He calls us to love

What the world needs NOW is LOVE

What have you done to make a difference today? Quite honestly, I feel like getting out of bed and successfully getting my kids off to school minus any disasters is quite an accomplishment! Aside from our everyday tasks, though, what will you do to make a difference today? Smile at a stranger? Let someone go ahead of you when it clearly was your turn? Whatever it is, find one thing to do today that makes YOUR HEART SING!

I like to draw inspiration from others. I was recently online when I came across an article about extraordinary kids doing extraordinary things. I thought I would share a few of them with you to get your inspirational juices flowing too!

(Images and content are being shared via www.parenting.com)

  1. psy0211_koy_blaregooch.jpg

    Hugs for Haiti
    Blare Gooch
    Age 13, Grand Rapids, MI

    Two days after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Blare saw a little boy crying in a pile of rubble on a newscast. The story brought him to tears. The next day, still thinking about what he’d seen, Blare remembered the teddy bear that always comforted him. “Then I thought, ‘We could start a drive for Haiti,’” says Blare. At school, his teachers let him announce his plan over the PA system and ask other kids to donate bears. Soon a local TV and radio station got wind, and, via Facebook, other schools joined in. The result? Blare’s Bears for Haiti gave 25,000 teddy bears to the island nation and about 22,000 more to nonprofits. This year Blare’s group will collect toys and school supplies, too. Blare’s advice to other kids is simple. “It doesn’t really matter how small or old you are,” he says. “If you’re young and think you can’t make a big difference in the world, well, you actually can.”

2.

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Spreading World Peace, One Blanket at a Time  
Charlie Coons
Age 13, Simi Valley, CA

In 2008 Charlie Coons’s big brother volunteered at an orphanage in Jordan, and he returned with stories about dirt floors, children who had no shoes, and cold, cold nights. Charlie, 11 at the time, was so affected by this, she immediately decided to send them fleece blankets, creating one from a kit and inviting friends to make some, too. Soon the sixth-graders and other volunteers in her town had crafted 50 blankets to ship. The orphanage sent back a photo of a child with one of the gifts. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I made that blanket and now it’s helping someone,’?” Charlie says.

Still, she was pumped to do more. Her dad, Ron, a Rotary Club member, lined up speaking engagements in their area for Charlie so she could raise money for her new group, which she called HELP (Hope Encouragement Love Peace). Her goal: to send blankets to orphanages around the world. Ambitious, yes, but just a few years later, HELP has sent some 700 blankets to nine nations with the help of several international children’s groups. Her next goal: to establish HELP chapters in all 50 states (Oklahoma, North Carolina, and California are already members). Want to get your state on board? All you have to do is drop Charlie a note at blanketswithlove@yahoo.com.

3.

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Protecting Canine Cops 
Kayleigh Crimmins
Age 8, Chesapeake, VA

Kayleigh loved watching the police dogs train when she visited her police officer dad at work. So when the then 6-year-old saw photos of the dogs and noticed that only some wore bulletproof vests—at $700 apiece, many departments can’t afford them—she decided to raise the money herself by selling some of her toys. A local businessman learned about her plan and donated enough money for her to buy her first vest, in 2009. Since then, Kayleigh’s organization, Kids for K9s, has raised enough money to buy five more. At the ripe old age of 8, Kayleigh says she plans to stick with her project “until I’m forty, probably.”


 I pray today that God would lay on your heart what you can do to make a difference in the world. I pray that the love of Jesus would be portrayed in our actions and in our words and that others may come to know him through us. 


-liveHislove,

Missy

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Loving > Judging

Maybe we should be less focused on JUDGING

In light of recent events in our society, I find my self turning to the bible for more and more guidance. Our society has such judgmental tendencies. I think that is why most days I leave the TV off.

Matthew 7:1-5 ESV 

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew reminds me “who am I to judge”? It’s not my job on Earth to judge. I am to be an example of the love that Jesus has for each of us. I am definitely not free of sin, so who am I to judge. How is my sin any different that someone else’s?

