The Learned Art of Contentment

Confession time...

I'm not a fan of King Solomon.  There.  I said it. (...but stick around... it "might" get better!)

I've been reading through 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles in my beloved Chronological Bible again this morning, about Solomon's great weath and wisdom.  But OH. MY. GOODNESS... Am I the only one who has had a hard time going through these pages?  Maybe because I know of his "faults" later in his life.  AND... because it seemed so extreme!  Such riches and weath... in extreme abundance.  
Unlimited amounts of pure gold, cedar wood, imported horses, textiles, spices... oh my!

I can't relate...

But it does remind me that despite King Solomon's possessions and God-given wisdom, a person can still fall and fail.  He was the one who pleased the Lord with the ONE request asked of Him.  When God asked Solomon to choose ONE thing, ONE wish, ONE request, Solomon said "Give me an understanding heart, so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong." 1 Kings 3:9.  In 2 Chronicles 1:10, it says, "Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly."  Wow!  And if you don't know the rest of the story, God not only grants Solomon's request for godly wisdom, but Solomon is also given great weath! In 1 Kings 3:13, God tells Solomon, "I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days."  

I wonder when Solomon's riches and weath became "too much".  
I wonder when Solomon learned that having everything WASN'T everything.
And I wonder why I can learn SO MUCH from Solomon on this one.

I have "too much".  I don't have what Solomon had.  And I don't have what others close to me might have.  But my own fault is looking to the right and to the left and realizing that I have not yet master the art of contentment.  

During the Thanksgiving season, we are all encouraged to "give thanks", "be thankful", "count your blessings", and express gratitude towards the ones we love.  This exercise brings me to the realization, every year, that I am blessed.  I am truly blessed.  And I'm sure you feel the same way.  Right?  Who wouldn't start to feel thankful when listing their blessings?  BUT... what about the reality of loss, lack of health, failed marriages, broken hearts, distant relationships, lack of world peace and threat of radical groups toward our nation?  What does contentment look like?  

You probably already know that King Solomon is responsible for the "wisdom" books of the Bible, more specifically, the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.  But, did you know that he also wrote a couple of the Psalms?  He wrote the famous Psalm 127:
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, 
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep." vs 1-2

In Solomon's God-given wisdom, he reminds me that it's not UP TO ME.  
It's ALL in God's perfect timing, plans, and hands.
He is in control.  I'm not.
He knows the future.  I don't.

The apostle Paul also experienced "abundance and need".  Joel recently preached on this... In Philippians 4, Paul tells us that contentment is a LEARNED mindset.  Paul says in verse 11, "...I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."  Really?  Really, Paul?  Easier said than done!  But if you keep reading this passage... Verse 12, "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have LEARNED the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me."  

There it is!!!  The "secret" of contentment is to put our trust in Him, through WHOM we can do all things!  Contentment is not of our own self.  It comes from God.  Jesus Christ is the SOURCE of our contentment.  King Solomon spoke of this in his Psalm, and the apostle Paul confirms the same TRUTH.  

Outside of a relationship with Jesus, I CANNOT be content or satisfied.  Especially if I base contetment or happiness on the things of this world.  

What are we putting our satisfaction and joy in?  
Who are we working so hard for?
Are the things we are thankful for based on current circumstances?
Does the state of our heart and mind depend on just the blessings we experience?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

All In... A Daring Plan.

Can I just say that LOVING my times in God's Word every morning is an understatement?

I mean... sure, it's NOT perfect, but the Lord has a way of faithfully speaking through His Word.  DUH... that's HIS very words we're talking about.  Right?

This morning was no ordinary morning.  This morning was my kids' first day of school.  It was the day when I was supposed to wake up super early, have a "quiet" time, pray, make breakfast, wake kids up, and get them ready for school.  Well, let's just say that... they got up, had breakfast, and were ready for school in less time than I was planning on giving them (and me!).  First day of school.  First day.  First.  And I know it won't be the last time that happens.  I just know.  And that's ok.


And in His perfect grace, He brought me to today's reading in 1 Samuel 14:1-15.

Wow!  Can I just say... WOW!

