welcome friends.....thanks for popping in my world....
I'd love to know you've stopped by, so please note that the comment section is now found at the title of each post.

Agape Love

Just wanted to share my newest tattoo!

......I got it right after my son Hunter got his:

(pretty awesome, huh? But can you say OUCH!?!?!)

Thank you for letting me share...

Have a beautiful and safe weekend, my friends~

May I please you, please?

Are you a people pleaser? Do you struggle (as I do) by taking it to an unhealthy level? May I please ask you a few questions that you can ask yourself to see if you are joining me in that same destructive direction?

Do you have a hard time saying "no" to people in general?

Do you take on responsibilities that you really do not want to do/have no time to do and then, in turn, harbor resentment? Do you take these responsibilities on out of desire.....or duty?

Do you take responsibility for others moods and/or happiness? And then, does the onslaught of guilt come upon you when they are not happy or content?

Do you constantly need the approval of others? So much so that it affects your choices and decisions?

Do people sometimes take advantage of you when they know you are overly-giving in the physical sense as well as emotional?

Do you constantly sacrifice your own legitimate needs when you are constantly pleasing others and tending to their needs? Does it leave you feeling empty, frustrated and depressed?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, my friends.......I think it is a warning sign that you might be a people-pleaser.....otherwise known as an approval junkie.

Now I am not saying that serving others is not what God calls us to do. But rather, we just cannot turn our actions/motives into an idolatrous concern for what others think of us instead of what God thinks of us. Does that make sense? It can be very confusing as we have read the verses and learned the stories......"Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and give His life for many." But who's servant are we?

I guess what I am starting to learn as I have been praying about this.....is that we are to serve others...... not out of a sense of legalistic obligation, but out of love. When we seek to serve God first.....pleasing others will just follow naturally.

Another side effect of being an approval junkie is the disappointment that is sure to come when we are dependent on others appreciation (or lack of) when we set out to seek their approval. It becomes an obsession and ultimately a downward spiral in bitterness, depression and a feeling of hopelessness.

We have to realize that we cannot please everyone all the time. Not everyone is going to like us, no matter what we do or say. It is human nature to seek the approval of others......we want to be liked, don't we?! And sure it stings when we are rejected......and it will affect us......but we must not let it direct us.

We also need to keep ourselves in check when we go on these approval seeking binges. We need to remember that we cannot give people the right to dictate who we are.......that is God's job. It is a slippery slope of idolatry in a sense when we give people that power. We start to take our focus off of pleasing God when we are chasing the approval of the world. Others' approval becomes more of a priority than God's approval. Is it because we take for granted that God loves us unconditionally, therefore we slack in putting Him and His approval first?


So how about you? Are you an approval junkie? How do you handle it when it takes you to an unhealthyholy level?

I want to share something I heard this weekend as I have been praying about this and it came as such a timely manner (God's good like that). Maybe if you suffer from people-pleasing-itis you might want to write this down and tape it to your bathroom mirror, desk or the dashboard in your car.

God doesn't love us because we are valuable....
....we are valuable because God loves us.

I think when we truly know and believe our worth in God's eyes.....the bondage of pleasing people will be broken off....and we can and will be set free!

Have a great week, my friends.......



Unevenly Yoked

**********post removed**********

I wanted to thank everyone for all their prayers, advice and encouragement regarding this family issue we are dealing with. You will all never know how much I have been blessed with each and everyone's thoughts. Josh and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to pray, for sharing your personal experiences and support.

After praying about this, I have decided to remove this post in the best interest of my family. God knows my intentions were soley to seek the wisdom/advice, not to break the trust of the people who are the most important in my life. I have saved all your comments and read them more often than you think, but have also chose to keep them "hidden" for privacy reasons.

I hope you understand.


Mother's Day thoughts......

(originally posted last year at this time....please forgive the repetition and my over-use of the copy/paste button this week, but......well.....not only due to being slammed with a crazy busy schedule lately....I still have these same thoughts this year as well and you can never read enough Proverbs 31 when reflecting on being a mom, wife, .........daughter of The King!)

So with Mother's Day coming up.....I have been thinking about alot of things beside my "typical" Mother's Day weekend thoughts and plans.

The "typical" ones are......I am going to sleep in both mornings (which usually is only about 7:30....wishing my internal clock had a snooze button)

Then I have a Get out of Jail It's Mother's Day Weekend pass to do pretty much whatever I want. Within reason, of course.....setting fire to the piles of clutter in my home or wracking up a huge bill at Pier One would not be reasonable. Taking off Saturday morning for yard sales, then hitting some nurseries for plants, and treating myself to a special lunch is more likely the reasonable choice I will make. This also gives Josh the opportunity to pick up a few things for me with the kids......and because I am such a thoughtful and gracious wife, I took the burden off of him and gave him a list of suggestions. ;)

I reminded him that he got the low maintenance version for a wife. My list only included home-made soap from a local farm, some new garden snippers and an exercise mat. Easy, huh? I am not a fancy jewelry person, although I "love me" a new choker or simple stone pendant once in a while....I work part-time at a hair salon so I could grab a pedicure/hair treatment whenever I wanted (although I am like the painter whose house needs to be painted)
Point being....have the kids write me a note telling me how beautiful, wonderful and awesome I am much they love me and a bar of patchouli soap and I am thrilled.

