Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Project Life 2011

Hey my friends ..I have so many great ideas for LPLS in 2011 ..I cant WAIT to share them with you!

But ..for now, most importantly I wanted to share how much MORE I love Project Life than I even did before!

I decided to order the digital version of Project Life this year.  Becky Higgins has the same awesome graphics from the hard copy version, but in a clickable format where you can just drag and drop your digital picture files.  It has the added benefit of being able to use various sizes and layouts for my pics. Also,  even as easy as it was printing pictures every couple of weeks, it was sometimes a bit tedious (its all relative, it wasnt THAT tedious).

Becky Higgins' 2011 designs are beautiful! She has added two new designs (2010 and 2011 are both available digitally, but the 2010 design for the hard copy is SOLD OUT) and I had a hard time deciding. I went with the Turquoise design, since I think it fit me and my "boys" better.

I plan to use the digital version for all my 2011 photo journaling but wanted to get my book already set up and ready to add pics starting on Saturday ..I found something I had to share!

Right now, you can get the $99 digital version for 30% off ..making it $69 if you prepurchase it (pay before you actually make the book).  By signing up to get access to the book maker now, you get another $5 off!

I just ordered my 2011 Project Life digital book for $65!

I have already played with the template a bit and I love it! It includes some of her way cute fonts, all the journaling cards/title cards/dates stamps from ALL the available versions and a ton of versitility  with the layouts.

I just wanted to share this AWESOME deal!  ...see more about Project Life here!

UPDATE:  I have been using my new digital PL and I LOVE IT!  Its so perfect for me - I have been keeping up with my pictures (granted, we are only 6 days in) but its SO easy to drag and click my pictures into the digital book, add whatever I want to the page or to leave as is. This is TOTALLY worth the $65 I spent on it ..absolutely!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry {Less Stressed} Christmas

As you are spending wonderful happy times with your sweet families,
I am praying for each of you that your moments are peaceful and calm despite the busyness :)

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE to men on whom his favor rests" 
Luke 2:14

May his favor rest on you this season.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

a friendly talk ...

I have a wonderful friend who allows me to use her as a sounding board for many, and possibly most of my deep thoughts :) Even though we live in the same town and see each other on a very regular basis, we use email to share things we are pondering, challenges we are facing and the way God is speaking to us at any given time. I often use my discussions with her as my quiet time in the morning, as a way to center my thoughts and get feedback in areas I feel God is instructing me. I wish every Christian woman had such a friend

Today, I wanted share a little bit of one of our discussions this week ..I think she had some great things to say and that it would be beneficial for more than just me :)

 Me:  ...I have found that closer I get to God and His Spirit the more aware I am of my struggles, making me more unsettled than peaceful!
It is just a natural growth thing, I know, but its interesting to me. The more I allow the Spirit to come through, the more I see myself in contrast. I am actually finding peace harder to come by right now - isnt that strange?
I see myself struggling more with everything ...I see my pride more, I see my impatience and my insecurities more clearly. I also find that my defaults in starker contrast to the nature I desire and so I find that I am frustrated with that.  I am having a harder time with finding that place of peaceful passivity because I want to overcome it all but in so many ways feel I am so far from being able to do that.

I know it the Spirit who does, not me but all the feelings of inadequacy are effecting my ability to really give myself over to Him ..and that may be the crux of the matter right there, now that I am writing it out.


My wise and wonderful friend:   I totally feel you on the "aware of inadequacies" thing when it comes to being close to God...One thing I am realizing, though, is that my self-sufficiency gets in the way of my relationship with God sometimes.  It's like, if He shows me all of these things wrong with me, then I freak and feel like I need to get a handle on them.  I am realizing more and more, though, that I can do nothing to improve my own situation.  I can only throw myself on God's mercy.  And I'm slowly (SLOWLY) learning how to do that. 

Referencing when we feel overwhelmed and behind ..." Today I realized that my mental fatigue and distractedness didn't have to weaken me spiritually at all.  That's b/c I am not the one powering my relationship with God.  God is.  And God doesn't have a cold today, and God is not sleep deprived.  God is just as powerful as He was yesterday.  And b/c I have His Spirit in me, I can be just as loving and oriented toward God as I was yesterday.  And you know what?  Today has been fantastic.  I am not mentally flogging myself for being so "behind," b/c what am I behind on?  Nothing.  My only job is this world is to glorify God with all of my being, and God does not care if my house looks perfect.  He cares that I am doing what I need to be doing in that moment.  And what I need to be doing in this moment is loving the people around me and talking about Him to you, and--soon--making treats for other people.  So I am resisting the urge to pile other imaginary obligations on top of that."

I hope you benefited today from these words, as I did ...and that you have a friend you can share such thoughts with :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Next Best Thing

I am reading a book that is really good for pondering. It is titled, Forgotten God by Frances Chan (author of Crazy Love, which I also have mentioned).  It is about the power of Holy Spirit, and has challenged me to really consider the power I allow to be exhibited in my own life.

He fell in line with thoughts I have already had mulling around in there, when he said "It's much less demanding to think about God's will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It's safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day." (pg 120)

Also, "I think a lot of us need to forget about 'God's will for my life'. God cares more about our response to His Spirit's leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year." (pg 120)

I find that thought challenging! To consider what the will of the Spirit is every minute of the seems daunting..right? I think yes, if you look at the big picture like that ...

But, what if you considered rather simply the next best thing? Even better, the next best thing?

Applying that to my own life, I think that I am in the place 100 times a day when I faced with making a choice about what to do with a limited resource I do laundry, or read to the kids? Do I plan this weeks meals, or read my bible? Do I sit down and watch Sing Off with the husband or clean the kitchen?  Just this morning, I wrestled in myself to consider I sleep a bit longer so I will be better physically prepared for the day (baby is in teething crisis, up ALOT last night!) or go ahead and get up and get my head in the game before the kiddos get up?

