Monday, June 22, 2015

Fighting Back with JOY


Have you ever heard of Margaret Feinberg? She was new to me until this spring when my friend suggested we do one of her Bible studies with our small group. I am so glad we met through the pages of her study.

She is ONE. WISE. WOMAN.
A flat-out gifted teacher of the word.
And I now know that she is a big deal in the Christian publishing/speaking world. She has written 4 books and Bible studies, has been featured in lots of media, and is a popular speaker at big events like Catalyst and Thrive. She was even named one of the 50 women shaping Christian culture today.

I used to wonder who would take Beth Moore's place when she wanted to step down, but God is raising up a whole new army of wisdom.

Of course He is!

We just finished Fight Back With Joy and I can't recommend it highly enough. It was right up my alley since Joy is my One Little Word this year. I wrote about it here. I have been so encouraged with the way God has brought this word to my attention over and over since January-the power of focus, I guess.

Margaret shares from experience how she was able to find JOY in the midst of struggles and weaves the scripture and life experience together in a way that makes it understandable and APPLICABLE. I love the practicality of her teaching.

Using lots of scripture, suggestions, and bonus activities, her words became more than just words. They became solutions to problems that were holding us back from the good things God has for us.

One of my favorite sections was Embrace Celebration as a Discipline. She reminds us that God loves parties and used scripture to prove it. NonChristians often have such a distorted view of God as a big party-pooper when in fact, he is the first party planner, comedienne, dancer, decorator, and cook. We are created in HIS IMAGE, so if we enjoy these things, it is because he planted the desire in us.

If you are looking for an encouraging study that will also challenge you, try this one!

Here are links to the book, study guide, and leader's kit if you want to check it out.

                  
This is a study that I will repeat over and over. I want to be a person who looks for JOY BOMBS, which God is throwing all around me if I will only look for them.

He is throwing them for you, too, friend!


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Disclosure: I am now an Amazon Affiliate and will be compensated if you purchase something from my links. My opinion is totally my own.
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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Baby Talk

This is Prince George, not a member of our family.......google images!

One of the best parts of being a grandparent is having conversations with our granddaughters. Those talks can be hilarious or innocent or disturbingly honest. 

Or embarrassing when family secrets are spilled. I'm sure we have all been there!

Two of ours are learning to sew this summer and I am helping them with their 4-H projects. We went to buy their fabric at Joann's the other day and after much searching and persuading that a dress with a chiffon overlay was probably not the best choice for our budding 6 year old seamstress, Amy settled on a very colorful fabric for her elastic waist skirt. As the salesclerk handed her the cut fabric, Amy sweetly asked, "Now where are the sequins?" 

I'm still laughing out loud over that one! This little doll is convinced she can do ANYTHING. And I want it to stay that way. Shame on the person who bursts that bubble.

I spent some time this week with our youngest who is just learning to talk. Her precious little babbling and talking in complete sentences or paragraphs of indecipherable language is the sweetest sound. In the midst of all the "words" are some that I recognize, including "Mammy" which is what she calls me.

She definitely is experimenting with sound, learning how to make her wishes and needs known to those around her.

I googled and discovered over 1,000,000,000 results to explain just how language acquisition happens. Educated people obviously have spent a lot of time trying to understand it. But, how can you explain the explainable?

To me, it's a flat out miracle. 

Imitation is the greatest teacher, and Hannah will eventually learn to talk just like her cousins did, by listening to language and repetition of language and being talked to by all of us. 

What a great responsibility speaking to a child is!

What words will ring in her ears?

Will she hear words of affirmation? Encouragement? Truth? That Jesus loves her sooooo much? That she is valued and honored and has a purpose?

Like her cousins, she has parents who love Jesus and her, so I am sure that she will.

Not every child is so lucky. That makes me so sad.

Soon Hannah will know the POWER of her words. I pray that all of our grandchildren use their words in a way that honors their Heavenly Father.

Maybe they will write songs that praise Jesus, or books that change people's lives, or devotionals that lead others closer to the Savior, or speeches that encourage and uplift and bring out the best in those who listen.

Maybe they will stand up for someone who is being bullied or speak life into dark situations.

Maybe they will lead their neighbors to the Lord.

May God may use their words to change the world!

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Sidebar: Our kids don't want me to post pictures of them on my blog, so you will just have to trust me-our grandkids are ADORABLE!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Get Your Pretty On!

Happy Monday Morning!

I have a sink full of dirty dishes, gobs of laundry to fold, Brad's suitcase still packed after almost a week, dust in places it shouldn't be, a party to prepare for this weekend, but I'm not working on any of it. Instead, I'm thinking about FASHION.

