“What Difference Do It Make?”

I just finished reading my complimentary copy (from Thomas Nelson) of “What Difference Do It Make?” by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent. 

This book is the sequel to “Same Kind of Different As Me” by the same authors, and tells about the difference one couple made in a homeless man’s life and how it snowballed to affect so many others.  Not only can you see what it has done in the lives of the authors, but the book contains a lot of stories from folks that read the first book and were inspired.  These people wrote to the authors with their own stories of making a difference and some of those stories are shared in this book.

It is a beautifully written, intriguing book.  I laughed and I cried and most importantly my heart was convicted.  I am inspired to find all kinds of ways to serve and to help others in any way I can.

I will be recommending this book to all my friends and family, in fact I already put my copy on my husband’s bedside table as a hint that he needs to read it next.

Owl City

We love this song by Owl City.  My step-son is even learning to play it on the keyboard and he has taught my daughter some of it.  They are good!  It is very uplifting and fun.  I’m sure you have heard it, but if you haven’t please watch the video below.   If nothing else it might put you in a better mood.

The singer and musician behind Owl City is Adam Young and he is a Christian.  He wrote a lot of his songs during nights of insomnia in his parents basement and most of the songs, if not all, are done on his computer.  Click HERE to read an interview with Adam that was in the last issue of Relevant Magazine.

Thankful for My Roles

I am so thankful for the roles I get to perform each and every day.  I’m thankful to God for the roles he has given me and I’m also thankful for the roles he has not given me. 

I love that I get to focus on taking care of my family each day.  I’ll be honest though, sometimes that includes jobs and tasks that I do not particularly like or enjoy.  However, the fact that God has put me in this role and allows me to make a difference in the lives of my family, humbles me.  I’m honored that I have the responsibility to clothe, feed and take care of my family and our house.   I do not take my role lightly.  I put a lot of time, energy and commitment into making my husband’s home life more enjoyable, easier and relaxing.  I also make sure our kids are well fed, well dressed, well cared for and are continually learning what it means to be a Christian in today’s world. 

The role I have is an important one and I know that.  A few years ago I was a single mother, working full-time at a stressful job and doing my best to take care of my daughter.  I did the best I could with the role I was given at the time.  It’s a tough job being a single mom and I respect each mother who is struggling with that role right now.  If you know a single mother, reach out and offer a hand every now and then.  They will appreciate it!

Today, I’m married to a wonderful man who sees his role as providing for our family, leading us and protecting us.  He does each of those roles very well and I’m so thankful for that!  If it was my role  to provide, lead and protect, we would be in trouble.  Luckily it is not.  My role is to nurture and teach.  Thank you God for knowing my strengths and more importantly my weaknesses!

How God Intended Marriage To Be

I think many of the problems married people face today stem from not seeing marriage the way God does.  If we focus on our marriage vows and live them out how God intended, we would have less problems and less people would be heading for divorce, in my opinion.

God commands us to respect our husbands (no matter what) and for our husbands to love us (no matter what).  I think the “no matter what” trips a lot of people up.  They think to themselves, “but you don’t know my husband”, or “you don’t know how my wife can be”…. my response to that is….no, you are wrong,  God does know.  If BOTH spouses are obeying God’s commands….marriage works!  It’s like He knows what He is doing or something. 

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33 

As an example of this topic, I want to share something with you.  This past weekend, on Valentine’s Day,  my husband had me read two blog posts by Gail and Michael Hyatt.  Michael Hyatt is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, the largest publisher of Christian books and Gail is his wife.   We follow Michael on twitter and also read his blog posts.  I also follow Gail and it is very inspiring how much focus they both put on God first, and then their marriage.  Read each of these posts and you’ll see what I mean.  They seem to have a pretty good handle on marriage and making it work.

Click here to read Michael’s post from last Valentine’s Day entitled “What I Love About My Wife”.

Click here to read Gail’s response to Michael’s post.  Gail’s is entitled “A Super-Human Husband?”.

Reducing Paper Clutter and Staying Organized with Technology

If you are anything like me, you are always looking for ways to reduce the clutter in your life and save yourself time and money.  Those are 3 of my goals on a continual basis.  I love finding ways to solve all three of those goals at once.

I’ve recently been researching ways to reduce the amount of paper that comes through and stays in our house.  If you are not careful you can sometimes be overcome with paper!  I am also always looking for ways to simplify my life and keep everything organized.

Here are a few websites to help with paper clutter and staying organized:

Springpad  – This is a new website that offers a free place to keep track of all of your “stuff” in one place.  Task lists, shopping list, meal planning, favorite recipes, books, etc. 

