Tuesday, September 27, 2016

encouragement

There's not a lot of good going on in the world around us right now, what with all the recent goings on and with the upcoming election.

There's not a lot of hope right now, either, because of both of those same things.

But you know what IS good?  Who is good, rather?  And what I love to read to get me through each and everyday?


God.  He is good and His word is true.

I loved what I read this morning, from Psalm 16.  I'll share this picture, but I'll write it out for you, too, so that you can get some encouragement from Him this morning.

Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You.

I said to Yahweh, "You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You."

As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones.  All my delight is in them.

The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves will multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.

LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future. 

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I will praise the LORD who counsels me--even at night my conscience instructs me.

I keep the LORD in mind always.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely.  

For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.  

You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.

He is my hope, my joy, my strength, my source, and my song.  He is faithful, He is sovereign and He is in control.  His word tells me to trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5 and 6) and I do.  He alone is good and worthy of praise.  No matter what happens around us in these coming days, months and years, and no matter who sits in the oval office at the White House, He is King.  He reigns.

I'm so glad I have Him in my life and I am so thankful that He drew me to Him and called me as His own.

I would love to talk more about this, should you have questions about this or about how you, too, can have a relationship with Him.

Love to all.

Monday, September 26, 2016

the weekend

I love a good weekend.  It doesn't matter whether or not I work outside my home, there's just something about a couple days in a row off, with my whole family that makes my heart quicken with anticipation.  I love to get my home cleaned and my pantry and fridge stocked for this time, too, in case friends come over unexpectedly.

On Friday morning, we did that.  I caught these two in their newly cleaned room, and I had to stop and steal a quick picture.


It doesn't matter that they're halfway to fourteen, they love spending time together.  I love their closeness...it's something that is unique in twins.  I pray they're always this close.  Not just them, but ALL my boys.  I pray that their bond never dulls.

We had a quick dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches that night, because there was a women's event at church that I had made plans to attend.  Todd ended up going as well, and the boys; Todd to work the video simulcast and lights and the boys to play football and soccer with their friends outside the church.


This event was Cry Out, and it was put on by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.  It was a world wide simulcast event, and there were women praying together across the globe.  It was a WONDERFUL night.  There were times of worship throughout and we would either pray in groups of three, or collectively as a large group.  We prayed for us (confession, repentance), our families, our country and government and missions throughout the world.  It was about three hours long, and when I got home, I felt like it should have been close to eleven, but it wasn't even ten.

I didn't stay awake long after the rest of the guys got home.

On Saturday morning, I got out to run a few errands and to grocery shop.


I spent an hour in this place, just looking at things and for one thing to buy for my mantle.  I found what I was looking for, and a little sprig of something fall-ish for an arrangement I made for my mantle Thursday, and at forty percent off the regular price.

Todd just rolled his eyes.

If he's reading this.

I grocery shopped after this and it was a HUGE trip.  I haven't been on a full grocery trip since vacation.  We've gotten bits and pieces here and there, and I'd send the boys for something specific, but I shopped with the intention of making breakfasts, and lunches and dinners this week, and for bags of chips, because we had none.  Sometimes I just need a bite of something that is salty and crunchy.

My boys were thrilled to see what all I bought.

That night Todd worked, and my sister Trish came to eat with the boys and me and to FaceTime our niece who is pregnant with twins.  The gender reveal party was that night, in Colorado, and we found out that she is having GIRLS!  They're identical and will be named Kinsley and Kyleigh.

I'm already in love.

Yesterday was church most of the day and we ended in community groups last night.

I have breakfast in the oven, as I write this, and I am about to call all the boys downstairs to start our day.  I am LOVING that the weather is cooler this week!


It's really pretty here today, and kinda windy, which is fine with me.  I know the boys will be glad to be outside in this glorious weather.

How was your weekend?

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I've been looking forward to this day (and night) for a couple of weeks, but more about that at the end.

I'm linking up with Andrea (&friends) from Momfessionals for this post.


This picture that I captured that recreated their awkward moment from a year ago is my favorite picture of all from Saturday night.  As was Drew's response when I asked him how homecoming was.  He said, "The food was AMAZING."

That boy.  He may be sixteen, but some things about him will never change.  He has been this way since the age of two, and food has always been his favorite.

