No Clutter November : Less Stuff, More Peace

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I’m very excited to introduce the very first Abiding Woman homemaking challenge. I plan to periodically do these to encourage myself and other women in our homemaking. Throughout the month of November I be will blogging about the why and how of decluttering.

No Clutter November Phase One

Take a deep breath ladies, no need to grab a glass of wine or a can of gasoline and matches to deal with that mess of stuff that’s been driving you nuts for months now. We’re going to tackle it one phase at a time. We’re going to do this together. And we’re going to be done in time for the holidays. Are you with me? Are you ready? This really won’t be as hard as you think.

Step 1: Choose 3 places in your home that need less clutter and more peace. I want you to choose three different areas: a small high traffic area, a large monumental never ending mess area, and a hidden area.
For example:
My small high traffic area is my counter tops.
My large never ending mess area is my office/homeschool area.
My hidden area is my daughters’ shared closet (4 girls clothing in one closet is bound to get a little cluttered, right?)

Now phase one can be the hardest step for some, but it is the first step in cutting the clutter out. This step is to ruthlessly purge. That’s it… seems simple right? Wrong. My problem and most people’s problem is that we view non valuable items as valuable, and hence we hold on to them…. moving them here and there and everywhere. We spend our valuable time moving around things that we don’t even really want or need. But in the thick of the cleaning and organizing it is often difficult to discern whether an item is worth keeping or not.Now all hope is not lost, I have good news….

It is actually as easy as asking yourself 3 simple questions:

1. Do I need this currently?
Does it have a true purpose, function, and reason for being in your home?
2. Do I love this?
Is it beautiful, inspiring, and/or valuable to you? Would you pay money to keep it?
3. Do I have a place for this?

Is your space limited? If so then you may have to part with an item even if you feel you need or love it. I will try to help you out with ideas on this one later, so if you are running into items you need and love, but don’t have space for them, then put them in a box or basket and be sure you are subscribed by email because No Clutter November Phase Two will offer help for these very things.

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Happy uncluttered November!

-Stacey

 

Family Bible Time

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It’s one of my favorite times of the day! It may have been a stressful and long day or a busy day full of housework and homeschooling, but at this time each day we quiet ourselves and gather around the table as a whole family to seek the face of the Lord. My husband begins to read from God’s Word and it washes over us like a cup of cool water! So refreshing! This is a cherished time that I look forward to each day, anticipating and knowing that the Lord will presence Himself among us as we seek Him together in His Word!

Today I’m sharing  the practical side of how we do it over at My Joy Filled Life. I’m excited to be giving some tips and encouragement that hopefully could help get your family started or to help improve upon what you are already doing.

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I’ll also be sharing one of our most used Bible memory resources for children.Bible3d

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For your further pursuit:

We  as a family have been encouraged listening to Paul Washer preach through some of the catechism questions to the children at his home church. These sermons are shorter and preached towards children. They are excellent! Encourage your children to take notes if they are old enough, and encourage the younger ones to listen quietly, pushing pause periodically to ask them questions to help them understand.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

Enjoy! & Be blessed!

-S

Time with God // Part Three

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So excited to be back and diving into part three, the final post in the series “Time with God”. I said this in my first post: “God seeks worshipers who worship in Spirit and in Truth.” But perhaps that doesn’t resonate with you, Maybe you are thinking to yourself, what does that even mean?

True Worship in the Spirit

I think some people have it in their heads that worship is similar to yoga… silence required!  Good thing that isn’t the truth otherwise moms like me wouldn’t have the opportunity to worship hardly at all. Other people may believe that worship is something we do on Sunday mornings, singing songs with other believers, and while that is one Biblically ascribed way to worship, there is so much more to worship!

The Holy Spirit through Paul gives us a great definition of worship here:

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. -Romans 12:1-2

So we see that true spiritual worship is a life offered up as a holy and living sacrifice to the Lord. Now here’s the bad news: you can’t do this on your own…. But here’s the good news: God has done it for you if you are in Christ Jesus and He is your source to be able to live this out moment by moment.

This type of true worship has everything to do with what my blog title is about, “Abiding Woman”. I chose this as the title because that is my deepest desire! To be a woman who is continually abiding in Jesus: relying and trusting fully on His works of righteousness and not my own and drawing from Him as my source in order that I will bear fruit for Him.

