From the Inside Out



I'm guest posting again... Today at my friend Karen's blog: The Couch. Today I'm opening myself up and letting God use my testimony as He will.
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Purity and personal holiness begin on the inside. Who we become ultimately begins with what we allow ourselves to think and “feel.” My passion for talking about purity stems from years of mistakes and struggles within my own life. You see, about eleven years ago, I almost destroyed my marriage. Almost. I did everything I could to destroy it… but God had other plans…  Click here to continue reading at The Couch.

I hope you will join me... then come back and leave a comment. Have a wonderful Memorial Day!


Who Ya Pleasing?



I'm guest posting at my friend Marni's blog today! I hope you will read this little introduction and then head over to her blog for the rest of the post.
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 When Jeffrey was about a year old, he would play a game with us. We bought him a little plastic basketball set that he could play with for hours. When he first started playing with it, our sharp little boy learned quickly that all he had to do was put the little plastic ball in the little plastic hole… and Mommy, Daddy, MeMaw, or whoever else may be watching would clap loudly, cheer, and smile!

... Continue reading here: Relevant Brokenness. Then come back and leave me a comment! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


I'm. Not. Quitting.



I have started running again. When I first started back, I was exhausted, yet I still felt good. One leg has a shin splint and the other has a thigh splint. Is there such a thing? If not, I think I just invented it.

Why am I torturing myself like this? The fact is… I have spent my entire 30s having babies. And my formerly athletic body has gotten a little more out-of-shape with each one. It hurts to run to first base. I have more pounds to lose than I care to admit. A “pre-3-babies” athlete’s body to get back. And most importantly, I have a family to take care of.

Okay. So what do I do about it? Just give up and let my body continue to deteriorate? Or put my foot down and do something about it? You know the answer.

I’m going to keep it up.

I’m going to run a 5K (and hopefully continue to run in them).

I’m going to eat better.

I’m going to get my pre-pregnant body back.

I’m. Not. Quitting. 

Join me in not quitting something? What’s the thing YOU need to start and not quit until your goal is reached? (I have others than just the physical, but this is a good start!)

Ignorance Is Not Bliss



Today I was given an awesome opportunity to guest post at Rachel's blog, The Lazy Christian. Since you have stopped here, I hope you will go over to read today's post about why we cannot claim ignorance when it comes to our sin! :) Then come back here and leave me a comment. Have a wonderful Friday!

Visit Rachel's blog: www.thelazychristian.com.

Think On These Things - A Challenge




This week, I have a challenge for you. We have completed the series about Philippians 4:8, and now it's time to put everything into action. If you have not read the posts from this series, you can see them here: Think On These Things: Philippians 4:8.

For the next week, lead your thought focus to the following topics:
Monday: Things that are TRUE
Tuesday: Things that are HONORABLE
Wednesday: Things that are JUST
Thursday: Things that are PURE
Friday: Things that are LOVELY
Saturday & Sunday: Things that are COMMENDABLE, EXCELLENT, & PRAISEWORTHY

Let me know how it goes! :) I'm doing the challenge with you! 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

Unite for Life Webcast and a DVD Giveaway!



I would like to invite you all to be a part of a special webcast, Unite for LIFE, with Abby Johnson on Tuesday, May 17th, at 8:00 PM (all time zones). You can sign up to join this FREE webcast at www.uniteforlifewebcast.org. You will be able to purchase unPLANNED, the book, and the unPLANNED DVD together at a discounted price and $10 from each purchase will support crisis pregnancy centers. See below the video for a special opportunity to win a free copy of the unPLANNED DVD.





Win a free DVD!
As a member of the Tyndale Blog Network, I have the privilege of being able to offer one person a FREE copy of Abby's story in DVD format. All you have to do to enter for a chance to win this DVD is the following:
  1. Follow me on Twitter and "like" Grow Where You're Planted on Facebook (if you haven't already done these). See links in the right column.
  2. Leave a comment on this post, letting me know why you would like to have a DVD of this incredible story. Make sure to include your email address.
This contest will be open through Friday, May 20th at 12:00 noon. I will choose one winner, who will receive a certificate for a free DVD. Thanks for entering... and don't forget to register for the Unite for Life Webcast on Tuesday! Make sure to spread the word!



5-Minute Friday: Take a Deep Breath...




As is becoming a tradition of mine, I'm linking up on Lisa-Jo's page today for 5-Minute Friday. She also gives us a challenge to write without worrying if it's just right. Today's prompt is "deep breath." Here is what came out of this prompt for me...

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I need to take a deep breath of patience… when my 3-year-old won’t listen as I tell her that if she would just stand still it wouldn’t hurt for me to brush her teeth.

I need to take a deep breath of love… when my heart goes to the bitter place where I forget about all of the love in my life.

I need to take a deep breath of music… when I just need to hear something that soothes my soul like nothing else can.

I need to take a deep breath of the grass of the ballpark… when I just need to remember a time when life was simple.

I need to take a deep breath of the ocean air… even when I’m not there. To close my eyes and envision that
I am at my favorite place to sense God in the world.

I need to take a deep breath of kindness… when I feel overwhelmed by taking care of everyone.

I need to take a deep breath of perseverance… when I recognize that I am not “naturally wired” to be a stay-home mom.

I need to take a deep breath of trust… when we are hit with so many financial burdens and Jeff can’t go back to school when we had planned.

I need to take a deep breath of God’s goodness… when the day is hard and I have just forgotten how much He has blessed me… beyond measure.

I need to take a deep breath. And just let go.
STOP

Want to join? Visit Lisa-Jo and link up!

The Changing of the Seasons



Smell is one of our strongest senses. In fact, it is the sense known to be the closest link to memories. I can remember two smells that will never leave my memory…

When Katherine was born and we brought her home from the hospital, there was a very distinct smell that stuck with me. The smell of the {clean} newborn diapers that they gave us in the hospital. Katherine smelled like them. The sweet little pink knit cap that she wore home (and that she still puts on sometimes) smelled like them. Her teeny tiny “coming home” outfit smelled like them. It seemed like everything smelled like them for a short time.

I remember never wanting that smell to go away.

In fact, when we were preparing for Joshua’s arrival (our new addition), the thought of that smell came back to mind. I remember wanting to do everything I could to keep that smell for as long as I could. Call me crazy…

I guess I didn’t want to let go of that season.

When Ma passed away a few years ago, there were only a few of her possessions that I wanted to keep for myself. Things that reminded me of times with her. Old 45s that we used to dance to in the living room. I can still see her coming through the doorframe into her living room, bouncing and snapping her fingers… singing “these boots are made for walkin’…” I believe my love for music started in that very living room.

The only other things I wanted were two blankets that smelled like Ma’s house. When I was a little girl, I would lie down on my “favorite couch” with the scratchy fabric, and Ma would come and gently place one of those blankets over me. It was one of the most comfortable places I remember from childhood. I barely use those blankets now… for fear that Ma’s smell will go away.

Again, a season that I don’t want to let go of.

Change is inevitable. We lose people tragically and suddenly… or painfully and slowly. People close to us move away… or become distant to us even though they stay in the same place. Our ministry focuses change direction. Babies grow up.

When we change from one season of our lives to the next, Jesus is the One who is always there to hold us up and walk us through. Unfortunately, most of the time we focus on the here and now… and push Him to the side. We cry over the seasons that pass and the people we lose… and don’t let Him guide us through. We get angry because of painful situations (beyond our control)… and forget that He is THE Controller. We throw up our hands as if to give up… and don’t ask Him to lead.

In this life, the ONLY thing that stays the same is Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? And are you letting Him lead you and walk you through the changing of the seasons? If you are in the midst of a season change, just let go. The next season is ultimately where you need to go anyway.

Think On These Things, Part 6: In God's Eyes





Commendable. Admirable. Of good repute. Excellent. Praiseworthy.

The first three words are used for the same idea in three different translations. And all of them can be put together to describe the last set of things that Philippians 4:8 tells us that our minds should be focusing on. However, the world’s standards of praiseworthy, admirable, and excellent are very different from God’s standards. We have to make sure we are looking at it from His point-of-view. Here are some things that God considers admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy…

The beauty of creation.
Children laughing… and singing.
Children who honor their parents.
A husband serving his wife.
A wife serving her husband.
A man or woman who has given up his or her dreams for the road less traveled.
A musician, formally a secular performer, who now serves Christ with his music.
A child giving his/her heart to Jesus.
A man or woman giving his/her heart to Jesus.
A sinner who has come home.
David. Man after God's heart.
Christ-followers who travel to the ends of the earth to proclaim the gospel.
Christians who let go of tradition and legalism... whose focus is on Christ alone.
A church... sold out to doing whatever it takes to reach whoever needs to be reached.

And this is just a short list. What can you add? Examine your thoughts according to these words: admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. How do your thoughts line up? Do you measure these words by the world’s standards or God’s? We get so wrapped up in the day-to-day and the problems in our world that we forget to focus on the excellence that God has given us to experience. 

My challenge is for you to write down three more things that are admirable, excellent, and/or praiseworthy (in God's eyes). This week, intentionally focus your thoughts on the beauty that God has given for us.

And take every thought captive to obey Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:5b

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

Next week, the final challenge!

If you are reading this on Facebook, visit my blog: growwhereyoureplanted.com.
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Motherhood Should Come With... and a GIVEAWAY!





Lisa-Jo invites us to join in a 5-Minute Friday, using the prompt, "Motherhood should come with..." I am not allowed to edit, just write. And for 5 minutes flat! :) Make sure to look at the bottom of this post for a giveaway! Here we go...

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Motherhood should come with a cape. Mothers are truly superheros in everything that they do in a day. As I get older, I have more and more respect and admiration for my mom. She put up with a lot as I was growing up and taught me more than I wanted to admit when I was younger. Now, I am thankful for all of that teaching. :)

There are so many days that I wonder if I will survive. Motherhood should come with a free pass to get out of town anytime you need to. For me, that means the beach. I would love to have a free place to stay at the beach for any time that I need to escape for a few days.

Motherhood should definitely come with an instruction book. Well, we actually already have that. If we read the Bible like we should, we have lots of instructions for how to raise our kids. Maybe not the little details of the day-to-day, but when we stay close to Jesus, He will get us through those times when it just seems tough.

Motherhood should come with instant anti-selfishness. I thought when I became a mom that all of my selfish ways would just disappear. Unfortunately, they did not. It's still a constant battle.

Motherhood should come with a bag full of help. Meaning that we should have been given unlimited resources to help us get through all of the day-to-day.
STOP

Okay, I got through it. :) This is definitely not the easiest thing I have ever tried to do. I'm such an editor!!!
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GIVEAWAY!!!
Okay, I am giving away a DVD of unPLANNED, the story of Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood leader whose life was changed. If you haven't heard her story, read my review from yesterday. Here are the steps to be entered in the giveaway:
  1. "Like" Grow Where You're Planted on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. (See sidebar for links.)
  2. Leave a comment on this post or send me an email telling me how Abby's story speaks to you. Make sure to include your email address.
The winner will be announced here on Monday, May 9th. If you are the winner, I will send you a certificate that you can take to your local retailer and receive your free DVD. Good luck! Make sure to spread the word so others can enter.

unPLANNED - A Review



After years of working for Planned Parenthood, Abby Johnson realized that she was wrong. During all her years of service, she believed that she was helping women. The counseling was what she was passionate about, not necessarily the “other” service that they offered… abortion.

While she was working at the clinic, eventually working her way up to director, she met a young Christian woman who worked for the Coalition for Life. This young woman silently prayed for her, took interest in Abby as a person, and influenced her life.

As the years passed and the nation's economic situation became more serious, Planned Parenthood began to push abortion more than counseling. Why? Because the abortion service was what provided the most profit. It was then that Abby recognized she was not involved in something she truly believed in. A heartbreaking day of watching an ultrasound-guided abortion is what finally ended it for her. What an incredible turnaround!

Make sure you get a copy of this DVD and watch the incredibly powerful story of how Abby Johnson went from being a strong leader in Planned Parenthood to a pro-life advocate. This story will encourage your heart! Check out the trailer below:


You will also want to check out the Unite for LIFE webcast, a free webcast featuring Abby Johnson that will benefit pregnancy care organizations. You can sign up to participate on May 17th at 8:00pm at www.uniteforlifewebcast.org. unPLANNED, the book and DVD, will be available for purchase as a package deal and 33% of each purchase will go to crisis pregnancy centers like CareNet, the National Institute of Family & Life Advocates, and Heartbeat International. Make sure to jump in!!

Stop back by tomorrow to find out how you can win a FREE copy of the DVD unPLANNED!

I received a complimentary copy of this DVD as a participant in the Tyndale Blog Network.
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Think On These Things, Part 5: The Lovely




The unlovely is a place that our minds can go when thinking about our relationships... our spouses, our parents, our children, our friendships, our co-workers, our acquaintances. We can think on the problems… the areas where we differ… the words they said to us, which they probably didn’t know hurt us… the things we don’t like about them (come on, admit it). We think on all of the unlovely about a person instead of focusing on the blessing that person is in our lives.

Guess what? The unlovely is all about who I am on the inside. Who YOU are on the inside. We were all born with a sin nature, and only THE LOVELY can change us on the inside. If MY thoughts about others are mostly negative, then I continue to have the unlovely inside. If YOUR thoughts about others are mostly negative, then YOU continue to have the unlovely inside. It’s difficult to take, I know. I struggle with this a lot and have to be constantly reminded to think on the blessings. My husband has an incredible gift for recognizing when my thoughts are going south. When we are talking and he notices my “pattern,” he stops me and asks, “what are you thankful for?” And of course, I roll my eyes. But what a blessing.

To begin to replace the unlovely that we all have inside, we must focus on THE LOVELY. JESUS. He is the One who is always lovely. We must become more and more like Him in order to replace the unlovely in our hearts and our minds. When we focus on Him, and ask Him to change our negative patterns, then we will begin to see THE LOVELY in those we are doing life with… and we will prevent ourselves from getting to the point of TALKING negatively about them.

What is the unlovely that your thoughts most turn to?
 
A challenge for this week: When you sense yourself thinking about the unlovely in someone, do the following:
  1. Stop and turn your focus to Jesus, THE LOVELY.
  2. List 3 things you love about the person you are thinking about.
  3. Promise yourself to no longer focus on the unlovely.
  4. Share this post with one other person... and challenge them.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

Next week, think on things that are commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

If you are reading this on Facebook, visit my blog: growwhereyoureplanted.com.

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