Art & Devotion: Jesus is the Same

Jesus is the Same Leaf w I found his pants! A week into school, and I have pants for my son to wear. I had to tunnel my way through a pile of moving boxes to the far back corner, but I found them. Yes! Now, if I could just find the scissors for my daughter’s homework. School lunch food? I have to find that, too? And where did I put the memory work calendar?

Moving 1,000 miles just before my kids start a new school year has been, well, an adventure I guess. August and September are usually the most unsettling months of the year for me as a mom just because school is starting. This year a move was mixed in with the usual back-to-school angst. On top of it, this school year starts a new life season for me. All three of my kids are in school full time. Eep!!

Will I make enough impact on our family budget with my business to justify continuing as a work-at-home mom while my kids are in school? Will they survive ALL DAY without me? We are jumping into new territory here, and I’m not sure I like the change. I’m driving around in my mini-van with butterflies in my tummy, meanwhile convincing my kids that their own butterflies are totally normal and ok.

I love sameness, routine, and comfortable rituals. I like losing count of how many times I’ve put the same tea kettle on the same stove followed by the same “click” of the same burner switch. I want to drive down the same street to get the same groceries at the same store again and again. I prefer to at least know where I can find my son a pair of pants. Even if they aren’t clean. (They probably aren’t.)

I love to curl up in my same purple chair, with my same favorite blanket to read my same favorite authors. Sameness comforts me, I know what to expect from it. The first day I dropped all my kids off at school, I promise you I soon went home to throw that mustard yellow kettle friend on the burner and find my same mug.

Life at home changes faster than I’m comfortable with, and I think that life in our culture changes even faster. Lately, I can hardly keep up with how fast our society is changing. People’s convictions about various topics are shifting quickly. You know some of these hot button issues. If you are like me, you are surprised to find some folks near and dear to you did a 180 on their beliefs when you weren’t looking. I hardly know how to perceive the society in which I live. It’s looking stranger and stranger to me daily.

“Some things never change.” I like that statement. I want things that don’t change. Sometimes we say that phrase about something we actually wish WOULD change. “Some things never change.” {Insert head shake and eye roll here.} When you get down to it, though, there is very little in life that really truly can be relied upon to stay the same.

“Some things never change” will always be true of God’s word and God himself. God’s comforting promises won’t change. His word stays the same. Jesus stays the same. While our society or those around us may want to change what’s in the Bible, or how they feel about the Bible, it doesn’t change. Jesus doesn’t change. He’s the same - same friend, same shepherd, same lamb, same teacher, same Word, same Savior. I can count on him to stay the same, and oh I love it.

While everything around me changes, as seasons change, I can pour my favorite coffee in the same mug. I can sit in my favorite purple chair, with my same quilt, reading my favorite author. He’s always the same.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

To download the "Jesus is the Same" artwork above for your own use this month, as a reminder of the comforting truth that Jesus is always the same, click on the circle below for the format you would like.

Is back-to-school crazy in your house, too?

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Art & Devotion: Words Like Honey

Facebook pleasant words “You feel better, Mama?” I woke up hearing these sweet words at six AM. I was home solo with the kids for a couple days and wasn’t feeling well. The first thing my son thought of when he woke up to the sunrise that morning was Mama. He warmed my heart, he was so sweet.

In contrast, don't we all (from time to time) say things that aren't so sweet? Or we walk away from a conversation that left us feeling empty? We’ve been put in our place.We’ve been made to feel inferior. We have been kicked when we are down. We are sensitive. I am. I pout when I’ve been hurt, even though I have said things that aren’t so kind. We are imperfect people that can’t seem to keep from hurting each other. But, not always. We also can forgive, we can love, and we can encourage. First, Jesus forgives, Jesus loves, Jesus encourages, therefore we can.

God does give us each other. And sometimes. Sometimes, we hear these sweet warm words just when they are unexpected, and such a blessing. Pleasant words, loving words, encouraging words. Help, and comfort, and understanding.

“You can stay with us.”

“You are doing this for Jesus, friend.”

