Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Cheerful Giver.

I'm not a preacher or a teacher. I'm nobody in a position to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. So first, before you go any further, know this:

This is for me.

This is for me. For the me that was selfish, greedy and always worried about money. Always wondering how much my next check was going to be, when Cory was getting paid and what bills were due at what time.

This is for me.

Luke 16:10

"He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much."

I've been told and taught my whole life that when you get a gift of money, you give God his 10% and the rest is yours to do whatever you want with it.

But why? I never paired this scripture above with tithing and giving. Faithful in much. I don't know about you, but I want God to see my writing my measly check and think, "Wow. Cindi is faithful in much."

Proverbs 3:9 "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase."

Writing out our tithes is an every week occurrence. I'm not gonna lie, it's easy to think of what else we could buy with that money. After all, I don't really know where it goes, who deposits it, or what gets done with the money I write out. (I'm sure I could ask and find out, but that's not really the point). Because it doesn't matter (to me) where it goes, or what's done with it. I've done my part by giving it, and someone else has to do their part by delegating what gets done with it.

But God doesn't want what's left of your paycheck. First fruits. Not leftovers.

In case you're starting to feel something other than happy feelings toward me, I shall repeat:

This is for me.

When I first starting feeling guilty about not paying tithes when the offering baskets came around, I talked to Cory.

I didn't say much. I just said something like "Do you think we should pay tithes?" And he said yes. Settled. 

Luke 21:1-4

"And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury (extreme poverty or destitution) hath cast in all the living that she had.

Rich or poor, we have what we have because God has allowed us to have it. With a thankful heart, I realize that I have a good job, Cory has a good job; we are blessed beyond measure. It's so crazy to think that $20 out of $200 would really make that much of a difference in our banking account. And it really doesn't. I like to think that that $20 is better spent with whatever the church decides to do with it than another meal at Chick-Fil-A! We all know I eat there too much anyway.

2 Corinthians 9:7

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

So, yes. Tithing and giving is for me. For me. Because remember, this is for me. But God loves a cheerful (noticeably happy and optimistic) giver (a person who gives something). I, personally, wouldn't feel good about writing out a check and thinking "Well, I guess this is something I have to do because I go to church here. Hope they're happy." I'd say you're better off just keeping your money with that attitude. 

Every time the offering basket comes around at church, I feel thankful that I have the money to give, thankful to have a job, relief that that money is now where it belongs, and overwhelmed that God doesn't want more, because honestly, ten percent doesn't seem like enough.

It's funny that since we started faithfully tithing and giving, I don't worry about money. I'm not saying I don't know when our bills are due, but I never worry that we aren't going to be able to make it without another check. I feel such a peace about finances, which is really a miracle. 

Thanks, God, for molding me into a cheerful giver.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Beauty for Ashes.

So of course I'm excited. Of course I'm counting down the days until I leave for, what I hope will be, one of the most life changing experiences of my life. I fully expect to be humbled in ways I've never imagined.  

For example, I got an email from our team leader a couple of days ago and it said this:

"We've been asked for a few specific donations, but I learned yesterday of a new ministry we are going to visit - it's a baby home run by a couple who are brought infants that are abandoned in the trash. They have about 30 babies right now and while our team has been asked to visit, love on the babies and encourage the couple running it I'm sure they could also use any of the typical items babies need from diapers and formula to bottles, creams, powders, soap, etc. We've also been asked for children's tylenol (both in liquid and tab form)."

Did you catch that? The in the trash part? I know things like this happen everywhere. I'm not oblivious to the children that are done wrong around us. I'm really not. But I can't imagine seeing a baby in the trash anywhere. Not in the US and not in Africa. Nowhere.

This kind of tragedy makes me think of Isaiah 61:3.. "to give unto them beauty for ashes." 

To be able to go and love on these babies, encourage the couple that has taken it upon themselves to do something to help out, even though they don't have everything they need at arm's length.. it makes me feel guilty. 

So of course I'm excited, still. I'm so ready to be hugging kids, taking pictures, praying I don't get malaria, challenging myself to be grateful for things I take for granted. I'm ready for that. But I'm afraid I won't be ready for all that I'll see. I know it's going to change the world I live in. I know I'm going to be more aware of the things I don't deserve. And I'm glad. I'm ready for my world to be rocked by kids who have no idea that they're going to take part in such a thing.

