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Meeting God in the Laundry Room?

Washer_and_dryerI don’t know about you, but laundry has not always been one of my favorite chores. It’s not exactly fun to sit in front of a dryer with a seemingly endless pile of clothes to fold. In a family of seven, we generate quite a bit for our washer and dryer!

However, the Lord has shown me a sweet time of prayer and quiet as I sit in front of my machines folding. I am so thankful for plenty to wear. I am thankful for my husband and each of my children. I am thankful for good health and the ability to run and play and make our clothes dirty! As their clothing grows with them, I am thankful for each stage of life my children pass through. Soon, their little jeans will be tall and their dresses full size. Too soon, they will move out and I will only have my husband’s and my clothes to wash.

I am thankful for warm sheets and blankets that cover each of us at night. Though these items are a bit harder to fold (I can’t sit, too short!), they remind me that my Lord is active on my behalf. He speaks, I must listen. He covers me and cares for me and mine. I can’t give anyone air to breathe, but He does every moment of every day. I can’t watch and protect those I love all the time, but He can and does.

It’s not necessarily fun to do laundry, but it can be a sweet time of prayer and connection and thankfulness to the Lord. As a mom there are many, many chores that must be done to keep a home running smoothly, dishes, meal prep, vacuuming, changing sheets, cleaning mirrors and sinks and toilets, and the list goes on. Yet, in all of this there is so much to be thankful for, plenty of food to cause dirty dishes, a solid home to vacuum, soft beds to sleep in, a bathroom with running (hot!) water.

The bottom line is this is part of my calling as a wife and mother to serve my family. Of course, I need to teach my children to do chores as well. I don’t have to do it all, but I am ultimately responsible for seeing that it all gets done. But there’s more to the lesson than simply to keep our home running smoothly. I must also teach thankfulness and joy in serving others. This is God’s way and it’s good.

Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

How have you found joy in what others might consider ‘not fun’?

 
 

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What Are Your Priorities?

Friends Having Coffee and Cookies by Stuart MilesLast month, I asked, ‘Who are you?’ This month, I want to focus on what your priorities are.

I’ve read that we should simply ask the Lord, ‘What do You want me to do today?’ and, to be honest, I struggled with that. Do I ask the Lord what blouse do I wear today? Do I ask Him what to make for lunch? These are rather silly examples, but they do illustrate the point, just how deep is my walk with Him?

In my relationship with my husband, often we read each others’ thoughts. Shouldn’t it be the same in our relationship with Jesus? My relationship with my husband is more than a to-do list, but do my prayers sound more like a relationship or a to-do list? Do I love Him more than my own opinions? More than what I think should be done today? Just what IS His will for me today?

It all comes down to submission. Am I willing to submit my ideas and my opinions to the point that I don’t have to be heard? God will listen, but what’s the point? Do I allow Him to change me? Do I let my ideas and opinions go to be replaced by His? Do I actively seek to repent? Do I actively seek to become more like Him? It’s a different thing living and acting like I think He wants me to act, versus actively seeking His opinions, His will, His mind, His heart.

If I have the ‘mind of Christ’ {I Cor 2:16 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”} do I actively seek Him to use that mind?

It’s an easy trap to fall into, Go to your ‘heavenly boss’ in the morning, get your orders, and then go about the rest of the day fulfilling that. But, that’s not what the Lord had in mind. He wants us to WALK WITH HIM, not just work for Him. Mat 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” and John 15:4, 6-7 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Do I get withered because instead of abiding in Him, I attempt my own yoke, my own burdens? It’s easy to fall into that, but God promises a light and easy burden and rest for my soul if only I continually, continuously walk with Him.

What are my priorities? Psalm 37:3-4, 7 (beg.) “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself…” and I Peter 5:7-8 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

You might be wondering, what on earth does that picture of two people drinking coffee have to do with priorities? To me, it’s a picture of delighting and resting in Him. I do my work with Him, not just for Him. I start my day and continue throughout the day the Lord has made for me WITH HIM and all He has blessed me with, including work.

