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How Not to Serve Lemonade (or Jesus)

No one wanted my lemonade.

My husband, Travis, and I were serving at a soup kitchen, and my job was to serve the lemonade. I poured twenty cups, arranged them in a neat four by five rectangle, and waited for the thirsty patrons to arrive. And they came… but they all wanted water. I stood forlornly with my hand gripping the pitcher, a dismal failure as Chief Lemonade Pourer.

This is what Travis jokingly calls the “Serve with Shan” effect. Alas, it seems that whenever I participate in a service project there is no one to serve. Three hours volunteering at a donation center with but one lonely drop-off. Six hours at a food pantry with only three shoppers.

And here’s the one Travis teases me about the most: a nursing home visit during which not a single resident wanted to visit with us, despite how I was waiving around my three month-old baby. Didn’t they want to meet my smiling bundle of cuteness?

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The Closet Clean-Out

How is what you’re wearing right now affecting your spirit? 

Maybe you’re in your jammies, all comfy and cozy.  Maybe you’re dressed for work, classy and confident.  Maybe you’re home with the kids, pretty and prepared for the day.  On the other hand, what you’re wearing may have you feeling frumpy, frazzled and frustrated.

We don’t fully enjoy each day when our spirits are cluttered with doubts about our outfit and general appearance.  Christian women want to be happy and confident about what we’re wearing so our joy in Lord can shine through!  But for that to happen, we have to get rid of the “just OK” clothes in our closet—those clothes that are distracting us from the great outfits we can put together.

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How to Throw Down a Toy Challenge

I have a love/hate relationship with toys.  You know the feeling.  Of course we want our kids to have toys, but they can clutter our spirits just as much our family rooms.  Every once in a while it hits us: some of these toys have got to go!  But how should we decide which toys to keep and which to give away?

It can be so hard to let go of toys!  Over there’s a perfectly good toy they never even played with.  Here’s a toy they haven’t touched in months, but claim to absolutely love.  And here’s a toy you love and wish they were still playing with (they’re growing up too quickly!).

We all struggle with this! When you’re on the fence about getting rid of a toy, or when your kids are giving you the I’m bored-and-I-have-nothing-to-play-with moan,

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When Lightning Strikes Your Day

Pastor Drew recently told a summer story about avidly watching a thunderstorm roll in at the beach. Key word: avidly.

I thought, He’s crazy. (I’m not a fan of thunderstorms, powerful winds, hail, or anything else along those lines.)

He said his family stayed on the beach as long as possible to watch the storm. Then they moved to the porch of their rented beach house and continued to watch as the storm passed over them and went off to sea. At the height of the storm, they watched for the lightning, anticipated the thunder, and then cheered for every house-shaking “boom.”

Wait, why was this fun?

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Welcome to Alabama

My sister, her husband, and their three daughters had an eventful trip home from vacation last week. The baby had a fever, their GPS took them down a rabbit trail, they had to make many, many stops… and then they hit Alabama.

Alabama is a tall state. When you’re driving north from Florida to Ohio, Alabama seems to go on forever.

When they finally hit the Tennessee border, the five of them celebrated with honking and shouting. Hooray for the short state of Tennessee! My brother-in-law even shouted, “Tennessee Milkshakes for everyone!” (Yes, he knows Tennessee Milkshakes aren’t a thing—that just goes to show how excited they were.)

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Why “Venting” isn’t Cool

Read it! Philippians 2

Do everything without complaining and arguing,

so that no one can criticize you.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God,

shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked people.”

(vs14&15)

Think it through

The first step to living the sweet life that I really wanted to share with my kids is living with a thankful heart. So I created a page about complaining.

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When Our Efforts to Serve God Don’t Pan Out

Read it!: II Samuel 7

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and he said:

Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family,

that you have brought me this far?

(vs 18)

Think it through:

David had a great idea. He wanted to build a beautiful, permanent temple for the Ark of the Covenant, which had been housed in a series of temporary dwellings. This idea seemed so right, so true, that he couldn’t wait to get started! But then Nathan, a prophet of God, told David that God said the job needed to wait. Building the temple wasn’t work for David, but for one of his sons.

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That’s Just Plumb Good!

Read it! Amos 7

This is what the Lord showed me:

The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb,

with a plumb line in his hand.

And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”

“A plumb line,” I replied.

Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel;

I will spare them no longer.”

(vs 7&8)

 

Think it through

I love how the Lord gives us images we can understand amidst so much that we cannot. From Moses’ histories to the Prophets’ warnings, and from Jesus’ parables to Paul’s letters, God uses relatable images to make things real to us. When we take the time to really study His word and enter into the setting and context, we can see and feel exactly what He intended!

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I Did It Again

Read it!: Amos 1

For three sins of Damascus, even for four,

I will not turn back my wrath…

(vs 3 and repeated)

 

Think it through:

Amos starts out with a bang, doesn’t he?  He lets us know that God does get tired of our repeated sin.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God has promised to forgive us over and over, but that doesn’t give us the freedom to ignore his laws and commands. He does get frustrated and angry with us when we do wrong, particularly when we know better.

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