Sunday, August 12, 2012

Let the SON Shine In Devotional

(writtem for and read at our recent Ladies Night Out) 

I am really excited that you could all break free from your day to day and come have fun with us tonight.  I have to admit that it occurred to me that God must have a sense of humor to have the entire week be rain-filled leading up to our luau/beach themed evening.  We are talking about the SON shining and have had mostly clouds this week.  What I love is I feel it drives home tonight’s theme.  Even in a dark starless night we can have the SON shining in our lives.  On a cloudy, sunless day we can have the SON shining bright. 

In John 8:12 Jesus tells us “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.” Wow.  We tend to think it’s when the lights go out that we are consumed or threatened by darkness but there are so many different kinds of dark.  It can be the loneliness of feeling like no one could understand what you’re going through, the uncertainty of divorce, the pain of losing a loved one, the anxiety of having a child, or having that child grow up and head out on their own.  Sometimes darkness can be the fear of the unknown, new beginnings, or a big change caused by moving churches, cities or even countries.  As Christians we have a promise to hold like a candle in the darkness.  If we follow Jesus we will never truly walk in darkness.  We will always have the light of life. 

Psalm 18:28 says “You, Oh Lord, keep my lamp burning.  My God turns my darkness into light”.   Another awesome gift our God gives us.  Not only will He keep us in His light if we follow Him but the darkness we have, that we bring with us,that we can struggle letting go of, He will turn to light.  Have you ever tried to hide a shadow from the sun?  Not possible.  You see regardless of what we are going through God is in control and working things out for us.  We may not know the why, who, what, where until we sit down and talk with Him in Heaven but we are not wandering aimlessly through this life, unguided and alone.  God is in control and any darkness that comes our way we can rest in His promise that He is turning it into light.  Just like the sun does to nighttime as it rises in the morning, God will do to our darkness as we draw closer to Him.

Our final verse for the evening is “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” Isaiah 60:19.  This verse makes me think of solar power.  Only instead of s-o-l-a-r it should be s-o-u-l-a-r.  The sun gives our homes light and our God gives our souls light.  One will help you make toast in the morning and not stub your toe when you take that 1am potty break and the other will be there with you every single step, breath and move you make.   The light of the Lord being so bright that when you are fully leaning and trusting in Him you won’t notice the shadows because as you are facing and following the Light of the World, focused on Him and His will, the shadows and darkness will have no place to go but behind you.  We need only follow the simple instruction that were given to Lots wife, “Don’t look back”.  
So tonight let’s focus on the SON shining in our lives.  We have games, hula dancing, food, fellowship and fun all the while basking in God’s Light which for this evening could be as simple as the laughter you’ve been missing or the friend you finally get to visit with.  I encourage you to enjoy yourself, make a new friend and eat something you normally wouldn’t let yourself.  Calories do not count tonight.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Missing the rainbows because of the clouds

Ok.  Time for a deep, dark dirty little detail about myself… Smile




I know, I know.  You’ll notice that I said detail and not secret.  It’s kinda hard to keep “Perky” a secret.  In our recent Bible Study one of the questions ask was if you were making a movie about your life who would you want to play yourself and I said Lucille Ball.

While I am not June Cleaver perky I do have a habit of finding the silver lining in just about anything.  So much so that I tend to keep my mouth shut when the “positive” pops into my head because quite frankly people do not always want to know the bright side.  They like to wallow in the dark (another post for another day) or they are just not ready for the “bright side”.

That being said when something happens that I struggle with the bright side it’s pretty serious.  Here recently in my drive back from Gainesville I was talking to God about a problem I was facing.  It was not even my problem it something I needed to be supportive in that I was really struggling with.  While truly feeling I know God’s will and His Word in this situation I was struggling handing it over to God, already taking any possibility of failure on as my own fault and not wanting to relinquish the pressure that put on me.  Even though it involves other people and is totally out of my control other then to be supportive.

So as I am driving home I went through some ideal liquid sunshine (rain and sunny at the same time) and I began to look for rainbows.  As I spotted a faint one I felt God impress on me how easily I could’ve missed the rainbow if I had only  been looking for the gray clouds.  How easily I could forget His promises if I didn’t stay in His Word.

Sometimes we can totally miss the promise of His rainbow because we are so worried about the storm.  We all have moments that we can forget that the simplest promises God has made us because we have so much going on and coming at us.  One of the best things to circulate the web is the What WE say vs.What GOD says.  Here is one I found online and pasted here:


MAN/WOMAN: "It's impossible"
GOD: All things are possible (Luke18:27)

MAN/WOMAN: "I'm too tired"
GOD: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

MAN/WOMAN : "Nobody really loves me"
GOD: I love you (John 2: 16 & John 13:34)

MAN/WOMAN: "I can't go on"
GOD: My Grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

MAN/WOMAN: "I can't figure things out"
GOD: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

MAN/WOMAN: "I can't do it"
GOD: You can do all things (Phillipians 4:13)

MAN/WOMAN : "I'm not able"
GOD: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

MAN/WOMAN: "It's not worth it"
GOD: It will be worth it (Romans 8:28)

MAN/WOMAN : "I can't forgive myself"
GOD: I forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

MAN/WOMAN: "I can't manage"
GOD: I will supply all your needs (Phillipians 4:19)

MAN/WOMAN: "I'm afraid"
GOD: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

MAN/WOMAN: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
GOD: Cast all your cares on me (I Peter 5:7)

MAN/WOMAN: "I don't have enough faith"
GOD: I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

MAN/WOMAN: "I'm not smart enough"
GOD: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

MAN/WOMAN: "I feel all alone"
God: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

Storms come.  They can be scary, lonely, some are loud and fast, others are slow and deadly, some are over before you are even aware it rained and other’s seem as if there will never be sunshine again.… The storm is not what we need to focus on…we need to be looking for the rainbow.  The promise God has made us for every storm this world can throw at us.  Remember you are loved by an all-seeing, all-knowing God that never looks away from you, never stops thinking about you and He gave us a rainbow so we would remember His promises.