I have a picture of him sitting in a booster seat at a kitchen table with a fork in one hand, and eating a pancake dripping with syrup in the other.  (He was one and a half or two at the time.)  I don't know why this picture reminds me of that time.


This night was a favorite moment from the week.  It was at my friend Sunday's house, and these are the girls (most of them) who signed up to be big sisters in the Big Sis/Little Sis program.  This was the big sis initiation night, and we made them a really yummy dinner, then Abbey shared with them, then the leaders each took two or three girls and prayed over them.

I love when nights like this are both fun AND meaningful.


It's no secret that journaling is one of my favorite things of all time.  I love journals, too, and I have loved this one you see above.  But I'm nearing the end of it, and I need a new one, and sometimes, I dread that.  I LOVE flipping back through and reading some of what I've written.  On this day above, in my quiet time, you see where I read in the Bible.  I always write that down so I can keep up with where I am.  I usually will write out a verse that stood out to me that morning, and I sometimes expound on a passage, like the one from Exodus.

God has been reminding me lately that He is the One who controls the hearts of those around us.  When people are mean to my kids, or when someone unnecessarily snaps at me, I need to remember this, and then I need to just stop and pray for them.  And my for myself, that I remember that not all people are believers.  And believers (are supposed to) act differently than unbelievers.


I posted this picture on yesterday's post, and it's one of my favorites.  I love his laugh and I miss him when he's gone!  He and Graham made it home safely last night, around nine, and I slept so much better with all of us back under the same roof.

He is still my very favorite.


At the risk of sounding redundant, one of my favorite things to do is to read in my Bible and mark it all up.  I know some people really have issues with writing in their Bibles, but consider this.  When you die, wouldn't it be awesome for your family members to be able to read from your Bible and see what all you marked or highlighted or wrote in the margins?  I have the Bible that belonged to my Mammaw, and I still will flip through its pages every once in a while.  I just did that a few days ago, as I was cleaning.

That's what I do with all of mine.  (I start a new one every few years.)  I write out prayers for my family, I write names that the Lord places on my heart and how I'm praying for them, and I write out or draw around phrases that jump out at me.

I once heard a beloved Bible teacher say that we should wear our Bibles out.

And though it sounds contradictory, I don't want to be so attached to mine that I wouldn't ever give it away to someone who I thought could maybe use a Bible.  I always want to be open to doing that, if the Lord should lead me that way.


On a much lighter note, my favorite color of polish right now is this one you see above.  I pulled it out the other day, when I had some time to sit and let them dry.  It's from OPI (Do I even need to say that, still?) and it's called Eurso Euro.

I love Fall!  And that I can pull out my old favorites again.


Last night went down as one of my favorite nights of the week, too.  I love these ladies so much!  We've been friends for well over a decade, and I am so thankful for them and their friendship that's lasted through the years.  We don't see each other that often, but it's nice knowing that we will always pick right back up.  Left to right are Tammy and Rene.  We went and ate dinner at Booya's and sat for two hours just catching back up with one another.

I love my friends!


Y'all.  Getting a text like this is my favorite.  My sweet, eighty-five year old daddy just melts my heart.  Today is our day to meet and have lunch.

And then tonight is what I've been looking forward to for a while.  Our church is hosting the Cry Out women's conference put on my Nancy Leigh Wolgemuth.  It's a night of prayer, which is one of my favorite things of all.  I cannot wait.

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.



Thursday, September 22, 2016

three things

I got this idea from another blog that I like to read, and I thought I'd do my own version.  Here are three things that each of my family members love or are all about right now.


He has no idea I took this picture of him while he was cleaning out his sheriff's department bag one afternoon.  We were laughing at all the JUNK he had in that one bag!  It was like watching clowns get out of a tiny car.  The stuff just kept on coming.

1.  Alabama football is back on, and all is well again, within the walls of my house.  This is his favorite time of year and football season in the South is a real thing, y'all.  Maybe not just in the South, but it's obvious by all the yard signs and flags you see flying out of car windows.