I needed these 15 verses of Scripture today.

So, if you're ready this post, STOP.  Get your Bible, open to 1 Samuel 14 and read the first 15 verses in this chapter...

I'll wait...  


Read it!

Okay.  Sooo...  Jonathan's "Daring Plan" to defeat the Philistines was nothing short of... DARING!  He was going to take on this giant army, while his father's coward group of Israelite-Soldiers-Wanna-Be, which were all hiding in holes, caves, rocks, cisterns... (yes, hiding!).   And you know what really spoke to me?  Jonathan's vision for this plan was to somehow climb those cliffs, trusting that God would fight the battle for them.  In verse 6 (I love this!), he says, "Perhaps the Lord will help us, for NOTHING CAN HINDER THE LORD.  He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few."  WOW!


So, with that faith, Jonathan proceeds to climb that cliff with "both hands and feet", verse 13 tells us.  BOTH HANDS AND FEET.  Wow!  He went ALL IN!  He trusted the Lord, then did all he could, giving all he had, to climb that cliff.  He faced the Philistines with both FAITH and ACTION.

I want that same faith living in me.  Don't you?  The faith that assures me that I can conquer anything with the Lord.  That He can win ANY battle for me.  

And the other side of this beautiful story, was that Jonathan was not alone.  He had an armor bearer who not only believed with Jonathan.  He also fought WITH and FOR Jonathan. Verse 7 shows Jonathan's armor bearer's trust and dedication to him, "Do what you think is best,...I'm with you completely, whatever you decide (NLT)."  The NIV says, "I'm with you heart and soul."   And that reminds me that I'm not to fight my battles without a friend, a partner, someone to keep me accountable, to believe for and with me, and to fight with me when needed.  At the end of those 15 verses, it says that Jonathan and his armor bearer killed 20 men that day.  

Okay... count with me...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19...20!
Sometimes we read stories in the Bible where the Israelites killed tens of thousands of people.  I can't even wrap my mind around that.  But I CAN visualize the killing of 20 individuals.  NO EASY TASK... right?  
Please, don't tell me you could do that alone!  Jonathan couldn't.  I KNOW I sure couldn't!

AND THEN... the Lord sealed the deal!  He sent an earthquake at the end!  WHAT!!!!  

So epic!!!

I love how God works!

So, here's my plan of action right now. 
1. As I fight my battles, I'm choosing to believe that God can win any of them for me! 
2.  I need to fight with BOTH HANDS and FEET.  Go ALL IN!
3.  I need to partner with a good friend (or spouse) to fight the battles with me.

How about you?  Did you take the time to read 1 Samuel 14:1-15?  Do it!  Are you facing some battles right now?  Do you believe that He will fight for you, if you trust in Him and go all in?  Do you have a friend, a partner, an armor bearer to fight with and for you?

Writing Love Letters... A Review.

Do you remember waiting for the mailman to deliver the mail, in hopes that "somebody" sent you that so-awaited letter?  A note?  A card?  A LOVE letter?

I remember those days... I remember waiting for my Dad's letters whenever he left for long trips.  I still remember letters from Singapore.  I think he was gone for 40 straight days!  Wow... can't believe my mom made it without him, raising all 4 of us!  Whew...  

And I remember waiting for letters from friends... every Summer after camp, after moving away, and especially after moving from Brazil to the US.  I craved communication in my own language.  

Until... the letters seemed to disappear.  They seemed to have been replaced by those... emails... then texts... and now Facebook messages.  Crazy, right?
But if you're anything like me, you still crave those hand-written notes.  
If you're anything like me, you still love writing and sending hand-written cards, letters, and Love notes.  That's right... LOVE notes!  And I'm not talking about letters to your "lover".  I'm talking about LOVE notes.  Notes that express how much you LOVE someone, or something done for you, or an act of kindness.  

A few months ago, I received a book called "The World Needs More Love Letters: All-in-One Stationary and Evelopes" by Hanna Brencher from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  

The idea behind this gem is to provide the "reader", an easy and all-inclusive tool to get your mind going, your ideas flowing, your inspiration and motivation ready to send that special someone a quick note.  It's a pad with 40 lined stationary papers, that when folded, it becomes its own envelope... which is also all ready to be addressed, stamped, and sent!  Just enough lines.  Just enough space.  Just enough "cuteness" to call it stationary.  

