A Call to Confession

During a 21 Day Fast that our church is doing, our Pastor is sending out a daily scripture verse and meditation.   I am going to include a daily response as part of my 21 day time of reflection, meditation and prayer.

From our Pastor:

Day 1

Our scripture focus today is 1 John 1:9. 

This verse is such an empowering promise to us who believe. That if we confess our sins, He will be faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a scripture of consecration. 

Our prayer focus today will be confession and meditation. Jesus desires that we live our lives in wholeness in every area. He desires us to know spiritual, physical and emotional health. This starts by inviting Jesus into our brokenness and allowing Him to remove everything in us that is causing pain and infection in our minds, bodies, soul and spirits. This includes unforgiveness and bitterness. 

Let us invite Him in today.

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My response to Day 1:

Growing up many years in the Episcopal and Anglican Church, we had a book called “The Book of Common Prayer” that we used in our services.   I still use this book many times, as it has great scripture reading plans. This book was never meant to be more important than the Bible, or to take away our own personal prayers, thoughts and meditations to the Lord, but this book was a wonderful tool and guide that was filled with beautiful prayers, scripture plans, hymns, the Psalms, collects and more.  In particular, each week, we all prayed together the prayer of confession. It went like this:

“Most merciful God,

We confess that we have sinned against you

In thought, word, and deed,

By what we have done,

And by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

Have mercy on us and forgive us;

That we may delight in your will,

And walk in your ways,

To the glory of your Name.  Amen”

I am thankful that I have a heavenly Father who loves me so much. 

God’s word says that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

My prayer is…..Lord, I invite you into my heart and into every area of my life.  I give you permission to search me and clean house. Forgive me Lord for any wrong doing I have done to anyone.  Forgive me Lord, for making more things more important than you at times. Break my heart for what breaks yours Lord.  I pray if there is any unforgiveness or bitterness in my heart towards anyone, including myself, that you would bring that into the light, and bring total healing physically, mentally and spiritually.  Set me free Lord to be all that you want me to be. Shine your light into every area of my heart, my soul, my mind, and my home.  

I love you Lord!

The Family Table

Around the family table is where you can experience some of your most precious and valuable moments. Many conversations and relationships will develop around your family table. When I was growing up, the table was not just a place to eat, but a place to gather together to either get our day going or end the day together. When my husband and I married, the gift we got one another was a round oak table. Our son, Paul and DIL, Sarah have that table now. Bob and I began our marriage, our family and had many conversations around that table. The table has history. The table pictured here was my mother and father’s.

As the years continued and our family grew to three very active boys and a little girl, we got much busier, yet still made a point to try to sit down together as much as possible to share our meal and lives with one another.

My challenge and encouragement to all of us today is:

1. Be intentional to have AT LEAST one sit down meal together a week. Even more is better, but be intentional to have at least one.
2. When you sit down together, whether it’s by yourself, one child, or your whole family, give thanks, as you will cultivate a grateful heart in yourself and your family.
3. Don’t let guilt get to you. Life get’s busy. I get that running for the bus with a breakfast bar happens sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up over it if you can’t sit down together this week. Don’t expect perfection, but just keep persevering towards a goal of gathering together around your table, whether it’s just you, with friends or family, and whether it’s once a week or more.
4. Absolutely no electronics at your family table. Make your table a place where your family can experience something new and refreshing. Make memories. Create legacies. Share stories.
5. You want to show the person or people you are sitting with that you truly value your time with them so again, no electronics.
6. Experiment with setting your table with cloth napkins, your grandmothers silverware you have sitting in the silver chest, and maybe some flowers, and therefore create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
7. Consider your table like a “Holy Table”. Have boundaries. At this table you will not bring up negative things. You won’t use this time to discipline your kids on something they did during the day. If married, with or without kids you and your husband won’t use this time to discuss your business agenda and/or household budget while your kids are sitting there.
8. Value that table you have in your home. Look at it differently than you did before.
9. Remember, your table can be like your central hub, or safe zone for your family.
10. Be eager to cultivate a legacy within your family around the table together.

I hope your time at your table is a good one, a reflective one and a fun one!

Search My Heart

Every closet needs to be cleaned out.  Every garage needs to be gone through.   We all love to purge.  I wonder why that is?  Did you now there is even an anxiety that comes from clutter?  Have you every thought of how our hearts and lives need to be de-cluttered?   We need to be searched and we need conviction.  If we don’t cry out for those things, there will be consequences in our lives and in our health.

Today, I want to encourage others to pray this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24.  “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting:

Praying for conviction from the Holy Spirit will guide us unto a better path.  Searching our hearts and asking God to change us to be more like him will give us everlasting rewards.   Even as Christians, we need to re-visit, what a Christian is.  We are in this world, but we are not suppose to be of this world.   If most of your friends are not walking with Jesus, even thinking about Godly values, or in the word,  you might want to consider what you can do to begin not being like them, but being a light to them.    We can’t ever reach perfection but we can declare that “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”  We can have healthy and heavenly goals in mind.  Not only will our lives be richly improved but we can bring hope to others.

