Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Let Your Word Show Up In My Actions!


 

Don't tell anyone what just happened.  Rather, go to the priest, show yourself to him, and give a wave offering as Moses commanded.  YOUR ACTIONS will tell the story of what happened here today. -- Matthew 8:4


This morning as I was relationally reading through Matthew 8 I stumbled across verse 4 and could tell the Lord was speaking to me personally. 


Oh how I love words! It's how HE made me.  But this morning I'm reminded to take careful inventory and make sure that my words are backed up by His fruit in my life.  Not perfect, but in process❤️

I have to remember that HIS Word has to come before my words.  

How can I talk about my love of Jesus and not show the transforming power of what He has done, is doing, will do within me?  Words without actions are want-to's.  It means I know about Jesus, but I don't know Him personally.  To know Him personally means that His Word is going down deep into my heart.  It's setting up shop.  It's transforming the way I think.  This morning I asked the Lord to show me His fingerprints on my life and He was faithful to remind me of His faithfulness!

  • Finding true forgiveness for a father who walked away, who made promises he couldn't keep, who is all talk and no show.  He's a words without action kinda guy. (Do you know someone like that?). I remember that the mention of his name would cause my body to physically react in anger.  I would allow horrible thoughts of him to dominate my mind and then the fruit of the flesh...anger would well up.  Today his name brings sadness to my heart because he is lost, but my sadness is steeped in a deep and genuine love for him.  A love that could never have come from or originated within my human heart. He transformed the way I thought and then my behavior changed.
  • Giving me FREEDOM from the bondage of smoking.  It's been so long ago and I cannot even imagine having a cigarette now.  But there was a time when the opposite was true.  I couldn't imagine going through a day without a cigarette.  He transformed the way I thought and then my behavior changed. 
  • Having the discipline of consistent daily quiet times.  I remember wanting more of the Lord, but could not be consistent.  It's been so many years since my morning routine of having coffee with Jesus began that I cannot imagine NOT spending time with Him in the morning.   He transformed the way I thought and then my behavior changed. 
 

Lord, let my words AND MY ACTIONS reflect your transforming power in my life!


 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cultivating My Garden To Bear Beautiful & Tasty Fruit...



 

People and their lives are like trees.  Good tress bear beautiful, tasty fruit,but bad trees bear ugly, bitter fruit.  A good tree cannot bear ugly, bitter fruit; nor can a bad tree bear fruit that is beautiful and tasty.  And what happens to rotten trees?  They are cut down.  They are used for firewood. 

--Matthew 7:17-19


I am so grateful that we are saved by grace and NOT by works.  As I was relationally reading through Matthew 7 this morning my heart was overcome with a deep desire to bear the most beautiful, ripe, luscious, juicy fruit imaginable for my Savior GOD!  

 

There is no pressure in desiring to bear fruit, because fruit is born of God's work in my heart.  Whereas, when my focus is on works the pressure is on because it's born of my human efforts with an agenda to earn God's favor.  Fruit has no agenda!  Fruit is born gently over time as God transforms my mind and then changes my behavior.   When I forget to remember, and focus on my own efforts, I go from being a fruit bearer to striving and stressing in my human effort.  

His Yoke Is Easy And His Burden Is Light!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

He Takes My Breath Away!


 

One of the key tools we learn in the Freedom Workshop is that we should allow our feelings to be indicators that get us to God.  Feelings are real, but that doesn't necessarily make them true.  

So, this morning I am sitting here having a leisure time of getting moving.  It seemed like everything was going well, until it wasn't.  Out of nowhere I began to feel hopeless...like a sheep without a shepherd.  I didn't even realize that a fox had stole into my vineyard to steal my fruit.  (Aka: Peace)  

I sent my Jesus-loving sister this text:

Will you pray for me today?  I am not possessing my possessions.  Every single scripture, book, conversation I'm a part of seems to have the words...self control, discipline, and fasting.  They keep coming up.  He is making His will so clear and yet, I am struggling.  This is the way, Mary, walk in it.  But I don't.  Ugh.  I need a heart change so that I can have a behavior change.  

