Happy New Year…More and Less

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

It’s no secret I adore beginnings and fresh starts.  Here’s another opportunity to dream, plan, grow, create a beautiful life.  If you’re a resolution junkie (I can’t be alone!) check out this post or this one.  

This year I’m focusing on more of the good stuff and less of the yucky.  

  • More authentic connections. Less superficial or forced. 
  • More relaxation.  Less zoning out. 
  • More real food. Less processed food. 
  • More love, acceptance, and mercy.  Less jealousy, pettiness. 
  • More experiences. Less stuff. 
  • More Jesus. Less me. 
  • More joy. Less drama. 
  • More gratitude. Less complaining. 
  • More Bible time. Less iPad time. 
  • More praying. Less worrying. 
  • More forgiveness. Less resentment and grudges. 
  • More compliments. Less criticism. 

Happy New Year! My prayer for you is more of the good stuff and less of the yucky. As always, I wish you MUCH JOY! 

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No is a complete sentence. 

My amazing aunt taught me that, but it took years (too many years) before I fully understood and embraced it. She was teaching me to say no to the endless extras I was asked to do. It was liberating, thrilling, and terrifying to say no to serving on yet another committee or picking up the slack for a person fully capable of doing his job. She was teaching me to protect my health, my sanity, my family time. And I bless her for this lesson. I’ve embraced it. I even try to pass this lesson on to my people. Lately, however, I’m realizing we need to say a resounding NO to more than those pesky requests for our time. 

  • No to gossip. 
  • No to whining and complaining. 
  • No to time sucks.
  • No to selfishness.
  • No to turning a blind eye to the hurt around me.
  • No to hatefulness.
  • No to rude behavior. 

Saying no is actually saying YES to a better life, to better relationships, to better times. Join me in saying NO today. As always, I wish you much joy! 

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What Does Jesus Want for Christmas?


I saw something on Facebook recently asking what Jesus wants this Christmas. I didn’t read the post or watch the attached video, but the idea stuck. In fact, the idea won’t leave me alone. Hmmm.

Finally realizing this must be the Holy Spirit at work, I paused one Sunday and asked Him what He wanted.

I know this is a busy, crazy, festive, holy, chaotic, stressful, blessed time of year. I know you still have shopping or baking or wrapping to do. I know you don’t have time to get still before God. Do it anyway.

Right now, put the iPad down, mute the tv, go find a quiet corner, and ask Him. Then wait. He WILL answer you.

And the truth is He really just wants you-time with you, a relationship with you, your heart….

As always, I wish you MUCH joy.

Today let this truth sink in…

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Another GOOD morning 

 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

~ Psalm 118:24

Recently, I shared a post on how I go about having a GOOD morning. I wrote this after a (mostly) sleepless night. As soon as I hit post, I realized I’d left a few things off. Do you do that? Invariably I see errors as I hit send on emails and texts. Oh well….

The thing is…

God isn’t a needy, insecure diety, demanding my praise and admiration. Oh no! He is Daddy God, King of Kings!! Praising Him is for my benefit. When I thank and praise God, I am reminded how BIG my God is and how small my giants are. I’m reminded of ALL that He is and  ALL that He’s done. When I praise Him I remind myself and my defeated enemy that GOD is:

  • My King
  • My Lord
  • My Savior
  • My Healer
  • My Refuge
  • My Strength 
  • My Source
  • My Provider
  • My Father
  • My Counselor
  • My Friend
  • My Consoler
  • My Peace
  • My Joy
  • My Wisdom
  • My Guide
  • My Teacher
  • My Love
  • My Hope
  • My Protection
  • My Shield
  • My Provision
  • My Hiding Place
  • My Companion
  • My Creator
  • My Purpose
  • My Defender
  • My Everything

When I remind myself of this, I can’t help but have a good day. When I neglect to, I struggle.  I’m a work in progress. I mess up daily, and I get some things wrong. But this…praising and thanking my God…this is something I’m doing right. If you’re facing giants today (and I know you are), remind your problems how BIG our God is. 

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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GOOD Morning! 

Like most of you, I’m running on empty right now. I don’t mean to.  I have plans to change. Really! I’m going to get more sleep, stop stressing about work, and cut out sugar. Tomorrow

Today, however, I’m latching on to something that’s more powerful than 8 hours of sleep and the biggest cup of coffee-praise.

 Not too long ago, I felt the Lord nudge me as I was getting ready for work. I had started praying (by rote-not awesome, Julie!) and He whispered, “Stop.  Just stop. I want you to praise me today.” This began a new morning ritual. For the last month or two I’ve offered up a shorter prayer, thanking Him for meeting the needs of my family, friends, and me. Then the good stuff starts. I start thanking Him for all that He is, all that He has done (and will do). My faith is stirred up. This is potent stuff, y’all. The more I thank and praise Him, the more I have to thank Him for. Bonus: I feel better. Energy comes. Ideas and solutions come. Healing and favor come. He is my source for everything-every thing. 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”  

Psalm  103:1-6

I know this is a big DUH for some of you, but it was revelation to me. I’d gotten into a rut. I’m so thankful He brought me out of it. He’s good! If praise isn’t a part of your morning routine, I encourage you to try it today. A GOOD morning is guaranteed.  As always, I wish  MUCH joy! 

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Live for TODAY

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” 

― Bill Watterson

Y’all, it’s taken me four decades to learn this lesson. And when I say learn I mean I’m better than I was, I’m working on it, and some days I actually do this.  I wrote this post after a time in my life when I was making progress. Two steps forward, one step back….

I am the girl who plans lessons weeks ahead, cannot sit down and enjoy the movie with her husband because she’s doing x, y, or z in order to make tomorrow easier. I’m the one who has missed the moment, and tried to enjoy it afterwards. And I am wrong. I’m all kinds of wrong. 

I remember a few years ago when my mom had a heart attack. It was the end of the school year. I was spending long days at the hospital, calling and texting family with updates, running up to school to clean up, leave  more substitute plans, and pack up my room for summer break. Three great things came out of that season.  (1) Praise the Lord, my mom is fine. (2) I learned to accept genuine offers of help. (3) And I had to start taking one day at a time. For the first time in my life, I looked at the day’s events and not into the next day, next week, or next month. This wasn’t because I finally understood the wisdom of living in the moment. Rather, it was the only way I could survive the avalanche of emotions and things screaming to be done at home and at work. I vividly recall walking down the hall of the hospital’s third floor with my head down.  I’d left my mom in CCU in order to grab a sandwich. As I walked, I stared at the tiles on the floor, forcing myself to look at the next hour only and what needed to be done. It was a battle! 

As the years have passed, I’ve lost that lesson. I want it back! 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:31-34 ESV (emphasis mine) 

It’s always wise to turn to The Word,  isn’t it? 

My October to-do list is ridiculous. . Feeling overwhelmed, I’m turning to God and He is graciously reminding me to look at today and what needs to be accomplished today. Tomorrow I will worry about tomorrow. My mind rebels, but I know this is the way to live. Deep breath. Okay, Lord, here we go. 

How do you deal with your busy life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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Rules for Life

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. ~Unknown 

It’s no secret I adore lists. I try, y’all.  I do.  I can’t seem to help myself, though, so here is one more. As I share my rules for life, I would truly love to hear yours. 

  1. Forgive. People are going to hurt you, lie about you, cheat you. Forgive quickly and move on. YOU will be happier. 
  2. Celebrate the success of others. If you’re spending your time being envious or comparing your life to someone else’s you’re wasting your time and losing your joy. 
  3. Do things you fear, but don’t allow anyone push you into something. 
  4. Love.  Love matters most. Love God. Love yourself. Love your people. Look for things to love in your routines, job, daily commute. 
  5. God. Spouse. Children. Family. Work. Keep your priorities in line. 
  6. You really do have time for what matters. 
  7. Find a hobby you can lose yourself in. It’s great therapy and better for you than numbing out with food, drugs, or alcohol. 
  8. Practice gratitude. 
  9. Being kind, treating others with kindness and dignity…well, that may matter more than anything else. 
  10. Build routines to make life flow smoothly (regular bedtime, exercise schedule, lay your clothes out the night before), but don’t be afraid to deviate. 
  11. Understand that you are responsible for your happiness. Everyone has bad stuff. Choose how you deal with the bad stuff. 
  12. Your words have tremendous power. Grasp this and you’ve latched on to an eternal truth. 
  13. When you find people who comfort and encourage you in tough times, spur you on in times of growth, and truly, joyfully celebrate your triumphs…hold on to these friends forever. They’re rare. They’re precious. They’re worth more than gold. And, y’all…these are your people. 
  14. Express your appreciation. You have people in your life that you love, count on, appreciate. Make sure they know if. Hubby and I make it a point to thank each other multiple times daily for “silly” things like taking out the trash, folding the laundry, or making the coffee. 
  15. Fight to keep your peace and joy. Don’t let others rob you of them. 
  16. Write thank you notes. 
  17. Sit in silence for a few minutes at least once a day. 
  18. Laugh. Be silly. Have fun!
  19. Spend time in The Word. 
  20. Reply. If someone texts, calls, writes, or emails they deserve a reply. 
  21. Less is more. This seems to be true for words, jewelry, makeup, and sharing opinions. 
  22. Simplifying is hard, but worth it. 
  23. Seek understanding. 
  24. Try to bless someone at least once a day. 
  25. Observe the Sabbath. 

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please  comment. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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