Prayer Warriors: This Family Could Use Our Prayers

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Needs Our Prayers

Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Needs Our Prayers

(And Support)

Not My Usual Friday Post

Hello Dear Sisters,

Daniel, Ashley, and their three kiddos

Today my heart is filled with sadness.

A family I know from my days working at the local YMCA has suffered a sudden and heartbreaking loss.

Ashley’s husband, Daniel passed away suddenly while at work. He was 35 years old. He leaves behind three kiddos, and a sweet, caring, Jesus loving wife.

This family could use prayers not only for healing, but for the strength to get through the basic needs of every day life.

I can only begin to imagine the heartache this dear family is experiencing, and although you may not know them personally, I felt led to share their story with you.

After all, we’re all in this life together.

Join me, please?

Something to Pray

Heavenly Father,

Bring this family closer to You.

Lay Your healing love on them.

Surround them with Your strength.

May they know Your peace as they walk through each day without Daniel.

May they know compassion from this world as the struggle to make sense of this unexpected loss.

In Your Name,

Amen.

Something to Consider

If you are interested in helping financially, please prayerfully consider donating to their GoFundMe account.

Thank you all so much.

Until next time,

wellofaith
Calling All Prayer Warriors: This Family Could Use Our Prayers--wellofaith.com
book recommendations, When "Everything" Goes Wrong, I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

Then you will find your joy in the LORD…

Isaiah 58:14a

Just a side note, this post became a bit longer than intended, and may end up becoming a series of posts in the future.

When Joy Is Hard to Find

2019 has been an intense year. There has been joy, but there has been a lot of “hard” too.

Though, if I’m honest my family has been in a rough season since 2017 when my husband left Active Duty. It appears we’re not quite ready to reap the harvest yet.

If this past weekend is any indicator, we’ve got quite a bit more sowing left in this season.

To those who know us personally, it isn’t a surprise to know we’ve been struggling. The move from Active Duty to civilian life has not been an easy experience. There have been more bumps in the road than either my husband or I ever expected.

Life without the security of the Marine Corps is a constant act of faith.

Never have we been what you would call financially “well-off”, but we’ve always been able to provide for ourselves and our children without too much struggle.

Until we no longer could.

Becoming Humble

When we moved from Washington State to Virginia, we left nearly everyone we knew.

My children left their friends and Sunday school teachers they loved. I left my sister, my cousin, and my childhood best friend.

We also drove away broke, because of a paperwork error that took months to straighten out before the Marine Corps would release my husband’s final paycheck.

Driving across the country nearly penniless, heading to a state where we still hadn’t found a place to live, could have been terrifying.

Instead, there was joy.

Okay, there was some fear too, but whenever the fear would claw at me I’d remember that everything comes from God. That He would provide in His way and His time.

So, I gladly accepted the joy He provided.

I shared adventures with my favorite people as we explored amazing sites, both created by God and made by man; the joy of giggles and drinking too much caffeine; staying in questionable hotels that would be safer if they were condemned; and cramming three kids, a cat, a dog, and two adults as well as everything we thought we might need, into a minivan.

With excitement like that, who had time for fear?

Joy in God is Accepting Help

After arriving in Virginia things became more complicated.

We needed to find a place to call home.

What should have taken only a couple of days turned into a two-month ordeal.

During this time, God once again provided for us, by opening the hearts and home of our dear friends.

Looking back, I believe God led us to explore Classical Conversations in Washington simply so we could connect with Rachal and her family, because once she moved to Virginia He led us away from CC and in another direction with our homeschool.

When Rachal and her husband offered us a place to stay while we looked for a house, neither our family or theirs expected it would be more than a weekend affair. So when place after place fell through and we were led to purchase a home instead of renting, my heart was filled with such gratitude and love when they welcomed us with open arms.

Let’s just say, there are times I think they deserved a medal (and possibly a parade) for that alone.

Having never needed to rely on others, accepting that my husband and I couldn’t do this on our own was difficult.