2.  The technical ministry at our church is where Toddley spends a lot of time.  He loves being involved and serving in this area, and this week, he, Graham and a friend from our church are all at a technical conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  They left on Tuesday and are coming home late tonight.  I am so thankful he has this ministry to be involved in!  And I'm doubly thankful that he was able to go to this conference.  They've had a great time together and I know he will come home refreshed.

3.  He discovered one night very late, that he loves the show The Big Bang Theory.  He stayed up way too late watching it with Graham, and a few days later when I told him I wanted us to watch something together, he suggested this show.  So every few nights, we watch episodes that our friends loaned us and laugh ourselves silly.  I like watching this with him, and it's an easy way for us to spend time together.  We both love to laugh.


Oh, Graham.  My senior son is making me proud and extra weepy all the time nowadays.  Proud because he is humble and the Lord keeps working on his heart.  He is not perfect, trust me, but I have seen him grow spiritually by leaps and bounds in the past year.  I couldn't help but take a moment to praise God for how Graham loves Him.  His notebook and Bible were laying out on the counter in the kitchen Monday, and I flipped through them both, my heart delighting in his detailed and neat notes from the sermons on Sunday and seeing his highlights and notes in the margins of his Bible.

"I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth."  3 John 1:4

All praise and glory to Jesus Christ, for drawing them to Himself.

1.  Graham is co-teaching a Sunday school class of middle school boys.  He loves doing this, and I am thankful that someone believed in him enough to draw him out and ask him to help with this class.  As believers, it's so important for us to always be pouring out in someone else.  He has taken on this group of boys with a glad heart, and I am proud of him for this.  Also, he has taken on some new and younger than him friends that he reaches out to, and I am glad that the Lord is showing him to look out to OTHERS, not just the same old friends he's always been with.  (Though he loves them, too.)

2.  Graham was put in charge of all things technical in the youth on Wednesday nights, and he has tackled this with diligence and fervor.  He loves this ministry (just like his dad) and takes joy in going there whenever he's needed and early every Wednesday to help set up for that night.  It's teaching him to always be looking ahead, too, like when he was gone last night, he had to go up there earlier in the week to set up and get the music all ready for the screens for Wednesday night.

3.  Graham LOVES to binge watch shows on Netflix.  He came downstairs Monday night and said, "I want to bury my head somewhere and cry.  I finished the last season I had to watch of The Big Bang Theory, and nobody has season nine."  He might be purchasing this soon.


Drew loves to laugh, obviously, as you see this picture.  Seriously, he always has such joy, and I love that about him.

1.  Drew has been memorizing Scripture lately.  There's this awesome college student who's on staff part time at our church, and he is constantly feeding into my boys, getting them to come alongside him as he memorizes Scripture.  They've done some out of Ephesians, and last week he finished up James 1.

2.  Drew is kinda the diligent one at home, and he keeps everyone in line.  He is always making sure that they've all done what they're supposed to be doing and he is the motivator of everyone else in the house.  I am so thankful he is like this, because his brothers look up to him for this quality.

3.  Drew has this thing lately, that whatever he does, if it's something that's funny (or gross), he will say, "Graham did it."  We laugh, because he never excepts the blame for what we know he did.  He's crazy.  And funny, too, though, because we always laugh at him.  Or with him, whichever is your preference.


Jonah NEVER lets me take his picture, so imagine my delight when he let me take this several weeks ago.  Alex brought down this little one, and we had fun making him laugh while he was here.

1.  Jonah LOVES Alabama football, just like his dad.  (Really, they all do, but Jonah loves it more than any of the others.)  He is really into all football games, and to the horror of his dad, has been known to trash talk a time or two.  Todd has tried to teach all of them not to do that, because nobody likes a trash talker.

2.  Jonah has been on a reading kick lately, and that makes me so happy!  He even asked me to take him to the library, which we haven't done yet.  Maybe today we'll go.  He loved the book, My Side of the Mountain and is currently reading its sequel, The Far Side of the Mountain.

3.  He also loves information and researching things.  He found a recipe for us to make Mountain Dew ice cream this week and wrote out the ingredients and the recipe and instructions for us to have it that night.  It wasn't that good, though, to the disappointment of all of the boys.


I love this picture of Noah from our Navajo trip this summer.  He loves kids so much, and reminds me a lot of Drew.

