Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thirty One ...for Me

After being in love with these products for a LONG time, I finally decided to become a consultant so I can share these great things and this great company with other people just like they were shared with me!

Do bags make us more peaceful? Well ..not on a spiritual level, for sure. But I have learned to appreciate simple, beautiful things even more since I have been on this journey to less stress and more peace.

Somehow, a pretty bag to put my bible and reading materials in makes me smile. Being able to see "Swagger Wagon" on the side of my Car Bucket makes me feel a little bit of joy in the blessings of my wonderfully crazy life!

I also love being a partner in a company who loves to encourage women to bless their family through striving to be like the Proverbs "Thirty One" woman, by creating an industry. I love that their company is debt free and that they seek to manage what they have been blessed with well.

I would love to share these beautiful things with you!

You can check out my Thirty One website here may want to check it out today (before midnight!) because my favorite product is on sale for $9 just for June!

This is what I use for my Car Bucket ..the Large Utility Tote.  Its $9 if you spend $31, which you can achieve pretty easily because monogramming ($6 per item) goes towards that $31!  ..that is just through the end of the day so you want to get on that ASAP!

You can also work towards that $31 with the Organizing Utility Tote ..which I use for my Study Bag, and about 1000 other things! :)

May your day be blessed with beautiful things that you find much joy in! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week 8: Ephesians 4:3-6

{Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one home when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God the Father who is over all, and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:3-6}

Women of Grace ..this is a great one!

I know I say this every week, but seriously its like the same guy wrote this entire bible! :) The messages intertwine so wonderfully, from verse to verse and from concept to concept. Its amazing. Its like it is alive or something :)

As to context of this verse, the entire chapter is absolutely amazing. It is such a beautiful message of how to live with people in real life.

The verses that follow this passage, though are incredibly encouraging and powerful...

{"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it." vs 7}

and vs 11.,

{It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teacher, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach all unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of fullness in Christ.}
How interesting that he made us all different, gracing us in different ways to different degrees so that we may reach all unity!

I cannot help but remember the verse in 1 Peter 4:10 ..."Each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
I think that when we think about what God has given us, and what tasks he has for us to do we are tempted to keep the focus on us. We consider how our service affects us, our relationship with God if it is just between us and him. 

If we truly consider what grace is,  a power inside of you that undeservingly blesses you ..not for your own benefit but for the benefit of the kingdom, we will realize that our what we do is not for ourselves or even our one on one relationship with God. 

Its about bringing out about unity for the sake of the kingdom. Not to say that our relationship with God is not important, of course it is ...but when we are given a blessed gift (to be a teacher, prophet or pastor) its not only for the good of your interaction with him. 

He blesses us with grace and abundance so that we are able to bless His kingdom. We are given what we need to be part of that unity of be able to mingle with people who are so different than we are. To be able to minister along side someone our polar opposite. 

We, the stay at home moms, get to be on the same team with the drug abuse counselor in the shelter downtown, or the missionary in Nicaragua. We get to work beside the men who minister to hardened criminals, and the women who hold a women's hand when she is birthing a new baby. We share the same spirit with the women who fosters children who need a home, and the mother who gives her child up so that she can get control of her drug addiction. 

We share one Spirit, one hope, one faith, one God. Our God is in all, through all and over all. 

Over all of us, no matter what our circumstances, strengths or weaknesses. None of us are greater than the other, because we are all under one Head. 

What a wonderful reminder to remember where we stand, who we are and whose we are...
If you are interested in a study of grace, hope, faith and peace, we would love to have you! You are never behind, each week is a new scripture! ..and each one is such a blessing! ..see the sidebar for all the info you need! :)

Blessed to be linked to: Women Living Well Wednesday and Ifellowship at Seeds of Faith for Women

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Everything You Need person

I have known for a bit that God would eventually lead me to share the promises of his providing "everything we need" to women of God just like me.

It has been a process over the past four years of nurturing that message, studying, experiencing, learning and refining this promise in my own life. I feel, finally that it is time to share those lessons in person!

Its a bit of a scarey move - as it brings to the surface all kinds of insecurities and fears in all sorts of things ...BUT, I nonetheless feel like God is moving me very specifically to offer myself this way.

Introducing {drumroll please!}...  Everything You Need, the written and spoken series

{Everything You Need *}
I am very excited, along with the nervous ...but I know that God will bless this new ministry!

