Give-a-Way

There is a book give-a-way going on Scroll down to the bottom of the latest blog article to see details.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Listening, Hearing and Turning Back


You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, 
although the Lord persistently sent to you all his servants and prophets...
 Jeremiah 25:4

Jeremiah.  A hard-to-read book.  As Christians, we look at God's warnings through this persecuted prophet and we wonder; how could an entire nation of people keep turning their backs on God, especially in a time when King Josiah was on the throne calling for spiritual reform?  Does it happen all at once; "Everyone, TURN".  Or is it a gradual distraction and pulling away?

I have to imagine it wasn't an instantaneous mass-exodus of apostasy, rather, Bill next door turns, taking his wife and kids along.  Then Mary sees Bill's family worshipping differently and checks it out, she and Bill's wife are friends and she wants to do what her friend is doing so she joins and persuades her family to come too.  At the well, Mary tells all the other ladies about this 'cool' new worship experience, how much her family likes the change of pace and invites all the other women to try it with their families while Bill is at work bragging about how he was so tiered of the temple requirements and this new religion gives him more freedom to his own personal desires and begins to 'sell' this new experience to others.  Gradually, I imagine, the masses grow and, before you know it, it seems like a mass-exodus of apostasy.

Once religion is cheap, anyone will buy it.

But God didn't stop speaking.  He didn't stop pleading for their hearts through the prophets and through others who served Him faithfully.  Yet, there was this utter refusal to LISTEN and HEAR His warnings.

That's right, did you notice that?  "Listen nor hear".  I think we often take that for granted.  How often do you listen to your kids talking on and on about their day but you couldn't repeat or act on half of what they said because you aren't really hearing them?  (guilty here!)

Yet, here, notice, it isn't bad enough they didn't hear, but Jeremiah says they aren't even listening!

Wow.

A person has to stick their fingers in their ears or completely leave the presence of another to not even listen.  And if you aren't listening... of course you are not going to hear because their is nothing to hear.

What were they thinking?  They were God's chosen, they knew better... right?

But is it really just them?  Are they really such an anomaly?  We don't do that today in our culture... do we?

Sadly, I feel like we can and we do.

Some sell-out to cheap religion, one that may look like God but honestly isn't because they really don't honor the precepts of His Word.  Others, and I feel this is just as common, get wrapped up in the world around us and we put-off what should always be #1 - we forgo listening to God and really hearing what He is saying.  We don't make time to be quiet and seek Him and His voice.

Quiet time gets lost (especially for moms).
It gets lost with busy businesses.
Often, oddly enough, it even gets lost in the midst of ministerial pursuits.

We get our own idea of what it looks like to fulfill our purpose in God.  We plug forward with God in mind (most of the time) and good intentions going before us... when at the core of our heart we are just trying to look like the good Christian, get accolades for our selves, or smather on that 'love' thing because Jesus did - yet our heart is either resentful or feeling a tug in a different direction, while we ignore.


Yes, even (and especially) the Christian lifestyle can become idolatrous when we put the work of God before the plans of God?
  • We get too busy for good Bible Study and settle for a marginal 2 minute devotion or one-paragraph read in our Bible then claim we 'didn't get that much out of it', and move on with our day.
  • We say a quick superficial prayer for ourselves and/or our day simply from rote, not even caring that we are talking to God or trying to hear from Him... and then move on doing whatever we want.
  • We pray and tell God ONLY what we want Him to do for us thinking our idea of a situation is best and forget to see and seek what HE wants for us.

What happens on the other side of all this?

Distance from God.
Dissatisfaction in life.
Spiritual amnesia.

And so many more not-so-great side-affects.  All these, of which, lead to a life that begins to reflect Christ less and less.  If our purpose is His purpose through us in order that His Glory should be known... then is something wrong with this picture?

If selling out to cheap religion, being too self-absorbed, surrendering to often unassuming other-types-idols and misguided goodness is the problem, what is the cure?


