People Who Give Rest

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Do you have a friend who gives you rest? Someone you feel good just being around. Not hurried, not rushed. The kind of person who makes you feel better about yourself even when you’re not a “better” person. Just being with them boosts your self confidence and makes you want to just sit down and “be” for a while. And when you leave you feel like you have more life to give than you did when you entered.

I know someone like this.

And I would like to be this kind of person.

The other week in church our pastor asked if anyone knew someone like this. Immediately a name popped into my head. I thought about how refreshing is was to be around this person.

That night my husband asked me if I thought of anyone when our pastor asked that question and I said yes. Then I asked him if he did, and he said yes.

He asked me who. I asked him who.

Then we both answered at the exact same time, “Donna”.

We laughed.

People like our friend Donna are special. They have the gift of bringing peace and rest to others. And anyone would be lucky to be on the receiving end of their gift.

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I love this verse. I could use some rest from this exhausting life. But God’s rest seems so elusive, intangible. How do you get your hands on some of that holy peace? Reading God’s Word and prayer are essential to that quest, for sure. But I think God uses people like Donna to bring His peace to others. What a blessing.

I would like to bring some of God’s rest to those around me.

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I asked my husband what he thought made her so easy to be around; what about her made us feel comfortable and relaxed.

We came up with two answers. I’m sure there are many, many more, and many intangibles too, but these seemed to be the main two for both of us.

1. Non-judgemental – No matter what you are telling her you never feel judged. Maybe she hides it well, or maybe she doesn’t feel judge-y. Either way it is a main reason the two of us feel peaceful around her. You always feel you can be honest and still be accepted. It’s so refreshing.

2. Listens well – Sure she has plenty to say too, but she listens really well – with interest. She seems genuinely interested in me and what I am talking about. Maybe we share a lot of common interests, but it goes way beyond that. She appears truly interested in my life – every time.

Then there’s me. I think my judgmental looks give off all sorts of clues that I couldn’t care less about what you are talking about. I have a lot of work to do if I want people to feel comfortable being with me, let alone feeling peaceful and rested.

But, I’m going to try anyway because It’s worth it if I can give someone a little rest in this crazy, busy life where the ability to rest is slipping quickly from us.

What if heaven really is for real?

Would it change the way you live? Would it change the way you think?

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I read the book Heaven is For Real a few years ago. The book is about a 4-year-old boy who had a near death experience and went to Heaven for a short time. The book recounts the stories he told after the fact leading his parents to believe he had really been there. He knew things about them he wouldn’t have know and he told them about things he saw while he was there. His family wrote the book to share their story.

Last weekend some people on our street got together to watch the movie “Heaven is For Real”. Something in the movie struck me differently than when I read the book. The father of the boy is a preacher and is really wrestling with his faith in God but his disbelieve that his boy could have really been in Heaven for a time. In the movie he asks his congregation, “What if heaven is for real? Would you live differently?”

I believe in God and Jesus and heaven, but this question made me think. If I believed that Heaven was really for real. Every day. I think I would live differently than I do. Pondering this question myself made me realize how thin my faith really is.

If I believed heaven was really for real I would:

Feel safer
Revelation 21:27 “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Have more joy on a day to day basis knowing where I was headed
Be more excited to get there
I Corinthians 2:9 “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him””

Realize I have no idea what real beauty looks like
Revelations 21:21 “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.”
Revelations 21:19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,

Be more thankful
Revelations 21:1-5 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.””

Be less stressed

Be more humble and reverent toward God

Worry less about the stuff in my life.

Be more proactive in telling others about Jesus

So if I profess to believe in God and Heaven, why don’t I live like I do? No matter what you think about stories like this – if you do believe in God this is a good question to ponder for yourself. Do you really believe Heaven is real? And if so, do you live like it?

Trust Without Borders

I love the song Oceans by Hillsong right now. Below is a link to a video from a conference in Sydney where they performed it last year. The venue is amazing and the number of people worshipping together is moving.

Please click on the link below and take a few minutes to listen to the song while you read this today. The link will open in a new window so you can come back while it is playing and read. Please note there is an ad at the beginning of the video that you can skip after five seconds and then the song will begin playing.

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Hillsong UNITED

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Oh to have trust in God that has no borders. To fully put my life in His hands and trust that He will make good of all things that happen. To trust that even the painful parts of life are meant for my good. The things that happen to us that hurt beyond imagination are meant for good.  The Bible says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. Lord help me to trust deeply in that promise and live life trusting you without borders. Help me to not run when things don’t go as I want them to go but to trust that you are in control even when it looks like no one is.

Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.
Lord, take my life and use it for your good. Speak to me and tell me where you want me, where you need me. May I be willing to go wherever that is. Lord use me in great ways to glorify you and spread your love so that the pain of my life will have purpose and not be in vain. Lord, may I be willing to let my story be used to tell of your amazing faithfulness and love. May I not run and hide because the pain to too much to relive but may I follow where you lead and may you give me the strength to do what you ask of me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.
Pursue me and draw me deeper in a relationship with you where I will experience you in great ways. Where I will see your work and your faithfulness. Where I will feel your love and your grace. And Lord help me to seek you as much as I am humanly able. My feet wander, my mind wanders and I am easily distracted by earthly things. Take me deeper with you into the life you have for me. Lord may my feet follow as you guide me. Lord give me the strength to follow when it is hard.

And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my savior.
Let it be so, that as I deepen my relationship with you my faith with be stronger. Lord I confess that my faith is so weak. When life hurts, I take my life in my own hands fully trusting only myself. Myself that only sees things in the present not as you see them with the perspective of eternity. May I learn to trust deeply. May I encounter the joy you have for me when I learn to trust fully. And Lord forgive me, for I will fail. But thank you for knowing that and offering me your peace, love, joy, security, forgiveness anyway…for I deserve none of it.

Lord help me, for I want to trust you without borders. I want to go where you call me, I want to go deeper with you so my faith can be made stronger. Lord I want my life to have purpose, I want the pain of my life to not be in vain. Lord give me courage, strength and purpose. I am willing.

A Favorite Project of Mine

I am so excited to show you this. This is the one project that I do on a quarterly basis that I just love doing. I make serious sacrifices to do it and I unplug from my life while I work on it. But it is so much fun for those two weeks out of every quarter.

Many of you know already, but I am a graphic designer by trade. It comes with the genes, I love to make things pretty. Over the past few years I have been lucky enough to work with many fun clients, but this one…well it’s special to me.

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I am honored to be the graphic designer for vérité an online magazine catering to women in their 40’s and beyond.

“So, the spirit behind vérité and our tagline, AUTHENTIC AT ANY AGE, is…the idea of recognizing and owning that we are older, yes, but we are also just as relevant, passionate, engaged, inspired and motivated as we ever were. And the belief that the desire to remain authentic in the midst of it all is a worthwhile pursuit.”

In a world where very little is truly authentic, this read is a breath of fresh air. It is written by real women, features real women and will inspire you in many ways.

This e-magazine was started by a colleague of mine, Kelly Holden Allen, who I have been working with for several years on many of her philanthropy projects. She had this dream three years ago and is making it happen in a very big and real way today. I am excited to have been a part of it from it’s inception and look forward to where it will go in the next few years.

It began to get serious traction at the beginning of this year and it has been a pleasure to watch it grow exponentially. Our 6th issue just launched Wednesday and it is a powerful issue. From fashion, beauty, fitness to home, entertaining and travel, it has something for everyone. Please take a look.

Kids Devotional Books We Like

I’m always looking for a good devotional book to read with the kids. I’ve bought a ton of them and left most on the shelf after a few lame reads. But I have found a few that we really like. I thought I would share the ones we have read over and over with you in case it’s helpful.

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The Big Picture Story Bible is fantastic. It isn’t just big pictures; it tells the big picture story of the Bible. Through it’s pictures and stories it shows how Jesus is woven throughout the new and old testament. It’s an overview of the Bible: telling the story of Jesus, why he had to come, how he came and what it did for us. It is really well done. The book comes with a CD where the author reads the book and children can follow along including bells to tell you when to turn the page.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is another book that comes (in one version) with a CD so you can follow along. This book tells lots of bible stories and is very well written. It doesn’t just cover the well known stories it also develops some of the disciples lives through stories. This is one we have read over and over and over.

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Jesus Calling Bible Storybook is new to our collection. It tells a short Bible story and then gives a Jesus Calling type devotional based on the story. As with all of the Jesus Calling books it brings a beautiful personal application piece at the end pertinent to children’s life issues. We are reading through this in the evenings right now and the amount of time it takes to read one is just right for the smalls’ short attention span before bed.

This may also be a good opportunity to mention that there is a Jesus Calling for Kids available. It follows the same format as the adult version but the life applications are much more in line with things kids deal with. I also have the Jesus Calling for Kids app on my iPhone. Sometimes I read this to the kids in the morning during breakfast before sending them out for the wolves to devour.

Every Day a Blessing: A Year of God’s Love. This is a really interesting book. There is a devotional for every day of the year and each one presents a different blessing from God. They each start with a key verse then a short story from the passage and a quick question or statement of the blessing we can derive from the passage. My kids and I can always use a reminder of the ways God blesses us. This is another one I like to read at breakfast. It sends you off with something to think about and look for that day. It is also a quick read making it easy to squeeze it into even the busiest of mornings.

