photo credit ~~dusty davis '06
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge."
The top ten human fears, in reverse order, are:
5. Deep water
4. Financial problems
3. Insects and bugs
1. Speaking before a group
I don't have all of these fears. I'm sure many of you don't either. Yet, I nodded and agreed with several of them as I read down this list:
- I have my frequent bouts with fear of bugs, yet never as often as when living on the coast.
- Loneliness has been a continual companion in seasons of my life. I don't fear it in the same way as when I was younger. It drives me to lean on Jesus more.
- Financial issues probably strike a chord of fear in my heart unlike any other. Yet, here, too, I am learning to cast my cares more frequently on Him and watch Him provide for me in ways I often can't comprehend.
- Death has been at the forefront of my mind in the past few weeks, and I have wrestled in the recesses of my own thoughts as to whether it scares me or not. At times I find peace in knowing I will be with my Father in heaven, and at others I quake inside over leaving all I know to be real in the here and now.
My prayer for all of us who share these common fears is that we take them to Jesus, leave them at His feet, and walk on throughout each day unencumbered by them. I pray we can live moment by moment "Without Fear" remembering the truth of God's Word:
God is there, ready to help;
I'm fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?"
Hebrews 13:5-6 (MSG)
FEAR=False Evidence Appearing Real
My heart has been heavy all week long. I have not risen above the funk in which I find myself, and yet I know that intentional thanks and gratitude is a pathway out of the funk.
So, out of obedience and a desire to see further than the step I'm currently on I choose to be thankful for:
1. My children: Though this has been a rough week emotionally for everyone, I am so grateful I have three healthy children. They eat, sleep, love, and learn here in my home. I am truly blessed.
2. Breathing: Allergy season is upon us, and with it comes a newfound appreciation for the simple ability to breathe in and out without difficulty.
3. Smiles: I am grateful for the ones I've received this week. They have gotten me through some dark moments and encouraged me to look outside of myself.
4. Card Making: This always encourages me as I can see how God has created me to be crafty.
5. Fresh Bedding: I washed comforters and quilts this week in hopes of cooler temperatures. The smell of fresh bedding can make me swoon. I thoroughly enjoy wrapping up in a warm blanket fresh from the dryer.
6. Swimming: My three are all taking swimming lessons at the Y here in town. What a nice respite in the middle of the day + bonus for the mama = I make friends with other homeschooling moms.
7. Community Theatre: "The Hobbit" is only one week away, and Libbyline, along with Sweetcheeks, are on the home stretch as far as rehearsals go. Dabbling in the dramatic has been fun, challenging, and an overall learning experience for all of us. I'll have to show photos once my dwarf and goblin are appropriately attired. Off to Middle Earth we go!
8. Exploring Interests: As homeschoolers we have the ability to delve into any topic that interests us and camp there for as long as the interest holds. Right now we are soaking up everything to do with Roman and Greek mythology.
9. Home Improvements: I got at it the other night and framed some photos that had been hiding in a folder in my garage for over a year. Using some creative matting and rubber stamping, I now can look around my house and see the fruits of many years of my love of taking photos.
10. God's love: I am grateful for His continual hand upon me.
1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
Now, you know how this works. Please leave your comments and let me know how God is filling your tank this week, or you can take the button to your site and make your own list. Have a thanks-filled week!
Just to update you on Copeland Farley: She went to be with Jesus at 5:35 this afternoon. Please continue to be praying for her family. You can extend your thoughts and prayers at their site.
I saw this song in the comments section at the Farley's site. You can listen to it at Steven Curtis Chapman's site, but here are the lyrics:
This is not at all howThanks for your prayers. I know the Farleys appreciate all of them.
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...
We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again
And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...
We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...
So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope
We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope
I know y'all don't come here to listen to me gripe or whine. I know you won't come back if I spend too much time bemoaning the place I find myself. So, I'm not going to drag on with a "woe is me" attitude.
I am trying to take today moment by moment, but I am so tired, so weary and weepy today.
