What You Got On? Your Mind?

 

That’s a funny title to me, “What You Got On?  Your Mind?”  I knew someone years ago that always said that and I never understood it.  I think I get it now.

I just wanted to share a few things that are on my mind today.

I’m a list maker.  My mind will play over and over and over something that I need to do or something I’m thinking about or even an article that I want to write.  Once I get it all on paper, my mind is suddenly clear.  So, first thing in the morning I make my list for the day.  I used to do it the night before, but, my mind changes quickly and I may have a whole complete set of plans by morning.  So, I make my list and I try to keep it practical.  I LOVE crossing off the items I competed.  Those things that I didn’t complete I add them to my list the next day.  Such as, I have an item to get a birthday card for someone and I’ve added it to the list for the third day now.  Maybe I will get it done today.

I LOVE the Fall Season!  By the way, I have heard it both ways, do you capitalize Fall when speaking of the season?  I’ve heard it both ways and after I finish this post I will look it up.  That has been driving me crazy forever.  I would think it would be capitalized since it’s the name of a season?  But, who knows.  I’ll get to the bottom of it today.  I’ll put that on my list of to do’s.  Speaking of fall….Fall…..we are getting ready to take our annual trip to the Ozarks!  I love going there.  We are getting to do something on this trip that was a last minute event and I will share next week what it is.  I’m a wee bit excited!  The temps are going to be in the 70’s.  My favorite!  Can’t wait!

Our son and daughter in law are coming home soon.  They have been in Canada for several months.    Our son is an animator and he has actually traveled the world working for major movie companies. Some of the movies he has animated for are:  The Book of Life, The Peanuts Movie (my favorite), Ice Age 3, Rock Dog, Small Foot ( which is out this next week, can’t wait), Spider-Man (due out in December and there are more, I just can’t remember.  I love the work he has done for a company called Super Simple Learning.  Oh my, goodness….they are so cute!  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Little Snowflake, Sweet Dreams and others.  Okay, I could go on an on, but….all that to say, I can’t wait til I see them.

My mom turned 80 this month.  She is such an amazing lady.  I wish you could sit down with her and glean her wisdom.  She is not only beautiful and healthy, but she is a joy to be around.  I hope I’m as full of life as she is when I’m 80.

I will be going to a blogger’s conference soon and I will be pitching a book that I’m working on.  I’m a bit nervous about it as I’m not sure it will go over, but, we will see.  I’ll share more on that soon.

Have you ever wept over a homeless person.  Well, I’m not really sure they are homeless, but, where I live we have people standing on corners with signs that say something like, “Out of work, need money to pay bills” or “I’m a vet and homeless” etc.  I was sitting at a light and a man was walking down the long stretch with his sign.  He had a brace on his leg and he looked like he was about 60 or so.  I didn’t have any small bills with me, so I hesitated to give him anything.  Fortunately the car behind me did and I felt better.  But, as he was walking back, all I could think of was, he is someone’s son.  He is someones husband, maybe?  He is someones father. Grandson…friend….I thought, how did he get to this place with so many people in his world.  It’s a very sad thing to think about isn’t it?  While in Austin last week, a young man was on the corner and he was obviously tired and just sat down and went to sleep.  Cars were passing by and I thought, where are the people that love him?  So, if you see me crying at a stop light and there is person begging for money, that is why.

Okay, I better stop for now, I could go on and on.  My mind is just so full of so much thinking I could take up too much time and space on this post.

Well, one more thing!  Is it just me or is the world getting crazier and crazier!  I’m talking about the language that people use.  Either I’ve been living in a bubble for years or all of the sudden the language is out of control.  First of all, movies…..wow!  I might see a movie listing and think, “that looks pretty good!”  So, I look it up on my favorite site, Plugged In.  They give you the main details of what to expect in different areas.  When it gets to language, they give an actual count of how many times they use certain words.  Example, one I looked up recently had 60 F words.  How does that work?  Can people not talk without using bad words?  Then they list the other words and it’s just as many.  Some I don’t even know what they are referring to.  Not just movies, but, television and I’m not talking about tv shows….I only watch Hallmarky type movies.  But…the news.  My gracious people.  Can you not use a sentence without curse words?  Is it that hard?  Politicians….I would expect better from you.  Don’t even get me started with the protestors, rioters, etc.  When you watch a clip of them tearing up whatever they can, it’s a constant beep, because they can’t speak without foul language.  Years ago, I watched a movie about a NASA astronaut.  It was based on a true story.  He used bad language and a few weeks later, I saw the real astronaut giving an interview for someone, can’t remember who.  Anyway, they asked him about the movie and if it were true to life.  He said, “Yes, pretty much, but, the main thing is, we didn’t talk like that.  The men I worked with had more character than that!”  That has stuck with me for years.  Too bad, people don’t value their character enough to not use bad language.  I’ll go ahead and say that I think it’s also sad that those that choose not to use bad language, but, yet they use words that are just as crude.  I don’t need to share what the words are as you probably know.  Okay….that’s my rant for now….next!

I must end this What’s on My Mind with something more positive.