Sunday plans include church and maybe coming home to fire up the grill for lunch and just "chill-ax-ing" at home, playing in the dirt and doing a little bit of nothing with my favorite people. :)

But I woke up this morning and two things are on my heart:

1. First, I want to focus on what The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31 about being a wife and mother. These are just a few of my interpretations....
  • I want to give Josh the extra confidence that he needs to know that I support, love and respect him always. I want to try to remember to think before I say something negative or complain. I want to make sure he is reminded that he is an awesome husband, provider and father. Proverbs 31:12
  • I want to dedicate more time helping others this year......and have my children by my side to teach them as well. Proverbs 31:20
  • I want to live my life as the best example to my children so that it will be a positive effect on their future. I want to infuse Godly wisdom every step of the way. For my boys with choosing a wife and how to treat her.....and for my daughter, (who this really won't matter as she will never be allowed to date, according to Josh anyway)....show her the respect she deserves and how she needs to respect/treat her husband. Proverbs 31:26
on a lighter note......I remind Josh that I am def. following Proverbs in other ways already......
  • Proverbs 31:24 ( She makes linen garments and sells them....) I'm a tie dying mama.
  • Proverbs 31:16 (.....she plants a vineyard) well a garden counts, right?
  • Proverbs 31:17 (..her arms are strong for her tasks) working on that...30 Day Shred, baby!
  • Proverbs 31:10 (She is worth far more than rubies) Josh always teases me. He puts his hands out like a scale and bobs them up and down.....he says that he can imagine what it was like back in those Bible days, lol. "Hmmmmm........rubies or Michelle.....yeah, I guess you are worth a little more than rubies."

2. And secondly.....it occurred to me that there are people who are not able to or wanting to celebrate Mother's Day in the way I am blessed to.

I want to pray for:
  • the moms who have sick children, may God grant them peace/strength/trust and believe in the power of prayer/miracles.
  • the moms whose children have went back Home to Jesus, may God comfort and fill that hole in their heart that only Christ can fill and heal.
  • the women who are struggling with infertility, may they trust that God has a plan for their barrenness and may they continue to have faith during their journey.
  • anyone who has had to say good-bye to their mom, may they continue to hold loving memories in their heart and keep them alive by sharing stories with others.
  • moms who are raising their children on their own, may God continue to be your source of strength.
  • and this last group is one that doesn't get thought about often at this time.....the people who have been abandoned, abused, and/or betrayed by their mom. May God bring forgiveness and peace in your heart so that you may your life full of joy, love and hope.
So, with that.....please take a moment to say a prayer for others. Maybe take a minute to call someone who might need a lift this weekend or bring a card/small gift over to them. This one small gesture could be just what this person needed and you can bring light where they might have darkness.

I hope you have the best weekend possible.....may you be surrounded by the family and friends.....and most of all, may you be surrounded by God's Love.

Peace and love

Stealing my Joy

The One Word at a Time carnival topic today is joy......I am putting my twist on it and sharing when it feels like joy is being stolen from you. I am sharing a post from last October......because I feel I am sort of in the same place right now with my life and the busyness of it all. Like a repeat offender.

You see, our goals are set to glorify God in all that we do ( our plans with new renovation, our little farm, homeschooling, etc).......but sometimes we can focus so much getting closer to Him, those very same efforts are separating us from Him.

Keepin' it real......I am guilty as charged.

And without Him, what good is all of this?

(make sure you stop on over at Bridget's place where so many share their great thoughts on joy today, as well)

Stop the Ride, I'm Gonna Puke
(orig. posted 10.22.09)

Nice title, huh?

Well that kinda sums up how I have been feeling.....I feel like I am on this never-ending spinning ride at one of those carnivals and there is a freaky transient guy, with no teeth and bad skin, who is running the ride who refuses to stop it. Or wait, was that a dream I had? Regardless.....I do feel that I am on the not-so-merry-go-round of chronic activity lately.

(just for the record, I do not go on those creaky carnival rides, in fact I stay clear of them because I always think about how they totally do not use all the proper nuts and bolts to put them together. I mean, think about it.....how many times are those death traps erected and taken down??? Surely a few screws and thingamajigs get lost during their travels and it probably is too much work to find a replacement.....anyway, for the record, I avoid carnival rides and the sometime strange people running them. *hopefully not offending any of the non-creepy traveling carnival entrepreneurs who might be reading this.....or people who know/love them)

So, my life is whirling by me these past few weeks and I just want need to slow.it.down. I want need peace. I want need my joy back.

