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This week was particularly good for me.  Why? Well, I think I told you on day one of my blog here (or maybe I didn’t) but I am an assistant small group leader in the Women’s Ministry at my church.  My group leader was actually going to be out of town this past Thursday so I was going to have to lead the small group discussion. Eeeeek! Its good for me to have to do this every so often so that I grow as a leader and get comfortable.  Perhaps one day I can be a group leader….. but for now I feel I’m still learning and growing.  We’ll see what the Lord has in store.  Anyway, so I did a lot of studying and paying special and close attention to things that I might want to discuss or bring up to stir conversation.  So, this week really made me think.

 

We went through James 4:1-17 this week. I feel like there is a lot that was covered and though I don’t want to short-change you guys at all, I do want to cover everything so I’m going to buzz through each section pretty quickly.

The first thing Beth Moore had us do was answer some questions. Nine to be exact. They were mostly about battles in our lives, people we argue with and then about things we have desired, prayed and wanted for a long time. She asked us these questions so that she could then discuss what Jameshas to say at the beginning of chapter 4:

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” -James 4: 1

I never really thought about my arguments with others having anything to do with the desires plaguing my heart. Did you? I guess it makes sense because either the things I desire can be given to me by someone who isn’t and that causes strife between us or I am jealous of someone who has what I want which does the same.  But I began to think about it more closely in my life.  Sometimes the desires of my heart are sooooo strong that it causes me very physical and mental anguish. When I am feeling this way there is no one (not even Moviestar) who can console me or make it right.  So, either we argue because I’m in a bad mood (because I dont have what I want) or there is tension because they don’t know how to help me but want to.  Usually its because I’m upset and in a nasty mood that causes arguments. This all just came up when I was contemplating how to compare the two in my life. Apparently I have some stuff to work out…. Anyway, to finish up this segment Beth then discusses why sometimes we don’t have what we want: because we don’t ask God for it.

“You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” -James 4: 2-3

Wow. Powerful stuff.  Now of course we dont always receive what we ask God for, even if it has pure and righteous motives, so dont start thinking just because you want something, ask God and have the right motives that it will be granted to you.  We still have to remember that it may not be in Gods will and therefore He will lovingly have to say no.  But sometimes we don’t have because we don’t even ask. I know, I know…. Doesn’t God already know what’s in my heart? Why do I have to ask Him? Well, if you are a parent or a guardian or a leader of some sort don’t you appreciate it when your child or follower asks you for something (even if you already knew they wanted or needed it)? Its the same with God.  What asking for it does is show your humility, your respect, your love and your faith in them to provide. So, ask Him.

James then moves onto the topic of friends. Oh not your best gal pal but your friendship with God and your friendship with the world.

“Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who choose to be a friend of the world because an enemy of God.” -James 4:4

Hea-vy. So what is being “a friend of the world”? Well, Beth puts it pretty well:

“To have a warm, familiar attitude toward this evil world is to be on good terms with God’s enemy.”

If you feel that way, you may need to spend some serious time with Jesus to figure out what’s going on.  For me, this world crawls under my skin so much that I want to be in Heaven with the Lord every second of every day.  However, I must live here until my final day comes and fight the principalities of darkness that wage war against us believers. I am not a friend of the world. I am a friend of God.

Awwwww….. a friend of God.  Beth made a statement which prompted me to ask my group a question. Here’s what she said:

“Friendship with God comes only by practicing the elements of that beautiful, almost unfathomable relationship.” (emphasis mine)

So my question to the ladies was this: “Are you actively practicing your friendship with God?” And I ask you the same thing. What I mean is are you (as you would with any human friendship) in the act, daily, of working on your friendship with the Lord Almighty? I was saddened to hear one of the girls in the group say, “I don’t feel I have a friendship with Him.” My heart just broke. So, as we all discussed it, we tried to encourage her. I hope it is making a difference. And I hope contemplating this question encourages you too.

James then goes into submitting to the Lord, humbling yourself before Him who is the one and only judge. Which takes to His next point of the way we treat others.  James is huge on loving your neighbor as yourself and he talks about it all throughout this book. But here he speaks on not judging them. And in the context of the book, he is speaking of not judging other believers. I can’t say too much about this other than, Leave the judging of other Christians to God. He alone knows their heart and motives.

Lastly in chapter 4 James talks about planning your life in verses 13-17. Have you ever made a 5-10 year plan for your life? Most of us have.  I know in college, a professor or two asked us to come up with a plan as to where we see ourselves in that time frame.  I’ve even had people ask me on job interviews.  I know that there they are just trying to see if I’m committed to them enough to see myself still working there in 5 years, but the concept to me is hilarious. Look, my life has been such a whirlwind of change and not receiving the things I planned that I have had to accept that God’s will can never be planned by us. I simply have to live my life and make my plans knowing full-well that none of it may actually come to pass. And I laugh in the face of people who get so frustrated when their “life-plan” isn’t working out the way it’s suppose to. So, let’s follow James here:

“Instead, you ought to say, ‘if it is the Lords will, we will live and do this or that.’ ” -James 4:15

To finish up this week, I’ll quote Beth in a beautiful statement on this subject:

“God is the only one looking through every layer and at every implication. He also looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come. His deliberations don’t just involve immediate impact.  He sees our place and our positions amid carefully woven generations.”

