Freedom!

Galatians 5 is chalk full of excellent stuff.  Freedom is the nail that Paul is hitting on the head in this particular part of the letter.  He’s already told the Galatians that they’ve lost their way.  They’ve traded in grace for works & he’s determined to set them straight.  {And I could use a little straight-setting on this very subject from time-to-time myself, so I’ll try to pay attention to Paul}

click picture for *FREE* printable

Grace is such a tough concept.  Our society is not necessarily built on grace.  Our economy is not really established on grace.  Our world, for right or wrong, tends to operate on an A+B=C mentality.  For example, put in the time+hard work=advancement at work.  Or eat right+exercise=weight loss.  Or pay attention in class+study=pass with good grades.  Or even help out at home+have a good attitude=happy parents who give you a phone.  Perhaps these are over-simplified, but I think they’re pretty accurate.  We tend to believe that if we do something + do something else we will get what we’re striving for.  A+B=C

And the converse we believe to also be true.  If I don’t do something and I don’t do something else then I will not achieve what I had wished for.  For example don’t study+don’t pay attention in class=failing the class.  Or eat like it’s December+sit on the couch & watch hours of netflix=gain weight.  This is the way we are conditioned from a very early age & it is reinforced at every turn.

But grace.  Grace throws this all to the curb.  Grace says you can fill A & B with anything you like in the A+B=C equation & the answer will always, always, always be C.  Grace covers up the A&B with the blood of Christ & results in C exclusively.

In Galatians 5, Paul talks about circumcision.  Circumcision was an outward thing that the Jews did to show that they were Jewish & adhering to the Law.  Basically, Jews were not Jews if they weren’t circumcised.  It was a requirement of the Law.  And whoever it was that Paul felt was causing the Galatians to quit running so well {vs7} was telling them that faith in Christ was not enough.  In addition, they also needed to follow the Law {be circumcised}.

For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.  {vs 4}  How very often do I try to make myself right before God by the things I do?  Likely too often to count.  How often do I try to plug the right A & B in the equation to make sure that C {God’s favor & salvation} is the answer?  I ignore that A & B are grace provided by Jesus & I have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with those.  This is freedom!  Real freedom.  I am not a slave to the A & B.  The exhausting attempts to be perfect or to ensure that A & B are exactly what God is looking for are not necessary.  I can stop {we can stop} trying so darn hard. We are free!

Before we get too excited that math does not apply in God’s economy & therefore my behavior is irrelevant, Paul addresses this also.  But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.  Instead use your freedom to serve one another in love. {vs 13}  It’s like he is reading my mind.  If no matter what I do, I always {as a believer of Jesus} get grace, then why wouldn’t I do whatever I please?  I think that answer is simply because if I understand the significance & sacrifice of grace I wouldn’t ever want to live however I feel {dabbling in all kinds of sinful activities that oppose God’s will}.  And lest I don’t know what those are, Paul lays them out in verses 19-21.  The list is extensive.  And I certainly have at times plugged some of those activities into the A&B of my life’s equation.  But because of forgiveness, the grace of God remains the same and salvation & God’s favor remain my answer.  Hallelujah!

Will I ever fully get it?  I hope so.  But I must admit there are times when I strive for God’s favor, when I try to earn my salvation when I am a slave to my behavior.  Every day, though, I can try to remember that grace is God’s gift, unearned.  And the world’s equation is not relevant in the economy of God.

New Year :: New Testament

Tomorrow begins a new year.  And the first day of my resolution to read through the New Testament.  I’ve thrown out all my other whimsical wishes to eat better, drink more water, exercise regularly or otherwise generally better my outside.  This year, I’m looking to see if something can get stirred deep in my heart to create real inner change.  Maybe in my attitude.  Maybe in my treatment of others.  Maybe in my priorities.  Maybe in all of the above.  And I’ve decided that just trying really hard doesn’t ever work.  But I believe that the Word has the power.  So making reading the Word my priority is my resolution.

In an effort to make my goal a reality, I have created some printables to put in my planner to keep me on track.  And today I share the January set with you.

