Spending vs Investing

We're not talking finances here, but something of greater value.  A recent question from a devotion..."What do you think is the difference between spending your life doing something and investing it in something?"  Do you have a way of regularly evaluating how productive you are being for God? 

As an active part of my local church, I 'do' a lot. Along with many other church workers, we have an active church, due to those who do a lot.
A recent addition of a weekly meal brought out several new and different tasks a Family Ministries team I am a part of do and love.  Food planning, shopping and preparation, connecting with many gracious volunteers turns out a fabulous meal each week.   Being a 'doer' gets things done and we often see fantastic results.

But investing, that is a little different.  Where 'doing' can come easy, investing asks us to put forth a little bit more.  We lose that mode where we simply do the task and see the completion.  Investing is more about sowing seeds and waiting for a harvest. Investing pours from us into the life of others, it may involve sacrifice, take us out of our comfort zone and often finds us working alone, but depending solely on God.  Doing can be easy and enjoyable, quick and fun.  Investing takes depth, wisdom and purpose to put our own needs aside for the betterment of someone else.  Are we willing to invest in the lives of others for their betterment?

Do we evaluate how productive we are for God?  That was a question I've never pondered before.  God doesn't require an evaluation, it is simply a tool for us to stop (amidst all the doing) and ask if this task is making a viable difference in another's life.  Is it touching, teaching or showing the things of God to another? 

As we go about our busy days, may we be sensitive and intentional to invest in someone else.

Taking the Challenge...

I love a good challenge, but usually find myself wearing out of the excitement after a few days.  Fitness challenges, eating well challenges, they help instill great habits, but I don't seem to do change very well!  Thankfully I have some good healthy habits in place, but there is always room for improvement.  

Push ups....does anyone like them?  They hurt, they are boring and who wants to do them every day?  But, the more I read about their benefits, the more inclined I am to try them. They work several muscle groups, help your posture and build core strength.  An article "Why the Push Up is the World's Greatest Exercise" tells the great benefits and demonstrates the proper form. 

So, with a new year and new fitness aspirations...I'm jumping in another 30 day challenge.  The 50 Push Up Challenge builds you up from 5 to 50 push ups in 30 days!  You can join the challenge HERE!  I can do 23 as of today without stopping!!  

The exciting thing about fitness challenges is not only the outward results you see, but the inner strength and satisfaction on the inside!  

Daily Habits That Will Keep Your House Tidy

I will admit it, I am a neat freak.  But after raising 3 sons, I've learned to relax some.  As much as I love the accomplishment of a thoroughly clean house, no one wants to simply sit and stare at the tidiness (except me!), a home is  to be lived in .And sometimes, living is messy!  

When our boys were younger, sometimes their rooms would be utter disaster areas.  Over and over I told them if they would keep things up, the room would not get in that shape.  Some took my advice, some still enjoy living in a mess until forced to make a change! 

There are a few things everyone can do every day to help ensure a tidy house. 

*Make Beds
Make the beds every morning. Simple and easy and makes a world of difference in the way the room looks and feels.

* Laundry 
Right off in the morning do a load of laundry.  This means wash, dry, fold and put away.  Doing at least one load a day helps tame that laundry monster. 

* Empty Trash
Empty all trash cans regularly.  We do it every other day, more if needed. 

* Dishes
Our first 25 years of marriage we did not have a dishwasher. Washing dishes through the day (after meals) and keeping them washed through dinner preparations, kept from always facing a sink load of dirty dishes. With a dishwasher, load up dirty dishes as soon as they have been used. 

* Wipe Kitchen Counters
Keep your counters clear of clutter and wipe them down with hot soapy water. Do this after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

* Vacuum/Sweep Kitchen Floor
After dinner, vacuum or sweep the kitchen floor.

* Pick Up Rooms 
Take a bit of time each day to keep each room picked up.  You can do this in the morning or evening or both.

* Sort Through Mail
Do not just drop your mail on the counter.  Go straight to the garbage can and sort your mail every single day.  Throw out junk mail immediately.  Put your bills and other important papers where they need to go.

Doing these small things can make a huge difference in your housekeeping.  Try them for a while and watch them become some great habits!

Power Lists

52 lists with Chasing Slow

Are you a list maker?  If not, words cannot describe the feeling of accomplishment in making a check to note that a task has been done!  I love making lists, to do lists for the day, for the calendar, to record fitness goals, to simply go to town a list helps me stay on track of where I'm going and what to do when I get there!!  I am a passionate list maker!

Another area of passion is words.  Words are powerful.  They can be used to uplift or to tear down. They often reveal what is in the heart. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."  Words can set the tone for the day, create an atmosphere for the home or connect with a child...all for good or bad. 

So often, those wonderful words lose steam once the day gets going.  A word of encouragement can quickly turn into a chastisement on the drive to school with a teenager!  Those lovely thoughts of what we want to say can disappear in the midst of dealing with unpleasant people.  Real life situations can easily disrupt our plans to speak words of life. 

What can make those words stick, where they will be spoken, used and lived out?  A list of course!!
A fun blog community encouraged bloggers to write 'words that touch your soul'.  To make a list of words that are meaningful to them.  

So, here is my list!


Words I would like to see come to life in myself and bring out in others.  This is going to be a great list to begin work on!  What words touch your soul?

Upping the Greens

January is the month many people put their mind to getting healthy.  By March, many are back to the old, comfortable and familiar habits!  If you have ever rode this roller coaster, you know that you don't turn into a lean, mean, clean eating machine overnight!  It takes time to go deeper than a diet, to incorporate life changing healthy habits into our lives.  That is where the lasting changes are!  

This year, after a month of indulging in rich, sweet and way too much food, I want to make some changes to my diet.  A valuable resource I found is "Simple Green Smoothies".  While I have drank smoothies for years, the 'green' part used to scare me!  But I have learned to ease into it and gradually make transitions.  

Some benefits of green smoothies include:

1.  Natural energy booster to keep a little pep in your step in the morning (and during those afternoon slumps).

2. Natural weight loss can be a happy side effect of gulping these in place of a typical breakfast (just make sure to include healthy fats and protein to make it a more complete meal).

3. Stay healthy all-year-long. Simple way to boost your immune system when you’re feeling under the weather.

4. Packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. The phytonutrients in leafy greens boost your body’s immune system and keep it functioning properly.

5. Hands down— The best fast food. It takes less than 5 minutes to make a green smoothie (and clean up!) and they’re super easy to take on the go– especially when you prep ahead.

Simple Green Smoothies has a free 30 day challenge you can sign up for.  30 days of recipes that ease you into world of green goodness!  An added bonus is a shopping list to help you prepare for the week ahead.  They give instructions, an easy chart of ingredients for those who are adventurous!  If you have ever wanted to look into smoothies, this is a great first step!

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