Chocolate

Let’s all pause for a moment and reflect………….

Aaaahhhhhhh……………………………………….

Anybody who knows me more than a few minutes knows that I am a Gen.u.ine. Choco-haulic. Yes, I admit it. I need therapy.

The honest truth is that once when I was little girl I kept begging and begging to eat the Reese’s cups, and mom decided to “cure” me by letting me eat all I wanted until I got sick. Yep, I ate all I wanted. And Yep, I got sick as a dog. It’s been a down hill addiction ever since.

This chocolate love-affair has also brought with it the whoas of battling the scale, but that is another story for another day. Let us, for now, just think about the chocolate…..

Used to, I’d eat anything that was called ‘chocolate’. Sure- some were better than others, but I didn’t care. I HAD to have it. Literally, it would call my  name. But then as I grew older and wiser and my tastes matured, I experienced a whole new level of bliss. My taste buds and my heart discovered the likes of Lindt, Godiva, and…..Ghirardelli<3<3<3

No longer did that cheap stuff from the Dollar Store satisfy. And even that common, household  chocolate pales in comparison to the richness of those mentioned above only pure enough to be called…..Chocolate.

Even so, it dawns on me this is exactly how it is with my relationship with God. I have spent so much time and energy feeding myself with sub-par substitutes…..tv, magazines, facebook, food. I’m looking to nourish myself, relax and unwind. Sure, it feels good at the moment but vegging out on junk for the mind and the spirit leave me sluggish and tired and not really rested and nourished.

But, during those times I put down the remote, close the laptop, and clear out artificial flavors, colors and additives, I find God waiting for me. When I feast on His Word and soak in His Presence, there is nothing on this earth more satisfying. Nothing.

His Word is bread. His Spirit is water. His Presence is……..Chocolate!

What is it that you feed yourself? Is it the fake, mind-numbing diet of the world? Or, is it the richness and creaminess of God?

 Taste and see that the Lord is Good Psalm 34:8

How have you discovered to be satisfied by God?

Happy Valentine’s Day

~Amy

Ps…I might need to consider what to give up for Lent, but that is another story for another day:)

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Friday Finds

We made it to Friday!

I always feel so excited and relieved to make it another week and to have the weekend to rest and catch up at home.

For February, I’d really like to share with you some resources to encourage you with your marriage. I am always looking for teaching, encouragement, and help to improve the relationship with my husband (we’re good but always want it to be better). And, in the last several months, I not only want to have a great marriage for us, but more than ever, I want a marriage that reflects the ultimate marriage of Jesus Christ and His Bride.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero is a book and curriculum on developing mature Christians. One of his many precepts is that your marriage is a vital part of your spirituality and ministry. The site contains several sermons on marriage, sexuality, and true manhood/womanhood. When you click on this link for sermons, you’ll find all kinds of topics to choose from based on his book but look for the sermons for biblical intimacy, our body and sexuality, and true womanhood/ manhood.

I’m telling you…..these sermons are powerful! They are wracking me and inspiring me to desire being a better wife. You’ll want to keep coming back to keep listening to all the other sermons as well.

I hope you take some time to listen and that it encourages you during this month of love!

Have a great weekend!

~Amy

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Blessings in the Most Unlikely Places

I am not a dog person. Furthermore, I am not a cat person. Don’t hate me. Please.

There’s a long story behind it which includes dying pets as a child and being allergic to dander. I don’t want to go into it.  So, if I come over to your house and don’t pet your animal or want it in my lap, don’t take it personal. Just know, I’m not crazy about pets.

That being said…….last year at our house we declared what we have affectionately termed as “the year of the cat”.

We’ve always had a dog. My husband IS a dog person, and he’s always taken care of the dog. Unexpectedly, at the end of 2014 though, a stray cat came to our house, and hubby started feeding it. The kids were SO excited!! I was not pleased.

Well, that next spring that cat did what cats do. She had a litter of kittens. Great. She brought them up to the back porch and looked at us expectantly. Troy dutifully cared and tended the kittens with food, milk, kitty litter and lots of petting. The kids did their best at chasing, wagging, babying, and wrangling those kittens. We found homes for those kittens. Thank Goodness!

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Low and behold, wouldn’t you know it, later that summer that momma cat went and had another litter of kittens! Good grief! Troy cared for that batch as well. The kids were old pros! Just don’t let them in the house and on the furniture!! His mother took most of that litter. Yay!!!

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While I was not excited about having a cat….then having a litter of cats….and another….

And, while I was not looking forward to buying food and litter that rivaled the formula and diaper days with triplet babies….

