Category Archives: stringing pearls with wendie

Be Mindful (Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter…!)

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One of the most unsettling noises a homeowner can hear is the drip…drip…drip of a leak, especially when that dripping noise isn’t happening in a sink or near a faucet!  On a recent rainy morning, as I was rushing to get out the door, I was suddenly panicked to hear that noise from not just  ONE place in the house, but THREE.

Water was dripping in over the fireplace in our family room, seeping through the floor from the deck into the kitchen, AND managing to find its way down the insides of the windows in the dining room. It was a bit of a mess.

Good times.

The rain eventually stopped and so did the leaks. After some inspection, we were relieved to find out the leaking was due to clogged gutters, NOT some other structural issue.  We called out the Gutter Squad and were very excited, when the next rain storm rolled around, that we were completely dry and leak free.  We learned the valuable lesson on keeping the gutters clear of junk so the water can flow freely through the gutters, keeping the house clean, dry, and well, “healthy”.

Sometimes, we can get our minds all cluttered up with junk, you know?  What we think about is affected by everything we take in: television, radio, internet usage, conversations with others, our senses, our worries, what we read, and so on. If we are not careful to run all that “input” through a filter, our minds can get clogged with things that dampen our spirits and skew our perspective in some pretty negative ways.

So, what’s the spiritual equivalent to a Gutter Squad clean-out?! Check this out:

NTS Week 4

THAT is the “gutter guard” of the mind, sweet friends. I don’t know about you, but THOSE are most definitely the kinds of things I want to be focusing on!!  We know from this scripture from Paul that it pleases God (and therefore good for us!) when we think about things that are:

  • True (reality based – as defined by God/Bible)
  • Noble (worthy of respect by God and those you personally respect)
  • Reputable (lawful and just under the jurisdiction of where you live AND most importantly, by God)
  • Authentic (pure, untainted, natural)
  • Compelling (attractive – morally and ethically speaking!) •
  • Gracious (admirable, you can honestly recommend this idea/thought/concept to others as Godly)
  • Beautiful (it is an exceptionally special thought/idea/place/person/etc. in the eyes of God)
  • Worthy of praise (God will be pleased with this thought/idea/circumstance)

Therefore, when we sense we are taking our thoughts into muddy waters, we can meditate on (…meaning “to be mindful of and think on”) these eight themes to unclog the blockages and replace them with free-flowing water (the kind we talked about last week! ).

This week, to take a few moments out of each day to clear your mind. To unclog the pathways of junk in your soul and fill your spirit with Truth.  Find a quiet place where you can breathe deep, let some things go, and find God.  Be present in the moment, away from to-do lists and tasks that would normally occupy your mind.  Give social media, television, and even radio a break and in their place fill up on healthier mind food – scripture, prayer, and focused time with God!

Following along with our summer series, easy 2016? Click here for the following items:

  • Printable note to self with our mantra and scripture for the week!
  • Printable copy of this week’s EASY recipe! (Kabobs – YUMMY!)
  • Link to amazon.com to find out more about our SUPER FUN book for this month: Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson (I mean SERIOUSLY – how could you NOT want to read a book with a title as awesome as that!)
  • And if you like music, you can click this link which will take you to another great tune from our summer song list! This week, we’re dancing along to” Nobody but You”, by Dara Maclean!

Have a great week! See you back here next Monday for some seriously FUN talk about how to play like a girl… 😉 !!

Peace, love, and JOY!!!

Wendie

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How to Stay Hydrated, Spiritually Speaking!

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Have you ever been dehydrated? Not necessarily the feeling like “I’m a wee bit thirsty”.  I’m talking about the kind of physical dehydration that causes symptoms like fatigue, irritability, headaches, and confusion.

Most of us can treat that kind of dehydration ourselves with water, electrolyte drinks, and rest – making sure we replenish and rebalance the fluids in our body so that we aren’t losing more than we take in. Once we are able to do that, our symptoms disappear and we feel re-energized and able to get back to the business of our lives.

Lemon Slices in Water

But what happens when we find ourselves spiritually dehydrated? Like when we feel irritated by the needs of others when, normally, we wouldn’t have batted an eye when asked for help.  Or when the everyday tasks we usually handle with ease become just a list of headache-inducing duties that cause us to feel resentment and discontent.  Or when we lack the motivation to even lift open the cover of our Bible or devotional to drink in what God has waiting to pour into us.