What is on my to-do list? Oh, the usual things, prayer, Bible study, hubby time, work with kids (homeschool, Bible Quiz, etc.), meal prep, house cleaning, laundry, church commitments, work, etc. But, when I do it with the Lord, seeking His will and His way, it all goes a lot better. And, crazy enough, I feel lighter, free even. My to-do list isn’t the same as my priorities anymore and it all gets done. :)

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2014 in encouraging posts

 

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Who Are You?

ID-1008118Recently, I heard a story about choices. A daughter was complaining to her father about how she hated always having to endure hardship after hardship. Her patient father took her into the kitchen and set on the stove three pots of water. In one, he put an egg. In the second, he put a potato. In the third, he put coffee. After boiling the water, he asked his daughter what she saw in each of the pots. She took out the egg. It didn’t look any different on the outside, but was hard when she broke its shell. The potato which went in hard came out soft. Then, the father ladled out coffee for his daughter to taste.

The boiling water is like the hardship we have to face in life. We have no more choice than the egg, the potato, or the coffee about getting put in the water. However, how we turn out we get to choose. We can be like the potato, powerless and formed by its circumstances. We can choose to be like the egg, hard and attempt to control our situation, embracing a ‘victim mentality’. Or, we can be like the coffee and change our environment.

No matter what you do in life, writer, parent, office worker, teacher, etc., you have the power to make choices. You have the power to make a difference in someone else’s life–for better or for worse. Which will you choose?

You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your response. Who will you CHOOSE to be?

Taken from the book, God Unwrapped, by Michelle Hollomon.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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In Honor of Poetry Month: Let Me Walk In Your Shadow

Rainbow In Sky by rakratchada torsapLet Me Walk In Your Shadow

by: Joyce Latta

 

Down the road I noticed

A shadow in front of me

I realized it was my own

This was plain to see.

 

As I turned

It followed me then

And kept right at my heel

As I came around the bend.

 

It was so close

Of me it was a part

Its nearness was felt

From the very start.

 

Then a thought came

Across my mind

Let me walk in Your shadow

Until the end of time.

 

Every where I’ll look

You’ll be in front of me

And follow right behind

To shield from the enemy.

 

you will never leave me

As I walk in the light

You’ll give me strength to conquer

By the power of Your might.

 

Your shadow brings healing

And deliverance from sin

Protection from without

And comfort from within.

 

O Let me walk in Your shadow

Become a part of me

Though I look through a glass darkly

Someday Your face I’ll see.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in encouraging posts

 

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Pics to Encourage and Inspire

I have been blessed to find some great sites that have free pics to download. I thought I’d share some of them with you!

Queen Knighting a man Accolade_by_Edmund_Blair_Leighton

Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton

For you history buffs, I found this pic on wikimedia commons:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Accolade_by_Edmund_Blair_Leighton_-_complete.jpg

It is completely free and is a public domain image. You writers out there could come up with all sorts of ideas with a pic like this, historical romance, mystery, adventure. Have fun!

ID-100206020

Pink Rose And Coffee Cup Stock Photo

By samuiblue, published on 04 October 2013
Stock Photo – image ID: 100206020

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/pink-rose-and-coffee-cup-photo-p206020

Most of you know that I LOVE coffee. 

This pic came from one of my favorite free sites, freedigitalphotos.net. You can pay to get higher quality or to avoid having to attribute credit, but if you just want the pics for yourself, (or don’t mind giving credit!) have fun! (One small word of caution: This site does include pictures of women in swimwear and men without shirts, but you can avoid those fairly easily.)

What sorts of stories could you come up with a pic like this? Hmm. Why are the coffee beans spilt? Where did the roses come from? Has the coffee been drunk at all? Why one cup? Is there more to the pic than we can see? If a picture truly is worth a thousand words, let’s get our ‘words’ worth’!

Regency Couple lovecouplegfairy003b This is a pic of regency couple I found here: http://thegraphicsfairy.com/search/

All of these pics are free as well.

If any of you enjoy regency reads as much as I, this is a terrific pic for inspiration! The man is in a uniform, is he going off to war? Are they already married or just pledged to each other? What happens next?! You get to decide!

