After the laundry room, I think I will take a break.  The very idea of cleaning out the storage room is causing me to break out in hives. So I need to get myself prepared for that.

Laundry room - here I come.  And I want to get you done by Valentine's Day.

Then I will reward myself with candy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Refugee Crisis: A Biblical Response

If your social media outlets are like mine, they are absolutely blowing up with opinions on the refugee crisis. Some are informative, but others are so toxic that I have considered disconnecting. I am all for open dialogue but let's be civil, please!

I digress.

That's not the point of this post.

What should our response be to this crisis? As followers of Christ.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Clutter free piano room

Clutter free piano room!  Well, pretty much.  I would still like to streamline more files but I am not the only person who lives here. So I don't get to do everything my way. Drats.

He's worth it, though :)

I am thrilled to have some rooms completed. That really is so motivating. I have a hard time not looking at all that needs to be done, however. So I am trying desperately to enjoy the progress (maybe not the PROCESS!) and especially my new BFFs at Goodwill. If you live near Butlers Crossing in Watkinsville, I am telling you that these folks are the best. I took them gifts - seriously - but they said they were not allowed to keep them.

So I just hug them, pray with them, and give them stellar reviews when I submit my online tax receipts. It's the least I can do - they have been significant in my quest to conquer clutter!

I think I will put the dining room as next on the to-do list. But first, here's some tips some of you have shared with me:

Cindy combines ongoing declutter efforts with character building (really smart woman!!). At Christmastime, she has her children select 10 things to give away before The Day of Presents arrives. This gets rid of excess, helps her kids be involved in the process, AND trains their hearts to give to others. What a great idea!  And the really great thing is that she does it, not just thinks about it - score!!

Jennifer told me about a website that she subscribes to for a daily plan of attack
.  She uses this info to clean and organize places we might not think about - like the drawer that holds plastic wrap and aluminum foil!  And it's totally fine to not do every task every day - it's just a guide to help you work through a plan.

Another source that I've benefitted from is FLYlady.    This website has an overall plan for cleaning, holidays, organizing, everything! I urge you to check out both these sites and see if there are some tips to help you along.

One of the greatest suggestions came from the hubbies of two of my friends. I was chatting with a group of guys and we were discussing what wives want husbands to do, especially when it comes to house stuff. Two of these fellas shared that they had bought a roomba and they love using it. I had been interested in these devices for quite some time so I picked their brains for all the details.

They were awesome and answered all my questions. So much so that I promptly went to Sams, counted out my Christmas money I had stashed away...and bought an iRobot !!!

This thing is SO.MUCH.FUN!!!  I am addicted! If you have thought about getting one, I can recommend the product.

But I will offer a disclaimer...Betsy says it really isn't saving us much time because we stand around and watch it work!!!

And  I may need a break before taking care of the dining room.  Like a big box of Milk Duds. Or a week at the beach maybe.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Stop trying to be popular

Not one single person I know wants to be unpopular. Not one. In fact, nearly all of the people I know are likeable, and well-liked. (I say "nearly" because we all know there are some grumps out there - in everybody's life!)

So is this a bad thing? Especially for Christians? Aren't we called by Christ to love others, to do good to all, to be kind and generous? And that kind of behavior makes us popular, right?

Ummmmmm maybe not.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Operation Declutter continues

I love hearing about your progress in this quest towards a more minimalistic lifestyle!  Tks for the updates - keep 'em coming because it motivates me and holds me accountable. We are blessing our families by cleaning out our stuff. We are blessing others by giving some things to them. And we are blessing ourselves because we will feel less stressed in a decluttered environment, we will waste less time looking for things, and we will have more time to do things other than corral clutter!  Hooray!

So, the books have been reduced, the MB is clean and organized, and the half bath is as well. I needed this easy project after tackling the Master Bedroom!  It didn't take even half an hour to clean out the cabinet under the sink, stock it with necessities :), and swipe it til it sparkles. With extra room in the cabinet, I decided to put the Christmas decor I use in this room in that empty space!  And the seasonal candles that I change out fall and spring - instead of stuck who knows where in the laundry room!  That will make things easier to swap out later - score!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Crossing off that item on the list

Master Bedroom is done, y'all!