Been there? Me too.  How do we satisfy that thirst?

We go to meet Jesus.

NTW Week 3

The secret is to treat our dry spirits the same way we treat our parched bodies. We stop expending energy and find a place to rest.  We fill up on what we need to repair and regroup.  And in order to try to prevent it from happening more often, we learn from our experience.  We remind ourselves the importance of noticing the signs of dehydration and treating our bodies when we spy the very first symptom.

Better yet, we act preventatively to keep ourselves in a state of satiation – we fill up continuously with just the right amount so the symptoms that accompany a deficit stay at bay.

single heart on beach

We soak ourselves in the beauty and wisdom of scripture. We open the Bible and read over our favorite verses and let them speak to our spirits.  We spend time at God’s feet meditating on those written words and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal their healing power over us.  We ask Jesus to meet us where we are and we accept his invitation to give us time to rest in Him.  We resolve to keep watch over our “spiritual dehydration symptoms” and ask the Holy Spirit to prompt us to action when we are tempted to ignore them, forgetting where that leads us.

Take inventory of your spiritual hydration level this week. Feeling a little “dry”?  Carve out time to meet Jesus at the Well and at the Table.  Bring your cup, sweet friends, and get ready for a long, cool drink of delicious Life.

He’ll be waiting for you there, I promise!

Following along with easy 2016?  If so, here’s what you can do to stay hydrated this week (click the easy 2016 link to print up anything listed below):

  • If you are reading Simply Tuesday along with us, try and finish it up this week! We’ll be headed onto Giddy Up, Eunice in July!
  • Get out and display Week 3’s Note to Self! Remind yourself to stay hydrated!  😉
  • Looking for an easy dinner option?  This tomato tart is simply delish!!!!  Click the link above and scroll down to Week 3’s menu card and recipe!
  • Get your mindset right with our ALL TIME FAVE song by Rend Collective, “My Lighthouse” !

Have a great and easy week! See you back here next Monday for a few thoughts on THOUGHTS!  😉

 

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Speak Kindly. Please.

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“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Sound familiar?! I think this phrase may have been on a continual loop in my house growing up…especially over summer break!  You, too?!

My sister and I are two years apart. (I’m younger, by the way. Just wanted to be clear about that.)  Here’s a fun little ditty from our youth.  (I’m Miss America with the goofy grin and crown, of course; my sister, Kristin, is the gorgeous ballerina princess!)):

Kiki and Me

Now, this age difference was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because we were developmentally close enough to play together and entertain one another growing up. It was a beautiful thing!  But sometimes,  we were ALSO mentally similar enough to cause some chaos with our words to one another if we so desired.

(Just so you know, we no longer say mean things to each other.  We’re actually quite kind and loving and have been for years.  So, for those of you wondering if your kids will EVER get along, hang in there.  It’s just a phase 😉 , I promise!)

But, man. It isn’t just siblings that use words as weapons against one another, right?  We, even as adults who know better, are capable of hurtling word daggers at anyone, given the right circumstances and atmosphere.  And contrary to that old adage about “sticks and stones”, words can cause significant harm to the spirit of another when we aren’t mindful to use them kindly.

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I love how James just tells it like it is, don’t you? But I also sit in a little bit of shock as James schools us on the fact that, not only can our venomous words cause a firestorm, THEY WILL THEN TAKE US UP IN SMOKE RIGHT ALONGSIDE THEM.

In other words, we take ourselves down the same number of notches we are attempting to take another person down.

Every time we use words as weapons, our own demise is tied to (and equal to) the demise we try to inflict on someone else.

Like most other Americans, I’m bracing myself for the fall 2016 campaign season, especially as it relates to the presidential race. Regardless of which candidate you favor (if any…), I think we can all agree on this:  we will see some fiery words, accusations, and rhetoric fly.  I pray those bluntly wise words from James somehow manage to knit themselves into the hearts and spirits of all associated with the campaigns; join me in that pray?

Now, as much as James totally nails it with his truth on negative words, I’ll leave you today with a sweeter taste about the importance of what we say from the writer of Proverbs:

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(copyright French Press Mornings)

Let’s all be mindful this week of the importance of how we speak to one another. Let’s choose to be encouragers and not critics.  Let’s speak kindly, not only to others, but also to ourselves.

