Life Transforming Prayer - Lord Lessen Me

These eight weeks we have been diving into life transforming prayer have been some of my favorite. I can't believe our eight weeks has come to a close but look for a new Tuesday series starting next week - Life Lessons Learned on the Road. Until then, enjoy our last of the Life Transforming Prayers...
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He (Jesus) must become greater. I must become less.
John 3:30


Do more. Get more. Be more. These messages bounce around my life like a pinball machine gone mad. Sometimes the more within my reach isn't the one I should grasp. What if instead...


I do more with Jesus.


I get more of Jesus.


I be more like Jesus.


Trying to follow a long list of rules or live up to never-ending expectations covers my life with a cloud of less-than. I do want to live in a way that honors God. I do desire to encourage and energize my family. But the key for me is not to pray over my multitude of perceived flaws but to pray Lord, Lessen Me. 


Less of me makes room for more of Him.


Lord, make me less so my life makes much of You.


What is one way your life needs to be less?

My Thread of Hope


You are the God who sees me.
Genesis 16:13


Like this ball of string, I feel myself coming undone - a mommy meltdown is moments away. Many things trigger my unravel but feeling unseen or unnoticed seems the quickest way to knot up my life. I'm thankful the One who sees is also the One who's able to guard my mouth and keep me from choking my loved ones with tendrils of my mess. 






Today at Encouragement Cafe, we are celebrating the upcoming August 7th launch of Lysa TerKeurst's new book Unglued. Are you ready, like me, to discover how His truth is the glue to stop the bleeding of mama madness? Won't you join me today at Encouragement Cafe as we learn how He is our thread of hope to keep from coming unwound?  

Olympic Fan Fare


For those of you visiting Jesus & My Orange Juice for this first time, this is a serious departure from the typical post. So please join me again Monday when we will return for our regularly scheduled programming. Now onto the fanfare of fan fare...
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All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble...
Isaiah 43:9


A few notes in I recognize its call. The invitation is one part patriotism, one part dream and one part the impossible. The melody summons me to the opening ceremony. Each year I would pretend I stood among the participants. What little kid doesn't dream of competing in the Olympics?


The most common question I heard asked about the Olympics is the symbol of the rings. The five colors stand for the five major continents. In this configuration the Americas are combined and Antarctica overlooked (maybe the Olympic committee thought residents there couldn't thaw out in time). They symbolize the world drawing together in competition. We want to punctuate our kickoff watch party tonight with the colors of all five rings:


Black - Africa
Green - Australia
Red - the Americas
Gold - Asia
Blue - Europe


This is our evening fan fare (complete with recipes for your convenience).


African Crockpot Chicken (The Black)


5 frozen chicken breast
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's creole seasoning
freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste


Place oil and vinegar in bottom of crockpot. Place chicken breasts on top. Cover with water until almost covered. Shake seasonings on top. Cook on low 8-10 hours.


Aussie American Salad (The Green and the Red)


10 oz fresh spinach 
1 quart sliced strawberries


Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon minced onion


Mix all dressing ingredients well. Add to salad just prior to serving.


Asian Fruit (The Gold  Ring)


1 fresh pineapple cut into chunks.


The easiest way to cut up a fresh pineapple is to first remove the top and bottom. Then cut four pieces around the core which is too tough to eat. Slice off the remaining skin. Chunk and enjoy!


European Jello (The Blue Ring)


Buy a box of blue raspberry jello. Make it according to the package directions.


Dessert


For dessert we will make my sister's famous frosted sugar cookie recipe which I am not at liberty to share. We will frost them white and then use sugar crystals in the five colors to make an Olympic colored ring on each cookie.


Tonight we will anticipate and celebrate. True the Olympics only come around once every two years but I'm a big deal of tonight not because of the games. The competition is just an excuse to draw my family close, to paint my table with all the colors of my love and to make this ordinary day an extraordinary reason to celebrate God's goodness.


What's your favorite part of the Olympics? Do you have any special family traditions. Share them with me in a comment!

