Do The Hard Things

Confession: It’s been really nice being on summer break.  I’ve had three days of uninterrupted, unlimited Bible study.  And snuggles.  And coffee that is still hot when I drink it!

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This is my runfie.  This is the hot mess I look like running 2 miles in 50F.

I finished calculating grades and putting together progress reports on Monday and since then I feel like I have nothing to do.  Everything for AK Exploring Studies is submitted and I’m just waiting on the Anchorage School District to get back to me.  There is nothing left for me to do but wait and rest and recover.

And in all this resting, my Bible reading and my devotionals have all been revolving around one common theme: Do the hard thing.

It doesn’t take a neurologist to see that we are creatures of habit (ok, maybe it actually does, but just follow me here for a moment).  We will always do that which we have always done – we will react the same way we reacted last time, we will drive down the same routes we drove down yesterday…  And this is what makes weight loss so painfully difficult!  If you crave salt and vinegar chips when you are stressed and you give in today, you will crave and possibly give in tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

Which is why Paul the apostle told us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to win the prize.  Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything.  However they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.  Instead I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

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My daughter did a triathlon and I did the run part with her AND my youngest.

Bringing your body under strict control is not fun.  It’s hard.  But it’s the hard things that lead to the life God really envisioned for you!  We weren’t created to cruise on autopilot until we reach eternity.  We are told to do this life as if we were in the Olympics, going for the gold.  What does that look like?

  • Reading your Bible before reading your Facebook feed.
  • Putting away all the electronics and playing a board game with your kids.
  • Fasting and praying through decisions instead of making them on a whim.
  • Eating the handful of snap peas instead of the chocolate chip cookies.
  • Going for a run when you’d rather watch TV all day.
  • Listening to your spouse with the intention of understanding, instead of thinking of what you are going to respond because you are angry.
  • Working with your kid on a chore and guiding him until he gets it instead of just taking over and doing it yourself.
  • Bathing your own dog instead of paying someone else to do it when the money is tight.
  • Cutting out foods from your diet that cause inflammation if you are struggling with auto-immune issues!
  • Cutting cable when funds are tight or the family is on a spiritual low.

The hard things are not fun things.  But they are good things.  We know that doing the hard things now will plant seeds of victory that we will harvest later in the future.

img_1652My husband just went back to school.  He was faced with two options: Be a 40 year old C.M.A. or a 40 year old P.A.  It will take him that long to get there anyways and the time will pass either way.  But his career may be completely different if we all choose to do the hard thing now.

The good thing is that the hard things become easy things once they are a habit.  The tough part is making the decision to do it.  After doing it enough times, it won’t be an active decision to wrestle with any more, it will be a normal part of your life.  And that’s where it gets awesome!  Your mind, body and soul will be that much in tune with making the right choice the more we consistently do so when it is the hardest.

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The Season of Silence

It’s hard for me to believe I haven’t blogged in so long.

But sometimes you don’t have anything to say.  I had a lot of incoming information and things I was quietly observing and praying about.  And just waiting for things to change and shift according to God’s will.

My health took a turn of events that had me resting A LOT.  So much so I had a lot of time to think, and journal, and sleeeeeeeep. Delicious sleep.

Nothing happens for our harm though.  I’ve learned that full well.  In all the events and trials we have been through, it has all worked out to do good in us.  The issue is that our definition of “good” is probably not God’s.

We think “good” is comfortable, pleasant, or nice.  God says “good” is having strong moral fiber, being like Jesus; forgiving when it hurts, turning the other cheek… Persevering in the face of persecution.  Having endurance in the faith while being tried and tested.

It goes without saying that to have good results by God’s standards you will have to be moved from the comfortable and pleasant.  You can’t stay safe and happy and develop a Christ-like character, which is the ultimate definition of “good”.

Yes, everything has worked out for my good.  I’ll share in subsequent blogs some specifics, but I can see God’s signature in my life and my faith is growing.

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Living From Rest


It is said that kids learn best if they are learning from rest.  But I have come to learn that LIFE is done best if we approach it from a position of rest.

I think it’s the world’s way to be always busy, always stressed, running from one thing to another.  Lysa TerKeurst says it well in her book, “The Best Yes”: An overwhelmed schedule is an indicator of an underwhelmed soul.

Disclosure: I do not receive compensation from the entities that I link to. I have not received anything from Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries in exchange for my recommendation. This blog is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.


What does it mean to be underwhelmed? It means to lose the WOW factor of God in your life.  To be mundane and mechanical about your existence.  To feel purposeless or ineffective.  To have an “absent father” relationship with God.

Mind you I came from Florida to help with Hurricane Relief, attend court hearings, catch up on doctor’s visits and then move.  Even now I’m having to generate income to meet our new set of expenses.  God definitely provides, but I’m in no way feeling like I’m on “vacation”.

However I learned to live from a position of a rested soul.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
Psalms 62:5-6 NIV

A rested soul doesn’t panic.  Doesn’t worry.  A rested soul won’t anxiously berate their family members because they are not meeting expectations.  A rested soul finds joy even in difficult times.