 

 

My Summer Reading List

I thought I would share my summer reading list with you – in case you cared. As you will see from my list, I’m a slow reader, since I haven’t read some of the popular books out there, YET.  Right now I’m trying to come up with ways to explain to you why I haven’t gotten around to them, but I don’t think I really have to, so I won’t. I will keep them to myself because they make me feel better.

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One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

by Ann Voskamp

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Peter’s unique approach helped people everywhere learn to let go of the emotional and psychological clutter that was literally and figuratively choking the life out of their homes.

With his good humor and reassuring advice, Peter shows you how to face the really big question: What is the vision for the life you want to live? He then offers simple techniques and a step-by-step plan to assess the state of your home, prioritize your possessions, and let go of the clutter you have been holding on to that has kept you from living the life you imagine. The result is freed-up space, less stress, and more energy for living a happier, richer life every day.

Also in workbook form!

Add Zest to Your Family with God’s Rest

Seriously, your schedule is hurried, your expectations are extraordinary, and you and your family’s commitments are too many to count. Your relationships with your friends, your family, and your God are suffering.

Ready for a change of pace? Here’s help. Little House on the Freeway takes a look at the breakneck speed at which we live and reveals how to not only put on the brakes, but how to get off the freeway altogether. With a special section, “101 Ways to Give Rest to Your Family” and a new chapter that addresses the perils of the Internet, this timeless classic about the importance of quality family time has been updated to rescue a whole new generation from hurry.

Don’t let busyness, productivity, or the tempation to “keep up with the Joneses” keep you from the peace and incredible quality of relationships God created for you.

“Hurry and busyness are everyday parts of modern life. True priorities of things that matter most may be lost. Little House on the Freeway offers biblical insights and principles to our hurried existence–help from the Word of God for the life being lived in the fast lane.” -Billy Graham

 

I’m starting with these, I’ll see how far I get! I also want to throw in a novel by Karen Kingsbury during a vacation. I read one in March and couldn’t put it down.

 

Finally, a few devotionals that I like to go to. I rotate these around to keep it fresh.

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Girlfriends in God

Three women of different ages who write devotionals. They share from their lives and stories both the good, bad and difficult. I always get something from their stuff. You can get the app too!

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Jesus Calling
by Sarah Young

There is an app for this one too, and a Jesus Calling for Kids (also in app form). Plus I just found a Jesus Calling Bible Storybook that I really like for the kids. If you haven’t ever read any of these, they are super short and really good! When you need a good hug from God – read this! It usually comes in an orange-y cover, but I like this one.

 

Kids In-App Purchase Trap

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The other morning around 7:30 a.m. my husband received a phone call from our credit card company alerting us to some possible fraud going on with our account earlier that morning. The friendly account manager proceeded to go through the charges in question to make sure they weren’t in fact ours.

Nothing sounded familiar at all, and we were outraged! The total was over $200. How could this happen? Those criminals!

The diligent account manager continued to do some “checking” on those purchases and noticed they were all made through our iTunes account.

What? Say that again… Someone must have hacked our iTunes account too! What else?

He gently suggested we check to see if there was some fraudulent activity going on in our own home, under our own noses. “Do you have children in the home who might be making purchases in some games, maybe?”

OMG… NUMBER 3!

We called the little man into the office for a convo. It was then that we fully understood what had happened.

See, he was playing this game early that morning and he needed a new weapon to fight off a new predator. So he had to get it – $7.50. Then he came across some gold coins that would really help him get further in the game and he decided he needed those – $107.00 which he bought twice because why not?

Now, he has no idea how much $100 is but the people who make these games do. I would really like to totally blame them and label them criminals, crooked, delinquents, villains, even jerks  but obviously I have a role in this too since I am the parent.

So I will take responsibility for this, and so will my son from this day forward.

And I thought I had been so careful with the “devices”. I had turned on the parental controls with the proper rating for my children’s ages. I had taken the internet off and YouTube off. I monitor their games on a regular basis to make sure it all looks on the up and up.

But I didn’t have the “in-app purchases not permitted” turned on. Oops, missed that one!

So now I know, now my children know, and now you know (although you probably already did) that you need that one checked too.

Oh, it’s fun to be a parent today, isn’t it?

 

A Tribute to the Mother’s in my Life

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When my husband asked me what I wanted to do for mother’s day I told him all I wanted to do was plant flowers in my window boxes.

I think I should have been a little more open to other ideas because this weekend’s forecast is calling for rain and more rain.

Oh, well, next weekend. At least this opened up my schedule for a bit more introspection of the meaning of Mother’s Day to me.

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I often think about the women in my life who have been a significant influence on me as a mother, or as a person. There are a few that have come to mind lately as I reflect on my role as Mom and job as homemaker.