To be more specific, I'm thinking of the Get Your Pretty On Summer Challenge! Have you heard of it?

A friend told me she thought I would enjoy Alison's blog, and she was right. When the email came out about the Summer Style Challenge, I jumped all over it. Who doesn't want to have cute outfit suggestions sent to her email box for 21 days? I'm planning to combine these outfits with the free outfits from a  previous challenge I also received, and I'm set for the summer.




Signing up includes access to a private facebook page and I can tell already I'm going to get some great ideas from the friendly challengers who are posting like crazy and VERY WELCOMING! They range in age from 20-70 somethings, so don't let those cute shorts in the picture above scare you off.

The suggested items can be found at every price point and at a variety of stores, including Target and Kohl's and JC Penney. I really like this feature because many of the other fashion bloggers I enjoy spend a bazillion dollars on clothes, which I am NOT willing to do. I want to wear my clothes, not marry them for life.

Early bird sign up for the Summer 2015 Challenge is open and is only $29.00 until May 28. That is just the price of a few magazines or a top that is bought and stays in your closet because you just don't have anything to wear with it.

So, what do you think? Want to join the fun with me?

You can read my other fashion ramblings here, or here.


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In the spirit of full disclosure, if you purchase from my link, I will be compensated. This is the first ever affiliate link in which I have ever participated, and I'm only doing it because I think you will benefit, too. I'm planning to use any moula I make to purchase large bolsters for my new restorative Holy Yoga class. Namaste!
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Fight the Frump: Camo Pants, Anyone?



We live in a land of hunters and I come from a family of them. My granddad hunted all kinds of birds and what he brought home was often the food for that day.An empty red or yellow shotgun shell was a familiar sight at their house, along with the dusty stuffed quail and the pheasant feathers stuck in a container on the desk.

My dad also hunted birds and his high school buddy, who became an airline pilot, often visited for a "hunt." To me, Jack lived a very exotic life, flying around the world. Our family wasn't able to take many vacations because LIVESTOCK, and we certainly didn't fly anywhere. One time Jack brought us sourdough bread from San Francisco-yum! I still haven't visited that city, but I sure hope to some day.

Anyway, I tell you all of this to bring up camo. When I washed my boys camo sweatshirts, coveralls, hats, and overalls, I never imagined that I would ever wear the brown, gray and tan pattern myself, but I started getting a hankering a couple of years ago when I began seeing them styled in adorable ways on the internet.

via pinterest

I resisted for a long time because I thought I was too old for the trend, but then I decided to live dangerously and jump into the camo pool. We live in the boonies, remember, and I didn't have time to drive close to an hour to shop for any, so I started looking online.

I found a pair by Kut From the Cloth on the Nordstrom website. I ended up ordering them from Amazon just because I could do it with one click and have them uber quickly since we are Prime members.


via pinterest

She Thought She Could

Aren't these outfits adorable? They are kind of winter-y, but you get the idea, and I'm sure you can come up with lots of ways to summer them up. To me, they have become my new neutral and I'm going to wear them with lots of different colored tops and shoes.

Not convinced? Here are some more ideas from Pinterest Told Me To, which is a great little fashion blog, by the way.


Yesterday, in the sermon, the speaker reminded us that as Christ followers, we are clothed in the righteousness or Christ. That, of course, is the prettiest outfit of all! However, I think God gets a kick out of HIS girls dressed appropriately in outfits that make them feel great. Afterall, HE DESIGNED THE FIRST GARMENTS FOR ADAM AND EVE!

Isn't that a cool thought?

So, what do you think? Will you join me in wearing cute camo pants?


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This and That and Please Join the Fun!

Do you ever feel like you are just "out of it"? The other day at a track meet one of my dil's mentioned airbrush makeup. My response was "Huh?" I've never heard of such a thing, and I probably desperately need it!

As I was reading blogs the other day, one of my favorites, Flowerpatch Farmgirl, went old school and posted a list of sentence starters. I loved reading her answers and some of the comments, as well. I learned about some new this and that, so thought I would play along here.

Please share in the comments or post a link to your own blog so we can all learn from one another. Help me get in the loop of popular culture!



Reading: I've got a whole stack of books in progress. I used to read only fiction, but now I'm reading mainly nonfiction. The two on top are Yes Please  by Amy Poehler and Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus. SOOOOO Good!

Playing: We usually play a card game called "Hand and Foot" several times each winter with my aunt and uncle, but card playing season is over once the time changes. Now, my guys work until dark, but I am teaching myself how to doodle and to do hand-lettering, so that is the game I'm playing!

