Back to school means back to hectic schedules, homework, deadlines, lunches and what to make for dinner. To help bring a sense of calm, it’s helpful if we go back to scripture. It sounds so simple, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that God’s word can be just the balm we need for whatever we are facing. These monthly calendars from Lifeway Women are perfect for posting on the refrigerator or keeping on the dinner table to foster conversation after a long day. September’s scripture focus is on strength. How perfect and timely after a summer of relaxed schedules and minimal structure that we can rely on God to help guide us back to a routine. Here’s today’s thought, “Choose to seek the Lord’s strength and not your own.”
Today marks the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death. Every year I try to honor her memory by sharing her daily devotional.
I am no stranger to the searing pain that grief brings with the loss of someone you love dearly. Through it all I have remained thankful to a God that has carried me on days I didn’t think I could walk, held me when I didn’t think I could stand, and filled me with hope when I was empty. I’ve walked through darkness and I know I will do it again someday.
When I have someone like my mother Earnie, who was the best example of everything I could hope to be in a wife, mother and friend, I am thankful for each day I have to love as fully as I can. Mother was a faithful servant of the Lord. She welcome each new day in prayer, meditation and reading the Bible. Everyday, she would recite the same devotional. I know it would make her happy if you shared it with someone you love.
Best Day of my Life
Today, when I awoke, I suddenly realized that this is the best day
of my life, ever! There were times when I wondered if I would make it
to today; but I did! And because I did I’m going to celebrate!
Today, I’m going to celebrate what an unbelievable life I have had
so far; the accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the
hardships because they have served to make me stronger. I will go
through this day with my head held high, and a happy heart. I will
marvel at God’s seemingly simple gifts: The morning dew, the sun, the
clouds, the trees, the flowers, the birds.
Today, none of these miraculous creations will escape my notice.
Today, I will share my excitement for life with other people. I
will make someone smile. I’ll go out of my way to perform an unexpected
act of kindness for someone I don’t even know.
Today, I’ll give a sincere compliment to someone who seems down.
I’ll tell a child how special he or she is. I’ll tell someone I love
just how deeply I care for them and how much they mean to me.
Today is the day I quit worrying about what I don’t have and start
being grateful for all the wonderful things God has already given me.
I’ll remember that to worry is just a waste of time because my faith in
God and His Divine Plan ensures everything will be just fine.
And tonight, before I go to bed, I’ll go outside and raise my eyes
to the heavens. I will stand in awe at the beauty of the stars and the
moon, and I will praise God for these magnificent treasures. As the day
ends and I lay my head down on my pillow, I will thank the Almighty for
the best day of my life. And I will sleep the sleep of a contented
child, excited with expectation because I know tomorrow is going to be
the best day of my life ever!
From Lifeway Women here is this month’s HomeLife Family Calendar. May is such a busy month. I think even busier than December, but in a different way. Our children are finishing school, preparing to graduate and start new adventures away at college, taking tests, cleaning out desks and dorm rooms. We are planning year-end parties, putting together teacher gifts, and making sure kids stay on track with assignments and projects. Creating family time this month will be especially important to keep everyone centered, grounded and comforted with the knowledge that God always provides. Print a copy and put on the fridge as a reminder that God delights in spending time with you each day.
As a LifeWay Women Ambassador , I am sharing this story today directly from a beautiful post on the Lifeway Women site. It’s the story of Saint Patrick, a missionary in Ireland.
‘We don’t know a lot for sure about saints throughout history. What we do know is usually clouded and overshadowed by legends and myths passed down for generations.
Today, we celebrate Saint Patrick. Many of us in America faithfully don green clothing and maybe eat corned beef and cabbage. We don’t think a lot about the man behind the holiday.
Like most saints, the stories of Saint Patrick abound. He has been said to have driven all the snakes from Ireland, his fingers turned into some sort of flashlights on a dark night, and he turned an evil ruler into a fox. Or so the stories go. Blarney? Maybe.
