JOY

2015?!?!?! Where did 2014 go? If you are like me, 2014 seemed to go by in a blink of an eye. Well, some days at least. This past year has been full of ups and downs and in some ways I’m glad it’s over, but in some ways I’m not.

With 2014 over, that is one year gone that I will not get back with my daughter. Watching her grow everyday over this past year has been amazing. She has come SO FAR even in the past 2 months. I feel like the sports fan that is on the edge of their seat just waiting to see what will happen next in the game, because I am always on the edge of my seat waiting to see what will happen next with my daughter. What will be the next word she says? How many steps will she take unassisted this time? Oh, how much she has grown!

With 2014 over, that is means it is time for a new start. That does not mean, however, only the New Year do we get a new start. No, actually in Lamentations 3, it says “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease! Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to SHOUT from the mountaintops (well the clouds – there are no mountains in Texas people)! Each day is a new start.

However, with a New Year, new things come to mind. How can I be a better Image Bearer (or Mirror Image) of God in 2015? As I was praying and seeking what I could change the phrase: CHOOSE JOY kept coming to my mind. I now understand that this year, no matter what comes my way I will CHOOSE JOY! Just because I have said I’m going to CHOOSE JOY doesn’t mean life will be a walk in the park…no it just means I am going to have to make myself CHOOSE JOY even when everything else around me is going to say the opposite. There will be days when I don’t “feel” joyFULL, but those are the days I will lean on the fact that Jesus gave me my JOY.

This reminds me of a song I use to sing in Vacation Bible School. It goes like this:

I’ve got Joy down in my heart – Deep, deep down in my heart (Spell It)
J-O-Y down in my heart – Deep, deep down in my heart
Jesus put it there so nothing can destroy, destroy, destroy it
I’ve got Joy down in my heart- Deep, Deep down in my heart

Did you catch that? JESUS put it there so nothing can destroy it! I CHOOSE to live in JOY this year. Stand on HIS promises this year and know where TRUE JOY comes from! Join with me! Let’s make 2015 a joyFULL year! Let’s help each other CHOOSE JOY and never look back.

Happy JOYful 2015!

Marcy

My House Will Not Look Like Pinterest- And Why I’m Ok With It

It’s that time of year again…everyone is talking about Christmas decorations, gifts, and the busyness begins. This is also the time of year most women take to Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Internet to find inspiration for their personal trees and house. I am seeing trees being decorated and people “pinning” their favorite ideas. I cannot help but think, “Why can’t my house look all beautiful decked out for Christmas?” “Why can’t my tree look like the one on Pinterest?” The answer? I have an almost 2 year old.

I was so excited to put up my tree and decorations this year. This year my daughter is almost 2 and she will be able to enjoy everything! Lately while driving around she says “Momma, WOW!” to all the lights and decorations. This only fueled my excitement to make my house perfect! I had a Pinterst picture in my head and I could not wait to make it come to life. I got out my tree, began to put my tulle down the sides, then the ornaments filled the tree, and finally my topper! I was so excited to step back and see my Pinterest picture come to life. You can imagine my surprise when I stepped back and the bottom layer of my tree had been stripped of ornaments and the tulle was next. My adorable 20 month old was there to help.

This is her first Christmas where she is mobile. She was not crawling last Christmas and this year she is crawling everywhere and getting ready to walk! I wanted to be mad because my perfect Christmas tree was ruined…but then I caught myself. Is Christmas about how perfect my tree looks? Is Christmas about having my house Pinterest worthy? No! Christmas is about celebrating the ONE who makes Christmas possible. Christmas is about traditions. Christmas is the most wonderful time of year…enjoy it!

In true reality, any given day you might stop by my house there will be toys everywhere, possibly and empty sippy cup, dishes in the sink (or on the counter drying), and a happy 20 month old. My family is at a stage in life where it is not possible to have the straight, clean, perfect home all the time. And I have learned it’s OK!

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To the mom who wants the picture perfect home, look around YOU HAVE IT. You have the sound of laughter, TV, toys, dog barking and sink running…that my friend is the definition of a picture perfect home. I once saw a sign “Please excuse our mess, we are making memories” Mommies, enjoy this stage! You might not have the house from Pinterst, but remember this season is a time of loving on your children, allowing them to learn and grow (like my daughter learning how to take the ornaments off the tree…maybe the growing of putting them back will come soon 😉 ), a time to create family traditions, a time to truly teach your children the truth. Enjoy this season! There will be a day where we can have the pretty tree and perfect house, but don’t rush there just yet. It’s ok for people to see the toys scattered, TV on, dishes piled, because they know you’re making memories.

Enjoy this Christmas season. Remember for you children this is a magical time of year…make it that way. Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Enjoy your Christmas season!

Merry Christmas,
Marcy

THE Church

What is church? What is THE church to you? We always hear people say “I’m going to church” or my students say “Church day”. I began truly thinking about “church”.

I am a baby born in the church…as soon as I was able to be out of the house I was at church, I have been in church my entire life. I have always thought of church as Sunday morning time where we sing some songs, hear a sermon, give our offering and leave. And the. I came across the Beatitudes.

You may think, I have read them and even memorized them…what are you getting at?

Just go with me…humor me and keep reading 😊

“When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭1-12‬ MSG)

Did you catch that? “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

That shows us church is not a building, church is the people! We get so caught up in our building, the stage, the lights, the songs, the scripture hung on a wall, where the pews are, where the chairs are set we are missing the people walking down the sidewalk. What would we do if we lost our building?

A dear friend of mine lost their church home to a fire. They lost hymnals, pew, files, EVERYTHING! Guess what happened? Did they close their doors and say go somewhere else? NO! They grew! They grew closer as they picked up the pieces and moved on. They truly show that the church is the people.

We, believers, are the church. Are you acting like the church everyday? Are you being the church to everyone you see? Remember, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”
XOXO,
Marcy

survive or THRIVE

If you listen to Christian radio, you are familiar with the song “Thrive” by Casting Crowns. This song has penetrated Christian Music since it released in January. I expected nothing less from Casting Crowns. I have been a Casting Crowns “fan” since their first CD. The reason I am a “fan” is because they write REAL lyrics. They write music that is in your face. I have been constantly challenged by Casting Crowns music. Which is the reason I knew “Thrive” would be the same.

This song has hit me right in the face… why?

There is a line in the song that says,
It’s time for us to more than just survive; We were made to thrive

Wow.

God created me to thrive, so why am I just surviving?
Are you surviving or THRIVING?

Have you ever said,
If I can just make it through this I will be fine.
If I can just get through this week life will be better
If I can just make it through this meeting life will be good.
If I can just get through this event life will be back to “normal”

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have said something similar to those statements.
The mindset of just getting through is surviving not THRIVING. I want to THRIVE not survive. To help me THRIVE and not survive I asked myself these questions. What area(s) in my life am I just surviving? What can I do to THRIVE? How do I THRIVE? What does THRIVING look like?

When I began my quest, I looked straight to the Bible. I came to the book of James. It did not take long for me to see an example of THRVING. James 1:1 “James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” James knew who he was. Do you know who you are down to your core? As I kept searching I found honestly, to truly THRIVE check your priorities. For me I am a child of the KING, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a worship leader, a mentor, and the list goes on. Where are my priorities? Where am I spending most of my time?

You might be thinking, well I do good to just survive because I work full time, volunteer in ministries, have a spouse and family…I do good just to get through the day. And I completely understand that, but are you truly grounded in the Word? What can you cut out to truly THRIVE? Allowing yourself to be stretched thin can be harmful to you, your family, your ministry, and every aspect of life. What needs to go so you can THRIVE in every aspect of life?