God Bless!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Refiners Fire

Ok – So I am on week 3 of Fluffy to fit and I have to admit God is showing me some things about myself that quite frankly I don’t care a bit for.  Part of doing this blog is sharing what God shares with me so here’s where I’ve gone so far:

  • I have a bad habit of setting a goal for myself and almost immediately following it with the excuses reasons why I will fail.
  • I justify…dear goodness I justify…Why it (read: extra scoop of mac-n-cheese, starburst, a soda) is ok THIS time…conveniently ignoring what I justified less then 24 hours ago.
  • I am scared of who I can be.  Of what is under all this fluff.  What I imagine and what is reality are not connected at all.
  • I have a TON of excuses for why things don’t get done.  Excuses I would not except from my 6 year old yet I expect others to except from me.

So that’s the bad….the impurities as I am refined in the fire.  Floating to the top and not as easy to scrape off as one might think.  I have to keep myself on guard and constantly listen to the self talk.  Watching the things I let float around in my head and (mostly) squelching those things that if left to roam would set me back.

Yes there’s a lot of crud coming to the top but I am also being left with pure gold.  Seeing things about myself I didn’t know were there before I started on this journey:

  • I like working out
  • I am capable of doing more then I give myself credit for.
  • I am capable of doing more physically then others give me credit for.
  • I am able to survive sore muscles.
  • God listens to me.  His eyes are always on me and He is always thinking of me.  He does not need to look away from one thing so He can pay attention to me ( I still struggle with this one).
  • I will succeed this time because I am not doing it alone.  God is doing it with me. 

It’s amazing the things you come up with as you set out on a journey that is so against who you thought you were.  Fluffy is as much apart of me as my hands and feet.  It’s been 15 years since I could describe myself as anywhere near fit.  I have been scared for a very long time of what may be under all this fluffiness.  I admit that some of what I am uncovering is unpleasant… excuses and ideas I have allowed because of the fluffiness.  Justifying wrong thinking because of my fluffiness.  I have also discovered things I didn’t realize I was capable of…working out at least 4 days a week.  Working out on an ELLIPTICAL and enjoying it!  Making better choices in what I eat, believing I am worthy of God’s attention and that I have it, the challenge ahead of me is not one I will ever face alone, not because I have good friends but because I am the daughter of an amazing God.  Who is there to catch me if I fall, pick me up, kiss my boo-boos and encourage me to try again.

So I challenge you to challenge yourself.  That thing you’ve been feeling like you want to try but your scared you’ll fail.  That “feeling” could be God’s way of encouraging you to go do something GREAT!  Go and Do it!  Knowing that you are not alone, not because I will be cheering you on (and I will), not because your kids will admire you or you’ll be tickled with yourself but because God will be with you and it could be an awesome opportunity to draw closer to Him as you believe that if He asks you to fly He’ll not only give you the wings but He’ll give you the breeze to lift you up.

So.  How will you challenge yourself today?

God bless,


Friday, July 13, 2012

My own worst enemy…

own worst enemy

So as of Sunday (July 15th) I will have finished up my first 2 weeks and as I round this first milestone a full 7lbs lighter I have realized something rather shocking about myself.

I am my own worst enemy.

Humph.  I would never have accused myself of such a thing except that with the 7lbs a few things have been revealed.  I don’t like to fail or disappoint.  I already kinda sorta knew that.  BUT there is a fine line to wanting to make others happy (good thing) to not really trying or making excuses ahead of time so that when I fail/disappoint I can fall back on all the reasons (excuses…lies)why I never should’ve really been counted on in the first place to succeed (bad thing).


OR jumping in with both feet and then coming up with reasons I can’t.  I have been big for so long that I can’t remember me when I was a smaller size (read: Healthier size – skinny does not equal healthy but neither done a size 26 and 270).  I have always been that “fluffy” friend.  Making up for that falling short feeling I get when I look at any other woman I know by being funny and kind (I am 99% sure I’ll still be like that when I reach my healthy size).  Used to not being the first choice… just happy to be A choice.  Never worried if I looked as nice or as “put together” as the women around me because I knew from the get go I didn’t.  There’s a freedom in “fluffiness”.  I can only buy certain clothes, do certain hairstyles and go to certain places because my size/weight limits me.  I didn’t hold myself accountable to look as nice because I already knew I couldn’t.  Pointless to run a 5k because I knew I would fail.  Comfortable to have a fail proof excuse for anything going wrong.

Wanna know a secret?  Tell NO ONE.

I am terrified of the small, healthy me, of what she may be capable of.  These past almost 2 weeks I have caught glimpses of her.  She felt energized (huh?), and was focused (say what!).  SHE CRAVED WATER PEOPLE!!! 


So today I had so many reasons(excuses/lies) why I was not behaving.  Just a miserable day for intake and I barely moved enough to counter anything I ate and I caught my self thinking the most awful thought…

“See You are already slipping… You knew you would.”

I had a different response to it then I normally would’ve.  I didn’t agree.  I didn’t slump my shoulders and slink off knowing that there would be an “easier” time in the future.  I simply let myself have today be a “bad” day with the promise tomorrow would be a “better” day.

You see THIS time.  I am not doing it alone.  I am doing it with God.  By myself I would’ve already failed and slipped off, licking my wounded “I wishes” and ready, fully expecting, to fail.  By myself.

With God I know it’s not by my power but by HIS power and through Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!  If I had a doubt God showed Himself through a text from my dear friend who has been gone for a week (and has been such an awesome motivator and encourager…bleh I am tearing up) I couldn’t have gotten even this far without her, there to tell me all that I am capable of and believing for me until I am able to believe on my own.  She just wanted to see how I did this week, set up plans for next week and to schedule coffee and brunch one day.  And the timing was perfect.  I had just gotten the girls down and could actually have a text talk with her without constant interruption. 


as if that wasn’t enough.  I found this when I was looking for other pictures…SO TRUE!

Well friends.  I am yawning so hard my eyes are having trouble opening back up so I am going to take that queue and head off to bed.  God Bless!

Monday, July 9, 2012

2 StePs FoRwaRd. 1 SteP BaCk.

Ok…So I spent a week getting my body in whack to spend 2 1/2 days to knock it out of whack.  Nothing like a weekend at Mom & Dad’s to use as an excuse to follow NO rules.  Boy did my body let me know too!  It’s amazing how sometimes you don’t realize how bad you felt, until you’re going back there from feeling so much better.  For the first time in a week I woke up sore, almost hungover feeling.  My head hurts, my body aches, I slept over 8 hours and feel like I just dozed off. 

While I gained 5 pounds (bleh bleh bleh) the silver lining is that still puts my total loss at 4 pounds and I am almost positive that since I barely drank 1 ounce of water this weekend it’s mostly water weight.  So back on the water drinking train I go. 

The next time we go to Mom and Dad’s I will have to make sure that I follow the 16oz of water before 12oz of soda rule or suffer the consequences.  We are also back on the eating right train today.  Weeeeee.

God Bless!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rounding up week 1…

…I survived!!  Not only that I thrived.  I think I may really like working out.  No one has told my fluffy self that I am in the wrong place and I think besides the standard answers to Why do you like working out? I feel better, I have more energy, I am getting healthier… my favorite part of working out is the coffee when we are all done, getting to sit down and take 5-10 minutes just to touch base with these amazing women.  It’s like the cherry on top of the getting healthier sundae…though that may not be the best analogy and I’ll try to have a new one by my next post… Baby Steps ladies… Baby Steps!


That’s right ladies…my little butterfly on the little ticker weight gadget thing-a-ma-bob(courtesy of ) at the top of this page has MOVED!!  I know as I get further into fitness it will not take such leaps and bounds but it was mighty nice that it did this first week.  Kinda confirms that something somewhere is being done right.

I have planned out my workout schedule for next week.  My menu has not been planned out too much simply because we leave tomorrow for my parents house for the weekend and while I am not going to go on a binge eating everything carpy in sight I am also not going to hold the reigns as tightly there.  Hoping my dear dad makes some French Toast on Saturday.

Off I go…Melissa

Monday, July 2, 2012

Change is hard, God is good.

Ok…so if you can’t tell by the little ticker weight gadget thing-a-ma-bob(courtesy of ) at the top of this page I am on the road to weight loss.  If you want you can join me on this journey and in this post I am going to share my first day:

A dear friend from church has been encouraging me for awhile to workout with her at the gym.  She knew it was something I wanted to do and I think she also knew it was something that just intimidated the stuff right out of me.  It was something I had tried before and failed at miserably. 

Not a big fan of failures, especially repeating them.

So suddenly there is this desire to stop wishing for my outside to match my inside but to actually start actively pursuing it.  Stop wishing that Walmart would get some of the cute little person clothes (read: anything size 18 or smaller) in plus sizes and just get to a size that can wear them off the rack.  Stop wishing my kids would settle down and start having the energy to engage them.  To stop being less then God made me to be and start being the best weapon in His arsenal, to do that I don’t have to be skinny but I do need to be healthy.  To stop being the butt of my own jokes to offset my insecurity.  I just needed to start moving so I could start stopping all these things.  So I could start being a better example to my kids, to hopefully start teaching them the way to eat at 6 and 2 so that when it may become an issue it won’t be because they’ll already eat the right way.

So I took a leap and took this dear friend up on her offer to workout together.  As I was getting ready and heading there I had about 4 times that I just felt like bawling my eyes out.  The little doubter inside me questioning what it was exactly I was hoping to prove.  Did I really think that THIS time would be any different then the last 20?  I had tried before and was obviously much better at being  fluffy then I could even hope to be at getting fit.  As I started to believe and agree with what I was telling myself I prayed that God please give me the strength, the tenacity and the ability to do this, to be more then I was now.  To silence that doubter and replace with an “I can” voice.

I was reminded of this verse:

Matthew 19:26
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

So though I was still afraid (and feel silly saying so – afraid of exercise really?) and still had doubts, overwhelming all that was this feeling that this time would be different.  THIS time I was not doing it alone.  THIS time I was doing it with God and with God ALL things are possible.  Including the things I had failed at alone before.

As I am walking into the Y a Christian friend drives past me waving, I saw 3 friends within 2 minutes of going inside and my dear friend was there to not only pooh pooh my fears but to insist that I do the ELLIPTICAL TRAINER and not the treadmill for 15 minutes.  She hopped on the one next to mine and though the first 5 minutes were (I am certain) life threatening, we got so caught up in talking that the next thing I know she’s saying we’re done and we went and had coffee with another friend.  God sent me someone to be the “I can” voice that I couldn’t be for myself, that sees in me the things I can’t yet. 

Change is hard…God is GOOD.

