Just Trixie

Just Trixie

…loving the Simple things

How to Be Happy in One Easy Step!

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There is something I have learned over the past few years and life is good because of it. Yes, it took me a while to understand in my heart, and I paid the price of depression, anxiety, and discontent.  I finally learned the secret of how to be happy!  What is it, you ask? 

My life changing revelation was this:  A thing is only offensive if you take offense to it!

Does that mean that all is right with the world? No. Does that mean that we shouldn’t be passionate about things? No. What it does mean is that if we see or hear something that sparks an emotion in us, we need to stop right there and evaluate that emotion.  Just; whatever you do, do not put on the armor of offense!  That’s it – one easy step to happiness! (Ok, I’ll admit, it might be easier said than done – but it CAN be done.)

How to be Happy in one easy step!

If it is anything negative, we have a choice. We can consciously choose to let it go from within ourselves and follow the advice Jesus gives in Philippians 4:8 [AMP] ~ “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”  We must choose to direct our thoughts to things that are good!

Whatever you give your thoughts over to, will rule in your mind and in your heart. If your thoughts turn to anger, or dissatisfaction, or offense, or fear – put those thoughts away from you. Say out loud, to yourself, “Self, those are not my thoughts, my thoughts are thoughts of love and kindness.”  It is hardwired into our DNA that if our mouth speaks, our mind has to stop and listen to what we say.  Try it, you’ll be surprised.

God IS love. He doesn’t love us as an act of love – He loves us because HE IS love. It is His nature, it’s who He is. Love does not cause offense, ever.  The apostle Paul writes about what love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  It reads beautifully in the Amplified Bible, “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.  Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].  Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].”

All offense is from the devil. Fear is his game and fear wears many, many hats. Fear looks like fear, it looks like anger, frustration, anxiety, hatred, it even sometimes looks like indignation. Any negative emotion or idea you can conjure up in your mind, is rooted in fear and fear is rooted in the devil. In John 10:10 [AMP], Jesus says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy…” There is but one greater victory for the enemy than to keep you in a state of upset and strife, because you will never have the ability to walk out your victory in The Lord under that curse.

Contrary to popular belief, offense is not an emotion in and of itself. If something makes you angry, it’s actually a thought process. Have you ever been miffed about something and the longer you thought about it, the angrier you got? See? We, our “emotions”, are controlled entirely by our thoughts. Take that same situation that just came to mind and consider what would have happened if you’d gone about your merry business and not given it a second thought. I feel confident in saying that YOU would have been a happier person for it, and much sooner.

Our job is to give those feelings to Jesus and let Him handle it, while we walk forward in love. Do you have to love the guy that just kicked your dog? Yes! No, you don’t have to walk over and give him a hug (although that might be just what he needs to change his life) but we DO have to give our offense (anger) to The Lord, and move on to other things. It would be even better if you stop and pray for the dog hater. Talk to Jesus – He’s right there with you anyway, just waiting for you to cast your cares upon him (1 Peter 5:6). Decide that you forgive him in your mind, declare your forgiveness to Jesus, thank Him for all the blessings in your life and do NOT meditate on your anger; in due time your heart will follow.

(It’s probably useful to note here, that while your poor little dog no longer trusts this guy – he has forgiven him already by his very nature of “man’s best friend.” We could actually learn a lot from our dogs. Just sayin’…)

If your car insurance premium renewal went up $100 for no reason whatsoever, do you think it affects your insurance agent in any way if you’re angry about it? Not so much. It only hurts you. Do you think that God, who is infinite and created every single thing that there is, is incapable of providing that extra $100 for your insurance premium? You absolutely must reign in your thoughts and contemplate what is good and pure and honorable. Give NO THOUGHT to what is contrary to love.

Are you replaying last week’s argument with your spouse in your mind for the 1000th time, thinking of what you should have said to hurt him/her back? Apologize (yes, even though you’re right). Apologizing does not equal admitting fault, it just means that you value your relationship and that you value that person. Being right is not always tops! Pray and forgive them and thank The Lord for His forgiveness toward you (even though He was right).

If you carry anger, or any other thoughts or feelings, in your heart against someone; it absolutely does NOT affect that person in any way. It only hurts you by hampering your ability to live your life in the full blessing of God. We are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. When you were born again, you received all of the freedom and power that you’re ever going to get. Jesus did that for you when He went to the cross. We will never know the fullness of God, until we train ourselves to walk in love.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34).

