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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Recycle Much?

Well, let me just start by saying that I am not usually a big “Earthy” kinda gal and this is really not like me… usually. Unfortunately, I have not always been great about trying to be a good steward of what God has given us when it comes to our natural resources. When I clean I use all manner of chemicals and I’ve not always wanted to go to the trouble to walk to the garage (because that’s an extra 5 steps!) to put things in the recycling bin.

Lately, however, I’ve been seeking out more ways to save money and a friend of mine directed me to  this website! It’s a way to become a little more aware of ways to help the environment AND save money!

It’s called Recylebank and when you join you read articles, learn things and find ways to recycle and help be more earth conscious. I KNOW! You are probably rolling your eyes right about now because we are all a little over the whole recycle campaigns! I was kind of doing the same thing, but HONESTLY! This is a really neat thing!

Ok, so if you go to the site and begin to read and all you earn points.  As you earn points for just reading (hello! we can so do this!) you can also earn coupons for groceries, restaurants and other fun stuff!

I think the one that I was most excited about was the one to…

$10 off $50 or more

If you earn 100 points you can get a $10 off $50 coupon and THAT will help me with meats and fruits and veggies! Thank you very much!

There are others though! You can get $10 off a $50 purchase at:

$10 Off Your Next $50 In-Store Purchase

for just 50 points and

$10 Off $30 or More

for 100 points.

It’s not really hard to earn points either! I’ve only done this for about a week (and I have not done it everyday) or so and I’ve already earned enough for the Harris Teeter  coupon! YAY!

The other cool thing? Most of what I earned the points for is for things I already do… like..

Not use plastic water bottles when I go to workout and use recycling for card board and other things that I know can be recycled. All I did was read the articles, answer a few questions about what I read and VOILA! I earned points!

I am sure you are JUST like me and want to find ways to save a buck! So don’t roll your eyes… just go check it out! Smile

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Graduates, Brides and Birthdays! Oh My!

I think that almost everyone I know has something that they are celebrating right now! We have had more invitations to graduations, weddings and birthdays lately!

Even in our own family… I am in charge of the graduation at the pre-school where I work …

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(don’t they look like they are ready for the world!?)

AND my daughter turns 11 on June 1st!

It seems like 5 minutes ago she was graduating herself… From pre-school that is!

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Now here we are, years later getting ready to head to 4th grade!

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I have friends who have kids that are getting ready to go to college and I seriously can’t believe that these kids are old enough to leave us!

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While we are SO proud and happy for them… well, let’s just say that those of us having to let them go are not so excited… for US! WE can’t be THAT old, can we?

We even have one friend who’s daughter is graduating and then she is going to AFRICA to serve the Lord and those living there! Seriously… we all need a BIG OLE VALIUM over that one!

On the wedding front… we have been friends with one family for YEARS… and they’ve had both of their kids get married within the last 6 months!

Their son got married in November of last year…

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and then in April their daughter tied the knot!

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I knew these kids when they were LITTLE! Oh my! I may need to lie down.

Honestly, it’s really fun! It’s awesome to see our kids growing and it’s so fun to see how God works things out for each of them to be the people that He has designed them to be.

So… let the party continue! We’ve got lots to celebrate!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Passed By

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Sometimes we feel like we’ve been passed by in life.

We’ve prayed and asked and begged and waited… cried, kicked, screamed hollered… and waited on the Lord, but sometimes He’s still. He’s quiet and we don’t see how in the WORLD He might be working in our lives.

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We can’t imagine that the circumstances we are enduring could be for ANYTHING good. NOT one thing! The load is heavy on our minds and hearts. We can’t get away from it no matter where we go! We don’t really understand why He’d allow us to hurt, wait and simply long for Him to “work all things together for our good!’ And we continue to feel as if He’s forgotten.

But then I think about the times…

When my friend waited and waited for God’s answer for a husband.  I mean she prayed and prayed and so did her parents! But after the waiting she met a man and she got married. At 45 she married the man that God had for her and MAN did the waiting pay off!? He loves Jesus! Owns his own business and is VERY well off! I mean serious bling!

