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Fit and Trim

measuretapesxFor the last 6-9 months I have been on a journey of getting fit and trim. The idea of healthy living is such a great one, but man can it be a tough reality. With everything available instant and at your fingertips, it makes it hard to want to take the time to prepare for healthy living. Our culture has taught us that we shouldn’t have to wait on anything, so when you go on a journey to become fit and trim you expect instant results. We want to lose 10lbs in 10 days and we want to fit in a size smaller the day we decide we want to be fit and trim. We don’t like working and waiting for results. We want everything instantaneously. We even pray to God expecting answers, healing, and next step directions right away. Since about November of 2013, our family has been on a fit and trim journey of a different sort. While I have been working on my physical body, and internal health – we have also been on a financial diet. We had a short term financial mini-crisis right around the holidays and it sent us into a tailspin. We were not prepared for a mini-crisis, let alone (God forbid) a massive crisis. So we decided to get fit and trim financially. We went back to our friend Dave Ramsey and restudied some of his suggestions for living. We started intentionally budgeting and put ourselves back in charge of our money, we eventually signed up to retake the 9 week Financial Peace University class. During those 9 weeks God worked in us in some pretty astounding ways. We were able to save a significant amount, and pay down a significant amount of debt in a short amount of time. We realized that if we had been living fit and trim to begin with that we would have never felt the need to call our situation a mini-crisis at all! During this journey we have decided that fit and trim is our new way of life. We are on a journey to living below our means for the rest of our lives.

Coin Dropping Into Piggy Bank

We want our children to grasp this concept and learn from our mistakes so they don’t have to make the same ones. In this process we have decided to sell our home and scale back. This decision has put an amazing spark back into our relationship. We have found ourselves dreaming together again. After 10 years of being a couple, sometimes the mundane of the everyday can squash your dreams, especially if the mundane has become financially draining! We are dreaming of a smaller home, and living a smaller lifestyle! I find this amazing, because the great American dream teaches you to strive for bigger, better, now – but with God’s dream we are dreaming smaller, less, now! We are so excited for this journey we are on! We cannot wait to see all the amazing things that will come from this fit and trim life. We are looking forward to now being completely debt free (except our home) in the next 2 ½  years and being able to build a legacy for our children and God’s ministry here on earth!

Today we are winning the fit and trim battle of our money and lifestyle. I still find myself struggling with my physical journey to be a fit and trim mom, but I feel good about my decisions I’ve made for my health (even if you can’t see the results from the outside). But I wonder sometimes if we are challenged enough to make these healthy decisions for ourselves? I have found that when I make a concentrated effort to be fit and trim physically and now financially, it almost automatically drives me to be fit and trim spiritually as well. I think this is because without Christ’s daily direction, we cannot and will not succeed in these other areas, no matter how hard we try.

So, today I want to encourage you to join us on our journey of becoming fit and trim. If you’re like me, daily discipline is a challenge. It’s just hard to get it all right all the time – this is why I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit and his daily guidance. Let me challenge you to find at least one area you can work on becoming more fit and trim in. If I can pray with you along your journey let me know! Will you pray for us as we continue on our path to being fit and trim?

Until Next Time, Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!

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Happy Wedding Season

It’s been years since we’ve had a “wedding” season in our lives, but this is one of those years where we will be attending a wedding every month from March – June. This time it's not our peers getting married, but those younger than us like past babysitters, and younger co-workers. I am beyond thrilled for these amazing couples, and know that God has big plans in store for each one. Just 2 weeks ago, Matt and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary and in just 2 weeks we will celebrate our 10 year dating anniversary. Yes, we celebrate both – each are a special milestone that should be celebrated individually. We try our hardest to “recreate” our very first date by eating at the same restaurant each year. I always love looking forward to that special night each year. It makes what happened a decade ago seem just like yesterday. I can still envision exactly what we each were wearing that night and how I ate guacamole for the first time because I didn’t want Matt to think I was a “wimpy” eater. HAHA – this still makes me laugh – guacamole is one of my favorite, must have food items now.  We were so young back then, having a very fast-paced courtship that had us married before a full year of dating. Most couples today, are several years older than we were when we got married, but if I could tell my younger self anything about marriage I might tell myself this:

They say the first year is the hardest, but it doesn't have to be. Our first year of marriage was one of our greatest! Full of fun, adventure, first time adult decisions, and coming together as one.

