Archive | March 2015

Just One

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

As I look through my posts and drafts (future posts), I’m seeing a pattern. I love lists (grin) and, more importantly, I long for a world where we are kind to one another. I can’t be alone.

Would your world change if you committed one act of kindness today? I think it would. Let’s think about it. If you went out of your way to do good for your spouse, your child, your boss, your coworker, your child’s teacher, a neighbor…. 

  • Put an encouraging note in your kiddo’s backpack today. 
  • Write a sweet or steamy message on the bathroom mirror for your spouse to see when getting out of the shower. 
  • Take a cup of coffee to your coworker. Bonus points if it’s a difficult team member. 
  • Send a short text, email, or handwritten note to your child’s teacher, thanking or praising him for something specific. 
  • Take treats to the next meeting. 
  • Smile. Cmon, just smile as you drive, as you walk to your office, as you grocery shop. 
  • Thank the waitress, store clerk, receptionist. 
  • Leave a generous tip. 
  • Give someone a ride. 
  • Choose one of your spouse’s usual chores and do it for them. Bonus points if you don’t tell them you did it.
  • Hold your tongue. If it’s not necessary or encouraging, just stop. Close. Your. Mouth. I’m working on this one. 
  • Thank your pastor. 
  • Pick up the tab. 
  • Tell someone he is doing a great job. Better yet, tell him why. 
  • Forgive and forgive quickly. We all mess up. 
  • Leave a note of appreciation for your office’s custodial staff. 

What do you think? Join me!  Let’s start actively seeking ways to love on one another. This will honor our King, bless those around us, and make our own lives better. 

Feel free to share your ideas in the comments. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 


Loves & Links

 I’ve been known to text or call family and friends to rave about a great product. Do you do that, too? If so, you’ll enjoy today’s post. Grab a cup of coffee and check out some of my favorite things:

  • You know those times you don’t have time to wash, dry, and style your hair?  Well, this may be your solution. It smells wonderful and definitely makes your hair look great until you have time for a shampoo. 
  • Some of you know I’m currently trying a dairy free diet.  Well, THIS yummy treat has made me very happy! 
  • Oh my gosh! I adore all things courtly check (Mackenzie-Childs). The pattern is timeless and simply beautiful. I have such fun setting a party’s serving table with these gorgeous dishes. 
  • I’m a sucker for all things red and Avon’s Real Red nail polish is no exception. 
  • I first discovered Chacos while vacationing in Colorado about ten years ago. When I travel, I walk quite a bit and need comfortable footwear. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Morton’s neuroma. The injections did nothing to ease the pain and surgery was the only other option offered to me. Through some very expensive trial and error, I discovered Chacos were the only shoes I could wear without pain. 
  • When initially suffering foot pain, I did quite a bit of research for good footwear and soon became a faithful shopper at Zappos. If you haven’t tried it, please do!  They have excellent customer service. They offer such detailed descriptions of their products that I soon knew more about what my foot needed than my podiatrist did. I cannot say enough about the good people at Zappos!  
  • Just sniffing this yummy stuff in the shower every morning makes me happy!  
  • ️Peppermint oil! Peppermint oil is a favorite. I keep one in my purse and one on the nightstand. I’m never without.  (I sell these awesome oils. You can purchase them here.)
  • I’ve tried countless lipstick shades and brands over the years and i sways go back to Clinique’s pink chocolate lipstick. It’s gorgeous. Try it! 

So, what are some of your favorites? Please share in the comments. Have a great week. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Choices

Did you ever stop to consider that the decisions we make today determine what our tomorrows look like?  I’ve determined that, with God’s help, I will start seeing each today with tomorrow’s eyes. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. 

 Choosing to spend 15 minutes cleaning up my work area means I can start tomorrow fresh.

Choosing to have the salmon instead of the chicken fried steak, opting to walk this evening before plopping down on the sofa may well translate into weight loss and better overall health.

Determining to spend 20 minutes of face time with  my husband rather than playing games on my phone will bring us closer, benefitting our marriage and our entire family. Resolving to spend two hours tackling the closet (or garage or basement or . . .) this weekend before napping or  hitting the theater will make me feel calmer and more in control. 

 You see where I’m going. . . .  I’ve chosen the most obvious areas we all seem to work on year after year, largely without success. There have to be so many others — resolving to hold my tongue, turning the other cheek, seeking out an enemy to pray for him or do him a good turn, giving generously and without expecting anything in return, stopping to spend time with my friends instead of always saying next time . . . 

What are YOUR thoughts on this? What are areas you need to rethink? I’d love to hear them.

Disclaimer:  I DO plan to occasionally (rather than regularly) opt for the chicken fried steak and nap!

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Marriage 101

I enjoy a wonderful life with my husband. Not a day goes by that I’m not mindful of the blessing our marriage is. Perhaps it’s my first, failed marriage that makes me appreciate the gift I have today. (You can read more about that in a previous post, The Best Worst Thing.) 

I was single for about 15 years before finally remarrying. God used those years. I built a career, traveled, made lifelong friends, and grew up. Meeting and marrying Jeff was well worth the wait.  I was so blessed to learn from one of the finest marriage gurus, Jimmy Evans. He was writing his first marriage book and teaching us from his notes in Wednesday evening services when I was newly divorced. I well remember sitting in the congregation, soaking up every word.  Check out his books here. To watch him teach or get on his mailing list, check out  MarriageToday

We recently celebrated our anniversary and I started thinking about what makes our marriage work. It’s become obvious I enjoy lists, so here’s one more. 😃 

Julie’s Marriage Tips:

  1. Marry a good forgiver. 
  2. And be an even better forgiver. 
  3. Realize your spouse is not  your source of happiness.  You are responsible for your own happiness. 
  4. Hang out. Play. Have fun. 
  5. Put his happiness above your own. 
  6. Say thank you. A lot. 
  7. Pray. Pray for your marriage. Pray for your spouse. Pray for your own attitudes and issues. 
  8. Celebrate. Of course, you’ll celebrate holidays and birthdays, but try celebrating “little” things like surviving Monday, losing a pound, etc. 
  9. Create rituals and traditions just for you two. 
  10. Watch your thoughts. You married him for a reason. When he does something you’re not crazy about, remind yourself of the great things he’s done. Dwell on, meditate on, his good qualities. 
  11. Know his love language and know your own. 
  12. Listen. Don’t advise or criticize. Listen
  13. Have his back. 
  14. Remember you’re a team now. Team Clarke was something my wise husband promoted from day 1. 
  15. Laugh. 

Feel free to share your relationship tips in the comments. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

The LiTtLe things

Arthur Conan Doyle had it right when he said, “…the little things are infinitely the most important.” 

 Think about your day. What memories bring you the most pleasure? For me, it’s always things like a bear hug, coffee in bed, holding hands with one of my students, or my husband’s rushed prayer for me to have a good day….No diamonds or new cars on the list, folks. Although I’m most willing to receive those things and repost. 

Now think about these things for a moment. A coworker doesn’t return your greeting. A car cuts you off in traffic. Your team loses. Your spouse doesn’t kiss you goodbye. Your child is ungrateful. Your hair looks awful. Cmon, you know at least one of those things can potentially ruin your day. Yet, they are all little things. And, yes, they matter. They don’t matter in the eternal scheme of things, but I think they absolutely matter in the day to day stuff. These little things can cause feelings of rejection or irritation or even hopelessness. 

 So, what’s a girl to do? Well, it comes down to who controls your mind. Are you submitting your thoughts, emotions, and life to the Lord? If you’re anything like me, you are. Sometimes. And other times you cave and host a little pity party for one or you decide to lash out. 

If we truly want to be God’s girls, let’s win this battle once and for all.

 1. Take every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Truthfully this one step is all you need. Without it, you’ll never live a victorious life in Him. I once heard someone say to imagine yourself as a police officer frisking a thought. “Are you true? Are you just? Are you pure? Are you lovely and of good report?” If the answer is no, out goes the thought (Philippians 4:8).  (If you haven’t read Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind, get it here.)

2. Practice gratitude. A recent sermon reminded me to be thankful IN all things, not necessarily FOR all things. There’s always something I can praise Him for. Always. 

I’m blessed to be fed regularly at my church. Take a listen now.
 3. Shake it off. Oh, how I love Taylor Swift’s latest song. Just ask my poor husband. Whatever your opinion of Miss Swift, her advice is sound. Someone is rude. Shake it off. Snubbed? Shake it off. It’s liberating to (1) realize so many minor annoyances and offenses are not personal (2) understand you have the power to not get upset and to refuse to entertain hurt feelings. Check out Taylor Swift’s video here

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When Someone is Grieving  

I’m no expert on loss, but I’ve experienced it on various levels and I’ve come to some conclusions. 

1. It’s an individual thing. Please don’t criticize how we choose to grieve. 

2. Don’t be afraid to mention the person we are grieving. We are well aware they are gone, and they are anything but forgotten. 

3. Please don’t tell us we are selfish to wish they were here. We know someone in pain is far better off in Heaven, but we -selfishly- want them here with us. We miss them and are still adjusting to our new normal. 

4. Please don’t tell us you know how we feel. Maybe you do and maybe you don’t. We know you’re trying to help, but it’s not helpful to say this. 

5. Let us know you love us, are praying for us, and care about us. 

6. Remind us of wonderful times or funny memories with our loved one. 

7. Pray for us. 

8.  Bring us a meal or gift card to a restaurant that delivers. Or take us out for coffee or a manicure. 

9. Don’t forget us after the funeral. Our grieving is really just beginning after that. We’ve been running on adrenaline until then. After the funeral, it starts to sink in. It’s real. And it hurts. 

10.  Know us and understand our personalities . I have a friend who wanted, needed me to mention her mom every time we got together. I have another who preferred to be the one to bring up her sister. I truly try to accommodate both. I so want to be a blessing and comfort. 

Please feel free to share your tips in the comments. As always, I wish you much joy!