Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reading a Book

My husband is a great reader and writer. I look at how much he reads and feel a bit of intimidated. Mostly because reading informational books, even books about Jesus and/or spiritual topics are hard for me to read. I plow through them, always with the feeling that I am reading the words, yet not really getting the depth of what the author is saying. It feels so labor-some, and even overwhelming to get started sometimes.

Lately though. I have been making some lofty goals. One of them is to read 2 non-fiction books this year. That may not sound like much, but to me, it is like pledging to run a marathon, at least in my mind. I love stories, so biographies are big with me, and those are non-fiction, but that is not what I felt like I was suppose to read.

Now, so far I've already read one non-fiction book called Spiritual Warfare by Derek Prince. It was really, really thin, which was part of its appeal.

Yet seriously people! It took me over three weeks to read a 139 page book, which I might add was broken up into bite size chapters.  In January I read a Christian fiction book that was 417 pages, and read it in 2.5 days. Make the comparison. I am not a fast reader when it comes to non-fiction.

It is because I stress so much about 'getting it all'. If I am going to labor through a book, it is because I want to get something out of it. I want to grasp fully the overall message of the book.  I want to be able to take in the deep messages or instructions, but I'm not sure I'm actually wired like that. Sometimes I can read a whole chapter and not really know what I just read.

Yet, the Lord has been showing me something.

When I read that book about Spiritual warfare, I read it slow and tried to 'savor' it.  I took the time, and tried to really 'get' it. In the end, however, I only walked away with a few little nuggets of truth that stuck out to me and really stuck with me. They were really great little truths that have revolutionized the way I relate to the Lord in a few areas of prayer.

Still, when I put the book away I felt as if I had failed somehow. I couldn't tell you all about each chapter, and I didn't know if I really understood everything I had read. Then the Lord whispered to my heart, "you got just what I wanted to show you."

I felt silly.

"Lord, you mean those two little nuggets?" I asked Him.

"Yes, that is all I wanted you to get, so don't worry about the rest."

I thought, "seriously, I just spent three weeks stressing to read through this book, when the whole point was really just those two little sections that nearly jumped off the page at me. I couldn't have missed them if I had wanted to. They (the nuggets of truth) related so exactly to questions I had already been talking to You about. Could reading non-fiction, spiritual books really be so simple Lord?"


"Oh, so I guess I don't have to stress so much about reading them, huh?"

"Nope," says the Lord to my heart, "enjoy."

Ah, yes. Joy. Well, the joy of the Lord is now my strength when reading non-fiction books. I no longer am feeling stressed about trying to 'get' or 'grasp' everything I am reading. What the Lord wants to show me in these books (books I have prayerfully listed to read this year) He is big enough to show me what I need to know out of them.

How freeing, how refreshing!

I wonder, has anyone else ever felt this way when trying to read 'heavy' books? I feel as if what I am writing about will sound like a 'duh' moment to everyone else. Then again, I have been around the church long enough to know I am nothing unique. If I am having a struggle, I am pretty sure I am not the first to have it.

I should have realized sooner that the stress I felt when reading these types of books was not from the Lord. It was a lie of the enemy, along the lines of me not being 'spiritual' enough to grasp what I was reading, or not 'focused' enough to really gain anything of value from these sources.

What a lie!

I am smart enough, I know how to focus, and I have Holy Spirit on my side, therefore I am unstoppable (when it comes to reading).

Another thing I feel like the Lord pointed out. It is all about measuring the end result for me. When I read a story I can tell you the whole story, and that is how I measure how well I did in reading the book. Yet information books are not set up that way. You measure by how much it helped you in the end. How much you learned from it, and that determines whether you successfully read it.

Those two little nuggets I got from the Prince book were worth reading the whole book for, therefore I successfully read that book, and got what I was suppose to get. How simple.

Thank you Lord for the revelation. Amen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

No Formula

In my recent pursuit of reading through the Bible in a Year (a reading plan), I have been plowing through the Old Testament like a champ. I am not one of those deep thinkers, that stays on a particular chapter and verse for a whole months. I am more of a 'big picture' kind of gal.

So here is one of the 'big picture' the Lord has been showing me.

There is no formula.

That's it, the end.

I repeat. There is no formula.

The reason this is so profound to me? When I was a young Christian, I thought that there might be a good formula to follow for those who wanted to get closer to God.

