Monday, September 24, 2012

The Wellspring of Life

This is a look at what has been on my heart for the last several days. It's taken me about a week to process it all and put it into words, but I think I'm finally ready. 
Picture Credit
"Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.  Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."  Proverbs 4:23-27

As I picked up my Bible, I just opened it and asked God to show me what He wanted to tell me.  This is where I landed and I felt convicted.  My heart is the wellspring of life!  That really struck me!  What am I doing to this wellspring of life, but polluting it?  The verse even tells me how I'm polluting it:

The Message says, "Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts.  Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.  Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.  Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.  Neither look right nor left; leave evil in the dust." 

If I am allowing thoughts, language, actions, things I watch... into my life that aren't glorifying God, I am not guarding my heart.  It doesn't matter if the corrupt talk is coming from my lips, if I listen to it, it has gone to my heart.  If I listen to that piece of gossip someone is just dying to share with me, I have taken it into my heart.  That snide comment I made about someone?  It's there too.  I am struck by the thought that anything that our minds take in, we also process through our hearts.  As women especially, everything is processed by emotions and feelings.  Those come from the heart.  The saying "Garbage in, garbage out" came to mind.  I thought about how Jesus wants my heart to be pure for him.  If I am constantly littering it with things that aren't of him, I am getting distracted and my eyes aren't able to focus on Him. 

I love the thought of leaving evil in the dust.  How hard would it be to stop someone who wants to share a juicy piece of gossip?  Probably initially pretty hard, but if we all committed to change the subject when someone starts, or share honestly from our hearts about wanting to focus on Jesus, or even just to walk away, we would not have to burden our hearts with it.  I admit I like to watch the occasional reality show.  I know they aren't really reality, they are pumped up with drama for ratings, but especially those Real Housewives shows to see other people's drama.  It's been a way for me to relax in front of the television and get caught up in someone else's storyline for a bit.  It also soils my heart.  I am committing right now on this blog to erase them off of my DVR and find other ways to detox that are not distractions from how Jesus wants me to live.  I want to fill my heart and mind with good things, things of God.  I don't need the burdens of other people's drama ~ real, perceived or made up.  But isn't it so easy to be distracted and get caught up in it all?

What are things in your life that distract you from focusing on Jesus?  I am inviting you to take inventory with me and leave those things behind.  It isn't easy, part of me is dying to find out what will happen on the show this week, but I won't be tuning in.  So if we know what not to do, what do we do?  A few thoughts come to mind.
1.  Replace old habits and behaviors with things you enjoy.  Instead of watching television, I think I'll bake some pumpkin muffins or catch up on scrap booking.  Perhaps I'll pick up a book I've been wanting to read and make a cup of chai tea.
2. I'll seek out people in my life who don't engage in gossip or coarse language.  I want to surround myself with encouragers and people who are in the Word. 
3. We all mess up and get off track.  God used this verse to put me back in check.  I'm thinking of asking a friend to be my accountability partner.  I certainly have people in my life who would be willing to do this, but it requires opening myself up and putting my faults out there. 
4.  Consistent Quiet Time with God.  This is the most important step!  I admit that while I try to do this, there are periods in my life where I am busy and just do not make the time.  That extra 30 minutes of sleep sounds better than getting up while the house is quiet.  As the mom of two children, there is a lot of noise in my life.  I wouldn't trade where I am for anything in the world, but I don't get quiet time when the kids are up.  However, when I make the time and I am in quiet communion with God, I am more in tune with His nudgings throughout the day. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunrise on the Battery Book Review

Mary Lynn has anything she could ever want ~ at least material things.  When she joins a ladies' Bible study, she realizes that something is missing from her life.  As she finds joy in her relationship with the Lord, she discovers that material wealth isn't everything and that nothing can fill the void in your heart except for God.  Her husband is resistant to this change.  Will she have to give up everything she has to be faithful to God?

I have always been enchanted with stories that take place in the South.  I was born in Charleston and love to visit, so I was especially interested in reading "Sunrise on the Battery," which is set in Charleston, SC.  While I enjoyed the story, it had a slow start and I had difficulty maintaining interest in the beginning.  However, once I got into it, I liked it very much.  It was an entertaining read and I enjoyed reading about happenings around landmarks with which I am familiar.  This book really stops to make you think about what is important in your own life and how material possessions aren't everything.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze) in exchange for a quality review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I did not guarantee a positive review.

