What I Learned in March

I’m joining Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky to share what I learned this March!

1. My life is beautiful and I am blessed, truly blessed!  Everyone should be able to make this statement who follows Jesus and yet we forget how beautiful our lives really are in Him.  Notice I didn’t  say my life is perfect or my life is stress free or my life is easy.  But what Jesus has been remedially teaching me over the course of this month is that His burden is easy and His yoke is light.  It finally hit me hard that the burden and yoke I’ve been carrying and identifying it as what Jesus wanted me to do never was His ever.  I had gotten it confused with what He requires of me and I truly believe many who serve in Jesus’ name are confused as well.

2. Life is shorter than you think.  I’m in my mid 40s and many times I feel as I’m hitting my stride. But none of us are guaranteed another day other than this moment, this day. This truth came into sharp focus at a beautiful celebration of life of a young 13 year old girl I attended last week. She truly lived every day of her life to the fullest and loved Jesus and loved others well. She ran her race and what a breathtaking race!

 

3. Kentucky basketball is the real deal.  I readily admit I bleed blue for UK basketball but this year’s team is amazing to watch in action. As UK player Aaron Harrison stated after that Notre Dame game,  “We just figure out ways to win.”  The team’s mental game is ironclad and a joy to watch!  Go Big Blue!!

4.  I’m learning calligraphy!  And you can too!  Click here for Scarlet & Gold’s free calligraphy class they’re offering in April!!

5. David Lee Roth is back with Van Halen and touring this year!  What?!!! Sorry folks, but Sammy Hagar could never take David Lee Roth’s rightful place as lead singer of Van Halen and now he’s back!  As an 80s teen this injustice has finally been righted and all is now well in the hair banging rock world!!

6. The Church is Everywhere and It’s Not a Building.  There are alive churches everywhere and simultaneously the Church is everywhere, every day through her people who show love, kindness, mercy, peace, patience and self-control.

What have you learned this month?  Please share in the comments below!

A Prayer for Holy Week

  

We are now journeying through Holy Week.   The joy and celebration of Palm Sunday is behind us, and the children’s cries of “Hosanna” have faded away. If we are to follow Jesus this week, He will lead us through experiences that require something from us…faith, perseverance, and a recognition and acknowledgement of our our sin and selfish human limitations.  

A Prayer For Holy Week

Our Lord Father,

We’ve raise our palm branches and praised Your Son

We’ve felt the rush of adrenalin of the crowd and spectacle and pure emotion of Jesus our King,

And yet, this week, the crowds dispersed, readying themselves for the next spectacle on Friday;

Father, keep our eyes open to our selfish behavior

Where we would rather enjoy a mob emotion of adoration and praise than seek the lonely Garden in the late hours to spend time in prayer with You;

Father, keep our hearts open to our self righteous behavior

When You prepare a table in the midst of our enemies and all we want to do is point fingers at someone else, not understanding we too are enemies of Your Son;

Father, keep our spirits aware of our self-preservation instinct 

When we betray our Savior because we do not have faith that You are greater than any circumstance on Earth;

Father, keep our feet closely behind Jesus’ feet,

All the way to the foot of the cross

 And on Easter Morning, Holy Spirit

Help our feet carry the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection! 

Amen. 

For Your Weekend-Go Big Blue!

Friends, it’s finally the weekend and in case you missed the schooling UK gave to poor ol’ West Virginia last night, it was brutal. Kentucky won 78-39.  FYI, there’s no mercy rule in college basketball, but maybe after last night, there should be!   It was so bad, even if Kentucky hadn’t score any points in the second half, Kentucky would still have won by 5 points.  Seriously.

Moving on to the rest of the weekend, here are some fantastic non-March Madness links!

1.Jen Hatmaker’s Rant Against Precious Parenting is everything.  I recently became a  Jen Hatmaker fan when I heard her speak at If Gathering.  She’s the real deal and I’ve been privileged to become one of her #4500 who received an advanced 4 chapters of her upcoming book, For The Love, coming out in August. If you enjoyed her rant, preorder this book immediately. You can order it right here.

2.  Emily Freeman’s latest post will prepare you for Holy Week.

3. It’s time to pick some daffodils.  Now.  Don’t wait. Enjoy their beauty marking the first days of Spring!

What has gotten you through this week and what are you looking forward to?  Let me know in the comments below!!

 

Words for Wednesday-Savor by Shauna Niequist

If you haven’t read any of Shauna Niequist’s books, you should; especially, if you appreciate someone who is real about faith and their love of food!

Savor  is Shauna’s newest book and her second book that combines writing and recipes (a winning combination!).  Her previous book, Bread and Wine was the first to combine delicious words for your soul as well as for your stomach!

Savor is a 365 day devotional that gets real in that short one page format. Today’s quote comes from one of Shauna’s devotions from last week.

…there is something past the heartbreak, just past despair; and that thing is beautiful.

And I offer her words for you today.  If you are going through horrible pain, heartbreak and despair…the journey is rough but one day you will look back and see the beautiful; how God can redeem that injury, that injustice, that trauma that happened to you in your life, if you give it to Him.

I’m old enough to have weathered several injuries, heartaches and injustices in my life and I can testify to all that God has made every one of those injuries beautiful and though it took longer than I desired, He has done it every time and will do it for you as well.

Rest easy, talk to your Father and trust that in time beauty will emerge!

You can order Shauna’s newest book here.

 

 

Tuesday Tip-DIY Table Water Bottle

  

Happy Tuesday friends!  Today, I’m sharing a quick way to transform a pretty shaped glass soda bottle into a table water bottle. 

We were lucky enough to travel to Paris and London last Spring {sigh} and fell in love with both cities and their local custom of providing a table water bottle during meals.  When we came back, we continued this European custom of having a water bottle at our table during our meals. We’re fancy like that!

On my last trek to Trader Joe’s {sadly it was last fall as we do not have one here locally} I picked up their pretty pink fizzy French Berry Lemonade to try.  By the way, it’s delicious!  After we gulped it down…I couldn’t bear to toss the pretty bottle away. 

The bottle’s been hanging around way too long, until it hit me that it would be perfect for a second table water bottle and free!  Only one thing was stopping me….Goo Be Gone.  Goo Be Gone is somewhat effective in removing stubborn labels, but it creates such a oily mess residue and I’m not fond of the strong smell.  

So when I read of a possible alternative solution to remove sticky labels, I seized the day!

  

The suggested remedy was to use rubbing alcohol. Great…cheap and no awful smell or residual grease!  I read that it worked like a charm. But, as you can see…no dice. Ugh…what to do?  

I did what anyone would do… I googled “how to remove sticky labels from glass jars”. And, this is the solution I found:

  

I had steel wool pads on hand; so, quick as a wink, I whipped one of those bad boys out and started scrubbing on the white gluey mess. 

And…here’s the result:

 

Yay!  Success!  Thank you robdbeal who posted on “Thrifty Fun”. Your tip made my day!

And, in case you don’t this yet about me, I’m all about a label maker and washi tape. So, I couldn’t leave this glass bottle squeaky clean!  But you sure can!

 

 

Here’s the final up cycled water bottle:

 

 

And in its natural habitat just chillin’ beside the expensive table water bottle until our next meal!

  

In conclusion,  Rubbing Alcohol-0, Steel Cleaning Pad-1!  But the big winner today was my wallet $$$!

Have you up cycled an old container to make something beautiful and useful for your home lately?  Share in the comments!

A Song of Hope for Souls of Busted Brackets

 

Last Sunday’s March Madness selection was so full of promise as we strategically filled out our brackets for Tuesday’s early tournament start, believing this year, we had filled out a perfect busting proof bracket. 

Oh, you dear unfortunate souls!  By yesterday, the gnashing of teeth and tearing of fan signs could be heard throughout the land. And, because basketball fans need encouragement and comfort this stark Monday of broken dreams, I offer you a song.

See, I saw two performances of “Into the Woods” over the weekend, and one song of comfort stood out for me personally in this bracket despair and I knew I must share it with the broken-hearted bracket holders. With half apologizes to Stephen Sondheim, I give you the remix version of “No One is Alone”.

Nate Silver cannot guide you

Now you’re on your own

Only busted brackets beside you

Still, you’re not alone

No one is alone, Purdue

No one is alone.

Sometimes SEC teams leave you

Halfway through the dance

Others may deceive you (Villanova)

You decide what’s good. 

You decide alone, UCLA

But no one is alone. 

Fans make mistakes. 

Kansans. 

Iowans. 

Fans make mistakes, SMU

Holding to their own. 

Thinking their own will win it

Thinking they’re alone.

Honor their mistakes (Butler)

Everybody makes (Providence)

Fight for their mistakes

One another’s terrible bracket mistakes. 

Shockers can be right, Wolfpacks can be good

You decide what’s right for you decide what’s good

Just remember 

Someone is on your side UK Wildcats

Someone else is not, Duke Devils

While we’re seeing our side

Maybe we forgot. The Devils are not alone (Rob Lowe)

No one is alone. 

Hard to hear the buzzer now

Just don’t let it go

Things will come out right now, Georgetown

We can make it so. 

Someone is on your side, Indiana

No one is alone. 

I hope these lyrics give the much needed comfort for all. Stay strong, continue on this week and pick a new team to cheer on as you go into the woods!

  

 

For Your Weekend-Officially March Madness!

 

Y’all we’ve made it to another weekend!  And, this Kentucky gal is giddy with March Madness officially in full swing!  How many of your brackets are already busted to smithereens?  Curse you, SMU, LSU and Baylor!  Thankfully, my Wildcats are still holding strong!  Anyone notice that I have the ultimate rematch between UK and Duke?

You can keep tabs on realtime game results Here

Spring is {almost} here….officially arriving at 5:45 PM CDT!  Keep strong my East Coast friends…the snow will melt!!

And…finally, an honest post about paint colors from The Nester.

Go forth and pick some daffodils this weekend!

Who are you cheering for, this weekend?!

Words for Wednesday-Margaret Thatcher, A Majority of One

Did you know March is Women’s History Month?! I could barely contain my excitement as all my passions collide for today’s post…history, strong women and amazing quotes!  Yes, my geeky history major/government minor/quote loving self is doing the happy dance right now!! I’m so excited to feature one of the strongest political leaders of the 20th Century…Margaret Thatcher!

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/93372366@N02/8652792454/”>FotoFight.me</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/help/general/#147″>cc</a>

 

Doesn’t she look fab in her Prime Minister hardhat with pearls?!

Margaret Thatcher served as Great Britian’s Prime Minister for 11 years from 1979-1990.   Nicknamed “Iron Lady” Thatcher was no joke. Besides being a consummate political leader, she also happened to be a research chemist and barrister before either of those professions were female friendly.  She served as Prime Minister longer than any other PM in the 20th Century.

Along with her weekly meetings with QEII (Queen Elizabeth II) she was PM through 3 US presidents  (Carter, Reagan, Bush), getting along famously with President Reagan.

If it’s me against 48, I feel sorry for the 48.” Margaret Thatcher (when out-voted at a world conference)

This quote pretty much sums up Margaret Thatcher’s suffer no fools approach. Her approach to life is so refreshing to me, considering how much she accomplished in an era where women truly did not have anyone goading them to have a career outside the home.

So, if someone in your life is opposing you and your goals…whether personal or business, I hope the Iron Lady’s quote encourages you to keep your chin up, ignore the haters and walk forward toward your goal and your conviction that you are doing the right thing!  Rest easy that even if you find yourself in a majority of one…you are in good company!

What words have gotten you through a tough spot?  Share in the comments below. 

Tuesday Tip-Goof Proof Your Vitamin Routine!

Good Tuesday!, everyone!  Each Tuesday I’ll post a quick tip that has made my life easier.  Today, it’s all about creating a routine to take my daily vitamin and allergy medicine.

