All posts by Shannon Upton

Why I’m Cutting Back on Social Media

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

Psalm 37:7-9

 

Since I started this ministry back in 2011, I know that I’ve been doing social media all wrong.

I made a “business page” on Facebook because I heard that you weren’t supposed to use a personal page for a sole proprietor business (or ministry, in this case). Wrong! I eventually had to make a personal page just so I could use the existing business page, which is confusing to some who want to “friend” me.

And I post the “wrong” things on Facebook, including doing a terrible job of sharing other people’s stuff. In fact, according to social media folks, I do a terrible job of sharing my own stuff. I absolutely know they’re right.

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Summer Idea Sprouts

Organizing Your Summer, Part 2

The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3

Last May, I posted about the Live it Up summer initiative. The Uptons tried an ambitious plan to Use it Up, Eat it Up, Play it Up, Read it Up, Watch it Up, and Trip it Up. You can read more about it here, but basically we determined to enjoy the summer by enjoying the things we already had!

If you’re wondering, it went really well. We didn’t do everything I’d planned, but we did an awful lot of it and I’ve never been so contented with a summer of fun. We played with more, tried more things, and used up more of our stuff than we ever have before. Getting organized about our family’s summer was wonderful!

 

This year, though, I wanted to try a simpler endeavor.

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Beyond the Packing List

Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

Genesis 43:11-14

 

I loved reading these verses in Genesis 43 this week, as I plan for a vacation. How appropriate!  These verses describe Jacob (Israel) telling his sons how to prepare for a dangerous trip to Egypt.

And why did these verses resonate with me so much? Because they are my trip-organizing philosophy in a Bible passage. This is what Jacob is basically advising:

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The Shoe-Lover’s Guide to Organizing

“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

From the Armor of God verses, Ephesians 6:10-18

I love shoes.

“Shoe” was my first word. The story goes that I didn’t talk for a long time and my parents were starting to get a bit nervous. Then one day on the changing table, my mom was putting shoes on my little feet. I pointed at one and said, clear as a bell, “shoe.” Seeing Mom’s delight, I went on to point out “sock,” and then “foot”… and basically they haven’t gotten me to stop talking since.

Note that “shoe” started the avalanche.

I do love shoes, but when I clean out my wardrobe, they’re often a neglected section. By the time I’m done with the clothes, I don’t have much energy for the shoes…. and then they all start looking like keepers. Been there?

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7 Clutter-Free Ways to Feel Like an Awesome Mom

Fathers, do not exasperate your children;

instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

“Mom, you’re the best mom ever.”

The words were just out of my daughter Karly’s mouth, filling my heart, when her little brother Oliver piped up. “Wait, I thought Mary—you know, Mary, Jesus’ mom?— was the best mom ever.”

“Whoa, burn!” said big brother Spencer. “Mary burn!”

Life with kids.

Seriously, don’t you just love hearing the words “best mom ever” or “best grandma ever” from your kids? Even if it is a fleeting moment!

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Exactly HOW long?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,

making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

 

I’ve been in a season where I’ve been giving my Time Management Talk, “Where is Your Time Going?” I dearly love the “ah-ha!” looks I see out in the audience as women realize they can manage their time with Jesus and for Him. Time management has to be my favorite kind of organization!

But as I was speaking, something was niggling at me… an idea that’s been in the back of my mind for a while. As I try to manage my time, am I working with all of the facts? Do we know how long it really takes to do the things that we regularly do?

We all constantly, and without truly thinking about it, estimate the time it will take to our daily tasks and plan accordingly. Estimation is a great tool and often a time saver.

Here’s the problem: We can guess wrong.

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Ignoring a Call—what it might cost you…

 

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.

Acts 9:18

 

What a huge moment in history that was.

In this moment, Paul chose to follow God’s call and become His instrument. He chose to become a disciple of Jesus, to go and tell the world about Him, making arguably the biggest impact for Christ ever made.

In this moment, Paul also chose a hard life. A life of persecution and prison. His former friends wanted him dead. His power and prestige in the Jewish faith and community instantly vanished. A question occurred to me:

In this huge moment, what if Paul had chosen differently?

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The Myth of the Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4

 

As I write this, it’s pouring down rain on the construction site/trash pit that is my lawn.

It’s a very, very long story, but let’s just say that the “simple” covered deck project we commissioned, the one that we believed would be completed in 5 to 7 days, is about 30% completed—and well into Week 4.

My heart is not feeling gentle or quiet—it’s way too cluttered with anxious thoughts.

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Doing a Bible Sturdy (no, that’s not a typo)

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Matthew 7:24

 

I’m a terrible typist, and a lot of the time autocorrect aids and abets my stupidity.

Most recently, it disagreed with me about my friend’s daughter’s name. My dear friend was blessed with a beautiful daughter she named Taryn, and as you would expect, absolute flurries of texting ensued. But it seemed that no matter how I typed “Taryn,” auto correct morphed it into “Terrible.”

As in, “What a beautiful pic of Terrible! What a doll!”

Or, “How did Terrible sleep last night?”

One thing you DON’T want to call your BFF’s beloved adopted infant is Terrible. (Good thing my sweet friend is so understanding!) Because of this, I began to notice other funny goofs autocorrect and I were making together:

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A Heart for Missions is Too Full For Guilt

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:21

 

Recently as I was preparing to leave for a mission trip, my spirit became deeply cluttered.

Just thinking about it was causing me a lot of worry and pre-guilt. Would I be able to handle being with children in extreme poverty, often with physical and/or mental disabilities? Several people with much more mission experience than I warned me that I would be heartsick, broken, and overwhelmed with my own underserved blessings.

So, I prayed, and I fasted, and then I went to Jamaica—not the touristy part.

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