Sunday, October 31, 2010

Someone is Reading my Life - Rebuilt!

Do you ever read something, and think to yourself, "Wow, someone has been reading my Life!"

Or, my case, especially the past 3-7 years of my life!!!

I receive Proverbs 31 devotions daily, and they have so often pertained to whatever is going on in my life. God uses this ministry to encourage women of God. God is so amazing!! You can subscribe to receive them as well; CLICK HERE to join.

The below devotion from Tues, I just saw today (yet it is where I am at today...love how God does that!) It so explains how the story of my life has been the last few yrs especially with moves, friendships gone bad, me pulling in and losing my sense of confidence in being able to do things over the years of struggles. There was no one who truly cared. People acted like they did care, yet behind my back they tore me down. Only God truly knows.

Since we have gotten settled here in our new area of residence, I've been gaining my strength and confidence, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through God's word. Through it all, I've learned of my true identity and true confidence in Christ alone! It has been a time of "getting real" with myself and most of all with God! He sees everything and knows my heart.

The Bible says, "Who can know the hearts of men? Only God can!" 1 Kings 8 39Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)

This is a great devotional!! I've been torn down these past 7-10 yrs, but ESPECIALLY ripped apart the past 3-5 yrs, but I'm being rebuilt from the ground up! In Jesus name!


Rebuilt
by Amy Carroll

"Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 (NIV)

"Are you sure you're ready to have a tiger by the tail?" mom asked with a big grin. That was her first response when my then-boyfriend Barry asked my parents if he could marry me. It still makes me laugh, because I was certainly a strange mix of rule-following, first-child with a wide streak of sassiness and fierce independence. I'm still not sure Barry had any idea what he was getting into when he said, "I do."

That was over twenty years ago, so when Barry asked an unexpected question during our family vacation this year, it opened my eyes to some of God's difficult work in my life. Barry and I sat on the deck overlooking the ocean talking in low voices about the topics that concern many of us--finances, parenting, plans for the future... Suddenly, Barry asked his startling question.

"If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?"

My mind went blank except for the thought, "Whew! This is a really loaded question." At first I didn't want to answer (why ruin a great evening?), but I finally answered, braced myself and re-asked the question, "What would you change about me?"

I had a pretty good list going in my mind of what I thought he'd say--I wish you weren't so critical. I wish you wouldn't talk so much. I wish you would cook dinner more often.

What he actually said surprised me. "I want you to get your confidence back. When I married you, your favorite phrase was, 'I'll do it myself!' I've watched you lose your confidence over the years, and I want you to have it back." He replied.

A move, a couple of friendships with bad endings and struggling to find a place in my new home town had knocked the stuffing right out of me. I had fought and lost against my own tendency toward comparison, perfectionism and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Little by little, I became convinced that I couldn't and that I wasn't. My confidence was shaken and then it crumbled.

But sometimes things have to be torn down before they can be rebuilt.

Was it God's plan that I would move, fail in some friendships and beat myself bloody trying to be somebody else? No! He did, however, use this bad place to bring me to a better place. God began rebuilding in me about a year ago, but He capped it off when I got home from our She Speaks conference this year. There He spoke to me over and over again about trusting my life to His control. The scripture in my Sunday school class the following Sunday was our key verse today, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6: "Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (NIV)

I started with, "I can do it," but God brought me to "He can do it in me." He has brought me out of my own power, which is so limited and flawed, to being dependent on the infilling power of His Spirit. Confidence in myself has very limited power whereas confidence in Him brings limitless possibilities.

I know that I'll still have days of struggle with confidence, but my rebuilt and renewed sense of confidence is now firmly in Christ. It's a beautiful place to be.

Dear Lord, I have depended on myself so many times and fallen short. My confidence has been shaken. Rebuild me by helping me to put my full confidence in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Splash of Color- Bathroom Decor

I can't remember if I read this in Coastal Living magazine, or another interior design magazine, but the article had suggestions on how to decorate different rooms in useful ways.

This one article pertained to bringing a splash of color into the bathroom, in a useful way. It was suggested to fill a decanter with colorful mouthwash to bring a fun color in.

It was months ago when I read about it, because after pricing decanters I was like...whoa...expensive!! Most of them were $29 or up!

