Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Evidence of God’s Love

I would like to take a moment and wish a Happy Father’s Day to dads.  Today will be bitter sweet as I remember my dad and grandfather treasuring the moments with my hubby.

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message…..

Our hotel room had a small balcony that overlooked the swimming pool. Early one lazy vacation morning, I grabbed my journal, Bible, and a fresh cup of coffee then headed to the balcony for some quiet time.

As I settled in, movement by the pool caught my eye. I watched as a maintenance man approached a palm tree and briskly pulled a brown, life-less branch from underneath the green leaves. Oddly, before he pulled the dead branch off, I hadn’t even noticed it was there.

After he pulled it off, however, the palm tree looked fresh and vibrant.

Seriously.

The pruning made such a difference!

Jesus spoke to His disciples and said,

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  (John 15:1-8, NIV)

Whom we spend time with really matters.

And what we say and do and how we say and do it also really matters.

Stay with me here! Don’t let the familiarity of this Scripture fade the impact it has on you.

I understand to my core how horrible it feels when my walk and my talk do not line up. Withered branches in my heart constantly need to pulled off and thrown away. You too?

In order to experience the blessings and power of God’s Spirit in our lives we must root our faith deep in the soil of God’s Word and then allow His truth to produce fruits that are ripe with evidence of His love. These fruits are clearly seen (or not) at the intersection of our faith and our actions. I’ve found that when I have those I-just-want-to-scream-because-everyone-in-the-world-is-on-my-last-nerve days God meets me with His grace when I whisper His name.

God will deepen the roots and increase the fruits of your faith as you spend time talking to Him early in the morning over a hot mug of coffee. When you pray and worship on the way to work or on your powerwalk. When you feel a prick of conviction in your heart about that behavior – or about that response – that tone – that act of disobedience. When you call out to Him for patience and strength as your teenager slams his door in rebellion – or when your adult daughter “forgets the morals she was raised with” and moves in with her boyfriend – or when frustrations mount up at work.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self control. To bring glory to God, this fruit of His Spirit must be seen in our lives.

Unfortunately, we have a keen ability to rationalize our less-than-fruitful behaviors.

But he… But she… But they… I just can’t…

Fortunately, God doesn’t expect us to behave like this without Him. In fact, we simply can’t. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. Remember? (v5) But when we remain in Him – when we seek Him, obey Him, savor His presence, live for His glory, and prioritize Him above all else – we can and will make a big impact for God and experience the joy and peace we all long for.

The maintenance man at the resort didn’t pull the branch off to hurt the palm tree.

He pruned it to increase its beauty, health, and vibrancy. God does the same for us. He prunes His children to increase our beauty, health and vibrancy for our good and for His glory – to make us more useful to Him and more fruitful.

Pause to ponder this question: Are there any dead branches hanging on your tree?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Thirty One Business

Friday the 13th

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Are you superstitious? Do you dread this day each time it rolls around? I used to be one of those people. I used negative words to describe the day and the outcome – “I got negative results”. I was surprised by the origins of this “dreaded day”:

The origins are as mysterious as the day itself, although it’s thought to stem from two separate fears that amalgamate every now and again to frighten us. Yup, the number 13 and Friday (apparently) have long been considered to be unlucky in their own right.

REALLY, Fridays were considered unlucky too?  I always thought Fridays were GREAT days. As an employee, it traditionally was pay day with the exception of my years at the casinos, so what’s bad about that? For those that have a Monday – Friday JOB, it means the end of the work week and the start of two days of NO WORK! As for those of us in direct sales, Fridays are always good because they are traditionally our busy party nights.

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As for the number 13, this is what they had to say:

The number 13 has always been seen as a bit of an unfriendly number. In numerology it is irregular, transgressing the completeness of perfect 12 (for example, 12 months of the year and 12 signs of the zodiac).

Okay, I am not sure what to say about this. I do know that most builders do not include a 13th floor in the hotels or skyscrapers to avoid the negative energy that it creates in many people. I mean, would you rent a room or an office on the 13th floor?

A few years ago, I started changing the way that I looked at Friday the 13th. I started thinking of it as just another day – a day like any other day. I LOVE thinking about it as “31” in reverse.  Okay, occasionally Negative Nellie will make a passing comment but overall positive thoughts prevail.

What are you doing on this Friday the 13th? I am hosting a special to my VIP customers and hostesses at Hope’s Purse Closet (as well as those who read my blog):

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Better yet, if you place an order of $35 you can take advantage of the AWESOME May special.

To place an order, you can email, text, call or PM me on Facebook to place your order and receive your discount. I am turning a negative into a positive today, what about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Travel Tips

Traveling with Kids

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Summer will be quickly upon us and for many that means VACATION!!!!  Whether it is a day trip or a road trip. Whether it is a 1 hour ride or a 12 hour ride; keeping the kids busy and happy can always a challenge.  Belinda always used to fall asleep on long rides so we didn’t hear a lot of the “are we there yet?”.  She was just like me – I was (and still am) asleep about an hour into riding as a passenger on a long trip. Belinda loved staying at hotels as long as they had a pool and room service but what kid doesn’t, right?

Traveling can be tough on kids, which makes it tough on parents.  So here are some tips to help while on the road or when you arrive at the hotel.

Snacks. Picking on snacks and road trips seem to go hand and hand in our family.  I can remember snack bags being packed even as a child when we were on the road.  Bring the ones your tot likes at home it will save some money, and have some healthy options, and eliminate LOTS of food stops.  Let each child have their own bag filled with snacks

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Activities:  Whether you are on the road or in the hotel, you want to have some of your children’s favorite toys or movies (within reason). Give your kids something familiar to play with by letting them choose a favorite toy to bring along.  Let them pack their own activity bag:

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I love this suggestion from one of my readers….

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Now, you arrive at the hotel – for some kids (not mine) it can be hard to get comfortable. But there are lots of ways to bring a bit of home with you – without bringing your whole house along – that will help your kid feel more at ease and get a better night’s sleep.

Bedding:  Wouldn’t you sleep better with your own pillow or a blanket? For kids who crave consistency and routine, these homey touches can make a bland hotel room much more appealing.

Bedtime routine is usually tossed out the window when we travel, right?  But taking the time to read a book, or sing a song, or whatever your child loves to do before drifting off to sleep will help.

Bring their favorite sleep item. Belinda has puppy.  Puppy went on every trip from the tip she was 2. In fact, puppy traveled to college and if I were to ask her now that she is married where puppy is, I am sure he has a special spot in her home.  Make sure you bring that something special that comforts them at night.

What do you bring with you to help your kids feel at home on the road? Share in the comments.