 

pregnant

Don’t rush on creating a family (but don’t delay for too long). If you know my story you know that I pushed for children several years before the original proposed plan made by both of us. My pushiness could have very easily created a fault-line in our relationship. Thankfully my husband was very patient and loving with me. Give yourself at least the first year to know who you are as a married couple before you venture down that path. However, don’t wait until it’s almost too late to have kids either, because if you also know my story you know that 5 years is a long time to wait for a vital pregnancy.  

pray together

Pray together! Even if it feels unnatural at first, please just pray! This is part of growing together as one.If you can’t pray in front of your spouse, who can you pray in front of?

Pray for each other. Pray daily for your spouse. Pray for their protection, their health, their job, for God’s favor and blessing to be upon them. Pray for daily guidance and wisdom. Pray for their spiritual growth and walk with the Lord.

 

small house

Don’t rush and wish the years away. We all start out small. Most of us start our in tiny apartments or dumpy rentals! Our first homes are usually not our last – that’s why they call them starter homes. You don’t start out the way your parents are finishing. It takes years to obtain all the great things our parents have. My parents made their way from food stamps to gorgeous homes and belonging over the course of 30+ years. Trust me, in time you will get there. It’s ok to have less than the rest of those around you. 10 years into our marriage and we still have some cheapo yard sale furniture and discount store pieces.

car

Pay off a vehicle and keep it! If I could go back I would have kept that little Ford Focus that I had almost paid off, even if it did make a weird sound after that wreck I was in. We have wasted so much money on trading, buying, and leasing multiple vehicles – we have our “forever until it dies” vehicle now, but oh how I wish we had been wiser.

Don’t compare your marriage or spouse to anyone else. This is huge! You married your husband or wife because of who they are – not because of who you want them to be. Comparison usually gets us no where in life, but stuck. You can avoid years of resentment (on both sides) if you leave the comparing at the door. If you want to change yourself to be better, that's great, but don’t force change on your spouse because you think someone else is better – besides, you never know what really goes on behind closed doors in others homes.

dating Continue to date – even after the kids are born. Dating is so important. It's important to continually get to know each other. To share your dreams that are probably ever-changing as your station in life changes. Get dressed up and have fun! Get creative with friends if babysitters are too expensive. Trade off for date nights so you don’t have to pay for childcare.

 

 

Don’t overbook your schedules. We have been known to over commit for good causes and the “Lord’s work”. Even when we were doing these things as a couple, we found ourselves drained. God first in the home, Family second, and everything comes after that as it can fit. Don’t get caught up in doing good risking your marriage in the process.

Lastly, seek godly mentors/good counsel. Have a couple that is ahead of you in life that you can depend on for advice and prayer. Don’t try to skate through this life alone. Godly counsel and wisdom from those your respect can take you far in your marriage. Don’t make decisions alone, without first seeking the wisdom of God and the wise counsel of those around you. Find a couple willing to take you in under their wings to share their story – who knows maybe they have learned the hard way for you on what not to do.

For my sweet friends getting married in the coming months – congratulations!  We love each of you dearly and pray you find God’s strength to fight for your marriage daily. Love one another with the grace and mercy that God first loved you with, this will add years to your marriage – I am sure of it – we are proof of it.

 Happy 9 and 10 year anniversaries to the love of my life!

happy anniversary

 

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A letter to my daughter on her 4th birthday...

Dear Amy Kate  

happy girl

As January comes and the time to celebrate your birthday nears, I am filled with such joy and pride to know that I get to be your mommy! You are truly a special gift from God that we patiently and sometimes not so patiently waited on for nearly 5 years. Your arrival changed your daddy and mine’s lives forever and we are forever grateful for that change! You made us parents – you helped us live into our purpose for life and I couldn’t have asked for a better baby girl to make that happen!

You are a joy and delight to be around. From the day you were born, your precious smile and spirit has stopped strangers in their tracks – people are drawn to you because you produce a blessing of joy for everyone you encounter. Your tender heart is so full of love and care for those around you. You are my #1 helper always wanting to serve us whether in real time or just in play. Your heart for God at this tender young age is enough to encourage any person to follow after our Savior!

