Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Early DOR...

Hello! :) I've been taking my DOR today. I started yesterday around 7:00 pm.... and am going til 7 pm today. :) The BOY is getting ready to go over to Miss Sherrie & Pat-Pat. :) They love him so much. Since they haven't seen him in 2 weeks, they wanted to get him early today! :) YEAH for MOM!! :) 

Have a great day! :)


Monday, August 30, 2010

#59 - Go ahead and Cry

GOOD MORNING!! What a great morning it is! :) I AM HOME! It is so nice to be home!! It has been almost 2 weeks that I have been gone. Home sweet home for sure! It was such a blessing to be with my family. It was a blessing to visit with my grandma before she passed away. The viewing and funeral brought back floods of memories as 250+ people came through visiting with the family. Friends, neighbors, extended family, lakers. What a blessing. The floodgates of tears did come at the last good-byes. Seeing grandma in the flesh for the last time before the casket was closed....that was a bit hard. But.... overall, there was closure. There was rejoicing. And, there was much time spent with family during the unrushed trip to Northern Indiana. Praise the Lord that I was blessed to be able to resign from Corporate America to be able to spend time, unrushed. What a blessing!

Well... this morning... we are going to add a few things to our daily "reading". I have thought this would be coming as I have just been stirring inside, but have not been ready until now. Along with our Proverbs chapters, we are going to add in Psalms. I heard Billy Graham talk about reading Proverbs and Psalms every day, "Proverbs helps me in my relationship with men, Psalms helps me in my relationship with God." So.... check out the "Bible Reading Schedule" tab to see what chapters to read each day. We will continue to read Proverbs 31:10-31 daily, as well as our regular Proverbs verse. Ok... let's go...

Reading Schedule Today: Proverbs 31:10-31, Proverbs 30, Psalms 30, 60, 90, 120, 150. 
Psalms 30:5b, 11a - Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. You have turned my mourning into dancing for me.
Psalms 50 - PRAISE THE LORD!
Proverbs 31:18b - ...her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].
It's ok to cry! Cry it out. In the Bible, we know of the word lamp as it refers to the Word, the Bible, Jesus, Jesus being the "way", the guide, the lamp! The Lamp... guiding us to where we want to go, guiding us to the next place, giving us light, revealing, exposing, showing us the way. The Lamp

Here, we see that our Proverbs 31 friend keeps her Lamp continually burning. It is continually burning, in troubled times, God is close. In sad times, her Word is at hand. In sorrowful times, she is still being guided by the Holy Spirit. In tough times, she is being comforted by her closest friend, Jesus. During the night, even she, even our excellent Proverbs 31 friend.... even she during the dark hours of the night may weep, may cry, may mourn. But PRAISE THE LORD, JOY COMES IN THE MORNING! Throughout the mourning and sad times, JOY will come! 

The WORD. The WORD is our Lamp. At a time of loss, death, or trying times, the WORD is there to comfort us. We are not macho to try and just "stay tough".... even the Word acknowledges that there are times when weeping may come, sorrow may arise.... but there is a time to look forward too... a time of JOY. A time that JOY will arise, and sorrow will not remain. It will not be night forever. JOY will come! But even during those hours or days where the night seems to be all we can see... the darkness seems to be all there is, the LAMP does not go out. We are not alone. If we could see through spiritual eyes, we would see our friend, our confidant, our comfort, Jesus, sitting right there with us... and probably even joining in our tears. Crying with us with compassion for our loss, on behalf of our sadness. 

But... PRAISE THE LORD, He does not leave us there! He does not leave us there in the darkness, in the night. He is WITH US until the morning comes. He is with us to see us to the JOY! And the JOY WILL COME! With the joy there will even be a time of dancing! Where the music is turned up, we are spinning in circles, arms spread wide, just thinking, thanking and praising God, "Does it get any better than this? Could I be more blissful?" Our faces to the sun, eyes closed, heads faced up to the heavens, "Does it get any better than this?"

Morning will come. Joy will come. But tears are ok. Cry if you need to but look forward to YOUR MORNING. Your morning where there will be no more mourning. It will come. Keep you lamp on. Cry and be comforted. You are not alone. Your morning will come. :) 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

#58 - The Power of a Card

Good morning. A full day ahead, so let's get movin! :) 
Proverbs 26:23 - Burning lips [uttering insincere words of love] and a wicked heart are like an earthen vessel covered with the scum thrown off from molten silver [making it appear to be solid silver].
Proverbs 31:29 - Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.
What has been going on in my mind about this? Well.... a few things. The Power of Sincerity. The Power of a Card. The Power of being YOU! During this time being home with my family in Indiana, we have seen the true power of sincerity! It has come in so many shapes and sizes. It's come in tears, in cards, in drawings from children, in phone calls, in hugs, in love. We have seen how truly loving and sincere people can be. I know that Proverbs 26:23 talks about the scum & wickedness of insincerity....but, I want to focus on the opposite. The power that lies in sincerity. The power that lies in love. And the power that lies in a card. 

As I have been at my parents house, what a blessing it has been to see the mailbox full every day. Full of cards with condolences. Cards of sympathy. Cards of love. My grandpa has come over and told of the same scenerio at his house. His mailbox full of cards every day, wishing the condolences of his loss from his love of 62 years! What power that lies in a card. A hand written note. With email and text messages, cell phones & skype, twitter & FaceBook... sometimes the art of a handwritten note sent in the mail is lost. But... if you think about it, it is the most special. When you walk to the mail box and sort through the mail, what are you looking for? You are looking for a handwritten note or card. At least I know I am. Everyone loves to get cards... letters... personal mail! Then, you filter through all the bills and junk mail, when you pull up that card, all the other mail is put aside and you open the letter addressed directly to you. The neat cursive writing of your long lost friend, or close family member calling you in to open it! 

Our Proverbs 31 friend excels all the women out there! She is the friend when one needs a friend. She is the shoulder to cry on when a shoulder is needed. She is the ear to listen when an ear is needed. She is what she needs to be to the people she loves. She is a friend. She is a sister. She is a mother, a daughter, a wife, a granddaughter.... she is a blessing. She excels them all. Why? Because she knows how to look to the needs of others. She blesses them. Her focus is outward and not inward. Her focus is on blessing others. 

