Why I Choose Not to Post Consistently

Why I Choose Not to Post Consistently

There are times as a blogger that I sit and stare at my stats. I get anxious when a post gets less likes than normal, thinking ‘this is just going to fizzle out- is it really the calling I thought it was, or just a hobby?’ Then I get anxious when the views start picking up, feeling as if I need to keep pushing content in order to feed the momentum.

But I choose not to. And here’s why….

(Photo credit: rawpixel)

My prayer for my writing is that God leads it. I pray that He gives me the words, and then I pray an even scarier prayer: that He allows me to complete these things in His timing.

(Remember that whole (wo)man with the plan thing? God loves to challenge that!)

I’ve been through more in my 25 (plus tax) years than most ought to, and if I’ve learned anything it’s that God can be trusted. He is like the super hero in the movies who swoops in at just the right moment- even though sometimes it feels like you’ve already weathered an explosion or two waiting on Him. Still, He arrives with the perfect solution that we couldn’t have even imagined. I’ve experienced this sort of faithfulness more times than I can count, and so when the Lord says “wait,” even if I have to fight reluctance, I wait.

A perfect example of this occurred on a recent post. I had written it somewhat more easily than usual, proofread it several times, and was ready to hit ‘publish’. (Ah, yes! Sticking to my preferred posting schedule for once!) But when it came time to do so, the blank title space at the top might as well have just told me to go make myself a cup of coffee and settle in to enjoy my day because it was not happening. My mind was blank. Blanker than blank. Nada. Nothing.

After staring for several long minutes I went on to other things, but all day long I kept opening my finished blog post and staring at the title line, flabbergasted by my inability to think of one single word to type. I tried a few things, but they were obviously ill fitting. Finally I put it away and decided God just didn’t want that post in the world that day. I went to sleep that night, and waited as I sensed I was being told to do.

(Photo credit: rawpixel)

The next morning I got up, tried again, and this time the title came easily. The blog was published and I walked away feeling like a weight had been lifted. Not long after, I began receiving messages and comments all expressing the same thing- “this was perfectly timed, this was exactly what I needed this morning.”

God had said to wait. The people who needed the words He’d given me just weren’t ready to hear them yet. And when He does allow the opportunity for these things to be shared, you can trust that there is more purpose behind the details than little old me or you could ever foresee. He plans the party. I just buy a gift and show up when He tells me to.

Yes, I want to watch the stats climb. Yes, I’d love to have a following. But if the followers are here for me, and I’m not adding to God’s following, then my blog is just offering distraction, not direction.

So I’m not afraid to sit on an idea and see what wisdom God shares over the following days through reading His word. I’m not too concerned over whether or not I’ll be breaking any personal stat records. I’m trusting that whoever needs to read these words will read them, and that anyone who isn’t ready won’t be distracted by them.

I’m thankful for this blogging community and the support all of you offer! I pray you stay encouraged even in the dry seasons and trust that God is at work behind the scenes. What you do is important. Sharing His message is important- and so is patience for His timing.

God bless, friends 💛

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Guard Your Chocolate

Guard Your Chocolate

In my house, I have a secret, hidden stash. The chocolate kind. I cannot even speak its coordinates to you all because there are blog readers in this house who may or may not be trusted. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Photo credit: Jennifer Pallian

Let’s just say I have my reasons for keeping my stash undercover. You know- there are a million things I have and share in a day: my time, my resources, the food off my plate. And even though I would probably share my chocolate too if my kids gave me the puppy dog eyes, it’s better if I don’t. Those little pieces of Heaven create a moment in my day. It means more to me than it does to my kids and it’s something that keeps me going on long days (not to mention I’m avoiding sugared up kiddos.) I keep the location protected so my supply doesn’t dwindle, or get stolen away. Yes, it’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference for me, and so I do what I can to guard it.

But my chocolate stash isn’t the only thing in my life that is small and needs protecting. There is something else worth defending- (and it’s oddly synonymous with chocolate, if you ask me)- my heart.

