I WAS IN PRISON DOCUMENTARY

Dear Wives with Selfish Husbands,

At some point or another all of us wives, myself included are guilty of getting mad at our husbands for being selfish.

"I am home all day with the kids, making all the meals, doing all the shopping and then he has the nerve to leave me here anyway and go watch the game with a friend."

or

"I never get any time to do the things that I want to do, yet he wants to go play (insert sport here) and he doesn't even ask me."

or

"I work all day too, yet I am the one who has to come home and cook, clean, pay bills. So selfish."

After spending some time being miserable I realized that while indeed husbands can be selfish from time to time, I am also guilty. It is not his fault that I don't get time to myself. It is my own fault for not saying I need time to myself, and actually taking the time. He is always happy to let me have some free time. More than my selfishness or his, there is a bigger issue at hand. It's a heart issue.

Part of a good relationship is sacrifice.

When Jesus died for us we were nothing but lost, selfish, little jerks, yet because he loved us he gave up everything for our freedom. As Christians we are supposed to die to ourselves and live for him first, and sometimes this means sacrifice. He suffered being beaten, humiliated, betrayed and killed and yet we complain because our husbands don't appreciate us? "It's just not fair" we say. Well it wasn't fair that Jesus died for a bunch of sins he didn't commit, either. Life is not fair, and the sooner we realize it the happier we will be. I understand that being a mom and wife can be hard work, but we are supposed to do all our work to the Lord, not to men. He will repay us, just as Jesus was repaid for his sacrifice and now is seated at the right hand of the Father!!

I encourage you to remember that we are called to something BIG, but it starts in our home. Serve your family with joy, hang in there on the hard days, and love your "selfish" husbands.


I have decided to love you, and I am not changing my mind.

I remember the weeks leading up to my wedding and the excitement that I felt. I couldn't wait to say "I do" to the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. There was not a doubt in my mind that he was the one for me, the one that could give me my happily ever after.

We are now getting close to celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary and we have experienced lots of things together. Loss of loved ones, birth of our babies, sleepless nights, financial ups and downs and everything in between. Through all of it there have been times when the happily ever after didn't feel so happy. There have been times when I didn't feel the butterflies and gushy emotions, but when I decided to love my husband, it was forever, not based on a feeling.

There are all kinds of emotions attached to love, but love is not an emotion it is a decision. You can't "fall out of love." You can decide to stop loving someone, but love is not a mysterious, fickle little feeling that comes and goes.

As Christians we are called to love. If we can't love our own husband or wife unconditionally then how are we going to be effective at loving anyone else? On November 8, 2009 my husband and I made the commitment to love each other until death do us part. There was no disclaimer. I am not going to change my mind. If we are going to love like Jesus loved us then we can't attach our love to the actions of our spouse. It doesn't matter what he does or doesn't do to me, if Jesus loved and died for us while we were yet sinners, then I have the power to love my husband no matter what.

Imagine how different our world would be if our love for others was not based on conditions? There is great power in knowing that it is my choice to wake up every day and love my husband. We live in a world where people allow their emotions to control their decisions when it should be the exact opposite. Do you think Jesus allowed his emotions to control his decision to die on the cross for us? We know that his emotions tried to gain control over him because the bible tells us of the distress he suffered in the garden before he was killed.

"Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:38-39)

The bible makes it very clear that emotionally Jesus did not want to die. He was struggling, but he submitted himself to the Father so that His will could be done. If Jesus did it, we can do it too. We can overcome our emotions and make the decision to do what is right regardless of how we feel.

We need to start making the right decisions and demanding our emotions submit to those decisions, just as Jesus did. There is a great blessing attached to unconditional love. I can testify from seeing this work in my own life. My husband and I get closer all the time and we are able to overcome any obstacle because of the decision to love each other unconditionally.

I challenge you to try this! Whether it be your spouse, your boss, a difficult family member or a stranger, make the decision to walk in love and be blessed!


Actions speak louder than words.... or do they?

We have all heard the phrase "actions speak louder than words." Usually people use this little one liner when they are trying to see if someone is who they say they are, and it's not usually in a positive context. It is correct in a sense, but the bible says that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." This means that whatever is in your heart is going to come out of your mouth. You can be sure that if you said something, it was first in your heart.

Have you ever had moments where you look back and thought "wow, did I really say that, it was so mean!?"

I have.

Some of the things that have come out of my mouth still bother me to this day. I am so thankful to be covered in the blood of Jesus so that I don't have to feel shame or guilt. Instead now I plant more beautiful things into my heart so that the words that come out are pure and lovely. I still say stupid things sometimes, but God knows my heart and every day I am growing. Thank God for grace!

Your words are seeds, and you can be sure that whatever you spit out will bury itself in the ground and grow.

Do you gossip? If you do then you are sewing seeds of envy and strife which the bible says leads to confusion and EVERY evil work (James 3:16.) Do you want your seeds to grow into plants of every evil work? Me neither, try using glue stick instead of chapstick, maybe it will help ;) Not really, but maybe some of us would be better off doing a little less talking. Instead, try and see people as God sees them, makes it hard to find anything bad to say.

Are you negative? Do you continuously have something negative to say about every situation? When you speak negative words it is because you have a negative heart. You have a negative heart because you do not have faith, you do not have faith because you have not renewed your mind through God's Word. Discovering who you are in Christ will make you the most positive person on the planet! How can we not be positive when the Creator of the universe has given you all His power through Jesus?! Everything good on this earth is ours through Him, yet very few see the fruit in their lives because they only plant negative seeds with their mouths. Read God's words, speak God's words, you will get God's results.

My husband and I have seen so many wonderful things happen in our marriage because we have refused to speak negatively towards each other. Anyone who knows us can tell you that while we might have an occasional disagreement, we don't have a habit of speaking negative words to each other. Neither of us have ever once brought up the "D" (divorce) word and have never called each other names. We don't point out each other's faults in order to try to prove a point, and we have both learned that it is better not to discuss anything if we are angry. This takes self control, especially for you, ladies! I can tell you though, it works! In marriage there is so much pressure to "communicate" that often people end up only communicating the negative things that won't bring any life into their marriage. Make a commitment to only say positive things to and about your spouse and you will reap a harvest of wedded bliss.

If you want to see good fruit grow in your life then you need to speak words that will bring a good harvest. God is waiting to pour out his blessings on you, but most of us block all the blessing by speaking negative words that don't agree with God's Word. Start speaking God's Words, and you will start getting God's results!

I challenge you to take this week to think before you speak, and choose words of love and life!
XOXO


Love is Blind

"You're so pretty mommy," said my two year old little boy as he smashed my face between his little boyish hands. I hadn't showered, no makeup, hair looking crazy. "Love is blind, my sweet little boy," I told him. He ran off playing and left me pondering all things about love.

I wish I could be more like him. He doesn't judge my bad mommy moments, he doesn't care if I am still in my pajamas at noon, he only sees the good in me. He knows I feed him when he is hungry, kiss his boo boos when he falls, and love him with my whole heart. There is a reason the bible says that unless we are like a little child we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. We adults make everything so complicated. Jesus said to love, not to judge our brothers, and forgive those who do us wrong.

What if we stopped seeing all the flaws in our spouses and insisted on only recognizing the good things about them? What if we ignored that rude thing they said, and gave it to God instead? What if we praised them for the things that they are doing right, instead of nag them for their short comings? What if we stopped trying to control them, and started giving God the reigns?

What if we stopped complaining about how our kids are so difficult and started noticing the amazing little people they are growing up to be? What if we started realizing their God-given abilities and encouraged them to discover more? What if we prayed more, yelled less? What if we spent more time training them up in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it?

What if?

We would be more like Jesus.

Jesus has a blind love for us. In Christ, the bible says that we are a new creation, which means we are righteous, holy and perfect. That is what He sees. He died for all the sin, it is wiped away. He sees all of our good qualities and he encourages us in those. His Word guides us and shows us a mirror image of who we are in him so that we are no longer interested in returning to our former ways.

Does this mean that we live in a fantasy world of unicorns and butterflies and refuse to see any problems? No, but it means that because of His unconditional love, we are free to love others with the same kind of blind love.

"By this all will know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another." John 13:35

Did you know that most people feel like they are unlovable? If there was one good thing about an overall problematic person and you were to find it, and point it out, do you know what that would do for them? It would empower them. It would make them want to be better. That is what Jesus does with us.

I challenge you to try it. Think of the most difficult person in your life and start focusing on their positive traits. Acknowledge the good things about them, mix it with prayer, and let God do the work on their hearts. If you can't think of anyone, do it on yourself. Stop thinking negative thoughts about yourself, focus on the things you like, read the Word to discover who you are in Christ, and let God turn you into the man or woman he made you to be!

I would love to hear your Love is Blind moments! Take the challenge and share your testimonies in the comments!

XXOO


Why I Plan to Shelter My Children

Lately I have been shocked and disturbed when I read the headlines and see the moral decline of our society as a whole. I don't like the world that my children will grow up in. I realize that if I want them to have a good life and make an impact on this world my job as a parent is more important than ever.

When we talk about sheltering our children, people get visuals of weird cult like communes with people who dress like they live in the early 1900's. That is not what I am talking about. I firmly believe that we as Christians are the light of the world and we must go out into the world in order for that light to shine, BUT...in due time. We can't throw our kids out to the wolves with no expectation of what they will encounter or how to deal with it when they do. 

Public schools are now introducing sex education to children as young as 4th grade. This is not just regular sex education, but graphic, pornographic images along with information on masturbation, abortion, how to use condoms, and the differences between oral, anal and vaginal sex. These are not subjects I want my children to learn from a curriculum void of moral values. The new common core curriculum eliminates anything relating to creation and teaches everything based off the theory of evolution. I don't want to have to spend hours when they get home undoing all the wrong information they have gotten at school. These reasons, among many other things are why my children will not attend public school.

If children don't have a solid foundation of truth, grounded and rooted in the Word of God, they will not be able to withstand the pressures of this life. We don't have very many years with them to establish this foundation and I don't want to waste time by allowing their minds to be filled with the agenda of the federal government, which is what the common core curriculum is. Not only do they get it from school, but through the use of the internet on their personal electronics, TV, and music. If their negative input is more than they positive input you are going to have a problem. It is that simple. 

I love country music, it has always been my favorite, but lately I can't even let my kids listen to it! It used to be about God and Country and now it's all about getting drunk and sleeping around! It is not exactly cute when you hear your kid singing a lyric about a hangover. 

Sheltering my children will allow them to establish a sure foundation so that they can go out into the world and accomplish all God has for them. Without a foundation, they will crumble and be tossed every which way like the waves in the sea. 

As an adult I am finding it necessary to shelter myself! My husband laughs at me because every time a scary commercial comes on TV I cover my eyes and ears and look the other way. I know that might seem ridiculous, but when I was younger I used to love scary movies and over time I started to struggle with fear. It crept in and started setting up camp in many areas of my life. I had to stop any entrance of fear and scary movies were one of those entrances. I live a sheltered life compared to many people my age but guess what? I am happy, I am confident, I have good relationships, I don't get depressed or anxious, I am excited for my future, and I am free. If living a sheltered life doesn't work then don't wake me up because it's working for me!

Does this mean you remove yourself from the world? No. As Christians we are in this world, but we are not of this world. We are called to be salt and light to those around us (Matthew 5;13-16.) We should be a blessing wherever we go, we should help people find freedom in their lives, we should be opening ourselves up to be used by God. We should be influencing, not being influenced. This is not only what I want for myself, but what I want for my children.

What about you? Do you feel the need to get back to basics with your kids in our ever changing society?

I would love to hear from YOU! 

XXOO



Is God Still Speaking?

Until recently I really didn't understand what people meant when they said God spoke to them about something. We continuously hear it preached that if we want to hear from God then we need to read the Word. "Read your bible and you will hear God speak to you," they say. I wish people would explain that more....

I can't tell you how many times I have gotten into a situation and wanted to hear God's opinion on something so I did exactly what everyone says. I got my bible and prayed for God to show me what I needed to hear. I open it to a random page, put my finger on a verse and it is something like "Jeshua begot Joiakim." Not exactly the dramatic word from God that I was trying to hear. I was doing it all wrong.

God is always talking to us. He cares about all the little stuff. He wants to be involved intimately in every detail of our life, closer than anyone else. Studying the bible is the way that we hear from God because it IS God. Jesus IS the Word. (John 1:1)

The reason we need to study the bible to hear from God is because if we don't know what the bible says we don't know God's character, or the way he works in our lives. If you don't know the truth, you can't tell right from wrong and you will have no discernment to make good choices.

Let's say you wanted to find an endangered animal in it's natural habitat, but you didn't know where to start. What would you do? You would get books and search the internet learning about it's eating habits, where it sleeps, what it looks like. You would want to know what kinds of noises it makes and what it's footprints looked like so you would know them when you saw them. You would need to know what the habits of that animal are in order to find it.

You must do the same with God. If you want to know how God speaks, the way he leads, and how he corrects then you have to know his character. You have to gather as many details as you can find. The incredible news is that it can all be found in his Word! There is no mystery. He left us the bible to study and learn all about his wonderful ways.

It is not responsible to go around saying that God told you something unless you have regularly been in the Word.

I once had someone tell me that God told them they needed to talk to me about something. When we talked they told me they could not forgive me and get over an issue that happened previously between us, and it seemed they wanted an apology. I had completely forgotten about it, and to be honest, I didn't think I did anything wrong. Whether I was right or wrong was really not the point. That wasn't God telling them to talk to me, that was their own issue of unforgiveness towards me. The bible says to forgive, even when the other person is wrong (Matthew 6:15.) If they knew the Word they would have just forgiven me and gave the issue to God. God would have gotten through to me a lot better than they did.

Christians can make God look really bad if we go around telling people "words from God" that are contrary to what his Word says!

If you want to hear God speaking to you then you must learn the bible inside and out, you must "meditate on it day and night." Jesus lives inside of us and according to the bible, we as Christians have all of his power available to us (Matthew 28:18-20.) The Word is a reflection of our spirit, a mirror. We check our physical mirror every day, often more than once a day. How often are we looking at our spiritual mirror?

I have gotten to the point now that even though I still have a lot to learn, if I need guidance on something, I don't have to open my bible randomly and blindly pick a verse that will hopefully fit my circumstance. I have learned so much that I can make decisions based on the knowledge that I have gained. When I don't know, I study, and don't stop until I find my answer. My mind is being renewed constantly through the word and I now hear God speaking what he had been speaking to me all along!

If you want to hear God more, study his word. Meditate (think) on it. Give yourself time to really contemplate it. "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

XXOO

 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8








Guilt is a Liar

As Christians we know that God is always speaking to us, but we don't always know how to listen. I think the biggest problem we have as believers is that we don't understand God's character and we believe that when we need correction from God we are going to hear it in the form of condemnation and guilt. We know that we aren't supposed to feel guilty, but what we don't always realize is that we are supposed to feel convicted. Conviction and guilt couldn't be more opposite, but many times they are confused for each other. So what is the difference?


Guilt drags you down, tells you that you aren't good enough, you don't measure up.

Conviction encourages you to do better, shows you a better way, and uplifts you.

I am a teacher so during the summer I don't work. No work means that my regular stream of income is non existent. While my husband and I do prepare for summer and save up to help ease the burden, there is still a need to trust God with our finances.

I have a couple little side gigs I do from home to bring in extra income, and one of those things is market research. Every so often I have a company call me and survey me to see if I fit their credentials for studies they are doing. Sometimes it's personal care products, other times its cleaning stuff, even food or drinks. Anyway, the extra income is nice and being an opinionated person, I don't mind getting paid to tell them what I think of their products.

Today they called me and asked a series of questions. I knew what they were getting at, and I wanted to do the study so against my better judgment I told a little white lie about what kind of dish soap I use. I qualified, got my appointment and hung up the phone.

Immediately I heard God speak to me, "Why don't you trust me?"Hmmmm... How could lying about dish soap not be trusting God? I thought about this for a second and realized what it meant. Here I am trying to walk in faith for our finances and trust God to provide, yet I lie to manipulate the situation, as though God needs my help? God doesn't need me to lie for him to take care of us. If I really trusted him I wouldn't care whether or not I qualified for the study, I would be confident knowing that if I didn't get it, there would be something else on the horizon.

I prayed and asked for forgiveness and realized that I had to call back and make things right.  I don't want to give the devil any entrance into my life and after all, he is the father of lies, even little tiny white ones.

I called the lady back and told her that I gave her the wrong brand of soap, that I actually use a different kind. She sounded confused and put me on hold. She came back on the phone a couple minutes later and told me that I still qualified and thanked me for calling back. All of that and I could have just been honest from the beginning! The lie was a waste, but the lesson was not.

This may seem like a silly incident, but it gave me a huge understanding of how God redirects our steps. The devil uses guilt and says things like "you hypocrite, you say you hate lying, but then you go and lie about something so small. What kind of Christian are you?" We start to believe lies about ourselves and the devil starts getting victory in our lives. He is defeated, slam the door on him!

In contrast, God convicts us gently and tells us there is a better way, just to trust him and he will work it out. No guilt, just encouragement.

What an amazing difference! I wish I would have just told the truth the first time, so that I didn't need to have the humbling experience of calling back, but I am so thankful I heard God's voice gently reminding me to trust him, that it is for my own good.

Do you feel guilty when you do something you know you shouldn't? Well you need to stop. God sent his son Jesus to die for your sins and we need to be more God conscience and less sin conscience. If we are in Christ then the bible says we are a new creation. Our past, present and future sin is covered under Jesus' blood and we should feel nothing but freedom.

After that experience today I felt so good. Even though I messed up, I was so thankful God showed me how I can trust him more. I don't want any unbelief entering in to ruin all the blessings God has planned for me!

Conviction provides a solution showing us how we can trust God more, and grow closer to him! Give me more of that!

Do you have any stories about times God convicted you and it strengthened your relationship with him? I would love to hear about it!

XXOO

How religion ruined me, then grace saved me

This is my story. I tell it because I see so many of the people I grew up with lost and in need of hope. My desire is that this will give freedom to those who have been searching for truth and not found it in religion.

I grew up with a strong foundation of Christian faith. From the time we were little my mom taught us everything that she could, while being a struggling single mom of three. We always went to church, and when I was a teenager I was very involved with my youth group. During these critical years of figuring out who I was and what I was put on earth to accomplish, I gathered some ideas about God that were completely inaccurate.

I was told that God had a plan for my life. I was also told that if I did things God's way that I would be blessed, but if I didn't then God would not bless my life. If I sinned and fell short I might still make it to heaven, but only depending how bad the sin was. The people who told me things like this were not bad people, but they were wrong. I believed that there was one big master plan that God had for me and if I messed up and did something He didn't like, well that plan was ruined.

It started with small stuff. A little lie here, a little compromise there. Before I knew it, I had done so many wrong things in my own eyes that I believed God's plan for my life was ruined, so I gave up. My heart hardened towards God. I stopped talking to him, I stopped listening to him. I didn't read the word, I didn't go to church. I wasn't interested. I thought I had screwed up so bad that God couldn't use me anymore. Maybe he would still let me into heaven, but even that was questionable in my mind.

I spent years ignoring God's call. He would try to catch my attention, but all I associated him with was duty and bondage. I associated God with guilt. I thought he was disappointed in me and I could never get back in his good graces so I might as well just do what I wanted.

This all changed a few years ago. After my husband and I got married I quickly realized I thought I had everything I ever wanted, but it wasn't enough. God has called me to more. God has called my family to more.

Slowly but surely I have gained freedom through learning the word of God. Not by listening to what other people say, but by learning it myself. I know now that it broke his heart that I associated him with guilt and duty. I know now that he loves and adores everything about me. See, he died for my sins, which means they are erased. He only sees the good.

I have learned that religion is bondage. Nothing you can do or not do is going to make God love you more. You can jump through all the religious hoops, go to church every Sunday and do good deeds every day in between and God won't be moved. If you go rob a bank, kill someone, or commit adultery God won't turn his back on you. If you have made Jesus the Lord of your life and made the decision to believe that he is God and rose from the dead on the third day then there is absolutely NOTHING that can separate you from his grace. Nothing will make him stop loving you.

Am I telling you to go sin and it doesn't matter because God loves you anyway? No. While sin does not change the way God feels about you, it will hurt you. If you have an area in your life that you struggle with, then stop struggling so hard. Spend more time finding out how much God loves you and your desires will change. Things that once tempted you won't tempt you the way they once did.

I have found freedom in knowing that anytime I mess up, he has me on a spiritual GPS and can recalculate my route. He does not abort the mission when we fall short. God has a plan for my life, and I am en route. I am sure I will head off on some side roads at some point, but when I do he will be there to put me on track again. He promises to never leave or forsake me. I will never get stuck on the side roads.

One thing I know breaks God's heart is the guilt tied in through religion. If you are feeling duty or guilt in serving him, then you are doing it wrong. If you feel anything but freedom, then you are doing it wrong. Jesus came to restore the relationship between God and man. The religious people of the day hated Jesus. He made it too easy because all he required was to believe in him. He was disgusted at the Pharisees who thought they were saved by their good works. He called them hypocrites.(Luke 14:13-17)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."
Ephesians 2:8

This literally means that through your faith God has given you the free gift of salvation. It specifically says "not of yourselves."Believe in what he did on the cross, don't trust in your own works, and you will be saved. This is so simple, why do we make it so complicated? All we have to do is believe, that is it.

We all believe in something, why not believe in Jesus?

People don't want to believe in Jesus because they associate him with duty and works, They think that believing in Him means that they have to go sit their butt in a pew every Sunday and stop doing all their fun sinning. This is a lie that Satan has gotten people to believe to keep them away from God.

The truth is that all we have to do is receive the free and almost too good to be true gift of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ and we will be saved. I promise you that if you do that, you don't have to go to church or stop sinning, but you are going to want to. God will clean you up from the inside out if you will let him, but even if you don't he will still love you. He will change the way you think and show you that he has a better way for your life. He will show you that sin only hurts you but he has a way that is going to prosper you, keep you in perfect health and peace.

Since I have learned more about who I am in Christ the change in me has been effortless. I don't do anything out of guilt or obligation. I do everything out of love. My husband has changed from seeing my change, our finances have changed, we have peace, we have health and we have love. I never get depressed, and I am so excited for my future. There has been nothing but good, and God wants to give it all to you too.

He is offering you a gift that will give you more freedom and happiness than you have ever had, just take it. Say yes.

XXOO

21 Day Cleanse

Do you feel groggy and tired all the time? Do you depend on caffeine and sweets to keep you going throughout the day? Even though I exercise and eat way healthier than most people I was still not feeling my absolute best and I knew my diet was to blame. Last month I did a 21 day cleanse and I have never felt better in my life! I lost inches, and because I was doing some strength training, I didn't lose weight, but actually gained 4 lbs (which I was happy about!) Even though I gained some muscle weight, my stomach was flatter within days of starting the cleanse and overall I felt way less bloated.

 My husband and I went on a little trip, then Easter rolled around and I got disorganized and started eating bad again out of convenience. I felt awful so I decided to do the cleanse again and I have been asked for the details, so here they are (sorry it took so long, Brandie!)

It is very simple, basically the foods you are avoiding are:

-Grains (no bread, pasta, rice, corn or wheat of any kind)
-Sugar (no processed sugar)
-Dairy (milk, cheese, butter)
-Processed foods (pretty much just don't eat anything in a box, perishable foods only)
-Alcohol (I didn't do any alcohol, but a glass of organic red wine would probably be okay once a week or so)

You CAN eat any vegetables or fruits, and unlike Paleo or Whole 30, I allowed legumes and potatoes. Depending what you are trying to achieve you might want to avoid beans, but personally I tend to be low in iron and beans are a power packed nutritional food, so I kept them in my diet. 

You can also eat nuts, small amounts of dark chocolate and raw honey. I found an "almost raw" samoa bar recipe that I made to have when I had a sweet tooth, it is soooooooo good! You can get that recipe here

After a few days, I couldn't believe the difference in how I felt. I started again yesterday, and I am being a little less strict this time because I want to make this a lifestyle change and not just a 21 day thing. I would suggest doing a really strict cleanse at first, then slowly allowing yourself to have a little bit of your favorite things so that you don't get burned out and give up altogether.

You are going to be spending a lot more time in your kitchen, and it is absolutely crucial that you plan out all your meals and grocery list. I spend a good portion of my Sundays planning meals then preparing some stuff ahead of time, but it is so worth it because then you don't have to think about it the rest of the week.

Need some meal ideas? Check out my Pinterest board here

I would love to hear about your results! Have any good recipes? Please share!







How I think I am better than everyone else, and I am actually not

Last night I was standing in my kitchen and I heard a really loud noise outside. I automatically assumed it was some kind of animal getting into our trash (happens all the time.) A couple minutes later our neighbor texted my husband and told him that the people across the street backed into our mailbox with her car and completed destroyed it. The people across the street from us are well.... Let's just say that there are lots of customers coming in and out all day and all kinds of special deliveries unloaded in the middle of the night. Their visiting clientele is the reason we don't let our kids play in the front yard by themselves. Anyway, you get my point.

We walked outside to check out the damage and here comes the girl who did it. Right away I start judging her. She smelled like alcohol, was wearing nothing but a bikini, and seemed totally out of it. She was in a rough state, however she came over to me and was very nice and extremely apologetic. At first I didn't really have much of a response to her because in my head I was thinking that she was just a strung out, dumb girl, who should make better life choices and not drive her car under the influence. Then God just dropped one word in my heart.... Mercy.

Who the heck do I think I am?! I realized right away God was trying to tell me that it is not my job to decide how people should live their lives. I realized that if I am going to call myself a Christian then I better start acting like one and start loving people, all people. You see, me and that girl are no different. I could have been her. There were times in my life where I was her. While my issues might have been different than hers, to God it's all the same. He loves her the same as he loves me, and he wants to save her life like he did mine. I want to live a life of helping people, but if I can't even start with my neighbor what makes me think that I can help anyone else?

Right when I heard that word mercy drop into my spirit I changed my tone. I talked to her, I joked around about the stupid broken mailbox with her. God shows us mercy, so what makes me think I have the right to hold anything against this girl? It is just a dumb mailbox anyway. Maybe God was giving me the opportunity to befriend and help this girl, and I almost ruined it by being a jerk. The last thing a person like her needs is another person judging them. I want to be an ambassador for Jesus, and the bible says in John 3:17, "For God did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." Jesus didn't come down to earth and start judging everyone, telling them how horrible they were and that they needed to change, he gave them good news. He was light and hope and salvation.

I think we as Christians tend to get on a holy high horse and start to think of ourselves as being better than everyone else because we don't do some of the things that other people do, but that is wrong. We are not saved by what we do, we are saved by what Jesus did for us. He did it for me, but He also did it for the girl across the street. I am not better than she is, but I do have the answer to her problems... Jesus, He is always the answer! I should be eager to help her, not quick to judge her.

What about you? Do you find yourself constantly putting yourself above others because of the things you do, or don't do? Comparing yourself to people around you? I admit, I am guilty. From now on the only person I want to compare myself to is Jesus.

This silly little mailbox episode kept me up last night doing some real soul searching. It humbled me. While God still has lots of work to do with me, I know that I don't want to be a judge anymore, but rather a light in this dark world.

XXOO

Why My Husband Can't Make Me Happy

Dustin and I have been married 6 years this coming November, and since then we have seen so many of our friends and family get divorced, or separate from their spouses. The craziest thing about it is that most of the people appear on the outside to have it all together.

Can I just be real for a second? Marriage is the hardest job on the planet. The ones who appear to have it all together are probably a bigger mess than the rest of them. You don't have to play that game here, I understand what it is like to go through stuff with your spouse. There are times when you can't stand them. There are times when they aggravate every living cell in your body. There are times when they aren't giving you what you need emotionally or physically. There are also those times when you feel like you did in the beginning, and you remember the reason you picked them forever.

Dustin and I have always gotten along really well. We rarely argue, and actually as I sit here and write this I can't even remember our last fight. We have fun together and enjoy each others company. I realize how fortunate we are to not have some of the issues that others have, but that doesn't come by default, it takes work.

When you get married you have no idea what you are about to experience.

Becoming a wife and mom has made me realize how incredibly selfish I am! Getting married is most of the time done under very selfish pretenses. Think about it. YOU fall in love, the person makes YOU feel good, YOU like the way they treat YOU, so YOU decide to tie the knot. It is selfish. I am not judging you here because I did it too and then real life hit.  Suddenly you have to live with this person who doesn't always do everything YOU want, the way YOU want it, and there the trouble begins.

My love language is quality time. It used to be that if I was not getting the quality time I needed from Dustin, I would get depressed and angry. I would talk to him and try to explain how I felt, and he just didn't ever seem to get it. His love language is acts of service. He thought that he was showing me love by working hard to provide for our family, even if it meant not having as much time with us. He couldn't comprehend my frustration.

I quickly realized that I was depending on him too much for my happiness. It was not fair to him. Depending on any one person to make you happy is not the way it should be. Dustin is an awesome husband and father, but there will always be a space in my heart that he cannot fill. The only person who can make me whole and completely happy is the One who created me. I started putting more effort into learning how much God loves me by reading the Word and praying. Knowing how much God loves me has taken away the need to find love anywhere else.

I know Dustin loves me, but I don't depend on him anymore for my happiness or contentment. Having him for a husband is better than ever because the pressure is off. Now if I am ever tempted to get discouraged or depressed I know my focus is on the wrong place and I need to get my eyes back on Jesus, what he has done for me, and how much he loves me.

If you don't make God the center of your life, you will not have a happy marriage. Sadly most people never realize this and put too much pressure on their spouse, turn to other things, cheat, or self medicate to deal with this reality.

God did not design us to live without him. He designed us to be in a relationship with him first and foremost. He made Adam before he made Eve, and it wasn't Adam who asked for a mate, it was God's idea. Adam was content with his relationship just him and God. God gave Adam the wonderful gift of a spouse, but the first thing that was established was God and Adam's relationship. Eve was the icing on the cake!

I encourage you to stop trying to find happiness solely through your marriage, or anything else in this life. Surrender yourself to the One who made you, and let him love you. Not only will you be happier in your marriage, but every single area of your life will prosper!

XXOO

Why I Don't Believe in Falling

We all have heard someone say or said ourselves things like, "I am falling in love" or "I fell out of love" or "I am falling into a depression" or "I fell for it." We "fall" for a lot in our society. Now I am about to get a little deep here y'all, so keep up with me.

Have you ever thought about what those sayings mean? When you fall for something, it means you believe it, or you believe in it. The issue I have, is that these expressions push the responsibility off ourselves, and take away our choice in the matter. Stay with me.

We live in a society that does not like to take responsibility. We like to blame the way we are on our childhood, our parents, an ex who cheated on us, a sickness, a chemical imbalance, our hormones, you name it. We are fickle little creatures who "fall" in and out of love, "fall" into depression or whatever else comes our way, and we just can't help it.

No. Just no.

The bible says "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Conforming, as it speaks about above, happens naturally when we live in this world and would be comparable to this "falling" I speak of. Conforming doesn't take effort or decision, it just happens. We live in a fallen world, and an example of conforming can be seen in the physical body. If we don't eat right and exercise, as we age, have babies, get comfortable in our marriages, we gain weight, and body parts start to "fall" (lol) with pulling gravity. Transforming can only be done with a lot of effort. We exercise and gain muscle, fight off fat, and keep ourselves healthy, which transforms our body. It is hard work to continuously transform your body, you have to stay consistent. Exercising one time won't change your physique.

The Word says we have to transform our minds. Transforming and renewing our minds means that we are changing our mind to think the way Jesus thinks. We are reading the Word and studying it continuously. Just like physical exercise, you must constantly work on it, going to church on holidays and reading your bible once in a while won't transform your mind. Not only should you put the good stuff in, but be careful to block out the bad stuff.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I am going to go ahead and say it anyway because it is a good example. I LOVE watching the Bachelor and Bachelorette. I used to put the kids to bed, and get a nice snack ready, plop my booty on the couch and watch that senseless silliness for hours. I realized over time that it was affecting my mind. It was having a negative effect on my marriage in the sense that it was putting expectations on my husband that were not realistic. Marriage is not all candlelight and butterflies. It is hard work, and to compare it to a show is ridiculous, but I was doing that. I had to stop. I don't watch anything like that anymore, it was polluting my life and making me ungrateful for the great marriage that I have. It was not helping me transform my mind to be like Jesus. I am not saying you are wrong if you watch this show, but for me it was wrong.

We have a choice who we "fall" in or out of love with. We have the choice whether we let our emotions (things like depression, sadness, anger) rule us. As the above scripture says, IF we renew our minds then we can test and approve... APPROVE, as in decide. We have a choice in the matter! I love that the verse ends in His GOOD, PLEASING, and PERFECT will. He desires all good things for us, nothing bad.

The key to your happiness is you. You can conform, which happens automatically when we live in this world, or you can transform your mind through the Word, making your own choices, deciding your own happiness and living for the purpose God designed for you!

"..I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life.." Deuteronomy 30:19

Stop falling, and start choosing!

XXOO



Picky eater? Smoothie recipes for kids! (And their parents too!)

I am on a constant quest to find ways to get healthy foods into my kids bodies. Our girls are good eaters, they love fruits and veggies. Our youngest, the boy, will eat certain fruits, but wants nothing to do with anything green or vegetabley (is that a word?) I try to think of fun ways to present him with veggies and green things, and sometimes he will take a bite, but then spits it right out. So frustrating.

Our society, and specifically the children are severely malnourished because of all the processed foods and lack of raw food in their diet, which is a big part of why kids these days are always so sick! Making smoothies helps solve this problem!

For years I have been wanting to jump on board the smoothie train, but could never make good ones that anyone would actually drink.... until now! I am so excited about all the nutritious things I have been putting into their little bodies, and they love them too. My husband even drinks them! A few smoothie staples that you must have on hand:


  • Kefir (I like to use goats milk kefir)- Kefir is an amazing probiotic which helps increase gut health and build a strong immune system
  • Frozen organic fruit (I use mostly berries because they are low in sugar and full of antioxidants)
  • Coconut oil- There are too many benefits of coconut oil to list here, but for more info click here
  • Chia seeds- Chia seeds are full of omega 3 fatty acids and are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Raw honey-Once again there are too many benefits to list here but if you want more info click here


With just the things listed above you can make a delicious smoothie, here is the base recipe (you can add more or less of each thing based on your taste preferences):

1 1/2- 2 cups kefir
3 cups organic frozen fruit
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup chia seeds
raw honey to taste (if you want to use less honey, get a pure stevia extract and add a couple drops)
handful of ice cubes
1/2 cup water

To make my smoothies even more power packed with nutrition you can add any of the following foods to the above base (I always add at least one veggie):

Avocado
Kale
Turmeric root
Fresh squeezed orange juice
Carrots
Spinach

When doing kale, I prepare mine ahead of time and puree it with a little bit of water then freeze it in pre-made portions. You can use cupcake tins to freeze it, then just throw your kale pellet in the blender with the rest of your ingredients and blend! I haven't tried it with spinach yet, but I am sure it would work great this way also.

**As a side note, we could not feed our family of five as much organic and healthy foods if we didn't shop at Costco! You can get almost all the ingredients for smoothies there, for half what it would cost you anywhere else!

I make a batch for my whole family every morning and many times they don't want anything else for breakfast because they are too full! These smoothies are great for moms too, when I miss a morning I am always sleepy by the afternoon and have to drink coffee to get through the rest of the day without a nap. It is crazy how much of a difference it makes. My only regret is that I didn't start this habit sooner!

Please share any smoothie recipes that your family loves! I would love to hear from YOU!

You are not the underdog, stay at home mom.

Happy New Year everyone! I am super excited about what this year is going to bring us! As a follow up to my Faith and Finances post, I am very proud to announce that this month our last credit card will be paid off and we will be done with the first part of our debt snowball plan!We are well on our way to being debt free! To read that original post and help get your finances in order click here!

On another note....

Lately I have been shocked at how stay at home moms are attacked and made out to be inferior to those who go out into the work force and get a "real" job. Our own president was recently quoted saying that being a stay at home mom is "not a choice we want Americans to make."

We as moms know our job is important, but sometimes it feels like we should be doing more. I am here to tell you, what you do is enough.

I recently did a study on David from the bible and I got some great revelation for stay at home moms that will empower and encourage us to keep up the good fight. 

We have all heard the story of David and Goliath. David the underdog, with Gods help and favor killed the giant, which reminds us that with God's help we can do anything. That is a great message but there is more to it. The bible says that David was "a man after God's own heart."

How can I be a woman after God's own heart and do great things like David? I speak toddler all day and I feel like I never leave my kitchen!!

In order to understand how David was a man after God's own heart we have to go back to the beginning before he even killed Goliath. When he was anointed by God to be king, he was just a lowly shepherd. He spent his time doing doing something that most people thought to be the lowest job on the totem pole. Even after being anointed as king, he went back to tending sheep, he did not go to war with his brothers against the giants. What kind of king is that? Think about how that must have felt? 

Sometimes when you are kissing boo boos and wiping snot it does not feel like we are doing anything important, but watch what happened to David...

While he was shepherding his sheep he had encounters with a lion and a bear, and he slayed both of them. These were trials that nobody knew about, which built his faith. While his brothers and everyone else were at war seeing these big scary giants, he was secluded and alone with God, doing a job that didn't feel important, but it built his faith for his appointed time.

See where I am going with this?

When it was time for someone to fight Goliath, all the other people were scared because they had been exposed to the giants, causing unbelief. Meanwhile David had the proper perspective and understood that his God was bigger than any giant. He had been building up his faith, and was seeing Goliath through his spiritual eyes, not through fearful physical eyes.

While doing the humbling job of tending sheep, David was being built up to do one of the most important jobs in history. What if he had complained and gotten arrogant? What if he would have refused to tend sheep after being anointed as king?

Confidently, David went in and did the job nobody else could. He slayed Goliath and saved his people. This one thing changed the course of his whole life, and he never could have done it without the humbling time he spent with the sheep.

You mom, in your pajamas at noon, showerless and changing a poopy diaper, are David. You are a woman after God's own heart. God is building you up for something great. Use this time to build your faith because you will do things that nobody else could ever do. You will slay giants. Consider every trial a joy because it is only preparing you for something great.

XXOO






Women's Empowerment Part 1

Women's Empowerment Part 2

Women's Empowerment part 3

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