Monday, April 22, 2013


I was feeling a little stressed in the store grocery store today trying to get some last minute plans together for having guests for dinner that evening.  Cooking and even planning what to have for company does not come easy to me.  I certainly did not take after my Mother who would cook up a slew of food and then store it in the freezer ready for any company that might pop by that evening.  How did she find the time or energy for that?  I might have the time and the energy, but what about my "want to?" 

I remember one day when Mom thought it was time to teach me how to cook and she had me help her bake up some cookies.  Well now, my Dad was outside doing something much more interesting and I just knew I needed to be with him but Mom wouldn't hear of it! 

I was a Daddy's girl.  I loved hanging with him.  Dad would take me out with him to test drive a new/used car he had just bought.  That's just what you "did" when you got a different vehicle.  You just HAD to know how fast that thing could go!!  Why?  I don't know, but it sure was fun!!

So standing in the kitchen with Mom my mind was whirling with thoughts of how I could get out of learning how to bake cookies that day.  We had flour and salt mixed in among some other ingredients Mom had told me to measure in to the making of these cookies when opportunity presented itself!  I had already been goofing off and whining about not wanting to bake so when Mom told me to throw an egg in.........well........that's what I did!  I did throw that egg in.  The whole egg, and that was the final straw with Mom.  When Mom got mad......she got mad!  Her small brown eyes would snap and I swear they looked like an angry monkey's eyes!  I know that because we used to have a monkey and when she got mad at me I knew I needed to get out of her presence and fast!!!  That's another story though!!!

My plan didn't quite go as I had thought and hoped it would.  Instead of getting to go hang out with Dad I got to hang out in my room. 

As I'm formulating a plan for what to cook for dinner tonight I hear the sound of singing and dancing feet.  I turn around just in time to see a Father and his three little girls skipping up the aisle headed towards the beautifully decorated cakes and cookies.  The girls were dressed up in their finery of tutu's and lace and little ballerina shoes with ribbons and bows in their long blond curls.  Very girly - girl looking!  Their Father, thankfully wasn't.  He was dressed in blue jeans and t-shirt and not so ballerina looking tennis shoes!  The Father was not embarrassed at all over the attention he got with his skipping and singing.  He told me these were only three of the five girl's he had AND he had one son! 

All I can say is...........that is just precious!!!  It's not every day that you see a Father delighting his daughters in such a way. The smiles and giggling spilling out from the girls was contagious!!!  You couldn't help but be drawn in.  I wanted to go skip with them!!!  I wanted to go skip rope with them!!  Maybe even re-learn how to run that hula hoop!!  That would be oh so much more fun then going home and cooking!!!

With a renewed mind and a renewed spirit within me I skipped home to.......COOK!!!  THEN.........where did I put that hula hoop!!!!!!!

Walking by Faith,


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Got My Socks Blessed Off!!

I've been thinking over a conversation I had with one of the Cashiers at Wal-Mart.  As she was scanning my purchases she kept up a non-stop conversation with me.  She was so very proud of an Angel pin she was wearing that she had gotten from her Grandmother.  Several times she told me how old it was.  She would stop scanning a few times trying to look on the back of her pin as she was telling me that it was worth a lot of money.  On the back of her pin was just the first name of the Artist.  She couldn't remember the name so was trying to find it to show me. 

She proceeded to tell me about another pin she had from her Grandmother that was also very old.  This one she had to stop wearing because the clasp was breaking and she was afraid of losing it.  She told me that she had a customer that had approached her on several occasions offering to buy this one from her.  She would turn him down each time.  On his final approach he told her to please remember him if she ever decided to sell this pin.  She's not selling those pins!!!!  :)

She then told me something that I will not soon forget after I suggested that she might want to take out some insurance on all of the items that are so precious to her and hold so much value.  Smiling, showing her missing teeth, she looked me right in the eyes and told me she had lost her husband awhile back.  She had two dogs left and they were her family.  She cared more about keeping a roof over her and her four legged children.  They were now her family. 

She told me that if someone came to her home and broke in taking all of her valuable possessions that would be ok with her as long as she still had what was left of her family.  She figured that they must need the money that they would get from the stolen items more then she needed to possess them.  What goes around, comes around eventually.......God will take care of them. 