This week’s easy 2016 tips (click the link and you can print your own copies of everything listed below):

  • Find and display your own copy of this week’s note to self! Read it over each time you see it; talk about with your kids, your spouse, and your pals!
  • Getting a little hectic at mealtimes right now?  Pull out our list of mealtime conversation starters and get everyone talking about GOOD things!
  • Looking for a meal to serve while you’re talking kindly?  Check out this week’s delish meal suggestion and recipe !
  • Want a song to liven up your easy summer days?  Click here to listen/watch this week’s song suggestion, “Press On” by Building 429!

See you here back next week when we talk about the importance of staying hydrated… it’s easy 😉 !

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

 

 

We’re still taking it easy!

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Did you get it yet?  Did you? Oh, I hope so!  For all you local ladies, you should’ve already received in your hot-little-hands our summer series goodie bag full of everything you need to have a faith-filled, fun, and EASY summer!  😉

Goodie Bag

Today, we are going LIVE with our Easy Page that gives you an all-access pass to pretty much everything in the goodie bag, AND tells you even more about our book suggestions, song list, and dates for our summer get-togethers!  ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS CLICK HERE!!!!

And, if you’d like to ask friends or family to join in the fabulousness of easy, just send them right here to the blog and have them click on that link above!  They can print up everything they want, as many copies as they want, until they’re walking easy street alongside us!

Don’t forget:  we start up our summer blogs on Monday, June 13th!  The blog posts will be short and sweet little ditties designed to help you understand the “Notes to Self” mantra and scripture for each week and give thoughts on how to apply God’s word to your life in easy and common sense ways!  How cool is that?!

So, what’s a good Bible study girl to do between now and then?  Well, if you have school-aged littles (or bigs!) at home, breathe deeply and hold on while you enter the end-of-year chaos!  It’s almost over… 😉 !  We’re in the throes of it with you.  The great news is God’s got your back and He’s got all this stuff covered.  If your kids are grown or you live in a kid/chaos-free house, say a prayer for us (!)!  We’ll be back here in three weeks from today with the series KICK OFF!!!

In the meantime, download your playlist, order your books (if you’d like to join us in our summer reading – remember it is totally voluntary), find a great spot for your “Notes to Self” card, and get ready to start taking it easy with us!  Enjoy the day – He created it specially for YOU!

THIS is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it TODAY!  Psalm 118:24

In other words, don’t wait for tomorrow or vacation or even better weather.  Look around and enjoy God’s goodness – his GREATNESS – today!!

Put that magnet on your car and start waving at all the other easy ladies around town!  😉  hee hee hee!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

She did what she could (and it was enough)

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Do you ever wonder if doing your best is doing enough?  Do you struggle with the feeling that your actions are big enough to count? Sometimes I do, too.

Here’s the truth, though.  Our purpose matters.  Regardless of what they look like on the outside, our actions have big significance.

Remember the story in the gospels of Mary of Bethany  anointing Jesus with an expensive bottle of nard?   We read about it a couple weeks ago – right before Easter. (You can click here to read it!)

I’ve read that story a gazillion times and heard it even more, AND taught it with a variety of lessons in mind. But one thing I never considered before was that line, right there:

She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly.  Matthew 14:8-9, MSG

Matt 14

(Photo and beautiful artwork cred:  Tammy Mill 2016)

In other words, “Leave her alone. She did what she could in this moment out of love and compassion.  And it’s a big enough deal to me that I’ll make sure she’s remembered because of it.”

I get choked up because I think Jesus is speaking to each of us through this passage. He chose a girl, an ordinary sister friend, just like you and me, to be remembered throughout eternity because she did the one thing she could do in the moment.

She took what she already had on hand (scholars are quick to point this out because the cost of that nard would’ve been equal to about a year’s wages for the average MAN in those days and there was no way she had that money) and offered it to Jesus as a willing gift of devotion to the man she knew to be her savior, OUR savior.

Mary of Bethany did what she could.  She gave from the treasure trove of gifts she had been given.  She acted with what she had.  She acted where she was.  She acted when she felt moved to do so.  She acted without being asked or invited.

Think about that.

She wasn’t asked to do it.  I mean, strictly speaking, Jesus never said, “Hey Mare!  Can you do something really cool and over the top for me right now?  You know, something I can hold up as an example for my followers for years to come?”  Nothing like that is recorded as happening.

Mary felt the call of the Holy Spirit, the need to do something only she could do, out of her love of someone, in this case Jesus, and so she did.

Today I want to challenge each of us to tune our ear to that still small voice that must have called to Mary that day. The one that says, “You know, I think you could be of some help here.  You can do something that may sound or feel a little weird at first, but could really be important.”

Like, when someone keeps popping into your head that you get the feeling could use your time or a phone call today. Or when you sense someone needs a meal or just a big, fat Portillo’s chocolate cake dropped off on her porch.  Or when your wallet has the rare time of being a little heavier than normal and the food pantry flyer just ended up in your mailbox.  Or when you child says to you, “can you just sit on the edge of my bed for just a little longer?”  Or even just the hungry look of your coworker who forgot their lunch compels you to share the last few bites of your favorite sandwich.

Little things matter.  Little things have lasting consequences.  Little things become big things and become the miracles that change lives.

Miracles. They start with an offering.

So, whatever “it” is today, do it. Whatever “it” is tomorrow, then do it, too.

Inspire Week 10

Whatever it is, it is your purpose. Big or small.  Visible to many or only to one.  It doesn’t matter who knows, who sees, or who cares.  What does matter is that you do what you can, when and where you can do it, with what you have been given.  Just like Mary.    You give what you have as an offering and let God do the rest.  Because even if no one else notices, even if no one else seems to care?  Yeah.  Well GOD cares.

As we’ve learned together this session, we have ample opportunity to strengthen our purpose muscle. Through worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and yes – even evangelizing. Our gifts and talents can weave and soak right through even the most difficult of places because we CAN do all things through Christ who strengthen us.  Thank you for walking it out with us this season.  Our ministry team and I continue to keep you in our prayers as we break for summer.

AND SPEAKING OF SUMMER…!  Get excited because we have another super fun, super laid back summer series in store for you!  Stayed tune because all will be revealed in a few weeks!  😉  In the meantime, here’s little sneaky peek into our logo:

easy strawberry logo 1it all wide open for you RIGHT here on Thursday, May 19th!  😉  Stay tuned, sister friends!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

 

 

You is kind; you is smart; You IS Important! ;)

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Psalm 116 tammy

Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:2, NLT

Did you ever read the book, The Help? Maybe you even saw the movie?  Even if you didn’t, you might be familiar with the following lines:

you is kind

I just love those lines. That towel hangs in my bathroom as a daily reminder of Truth.  If I get quiet enough, I can imagine God whispering those very words to me; and then adding, “You is loved.”

That’s the thing isn’t it – that “getting quiet enough” bit. This world we live in is a pretty noisy place.  We all need what Oprah calls a “morning oasis”, even if it’s at night!  A time when we can quite literally step away from noise and chatter of life to honestly get centered, talk to God, and let Him get a word in edgewise.  A time when we make the choice to chase away the mental lists that clutter our mind and hit the reset button on the remote that controls them.  A time when we can just be in His presence and soak it in, little by little, like the slow trickle of a hose placed on a newly planted tree, so that when we get up, we no longer dying of thirst in our spirits.

tangle for peace

In our study book for this session, A Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren tells us that if isn’t important when it happens, where it happens, or what it looks like; the important piece is that it just happen.   For our souls to be saturated with Truth, we need to cooperate with God in the filling! My challenge to you this week is to find 20 minutes or so each day to get quiet enough to experience God.  Let Him remind you why you’re here; love on your tired heart; reassurance your anxious mind; heal your rattled body.  Whatever it is you need, He already knows and is waiting for you to sit a spell with Him over it.

Don’t know how to get started? Here are a few of my favorite (paraphrased) suggestions:

  1. Shauna Neiquist: Mediate on one world or one image that reminds you of God. Maybe it’s a heart, the word “love”, or something in nature. (Meditation isn’t simply the emptying of the mind, remember. It’s also the filling of it with Truth. If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate! 😉 )
  2. Oprah Winfrey: Talk a walk outside and focus on your breath. Let God bring images to mind. Nature is one of our greatest spiritual teachers.
  3. Anne Graham Lotz: Read scripture. Respond to God with your own paraphrased version back. He loves to hear you speak His word!

