Am I Fertile Ground?

My daughter and I have been talking a lot about bulbs the past few days. Bulbs… as in flower bulbs.

I don’t know if you know this or not but I absolutely LOVE flowers. Like REALLY love flowers. I would cover my entire front yard in flowers of different colors if I could.

The thing is… we actually have very few flowers in our yard. We have lived here for 2 years and we really haven’t paid much attention to working on any landscaping. In fact, just keeping our lawn mowed has been an issue. (I’ll have to tell you about our lawn mower experiences another time)

So THIS year I’ve been determined to plant some flowers & work on the front beds. I spent an entire afternoon just cleaning out the front beds & killing weeds. It was tough & tiring, but it felt so good to step back and look at what a difference it made!

So my 7 year old & I went to pick out some spring bulbs to plant & some seeds to plant in pots for the porch. There were so many options it was a little overwhelming. Full sun, Part sun, Part shade, Drought Resistant, Deer Resistant, Annual, Perennial… My poor head was swimming! My daughter, of course, was just going by what her favorite colors were & dropping them in the cart. Needless to say, we had to have a discussion that even though we like what it looks like it may not work in our yard.

We finally figured out what bulbs & seeds we wanted, checked out, & headed home. In the car she asked me what we would need to do to plant them & take care of them. I explained that we would follow the planting directions on the packages & we would probably also look up some more information online so we made sure that we could do our best to take care of them.

Then I got to thinking.

Although planting & growing plants isn’t easy, it’s something that I am willing to spend my time & money on. I’m not a fan of the planting & waiting part, but when the flowers bloom it’s all worth it.

Isn’t our spiritual life similar?

God calls us to do many things that are difficult, time consuming, & even tiring but He asks us to do these things because in the end it will bring glory to Him. All of the hard work is worth it in the end, even if the end result doesn’t occur during our lifetime.

So much of this time consuming work is preparation. So, just as we would prepare the ground for the planting so that it will be able to grow, we should be preparing ourselves for the work that God has for us to do.

How can I prepare myself? I’m not soil?

1. We can prepare our hearts with prayer.

God has really been convicting me lately of what I pray to Him about. Lately instead of asking for more tangible things I’ve been asking him to prepare my heart & mind for whatever it is that He has for me. Whether that means something this week, next month, next year, or years from now.

2. We can prepare our minds with God’s Truth.

How often do you delve into God’s Word? I’ll be honest, depending upon the season, I tend to slack off when it comes to my personal bible study. When I’m not preparing my mind & studying God’s Word I tend to fall flat when life gets difficult. Just 15 minutes a day reading & studying helps tremendously. It’s like getting ready for a big test. If you haven’t studied, & aren’t prepared… You’ll fail.

So as we prepare our yard for spring plantings I’m going to continue to think about how I need to prepare myself. As I water & weed over the next few months I’m going to use that as a reminder.

I’ll share lots of pictures of our flowers when they bloom! Be sure to let me know what is blooming in your life!

Until Next Time,

signature.fw

This post was shared on the Simply Inspired Linkup!

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Confession of a Busy Mom

Well I’ve let it happen to myself again. There has been so much going on in the past month! Its the end of the school year and we’ve just been GOING, GOING, GOING… DOING, DOING, DOING… We’re so Busy. I’ve gotten to a point where I think I need to re-evaluate everything we are “doing”. What are we “busy” with? Does God call us to these things? Is it time to let go of some things? I have always struggled with being busy. In High School I played tennis, was on the cheer squad, was in the High School Musical each year, sang in the choir, was involved in church, (of course there was ALWAYS a boyfriend to spend time with) and somehow I managed to be an average student at a College Prep School. None of these things were “bad”, but I think I was so busy that I didn’t give the necessary attention to the things that should have been priorities. Sometimes I wish I could go back and shake my teen self and tell her to focus on what really matters!

  • “Cheerleading is great but don’t make it a priority because you’re going to end up hurting yourself so many times that you can’t even Cheer on the College level.”
  • “Don’t worry about that silly boy because he’s just going to break your heart in a few months after he meets another girl while he’s away for a few weeks over the summer.”

Or maybe I should look in the mirror right now and say it to my adult self…

  • “Don’t join another committee that will take up more of your time. Your daughters are starved for your attention.”
  • “Think and pray more before you agree to go as a chaperone on that next Youth trip. Your husband is tired and you need to spend some one on one time together. He needs you.”
  • “It’s time to step away from that commitment. Your season there is over. It’s time to open yourself up to whatever God is calling you to next.”