So…tomorrow’s goal…20 minutes on the ELLIPTICAL TRAINER!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The danger of a Fake Snake

My dear daughters have a fake snake that they love....
Notice how at a glance you would think it's real?
I am not a lover of snakes.  I tolerate them the way I tolerate... poopy diapers, they are necessary.  I don't want mice running the world and I don't want poop on my carpet.  Just as I prefer the poop stay in the diaper; I prefer that snakes stay outside and even better off my property.  In the 11 years we have lived in this house..I have seen 2 snakes.  It makes me love the place even more. the point I go! 

As I was doing my before bed prep I noticed the fake plastic snake laying in our hallway.  In all honesty it has gotten me a few times.  I have seen it out of the corner of my eye, poking out of a box in the garage and skipped a heartbeat before I realized it was the fake snake.  One of my girls moved it, it did not move itself(I would tell my self as I was trying to breath through the heart palpatations).  However I find myself growing used to it now and I barely acknowledge it other than the thought that it no longer bothers me.

I realized as I headed for bed that I would not recognize a real snake in my house until I was right up on it if it had the same coloring as the fake one.  I would either be bitten or scared out of my mind thinking I was approaching the harmless fake snake.  So what other fake snakes are there in my home?

What are some of the things that I think are harmless that are truly not?  Even more so what are some of the "high places" that I think I can ignore or that don't affect me because I know they are bad but just by watching it, reading it, talking about it; I am sending a message to my girls that it's not sooo bad because mom watches, reads or talks about it.

We are entering a day and age I never imagined growing up.  A time that we have to worry about the commercials our kids are watching.  Forget the shows that are at least rated now.  The majority of commercials today are about what I can get, what I can take from someone else, how I can be better, stronger and beat my neighbor, sex sells, the way you look outside is super important and knocking people over is ok as long as you're getting what you want and on your way to being the best.  It's about Me, Me, ME.  That is not the will of God.  The will of God is to love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:31 "The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”).

The things that look deadly but are harmless are the most dangerous of all. They desensitize us to the real threat, making us more vulnerable to it. Making us more likely to walk up on a real snake.  Justifying the entire time that it's just a (commercial, dress, word, tv show...) it's not hurting anyone and my kids, friends, husband are not paying attention to it.  We think that until we get ask a question about the commercial we don't want to answer, see our daughter wanting to dress a way we find unacceptable, hear our toddler say that word to our pastor clear as bell when every other word in her vocabulary only you fully understand, or find our husband watching shows that have more foul language then actual words.  It was harmless until you have to pay the price for allowing it.

So what are your high places?  Your "fake snakes"?  The things in your life that you kind of shrug off.  They're harmless... until they're not.  What are your fake snakes and what will happen when you let your guard down enough not to realize a real one when you see it?

God Bless!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hello ladies! 

I linked up with Time Warp Wife for Titus Tuesdays...

It's meant to encourage us to be better women and has quite a few links to other blogs that has encouraging words for moms, women, wives, daughters etc.

Go check it out!!

God Bless!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Putting things into Practise...

I have been very intentionally laying it all down to God lately. Trying to be very intentional in giving Him my concerns and fears, not allowing myself to hoard my "little" worries from God.  Acknowledging that He knows the exact number of hairs on my head as Jesus tells us in Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. He took the time to not just count them but PLACE them! If every single hair on my head (that is so easily cut, dyed, grown out and changed on an almost daily basis some weeks)is important enough for God to know the exact number then why on Earth am I waisting time and energy thinking or believing on any level that my worries and concerns are a burden to Him or for that one moment no matter how many times He tells me in His word or shows me in my life, how much He loves me, I still struggle to truly feel worthy of it.

Do you know the answer? I do. I am human. Yup. Human. Seems so simple. We all are so lets just pack up and go home. Doomed to struggle forever and always. Oh but WAIT!! God gave us a blessed way out. A way back to Him. It is not done by deeds or good will, nice thoughts or being in church every Sunday (Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast" It was done by the Blood of Jesus (John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.")

The fact is He is paying attention.  He does not have to stop looking at one thing to see me (Psalm 33:13 From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind;).  He already knows everything I have going on ...He is just waiting for me to tell Him about it; to have a relationship with Him.  The more I talk to Him, the more I listen for His reply and His desire for my life the easier and better my life is (Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.).  When I am so intentionally focused on God's will my desires line up better with His.  I start to want the things He wants for me.

In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  Rest for our souls.  It just sounds peaceful doesn't it.  When I read that scripture I can't help but think of the peace He's offering us.  For our burdens, the things that are weighing us down, keeping us awake, sending us deep inside ourselves or out where we don't belong.  For the things we can't tell our friends, have trouble admitting to ourselves and sometimes guard closely.  For those things those BURDENS He will give.  us.  rest.  Not just a unisom, melatonin type of rest.....nothing you can get over the counter at CVS or with a prescription.  This is the absolute SOUL healing rest that can only come from Jesus.

After a week of Katie's struggle with allergies having me up at 2am for 1-2 hours and then awake again at 5am let me tell you I am weary!  There is a lot of tired in me right now and like aloe on a burn the promise that Jesus will not only take my burdens but give my soul rest, soothe the places in me that I had not realized I was sore.  Not just physically but mentally and emotionally. He soothes.

Just ask.  Just tell Him, tell Jesus those places that hurt, ask Him to show you the places you may not know are weighing you down and then to help you hand them over.  I like to think I am a honest person especially with myself but even I have to ask the Lord to show me the things I hide even from myself.  To help me let them go. 

So the challenge for this week, today maybe just a moment from now... Ask God to show you those things you hide even from yourself.  Those things that slow you down and are making you weary.  Then ask God to help you hand them over and let go of them.  Putting them completely in His hands so you can have rest for your soul.

God Bless You!