I love the idea!  

I also love the convenience!

AND... I love the inside cover suggestions and inspirations for Love Letters... such as:
 - "Put your heart on one of these pages for a teacher who has gone above and beyond to make you a better person."
- "Write down your best life lessons and tuck this letter in a favorite coffee shop for someone else to find."
- "Getting married in the morning?  Write a letter to the one who will be holding your hand at the altar and deliver it before the wedding bells ring."

And there are 37 other suggestions...  So clever!

BUT, the best part of this tool, in my humble opinion, was the opportunity I had to share this "art" of letter-writing to my children.  My 4 year-old can't read or write, yet, but she used one of these pages to draw a picture of herself and send it to her friend.  Well, she ended up drawing 3 pictures of herself and sending all of them to her friends.  I love that!  And the anticipation she had, that her friends would receive her drawing in the mail!

And just lately... I've been using it to write those quick notes to the people that come to mind, at random times.  Y'know... those times when someone comes to mind and you tell yourself, "I should text her/him and see how they're doing", or "Hmmm, I forgot to say hi at church.  I should call or check in on FB."  I'm taking those prompts to actually sit down and write them a little note.  It would make those contacts so much more special.  Thinking about praying for them as these notes are being sent as well.  

Overall, I enjoyed using this "book" for the first time this Summer.  And I'll continue to use it until the pages are no more... but hopefully, until then... this Love Letter writing will become a habit.  

Cute Kimono girl post-it notes NOT included...
How about you?  When was the last time you write someone a Love letter?  When was the last time someone wrote YOU a Love letter?  It doesn't need to be elaborate... just thoughtful.  

Starting Over... Again...

I'm not embarrassed to say that "it's been a while" since I blogged.

Or.. maybe I should?
Life has a way of getting in the way... but really... LIFE IS what really happens when you stop to take care of family, business, and relationships.

Over 4 months has passed and I'm BACK!
Back at writing my thoughts here on this beloved blog.  I'm choosing to create space and make writing a habit again.  A GOOD habit.  A way to connect.  To converse.  To leave my thoughts out there, regardless of how safe, open or available the destination is.  Who's my audience anyway???

As I look around my living room (where my laptop quietly sits on most days), I am overly aware that my house is a mess!  Crayons, toys, papers, coloring books, random pillows, books, recycling items (out of the recycling bin, mind you...), and a sense of restlessness lingering around my house on this Friday afternoon.  

And yet... I'm at peace.

There's something about letting God take over the temporary details of this temporary life.  I am called daily to take up my cross, to think and invest on eternal endeavors, and THAT, my friends, allows me to focus on an Eternal God.  With Eternal purpose.  Who will unconditionally love and accept me, despite my crazy and "messy" circumstances.

Are you looking to find a way to reconnect with someone?
Are you looking to find a way to motivate yourself to reach that goal?
Are you looking to get back into the swing of things?
Are you struggling to find peace?
Are you tired?

Let me encourage you today.

God's Presence is just a cry away... Just say His name...  And He's there.  

I promise you.

I'm starting my blogging journey... Again!  

How To Make Bible Reading a Part of Your Day

I have totally been STRAIGHT UP neglecting this space, haven't it?
But I will NOT try to come up with excuses why.  Because I KNOW why.
It's because I've been LIVING MY LIFE...
Taking in every breath from God...
...then exhaling to bless the ones around me.  More specifically, my family.

I've been on a journey this month and God has been speaking to me so clearly through His Word, the Bible.  The Holy Scriptures that we so often take for granted and let dust find its home on it, all the while the LIFE that moves, creates, inspires and always reflects God's unconditional love and care for us, gets... forgotten.
Forgotten... yes, forgotten.
We "think about it".  We "want to read it."  We even "carry it" around.  
We post pictures of it up.  We fill it with our most precious treasures... our kids pictures, valentines, a cute drawing, or a love note.  But its VERY WORDS get... forgotten.
We remember a verse here and there.
We recognize a word or two when it's quoted.
But the intentions of "wanting" to read it, aren't actually giving us the LIFE we need.

