Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Scripture Memory

One of the books I am right in the middle of today is "Generous Living" by Ron Blue. I expect to finish it by Friday. It is just that good. Over the last several months, we have been trying to tackle some old and new expenses and get them paid off asap. I hate debt. So doing everything possible to be good stewards of everything that God has given us and pay off expenses and cut back on grocery bills, etc., I find myself still giving but without the same amount of joy. That is not a place I want to stay. Over the years since we started tithing and giving offerings, God has blessed us in unspeakable and unimaginable ways. Not once has He ever disappointed us - imagine that!

Reading "Generous Living" has renewed my sense of giving with joy and doing it for all the right reasons with the right heart. Just like God to provide a verse that I find will provide me with even more motivation:

Psalm 37: 26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.

Generous living blesses others, blesses me and my children. I praise God for his perfect plans and perfect and abundant provisions.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Box Day to Me

I came home after bible study Tuesday night to find boxes. First there was this one:

It is a fabulous baking dish that I won on a blog give-away from Gigi at In the Throne Room. Thank you so much. Stop by and tell her 'hi' and see what else is happening there.

And then there was this one:

And inside was . . . .
Our next bible study workbooks and dvds. I am so totally excited. We will start this study on April 13th. The life of David will be anything but boring.

How much fun is this. Baking and bible studies - two of my favorite things.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Clampetts Get a Car

The time had come. Our vehicles were getting to the point that something needed to be done. So after much prayer and putting it off as long as possible, two weeks ago we finally broke down and did it. Kenny & I, aka The Clampetts, headed off to Brook Park to check out a used car. Car buying for me is almost like a root canal, but at least you have something to show for it when you are done.

Up until this particular trip, most of my car buying experiences involved old coffee in cheap Styrofoam paper cups while we sat on straight-back chairs covered in orange vinyl with a slight rip in the seat where the foam would stick through. And quite frankly I am fine with that. It is one of the joys of small town living. You knew you would be taken care of and could generally trust the salesman. I was also happy that the profits weren’t increased so they could have nicer furniture. Times have changed (not to mention prices!) since we last bought a used car seven years ago.

Most of the ‘shopping’ occurred on-line thanks to my diligent husband. So on a very dreary and misty Saturday we crawled into our 1997 Acura with 237,000+ miles, a slightly large ding in the front and a smattering of rust spots and headed to Brook Park. We had officially stepped into a different world than what we were accustomed to. After bringing the car in from the lot and drying it off for us, we were handed the keys and told to take it for a spin and come back whenever we wanted. Hmmm. Test-drive over we returned and were then escorted to the coffee bar and lounge area. Please note above my previous experience. So to now be offered fresh-brewed Starbucks, fresh baked warm cookies and a comfy couch where you could gaze upon the salt-water aquarium made me a bit nervous. I honestly was looking for a donation basket to put in money for my coffee. People don’t just give you free Starbucks for cryin’ out loud. Ultimately, we bought the car and headed home. We still have the 1997 Acura; after all it might be good for another 100,000 miles. May I also mention it is paid for and gets 37 mpg.

Fast-forward to yesterday. I am still trying to figure out all the buttons and switches in this car. It might be 8 years old, but that is still far newer than anything else we drive. This country girl understands quite well vehicles that don’t have power windows or automatic transmissions; so 5 buttons on my rear-view mirror left me in a quandary. The mirror seemed to have a funny tint and I was hoping one of the buttons would change that. Driving along, push the first button. Nothing. Push the second one. Nothing – oh wait. Is that a voice I hear? A woman repeatedly saying “Pardon, pardon”. Yep. On-Star. Who knew!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Scripture Memory

Yesterday was Scripture Memory day. Do you see a recurring theme here? I seem to post this the day after I was supposed to. Good grief. Once again there are two verses I really want to do this time. The multi-tasker in me says "go for it". The realistic me says that if I choose both I won't fully memorize either one of them.

The one thing I have noticed lately is that I seem to have parts of verses memorized. I will be using them in prayer or my devotions or when ministering with someone and realize later it was only a small part of the whole. I feel like I am missing out on the fullness and power of the verse by not actually knowing and using the entire thing. One of those verses has been Romans 8:37. I often say that we are more than conquerors in Christ - but there is more to it and I want the fullness thereof. So this week is:

Romans 8:37 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

Blessings on your day and your scripture memory.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Audio Blog

Sometimes a blog is meant to be heard. I don't have the technology to do that. So I pray that something in this will make sense. It is 10:30 p.m. I arrived home from our women's bible study about 30 minutes ago. Checking email, grabbing a snack - and then you hear it. The men's group in our basement that meets at our house every other Tuesday. Singing. Singing praises to God. This week there is even a guitar.

If you had told my husband that someday he would be singing worship songs in his basement with a group of other God-seeking, God-fearing men after they had spent time in prayer - well, up until the last few years, he probably would have just hit you for suggesting such a thing. Not that he's violent, he would have just thought you had lost it and needed some sense knocked into you.