Tomorrow's Hope Today


"Mommy, I really want to be a teacher when I grow up. I'm smart. I'm pretty. And I have really good ideas of things my kids could do."


Clara's self-proclamation followed by a lengthy explanation of ladybug hand art her class could make as Mother's Day presents for their moms. Her idea sounded like it fell from the lips of a college graduate. It sounded odd dripping from six year old lips. 


Clara surprises me. She composes songs. She hand-writes letters to friends. She wants to call her friends parents. 


I have no idea if one day she'll be a teacher but I know with certainty God has an incredible plan for her life. Nearly daily I gather her into my lap and whisper to her of God's greatness. Words of thanksgiving pass from my lips through her ear. I want her to hear, to know, to be excited about her future.


Her view of her future sculpts her today.


What do you see when you view your future?


Do you forecast wasted days spent at a job you dislike?


Do you view an empty house?


Or do you witness wonder? The wonder of knowing God is and will continue to lead you on an adventure of faith. Do you know He will do great things in and through you?


There is simplicity in knowing because you believe God has a future and a hope for you.


A week ago Scott bumped into a man who pulled a crumpled old piece of paper from pocket. On it Scott had scrawled, "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11"


This man Scott hardly knew, who he'd encouraged in a passing encounter had been carrying this paper in his pocket for two years. These life-giving, hope-proclaiming words have sustained him during long, hard days.


His today doesn't define his tomorrow. Instead he allows tomorrow to define his today. He is excited about his future which infuses hope, life and purpose in the here and now.


I love those hushed moments of expectancy with my daughters. I love celebrating who God created them to be and anticipating who they will become. Just as they crawl into my lap to hear these words, we can climb into His. 


Do you need tomorrow's hope infused into your today? 

The Maker - Not New...Satisfaction Guaranteed


To be made new in the attitude of your minds.
Ephesians 4:23


This morning I heard the morning hosts of my favorite radio station, KLOVE, poking fun at the sheer number of makers one could buy. Not one to watch late night TV, shop over the phone or buy additional appliances, I was intrigued. 


I had to Google it. In seconds I found 8 appliances I "couldn't live without" ranging from a boiled egg maker to a donut maker...and I don't even eat donuts. As I pondered just how much cabinet space would be required for all these individual makers, God's truth pricked my heart.


Sometimes I think I need a new or different maker.


The Rainmaker


You've got to make it happen! Take action! It's all up to you! 


As a speaker and writer, these messages get crammed in my head almost daily. While I believe God honors those who walk in faith, He doesn't condone those who walk by the light of their own fire (Isaiah 50:11). 


I don't have to be the rainmaker. I can trust God, the true Rain-Maker - His timing, His leading and His plans. I can walk closely with Him in obedience and faith by His light.


The Deal Maker


True genius comes after 10,000 hours of practice. I gave away my books and I got famous. I made the right connections. I have thousands of followers.


These anecdotes also circle my heart with regularity. They make me want to wheel, deal and barter my way to success. The make me believe if I just do enough, I can guarantee the results.


I don't have to be the deal maker. I can lean on God who appoints every leader. I can listen to God who leads every follower. With Him there is no need for negotiation.


There is freedom in packing up my many makers. Like Patti LaBelle, I'll find myself belting about my "New Attitude". I don't need a new of different maker. I need to rely on The Maker.

Life Transforming Prayer - Lord Discipline Me



Today we are continuing our Tuesday series on life transforming prayer. Tuesday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. How about for you?
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No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11


I had a health scare this spring. A big one. Months of intense abdominal pain and bleeding led to my decision to make my first visit to an internist. A panel of blood work showed my body in peak physical condition. Every single indicator was toward perfect health. Why then was I in excruciating pain?


I asked God for relief.


Then I asked God for wisdom.


I felt the tap on my heart to eliminate every food and beverage from my diet except those closest in form to how God created them. After several months of eating raw veggies, fruit, whole grains and fresh, lean meat and drinking only water and the occasional coffee every symptom disappeared. 


