Search Results for: label/contentment

The Repurposed & Upcycled Life {book review}

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I was so excited to have the opportunity to read this book written by Michelle Rayburn called Repurposed And Upcycled Life. Don’t you love the cover and the title?? Me, too.

This book was the encouragement I’ve been needing for the past few weeks. The truths in this book, as well as the heart behind them, really resonated with where I’m at right now in life. I am so thankful that God doesn’t ever finish working on us here on earth!! I’m so thankful that what He starts, He has promised to complete! (Phil. 1:6)

This book encourages us to remember that we are a work in progress…to not be disappointed in ourselves for not being perfect, to let go of the guilt that plagues our every mistake, to find hope in the God who promises to change us  more and more into His image. I don’t know about you, but I need to hear those truths time and time again.

It seems like God is doing a work in my heart lately…I mean, He is always at work, but sometimes in my humanness, I don’t always catch on. I’m very aware that He is stretching me and growing me in the area of contentment. And because He is at work, this covers so much more than just the simple word “contentment.” I want to be more content with where God has me – my personality, my home, my children, my church, etc. Because I want to be content, I want to spend less…so we are learning how to be more frugal, to spend differently, to eat differently. Contentment encompasses so many things for me!

This book reminded me a lot of my chair that I painted recently. You may remember that I wrote more about it here.

One thing that this book ~ and God ~ have both been reminding me of is that God can take the messes and mistakes I have made and turn it into a message to the world that will bring Him glory. He can actually use messed up me, even in my weaknesses. I don’t have to have learned everything there is to learn before He can use me. I don’t have to have “gotten past it” for Him to grow me and use me for His glory.

Like this imperfectly painted chair, sometimes the distressed parts, the damaged spots, the holes…sometimes, God can shine through those places even more brightly. In my weakness, He is strong. 

Oh how that truth gives me hope! Doesn’t it you? The brokenness in our lives, God can take it and show the world how He can mend us and turn us into something new. God is in the business of doing a new thing.

I think sometimes it is hard for me to remember this on a daily, moment-to-moment basis. In the middle of a frustration with my children and I lose my patience and yell at them…then later feel such guilt…then later go on to feel like the biggest failure as a mother…in those moments, I forget that God isn’t finished with me yet. I forget that  He is at work – even in those ugly moments.

Reading books like this one, memorizing Scripture, staying in the Word…these are all ways that I’m seeking to keep my focus. I hope you will be encouraged also!! God is not through with you yet!!

CONTEST: Please leave a comment HERE on my blog to be entered into Michelle Rayburn’s Blog Tour grand prize contest!! It would be fun to have the winner come from His Mercy is New! :)

Here is a picture of what you could win!! Fun!!


Almost Amish, The Dirty Life & thoughts on simplicity

{This post may contain affiliate links of items that I personally have used and loved. Thank you for your support of this blog and our family by purchasing through our links.}

I have read and heard mixed reviews of the book, Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. But, I was eager to read this book, nonetheless, because I think simplicity and contentment go hand in hand. Contentment is my word and focus for 2013.

As soon as I finished Almost Amish, I picked up The Dirty Life, which one of my friends said she liked better than Almost Amish. So, I was intrigued!! Thankfully our library had both of these books! Surprisingly, though the 2 books are VERY different, I loved them both!! I literally could not believe how much the author had to study (though she was well educated,) and learn and DO day in and day out just to keep things moving when starting their farm.

The Dirty Life is more of a memoir  of the author’s life after she married and they started a huge farm. It is so fascinating. What I learned from her story is HOW MUCH WORK goes into it all. Honestly, I think I’m too lazy to be a farmer! ugh!

Almost Amish shares from a Christian perspective about caring for God’s creation, living more simply to help others more, and from a historical standpoint sharing about the Amish.

These books have me wanting to move out into the country and grow all our own food!! ha!

But, in all honesty, I crave a more simple life. In many ways, I have tried to be more proactive in living a simpler, more frugal & healthy lifestyle recently. I have worked on creating more things at home: lotion, laundry soap & liquid soap, cooking more, etc. For me, living a simpler life doesn’t always mean EASY or CONVENIENT. But, simpler in ingredients, more simple in where these things come from, more simple means more healthy for us, more frugal.

This is one of my favorite quotes and it applies here so very much:
Live more simply so that others can simply live. 

If we are living more simply, don’t we have more room in our lives to give??

But, sometimes more SIMPLE means more WORK. Kind of doesn’t make a lot of sense at times. :)

In Almost Amish, the author, Nancy Sleeth, shares many ways that she has learned a more simple life from the Amish:

  • faith: small, community churches that meet in homes
  • schools: small, community schools with all decisions made by that small community of families
  • food: they grow and make themselves and share with neighbors
  • homes: no clutter, good quality items that will pass from generation to generation
  • technology: doing without, staying close to families and friends, no distractions of facebook to keep them away from living their daily lives
  • family: staying close to family when we can, to help each other and give support, share items, etc.
  • neighbors: get to know your neighbors, be willing to share, give and receive and grow these relationships
These things all fascinate me and I find myself wanting to live this life. But, exactly how to get there is beyond me.

When pondering simplicity, I immediately started thinking of my large-ish church. There is no way to know everyone. It seems at times that the mindset “bigger is better” is how our church strives. Not so for the Amish, when they get to a number over 100, they break into new churches/family groups, according to this book.