I looked closely at her to see if she fully believed what she was saying, because I could tell by the way that she was dressed and how she looked that she didn't have much money.  I was surprised to see that she meant what she said! 

She's got it right!  Her trust and faith is in God to take care of her and to provide for her and her babies.  I love visiting with people who love the Lord so much and they're not afraid to talk about their faith! 

I found myself wanting to hear more from this Woman of Faith.  She's got more stories to share......I can just tell...........

"When we trust God we are free to rely entirely upon Him to provide what we need."   --Richard Foster

"Belonging to God is liberating.  It sets us free and satisfies our longings."  --Mary Graham

Blessed by His Presence.........


Friday, April 5, 2013

Turning Fifty-Nine and Learning New Habits

On Sunday I begin my last year of being in the 50's!  I have never let age be a problem.  I've never thought.......Oh no!!!!  I'm like 59 and I know what comes after that number!!!!  I really don't think about it until the typical symptoms of stiff joints, flexibility something I used to be able to do comes up that I can still do, but I have to do it differently.  Still, I have made the adjustments and continued on.

I remember one Birthday year when I was in my 40's.  A friend had a Birthday just a couple of days before mine and I had taken a gift over to her to wish her a Happy Birthday.  I remember being filled with so much joy that day.  My heart was filled with so much gratefulness.  Even though I had walked some rough roads and still was walking in some of them I still had my joy.  My husband had been watching me walking down the hill and when I came in to the house he told me that I looked like I had the world by the tail!  He liked what he saw and I liked what he noticed!!   ;)

Lately I have felt like I have gotten a little too comfortable in some areas of my life.  I've been thinking that this is a good year to start breaking out of some of those bad habits that seemed to have become a permanent fixture in my life.  Some of my habits have been holding me back from living an even fuller life than I am at the moment.  Changing things up a little is good.............right? 

I knew that I would need some help with redirecting my old habits to make room for some new ones.  So I contacted Joyce Meyer and told her that I needed some help.  Well........she went out and wrote this book.......just for me!!!!  It's called "Making Good Habits Breaking Bad Habits!"   Well.......that's not exactly true.  She did write this book and I realized it was just for me because I needed to make the changes in such a way that I would have victory and not defeat!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.    Lao-Tzu

The biggest thief of success is procrastination.  I can think about doing the right thing, plan to do it, and talk about doing it, but nothing will change in my life until I start consistently doing what I need to do.  Someone said, "Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of."  (Joyce Meyer)

Procrastination is a thief.  It steals my time, my potential., my self-esteem, my peace of mind.

Here are a few quotes on procrastination that are in Joyce's book:

"Procrastination is like a credit card, it is a lot of fun until you get the bill."  Christopher Parker

"There are so many things that we wish we had done yesterday, and so few that we feel like doing today."  Mignon McLaughlin

"If you have goals and procrastination, you have nothing.  If you have goals and you take action, you will have anything you want."  Thomas J. Vilord

"Procrastination is the kidnapper of souls, and the recruiting-officer of Hell."  Edward Irving

"Procrastination is the seed of self-destruction."  Matthew Burton

"When there is a hill to climb don't think that waiting will make it smaller."  Author Unknown

"Procrastination is suicide on the installment plan."  Author Unknown

Many people will say, " I'm just a procrastinator," as if that were their identity.  We are children of God, joint heirs with Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, anointed by God, gifted, talented, and able to do whatever we need to do in life through Christ (Philippians 4:1)

Today is a good day to make my list of what I know I need help with.  I will take one thing off of that list and work on it.  I know that by changing a few habits I will automatically add hours to my day.  I want to decrease the stress in my life so that I will be a better wife, mother and grandmother.  Let's face it, some habits come with a lot of excess baggage!

