Friday, December 1, 2017

Sharing Kindness

Hello, my friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! God has been teaching me so much about being thankful. My life is SO, NOT perfect! In fact, there is a lot of Mess is in my life. I have relationship problems, health problems, money problems, spiritual problems and the list goes on, but ya know what? God is SO MUCH BIGGER than all of my problems. When my focus is on Him, my problems don’t look so overwhelming. Remember what Philippians 4:19 tells us?

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

Believe me. He has. Provided. My. Needs and more! Honestly, I am so blessed. That’s part of that “being thankful”. I really have much more than the bare necessities of life. Most of us do if we will admit it. So let’s share with others!

I’m not talking about giving all you have, I’m talking about Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, or what I call (and what I’ve seen called) RACK. RACK is a simple concept. Just like the name implies, you randomly go around doing kind things for other people (strangers mainly). Many things can cost you no money at all, like: opening the door for someone, carrying out groceries, bringing your neighbor’s garbage can back up, raking leaves for a neighbor, etc. Other things may cost a little, such as: leaving a baggie of change on a vending machine in a hospital waiting room, leaving candy canes on cars in a parking lot, handing out candy canes to cashiers as you shop, taking hot chocolate to bell ringers on a cold day, taking cookies or treats to the police department, fire station or hospital on Christmas Eve, etc. Then you might do one or two things that cost a little more money, like paying for the meal of the family in line behind you, donate needed items to a shelter or another organization, etc. Whatever you decide, do it from a heart of love and gratitude, because God has given us more than we deserve!

One of the things I love about doing this is that it always reminds me of this passage:

“’For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-40 NIV (emphasis added)

When we serve others with a heart of love, we are serving Jesus. I love that! So this is one more way I can serve my Savior, be kind to others and hopefully spread the Gospel all at the same time.

Now that I’ve told you what RACK is, let me briefly tell you how my husband, Cecil and I have made it a part of our Christmas traditions.

A couple of years ago I was looking on Pinterest for Christmas decorating ideas. I came across several Advent Calendars. I began to see people doing Acts of Kindness on their Advent Calendars. Slowly they evolved into RACK Calendars. I wanted in on this. My husband, Cecil and I have always enjoyed doing for others, especially at Christmas. Last year I tried to do something every day. I didn’t meet that goal, but it was so satisfying to help others. Just to put a smile on someone’s face by handing them a candy cane and telling them “Merry Christmas!”

Last year we were able to put together about 20 toiletry/necessity kits. We gave them to Promise House here in Dallas. They help homeless/runaway teens, pregnant teens, and teen moms. We took some new supplies to a teacher-friend to help her start the 2nd semester fresh. We gave a few $5 gift cards to the staff at our doctor’s office since they have practically been a part of our family for 15 years. We also passed out many candy canes with smiles and wishes of a Merry Christmas.

We enjoyed it so much last year, that we hope to do some of the same things this year. If you are thinking about doing some Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, I have a few simple suggestions:

¬ Plan ahead — decide when you will do each of your RACK activities I think it’s hard to do them spur-of-the-moment.
¬ If you have children or grandchildren, get them involved.
¬ Take pictures to record what you’ve done, how you did it and for memories.
¬ I have provided printables below for you to use —
✸RACK Ideas: 2 pages of ideas grouped by expense
✸Small RACK Cards: Attach to candy canes, small baggies of coins, etc.
✸Large RACK Cards: Attach to larger baggies of coins or gallons size baggies of toiletries, etc.
✸Candy Cane Bookmark: Punch hole in top, run ribbon through hole, tie to candy cane
¬ Most of all — Have fun!!!

If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear them!
Merry Christmas!

Living in Grace,

I have 2 boards for RACK’d info:
­ Random Acts of Kindness for Christmas — content by other people
­ RACKMondays — My content

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Why Is Grace Important To Me?

Why is God’s Grace so important to me? Why is it part of my blog title? Why do I end each blog with “Living in Grace”? These all may be questions you may have asked yourself at one time or another when you have read my blog. If not, you probably should have.