The tears are threatening to spill over at every turn. I slept poorly and find the energy that soared over a very productive weekend to be utterly depleted as I begin a new week of homeschooling and the other tasks of life.
Visions of climbing back into bed revisit my thoughts over and over. Though I know that is wishful thinking with the three children I am entrusted to educate in some fashion today.
Yet, in the midst of my own weary journey I look out and about me. There I find others whose situations are polar different from mine. One in particular requires your attention.
Please pray for this precious family. I have been following them and praying diligently since the day before their sweet daughter, Copeland, arrived Sept. 18. Sarah shared their need for prayer, and I have been praying. I encourage you to do the same.
That's one thing I love about blogging and the availability of the internet. I cannot stay focused on myself for long. For when I get tunnel vision and begin to have a pity party, I need only look at this or this or this and be aware of how small I am and how big God is.
May we all remember His power and strength today. Please be praying, and if you think of it pray for me, too.
***FYI: If you haven't watched the video in yesterday's post, scroll on down now. Go on! It's a goodie : )
photo credit ~~ Dusty Davis, California
photo taken in Gunnison, CO
and view a land that stretches afar."
At times I can liken the struggles and uncertainties I face to a fear of leaping over the obstacles in my path and reaching out in faith for the beauty God has for me on the other side. He stands waiting. My only requirement is to leave the fear behind.
I have been seeing the sunrise peeking through the clouds lately. The enemy wants nothing more than to obliterate that sign of hope in my life and in yours.
Let us cling to this truth today:
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10 (NKJV)
“Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the 'someday I'll' philosophy.”
FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real
Other weeks are like this one. A week of struggles that brings me to a place of trying to eek out the drops of gratitude amidst the flood of things I'd just rather forget.
Here's my feeble attempt to recognize God's hand in a fog of gunk. This week I am thankful for:
1. Unexpected Mail: Just when we were wondering how we were going to make it through this month that has had far more month than money -- we received quite a surprise in the mail. God provides. He knows exactly what I need and when I need it.
2. Glimmers of Growth: My son is the consummate Peter Pan. He really has dug in his heels about growing up. He does not want to get older or be more mature. This week he's shown a couple of signs that he may be re-thinking his determined unwillingness to be a "big" boy.
3. Children's Ministry: We have a fabulous group of ladies, led by dear Amy, that serve the children at our church. The children sang this past Sunday in the service, and it was a blessing that continues to echo throughout my week.
4. Interest: Someone took the time this week to show interest in more than my standard answer of "fine". That meant the world, even if I didn't really take the time to be vulnerable. I will someday. Thanks for caring.
5. Shopping: My precious MIL(ove) called again to tell me to go shopping for my children. What a timely blessing! I don't even really care that she tells me where and when I should go in order to find the bargains. I got to go!
6. Cool Weather: Refreshing. Simply refreshing. I love this time of year.
7. A Sustaining Hand: At times through this past week I have wanted to fall into a heap and throw up my hands. Jesus has had His "sustaining hand" on me, and I have made it this far. I am certain He will not allow me to fall.
Well, the list is short, but I need to hit the ground running today and won't probably take a breath again before retiring tonight.
Take time today to be intentionally grateful. If you'd like to share those thoughts here, let me know in the comments. If you'd like to take my cute header to your place and start your own Thanks Tank -- go right ahead!! Have a thanks-filled day.
I told y'all about these guys here a couple months ago when I won their fabulous CD at Boomama's place. I have not gotten a chance to actually meet them like she has, but I now have them on my iPod shuffle, on my Mac, and in my head throughout each and every day. We love their music around the Peach household, and we can't wait to share their music with our friends and family for holiday gifts. Their sound always makes me want to be sipping something from a local coffee house, so maybe they should team up with someone and sell hot beverages at their concerts . . . : )
Anyway, today is the official release of their debut album. Go here and check it out. Then go to your favorite place to get music and buy it, or just buy it directly from them (I'm sure they'd like that best, wouldn't you, Brian?)
So . . . Just go. Go now. Don't wait. Go buy it. You'll be so glad you did!
We always did our nurseries in a neutral theme that would work for both genders, so I never had a chance to buy something so frilly and pink.
