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?

Don’t Throw History Away!

This morning I sat down with my morning protein drink and turned on the news. I really wasn’t in the mood to hear the news but I wanted to watch something as I drank this drink that I don’t particularly like. I needed to get my mind off of the taste. Okay, you are asking, “Beverly, if you don’t like the protein drink, why are you drinking it?” The simple answer is, I bought a case of this particular drink and I’m trying to get rid of them by drinking them up instead of throwing them away. I won’t feel as guilty. Am I the only one that does things like that? I hope not.

 

As I went through the television guide, I saw that BookTV was on CSPAN. I have enjoyed watching some of these in the past because I enjoy seeing authors and listening to their stories of why they wrote their particular book. I tuned in just as an author was about to tell his story of “Thursday Night Lights.” This is a book of football history in the state of Texas in the 50’s and 60’s. It deals with black football players. The author was so interesting and easy to listen to. Matter of fact, he smiled the entire time he spoke and you could tell this was his passion.

 

For those that know me well, know that I’m not a huge football fan. I think I understand the game pretty well, though. As a teen, I took my little brother to all of his YMCA Football practices and games. I was at every game possible for both of my little brothers games from junior high through high school. Trust me, that is a lot of games! I loved watching my brothers play. I knew how to pick them out on the field when I couldn’t see their numbers on their jersey. One brother always had one sock that would fall to his ankle. He had skinny legs, so that’s how I would spot him. My other brother had a certain way he stood and shrugged his shoulders. I was always proud of them as I sat and prayed they wouldn’t get hurt and that they would excel at what they loved….football.

 

On Monday nights and Sunday afternoons, my family would go to my aunt and uncles house and everyone would watch the Dallas Cowboys. You haven’t heard anything until you listened to my aunt and my mom yelling and screaming for the Dallas Cowboys. I would laugh myself silly watching them and holding my ears. I can still hear them screaming for Don Meredith and Roger Staubach. My aunt would yell at the top of her lungs, “Don’t you be hurting my Roger!” I wish I had videos of it all.

 

When I met and married my husband, I discovered he was a huge football fan. I knew football games were at the top of our list. Friday night games and of course all the televised games. Who knew there could be so much football going on in the world! Matter of fact, I think I hear football going in his office as I type.

 

All that to say, I understand football pretty well! I guess that is why this author caught my eye. If you love football…especially Texas football and are interested in learning about black history, you might want to get the book. It’s called, Thursday Night Lights by Michael Hurd. I’m not endorsing it as I haven’t read it. I just watched his interview and I liked what I heard.

 

The author spoke about how the black schools in Texas destroyed and just threw away all the records and any memorabilia when schools integrated in the late 60’s. So much history was lost of a great era of education and of course all the memories of great feats in black Texas football. I loved that Mr. Hurd was out to restore a history that needs remembering.

 

As I listened, I couldn’t help but think about the history that is being destroyed before our very eyes due to racism. If you are like me, you might be sick and tired of hearing the word racism. Anytime someone doesn’t agree with another person, they will usually yell, “racist!”   So tiring, don’t you think?

 

I know my history and I do know that racisim was very much alive and very tragic. I also know that it wasn’t limited to just black people. My mom has stories of growing up in a small West Texas town and she worked at a movie theater in the ticket booth. At that time, Hispanics weren’t allowed on the main floor. They had to sit in the balcony. If they came downstairs, they were told to get back upstairs by the manager. I can’t even imagine that, can you?   I can hardly stomach the movies that portray the evilness of racisim. I can’t stand to watch. But, I have watched some historically correct documentaries and movies on the subject, because I want to know and I never want to forget how horrible it was. I wanted my children to know about it as well. We never want that history to repeat itself, so we must know it and know the evilness of it.

 

America isn’t that old and we are still learning and growing. We also can learn from the mistakes that were made. That is why when we destroy our history by tearing down statues and monuments because we don’t want to know about it or hear about it, we are doing a great disservice to ourselves and for the future of our country. Not to mention, we really need to know our history of the times and what actually went on during the time these statues and monuments represent. If you don’t know…..now is the time to start learning.

 

We all know that no one is perfect. We all have things that we wish we wouldn’t have done or said, don’t you think? It seems we hold such a high standard for others when we ourselves don’t hold our own selves to that standard. That is how I feel when I watch the rioters and the destroyers of our monuments. They are practicing the very thing that they are screaming the loudest about.