What we do know about Patrick is that he was a missionary in Ireland. He was born sometime in the fourth century in England and was kidnapped as a teenager by Irish pirates. Forced into slavery in Ireland, he most likely worked as a shepherd before escaping to freedom. He was not very religious at the time, but he often prayed in the fields. He credits God giving him a vision telling him to escape.
Once free, he went to France where he stayed for a while in a monastery. He eventually (perhaps after a return to England) began to have dreams where the pagan Irish asked him to return to Ireland to teach them about the gospel. He did not have much education, so he first had to convince the church to allow him to be a missionary. He studied in France for a while, but was always known for his more “rustic” teaching methods.
Many people credit Patrick with explaining the Trinity using a three-leaf clover. He often baptized people in wells, some of which are still called “St. Patrick’s Wells.” Before his death on March 17 (year unknown), he wrote Confessions about his life and mission. His love for the Irish people was clear in his writings. By the time he died, Christianity had taken root in Ireland.
We celebrate saints on the days of their deaths, so today we wear green in honor of Saint Patrick, missionary to Ireland. When I think about Saint Patrick, I am always amazed by the love he had for God and for the people of Ireland. The people who had taken him captive and forced him into slavery were the very ones he loved enough to go back to. Patrick loved his enemies enough to share the greatest news with them.
God calls everyone to share the gospel. He called a former slave to go back to the place of his enslavement to tell them about the good news of Jesus Christ. Patrick knew the weightiness of his task—he sought out an education and approval from the church before going into a place where he may be the only believer. Perhaps because of his unconventional education, Patrick knew how to meet the people where they were. He used everyday items to tell deep theological truths.
May we remember this, too. God calls us to the weighty task of sharing the gospel with those around us—those we like and those we may consider our enemies. God equips us to tell others the story of redemption, how He gave His Son so that we might live with Him forever. This is our calling, on March 17 and every day.
May we also remember those who are risking their lives to share the gospel in hostile environments, who are getting an education so that they may be clear in their teachings, who are learning about the people they will encounter so they can meet them where they are. Today, as we wear green, let’s remember to pray for those missionaries and to look for opportunities to be a missionary right where we are.”
If you would like to be an Ambassador for Lifeway Women, click here to sign up. It’s a fun, free, new program that allows you to help LifeWay Women share the latest news and updates. You’ll have the chance to earn prizes like Bible studies, event tickets, and other LifeWay Women goodies.
With the first day of March coming on Wednesday, it’s time for a new daily devotional calendar. Lifeway Women is a wonderful resource for inspiration, especially for women, and free art like this month’s family time calendar here.
March 1 — Exodus 14:14 “Sometimes, we wear ourselves out fighting battles that are not ours to fight.” Pin it to your fridge and share it with your family.
February is my favorite month! It’s Miss Bee’s birthday month, along with most of the other women in my family. Three is our family’s lucky number. Most all of our birthdays are divisible by three, important events in our lives have occurred around the number three, and starting on Feb. 12 with Miss Bee’s birthday, every girl was born three days apart (the first birthday this month is my niece and she was born on the 3rd!). Pink and red are two of my favorite colors. I love chocolate and I love, LOVE!
To jump start your February, I am sharing Lifeway Women’s devotional calendar. Be sure to print a copy and put on your fridge tomorrow and share the scriptures with your loved ones.
Today was my first day back at work having been afforded the last two and a half weeks off for vacation. It was so nice to spend time at home with my family in my cocoon of serenity. Miss Bee returns to school tomorrow. So, it will be back to early mornings, making breakfast and hurrying out the door. Christmas decor is, for the most part, put away but a pile of “other” stuff sits mocking me to make a decision as to its final resting place.
I am always conflicted the first part of January. A part of me is glad to put Christmas away for the next year and simplify. But, it’s also bittersweet because it’s time to stop listening to Christmas music (since it’s been on Pandora since November 1), the fun parties are over and the “spirit” of friendliness and cheer subsides. The unstructured vacation and relaxation is over, back to the routine.
