Pure Hearted

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Kindles are for fiction only. I can’t read non-fiction online. I need to underline, jot down questions, write notes and be able to easily go back and find a page that really spoke to me. I know there are tools to highlight and bookmark in Kindle but I need a neon green highlighter and a dog-eared edge of a page to make my reading truly sink in.

Recently, I had the privilege of reading Kathy Collard Miller’s newest book, Pure Hearted. I started reading on kindle then bought the paperback via Amazon prime. I am glad I did because it allowed me to write down answers to the reflection and discussion questions at the end of each chapter. It helped me dig deeper and apply what I had just read.

What you will pull out of the book may be different from what spoke to me. That’s the beauty of reading – we interpret it based on our own lives and experiences and situations we are facing at the moment. To me, the main focus of this book was to examine my motives in my life. Why do I do what I do? For fame? For attention? To fill a hole in my life? To be liked by others? Kathy challenges the reader to strive to pursue things in life in order to give God glory. A new mind shift for me for sure. Honestly, I didn’t understand what it meant to give God glory either.

Kathy quotes James M. Hamilton Jr. who says “I would suggest that the glory of God is the weight of the majestic goodness of who God is, and the resulting name, or reputation, that he gains from his revelation of himself as Creator, Sustainer, Judge, and Redeemer, perfect in justice and mercy, loving-kindness and truth.”

Kathy says “I believe the primary way we can give God glory is to purify more and more of our heart’s motives.” How do I purify my motives when they are so mixed up with unmet needs and past wounds? By living in the Spirit. Allowing God to speak to us and nudge us through His Spirit that lives in the heart of every believer of Jesus Christ. So when he prompts you to rethink something you are about to do, rethink it. When you sense a roadblock, pause before you try to step over it. Allow God to direct more of what you do and why you are doing it.

The closer I am to God, the more glory He gets from my every day life. He’s a part of it and He’s seen by others in what I do. I love this. My focus, after reading this book, has been to listen to the nudge of the Holy Spirit. I also am committing my thought life to giving God glory. It’s not a public thing but my actions flow out of my thought life so He will be seen in it.

I encourage you to consider getting this book. It will challenge you while inspiring you to deepen your walk with Christ.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

You can order this book on amazon.

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Wide open day

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I am home today with a sick kid. Poor guy. Thankfully it’s not as bad as what is out there. He just has a low-grade fever, sore throat, coughing, and is exhausted. Hoping to catch it early, rest up and not let it escalate. So, I cancelled my day to stay home and now I get to refill it. A blank slate is before me. What should I fill it with?

  • Checking on my son every 30-45 minutes – number one priority
  • Clean the house – nope – too mundane
  • Write my blog – check
  • Work on my presentation for a mini-retreat at the end of January – definitely
  • Catch up on TV – naw –  I can do that when I have insomnia
  • Take the dog on a walk – I don’t wanna leave my kid home alone plus, I’m in my indoor lazy clothes – sweats and a snoopy t-shirt.

These are just a few of the many options before me. How often do we get a day with options? Rarely. Why not? We over schedule, over book and over commit. This “free” day is a nice wake-up call. I need more of these in my schedule. Days where I truly let the spirit lead. I can say “God, what do you have for me today?” and I can listen for His answer. I know what task I’ll tackle after this blog posts, but how nice that I had time to reflect and ponder that decision. I don’t wish a sick kid on anyone. I do wish an open day at home with no agenda. (Now if this was a free day where I could actually leave the house, I have one action item – the beach – rain or shine – it refuels me.)

Look at your schedule this week. Do you have a few hours of nothing scheduled that you can protect? Can you move some things around to get a few hours of downtime? Time at home with no agenda or responsibilities pulling at you is heavenly. We always have things we “should” do when we are home – cleaning, dishes, laundry, organizing, etc. What if you took those out of the running and had a few hours to just be at home? Indulge yourself in a few moments of something you love to do in your home. You will feel refreshed afterwards. I hope you will take a few moments to scan your calendar and make this happen. You won’t regret it.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Rainy Day

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I love the rain. I love that the first day back at school is a rainy day. It is a purely selfish thing too. School traffic crawled along at 5 mph and doing my weekly shopping soaked my Wonder bread. However, now I’m home to blog, do laundry, catch up after 2 weeks of little “me” time and I’m so happy. I see rain drops from my office windows. I see birds on the grass looking for a snack between drizzles. I’m sipping my Earl Grey. Life is grand.

Why do I love the rain? The clothing is just darling. I love wearing my polka dot raincoat, my multicolored rain boots and putting up my umbrella. I love the sound of rain. I will stand under our skylight in the house to hear it pound on the fiberglass. Sometimes I stand in the garage to hear the echo off the wood beams. I even open my slider in my car to hear the rain on the sunroof (I keep that part closed though). I love the fresh smell afterwards. The dog doesn’t smell so great but the outside in general smells unique. I love splashing in puddles. Yep. I still do it. That’s why I have rain boots. Seriously, in Southern California, owning rain boots gives you maybe a dozen days of wear a year. When I do, I step in every puddle. I’ve been known to stomp a bit too.

The main reason I love rain is the refreshing it gives the earth. Grass that was withered perks up. Plants I forgot to water, reemerge in their glory. Dirty sidewalks are now clean.  I usually cozy up on rainy days so I get a refreshing too. A time to slow myself and my mind down to a snail’s pace. A time to reflect on God’s goodness, His plans and His unending love for me.

Psalm 147:7-8 NIV says:

 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.

Sing praise to Him today. If you don’t make music yourself, listen to music about God. Thank Him for the clouds and the needed rain. Praise Him after the rain for the green hills you see. After the fires, our hills need new growth. (Pray for no mudslides – a downside of rain for fire areas.) I need new growth. Two weeks with my kids brought me joy and delight and the opportunity to referee a few arguments. However, it afforded me little alone time. Today is my day to soak it all in. To regroup, set a new year’s resolution (it’s only the 8th) and set my eyes on the path God has laid out for me. How grateful I am that I got a rainy day to refresh.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Happy New Year

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I am sure most of you would expect a new year resolution blog today. Been there done that. Or maybe I’d write a contemplative review of 2017 where I share lessons learned. Not doing that either. I actually want to write about cleaning up Christmas.

We are starting the process today. The tree will be bare of ornaments soon. Lights will be removed. The living room will be full of pine needs with a trail leading to the front door as we drag it outside for the trash. I already cleared out the bathrooms of Christmas decor. I have 2 Christmas mice that are toilet paper holders. My kids think they are hideous, I think it’s tradition. I am gathering all the miscellaneous decor that we spread around the house. I put it all on the table then try to find the box it came from. I truly dislike this part of the holidays. It’s not depressing or sad to pack it away, it’s mostly annoying.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to decorate. I decorate for other holiday’s too, just not as much. The process of packing it all away makes me think – why? Why do this every year for such a short time? Why save all of this stuff for just one month of the year? Well, as annoying as it is to pack it up, it brings great happiness for the month.

I’m happy when I turn on the tree lights and the front yard display. They glow for an entire month. They make me happy and they also bring me joy. You know the difference between happy and joy, right? Happy is when the situation makes you feel good. Joy is when you feel good regardless of the situation.

My goal is joy. Happy is fine and filled a lot of December. Joy stays with me when I under cook the potatoes or break an ornament I love. Joy fills me when I see the pictures of family and friends in our Christmas cards. Joy tingles from my head to my toes when I hear a song about Jesus playing in a public setting. Joy wraps me in a cozy blanket as I lay my head on my pillow at night.

My wish for you for 2018 is that you will choose joy. Daily, seek joy, regardless of what you are facing. Joy makes it all worth it and makes the tough times lighter. Jesus is the source of all joy. My relationship with Him is what makes joy possible. Put your trust in Him and choose joy.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” – I Peter 1:8

Dream Big! Pray Big!