And so, if you have anything you'd like to donate, please get ahold of me and let me know. (870-615-1017// It's not all about money to these people. Sometimes it's just about bottles and diapers. 

**also, a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in any amount of donation.  If you have $2, I'd never turn that down. 

Here's the donation link, in case you've been telling yourself that you'll "do it later." ;) 
I know you people. 


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Africa and Orphans.

Hi friend!!

So you may or may not have seen the exciting news about having the opportunity to GO TO AFRICA!! I am beyond excited to be able to go spread the love of Jesus to a group of people who so desperately need love: orphans.

An orphan is defined as "a child whose parents are dead."

While we're carrying on with our everyday lives, it's easy to forget that there are literally thousands of children who are motherless and fatherless. The good news to us, as Christians, is that we are also the sons and daughters of the King of Kings whose name is Jesus!! I can't imagine living a life not knowing that Jesus is real; that He died for you and me and wants us to spend an eternity with him. 

The reality is, some people don't know that. They've never heard the gospel message that God sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we can be saved.  They've never heard that He loves us. 

This chance to go to Uganda is indescribable to me. It's something I've wanted to do for so long and now the opportunity has come my way. I couldn't be more thankful! 

To me, the purpose of any mission trip is to spread the good news and LOVE of Jesus. I can't wait to be in Uganda, surrounded by little children looking for someone to play with them and love on them!

As I mentioned on Facebook, I prayed about money over and over again. I know that if this is God's will, He will make a way. I felt like God laid it on my heart that I know 300 people that have $10. I actually had to grab a calculator and make sure that that added up to $3,000.00. (don't tell Cory that, he'd be so disappointed.. but my math skills are nonexistent).

So, with that being said, I hope that if you have $10 to spare, you'll consider going to this website and making a donation to help with my expenses. This is an all inclusive price to cover airfare, transportation, meals, lodging, etc. 100% of all donations made will go toward my expenses. Also, a receipt can be printed off the website to make your donation tax deductible. (Just be sure that you put "Cindi Dixon Lee trip to Uganda" in the "participants name"section!)

If you aren't able to make a donation, that's totally cool. But I'd love if you'd commit to praying for me, this team, these orphans and the country we're visiting. So many people long to know who Jesus is, and the best way to show them is to lead by example. Jesus visited the sick, the poor, the widows, the orphans.  How blessed I am to be able to do so also.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marriage Is.

The title of this post should be "I Stink at Blogging."

It's only been like four months since I wrote anything. You've probably missed me, right? I wish!

Anyways, this four month hiatus has been full of life lessons, I'm sure.

People are always asking, "How's married life?" Well, as a general rule, it's not like you can say, "Life is perfect, going great! We've learned how to fight really well over the last 365 days!" While that may be an honest answer, it would also be very awkward. Go ahead, try to respond to that one with a smile.

Marriage is not lot of things. Marriage is not easy. Marriage isn't a diamond ring. Marriage is not roses every Friday night and breakfast in bed every Saturday morning. Marriage is not sweet embraces every hour of the day.

Marriage also is a lot of things. Marriage is wanting your husband to take the trash out, but doing it yourself anyway, because even though 'that's one of his only household responsibilities as a man,' you secretly want to do it yourself so you can make sure all the trash can liners are replaced (because he may take the trash out, but that doesn't mean he'll put a bag back in!). Marriage is wearing flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks to bed because your husband is an Eskimo who can't sleep in above sixty degree temps. Marriage is wanting to cuddle at night, but just being so tired that you settle for getting comfortable on your side of the bed and just throwing an arm over your husband. Marriage is HAVING a side of the bed, because all that cute, cuddly, being entwined all throughout the night nonsense is not real life if you have to get up for work the next morning.

Marriage is being okay with pizza for dinner (especially if your wife's name is Cindi). Marriage is wanting to, but not actually carrying out the strangling of your husband for not feeding the dog. Marriage is wanting help with the laundry but also wanting a few minutes of solitude, so you just do it yourself. Marriage is loving someone you've seen at their worst. Marriage is knowing someone loves you, even though he's seen you dominate a whole pizza with a towel on your head..not cute. Marriage is not needing your husband to tell you that you look cute in every single outfit.

Marriage is stopping at Starbucks on the way to church every Sunday morning so your wife can have a caramel frappuccino, even though she could make her own coffee at home. Marriage is wanting to binge watch Pretty Little Liars without considering anyone else's feelings, but settling for something else anyway. Marriage is comprising where you go on vacation, even if you can already feel the sand between your toes and don't want to go anywhere else. Marriage is knowing that you have nothing to worry about, but still feeling a twinge of jealousy. 