 

I grew up around Hispanics and Blacks here in West Texas. Yes, I was even bullied by a black girl in jr. high and high school. But, I was also bullied by a white girl and it was so much worse.   I had and still have some great friends who are black and hispanic. I guess I never really think about color so much, but, you and I both know we are all different races. When we start counting and noticing and making note, you might do some checking up on yourself. You are spending way too much time thinking about it. Just accept, love and enjoy the differences in people. Learn from everyone, regardless of color.

 

A couple of years ago, I was told that a Hispanic lady that I knew pretty well, was telling people that I didn’t like Hispanics. I was crushed. First of all I was crushed that someone would think that about me and second, crushed that SHE actually thought this of me and was telling other people.  I think of this incident so many times when I read or hear the stories of what is going on in our country today. Many times, I think those that yell racist the loudest, are actually the true racists. Yes, you and I both know that there are really racists out there.  I’m probably like you and have maybe run into a couple in my lifetime that I would put in that category.  Instead of adding to the problem, let’s learn from the mistakes of others and turn it into something positive. You and I can be the ones that make a difference for the good.  Can’t we?

 

Can we all just realize that we are all created by God and we should learn to appreciate and learn from each other through our differences? Let’s end all the yelling, destruction and name-calling. That’s such a simple solution….maybe it’s too easy!

 

I felt that I needed to share this today  and I know without a doubt that my little blog in the world won’t make a bit of difference. It’s a big world with a lot of loud noises and some people don’t care to hear or think about it. It’s on my mind a lot and it’s a struggle when you so bad want to fix it. I’m a fixer. But, I know I can’t fix it and it will never be a perfect world. I know where I stand and I know what I believe. I don’t care what color we are, we should all stand up for each other and make this world a better place today….not tomorrow….today. How can you make a difference today?

 

It doesn’t matter what age we are or where we are in life….pick up a history book about our founding fathers and the early settlers of our amazing country and study. Keep in mind, it was a different time and not one person is perfect. We have a history of some leaders that loved America and wanted to see it do some amazing things. There are so many great people to learn from…..don’t throw it all away!

Linking with A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

What Is Shyness and How Do I Overcome It?

I was going to start out by saying, “I’m not an expert on shyness, so I did some research on the subject and this is what I found.”  Well, the fact is, I feel like I am an expert on shyness as I was very shy as a child.  So, I thought I would combine a little bit of what I read about shyness and then how I’ve dealt with my shyness.

First of all, if you missed my last two posts on my memories of just how shy I was, you can read them here.  Just click on the titles and it will take you to each post.

The Life of a Shy Girl Who Graduated 40 Years Ago

How It Is In Speech Class As a Shy Girl

With the big 40 year high school reunion coming up, my mind has been flooded with memories of school.  So, as usual, I had to write about it.

What Does Shy Mean? (Dictionary)

1.bashful; retiring.
2.easily frightened away; timid.
3.suspicious; distrustful:

4.reluctant; wary.

Statistics: (Research from the site No More Shyness)
  • 64% of shy individuals view their shyness as a result of external factors beyond their control, such as early family experiences, over protective parents or peer victimization.
  • 24% attribute shyness to internal factors within their control, such as intrapersonal difficulties, like low self-esteem and high self-consciousness, or interpersonal difficulties, like poor social skills and dating difficulties.
  • 62% experience feelings of shyness daily.
  • 82% report shyness as an undesirable experience.

Causes of Shyness: (research from the site 2knowmyself.com)

The Good and The Bad of Shyness: (research from Parenting and Child Health)

The good

  • Shy children often do well at school because they concentrate on their school work.
  • Shy children are not as likely to get into trouble for misbehaving.
  • Shy children are often liked by adults because they are easy to care for.
  • Shy children are often liked by children because they are not aggressive.
  • Shy children are often good listeners.

The hard

  • Shy children may be unhappy and lonely.
  • They do not get practice in learning to get on with others.
  • They are often overlooked by teachers and other adults.
  • Shyness can cause stress which leads to physical problems such as tummy aches and headaches.
  • Shy children may miss out on lots of opportunities.

By the way, if you have a shy child or work with a shy child you might want to check out more on this site.  Parenting and Child Health

That was the site with the most information that seemed the most helpful.

Now to the girl who lived it and fought to overcome it.  What are her thoughts?

My mother was extremely shy and timid as a child.  She has shared her stories with me of things she went through by being shy and….I thought I was bad, you should hear her stories!  Oh my!  She was one of seven children and just one of the bunch.  If you knew her today, you would never believe she was ever that shy.  She is the most friendly and welcoming person you would ever meet.  She loves people and she loves helping people.  She had to be strong when she became a single mom of three.  She didn’t have time to be shy anymore.

