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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thoughts from the Day


After being homeschooled for the last 8ish years of my life, I'm starting to realize how fast a week, or even a day can fly by. Right now I'm waiting for my algebra class to start and I've decided to jot down some thoughts. The old feelings that I used to have when I went to highschool are coming back. I'm starting to think "Hey, I've sat in a classroom for the last 4-5 hours, what have I accomplished?" I know that I'm working towards an associate's degree by the age of 18, but sometimes it's hard to wait. Although, for me, something that isn't so hard, is being satisfied with where I am. Whenever I start to feel stuck or like I'm doing nothing productive, I look to where I'm going and I look to who I'm going through life with. A Chris Tomlin song says this: "and if my God is for me, then who can ever stop me." The song reminds me that waiting and feelings of a mundane life can't stop me from living the life he has for me.

I just want to encourage you all to look towards your future with God. Even if you can't envision anything beyond where you are now, know that what you see as mundane, God sees as overflowing with potential. Be satisfied in Him.

~Jessica

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Simple Grace - Week Three


How has your week been?  I hope and pray that you were able to take some of things that I shared here last week and begin to apply them to your life in the way that you treat yourself.  As I talked to a friend yesterday about how hard we tend to be on ourselves, I shared with her that when we treat ourselves poorly,  it devalues the Cross and that it's an extension of unbelief.  Which can be hard to come to terms with.  I don't think that any believer would say that they don't believe.  I think that we take our belief for granted and when the rubber meets the road, we need to evaluate the depth of our belief.

To break that bold statement down a little let's look at the Cross.  When Jesus died on the cross for us, He did so for the purpose of forgiving our sin and inviting us into an eternal life with Him.  In that action, Jesus said "You Matter", He offers us forgiveness, mercy, grace and love.  So, when we don't give ourselves those things, we are really refusing to take the gifts that Jesus died to give us.  AND we're are saying that even though He did those things, they really aren't meant for us, OR that we somehow would rather be our own judge and don't need what He provided in His death!!

I don't know about you, but when I see it put that way, it changes my perspective on how I need to treat myself!  I struggled eight years ago with post partum depression and it really made me look at how I treated myself.  I had set these ridiculous standards on myself for how I lived, what I accomplished and what people would think of me.  It was a devastating way to look at my life.  Through many tears, a lot of pain and God's Grace, I have been able to lower those ridiculous standards without compromising my beliefs, ideals, ideas or desires.

I still have to give myself permission to accept God's grace....when I make a mistake, or I don't accomplish what I "think" I should accomplish.  I've learned and really am still learning to trust God and open myself up to His grace....realizing that that is exactly what is waiting for me.....Grace.  Not some heavy hammer that is going to pound my failures into me, not some disapproving judge waving a ruler above my head to gauge the level that I've accomplished or failed at.  I, with the enemy's help, was the only one who ever did that.  Jesus has only ever offered His grace and mercy.

Last year, my phrase for those troubled times, became "Just Breathe".  In those moments of pausing and taking a breath, I was able to diffuse the situation that seemed to be reeling out of control. By breathing in God's grace, I was able to breathe out the chaos and the lies.  This week, I want to challenge you to do something.  Are you game??  Well I'd like you to take notice of the moments that you don't accept God's grace, and maybe write them down in a journal.  Noticing is the first step to moving forward in a healthy relationship.....with yourself and with God.  If you are really game, the next step would be to trace the lies that attach to the moments.  Why, in that moment, are you not accepting Grace and being so hard on yourself?  After that you would want to seek God's word to find a truth that combats each and every lie that you feed yourself!

This practice will transform the way you treat yourself, the way you look at Jesus and ultimately, it will transform the way you treat others.  Which we should be talking about next week, unless I need more work on giving myself Grace!!!  Which could happen, I pray that it doesn't....but you never know what  a day holds and we always have a choice!!  Here's to choosing Christ in all situations!!

Go forth in His Grace <3 Lorraine

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Live Life on Purpose: Book Review

"There are 600 churches and 460,000 Christians for every one unreached people."

What is our excuse?

 
 
I promised you guys a while ago that I would write a little book review on this book, this book that took me many months to finish. It's not long at all, it's just so full of information that I could only take in a little bit at a time!

The back of the book reads: "Your life only make sense in the context of God's plan to finish the Great Commission. God has given us the direction we need to make our lives count and leave our mark on eternity. When we find it, we move from merely existing to truly living life on purpose."

I love Amazon's summary of it as well: "The aim of God’s entire biblical story has one mission, reaching all the nations, and one method, all believers. Finding your life purpose only makes sense in the context of God's plan to reach the world. Discover the part you were meant to play in God’s epic plan."

If I had to summarize a review for this book in one sentence it would look like this:

If you are not willing to have your life interrupted and if you are not willing to change the course of said life, don't read this book!

 
Now that that is out of the way, let's continue. This book is going to change something. Whether it changes your mindset, your life goals, anything! You won't be the same. I can't recommend this book to anyone enough. People today are so self-centered and so unmotivated that it's not even funny. This book, I believe, can help change that. I don't want to put Live Life on Purpose on a pedestal and claim that it's The Bible, but I believe that it is the kick in the butt that people need.

I would love to give you a quote or two from the book, or tell you one thing that really stuck out to me, but I can't. It had too much of an impact on me to tell you my favorite part. The only thing I really know how to say is that you'll learn facts you never knew existed, be confronted with problems in the world that you didn't know of, and discover passions and interests that you didn't know you had. I have something highlighted on every page of this book and I'm sure I'll be reading it again and again.

Go ahead over to www.claudehickman.com to access resources, information about the author, and to purchase the book. Once again, I highly recommend this book if you're looking for something to be excited over again or if your life has hit a dull plateau.

~Jessica
 
 

Monday, January 28, 2013

More to Be Mentoring Mondays - Week Three

I don't know about you, but it seems, for me, that as soon as I start something to honor God, the enemy rushes in with all sorts of attacks and plenty of ammunition!!  The last two weeks we've tackled excuses and I honestly didn't think that I held onto any.  Boy was I wrong!!  These excuses aren't just related to mentoring, but they seem to spill over into many different areas of my life!!

