P is for…

Perfectionist. Does this word describe you? I used to think I wasn’t a perfectionist. After all, I am a world class procrastinator. I have trouble putting things away when I am done with them. I can even be termed messy. Disorganized for sure. But a perfectionist? Aren’t perfectionists neat and orderly? Don’t they always want things picked up and put away? Don’t they have a place where everything goes? Don’t they care enough about their work to make sure it is done on time and then gone over multiple times to make sure it is perfect?

Well, it turns out I am a perfectionist. It has taken me a long time to accept and understand this view of myself. I just didn’t understand how I could possibly be a perfectionist and not have a clean house and have everything put away in a neat and orderly fashion. It turns out, God created us all differently. And my perfectionism doesn’t have to look like someone else’s. Instead of spurring me into action, my perfectionism is paralyzing. I am afraid to even start something for fear of it not being done perfectly. And so instead of taking a small step towards beginning, I just stay still, out of fear. Instead of taking a small step towards cleaning up my craft area, I think about the fact that I would love to have it cleaned up. It would be so wonderful to have that nice little space to work on projects. But I don’t have the time to go through everything. I don’t have the time to get it all cleaned up right now. And so all I do, is think about how nice it would be, but don’t actually take any steps towards making it happen.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This is very frustrating. It is frustrating for me and for those who have to live with me. I am constantly struggling to keep the counter cleaned off, and usually fail more often than I succeed. (You don’t want to see it right now…trust me!) I have finally come up with a somewhat successful laundry routine. As long as I remember to nag, I mean ask, the children often enough to fold, that part runs pretty smoothly. Which is a good thing considering there are many people in this house who need clean clothing! But the other parts….like keeping things picked up, organizing items, making a permanent home for things that need a place, those are the things I struggle the most with. I would much rather toss something down on the counter to deal with later than take the extra two minutes and put it away now. Why don’t I take those extra two minutes? This is something that I don’t completely understand about myself. This is something I am still trying to come to grips with and overcome. Just put it away! Just do it now! But, there is always something else that needs to be done that obviously needs my attention right this second. Or at least, this is the constant battle in my mind. It’s not true. I know it’s not true, but it takes time for me to overcome old habits. It takes longer than I would like and I often get discouraged. See, there is the perfectionism again. I want to be better now! Not later. I don’t want to take time, I want to be the “perfect” woman right this very minute.

1 Peter 3:3-4

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment

such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a

gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”

Does that sound like the spirit of a gentle and quiet woman? I already know the answer. I struggle with the answer. It trips me up time and time again. How can I be gentle, quiet, kind, patient, etc., until everything is lined up? How can I be like that until everything is perfect? How can I get anything done until the house is cleaned up? How can I pick up the house if I don’t have a place for all the stuff? How?

Galatians 1:10

“Am I trying to win the approval of men, or God?

Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men,

I would not be a servant of Christ”

Well, right there is my answer. Everything in life doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to journey closer to God. I don’t have to do x, y, and z first. I just have to try and seek God’s approval. Everything else will follow. If I am seeking God’s will and approval for my life, then I will be making a forward journey. I will become the woman God is calling me to be. I will be gentle, quiet, patient, kind, etc.

Proverbs 31:26

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

Her husband also, and he praises her:

That’s what I want my legacy to be. I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be her now. But I’m not. I am still on my journey. I am still struggling to “get it right” (ie perfect). But here’s the good news. Here is the positive in all of this, I have a God who loves me. A God who wants me to succeed. A God who is with me every step of the way and who picks me up every single time I stumble and fall.

Lamentations 3:22-23

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed,

because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning:

great is thy faithfulness.

Every day is a new day. Every minute is a new opportunity for me to put my faith in God and follow Him wherever He leads. I just need to choose to do so. Life doesn’t have to be perfect for me to follow our Lord. I simply need to follow.

 

Are you a perfectionist?

 

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Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 2

henry-ford-whether-you-think-you-can

This is a new quote that I just found recently. I have to admit, it’s a new favorite! The words are absolutely true. How we view life, or a task, is exactly how it will go. If you are sure of failure, then that’s all you will find. However, if you envision success, then you will find it! It may not be in the shape or form you expected, but when you have a positive outlook, then you are sure to find a success somewhere. I chose this quote, because again, as I have stated before, I tend to have a negative outlook on life. I am working to improve this however, and I think I may just have to put this quote up somewhere I will see it every day. Changing our normal view of life can be challenging, but all things are possible through God.

Philippians 4:11-13

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Again, thank you to Linda from Amazing God Stories for the nomination!  Her granddaughter is seriously cute, and getting cuter!!

I would like to nominate Sharon from How to Beat Depression & Anxiety.  Her posts are a nice pick me up and have great analogies and life lessons.  Please check her out!

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

It’s been quiet around here. Sorry about that. I wish I could say it was because I was taking a much needed break and recharging and reconnecting with God and my family. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The truth of the matter is that I have been working on our end of the year homeschool evaluations. These have taken up all of my brain space and I have not had any leftover. Now that they are finally finished (Halleluiah!) I am hoping to get back to my regular once a month posting. 🙂 And I figure, what better way to do so then to kick off with three days of posting!

Way back in May, Linda from Amazing God Stories nominated me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. I am finally getting around to actually doing it! I have been especially enjoying her Life is a Beach posts and the pictures of her adorable granddaughter.

Ok, onto the first quote:

If you don’t have children, who will you download your files to? –J.K.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This quote came from my husband. Can you tell he works with computers all day? We were driving in the car one day with the kids and were talking about the point of life. All of a sudden this phrase just popped out of his mouth. It was funny at the time and still makes me laugh, but it is also so true. What is the point of living and learning if we don’t have anyone to pass our knowledge down to? Of course it is good to learn and grow for ourselves, but without passing on our knowledge, how can we hope to influence the world towards good? If we keep all of our life experiences and knowledge gained through those experiences to ourselves, then really, what was the point of them? I know that some would argue that it is the betterment of ourselves. Sure, to some extent that is true, as it should be. But, that is also ultimately a selfish viewpoint. And selfishness is something this world has too much of. We should seek to share our knowledge with others so that we can bring others and through that sharing, ourselves, closer to God. So whether your children are biological, adopted, or otherwise, download your files to them. Pass the knowledge, love, and life onwards!

 

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,

he will not depart from it.

 

I would like to nominate Christina from Justified and Redeemed. She is a wonderful young woman who is well on her way to blossoming into an example of a Proverbs 31 woman. She is a great example for all young women going through their season of singleness as well as for the rest of us. I learn a lot from her posts and always leave with something more to think about and ponder. Head on over and check her out. 🙂

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Optimism is not my forte

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times,

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

I am not an optimistic person by nature. I am more of a ‘the glass is half empty and is most likely going to stay that way’ type of person. This is probably part of the reason this verse has resonated so much with me. I want to be the type of person who is constantly blessing God and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life. And there are so many blessings. But they are so hard for me to see at times, and I become overwhelmed with LIFE and when I open my mouth, it isn’t praises that come out. It’s complaints, it’s whining, it’s why oh why aren’t things easier?? And let’s just be honest, it isn’t a good model for the children, my husband, or even myself. After all, if we let ourselves dwell on the negative, what are we going to think about? If we take our focus off of God and all that He has blessed us with, we don’t see those blessings. We just see the negative in life. And my friends, there is a whole heap of negative. We see it everywhere. In the news, online, in magazines, EVERYWHERE there is Satan trying to bring us down. Trying to distance us from all the good in life. All the good that God has placed there. The laughter of a child, the sun shining through the trees, the colors of autumn, the smell of freshly cut grass. All of it, goes away as soon as you take your eyes off of it.

Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn
Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn

My husband is a wonderful reminder to me of all the good God has given us. Anytime I start to feel this way, he will so often, even without me sometimes saying anything, mention something good that God has blessed us with. And with that reminder, I am prompted to bring my focus back to God. It isn’t always a smooth process, honestly, it’s usually with me kicking and screaming. But I’m trying. I’m trying to let go and let God. I have heard this phrase so many times in my life. And I’m going to be honest, I never truly understood it. If you think about it, what does it actually mean? It means total and complete surrender. And as a child, when I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, I didn’t understand surrender. I still don’t completely get it, but I feel like as a thirty-something year old, I am beginning to understand. Even just a teeny tiny bit. Because after all, it’s never too late. It’s never too late to accept God’s gift to us. It’s never too late to change your life path. Even though it won’t be easy, it’s never too late to change your focus and behavior. You won’t get it right the first or second, or even the thirtieth time! But, we need to pick ourselves back up, recommit to following our God, and step out in faith. I am not an optimistic person, but taking this step of faith, is for me, a step towards optimism itself. If I can believe that God sent His only Son to die on the cross to forgive my stupid, repetitive sins, then I guess I can count myself as an optimistic pessimist who is learning to bless our God at all times, and to continually, no matter how difficult life may be, praise Him with my words and actions.

Are you an optimist, pessimist, or a realist?

Faith is like a bonsai tree

I admit to having a bit of a fascination with bonsai trees. There is just something about the minuteness of them that makes me happy. I love the idea of trimming them up the way you want and shaping them into something unique. Unfortunately, I don’t have any at the moment, but that is due to a lack of space in the windowsill more than anything else.

Bonsai trees, for any who may not be familiar, are trees that are grown in small pots. They are miniature trees that the grower may prune and use wire to train in the way he wants the branches to grow. The root systems are bound inside the small pots which keep the trees miniature. The practice originated in China and then migrated to Japan where the Japanese really took it and made it their own. I find the practice extremely fascinating and really wish we had lots and lots of room for lots and lots of miniature trees 🙂

Psalm 92:12-14

12The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,

they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

13planted in the house of the Lord,

they will flourish in the courts of our God.

14They will still bear fruit in old age,

they will stay fresh and green,

Did you also know, that if you take a bonsai tree and plant it, that it will grow into a “regular” sized tree? Of course, you have to be sure to plant it in the correct soil and climate for the type of tree it actually is. Otherwise, it will perish just like any other tree that is planted in the wrong place.

Copyright Roses at Dawn 2018

Mark 4:4-8

4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

So where a seed, or a tree, is planted counts. If a tree is not planted in the right soil, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for that tree to grow and produce fruit. Just as if we are not firmly planted in the soil of God’s Word, we will wither and die. I admit, I am guilty of this one. I will do well for a while, I will read the Bible faithfully every day, and then life will happen. And I let it fall by the wayside. I don’t keep myself firmly planted, with my roots unbound and growing deeply, in God’s Word. It is a fault of mine that I am aiming to improve this year. It goes along with my whole focus for the year on contentment. How can I find contentment if I don’t actively search for it in God’s Word? How can I expect to grow and change into the woman God is calling me to be if I don’t let Him have more tree to prune and shape? If I am limiting myself to my tiny pot of knowledge in God’s Word, there is only so much growth and shaping that can be done. It will still be done, but not on the magnificent scale that it could be. Instead of staying a small, tiny, easy to overlook tree, shouldn’t I want to grow to become the massive, growing tree of faith I could be? The truth is, I do want to be that tree. I do want to be the pillar of faith and wisdom that I could be. I long to be her. I pray to be her. But I can’t be her, if I don’t let God help me grow. I can’t grow if I purposefully keep myself planted in a tiny pot. So I’m challenging myself. I’m challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone (my teeny, tiny pot) and let myself be planted in the wonderfully rich soil of God’s Word and to see how big I can let God grow my faith. Because I’ve outgrown my bonsai faith. I’m ready to move onto some heftier pruning and wire shaping. As long as I let God handle the growth, I’m ready to be on my way.

Jeremiah 31:28

28Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down,

and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to

build and to plant,” declares the Lord.

 

How is your growth? What passages have you been reading lately?

The Essence of Life

I think that a lot of people can agree, that as a society, we have begun a downward spiral. Without even touching on the ridiculousness of today’s he/she/it debacle, I think the majority of people are just shaking their heads in bewilderment. When did we lose sight of God’s will in our country? There are probably a lot of factors that led to this, but I think one of the biggest happened when we stopped viewing children as blessings. The moment we made it OK to kill our unborn children, we pretty much said everything else is permissible. I’m sure there are people who will disagree with me. People who will say that is over-reaching a bit. Well, I disagree, and so does the Bible.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are

wonderful, I know that full well.   15 My frame was not hidden from you when

I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the

earth.   16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were

written in your book before one of them came to be.

God formed us each, individually inside of our mothers’ wombs. He wrote out a plan for each and every one of us. We all have a purpose. God has a plan for all of us. Can you imagine the pain it causes Him when a child’s plan is ripped out of His book because of abortion? Can you imagine the tears He cries when one of His blessings is rejected?

Baby
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

I know how much I hurt when thinking about abortion, I can only imagine the pain of our Creator when one of His creations is destroyed.

James 1:17

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the

Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

A child, no matter how conceived, is a gift from God. A child, no matter what his or her needs may be, is a good and perfect gift from our Father in Heaven. When did we make receiving a gift from God into something that can be thrown away? Something that can be destroyed simply because he or she doesn’t fit into our life plan?   How incredibly selfish we have become. I feel as though this has contributed to the self-centeredness that permeates our society today. No wonder so many have a self-entitled attitude. It is what I want, when I want, no matter what.

But life is so much more than that. Life is so much more than ourselves. God calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. He calls us to love Him above all. And if we love Him above all, how could we reject a gift from Him?

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Life is about more than what we can get out of it. It is about more than ourselves. We are called to put our humanly wants and desires to the side and follow His leading. Ultimately, we will all be judged for what we did, or what we failed to do.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13 Now all has been heard;     

here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep his commandments,     

for this is the duty of all mankind.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,     

including every hidden thing,     

whether it is good or evil

But also remember that our God is a loving and forgiving God. If we seek to love Him with everything we have in us, if we seek to give Him our all, when we stumble and fall, He will forgive. He always does.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,

That whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

If He sent His one, and only Son to us, to forgive us, to save us, to love us, then what right do have to reject His gifts? When a child is thrown to the side, it is like throwing Jesus to the side. We are saying God’s gifts, ALL of them, don’t matter to us. We reject them. And in rejecting them, we condemn ourselves to being cut off from our loving, forgiving Father, who like an earthly father, only wants what is best for His children. All His children. He created His children, He loves His children, and His heart bleeds for His children.

I shudder at the “women’s movement”. Their absurdity makes me sick to my stomach. Their violence disgusts me. Their hate saddens me. Anyone who truly has “women’s rights” as their main objective, would seek to protect the weakest of us. And the weakest, the most vulnerable, are the unborn. The beautiful, unborn babies who cannot speak for themselves. Think of all the women murdered because someone decided they didn’t want them. Think of all the innocent boys who will not have the chance to become men. All those lives thrown away like trash. All the blessings they could have become. All the change they could have made. All just rejected like garbage. Anyone who truly wants “equality” would fight against abortion.

Matthew 18:10

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell

you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

There are some bright spots. There are some people out there who are fighting for these precious little gifts from heaven. People like Judie Brown, from American Life League, who fights daily for them. People, just like you and me, who have made a choice. A choice to protect those weaker than themselves. A choice to stand for what is right in the eyes of God, not what is right in the eyes of society. Society’s values change. No one can ever seem to constantly agree on what is right or wrong. If it is all fluid, then what is the point? If values can change, then are they actually values at all? We know God is never changing. What is right and wrong in His eyes is always constant. He is our rock to cling to in turbulent times. May we ever seek His will. No matter what society says.

Matthew 18:1-5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.

3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Contentment

It’s the beginning of the fourth week of a brand new year. How are your resolutions looking? Are you still giving them a go or have you already dropped them? To be honest, I didn’t make all that many resolutions beyond the usual eat healthier and exercise more. But really, I only “made” resolutions because I was already thinking about it. Baby Z is nine months old and I’m feeling ready, mentally and physically, to get back to a better way of eating and exercising. So honestly, I’m not sure I can even call them resolutions! But that’s alright, because I have been contemplating something different for this year. Something that again, has been on my mind for a little while now.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

I have noticed, as I have been reading other people’s blogs and whatnot, that a lot of people pick a word for the year. A word that they contemplate and think about and generally use as a focus for how they want to shape their year. I never really understood the concept and I honestly felt a little overwhelmed by the idea. How am I supposed to pick out one word to concentrate on for a whole, entire year? I mean, how can I find just one word to sum up a year? Well, it just so happens, I found one. A word that has been on my mind for several months now. A word that I am going to mull over and pray over and try to apply to my life in general. And that word, is contentment.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.

Contentment has always been a struggle for me. I think, to a certain extent, it is hard for everyone. Why else would there be so many wars throughout history? We always want what we don’t have. And then when we have, it is hard to not want the next thing. It is part of human nature. But we are called to be content with what God has given us. To be content with what He has blessed us with. And sometimes, it is so hard. Especially when things aren’t going your way. Especially when you are struggling. It is so easy to look at other people and their things and not be content. To wonder why they have and you are struggling.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This has not been a great year for us. Yes, I am aware it has only just started, but oh boy, has it been a heck of a year already. And I am trying to be content. I am trying to focus on all the blessings we do have. And there are many. I know this, but when times get tough, sometimes it is hard to see beyond the here and now. So I keep reminding myself that God has plans for us. Plans for our family that are specifically for us and for our future. Plans that are not to harm us. This is just a season. It will pass and in time, we will look back and see how far God has brought us. How far we have come and how far we have to go. God wants what is best for us. So we must try and find contentment in the bad. It is so easy to be content when things are going well. When there is extra money in the bank account, when the children are behaving, when everything is running smoothly. It is easy then to be content. But it is when things are not going your way, when the deck and the entire world seem stacked against you that true contentment is tested.

Phillipians 4:11-13

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

So whatever our circumstances, I am focusing on being content. Content with where we are financially, content with this season in our lives, content with enough being enough. God will provide us with exactly what we need, when we need. All that is required of us is to be faithful and seek our God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls. He will take care of the rest.

Psalm 34:10

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,

but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.