Rose from Space for Valentine's Day

This pic came from the NASA space site: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA05266

Whether you like sci-fi or not, this pic is lovely. You could come up with all kinds of romance with this picture. Do you want to create a space opera? Go for it! Or it could be simply a hero or heroine who likes to study the stars. Maybe a ‘nerd’ romance.

Of course, you don’t have to write a thing, just enjoy the pic and save it on your desk top! It’s free and public domain.

LambThis is a photo from wikimedia that I added an inspirational quote from the Bible.

You might use it to create a parable of your own or a children’s story or a story about a shepherd or whatever you would like.

ID-10026027Here’s a couple of good photos for you mystery writers out there (or those who enjoy coffee as much as I do!). These are also from freedigitalphotos.

I love a good mystery, especially with a little romance and adventure thrown in!

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Who or what are these photos of? What does the detective, amateur or professional, write in the journal? What kind of coffee does he or she drink? Does that add to the description of his character? You decide!

Topiary Knot Garden by artur84This is a Topiary Knot garden, also from freedigitalphotos.

What a fun adventure this could become! Who lives in this house? Why the interest in this type of garden? Do some research and learn about these types of gardens. Who ordered the garden? Who tends it? What sort of people visit here? Will this be a mystery, romance, adventure, or all three? Will this be historical or contemporary? You decide!

Guy with Little Red Box Behind His BackI had to include this one! It’s called ‘Guy with a red box behind his back’ and is from freedigitalphotos.

Who is the ring for? How long have they been dating? How will he ask? What is he like? What is she like? Where and when does this take place? You decide!

I love pictures. They provide so much inspiration. We were created visual beings and that’s a wonderful thing. I hope you enjoy these pictures.

God bless you and happy March!

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Author in the Trenches

 

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A Different Sort of Valentine

Every year at about this time, our pastor calls our church to a 21 Day Challenge, in which we fast from meat, sweets, and media, we commit to going to every service, and we spend 30 min of uninterrupted time in prayer to grow closer to Jesus.

I’ve been wanting more from my times of prayer. There was a craving for not just blessing, but a deeper relationship with Jesus…more. Then, a missionary came through town and happened to be selling copies of his wife’s book–on prayer! Prayer is the key to the door of a deeper relationship with the Lord, but how to pray more effectively, more…real? God is real. I want a relationship with a real Person, not a put-in-my-time, do-my-Christian-duty type prayers where all I really do is either give a laundry list of petitions or talk to the ceiling. I want God. I’ve felt His presence, I’ve seen visions and felt His power, but I want to see His face. This book was His answer. It’s absolutely fantastic–short chapters, powerful message.

Drawing Near to God: Themes on Prayer by: Cheryl Craft

Mrs. Craft together with her husband serve as missionaries in Europe. Her daughter asked her to write to her about the principles of prayer and this book was the result.

Chapter titles include: A Pattern for Prayer, Drawing Near, Set Your Affections, The Spirit of Seeking, and Life Changing Prayer, with nineteen chapters in all. I love it!

Quoted from Chapter 7, Prayer Is a Place: “It is a moment of great revelation to confess faults and sins before Him, only to discover that He loves us regardless. This is the self-revelation that has to happen before we can have a God-revelation. When we see ourselves as we are and repent, we then can see Him as He is and rejoice.”

It is very difficult for me to be this vulnerable, because I am so afraid of rejection. Yet, it is through this vulnerability that He shows His greatest love. After all, it’s useless to try to hide my faults. God knows everything, but if I am open and honest about my short-comings, the Lord can help me to overcome, move forward, and get to another level in my relationship with Him and other people around me.

In order to have any kind of truly deep connection with Jesus or anyone else for that matter, there has to be honesty and vulnerability. No one has it all together and no one is completely without fault. That’s why Jesus had to come robed in flesh and die on the cross. The ugly truth is I have done things for which I am ashamed. I need forgiveness and I need to change.

The beautiful thing is “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (I Jon 1:9). We may feel like we’ve gone too far or that we’re simply unworthy, but that’s not what the Bible says. We may feel like we can’t change, we’ll never get it right, but that’s not what the Bible says either. God’s Word says He is faithful. He will forgive us–if we ask Him to. He will cleanse us, but we have to seek Him. We have to be honest with ourselves and Jesus. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” (John 8:32). There is nothing more freeing than knowing that God considers you innocent and He is actively cleansing you, changing you into the person He created you to be. 

God’s love is greater than our failures.

February is traditionally the month we focus on love–usually romantic. Wouldn’t it be a great thing to instead focus on the greatest LOVE this world has ever known? “…God is love,” (I John 4:8).  

The two greatest things to know in this life is yourself and Jesus (God). He wants to know you and is more than happy to show you Himself. He will also help you to face yourself in order to realize all the amazing things He created you for. Who knows you better than your creator? And who loves you more? He died for YOU! But, He’s greater than your failures and your mistakes. He’s greater than death itself. And HE LOVES YOU!

This year for Valentine’s Day, take some time to spend with the One who knows you better than you know yourself, who loves you more than you can even understand fully. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God,” (Eph 3:17-19).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in encouraging posts, Uncategorized

 

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New Year/New Challenges/New Adventures

ID-10031199Oh my goodness! It’s 2014 already. Where did the time go?

Every January, our pastor issues the church a 21 Day Challenge. It’s slightly different each year according to the leading of the Lord and the needs of the people. This year, we’re spending 21 Days focusing on these things:

  1. 30 min of uninterrupted prayer every day.
  2. Daily Bible reading
  3. Daniel Fast, no meat, no sweets, no entertainment media (including FaceBook, fiction books, movies, etc.)
  4. Fasting as the Spirit leads (a day, a meal, etc.) and spending that time in prayer.
  5. Be faithful to church attendance
  6. Prepare my heart with 30 min of prayer prior to worship
  7. Minister to the needs of others

None of these is too difficult, not even all that much of a sacrifice. (I will miss chocolate, though!) However, my pastor didn’t stop there. He asked us to seek the Lord as to what He wants us to be willing to give up in our lives in order to get closer to Him. There is no sin in eating meat or sugar or decent entertainment, but this is a time to give up some things in order to focus our energies on Him. In thinking about this more deeply, several friends have brought up specific things they will give up during this time, such as shopping just for fun or Internet surfing.

For me, this is a time to search out what lies I have been believing that hold me back from what God wants in my life. This is also a time to prioritize my goals and seek vision for what the Lord wants me to accomplish and/or eliminate in my life.

I love checklists. It is the most wonderful feeling to check off those things that are done! So far, my daily goal/checklist is this:

  1. Decide to Trust Jesus and Husband every day (instead of my crazy feelings!)
  2. See what Jesus Sees, Speak what He Says, Do what He Does.
  3. Purposefully Connect with Hubby and Awesome Ones :)
  4. Continue to Study Book of John and Read a Devotional every day.
  5. HomeSchool with Excellence (Sis Latta Poems, BibleQuiz quote/memorize, Math, Teach/Facilitate Effective Communication through Writing, Musical Instrument Practice)
  6. Write Daily (Articles/Fiction/Blog/FB posts)
  7. Read Marketing book
  8. Read Writing Craft/Research book
  9. Cook, Laundry, Regular Home Pick-Up
  10. Exercise

To be honest, I don’t accomplish every one of these things every day, but that’s okay.

My goals for the year, so far, are

  • Help my daughters publish their latest fiction
  • Publish my own new fiction book by June
  • Publish blog posts more consistently
  • Have more of a presence on FB

It is so good to take the time to consider the past year and what you would like the future to be, short-term and long-term. You and I need vision. It’s great to have goals and even better to accomplish them.

What are your goals for 2014? There are sure to be plenty of new challenges and new adventures. What exciting times we live in!

Above photo is: “Cup of Coffee With Red Roses” by domdeen available from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Hot_drinks_g184-_Cup_Of_Coffee_With_Red_Roses_p31199.html

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Author in the Trenches

 

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