kind of a series

I’m definitely no preacher or anywhere close. Just someone sharing from her heart. =)

I guess God is speaking to me intently about loving others. How to properly love others, in a godly fashion,…. with my speech, with my thoughts, with my actions. My last blog I wrote on thinking before we speak. This morning I was reminded of what love is. It’s amazing how we can use that word so liberally and not even think about whether or not we truly love something or someone. “I looooove this show” “I looooooove coffee” “I looooooove you”. Half the time we say we love something or someone it’s really just that we LIKE them.

Now let’s focus on when we say we love a person. Remember what the bible says about love. Seriously FOCUS on this passage. Because I know we hear it often but like Francis Chan suggests put your name in place of the word love. Then ask your self if you really are showing love to those you say you love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 Love (Katie) is patient, love (Katie) is kind. It (Katie) does not envy, it (Katie) does not boast, it (Katie) is not proud. (Here’s where it gets really tough!) It (Katie) does not dishonor others, it (Katie) is not self-seeking, it (Katie) is not easily angered, it (Katie) keeps no record of wrongs.  Love (Katie) does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It (Katie) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

When I read it that way it reminds me that half the time I am not loving to others. I need to be fully focused on Christ ALL the time if I want to accomplish loving people the way He has called me and defines in this passage. There is no way I can possibly love anyone this way on my own. It’s only by His power and the Holy Spirit in me. And I have to be nurturing that Spirit by seeking Him daily. It also helps to have some accountability from other Christians. 😉

Now this business of love, it goes so much deeper then I think we recognize most of the time. One thing I’ve shared with you is I struggle with taking my thoughts captive and sometimes I allow my mind to focus on things that cause anger and resentment in my heart. I have struggled with anxiety for the last couple of years and a lot of times it’s a direct result of not taking every thought captive and handing things over to the Lord. It says in Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up dissension but LOVE covers over all wrongs. I’m not implying here that I struggle with hate because I truly don’t, but if I took this verse and thought about how when I hold ANGER in my heart it definitely stirs up dissension. But if I CHOOSE to love (remember folks love is a CHOICE) when I make that choice to LOVE it truly does cover all wrong. And once again I used this verse last night James 1:20 For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Let’s be honest, the majority of our anger comes out of something petty…. not always but usually, okay for me it does,… and that anger does not produce righteousness of God within me. So therefore I need to lay it over and move on right? It’s a lot easier said then done.

I’d say the key is to 1.) Expose yourself to the truth that comes from the Word of God. And do it repeatedly. You wont be able to read one verse and be over it. Sometimes I find myself having to read multiple verses over and over while meditating on it and talking it out with God. Which leads to the 2nd thing and that is to not FOCUS on the thing or person that made you angry. And number 1 helps because you’d be turning your focus toward God and the more time you spend focusing on Him the less you are thinking about what made you angry.

Another thing God has been revealing to me (and not for the first time but probably the 100!) is that I must be seeking Him to find my worth and value. It’s Him that I must want to please. It’s Him that I want to find approval. I do not need to be seeking the approval of others. (FYI that is a trap I fell into with the whole facebook thing and yet another reason I don’t have it. Just some facts to help you gain perspective on me 😉 ) I don’t need the people here on earth to like what I’m doing or how I’m living. (Seriously, I don’t need you to comment on my photos or blogs and tell me how great my family is…. lol, juuuuuust kidding) I know that as long as my life is honoring to HIM, as long as my life brings Glory to HIS name that is all that matters.  