I’m thinking with my mom being on the shy side and with my home life being a bit unstable with moving many times to new towns and not having the security of a dad, it just happened.  Very scientific isn’t it?

I did not like any attention to myself.  I don’t ever remember feeling pretty.  Matter of fact I thought I was fat and ugly.  Words meant a lot to me.  It’s funny when someone said something nice or complimentary, I didn’t believe them.  But, if they said something ugly or mean, I believed them. To this day I can still remember things that kids or adults said to me that formed my self image.  I guess that is what you call the tapes being played out in your mind.

As a teen, I had several good friends and one in particular liked to make me feel vey inadequate at everything I said or did.  She regularly told me that I was like a bump on a log.  If we were in a group of friends and my face turned red, she would point it out and tell everyone to look at my face to see how red it was.  Oh my, that was killer.  Anytime, attention was brought to me, I would shut down.  I could have been having fun and talking and if someone said, “Why are you so quiet….why does your face get so red……what are you thinking about,” and I would just shut down and be content not to say one more word unless necessary.   The ultimate would be when I was talking someone would invariably say, “Stop, everyone!  Beverly is talking!”

In school when you had to answer “here” as the teacher called your name, I so dreaded it.  The teacher would say, “Beverly Fisher” and I would simply say “here.”  Then through out the class room you could hear someone mimicking the way I said here.  Oh, how I loved it when we were only required to raise our hands, which wasn’t too often.

If you are a teacher of a shy child:

Don’t single them out in front of their peers.  Realize that teasing, making fun of and belittling them only makes it worse.  If you truly care about children, take the time to get to know the shy child.  Encourage, speak positive and good words into them.  They may be told over and over again, but keep on.  They may not be getting any type of encouragement or praise from anyone but you.

If you are a friend of a shy person:

Accept them just as they are.  When in groups of people, don’t ever make fun of them.  Build them up.  Help your friend to excel at what he or she is good at and speak works of kindness to them.  If you have a home that is filled with love and acceptance, include your shy friend in when you can to join in on family activities.

If you are a parent of a shy child:

Lot’s of love and acceptance.  Do your homework on what shyness is.  Go to the site that I shared, Parenting and Child Health and read as much as you can about shyness.  Do whatever you can to give your child the tools he/she needs to excel.  Talk to them.  They are usually quiet and easy to overlook.  Make your children regardless if they are shy or not, your project.  Grow them into successful and responsible adults.  Don’t ever make fun of your own child.  Don’t ever speak negatively about your child to others.  Your child needs to have total trust in you.  They should be able to talk to you about anything and not be made to feel bad.  Even if they are telling you someone mistreated them.  Take it seriously, they need to talk.

If you meet someone who you discover is shy:

Treat them just like you would someone who isn’t shy.  Don’t point out that they are shy.  Don’t tell everyone, “This is Beverly, she is shy, but she has a lot to say if you let her.”  I could tell you stories. If you notice they are sitting alone, just include them like you would anyone else.  Don’t ever let someone sit alone unless of course, they really want to.  I know for me, I am very sensitive to seeing someone sitting alone, I always introduce myself and do my best to include someone with whatever I’m doing. Not out of pity.  I do it out of caring for people, shy or non shy.  People are people.  Rich, poor, black, white, brown, whatever.  Everyone wants to feel like they matter.

How did Beverly overcome her shyness:

I don’t think she really did.  She still has her moments.  She is sensitive to others and she knows her purpose in life.  When she gets her eyes off herself and all of her insecurities she can soar.  She knows that her Heavenly Daddy is right with her in every step she takes and He gives her the confidence she needs for the many tasks that have been set before her.  Who really has time for shyness when you realize your purpose.  You don’t have time to miss an opportunity to encourage or help someone by being consumed with yourself.  So much can be said on this topic of overcoming shyness, I’ll have to save that for another day.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or even leave a comment.

The hardest part of being shy for Beverly:

Being so sensitive that words can hurt so deeply.  The actions of others are so hard to understand when you try so hard to make others feel accepted and loved.  Seeing how cruel others can be with their words and actions.  Also, shy children can also be an easy target for those that want to harm children.

The best part of being shy for Beverly:

I can honestly say that I probably stayed out of some trouble simply because I was too fearful to walk the way some walked and tried to take me with them.  I’m thankful for that.  Being quiet gives you time to listen to others and to watch others.  You can become very discerning and wisdom comes with discernment.  For that I am very thankful.  Being discerning has many advantages.

Well, that sums up my thoughts on shyness.  I hope it truly helps you to understand those that are shy.  It might come in handy as I just read that 40 to 45% of adults say they are shy.