After having said all of that, if there was ONE thing I can say to hopefully get your attention, it is this:

DO NOT enlist in Satan’s army!!  Resist the devil and he will flee from you! (James 4:7)

When we allow that anger and offense to set us off, and we tear a person up with our words (or worse), not only are we jamming up the free-flow of blessing in our own lives, but we’ve just enlisted in Satan’s army by allowing him to use us as his mouthpiece. That is absolutely NOT ok. Will I be perfect from this day forward and never be angry again? Not likely, but one thing that I will constantly strive for is to thwart the devil – NOT HELP HIM! Let’s stop being Satan’s mouthpiece Monday thru Saturday, then sitting in church on Sunday claiming love and goodwill toward all. What if we just decided to walk in love every day instead? See? You CAN make a difference – even if it’s just for you!

Life Application:

1. Do you have unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone today? See Mark 11:25 and name those against whom you are holding on to offense. Then forgive them when you pray, as Jesus did in Matthew 6:12 [AMP], “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.” Give thanks to Him for His forgiveness and mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23)

2. Consider what things anger or offend you regularly and make a plan to react differently in the future. Pray and ask God to help you recognize when a situation is building itself up (James 1:5), and prepare you to walk in love and not take offense. When we have our mind trained to react to situations positively, our hearts will eventually follow.

Prayer:

Father, I come boldly to your throne of grace and seek your forgiveness and tender mercy. I have held on to anger, bitterness, and offense against my brother and I forgive them today. I thank you, Lord, for the power and grace to defeat these thoughts and feelings, and the freedom and joy that comes with forgiveness. Grant me wisdom going forward that I can respond righteously when a perceived wrong occurs and stay in your peace, which surpasses all human understanding. This is my prayer, in the precious name of Jesus, your son. Amen.

Much Love, Trixie

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Enjoy Bug-Free Fun Outdoors Anytime!

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Well, it’s FINALLY here!  The grips of cold and wet weather have given way to the beauty of late Spring and Summer!  I’m excited, are you?  Sometime around February I had begun to fear that Spring would never come – haha – but, as seasons do, the weather has changed and Summer is knocking on our door.  Kids are starting their summer break from school and pools are opening across the country so it’s time to head outside.  Hooray!!

Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  Affiliate links provide a modest commission to support this blog with no additional cost to you.  You can read my full disclosure here.  My family and I appreciate your support.

I don’t know if the bugs are as big or as mean where you live as they are here in Southeast Texas, but regardless, I bet they are no less annoying when you’re trying to enjoy your time outside. Nobody wants to use chemical repellents that leave a stinky sticky mess on your skin, though.  Yuck!  Fortunately, my beloved Spark Naturals has a perfect solution that is all natural and safe enough for even young children.  I’d like to introduce you to Nature Outdoor Blend, Spark Naturals’ proprietary blend of essential oils, mixed with fractionated coconut oil for gentle, safe and effective use to repel pests when you head outside.

SN Nature  Outdoor Blend

Nature Outdoor Blend has a lovely lemon-vanilla scent and dries quickly on the skin so you can actually enjoy your time outside.  You can apply it directly to your skin, as it is already diluted for gentleness with fractionated coconut oil; but my favorite way to use it is to add about 25 drops to a 1 oz. glass spray bottle and top it off with good quality witch hazel.  It makes a refreshing and cooling spritz that you can apply repeatedly throughout the day that effectively repels pests such as mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas, ticks, ants, flies, gnats, and more. (Please be careful not to spray it directly into eyes, nose, or mouth)

Additionally, if you don’t want to spray or apply it to your skin, Spark Naturals has added these SUPER CUTE terra-cotta personal diffuser pendants to their product line.  I don’t have one yet, but I will be remedying that situation asap.  You just add a few drops to the pendant, let it soak in/dry and wear your favorite scent all day.  (0=  These are good for any essential oil so I would recommend getting a few, one for each of your favorite oils or blends.  I can’t wait to get mine.