I often think where I could be in my life if it weren’t for Christ!  How thankful and grateful I am that I put all of my faith in Him as a young teenager.  I never take that for granted.  I’ve seen what the other side has to offer and it isn’t pretty.  No hope, no peace, no purpose.  I now have hope, I have peace and I have a purpose. Most of all, I have a Savior who loves me.  For this I am thankful.

Now, back to my list of TO DO’S  for the day…..

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.” –Philippians 4:8

Needed! School Supplies!

We visited a church yesterday and they announced that they had just filled 1,600 backpacks with school supplies for area children in need.  They thanked all those that gave $20.00 to fill a backpack.  They also thanked all the volunteers who filled each backpack with the needed supplies. It sounds like such a simple thing and we may even wonder if it really makes a difference.

I think it does make a huge difference in a child’s life…of all ages.  I have participated in helping to fill backpacks at my church and I’ve even organized events to do so.  I have dropped off supplies at collection spots at various stores that are doing a school supply drive.  One of my favorites was helping organize a back to school party for children that were living at a local home that ministered to moms and their children while going through a rough time in life.

Recently, I watched a young girl that I know show all of her fun school supplies that she had ready for her new school year on her youtube channel.  She was so cute in showing all the fun pens, markers, bags and spirals that her mom bought for her.  Everything was pink and sparkly.

It took me back to all the years when I was growing up.  I remember going to the local drugstore in Ft. Stockton, Texas with my mom and picked out my Big Chief tablet and jumbo pencil.  My very favorite were some erasers that you could put on top of your pencil that were in pretty colors and the shape of animals.  To top it off, I was able to get a red plaid satchel and a Casper the Friendly Ghost lunch box.  I was all set.

The next several years wouldn’t be so easy when it came to school supplies.  By the time I was in the 4th grade, I would have attended 7 different schools.  My dad was a surveyor and we moved a lot evidently.  For an extremely shy little girl, I hung in there.  After 4th grade, we settled in Texas and I graduated from the local high school.

Each year was extremely hard for my mom to purchase school supplies for my two brothers and myself.  I remember getting by with the absolute minimum of notebook paper, a pencil and if anything else was needed, my mom would do her best to get it on each pay day.  Oh, how I loved pens that were in different colors.  When the colored notebook paper came out, it was over. I dreamed of writing on colored paper.  (Maybe that explains why now in my craft room, I have every type and color of pen and markers possible.)

After classes started it seemed that a teacher would always tell the class of something we needed, such as a folder, or a special spiral notebook.  I dreaded telling my mom what I needed as it caused more stress on our finances.  I remember one time after I told her I needed a spiral, she said, “Do they think money grows on trees!”  We get tickled now thinking about those days, but at the time, it wasn’t so funny.  My mom was a single mom taking care of three kids on her own without any type of child support.  She is an amazing mom, by the way.

A really bad time was in Jr. High.  I had to have gym clothes and shoes for P.E.  After a few months of going to gym class and going to the “locked cage” to get my gym clothes/shoes for the day, I noticed my shoes were missing from my basket.  I asked the girls that were working in the cage area if they had seen my shoes….of course, the answer was “no.”  I went to the coach and told her that my shoes were missing.  She told me to wear my socks and get some new shoes as soon as possible.  When I told my mom what happened and that I needed new shoes, well….you can imagine.  My mom wouldn’t get paid for another two weeks, so I went for two weeks wearing socks in gym class.  Not good!  The P.E. teacher came to me and said, “do not come back to class without any shoes.”  Fortunately, my mom got paid just in time and we went down to the local Gibsons and purchased me some new shoes for gym class.

All that to say, I hope you will consider helping kiddos out this year with some school supplies, clothes, gym shoes, whatever you think someone would need.  You never know what kids are going through and the struggles that a parent may be having with their finances.

Today, there are so many churches that are working to supply children with supplies.  Stores set up barrels for people to donate whatever they can in the way of supplies.

Something else to think about.  Instead of waiting for a ministry to do a call for supplies, it’s possible that you know of someone in your extended family, in your neighborhood, work  or church that you can gift them with something special for school or a certain need they have.

We aren’t even talking about clothes!  I could do another entire post on school clothes!

And, one favor from me.  When you do give a child/teen the gift of supplies for school, do it discreetly and with lot’s of love.  Don’t do it for the world to see, do it just for them.

Oh, and if it’s a little shy girl, give her something oh, so cute and sparkly with a note telling her that she is going to make it!

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

 

I celebrated my 59th birthday in May.  It’s been a fast two months as I meant to write this post on my birthday.  Better late than never, right?

This birthday was a bit tough for me.  59 seems so…whats the word? The end of an era?  I’m not sure…I just know that I did my best to “Embrace 58” and 59….well….I’m struggling.

Since I was the only one at my pity party, I thought I better straighten myself up and learn to “Embrace 59.”  That doesn’t sound as catchy as the 58, but, I couldn’t think of anything else.  If you have a catchy phrase for 59, send it on.

Why the pity party, Beverly?

*Thanks for asking; I sort of enjoyed the 50’s.  I feel like I made it through:

*Three decades of being a young wife, older wife?  and then a mom of two cutie pies.

*Serving in every imaginable area of church life while raising my kids and trying to be the best wife I could possibly be. (I’m still working on it, by the way.)