When my aunt and our family prayed and prayed for my uncle. For YEARS we asked the Lord to do a work in his, seeming impossible, hard heart and finally… it happened. He asked Jesus in his heart and it’s amazing how transformed his life and heart have become! No more violent outbursts! No more cursing. No more disregard for family! I mean LIFE CHANGING CHANGE!

When several families that I know could not have children and waited and waited on God to send the perfect child for them to adopt! I mean some of those kids look JUST LIKE their parents! It’s so amazing!

When families of kids with special needs pray and pray for their language to start, their basic growth and development to increase or their circumstances to change in some way and then… it happens! Kids start talking at 8 years old! Kids start reading when no one thought they ever would! Kids start doing things that no one ever dreamed they’d attempt much less accomplish!

Maybe today you feel like you’ve been simply passed by.

There have been many days in my life where I have felt that God has simply forgotten me. But you know something amazing? Sometimes I think I am being forgotten in one area only to find out that He’s been working in another that I had prayed about a long time before! It’s so true that His ways are not our ways and FOR SURE His timing is not like ours! His Holy time piece looks NOTHING like our clock!!

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Here’s the key. Do not give up! It simply is NOT an option, sister!

Sometimes the waiting is the HARDEST thing! BELIEVE ME! I know!

But everyday I wake up and my old heart is still beating. My sweet family is still here and my Almighty God is still on His perfect throne!

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It isn’t that He has passed us by. It’s just that He’s waiting on us to FULLY trust Him with all that we have and all that we are. He’s blessing us beyond measure in more ways than we realize. Maybe we aren’t ready yet. OH! WE think we are, but remember, HE is God! He sees the past, present AND future and He’s already there. We are so finite and can’t see past the noses on our sweet little faces!

If you have kids you know what it means to tell them to wait. Man, they kick and squirm and huff and puff and act like that 5 minute wait is going to be the death of them! Well, I’d like to submit that sometimes we act the exact same way!

I’m not trying to be hard hearted. I know that there are some sensitive issues that we face that really do hurt us deep down inside. I know because I’ve experienced those deep down hurts. Maybe they are different from yours, but they’ve still hurt me to the very core. It’s just that I’ve learned that wasting the waiting is really… well, a waste! In the waiting I could have been noticing that He’s at work in other ways that I never even thought He cared about. Looking back I see that I wasted precious time at His feet that could have been spent in sweet communion with Him… listening, growing, preparing…

… for the time when He makes the waiting go away and He brings

the blessing!

OH! I can’t wait!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Change +Laundry=Love

 

A while back I shared about a local missions project called Laundry Love.

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In March we spent some time in the Laundromat across the street from our church with people from our community.

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We joined up with the Laundromat’s neighbor, a day care center, and we utilized both places to help love on parents and their children through laundry,  arts and crafts and a little dinner!

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I think that the really fun part is when someone walks in to do their laundry and you tell them who you are and why you are there! They usually say, “You are kidding, right!? YOU want to pay to do MY laundry?!”

This lady really had a hard time grasping the concept, but what a blessing it was to love on her a bit!

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We were able to feed her and her daughter and then found out that she’d been struggling with the loss of her mom. What a great opportunity to just talk to and pray for her and to see her be encouraged!

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It is awesome to see people of all ages join together for one purpose. God is able to use each one of us to bring someone to the knowledge of Christ and we loved working together for one common purpose!

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Here we are with the Laundromat owner…

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Our youth helped play with and feed the children…

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… and we had a chance to share with a man who is of the Hindu faith. He had many questions about our faith and about our church so we were excited to share with him.

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We got to interact with about 13 families that night. We pray that it made an impact on them and that they will see the love that the Body of Christ has for them. We didn’t see anyone pray to receive Christ, but we know that seeds were planted. Now, we wait. We are asking the Lord to water and nurture those seeds so that lives might be changed for Him!