 

The Knitty Gritty: The Practical

Drawing from the Source:

Children and chaos do not keep us from drawing from the source, our own flesh does. Until this becomes a way of life, you will need to purpose to die to your flesh and to seek Him right where you are (this is the disciplining yourself for life and godliness that I was talking about in part two). It’s not always easy, it takes focus and patience, especially with little ones underfoot. It is easy in the silence of a morning or evening when all the house is asleep, and while that’s very nice and relaxing, it isn’t our reality for most f the time. We have to learn to draw from Him as our source in our real, kinda loud, sometimes mundane, moments in every day life.

Here are some ways I do this:

*Have a plan: A Reading Plan. I have a Scripture reading plan. I hope to go into more detail on this at some point, but basically my plan is suppose to be a year long plan, however I do what I can when I can. My goal is to read and understand and respond, not “knock it out” so I can check it off my list. Each day on my plan I’m scheduled to read 2 chapters in the Old Testament, 1 Psalm or Proverb, and 2 chapters in the New Testament. This morning I was only able to get through the Old Testament portion before kids woke up and started stirring and asking for breakfast. So I’ll finish the rest this evening, or I’ll pick back up tomorrow where I left off. Sometimes I even work on this as my kids are playing together in the same room as I am in. I figure if I can check my facebook, look at pinterest, or even write a blog post while they play underfoot, then I can certainly read God’s Word! I also think this is a great thing for them to actually see us mamas doing throughout the day, we are an example to them… all our “time with God” should not be done before they wake. They need to see us seeking the Lord, not just hear us talk about it. This is also a great opportunity to look up from God’s Word and say, “guess what I just read….” and share a little of it with those sweet little ones in excitement, you have no idea the impact this will have on them!

*A Bible Listening Plan, I am currently going through a chronological plan that I keep on my fridge and check off as I go. I use the Bible.is app for this. When I’m doing dishes or chores around the house I push play. The kids listen along sometimes and other times they play and know to keep their voice levels low so that I can listen. The great part is, they are listening too.

*Sermons and podcasts are a mom’s best friend! These are great for in the car or for listening to while kids are napping and you have to get chores done. Stick your phone in your pocket and put some headphones on if you think the noise may wake the baby. It is such an encouragement to my heart to hear Biblical teaching and preaching throughout my day. If you’re not sure what to listen to, try some of these sites (my favorites):

I’ll Be Honest  (this group is always posting good stuff)

Revive our Hearts (just for women)

Desiring God sermons

Ask Pastor John (I love these for quick listens)

Look at the Book (I adore these!)

Grace to You

Sermon Audio -There is an app for this also! (look up Paul Washer, Richard Own Roberts, Anthony Mathenia, Tim Conway, Charles Leiter, just to get you started)

here’s a screen shot of my current “Abide” apps. (there are certainly others, these are just the ones I use)

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*Scripture memory and meditation: I have recently been using the phone app Remember Me for Scripture memory. In the past I have also just used index cards. I still do this from time to time since having something as a physical reminder in my pocket is very helpful. If I find I am really struggling with something, I write the Scripture on the card and meditate and pray through it when my mind is tempted to think in ways that are not according to God’s truth. This is one way that I work to renew my mind. Let’s say I’m struggling with bitterness towards someone, I write a Scripture where I’m commanded to forgive and place it on the card in my pocket. If thoughts of unforgiveness or hurt rise up, I pull it out and start praying over the situation and praying for the Lord to change my heart and give me grace to forgive.

These are just a few ideas….  there are certainly other ways to be soaking in God’s Word throughout our days.

Responding in Prayer, Song, Word, and Deed:

Now this isn’t just a one way thing… we also are responding to what we are hearing  from the Lord through His living and active word. We respond in prayer, songs, words, and deeds all throughout our day. Pray about the things you learned or read or just listened to on a sermon. Confess sin if the Lord showed you an area of your life that needs repentance. Thank Him for thing things He has done and the things He is showing you. Rejoice in who He is and just worship Him! Sing songs of praise and hymns as you go about your daily work around the home. Praise the Lord out loud to your children and husband and friends. Speak of Him often to everyone that you can. If you are constantly taking in His Word, then you very easily begin to speak His Word to others. And respond with obedience right where you are. Did you read about patience or seeking unity, do that! Did you read about forgiving others, do that. Did you read about evangelism, do it! Think of tangible ways to respond to His commands. Do you need to sit down and write a letter to a friend to share God’s truth with her, do you need to pick up the phone and repent to someone for something you did, do you need to go repent to your children for anger or impatience, do you need to go open God’s Word and teach your children? What did God say to do? Do it! Jesus says if we love Him we will keep His commandments. That is a way that we worship! We worship in response to His words.

