Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Say Thank You~ December 5, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:46 am
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It sounds simple enough, but we oftentimes forget. Especially in the everyday things that we tend to take for granted. Our appreciation goes unspoken leaving those around us feeling undervalued and quite possibly unloved.

Well boo on that!

It literally takes a moment to say thanks to those who deserve to hear it from you. Something that requires so little of your time has the power to make someone’s day.

I believe in leading by example, so I’m going to use this platform to go first!

Thank you, to YOU, my readers! I try to reach each one of you personally but that isn’t always possible as my stats tracker doesn’t exactly tell me who is reading my posts. At times I find myself ready to lay aside the writing when life gets busy. I justify my thoughts reasoning that no one really reads my ramblings so it wouldn’t be a big deal if I quit. Then one of you lovely people will send me a note of thanks or encouragement and I’m reminded that if even one heart is stirred by something I say, then it is totally worth the effort it takes to maintain this humble page.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thes 5:11 ESV)

Thank you to my church. I am so incredibly blessed with the lovingest bunch of people to do life with that it’s almost incomprehensible. They have celebrated my highs and helped to dig me out from my lows. Even when I’ve blown it BIG time, they’ve extended grace and offered help when it would have been just as easy to cast stones and dole out judgment. You all rock!

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb 10:24-25 ESV)

To my tribe, who puts up with my crazy on a daily basis, surely your eternal rewards will surpass all others! My sweet Bella with her sunny disposition, thanks for making momma smile first thing every morning. To my micromanager, Emma, thanks mini-me for running the show when momma is away ūüôā For Autumn, my little evangelist, thank you for your faith in Jesus AND people that never falters! Peyton, the kid that gets me, thank you for still making me feel needed even though you’re a teenager now. Thank you to Isaiah, who somehow always manages to make me laugh even on the days when I really just wanna cry. Big ol’ thanks to my coffee making, foot-rubbing, problem solving husband who has yet to kill me in my sleep. I adore you all and couldn’t imagine how boring my life would be without my circus monkeys!

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3 ESV)

“Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph 5:33 ESV)

This list could go on for miles, but I think you get my drift.¬†A few minutes out of my day to let people know just how important they are to me. It cost me nothing, but will hopefully brighten their day! I’ve always heard that it takes two weeks to form a habit. So why don’t we all make it a point to say thank you to at least one person every day for the next 14 days? Maybe then we won’t become forgetful and inadvertently make those around us feel underappreciated.

photo cred-Sherry Phillips via Pinterest

photo cred-Sherry Phillips via Pinterest

 

~Guys…Know Your Role~ September 10, 2014

Yesterday I made a comment on my Facebook page in regards to how I feel about “men” who hit women in response to all the media coverage of a certain NFL player who not only hit his then pregnant fiance, but hit her hard enough to knock her unconscious.

My post: Any “man” that hits a woman should be left alone in a room with that woman’s Daddy. That’s my 2 cents.

I had a few friends comment, most in agreement with me, but one in particular got my attention and that’s what I’d like to elaborate on today¬†

Comment: Agreed! What’s with all the abuse lately? Has it always been this bad and we’re just seeing more of it in the media? Or are more men losing respect and any sense of protective responsibility? Ridiculous.

Umm, wow. 

I haven’t been able to shake these words since I read them.¬†

Is violence against women only a recent development? No. However, I do think it used to be more taboo for anyone to speak up or out against it. When I was young, I recall seeing my biological father hit his girlfriend in front of me & her daughter. The memory is fuzzy but what remains crystal clear is that no phone calls were made & she didn’t leave. Why? I don’t know, even to this day, I do not know.

Mostly what we see now is when someone in the public eye is involved in a domestic dispute. We haven’t a clue how many terrifying situations are playing out behind closed doors where there are no surveillance cameras to capture the evidence.

What really struck me about my friend, ¬†Jay’s, comment was the last question he posed, “are men losing respect and any sense of protective responsibility?” ¬†It pains me to even think it, but I’m afraid the answer is yes.¬†

Growing up I knew my daddy, (not my biological father, but the man who raised me), would have “handled” any guy who hurt me, physically or otherwise. My mother taught me to have enough self respect to never allow myself to be treated as anything less than a treasure. My girlfriends and I had each other’s backs, we didn’t laugh about it with the guys making the hateful comments.

Nowadays, you can turn to just about any secular radio station and within minutes hear a song that uses derogatory names to describe “their women” or explicit lyrics that paint a VERY distorted idea of what love is. Young men are quick to name call their girlfriends when she upsets them. Even simple gestures like holding the door for ladies seems to be a reason for fellas to mock their peers as if it makes them less of a man to behave like a gentleman.

I believe it’s time for the old-fashioned guys to take a stand. Don’t be afraid to set a shining example of how a real man is supposed to treat all women. Teach your sons what the Bible says about honoring your mother & respecting your wife. When you see a woman being mistreated, don’t shrink into the shadows as if you didn’t see it….speak out and defend her! Guys, you were created to be a protector and a provider, step into your role! Don’t allow yourself to become desensitized to what should enrage you.¬†

As a fairly strong woman, I am fully aware that in most cases, I, like so many of my friends, can defend myself. But, I am equally proud to say that if any man ever challenged me, they’d have to go through my hubs, my dad and my boys before ever getting to me. As it should be.

“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)

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~Keeping the Honeymoon Phase Alive~ May 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:56 am
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daily gratitudeYesterday was a Monday of epic proportions. It started off quite nicely, enjoying a run with a friend. Fast forward to preschool pickup time and this is when things started rapidly going downhill. ¬†The fact that Bella had a meltdown when I dropped her off that morning should have served as a warning sign of things to come. ¬†I won’t bore you with all the details, let’s just say the level of disobedience was at an all time high.

Later that night as I sat alone listening to the 2 littlest beings fighting, hitting & biting each other when they were supposed to be snug in their beds, I couldn’t help but stew a little. ¬†If they’re Daddy was home they sure wouldn’t be acting like this. ¬†What happened to being kind & loving to Mommy? ¬†Do we really only get one day a year when the kids are obedient, giving & thoughtful? ¬†Yes, I was feeling whiney. ¬†I kept thinking about how wonderful the day before had been when everyone was going out of their way to show love and appreciation . ¬†Why can’t they maintain that kind of attitude all year round?!

One day I’m served breakfast in bed, being told repeatedly how much I am loved and made to feel as though I am the most important person on the face of the earth. ¬†The very next day, the demands return accompanied by huffs, eye rolls and short tempers. ¬†How does the excitement of showing gratitude wear off so quickly?

It got me thinking, aren’t we sometimes guilty of doing the same thing to God? ¬†We honor him and sing about his goodness on Sunday and by Monday morning we’ve forgotten about all the reasons why his praise should continually be on our lips. ¬†The intensity of the moment dissipates, daily life kicks in and suddenly our songs of praise and adoration are replaced with whining and backtalk.

We are receiving a kingdom that can‚Äôt be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder.” (Hebrews 12:28 NIRV)

God has given us countless reasons why our hearts should be glad and our lips should rejoice.  We need not look far to find something for which we can be thankful.  Let our words show the depth of our gratitude daily and not simply during Sunday worship.  In the same manner, those who have been placed in our lives deserve to be lifted up, praised and encouraged for all that they add to our lives, not just on the special occasion days, but everyday of the year.

 

~My translation of Proverbs 31~ March 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 2:08 pm
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Who can find a competent wife who still has some moral standards intact?  She is a priceless treasure, more valuable than the finest of things.  Her husband can rest assured that he is in good hands for she values honesty and integrity over all else.  Her purpose in the marriage is to bring her husband honor and to add to his life, not diminish it by belittling his authority as the head of the home or putting unrealistic demands on him as a provider.

She is a tireless worker, finding creative ways to meet the needs of her family.  She is a bargain hunter who swaps out hand-me-downs with her friends, clips coupons with a vengeance and knows when every store holds their weekly specials.  Sleeping in is a luxury she rarely allows herself.  Before the kiddos begin to stir, she has lunches packed, school papers signed and a road map for how her day will play out with her to-do list, no servant girls to dole out the chores to in this house.

She looks for ways to add income to her family’s resources, whether it’s at a 9-5 job, as an at-home business owner or by selling items the family no longer needs. ¬†She is resourceful, determined, energetic and optimistic. ¬†It is her goal to see that her dealings are successful without sacrificing time with her family which often means burning the midnight oil to get it all done.

Her hands are never idle as she is constantly preparing meals, typing emails, checking homework, writing proposals, doing laundry, cleaning house and the like.  She is never too busy to help those less fortunate.  She keeps her eyes and ears open to the needs of her community and volunteers her time for fundraisers and committees with goals of bettering the lives of her neighbors.

While she may not be a seamstress like her Ma-Maw was, she doesn’t fear the changing seasons because she knows how to transform a wardrobe from spring to winter on a shoestring budget. ¬†She is a thrifty, money wise kind of girl.

Her husband is well known and liked within  the community.  He serves in the church, has a reputation of a hard worker and is known for his wise counsel.

This precious lady is as strong and unwavering as an oak tree but equally soft and tender at heart. ¬†She walks with her head held high, fully confident in her abilities as a daughter of The King. ¬†She is fearless when she looks to the future, even when her circumstances look bleak, for she knows who holds her in the palm of His hand and she smiles at the security that knowledge brings. ¬†She doesn’t speak out of turn or toss her words around carelessly. ¬†She gives careful thought to the counsel she gives, making certain to always point people to the Truth as opposed to a worldly opinion. ¬†Even in correction, she is kind and loving, making sure that the theme of her speech is the message of Jesus.

Nothing escapes her attention within her home.  She does in fact have eyes in the back of her head, laser point vision and hearing so sensitive that her children wonder if she is superhuman.  The term laziness is a foreign concept to her.  Her backside rarely makes contact with the sofa as she can always think of one more thing that needs to be done.

Her little people think she is without question, the best mom on the planet. ¬†They make her homemade gifts, handwritten cards and give hugs and kisses that melt her momma’s heart. ¬†Her husband sings her praises to anyone who will listen and puts her at the top of his list, second only to the Lord. ¬†“Baby, you are the best there is, we are incredibly lucky to call you ours!”

A beautiful face and a smokin’ hot body may be a nice commodity to some, but one day, gravity is going to kick in and all of that is going to disappear. ¬†But the woman who loves the Lord and serves Him with all that she has will always be found beautiful in the sight of those she loves. ¬†She will be known not for her appearance, but for her servant’s heart that is totally sold out for Jesus….in that she will find her fame and anxiously wait for her reward that is waiting for her when her time on this earth is through.strong woman

This concludes our 31 day reading challenge of the book of Proverbs.  I pray you found it to be a blessing.