Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~The Fellowship Factor~ June 23, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:49 am
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I don’t know about the rest of you, but this weekend was one for the books for the Rutledge fam!  And to think, we almost said no to it all.

As most of you know or could likely presume, extended vacations for our family of 7 are not in our coupon-clipping, discount-rack-shopping budget!  This is a fact that has oftentimes depressed and frustrated me.  Rather than let our restrictions keep us down, we have committed to make the best of the moments we do have this summer.  Even so, when my momma suggested we drive the hour and a half to her place then the additional 3  hours to the beach for the day, I was apprehensive.  My old self started calculating gas cost and trying to decide if it was worth it for just a few hours of sand & sun.  When I thought of how much we all love the ocean and the possibility that we’d go another summer without seeing it, I stopped calculating and started packing for our day trip.  With early mornings and long drives, the sour faces had me thinking we’d made the wrong decision.  But once we got there & buried our toes in the hot sand & felt the spray of saltwater on our tired faces, something miraculous happened….we ALL enjoyed the day.  No one complained about the PB sandwiches we ate out of the back of the car instead of heading to a restaurant for lunch.  Not a huff was heard about having to wash their hair in cold, outdoor showers or changing in cramped, sandy dressing rooms before hitting the road again.  We even managed to leave without both of the boy’s shoes & no one had a meltdown….self included! Everyone was simply thankful for the 5 hours of family fun.

Yesterday we had a cookout with friends that we had planned a couple weeks ago.  As you might imagine we were all a bit worn from our quick trip not to mention the fact that 2 of our 7 had turned a lovely shade of red thanks to fair skin & poor application of sunscreen.  On the short drive over, the grumbles and snarling faces had me on edge about how the afternoon was going to pan out.  I was working on my excuse to leave early because obviously time with friends wasn’t a good call.  But once we got there and the slip-n-slide came out, all the attitudes disappeared and we stayed well into the evening.

I’m sharing our weekend with you for one reason.  So many times we neglect the fellowship portion of our faith.  We are all so busy with our own lives that we feel there is no room for activities with “outsiders.”  When our schedules become overbooked, the first thing to go are the extras we’ve planned with friends.  This is unfortunate as time spent with family & friends is refreshing and brings encouragement to our weary souls.  We are designed to need one another yet we are quick to rely on our independence when life gets crazy.  Maybe what we all need is to swap out time spent worrying over how to solve our problems for a little more time around a campfire with good friends, gooey marshmallows & stories that make you laugh until you cry.  Or maybe you need an impromptu drive to your favorite spot to remind you what life is truly about.

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“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Hebrews 10:25

group slip n slide

 

~Simple Things~ June 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:45 am
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Beautiful sunset from our vaycay

Beautiful sunset from our vaycay

One of the best things about vacation is that you notice things that typically wouldn’t capture your attention.  Last week while vacating at my in-laws, my husband and I were always up before the rest of the house because our little bit doesn’t acknowledge vacation time.  While I was laying around watching her run back and forth through our temporary living quarters, I was struck by how much amusement she found in the most trivial things.  She would run to the window and scream, “Look at the swimming, Mommy!” (This would be what she called the pool).  Then she’d dash across the room and spot her jelly shoes, “Oh…my jellies!”  At which point, she’d scoop up her shoes and squeal as she hugged them to her chest.

It was so precious to watch her get so excited over the little things and it got me thinking how oftentimes in life we rush around to the point that we miss all the small stuff that could bring us great joy.

With the daily grind bearing down on your back, what is that blissful moment that you are shoving to the side because you don’t have, or better yet, won’t take, the time to appreciate?

Every morning there is beautiful sunrise commanding your attention, do you ever pause to admire its splendor?  What about the rest of God’s creation that He has woven together for us to enjoy, are you taking it for granted?  Take just a moment today and soak it in.

Perhaps where you are most guilty is moments missed with your family.  When you spouse wants just a little more snuggle time in the morning, don’t be so engrained with routine that you can’t push all that aside for a little more love.  How about your mini-mes?  When they ask for just one more kiss at bedtime, even if it is just a stalling tactic, lay it on them!  If Mom or Dad calls at the most inconvenient time of day, so what, think of all the times they dropped what they were doing for you and return the favor for a change.

There is so much more to this life then the hustle and bustle that we have allowed to consume us.  Most of what we think matters most is really insignificant.  What difference does it make if you are always on time, make the most money and always have the latest gadgets if you have absolutely no joy in your life.

Be like my Bella.  Go through your day looking for every possibility to be thankful and squeal with delight.  God wants us to be happy.  Our very existence is proof of that.  Don’t waste another day hurrying through this life.  Pause and give God a standing ovation for the glory He has surrounded you with.

“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit.”

(Romans 14:17 NLT)