Don’t be afraid to ask the Lord for conviction and to search your heart.   Don’t hang on to the things you know you are suppose to either let go of or change.   We need more peace in this world, and why not let it begin with you.

 

 

 

 

 

How do we lead with the Father’s heart?

My husband and aim to follow the Father’s heart.  We have guided our children the best we can to be lead by the Holy Spirit and trust in the Lord with all your heart.   We have gotten some things right and some things wrong, as most of us parents do.

I wanted to share a blog post I recently read by Danny Silk.    There are so many things in his article that speaks to my heart and soul.   Here is just one thing that pierces my heart.    “Leading free people is also very messy, however, because we fall all over ourselves as we struggle to overcome our old fears and learn to choose love and connection. And the temptation for every leader or parent is to protect by taking away people’s freedom. But the Father doesn’t do that. Even as He walks us through the consequences of misusing our freedom, He does it with the goal of helping us grow and be fully restored in managing our freedom. He protects us without controlling us, and this is how we must lead as well. “https://www.lovingonpurpose.com/blog/the-core-value-of-freedom

Texas

Here I am back on I-10 heading west to Texas with Bob and Abbey. I like Texas. I always have. Texas was good to my family. We lived there for two years. During that time our family grew closer together. Our faith grew stronger. We were rebuilding and regrouping, especially after losing our business back home, not making any money when selling our home in Destin, filing bankruptcy, and just being exhausted from the marathon race we were running trying to make ends meet.

In Texas we uncovered some mysteries. For instance, after many years of seeking answers and never getting them from our Florida pediatrician, a pediatric neurologist diagnosed our oldest son, Paul with mild Tourette’s Syndrome. It was good to have some answers and direction. We also discovered that Paul had some optic nerve damage, maybe from birth, but nevertheless, it explained why he had trouble for years not being able to read the charts and see correctly. Texas was good to my family.

In 1994, after losing our John Deere dealership in Florida, my husband, who was emotionally broken, in trouble and desperate, was searching to discover himself and a new career. While trying to hold on to our business, and feed our family, Bob made some poor choices, along with the poor economy and being given the short end of the stick with his business partner who wouldn’t live up to his end of an agreement. Bob avoided jail by the grace of God and his parents financial help, that we are still faithfully making payment back after more than 20 years.

We had a friend who gave Bob an opportunity to work for him and his company, which was a Department of Defense Contractor. Bob switched from owning his own business, selling tractors and lawn mowers almost overnight to learning how government accounting works. I will always remember catching my husband up before the sunrise, sitting on our sofa with his coffee, reading and learning government accounting, page by page by page.

While Bob was starting his new job, I had to find work also, and quickly. I gave waitressing a try, but did not like leaving our three boys with friends all the time, as well as returning home late at night, after they had fallen asleep. I truly loved putting our boys to bed at night. Saying their prayers with them. Watching them brush their teeth and spit in the sink. Late one evening as I was driving down 30A after my shift at the restaurant, an idea came to me to open up our home for childcare business. From sun up to sun down, and including weekends many times, I had children coming and going. I was the first to keep a couple of newborns. My days were very long and although I made excellent money, we were barely making ends meet. We prayed. We kept up the faith and we kept working. We had our share of miracles and blessings as so many people, anonymously, sent us money to live on. Friends brought us groceries, made our house payment and helped me watch children in my daycare business. I won groceries when Delchamps opened up their new Destin store. One day a complete stranger, who was an Oscar Meyer distributor, showed up at our door to give us all he could give. Fisherman’s wives would bring us their catch of the day. We were scared at times of not knowing where our next penny would come from, but at the same time amazed to see who Jehovah Jirah was.

So how did we get to Texas? Bob had applied for a job as a Comptroller with a defense contractor in El Paso, Texas and one day we got the call. I was watching kids and also homeschooling when I answered the phone and learned we might be moving to El Paso. To think of leaving all our friends, our church and moving across country, far, far away from my parents was a lot to process. It didn’t take long though to decide, because we were sinking. So I guess in a way, moving across the country to El Paso was a relief. In some ways, I felt like we were being rescued. So many people would ask us why would we ever leave such a beautiful town, as Destin and go live in a border town like El Paso. Besides not wanting to starve, seriously, it was the only door that God opened up for us. It ended up being our wilderness where God meet us. He met our needs daily. We counted out the pieces of chicken to share. We didn’t shop for labels. I discovered thrift store shopping.

While we lived in Texas, my father passed away at a hospital in Alabama. I was with him. We had to borrow money for Bob and the boys to get to Alabama and attend his funeral. God always showed up. He was near. He was and is faithful.

Our boys made new experiences while we were in Texas. They made new friends. Our black son, who was missing us, and unhappy back in Destin, rode a train for two days to come live with us in Texas. It was good to all be back together. We were poor, barely making ends meet, yet staying grateful and thankful for “our daily bread or manna”. We joined a homeschool co op for David and Kevin. Marlon made a name for himself in football very quickly, as Paul did in music at each of their public schools. The boys enjoyed soccer, football, baseball, music and settled into our small apartment with two birds, a bunny, our Sheltie and a partridge in a pear tree, without any complaining. We were family. We stuck together. We prayed together. We laughed together and cried together. If I ever became sad or concerned that we were in a tiny apartment, I was reminded that all is well, when I would peek in the boys room many nights and see them all together whispering or giggling.

