Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Give Without Sparing

There is one who covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and keeps on giving.
Proverbs 21:26 

Have you ever worked with a person that had to be told to do a complete task and not half of a task? I'm sure many people can identify with working with someone who does the bare minimum. It is such a pain when a co worker always empties the coffeepot and baked goods and never offers to start a new pot or contribute to the kitchen. As a Christian, how do you handle this? Do you say something at the right time and place or do you continue to repeatedly give fully knowing your generosity is unlikely to be reciprocated. 

Sometimes our family members can be guilty of sapping the life out of us too. Good relationships are a two way street . Give and take with a equal balance is delightful...but it rarely works that way. In different seasons of our lives our amount of giving and receiving probably fluctuate a lot. 

Where us your heart today? As the season of "giving" approaches, are you fixated on what you'll get or are you pondering the perfect gift for each person on your list? 

In your relationships, are you sapping the life out of your family members unintentionally or are you a willing contributor to healthy relationships with your loved ones? 

The bible is very clear about how we, as Christians should live. The verse above says as Christians, we should give without any regard of the possibility of receiving. It can be exhausting, however the message of Jesus will shine through you like nothing on this earth could ever do. 

There was a time in my life when my plate was very full. My husband had a serious and potentially life threatening illness and was in the ICU in the hospital. At the time we had two children under the age of five and we lived 700 miles from family. My loving sister left her busy family and came the long distance to my rescue! She stayed a long time while I sat at my husband's bedside and prayed for his healing. Dozens of friends prepared meals and helped our family. Clearly, they were serving the Lord without any thoughts of receiving anything in return. 

My husband thankfully made a complete recovery and over the next several months, our lives slowly returned to normal. So many people left a mark on our hearts with their selfless giving. Both my husband and I consider that trying time in our lives as a defining moment in our walk with the Lord. We chose Jesus and to walk with Him daily in our lives! 


Lord, open our eyes and our hearts to selflessly give of ourselves to those around us daily. Help us be intentional in our giving to each other with our love and time for Your glory. Amen.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Love: Speak without Accusing

 Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19 (GNT)

While visiting a doctor recently, a friend of mine was not understanding the important information being given to her about her health condition. After a while, the doctor noticed her perplexed look and asked if she understood what he was saying. After thinking for a moment, she quickly asked if he could repeat what he was saying. He asked her why.  She informed him that he spoke much faster than she could think about what he was saying!

The bible has much to say about our tongue and our use of it. The verse in James gives us very good directions for the way in which we should interact in our relationships. 

In New England, where we live, a majority of people are flippant and cross to strangers. You just have to wonder if they act that way towards their families? Witnessing this type of behavior is a great prompt to discuss what was seen with our kids. Pointing out how unacceptable it is to treat another human with such disregard is not only a bad witness for Christ, but a horrible habit to have. 

Our reaction to things being said to us tells a lot about our heart. So many variables contribute to our mindset on a daily basis: fatigue, hunger, stress, pressure, sadness, bitterness are just a few. How we react may or may not make an impression on a life.  My prayer is that when we encounter unfamiliar territory we will be able to quietly listen while silently praying to be mightily used by the Lord for His glory and none of our own.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How to Love : Listen Without Interrupting

In our house, disagreements and lively debates are filled with one common phrase: "Let me finish...don't interrupt me!!!" 

Everyone wants their voice to be heard. Everyone feels their reasoning needs to be heard. 

In the Bible, the book of Proverbs 18 is full of wise words about listening to each other. 
It starts by saying in verse 1 and 2:

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
    and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

In other words, an unfriendly fool has to have their voice heard and will not listen to anyone or anything else. It goes on to say that fools dig themselves into more and more problems when they don't stop talking long enough to listen.

In verse 10, we are given hope with this gem of a verse:

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.

This is one of my favorite verses in the bible! No matter where we find ourselves in life we can run to our Lord and be saved from every calamity we find ourselves in! This encourages me so much and I need reminded of this often.

Back to the loving by listening topic, Proverbs 18 goes on to say in verse 15:

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
    for the ears of the wise seek it out.

This means that if we are learning to be wise, we will learn to the important skill of listening to each other. Whether it be about a topic that we want to hear about or not, whether it be difficult or easy to hear ~ listen. Stop in your tracks, open your mind. Be wise. Listen. 

Verse 21 wraps up the listening lesson with:

The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Everyone occasionally says things they don't mean, but often we need reminded that our words have power. I can remember words said to me many years ago that still today sting in my heart. Of course I have forgiven the person saying the harmful words, but it is just an example of how a moment of irrational conversation can cause a person to never forget what has been said to them.

One of the ways we can love each other is to listen to each other without interrupting. It is really really hard sometimes to take the time to hear something that either has been said before or is not comfortable to hear. We can show love by giving our undivided attention to those that we are in a conversation with. 