The Power of Sincerity. The Power of a Card. Reach out to someone today. Who can you encourage through the power of written words? As you pray, who comes to your mind that might could use a kind word? It may be someone completely unexpected... you may think of them as someone who has it together. Well, the Holy Spirit knows best. Maybe they are struggling in a time that no one knows about. Encourage them today. Don't email or text, leave them a voicemail, but drop them a note in the mail. Allow them to keep that with them, to carry it around, to go back to it, that it may encourage them long after the first day they open it. 

Send a card this week!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

#57 - The Joy of Giving

Good morning! I take my brother to the airport today. He flies back to LA. We have had a nice time visiting. I'm definitely excited about taking a DOR. It will be nice! I guess once you get used to taking one day out of every week where you don't do ANY work... don't spend hours in the car driving places, you don't try to get things "done" off of your to-do list, you don't do laundry or wake up early... you truly just rest. Sleep in, maybe watch a movie, and just don't have that pressure (usually self-inflicted) to do do do or go go go! Accomplish! Work! Move forward! Well.... I am in need of a DOR. Tomorrow or Friday. :) Ok... well, here we go.... 
Proverbs 25:9 - Argue your cause with your neighbor himself; discover not and disclose not another's secret.
Proverbs 31:20 - She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].
So... I recently had someone tell me about some money they received. Someone was really nice and just felt led to give them some money. I was so excited for the recipient, and though they wouldn't tell me who the money was from, I being the nosey friend started guessing. How appropriate to read the verse in Proverbs 25:9. Discover not & disclose not another's secret. Bottom line, it was none of my business who gave the money. But what a blessing to the recipient! I'm not suppose to try to "discover" it. It was a secret for me not to know. Even amidst my "nosiness", it was none of my business. 

I remember a time in college.... I was broke! I had some needs coming up and didn't have money to cover them. Well, at church a lady came up to me and gave me $50.00. She said she felt led to give me the money. What a blessing!!! It could've been $1000.00! At the time, $50 was like the "mother-load"!!! I just started crying that my need would be met right at a time where I needed it met! What a blessing! 

Our Proverbs 31 woman and friend often is this giver. She is often the one seeking out those to give to and bless. In Proverbs 31:20, it says she reaches out her FILLED hands to the needy. It doesn't just mean the person sitting along side the road holding up a sign, "Will work for food." There are often needy people around us all the time. People who in their minds are wondering where the money is going to come from to pay for their rent or electric bill, groceries for their families, food for themselves, a car payment. In Proverbs it talks about when you give to the poor or those in need, the LORD will repay you! It may be a gift that you pray about and the Lord leads you to buy... or it may be money, or picking up the tab when you go out to dinner with someone. When we are not giving, the Lord has nothing to work with in order to multiply back to us! 

What a joy to give. And how IMPORTANT it is to give with a cheerful heart!! 

I also remember a time when Tyler & I gave a pretty large sum of money to a ministry we support. Tyler felt led to give this money. At the time I remember thinking, "Ahhhh! Are you sure we want to give that much." My attitude when we gave was done a bit begrudgingly. I like seeing the numbers when I pulled up the bank account. Well... just NOW I realized I still "held" onto that money a little bit. So, what did I do? I just released that money! Vocally I released it with a JOYFUL heart! I asked for forgiveness for not giving cheerfully! I believe that money is finally in the place where it can be pressed down, shaken together & running over. - Luke 6:38

So... I guess today, just be open to where the Lord leads. Where you can give into the life of someone else. Even if it's small. Where you can bless someone. The car in the drive-through behind you, picking up their tab, someone at Blockbuster, a friend or family member. See if the Lord leads you today. And.... who knows, maybe He leads you to just not pry and try to find things out that may be none of your business, like He did me. :) 

Have a blessed day! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

#56 - Observe. Think. Observe. Learn. Observe. Apply.

Good morning. Sitting out in the gazebo... what a difference from South Carolina!! I think it may be 75 degrees out right now! Maybe cooler! For sure different than 105 or 110! It definitely feels like fall (which i LOVE!) Fall was always my favorite season. I have always enjoyed sweatshirts & jeans! What a wonderful wardrobe! We don't need much of that down south.... at least not like I did when I lived in Indiana. But... this will be my first fall/winter in SC not working a job, so maybe I'll actually get to enjoy sweatshirts more. That would be swell! My dad had a Notre Dame catalog last night, what cutie stuff!!! Ok... I'm going to refill my coffee and then we will get rolling.... 
Proverbs 24:32 (NIV) - I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.
Proverbs 24:32 (AMP) - Then I beheld and considered it well; I looked and received instruction.
Proverbs 31:27a - She looks well to how things go in her household...
Observe & think. If you read a few verses before Proverbs 24:32, and the few verses after, you will really have your eyes opened even more. In verses 30-31, you are told what was seen, what was observed. A lazy man with an overgrown vineyard & a broken down wall. In verses 33-34, you are shown what was learned from the observation. With sleep and laziness, poverty comes. Observe & take instruction. Observe & learn. 

I have often heard the common phrase, "Experience is the best teacher, especially when it is someone else's!"

Growth, progress, success.... so much of that can come from learning from & observing other people. Whether it be positive observations or negative observations, we can learn! Did someone have an outcome that you would REALLY like to have also? What did they do? Look & learn! Observe & apply! What did they do to get the outcome they desired. If possible, duplicate it! Did something not so favorable happen? Look & learn! Observe & apply! Do you NOT want the outcome that they had? Learn from what they did & do not do the same thing!!

I recently heard an amazing man of God sharing a personal story that was quite impactful! God had spoken to him about a book he wanted this young man to write. God gave him the whole book, the ideas, concepts & even gave him the title & what the cover should look like. Now... it was just up to this man to write it. God wanted the book out, so the words would most definitely be inspired, and the book WOULD get published! Well, this man got busy.... one day, had things to do, errands to run... the next week, a new project to work on with his ministry... a few months later, celebration of some exciting events in his life..... then a few months... a few months.... a few months. Then, to his demise, one day he saw HIS BOOK in the bookstore!! The COVER, the TITLE, the CONTENT! There it was, on the shelf! The book God had given him had been written and was now lining the bookshelf! 

