Saturday, December 31, 2016

After A While...

So this the beginning of the end, at least for now. I'm making some big cuts in 2017.

Many of you know the story of how I started blogging. If you don't click here

I have always had a desire to reach other woman and make their journey just a little easier, a little brighter. But first and foremost I am a mom before I am a blogger. One of the problems I have with my blog is that it is mainly tied to Facebook and well Facebook takes up too much of my time. I do have a few groups that I will continue to reach out to through it but I am cutting out most of my FB time. 

Also I am cutting my time on my phone. I have decided, as my goal for 2017, to look up. My kids need me 24/7 and I really hate that too many times I have to say. "Hold on honey, let me send this message." So, I will only be using my phone during their quiet time/nap time and at nights. I don't want my kids to grow up with a picture of their mom looking down at her phone all the time. 

Lastly, I just haven't really had time to write. I will continue to guest blog on Living On PB & J but for now I feel like it's time to take a break. 
After a while, Joy 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas

I hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas. 

This season is a time to celebrate HIM. Between Jesus' sacrificial birth, God's love for us and the angels crying out "PEACE ON EARTH," there is nothing more beautiful than Christmas.

Merry Christmas, sweet friends. God bless each of you. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Job or My Ministry

"No Christian should have a job!"

These words caught me off guard.

Wait, what about this:  "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:" - Proverbs 6:6

Of course, this is not what the speaker was referring to.

He continued....

"No Christian should have a job, they should have a ministry."

This thought really sparked my interest.

How many times have you heard of a young person saying "when I grow up, I want to be..."

What about, "I think that best way I could minister to people is through 'this career'."

The latter statement is what this missionary was encouraging us to think and do.

He encouraged us to not get jobs to give us ___________, but to have a job that provides our needs so that we can further the gospel.

What job will give you the most opportunity to witness? 

What job will provide for my needs without demanding all of my time, time that can be used to further the gospel? 

What gifts do I have that I can use to further the gospel? 

What job will help me use these gifts? 

When we have extra time and money, will we use it to further the gospel?

These are not accusations, they are just thoughts to help reassess life.

Let me ask you a convicting thought....

  Do you have a job or a ministry? - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, October 31, 2016

When You Can Do Nothing...

"I'm scared"

"I think I'm going to die..."

"My husband is at work and my baby and I are alone at home."

"The storm is supposed to be the largest ever to hit..."

These were all messages and texts I was receiving. Hurricane Matthew was getting stronger and stronger. The forecast was not looking good AT ALL.  I prayed and pleaded with God to spare my friends and my Florida town but the storm just kept coming. 

I called my father-in-law and asked him to go west but he was determined not to leave his 80-year-old brother behind.  I called other friends and urged them to get to a safe place, but some of them flat out refused.  My heart was breaking and I felt frozen with nothing I could offer.  My husband came home from work to find a wife with swollen eyes; when he saw me, he just put his arms around me and I wept uncontrollably.  He kept asking what was wrong, but I couldn't speak. 

When I finally settled down, he asked if someone had died and I replied "Not yet."  I was so emotional and so not trusting the Rock on Whom I could stand. 

Have you ever been in that place?  Have you been so overwhelmed by "the storm" that you shook in fear and cried in agony.  Maybe your storm is a broken relationship or a health diagnosis. 

Well, my storm just kept on coming; when it came near to my Florida town, it was like the Lord put His hand between the storm and the shore and protected the land. 

Now, I know that this isn't what happens in every storm.  Many times, He allows the storm to hit ...and hit hard.  The end of the story is not always like this one. 

God knew.  He knew the whole time, what was going to happen. ...He knew that my little town of friends was going to be OK. 

I walked away thinking.  "WOW, just wow. I spent a week of my life WASTED. I fretted and cried and worried and wasted that week.  Instead I could have prayed and left the burden with God.  I could have trusted in Him for the outcome. but instead I wasted that week."

Even if the outcome was going to be bad, God knew and God could/would have walked me through that circumstance. 

This is a very personal story and I thought about not sharing but it's been a lesson to me and I hope this encourages you to not do as I did. 

Sweet lady, your storm may have a very different face, but the One Who created the weather can control your storm.  He will walk you through it, He will hold you when you need to be held.  He will be there.  So, when you can do nothing else, pray.  Leave your burden at His feet and REST in the fact that He has got it.  It is under control. - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, October 28, 2016

Please Look Up

A few months ago, I found a Groupon for an indoor trampoline park.  It looked like it would be fun and the price was just right.  I bought it.  Because of the transition we've been experiencing, it's been sitting in my account for a little bit.  Finally, we had an afternoon free and we picked up A's cousin and headed to the park. 

Inside the building there were 5 areas where the kids could jump.  Right in the front middle area, there were couches and chairs spread out, with moms and dads sitting in them. 

I started getting the kids ready to jump, when Jer made a comment that made me raise my head.  I looked up and saw what he was talking about. 

Nearly every parent in that room was looking down at their phones.  I wish I could have taken a picture. This wasn't one or two parents, we are talking more like 15-20.

There were lots of kids jumping and having fun, but the parents didn't see it.  In fact, they were missing out on the opportunity to play and enjoy the time they had with their kids. The parents could have gotten in and jumped with their kids but instead their heads were all down. 