This morning I read a devotional by Dr. Desmond Ford titled “That’s Grace”. It is part of a series of devotions from the You Version app, titled “Unlimited Love”.  This devotion was quite powerful and went straight to my soul. He spoke many words that I have been feeling, but have been unable to express verbally. So now with the help of Dr. Desmond Ford, I would like to tell you Why God’s Grace is such an important part not just of my life, but of ME and WHO I AM!!!

As a child of just 6 years old, I knew I was a sinner, and my sins would keep me separated from God. Jesus’ paid the price for my sins by dying on the cross even though He had never committed a single sin! So I prayed and asked Jesus to come live in my heart and be my Savior. He has been there ever since. Yes! For over 40 years! That is GRACE!!!
“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17 AMP

Read Luke 15:1-7
This passage tells the story of the lost sheep. Jesus was teaching to a crowd. In that crowd, there were, “tax collectors and sinners”. Tax collectors were considered to be some of the worst people in the community; they even separated them from other sinners. That’s how bad most people considered them. Some “church people” had also gathered, you know, the Pharisees and religious scholars. This is what they had to say about “the sinners” being there, in verse 2, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” NIV. Today as I read this, I’m seeing this differently than I have before. As God loves me and as I love others, that is GRACE!!!

Jesus goes on to tell them about the lost sheep, and how if a shepherd had 100 sheep and lost one, wouldn’t he leave the 99 to find the one? Of course, he would. When the shepherd finds the one he rejoices! Then Jesus talks about how heaven rejoices when that one is found.
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7 NIV
We should have so much JOY when a lost soul comes to Jesus!!! Joy is GRACE!!!

“Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter.” Mark 3:28 NIV
If God can forgive our sins then shouldn’t we forgive others?
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”  Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
I think this one has been the easiest concept for me. Notice I said concept. Not that it is the easiest to do. Yes, forgiveness is GRACE!!!

These are just 4 examples of Grace expressed to me. The wonderful thing is that I can take these forms of grace and live them out in the world. Then, hopefully, the world will see Jesus in me. I love this quote by Dr. Desmond Ford from this devotion, Unlimited Love, “Love is grace. Mercy is grace. Forgiveness is too. Joy is grace. All gifts are grace!”

My prayer is that as I live my life I am…

Living in Grace!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Why I Write "Angie's Notes of Grace"

Since many are visiting “Angie’s Notes of Grace” for the first time, I want to tell you a little about why I write, and why I chose this title.

Why do I blog? Sometimes I wonder that myself, I blog because God has placed a desire in my heart to share what He is teaching me. In the 51 years, I’ve been on this earth, I’ve had some amazing experiences and I’ve been through some horrible events. No matter how good or how awful God has ALWAYS been by my side.

He has loved me, cheered me on and celebrated with me: When the boy I had been in love with since I was 11, finally kissed me on October 3, 1981. When we were married. When we had each of our 3 children. When we celebrated 30 years of marriage. When 2 of our children got married. When we found out our daughter was pregnant, and countless other happy occasions.

God was also there to hold me, comfort me, heal my broken heart and encourage me to keep living for Him in dark moments: When I was 14 and my 18-year-old friend in our youth group was killed in a car wreck. When my cousin died of Cystic Fibrosis a month after my High School graduation. When my husband was in a major car accident and sustained a head injury that put him in Neuro ICU for 2 days. When my brother-in-law was diagnosed with Leukemia. When I had a cancer scare. When my brother-in-law lost his battle with Leukemia. When I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety and had to receive intensive outpatient treatment. When my other cousin died of Cystic Fibrosis at 35. When my daddy passed away. When my son was arrested more than once. When I had to quit my job due to chronic health issues, and the list goes on and on.

Like I said, I blog to share how God’s grace has been with me through EVERY ONE of those events, it doesn’t mean the good things weren’t GREAT and the bad things weren’t HORRIBLE. It means I’ve NEVER been alone! I’ve always had ways to cope that didn’t include drugs or alcohol, and I want to share with you, my friend, that there is HOPE in this world! That hope is Jesus!