*Survived a season of homeschooling our kiddos.  (loved that season!)

*Served as a Pastor’s wife for almost 20 years.

*Watched God bless my husband and brother as they ventured into business together.

*Dealing with the basic hurts of life and trusting that the joys of life will overcome deep, deep wounds of words and actions from people that only want to destroy.

*Almost 4 decades of walking with my Savior and learning everything I can about the Christian life.

*Loved watching both of our children marry their soulmates.

*Welcomed the birth of 5 grandchildren that are absolutely adorable!

*Figuring out the “empty nest” world….I might have it figured out, not sure.

*Seeking the Lord daily in what a now 59 year old is to do with her life for the next…. ? years.

I have been weeding out my books and donating the ones I’ve read and don’t want to keep anymore and I came across a book that I purchased a few years ago.  It’s called,  “Fabulous After 50.” (by Shirley W. Mitchell.)  I figured I better get it read real quick and so I spent a few hours and finished it.  I have to admit, I was inspired, but, I really should have read it when I bought it several years ago.  Hello!?  But, the good news is, the author wrote another one called “Sensational After 60.”  I better get that one read as soon as possible.  I only have 10 months left of being 59.

My goal is to life this last year of my 50’s to the fullest.  So far, it’s been a productive few months.  

*I’ll be sharing more about how I plan to live these next few months of my 50’s in my upcoming posts!

I hope you will follow along with me as I blog about my last year in the 50’s.  I do hope it inspires you or causes you to think about things you haven’t thought of before and most of all I do hope that somehow, someway, I can inspire you to… Love Life While Striving to Have a Heart Like His.

 

A Breath of Fresh Air

 

Is anyone a wee bit discouraged by what we are seeing in our culture?  Maybe it’s just me, I’m not sure, but there is some crazy stuff going on.  Things such as:

*Language that would curl your toes (as my mom would say)

*Clothing on young ladies and their mamas that leaves nothing to the imagination, if you know what I mean.

*Clothing on young men and their dad’s that make you wander if there is any hope for our future.

*Movies that portray anything but good.

*Television programs that you wouldn’t dare leave on while children are in the house or mixed company.

*Music that have lyrics talking about things that are anything but good in language and topic.

*Dance moves that leave nothing to the imagination. (yes, I got caught up in Dancing With The Stars and would have to fast forward through most of it due to the suggestive portrayals of….you can only imagine)

*Politics has become out of control in language, actions, etc. etc.

*Social Media has become a place for people to use as a sounding board for hatred in their comments. (I learned not to ever read comments in the comment section of articles)

*When at some churches, you have to wonder if you are at a night club or church?  (Not that I’ve been in a nightclub; well, when I was a young teen, my cousin snuck me in one.  That was the first and only time.  Oh wait, when on a cruise one time, I went into one of those lounges to listen to a band, does that count? See, I know what I’m talking about.)

*Alcohol abuse is on the rise.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but, I have never seen so much alcohol in every form and fashion to reach those that normally probably wouldn’t drink.  I’ve noticed at events it is to be looked on as very “Chic.”  I was recently at a ladies event and they actually had a cash bar.  Seeing young moms sipping on a can of beer while listening to the speaker was a bit strange to me.  That may mean nothing to you, but, for me and where I have come from, it’s a bit bothersome.

*Drug use is out of control; over the counter and illegal.  The death toll of drug and alcohol deaths per year is insane!  I might mention even the destruction of people and their families due to drugs and alcohol.  The legalization of marijuana leaves me speechless.

*Obesity is rampant.  Ouch, my toe just got stepped on by my own self!  It is amazing to see how many people are out of shape and simply don’t care.  (Okay, okay…..I’m working on it!)

*Human Trafficking!  I’m speechless that this even goes on in our own country.  In our own back yard!

*Family Violence.  We have no idea what anyone is going through… maybe even next door to us.

*Suicide.  It’s heartbreaking.

*Just pure mean and rude people.  In and out of the church.  They are everywhere.  They will find you, trust me.

Okay, we will stop right there….I can’t take much more.  I’m a bit concerned about our world, our country, our state, our county, our city, our church, our homes.  It’s not pretty, is it?

Ummm….Beverly, why did you title this article, A Breath of Fresh Air?

I’m so glad you asked!

Don’t you think it’s about time that we as  Women of God, should be a breath of fresh air?  I write mostly for women but,  I know there are some guys out there reading this, so it’s a question for you, too.

How can I be a breath of fresh air?

It’s simple!

Be different than the world!  Don’t accept what the world is handing you.  Yes, we live in this world, but, be better than what you see as the normal.

A couple of ways could be…..

*Clean up your language.  No, it’s not cute, cool or funny to use foul language.  Of any kind.  Carry on a conversation without using bad language.  Yes, even the little slang words that are popular now.  I have to share this.  A couple of years ago, I was at a conference.  The speaker was doing her thing and her point was, “Be a BadA** for Jesus.”  Yep.  Lot’s of giggles and oh, she felt mighty hip I’m sure.  But, there were plenty of ladies that were offended.  She didn’t quiet look the same to me after that message and I wasn’t that interested in hearing how to be a godly woman after her description of how to do that.  “Oh, Beverly, you are such a prude.”  “Nah, I’m just a girl who was saved out of a life that heard much worse than that on a regular basis.  Jesus cleaned my mouth up and he cleaned out my mind.  I don’t want anymore of that.  Thanks, anyway.”