As soon as I had hit the enter key.  I heard (through the power of the Holy Spirit) the Lord tell me to just pick up where I left off in my bible reading.  This was His immediate response:

 

The enemy of my soul wanted me to think that I have no hope.  The truth is I am a sinner (saved by beautiful glorious grace) but I am not without H.O.P.E.!  HE IS MY HOPE.  The word "Continue" stands out to me.  What's the answer to my dilemma?  Continue crying out, continue asking, continue knocking, continue seeking,  continue talking to HIM and not to myself.  

 
Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give up.--Galatians 6:9

A Few Of My Favorite Things---iPad Pro 9.7


 

This post is dedicated to sharing what I love and don't love about my new iPad Pro 9.7!  

I should start by telling you that I agonized for months before purchasing.  My laptop is getting old and is starting to do those things that let you know it's time to find a new device.  We Arnold's switched over to Apple about 10 years ago and have never looked back. For us, we found that the solid design and software that Apple offers along with the ease-of-use right out-of-the-box was perfect for our family.

 

When I began my journey to find a new laptop I was first looking at Macbook Pro's.  It's what I currently own and the new ones are AMAZING!  While clicking through the Apple website my eyes came upon their newest iPad model called the PRO.  I was so fascinated that I had to literally make myself click out of that section to go and look at the macbook.😳  My interest and curiosity really peaked when I learned that the CEO of Apple only brings his iPhone and iPad when traveling to do all of his business.  


I had options and THIS stirred up a curiosity to learn more.

 

I began searching through copious youtube video's.  I loved hearing what real people and tech companies thought.  It was fun to compare and contrast.  Over time I found that I discovered who the iPad worked well for and who it didn't.  I was introduced to app's I'd never even heard of that were specifically made for this new Pro.  

After almost 3 months of praying, pondering, and overthinking I took the leap and made the purchase.  I have to admit that I was nervous that I would regret my decision. I can confidently tell you that I have no regrets at all.  I'm so grateful for all those youtubers who took the time to share their hearts and their thoughts.  Even the ones I disagree with gave me a perspective I would not have considered.  Let me share with you some of the things I personally love about my new child...I mean iPad😜

 
#1-The New Apple Smart Keyboard

A brand new feature that just came out with the edition of the Pro is a new technology called smart connection.  You do not need to charge your keyboard or sync it through bluetooth.  You simply snap it on and GO!

 

See those three little dots?  They are on the left side of your iPad and are magnetized to come together with the keyboard.  

 

Viola'...it's truly that simple!

 

So, what's the big deal?  You can buy keyboards for all the iPads.  What makes this one any different?
  • Made by Apple specifically for this product
  • Super light
  • Waterproof
  • "Feels" like a real keyboard
  • Do not need to charge
  • Do not need to sync with bluetooth
  • Acts as a smart cover that puts your iPad to sleep when you're not using it
  • S.I.M.P.L.I.C.I.T.Y

The truth is there are six of us in this home with devices that all need to be charged.  The last thing I need is to add one more to the mix.  I remember using my clunky/heavy keyboard I purchased for my iPad mini when it came out and nothing was more frustrating than to get up in the morning, grab it, and find that it was dead OR it would be charged but would run out of juice in the middle of using it. I would have to stop to wait for it to charge back up.   

I love that the Smart Keyboard is powered by the iPad.  

 
#2-The New Apple Pencil

If you are a note taker, or if you love to illustrate, draw, and doodle than you MUST own this sweet and snazzy little Apple pencil.  I have never used anything that works and feels more like the real deal!  Check out youtube video's from pro's to see the power packed into this little gem.  
 

You do have to charge your pencil, but it's lightening quick and super easy.  Once again, you use your iPad to power up your pencil.

 

It looks a little ridiculous, but when you are working and you need your stylis you can charge her up fully in 20 minutes or get an hours worth in 2πŸ‘Œ


 
I love that I can use my Apple pencil along with the Notability app to annotate.   This is simply a screen shot of the verse the Lord gave me one morning.  I imported it to Notability and then used my pencil to journal.

 

When I feel creative I can put together something that allows me time to linger with a verse or a thought through words or pictures.

 

Practically speaking, I can scan (app) a picture of schedules and lists to keep on my iPad and check them off as I go!

 
 Here is a picture that a professional artist did completely on the Pro using the Apple pencil.


I could go on and on, but I am going to close out this post today with the pro's and con's I've personally discovered.   Soon I will share my #3 favorite thing about my iPad...APPS!  


