a story of addiction and sweet love for the toll guy.

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Feeling silly, a few days ago– after a crazy day of everything seeming to run behind schedule and then several hours of open road with those crazy kids of mine, I met the toll man.

I smiled and said, “Hello!” In my totally annoying, high pitch way.

He was all frownie.

He was crabby.

And it made me all gloomy.

So, I set out to change the world in the the most effective way of our day…

Facebook.

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A friend replied:

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And I replied…. Why haven’t I ever thought of that??

And then it hit me: Because I don’t think of every single great idea.

Even though this Friday for Valentine’s Day we will celebrate as we always do- walking around our little town handing out treats. Even though we left cocoa for the mail lady last week- even though my eight year old told the produce guy the other day “Excuse me, sir but you are doing a great job at stacking that lettuce…”

I had never thought about cheering up the toll booth guy.

Because believe it or not- we would be silly to think we can’t all learn a bit from the ideas of others. 😉

So, of course.. I stopped at SAM’s during our road trip and bought a little bit of love in a box.

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And after eating two Kit- Kat bars on my own… (that is a sad truth) we saw the toll man again.

And we gave him a little bar of love.

He smiled.

Well, as you know— when you find what makes people smile, you sort of get addicted to making it happen.

And when you have a gigantic box of goodness tempting you to eat.just.one.more you can’t help but want to share more love so the candy is gone ; )

Yup, we gave the car wash man one too.

Do you know what that car wash guy did? He stopped in the middle of washing someone’s windshield and JUMPED UP AND DOWN. Then he gave my 12 year old a fist pump, and even said, “Oh my, Oh my, God Bless You”

Now my 12 year old is addicted too.

Of course, It got me thinking… maybe you would like to join our addiction? Hey! You can get 52 of those bars of love for only $28 at SAM’s Club. Or stop this morning and get one at your local convenient store and share some love with the grocery clerk, drive through man, bank clerk or even the toll guy.

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Grab this picture and share it? Yup, spread the idea of simple love today.   #14daysofsimplelove

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Happy Monday (tuesday,wednesday,thursday and beyond)!

Kati

yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> a creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise.

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No matter what you’ve been told, no matter what you’ve done- God loves, no earning required #14daysofsimplelove

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Francis Chan poses the question:  “Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? “

My heart longs for heaven.

To the point that sometimes, the enemy’s voice speaks louder than my Saviors.

Some days I wonder, how do I turn to someone and tell them- this is the best life.

I remember when I felt that way. I remember thinking this was the best life. When I first found grace. Before my eyes were always so open.

Now, I feel my heart will explode and even worse, sometimes it lies. Some days I get mad at where God has me, some days I feel alone. Some days, I feel like a pawn in the game called God.

Some days, I’m mad because I can’t just close my eyes and get lost in my own world. School, kids, husband, jobs, chickens, garden, games, trips, fun, privilege.

Some days, I manage it all– I balance it well, GOD- school, kids, husband, jobs, chickens, garden, games, trips, fun, privilege.

Some Sundays, my heart sings for joy with the body of Christ, others it hurts and has distrust for the body. Some days, I feel like it’s all a lie– this family.

Some days, when I cross the Christians in our town, hair pulled up high, skirts hanging long and mean furrowed brows looking at me– I get mad– because I am reminded of that “god” who I could never touch as a child because I wasn’t holy enough. Why can’t they ever smile back, just once?

Sometimes, I want the political views and opinions to stop and the praying to begin– some days I want to hear someone say, “Jesus loves Barack Obama as much as he loves me.”  Random, I know.

Some days I just feel like it’s all too pretty. This Christian life. So, people die. And I sit on the sofa with my apple computer typing on a blog? So, people in Kenya are shot to death for gathering to worship and I get to pick and choose the church that fits me best? And to be honest, I’m so picky– none of them do. Again, the anger.

Oh friends– if you think less of me now, you thought too much of me to begin with.

I’m so broken.

Some days, the enemy speaks louder than love. Some days, he disguises himself as love, as help, as hope, as my heart. And every day, it breaks me even more.

Sometimes, the enemy tells me I’m too privileged for His [God’s] love– too comfortable, too inconstant, too hurt, too wounded for love. Sometimes, he tells me I’m not good enough, I don’t do enough, I sat too long or didn’t read enough. Sometimes, he tells me I think too many bad thoughts, I hurt too many peoples feelings- I didn’t send enough thank you’s or I didn’t donate enough. All the time he tells me, I don’t do enough and I could be better.

And then the whisper comes,

1 Kings 19:9-16 (NIV)

“…And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lordwas not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave…”

God was in the whisper.

That God of ours, in the mist of all my storms, He simply whispers so gently to me–“you are loved.”

“i love you”

no matter what you do– no matter what you don’t do

no matter how you feel or what you hear– I love you.

you are loved.

Sometimes I wonder–Is it the grace that’s hard to understand,

–or the free gift of unconditional love.

Both the same, I know, in His eyes– but uncompromisable and totally different in my mind. 

In this world where you have to earn everything– He whispers,

“I love– no earning required.

 Not only you, I love them all.”

I love the mean furrowed brow Christian in your town. I love the immature Christian who never seems to grow, I love the political person, I love the man who shot the Kenyan Christians, I love you in your pretty house, playing with your children just as much as I love the hopeless without a house to play in. 

And I’m again, conflicted. Confused and bewildered at that whisper. At that love.

So, I continue to break. And choose to rejoice.

“When I am consumed by my problems-stressed out about my life, my family, and my job-I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice.” Francis Chan

Perhaps when we choose to rejoice, the singing is so loud– we can’t hear the lies anymore and the wounds left by the enemy’s lies begin to heal– becoming just a memory.


Maybe it’s not meant to be the best life— rather the best hope in this life. 

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Romans 5:1-11 NIV

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Are you a part of the 14 days of simple love challenge? Where we love simply, in some way — each day? Knowing our little bit of love can make a big difference. But wait! It gets even better! The great news——>> When the person we loved goes and loves someone else, all because of the love we showed them? Well, that could change the world.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day why not love, simply each of the 14 days? Besides, why save big love for only one day, right? Here is how it works:

Everyday there will be a new simple way to love posted here. Each day you use that simple love idea and run with it. However that way is possible for you- do it!

Everyone is looking for someone to love them. And the more we love, the happier our little hearts are.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” – Mother Teresa.

Today’s simple love: STOP. And let someone know they’re loved.

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Rejoicing with you today, [and so desperately in need of His love.]

Kati

#14daysofsimplelove guide:
Day One: Who said grown men can’t date boys
Day Two: Everyone’s view is different than mine
Day Three: That stinkin Proverbs 31 woman
Day Four: When it cuts you to the heart and the coffee sits cold

Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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That stinkin’ proverbs 31 woman again. How love can shape generations to come #14daysofsimplelove

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“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”  James Baldwin


like it most when I’m up before the pitter patter of little feet. I like to sit and prepare before they come bounding, excited and ready to start a new day.

They usually start by telling me all about their dreams or informing me they’re hungry.

While the house is quiet, I like to set the mood. My mood. 

It is a peaceful thing, a quiet house. Before I begin the daily battle that wages deep within me, the battle of self and selflessness, it is best if I start in the quiet.

I wonder if that’s what she thought. You know that girl.  The one who puts us all to shame. “That Proverbs 31 Woman.”

“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.” …but no servants found here.  I’m planning my work. —  and maybe it’s best if I begin in the quiet. Begging God to help me get it all done.

“She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.” because the Lord is her strength. …because he alone is [her] rock and her salvation. [Her] fortress where [she] will never be shaken.

“She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” …because she knows it’s the only way her children will see, those people matter.

And my very favorite part…
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”because she realizes she cannot parent out of fear of their future, or of her past.

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” …only because she pauses. breathing quietly and deeply before she responds, perhaps?

“She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.” …because she runs one more time at the cry of help, bends down one more time to pick the little one up, and sits to read… just a little bit longer.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.”  because he knows, this job of being a mother—will keep her close to the heart of God.

So, they tip toe out, into the darkness of early morn one.by.one.

And then your sweeties little baby joins the two of you…

and the list goes on,
and on,
and on.

I wonder- if the Proverbs 31 Woman of today would have been able to explain herself- would she have said things like,

“Yeah, it’s super, duper hard some days and I just need my Fathers help over and over again.”

because she knew, one day she’d be old and grey. If we caught up with her years later after her hands worn from years of love and hard work, would she have told us,I realized I was raising generations when I loved my little ones so it was worth the fight. I knew the love I gave today would impact them forever. I knew I was shaping generations to come.

Because when we love them, they’re learning how to love forever, right?

Our children, our students in a classroom, our neighbor, the neighbors kids… whoever we talk to, share life with, share stories with. If we’re showing, living, and talking about love. Wow. What a difference that can make.

Are you a part of the 14 days of simple love challenge? Where we love simply, in some way — each day? Knowing our little bit of love can make a big difference. But wait! It gets even better! The great news——>> When the person we loved goes and loves someone else, all because of the love we showed them? Well, that could change the world.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day why not love, simply each of the 14 days? Besides, why save big love for only one day, right? Here is how it works:

Everyday there will be a new simple way to love posted here. Each day you use that simple love idea and run with it. However that way is possible for you- do it!

Everyone is looking for someone to love them. And the more we love, the happier our little hearts are.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” – Mother Teresa.

Today’s simple love: Give Instruction With Kindness.

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“Her words are wise and kindness is rule when she gives instruction” Proverbs 31:26

this.one.will.be.hardest.for.me.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.

Loves today and always,

#14daysofsimplelove guide:
Day One: Who said grown men can’t date boys
Day Two: Everyone’s view is different than mine

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.”

Proverbs 31:10-30 NLT

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Everyone’s view is different than mine. #14daysofsimplelove

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“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:18

Each Saturday morning we visit granny.

My sweet mans 86 year old grandma, the one who does art with our oldest daughter Alli each week. The most precious soul in the world.

We’ve been having breakfast with granny for the past three years- since we moved back to my hometown.

Over the course of three years, we’ve noticed a few changes. She sort of forgets things, and sometimes breakfast is a little funky because she added a few of the wrong ingredients. ; ) Some mornings, we hear the same story we heard last week because she forgot she already shared it with us. She’ll say-

“I’m sure I’ve already told you this, hun. But did you know…”

I know, it’s super cute.

Over the past six months or so, we’ve noticed she doesn’t hear us quite as well as she use to. Unless she knows the story involves her, she sort of tunes it out because she knows she can’t really hear the story fully.

Yesterday at breakfast, my sweet man was talking to me about some silly thing he had seen somewhere. I noticed granny was toned out. She was just watching the kids (our kids) playing in the living room. I thought to myself- Her view is totally different than mine. I wonder what it’s like to sit and hear only pieces of conversation- knowing you use to hear everything perfect.

Then I realized, we all see things from different views. Granny sees things through her eyes. Aged eyes, years of experience and memories.  My children’s views are all different- their life stories are all different. Alli, the oldest of six has changed lots of diapers, seen lots of little toddlers throw fits. She’s also had more conversations with me and experienced more “life” than the other children. Then there’s Emmyn, who is only four. She can’t even see the kitchen counter.

The hurtful mother, the fun friend. The cranky neighbor, the snobby co-worker. They’re all living life from their view. What has life dealt them? What challenges have they had? How have they arrived at this ‘view’?

Has the mother been scarred by a life of hurt? Has the neighbor had bad neighbors in the past so they’re not even interested in giving you a fair chance? Has the snobby co-worker always had to be appear better than everyone else because she’s actually lonely and dying inside?

What if we all took time to intentionally get down on other peoples levels. What if I sat in silence with granny doing a puzzle, or sat and played with Emmyn today. What if I bent low to make the shot with Judah to see how hard it is to make a three point basketball shot at the age of six (well, I’ve actually never been able to do that). What if I could have a glimpse into the past lives of Ashely and Triston, recently adopted. I wonder if that view would give me the occasional nightmare too.

I bet it would.

Are you apart of the 14 days of simple love challenge? Where we love simply, in some way — each day? Knowing our little bit of love can make a big difference. But wait! It gets even better! The great news——>> When the person we loved goes and loves someone else, all because of the love we showed them? Well, that could change the world.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day why not love, simply each of the 14 days? Besides, why save big love for only one day, right? Here is how it works:

Everyday there will be a new simple way to love posted here. Each day you use that simple love idea and run with it. However that way is possible for you- do it!

For instance. Yesterday’s love was: take someone special on a date. The post was about dating your children. But you might not have children! Don’t have children? Take your mom, grandma, nephew, best friend. Call someone far away and share a conversation- call it a date!! Share a picture of your simple love. Share the hashtag #14daysofsimplelove. Tell someone what you’re doing- give them a great idea!

Everyone is looking for someone to love them. And the more we love, the happier our little hearts are.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” – Mother Teresa.

Today’s simple love: See the world through their eyes.

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“How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?” Vincent Van Gogh

A few ideas?
Have kids? Sit and play today.

Have grandparents? Give them a phone call, I bet they would love someone to chat with.

Have a parent who struggles with medical problems and can’t do all they use to? Play a game of cards with them!

Have a little sister or brother? Sit and play with them- try 10 min! I’m sure it will turn into 30 before you know it. =)

Know a widow? They’re probably lonely- give them a visit?

Have a teenager? Laugh loud with them today, make silly videos with them, take goofy pictures- speak their language.

Have a sweet man who wants to watch the Super Bowl but you totally don’t get football and wonder why all those grown men run around in all that armor chasing a silly ball all day? Yeah, me too.  Simply love that man today and watch that game! ; )

Total crazy love- not just these 14 days but always~
Kati

Have a picture of your simple love? Send me a picture by clicking HERE and I’ll post it for all to see or link up to me on twitter: @kati_gibson  #14daysofsimplelove Lets spread the joy of love in a really simple way!

……………………
yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> don’t click the creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = /

who said grown men can’t date little boys? #14daysofsimplelove

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“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

We go on dates with our kids.

And it’s super great, totally wonderful, simple love.

You see- there are six kiddos searching for love in our little home, and at this age? Well, we want them to stop searching and find it here- at home.

So, we go to the local store, play cards, eat unhealthy treats, and drink fake hot cocoa. (Why does that gross powder stuff taste so good?)

Sometimes we do fancy stuff- but if something fancy isn’t available, we just remember: the time together is what they’re really wanting. Not to mention the sweet opportunity for 10-15 minutes of “How are you?” “How can I be praying for you?” and “Do you know how proud I am of you?” priceless.

And honestly? It’s is usually something my little parent heart is needing.

Remember: they think they’re just as big as us, right?

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Love simple, love big.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day 2014, Would you dare to take the 14 days of simple love challenge? (ooohhhh sounds so spooky…) It’s easy! 14 days of simple, sweet love that can make a super, duper big deal in our lives and the lives of others. Something different each day- something simple, a new way to love. You might already do what the challenge is for that day- why not encourage others? After all, why save love for only one day a year?

I hope you’ll join me!

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Have a picture of your simple love? Send me a picture by clicking HERE and I’ll post it for all to see or link up to me on twitter: @kati_gibson  #14daysofsimplelove Lets spread the joy of love in a really simple way!

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Ideas for a simple date?

-Local coffee shop- take books or a simple card game. My kids love Eye Spy books.

-Visit your local library and check out books about love- read some while you’re there!

-Dollar movie

-Bake cupcakes to share with neighbors! Be super silly while baking them. =)

-Serve hot tea and light candles for a special memory.

-Take your older kiddo to a local thrift shop and find the BEST outfit for under $10 then take lots of silly pictures =)

-If the weather is nice where you are today, go for a walk or bike ride.

-Sharing a banana split or getting hot cocoa is always a treat for our kids!

Don’t have kids? Well, get your shoes on and swoop someone special to you off their feet for a quick trip into town for chatting over coffee or even a trip to the grocery store! Visit an elderly person and stay to chat a bit? People who are all alone really do love spending time together with you- no matter what you’re doing.

Exciting!

Total crazy love- not just these 14 days but always~

Kati

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yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> don’t click the creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = /