Would everyone just take a seat and be quiet please?

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Every year I get a devotional as a gift from one of my friends. 

She prays about which one to get and so far she has batted a thousand every year. 

Today’s thoughts included this expression attributed to an author named Jan Johnson and refers to being plagued by “the committee that lives in my head.”

Her committee was made up of four voices and they all were her own personality quirks…and I must say it sounds rather peaceful.

Because the committee that lives in my head includes all the voices of my own quirks PLUS…the real and imagined voices of my parents, my sister, my husband, our children, and other casual and influential people who make up my circles plus assorted media, culture and current trending statistics. 

Which is why I sometimes have a melt down when the real live people I am actually currently in the presence of are all talking…because seriously…too. much. noise.

I have heard you cannot have more than one thought going on at a time, but my thoughts are often like popcorn popping and maybe they are just one at a time but they are bouncing all over the sides of my brain and it can be quite exhausting. 

Making a decision is particularly difficult because as I am attempting to weigh my options and the possible consequences of any given choice, the voices in my head start joining into the discussion. 

And as I mentioned…it may not be what they would really tell me if I could ask them..it’s somehow what I think they are thinking…so weird. 

It is at these times that I truly have to discipline myself to bring all the thoughts…all the voices…all the opinions and suppositions…under the control of the only Voice that really matters. 

Discipline is not always easy, but each time I do, I get stronger. 

Recently I listened to a very helpful audio book on this subject entitled 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin and it was enlightening. It was also slightly encouraging in that not every single chapter left me going…yeah…that’s a problem for me. 

I found great tips for identifying areas where I struggle in my thinking and ways to take steps that line up with Scripture. 

Please note…this book is not overly Christian … but is rooted in spiritual truth. 

I highly recommend it for reading because as she points out in the conclusion chapter…we all struggle with areas that need growth and maturity throughout our lives…we are works in progress…and as a Christian I know, I will not be perfect until Christ presents me perfected at the end of my journey…but I sure want to do my part in the process <3 

Here is the link to her page for it…you can order through a variety of sources <3

https://amymorinlcsw.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/13-Things-Mentally-Strong-People-Dont-Do-by-Amy-Morin.pdf

Randoms for a Tuesday <3

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It seems to be a good day for some randoms…so here we go in no particular order:

#1.

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You may know I have a thing about Jeremiah 33:3 and how 3:33 is a time or $3.33 for a price happens that pops up frequently in my life to remind me of the verse God kind of laid on my heart to be a life verse.

Friends and family frequently text me when it pops up in their experience and recently our sister-in-law Sonja sent me a little card she received somewhere…

it is taped to our computer and says…

God will give you good ideas.

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. Jeremiah 33:3 The Message

Love it <3

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#2.

I asked John to do a gratitude challenge with me for the month of August. 

I set my alarm for 7:51 each day (please do not ask me why I selected that time. I can only surmise that was when I decided I would need an alarm set) and then I sit and think about something I am genuinely thankful for that I have failed to express to God. 

It’s been good for me and proven true that if we practice gratitude it actually does enhance our attitude to be more positive and also flourishes into more gratitude. 

Which is quite possibly why we are told in Scripture to be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with prayer AND THANKSGIVING make our requests known…

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#3.

I wasn’t too excited about this Back-to-School thing happening so early in August and I still think we short-change summer these days…but I must admit…my love for all things Fall is getting stirred up. 

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#4.

Our family, thanks to John, did our Fantasy Football league the other night. 

While I have absolutely no idea who the players are and had to ask Russ what a WR is (and he told me, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what he said), we had much laughter as John hosted a wide range of family members on a conference call that spanned seven homes located in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Texas. 

We don’t always have the most traditional family reunions, but we sure do enjoy what we can get.

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#5.

In line with the gratitude thing, I surely am thankful for the variety of skills and trades of people who can do the things we don’t know how to do. 

And I am also mightily grateful for the ones God has given us to use to help others. 

What’s your skill set like? 

Take some time to write it down and then ask God to show you where He is calling you to serve <3

Big A…little a..what begins with A?

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Big A….little a…what begins with A?

If you knew it was Aunt Annie’s alligator A…a…A then you, like me, have read this Dr Seuss book so many times you have it memorized. 

And when I say so many times, I mean that there was a span of close to two decades between the last time I tucked that book on to the shelf and the past few years when I pulled it off again to read to the third generation of our family. 

But just like I did when I was reading it to the three R’s…I am still able to close my eyes and recite each page and turn to the next. 

It’s a beautiful thing when you are so tired you are the one who needs the nap…and you can catch a few winks whilst reading to the little body relaxing in your arms still fighting to stay awake. 

I also can sing almost word for word most of John Denver, Billy Joel and Glen Campbell’s albums as well as a good portion of Hotel California. 

I am not saying I am proud of this…just saying I can do it. 

Because I listened enough times at one time that the words are stuck tight in the deep recesses of my memory banks and yet…

I struggle to memorize Scripture. 

And I acknowledge that is lack of motivation and discipline that is the root of my problem. 

The lilting rhyme and rhythm of music added to so many things I have retained helped hold them fast in my gray matter and when I hear the beginning notes to many songs, I am able to pull it up to the front of my mind. 