Especially since he was in a completely different state going through federal training.

Joy in God Comes When He Provides Family

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Rachal and I weren’t close when we lived in Washington. We were friendly, and she was always willing to swing by and get my kids when I was dealing with rough moments during the pregnancy with my youngest daughter; we just didn’t spend time together outside of CC or our small-group Bible study.

God Knew What We Needed

Suddenly my kids and I were part of her family. We did pretty much everything together for those two months. My eldest daughter celebrated her 10th birthday sitting at their dining room table. She finally had older brothers, and she was thrilled to be there with them.

When I discovered I was pregnant with my youngest, Rachal and her husband were the first to know. In fact, they knew before I did, since they were convinced I was pregnant before I ever considered it. Later she was there holding my hand during the early morning hours as I gave birth to my youngest son.

Through every hoop we had to jump through while purchasing our house, to being hit with a stomach bug while pregnant, God filled me with joy.

There was joy in little things: having a second set of hands to snuggle my youngest daughter; someone to love on my “spirited” and struggling son, a church that had everything we were looking for. Things that would often be taken for granted just kept leading me right back to God, and the joy that comes from knowing He is taking care of each and every one of us.

God always provides, and my joy is always because of Him.

I Chose Joy in God Anew This Week

On Sunday as I prepared the kids and myself for church, I received a phone call from my husband. He’d been in an accident on I-95 and his car was totaled.

As the kids and I drove to pick him up, I sang praises to God. My husband’s car was totaled, and I thought I knew the hardship that would cause, but he had walked away from it without physical injury.

My children didn’t have to visit their father in the hospital, and I didn’t have to explain to them why their daddy wasn’t coming home.

Worries, Stress, and Choosing to Be Positive

When "Everything" Is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Each day since the accident more and more obstacles have been placed before us. Some of them God immediately removed.

When He answers a prayer, the only thing I can do is praise Him and focus on the joy flooding through me.

Monday was especially rough, because my husband was trying to process what had happened, and I was as well.

The first wave of adrenaline and relief had past.

I woke up to a panic attack that only God could calm as I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more, until finally the panic subsided and I was able to sleep again.

My husband was frustrated and bitter, and all I felt was an overwhelming sadness and heaviness of heart.

It didn’t take long before I was irritated with myself and decided to give it all to God.

I wrote out my prayers, my concerns, my frustrations, and my overwhelming belief in God. I wrote out my praises to Him.

Then I spent time in the study of Isaiah.

Isaiah 41 reminds us to stop lamenting and to return to rejoicing. That God provides for all our needs even during our struggles.

His testimony is that He will never forsake us.

We are to trust God as our shepherd and allow him to do it in the His way.

God Trumps Fear and Worry. Every Time.

While I immersed myself in God’s word, the fear and worry began to fade. Nothing had changed about our situation, but I gave that stress to God and accepted the peace and joy that replaced it.

Today things are still “bad” and there are no answers in sight. We don’t know where the next days and weeks will take us.

What I do know, is that I have joy.

Not because of any physical or material thing, but because I know joy in God.

The joy only experienced when you know God is in control, and that this isn’t our forever home.

Joy isn’t just a feeling.

It’s a knowledge that you’re never alone, and Our God is bigger than any problem we will ever face on Earth.

Until next time,

wellofaith

For more on the topic of joy check out this post.

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com
InstaPot Hard-Boiled Egg "Recipe"--wellofaith.com

The Best Hard-Boiled Eggs Ever [InstaPot “Recipe”]

The Best Hard-Boiled Eggs Ever

[Instapot “Recipe”]

I’m Late to the InstaPot Game

Recently a dear friend of mine gifted me with a new-to-me InstaPot (also known as an Instant Pot) or the off brand version of it anyway.

For several years now I’ve been hearing about how great these counter-top appliances are, and considered how it would work for my family.

When push came to shove though, I never had the extra cash to put down for one, so I continued making meals the old-fashioned way.

On the stove.