My son, keep your father's commandment, 
and forsake not your mother's teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down,they will talk with you.
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
to preserve you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
Proverbs 6:20-24

 #1- Get with God.
You may be subtly (or completely) aware that your relationship with God has become more about relationships with others or strapping on the Christian label while you do your own thing.  Sit down, quiet your life for however long it takes, and get with God.

#2- Admit your shortcomings.
So you are sitting down, getting with God, life is (if forcibly) quiet for the moment but..... nothing.  What do I say?  Where do I start?  Let's face it, we can't even admit to ourselves, let alone to God, that our eyes are in the wrong place and, worst of all, we have no clue how to bridge the gap and get re-focused.  Guess what?  You're not fooling anyone, let alone God.  So go on, admit it.  What's that saying?  Oh, yeah, admitting you have a problem is the first step in getting better.

#3- Submit
So you are sitting there, in the quiet (I don't remember quiet being THIS quiet... scary), you've just admitted {gulp} that you are off.  That you can't seem to get turned on and you don't know what to do.  Good.  We are in a GREAT direction.  Now... submitAdmitting isn't submitting.  Admitting is preparing to submit.  Within submission you begin to surrender.  You say, "I can't do this on my own, I need help."  I know, those are three of the hardest words to say together in the English language.... especially in American culture.  BUT, once you admit them to God, HE is faithful to respond.

God wants to help, but sometimes we need to get out of His way, submit, and let him.

#4- Wait.
That may be harder then submit!  Sometimes God answers right away, but other times, it is a waiting thing.  Either way, get into the Word of God to Hear God, to know God, to find Guidance, to get clarity on life and His messages as they come.  Not just the superficial 'I did my 2 minute devotion today...', NO.  Make time for God's Word, even if you have to get up earlier or stay up later or turn off the t.v. when you would usually have it on.

It doesn't have to be a 2 hour Bible study, however, it should have substance.  Read God's Word (listen) and then really observe what God is saying in it (hear); cross-reference scripture from the footnotes in your Bible, read a commentary, write down what you find.

When you're done, don't just close it up and put it away, instead, soak it up and ask, 'how can I live in light of God's truth today'.  Maybe you need to change something you are doing or thinking, maybe you need to give others more grace, maybe you are simply strengthened and encouraged for a difficult season.  Whatever it is, respond to God's Word. That is the crux of Proverbs 6 here.

#5- Pray
As you wait, pray.  Pray God's Word that you have just studied and ask for his help in walking it out.  Pray to be made aware of His presence each moment of the day.  Pray for a love of Him and His Word to grow deeper.  Pray repentance and deliverance.  Simply: pray from your heart.  Give God the attention you like to receive when you are having a good conversation with your husband or kids.  Engage with your mind and your heart and just believe... he hears you.

"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; 
He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed."
- Deuteronomy 31:8

Within all of this, just keep stepping forward in prayer and Bible Study and trust.  Even if it has to be baby steps for a little while.  Don't give up on experiencing God.  Simply trust Him, He will sustain you, you will begin to feel and notice the difference.

The rest of the story is this: God gave the Judeans over to their sins and sent them packing as captives for 70 years.  But when they sought Him, with their whole hearts, they were eventually delivered.

I pray you will be encouraged, dear friend, everyone gets distracted at some point in their life (some more than others). And while my hope for you is that you are walking perfectly in light and truth today; if you are not, I pray you would find restoration through those deliberate steps forward into His loving arms until you bridge that gap, find His presence and get your ability to listen and hear back on.

Blessings,









Be sure to go to the sidebar and sign up for my Monthly Newsletter (I promise, I won’t spam you!)  It looks like this:
Why am I doing this give-a-way?  #1- I'm super excited to share this book with YOU!  #2- I'm just as excited to share my new newsletter as well!  I am hard at work behind the scenes praying over and putting together a periodical which I think everyone can find something in to enjoy in their email box at the end of each month.  There will be some exclusive content you won’t find on the website!   

 So, to be entered for a chance to win a FREE copy of "What Every Christian Ought to Know" by Adrian Rogers simply sign-up for my monthly newsletter by July 31, 2017*.  That's it!  Easy-peasy.
(If you already signed up prior to this announcement, don't worry, your name will automatically be entered!)   UPDATE*** There will be TWO blessed winners, not just one!!