We give so much from our hearts, and it’s easy at some point to find ourselves in a position where we’re giving too much, or giving to the wrong people or situations.

Proverbs cautions against wrongly depleting this precious resource:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I have been guilty of an unguarded heart. I have at times felt that if God is leading me somewhere I need to sacrifice all of my energy and resources into that one place. Sometimes that is what’s asked of us, but sometimes we’re not being asked to tend and harvest the whole field- only to plant a seed. While it’s imperative that we act when God calls us to, the way we approach the situation is also very important and needs to be accomplished with wisdom and tact.

As it’s said, “everything you do” flows from your heart. What would that look like if you’ve poured out the last drop of that resource because you’d been trying to replenish what God never asked you to repair? An unbeliever who isn’t ready to hear the truth, a casual listener who refutes your every point, or a relationship not based on good moral ground could all be examples of heart-draining situations if God has not personally called you to those people for a purpose. Of course we will be led to encourage those who are distant from Him, but ‘who’, ‘when’, and ‘where’ are all details best left to the Lord. When we try to make up the details on our own without first seeking His will and guidance, we’re always left feeling drained.

I’ll put it like this: Have you ever left the lid open on the diaper wipes container? It doesn’t seem like a big deal. There’s a whole container of them so what does it matter if you get distracted and leave that top wipe free to dry out? If you leave them for a few minutes, no big deal. You pitch the top wipe. But if you keep leaving them unattended in that compromising situation, then before you know it the whole pack has gone bad.

Not guarding your heart dries you out.Little by little, when we devote our time and attention to the wrong things- or even when we are investing too much in the “right” things when we haven’t been led to do so- we end up feeling empty.

I can’t say I’m always an expert on the art of balance, but I can certainly admit I’ve left my heart unguarded and been drained a time or ten. In my experience, these are some things I’ve found to be helpful in that self-protection I believe Proverbs talks about:

Helpful Hints To Guarding Your Heart

1. Protect your time with the Lord. The task lists, the dirty dishes, the stack of paperwork- it will all still be there when you’re done. Don’t let those things steal you away from this time.

2. Make time for the Lord. Let’s backtrack a little. If you’re going to protect something, it has to be in existence first. One on one time with God in prayer is imperative to a God-filled, God-led life. Set apart time to be still and seek Him, and use this time to ask God for wisdom on all matters- big and small.

3. Take a step back and ask yourself- “Is this leading me closer to or farther away from relationship with God?” And act accordingly.

4. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Listen to Philippians 4:6-7 (emphasis added):

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

While we can expect hard work ahead in our mission to be a light to others, I hope it encourages you to know that we are all equipped with God’s peace to guard our hearts along the way. I hope if you are feeling depleted today that your spirit will be renewed through Him and you will stay steadfast on the path He’s set before you.

Happy Monday, friends!

Things My Kids Say Thursday #6

Things My Kids Say Thursday #6

I am a homemaker and I take pride in that! I enjoy the tasks that come along with it, but sometimes I also enjoy giving my family a hard time.

Apparently, they have their own ideas about what it takes to keep things running smoothly in the kitchen….

Me (to husband): When was the last time you cooked?

Son: It was May! He cooked you cereal for Mother’s Day.

– • – • – • –

Good to know this is all the culinary skill it takes to impress my child! 😂

(In fairness, my husband is the man of the grill because to be honest, I cannot be trusted there. 🙅🏻)

What are some of your kids’ ideas of a lavish home cooked meal?

Quarrelsome Wife, Lonely Life: Allowing God to Change My Attitude

Quarrelsome Wife, Lonely Life: Allowing God to Change My Attitude

Have you ever read your Bible and come across one of those kick-in-the-gut verses? The kind that makes you say ‘yep, that’s definitely meant for me….’? That happened to me a couple weeks ago when I was reading through Proverbs, one of my very favorite books:

“It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The conviction is real, y’all. I felt that one in my bones.

I’m admittedly a little Type A; the (wo)man with the plan. Organization and order put my soul at ease, and disorder always leaves me feeling anxious and stressed.