1.  Noah always prays for us, and he volunteers to do this all the time.  I love that he is fearless in this, and it doesn't matter where we are or who we are with.  I love how he so earnestly prays.

2.  Noah has been loving the trampoline.  Just recently, we bought a new mat for ours, because the old one did not last.  He is usually the one who gets people to join him out there and he'll sometimes just lay there, basking in the sun.

3.  Noah loves to watch movies, and anytime it's just us downstairs, he'll ask to do this.  His current favorite is Need For Speed, because it's all about fast cars.  That's another thing he is into lately.  He follows all kinds of accounts on Instagram that are known for this.

I won't post a picture of myself, but I'll tell you what I've been into lately.

1.  I love studying the Bible, and on Tuesday night I started a study on the book of 2 Timothy.  I know it's going to be good!  I love the fellowship that comes from being in a small group with like-minded women.  As we shared prayer requests the other night, my heart was thrilled to be back together.

2.  Gilmore Girls.  I've been re-watching so that I'll be fresh for when the reunion show comes out in November.

3.  I've been all about keeping my home tidy and organized lately.  I've been cleaning every few days and lighting candles and pulling out all the yummy smelling soaps I've got laying around.  I have even cleaned out some cabinets in my kitchen and in the bathrooms.  I love doing this, mainly because when I do a little at a time, I never get overwhelmed with how much there is to do.  There IS a method to my madness.

Well.  All the kids are up at last.  I guess I'd better get started on this day.  I'm looking forward to dinner out with two dear friends tonight!  And Toddley and Graham will be home later tonight!  I'm excited about that because I sleep better when Todd's at home.

I'm a little bit of a scaredy cat.

Love to all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

catching up & some things I love

I was gone almost all weekend and by Sunday afternoon, I was officially over this weekend.  On Friday and Saturday, we had a choir camp of sorts.  It was from five thirty to eight thirty on Friday night, and dinner was provided for us.  We had a guest speaker come in and speak for a few minutes for three sessions, then we would move on the choir practice part.  I LOVE being a choir girl, and I love practicing, but when you sing really loudly for a long period of time, it drains me.

I am so thankful for our music pastor, Travis, and that the Lord brought him to our church in January.  One characteristic about him that I appreciate is the fact that he honors our time and when he says that we will be done by eight thirty, he really means it and sticks to that time.  He has a genuine heart for the Lord and for worship, and those are also traits that I really admire and look up to in a person.

We were back by eight thirty on Saturday, with breakfast provided, and this time we had section practices, meaning that we learned a TON in a short amount of time.  We finished on this day by around noon.

While I was at the church, Todd and Drew were running around town looking for dress pants and shoes.  Drew is NOT the easiest young man to shop for and with.  His sizing is always difficult and he really has issues with shoes and them needing to be something he can tolerate because of his flat feet.  I so appreciated the fact that while I was gone, Todd did all these tasks with Drew.  Graham was at a soccer game and Jonah and Noah were at home with a friend of theirs who'd spent the night.

And that night was homecoming!  Graham didn't go this year, and spent that night with some friends from our old church, and ended up spending the night with the one who lives right around the corner.  He met us at church the next morning.

Here's a few pictures.


Last year, Drew was putting the corsage on Emma, and awkwardly touched his finger to her wrist, and somehow we caught that on camera.  So of course, this year, we had them reenact that scene.  This is my favorite picture ever, because one thing they always do is laugh.



These sweet girlies are inseparable.  Morgan is fairly new in town and is one of the juniors in the class that I'm with on Sunday mornings.  Andrew was her date.


These lovelies went with each other, and they were GORGEOUS.  I love them so much.

And because of the extreme heat and a bunch of people taking pictures, I did not get any other pictures.  They went with a large group, and I didn't get any with them all in it either.  I was concentrating on not melting.

They had fun, and when I asked Drew how it was, he answered, "The food was amazing."

Oh, Drewby.  He hates dances and never once participated, but just kinda stood there talking and holding phones.  My friend Scottie had them all to her house for Milano's, and they all paid like ten dollars each for a crazy amount of food.  They had a really good time at her house, and I'm so thankful she thought of that.

While it was just Jonah, Noah and us, we decided to go out for dinner.  My request was sushi.


