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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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thoughts on "The Election"

Are you tired of hearing about "The Election"?

Me, too. 

Tired of hearing not only the pundits banter on and on about what it all means but also the everyday folks pontificate the ups and downs for our country come January.

Enough already.

This blog is not that at all. Not about why who won and who lost and what that says about the electorate and what ramifications we can expect.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Today will undoubtedly be busy.  Full.  Excitement. Food. Presents.

Joy at being together. Surprises shared. Gratitude.

Hugs and people and pictures .Laughs and reminiscing and new memories made.

 Maybe also some overtired kids that get grumpy, some disappointments from unrealistic expectations, and frazzled feelings that need soothing. Maybe some pain from an empty seat at the table or a misunderstanding that never got resolved.

I know you're busy. And probably tired. (Late night last night - those gizmos are a lot harder to assemble than the instructions promise!)

But take some time to worship the Savior. Be conscious of what you really celebrate today. Come into His presence. Bring Him your heart. Rejoice and thank God for His indescribable gift.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

And He shall reign forever and ever,
  King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

God sent His Son.

A Savior for you and me.

And He died. And He rose again. And He lives to make intercession and to prepare a place for you and me.

And He's coming again.

Hallelujah and Amen!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Being there

I have concluded that one of THE most important traits of a good friend is being there. Just being there. Being there when the new baby is born or the daughter gets married...or the first book is released. When the dream dies or the marriage is in peril or a parent is gone. Being there for celebrations or poignant milestones or painful journeys...just being there.

It's not necessary to have "the answer" or even "the right thing to say". No, it's just being there. Presence. (Although bringing food to anyone at any time is always a great idea...just sayin...) Presence. Just being there.

I think about that trait in the lives of so many people that I am privileged enough to claim as a"friend".  Their commitment to "being there" makes them immensely important to so many people, not just me; these are folks that somehow manage to "just be there" for others, scores of others. Folks that quietly carve out the time from busy schedules, summon the brainpower to remember, and possess the capacity of heart that cares enough to make being there a priority. Sometimes physical presence isn't a possibility so this kind of friend supplies a presence with a call or a text. The
 point is...they are there. With you. To grieve or celebrate or enjoy or endure. There.

Treasures. These folks are treasures.

I have experienced a lot of this in my life. Friends that flood my life with blessing by being there. Just being there. As I thanked God for these gifts in my life, I was reminded that the idea of "being there" originated with God.

He walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8) and chatted with Moses in a burning bush (Exodus 3:2-8). He accompanied the Israelites in the desert, displaying His presence in a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night (Exodus 13:21,22) He promises to not only be there when we're winning the game but also when we are surrounded by circumstances or people that seem bent on our demise (Psalm 23:5).

And especially at Christmas, we celebrate that, He who was in the beginning with God - in fact IS God - became flesh and dwelt among us. And, as we behold His Glory, we see Who God is. (John 1:1-14) And we understand what the prophet Isaiah foretold and the disciple Matthew explained
Behold the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means " God with us."    Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23

Wow. Major importance - God with us.

Being there. Not distant or aloof or apart. With us. Here. And this priority of being there was the basis of His promise to always be with us (Matthew 28:20) and the heart of His prayer, pouring out His desire to His Father to have US with HIM (John 17:24).

Being there.

The greatest gift we can give one another.

The greatest gift God has given. The gift of His Presence.
By this, the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  (I John 4:9)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Peace to you

Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6,7

Such a sweet passage.  Such a comforting and familiar passage.

So familiar in fact, that we might just gloss over it so quickly that we miss the treasures packed inside.

So let's unpack it together, shall we?

I see three truths in these two verses, three powerful truths: a command, an instruction, and a promise.

First, the command,  Do not be anxious.

Do not be anxious.  In other words, do not worry. 

How succinct that the Greek word translated as "anxious" means "to be pulled in different directions"! Isn't that an apt description of worry? Isn't that what happens in our minds when we are waiting for the results of that biopsy? Or when it's past time for our newly licensed driver to make it home? Or the wondering of how to make things work when there is more month left at the end of the money?
Pulled in different directions. To places of frightening speculation or fretful imaginations. Places where we face problems without answers and burdens without strength to bear them. Scary places.
Time and time again we find ourselves in these places...and time and time again we find no resolution. We tell ourselves not to worry. We tell ourselves that most of the things we worry about never happen. We promise ourselves that we will trust God and not worry.
But then things happen.
Bills pile up.
A bruise won't go away.
The trusted relationship is strained.
We cannot stop our mind from fretting.