This is what the Holy Spirit said to me about this:
Observe. Think. Slow down to think. For you Amy, consider it well. Look at the book. I have books I want out & they WILL come out, I just find the faithful people who WILL NOT procrastinate. This man was given a book & I would've wrote it for him. He procrastinated so I gave it to a man who did not "need" this book for growth or elevation, but I knew he'd be faithful to complete it when I wanted it done. Observe. Learn.
The man who completed the book already had countless books in print. He did not "need" the book out to establish his writing career. Whereas, the man the book was originally given the book idea to, this book would have launched a new era of his life & ministry. This book would have been the beginning of more great books to come.... not to mention the aftermath of the book coming out may have brought more people to the ministry in which he was involved. This book would've helped to promote him to the next level. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this man has learned a great deal about procrastinating, and God could surely use him to get out another book. I'm sure this time, he would be faithful to complete it in the time directed by the Holy Spirit. :) Praise God that God can even make our mistakes to prosper!!!

Another great example is one that you & I use EVERY day! A man was given an idea of talking through a line. Transmitting sound waves through a wire. After receiving the idea, it took him about 4 months to put anything down on paper. After finally putting it down on paper, he waited another 2 weeks to go to the patent office. One afternoon, he finally went to the patent office to submit his plans for what would be called the telephone. The man at the patent office said, "Sir, I'm sorry but just an hour ago someone came in & got a patent for these exact same plans. He was a teacher by the last name Bell. Alexander Graham Bell." 

Procrastination. What was the first guys name? I have no idea. But, due to procrastination, we don't know or care what his name is. An idea that changed the way we live life is the legacy of a man who did not procrastinate. Alexander Graham Bell. 

Our Proverbs 31 friend is LOOKING WELL to what is going on in her household. She is paying attention to what is happening. She is monitoring, tweaking, assigning tasks, and considering the tasks that she should be working on. She is working towards those things she feels led & directed to work on. See Proverbs 31:16... there she is considering before doing something. She is evaluating. She is making sure she is doing the right thing as not to get overwhelmed or overcommitted! She is using wisdom in the tasks she is working to complete!

Observing.... considering... also can be directly connected to obedience. Being obedient to the last thing that the Holy Spirit was directing us to do. We may not know or understand why we are feeling led to do something, but that does not matter. It is about obedience & the Holy Spirit knows best! Are things not going right in your life? What was the last thing the Holy Spirit directed you to do? Have you done it? 

Observe & Think. - Slow down long enough to observe. Slow down long enough to be able to think about what you are observing!!! So many people are so busy, they see nothing else around them. They are just focused on quickly getting to where they are going. Slow down. Observe. Give yourself time to THINK about what you are taking in! There is a time to focus & be narrow minded to complete a task... but there is also a time to slow down & observe. To take in. To think so that it can lead to learning!
Observe & Learn. - Observe & learn! What can you learn from what other people have done? Their experience? Could it or would it in some way help you to fine-tune or tweak what you are doing? Help you fine-tune things to get you to your end destination better, faster, more efficiently? Take the time to LEARN from others actions!
Observe & Apply. - Now, APPLY IT! In my case, the Holy Spirit has given me books & has given me a finish date to have them completed. Now it is my responsibility to be faithful! To be faithful with the instructions of the Holy Spirit. To be diligent. To not procrastinate. To set aside time for completion! That is my application. Diligence!! Faithfulness. Obedience! And, it is a daily task. It is easy to get busy.... and one day slips away, the next... the next... before I know it a month has gone by and I have not worked on my book. It takes diligence & planning!

Where have others go awry? Or where have others been on course, on a straight path? OBSERVE THESE THINGS! LEARN FROM THEM! APPLY THEM IN YOUR LIFE! 

Learn from the mistakes & successes of others. Learn from their experience & allow it to help you have success in your life! 

So....what was the last thing the Holy Spirit directed you to do? Have you done it? If he hasn't told you to do anything, are you listening?

Monday, August 23, 2010

#55 - Make it Count

Good morning! :) Well.... here I sit, the little town of New Paris, Indiana... outside in the gazebo by my parents pool. I'm sure my mom loves it! :) This is her special place she goes to spend time with the Lord. :) When I lived at home, this was a special place for me too. I remember in the summer during my break from college sitting out here for hours reading my Bible, studying the Word. I was a waitress and often didn't work until 2:00 or 3:00. My mornings would be filled with studying the book of Matthew. I remember exactly what I was learning, and I remember why I learned it at that specific time. During that time of my life was just the beginning of really establishing my foundation in the Lord. Developing that hunger that would continue to grow and grow and grow. Tyler is flying back home this afternoon. Teej (aka: The Boy) & I are flying back home on SUNDAY!!! A whole WEEK from now. Even though I was a bit apprehensive to be away from Tyler for a WHOLE WEEK.... I'm sure we will have a good time here visiting with the family... spending time with grandpa... and maybe just relaxing a bit from an exhausting week preparing for grandma's funeral. So... I will spend the next several mornings in my old spot... my place of early growth nearly 11-12 years ago. 
Proverbs 23:18 - For surely there is a latter end [a future and a reward], and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.
Proverbs 31:28 - Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her.
Well.... how can I get away from referring to my grandmother? Everything is still so fresh. The feelings, the exhaustion, the memories. So, today's verses were most definitely appropriate. As we have been in the cemetery (I've already been there 4 times!!!).... an epitaph near my grandmothers was of a mother & wife. On the epitaph was etched today's verse.... Proverbs 31:28 - Her children rise up and call her blessed; and her husband boasts of and praises her. What an awesome verse to go out on. To leave your life and people REALLY, truly call you blessed. To boast of and praise you and the imprint you have made on this world. A sure aspiration for me. 

