Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Long Distance Family Game Night

Skype has been such a wonderful invention :)

It was a little crazy & chaotic playing Monopoly with 8 people, 2 in Arizona & 6 in South Carolina, but we made it work & had lots of fun! I lost miserably but that's to be expected when playing with Mr. Monopoly himself ;) My husband teamed up with one of his sisters (aka his "financial backer") for side deals a questionable used car salesman would be proud of! They have already been discussing strategy for our next cross country game night!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Faithful Finish Lines - Week 2

The focus this week in the Faithful Finish Lines program has been choosing a goal, with the Eating For Energy tip of adding more fruits & vegetables to meals & snacks. There were 3 "Goal Setting Chats" at different times on various days to choose from in which we met with a personal trainer there to help us answer questions & choose a goal to work on for the next 5 weeks. To aid in this, we filled out & turned in Goal Setting Worksheets. We also had the opportunity to sign up for a FFL Partner - a buddy in the group to provide extra support & prayer.

I was able to squeeze in a lot more exercising over the last week! Last Thursday I joined a couple ladies from church on a hike to a cave - see where that horizontal stripe ends? That's the cave! Yeeeah, I only made it halfway.

Then on Monday I walked 80 minutes on the treadmill while reading my Bible. Talk about too much too soon! I couldn't move the rest of that day or the next. Yesterday I eased back into the game with a few zumba videos & today I did a few more with some sit ups. I'm working on getting into a steady routine of 30 minutes per day.

Something that is important to remember when creating & running a fitness program, is that while gaining weight might not be the hot topic in our society, some people, for whatever reason, need to gain weight to be in their healthy range. Fitness isn't just losing weight. Actually the definition of fitness is "the condition of being physically fit and healthy". Notice there is no mention of weight. Some synonyms for fitness are "strength, robustness & vigor". All adjectives I would love to to use to describe me!

The ladies of FFL are amazing - super sweet & passionate about what they do! So I know their intentions are on track. But I feel a bit like the kid in the corner who just doesn't fit in. As if I'm not seen as someone who needs their help since I'm already employing healthier practices & don't need to shed pounds. I'm confident in who & Whose I am & I don't have any true food addictions. But if I felt I didn't need help, I wouldn't have joined the group. And I certainly wouldn't have carved out 2 hours in the middle of my day to talk about my goals. I felt that I wasn't being heard, or that maybe the setup was too stressful for the personal trainer to give each conversation the focus it needed to be successful.

When I applied to Faithful Finish Lines, I was looking forward to becoming more fit after the crazy holiday schedules & rich foods. As I was reading about the program, I didn't see any mention of the group focus being to slim down & lose weight. If I had, I wouldn't have joined as my interests are the opposite :) Weight loss programs are definitely important & needed, especially faith based programs, but I believe it's important for these groups to be labeled as such.

 *Disclaimer: I was given free access to the Faithful Finish Lines program in exchange for blogging about my experience. I am not receiving payment of any other form and the opinions are mine alone.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bible Journaling - Great Is Thy Faithfulness!

As I've mentioned before, I just LOVE sunsets and sunrises! The sunbeams coming from behind the clouds (when I was little, I thought those rays of light were Jesus!), the bold colors & the reminder they bring me that no matter what might be happening, God's always got it!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3: 22-24

What did you use?
Red Single Column ESV Journaling Bible
Simply Art watercolors (purchased from JoAnn a couple years ago)
Blue marker (from Dollar Tree)
Yellow Crayola Twistables crayon

How did you do it?
Honestly, I didn't have much of an idea of what I was doing :) I told Jesus I wanted to paint Him a pretty picture, let go of any perfectionism I'd been hanging on to & went for it! I slipped a piece of cardboard junk mail behind the page & tried to use as little water as possible when painting. I still probably used too much, but I wanted the most vibrant colors possible :)

Did your page wrinkle & did the art bleed through to the other side?
A little & yes :) Yep, my page is definitely not perfect. Then again, I'm not perfect so I certainly don't expect anything I create to be perfect either ;) As far as bleeding, yes it definitely did. At first I was contemplating ways to cover it up, but then I realized that the verses on the next page are pretty sad (after all, it is Lamentations). When we're walking through dark & lonely situations, aren't those the best times to be reminded of God's daily faithfulness & mercies? So now I'm actually happy to be able to see the paint & words shine through! :)

Wait a second - you draw/paint in your Bible??
Yes :) It was brand new to me too! You can read how I got started worshipping this way here

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January Goals & Faithful Finish Lines

My goal for 2014 was "try new things" & I had such a fun time branching out & enjoying new activities & experiences! I am definitely carrying that over into 2015 & each year to come, not as a resolution but a way of life!

This year I am planning out my goals a little differently with separate goals each month & focus words & verses all year long!

2015's Focus: This year I want to zero in on the love & grace God has for me. I also want to learn to extend more grace to myself.

January's Goals:
- As December came to a close, my husband & I agreed to abstain from desserts (as well as french fries & potato chips for me) in January. I was going strong until I discovered the gluten free brownies at last night's leader meeting at church. Gluten free brownies!! What meeting ever has gluten free anything? Plus, they were from our favorite GF bakery. Sooo, I had one. And it was good. But today I'm back on the wagon & I'd really like to stick it out until the 30th!

 - My next goal is to establish a solid workout schedule, which brings me to some exciting news!! I was chosen as 1 of 10 bloggers to participate for free in a 7 week faith based health & fitness program called Faithful Finish Lines!! Right there in bold the website says, "Faithful Finish Lines is a grace-filled place." Grace? Wasn't I just talking about focusing on grace this year? We began on Monday & I am blown away by the grace & encouragement this amazing group of women offers! This week's assignment is to record everything I eat.
Doing this has already helped me make better choices such as drinking more water & eating more regularly. Like breakfast in the morning & not an hour before lunch. Novel idea, right? ;) I've been noting the time when I eat & if I felt full. I've learned if I wait too long to eat, then by the time I sit down to a meal it feels more like an appetizer & I am still starving. One of the things I've been trying to work on this week! I'll be sharing an update during each of the 7 weeks of my Faithful Finish Lines journey!

*Disclaimer: I was given free access to the Faithful Finish Lines program in exchange for blogging about my experience. I am not receiving payment of any other form and the opinions are mine alone.

This post is linked to:
Capture Your Journey at Joy Dare

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bible Journaling

A few months ago, I stumbled onto the idea of Bible journaling via Facebook. I've highlighted verses in my Bible before, and written a word or 2 in the margin, but drawing in my Bible? Creating art in the Word? I'll admit, it felt foreign.

However, as days passed & photos of beautiful Bible pages showed up in my newsfeed, I felt a tugging at my heart. I prayed about it, showed Husband & began to think about this new-to-me form of worship. One Sunday during a song at church, I was filled with a picture incorporating the lyrics & I knew I had to draw it. I sat right down, grabbed a pencil & sketched it out on my bulletin. I've been hooked since :)

My relationship with my Jesus has deepened so much since beginning this! I'm a visual learner & my little drawings help me dig deeper & remember the verses to better hide His Word in my heart. I'm not what one might consider an artist - my people are stick figures & my drawings haven't changed any from elementary school lol. But God is my Father and if He had a fridge, I know my pictures would be on it :)

This year I'd like to share some of my quiet time journalings here at SOF. I hope they will be a blessing & an encouragement!


Yesterday I began reading The 7 Day Prayer Warrior Experience by Stormie Omartian. I figured learning to pray better was a great way to begin this new year :) Ephesians 6 talks of wearing the armor of God so that we can withstand the enemy's evil attacks. The verses are ones I've heard & read before, but I wouldn't have been able to tell you what each item was. Well, after a couple hours of working on this (yep it took me awhile even though I traced every piece but the belt!), I can now! :)

I used tracing paper, washi tape (dollar store), Crayola Twistables & markers (dollar store). I taped it at the top so the page can be lifted to read the devotion underneath :)

Do you enjoy journaling? If so, do you do it in your Bible or a separate notebook?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cultivating My Relationship With The Lord

With a long & ever-growing to-do list each day, it is easy to add "Bible study" as just another item to cross off or run out of time for altogether. Believe me, I know. One day the Lord pointed out to me that I don't list "cuddle with Husband" or "play with Lucky". Those are just things I do naturally because I love them & want to. As my Creator & Savior, the same should be infinitely more true when it comes to my relationship with Jesus!

I've noticed how much more productive & amazing my days are when when I begin them with God first thing in the morning, whether it's a full length study or a short & sweet devotion. My routine lately has been to grab my phone as I stumble sleepily to the bathroom after turning my alarm off. I open my email to She Reads Truth, read the verses, devotional & pray. I am always much more awake & energized after this 15 minutes with the Lord & find myself praying continually throughout the daysince making time with Him my #1 priority!

I'm not here to say, "You must have Bible study in the mornings or else!" That's not my style or my business. All that matters is that we are all spending time with our Father :)

However, if you're interested in establishing a morning meeting with Jesus, you may find Good Morning Girls or Hello Mornings to be helpful resources! I am beginning a 6 week session with Hello Mornings on October 6 & am very excited to see how it deepens my morning study time!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Promise Of A Sunset

I just love sunsets. The bold swirls of color, the pinks, oranges & purples combining with the still blue sky. I feel close to the Lord when I gaze at the evening sky, knowing He creates a new vision each day, just for me... or so it feels :)

Last week was a hard one for my family. It held seizures, cancer diagnoses,  heart attacks & chest pain. We prayed as our loved ones endured heart caths, bypasses, blood tests & trips to the oncologist. Each day seemed to bring a new stress until I started to feel my knees buckle under the weight of it. I prayed, of course, but during prayer times I began to feel overwhelmed. "Father, where do I start? There is so much to pray for. Well, You know..."

People started to notice that my usual smile wasn't as ready & I found myself getting snippy on the phone & with other drivers. But when I opened the back door to walk my puppy, the sunset was so vast, so breathtakingly colorful there was no missing it. I stopped short. "Wow, God!!" I exclaimed. As we walked towards the park, my heart was filled with His promises, the weight left my shoulders & I felt His peace.

Psalm 30:5b "Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

1Peter 5:7 NLT "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you."

Matthew 6:34 MSG "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things  come up when the time comes."