I believe our desire to follow God’s lead to Texas was rewarding. We still lived paycheck to paycheck but truly saw God move in ways we had never before. We were broken. We stepped out in faith. We overcame fears. We were obedient to his calling for a new life in a foreign land. We decided to plant our roots there permanently. We were planning on buying the home we were renting, and trying for another child when Bob got a job offer back in Florida in our home town. We honestly didn’t jump at the chance. We prayed. We thought. As much as we would of loved to return, we wanted to be right in the center of God’s will. It was like a healthy fear of making sure we were where we were suppose to be We knew though that no matter where we lived, we could be faced with 10 years without any credit whatsoever, since we had to file bankruptcy.

Texas was grande, but our hearts and our home were back in Florida. A door was opening for us to return. Why did God love us so much to bring us back? He just did. Some things we don’t need to know why.

So there we were, our family and pets, leaving the dessert and returning back home to the beautiful emerald coast. I should say, most of our family. Paul and Marlon stayed back for a couple of weeks to finish out the school year. We were back on I-10, but this time heading East. Still living on faith, love and hope. Happy and expectant. God was faithful. He gave us so much more than we could of asked for when we followed Him out to Texas. The best gift of all was that I returning home, five months pregnant with a baby sister for the boys, and a daughter for Bob and I.

As Bob, Abbey and I travel back to Texas today, I am remembering that Texas was good to my family.

Coffee blocks instead of Red Bull?

WHAT ARE “COFFEE BLOCKS”?

I discovered these on Lilsipper’s blog. I thought I would try these and share with others.
Similar to “fat balls”, these were created for instant energy! Ideally, you pop 3-6 (depending on the size) in your mouth right before the gym instead of downing an unhealthy energy drink.

The instant energy comes from the healthy fats as well as the coffee, plus they’re full of protein and GUT HEALTH from the gelatin!

Ingredients:
12 oz. hot coffee
1 Tbsp grass-fed ghee
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 scoops Vital Proteins grass-fed gelatin

Superboost (optional):
1 tsp Sun Potion’s Cordyceps

Directions:
1. Blend all ingredients then pour into silicone molds.
2. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Make sure when you buy your gelatin, it is grass-fed. Here is a little bit about some of the benefits of gelatin.

• Helps tighten loose skin
• Helps improve cellulite
• Helps joint recovery
• Supports skin, hair and nail growth
• Improves digestion
• Is high in protein
• Promotes relaxation
…and a favorite, HELPS HEAL YOUR GUT!

Gut and Digestion
Gelatin helps improve the lining of the digestive tract, preventing leaky gut syndrome. The gut lining as one of the body’s most important lines of defense, since it keeps the good stuff in your digestive system (and the bad stuff out!) and prevents leakage into the bloodstream, which triggers inflammation.

I have learned to always make sure your gelatin is grass-fed (like the kind I take from Vital Proteins). Be aware, other brands like Knox are sourced from pork!

Take Time.

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I find value in things like time.  Time to spend with faith, family, friends and flowers.  Each has it’s place in my heart and life.  Each are a gift.  Each are to be valued and cherished.  I am thankful for the time I have been given on this earth and I wanted to use it as wisely as possible.   I think taking time to smell the flowers is wise.

Spending time this weekend with family and friends was fun.  We started off on Fridayat our youngest son, Kevin and his wife, Natalie’s house.   It was the much anticipated gender reveal party.   Kevin made his award winning (in momma’s eye’s) chili and we brought side dishes to add.   There was a great deal of screaming, yelling and squealing when we all found out they were having a baby girl.   Can’t wait to hold that precious baby, which will make the seventh of our beautiful, fabulous, smart, gifted and funny grandchildren.

We continued more celebrating as we gathered together at our (Bob and my) house Sunday afternoon.  We didn’t add a backyard pool, but pretty excited to have an outdoor television.   We love things to bring our family together and add fun in the mix.  Bob grilled out some fabulous grassfed burgers and sausages.  We added some healthy in the mix with some side dishes, gluten free pasta salad, lentil bean soup (which no one touched) and gluten free cookies.   My grandson Neyland asked me, “Yaya, are these Gluten Free?”  God bless him.  I don’t have the heart to tell him although they were gluten free,  how much sugar they had in them.  Oh well, we all had a lot of fun.  My cup was overflowing and my heart was full as I watched all the hustle and bustle of six grandchildren, friends and family all gathered together to share our lives.  I am blessed.

Back to College

Noah is already missing our daughter, Abbey.  It was such a great Christmas break for her and our 122 pound yellow lab, although it went too fast. He slept in the room with Abbey and stayed by her side throughout the day. I’m sure he overheard every conversation she had with her boyfriend, as he patiently waited for her undivided attention. He was there with her as we all opened Christmas presents on Christmas Day. He watched the ball drop with her on New Year’s Eve. Now, he waits patiently and dreams of the next time they will be together.