I like organization. I like to know what is expected of me, and I like to make goals. I like it even better when those goals are able to be easily crossed off as I accomplish them.  So where is the "one, two, three step" program in the Bible. You know what I mean..... the "do and don't" list. Oh wait, I think it's called the Law, but in modern language, we might call it something like, The Formula.

Well there isn't one. Like I said. Or at least not a working one.

In fact, the glaring truth that the Lord has been emphasizing to me, is that this is exactly what the Israelites wanted. So He gave them the Law. They wanted a formula instead of a relationship with God. God offered them a relationship with Him when He came down on Mount Sinai and spoke to the people directly, but they couldn't handle that. It was too scary, with boundaries and warnings, and there was lightning and smoke and thunder. Who knew what was going to happen next!

If the Israelites had experienced this in our modern times, they might have made the complaint "well it was just too unpredictable to try to be that close to God", and of course, they would be right. God is so unpredictable! So awesome! So not fitting into any kind of box that we could fashion. The very opposite of a formula.

All that to say, my quest to discover if there are certain things that I should or should not do in order to get closer to God is now a mix of yes AND no. The Law is still inspired by the Lord. He didn't just make a bunch of rules for the sake of rules. He told the Israelites exactly what it took to be close to Him and to be His special people. Wanna hear more about my ideas about the Law, check it out here.

Yet if the Law was enough to bring the Israelites closer to God, then they wouldn't have failed again and again, but the Law was not enough to inspire them to live rightly before the Lord. Fear of the Lord was good, but not enough to keep them living correctly, to abstain from sin, for the long run.

What was missing was relationship. The heart connect with the Lord. They didn't understand the why behind the rules. They didn't understand God's great big love for them. They didn't understand Him as a father, and at that point, He hadn't really reveal Himself as such.

But I wonder if He might have wanted to reveal Himself as the Father, but no one ever pressed in close enough to discover that side of Him. Except maybe David. It is the delight of the Lord to hide a matter, in the hopes that we will search the matter out and discover more of the Lord in the process (Proverbs 25:2). Anyhow, that one there is just a theory.

Yet He wanted to be close to them. He wanted them to be His own special treasure from among the nations.

The problem. He is a HOLY God, and not just anyone can come to Him. Sure, He accepts us as we are, especially when we receive salvation thru Jesus, but He doesn't expect for us to stay the way we are. He is looking for a transformation, and thankfully, He's the God to do it.

Since Jesus came, we now have:
A)the blood atonement for our sins, forever! score!!!

B)the Holy Spirit, a gift from Jesus to help make it easier for us to connect with the heart of the Lord and be more and more transformed into the likeness of Him. Yeah for us!

When we know and feel and can understand the heart behind all of the rules and commands, it makes it so much easier to live a life holy and set apart to the Lord.

Here is an example to show the difference between relationship and the Law. When the government tells you to stop drinking alcohol, you do it, because if you don't there is a big scary fine to pay. You could even go to jail, and that is bad, so you try to stay away from alcohol. Yet the Prohibition of the 1920s is a great example of how a law is not enough. The hearts of the people were the same, and fear of the government was not enough to stop them from breaking the law. They did break the law, a lot. But then, what if your mother (on a personal level) asked you not to drink and explained how worried it made her when you drank and she hugged you and cried over you and begged you not to go out and drink with your friends because she loved you and wanted the best for you. I bet it would be a whole lot harder to go against your mother's word than the word of the government. Why? Because you have a relationship with your mother. Same issue being addressed, but different approaches applied. When you understand the Lord as a Father, it makes us more prone to want to please Him with our 'good' behavior. We don't want to disappoint. He isn't just some distant judge waiting to punish us, He's our Dad. Make sense. I hope so.

So back to the story. Understanding the heart of the Lord makes us want to live a life Holy and set apart for His purposes.

That is my ultimate goal by the way. My desire is to be holy and set apart to the Lord as a special possession to Him. I want to be pleasing in the Lord's sight because I am so grateful for all that He has done and been to me. Salvation is the greatest gift, but there is so much more to the Lord than just that. He is so amazingly awesome!!! Those words don't even do Him justice.

Even still, let me be real. I know I can never be perfect, but my goal is to attempt to get as close to 'perfect' in this life as possible, as a gift to the Lord. The smallest attempt at saying 'thank you for who You are' in my life.