*Dress like you are somebody special to the King of Kings, because you are!  When I was a young teen, I wore short shorts and I wore short dresses.  I didn’t think anything of it.  I remember my shorts were so short, my “cheeks” showed on most of my shorts.  But, that was normal for the world I was in.  When I put my faith in Christ, my world changed.  Especially, the way I dressed.  No one ever said to me, “Beverly!  Get you some pants on girl, and lower those hems!”  Nope, it was something inside of me that was different.  I wanted to dress modestly.  I was a new Beverly; in my dress, my words, my thoughts, my everything.  Even my dreams for my life.

I think you get my point and I hope you see my heart.  I could go on and on and I probably will be writing on a few of the other points soon, as I have a heavy burden for what our kiddos are facing on a daily basis.

Let’s be a breath of fresh air!

Linking this post with:

A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Get Ready for Church a Day Early

It’s Saturday night!  Are you ready for church?

Are Sunday mornings hectic and everyone is on edge?  Is it hard to get everyone on the same page and in the car at the same time?

Here are a few tips that might help:

*Decide what you will wear on Saturday night for church the next morning.  Set everything out in one place for yourself and other family members.  If you have little ones, this would be a great time to work together without the stress of having to hurry.

*Take care of baths and hair washing the night before instead of the next morning.

*Put all items by the door that each family member will need for church; Bible, diaper bag, lesson plans, etc.

*Make plans for lunch.  You may want to prepare as much of the meal as possible so you can put in crock pot or oven before you leave for church the next morning.

*Make sure your car has gas so you don’t have to worry about it on the way to church.

*If you are going out to lunch, set your plans so everyone won’t have to wonder what they are doing for lunch as soon as church is over.

*Set alarm clocks early enough to enjoy your morning while preparing to head out the door for church.

*Don’t forget about breakfast….you can set your table at night before bed and prepare as much as possible for whatever you are serving for breakfast.

*Get to bed at a decent hour so everyone will be well rested for a great day of worship the next morning.

*It’s Sunday morning….everything is going smoothly…..it’s a peaceful and happy morning….you have time to pray together as a family for the services.

*As you are all in the car together driving to church, it is a pleasant and sweet time.  Everyone is talking sweetly to one another and then you all break out in four part harmony in your favorite song.  Okay, maybe that is not going to happen…..but…it could, you never know.

All that to say, make your Sunday morning as peaceful and pleasant as possible.  What a treat to have everyone working together to get out the door in time for church. Your kids will have good memories of their growing up years of going to church as a family.

It’s work, but so worth it.

JUST in case you think that I had this down perfect when my kiddos were at home…..no worries….I had many mornings that were a total nightmare.  We wore fortunate to get to church at all some mornings….but, for the most part, I worked very hard at making our mornings pleasant most of the time.  For many years, my husband had to be at church a few hours before we did, so I had to make sure things were running smoothly.  For several years we had one car…now that was interesting.  My husband would go to the church early and get everything ready for the services and then come and get us.  I had to have my stuff together because you don’t want to make the pastor late, do you? We would usually pick up someone on the way to church that needed a ride.   I have some pretty crazy stories of just trying to get to church on time.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days and have a second chance.  That’s why I’m sharing what I know and what I’ve learned over the years.  Life is short, your children will be grown before you know it and……

you will still be trying to figure out how to get to church on time.

Do you have a Sunday morning routine that is working?

 

 

 

How To Love Going To Church – It Starts In The Parking Lot

Welcome back to “Beverly’s Church Tips – How To Love Going To Church.”

How did last week go?  Was it easy to reach out and speak to everyone around you?

Maybe you were the one that people reached out to first.  Sometimes, we could be going through something and we just want to walk in and sit down and wait for the service to start and then when the people around us are friendly and show that they care and are interested in you….well, it can change your whole day, can’t it?

If you missed last week’s post, you can read about it by clicking here.

It all starts in the parking lot…..

Don’t you love it when you are visiting a church and they have special parking for visitors?  Especially, when you are running a little bit late and you have no idea where to go.

We recently visited a church and it was a huge church.  As we drove down the long road to the turn in, a man was standing there waving at us and showing us where to go.  Another young man was holding a sign that said “We are glad you are here!” He also had a big smile on his face.  Now that’s a way to make someone feel welcome, isn’t it?

Here are some thoughts to think about.

*If you are walking to the building after getting out of your car and you pass the visitor parking lot and see someone that is obviously a visitor, speak to them.  If it looks like they are confused and have no idea where to go, ask if you can help them.

*Open doors for people.

*If you are running late, you are late, no since in speeding and almost running over people and acting bothered that someone may be in your way.

*Be courteous and let people out of their spots and onto the road.

*Long story short….be just as friendly in the parking lot as you are in the church building.  It’s possible that there is someone that is going to church for the first time and it is really hard for them to even get out of the car and you could be the one that puts all of their nervousness at ease.