The next thing is how I came up with the title of my blog “Angie’s Notes of Grace”. Now if that is all it said, it wouldn’t need an explanation but in my title, I put music notes. ♪ Some people may come to my blog looking for music reviews. You won’t find that here, however, you will find that through every event in my life, and every day of my life music has influenced me.

For as long as I can remember, music has been a part of my life. My mom always sang in the church choir. My dad played trumpet, along with every other brass instrument, in the High School band. He loved to have music of all varieties playing on the stereo at home. There is even a picture of me at about 3 with my daddy’s big ole headphones on listening to music from his stereo. As I grew up, my love of music grew. I eventually joined both the school and church choirs. I even took private voice lessons for about 6 years. As an adult I continued to sing in church choirs, participate in church musicals and sing solos occasionally for church, weddings, funerals and other occasions. Now I just sing to praise God and for my own enjoyment.

The point is music speaks to me! It doesn’t matter if it is just melody or melody and lyrics. It can be singing or listening. It speaks to me! It moves me! Deep within my soul!

To help show you what I mean I did something a little crazy. The next paragraph is made up strictly of lyrics to popular Christian songs. I have taken little snippets of songs and arranged them to tell you what I write about.

“Some days life feels perfect, other days, it just ain’t workin’, the good, the bad, the right, the wrong and everything in between.”1Oh, my soul, you are not alone. There's a place where fear has to face the God you know. One more day, He will make a way. Let Him show you how, you can lay this down.”2I know You're able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but even if You don't, my hope is You alone.”3 “Day by day, without fail I'm finding everything I need and everything that You are to me.”4I wanna trust that You are near. Trust Your grace can be seen. In both triumph and tragedy.”5 “He knows every hurt and every sting, He has walked the suffering, He knows. He knows, let your burdens come undone. Lift your eyes up to the One who knows.”6 “There's a war between guilt and grace, and they're fighting for a sacred space. But I'm living proof grace wins every time. No more lying down in death's defeat. Now I'm rising up in victory singing, hallelujah! Grace wins every time.”7

Maybe now you know Angie Pettijohn and “Angie’s Notes of Grace” a little better. I hope you will join me over the next few weeks, months, and God willing, even years, as we explore what God teaches me through His word, life, and music.

Living in Grace,

1 “Speak Life” Artist Toby Mac- Written by James L. Moore, Ryan Dale Stevenson, Toby Mckeehan • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group
2 “Oh My Soul” Artist Casting Crowns- Written by John Mark Hall, Bernie Herms • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
3 “Even If” Artist Mercy Me- Songwriters: Bart Marshall Millard / Benjamin Glover / Crystal Lewis / David Arthur Garcia / Tim Timmons
Even If lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Music Services, Inc
4 “Breathe” Artist Big Daddy Weave- Written by Andy Cloninger, Michael David Weaver, Michael R. Farren • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
5 “I Have This Hope” Artist Tenth Avenue North- Publishing:|© 2016 No Alibis Publishing (adm. by Fun Attic Music, LLC) (SESAC)/Fellow Ships Music (SESAC)/So Essential Tunes (SESAC) (adm. at (adm. by Fun Attic Music, LLC) (SESAC)
Writer(s): | Mike Donehey, Jason Ingram, Jeff Owen
6 “He Knows” Artist Jeremy Camp- Publishing: © 2014 Capitol CMG  Genesis / Stolen Pride Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at / CentricSongs / 2 Hour Songs (SESAC) (Admin. at Music Services) Writer(s): Jeremy Camp and Seth Mosley
7 “Grace Wins” Artist Matthew West- Publishing: © 2015 Highly Combustible Music / Atlas Music Publishing / House Of Story Music
(ASCAP) (Admin. by Atlas Music Publishing obo itself, Highly Combustible Music and House Of Story Music)
Writer(s): Matthew West

Monday, February 6, 2017

Finding I AM Week2: From Why? to SO THAT!

Hey Blog Friends!