Holy California rolls, these were delicious.  I've been wanting sushi for FOREVER.  And Noah?  Well, let's just say that he put away a fair amount and pretty much cleared an entire plate by himself.  We also ordered a couple of big plates of fried rice to share.  We rolled out of there very happy.

We were at church very early on Sunday morning (7:30!) and afterward came home and ate lunch and then I crashed for half an hour.  Drew woke me up by scaring me half to death, asking if I was awake and could we talk, he had something to tell me.  I was thinking to myself, "No, no, no!"  It turns out that he spilled chocolate syrup all over himself and was wanting to make sure I could get it all out.  His to-go box leaked and it went everywhere.

Crazy kid.

We were supposed to have had a church picnic on this night, but it was cancelled, due to rain.  I was kinda glad.  I made a huge dinner and was in my pajamas the whole afternoon and night.  I also went to bed pretty early.  Well, I went TO my bed, but then I laid there and watched Gilmore Girls.  I finished Parenthood on Saturday and am re-watching my other favorite one, because the reunion show is coming out in a few weeks!

We cleaned yesterday, in between the boys doing school work.  I LOVE a clean house.  Well, it's mostly clean, I never got around to dusting in the living room, so I'll do that today.  Last night I made a big dinner again, but I went to my friend's house for dinner.  At our church, for the youth, we have a big sis/little sis program and last night was the Big Sis Initiation.  We all kinda chipped in and made the dinner and ate together and then afterward Abbey talked to them about this year-long commitment.


We ended the night with a blessing of sorts.  There were a few of us adult leaders there, and each of us prayed with and for a couple of the girls on this commitment.  They have to sign a contract, promising to be a good example and to act in a way that is always honoring to God.  It's a big deal, and I am so proud of these that stepped up to do this.  There were some girls who are participating that couldn't be there on this night, so they're not pictured.  And some girls couldn't make the time commitment that this is, and I really respect them for that wise decision.  I am so proud of the youth girls (and guys), and I REALLY want there to be something like this for the guys in our youth.  I think the guys need this even more than the girls, because the guys are the future leaders of their homes.  Said the mom to all boys.

Maybe I'll ask about that.  Our youth pastor is always open to suggestion.

And just because I saw this on Patsy Clairmont's Instagram yesterday, I loved it and wanted to share it with you.


This is so true!  One thing I always pray for is humility, because the Bible tells us that pride goes before a fall.  I think this is one thing that all of us can tend to struggle with, this issue of pride.  And I love the next part: when we are right, make us easy to live with.

Oh my goodness, is that not also true?!  I can be hard to live with, I am sure, and really try to not be that way.  So I pray and always God for humility.  It's one of the virtues that we are to put on from Colossians three.

Well, I need to start moving, and get started on this day.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.


Monday, September 19, 2016

a different season

I knew the day would eventually come, and though it's not a surprise, it kinda hit me while I was watching an episode of Giada in Italy.

(Does anyone else watch that on the Food Network and love it as much as I do?)

On this particular episode, she is with her whole family, they're in an unbelievably beautiful mansion in Tuscany, and she is cooking with and for her family.  She mentions that one of the reasons why she cooks is because it's in her blood~to feed this family of hers, and it's something she was handed down from generations past.

And I realized that this is the exact same reason why I love to cook.  It's been passed down to me from generations before (Mom, my grandmothers, their mothers) and it's what I grew up knowing.  Growing up, my mom made dinner every single night of the week.  Very rarely did we eat dinner outside of our home.  It was just understood that she would make dinner, we would eat around the kitchen table, and so it just went.

It wasn't the food I loved so much, it was what happened when we all sat around a table together.  To this day, I love a good holiday meal, for that very same reason.  It is something so special, and it cannot be replaced by anything, in my opinion.

When Todd and I married and started our family, we morphed into that same routine.  I don't really remember us eating dinner without kids, but I know we did.  Once I started having kids, every night, I would cook dinner, we would pull up the high chair(s), and we would all eat together.  The boys don't remember that not happening.  As a special treat, sometimes, I would let them eat in the living room while watching a movie, but that still doesn't happen all that often.

Of course, family meals don't happen all that often anymore either.