And yet the command is not be anxious. Not to be pulled into those scary and worrisome places.

But rather to go to one place. To The Place.

Next, the instruction.
Instead of being pulled into unproductive - even destructive - directions, we are instructed how to resolve the worry.

The place of God's presence.

And in His presence, there are five things to remember:
1.  In everything
     Nothing is too insignificant or too insurmountable to be addressed                                                    I find this so encouraging, so comforting, so exciting - we are to pray about everything! If you are like I am, you probably veer off from time to time in one direction or another. Either something seems so pressing, looms so large, feels so weighty that we act as though God cannot handle it alone and we must "help" Him by trying to figure it out on our own. Or something seems so small that it never occurs to us to pray about it so we just get stressed about it instead.
God instructs us here that everything is a potential for anxiety so He gives us instructions on how to handle everything victoriously.

2.  By prayer
It is significant that our conversation with God is described in 4 different ways in this passage. Prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, requests
I don't think God is being redundant - I think He is conveying 4 different components to the worry solution.
By "prayer", I think He is instructing us to come into the presence of I AM. To bow before His power, majesty, and holiness .To recognize Who He Is. This first step towards peace sets the tone for the steps that follow.

3. And supplication
"Supplication" is often seen as our petitions, our requests. But there is a subtle - and very significant
- difference. The use of this word connotes humility. This is definitely not a coming to God with our demands, or even our wish list. Not at all. This is coming to Him with the attitude of "not my will, but Yours". Acknowledging His claim on our lives and His right to do whatever He wills.

4. With thanksgiving
How gracious of God to include this phrase! This lets us know that, not only does God have the right to do whatever He wills, but also that we can trust Him to do only what is good and loving and faithful. Regardless of what it may look like to us, we can trust that all that His does is for our highest good and His highest glory.  Because of that confidence, we can thank Him.  In all things.
So, as we approach Him in worship (prayer) and humility (supplication), it is also in trust (with thanksgiving). Because He is good. All the time.

5. Let your requests be made known to God
   This is where we get to bring our petitions, our desires, our the only One who can fulfill them. After we have come to Him in worship, humility, and trust, then we can pour our heart out in longing. This approach often changes what we ask for! He wants us to tell Him what we want...and then trust Him to answer with the best.
I love the phrase "be made known to God" - it sorta sounds like we have to tell Him because He doesn't already know! That is laughable! The Divine, Omnipotent, OMNISCIENT God most surely knows not only what need but also what we are going to ask for - long before there is even a thought formed in our little brains! So what does this phrase intend to convey to us? I think it means the realization on our part of our dependence on Him. The recognition of our reliance on His goodness and mercy and grace to supply what we need, to grant what we are asking. Making known our requests is acknowledging that He alone is the giver of all good gifts. And that is why we come to Him - that is the essence of faith, the antithesis of worry!
 When we are in His Holy presence, realizing Who He is...and who we are not, when we are able to desire His Will higher than our own, then we can freely say, as Henry Blackaby puts it "Lord, here is what I think I want, but if you have something better in mind, well, then, just cancel my request!"

And then what happens?
After the command and the instruction...the result.

When we turn to prayer with these steps of worship and humility and trust and faith, then He gives peace. Peace that guards our hearts (our feelings) and our minds (our thoughts) against worry. Peace - the confidence in the goodness of God - which comes when we choose to pray instead of to worry...and this peace which results is also what guards us against future worry. Prayer begats peace which defeats worry. And when we find Him faithful, we turn to prayer instead of worry. Which begats peace...which guards us against worry...and He proves faithful...again and again and again.

Oh, one more thing.  A couple of verses later, there is a phrase that offers tremendous encouragement. Perhaps we read these exhortations and agree with them, but down deep, we know the truth - and the truth is we still worry. We want to experience His peace; we want to pray and trust instead of fretting. But that's not our reality.
What to do?

Verse 9 tells us - The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things and the God of peace shall be with you.

All these things that God urges us to do, so that we can have His peace?
Well, it's OK if you don't get it right every time.
Keep practicing.
Don't quit.
Practice what He shows us in these verses.
And, soon, you will find as I have that you won't be a worrier anymore. When trouble comes or panic threatens tranquility, you will find your default has become to pray. To trust. To thank Him. And to express your needs and hopes and desires to The Only One who gives good and perfect gifts.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Living Letters Devotional Book update

For those of you in the Athens/Watkinsville area,  I will have a couple of book signings (isn't that a hoot???) and would love for you all to stop by and say hi if you can. Especially to the 12/17 one because I'd like to support my friend Dara Buczynsky and her great mission

12/17 - Epiphany 294 W Washington St /Athens - a place founded to help women understand that their true beauty comes from their Creator and to support local ministries
I'll be there 1-3pm

12/20  Walls of books/ Watkinsville -  Hog Mountain Road - in same building as PharmD on Demand -- 11-1 - this store will also stock a few books after the signing. 