I won't claim perfection.  EVER!  So, hear this from a sister who is still growing and is on an ever-changing journey to being more like Jesus.  

As I thought about some of the lessons I've been learning this month, I decided to focus on the PRACTICAL ways to make Bible Reading part of our daily routines.  So, here it is:

1. Make it a priority.
Did you know that priority is a singular word?  When we use the word priority in a plural form, it becomes priorities.  Ok, Helen... duh!  But humor me for a sec.  When we use the word priorities, it defeats its purpose.  Priority means there is a single most important item that needs to be at the top.  Right?  To put our priorities in place, it just means we have too many things taking place of the #1 priority in our lives.  Our relationship with Jesus.  When I choose to "put our priorities" in place, am I saying that there are other things/people/places that are equally important than my relationship with Jesus?  And the answer is YES.  I want to make my time reading the Bible a PRIORITY.  Period.  No buts, ifs, or lame excuses.  Because that is essential to getting to know Jesus.  And I want to KNOW Him.  Do you?  It all starts with a decision.  Choose to make it a priority.  

2.  Schedule a time.
Setting aside a chunk of time that was uninterrupted was a challenge for me.  I get Joshua up for school at 6:30am and... confession time here... I do NOT like to get up any earlier than that.  Sure, it would be the "holy" thing to do, right?  Get up before everyone else does.  Sit on a comfy chair and soak in all that the Lord has to tell me...  BUT, unless I choose to get nothing done the night before and go to bed before 10pm, this sister is NOT getting up much earlier than that.  So...  what was THE time that was going to work for me?  Anytime between 8-9am.  It's after Joshua was gone on the bus, after I fed all the kids breakfast, but before Joel was out to the office.  That's when I choose to sit with my Bible.  This might look different for everyone.  For some, this will NEED to be before all your family is up.  It might be late at night.  It might be at nap times.  But finding a time that WORKS for your schedule and life rhythm will help you stay consistent and intentional.  

3.  Get a "spot".
I sit at my kitchen table.  After the kiddos are done with breakfast.  After the dishes are in the sink (unwashed... of course!).  Sometimes I choose to sit at my dining room/living room area, but I find that I get more distracted.  Sometimes I want to just sit at a comfy chair in the living room with my Bible and coffee at hand.  But again, I find myself getting distracted.  So, the kitchen table allows me to focus a bit more.  And that works for me.

4.  Let others know about it.
My family now knows that when I'm at the kitchen table, with my "big" Bible, I am NOT to be interrupted.  Sure, I still get interrupted, but the kids are getting better at just playing on their own, reading books, coloring, or simply... running around the house.  But I learned to adjust.  This time is important and I can deal with their messes AFTER this time with God.  My husband is also aware of what I'm doing, so he tries to protect my time at the kitchen table as well.  As much as it is possible, if he is around, he'll try to manage the chaos "behind" me.  If you need to lock yourself in your room for that time, let others know what you're doing.  Do Not Disturb signs can be put to use here, too! ;)  Or, if you need to leave the house, do it!  I would've LOVED to be able to sit somewhere else to read my Bible... a coffee shop, library, bookstore, even church.  But staying home is just more practical for my stage in life.  

5. Make a plan.
Ok, this one sounds a bit scary, but, TRUST ME, it will really help you!  Pick a book of the Bible you’ve been wanting to dig deeper, or a portion of Scripture that you’re curious to know more about.  The Gospels are a great bunch (Mathew, Mark, Luke, or John) during this time of the year.  Paul’s letters, the Psalms, or Proverbs.  Whatever you do, pick a book of the Bible and stick with it.  I’m sure God has spoken through random “just-opened-my-Bible” situations, as His Word is alive and does not return void.  But “knowing” where you’re reading each day can ease your anxiety.  For me, personally, I’ve been MORE THAN ENJOYING readying through my Chronological Bible.  It’s been so eye-opening and so refreshing to read God’s Word as a chronological account.  I confess, though, that right now it’s been a stretch to have some real practical lessons come out of Leviticus, but… I’m pushing through and God’s been faithfully speaking to me (more on that to come).