Please note:  The Debut issue of my monthly newsletter comes out on July 27th, if you want to receive this issue, be sure to sign up before then.

*Give-a-way rules: Must be a U.S. residentcontact me to discuss alternatives. The drawing will occur on August 1, 2017 with a winner being randomly chosen. The winner will be contacted that day and will be announced on Facebook and this blog.  If the winner does not wish to have name announced, this must be stated when contacted for mailing address.  A copy of the book (up to $10 value) will be mailed directly to the winner from Amazon, shipping times may vary. I will contact the winner for address information using the e-mail submitted to my newsletter database.  If you do not want to receive your package directly from Amazon, the winner needs to let me know when I contact them for their address and we can discuss alternative source methods.  No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited by law. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dog Days and Summer Salads


We are hitting on those proverbial Dog Days of Summer aren't we?  I know in our neck of the woods we haven't been out of the 90s and 100s much more than a day or two for a few weeks now... and there seems to be no end before we start back to school in mid-August!



In my newsletter coming out Thursday I will be talking about some ways to beat the heat while showing hospitality (be sure to sign up, I'm including a recipe for a delicious twist on an old summer favorite!)  Today, however, I thought we could talk salads...


As summer ramps up, many families crank on the grill and whip together some greens.  Living in a non-air-conditioned house for most of my adult life (until 4 years ago anyway) I know this was our go-to.  We didn't turn the oven or stove on until the heat of the day passed and we grilled out as much as possible... serving cool (non house heating) sides like salads and chips and anything we could figure out how to grill!


I know, I know, for many people, salads get boring which is why I wanted to share a few out-of-the-box ideas.  These salads are family favorites, easy to make, cost effective and filling when served as a main-dish.

A tip before we start: it is best to NOT use iceberg lettuce for main-dish salads as it has little caloric or nutritional value, though you can mix it in with other types of lettuce.  I typically use Romaine.  Tomato types in my recipes aren't too particular but more of a personal preference or what you have on hand.


1) Ground Beef  
Burgers are easy to grill but tiresome to continuously consume.  Go ahead, grill that burger but then cut it up (or just crumble and fry it inside) and try these salad-twist ideas:


- Cheese Burger Salad  
Lettuce of choice, tomato of choice, red onion, cucumber, cheese of choice, crumbled burger, bacon bits (if you like bacon burgers!!) and croutons.  Top with choice of dressing, I personally like ranch or avocado.


- Taco Salad
Lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, black olives whole or sliced, chopped green onion (we use scissors to cut ours) ground beef, sour cream, avocado, salsa, crumbled Doritos in flavor of choice (hubby likes re-fried beans with this as well)

- Stuffed Green Pepper Salad  
Lettuce, tomato, green peppers sliced, green onion chopped, ground beef, dash of oregano, Italian dressing .... serve with rice crackers

- Supreme Pizza Salad  
Lettuce, tomato, green peppers, black olives, fresh sliced portable mushrooms, sliced red onion, dash of oregano,  ground beef, shredded Italian mixed cheese (usually 5-cheese package in deli section at the grocery store), Italian dressing... serve with French Bread or Bread sticks you can buy at the store

2) Chicken  
Grill chicken and then cube it and try one of these...

- Garden Fresh Chicken Salad
Lettuce, tomato, grated carrots, sliced red cabbage, green or red onion sliced, green or sweet peppers sliced, chicken with herb seasonings, cheese of choice (I use feta and cheddar), ranch dressing and croutons or fresh bread if you want the starch

- BBQ Chicken Salad   
Lettuce, tomato, sliced red cabbage, sliced green onion, cheddar cheese, chicken cooked with BBQ sauce of choice, blue cheese or ranch dressing (this recipe works great for BBQ shredded pork as well!)