In the oven.

Or when I remembered: in the crockpot.

Things have finally stepped up a notch in this little cottage in the ‘Burg.

So Far My Favorite Thing to Make is

Hard-boiled eggs.

I love hard-boiled eggs. They’re great snacks filled with protein and healthy fats. They’re also a key ingredient in deviled eggs.

Though, now that I think about it, there should be a better name for those treats.

Anyway…

I’ve tried every trick I’ve found for making hard-boiled eggs, and most of them aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. [Yes, that’s corny, and punny. I get my laughs where I can].

When I discovered how to make them using the Instapot, I was hesitant. What if they turned out the way all the other hard-boiled eggs turned out?

You know the way I’m talking about.

Gray edged yolks.

Hard to peel.

Imagine my joy when I easily peeled my first dozen and they were gorgeous!

The InstaPot Way

Ingredients

  • Water (for my pot 6 quart pot I use 1 cup of water)
  • Eggs (your choice of how many. I usually do a full dozen, but you could do as few as two (2), but why?!)
  • Ice Bath or cold running water and a fridge

Recipe

InstaPot Hard-Boiled Egg "Recipe"--wellofaith.com
Look at those pretty yellow yolks!

Put water into InstaPot.

Then place rack inside pot to prevent eggs from bumping and cracking.

Place eggs on rack, making sure they’re not stacked on top of each other.

Seal InstaPot, turning the pressure valve to the closed position, and set for 6 mins. (Depending on your pot you may want to play around with this a bit. I’ve seen times between 5-7 minutes. Six minutes makes perfect eggs for me).

After six minutes, manually release the pressure (open that valve).

Immediately place the eggs in an ice bath, or as I do, remove the inner pot and place it directly under cold running water.

Refrigerate immediately and enjoy!

Until next time,

wellofaith

Need another good idea for those hard-boiled eggs? Try the Quick Ramen Recipe.

The Best Hard-Boiled Eggs Ever [InstaPot Recipe]--Wellofaith.com
How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofatih.com

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood [Download a Printable]

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood

Motherhood Should Be Considered a Super Power

It had been a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad week in our home, and this particular day was working out to be the worst one. I was almost positive motherhood wasn’t supposed to be this hard.

The kids had been at each other since they woke up, I was hugely pregnant with our youngest son, and someone decided to pee on their bedroom carpet…again.

The carpet that was less than three months old.

In the house we’d just bought.

Dealing with the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofaith.com

My husband was still out of state at FLETC, and I was trying to balance everything, including my children’s socialization (because obviously, homeschoolers have to worry about socialization–but that is a soap box for another time).

I was a Momma on the edge, and no amount of chocolate was helping.

Prayer is Always the Answer

If at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.

When the chocolate didn’t work, I did what I should always do first.

I prayed.

It’s possible I might have begged, actually.

Which is totally okay, because God loves us regardless of how much whining we do.

He’s amazing like that.

So, if at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.

Things didn’t magically change overnight.

In fact things got harder before they got better, (and some days are still down right hard)and when that happens people often decide God isn’t listening or doesn’t care.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, God is closest to us during our struggles.

Providing we allow Him to be.

God is always listening to our prayers, and He always knows what is going on in our lives. The problem comes when instead of turning to Him, we turn away from Him.

Often times people will quote the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”.

That is a falacy.

It mght sound good, but it isn’t how God works.

He will most definitely give us more than we can handle, because He doesn’t want us to handle it. He wants us to turn to Him.

We need to turn to Him.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:24

The Motherhood Struggle: Dishes

Recently our dishwasher turned in its pink slip in the middle of a cycle, and since that time I’ve found myself standing at the kitchen sink a lot more than I’m used to.

This is just one more thing in the long line of, well, things that have become my new expectation of owning a home.

These moments are the times I miss renting, but only for a few minutes.

Anyway, back to the sink, and the dishes.

This is the Chore That Never Ends…

It seemed that when we had a dishwasher to rely on, there was often a sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be loaded.

Or a load waiting to be started, because there weren’t quite enough dishes in it to warrant turning it on.

One thing I’ve learned about motherhood, is that dishes are a quite necessary and often irritating part of raising children.

Kids want to eat, and when they eat they use dishes and glasses.

Often several at a time.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, or following me on IG, you likely know I suffer from anxiety.

A sink full of dishes adds exponentially to that.

The day the dishwasher died, I decided I wasn’t going to allow this new adventure to cripple me.

So, this time I turned to God and asked for peace about the situation.

Then I made a plan.

Sare Verses the Dishes

Several people I know, including my husband, are much more laid back than I am when it comes to chores and getting things finished.

To them, the longer they put it off the happier they are.

This doesn’t work for me.

If I put something off, like the dishes, that responsibility will follow me all day long.

My shoulders will become stiff with tension, my neck and jaw will ache, and my temperament will suffer.

To combat this, I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.

I don’t wait to do the dishes.

When I drink my pre-workout drink in the morning, I clean the jar and place it on the rack to dry. If I have a snack, I clean the dish and put it away.

Yes, this does mean I spend time at the sink more often, but it prevents me from missing out on time with my family if I’m washing an entire day’s worth of dishes after dinner.

If You Can Carry a Dish, You Can Help

After a meal, those who are old enough clear their personal places at the table and then wash their own dishes, placing them in the rack to dry.

This allows every one to take responsibility for the use of their own items.

It also helps this Momma to not spend hours at the sink scrubbing caked on food.

We are a family, and as a family we eat together and we work together.

No one has ever died from cleaning up after themselves, and my children will leave this house knowing how to take care of themselves and a home–regardless of their gender.

The Motherhood Struggle: Raising Productive Children

Ever since my eldest daughter was old enough to help pick up her own toys and place her blanket on the side of her crib, I have given my children age appropriate chores.

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofatih.com

This is a big deal, sisters.

The other day I was volunteering with a group of third and fourth grade girls and discovered more than half of them don’t have chores.

None.

Motherhood isn’t just about keeping a little person alive until they’re eighteen.

It’s about raising them and teaching them.

It’s about guiding them and giving them boundaries, balance, and skills to not just survive, but thrive when they’re no longer living within the walls of our homes.

What Are Age Appropriate Chores?

If you do a quick search on Google or Pinterest you’ll find all kinds of colorful charts listing chores by age group.

Like this.

or even this.

Chores My Kiddos Do

My eldest daughter (11) has a wide variety of chores including

  • Cleaning the bathroom she shares with her brother
  • Taking the dog outside
  • Feeding and caring for the cat
  • Helping with the dishes
  • Taking the trash and recycle to the street for pick-up
  • vacuuming
  • wiping down the counters in the kitchen
  • setting the table
  • helping with meals
  • doing her laundry
  • keeping her room neat and picked up (this includes bed made and art supplies stored away)
  • helping weed the yard and gardens

My eldest son’s (6) chores include:

  • Feeding the dog
  • putting away his laundry
  • making his bed
  • putting his toys away when he is done playing with them
  • wiping off the table
  • cleaning the toilet (with supervision and help)
  • dusting
  • helping to set and clear the table
  • bringing his dirty laundry down on laundry day

My youngest daughter (3) helps where she can. She:

  • Picks up her toys with help
  • carries the vacuum cord while I vacuum the main floor of the house
  • brings her dishes to the sink
  • puts away the step-stool after shes’ used it

Not all of theses chores are done all the time, but all of them have been done. Some of the are done weekly or daily.

Family Chore List

To keep things running smoothly (since our family thrives on routines), we have a laminated list of daily chores on the fridge.

Each chore has a name beside it, and that person is responsible for getting their chore done right after breakfast.

This includes Momma.

Once the chore is finished we cross it off and go about our day.

Since we try to do more together on the weekend I keep the chores down to a minimum on Saturday/Sunday. This allows for relaxation and play.

