Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Home and Free To Be Me

Warmth in the Winter
Gentle Breeze in the the heat
Smiles through the pain
Encouragement after defeat

Relaxing, comfy and being myself
Fun, silly and serious when necessary
With no worries of judgement
And reinforcement during the scary

Late Night or early Morning
Enjoying coffee, diet coke or unsweetened tea
Messy hair, no makeup
I am free to be completely me!

I love the quietness of the early mornings. I love how still everything is.

I love the noise of the late nights when both children are home, Todd has the TV entirely too loud and Steve is asleep, snoring so loud the kids shut the door to tone it down a little.

I love that we are all so different, yet we all feel free to just simply be ourselves.

Talk about freedom! Priceless.

Are you making your home a place that is full of individual expressions? Is everyone completely free to be themselves?

What are some of your weekend routines? Are you up early on Saturday mornings? Do you hang out in your jammies, relaxing with coffee and slowly starting the day? Do you get right up and at ‘em?

{{HUGS}} yall

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Son, Always Remember

As my son, Todd, starts his third year of Bible College I want him to remember a few things. I know he’ll have a lot of questions, hard times, joyful times and everything in between. I jotted these down on the back of a card’s envelope as I was eating dinner one evening beside Lake Hamilton in Arkansas.

I’m proud of you Todd. I love you dearly.

Son, here are a few things you should remember:

  1. You were built to serve the Lord SUCCESSFULLY
  2. The better your relationship with God, the better all others will be
  3. Protect it! (The relationship) Hear warnings that might threaten your relationship with God.
  4. Ask yourself “What am I built to do?” Categorize it and then look for God to lead
  5. Don’t just look for the writing on the wall, listen for the whisper
  6. Know storms will be coming…..remember you’ll be accompanied by the Master of the Wind
  7. Now that you are ready to fully surrender, satan will say “why” or “you can’t.” IGNORE him! He is a LIAR.
  8. Don’t forget where you’ve been! It has and will prepare you for where you are going and who you’ll help
  9. Look through the eyes of compassion as you make your way through the day
  10. No matter what….I LOVE Y O U!

US in the middle of a CRAZY day of "little things" that went wrong

What would you add here?

What words of wisdom would you give my 20 year old…or any 20 year old?

Do you remember these things as you make your way through the day?

More than Supplies

Back to School 2011 was a huge success thanks to YOU! In addition to JOY and HOPE -- There were 310 backpacks full of supplies given out this year. We were excited to be able to place the following items in the bags.

  • 3 spiral notebooks
  • A pack of 10 ink pens
  • A pack of 10 pencils
  • A pack of loose leaf paper
  • A box of 24 crayons
  • A box of 12 colored pencils
  • 2 pocket folder portfolios
  • A bottle of glue
  • A glue stick
  • A pack of Lance Peanut butter Crackers
  • A pack of gummy snacks
  • A pack of Reese Cups

Big Smiles

We invited 300 people to the event. We went and picked up many of the families that didn’t have a way to get there. Hotdogs were prepared and served along with chips, drinks and cake for desert. They enjoyed a free meal and then were invited to receive their backpacks filled with some of the necessary supplies for a successful school year.

I loved hearing the oooo’s and aaahhhh’s of the kids as they looked at the rows of backpacks that would soon be given to them. The workers and I completely enjoyed the shrieks of happiness as the kids opened their backpacks and pulled out the Reese Cups. This thrilled my heart to NO end!

I was thrilled to see several of the kids from my own neighborhood there. One of the parents told me thank you and expressed how helpful this was as the expenses of going back to school were growing each year. Even though he works all the time, it’s still hard to make ends meet.

One lady was telling my sister that she couldn’t believe she forgot to invite her neighbor and wondered if there would be enough left so that she could take some to her children. As they were having this conversation, the neighbor actually walked through the door and I hugged her, not knowing what was being discussed by the others. I had “met” the neighbor as I was shopping the night before. I had a buggy full of hotdogs, buns, chips and other things and had invited her to come, bring her kids and enjoy a meal & a free bag. This was very cool that the need was met in this fashion.

Thank YOU for the gift of giving!

Many people expressed an interest in doing this with their church & members. I told them that I’d be happy to come and help them with organizing this. I have lots of ideas and when you have an entire church behind you, the possibilities are limitless. I can already see great things for the kids in those churches for next year!

If you are in NC, SC, VA, GA or TN – I can easily make a day trip out to help with ideas for this. Fundraising, organizing and other things can be discussed. We can also discuss other ways of encouraging your group to do more, remove their focus off of what you can’t do, don’t have and move the focus on the amazing opportunities that await you. I can help with finding joy!

