Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Need your input

Hey everyone. So sorry I've been quiet for a few days ... just working under a couple of deadlines. I'd love your prayers for the book project I'm working on. Also for my speaking engagement next Monday.

And finally, what I'd really like for you to do is tell me if you subscribe to P31's daily devotions and if so, what are your impressions of them? Do you have a favorite writer, or two? Is there a favorite topic you like to see addressed? Or is there a particular style of devotion that grabs you such as personal story-focused, or scripture teaching-focused, or practical everyday living focused?

Please let me know your thoughts on what makes a devotion meaningful for you so that we can better serve you with the devotions. Thanks so much and I promise to be less quiet next week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And the winner is ....

The winner of this morning's Mary Kay Satin Hands drawing is "Crowthekidsmom." So be sure and contact me at rachel@proverbs31.org to receive your gift provided by Dawn Ward - go check her out.

By the way, these two giveaways were Dawn's idea, so thank you so much, Dawn, for providing these gift packs. Very gracious of you!

Sorry I'm late posting the winner today ... I spent the day on a commercial shoot with my kids. They are in the commercial, not me. Its for a local, Christian residential treatment center for kids ages 5-12 who are at-risk due to family situations like abuse. The Yahweh Center needed child-actors (my children are not professional actors, but we were invited to take part) to play the part of the kids, so as to protect their identities and families.

Of course this means now it appears MY kids live at the Yahweh Center, presumably because they are troubled or abused. Hum, what's wrong with this picture?

This is not the first time my family has appeared in a commercial, or made us look questionable doing it. About a year or so ago a local water quality/environmental organization filmed a public service commercial with my husband and son. The director had them in a pick-up truck near a river, about to go fishing. Rick had to appear to smoke a cigarette and throw the butt into the water, and my elementary age son had to appear to drink a soda and throw the can out the truck window. So, if you watch the commericals around here and you recongize us, it would appear we're abusive parents who trash the environment with out a care. Oh my!

We weren't paid for acting in these, they were both just really good causes to support. But I joked to the gals at Proverbs 31 Ministries today that I'm not exactly building a strong media image as a "Proverbs 31 woman." ;)

Truth is, I'm not an abusive parent, my kids are fine, and I don't trash the environment ... unless you figure my dependence on hair spray is the cause for global warming. No, I'm sure there are no CFCs in the brand I buy. (But I will admit there are plenty of days when I don't feel like the "Proverbs 31 woman." Like when the laundry piles up, or the kids act up, or my temper flares up. Those are the days I am reminded of just how much I need God's transformational love flowing through me in order to serve.)

Anway, last night I sent my former small group leader Lisa here to read yall's wonderful comments on the Hands that Serve post. I know she was as touched as I was to read your responses. I also told her that several hundred people had read that post making her, by her own lax standards, a "famous one" now.

Actually, Lisa and I both agree that there is only one truly FAMOUS ONE.

"Your name, O LORD, endures forever; Your fame, O LORD, is known to every generation."

~ Psalm 135:13 (NLT)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hands that serve

Yes this is a picture of feet, not hands, but let me explain. I'm in a women's small group that meets weekly for a time of study, friendship and prayer. Our leader, Lisa, recently announced she'd been hired by the church to coordinate the small group ministry full-time, meaning she could no longer participate in our day-time group. I can't tell you how sad I am to lose her, but how excited I am for all the other groups she can now bless.

Last week was our last meeting together, and Lisa told us she wanted to do something special. She let us know lunch would be served. So we all showed up to find a yummy spread of salad with all the fixings, chicken, croissants, sweet tea and brownie pie - a classic southern lunch! Off to the side sat chairs arranged in a circle.

Lisa ushered us to the chairs first thing and after we were seated she said, "I'm about to do something for each of you that I've never done for anybody, not even my husband." She handed each of us a towel with "Philippians 1:3" embroidered across it and announced she was going to wash our feet. We removed our shoes and socks and one by one she went around the circle, washing each of our feet while telling us what she appreciated most about us. It was very touching, and a day I won't soon forget.

Lisa refers to me as "the famous one," to my embarrassment and chagrin because shortly after she met me she saw me on the cover of the P31 Woman magazine. (Yes, she has a pretty lenient view of what it means to be famous.) As she washed my feet she told me that she enjoyed finding out that I'm just a regular gal, and she called me humble. (I think she must also have a very lenient definition of humble.) All I could think as I sniffled back tears was, "You're calling me humble, yet you're the one washing our feet." Lisa is a true servant leader.

We went through a lot of tissues - we cried
not only when Lisa got to us, but while watching and listening to her honor every other woman in the circle as well. Occasionally some one would break the emotional weight of the moment with a comment about how badly they needed a pedicure, or else how happy they were that they'd just painted their toes. My recent at-home-spa day and always-keep-my toes-painted mantra served me well. In the pic above, mine is the rather pale foot with "Wild Thing" red polish.

Have you ever experienced a touching moment like this when someone humbly served in a way you'll never forget? Post a comment and inspire us! Or, have you ever wanted to do something daringly humble or self-sacrificing? If so, tell us about that and spur us on towards good works. Or maybe there's just been a day when you were so glad you'd just painted your toes too.

Anyone who posts any comment here between now and next Wednesday morning (1/23/08) will be entered for a drawing to win a Mary Kay Satin Hands kit valued at $30, courtesy of Dawn Ward. It contains the extra-emollient cream, buffing cream, cleansing gel and hand cream so you can get those hands ready to serve, or pamper them a little after washing someone's feet.
I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And the winner is ....

First, let me say how much I enjoyed reading all the responses to my previous post! They were touching and thought-provoking. A lot of people have told me they too enjoyed reading your posts. So if you didn't find my blog or that post in time for the giveaway, I hope you'll still post a comment with your burning questions for God.

I also went to every one's blog that posted and enjoyed getting to know you.

The truth is we can talk to God anytime and ask what's on our mind, and He will listen. I'm so thankful for that. That doesn't mean that we'll hear an audible voice answer right back to every question we ask, but I do believe we will receive the answers we truly need.

As I pondered the various questions I wanted to ask, I found myself examining the motives and outcomes of my questions. Like who would benefit from my opportunity to ask God a question. Would I ask, "Should I move to a different home this year?" or "How can we cure cancer?" or "Who in my neighborhood needs someone to tell them about You?"

I also wondered what God would think of my question(s) ... would He be pleased with what I was going to ask Him? I decided I wanted to please God with my question. It didn't take long before that train of thought led me to settle on this question: "God, how can I please You today?" So there it was ... a very simple, even very temporary question that left all the particulars to God and just required obedience of me.

Yes, there are LOTS of questions I have and want to ask, and I found it a good exercise for me to think through them - as well as to think through yours you posted. Bottom line for me, I decided, is how can I live today (which could be all I've got) in a way that pleases Him.

Now, its time to announce the winner of yesterday's drawing for the pedicure set so graciously offered by Dawn Ward. I drew the number 7 which correlates with Alene's post number #7. Alene, you're the winner! You will have some gorgeous feet here soon ... maybe we'll get to see them all fancied up in a picture on your blog. :)

Tomorrow you'll see my foot in a picture as I tell you about a special thing that happened to me last week. And I'll be announcing the next spa girls giveaway - this one will be for your hands. So be sure and come back this week to jump in on that giveaway! I'll leave you with this pedicure tip:

"How Beautiful are the Feet of those who bring good news, proclaim peace, bring glad tidings of good things, proclaim salvation, and proclaim to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"

~ Isaiah 52:7

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Spa girls giveaway

After my at-home spa day my toes are looking beautiful in a purplish shade of red by OPI called Wild Thing that I found on sale after Christmas. And its been warm enough here this week that I can walk around barefoot and enjoy them. My feeling is you gotta find the simple pleasures in life and milk them for all their worth!

So here is what I was pondering in my quiet time this morning: If I could ask God one question today, right now, what would it be?

Would I ask to understand something like why do we pray if You are all knowing?

Would I ask something about the future like how long will I live, Lord?

Would I ask is my mother in heaven with You?

Would I ask something about His will for me, like is the book topic I'm working on or the job I'm in the right one?

Would I ask something that would help all of humanity like how do you cure cancer, or even just the common cold?

I did finally settle on a single question that I would ask Him, but I'll save that for the next post. Right now I want to hear the kinds of questions you'd consider asking if you could ask God a question today and hear His response.

Now, comes the best part - anyone who posts a response telling me the kinds of questions you have for God, will automatically be entered in a drawing to win an at-home pedicure kit!

This pedicure kit is by Mary Kay, from the Private Spa collection. I believe its about a $40 value! It includes foot products in the refreshing Rosemary Mint scent such as an energizing foot masque and a soothing foot balm, along with other goodies.
Its being offered by image consultant Dawn Ward. I'll let her tell you a little about herself and you can follow the link to her blog to learn more ...

I feel called to women's ministry as well as ministry with high school-aged girls. My life experiences and God's deliverance have given me a passion for women and girls alike to know that their self-worth comes from who they are as daughters of the King and not who the world says they are.

I am a P31 She Speaks graduate (2005) and have since begun facilitating a Bible study in my neighborhood. I serve in the Women's Ministry Council at my church as well. A few months ago, in response to months of prayer, God brought Shari Braendel of Proverbs 31 into my life. I heard her speak when I attended She Speaks, and I now believe that God is calling me to Image Ministry. It is the desire of my heart for women to know that God thinks they are beautiful. Psalm 45:11 says, "the King is enthralled by your beauty."

Please visit my blog at www.godzgalzimageconsulting.blogspot.com

Be sure and post your questions for God here, along with your email address or blog address. Then you can stop by Dawn's blog and tell her thanks for offering this cool prize. The winner will be announced on Monday morning (1/14) so you have until then to post.

(We'll run a different spa giveaway next week - Dawn is being so gracious!)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A girl's gotta paint

I live in the South, so much of the year I'm either barefoot or wearing sandals. That means my heels can become very dried out. You know know those little lines of dry skin you get back there? Hate those. But you have to pay like $70 to have someone else get rid of them for you. Hate that too.

I use to paint my fingernails often, in pretty shades of red, mauve or pink. But that was before I had kids, my own home to clean, and a job that keeps me traveling, not to mention constantly typing. I once was asked in a radio interview how I do all that I do. I replied that was simple - I just have to let some stuff slide. Don't know if that was the answer he expected but painting my fingernails has pretty much slid off my to-do list ... except for the occasional holiday, really big event, or spa day.

Painting my toenails is a whole 'nother story. Unless I am 8-9 months pregnant, my toenails will be painted. They have been since about the 7th grade. For me its just something I need - its a benchmark of sorts of how good or bad my life really is. See, no matter how bad life gets, I can always look down at my pretty painted toes and think, "At least that's still good!" Go ahead and giggle, but its true. And unlike the polish on my fingers, my toenails rarely chip since I don't wash dishes or type with them ... there are limits to my talents, people.

So here's a list of my at-home manicure and pedicure essentials with links. Starting with my hands, I shape my nails into a shortish "squoval" using a glass nail file. Have you seen these glass nail files? They never wear out or lose their grit. They can be washed with water and sanitized. And I can take them on airplanes unlike a metal file. They typically cost like $7 at Sally's Beauty Supply stores, or $14 for brands like Essie.

Next I gently exfoliate my hands with a sugar scrub and after rinsing, apply Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover gel (pictured above) to my cuticles around each finger. Then I gently push back the cuticles with a wooden cuticle stick. Then rinse well. Next, I apply a conditioning cuticle oil to my cuticles - something like Solar Oil works well. Finally, I'll just buff them a little bit unless there's an occasion requiring paint.

The key to keeping nice looking "naked" nails is to keep them moisturized. Use your Solar oil regularly before going to bed, and/or get a hand and nail cream to keep in your desk or kitchen.

For my feet, I shape nails with the glass file then soak in warm water. Next i use this stuff my sister-in-law gave me called Pedi Care Sloughing Lotion. You put a small amount onto dry feet, wait a minute, then begin massaging and the dry skin rubs off with the lotion. Kind of strange but fairly effective. To get more serious about that dry skin, you can use a simple pumice stone or buy a foot file. I have an OPI foot file, also given to me by a sister-in-law who loves spa stuff like I do. I'd like to try a microplane - anyone tried one of those?

So then I repeat the cuticle procedure with the blue gel on my toes and rinse. Next I moisturize my heels well with Curel, or emu oil for intensive repair. But I don't moisturize the toe area yet if I'm going to paint - and you know I'm going to paint. I use a clear base coat or I use Essie's Ridge Filler. This step is important to keep from staining your nails with the polish. Then two coats of color, usually OPI or Essie polishes last long. Next I use a fast dry top coat I love by Seche Vite. Very shiny! Once all has dried, I put moisturizer on my toes as well as more on my heels and slip on socks to hold in the moisture while I read or watch a relaxing movie.

Sometimes, however, I just take the easy route to smoothing my feet - I take off my shoes and walk a lot on the nearby beach, letting God's salt water and sand take care of my rough heels. Its wonderful for the feet, but murder on your polish.

For more in-depth manicure/pedicure how-to and more product recommendations from some gals that are serious about nails, check this site out. Now, can anybody offer me tips to keep my fingernail polish from chipping?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A girl's gotta soak

Hey all you long-soak-in-a-hot-bath fans, I forgot to mention in my last post a very crucial piece of my bath experience: my vibrating bath pillow.

OK, that sounds like some kind of unmentionable bedroom toy but you can see from the picture above that it is not. Last year before Christmas my hubby and son wanted to look in Radio Shack so I went along not expecting to see much that interested me. But then ... on clearance no less ... was this waterproof bath head rest pillow thing that, using batteries, massages your neck on a either low or high setting. For the bargain price of $9.99 it had to come home with me - and has been a part of my tub time ever since.

It works great ... much better than that loud motorized mat thing I once bought that was suppose to turn a regular tub into a jacuzzi-like experience. All it turned was moldy and disappointing. But not my bath pillow, it makes me very happy.

of a girl who can appreciate a good long soak in the tub, check this out from the book of Esther in the Bible: "Before a girl's turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty
treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics" (Esther 2:12, NIV). Wow, a entire year's worth of spa days!

If you read the book
of Esther - which doesn't take long and I highly recommend it for your next spa day - you'll discover that while Esther's physical beauty first caught people's attention, it was her wisdom and character that won her a spot as Queen of Persia, and as an example for the ages of true beauty in God's sight. Happy Soaking!