I am beyond excited - I am depleted.

Why I didn't anticipate what would happen as I went through some of those piles and boxes in my closet, I do not know.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Operation DeClutter

Master Bedroom.

That's what I am tackling now.

I think I need to set myself a deadline so
1) I will get it done
2) I will feel a sense of progress/accomplishment.  (I am that type of gal who loves herself a to-do list - mainly for the thrill of marking stuff off!)

So, here's my deadline -
MB cleaned out by Jan 31.

So far I've cleaned out under the bed (I doubt anyone else has the mess under theirs that I had accumulated - I mean, that IS what those lovely bedskirts are really for, right?)
And I put away all the Christmas decor and gift packaging that lobbied for squatters' rights in my room.
Next - closet and dresser drawers.  Eek.

Somebody promise to check up on me Feb 1 if I don't update y'all before then - who will volunteer?

And who else has an update for me? I need some feedback, peeps :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Conformed or Transformed?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, and perfect.
Romans 12:2

When you go through times of disappointment or heartache or stress, it's tempting to doubt God. To wonder why He didn't "fix this" like you asked or to wish He would step in and use His power to "set things right" or to whine that He would let "whatever" happen.

This verse has some help for that.

And it has some help for parent-pain, which, if you haven't experienced it, let me assure you that you have missed the deepest, most grievous anguish that can ever be felt. The agony of not only watching your child hurt but especially the helplessness of not being able to remedy it is gut-wrenching.

It happens from the time they are preschoolers all the way through adulthood. And my own Mom tells me it is exponentially so when it's your grands. Oh my. I cannot bear the thought.

Maybe Jonathan and Mary Alice and Lucy should wear warning labels that announce to teachers and friends that they have these women in their family....
I digress...
Back to the verse.
Back to the help of being victorious in the midst of pain...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Devotion to books

 But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body
Ecclesiastes 12:12

I love books.

I love to read, I love to write, but I also just love books! I love to have them on shelves, as part of my decor, and in my home. My favorite Disney princess is Belle because she loves books. And I confess a deep-seated envy of the ceiling- to-floor-books room in the Beast's castle. Just getting it out there.

Friday, January 13, 2017

On a personal note...

It honestly feels a bit petty to share this, given the situations of others around the world. Christians being persecuted and martyred for their commitment to Christ. Natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes and earthquakes decimating communities. People losing jobs, homes breaking up, and children being abused. All these things are so real and so serious and so much  more important than the thoughts I have to share today.

But it's where I am. And I always want to be real with you. And since this is where God has me, then I need to be faithful and true where I am. Maybe there is some encouragement or blessing for someone in here somewhere!

Here's where I am, at least it's my plan for the next few months.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Other Woman

I'm in a Bible study with a cool group of women (of all ages and life seasons) and we are studying Proverbs 31. The P31 Woman. Lots to learn about this rather intimidating figure that the mother of the King exhorted him to marry.

As I was pondering this role model, I realized that Proverbs talks quite a bit about women. These 22 verses are not the only mention of women in the book. In fact, there are alot more than 22 other verses in there about "The  Other Woman".

The woman that we can be if we are not intentional about seeking God's grace and mercy to become more like the P31 gal.

There may be more than these but I find at least 4 types of "The Other Woman"....

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What's in store for 2017

It is healthy, beneficial, advisable to mark the end of one thing and the beginning of another. To celebrate and anticipate. That's what ceremonies for graduations and weddings do for us. Even funerals are the opportunity to grieve the end and to hope for the reunion on That Day.

God instructed the Israelites to do this many times in the Old Testament, to set up markers as reminders of His marvelous works, to enable one generation to tell the next of His faithfulness, to offer encouragement of more to come.

Too often we miss the point of celebrations and expend our energy solely on temporal things like decorations, food, gifts...partying for the sake of partying. We should indeed celebrate - in fact Christians should outdo everyone else in how to celebrate - but we are much more advantaged if those props are the aids to our celebrations and not the reason.

We just ended a year. The new one is beginning.
Instead of just passing from one day to the next, turning the page of the calendar robotically, let's be purposeful.