Watching: Brad and I are always behind on TV series and often just start watching right before the final season. We did it again this year. We have laughed uproariously this winter while having marathon sessions of Parks and Recreation. (See Amy Poehler above.)

Cooking: Just made a batch of Cinnamon Granola with real Maple syrup collected from local maple trees by a group of neighborhood men. It is DELICIOUS, and I love that these guys spend days and days every February making it.

Eating: Too much! Blech.

Drinking: I am now officially a coffee drinker, going this winter from an occasional cup in the morning to 2 cups, always. My favorite is either French Vanilla or Hazelnut light roast from Aldi. It is DELICIOUS, people. Try it. How about at my house?




Pinning, Crafting: I'm not spending a lot of time on pinterest, but when I am, I usually pin things for Holy Yoga or my new obsession-doodling!

Doing: I'm preparing to lead a new series for our Friday morning small group. We are doing Fight Back with Joy, and after watching the first two videos and reading a couple of chapters in the book, I know it is going to be just what the doctor ordered. I would like to make some graphics for everyone, but do you think I can teach myself graphic design by Friday? Heehee! You might remember JOY is my word of the year, and it just keeps popping up for me!

Going: Nowhere too exciting for a few weeks, but I did just get back from Holy Yoga Touch training in Memphis. And we took Pearl, our vintage airstream, and stayed on Blue Suede (I think that was its name) street at the Graceland campground. Fun!


Loving: Holy Yoga TV-It is a very reasonably priced monthly subscription to some great Holy Yoga classes. This month we are working on Bird of Paradise pose. Yowzers. I may never be able to do it! But it doesn't matter because it's not about the yoga.

Hating: That our lawn looks like a hay field because of all the rain we have been having. It has been way too wet to mow twice a week so it needs to be raked. That isn't going to happen because-5 acres. Hate is way too strong a word for this, so I'll say it is annoying.

Discovering: We are way more alike than different. Last Sunday evening, we had a Baptismal Renewal Service at our church. No, we didn't get re-baptized, but we did share how we came to the Lord. It was beautiful, and so many of us shared similar stories.




Enjoying: Evening gator rides with my husband. It is so fun to journey on the road less traveled with the air in our faces and our eyes wide open to the beauty of nature!

Considering: Last night I heard a tip that I may just adopt. I guess in Mary Kay, sales people are told to make a list every day of 6 things that you want to accomplish. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Thanking: I am so thankful for the beautiful cards on my windowsill, and that I have lovely friends who took the time to send them to me.

OK, friends. Now it's your turn. Can't wait to read your responses!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to Take a Sabbatical


Back when I was a much younger person and dreamed of an “As the World Turns Life” minus any personal drama, I briefly imagined I might teach at the college level. I had no clue what I would teach, but I liked the idea of the life of a college professor.  Doing research, writing a syllabus, and having office hours sounded great. Taking a “sabbatical” every few years to study something new or to travel or to rest and rejuvenate sounded so sophisticated and la-di-da to me.

Now, the idea that a college professor needs to take a year off to recover from his hard labor seems hilarious. I think farmers need a sabbatical to rest from their 18 hour days during the busy season and their sleepless nights during the rainy or drought season and the heartsickness at the “God has blessed us with a big crop and now the prices have dropped to nothing and our inputs are through the roof” season.

Or maybe you are in the 3- kids- under-5 season and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in so long you can’t remember, and the baby wants to breastfeed 24/7, and your house is a mess with caked on oatmeal on the highchair and dried milk splatters on all your kitchen chair legs that won’t come off no matter how hard you scrub because they have been on there too long.  (Can you tell I was there once?)

Or the what-am-I-supposed-to-do- with –my- life season when you look around and everyone seems to be settled in and content and doing exactly what they were created to do, while you bumble around trying to do everything or hide out at home doing nothing.

Or the I-retired-so-why-am-I tired season with unlimited opportunities to serve others and the inability to say “enough is enough”.

I could go on and on and on, and if I haven’t acknowledged the season you are in, forgive me.  The point is many of us need a REST from the madness that our life has become.  It is no wonder that so many of us feel disheartened, worn out and unsatisfied. We are forgetting to participate in one of God’s great gifts to us-the Sabbath. 


There are many references to Sabbath rest throughout the scripture, starting with God on the 7th day, continuing to the Israelites during their wilderness travels, and Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. The Sabbath was such a part of the life of the Hebrew nation that by the time Christ began his ministry, the Pharisees had developed an entire list of “do’s and don’ts” surrounding the practice of it.  Remember when the religious leaders scolded Jesus for healing on the Sabbath?

Can you relate to the Pharisees and their rule-loving ways? I sure can. I like to follow rules and I’m learning that I also like to make them for others. That is one of the things I need to take a “rest” from.