I also have a daily devotion that I do and today’s was about this very subject. Is the Lord trying to tell me something? I don;t know… but the woman spoke of wondering if Mary -the mother of Jesus- was upset that she had to deliver her baby in Bethlehem and not with her family who would be there to support and encourage her. She wondered if Mary ever prayed that she could have her baby in her home-town. Little did Mary know that Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem.  But not only that, she didn’t know that

“the shepherds had been chosen, the weather was planned, the star was in the right place, the wise men were on their way, other events in Herod’s life had brought his jealousy to the boiling point, every person had carried out his part of the program, even renting all the available rooms! Everything was ready in Bethlehem for the long-awaited prophecy to be fulfilled. God had made His plans.” – Lifetime Daily Devotions

All that was ready and she had no idea. So what if God just said, “Okay Mary, since you prayed and asked for it with a pure heart, we’ll do it your way.”  I don’t think so. Make your plans, dream your dreams and hope for what you want, but know in the end that God has it all worked out amid the history and future of the rest of humanity. Don’t you feel so small and unknowledgeable? What an awesome God we have.

 

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photo @ Wish I Didn’t Know

It’s true, I do. First of all, I must tell you that we have lots of discord in our family in terms of television. Everyone makes fun of each other for their choices in bad TV shows. I just went full-fledged with it and now purposely watch TV shows that I am aware are awful. My sister, Bonnie, watches a glut of the monotonous primetime TV shows that all blend together, and then tries to tell us “No, this show is different and REALLY good”. Then, she’ll soon get over them and realize why we took the high road and hated them all along. Lindsey and her husband (my brother) don’t really watch scripted shows (except if ‘haunted’ or some variation of the word is in the name). They stick to classics such as ‘Billy the Exterminator’ and ‘A Haunting’ and can’t understand why no one else wants to watch these shows when we visit their house. My other brother sticks to the learning channels and odd shows that I won’t delve into. The worst offender though, is Bonnie’s husband. It’s as if he seeks out the worst movies and TV shows and says “Why, yes, I have three hours to waste on a movie that only received horrendous reviews. I bet it’s actually really good”. If you think I’m exaggerating, think again. He paid to see ‘Hellboy 3’ in the theaters after reading awful reviews of it, because he sincerely thought it could be good. Obviously, he went to this alone. He also watches Lifetime with me and the Hallmark Movie Channel with my mom. These are the television connoisseurs I come from. Why am I telling you this? Boredom, partly, but also partly because I think it’s starting to get to me.

I usually stick to LMN for its riveting plot twists out of left field and wide scope of topics ranging from husbands out to get you to best friends out to get you. I love these movies in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of way. I think they’re starting to wear me down in many ways, though. Firstly, I think they’re making me more suspicious of everyone and everything (that may be partly to blame on ‘I Survived‘ as well, though). I get unfounded paranoias about people driving behind me more than two miles, noises at night, overly-friendly people, and don’t even get me started about people I pass when walking alone on the street at night. I think everyone on the street is in cahoots just waiting for the green light from their boss to grab me. I just get way too many scenarios flowing through my head that somehow involve me being a pawn or a victim. Basically, it’s never good.

I’m also having crazy dreams. I can’t believe I’m admitting this on the internet, but I am. I am having crazy, terrifying dreams which make me utterly relieved just to wake up in the morning. I don’t want to go into details, but they usually involve a child…….that I am a parent of and some disastrous situation I have to save them from/disastrous situation that we have to try to live in. I’m not only scared while I sleep, I’m also freaked out half way through the next day when I realize that I’m dreaming about these nonsensical situations, because they are so etched into my mind. Look at how much you’ve impacted me, Lifetime.

Thirdly, I’m becoming desensitized to bad entertainment. No, I don’t mean, bad as in dirty or foul. I mean bad as in poor quality. When you watch bad TV, even just to laugh at it, you eventually become used to it and it becomes normal to you. I realized my standard of entertainment had dropped from great/good to it will do when I tried to stay awake to watch an infomercial. That’s right, an infomercial. Thank the Lord I was tired and skipped the majority of it, but My Pillow is still enticing to me. After that night, I felt the need to watch Sense and Sensibility and The Patriot, and begin where I left off on A Tale of Two Cities, page 23. It was also my wakeup call that I need stop watching bad TV or at least lessen it so I can get a grip on good and bad entertainment again.

Luckily,  the other day we decided that we should get rid of our satellite service, though. It was for unrelated reasons, but I’m even happier about it now. It will save me time, money and nightmares. Until there are more five or more good shows that make paying for television worth it, I think I’ll have to go the route of watching movies and a scant amount of decent current TV shows on the internet. If good television prevails once again on the airwaves, I’ll be back. Creators of ‘Newsradio’: your move now.

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  • Lindsey - April 11, 2012 - 7:49 pm

    Um excuse me…. we do not only watch “Billy” and “A Haunting”. Are you forgetting “Dog the Bounty Hunter”, “River Monsters” and the great classic “Storage Wars”?

    Get ready for a serious rebuttal…..ReplyCancel

  • Claire - April 11, 2012 - 7:57 pm

    yeah, just keep adding to the list of gems that you watchReplyCancel

photo @ Elizabeth Anne Designs

Weddings are the celebration of the joining of a husband and wife, and the focus is rightfully mostly on them. Couples that care about their guests though, try to make them as comfortable as possible. This is done by making them feeling as welcome as possible. A few extra touches specifically meant for making your guests comfortable show them how much you care that they have come to celebrate your wedding and make them enjoy your wedding that much more. A little added thoughtfulness and care can make the most of your big day for you and your guests.

The main way to break down weddings into categories when speaking about guests’ comforts is by weather. The guests’ needs will vary depending on the weather. Due to the fact that most weddings take place during nice, warm weather, there is much that can be done during these seasons.

photo @ You and Your Wedding

The most common way to comfort your guests is to provide sandals for your guests. This is not limited to beach weddings only. Most girls would like to kick off their heels for the reception regardless of the location. Whether in a barn or on the beach, a dance floor is a dance floor, and women don’t like to cut a rug in heels. By setting out a basket of sandals for guests to use for the reception and take home with them, guests don’t need to choose between being uncomfortable or going barefoot on dirty floors.They’ll appreciate the small touch and enjoy their time more.

photo @ Magnet Street

The second most common comfort for guests is the new trend of providing throw blankets for wedding ceremonies or receptions that involve any outdoor locations. One of the perks of summer weddings are beautiful nights, which is why many receptions involve the outdoors in some way. For the guests in spaghetti straps or those sensitive to windy nights, leave out a few baskets of throw blankets for guests to cover up with. They also make for a sweet momento if guests can take them home.

photo @ KDC Events

Warm weather carries with it many problems that cold weather does not. The chief among those are insects and the sun. Make your guests a little more comfortable by providing them some guard against both of these pests. Leave sun screen and bug spray in places that guests can easily find. This can mean leaving them by the programs for the ceremony and the wedding book for the reception. Or, it’s possible to create stations specifically for guests’ comfort and include this among the other goodies.

photo @ Bubbly Bride

For some stylish comfort in the sun, leave out sunglasses and/or parasols for guests. Guests will enjoy the uncommon gesture and the fact that so consideration was made for them. The added bonus with these options is that they each make photos more fun for guests. Accessories always make photos more fun and also make for great keepsakes.

photo @ Knitting Under Water

When dealing with cold weddings, most guests take necessary precautions and bundle up warmly before heading to the ceremony. As you may have guessed, the greatest concern is making sure they are warm. A great option is to see to this is to leave out a few baskets of mittens. If mittens aren’t enough, then you can also leave out a basket of hand warmers as well. Guests can slip these into their mittens for some extra warmth. Or, if their toes are beginning to freeze, they can slip them into their boots. If all else fails, you can have throw blankets available.

There are many comforts that can be provided for guests regardless of the type of wedding or time of year. First of all, to make sure all guests enjoy the wedding, children must be content. This not only makes kids happy, but it also makes it easier for parents to have fun. There are many simple solutions for this.

An easy way to make kids want to actually sit at the table is provide board games. This may look tacky though, unless you have board game centerpieces. A game of Chutes and Ladders or Sorry will keep kids entertained and in their seats for quite some time.

photo @ The Knot

You can also make the table their easel by covering the kid’s table in butcher paper. This will also keep them entertained at their table giving mom and dad a rare opportunity to dance.

photo @ Martha Stewart Weddings

If kids are getting restless though, and want to explore the reception, have I Spy boards ready for them. They can run around the reception together looking for everything on the list. For something really special, have a prize ready for the first person to cross off everything on the list.

photo @ Wedding Bee

The most timeless and simple way for kids to have fun is to give them bubbles. Bubbles are fun for kids to run around with inside and outside. And fortunately, they also can be used at the send off.

photo @ Style Me Pretty

For more fun for kids (and adults), consider a photo booth. No matter which type of photo booth you’d like to use, kids will love taking wacky photos for as long as they can, especially if props are involved. Adults will also love the momento and will have fun trying different poses with family and friends.

