Monday, November 20, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 20, 2017


November 20, 2017

Proverbs 20: Live Righteously 

"She who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip." 
Proverbs 20:19, pronouns changed (Bless it.)

Prepare yourselves, Lady Friends.
 THANKSGIVING APPROACHETH and you know what that means- Pie Talk. 

You've helped get the gravy made and the turkey has (hopefully) been carved into un-golf ball shaped pieces and the blessing has been blessed and the food has been devoured and the kids have eaten approximately half a bite of turkey, thirteen rolls and two cups of sweet potato casserole. You've cleared the table, wiped the cranberry sauce from the kids hands, fixed the coffee and have settled back down at the table with your Mom and aunts and cousins and sisters-in-love and nieces for dessert while the kids run around outside with their cousins like the wild hooligans that they are AND THEN THE PIE TALK COMMENCES. 

You've barely taken that first glorious bite when Someone brings up Someone Else's something-or-other. Maybe it's their new car. Or their old car. Or their kids. Or their husband. Or their recent haircut. Or their need of a haircut. Or their weight. Or the way they fixed the green beans. Or their appalling lack of lip color. But whatever "it" is- you know when it begins. And then it becomes an avalanche of words. Suddenly, the dessert you're enjoying has magically turned everyone at the table into Dr. Phil. There are many and various solutions to real or imaginary problems offered and while it's easy to be taken into these conversations, it's equally hard/awkward/uncomfortable to get out of them. Bless it. The struggle is real. 

Now I'm not saying every family's Thanksgiving is like this. I'm not even saying MY family's Thanksgiving is like this. (Because it's really not.) 

I've gone a little overboard because I'm sure on some smaller level, everyone has experienced at least some version of this at their gatherings. (And y'all all know it's true. DO NOT ACT LIKE YOU DON'T.) And this verse reminds me to keep my trap shut when it comes to other people's business. 

When conversations turn into gossip, your best bet is to run. Take out the trash. Go stir the gravy. Refill your coffee cup. Clean the oven. Slice the can shaped cranberry sauce. Go take one of your kids on an unnecessary bathroom run. (Unless they're twelve. Then they can probably handle that business on their own and that would be awkward.)

 Find some excuse, lame or otherwise to get outta there. And if it's totally transparent- EVEN BETTER. It'll be obvious that you're unwilling to fuel those fires and will go an even longer way to keep them from being rekindled later. So go check that ice maker or the oil in your car. You'll feel much better about your heart and mind and conscience when you do. 

Enjoy your pie but work hard to make sure that's the only thing you consume this Thanksgiving. 

Have a Christ-filed day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 19, 2017


November 19, 2017
Proverbs 19: Point Your Heart Toward God

"Listen to counsel and accept discipline, 
That you may be wise the rest of your days." 
Proverbs 19:20 

NOT THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN CALLED OUT FOR MY OWN WRONGDOINGS OR ANYTHING, but this verse is the bomb, y'all. 

One of my resolutions for 2017 was self refinement and bless my heart, I've gotten it. I've felt convictions about the television I watch and the music I listen to and the conversations I have. And it hasn't felt good.

(Worth notice: Having three sets of tiny ears that are literally under my feet 24/7 does WONDERS for my conversation skills. Since THEY LISTEN TO ALL MY WORDS, I better make sure I'm OK with them being repeated. BECAUSE THEY WILL BE.) 

Having my character flaws and shortcomings shown to me hurts. It's painful to have Matt help me see my sinful (mainly, if I'm being honest- overly emotional) reactions to situations. I want my skin to boil off my bones when I recall conversations I've had with friends that took paths down into gossip or unkind critiques of others. It's noooooot fun. I've gotten very familiar with the taste of crow and humble pie this year. 

But this verse reminds me to stick with it and to stay the course towards becoming a better reflection of Him. The hard parts of listening to the Godly advice of others and owning up to the fallout from some poor decisions that I've made will become the strength I need to stand up and make better decisions the next time I'm in a similar situation. Because after I've grown and learned and matured, I will be 'wise the rest of my days' because of it. 

And that's such a comforting promise to me, Chief of all sins and self refinement. 

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 18, 2017


November 18, 2017
Proverbs 18: The Power of The Tongue

"She who gives an answer before she hears,
It is a folly and shame to her."
Proverbs 18:13, pronouns changed 

Ummm....GUILTY. 
Read through Proverbs long enough and Solomon'll throat punch you on the regular. Sort of like he does to me with this verse. 

Because I'm 1000% a Fixer. 
Come to me with a problem or a situation or lumpy turkey gravy and I WILL TAKE CARE OF IT. I'll have helpful advice or a recipe solution or a Pinterest link about how apple cider vinegar will cure what ails you. 

Sometimes, MOST TIMES, people don't want to be fixed- they want to be heard
Think about it. 