Well, we happened to be in a second hand store searching for my daughter's costume items. We've all been housebound and not feeling well. She had seen a dress that might work for her costume and was afraid it would get gone. So we made a quick trip into town on a mission. (came straight back because we are still feeling under the weather)

While she was trying on the dress, I was wandering around and happened upon this beautiful decanter. Then found these adorable vintage glasses that were on a nearby shelf. The glasses were sold separately and not really a match, but so so cute and tiny...looked great with the decanter!

Seriously, the glasses look large in the photos, but they are about the size of a small ball used for racket ball. Thought they were the perfect size for mouthwash glasses! The silver edge is a nice accent as well. The decanter was $5.75. The glasses were $0.38 each!

I'm not one to spend a lot of money on home decor or extra nick nacks, but thought this was such a great idea, pretty and useful. I like to buy second hand, or make due. We have plenty, and actually I'm about to either sell or give away some home decor from the past 19 yrs (things that were in the kids rooms when they were younger, etc), now that we are settled into a home. We all want to keep things simple and clean. We have our storage containers HERE in one location. I am going to go through, and do more sifting and getting those things we don't use into the hands of people who can use them.

Here is my splash of bathroom color...Purple mouthwash, my favorite color!

Our cute girl in the background waving...heehee. ;)
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Repentance -I'll Change, I Promise

This is a great article that I found HERE. Cut and paste it for easier reading. Something God is dealing with me on. Hope it will be of encouragement for others out there.

“I’ll Change, I promise” Six Signs of Genuine Repentance
Posted by markwgaither under Forgiveness, Practical Living, Repentance, Restoration | Tags: Apology, Bible, Christian, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Repentance, Restoration |
[7] Comments
by Dr. Bryce Klabunde,

Soul Care Pastor, College Avenue Baptist Church, San Diego, CA



Many changes come naturally as we mature. Sometimes, though, negative habits form deep ruts, and it seems we can’t change, no matter how much we want to. Friends urge us to alter course and warn us of dangers ahead if we don’t. We read in Scripture about God’s path of wisdom, and His Spirit awakens our spirit to a new vision of a better life in Christ. With tears of determination, we tell ourselves, our loved ones, and our Lord that things will be different. “I’ll change, I promise.” And we really mean it. We feel a deep sense of sorrow for our sin, even disgust. However, as time passes, the pull of the rut overpowers our most sincere promises, and we fall back into old patterns.

Part of the problem may be our mistake in thinking that sorrow and confession are enough to produce change. Another part is the misunderstanding of the process of change—a process the Bible calls repentance.

Is Repentance the Same as Remorse?
According to the New Testament, there’s a difference between repentance and remorse. Judas “felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priest and elders” (Matthew 27:3). He even confessed his crime: “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (v. 4). Judas had come face to face with the hideous beast of evil in his soul, and he shrank back in terror and shame. Tragically, instead of leading him to God and life, his guilt hounded him to the gates of death. Eventually, his shame turned to self-hatred, and it drove him to suicide.

The apostle Paul calls this “the sorrow of the world” because the world offers no hope for people racked with guilt (2 Corinthians 7:10b). But there is another sorrow that produces life, as Paul describes:

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10a)

The sorrow of an alcoholic, for example, can either drown him in crashing waves of self-pity . . . or carry him to the shores of a new life. The determining factor is not the sorrow itself but whether the sorrow brings the sinner to repentance.

What Is Repentance?
Repentance is first a decision. The most common Greek word in the New Testament translated “repent” is metanoeo, which is based on the word for thoughts or intentions, nous (see Acts 8:22) and literally means to “change one’s mind.” Penitent people take a deep look inside and face the truth about themselves—how they’ve been excusing their sins and hurting others. They come to a decision point, or what Paul called, “the point of repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:9), in which they change their mind from pleasing the flesh to pleasing God, from trusting in self to trusting in a Savior.

This repentance decision may come at the moment of our salvation as we place our faith in Christ for the first time. It may also be a point of recommitment as we determine to follow Christ with our whole heart. In either case, it is the beginning point to a process of change.