"Everything You Need" is a collective series of the lessons I have documented in LPLS. It is a set of lessons, to be given in person that will guide a women of God into believing and living the promise of 2 Peter 1:3 .."His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness..." 

These lessons have been created with a ladies retreat or ladies day in mind, being made up of several lessons that are interactive, challenging and personally applicable.

The Everything You Need  website will help you will learn a little more about the series, find that I am writing an "Everything You Need" bible study and hope to have a sample of that available soon!

Please check it out, look around and share as you are able!  While you are there, I would so appreciate any comments, suggestions and of course your prayers for this new ministry ...I am excited to see what God will do with it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Week 7: 1 John 3:18-22

{"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater thanour hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if your hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him." }  1 John 3:18-22

This one is a longer scripture for us this week ..and so much great info to be gained as a result! 

The past couple of weeks, and the next one or two we are looking at HOPE ..while this scripture doesnt speak specifically to hope it certainly gives us an "answer for the hope that is in you." 1 Peter 3:15 (our verse from week 6).

I think the message of this passage is a wonderful one - speaking of love, truth, being guilt free, confidence ..its got all the good stuff! 

John instructs his readers to love with actions and in truth. Looking at the keywords of this passage, this mimics the message that he heard in-person as Jesus was preparing to leave his disciples in John chapters 14-16.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another."  John 13:34-35  How interesting that this was a central message in all three of his letters First, Second and Third John.

This lesson is clearly an important one to John. It wasnt the only one that made an impression though, because only a few verses later Jesus reminds his disciples (John included) ..."If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth." ch 14:15-16 

But, as Jesus continues to speak ..the similarities continue ..."If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. "  ch 15:10

And, "I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." ch 16:23 

John lived and taught the words that he was taught face to face from Jesus!  ...and his message is so pertinent to us today, especially to God's women as we struggle on a a daily basis with "our hearts condemning" us!

I love how matter of fact John is ..."Its pretty simple folks, if you love God then you will show it in your actions, which will release you from guilt so that you can come before him boldly and not be worried to death, and he will listen because you obeyed him by loving him and his children and showing it through your actions."  Pretty simple, really. :)

One more contrast between that last long talk between this disciples and Jesus before he died, and this passage when Jesus says more than once "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you...Do not let your hearts be troubled." (John 14:27) and "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace." (16:33).

How appropriate then, that John would be encourage his readers to this same place of calm - encouraging them to not allow their hearts to condemn them and to set their hearts at "rest" in his presence. 

As all these verses that we have been studying in the Women of Grace, Hope, Peace and Faith series these two passages intermingle so beautifully to show an integration of teaching and learning, of truth taking root and God's word being alive!

...if you would like study with us as we continue to learn of God's grace, hope, faith and peace please join us on Facebook!  We can certainly benefit from your insight!

{Welcome ifellowshippers ....I am blessed that you are here!}

Also, sharing on: 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Less Stress Tool: a Study Bag

I am in my hiding place again today, and I brought with me something that just dawned on my as being a wonderful tool.  Even after my hiding place goes away (a.k.a., when the neighbors get home from vacation) I am going to keep using this tool as a great way to store and tote my study stuff.

The last two days I have been using a "study bag".  This morning, it was so great to grab my coffee that I had set up on an automatic timer, my Study Bag and head out the door to go hide :)

I am recalling now, Emilie Barnes, in her book Spirit of Loveliness encouraged a woman of God to have a "prayer basket". This is a basket that holds all you need for your prayer time, so that these quiet moments with God can be anywhere that you can carry your prayer basket.

The same idea, I filled up my Study Bag with the things that I would use in my quiet time, and the things that would help me get my mind working in the right direction this day.  I used my every faithful Organizing Utility Tote by Thirty One. I chose this one because it can handle my slue of books without falling apart. It also has a ton of pockets, so I can put my pens, highlighters, small notebook and phone (for when my hiding is more than my family can bear :).

I didnt read or even look at all the books in my bag in one sitting, but because I never really know which way my quiet time will lead I make sure to have lots of options :)

Currently, on the menu is: a couple versions of the bible (today, its the NIV and NLT),  What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancy (because our study on grace has really sparked an interest in the topic!), Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis (for Sunday School), a couple books by Dallas Willard (havent started these yet), and my Women of Grace notebook.

Having this bag ready to go helps me be able to take my quiet and study time anywhere in a moments notice - to a hiding place, to my bedroom, or to Starbucks for a cup of coffee with God :).