When you've had a long day at home with your kids, or at work with your boss and all the dominoes have fallen and you're feeling like a deflated tire or a cup of cold, decaf coffee with that weird film on the top- What makes you feel better: to have someone sit, listen and be with you in your story, or to have someone interject their two cents with a bunch of "Well-what-you-should-have-done-s"?? Uuuuuuuugh. Just close yer mouth and open yer ears! 

When the kids have covered the dog in PlayDoh and the schoolwork got chocolate syrup on it and I forgot to defrost ground meat for supper, I don't want to call Matt and have him autocorrect my day. I want him to listen, give me a well-timed "Oh man, that's rough.". I want him to tell me that despite my day, I'm a great wife, a rockstar Mom, the best teacher ever and that he's craving grilled cheese sandwiches for supper. 
AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE DOES. ::heart eyes::

So the next time you find yourself being like me and itching to interject your Fountain of Wisdom into the conversation- don't. Let this verse remind you to listen to hear, not to respond. And see how much better that makes your friends and family feel when they've had a long/hard/sad/emotional/tiring time of things. 

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 17, 2017


November 17, 2017

Proverbs 17: Seek Out The Good Things

"Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
Than a house full of feasting with strife." 
Proverbs 17:1

Ok, but so FOR REAL- please tell me I'm not the only woman who struggles with comparisons. I mentioned earlier this month about my deleting some of my social media accounts and I CAN NOT TELL Y'ALL how free it has made me. Mercy sakes alive. I love it. 

Eliminating unnecessary informational overloads from my life has given me such peace. I'm grateful that my day isn't ordered by how I feel about how much my friends are exercising or decorating or cooking or cleaning. I miss some of their updates, and their adorable kiddos, and the funny memes they post- but honestly I don't miss it enough to allow it to invade my newfound "quietness". 

If you're struggling with feeling inadequate and have begun to find a correlation between those emotions and the amount of time you're spending watching other people live their lives online- TRIM THAT FAT, Sister. Get rid off it; take a gigantic step back from that "house of feasting" you've been welcoming into your life. Think about your internal strife. SOLOMON KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT. 

 Let yourself take a break from being over saturated with others. Find your own dry morsel and let this verse remind you to gather your contentment from that place. You'll find you'll be much, MUCH happier with less in your life. 

Ask me how I know. 

Have a Christ-filled Day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 16, 2017


 
November 16, 2017
Proverbs 16: Plan Your Life Righteously 

"A grey head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness." 
Proverbs 16:31

Our family is preparing for a season of grief. My husband Matt's grandfather is nearing the end of his earthly life and is awaiting his eternal home and everyone is mourning. 
It's painful. 

Nobody prepares you for facing grief with your kids as a parent.

I've lost all my own grandparents throughout different stages in my life, so I'm well acquainted with the emotions present when you prepare yourself to say goodbye to someone who has been such an integrated part of your own childhood, but I've been sort of taken by surprise at the task of relaying this situation to our own young kids. Especially now, because they are so little.  

They're still just learning about the Foundations of our faith. They're still figuring out Jesus' miracles and The Tower of Babel. They're asking questions about Abraham and Issac, and Rahab's lying and if they're going to be able to have their favorite blankets in Heaven with them. They're growing and learning so much that my heart could burst, but at the same time, there are still so many things left they've got to mature into. 

And death is one of those things. 

This verse reminds me of how blessed I am to be surrounded by such an amazing legacy of faith in our family. All our parents, and all our grandparents have been served faithful, Christian lives. They've grown up and spread the Word and planted their roots deeply in Christ's church and have helped us plant our roots right along there with them. And now, as we are raising our own family, they're leaving their fruit behind as an example for us as we help our kids put down their own roots. 

I'm selfishly thankful for their faithful walk because now, as we tuck our kids into bed at night and have our prayers and devotionals- when we begin to talk to them about death and dying and what that means to families- it has not had to be a sad conversation. Our parents and grandparents personal strength and faith has given us the gift of giving our kids The Happy Ending that comes when a faithful Christian dies. Death is not the end. Jesus has given us His victory over it. What richness that brings to our lives. 

 Now, when we have to talk to them about grief, we are able to tell them it is a sweet beginning to eternity and not a painful, bitter end to their lives here on Earth. We're able to explain to them that a funeral for our Christian loved ones isn't a permanent goodbye but only a temporary farewell. And the joy and relief and peace that leaves our kids with is immeasurable. They're continuing to bless our lives even with their passing. The lessons they grew to teach us will continue to bear fruit for us even after they've left us on this Earth without them. 

And that kind of legacy can only be found "in the way of righteousness". 

Please remember my family in your prayers. And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 15, 2017


November 15, 2017
Proverbs 15: God Sees Us All

"All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a cheerful heart has a continual feast."
Proverbs 15:15

We're currently hip deep in a stomach virus epidemic so reading past this verse this morning was SUPER ironic. I've got a puke bucket on my living room floor, a quarantine ward set up on our love seat and my washer hasn't stopped running poop/puke clothes since Sunday. And Solomon is telling me I'm supposed to be all up in my "continual feast" with all this? Whaaa?? With all his wives and concubines I'm pretty sure he was never the one up through the night with a sick kid. 

