Friday, February 24, 2012

A Freedom Friday Challenge

It's been a busy week.
Lots of running around.
Loads and loads of laundry...some still in baskets.
Make a meal, serve a meal, clean up a meal, repeat.
Messy house.  Clutter, where do you come from?
Noisy mind.  Clutter, how did you get there?
3 very. rambunctious. boys.
Husband went away yesterday for 5 days...what??!!?

Freedom?  Yes thank you, I need it.

source


So this week I'm issuing a Freedom Friday Challenge.
Join me?

As the weekend begins, sit down in a quiet place for a few minutes and jot down at least 5 things that you'd like to do for you over the next couple of days.  Find a way to take a break from being the caretaker, wife, mommy, home manager, maid, cook, laundress, etc and just tap into what it is that you like to do for you.

And before anyone starts thinking, well that's selfish, how can I possibly do that?  Remember how you've been saying to yourself, and anyone else who would listen, that you need a break.  Or maybe you haven't been actually saying it but you've been sighing a lot.  You know the one you think no one can hear that slips out when you're thinking, here we go again

Look at it this way...
5 fun things + all for you = happy lady
 (which actually benefits the hubby and the kids too)

And even though I'm parenting alone this weekend, and adding 2 more kids to my charge for a few days starting on Sunday morning (my friend and hubby are going out of town...thought I'd throw that in there to show how I'm upping the freedom challenge difficulty level over here), I am still taking the challenge because I so desperately need it.

Here's my list:
(now this would look a bit different if I was able to leave the house without the kids for a little "getaway", but like I said I'm the only one in charge for the next few days so I'm finding freedom when and how I can)
  
*Make brownies just for me
(already in the oven...check)

*Get snuggled up in bed and watch a good chick flick
(I borrowed a few from my friend and my sis...Moonlight and Valentino, Sliding Doors, Shag, The Notebook, Raising Helen, Pride and Prejudice)

*Take a hot bubble bath with some essential oils

*Crochet
(my friend just taught me how and I'm working on a scarf)

*Put together a home inspiration book
(I have tons of magazines that I've been tearing pages out of and I want to get them into a binder so I have them for decor and project inspiration...kind of an old-school Pinterest)


So there you have it...pretty simple ideas and ones I think I should be able to pull off when the kids are in bed for the night or busy with a movie in the afternoon.

What about you?
What are the 5 things you're going to let yourself enjoy this weekend?


Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

source

Have you ever been invited to something that you didn't really feel like attending?  I'm sure, we all have at one time.  Well that happened to me the other day.  My church was holding a women's event and it just didn't appeal to me so I didn't sign up.  Then, the Sunday before the event, the Pastor's wife, who was the event coordinator, gifted me with a ticket.  It was very sweet of her, so I felt I should go....although I still didn't really want to.  I've been feeling so scattered lately and honestly this just felt like one more thing on my to-do list and instead of looking forward to it I was dreading it.  
I'm just being real honest here.

I've read lately about guarding your time by not doing things out of obligation.  I felt obligated, but I really didn't have a good reason to say no, so I went, an hour late, but I went.  

And I'm so glad I did.

Not only did I get to view 3 great dvd teachings that spoke directly to situations in my life, but I got to see a wonderful movie.  That's what I want to share with you. 

  

The Inn of the Sixth Happinessa 1958 movie starring Ingrid Bergman, is based on the life and missionary work of Englishwoman Gladys Aylward.  She was a Christian who felt God calling her to go to China to share the gospel and serve the people.  She could not shake the call once she received it.  Although she was rejected for service as a missionary through the China Inland Mission Center in London, told she was not qualified, she decided that would not stop her or the call on her life and made her own way there. 


source


She had all the challenges of not knowing the language or the culture, other than what she had read in books.  She came simply as a woman who loved God and loved people and wanted to serve these people who were in her heart.


The movie is so inspiring to see what God can do with one little woman who laid down her life for the call and will of God.  It's beautiful to see how God works in her life to touch so many, even the country's leadership.  It's is a story of heroic endurance and unconditional love that takes place in the 1930s when China was under attack by Japan.  It is a Hollywood production and, from what I've read, some creative license has been taken with her love life, but otherwise you'll really get to know this inspiring and courageous woman.   


I drove home that night wrecked by the movie and the awe of what God can do with one woman who wanted His will more than anything.  I realized that what started out as a night of "obligation" turned out to be an opportunity in disguise.  I had been blessed.  And I thought that maybe, for some of us who are stuck, God uses a sense of obligation to get us to where He wants us to be to receive something He wants us to have.
He sees us and He knows just what we need.

Monday, February 20, 2012

liebster blog award

Liebster is German and translates to
the English word “dearest”or” favorite”.
It’s meant for up-and-coming blogs with less than "200 followers".


I had a nice surprise the other day.  My dear friend Wendy passed on this award to me.
  Check out her blog On the Road to Destiny here.   She's a very creative scrapbooker who happens to be on a few design teams for different scrapping groups.  She just had one of her layouts published in a magazine.  She's also a homeschooler and mom of 5 children.  She amazes me.  Even if you're not a scrapper her blog is worth the look for creative photo inspiration.

