Monday, March 24, 2014

HOME!  The very word brings a feeling deep down in heart of a place where we can relax and be ourselves.   It is our own little sanctuary in this life. We were created for sanctuary and most of us would say we truly desire our homes to be a place of peace and acceptance, satisfaction and joy, beauty and order.

One of my favorite blogs - Home Sanctuary shares about this:

"Sanctuary isn't an absence of conflict, it's a commitment to listening and understanding. It's not a zen-like existence, but it's a place where there is a decision to shut out some of the noise of the world outside. It's about creating a home where each individual can thrive.Sometimes that means doing loads of laundry so that my kids can find clean clothes to wear. Sometimes it means waiting up for a teenager to come home and listening to tale after tale of high school drama when your body is crying out for sleep. Sometimes it means cleaning toilets, making lunches, changing diapers, checking homework, pulling weeds, straightening closets, or kissing boo-boos.There is work that goes into it.But when there is a purpose to it, that makes all the difference.As moms, so much of sanctuary is in your power to create.You can choose a lifestyle that promotes peacefulness and order, no matter what is going on around you. You can bring beauty to your home, no matter what your budget. It's a mindset that is proactive, rather than reactive. It's a decision to make something good happen inside your four walls.
Sanctuary, simply put, is this:

Peace, Order, and Beauty

That is what I want for my home!! Since I am a very peaceful person, I LOVE peace. a home with three sons, peace isn't always right must be cultivated. God's Word tells us that we should seek peace and pursue it. It takes action and intention to bring about a peaceful home environment.  

True peace always begins on the inside and reflects outward.  God is the true giver of peace.  When we trust Him, we can be assured of His great love for us, that in every situation, He has a plan for our good, He is our protector, provider and keeper.  

To pursue peace is to pursue God. 

 "You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:13

Home Sanctuary graciously offered a free download of this reminder to seek peace and pursue it.  May His peace rest today in your heart, life and home!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

3 Green Gifts

The old saying goes, "March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb" thankfully fell short in our area.  This weekend has been beautiful!  Perfect weather, a busy soccer season ended, leaving us some family time at home!
In my emails, I came across Ann Voskamp's  March Joy Dare, where every day of the month, encouragement is given to look for specific things to be thankful for.  Today's challenge was to find "3 Gifts Green". 
In the middle of our church worship service, the sermon was on being deliberate about loving God and focusing on Him.  Remembering the Joy Dare for today, I scanned the congregation for anything 'green'.  Quickly I found 1,2,3 people wearing green.  This will be easy...I thought!
Person #1 - one of the most godly women I have ever known!  Through the years, she has modeled the grace and glory of the Lord to so many.  "Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful example you have set before so many."
Person #2 - the adult child of person #1!  Also the Sunday School teacher of my son, who has a great impact on him and is a true blessing to our family.  "Thank you, Lord for this one's diligent service to You and how much this family means to us, they truly are a heaven sent blessing."
Person #3 - Oh my!  The fellow church member we love in the Lord, but the one we are not real comfortable around.  We are very different and sometimes on opposite sides of issues.  There is no real conflict there, but there is lots of room for love to grow!!  How do we give thanks for them? 
Giving thanks isn't conditional.  Understanding that all we are and all we have comes from the Lord,  We readily thank Him for the good things, but the things that stretch us seem to be a bit harder to be thankful for.  But, by choosing to 'give thanks in all circumstances", we acknowledge that He knows more than we and even in the midst of where we are, He is able to work things our for our good. So, "thank you, Lord, for person #3, for providing the opportunity to look beyond what is comfortable to me and look to the good of someone else.  Thank you for the extra patience and kindness you provide when it is needed in my life.  Thank you for the opportunity to stretch and grow in You!"
If you want to begin March with a grateful heart, here is a link to the March Dare. Print it off and be ready to seek out His blessings and cultivate a thankful life.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little Things to Make a Big Difference

I love lists!!  They seem to help keep me on track and give valuable reminders of where I'm going and what I am supposed to be doing.

You would think after almost 25 years of marriage, I wouldn't need a list to know how to be a good wife...but...when I saw the title to a recent article..."20 Little Things to Make a Big Difference in Your Marriage", I has to take a peek.

No matter how good we get in any area, there is always room for improvement.  This list of 20 Things..., is a great reminder for me to stop, slow down, remember how much I love him and to show him how special he is.  Things that can easily get thrown to the side in the midst of life. This list not only keeps me on the right track, it helps me go above and beyond to bring love and life into my marriage.

Here is the list...nothing fancy, just gentle reminders of little things that truly make a big difference!

1.    Greet him warmly. When he comes home. When he enters the room. When he’s nearby.
2.   Offer a kind word. He will always be grateful for a kind wife. (Prov. 31:26)
3.    Give thanks. For him and for the life you get to share together.
4.    Speak the truth. In love. Always. (Eph. 4:15)
5.    Look at the bright side. Focus on all that is good and right. (Phil. 4:8)
6.     Shrug off small annoyances. Let those irritating habits bounce off of you.
7.     Snuggle together. Whenever you get the chance. Mostly because it’s rather fun.
8.     Serve cheerfully. It’s Biblical, even if it’s fallen out-of-fashion. (Mark 10:45)
9.     Pray for each other. It really does make a difference.
10.   Listen carefully. About his day, his worries, and his dreams. (Jas. 1:19)
11.    Apologize humbly. Be quick to say you’re sorry and ask forgiveness.
12.    Kiss on the lips. And then linger. Like you mean it.
13.    Laugh at each other’s jokes. Even if you’ve heard them before.
14.    Give a soft answer. Which turns away wrath. (Prov. 15:1)
15.    Step away together. Far from the world and its pressures. Occasionally. Just the two of you.
16.    Smile at him. With all your heart. Light up whenever you see his handsome face.
17.    Forgive fully. Put it completely behind you, never to be brought up again. (Eph. 4:32)
18.    Spend time together. Every chance you get.
19.    Build up. Rather than tear down. You’ll never be sorry for that.
20.   Decide you’re going to love each other. For the rest of your lives. (Mark 10:9)

Click here for a Printable version

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Right"

"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right".  I preach this to my children all the time and attempt to practice it in daily life. Practice is the key word!!!  This week a lesson was found in the Wal Mart check out lane!

Like everyone else, I like to save money, but it takes some time and effort!  But...this week, I was on top of it and equipped with my list of prices by competitor stores, headed to Wal Mart to take advantage of the 'price matching'.  Having practiced this a while now, one thing I learned (after an awful experience with an exasperated cashier and a long line of irritated and impatient shoppers behind me) is to be prepared.  Know the price and what store has it, because the cashier may have to look it up to verify it!

After soccer practice, and ready to get home, I made the stop at the store to take advantage of a few items which went off sale the next day.  While greeting the cashier in a friendly manner ( a must since they will have to give you a bit more attention than the average shopper!), the transactions began.  Right away, she questioned me about the coffee I was purchasing. I told her which store the lower price was at and she reached down to pull out the sales paper to verify. Taking a deep breath, knowing this would take longer than expected, I tried to keep the smile on my face.  Then she says to me "I think it is even cheaper at another store."  She went to the extra effort to help me find an even cheaper price on my product!  WOW!  What a lesson to learn in the checkout aisle.  Going the extra mile to help someone out.  She only saved me 5 cents, but I gained a lot more than that through her giving attitude. 

We all have jobs to do, some pleasant, some not so pleasant.  What makes the job is our attitude. We can do our best or give a so/so effort.  We can value those we assist by just dong what is necessary in meeting the need or taking a bit more time to make them feel special.  A little more time and effort makes the ordinary - extraordinary!  

Christians in today's world understand that according to God's Word, we're not to work with no purpose, but in everything we do, we are to give our best, do our best and work 'as unto the Lord."  That's a tall order! But when we begin to look for opportunities throughout the day to go above and beyond, and remember it is not for self gain, but to be pleasing to the Lord, our focus will change and others will be blessed and encouraged.  

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  Colossians 3:23-24

Monday, February 3, 2014

Are You A Kind Wife?

It is February...the month of love!!  This is the perfect time to evaluate and work on being a more loving wife! article I read asked "Are You A Kind Wife?"  What kind of question is that?  If you are a wife, you are used to serving, loving, cooking, cleaning and taking care of a husband. It's a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice and of course, a lot of love.  What does kindness have to do with it?  

We know that kindness is an important character trait, especially for Christians.  While we are out and about, it usually isn't too hard to be kind to others.  But when we get home (finally), get settled to relax and dear hubby asks a favor...the battle begins between our natural desires to do what we want and whether we make the choice to seek the good of someone else.  Kindness is not an issue until it invades us and makes us choose.  

"Being kind to people who are nice to us is nothing more than an exchange of emotions."
"But real character is found in those who freely give without keeping score."
Time Warp Wife recently shared 7 Habits of a Kind Wife.
It's not always easy to be kind, but it's possible when we take the focus off of ourselves and turn them onto our Lord.

Here are 7 of the habits that can help us be a more kind wife:

1. She's affectionate - all human beings benefit from affection. A smile, a kiss, a warm embrace when you walk in through door... These are the things that remind us we're loved.

2. She's understanding - Although we don't always agree with one another, it's a blessing when someone makes an effort to understand our point of view isn't it? It takes an open heart and a listening ear.

3. She looks to God to sharpen her character - When we pattern our lives after our Savior we surrender our lives to His will. Regardless of what pop culture is doing, our decisions are based on truth.

4. She's strengthened by prayer - Prayer is an important step in reshaping our lives. If we want to center our marriage around Christ, first and foremost, we need to surrender our heart to His will.

5. She knows that a kind word turns away wrath - We all know this, but do we practice it enough? Kind words are powerful. They can diffuse a situation and calm a troubled heart.

6. She builds up her husband instead of tearing him down - Listening to him, making an effort to be cheerful, and ignoring his faults are just a few of the ways we can build up our husbands in a world that is tearing them down.

7. She's not perfect, but she's growing in grace - There are those who see virtue as an impossibility. We all can't be this perfect, and we wall can't be this strong. While that is true, it's important to remember that building virtue on faith is a life-long journey upon which the road is paved by His grace. 

Just like anything that is worth doing, kindness doesn't magically appear, it is developed, mostly through friction!  The more it is practiced, the easier it comes.  I"m so thankful where I lack, God is able to supply!