Sunday, May 13, 2012



"May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!" Psalm 23:25

I know that today is Mom's day... A day I hope every woman out there is getting a little bit of extra TLC.  Remember that God Loves You and you are blessed in His eyes EVERYDAY.

On a funny little side note one of Katie's grumbles is that there is not a "kids day".  I told her it's called Monday through Sunday.

God Bless You!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Butt Weight

So...I am sure the title got your attention.  You either think you are about to read some great way to loose weight and firm those butt cheeks or you think I have not had my coffee yet this morning and I meant "But wait".  Either way I got your attention didn't I?

So today I am going to talk type about the phrase "but wait"...  It's a phrase I use way too much in my internal dialogue.  Sometimes I talk to God, sometimes I complain at God or give plenty of good excuses why I am not doing the things He has put in my care....things like:

The housework is never quite caught up...but wait the kids were acting up and I was constantly having to deal with them...

The laundry is never quite all folded and put away... but wait I had to do some things for the Women's Ministry and lost track of time.  At least it's washed right?

My garage is quickly looking like it would qualify for one of the "Hoarders - the garage series" tv shows... but wait I was online looking at some blogs that empower me as a SAHM.

My lawn is looking like the Serengeti and my porch a place the lost things go... but wait I am making chore charts so I would be better organized (that's one of my favorites - I can spend hours working on chore charts while dishes sit in the sink).

I have plenty more... I am sure you have some.  I bet they are really good ones too.  Kids are a great excuse reason.  I use mine all the time.  One of the things God has been showing me is that I say the kids were a handful from where I am sitting on the couch with my laptop, kindle and smartphone.  All 3 sometimes going at the same time.  Here is the scripture God has been showing me over, and over, and over again.  In a book I am reading, it was posted on Bible Gateway as the verse of the day and it was on something I was researching....think Someone's trying to get my attention?

Proverbs 31:27 "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

But wait!  Lord I am not idle. Oooooh No, not me Lord.  I do a lot of stuff.  A LOT!   I plan get togethers for the women, I  research stuff, I ... do... stuff.  I do!  As a matter of fact Lord... You can ask any of the Women at church or my mom...they'll tell you I do stuff!  Just the other week we had a play date and we are launching 2 Bible studies, and there's a couple thing coming up...I do stuff... I am NOT idle...nope no idle bread for me.  I'll show you my Cozi calendar Lord... I am the opposite of idle!

Or am I so busy eating it I don't even taste what it is I am eating.

hmmmm... OUCH.  That kick in the buttinski hurt a little.

So this all came around as I am driving in my car on my way to a Mom Tea that Katie's class was having in honor of Mother's day.  My mind was wandering and it wandered to all my but waits.  Then in a way only God has my mind associated my "but waits" with actual "butt weights".  I had not realized before that both can drag you down.  Each time I used a "but wait" I was adding to my load, weighing myself down because I was not putting what I needed to do before what I would prefer to do.  Not wanting to realize that if I truly want to be a Proverbs 31 wife then I need to start handling my business FIRST.  Right now in this season of my life my first business is my home and those that live in it.  Everything and everyone else is secondary. 

I was busy being idle.  Chew on that one for awhile!  Another Ouch for me.  In such a hurry to do I was not focusing on what I need to get done.  Here's the truly ironic part.  Each time I put off a have to with a prefer to then I am adding a "butt weight".  I am putting one more thing on my mind that needs done that I haven't done.  One more thing to slow me down whether or not I want to realize I am carrying it along.

Not only that but when I load myself up with "but waits" it makes it harder to hear God's will.  My mind is so full of the things that I need to do and haven't that it's hard to take the time to "Be still and know He is God" Psalm 46:10.  It's easier to just sing the poor me song and feel bad for all the hard stuff I have to do.  God did not call me for a pitiful existence.  He called me to be a Mom, a Wife and the Women's Ministry Director.  He has called me to be a Speaker and to encourage women.  He has called me and because He has called me He will gift me with the things I need to do those things.  Nothing is impossible for God - no matter how daunting it is for me Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.  I have to do my part though.  He has also given me the Free Will to sit on the couch or stand up and do His work.  I have to make a conscious decision that when I feel the couch calling me I will ignore it's call and listen harder for His. "They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader (the Internet) in order to return to their slavery(the couch). But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them," Nehemiah 9:17 Remembering that I am not just doing the dishes to avoid flies or so that we'll have something to eat on but I am doing it to glorify God  "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" 1 Corinthians 10:31.  I am keeping my house, taking care of my kids, loving my husband all for the Glory of God.  Everything that comes from it is a blessing from God.  As I turn my focus from what I want and to what God wants things just get easier.  It's as if my heart, mind and soul all line up and are at peace.

So...What choice will you make with your Free Will?  What are some of the things that you know God is calling you to but you feel unprepared or like Moses and God's made the wrong choice?  Remember God knows everything, He is yesterday, today and Tomorrow.  He knows what we are capable of because He knit us together in our mother's womb and knows our inmost being (Psalm 139:13).  We are  not a surprise to Him.  He has called us and He will make us capable.  Just like Moses (Exodus 3) God will equip us whether we feel capable or not.

Today I am going to start tossing off the butt weights but waits and walk easier and lighter in God's calling.  I am going to stop making excuses and start doing.  I'll let you know how it all turns out!

God Bless!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Enjoy The City has another great special going on!!

Good Morning Everyone!

What a great day!  Enjoy the City has brought back their 5 books for $29 with FREE SHIPPING!  In the front of every book there are 4 - $5off wyb $30 at Winn Dixie Coupons.  That means you are getting 20 - $5 off wyb $30 coupons - equaling $100 in saving - minus the cost of the books - $71 in savings and you still have a book full of restaurant and place coupons!



Friday, March 16, 2012

Enjoy The City Coupon Books are on Sale AGAIN!

Head on over to Enjoy the City and grab up some of these books while they are available!  They are having a special St. Patricks Day Special where you will get 50% off when you buy 3 or more books.  That's spending $10 instead of $20 per book and in the front of each book are 4-$5 off wyb $30 Winn Dixie Coupons.  You can use these at Publix and Winn Dixie!  If you break your purchases up into $30 increments you can increase your savings that much more!  Not only that but there are also some good coupons for the local area at both resteraunts and attractions.  With summer coming up I will take all the help I can get to save money and get out of the house at the same time!

They are available ALL OVER so if you know your going to be traveling around Florida now's the time to grab a coupon book! I grabbed a few for Gainesville knowing I'll be there this summer and fall. The Winn Dixie coupons can be used here and the coupons will save us money when we go there. Win Win!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Yummy New Product

I tried the new Kraft Fresh Takes Savory Four Cheese and could not be happier!  I followed the instructions for the meatloaf (I also used milk instead of water - a suggested extra in the recipe) and it was delicious.  Now I am A) a picky eater and B) Not a huge fan of meatloaf.  So for me to say it's delicious is HUGE.  I even went back for seconds!  I'll take pics next time to show just how easy it is but it can't possibly get any easier.  Measure out 1/2 cup of milk, 1lb (I'll probably use a but more then that next time)of beef and the Kraft Fresh take.  Mix it all together, put it on (or in) your pan shaped like a loaf of bread and cook for about 60min or until it hits a temp of 160. 

So if I were raised a shade worse I would literally be sitting with my pants unbuttoned purring on the couch.  I am delightfully full.  To compliment the meatloaf we had baked potato wedges (that baked at the same time as the meatloaf - just one rack lower) and I gave the girls mandarin oranges.

As soon as we get a grill I am going to try the hamburger version of this recipe.  Or take it camping next time we go.  YUM!

Off I go....

Day 2 - Getting the house back in order

Ok - Soooo Day One went like many day ones go.  a complete and total flop.  While some areas are better then they were 2 days ago...I went on a major grocery run (saving 67% I might add) and anything not required to be in the freezer is currently crowding my previously cleaned area.  1 step forward and 2 steps back.  Eventually we will make headway. 

My dear hubby has put my on a major buying slow down until we clear out our freezer/fridge.  They are packed to the brim.  The nice thing is I won't have to shop during spring break next week except for milk and bread.  Hoping that the major garage clean out and yard revamp really does happen.  I'll only be going for some things that are free and yummy :D

Alrighty....I guess today I will focus on putting the groceries all in proper spots...


Thursday, March 8, 2012

This is the first day of the rest of our a clean house!

So I was over on Stephanie O'Dea's Website and I was inspired by this post about getting started getting control back over your home (she also has some awesome crockpot recipes).  I have to give into the impulse to tell you that my house is not's just not orderly.  Right now we have so much outside activity that when I am home I don't want to clean, I am too tired, I just don't have time, Matt sleeps during the day and I don't want to make too much noise even though he constantly tells me that cleaning noise will NOT upset him...

All GREAT excuses.

Now I have used Flylady and that's a great resource for getting started and maintaining but I haven't been able to get motivated.  So in an effort to feel like I am doing something about the messy house without actually having to stand up and get off the couch I decided to read this post.  I am afraid it hit me right in the bread basket and kicked all my excuses out the door.

I hate when that happens!

In her post "Getting Started: A Beginner's Guide to a Clean and Organized Home" she says "The biggest obstacle to overcome in any task is procrastination. In order to start getting your house in order—you need to start getting your house in order. Procrastination is tricky when it comes to orderliness, because sometimes procrastination masquerades itself as cleaning. Do not alphabetize the spice cabinet if you have a mountainous pile of dishes precariously balanced in the sink. Do not worry about cleaning out the garage if you can’t navigate through the family room." Sadly I am guilty of doing exactly that.  I recently reorganized my Kitchen cabinets but can't walk in my laundry room (in my defense it's not a huge laundry room) without stepping on something.  The kitchen cabinets could close so they probably should not have been my first priority.

So today I am going to do the first step she talks about - Getting started NOW.  It's not perfection time - it's action time.  I am not striving for sparkly today - I am simply striving to have everything at least closer to it's proper place.  We can work on the order and organize once there is some room to do it.  I really want my home to be company ready so that if a dear friend called to come over I could glady say SURE...Right now I would have to come up with a somewhat decent excuse why it was not a good day.

Off I go....TTFN

P.S. I just spent 30 minutes designing my new signature.....which is the equivalent to procrastination.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Being held captive... by Pepsi?

So as I sit here going through Beth Moore's "Breaking Free" Bible study we have come to the obstacle of idolatry. I knew from peeking ahead it was coming and I dreaded it. I knew what it meant I would have to give up. She defines idolatry as "Anything we try to put in a place where God belongs".

So how does Pepsi fit in?

Once my "go to" was alcohol. I say that and immediately want to make excuses... I was never a "bad" alcoholic or anything. I just liked to drink with friends and didn't know when or want to stop. I was a nice drunk. People enjoyed me drunk. The only person that didn't was my husband. Of course he was the only one there 2 hours after I stopped drinking and sat bawling on the bathroom floor. He would tenderly take care of me and show far more tenderness then I deserved in my self-induced misery. On 2 separate occasions alcohol almost cost me my marriage. The consequence of Alcohol became too great. So now it's something we avoid. For us (this is a "us" rule - we are not anti-alcohol, just anti-us drinking any of it) alcohol is extremely hazardous to our marriage so it is not allowed in our home.