PRO'S (for me)
  • OPTIONS: Touchscreen, Keyboard, and Pencil
  • PRACTICAL:  Easy to use right out of the box
  • AFFORDABLE:  Compared to purchasing a laptop
  • APPS: Apps make working so much easier
  • MICROSOFT OFFICE IS FREE and in app form (my job uses this)
  • TRUETONE: Helps ease the harshness on your eyes automatically
  • WIRELESS PRINTING:  I can print most anything right from my iPad
  • SMART KEYBOARD:  No charging or pairing or syncing
  • APPLE PENCIL:  Easy to use for note taking
  • IN APP SCANNER:  Allows me to take important documents anywhere I go
  • BLOGGING:  Oh My! This little machine has brought so much JOY to blogging

CON'S (for me) 
  • COST ADDS UP:  Accessories and apps add to your initial purchase price
  • GMAIL APP: Doesn't have editor.  I have to use my laptop to send emails that have bullet points, pictures, or highlighting

Friday, November 25, 2016

Can Anything Happen Without The Lords Permission?



"Can Anything Happen Without The Lords Permission"? 
-- Lamentations 3:37

 

I am so grateful for the Freedom Workshop and all that it teaches us about not being victims, that nothing is a surprise to the Lord, that we can be Free in the MIDST of our circumstances.  We came home from vacation last night to a hot house because the air conditioner stopped blowing cold air and this morning my car is totally dead.  In the past, this would have caused an overwhelming panic.  It still does cause a feeling of anxiety, but instead of being consumed by my feelings, I use them to be an indicator to walk out Psalm 77:1:  "Cry out to God without holding back.  Oh that God would listen to me."  There I find comfort, peace, and HOPE!

Eating and Fasting and Discipline...Oh My!


The mind feasts on what it focuses on.  What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity.  If you want to know what  a person's focus and feast is, all you have to do is listen to the WORDS that come out of their mouth.  -- Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

 

I have been crying out to the Lord and asking Him to transform and change the way I think about food and the role it plays in my life.  

Though there are very practical things I can do to change my outward circumstances, it won't last if I don't change my inward thinking...As a man thinks, so he acts! 

Today I just happened to be reading through Matthew 6 when Jesus is instructing the people not to fast for show.


And when you fast, do not look miserable as the actors and hypocrites do when they are fasting-they walk around town putting on airs about their suffering and weakness, complaining about how hungry they are. So everyone will know they are fasting, they don't wash or anoint themselves with oil, pink their cheeks, or wear comfortable shoes. Those who show off their piety, they have already received their reward. When you fast, wash your face and beautify yourself with oil, so no one who looks at you will know about your discipline. Only your Father, who is unseen, will see your fast. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.--Matthew 6:16-18 Voice


This verse led me to do a word study on fasting:


Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes out of the mouth of God! -- Matthew 4:4


“Rather is this not the fast which I choose, To undo the bonds of wickedness, To tear to pieces the ropes of the yoke, To let the oppressed go free And break apart every enslaving yoke? -- Psalm 58:6


"JESUS FASTED for 40 days and 40 nights. After this fast, He was, as you can imagine, hungry. But HE WAS also CURIOUSLY STRONGER" -- Matthew 4:2-3


 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run their very best to win, but only one receives the prize? Run your race in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! Now every athlete who goes into training and competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we do it to receive an imperishable crown that cannot wither.  Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air just shadow boxing.  But like a boxer I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached the gospel to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified as unfit for service. -- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

 

WE DO IT TO RECEIVE AN IMPERISHABLE CROWN THAT CANNOT WITHER!





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Shannon's Homemade Bone Broth Recipe


 

Do your best to make this with as many organic vegetables as possible. 


  • 2 pounds Organic chicken bones (you can freeze your bones as you eat off of them until you get 2 pounds worth.). 
  • 3 stalks of chopped celery, 
  • 3 to 4 carrots chopped, 
  • 1 whole white onion roughly chopped, 
  • 5 cloves of garlic peeled, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and or oregano, 
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. 

  • Put everything in a crockpot and fill it with purified water until everything is completely covered.
  • Turn the crockpot on LOW for 24 hours. 
  • After 24 hours, strain the broth and throw all veggies and bones away. 
  • Put bone broth in glass jars to cool in the refrigerator for about a day. 
  • After broth has cooled, pour it in ice cube trays and freeze. 
  • Once frozen you can store them in your freezer in gallon freezer bags. 


You can drink it by the cupful, use in soups or any other recipe that calls for chicken broth.

Staying Salty.....


 


"You, beloved, are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes bland and loses its saltiness, can anything make it salty again? No. It is useless. It is tossed out, thrown away, or trampled".

--Matthew 5:13


HOW DO WE STAY SALTY?


We must run to the salt maker every single day.  We have to love the Salt maker and His Word!


...."Looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on JESUS, who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith the first incentive for our belief and THE ONE WHO BRINGS OUR FAITH TO MATURITY, who for the joy of accomplishing the goal set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work.-- Hebrews 12:2



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our FRUIT DOES NOT make us more RIGHTEOUS!

 

We are saved by GRACE...NOT by WORKS!  Though our life should bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, it does not make us more righteous❤️

"For I tell you this: you will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless your righteousness goes deeper than the Pharisees', even more righteous than the most learned learner of the law."  
--Matthew 5:20

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Set FREE From Hurtful Things Said To Us!



 


Whenever we connect an event from today to something harsh someone once said..that person's line becomes a label. The label becomes a lie. And the lie becomes a liability in how we think about ourselves and interact in every future relationship.
--- From the book Uninvited


HOW DO WE MOVE PAST HURTFUL THINGS OTHERS HAVE SAID OR DONE?  

 

We have to remember that this world is NOT our home!

"But YOU ARE a CHOSEN race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a special people for GOD'S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies, the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections of Him who CALLED you OUT OF DARKNESS AND INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."  1 Peter 2:9

"For we are His workmanship His own master work, a work of art, created in Christ Jesus reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used for good works, which God prepared for us beforehand taking paths which He set, so that we would walk in them living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us."  Ephesians 2:10

"Do not love the world of sin that opposes God and His precepts, nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  The world is passing away, and with it its lusts the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever."  1 John 2:15 & 17


WE MUST BE WILLING TO:

 


"Bear graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive."  Col 3:13

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence.  BE KIND and HELPFUL to one and TENDER-HEARTED, COMPASSIONATE, UNDERSTANDING, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, just as Christ forgave YOU". Ephesians 4:31-32

"Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead". Phil 3:13


Oh how He loves us!  Once we've asked Jesus to be the Lord of our life, repented, and turned away from our former way of living...we are His FOREVER!

Finding Fullness In FASTING!



"JESUS FASTED for 40 days and 40 nights. After this fast, He was, as you can imagine, hungry. But HE WAS also CURIOUSLY STRONGER" -- Matthew 4:2-3

I love how intimate and personal the Lord is when we sit and soak in His presence.  Many of my close friends know that I have been investigating intermittent fasting.  My husband and I have been actually dabbling in it very inconsistently.  I love this sweet reminder that my focus should not be about the health benefits, but the spiritual gains...but HE WAS CURIOUSLY STRONGER❤️ 


Monday, November 21, 2016

What Am I Feasting And FOCUSING On?


"We focus, not on what is seen, but what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is ETERNAL"
--2 Corinthians 4:18

 



The mind feasts on what if focuses on.  What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity.  If you want to know what  a person's focus and feast is, all you have to do is listen to the WORDS that come out of their mouth. -- Uninvited (Lysa Terkeurst)










Sunday, November 20, 2016

Celebrating 48πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•


"Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone"? -- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10




 

Thank you to my beautiful friend Diana for being the behind-the-scenes secret squirrel who arranged our fun evening.  I love you so much.  I'm grateful for you❤️


 

I have always wanted to do a Painting With a Twist class!  It did not disappoint.  I would do this over and over again.  It was so much FUN!


Thank you friends for coming out to celebrate!  I love getting older.  

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the studio expecting to sign-in and there was this HUGE spread and all these lovely faces beaming with smiles.  I was clueless.  I just smiled back thinking they were excited about getting to paint.  And then.... They all began to SINGπŸŽ‰πŸ’•πŸŽ‰πŸ’•. It was a GLORIOUS moment.  I'll never forget it.