Sure, we've been busy with Homecoming, Hunter's birthday, searching for documents to finish up our re-fi, new additions to our herd, and homeschooling events. And btw, who-ever thinks that homeschoolers have no social interaction should come and hang out with us because we have hardly been home with all the events we've been involved in lately.

Another thing that is keeping us busy is the onset of fall....which in New England means winter is like... next week. I think that is why New England people are known to be uptight and always in a rush....it's because we try to cram in everything while we have a glimpse of enjoyable weather because we know that our summers are getting shorter and there is less time/light on our side to get whatever we want to get done, done. Our weather is very unpredictable and that also gives that feeling of no control. So everyone is in a tizzy to either squeeze/cram in whatever you need to do because tomorrow might be a washout. For example.....today is nice....it's 65 degrees and clear. Tomorrow might hit close to 70. But last week we had four days of rain, frost on the early morning ground and even snow on Sunday.

But it's not only us North Eastern people, it's everywhere in the US (and the world). We are living in a world of "rush". We feel the need to do everything as fast as possible so we can get to the next duty on our list. We ship Federal Express, we eat fast food and we use instant messaging.

anyway....I am at a point where the hectic schedule is becoming a total drag to me. I am in dire need of some down time. I am scurrying around so much during the day that I am passing out as soon as I am in a horizontal position. I am missing out on the wind-down time with Josh. The time where he and I connect, talk about random stuff.......reconnect after the world/family/etc has kept us apart.

But most importantly......I am in dire need of my wind-down time with God. I need to push aside all the busyness and make the time for Him. I am guilty of only giving Him the leftovers, if anything, these past few weeks. I am spinning my wheels and most of time, I end up dizzy from the chaos.

Sure, I thank Him and give Him the glory for the blessings He is pouring on us....but I have not been still or quiet enough to just talk with Him....or better yet, listen to what He wants me to hear/know. I've talked before about how I need help staying still.....and I fear that I am on a path lately that isn't keeping God at the forefront. And that scares me, because I know that I need Him in everything I do. I need Him to keep me focused. I need Him to help me make decisions based on His word and wisdom. I need Him to be by my side in my daily walk. How can I have Him so close and influential, if I am keeping pushing Him back in my list of things to do?

It's like that line in a song by Casting Crowns, Slow Fade: "people never crumble in a day". I am afraid that I am getting caught up in what appears to be important, and putting off what is the most important. And by the time I am really needing to rest physically and mentally in Him......I am so wiped out and drained, that I put it off til the next day. Unfortunately, even with good intentions, it doesn't come to pass and the next morning, I foolishly (and wearily) jump right back on the hamster wheel and spin back into another rat-race of a day.

Sometimes, I try to justify it all and tell myself, "it's not like I am turning my back on God, He knows I love Him".....but am I deceiving myself into thinking that these small stumblings cannot easily turn into a huge disaster?

Maybe it's because I am selfishly taking for granted that God will be there whenever I get to Him, He is available 24/7, and/or I don't need to make an appointment.

Not cool.

Lately, I am rushing around, sometimes with white knuckles on the steering wheel making sure I get the kids to the football game in time, race in the store before it closes or drop off that package at the post office. Our whiteboard on the fridge has a full schedule of everyone's appointments because we all know my brain is on overdrive and I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, nevermind remember who needs to be picked up/dropped off when or where. (I won't admit about forgetting to pick up G at the skate park last week......uh, I guess I just did. Thankfully he is almost 18, has a cell phone to remind me......and is forgiving)

Even now.......as I am typing this away......I am feeling guilty because I could be using this time to spend some quiet time with God. I will say that I started this post in the wee hours of this morning and have been popping on and off, adding a few paragraphs,(and also deleting many that have gone WAY off topic.....I know you find that hard to believe)
So, we are in between lessons...it is now 1:21 and the kids are having lunch. I am justifying tip tapping away on the keyboard instead of sneaking in my room for some one on one with The One because I figure the kids will be busting in my room within minutes. So, why should I even attempt it now? (ouch, that was raw truth.....but hey, I am keeping it real!)

...but that is not the point, or an excuse. The point is......I have NO excuse. I should have/could have done it this morning. I should have given God His sacred portion of my time before anything/anyone got some. I know the intention behind my blog is to share/shout about how much I love Jesus.......but guess what? I think that sometimes I am so busy about God's business that I am leaving Him out.


So today, my prayer is that I slow down and start making the time for God. I pray that I can put Him first before any/all appointments for the day. He is far more important than anything that I make appointments for or scramble through the day to do. I want to give Him my "first fruits"....not my weary leftovers. He is worthy of my best and I need to let Him know that. I want to slow down, to be still, to make room in my busy life....for Him. Because I know when I start my day with Him, there is peace and joy......and it will sustain me through my day.

Peace and love~

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