2021 Joy Dare- Day 39

Dare

Good morning friends! When I stumbled upon this Dare back in December I was going through a time of real struggle when I was seriously having trouble being grateful. I found myself being grateful for the same thing over and over again. Coffee…..coffee…coffee…sunshine (not that there was much in December here in upstate New York) and a few other things. I’m not saying that it’s bad to be grateful for the same things over and over again, but sometimes we have tunnel vision and we lose sight of all the other blessings God has given to us. And then I “just happened” to stumble upon this Dare while scrolling through Pinterest. I had already read Ann Voskamp’s Book One Thousand gifts so I was intrigued. I checked out all the images and I was certain this is what I needed When I chose this challenge for this year I had no idea what the rest of the year held BUT God did!

Are you willing…..

So I want to ask you are you willing To take this Dare? The great thing is- you don’t have to commit to the full year! You can just start with one month AND you can start Any time! It really is so simple and it changes your perspective! I Dare you to take this challenge~

Day 17- 3 Gifts Ugly Beautiful

  1. gloomy gray skies-so sad yet intriguing
  2. broken lives changed by Jesus- amazing
  3. Dying fields- turning brown- yet there is a beautiful fall aesthetic

Day 18- A Gift fixed, folded, freckled

  1. fixed-Hubby putting LED light fixtures in my craft room
  2. folded- clothes that are folded in the Cedar Chest for the future
  3. freckled-Kiddo’s #4’s freckled face!

Day 19- 3 gifts In Conversation

  1. Conversations with my prayer team this week
  2. Conversations with our future Bible study leader
  3. Hubby had a very encouraging conversation with a friend in ministry

Day 20- 3 gifts in Salvation

  1. Grace
  2. Hope
  3. Peace

Day 21- 3 gifts in information

  1. Books
  2. Podcasts
  3. Conferences

Day 22- 3 Gifts rattling, receding, redeemed

  1. Rattled- my emotions this week as I have continually come face to face with some hard realities and broken relationships (not mine but ones of close friends-it’s hard to watch)
  2. Receding- a falling away- it hurts to see. it’s painful to watch
  3. redeemed- Countless stories that I can name right now where God took brokenness and turned them into something beautiful. He redeemed those moments for His Glory

Day 23-  3 gifts in silence

  1. early mornings
  2. Outside devotions
  3. spare moments stolen away in my craft room

I’m so glad you came by for the Joy Dare this week and I’m praying You all have a fabulous week full of gratitude and Joy!

And how about You what have you found joy in this week?

For more Joy Dare posts click here and for more Choosing Courage Posts click here.

To Check out The Joy Dare and One Thousand Gifts  by Ann Voskamp click here.

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My Greatest Joy- Day 38

Greatest

Good morning all! So quick question. Can you guess what my greatest Joy is? This is one of those blog post ideas that I had once upon a time and I wrote down this great idea (a title) and no other details! UGH! Yes I have learned from my mistake But each week as I read through my post idea list this one almost taunts me. Coming out of a season where I had to be super intentional about my gratitude and having to REALLY hone in my sights to what brings me true joy- I struggled to remember what laid behind this blog post. That is until this Sunday.

So what makes something the “GREATEST”

When I think of “the greatest”. I think about the absolute best And coming out of the Olympic season we heard the term GOAT. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why on earth it was a compliment to be called a GOAT…..that is I finally put two and two together and realized it stood for “Greatest Of All Time”. AHA but as the Olympics continued on we began to see that GOATs weren’t perfect. They might be considered the Best in the world (at that time) but it didn’t mean they were perfect.

Since Sunday and realizing and remembering what my greatest joy is I kept coming back to this word perfect. Greatest does not equal perfect. Jesus is my perfect joy- I get so much joy from Him….and that is where my greatest joy stems from.

I took a step forward

But not like you might be thinking. I was in the middle of praising Jesus and all of a sudden a thought came to mind. So I took a tiny step forward and glanced down our row of chairs. And what I saw and heard struck the deepest sense of joy I have felt in a long time. And all I had to do is LOOK. I didn’t have t do anything. I didn’t need to get anything. I just needed to pay attention. And then in that moment my reason for putting that post title came flooding back….

What I saw…and heard

Looking to my left and right I saw 4 kids who were worshipping Jesus in their own way…without any reservation. They weren’t being judged they were in their own spaces one on one lifting the name of their Savior in song You could tell it was personal. AND THAT brought me my greatest joy and made me praise Jesus all the more.

And as that welled up in my soul, thoughts came flooding back- of a teenager asking me (very sheepishly) if I could read the Bible with her. Or another teenager asking if I would go forward with her at a youth conference. Seeing tears flow down her faces she prayed which in turn made me ugly cry because I had been praying for this girl for oh so long.

To see a group of 17 teenagers- boys and girls embrace and love each other like I have never seen any other group of humans ever do. Such different backgrounds….such different experiences….such different economic backgrounds…encourage each other lift each other up…and just care. Yes they had their moments of disagreement but that was rare.

To watch on any given Sunday morning a herd of children run up to new kids and invite them to “come play with us in the gym”. To swallow up the new ones, it wasn’t an exclusive club for these kids. They wanted to include everyone because they themselves had been included.

Teens who would share their deepest burdens of their hearts because they felt safe.

Women who were honest about where they were at- tears shed as they shared their broken places.

And then I remembered – my Greatest Joy WAS perfect every single time-

Changed Lives- It didn’t matter how it happened or how messy it was. When people were honest with themselves and really let Jesus change them- there is nothing better (except for seeing them all in heaven someday.)

BUT My greatest Joy is also linked to my greatest sorrow

This was a harsh reality for me Monday and I am not going to lie all of the emotions that flooded my soul was rough. I was angry I was sad I was disappointed. I was crushed.

I’m not going to tell you what happened but I will give you a breakdown…..

  • selfishness (putting oneself before others)
  • mistreatment of others
  • a limiting of grace to someone else (the idea that You only deserve this much …………because of………….)
  • Rejection
  • judging

The list could go on. There was this realization that people aren’t willing to change.. They know what is right and wrong. They can even verbalize it BUT they are unwilling to let that change them. Their hearts are hard. They think they are entitled, They make an exclusive club and they limit God’s grab for certain people. THAT is my greatest sorrow because that isn’t what God teaches in his word.

Jesus says “Love your Neighbor as yourself”

We ask “who is our neighbor?” looking for a specific easy to love group of people -mostly the ones just like us.

Jesus answers EVERYONE.

We don’t get to pick and choose who get’s love, grace and mercy. But we tend to think that we get to be that judge. We don’t. we are commanded to (to quote NIKE) -“JUST DO IT”

And at the end of the day

My realization was this

  • I’m glad Jesus doesn’t treat us like this.
  • that I am called to be like Jesus so I need to treat people like Jesus treats me
  • It’s not my job to withhold grace mercy and love- it’s my job to lavishly give it out- just like those kids. who didn’t see backgrounds, color, economic standing , or anything else for that matter
  • I need to die to self and put others before myself
  • I need to not just take in the information from God’s word I need to apply it . And Not just bits and pieces that make me comfortable
  • It’s not about what is easy for me. It’s not about my time, my money, my strength. It’s about serving Jesus with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength- REALLY my whole life- not holding anything back. It’s not about Convenience. (It wasn’t easy or convenient for Jesus to die on the cross)

All of this from a bunch of teenagers and a bunch of kids. Oh how we have lost sight of what is most important. I promise you if you can learn these lessons from children you too will experience the greatest Joy because it’s not MY greatest Joy- It’s Jesus’!!!!!

Thanks for joining me for Day 38 of my Choosing Courage 100 day blogging project. If you are new here you can check out this blog post that explains it all. 

And if you have fallen behind or missed some posts you can check it out here

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Change: Week 5 Update

Change

Good morning! And I can ACTUALLY say that! I have and am in the process of making some big changes around here. As much as I have loved this writing project for 100 days I have hated every minute of the schedule I was keeping! I have been thinking and praying a lot about how to change the cycle I was in but nothing came to be until yesterday.

And then I remembered something……

Let’s Go Back in time (Cue Time machine sounds and funky music)

See the girl over there sitting in the old brown restaurant style booth. She’s had a busy afternoon and evening and now she was settling in to focus on her schoolwork- She’s a college student. She has a lot of trouble focusing She always has. She has so many things bouncing around in her brain.

But recently she made a discovery. She discovered that if she spent 30 minutes writing creatively then she could focus really well. And right now she is the only person in the room (that’s why it’s her favorite spot) but if she hurries she can get the creative writing in before the mad rush of people come into the student center for snacks and social time. So she put her head down and began scrawling down the new idea that had been bouncing around in that brain of hers all day.

Something Magic

With Each passing word that flowed out the end of her writing utensil her brain became alive and focused and driven. She had focus like she has never had before. Words came quickly and she almost never had to stop, erase or rethink the wording.