 
I am so super excited about trying out my new mug.  It's an Ozark Trail and is supposed to be AMAZING!  I cannot wait to try it out this weekend while at my moms.  It keeps ice in place for hours and hours and hot, hot too!

 
I have so much FUN with this woman.  I love my Lynn ❤️️

 
Janice Lusignan has become a precious friend.  We've walked in our homeschool community and through the Freedom Workshop together.  I love her heart for Jesus and for others.  I'm so sorry I didn't get a picture of you and Debbie together.  I LOVE my beautiful Shawl, gel pens, necklace, and journal.  You know me well.  I'm gonna break it all out this weekend while sitting on my moms wrap-around porch.

 
My dear Brenda!  Oh how you have blessed me. We've been friends for about 19 years now.  I'm so grateful we were able to raise our children together.  Those are memories I will never forget. 

 
FUN!  This crowd is a HOOT!

 
Okay...time to get ready!

 
Our instructor Sully was AMAZING.  He was an excellent teacher.  

 
I looked at this blank canvas before we began and my heart started beating in anticipation of all that I was going to learn.  I couldn't wait to dip my brush in the paint and to begin weaving colors and concepts on the nice clean canvas.

 
Here is a shot Diana took half way through.  I was so enthralled with the creative side of my brain that I didn't even know she was snappig a picture.

 
Viola'. The final product.  This may not be fancy to anyone else, but for me, it is memories that I'll never forget all put together.

 
I had so much fun watching others create!  Leslie Gross is defiitely an artist!

 
Lynn did an amazing job and went off the reservation.  I wish I had taken a picture of her final masterpiece.  She did THREE sunflowers.

 
I love these two.  Roshanda did an amazing job on her picture.  She is such a communicator and it came out on her canvas.

 


" There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends.  You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command."


-- John 15:13-14




Saturday, November 19, 2016

Finding Fruit And Flinging Foxes



 

What does Finding Fruit And Flinging Foxes mean?  

I deeply desire to walk in the fruits of the Spirit....Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, SELF-CONTROL!  Foxes are those thoughts and behaviors that steal the fruit...my flesh is a FOX!  My battle is learning to love God more than I love how food comforts my heart.    I must stop trying to control my behavior and instead get on my knees so that Christ can transform the way I think.


I believe with every fiber of my being that I serve a God who delights in rescuing us when we are at the very end of ourselves.  


"Your life must bear the fruits of turning toward righteousness." 
-- Matthew 3:8 

 

My personal fruit shows that in this particular area I run to food, specifically sugar, more than I run to God when I am overwhelmed, needing rest, feeling anxious.  I want to change that by allowing God to take my breath away with His Holy Spirit power!


I didn't realize how much my "idol" was effecting my health until one day when we were out with my grandmother and I forgot to bring my ibuprofen.  I had a Fibro Flare up.  By the end of our errands that day every joint cried out when barely bumped.  I had a hard time concentrating on conversations and found myself dreaming of how much longer until I could go home and take some medicine.  I have Fibromyalgia and the one thing that most causes flare-ups is S.U.G.A.R!  When a flare up happens you have to ride it out. I was 47 years old and felt like I was 87. 

But {Mary} if your heart turns away you will not hear and obey, but you will be drawn away to worship other gods {food} and serve them, I declare to you today that YOU WILL CERTAINLY PERISH.  YOU WILL NOT LIVE LONG in the land which you crossed the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE AND DEATH, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.-- Deuteronomy 30:17-19


So, how do I choose life?  

 


I cry out to God without holding back.  Oh that God would listen to me. (Psalm 77:1)


I have no obligation whatsoever to do what my sinful nature is urging me to do.  For if I keep on following it I WILL PERISH, but if through the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, I turn away from it I will LIVE!  Romans 8:12-13


"Not by might nor by power, but by MY SPIRIT says the Lord."  Zachariah 4:6


Do not copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but LET GOD TRANSFORM AND CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK.  Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.  Romans 12:2


Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, BUT THOSE WHO ARE CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT think about things that please the Spirit.  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death.  But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.  Romans 8:5-7


Don't your realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master?  You can choose sin, which leads to death, or YOU CAN CHOOSE TO OBEY GOD and receive HIS approval.  Romans 6:16



PERSONAL PLAN OF ACTION

"So, choose this day whom you will serve"

--Joshua 24:15