Yet, now my brother and his wife do. They are expecting a little GIRL in January! I am thrilled to have the chance to go out and buy little pink things all over again. My girls still love pink, but itty, bitty pink clothes and blankets are just so much fun!
So, in honor of Aleah's pending arrival, here's my scripture passage for this Sunday:
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.
17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I'll never comprehend them!
I couldn't even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
Psalm 139:13-22 (Msg)
I'm not feeling very fearless today, so maybe I can ride along on the fearlessness of others . . . what do you do to combat the looming shadow of fear in your life? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Here's to a fearless and fun weekend!
FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real
Labels: fearless friday
That doesn't mean my week has been bump-free, but I have seen Him at work. Here's how:
1. New Friend: A lady in our Sunday school class has reached out to me and to DP in a warm and loving way. We did something in return for her kindness, and now we're headed to her house for dinner on Sunday. What a blessing!
2. Closure: I've had an open wound in my heart for a couple of weeks, and it was good to have closure this week. Not necessarily in the way I would have liked, but I am accepting it as God's hand anyway. He knows what I need.
3. Cool Mornings: Ahhhhhhhh! How nice to be able to get back out and enjoy neighborhood walks with my children. I am drinking it all in, because fall can't be far behind this cool spell!
4. Aha Moments: I've been reading lots of posts by homeschooling moms recently, and I have found so much wisdom and encouragement to re-think some of my methods. I plan to inject more fun and joy into our schooling journey. It's so easy to fall back on the way I was schooled when I am stumped for ideas. I needn't do that anymore!
5. Routine: Sometimes a welcome comfort. I am enjoying the routine set before us right now.
6. Surprises: My dear MIL(ove) sent us this game this week as surprise for the kids. They loved it, and it's even gotten this mama up and dancing to earn my "cast cards."
7. Bargains: How I love a good bargain! We went to a local thrift store and found some wonderful things this week. The "goodie" of the day by far was one of these for a mere quarter. My children were beside themselves thrilled, which kind of made the $2.99 sleeping bag seem like an extravagance.
8. God's Word: How I love this book by Beth Moore. I am reading/praying through it right now, and it is touching my life in a myriad of ways.
9. Life: Amy's death this week helped to lend some much-needed perspective for me. I am grateful for another day to breathe without effort, to walk unassisted, and to hold close those I love dearly.
10. You: If you regularly read this blog, or if this is the first time you've stumbled by a place Without Fear, I am glad and grateful you've come.
May the Lord be at work filling up your tank today! If you want to take the button to your site and make your own list, please feel free!! If you want to leave me a comment on how God is choosing to fill your tank -- I'd love it!!
Have a great "thanks-filled" day of intentional gratefulness.
I'm going to join in with my two cents of what has and hasn't worked over my past 10 or so years of trying to get my children to help around the house.
- We've done it all.
- We've done allowances.
- We've bribed.
- We've cajoled.
- We've tried incentives.
- We've threatened.
- We've even yelled a time or two or three or more.
I am on the crest of something that is currently working for me, so I feel incredibly confident right now . . . just don't hold me to this for posterity because I know not when it will blow up in my face.
I actually came up with this system in the dark at our head-bangin' extremely contemporary evening church service one night a few months ago. We go to XL every week, and I sometimes find myself making lists during the music.
My chore chart came at one such time.
We have three children. For years I've unsuccessfully engaged them in the process of doing chores. I've devised numerous charts, used some, ditched others, and finally unearthed one similar to this one that I paid the same price for at least five years ago.
I decided to have a rotation of responsibilities that cover six days of our week.
Three children=two rotations of the chores each week, leaving Sunday as an "everybody pitches in" kind of day.
They each have three main chores each day, including those from this list:
- Empty dishwasher
- Clean bathroom
- Wash laundry (all laundry in laundry room by Monday a.m.)
- Fold laundry
- Put away laundry (Stacked on beds unless your own, then put away in dresser)
- Set table
- Clear table
- Sweep (kitchen, dining room, and living room)
We tried doing allowance, but the whole idea of giving allowance for living and breathing in our house truly rattled me to my core. So, for basic tasks like making beds, keeping bed rooms tidy, and other livelihood items that allow them to comfortably function in my home -- they earn no money.
On the chore chart above, they get "Commission" for the chores they actually accomplish each day. We tally it through out the week and pay for jobs well done each Saturday. We offer a quarter per chore per day, with each child able to earn a maximum of $4.50 for basic chores per week.
If the chores are forgotten or not done to my satisfaction, a commission is not earned AND the chore gets left open for another sibling to come in and take over the commission for doing the task cheerfully and efficiently.
Fines are also a part of this system. If the child is disrespectful regarding doing an assigned chore or puts off an assigned task, a quarter is fined for each infraction.
We've been tweaking this system for awhile, but what has really sent my spirit soaring is the addition of this to our system. I cannot speak highly enough about Dave Ramsey or the products he's created and marketed. We got in on a great deal for our kids and scored two of these boxed kits for the price of one. They have now taken over our refrigerator, and our children are excited about seeing their money grow!
So, that's my take on the whole idea of chores. I can't wait to see what others have to say on this volatile and crazy subject for parents.
Don't forget to sign up over at Melanie's to join in on the carnival today!
I didn't know Amy Wilhoite. I prayed for her regularly, as many of you did. She went home to meet Jesus yesterday afternoon. What rejoicing there must be at her homecoming!!
Amy was an inspiration to many, myself included.
Please go here and let her husband know you will be praying for him.
None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Hug your loved ones a little tighter today. I know I will.
" Your eyes will see the king in his beauty
and view a land that stretches afar." (NIV)
When I decided to do this weekly feature so long ago, I never realized how some weeks it would be what I cling to as an anchor in my otherwise flighty thoughts of the moment.
As I turn my focus to thankfulness, for that time I am allowed to completely leave all other thoughts aside. When I am intentionally grateful, so many of the trivial things that take up my thought life diminish in importance.
So, let's pull up to the "filling station" and let me show you how God has chosen to meet me this week:
1. A new watch band: God did not actually give me a watch band, but He provided a wonderful experience at a local jewelry store that left me hopeful for the future of customer service. These people were courteous, helpful, and they even cleaned my wedding ring while I waited.
2. Choices: God gives me the ability to choose every single day, and I am grateful for His abundant provisions for me and for those I love.
3. Girlfriend time: I had a fabulous dinner Sunday night at Olive Garden (because my DP refuses to step foot in the place) with a new/old friend. (she's not really old) We just knew one another when I lived near the beach, and now she's moved back to my town. I look forward to lots of fun girly times ahead.
4. Swimming: I've been looking for a way for all of my children to participate in a form of physical activity without breaking our budget. A homeschool swimming class for less than $100 total in the middle of the afternoon fits all my requirements. They are finding it fun, too, which is a bonus.
5. Clean Laundry: Love the smell and feel of it, especially sheets and blankets. Now, much of it is not folded or put away, but that's coming. I am just thankful it's clean so far.
6. Dating the Kids: My DP took Libbyline on a date the other day. They had a great time. The beaming smile on her face afterward was priceless. I know, sweetie, he is a great date : )
7. Full Pantry: I am so glad to look into my pantry cupboard and see it full of goodies to be used throughout the rest of this month. I feel like I made good choices and got more for my money than in months past.
8. Fall decorations: I am one of those people whose heart swells when I see all the fall colors beginning to peek out in nature, and I am no different when I see the decorations showing up at the stores. I have already purchased my fall wreath for my front door and plan to hang it as soon as I find that over-the-door thingy that is stored somewhere out in the mess I call my garage.
9. Unconditional Love: So thankful God bestows it in abundance.
10. Extra Sleep: When you have a condition like the one I function with daily, any measure of extra rest is a reason for gratitude. I am thankful for the extra two hours last night. I actually was ready from head to toe before 7:15 am today. That's a miracle!
So, now it's your turn! Head on over to the comments and let me know how God is choosing to fill your tank this week. OR . . . you can take my cute Thanks Tank button to your blog and set up your own list of intentional gratefulness. Have a thanks-filled rest of the week!
Shannon is calling out all of us who are loyal to some sort of brand name product, so I thought I'd join in and share those items I just cannot do without. I don't have too many, but I am absolutely unwavering in the ones below:
Dr. Pepper: There is no other, so don't offer me Mr. Pibb or Diet Dr. Pepper. I only drink the real thing, and I sometimes like it on Blue Bell homemade vanilla for the most fabulous float you'll ever taste.
Miracle Whip: No, it is not the same as mayonnaise, but that's what it has always served as ever since I was a wee Peach. I use it instead of good old Hellman's in just about everything that calls for mayo. To me, it just tastes better.
Secret: No, I'm not trying to keep anything from you . . . but odor. I will not use any other kind of deoderant, though I did just change scents because I could not resist having my armpits smell like one of my favorite drinks -- who comes up with vanilla chai as an antiperspirant scent any way? It is Secret all the way for me!
Scotch brand tape: I've tried other generic transparent tape, but none of it works as well and keeps me from digging it off the roll like Scotch.
Cetaphil: I am a girl with sensitive skin (think Peach), so I go all out and buy the humongous jar of Cetaphil moisturizer for sensitive skin at Sam's every 6-9 months. It lasts at least that long and figures out to about pennies per application.
I know I have others, but I buy store brand or generic for most things. These will have to do for now. Have a great day and don't forget to check out all the other posts on Brand Loyalty at Shannon's today.
**** Please scroll on down when you're done, because you don't want to miss the funnies my MIL says! She's a hoot!
mesermized -- the word of our last visit.
This was her response to the Georgia Aquarium. Peach, it just left me "mesermized." Did it you? She realized early on that it was really mesmerized, but found it so much more fun to say "mesermized" that she kept it up and now we all say "mesermized". all. the. time.
This one happened just the other day while talking with her on the phone. She seemed fine to be chatting away when all of a sudden she exclaims:
"Oh Lordy, I need to go. I think I'm burning my weenies!!"
Peach*, I just called to have you wish me a "Happy Birthday" since you hadn't called me yet today." (*She doesn't really call me, Peach, y'all know) In all reality it was probably about 8 am our time, but she gets up at 4, yes, a.m., every. single. day.
There's enough fodder there for another entire post, but I'll leave that for another time.
One of her favorite euphemisms when talking about poor marital matches:
"Well, you know, Peach, she just drove her ducks to a poor pond. There's really no hope there, no hope a' tall!"
"Peach, I just called because I think you need to go get you a little pick-me-up. Go use my card and get you about $100 worth of something that makes you feel good."
"Did you know they make flavored creamers that just make your coffee taste exactly like a Snickers bar -- they're that good!"
She has used this one several times lately, which has prompted me to answer her, "Excitement Central, how can we spice up your life?"
"Peach . . . are you busy up there? (I guess I do live "up" when it comes to callin' from South Louisiana)
You know, I just called because I am bored here at work, and I already took my nap.(She really does get a chance to nap at work! She rests on one of the adjustment tables at the chiropractor's office where she works.) What have you got exciting going on around there? I need some juicy gossip or somethin' to get me through the afternoon here."
"Peach, I want you to go get you some of those Crocs shoes. I got me some, and they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. Then, when you love them, tell everyone your MIL is the trend setter and told you all about them first. She did and I did. I really did.
How I love this woman. I love her so much that I won't post the thing that makes me laugh even on the saddest day . . . a photo of her when we had the people at the Georgia Aquarium stop us and do an impromptu photo shoot. She doesn't do impromptu. She doesn't do photos. She ended up looking like a criminal from here. I say this with the utmost respect, but the shot was not one of her best days. She might have done better with a little more advanced warning -- like a week to prepare, but instead she was caught off guard, bless her heart.
My mother- in love is everything I never knew a mom could be. I am so grateful to the Lord for bringing her into my life. Thanks for the giggles, Mama!
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings the grass from the earth." 2 Samuel 23:4