Since I shared a personal story last week, I’ll have to share another one with you.  Trust me, I have many stories…..some good, some funny and some not so good.  This one is funny now, but at the time…it wasn’t.

My husband had to be at church much earlier than I, one Sunday morning.  He had deacon duties this particular morning.  I came in time for Sunday School and had also brought a casserole for a luncheon that was taking place later.  I was wearing a white crocheted skirt.  I had the dish, my purse and Bible and was balancing everything the best I could.  I walked up a set of steps to the door.  As I was going up the steps, my heel got caught in my skirt.  I know!!!  I felt my skirt going down and so I stooped down on the steps.  As I was going down, I caught the eye of a “gentleman” standing on the other side of the solid glass doors.  He watched me go down.  Oh, you think I’m going to say, he came to my rescue and helped me up, right?  Nope, he stood there and turned his back to me.  No worries, I managed.  I got my heel out of my crocheted skirt and OPENED the glass door while juggling the purse, Bible and casserole dish. He scurried off as I was opening the door.  I was pretty bugged as I walked down the hall, but then, I turned it around and I thanked the Lord for something.

I said…

“Lord, thank you that I know without a doubt that my husband, my son and my son-in-law would have helped anyone… man, woman or child that was going down…..oh, and I also know they would have opened the door even if they didn’t have a thing in their hand.”

I’m truly grateful for that!

See, it wasn’t funny at the time….but, I can actually laugh now.  One more thing, I didn’t ever wear that skirt again.

Have a Great Day at Church!

How To Love Going To Church

I know what you are thinking!

“Beverly, what makes you think that I need to read a “how to” about church?”

I thought the same thing.  It’s been going over in my mind about wanting to write on this subject and the only way I can get it off of my mind is to….just do it.  I do pray about what I write about and many times I feel like I’m getting a nudge to write on a particular topic.  This is one of those, so I hope you stick with me.  Each Sunday morning in your inbox, you will find a little note from me on  something that I hope will make your church going experience better.  We may even talk about something you’ve never thought of before.  I know, next question….

“Beverly, what makes you think you would have any knowledge of what my church experience should be?”

I understand why you would think that.  Here is my resume of my “church life.”

As a young girl I maybe went to church with my grandparents a couple of times.  I have no recollection of any of the teaching other than I did make my mom an ash tray out of clay for Mother’s Day and I made a really cute card for Easter with crushed egg shells on it with a picture of Jesus.  I had no idea who Jesus was; I was just told to glue the picture on the card.

A few years later while in music class in the 4th grade we were all standing around the piano and the music teacher asked everyone if they had gone to church the past Sunday.  When she got to me, I shook my head “no.”  She then said shook her head in dismay and went to the next person.  I remember feeling really embarrassed and ashamed.  But, I soon forgot about it and carried on with life.

A few years later I listened to a preacher on television and I slipped into my room and knelt by my bed and asked Jesus into my life.  I have written about my testimony a few times and if you are new to my blog, you can click here to read about how I began my walk with Christ.

My family joined a church and we were there for every service, conference and event.  Over the years we served in so many different areas of the church and loved every minute of it.  We grew in our walk with Christ and never looked back.

A few years later….I was married and my husband and I headed off to Seminary.  He had felt a call on his life to preach the gospel full time.  I had also surrendered my life to full time service as a teen. We left the only church I knew and headed out to change the world.  My eyes were opened to the ways of different churches.  We will talk about that later, but, for now and after being a member of and serving in several churches and now as we travel and visit many different churches, I’ve noticed a few things that I think would only make us stronger in our church life.  I’m sure you have more questions, so feel free to email me or leave a comment.  I always try to answer each one that I receive.  You may be struggling in an area of your church life and I would love to visit with you about it.  Some of you may have some things to share that have helped you in finding and serving in a church.  I would love to hear about that, too.

Enough of my resume….let’s get started!

The first time I attended church as a teen with my mom and two brothers, we were amazed at the friendliness of this church.  I had never had so many people tell me they were glad to see me.  Me? I was hugged, had my hand shaken and people had a genuine interest in who I was.  I had never seen so many smiles in my life!  We were attending the church during a conference they were having and a singing ensemble was leading the music.  They were young people from a Christian University.  They smiled while they sang and acted as if they really loved being there.  I never will forget the song they sang that has stuck in my head for now… 44 years.

“I found happiness, I found peace of mind, I found the joy of living perfect love sublime, I found real contentment happy living in accord, I found happiness all the time, wonderful peace of mind, since I met the Lord.”

I watched my mom at church.  To me, she was the sweetest and friendliest person I had ever seen.  She loved people and it showed.  She was one of those that knew everyone and everyone knew her.  She never ever said a bad thing about anyone when we were home.  She worked all week and then visited bus kids all day on Saturday and then we attended church Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Recently we ran into a man who was a firefighter here in town.  He recognized my mom as the lady that worked on the bus that he rode to church on.  You could tell he had fond memories of her as she loved and cared for him and his two little sisters.  Church became our life.  And….we loved it!

When you attend church, try the following:

*Smile at people.

*Look at people in the eye.

*Shake hands like you mean it.

*Before you find your spot to sit, speak to as many people as you can.  If you have to walk across the building to speak, do it.

*Don’t walk in, sit down, fold arms and stare straight ahead until the service begins.

*When you do find your spot, be aware of everyone sitting around you.  Speak to them.  Tell them you are glad they are there.  Compliment something about them.  If they don’t respond back, no worries, do your best to be kind and make them feel welcome.  If you are in a large church, you may not know who the visitor is or who has been going there a hundred years, treat everyone the same.

*Change where you sit on a regular basis.  Don’t stay in the same spot for years and wonder why you don’t know everyone at church.  Get to know people on the other side of the building, too.  Or the balcony.

*IF you are one of those that has “YOUR SPOT” and someone is sitting there when you arrive, DO NOT tell them they are in your pew or chair.  Yes, I was told more than once that I was sitting in their spot and to please move. The first time, I thought it was a joke, until I realized it wasn’t.  YES, there are rude people everywhere, even in church.  If that happens to you, you smile and say, “I’m sorry” and move on.

*Make it a habit to invite someone to your home after church for lunch or dinner or maybe just dessert.  Do you go out to eat?  Then invite them to go with you.  Ask the Lord to show you who you should ask, I have a feeling you will know right away.

*When you are sitting and someone walks up to talk to you, stand up.  This is one that I’ve had to work on.  If you are in a really friendly church, you might want to keep standing.  Yes, I know that if you can’t stand, that isn’t a problem.  Everyone understands.  If you are healthy and can, stand to talk to whoever has taken their time to come and speak to you.

*When my kids were growing up, I taught them that when someone speaks to you, you speak back and continue the conversation  I called it, bouncing the ball back.  Don’t just take the ball and leave, carry on the conversation.

*Don’t get locked in on a deep serious conversation when there are hundreds or thousands of people around you.  You may be shutting someone out that is nearby.  Keep conversations light.  If you are needing to solve the worlds problems, get together during the week or after church.

*Turn your cell phone off and put your phone away.

*Find someone that you want to get to know better or someone that you think needs encouragement and invite them to lunch that week.  You may just make a new friend.

*If being friendly is not easy for you, work on it.  Ask the Lord to help you be comfortable at being friendly.  A smile is easy to do.  Sometimes that is all people need.

*We have no idea what anyone has been through before they got to church.   You be the one that reaches out and gives that first smile.  No smile back?  Then you just found you someone that you  need to begin praying for and begin to reach out to them.

I will share this one little story with you.

A few years ago, we were in a church that my husband was the Minister of Education.  He was always busy before and after church and had to sit on the platform during the service.  I had taken my two children to their classes and went to sit down in the service.  I must have been having an off day.    I just needed a good morning or a smile.  I sat down behind a middle aged couple that were there every time the doors opened.  I reached up and patted the ladies arm and told them good morning.  This particular lady barely turned her head and did one of those half smiles and turned back around.  I took it personal.  I was feeling very lonely, tired and inadequate as a pastor’s wife.  Needless to say, the tears welled up in my eyes and I had to leave.  I went to the ladies room, got myself together and went back in and sat on the other side of the building. I couldn’t wait for that service to get over and get home.  Do you think that is the only time that has happened?  Sadly, no.  People are people everywhere you go.  I just don’t want to be one of those kind of people.  I’ll say it again, we do not know what someone is going through.  We can’t risk being rude to anyone at anytime or anyplace.

Just be friendly…….smile…….care……..reach out!

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Do You Send Notes of Encouragement?

I have been cleaning out some files and getting rid of things like crazy lately.  I came across a file that I had stuffed notes and letters in while serving in women’s ministry for several years.  I just couldn’t part with them.  So many were so kind and so thoughtful, I just couldn’t toss them.  I sat down today and read through them.  I remember reading many of these when I received them and they touched me.  But, today, my heart was extremely tender and I wept as I went through them and even laughed with some of the funny comments.  I will cherish each one of these notes forever. Since I couldn’t throw them away, I made a notebook and punched holes in the letters and then put all the note cards in page protectors. While reading through these, my heart was happy to hear about how the Lord had made some amazing changes in peoples lives and how they were striving to live a life for Christ.  I believe God was glorified in so many ways during this ministry.

As I put my notebook up on the shelf, I couldn’t help but think how important it is that we lift one another up with kind words and notes of encouragement.

In our day of social media and busy, busy, busy, I would like to challenge us to take the time to lift someone up.

We all have different personalities and love languages.  Some people may even call them “quirks.”  We all respond in different ways to things according to our personalities.  I have a feeling though, that most people love having a note of thanks or just simply, “I’m thinking of you, today.”

One of my love languages is affirmation.  I LOVE affirming words.  I’m not sure where it all came from, but, if I go without hearing any type of affirmation in what I’m doing or even how I look, I will begin to feel like a total failure.  I know….what can I say?   I always remind myself that what I do is for Christ and I shouldn’t need affirmation as long as I’m living my life as Christ would have me to.  But, let me tell you, if I get a note, a call or even told in person that I’m doing a good job, I’m ready to set the world on fire.  I’m ready to do more.  There you go, now you know one of my weaknesses.  I might need to hear that my weakness is okay from someone. (wink, wink)

Okay, back to my challenge…

NOTECARDS:

Purchase or make some note cards and put them close by so you can grab at a moments notice.  Keep stamps handy.  I have a basket full of note cards.  I’m addicted to cute note cards.  Whenever I see a cute set of notecards at the store, I grab them.  You can find all prices.  Find some that look like you.  So when people open up that card, they see you as they read your words.  I’ve had to make a habit of also picking up more masculine cards.  When I’ve wanted to send a thank you to my son, son-in-law and grandsons, I’ve had to wade through all the hearts, flowers and glitter.  So you might want to have something that would appeal to a guy. *Emails and texts are great, too.  But, you just can’t beat a handwritten card sometimes.

HEARTFELT WORDS:

Your words can change someones day.  You never ever know what someone is going through.  Your note doesn’t have to be long and drawn out.  Get straight to the point and tell them why you thought of them and what it is that you admire about them that day.  Or maybe their face popped up in your mind and you just wanted to let them know that you are thinking of them.  If they have made a difference in your life, tell them exactly what it was that helped you.  The important thing is to be real and honest with your words.

MAKE IT A HABIT:

Make a habit of being thankful.  When you have a thankful heart, you want to share it.  As soon as someone is on your heart, sit down and write out a quick note.  If you are somewhere and you can’t do that, then, put it on your to do list.  Trust me, you will forget if you don’t and it will be easy to say, “Oh well, I’ll do something later.”  It’s possible you might regret not ever letting someone know how you feel about them.

GO TO THE MAILBOX OR HIT SEND:

Only procrastinators will understand this tip.

There you go!  How easy is that?  A simple note will make someone’s day, I can almost promise.

Oh, one last tip….

SAVE YOUR NOTES THAT YOU RECEIVE:

You will be glad that you saved all those kind notes and letters someday.  File them neatly in a system that works for you.  When you are having one of those days where you think, “What have I done with my life and did I even make a difference anywhere?”…..you will be glad you held on to the kind and encouraging notes from friends and family…..and even strangers. *if you happen to get any hateful notes….just throw them away.  Don’t let someones hatefulness ruin your day….that is what it was intended for….to make you feel defeated and to ruin your day.  Those that really love you and care about you, would never send you a hateful note or letter.  So, since they don’t care anything about you, why let it bother you?

Okay…I just had a thought!  What if you don’t ever receive any kind notes or letters?  #1 – You may need a new set of friends #2 – check up to see if you are encouraging others with your words of kindness and deeds. #3 – It’s never too late to start!  You can do it!

Is Your Bible Study Plan Working?

Today, I wanted to share with you what is working for me right now as far as my daily quiet time.  Well, I get up at 5 a.m. and study and pray for about two hours before my morning run.  NOT REALLY!  I’m teasing you.

When I was a young wife and mom, I attended a few women’s conferences, Bible studies and workshops that usually would share how important it was to get up early in the morning to pray and study my scriptures before my family got up.  I would try and just couldn’t keep up. I went for a long time feeling really guilty.  I never felt good enough or that I had a handle on my “quiet time.”

I’m not a morning person.  I’ve tried to switch over so many times.  It just didn’t happen.  I’m a night owl. I was ready to conquer the world in the evenings.

It seems lately, I go to bed earlier and earlier and get up earlier than my younger days.  I don’t know why, it’s just happening.  I remember when I was around my mother in-law, she would  usually would have her gown on by 8 in the evening and be up by 5 a.m. ready to start her day.  I could possibly be turning that way….we will see as time goes on.

When our kids were  young and we were homeschooling, I would get my reading in during the mid-morning or in the evenings.

I will say this, IF… I could go back and do it all over again, I would have worked harder on my morning schedule.  The longer you go throughout your day, the easier it is to keep pushing back that special time of prayer and Bible reading to where you even skip it for the day.

Why do we want to have quiet time anyway?  For me, it’s important for me to thank the Lord for my blessings and to let Him know how thankful I am to be His daughter.  It’s also important for me to confess my sins.  Bummer, I’m not perfect and I make a mess of things every day it seems.  I then have my prayer requests.  Everything from the little girl that I support that lives in another country, my children and their spouses and my grandchildren.  I pray for my husband and family members. Praying for our country and the culture that is so crazy is at the top of my list as well.  I also have some very personal prayer requests that I take to Him, and I share my heart and I know without a doubt that I will have an answer.  It might not be the answer I want, but, I will get an answer.

Here is the plan that is working for me.  I have tried many things over the years and this one has worked for me the best.

I begin with a simple prayer in asking the Lord to speak to me through His Word as I read and to show me something that He has for me that very day.

I read a Psalm.  I go in order and keep track of where I am each day.

I read a Proverb.  I read the Proverb that corresponds with the day.  Such as on the 11th, I read Proverbs 11.

I begin Chapter 1 in the Book of Matthew and read a chapter a day through the four gospels.  I have enjoyed staying refreshed each day on reading about the Life of Christ.

I read a chapter out of the New Testament beginning with the Book of Acts through Revelation.

I was doing a chapter out of the Old Testament and this year I am reading through the Chronological Bible and will read each days reading for my Old Testament reading.

Depending on what is on my schedule for the day, I may read more than one chapter in my Old and New Testament readings.

