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Road Trip: Writers, Yard Salers, and Tea Drinkers

Road Trip: Writers, Yard Salers, and Tea Drinkers

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. -Helen Keller I grew up riding horses, building forts in the woods, dribbling a basketball, and catching snakes in the little stream running slow at the edge of my front yard. Each summer I spent […]

Where To Eat and Thrift Near Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Alabama

Where To Eat and Thrift Near Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Alabama

Deciding where to eat and thrift is one of my favorite parts of planning a road trip. I Google, read reviews and plan our route around good places to eat and thrift. There are so many great places to eat and shop near Orange Beach […]

When Life Seems Painfully Ordinary Do This

When Life Seems Painfully Ordinary Do This

From where I sit your life seems magical.

I see your posts and photos and hear your stories of adventure and travel and remodeling your kitchen.

And my life seems painfully ordinary.

I blame it mostly on pollen.

I’ve sneezed 4,372 times in March already. My nose is raw and allergy medicine makes me crazy!

I’ve walked around at home like this for weeks:

Can anyone relate?

My hubby kept telling me to slow down and rest.

And then I saw this quote on Instagram.

I didn’t realize how mad and sad I felt about not feeling well. So I took the advice and rested for a few days.

I leaned into sleeping later, walking slower, doing less, and eating more.

But I felt like I was “doing nothing” and I’m not very good at doing nothing.

Abide in Me

Abide in me and you shall bear much fruit. Jesus said that and then He reminded me of it again this week.

Abide = stick to, stand by

My job—your job—is to stick with Jesus.

I’m reminded that Jesus promised to always be with us but I wonder if our problem is that we’re not always with Him. I mean, you know, you can be with someone and not really be with him, right?

So I set my mind and heart to abiding. And you what?

I felt the kindness of Jesus even when I was “doing nothing”.

He helped me see that He is where the mundane becomes sacred.

He is where the mundane becomes sacred.

What I Saw

My daughter shared about the makeup she bought at Ulta. 

I saved a screenshot from Denmark Cottage stories where she shared a can of paint brand that promises to cover in one coat. I plant to test it when the meds wear off. By the way, Tammy (Denmark Cottage) has a beautiful home and her Instagram feed is one of my favorites.

I took a picture of Maddie before church Sunday, “just because”.

 

And I giggled as I looked back at this pic of Maddie helping Caleb get ready to go to prom a few weeks ago.

I sent Maddie a pic of the ice cream and chocolate syrup I bought at the store to let her know I was thinking of her while she was at work.

Saturday we drove over to Cartersville, Georgia. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Cartersville before. What a pretty place! I think we’ll be making another trip here when we have more time to explore.

Eric and I met our friend Ron and Pastor Charles Simoonga for lunch on Sunday. Pastor Charles is the visionary behind Mufutuli Vineyard Ministries in Zambia where I went in 2016 and Eric went in 2017.

If you’re interested you can read more about my trip to Africa by clicking on the links below.

Going to Africa with Fear and Great Joy

What I Haven’t Told You About My Trip to Africa

Favorite Photos from My Trip to Africa

As we were eating lunch outdoors, I noticed the beautiful cherry trees blooming beside me. (Not a good pic, sorry.)

Before heading home I browsed through the Southern Living Store as Eric sat in a chair outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Such a beautiful store!

On the way home I snapped a few pics of Lake Guntersville. Always stunning! We love to visit Guntersville. The Guntersville Bed and Breakfast is beautiful with a great view of the lake from the second story balcony. There are lots of shops and dining within walking distance, too! I shared some pics of the bed and breakfast in a post about our trip to Vintage Pickin. Click here to see the post.

Not a great pic, sorry. But I didn’t roll down the car window and we were going 60 mph so there’s that.

Now let me ask you?

Do you see your life as magical and full of adventure?

Or would you describe your life as painfully ordinary, too?

Ruth Chou Simmons said this on Instagram this week:

This has been a long winter for me. But suddenly, branches are brimming with flowering buds and green shoots break through the cold, hard earth. Turns out, Spring arrived while I was busy thinking I’d never make it through the winter. In reality, despite the way it feels to our feeble minds, God has not been hibernating or taking time off in our winter season. While we’re wondering if He’s still at work in the circumstances that feel so impossible, He has been holding all things together for the unfurling of His plan.

I think we all have seasons—times that feel like long hard winters right in the middle of Spring.

But God.

My space here on the internet writing about “where the mundane becomes sacred” is a hard place to be sometimes. Truth be told, I get it wrong a lot and many of my days are more like “where the sacred becomes mundane”.

But one thing I know for sure: I can’t help being a wholehearted participant in the sanctifying work God is doing in me. 

So I persevere to see and believe in His work in me and abide in the seemingly mundane moments of my life.

God is here.

And He is there where you are, too.

Friend, when life seems painfully ordinary remember to do this: ABIDE.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

P.S.

Thank you, Jesus, for allergy meds, good lighting, and makeup! I’m finally feeling like myself again.

You should also know that the back of my shirt says, “Champ”. hee hee.

 

 

The Thing About Birthdays

The Thing About Birthdays

The thing about birthdays is this: The candles on our cake can measure the years of our life but they’re a poor indicator of the life in our years. Today’s my birthday and I’m happy to celebrate but I’m counting more than candles this year. […]

Coming Face-to-Face With Your Baggage

Coming Face-to-Face With Your Baggage

God doesn’t just want the best part of you—the part you’ve polished and prettied up with a fancy bow. He desires the worst parts of us most of all—the parts we despise, the parts we are afraid of, the parts we most want to hide […]

When The Day Doesn’t Go as Planned, Stay In It!

When The Day Doesn’t Go as Planned, Stay In It!

I opened my eyes early this morning anticipating the mid-morning coffee meeting with someone I’d met online. That sounds a little weird, I know, but she and I have exchanged messages for months and shared bits and pieces of our lives as Christian women, wives, and mothers. Most recently our conversations have been about homeschooling. She has a daughter in college and a son whom she began homeschooling last year. Since we only live a little over an hour from each other, we decided to meet in person and get to know each other better.

I arrived at the coffee shop before her so I ordered my favorite hot beverage, cafe au lait. The table near the door was perfect for our meeting so I laid my bag there and then made my way to the restroom. About 20 women were gathered in a circle in the back of the shop, drinking coffee and sharing one by one. As I passed by them on my way to and from the bathroom, several of them smiled and waved as if they knew me. It seemed odd and I felt a little awkward but I smiled and waved back. This coffee shop isn’t in my town and I didn’t know any of those women but even now, almost 12 hours later, I’m smiling as I remember how kind and welcoming it felt even though I wasn’t part of their group. I haven’t always felt that way about groups of women. I left there inspired to smile and wave more, even to strangers. Our world needs that, don’t you think?

Our 14-year homeschooling journey ended last year when our youngest graduated, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to share what I learned and encourage another homeschooling mom. I still remember the angst I felt about the decision, the fears that I might be doing it all wrong, and the questions and criticism I received from those who offered opinions with no experience. In spite of it all, I can look back now and see how God was faithful to guide us every step of the way and provide many encouragers and cheerleaders to shine the light on hard days. I hope I paid it forward today.

During our coffee talk, I received a text from my husband that he was being driven by a co-worker to the ER. I left ASAP to meet him there. Thankfully, tests, bloodwork, X-rays, and an EKG proved it to be nothing serious. The ER is an interesting place. I felt sad for those who were very sick and in obvious pain and for loved ones anxiously waiting on a report. One dear lady played music out loud on her phone— Southern gospel—and sang along.  I wished more than once she’d use earbuds. But I couldn’t help think that maybe someone in the room needed to hear the gospel, even with a twang.

We were there for several hours. “This is not the day I had planned,” I thought more than once. Sometimes I’m still surprised at how selfish I can be. I left thankful for good doctors, nurses, healthcare, and a healthy loved one.

A phone call I received let me know that the passport application and photo were done. A text I received let me know that a friend had been faithful to pray per yesterday’s request. Of course, that was before I knew that the day would not go as planned. Isn’t God good? He provides even before we know we have a need.

What’s for supper? As much as I love being a homemaker, sometimes I grow weary of that question. Tonight it had not been asked yet but as I surveyed the pantry inventory in my mind driving home, I knew a quick trip to the store was necessary. Even though I’m not a huge fan of spaghetti and meatballs, tonight’s semi-homemade version might be the best I’ve ever had. A store-bought jar of marinara and frozen, precooked meatballs were a comforting ending to the day that didn’t go as planned.

How was your Monday?

Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come. Matthew 24:13-14 The Message

 

3 Ways to Experience The Sacred, Simple Abundance of Life

3 Ways to Experience The Sacred, Simple Abundance of Life

Hey friends! Please tell me you’re still in the process of settling into a new month and new year. I’m over here trying to get my bearings, get used to writing “2019”, and get the Christmas decorations back into the attic! But even in this […]

What Does God Want From Us?

What Does God Want From Us?

What does God want from you and me? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Do you know the answer? Is your answer biblical? I grew up in a Christian home, became a Christ follower at an early age, have been consistently active in a […]

Why You Need to Unfriend the Mean Girl

Why You Need to Unfriend the Mean Girl

Yes, you read that right. You need to unfriend the mean girl. Have you ever unfriended anyone? I have and I don’t regret it. Unfriending someone on social media or in real life isn’t a decision I take lightly or make hastily. Boundaries and hard lines have been crossed repeatedly and with malice before I will even consider distancing myself from someone. What may surprise you is that I’ve been a mean girl. Keep reading to hear my story.

mean girl, unfriended, believe the truth

I Am a Mean Girl

I know what you’re thinking. “That sweet Stacy, she couldn’t possibly be a mean girl!”

Bless your heart.

But you’re wrong.

I’ve looked a woman square in the eye and said some mean things.

  • You’re overweight and out of shape.
  • You should be ashamed for not taking better care of yourself.
  • What are you thinking with that hairstyle?
  • You’re really not very good at what you do.
  • You scare people the way you talk loud and laugh loud.
  • You’re a real disappointment. No one will admit that to you but they’re thinking it.
  • You don’t have what it takes to finish that project or achieve that goal.
  • No one cares what you think so just shut up.

Oh, and I don’t stop there. I’ll even say mean things about her to others, too!

I choke back tears of regret and deep sadness as I write these words and taste the poison I’ve spewed. What’s wrong with me?!

If you were to hear me say those things to your daughter or best friend, how would you respond?

Slap me?

Rebuke me?

Feel sorry for me?

Pray for me?

All of the above?

Now’s probably a good time to tell you that, yes, I am a mean girl, but most, if not all, of my mean girlness is directed at me.

(If I’ve ever been a mean girl to you, please forgive me.)

I see my reflection day after day dressed with the shame and criticism of my own words.  In my mind, I berate myself, my looks, and my ability. My husband or a friend pays me a compliment and I quickly dismiss it, always laughing at my self-deprecating humor oblivious to a heart sour with self-loathing and self-sabotaging. I shun the goodness of my God-created soul in favor of a lifeless, chalk outline version of me and my mistakes.

I Am His Beloved

Two unedited photos. Both of them me.

In one I’m “fixed up” enjoying a pot of tea at The English Tea Room.

In the other, I’m in my pajamas on a lazy Saturday morning Face timing my daughter. She’s making a funny face, too, and I had to take a photo!

In both, I’m enjoying myself immensely!

Both of them are me.

I love the one on the left.

When the mean girl sees the one on the right she nitpicks every flaw.  Her cruel words flow with effortless familiarity.

A lady at church said to me the day after this photo, “You always look so put together.”

I said, “If you only knew.”

On a daily basis, I fight fear, insecurity, laziness, and regret. I have trust issues and a deep-rooted sense of shame and guilt. The perfect outfit, makeup, and jewelry can’t protect me from the mean girl.