Amazingly I also dropped 20 pounds. 


For five years I'd been striving to return to my pre-pregnancy weight. I wanted fast results. Quick programs didn't lead to lasting results. 


As I disciplined my body, I noticed the other areas of my life improved as well - my moods, emotions, sleep patterns, marriage, parenting, friendships and even spiritual health all rallied.


I wonder about you. Have you signed up for another program to drop 10 pounds? Did you just fill a prescription for sleep aids or mood enhancers? These are wonderful tools but what if God intended those to supplement His plan and not the other way around. What if we chose prayer as our lead tool in our health?


Lord, discipline me...I need Your rest.


Lord, discipline me...I need Your energy.


Lord, discipline me...I need the righteousness and peace You promise to those You discipline.


Lord, discipline me because most of all I need You.


What area of health is your biggest battle - the bulge, the bed or the buff? Do you dare to pray...?
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Have these Tuesday prayers impacted your life? Did you know you can download the complete set at http://www.shannonmilholland.com/free-resources.html? Why not share these prayers with a friend? Or have your small group address one each week? Let's give away what we've been given.

Bye Bye Burnout


Burnout sneaks up on me. One minute I feel like I've got everything handled and the next I'm a mess of stress. I don't want to live my life on the hamster wheel of over-committed and over-scheduled. I want to avoid burnout altogether.



Is burnout bubbling at the edges of your well-being? What if we could identify burnout before it wrecked us? Today I'm a guest at A Pastor's Wives Garden talking about the Early Warning System for burnout. Won't you join me there today

When God Answers



Today I have the privilege of hosting Heidi Kreider as she wings her way around the globe on a virtual book tour. I am so excited to celebrate her book launch and share The Secret of Counting Gifts with you.


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I sat with 4000 other women. She stood and spoke. She spoke with sincerity and authority... authority that comes from first-hand experience. She spoke of her childhood in Africa. She called herself, "the poorest of the poor." She came to the conference to represent Compassion International. She had been a sponsored child herself. I've not forgotten her beautiful ebony skin and the way she sang "His Eye Is On The Sparrow." 

I came home from that conference changed. I shared Lois's story with my family. We prayed and hoped that through writing and selling a novel our family could reach children around the world who need food, education, medicine, and Jesus. I'm thrilled to say that eight months after that encounter with Lois The Secret of Counting Gifts and the accompanying The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal are now available in Kindle and in paperback through Amazon.com. 

While The Secret of Counting Gifts is a novel, I wrote it from my life experiences. I am a wife of 18 years and a mom of 3. I've spent the past fifteen years at home washing dishes, folding clean laundry, blogging, and teaching my children. My days are full of counting grace gifts with gratitude and asking for grace and forgiveness. I am blessed with rich friendships and have prayed more friends than I care to count through the battle of breast cancer. 

The Secret of Counting Gifts is a story about life, friendship, hardship, and gratitude. It is the story of  Kris McClintock and Liz Bower and their friendship that spans twenty-eight years. Through marriage, babies, and infidelity they stand by each other and hold one another up... until breast cancer delivers the final blow. As she sits by Liz, Kris recounts the trials and blessings that made them who they are. She tells their story and recalls the many "gifts" they have been blessed with throughout the years. She shares of how Liz taught her to notice the gifts in each day and to live with a grateful heart. It is through the telling of their story that the secret of counting gifts is discovered...

I'm excited for the release of The Secret of Counting Gifts and The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal.  It is a direct answer to the prayers of my husband, my children, my friends, and myself.  I look forward to seeing how God will use these books!  Thorought this month, I am on a virtual book tour.  You can see the stops along the way on my website www.heidikreider.com.  While you are there, stop in and say "Hey!" and register for my giveaway... autographed copies of The Secret of Counting Gifts and The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal in a hand-made basket. 

I'd love to hear your story. 
What have you prayed for?  
How has God answered?
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Heidi Kreider is a wife, mother, author and friend. She blogs about life, grace, and gratitude at www.heidikreider.com.