Lord, help us to open our hearts and minds to show love in our daily conversations by listening without interrupting. Give us wisdom to know when to be quiet and give us soft words to communicate this love. Amen.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Fall Y'all!

Every have those times in life when you have a lot to say and not enough words to put together to say anything of any significance? I guess that is my only explanation for not writing a blog post for a while.

Summer was very quiet this year. We made a trip to Ohio in July to visit family and had a great trip. Ken went with us this year and we made some sweet memories with both my family and his family. We also were able to get to our favorite theme park, Cedar Point. If you aren't familiar with Cedar Point, I encourage you to google it. It is the place to go if you like roller coasters! They have 15 or more of them all within the park.


School started and the fall season is already upon us. Today we saw glimpses of trees that are starting to change colors already. Last week, we had the furnace on twice and shortly after experienced a bizarre heat wave that soared the temperature to 95 degrees on Wednesday! Today, we are cool again and we may need to turn on the furnace again this weekend.

Encouragement for the day: 

"God loves us, He is taking care of us, and He’s got the whole world in His hands"

Monday, July 8, 2013

Walking on Sunshine!

Summer has arrived and is in full swing! We are so thankful for this season!!!

In New England, the school year ended later due to Hurricane Sandy and the snowstorms. All of these major weather events are said to be very rare for this region but they keep happening! It's a mystery and each event is yet another example of the mighty power of our Creator. We are thankful to be safe, we are thankful we survived and we are moving forward - even if it is later than normal.

Our summer plans this year are rather vague. We are planning a trip to Ohio to visit family and possibly taking a short trip to upper New England to see some recommended sites. That is about it for travel plans.

Josh has plans with friends quite regularly. Em is involved with youth group at church and has a fun activity with them about once a week. Ken and I try to keep up with the kids plans and have enjoyed doing several fun outside projects together on the weekends.

Aside from all of that, we are in total summer mode! Sleeping in, deep cleaning, organizing, playing with Buddy, home school curriculum planning for both kids, eating delicious fruit, baking, reading and positively loving summer!

 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Break!

Last week was our spring break week from school here in New England. It seems so late compared to everyone else in the country! This year my parents invited us to join them in South Carolina. Unfortunately, Ken could not join us due to work obligations, but the kids and I were able to go.

Love Delta Mileage Points!

What a blessing to have the opportunity to spend some quality time with my parents and build some memories with them both! As time marches forward, we are all very aware that spending time with parents and grandparents is a delicate process.

My parents have traveled to the Charleston area for many years in the springtime. They have tried so many different activities and know all the good places to stay and fun things to do! We stayed on the Isle of Palms all the way at the end of the island! What a beautiful place!

Both of them were teachers at one time and it was cute to see them plan out our educational adventures everyday. Charleston is very beautiful and is extremely rich with history. Josh loved the architectural parts, history and food. Emily loved the all of the flowers and the horses. We took a narrated carriage tour around Charleston, then shopped at the city market.

"Steve" the horse. :-)

Trumpet flowering tree!

We took a ferry out to Fort Sumter and learned all about it's construction and the significant historical events that happened there.

Another day we toured Magnolia Plantation and witnessed first hand the beauty of the ol' south. Spring was in full bloom and all of us were in awe of how gorgeous it is there.



We had a wonderful visit with my parents in the south. It was a much needed break and change of scenery. Our weather was great and the memories we made with them are priceless.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Date please....

Oh my goodness. What has happened to this year? The time is flying by so fast!

I was shocked to look at this blog today and find that I hadn't posted in a long while. Truth is that I've been meaning to post more, but time and the schedules in my life are a bit overwhelming.

Enough excuses....

Blogging is a lot of fun and I enjoy writing. Tomorrow is a new day and I will share some pics from our spring break trip.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

11 Questions Church Leaders Should Be Asking

I copied this blog post from Willow Creek Association. Please pass this along to your church leaders if you feel prompted from the Lord to do so.  If you don't feel comfortable, maybe this will be a good tool to help you decide if you are attending the kind of church the Lord intended for you to attend.

11 Questions Church Leaders Should Be Asking:

Re-post by Tony Morgan:
A friend in ministry recently asked me what questions church leaders should be asking. I thought about the types of questions I try to help answer when I’m working with them in the church consulting or coaching relationships. Here are the first questions and some bonus thoughts that came to mind:
    1. When was the last time I heard from God? Am I doing what he called me to do? This is the “Acts 6″ question. Acts 6 is a great reminder that it’s possible to be doing the ministry of God without doing the ministry God has called us to do.

    2. What should our church be known for in this community? For a moment, ignore anyone who attends your church. What does the rest of the community know about your church?  That’s a better reflection of whether or not you’re really accomplishing your vision.

    3. Are we really focusing our time, money, leadership, prayer behind the things that will produce life change and community impact? If not, there’s a good chance that “fairness” is driving these decisions. Fairness never produces revolution.