Today, I challenge you to really think about what you need to do in your life to THRIVE. Pray about it, I PROMISE God will reveal how to THRIVE.

Just to know you and to make you known
We life your name on high
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive
XOXO,
Marcy

While you’re at it…listen to the song 🙂

This SUMMER

When school let out in May, these were my thoughts: “I will finally have time to deep clean my house, redo my kitchen table, cook, REST, brainstorm for next school year, paint and re-organize my music classroom, re vamp my music class”…and the list goes ON! Little did I know NOTHING on that list would be accomplished this summer. Little did I know how much I would grow during this summer.

This summer has been a challenging summer. From my husband being gone for a month, dad having a second surgery in less than 2 months, to weekend trip with the hubby & daughter for a family reunion. I have had NO time for my todo list.

This has been another instance of God showing up and showing me how His plan is far better than my own. The plans I made were all material…His plans for me were so much better. I had a plan to redo a table…He(God) had plans to redo me. God used this summer’s events to truly mold my heart in preparation for what He has to come. Do I know what is to come? No. But I do know I have a great God who will never leave nor forsake me.

Does your todo list reflect God’s list?
Mine at the beginning of the summer didn’t…I had to learn to lay mine down.

What do you need to lay down today so God can prepare you for what is to come? What do you remove from your todo list?

Can’t figure out what to take off? Allow me to help…what have you been trying to accomplish and it is just not falling into place?

Example: This entire summer I have tried so hard to redo my kitchen table. I have talked to my husband about buying 100 cans of spray paint (we have a large table with 6 chairs), fabric and all other tools needed to redo the cushions and we have yet to have a full conversation about it. I tried to buy spray paint and Walmart didn’t have my color. No matter how hard I tried to redo my table, something got in the way.

What needs to be laid down in your life? What are you pursuing that needs to be laid down?

I leave you with this: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭55‬:‭8‬ NLT)

Xoxo,

Marcy

What is First?

This morning, for some reason I cannot comprehend, I was wide awake at 4 am! I am NOT. A morning person. Right now is summer break for me and I have truly enjoyed my days to sleep in, so 4 am was not in my agenda. Actually, I had set my alarm for 7:30 last night and honestly that made me a little sick to my stomach.

So when 4 am came along, I was tossing and turning, I did what any good Christian would do…er…ummmm what most of my generation would do in this time…I grab my iPhone and begin check emails, social media and catching up on some blog posts I had wanted to read.

Finally after getting up to date with the cyber world, I stumble into the kitchen to make myself a nice cup of coffee…after all gotta get the caffeine going…I have an almost 15 month old daughter who will wake up in about 3 hours and I need energy!

Finally, sipping hazelnut coffee and a flood of thoughts goes through my mind…
“pray for ______, ______, _____”
oh and “_______” and
” ______ needs a text” and
” ______ needs a card”
and…
“Must take care of ______, ______ and ______ today.”
and …”Today’s schedule!
do the laundry…
Feed the dog we are house sitting for…
Be at the Doctors by 10:15 (check up for the daughter)
Feed all other animals we are taking care of…
MUST. PLAN. NEXT. SCHOOL YEAR!”
It keeps going….

The coffee is only helping to speed the formation of these thoughts…

But in the back of my mind and heart is the quiet thought:
time with Jesus.

Not as a to-do.

Not as an escape.

Just a reminder to of my priorities.

I’m reminded of Mary breaking the alabaster box. With a year’s worth of perfume in it.
Spilling out on Jesus.

Am I giving my best to Jesus?
Am I allowing Him to be number one?
Am I allowing my list to get in the way?
Am I allowing poor things to get in the way?

Jesus said: the poor, you’ll always have. I’m not always going to be here. In this moment. In this way. She chose the right thing. The value placed on the valuable.

My list? It’s the poor stuff. There are legitimate needs in it and legitimate things that need to get done. I can justify it. There are PRAYER requests. But the list? It’s needy. It’s always gonna be there. It’s a list of the world.

Jesus? He gets the stuff of value. First. Not what’s left over. He gets first pick.

Did I do that this morning? Sadly, no. Does that mean God doesn’t love me? No. He helps me remember to put Him first. He guides me gently and loves me relentlessly. He cares!

As I was browsing Social Media this morning I came across a quote on Pinterest. “You always have time for the things you put first.”

What did you put first today?

XOXO,

Marcy

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Ladies’ Tea

As I sit at home on my couch sipping some tea I cannot help but smile! This morning we had 39 women gather together for a Ladies’ Tea at First Evangelical Presbyterian Church and what a day it was!

The day began with my parents and I doing last minute touches to make sure the room was decorated properly, the food was prepared and on the tables, the games were ready, and most of all making sure God was in the center of it all. The room had 5 round tables, each with 8 chairs, arranged in a “U” shape. Each table had a pretty table cloth (white or peach) with a beautiful doily in the center. On top of the doily was a Teapot, cream, sugar and some beautiful fresh flowers that were cut short. For each table setting there was a different china tea cup, plate, brightly colored napkin and spoon. The mixed match tea cups made it PERFECT! On each table were 2 platters FULL of food! We had scones, muffins, quiche, sweet bread, fruit and cookies. (We like to eat at our church 😉 )

We had a table off to the side as our “vintage” decorations. These decorations are family heirlooms from my dads side of the family. We had hats (one was my Mimi’s hat she wore on her wedding day), brooches, porcelain doll, wooden rocker and even some vintage tea cups! It was a perfect accent to the room!

There was a table where everyone was able to self serve their own tea. With 7 different types of tea for the ladies to choose there was something for everyone!

Once ladies began to arrive, the sound of different ages of ladies’ voices filled the room. It was perfect! Ladies of ALL ages and stages were able to mingle and it was BEAUTIFUL! All the tables began to fill up and everyone began to serve themselves tea and yummy goodies!

Once we chatted for a good while, we played our first game. Once we had a winner, I was able to introduce a very special woman to speak…my MOM!

My mom was able to share with us how to WATCH ourselves as women. She presented it in an acronym:
W-words
A- attitude
T- temptations
C- character
H- household

Our words, no matter our age, can speak life or death. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT)

We ALL need a positive attitude. “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NLT) Wow! We need to have the same attitude as Jesus!

We are all tempted. No matter what age or stage we are all tempted…how do we overcome it? By the WORD! (See John 16:33, 1 Corinthians 10:13, and Psalm 119:11)

Your character does matter! Our character is not only who you are when no one is watching…it’s who you are to YOUR CORE! The world changes but we must stand strong! ‘Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”’ (1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT) You might have heard it before said that it is easier to pull someone down than to pull them up…watch your character!

Finally, Guard your household! It has been said “Home should tell the story of who you are and be the collection of what you love.” If you don’t guard your home…no one else will. (Joshua 24:15)

She left us with something to think about: What impact are we having in our corner of the world?
God put YOU here for such a time as this!

We closed the tea with a few more games and laughs.

What I loved most about the Ladies’ Tea was the women coming together and sharing life. As women, we NEED each other! We need sisters in Christ who will love on us, walk with us, hurt with us, rejoice with us and who will just do life with us. I pray today’s tea was the beginning of those relationships! I pray that all the seeds of relationships that were planted will grow and we will see sisters helping sisters in the days to come.

I challenge you to strengthen relationships you already have and tend to the new ones you made today. May we be a light for each other and our community that so desperately needs it. When life gets tough and challenges come your way, you have sisters that are ready to face the challenge head on with you!

Ladies, I LOVE each one of you more than you can ever know! I am always here for you.

XOXO,
Marcy

For those of you who would like to see pictures of the Tea, clink on the link below 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.837145529652485.1073741831.194222763944768&type=3

 

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