No! Not My Coupon Folder…Beth Farley

No! Not My Coupon Folder!!!securedownload-4

A few weeks before I moved to Texas my daughter gave me a crash course on extreme couponing. I took notes, clipped my coupons, browsed the web sites and became hooked. I didn’t think I’d become a “stockpiler” but guess what? I am. I am unemployed with very little means of money so this is a way of saving, BIG TIME. I only stock pile on things that we can use. Anything beyond that boundary is donated to the food pantry down the road.

I had an unsettling day this week. I was so distracted by the chatter in my head. I couldn’t settle down to my devotions or Bible reading time. I was bopping all over the house, trying to keep busy from my feelings. Have you ever been there?

There was one thing though that was pulling me towards sitting at the table; it was my desire to do my coupon clipping. I made a cup of coffee, started clipping and sorting and stacking. I began to feel peaceful and content.

Once this blissful task was done, which by the way, takes quite a bit of time, I went over to my desk to get my purple coupon folder only to find it wasn’t there. I went out to my car and checked under the seats, in the trunk and glove compartment. I retraced my steps for at least 45 minutes. My body was gripped with frustration and anxiety. I was frantically looking for my purple folder. All of the Sunday coupons were in that folder. I had not even redeemed half of them yet. I think I might have even spewed a few unnecessary words while in my crazy attempt at finding the folder.

Plopping on the couch and feeling deflated, I realized that I had been so engulfed in the tantalizing coupon folder that I kinda felt ashamed of my behavior. I had not done my devotions. I had not looked at my Bible. I had not prayed nor done any writing which God had called me to do. Why hadn’t I been as passionate about spending time with God this day as I had been about trying to find my coupon folder?

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been so engulfed in something that you just can’t wait to dig in? You know, the Sunday football game, your golf game, your pedicure, shopping or craft project; these are all great things and God wants us to enjoy them but we all know as Christian we need to find the balance.

John 10:10…A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. HCSB

One of the greatest things about being human is our tenacity. Life goes on. Sometimes worse for the wear, sometimes better for our efforts, but it always goes on. God takes these things, these daily distractions and files them under the category of “GRACE”.

We are human; He is ALL. We make mistakes; He fixes them. We get distracted; He pulls us closer.

There are times where you just have to drop the whole thing and start again. The purple folder is still missing but today I’m writing. Today I’ve spent time with Him and today…I set out for a new folder….

Psalm 96:1
Sing a new song to the LORD Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

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Hanging with Debbie-Downers?

Who Have You Been Spending Your Time With?

Thought for the day: Does it matter who we spend the majority of our time with?

It was so incredibly refreshing to spend some time with a Christian today; someone who was not afraid to share his testimony and life. Someone who was positive and not a Debbie-Downer!

In the same way that we spend time with God, we should also spend time with other Christians. In doing so, we will become encouraged in our faith and realize that we are not the only ones that are struggling with life’s issues.

Beyond being encouraged by other Christians, we are also instructed to engage in fellowship with other Christians. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to assemble with other believers.

We are all a part of God’s family; maybe we’re not part of the same congregation, but God is not just about church family. Spend time with all Christians. We need each other in order to function properly. Ephesians 2:19 and Romans 12:5 talks about this.

When I need encouragement, I’d rather talk to one of my Christian friends. I know they will pray for me as I would for them. They will walk with me during difficult times. Hebrews 10:24.

We also need to hang together because there is so much negative influence in the world. When we spend time with other believers it helps us to re-focus. Our friends will affect us, whether positively or negatively. Choosing to spend time with those who really care, who will pray for you and are upbeat, is God’s way of working in us.

I don’t often share my struggles with others; call it pride or just my being introverted; but when I have the opportunity to share with other Christians of how I have triumphed through my own struggles, it not only helps me grow but them as well.

Relationships that are rooted in God’s truth exhibits love and understanding and demonstrates that we truly belong to God. John 13:34-35.

As you make the decision of who you want to spend your time with, remember to ask God to help you select the right friends. He will be glad to provide wisdom and discernment as you choose.women studying bible

Digging Deeper

How Can I Help?

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It’s awful when you have a loved one or a good friend or even a great charitable organization that needs your financial help and you simply just don’t have the money to give.  I’ve been in this situation several times. I’ve wanted to give financially but was unable to do so. You?

Recently I found myself saying, “God knows the situation and will provide. Just have faith.” But in all reality, I wanted to be able to be the provider but the request was too big for me. There was no way I could do it.

As parents, friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, Aunts, Uncles and grandparents, we find that we want to be the fixer of a financial mess for someone but at times might not be in the situation to help out. So, how can we help them and relay that God is the one that is providing?

Through faith and prayer,we can take their struggles to God. We can request that He watch over them and meet their need.We can always pray for a situation; nothing is too big or too small for God. I remember a time when some sweet lady-friends brought me a coffee and prayed with me right in my dining room. To this day, the memory still warms my heart.

Did you ever think that God may have put you in the situation to increase your faith? It may be a battle between your flesh and His will. Sometimes we have to give with blind faith.  I thought about that the times that I reached deeper into my own 1/2 empty pockets and helped out anyway.

Also, what if God is drawing this person closer to Him? I’ve been so broke that I was digging into the change jar for a can of formula for my baby. (Many years ago) I prayed so hard for money to come in and it always did one way or another. I just had to have faith in Jesus.

It’s all about discernment. We have to have the knowledge and discernment on how to handle the situation. Do we dig deeper or not? If you are in this situation and don’t have the money to give, know that God will always be ready to hear our prayers and guide you.

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Philippines 1:9-10  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

Raw Oysters and God

Finding Adventure with Raw Oysters

I’m experiencing a whole new adventure in my life. I’m in awe with the things I’ve take part of, places I’m visiting and people I’m meeting. Are you enjoying your life? Are you counting each day as a blessing? Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

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Recently I had the opportunity to eat some local raw oysters!. I was instructed to chew three times then swallow. With twisted lips and rolling eyes, I did it! Chew! Chew! Chew! SWALLOW! Wide eyed-ready to reach for my full glass of water to chase it down, I stopped and realized that I like raw oysters! I was astonished with the whole experience

I had an epiphany while swallowing. I immediately thought to myself, how many times do I forget to be thankful for my new experiences? Do I take them for granted? I was suddenly owning up to the fact that I forget to thank God for the little things in life; swallowing oysters whole, the sound of the rain on the trees, the fire crackling in the camp fireplace.

It’s pretty common that we don’t thank God while we’re struggling in life. No one can really be thankful while being diagnosed with a deathly illness or have lost a job. But, have you ever found yourself forgetting to be thankful for the little things in life? I’m trying very hard to not miss an experience. I’m trying to be thankful at the end of the day while resting with God. I’ve even made myself a thankful journal that I write in most days. Being thankful is so important to our growth in our spiritual lives.

In order to be thankful with the BIG and the SMALL we have to trust in the Sovereignty of God.

When you feel as though you’re struggling with being thankful remember that
1) God is in control of whatever is happening. Just thank Him for that.
2) Whether or not we see it or understand it, there is purpose and be thankful for it.
3) Fear and doubt are conquered by faith and a grateful heart.20150723_084756

Are You the Other Woman?

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Ladies, have you ever caught yourself wanting to be like her? Worse yet, did you ever attempt to be her?

Oh how often I have made a rash decision to try to become the other woman. You know the thin one, the one with the straight white teeth and perfect skin? How about the one who holds down the corporate job, has dinner on the table and still has time to read to her children before going to bed?

Have you ever tried to be the woman who wants what she wants and won’t stop until she gets it even if it’s the woman you can never be? I know I have and it did nothing but compromise my values and torture my heart. I wanted it so badly that I would have compromised my worth. That’s a deep dark want.

I don’t have him. I can’t have him. I don’t have that house; I can’t have that house. I don’t have that waistline and I most certainly can’t have that waistline at the age of 53. I don’t have that income nor those perfect crisp clothes.

BUT I DO HAVE…

An all loving God that knows what I want is NOT what’s best for me. He hears my sad voice crying and pleading and sometimes downright arguing with Him about something that I really want…and yet…He continues to love me and forgives me for wanting what is just not to meant to be mine.

What should I do?

Be happy with being single. Be happy with my little apartment. Be happy with my job choice and be happy being near family. I should be happy with the woman God created me to be, whatever that means. Single, maybe a little overweight, alone most often and private? Sure, why not. If that is how I’m supposed to be and if that’s good enough for God, then why am I not good enough for me?

OH WAIT!!!

I am happy being single. I am happy with my little apartment. I am happy with my job choice and I am happy being near my family; I am happy being a little overweight and I am happy being alone most times. I am good enough for me.

If you are struggling with trying to be the other woman, please don’t let the desire compromise who you really are. We are all given talents and abilities and if we would just learn to work with what we’ve been given, then we would be a much happier woman and feel good enough for ourselves.

Slow Down the Rapid Information

ID-10083723I know that I write a lot about the benefits of meditation, but I just can’t help it. I find meditation to draw me closer to my mind’s thankfulness. It draws me closer to God and removes the fog that wants to settle into my mind.  What do you do when your brain is on overload or in a constant fog?

Several years back, as a librarian,  I went to a Seminar on book-talking. I was so nervous. I had not had much experience with public speaking and my boss was with me. Before it was my turn to get up and market my selection of books to a bunch of teen’s, which was way out of my comfort zone, I began to breathe deeply and meditate on the goodness of the opportunity, and  not the stress of watching the teens roll their eyes at me. This was my first “dabble” with meditation.

If our bran is on overload and struggling to achieve calmness, learning meditation is beneficial. Training attention through meditation helps us to control rapidly arriving incoming information. Information is everywhere we hear and look. It’s purpose is to help us but it does nothing but bombard us; overwhelms us and leaves us feeling foggy, anxious and exhausted.

Another, more personal example of the benefits of meditation that I’d like to share is my triumphant story.  I was incredibly sick three years ago with a kidney disease. It was painful and almost robbed me of my sanity and life. I was put on a two-and-a-half-year regimen of intrusive medicines which caused a lot of memory fog, body pain and sadness. In helping my overall well-being, I found that putting myself in the moment, striving for clear thoughts and peace so I began meditating. It brought me calmness and composure. BUT…when I took my meditation a step further by focusing on God’s promises for me, I really began to feel at peace; whole and complete.

Before I even get to my cross-legged pose and shut my eyes, I ask My Creator to relax my body and soul so that I can rid the negative and invite His positive. If we empty our thoughts when arising negativity begins to invade us over and over again, we don’t have to feel overcome by them; defined by them, or act on them. Meditate on God’s love for you and release the negativity.When we release the abrasive thoughts,  we are at the cross roads of our recovery. This release allows us to be more thankful to God for guiding us this far in our peaceful meditation especially when faced with turbulent times.

 

What are your thoughts on meditation? If you meditate, do you allow God into your being to help you focus on His goodness? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join us in our conversation about meditation as I host on Livingbygrace. livingbygracepic-jp

God, I sit and focus on the beauty and goodness around me. I thank you for the unending invitation to come to you for help in processing all of the rapid information that impedes my bran every day. Helpmeet to remember that I am not defined by the yucky things in my life, but rather the love you instill in me.

Recycle Me for Your Service

Recycled into Service

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Do you ever feel you’re not good enough to help others? Feel like you have too many flaws? Too much sin?

During different seasons of my life, I have felt as though I have had nothing to offer others, or I have felt very unworthy to help them. Have you ever been there?

But, I find that nothing can be further from the truth. In being more tuned into my life now, I find that I have these flaws in order to reach out to others that might be struggling with the same issues. My sins and hurts can be recycled into helping someone else. I love that.

Look at how today, we can take an old dirty, dented or even mangled can, melt it down and purify it into something fresh and useful. Well, aren’t we the same way?

God will take our destructive abrasive behavior and turn it into something fresh and new but only if we succumb to the process. It doesn’t happen without some work. We have to be able to go the distance allowing Him to remove our sanctimonious, self-indulgent, and mangled hearts and recycle them into helpful soldiers.

Our lives can be a continuous recycling project. The process leads us into service, helping others, praying for others, and reaching out to others. We need to share our victories.

Are you needing to be broken down and purified for His service? Is there someone who needs to hear your hurt?

“God, help us to bring all of our hurts and sins to you for the recycling purifying process to serve others.”beth 3

You Really Made me Angry…Beth Farley

I’m angry and that’s it!

How may times have you walked away from a frustrating situation or person with that attitude?

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Why are we so afraid to be angry? We tell others that we are “no longer angry” with this or that. Well let me tell ya, I’m angry right now and I believe it’s okay to be that way. Why do we have such an issue with being angry? And, there is a variety of reason’s as to why we hide it.

We don’t give ourselves permission to allow anger to come into our awareness at first. As Christians, we feel we are not supposed to be angry and we are supposed to give it all to God and poof!!! It’s gone. Well, it doesn’t work that way.Bible_paper

In my Understanding my anger sometimes doesn’t go away; it sits in layers under the surface, waiting of me to become ready, safe, and strong enough to deal with it. When I am strong enough and ready to deal with it; I most often learn something really healthy and wholesome about myself.

I come to understand that I may want to punish them or myself. I come to understand that  I might want to act out inappropriately with  them or myself. It brings me into focus of my repetition of unhealthy behavior. It allows me to forgive and let the person go that is causing so much pain in my life.

We have the right to be angry. I am overwrought about all of the killings in this country. I fume about fellow Christians being killed for their faith. I am outraged that our children can’t be safe in schools any more. I am bristling that we still do not have a cure for cancer. I am boiling about poverty and children going without shoes. What does all of this anger do to me?

It makes me struggle but not succumb to it. It brings me to my knees in prayer for  situations that I need to pray about. It makes me realize that sometimes there are no “quick fixes” to right the balance. Although I want to raise my fist in protect, a multitude of problems will relate to my immediate impulse to lash out. My anger is warranted but not necessarily helpful.

What can we do?

In the short-term anger state you can:

1. Restore yourself some resemblance of control: in other words, it’s okay to be angry but you are not in control of their actions, only your feelings. Don’t allow the anger to take you to a place where you suddenly feel out of control.

2. Relax as the anger is the emotion that prepares your entire body for the fight vs. flight syndrome. Find a way to discharge this non-productive “fighting energy” before you do anything else.

3. Pray: Bring the anger to God. Allow Him to soothe your soul. Allow Him to bring scriptures to your heart and mind so that you will be armed when the enemy wants to attack your emotions. Pray about the situations that are making you so darn mad.

4. Re-Assess: Go back and get yourself a good look at the situation that proved the anger. Try to take a different, more positive, perspective. Ask yourself some questions about what is making you angry. Don’t assume that there are any right or wrong questions either. Re-focus your attention on what’s good, peaceful and right in your own life. A more level-headed assessment of the situation of what triggered your anger is essential to eliminate it.

Everybody has to deal with anger from time to time. No one is exempt.

There is a scripture that I really love and try to adhere to:

Ephesians 4:27-27, When angry, do not sin, do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. Refuse to give the devil any opportunity to get a foothold in your life through anger. {Amplified}

All anger, regardless of its cause, has the same effect on our lives. It upsets us, causing us to feel pressure. Don’t keep it locked up inside or pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s very dangerous to our health. Most of the time we’re only hurting ourselves, and the person who angered us isn’t even aware of it.

Ask yourself, “Are you going to allow him/her to make you feel bitter or better? I am striving for a positive way of processing my anger. What works for me may not work for you, so it’s important to find your own, healthy way, God’s way for you to overcome your anger.

What are you angry about today? Is there someone you need to release?20150717_185259-2

Stop Being so Fake…Beth Farley

I was taking some pictures of my mom’s flowers in her yard. Her orange lily was so vibrant that it almost looked fake. Once I really looked at the picture, I felt some words welling up in me about being artificial ourselves. 20150713_12351920150716_123158-2

What is it with people being so fake? Just when you think you might know a person, they turn out to be someone you never imagined! How can you avoid getting close to someone, friend or companion that might actually be bogus?

Am I just a poor judge of character or just a magnet for fraudulant people to be attracted to? I am really trying to figure these questions out. Who is going to be genuine to me and who is going to be fake? It’s about meeting new people and not getting sucker-punched by them. It’s about developing a friendship; that’s all.

Since my move over a year ago, I’ve had the priveledge of meeting tons of people. I stayed in Texas and met some really sweet women and then I met a woman who became incredibly fake. It hurt. I thought she was my new friend. I was left in the dark wondering where she came from?

I’ve recently felt that way with some people that have crossed my path in Maine just since January. Is it me? Do I expect too much? I try to decipher who is nice from who is fake without thinking of the people who have let me down; another words, I try hard not to compare. But I do however slip from time to time.

I have put my radar out for the fake’s that are coming into my life. They may be amazing people for a week or even a month but then they show themselves, their true phony selves. You try to see them as when you first met; you thought they were good and genuine but only to find yourself asking, “What happened? Who are they really”

So, here is what I’ve figured out recently: My thoughts, not necessarily Biblical.

Nice is genuine, fake is insincere.
Nice is being a good person, fake is trying to be a quick make-believe friend or more.
Nice is holding the door open; fake is slamming it halfway there.
Nice is being friendly but not-in-your-face, over-done friendly.
Nice is being loving without conditions.
Nice is accepting of who you are with all of your perfections and imperfections.

What does God say about being fake?

Don’t be a hyprocrite. he tells us to first take the plank out of our own eyes ,then we will see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:4-5)

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrite’s!  You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. (Matthew 23:13-14)

Another words; being fake is being a hyprocrite. I am who I am. I have my flaws and I have my strengths. I do not pretend to be someone I am not. I do not want anyone in my life that is not genuine with their own flaws. Please don’t give me any fabricated stories. Just be yourself; truthful.

I’m not a film star, I am an actress.
Being a film star is such a false life, lived for fake values and for publicity. Vivienne Leigh

Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.
Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible
but the mark of a fake messiah. Richard Bach

What are your thoughts on being fake? Have you caught yourself being a little counterfeit lately? 20150717_185259-2

Gettin Gone…It’s the Simple Pleasures…Beth Farley

 

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As we sat this morning eating our breakfast, I asked, “How’s your truck-tire, aka a donut?” He replied, “Its gettin gone.” I knew what he meant but others might not. He was implying that the donut was delicious and almost done. It’s the simple things in life that gives him pleasure.donut-179983_640

Are you caught up in worldly stuff or materialistic things? Are you needing to simplify?

My client with Alzheimer’s most often indirectly helps me grasp what’s real in life; relationships, fun in the sun, long car rides without a destination in mind and enjoying a meal with friends and family.

So often we get caught up and down-right-lost in the things that really don’t mean anything at all. Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. Job 1:21 NIV

If you’ve thought anything about simplicity, you may have been led to believe it’s a panacea for everything in life. After all, what good can’t come from simplifying? I’ve read numerous articles on how simplifying will promise better relationships, less stress, increased productivity and personal empowerment. Is this true?

Yes, all of those things are true, I’m living it.  Eleven years ago I had to sell my 40 acre farm with all of the furnishings. Then I bought a small home only to find myself selling that a year later. That’s not the end of it though. Several years after that, I sold but yet another home and I gave away all of my furniture, sold items and headed North with nothing but my clothes, a few personal heirlooms and my dignity.

At first I was compelled to constantly and negatively  focus on what I had to give up to feel complete but as soon as I started living my life without that thought and surrendered my feelings to God, I became less resistant to the procedure.

Simplifying helped me to do the following:

1. Focus on what’s important for my body, mind and spirit.
2. Achieve things in small steps by weeding out the bad things.
3. Realize that simplicity takes time but if I was truly ready to invest, I would not stray too far from what my outlined path.
4. Helped me realize that I can focus on a commitment to myself. (I’m worth it)

Simplifying empowered me and brought me joy!

I don’t mourn what I’ve sold or lost. I don’t mourn the things that are not meant to be mine. I don’t worry about all of the things that are not in my control, which are many.

I now find great pleasure in spending time with my client who likes long rides to nowhere, smiles at the sun shining on his face and enjoys making his truck-tire-donuts “gettin gone.”

Needing to give something up? Have you recently simplified? I would like to hear how you’ve achieved this. Please join us on livingbygrace as I host the topic of simplifying.livingbygracepic.jp

Lessons Learned from Squishy Clam Sand…Beth Farley

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Lessons Learned from Squishy Clam Sand; It was a Good Time After all.

An anticipated day at the beach turned into a fun day spent with squishy clam sand.

I was so disappointed when I hung a left turn towards the beach and found the local police directing traffic towards the opposite direction. What a huge bummer. I was all packed with towel and sunblock ready to hit the waves but the beach was CLOSED.

How do you handle disappointments?

We headed back into town and tried one more spot. Knowing it would not have waves was okay, but what I saw was NOT at all what I was expecting. We pulled up and excitedly moved towards the beach. Within minutes I noticed that it reeked of bad clams and looked like black squishy mud. Determined to remain positive and playful, I marched forward in anticipation of what I might learn about this experience.

He held my hand as I jumped onto the extremely hot sand with broken shells. We found a spot on the other side of the beach and just looked at the low tide in disbelief. But, rather than sulk, we playfully made our way through the black murky clam mud making our way towards the clear ocean water.  Once we were in the water, I felt like I had been transported from muck to delight. It was magical. I could see right through the water. I could see our smiles looking at me through the reflection and I it was then that I decided to be okay with the change of beach and enjoy the playful afternoon ahead of me.

Sometimes life just throws us smelly situations that we have no desire to dredge through. I get it. I’ve been there so many times. I’ve had times where it was much more fun riding the wave than walking through the slimy junk.

If only we could just hold onto perseverance never despairing; never giving into the negativity or allowing the doubts to bombard us; that would be a perfect world, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

When I looked down at my feet getting all muddy as they were sinking into the warm squishy mucky clam sand, I found myself smiling. I found myself accepting this new experience. We made our way back to the blanket. I had lotion put on my back, had great effortless conversation and shared a fun experience…All because I changed my perspective.

If you’re running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you’re trying to master a new language, try it one word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you’ll find that no job is all that intimidating. Charles Swindle

Needing to change your perspective about a disappointment?

Hang on, the tide will come back in.20150714_072413