Today I will also make a list of the things I would like to do if I had the time and energy to do them.  God's Word encourages us to be active, and by being active we shut the door to laziness, procrastination, and passivity.  If we start doing the right thing, there will be no room for the wrong thing.  I like that!  What greater gift can I give myself?    :)

"This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!"  Psalm 118:24


Walking by Faith,


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When Trust in a Marriage is Violated

Today I came across this devotional and it hit me right smack in the face!!!  Wow!!!  Is she talking about me?  It's true.......this is certainly a part of my story.  What came about to shed light on my deceit was a marriage conference.
Jer and I decided to go to the "Name" marriage conference that was being held locally.  We were new to Casa Grande and had not been to a conference such as this before. 
Everything started out fine and we were really enjoying the whole presentation.  I had taken so many notes and had really gotten in to the conference.  Right at noon when they were going to break for lunch they told all of us that in the afternoon they would be talking about finances.  Immediately I got tired and expressed to Jer over lunch that I would be ok if we didn't come back in the afternoon to finish off with the conference. 
Working full time and being busy and fitting in a conference was a challenge for us, and we can easily talk the other out of doing things because we are too tired.  In fact, we almost talked ourselves out of even going to this conference.
I believe that God gave Jer a strong spiritual backbone when I suggested we not finish the conference.  Of course, I did not tell Jer the underlying reason that I was suddenly tired and wanted to go home.  If I confessed that then I would have to confess all of it! 
I am so thankful that Jer said no, we're going to finish.  The speaker hadn't even gotten 15 minutes in to his speech and I was broken.  God had a meeting with me that day.  Face to face.  He told me it was time to lay my burden of deceit down and the burden of guilt down and the burden of the not enoughs down.........not to mention the burden of the what ifs down.........just to name a few. 
During break time with tears streaming down my face I confessed it all to Jer and asked him to forgive me and he did.  I also asked my Heavenly Father for forgiveness and to help me to keep these burdens right where they belonged.  At his feet.
Because of the choice I made that day with Jer and I working together we are now debt free except for our home.  Today I am intentional with my spending.  I think about what I am doing and how it will get paid for and do I really need it right now. 
Freeing up our finances allows us to help others.  If I added up all of the money spent just on interest alone look at the difference that could have made to someone who was really in need.
I do not live with a heart filled with regret.  I live with a heart filled with so much thankfulness!  I am forgiven and God has taken all of the burdens I left at his feet that day and drowned them all in the deepest seas never to be remembered again. 
Life doesn't get any better then to live your life forgiven. 
Walking by Faith,

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

Hide it! This was my first instinct. I was certain if my husband found out, he would leave me. So I rushed home at lunch every day to remove another credit card statement from our mailbox. My payments were late; fees were stacking up. I was sinking deeper and deeper into a financial and emotional abyss.

My husband was clueless about my debt ... now our debt. He never would have condoned my spending habits, as he is wiser with finances. So the spending was my secret.

Soon, it wasn't just letters in the mail, the phone calls began. I was either going to have to fess up or continue to try and hide it. But at that point, hiding was next to impossible.

I wondered things like, if I tell him, will he divorce me? Will he ever trust me again? Things are already bad, will this make them worse? They are just credit cards, right?

The regrets are many as I look back at this time. We pay high interest rates because of my choices. But even more, I regret violating my husband's trust. I created trust issues in our marriage that run deep and have required much time, effort, and grace to mend. What started out as just small pieces of plastic, ended up creating a gigantic rift in our marriage.

Trust issues in marriage can come in one form or another. There are the things that can knock us down quickly such as lying, committing adultery, and falling captive to an addiction such as alcohol or pornography. And then there are the things that chip away at trust over time like constantly showing up late, paying more attention to a phone or electronic device, cancelling date night repetitively, and refusing intimacy more often than not.

Most of us experience some combination of both major and minor trust-violating incidents unique to our marriage, resulting in trust gaps, and ultimately feelings of abandonment, anger, and rejection.

So how do we mend trust in a relationship as delicate as a marriage? Especially when we are the offender? A great place to start is looking at Philippians 2:3-4. In these verses, Christ calls us to imitate His humility. To do nothing out of selfishness, but value others above ourselves.

Imagine how your marriage would change if you and your spouse both chose to follow these principles. And even if your spouse is not on board, imagine how your life would change if you decided to consider his needs above your own?

This certainly is not a suggestion to be a doormat or endure an abusive situation. Healthy boundaries should be set if there is abuse of any kind. But what I am condoning is healthy humble behavior. Be cognizant of the words you speak to and the tone you use with your spouse. Do not disrespect him verbally. Encourage him every chance you get. Choose to consult him regarding the decisions you make, even the small ones.

Marriage is a partnership. Communicate the value and importance of your husband's opinions. The miracle of humility and respect is when we present it to others, it tends to come back to us in greater amounts.