That can be a very daunting thought to ponder.  It can be difficult to move past those excuses, after all, they do give off the impression that you're completely stuck and incapable of moving forward in any direction.  Praise God that HE offers us a truth for every lie that hangs over our head!

I think that one of the biggest things I've learned from the beginning of this study is to continue moving forward even if you believe that you can't!!  Just go ahead and take that first step and then another one!  Then tell someone of the struggle and trust that they will cheer you on and provide Grace along the way!

It's alot like learning how to walk!  You try and try again until you gain skill and momentum.  Then eventually you are stringing several steps together and find that you are walking on your own!!  Sure, you are going to fall and stumble and convince yourself that you have no right to even try....and that is why you need someone on your side, so they can help pick you up and dust you off and set you back on your way!!

Funny how a study on biblical mentoring can provide assistance for other problem areas in your life!  I suppose that when you set out to work for God, He's going to do whatever it takes to get you completed for the entire task and not just one small part.He's good like that and I'm so glad that He is!!

I am completely encouraged by this weeks reading assignment!!  I need to keep a watchful eye on how I live my life and conduct myself, using Titus 2:3-5 as a guide:

 "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine,but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

It's exciting to look forward to mentoring opportunities so that I can help pass along Gods' love and instruction to the next generation of women!!  If I don't keep my focus on Him, the whole thing can be completely overwhelming.  I must remember Philippians 4:13, which, by the way, is my favorite verse!!  It says:

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

That pretty much eliminates any justification of excuses that we may holding on to!!  Are you ready to let go of the baggage and cling to the truth?  I'll do it with you and we can help each other!!

Join me again on Wednesday for more talk on Grace...I didn't realize that it was as big of a struggle as it is!!  Stop back tomorrow too, for a word from Jess!!

God Bless <3 Lorraine

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Back to School, Back to Work

So......... I totally planned on posting a book review, a day-in-the-life post, or something fun like that. But my first day back to college was yesterday, and I'm already slightly swarmed with school work. Between teaching Joe and college I'm busy!

The day before I went back to college I decided to look at Joe's history schedule and rethink it. He isn't enjoying school very much and that doesn't make me happy. So the day before school started I decided to pull apart Joe's curriculum and pretty much make a new one within the guidelines of Sonlight. That was fun... No, really, it was! Hopefully I can keep up with it, though.

If you guys remember my Spring Semester Resolutions you'll remember that I wanted to work on my time management, that's gonna be interesting this semester. However, I'm loving getting back into the swing of school work and learning. It's exciting! So today has mostly been spent doing school stuff, which is fine. I'm trying to get done as much as possible today so that I can use the weekend to relax a bit, blog, and just dilly-dally.

I know this is a really lame blog post, and I contemplated not even posting it.... But I think I'm going to... I promise to have something better next time...

~ Jessica

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Simple Grace Part 2


As I think more about Grace, I'm seeing that I need to accept the Grace given to me and then extend that Grace to others!  But why is that soooooo hard????  Well I think that it's hard to accept God's Grace because we hold on so tightly to our failures, sins, excuses, etc.  We refuse God's forgiveness and in doing so we tell ourselves that we don't deserve that forgiveness or Grace.  I picture this like a heavy cloak that represents sin, regret, fear or whatever we claim over ourselves.  That cloak hangs on a hook in our room and every single day we choose to put that cloak of shame on, we cover up all that Jesus died on the cross for with that heavy, dark cloak of lies.  We don't even see His grace or forgiveness.

I, for one, am tired of wearing that ugly thing....it's not attractive, it's heavy and wears me out and let's be honest....it doesn't match anything!!!!!  Seriously though, wouldn't you agree that the weight of the sin that you carry wears you out, that it gets difficult to carry day after day and you get tired of seeing it??  It doesn't match the amazing, life changing work of the Cross!! Let's take a look at the differences between the two:

The Cross say that I am:              The Cloak says that I am:
forgiven                                           unforgiven
redeemed                                         condemned
cherished                                         despised
worthy                                             unworthy

And that's just a few....You get the picture, yes??  If we cannot take off the cloak, we cannot receive His grace!  If we cannot receive His grace, we cannot extend His grace to others!!  So we must allow God to start the transforming work in our hearts, minds and lives, so that we can do what we were made to do!!  Imitate God!!

In Sunday School this week, we looked at 1 Corinthians 13 and really broke down this love chapter.  Everything, every.single.thing, comes down to love!!  If I don't love myself, I cannot accept His grace for me, If I don't love myself, I cannot love others and therefore cannot extend grace outward either! 

Let's quickly look at verses 4-8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not dlight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."
 
I am often impatient with myself, I am often unkind.  I have a problem with envy, boasting and pride.  I am rude to myself, in those moments I am self-seeking, angry and count my wrongs.  There are even times when I delight in evil.....I think that looks like the times when I make a mistake or fail something and then that part of me laughs and says "yep, of course you did".  I don't keep myself protected from the enemy as I should, I don't always trust in God, I lose hope and I want to quit.
 
I don't know about you, but all of those are in complete disagreement with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  If we replace the word "love" in those verses with the name of Jesus, or even our own name, it takes on a clearer image!  (for sake of time and space, I combined the two)
 
"Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind.  He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud.  Lorraine is not rude, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, and she keeps no record of wrongs.  Lorraine does not delight in evil but rejoices with the Truth.  Lorraine always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Jesus never fails."
 
Try it for yourself, that is, if you struggle with this like I do.  It's time that we get down to the nitty gritty of our lives and really work out our salvation!!  We must demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5   There's another version that says "vain imaginations"......are you a story maker??  Ohhh I am, for sure!!!  I love to create an entire scene of what I think will happen......most times, all times, I am completely off base.  I need to take those vain imaginations captive and force obedience to Christ!!
 
We are on a battlefield.....Jesus died to give us His grace and forgiveness....who are we to refuse that?  I leave you with Big Daddy Weave and "I am redeemed"!  Let the words soak in and let's see if we can't start receiving His Grace today friends!!!!  We'll do this again next Wednesday!!  Be sure to come back!!



 
 
God Bless <3 Lorraine

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Lorax: Part Two

It case you couldn't tell... I really enjoyed The Lorax. :) Anyway, this is a continuation of this post. Take a look at the video below... then we'll continue.