That's the part that I knew was coming, but it all just kinda dawned on me Sunday night.  It's so sad, even typing that.  I knew that as the boys started getting older, that their schedules and things would start taking over a little more, and sure enough, it has begun to happen.  I'm reminded of this, because on Sunday night, we sat around the table for the first time in several days, and even then, Todd wasn't there.  He was working.

The point in writing this is simple: cherish, protect and guard your family times.  I require them all to be home at least one night during the week, and sometimes they're home more than just that one night, but that's the minimum.  I have another friend who does this same thing~she has always had Monday night as family night in her house, and for them, it works.  If you are young and have a family, or even if your kids are a little older, have dinner together, as a family.  Make sure the time is uninterrupted.  Put away the cell phones, turn off the television, take away any and all distractions, and just sit and eat.

And before any of that, pray.  Who are we, if not for the Lord and for His many provisions?  Thank Him for all of that, including your family and commit the conversation that follows to Him, making sure it's honoring to Jesus.

I promise, you will never be sad that you started this routine.

And if cooking is not your thing?

Order you some take-out, make a frozen pizza, or eat macaroni and cheese and hot dogs.  The food is not the point, at all, it's the table and what happens when you're all seated together.  If your kiddos are little, make it interesting for them and ask them some of their favorite moments from the day.  There are many ways to entertain the little ones, I promise.

Try this for yourself, and see how much of a gift it will be in later years, when you're raising a house full of teenagers.  (Or if your kids are grown.)  Cherish this time together, because before you know it, they'll be a lot older than you think they should be.

In my mind, they should still look like this.


But in reality, they're not at all.  The older two tower over me and the younger two are catching up quick.  I miss these days!  I love their ages now, but I miss these days.  I knew that would happen too, my daddy warned me, but I'll save that for a later post.

Love to all.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this blog post.

This has been a really good week for us.  The boys have had no problems or time issues with getting their school work finished this week, they've been motivated to get up and get started each day, and everybody has gotten along.  I consider that last one a bonus, though, the older the get, the less the fighting and bickering happens.  It's usually caused by Jonah or Noah nowadays, because they're that age.

Middle school is NOT my favorite age.

And I really try to not rush them in these growing up years, I've always said that I would be excited when they were no longer in this age bracket.

Anyway, moving right along.  Here are some of my favorite things or moments from this week.


While on vacation a couple of weeks ago, my mom-in-love and I went into Bath & Body Works to buy some goodies.  I picked out three delicious smelling hand soaps for the downstairs bathroom and one candle.  And then last week, they had an online offer that if you purchased anything online, you could receive a free three wick candle.  I bought some of the little plug in scents that they have, and all of this that I've mentioned smells divine.

I'm currently working on the Pumpkin French Toast candle, and it smells so good that it almost makes me hungry.  All of these fall scents are my favorite thing right now, and I can't get enough.  I LOVE lighting candles in my home, because we are here most every day and it makes my house seem cozy.  I leave them burning all day, usually, and that's another thing that I love about these candles.  They last a pretty long time.  When I'm done with them, I like to pour boiling water into the jars and clean them out really well, and I keep them.

Years ago, on the Women Living Well blog, Courtney mentions how when she lights candles in her home, it's a reminder for her to pray for peace in her home and in her family.  It's something I've liked to do ever since I read that.  I also like to keep music playing in the daytime.  I rarely turn on the tv during the day, but the kitchen radio is on almost all day.


Monday night at church was one of my favorite moments from the week.  It was for the group called Women on Mission, and Mrs. Betty that you see pictured above was telling us of all the ways we can be involved in missions in and around our city and world.  I loved this night, and decided then that I want to be like these sweet ladies when I reach that age.


Another favorite from the week was this verse that I read, also on Monday.  I really needed to read these words on that particular day, and the Lord was gracious to lead me to that passage in Second Corinthians.

I saw this on the P31 ministries on Instagram and loved it...and it's coincidental that prayer has been on my heart a lot this week.

Speaking of prayer...


This little hidden inner prayer room at my church is my new favorite spot in the whole building.  I loved spending time here, praying this week, and I look forward to using it again next week.

Maybe, if no one else is in there.

There's even a little switch you flip when you walk in the room, that lights up a little light bulb right above the door outside, to signal to people that someone is in there.