Malachi 3:10 tells us to "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." I used to think that those blessings were financial and material. I know better. Sometimes the floodgates open with a group of singing men in your basement.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Intentionally Simplifying

After 7 months of working toward two specific goals, I finally managed to meet both of them this week. The first goal was to observe the Sabbath. The second goal has been to cut our grocery bill in half.

On Sunday, we went to church and with the exception of getting gas and grabbing the Sunday papers, I truly celebrated the day by resting and focusing on God. If I had planned better, I would have gotten gas on Saturday. The Sunday papers - well they are only available on Sunday. I made a quick lunch and didn't bother with dishes until after supper, which we ate around 7:30 p.m. No laundry. No paying bills. No redecorating for Spring. Instead, I took a nap and rested my physical being. I spent some quality time with my husband and some quality time with God. No guilt for not being busy. It was amazing and I am so grateful that God has given us the gift of the Sabbath.

The second goal of cutting our grocery bill in half has taken me about 7 months, but it has finally happened for four weeks in a row. In the excitement of experiencing some financial freedom, I quickly found myself addicted to the savings. I refuse to allow the enemy to enslave me to something that is meant to be freeing and God honoring. So I have had to be intentional in some of my time management. Observing the Sabbath has actually helped with this. I would love to head out after church to grab this week's deals. Not this week though. I am trusting God that what I need will still be there later this week when I go shopping. Instead of making multiple trips, I am trying to get it down to one.

I am trying to be more aware and more intentional of how I spend my time and my money. It is too easy to become a slave to stuff and busyness. I know. While it might not seem like a big deal, every little act of self-discipline and self-control is actually freeing and rewarding.

If I want to lead a simpler life, then I have to make decisions that will help lead to that. I'm not looking to take extra stuff out of my life only to fill it with more meaningless stuff. I want all my priorities to be in order and I want my time with God and my family to be intentional and have quality. I'm learning to say 'no' in a lot of areas and be more aware of how I waste my time and how I want to actually use it.

God gave me enough time and enough resources. How I use them or misuse them is up to me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Bare Hair Facts

After 40 some years of having people comment on my hair and give me their advice on how to do it, usually unsolicited advice I might add, I thought I would clarify a few things. I have had naturally curly hair my whole life. I expect I always will. It is thick. It doesn't want to be straight even if you use a flat iron. Thick, naturally curly hair tends to sometimes be big hair. That is just the way it is. Yes, I use inordinate amounts of styling foam and hairspray. Someone today suggested that the color I use for my hair was a good choice. That's good, because I don't color my hair.

Sometimes there are little clips in my hair - I know they are there. They keep my hair from sticking out in randomness and poking someone's eye out. The alternative is also that I will look like a unicorn if there isn't one in the top of my hair while I am growing it out.

My hairdresser just quit this week and now I will have to travel one hour each way to get my hair cut. That stinks. But it will be worth it. I have a theory. If you don't have naturally curly hair, you probably don't know how to cut naturally curly hair. She has naturally curly hair. My friends with straight hair want to give me great advice on how to style my hair. Let me explain further.

I had two deep wounding hair days in my life that still effect me. The first was when my grandma was watching me while my mom was having my brother. She put those little pink foam curlers in my hair - one side curled above my ear, the other side not so much. At the age of 6, this was not good. I also had a lady once give me exactly two layers in my hair. Hmmm - a mullet with the bowl cut look on top is the best way I could describe that one.

All through school I wanted to have haircuts like Dorothy Hamill:

And Toni Tenille:

I also thought any one of the Charlie's Angels haircuts would be just fine. But here's the deal, I still had curly hair. You just don't pull one of those styles off with this hair.

I'm okay with my curly hair. What I spend on styling foam, still doesn't add up to the price of a perm. I had one of those once too - another bad idea.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Scripture Memory

On Sunday night, I knew exactly what verse I wanted to memorize and then never got to the computer to do this post. All set to do it last night, but after spending way too long in the dentist chair while they finished my root canal left me with a very sore mouth. I have found that scripture memory comes in very handy for times like that. As I laid there thinking that they were seriously going to pull my eye out through one of my teeth with my mouth crammed full of rubber stuff and metal and hands, I went to the scriptures to keep my mind occupied. It helps.

I chose this week's verse after reading it in a book on Sunday. In a nutshell, Elisha and his servant are all alone and they are surrounded by vast enemy armies. From the looks of things, they don't stand any chance of making it out alive and surviving the attack. Elisha tells his servant to not be afraid because those that are with them are greater than the army they can see. Ultimately Elisha prays for his servant's eyes to be opened so that he can see the army of God that is there with them. God's army is far greater and more powerful than the seen enemy.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of that and have a verse to hang on to. The enemy I see is not greater than God's protection over me and around me. I see earthly circumstances and situations. I pray that God will open my eyes to see Him in every situation. So my verse this week is:

2 Kings 6:16 "Don't be afraid." the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."