- Greek Style Chicken Salad  
Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green or red onion, chicken cooked with Greek seasoning, feta cheese, cucumber dressing, croutons on top or french bread on the side

-Southwestern Chicken Salad
Lettuce, tomato, green onions, black olives, cheddar cheese, chicken cooked with Mexican seasoning, salsa, sour cream, avocado or guacamole, tortilla chips  (I like black beans on mine as well)




These are just a few to get you started.  For any meal you want to turn into a salad, think, 'how can I replace those ingredients with fresh vegetable alternatives'.   (My hamburger salad was developed on that concept... what do you think each ingredient represents from a typical burger?)






For a month full of menu ideas, subscribe to my newsletter (on side bar) and get a FREE exclusive download in each issue!

I pray your dog-days of summer aren't too doggie but instead full of delicious meals, great times with family and friends, and cooooool, despite the heat!

Blessings,








 
 
 Don't forget... time is running out to register BEFORE the newsletter issues on Thursday and the drawing closes a week from today....


Be sure to go to the sidebar and sign up for my Monthly Newsletter (I promise, I won’t spam you!)  It looks like this:
Why am I doing this give-a-way?  #1- I'm super excited to share this book with YOU!  #2- I'm just as excited to share my new newsletter as well!  I am hard at work behind the scenes praying over and putting together a periodical which I think everyone can find something in to enjoy in their email box at the end of each month.  There will be some exclusive content you won’t find on the website!   

 So, to be entered for a chance to win a FREE copy of "What Every Christian Ought to Know" by Adrian Rogers simply sign-up for my monthly newsletter by July 31, 2017*.  That's it!  Easy-peasy.
(If you already signed up prior to this announcement, don't worry, your name will automatically be entered!)

Please note:  The Debut issue of my monthly newsletter comes out on July 27th, if you want to receive this issue, be sure to sign up before then.

*Give-a-way rules: Must be a U.S. resident, if you are not a U.S. resident, and would like to enter to win, please contact me to discuss alternatives. The drawing will occur on August 1, 2017 with a winner being randomly chosen. The winner will be contacted that day and will be announced on Facebook and this blog.  If the winner does not wish to have name announced, this must be stated when contacted for mailing address.  A copy of the book (up to $10 value) will be mailed directly to the winner from Amazon, shipping times may vary. I will contact the winner for address information using the e-mail submitted to my newsletter database.  If you do not want to receive your package directly from Amazon, the winner needs to let me know when I contact them for their address and we can discuss alternative source methods.  No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited by law.   
 
 
 
Also, I didn't suddenly get super-amazing with my camera!  Except for my header (which I did take and tweak) the above pictures were found on a great image sharing website: https://www.pexels.com/
 
 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What's the big deal about a Newsletter?

Soooo, I've been buzzing around the blog and Facebook lately talking about this newsletter thing.  I've been trying to wiggle out some time to share with you about it some (been working a lot behind the scenes on getting it ready.... and lesson plans... both totally awesome and fun things....)

Let me see, what can I tell you without giving too many surprises away???....

I did say "tell", not "show"!  You have to sign up for my NEW MONTHLY NEWSLETTER to see!  I can say, it echos the website BUT is it's own separate periodical packed with interest and inspiration.  Just to name a few general ideas....
 #1 - There will be EXCLUSIVE content in the newsletter you just won't see on the blog including (but not limited to) FREE printables and inspiring downloads.
#2 - I get to grab my three main writing themes (Faith, Home, Homeschool) and shoot from  a slightly different angle with concise yet compelling articles

#3- Super-special site announcements will appear in the Newsletter before they pop up anywhere else (that's right, you'll have a jump on new items, give-aways, and themes)
 Those are just the first 3 things which come to mind but there is so much more.

Still, maybe you are wondering what's in it for me, the writer, to have you subscribed to and reading the newsletter.... honestly?  Nothing.  Nope, not a thing.

I don't care about analytics or breaking any personal records (Have you seen my "Upside Down Blogger" badge? Thank you Ann).  I don't get a kickback of any kind from having you sign up.  The books and other resources I will be giving away and offering for FREE, come out of my personal resources God calls me to use.  Sound backwards?  Seem odd?  Not to me.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
- Acts 2:42-47 

You see, ever since I was a little girl discovering the power of pencil on paper, I have LOVED words.  As a Christian that love has not waned and, as a matter of fact, God consistently fans the flames through His Word and the testimony He has given me of His presence in my life.  I can't stop writing if I tried.  It is the Power of the Spirit in me.  In part, it is how I worship, and if I write and share with myself.... it is such a sad use of the gifts God pours into me intending that they should go into all the world.