There are 4 in the collection, one for each week of this month.  They are super simple.  A place to note things I shouldn’t forget, a place to note people I should be praying for, a place for our weekly dinner menu & a place to write down those things I need to pick up at the store {groceries or sundries or whatever…isn’t sundries a fun word?}  And, OF COURSE, the weekly New Testament reading for the week.  Click HERE to access the FREE printable pdf file that you can print at home.  {I plan to have the first six months of the year available at my Etsy store printed for your Happy Planner shortly}

One other little problem I have when reading the Bible, or any book for that matter, is mind-wandering.  Do you suffer?  I can read the words but be thinking about other things & not have a clue what I’ve read at the completion of the paragraph.  Frustrating!  I have found that if I have a pen in hand with an “assignment” I am much less likely to suffer from mind-wandering.  To help try to keep me on task, I have also created a VERY SIMPLE journal page to use while I read through the New Testament.  For me, I like to read the passage, write down any particular verse or couple verses that really spoke to me and then write down what is stirring around when I read.  Sometimes there’s a lot written down & other days, hardly anything.  But that’s ok.  This helps keep me focused.  I’d love to share those simple sheets too.  Click on the picture or HERE for your free printable journal sheet.

All the printables in this post are just simple creations that I threw together for my personal use.  {warning::they may not be perfect}  I hope that you can find use for them if they would help you.  If you have your own journal or method or plan, that’s great!  All these printables are sized to print on regular letter size, but all can be cut to 7×9.25 to fit your Happy Planner.  If you have any questions or problems just shoot me a comment.  I’ll try to help. And please check my Etsy page for printed, sized & Happy Planner punched pages soon!

Have a wonderful last few hours of 2016!  Bring on 2017!

2017 Bible Reading Plan

2016 is quickly coming to a close.  I’m not terribly upset about that.  While 2016 had some amazingly wonderful moments, it has also included some of the hardest of my life.  And whether it will be or not, the hope withheld in the newness of a brand spanking untouched and untarnished year, makes 2017’s approach all the more exciting.  Something about fresh starts, new days dawning, hope comes in the morning. Ah, hope.  Such a generous & grace-filled word.  I am counting down these last few hours until we say au revoir to 2016 forever!

I’m not really a resolution kind of gal.  I lie.  Actually, I am.  If you know my personality even a smidgen, you can see that I am a goal setter.  I put my mind to something & I get it done.  Often with lots {and lots and lots} of complaining at times.  But I, nevertheless, get the goal met & crossed of the list.  So, I actually am the resolution type…except that for some reason this goal-setting, list-crossing-off, bucket-list-finishing gal has a problem getting through resolutions.  And as much as I love a good goal set and achieved, I loathe the setting a goal & missing it even more.

So resolutions.  They’re a strange bunch.  Perhaps fueled by all the hope I was talking about before.  New day dawning, spanking fresh start…blah, blah, blah.  Resolutions get somehow thrown on paper in permanent sharpie in a whimsical, wishful way full of hopes & dreams.  And nearly every actual new year’s resolution I’ve ever set for myself has gone uncompleted.  GASP!  I hate unfulfilled goals.  Failure.  That’s what resolutions bring.  From all out hope to utter failure in a matter of usually two-three months.  It’s daunting.

All this to say.  No resolutions for me.  Well.  Except one.  But I’ve given this some real thought, not just unicorns dancing on clouds thought & I’ve put some real planning in motion to see that I fulfill this new year’s resolution.  Because a goal without a plan is just a wish.  So plan I have.

This year I resolve to read the New Testament.  You see, every single year in recent history that I can remember I have resolved to “this year read the Bible”.  And by mid Leviticus I’m out.  Done.  Fini!  Have you ever tried to read through the Bible cover to cover?  It’s not an easy read.  Some of these Old Testament books are weird.  Just plain weird. They are hard to get through.  So I quit.  sigh…

But not this year.  I’m tackling the New Testament & while i know there will still be some weird moments {like all of Revelation} I’m thinking I’m much less likely to throw in the towel like I do every time I get to Noah getting drunk and sleeping with his daughters.  To make this resolution even more attainable, I’ve made the reading fairly easy.  One chapter a day with a very relaxed 2 chapters a week over the summer.  No excuses about time. Oh, and I’ve given myself Saturdays off too.  I’ve picked an order that will likely keep me interested {such as separating the gospels, one per quarter rather than all four back to back}.  And if all that weren’t enough, I made cute little cards to put in my planner to remind me to read.  I have no excuses for this not being a resolution I can accomplish.  And I’m kind of excited. Both to actually finish a resolution & to read the New Testament.