We are faced with these good choices, much more often than whether or not we are going to break one of the ten commandments. Really, these choices are the ones that most of us have to make constantly.

In the effort to live a life that is lead by the Holy Spirit, it is even possible to be guided one moment at a time? Can I offer the next thing to God, and trust that He will guide those moments to culmination of a daily life lived in His glory? I think so.

In Colossians chapter three, Paul gives what my bible titles as "rules for living". He reminds the church in Colossi to "...set your hearts on things above...put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature...rid yourself of such things...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience..forgive as the Lord forgave thankful..let the word of Christ dwell in you richly..."  That is alot of commands, and many things to add to our spiritual "to do" lists! :)

But, he sums all those things up with  ..."And, whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." 3:17

and, after some more instructions to wives, husbands and slaves he repeats ..."whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." vs. 23

We can surely give our days generally to God, as well we should. But wouldnt it be even better, and perhaps more effective if were to consciously give God each moment and ask for His leading for the next best thing?

Lord, we give you our days and ask for your leading in each of its moments to show us how you want us to use the each and every one. We ask for your Spirit's guidance to show us the best way to spend those moments. Center our minds, heart and spirits on your leading so that we are always living in  your will -no matter what we are doing today.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Trusted with Much

A new round of bible classes started at church yesterday ...I am in one that is a study of Jesus, based on the book of Luke.  The teacher took a different approach and started in chapter 16, instead of at the beginning (I like this guy already! :).

We started with a parable that I was a little stumped by initially, but found some interesting resource related thoughts be the time class wrapped up.

Chapter 16, vs 1-15 tells of a slave who shrewdly uses what he has (access to the master's financial records) to make some friends by cutting all their debts in half in effort to increase his networking potential in the event his master gives him the boot. The master is actually impressed with the dude's "dishonesty" ...the scripture didnt specify if he let him keep his job or not, but he did "commend" him :)

First, I had to be reminded (by my sweet hubby) that the "master" here is not our master.  Second, I had to be reminded that we are talking about a slave here ..someone who has no resources of his own, but has to use what he has access to.

Third, I made a powerful connection myself when we started talking about how Jesus was encouraging his disciples to be shrewd in the way they use what they have (he specified "worldy wealth").  Our teacher lead us in to a discussion about how our worldly wealth can be all of our resources - our homes, our time, energy, reputation, and other things..along with finances.

Of course, you can be sure my ears perked up to that! :)

In verses 10-11,  Jesus states "whoever can be trusted with very little can be trusted with much, and whoever will be dishonest with little will be dishonest with much..So if you you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you to with true riches?"

Thinking of this challenge in light of the resources that we have been given "access" to ...what a challenge it is!  Having the resources that we do, given to us to manage but not our own, we are expected and encourage to use them for the benefit of our master. When we have done so, we are trusted with more. When we do not, we cannot be trusted with more.

One thing that I realized this week, is that I feel that when I manage what I have well - truly trying to use all the resources at my disposal for His glory, then it seems I do have more to give for the benefit of His glory!

When I manage my finances well, we are freed up to bless others through financial giving. When I manage my time, choosing to use it on the things that are bring glory to God (or work toward the purpose he has called me to today) then I find I have more time to give to other things that God has given me to do.

We have access to so much abundance the shrewd manager, we must be purposeful in how we manage our master's resources. Unlike him, we must determine to use them for the benefit of the master and not ourselves ...then we will be deemed trustworthy, and will be "welcomed into eternal dwellings." vs. 9

Welcome ifellowshippers glad you are here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

By Default: Part 2

Continuing our thinking about defaults, I have been pondering what my own default settings are.

I have been keenly aware of those things that come the most naturally to me. These are the things that I do without thinking, that I without effort and my first and most base response to situations around me. My default settings may include what causes fear, what causes anxiety, what incites passion, what I consider my "strengths" ...these are the things that make up the "me" part of me, both good and bad,

For me I have noted that by default I love order, I am good a seeing another's perspective, I am laid back and not easily frazzled, and I am confident in who I am.  I have noticed, also though, that my defaults left to themselves cause me to be a bit controlling, interfering, undisciplined and quite selfish.

My defaults can be both resources, and the source of "evil desires" ...see this verse, just one after my favorite passage,  2 Peter 1:4 ..."..he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature (HIS nature, HIS default settings ..if you will) and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (aka, OUR nature, OUR default desires)."

How great that we can escape those things that do not bring glory to God ...which is what must happen for us to find True Peace. How great that we have "everything we need" to escape things that many would say are "just the way we are."

It kinna takes away excuses we make for doing things that are not glorifying to God, and weakens the case the world makes for doing things because they "feel good" or the constant encouragement around us to "follow our heart" doesnt it?    ...the truth is, if it doesnt fall in line with God and His laws, then no matter how "natural" it is for you ...well, it still is not what God desires you to be.

How often have you heard (or said yourself) .."well, that is just the way I am, you can take it or leave it?" How often have we been confronted with situations where what comes "naturally" to us hurts someone and our response is "well, you just have to accept that is how I speak/act/think?" ...or have you been the victim of this thinking? How often to we blame others for their reaction to us, rather than take responsibility for the fact that respond how we do by default, but that may not be the best way to react to something/someone?

I know I am guilty of using my default settings as excuses ...God doesnt give us the pleasure, though.

Thus, the need for those "fruits of the Holy Spirit". From this list, note which ones would be helpful in resisting/resetting our default settings to be more in line with God's divine nature ..."love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control." Galatians 5:20

Cool, huh? ..we really do have "everything we participate in the divine nature"!  2 Peter 1:3-4

Welcome ifellowshippers glad you are here!
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