Marriage is a lot of things, but most of all, marriage is worth it. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vacuum Cleaners and Jesus.

I guess you know you're officially "growing up" when you get excited about household cleaning items.  Some of you will know what I mean.  I've always been a neat freak, and shoes will be better and cooler than coffee tables and Swiffers any day, but sometimes you just get a really neat toy that can be used in everyday life and it's cool.

That's why I was so excited about finding this super nice vacuum cleaner on sale during Black Friday like two or three years ago. I had a roommate at the time, and she had one already, but I couldn't pass up such a good deal! Besides, we wouldn't be living together forever, and I knew I would need my own someday anyway. So of course I bought it! And I put that sucker together myself.  There's something satisfying about taking a bunch of parts, putting them together and seeing your hard work pay off. (Okay, so I had to undo and redo a few things, but what does that matter? It works now!)

Fast forward to May 2014. I kept my handy dandy vacuum cleaner in every house I had. Actually, after I got out of Little Rock, I only lived one place before we bought our house. So I used that vacuum cleaner a couple of times in Little Rock, and then it moved to the town house with me. There was only carpet in the living room and upstairs in the bedrooms (but you better believe I didn't haul that thing up the stairs very often) so I vacuumed downstairs quite a bit.

I'm going somewhere with this, I really am.

So I noticed that the last few times I used my vacuum cleaner at the town house, it wasn't working very well, and it wasn't working well at the new house either. Ugh.  This was my first vacuum cleaner, mind you.  I had no idea how long the things were supposed to last!  Thus, I thought the thing was the biggest piece of junk that I'd ever purchased in a Black Friday sale (and, ask Cory, I've bought a lot of junk).  I didn't know how long it should last, but I knew it was longer than a year and a half!! Hello. Even a newbie knows that.  A few days ago I mentioned that I need to buy a new one.  Leave it to my perfectly handy husband to ask if I'd ever changed the filter.  The what?  I guess my roots are about to show, but hey. So what if I didn't know that maybe my vacuum wasn't a piece of junk and that maybe it just needed a new filter?! This morning before church, I took the thing apart to find out what kind of filter it needed.  While I was doing so, Cory came and took a look at the filter I had had in the thing for the last.. uhh.. since I bought it. It was filthy.  He said, "Yeah, I think that one is done."  

No kidding.  It probably didn't pick up any dirt the last five times I vacuumed.

The whole point I've been working toward.  Imagine God creating this top of the line, one of a kind person.  He saw what He made and it was good; He was satisfied.  He created this thing that He was proud of and that He liked.

Then it stopped working right.  It stopped picking things up; it started slacking.  He's looking down and thinking, "Why don't you know you need to get a  new filter? Why can't you start over again?" He is disappointed that his "vacuum cleaner," so to speak, isn't working the way it's supposed to! God has given us so many "things to do."  My vacuum cleaner has one job: to get my carpet clean.  We, however, have been commanded to do many things:  to love  our enemies, heal the broken, be patient, pray without ceasing, give to those in need, witness.  The list goes on.  I was so upset that I got such a good deal on that vacuum cleaner and then it stopped working right.  I had no idea that it was my fault it wasn't working!  

Sometimes we don't realize that we aren't working; we may be doing things, but are we working? Are we sharing hope, giving the good news of salvation? God knew that he would have to send his son, Jesus, who He loved so, so much, to die a horrible death to save all of mankind.  But after that.. after he died, He conquered death and He rose again and He loves you and me.  Not everyone knows that.  Not everyone cares.  But with that in mind, I hope I won't be too "busy" to actually do work.

I put the new filter on that bad boy, and it went to work.  It picked up an insane amount of dust and dirt (told you it wasn't working before. Ew!) and I couldn't be happier that I don't have to buy a whole new vacuum cleaner. 

Maybe it's just time to ask God for a new filter for yourself.  You may be surprised at the amount of work that actually gets done!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Butterflies and Moths.

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24

I read this article on marriage; the changes, the "we" factor, hobbies. I'll be the first to admit that I'm way more of a social butterfly than Cory is. In fact, he's more like a moth. I'm talking and yapping and blooming.. and he's stuck to a light bulb. Preferably an out of the way light bulb that won't be noticed so he doesn't have to talk to anyone. I'm not saying he can't or won't make casual conversation.. it's just not his nature. I also love visiting my family and staying the night. I don't care about being in my own bed. I want to stay up late, sippin' sweet tea and talking about all of life's mysteries.. Cory wants to be in his bed, with his pillow, with his everything. In fact, that's something we used to argue about a lot. I just couldn't understand why he didn't want to stay where I wanted.. I didn't always take the time to understand that he might be uncomfortable. The social butterfly in me doesn't really ever get uncomfortable.. I can blend in just about anywhere. Apparently, blending is harder for moths :)

Anyways, whether you've been married for ten years, just got engaged or can't imagine someone else "cleaving" to you for the next twenty years, this article brings some great, realistic points to light. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
For all the beauty marriage brings, it ushers in unique challenges. Learn how to deal better now.
Studies and research will tell you that couples most often fight about two topics in particular: Sex and money; different ideas of what’s too little, too much or how these issues affect the couple. While these are real struggles that jeopardize the health of a relationship, the gaps that lie between partner needs and how to bridge them still aren’t the real reason why marriage is so darn hard. The answer lies in the “shift.”
Most couples will tell you that when they got married nothing changed. And everything changed. All at once. Marriage isn’t magic. We mentally paint an idyllic picture of how the ceremony will wash away all of our troubles and that the bond of matrimony will bless our union with a lifetime of roses and rainbows. Sadly, it doesn’t. There is, of course, a renewed sense of joy, commitment and partnership; however, the problems you went in with are (most likely) the ones you’re coming out with. Same. Same. Nothing changed. So what does change? It all begins to unfold when you realize that once you said “I Do,” your relationship game just got “upped.”
When non-married couples disagree, society views it as reasonable, as they are just ‘learning’ each other. When non-married couples have separate hobbies, they are simply taking healthy alone time necessary to make their relationship work. When non-married couples spend time with their families without their significant other its okay, because their partner isn’t really ‘part of the family.’ How quickly these things change when we exchange vows. In an instant you’ve become “the couple that fights,” “the couple that has separate interests that might just lead to separate lives” and “the couple that has family issues.” For all of the many blessings that marriage brings, it necessitates the difficult choices every partner has to make in order to avoid becoming part of that clichéd statistic we’ve all heard.How do you defy the odds and not end up amongst the 50% who divorce?

Make the Mental Shift From ‘I to We’ - To keep your relationship strong, you as a couple have to view yourselves as the most important people in your world. It doesn’t mean that you are the only ones in existence, but it does mean that barring life hiccups, responsibilities and emergencies, you always have to think about what’s best for you two as a couple. This is no simple question, but it is the most important thing to ask when determining whether your marriage is going to sink or swim. It all sounds easy in theory, doesn’t it? Just “do what’s best” and you won’t be lead astray. It becomes more cloudy and complicated when it becomes apparent that in this “I to We” shift, a little part of each of you vanishes, for good.
The part of you that gets to do what you want, when you want, just for yourself, no matter what, becomes null and void. Every choice gets re-evaluated and re-processed through the filter of what’s ‘right’ for you BOTH. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Boys will be boys.

Let's just face it; there are quite a few things that will just make life with your husband easier. Well, life with men in general I suppose. If you're a daughter, wife, mother, cousin- any female- you can make a man in your life happy with just a few things.

For the life of me, I'll never figure out WHY these things are important, but I know they are. 

1. A recliner
Wait. Not just any recliner. A good recliner. A comfortable recliner. A recliner that he can sit in after a long, hard days work and just ahhhhh. So it can't be any recliner, you see. It has to be THE recliner. Also..

2. Said recliner should sit within line of sight of the T.V. at just the right angle to which he doesn't have to move to watch T.V.
I happen to know for a fact that Cory isn't the only man who wants to be able to watch TV with little to no trouble. Several of my female friends have attested to the fact that their men, too, like to be lined up with the TV. Universally, men expect their comfy recliner and beloved television to line up so that they will not have to twist and turn their necks, ultimately leading to a trip to the chiropractor, a crick in their neck.. or whatever.

3. A trash receptacle close to their precious recliner..
So close, in fact, that it is not necessary to actually get up to throw anything away. It doesn't matter that there is a trash can in the kitchen, ten feet away, or one in every bathroom. Nope, who cares? Said trash can needs to be right there beside him. Otherwise, trash will pile up beside aforementioned recliner. And it will probably annoy you. But it just makes sense; if he doesn't want to turn his neck to watch TV, why would he want to stand up to throw trash away? See, that cleared things up, right? 

4. Toys
Yes, you read that correctly. My mom used to tell me that boys never really grow up; they just get bigger. And bigger boys want bigger toys. SO true. Forget Hot Wheels and toy trains; now they need a new X-Box (thankfully Cory isn't a gamer), a Jeep (not because they actually need a vehicle; no, a Jeep to just play in), guns, guns and more guns, and in Cory's case, WORK TOYS. Also known as a new skidder. When I heard that it was a few thousand short of what we actually paid for our house, I wished he was a gamer. 

Photographic evidence:

5. A stash of candy within reach
Okay, that could just be Cory.. I'm not sure. But he likes to use the really cute toolbox that I put beside his chair for the remote and such, as a miniature kitchen. Ding dongs, Twinkies, Star Crunch, Starburst, Gummy Worms; you name it. It doesn't matter that we actually have a kitchen. Hey, if they don't like to stand to throw trash away... you got it. Why would they want stand to go get food? It just really does make sense.

There's more. There's so much more. But these things: comfortable recliners lined up correctly with the TV, trash cans close to recliners, big, big toys, and candy-lots of it- close by. 

Hook your husband up with these simple things, and his life will be much happier. And much simpler.. which also leads to happiness for him.  :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I guess I've been MIA for a while. It's a whole new year!

While I'd like to pretend that it's because I have a super exciting life and can just barely find time to think, never mind blog.. well, that's just not the case. I guess I haven't felt very inspired.. nothing to say that's just hilarious or helpful.

In the time since I last posted, I became a mom to the cutest, most energetic boy. He has all four feet and his tail wags perfectly. I only get mad at him when he chews on my throw pillows and potties in the floor. Which is sometimes a lot.. so I'm sometimes mad at him a lot. Other than those times, he's just perfect.

So the last two nights, I re-read the book of Ruth. It's a book in the Bible that I've read over and over and heard message after message on. But something was different this time. Maybe because I haven't read it since I've been married. Anyways, there were several things that I'd like to share with anyone who takes the time to read this.

1. Ruth was selfless

She set aside the possibility of ever marrying again or having children. She wanted Naomi to stop trying to talk her out of leaving her; she knew what she was getting herself into (or so she thought) and wanted to do it anyway.
Ruth 1:16-18 "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and they God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought (anything) but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her."

Also, Naomi gave ruth some pretty strange sounding instructions about laying at Boaz's feet (chapter 3) but Ruth trusted that Naomi would not give her bad advice; she was older and more accustomed to the ways of her people. Ruth was obedient and it worked out for her so well!

2. God had a plan for Ruth that never would have worked out if she had left Naomi

Ruth never would have passed Boaz's path if she had left Naomi to go back to her own people. Boaz was a kinsman of Naomi's husband, which gave him rights to marry Ruth. However, there was one kinsman in line before Boaz. Boaz told Ruth he would talk to this man, and if he did not want her for his wife, then he would marry her himself. And to think that if Naomi hadn't married Elimelech and Ruth hadn't married Mahlon (Naomi's son), none of this would have happened and Ruth wouldn't have been in the lineage of Jesus. To me, that means this plan was set in motion long before Ruth became a widow. Better yet, Boaz was known as a man of his word. What more could God have given Ruth?

Ruth 3:18 "Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished he thing this day."

Naomi was basically saying, "Chill, Ruth, Boaz is a man of his word and he will take care of what he said would (which was talking to the kinsman about marrying Ruth).

3. Ruth's reputation went before her

Boaz had heard (and saw for himself) good things of Ruth. She worked hard in the fields and this earned her great rewards. Gleaning in the fields was basically poor people picking up the leftovers.

Ruth 2:16 "And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not."

Boaz gave orders for food to be left on purpose for Ruth. He was looking out for her before they were married. 

In all of this, I learned a few things. Being kind, selfless, hard working, patient nurturing.. these attributes will only get you so far. Ruth was all of these things, but she was something else: she was obedient. God desires our obedience in life. Without His direction, our plans will fail. I don't know about you, but I hate when my plans don't come together just right. God probably does too. He probably hates when we get in the way of the perfect plan He set in motion just for us.

In 2015, I hope to be more like Ruth: obedient, kind and hard working. I hope to never get in the way of the perfect plan that God has the blue print to. Can you be more like Ruth and less like yourself? I'm definitely trying.