Qipit – This is an app for your iPhone that allows you to take pictures of anything handwritten.  They will then send you a pdf file that you can keep on your computer and then throw away the paper.  This is basically an iPhone alternative to a scanner.  This is pretty cool.  So if you wrote down a recipe or directions, or even some to-do’s…..just take a picture with you phone and you will instantly have it saved as a document.  (I really want an iPhone now)

Manuals Mania  or TheUserManualSite  –   These sites have all sorts of manuals on-line.  You could essentially throw away all of those bulky manuals and just use one of these sites as needed.  You may want to check the sites first to make sure they have your make and model before recycling your paper manuals.  I did some searches and they had every single one I searched for.  Another great way to get rid of paper overload!

Wesabe and Mint – Both of these cool sites are for managing your money and they are both free!   You can add all of your accounts and they will give you updated balances all in one place.  You can also track your spending and more.   Both of these apps are available on your iPhone or other mobile device so you can check your balances from anywhere.  I have Quicken, but of course I cannot check that from my phone…so these are very handy sites.

Know Your Stuff – This site helps you keep track of all of your belongings in one place for insurance purposes.  It’s a great site for safely storing your home inventory list.

I hope you find some of these helpful.  I’ll keep searching for more sites and tools that make my life easier.  I’ll let you know what I find.

Thy Will Be Done

We have begun a new series at church called “Can you hear me now?”.  This series is focusing on prayer and how we communicate with God, our Father.

In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus gives us the Lord’s Prayer as a model for how we should construct our prayers.  He starts with “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.”  We covered this opening statement last week in the first sermon of this series.   In this first part of the prayer Jesus is instructing us to address God as our Father, which He is. 
A loving Father who hears each and every one of his children’s prayers.  We should address Him with endearment and love.   Next, we show reverence for His name and His sovereignty by saying “hallowed be thy name”. 

Yesterday we moved on to the next part of the prayer “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”  This is my favorite part.  Our pastor broke this down to show that “Thy Kingdom Come” is stating the PURPOSE of our prayer and our lives here on Earth.  Everything we do should bring glory to God and His Kingdom.  “Thy Will Be Done” reminds us that we should submit to His will for our lives.  We must love God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength.   Basically with EVERYTHING we have.  Then we need to submit to His will for our lives by praying to him everyday and listening to where He leads us.  Focus on what you hear Him say and what He is laying on your heart.  Next, you must OBEY what He says.   If He leads you somewhere, you must follow. 

In this second part of the prayer Jesus is instructing us to remember the reason we are here on Earth, to listen and pay attention to where God is leading us and to obey and submit to His will.  Not ours.  If we follow God’s leading, it may require some suffering and some sacrifice, but it will bring more joy than you can imagine.

Many people think that God wants us to be happy.  He doesn’t.  He wants us to obey Him and to bring glory to His name and to His Kingdom.   What He knows, and we forget, is that by doing these things we will have so much joy and abundance in our hearts and in our lives that mere “happiness” will fall very short and eventually end in disappointment.

When we feel like we are missing something….we are only missing God.  Seek Him first and last and everywhere in between and most importantly, obey.  You will be amazed at where your life goes and what happens to your heart!

Getting Uncomfortable

Yesterday during my Bible Study we talked about always being desperate for God and what that looks like.  At first we talked about times in our own lives where we’ve been desperate for God because of our desperate situation, and how trusting him helped us to grow in our relationship with Him.  Then we talked about what it means to ALWAYS be desperate for God, not just in those troubled times.

If you step out of your comfort zone and do things for God that seem a little scary, then you will need to rely on Him or be desperate for his help, right?  So, being desperate for God all the time should involve stepping out (in faith) and doing  things that God calls you to do that initially seem scary or uncomfortable.  Putting ourselves in these situations will require more faith and trust in God and will ultimately strengthen our relationship with Him. 

My goal this week is to put myself in an uncomfortable situation for the glory of God.  I told my Bible Study group this and they will be holding me accountable next week when we meet again.  At this point I’m not sure what it will be, but I’m leaving that up to God.  I’m going to pray, listen and obey no matter how scary it seems or how uncomfortable I feel.

I once had a Christian mentor that told me I should do something scary every single day.  He wasn’t talking about jumping out of a plane or white water rafting (two scary things for me) he was talking about this very topic, getting uncomfortable every single day of our lives and staying desperate for God.  I’m going to start with weekly, then I’ll move to daily.  I know God will give me the strength I need.  (and the words too)

We should be excited when we feel uncomfortable when doing something for God.  It means we are stepping out in faith and growing!