And, while I was adamant that those furry creatures were not going to worm their way into my house and on my bed……

I did find blessings in the MOST unlikely places with those cats.

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I loved seeing the kids so very delighted at playing with kittens. I laughed at watching the girls try to treat those baby cats like real babies.

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I was proud to see how the kids learned how to feed and take care of animals.

I enjoyed watching Troy petting them on the back porch and make friends with each one.

And…I have to admit….those kittens were the cutest things I’ve ever seen!! My heart melted at the first kitten momma cat brought to the house…perfect gray stripes with white mitten paws and the bluest eyes! Even my cold heart couldn’t resist!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t pet them (often). I don’t make a fuss, and I don’t feed them (unless I have to). But, I have realized what a gift these furry creatures have been to myself and my family!

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So, the next time you find yourself dreading the circumstance befallen in your lap, just be on the lookout for unexpected blessings!!!

~Amy

PS….Momma cat comes around most days, and we kept one cat from each litter. So, I never would have dreamed in my LIFE that we would be a dog AND cat family!!!

 

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Friday Finds

Happy Friday!!

openhousecheer

I made it to Friday!!

I always feel so relieved to make it to Friday, don’t you?

My latest Friday Find is the most recent blog I have signed up to read.

Intentional By Grace is a great little gem in the blogging world. Leigh Ann Dutton has a wonderful mixture of encouragement, tips, and practical advice. Her purpose is to help women live intentionally in her home and family, not just wandering around haphazardly making it up as they go along. She also provides several really good downloadable resources for free when you sign up for her newsletter.

What attracted me to her site was the resources she provided for the new year to help me get organized and set personal and family goals for the year like a monthly checklist to remind me of what my goals are. I am definitely a checklist kind of person, so I LOVE having a list to check off each month.

Another neat thing you’ll find on Intentional By Grace is her list of Deals and Freebies she finds on the web each week. She lists other blogs with resources, books on Amazon on great sale, and stuff like that.

It’s still January (just barely), so it’s not too late go check out Intentional By Grace and download your monthly checklists and get motivated and organized for the year!

After you go check out Leigh Ann, leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!

Have a great weekend!!

~Amy

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What Lies Beneath

I was not expecting to spend my Saturday like this……mopping up a river on the laundry room floor.

The washing machine leaked during the rinse cycle as the water drained. It had been doing this for a while now, and hubby had determined there is likely a clog in the drain pipe. He had poured some clog remover stuff down in the pipe in hopes of clearing the clog.

I started a load of laundry to see if the machine was working again. I went downstairs to check on the load to see a river flowing through the floor!!! What he failed to tell me was that he didn’t put drain hose back into the pipe where the water drained away. So, the day was interrupted to mop, sop, and vacuum the water and clean up the laundry room. There might have been was some annoyance, yelling, and a little bit of blaming for the drain hose not getting back into the proper place.

Rewind several weeks ago: This annoying leak during the rinse cycle had been going on for several weeks. I had been ignoring it and procrastinating doing anything about it. I mentioned it to hubby, and at the end of long days, he would keep forgetting about it too.  I just kept on washing clothes and going about my business hoping that it would just turn out ok. That’s what we do sometimes, right? Just put it on the back burner and somehow it will work itself out….right?

Back to my interrupted Saturday….it occurred to me with mop, towels, and shop vac in hand that maybe….just maybe….. this river disaster wouldn’t have happened, or at the very least, wouldn’t have been as bad, if we had dealt with it when it first started happening.

Wait. There’s a lesson here. Pause for light bulb moment.

I had been so busy taking care of everyday life….work, dishes, homework, shopping, laundry, etc. I didn’t want to stop and take the time deal with a problem hidden deep within my basement. The problem was not constantly in front of me, and I could function fairly well through the rest of my life as long as I didn’t think about water leaking out of the washing machine.

But hold on…it was affecting my life. It was keeping me from getting the laundry completely done. The laundry would get backed up because we couldn’t wash as much. And, if anyone with even just a few kids knows, laundry can get backed up quickly. It causes me a lot of stress and a big weight hovering over me when we don’t have underwear or socks or pants. To see those hampers piled mountain just takes the wind from my sails. It does.

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It wasn’t this bad….but that’s how it felt!!

As with so many other real life examples, there’s a huge spiritual metaphor here. When there are problems in my spiritual basement, issues that I choose to ignore or not deal with, it’s eventually going result in some kind river or overflow or breakdown in my life. When what lies beneath is unforgiveness, hurts, unmet needs, sin, the past and so on, I might be able to carry on for a while. I might be able to keep going with some level of normalcy. But, eventually, it’s going to catch up with me, and I’m going to have to stop and take care of it.