6.  Don’t rush.
I’ve been trying to engage with each text in front of me for that day.  Sometimes it’s a whole chapter, sometimes 2.  And sometimes I’m having a flood of insight and a deep conversation with the Lord over a single verse.  But I’m giving myself permission to either stop and reflect, or to just “keep reading” until I hear His voice.  But you know what… it’s so rewarding to know that in my daily reading, Jesus is with me.  Right there.  It’s a coffee date.  Every day!  I keep thinking about how sweet it would be to have a coffee date with Jesus.  Ok… haha… would Jesus really have a latte with me?  Would He take creamer, sugar, or just black?  Helen, Helen… Jesus would just LOVE to be spending time with you, sister!  So… don’t rush!  And if you need to rush, remember to ENGAGE in the conversation at hand.  Even if for a brief moment…  He deserves our full attention.  He might say something to us through His Word… Huh… what a concept!

7.  Take notes
The act of writing down my thoughts on a journal has been absolutely life-breathing and live-giving to my soul.  Sometimes I don’t hear the Lord speak to me until I begin writing my thoughts down on paper.  And get this.  Sometimes I write down the verses I just read, word for word, on my journal, and the meaning of these words comes to life!  Those few seconds between what I see on my Bible and what I write on paper are just enough time for the Holy Spirit to whisper a thought into my heart.  The same thing happens when I choose to write my prayers.  Those moments between my thoughts and my words on paper are the physical times I hear God’s voice speak to me.  Those little thoughts that I hear in between words on paper… THAT’s God’s Spirit speaking to me.  I hear it only when I take the time to jot my thoughts down.  To take it from being just a thought on my head, to physical words on a journal.  So, I take notes.  I put my thoughts on paper.  And I often write some of the verses down… and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through the echoing of those verses. 

8.  Focus on a lesson learned.
Before I close my Bible each morning. I try to focus on a WORD, a verse, a main thought or lesson that I want to remember for that day.  Something I can digest throughout the day.  It helps me to remember “the point” of it all.  And to also look forward to something new every day.  If I can learn something new about God every day, shouldn’t that be motivating me to continue to seek Him daily?  If the goal is to KNOW God better, learning something new about Him and His character through His Word is VERY EXCITING to me!  How about you?

9.  Continue to listen through the day.
Be aware of God’s voice throughout the day.  It might be a song you hear, the majesty of His creation, the tender moments with a child, that convicting feeling you have when your 5 year-old catches you saying a “mean” thing, or when a message from a dear friend reaches your inbox.  God is everywhere!  And He walks with me no matter where I go.  Even as I lay my head down to sleep, His presence still inspires me (there’s a Psalm for that!).  I remember VIVIDLY hearing God’s voice telling me to GET UP and OPEN MY BIBLE at 5:58am (yes, folks!  That’s 5:58 IN THE MORNING!).  Who else would ask me to open my Bible?  Not myself.  Not my conscious or unconscious self.  Not the enemy.  So, it HAD to come from God Himself.  Right?  Absolutely!  And He spoke directly to me through a passage of Scripture I was needing for that coming day.  Amazing stuff!  I can’t make these things up!  It’s happened more than once.  SO… if you hear a still small voice, a whisper, or even a LOUD voice telling you to PICK UP YOUR BIBLE and READ IT, do yourself a favor and DO IT!  It’s God telling you to LISTEN!  He’s got something important to tell you!

10.  Share it with someone else.
I get excited when I see the fingerprints of God in His Word.  A story, a word, or a verse.  Get excited about God’s Word!  Tell it to your children.  Tell it to your friends.  Tell it to your spouse!  Believe me!  If reading God’s Word is exciting for you, others will see the LIGHT and LIFE reflecting in your joy!  I recently read about the fiery cloud that accompanied the tabernacle while the Israelites were in the wilderness…  (Numbers 9:15-23)  How cool is that!  That God’s presence was a visible provision of guidance and direction!  If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle, the people were to stay and set up camp.  But at the Lord’s command, the cloud could move, the people would break camp and move on.  Sometimes it would be for a month or year, and sometimes just overnight!  Wow!  What faith that took!  I could just see myself there.  Would I grumble?  Would I get excited to pick up my tent and move on?  The very presence of God was so visible to the people then.  Crazy thought… but… if He were to SHOW HIMSELF to me on a daily basis today, wouldn’t I just SHOW UP for it?  Wouldn’t I just drop everything I was doing to follow His presence?  His “fiery cloud”? 