So do I accomplish this by following the Law, or do I rely on the Grace of the Lord to bring about the transformation? I feel like the answer is Yes and Yes! Both.

We do our part (try to follow the Lords commandments and instructions) and the Grace of the Lord does His part (the impossible transformation part, breaking down walls and mindsets). I heard someone put it this way once and I liked the picture: I put my one dollar worth of effort onto the table, God puts His millions worth of grace on the table, and we mix it all up, and call it a partnership. We are partnering together to bring transformation into my life. It wouldn't be a partnership if I didn't have to invest anything into the deal. Does that make sense?

However, I know some people are probably looking at this post and seeing 'religion' all over it. I've talked about the Law not being bad, and about 'holiness'.....but what is religion, really?

Religion is just holiness done with the wrong heart motives. Holiness is very pleasing to the Lord, but religion is not. Religious people are following a formula (pharisees), but there hearts aren't connected to their actions. Holiness is when people allow themselves to live a certain way because of a deep heart desire to love the Lord through the way they live their life before Him. BIG DIFFERENCE! But sometimes it can look very similar in the natural. Only the Lord can fully see our hearts motives.

I am totally not talking about earning anything here people! It isn't about earning, or striving, or even taking all the right steps. It's really about Love! I love Jesus so much, that I am willing to live my life in such a way, so that I can be as pleasing as possible to the Lord. I want to position myself before Him so as to receive more of Him, and be able to feel more of His love. Ultimately I want as much of Him in me as possible, in this life. The short version = I want more God.

So how does one do that? Well that is my whole thing. It isn't a formula. The Law isn't enough on its own. With only the Law, the Israelites fell into religion, and then sin and more sin. It takes relationship with the Lord to really live for Him. It takes the Lord, period, to be able to love Him properly.

We are so imperfect, there is no way we can do it on our own. It took Jesus dying, it took Holy Spirit coming, it takes dying to our flesh daily, and yet we still come up short in so many ways.

However, the Lord values the process as much as the end product.

My point, and I hope I am doing it justice, is that just because we know we can't be perfect in this life, doesn't mean we should let that deter us from trying to live holy unto the Lord. What we can do in this life is pay attention to the Law (not as a rule book, but as a list of ideas of things that are pleasing to our Father in Heaven). We can also dialogue with the Lord, and ask Him what He thinks we should try to do. He has some great wisdom that can be tailored down to our specific needs; wisdom that can help us to overcome the major 'sin' obstacles in our lives.

Because the way we live IS in direct proportion to how close we can get to Him.

He is a HOLY God, so people who are living in compromise and rebellion and sin, and not repenting of those sins, are not pleasing in the Lord's sight. Therefore, they may not draw near to the Lord. His very nature forbids it.

Repentance is big, but my goal is to get to a place where I can live (at least most of the time) in such a way that I have to repent less and less often for the same offenses. I'm not just continuing on in my sin and compromise and then throwing up a quick repentance prayer every week or so to cover myself.  That might work if the Lord was human and couldn't read our hearts like a book. But He can!!!

To continue to sin, without real repentance (repentance = owning the sin, asking forgiveness, and then making war against that sin in our life by taking real steps to try to keep from sinning in that way again) means those sins are not forgiven, even if you are a Christian.

Whoa, that was even heavy for me to read, and I just wrote it.

Back to the main point. It isn't a formula.

So when my life is built on relationship with Him, then there is no formula of how to get closer. I can't look at so and so's life and then do what they are doing to try and get the same results. I can't follow every letter of the Law in hopes that my 'good behavior' will get me closer to the Lord. It is through sitting, and talking, and learning more about the very person of God. Allowing Him to lead and guide me in a tailor made adventure with Him (called life). And it is about doing my part, whatever the Lord tells me to do (that is my part). He tells me to do it, and then He gives me the grace to do it well.

There you have it. The working relationship between holiness and grace. I do my part in pursuit of holiness, and God's grace fills in the gaps and makes my effort enough to accomplish the goal. Together we talk about my progress and get to know one another better, and in the end, my reward is being able to experience more of the presence of the Lord. To be able to draw closer to Him.

Let me tell you, it is worth the effort for the reward!

Be blessed!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Law - Part 2

This is the second part of my previous post about the Old Testament Law, and what I feel like the Lord has revealed to me about it's purpose. My insight is certainly not unique, I have heard it from others before, but I also hear a lot of people saying that the Law is done away with. I disagree with that, and if you missed the first part, check it out here. Then, lets move on to part two. I ended last time with the question:

So am I saying we are still bound by the Law?