“Let us know how we can help.”

“Can we bring you a meal?”

“I’m sorry that happened to you.”

“Would you like a cup of coffee?”

Pleasant words are sweet, they are nourishing, they give strength. Pleasant words are a reminder to me that Jesus is working through those around me to bless me, to keep me going in my faith. It’s a really neat opportunity if I get to do the same for them. Pleasant words are blessings that can be easily missed, but they are there. They are so beautiful.

When it comes down to it, the best place we can find words to strengthen our souls is right where the words of Jesus are recorded. We find his pleasant words to us. We can find sweet gospel words to share with each other. These are really truly meaningful nourishing words that last.

“Gracious words are a honeycomb,

sweet to the soul and healing to the bones…” Proverbs 16:24

To keep these thoughts in mind through August, click the images to download this artwork for use on your computer desktop or Facebook cover photo.

Pleasant Words

You might also like Art & Devotion: Standing in Grace

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Art & Devotion: Standing in Grace

standing in grace 700 px This summer is really getting the better of me. My romantic visions of domestic tranquility, mountain hikes, and relaxing evenings sipping lemonade were a little off. Instead, I sprained my foot doing laundry, soccer camp got hailed on, my son punched his little brother in the nose (it was an accident, Mom!), I spaced out social engagements, and then got a migraine. Oh my.

I don't even have a good excuse for most of my moments of crabbiness and forgetfulness. We have, for once, no serious health issues or tragedies happening, the daily schedule is not crazy. I don't have a good excuse, which means I have to admit - I'm just not perfect. Nor are my kids or husband. We can make a perfect mess of a perfectly lovely day.

But in between the kids' squabbles, and my ice packs, and mountains of laundry, I can see God's grace. My daughter is walking around reciting "unto life everlasting, amen." My boys forgave each other without a reminder, and I found five quiet moments to sit down with coffee to write today. Jesus is making it work, taking our awkward days, filling them with grace, and moving us another day closer to home (heaven.) We are standing in grace this summer, like always.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

For a visual reminder that I'm walking around in God's grace, I created the above piece of wallpaper artwork to put on my computer desktop. If you could use a reminder as well, click on the image and save.

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On the Road: Organized Bohemian

On the Road Organized Bohemian “You know, you two are a bit bohemian anyway,” she told me.

“Oh no, totally settled conventional suburban mom, that’s me,” I thought to myself. Sometimes those that love us know us better than we really know ourselves. I found out later that she was right. While I found familiarity and repetition comforting, God had another plan that moved our family of five a thousand miles - and we loved it. I had forgotten how inspiring it is to see another corner of God’s creation, and to learn how others approach life.

Should you find yourself on an unconventional or surprising path, out of your comfort zone and on the road, it’s ok. I remember this.

“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8

Knowing that, we can relax and enjoy the journey. If you are like me, you also enjoy the planning.

So, what happens when an organization lover and explorer mesh together in one person? A travel binder! I hope you don’t mind - I’ve put together my favorite printable to-do list for your use. I intend this for your next move or your next adventure, but if you would rather take it to the Piggly Wiggly for groceries, I won’t stop you. Honestly, that can be an adventure, too.

click to print to do

Print several sheets of the to-do list. Three hole punch them and put them in a binder. The possibilities are endless, but I often use these categories:

  1. weekly to-do lists for scheduling out moving prep (when to switch utilities, forward the mail, book the truck, move things to storage, clean the oven, return library books, etc.)
  2. lists of things I will donate or sell before the move
  3. lists of things to go in the first box to be opened, last box to be sealed
  4. pre-travel shopping lists
  5. categorized lists of vacation activities
  6. categorized vacation packing lists (to-eat, to-sleep, to-play, in the car, etc.)

I also include folders in the binder for important documents such as lease information, hotel reservations, travel guides, maps, and information I cannot lose while traveling. The binder stays with me in the front of the car, and all my important stuff is in that one spot.

travel binder

With quite a bit of time on the road in my future, I plan to write several posts in this new On the Road series.

Where are you planning to travel?

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