(Photo credit: Laura Mitulla)

My husband couldn’t be more different. Always easy going, calm, and collected, nearly nothing ruffles his feathers. I often hear him say “it’ll all get done,” and it’s always spoken truthfully, without a hint of concern in his voice. His laid back nature makes it difficult for him to understand why I run around like a crazy person with my bright red rubber gloves and messy bun flopping around the day before a holiday or big life event- I just can’t relax or enjoy it without my house clean and in order.

(Photo credit: rawpixel)

It’s really no surprise though, that in a busy household of two adults, two kids, and a dog, life can fall into a category that no one would label structured or orderly. It’s in those times that I sometimes become the quarrelsome wife that Proverbs talks about.

I get an attitude. I reprimand my family members for offenses I know I’ve warned against in the past. I might even toss a misplaced shoe as my lazy lab watches without surprise. These sorts of instances came to mind as I was reading that verse, and I began to feel my perspective shift from details to Deliverer. (Scriptures like this have a way of doing that; of redirecting our focus from the petty things fueled by the values of this world- to the more important bigger picture that God Himself has painted for our lives.) I already knew that my quarrelsome moments weren’t serving anyone in my family well- myself included. But I felt a tugging on my heart from that verse to be more mindful, more intentional, more grace-full in my interactions with my family, and most especially with my spouse.

That one simple verse became a call for me to put down my bright red rubber gloves and open my eyes to see how God blesses, even in the messes- and allow it to change my attitude.

Oh, and if that line didn’t say enough…. You can always count on repetition in the Bible where a message is of special importance. (You know how you’re always repeating instructions to your kids? Yeah, God has to do that, too.) A little further on in the wonderful book of Proverbs comes this:

“It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ouch. A desert. The Bible says it’s better to live in a literal desert than with me a complaining wife. Pack your canteen, honey.

And I wasn’t kidding about repetition being a powerful tool in scripture, because then there’s this-

“A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Okay, okay we get it!

Now. Can we mentally replace “wife” in these verses with “husband” sometimes? Of course we can. But we all know it’s usually us as wives who run the household, leaving us more vulnerable to daily challenges which can spur on an argumentative response. (These scriptures weren’t aimed at wives on accident.) 🤷🏻‍♀️

It happens. Stress manifests differently for all of us, and that’s where God’s grace (and hopefully the grace of our loved ones) comes in. These little gems in the book of Proverbs serve as a healthy reminder to keep a check on our attitude, which is always a reflection of the state of our hearts. As it’s said in Proverbs 4:23, our hearts should be guarded above all else because “everything you do flows from it.”

So put down the gloves and let out the messy buns, ladies. Be still and take stock of your precious world around you. Let’s pray for a gentle spirit, which is an attribute pleasing to God, and eyes that see past the mess and the stress. After all, “we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”- and there’s no arguing with that!

– • – • – • –

Encouragement For A Humble Heart, Gentle Spirit, & Kind-Hearted Attitude:

Philippians 2:12-16

“….Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life….”

(My Bible’s comment section says: “A transformed life is an effective witness to the power of God’s Word. Are you shining brightly, or are you clouded by complaining and arguing? Don’t let dissensions snuff out your light.”)

1 Peter 3:4-5

“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands.”

1 Peter 3:10-11

“For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”‭‭

Electrical Outlets, Toilet Bowls, & Knocking On Doors

Electrical Outlets, Toilet Bowls, & Knocking On Doors

“No, no!” I shouted as I looked up just in time to see my toddler inch toward the open outlet, fan’s cord in her hand. (How smart she is, I thought, to understand where that goes.) I took the cord from her and wrapped it up, then went back to my laundry.

“No!” I shouted again as I looked up to see that she’d moved on to other interests- in this case, unfortunately, the toilet bowl. I picked her up and took her immediately to the sink to scrub her hands. Then back to play for her while my heaping pile of laundry waited patiently to be hung and folded.