I keep a journal by me while I’m reading and I write down a scripture from each reading that speaks to me.  Any thoughts that pop up, I write it down.

As I read, I am asking the Lord for wisdom and I apply what I read to my own life.

I have a couple of devotionals that I love to read out of.  I have several placed throughout  the house that I pick up during  my day when I have a few minutes to read.

I try to always be in the middle of a Bible study that I’ve picked out on a subject that am interested in.  I’m not part of a group Bible study right now, so, I do this on my own.  At this time, I am going through the study by Priscilla Shirer, A Jewel in His Crown.  I’ll let you know how it is when I am finished.

I also am always reading something that is challenging me to be a stronger woman of God.  I just finished reading a new book by Katie Farrell, Nourish.  I haven’t picked out my next book yet. That’s on my list of to do’s today.

I keep this basket in my office by the sofa that I usually sit to read and study.  It is filled with everything I need.  I have prayer lists, journals, extra Bible, gratitude journal, notepad,markers, pens and even some tissues.

I hope this encourages you to get a Bible study going that works for you.

If I can say anything at all that will make a difference in your life and mine; it would be…….spend time in God’s Word to get to know who He is.  You need to know for yourself, not what someone else tells you about Him.  Know how He thinks and what He wants for YOUR life and how He wants you to live.

If we aren’t spending time with our Creator, we will fall for anything that passes our way.  Trust me, there are some pretty crazy things out there yelling for our attention.  Don’t be caught off guard and fall for the enemy and his plan to distract you and cause your faith to waver.

If you have fallen back and started looking elsewhere for answers besides God’s Word….guess what?  He’s waiting for you with open arms, no questions asked.

One more thing….if you have a wild and crazy day and you don’t have time to read all that you plan to read in a regular Quiet Time….don’t beat yourself up.  Pray and read maybe one passage or do a reading in your devotional and move on.  Don’t live in defeat.

I’m excited for you!  I would love to hear what you have settle on for your daily quiet time.  Design it to fit your life in this season that you are in.

 

 

Taking Care of Our Hearts…

I’ve really been troubled lately with all the noise going on in our world.  So much negativity everywhere we turn.  Negativity seems like such a gentle word when you think of the absolute cruelty going on.  Words and actions that hurt and even kill others.  So many thoughts and beliefs going on and when people disagree with someone else’s thoughts, they will seek to ridicule and say such mean spirited things.  It makes you want to step back and evaluate how we spend our time and what we fill our minds with.

Here are some things that have been on my heart lately of ways to deal with all the negativity going on in our world:

*Limit my news watching. I am a news junkie.  I love keeping up with the latest.  I want to know for myself what is going on in the world.  I try to stay educated.  Lately, when I watch the news I feel like I need to go wash my ears out and spend time in the Word of God and ask for a renewing of my mind.  The news is like a tabloid of filth and disgust anymore.  So much hatred toward others going on.  Division is getting deeper and deeper as the days go by.

*Guard my heart in what I fill my mind with.  In cutting back on news watching, I am careful with other things I watch.  I don’t waste my time on movies or television shows that  degrade the things of God.  Bad language is something I just can’t tolerate.  I don’t use bad language, so I sure don’t want to listen to it.  The lifestyles that are portrayed on television are questionable at every turn.  I line everything up with how God wants me to live my life.  I sure don’t want to watch something that glorifies things that are only out to destroy a life. I want to fill my mind with good and positive things.

*Limit social media.  Oh, my!  Have you ever read an article and then made the mistake of reading comments?  I can’t even imagine talking like how people write their thoughts.  I have told myself, “DO NOT READ COMMENTS ON ARTICLES!”   I really do think there is a way to share your thoughts and ideas on social media.  But, if you have to do it by being cruel, mean and ugly, I’m not interested and I won’t read it.  Everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to share it, but they really don’t want to have a decent discussion.  They just want you to agree with them or else.

*Fill my mind with good music.  Good positive and uplifting music.  It can be Christian and secular. No time for negative music in my world.

*Spend time reading books or magazines that make me a better person.  I’m very careful what I read.  I’m watchful of the authors of whatever I’m reading.  So many thoughts that are so far from God that if you fill your mind with them, you will begin to think like them.  That is why it’s important to know what God says on every subject and then line it up with what you read.  So many things to learn and then there are so many crazy thoughts out there.  You better know what you believe before you begin reading other peoples thoughts.

*Be around positive people.  There is nothing better than being able to ask a friend to pray for something that is on your heart and know without a doubt that they will.  It’s wonderful to be with people who talk about the things of God and the blessings of this life. Being around encouraging people is a treat for sure in this day and time.

*Make my home a positive and happy place.

*Think of the type of person that you would love to be around.  Positive and happy and even in tough times, they have a joy deep down that can’t be squelched.  You be that person!  Don’t hide it!  Share your joy with others.

*Most of all, spend time with my Savior in prayer and in His Word.  How can you say you know Him and how He desires for us to live when you don’t spend time with Him by praying and reading His Word?  Study Him!

That is the beginning place for me.  I want a clean and a good heart!

Do you?  What are some ways that you guard your heart from the ugliness of this world?