 

If you’re in the mood to read through the New Testament or part of it, I’d love to have you join in the fun.  I have included a printable for free that you can print off at home that includes the entire year of reading. It will print 2 months per letter sized paper.  Or if you are interested, I also have printed sets that will fit the medium sized The Happy Planner available for $6 at my Etsy site.

You can get a Happy Planner from Michaels right now on sale {HUGE SALE}.

Please let me know if you’re reading along.  I’d love to know there’s someone else out there in the same part of Scripture with me each day.  My plan to is post about what I’m reading fairly regularly to help keep me accountable.  The more the merrier.

 

…a few of my favorite things…

My friends.  We sit with just 9 days until Christmas.  Nine!  Why does is seem like we have all the time in the world & then “BAM!” out of no where, we’re almost out of time?  If you’re feeling behind, I’m here to help.  In the spirit of Christmas with a little inspiration from The Sound of Music together with a little Opren {that’s Oprah & Ellen}…I give you…

My Most Favorite Finds – 2016

  1. This has been at the absolute top of my chart for years now.  It is my absolute favorite!!  My dry, winter skin needs SO much help.  You have no idea.  Cracking, itching, awful.  This year is particularly bad with all the extra hand washing I’m doing.  And this little treasure is the best I’ve ever found.  L’Occitane Hand Cream.  Hand down the very best!  $28 very well spent.  And if you signed up for eBates {which I know you did} you’ll get 3% back on each one.  
  2. I received this as a gift from seven of the most amazing women in my life.  Scattered all over the planet, they coordinated this gift as a comfort when Sweet Ginger began his chemo treatments.  It is most wonderful throw blanket in the entire world.  Softness does not even begin to adequately describe it.  It is cozy, weighty, 100% lovely.  If you have someone on your list who might need a luxurious throw, this! is! it!!  Pottery Barn’s Ruched Faux Fur Throw.  Regularly priced at $149, it is on SALE today {Dec. 16} only.  What a steal at $104.  Don’t miss this deal!
  3. This year I did my first Whole 30.  It was a good experience and I am sure that after the holiday eating is over, I’ll be looking at another go around.  I really did feel better, sleep better and have way more energy while on it & I think I could go again here in the new year.  Anyway, while doing that I discovered my next favorite find – Bubbies Sauerkraut.  It may be a bit more expensive than other sauerkrauts out there, but for good reason.  This is true sauerkraut.  Made with cabbage, water, salt.  That’s it.  Naturally fermented like our great grandparents would have eaten it.  Delicious!!!  You can pick it up at lots of you favorite food stores in the refrigerated section.  
  4. These past few months I have become somewhat of an expert on winter head ware.  Living in the frozen tundra with a completely bald bald has required us to find the most fabulous hats known to man.  While the absolute best have come from an amazingly talented friend, the next best have to be the ones from Love Your Melon!  Hands down.  Warm, soft, comfortable.  And 50% of profits go to cancer research. Winner, winner.  They come in a multitude of colors and styles, but are so popular that they are often low or short on their most populars.  Luckily they restock often and add to their styles regularly.  They range in price from $30-$45.  A great deal on such a wonderful hat…with a fabulous cause.
  5. My final favorite find for this year is Isaiah 41:10.  “Do not fear, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Especially over the past few months, I have needed this reminder almost daily.  Do not fear.  Do not be dismayed {agitated, discouraged, disheartened, frightened, horrified, rattled, scared, unnerved, upset}  God is with me, he is my God, he will provide the strength & help necessary and he will hold me up when I ca no longer stand on my own.  This doesn’t mean that every moment is rosey.  It doesn’t mean that in the end this will turn out the way that I think it should go.  It means that however it goes, I’m not alone.  This verse.  So for my final favorite find, I have a FREEBIE for you.  Simply click the “like” at the bottom of this post {or better yet leave me a comment!} and download your free printable.  Simply download & print on your home computer & printer.

printable

I hope you have a wonderful eight days of shopping or relaxing by the fire sipping hot cocoa, whichever.  I hope you enjoy this list of my most favorite finds.  Buy one for a friend or for yourself, no matter, you’l be glad you did!

