Thursday, January 31, 2013

10,000 years and then forever more

Oh, I had plans for today's post, but for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to post about anything else until I shared this song with you. It's one of the most popular Christian songs on the radio, but I can't get enough of it.

It's truly a mercy that I have zero singing ability and could never be a worship leader, because if I were one, they would have to kick me out for ugly crying in front of everyone all the time. Especially if I sang this. I was listening to this song as I was making dinner last night trying to hide the red face and big fat tears with my hair. I just seriously can't take it.



My soul longs for God as soon as I hear the intro.  I wish I could tell you with great words what it feels like, but it all just sounds really crazy. :)

As soon as I hear it, my chest burns with love for God, and I long for Heaven and I long to see Jesus, with every fiber of my being. I don't really even understand it- my heart belongs to someone I've never seen before, and my soul aches from it's very core to be with Him. It feels like my soul just isn't complete here, and I know how I will be made fully whole on that day.

Oh, how I long for that day!!! I can only imagine:

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing your praise unending
10,000 years and then forever more

Forever, singing His praise, fully and completely satisfied in Him. I so can't wait for it. :)

I keep picturing that day- me, running to Him and falling at His feet, my heart full of joy, and finally fully understanding the salvation He's given me. Oh, I love Him. I can only imagine what it will be like to really see Him. To have finished the race. I won't be able to keep it together, I'm sure, but luckily I have a feeling He won't mind the ugly tears. :)

What song brings you to worship like no other? I would love to listen to it. {Please share- I don't mind crying! haha! ;)}

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

a carrot fight, joyful mothering, + a january update

little Bella, 5. She's such a happy little girl, and a great blessing to us.

Happy Tuesday, sweet friends! Isn't it a wonderful day to be alive? What is God's purpose for your life today? Do you have a prayer you woke up with this morning? 

Mine is to be a joyful mother.

I woke up with that same prayer yesterday, and sadly, it wasn't my best day of being joyful. It was like Satan knew my intentions, and tried everything to get me upset. Like when I found out the kids had a carrot war {organic, baby carrot!!! war} in the living room yesterday. {um, #1, food's not allowed in the living room, #2 those things aren't cheap and now they're wasted, #3, they threw them at each other....oh brother.} Not a happy mama. I'll laugh someday, I know, but yesterday sure wasn't the day. :P 

Maybe joyful is as joyful does?

Never mind that- Jesus, please help me! I'm outnumbered 4 to 1! Y'all, please pray for me. :P

After yesterday, I'm really thankful I'm getting a little break this morning while they're at school. :) I'll hopefully be working on the rest of this month's goals, and catching up on laundry again, along with maybe lunch with the husband! wohoo! :) I'd also really like to be more happy and less distracted tomorrow when I pick them up from school. I so want them to remember me as a happy mama.

Speaking of goals, here's an update on this month:

do:
  1. 40 bags- I'm challenging myself to find 40 bags of excess to purge from our house. - 32 BIG bags done, 8 more to go!!
  2. Take down 10 picture frames that aren't hanging on the wall. - done! I love the empty shelves and surfaces. I put them all in a box in case I change my mind later. ;)
  3. Rearrange living room and sewing room furniture to better use our spaces. - haven't done this yet. Hoping to this week.
  4. Take down Christmas decorations. {It's only January 4, right? ;)}- done, thanks to the family! 
  5. Donate extra bedding we no longer need. - still haven't gone in the attic. dum, dum, dum....
    a physical detox:

  1. Eat real foods- avoiding all processed foods if possible. I've been doing this for the last week, and it's not been fun so far. But I feel better already! - semi-good at this. I've been snacking on Frosted Mini Wheats and grabbing bites of cheese. Hum. And I've had a couple turkey sandwiches and bread. And a handful or two of skittles. hahah! Trying not to obsess about it, but I am happy to be eating more veggies again. ;)
  2.  Exercise at least 8 hours per week. {I'm using this free fitness log! hey!} - done plus some!
  3.  Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. - most days!
    a spiritual detox:

  1. Journal 1-2x per week in quiet time using Evernote. {I will easily type it out but I know I'll never do it if I'm supposed to hand write it. Typing is so much faster. ha!} - started this! 
  2.  Wake up before kids and read alone in quiet at least 5 days per week {this has been so hard to do this winter}. Check off each day completed in my calendar for motivation. - failing miserably. They keep getting up before me. I've gotten maybe 2-3 days a week before they get up. This might help the joyful mama thing.
read:
  1. Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel*- done. I really, really liked this book. The author is a no-nonsense kind of guy, and tells you things you know are true but no one says. :) I was surprised by how much I liked it!
learn:

  1. Psalm 51:7-13: Getting close! :D
be:
My "be" goal this month was to be repentant. 

And oh, how I've seen God working on repentance in my heart this month. I wish I could say I am amazing at spotting my own sin right away, but I'm so not. Sin rises in me quickly, and I can justify it for a while in the heat, until I get alone and God convicts me. :(

But I'm glad He is convicting me, because that means He wants to discipline me and not leave me in my sin. I wish it wasn't there in the first place, but really, it shows me I need Him all the more. It makes me feel like I'm a big hypocrite, because I know the truth and still can't seem to get it right. But then God gives me such grace, and reminds me His love doesn't depend on how well I am doing. {thank you, Jesus!}. It's been rough, but God has been good. 

He convicts me time after time, and my heart turns and seeks forgiveness and restoration with Him. And He is always so good to forgive me. I'm just constantly amazed by this.

:: What are you tackling today?

:: Are you detoxing this month too? If so, how are you doing so far? {probably better than skittle binging, I would imagine! hehee ;)}

:: What helps you stay joyful with your children? 
me: remembering how little time I have with them gives me more perspective, and more joy.

Monday, January 28, 2013

forgiveness: why you can't fake it 'til you make it

I noticed something in my quiet time this morning- I randomly read a parable in my one-year Bible that I've seen a hundred times in my life, but it was fresh this morning like I'd never seen it before. God spoke right to my heart with His Word. {Isn't it crazy when that happens??}

Here's the story:  
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant {Matthew 18:21-35} 
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.[a] 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.[b] 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant[c] fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,[d] and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,[e] until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
I know this story- but the moral of it in my mind was do unto others as you have been done unto. Return the forgiveness you've been given. It makes sense. We have been freely forgiven from the major sins we've committed, so we have no right to withhold forgiveness from others.

But how many times have I forgiven FROM MY HEART like it says in verse 35? 

How many times have I replayed the offense in my mind, even after things had been resolved?

Surface forgiveness- the "do" part- going on with the relationship and not talking about it- comes far more easily for me. I can play that part and do what's "right" in my mind. But heart forgiveness- how often is it really going that deep?

How many times do I withhold true heart forgiveness until I see repentance? 

How many times do I hold a grievance in my heart- even though I have no right to, because I've been forgiven by the God of all? How long have I held on to it? For months? For years?

Ouch.

That's not true forgiveness. 

And only my God sees that.

While I can put on a great outward show of moving forward and forgetting about it, God knows when I truly forgive. 

He freely gave His forgiveness, so that we could freely give ours. 

His mercy is new every morning toward us. Our mercy toward others can only be found in Him. You see, because of what Jesus did, we have received the power to forgive like He does.

The crazy thing is that we could never be strong enough to do it on our own. 

I might be able to force my actions to change, but my heart won't do it on command. Only the power of what Jesus did on the cross- defeating my sin, saving me, and giving me His Spirit- gives me the ability to truly forgive from my heart.

Withholding heart forgiveness might hurt our earthly relationships- but more importantly, it affects our relationship with God.

And oddly enough, forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with the person who offended us. It's between us and God. 

What secret hurts are you holding on to? What heart forgiveness have you not given today? 

Ask Him, and He will show you. Then ask Him to forgive you, and give you the power to truly forgive like He does. It's such an incredible mercy He gives us. 

And the best news? His mercy never ends. He won't tire of you, sweet friend. His steadfast love endures forever. He wants us to love Him with all of our hearts, and leave behind all that sin- anger, hate, or bitterness.

Cleanse our hearts, Jesus. Purify our souls, God. Oh, we love you, and want to be made like you- whiter than snow.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:7-10

Thursday, January 24, 2013

survival cleaning + {the clean zone} free printable

pin it
Okay, I might be getting a little crazy with the printables.

You know this because I made a cleaning printable.

This does not imply that I do or will have an amazingly clean house all week long. ;)

I'm calling it zone defense cleaning, because I'm still not on the offense just yet. I'm not ahead of the game- I'm trying to combat their mess attacks. I'm just trying to maintain my position. Okay, that might be a terrible war analogy- history was one of the two B's I got in college. {and goodness, was I proud of that B- that class was rough!}

Anyway, I hope that makes sense. :) I've heard of cleaning zones lots of times before, but that term for me implies great organization. This is sheer survival. :) This is just hitting the basics. And that's good enough for now. :)

For the past few months, I've been trying to assign the children bigger jobs than their regular little chores, like picking up an entire room every day before bedtime. Elijah {9} gets the family closet/pantry/catch-all room, Noah {7} does the bathroom and the dining room, and Isabella {5} and Avalie {3} clean up the living room.

Ah, the nights I go to bed with a picked up house feel so good. :)

So anyway, I decided to break our rooms into zones with a list of what needs to be done in each room {just on the surface}. The living room, zone 1, needs toys picked up, trash thrown away, books nicely stacked, and blankets and pillows put back on the couch. The closet room, zone 5, needs clothes put away, drawers tucked in, trash put away, and coats and bags organized. This helps me tell them what to do, and hopefully allows me to rotate their room assignments eventually. {It's so hard to change when they finally know what they are supposed to do, though!}.

Having older children can be fun. :) They still make a bunch of messes like they did when they were little, but now they're big enough to clean them up! Because of this, Play-doh has finally re-entered our household. We weren't on good terms for several years there. ;)

Here's {the clean zone} printable I'm using in my notebook:

pin it


Now go out there and survive those attacks! 1, 2, 3, WIN! :D
____________________

q: Are you in survival cleaning mode too?
It seems like it hits in waves at our house- summer cleaning is so much easier, because they spend hours outside instead of inside making messes. And there's less laundry in the summer! Shorts are awesome.

q: Have you ever used zones in your house? Did they work for you?
I think this is the first time we've ever done it this way. But I've had 4 kids and my memory is shot. I love it like it was the first time, either way! hahaha!

q: Are you good at History? How did you remember all those dates?? Or are you more of a math/science person? 
I don't know what it was, but I couldn't remember the names of wars and generals to save my life. Give me something with steps, I'd give it an acronym and write it down as soon as you handed me the test so I wouldn't forget it by the end. But names and dates? Too much. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 {or more} awesome things in life right now

Can I just say I'm thankful for you guys? I am so blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community. Thank you so much for praying yesterday!! 

Has January been busy for you? We've been so busy, it seems like the days are crawling by lately. I think that means we're using all the hours we can. Or at least I hope it does!

I need to do some menu planning very soon- eating out was getting crazy last week. Cooking and cleaning up at home always tends to be the first to go when we are really busy. {Unfortunately, I'm not too sad about that. ha!}

It's chorey time for me, so the last week we were busy practicing for our new release of BODYPUMP, which we launched last Saturday, and this week we're busy practicing BODYCOMBAT, which we launch next Monday.


Here's a video preview of what I'm learning this week- BODYCOMBAT is an hour long class of choreographed kickboxing/mma:


Just watching it makes my heart race. I LOVE teaching it. Ahhh. :D I'm excited. Probably a little too excited. :) If you have Les Mills classes in your area, you should totally try one. They rock.

And speaking of, here are a few other things that have rocked lately:

1. Finding out you can bake eggs. They are so much better in the oven than boiled!! Who knew?



I guess Alton Brown did. Baking them right on the rack at 325 for 30 minutes instead of boiling them gives you the creamiest eggs! 


But don't forget to set the timer. I forgot and overcooked my second batch, and they were rubbery and inedible. Leave it to me to overcook eggs... ;)

2. Shopping the Martha Stewart section at Staples for the first time. It was so pretty- labels, planners, stickers, folders...sigh. Gorgeousness. I bought my first disc-bound paper system there and love it!!


3. Visiting the Mexican grocery store again. It's been several months since we made a trip, but I fell in love all over again- cantaloupes for $1.39, limes- 8 for $1, potatoes that look decently fresh, ginormous avocados that have flavor, and seedless watermelon for $3.99! Fresh, hot tortillas for $1.99! Oh, how I love shopping there. I'll be back.


4. Clearing out over 22 bags of clutter from my house. I've become ruthless. Anything I don't love or use often is going out the door. I can't tell a difference on the surface level of our house yet, but our cabinets are getting emptier. In fact, I barely remember what I put in those bags anymore...is that bad? Or does that mean I didn't need it at all? hmm....  Only 18 more to go to meet my 40 bag challenge.


5. Walking around the specialty grocery store with my husband on our date. I was looking for leeks, but we had fun browsing around and seeing how many items we could randomly pick up that had high-fructose corn syrup in them. Oh, and laughing about lumpy cheese that actually melts on your pizza:


mmmm...yummy, no? ;) You'd have to be a vegan desperate for some pizza to try that one... :D

Hey, dates at the grocery store can be fun, right? {I know, the truth is, we're just weird. :D}

_____________________________

:: What's the strangest thing you've seen in a grocery store? 

Me- pickled pigs feet. Or tripe. Both gross me out in every way...

:: Paper lovers, have you visited the Martha Stewart section?

We had to drive almost two hours to the nearest Staples, but it was totally fun and worth it. And we went to Costco too, which is my favorite warehouse store ever.

:: Have you tried BODYCOMBAT before? 

I tried it for the first time three years ago, and have been hooked ever since. I used to be a TurboKick girl, and BC changed my world, and I haven't been able to do Turbo since. I don't know how to be bouncy when I kick anymore! haha! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

being like Jesus in life and death: a real life example this weekend

source: pinterest

If you follow over on the Facebook page, you might have seen this update on Saturday:
Would you guys do me a favor and pray for a sweet girl I know named Erin and all of her family?  
She lost her husband Jason last night in a horrible accident- he and another man stopped to help a woman trapped in her car after a wreck on a very dangerous road, and both Erin's husband and the other man were hit by an oncoming car and killed. Jason was just 33, and they had their first baby a few months ago.

I can't imagine what she {or their families} must going through right now. I know he was a believer, and we will see him again, but what an unexpected loss for those sweet people. Would you please pray for supernatural comfort for the families involved now, and as you think of them?

So glad to be a part of the body of Christ today- thank you for carrying the burdens of others to the Lord.
It was such a sad weekend for us- it was so heavy on my heart. I couldn't stop thinking about Erin, and praying for their family. I couldn't sleep Friday night, and kept imagining how waking up on Saturday morning would feel for her. I know how I would react if it were me- I wouldn't leave my bed for many days, I'm almost certain.

But what did sweet Erin do? 

On Saturday, she went to meet the girl Jason was trying to save when he died. She comforted her in her grief, told her it wasn't her fault, and even showed her a picture of her husband.

Oh, I couldn't stop crying when I heard that. 

Erin, who lost her husband less than 24 hours before, went and met this heartbroken woman and hugged her neck and told her she wasn't to blame.

She was Jesus to her. 

I can't help but worship the Lord at the thought of it. Who is this GOD? The God that gives grace and strength in such a way?

It's amazing.  And so not of this world. I know it only comes from God- but my human mind still can't fully comprehend it.

I praise God for Erin's willingness to be a vessel of love and forgiveness to the hurting. She is the most beautiful picture of Christ, and her love for the Lord is incredible, as was her husband's.

What an example and a testimony of the love of Jesus- her husband died trying to save another, and in the midst of her grief, Erin is loving on the one her husband died trying to save. She's showing her who her God is, and where her hope is found. 

And the story doesn't even stop there. The strength God has given this woman continues to amaze me.  Oh, He is good, you guys. So good.

Erin lives here in East Texas, and though I've only known her for a few years, and talked with her a few times in person, Abbie has known her for much longer, and she's sharing more of the story over here today.

If you can, go read it, and if you would, please continue to keep Erin and her family and friends in your prayers?  

And thank you so much, sweet friends, for pouring out your love and prayers on someone you don't know. I am continually in awe of that fact that we are a body of believers- sisters and brothers in the Lord- and that we mourn together as one, because of the love of Jesus. What a wonderful privilege it is to know you all. I can't wait to hug your necks. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

{daily routines} free printable planner

Do you have a daily routine in place at your house?

We do, but it’s definitely not planned. We usually do the same things at home each day, but some days I get off track and need a reminder of how to productively fill my time. And I’m finding the kids need the same reminder.

Surprisingly, the older they get, the more direction they need to fill up their day. {After nine years of parenting, I finally heard the dreaded “I’m bored”…I quickly assigned them a few chores and all of the sudden they weren’t so bored anymore? hmmm… ;)}.

I have never been a fan of being on a repetitive “schedule”… I figure I must be too uptight about it. ;) I’d rather have no schedule at all than to feel like I’m never going to live up to the one I wrote. I’m goofy like that. :)

I do like getting things done though, and I like the idea of routines, so I created this little printable planner for my notebook:

dailyroutine

I won’t be able to follow my own written routine sometimes, and I’m okay with that. I probably will never follow it perfectly. But writing down ideas of tasks to fill my day in a good order helps me out when I get distracted. :)

What do you think?

Do you follow a routine at home?

Or do you prefer to leave your day more open?

 

If you like to plan routines, here’s the printable for you! :)

download the {daily routines} planner here

dailyroutine

And here are other printable downloads you might enjoy:

{the plan}

dailyplan{bh}

health and fitness log:

health fitness tracker

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

social media & acknowledging Jesus before men

Did you know that you are right where you are supposed to be?

You live in the most extraordinary time.

You live in the age of media- of instant communication.

It's amazing.

You have been given some of the greatest tools to communicate the Gospel in the history of mankind.

You.

How many generations could say that they could instantly send out a sentence to hundreds of people?

And yet, we don't even think twice about it. It's so easy for us to use these incredible tools we've been given to please ourselves.

If you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or even a Pinterest account, you are living a life online- one that speaks volumes to your friends and followers.

And I'm not even talking about blogging. Just the sentence you occasionally type on Facebook represents the person you are.

God wanted you to live right here, and right now, and He made you for a purpose: to bring Him glory.

Sweet friend, how are you using the tools you've been given?

Are you using them for God's glory?

Are you confessing God before men? Are you living a life that is sold out for Jesus?

Your online life counts too.

Facebook reveals more than you'd think about a person. The comments you leave, the pages you like, the articles you read, the pictures you post; you don't even have to write a single status to communicate who you are. 

Who would your Facebook friends or Instagram followers say you are?

We rarely consider it, but social media is one of the most powerful ways we have to communicate the Gospel today.

It should never be fake, by any means. It's not about having an agenda, or only posting Scriptures, or religious articles. Everyone can see right through that.

It's about loving Jesus with all your heart, and living for Him in every aspect of your life.

You should be a real person, with a real story.

When your heart is so affected by Jesus, the words you speak change. And the stories you share, the jokes you tell, and even the sites you visit online should change too, because you love and want to obey Jesus.

You are responsible to God for every deed you have done in this life. Including what you do on the internet.

Does that scare you like it does me?

It scares me because I know who I am and all the time I have wasted on serving myself. And I know I can't change a single thing in my heart or an ounce of my behavior without the mercy of Jesus.

He has given us a purpose- to live for His glory, and to be the light of the world.

Are we doing that when we are online?

Would your friends on Facebook say that you love Jesus with everything? Or would they say that you look and sound just like everyone else?

Are you afraid of what they'll think about you if you post too many things about Jesus? Or talk too much about what God has done for you?

I know I have been. It wasn't that I didn't love Jesus, it was more that I wasn't sure I wanted to be seen as that kind of person. I began to buy into the lie that you need to blend in with culture first and just love them in order to be accepted by those around you, so you had a platform to share the Gospel later.

The problem with that {very common} theory, is that in reality, the time for you to share never comes. Because you have looked so much like everyone else for so long, saying something becomes embarrassing, and that much harder to do. And no one really believes you've been changed, because you've looked {or posted or talked} just like everyone else. What's so different about you?

How can you tell them you've been different all along, when you've looked just like them? How could you have kept such a great thing a secret for so long?

It just doesn't work.

If God has changed your heart, you want to talk about it. 

If God has changed your life, your life will reflect that. Both offline and online.

You've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. You've been given the most incredible gift in the entire world: salvation and a new heart.

Do your actions tell that story?

Do your words tell that story?

You've been given a tool that no generation has ever had before. Even if you don't use Facebook or Twitter, or Pinterest, you probably have a phone and a computer. You can talk with people thousands of miles away. You can email, you can text, you can encourage, you can even pray with others across the world.

Do you see that as a tool for serving Jesus? It so is! :D

The apostles had to walk for days to reach other people with the truth, and you can do it from your recliner!! That's crazy, isn't it?

Oh, but I can't say it enough- I don't think that using media for God's glory is about forcing the knowledge of Him on others in an artificial way. It's about being genuinely changed by knowing Jesus personally.

I think that sharing your testimony- what God has done for you- is the most effective way to share the Gospel, no matter what means you use to share it. Being changed doesn't come from just knowing who God is- it comes from experiencing Him! 

I loved this article my friend Luann sent me by Kelly Minter.

Kelly puts it so beautifully:
If I can’t connect to His personal love then the faith-story I tell others will be forced and awkward, saddled with inaccessible doctrines that may be true, but they won’t be life. 
and I loved, loved, loved this quote too:
We will talk about Him to the degree we experience Him.
Do you see it? It's not about being someone you're not, or trying to "get people saved"- it's about loving Jesus with everything you have, and being so changed by it that you want to share it with others!! :D

It's not about posting articles about faith to make your profile seem more Christian- it's about wanting to share the truth with others because you know they're hurting like you were, and you know who can heal them. It's because your heart has been so changed by the truth, that you want to set others free with it too.

Social media is so powerful. How are you using it?

Will you confess Jesus before man with it?

Don't be afraid to tell others about Jesus. They can't do anything to you, sweet friend, and you are responsible to God himself for what you do with your time here on this earth.

Don't worry about what they'll think- they will know the truth in the end:

Matthew 10:26-33
26“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.f 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?g And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

It's a serious charge, and one I pray we will all take seriously- both in our real lives, and our online lives.

What He tells you in the dark, say in the light. What you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.

And don't be afraid to use the tools you've been given to do it.

God, give us the courage to shout the truth from the rooftops- to not fear man, but to fear you instead, because you have so greatly loved us and saved us. Please help us to live for you in every aspect of our lives. I know we fail you on a daily basis, and we are so bad at this, but we are so grateful that your mercies are new every morning!! Oh, Jesus, please take every part of us and change us. Holy Spirit, please tell us when to speak boldly for you, and give us what we should say so that we might share the truth, and not our own words. Thank you, thank you, thank you Father for giving us a new heart, because we know we could never change on our own. We love you, God!

Monday, January 14, 2013

{the plan}: a colorful free daily planner printable

Monday feels so much better when you have a plan, doesn't it?

I think so. :)

That's why I love calendars. I think they make me at least feel more productive. Once I write a task on paper, I'm itching to mark it off my list. I'll do the chore just because I want it checked off! :P My planner ran out in December, and I've felt strange without one for the past two weeks. I kept worrying I would forget something. :)

I shopped every office store in town last week and couldn't find the one-page-per-day calendar planner I wanted {is there a theme here? I guess I'm picky when I decide to spend money...lol!}. After many failed online searches, I decided to...wait for it... make my own! Big surprise, eh? ;)

So, anyway, over the weekend I whipped up a daily planner for all of us. :D wohoo!

I wanted it to have specific sections that were important to me, with a full day calendar, and not to mention, be bright and cheery... :D

Here's {the plan}:
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What I use it for:

::  my prayer for today: This is where I write an idea I want to focus on praying for today. "Lord, please help me to have a good attitude" was Sunday's prayer. :) Sunday mornings are HARD. And yesterday was great. So He answered! Thank you, Lord! :D

:: weekly scripture: The verses I'm memorizing this week. Once I write things down, I remember them. Weird, but it works for me! 

:: quiet time thoughts: I wanted to record what God was showing me each morning so I wouldn't forget it throughout the day.

:: five goals: To-do list items I would like to complete through the day. I'm trying to keep these easy, so I can actually check them off. {And more than five is too many for me. :)}

:: household chores: These are chores I absolutely need to do that day. Usually this will be laundry, dishes, and basic cleaning. I love that I can also refer to my Confident Mom's Planner for the day's tasks if I want to add different chores than I normally do. Susan does a great job of outlining daily chores we don't even think about sometimes {like clipping nails...I'm terrible at remembering to do that!}.

:: meals: The plan for the day's meals. I write this in the week before as I do my menu planning.

:: love: Either a "love" project for the day {like write a note to my husband, give extra hugs, etc.} or a memory of something I loved about that day. 

:: schedule: Because I like to see what I have to do that day in detail. :)

And that's it! :D Nothing too fancy, but I like it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! :D

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p.s. I can't wait to show you what else I made for you! :D I'm so excited! :D

Friday, January 11, 2013

changing your habits for God's glory

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Oh, don't we all love a new year? January brings a fresh start for many of us. We are motivated to change, and dieting and exercise are two of those areas in our lives that we want to change for good.

I think we all start the new year with good intentions, but then easily fall into our old habits after a few weeks, because we get busy and go back to our default patterns. It's human nature, and it happens to everyone at some point. :)

But I also think sometimes we fail at making new habits because we leave God out of the picture. We subconsciously separate our life into spiritual and physical realms, thinking God only cares about our spiritual lives, and we are left to do the rest on our own. Or we start out strong seeking God's will, but let our own motives supplant the Truth. {"I am determined to lose these last 5 lbs., no matter what it takes"... I'll own that one}.

If you're trying to make a lasting change in your habits, I believe it's very important to examine your heart, and give God complete control over your life. Here are three ways I think we can do that:

1. Understand your heart motives.
You might start a new year with writing down your goals for changing your habits, along with your why- the reason you want to make the change. But more important than figuring out your why, is understanding what God wants for your heart.

It's important to seek the Lord's face when you are seeking to change your life, even in the physical realm. Ask Him to show you your motives- it's important that you aren't trying to serve yourself instead of Him. {I've done it the wrong way enough times to know, it only brings you misery in the end, and opens up the door for other sin to come into your life. Trust me.}

Lots of Christian self-help and dieting books place healthy living on a pedestal as high as living for Jesus. I think we secretly like it that way, but I just can't believe it's that important. I'm sorry, no bodily discipline is ever going to get anyone to a higher standing with God. Healthiness is not next to godliness. It's not Biblical. {healthiness is also not listed a fruit of the spirit. ahem. :D}

You can do nothing to deserve the grace God has given you. Don't try to earn it {or keep it} with the way you treat your body. God decided when you were born, and He has decided when you will die. You can be healthy, but you can't change that day with good food no matter how hard you try.

For me, my battle often comes down to 2-5 lbs. Seriously. I can give myself all kind of grief and obsess over the smallest changes in my body. But what does that have to do with giving God glory? In my heart, nothing. I'm trying to make my body look beautiful to the world, instead of my heart to Him. It's too much love of myself, and it's a sin and a distraction from serving God.

What's your aim? To feel better? To better use the body been given for the glory of God? I whole-heartedly believe that exercise and a good diet will make you feel better and have more energy.

I think our bodies were made to eat good food from the earth and to work all week physically. That's why it feels so good to do it! It's just important to make sure your heart is in it for the right reasons. Don't let healthy eating or a number on the scale become your god. Only one God deserves that title.

2. Remember what's truly important.
Knowing what to eat and how to work out is helpful when you are trying to change your habits. We have the entire internet at our fingertips, but I feel like we already know the basics- eating real food that God created is good for your body, because He designed it for us!

I definitely don't believe eating processed foods is anywhere near sinful, but I think it's becoming quickly apparent that it can be harmful to our bodies in the long-term. For me, processed foods simply don't help my body to function at it's best.

But I try to remember there is grace there, not law. :) What we eat doesn't matter- it's the state of our heart that matters.

We can all enjoy Doritos and ice cream and love Jesus like crazy. We don't have to exercise every day. It's awesome, because we are free in Christ. He didn't leave us with more laws for caring for our "temples" so we can better serve God. You know what I mean? He freed us from those laws!

Understanding the truth makes such a difference in so many ways- with food, and in your heart. Sin and the law has no power over you, because life lives in you. Live for Jesus, and not for yourself, and things will fall into the right priority.

Eating good food and exercising is great and all, but having those good self-discipline habits will never be even close to the highest priority we have on this earth. Loving God and loving people are the truly important things.

3. Ask God to show you what to change.
I can't say it better than this:

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.


He will help you navigate what is good for you and your family, and I think it's safe to say the only source of information you can truly trust is His Word. Don't take anyone else's word for what you need to do in this area, including your own heart's. It will try to trick you into making things important that are not, as well as the reverse.

I can't say it enough- Jesus is our everything, you guys. Don't try to do anything without Him. He knows your heart, and He will guide you and show you what truly matters in the realm of self-discipline. He loves you, and is your Heavenly Father who will provide everything you need. :) 

How have you seen Jesus working in your habits for His glory? Have you seen Him change your opinion of what's really important in your life? I'd love to hear!

articles about dieting/fitness:
battling the discontentment/dieting cycle: you’re not alone
examining our hearts in eating




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