What's Your "Er"?


You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur...
and named him Abraham.
Nehemiah 9:7

I married up. It's true and I highly recommend it. My hubby is wiser, bolder, hotter and godlier. These comparisons don't scratch at my well-being. They give my heart confidence and joy. But what about others?

My Good "Er" - Isn't he handsome?
They're house is bigger than mine... 

She's thinner than me...

He's more successful than me...

Abraham couldn't become all God intended for him to be and stay in Ur. We can't either. Our "er"s trap us in a web of worry. They snare us in a strangle-hold of low self-confidence. We have to step out of our "er" and onto God's path.

God led Abraham from Ur to the promised land. Let's allow God to lead us out of our "er" and into the fullness of His promises.

God led Abraham from fatherless to father of many nations. Let's allow God to multiply His joy in our hearts as we reject "er" living.

What's your big "er"? Are you willing to move from there to God's best?





When Gentleness Floats


I grew up in a home where we exchanged all kinds of favors - back rubs, arm tickles and back "treasure hunts" to name a few. To this day a soft brush touches my heart and not just my skin. 


God asks us to touch the world with gentleness. "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5. I wrote about the soft caress of gentleness today at Keeping it Personal


Come on over there and check it out... http://keepingitpersonal.com/2012/07/evidence-of-gentleness/

Life Transforming Prayer - Lord Reveal Me


When Ryan Seacrest mouths, "Your next American Idol is...", I scoot to the edge.


When Ty Pennington shouts, "Move that bus!", I reach for a tissue.


The big reveal is thrilling...as long as it isn't mine. It is safer to keep my emotions and thoughts bussed in. No risk is required when I watch someone else reach for their dreams.


For too long in relationships I chased expectations. I tried to do, be and say the right thing to please my parents, men, girlfriends and even strangers. I would not risk revealing my true inner self. 


I know I'm not alone in this. How often have you heard someone utter, "She shared too much," with a look of pity. Sharing too much. Getting too emotional. These receive quick criticism. I've rarely heard someone denigrated for sharing too little. 


Are we satisfied with plastic relationships? Do stilted, measured conversations meet our heart needs? 


As we continue our series on life transforming prayer, what if we dared to take the lead in authenticity? What if we prayed for the courage and boldness to say, "Lord, reveal me?" He will be our shield as we expose our inner self. He will protect and guard our hearts. We will experience the joy of authentic, God-intended relationship.


What is your go-to mask?



Plant Workers


Peacemakers who sow in peace, raise a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:18


"I'm really sorry." I muttered it three times in less than two minutes. She had messed up my drive thru order but I was apologizing. The words came easily, without effort. I did not want to leave my passing encounter with her angry at me. Why did I feel the need to profusely apologize? More importantly, why I am so quick to apologize to a stranger and so slow to seek forgiveness from my loved ones?


I want to sow the seeds of peace within my home. I want the halls of my home to ring with harmony. I want to raise a harvest of righteousness. 



Preparation


Just as the fields are prepared prior to planting so must my heart be prepared for peace. That preparation begins with Jesus over orange juice. It is my secret time with Him early in my day that tunes my heart strings toward harmony.


Planting


Like seeds dropped in fertile ground, I plant into the hearts of my family each day. Sometimes what lands there is contentious and provocative. When I first prepare my heart, I plant peace.


Pampering


Have you ever noticed how gardeners nurture their crop with tenderness. They diligently monitor for signs of illness, pests and drought. I need to invest the same care into my relationships. 


I was so quick to heal wounds with a stranger. Greater care should be given those I love - I shouldn't just be quick to offer my apologies; I should be quick to offer my forgiveness. When you freely offer forgiveness, you harvest harmony.


Every one of us will drive thru today. Our stop at the window of our loved one's souls will plant in their hearts because we're all plant workers. Will we plant strife or peace?


What is one healthy way you heal relationships in your home?




Highway Robbery




There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 
There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthian 12:4-7

Packed up for a Christmas like Santa's overflowing sack, we made our way from Alabama to Kansas for Christmas. Our "sleigh" included car topper stuffed with presents. Mr. Claus (i.e. my dad) made a last minute mall stop and came out to find his pack stolen. 


Sometimes our gifts get stolen but the their thief isn't a grinch and the gifts belong at the foot of crossed beams not a decorated tree. We rob ourselves of spiritual gifts.
Each of us who follow Jesus, were granted a unique set of God-given gifts the day we said "I do" to Him. We can possess these gifts and still have them stolen. The two primary culprits are envy and inactivity.


Stolen by Envy


I don't remember exactly how my parents went about replacing those presents last minute but like every Christmas miracle they managed to pull it off. I'm certain those eleventh hour substitutions weren't identical to the originals but I don't remember a single relative complaining about what they opened.


They didn't complain because they didn't know what they were missing. Their eyes were focused on what they did receive and not on what they didn't. 


Envy deprives us from enjoying our own gifts. When we get start looking at others, our own abilities seem lacking. But when we peer only in our own box, we are completely satisfied with its contents.


Stolen by Inactivity


This week we've traversed the country with a little car topper of our own. Our hump makes the car easily identifiable across a parking lot but I've made sure it remained empty when we weren't actually on the highway. 


Just possessing a luggage compartment does no good if it's kept empty. This is like gifts God gives us that we are too scared, timid or insecure to use. Inactivity steals our gift's effectiveness as if they were never there.


Let's stop committing highway robbery. Open your sack. See what's inside. God's perfect gifts are planted inside.

Why Cleaning Your Plate Isn't Enough


Pursue righteous, faith, love and peace, 
along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22


Clean your plate. It was my mother's 11th Commandment. Obedience to this order came with big rewards...and I'm not just referring to an expanded waistline.


Cleaning your plate meant you got to eat desert.


Cleaning your plate meant favored child status.


A clean plate was a happy plate and I delighted to make my parents pleased. Today when my plate gets full, my first reaction is to clean it. A clean plate is a happy plate. 


We chase joy as we whack activities from our schedule.


We dart after peace as we organize our desk or scrub our floors.


We hunt contentment as we slash responsibilities from our life.


As we clean our plates, we take the first step toward freedom from over commitment. In the elusive quest to get more out of life, cleaning our plates is not enough. An orderly life gives us a framework to honor God but it does not draw us closer to His heart. 


We need to step out of our busy schedules and into the presence of God.


When we pursue Him, joy chases us.


When we pursue Him, peace darts into our hearts.


When we pursue Him, contentment hunts us.


There is a bigger reward than cleaning your plate.


If you stepped out of your busy schedule and into His presence, what do you think you'd experience?









Not Restored - Renewed


I am on vacation this week, so I'll be featuring a mixture of old favorites and new writing here on Jesus & My Orange Juice. I'll still be on Social Media and responding to comments though so feel free to leave a comment.
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May your love and your truth always protect me.
Psalm 40:11b

Every time I looked at my hand it was like a thousand rainbows has descended from the sky and landed on my finger. When my sweetheart asked me to marry him, his invitation was accompanied by a ring so beautiful it seemed more a dream than his proposal. Its' beauty was more surface than sure, however, and after just eight years of marriage my setting needed serious repair.

The jeweler's evaluation was not positive. They could repair it but not restore it to its' original condition. My setting had been battered and would never return to the designer's intended level of beauty. Thankfully, my ring is insured and my insurance company is willing to protect its' investment. They will pay to have my setting replaced rather than risk the total loss of the stone set within.

My life was in need of serious repair. I had been battered and I could not return to my Designer's intended level of beauty. Thankfully, my life is insured and my Insurer is willing to protect His investment. He sent a Replacement for me to make my life something entirely new.

I want to I approach life like I value the gift of the Insurer. His invitation is accompanied by a life so beautiful it seems like a dream. I long to take the time to thank Him in moments both easy and stressful. I want to delight in the way His grace dances around and in my life like a thousand rainbows.

I seek to protect His investment. I desire to guard my words knowing they shape the beauty of my world. I want to hedge my family with prayer. I want to know His heart so He will revolutionize mine.

The Insurer does more than restore. He Re-News.



Where do you need renewal today?

Life Transforming Prayer - Lord Lead Me


She brought home a C...it feels like the teacher graded my parenting.


He walked away from his Christian upbringing...I sense judgement.


She threw herself into the floor of the department store...every scream surfaces in my heart as failure.


I used to keep a ledger of my performance as a parent. Every day and moment my mood vacillated with my imaginary standard of perfection in parenting. I'd been taught to hold my children with an open hand but appearances kept clenching a fist around my heart.


How did I loosen my grasp? With allowing these words to slip from my lips - Lord, Lead Me.


Lord, Lead Me...keeps my gaze on the One who establishes my worth.


Lord, Lead Me...keeps grace at the forefront of my heart.


Lord, Lead Me...keeps God in His rightful place.


Will you join me as we continue this Tuesday series of Life Transforming Prayer? 


Lord, Lead Me.


Lord, Lead You.


Lord, Lead Us.


What is the area of parenting you most need to turn over to God's care?



What's Your One Thing?


I am on vacation this week, so I'll be featuring a mixture of old favorites and new writing here on Jesus & My Orange Juice. I'll still be on Social Media and responding to comments though so feel free to leave a comment.
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One thing I ask of the Lord…
Psalm 27:4

“Honey, I need a pair of underwear.” It was a basic need from the lips of a man already packed for his week-long trip. But I spent the prior day diligent in the laundry room. I put away every washed pair. How could my day’s work not be enough?

Like a blanket, old feelings welled up within and suffocated me.

You’ll never make him happy.
You’re a failure as a wife.
Your best isn’t enough.

I immediately ratted my husband out to God. He could soooo do something about this…and I was sure He was on my side.

Lord, make him more appreciative.
Lord, make him more supportive.
Lord, change him.

My laundry had followed me away from the dryer. I had a laundry list of things I wanted God to do in him. He whispered His answer in my ear. One thing I ask of the Lord.

What if we only asked one thing of God?

One thing for our marriage.

One thing for our children.

One thing...

What would our one thing be?

Dare to Work Harder than You Dream


God-sized dreams.


We've been talking about them a lot lately. Sometimes God asks us to step beyond the safety net of fear and put feet to our faith. Today I'm facing my fear head on at Keeping It Personal.


Dare to dream with me today. Hop over and let's face our fears together!



When Life Laps You



Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest.
Matthew 11:28-29


"It feeled like 3 laps, Mommy."


Monday our six year old, Clara, decided she would join the ranks of runner. Filled with determination and energy, she wanted to stride right into a three mile run. With thousands of miles under my soles, I started her with a 1/3 mile lap around our neighborhood. Day one she outpaced me and never had to stop. Day two she struggled a bit and wanted to come home after 1/3 mile.


Have you ever had a day that clocked 1/3 mile but "feeled" like 3 laps? Have you ever wondered how to breathe rest on trying days? Prayer is the fuel for life's run.


Last fall we joined in prayer to get PrePrayed. We learned how to energize our ordinary days so we would be prepared for life's big events not just logistically but spiritually. Specifically, we prayed rest in four areas:


Rest for your heart


Rest for your soul


Rest for your mind


Rest for you body

Do you need to re-fuel? Why not take the next 30 days to recharge your heart and refresh your soul? You can download the complete free prayer guide, PrePrayed, here: http://www.shannonmilholland.com/free-resources.html

Please allow me the privilege of praying for you on your journey. Tell me in a comment specifically how I pray for you today.

Declare Your Independence!


Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, 
making the most of every opportunity.
Ephesians 5:15-16


Before my foot touches the floor on the star-spangled holiday, stress can touch my heart. In a home where the to-dos outnumber the waking hours, home management could become my around the clock endeavor. But today is independence day.


It's a day when millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens declare their independence from local decrees by lighting their contraband.