    4. Is our church growing both spiritually and in numbers? Churches that are stuck and not bearing fruit hate this question. As I’ve shared before, I don’t believe healthy churches are necessarily big churches, but healthy churches aregrowing churches.

    5. Is there a clear path to help people take steps in their faith with the ultimate goal of them becoming fully-devoted followers of Christ? Having a vibrant Sunday worship experience is only one component of that. I’m amazed at how many churches haven’t really established a discipleship strategy beyond Sunday morning.

    6. Have you taken the time to identify what a fully-devoted follower of Christ looks like? Most churches haven’t done this, so they end up just “doing church” without any intentionality of purpose or process.

    7. Are you empowering the people of God to do God’s work? This is the “Ephesians 4:12-13″ question. Declining churches pay people to do all the ministry. Growing churches challenge people to use their gifts.

    8. Are you developing leaders? This includes both spiritual discipleship and leadership mentoring, and I think it’s what’s going to distinguish the churches that last longer than one generation.

    9. Is my community any different because of my ministry? We may need a whole new set of measures to confirm whether or not our churches are really making an impact.

    10. Do believers see their ministry happening only at the church or have they become missionaries to their families, their neighborhoods, their workplaces, their schools, etc.? Honestly, I’m really tired of Christians thinking God saved them to go church on Sunday and then eventually experience Heaven. Our purpose is much bigger than that.

    11. Do I have the right leaders around me to accomplish the vision? Read Exodus 18:18-23. This isn’t some new business leadership principle. This is biblical advice that’s been around for thousands of years and still applies today.
Those are the first questions that popped to my mind. What are the questions you are asking as a leader in the church?
Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of TonyMorganLive.com. He’s a consultant, leadership coach and writer who helps churches get unstuck and have a bigger impact.

Here is the direct link to the author's blog:
11 Questions Church Leaders Should Be Asking | Willow Creek Association Blog

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's on the Horizon?

A new year! A new chapter ~ 2013!

I love the holidays but I can honestly say I am glad the hustle and bustle is behind us. Today I put the last of the lingering Christmas decorations away and cleaned the whole house. What in the world got into me today? I think it was somewhat of a panic cleaning because Emily had the flu all last week. For those of you who know Emily, she is normally extremely energetic and bursting with life! Well, not this week. She was down and out for the last 6 days and she had the flu shot in October. I think my burst of energy was a mission to rid the house of remnants of flu and also partly in fear that I might be next in line. Praying for healing and protection for the rest of us not to catch the flu!

So what's on the horizon for the new year?

*Major project completion for Ken at work.
*Home school, college testing with search, and air soft hang-outs for Josh.
*Basketball, youth group, and dog training for Em.
*Sewing, teenage taxi service, home making, and a new online Bible study for me!

HelloMornings is the name of the group of women I will be joining in just a few short weeks. After being put in a group of accountability partners we will encourage each other to have daily quiet time in God's word, exercise and plan the day - all before the day officially begins. Over the years I've heard different pastors say that we should give the Lord our best when we are freshest in the morning...not give Him our time when we are tired and at the end of the day. He wants our best - He deserves our best! It's not too much to ask, especially after all He's done for me!

I'd like to invite you to join me and HelloMornings! The winter session study runs January 28th through April 26th and the study is entitled Abounding Hope.

Here is some information from their site and a link to follow for even more information and to register:

What is HelloMornings?

The HelloMornings Challenge was birthed to encourage Christian women toward the life-giving habit of waking up early.
Inspired by the (free) ebook, Maximize Your Mornings, thousands of women from all over the world have joined the challenge. Through our tri-annual online community groups, these women are inspired to action as they receive encouragement and accountability.
Our hope is that over time HelloMornings participants will:
  1. Experience quality time with God
  2. Intentionally plan their days
  3. Exercise regularly
—all before the day gets going! God. Plan. Move.
Hope to see you on HelloMornings and Happy New Year to you and your family from ours!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Healing for Newtown

Night of Hope and Healing for Newtown
Tonight 6-8pm EST 

You can still worship and pray with us tonight, even if 
you were unable to get tickets to a Night of Hope and Healing.This event is for the victims and community of Newtown hosted by Max Lucado on Tuesday, January 15 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.The event will include Christian artists Chris Tomlin, Mandisa, Casting Crowns, Tobymac, Steve Curtis Chapman and his wife MaryBeth, Bldg 429,and Laura Story. Author and Pastor Max Lucado will share messages of encouragement, along with Louie Giglio.

This free event is designed to bring comfort to the community through music, prayer, and uplifting messages. 10,000 tickets were given to thevictims' families and citizens of the local area.A Night of Hope & Healing tomorrow night. Please spread the word about the LiveStream event to those who were unable to get tickets. All they need to watch is the link below and a connection to the internet!

http://bit.ly/hopehealing http://bit.ly/hopehealing>

PS - Our school's 4 & 5th graders are singing Amazing Grace with Chris Tomlin. (Christian Heritage School)