The Presence of God: He is with us!

The Lord is not far off, He is with you even when you may feel distracted from that truth, it is still a reality. Furthermore, He longs for us to worship Him in these ways. He deeply loves us who are in Christ Jesus, He has made us His own, and He cleansed us so that we no-longer would live in separation from Him. He delights in us delighting in Him! Take time today to purpose to do this throughout your day.

Maybe you couldn’t wake up early and seek Him in the silence, that is okay, seek Him now! If you were able to get up early to spend time alone with Him, let it continue, we can’t just be products of our environments, we must seek Him when it’s easy and when it’s hard. 

There is a quote that I read in a study called “Behold Your God” that has affected my perception of God’s presence and what my response is to it:

“You can have as much of God as you want; in fact you already do!” 

It is very true!

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you!

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Time With God // Part Two

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I’m so excited to journey on in this series! Walking in light of the presence of God is of utmost importance!  If you haven’t read the first post yet, hop over and read it, then come back here to dive in deeper.

 Time with God in the Trenches of Mommyhood

So what does time with God for the busy and often tired mom of young children look like? Should we make it our goal to set aside a specific time to study the Scriptures and pray, be it in the morning or during the naptimes of our children, or in the evening when everyone is asleep YES ,ABSOLUTELY! We should definitely pursue making this happen! I hope that no one heard me say that it was unnecessary for you to have, pursue, and desire those alone times with the Lord in my first post. It is good to start your day with Him and to continue to walk with Him for the rest of the day.

If anyone got that they were not to pursue this type of time with the Lord out of the first post then you very much misunderstood me, and absolutely must stick around because what I was sharing there is almost the complete opposite of that.

The first post aimed to address this tendency for moms to set these goals of waking before the children and spending time with the Lord (much like the Triple G challenge), but when plans fall through because the life of a mom is unpredictable and let’s face it sometimes sleepless, instead of walking out the rest of their day with their Savior at their side, they walk it out in condemnation. But here’s the truth sweet sisters:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. -Romans 8:1

Jesus isn’t looking down from heaven saying, “I know her baby woke her up twice last night, and that her toddler woke at 7, but she should’ve set aside some alone time with me sitting in her easy chair sipping her coffee with her Bible wide open.” That’s ludicrous on so many levels, and we know it! But sadly, sometimes moms put this type of condemnation on themselves. The reality of the situation according to God looks much different, the reality He gives us is this:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:14-16

The Gospel Changes the Way We View Our Time with the Lord

How is it that we can be with God in His presence when we fail in so many ways? We fail to live up to not just our own human standards of a schedule or a time to wake up ,but we fail His perfect holy standards, big time, more than we will ever know. The reason this invitation is open to us is because of what Jesus has done and is doing. It’s not because of something you accomplish or bring about on your own. Don’t be deceived, if you think waking up early every day to read and study the Bible and pray is going to earn you the right to be in the presence of God, you are dead wrong! Can He meet you in that time, will He meet you in that time, Yes, but it isn’t because of you, it’s because of Him! The only thing that gives us the right to come boldly to His throne of grace is the great high priest, Jesus who was tempted in every way, He knows our struggles all too well, and yet He was perfect and blameless! He came to this earth with one purpose, to fulfill the Father’s will by redeeming a people for Himself and bringing them near to Him. What had to be done for that to happen? This perfect man who was also fully God had to die and bear the wrath that was meant for our sins, and then He overcame sin and death, rose from the grave! He now sits on the the throne praying for us! Do you think He did and does all that so we could only meet with Him in a silent house before our children wake? Absolutely not!!!! He did that so we could abide in Him moment by moment, forever!

What about disciplining yourself for godliness?

Some will say, But what about disciplining yourself for life and godliness (1 Timothy 4:7)? And I submit, what I’m saying to do here takes much greater discipline than sitting in a silent house and sipping coffee and reading your Bible. I love what Paul Washer says:

“You are struggling to DO … you need to struggle to BE.”

I am talking about something much more authentic than setting a schedule and having your “quiet time” and giving yourself a little Pharisaical pat on the back.

No, I am talking about abiding in Him moment by moment! Abiding when the kids are screaming, abiding when the dishes and laundry are over flowing, abiding when you are teaching phonics to a young child, abiding when you have morning sickness for weeks on end, abiding at play dates, abiding at the zoo, abiding when the stomach bug strikes your home, abiding in the late night nursing hours, abiding… always and continually abiding.