So how do I get the words from God's mouth, through my fingers and to your eyes and ears?  

This.

This site, the free e-books and resources I've shared here, and, now, the newsletter.  It is a dream I have had for some time.  I used to produce monthly newsletters and lead workshops in my earlier mama days.  I sort of shelved a lot when we first began homeschooling while I gained my bearings.  I started working with newsletters again when we went into missions and it made me realize how much I missed it!  I've worked with words for 30 years now and, for a long time, I think I took for granted how much God has created that as a part of me.  Now, finally, I feel God has opened the door to expand the platform He wants to work through using me.

And the give-a-ways?  Well, reference Acts 2 for that answer as well.  I may not see you in the literal temple, but we can come and learn together through books and Bible studies and LIFE.  We can sharpen each other, encourage one another and continue to grow in Christ together.... the newsletter is just one more wonderful arm of that great Purpose.

Think of it like this:  when you find something positively wonderful you know could encourage, bless, or help another, what to do you do?  Do you say, 'Hmm, this is great, I need my ME time to enjoy it for MYSELF'?  No.  You tell everyone you can get to listen to you that they need what you have found.  You become the best sales-person of that thing because you know how amazing it is and you don't want, not for a second, that anyone else should miss out.

That is how I feel.  This newsletter, these give-a-ways and free down-loads... are not mine.  They are all God's.  I would be too ashamed NOT to shout an invite from the rooftops.  He could use anyone (and he does) but he chose me for this and I will do all He leads me to and strengthens me for so that others see HIM in all that he does with this site, the newsletter, and all our lives as we grow closer in our virtual sisterhood.

I don't know what all God intends with little me and a website and a newsletter.  But God said to walk in this direction - who am I to say "No".  Instead I will Go and I will invite all I can to join me in this journey.

Will you join me?

I pray that you would.  If you have any questions or apprehensions concerning signing up for the newsletter, please don't hesitate to comment below or shoot me an email.  I would love to chat!

His words here (in video above) echo my own heart.  Enjoy..


The newsletter launches, Thursday, July 27th, 8am mst be sure to sign up before then to get your first issue!  Deadline for the book drawing is Monday, July 31st at midnight.  TWO winners will be picked!

Blessings,













Be sure to go to the sidebar and sign up for my Monthly Newsletter (I promise, I won’t spam you!)  It looks like this:
Why am I doing this give-a-way?  #1- I'm super excited to share this book with YOU!  #2- I'm just as excited to share my new newsletter as well!  I am hard at work behind the scenes praying over and putting together a periodical which I think everyone can find something in to enjoy in their email box at the end of each month.  There will be some exclusive content you won’t find on the website!   

 So, to be entered for a chance to win a FREE copy of "What Every Christian Ought to Know" by Adrian Rogers simply sign-up for my monthly newsletter by July 31, 2017*.  That's it!  Easy-peasy.
(If you already signed up prior to this announcement, don't worry, your name will automatically be entered!)   UPDATE*** There will be TWO blessed winners, not just one!!

Please note:  The Debut issue of my monthly newsletter comes out on July 27th, if you want to receive this issue, be sure to sign up before then.

*Give-a-way rules: Must be a U.S. resident, if you are not a U.S. resident, and would like to enter to win, please contact me to discuss alternatives. The drawing will occur on August 1, 2017 with a winner being randomly chosen. The winner will be contacted that day and will be announced on Facebook and this blog.  If the winner does not wish to have name announced, this must be stated when contacted for mailing address.  A copy of the book (up to $10 value) will be mailed directly to the winner from Amazon, shipping times may vary. I will contact the winner for address information using the e-mail submitted to my newsletter database.  If you do not want to receive your package directly from Amazon, the winner needs to let me know when I contact them for their address and we can discuss alternative source methods.  No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited by law.