 

I love to watch you sing and dance, always entertaining those around you. I love to see you teach and guide your little brother on the ways of life. I love to spend mommy-daughter dates with you. You make the best shopping buddy, the most helpful cleaning partner, and the greatest bedtime snuggling buddy there is to have.

ak and L

I pray for you daily, even when you don’t hear me – I am praying for you. My prayer for you is that you will always be a leader, but not just any leader – the leader of the good kids; the one that leads people in the right direction, to make the right decisions, to be obedient and respectful in all areas of life. I pray that the Lord shapes your will to match His and that you will be a part of a Jesus movement like the world has never seen. I pray that the Lord protect your innocence and purity all the days of your life. I pray that wherever the young boy is that wdad and akill grow up to be your husband that he is safe and remains pure just like you. I pray this young man will find salvation and relationship with the Lord from a young age and that this relationship with God will guide him to you in God’s perfect timing for your life. I pray daily that you would be protected body, mind,soul and spirit. I pray that you will always know how special you are to me and your daddy, and Lucas too!

You are a tiny tot with a BIG personality and I am so privileged to be able to parent you through your adolescence. One day you will make a marvelous mother as you have children of your own, a desire you have already expressed at such a young age. Delight yourself in the Lord, little one, and he will bless you with the desires of your heart. While I do not want to rush it, I cannot wait to see and know the young lady you will one day be. You are a fabulous daughter, a fantastic sister, and good friend and you are only 4 years old!

My wisest words I give to you now…

ak and mom

If someone is mean to you – love them back, no matter what. Eventually your kindness will win them over.  If someone teases you for how you look, remember that you are a beautiful daughter of THE King, fearfully and wonderfully made. When you feel like you don’t measure up, remember that you are loved beyond measure. When you are fearful, call upon the Lord he will rescue you and bring peace to your mind. Listen carefully for the Lord’s voice, because he is speaking. And always choose to be sweet, kind, gentle, loving, obedient, and respectful – this will get you far in life.

 

akI hope you have the happiest birthday as you turn 4 this month! I cannot wait to celebrate so many many many more birthdays with you! It’s been my pleasure to care for you through the infant and toddler years and now I look forward to guiding you through your child-hood years as you learn to become your own person. I can’t wait to see who you become as your grow into who God designed you to be!

 

Happy Birthday Beautiful Girl!!

Momma Loves You So Very Much!!

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A Message To My Son

This post is dedicated to my precious son, Lucas. Lucas turns 2 this month and I wanted to write this post to him in honor of his birthday.Lucas

Dear Lucas,

You may never know exactly how much joy and laughter you bring to my life, but I want you to know how thankful I am that you call me "mommy"! I am honored to be your mother. Before you were born, I was so very hesitant about the idea of having a son, because of the bond I had formed with your sister. I was unsure of how we would be close, and wondered if you would prefer time with your daddy over me; however on the day you were born all of those hesitations disappeared faster than I could blink my eyes. You have been the most precious, tender, funny, loving, smart, energetic little boy and my days are brighter because of you!

Each day I pray that you will grow in wisdom and stature of the Lord. I pray each day that your father and I would have the wisdom of God to raise you to be a godly young man. I pray daily that the Lord would reveal your gifting and even your calling so that we can be apart of shaping you and preparing you for your role in His kingdom. I pray each day for the little girl who will one day be your wife. I pray that the Lord will protect both you and provide you godly parents and/or mentors that will help shape your view of our Lord in a way that leads to your salvation. I pray that the Lord help protect your purity of heart, body, mind, and soul so that you will have deep love for another when you are married. I pray that you will be a leader, both as a child and an adult. I pray that you will be wise enough to always do right, even in the midst of temptation. I pray that you will always have a positive, loving, and respectful relationship with your father and I. I also pray daily that you grow, develop and learn as you were designed to do. I pray daily for you son, because I love you too much to not ask God to be apart of your life.