But I am His beloved! Chosen, redeemed, forgiven and free. The girl in both photos!

He tenderly convicts the mean girl in me.

He invites me to believe who He says I am.

He challenges me to receive a compliment with gratitude.

I know I’m not the only one. Do you have a mean girl in you, too?

From puberty to postpartum to menopause and everything in between, we are bombarded with lies about our worth and our purpose. When we choose to believe them and speak them to ourselves, we’re in trouble.

Here’s the truth I want you to know:

I keep writing and sharing and teaching NOT because I’m “so put together” or have all my ducks in a row but because I’m taking hold of what Christ did for me and full-armor-fighting the Enemy who THINKS he can take it away!

Will you fight too?

You, friend, are His beloved. YOU are chosen, redeemed, forgive, and free!

If you’re not yet convinced consider this:

Why You Need to Unfriend the Mean Girl in Your Mirror

  1. You’re taking sides with the Enemy against yourself. He cannot take away the salvation that is yours by grace through faith in Christ. But if you insist on being friends with that mean girl, you’re not able to experience the abundant life Christ died to give you.
  2. You’ll become the mean girl to others.  “The mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart” Luke 6:45  Enough said.
  3. You’re insulting God.  We flippantly make comments about ourselves to ourselves not realizing that we’re also speaking those words to the God who created us. Saying flippantly some form of, “I’m a piece of crap” might not seem so bad. But imagine saying to God, “That’s a piece of crap you made when you made me, God.”  There may be art or music that you don’t like but you wouldn’t think of harshly criticizing the serious work of an artist to her face. God hears every harsh thing we say to ourselves and I believe He’s grieved by it. “It is for freedom Christ set us free.” Galatians 5:1
  4. You’ll never be truly happy and living the abundant life Christ offers. You’re putting out the joy fires and hiding the light within you when you give the mean girl a voice. She’s not being constructive or helpful. She’s mean and her words will destroy you if you let her.
  5. You’ll never change. Maybe there are changes that you want and need to make in your life. Letting the mean girl run the show will not get you there. Robert S. McGee in The Search for Significance says: “We cannot experience a permanent change in our behavior without first changing what we believe about ourselves.”

So are you ready to unfriend the mean girl? Yeah. Me, too. This will help.

Do this the next time you’re tempted to criticize yourself: Think.

T.H.I.N.K.

We’ve probably used this acronym to help us THINK about our responses to others but I know we need to apply it when we talk to ourselves.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it true? Is it fact or really just an opinion or feeling about myself?
  2. Is it helpful? Will it help me or hurt me?
  3. Is it inspiring? Does it motivate or encourage me?
  4. Is it necessary? Would it be better left unsaid? Does it improve on silence?
  5. Is it kind? Is it loving? Does it offer the compassion or relief I need at this moment?

In closing, I want to share a prayer with you that can be the first step in unfriending the mean girl:

Dear God,

I’m so glad You made me. I see Your light in me. I see that I am a woman created, chosen, forgiven, and redeemed by her Father. And because YOU first loved me I choose to love this face, this body, this soul, and this mind. You have called your creation of me “Good!” and I will not argue with You!

Amen

*This prayer was inspired by Jess Connolly’s Instagram post recently.

I hope my words today have been an encouragement to you. If you’re struggling in this area, I’d love to hear your story and pray for you. You can leave a comment below or click here to contact me via email.  If you want to receive updates about new blog posts click here to subscribe. 

If you’d like to read more about who God says you are check out this post: What God Thinks About You.

Here’s a pin to share:

http://stacyaverette.com/wp-content/uploads/unfriend-fb.jpg

Hearty Cabbage Soup

Hearty Cabbage Soup

This is definitely a Hearty Cabbage Soup! If you’re like me you might think “cabbage soup diet” when you hear cabbage soup. (Yes, I’ve done the Cabbage Soup diet. Hasn’t everyone?) But the men in my house want hearty, delicious food and to be honest, […]