1 Peter 4:8 shows us the power of love….

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Strive to be known by your love.

liveHislove,

Missy

Good news!

You've been remade

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

What wonderful news we have in the hope of Jesus Christ! The bible tells us that all those who have put their trust in Christ will have been remade and have eternal life. This may seem simplistic, but what do we really have to be stressed about knowing that after we leave this Earth there will be no more pain and no more suffering.

I pray that today that we would be empowered to place all of our fears, failures and doubts in Jesus and that we may be free to live without the chains of this world. May the light of Jesus shine through you today and everyday.

liveHislove,

Missy

liveHislove — love your family well through the eyes of your kids!

You and your kids stop after school one day at a fast food restaurant. As you are waiting in line, someone cuts in front of you. How do you react? Do you immediately ostracize the person with arm flailing in a fit or rage or do you kindly tell them that you were waiting as well and suggest they probably didn’t realize that 🙂 ??

The ramifications of your reaction will help to mold how your children react to similar situations of conflict in their lives. I want mine to react to others in a kind manner, even if they are not given the same response. We are to model Jesus in our daily lives, and that sometimes requires taking the high road (and goes against our gut reaction :-).

As I mentioned Wednesday, we are followers of Dave Ramsey and his teachings related to money and the bible. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, also teaches along side him, but more related to kids and parental relationships. I love one of her tag lines, and I think it is an important ones for parents to adopt, “More is caught than taught”. Even though she is generally referring to how parents interact with money, it can be applied to most aspects of parenting and the role models we are for our children.

you're the greatest!

I want to be a parent who is remembered more by her actions, than her words. I truly do believe that “more is caught than taught”.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

liveHislove — the week of loving your family well…with green!

developmenT-3

According to the IDFA (Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis), 22% of divorces are a result of money issues. That is downright scary! I want to make my marriage as strong as it can be, so we are taking steps to ensure our financial success. That success includes having a plan with our money. Bye bye stress!!!!!

If I had to grade our financial planning during our 15 years of marriage, we would be a C. During these 15 years we have saved in our work 401K’s, so we have some money for retirement. However, that is about as far as our planning has extended. We make a decent family income, but we felt like at the end of the month, we had no idea where our money went. Our money was managing us, not the other way around.

Last year, God called me to pick up “The Total Money Makeover” book by Dave Ramsey. My sister had given it to us many years before and I just hadn’t felt the strong desire at that time to implement it’s principals. Now, I WAS SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED! Where was all of our money going? We made a great income, but I felt like we were living paycheck to paycheck. Quite honestly, this was causing me more stress than my spouse because I was managing the majority of the bills. He had his own checking account and I had my own. We were living financially separate lives. It just wasn’t working for me and I needed a change.

Thankfully my husband was open to changing our situation too. We now have combined accounts, agree on a budget each month and we have paid off $15,000 in debt in the last year (we are now debt free except for our home) and are well on our way to having an emergency fund in place. Financial freedom is now a part of our lives.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time, but just couldn’t find the right time until now as part of my “loving your family well” week. Being financially responsible means loving your family well.

Proverbs 13:22 says:

 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…

I want to be able to leave this earth and leave my children a financial inheritance.

The teachings of Dave Ramsey are what have lead us to where we are now and I am very thankful for that. If you are unfamiliar with Dave, he is an evangelical Christian with a financial background. He has written numerous books and has a 3-hour radio show (The Dave Ramsey Show) everyday (available for download for free on podcast download). His show also runs 24 hours a day on I-Heart radio. In churches, businesses and schools throughout the country, his financial classes are taught. Through church, it is called Financial Peace University.  After growing extreme wealth in his 20’s, losing it all and declaring bankruptcy, he looked to the bible for financial direction. This lead him where he is today, helping millions and millions of families get out of debt and win with money. (I’m receiving no compensation for this plug, I simply just love Dave Ramsey and am dying to share his principals with others). His principals are really just common sense, but that seems to be lacking these days 🙂

There are over 800 verses in the bible that relate to money. The bible urges us to be debt-free, be savers and not be worshipers of money. Here are a few examples:

Worshipping money

Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

——————–

Debt

Romans 13:8
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

——————–

Saving

Proverbs 21:20
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”

——————–

Have a plan!