But here's the deal: I kind of am happy. I really am. I mean, don't get me wrong- stomach bugs are the PITS. Cleaning up somebody else's body fluids is crazy humbling. But as I've trudged through this week with my brood of sick chickens, it's actually not been that hard to be positive. (Most of the time. 2:47am found me stretching to find my joy. Bless it.) 

When the kids cry for me in the middle of the night and I find myself encountering a bed full of undigested supper- I'm relieved that I've got a laundry room full of magical appliances that will literally clean up the mess FOR me. (After I rinse the chunks out in the backyard. Eww.) It's like having my own personal Whirlpool Fairy Godmother. Hallelujah. Warm, clean blankets are a balm to the soul. 

When somebody wakes up nauseated and crying one morning, I'm grateful that our decision to homeschool lets me roll right along with them and their Pukey-Pukes instead of having to scramble to call into work or daycare or school. Instead, I can close the lesson plan book, grab a fun Read Aloud, fire up the PBS shows we've got on our DVR and some Thieves and our day has been made. (Seriously, all you Moms that work outside the home and/or have kids in public schools- You guys get mad props. That's a LOT of balls to juggle when one of your kids gets sick at the last minute.) 

Martha Washington, BLESS HER HEART, changed my life with this quote when I read it several years ago: "I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition." 

SHE IS SO RIGHT. 

If I'm looking for the bad- it's all gonna be bad. I'm going to be tired and irritated and literally all.the.things. will be going wrong. My back will ache and my pinkie toenail will snag my blanket and the bruise I have on my elbow from two weeks ago will twinge. But if I purpose in my heart to CHOOSE to be cheerful, no matter how dismal the outlook seems- I'll always find at least one thing, SOMEthing to be joyful for. If you're struggling- electric coffee pots are a good place to start. ::wink::

What joy can you choose to find?

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 14th


November 14, 2017
Proverbs 14: Sift and Weigh Every Word 

"She who is slow to anger has great understanding, 
But she who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
A tranquil heart is life to the body,
But passion is rottenness to the bones."
Proverbs 14:29-30 (pronouns changed) 

Ok, so BUT FOR REAL- ask my husband Matt if I feel all my feelings. Because I ABSOLUTELY DO. (And a lot of times I eat my way through them. Google Trim Healthy Mama Skinny Chocolate because that's what a lot of MY feelings taste like. With extra mineral salt sprinkled on top. Bless.) 

My go-to stress response: tears. 
I can happy-cry, sad-cry, tired-cry, angry-cry, excited-cry, anxious-cry, hungry-cry, bloated-cry, TV commercial-cry. You name it and I can well up all kinds of tears about it. That hot, throat closing, stinging eyes sort of feeling when you might not weep actual tears but it's only because you're holding them back with every fiber of your being. 

Yup. That's me. And these verses tell me that it's not always OK. ::gulp::

When my perfectionism gives me anxiety over the state of my house and I want to stomp and fuss and holler at the kids about their toys- WRONG. When Matt and I aren't seeing eye to eye about something and I want to try and manipulate my way- WRONG. When there is a situation brewing within our church family that has the potential to make or break relationships and I'm dying to throw my two cents into the group discussion- WRONG. When the kids aren't listening and my patience is wearing thin and all I want to do is raise my voice and show them that I'm the Queen of Yelling- WRONG. 

Having emotions and feelings in these situations isn't bad. It's when I allow myself to jump to reacting instead of responding that I can get into trouble. 

God has blessed Matt with a good job that allows us to live in a house that, in my opinion, is vulgarly nice. I want to keep it clean and neat and in order. But I don't need to become a tyrant to my family about it. 

Marriages are built on closed-bedroom-door discussions. Matt and I have shared many, many, MANY hours talking about all.the.things together after the kids go to bed. But it's never OK for me to try and weasel my way into winning by using deceptive means. I've got to say what I mean and mean what I say. 

All Christian families have encountered bumps in the road. Satan loves to use human emotions and short comings to fracture those bonds we have made within our church family. We've got to be diligent to recognize those attacks and have the self control to examine the situation before we could react and unintentionally add fuel to the fire and make things worse. 

Kids are loud. And they fight. And their hands are always sticky. And when I'm not diligently parenting them, I can allow these things to chip away at my self control until I'm nothing more than a grown woman who is stomping around her house and yelling at her kids like a 3 year old. 

These verses tell me that a tranquil heart will add life to my body. If I'm focusing on responding instead of reacting, it's going to be a lot easier for me to steer clear of those hot, burning emotionally uncontrolled tears. God gives me peace through His comfort and protection. If I'm stopping every morning to give my day to Him and to ask Him to guide my emotions and to guard my heart, it'll be that much easier to maintain peace and calm and self control when the choppy waves of the day threaten to capsize my boat. 

I am going to remember that today. 

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie.