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New Year…New Promises

New Year Resolutions.  Promises Made.  Intentions Set.  Goals Outlined.  Something about January and the clean pages of a calendar brings out the planner in many of us.  We dream, plan, envision, intend, and draw our mental pictures of how this will be the year.  The year of promises kept, goals achieved and resolutions that last beyond the first month of the new year.

Sigh.  Reality. Daily-ness of life and routine.  My heart imagines yet I know that all that is within me is incapable of change.  BUT GOD…  That’s the game changer.  For “I can do ALL things through Christ” according to Philippines 4:13.  So, I’m claiming that…His strength, His power, His grace to cover my inadequacies and to do more in and through me than I am capable of on my own.

Every year I revisit my dreams and I ask God to bring alive again those dreams that are from Him and those purposes to which He has called me.  We each live a different puzzle but for me, I know that I am called to be a wife, mom, writer, encourager, friend, and witness.  The purposes to which I am called don’t change year to year.  My commitment to how seriously I pursue those purposes is what changes.

So this year, encouraged by my dear friend Sally Clarkson, I have decided to intentionally “Own My Life.”  To find peace on the journey, embrace the challenges, and celebrate the puzzle God has given me.

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ownyourlifebookphotoofemma35799_1460401200419_2271066_nWhat is it God has called you to?  What purpose has He placed deep within your soul?  Who has He brought into your life that needs to be loved on and cared for through your hands and words?  May you find peace in the calling and choose to “Own Your Life” in this new year.

This book will inspire you to be more, dream bigger, love deeper, and intentionally live out your life.

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love

Buy from Amazon

 

My encouragement to you is to give yourself the gift of the words and wisdom of my dear friend, Sally Clarkson.

May this be the year for dreams realized, visions brought forth, and purposes embraced.

From my heart,

Renee

Christmas Blessings for Your Family

December is well under way and what tends to be the busiest month of the year for most families, also lends itself to be the most stressful.  Gatherings, work parties, school events, concerts, plays, gift exchanges, and shopping all add themselves to schedules that for most of us are already full to the brim.

The added stresses can take the edge off of our joy and replace the fringes of our lives with contention, stress, discouragement, and chaos.  How do we enjoy this merry season without losing perspective on why we are so busy in the first place?  It’s simple…focus.  Focus on the meaning of Christmas, the people we are gathering with, and the communities to which we are blessed to belong.

In this Christmas season, I offer you these blessings.

May you read the Christmas Story in Luke chapter 2 and remember the birth of Jesus…the event that gave us this season to celebrate.

1002224_669054796486111_368254482_nMay you remember the simplicity of that first Christmas night when all Mary focused on was holding and nurturing her precious baby.  The gifts given were a bonus but not the focus.

201May you invest in the relationships of your gift recipients more than in the candles, mugs, and socks you purchase for them.

May you realize that even if you are not surrounded by friends and family, that your Creator has chosen you, loves you and longs for your fellowship.

1606370_10201627597115207_1085362289_oMay you be in the moment at every event.  Hear the music, enjoy the plays, eat the yummy food, and embrace the goodwill of strangers and friends alike who offer greetings of the season.

May you gather with those you love, set aside differences, and be grateful that of all human beings, God put the puzzle of your family and friends together for a reason.

1795613_669055329819391_634952472_nMay you be blessed to have people to love, strangers to be kind to, and a Saviour to celebrate.

May you listen to music in your home, enjoy wrapping each gift and pray over each Christmas treat you give away.

247May you find quiet moments in each day to whisper prayers of gratefulness that you are alive and in this present moment.

May you look, really look, at the faces of those you love and remember the faces of those you have lost, and be thankful that your life has been blessed by their presence.

303May you find this Christmas season to be a deep, soul filling, time where the added activities are welcome and enjoyed.

May you know, above all, that the babe born on a quiet night in Bethlehem, now waits for you in Heaven and longs to commune with you.  His birth changed history and longs to change your life.

1897677_10203249962320256_541273943_nMay you be blessed this Christmas season to see another one a year from now.

From my heart to yours…Merry Christmas!

Renee Parris

Making the Journey Together

Making the Journey Together

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Today I find my heart in reflection mode. Looking back. Remembering. Reaching back so that I can propel forward.

Another academic year has arrived and for most families that brings a time of planning and new beginnings.

To plan well, we first must reflect and take stock of what is going well and what needs to be adjusted. Sometimes we can just look back to yesterday and sometimes we have to go all the way back to where it began. That’s where my heart is today.

Recalling this now 7-year journey of homeschooling and wondering how I got here and how that first day of bringing Emma home from public school has become so many days of doing life together with some very dear friends: moms who go against the grain, swim upstream, and live outside of the box of societal norms.

My heart remembers the night I stood in our church hallway and poured out my insecurities to a veteran homeschooling mom who told me, “I was enough.” When I tried to convince her I was out of my league, she gently reminded me that if God gave me children, then I was the perfect choice for them and them for me. In her mind, her words may have just been noise from her lips but for me they were fuel to the kindling of the fire God was stirring in my soul.

FOR THE FULL ARTICLE, FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW

http://www.itakejoy.com/making-the-journey-together/

I’m so blessed that God has allowed me to cross paths with some Godly mentors and friends including Sally Clarkson.  She is the heart behind the “I Take Joy” and “MomHeart” Blogs.  I am always grateful when she allows me to use her platform to share the messages God places on my heart.

With my heart,

Renee Parris

WAIT…In the Busyness

When life gets unusually busy and too many days in a row are hectic, I find myself stressing more and becoming short with those I love the most.  Why is that?  The people who share our homes and in many cases our names with are the ones we love most in life.  Yet those very people are on the receiving end of so many of our flaws.

We can’t hide the real us when we are in close proximity to the same people much of the time.   I have found I must intentionally wait to speak in order to protect the spirit of those whom I love.  Our words can fly quickly but are impossible to retract.  This is a daily struggle for most of us if we are honest with ourselves.

My go-to verse in so many instances is Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”  If I can just be still and wait, I am reminded that He is God and in control and that so much of what I stress about is insignificant.

photo (5)This week as I prepare to host the 10th annual Ladies Tea & Luncheon at our church I will remind myself often to be still and wait.  This event began a decade ago as a way to raise money for our missions program.  We set up, serve, decorate, and host approximately 140 ladies and girls who gather to enjoy an afternoon of Tea, Fellowship, Fun, Music and all things lovely.

It is a highlight of my year and I plan and prepare with anticipation of sharing grace with these ladies.  How silly would it be for me to allow such a gracious event to bring out unkind words or unpleasant experiences for those who work along side of me.  So, this week I will be quoting Psalms 46:10 often and asking God to remind me to wait in the busyness of life.

Blessings to you in your busy life as well.

Renee

When Motherhood Includes Grief

Today I’m writing over at “I Take Joy”…

Here’s a glimpse of the article…

Motherhood.  The word conjures up a host of emotions and words that we long for and dream of for years.

Planning.  Expectations.  Anticipation.  Celebration.  Embracing.

Millions of women have experienced the miracle of motherhood.  The transition from a woman with a whole heart into a woman with a capacity to have her heart live both inside and outside of her body is a beautiful and miraculous process.

A woman’s heart is never again whole once she has children.  For each of her children carry a piece of her heart with them through life.  Our capacity for love grows with each pregnancy.  We may think our hearts are full to capacity and yet with each new pregnancy emotions shift and unexplainable reserves of love make their way into our hearts.

Yet, because we live in a broken world suspended between the perfection of the Garden of Eden and Heaven, we understand that life is not always carefree.  Sometimes, life brings events that shake our foundation for a season.

Infertility.  Miscarriage.  Stillborn.  Prematurity.  Death.

Harsh, ugly words that no one wants to say much less experience as part of their journey in life.

Yet…too many of us do have one or more of those words as part of our life’s resume.  Known as grief, there is a process that we go through when our hearts are disappointed and we lose people or dreams that we had loved and held onto in our souls.

And when babies we carried beneath our breasts, those who lived and breathed and whose heart beat to its’ own cadence closer to ours than any other human being will ever be, leaves us…part of our heart goes to Heaven with them and never resides again here on earth.

  • When we miscarry, hormones rage.  Ovaries and uterus contract and try to find their rhythm again leaving us with emotions that are often hard to control.
  • When death comes to a child, the word sorrow takes on a depth of unexplainable meaning.
  • When we long for a child and fertility alludes us, empty wombs and arms seem to betray our femininity.
  • Grief includes waves of sadness that suffocate us making breathing seem a difficult chore.
  • In our valley, words spoken by well-meaning and good intentioned friends seem shallow.
  • Maybe most painful of all is that human comfort is lost for a season.

But then…God

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY…CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW

http://www.itakejoy.com/when-motherhood-includes-grief/

http://www.itakejoy.com/when-motherhood-includes-grief

One of Those Days

“It’s just one of those days,” my friend said to me when I asked her what was happening in her world.

…Ever have one of those days?

Days when it seems if it could or should go wrong, it will.

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Days when it feels no forward progress is being made.

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Days when it is hard to imagine that this too shall pass.

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Days when it is easier to stay under the covers than face the world.

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…I’ve had far too many of those days, I’m sorry to admit.

Yet, TODAY, I choose to have another kind of day.

A day when I will look beyond the haze and drizzle and see that the sun is shining somewhere behind the clouds.

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A day when I will admit that God is for me, so why should it matter who may be against me.

A day when I will count my blessings and know, undoubtedly, they outweigh my burdens.

A day when I know that I am loved, cherished, and fearfully and wonderfully made.

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Choose what kind of day will you have today!

Blessings,

Renee

Birds Nest Mothering

Yesterday when I arrived home, I found a small, beautiful bird’s nest laying in our yard underneath the pear tree.  I marveled at how diligently the bird worked on the nest and how much attention to detail was in the weaving and arranging of the twigs and materials that made up the nest.

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It prompted me to think about how much effort goes into preparing for the upcoming eggs that will be placed in that delicate, oval nest.  Care and attention are given to the task of creating a safe place for the young to prosper until they are old enough to survive on their own.

Nature gives us such insight into God’s plan for motherhood.  I was reminded that the care and attention I give my home and family will go a long way in how my children face the world as adults.  Nurturing words and embraces will build them up when so much around them will seek to their them down.  Traditions will keep them grounded when life seems unpredictable.  Living out our faith before their young eyes will help deepen their own belief that God is real and oh, so good!

May we each endeavor to build our nest to be a strong, safe, and nurturing haven for the people God has placed in our care!

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