Monday, September 29, 2014

Exciting Fall Home Challenge Coming in October!




I am so excited to announce that I am writing a new series for the month of October called “31 Days to Bless Your Home, and How to Have Fun Doing It Too!” Fall is my favorite time of year to focus on making our homes a warm and inviting haven for our families and loved ones, and I am about to burst with ideas that I just cannot wait to share with you!

The series will run for 31 days, from Wednesday, October 1st through Friday, October 31st.

As women, we have such a unique opportunity to minister to our families and all who enter our homes.  It is never drudgery when we view it as the gift from God that it is to be able to create a nurturing, comfortable, and pleasing atmosphere for the ones we love.  Even women who work outside of the home full time can learn to reduce stress and have fun while they set the tone for their homes. I am not about setting a cookie-cutter mold for all women to conform, but no matter what your unique situation is, I hope every woman who reads this learns to enjoy creating a haven for their families and friends.

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. 
Titus 2:4-5 NLT


We will have five weekly themes.  Each week will include at least one video, a related Bible study, a recipe, a craft or fun activity to do with your family, and special weekly and daily challenges for you to try.  It is going to be so much fun!

Week 1: October 1-5 (Wednesday – Sunday), “The Spirit of the Home.” This week, we will focus on creating an atmosphere in which the Fruit of the Spirit abounds.



Week 2: October 6-12, “The Sensual Home.” We will explore creative ways to use our five senses to bring beauty and warmth to our homes.





Week 3: October 13-19, “The Glamorous Side of Homemaking.” Yep, there is no avoiding it! I will share tips for cleaning, organizing, and decluttering our homes and creating great habits.



Week 4: October 20-26, “The Fun of Home.” We will learn to put aside our stress for a while and learn to truly enjoy our husbands and children. I will include lots of ideas for just plain having fun!





Week 5: October 27-31, “Preparing for the Holidays.” I will share ideas to help you prepare ahead of time to make Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s meaningful and special for your family without making you lose your mind!




I can’t wait to meet with you as we learn together how to make our homes places of retreat and blessing for our families! We are starting this Wednesday, so let’s get ready!

Please be sure to follow me at PearlsforLiving.net, and add your email to the right so that you will receive regular email updates. You will not want to miss one day of the fun!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter too, for “daily wisdom from the Bible and life experiences to help us all build God-honoring lives, homes, and families.”

And, if you really want to help spread the word and bless your friends, be sure to “Like” and “Share!” 

Thank you and God bless!
 Shari Lewis




Cornerstone Confessions

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hot Flashes and the Meno-monster



Very accurate picture of me from Bitstrips

As Jeff desperately reaches over in the car to blast air conditioning to the extreme in my direction, I have to ask, “How did you know?” It was my breathing that gave it away. He knows it is for his own good to be aware of the signs and respond as quickly as possible!

It always seems to follow the same pattern: My face gets hot and red; torrents of sweat streak my face and soak my hair; and my breathing begins to mimic the sound of my three pooches panting after a rigorous run in the hot sun. Sometimes, clothes begin flying off of me in every direction too! It feels like a steam radiator gets turned on inside of me and begins to roast me from the inside out, and I begin grasping for anything that can possibly be used for a fan – a church bulletin, a CD case, an old McDonald’s napkin, or even the bag of doggie treats we just bought to take home to the girls. In the house, I have to keep the remote control for the ceiling fan within reach at all times!

As I inspect my makeup in the mirror before getting out of the car, I see the white streaks etched into my blush from the sweat, and my slick, straight hair has begun to frizz and kink from the heat and moisture. I perpetually look like I have been dowsed with a water hose everywhere I go!

I am sure I have been such a blast to be around lately too! If for nothing else, at least I provide plenty of ammunition for some clever menopausal jokes. You know the one that Anita Renfroe does with the Shamwow in her bra? Yep! That one is for real! I’m not kidding either. One of my daily routines is to wring out the washcloths from my bra and replace them with dry ones. That’s what you get when you combine the Georgia heat with menopause and anything larger than a B cup! (I know – TMI!)

Now that you have a mental picture of my life with hot flashes, let us add some mood swings, wrinkles, saggy everything, food cravings, fatigue, and brain fog. Now I can see why Archie Bunker went nuts and yelled to Edith, “Edith if you’re gonna have a change of life, you gotta do it right now!  I’m gonna give you just 30 seconds. Now, come on – change!”
 
While it can be uncomfortable, and even miserable at times, we have a choice how we will cope with the changes of life, even menopause. We can take our misery out on everyone around us and become “meno-monsters,” or we can choose to pull the reins on our attitudes and mouths and try to have a sense of humor about it. While supplements or hormone replacement may relieve some symptoms, the process of change is inevitable. There is no escaping it. Therefore, since we all have to go through it anyway, why not make the best of it?

When I feel yucky, I take a moment to be alone and have an attitude adjustment before allowing myself to go on a rampage and torture everyone in my path. While not always successful, I do at least make an effort to spare my family and friends from the “meno-monster.” I have learned to accept the changes rather than complain about them. I have learned to laugh about my maladies. I have learned to speak words of blessing and kindness instead of spewing what I feel like saying sometimes. I have learned that I can have self-control and be a pleasant person no matter how I am feeling.

Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, as are also love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness (Galatians5:22-23).  If you are a follower of Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you (1Corinthians 6:19). The more we yield to the Holy Spirit, the more we will see His fruit ripen in our lives. Through every season, yes, even menopause, we can still keep a pleasant disposition.

How are you coping with the changes of life? Perhaps yours isn’t menopause yet, but we all go through seasons in life (Ecclesiastes3:1-11). Each season brings its own challenges but also blessings. Remember that seasons pass, and whatever you are going through will not last forever. You can endure anything when you realize that it is only temporary. Keep it in perspective and realize that “This too shall pass.” Choose to make the best of each season as it comes.

Here is some fun celebrating, or should I say making fun of, those wonderful physical changes that happen to all of us!  

Cornerstone Confessions

Friday, August 15, 2014

Finding True North

Like a ship tossed by the raging waves of the sea, sometimes in life we can lose our bearings and become disoriented. We are unsure of where we stand, where we are going, and which way we need to go. It can happen to any of us. What can we do when we feel lost and bewildered?

One of the most fascinating adventures my daughter enjoyed during her NJROTC days was being on the orienteering team. Basically, they would be left in the middle of the woods to find their way back to camp. The quest was usually quite challenging. They used compasses and natural land markings as their guide. She loved the pump of adrenaline from hiking the virtually untraveled terrain and navigating the uncharted course. What exhilaration she would feel as she would begin to see the hint of clearing in the distance toward her goal.

My daughter, Natalie, during her NJROTC days

Getting lost was a real possibility, and the helplessness that followed could be terrifying. However, to avoid becoming disoriented, the compass became their best friend. The needle of the compass always points to the magnetic north pole of the earth, thus establishing the foundation to correctly travel any direction they needed to go with certainty. When all the surrounding landscape begins to merge together into one confusing blur, understanding how to find north will help them confidently establish their bearings.

The practical implication is obvious. When we become confused by the pressure surrounding us on all sides; when we hear conflicting advice from various sources; when we become tired of the mundane and lose sight of our goals; when life throws us curve balls that blindside us; and when we feel trapped in the rat race, we need a clear focal point to fix our eyes upon in order to make sense of it all. It must be something that is true and absolute.

The answer is to fix our eyes upon Jesus and establish everything according to God’s infallible Word. Jesus is our true north. Nothing else will point us back into the right direction or bring true clarity or purpose back to our lives. Whenever you feel disoriented or lose your passion for life, spend time seeking the presence of the Lord with all your heart and meditate on His Word. That is the focal point that will reestablish your life, and all else will fall into place exactly as it should be.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:2a NLT

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV

We also must make a clear distinction between magnetic north and true north. True north is the exact direction toward the North Pole. It does not vary. It is firmly set. Magnetic north is a slight variation from the North Pole. Surrounding tools or magnetic pulls may influence the reading slightly. In other words, when trying to find your “true north,” don’t allow yourself to be deceived by variations or copycats that may seem true on the surface but with just enough bend to lead you astray. Be sure to search out the absolute center point upon which to establish your foundation of truth. Seek God’s Word for yourself and base everything else only upon what is in agreement with it.

If you are weary, stressed out, or feeling lost, I want to encourage you to refocus and find true north again. God has promised that when you seek Him with your whole heart, He will be found by you. You will have everything you need and can finish your course strong.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 ESV

If you do not know Jesus as your true north, I want to invite you to find out more about Him in my post, How Can I Be Saved? One thing I do know for sure is that when I gave my heart to Him, He gave me new life. I have hope, meaning, and peace beyond anything I had ever known before. When I lose my way even now, He is always the one who sets me back on track and restores my life. I want you to know Him for yourself. He loves you more than you can ever imagine, and He accepts you just as you are.

I hope you feel invigorated as you refocus on Jesus, and that this reminder clears all the cobwebs that had left you disoriented.

Love in Christ,

Shari Lewis

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Enjoy this beautiful song by Twila Paris, "True North."









Saturday, July 26, 2014

Even Superwoman Needs Some TLC

photo from http://www.faceinhole.com/v2/home.asp

Even Superwoman Needs Some TLC (Tender Loving Care)

So, what happened to her cape? Once upon a time, the Superwoman in you was ready to conquer the world. She thought she could do it all. From room mom, or home-school mom, to coaching soccer, to taxiing the crew to music and dance lessons, to volunteering in the community and church, to preparing delectable meals, to keeping her home white-glove ready at all times, and to be in the mood for romance with her husband after the chaos of the evening routine has finally settled. Perhaps her cape was scorched by the candle she was burning at both ends!

Take it from me, a recovering “Superwoman burnout.” If you don’t allow yourself to rest, refuel, reflect, and renew, your flame will fizzle and grow dim. Thriving will quickly turn into barely surviving. I am not advocating narcissism or neglecting our responsibilities, but I assure you that it is far from selfish to nurture yourself for the purpose of renewing your passion and becoming equipped to serve more effectively. Think balance, priorities, and quality over quantity. Draw strength through prayer, Bible study, and meditation. Take care of yourself. Cherish relationships. Rest. Laugh and enjoy life!


 Shari Lewis


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. John 15:5 NIV

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV


But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 NIV