Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Word for 2017

At the end of every year, instead of making a list of resolutions, I pray and ask God for a word for the upcoming year.  For 2017, He gave me a small word with BIG meaning.....

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I wasn't quite sure what this meant at first.  

"Be what?" I wondered.  

"Be present"  

"Be consistent"

"Be true to who God created me to be"

"Be still"

As I prayed, I realized that just "Be"ing was so much more than another 2 letter word that runs rampant in my mind...."D-O".  It reminds me of the story of Jesus visiting Mary & Martha as told in Luke chapter 10:

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

God could have totally replaced Martha's name with my own in those scriptures because I have always been a "do-er".  I'm a list lover and thrive on checking things off a list, in fact lists are written ALL the time in my mind.  I don't feel like God is telling me to throw my lists out the window (because I truly feel that is how He wired my brain), yet He's encouraging me to embrace each day with an open heart and mind to BE in the moment. 

2017 isn't going to be a year of "Do"ing more yet a time of "Be"ing!  

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  What about you?  Do you have a word, theme or resolution for 2017??  Whatever it is, I pray that God gives you peace, grace and most of all LOVE in the new year! 


Monday, December 12, 2016

A Meal Planning Tool That Actually Works

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Over the years I have tried numerous meal planning tools and strategies.  I tend to cook more when I can plan ahead for my meals and shopping lists but it never fails SOMEONE would complain about what we were having for dinner.  Well, that would leave me irritated and at the point of saying I'm never going to cook again. :)  I know I'm not alone here.....right?  We've all threatened it, I know.

I decided there HAD to be a better way so after some brainstorming, I implemented our new meal planning tool:  it is so simple, I didn't even need to draw you a picture.

Each week, one person decides what we will be having for dinner for that particular week.  This means one week out of every month, each person will get to have their favorite foods.  Plus, they have to do the leg work of coming up with the dinner ideas once a month; sometimes I feel like that is the hardest part.

So far, this method has been wonderful for our family!  It gets everyone involved with dinnertime (at least once a week) and takes a load off of my hands.

What about you?  Do you meal plan?  Do you wing it?  What works for you?? 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Detour Ahead

Do you ever feel like you've veered off course?  Like maybe you took the wrong turn at a crossroads or that you were suppose to make a sharp left but kept going straight?  That's how I've been feeling lately. 

I've been reaching out to God to ask him to recalculate my directions - show me where I missed the turn and help me to get back on the right road. 


These are the "towns" I've been traveling through on this road and I'm finally seeing that a DETOUR is required.  

It's time to refocus and get back on the right road.  Busy-ness has become a distraction from the basic things God has called me to do. I'm revamping my "to do" list and getting my focus back on what God, Himself, has instructed me to do.  What good is it to work hard on things that weren't even my project to begin with?

How about you, friend?  What road are you traveling down today?  Are you lost?  Wandering?  Seeking something that you just can't seem to find?  Call out to God today - He will direct and lead you to where He needs you to be. 

Maybe it's time for us both to pull over to a rest stop and refuel with more time with our Father!

"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"  Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

When Your World Spins Out of Control

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There I sat; head spinning, tears flowing and heart aching.  Crying out to God that I couldn't take this anymore.  My world was falling out of control, crumbling around me. 

The past 2 years had been so trying and hard.  I had prayed, I had sought God's will, I stood when I had done everything I knew to do and I was constantly "faking it till I made it" but still, nothing was changing and things seemed to progressively be getting worse. 

I will never forget that day.  Tears stinging my eyes as I cried out to Jesus.  Laying on my bed feeling as though the heaviness of the world was sitting on my chest. 

Then, I heard the Lord as clear as anything......"Yes, your world does seem out of control because it is not YOU that controls it.  Surrender to me, dear child, you will see I am the one who will take control.  You rest, it isn't your burden to bare"

It was amazing.  The God of the universe bent down to whisper those words to me.....little ol' me.  I stood up that day, brushed myself off and knew that even though I had been doing what I thought I should, I still wasn't giving up control of the situation.  I was still trying to manipulate it to be the way I thought it should be.  That day, I surrendered.  I gave it all to Jesus. 

I would be lying if I said that circumstances changed that day.  Although I have seen improvement, the main thing that changed was my heart.  Regardless of the outcome, I know that God is on the throne and I am choosing to allow Him full control over this situation.  Peace rests in my heart today because I know that I will be ok. 

I encourage you today, friend, to surrender your heart and life to Jesus.  There is no other peace like the peace that Jesus brings.  No matter what storm you are facing, rest in knowing that HE is in control.

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Friday, January 8, 2016

Book Review: Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse

Boy OH Boy was this a GOOD book!  I received it in the mail on Wednesday afternoon and had it finished by Thursday evening.  It was the "I just cannot put this book down" kind of reads.  I love books like that, don't you?

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse grabbed my attention from the very beginning and kept it until the very last page of the book.  Peterson & Woodhouse make a great team! 

A little about the book from the back cover: 

Lillian Porter has always wanted to fulfill her mother's dream of going west, so when she hears about a nanny position in Angels Camp, California, she defies her grandfather and takes a chance on a new future. But she quickly wonders if she made the right choice. There are rumors in town that her new employer, Woodward Colton, caused the death of his wife. This accusation doesn't match the man Lillian comes to know--and Mrs. Goodman, Woody's long-time housekeeper, is decisively on Woody's side--but many in town stay far away from Lillian because of her association with the Colton family.

Lillian's six-year-old charge, Jimmy, was there when his mother died, and he hasn't spoken a word since. Gently, Lillian tries to coax him out of his shell, hoping he'll one day feel safe enough to tell her the truth about what happened. But the Colton olive farm is no longer a safe place. Lillian encounters suspicious characters on their land and mysterious damage done to the farm. Will Mrs. Goodman and Jimmy be able to speak what they know in time to save Lillian from tragedy?

I highly recommend this book!  It gets a 10 out of 10!!

Disclaimer:  I was given this book free of charge by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.  I received no compensation for this review and everything stated is my honest, true op

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Evening Primrose Oil Changed My Life

**if you are a man, you probably want to stop reading here.... :)  We are talking menstruation so I doubt you'll find it very interesting!!

A little over a month ago, I found myself scrolling through Pinterest waiting on M to finish up at the dentist.  I stumbled upon an article about Evening Primrose Oil and it gave numerous things that it would help cure.  Several of the items on the list grabbed my attention but PMS was flashing at me like a neon sign.

As a teenager, I had HORRIBLE symptoms each month when I started bad that I would have to call home to be picked up from school.  These symptoms increased in severity over the years and horrendous PMS/mood swings were added to them.  I have tried everything imaginable to combat the symptoms from over the counter products, prescription meds and natural remedies.....if it is recommended, then I try it.  I'm one of those people that will try anything....once. 

So, after reading about Evening Primrose Oil, I decided I'd give it a try.  What did I have to lose? 

Here's a list of symptoms I experienced .....consistently EVERY month.....just to give you a general idea of how bad it was 
  • Swollen, painful breasts up to 2 weeks before the start of my period - I mean so painful and swollen that I had to "hold them up" when I worked out and wear SUPER tight bras so that they didn't move an inch in my day to day activities.  I regularly used Clary Sage essential oil for the pain, which it would help but I had to apply it multiple times a day for several days in a row to experience any relief from the pain.
  • My PMS was ridiculously bad - this was probably the hardest symptom to deal with because it affected me for so many days out of the month.  I had to grit my teeth daily the week or 2 before my period in order to NOT bite someone's head off.  The day or so before my period, I would have to tell my family to not talk to me, look at me or even breath near me - it was BAD and I hated myself and feeling like that but I felt like I was a raging lion and nothing I tried would help calm me down on the inside.     
  • Horrible cramps when ovulating
  • Lower back pain approximately 2 days before my cycle began
  • Acne breakouts
  • Barely being able to get out of bed on the first day of my period. When I could, I would spend as much time laying on a heating pad but if I had to get up, movement was kept to a minimum.
Well, my bottle of Evening Primrose Oil came in just as I was starting my period last month so I began to take it daily.  It is recommended that you take 1 pill 3 times a day, but let's me be real ~ I do good to remember to take pills ONCE a day, I'm setting myself up for failure if I try to take something multiple times a day so I took it every day at lunch with my other vitamins.

About a week ago, I knew it was nearing time for my period to start according to the app I have on my phone.  I was shocked because I didn't have ANY breast tenderness, which was odd....that's always my 1st sign that my period is nearing, no acne, and no cramps from ovulating this month  Days passed and I felt a small amount of breast tenderness and only had to use Clary Sage ONCE!!  That alone was amazing! 

Then, I realized that I was not a raging lion!  I had been calm, cool and collected the ENTIRE month ~ no raging hormones, crying spells, gritting of teeth or hiding in my bedroom with a container of ice cream sobbing uncontrollably over a Hallmark movie (the last thing may or may not have happened on one or more occasion.....I will never tell).  I can't tell you how amazing this is or even remember the last time I went a whole month feeling level headed and not on the worst emotional roller coaster of my life. 

My period started unknowingly yesterday, I mean I did not feel a THING!  I was able to get up and function as normal and even WORK OUT last night.  This is totally opposite of the start of ALL the periods I've ever had IN MY LIFE!  NEVER and I do mean NEVER have I had a period that the first day wasn't uncomfortable ~ NEVER....well, not until this month and I am praying that this is my new normal because I definitely do not want to go back to the way it was before.   

I'm so thankful that the Lord directed me to that Pinterest article last month.  I can't tell you how many tears I have cried in the past 20 years over this situation, the pain that I have suffered and the amount of money I have spent trying product after product.  This is heaven sent to me and I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it can help you too.

*Disclaimer ~ I am not a doctor, just simply me sharing my personal experience so all information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.