So, there it is. 
Let me encourage you today.  God longs to spend time with us.  He loves us!  And in my own imperfection, I want God to show Himself daily to me.  To be my God.  To be my strength.  To be my guide.  I want God to be my “fiery cloud”.  But it starts with our decision to intentionally come into His presence.  We don’t worship the Bible.  But we worship the ONE who inspired it and speaks through it today.  Our source of truth.  Scripture was given to us, as a gift.  But we need to receive it.   And read it. 

I strongly believe that it’s in God’s Word that you will find an increased knowledge of Jesus, a better understanding of His character, and a complete and holy guide for your faith. 

Start today. 

Wherever you are…

Princess Daughter

My Dear Princess,

Happy Valentine's Day!
I am humbled that the God of the Universe would choose me to be your mommy.  
You're a strong girl.  Strong-willed, I meant.  You make me laugh.  You make me cry.  But most of all, you make my heart full.  
Your right-cheek dimple.  Your fine, brown hair.  Those big eyes that can hypnotize your Daddy and I.  I still can't believe I get to be your mommy!

Elsie, Elsie...
The one who smiles at the sight of anything pink!  And... actually, lately... anything purple, too!
The one who sniffs her blanket when she's tired, upset, or... just because.
The one who loves Jamie Grace's Beautiful Day, sings and dances without a care.
The ones who loves to color with pretty crayons, then decides to make some change by "selling" them on Facebook!  You make me proud, girly!
The one who talks, asks questions, wonders and thinks a million thoughts, then talks and asks questions again!
The one who says the darnest things!  

Elsie, Elsie...
Jesus loves you.  A lot!  "Two THOUSAND" a lot!  Can you even understand that "big number", yet?
I pray that you'll continue to have a soft heart for Jesus.  And that at an early age, you'll choose to make Him your only Valentine.  He will forever live in your heart, even when you'll choose to neglect Him.  He'll be right there.  Always.  His arms of unconditional love and warmth will pour out so much grace, mercy, and love, like mommy pours that bucket of water on your face at bathtime! 

Be a good listener.
Try new things!
Enjoy every bite of food! (You're such a fast eater!  Slow down!)
Love your brothers and be kind to them.
Hug your Daddy.
And always remember... You.Are.Loved!

And when the world shuts a door on you, remember that God's arms are wide open for you.
When a tear falls from your eye because of someone's attempt to hurt you, remember that you are God's. If they hurt you, they're messing with your Creator, God!
Lift up your head at every fall.
Extend a helping hand to anyone in need.
See the colors of the sky, even when it's dark and grey outside.
Work on your rhymes.
Dance until you get dizzy!
Smile, smile, smile!

And remember, you ARE a princess!  Your Father in Heaven is the King... and that makes you His princess, forever!

I love you, my daughter Elsie.


Last year's Valentine's Day Letter to Elsie is HERE.  

Jamie Grace's Beautiful Day
(Elsie's current FAVORITE song!!!)

Wearing Someone Else's Shoes

I recently got a glimpse of what it would feel like to be someone else.  To think and feel like someone else.  I know.  Weird thought, right?
Let me just preface this post by saying this...  I will not go into too many details.  Maybe not many details at all.  Hmmm, now that I think about it, instead of deleting these last few sentences and starting this post over, I'll just put it out there.  I'll be vague.  VERY vague.  Just because...

Ok, so, yesterday I had one of those outer body experiences.  You know what I mean...  when you KNOW something is happening to you but you wonder, "is this really happening?"  It was like God was hitting me upside the head with a big "I told you!" but without those exact words.  