A latter end. There is an end. It will most definitely come for all of us. The excitement about "the end" is that we can have a hope & expectation! How exciting! As believers, we can really know that the end is better than the now! The end entails DANCING on streets of gold! The end is not bad! What a wonderful thing to have a hope & expectation about. A future reward. The expectation of meeting Jesus.... receiving our heavenly mansion! Perfection. No pain. No trials that come along with being in "the world". Perfection. How glorious to think about! A life with Jesus. Imagine how beautiful it will be. 

Despite the funny and naivete of my nephew Karson.... He was recently driving with his dad Lenny. Karson, being 4 is in the "question asking stage". Why? Why dad? Daddy, why? He is full of it! Full of why why why. Full of humor and just funniness! So, experiencing a lot of talk lately of death & dying... Karson was driving with his dad and said, "Dad, will their be trucks in heaven?" ... Lenny, probably half listening (since Karson asks questions constantly) replied, "Son, probably not. I don't think they need trucks in heaven." Karson waited a bit and then asked another question, "Dad, will their be tractors in heaven?" Lenny replied, "Son, I don't think they need tractors in heaven. Probably not." Karson waited a bit then and responded with... "Well dad, I don't think I want to go to heaven then." 

Funny! He is so funny! I think there will be tractors in heaven for Karson. But heaven will be such a glorious place! A place of rejoicing, dancing, full abundance! 

Though my grandma only had one child, my dad Jim.... he most certainly rises up and calls her blessed. And Grandpa has most definitely praised her! She lived a life committed to serving him. Serving him. Ironing for him. Cooking for him. Cleaning for him. Loving him. Meeting his needs. Being his friend. Laughing with him. He most definitely has called her blessed. She lived a life to serve her husband, and he has been blessed. The last 3-8 years have been different. But before she became ill, she lived to serve. And actually... even in the greatest stages of Alzheimer's, she still served. She walked around scratching backs, hugging people, kissing them, cleaning up dishes, straightening things, telling people "I love you". She served til the end. She made the best strawberry pie... and such good crust! :) She served. Lord willing, my grandpa will remember the good times. The tribute video to grandma sure does help remember the good times. (http://gallery.me.com/themccarts#100501) She was so full of life. She was so full of fun. She was spunky & sassy & beautiful. 

Her child, her husband & her grandchildren most definitely rise up and call her blessed! Every day was a good day for her! I don't EVER remember hearing her  just dump negative on people. She was always positive. Always smiling. Always full of joy. Her life was FULL!

I encourage you to think about your "today." How are you living your "today?" What would people say about you when you leave. There is an end. When that end comes, what will be the legacy that you left? What will your spouse say about you? What will your family, your friends say? "Man, she never really smiled. I didn't like to be around her because she was always talking about people. It always seemed to drag me down. She was always negative." Or... will people be able to rejoice about who you were? Rejoice about what a positive impact you made into the lives of others? 

Decide today to model your life after the legacy you want to leave. YOU decide your legacy. What will people put on your epitaph? Make it a good one. Make it count!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

#54 - A Tribute to Grandma

Well.... today was the viewing for Grandma. She looked so beautiful. :) We went shopping Wednesday for an outfit for grandma to be buried in.... honestly, the outfit was perfect. Even more perfect because dad picked it out. It was a black & white jacket with a trendy black belt across the middle, a lavender blouse, a black skirt...... and it was important to dad that she even had on all the proper under garments.... despite the fact that no one would see them. Grandma got a new padded bra, underwear & black pantie hose. It made me smile. Dad is so sweet. He wanted grandma to go out in style.....to go out wearing something SHE would've picked out. Something SHE would've been proud to wear. And, I believe she was looking down in complete pleasure. She looked great. Now, in her glorious body. Now, not a tiny 80 pounds.... but a healthy weight, perfect & whole in every way. Truly dancing with Jesus. I can see her now.... her excitement like a child as she walks down the streets of gold, ooooohing & ahhhhhhhhing all the sparkles & shine. I can just see her childlike smile & excitement. "Whoopty-Doooo"

My grandma went home to be with Jesus. I know she is happy & I know she is in a better place. I am very happy for her.

Yesterday, we spent much of the day looking through boxes and boxes and bins and boxes of photos. Wow! We went through so many pictures. My sweet husband went and scanned all of them only a disk...203 that we picked out to be exact. Then.... last night began the project that wouldn't be completed until 5:30 this morning. I began the slide-show.... working for perfection. Working towards what would be the perfect tribute to grandma's life. What would show her childhood, teen years, relationship with her husband of 62 years, her love for life, her love for her family.... her life... her memories.... the lives she affected. Originally, I knew that it would be mine & Tyler's job to do this slideshow when the day came.... I was not sure if it would be a "tear-jerker" or if it would be more upbeat & celebratory. Well.... I believe the divine intervention was made.... I believe it was a perfect tribute to who grandma was. Her life. She lived life so well. She lived life with such fervor & joy. What a life she lived. To be happy & smile as much as she did is a true testimony to "LIVING". Not just making it through the day, but truly LIVING LIFE. SHE LIVED!

It has been a long few days. A long few days with little sleep. But, what a blessing the days have been. Tuesday we got the call. Mom was crying on the phone at noon. I talked to dad about 12:30. Dad, being a pretty "level-headed" person...... well, when he said we might want to come home if we wanted to see her alive, I knew that it was serious. I booked a flight for Tyler, Teej & I and we left the house by 1:30 to make it to the airport. Our flight arrived at 8:45 p.m. in South Bend and we headed straight to the nursing home.

Grandma waited for me. I believe she waited up just for me. She has been in an Alzheimer's unit for the last 3 years and she broke her hip 2 weeks ago. As I walked in the room, I saw my grandma. She was hooked up to a breathing unit and didn't quite look like my grandma. She had lost more weight & dropped to about 80 pounds. Her eyes were sunken in, and her body just clearly showed skin & bones. She was ready to go meet Jesus, to go get her new, heavenly body. She looked ready.

What a night we had. What a blessed time. So many people I loved in that room. I sat on the side of her bed holding her hand, my sister Angie sat there, Kimmi, my mom & dad. Kevin & Tyler. There in the room we just sang. We sang hymns and songs. We just sang.

