Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Into the Word {Features}

Into the Word Wednesday is a link up and blog hop where fellow Christian bloggers share something they have learned this week while Into the Word. If you are a Christian blogger, feel free to connect and follow other bloggers who are sharing their recent steps of their walk with the blogosphere! If you are not a blogger and you are interested in reading more biblically based posts, scroll down and click until your heart desires.

Each week, at least one of the hosts of this hop will be highlighting some of our favorite posts from the prior Wednesday. This week, that host is me! 

Barbara over at My Life As An Adventure has a beautifully written post that you should read if you have ever screwed up, made a mistake, felt like a failure, or felt ashamed. 

::Read It Here:: 
It's really worth the minute or so to read it.  

Have you ever heard a song on the radio that just wouldn't leave you?  Becca over at A Humble Bumble listened to Blessed Be Your Name and it really resonated with her.  

::Read it Here::
Her post will leave you with a smile on your face. 

One of the most transparent and raw posts I have ever read that ended with God's glory, peace, and undeniable strength was posted over at:
Mariel's post resonated with me all week long.  
I just wanna hug her!  
So, please visit and leave her some hugs too.

Each and every lady that links up amazes me week after week.  I'm am truly blessed by each individual post! 

 So, without further ado...
Let's get this Link Up Party started!
We would LOVE it if you linked up with a post about what God is showing you in the Word or in your life. Please also stop by and see what God has been teaching each co-hosts this week:

Sarah at Fontenot Four
Kelly at The Houtz House Party
Becky at Tales For Ashes
Kelly at Exceptionalistic
Falen at Upward Not Inward


Into the Word Wednesday Blog Hop Rules:

1. Write a post about what God is teaching you this week.
2. Follow the host and hostesses via GFC.
3. Grab a button to put on your blog - the more the merrier!
4. Check out (and comment) other people's blogs, and be blessed by all the sisters and brothers around the world!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cara Box Swap {Oct}

Kaitlyn, who blogs here:
Wifessionals


Started a swap called:
Cara Box

Considering I like making friends, receiving gifts, and sharing encouragement, I signed up!

I was absolutely thrilled to meet my Cara Box partner, so let me introduce her to you!
Heather blogs at:
 
I was even more excited to see that she Super Funny and Has a Heart for God.
Plus, her love language is Gifts.  So, this was a great match!
October's Cara Box theme was Favorite Things of Fall.

Heather sent me:

A magazine filled with lots of Fall recipes, a bag of Hershey's Kisses, a Hat, an adorable and sweet card, a bracelet, a Give Thanks Cross, and a Scentsy bar.


Caramel Pear Crisp made my house smell Ah-Mazing!


My mom saw the Instagram'd picture of my hat and already said she wants it. Ha.


The candy didn't last long once my kids saw it.
Everything Heather picked out was wonderful, and I am beyond thankful.
I have worn the bracelet to work once already.

Thanks Heather!
And thanks Kaitlyn for hosting this fun swap!



Also Linking Up With:
Covered in GraceMom's Monday Make the Scene Monday

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday's Song


I absolutely LOVE Nine Lashes!  Enjoy "Believe Your Eyes"!




Linking Up with:
Amanda’s Books and More

    At Home Take 2

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fab Five {16}


Every Friday we reflect on our week and post Five Fabulous things.

Sometimes it is not always easy.
But, we do it!

We ponder on the good of our week.
We encourage you to do the same.

Share with us!!
We love reading how your week has been too!!

1) This week I am grateful for:

Falen:  For God's guidance even when I am super busy with life.  I'm grateful I am never alone, and He is leading the way.

Laura:  Being able to vent to my closest friends before I fly off the handle and react in a destructive way.  Boundaries...I may hate them and they may seem silly...but they are necessary to keep me away from what I struggle with most.

2) This week I enjoyed:

Falen:  Lunch with an amazing lady from my old life group.  She has such an amazingly sweet spirit and a beautifully contagious smile. I just love her.

Laura:  Watching my baby girl play soccer for the last time this season.  She has really enjoyed her first year in soccer and has improved so much.  I am so proud of how much effort she puts in to it every time.