Last week I mentioned that in August 2016 my husband lost his job. I remember that day. My husband called, and told me he was coming home. My automatic thought was “Why?”

There have been other times in my life that I’ve asked God “Why?” The day I lost a job that I had worked at for 10 years. When my dad unexpectedly passed away the day before his 64th birthday. For the past 8 years I’ve been wondering why God has given me a chronic invisible illness that practically keeps me homebound. Over and over I ask why He takes our loved ones home to heaven when we are not ready. Have you had times like these that you have asked “Why?”

I’ve listened to many teachers, preachers, psychologists and the like, who have tried to give reasons why we endure these things. Well, I refuse to speculate as to why these things happen; instead I want to see what Jesus has to say.

In John 9:1-5 the disciples had a situation where they wanted to know “Why?” Please take a look at those verses. Jesus and His disciples came upon a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples wanted to know, “Why is he blind? Did he sin or did his parents sin?” Be honest. How often do you hear of someone who gets cancer or another awful disease, gets in a car wreck, loses their job, etc. and you think “They must be a baaaad sinner!” We all do it. At least I know I do. In the Jewish culture it was very prevalent. That was their belief. If you sinned you were punished by God with an ailment or something worse. However, that is NOT what Jesus says in verse 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (Emphasis added) Wow! Wow! Wow!

Does that make you step back and re-evaluate some of the things you’ve gone through in your life? It does me!

Let’s look at one of my “why” moments. How about my chronic illness? I deal with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I hoped that after losing my job and the initial “resting period”, I would begin to improve, and eventually return to a “normal” life. That has not happened. As I stated, it has been 8 years and I am extremely fatigued and in pain everyday. Four years ago, after feeling very lonely and isolated, God directed me to Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. I had been receiving Proverbs 31 daily devotions in my email for a long time prior to that. However connecting with thousands of women online studying the Bible together through P31OBS, refreshed my soul. Soon I became part of a small group and I got to know other women personally as we studied and discovered God’s truths together. Finally in October 2015 I began to volunteer. It’s just one more way to connect with other women. All of this I can do from the comfort of my home, on my schedule! I believe God has taken my frustrating illness and shown me that part of the reason for it is…”so that the works of God might be displayed in Angie.”

I would love for you to share a “Why” that God is changing, or has changed into something “SO THAT the works of God might be displayed in YOU.”

Living in Grace,


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Finding I AM Week1: Don’t Miss God’s Goodness!

Hello all!

So last week I told you I’d see you on Thursday. Well, plans changed. I started the #FindingIAM study and realized that there are 4 days of study, Monday thru Thursday, with bonus study on Friday. So I got to thinking that it would be better to complete the week of study on Thursday, then share with you on Friday or even Saturday, depending on how God leads. Let's get started.

It was 2 weeks before my son’s wedding and I “needed” a pedicure. My husband had recently lost his job, so a pedicure was NOT in the budget. A do it yourself pedi would have to do. If you know me, I was not thrilled.

Right around this same time, I spent one afternoon babysitting my neighbor’s 3-year-old daughter. She is an absolute delight! We played with Petey, my Chihuahua, watched Curious George and played with Cecil’s foam golf balls. She loves those golf balls they are bright neon colors! Anyway, babysitting is more play than work for me. I’m just practicing for when my grandson, Titus is with me!!! Anyway, a few days later, Nikki brought me a Thank You card for taking care of her daughter. Inside I found a gift certificate for a pedicure. What a sweet gesture! She knew our situation so she took care of me! Have you ever had someone unexpectedly take care of your needs? Let’s take a look at some needs being met in today’s scriptures.

I imagine we are all familiar with the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000. You can read about it in any of the four Gospels: Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-13. We are going to take a look at 2 perspectives of this miracle, John and Mark’s. I’d like you to read them for yourself. Then I’m going to highlight some things that God has taught me this week.