You were born smiling, laughing early on  from a sweet tender age and always bringing laughter and smiles to everyone around you. You are smarter than I thought you would be at this sweet age of 2 years old. You are a quick study and you don't let anything hold you back! You observe from afar and after you've gained understanding, you take center stage to show us what you've learned! We are proud of who you are today, and are excited to see who you will become over the next many years.

war eagle

Your love for your big sister is astonishing. If I didn't know there were 23 months between you, I would think you were twins by the closeness in your relationship. The two of you move in sync with one another, and it brings such joy to my heart to see the two of you as best friends. I am so glad you have one another to go through life with.

I look forward to each morning before the sun rises when you come to snuggle with me in my bed. You are tender yet feisty! Your red hair has a personality to match, and I wouldn't have it any other way! You stand firm in your opinions and know what you want - I pray that the Lord shape this part of you for His will. I love when you grab my hand and say, "c'mon Mommy, come play" or when you beg me to hold you so you can say, "sit down mommy". Your efforts to get my attention often remind me that the laundry can wait, but you cannot...because you are growing daily into a precious young boy.

I thank the Lord daily for you, because you were and are the perfect addition to our family unit! When I find out my friends are going to have new baby boys, I just brag on how special that bond and relationship will be due to the relationship I have with you! Thank you Lucas Matthew for changing my perspective on what it would be like to have a son of my own. I pray I show you the love you both deserve and desire from me as your mother. You are a blessing to our family and one day you will be a wonderful blessing to your very own family. Your future wife and children will be blessed beyond measure because you will be theirs!

I love you son, Happy 2nd Birthday!

boots

Love,

Mama

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Bread of Life

Did you know that if you humbly ask the Holy Spirit to bring God’s Word to life right before your eyes he will? I mean, most of us “know” this…but when’s the last time you really experienced this?00-end-time-bible-prophecy-word-of-god-is-alive I heard a teaching during the women’s Bible study at our church that really drove home the idea of God’s word being our food source, what sustains us. The teaching really pushed for a daily in-take of this bread of life and how it was life changing. All we have to do is ask for the bread (God’s word) to become life for us.

Now, I am a knowledgeable Christian. I know a lot about God’s word, and even have a lot of it memorized from being raised in a Christian home and attending a Christian school all my life. And while this is all good, sometimes I think it has served as an injustice to my walk with God. For most of my life I have had this sense about me that I know God, and His word – but what I've discovered as I've journeyed down a new path with him is that I don’t know as much as I thought I did!

300breadI took the challenge from the teaching on eating God’s word and began to study the scripture for a daily dose of sustaining bread – and let me tell you…if you earnestly ask for a new revelation – He will give it to you!

I accidentally learned a tough lesson in the last week, if you forsake your daily dose of sustaining bread – it will exhaust you! I overbooked our family schedule due to some last-minute events that came up, that we really needed to be apart of. Instead of cutting less important things out, I forced us all to push through with late nights, poorly planned takeout dinners, and “no bath” nights for the kids. I was “too tired” to get up for my dose of daily Bread and kept saying I would “eat later”. But I never did eat. I ran out of steam by Wednesday morning. I was tired, cranky, sensitive, and found myself turning into a control freak by Sunday! As I sat with my husband on Sunday evening, I confessed to him, “I simply want to cry right now”. I believe this was because I had put the weight of the world on my own shoulders this last week. I told myself that the strength I gained the weeks before in God’s word was enough to sustain me for the week. But I was wrong. This is why the scripture tells us to pray “Give us this day, our daily bread”. We need to feed on his word, sit in his presence, and listen for each day. The Lord has so much he wants to share with you and with me. After my long week of “doing it on my own” I got up this morning to discover God had a perfect word for me, for today. He is so good to me. I am thankful that he knows the secret places of my heart and is able to shine a light in the darkness that I like to keep hidden from the rest of my life.

When is the last time you truly sat down to commune with our Lord and take in your daily bread? While it was a hard lesson to learn last week, I am thankful for the reminder that it gave me…We cannot live this life without his guidance!0512131200

Let me challenge you to ask the Lord to meet you where you are. Ask him to draw you into His Word and then ask the Holy Spirit to bring it to life for you. I've always heard that the Bible is like our road-map to life – but I’m not sure I ever really understood what that truly meant until recently.

Until Next Time Be Blessed and Be a Blessing…

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