After a few short seconds of sweet silence, I looked up again, this time to see my 15 month old daughter running around with a bra on her head, her daddy’s shirt being dragged behind her, and an array of dish towels and socks scattered around on the floor. “Oh,” I sighed. This parenting thing takes patience.

(Photo credit: Chloe Skinner)

There’s a passage in Mathew that reminds me of my persistent child. It goes like this:

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:7-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Have you ever prayed for something you really wanted, and didn’t get it? That thought is among the first in my mind when I read this passage. I didn’t let my daughter stick her fingers in the outlet even after she kept going back to it, and there have been some things I didn’t get to have even after asking God countless times. So what gives?

First of all- there is truth in these words. If what we are seeking brings God’s peace, wisdom, and knowledge into our lives and inches us closer to the Kingdom of Heaven- I’m confident God does provide those things after our persistent prayer and ongoing reliance on Him.

But what about when we don’t get what we ask God for? I think it’s no coincidence at all that the very next lines in Mathew are these:

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When my daughter wants to play in the toilet I’m not going to let her because I know there are germs in there that cause sickness (and are the stuff of my anxiety-fueled nightmares.) When she wants to use her tiny, sticky fingers as a science experiment and see what happens when they get crammed into an electrical outlet, I stop her. When she wants to dine on dog food, I (usually) redirect her. And when I ask for things that God- in His infinite knowledge- knows are not good for me or derail me from my path in life, He pulls me away from them and sits me in front of something better.

We wouldn’t give our child a snake if they ask us for fish to eat (as the passage from Mathew says,) we would give them fish to eat! But sometimes- often unknowingly- we actually pray for snakes, don’t we? So when we feel our prayer isn’t being answered the way we thought it should, sometimes we have to consider that God may be preparing the fish instead of letting us get wrapped up in the snakes. If even I know enough to withhold things from my children that don’t serve them well, then I can certainly trust that God does the same for me.

I remember a kindergarten lesson from my favorite teacher where she once told us that God answers every single prayer, some just not in the way you’d think. If we pray for a bicycle but He knows we’d be in an accident and get hurt, then His answer may simply be ‘no’ because His perspective is so much greater than ours. We may end up with a different blessing instead. God is patient with us when we make mistakes, and He’s also patient with us when we’re running after the wrong things. No matter the circumstances, we can trust that if we’re praying about it, He’s working on it. We just need to be patient with Him in return while He prepares the blessings we can’t yet see coming.

(Photo credit: Brian Harris)

Things My Kids Say Thursday #5

Things My Kids Say Thursday #5

You know, kids really do say the darnedest things. Since beginning this little segment of my blog I have definitely opened my ears even more to the things my soon-to-be 8 year old comes up with.

Earlier this week we were on the way to school when he brought up the interview he’s supposed to do as a class assignment. He had some big ideas for content.

Son: I could do my interview on Grandma Sandi, she’s lived a lot of life.

Me: Are you saying she’s old? (Trying not to laugh…)

Son: No, she’s just lived through a lot of things.

Me: What do you think she’s lived through?

Son: I don’t know, World War II?

– • – • – • –

If he’s going to be starting off his interview with WWII questions, he better compliment how good she looks for her age! 😂

What crazy things have your kids said lately?

Things My Kids Say Thursday #4

Things My Kids Say Thursday #4

Living in the country, internet connection battles are the bane of our everyday existence. Nevertheless, internet access is just something my son has never known life without. (Remember when our homes were first equipped with dial-up?! There was no going back to life without it!)

After yet another long phone conversation with our internet company the other day, I was informed that it would be several days before help was available. I shuddered at the thought of breaking the news to my son. His response was not what I expected…..

Me: Well bud, the internet company says we are going to have to be without internet for the whole weekend.

Son: Well, I guess we’re kickin’ it old school!

– • – • – • –

When…… When did my childhood years become synonymous with the term “old school”?!

Be right back, guys……. I’m going to go cry in my Mondo fruit squeezer over an episode of Saved by the Bell……..

What are some fun things from your childhood that would be considered “old school” today??

Photo credit: Markus Spiske