I wish I could take credit for coming up with this list, but for some reason I’d never thought of it until Stephanie over at A Simply Dunn Life shared how she took some of the struggle out of housework and motherhood.

Since my kiddos and I began using this daily chore list, there has been less stress, more team work, and an overall change in the attitude of our home.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t fix everything that causes stress and anxiety, but it definitely helps.

For that reason, I’m including a free download of the chart we use.

Just print it out, laminate it and you’re ready to go.

Printable download

How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--wellofaith.com

Until next time,

wellofaith
How to Calm the Chaos of Motherhood--Wellofaith.com
Full-Fat Tea

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the Bible

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure.

For Christmas 2015, I received a Bible study book titled, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.

At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from the pages of this relatively thin book.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading study guides for various themes or books within the Bible, and I figured this would be similar.

I was correct on only one part.

It is a book on studying the Bible.

What it ISN’T is a manufactured Bible study.

Within the first seven chapters of the book, the author shows you how to approach the study of any book in the Bible (and preferably every book in the Bible) for optimal literacy.

This includes studying with the five “Ps”:

  • purpose
  • perspective
  • patience
  • process
  • prayer

Bible literacy isn’t a phrase I was familiar with.

What is Bible Literacy?

According to the Northwest Centre for Biblical and Theological Literacy,

Biblical Literacy describes the ability and motivation of people to read the Bible with sufficient understanding so that they can explain its basic meaning, having sufficient knowledge and skill to use resources that enable them to discern the basic meaning of a biblical text. It includes the ability to apply this discerned meaning, i.e. biblical wisdom, to contemporary life.”

Since I’d focused on the word Joy for the year, I realized I need a better scriptural understanding of it.

I didn’t want to understand how a single verse on “joy” applied to me, but how that verse applied to the bigger picture of God’s love and plan for everyone.

Only then would I be able to see how it applied to me in the present and future.

Why You Should Become a Woman of the Word

In a day and age when more and more people are not only turning away from God, but are antagonistic towards anyone who dares to trust in Him, it is important for us to have a clear, educated understanding of God’s Word.

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the bible @wellofaith.com

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

It doesn’t change.

It isn’t corrupt.

People will tell you you’re wrong.

They’ll offer you opinion stated as fact.

Some will twist the scriptures to fit their personal agenda.

We must know what the Bible says and what it means–both historically and applicably.

Our own relationship with Christ might not be affected by their misunderstandings, but our children’s relationships might be.

The Bible is Not a Fairy Tale

The Bible was provided for us so that we would know what was expected of us, and what we could in turn expect from our God.

Within the sixty-six books of the Bible we learn how to raise our children, love our spouses, and how to love our neighbors while not loving or applauding their sins.

We see the great love, righteousness and compassion of God who created EVERYTHING, and loves us without fail.

People read these stories and consider them fairy tales.

Stories made up to explain away situations they otherwise had no answers for.

As Christians we know this isn’t the case.

The Old Testament gives us a detailed account of all the things we shouldn’t do–and how God loved the Israelites so much that he forgave them time and time again; finally disciplining out of love when they refused to listen.

In the New Testament we see the miracles.

The unbelievable, awe-inspiring, miracles of Jesus.

Jesus Performed Miracles: The End

There are people who will latch on to these miracles and claim they didn’t happen.

That they couldn’t happen.

The only problem with their argument: It’s wrong.

Jesus performed miracles.

This is a fact.

A fact supported by historical research; not just research done by people predisposed to seeing miracles, but also by secular historians and scholars.

If we don’t study the Bible, we won’t be able to respond to those who haven’t discovered their faith in Jesus.

As a mother I need to be able to guide my children; to help them find the answers they seek, and to know how to articulate the truth when confronted by their secular peers.

We also need to study the Bible, because it’s the voice of God speaking directly to each and every one of us.

Daily Study

When you have a relationship with someone, you spend time with them. You talk to them, ask questions about them, and seek answers to who they are.

The same thing needs to happen when you want a personal relationship with Christ.

You can’t expect a relationship–or an understanding of the scriptures–to happen if you’re not spending time together.

Women of the Word makes it possible to do more than just scan a verse and take it out of context, because it sounds like a verse to make you feel better about yourself.

The more time you spend with God (in prayer, in study, in contemplation) the closer you’ll get, and the more you’ll understand.

You don’t always need to spend hours diving deeply into the Word, but you need to meet up with God, in peace and quiet, each day.

There are dozens of ways to “fit” God into your day; between scrolling social media and running your kids to their activities.

However, we shouldn’t have to squeeze God in.

He should be our top priority.

After all, we’re His top priority.

I know it won’t be easy, but learning a new habit–especially one that will help you grow each and every day, isn’t always going to be easy, but it will always be worth it.

First thing in the morning, before you get overwhelmed by your ‘to do’ list, grab your Bible, colored pens and pencils, and a notebook.

Then take a breath, and say hello to the only one who has loved you without ceasing since before you were born.

He’s been waiting for you.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” -Proverbs 1:5

Until next time,

wellofaith

Check out I Plant My Roots in Jesus

Becoming a Woman of the Word--wellofaith.com

Ultimate Portion Fix Master Coach Certification, and Why I’m Doing It.

I love food.

That’s real.

I love food so much that I think I could happily live as a food taster.

The problem I have though, is my body.

Now, this isn’t a body-image issue.

This is an I hurt all the time and can’t bend over or walk, issue.

I discovered back, sometime around 2009, that I have severe sciatica.

This knowledge came after years of constant pain, not always being able to put pressure on my legs, and fearing I’d lose my ability to move every time I sneezed.

It took forever for the medical specialists to figure out what was wrong. Nothing was showing up on x-rays or CT scans. They even tried to do an MRI, but discovered just how claustrophobic I am.

Eventually the diagnosis became clear. It also became clear that my lifestyle needed to change.

The Problem With Lifestyle Changes: They Take Time.

Fix Approved Brownies

It has been a decade (and three more children) since this epiphany.

During that time I have tried so many different things.

Some of them actually worked, for a while.

Others didn’t.

Let me tell you, three day cleanses where you get nothing but two shakes, a salad, water, and green tea each day is not a healthy or particularly useful way to try and get fit.

In order to be healthy I thought all I had to do was workout–strengthen my core so the muscles would be stronger and I wouldn’t get flare-ups. I figured I already ate healthy, so everything should be manageable.

And, it was.

For a little while.

I would still have occasional flare-ups and find myself barely able to move, or stuck taking muscle relaxers and painkillers.

Don’t get me wrong, working out is a major requirement for me to maintain movement and a pain-free life.

However, it isn’t the only part.

Pregnancy Can Change Things

After I had my youngest daughter (Buggles) in 2016, I expected my body to bounce back the way it had after my eldest son (the Man) was born.

It didn’t.

In fact, the more I worked out the more the weight stayed put, or increased.

I tried meal replacement shakes, weight loss supplements, and cutting things out.

I even tried working out more.

Nothing worked.

Two years later and I still had the extra weight.

Then I got pregnant again. The weight I gained during this last pregnancy was gone within weeks of giving birth. Yet, those pesky pounds from the previous pregnancy still hung on.

Again, I went to the shakes.

This time they worked.

Sort of.

They worked until I started replacing them with real food again. That weight came right back, and it brought a few friends.

My body was angry.

I was angry.

Every morning it hurt to get out of bed.

Every day I was exhasuted, even if I slept for 8 hours, I couldn’t function.

All day long I was in a fog. My brain wasn’t seeming to engage. Things took longer to process, and time seemed to just disappear.

Something needed to change.

I was still working out, but that had gotten a bit sporadic. There were days when I decided to curl up, eat cookies, and not workout, because I was just too tired.

There was no energy.

The Funny Thing About Energy…You Don’t Get It By Sitting Around Eating Cookies.