I am also loving that I have a place to store my stuff, instead of all of it just being stacked all over the table all the time :)

The only problem, is that the bag I am using  for my study bag is the one I use ALL the time for other stuff also ...SO, I think I just found a great excuse to get another Thirty One bag! :)

What do you do to make your study time mobile? What do you use in your study time?...what versions of the bible do you use? What books are you reading right now? Tell us about your study time ..I would love to hear all about it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I am hiding.

I have a wonderful spot. While I live in a neighborhood where the houses are only a stones throw away, my neighbor has created a great hiding place in her little square of space. On the other side of the fence from mine, which is covered in thick climbing vine, she has created this place that is a forest of plants, trees and flowers. She some wonderful seating, and I have claimed one of her comfy spots.

She is out of town (yes, I asked!) - and I am taking advantage of an early morning wake up to get out the door and hide before the kids woke up. I was expecting to spend some quiet moments to collect my thoughts before my day started. I was hoping to get refocused after several days of guilt-worthy, hormone-induced, mommy temper tantrums that have left me feeling defeated and frustrated with myself.

I need some quiet to refocus, recommit, realign and get back in the game.

What is amazing though, is that quiet is not what I have gotten at all! I am amazed with the degree of sound that is coming from the nature around me. No people are around yet, and yet its so loud I am having a hard time thinking! ...there are birds of every shape and size, they are fighting, mating, calling, antagonizing the cat, etc. The squirrels are hopping all over the trees around me, and the vine on this side of the fence is teeming with lizards and bugs of every shape and size. I hear bees buzzing around the flowers around me. There are dogs barking in the distance, and then not in distance when I hear my own dog barking at the aforementioned squirrels. I give away my hiding place when I hollered at him, and now he is on the other side of the fence whining.

Quiet? Not so much.

Yet,  this is still a good hiding place.

Me and God are here. He reminds me that it is never perfectly quiet. There is always something that needs doing, someone who needs me to comfort, teach, touch and guide them. My days are always full of busyness because they are full of people that I love, and who love me (though slightly less when I am such a bad  mood :) In this season of my life, there will never be perfect quiet. But God is still accessible through the noise and the chaos.

Certainly, seeking quiet is a blessed thing. And, there are ways to surround ourselves with less noise (as we should surely seek to do). But God is reminding me this morning that my life is busy. Its chaotic. Its crazy. Its the life He has for me today, in this season.

I have to hide in him, even amidst the chaos. I must seek the quiet of my soul, even when the world around me is far from quiet. My spirit need not mimic the craziness of the world around me ...because I have everything I need.

God knew what I needed to hear today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 6: 1 Peter 3:14-16

{"Do not fear what they fear, do not be afraid. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior may be ashamed of their slander." 1 Peter 3:14-16}

This week, we switch our focus from grace to hope ...while certainly the two are closely connected and we will find ourselves falling back on what we have learned of grace to help us understand hope. 

Grace, after all is the hope that we have been called to!

In context, Peter is talking about the occasions we 'suffer for good'. In our day and time, in the United States of America, we dont often have to suffer for being a Christian. At least, not to the same extent the the New Testament Christians did, often to the point of death.  There are other ways of suffering though, that we can relate to do some degree.  

Perhaps we are judged harshly by the world, and found lacking to meet their standards.  Perhaps we make choices that we feel are ones based on godly principles, and we are criticized for being "anti-social" or a deviant. Perhaps those who pit themselves against us are even other Christians who feel challenged by our choices. Perhaps it is your words of truth being met with accusations of intolerance and judgement, that causes you to feel you are 'suffering for good'.  It is possible, that you dont feel personally as if you are suffering in anyway for living a life of godliness, but you can relate to how Christianity in general has been attacked in our society over the years and especially in our present day.

Regardless, I love the challenge that Peter gives ..."Do not fear what they fear" vs 14. Fear is what drives people's responses to our good, and to those things that we do that make them feel challenged. It may be fear of judgement, fear of loss of control, fear of rejection, fear of all things unknown or of being misunderstood. We are encouraged to be motivated by something altogether different. 

Our motivation is in our hope.

Our hope lies in Christ alone. In the grace, forgiveness, peace and blessing that comes with knowing him. In contrast to the fear that drives those who may slander us, their slander is shameful! 