After that my "go to" was smoking. I (of course) smoked while I drank but when I gave up drinking I was not going to give up smoking too. I am still looking for that scripture in the Bible that says one vice is allowed. I knew God would understand though. After all how else was I, a God fearing saved Christian, going to get de-stressed? My life was full of stress too. I had a home, a hard-working husband, a cat, a working car, a good job with a nice boss. We had food on the table and powered lights over our head. We did not go to bed wondering if we would be killed, freeze to death or die of heat stroke. Indoor plumbing is something you take for granted until some dear friends are telling you about their mission trip to Belize where "it" was literally running down the street. You see ladies... so much to be stressed about (please, please read the sarcasm I intend here).

I gave that up when my oldest daughter was about 9 months old. She had chronic ear infections and was consistently sick. My de-stressing was not worth her health. So I put them down and walked away. Occasionally I still have delightful stress free dreams of cigarettes. I know - I'm weird. Also one of the few non-smokers on Earth that like the smell.

So that brings us to today. When in great moments of stress I turn to ....Pepsi. Are you seeing the problem? Instead of turning to the Almighty glorious God of everything{Revelation 22:13 "I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end"). I turned to a carbonated soft drink that is horrible for my pre-diabetic health and really gave no valuable input into my problems. No matter how many I drink, my problems refused to fade. In fact, exactly the opposite happened. My problems got worse! I have kidney stones, the beginnings of Chrons, and my body truly aches when I wake up in the morning. It can take a full 15 minutes to convince my joints and especially my right foot that they are supposed to be used for movement. However, when I am off Pepsi (as I have been for 7 days now) I wake up almost pain free. I am a solid 100lbs overweight for which Pepsi does not exactly help. You would think that alone would make me want to leave it alone.

You would think so wouldn't you?

So realizing that I am putting Pepsi on a pedestal where it does not belong I have put it down and with God's help am not allowed to even do the "I can only have it when I eat out" rule. I have already had to scold myself for letting the excuses pop into my head. Thankfully and TOTALLY with God's grace I have been able to continue to tell myself "No". So I jokingly tell my friends when I see them "Hello, My name is Melissa and I am 7 days off of Pepsi".

Thanks for Reading,

Monday, January 30, 2012

I was fortunate to go to Dothan, Alabama at the end of January for the Among Friends Conference with Kathe Troccoli. It was a fantastic time and we really enjoyed ourselves. I can't wait to go to the Ewomen's Conference in Pensacola at the end of April!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Emptying Out Your Apron Pockets...

There was once a time that putting on your apron was synonymous with putting on a bra. It was part of a women’s arsenal to get her daily work done. As she went about her daily chores, finding things out of place, she would put them in her apron pockets. At the end of the day she would empty out her apron pockets and put everything in its proper place. She would put Billy’s toy car in his toy box, Bob’s pipe in the den and her ear rings in her jewelry box. Then hang her apron on the hook in the kitchen, ready to face another day. It was a signal that her day was done and she would go to sleep knowing that things were in their proper place.

As women, we have “Apron pockets” that we don’t even realize are there. Our day goes by and we pack things in there like worry, fear, anxiety, saddness and stress. Packing away the fear about our youngest going to school for the first time or worry about your “baby” taking their first real adult job. You may be storing away worry for your family’s main source of income, fearful of what the doctor may say at your next appointment, have so much anxiety that it can be paralyzing at times or stressed about how you will be able to mend a family relationship back the way it once was. You may be anxious for your son becoming a father or totally stressed out that your 16 year old passed their driver’s license test. All these and things like this we store away, not realizing that each thing (both the positive and the negative) is like a stone weighing us down. They are things that are commonly placed in the “that’s life” category, shoved into our apron pockets and then ignored.

We assume that these little stones of fear, worry, anxiety and stress are ours to contend with. No place for them to go and we just have to suck it up and carry the burden with little to no complaint…after all we don’t want to add our burden to our sister’s load. So day after day, week after week, the stones are piling up. We don’t always realize we are carrying these stones around with us. Occasionally some spill out in the form of “snarkiness” or “unexplained tears”. A body ache that just has no explanation (probably had a stone land on it or we slept funny on the stones) we just know we are weary, snippy, snarky and sore, maybe withdrawn or intentionally staying as busy as possible. All the while trying to avoid or ignore the stones into oblivion.

Don't Worry I have Great news! God knows us well and has already given us a way to empty out our apron pockets. The author says to us in Psalm 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” In the New Testament Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Then Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”. There are three important things I hope all of you realize in these scriptures:

First: In Psalms it does not say our God only carries our big burdens and that He is only available Sunday evenings at 6pm. In Matthew Jesus didn’t invite us only to bring the things we think we can’t hide. If it is a burden to you God wants you to bring it to Him. He DAILY bears our burdens and wants to give us rest. Empty out your Apron pockets. Take every worry, stress, anxiety and fear at the end of the day and hand it over to Him. He is waiting for it and wants to give the weary(YOU!!) rest!

Second: Paul tells us in Galatians to “carry each other’s burdens”. It doesn’t mention to only notice what’s convenient for us or to avoid the icky stuff. It is a trick of the enemy to have you thinking you shouldn’t give her a hug because it may embarrass her or that you shouldn’t share your burden because it is yours alone to carry. Pray and God will show you who to talk to! What do you think is easier? Carrying a boulder by yourself or having 5 sisters circled around the boulder and lifting all at once?