I want to say a huge thank you to those who supported this event financially. Without your gifts, we would not have been able to give out bags of hope and joy. You are a unique kind of hero! One that steps up and helps, doing what you can with what you have. I’m honored that you’d choose to help Spreading Joy give back in such a huge way.

Thank you to those that wanted to give financially but couldn’t so you chose to use your voice, tell others and helped in that way! Never discount the power of your voice!

I also want to say a huge thank you to those that came and helped with packing the bags. This was done in a matter of a few hours with the assembly process we had. Amazing!

Thank you to those that came and worked on the actual day we handed out the bags and meals. There is no way this could have been done without you.

Thank you to my sister in law who made the cool shirts for us to wear. I love them.

Thank you to Pastor Taylor and the members of New Grace for allowing me to use your wonderful facility and to those who volunteer your time to make this happen. I’m honored that you’d help and support our back to school efforts.

A special thanks to my Mom, Stepdad, Angie & her family and my bestest friend and her husband for always supporting, helping, praying and assisting in any way possible. I love you and you make my world a much brighter place!


And a HUGE thank you to my precious family -- Steve, Todd and Megan. For allowing me to ignore household duties, for running errands for me, making deposits, picking up things, unloading 2 carloads of supplies in the blazing heat, loading them BACK a few days later and tolerating me getting up at 4:30am (I’m not the quietest in the world) to be at walmart by 5am to do shopping among the many other things, including but not limited to endless excited chattering, tired whinyness and the bratty little girl that poked her head out every once in a while -- that you endured for back to school. Without your love and support I wouldn’t be spreading much joy at all. I’m thankful for such love from you guys.

I’m honored to be used to help others, encourage others and to able to be Spreading JOY and giving back. I know that there is no way it can be done alone and am thankful for your heart for spreading joy!

Thank YOU!!

If you were involved in this event, I invite you to leave your comments below. If you received a backpack and want to say thank you, I hope that you will. Thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts below!

{{{HUGS}}} yall

photos: courtesy of mary whisonant

I received this thank you in my email box and wanted to share it with YOU:








Monday, August 29, 2011

Not A Fan

by Pastor Kyle Idleman

The question is asked – “Are you a follower of Jesus?” Many Christians automatically say yes and then dismiss much of what is to come from that point because they think that they truly are followers when in reality, we simply want to commune with Jesus on “our terms.”

This book isn’t asking if we follow the rules, it is asking if we “follow” Christ.

Right away I loved the style this book is written in. It flows easily and with Idleman’s touch of humor sprinkled through it via some of the personal foot notes, I found myself reading this book in just a few sittings. Idleman warns us that this book isn’t a book about following Jesus on a “comfortable and reassuring path” and he delivers just that.

Pointing out that we have made a decision to believe in Jesus but not committing to follow Jesus, he reminds us that we are nothing more than fans of Jesus. Fans want to be close enough to see the object of their admiration, touch and talk to the one they admire and get the benefits that may come from being in their company but not so close that it requires anything from them.

“Being a secret admirer of Jesus cost him [Nicodemus] nothing, but becoming a follower came with a high price tag. It always does. “

To completely follow Christ can be demanding, difficult and anything but comfortable, but true followers of Christ are willing to risk it. Fans are not. Each chapter has stories of people that are no longer fans, but completely committed followers.

Look at the details of your relationship with Jesus. Are you pursuing Him passionately or are you just there to be noticed in the crowd? Are you willing to take up your cross daily and die to self? Or are you waving from the bleachers trying to be noticed? Are you close enough that you can hear the whisper of your dear Savior?

Are you a fan? Admiring Jesus but not wanting Him to disrupt your daily life? Do you simply want Him to be there when you call, but are never willing to answer when He calls on you? Are you one of the many in the large crowd that wants to be where HE is, to see what He will do next, give next and say next?


Are you a completely committed follower? Willing to go where He leads, do what He says – even if there is nothing “free” in it for you?

Do you want to deepen your commitment to the Lord?

Do you want to be more than a fan?

This book is designed to help you become more than just a fan. It is filled with practical questions to get your heart moving closer to being committed to a daily walk with our Lord.

My name is Marie Wikle, and I am not a fan.

Favorite quotes:

  • The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.

  • Being filled with the power of the Spirit begins with an honest acknowledgment of our own weakness. The truth is that most of us go to great lengths to disguise our weakness.

  • The cross gets covered up. The sermons are often about salvation, about never about surrender. Often about forgiveness, but never about repentance. Often about living but never about dying.

  • The song I was singing with my life wasn’t “I surrender all” it was “I surrender some.” I didn’t surrender my pride and I was often motivated more out of a desire to impress people than to glorify god. I didn’t surrender my plans; God was welcome to come along, but I did what I wanted to do.

Thank you to Zondervan for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest opinion. I’m not required to give a positive review.

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