What lies beneath in your basement pushed back to the corner, covered up, ignored? What issues hidden deep in your life (or your actual basement) are you letting go? You are going to have to deal with it in one way or the other- a slow trickle leak or a big river over flow??

~Amy

 

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Friday Finds

Don’t you just love finding neat websites and blogs on the web??

I do!!

And, when I do, I think everybody needs to see this!.  Bloggers have great stuff to share like Bible studies, planners, study guides, ministry tips, and printable. Most of it is for free if you sign up for their newsletter or to receive their blog. Seeing all this downloadable stuff makes me want to dream up and write some stuff of my own to share with you.

Alas….there are only so many hours in a day, and I usually run out of time or energy before I can write or post anything of the sort. However, what I DO want to start is sharing the stuff I find here with you.

So….let’s begin Friday Finds where I share a great find on the internet related to discipleship, women’s ministry, Bible studies, personal growth, etc, etc….

On Monday, I shared my desire to pursue wisdom in 2016 and one of the ways I hope to achieve wisdom is to read the entire Bible in one year. Ever since I began reading a Proverbs a day, reading the Bible has been like eating a most satisfying meal. Moreover, I’ve never read the entire Bible, so here I go!!

This brings me to your first Friday FindsShe Reads Truth.

I found She Reads Truth from another wonderful blogger Teri Lynne Underwood, and this site has TONS of reading plans and guides for reading books of the Bible, topics, seasons, etc. I found the read the Bible in a year plan, printed it out, and was ready to go.

The plan has me reading 2-3 OT chapters and 1 NT chapter a day. Then, on Sunday I read a couple of Psalms. I break up the reading doing the OT in the mornings and the NT at my lunch break. On the weekends, I try to get it done in one setting. I’m gonna try my best to stay caught up and not get behind. If I do get behind, I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I’ll just pick up on the plan in the calendar.

So far, I am loving it! During lunch, I turn on some instrumental music and read while I eat. I look forward to each day having a spiritual meal with my physical meal on my way to a wisdom-filled year!

While I would love to explore the other reading plans on She Reads Truth, this Bible in a year plan is going to be plenty for me to handle. But I know you could find a plan that speaks to you, or at least, you can check out the daily verse or passage for the day.

I really hope you try it out. I really hope you like it. I would LOVE to hear how you use it for yourself!! Let me know how it goes!!

~Amy

 

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2016: Seeking Wisdom

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I feel like I am finally getting my bearings for the new year. How about you?

It’s taken me a few weeks to clean up and recover from the holidays, gear up for a new semester at work, and get focused for 2016. The blogs I read have been very helpful in getting me jump started (although it’s taken me a couple of weeks). I’ve been thinking about my goals,priorities, and plans, and I’m ready to get things rolling.

Last year, I wrote about my word for the year: Declutter. I intended on writing a follow-up, end-of-the-year post about my progress. Well, I just ran out of 2015:) But, the bottom line is I made great progress getting many areas of my home and life decluttered. I didn’t get ALL the clutter cleared out, but what became evidently clear is decluttering is always going to be a work in progress. There are always going to be seasons of cleaning out and storing up. This task will never be complete. But I can always keep moving forward if I take one small pile at a time.

So….this brings me to 2016 and I gave thought as to what special word or idea I wanted to use as my focus. I didn’t really come up with one. Nothing came to mind with an emphatic “That’s It”

However, what did resonate in my heart is Wisdom. I really want to seek wisdom. I feel like I’m already on this journey to more wisdom. I started late last summer reading Proverbs every day. Light bulbs of wisdom were popping off in my head. And the light was shining in places to expose the dark shadows lurking in my life.

With the new year rolling around, I found myself not wanting a special word to help focus and prioritize my year. What I wanted was more wisdom!

I am thirsty for wisdom. Not just head knowledge but also heart knowledge. Discernment. Being able to see circumstances clearly. Knowing how to apply the wisdom with understanding. Having the courage to act on the wisdom and not back down.

I desire wisdom so that I can know God better, listen to God better, and follow Him better. I want wisdom to help me in my relationships, my marriage, and raising my children. So that I can love my neighbor as myself. From the every day practical to the deeply spiritual, I want wisdom. Proverbs 1:1-7

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a]
    knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]                                                                                                                                      The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,                                                                   but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.

What inspires you for the new year? What are you goals and priorities?

In the days and weeks to come, I’ll be sharing some ideas and tools to help you along the way.

Looking forward to a great year!!

~Amy

 

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