I’m no expert on observing the Sabbath, believe me, but I’m willing to learn. Holy Yoga has taught me that I can be still and calm and restful in the midst of a busy day by coming back to my breath and refocusing my mind on Jesus.

As some of us are working our way through Breathe by Priscilla Shirer, I’m struggling as I usually do in the midst of any kind of group Bible study, trying to dovetail what I’m learning with what I thought I already knew. For me, the work He is doing in me isn't all that much fun. It’s more like a raking or flossing of my heart as He keeps drudging up areas of unbelief or lack of love for Him or others.

Just how much ugliness is buried there?

Honestly. It would be easier to get back on the treadmill and anesthetize myself with work, possessions, exercise, food, a full schedule. But there is NO FREEDOM AT THE END OF THAT.

So, I’ll stay in the “WORD” even when I want to run the other way, and RESIST THE URGE TO CONTINUE doing things my way.  God wants to transform and restore my heart and mind-and yours.  And in that transformation and restoration, we are FREE!



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Friday, March 20, 2015

Farmwife Fashion -Packing for the Beach Edition



We are at the beach this week and the weather has been perfect. I've been wearing shorts which just seems crazy since we had 8 inches of snow a week or so ago,  and have spent a lot of time in my swimsuit.

Once again, I drug way too many clothes down here. It is no big deal, but I spent too much time putting it in the suitcase and will have to hang it all back up when I get home. That is just a waste of time and effort.

I'm lazy like that.

I like clothes and I enjoy putting outfits together and looking my best, That doesn't mean dressing up or wearing expensive clothes. Maybe that is why my mind often goes totally blank when I pack for a trip. I tend to drag way too many shoes and enough separates that I probably could go for a month without repeating.

It is silly because MANY times, I wear the same 3 or 4 outfits over and over and over.When most of the day is spent in a swimsuit and we go to different places to eat, and we don't really see a lot of people we know, repeating is just easier! And we have a washer and dryer, so I DO NOT NEED TO PACK A FULL SUITCASE.


So, I think I need to create a "Florida" capsule- that I can repeat and tweak. I'm going to base it on our vacation routine.

Maybe this will help you, too.

Outdoor Stuff-We normally spend most of our time here outdoors-biking, hiking, walking on the beach. For those activities, I need a comfy pair of shorts (my favorites are drawstring knit Dan-skins from Walmart), a loose fitting t shirt or 2 (usually free ones from some event or another), socks and walking shoes, and a sweatshirt.  All of that stuff I can leave down here.

Beachwear: I have 2 swimsuits that are 5+ years old and 2 cover-ups that need to be replaced, so I am in the market for those. Boo. Does ANYONE enjoy shopping for a swimsuit? If so, please tell me what I need to do differently. I also have a couple of hats that I look ridiculous in and some cheap sunglasses. All of that stays.

PJ's and Such-I leave all that stuff there, so not packing any of that.


Yoga. I usually just practice in our condo or somewhere outside, but I also enjoy visiting at least one studio class per week. I need actual yoga clothes for that, so I'll leave some here. Some comfy slip on-y shoes- something with arch support. I NEVER want to have plantar fasciitis again, thank you. I need a new pair because I've been wearing my Uggs all winter.

Shopping and Lunch-There is great shopping on 30A and I generally spend at least one day out and about. I want to be comfy but not too "fussy" so I can easily try something on if I want to. For this, a nice pair of shorts or jeans will usually do the trick. Here is where I start to go cra-cra, throwing way too much into the suitcase. For a week, I bet two bottoms and 3 cute tops will do the trick. A pair of wedges in a neutral color will go with all.

Dinner and Music-There are many great venues for listening to great music or for watching theater. Nothing fancy is needed but, I like to have a fun outfit to wear. I can also wear this to church. I am a skirt fan, and a white jean fan, and a shift dress fan so ONE of these would be appropriate. I can add a statement piece of jewelry, a cute belt, and fit in. My cowboy boots usually work for this.

Have you heard of the Fashion Rule of 3? 

I read this somewhere. Put on your outfit and add one more thing that elevates your look a notch: a scarf, statement jewelry, jacket or cute sweater. I've been following the rule and it works!


To summarize for my future reference:

Shopping List:

swimsuit
cover-up
cute hat
yoga pants to leave
yoga slippers to leave

Packing List:

jean shorts
boyfriend jeans
white jeans
3 tops
one other OUTFIT
scarf
belt
statement necklace
cowboy boots
wedges
flat sandals

All of that will fit into a carry on bag and take about 10 minutes to pack and unpack.

Goodness. I feel better!

See you next time. The beach is calling.....

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