God is near, He is here. He is in the silence and the chaos. Will you abide in Him right now…… or do you think He’s still waiting for you back at that easy chair?

Sister, I hope this set you free in some way and encouraged you to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness….. in order to BE not to DO!

Tomorrow’s post is going to get much more practical. What does it look like to enjoy the Lord and abide in Him in our moments of chaos and homemaking and not-so-silent houses? I hope you will join me again tomorrow.

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Be blessed.

Read part 3 of this series here.

Time with God // Part One

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“I didn’t get up….. there went my time with God!”

If you weren’t able to get up before your kids and have your “time with the Lord”, don’t despair. I have fallen into the lie of thinking, “well there went my time with God” when I was unsuccessful at waking early or when one of the littles decided to wake early too. Here is what I finally had to see and understand: we are with the Lord ALL THE TIME! I know I know… that’s not a novel thought, but how often do we forget that He is ever present in ALL the parts of our day? While we wash dishes and wipe noses and change diapers, He is here! What a joy to know we can call upon His name, worship Him in the chaos, open the Bible and read the Scriptures out loud.

Now don’t hear me saying that waking up and setting aside time to pray and study God’s Word is not beneficial. It is a wonderful thing to aim for, but not every day and every season of life will allow for this, especially for the mamas of young children.  It is such a sweet thing to be alone with the Lord and pray and read unhindered, but let us be clear that the presence of God is not relegated to the quiet and chaos free moments of life. Time with God is not defined by a silent house and uninterrupted cup of coffee.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24) 

The Spirit of God is present, because of His sacrifice on the cross the veil was torn and He is with us in both quiet and chaos. It says He is seeking worshipers who worship in spirit and truth….. not silence and easy chairs. Our truest worship takes place in daily life that is not separated from children, challenges, and messes.

He is here and near!

He came to this earth, died for us, and rose from the dead to bring us near to Him!

 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

Let us not be so distracted by day to day tasks that we forget His wonderful nearness to us!

Be with Him right now…. this is your time with God!

read part two of this series here

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Mothers Your Work is Eternal Work

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Dear Mothers,

You have one of the most difficult and most wonderful jobs given.
It’s not insignificant work, in fact it is eternal work.
What you do each day inside the four walls of your house will affect so much!
You are influencing your children’s hearts moment by moment.
You have a chance to point them to Christ in the middle of messes, play, discipline, and cuddles.
30 years from now, your laundry and dishes piles will be much smaller, and your children will be much bigger. And today you can train them in the way they should go.
300 hundred years from now you and your children will be consumed with one thing and one thing only, and it’s a much bigger deal than laundry and dishes.
In 300 years we will all be thinking about the glory of Christ…. some around His throne in beauty and fullness of joy, and others with great regret in agony and turmoil.
But today you can focus your heart on Him, and point your children’s hearts to Him.

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Don’t be deceived to think what you do today will not affect them then, it will.
Point them to Christ! He is the one thing our hearts need most, and He is the one thing your child needs most!

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And Mamas, this is not adding to your to-do list…. this is the thing you must do while you do the to-do list. And if you can’t do this and that at the same time, then that other thing is the thing that must go because remember this is eternal work.

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Amidst your seemingly mundane work of kissing booboos, teaching phonics, potty training, nursing, remember what your real work is.
Pray for your children continually to know and love Christ, live your life in a way that points to the redeeming power of the Lord, and proclaim the Gospel to your children as often as you can, rejoice in the Lord before their very eyes. This is your real work that God has given you and there is an eternal reward.

“Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. Scarcely can the godly mother quit her home for a place of worship; but dream not that she is lost to the work of the church; far from it, she is doing the best possible service for her Lord. Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. Christian women, by teaching the children the Holy Scriptures, are as much fulfilling their part for the Lord, as Moses in judging Israel, or Solomon in building the temple. “Seek first His kingdom, set your minds on the things above, fix your eyes on Jesus.” While a truly God besought mother and wife may be one of the most unnoticed overlooked posts in the eyes of the world, there will be a day when its eternal significance will be brought to light and no sacrifice will seem too great, nor any negligence seem so small.”  -C.H. Spurgeon

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Celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus

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Happy Resurrection Day, sweet readers!

Of all the holidays on the calendar, Resurrection Sunday is the one most worth celebrating. There is nothing more significant in all of time than the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! So it is right that we celebrate! It is right that we worship!