3) This week I learned:
 
Falen:   Of the blog: One Part Joy - One Part Circus.  AJ is doing a series called 31 days of Inner Beauty and it is rreeeealllllllly good.



Laura:  That God has Falen on speed dial when I screw up....LOL!  I'm laughing about this now, but it's true!  Now if only she would just answer the darn phone when he calls :)


4) This week I accomplished:

Falen:  Staying awake during a friend's birthday party.  I had next to no sleep the night before, and still managed to have a good ole time with these girls!

Laura:  A LOT of homework!!!!

5) I am looking forward to:

Falen:  #COFFEEANDJESUS in the morning!  I love the depth of the dive every other Saturday with a group of amazing women who have hearts for their Creator.
   

Laura:  My baby girl's birthday next Friday...she'll be 5!  I am looking forward to having no plans this weekend and being able to focus 100% on studying.  I am not 100% sure that I'm looking forward to this, but I have 32 days until my first ever Law School Final Exam.  I AM looking forward to having that first one under my belt!

We look forward to hearing from you every week.
So, please share something the positive from your week.
We love to learn about you, engage with you, and get to know you.
Have a great weekend!!


      

Linking Up With:
Fantabulous FridayFaith Filled FridayOh So AmeliaFavorite Things FridayHigh Five For FridayThat Friday Blog HopThe Faith Filled LifeHarvest of FriendsFive Minute FridayWomanhood With PurposeTruly LovelyFind & Follow Friday Fellowship Friday

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Esther {Pt.4} ~ ITWW


Into the Word Wednesday is a link up and blog hop where fellow Christian bloggers share something they have learned this week while Into the Word. If you are a Christian blogger, feel free to connect and follow other bloggers who are sharing their recent steps of their walk with the blogosphere! If you are not a blogger and you are interested in reading more biblically based posts, scroll down and click until your heart desires.

It didn't take long to realize Esther was a ten chapter book in the Bible that reads like an epic action movie transcript filled with betrayal, assassination plots, executions, and the saving of a whole nation.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  It’s a super easy read.

There are some key issues that grabbed me in Esther.  Here's Part 4.  (The Grand Finale)


Short recap first:

Esther was a woman who believed in the God of the Jews.
Esther didn't have a perfect childhood.
Esther was obedient and brave at the same time.
Esther was respectful to her husband, the King.
Esther saved a nation of God's people.

The most encouraging message I learned from the whole book of Esther...  You ready for it?

Esther was an obedient believer, who saved an entire nation while remaining respectful to her non-believing husband.  This revelation encourages me to the very core of my being.  

Can I just be raw with you for a second?  Countless times I have thought, "if only He loved and lived for Jesus, then..." Yet after this study on Esther I truly grasped that my ministry doesn't have to be held back by what I believed to be the roadblock of a husband who was not a spiritual leader.  In fact, I learned this isn't even a roadblock.  This is my ministry.  

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands 
so that if any of them do not believe the word they may be won over 
without words by the behavior of their wives, 
when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 

Esther was used by God in a gigantic way even though she was "unequally yoked."  Her husband was not a Jew, yet their conversations began and ended with great respect and honor.  She didn't undermine his position, yet she found favor time and time again.  Without the mention of her God, she paints a vivid picture of his power, favor, and presence regardless of her husband's belief--so much so that she played a crucial role in saving the entire nation of people who believed in the same God she did! 

When Esther is before God in Heaven, she isn't going to have to give an account for King Xerxes.  She is going to have to give an account for herself.  Did she see her husband's lack of love for her God as a barrier to her mission?  No. She maximized the opportunity with eloquence, honor, boldness without losing her temper, identity, or marriage.  That, to me, is inspiring.