But, we should not forget what given the opportunity we must share it with respect and kindness. The power of gentleness and respect should not be underestimated in our day and time. Our culture lacks respect and certainly gentleness. Our responding to challenges with a degree of grace will do more for us, and for the message that we relate than anything else!

I am so disheartened when I see Christians responding to challenge with anger and harshness. By responding such, they are proving that their motivations are similar to those who do the challenging..fear of being misunderstood, fear of rejection, or of judgement.  

When we are able to give an answer for our truly given an answer for our hope..then you can only do it with respect and gentleness. 

Are you ready to give an answer for the hope that lies in your heart?  ..I pray for you as well as for me, that when the times comes I am indeed!

{Welcome, ifellowshippers ..your being here is an encouragement to me!}

Also, blessed to be linked to:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grace to Others

I think it is easy to see grace as something that is very "floaty" ..rather ambiguous and even only of the spiritual nature.

I have been made aware in the past week of how God shows his grace to me (thank the Lord for wonderful study and soul level friendships!), largely through others around me. Grace, God's 'unmerited favor', is filtered through those who love us when we are not lovable, or when we are need of strength or blessing.

God shows us grace through an offering of prayer and blessing, and of a meal prepared by a mother who relates to your feeling overwhelmed.  Grace is forgiveness when its not deserved, and a friend allowing you to cry on her shoulder when you have wronged her...or you have been wronged. Grace is when you should be incapable, and yet somehow you have the words, the strength, the resources provided in ways you cannot explain.

Grace is what happens when you move with the rhythm of the spirit, and reach out to a person who others avoid. Or, you forgive someone who has hurt you deeply. Its being kind when someone has falsely accused you, or resisted slandering someone knowing they will not return the favor.

Grace strengthens us, often not by filling us with a supernatural strength in ourselves - but by instructing the hearts of those who are stronger than us to do the lifting for us. Grace teaches us, not always by some deep unlearned understanding but by the example of an older woman or man who have lived their lives for God. Grace provides our needs, when we are incapable or unable to do so ourselves ..and most often to a better and greater degree than we would have ourselves.

Grace is not something that is beyond our ability to experience, except on a spiritual plane ...not by a long shot. We see grace every day. Unmerited favor, extended to us by those in God's kingdom and who are acting has His hands in your life.

How much more important to be God's grace to others. To touch, forgive, cook, babysit, clean, assist, pray, empower, lift and deliver.

"And God is able to make a grace abound TO you so that in all things and at all times, having everything you need you will abound in every good work ....You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God"  2 Corinthians 9:8 and 11

Blessed to participate in ....

Monday, June 6, 2011


We wrap up five weeks of studying grace very specifically this week. By study, I mean we have read, we have written, we have rewritten, we have asked 'so what?' and then 'what else' ...we have pondered, prayed and meditated over scriptures that have enlightened and blessed us.

I can say in all sincerity that I have learned more of this precious gift than I ever feel like I knew before. Many of these lessons have been surprises, as I understand many familiar passages in totally new ways!

I have learned much of grace, and learned what a precious, precious blessing it is!

We have learned ..

* 2 Corinthians 12:8 ...that grace is power. It is sufficient to overcome any of my weakness, and its power is made perfect in my imperfections. Grace makes me strong.

* Titus 2:11-13 ...that grace teaches. It teaches us to say 'no' to ungodliness and gives us the wisdom, righteousness and HOPE for the days to come.

* Ephesians 2:8-10 ...that grace saves. It saves us, so that we can fulfill our purposes and do the things that God has planned for us advance!

* Hebrews 4:15-16 ...that grace gives us confidence and boldness. Through grace, we are able to approach the throne of God with the knowledge that He desires to bless us with mercy and and grace at the right time.

2 Corinthians 9:8 ...that grace is all that we need. Its all we need to fulfill the good works God has called us to, and he gives us EVERYTHING we need to not only do well, but to 'abound' in those wonderful tasks!

Grace, is way more than simply "unmerited favor". Its more than a feel good, ambiguous offering of a God who is far away. It is real. It is an awesome gift that we continue to rely on, be filled with and we are utterly dependent on for any hope of being part of God's kingdom.

I have learned that grace is not something that is a vague and simply in the 'spirit' realm - but it is tactile, touchable, viewable and obvious. Grace is what happens to a person when they allow God to fill them up, and move their bodies, spirits and circumstances beyond the here and now and to a place of blessing and testimony.

Grace is what I see in active form when I see ...

