I hate that my house is dark and dim. I want to throw open all the curtains and let the sun pour in! But my husband complains that there’s a glare on the TV. He can’t see the pig hunters, or the pigskin throwers…That’s a whole other story! Well, I found a kindred spirit in Liz Curtis Higgs. She says it’s not just her love of light, but an aversion to darkness that started when she was a child. Her parents left her alone one evening when she was 12.
She writes on her blog, “While they were gone, I turned on every light in our old house. Every. One. Our antiquated electrical system couldn’t handle the load, so the fuses blew. Every. One. My parents returned home to a pitch-black house and a freaked-out daughter. They quickly got the message: this girl hates the dark. Now, the irony: I lived in darkness for a decade. But God, the Source of Light, is very patient. I met a couple who taught a Bible study at her office. They were positively filled with light. I’m not kidding. These two people glowed! Then I heard them read, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). I was sure they were talking about me. It was like turning on a floor lamp in a darkened room. No light? Light everywhere. No truth? Truth everywhere. In the midst of all my sin, God’s light broke through. Not to shame me, but to claim me…to give me a new beginning. Now, when I need more light in my life, I don’t look to others, however brilliant they may be. I look to Jesus.”
I can relate to Liz on that level, too. I lived in darkness for so many years, but God was patient in his determined pursuit of me to Come, follow him. I didn’t have my life-changing “come-to-Jesus-light-bulb-moment” until I was 26 years old. I’ve never looked back since and embrace the warmth of his light and use the armor he equipped me with that day to ward off the darkness!
2 Corinthians 4:6 says, “Let light shine out of darkness…” He’s here with you right now!
Do you know this person? The one whose smile requires you to put sunglasses on? The one who greets you before you’ve had your morning coffee with this: HI! HAVE A REALLY SUPER AWESOME DAY!!!
Makes you want to reply, “Decaf!” Hey, I have joy, too, but sometimes don’t you wish those happy people would be a little less cheerful at 6 a.m.?? But, then that bright greeting kinda sticks with you the rest of the day. I guess God gave them that gift to make you a little less grumpy. So, just put your shades on, smile with them, find your joy and sing a song for Jesus!
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
My more chill style of joy: Third Day
And then there’s Jamie Grace! Haha
What kind of family is yours? Is everything perfectly in its place in your house? Or is there a messy lived-in chaos? Are the expectations and rules so high, that there’s no room to fail? Or is there forgiveness? I’d like everything to be perfectly clean and my kids to give 100 percent and pursue their dreams. I want to be able to have dinner on the table at a decent hour and the dishes done before bedtime and laundry finished (it never is!) and make ends meet and always be able to communicate effectively with my husband. But, things are FAR from perfect! And that’s why there’s grace. God demonstrated it when he forgave us. So, we should model that in our homes. Be real, make mistakes, say you’re sorry, give second chances, have fun, give hugs, forgive and love. That’s family!
Have you sung the song Oceans? And really asked God to – as the song lyrics say – “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me” Well, Nashville-based author and speaker Annie Downs posted a powerful blog this week that is convicting to the core. She asks, “Do you actually mean that? You and I are willing to sing the song on Sunday because it feels good, but will we move when the Spirit leads on Monday? Do you know what it is like outside of the borders? It is wild. And unpredictable. And dangerous. Also? It’s exhilarating and life-giving and exactly the kind of brave people God wants us to be. BUT, If you are only singing the song and not living the life, stop singing Oceans. If you will really read the lyrics, if you will know what you are singing when you sing, and if you will listen to the Holy Spirit and follow when He leads you deeper and farther, then buckle up and sing your heart out, because it’s going to be a beautifully messy ride.”
If you’re like me, you’re probably at the store right now buying food for dinner because you didn’t plan ahead. Well, that’s a budget killer! So, here’s a few helpful tips from the Kids Activity Blog to help you stick to your family’s food budget:
~To curb impulse buys, create a 30-day shopping list. So, plan your meals and list all the ingredients you’ll need.
~Research the prices at different stores – you can download Nikki’s spreadsheet to get started. Nikki’s Price Comparison Spreadsheet
~Then ONLY shop from the list. If it is not on the list DO NOT BUY IT.
~Shop at Discount Grocery Stores whenever possible.
~Go meatless 1-2 nights a week. Yay for dry beans! They are VERY cheap and filling.
~Eat out rarely if ever!
~If you are going to eat out, order water. And go on nights there’s a special or check your newspaper for discounts and grand openings.
~Eat before you go grocery shopping. It’s harder to resist a temptation buy when your stomach is growling.
~Buy generic. Many times this is considerably less than the alternative even if you have coupons.
~Use coupons if you prefer something name brand and only if you buy that item regularly. Also, ask if your grocery shop has “double days”.
~Rather than buy a newspaper for the coupons, go to your library and ask if they mind if you clip theirs.
And here’s a great, inexpensive recipe idea from Angela in Mount Pleasant:
Easy-Peasy Chicken Pot Pie
Boil chicken and cut up
Line deep dish pie pan with pie crust
Mix a can of Veg-All with Cream of Chicken soup and chicken pieces
Add salt and pepper to taste
Top the bottom layer with mixture
Add top pie crust
Bake at 350 degrees until pie crust golden brown
Cost: About $10
Extra Tip: Use leftover Rotisserie chicken, pot roast, or turkey for this quick, simple and inexpensive dinner!
My husband gave my daughter a lesson recently in starting the weed eater after it flooded. Apparently, when you flood the engine, there’s too much gas in the carburetor and it messes up the fuel/air mixture – so it won’t start. The remedy is to let it sit and drain for a bit. Makes sense. Well, you can apply that same remedy when your brain is flooded and you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you’re juggling – the stresses, the deadlines and workload of your day. Try being still and letting all the day’s “stuff” drain out of your mind and instead be filled with thoughts of God’s beauty, and mercy, and His power. You’ll be recharged and be able to rev up and get started!
“I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him.” ~ Ephesians 1:19
You’ve been pulling your hair out after every grocery shopping trip. Not because you don’t enjoy grabbing the groceries. It’s mainly because the bill is almost NEVER in your budget, which means trying to figure out what needs to be cut-back from the rest of the month. I’ve felt this at times…until I changed a few things.
Okay, I’ll be honest, what I’m about to share with you may be hard to do, and could even be annoying if patience isn’t your strongest suit. But if you take these tips to heart, it could mean you being UNDER you initial grocery budget every month. Now, I’m not a hardcore expert on grocery shopping, but I am a fan of sales, discounts, free stuff, and trying to get the biggest bang for my buck. And yes, right now my family consists of only 2 people and a hamster, but I think some of what I’m about to share could help any size family if you really give it a go.
First off, before you go to the store, set-up an excel spreadsheet. Yep, I’m the crazy lady walking around Brookshire’s on Rice Rd. in Tyler with a spreadsheet in hand. Now, you could make a list on paper or do your own style of listing, but I prefer Excel because I don’t have to write everything by hand every time, just the prices. On the sheet, make columns for the different stores you plan on price comparing, and rows with the items you plan on buying. I personally even go one step further by listing the actual brands if there are multiple ones for a food (Frozen Pizzas could have Store Brand, Digiornos, Tostinos, etc). Here’s an example (and download HERE):
Did you take a wrong turn in life that took you far from God? Have your mistakes – even if they are momentary lapses in your Christian walk – made you feel ugly and unlovable to God? Well, don’t believe that lie! A. W. Tozer said: “We please [God] most…by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections, and believing that He…loves us still.”
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
So, turn around and run into his arms because He says you are treasured, you are sacred, you are His, you are beautiful.