We would LOVE it if you linked up with a post about what God is showing you in the Word or in your life. Please also stop by and see what God has been teaching each co-hosts this week:

Sarah at Fontenot Four
Kelly at The Houtz House Party
Becky at Tales For Ashes
Kelly at Exceptionalistic
Falen at Upward Not Inward

Into the Word Wednesday Blog Hop Rules:

1. Write a post about what God is teaching you this week.
2. Follow the host and hostesses via GFC.
3. Grab a button to put on your blog - the more the merrier!
4. Check out (and comment) other people's blogs, and be blessed by all the sisters and brothers around the world!


Follow Me


We are called by God to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20).  Jesus says that if we follow Him he will make us fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).  But even though God calls me to make disciples and to be a fisher of men, I feel so unworthy of this calling.  I screw up daily.  I have trouble with the same sin over and over again.  Why should anyone follow ME?!  But I was reminded this week as I came across a new blog, Three Years Down, that "your mess is your ministry."

My mess is my ministry?

MY MESS IS MY MINISTRY!

My sins, my failures, my struggles, my sadness, my loneliness...they all serve a greater purpose.

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."  Romans 5:3-4

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

I persevere through every reoccurring sin, every failure, every struggle, every period of sadness, and every period of loneliness.  That perseverance builds character and gives me hope.  And I have Hope and Faith that God works in ALL things for good.  ALL things...sin, failure, struggle, sadness, loneliness...ALL things!

So while I definitely do not have it all together, I turn to Him and lean in to Him for strength.  He is my focus even when everything around me seems to be crumbling.  I focus Upward Not Inward!  Follow me!!!  Let me be your guide to Him.  I know I'll screw up, but what I can show you is how to keep your focus on HIM and never give up!

Lyrics from 'Follow Me There' by Third Day:

You need a place where you can find some shelter
Follow me there, follow me there
You want a hand to hold, someone to help you
Follow me there, come on, follow me there

Where love, like a river, flows
Peace like you've never known
And joy never ending lives
A place where faith can find
Hope that will never die
Follow me there, come on, follow me there

You need a place to be your sanctuary
Follow me there, come on, follow me there
Where you can lay down all those burdens you carry
Follow me there, come on, follow me there

Where the lost can find salvation
And the lonely finds a friend
Where the sinner finds forgiveness
Won't you follow me there
Won't you follow me there



Who do you follow?  What are you fishing for?



Linking Up With:
Titus 2 TuesdayHeart + HomeTime-Warp Wife;  Teach Me TuesdayGFC Blog HopTuesday TangoSimply Better; Teaching What is Good

Monday, October 22, 2012

Esther {Pt.3}


It didn't take long to realize Esther was a ten chapter book in the Bible that reads like an epic action movie transcript filled with betrayal, assassination plots, executions, and the saving of a whole nation.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  It’s a super easy read.

There are some key issues that grabbed me in Esther.  Here's Part 3.


At this point, Esther is Queen and she just found out that the King approved genocide of all the Jews in the empire.  For the nation of her people, the people who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, annihilation was inevitable at this point.  There was "great mourning" with "fasting, weeping, and wailing." (4:3)

When she was asked to do something about it, her initial reaction was one that I have had a time or two, "But." See, just because her husband was king didn't mean she had any real power.  In fact, should she even approach her husband without requested in his presence first, she could be put to death.  Unless... he extended the "golden scepter and spares" her life.  

Her cousin, Mordecai, sends back this question:

And who knows 
but that you have come to your royal position 
for such a time as this?

Her response this time wasn't the same.  She requested the Jews in Susa to fast for her, then she would approach the king.  "And if I perish, I perish." (4:16)  If that doesn't scream bravery I don't know what does.  She risked her life.  She took a chance and risked it all.  If you don't know how the story ends, her act of bravery saved a nation. 

How many times have I sat back and not said anything, not done anything, not imagined in the impossible being possible?  How many times have I focused on the but and not given God the chance to bless the unless?   What if I am here for such a time as this?


Linking Up With:
Covered in GraceMonday's MusingsThe Better Mom Monday's Link UpMom's Monday Mingle; A Life In BalanceGrace Laced MondaysMarital Oneness MondaysMake the Scene MondayRachelWojo; Mom Initiative; Sharing His Beauty; Matrimonial Monday; On Your Heart

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday's Song


Enjoy 'Alive in You' by 7eventh Time Down!!!