On a MUCH lighter note, I painted my fingernails yesterday with this color, and I love it.  It's an older OPI color, called Suzy Loves Cowboys.  It's fun and fall-ish.

I love fall, can you tell?  I think it may be my favorite season.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

prayer

Anybody who knows me, knows that prayer is my "thing".  I seriously cannot ever get enough, and lately, it seems as if God keeps showing me more and more on the subject.  A few years ago, through reading a series of fictional books on this matter (the Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Neta Jackson), God started stirring in me a need to pray with someone regularly.  While not knowing that God was doing that in ME, He was also stirring that up within my friend Abbey.

I love praying with someone (or more than just one) regularly.  There's nothing like the friendship that comes from that closeness, because when you pray with someone and are completely real and open and vulnerable, well, they see you in a way that no one else does.  It can be humbling, but it's also really sweet.  I miss when we don't pray each week, but sometimes that just happens.

I tell you this because prayer is the key to everything.  It's this really wonderful and powerful tool that we have to access the Creator God, and it's underused in most everyone, myself included.  (But He is teaching me and growing me more and more.)  The Holy Spirit often prompts me to pray.  If you're a believer, I'm sure you know what this is, but I'll give an example.  Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, for absolutely no reason, with a person on your mind?  I have, and the only thing I knew in that circumstance was to pray for them.  The last time this happened, it was for someone I didn't know that well, and I told them about it, but most likely, it freaked her out.  I often pray as the Spirit leads.

I do use a guide of sorts to pray, meaning, I never just jump in with my list of things to throw at Him.  I always start with reverence and a bit of fear and trembling before just jumping in.  I always, always, always start with praise.  I don't do this to butter Him up, but I do this because His name is holy, and He is holy and righteous and blameless.  I praise Him for His attributes, because He is worthy of our praise.

After praising Him, I thank Him for the many ways He has been our Provider, our Healer, for the ways He has kept my family safe from harm, for the good health He has given us.

I always ask Him to examine my heart and show me my sin so that I can confess and repent of that which I've done against Him.

I pray for others only after I've done all of the above.  This is my husband, my teenage sons, extended family, friends, those I help disciple, my church and its staff, our country, and my missionary friends.

And then I end it all by surrendering my day to Him, asking Him to use my family for His honor and glory.  I ask that He would help me stay in a prayerful state all day, and that He would be with me as I go on from there to read His word.

And I do often pray throughout my day.  My environment is conducive to that, so why not?  You can ask my sons.  Often times they walk in on me talking at the stove, and it's just Jesus and me.  I share all of that because it's one of the things I'm passionate about, and because I don't know if anyone ever really taught me to pray.  I'm just passing along what someone showed me on this subject matter, and I pray it reaches the right eyes.

I think it's important to have a particular spot to do this, to help cut down on distraction.  It involves rising earlier than anyone else in your home.  I know that's hard if you have little ones, but ask the Lord to multiply your rest and to wake you early.  I always ask Him to wake me in the early hours of the morning, and He is so sweet to do just that for me almost every day.

It's also important to let your children know what you're doing.  Don't be secretive about this time you spend with the Lord.  Tell them what you prayed, where you read in the Bible, let them see your Bible laying out, and your journal, if you do that activity.  (I write in my journal of how I pray and how the Lord answers, listing prayers and praises.  It is faith building!)

If you struggle with this, take to heart these words.  Pray from Scripture, turning the Psalms into personal petitions.  Ask the Lord to teach you how to pray.  Don't just babble on and on, like Jesus warns against in Matthew six, but keep your words heartfelt and simple.  Pray in private and in public.

I've been listening to Nancy Leigh Wolgemuth on this subject, at Revive Our Hearts radio.  If you're interested in this, click here and find her radio program, Revive Our Hearts and go to past programs.  This prayer series started on August one and it's The Lord's Prayer series.

Also, my church is participating in a simulcast of a prayer event night for women called Cry Out.  It's put on by Nancy Leigh Wolgemuth, and it is free.  It's on Friday night, September 23rd, from six to nine.  You can go here to register for this event.   I will be there, and I would love to have a bunch of my friends there with me.

God is faithful, my friends, and He wants you to come and sit in His presence.  Don't neglect this ability that we have to go boldly before Him.

Love to all.