Hand in hand with this decision is a second principle: turning. The Old Testament prophets preached a message of repentance using a special Hebrew word that means, “turn around, return.” The Lord urges His redeemed people to return to Him because He has forgiven their sins:

“I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)

The Lord is asking His people to take a completely new direction in life. This implies two parts: turning away from sin and returning to the Lord. And it implies a relationship between us and God—much like the relationship between the prodigal son and his father in Jesus’ parable. After the son comes to his senses in the pigsty, he turns from his sin and returns to his father (see Luke 15:11-32).

The decision of repentance and the turning of repentance are demonstrated by the fruit of repentance—deeds that flow from the life of a changed person. The prophets described these deeds in practical terms: “Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice” (Hosea 12:6a). John the Baptizer specified the fruit of repentance this way:

“Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise.” And some tax-gatherers also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:11b-14)

Repentance, then, is not merely feeling sorry for sin. A person may feel deep remorse for his or her critical spirit, anger, or greed. A pastor caught in immorality may kneel before the congregation and weep bitterly over the condition of his soul. As important as it is to feel the weight of our sin, these emotions are not repentance. In fact, if we accept these tears as repentance, we can actually hinder the person from doing the really hard work of change.

With all this in mind, let’s draw up a definition: Repentance is the process of turning from our sinful way of life and turning to godliness. It is characterized by a change of thinking and a change of behavior.

The path of repentance often leads through dark periods of self-examination and painful surrendering of selfishness and pride. Repentance includes letting go of cherished sinful pleasures and being accountable to others who help us lift our wheels out of the rut as we plow a new course in life. It marks a renewed relationship with the Lord based on a revived belief that His way is truly best and His righteousness is life’s greatest treasure.

What Are Practical Signs of Repentance?
How do you know if you’re on the path of repentance? What does the penitent life look like? How can you tell if someone you love is really changing? People who are serious about change tend to display similar behaviors that let you know they are on the right track. Here are a few signs you’ll find in a truly repentant person:

Repentant people are willing to confess all their sins, not just the sins that got them in trouble. A house isn’t clean until you open every closet and sweep every corner. People who truly desire to be clean are completely honest about their lives. No more secrets.
Repentant people face the pain that their sin caused others. They invite the victims of their sin (anyone hurt by their actions) to express the intensity of emotions that they feel—anger, hurt, sorrow, and disappointment. Repentant people do not give excuses or shift blame. They made the choice to hurt others, and they must take full responsibility for their behavior.
Repentant people ask forgiveness from those they hurt. They realize that they can never completely “pay off” the debt they owe their victims. Repentant people don’t pressure others to say, “I forgive you.” Forgiveness is a journey, and the other person needs time to deal with the hurt before they can forgive. All that penitent people can do is admit their indebtedness and humbly request the undeserved gift of forgiveness.
Repentant people remain accountable to a small group of mature Christians. They gather a group of friends around themselves who hold them accountable to a plan for clean living. They invite the group to question them about their behaviors. And they follow the group’s recommendations regarding how to avoid temptation.
Repentant people accept their limitations. They realize that the consequences of their sin (including the distrust) will last a long time, perhaps the rest of their lives. They understand that they may never enjoy the same freedom that other people enjoy. Sex offenders or child molesters, for example, should never be alone with children. Alcoholics must abstain from drinking. Adulterers must put strict limitations on their time with members of the opposite sex. That’s the reality of their situation, and they willingly accept their boundaries.
Repentant people are faithful to the daily tasks God has given them. We serve a merciful God who delights in giving second chances. God offers repentant people a restored relationship with Him and a new plan for life. Listen to Hosea’s promise to rebellious Israel:
Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. (Hosea 6:1-2, emphasis added)

After healing comes living. Repentant people accept responsibility for past failures but do not drown themselves in guilt. They focus their attention on present responsibilities, which include accomplishing the daily tasks God has given them.

One final thought. Repentance is not a solo effort. God doesn’t expect us to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Through His indwelling Spirit, God shapes and molds us to make us pure and blameless in Christ. Listen to Paul’s hopeful words: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). For many people, the first cry of repentance is, “I can’t change by myself; I need You, God.” Thankfully, those are the sweetest words to God’s ear.