It’s tough stuff to think about, let alone pray about. “God, show me what you want me to be doing… and what you DON’T want me to be doing.”, because the thing is I need to follow through & obey. Yikes! I may actually have to STOP doing something! I may have to say “No”! I might have to disappoint someone because God is calling me to something else. So for now, I will pray for strength in this season of busyness. I will pray for God’s discernment, that He will show me what He wants me to be doing. I will pray that He will guide me as I weed out those things that I am not supposed to be spending my time on. I will ask Him to set my priorities straight.

Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me the right path, O Lord;     point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me,     for you are the God who saves me.     All day long I put my hope in you.”

Have you ever found yourself in a season of busyness like me? Has God called you to let go of some activities? I would love to hear what God has done & is doing in your life! Until Next Time, signature.fw

I shared this on the Grace & Truth Linkup, Christian Mommy Blogger, Faith & Fellowship Blog HopFaith Filled Fridays. If you’re a Faith Blogger check them out!

“The Best Laid Plans…” Five Minute Friday

I’m joining up with the #FMFPARTY Five Minute Friday group again this week! If you haven’t heard of Five Minute Friday go check out Kate Motaung’s page about it over at katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday. Blogging for Five Minutes on Friday about a specified “Prompt Topic” I have to say that only typing about a topic for 5 minutes is a HUGE stretch for me, but I’m really enjoying it.

This week the prompt is “Plan”. I’m excited to get started! So here we go…


If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “The best laid plans of mice & men often go awry.” You know the basis of my life.

I am a planner. I love lists & preparing for upcoming events. I used to be a wedding planner (that’s another post entirely in and of itself!) & I loved the entire planning process from beginning to end.

The thing is, my plans for my life & the lives of my family DO often go awry. I’m not a foolish person. I don’t just jump at every opportunity that comes up. I’m a detailed planner. When I graduated High School I “planned” to get a business degree then own my own bakery, definitely NOT what ended up happening. So why do some of my “plans” come up short?

They don’t work out when they are MY plans & not God’s.

James 4:12-15

” Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”

When I get an idea or start to make a plan of action I need to step back and really evaluate WHOSE plan it is. Am I coming up with this all on my own or have I truly been guided by The Lord?

This blog is a great example of that. I felt God calling me to write. Now, he originally called me to write a book (and I am), but when I got stuck in the process and was about to give up on it He pointed me toward blogging. I questioned & doubted whether it was me or God that came up with that, but after lots of prayer & searching for His answer, He has begun to open my eyes to His plan for it all.

Well, my five minutes are up! This five minute thing is CRAZY! I could probably go on forever… Hmmm… I think I’m already coming up with my next post! I’ve been inspired!

How have the “plans” you’ve made on your own changed? I would love to hear how God has moved in your life!

9 Tips For a More Intentional Prayer Life

Prayer has been a major struggle for me in my walk with Christ.

Some weeks I am so good about remembering to turn to Him. I am in a constant prayerful conversation with God and it makes day to day life easier.

Other weeks, I slack. I forget to turn to God in times of need and instead I turn to my own understanding. I tell others I will pray for them and then soon forget to follow through. Those weeks are very difficult.

For the past year I’ve been trying to figure out how I can be more intentional with my conversations with God. I have come up with some ways to not only set aside time for Intentional Prayer, but also some times that I can just take advantage of time that could otherwise be wasted. I have combined all of these little “tips” here. Read through and take what you can, or what you need. I don’t do ALL of these everyday, but I’ve found ways to remind myself to continue my ongoing “conversation” with God.

1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier.
I am putting this as #1 because although this is the hardest thing for me to apply (I am NOT a morning person), it has been the best. I am not a morning devotion person because, as I said, I am NOT a morning person.  I DO like praying in the morning though. I wake up, get out of bed, go sit at my makeup table & pray. I pray for myself, my family, the people I will come in contact with, & the day in general. That’s it. I feel so much more confident about the day when I start it this way.

2. Post an up to date prayer list on your bathroom mirror.
The next thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth, which doesn’t take much brain power, so I go through a couple of specific prayer requests while brushing. Personally, I reserve this time for some specific people in my life. My mirror prayer list doesn’t change much.

3. Laminate a prayer list to put up in your shower.
This works for me because I only share my shower with my husband and we share all of our prayer concerns with each other. If you share your shower with your siblings or parents you may or may not like this option. You could make this specific prayer (like mine) or more general. This list could just say, “Parents, Siblings, Friends, Teachers…”. Something that general may not be as odd to put up in a shared space but could still prompt you to remember to pray for them.

4. Pray for people you Text or Call.
Have you ever just said a quick little prayer for someone you were texting? Prayer can be quick & still meaningful. Lately when I have to text or call someone I say a quick prayer for them as I hit “send” or “call”. It usually goes something like this, “Lord, I pray that you continue to watch over ______. Give her strength for whatever she is doing today. Amen”

5. Prayer Apps
Since we’re talking about your cell phone. Do you have an app for that? Now, this is actually one thing that I don’t have yet. I’m about to get a smart phone (I’ve been a hold out because I am a cell phone abuser… I break things) and I am definitely going to put a prayer app on my phone so I can be reminded to stop and pray for specific things. If a friend is having surgery I want to have a reminder to pray for her before it happens, not after I see on facebook that she is in the recovery room… ooops!

6. Remember to write down & save prayer requests.
This has been the hardest for me to do. I am HORRIBLE at remembering prayer requests. Again, this is why I will be getting a prayer app when I get a smart phone. The app isn’t going to instantly solve my problem though, I have to remember to type it into the app. For now I’ve been keeping a cute little notebook in my purse so I can jot down who & what to pray for. Once I started writing them down I actually realized that I was leaving out a lot of people! Between Sunday Morning Church, my Junior High girls class, my adult small group, Youth Group on Wednesday Nights, and working in the church office full time I have accumulated quite a list. I’m so glad I started writing it all down!

7. Keep a prayer journal.

This is something I have done for quite a while. I have seen prayers answered through my prayer journal. I can track my personal growth as I turn the pages. I love it. It is more than a diary. It is my heart on paper. It is my love song to God. I write down everything from frustrations, anger, worries, concerns, praise, & thanksgiving. I write down the verses I am reading for future reference, I doodle, & I write. Find a notebook that you really like. If you like it, you’ll use it. Find a great pen, one that feels good in your hand and writes easily. There are no guidelines for a prayer journal, just like there are no guidelines to personal prayer. Just do it.

8. Pray every time you wash your hands.
I know this may sound silly, but I send up a prayer of thanks to God every time I wash my hands. I like short prayers because they work with my ADD short attention span. I find something to give thanks to God for each time. Sometimes it’s for huge things, sometimes it’s little things. It doesn’t matter. I believe that prayer is a conversation & a relationship building between you and God. It can’t all be “Gimme, Gimme”, you need to thank him for the things He does for you.

9. Find a Prayer Partner.
One of the best ways to stay intentional about your prayer life is to have an accountability partner. This prayer partner can help in many ways. This can be a person that you exchange personal prayer requests with, that you pray with, or even send each other little reminders throughout the day seeing if you have each taken some time to pray. I love the idea of accountability partners, especially in prayer. There is something so wonderful about believers coming together to lift each other up to The Lord.

So, there you go! 9 tips help you be more intentional with your prayer life. Take them & figure out what works for you.

Let me know what works. Do you have anything to add? Have you found something that you would like to recommend to others? Comment below and let me know!

Rest… Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That! …But I Should!

So I’m sitting in a condo, out of town, away from home, away from work, away from kids, away from distractions. It’s CRAZY quiet because my husband and our friends that we came here with are at their conference.

I am alone with coffee and quiet.

I know that God has provided this time for me to rest. I NEVER get time like this. SERIOUSLY! This is a GIFT!

So why am I so restless? Why can’t I sit here and soak this up? Why do I feel like I need to get up and do something?

I am realizing that I DON’T KNOW HOW TO REST!

Do you rest? Do you ever take time to not do anything and just sit and reflect upon the things that God has done and is doing in your life?

We are called to rest. God talks about rest OFTEN in His Word. I mean… even God stopped and took the time to rest and He was the all powerful, almighty creator of EVERYTHING!

Made To Bloom

Made To Bloom

After God created the Heavens & the Earth he took a day to rest. GOD TOOK A WHOLE DAY TO REST… I have problems taking 30 minutes to rest!

I look around me and we all are GO, GO, GO! No one stops. Even those of us that are Christians and know that God called for us to take times to rest! We fill our hours with activities that are, when you look at them, “Good” activities. We work hard at work/school. We help our families, friends, & neighbors. We serve in church with different ministries. We volunteer with community organizations.

These are all inherently “Good” things, but even “Good” things can be used to fill up our time and distract us from the things that God wants of us and for us.

I personally have an issue with finishing a project or event and then jumping right in and looking at what’s next.

Scripture tells us in Genesis 2 that God finished what he was working on and then STOPPED. Not permanently, but for a day. He rested.

When we have finished a project, event, game, season, even a day or week. We should take some time to rest and reflect. We should thank God for the things he has done. Thank Him for what he is doing at that moment. Ask Him what he wants us to do differently in the future. Then we should rest & listen.

We can’t expect to hear an answer from The Lord if we don’t take the time to stop, quiet our minds, and listen.

I am really writing this as a lecture to myself.

My ADD mind is making a list of things that I should do right now.
1. Write another blog after this one.
2. Study for my Sunday School Class.
3. Work on writing a chapter of my book.
4. Do my nails because they look gross.
5. Pull out my agenda calendar and fill out the February month of events.

But I’m not going to.
It’s going to be hard, but I’m going to sit here, drink my coffee, read a devotional or two, and rest.

Do you think I should set a timer? 

Just Kidding!
Maybe…

Do you set aside time to rest? What does rest look like to you? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.

When you don’t feel God

Have you ever felt far away from God?

I was listening to the radio on my way to work the other day and the two morning DJ’s started talking about feeling like God isn’t there, like “God where are you?”. One of the DJ’s said he felt like that sometimes & the other said that he has never felt that way. So I had to ask myself, “Have I ever felt that way, and if so why? What can be done about that?”

First let me say that YES, I have felt like that. I have felt distant from God in good times and bad times. It creeps up on me. Everything seems to be going fine and then all of the sudden (or at least it FEELS all of the sudden) I feel like I’ve lost that close relationship with God and I can’t feel his presence. The feeling is awful! It’s lonely & empty.

So I ask YOU again. Have you ever felt far away from God?

If you honestly have never felt distant or far away from God then FANTASTIC! I’m so glad that you have never in your Christian walk felt this way. It is something that I wish none of us would ever experience because of how awful it feels.

If you have felt that way know that you are not alone. (And I mean that in more ways than one!) There are many Christians who have walked through difficult valleys in their life and felt alone and out of the presence of God.

The problem with saying “I don’t feel that God is with me” is the key word in that statement. FEEL. You may not FEEL God with you or around you, but that does not mean he isn’t there. He is ALWAYS there.

When Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Son, died for our sins as the perfect sacrifice, God not only created a way for us to go to Heaven but he also sent the Holy Spirit to be a messenger or presence in us. The Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus Christ’s teachings.

This Holy Trinity of God, The Son (Jesus Christ), and The Holy Spirit means that:

1. God created us, loves us, & sent His one and only Son to die for our sins.

2. Jesus Christ died for our sins & if we accept that he is The Son of God, confess we are sinners, ask Christ to forgive us our sins, & to come into our hearts & lives we can have everlasting life through him. Jesus promised to guide us through his teachings, God’s Word.

3. The Holy Spirit was sent to be the presence of God & The Son that helps guide us. When we do FEEL God’s presence we are FEELING God through The Holy Spirit.

In John 14:25 & 26, Jesus is talking to the disciples about what will happen when he is gone. He has just said that those who love Him will obey Him. Those who do not love Him will not obey His teachings. Then he says,


All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all the things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

You are NEVER alone!

Ok, so now you KNOW… but, sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes just KNOWING you’re not alone doesn’t change the fact that you FEEL alone. So how did we get to feeling this way? How can we change it?

First you have to ask yourself, “Am I being a good friend?”

I’m not talking about a good friend to your BFF, your classmates, or even your siblings. Are you being a good friend to Jesus?

Think of how you would grade yourself.
Are you spending time with God? (prayer, church, reading your bible, worship…)
Are you listening to God (obeying his teachings, having a quiet time in prayer & quieting your mind to be open to him…)
Are you talking to God?
Are you thanking Him for the Blessings he gives you? (Home, Family, Food, Extras that aren’t NEEDS…)
Do you need to ask forgiveness for something, but haven’t?

It all comes back to our RELATIONSHIP with God. A healthy relationship comes from two individuals doing their part. God loves you & promised to listen and take care of you. So are you doing your part?

Sometimes when we FEEL distant from God it’s because we have been slowly slipping away and suddenly realized that there is an ocean between us.

So jump in & start improving your relationship with him. Pray even though it’s hard, read even though you think it might be boring, go to church to worship The Lord & be in fellowship with other believers. Share with close friends & family members what you are feeling.

Keep reminding yourself… I AM NOT ALONE! HE IS ALWAYS WITH ME!

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below.