Let’s All Pin God 1st!

Listen up girls!  Here is something that can lead us to A Simpler Joy.  Today, my friend, Life Coach Carey Bailey, is generously sharing her monthly call to action: Pin God 1st  Be sure to read all about it and to print out the forms.  Then, starting on Monday, September 1 – before you email, before you FaceBook, before you Instagram, Pin God 1st:

September! That sounds like such a dreamy month. I am envisioning parts of the country that are cooling off and watching things change colors, but here in Phoenix we consider it painful. It SHOULD feel like Fall and instead it is still over 100 degrees and the sweat…it just keeps dripping. We grumble and groan and wonder when oh when will it ever end? There is an end in sight, but we still have 45ish days to go…it is kinda torture. Good thing I am escaping the heat mid September for Camp Create! Woot woot!!!  I. CAN’T. WAIT!!!

Last month I started to feel restless about Pin God 1st. We have been doing it here for close to 2 years and it is the one thing I am actually consistent with on the blog. I didn’t want to get rid of it but I felt the need to change it up. After doing Summer of Joy in June & JulyI really enjoyed the encouragement to make some fun choices in the midst of the everyday so I decided to combine the two.

Welcome to the makeover version of Pin God 1st!

choosing God & intentional living before social media

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I hope you like it. I am pretty excited about the fresh look and space to doodle. Download from Google Drive here

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IMG_1814-2Carey Bailey is a woman who loves to dance around the living room with her husband to Michael Jackson, loves Blue Bell Pralines and Cream ice cream, loves reading to her kids in a tree house, and loves having Jesus as her BFF!

She is self professed candy junkie but sugar will never match her deep desire for helping women satisfy their cravings for abundant life. She does this through life coaching, speaking, and by sharing a one-of-a-kind devotional she authored, Cravings {The Devotional}.

You can connect with Carey through her web-site, facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Weeknight Hospitality

brittalafont.com strawberry salad

We popped over to my dear friend’s house for dinner this week, while her hubby was out of town.  She cooked a mouthwatering roast with veggies and I brought a simple salad and some watermelon.  We had a stellar meal and a wonderful respite from the ho-hum of the weekly grind.

This kind of “interruption” to our routine would have undone me years ago.  My “routine” was an idol for me.  I felt safest when I kept a strict control over my schedule and our activities.  Bed time was king.  Meal time was queen.

In this new season, I am embracing A Simpler Joy.  I am, sometimes with difficulty, letting go of the many “have-to’s” that I have filled my days and my mind with, and working to retrain my brain to:

  1. Relax
  2. Reflect
  3. Refocus

With that in mind, I am going to play a bit with my blog posts.  In some ways, it is not a change for me because I want to spend time blogging in the places where God is working in me.  So, today I want to share with you the simplest salad you could ever bless your friends with…Enjoy!

Strawberry Bacon Salad

Serves 6
Prep time 5 minutes
Allergy Milk
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party
This deliciously fresh salad is ready in 5 minutes, including its semi-homemade berry vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Spring Salad Mixture or Baby Spinach
  • 1 pint Fresh Strawberries (sliced)
  • 1 packet Pre-cooked Bacon (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon Strawberry Preserves
  • 1/3 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

Note

Use as a quick weeknight main dish by adding rotisserie chicken.  A great date night option: change up the feta with bleu cheese crumbles and add pecans and flank steak for a terrific meal.

Directions

Step 1
Microwave the bacon according to package directions. Make it extra crispy so it is easy to chop!
Step 2
Place the lettuce in a serving bowl sprinkle the chopped bacon on top.
Step 3
In a cup or small carafe, stir together the strawberry preserves and the balsamic vinaigrette.
Step 4
Slice the strawberries and add to salad.
Step 5
Sprinkle feta over salad.
Step 6
Add dressing to your taste. I use 3-4 Tablespoons for a salad this size. Toss salad and serve. Reserve excess salad dressing for later use.

Do you have a go-to recipe you can bring to a friend’s house?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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Speak All the Words of this Life…

brittalafont.com this Life

“Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life” (Acts 5:20).

In church on Sunday, our pastor read the passage he would preach on, Acts 4:32-5:42.  Then, as on so many Sundays, during the sermon I wrote furiously, trying to capture all that Truth that was being spoken, on paper, because it slips too quickly out of my head.  Do you take notes in church too?  I find it helps the words sink in and marinate.  And then those words are on paper, just as they were spoken, to savor later.

But something stuck, without having to be written down.

“…speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

Maybe the command to “speak” stuck with me because I attended the Declare conference recently (I know, you might be tired of hearing that by now).  Or maybe this command resonated just because I love words; and I love, love love His Very Word.