* a young mother and wife whose husband has left her to follow the desires of his heart. Who nurtures those around her through the hurt that divorce brings, and is able to minister to her children, to his family and to all those who are touched by choices that arent her own.

* another young mother who is facing a disease that threatens to take her life, yet her family, friends and loved ones gather around and minister to her in beautiful and real ways. So that, regardless of the outcome she has the blessing of nurtured relationships with her husband and children throughout these precious moments.

* a couple, who 'should' be about to start a new phase of their life as 'empty nesters', instead move their life to a place where their nest will never be empty, and their 33 years of parenting experience will come in handy as they minister to God's children in another country.

* ministers of Christ's church who devote their life to teaching, correcting, loving and nurturing God's people with little or no reward this side of heaven.

* victims of the devastation of nature from the past few weeks as they start to put their lives back together, and yet continue to bless the Lord and his people by encouraging and uplifting others who have lost their physical blessings

* a mother who seeks to bless her children on a daily basis - with touch, with teaching, with nurturing, with guiding and unconditional love. Who can overcome lack of sleep, lack of physical reward, lack of recognition.

These, and so many more are examples of how God's grace is active and powerful amongst his people.

Have you learned of grace these weeks? Are you more aware of it as you look around and see his hand powerfully working? share, and may God's grace bless you abundantly! 

{Welcome ifellowshippers! glad you came by to visit!}

Week 5: 2 Corinthians 9:8

{And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things and at all times, having everything you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8}

Our last of verses we are specifically looking at in terms of the topic of grace ..this one is my favorite! 

I think it is because of all the weeks leading up to this point ..grace has a whole new meaning for me than it did five weeks ago, and so it means all the more to know this promise. 

It also means so much because how real it makes grace be able to abound in good works, to fulfill my purpose, to fulfill the roles that God has called me to ..these are all things that can be felt and appreciated. You can know that God has fulfilled this promise right here and now! :)

Part of the reason that it is so clear, so because I am so aware of my weaknesses, my faults and my inadequacies. Its is because of that feeling of "I cant do this!" that creates an even deeper appreciation for what God can and does for me!

The wording ...."to make all grace abound TO you." implies such a separation from what I can do and what God does for me. I see outstretched hands, overflowing with blessings pointed in my direction. They are being blessed "to" me. Not through me, or from inside me but TO me. It leaves so little chance to take the credit! 

The context of this passage makes the promise that much more meaningful (as it usually does) when we realize that Paul is talking about giving to others. He is talking about being generous, and the challenging his readers with the blessings that come apart from sharing what God has given for this express purpose. 

He says in the preceding verses ..."Each man should give what he has determined in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves  a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."vs 7-8

Keep reading ..its gets better ..."He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. How he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge your harvest of righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result with thanksgiving to God." vs 9-11

If you believe that you a purpose in Christ, that He has chosen you for the purpose of His calling, that you are His and that you belong in Him - you are given everything you need to be all and do all that is included in that. 

He doesnt do it for you, but for the harvest of righteousness that your good works will bring. Your good works that are powered by His perfect plan (Eph 2:8 .."for we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do."), your good works that will result in bringing others to him through their awareness that only God can provide so abundantly. 

God's grace is all that we need, and its is abundantly all that we need! ..what a great and precious promise!

Friday, June 3, 2011

a little meet and greet

The mommy friendly blog, Wee Share has blessed LSPS (and me!) us with a spot light feature called "Meet the Blogger" today :) ...if you are visiting from there, WELCOME!

We will return the favor in the new future with a full spread of their own, but meanwhile I would love for LSPS readers that are not already ALSO loyal readers of Wee Share to hop on over and check it out!

WeeShare is a great resource for product reviews and giveaways for things that are oh so wonderful for mommies and their "wee ones". As a mom herself, Desiree has some great intuition about these things and passes on her experience and wisdom.

Thanks SO much Desiree for the chance for my readers to get to know you (and maybe me!) better! :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mind Control: Guilt

I have been thinking about this topic alot lately Satan can use it so effectively to distract our hearts that so desire God, from the true purposes that He has called us to ..I originally posted this about two years ago, I must've been struggling with the same things then :)

How often do you struggle with feeling guilty about something that you have or havent done?

Is it that you didnt spend enough time with your kids today? ..or ate the WHOLE piece of cake, instead of the bite you planned on? ..or that you havent read your bible today? ..or that you havent called your mom this week? ...or that you havent opened all the mail? ...or that you havent gotten through the kids clothes this season? ...or that you didnt use coupons on this shopping trip? ...or that you didnt workout this week? ...or that you ... the list goes on and on ...right?

We use alot of brain power feeling and thinking about feeling guilty for stuff. We talk ourselves into ways that we fall short in our own minds and we reprimand ourselves for it ..dont we?

I do. Alot.

I compare, and when I feel like I have fallen short of that ..I feel guilty. I dont want to, but I do.

Its a natural feeling for us, I think. It is what happens when we are not paying attention. We condemn ourselves for all that we think we dont measure up to.

But .."..there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," Romans 8:1

Here is why ..."And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature (which is constantly causing us to feel guilty about stuff) but according to the Spirit." vs. 3-4

But how ..? "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires (to compare, judge, condemn, wallow and condemn some more); but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." vs. 5
"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace,"
vs. 6 ..I am sold! :)

When those thoughts that condemn us, and against a measure that is not godly ...then we need to refocus our thoughts and ask the Spirit to fill our minds with things of His promises.

We arent in the position to judge ourselves, and therefore we should not find ourselves guilty quite as easily as we do.

If you are asking God to guide your mind, actions, time and resources ..then God will do so. Let the other stuff go, and trust that God's grace will cover all those areas where you fall short.

Easier said, than done. I know. But its worth the effort ..I promise. :) (says she who was sitting here feeling like a failure as a mom today because she fell apart into hysterics when her 4 year old tracked spanish moss all over the floor she just spent an hour vacuuming :) 

Dear 2009 Courtney,
I get you.  
Love, 2011 Courtney

Revisit: The Car Bucket

Okay, as we approach a year since my friend Ashley shared this WONDERFUL idea to me and I have started using it myself ..I had to revisit this wonderful tool :)

First refresh your memory ... I re-introduce ..the Car Bucket!

The basic idea ...  Ashley (a busy mom of two, going on three) carries a sturdy tote with her wherever she goes, in and out of the car. It helps her manage all the stuff that comes with kids, a busy life and the minivan that shuttles it all around. According to her, "the "car bucket" serves as a carry all for my cell phone, sippy cups, purse, a couple of diapers, blankets and more" when going from one place to another outside the house. 

She loads it up when she is at home, thinking of all she may need for that particular trip out. She packs the tote differently if she is visiting with friends, going to church, going on a grocery shopping trip or whatever. Her husband and kids know that everything that goes with them has to go in the CB and that it is there when they go to look for it later.

When they leave the house, she loads up the kids, the husband and the CB!  We all know that when Ashley comes over, she is gonna make ONE trip to or from the car. Everything she needs is in that one place.   If her kids need their sippy cups, check the CB first!  If she is heading the pool, betcha the towels and sunscreen are in the CB!  Snacks anyone? ..CB.

When she gets home she uses the CB to declutter her Swagger Wagon, making sure to grab all the kid-related odds and ends, as well as the trash they have generated on their trip out. She makes sure to empty it out at home, each and every time. This is my favorite part, since my vehicle is always a cluttered mess!

Tips from the master ... "The "car bucket" needs to be big enough to make it able to hold several items and small enough to carry. I don't like the floppy kinds I like the kind that is pretty stiff and holds its shape well. Also, I like them to have handles on each end. That way when they are pretty full you stick one end on your hip and the other end you can hold by the handle." 

One thing about the car bucket is that it will only work if you empty it IMMEDIATELY every time you come in the house. Otherwise it will just become something else in your car full of junk taking up space.  {Courtney here ...ABSOLUTELY TRUE!}

"When I am by myself so I don't forget anything I put the kids in the car first so they are strapped in the car ready to go (and can't get into anymore mischief). The car bucket is the last thing that goes in so that I can come in one last time take a quick look if I need anything else and toss it in. Then I lock the door and take the car bucket with me."

I agree with ALL of that has been a great tool for keeping order in our car and I have regretted the times when I have gotten lax about using it (after a week or two of vacation for instance, now...this post a good motivator!)

Here is a shot of my Car Bucket ...I shopped for this for a few months, went through one or two before I lighted on this awesome one from Thirty One. It is the large utility tote, and works PERFECTLY for us. It holds a huge amount in terms of stuff and weight, has great handles, and has held up the best of the ones we have tried!  ..I LOVE MY CAR BUCKET! :)

{ is possible that the Thirty One large utility tote is the customer special for June for ..I am just sayin' :)
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