They meet in homes and bring food, worship, eat and fellowship together. This sounds perfect to me. No rehearsals (though I love our worship ministry,) no set-up, no tear-down, no building funds, no arguments over carpet color.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our church. I love the people. I love how God has grown me since being there. But, sometimes I crave the simple. And a large church just cannot function on simple. Can it? I don’t know…committee meetings, committees in general (ha!) so many needs, so many people to be taught, so many opinions, so many different areas to serve – means so many needs for people to show up. I don’t love the constant need and drive for people to do MORE, be there MORE, we need MORE help, MORE volunteers, etc.
Another area of simplicity this book has made me ponder is technology: specifically this blog and social media. What if I didn’t have twitter and facebook to check in with every few minutes…how much more could I get done around my house? Often I think there is NO WAY I could do all that it takes to lead a more simple life (more baking, more housework, gardening, etc.) SO MUCH WORK. But, I have SO MANY DISTRACTIONS that if I did away with some of the distractions, could life really be so much more simple??
What if I stopped promoting my blog and instead of trying to make a small income from this blog, I focused on sticking more strictly to the budget that my husband works so hard on? I’m so uncomfortable with promoting myself anyway, what if I just kept blogging because I enjoy it, it’s a hobby I can do from home…and not worry about how many hits I’m getting each month?!
I don’t know…this book has definitely given me lots of food for thought. These are all just thoughts swirling around in my head. I don’t know exactly what that looks like in my life. I don’t know how to get from A to B. But, I’m praying, pondering and hoping God will give us wisdom in this. Along with wisdom, I’m praying for the courage to step out and go against the ways of this world – even the ways of friends and family. It’s hard for this people pleaser to consider that, so I pray for courage where courage is needed.

Speaking of courage, these books and trying to live more frugally have shown me some PRIDE. So, this is good…I love it when God is gentle with us and shows us things about ourselves that we need to change. In sharing with others I have found myself embarrassed (around certain people in particular) to share the things I’ve been trying and cutting out. Yes, we are trying to do without paper towels and paper plates right now…and yes, I actually tried to make my own toothpaste. No it didn’t turn out, but I didn’t want people to know I had made it! ha!! Why!?! God is showing me yet again that I care too much what others think of me!!

I would love to hear from you!! Especially if you have made distinct changes in your life to turn towards simplicity. What things have you done in your home to live a more simple life? Have you had any unusual responses to any of the things you’ve tried?? Would love to hear!

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus {Christmas tour 2012}

{This post may contain affiliate links of items that I personally have used and loved. Thank you for your support of this blog and our family by purchasing through our links.}
Praying our home and hearts are welcoming of the Lord Jesus.


Come, thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation
hope of all the earth Thou art;
dear desire of every nation
joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver
born a child and yet a king,
born to reign in us forever
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
Yes, Lord Jesus…
rule in all our hearts alone.
Rule in our hearts…
and in our home.
Come, thou long expected Jesus.
We are waiting.
words to the carol Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus:
Charles Wesley

Every year some of the big home decorating blogs do a Christmas tour!  It’s so fun looking at all the homes decorated for Christmas! But, I want to be honest…sometimes it’s hard to look at these big, beautiful homes and all their gorgeous decorations!!

In sharing recently about my journey to contentment, I want to be honest…I’m content in our home. Most days. :) I keep adding things I love to it…redoing our dining room with thrift store plates on the wall, finding a dayspring sale and getting a new vase for less than $5. So, I want you to know that  you CAN decorate your home with things you LOVE withOUT breaking the budget!! (although, I have mentioned before that oftentimes I come across these awesome deals and can’t turn them down, so I do spend what we don’t need to be spending! ha!)

There definitely is a fine line…and balance…and moderation. All things I’m still learning.

But, God is teaching me about CONTENTMENT. And so, I’m sharing pictures of our hiumble abode…not because I have the most beautiful home. Not because my tree is the prettiest around. Not because I have a trendy, latest-greatest-design home…

But, because, for us…it’s home. 

What I love most about my home is the people I share it with! :) 

Come, Lord Jesus. 


Linking up with:
Kelly’s Korner ~ 2012 Christmas Tour
Nester’s ~  2012 Christmas Tour of Homes 
The Inspired Room tour

Contentment & Gratitude {day 3}

{This post may contain affiliate links of items that I personally have used and loved. Thank you for your support of this blog and our family by purchasing through our links.}

I’ve been sharing with you how God has been working on my heart regarding contentment. I am still struggling with this concept.

Deep down in my heart I feel like I am content. I am so blessed. I’m so thankful. God has given us all we need and more. I can look around me and literally count the multitude of blessings.

So, if I’m thankful for what I have, why do I keep wanting more? Why do I keep buying more? Is it habit? Is it something deep down I haven’t discovered? Is it living in America where materialism is ingrained in us?

I continue to count my blessings. I continue to be changed by the concept “all is grace” that I read in One Thousand Gifts. Learning how to be thankful for it all has changed my perspective. Changed me.  I continue to be reminded of God’s love for me just by simply looking around my life.

Thanking God and continuing to ask Him to change me…

a refuge and strength

reading the gospels for Bible in 90 days

slow, cold days to curl up in blankets, read good books and drink warm coffee

a day of scrapbooking – moreso the conversation that happens there – I needed that!!

our small group movie night (we watched October Baby – oh my, have you seen it? If not, you should! And make sure you have some tissues!)

seeing God at work and speaking to others

sweet words from friends

laughter – so precious, especially when it’s needed!!

my “new” kitchen! :) I’m loving the new color & trim & light switches & plates and all of it! :) I’m going to try and do a post on my plate wall soon!

our furry family members. we love them! so amazing how much joy they bring to a home!

answered prayers

God’s faithfulness

peace in the midst of chaos

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