It is an angel who delivers this command to Peter and John.  They are imprisoned (again) because of teaching and preaching in the Name of Jesus.  And the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Temple, keeps warning them not to promote the Name of Jesus in any way.  But disapproval and threats don’t stop them, because Peter and John are so filled with love for this Life – where there is communion with God and man and no fear of death – that they cannot keep silent.  They have the Bread of Life and the Living Water.  How can they keep it to themselves?

There is persecution and suffering…they have seen Jesus beaten and crucified, have seen Stephen stoned, have been warned by the leadership not to speak, so God sees fit to confirm this thing they have been doing.  He encourages them to continue to “speak all the words of this Life.”

This Life.  What Life?  Church Life.  In Acts, we see this beautiful Life:  Hearts are knit together by the Holy Spirit, everything is shared, bread is broken together, needs are met, and the Church IS the Body of Christ, with Him at the Head.  What’s not to love?  So first there is the experience of the Body and then there comes the witness about it.   

legs to run brittalafont.com

The question for us is: Are we running this race?  Are we living this Life?  Are we in community with other believers where we can see the Holy Spirit at work?  Are we giving of ourselves, sharing with others in need?  Are we being built up as a Spiritual House of Living Stones, founded on the Chief Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5)?

I love my church because it is a place where I feel a real connection to the Body of Christ.  My hubby and I have been to so many churches where we passed in and out of the doors without connecting to anyone while there.  Painful.  Our fault?  Their fault?  Both?  Yes, yes, and yes.

But God would have us know community…in our churches, in our homes, in our friendships.  Experiencing community helps us to know this Life, so we can speak about it, Declare it, to others:  

“Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect” (1 Peter 3:15, NrIV).

Is your hope on full display?  And if you don’t experience this Life at your church, can YOU change things? Choose this Life that we see in the Early Church.  Experience fellowship with the Spirit and the fellowship of believers.  Here’s how:

  1. Study God’s Word and put it into practice in your own life
  2. Be generous
  3. Break bread together (at church and outside of church)
  4. Invite people into your home, your life
  5. And Speak this Life:

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
“In Christ Alone” by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty

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photo credit/Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo

Shhhh!

brittalafont.com shhh

photo credit/Copyright: rtiom / 123RF Stock Photo

Come as a Little Child

BrittaLafont.com little childCome as a little child; this is an easy thing for children to do.  Obviously.  They are used to depending on others and trusting the big people in their lives.  “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 14:2-4).  When we “mature” chronologically, we often grow distrustful of authority figures.  We’ve been let down before by parents, teachers, bosses, spouses.

Plus, we like to think we have it all together.  Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to learn something completely new as an adult?  Get a new “smartphone” and you’ll definitely get the feeling the phone is smarter than you.  Switch from Microsoft to Apple products and you’ll cringe every time someone raves about how “intuitive” the technology is…how it practically teaches you how to use it!  The truth is that you might feel more like the computer mocks you, rather than that it teaches you.  Sometimes it is just hard when you have to learn new stuff.

I experienced something like this when I entered dental hygiene school.  Learning to use dental hygiene instruments is just like learning to write – it requires very precise small motor movements and hand strength.  Plus you have to learn how to do everything forwards and backwards in the teensy mirror you must use to see while you are working.  Sometimes your hand just won’t do what you want it to do!  That was one of the most humbling experiences in my life.  I might have been tempted to quit except that I had too much to lose.  I had to dig deep and move ahead.

I think it is much easier to learn new things when you are young.  Most children are more teachable than adults.  Adults tend to question things.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).  Why must we be cautioned against double-mindedness?  Because it is in our natures, as adults, to question and question and question, rather than to accept and trust and obey.

I think the mercy of the Lord is that He brings us to desperate places sometimes, just so we might be willing to try something, anything, just to get moving in a new direction.  Lately, I find myself desperate for change.  This time, I am not looking for anyone else to change.  Just me.  I am making a deeper commitment to Integrity, to Wild Obedience.  I want to be faithful in the small things.  I have seen the wholeness and stability that Integrity brings, and I want more of that.

How about you?  Are you desperate enough to try something new?  Do you have the faith of a little child?  Can you trust that the Lord will make a new way for you, where there wasn’t one before?  He said He can do it, so we know it is true: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Is 43:19).

Name one thing you want to do better.  Now plan to do that today and the next, maybe on to next week…want an accountability partner?  Post it in the comments.  Or on our community FaceBook page.  Let’s walk together.  Today, my something new is that I want to become a better listener, to listen more and talk less.  How about you, what is your something new?

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