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” Psalm 37:7

More and more I am realizing that God does NOT NEED me to make things happen. He does, however, INVITE me to join Him in making a difference in the lives of those around me. I am so slack in so many ways and I really have nothing of worth to say on my own! As I continue to walk with Him I am realizing the value of being still… listening… waiting on Him. People are becoming more valuable to me and things are falling by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong! I love a cute shoe with the best of them! It’s just that they aren’t the first thing I look at anymore… He’s changing that in me.

Local missions is becoming more and more a part of me and my own mission in life. I LOVE IT! Seeing the light in people’s eyes when you say, “I’m here to help!” can give you a hunger to serve like never before! Funny how that works! That whole, “Love your neighbor as yourself” thing. You know? God is pretty smart.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bloom Where You Are Planted

We have a friend that has cancer. It’s pretty aggressive, and treatment is just starting so it’s going to be a long road. Today on his Caring Bridge Site his wife posted a “tribute” to the parking attendant at the cancer center. Yes! The PARKING ATTENDANT! Not a nurse. Not a doctor. Not a person administering chemo and radiation… all of whom are working to save his life, but the parking attendant. Can you imagine?! Apparently, this man makes such a difference that he was even featured on the news because of the impact that he is making in the lives of those dealing with the terrible reality of cancer. Here’s what the news said about Dale King, the parking attendant:

Dale knows just about every patient in the center. He salutes them all as they drive in because he says, they're his heroes.

Recently, he started asking for photos of patients. He only keeps the photo a few days before turning it into a chalk pencil rendering that is in turn, given back to the patient as a gift. "I just come to show them some love, they make me want to come to work," said Dale.

From the hugs he gives, to the smiles he hands out, to the lives he touches before a doctor ever does, Dale King is the reason many visitors say the cancer center isn't unbearable after all.

Pretty awesome, huh?

Sometimes we get in such a rut. Our jobs are boring and we have long days. We feel overwhelmed by being a parent or are tired all the time from just doing the day to day stuff. I just thought it was so inspiring to see someone, who COULD allow his job to be really depressing, turn his job into an opportunity to be a blessing to someone…. Ok.. LOTS of someones!

Here’s the key. His eyes are not on himself. He’s not mumbling about how he hates standing in a parking lot everyday in the heat, cold or rain. He’s not spending time thinking that he could be doing something else that HE wants to do. Instead, he is considering what those who enter that parking lot are going through and he’s determined to make a difference.

AND another thing. I don’t know if this man knows Jesus or not. Let’s just suppose, for a minute, he does not. How sad is it that the Christians of this world are NOT making an impact like this where ever we go? Our attitudes are JUST LIKE THE WORLD’S in so many ways. We have our eyes on ourselves and we think about what is best for US when there are millions of unsaved and hurting people all around us! We are keeping the best news in the world to ourselves. JESUS SAVES! He loves YOU! He has a plan for YOU! He wants to help YOU be all that YOU can be! He is here and He is ready to hear your prayers! We could be shouting it from the rooftops just by living it out each day!

Ok, so let’s suppose that Dale, the parking attendant who is making a huge difference, IS a Christian. THAT, my friends, is how you do it!! He is living out Lamentations 3: 22-24

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed. For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

When people pull into that parking lot full of fear, questions and pain Dale can (if he’s doing it for Christ) have the opportunity to share about the love of Christ, the compassion that never fails and His faithfulness to carry us through each day.

Honestly, if he’s a Christian or not….  I am extremely ashamed of myself for not living my everyday like Dale does. I DO have the hope of Christ. I DO have the knowledge of God’s Word and I DO have a place where I can make an impact every single day for Him. EVEN if it’s just in my home I can decide to get my eyes off of myself and onto my family who has needs and who need encouragement.

So… here’s to Dale! A man I’ve never met, but one who has inspired me today! I pray that I’d live my life in such a way that it makes people sit up and take notice all for the fame of Christ!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May We Present….

The girl caught Doing the Right Thing!

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And the Principal of her school!

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As she was awarded the “Do the Right Thing” award for her kind heart, caring attitude and her sweet spirit when it comes to being kind and caring for others!

AND…

For meeting her reading goals…

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she was awarded a ribbon and recognized in the school assembly with her peers!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11