I believe we are free from having to follow the letter of the law through the death of Jesus. Yet, we are also free, to express our love for the Lord by following the theme that was established by the law, which is to love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Law shows us what is required to be pleasing to the Lord, in very great detail.

Yet we also have Holy Spirit now, which makes it so much easier to follow after the Lord in the way that He has called us to live. With the help of Holy Spirit, we now have a real chance of actually succeeding to some extent at living a life pleasing to the Lord.

Finally, my point in writing this is in defense of the Law as a good tool. The Lord did not make a bunch of rules so that when Jesus came, those rules would be worthless. They had a purpose back then, and they can still be useful now. I think after reading the Old Testament and seeing all that the Israelites went thru I can more fully appreciate the New Testament grace that comes through Christ, and also the value of Holy Spirit operating on our behalf.

Still, with the Holy Spirit opening my eyes, I no longer view the Old Testament as such a sad story. I always use to feel so bad for those Israelites. They were always messing up so bad, and the wrath of the Lord was always coming against them. But when I look at what the Lord offered them, and how they scorned that offer with their evil living, it is no wonder that a Holy God like Yahweh could not help but punish their wickedness.

When you read books like Hosea and Song of Solomon. You realize that the Lord was trying to woo His people Israel like a Bridegroom woos His bride. It really was all about love. Ever seen a wounded lover? It isn't always pretty. They would accept His offer of marriage (the covenant) again and again, but fail to be faithful, again and again. I feel more bad for the Lord. He always held up His end of the deal.

If I was the Lord I would have probably turned away from them completely, but He never did. Whenever they would repent, and come to the Lord for help, He would always hear from heaven and rescue them. We serve a truly loving, faithful, and merciful God. His mercies are new every morning. The Old Testament is as much a picture of that as the New Testament.

Thank you Lord, for all you are teaching me about Yourself, and Your ways. Help me to listen carefully to the instructions You offer me, because I want to live a life thats worthy of Your calling. Remove the things which hinder me from loving You because I don't want regret upon the day I stand before You. May I be found a pure and spotless bride (A Life thats Worthy by Misty Edwards).

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Law

The Lord wanted relationship, the Israelites wanted something else.

This is what I have been reading in my quest to read the entire Bible in a year. Obviously I'm in the Old Testament, but I'm finding it so, so interesting.

After experiencing the Lord when He came down on Mount Sinai to speak directly with the people of Israel, they asked Moses to speak for them with the Lord ever after. They didn't want to be in relationship with such a powerful, unpredictable God. They wanted something that was perhaps more manageable? More tame, I suppose?

They got the Law.

Now, having grown up in the church, I have heard a lot of bad talk about the Law, and I still hear a lot of other people say that Jesus did away with the Law when He came. Well, I disagree with both of those ideas to some extent. Here's why.

Even Jesus Himself says: "Do not think that I have come to do away with the law and the prophets; I have not come to do away with them, but to fulfill them."

To FULFILL means to achieve or realize (something desired, promised or predicted); to bring to completion or reality

Now lets look at the Law, the real point I want to focus on. What did Jesus fulfill?

All those animals sacrificed.  Those animal sacrifices were part of the instructions of how the people could make themselves presentable to the Lord. There had to be blood paid for their sins, for them to be acceptable in the sight of a Holy God.

Thankfully, Jesus did fulfill that part of the Law for sure. He came as that perfect, sinless Lamb, who paid the price for all of our sins. So now the blood part is taken care of.  Jesus fulfilled that requirement in the Law.

What about the rest of the Law though? All those rules about how to be ceremonially clean, how to tithe to the Levites, how to deal with contagious skin diseases? How were those fulfilled by Jesus coming.

Well, before we go there, lets look at what the book of Matthew says about the Law & the Prophets:
Matthew 22:37-40

"You must Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the prophets are based on these two commandments."

There it is. The point of the Law.

To help us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

I learned about that in Sunday school when I was 8 years old, but now, at the age of almost 30, I am asking myself, how does the Law really point to that conclusion.

Here is what I have come up with so far.
The Law was a set of rules, and the prophets carried the message, that pointed to this ultimate desire of the Lord: that His people would love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds, and that they would love everyone else the way they loved themselves. The Law wasn't a big rule book for the sake of having rules. It was a guide for the people of Israel, to lead them into a loving relationship with the Lord.

However, they didn't see it as such. They missed the Lord's heart behind the message. Only a select few really got it. Moses got it. Joshua, son of Nun got it. David got it. Even Solomon got it, well for a while. Yet even those who got it, somehow that message would get lost from one generation to the next so that the people never remained faithful to their relationship with the Lord.

Even still.

What about all the other stuff that the Law contains. Some of it is still good stuff that was not made null and void when Jesus died on the cross. Or at least, I think it would still apply to today.

Things like laws about "forbidden sexual practices" and "holiness in personal conduct" and ideas about "redemption of property, the poor, and enslaved". Those sound like good things to me, even now that Jesus has come.

Sure, there are certainly a few things in the Law that I don't understand why the Lord included it, but I do know this. The Lord is not careless in His ways. If He put it in the Bible, then it has a deeper meaning, and therefore we should trust and respect that.

When I hear people say that the Law has been done away with, I typically wonder if those people who are saying that are really just looking for a way to show more tolerance to the sin in their own lives (or the lives of friends). Just being real here people. Like those people who have sexual sins in their life. It would be really easy to excuse a lot of sins by throwing out the Law, and saying it no longer applies.

If the Law no longer applies, then maybe those things contained in the Law are no longer sins? Interesting idea. Yet God is still the God of the Old Testament. The person of Jesus is not a contradiction to the Old Testament expression of the Lord. They are one and the same. So doesn't it also make sense then, that if the Law was a list of rules and ideas that the Lord established to help the Israelites to live rightly before Him, that they would still have some application for today.

People who preach a lot of freedom in Christ are probably not liking where I'm going with this.

So am I saying we are still bound by the Law?

To be continued in........The Law Part 2.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

2013 Goals

I know I have written about my belief in the importance of goals (and vision for our lives) before, but now that we are into a new year, I thought it would be fun to look back on my list of 2012 goals, and see how I think I did.

Here are a few of them that I made:

1. start homeschooling Kinsey (main focus - teach to read) - Done (and I started teaching her Kindergarten stuff August thru December, and still going strong. I gotta say, I love this one!)

2. read 2 non-fiction books: Biography of Suzanna Wesley - Done.   The Overcoming Life by Rick Joyner - Almost Done (only half way by years end -whoops.)

3. drink more water - Done (pregnancy was helpful for this one, made me more thirsty)

4. start and finish the Song of Songs Study by Mike Bickle - Done (and loved it!)

5. write more on my blog - Done (more than any other year before!)

6. start a prayer meeting - Done (started in December, but it still counts, and it is still going)

7. tithe my time to the Lord = 18hrs/week - Somewhat Done (the goal at least helped me be more intentional, but my average was more like 12 hrs/week)

8. read thru the Bible in a year - Failed (but I blame pregnancy, reading was hard when i was preggo. I know, excuses, excuses. I never even got started on this one. whoops.)

9. give more away - Done (we gave more money away this year than any year of our marriage previously, and we gave lots of other 'stuff' away too! It felt so good to be able to give so freely)

10. pray more consistently - Done (my schedule had regular prayer meetings included and I became really good at sticking to those prayer commitments. I give props to the grace of the Lord though, because I know He made me stronger in this area this year)  

11. start an etsy business - Failed (but it is still in my heart, I just didn't feel the timing was this year, so although this goal was not met in a year, it is still floating around in my heart and mind)

12. have a healthy new baby & go into labor naturally - Done and Done! (my most awesome labor ever and baby boy is perfect!)

So, those are my goals from 2012. Pretty reasonable, right?

Well, now lets look at a few of my 2013 goals. These are so exciting to me right now!  I feel so empowered by how well I did with my 2012 goals (the Lords grace was surely upon me), that I started to make some new kinds of goals this year. Some of these are not even real goals, so much as faith declarations that the Lord will have to help me fulfill, but I know He can do it, and so I wrote them down in faith!

Here they are:

1. start first grade homeschool with Kinsey in August

2. teach my children to pray by praying with them more consistently (consistently is the key word)

3. read 2 nonfiction books: Love and Respect by Eggerichs and The Mission Minded Child by Dunagan

4. read thru the Bible in one year

5. do a new Bible study/book study

6. stay committed to praying consistant at scheduled times (again, consistently is the key word)

7. do weekly exercise (start with abs)

8. cut out more sugar and processed foods from my family's diet

9. cut out extra gluten sources in our diets (things other than bread, we love bread too much)

10. clean my house more diligently and stick to my cleaning schedule (oh, this is a hard one!)