For no particular reason, I came home from that experience (I told you I was going to be vague) thinking to myself, "Ok, I get it.  Now I know how it feels to be in someone else's shoes."  To actually feel how they feel.  To see what they see.  To hope what they hope for.  To perceive the way they perceive.  I was them!  And for the first time, my A-HA moment was someone else's A-HA moment.

If you're not confused by now, I congratulate you.  Because I am utterly confused by my own thoughts.  But it's too late to delete this post.  

Wait, did I attempt to delete this post before?

See?  This is what I was talking about.  The idea of putting myself in someone else's shoes.  To assume.  To pretend that I know.  To have my opinion of what they think, see, perceive.  When in REALITY, I'm not them.  I'm ME.  And that's all I can be!  

But yesterday... it was different.  God blessed me with someone else's perspective.  Someone else's experience.  Someone else's vision.  Feelings.  

Now what?  

Now I go on, with an enriched idea of what someone else might be thinking and experiencing.  I go on with the wisdom that I, too, might be perceived the way they do me.  

Vague enough?

Top 5 MOTD

Top 5 Moments Of The Day:

1.  Chasing Noah around before bath.
2.  Having dark chocolate red berry crunch granola for dessert.
3.  Bible Study with friends.
4.  Trying a new recipe for dinner.
5.  Walking on "freshly" vacuumed carpet. :) 

Memorizing Scripture

Right here!  Right now!  I'm committing!

Okay... scary, but I'm committing to memorizing Scripture this month.
I usually would not be that excited about any type of "challenge".  But this one I'm doing to join our church family in memorizing a passage in the Bible to prepare us for what God is wanting us to "hear" this month, collectively, as a church.
Excited to see what God will do!
Even more excited to experience His miracles today and at the end of this month!
Have you ever worked through a passage of Scripture to memorize it?
The last time I did that, it was a couple of years ago when Natalie called all of us, moms, at Mottts to a 40-Day Prayer Challenge.  I was able to memorize Ephesians 6:10-18, the Armor of God passage.

Here's the passage for this month.  

The Supremacy of the Son of God:

"The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."  Colossians 1:15-20

Impossible for God?

As I was scrolling down my Instagram feed this afternoon, I came across this quote.
I couldn't stop thinking about it.
I read it over, and over, and over again....
Then re-read it...
And I began to think about the Sunday School lesson I had already been planning for tomorrow.


"The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16b

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

How often do I pray like I REALLY believe that God will answer my prayers?  How often do I pray for the impossible, having faith that God will make the impossible possible for Him?  When was the last time I prayed for the impossible?  If there is absolutely NOTHING impossible for God, why am I doubting His power?  Why am I doubting His goodness?  Why do I doubt His faithfulness?  
I may not be bluntly saying that I "doubt"... but by not presenting my requests to Him, I am holding on to my human anxieties and fears, and getting in the way of God to work.  Unbelief.

I believe God has GOOD plans for me.  Absolutely!  
I believe God has blessing after blessing reserved for me.  Absolutely!
I believe that He is GOOD and that His love endures FOREVER.  Absolutely!

So, help me, Lord!  Help my unbelief!

Help me to pray hard.
To pray without ceasing.
To pray with thanksgiving.
Knowing that my prayers have great POWER.
That you hear me.


A Private Conversation

The Lord has done great things in me!
The forgiveness process He's brought me through with different people in my life brings me to the place I am today.  I DO feel free,... but something still lingers... What is it?  The Lord continues to bring my counseling career to mind.  My "dream" of going back to work... The resentment I feel towards my stay-at-home role... (tears...)  

God, I want to embrace my role.  And be at PEACE.  I get to do that!  Help me to be present.  Help me to EMBRACE that!  Could I stop "wishing"?

Let it go, Helen!  I haven't finished my work in you.  You need this time at home for things I will use you in the future.  Let me work through you.  Stop being so hard on yourself.  It shouldn't be always easy.  It takes WORK.  But don't resent it.  I've promised to be with you.  And I never lie.  I'll be with you.

Create in me a clean heart, God.  

Thank you, God, for speaking to me this morning!

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9

(*exerpt from my journaling & reflecting time at MOTTTS this morning)