What I really wanted to do was to tell her how much her life mattered. At first I thought that I would want to be alone.... but, it just felt so right. I didn't care if people were in the room. I was holding her hand and just told her how special she was. I told her that her life mattered, that she did things that counted. I told her that she began a legacy that was going to continue. That I, Tyler, & her 6th grandchild Tyler Junior were going to do HUGE things to impact this world for Jesus. I told her SHE MATTERED. I told her what she taught me. What I learned from her, that she taught me how to love and how to serve. That I made mashie eggies for Tyler the other day and thought of her. They weren't as good as how grandma made them though. No one made mashie eggies like grandma. I told her that I appreciated her always going downstairs when we came over and bringing me up a Mountain Dew when I came over. She was such a servant. I just wanted her to know that SHE COUNTED. Her life MEANT SOMETHING. I have heard that is the biggest thing people wondered when they were on their death bed. "Did my life count? Did I do anything that mattered?" She really did. She made my life so happy. She brought so many good memories to my life. I told her thank you for all the shopping trips she took me on. I told her thank you for taking me to G.L.Perry's when I was little and buying me toys... I reminded her of when she told me to get lost, and I did. She eventually found me back by the fishie's. I just thanked her for how much she loved us. I most importantly wanted to pour into her life. I wanted to pour into her how much she mattered. I just wanted to encourage her before she went to meet Jesus. Seeing her struggle to breathe made me just want her to be able to meet Him. And... I told her that I would believe with her for complete healing on earth if she wanted, BUT... if she just wanted to go home and be with Jesus now, she could. She had permission. She was released to go. I told her it was OK for her to go now. We loved her and we would miss her, but she could go be with Jesus. About three hours later, that is exactly what she did. But grandma waited for me. That is so much like grandma. I was the only one who hadn't really gotten to say bye yet. Jamie was home a few weeks ago and said bye... I was the last that needed to say bye. I believe grandma held on long enough just for me. For her Amy Jo.

I loved her so much. I still love her. We will miss her. But, wow, did she live life. I don't ever remember grandma having "bitterness" towards anyone. She really did just love. Unconditionally. Even if she may have known someone was lying through their teeth. She just loved.

Grandma.... I love you soooooo much! You looked so pretty today. When we say our final good-byes tomorrow.... when we see your fleshly body for one last time, I just want you to know you will be missed. But thank you SOOOOO much for waiting for your Amy Jo. You are so sweet. I'm so thankful that you waited for me to get home to say good bye. Thank you Grandma!!!!

I hope you liked your Tribute. The Celebration of your life!! It is SO you grandma! The Elvis songs, and all the fun pictures. We will remember the good times and remember what you taught us, to love.

See you one day again...I love you!
Amy Jo

Check out the video from her viewing.... a celebration of her life:
The Legacy of Imogene Mae Ellis

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home for Good-bye's: Flew home late last nite, visited w/ my G'ma. She went home to be w/ Jesus this morning. Keep our family in your prayers. Funeral Saturday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#53 - Finding Fullfillment

Good morning. What a great morning it is! It WILL be a productive day... I am excited about it! I'm excited about this mornings devotion. I really think it will help some people. I really think it will help those people who are out their feeling un-fulfilled with life. At least, that is my prayer. 
Proverbs 17:22 - A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 31:17 - She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.
I want to paint a picture. Pick a day, any day.... 1.... 2.... or 3 years ago. A Monday morning... or Tuesday... any weekday really. The alarm goes off. She pulls the covers back over her head. It is 7:30. She really should get up. Getting in to work at a decent time would be good. But no. She pulls the covers back over her head. 8:00. The annoying blare of the alarm clock rings, beep beep beep. Whoever designed the sound of the noise those things made was wrong! Just the name of the thing "ALARM CLOCK" - you are suppose to wake up "alarmed"!?!? 8:00, she rolls over, hits the clock, pulls the covers back over her head. 8:30. 9:00. 9:15. She thinks... I really am pushing it. I really need to get up. I really need to go to work. 9:30. The covers provide a way of escape. She is not even tired. The hour and a half of beeps and pulling the covers up, she really was awake the whole time. Just laying there. Hating life. Not wanting to get up. Unfulfilled. Unhappy. But... putting on the happy face. Going through life smiling. Positive. Speaking right. But all the while pulling the covers up over her head, trying to avoid life. Trying to avoid the day as long as she could. As long as possible. I'll take another pregnancy test. I haven't missed a period or missed a pill.... but maybe, just maybe I'll be pregnant. Maybe then I can escape this job. Maybe I can get out of it. Maybe I can finally quit. Please Pregnancy Test. Please let me be the .oo1% chance that I'll be the one who gets pregnant even though I'm on birth control. 

Day after day. Same thoughts. Different day. The fake smile, plastered on her face as she steps into the elevator to go to the top floor of her "Corporate America" office. Dodging phone calls from her boss. Dreading the emails that will come streaming in as she pulls up her computer. How can she "make it sound like" she's been working with a troubled client all morning. Maybe this would be a morning that her boss wouldn't have emailed her? Maybe? She's hit her numbers. Exceeded them. Maybe her boss would just get off her back? Please! No micro-managing! Ahhhh!

A day in the life of me. 1 year, 2 years, 3 years ago. Pulling the covers up over my head. My job in Corporate America had gotten boring and unfulfilling. I had "mastered" it. I was "Rookie of the Year" my first year throughout our "Corporation" nationwide. My 2nd year I was a "Sterling Performer", which meant I was in the top 5 of ALL people in my position throughout the U.S. I was bored. It was a challenge year 1 & 2. Then, mastery. Then, boredom! Lack of passion. Lack of drive. Just a desire to move on! To get out!