It's a catchy song, right? But, if you listen to the words, you don't even have to listen closely, you might see the similarities between the Once-ler and yourself. How often do we, as humans, justify our sins? "How bad can it be? I'm just doing what comes naturally." We say to God, "you can't possibly expect me to be perfect, I'm human! You still love me in my sin, so as long as I sort of try a little, I'll be okay." But the answer is no. God knows that you won't ever stop sinning, but he wants you to try like it's nobody's business. He wants you to devote yourself to him, no strings attached.

I know how hard that is, I struggle with the sin:forgiveness ratio. How do we grieve over our sins, yet not beat ourselves up over them? As the movie comes to a close, the Once-ler regrets what he's doing as he sees the consequences. What does he do? He regrets it and grives over it, yes. But more importantly he waits for someone to make everything right. He waits patiently and hands over his knowledge and resources to someone that can help. We don't have to wait, Christ died and made everything right years ago. But that doesn't excuse us from the guilt and the regret. Without guilt or regret we would just keep on going in our sinful ways, and that isn't what God wants.

He wants us to regret what we've done, crawl to him, ask for forgiveness, and learn from it. Although I've used a silly medium to bring you this message... it might help to remember it. How often do we say "I'm just doing what comes naturally"? We can't use that as an excuse and hide behind it. Bring your concerns, regret, and guilt to God. Ask him how you can work on your sin:forgiveness ratio. He can forgive you and take your guilt away... trust me, it works.

~ Jessica

Monday, January 21, 2013

More to Be Mentoring Monday - week two

I can't believe that another Monday has rolled around~where does the time go??  I have to be honest here, I am not staying on top of this study as I had hoped to, and I'm really wrestling with that!  Elisa has been amazing at encouraging us to just do what we can and not worry about time constraints and keeping up with the schedule!  Now I have to just accept that grace and let it go!!  I couldn't sleep last Wednesday night and decided to get up and read my four chapters and answer as many questions as I could at midnight!!  Yeah, that's where I'm at these days!!!

So let's get to it!!!  Last week we read chapters 5 - 9 and looked at...dun dun dunnnnnn.....EXCUSES!!!!  gasp!!  I don't have any of those!!!!!!  ha.ha.ha.ha.  I loved chapter fives title..."What Did He Say?"  We all know where our excuses come from, but we tend to hold onto them dearly anyway!!  John 8:44 clarifies this truth:

".....the devil...He was a murderer from the beginning.  He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies."
 
Hmmm, that's pretty clear huh?  So if we know this to be true, why are we not getting it?  As Elisa puts it, "The enemy simply looks at our lives, notes our weaknesses and fears, and offers up an excuse filled with half truth, half lie."  You can go back to Genesis 3:1 to see what this looks like, but I'm pretty sure that you are familiar with his ways!!  We explored what our main excuses for not mentoring were and a Mental Makeover Download was offered.  It looks pretty good, but I haven't had opportunity to work it out.....I have an excuse reason for that!! lol
 
In the next chapter we looked at the excuse of feeling like a hypocrite!!  Certainly, I have no business telling others how to live....look at my past!!!  While it is true that we must use wisdom in sharing our story, it may not be the right time or audience, our story does not disqualify us or make us a hypocrite!  There are plenty of other excuses that we come up with for not sharing our lives with others.....fear of being exposed and judged or even the current circumstance we may find ourselves in can hinder us from moving forward in freedom.
 
I love what Romans 8:28 tells us:
 
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
 
My past has enabled me to walk a path that has had many bumps and bruises, trials and pain, and though I could certainly look at it and feel sorry for myself and say that I can't share that with others, God tells me otherwise!  As I have continued to give Him my life, pains and mistakes, He works them together for my good and His glory!!!  I can stand on the other side of that chasm and say "Look what God has done in my life!!!"  I can sing His praises because I've experienced His gifts first hand.  We even looked at the Saul/Paul conversion.  Paul was a Christian killer before He met God on the road to Damascus.....God didn't send him back to right his wrongs....rather he transformed him right where he met him and sent him FORWARD!!  Paul was equipped because of God, because God took his past and worked it together for Paul's good and God's glory!!!!
 
Doesn't that make your heart want to sing??  I know it does mine!!  It gives all of the pain and struggle a purpose and that somehow makes the past okay.
 
Not my gift, too young, not wise.....these are some of the other very popular excuses that we come up with for not doing what God wants us to do.   I am amazed at how many people think that young people have no business leading, training and guiding!!  I am part of a large youth ministry team and we have leaders that range from 21 to 40+ years!  We would be missing a HUGE gift if we excluded our 21 year old!!  I really don't think that age has anything to do with anything!  Now here's the key, to anyone mentoring really, you must be sure that you are influencing others according to the word!!
 
James 1:5 wipes the excuse of not being wise right off the board!!!
 
"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking."
 
Ummmm, yeah.  Enough said!!  Let me add this though, just in case you need a little more :)  As we grow in our relationship with God, praying, reading the work, working out His commands, He equips us to go mentor others with no fear or excuses.  No more excuses!!!  Oh wait, there's another one......"it's not my gift".....
 
While it is completely true that God gifts us all differently, I don't believe that gives us permission to not work on other areas that aren't our strong gift!  God wants us to stretch beyond what is comfortable, to go and reach into places that we didn't dare dream of reaching!!  He will equip us if we are willing to go....and honestly, He doesn't need you or me....if we are unwilling to move, He will find someone who is willing.  That doesn't settle well in my spirit....I want to be obedient, even if it is uncomfortable.  We must remember that we are created in His image, He equips us for the job that He has for us to do.  We only need to trust and be obedient!!
 
I love that Elisa makes this very simple to understand.  She says "To Biblically mentor simply means to live life, woman to woman, generation to generation, sharing what we are learning and passing it on to others.  It is not a complicated, intricate process.  It is simply about embracing and living out Paul's instructions in Philippians 4:
 
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me--everything that you heard from me and saw me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you."
 
So there ya have it....no more excuses!  They won't work, there's no truth behind them!!  If we are thinking on the lies that the enemy feeds us, then we are not obeying God's words in Philippians.  Every time that we entertain an excuse or lie from the enemy we are being disobedient to Christ!  I'm not digging that a whole lot!!!  You must know that to fix your mind on things above takes practice and work...the enemy will fight harder as you fight harder to lean in on God, so you must be ready for the battle friends.
 
