Monday Musings
This morning as I started a new day and a new week, you were on my mind. I don't know what it's like at your house, but Monday can be a little overwhelming for me. Looking at the week ahead with a calendar crowded by penciled in deadlines and appointments, my attention darts from one thing to another. Mondays have a tendency to convince me I have A.D.D.

Let me add that to my calendar: call Dr. about possible need for A.D.D. medication.

My heart knows it's time to settle down with Jesus. I ask Him to gather up my thoughts. Narrow my focus, centering my attention on Him and what He has for me today. Immediately I am reminded of wise advice from Jesus' friend Matthew:

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matthew 6:34 (MSG)

One thing at a time. I hear the Holy Spirit whisper. "Renee, Renee, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed."(Luke 10:42) Entangled by my many things, yet I know I have a choice. I can choose like Mary - the One thing that will not be taken away.

I can choose like Mary, to set aside my list,
so I can listen to Jesus.

I can choose like Mary, to surrendered my "to-dos"
so I have time to just "be."

I can choose like Mary, to worship instead of worry.

So in this moment, I choose. I choose my One thing. I choose to sit with Jesus. I chose to give my entire attention to Him. It's one thing that cannot be taken away...unless I give it away to worries and whims.

Jesus, I choose You. Thank You that what I gain in Your presence and through Your perspective cannot be taken away. I give my entire attention to what you are doing right now. Watching over me, listening to my heart, caring for my concerns while also ruling the world. Bringing salvation to those who seek You. Healing. Loving. Leading. Orchestrating the coming and going of oceans tides; the rising of the sun and setting of the moon. Knowing my coming and my going, as well.

I trust Your sovereignty over my activity. I worship (focus on and am fully devoted to) You and You alone. Although I'm tempted to rush into my day and get a lot done, I lay my plans before you and ask for Yours. Although I have a long list of appointments to schedule and calls to make, I will be still and know that You are God.

Help me Holy Spirit to not get worked up about the limits of my time. I'm so thankful Your mercy is new every morning and great is Your faithfulness. You have apportioned me with the exact grace and time I need to do what You assigned for me this day. Tomorrow brings it's own concerns but also more space and time. Help me to love and live well in the moments you have made for me this Monday. In Your powerful Name I pray, Amen.

You are Significant...right where you are!
My life doesn’t have purpose. I wish I had a spiritual gift or ability that made a difference. God can’t use me; I'm at home with my kids all day. I haven't been asked to serve on the retreat team. I guess I'm not good enough or smart enough.

These thoughts used to chase me around all day. Nagging me with their negativity. Weighing me down with discouragement.

I was lost at sea, tossing and turning in the monotony of motherhood and feeling like I had no purpose. I know now that I was fulfilling my purpose right there with my two toddlers in our sweet little home on Dansville Drive.

But to my significance-seeking heart, it didn’t feel like enough. Every day I begged God to show me what He wanted to do with my life. Have you ever been there?

One day He sent my neighbor (and good friend), Janet, over to my house to make a really big deal about a thank you note I'd written for her. In it, I described unique things about her that I appreciated. And God used her encouragement to show me I had a purpose and was part of His plans. Right where I was.

I didn’t need to seek a more significant position or purpose. I needed to see that where I was serving was significant, because it was where God had me.

Let me be your “Janet” today: Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing - it's significant - because you’re a significant part of God's purpose and plans right where He has you today.

Like Rick Warren tweeted this week, may we “never envy a significant place of service. Instead, (lets) make the place (where we) serve significant.”

Oh that we would we remember we are significant right where we are. That we could encouraged in heart and united in love with Jesus, and each other, as we do the little things He nudges us to do - noticing and caring about others, expressing appreciation, writing notes, leaving encouraging messages. It is simple yet so significant to take words and thoughts and turn them into gifts from God that we have the honor of giving away.

All it takes is getting a little intentional about making the most of spare minutes between meeting deadlines, driving carpool or changing dirty diapers. And that’s what 300 of you did last week when you committed to encourage others. I believe you did it because…

You want to God to use your life -- and He did.

Your heart is filled with love to give -- so you gave.

You long to make a difference -- and you can.

You really can.

Last week, as I read your comments, I kept hearing God whisper, "I don't want this to stop here." So I've decided to launch Encouraging Words Wednesday March 9th and continue every 2nd Wednesday of each month. I hope you will join me. I’m so excited about the difference this could make in our lives, our families, marriages, workplaces, churches and communities.

Encouraging Words Wednesday

On Encouraging Words Wednesday I’ll post what God puts on my heart that day and a few of my favorite promises. We’ll all log into the comments section to tell who and how we're going to encourage someone that day/week. It doesn't need to be complicated. Simple is significant! And you can share an encouraging verse if you want to. If you’re having a hard day or feel discouraged that week, this will also be a great day to get filled up with encouragement so you'll have some to give.

I want this to be "our thing" so I’m hoping someone can make a cute blog button for us. And I'm going to find out how to use Mr. Linky so if you write an Encouraging Words Wednesday post on your blog, you can link back to the post here. It would be fun to meet and encourage one another, and invite others along.

I'm excited about having this day once a month to help us follow God’s nudges and fulfill His significant purpose for us, right where we are. Here's our theme verse. Hope you'll be part of EWW.

My purpose is that they (that's us!) may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they (that's us and those we encourage) may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3, NIV

I don't know about you, but it's a little hard for me to remember to check back on certain days, so you can be notified or sent a little reminder to hop over on Wednesday. Just enter your email in my "subscribe" box at the top of my sidebar, and/or friend me on Facebook.

Seeking Significance ( and our 4 winners!)
Never envy a significant place of service. Instead, make the place you serve significant. ~Rick Warren

Woke up this morning trying to remember where I had put something, last year. So I went searching for notes and files I need to meet a She Speaks Conference deadline today. Ended up cleaning out a whole kitchen sized trash can full of paperwork and notebooks I've collected for years. Even had my She Speaks 2007 notebook with blank outlines I'll never look at taking up room on my way-too-crowded shelve. Oh it feels good to know where things are now.

I'm dying to get back on here and share with you the winners and what God's been laying on my heart for today's post. But I can't yet. One of the balancing life and ministry boundaries God set for me is that I can't blog until I've met my family and work commitments. Although blogging is part of my ministry, it's more pleasure than work.

God knew just how much I want to be here and what I've already started in my post. And that is why I think He gave me this quote from Rick Warren today, to share with you. I can't wait to share why it's so significant to me...and to us.

What place of service will you make significant today?


Last Week's Winners!

Brandie Colbert - you will receive the Encouraging Words Gift Pack from Monday's post which includes A copy of Letters from Leanne, $5 Starbucks gift card, a pack of pretty cards, a notepad to give away and 20 verses to personalize and send to a friend. We have your email from your comment so my assistant Leah will be in touch to get your mailing address.

Linda F. - you won the Godly Girls Eraser Gift Set #1 from Tuesday's post, which includes a $10 Gift card to Walmart to buy some Maybelline Eraser Treatment Makeup and a copy of Self-talk, Soul-talk by Jennifer Rothschild . We have your email from your comment so Leah will be in touch this week.

Erin - you won the Godly Girls Eraser Gift Set #2 from Tuesday's post , which includes a $10 Gift card to Walmart to buy some Maybelline Eraser Treatment Makeup and Me, Myself and Lies Bible Study by Jennifer Rothschild. We have your email from your comment so Leah will be in touch this week.

Teri Lynn - you won the "(R3) Refresh, Renew & Recharge Gift Pak" which includes 2 tickets to my R3 women's event in Williamston, NC Feb 19th (can't wait to meet you!) and my Rest Assured message on CD. Don't have your email so please email Leah by 1pm on Tuesday at or we'll need to choose another winner. Thanks!

More winners....Jill Beran, who you met through my devotion last week, is sharing more of her story on her blog today, and she's giving away another copy of her book Letters from Leanne, too. Click here to find out more and enter to win.


Want to be notified when I write on my blog?
I love having you as part of my community of friends! If you'd like to be updated when I post,
receive updates when I announce give-aways or find out early about special promotions, enter your email in the white box in my sidebar (right under the P31 logo). I will not share your email with anyone. Promise.

Telling Ourselves the Truth (+ 2 Give-Aways)
Welcome to my eastern NC HIS Radio friends stopping by after hearing me talk with Briney this afternoon during "drive-time." I'm so excited to have you join me here today! I've got a special guest I want you to meet, and some R3 Event tickets to give away, too.

As I write this, I'm picturing smiles stretching across your faces when you meet my sweet and amazing friend Jennifer Rothschild. Jennifer is a wife, mom, national speaker, founder of and author of several books, including "Self-talk, Soul-talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself" as well as "Me, Myself and Lies Bible Study."

She's also one of my favorite people, and I was so happy we got to have breakfast together this week while she was in Charlotte for a video shoot.
I knew she'd have something special to share about the power of our words, so I grabbed my flip video camera on the way out the door. Turn up your volume, click on the arrow and join us for some girl-talk:

Jennifer's points really are worth remembering, and obviously I need to write them down. So, here is what she encouraged us to do with the not-so-encouraging words we speak to ourselves.
  • Recognize - Recognize if your self-talk matches up with God's thoughts.
  • Refuse - Refuse any self-talk that is not consistent with God's words.
  • Re-phrase - Re-phrase negative thoughts to align with scripture. Tell yourself the TRUTH, and nothing but God's truth!
When we take these 3 steps, God begins to erase the negative self-talk and lies we tell ourselves.

Speaking of erasers, Jennifer needed one. That morning she bent over to get something and hit her eye on the edge of the desk. {Cringe} She had a video shoot for E-women at 1pm and a lovely black eye. So, I whipped out what I call my "magic eraser" makeup and covered it up. Look. You cannot even see the deep dark purple mark under her eye.

And it did a nice job on my dark circles, too. [The after-effect of my 2yr old waking up at 3am that morning.] So, what is my "magic eraser"? It's Maybelline, and only costs $7.99! Now, here's your chance win some, along with more fun stuff. I've got 2 give-aways!

"A Godly Girls Eraser Gift Set" (2 winners)
$10 Gift card for Maybelline's Eraser Treatment Makeup (both )
Self-talk, Soul-talk by Jennifer Rothschild
(one )
Me, Myself and Lies Bible Study by Jennifer Rothschild (one )

"(R3) Refresh, Renew & Recharge Gift Pak" (1 winner)
2 tickets to my R3 women's event in Williamston, NC Feb 19th
(must be able to attend event to win this gift pak)
Rest Assured message on CD by Renee Swope

To enter, click on the word "comments" right below this post and write in the white box.
  1. What "not-so-encouraging" things do you sometimes think or say to yourself? What's a verse you can use to re-phrase that thought, if you know one? I know this is a vulnerable topic, but I hope you'll go there with me. The first step is recognizing and naming the lies.

  2. If you are able to attend my event Feb 19th in Williamston, NC, let me know and you'll be part of the 2nd give-away, too.

  3. Share a link to this post and all that Jennifer shared with us - via email, Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Then leave another comment letting me know, and you'll double your entries!
On Friday night Monday (I decided to extend it through the weekend) I'll post the winners and several of God's promises to help you tell yourself the TRUTH. {PLEASE subscribe for email updates in my sidebar to receive your promises, and to be notified if you win.To just be notified of winning, you can leave your email in your comment.}

Just the Right Words at Just the Right Time
When Leanne penned a note to her daughter's coach that day, she had no idea it would make such a huge difference in Jill Beran's life. She didn't know Jill was at her lowest point, where doubt and loneliness had lead her into deep depression.

With just the right words, God spoke courage and hope into Jill's heart, through Leanne.

At just the right time, He reached through the darkness and touched Jill's life, through Leanne.

The night Jill came home, her depression had turned to despair. And then Leann's note fell out of Jill's journal. Simple words of appreciation brought hope into the darkness. Someone saw something in Jill that she couldn't see in herself. Someone believed her life was worth living.

Leanne's simple words helped changed the course of Jill's life. But, as I shared in my devotion today, that’s just the beginning of their story. You can read the rest of it in their book Letters from Leanne. Today, I asked them to share more with us about it:

Tell us a little about the book: Letters from Leanne is the story of our friendship over the last ten years and how God has worked through it . We share the joys and trials we've encountered on our walk of faith, but ultimately how we saw God’s hand in every situation.

Jill, why did you write this book? Initially, I wanted to thank Leanne. I’d been blessed by her perspective as a mom, her acceptance as a friend, her guidance as an older woman and especially the love she poured out as a Christian. But it isn’t just a thank you to Leanne; it’s a thank you to God. Our friendship has been and still is a gift. I pray by reading our story, women will be encouraged to build similar relationships in their lives.

What do you hope readers will gain? We pray women will be encouraged in their faith and inspired to find or be a mentor. We share how mentoring is not about having all the answers, but simply sharing your life with someone. We give you a look at a specific spiritual mentoring relationship and take you on the journey of how our's grew.

We've also included questions in each chapter to help women apply what we share to their personal lives. Women are encouraged to slow down and take a look at their own lives and find lessons in the letters.

To find out more about Letters from Leanne, visit Amazon. And if you'd like to connect with Jill you can visit her blog.

Encouraging Words Gift Pack

A copy of
Letters from Leanne
A $5 Starbucks gift card
A pack of pretty cards
A notepad to give away
20 verses to personalize and send to a friend


To enter to win, click on the word "comments" below and include these three things in the white box:
  1. Leave your name and email typed out (your name at email provider dot com).

  2. List one person you're going to encourage this week and how you're going to do it.

  3. List your favorite "encouraging" verse if you have one.
Be sure to come back Wednesday for a video blog chat with my friend, author and speaker, Jennifer Rothschild. She's shares great insights as we talk about the power of words! Also, I'll be sharing about new make-up I discovered that I call my "magic eraser." We used it to cover Jennifer's black eye. More about that Weds. You might even win some along with two of her amazing books and another gift card!