Create your own version of a “morning oasis” or even a bunch of different ones and share them with us here!

If you are following along with us in our on purpose series, make sure you’re up to date from last week’s assigned homework!  Catch up through Week 8 in your inspiration/scripture booklet.  AND enjoy an awesome song by Jordan Felize about filling up on God!  Click here for “Satisfied”!

See you back here next week as we begin to wrap up our Winter/Spring 2016 series!!!

 

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week: Get Your House in Order

Who is Your Most Delightful Friend?

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If I were you best friend, I’d probably know loads and loads about you. I would see you at your best, at your worst, and in all the in-betweens (and still love you anyway…)!  If I were you best friend, I bet I’d have your phone number memorized (or have you at the top of the list of my speed dial list!). I’d look forward to our time together and think of you when we were apart.  I’d make spending time with you a priority; I’d want my loved ones to know you and adore you like I do; I’d know the things you cannot stand and also know what you live for.  In short, my connection with you would be sister-friend-soul-level-deep; it would be a delight in my life and yours.

zepahniah 3-17

For the Lord your God is living among you. … He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Zephaniah 3:17, NLT

(Photo and Artwork:  Courtesy Tammy Miller, 2016)

That’s the kind of joyous love and holy delight God has for YOU.  He’s happy you are here!  He smiles when you get up in the morning and He sings joy over you throughout the day!  He watches over your comings and goings and He wants to be number one on your speed dial list.

How do we nurture this delightful friendship? Communication, as is it in so many things, is the key.

In his 17th century book on prayer, Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence said that the key to friendship with God isn’t necessarily changing what you do, but instead, it’s changing your attitude about what you are doing.  His advice is to pray shorter prayers throughout the day, instead of one long session.  He called these short and succinct prayers, “Breath Prayers” that are easily remembered and honor God.  What does that look like in practice?  Like this:

This is my mom. And she is delightful!

Delightful Momma

Isn’t that just the best?! She delights in just about everything she does.  In fact, “That’s delightful!” is probably her most often used phrase; and let me tell you, she means it when she says it!  I love observing my mom around other people so I can just sort of sit back and watch her do her thing.  She truly gifted with gobs of joy in her spirit and it cracks me up to see her treat everyone around her with that same giddiness of delight!

When we were together last summer, we were standing in this crowded and hot grocery line and even the best of us were coming a little unglued. But my mom?  Nah.  She just breezed through the waiting humming a tune and making up funny stories to get our minds off the delay.  And as we got up to the cashier, who asked the obligatory “How was your shopping experience?”, my mom smiled and said, “It was delightful!”  And off we went.

In that moment, I thought, “Holy cow, this woman is Kook-a-doodle! There was nothing delightful about our hot and bothered experience!” But you know what I realized?  She saw the whole thing through an entirely different lens.  How does she do that?  She chooses a lifestyle of worship.  Like Brother Lawrence, she meditates on the delightful things instead of worrying the day away or ruminating on the negative.

Her “breath prayer” is a simple, “This is delightful, Lord!”,  combining praise and worship in one sweet little package. And it packs a powerful punch of gratitude right along with it!

This week, as we continue to read and reflect on A Purpose Driven Life, let’s all develop a few of our own breath prayers.  Ones we can quickly pull out throughout the day to stay in the holy delight of God’s friendship. Start with “It’s delightful, Lord”, if you want to!  As we begin to change our attitude and remind ourselves of the importance of worship, we’ll fall deeper in love with our God and grow closer to understanding our purpose!

This week, read days 8-14 in the main book. Try to answer a few of the “Questions to Consider” listed at the end of each day!  Tackle Week 3 in your Inspiration Book, which includes that most delightful scripture up at the top from Zephaniah, and this great quote from Nancy Alder:

Inspire Week 3

Finally, enjoy this sweet anthem from Colton Dixon, “Through All of It, reminding us that God is always with us! Have a blessed week, sweet friends.

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week:  We’re All in This Together (no, I’m not talking about High School Musical…;) )

Why a Broken Heart is a Good Thing

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I’ve had my fair share of broken hearts and, if  I’m honest, probably been the cause of one or two along the way.  But the only GOOD broken heart I’ve ever experienced came from the most unexpected source – GOD.

I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and  replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.

Ezekiel 36:26, MSG

ezekiel

(art and photo credit:  Tammy Miller, 2016)

Without a broken heart  (or maybe a better way to put it would be a “softened heart”) it’s impossible to let God’s word penetrate the calloused layers that often protect it.

How do those callouses get there in the first place, what happens?  We weren’t born with them.  It’s just that life happens.

“The soul is covered by a thousand veils.” Inayat Khan

In other words, layer upon layer, our true purpose get covered up by the circumstances and situations and experiences of life.  Disappointments hit, layers get added.  Slighted by someone we trust, more layers.  Fearful moments, hard fought – but lost – arguments, hurtful comments, scary circumstances.  Layer.  Layer. Layer.  And we eventually begin to wonder if we’ve honestly been put here for a reason.

The obvious question we begin to ask is something like, “If God put me here for a purpose, why didn’t He clue me in on it?”   The answer is, He did.  Scripture tells us that He ordained it even before we were conceived and that He places that purpose deep in our hearts from the moment of our conception.

We come into this world knowing our purpose, even if it’s at an infantile or immature level.

Think about your kiddos and the first time you start asking them what they want to be in life.  Have you ever stopped to think they know what they are here for, but may not be able to articulate it fully?  If you ask kids what they want to be and why, they are pretty darn insightful.  So, I thought it’d be interesting to take a little survey with some of the children I know.  I used the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, and followed up with, “Why do you want to do that?”.

I LOVE the answers I got…

Five year old:  “I want to be a doctor so I can make people better on the insides.” (Translation – I am here to heal people.)

Six year old:  “I want to be president because I know important things that people should hear.” (Translation – I am here to lead people in the way they should go.)

Eight year old – “I want to be a teacher because I am smart and other kids like me so they would listen to me.” (Translation – I am here to share wisdom and show others how God wants us to live.)

Nine year old:  “I want to be a model because I’m pretty.”  (Translation – I am here to share the beauty of God’s creation! Ahem… 😉 ).

Twelve year old:  “I want to be an actor because I’m funny and make people laugh.” (Translation – I am here to boost the spirits and heart of people when they are down.)

Fifteen year old:  “I want to be a therapist because I’ve experienced that life can be really hard and I know how to get through it.” (Translation – I am here to use my experiences to show people the way out of the dark and into Light.)

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(Good Lord, I love this kid…)

 

Twenty-One Year old (this one is priceless!):  “Anything I want to be.” (Translation – I’m a cocky college senior.)  😉

I realize I might be taking a bit of poetic license here, but I bet I’m not too far off the translation.

But now listen to these:

Thirty year old:  “I have no idea. Ask me when my youngest turns 10!” (Translation – I’ve lost touch with what I’m supposed to be doing and I’m too turned around to see it right now – no worries, I figure out later.)

Forty year old: “I need to get back to that, but I’m too busy volunteering.” (Translation – I’m sure it’s important but I can’t take the time right now to figure it out because helping people is taking up too much of my time.)

Fifty year old: “I’m a little freaked out about that right now! What in the world AM I here for?”  (Translation – I need a purpose, I’m sure I had a purpose, but has it passed me by?)

Elizabeth Lesser, who is sort of a new age thinker with a Christian bent says that “True , honest, spiritual work is about uncovering your soul and peeling back all those veils. And, prayer”, she says, “is a tremendous veil buster.”

I agree with that 100%. The only way we are going to remove all those layers of veils keeping us from returning to a place where we can begin to remember God’s call on our life is to talk directly to Him.

Prayer. The first step in this process of remembering why on Earth we are here is to return to the Source – to GOD – and ask Him to remind us.  To help us break the layers that keep it hidden and enlighten us once again.

I recently heard a story about an old rabbi who ended every sermon with this affirmation, “…now let the words of God rest upon your heart.” One day, a member of the congregation asked him, “Rabbi, why don’t you ask us to take those words INTO our hearts.  Wouldn’t that be more beneficial?  Better for our hearts to absorb the words than to merely have them sit on top of it.”  The rabbi replied, “Only those who have allowed their hearts to be broken can let His words IN.  Most of us refuse to let that happen because we fear it might hurt. But for those who dare to try, their hearts are reborn and soften enough to grace them with the humility to become what they were always meant to be.”

“Your heart will continue to break until it finally opens.” Rumi

This journey we are taking together right now is a chance for us to throw off any veils that have been tossed on top of our souls. It’s an opportunity to let our life-hardened hearts break just enough to let a little light shine through.  It’s a time of possibility in meeting God in sincere prayer to glimpse even a sliver of what He has planned for us here, this side of heaven.

This whole thing about “figuring out our purpose” is just another way of saying “figuring out how to return to God”.

So let me leave you with one more – “What do you want to be when you grow up and why?” example.  I asked a dear, 80-something year old woman those questions, and just listen what she said:

“I’m here to bring glory to God by sharing the love of Christ with everyone I meet, and to enjoy every moment He gives.”

Yeah.  I want what she’s got.  Amen?

I’m excited to do this with you. To unveil our souls, to soften our hearts, to hear God speak over us and to us!  So if you are following along with our study, read Days 8-14 in our main book, A Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.  Complete Week 2 in your Inspiration Book.  (Our scripture for the week is that one waaaaaay up there at the top of this post from Ezekiel 36:26!).  Our Inspiration Quote for the week comes from Charles Spurgeon:

a bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't Charles Spurgeon

” A Bible that is falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn’t.”  Charles Spurgeon

And, finally,  check out this awesome song by  Natalie Grant, “Be One”!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week:  “Delightful!” – and why it’s one of my favorite words (thanks, Mom!  😉 )

Settle Down, Already! (It’s not all about you…)

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Sometimes, things just need to smack you across the face to get their point across.  It’s like the most apparent lesson in the world to someone else somehow manages to go right over your head, even though it’s aimed directly at your heart.

Yeah. Sometimes, we need a visit from Captain Obvious.

At the beginning of each year, I spend time in prayer listening to God’s word and His guidance for the one area on which He is leading me to focus.  Here’s where I landed for 2016:

Submit to God and you will have peace, then things will go well for you.”

Job 22:21, NLT

Short and sweet: submit and you’ll know peace and then it will honestly all be okay.

As I’ve studied it further, I discovered that “Submit” (in this instance) is translated from a Hebrew word (hasakan) that, when put into the context of this verse, actually means this:  “Secure the friendship of God. Become truly acquainted with him and be of the same mind. Be reconciled to him.”

In other words: “Get yourself so familiar with God that you no longer fight against Him (because we all tend to do that), and walk in step with Him and in His will for you. Try it, you’ll like it.”

What a great message to start us off on our on purpose Bible study journey this spring! Starting in a position of obedient faith before our God, letting Him speak purpose into our lives!

I was talking about it all with my friend Tammy this week. Tammy is an artist who creates beautiful work.  She sees things in ways only a true artist can see them. She’s in our Tuesday morning Bible study crew and knew Job 22:21 was the verse that would be kicking off our ten-week study together.  She showed me this gorgeous work she created in her Bible, artfully layered on top of the words in Job:

Tammy Job 22-21 Pencils

(photo and art work courtesy Tammy Miller, 2016)

Is that awesome or what!

Then, Tammy sort of “off the cuff” mentioned that in her Bible translation, the word “submit” is actually translated as “settle”. We smiled at the image of us just settling into God and letting Him guide the way.  What a beautiful picture!

Later that same day, I had an AWESOME “a-ha” moment of epiphany from that casual comment from Tammy!  “Settle” is a command I’ve been working on with our new puppy, Friday.  It’s a really hard one for puppies to learn because it is a position of complete submission to the master, and puppies don’t even want to sit still, let alone submit!

settle

You start with telling them “sit”, then “down”, then “settle”. And when they finally “settle”, they lay on their side, head down on the ground, completely peaceful until you release them with a phrase to let them know it’s okay to get up and go.

The phrase we’ve always used is “You’re free.”

Whoa. All of a sudden this verse takes on a very personal meaning, doesn’t it?  God, cupping our distractible and ever-bobbing heads, says, “Girl. Settle down.  Take a load off, rest at my feet, and just be.  Stop fighting me.  I’m in control here, not you.  And after we’ve had some time together, you’ll be ready.  I’ll set you free to go to do the things we talked about.  You’re free when you settle things with me.”

Freedom through submission. What a thought.  What a God!

This life. Our purpose for being here.  It’s not all about you, sister.  It’s about God.  And that’s right where Rick Warren starts us off with our book for this session, The Purpose Driven Life:  What on Earth am I Here for? We’re here to live out the purpose God ordained for us from the moment our existence was cooked up in His master plan.  It’s time for us to settle down and get on with it, don’t you think?

Let’s get to it, then! If you are following along with our series, make sure you have your inspiration book (scroll down past the photos for the links to the pages!) printed and ready to go!  This week, look up Job 22:21 in your favorite Bible translation.  Write it down either in your book or in a journal.  Let it soak into your heart this week and spend time “settling” before God each day.  Take a moment or two reflecting on our inspirational quote for this week:

walk out of gods will cs lewis

(media credit:  Pinterest)

Share it with a friend, meditate on what it means to you, let it guide your steps this week as we start exploring what our God-given purpose might be!

Our song this week is by a fun new band, I Am They! Click here to listen to their tune, “We Are Yours”!

Enjoy your week, sweet friends! And don’t forget to settle a bit, okay?!

Peace, love, and joy!

Wendie

Up Next Week: Connecting to purpose through prayer

I’m doing it on purpose (and I’m not sorry)

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I’m spilling it all here today, right here.  The secrets are coming out and I’m tell it all to you on purpose.  And I am not even remotely sorry about it.

So, what’s the big deal?

BIBLE STUDY – that’s what!!!!

on purpose logo 2 lighter pink

Did I get you?! I hope so!  I love a good hook…

Is there anything more FUN than the beginning of a Bible study series?! Well, you might be able to name a thing or two… 😉

But around here, there is a certain giddiness and awesomeness surrounding the start to a new study season. First, I think it’s because we are finally back together again after a month or more apart!  The joy of seeing one another again and knowing it will be on a regular basis for a bit fills us with joy and giggles!

Add to that an inner anticipation of all the Godly wisdom and knowledge we always seem to glean every time we study God’s Living Word together, and you have the perfect recipe for greatness!

Oh, and lest we forget to mention – THE GOODIES! Yeah.  We’re kind of gaga for goodies.  And who WOULDN’T be when you get study supports like THESE:

Whole package of goodies

You’re all excited just lookin’ at it, aren’t you?! A super cool package all wrapped up in pretty orange ribbon, AND a reusable Starbucks cup!!!  WAHOOOOO!

“So”, you ask, “what’s inside?”

I’m so glad you asked…

The rest of the goodies

So then, you’ve got yourself some prayer cards for sharing prayer requests and praises with your sister friends! All you need for this is a simple o-ring and some tags with a hole punched on them, tied up with a cute ribbon!

You also have some kleenex (we cry a lot…), mints (because “..fresh breath is a priority in my life” – Sixteen Candles quote, thank you very much!), a pen, and a couple mandarin oranges to keep up your strength while you study!

You also have your series CD chocked full of some of our favorite current Christian tunes! You can click here to see the song list for yourself!  You can find the songs on iTunes and other downloadable music stores, OR you can even search the web for free videos of the songs!

And finally, you have your “on purpose” Book of Inspiration!  It’s 20-pages of scripture and inspirational quotes that correspond to our weekly lessons, designed to get you thinking and connecting the dots between what we are learning in study and how to apply it to everyday life!  (It you want to create your own booklet, you can click here for instructions and the link to the cards themselves.)

So. You ready to begin?  We are!  Our studies begin here in our local area next week.  If you aren’t in one of our studies, we encourage you to start one of your own and use this blog as your reference for teaching notes and schedule!  We also invite you to simply follow along individually with us here if you prefer!  Whatever floats your boat gives us a boost of encouragement to keep doing what we are doing, so thank YOU for coming along with us on the journey.  A new blog will post each Thursday through April 28th, when we wind down for a bit to get geared up for our summer series…but that’s another story…

Okay, girlies. It’s time.  Get your books, get excited and GET READY TO STUDY next week.  We’ll be waiting for you – we’re chomping at the bit to get going TOGETHER!

Purpose definition

Let’s get to living this one wild and precious life on purpose, shall we?

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week: The Heart of the Matter