It's Your Kid Not a Gerbil book Review

I enjoy reading and listening to Kevin Leman.  He has a no nonsense approach to parenting, but he is also extremely funny, which I appreciate. When given the opportunity to read and review his book "It's Your Kid Not a Gerbil," I was excited to see what he had to say. 

In this book, Leman has a way of taking the pressure off of parents who feel like we will cause damage to our children if we don't have them involved in every activity under the sun.  Do you ever feel like you are a gerbil running on the wheel and you just want off? There have been times in my own life where I have said, "Stop the world! I want to get off!"  While I want my children to be well-rounded, I don't want to extend our activities to the point of putting undue pressure to perform on my children. 

Leman reminds parents that our job is to raise children that will adopt the values they learned at home and become productive members of society.  He gives tips and advice on how to create a less stressful environment at home ~ who wouldn't want that?!  If you are a parent, you need to read this book!   

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Come Unto Me

This poem is a work in progress, just as I am.  God started speaking to my heart about this very issue during Lent.  I am making imperfect progress, but I am reminded in Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  Thank you God for never giving up on me and loving me through my hard headedness and imperfections.

I hear Him calling me, "Come to me child.
I've been waiting here for you!
Come sit at my feet and talk to me now. 
Can't you spare just a minute or two?
It's been such a long time since our last chat ~ when you poured out your heart and cried.
Won't you come to Me now?
Share your sorrows and fears,
It's time to swallow your pride.

I know you like to be in control,
Think you can handle it all on your own.
So I sit back and watch, trying not to intrude
But you are never alone.
For I am with you all the time,
Every second of every day
Bidding you to come unto Me
Take some time out to pray."

So here I am, Lord, sitting right at your feet
I've made such a mess of things now.
I shouldn't have tried to do it all by myself
I should have trusted you to show me how.
I'm sorry I'm stubborn and I don't listen well
I didn't want to bring it to You
I thought I could fix it all on my own
Now I'm not sure what to do.

As I try to explain the trouble I'm in
He quiets and calms my fears,
"But now you are here, give it up to Me now,
Come, let Me dry your tears."
I surrender it all to Him yet once again
My heart feels oh such a peace
What once was a burden I carried so heavy
I feel a freedom from the release.

Thank you, God, for not giving up
On me, your obstinate child.
It must seem at times I'll never learn,
My ways are disobedient and wild.
You are always here to pick me up
When I have failed to trust in Your ways,
Now once again I commit my life
To follow you all of my days.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Beginning of the Birthday Week

My birthday is this week.  I stopped counting more than a few years ago.  Princess however wants to know how old I am going to be.  She guessed 24 and I told her that was a pretty good guess.  Hubby laughed and said, "Yeah, the 13th anniversary of her 24th birthday."  Thanks a lot, Hubby.  I think 24 is a good number.  Anywho, Princess has been doing all of these secret things around the house lately in preparation for my birthday.  She just can't wait and keeps asking if I want my present.  The actual day isn't until Thursday, so I still have a little bit of time before I add another number to my age. 

This morning Princess decided she couldn't wait another day.  She just had to throw me a birthday breakfast.  Hubby and I could hear whispers this morning about breakfast as we laid in bed, pretending to be asleep.  I expected Princess and Prince to do their usual toast and/or cereal with milk or sometimes even Diet Coke to drink.  Princess came to get us and I was quite surprised with what I found in the dining room.
Prince and Princess decided that we would eat Ben and Jerry's ice cream for breakfast. 
I think they were really thinking about how I would never let them have ice cream for breakfast so it would be a cool way to get away with it.  As you can see, they mostly ate the ice cream and Hubby and I watched.
Confession: I don't give my kids Ben and Jerry's. When I do let them have the ocassional ice cream treat, I usually don't give them the "good stuff."  It is rare that we even have "the good stuff" in the house, but it was BOGO at the grocery store this week so I splurged. 
When I got to my chair I found this:
A bowl full of water for me to "relax my feet."  The water was quite chilly, but I took one for the team.  Princess has the right idea, bless her heart.
Sweet Princess gave me a present.
Excuse my crude photo editing of blacking her name out.  I have not mastered Photo Shop.

I recognize these two babies! 
This was written on the back of the picture.
She started this plant in school and has been hiding it in her room, watering it and caring for it without my knowing.
Last but not least, a foot massage with her Vanilla Cupcake scented lotion. 
What a sweet start to a Sunday morning and a wonderful start to my birthday week!