Energy comes from what you put in your body.

The human body is much like an engine on a vehicle. It needs fuel to move or perform its tasks.

You don’t fill your gas fueled engine with diesel, so why would you fuel your body with the things it can’t use?

In January, I decided enough was enough. I was tired of feeling older than my age. I was tired of feeling bloated, and I was tired of the nonstop headaches.

The first step I took was to get rid of all the processed foods in the house. This was difficult for a number of reasons, none actually having to do with me.

Just because I was tired of the way I was feeling, and knew I needed to stop eating what far too often passes for food, didn’t mean anyone else in my family was on board with that.

The next thing I did was pull out my portion control containers I got five years ago when I ordered the 21 Day Fix program.

I’ll be honest, five years ago I looked at those containers, tried them for a few days, and then went back to my normal eating habits.

The workouts were great, but I figured I didn’t need an eating plan.

Welcome To My Color Coded Lifestyle

For several weeks I played around with the containers. I followed the plan included with the original workout program.

Mostly.

And it worked.

Mostly.

Those pounds were starting to slip away.

It wasn’t an overnight thing, but I started to notice the scale staying on a number and not jumping back up the next day.

About this time I found out that the eating plan had been updated and turned into an actual course I could take to dig deeper into the science behind the containers.

Let me tell you, the program was exactly what my lifestyle change was missing.

When I say program, I don’t mean “diet”. I also don’t mean magic pill, or quick fix. It isn’t packaged so someone can do it for you. It is real life.

Herb Crusted Salmon

I’ve learned what is needed to fuel my body for my goals. And just how much of certain foods I need to eat in order for my body to run without issues.

For instance, there is such a thing as too much nut butter–I know, I was shocked too.

Apparently the amount I was using in my morning oatmeal was more than I needed to have all week.

Oops.

That Explained a few things.

Banana Oat Pancakes

Those colored containers look tiny, but the foods that go inside them are natural, whole foods. They’re dense and filling, and there are times when I wonder how I’m going to eat all of it.

I’m learning that eating too much or too little will throw me off, but if I follow the portions I feel great throughout the whole day.

There is so much to know when it comes to food, and so many people telling you what is best. I don’t want to be another one of those talking heads.

I just want to help people feel better, fuel their bodies, and cut out the processed crap that bogs our bodies down and makes us foggy.

Start with the first step. Make a choice to be healthier. Then get rid of the processed junk. After that, eating delicious food in the right portions is a simple thing.

So simple, even someone who dislikes cooking as much as I do, and has children who tend to be picky about their foods, can do it with ease and success.

That quaint little phrase fitness professionals like to toss around, “abs are made in the kitchen”, really is true.

Joy During the Darkness

Each day the media gives us detailed accounts of how dark and broken our world is. Whether you get your ‘news’ from television news reports, printed newspapers and magazines, or social media–you’re being bombarded with doom and gloom. The worst minutes of strangers’ lives are plastered, shared, and argued over. There is so much heartache, and no answers or solutions coming from the people participating in the often lengthy and irrelevant comment section. Everyone has an opinion, and while we are entitled to an opinion, shouldn’t we think before stating it?

Yes, this should be obvious to everyone, but so often it isn’t. These actions can’t be laid at the feet of the unbeliever either, but rest at the dusty soles of each person. I’ve seen loudly proclaiming Christians tear people down in the guise of fellowship just as I’ve seen athiests and agnostics do it.

God created all of us, and our job is to share His gospel with others. This doesn’t mean we’re supposed to browbeat unbelievers or malign their name. Our world is currupt enough without turning our faith into a tool of corruption. When we do that, when we use Jesus as a way to bully others, we aren’t doing His works, we’re doing Satan’s.

Instead of pointing out the faults of each other maybe we, as Christians, could spread around some joy.
That’s the amazing thing about Jesus. He brings joy. People loved Him and followed Him. They were willing to give up their material possessions and their careers to join Him. They were willing to give up their lives to follow in His footsteps, to spread His teachings. This didn’t happen because He condemed each person He came in contact with. It happened because He not only had joy–even through His trials, He was joy. He was and is the light.