Here are the Liebster Blog Award rules:
*Thank your award presenter on your blog.
*Link back to the blogger who presented it to you.
*Copy and paste the blog award onto your blog.
*Present the Liebster Blog Award to up to 5 blogs with 200 followers or less who you enjoy and feel deserve to be noticed.
*Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog. 



So I'm passing this award on to 2 of my friends with blogs that I enjoy.
 Check them out:
*Peonies and Butterflies is an encouraging blog about how God loves and how He moves in the life of this dear, sweet friend, and her family, with a heart for justice, art, dance, and health. 

*Rebecca Lukens Designs is a blog by an interior designer and artist who highlights creative trends in home design from around the web and also from her own work.

I hope you'll stop by and check out their sites...leave them a comment while you're there. 


Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's How You Frame It

source


I joined a bible study last week.  
I'm studying the book of James with Beth Moore with a wonderful group of women.  
The first day of this week's homework was an ah-ha moment for me and I felt I discovered a key to freedom as I studied God's Word.

Here's the passage...


Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

I've seen these verses before and I've also experienced more than a few trials.  But I never could understand how trials and joy could go together.  Though what I never realized is that James isn't telling us to feel joy, but merely to think on our situation differently.  Joy is an emotion that really isn't usually felt during the pain of a trial.  You can't make yourself feel something that you don't, but you can consider things in a different light.

  You can put them in a different frame.

When meditating on this scripture passage it helps to know that James had seen trials that few of us today have seen.  He writes this after Stephen, a dear brother in Christ, was stoned to death because of his unwavering faith in Jesus.  I wouldn't think for a second that he or any of the others he was writing to felt joy at the persecution of Stephen and others at the time.  But I'm guessing he was focusing on the end and what going through that and other trials would do in him.  Give him "heroic endurance" (one of the ways Beth Moore translated perseverance) in order that he may be mature, complete and lacking nothing.  This doesn't mean achieving perfection (phew!) because that's just not possible but it does mean that we have what it takes to give God glory and bear fruit in our lives even in the midst of heartache and hardship.


I've seen an example of this in my own life.  My mom was diagnosed with debilitating MS at age 27.  Married with 2 young girls and one on the way, her illness was a game changer in every sense, for her and for our family.  But for the 23 years she lived with this and her body quickly failed her, she was always full of faith and clung to Jesus. It was evident in her uplifted countenance and joyful demeanor despite her very obvious illness.  This annoyed me because her faith was foreign to me, and confusing, and I couldn't understand why she wasn't mad at God. But her joy, grace, and strength were undeniable, and years later when I would grab ahold of that same faith in that One Who loves me, I understood how she fought her battle with grace and unshakable faith and realized that attitude was so much better than the bitterness she could have easily chosen.  I don't have the opportunity now to ask my mom if she considered her options when looking at her situation and her abrupt change of living.  Did she right away frame her illness with faith and trust in God and consider it joy from the start or did she try out the frame of bitterness first and realize that wasn't working?  


We do have options for how we frame the trials in our lives.
 
There was a wonderful exercise at the end of the day's homework to help us do just that.


Here it is...


1.  Think of the biggest thing you're going through right now.


2.  Write down 3 different things you could do with your situation.  Consider making one of those 3 things obeying James 1:2.


3.  What would be the 5-year ramifications for each of those courses of action?
  Write them down.


After doing this exercise I realized that of course the James 1:2 option was hands down the best and put me in a much better place even 5 years from now...even if I still have my trial then. Just like my mom had hers for 23 years but all the while gave God glory and her life bore good fruit, and still does as the memory of her joy and "heroic endurance" still gives Him glory today.  It wasn't until going through this exercise that I really got it.  The light bulb went on and I felt the freedom that came in realizing that I wasn't stuck and that I had a choice in how I could consider my "stuff".


It's all in how I frame it.
And I choose this...






Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Love Remains

source

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (nlt)



Friday, February 10, 2012

Things Aren't What They Seem

source

The boys and I started the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia series a few nights ago.
  The Last Battle may end up being my favorite one of all 7 books.

The book opens up with lies and treachery taking hold in the last days of Narnia.  An ugly, sinister ape named Shift is ruthlessly manipulating his "friend", a donkey named Puzzle.  They discover a lion's skin floating in Caldron Pool and Shift gets an idea....the donkey dressed up in a lion's suit could pass for Aslan, the Great Lion, Lord of the whole wood.  Then Shift will rule the country as his spokesperson.
Shift tricks this wary, but ultimately trusting donkey into believing that Aslan commands him to wear the lion skin, and that if he wears it he'll be just like Aslan and everyone will obey him.

The donkey submits to the evil plot and all Narnia begins to fall into ruin.  Shift forms an alliance with a neighboring country who doesn't fear the true Aslan, but worships other gods.  They work together to overtake Narnia and the residents are enslaved and some put to death.

The worst part is that the peaceful Narnians are tricked into believing that this is all Aslan's will.   They think that they must have done something terribly wrong for Aslan to punish them in this dreadful way.  The Narnians are confused because although he is a lion, the new "Aslan" speaks and acts much differently than the Aslan they've always known.