But, there are a lot of things I look forward to…. like organizing, re-grouping, cleaning and getting back into a routine. See how that can be a positive, too?
One thing that never changes, is the love God has for me. His calming nature is all around me if I will just stop long enough to recognize and acknowledge it. I can choose to get worked up that my calendar is filling up again after a self imposed vacation, or I can take one day at a time and just roll with it. When I saw the quote from Ann Voskamp in my inbox this morning — “Today, I am going to be a prayer warrior, not a panicked worrier” it was a reminder that I can make many choices today. I can choose to remember the quiet I experienced during the last few weeks and keep it for the days and weeks to come. I can remember to be more gentle with my teen when she is cranky and moody. The quiet did her good this past few weeks. I saw her funny, relaxed, inclusive, childlike side return — which made me realize that her stressful demeanor is coming from how hard she works at school trying to make great grades and please her parents.
This week I will be sharing things I always do every January to jump start my new year and a few things I would like to try this year. And, of course, we will hear from Haute Holley later this week, along with a few good recipes I have tried out recently.
Have a blessed day my friends. I really do appreciate each and every one of you taking the time to visit my blog and share it with others.
After all the holiday over indulgence — buying the extra gifts the kids didn’t really need but we wanted to watch them open — more gifts — eating, eating and eating, and exhaustion of wanting everything to be perfect, it’s nice to be able to start anew every January.
This Ann Voskamp printable is the perfect way to re-center and put the focus on being a giver. No, not more gifts to give, rather the gift of our compassion, grace and forgiveness.
Look at Wednesday’s to-do: Pray three times today for a person that feels really overwhelmed. Maybe that person happens to be you. That’s okay. God delights in hearing your prayers. Give it forward today.
Well, I am completely worn out. I am sure you can relate. For the past three weeks, I have either hosted or attended every Christmas party I possibly could, shopped for or made the perfect gifts, baked cookies, decorated the house, cleaned and re-cleaned the house, designed and sent Christmas cards, and so on. And fitting this all in with regular life. Raise your hand if this is you, too! I enjoyed it all while doing it, but I reached my limit and for the last few days it’s been hard to find energy. I was glad we planned a low-key Christmas day with just the three of us. And, I am coming down with a cold.
I wanted to share one thing that I did this holiday season that I am most happy about. If you have been reading along with me for the last six months since I launched Home with a Twist, you’re familiar with the story behind the loss of my parents and the challenges I have had, in particular, with grieving the loss of my mother (read here). One thing I haven’t been able to do in the three years since she died was visit the cemetery.
This past Wednesday, I was in the area of the cemetery picking up a Christmas gift. As I got closer, I had this feeling that it would be okay to go by and say hello. I wondered if the florist at the funeral home had wreaths or poinsettias I could place at their graves. As I made it to the corner, there in front of their building were rows and rows of beautiful tokens of Christmas. I pulled in and decided on a bunch of poinsettias to add a pop of color to Mother and Daddy’s plot they share with my grandparents and Daddy’s baby sister who died when she was two.
I parked and walked over. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. It did make me cry a little to see Mother’s name carved into the marble. We visited and talked about Christmas. I looked over and saw that my Daddy’s little sister, Pauline, died on December 21, the next day. I can only imagine what that must have been like for him and my grandparents to lose a child four days before Christmas.
As I drove around to leave, I could see the mound of red poinsettias — the only spot of color to be found in that older section of the cemetery. I could just imagine Mother’s smiling face at how pretty she thought the flowers looked. She loved color! It gave me great comfort, not sadness, as I drove away. And hope, that many more visits are to come. Perhaps next time I shall take daffodils.
I’m sharing Ann Voskamp’s December calendar printable. You can find this and other beautiful art, memory verses and stories at her webpage. Pin this to your refrigerator and make it a family activity to unwrap the season.
Start with today: Tape a $1.00 or extra change to a vending machine and bring a smile.