Third: Here is the awesome part of how these scriptures work together. The burdens we carry for our Sisters… We can hand over to God! As we pray for them sharing their fears, worry, and concerns with God we are able to hand over the stones. Not only attaining a rest and a peace for ourselves but for our sister that was able to lighten her load by talking to someone about it. When we share our burdens we have help lifting them up to God who is willing and waiting for them.

So as we go about our day remember... You can "Empty Out Your Apron Pockets" anytime. Be watchful for the woman that may need your help empyting her pockets and ask for God to help you see her. Stay unburdened, God's grace is unfailing and He is waiting for us to trust Him enough to hand them over.

God Bless!

This is a Ladies Night out we had with this as the theme. It was great!
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Daddy's Arms

It amazes me that at the ripe young age of thirty-ish the solace I found last night crying on my daddy's shoulder. My heart was finally given permission to mourn my grandma and as the saddness welled up I just walked over to my dad, laid my head down on his shoulder and bawled. He put his arm around me and softly murmured the token sayings "It's going to be ok, I know honey I know, "and it was like balm on a wound.

At a time when there are so many unknowns coming, so many "This is the first time we have done this without Gigi" coming, the comfort and strength I was able to get from my dad was soothing. It was my constant in a storm. A lighthouse that was always been there to keep me from crashing into the rocks. So often not realizing how badly you need it until suddenly you do, and like any good constant he has always been there.

When I was younger, he kept me off the rocks with a stern look and then a deserved spanking. As I grew, precious priveleges were suspended - things like "No TV or Friends for a week" almost comical now at how life ending and harsh it seemed to teenage me... Then as I grew up and started to flirt with adulthood his tone changed. Acknowledging that he had to let me hit the rocks a couple times but always putting a cushion around me so that I would merely get bruised and not broken. Never wanting a life lesson to do me permanent harm and feeling it as his own when it did.

I believe that as parents we are our children's first glimpse of God. His Love, His Mercy and His firm hand when necessary. During the most troubled time of my life, teenage hood, my dad and mom had to put me into a hospital and as we were driving there I angrily said I was going to run away again the first chance I got. My dad very camly turned around and said "I want to catch you more then you want to run". He gave me a glimpse of God's love then and has been an awesome example of it my entire life.

Thanks to my dad's love I have no problem counting on God's love to be there and comfort me. I am forever grateful for my daddy's arms and the security, unconditional love, and laughter we have shared all these years.

God Bless!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Heavy Heart

The time is getting closer to my grandma's memorial and I am dreading it with every ounce of my body. There is a part of me that knows I need to go. To say Good-bye to such a major influence and part of my life, but then there is a part of my that wants to run and hide. Make up some excuse why I can't go, as if by avoiding it all together I can avoid the pain I have been flirting with all week.

I am going by myself. I know that will be frowned on by some but Matt was willing to do whatever I wanted. With our usual babysitter out of town until 1/10 or going to this memorial I decided to have him stay with the girls. I will feel better he's home and will have everyone under control and in bed by the time I get home. I won't have to worry about it.

I am trying to lay all of this in God's hands. I need to let go of it first so he can actually take it from me.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goodbye Gigi

My grandma passed away.

I know what I should be feeling. Sad. Lost. Empty. When I go searching for the emotions I know are there all I find when I think of her is a numbness. As if my heart knows it has to take her passing in little bites or stop beating altogether. I just don’t know what to do with the knowledge she’s no longer there. I can’t remember a time that she wasn’t here and trying to wrap my brain around it is proving impossible. My heart’s desire is to mourn and my brain's biggest fear is to let it, this causes for poor sleep and groggy days.

My grandma died.

I thought of a lot of ways to write about this. I could write about how I am feeling but it can be summed up in one word ... Numb. That does not make for a good story nor is it one I want to write about and share with others. Then I thought about why my grandma would be so missed. These are my reasons, the way I remember. Others may have more or less but these are mine:

My grandma was the definition of a strong woman. She would speak her mind with her southern drawl and expect you to thank her for the opinion. She had a way when we were younger of demanding your attention and the absolute expectation she would get it. Happiest with my Papa beside her she could put on a family gathering with a buffet of everyone’s favorites and commanding what she needed her troops to do. No one questioned her authority and if anyone did my papa was quick to defend and demand respect for the love of his life. No one questioned.

She took great pride in every single person in her family. All of them deserving her praise and she would tell any that would listen of her prodigy’s latest accomplishments. She made me feel like I was a precious child and made me feel like my daughters were even more special then I suspected. I loved to call and tell her about the girls latest “doings” because she had a way of being in awe with confidence. She was always properly amazed at her wonderful great grandkids but knew they had the abilitly to be amazing. Her confidence in them was contagious.

As she grew older we would have long conversations about her great-grandaughters. She would share stories of when she was raising my mom, aunt and uncles, followed by stories of them raising their kids. It was her suggestion that led to Katie getting her first nibble of Peanut Butter toast around 6 months.

She made me feel precious. Initially amazing for being her granddaughter and later completing the awesome accomplishment of giving her 2 more great-granddaughters. She always knew I was capable of more then I thought and supported the choices I made for my life.

The tears are waiting to come. They haven’t yet but I know they will. I hope you have a small glimpse of the woman who was best known as Gigi in her final moments. I believe that she’s wrapped in my Papa’s arms with a reunion second only to the one with God himself. My greatest sadness is that my youngest will only know her through stories and not with the same excitement my oldest had at the mention of Gigi and that they have one less person that truly took joy in every step of their life.

I take comfort that Emily shares her middle name. Making me feel like a small piece of her will carry on. Now I can remember all the good, share the stories and hold onto the things she taught me. How to Love fully, to care for and raise your children with a firm but fair hand and how to truly appreciate the people God has blessed you with.

"Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted" Matthew 5:4