And if you still need to sign up for eBates & start getting some cash back in your wallet, click here.  Get shopping straight away because they’re giving you an extra $10 just for signing up & shopping.  Don’t delay.  There’s money waiting!!

Advent Cards :: FREE Printables

Can you even believe that it’s December 1?  This autumn has just flown right on by & Christmas is rushing up the front walkway with lightning speed.  Are you ready?  I’m not.  Even. Close.

Last year I put together a few different printable advent cards to help slow down & focus on the amazing story that is Christmas.  You can find all three set here.  I think they are super fun.

But this year, I wanted to have a super simple set to display.  Something without a lot of graphics or bright colors.  Something with simple, elegant fonts.  And I wanted to pass the set along to you.  Because what’s Christmas exactly without some fun giving?

Simply click here to download the printable.  Print them out on some quality cardstock.  I used 65 lb. in brilliant white.  Then cut each one out following the cutting guides & if you’re feeling fancy, dust off your favorite Creative Memories corner rounder or another corner rounder of your choice {maybe like this one}.  There is one card for each day & each one tells a bit of the miraculous Christmas story.

In case you’re curious, the absolutely adorable display with the candy cane stripes came from Michael’s.  I’ve seen similar at Hobby Lobby.  Super fun and cute way to display these cards!

If you like them {or anything you see here} please add a little love:  like this post & pin it!

If you don’t want to miss anything, please add your email and “follow me”.

Thankful Cards part 3 :: Free Printable

It is hard to believe that we are just a few short days away from Thanksgiving!  I absolutely love Thanksgiving!  It may very well be my favorite holiday…but don’t tell Christmas or Easter.  One of the things I love to do most is cook and Thanksgiving provides the opportunity to cook up some amazingly delicious & comfort-classic foods.  I am bursting to get in the kitchen!  Guess I should probably get the turkey thawing.

Last year I put together some Thanksgiving cards to display around the kitchen & table.  Each contained a scripture passage about thanks.  You can find them here & here.

This week I put together another set of 8 cards.  I printed them off on some Kraft paper cardstock, cut them out and again used my trusty Creative Memories corner rounder to finish them off.  I plan to use them around our dinner table this year.

And what fun would it be if I didn’t share them? So here they are!

thanksgiving cards

Thanksgiving Cards set 3

Simply click on one of the pictures above or here, print them out on your favorite quality cardstock, cut them using the cutting guides & round them off {if you still enjoy your 1990’s CM corner rounder as much as I do} and display them around your table and home this year!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Be thankful for the many blessings in your life.  Love your family well.  And praise God from whom all those blessings flow!

And, hey, take a second to pin these if you wouldn’t mind!

 

Linger[

Linger

verb    lin·ger  •  \ˈliŋ-gər\

: to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave

: to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment

: to remain alive; continue or persist, although gradually dying,ceasing, disappearing, etc.


It is my very favorite word in the English language.  It is soft.  It is slow.  In our busy, busy world with our busy, busy lives full of tasks to accomplish, “linger” feels cozy and inviting.  To gather together with someone you enjoy & just stay.  Reluctant to leave.  To dwell in enjoyment.  To linger long.

This weekend I was feeling a bit crafty.  I have a newly found love affair with HGTV.  I’ve always been a bit of a news junkie, watching news channels versus just about anything else on tv.  But…well…2016 election.  I just can’t take another single second of news.  So HGTV has moved in.  I’m a little late to the party {nothing new there} but I’m catching up quickly.  So, Fixer Upper.  Yes, amazing!  And I’ve fallen in love with the oversized wooden signs.  Many have quotes or verses.  I’ve seen no less than 7 billion with the word “gather”.  They’re wonderful.  And I decided I wanted one.  But with my favorite word, “linger”.

And what’s a girl to do when she wants a custom sign?  She dusts off the Cricut, checks out Pinterest for how-to’s and gets to work.  And viola.  A new sign.  Hanging next to the kitchen table.  A reminder to linger.  Linger long.

Paint colors are Rust-Oleum Chalked in Aged Gray and Deco-Art Americana Decor Chalky Finish in Relic.  Font is “In Screaming Color“.