Because He is alive, because He is risen, everything has changed!

Because He is alive, we can be made alive!

So I have 2 cute activity ideas that you can do with your children to celebrate the Gospel with them!

Two Cute Resurrection Activities

Gospel Story Stones

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I bought these smooth rocks from a craft store and some paint pens. I simply drew these little symbols on the stones and told the story to my children using these visual cues. (I got this idea from the resurrection eggs symbols) After I told the story, I had them tell the story using the stones. It was a great way to meditate on the death and resurrection of our Lord with them. And they really loved this! (ages 3 and 4)

Empty Tomb Garden
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My Mother in Love actually did this with my kiddos! They collected some moss, sticks, and rocks from around the yard and pieced this together with some old planting pots. Is it not the cutest! I know, I know, it’s on pinterest everywhere, but it’s still the cutest. ;)

I hope you had an amazing day celebrating our risen King! And that you enjoy these sweet little ideas in your home.

Rejoice! He is risen!!!!

 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ (Luke 24:6-7)

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We Will Never Get This Back

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Sometimes it hits me out of nowhere, I’ll be admiring the simplicity and trust that a child displays in these younger years, and then I will remember with a great sense of urgency that these days are limited and we will never get them back.

These sweet girls that I cuddle and discipline, teach and read to, play and pray with will only be this little for a little while.

Oh how I pray that I use this time well!

I fail, yes. There is grace, yes. and Praise God for that because I am a girl in need of Him constantly! But as I abide in Him I am reminded through His Word and through the Holy Spirit what my duty to these girls is right now.

I have a job to do! Something only I can do because I am the one who is with them almost ALL of the time. That is a great privilege and a great responsibility!

I believe we can take this seriously and delight in it at the same time!

I want to be a living example for them to see moment by moment, a woman who is not a slave to sin, but instead is a slave to Christ.

I want them to see someone who seeks to glorify God and who enjoys God throughout her days.

I want them to see a woman who loves and respects their daddy.

I want them to see my love for them and my contentment in these years of training and teaching.

What is amazing about all of this is that I don’t have to muster up these thoughts out of nowhere. Nope… God has already placed them in my heart.

Psalm 37:4 says

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

This verse has been so true for me in this area!

I have shared before how I struggled with my contentment, I struggled with my selfishness in my role as wife and mom, but as I spent more time seeking God just for the sake of getting God (not to fix my life!), that is when He took out my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. He has placed new desires within me!

So I encourage you to seek God’s face! Enjoy Him! Worship Him! Repent of sin and rejoice in His grace!

Then He will give you the desire to be present, to be joyous, to be kind, to teach your children about Jesus through words and deeds.

When we have our minds on Christ, we will be made aware of the gift that this time is.

What a blessing to mother these young children, to nurse babies, to kiss booboos, to read the same stories over and over, to teach catechisms, to teach Scripture, to pray for and with these precious littles. It is so beautiful and such a joy to be a part of this! And we must do it now, today, because we won’t ever get today back.

But we can’t do any of this if we are not abiding in Him, a part from Him we can do nothing.

We must seek Him first!

My prayer for myself and you all my sweet readers is that we will do these things and bring glory to our Father in Heaven through the power of the Spirit that lives within us and through the grace of Christ Jesus.

Be blessed.

-Stacey

An Abiding Woman

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I wanted to start a blog.
And then I thought, “What will I call it?” All blogs have to have a name, right?
I thought about a homemaking theme, a motherhood theme, something catchy with my last name, and so it went, until the words “Abiding Woman” popped into my mind.

“Perfect!” I thought as I reflected on John 15 and thought about how every action and vocation and season of life that I have had or ever will have is inconsequential apart from Jesus. I can do nothing good apart from Him, and I know it!

And this is how my blogging journey began.

My hope is to share pieces of my life and to point my readers to Jesus along the way.

In all we do: mothering, homemaking, dressing, chatting, loving, thinking, or homeschooling, may our hearts first and foremost be abiding in Jesus Christ, the Lord.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

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PS For full transparency, this is not the first blog post I ever wrote here. Actually, I wrote it on 11/9/2017, because this blog has underwent so much change and reconstruction, it didn’t even have a clear starting place, and it sort-of felt like a house without a front door….. so I wrote “first post”…. ya know, like 4 years after actually starting the blog. Doesn’t everyone do that?

PSS The baby in the picture is my 6th born, isn’t she cute?!