Proverbs 21:5
“The plan of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

——————–

If you are interested in becoming debt-free and having a plan for your financial future, here are the 7 steps in Dave Ramsey’s program as shared from his website (www.daveramsey.com)

$1,000 to Start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life you can’t plan for. Whether there’s a plumbing issue and everything but the kitchen sink is draining, or your brakes are squealing at every stop sign, you can be ready!

In this first step, the goal is to save $1,000 as fast as you can. Go through your storage boxes and sell some stuff. Work an extra job. Do whatever it takes to start saving money. Once you have it, open a checking account that is separate from your regular account and put the cash there. When a car battery goes out or a baseball meets a window in your house, you won’t have to go into debt to fix it. You don’t want to dig a deeper hole while you’re trying to work your way out.

2. Pay Off All Debt but the House
List all debts but the house in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first.

This step will make a huge difference in your everyday life. You’ll use the debt snowball to knock out your debts one by one, from smallest to largest. Pay off the first one. Then add what you were paying on it to the next debt and start attacking it. When you start knocking off the easier debts, you’ll see results and stay motivated to dump your debt. As each debt is paid off, your cash flow will increase and the bigger debts will be gone sooner than you think. Before you know it, you’re debt-free!

3. 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in Savings
This step is all about building a full emergency fund. It’s time to kick debt for good, with 3–6 months’ worth of emergency savings. Sit down and calculate how much you need to live on for 3–6 months (for most, that’s between $10,000 and $15,000), and start saving to protect yourself against life’s bigger surprises. You’ll never be in debt again—no matter what comes your way.

According to Money Magazine, 78% of Americans will have a major negative financial event in any given 10-year period. Most people lose momentum after Baby Step 2 and don’t push to complete their emergency fund. This pile of cash will make sure you aren’t caught off guard by a job layoff or a leaky roof. Keep your emergency fund in a simple checking account or money market account with check-writing privileges. That way, you can pay the doctor or wrecker service on the spot.

4. Invest 15% of Household Income Into Retirement
Now it’s time to get serious about retirement. With no payments and a full emergency fund, put 15% toward the retirement of your dreams. Between your 401(k), Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA, you have a lot of options. Find the fit that is right for you. The money you were using to attack debt can now help build your future.

This step is all about building long-term wealth. Take 15% of your gross household income and invest it first into matching company 401(k) plans and then Roth IRAs. If your company doesn’t offer a retirement plan or match your contributions, then go straight to the Roth. Spread the money across four types of mutual funds: growth, aggressive growth, growth and income, and international. Even a couple hundred dollars a month invested now can make you a multi-millionaire.

5. College Funding for Children
By Step 5, you’ve paid off all debts but the house, and you’ve started your retirement savings. Now it’s time to save for your kids’ college expenses. College tuitions and housing expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school.

Two smart ways to save for your kids’ college are 529 college savings funds or Coverdell ESAs (Education Savings Accounts). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses. As with retirement, you can also spread the money across the four types of mutual funds: growth, aggressive growth, growth and income, and international.

Both 529 plans and ESAs allow you to save money in an individual investment account. But do your homework first! Depending on your income and what state you live in, a 529 might be better than an ESA. All that’s left then is to get started!

6. Pay Off Home Early
There’s only one more debt standing in the way of freedom from all debt—paying off the mortgage. Baby Step 6 is the big one! Can you imagine life with no house payment?

Any extra money you can put toward the mortgage will result in tens of thousands of dollars of interest saved and months (or even years) of not having a payment hanging over your head. If you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, interest only, or even a 30-year mortgage, consider refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage and pay off your home faster. It takes the average family five to seven years to pay their home off early. This journey to debt freedom is a marathon. Stay focused and intense, and keep a steady pace. And don’t forget to celebrate each little victory along the way.

7. Build Wealth and Give
This is the last step and, by far, the most fun. It’s time to live and give like no one else! Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations. You know what people with no debt and no payments can do? Anything they want! And it’s all because you had discipline for a few years. Now that’s leaving a legacy.

It took perseverance and good habits to get you here. Keep setting goals and budgeting every month. Stay intense and have fun along the way! You started investing 15% on Baby Step 4. Now you can max out your 401k and IRA so you can continue to live and give like no one else in retirement.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

Which direction should we go?

My relationship with God is constantly changing and I think that’s the way it should be. Sure, he’s my best friend, but I long for our relationship to be an even deeper one. But should our relationship remain strictly a vertical one? By that, I mean should it just be between Him and I alone?

Today, I pray that God would give me the strength and wisdom to take our relationship from a vertical one to a horizontal one. I pray that he would give you and I the words to share his gospel with the masses and move beyond our relationship of just 2. Have I really done my job on Earth if I haven’t told at least one person of His great love? The news of his saving grace should be so overwhelming and life changing that I can’t stop telling people about it. What if that one conversation I have with the lady in the check out line behind me who casually strikes up a conversation with me results in her accepting Jesus Christ? Lord, I pray today that you would empower us to be life changers and difference makers in the lives of others. I want to take your love horizontal. It’s more that just about me and you. It’s about all mankind.

The ocean stirsthe heart, inspiresthe-3

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

40th birthday an intentional blessing?!

proverbs

As I stand in front of the mirror, plucking grey hairs from my head that look like they’ve been electrocuted, I wonder, how in the world am I 40?! I’m not sure how I got here, just yesterday I was 20 (ha ha)!  Quite honestly, though, I finally feel like I’m “coming into my own”.

Turning 40, unlike turning 30 or 20, has given me more of a sense of purpose, an intentionality if you will. So much so, that I feel like that is my new mantra: Be Intentional. This means being more intentional with my money, relationships, health and religion.

I have outlined several keys to help you be more intentional. Over the next few weeks, I will explore the different aspects of my life that have flourished as a result of my new mantra: Be Intentional!

1. Plan! Plan! Plan!

This is obviously the most important part of being intentional. No matter what area of your life you desire to be more intentional in, you need a plan. Each Sunday night, I print off a weekly planner and tape it to the door leading out to our garage. It’s a quick reminder of the things that need to occur this week, as well as what days I work (to remind my husband 🙂 and the meals that we will be having for the week. There is something about putting a plan into writing; it’s more likely to be completed! . On weeks that I have neglected to do this, I feel like I am riding a wave to nowhere and at any moment will be knocked off my surfboard due to my lack of planning. Here is a link to my pdf: Weekly planner PDF.

2. God wants us to be planners

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if

he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish it,

all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”
Luke 15:28-30

We can’t complete our task at hand if we do not adequately plan for it. God wants us to be intentional and prayerfully ask for His guidance. I don’t know how many times in my younger years that I would get an idea (not pray about it) and plow through my plans like a bull in a china shop only to leave the project undone and personally left with regret. Leaving God out of your plans is mistake #1. Pray over your ideas and thoughts. Talk to God. He is always listening and eager to direct you.

3. Give yourself grace

I feel like I am always preaching about giving ourselves grace. I think it’s because I’m trying to remind myself of just that. If I fall off the wagon today, I’m not a failure. I’ll climb back onto tomorrow and not look back. Sometimes those days when I fail at my intended plan is confirmation that I like where I’m headed on the “intentional days”.

This week, I pray for prayer-driven intentionality in your life and in mine. May your life be an inspiration to others.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy