Archive | March 2012

Texting the Old Fashioned Way

We certainly live in a highly elevated techno-savvy world, don’t we?  Facebook, Twitter, email, texting, and many other websites and smart phone apps are available for all types of people who want to be included into a community of some sort.  With hectic schedules, either as a career mom or a stay at home mom, we have certainly come to rely on the speed and convenience of technology when it comes to communication with other friends, family and our spouses.  It has become easier to send an E-card for a birthday, to text a time for a lunch or play date, to use Evite for planning and sending invites for a get-together, to forward an email to remind a group of their next meeting, to share reading interests with friends on Goodreads and to shop, order and send someone a gift right from an online store.  

Because women are made for community and relationship, it is not problem for us to jump right on board this social media wagon.  I think that Facebook is fantastic for keeping up with friends and family, Twitter is a unique and effective networking and marketing tool, and texting is can be so quick and helpful (especially with your teenagers!).  I use them all and more.  However, it is crucial to always remember that these are tools, and not replacements for TRUE friendships and community.  

Just as we as women love relationship, we also want to be valued and appreciated, don’t we?  Today, I want to encourage you to take the time periodically to encourage your friends in an old-fashioned way:  with a handwritten note or greeting card.  There is such a feeling of thoughtfulness and acceptance when you receive a birthday card or some sort of “thinking of you” card via snail mail.  It is a delight to know that someone else thought enough of you to find the card, write the note, address the envelope and buy a postage stamp, just for you. “Old fashioned” can still be more special!

While today’s technology has taken over and still will be the main mode of communication, don’t forget to take time to affirm your relationships in a significant way.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  

Proverbs 25:11

Want more suggestions on how to apply this successfully through your women’s ministry or other women’s group?  Click HERE to send me an email!


Weekend Wisdom: God in the Clouds

If there is enough rain early in the year in Texas, March and April are magical months for wildflowers.  As I write this, Texas Bluebonnets are springing up everywhere through the bright green grasses along highways and in fields everywhere in our Hill Country.

Along with the wildflowers blooming this past week, there have also been many clouds hanging out in our expansive Texas skies.  Numerous clouds and massive clouds, but these are not rain-filled clouds. No, just clouds journeying across the sky:  bright, white, puffy clouds and also grey, expansive, low lying clouds.

This morning I was watching these cloudy skies while reading “The Beloved Disciple” by Beth Moore. While the entire book has been amazing, it was a passage she included from Oswald Chambers’ book, “My Utmost for His Highest” that stood out like a bright lit marquee for me today:

“In the Bible, clouds are always associated with God.  Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God.  Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith.  If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith.  ‘The clouds are the dust of His feet’ (Nahum 1:3).  They are a sign that God is there . . . Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something.  His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child — a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows . . . “

This kind of makes you look at clouds differently, doesn’t it?  Not only have there been many clouds overhead this past week, but I have experienced many cloudy skies in my own life lately as well.  Knowing that these clouds are a sign that God is there, that He is teaching me something that will bring me closer to Him, makes me look at the cloudy days differently.  I often make my life more complicated than it is meant to be, but God can make it uncomplicated if we just follow what He teaches us.  It won’t be easy at times, but when you spend time looking at the clouds, they can be most beautiful.

“For your mercy is great above the heavens, and your truth reaches to the clouds.” 

 Psalm 108:4 (NKJV)

All About Green!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I don’t believe there is any Irish predominantly in my background, but I always enjoy making at least one or two cards for this day.

This one I made for the hubs, who I feel so lucky and blessed to have in my life:

My second card is “green” — not necessarily for St. Patrick’s Day — but from an sample I saw in Cardmaker magazine, I thought it would be a good opportunity to use more scraps!
To send you off today — a little Irish blessing:
As you slide down the banister of life,
may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.
Have a great day!

Weekend Wisdom: March 10-11

What is your life story going to tell?  
Matthew West is one of my favorite Christian artists.  His song, “The Story of Your Life” is the best one to hear when  I wonder:  “Is what I’m doing worth it?  Why am I going through this struggle again?  When will I see victory?  Will anyone notice my contribution to this world?”

It is said that God will not give us more than we can handle.  While that could be true, did you know that your struggles and victories aren’t necessarily only about you?  Every crisis, every trouble, every win and every success is not only for us to learn, but also to help or teach someone else through it!  By sharing your story, you can help guide someone else through the same struggle, and you can rejoice with others who have had the same victories!  
In Matthew West’s song, he writes this:
This is the joy
and it’s the pain
and all the pages in between
your finest hour
your weakest moment
it’s where you’ve been
it’s where you are
it’s where you’re going
Everyone’s story will have joy, pain and everything in between.  Unless we are willing to share what work God has done through us to get where we are, we are losing a God-given, wonderful opportunity to help others along the way.
When I was leading the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at my church, I never told my motherhood story until the very last meeting of my third year of leadership, when I was “retiring.”  No one had asked about my story, and I didn’t share anything regarding my past, only my present.  In my heart, I knew that it would not be right to leave this wonderful group of ladies without sharing an important, although heartbreaking part of my story.  I had to type the story I wanted to recount  so I could read it, because I did not know if I could make it through without crying.  
Afterward, I received many thanks for sharing my story, but there is one comment that I will not forget.  This young mom pulled me aside immediately and told me that her story was nearly the same as mine.  She shared with me what a struggle and heartbreak it had been for her too, and because I offered to share what happened to me, she had the peace knowing that she herself had made the right decisions.
Was it a little painful for me to share my story?  You bet.  Was it worth it?  Immensely.  My story is still continuing, but I plan to use the “God-given” opportunities to share with others who may need encouragement.
Remember — you are the writer, director and producer of the story of Your Life.  Where do you want to be?  What do you want to do for others?
This is the story of your life
You decide
How the rest is gonna read
This is your chance between the lines
To define the legacy you leave
This is the story of your life
Go tell the story of your life
‘Cause it’s a story worth telling
It’s worth telling
“The Story of Your Life” – lyrics by Matthew West
Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Review: "Primal" by Mark Batterson

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  (Proverbs 25:2)

Mark Batterson calls us to a time of Reformation, “born out of the rediscovering of something ancient, something primal.  They (Reformations) are born out of primal truths rediscovered, reimagined, and radically reapplied to our lives.”   I had not read any books by Mark Batterson until this book, “Primal:  A Question for the Lost Soul of Christianity”, but I was engrossed from the beginning with the question:  “Does your heart break for the things that break the heart of God?”

Mark takes you, chapter by chapter, back to where Christianity is really from — these words of Christ spoken two thousand years ago:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”   He explains how Christianity is really primal compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy — Christianity in it’s true raw form — not the complicated Christianity that exists today.

I highly recommend reading this book and learning how to find and know God once again, they way He is to be known! Want more information?  View this video as Mark explains:

If you enjoyed this review, would you please give it a rating by clicking below?  Thank you!

This book was complimentary from Waterbrook Multnomah publishers for review.  

Photo Organizing Tips

I came across a little book at the library the other day called, “The One Minute Organizer, Plain & Simple” by Donna Smallin.  There is an abundance of quick to read, easy to implement organizing tips!

Some of these tips are beneficial for us scrapbookers (or paper crafters, or memory keepers!) too!  I have listed them here, along with some of my own notes:
  • Take photos of your child with favorite artwork or school projects. That way you can scrap the photo and let go of the physical item later!
  • Schedule a regular time each week (or month) to sort and organize photos until you are all up to date.  Decide how to organize your photos and digital photos based on what type of scrapper you are:  subject/event or chronological.  (I recently just finished organizing ten years of digital photos!  It was well worth the time — I found things that I hadn’t printed that I forgot about!)
  • Throw away printed photos that didn’t come out right or are unusable.  Scrap and use the ones that best represent your family.  Deleting digital photos you know won’t be used makes it easier to archive.
  • Throw away duplicate photos.  If you can’t bear to toss them, separate them in a different box clearly marked so that you know where to find a photo for a special project or mini album.
  • Consider keeping all of your formal or professional photos in a separate album.  
  • Get in the habit of developing photos on a regular basis.  Put developed photos in your regular photo album or organizer right away so you are ready for scrapping!
Just like anything else in our home, keeping our scrapbooking areas organized will help us as we create wonderful things for our family.  
Have ideas that have worked well for your photos?  Please post here!

Are You Efficient or Effective?

The quote I am going to share today I just love.  I love all the variations of this quote; it makes so much sense.  This particular quote came from a little book called “The One Minute Organizer, Plain & Simple,” by Donna Smallin.  It’s full of quick to read, easy to implement ideas for the home.

“Next time you hear yourself complaining about not having TIME to get organized, stop.  All we have is time.  How we chose to use it is up to us.” 

I believe this quote is for ALL of life — not just when it comes to getting your home organized.  I would like to rephrase it as this:  “The next time you hear yourself complaining about how busy you are and you don’t have time, stop.  We all have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else.  You are the one that needs to evaluate WHY you are so busy!”   Are you busy just to be busy?  Do you revel is being “so” busy?  Look at your schedule.  What is most important?  What need to be put aside?  You may be an efficient person and may be finishing your To Do list everyday, but it’s more about being effective and prioritizing the things that are truly important in the end.
When you decide to be more effective in life, you will create more positive results.  Isn’t that more beneficial for you and your family?  Efficiency, while good in its own way, just shows that you are busy, and maybe also practical and competent.  There is more to us than just efficiency, right?  As moms, we know we can make a real difference in the lives of others, not just be busy in our lives.
Yep.  Talking to myself today.  I can be great at efficiency, but consistently work at prioritizing so that I am effective.  When I prioritize, it’s amazing how the other things on my list that were oh, so important, are not so important anymore.