You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29

During the last eight months I’ve focused on joy. Not just the word, but all that it signifies, and so far I’ve realized one very important thing. Even in the darkness that has been covering our world, there is still joy. There is still light. God is still here, with us. During each and every trial, during every painful experience, He is beside us.

That’s joy.
Knowing that this world is temporary, that the life we live on this earth isn’t the best there is, that’s joy.

Instead of pointing out the faults of everyone and adding to the darkness, choose to add light to the world. Choose to add JOY.

This day is holy to our LORD. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

Blessings,

Sare

You’re Never Alone

In case you’re feeling terribly alone today, please realize you’re not. The LORD is with you. He has been with you since before you took your first breath. He never leaves you or forgets you. Those are human failures, and Our LORD doesn’t fail.

Be peaceful today, dear friends, and let His wonderful light shine through you.

Blessings, Sare

New Year 2016: 366 Days of Blessings

This is the first time in months I’ve had any desire to write. I fell off the blogging wagon, and when I fall off something I don’t just slip off. Instead I’m as graceful as a ballerina with two left feet and a club leg. I swan dive off that wagon, get my toe caught on the edge and end up belly flopping down a rocky embankment, landing with a gooey splash in the slimy remnants of a paper mill’s runoff.

It takes talent.

The last several months have all kind of run together. There haven’t been individual 24-hour days, but what seemed to be 336-hour days. This made blogging a vague and distant memory for me.

I can’t say the past few months were bad, things just weren’t as bright or obvious to me as they had been. It could have been my SAD acting up, or it could have been the rapidly changing events in my personal and family life.

2015 was definitely a challenge. There were days when I felt tested beyond what I could handle, but during those days I turned to the LORD, and remembered to breathe again.

Rinse and Repeat.

A year ago I shared what word I would prayerfully focus my life on during the 365 days of 2015. That word, Fellowship, showed me things about myself I didn’t know, and brought me happiness as well as some discomfort. God used that word to change me from the inside out. Not all of those changes came easily or without frustration, but they came when I needed them and have made me a better(if not slightly more exhausted) person.

2016 is a brand new year. This time with 366 days (Hello, Leap Year!) to look for and experience the blessings the LORD has planned for each one of us.

This year, the LORD has put the word, JOY, on my heart. With the sadness of my father’s passing last year, there were times when looking for the joy in things seemed foreign. 2016 is the year where through prayer, worship, and study I will search out and learn from all the Joy available in my life. I will embrace the feeling, share the light, and remember even during the darkest hours of the longest night, the Joy of our Savior is there for me to grab hold of.

Take a few moments today and prayerfully ask the LORD to guide you to a word that will change your focus this year. May the LORD bless you and yours this year.

 

Sare

“May the God of hope fill you with all Joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

 

Fellowship

In January when I prayerfully chose Fellowship as my Word of the Year, I left it up to the LORD to decide how to use it in my life. I never quite expected it to lead me where I am currently. I thought maybe it would envolve me continuing with our small group, or maybe I’d do an ocassional social event.

Apparently I wasn’t thinking large enough.

Since January, I’ve not only continued to attend small group, but I’ve been led by the LORD to do so many things I never would have considered before. Now, as we’re coming closer to the end of 2015, I’ve realized how blessed I’ve been by this word and God’s plan for me.

Each day I learn something new about myself, and each time I walk out my door and step into a situation that doesn’t allow me to hide inside my house, I grow stronger. I get closer to the person the LORD has designed me to be.

Thank you LORD for guiding me to Classical Conversations and the community we’re building here, and thank you for placing on my heart the desire to fill a role in Children’s Ministry at my church. Neither of these things would I have ever thought to do myself. You are an amazing and loving Creator.

What blessings are you thankful for?

Blessings, Sare