11. organize and keep organized our family files/records

12. renew my passport

13. blog at least once a week (well we can all see how well I'm starting out on this one...whoops, but there is still time to correct this goal!)

14. finish more craft projects than I start

15. give more away (than even last year, not sure how, but I believe if the Lord wants to use us this way, then He will give us the means)

16. walk in greater spiritual authority and discernment (I feel like this one is in the Lords hands as much as mine)

17. learn to maintain my peace and joy, even in the midst of transition (this one will really get tested as our move to TX draws near)

18. make new and deep friendships (even while I'm here in SC, but even more so when we arrive in TX)

19. send out at least 4 care packages to missionary friends overseas

20. start to learn a bit of spanish

21. hug and show my affections for those I love in a more regular way (I don't want to move away from my SC friends and have any regrets about the way I loved them. Love is an action, so I want to show my love more often, with my actions and words!)

22. design a new garden  (somewhere, anywhere, doesn't even have to be for me....)

There you have it. Pretty crazy, right? I feel like some of these are big, but not too big for God, who is my strength. So I am moving forward, and if I don't ace all of these in a year, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I will focus on what I did get accomplished and thank the Lord for what has been fulfilled!

Be inspired! The Lord is mighty, and His strong right hand is willing to move on our behalf if we ask Him. You better believe I am asking Him for some divine help, but in the end, I will be better for having stretched myself. My hope is to be very......... flexible, by the end of this year!


PS. It is not my intention to intimidate anyone with my lofty goals, it is my hope that you will be inspired. So it is also worth mentioning, that I have been making goals for a few years now, but the first year that I made goals my goals were not nearly so big. 
Start small, make a manageable list, and keep it somewhere where you will see it often. Keeping your list before you will help you remember to keep going for the goals, and not forget about them. We as women are prone to forget, so don't give yourself that easy way out. I keep mine in my day planner, and I look at them at least every two weeks if not more. The sight of them spurs me on, to do better and more!
Hope that helps.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Swap

Although I could probably fit some uber spiritual theme to that title, for this time, I am actually talking about a physical swap. Just a normal, every 6 months, clothing swap between me and some of my mom friends. But, oh, what a swap it was!

I attended my first swap when I lived in Kansas City. I had hardly anything to bring because I was a missionary, and well, I just didn't have much to swap, but it was still such a blessing. No one in our circle of friends had a lot, so we all came with the little we had. All of us had a blast trying on clothes together though. It was great fun just to be silly girls together for a few hours, without our children or our worries, and then we all went home with at least one new outfit!


So amazing in fact! That friends can get together and swap a commodity (clothing), that is so overly expensive to buy new. Then each of us is able to walk away with at least one new outfit without spending a dime!  It is important to mention, that the clothes we were bringing were not trash, we were just no longer in love with them. So we brought them, and swapped them for something new and exciting.

Sigh. It was so satisfying. Only a woman can understand how much so.

Now, here I am, the morning after my fourth ever swap, looking through all my goodies. Can we say, exciting!

This time I felt I had a lot to bring. People had been giving me clothing on and off for the past 6 months, some of which didn't fit me, or wasn't my style, etc. So when it came time to swap, I brought all of those items with a few of my own things. Then I walked away from that night with a whole clothes basket full, and I wasn't even hoarding. There were at least six trash bags of clothes that were left to be donated to the Salvation Army the next day.

Those of us with an abundance, brought our many gifts. We organized it somewhat, and then we 'shopped'. Some of us tried on clothes, and all of us enjoyed some great fellowship and snacks. And we all went home with at least an armful of new clothes.

This time I got a great pair of shoes, a couple pairs of pants, and some comfy shirts. I also found some earrings and a few necklaces. Oh, and a new summer purse too! It was so much fun!

So now, it will be a long time before I need anything new again. I have new summer clothes and winter clothes, and even a few new maternity clothes (for that next pregnancy which is no where near happening yet).

To all my readers out there, who else likes clothing swaps? If this is a new idea to some of you, though, feel free to ask questions too! I've been through enough of them now, I feel a bit like an expert, of sorts.

Peace to you all!