Unlike Proverbs 17:22, I did not have a happy heart. My mind was not cheerful. I was everything BUT happy. I was unfulfilled. I lacked passion. I was not pursuing anything that I loved or enjoyed. I did not feel like I was "helping anyone" or "making a difference" in the lives of anyone. I felt like my "affect" on the world left as lasting of an impression as the ripples when you stick you finger in a glass of water and pull it out. Great. One little ripple that is gone within 5 seconds. What fulfillment!!! :-/ 

So... what happened? By an act of God, I was chosen to be 1 of 6 people to participate in a program nationwide called A New Way to a New You. This program was about "Optimal Health". Learning how to eat properly... actually the "food pyramid" way! Eating the proper amount of fruits & vegetables, grains, fats, proteins. Not eating card-board. Or starving myself until I lost an ounce but felt even worse. How to supplement properly. How to exercise with something manageable that could be maintained for a lifetime. (4321 - 10 Minutes of exercise/day! That's it!) I was a doubter at the beginning. How could all this work? How could I start to be happy with ME? I saw fat. I saw a double chin. I saw the pants that were too tight. Even the fat pants were getting too tight. What unhappiness! So blah! My unhappiness spread to every area of my life. It spread to unfulfillment in work. In our business. In my relationships. In my energy levels. In my walk with the Lord. I was doing poor in all areas because I did not like me. 

So... by an act of divine intervention. I've never been happier in my life! I feel fulfilled. I went from 159 (beginning of January 2009) and I am now at 129. I have not weighed this since probably high school or middle school! I am even below my wedding weight which was 9 1/2 years ago. I'm not dieting. I know how to eat properly, with the proper amounts of what foods. I supplement with multi-vitamins. And I exercise on a regular basis. And like the Proverbs 31 woman, I am even starting to get some pretty firm arms! :) JAM-UP! It's fun to pull my hair up in a pony-tail because I see definition! I now coach people through the experience I went through and they choose between 4 different programs. I am fulfilled physically. I am fulfilled now by finally following a passion of mine, writing. FIND YOUR PASSION. Begin to pursue it. And I am fulfilled in my business.... helping to show mommies & daddies how they can be free, if they want to, to make enough money in a business of their own and stay home with their kids instead of putting them in daycare. If their little boy is crying, MOM can pick him up and comfort him. DAD can pick him up and play with him or rough house. :) What a fulfilling life I am now living! Praise the Lord!
BEFORE PICTURE (late January 2009 -155 lbs)
AFTER PICTURE (July 2010 - 129 pounds, with 9 month old baby

My life today is very different than the life of the woman you read about. Pulling the covers over her head. Dreading the day. Not wanting to wake up. Just wanting to avoid life. What a different person I am today. 

Start today, like the Proverbs 31 woman, begin to get fit. Begin today to get those firm arms. Our Proverbs 31 woman was FIT! She worked out! Her arms were tone and firm. She made this a priority. Come to the realization I did: Working out is a way of life for the REST OF YOUR life! Find something you can stick with and begin today. If you want to live LONG and be STRONG, working out is not an option! BEGIN today! It may start you on the path to fulfillment, to not having a broken spirit. It will help you have strong bones. BEGIN TODAY!


Read about my journey: http://newwaynewyou2009.blogspot.com/

Looking to be coached? Looking for a way to NEVER DIET a day again the rest of your life? Eat more & exercise less? That is what I did! And I love every day! 
Email me to schedule an personal or phone appointment to find a Program that will work for you: amyjmccart@gmail.com

10 Minutes to a Total Body Workout by Sean Foy

Monday, August 16, 2010

#52 - The Verbs of our Proverbs 31 Woman

Good morning. In all my thoughts, I feel like I may be jumping around this morning... but I'm going to believe that God will pull it all together in the end and make it all make sense! 
Proverbs 16:33 - The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him].
What does the Proverbs 31 woman do? What are her actions?  
Proverbs 31: ..... (KJV) - She seeketh, she bringeth, she riseth, she giveth, she considereth, she buyeth, she planteth, she girdeth, she strengtheneth, she perceiveth, she layeth, she stretcheth out, she reacheth, she maketh, she openeth, she looketh, she eateth not...
In the Hebrew:
lot - pebbles used for systematically making decisions 
decision - act of deciding a case, plan, execution, case, process, procedure, judgement, sentence

Verbs. Verbs show action. Show accomplishment towards an end goal. Verbs show movement. The Proverbs 31 woman is moving in the direction to finish tasks. Actions. Doing things to work towards accomplishment and completion. Just move. As I looked at the word "lot", I never knew that a lot were pebbles used for making systematic decisions. I had always heard the common, "they cast lots for Jesus clothes", but I guess I didn't really know what that meant. Sometimes it would be nice to have a "lot". In the past I have often thought, "Lord, what do I do now? How do I become more productive? How do I use my time wisely to get the most out of my day & my life? To get me closer to our families goals?" And then... this verse came to my mind...here it is in the Amplified...read it over and over. Meditate on it. Go back and read it again. 
Phil 2:13 - [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
Today, we don't need "lots" because we have the Holy Spirit. I don't need to have a bunch of "pebbles" to toss to decide what "actions" I should take. Accidental, no. It makes me feel good that GOD ULTIMATELY is still controlling it all. Things aren't by accident. He is STILL in control. If I feel like I make a mistake, even that "mistake" He can bring it around to my favor. 

All the while, GOD is energizing & creating in me the power & desire to _______________. For me? To be more organized. To have a system. To get more done. To tie up loose ends. To incorporate a system where things do not slip through the cracks, where I do complete tasks, where I do not forget. A trusted system that I can count on versus relying on my brain to remember everything. A system. GTD - Getting Things Done by David Allen.  

I can continue to do the "do's".... do the "verbs", the "actions"... work towards completion, knowing God is in control. My desire is to do HIS will, and so I can TRUST that HE is creating in me the power and the desire to will and to work things for HIS good pleasure! It is not by MY strength, it is GOD who is working it in me. It is HIM. HE is creating in me the desires. That even on my Day of Rest, my desire is doing crafts, sewing, creating... all of that is part of what the Proverbs 31 woman does. She sews, crafts, creates. That even those things as "rest" are the things that are developing me more into this "Proverbs 31 Woman." 

