Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Help for the Highly Sensitive

I get a daily email devotion from CS Lewis. Well, really from Bible Gateway, but it’s a selection from the letters, speeches, and books that CS Lewis wrote. There’s not a bad one in the lot, but sometimes a particular one resonates perfectly with me. The one from May 29 was such a one: in the words of Modern Mrs. Darcy, I’m a “highly-sensitive person.” My mood is very easily influenced by feelings of others or events happening close by or in the news. I have to fight depressed feelings, and I do so by praying about them. I rarely have any control over the events that tend to bring me down anyway! Here’s a little reminder that feelings are fickle, and are not an accurate indicator of the presence of the Holy Spirit or God’s favor, or really much of anything!

“On the holy spirit

It is quite right that you should feel that “something terrific” has happened to you (It has) and be “all glowy.” Accept these sensations with thankfulness as birthday cards from God, but remember that they are only greetings, not the real gift. I mean, it is not the sensations that are the real thing. The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise when they go and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.”


Just Do It PS

The day I wrote Just Do It, I watched Joyce Meyer sermon (while I was walking on the treadmill, yay!!) called Finish What You Start. She talked about her daughter’s 50-lb loss and knew that the audience would want to know how she did it. (How many times have I asked that question?) She said, “I’m not going to tell you!” God has a different plan for everyone, whether it’s weight loss, or Bible study, or discipline in any other area, and we already know what to do! We just need to do it.

We already know what to do!

Oh man, isn’t that funny how God speaks to us? In the other post, I focused on the DOING. Today, as I was walking the treadmill (again– yay!!) I began to focus on the KNOWING.

What exercise plan should I follow? How about the one that you already have everything you need? I have a treadmill, a nice neighborhood, and good walking shoes for walking. But I have had knee surgery and walking might aggravate it. Well try it and moderate it if that happens. I have a balance ball workout video. I have 1- and 5-lb weights and resistance bands, and Youtube, which is full of free videos.

What Bible study plan should I do? Read it. I already use plans on the Youversion app. I have many devotional books on my bookshelf. There are a gazillion online studies. Pray about it, but don’t obsess. If you don’t get any specific leading, flip a coin or something, anything, just start one! I’m feeling led to continue my 3 bookmark plan of the Bible (OT history; OT poetry/prophecy; and NT) but add Good Morning Girls’s SOAP method— write down the Scripture; write down some observations; write down some applications; and pray using the Scripture. I won’t do this for everything, but when something speaks to me, I will.

giving, money

How should I give? Well obviously, tithe to your church you attend. If you don’t have one, find one, and get involved. Check out their beliefs and make sure they are Scripturally sound. (You can usually find this on their websites.) Make sure there are open, kind people who make you feel welcome. But we have been so financially blessed that I want to give beyond that. I’ve seen many opportunities from bloggers, but I want to be sure that the recipients are above board and that the majority of my gift will go to the need. Well, while you are researching, give where you already know it will be used well.

  • Our little town has the Christian Care Center. My church donates to it; many of our members volunteer there, so I know it’s a good, well-run organization.
  • My in-laws travel and work with Volunteer Christian Builders, a group that builds churches around the country, and while the churches provide construction materials, the workers provide all their travel expenses and any other incidentals that arise, plus administrative costs.
  • I listen to Andy Stanley and Joyce Meyer regularly, so gifts to them would be obvious.

How should I serve? Well what is your strength, or what has moved you? When Mr X had his motorcycle accident recently, we got several cards and meals that meant so much to us. BINGO! I can continue my mother’s DSC_6857tradition of mailing encouragement, plus indulge my Pinterest-food obsession. Making meals just involves a bit of planning ahead, and making more than you need. When you are putting some in the freezer for next time, or using extra for second-generation meals, just make a bit more for another meal. Freeze it, and before long, a family you know will have a need. My experience of care-taking was very short but exhausting. It really made me empathize with those who do it long-term.

While you are waiting to see if God wants to you go on an overseas mission trip, do the little things that are easy to overlook. There is a tendency to think God is going to call us to some grandiose mission, and while we are waiting, we are missing the many opportunities to be His hands and feet right where we live. And please remember– your first mission field is right in your family.


21 Days to Something Better

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galations 5:22-23

Does anyone besides me get a jolt of surprise everytime you read this passage? Oh wait, I HAVE self-control? I pray to GET it, but God’s word says if I have the Holy Spirit, then I HAVE self-control. Joyce Meyer says when you become a Christian, you have the seeds of all those fruit– they just have to be cultivated. Self-control is one I need lots of tending!

My weakness is not that I DO things I should not; it’s that I DON’T do things I should. When I get home from work, I tend to hit the couch (or back porch chair, or bed) and park there till bedtime, reading or doing blog “work.” And Mr X is so low-maintenance, he doesn’t push me to do anything I don’t want to do– cereal or a PBJ sandwich or frozen pizza is fine, and he’ll fix me some too if I want. With just the 2 of us here, the house and laundry don’t get overrun, so it’s easy to go a month without cleaning the house, or NEVER fold the towels and socks, just use them from the laundry basket. I’ve been saying I’m going to clean out every drawer and closet in my house for about 5 years now.

I saw Crystal’s 21-day Self-Discipline Challenge over at Serving Joyfully this morning, and had a little spark of an “I can do that” thought. So beginning today, November 1, I’m going to take TEN MINUTES a day and do something that needs doing. It might be folding towels or walking on the treadmill, or straightening a shelf in the pantry. But 10 minutes. I can do that.

Want to join me?

Self-discipline Challenge


Living with Mr. Safety

Around our house, we sometimes call Mr X “Mr Safety.” He works for a large electric utility company, as a service rep for large industrial customers, many of them oil refineries that are so prevalent here in Southeast Texas. Safety is serious business in all these places! He also teaches the Smith driving system to people in his company. He puts safety cones behind his truck when he parks, and has red and white reflective tape on the back of the truck!

We were driving to Houston the other day and I spouted off some safety rule–   “See, I’ve been listening!” So I proceeded to revisit the safety lessons I’ve learned.

  • If you see a potential “trip hazard” in the aisle at the grocery store, pick it up! (a pencil, a piece of paper, etc)
  • If you drive through standing water (which you don’t do at all unless you KNOW how deep it is! Watch the cars ahead of you for this.), use your brakes before you need them, to dry them out and make sure they work efficiently.
  • While driving in rain or other low visibility, increase your following distance.
  • For Heaven’s sake, never text while driving. He also says don’t talk on your phone. (GUILTY. This is a hard one, but I’m careful about the driving conditions where I talk. Never in heavy traffic.)

This year we’ve implemented an important safety standard in our house that should have been there all along: reading Scripture and praying together daily. We have the Youversion Bible app on our iPad and phones, and keep 2 devotion plans going. We’ve gone through several so far, with Joyce Meyer there all the time- she has lots of devotions and they are all good! Sharing needs and concerns, then praying for one another and for friends and loved ones is a very intimate thing to do, and it’s hard to be mad at somebody while you’re praying. You know you will have to swallow your pride and work it out. If your husband is reluctant to lead out in this area, one way you might encourage him is to ask him specific ways you can pray for him, and ask him to pray for you in specific ways. It will at least get the conversation started, and not in a pushy way. And then you pray!


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