Maybe you have the same problem as I.  You jump out of bed in the morning, rush to make breakfast for everyone and make sure they leave the house with their book bag/homework/ lunch and then get yourself ready as well and then, BAM!  Midway through a work meeting you remember you forgot to take your allergy medicine and/or vitamin.

That scenario happened so frequently for me you’d think I’d remember how many times I forgot , right?  Obviously, my routine of allergy med/vitamins at the breakfast table wasn’t cutting it. Too much going on in a short amount of time.

My solution?  Change the location of my pills from the kitchen island to my bathroom ….the last bastion of privacy in a busy household.

Because the older I get the less I actually remember taking a pill, I picked up a days of the week pill box that would fit in my top right bathroom drawer.

Every Sunday I load the box with vitamins and now with Spring’s arrival, my allergy medicine.  It fits perfectly in my drawer!

 

And, with one quick glance, I can see if I’ve taken the pills yet or even forgot the day before!  The best part…it’s ready to go when I pack for trips!

This new routine has been a game  changer for me as I’ve been using it for almost 2 years now!

What basic goof-proof routines do you use to keep you on track ?  Share in the comments below!

American Red Cross-Give Blood!

American Red Cross-Give Blood!

Good Monday to everyone!  I hope there are signs of Spring arriving where you live, because thankfully after our long Winter, I’m seeing and feeling Spring in southern Kentucky!  

Due to the extreme Winter and snow..many American Red Cross blood drives were forced to cancel across the United States, now resulting in an urgent plea for blood donors to give right now.   If you already donate your blood, then that’s great!  If you’ve never donated or haven’t in a while, please continue reading!

I had gotten out of the routine of donating when I moved states and then found I was temporarily deferred from donating based on my outside the U.S. travels as I had gone to malaria prone countries. That was a bummer, and being temporarily deferred can keep you from donating from 3 months to a year. 

Deferral happened to me a few times but thankfully I persisted and made my blood donation appointment and I’m now happy to report that I’ve been able to successfully donate twice in a row!!

To find a local blood drive in your area, you simply can click here to the American Red Cross website, and type in your zip code. That’s it!  Or, the Red Cross has made it even easier with their new app!  Simply search for “blood donor Red Cross” in the App Store.  It looks like this:

I just downloaded the app and I can schedule my next donation and track my donation history!

If you’ve never donated, the thought of giving blood can be scary; especially, if you’re nervous around needles.  No one really likes needles, right?!  So, let me walk you through my experience so it might lessen any anxiety. 

When you arrive at the donation center, you’ll register and be given screening information to read. Each time I have donated, the information has been slightly different, so make sure to read it! A Red Cross worker will call your name and you’ll go to a private cubicle where the worker will take your blood pressure, temperature, and check your iron. (A small finger prick…I know, but you can handle it!).

 You’ll be asked a series of screening questions (health/medical conditions/ sexual history/travel/medications) via computer where the worker isn’t present.  Once the screening is completed and you’re determined eligible, it’s time to donate!

Donation is simple. I reclined on a cot and the worker put in the needle and I would squeeze a ball/squeezy thing with the hand of the arm I’m donating to help pump my blood. The Red Cross collects about a pint of blood plus several small test tubes. All in all, the donation itself maybe took 20 minutes. 

The workers are first rate. The morning I donated, our area had just received another wave of ice and snow.  My worker went beyond her job description. Although the roads were icy and only one interstate lane open, she got to work anyway knowing blood donations were desperately needed that day!  And, she did an awesome job putting in the needle!!

I’ve never felt lightheaded or dizzy, but the workers make sure you’re okay before you get up from the chair to get your snack and water/juice/soft drink. 

If you need any more reasons to motivate you to donate, consider the following:

  • 1 pint can save up to 3 lives
  • Every 2 seconds someone needs a blood transfusion
  • Blood cannot be manufactured, it can only come from volunteer donors
  • Donors can give blood every 56 days
  • Less than 38% of those eligible to donate actually donate blood

I hope you click on the link and sign up today! Happy Monday!!