I hope you didn't feel like I completely jumped all over the place this morning. It did feel like that a bit. Lots of thoughts. But praise God! We do not have to get overwhelmed with ALL that the Proverbs 31 woman does. All the VERBS! All the ACTION! All the ACCOMPLISHMENTS. We can trust that it is GOD who is ALL THE WHILE bringing those things to pass in us! That even those things that seem ACCIDENTAL, are drawing us into a place of favor! Praise the Lord! We do not have to "cast lots", throw pebbles, dice, "einy, meany, miney, mo"... in order to decide what to do next.... we can ASK. We can be directed! Praise God that we don't have to be ALL over night. We can apply the Slight Edge (By Jeff Olson)... doing those little things every day. Those things that are easy to do, but equally easy not to do. We can apply the small, that will eventually lead to BIG positive changes when you add them all up. The SLIGHT EDGE. No reason to get overwhelmed by ALL the Proverbs 31 woman does, and ALL that she is. It's a matter of taking ONE VERB, ONE ACTION, ONE ACTIVITY, and beginning to apply it. 
Favor favor favor. God's favor goes before me now. His favor makes policies, rules, regulations, laws, attitudes, even my mistakes to change on my behalf. He even makes my mistakes to prosper. God's FAVOR is working for me now!
Choose ONE activity. Begin to work on it today.  

Friday, August 13, 2010

#51 - Have you started your INHERITANCE?

Good morning! Well... I feel like this is going to be a pretty quick post today (we'll see when it's all said and done!) The Holy Spirit was pretty straight to the point! 
Proverbs 13:22 (KJV) - A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
Proverbs 31:25 - Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!
I was very interested by the word "AND" in Proverbs 13:22. I'm not a grammar or English scholar, but from an English/grammar perspective I think of "AND" as bringing multiple things together. Bringing things that belong together, together.  

Well.... this is what the Holy Spirit said to me when I asked Him about it. 
Yes Amy, it does mean the two go together. It never is too early to start a "Grand-Children" account. Let it begin to grow. If it is in MY Word as something to do, why wait? Why do people wait? Lazy. Lack of planning. Lack of listening. Not in the Word enough to even hear my instructions in regards to this area. I want you and Tyler to do this now. It is a matter of obedience. You do this AND this happens. It goes together. The wealth of the sinner is laid up for YOU! Get the inheritance part down AND the wealth of the sinner will make it's way to you. This is not money received in "haste" like it talks about in verse 11, this is money received from obedience, you can EXPECT to receive it. 
Someone's gambling money, drug money, etc. This is "wealth" of the sinner, RECEIVE IT!
Need I say more? 

What do I think of the Proverbs 31 woman in regards to this area?? Well... we know she has a "savings" from verse 16 AND here in our verse for today, we see that she is rejoices over the future! She knows that she and her family are ready for the future, the time to come. 

As a parent... I'm just beginning to realize that you want your child to have everything they need. You do not want them to lack. I'm sure that as children grow up, get out on their own, parents even more want them to be taken care of.... they don't want them to do without or go without, they don't want them struggling financially.... without money for food, or to pay their bills. I can only imagine the heartache for a parent that knows their baby doesn't have food in the refrigerator or pantry. I remember my mom telling me when we were all little... my mom and dad... four kids, newborn to 5 years old and my mom's pantry empty. Praying for God to provide food somehow. And my grandma just bringing bags of groceries over to their house. Wow! The heart of a "mother-in-law" or "mother"... knowing that her children and grandbabies had little to no food. You just want to pour into them, it makes you just want to provide, to give. 

Well....I say all that to say this, our Proverbs 31 friend has NO FEAR of this ever happening to her family. To her children or grandchildren. She KNOWS her family is READY for the future. I would anticipate that they began early to set money aside to leave that INHERITANCE for their CHILDREN'S CHILDREN! :)

So, in obedience to the Holy Spirit, I'm going to GO TODAY to start our GRANDCHILDREN account! :) 

Be blessed! Have a great day and weekend! :) 

Amy Jo

Thursday, August 12, 2010

#50 - A Man Will DO More & BE More When....

Buenos dias! :) This afternoon we are going to pick blueberries again with some friends. It seems like "Thursdays" have become our fruit picking day! :) Well, I am going to believe now that it will be great, cool with a light breeze, and NO wasps, bees or fire-ants (or any other biting/stinging creatures!)

I had a nice DOR yesterday! I went to the $2.00 theatre and watched Karate Kid! :) It was really good. Jaden Smith does a good job as the little Karate Kid. :) Some good lessons in the movie about "respect", and language in the movie was good (only about 2-3 times the word a** was used in the beginning). So, overall, a good flick for kids too. :) 

Let's begin our devotion... get your steel-toed boots on today. :-/ 
Proverbs 12:4 - A virtuous and worthy wife [earnest and strong in character] is a crowning joy to her husband, but she who makes him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
Proverbs 31:29 - Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.
Well, today's word stems from a few bits of conversation that I had with Tyler this morning as he was leaving for the day. If I were to guess.... I would anticipate many of you have had similar conversations with your spouse. Maybe different words, but the same context. Just to give you a bit of background... Tyler just downloaded a "To-Do/Task" matrix on his cell phone. It allows him to keep up with tasks or "delegate them" to someone else, date them for a future completion, etc, etc... Let's see if you can relate... 
T: Hey, I'm going to forward you an email of a few things to do.
A: Well, I'm not going to guarantee that it gets done today. I already have a lot of things I'm going to do. 
T: Well, you didn't even see what it is. It won't even take long. 
A: Well... I just know that I have lots to do, and if it was a lot of tasks that had to get done today, I just wanted you to know I didn't know if I'd get to them. But I can probably plan them into my calendar for later.
T: All I was going to do was ask you to drop off the dry cleaning. I have all my shirts laid out on my chair upstairs.  (*bit of frustration in his voice*)
A: Oh. Well, I can do that when we leave to pick blueberries. (*feeling a bit bad that such a big deal was made out of something that would be so easy to do now that I knew what it was* - Now outside, as he's walking to the garage.)
A: And ,your welcome for packing your lunch. (*A bit of sarcasm since he didn't say thank you.*)
T: And, Your welcome for me going to my job, making money and providing for our family. (*frustration in his voice because of feeling under-appreciated*)
There ya have it! :) The perfect world of the McCart's. :) It seems pretty small... but even just the "tension" in the air of our conversation wasn't a great way to begin, or set the stage for the day, for having a good day anyways. Then... of course, the Word continues to correct, teach, rebuke and help. All good things since we are all continuing to learn and grow. Correction is all a part of a believer who wants to grow. 

Proverbs 12 talked about being a crowning joy to her husband and of course that is something that I always want to be. A blessing. A joy. An encouragement. This morning was a good wake up call to the power of appreciation. Or the power of a lack of appreciation. Then as I continued to read in Proverbs 12, it talked about the wife who makes her husband ashamed, how she is as rottenness to his bones. Rottenness stinks, rotten breaks, rottenness brings fruit flies & bugs. There is nothing real good about rottenness. And I definitely do not want to be any of that to my husband. As I meditated on the word ashamed, I really came across ways that a wife can do that, can bring shame to her husband.

The wife can cause the husband to feel "Shame" or be "Ashamed" in several different ways....

Ashamed in Himself:

  • Lack of Appreciation - Feeling like he is not appreciated. What he's doing goes over-looked as he goes works with the people, makes the sales calls, deals with "drama" that may come up with work. Deals with client problems. Deals with numbers, emails, voicemails, to-do lists, projects to complete, #'s to grow, $ income to increase, people to please, boss to make happy, and the list goes on. As he goes through ALL this, and rarely gets a "Thank You" for all he is doing to provide for his family. Lack of appreciation can cause dissatisfaction with work & disunity with the spouse.
  • Lack of Accomplishment - Through her lack of appreciation, it shines light on their "Lack of Accomplishment". Sometimes causing him to feel shame in  how far along they are not. They have not gotten in life as far as they anticipated. They thought they would be further along in their goals, but they are not. She may mention or remind him of this with her attitude or words.
  • Lack of Attainment - Through lack of appreciation, this can also make him feel like what he has provided doesn't make her happy. Even though he's doing everything he knows how to do, nothing is making her happy. 
  • All of this making him feel like he is Not a good Provider - A man wants to know he is that "Hulk", "Mufasa", "King Kong", "He-Man". He wants to have the feeling of "beating his chest with his fists" and crying out "Oughhhh Oughhhh"... kinda like the "Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor" would do on his show. Lack of Appreciation partnered with Lack of Accomplishment, then can cause a husband to feel like he is not a good provider. Then self-doubt sinks in. And the OPPOSITE begins to happen, instead of looking at where he can go, he may begin dwelling on what he is not. Who he is not, or has not been. Dwelling on failures and self instead of WHO GOD IS and WHAT GOD CAN DO through him. All of this self-imposed, or wife-imposed does not help the cause of progress, but directly can move them backwards. 

Ashamed in Her:

  • Actions - Non-productive. She does things that are un-prayed about and un-productive. She focuses on self. Doesn't serve him. "The least will be greatest. The one who serves is the one who is great." - This statement doesn't show through her actions. She does not serve. Her actions are not helping to move their family forward financially or spiritually. Lazy. Unkept house. Lack of peace.
  • Attitude - If she has a negative attitude all the time. Looks at the glass always as half empty instead of half full. Sharp tone. Sharp glares. Sharp words.
  • Attire - Dressing sloppy... or doesn't wear make-up or do her hair for him.  Dressing in a way that would be too revealing. Wearing clothes that are either too short, tight, low-cut or just inappropriate. Causing him not to take pride in showing off his wife. "Wearing her around as his prize when he is out in public." Like he is showing off a gem. 
  • Advancement - In her spiritual growth. In her physical fitness growth - being fit for HIM, to look good for HIM. In her PERSONAL growth. Reading books. In her fiscal growth - aspiring to make them money or save them money. Her not being a "shop-aholic" and spending money on things she and they do not need. 
  • A man will do more and be more when he is VERBALLY appreciated. 
  • A man will do more and be more when his wife treats him like her HERO. 
  • A man will do more and be more when he is loved. 
  • A man will do more and be more when he is RESPECTED
  • A man will do more and be more when his wife's actions show that SHE is in agreement with him. She takes action towards their goals, you see her "buy-in" to their goals by what she does because she is moving in the same direction! Their actions are in unity!
  • A man will do more and be more when he is served & treated like the King. She is the queen of the castle, but he wants to be her King!
I hope you didn't feel like this dwelled a lot on the negative. But... my goal is to avoid the negative and have my life dwell on the positive. Sometimes in order to do that, we need to know what the negative is. Are we inadvertently being negative in some way? Well... I know that I need to be more proactive with the POWER OF APPRECIATION! Actually with everything that was mentioned. I STILL have my work cut out for me. (I'm not even going to proof-read this today... arghhh!)

To Do:
Pick one thing today that you can apply. 

Lord, In JESUS name, help me to be the help-mate to my spouse that you created me to be. Help me to encourage and lift up. Help me to serve even when it may not be "convenient" or fit into MY schedule. Help me to focus on loving and serving and being a spouse that allow my husband to MOVE MOUNTAINS because I believe in him. Through my words and actions, help my husband know that I believe he can do ANYTHING!! May I empower him to do great things! And may I help him to do great things. Prepare us Lord for what YOU have in store. For the GREATNESS you have for us! We thank you today for your protection according to Ps 91, and that we go out in FAVOR FAVOR FAVOR according to Proverbs 12:2. We love you and praise you in JESUS name, Amen!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We had a garage sale several months back and had a TON of clothes to sell. Well, we obviously have a LOT of clothes left over.... well.... I wanted an athletic skort. I looked for one out and about... couldn't find one, so I decided I'd find some material amongst all of our "left-over" clothes and make one. I found a dry-fit shirt of Tyler's and a pair of boxers that were too small for him. I mean, for real women... aren't men's boxer's just comfortable?! I think so!! Well.... here is the journey of my project. (Last week's DOR and today for a little bit.)

Let the journey begin.... 

So... there yah have it! :) Tyler still doesn't understand why I would want to work on a craft or do something involving "sewing" on my DOR. Why? Because it is FUN!!! :) And RELAXING. :) 

So... I have a new, fun, not perfect, but white skort. :) 

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