Monday, September 1, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 29

I've been thinking a lot about no condemnation is Christ lately. It's a difficult thing for me to accept because I condemn myself so badly everyday. But I am learning that Jesus really loves me and never disapproves of me. He may not like my sin, but He will always accept me. I do not have to DO to be accepted...I just need to BE a child of God, and I am! :)

Breakfast - bacon and cheese
Lunch - flaxseed crackers, nuts with chocolate, and cucumber salad
Snack - tomatoes and cottage cheese
Dinner - spaghetti with gluten free noodles and broccoli and cauliflower
More than 64 ounces of water

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 28

I'm taking on the ice bucket challenge tomorrow morning! EEK!!!!!

Breakfast - flaxseed crackers and cheese and half an apple
Lunch - chicken, broccoli and cauliflower,  and a tomato
Snack - cottage cheese,  tomato, and trail mix ... sweet tea
Dinner - chicken taco salad
4 glasses of water

Monday, August 18, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 27

I'm feeling good! I'm so grateful that God's mercies are new everyday and no matter how often I mess up, I can keep trying. Choosing to never give up is pretty perspective-changing! :) ... I've been getting more headaches and stomach aches lately...and just brain pains or fuzzies...weird feelings in my head...so I'm gonna try a gluten and wheat free diet for awhile and see if that helps at all. And I'm excited to try!

Breakfast - nuts, cheese, and half an apple
Lunch - chicken and rice, tomato, cucumber salad, and trail mix
Dinner - chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, tomato, and corn on the cob with a glass of sweet tea
64 ounces of water
45 minute walk

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 26

Ya know, we're always gonna have setbacks, aren't we? We're gonna mess up, make the wrong decision, eat 8 cookies in one sitting. Setbacks are inevitable. But I'm learning that giving up doesn't have to be. ... I try so hard all the time. I wanna be the godliest, most compassionate, most faithful woman I can be. I wanna be the most selfless and supportive and encouraging wife I can be. I wanna lead people to the true joy and Truth of Jesus Christ. I wanna be spiritually and physically and relationally healthy. I wanna ... you get the picture ;) ... And I fail A LOT! ... but I can't ever ever ever give up! I have HOPE for all eternity! So all my efforts down here on earth are NOT a waste, no matter how often I fail. ... it's all a PROCESS of transformation, and I WILL wait to see the finished masterpiece! :)

Breakfast - bacon, cheese, and apple
Lunch - turkey burger ( no bun), veggies, and tomatoes
Snack - cheese & flaxseed crackers and nuts
Dinner - chicken and rice curry
Snack - nuts
More than 64 ounces of water
Hip hop workout video for 30 minutes

Monday, July 28, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 25

I've been discouraged lately. God has been trying to teach me about faithfulness over the past couple of years. He wants me to learn that all He wants is for me to be faithful no matter what I'm doing. But ya know, I gotta be honest...sometimes JUST being faithful is not enough for me. I wanna FEEL purpose in what I'm doing. I wanna be excited about what I'm doing with my life. And I don't feel that purpose or get excited about my day to day life these days. And that makes me feel discouraged and ashamed.  I need to have a better perspective than that because I am so blessed. I should be thankful and excited to be faithful to the Lord no matter what that means. Am I being selfish? Am I being petty and discontent? I don't mean to be, but I do struggle with feeling unfulfilled and restless and discouraged with my day to day tasks these days. ... I will just have to keep pressing forward because giving up is not an option no matter how exhausting the fight is.

Breakfast - cheese,  nuts, and part of an apple
Lunch - chicken and rice,  broccoli and cauliflower,  tomato,  and tortilla chips and guacamole
Snack - trail mix
Dinner - tacos and chips and queso and sweet tea
Only 3 glasses of water

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 24

I'm so thankful for church! I just get so recharged every week...hearing from God's word and discussing God's word...hanging out with the teenagers...and spending time with other Jesus-lovers! It really helps keep me going! We so need each other! So do not forsake your church body....people there need your testimony, your smile, your talents, and your encouraging words.

Breakfast - cheese and crackers, nuts, and a few apple slices
Lunch - pizza and breadsticks
Dinner - chicken and rice, zucchini, green beans,  and cucumber salad with a glass of sweet tea
6 glasses of water
I skipped the workout and took a 3 hour nap instead! Haha!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 23

I am continuing to commit my journey to better health to the Lord. Over the past week, I have really tried to throw out my old ways of thinking...no more condemnation...no more wrong reasons for trying to be healthy. I need to honor God with my body. That's really all I need to focus my heart and mind and efforts on. I'm beginning to learn ... if I don't work at my health from this starting point, then I will give up and then stay discouraged. Perspective is everything. So I will keep setting goals. I will keep taking things one day at a time and one meal at a time. God will help me. God IS helping me. :)

Breakfast - slice of bacon , slice of cheese, and part of an apple
Lunch - turkey avocado BLT and broccoli cheese soup
Snack - trail mix, cheese stick, and a few slices of tomato
Dinner - chicken,  green beans,  and mashed potatoes
Dessert - spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips
64 ounces of water

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 22

I'm so thankful because I'm encouraged about my health today. :) I have really set my mind to making healthy choices this week, and even though I've had a few setbacks, overall, it has been a very successful week. ... I've been thinking about how what we eat affects our mood, so that has been a motivator. I've been thinking about how I am two pant sizes above my ideal weight and how discouraging that is. (A size 14 is what I believe the Mical Masterson-Thompson weight is...just in case you were wondering.) :) I'm the the biggest and most unhealthy (joint aches, mood swings, physical fitness) I've ever been. And it's just got to stop! So I am determined to get healthy! ... After all, my body houses the Holy Spirit, and I wanna honor Him and make Him proud. So I'm not gonna stop trying! I'm gonna keep pursuing and being excited about imperfect progress. For so many reasons! :)

Breakfast - cheese stick and trail mix
Lunch - turkey burger (no bun), sliced tomato from the garden, broccoli, and homemade baked fries
Snack - cheese and flaxseed crackers, trail mix, and an apple
Dinner - chicken and veggies with brown rice
More than 64 ounces of water
I didn't workout today, but I got some physical activity playing golf for 4 hours :)

Good night, everyone! Don't give up on your health goals! Just don't give up, okay? :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 21

I've decided that my struggle with my attitude is just as much a physical battle as a spiritual. I haven't been eating the way I should, and I think it has been affecting my mood and making me more susceptible to discouragement. So I'm trying, once again, to get healthy. I'm hope that this new vantage point will motivate me further. I so badly want to honor God with my body and my attitude. Prayers would be appreciated. :)

Breakfast - bacon and a slice of cheese
Lunch - pork roast and veggies
Snack - cheese and flaxseed crackers
Dinner - taco salad and a glass of sweet tea
64 ounces of water
45 minute workout video

Monday, July 14, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Romans 12:1-8

Hey, everyone!

On Sunday mornings during Sunday School, the middle school and high schoolers will be studying through Romans chapter 12 ... one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  I thought what better content for our weekly devotionals??? :D  So take a few minutes each day this week to read the assigned verses, think through the questions, and talk to the Lord about your day.  I usually use the ESV when I read my Bible, so I encourage you to find which version of the Bible works for you.  And I also encourage you to read the NLT alongside it for our study through Romans.  I just like that version to help me apply what I'm reading to my everyday life.

Devo #1 - Read Romans 12:1
What is a "living sacrifice"?
How can YOU be a living sacrifice this week?
What kinds of things in this life are "holy and acceptable" to God?
How can we make OUR LIVES holy and acceptable to God?

Devo #2 - Read Romans 12:2
This verse says, "don't copy the behavior of this world" or "do not conform to this world" ... in what ways DO WE copy the ways of this world?
How can we NOT copy or conform to this world? ... pst!  What does the next part of the verse say? ;)
How can we allow the Holy Spirit to transform, or totally change, the way we think?

Devo #3 - Read Romans 12:3
In what ways do we "think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think"?
How can YOU put the needs of others before your own this week?
What does thinking with "sober judgment" mean?
How can YOU practice sober judgment this week?

Devo #4 - Read Romans 12:4-5
What do you believe YOUR function is in the Body of Christ? ... If you aren't sure, go ask your parents or a Christian friend about it...they can probably help.
What do you think "one body in Christ means"?

Devo #5 - Read Romans 12:7-8
Do you have any of the gifts mentioned in these verses? If so, how are you using your gifts for the Lord? If not, are there any you would like to have? If so, pick one to practice this week.

Prayer Requests -
- Olivia - freshman orientation and P.E. final
- Kristy - frustrations with softball team

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 20

I am amazed at how often I forget the Truth. I was listening to a sermon by John MacArthur tonight while I put the laundry away, and it reminded me about the importance of abiding in Christ. So often, I try to work for my salvation. In my heart of hearts, I think I believe the Bible when it says we are saved by grace, not works (Ephesians 2:8), but in my everyday heart, I don't believe it. And I constantly try to earn my salvation. And then beat myself silly when I can't do it ... Which is always, by the way. .... But I was reminded tonight that I don't bear fruit by trying; I bear fruit by abiding (John 15:4). I'm so thankful for the reminder!

Breakfast - sausage and cheese
Lunch - turkey burger (no bun), tomato, green beans, and broccoli & cauliflower
Snack - watermelon, apple with peanut butter, and almonds & cashews
Dinner - pizza and popcorn and sweet tea
Only 6 glasses of water
Zumba for 45 minutes :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 19

I'm trying again, today, to get back on track. I called this a journey for a good reason....'cause I keep losing the path. I wanna be healthier, but man, bad choices are everywhere...and they are so appealing .....at the time. There are ups and downs on the journey....no matter what kind of journey you're on. Just don't give up! We can't give up. We must keep working at our goals. I must keep trying to get healthy. And really, even if I don't lose another pound in my life, I have made lifestyle changes that make me healthier today than I was a year ago. Imperfect progress is still progress. ....... And today was an up day even if I did have some ice cream. :) .... So don't give up, everyone who is trying for something better! I know I'm not going to!

Breakfast - sausage and cheese
Lunch - turkey sausage, green beans, and broccoli & cauliflower
Snack - apple with peanut butter, cottage cheese, and trail mix
Dinner - chicken, cauliflower, and asparagus & zucchini
Dessert - Frost Bite :)
More than 64 ounces of water
45 minutes of Zumba!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Faith without works is DEAD

I've been INCREDIBLY inconsistent with these SoZo devos this year ... but hey, I'm trying again this week.  We talked a lot today in both Sunday School and group tonight about practicing our faith and tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit.  So I encourage you to take some time each day this week to read these Scripture passages and spend some time in prayer, thinking about OUR response to Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross.  Take some time to think about YOUR role in this relationship with Jesus.  Don't forget ... faith without works is dead.  How can you be ALIVE in your faith this week?  Just keep practicing. :)  Love you, guys!

Monday - Read Romans 12:1-2.
Think about what it means to be a living sacrifice.  How can you put that into practice this week?

Tuesday - Read Galatians 5:16-17.
What does it mean for the flesh to be opposed to the Spirit?  Look up the word "opposition" in the dictionary if you wanna think a little deeper about this question. :)  Do you ever feel your flesh (sinful nature) battling against the Holy Spirit in your life?  How so?

Wednesday - Ephesians 5:15-18.
Think about what it means to be drunk with alcohol.  Now, think about what being drunk with the Holy Spirit would look like?  If we were drunk on Jesus everyday, what would our lives look like?

Thursday - Read Philippians 2:12-13.
Read this verse in the New Living Translation if you can.  I especially like verse 13 in that translation.  How do these verses challenge you or encourage you?

Friday - Read James 2:14-26.
Write down some thoughts about these verses.  How do these verses make you stop and think about YOUR faith?

Saturday - Read James 2:14-26 again.
What kinds of "works" have you been doing in your everyday life lately?  Make a list.  Do you live your life to please God?  If not, what is holding you back?  If you've been struggling to serve God lately, how can you be more intentional in listening to the Holy Spirit's leadings and putting your faith into practice?

Prayer Requests from the group this week ...
~ Caylee takes her driver's test on Tuesday
~ Angelica's niece is sick ... may have malaria
~ Jenny starts culinary school this week
~ Kristy is struggling with her teammates on her softball team
~ Darian has three waitressing shifts at Dave's this week
~ Darrell's dad got fired from his coaching job recently
~ Dallas is looking for a new job

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Denying self + relying on Jesus = Faith (which equals a thankful attitude)

I've been pretty discouraged about my attitude lately.  Don't even try to tell me that there's NOT a spiritual battle going on all around us.  My life is living proof that there IS!  Every single day, my flesh is dukin' it out with the Holy Spirit inside me.  My selfish nature wants things MY way ... easy, happy, carefree, no responsibilities, and just plain boring, really.  But the Holy Spirit wants me to be challenged, convicted, and empowered to be the woman GOD wants me to be.  My attitude has always been my main vessel for sin.  Thank you, Jesus, I have a "simple" testimony ... no drugs, no alcohol, no sex outside of marriage, no abuse, no "big-time" mistakes ... but man, if I've learned anything about myself over the past few years, it is that I am PRIDEFUL ... I am a WORRIER ... and I am UNGRATEFUL fffaaarrr too often.  I'm also a PERFECTIONIST and a SELF-CONDEMNER, which means that I beat myself to a pulp every time I mess up.  I have so much to be thankful for ... I'm the most blessed person I know (yes, I'm bragging ;)).  And so I have NO, absolutely NO, reason to have a bad attitude ... especially about frivolous things.  I know I'm human and all that jazz, but I just wanna do better.  So I've been struggling ... wanting to do the right thing, wanting to truly be a good example (not just look like one on the outside), wanting to stop messing up.  Hence, my Facebook status recently about feeling like an imposter.

Thank you to everyone who posted on my status or sent me a separate message or text.  I was humbled to see how many people took a minute to post encouragement for me.  And as a response to all the encouraging posts, I wanted to post something special God used in my life this week.  I've been reading through the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and a couple days this week, my readings have been all about facing challenges head on because God is trying to teach us and make us stronger because of them.  This one, in particular, spoke to me this week.  It says ....

"Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life.  These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.  Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them.  View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me.  When you start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me.  Thus, your needs become doorways to deep dependence on Me and increasing intimacy between us.  Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom.  Thank Me for the difficulties in your life, since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance."
- Jesus

Wow!  That just hits what I'm dealing with right on the head!  I do not rely on the Lord ... I rely on myself ... because I am prideful.  The root of my bad attitude is a lack of faith.  Faith is denying myself and relying on God.  God has been trying to teach me this for so long, and I keep forgetting the many ways He's been trying to teach me over the past few years especially.  I must remember John 15:5 when it says, "Apart from Me, you can do NOTHING!"  It's so true.  I need Jesus for the very air I breathe, so why do I think I can sustain a godly, joyful, and thankful attitude for any length of time without His help.  If only I could see my failures and difficult circumstances as opportunities to depend on Christ, just like my Jesus Calling reading says.  Wow. ......... I guess I can keep practicing. :)  Practice is one of my life words.  I will keep practicing denying myself and relying on Jesus ... I will keep practicing my faith. :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 18

I've had kind of a rough day.  Just been emotional today.  Before I even left for work, I was irritable and emotional and just feeling burned out.  And I'm not sure why.  A couple different times today I was on the verge of tears over things that wouldn't usually bother me that much.  It's probably just hormones ... ladies, you hear me, right?  But man ... hormones or not, it is no fun to be down.  And then I was down on myself all evening at the church softball game ... just feeling ... to be blunt ... fat and ugly.  Again, ladies, I think you know what I'm talking about.  Overall, I feel fine about myself, but some days are fat and ugly days ... especially when I was hanging around two of the sweetest, most gorgeous women I know ... Darian Kirkpatrick and her sister, Chelsey Roberts.  I hate it, but I can't help but compare myself to them.  They are so thin and beautiful and sweet-spirited and calm and put together ... all the things I'm not ... okay, at least I don't think I can fit those descriptions ... maybe someone else will disagree with me ... let's not be a total downer.  Anyways ... I probably shouldn't post such a downer post ... but this was my day today. ... But I am reminded that tomorrow is another day in which God's mercies are new for me - yay!  And the only person I should compare myself with is Christ ... or at least Christ's perspective of me ... and He thinks I am fearfully and wonderfully made - yay!  I am me.  I'm my own person.  I'm beautiful in my own way.  I'm striving to love Jesus with all my heart and be all His.  So again, tomorrow is a new day to start all over.  Let's end on a positive note. :)

Breakfast - sausage and eggs and a granola bar
Lunch - brown rice with hamburger meat and broccoli and cauliflower
Snack - apple with peanut butter, cheese stick, and flax seed crackers
Dinner - chicken, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, and sweet tea :)
Snack - trail mix
64 ounces of water
No workout ... gotta get back to that more consistently

Heading off here to renew my perspective with God's Word.  Good night, all! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 17

The Day is approaching!  Jesus is coming back soon!  The world is getting crazier, and deception is everywhere. .... I've been thinking about faithfulness again lately.  That's a theme in my life I think God will never stop teaching me, and I'm glad 'cause more than anything I wanna be faithful to Jesus.  When I fall into attitudes of ungratefulness and discontentment, or I'm just a downright grumpy face (ha!), God reminds me of faithfulness.  He just wants me to be faithful ... no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing ... God's ultimate calling for my life is to live for Him, grow in Him, and be more like Christ.  I think one of the biggest problems with this world today is that Christians are getting too wrapped up in tolerance and what they "think" Jesus desires for our lives here on earth, and they are forgetting about obedience.  And obedience and faithfulness go hand in hand.  I was just reading in 1 Samuel tonight where God commanded Saul to take out the Amalekites ... completely.  No survivors.  No spoil.  Kill 'em all, and take nothing.  I don't know why exactly ... I'm sure the Amalekites were evil.  And sure, to our feeble, human minds, to just wipe 'em out sounds pretty harsh.  How could a loving God do that?  But the reality is ... God is not just a God of love; He is also a JUST God.  He can't be in the presence of sin.  And God is a GOOD God (the ONLY true and good God, by the way), and He has His reasons.  I'm gonna trust in who He IS (and WAS and WILL BE ... which is all the same, by the way again). ... Anyway ... Saul killed everyone but took all the animals and plunder.  Not good.  He was DISOBEDIENT.  Oh, Saul said he wanted to sacrifice that plunder to the Lord ... but no, God didn't want that.  God is more concerned about our OBEDIENCE (our faithfulness) than He is about our "sacrifices," our fleshly desires, our tolerance for what WE "think" is right or what WE "think" HE thinks is right.  What God calls right is literally in Scripture ... in black and white.  We may not always understand it, but that doesn't mean we can change it to say what we want it to say or ignore parts of it or do our own thing with it.  No, we must OBEY.  We must be FAITHFUL to God's Word.  Deception is all around us.  We must stay on the alert.  We must choose to OBEY GOD rather than sacrifice our morels and doctrine on the alter of tolerance and, ultimately, disobedience.

"And Samuel said, 'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams'" (1 Samuel 15:22).

Breakfast - cheese stick, cashews & almonds, and a granola bar
Lunch - flax seed crackers & cheese & ham, broccoli & cauliflower, pickles, and trail mix
Snack - tortilla chips and sour cream
Dinner - curry chicken over brown rice and green beans with sweet tea to drink
Dessert - brownie with milk
Only got 4 glasses of water in today and no workout ... but I'm continuing to eat more veggies.  And slowly but surely, I'm learning to make better choices overall ... and that's exciting!  Gonna keep working at being obedient in the area of food and fitness.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 16

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him.  Thought you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory" (1 Peter 1:8).

Wow!  For some reason, this verse is really hitting me tonight.  I think it's because I wanna have this kind of faith ... to love Jesus even though I can't see Him ... that is such a beautiful picture of faith, isn't it?  Mmm ... yeah. :)  It reminds me of a verse that has popped up in my life lately ... Sunday during Pastor's sermon and in a Ken Davis video I was watching recently ... "... that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection" (Philippians 3:10).  These two verses just go together in my mind.  To know Jesus takes faith, growing faith.  To love Jesus requires faith.  To believe in Jesus and His resurrection is just exciting!  And to love Him even though I can't see Him is exciting to me too!  We can know the POWER of Jesus in our lives NOW, not just when we get to Heaven.  Jesus is ALIVE because of His resurrection, so WE are ALIVE in Him because of His resurrection!  We can KNOW Him and LOVE Him and BELIEVE in Him and EXPERIENCE His POWER ... E V E R Y D A Y ! ! !  All we have to do is tap into His power.  All we have to do is BE IN RELATIONSHIP with Him.  All we have to do is LIVE IN HIM.  Gosh!  I just wanna keep practicing this kind of faith every single day.  The Day is getting nearer and nearer.  Jesus is coming back, folks!  Let's be ready!  Let's be IN Him!  Let's KNOW Him every single day, ok??? :)

Breakfast - bacon and eggs
Lunch - turkey and noodles and green beans
"Snack" (right ... this is my first dinner!  Haha!) - half of a turkey club, popcorn, sweet tea, and a spoonful of peanut butter
(Second) Dinner - chicken, corn, and broccoli with cauliflower
64+ ounces of water :)
And I did yard work at The Porch for 6 HOURS today!  So yes, that is my workout for today ... and tomorrow ... and the next day ... ha!  Just kidding.  Just for today ... but man, I am worn out, yo!

To the tune of Dory's "Just keep swimming" song in Finding Nemo ...
Let's keep practicing.  Let's keep practicing.  Let's keep practicing, practicing, practicing (our faith in Jesus!)! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 15

Tonight, at Vacation Bible School, the theme was based on Hebrews 12:1 ... the short version that the kids were asked to memorize says, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and run the race."  I had so much fun talking to each group of kids about what hinder means and how we need to get rid of anything that gets in the way of us following after Jesus.  I need that reminder every single day!  And tonight, in my Jesus Calling reading, the focus was on the verse that says, "No one can serve two masters."  I thought, how fitting!  That goes right along with throwing off things that hinder us from knowing Christ because, most of the time, we try to serve two masters ... we try to serve God, and we try to serve that thing or person or experience that is really just hindering us from serving God.  I just love it when lessons line up.  When what God is teaching me (staying focused on Him, not my circumstances) lines up with VBS and my Jesus Calling and thoughts that the Holy Spirit brings to my mind and whatever else.  Just wanted to share. :)

Breakfast - sausage and eggs and a granola bar
Lunch - brown rice and smoked sausage, broccoli, and green beans
Dessert - Frost Bite ... yummy! :)
Dinner - turkey avocado BLT and a pickle
Snack - cheese stick and a spoonful of peanut butter
More than 64 ounces of water :)

No real physical activity, but I do want to share a couple of decisions I'm proud of ... I wanted a sweet green tea at Panera so bad, but I didn't get one because I had ice cream with Mags and Emily earlier in the day.  I also really wanted some lasagna and garlic bread when I got home from VBS ... I had the lasagna and bread on a plate in the microwave, but I said "NO!" and put them back.  For me, these are big accomplishments!  Every little bit helps, right?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 14

Vacation Bible School has been so great this week!  I have to be honest and say I wasn't looking forward to it at all.  We have just been so busy, and I am overcommitted.  But I have always loved VBS.  It is so awesome to teach young kids how to grow in their faith and help them draw closer to Jesus.  That's why we're here on this planet, right?  To point people to Christ.  So VBS is just the coolest!  And it has been such a blessing to be apart of it this week.  This year, we started a youth group aspect to it ... the teenagers not only help with VBS, but we have a Bible study with them each night of the week during VBS as well.  Wow, it has been great ... even if the new 7th grade boys told me straight up that my lessons are boring.  Haha!  Ironically, they were more engaged tonight than any other night this week. ;)  Pouring into children ... and everyone, for that matter ... is a wonderfully rewarding thing! :)

Breakfast - sausage and eggs
Lunch - brown rice, smoked sausage, and broccoli and cauliflower
Dinner - chicken parmesan, spaghetti squash alfredo, corn on the cob, green beans, and sweet tea :)
Oh, and I did have a handful of chocolate chips - yum!
Snack - tortilla chips with guacamole and sour cream and salsa
I drank tons of water today ... but I also sweated a bunch of it out too.  I mulched at The Porch for about 45 minutes at the end of my work day ... and it was hardcore work!  Counting that as my workout again today 'cause it totally counts! :D

Just a quick praise report!
I have been working for my mom for almost 3 weeks.  The first couple of weeks were pretty rough ... but this week has been great!  I'm not taking things off the shelves any longer, so I'm sure that helps quite a bit.  But I'm beginning to see the vision for the place ... and it's gonna be awesome!  It already is!  And I am just getting a lot done.  My attitude has been so much better, and I just feel God's presence with me each day.  I have so much to be thankful for ... and I just want to praise God for the opportunity to be apart of The Porch ... it is an awesome little bookstore and cafe', but it is also a wonderful ministry!  My Jesus Calling for tonight put it well when it said, "Tasks that you used to dread are becoming rich opportunities to enjoy My closeness."  It's so true.  When we choose to focus on Jesus in every situation, we begin to know and feel His presence and see those not so fun circumstances as chances to talk to Him and draw close to Him instead of complaining or getting discouraged.  It's a tough mindset to maintain, but I am learning a lot about it these days.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for always being at work in my life!  What kind of circumstances do you need to turn over to Jesus today? :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 13

Well, so much for posting for 40 days in a row.  I'm not sure I could follow through with a blog project if my life depended on it!  Ha!  I have started so many projects ... sheesh.  Oh well, I am determined to finish this one, even if I don't post every single day for 40 days.  That was a lofty goal ... we are just too busy!  And man, we are!  I can't keep up!  I get overwhelmed all the time and so easily.  Just gotta keep my focus on Jesus. :)
I've had some good days and some bad days with my Daniel Plan lately.  This weekend, we ate terribly.  But this week, has been much better.  I'm gonna keep working at it.  It may be the slowest process ever, but I'm gonna keep working at it!

Breakfast - sausage and eggs and a few bites of a banana
Lunch - pb&j, broccoli and cauliflower, a pickle, and some cheese
Dinner - brown rice and smoked sausage and broccoli with sweet tea to drink
Snack - crackers and cheese
More than 64 ounces of water
And I did over 2 hours of push mowing and mulching today ... it was hard work!  That is my workout for the day.

Tonight, at VBS, I talked with the teenagers and the kidos about trusting in the Lord.  I love the picture in Jeremiah 17:7-8 about the tree planted by streams of water.  When we trust in the Lord, we are like that tree ... full of life, standing strong during trials, and bearing good fruit for others to see.  God is so faithful!  Why wouldn't we trust Him?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 12

Wow, I've been lax with my Daniel Plan lately.  I think I've decided that when I'm overwhelmed I tend to let the important things go.  So I need to be careful!  I will say though ... I have read my Jesus Calling devotional and written in my prayer journal EVERY night of my Daniel Plan ... even the couple of days I got behind with my posts, I still did my devotions.  So I guess the MOST important thing was not let go, and that is saying something.  I don't wanna sell myself short this time!  I have done my devotions every night for the past 13 days!  I have been fighting a battle against the flesh everyday.  And I already know who wins --- JESUS!  So I just need to keep fighting and keep trying and keep finding my refuge in the Lord!  My Jesus Calling for tonight ... Psalm 34:8 ... talks about what a blessing it is to take refuge in the Lord.
I've been thinking tonight about how I wanna start over tomorrow ... how I can ... how tomorrow is Thursday, my "first" day of the week.  I've been pretty lax with my 3 teas and 2 desserts.  I'm gonna try again tomorrow.  More from my Jesus Calling tonight --- God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)!!!  And so I shall ... start over again. :)

Breakfast - Greek yogurt with granola and kiwi
Lunch - bean burrito and tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole and sweet tea
Snack - cheese stick
Dinner - BBQ pork, cheesy potatoes, green beans, garlic bread, and sweet tea
Dessert - slice and a half of cake
Only 6 glasses of water.
Did yard work and hauled heavy boxes for over 2 hours, so I'm counting that as my workout for today! :)

I've been leaving out one of my favorite parts of the Daniel Plan journal ... it has me write down one thing I am thankful for each day.  Today, I am thankful for our 20somethings Bible study group.  We have amazing leaders, Rick and Patti Ehrhardt, and we always have such great food and discussion.  I'm also thankful that my husband is a godly man and so full of faith .... he prayed for me today when I was struggling at work.  And his prayers worked!  My day got better, and I was able to find some perspective in the midst of frustration and discouragement.  Praise the Lord!  Every good and perfect gift is from HIM!  What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 11

Today I was listening to a song by the Daniel Doss Band.  Check 'em out!  They have a great message in their lyrics.  It was called "Lord Reign."  And I was deeply convicted and challenged.  When I think of God reigning in my life, I think of Him being with me or being in control ... or both.  But today, I had a profound sense that the song "Lord Reign" was more about allowing God's presence to fill our lives and transform our perspective.  I was struck right to the heart because I've been struggling with my attitude quite a bit lately.  And even more than just a bad attitude, I've been struggling with my perspective.  I've been wanting a baby lately.  I've been not liking my summer job lately.  I've been discouraged with my end of school year review at the high school.  I've been way too busy.  I've been tired.  I've just not been keeping my eyes on Jesus.  So I've been fighting discontentment and restlessness and ungratefulness and some discouragement lately.  I always get down on myself when I fall into these (lack of) perspectives because I am SOOOO blessed, and God is SOOOO good!  But I guess I'm human, so it's gonna happen from time to time.  And it's ALWAYS gonna happen when I take my eyes off Jesus ... even for just a day. ... So this song really spoke to me today.  I need to allow the Lord to reign in my life ... to fill up my mind and heart and spirit ... so that I can live with HIS perspective, not my own. ... Tonight, in my Jesus Calling, I was given Isaiah 40:29-31 ... a passage I've heard many times, but it always encourages me.
"God gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Hopefully I can not faint with my eating ... 'cause it's been pretty hit and miss the past few days.  I will keep trying though.  Today wasn't so good.
Breakfast - sausage and eggs
Lunch - PB&J, cheese stick, and broccoli with cheese
Snack - popcorn and sweet tea
Dinner - Chicago's pizza and breadsticks and orange juice
64 ounces of water
And for exercise, I hauled a bunch of merchandise from The Porch into the trailer for 40 minutes.

Hope everyone is having a good week!  Keep trying to focus on Jesus, not your circumstances.  God's perspective is the best perspective! :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 10

I've been so tired over the past couple of weeks.  I think we're just too busy.  I need a break, and I'm not sure when I'm gonna get one.  And I think my tiredness is leaving me discouraged.  I'm trying to keep the right perspective, but man, it's hard.  Just gotta keep practicing thankfulness and keep focusing my mind on Jesus and not on my circumstances.  That's what I'm learning this week.  And it was so cool ... last night, after I posted about how discouraged I was, my Jesus Calling was all about fixing my eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and not on my circumstances.  God really does bring what we need right when we need it.

Well, sadly, I'm only a couple days behind with my Journey with Jesus posts, but I don't remember the last few days enough to post about 'em.  So Day 10 will be today instead of earlier this weekend.

Breakfast - bacon and eggs and toast
Lunch - 1/2 turkey sandwich, blue tortilla chips and avocado, and raw veggies
Snack - trail mix
Dinner - chicken and noodles, broccoli, asparagas, and yogurt with granola
64 ounces of water
And I worked in the yard again for a few hours today ... I counted an hour and 15 minutes of using the push mower as my workout ... man, that was tough!

Hope y'all are staying encouraged.  God is faithful ... even when we're tired and discouraged.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Faithfulness

Man, I just can't seem to get these devotionals up consistently.  I'm so sorry for those of you who are wanting these each week.  I just can't seem to figure out how to slow down.  I will keep trying to be consistent.  I hope you will be consistent to read your Bibles and spend time with Jesus even when I don't get these devos up on time.

Last Sunday, we talked a lot about faithfulness.  We came up with several phrases to define faithfulness: true repentance, Truth in the inner most being, selflessness, and dependence on God.  Think about these definitions as you read passages about faithfulness this week.  I just have a few passages this week ...

Devo #1 - Read Proverbs 3:1-8
- Why does keeping God's commands bring us peace? (vs. 1-2)
- Verse 3 says, "Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you ..."  Why should we "bind love and faithfulness around our necks" and "write them on our hearts"?  What does that even mean?
- Why should we NOT trust our OWN understanding? (v. 5)
- How does fearing the Lord and turning away from evil refresh us? (vs. 7-8)

Devo #2 - Read Psalm 25:1-10
- What does trusting in the Lord have to do with being faithful to the Lord?
- Verses 4-7 are a prayer.  What about this prayer reveals faithfulness?
- What happens when we keep God's commands? (v. 10)

Devo #3 - Read Psalm 86:1-13
- Verses 1-7 are a prayer of yearning.  What about this prayer reveals faithfulness?
- Verse 8 says, "There is none like You, Lord...."  Hoe does believing this statement reveal faithfulness?
- In the NIV, verse 11 says, "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness."  Other versions say, "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your Truth."  What does faithfulness have to do with God's Truth?

The celebration service on Sunday night was so amazing!  God really does want to meet with us!  We just have to be willing to meet with Him, make the time, and invite Him into our lives!  I hope y'all will take some time to invite Him in this week.  I'm gonna keep practicing doing just that! :)  Love you guys!  Have a great week!

Struggling in the Journey

Well, I'm behind with my Journey with Jesus posts.  It only took 10 days ... bummer.  I'd just like to know ... how on earth do you keep up with your goals?  I feel like my goals were very attainable, but I just can't do it all.  I'm feeling incredibly overwhelmed right now ... and I'm trying not to be discouraged ... especially 'cause we just got back from an amazing worship service at church.  But I just don't know how to do it all.  Our dirty and clean laundry has been all over our bedroom floor for over a week!  I haven't been able to get the SoZo devos up consistently.  I have been reading my Jesus Calling and doing my prayer page, but it has been so rushed this past week ... and honestly only done so that I can say I did it for my Daniel Plan, not because I really wanted to do it.  It has been such a whirlwind week!  Sooo busy!  And this week isn't really gonna be any slower.  I just don't know how to do it all.  I need to get caught up with my Daniel Plan journaling and blogging, but I've gotta do my devotions and post the SoZo devos before Darrell wants to come to bed.  So even though I'm two days behind now, I will have to find time for it later. ... And ... I cheated and had my third dessert today.  Why aren't my goals sustainable?  Why can't I do this?  My goals honor God.  I've been trying to follow the Holy Spirit.  I just can't seem to do what needs to be done.

I'm sorry for the negativity.  Just struggling today ... and that's part of my journey with Jesus at times too.  Hopefully I can get back on track tomorrow.  Monday.  Whew.  Say a pray for me if you think about it.  Just need some encouragement tonight. ... Still trying ....
Good night :)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 9

My post is a bit late, but we didn't get in until 1:30ish last night (this morning).  I did get my Jesus Calling and prayer page done, but it was kinda a quickie. :( ... My mom and I had a great afternoon driving all over Indy to find good foods to eat.  We stopped at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Meijer, filling the SECOND fridge my parents own.  Haha!  We're gonna keep working to eat healthy and try some new recipes.  And then Darrell and I were out late eating ice cream with Jared and Mags.  Haha!  So much for our trip to the healthy stores today.  No, it's all good.  It was one of our two desserts this week.  Good times, huh? :)

Breakfast - blueberry Greek yogurt with granola and mixed berries
Lunch - chicken, brown rice, mixed veggies, apple, cheese stick, and trail mix
Snack - blue corn chips and salsa and a cheese stick
Dinner - burger, corn, and green beans ... and my second sweet tea of the week
Dessert - cookies and ice cream
64 ounces of water :)

Hopefully, I'll get a workout in today 'cause I haven't worked out since Tuesday!

Have a good day, everyone!  I'll be posting again tonight!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 8

Today was so much better at work!  I am so grateful for the Lord's working in my life!  The Holy Spirit gave me so much help and perspective today!  I was able to get so much work done at The Porch!  Wahoo!  I will keep practicing.

Breakfast - bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin
Lunch - BLT on wheat bread, pickle, and baked chips ... and sweet tea
Snack - cheese stick and trail mix
Dinner - chicken, broccoli, and mixed veggies ... and fruit
Snack - chips and guacamole
64 ounces of water :)

Busy days ... short posts.  I guess that's just how it goes!  But at least I'm posting consistently!  Sleep long, and sleep well, y'all!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 7

I've been really struggling with my summer job at The Porch.  Yeah, you heard me right.  It's only day three, and I am flipping losing my mind!  My mom needs A LOT of work done to her store before she opens later this summer .... and that work mostly includes me taking every single item in her store, dusting it off, and boxing it up .... and then loading it on a trailer.  It's just such a tedious, never-ending job ... and honestly, not at all what I wanna be doing with my time.  It's a blessing to get paid, but I'm just really struggling to stay thankful and have the right attitude ... and I'm just losing my mind!  All of that said, tonight's Jesus Calling was based on Romans 8:6 - "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."  Holla!  Exactly what I need to hear!  I just have to keep practicing the right attitude and keep staying focused on my day at a time, one hour at a time, one task at a time.  Remember your blessings, Mical ... you get to work for your mom.  You only work 6 hours a day.  You are getting paid!  Your hours are flexible.  This job is only temporary - 2 months.  Just be thankful, girl! .... And so I will keep trying!

Breakfast - Greek vanilla yogurt, granola, and mixed berries
Lunch - chicken, brown rice, cucumbers, apple, and trail mix
Snack - cheese stick and granola bar
Dinner - beef sandwich, cheez-it mix
Dessert - ice cream and toffee bars
64 ounces of water

Good night!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 6

Short post tonight 'cause it's late, and I'm exhausted!

Breakfast - sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin with half a glass of orange juice
Lunch - chicken, brown rice, cucumber slices, and garden-fresh strawberries
Snack - cashews and a Nature Valley granola bar
Dinner - McAlister's ... yeah, you guessed it.  I cheated and had my fourth sweet tea of the week.  Man, it was good!  I also cheated and had chips and queso.  And a BLT on wheat bread.
I drank 64 ounces of water and got my cardio in too ... an hour of unloading heavy shelves and boxes from my mom's big trailer and then 20 minutes on the elliptical later in the day.  Go, me!

Overall, a pretty successful day!  I also had a fabulous evening with my mother-in-law.  We had some wonderful discussion and Jesus time ... talked about faithfulness and past wounds and healing ... and it was just a real sweet time.  So my friends essential was definitely at work tonight!  So thankful for God-given support!  Peace out, all! :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 5

Yay!  Such a good day!!!  My best day on the Daniel Plan yet! :)

Breakfast - blueberry Greek yogurt, granola, and mixed berries and breakfast sausage
Lunch - homemade chicken and noodles and mixed veggies
Snack - cheese and flax seed crackers and trail mix
Dinner - chicken, cauliflower, and corn with my last sweet tea of the week
And I drank my 64 ounces of water too! :)

After "blowing" it yesterday, it sure feels nice to do well.  I have had a headache all afternoon and evening though ... not sure why.  But it was a good day of eating and starting my new schedule.  I didn't "work out" today ... but really, I did!  I did yard work at The Porch for 5 hours today!  Whhhoooaa!  I am pooped!  Darrell did lots of movement today too, so we're both wiped and heading for bed as soon as I finish this blog post.  But before I end, I wanted to share a quick thought from my Daniel Plan journal.  The journal gives Scripture and devotional blurbs for each day, and today's blurb was about the friends essential.  It talked about finding friends to walk the Daniel Plan journey with you ... friends who are safe and who accept you unconditionally.  Thankfully, I have a good group of friends and family who love me and support me so well, but when I think of someone who accepts me unconditionally, as well as cheers me on with my Daniel Plan all the time, I think of my mother-in-law, Jan.  She is such an incredibly godly woman, and she is the perfect example of strength and support with just the right amount of encouragement (lots!) and NO condemnation.  I am so thankful for her, and I love how our friendship blossoms more and more over time.  If you are doing the Daniel Plan, or any other healthy eating/life plan, you need a buddy!  A good one ... like my mom-in-law!

Sleep well, everyone!  And wake up excited that God's mercies are new tomorrow morning ... and everyday for that matter!  GREAT is His FAITHFULNESS! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 4

"My God will supply every need of your according to His riches in glory ..."
"With confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need."
Philippians 4:19 and Hebrews 4:16 ... sounds good to me!
God gives us EVERYTHING we need, and because of Jesus' shed blood, we can draw near to God ... be in His presence ... always and in confidence that He will hear us and answer us.  And ya know?  I think God knows that I NEED to get healthy.  I NEED to be physically and emotionally and relationally and perspectively (yep, I just made that a word!), and, especially, spiritually healthy in order to honor God with my life.  And so, right here, in my Jesus Calling devos today ... God promises to take care of my NEEDS ... I just need to press into Him to receive that grace and mercy to continue with my Daniel Plan for these 40 days and for every day for the rest of my life. ... Yep.  That sounds good to me! :)

Today wasn't too good in the food department.  Sundays are rough.  I kind of think of them as my "day off from life."  Haha!  Sundays are my favorite day of the week.  I love going to church, and I love spending time with my SoZo-ers.  I love naps, and I love going out to eat with my family.  All of these are consistent Sunday doings.  Our food schedule is usually thrown off on Sundays 'cause we always go out to eat (and not usually to healthy places ... it's our day off from life after all ;)), and we don't eat dinner until after SoZo, which is late.  So ... I know most of these are excuses.  But I'm just letting you know what we go through on Sundays.  So hopefully over time, we will make better and better choices for our Sundays.

So here's what I ate ... just know it's gonna be bad ahead of time. ;)
Breakfast - Mojo granola bar, cheese stick, and mixed berries ... not too bad :)
Lunch - Mexican - yum!
Dinner - pizza, chips, veggies with dip, and soda
Dessert - bowl of ice cream
Snack - popcorn and pickles
64 ounces of water ... that's good, right? ;)

Tomorrow begins my summer job at The Porch!  And it's a great day to try again with my eating, fitness, focus, relationships, and walk with the Lord.  What are YOU starting again tomorrow??? :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 3

So I didn't do as well today, but overall, the day was still a good one!  I realized today that my body is getting used to healthier foods.  It's hard for me to believe that 'cause I was so opposed to eating healthy in the beginning.  But today, I slept in until noon (and it was marvelous!), so when I finally got my lazy butt out of bed, I didn't want to spend a ton of time cooking anything.  So I made myself a grilled cheese and popcorn and some sweet tea.  This used to be one of my all-time favorite meals.  But today?  I didn't finish any of it.  It wasn't as yummy as I remember it.  And I didn't feel as good or as satisfied after eating it.  I kinda "blew it" by taking the easy way out, but I also gained from it because I realized those easy carbs are not as yummy as I used to think.  I was way more satisfied after dinner when I had chicken and rice noodles and broccoli and green beans.  Whole foods really are better than junk foods, and I'm excited that my body is finally learning that ... which makes me happy, happy, happy!  It's still a process for sure ... heck!  We went to Frost Bite for ice cream after dinner!  But I'm excited to see the progress my body is making.  Slow and steady wins the race, Jack! ;)  (Hey!  Can you tell I've been watching Duck Dynasty lately?)

Breakfast - ha!  I skipped that again 'cause I didn't get outta bed till lunch time!  Gotta love Saturdays! :)
Lunch - 3/4 of a grilled cheese sandwich, bowl of popcorn, and sweet tea
Snack - fresh strawberries (straight from the garden - yum!), cheese stick, flax seed crackers, and broccoli
Dinner - homemade chicken and rice noodles (delicious, if I do say so myself!), broccoli, and green beans
Dessert - small Frost (blizzard)
64 ounces of water :)

Darrell and I also went for a walk in the park for almost an hour!  Yay!  It was wonderful to walk with my man. :)

Life is sweet ... and so is getting healthy!  Good night, friends! :)

Journey with Jesus Day 2

Today was another success ... still a few setbacks but still successful!  I did have too much sugar again today.  My snacks were sugary.  It "sounds" healthy to have a yogurt parfait or a granola bar or trail mix ... at least it sounds healthy to me.  But really, all of those things have tons of sugar in them!  It stinks.  Every time I think I'm making a healthier choice, I find out it's really unhealthy for me.  Lame.  I hope it's at least healthier than the big bag of potato chips or the dozen cookies I really wanna eat.  Haha! ... I try not to get too discouraged though.  I AM making better choices overall, and lasting change is a PROCESS!  I am not a cold turkey kind of person .... I have to be eased into things.  So I'll cut the sugar out a little at a time.  I definitely count today as a good day! :)

Breakfast - uhh, I kinda slept through that.  Haha!  I had the day off work. :)
Lunch - 3/4 of a bean burrito and mixed veggies
Snack - 2/3 cup of berry yogurt with granola and mixed berries
Dinner - PB&J, broccoli, cheese stick, and dill pickles
Snack - cheese stick, apple, granola bar, and trail mix (I had an early dinner ...)
And I drank 64+ ounces of water again! :)

I also worked out a lot today ... 30 minutes of swimming at L.A. Fitness and a 40-minute walk in the park.  Yay! :)

My Jesus Calling was all about thankfulness today.  "Punctuating" my day with thankfulness.  Sounds like a plan, huh?  What are YOU thankful for today? ... I am thankful for my loving and supportive family.  And I am thankful that they are all safe.  I was thinking tonight about how thankful I am that Darrell and I are living with my parents because life is so short, and I get to see my parents everyday now.  What a blessing!

Onward! :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Journey with Jesus Day 1

Well, today was a success!  I feel good about almost all of my choices.  I learned that too much sugar gives me headaches.  God is already teaching me so much about His grace and faithfulness.  And I'm excited to keep going!  Here's my day in a nutshell ...

Breakfast - apple, cheese stick, and Mojo granola bar
Lunch - brown rice, great northern beans, and broccoli-cheese soup
Snack - cheese and flax seed crackers
Dinner - turkey burger, fries, and broccoli with my first sweet tea of the week
And 64+ ounces of water!  Go, me! :)

I felt good about all of these choices except ... I drank two big glasses of sweet tea, and I got a headache (I'm confident it was from the sugar).  And although I skipped the bun for both burgers, I had a second turkey burger and a second helping of broccoli, and, thus, I overate.  I made excuses that a turkey burger is a lean meat, and I told myself that broccoli is good for me.  Although true ... I still should not have overeaten.  BUT!  Even with these minor setbacks, I consider today very successful!

I also worked out on the elliptical for 30 minutes and walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and stretched for 5 minutes.

And here are a few things from my Jesus Calling devotional tonight that I thought were fitting for my first day back on the Daniel Plan ...
From the Jesus Calling blurb ... "Instead of bemoaning the loss of your comfort, accept the challenge of something new." .... Perfect!  I'm "comfortable" with eating carbs upon carbs and sugar upon sugar and eating anything I want whenever I want, never thinking about the consequences.  Four months ago when I started the Daniel Plan for the first time, I definitely "beMOANed" the loss of these comforts, but now, I am accepting the (well-worth-it) CHALLENGE of something new ... a new way of life that will change me for the better and for the forever! :)  Love it!
And!  Also from the Scripture that went along with my Jesus Calling blurb ... 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) - "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." ... The context of this verse is about being transformed by the glory of the Lord, but I think it's okay to say that God will be GLORIFIED when I am TRANSFORMED into His IMAGE the way He truly made me to be ... honoring my temple ... ALL of my temple - body, mind, spirit, and soul!  Pretty cool, huh? :)

I'm looking forward to continuing on tomorrow!  Good night, y'all! :)

A Journey with Jesus

I'm going on a journey!  I've sorta been on it over the past few months ... but only half-heartedly.  On February 3rd, my husband, Darrell, and I started something called The Daniel Plan.  If you haven't heard about it, it's a lifestyle change plan (not a diet!) that incorporates faith, food, fitness, friends, and focus.  It is a plan to change the way you take care of your body, your mind, your relationships, and your soul.  You work on each of these areas A LITTLE AT A TIME to produce LASTING change that you can carry with you the rest of your life.  Those are the things I like about this plan the most ... you go at your own pace to make changes (for me a [very] little at a time!), and you hit every area of your life, not just food, so that your purpose is more intentional and motivational. ... Well, I was super resistant when we started back in February.  I was in denial.  I was lazy.  And although I've had a little success ... I've lost five pounds; I feel better; I'm exercising regularly; and I've cut out A LOT of junk food, and I eat more veggies ... okay, so I guess I've had more than a little success. ;)  Haha!  BUT!  I will say that I can do more.  I can feel the power within me to make REAL, LASTING changes that I can be EXCITED ABOUT.  And finally ... I WANT TO, and I see that I really need to. ... Hallelujah! :)

I'm going on a journey with Jesus!  A journey to deeper faith, better food choices, more physical activity, more intentional relationships, and a thankful heart and an eternal perspective.  The Daniel Plan is all about setting goals, so I'm gonna set a goal or two for each "F" essential I mentioned earlier.  And I'm writing them here so that I will remember them, be able to refer back to them regularly, and commit them to completion.

My goals for 40 days (and beyond!) ...

FAITH - Whether I do other Bible studies and other reading or not, I will read one page in my Jesus Calling book and look up the Scriptures, and I will journal a one-page prayer each day.

FOOD - I will follow the Daniel Plan plate more closely than I have over the past four months, and I will limit my sugar intake by only allowing myself two desserts and three sweet teas a week.

FITNESS - I will do a cardio workout at least four times each week.

FRIENDS - I will share my health progress with my "health buddies" and encourage them with their progress at least once a week.  I will pray for my friends at least once a week.

FOCUS - I will practice thankfulness each day.  I will write in my Daniel Plan journal and write a blog post about my success each day.

Ready or ... yeah, I'm ready!  Here I go! :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Currently (May 2014) ... stolen from Hannah :)

Currently, I am ...

FEELING ... restless.  Discontent.  Guilty.  Thankful.  Ha!  Yeah, that last one doesn't fit, does it?  I have been learning so much about thankfulness over the course of this last year.  My Bible study leaders, Rick and Patti Ehrhardt, have contributed to that quite a bit ... and then, of course, the Holy Spirit.  He is so faithful to work in my life, even when I'm not faithful to Him.  I've grown a lot in thankfulness, and I continue to strive to possess a thankful heart each and every day.  But over the past several weeks, I have been struggling. ... I'm tired of my job - I have so much downtime.  I've gotten lots of good reading done, but I don't know how much more I can read!  And I'm a productive person, and having tons of downtime each day really wears on me.  So I've just lost sight of thankfulness concerning my job.  And a lot of my friends are having babies.  And I've caught the baby fever!  God could give us a baby any time.  But so far, no luck.  So I struggle to be content with the waiting.  I'm just ready for a new adventure ... what better adventure than being a MOM!

READING ... my Bible ... 1 Samuel to be more specific ... Jesus Calling by Sarah Young ... and Better Off Without Jesus by Chuck Bomar.  I finally got my reading list down to three books!  Haha!  I was reading about 4 other books ... The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers, The Daniel Plan, Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman, and Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst ... and it was crazy trying to read so many books at one time!  Sooo many good books though!

THINKING ... "what a long day!"  I'm a job coach for a high school in my area, and with it being the last three days of school, we're not taking the kids out to their jobs in the community ... therefore, I have no job.  I'll probably read a few tests to kids in the Resource room later, but for now ... I've got nothin'!  Nothing to do.  And I would keep busy if I could ... but there's nothing for me to do.  Aide positions are fairly specific.  So why not blog? ;)

PLANNING ... to try again with The Daniel Plan.  Darrell never used his Daniel Plan journal, so I'm gonna try another 40 days of healthy eating, exercising, perspective, relationships, and faith.  (Those are the goals of the Daniel Plan, by the way!)  I'm hoping it will kick-start me to healthier living.  The first time went alright ... but this time is gonna be even better!

DREAMING ... of becoming a MOM. :)  My husband and I have been off birth control for about 2 months ... so I'm hoping to be a mama sometime in the near future.  I think about it a lot ... I try to be thankful for where I am and be patient for when God wants a baby for us.  Overall, I think I'm pretty good about the wait ... but some days (especially when I see Ivy and Belle ... or hear about Tiffany's baby Gillian on the way), I struggle a bit.  But all in God's time ... He's got it! :)

SETTING GOALS ... to lose some weight and get healthy physically ... but also spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.  I wanna be physically healthy to take care of my family (which will hopefully be growing soon!) and have the energy to love and serve the people around me.  I wanna be spiritually healthy so that I can honor Jesus and love and serve the people around me.  I wanna be emotionally healthy so that I can overcome my failure issues, learn to give myself grace, respond to circumstances with an eternal perspective, and so that I can love and serve the people around me.  And I wanna be relationally healthy so that I can grow as an encourager and love and serve the people around me.

EATING ... mostly whole foods, more veggies, and less sugar.  I still mess up quite a bit, but I am doing better than I was 6 months ago ... and imperfect progress is still progress. :)

TRYING ... to be more thankful and let go of the try-hard life.

EXCITED ... to have a change of pace and scenery for my job this summer.  I'll be working for my mom, helping her get The Porch ready to reopen later this summer.  No job coaching again until August.

LAUGHING ... at my husband.  He makes up languages, tickles me, hugs me and then goes dead weight and pretends to snore loudly in my ear, cracks jokes and acts crazy all the time but especially when I'm having a downer day.  He's just a huge goofball, and I love him!

Monday, May 26, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: 1 Samuel

I started reading through the book of 1 Samuel recently ... so what better place to get our devotionals this week than what I'm reading in my own personal devotions? :)  Hope you can get some good stuff out of this week's devos ... well, of course you will!  It's GOD'S Word you're reading!  Soak it up!  Sit and think about it.  Grow!  And have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 26th - Read 1 Samuel 1
I think Hannah is such a cool lady!  She had so much faith!  As I read this chapter, I was able to learn a few things about Hannah that I can think about in my own life.  Read about Hannah in this chapter, and then write down the things you find about her character.  Do YOU carry the same character qualities in your life?

Tuesday, May 27th - Read 1 Samuel 2
Again, I found more character qualities in Hannah.  Can you find 'em?  And then think about it ... do you exhibit those same qualities?  How can YOU grow in your character today?

Wednesday, May 28th - Read 1 Samuel 3
Samuel was READY to follow the Lord and do as He commanded.  Think about YOUR life.  Are YOU ready to follow the Lord?  Do YOU strive to do all that He has called you to do?  If not, what can you do to change that?

Thursday, May 29th - Read 1 Samuel 7:3-4
If we are following the Lord, why is it to important to "put away" (get rid of!) the gods (or idols) in our lives?  What is an idol?  Do YOU have idols in your life?  How can you get rid of them and follow after the Lord?  How can you "direct your heart to the Lord and serve Him only" as it says in verse 3?

Friday, May 30th - Read 1 Samuel 12:14-15
Verse 14 - What happens when we fear and obey the Lord?
Verse 15 - What happens when we rebel against the Lord?
HOW do YOU fear and obey the Lord in your daily life?
HOW do YOU rebel against the Lord in your daily life?
What changes do you need to make to honor the Lord?

Saturday, May 31st - 1 Samuel 13:8-15
What can you learn from Saul's life?
What happened when Saul didn't trust God and went His own way?
What happens when we don't trust God and walk our own way?

Don't forget to spend some time talking with Jesus this week.  He loves to hear from you ... He seeks your worship ... and He wants to answer your prayers and lift your burdens. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SoZo Devos: Godly Counsel

Hey, everybody!

So sorry for slacking off the past month!  I have no good excuse for not posting our weekly devotionals, so I hope you'll forgive me and pick back up where we left off.  Here are a handful of devos to use over the next week and a half ... we're gonna talk about Godly counsel.  Enjoy.  Dig deep.  Grow. :)

Devo #1 - Read Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 11:14, and Proverbs 15:22
What/who are counselors ... or advisers?
What kinds of counselors/advisers should we listen to?
How can having many advisers be dangerous to your spiritual health?
Who are some of the Godly counselors in your life?
Who is our Ultimate Counselor?

Devo #2 - Read Jeremiah 7:23-26
What happens when we obey the voice of the Lord?
In verse 24, what do you think it means when it says, "they went backward and not forward?"
In what ways do you go backward in your life?
How can you obey God today?

Devo #3 - Read Psalm 81:10-14
What happens when we receive God's counsel and obey it?
What does it mean for God to "give them over to their stubborn hearts"?
How has your heart been stubborn lately?
What does it look like to "walk in God's ways" (v. 13)?
How can you walk in God's ways today?

Devo #4 - Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5
What a list, right?!
Read through that list again, and write down any of these characteristics that describe you.  I know it may get ugly, but don't be afraid.  Admitting sin is the first step to giving it over to the Lord.
Think of the people you receive advice from or just hang out with ... do those people possess any of these characteristics?
At the end of verse 5, Timothy tells us to avoid people with these ungodly characteristics.  How come?

Devo #5 - Read Ephesians 2:1-7
How do we "follow the course of the world"? (v. 2)
What are the "passions of our flesh"? (v. 3)
What did God's great love and mercy save us from?
How can you live for Jesus today as a way to say thank you for His great love and mercy in our lives?

Devo #6 - Read Titus 2:11-14
Define the following phrases by writing them in your own words ... ungodliness; worldly passions; self-controlled lives; upright; godly lives.
Why is it wise to "renounce ungodliness and worldly passions"?
How can being "zealous for good works" be wise?
What are you passionate about?  How can you glorify God in those things?

Most recent prayer requests from our group ....
Kristy - her softball coach (Coach Rogers)'s dad is very sick and not doing well; finals for school this week
Olivia - Saya is having back problems ... possible surgery, and Saya lost her job at Casey's; also, Olivia's friend, Courtney ... her dad has cancer
Eric - Angie's sanity for the last two weeks of school ... pray she doesn't kill any little children!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Peter

Hey, SoZo!

HAPPY EASTER!

Next Sunday morning, we will be continuing our study of Peter.  This week's devotional passages will be taken from our lesson this Sunday ... so perhaps you can read them this week and have some thoughts for our discussion???  I think so ... I hope so at least. ;)  Have a wonderful week!  Take some time to think about the POWER of Jesus' resurrection this week.  God's NOT dead!  He is ALIVE!  And He works in and through us by the POWER of His HOLY SPIRIT!  SINCE Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, we have LIFE and POWER to live for Him!  Wahoo!  That is something to get excited about!  I hope y'all will focus on how YOU can LIVE for Him this week.  Love you all!

For each day's passage, READ it (haha! duh!), and then write down the facts it presents that give us confidence to trust in Jesus.

Sunday, April 20th - Matthew 14:22-33

Monday, April 21st - John 10:27-30

Tuesday, April 22nd - Romans 8:28-39

Wednesday, April 23rd - Philippians 4:12-13

Thursday, April 24th - Hebrews 1:1-4

Friday, April 25th - Hebrews 4:14-16

Saturday, April 26th - Hebrews 13:5-8

And don't forget to practice ... practice spending time with God THROUGHOUT your days ... practice prayer ... practice serving.  When we commit our TIME to the Lord ... inviting Him into our days, He really does CHANGE OUR LIVES! :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My kids :)

Gosh.  I never blog.  I said I would blog more in 2014 ... and no.  Unless you count the devotionals for my SoZo-ers. ;)  Oh well.  So I'm not a true blogger.  That's okay.  One thing I am is a stalker!  Haha!  I was creepin' on people on Facebook all evening.  Okay, creepin' sounds ... well, creepy.  But I was just seeing how the folks on my friends list are doing ... people from high school mostly.  It's so fun to see who's gotten married and who has kids and look at their pictures occasionally.  ... We're all grown up! ... And then I was reading Emily's (The Thought Spot) and Maggie's (Raising an Ewok) blogs.  They have such beautiful kidos and beautiful families.  It's just so much fun!  I'm sure it is extremely difficult at times ... but they both excel at being parents and loving their husbands and kids.  And they both talk about how the rewards are soooo much greater than the difficulties. ... Darrell and I have been talking about starting a family for months now.  Only God knows when He's gonna bring a baby our way.  But it could happen any day now. ;)  We shall wait and see! :):):)

But until that day ... here are some of my other kids ...


In the above picture, we went to see the new Christian movie that's out, God's NOT Dead.  We had such a great time, and the movie was so cool!


In this picture, I'm making a lame face while everyone else is excited because they told me we were doing the Josh face ... and we weren't!  Josh (far left) has an awesome stone face that he gives at any given time (except this picture, apparently).  He's so nonchalant yet piercing with his facial expressions.  He's such a fun guy with tons of energy, but he's not one to mess with ... and his famed facial expression proves it.  He is a camo, huntin, gun-lover kind of guy after all.  But anyways ... his "Josh face", as we all call it, looks only a tiny bit like the face I'm making in this picture (his is way better!).  Haha!

These are our beloved teenagers (and college-agers)!  We are in love with them and love them like they are our own!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Made to Crave

Hey, all!  Sorry I didn't get any devos posted last week.  We went to North Carolina and got back late Sunday night ... and well, I spaced it.  But this week's devos are awesome!  I pulled them from my Made to Crave study I've been working through over the past couple months.  This week is simple, but if you really take some time to think about these verses by answering the questions, they can really give you some perspective!  Have a wonderful week!  I love you all bunches!

Sunday, April 13th – Read Ephesians 5:25-33
What does this passage teach about daily dependence on God?
What significance does this passage have for my life in Christ?

Monday, April 14th – Read Philippians 3:18-19
What does this passage teach about daily dependence on God?
What significance does this passage have for my life in Christ?

Tuesday, April 15th – Read Revelation 2:17
What does this passage teach about daily dependence on God?
What significance does this passage have for my life in Christ?

Wednesday, April 16th – Read Psalm 73:23-26
What does this passage teach about daily dependence on God?
What significance does this passage have for my life in Christ?

Thursday, April 17th – Read Lamentations 3:22-26
What does this passage teach about daily dependence on God?
What significance does this passage have for my life in Christ?

Friday, April 18th – Read Matthew 6:9-13
What does this passage teach about daily dependence on God?
What significance does this passage have for my life in Christ?

Saturday, April 19th – Read Deuteronomy 8:3
What does this passage teach about daily dependence on God?

What significance does this passage have for my life in Christ?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Romans

Hello, again!
I hope, if you've been working through the SoZo devotionals, that you're soaking in some good Truth and thinking more on the things of the Lord.  That is the goal of daily devotionals ... to refocus our minds on the Lord.  With all the distractions and worries and frustrations of this life, we need to REFOCUS on what and who is most important.  Taking just a few minutes out of each day, putting these Truths into practice, and practicing dwelling on the Lord through prayer and thankfulness each day helps us refocus.  I hope you will keep practicing your faith with me!

This week, our devotionals are pretty simple but may take a little extra time.  But you be the judge!  You can rewrite EACH verse, or just pick out the verses that speak to you the most.  This is YOUR devotional time, so make the most of it!  You will be reading through Romans chapter 8, probably one of my top-ten favorite chapters in the Bible.  Each day, read the suggested verses, and then rewrite each verse, putting it in your own words ... another way to think about each verse is to ask, "What does this verse mean?" and then write it down.  And don't forget to spend a few minutes in prayer ... whether you journal your prayers, pray them out loud, or find another way to pray.  Don't be afraid to pour out your heart to God, like it says in Psalm 62:8.  Just talk to Him like you would talk to a friend.

We're starting on Monday this week!
Monday, March 31st - Read Romans 8:1-8.
Spend some time rewriting each of these verses, asking yourself, "What does this verse mean?"
And pray. :)

Tuesday, April 1st - Read Romans 8:9-11.
Rewrite.
Pray. :)

Wednesday, April 2nd - Read Romans 8:12-17.
Rewrite.
Pray. :)

Thursday, April 3rd - Read Romans 8:18-25.
Rewrite.
Pray. :)

Friday, April 4th - Read Romans 8:26-30.
Rewrite.
Pray. :)

Saturday, April 5th - Read Romans 31-39.
Rewrite.
Pray. :)

Have a wonderful first week of April, y'all!  Spring is coming ... we just don't know when! ;)  Be thankful anyway!  That's what I'm gonna keep trying to practice!  Love you guys! :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Just some cool Scriptures :)

Hey, you guys!  Here are some Scriptures God has been showing me over the past couple of weeks.  Hope you get a chance to do some devos this week, whether these or some others you have found.  Let's keep practicing knowing God better every single day! :)

Sunday, March 23rd - Read Psalm 86:10-12
~ v. 10 - List the "wondrous things" God has done in your life recently.
~ v. 11 - This verse talks about an "undivided heart."  What things in your life distract you from the Lord?  What things cause your heart to be divided?
~ v. 12 - Write down some things you're thankful for ... and then take some time to thank God for 'em!
I just finished my book, Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels, and he suggested journaling/examining your life and praying what you write down.  It's a great way to practice prayer! ... Take some time to examine your life today (or if you're a morning devo-er, examine your life yesterday).  Write down some attitudes/sins/joys/experiences from today ... and pray through them.

Monday, March 24th - Read Psalm 73:23-26
~ v. 23 - What do you need comfort for today?
~ v. 24 - What do you need wisdom (counsel) for in your life right now?
~ v. 25 - Do you really desire God above all else?  What/Who is standing in your way of desiring God?
~ v. 26 - Think about what you're going through these days ... how can applying the Truth of this verse give you strength?
Take some time to examine your life today.

Tuesday, March 25th - Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
~ What do you think it means for our bodies to be "temples of the Holy Spirit"?
~ We were "bought with a price."  What was that price?  What will be your response to that price?
~ How can you treat your body as a temple to the glory of God?
Take some time to examine your life again today.

Wednesday, March 26th - Read Psalm 46:10
~ In the NASB, this verse says "Cease striving, and know that I am God."  Look up the definition of strive.
~ When is is good to strive?  When is it bad to strive?
~ Why would God want us to "cease striving" and "be still"?
~ How/when can you practice being still in your life?
Take some time to examine yourself.

Thursday, March 27th - Read Isaiah 6:1-8
~ What was Isaiah's response to seeing God in all His holiness and power?
~ What sin are you struggling with right now?  Read and pray through Psalm 139:23-24.
~ v. 7 - God offers us the same forgiveness.  What kind of comfort does this promise bring you?
Don't forget to spend some time examining your life today!

Friday, March 28th - Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
~ v. 16 - What would it take for you to be joyful everyday, even when things are hard?
~ v. 17 - What does your prayer life look like?  How can you practice praying more often?
~ v. 18 - How does being thankful help you accomplish God's will?
Examine yourself.

Saturday, March 29th - Read Proverbs 3:5-6
~ Why is it difficult to trust in the Lord?
~ How can you put your trust in the Lord into practice this week?
Spend some time praying, examining your life today.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

SoZo Devotionals: Philippians

On Sunday, Pastor challenged us, the congregation, to read through the book of Philippians this week.  So our SoZo devotionals for this week will be made up of just that ... the book of Philippians. :)  Pastor also told us that the main theme of Philippians is JOY.  Yay!  Joy is a wonderful thing ... especially when we learn to LIVE it in our everyday lives!
Look below for this week's daily devotionals ....

Sunday, March 16th - Read Philippians chapter 1.
Describe the joy you feel when you think about how God's not done with you yet (Phil. 1:6).

What joy do you find in this prayer? --> Phil. 1:9-11

What joy can be found in dying (Phil. 1:21)?

Character is being and acting in the same way whether people are watching your life or you are in secret.  What joy can be found in living with character (Phil. 1:27)?

Monday, March 17th - Read Philippians 2:1-11.
What joy is there in putting other people's needs before your own (Phil. 2:3-4)?

When you think about what Jesus went through for your salvation, explain how Jesus' sacrifice affects your joy (Phil. 2:5-11).

Tuesday, March 18th - Read Philippians 2:12-30.
How do you feel knowing that your ability to do good in this world can only come from God and not from yourself (Phil. 2:13)?

How do you think doing everything without complaining affects your joy (Phil. 2:14)?

Wednesday, March 19th - Read Philippians 3:1-11.
How can having the perspective that nothing compares with Christ bring you joy (Phil. 3:7-11)?

Thursday, March 20th - Read Philippians 3:12-21.
How can keeping your mind fixed on the prize of heaven give you joy (Phil. 3:12-14)?

What do you think about Philippians 3:20-21?  Do these verses give you joy?  If yes, then how so?

Friday, March 21st - Read Philippians 4:1-9.
How can pouring out your heart to God bring you joy (Phil. 4:6-7)?

How are peace and joy related (Phil. 4:7)?

How can thinking about and doing godly things bring you joy (Phil. 4:8)?

Saturday, March 22nd - Read Philippians 4:10-23.
How can practicing contentment bring you joy (Phil. 4:11-12)?

What do you think about Philippians 4:19?  Does this verse give you joy?  If yes, then how so?

Have a wonderful week, my favorites!  Love you all! :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

R1211 part 1.1

Time for some more ZEAL talk!

Romans 12:11 - Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.

Zealous living is living with PURPOSE, PERSPECTIVE, and PERSISTENCE.
Today, we will focus on PURPOSE.
Purpose - "that which a person sets before himself (herself) as an object to be reached or accomplished"
Purpose = Goal

What gives you purpose in life?
What things do you set before yourself to accomplish?

It could be your New Year's Resolutions.  It could be your bucket list.  It could be a day to day thing or a weekly or yearly thing.  It could be something you never think you'll achieve but you keep trying.  It could be something you achieve everyday. ... For me, my greatest purpose in life is to love and honor and serve Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord.  This is my greatest goal.  I work on it everyday.  I fail at it too.  But I keep working on it.  Some of my other purposes are loving and serving my husband, loving and teaching my SoZo kids, being an encourager, continually growing as a person and a Christian, making better habits for myself concerning my health, and learning to be more thankful and more faithful.

Go grab your Bible, and read Exodus 1:8-22.
Now read verse 17 again.
"But the midwives feared God ..."
Purpose for the midwives who saved the Hebrew babies was to please God, not men.  I love that PURPOSE!  I want that purpose to be MINE!  I want to focus on pleasing God no matter what the cost.  'Cause it was probably pretty dangerous for those midwives to disobey the Pharaoh.  I bet some of them were mistreated, at the very least, because they disobeyed.  But I bet many were also tortured and even killed!  That's serious!  But they FEARED GOD and did the right thing.  Awesome!
Check out Colossians 3:17, 1 Peter 1:3-4, and Titus 2:11-14 before you go.  These are some great verses that give us PURPOSE to live by!

PURPOSE = HOPE = PERSPECTIVE = BLESSED

Monday, January 6, 2014

R1211 part 1

Romans is an incredible book of the Bible!  If you haven't read it (or read it recently), you need to and very soon!  Romans 12 is probably my favorite chapter of the book, and verses 9-21 are full of awesome and practical ways to live for the Lord.  I recently got stuck on verse 11 when it says, "Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord."  So, as I often do when God teaches me something cool, I've been sharing my ponderings about this verse with my SoZo-ers.  I originally started out thinking I would teach three separate lessons, seeing as the verse is broken up into three distinct parts.  Well ... the study started the first week of December, and we haven't even gotten to "be fervent in the Spirit" yet.  Haha!  Being zealous for the Lord is loaded!  And we've been digging deep, thinking about what that means and how to BE ZEALOUS in our everyday lives.  So my R1211 posts, as I'm going to call them, are all about my ponderings about Romans 12:11.

Romans 12:11
Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.

"DO NOT BE SLOTHFUL IN ZEAL."
Zeal means "eager interest and enthusiasm or passionate devotion."  Pretty cool, huh?  What are you super interested in and enthusiastic about?  To what or whom are you passionately devoted?  Really ... think about it for a second.

--- I don't get to dance these days, but I'm super enthusiastic about dancing!  Ballroom and West Coast Swing dancing were so cool when I had the chance to do 'em!  I was entirely interested in learning how to dance.  I was at the dance studio every week night and most Saturdays for about a year and a half.  And when I transferred to a new studio, I was there every Tuesday night for a lesson and two Friday nights and two Sunday afternoons a month for nearly another year.  I was probably considered passionately devoted to dance.  It was so cool! ---

I want to say I'm that excited about and devoted to Jesus.  I think I can say that ... now.  This year is off to a great start!  I've been excited about the 60-day reading challenge that my church is doing.  I've been reading really great books about all kinds of ways to grow in the Lord.  I'm growing (slowly) in my prayer life.  I'm learning to be faithful and thankful.  And I've just been excited and content in the Lord lately. ... But, maybe you struggle with this too, my zeal for God comes and goes.  Blah.  I hate that, but it does.  In some seasons of life, I am super zealous.  In other seasons, often when things are "hunky dory" or I'm frustrated with God or prayer or something going on in my life at the time, not so much.  Sometimes, I am slothful in zeal. ... And I don't wanna be slothful ... ever.

Here are a few ways we can be zealous INSTEAD OF slothful ... you may need your Bible for this part! ;)
~ We need to run from being lazy in our faith (Acts 6:1-4)
~ We must stay focused ... we need to get rid of the things that distract us from Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2)
~ We must be unafraid ... let's not worry about what other people think about us or be afraid of the future or things that are unknown to us; but instead, let's do what's right and live for Jesus (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)
~ We need to get excited about what Jesus is doing in our lives and let it show (Philippians 4:4) ... Oh!  And if you don't know what Jesus is doing in your life, you need to pick up your Bible and READ IT more often!  You need to TALK TO Jesus some, yo! :)

And why is it so important to live zealous (passionately devoted) lives for the Lord?
Look up John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 to find your answer!
BECAUSE JESUS LOVES US AND DIED FOR US!
Even when we were totally separated from Him, even when we were His ENEMIES, Christ died for us ... so that we can have LIFE ... and live that life abundantly and zealously. :)

Stay tuned for more ponderings about ZEAL :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

SoZo: Jesus was Fervent

Hey, SoZo!

We were so sad to have to cancel Sunday School AND our Sunday night group today because of the snow.  We miss you guys!  But the snow sure is beautiful, and maybe you get a day off school?  I know I got the day off work tomorrow.  Haha!  Anyway ... I wanted to share a devotional with y'all.  And don't forget to check out the Calvary 60-day reading challenge (provided at the end of this post) ... let's get into God's Word all the more this year, shall we?

Here we go ...

I've been reading through Matthew as part of the 60-day challenge, and here is one part of the reading I thought was pretty cool ....

Matthew 4:1-11 - Go grab your Bible, and read this passage.
We're studying Romans 12:11 on Sunday mornings, and the middle part of that verse says "be fervent in the Spirit."  This temptation of Jesus passage reminds me of being fervent in the Spirit because Jesus was fervent in the Spirit.  Now, He was (is) GOD, so He had just a bit of an advantage here (haha!), but He had to be fervent in the Spirit (focused on His Father and in constant communication with Him) in order to say NO to Satan in these situations.  He was stinkin' hungry afterall!  I love His responses ... take a minute to think about each one.

- "Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (v. 4)
What does it mean to live on every word out of the mouth of God?
HOW do we do that?

- "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test." (v. 7)
What does it mean to test God?
Why is testing God so serious?

- "You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." (v. 10)
Why should we worship God ONLY?
What idols (things you put before God) are in your life now that you need to get rid of?
HOW will you get rid of them?

God is so faithful, you guys.  He loves you so much and has such plans for you.  One of the many plans He has for you is to GROW in your love for and understanding of Him.  He wants a personal relationship with you!  So take the time to get to know Him better this year.  Let's GO DEEPER!

Love you all! :)

Day 1 - Matthew 1-4 /// Day 2 - Matthew 5-7 /// Day 3 - Matthew 8-13 /// Day 4 - Matthew 14-18 /// Day 5 (today!) - Matthew 19-25 /// Day 6 - Matthew 26-28 /// Day 7 - Ephesians /// Day 8 - 1 Peter /// Day 9 - Titus /// Day 10 - 1 Corinthians 1-8 /// Day 11 - 1 Corinthians 9-16 /// Day 12 - Mark 1-5 /// Day 13 - Mark 6-11 /// Day 14 - Mark 12-16 /// Day 15 - 1 John /// Day 16 - James /// Day 17 - 1 Timothy /// Day 18 - Romans 1-4 /// Day 19 - Romans 5-8 /// Day 20 - Romans 9-11 /// Day 21 - Romans 12-16 /// Day 22 - Acts 1-3 /// Day 23 - Acts 4-7 /// Day 24 - Acts 8-11 /// Day 25 - Acts 12-15 /// Day 26 - Acts 16-20 /// Day 27 - Acts 21-24 /// Day 28 - Acts 25-28 /// Day 29 - Colossians /// Day 30 - Philemon /// Day 31 - Galatians /// Day 32 - Luke 1-5 /// Day 33 - Luke 6-10 /// Day 34 - Luke 11-15 /// Day 35 - Luke 16-21 /// Day 36 - Luke 22-24 /// Day 37 - Hebrews 1-3 /// Day 38 - Hebrews 4-7 /// Day 39 - Hebrews 8-10 /// Day 40 - Hebrews 11-13 /// Day 41 - 2 & 3 John /// Day 42 - 1 Thessalonians /// Day 43 - 2 Corinthians 1-7 /// Day 44 - 2 Corinthians 8-13 /// Day 45 - John 1-3 /// Day 46 - John 4-6 /// Day 47 - John 7-9 /// Day 48 - John 10-12 /// Day 49 - John 13-15 /// Day 50 - John 16-17 /// Day 51 - John 18-21 /// Day 52 - 2 Thessalonians /// Day 53 - Philippians /// Day 54 - 2 Peter & Jude /// Day 55 - 2 Timothy /// Day 56 - Revelation 1-5 /// Day 57 - Revelation 6-9 /// Day 58 - Revelation 10-13 /// Day 59 - Revelation 14-18 /// Day 60 - Revelation 19-22