Important Life Choices

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This week I had two nights in a row of personal hurts that tore into old wounds I thought had healed.

In the one situation bitterness was just waiting for me to grab hold of it and run.   In the second matter, disappointment sent up my invisible “you can’t hurt my feelings” wall.   This was quickly followed by the voice of self-pity and withdrawal.   Maybe you aren’t familiar with these thoughts, but I know them all too well.

I also knew that I was not going to follow the rabbit trail of satan into the pit.  Grabbing hold of the hem of the garment of Jesus, I clung on tight and prayed.

After confessing my hurts, my disappointments and my feelings to God this morning,  I journaled a quick prayer  that in part went something like this:  ”God – what is your plan and purpose for me this day?”   This day.  I don’t need to contemplate what God has in store for me six months from now and then find myself confused, overwhelmed or with hurt feelings.  I don’t need to mull over the past. Instead, I knew I needed to focus on today and to focus on what God had planned.

And then “today” happened like this.

Husband and I head out early for some quick errands.   I postpone shower until we will get home.  I may or may not have last washed my hair two  three days ago.     Last shower more than 24 hours.

Text from friend:  Wish u were off today!

Me:  I am.  Whatcha need?

Friend:  I’m off  too and would love to have a cup of joe with my friend!

*Pause* in the texting for my thoughts, in no particular order, to go something like this:

I haven’t showered.  I haven’t washed my hair in three days.  I don’t have time to do either.  I have been anticipating a quiet afternoon all week.  I have a long list of things I really, really wanted to do today.  Today is the last day this week that I will have a chance to do them.  Men’s bible study will be at our house tonight. I need to make a snack, dust the tables, pick up the shoes, wash the dishes, pick up the living room, clean off the dining room table.  I need to shower. We will be up really early in the morning and it is going to be a long day on Friday and another early morning on Saturday.  When will I have time to get it all done?  I haven’t made my grocery list or cut my coupons.  I wanted to clean out the kitchen cupboards.  (You would want me to clean them too!)  I HAVEN’T WASHED MY HAIR OR SHOWERED and we will meet in a public place for coffee.

*Resume* texting

Me:  How about this afternoon at Cracker Barrel for some coffee?

Friend:  Perfect!  Just text me with the time.

Me:  . . . You are getting the unshowered version of me.

Friend (very, very good friend): I’m good with the unshowered version . . any version will be perfect!

I asked God to order my day.  I asked Him to plan it for me.  This was His plan.  For four hours my friend and I sat drinking coffee, eating peach cobbler and rocking in chairs.  We allowed our souls to be vulnerable and open and to heal.  We shared stories of the battles we have been through and how God was faithful in the midst of the pain and uncertainty.

We laughed.  We encouraged one another.  Ministering to each other through the things God has shown us and taught us.  Inwardly we were giving numerous double fist pumps for the victories we saw where the enemy meant to bring defeat.  We celebrated life and embraced the joy offered by Christ.  And the weight of my hurts and my to-do list completely disappeared.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11

CVS Donation Shopping Trip

019It has been awhile since I have diligently shopped the drugstores for freebies and really great deals.  I think I just needed a break.  But now I am ready to tackle more than one store again and really concentrate on grabbing free (or almost free) items to donate.

We are committed to donating food to our church’s food pantry each month, but God has really been impressing on me to search out more items to give to those in need.

Here is a breakdown of the items I was able to get at CVS this week for $1.00 each or less or free. :)

2 3-bar packs of  Dial soap   $2.00 each
(Used $1.00/2 printable coupon.  Buy 2 get $2.00 ECBs)

2  bottles of  Dial bodywash  $3.00 each
(Used $2.00/2 printable coupon.  Buy 2 get $2.00 ECBs)

2 bottles of Sally Hansen nail polish  ($3.29 each)  
(Used 2 $1.00/1 coupons.  Buy 2 get  $5 ECBs)

I rolled my ECBs from each transaction into the next one to minimize my out-of-pocket expense.   I had a CVS gift card from a previous promotion that I used to pay for the out-of-pocket portion.

My total cost for all six items, including tax:   $3.72

Need suggestions for items to donate?  Print out my Free Printable Donation Shopping list to help get you started.

Did you find any great deals for donations this week?

(Note the links in this post are my affiliate links.  See disclosure here.)

Back-to-School Encouragement

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The store aisles with new crayons and pencils, post-it pads, notebooks, pretty folders and cool backpacks . . . I can just smell the textbooks and clean hallways of school.    Okay – so I am a nerd and I love school supplies and I loved the first day of school.

In fact, I miss the joy of the first day of school and all the butterflies that went with it.    So I felt the need to find a way to celebrate the new school year and encourage others who might not be quite as excited about it .

I found this amazing free printable on Pinterest that was perfect for an encouraging card and gift.    I chose the generic one, but they have several specific to each grade.  Very cute!

Keeping it simple, I printed off the one I wanted it and then copied it onto card stock to make it into a cute card.   Several weeks ago, I grabbed an Old Navy/Gap gift card at Krogers for 30% off.  (Buy 2 $25 cards, get $15 off)   What a deal.   I was holding onto them for a special occasion and this is it.

A teacher’s spouse recently asked me to pray for them because they really needed some encouragement.  What a great opportunity to send a card, a gift and remind them that I am praying for them this school year.

1 Thessalonians 5:11(NIV) says: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”    As the school year is getting ready to start, ask God to show you how you can encourage a student, a teacher or a parent and how you might pray for them.

Please share your own back-to-school ideas for encouraging others.

 

 

Bible Study Catch-Up

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How many of us have unfinished Bible study workbooks tucked away at home?  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Those workbooks with a day week unfinished because life just got too busy.  Pages left undone because there weren’t enough hours in the day.   Sections that were never even read before the next Bible study group was starting. Time flies.

If you are like me, you may have a few of those laying around your house or stuffed in a closet or under the bed.

It is easy to forget about them as we move on to the next study, project or year.  But within each of those Bible studies are treasures that God would love for us to learn and take hold of.

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So go find them.  Dust them off.  Flip them open and find that one page, section or week and commit to finishing it.

You don’t have to go all the way back through the whole workbook.  Focus only on the unfinished portion.  If you need to reread a chapter or a few previous pages to gain the proper perspective, then please do.  But do not let the enemy talk you out of doing the pages that you previously left blank!

Here is a perfect example of a treasure I found on one of the pages I never finished.

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Take a close look at those last couple of sentences.  ”. . . he surely thought he had more responsibility than he could handle.”   Anybody else able to relate to that?!

Those are the gems I am talking about.    If I hadn’t pulled out this old study and flipped through to see what was incomplete, I would have missed that.        And I can promise you that this is a timely word in my life right now that God will shed light on.

The Word of God is living and active.  It is alive in the summer months, just as much as it is in every other season of our lives.   Dig in, finish those studies and find yourself refreshed, renewed and refocused for the days ahead. 

2 Peter 3:18   But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

 

I am linking up with Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Printable Coupons

Grab your printable Donation Shopping List and print your favorite coupons to go with it!   Print your coupons now so that when the items are on sale you can get an even better deal.

Here are some of my favorites:

$2.00 off Colgate Twin-pack  (currently on sale at Kroger)
$1.00 off Charmin 12-pack   (rare coupon!)
$.75 off Charmin Basic 12-pack  
$1.00 off 2 Rice Krispies cereal   (great for donating or making treats to give :) )

Think church nursery, pregnancy centers, domestic violence shelters & new moms:

$.75 off Johnson’s Baby product
$1.50 off Pampers Diapers  

$1.50 off Pampers Swaddlers Diapers
$.75 off Desitin

(Note the links in this post are my affiliate links.  See disclosure here.)