Let’s take a look at Mark 6:30 [NIV]
"The apostles returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done and taught."
As I was going through my #FindingIAM Study I found it very eye opening when Lysa TerKeurst asked what the disciples were talking about with Jesus. Here are these 12 guys, following Jesus, who is healing the sick all around Him, and all they are interested in talking about is what they have been doing. Interesting.

Now we have this huge crowd that’s been following Jesus, and we further see this selfish and prideful attitude of the disciples by the following verses in Mark 6:35-37 and John 6:5-7. Jesus knows that the crowd needs to be fed both physically and spiritually. Many in this crowd are ready to hear His spiritual message, so He feeds them with the young boy’s loaves and fishes. Jesus then has the disciples pick up the 12 baskets full of leftovers, Mark 6:43 and John 6:13.
This is where it gets really interesting. Let’s continue reading in Mark, and see what happens after the feeding of the 5,000. Read Mark 6:45-52.
Let’s take a closer look at verse 49 and 50.
"but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, "'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'" [NIV]
This is Jesus, whom they have been traveling and teaching with. They have been watching Him heal people! They just watched Him feed 5,000 people! What is wrong with them? Why didn’t they recognize Him? Take a look at the next 2 verses, 51 and 52.
"Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." [NIV] (Emphasis added)
Let’s read it from The Message.
"They didn’t understand what He had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts." [MSG]

Wow! They didn’t get it! Their hearts were hardened because of the pride that was in them. They still didn’t see Jesus as the Son of God. Has God ever done something for you, right in front of your eyes, and yet you didn’t see it, at least not at first? Remember I was telling you about Nikki giving me that gift certificate for a pedicure? Yes, that was a neighbor being kind and paying me back for a service, but that’s not really what it was. No! That was God taking care of me through someone else! Just like the disciples, I was blinded at first, but I did eventually recognize His goodness towards me!

If you’ve had an experience like this share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear about God’s goodness to you!!!

Living in Grace,

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Let's Study Together!

Hello Friends,

As many of you know, I have been a part of the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies since March 2013. Those Bible Studies have changed my life. They have drawn me closer to Jesus and have given me friends I never would have found. I am so thankful for all aspects of Proverb 31 Ministries.

Today I sit in my living room excited, yet apprehensive as I make a new plan and a new commitment to Jesus and to you. I believe it is time for me to begin sharing what God is teaching me through the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies (P31OBS) here on my blog. This Monday, January 23, 2017 P31OBS begins a new study, Finding I AM by Lysa TerKeurst. My hope is to post my insights of each week’s study on Thursday, starting January 26, 2017. I would love for you to join me as we journey through #FindingIAM!

Not only can you find out what I am learning during the #FindingIAM study, but you can join in the study for yourself. Just click here to sign up! You can find the book, Finding I AM by Lysa TerKeurst at the Proverbs 31 Bookstore, Lifeway, and on Amazon.

I know I said we would get started Monday, but I have a little surprise for you. Take a look at the P31OBS blog, you will find a bonus post there! This post is a little intro to the study. There you will find the first video from Lysa TerKeurst. You don’t want to miss this one! By the way, the videos will only be available to the public through March 10. In this video Lysa gives us some background into the 7 I AM’s in the Gospel of John. Many of us know the origin of I AM in Exodus 3, but Lysa gives us some historical and practical information on what is going with Moses during this time. One thing I learned was that Mount Horeb is also called Mount Sinai. Wow! So take a look at this:
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God (Emphasis added)
Exodus 3:1 [NIV]
Then check this out:
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (Emphasis added)
Exodus 3:12 [NIV]
That means Moses was hanging out, taking care of the sheep by Mt. Horeb. He talks to the burning bush, and God says, (paraphrasing) "Hey Moses, go get the people out of Egypt, then bring them back here to THIS mountain to worship Me!" Then later on He gives Moses the 10 Commandments right there on that same mountain! Did you realize God brought Moses and the Israelites right back to the same mountain where the burning bush had been? I didn't. Cool Stuff!!!

Lysa then goes on to talk about the 7 I AM’s that we will be studying. I can’t wait to get started! Again I hope you will join me!

See you Thursday!

Living in Grace,