Friday, October 19, 2012

Fab Five {15}


Every Friday we reflect on our week and post Five Fabulous things.

Sometimes it is not always easy.
But, we do it!

We ponder on the good of our week.
We encourage you to do the same.

Share with us!!
We love reading how your week has been too!!

1) This week I am grateful for:

Falen:  Friends trusting me with their children.  You never know what's gonna happen, but I had a blast with this lil' guy this weekend.

Laura:  HIS Grace and HIS Forgiveness.  Unconditional support of the best FRIENDS!

2) This week I enjoyed:

Falen:    All the amazing Link Ups this week over at Into The Word Wednesday.  I haven't read them all yet, but so far, they are pretty incredible.  Need some biblically based encouragement or inspiration, check it!

Laura:  Watching my daughter play soccer last night...scoring and blocking...she's a brute!

3) This week I learned:
 
Falen:   Soooo much at #CoffeeAndJesus on Saturday.  I am beyond blessed by each woman in this group!  Need a Women's Bible Study Group and not sure where to go or where to start?  Check it out:



Laura:  I am currently cramming lots and lots of legal research info in my brain for Tuesday's exam.


4) This week I accomplished:

Falen:  Four Parent-Teacher Conferences in one night with two kids.


Laura:  Waking up at 3 a.m. twice this week to finish homework.

5) I am looking forward to:

Falen:  A hockey game tonight and sleeping in tomorrow morning!
Laura:  Cooking dinner for my best friend tonight and having a movie night with our kids!  I am also looking forward to Tuesday's exam being OVER!!!

We look forward to hearing from you every week.
So, please share something the positive from your week.
We love to learn about you, engage with you, and get to know you.
Have a great weekend!!








Linking Up With:
Fantabulous FridayFaith Filled FridayOh So AmeliaFavorite Things FridayHigh Five For FridayThat Friday Blog HopThe Faith Filled LifeHarvest of FriendsFive Minute FridayWomanhood With PurposeTruly Lovely; Find & Follow Friday

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Esther {Pt.2} ~ ITWW

Into the Word Wednesday is a link up and blog hop where fellow Christian bloggers share something they have learned this week while Into the Word. If you are a Christian blogger, feel free to connect and follow other bloggers who are sharing their recent steps of their walk with the blogosphere! If you are not a blogger and you are interested in reading more biblically based posts, scroll down and click until your heart desires.
 
It didn't take long to realize Esther was a ten chapter book in the Bible that reads like an epic action movie transcript filled with betrayal, assassination plots, executions, and the saving of a whole nation.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  It’s a super easy read.
 
There are some key issues that grabbed me in Esther.  Here's Part 2.

 
Esther was an orphan.  
She didn't grow up with a mom or dad.  
She was raised by her cousin.
Her cousin handed her over to the King's palace 
in hopes of her qualifying as one of the favored virgins 
to be chosen as the next Queen.
 
As I pondered this, I can't fathom how she must have felt.  The words lonely, lost, unwanted, worthless, unloved, and insignificant come to mind.  The Bible doesn't say she was consulted about who she lived with after her parents died or that she was even old enough to know.  It also doesn't say if she even wanted to be in a beauty line-up for the King.  It doesn't say whether or not she complained about how unfair her life was.  It doesn't say if she suffered from depression or if she was a generally happy person.

 

Yet, a distinct picture of Esther's obedience is painted throughout each chapter. She was obedient when she was entered her into the Queen-to-be line up, and she won favor with the person in charge of the contestants.  She was also obedient when she was forbidden to reveal her identity as a Jew, and she won favor with the King--so much so, she was crowned Queen.  She obeyed her cousin's instructions just as she had done when he was bringing her up (2:20).
 
Esther went from little orphan girl to Queen of the biggest empire in the world.  
 
Over and over, throughout the entire book of Esther, her obedience was profound to me.  Her life displayed a reverence to God that is undeniable.  I have to wonder if Esther was disobedient (like I am more times than I'd like to admit) if she would have been crowned as Queen.

Am I really obedient?  Or, do I grumble and complain and justify and whine and dwell on the bad and retaliate and react poorly and show disrespect and let my emotions take over?  How often do I delay or altogether avoid obedience because of my own problems, feelings, or even self-pity?  Esther showed me that what appears as painful obedience is God putting you where He wants you for His purpose.  By my disobedience, what opportunities for God am I giving up?




We would LOVE it if you linked up with a post about what God is showing you in the Word or in your life. Please also stop by and see what God has been teaching each co-hosts this week:
 
Sarah at Fontenot Four
Kelly at The Houtz House Party
Becky at Tales For Ashes
Kelly at Exceptionalistic
Falen at Upward Not Inward

Into the Word Wednesday Blog Hop Rules:

1. Write a post about what God is teaching you this week.
2. Follow the host and hostesses via GFC.
3. Grab a button to put on your blog - the more the merrier!
4. Check out (and comment) other people's blogs, and be blessed by all the sisters and brothers around the world!




Fading



I often feel like no matter how far I've come, I'm never far from my sinful nature.  It never leaves, always lingering, always waiting for me to mess up.  Satan knows it only takes one action to set off a chain reaction of sin, and his goal is to trip me up so much that I'll stop even trying and fade away.

"So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."
Romans 8:21-25


Lyrics of 'Fading' by Decyfer Down:
It starts with one time to fit in
Addiction slowly setting in
I drifted off into dismay

Eyes looking back at me
I can't even see your face
The pressure is closing in
It's taken me again

Wait, it's all that I can take
And every single day
A part of my soul is fading
But now by letting go somehow
Unshackled and unbound
I'm calling out your name
I'm fading
So save me
From what I've become

It's like a force that's pulling you
It's empty promise hides the truth

Just about to break
Help me see the way
I shatter into pieces on the floor

My sinful nature may be a slave to the law of sin, but I am a slave to God's law and God has prevailed.  I will not give up!  No matter how many times I feel like I am fading away and have to start over, I am NOT giving up!

I may not be who I want to be, but thank God I'm not who I was!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Esther {Pt.1}

It didn't take long to realize Esther was a ten chapter book in the Bible that reads like an epic action movie transcript filled with betrayal, assassination plots, executions, and the saving of a whole nation.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  It’s a super easy read.

There are some key issues that grabbed me in Esther.  Over the next two weeks, I am going to share them with you.  Here's the first one...


 
As I learned before, I read of another example of how respect is such a huge deal to men in chapter one. I mean HUGE.

Xerxes was a King who commanded his fellas to bring his Queen to him.  They went, and she flatly said no. The king threw such a fit over his Queen refusing his request in front of his boys that he banished her from the kingdom and Queen Vashti was then on just Vashti.

He was horrified at the lack of respect, so horrified he basically got rid of her. I'm not saying he was right. I'm not saying she was wrong. What grabbed me most from this chapter was how sensitive the issue of respect is for men.

The King even had a lil' meeting with all his friends, and they all agreed that her behavior had the potential to impact women everywhere. They were so devastated by this they agreed a decree should be sent out or else "there would be no end of disrespect and discord." (v. 18)  One guy even piped up with  "all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the great" to sway the king to issue a royal decree making an example of Queen Vashti.  (v. 20)

If I missed anything during Love and Respect when it came to how great the issue of respect is for men, this really hammered it in for me. Disrespect is a massive blow to the male persona. Huge.

Disrespect Builds Walls.
 
Have you seen this play out in your marriage?  Don't build a wall in your marriage.  Tell your husband something you respect in him today. With your words, build up your husband not walls.

 

 
Linking up with:
 
Covered in Grace; Monday's Musings; The Better Mom Monday's Link Up; Mom's Monday Mingle; A Life In Balance; Grace Laced Mondays; Marital Oneness Mondays; Make the Scene Monday; RachelWojo

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday's Song


Happy Saturday!  Enjoy 'Carry Me to the Cross' by Kutless!
You can download it for FREE on itunes HERE until 10/21/12!



At Home Take 2
 

 
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