If you preordered a book from me, you can pick them up at the signings or from my house. All preorders are at the $14.99 (plus tax) rate. After 12/12, price goes up (through me as well as on Amazon)
Payment - you can use PayPal (please use transfer to friends and family option) - or mail me a check to 1011 Broadlands Drive/30677. Books ordered before 12/12 are $16.04 including tax - after 12/12 it will be $20 total.
For you out of the Athens/Watkinsville area, I am happy to ship it to you - add $6 for  1-2 books and $8 for 3-4

Please please please do not feel ANY pressure to get a book or to come to the signings (but I'd love for you to support these local businesses and to stop by for a hug...) I just sent this out to the group instead of responding to several individual emails and because y'all have been kind enough to encourage me in this book thing. I still can't believe it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Living Letters is a book!

Dear Blog Friends,

Guess what!!!! I wrote a book!  I have been pretty absent from blog world so I could get this project done and here it is!  It's a year long devotional (5 days a week only - I always need a couple of days to catch up and thought other folks would, too!).  I have had an absolute blast putting it together and I'd love for you to join me in reading through it this year.  My prayer is that it will help other women fall more in love with Jesus and His Word as they immerse themselves in His riches. 

It's available in Kindle format for you digital gals and also in print version for those of us who love the feel of turning pages.  If you want to order the print book from me, you can do that by emailing me at   You can pick it up to save shipping costs or I can mail it to you, just like Amazon does.

If you're in the Athens/Watkinsville area, I plan to have a book signing in December (isn't that a hoot??? )  I'll put the details on here once they are confirmed and I'd more than love it if you'd come by and give me a hug, whether you get a book or not!

Many thanks to so many of you who encouraged me to do this, praying for me, giving me ideas, and showering me with love.  You are truly the best.  And more than a huge shoutout to two women who made this project possible - Tricia Bauman and Mandy Rice.  Priceless treasures does not even begin to describe you both.  Thank you!!!

Check out the link - and Merry Christmas, sisters


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Don't Quit

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” Hebrews 10:36.

We need endurance all the time. We need it in times of pain and difficulty, so as not to give up. We need it in times of temptation, so that we won’t give in. We need it when we are weary of the battle and no sign of victory is in sight. We need endurance in prayer when the answers are not coming…and when the answer comes and it is “no”. We need it when the attacks of the Enemy are so very real and frightening that we feel defeat is inevitable. We need it when we feel that no one notices – or cares – about our battles and our pain.   And we need it in times of prosperity so that we won’t give away our faith and find our pleasure in that which will not satisfy truly. We need endurance, that consistent satisfaction in knowing Christ and making Him known, all the time.

How can we endure to the end, how can we persevere throughout the valleys and mountains of life? Probably lots of things are helpful but I want to focus on a couple today -

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Beautiful art

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them Ephesians 2:10

I have a painting hung above the fireplace in my basement. It depicts an old barn in a hay field, done in browns and beiges. To the discerning art critic, it probably wouldn’t merit a great deal of attention. Likely no one in sophisticated circles would long to own it.

But to me, it is priceless. I would never give it away or even sell it to the highest bidder. To me, it is beautiful and irreplaceably treasured.

Not because the scene is so beautiful nor because it is so rare.

But because of who painted it and gave it to me.

A friend who became so dear to me in college and then moved to the mission field tried her hand at painting before she left. She found she had a good bit of talent for it and she completed a few pieces, just for fun. One such piece is displayed in my home, a precious reminder of one I love so very much.

The painting is valuable because of who made it.

Regardless of what the art experts may think about my painting, I know beyond a shadow of doubt they may cast upon it that this painting is of inestimable value.

Girlfriends, it’s the same for you and me. We are His workmanship. The Master Designer has conceived and created us according to His flawless plan. We must not listen to the amateur art critics who try and speak into our lives, those who judge us according to temporal standards and find us lacking. Our design is not only intentional…it is also good. We are of infinite value because of Who made us. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.

Unlike my precious painting, however, the designs of the Master are not created to just hang around and get looked upon. We have been created with purpose. Purpose that is not incidental but rather priority – for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 Let’s be about discovering what those are for each day.