Clothe yourself with truth, with the armor of God and get yourself a big old team of warriors that will help keep you on track!!!  It's time to put the enemy in his place and march forward in the freedom that Jesus died on the cross to give us!!  It's there for the taking, we just need to get tired of eating scraps so that we can dust ourselves off and go to the Banquet!!!
 
 
*Jess is up tomorrow and I'll be back on Wednesday to talk a little more about Grace <3
 
Take care and God Bless <3 Lorraine


Friday, January 18, 2013

The Great Purge

Happy Friday, I hope you have had a great week and are looking forward to something fun this weekend!  I have and am!!  It's a Disney Movie weekend here at the house!!  And that's always a good time!  I didn't want to talk about Disney Movies though, I wanted to share with you my latest project!! 

As I was out in the garage looking at all of the "stuff" that is out there, I was looking forward towards spring and the chance to clean out, again.  The title "The Great Purge" came to me and I'd thought I'd share my purging process with ya!!  I'm not sure why we feel the need to accumulate "stuff"? We always seem to keep something saying that "maybe one day I'll use it" but one day never comes, and those original findings end up the bottom layer of a large mass of unnecessary belongings.  I am putting an end to it, I am.  I am so over this need for stuff.  So, here's where it all started....well at least where the action started...the thoughts were well before this!
 
It actually started a few moths ago, after Hurricane Sandy hit and I received an invitation from a friend of mine, to bring all used clothing to her for delivery to affected areas!  I was happy to help and once I started gathering old clothes from the attic, the bug hit me and I knew that this wouldn't be the end of it!!
 

Fast forward to New Years Eve Day, as we were packing up all of the Christmas decorations, I decided that it would be a good idea to clean up the attic.  I've been on the thought process of only having what I need and needing what I have!  So this was the perfect time to begin the simplfying process....right??  I finished the attic, which wasn't too bad, because ever since moving to this home, it's something that I've been intentional about keeping up with.  I continued the process as we packed up Christmas, sorting out things that we no longer enjoyed or needed.


I moved out to our two car garage attic and hit the motherload!  It seems to be the resting place of many unwanted items.  The problem is that these items don't leave on their own and we've never taken the time to deal with them.  So I brought everything in the house and began sorting. I figured I'd set everything up and invite some friends over for a little indoor "yard" sale!  The finding and sorting process took a week and then another week was spent setting up the downstairs for the sale.
 
 
We held it last weekend and it went very well!  It was a great idea, we passed on quite a few items and it was fun catching up with new and old friends!! Now it's Friday, a week later and we've taken A.LOT of items back out to the attic.  It seems that we'll be having an old fashioned yard sale in the spring!  Hopefully we will find plenty more to get rid of!! 


It pained me to take it all back out there though, it feels incomplete to me, somehow like I failed.  Which, I didn't, but still.  I am looking forward to setting up my downstairs again, maybe in a fresh new way. I'm also looking forward to having the satisfaction of reaching the end point if this process, when we can begin enjoying our belongings because they no longer own us, rather we are in complete control of them.


I am slowly gaining ground on reclaiming my space!  Last night we ate dinner AT THE TABLE!!!  Which is the first time in almost three weeks!  It was nice!  I can walk through my kitchen and my counter space has regrown to its original size!  The attached garage has ample space to get to the items that we actually do need and I can see the light at the end of this tunnel!  Now just don't ask me to go out to the two car garage, which by the way, doesn't hold cars!!  Ha!


I will continue to purge, questioning each thing in my home that I put my hand on.  I will be asking myself these questions:  Do I use it, need it, love it?  Can it be used somewhere else, in a different way?  Is it a timeless piece, or will it be out when the new trend or style comes in?  I only want to have what I need, and need what I have.  I want to keep pieces that don't reflect my current mood or style, but pieces that are timeless, crafted well and mean something to me. 


I do believe that this process is a picture of what a mental clean out is too!  I want to remove the mental and emotional clutter that I carry around with me.  I want to create open spaces not only in my home, but in my heart.  I figure that the more "junk" I get rid of, the more space I have for God to move in!  I don't feel the need to have things lining the walls of my home or the walls of my mind.  I want a clean slate, a clean home, a clean heart, so that I and my family can function better.  So that we can enjoy the things that we have and use them, instead of feeling so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things that we have and never using any of it! 


Maybe we will get to those projects once we can get to the supplies needed!  I may even craft more, now that I'll have the space and ability to get to what I need.  I'm excited...I know it may seem crazy to some of you.  We do have a large house and plenty of space to hold plenty of junk, but I don't believe that's how God would have us live.  Oh well, if you feel inspired by The Great Purge, please let me know!!!  I'd love to hear about your process, mental and physical!!!  Let's clean out friends and be free!!!!

God bless <3 Lorraine

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spring Semester Resolutions

In less than a week I'll be sitting in a college classroom listening to a professor talk about English Composition. Yay! However, I'm not really upset or annoyed that my winter break is over. I finished a lot of things that were on my Winter Break Resolutions list, so I'm happy about that. I thought that I would come back with a Spring Semester Resolutions list. The list doesn't have as time-consuming things as my winter break post did because I figured that a good amount of my time will be spent on school work. So, without further ado....

Spring Semester Resolutions

I wish my college campus looked like this...
 

1. Finish Season 1 of

 
Yes, yes I know... It's sort of ridiculous. I started watching the show a few weeks ago and I'm hooked.If you've never seen Alias, I highly urge you to watch it. It's on Netflix right now... so hurry!
 

2. Order Pictures from Shutterfly.com & Smash!

 
I bought myself a Smash Book for Christmas and I can't wait to start! If you've never heard of Smash Book look here. I'm hoping to use it as a scrapbook, so you might see some updates soon!
 

3. Save Money!

It's pretty self-explanatory. After Christmas and a couple of online "shopping sprees" I've had, I really need to save more of my money. However, that doesn't include this weekend when I'm going out shopping. :)
 

4. Work on Consciously Managing Time Spent on School Work and Recreation

Ehhhhh... that's a long title. I talked more about my struggle with time management here. Take a look!
 

5. Blog Atleast 2 Times a Week

 
I've been on a consistent blogging schedule and I like it! It's worked really well and I feel good about it. I'd like to keep this up as the semester starts and school work starts to make an appearance in my life.
 
That's it for now... thanks for reading! I'll be checking in again on Tuesday, my last day before school starts!
~Jessica
 



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Simple Grace


We just started a series in Sunday School on Grace!!  I missed the first week but have caugh the past two.  Week two was called Amazing Grace and week three was Simple Grace.  Of course my ears totally perked up when I heard the word SIMPLE, as it's my word for 2013!!  I'm interested in making every aspect of my life and relationship with Jesus as SIMPLE as it's meant to be and this would be my first "simple sunday school" lesson.

However, as I began to prepare for this post, I suddenly got overwhelmed with insecurities.  God and Grace are pretty big topics to tackle....I could punch out any experience from my own life and feel fairly confident about my words.  But going straight for the big stuff, that just seemed a bit daunting.  I mean, who am I to talk to you about Grace?  I'm finding it ironic that I'm wanting to talk to you about Grace and yet, I'm not allowing any grace to fall upon my head for this task!  Crazy how that happens!!  I suppose that its all a part of God's plan and lesson for you and for me!!

How often do we refuse God's grace?  Maybe one reason that we deny ourselves God's Grace is because we don't have a proper understanding of what it actually is?  From my reading and understanding there is more than one facet to God's Grace.  I want to take you back to the Old Testament and the Law for just a moment.  We can read about the law and the requirements of sacrifice that had to be made in order to fulfill the law in the books of Exodus and Leviticus.  We can see how time consuming it was, to find the perfect offering, the atonement for the sins of one.

I'm not really sure how the people had time for anything else, because so much time was spent on preparing sacrifices and trying to "clean up" before approaching the Lord.  I feel heavy and restricted just typing this. The law was put in place to show the people, to show us, that we are sinful and that there was nothing that we could do about it.  The Israelites were a fallen people, like everyone else, and they couldn't just come before God as they were and so sacrifices and offerings had to be made.

Let's fast forward to the New Testament and where Grace enters the scene.  I like it put this way:  Grace has a name and it's Jesus!  What a beautiful, simple way to put it.  If you know Jesus, you know Grace.....He is the epitome of the word.  Let's take a minute and look at why Jesus came....He came to be that sacrifice....to enhance the Law....to point us toward God.  Knowing that we could never measure up on our own and that no sacrifice we could ever offer would truly pay the price of sin, God sent His one and only son, to be The Sacrifice for our sins, for all of mankind.

No more are the days of finding an appropriate offering or sacrifice, only to have to do again and again and again.  Jesus coming, being born of a virgin, walking with us and ultimately dying on the cross is Grace.  We deserve the punishment for our sins, but Jesus took our place!!  That is the ultimate picture of Grace. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us all."  Romans 5:8

I don't know about you, but when I slow down long enough to let that thought sink in, it blows me away!!!!!  I should be punished for my sin, I was on my way to take the punishment, but Jesus stepped in and said "NO, I'LL TAKE THE PUNISHMENT FOR HER, AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE!!!"

Most of us can say that we understand Jesus dying on the cross for our sin,s though we may not always grasp the fullness of it. We can wrap our minds around the sacrifice, His death on the cross, providing us the opportunity for forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.  But where I think that we come into trouble is how that act translates into our every day life and our relationship with our Father.  To put "grace" another way, it's God's unmerited favor on a people who don't deserve it.  There is nothing that we have done, could do or will do that will justify us having His favor or grace, we can't earn it....He just gives it, because He can and because He loves us unconditionally.

In a world full of conditions, sometimes this is hard to swallow.  We are so used to a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" mentality, that when someone just gives us something with nothing attached, we question it.  Well certainly you can't just forgive me, I must have to "do" something to justify that.  I've messed up, there must be a way that I can fix it!  And here's one that I'm wrestling through right now....Unconditional giving and helping!  Surely you can't be serious, you want to help me like that, and there's no string attached?  We've been in the position of needing help for two years now and I' still learning that when God causes someone to move and give and help, there are no boundaries.  There is no end time, returning the favor or somehow paying it back.  It's just a gift, plain and simple.

He continues to humble me and I continue to learn something new about this Amazing God that I love and serve.  I want to simply accept His Grace and remove all of the complications that I have put in place that prevent me from doing that!  So if this is something that you'd like to walk through with me, please come back here, well every day, but specifically next Wednesday, as I believe this is going to take more than one post to uncover!!!

Let me leave you with this song by Jeremy Riddle, "This is Amazing Grace"  Let it soak in friends
God Bless <3 Lorraine






Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Lorax

A few nights ago I was babysitting the kids and we were trying the find a movie to watch, when we came upon The Lorax. We hadn't seen the movie before and decided to try it out. I loved it!! It was awesome. In fact, I felt like I got a whole lot out of the movie. It had a really good message!

If you haven't seen the movie... take a look
 
 
I wanted to share some quick thoughts and quotes from the movie that have stuck with me. The movie is set in a futuristic world. One with no real plants or trees, lots of electronics, and much more. However, one boy wishes to find and plant a real tree to win over the love of his life, Audrey. So a lot of the movie has to do with how the world/city got where it is.
 
When the Once-ler is cutting down trees to make his new product, The Lorax, a creature that was put in charge of protecting the forest, says this to him, "A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean." I felt like this quote held a lot of meaning. When we put our trust in something, and we rely on that thing, we'll eventually fall on it. If we put our trust in clothing, when we are met with turmoil and other things of the sort, we'll fall back on it. But will it save us? No! We need to put our trust in, and we need to lean on, the one that will save us.
 
Like many of you know, I've been reading LiveLifeOnPurpose by Claude Hickman. A lot of it has to do with becoming who God wants you to be and aligning your life with God's plans. So these next to quotes really have stuck with me as it is closely related to what I've been reading.
 
"It's not about what is is,
it's about what it can become."
 
When we look ahead, not to what we'll most likely become, but to what we can become, that's what really matters and can make a difference. I've faced so much trouble with getting in to college, everything from not having a photo ID and not being allowed to take the entry test because of it to having my birth date entered into the computer as February 2, 9000. But, I've also been given a lot of help as well, I've received a scholarship for the past two semesters that covered the majority of the cost and I've received grant money for my books. But despite any troubles that came, I looked to who I could be in Christ Jesus. And that was all of the motivation I needed to continue pushing ahead.
 
"Only if someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better... it's not."
 
When you become aware of some of Earth's most troubling thoughts, you probably feel overwhelmed. When looking at the results of prostitution in developing countries, child labor, lack of food, water, etc. It's easy to feel like you can't make a difference. But let me tell you, you can. Nobody can make a difference unless they care. This may sound like a plug, but it isn't, one of the ways that you can care and make a difference is through Compassion International or any other child sponsorship program. It can help prevent all of the worries that come with living in a developing country.
 
So whether you get anything out of this random post or not, I hope you can take one of these quotes and think on it.  
 
Jessica
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

More to Be Mentoring Monday - Week One

Part of this mentoring study is following along in the book, "Impact my Life" by Elisa Pulliam.  Over the course of the past week I looked at chapters one through four as we sought to simplify biblical mentoring.

As Elisa says, it all begins with a story.Your journey of faith is just the story to move you forward into the role of mentoring.  It's important to chronical not only your salvation experience, but also how God has strenghened your faith throughout your relationship with Him.

In chapter two we looked at discipleship in the context of biblical mentoring.  By using scripture, Elisa put together a few principles for biblical mentorship, engaging in an active, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins. (Romans 10:9-10), seeking to learn the Word, apply it to life and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16) and demonstrating an active committment to the body of Christ by attending church, serving by using my gifts and talents, and coming under the authority of a pastor and elders.

Agreeing with these statements is critical to being a biblical mentor.  Moving on we thought about someone who had mentored us in the past and how we specifically learned from that person.  My mentor, Kathleen, was a beautiful friend and lover of Jesus.  We did life together and with a few others we studied the word, prayed faithfully and grew together in the Lord.

Kathleen opened my heart and eyes to sides of Jesus that I hadn't considered before. I truly attribute the woman that I am today to the love, friendship and teaching of my mentor.

Chapter three revealed several ways to be a mentor and to be mentored.  There were certain avenues that I hadn't considered before.  It encourages me to think that God uses very creative ways to allow mentorship to take place. 

In the last chapter for the week, Elisa uncovered the truth about the qualifications for biblical mentorship. The first is from 2 Timothy 3:16-17, being committed to the Word and seeking to live it out daily.  The second is taken from Titus 2:3-5, being open to Gods leading in revealing which people in your life are in need of biblical mentoring.

It quiets my soul to know that God is the only qualifier to mentoring and that as long as I am actively pursuing Him, following His leading and pointing others back to Him, I am a qualified mentor!!

The facebook group is full of tips and encouragement as 70+ women from around the world come together to seek out how to be the mentors that God calls us to be!!

It's not too late to join in!!  Just click the button to the right of the page for information on how to get started!!  Let me know if you decide to join in the fun!!

Until next time, God bless <3
Lorraine

 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oh My Word!

With all this talk about a "word of the year" and such I've felt a little bit out of the loop. So I decided that I need to get my game together and find a word of the year. It actually came a little easier than I had expected. My mom's word has been "simplify" and as a result of that we've been cleaning out everything. My room has been completely taken apart and put back together, the closet has been emptied and tidied, our dining room is in limbo as we are preparing for a yard sale that we're having this weekend.

Because my room was completely taken apart the aftermath has been lingering for the past week. I still have some piles of things to go through, some wall decor to hang up, and other things of the sort. In order to cope with that, I've come up with my own little "get 'er done" project. Did I really just say that? Anyway, like I was saying, in order to cope with the little things that still need to get done, I've started writing down my own daily resolutions. I mentioned this in my previous blog. I know that some people pick resolutions for the year, but I need something a little bit more short term.

What does this have to do with my word? Well I was thinking and decided on the word Resolution or Resolve. I haven't quite decided which one... it just depends what looks nicer in a journal or on my wall. Resolutions have been on my mind lately and they've probably been on yours as well. Maybe you're in the crowd that prefers "dream", "hope", or "goal". I, however, am much more practical and know that if I set a goal or dream it has a much higher probability of not getting done. I am not okay with that. When I want something to get done, it has to get done.

Resolution has a sort of punch to it, it weighs heavier than a dream. When you resolve to do something, dictionary.com says that you "come to a definite or earnest decision about" something. Let me give you a little example... take a look at this picture

 
When you look at this do you think "wow, this guy is serious"? What if we just changed a few words... "Hope To I would like to live for God and if no one else does, I'll still try." It doesn't have the same punch, does it? Resolve holds a heavier meaning and it seems to convey some sort of consequence. 
 
One of the things that I've been wanting to strive towards this year is time management. I like to think that I'm a pretty good manager of my time, I always make sure that school works comes before most anything else. But that seems to be the problem, I want to learn to play the bass guitar, I want to play the piano, I want to read books, and watch movies. But I get myself too caught up in cleaning my room, doing my school work, and things that are much more practical. So I resolve to make time for fun things.
 
 
One of the fun things that I have been doing for the past month is a Disney movie night every month. In honor of my Disney Senior Trip, which keeps getting pushed back, my friends and I have been having a movie night every month, with a different theme each month. Last month, since it was December, we decided to watch The Santa Clause 1&2 and we ate some fun Christmasy foods.... Cookies? It's been a great way for me to let go of any school worries and just have fun, that's something that I struggle with... having fun, I know, weird!
 
 Take some time to think about what you resolve to do this year, maybe you need to sit down and make a list of things you resolve to do every day. Find something that works for you!
 
Happy Thursday!
 
~Jessica 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Backwards Bucket List - December

Hey friends, remember at the end of last summer I shared my backwards bucket list here and here??  Well I'd thought I'd share my December with you in that same format!!  Like I've said before, I would much rather look at what I have accomplished instead of list that's not been accomplished....this seems to work for me!!

 Ready?  Okay....here we go!!

1Rest....yep, among, perhaps the CRAZIEST time of the year, we found plenty of time to rest!!
We watched Christmas movies and enjoyed laid back dinners on the couch!!  We've even continued that into January!

2.  Family Night Out - Thanks to some generous, anonymous gifters, we were able to go the movies and have tickets for the six of us AND refreshments covered by Regal Cinema gift cards!!  We don't go out on the town very often at all, because, well, six people equals a costly evening!!  It was fun getting ready knowing that I was going out for a fun night!  We saw "The Hobbit", which was very good, even though I'm not a fan of the dark side of good vs. evil.  We also had our very first experience with YoGo!!!  It was yummy!!



3.  Putting my word of the year into action!! On December 31st I started a ridiculous project of literally simplifying my home!!  We took down Christmas decor' and I thought it appropriate to tackle the attic before putting Christmas items back up there!  It went on from there and we've tackled everything from cabinets to bedrooms and the detached garage attic!!!  We will be selling our stuff at a yard sale coming very soon....I cannot wait!!!

4.  My first real cookie order!!  My Pastor and his wife asked us to make sugar cookies for their oldest sons' engagement party!!  I was freaking out!! We make these for ourselves or holidays all of time and we've done them for fundraisers, but this time there was a little bit more pressure!!  I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out!
 
5.  Christmas & Programs-Our chidren's choir worked very hard on about 5 songs that they shared at three sunday services and at the Children's Christmas Eve Flashlight Service!  My hubbs and I also participated in the childrens Christmas Eve service; we played a spoof on Hollywood Squares.  My hubbs was a contestant and I was one of the nine squares!!  It was a blast!  Now that my oldest lives elsewhere, him "coming home" for Christmas is always a highlight <3
my girl all the way on the left 
 younget and oldest (8 & 21)
 My five heartbeats playing games together...a gift on so many levels <3
 
6.  Disney Movie Night- as per Jessica and her Senior Class Trip, they have been doing a montly disney movie night....December?  Santa Claus 1 & 2, Christmas cookie snacks and a fun photo shoot!! 
 
7.  Outreach-the month wouldn't have been complete without opportunities to get outside of ourselves!  We had new friends over for dinner, I was invited to have lunch with some sweet girlfriends that I haven't seen in way.too.long, I was asked to decorate for the Ladies Tea that our church staff puts on for some of the women in our congregation and we held our first big student leadership training & service weekend.  We hit the streets of two local cities with hot coffee, donuts and hats/scarves/gloves for those in need that we encountered.  All of these opportunities were a wonderful way to be the hands and feet of Jesus <3 
 
8. Chalkboard Art - I had moved things around enough to pull my chalkboard out of the garage and find a home for her!!  I've had alot fun with this and love the inspiration that I find on-line!

 
9. Christmas Shopping-thanks to friends!  Our wallet is very, very, very tight and we had come to terms with the fact that we just couldn't swing Christmas gifts at all this year!  I can hear some of you gasp!! lol  I know, the horror!!!  Thanks be to God that He moved some friends of ours to give a generous gift to us so that we could buy our children a few gifts.  It really made Christmas so much more special and meaningful and these were small tokens of our thanks and appreciation to these families <3


10. Seeking the Light -something that I always do!!  He is always present and where there is Light, there can't be darkness....that is my focus!!


11. Date Night-an unexpected opportunity to have a small night out with the hubbs <3

12. Face Mask Fun -we decided to try a recipe from Pinterest!!  Boy was that fun!!



13. Teaching Opportunities-teaching Senior High Sunday School has become a highlight!!

14. Family Walks-they started out as family walks but quickly ended up to be just the two of us!!

15. Don't/Did shave december-hubbs wen all through November and most of December before shaving...he had such a blast shaving it off, I'm sad that I can't share the pictures!!

16. The end of soccer season-Our boys had one make-up game that took us to the first weekend of December!!  They ended up in second place for their division!!  It was a great season and we are so proud of our boys and the team - they have grown tremendously in one season!!

17.  Hot Cocoa Station-it was so much fun to see all of the different cocoa stations out there in blog world!!  Each one is so unique to its creator...what a fun thing to have for the winter months!!

19. Advent-for years I have wanted an advent calendar, something to count up to the weeks of Jesus' birth and every year I go without!  This year I made my own unconventional advent candle"wreath" using a wooden box and candles.  I also had the opportunity to make a calendar or countdown, with empty match boxes.  I strung them up in an empty frame and each night that we were home for dinner we would have a reading from that days box and take part in the family activity included on the paper.  We did anything from performing a random act of kindness (leaving gingerbread men in our mailbox for our mail lady) to heading outdoors to play flashlight tag!!  It was a blast and a beautiful way to worship our Creator!!


20.  Baking-another aspect of the holiday season that we didn't plan on participating in was baking Christmas cookies, sad, but true.  We are learning to accept these things and God is blessing us for our willingness to say "yes, okay Lord, take it".  A dear, sweet, precious friend of mine, Denise, wouldn't hear of us having a Christmas without cookies, so she provided a way for us!  We went nuts baking!!  We were in the kitchen for three or four days straight!!  We were all so very thankful for Denise's kindness and gift!!

 
 
So there you have it!!  My backwards bucket list!!  It's amazing to see just how many things we can pack into 30/31 days!!!  God's goodness is everywhere - you just have to slow down enough to see it!!  What were some of the highlights of your December?  I'd love to hear about them!!
 
 
God Bless <3 Lorraine



 









Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Break Resolutions Part 2

Hey guys - I just wanted to post a little update on my winter break! If you didn't read my Winter Break Resolutions list... you can do so here! I've completed half of the list and I still have 16 days left. Wait... What??? 17 days!

Anyway, I've reorganized my room as a part of my mother's simplify spree. It was on my list before the simplify frenzy started, but it still counts! We've created a "play corner" for Julia and all of her stuff... ehhhh.... toys. We've also gotten rid of some furniture in the room, cleaned off the bookshelves, moved some dressers, and all of that fun stuff. The closet was semi-cleaned out... not ass well as I would have liked, but pretty well.

I looked over Joe's school schedule and planned some fun movies and other things that will go along with the lessons. Speaking of which, homeschool started back up yesterday! To be honest, I haven't really been looking forward to it. It's just some structure to the day, which I've been enjoying not having. The two things left on the list are 1) Finish LiveLifeOnPurpose and write a review and 2) Get my GED. Numero Uno is making progress... numero dos is still yet to be scheduled.

As far as Winter Break Resolutions go, I admit I sort of lied to you guys. It wasn't so much lying... more of not telling the whole truth. While I've wanted to do all of these things there were many more resolutions/hopes floating around in my head. Well.... one big one. I wanted to be able to lay around and watch movies... maybe just for one day. But with all of these other, bigger, much more important (???) resolutions written on paper, that one sort of got pushed to the side.

So... maybe I'll have some Spring Semester Resolutions coming up. In fact, I sort of like the thought of making resolutions for each chunk of my life. Instead of a resolution for 2013, I'll have a resolution for each semester, maybe even each month. Actually, I've started making resolutions for each day, it might be a bit excessive but.... eh. The past couple of days I've written resolutions on a post-it note at night and when I wake up, it'll be waiting for me in the morning. It's been a good way for me to make sure I do what I want to get done every day instead of wasting my day playing games, or sitting around.

I'd like to keep you guys updated on these resolutions, maybe some book reviews, something about homeschool, my new semester in school, I don't know. If you have any suggestions on things you'd like to read about my day or life or room or anything let me know in the comments! I really have no good way to end this, I don't even know if any of this made sense. But.....yeah.

P.S. Maybe you could leave some good blog-post-ending ideas in the comments too....

~Jessica

Monday, January 7, 2013

More to Be Mentoring Mondays!!

I am super excited to be joining up with More to Be's Mentoring Training & Study!!  Oh, wait, you don't know what I'm talking about?  Of course you don't, I'm sorry, let me tell you a little about "More to Be".  Well actually, I'll let them tell you who and what they are......just go here to read about them!!

The team there is offering a six week study on the topic of mentoring....head over here to read more about the study and find out how you can participate!!

As you may know, I am a vounteer youth leader at my church.  Currently I am involved in helping to develop a Student Leadership program along with our youth leader, Emily, and fellow volunteer, Erika.  We all have been talking for a long time about the importance of mentoring and have learned that mentoring is not a program that can be put in place, rather a series of opportunities to be involved in intentional relationships with the youth that we care for.  Right now, I see the leadership program as a pretty good way to start some intentional mentoring relationships with these kids, but I would love a little more information or training on how to be the best, most effective mentor that I can be.

I am also currently a mentor for our Mothers of Preschoolers program at church and after several years of attending as a mother, serving as a Creative Activities Leader and Coordinator for several years, I am proud to have graduated out and into this mentoring role!  I'm looking forward to how this study with impact my role as a mentor to these mothers! 

To be honest, I just have a heart for loving and encouraging others through my prayers, words and actions and I see this as a very important step in ensuring that I am doing all that I can do!  If you have ladies in your life, whether young or old, that you would like to impact and mentor, please check out this opportunity!!

Every Monday for the next six weeks you will find my thoughts and insights into that weeks study topic!!  Please feel free to leave a comment here and start a conversation on the topic.  You can also find "More to Be" on facebook, here!!  Make sure to check out their blog as well, they have a ton of resources, most of which, I believe, are free downloads!

I am really looking forward to this and I hope that you might consider joining me on this awesome adventure!!

God Bless <3 Lorraine

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Word!!

Happy New Year friends!!  I really can't believe that the holidays are behind us and we are moving forward!!  There's a lot of talk out there about choosing a word, or rather having a word choose you that would define your year, your resolve, your approach for the days ahead.  As usual, I'm a few days behind the eight ball on this but it's alright!  I've been busy working my word out and it's only January 4th!!

My word or phrase for last year was "Just Breathe", although I don't remember picking it.   Things that we thought held security were revealed to be empty.  We learned that the only security we ever had was in Jesus Christ, something we knew, but didn't live out.   As a result of my hubbs losing his job, I had to learn to breathe again.

God has continued to provide for our needs and we praise Him daily for His faithfulness!! We don't know what tomorrow holds, we only know that He holds the future and that's enough for us!!

The journey continues.  As God continues to peel back the layers of our hearts and lives, I've settled on a new word for this upcoming year.  I'm tired of being buried under complications.  And so, I give you my word for 2013:

 
 
Why do we tend to complicate things, from our homes, to our minds, even our relationships with others and with Jesus.   Here are a few verses that came to mind as I pondered how "Simple" relates to the Word.

 
But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  Luke 18:6
 
How does the kingdom of God belong to children?  Well, because they are uncomplicated and simple.  Their faith is genuine and they trust with their whole hearts.  They often don't even question, they just take what you give them and run with it.  God wants us to do the same.  To trust Him so much that we don't question.  With our mouths we claim His promises and doubt them at the same time.  I want to fully trust Him, no matter what I see.  I know that He is good and that must apply to all that I see!
 
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Hebrews 12:1
 
I don't know about you, but I tend to find myself stuck behind a lot of things that hinder me from being and doing what God wants of me.  Over the past I've been stuck behind a false view of myself, financial debt, physical clutter, mental clutter or even wrong views and ideas of who God is.  God has been decluttering my mind for a while now and I've started tackling the physical clutter of my home.  I tend to accumulate way more than I ever need or really want.  I believe that "things" will somehow satisfy me.
 
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."  Philippians 3:12
 
I'm finally to the point of removing the boundaries and pushing forward.  I have been rummaging through my home to find things that I don't want, need, or use.  I have a room full of things that need to find a new address.  I want to walk through my home and feel the open spaces.  Knowing that when I make space available, God will fill it.  That's all that I want and need. 
 
I'm physically exhausted, we have a nice size home and a.lot.of.stuff!  But I am determined to not let anything hold me back from moving forward!!  I am really excited to have this focus for my year!!  I'm super excited to see what God does with the space that I make available to Him!!  I have no doubt that it will be utterly amazing!!
 
If you've never thought about having a word for your year, I want to encourage you to find some space and quietness and ask God how He'd like to define your year!  There are tons of ideas out there, visit the blog world and see what others are doing.  Through them, God will inspire you to find a word for yourself!!  Here are a few places that I would reccommend starting!
 
 
Well here's to 2013!!!  A year full of amazing possibilities as we allow God to continue writing our story!!  Have a blessed weekend friends!!!
 
Lorraine