Now you may feel this blog has jumped around a bit and well, as I said earlier I’m no preacher, I’m also no writer. It’s the heart guys, strait from the heart and frazzled mind of mine 😉 But for me, this all goes hand in hand. I need to be focused on Him, I need to be focused on His word and what LOVE is. Because He’s called us to love. The Message Luke 10:25-28 “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?” “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”

And if you need a definition for your “neighbor” Jesus proceeds in that passage to define what your neighbor is. 😉

So I’m upping the anty on my New Years Resolution. And it’s to LOVE GOD BETTER. (Which in turn will help me to love PEOPLE better) I want to love Him to the best of my ability. That’s the funny thing about our walk. We never reach perfection in it. We’re never finished, not until we arrive in Heaven. So we can always improve, always do better. So here I go! I will try to grow more and love more by seeking Him more diligently. Pray for me!!! 🙂 ….. maybe even join me?? 😉

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Think before you speak

I feel as if I’m learning more every day how impactful your words are. I’ve always been a pretty sensitive person and I like to think I’m sensitive to the feelings of others. My mom always tells me I’m much like my Aunt Marybeth b/c we both are keenly aware of things that could be hurtful to others. So I feel like as a friend and person in general I try pretty hard not to be rude or insensitive or say things flippantly that could be hurtful even unintentionally. The downside to this though is that I tend to read into things and make the mistake of misinterpreting what OTHERS say. This is a major reason why I don’t like to use text message and I do not have a facebook. I feel like both of those methods of communication can easily lead to miscommunication and I myself even having been offended with out the other person even knowing, maybe not even meaning too. Immediately when my heart starts to sink and my mind begins to wander I know Satan is on the prowl to destroy a relationship. That’s what he loves to do right? He loves to divide friends and family. So I go to the Lord in prayer and ask for the strength to move beyond this and pray and seek Him for reassurance of where my confidence, worth, and value come from ultimately and that’s Him. Sometimes when I receive or see something that seems like a jab in my oh so sensitive spirit, the Katie in me wants to respond back and let that person know that what they said hurt. But the Bible says  A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 And I belive this goes two ways. 1 being that if you use harsh words it could stir up anger in the person you are directing them at. But for me, if I use a soft answer in response to something someone said to me, I avoid the anger that a harsh word I could have used might stir up within myself. If you think about it, the more you focus on something negative the more angry and bitter you begin to feel. It never makes you feel happy to speak harshly to or about someone. Atleast not me. I believe that’s the Holy Spirit at work within me. For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20

But while I’m writing on this subject I also want to challenge myself and those who may read this to think twice about comments you make and things you say. Maybe think two or three times in fact. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger….  James 1:19

This is one of my favorite verses and I love how the Amplified Bible translates it.  Ephesians 4:29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

When I look at my speech through the filter God views it, I can recognize that some serious change should occur. If we are striving to lift Him up in all we say, then anything that could be hurtful to one of his sons or daughters is offensive to Him. Did you know your speech can even be selfish? Making remarks that voice you only are concerned about YOU is not glorifying to Him. Because it’s not about us, it’s all about Him and what brings glory and honor to His name. So I’m going to re evaluate my speech, maybe even make some appologies to a few people. It may not even seem like a big deal to ourselves but could we have been offensive??? Should we seek to glorify God with our speech by not being selfish and hurtful to others. I think so. And I think this might be a good New Years Resolution, (if I may go all cheesy on you with the resolutions 😉 )

PS: I will post a blog with pictures from all the blessings of Christmas. Soon to come 😉

Down side of cold weather…

Okay so up until tonight I was ALL about the cool weather. It’s fun. You get to wear lots of layers, cute scarves, nice jacket if you own one 😉 sometimes it snows….. BUT when the roads get icey is when I’m not loving the cool weather. It was bad enough driving home from dropping Jason off at his first GA Christmas party with the guys. No lie I passed ATLEAST 5 accidents. And I pretty much drove 20 miles per hour and under from a city like 40 miles away. At one point I was on a bridge that was all icey and of course there was an accident so we were dead stopped on it and even just going like 2 miles an hour my car started sliding around. VERY SCARY. Finally we made it home though and I most definitely was thanking and praising God for that. But my evening gets better. If any of you know me well at all you know I’m a total baby when it comes to being alone. Basically I never am. I’ve never lived alone, never slept in a house alone, and don’t plan to ever. I’ll die from an anxiety attack before I fall asleep alone. So it’s 1:00 Titanic is almost over and Jason is stuck at his friends house because the guy lives on a big steep hill that’s totally iced over and they can’t leave. Let me just say and excuse my language but this SUCKS. I’m tired, I’m starting to get hungry again, I have a headache, probably from being tired, and I’m about to let Jake inside to keep me company. Which if you knew me you would know that’s desperation right there.

Baaaahhhh between my anxiety over Titanic sinking and being alone with all these noises,…. I’m gonna be a wreck in the morning =(

Random moments with the Grahams

Okay so this blog is just based on some things that happened recently that I captured on my crackphone. And I say crack phone because literally I cracked my iphone. 😦 I know, sad news right. I don’t even know if I was nice enough this year for Santa to bring me a new one 😉

Okay so cool thing happened Sunday. We woke up and we had snow flurries!!! And it got better, we were sitting in church and looked out the window and it was totally snowing. The girls were so excited and ok so were Jason and I. That was the first time they’d actually seen snow. It didn’t snow enough to cover the ground though so I don’t consider that their first real snow experience… I mean they didn’t get to build a snow man or even sled down a hill on a pizza box…. BUT it was still snowing and “I guess that’s pretty cool”.

Thanks mom for accidently bringing me Kendras coat. I would be freezing without it. Thanks Kendra!

As you can see M was trying to catch the snow =)

Okay and these next few pictures are just more places R decides to take a nap. And I think it’s pretty funny. The one on the pillows, we were getting ready for a Christmas program and she laid down after her bath and had her a little power nap.

Always has her Bama 🙂

Doesn’t look that comfy but she slept there for quite awhile. And of course M is glued to the tube.

I just love this hat that Jason got her. Apparently she had soaked through her diaper (in his care obviously 😉 ) and so he had to go to Target and buy her a new outfit and he did pretty good. Accesorizing with this hat. My man knows fashion.

 

And this is the marshmellow santa craft that Jason did with the girls. He drew the santa face and everything. Pretty good huh??

And that’s all of the latest random moments with the Grahams.

Trying to get Radical again

Okay so I neglected to mention in my blog, though many of you know it anyway, I never did finish David Platt’s book Radical. And if any of you out there are in the same boat of never having read through it entirely I totally sympathize with you. It’s not an easy book to read. I mean it’s written well and EASY to read but I guess what I mean is that it’s not easy to hear and take in and realize how right David is in a lot of what he has to say. But I can recognize that God uses different tools in our lives at different times in our lives and I’m thinking that when I first attempted to read Radical maybe it wasn’t the right season for me to read it. So I’m attempting to read it again and I’m determined to push through the whole book and take what God reveals to ME and apply it to how HE wants me to apply it to my life.

So I’ve made it to chapter 3. And actually chapter 1 and 2 aren’t all that “hard” to read. I actually recall not being frustrated until like halfway through the book. One thing I will say that is even if a person were to ONLY read chapter 1 and 2 or even just chapter 2 they would gain SO MUCH from those chapters. There is a lot of truth packed in there and you could take it and apply it easily even if you didn’t finish the book. I’m challenging Jason actually to read the first two chapters and then see where it takes him.

I guess I’m just throwing it out there to everyone to try and get Radical for Jesus. He’s worth it. And maybe even try to read David Platt’s book. Or another great one I love is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. And if you’ve tried before and weren’t feeling it, maybe you can try again. Because like I said, we go through different seasons and things can look and hear different to us. Anyway, just an encouraging word about reading. And don’t forget to read the LIVING Word. =) And on that note, try going to Biblegateway.com and looking at different translations. I was looking at The Message this morning and the CEV and it was cool to read some of my favorite passages in different translations.

Okay, that’s all. Have a Jesus filled day! (as my mother always tells me 😉 )

Dallas parade

So we braved the cold weather for the parade in downtown Dallas. It was freeeeezing and I dont even own a winter coat yet. Not to mention I didn’t really check the weather, to ensure I had the girls properly dressed. I haven’t gotten used to needing to check the weather yet. In Florida it was Hot Hot or Hotter. Here the weather actually varies. Anyway, didn’t bring jackets for anyone, luckily I had M’s in the car and then as you’ll see below, R and I shared Jasons. It was a pretty cool parade except that we were all hyped to see Santa and he and Mrs. Clause literally hopped out of the slay 15ft in front of where he would have swung around to see us. Ridiculous….. but I really wasn’t that sad…. I was super excited and impressed by how much the parade was NOT about Santa and recognition was given to Jesus and the fact that it’s HIS birthday. It was so awesome. There was a GIANT Semi pulling a GIANT trailor that was decked out with a cross and nativity scene and Jesus and Mary and Jospeh. In FL I feel like you would never see that. Heck, your local grocer can’t even say Merry Christmas it’s got to be Happy Holidays. Well I can’t tell you how REFRESHING (yes Erica, I used my favorite word hehe, I know you caught that 😉 ) it is to hear Merry Christmas every where you go. I just love it here.

 

Candy makes this child so happy 😉

Trimming the Tree

I mean that quite literally too. I kind of feel like we’re the last to get our tree up… atleast around here. These Georgians are on the ball! I’m talking the day after Thanksgiving they’ve got there tree lit and lights on the house. Well Jason and I knew when we moved in that our artificial tree was going to be a challenge. It’s weird, we have lots of space but no place to put this massive tree. First of all, our ceilings are 9 ft all around. (The tree is 9 ft….) With the exception of our foyer where the ceiling is like 20ft high. But the tree was far to big AROUND to stick in the middle of our entry way…. even with the hall being as big as it is. Because we have a pretty massive entry/hall way. So anyway after moving furniture and trying to think of WTH are we gonna put this ginormous tree…. we….. gave up. And then after I couldn’t talk Jason into buying a real tree, (he has this story about being allergic?? I dont know if it’s legit but whatever 😉 ) we started to brainstorm again. We thought maybe if we only use HALF of the tree. You see our tree comes apart into a million branches and 2 poles to hold all the branches and make it stand up. Well if you only use half then you have like a 5 foot tree. Not cool. So I said well why dont we stick the tree up on some sort of platform. Well we did that…. and it looked ridiculous. I mean really, dumb. And Jason tried to be like “Well once you get presents around it it wont be that noticeable.. Yeah right. Not happening. So theeeenn I came up with this B-Rilliant idea to try and cut one of the two poles to make it just a couple feet shorter. So Jason goes into the garage and starts a sawing. Comes back and we were totally thinking the top pole would still slide easily into the bottom pole, even though we cut it. Not so much. Jason: “Katie, get my hammer.” He goes to town on the top pole trying to bang it into the bottom. Finally we break some ground and it starts sliding in inch by inch. Katie to Jason: “Whelp, looks like the tree will have to go in the attic put together because it definitely is not coming apart now.” Sooooo then we finally get all the right size branches on and I can’t even tell you how excited I was about it being the perfect size. And we got to decorating and it looks so awesome! The girls had fun hanging up their ornaments. R had this one limb that she would hang 20 balls on lol. And M…. well she’s still decorating here there by taking one off and putting it back on. Now that I know we have a Christmas tree I plan to go ahead and take the girls to purchase their first ornaments that they will pick out on their very own. Yay yay yay! I wish I could leave my decorations up all year around. It makes the house so cozy and cheery. =) I love it! And here are some pictures of course of the whole process. 

 

R and Bama waiting for daddy to finish with the pretty lights.

so excited to hang ornaments 🙂 🙂

Big helpers

showing Bama the almost finished product.

I wanted R to be in this picture too but…..

I should have an album of all the places R randomly takes a snooze. They came in here to read and I noticed M was in her room but I couldn’t hear R. That’s because she fell asleep in my quiet time spot. So I covered her with her cozy Bama blankey and turned on the fire place for her. I just love this room. 🙂

And here it is. Totally worth all the crazy hoops we jumped through.

Before church. She just looks to cute with her pony right? Love these outfits NeeNee got them.