And then she was done. She would pack away her writing piece never to return to it again. And then the truly magical thing happened- She pulled out her schoolwork and she began working At some point the quietness turned into a murmur and then to a dull roar. There was chaos going on around her but that didn’t matter Her brain was calmed and she could focus on anything now. The time came fore her to close her books and she headed back to her dorm room. She changed, climbed into bed and laid there wondering why on earth she couldn’t fall asleep. Her brain was fully alive and functioning, not in the haze it had been that afternoon.

*cue time machine sounds and funky music* with a brief stop at yesterday.

Is that that the same girl?

The time machine comes t a screeching halt in front of a blue house and hey is that the same girl sitting out from with her journal in front of her.? The posture is the same. Hunched over her work. Her hair is the same color just shorter and she looks older. But she is just as busy scribbling away. She stops. She looks up. She is thinking about something. The girl in the booth didn’t do that. A smile spreads across her face. She picks up a strange flat box sitting next to her. Her fingers fly across the screen. Oh wait the front door open a teenager comes out, he’s holing a soccer ball, and he starts talking to her…He calls her MOM. She answers his question and he goes back inside. Wow a lot has changed for that college student sitting in that booth from so long ago.

She goes back to scribbling furiously. She stops picks up her head and smiles. It’s almost as if she remembered something. She picks up that flat shiny box again and turns it on . She looks startled. She pushes the chair away from the table gets her stuff together and heads inside. I guess it is time for me to head back to today. I climb back in my time machine and I look back as the front door closes behind her and I smile.

*cue Time Machine Sounds and Funky music*

An AHA moment and a Change

As I sit here this morning typing furiously on my laptop, I smile because I know exactly what that girl was going through…both that one from 20 years ago AND the one from yesterday. Because I am that girl. And I have been frustrated as of late. Yesterday when I was scribbling in that journal- my prayer time to be exact- I was asking God to help me figure out this writing schedule problem. It’s kinda been a vicious cycle over the last five weeks. And just like the girl from 20 years ago I will write my brains out before bed and then go upstairs and read I will be tired but my brain has been snapped back to life and I will lay there contemplating everything from what needs to be done tomorrow to….who knows what else. Then I wake up in the morning and I’m sluggish and unfocused. I have to fight my way through my devotions because my brain is not focused. Then the kids wake up and the demands of the day start.

By the time the kids go to bed at night I flop down in the chair with my laptop and I begin to write. And the cycle starts all over again.

But that me from yesterday had an aha! moment . She remembered the girl from 20 years ago. AND she was writing to another person online who was sharing how she handled her priorities and focused on each one. Her strategy struck a deep chord with me.

Overwhelmed and frustrated

I know as moms (and humans in general) we all tend to feel like this. We have so much to do and keep track of. We have so many priorities to focus on Our kids, our husband, our home, our physical health our friends, church, our relationship with Jesus, perhaps an outside job whether it be at home or out of the home…..and the list goes on and on. and we all feel the need to be balanced and yet we can’t stop the mad cycle.

So as I sent a few DM’s back and forth with Crystal Paine (The Money Saving Mom) about how she handles her priorities the thought of 21 year old me came flooding back as well. About how writing has always cleared my brain and helped me to focus and get stuff done. And then this question resonated deep in my heart WHAT IF I WROTE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING? HMMMM.

The Change

There are 3 things that are going to change over the rest of this week-

  1. Writing will happen first thing in the morning. This might change after the 100 Days of blogging project is over. It may look a little different just in it might not be blogging everyday, but there will be some form of “writing” being done.
  2. I am going to set up a habit tracker of the must do things that NEED to get done every single day. These will be based on my six priorities.
  3. Then each day I will pick out which two priorities I will focus on for that day. I need to learn exactly what “Time blocking” is -that will help the focused time for each day.

I love what Crystal said yesterday in her Instagram Stories. “I only have two hands, so I only pick two priorities to focus on everyday”. She says that when she does this it means that she will visit all of her priorities in focused time at least once a week (obviously it might be more). But then you don’t have to stress over neglecting something.

Wow what a relief from the pressure I have been putting on myself for a very long time.

I know this isn’t the typical weekly update but it is the major thing that has been a frustration for a while and now I have this overwhelming sense of Freedom.

Have you struggled with these thoughts and feelings before? It cycles through for me and I would love to hear your thoughts and strategies in the comments below!

Thanks for joining me for Day 37 of my Choosing Courage 100 day blogging project. If you are new here you can check out this blog post that explains it all.