Terra Cotta Personal Diffuser Pendant

There are so many options for using Nature Outdoor Blend.  To keep mosquitoes and flies away from your patio or fire-pit, you could soak or spray strips of colorful fabrics or papers and hang them around your outdoor living area for a festive atmosphere free of pests.  I stapled two squares of felt onto the eaves on my portico because mosquitoes seem to LOVE to swarm there.  I no longer fear opening my front door because that area is completely pest free.

Bug-Free Fun GiveawayTo celebrate the start of Summer, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY for my readers.  To enter, just leave me a comment below telling what your favorite outdoor Summer activity is.  For additional entries, you can like Just Trixie on Facebook, follow Just Trixie on Pinterest, and share this post on Facebook and pin this post on Pinterest (five entries total).  One lucky reader will win a 5 mL bottle of Nature Outdoor Blend, a 1 oz. glass spray bottle, and a maple leaf terra-cotta personal diffuser pendant.  Giveaway open to US residents only and ends at 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on Friday, June 13, 2014.  

Nature Outdoor Blend is a very affordable, all natural product including Lemon, Eucalyptus, Citronella, Lemongrass and other certified pharma-grade essential oils, pre-blended with FCO for ease of use while on the go.  I urge you to go and order yours today (go ahead and order two – you’re going to LOVE it).  Additionally, you can get an extra 10% off your entire order with coupon code:  Trixie

This post is being shared at “Share Your Stuff Tuesdays“, sponsored by Parenting and Homeschooling by Faith, Table for Seven, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Paradise Praises, Morsels of Life, and Cookin’ Mimi

 

Disclaimer:  Giveaway is sponsored solely by Just Trixie.  Spark Naturals, Facebook, nor Pinterest bear any responsibility to the winner and are not affiliated with this giveaway in any way.

Happy Liar’s Day! The truth about April Fool’s Day.

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Happy Liars DayI think it’s time we examine the truth about April Fool’s Day – if we can find any.  As you probably guessed from the title, I’m not a fan.  However; this article is not a rant against the world; rather, it is intended to be thought-provoking.  I feel quite certain that millions of people have participated in pranking and practical jokes without even a thought to the implications against themselves.  Just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t automatically make it right and here’s why:

Pranks and practical jokes are elaborate lies.  There is no other way to define it.  I searched diligently for a gentler word than lie; but none really fit the bill.  After all, a rose by any other name is still a rose, right?  The very nature of pranking someone requires the prankster to first set a trap to ensnare their victim.  That trap is built entirely of lies!  How can you spend days, or even weeks, scheming up an elaborate lie to victimize someone, yet still expect to be considered trustworthy?  You’re not.  A person can either be trusted, or they can’t.  There is no gray area for the 24 hour period of April 1.  Children learn what they see, not what they hear.  Are you teaching your children to get some narcissistic satisfaction from hurting another; or are you teaching them to respect themselves, and each other?  You can’t do both.

We teach our children diligently to respect other people in all their diversity.  We teach them that lying is wrong and unacceptable.  Yet, each year when this dubious “holiday” rolls around, we set a completely different example for them.  Is it okay NOT to respect someone because it’s April 1?  Does the changing of the calendar from March to April signify a 24 hour break in the rules of simple, common courtesy?  I don’t think so, but societies around the world blindly embrace this practice with no thought to what they are doing, or why.  When you ask a prankster why they do it, the standard answer is, “because it’s fun(ny)”.  I have to wonder if they’ve ever given any thought the consequences of their fun, or considered why they find it funny in the first place.  Wouldn’t you rather be respected for your achievements and accomplishments, rather than by a group of liars who like your pranks?

What’s the allure of April Fool’s Day?  I mean, seriously, I see people literally salivating over it as the day draws near.  These people put countless hours of time and energy into researching and planning their elaborate hoaxes, with the hope of what?  Do they really get that much joy out of making another person miserable?  Why?  Does it make them feel somehow superior or powerful?

If you’ve ever found yourself at the butt of someone else’s joke, or the object of the mirth of those around you, you know what I mean when I say miserable.  The “victim” ends up embarrassed, ashamed, or sometimes much worse.  People have even committed suicide after being victimized by a prankster!  How very satisfying for the prankster?  Honestly, I hope that I can speak for everyone when I say that there would be NO delight in a person’s death.  Unfortunately, even when something tragic does happen, the classic response is usually that said prankster shirks their responsibility of the situation saying that the other person shouldn’t have taken life so seriously.  It’s disturbing, really, the total disregard we have toward one another (all the while “embracing tolerance and diversity”).  How can you love humanity, yet completely disregard people at the same time?  Maybe that person did take life too seriously, did they deserve to die?  Did they deserve to feel like there was nothing left for them in this world?  I think, no.  We are all very different people, thankfully, and we would all do well to remember that not everyone is as happy-go-lucky as the next guy.  Nobody wants to be seen as weak or foolish, so why would you wish to cause another person to feel that way?  Is it some kind of ingrained narcissism in our society?  Do pranksters believe that the only way to be powerful is to belittle and make fun of another person?  There is nothing “fun” about victimizing another human being – EVER.

So, by definition, April Fool’s Day has been egregiously misnamed.  It’s not a celebration of fools, nor is it a day of harmless revelry; but instead, it’s a day for all liars to unleash their dubious creativity on the world.   Therefore; I think we need to rename this day to call it what it is!  Happy Liar’s Day everyone!

Much Love, Trixie

Romans 2-12 

6 Days of Sweet Tea – the EASY way!

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If you’re lucky enough to live in the South, every day is a great day for Sweet Tea.  My heart breaks for the rest of you who must endure the harsh cold.  I’m sure the Winter months are probably not very conducive to drinking your sweet tea up North.  Bless your little hearts!  ;) Take heart though, Spring is almost here even for the northernmost states of this country and that means Sweet Tea Season for sure!  Yippee!!

6 Days of Sweet Tea - the Easy way!

Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get prone to a bad case of the lazies.  Especially on those HOT Summer days when all I want to do is sit in the shade and sip my iced tea.  So I found a super easy solution that let’s me have sweet tea ready at a moment’s notice.  I love it and frankly, I can’t imagine what I ever did without this neat little trick.  The secret?  Sweet Tea Base!!

I’m sure ya’ll have seen those cartons in the grocery store of iced tea concentrate.  Have you seen the price on those?  WOW!!  Making your own tea base is going to save you a TON of money, especially if your family is like mine and Can’t. Get. Enough. ice-cold sweet tea.

It’s super easy, and here’s how you do it:
(There are affiliate links in this post. Thank you for your support.)

Supplies:

6 quart mason jars, with lids
Some sort of funneling device (I like this one)
24 cups of water
42 iced tea bags (or 18 family size)
4 cups of cane sugar
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ cups lemon juice (optional)

Process:

Start your water in a large pot on the stove.  While you’re waiting for it to boil, fill your mason jars with super hot tap water and set them in the sink full of hot tap water as well.  This is to help temper the glass so they don’t break when you pour boiling hot water in them.  Once the water is boiling, add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and get your jars ready.  Add ¼ tsp baking soda and ¼ cup lemon juice (if using) to each jar; add 7 tea bags (3 family size) and pour the sugar-water into the jars.  Cover loosely with the lids and let cool on the counter.  Once the tea is cooled, remove the tea bags (to squeeze, or not to squeeze, is a matter of great debate among Southern ladies who view their sweet tea with a bit of religious reverence ….. I squeeze), then close the lid firmly and refrigerate.

To make sweet tea, shake jar gently to mix, and pour one quart of base into a pitcher with 3 quarts water.  Serve over ice and you’re ready to go.

Making Sweet Tea base

As you can see, I only made 4 jars …. How in the world am I out of jars??

You can use regular old Lipton tea bags, or you can go crazy with any flavored tea you want.  It’s all tasty – no matter what!  Now, if you prefer your tea un-sweet, well …. I don’t think we can be friends anymore that’s ok.   Just leave out the sugar when you’re boiling your water and you’re good to go.   I can tell you with absolute certainty that the tea base will stay fresh tasting for 6 days in the refrigerator …. beyond that, I wouldn’t know because mine never lasts that long.  LOL.  Now go make this, I promise that once you have iced tea at your fingertips in seconds; you’ll never go back to making it one day at a time!   I found my inspiration for this post from Lindsay at Crunchy Savings.com.  Fabulous idea :)


Hang in there, my Northern friends.  Spring WILL eventually come.

Hugs, Trixie

 

 

I am sharing this post at In and Out of the KitchenSITSgirls Saturday Sharefest and the Sweet Tea Social Link Party.  Stop by and check them out.  :)

 

Feed the Hummingbirds for Pennies!

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DIY Hummingbird NectarI got a text message from my Daddy last night excitedly proclaiming that the hummingbirds were back – that’s a sure sign that Spring is near!  This makes me happy, too!  I love those adorable little birds. Smiley

So this morning, I was busy making some nectar to put out in my feeder for them when it occurred to me that there may be someone out there who doesn’t know how to make it, so I decided to write a quick tutorial for ya’ll – just in case.

The pre-made nectar that is sold in big box stores works fine, but it can get quite expensive over time, running anywhere from $1.98 for 8 oz. of ready-to-use nectar to more than $17 for 24 oz. of powdered concentrate.  That’s a lot of dough, especially considering you need to clean your feeder and put out fresh nectar as often as every other day in the mid-summer heat.

It’s so easy to make it in your own kitchen and very economical, too.  You’ll wonder why you ever bought that ready-made stuff in the first place.

Ingredients
1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
(optional) a few drops of red food color*

Instructions

Boil the water at a full rolling boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar to dissolve.  Let cool completely.  If using, stir in a few drops of red food color before pouring into feeder.  Hang your feeder outside your window and enjoy the show as the hummingbirds flock to your feeder and entertain you with their antics.

That’s it!  You’re all done. Smiley

It should be noted that you can make this recipe in larger batches as long as you keep the 4 to 1 ratio of water to sugar intact; however, unless you have a large flock of hummers emptying your feeders rapidly, I would keep most of the mixture refrigerated and only set out small quantities.  The birds prefer fresh nectar and you really should clean and refill your feeders regularly anyway.

Please do not try to make your nectar “healthy” for the hummingbirds by using honey to sweeten the water.  When mixed with water, honey ferments very quickly and becomes toxic to the birds.  It is also advised not to use turbinado or sucanat as they contain higher amounts of iron that could cause illness in the little hummingbirds.  The absolute BEST sugar for feeding your hummers (and, coincidentally, the most economical) is plain white cane sugar.  Most flower nectars are simple sugars made up of water and sugar creating sucrose so, plain white sugar water is the closest thing to nature we can create.

Additional Notes:

*There has been some controversy brewing for decades over whether or not red food coloring is harmful to hummingbirds.  Upon searching diligently, I found a multitude of articles saying that it shouldn’t be done; and another multitude stating that it does no harm.  In the end, though, ALL of the articles stated that there is no scientific evidence that supports either theory.  Additionally, even some of the commercial hummingbird nectars contain red dye so I’m sure their experts would have something to say in disagreement with the “no dye” experts.  I believe it is a personal choice and you should do for your hummingbirds what they respond to best.

It is the contention of many “experts” that coloring does not help attract the hummingbirds, but my personal experience in feeding is that the brightly colored liquid does, in fact, attract more birds.  In fact, where I live, when I set out clear liquid in my feeder, it is a rare occurrence to find a hummer feeding there, so I choose to color my water.  I use the same food dye that most bakeries use to color their icing.  It is by Wilton (aff link) and can be purchased on Amazon (aff link) or at most any local retailer.

Contrary to popular belief, it does matter what feeder you’re using too.  I have purchased some very expensive and elaborately decorated glass feeders in the past and had nary a bird come and visit, but when I hung a free plastic hummingbird feeder that I got as a promotional item, in the same place, the birds flocked to it.  They prefer feeders with bright yellow or white flowers indicating each feeding station.  It doesn’t matter if your feeder is glass or plastic, as long as the feeding station is brightly marked.  I’ve had feeders with red flowers on each feeding station that elicited absolutely no interest from the birds.  I’m not saying that no feeder will ever work without yellow or white flowers, but in MY yard, both in Colorado and in Texas, these are the feeders that attract the most birds.  If your heart is set on attracting hummingbirds, choose your feeder with their preferences in mind.  That being said, those same bright yellow or white flowers are also very attractive to bees.  It is what it is, I suppose – I guess if you want to attract bees to your garden, hang a hummingbird feeder near your garden too.  Who knows, maybe you’ll have much success.

And there you have it, a cheap and simple recipe for feeding hummingbirds in your yard or garden.

Happy bird-watching, friends!

 Hugs, Trixie

 

 

 

 I’m sharing this post at the Sweet Tea Social Link Party.  Come on over and look around :)

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