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Blinders

I want you to imagine a horse with blinders on. Blinders are used to keep the horse focused on what is in front of it. Since the horse can’t see everything in it’s peripheral vision, it keeps the horse from becoming distracted or scared.

The horse looks towards the end of the row – it’s goal. So, for instance, if a dog runs up from the house, the horse will hear it; but, the horse will stay the course. If a snake should come into its path… it will tread on and over it; because, the horse’s goal is in sight – nothing else.

I would like to encourage you to first ground yourself in God’s word, assuring that you are walking as Christ did (1 John 2:6).

Then know this, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)

Don’t take the time to rejoice in your authority. Stay the course, focusing on God. Keep your blinders on. Once your with our Heavenly Father, look back and witness the trail you took in life and how it’s littered with snakes and scorpions that you were never even aware of; because, you were too focused on your goal, the end of your row, your God.

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I choose peace

Tonight, I am emotionally exhausted. I am not emotionally exhausted in a conversational way. I am emotionally exhausted in the clinical way. As I had that thought on the forefront of my mind, I ran across this picture posted here.

I thought to myself how true it is… but God. You see, if you look up all of the signs of emotional exhaustion you will find that I actually only meet maybe one or two of the criteria. That is not because I’m not experiencing emotional exhaustion. That is because…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

And, I could go on because His Word goes on. I’m not going to worry tonight. I might worry on another day… when I’m stronger of body yet not being diligent about being spiritually focused on God‘s promises that day.

Tonight, though, I’m not going to worry about losing another loved one. I’m not going to worry about having enough money for repairs and gifts. I am not going to worry about whether I am the best mother or not, the best daughter or not, the best sister or not, the best friend or not.

I’m not going to worry because I have given my exhaustion to the Lord and He has turned it into peace. He is Jehovah Jireh. He is the provider of promises, needs, and even emotional balance and health. I could focus on my exhaustion and say that it is there because of all of the turbulence around me; but, instead, I am recognizing that God is using it to force me into a state of awareness of the peace that is simply waiting for me to fall back into. And… I choose to fall back into His peace and His promises tonight.

http://youtu.be/BgaHaioAjyg

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When I die…

I am feeling some sort of way this evening due to the passing of our Grampa Woody. Most often I give allowances for everyone’s feelings but my own. So, if you’re reading this, forgive me and allow me a moment in time to -for once – allow my own.

When I die I pray that I will have left a legacy of love, grace, patience, understanding, and above all a blanket of God’s love. I pray that the people that are a part of my life will forgive my every fault, because there are many. I pray that people will sit around a table and think of me fondly. I hope that, while I may not have many friends, I will have friends of great substance that will miss me and miss that something that I was always able to give them.

I hope that, whether they are friends or family, the people in my life will not just be able to but will choose to not reflect upon the ways that I failed them. This may sound like a selfish thing to hope for; but, this piece of hope is held for them and not myself. After all, I will be in heaven with my Father. I will surely have failed some. I will surely have disappointed many. I say this because I have failed myself and disappointed myself more times than I can count. Yet, for my loved ones’ sakes, I pray that their hearts are not heavy and their minds are not burdened by my past or some thing I heaped upon them; but, rather their hearts and minds would be set upon the Lord.

Of course, I pray that I live a life that is free of all of this and full of a multitude of things that would make God proud of me and subsequently the people around me. But my mind keeps going back to the people that Christ loved. He loved the tax collector. He loved the filthy beggar. He even loved the woman of ill repute that many looked upon as if she were a dog. I can strive for perfection everyday (and I will); yet, there has been only one faultless Man who walked this earth and it is not I.

I have been the black sheep all of my life, as far back as I can remember. A lot of that was probably my own doing. I certainly don’t blame anyone for it. I have disappointed many people and, sadly, proven many right on occasion. I am also not the same person that I was 10 years ago, 20 years ago.

I pray that the people in my life will love me now, in the end, and after the end as Jesus would love me… not for me but for them. I pray that their hearts and minds will be devoid of any negativity so that they would know the peace that passes all understanding, the true miracle that forgiveness truly is, and the love of God that comes only from the Father.

If I am truly lucky… abundantly blessed, those that I leave behind will celebrate my homecoming with praise and worship that lifts up into the heavenlies and grabs God’s attention for just a moment; and, He is pleased.

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Don’t Give Up

A lot of people quote Matthew 6:1-4 when speaking about good deeds.

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Matthew‬ ‭6:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Tonight, I would quote Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

So many times (because it’s in our fleshly nature) people only remember, talk, dwell, focus on past mistakes.

They define you in their own minds by what they hear or by that moment.

I feel like someone needs to hear this, “Don’t give up doing what’s right!”

There’s a very important word in the passage from Galatians – the word “if.” IF we do not give up, then in our due season we will reap.

Many times we’re beaten up… for just doing the best we knew how through Christ; and, so often, we get abused and blamed when we may actually be the injured party.

In those moments, we have to not speak – for it’s God that promotes us – not us. Anything that we do for ourselves can just as easily be taken away. Anything God gives us, however, cannot be taken from us but by Him and His permission.

I praise God that in those times, God remembers what I did. He’s my daddy and I know, in that moment, HE was proud of me – IS proud of me. I hope you’ll remember this too.

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids: Billy Graham’s God’s Good News

I received this book (no money) for my honest review and that’s what you always get!

Billy Graham remains one of the foremost pastors in America’s history, and parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, and more will want this lovely edition of God‘s GoodNews for the children in their life to show them the way to the cross and to help them begin a lifetime of following Christ. God‘s Good News is a collection of more than 60 favorite Bible stories told in actual Bible text from the New King James Version, including Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, and the disciples, and each story is equipped with a takeaway devotion from Rev. Graham. The takeaways will help children focus on God’s Word, apply it to their lives, and begin walking with God and sharing the good news from an early age. The striking artwork from Scott Wakefield will help children connect with the timeless Bible stories and messages from Rev. Graham.

Christianity is good news. . . . When we open up the Bible, it is good news from cover to cover. It’s the good news that God loves us.

—Billy Graham

This book is yet another part of the amazing legacy that Reverend Billy Graham leaves behind – him ministering, through book, to the next generation.

Graham starts this capturing Book by talking about what he always talks about – God’s love and how “it passes knowledge.” Graham was big on talking about how much God loves us and that tone is set from the very beginning in this book.

Separated – just as the Bible is – between Old and New Testaments, this story and devotion book prepares the youngest for independently reading the Bible.

Meanwhile, Scott Wakefield’s illustrations are making every story come alive in your child’s mind! His artistic interpretation, while beautiful, is realistic enough that the illustrations do not deviate from the Word while still being child-friendly.

Throughout this story and devotion book, your children will hear words directly from Billy Graham’s writings as well.

I highly recommend this book. I know that shouldn’t surprise most of you as it is the works of Reverend Billy Graham. His legacy and history, though, do not just give him an automatic seal of approval by me. Going through this book, I am very impressed with the stories that were included.

So many children’s devotionals include stories such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Esau, Jonah, and others. Many, however, do not include the Tower of Babel, Jacob’s ladder, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, King Solomon, Josiah, Zacharias, the sermon on the mount, Zacchaeus, the prodigal son, the widow’s coins, Stephen, and many, many, more. This story and devotion book has more than 60 of them in it!

If you want to know what a child’s honest first thoughts are of this book, before you buy it, watch this short video:

https://youtu.be/pNTE6KfRFZM

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Bible Review & Giveaway: (in) courage Devotional Bible

*I received this book for an honest review and that’s what you’ll get. No money was exchanged.

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I was asked to review the new (in) courage Devotional Bible by Holman Bibles, written in the Christian Standard Bible translation. For those of you unfamiliar with CSB (Christian Standard Bible), don’t feel bad. It’s still fairly new. “It is a modern English Bible translation of the Christian Bible. Work on the translation was completed in June 2016, with the first full edition released in March 2017.”**

“The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a major revision of the 2009 edition of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). The CSB incorporates advances in biblical scholarship to improve upon translation decisions, word choice, and style. It also removes some of the novel features[which?] of the HCSB, based on feedback from Bible scholars, pastors, and readers.
The HCSB was translated by an international team of 100 scholars from 17 denominations. The HCSB New Testament was released in 1999, and the entire translation was released in 2004.
Work on the CSB revision was undertaken by the Translation and Review Team, a trans-denominational group of 21 conservative Evangelical Christian biblical scholars. Backgrounds represented include Southern Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, conservative Anglican, and non-denominational Evangelical churches.”[4]

To put it short, Holman Bibles has taken the Bible and tried to make it easily readable without leaving out or discounting the Word Itself. My personal opinion is that this is a great starter translation. I have a 16 year old little cousin that is receiving one of the CSB Bibles from me as a gift soon. I truly believe this is a great translation for those who find it hard – for whatever reason – to sit down and delve into God’s Word.

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I often say this to people: I don’t care which translation you read so long as you start reading. A lot of people freak out when I say that but here’s my philosophy: if you’re really hungry for God’s Word, you’re going to want to know more and delve deeper. People can experience a church and walk away. People can experience Christians and walk away. A person doesn’t experience the true text of God, with a hungry heart, and merely walk away. They don’t have a true encounter with God and walk away. I’ve yet to meet one. So, my belief is that most Christians that hunger for God and His word will do as I did – they will evolve as their relationship with Him does. I didn’t start reading KJV.

I know. That’s shocking for many of you. Settle down. The fact is that when I was 16 it wasn’t doing it for me. The first Bible I actually read was The Precious Moments Bible. Know what translation that was? NKJV. That’s right – New King James Version; and, I really didn’t start delving into until I was around 15 or 16. If I had access to something like CSB, I would’ve delved much sooner.

9781535924955.front05 (1)

The beauty behind (in) courage Devotional Bible is that in this era of creative Bible journaling, Bible distributors are beginning to realize that many of us want to make notes and do devotionals within the one book. In a sync-my-phone-with-my-laptop-and-ipad world, we seek to simplify. Honestly, I like this because seeking God and reading about Him should be simple. Life is complicated, seeking Jesus shouldn’t be. 9781535924955.in01 (1)

The CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible invites every woman to find her story within the greatest story ever told—God’s story of redemption.

As you study God’s Word, 122 women from the (in)courage community come alongside you with 312 devotions, sharing stories of how God’s story has changed their lives. Because of His grace, they have found beauty in the brokenness and hope in the hard. With each devotion, they sing the praise of the One who has authored their story.”

Some of the features that are included in the (in) courage Devotional Bible are:

  • 312 devotions by 122 (in) courage community writers – women just like you and I
  • 10 distinct thematic reading plans
  • 66 book introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative
  • stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible
  • journaling space
  • topical index
  • two-column text
  • them verses
  • specialized presentation page

Not sure you want it just yet? Easy, you can actually download a sample!

If you are not quite sure if this is for you, I want to encourage you to consider picking a woman in your church – maybe a young woman or a new-to-Christ woman – and gift them this Bible. That’s what I’ve decided to do with my copy. The Lamb’s Book of Life has recently acquired a new name within it and I want to gift her this to show her how loved she is and to give her a stepping stone closer to Christ.

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**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Standard_Bible
[4]“Holman Christian Standard Bible: Original Translation Team and Translation and Review Team” (PDF)A PDF document containing the full list of original translators of the HCSB, and translators of the CSB.
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The Nasty, Notorious, Infamous Case of the Mondays

It’s so sinister. It’s so dreaded that you actually begin showing signs of its impending approach on Sunday, before it’s even arrived! You don’t think, you know, everything will be miserable. After all, it’s Monday!

The alarm didn’t wake you. The coffee maker breaks. The kids – ALL OF THEM – can suddenly not find any matching shoes. You had to go BACK home because you forgot all of their backpacks. WHY CAN’T THEY REMEMBER THEIR OWN BACKPACKS STILL?! Dunkin Donuts line is too long but you sit through it anyways because their coffee is your nectar and you’ll just have to live with the guilt that you gave the kids donuts for breakfast instead of a sausage and egg Hot Pocket this morning (because let’s be honest who actually stops and cooks eggs, sausage, toast, and the works for their children every morning?!).

But…why? Why is Monday seemingly always like this? Well, I think if we were really honest with ourselves we would look back and say that that kind of Monday only happens rarely. Still, though, no matter if everything falls apart or if there’s no traffic at all, Monday still feels like Monday!

The Telegraph shared the findings of a scientific study done by Marmite that indicate that “many people don’t smile on Mondays until 11:16 am, and that half of us won’t turn up to work on time, either. Mondays also tend to be fairly unproductive, with only about three and a half hours of actual work getting done. And those in the 45 to 54 year-old demographic will moan for about 12 minutes on Mondays, making them the most susceptible to the suck that is Monday.

Experts indicate that the reason behind our hatred of Mondays is a result of humans being governed by deep-rooted tribal habitsand that we prefer to ease into the week rather than tackle it head-on first thing Monday morning. In fact, those that do the latter may end up burning themselves out before Friday hits.“*

Even this blog 😂 I’m writing it at 2:30 P…M…on Monday and scheduling it to post next Monday! I witnessed my best friend experiencing a true case of the Mondays and simply could not sit idly by and allow her to fall victim to it! 😐😂❤️

The fact is this: life expectancy is 79.3 in the United States. Now, don’t freak out – it’s just a number, an average number, and an estimation at that. But if we take that number and we calculate how many days we’ll have in 79.3 years we will get 28,963.73 days. If you then deduct the weekends, you get 20,688.3785 days. That is 71% of your life (5 days out of 7) that you’re ALLOWING YOURSELF to live in misery.

That’s right. 🤷🏻‍♀️Sorry to tell you this but Monday is just a day – like any other. Though the world would have you think otherwise, Monday has nothing against you nor has it waged war on you.

So here is my question for you…

Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’m going to continue to waste 71% of my life complaining and allowing a day to turn me into its doormat.

Why do you think we often begin to dread Monday before it’s even arrived? I think it may have something to do with this…

Now, I’m not going to sidetrack and begin to talk about which day is the Sabbath – whether it’s Saturday or Sunday. I’m also not going to berate or guilt you if you are in the ministry and can’t seem to find your day of rest. I am going to remind you, however that God called us to have a day of rest. If you’re constantly going, then Monday is going to be a reminder that your hamster wheel is never stopping. That’s why – then – Saturdays and vacations become your goal.

That brings me to goals! Is your goal to be miserable every day of your life? If so, this world has got a great deal for you! This world has figured out how to keep you worried, overspent, in debt, stressed to the nines, and seeing death long before you ever should and all for the low, low, price of your happiness and often a lot…lot more!

That’s right! All of that stress is there for the taking!

Now, if you’ve decided that this world’s idea of success, and the stress that comes with it, isn’t for you, then how about let’s look at the alternative. Shall we?

It starts in your mind. That’s right – your head! It doesn’t start with breathing exercises. It doesn’t start with post-it notes and scheduling. Nor does it even start at the beach. It starts in your mind.

Once you begin focusing on God, you can no longer focus on all of the calamity around you.

Did you know that one of the very first things a runner is taught is to never look behind them? They are trained to never look behind but to always keep their eyes ahead of them looking at their goal – the finish line. It has been proven that if they turn around they will slow down and it will affect their race. Those that keep their eyes on the finish line always arrive faster than if they are distracted.

Now, Romans 12:2 tells us that we are to be “transformed.” How? Well, John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

You see, He’s already given it (peace) to us. Just like his salvation, it’s right there simply waiting for us to receive it! Quick question: when your mom or your dad told you as a child, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.” Did you question whether they would take care of it? I bet you didn’t. How much more does your heavenly father want to take care of your problems?

I hear you, right now: BUT HOW?! Relax. Geez. You act like it’s Monda… never mind. I won’t leave you hanging.

Proverbs 16 says, ““The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established. The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.”

Now, in the NLT, it says it a little more clearly for the average Joe…

You see, if you will go to God, “The Lord gives the right answer.”; and if you “commit your actions to the Lord,” “your plans will succeed!”

So, instead of repeating the mantra in your head that “Mondays suck!” begin talking to God, aloud, whether in song or in prayer. Who cares what your kids think? I’ve got news for you: they think you’re crazy anyways. So just run with that. As they get older, they will remember the days that mom or dad would talk to God and they will follow in your footsteps.

Begin giving God your problems whether it be your eyeliner breaking and smudging all the way across your face or your coffee maker no longer coming to life. Begin thanking him for the fact that He woke you up this morning which means he must have some sort of plan for you still. Then, really top it off by asking God what it is that He has for you to do today!

Instead of dreading the upcoming week, begin looking at it as five days of opportunity to fix what you broke last week, begin the thing you’d never began but intended to, and talk to the person you know you should’ve talked to already!

You may not turn your Monday into Funday but you will change your life into a life of purpose; and purpose makes us want to get out of bed. Achieving purpose gives us a sense of accomplishment and pride; and it drives us to continue on.

So, I want to leave with you one last passage from the Bible where Paul says something that is extremely poignant:

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Https://thenextweb.com/shareables/2011/07/25/scientific-study-confirms-that-mondays-suck/?amp=1
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Book Review: A Fearless Leader (A Bible Story About Deborah)

* I was given this book for my honest opinion, no money was exchanged.

Deborah is an imaginative and perceptive young girl who makes good decisions in the heat of the moment. When she sees her village is about to be invaded by King Jabin and his general, Sisera, she bravely warns the people of danger, and everyone flees. But that doesn’t stop Jabin and Sisera’s vicious attacks.

As Deborah grows up, she becomes a natural leader, sharing God’s will with the people and helping them solve difficult problems. Eventually, God calls her to help defeat Sisera’s army so Israel can finally live in peace.

With God’s help, you can be just like Deborah—called and courageous!”

I can’t express how much I like this book. But I’m going to do my best.

In a world that is nurturing the idea that feminism equates to emasculating the men around you, demonizing the world, and picturing yourself as a victim, this book shows the true power of a woman.

Power, of course, comes from God. This book perfectly illustrates to our children how God can use anyone regardless of age, sex, ethnicity…

I can tell you about how the book is a book made of quality. I can tell you that the illustrations are fresh, distinctive, and beautiful. I can tell you that the story is biblically accurate. (Though the ending is more kid friendly 😉)

I would prefer to tell you, though, that my nieces were completely enraptured by this story. My six-year-old niece was enthralled with the story of Deborah and how God used her. That is my favorite thing about this entire review.

When you can get a small child to fall in love with the real events documented in the Bible then you are setting a path for them that can only lead to success.

This is the path God desires for women – that we might be used by him mightily, not see ourselves as victims! The story of Deborah is a wonderful one and I’m so glad that it has been made accessible and exciting to children through this book.

If you want to empower young girls in your life, or share with any children in your life that God can use anyone that is willing to be used by Him, I encourage you to purchase this book today. (I am not an affiliate and I receive no money if you make a purchase.)

Kid's Fun

Hosting a #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate is Easy!

I had the most amazing opportunity to host a #DisneyKids preschool play date for my youngest child and his friends. Disney Resorts selected us and I was on CLOUD NINE, I tell you. After all, we are an insane Disney family. My son got his first haircut at Magic Kingdom (Bet you didn’t even know they had a barber. Huh?).

Both of my children went to Disney before they were three. After all… they’re FREE until they’re three. 😉  And, we’ve always stayed at one of the Disney Resorts because of so many reasons: 1) It’s like you’re in another world; 2) Everything is contained so there’s on-site transportation and it’s a safer environment; 3) There are amazing benefits like extra hours at the parks and special touches like towel characters, resort activities, etc. 4) There are no other resorts with Disney’s – themes, customer service, fun, value, and caliber of overall quality. I could go on.
I’ve been visiting Disney since I was a small child as well. That was long before there was a talking Mickey. That’s right! They now have talking characters at Walt Disney World. Your child can actually meet with Mickey and they can talk back and forth, interacting with one another. (sigh) I practically grew up at Fort Wilderness Campground and I’m so glad that I get to share so many amazing experiences with my children there. So, I can’t tell you how tickled I was to see that American Tourister had shared with us a Star Wars Storm Trooper rolling suitcase. We immediately had to purchase some Rebel patches to balance the evil with good. After all, I can’t have my five-year-old slipping over to the darkside.

American Tourister Suitcase - Stormtrooper

The supercool thing about these suitcases is that they’re made by American Tourister so you know they’re well made but they’re not boring ol’ adult suitcases. Another cool thing about them is that instead of your kids having to lug around a 25lb bag, they can roll it behind them. And, as you can see in the picture of their Sofia the First suitcase, the handle retracts and gets tucked away behind a handy zipper!

But… you know what? My family’s Walt Disney World adventures will be for another article, another time.

In addition to these suitcases, Pillow Pets wanted to share with us the quality of their Disney Pillow Pets by having Elijah test out their Dory Pillow Pet and then showing her off to his friends. As you can see, the Dory Pillow Pet past the test!

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Back to the play date…

Most of you who know me know that I thrive on setting up parties for my loved ones. I’m not the mom that’s trying to impress other moms. I’m the mom that’s trying to create memories for me and my family. And since I have a high standard for myself (often not lived up to – I’m pretty hard on myself as I’m sure a lot of you are); so, I like to really do it up. Kind of like the pictures you see here…

Previous Parties

And I had every opportunity to do that here, too. You know what I decided, though? This is a freakin’ play date! Who has ever heard of a mom pulling out all of the stops for a play date?! And, you know what? Every play date I ever had with my friends, barely had any parental supervision let alone pennants, candy buffets, bouncie houses, and finger foods! But, man! Did we have a blast! I’m not knocking any of those things; but, without any of it my friends and I entertained ourselves and exercised our imagination in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise. My friends and I, with just a few props or toys, would always have so much fun when we played together. That’s what I wanted to create here. Well, I guess it would be better put to say that I wanted to create an environment where the kids could create that fun themselves!  After all, isn’t that the point of “play?”

Besties and Jedi Warriors

So…I did the hardest thing I’ve probably ever done in my life – I kept it simple. And, you know what? It was a complete and utter SUCCESS!  We played with toys. We played Pin The Nose on Mickey! We even played charades. Do you know that these kids had no idea what the game of charades was?! A pure travesty! 😛  One of which I quickly amended. 🙂

When I was deciding on the location of our playdate I wanted something different, a place most parents don’t always think about but was a big part of my childhood – the movie theater! A lot of parents don’t know that their local theater offers birthday rooms and packages. The Regal Cinema 20 & IMAX at the Mall of Georgia provides a great party room! If you’re interested in celebrating a special occasion with your little one, they have birthday party packages starting at $17 per child that include a film booth tour, a popcorn/candy/soda meal, group seating in the theater of your choice, $2 in game tokens, host/hostess service, paper products, and of course movie admission to the film of your choice. Of course, we were only there for the Disney films. 😉

​The kids did not disappoint me in their reactions or behavior. What was so cool to see, too, was that there was no limitations or box that any of them felt they needed to fit into. Even the girls wanted to be Chewbacca and Darth Vader. The boys shared the crown in order for Addison to become Princess Addison. And Abilene quickly showed that she was more Jedi than she was princess for the day as she battled against Darth for the rebel alliance! The boys didn’t play separate from the girls nor did the girls exclude the boys. Everyone played together and took turns being Iron Man, Woody, Prince Adam, Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper, and more. You would turn to your left and see one princess crowning another. You would turn to your right and see Woody transforming into Captain America without so much as a breath between. It was AWESOME!

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Here the kids are coloring Disney character sheets provided by The Disney Store at our local mall! They had just finished decorating their party hats into Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat from Fantasia. You can see Princess Abilene crowning Princess Addison on the bottom left. On the bottom right you can see the kids excitedly lining up to play Pin the Nose on Mickey! For some of them it was their first time playing a pinning game!

We kept the play date simple in its execution and one of the ways we did that was with simple food. I made vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting. The super not-so-secret way I turned them into Mickey cupcakes was by adding black food coloring to chocolate icing and using miniature Oreos for ears! The kids LOVED them!

To couple nicely with the cupcakes we had some super yummy fruity macarons from Mac Lab & Bakery that both the kids AND the parents quickly devoured! At Mac Lab they can customer make any macaron your heart desires. If they sound familiar it’s because they’re the bakery that went viral when a few people got wind of their unicorn macarons!

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Our local Kroger grocery store was kind enough to want to contribute to the kids’ play date and gave us an amazingly yummy (no seriously – this wasn’t gas station quality – this was high quality boars head deli food here) tray that the kids thought was super cool because it used pretzel sticks instead of toothpicks to pick up the cheese and meat! (It’s the little things.) I saw kids eating turkey that had never liked it before. Good job Kroger! Of course, before the kids dug in to the goodies they washed up with Softsoap hand wash; which, after a cold day, left their hands feeling soft and moisturized rather than dry and itchy like so many hand soaps can do to little ones’ skin.

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You can pick up Softsoap at your local grocery store just as you can pick up our go-to party snack of Pop Secret popcorn! We picked up some super cute Disney popcorn containers at the Dollar Tree (4 for $1) and poured in Pop Secret’s yummy popcorn for the kids to nibble on throughout the party. What else would you have at a movie theater?!

As the parents and grandparents sat around, we discussed Disney Resorts and memories: what we’ve done, what there is to do, what the kids really love. Again, I’ll tell you all more later about some of our experiences at Disney Resorts but this’ll give you an idea 😀

Disney Resorts Collage

Now, when the play date was over, when didn’t want our kids disappointed and sad that the fun was over so they each got goodie bags full of fun. They got everything from bubbles to t-shirts. We easily accomplished this with some help from some great Disney-friends such as Regal Cinema 20 & IMAX at the Mall of Georgia who made sure each child had a movie pass to see the Disney movie of their choice (most wanted Beauty & the Beast, some were waiting for the next Cars). We also had wonderful contributors such as The Disney Store at the Mall of Georgia who provided stickers, Star Wars cut-outs, and coloring sheets! If you haven’t visited your local Disney Store, I encourage you. They have all sorts of activities and events! We also filled our bags with all sorts of affordable Disney items that gave the kids a taste of that Disney magic, pixie dust if you will, by visiting our local Dollar Tree and finding TONS of great finds.

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Thanks to STA Apparel, our kids each got a customized shirt just for them! If you don’t know, families are really into getting matching t-shirts for their trips to Disney events and resorts. It’s fun but it’s also a great way of easily keeping your eye out for each other. STA Apparel can add names, print in several different ways to fit your budget, and their quality can’t be beat. Our #DisneyKids absolutely fell in love with them as you can see!

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Well, after it was all said and done, the kids had loads of fun. They each walked away having enjoyed each other, having exercised both their bodies and their imaginations. At the risk of sounding cheesy and poetic, I even believe they each walked away feeling a little bit more like they could conquer a dark sith, preside over a kingdom with humility and grace, engineer their own super suit, and that they definitely had “a friend in me.” 😉 See what I did there? 🙂

Looking for party ideas? Check out my Pinterest board for #DisneyKids!

Want to see videos of this event and more? Watch and subscribe: The Headcase Christian’s YouTube Channel

So, because I’m still floating on a cloud of Pixie Dust, I MUST SHARE THE DISNEY LOVE! I have a Disney goodie stash just waiting to be given to someone. All you have to do is Enter Here and, if you’ve met all of the requirements, you might just find some Pixie Dust in your mailbox soon!

THC’s #DisneyKids Giveaway
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Suicide

Suicide…let’s talk about it

Okay…I don’t want to write about this but I’m going to because I have to. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, my family, my friends. I didn’t want to upset people. Those days are over now. My Headcase Christian stuff is usually pretty lighthearted stuff. Usually people read my stuff and laugh, even. I’m sorry to say that my new Facebook page is not beginning that way but… hey. I’m not called “The Headcase Christian” for nothing.
Recently myself and my family experienced a loss that was…is…heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and in a way…inexcusable.
My brother by another mother – and I’ll call him that because he never stopped being my brother – took his own life. Even though there was a divorce, I never stopped loving any of my “married” family members. I never considered them no longer family. I stayed in their lives as much as I felt I could without being intrusive and did my best to always let them know they were welcome in mine and my kids’ lives. People who truly know me know this about me – it’s often to my own detriment but once my love is given it’s given for good.
Here’s the catch – often times people simply don’t have a clue of what to do, what to say, how to maintain a relationship, how to cry out, how to scream, how to hold a sign above their head that says, “Help me! I’m drowning!” Other times we’re so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t see the sign they’re shoving right under our noses. I’m not scrutinizing, casting stones, or casting aspersions – not in our family’s situation nor anyone else’s and I’ll tell you why. Because after the fact doesn’t matter. All you can do is move forward and do better. That’s what I’m doing with this. That’s what I’m trying to do. So… I’m doing what some say I do best and I’m writing my feelings and thought and, yes… a painful as hell experience that forever changed my life.
I’m going to state an experience that happened in my life and you can believe it or not. Quite frankly I don’t care which and further it doesn’t really matter in the large scheme of things whether it even WAS real or not because the end result is that I’m still alive today and I have a beautiful family.

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You see, after my brother-in-law took his life…and after I sobbed until I was sick… I was angry. I was livid and I couldn’t figure out why. Until now.
I was angry, am angry, at me. Because of what has happened, I feel a guilt…an albatross around my neck of which I feel is nearly drowning me because I didn’t share this experience with anyone but my immediate family before. So…here it is:
I nearly killed myself. In fact, I thought of it on so many occasions that it nearly became a daily occurrence for me. It wasn’t a matter of would the thought cross my mind but rather in what way and how heavy would the temptation be. Now, let’s be clear here. This wasn’t a “Look at me! I’m hurting and need attention!” thing. It sucks but some people do do that.* I mean even after being diagnosed with a serious chemical imbalance and taking Prozac since the age of 17, I was literally formulating a way to end myself and this completely inexplicable pain that only seemed to be growing in its intensity daily along with this completely consuming feeling of uselessness and strong sense of worthlessness. At this point I had a beautiful baby girl and… it didn’t matter. I loved her beyond comprehension and… it didn’t matter. Why? Because this level of depression and hurt doesn’t make sense. I had convinced myself… or the devil had… that my daughter would actually be better off without me. I honestly felt that I was a burden to everyone around me and hadn’t lived up to my potential subsequently being viewed as … less. In fact I felt as if I was less than “less.”
There was actually a day when someone held my daughter in front of me and said, “Fine! If you’re going to do this then don’t be a coward. Do it right here in front of her!”
Following this horrible incident that I’d prefer to not detail, I went to church as I did at least three times a week, every week. Trust me… no one knew what was going on inside of me. There are people right now reading this saying, “Holy crap. I had no idea and she sat next to me in choir.” I digress. There was a visiting pastor. I don’t even remember what he preached on. I was told he had preached on some message that easily applied to the body as a whole on how we treated one another. I was borderline catatonic in my own world of shame, pain, and misery that I could barely pay attention. All I remember was this – the most important part of this story: he invited people to the alter. My God! When you’ve done everything…you’ll do anything. Keep in mind that at this point I truly believed that even God looked down on me as if to say, “I can’t believe I took the time to make you.” So…for me to go to the alter was really an act of “What the heck…” I didn’t go believing ANYTHING was going to happen. I just went. And…something happened. Something that can’t be explained. Again,… don’t care if you believe me or not. It is what it is and it’s why I’m here today and why I’ll never consider suicide EVER again. I want to preface what I’m about to say by saying this: NO ONE but me and one other person knew that I was having these thoughts. And…trust me, this other person wasn’t a talker. This preacher made his way to me. He was very quiet for just a moment as he looked at me and then he prayed for me and it was over in a moment. It was only afterward that I realized that in that still quiet moment, the Holy Spirit was speaking to him. In front of the only other person in the world that knew what was going on with me, this preacher laid his hand on my head and said the following (I paraphrase), “God this is your child and you love her and I rebuke any and every single thought of suicide that would ever enter her mind. She is a child of the most high and has a great purpose. The devil can’t have her because she’s already been claimed by You!” That was it for me.
That was it.

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God is real. The Holy Spirit is real. He is here, there. He is near to you. He wants you to cry out to Him in your greatest hour of need. He wants to comfort you. He…is…REAL.
I want to be clear here. I had seen therapists off and on since I was SIXTEEN years old. And you see…it wasn’t some miraculous prayer over me, some psychological awakening. It wasn’t this preacher laying his hands on me. It wasn’t some spiritual transplant that I received that day. It was simply the fact that oh my God….You heard me! God had heard me. God knew me and knew what I was going through. He wasn’t unaware. He wasn’t apathetic. He saw me. That was all I needed – to know that God was there, He saw me, and I mattered to Him. I didn’t need Him to tell me my life would be roses and it would all turn around. Literally all I needed to know was that I existed for a reason, He knew me, He loved me, and I … mattered.
After that, any time a thought of suicide or harming myself came in to my mind my reaction was nearly one of a since of ridiculousness. The thought of killing myself after knowing that I was worth something, no matter how much, to God… was absurd. There is literally no way suicide will ever be the way I go out. No way.
Here’s the thing: I got to have a great gift that not everyone gets to have. And do you know what I did with it? I failed. I may not have failed my brother-in-law. But at the very least I failed myself. I failed applying this testimony to God’s kingdom so that if even only ONE person’s life was changed… my pain was well worth it. I can’t tell you why I did this other than to say that to visit that time in life even now is inexplicable… it still hurts painfully to remember that time in life. The pain is so strong that right now I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest as my body is shaking and I’m crying. It sucked. It really, really, sucked.

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So…here it is! If you’re a Christian, then you need to understand that we’re the hands and feet of God. We’re the light. We’re the salt. We are the world-changers, the earth shakers. If you’re not a Christian, man how I wish you were because without the hope of God I would not be here today. I’m not going to high jack what I believe God wants to do here, though, by preaching to you though because God already knows you, loves you, and is just waiting on you to talk to Him. He’s a gentleman and won’t beat you over the head so neither will I. Either way, though, all you have to do is be a decent person to understand that we are responsible for the ones around us. I know that doesn’t sound like fun; but, guess what? Suck it up because that’s life! You can recognize that you effect people and do something with that or you can find out on Monday that Todd, just two cubicles down, drove his car off the dock and never even left a letter to let anyone know why. That is reality. This is my plea to you to stop living in your bubble, stop living in your social-media-perfect world and SEE people, visit them. This is me begging you to love people, especially the ones that make it nearly impossible to even like them.
If you can’t think of one person in your life that even appears as if they’re considering hurting themselves then allow me to destroy your cotton candy world – you’re wrong. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2013. That means you know SOMEONE who has thought about it.

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“Suicide is an increasing public health concern. In 2009, the number of deaths from suicide surpassed the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the United States.” #CDC
If you think this is something that only happens amongst angsty, drama-riddled, teens… you’re WRONG.
In 2013 the CDC published an article titled “Suicide Among Adults Aged 35–64 Years — United States, 1999–2010.” It stated the following: “To investigate trends in suicide rates among adults aged 35–64 years over the last decade, CDC analyzed National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) mortality data from 1999–2010…The results of this analysis indicated that the annual, age-adjusted suicide rate among persons aged 35–64 years increased 28.4%, from 13.7 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 17.6 in 2010.”
Did you read that?! THE SUICIDE RATE (for ages 35-64) INCREASED BY 28 AND A HALF FREAKIN’ PERCENT. That’s more than a quarter. Are you picking up what I’m throwing down?! I hope you are because you KNOW someone, RIGHT NOW, that is hurting.
It is estimated that 8.3 million people in the U.S. had thoughts of suicide in 2013, with 2.3 million people developing a suicide plan and 1 million people attempting suicide. Eighty-three percent of suicide attempts involve poisoning. #Emory And these numbers GROW every single year.
Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24

Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18

More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED

Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12 (GRADE SEVEN IS 12-YEAR-OLDS FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD!)

Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs. #TheYouthRiskBehavioralSurveillanceSystem
This is real. This is today. This is not just someone else’s life. This is your life. If you’ve not experienced this, then you’re one of the lucky ones – SO DO SOMETHING WITH THAT! If you’re a kid reading this, go sit with that weird kid that no one will sit with. If you’re a teenager reading this then befriend that girl who talks to no one and don’t assume the cheerleader is living the highlife because chances are she’s anorexic and hates herself more than you could ever consider hating her. If you’re an adult NEVER think that you’re age bracket, circle of friends, and family is safe because you’re all past this point in your life. The statistics I put above PROVE YOU WRONG. Love your family. Forgive them. Talk with your elderly neighbor. Speak with your postman. When the guy behind the register says, “How are you today?” in return, look them in the eye and say, “I’m okay. How are YOU doing?” and MEAN IT.
Finally, if someone comes to you and they’re telling you they’re unhappy. ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t try and fix them. You are NOT equipped. Don’t give them advice. Suicide and depression doesn’t make sense to someone who HAS experienced it because it’s a personal thing, it certainly won’t make sense to someone who has never experienced it at all. Ask them things…
How long have you been feeling this way?

How bad does it get?

What can I do?

Do you want to talk to someone who knows more about this than me?

You matter to me so, if I went with you, would you talk to someone?
Last: DON’T TELL THEM TO GET HELP. GO WITH THEM TO GET IT.
https://afsp.org/find-support/
*Even if you THINK someone is looking for attention. NEVER ignore someone who is even pretending to consider suicide or self-harm. Your act of not giving them the attention they seek can be the very thing that makes them subsequently feel worthless and as if no one would miss them.
RIP David Richard Pozorski (05/03/79-03/24/17)

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Jocelyn with her Uncle Dave
America, Bible, bible verse, Book, books, Church, Death, Depression, Direction, Entertainment, family, Friends, friendship, girls, Giveaway, god, happiness, healing, health, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Mental Illness, Ministry, Mother’s Day, movie, Praise, Praise & Worship, prayer, review, struggle, Theater, Uncategorized, women

Chonda Pierce: Unashamed

Chonda Pierce: Unashamed at select Cinemas May 7 & 9

This Mother’s Day week, May 7 & 9 at 7:00pm., you and your friends can enjoy a night of laughter and  truth as only top selling female comedian, Chonda Pierce, can deliver.  Chonda will make you laugh and think as she boldly proclaims the truth of the Gospel to a hurting world.  Chonda takes a journey into the hearts of the faithful as she engages some of the boldest believers in America. Mike Huckabee, Danny Gokey, the Benham Brothers and others tell their stories of speaking truth to our culture…no matter the consequences. Don’t forget to bring your moms, grandmas and every mother in your church for a night to remember!

Only Chonda can communicate deep and meaningful truth and make you laugh at the same time.  Chonda is unchained, unrestrained and UNASHAMED!

I watched this film before it was available to the public. As I write this, I am both laughing and crying. Every single woman that is a believer should watch this film for… a smile, encouragement, and simply the knowledge that you’re not alone. More than that, I am walking away reminded that I have a purpose and this world doesn’t get to judge whether my purpose is small or whether it’s large because my purpose – no matter the size – is important to God.

I have a purpose and this world doesn’t get to judge whether my purpose is small or whether it’s large because my purpose no matter the size is important to God.

It’s okay for me to believe in the One that has always believed in me.

It’s okay for me to live for the One that died for me.

And…I can do it all with love, humility, and grace because His love does not have to conform to this world’s definition of it.

Ladies, grab your mom, sister’s, and friends. Reserve this time of encouragement that you will never regret.

 

Giveaway ends May 6 and winner will be selected by May 15th.  Prizes are physical items that will be mailed.

Bible

Review and Giveaway: Tiny Truths Children’s Bible

I was gifted this book for my honest opinion and that is what you will receive. No money was exchanged.

Before I begin this review I feel that I must first remind some (not all) that Jesus most likely looked like this…

Not this…

He was Jewish. If you’ve met a Jewish person, know a Jewish person, or are a Jewish person then you have an idea of His skin-tone at least.

I feel the need to point this out because this illustrated Bible actually addresses this. Jesus was a Jew, and Egypt and the surrounding areas are home to dark skinned individuals. The people from that region do not tend to be blonde hair and blue eyed. Now let us continue…

Explore the tiny truths of scripture…

This is a great illustrated Bible to have on hand whether you’re a teacher, parent, grandparent, or babysitter. Its practical lessons, reminders, and truths found throughout the stories make this an invaluable resource for anyone influencing little ones to have.

The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible will help your children discover:

• Who God is––the one who made everything and everyone

• Who we are––His children, whom He loves unconditionally

• What we were made for––to love God and everyone else

• Introduce your children to the incredible story of God’s enormous love for them with 

My seven-year-old son and I really liked this one. The illustrations made the stories come alive and lent authenticity to the real events that the Bible shared with my little one.

My son dove right into this one and is excited to share it with his younger cousins as soon as possible.

Additionally, with its well-rounded stories and great illustrations, this book will make an awesome Pre-K or Kindergarten graduation gift for your littles!

Anxiety, Bible, Church, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, insecurity, jesus, Life, Love, Uncategorized

Unwanted

Have you ever felt unloved? Unwanted? Part of the out crowd, never to be invited in.

If you have, you’re not alone. I have felt that feeling so many times that I’m still surprised at myself that I’ve allowed myself to feel hurt, disillusioned, and disappointed yet again. I mean…for cryin’ out loud…didn’t I see it coming?

I even get it. I see many of their points of view. Sometimes life is easier not including someone. But…does that make it right?

It’s always most surprising when it’s in the Church, though. Isn’t it? When you’re not invited to the thing; when you’re edged out; when someone has arrived only to leave you behind; when there’s a circle and there is no entry point.

It’s surprising because that’s our safe place. Right? The sanctuary…a place of refuge.

When you think of church, you think of a place you’re eager to get to. One might picture free-falling back into a 3-foot-deep floor made of pillows and all of their stress floating away like a feather on the wind as they finally make it to their refuge.

Unfortunately, in this case, the Church is full of fallible people just like you and just like me; and that often means our sanctuary can – at times – feel like a battleground at worst and a floor of eggshells not to be broken at the least.

People often get caught up in themselves, their own hurts, their own misconceptions, and even their own agendas – no matter how well meaning – even in church.

They often forget that we are commanded to love. We’re even told that all other commandments hinge upon the Greatest Commandment and it’s second…

Yet, how easily we slip into our Church roles and forget the main objective He assigned us.

We rush to our greeter station only to ignore the elderly woman on the back row. We exclude the mediocre but it’s okay because we were sure to praise their strengths before the aforementioned exclusion. We disregard this commandment because clearly that person doesn’t want me to love them as hateful as they behave. And the excuses go on and on.

I’m not saying it’s an easy assignment. We all know people that are hard to love. But…we’re not given allowances for whom or how we are to love.

There’s two things we must remember here:

1. We can’t change others, only how we respond to them. And…though we may be hurt it’s best that we remain humble and keep our eyes on Christ because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. “All” includes you and I both. It’s also a reminder that while someone may seem perfect on Facebook they are just as imperfect as you and I, they are just as sinful. We should show them the grace that our Heavenly Father undeservingly shows us day after day or we are no better than those we cast judgment upon.

2. People, nor the Church, are our refuge. God is.

You see we’ve forgotten that the church isn’t our refuge, He is. We don’t need the group’s acceptance. We need His love, mercy, and grace… which all are accompanied by His acceptance. We don’t need to be a part of the in-crowd here because He desires that we attain being a part of His crowd up there.

God is the ultimate inclusive friend. He doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, what you’ve done. Every time you run to His word, and seek solace within it, He provides. He is the fountain that never runs dry – a fountain of friendship, love, and guidance. He has everything you’re looking for in the people around you… and it’s just waiting for you, He is just waiting for you.

Find your refuge in Christ, today, and become all you’re meant to be when you’ve laid all distractions aside

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Review and Giveaway: God I Know You’re There

I was given this book for my honest review. No money was exchanged.

Where is God? Is He real?

Look closely and you can see God’s touch all over creation. Like the sun, God is warm. Like the stars, God is dazzling. Like the wind, God is all around, everywhere. God, I Know You’re There, by bestselling author Bonnie Rickner Jensen and illustrator Lucy Fleming, reminds children of the nearness and goodness of God. Children will discover that God never leaves their side, even if they can’t see or feel Him.

Each page will help children understand the many things in the world we can’t see, touch, or hear are just as real as God is. And even if God feels distant, He is real and He is near.

I found this book to be a perfect, short and sweet, bedtime or quiet time story. It reads in about three and a half minutes and is a sweet reminder that we can know that God is there.

The illustrations are vibrant and inclusive of most children. The words come alive with each scene that’s been set.

It’s perfect for ages 2 to 5 but could be a sweet read for children slightly older as well. For just $8.98 on Amazon, this book would make a great addition to any gift, for any occasion, to give a child that extra reassurance that God is never far. You can also get it, right now, for $6.49 on Christianbook.com! (not affiliate links)

Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Book, books, Church, Direction, god, happiness, health, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, patience, Praise, Praise & Worship, prayer, struggle, Uncategorized, women, Worship

Waiting for the door to open

When God closes a door….

We don’t usually talk about what we’re supposed to do after that – how we are to occupy ourselves after a door is closed. No, what we’re used to hearing, what we WANT to hear, is “…another one opens.” And, yes, it generally does!

What, though, do we do in the in-between time? The pastor that I had growing up frequently said “It’s what you do in the in-between times that matters.” For instance, it’s easy to praise Him when the proverbial door has opened wide and you’ve been ushered in. It’s easy to lift your hands and sing praises when He’s opened up a window from Heaven and poured out blessings.

It’s even pretty easy – moreso for some – when all hell is breaking loose because it’s all you feel you can do. You lift your hands, calling out to Him, trusting Him, because there is nothing and no one else.

When you’re just waiting, though, it’s a little different. Some of us long-time Christians call it “being in the desert.”

When God closes one door and has yet to open the next…

I tend to refer to this time, not as a desert, but I say, “I’m in a holding pattern.”

I don’t feel dry, after all. I simply feel like I’m in the waiting room. I know where I came from. I’m pretty sure of where I’m going (at least the direction).

I’m just not sure where the door is; or, if I do know the location, if I should open it yet. Maybe the window is shut to me for now.

The way I figure it I’m in the lobby for either of two reasons: 1) I’m not ready; or, 2) my destination is still begin prepared.

I have no way of knowing whether or not my destination is still being prepared as I’m not yet there. That leaves me with two options: 1) complain about being in the holding pattern for so long; or, 2) prepare myself so that I’m ready for whatever is behind that door.

Let’s look at it this way: I’m at the doctor’s office. I’ve been waiting for an hour. I can lose my patience, make a move to push things along faster (e.g., “I want to see the doctor now!”), only to find out that the doctor hasn’t seen me yet because he’s waiting with a patient that has just had a heart attack and is currently awaiting an ambulance. Essentially, I’ve made a fool of myself. The doctor is saving someone’s life while I’m yelling like a petulant child.

I sometimes feel like that’s how God sees us but His grace abounds.

I can try all of the various doctors on the street until I find one that will see me immediately. Yes, my temporary need – that of being seen, has been met; but, since I’ve ended up in a cardiologist’s office, I’m probably going to walk out no better than I was before because my problem was a broken bone.

Now, I’ve wasted the cardiologist’s time, my time, God’s time, and the original problem – my broken bone – has acute pain. Clearly, I didn’t choose well that time either.

What about this? What if I sit in the lobby patiently, with a good attitude? I pull out a notepad and begin writing down what I would like to discuss with the doctor. I might even open up my smart phone and look up all of the information available to me about this bone.

I’m prepared. I’m prepared to share my concerns, my options, my questions with the doctor. I’ve gotten so involved with my studying and preparation I didn’t even realize it was my name that was just called. “Coming right now!” I eagerly say.

“I’m so sorry for the wait,” the nurse will say; and, I will respond, “Oh, no sweat! I didn’t even notice the time, honestly. I kept myself busy figuring out what I wanted to talk to the doctor about.” The nurse is pleased now because I’m the fourth patient since the heart attack victim; and, I’m the first to not complain.

I go in and speak with the doctor and he’s pleasantly surprised that I’m prepared. I’ve saved his time. I understand the use of that bone and how this injury is going to effect me. I understand the hard work that lies before me. I know there’s going to be self-discipline involved and patience. These are two traits that I have already learned and practiced while sitting in the lobby!

Why do I share this scenario? Because, what are you doing in the waiting room?

What are you doing while in the waiting room?

Are you preparing yourself for the door to open? For your name to be called?

“…Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the good news of peace. Always carry the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation along with the sword given by the spirit, that is, the word of God…” (Ephesians 6: 14-17)

You see, we have a lot of preparation that has already been directed to us, assigned to us. These are our “Initial Patient Forms,” if you will. This is our prep work, the work we do, before we are called.

These forms are our foundation to our file. All other treatments and decisions will be based on what these documents say about us: our medical history, our current history, etc.

Your battle readiness is based upon your foundation of His word. Whether you can weather the storm is determined greatly upon how you fortified your soul.

God help me to do my homework during the holding pattern.

I want my “current state of health” to say things like, “She is surrounded by truth, covered in righteousness, and constantly sharing God’s good word. She walks in faith that cannot be extinguished in any situation. She is covered in His salvation and walks in God’s anointing at all times. She knows His word, lives His word, and is full of His word.”

What will your “current state of health” say?

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56 YEARS OF LOVE LESSONS – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Today’s guest blogger is Erica from Coming Up Roses.

Find the original post here!

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Happy Hump + Happy VALENTINE’S Day, friends! Are you someone who loveloveloves or despises this holiday?? J + I celebrated last night since he’s got a work meeting tonight, so I’m hungover on chocolate truffles this morning and I ain’t mad about it. 😉

This V-Day, I was trying to think of what kind of content/advice/thoughts I could put out on this THE day of lovelovelove. And I realized…I’m SO not cut out for that. But luckily, I know two people who totally are.

My Nana & Pop have been married for 56 years – they’re the living embodiment of true, selfless love. (Let’s play “how long will it take before E tears up writing”). They’re the two best people I know (note: already crying). I know my Nana is tied for CUR’s #1 fan (alongside my mama) – she’s a daily reader. A few weekends ago, J + I went up to spend the day with them, take them out to lunch, and just enjoy the day together just the four of us. ‘Twas SO STINKIN’ NICE, especially since it’s usually the whole clan hanging out and not as much 2-on-2 time like that. And it was so stinkin’ nice getting to learn so much more about them still, about their life + love. I mean…56 years.

Can you imagine that?

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Their wedding picture – also can we talk about how GORGEOUS Nana’s dress is?!?!?!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

We live in a day + age where divorce seems like an epidemic. Left and right, marriages fail. Couples break up. Partnerships end. 56 years? Try 5. Or 10. And it’s oh so sad + discouraging to feel like love can no longer withstand the hardships of today’s society.

My Nana & Pop give me hope.

And I think they can give hope to so many people omg, because they’ve been through some friggin’ low lows, too, and are still living a beautiful life + love together, after nearly 60 years of partnership. For some perspective, when they got married, they had odds stacked against them. First off, they got married “out of order.” In my Pop’s traditionalist Czech family, his mother expeced his older brother to be next in line to tie the knot. But Pop fell in love with Nana and wanted to marry her, so he did – against his strict mother’s wishes. They had about $5 to their name. They moved into Nana’s childhood home…where Nana’s mother still lived…and where she continued to live for the first 25 years of their marriage. Y’ALL.

Let that sink in.

Today, I don’t many folks who could fathom having an in-law live under the same roof for 25 years. Heck, some folks can’t even manage a long holiday all together before dying to be back in their own space. Beyond that, they were her caretaker’s as she aged and became sick, and they did it willingly + with joy.

No complaining. No struggle bus-ing. No resentment.

They also lived in a time where you really had to just do what ya had to do to provide for your family – it wasn’t as much of “dreamer” world as it is today. Today, we’re all so stinkin’ lucky in that we can truly wake up with a dream and make it happen. That wasn’t the case back then, largely because of resources! If you weren’t born into it, you had to make it happen, and obvi you didn’t have the iPhone to help ya do it. 😉 Pop wanted to be a State Trooper, Nana wanted to be a nurse. Neither one had the chance to do that, because real life at the time didn’t allow it. And neither one is bitter about it. They always put their love + their family first, and if that meant they couldn’t personally do something, that was A-OK. Which is so inspiring I think, especially in light of so much messaging today that’s dripping in do you-you-you.

I think in anyone in the world, my Nana & Pop truly “get” what it takes. Their life is proof of that. Their life is proof that you have zero control of the cards you’re dealt, but you have every ounce of control over how you respond + react to your hand.

SO. I had asked them to put together THEIR thoughts + “advice” that they think has contributed to being together for a true lifetime. I wanted them to be able to mull it over + think about what they can say really contributed to the fact that so many years after “I Do,” they STILL do…love AND like each other. 😉 My Nana handed me a stack of paper with her handwritten notes, which I just typed here exactly as is, unedited.

Start with Love, Patience, & Understanding! Prayer and faith!

Sometimes being quiet and keeping things and feelings to yourself and they seem to work themselves out

Were young and had to learn a lot of things, day to day. We went together for 2.5 years, but you still don’t know everything about each other. Time does that, ups and down and God helps you through them. And the blessed Mother Mary intercedes for us to God. Pray to her always!

Working together is everything and keeping your love alive! Having our children were happy days. Thanking God for healthy, beautiful children was the best news. Early days were not financially easy, but we got through them.

Proud to see our children grow up and do well in school and go on and get a good education. They all got good jobs and work hard to succeed.

Then in future years we got two beautiful grandchildren, Erica and Michael. Erica graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Marketing and Management and now has her own business (blogging and such). Now she is married to a great guy, Jamie!

Our grandson Michael will be graduating in May from Penn State, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. We are blessed in every way and thankful to God for all the good things in our life.

Also from day one we took care of Mom and we did our best. There were a lotof things to deal with, but we got through them with God’s help and a lot of prayers! We loved her with our heart and soul! She was quite a lady in every way. She raised a big family and had nine children. Life was never easy but she did it with love.

The having, the holding, the family and raising, the working, the planning, the celebrating, the cleaning up after, the dividing and conquering, the memory making and especially the sticking by each other through all of it. And we did it with so much love! With God and the blessed Virgin Mary’s help!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Can we point out that Nana was one of NINE? Also, I lovelovelove her point about actually being quiet sometimes, and things seem to work themselves out. This is HARD for me, oftentimes, because I’m not quiet. Like, ever. Ha. In any argument, I’m quick to wanna talk it out or address an issue head-on. But of course I’m not always right, and there are DEF times when I think I should’ve just kept my mouth shut and it would’ve turned out better in the end. My Nana is such a *patient* woman, which is something love could use today.

Also, the power of prayer. Nana is one of the most faithful women EVER, I swear. She’s a total prayer warrior. And really, I think that’s probably why she can get through ANYTHING with the attitude that she has – because she just hands everything up to God. (The epitome of trusting in God). 

They don’t pick fights. They know when to address something versus when to let something slide in the bigger picture. Which is something I’m soooo bad at sometimes oh my gosh. 

They always knew they’d get through. They just had faith and kept truckin’ along.

I asked my mama + my Aunt Donna + Jamie to chime in with their two cents, too, about things they’ve seen slash learned through/because of Nana & Pop’s relationship over the years, since we’ve all been directly impacts by it and have seen it blossom…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

MOM:

  • Selfless love! They always do things for each other out of care, not a sense of obligation. They. WANT. To. Nana still pours Pop’s juice every morning. I can still remember that from my childhood. And even little things like that let you know someone is caring for you.
  • They don’t keep score!
  • They don’t complain. They had to endure lots of tough stuff – very tight finances, caring for ill relatives, Pop working lots of overtime to make ends meet, living very modest lives. And their attitude was just to do what you need to do and keep going!
  • They celebrate the little things. They appreciate what they have! I’ve never heard them wishing for luxuries or complaining that they did not have them.
  • They did things for themselves. Pop was (and still is) a great handyman. He can fix pretty much anything or build a new one! He’d learn how and do it himself. Both are great cooks and bakers. They had a large vegetable garden and we grew up canning and jarring all sorts of veggies. Nana was not a seamstress making clothes from scratch, but she can mend or repair basically anything that needed it.
  • They tease each other playfully and Pop can always make Nana giggle. 😉
  • They have inside jokes! And they have certain looks that they can give each other that speak volumes.

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

DONNA:

Mom and Dad are the epitome of a marriage made in heaven. God made them amazing individuals and when He bound their hearts, a solid bond was made that could never be broken. Their commitment to God, each other, and their family is unmatched. They’re my role models, and to them, ALL blessings they truly deserve, as they glorify God every day! Their individual quirkiness, funny private looks to each other, and subtle yet grounded PDA’s are only some of their qualities that make their marriage and relationship one that everyone should strive to achieve. After about 60 years together, what better love lesson than theirs…through it all!

J:

What I’ve learned:

  • Faith is a big part of a successful marriage. Having 25 years of your marriage be with an in-law there, many of them in caretaker capacity – it can be a tremendous challenge on your relationship so faith is SO IMPORTANT.
  • Focus on family over perception. For a man to get married and spend the next two decades in his wife’s house with his mother-in-law is not considered “ideal” for our generation today, but Pop put family first over maybe his own personal ideal. You’ve gotta be selfless in your marriage.
  • The important things in a marriage. It’s not always comfortable, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.
  • They’re always aware of each other and what each other needs. Pop always talks about Nana and is looking to see what he can do for her, and vice versa.

Look at the way they look at each other. Look at it. I mean…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

If that’s not lovelovelove, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Whatever your relationship status today, I hope you feel hope.

So much of how we experience life – so much of our story – stems from our perspective. So much of what my Nana & Pop have been through might leave some feeling less-than-stellar, throwing a pity party. Their attitude has always been to just make it work and do it all with love.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, about to tie the knot or married for a decade, I hope that attitude rubs off on ya a bit today.

Make it work, do it all with love.

Whatever you’re doing in life – be that your relationship with your S.O., your girlfriends, the random person that sits outside the Dunkin’ Donuts on your way to work every day – do it all with love.

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? What’s the most inspiring love story you’ve heard?

Whatever your plans are today, I hope you know + feel how loveloveloved you are.

For what it’s worth, I lovelovelove each of y’all so much and am SO grateful that you’re here. I owe so much to you, and I wouldn’t slash couldn’t do Coming Up Roses without you.

Sending you SO much lovelovelove on this Valentine’s Day + everyday.

signature blog

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Are your Expectations Ruining the Real Joy in Life?

Today’s guest blog post comes from Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard and can be originally found here!

Expectations are sneaky buggers. We often don't realize we even have them until we find ourselves disappointed in our reality. Maybe we need to shift our focus.
Expectations are sneaky buggers. They are often so engrained into our ideas of normal that we forget we have them at all.

We walk into daily situations, especially holidays, with subconscious champagne and roses expectations thanks to Hallmark movies, and miss the better gifts reality can offer.

One year, I almost ruined my own birthday with my expectations. In the years since, I have seen how God has walked with me through feeling disappointed and invisible and reminds me He is the God who sees me.

In the weeks surrounding holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, I often see so many struggling relationships because they weren’t celebrated in the way they wanted to be. And hurting women let disappointment turn into a burr between themselves and their families.

I sadly remember all the Valentine’s Days, birthdays, trips, and anniversaries that turned into balls of hurt in my house because of my wrong expectations that didn’t offer any grace to the love of my life.

Somehow, I expected my husband to say the words that would make all the late nights, emotional exhaustion and struggles of being a wife and mother worth it. I wanted him to find the gift or flowers that would make me feel for just ONE day that he truly sees and appreciates me.

I was putting the pressure of my expectations on him instead of taking them to the Lord.

And with all the weight I was giving these particular calendar days, nothing was ever going to satisfy.

Now, I can see all the ways he shows me how much he appreciates me everyday. But I was missing it because I was so focused on my emotional needs.

The year I almost ruined my birthday changed everything. The day had been pretty low-key, a fine day, but I couldn’t get over my disappointment at not receiving any kind of gift.

After feeling a bit dejected and debating with myself about telling him how I felt, I decided not to say anything and be grateful for all the blessings I had.

Five minutes later, he came out from the bedroom with a jewelry set he had purchased months earlier. It was special hypoallergenic gold due to my bizarre metal allergy. I felt like such a jerk. My unmet expectations almost ruined his thoughtful surprise.

I almost missed a real expression of his love for me because I wanted to dictate what it should look like.

Most Mother’s Days, I don’t wake up to a perfect bouquet or breakfast in bed. But my days have been just right.

Why? What changed? Me.

First, I stopped placing my value and worth as a mother in the hands of my husband. I would love a moment of recognition from him, but I don’t need it.

My identity as a woman, mother, even wife is in Christ and the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I have learned to let God’s love fill me so that I overflow with His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Even though I still do those things imperfectly, I recognize I am growing in grace as I grow in Him.

So I set my expectations for holidays now on what I want for myself. On Mother’s Day, I want a day of being the mom I really want to be everyday: fun, patient, kind, joyful.

I don’t want to use this holiday as a weapon. Expectations ruin reality. Don’t miss the real joy God has for us. CLICK TO TWEET

Does it really measure my worth or his love if he doesn’t roll out the red carpet and ticker tape parade on this one calendar day?

When I quit having expectations, I got to see more fully who my husband is, appreciating and loving the whole of him, and experiencing the joy of the day as it unfolds.

My first Mother’s Day of letting go of expectations, my husband didn’t make me breakfast in bed, because he wanted to wait to ask me what I would like to have. He didn’t buy me a gift, but researched a special place for me to choose exactly what I wanted. He spent his afternoon cleaning out the pool so I could have the first swim of the year.

His quiet thoughtfulness was more precious to me than any gift.

For years, I missed the real gifts because of my wrong expectations.

Sometimes we feel invisible and ignored. No one sees us up at midnight, straightening the living room or washing dishes. Laundry magically folds itself and finds its way back into drawers, or maybe you magically earn the paycheck that keeps your house from belonging to the bank.

One or two days a year doesn’t change who you are and won’t heal days you were taken for granted or ignored. But rest assured, God sees you. He sees your every moment.

The work and struggle of being a wife, mother, friend, sister is not invisible to Him. And I find so much joy when I remember that I’m serving Him through my earthly service.

Matthew 5:14 ESV “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Don’t let the darkness steal true joy from your grasp. Even on this side of heaven, jewelry and flowers pale in comparison to the joy of the Lord in the ministry where He has placed you.

2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Focus on the eternal blessings, and you might find greater joy than you expected in the first place.

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Love Nudge (Review and Giveaway!)

Love Nudge is a new app developed by Moody Publishers, the publishers of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

If you’re unfamiliar with Gary Chapman, he is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in anthropology from Wheaton College and from Wake Forest University. He also received Master of Religious Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The 5 Love Languages is a book that since 1992 has sold over 11 million copies. The premise is that everyone has their own “love language,” the way they primarily communicate their love to others. According to his theory and research, each person has one primary and one secondary love language.

By doing a thorough quiz (there are some more simplified ones out there but they’re for sure not as meticulous), you can discover your love language. The idea is that, through this, your spouse will know how to “talk” to you in your own language – and vice versa – and you’ll communicate better than ever.

Based on the book sales – but more importantly the testimonies – that have come out of this ministry, it’s clear to see why this book and its message have moved into the 21st century by becoming more accessible as an app.

Now, I’m going to be completely honest with you:

As a person who read the original book, this app is great but it really should accompany the book. The book will give you a greater understanding of your game plan and it will motivate you greatly. It’s actually a really easy read, too.

Now on to the app and my opinion of it…

The app is FREE right now. I dont know how long that will last, maybe forever. The 5 Love Languages has always been an affordable book so I can’t really see them suddenly making this a $5 app – though its worth it.

http://youtu.be/9iVxDY0ihOo

The app is easily downloadable and easy to walk through. It walks you through basic information, quizzing you to determine your love language, and allowing you to invite your spouse or future spouse to join in the app with you.

It really is like a fitness app but for your relationship health. Instead of you marking that you met your goal of running a mile (inset me laughing hysterically here), you’re checking off that you used some words of affirmation for your spouse today. “Today I told him how much I appreciate all he does around the house. Check!” Every goal met help each of you to fill up your love tank. 😉

This app actually came at a great time for my husband and I. Every relationship goes through their seasons and we’ve certainly seen our share of them. This app reminded my husband that his words have great power in regard to me while holding me accountable to do my part in our relationship rather than my being part of the problem or being bitter.

Sometimes we can forget who we were…who we are. We only think about the thing that interrupted who we are. But God wants to restore us to what we were meant to be.

I dont know about you but I don’t want to become that bitter old couple that stay married but fight everyday as if they hate each other. I want to mourn when we are separated and celebrate when we’re reunited. God wants that for us too.

So, all in all, I really like it. My husband likes it. I sent the link to my 22 year old daughter and her boyfriend of four years. I mean if you have a nail that needs to be driven in… and there’s a hammer right there, wouldn’t you use the hammer that was given to you? This is a free tool to help make your relationship easier and a greater success. I would think everyone would take advantage of it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Love Nudge for Couples will help you put the concepts of The 5 Love Languages into action in ways that are easy, obvious, and satisfying.

1. LEARN YOUR LOVE LANGUAGETake the official 5 Love Languages quiz to discover your preferred Love Language.

2. CONNECT WITH YOUR PARTNERUse the app individually or invite your partner to download, take the quiz, and link profiles.

3. SET YOUR GOALSSet goals to regularly take on activities that align with your partner’s Love Language.

4. NUDGEStart nudging! Send your partner a playful nudge to suggest activities or to find out how full their Love Tank is.

Download the LoveNudge App and be entered to win Dr. Gary Chapman’s #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages®, The 5 Love Languages® for Men, AND The Love Languages Devotional Bible (hardback)! Click below to enter and for more details.

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7 Beautiful Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

Today’s guest blog post is by Sara Benny from A Virtuous Home and can be originally found here!

As the children of God, we need to look to the scriptures for the answers and seek His help alone. You can breathe life into your empty marriage life through prayer, scripture, and trusting our Lord, Jesus. So, what are the seven beautiful ways to strengthen your marriage?

Ways to strengthen your marriage -1

Rebuilding intimacy in marriage

I want to quote the words of the author of the book Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” There was a time in my life when I thought my marriage would be like a fairy tale and never knew the investments it needs to flourish.

And when the reality hit me, I knew it needed a lot more work than I expected. All I did was look to the Lord in prayer. It was my sincere desire to rebuild the intimacy in marriage, strengthen the marriage, and get the divine guidance.

How to bring back intimacy in a marriage?

Building intimacy in a marriage is important in strengthening marriage.

Put God first in your marriage.

Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by love towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is love between the two persons.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

So, I am rephrasing the above sentence to be- Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by God towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is God between the two persons.

Hope you got the key point :).

Companionship in marriage

Be your husband’s favorite companion whom he loves to spend his time together.

This is not an easy task, so let’s take encouragement from the scripture.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Mathew 7:12)

  • Be gentle and cheerful always

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

A right companion always knows the right time to talk. You can spoil both of your moods by simply bombarding your husband with your frustrations or pessimistic talks, or you can warmly greet him when he comes home and save your discussions for later. This makes a huge difference!

  • Spend time together

I should say that my husband loves to watch classic movies and I hate watching it. All I do is force myself to watch with him because my interests are completely different.

There was a time when I tried to resist him, but now I decide to focus on the relevant and to ignore the irrelevant.

The good news is, now I love watching such movies with him as I am sitting beside him enjoying time together.

  • Listen to Him

Are you a good listener? Have you ever neglected when your husband talks to you or when he shows you some exciting news?

Try to take a conscious step to pause whatever you are doing, and listen to him for that little time. He will love it!

  • Put on a smile

My husband loves when I smile at him, or when I am cheerful. It reminded me that the habit of being pleasant and optimistic makes me lovable and attractive.

So, why not take a step to always talk to him in a friendly, pleasant manner to get his attention!

  • Try new recipes

Men love delicious foods prepared with love :).

Physical Intimacy in marriage

A strong physical relationship is built on emotional intimacy and companionship. If you desire to have good physical intimacy, it is important to address the emotional needs of the partner.

Being a submissive wife

Is submission important in marriage life? Do I have to be a submissive wife to strengthen my marriage?

As we see there are thousands of ideas on the internet about this topic alone. Some think being submissive is neglecting one’s freedom, or even as slavery.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:21- 27)

Marriage is never a one-sided relationship. As husbands and wives, we need to respect and appreciate each other’s efforts out of reverence for Christ.

As wives, we should let our husbands have the lead role in our family, and help him to be the man God desire about him. For that, we need to be renewed in our minds and be filled with the spirit of Christ to be the wife glorifying God through our lives.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)

But, what if your husband hardly cares about your needs, or barely shows affection or appreciate your efforts. In that case, I urge you to walk an extra mile with Jesus who can save your marriage.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2)

Give thanks to God for everything

How can I strengthen my marriage by giving thanks to God?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Always give thanks to the Lord in everything, whether you are doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, and in the tiniest of things you do in your house- do it with thanksgiving and prayer.

Even the most vibrant marriage can turn dull one day if you fail to see the purpose of doing those mundane things. But if you do everything with thanksgiving and prayer, your heart will be filled with God’s peace and your home will be a beautiful reflection of Christ and the church.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Let us have the same mindset as Christ Jesus!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Effective communication in marriage

Communication is crucial in marriage relationships, and it is essential in strengthening marriage.

So, does this mean we can communicate all the silly things that are revolving in our mind? Or to constantly complain about the things which are pending to complete or undone?

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

As Christian wives, we should communicate with our husbands in a way pleasing to the Lord. This might be against our nature, but when we are ready to be renewed in our minds (Ephesians 2:21-24) and seek the wisdom of Christ in our lives, He will help us.

Be intentional in spending time with each other without any external distractions for at least half an hour.

Express opinions, or any negative feelings in a gentle way.

It is okay to be specific when asking something as men are not good mind readers. 

Avoid responding when you are angry. Resume the conversation only once you are calm down.

Try to avoid reminding him of the pending “to do lists”.

Now, let us check some things that can aid us in the effective communication process.

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife (Proverbs 21:19).

The best way to effectively communicate with your husband is to know the best way to show your love towards him.

So, let’s check some ideas to get his attention.

Appreciate and affirm him for all his efforts to build your family.

Ask Jesus, and Jesus will fill you with the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Being attentive of every single need of the family- cooking, cleaning, organizing, children, dressing up, etc.

Listening to him whenever he initiates a conversation.

More than anyone, your husband deserves your best. So, give him the best of you in everything.

Involve and show enjoyment in his interests too.

Try speaking in a soft voice.

Cook his favorite food.

Prayer for marriage protection

There was a time when I took this less significant in my marriage life. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t pray at all. I surely did, but I didn’t use this powerful weapon to strengthen my marriage wisely.  We can always cover our husband in prayer, building an invisible wall of protection on him through the power of prayer.

It is true that we often become vexed when situations turn unfavorable, but prayer is the most powerful weapon to protect the love of your life from all the snares of the enemy.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Pray for your husband in all the walks of his life- in everything give thanks to the Lord in faith, believing that your prayer is heard.

When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. (Job 1:5)

Bible tells the love and reverence Job had for God. He was rich, blessed in everything, and even in that abundance he was mindful of praying for his children on a single thought- perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.

Be ready with the armor of God, and fight for your family!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 10:12)

Forgiveness in marriage

Forgiveness in marriage is essential to strengthen marriage and to keep it secure. We all easily feel whenever our emotions are hurt, sometimes may not express it soon but hide it till the right moment to vent it out. We try to forget it but fails to forgive.

Am not an expert in this, and I often struggle in this aspect of my marriage. Then I found a way to overcome this issue without accumulating much in my heart.

Love your husband in the way he is, and accept him for who is.

Always pause from talking when you are hurt.

Tell God your hurt feelings and then openly share it with your husband when you both are in a good mood.

There is no secret formula for forgiveness in marriage except “forgive as Christ forgave you” and “love as Christ loved you”.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

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Hi, if you enjoyed reading this, please comment so that I may know someone has been encouraged reading this and that would make me glad in the Lord. So, please share your heart.

Blessings,

Sara Benny