And if you have fallen behind or missed some posts you can check it out here

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Happy Homemaker Monday

Monday

Happy Monday everyone. Mondays tend to be very low key around here but today was a little different both pups needed to go to the vert and then all the other scheduled stuff that needed to happen. So I got a Buch accomplished but it just didn’t feel like enough!

Breakfast time….what is on the plate this morning::::

Coffee.

  Looking around the house::::

I have lots of work to do….and I mean LOTS

On today’s to do list::::

  • Over the next few days I am revamping how I handle my priorities more on that TOMORROW

Currently reading::::

  • Hello Fears
  • Get Out of Your Head
  • My Bible
  • Corrie ten Boom(biography with the kids for morning basket)
  • S.H.A.P.E.
  • Practical Dreamer

On the TV this week::::

different Strokes and Promised Land

The weather outside is::::

It was GORGEOUS today but the rest of the week is Cooler (60’s) and wet

On the menu this week::::

Monday –  Beef Stew

Tuesday –   Scalloped Potatoes and Ham and salad

Wednesday –   Pulled Pork and French fries veggies

Thursday –   Leftovers and salad

Friday –  Chili and Biscuits

Saturday –  Pigs in a Blanket (Cabbage Rolls)

Sunday – Masjed Potato Sundaes

I never did get to make the cabbage rolls and the Mashed potato Sundaes last week. I will post a recipe or at lease instructions on how to make them.

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::

Clean my craft room

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

None

One of my simple pleasures:::

Hubby and I working together at night time but separately. Me blogging / planning Him working on his upcoming Old Testament Survey class he is teaching. (Did I mention that hubby took on a part time Professor job). it’s not a typical Professor position but it is part of his passion! Teaching pastor’s!

Favorite photo from the camera::::

Monday

In case you are wondering they are watching for woodchucks!!! It’s Nuggets favorite thing to do.

Praying for::::

♥♥  Lots of friends and family who either have COVID or knows someone who does. One person in particular is not doing so well but is making strides in the right direction.
♥♥ Our Search Process ♥♥Friends and family who are struggling

Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment:::: 

I had t chuckle when these verses were next in my reading of James this evening.

And for more Happy Homemaker Monday posts Check out Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Thanks for joining me for My Choosing Courage 100 day writing project.. You can check out all the other posts by clicking here.

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A Time to Play- Maybe

Maybe

All week I kept telling myself “Maybe tomorrow”. Well as we know from earlier this week that this week did NOT turn out as planned. Life has been busy this week and somewhere along the way I have wrecked my shoulder, It’s getting better but I have spent a lot of the week in pain just by moving.

So all that to say that I haven’t had time to play. But maybe I did. Maybe it just looked a little different than what I normally would have done. See a few weeks ago-like a month ago really, I made this choice.

The choice

I made a choice a month ago to take on this writing project-100 days of blogging every single day. I have settled into a rather lovely routine but I have other priorities. And when you say yes to one thing you are saying no to other things, When the schedule is full then pay time may look differently. So yes art did happen this week but some other things did. and they were enjoyable. And fun too. I guess most of it really comes down to perspective.

So yesterday Bug and I cleaned out our yarn stash. We just weeded out the colors we just don’t use. I wracked my brain thinking about who I could gibve them to. A friend of our has two older girls who do craft sales in order to gain money for camp and so on. BINGO. I texted her and had the privilege of helping their girls. It helped weed out stuff we didn’t need and it helped them. That’s fun in my book.

The other thing we did was clean out the cedar chest and closet full of clothes that I don’t wear. There is something so satisfying about that. And then I also got the chance the last few days to work on next month’s writing. I have something fun up my sleeve. I am very excited about the things that are coming- and when you are excited about what you are working on it really doesn’t feel like work. it feels like play time. It’s fun. So even though none of these things really seemed like “play time” as I have defined it here in past posts,The truth of the matter is it has been great fun. Fun to help others, fun to move forward in working around our house, fun planning for the future.

It’s all about perspective.

As I sit here tonight typing this I could look back over the last week and see how crazy it’ll been and I could be discouraged and upset That I didn’t get to do “what I wanted to do”. but that is not why I do what I do. So even though I don’t have art to share tonight I do have a healthy dose of perspective as a reminder for myself to stay focused on what I have said yes too.

Maybe this next week

So maybe this next week I will get to do some art. I can tell you that more art is definitely coming in October (there is a hint to part of what is up my sleeve!). But if it doesn’t happen I will choose to see and be grateful for what did happen!.

Thank you so much for joining me for day 35 on this crazy Choosing Courage Journey. We have officially have accomplished one third of the project. If you have missed any of this past posts you can catch up here.

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