And so I wonder how I can take the beauty of God’s Words and truth and turn them into a rhythm in my own comprehension so that they are planted and rooted deep in my heart. 

How do you memorize things? 

How do you hide God’s Word in your heart?

I do know that the more I read through even familiar passages, the words and thoughts shape and transform my thinking and my actions. 

I say I “follow” Christ…how can I follow if I do not read and study His word? 

It is a choice and one I choose daily…step by step…word by word…He is after all the Alpha and the Omega…the beginning and the end …of the Alphabet and all things <3

It’s that time of year again <3

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All week long on social media I have seen pictures of kiddos heading back to school around the country. All ages and stages as parents are sending preschoolers through college age (and some of us now have children who are TEACHERS going back to school!) with their back packs and dorm rooms and such. 

This morning our family text thread came through with our two little guys laden with first day of school supplies and headed off and I have to say they look quite ready though the picture seemed a little blurry but that may have been from some watery matter in my own eyes as I zoomed in on their faces. 

It is human nature to reminisce back to our time sending little ones off and this memory has been popping in my head so will share. 

Somewhere in Rachel’s first foray into the halls of education, I had the habit when I picked her up of asking her if she had a good day. 

Her answer was rarely a resounding yes.

Mostly it had just been ok and sometimes it was not good at all. 

I would listen to whatever stories she felt like telling, which were scant on details and never as fully fleshed out as I would have loved to hear so I could analyze and counsel and all the things annoying moms like me tend to do. 

The next morning I would send her off with “I hope you have a good day!” and I would pray for God to bless her with a good day but at pickup time, it was usually just ok. 

This went on for a long enough period of time that I began to ask God why oh why could this little one not have a good day most days, and He answered my question with a question which I notice He seems to take great pleasure in doing. 

As I queried Him on this subject, I felt the response was…”Did YOU have a good day, Laura?”

Well..I said…it was ok.

Really?

Yes…because most of my days were a mixed bag.

Great moments, good moments, hard moments, frustrating moments, downright awful moments all blended in between a whole lot of just ordinary moments. 

And when I averaged it out at the end of the day it was … ok. 

So as I sat pondering this perspective, I felt the nudge that perhaps instead of praying for her to have a “good” day every day, I pray for the ways God might meet her in the various moments and that He would strengthen her in the tough ones and teach her in the awkward ones and protect her in the bad ones..etc etc.

I also realized that I was letting her experiences define my success. 

I had begun to equate my sole purpose as raising a child who had nothing but good days. I thought about how much pressure I seemed to putting on her because I felt like I had failed if she was not happy. 

Oh dear. 

As if my whole purpose and existence depended on the happiness of our children. 

Wow. 

That’s a lot of pressure on another human being, right? 

As I have had the opportunity to go through Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods” study for the second time this summer (did it the first time in 2016), I see that this is one of my areas of struggle that will probably never completely go away.

It is the place where I am prone to set up an idol, and thus a place I have to be vigilant to clean house on a regular basis. 

I am so thankful for the painful process God works me through every time I take the right and godly gift of being a mom to three people and turn it into the basis for my existence and give it place in my heart that is only meant for God. 

I love them with a fierce love, but they are not MINE. 

They are the children the Lord has blessed Russ and I to bear and to raise and to encourage and support…but their lives belong to the One who gave them to us to parent…not to own, worship or place our identity in. 

Each of us struggles with different temptations to make good things our gods. 

It is worthwhile to ask God to reveal them to us and then to cooperate in the painful process of putting them in right perspective and priority. 

Checking in as we transition <3

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I am getting a late start to everything today.

This body suddenly felt all of her 61 years and one month this morning and I did something I rarely do.

I crawled back under the covers and woke up an hour later feeling a bit more rested and thankful for a husband who doesn’t begrudge me the luxury of this when he headed off to do what he has done lo these many years to keep us in food and clothing.

Then I took a sweet forever to do my devotions and I watched the final video for No Other Gods and it was so good.

She talked about abiding/remaining in Christ, the True Vine and I couldn’t help but think of our little visit through Psalm 91 last week.

I sat here in front of my computer taking notes and wiping tears.

As she talked about what it is to abide and remain and how we almost don’t have concrete words to explain it, I thought about what it has meant to me to abide in Him.

In practical ways it has meant that over all the days of my life, even when I have wandered or been highly distracted…even when I have set up little g gods that kind of, sort of helped alleviate some discomfort or seemed to be more manageable to try and achieve what I thought were good plans for me and mine….I have found all roads lead back to Him.

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Whether it is a slow descent into old thought patterns around 3:00 in the afternoon or a step by casual step in the wrong direction that took some major work to correct and several recalculations to get back on track…the deepest desire of my heart is always to return to Him.

He has never failed me.

He loved me and chose me before I even knew to choose Him.

His promises are filled with hope and life and truth.

Like King David I can say…one day as door keeper for His house is better than ten thousand anywhere else in the universe.

He exceeds my best ideas and expectations and without Him I can do nothing that will be of lasting value.

He is the Beginning and End of all the stories.

He is my life.

Praise Him <3