The 30-Day Giving Challenge.

Giving. I do.

Giving frequently.  I try.

Giving intentionally.  Ughhhhhh……

That’s the focus of an upcoming challenge called The 30-Day Giving Challenge.  Blogger Kingdom First Mom has challenged her readers and other bloggers to spend the month of November contemplating and practicing intentional giving.  Alyssa told her readers that she had been thinking lately about how to truly focus on the name of her website Keeping the Kingdom First.  “After all, those who put God’s Kingdom first in their lives should naturally be seeking ways to bless others as much as possible, right?”, to quote Kingdom First Mom.

Recently at Alyssa’s church, the pastor finished a sermon series about Matthew 16.  He said that generosity is one of six key factors in being a Christian.  He then went on to suggest a 30-day challenge:

Spend 30 days with a journal in your hand. Try it for the next 30 days and see if I’m not lying. Take a journal and just jot down everything you give. Every time you find yourself being generous, write it down. Every time you feel prompted by God to give something you never would, or why would I buy THAT many cookies… from the Girl Scouts. I don’t know why, God just gave you the prompting to do something special for somebody! Write it down.

And then write down on the other side every time something comes back to you. Every time the cycle gets completed. Do it for 30 days, and you’ll never be the same again. You’ll never look at giving the same way again.

Jesus invites you in on the “Kingdom Dynamic”. You don’t have to be afraid to give in the Kingdom! I would imagine the anxiety about money- trying to keep it- is a real anxiety. You’ll start to be just utterly amazed at the freedom that comes to you from money… when you start being generous.

The light bulb hovering over Alyssa’s head suddenly started glowing brightly as she put her recent thoughts together with the pastor’s challenge.  November, with 30 days, is coming up and Thanksgiving is included in those 30 days.  Seems like a great match-up.

Your giving does not have to be monetary.  You could share your time, your listening ear, your gently-used clothing, your service to someone hurting or lonely. Giving your child or grandchild a gift of your undivided attention, writing someone a note or phoning a friend to let them know you are thinking of them might be one of your strengths.  Take inventory of your talents and gifts and share them.  Be deliberate.  Be intentional.  Be generous.

I have accepted this challenge and will be blogging from time to time during the month of November.  I’m not sure if I will talk about myself and my giving experiences.  To be honest, I don’t what those posts will look like.  We’ll see as November progresses.  If you would like to join in this challenge, leave a comment and let me know.  Then check back in with me during the month by email, lonestarlifer(at)gmail(dot)com, twitter @lonestarlifer, or Facebook if you are a friend.  Leave giving ideas here to help other challenge participants as they look for ways to be generous.  And listen to that voice inside of yourself when it prods you to do something outside your comfort zone.  It could be You-Know-Who directing your path and inspiring you to a life of intentional giving.

If you are on Twitter, feel free to use the official hashtag for The 30-Day Challenge so we can all follow along with your giving adventures:


Bloggers can also grab a clickable badge for your sidebar or posts if you wish. The code is under the button on Kingdom First Mom’s  sidebar.  If you are a blogger and will be writing about this on you blog, Alyssa will have a Linky on her website November 1 so you can link your blog with all the others who are accepting the challenge.  You can also RSVP to the event on Facebook.

You +God +this challenge can change someone’s life in November.  Isn’t that exciting?

Matthew 5:14. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:38.  Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

Matthew 5:48. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.

Matthew 10:5. Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge: “Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

All writing property of LoneStarLifer 2009.


Happy Birthday to My (Pretend) Boyfriend.

Brad Paisley.

Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley Pictures

Mr. Brad Paisley is a country singer and I started hearting him when I heard a song he sang with Dolly Parton.  When I Get Where I’m Going When my friend Lana was ill with cancer, one way I processed what was going on was by walking and walking and listening  to the same songs over and over on my iPod.  This song put hope in my heart and reminded me that this life is not the end.

Brad sings for and about the everyman.  Two People Fell in Love
He sings about what goes on in people’s lives.  Little Moments

He sings clever, funny songs.  I’m Still a Guy Waitin’ on a Woman
More funny songs I’m Gonna Miss Her Ticks

You want sweet?  Letter to Me

I don’t watch music videos anymore, but I’m hooked on Brad’s.  He not hard on the eyes, and surprise guests show up in the videos to make them fun.  Andy Griffith appeared in the Waitin’ on a Woman video.

And how about Celebrity….This is a great one.  America’s take on Celebrity.  Here’s some lyrics to whet your interest:
‘Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality
You can act just like a fool
People think you’re cool
Just ’cause you’re on TV
I can throw a major fit
When my latte isn’t just how I like it
When they say I’ve gone insane
I’ll blame it on the fame
And the pressures that go with
Being a celebrity

Me with Brad at an awards show

Me with Brad at an awards show

Now, what brought me to today’s topic.  I’ve started hearing a new song on KILT called Welcome to the Future.  Brad sings about the changes we’ve seen just in the past 40-50 years and I just love the way the song and thoughts fall into place.
I sometimes think country music doesn’t address pop culture – in comparison to rock music – but I think this song would speak to most anyone who hears it.

Here’s a few of the changes he sings about:
*being 10 yrs old, going on a 8 hr car trip, and wishing he could watch TV in the car. DONE.

*dreaming of having his own Pacman game in his house. DONE.

*his grandfather wrote letters home from his WWII base in the Philippines.  Now there is video chat. DONE.

If you are close to my age (53), you will remember this:
*having to ask permission before calling a friend long-distance. Now, I talk long-distance for hours for one low price. DONE.

*oh, and talking that long-distance talking on a cell phone in any place you want to be. DONE.

*three TV stations. I even remember the first time I could watch TV ALL NIGHT!  And now, 9 million stations on 24/7. DONE.

If you are looking for something to brighten your day, watch some of these videos.  I hope they make you smile.

We ARE living the future we thought was so far away.

So for brightening my day – Thank you, Mr. Paisley.  And Happy Birthday.

Photo Credit: Kurt Markus

Photo Credit: Kurt Markus

All photographs not credited and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Houston on the Cheap.

Houston Skyline from the South

My family is doing ok financially right now, but there have been times in the not-so-distant past that we were really limping along in the finance department.  We had one car, with no air conditioning, and Big J would drive me to the park-and-ride bus stop each day to catch the bus to work.  On the weekends, Little J and I would catch a bus that took an hour to get downtown, then we would catch the metrorail or another bus to go see a play or do something free or cheap downtown.  These days we don’t have to ride the bus downtown on the weekends, but I still am often looking for things for our family to do that won’t cost too much.

Well, I made a cool discovery today.  My buddy Bud referred to this website in a Facebook entry.  This website, Houston on the Cheap, tells what’s going on in Houston that is free or cheap.  For instance, today’s entries include free spaghetti at Buca di Beppo, free chicken at KFC, free kids shows at Miller Outdoor Theatre, and a $1 meal at Boston Market.

I scrolled down the website and saw free music downloads, a free movie in Discovery Green park, and a hot-air balloon festival in Clear Lake.  Definitely bookmark Houston on the Cheap ( or sign up for their free upates) and when you are looking for something fun to do with family, friends, or yourself, you ought to be able to find just the ticket on this website.

Houston on the Cheap is part of a network of Cities on the Cheap.  The Cities site will tell you all the cities in the US that have a website with the same type of deals and steals.  How handy would this be for your next vacation?  Or maybe you have a college kid living in one these cities.  Some cities I saw in a quick search were: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boulder, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, Taos, Tucson.

Happy cheapness!


All writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.
Photo linked from Webshots.


reBlog from Wren Caulfield: True Adventures in Money Hacking

Another giveaway:

We promised another giveaway today, and here it is. Our awesome sponsor UPrinting is offering two lucky TAiMH readers 100 free custom postcards (with free UPS shipping to the US, of course). Make them for yourself or someone else. Use them to promote your blog, special event, or business. Get creative and use them for invitations, thank-you cards, moving announcements, or whatever your little heart desires. These are really fantastic cards: 4 x 6, full-color on both sides on a sturdy 14-point glossy cardstock.Wren Caulfield, True Adventures in Money Hacking, Oct 2009

You should read the whole article.

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Look what showed up on our doorstep late this afternoon!  A Royers pie.  Yeah!

This delicious selection is the Buttermilk Delight.  Start with a flaky, very flavorful crust, of which I eat every bite.  The crust is filled with buttermilk pie filling simply concocted with butter, eggs, sugar, flour and buttermilk.  At least the buttermilk pie I make has those ingredients.  Then Bud the Pieman throws some chocolate chips, coconut and pecans into the mix before baking to perfection.   The pie is UPS’d to your door in a made-to-fit box with packaging that delivers the pie to you fresh and in one piece.

If you are racking your brain trying to figure out what to send Aunt Hilda in Ohio for the holidays, send her one of these.  You could sign her up for the pie-a-month-for-life club.  If you don’t like her that much, just send the pie-of-the-month for a year club.  Or how about sending Christmas pies to your business clients?  My company sent client Christmas gifts from Royers for several years and got many compliments from the recepients.  My co-worker and I handwrote thank you notes, shipped them up to the cafe, and had them inserted into the pie boxes so each gift had a personal touch.  

I didn’t get to participate this past Sunday (since I worked a wedding for them on Saturday), but CBS Sunday Morning was in Round Top to film a piece on Royers.  It is scheduled to air in November, probably close to Thanksgiving.  I’ll let you know when I know for sure.  So order your pies now, before the whole country finds out and Royers gets really busy.

I’ll leave you with pics of the weekend wedding I worked for Royers.

appetizer wagon

appetizer wagon


the cafe's delicious lemonade/raspberry tea mixture, called the Arnold Palmet

the cafe's delicious lemonade/raspberry tea mixture, called the Arnold Palmer

chicken strips with honey-mustard dipping sauce

chicken strips with honey-mustard dipping sauce

corn salad

corn salad

announcing the menu

announcing the menu

rolls with herbed butter, salad with cilantro ranch dressing

rolls with herbed butter, salad with cilantro ranch dressing

All photos and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Moody Monday.

Monday can be the exciting start of a new week, or a bummer because the weekend was great and over too fast.  It can start slow until your first cup of coffee or you can hit the ground running.  Thus, my Moody Mondays.  I’m going to display a photograph that I’ve taken and you can comment on your mood as you study it.


Royers catered a wedding this past weekend and I was one of the service people.  This table was set up for the bride and groom to have some dinner and take a few moments to breathe after the ceremony.  The weather was so perfect and of course, the food was delicious!

Book Giveaway.


If you like to read, check this site for a book giveaway.  The book is Once In a Blue Moon by Eileen Goudge.  Extraordinary Mommy, who is hosting the giveaway, said it was a book she could not put down.

Here is the editorial review from Amazon: “Lindsay and Kerrie Ann are sisters who have known hardship from an early age. Without guidance from their neglectful mother, their only aid came from an unlikely source, a retired exotic dancer by the name of Miss Honi Love. When the girls’ mother was sent to prison, Miss Honi tried unsuccessfully to save them from being separated and sent into foster care.

Thirty years later, Lindsay is still trying to reconnect with her sister. The owner of a bookstore in the sleepy California seaside town of Blue Moon Bay, she was lucky enough to have been adopted by a loving couple. Unbeknownst to her, Kerrie Ann has suffered a very different life. Bounced from one foster home to the next, she ran away as a teenager before becoming a drug-addicted single mother. Now, newly sober, Kerrie Ann is fighting to regain custody of the little girl who was taken from her.

Neither sister’s expectations are met when they’re finally reunited. But as the two sisters engage in the fiercest battles of their lives, they are at last drawn together despite their differences, restoring belief in the unshakable bond of family.”

Contest runs through October 24.  Be sure to read Extraordinary Mommy’s instructions for the giveaway.  Let me know if you win!


All writing, unless noted, is property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.