photo @ Style Me Pretty

Another amenity for all guests is a desserts section. The one thing everyone looks forward to at the wedding (and remembers) is the cake. You can also make another sweets stations to slake your  guests’ sweet tooth. If you don’t want to create another entire table of pies, cupcakes or candy, then you can set up a few camp fires or fire pits for guests to roast smores on. It’s simple, relaxed and a fun way for guests to end their evening.

photo @ Wedding Window

Lastly, (maybe this only only applies to cake and flowers or perhaps just DIY weddings), I like the idea of allowing guests to take the things that have been bought (not rented, obviously) that the bride and groom don’t want. The bride and groom can’t everything, so they might as well let others put the bouquets and mason jars to good use.
Small efforts and gestures can go a long way to show your guests how much you appreciate them coming to celebrate your wedding with you. Consider your guests’ wants and needs for your wedding and everyone will be sure to have a splendid time celebrating your new marriage.
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  • Beth - April 12, 2012 - 2:20 am

    Some great ideas here. I love the mason jar candle holders, board game tables, the flip flops ideas…can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken my shoes of at weddings. There isn’t one idea I didn’t like. Awesome info, thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Wedding photo booths - May 7, 2012 - 1:49 am

    Beautiful and creative idea in having a fantastic pictures that you created.ReplyCancel

  • dailydoseofeverything - May 8, 2012 - 10:12 pm

    Amazing Ideas. I love to see more. Thanks. Keep it upReplyCancel

I first heard read how to silk tie dye Easter eggs on MarthaStewart.com  about five years ago.  I loved the concept, but lacked the motivation and follow through to try it.  I would remember it every year around Easter, sometimes I would even vow to do it.  But then Easter would come and go, ties untouched.  In fact, If I’m being honest I barely squeeze in the traditional egg dyeing between egg hunts and brunches.  It always the same.  At 9:30 on Easter Eve, there I am hunched over my boys hurrying eggs in and out of colored water so they can get to bed and I can hide said eggs.

Well this year I wised up.  THIS year I tie dyed eggs a week early.   My boys, like most kids, are boiled egg gobblers.  I can’t peel them fast enough to keep the plate from emptying.  So I figured since it was the beginning of their Spring Break, we could dye a few dozen eggs and they could have them for breakfast all week.  I was right on one account, my boys took care of the eggs.  They were gone the first morning. TWO dozen eggs!!

We had a blast with this process and the boys pitched in a lot more than I had anticipated.  I rescued a bunch of ties that Alpha was tossing out last year, so we were all set in that dept.  If you don’t have any ties laying around, check out your local thrift store or Goodwill.  Bold prints show up best.  One change I will make if we do this again is to tie the string around the tie tighter so that the silk is touching the the entire surface of the egg.  I had a few gaps and crevices that left white spots where the tie wasn’t touching very well.  Other than that, the prints transferred nicely.

Supplies:

  • 2 dozen medium eggs
  • scissors
  • about 10 silk ties
  • white cotton fabric, a junk pillow case was just enough fabric for me
  • string, yarn or twisty ties
  • 6 Tbsp vinegar
  • Pot full of water

Directions:

  1. Un-thread ties and discard any insides, reserving only the silk fabric.  (I actually kept the white inserts.  I’m not sure what I will use them for yet.  Perhaps a Father’s Day craft.  If I end up using it, I will post how.  So hang on to it if you would like to follow along.)
  2. Using an egg to determine size, cut each tie into squares that will completely wrap around the egg with room to tie it together on top. I got three good squares out of each tie, but probably could have gotten four if I wanted to.
  3. Cut 24 squares that are the same size as your silk squares out of the white cotton fabric.
  4. Tie a square of silk around each egg.  Secure with string, yarn, etc.
  5. Then tie a white cotton square over the silk.  It is tempting to tie both squares with the sames string.  This will work, but you won’t get the ‘tight’ fit I was talking about earlier.  the result will be white spots left on your eggs from the fabric crevices.
  6. Fill a pot with just enough water to  cover the eggs completely (its okay if the fabric tied at the top is not covered).  Stir in 3 Tbl of white vinegar.  I had to boil a dozen eggs at a time, hence the double measurement of vinegar in the supply list.
  7. Bring water to a boil and boil eggs for at least 20-25 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove the eggs from the water and allow them to cool.
  9. Cut strings and marvel at your magically patterned eggs.  And if you have ravenous egg hunters like me, try to keep the shells on for at least a few minutes.
  10. If you are displaying these beauties, Martha recommends polishing them with vegetable oil to give them a sheen.

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  • Clinique Coupons - April 7, 2012 - 11:58 pm

    May I simply say what a relief to find someone that genuinely knows what they are talking about on the internet.
    You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people must read this and understand this side
    of the story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.ReplyCancel

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