My marriage is on the mend. I have submitted our finances to my husband. Not because he is a dictator or longs to be in control, but because he is wise in this area and leads in a way of spending and saving that looks out for the interests of our family.

Moving forward, let's choose to test our actions against Philippians 2:3-4 and try to look out for the interests of our husband, not just ourselves. A great first step is to ask for forgiveness from the Lord, be honest with our husband, and move forward together, learning from each other's trust-violating habits. Trust in a marriage is a beautiful, and attainable, thing.

Dear Lord, forgive me for hiding in the dark what should be in the light. Please prepare my husband's heart to hear what I need to confess, and give us the wisdom on how to move forward, together ... with You are our guide. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Purchase the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women
For over 17 years, Proverbs 31 Ministries has been a trusted friend, offering biblical perspective on marriage, parenting, friendships and more. This wisdom has been recorded in 366 devotions that unpack Scripture and are interspersed in the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. Click here for your copy!
Finances within marriage is one of the biggest stressors. If you can relate, join our newest Online Bible Study of Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles. For more information and to sign up, click here.

Visit Stephanie Clayton's blog for more hope and encouragement.

Reflect and Respond:
Are you violating the trust in your marriage right now? If so, make a plan to tell you husband. If you are nervous, pray about having a third party there to help mediate.

Power Verse:
Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (NIV)

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not An Ordinary Day At Work..........

The phone rings and I answer it.  It's my son calling to say he's home from school and that he got in to some trouble at school.......again..........after a few words I tell him that I love him and we hang up.  Lord, what are we to do here?  What are we missing?  A little while later my daughter Bethany calls and wants to go play at her friends house.  She had been there a lot playing after school lately so I said no, told her where I had the snacks set out for them and that I loved her.

The phone rings and I answer's my son again and he's telling me something that I just cannot wrap my mind around.  Something like "I shot Bethany?"  No way!  My mind tells me he's just teasing, but my heart sinks as I know it's true.  I can hear it in the tone of his voice.......... 

What do you with a day like that?  You have just received some unimaginable news.  Right here...... NOW is where you react with what is within you.  The question is now what is in you that is going to sustain you through over ten years of snowballing disaster?  In my case I lost what I valued the children.  One in death, one to lock-up for five years, one to drugs and alcohol addictions. 

Oh, the losses didn't stop there.  Five years later my sweet Mother was diagnosed with brain cancer right before her Birthday in September and she went to her Heavenly home in February.  My marriage could not sustain the pressure and it ended for two years.  I had lived in chaos for over ten years and I had a very over the top tired body.  There was one day I was ready and prepared to take my life.

God doesn't just allow tragedies to ravage our lives.  Because of what was in me (God's promises) I knew there was more coming besides the pain.  That's what stopped me from taking my own life.  God impressed his truth in me that day.  "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."  I John 4:4 (NIV)

Through all the pain and the ravaging God would send snippets of joy, laughter and renewed hope through many vessels.  Looking back I can see God's hand in every single detail.  Even now I can feel his love and his leading me to new and challenging walks..........."Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?"  And I said, "Here am I.  Send me!"  Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

I am so thankful that I have the walk with God that I do.  Every day I want my prayer to be, "God open a door of opportunity to be a blessing to someone today even when I don't feel like little Mary Sunshine.  Open up my heart to let the peace that is always there come flooding out and in to the hearts of those who need their peace restored and they need it today!  Do not allow me to become a stumbling block to those I've judged to have it all together.  I desire you to use all of my pain to be a sacrifice.  I surrender it to you Lord to be an example of who you are in me and what you can do to make a difference in the lives of many.  Everyday change my way of thinking to your way of thinking, my seeing to your seeing, my heart to your heart.  Cleanse my heart, mind and soul of anything that is not of you.  "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10

Every day is a new day.  Each day will hold opportunities to be a blessing and a chance to sew some faith and seeds of hope.  I challenge you on this day to start going out and making a difference.  Do it wounded......don't wait until..........the until's will always be there.  Then I would ask one thing.  Come back here and share the stories.  I can positively tell you from my own experience that if you're operating wounded, through helping somebody else you will be getting some healing.  It's so freeing to be used by God to spread some joy!!!!

Walking by Faith,