Well, we decided to have fun.  Jer showed the kids tricks. The kids copied Daddy and laughed with Mommy.  We played dodge ball in the dodge-ball pit.  We learned how to jump off the walls and flip into the big blown- up pillow.  It was a really fun night that I will remember for a long time. 

Now before, I get any "hate" mail, let me say, I do understand, Moms.  I do know that sometimes you have work to do.  I do understand that sometimes it's better to take the kids to a park while you work instead of the kids watching TV at home.  I get it.  I understand that sometimes you are so exhausted after a long day of work and you just want your kids to have fun while you relax.  I get that.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do...

But, I also see lots of kids today are given toys instead of time. 

I also see lots of kids who are being taught to look down instead of out. 

I see parents who work all year long to take a 1-week "once-in-a-lifetime" vacation.  It doesn't makes sense.  

There are seasons in life. I totally get it. If you have to work so that there is food on your table tonight, keep on mom. You are are doing well. 

BUT, there are cuts that WE CAN make.

There is so much more than that game on your phone or your social media friends. There is more...

There is a child that is bouncing up and down on that trampoline with a huge smile and a heart that wants to be seen.  

There is a child who fell down and needs to be picked up and kissed.  

There is a child being bullied by some kids. 

Did you you see them?

Those pictures on Instagram are not always real life. Those DIY projects on Pinterest can fail you.  That game doesn't need to be won.  That phone call can wait. That comment doesn't need to be shared at this moment. 



up and out, 

the real world awaits. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, October 24, 2016

Global Soccer Mom

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I had the privileged of obtaining some extra cuddle time with my daughter during a recent illness. As she lay sleeping next to me, I read GLOBAL SOCCER MOM.

The story is about a mom, Shayne Moore, who was an advocate with ONE, a program fighting to end extreme poverty and fight HIV+/AIDS on a global level. As with any book you read, you have to chew the meat and spit out the bones. However, the overall message of the book was that we moms can do something and should do "something".

One of the thoughts that saddened my heart was from a conversation she related. She was commenting to a friend that the church was not going to be the one to be able to bring in billions of dollars to overturn poverty. It was going to take the globe to overturn it.  I thought sadly about this statement and wondered why we haven't at least made a bigger dent.  Why do we need welfare?  Why do we need the government stepping in?  Why haven't we done more?

So what can we do?

As I mentioned in previous blogs, I believe our family is our highest calling, so we must first make sure that that is in order.  

Also, I mentioned about being intentional. We can also be intentional when it comes to ministry. This is where that comes into play.

Take your kids on a missions trip.  Yep, I said it and Yes I have done it.  It's hard on the family but it's important that your children see what is going on in the world.  I TRULY believe that EVERY child needs to go on at least 1 missions trip before they leave the home.  One of my HUGEST blessings in life, is that I have had the opportunity to go to Mexico, The Bahamas, South Africa, Zambia, Ireland and Great Britain on missions trips. 

Here is an idea: Instead of saving up for a cruise or a Disney vacation, save up for a missions trip.  The latter will be much more fulfilling.

Have your family serve in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, volunteer at a Ronald McDonald House near you.  Take meals to shut-ins and teach your children to be a blessing to the elderly.

Give your children a world-view.  When they are old enough to handle the information, give them statics.  Show them sin and the result of sin.  Help them to learn to love people no matter their sinful lifestyle.

We have a family in our church who serves in a poverty stricken area every summer. The mom is a nurse and she takes her two teenage children while the dad stays home with the other children. They are using their gifts for the Lord. This is intentional

Pack a shoebox for Samaritans Purse.  

Sponsor a child, foster or even adopt a child.

There are so many things that we can do to help change the world.  If we ALL did a LITTLE, we could make a HUGE dent.

We don't have to everything, just do something.  If we would all get on board and be the hands and feet of Jesus, the world would be a different and better place. -Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, October 21, 2016

Intentional Mommy

We LOVE books and there are TONS of books. We may (or may not) have too many.  :-)  but, seriously, I love that my kids love books.

So, let's just say that we read A LOT.  In fact, just this summer we were trying to hit the library goal for the year of 1000 books and, instead, hit 400 in about six weeks.

...but while reading, it hit me that it wasn't about quantity, but quality.

This was about the time that I started investing in Max Lucado's children's books as well as some other Bible or Christian-character-building books.

I want my kids to enjoy reading.  I want them to enjoy silly books, BUT what I want even more is for them to be fed spiritually.

It hit me that I needed to be intentional.

What they read, what they hear, what they do, I have to be an intentionally gospel-minded mom.

This means that my parenting comes from a foundation of the Bible.

For instance, when I discipline, I try to use scripture so they hear God and not me.

When we read, I want them to have seeds planted in them to love, to share, to have compassion and, mostly, to know the One Who loves them and died for them.

When we sing, I want them to hear about God and to hear of His love for them. I want them to worship Him and to intimately know Him.

When we do ministry together, I want them to see people the way God does.  I want to teach them to love and give.

As an intentional mommy, I do lots of giggles, tickling and silly songs. We do kisses, hugs and cuddles but DO LOVE.  We do "crazy" and we do "silly" but we also do "intentional".

Mommies, we can get distracted by all the books, the silly songs and the movies out there (and let me say there is a time and place for some of them). But we need to make sure that we are intentional about our children hearing the most important truths in life.

Proverbs 22:6 says that we are to train up our child.  Training takes work.  It takes intentional focus.

How are we being intentional today? - Rejoicing in the Present