My mom is an obvious one. She gave me a strong foundation for my faith. She was instrumental in building my knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, but she also modeled a relationship with God in front of me and my entire family.

Amy M, mother of 2 and my college roommate, taught me how to be authentic and approachable. She is very generous, strong and thoughtful and I have a great deal respect for her as a mom. She has an amazing ability to relate to, and love others in a way they need to be loved. Even in college, people would come over just to talk to Amy. No one ever came over just to talk to me. I wondered why, so I watched her and asked her to show me how to do this better.

Meg S, mother of 5, taught me the joy of the drop by visit and how to be a mother in a larger family. I used to love it when she would just pop over for a quick visit or see what we were up to. I learned I could do the same to her and I was always met with a very warm welcome. She has a lot of kids close together in age like us and I learned that life is going to be crazy, imperfect, and that not only is it ok, it can be fun too. Her transparency and authenticity is refreshing and inviting.

Donna P, mother of 3 amazing, grown women with kids of their own, encourages me through the challenges of motherhood and gives me all sorts of great parenting advice. She is warm and nonjudgmental, thoughtful and very creative! She has given immeasurably to me and my family through the years! When we have a parenting decision to make, my husband and I often ask each other, “what would Donna do?”

We all need people who encourage, support and love us through this crazy life. If you don’t have a “board of directors” I encourage you to create one. Check back this week when I will talk more about creating your own personal board of directors.

Until then, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

 

 

 

 

Challenge #18 – Garden

 

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I did a fall clean-up in our garden last year. And I was really proud of my work. The past few years we hired this job out. I hated doing that because it is a job I can do and feel like I should do myself. But I have been pregnant or caring for a newborn for the past 9 years straight, so I gave up the guilt and hired someone to do it for us for a few of the hardest years.

But this year my youngest is 3, so I have time to do a good job myself. I was really excited about it and even googled how to prune the spirea bushes we have that I am pretty sure could look a lot better with proper care.

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When I was done #4 who is 4-years-old came up to me, gave me a fist bump and said, “bam, whaaat? Mom you own this season!”

She’s awesome! My own personal cheerleader. I love that little girl.

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So I felt like a rock star… until the snow melted this spring and I realized that I had forgotten to trim some greenery around my front porch. There it was, staring up at me, primed and ready to strangle all my guests who dared to enter my front door.

Of course this brown mess revealed itself about a month ago and today I’m finally going to get around to it.

It’s no big deal, really, all I have to do is get my little shears out and cut it down.

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So today let’s all get out our sheers and head to the garden to take care of whatever stuff we missed in the fall.

Honestly, most of you probably don’t have this problem.  You either got everything the first time, or didn’t do it at all and figure mother nature will take care of it for you.

But if you’re like me let’s get going people.

 

If you want to join me in this 30 day easy spring cleaning challenge where we thoroughly clean one thing each day in 30 minutes or less, please click on the follow my blog button on the right menu bar (or below) and you will receive a daily post with a new project.

Challenge #8 – Fingerprints

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I think this might be my favorite challenge so far. I have ten little hands spreading grime on every doorway and wall in this house. It starts about 2 feet from the floor and stops about 4 1/2 feet from the floor.

At every corner I see dirt smudges, fingerprints, chocolate pudding blobs and peanut butter smear. It bothers me because I worry what other people will think of me if my walls, doorways and stairwells look like this. Not because it really bothers ME so much. Because, while I don’t love it, I accept that it is a side effect of having 5 young kids. But I fear others parents will think:
“Man, she really doesn’t take care of her house very well.”
“She shouldn’t have had so many kids”
“Poor kids, their mom doesn’t even have the time to keep their environment clean.”
“She just can’t handle this many kids.”

All true except for the “she shouldn’t have had this many kids” one. I don’t believe that one at all, but I have heard it!

I don’t want others to know that I really can’t keep up. Hey, I don’t want to accept that I can’t do it all perfectly.

So today I am cleaning the smudges from my walls because it bothers me to look at them every time I climb the stairs, not because anyone else is going to thing I’m an inferior mother.

And I will feel better for a day; and then the smudges will be back.

But as I clean the grime from my walls I will look at them differently. I will see them as a reminder of a fun day outside playing laser tag, football, soccer, capture the flag, basketball, cartwheels in the front yard and digging up worms in the back. Those smudges are memories of good times, not a judgement on my mothering abilities or decisions.

So take a good look today – I look like I’m a good mom. But tomorrow when my walls look disgusting again – I will be a good mom then too.

If you want to join me in this 30 day easy spring cleaning challenge where we thoroughly clean one thing each day in 30 minutes or less, please click on the follow my blog button on the right menu bar (or below) and you will receive a daily post with a new project.