  Instead of relying on what they know of Aslan, they are deceived by what they see and hear and are confused.  They don't realize that things are not what they seem.

They've forgotten who Aslan really is and have fallen deeply into deception.

source

By now word had reached Tirian, King of Narnia.  He set off to help, just he and his faithful unicorn, enraged at the news of the murders of Narnian creatures and, despite the warnings to wait for reinforcement.  The king was shocked to find things exactly as they were told to him; some creatures dying, others being enslaved, destruction to the country, all in the name of "Aslan."

  Tirian acted in rage and killed 2 men who were brutally beating one of the talking Narnian creatures.  Then the king was stripped of his sword, armor and crown by the evil ape, taken away, bound, and awaited what was assuredly to be his death. 

As day turned to night and the king was bound to a tree, he watched, in horror, what had become a nightly ritual here.  Up on the hillside a red fire blazed in the darkness as Shift brought Puzzle, dressed in the lion's suit out for all of Narnia to see.  Shift, as this fake Aslan's spokesperson, continued to spin his dark web of lies and bondage.  The Narnians cried out in deep despair.  And as quickly as the show began it ended without a glimmer of the Aslan the country knew and loved.
And this is only chapter 4.

source

After reading these chapters, I began to think of times when we've been through heartbreaking challenges, like miscarriages, Samuel's diagnosis and financial trouble.  It was so tempting to get caught up in what we saw and heard...the empty crib, the doctor's reports, the pile of bills and the sparse cupboards.  Looking at and listening to those things can plummet you into deep despair.

Focusing on the problems can make you forget who Jesus is...and even question if  He is. 

Surely that's what's happened here with the Narnian's, they've forgotten who Aslan is.  They're faced with devastating destruction, murder and slavery.  They see "Aslan" and although they find him to be quite different than the Aslan they've known, they're tricked into believing that this is the Great Lion and that His will is to harm them and therefore steal their hopes and dreams.

They've been deceived.

But, there's one who is not a believer in this "Aslan", no matter the lion he just saw in the firelight. And, as Tirian stood bound against that tree in the darkness hope began to arise as he recounted generations of kings who came before him.  All who had spoken of great adventures, challenges to their reign and the ultimate victories.  Aslan had always been good to Narnia and had always caused them to triumph.  Aslan had brought rescue to the king's ancestors.  He showed them love and ruled in peace.

source


"Aslan-and the children from another world," thought Tirian.  "They have always come in when things were at their worst."

Therefore, he knew this lion with Shift could not be the true Aslan.

So he began to cry out "Aslan! Aslan! Aslan! Come and help us now."

 And that's when it began to change.

  Tirian immediately slipped into what he thought was a dream and saw the children Aslan had used to help his ancestors to victory in the old days of Narnia.  When he awoke, they appeared to him there at the tree.  Sent from this world into that far away world as a rescue team from Aslan.

Aslan heard Tirian's cry, a cry he could have only sent up as one not willing to believe what he presently saw or heard, but as one willing to believe what he knew of the testimonies and victories of the past.

And he was heard.

So, today, instead of focusing on the trials you presently see and hear, choose to focus on what you know of Jesus.  Recount the victories He's given you in the past.  Recall the victories He's given to your friends and family.  Remind yourself of His ways by reading His story of love and redemption in the Bible.
  Do this and let faith and hope arise.

Then call on Him and watch how He rescues you.  

source

 God is our refuge and strength, 
   an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 (niv)





Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love Is...


It's almost Valentine's Day and there are so many crafty ideas out there on the web.
  I came up with one of my own and wanted to share it with you.

  Valentine's Day is mostly linked with romantic love, but I wanted to focus on the most perfect love there is...
God's love.


  So I grabbed my bible and found scriptures, some that spoke of God's love for us and some that spoke of how we are to demonstrate that love to others.  There are so many to choose from, but I narrowed it down to 29;
 one for each day of February.


So once I had the scriptures, I set out to gather the rest of my supplies.  I still have the branches I used for my Jesse Tree.  They've been bare since after Christmas and they were begging for a bit of decoration.  I went to Michael's and grabbed some 3-D felt heart stickers, a 12x12 sheet of red polka-dot scrapbook paper and embroidery thread.

I stuck all of the stickers onto the blank side of the scrapbook paper and cut them out so the red polka dot paper can be seen on the back of each of the felt hearts.  Then I used a sewing needle to string the embroidery thread through each heart and tied a knot so they could be hung onto the tree.  But, before hanging each heart I wrote down the address to a love scripture on the polka dotted side of the hearts.


So each night after dinner we each take turns grabbing a heart and the red bible nearby, looking up the scripture and reading it to the family.  Then we talk about it.  It's been a blessing to share with each other about what God's love is and how we're meant to show it to others.
  
We're discovering the true meaning of love.

And I'd like to share it with you...

Here are the scriptures that decorate the hearts on our tree.
 We are reading one together each night in February and
letting the word go deep into our own hearts.



May God's love be sown deep into your heart and made evident to all!





This post shared at...




Tip Junkie handmade projects







Home Stories A2Z
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...