It's a day when millions declare a cease fire on the battle of the bulge and binge.


Today I declare my independence from my home running me. 


Is it easier to recall your to do list than your kid's names?
Do holidays or a vacation seem like an inconvenience in your already jam-packed week?
Is your idea of patriotism a family who remembers to carry their dishes to the sink?


I answered yes to all three. If you're anything like me, we need to say "give me liberty" from  the tyranny of busyness. Here's some tips how we can:


1) Choose the Non-Negotiables - Every day, except travel days, I do laundry, dishes and straighten. These are my non-negotiables. They are the minimum duties I need to do to prevent the feelings of overwhelm. 


2) Make Your Steps Count - Whenever I leave a room, I find something that needs to go where I'm going and take it with me. It may be a pile of laundry, a bobby pin or a book but I don't leave the room I'm in until I've identified one traveling partner booked for the same destination.


3) Don't Go It Alone - I use chores as a way to spend time with my kids. Rather than assigning a long list of items to be completed in isolation, I invite at least one of my daughters to join me as I cook, clean or do laundry. We talk, sing, laugh and joke as we work. We knit our hearts as weave our hands.


4) Clean as You Cook - Most meals the vast majority of prep dishes, pans, bowls and utensils are already washed before we ever sit down to eat. Every night Clara sets the table and Carynne gets the drinks. I use those minutes or the ones on the cooking timer to wash, dry and put away my mess. This allows me to sit, relax and even linger over dinner.


Let's make today and every day our independence day. As we make the most of our moments, we'll live in freedom. Now that's a reason to shoot off fireworks!


How do you keep the clutter from conquering you? Share your ideas in a comment!

Life Transforming Prayer - Lord Teach Me


Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2


I graduated high school with a 3.98 GPA. I graduated college with a 3.92 GPA. With my good grades came a big ego. I thought myself capable to think and reason myself through any situation. My good grades and big ego came at an astronomical cost. For me GPA should have stood for God's Presence Absent.


Pride choked God's presence from my mind. 
Pride squeezed relationships from my heart.
Pride crowded God's best from my life.


Thought doesn't originate in the mind...it springs from my heart (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV). I had to open my heart to God's guidance so my mind could follow. I had to embrace humility before I could own my ugly hidden sin. A key step on that journey was praying this one sentence prayer: Lord, Teach Me. 


The disciples once asked Jesus to teach them to pray. I need God to teach me in all areas. Like a blank tablet, I want His wisdom scrawled across the pages of my heart.


Do you struggle with focus? Or like me, does your mind wander the wrong things? As we continue on our journey of life transforming prayer, let's pray this simple prayer together and allow God to transform our minds.



How Big is Your Problem?


Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2


My sister, Lynn, and I don't just share DNA but a common passion for fitness. Running is a part of both our fitness routines. So is a commitment to avoid anything "scary" en route. Scary includes motorized vehicles, weird looking men, and pretty much any kind of animal - big dogs, little dogs, snakes, skunks and even squirrels.


As she rounded a corner, Lynn encountered a nut-toting, fluffy-tailed rodent affectionately known as the squirrel. They were in an OK corral stand-off in the middle of the street while scenes from the rogue squirrel in Christmas Vacation flashed in Lynn's mind. Squirrel took Round 1; Lynn stopped running and waited for Mr. Nutty to cross.


Mr. Fluffy-Tail took one second too long to victory stare mid-road. His next motion was a spiral through the air Cirque du Soleil can't touch. A minivan took Round 2.


When I find myself on life's road staring difficulty in the eye, I'm tempted to ponder the magnitude of my problem. That is the wrong question. The right one is - how big is my God?


I'm not going to strategize my way out.


I'm not going to think my way out.


I'm not going to worry my way out.


He is my way of escape.


I have to allow my squirrel-sized faith trust in a mini-van sized God. I will encounter issues on the road. 


Some will bruise my spirit.


Others will cut my confidence.


From all I will fully recover when I take my eyes off my problem and fix them on my Solution.


How big is your God?