To help you apply the principles in this article, here are two worksheets you might find helpful: Redemptive Divorce Repentance Worksheets

A lady told me at church that I look so very sad these days. To be honest, I'm in this state right now with the Lord of dealing with my heart. This statement totally explains where I'm at in my life: "A person may feel deep remorse for his or her critical spirit, anger, or greed." God is dealing with me on these things. I encourage us all to search our own hearts, allow God to truly go into the inner most parts, and to get real with ourselves and before God. It's no easy thing. The most difficult thing to shake is the guilt and shame.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kitchen Fresh-y

I've learned a new thing from my friend Lindsay.

Lindsay keeps her home so neat and clean. One thing she does; keeps one of her kitchen sinks about half full of water, cleaning solution and a rag. Anytime there is a spill, such as after breakfast, lunch or dinner, she can quickly wipe it clean. The cleaning solution keeps the kitchen smelling fresh as well. :)

The solution she uses is Pine Sol and water.

I'm basically using the home made cleaner that Dr Oz recommends for "chemical free" cleaning, but I increase the amounts because I'm using more water. (I really sort of eyeball it. lol). Here are the basic ingredients. These proportions below are for using in a spray bottle for household cleaning:

Mix together
1 tbsp of Borax powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket)
3 tbsps of white vinegar
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of dish soap (I use a nicely scented dish soap like lavender, or Dr Bonner's pure castle liquid peppermint soap, that way I don't have to get the next ingredient!)
1 drop of essential oil such as peppermint for fragrance (optional)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Crisp Air; Holiday Faves

There is such a crisp feeling in the air here!

Our family has been so ready for fall, and for the weather to cool off! This morning we woke up to mid 40 degree weather. So gorgeous outside; beautiful sunshiny day!

Personally, I love everything about fall. The pumpkins, the spices, the sights and scents! There is just something so invigorating about this time of year. We know when fall arrives, that Thanksgiving and Christmas are not that much further away! Our family LOVES Thanksgiving and Christmas! :D

Thanksgiving is my very favorite! Well, my birthday is very close to Thanksgiving, but that is not why I love it. The whole story of Thanksgiving is why I so love it! It is such a reminder of how blessed we truly are as a family, and how thankful I am for everything God has entrusted me with on this earth. My prayer is to live with such gratitude, and that this would always be my first thought! Not only on Thanksgiving, but all year, every year!

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of sharing and being together as a family. Another favorite part of Thanksgiving is sharing a meal together as family. Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, casseroles...and pumpkin pie are among the YUMMY parts of it! The smells of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg...ahhhh!! Mix those with the cool crisp feeling outside, and the beautiful fallen leaves. Amazing! It sets the tone and paves the way for Christmas.

Christmas is my second favorite holiday. It is also about giving and sharing, and most of all, about Jesus Christ giving His life so I can live eternally with God. John 3:16

What Christmas is all about


Also, I do love the lights and the smells of evergreen! I love to give. This year I told myself that I'd get started much earlier with buying Christmas gifts. I'm hoping to be finished up by the end of November. This is the goal. ;)

The other day, I met a gal who had EVERY bit of her shopping completed and wrapped! Wow!! She inspired me to get on with it!

So this week, I am making my list, and checking it twice. haha. ;)

Have any of you began Christmas shopping yet? What is your favorite holiday, and why?

Friday, October 1, 2010

13 Year Old Child Who was Bullied, Commits Suicide

This is exactly how it is. The bully creates a "pack"...like animals...I'd say wolves attacking the weaker prey. We've seen it first hand!

Our children have been victims of bullying, especially our son. It is the most horrible feeling when people won't listen and things escalate.

It has take almost two years for our children to heal from it. We have forgiven and we love.

However, people do not realize how much their words and expressions (and their exclusion of others) cut into the soul of a child.
Instead of putting down and degrading others, lets build one another up! ESPECIALLY our children!!!

Every child is different, and we should never compare one child to another. Let's love and accept one another, even with our differences! Be kind, because we never know the struggles that a child is dealing with!

Asher can't speak for himself anymore. When he could speak, no one listened at the school... to him or his parents cries for help. What a shame that it takes a child being pushed down stairs, and a bullet to the head, before someone will listen!!! This breaks my heart...

Click Here to Read the Story of Asher