It means I don’t have to nag my pre-teen into reading his Bible or attending church because I know that his soul belongs to God first.  I can take my concerns about his spiritual upbringing to my prayer closet and leave it there.  And I smile as I type this now because we’ve had some very spiritual conversations and his faith is growing.

I’m free from judgment and condemnation.  All I’m worth is held by God’s scales, not mine!  So my less-than-clean house or my less-than-perfect kids aren’t a source of friction for me.  I am His, and He is mine.  We can work on the rest together and little by little.

There’s no rush to keep up with appearances.  I don’t ever worry, “What will our Pastor think?” I figure if he’s ever truly concerned he’ll call us.  Transparency is a beautiful thing.

Our prayer closet is the greatest rejuvinating source for us – more than a nap or a spa day.  It gives us the strength and the peace that supernaturally helps us overcome each situation we face.  Prayer helps us approach battles from a position of rest.  The Bible gives us the wisdom to not put ourselves in battles we weren’t meant to fight in the first place.  A solid, gospel preaching church gives a spiritual refreshing in a corporate setting.  A small group or bible study setting helps us bear each other’s burdens so we don’t feel overwhelmed and alone.

And actually resting as God has commanded us releases the tension in our bodies, clears the brain fog, slows down the adrenaline, and keeps our emotions balanced!  I don’t know why Christians feel like they are always to be “doing” something for the Lord – maybe it’s that one proverb about the ants – but we can sure be a whole truck full of Martha’s in what is supposed to be a Mary walk.

The difficulty lies in that you can’t achieve rest without boundaries.  You have to set boundaries for your energy so you don’t spend yourself in meaningless pursuits.  You have to set boundaries from your children so you can have your prayer closet time.  You have to set boundaries from friends and family when you can’t keep up with all the activities that month.  The Bible says that boundary lines fall for us in pleasant places; they are designed to be our comfort, not our restraint.

I wish I knew all this before I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Now my body is a barometer of activity and like a vehicle with a busted fuel tank, I hit my limit more often than others.  I pray these words encourage you to find your rest in Him.  Together we can tackle this life with the optimism of a three year old who had a wonderful nap!  Let us not miss out on the blessing of living with our souls rested.



A 5,000 Mile Miracle

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God is amazing! I don’t know that I have enough time to write all the ways He has been faithful to my family since my last blog post. I’m settled in Alaska, having flown to Florida and then to West Virginia before heading back; the provision of God to be able to see both my parents on the same trip is still beyond me. I was also able to see all my in-laws and have my husband join us for two weeks. I could not have asked for more, but He provided.
Miami BeachI would not have made it to Florida on my own at all.  We were scraping money for tickets and I just felt like we would never get there on time! Until members of my church stepped up to help.  One, an extraordinary man and veteran, helped me with a very generous check to get the tickets we needed to Florida.  Then I was handed an anonymous donation with the cash to purchase the tickets BACK to Alaska before I had even left.  I can’t even thank anyone other than God – who must’ve known I had to go.
When I arrived in Florida my mom was very, VERY sick. She has such an aggressive form of cancer that she opted to do 6 rounds of two different chemo medications + antibodies + steroids before surgery and radiation. She spends all day in the hospital getting these medications via a port she had installed in her chest.
good byeShe had just completed her first round of chemo. Aside from the expected side effects, she had an allergic reaction that had some extreme symptoms; inflammation in her bone marrow, nose bleeds that lasted for 20 minutes, and ridiculously low blood pressure.
She did not feel well enough to stand, let alone go back to work. But the situation was dire; my mom pays all the bills. She had treatment and MRIs delayed because she couldn’t afford them out of pocket and rent was due in two weeks! Well if the chemo didn’t kill her, the financial stress alone would finish her off.
All of July I was cleaning and cooking. Any out of pocket cash I spent this whole trip was in over the counter medicine, groceries and gas. Keeping my kids from getting sick so my mom wouldn’t get sicker. My sister was able to pick up enough part time shifts to earn a full time paycheck. By God’s provision rent was paid August 1st.
FROSTIt wasn’t until the weekend before round 2 that my mom was eating and “alive” by any counts. Around that time she had already lost all her hair, and my husband joined me.
This round of chemo went smoother considering she took antihistamines before treatment and we got her pretty hydrated. She had 5 really sick days but only vomited once! (This is a miracle!!).  After these five days Mom was completely fine without any side effects. Paul and I really enjoyed spending time with her those two weeks, it was such a blessing.
I feel like an infomercial for Jesus is coming along: BUT WAIT! There’s more!
In between all this, my husband and I were gifted with professional salsa dance classes, 10 free tickets to the FROST museum (best in Miami), 3 tickets to Universal Studios Orlando, a Mission’s trip for my oldest kid, beaches, pools, church and good food. And my mom’s health was good enough for us to enjoy these things as we could!
When she wasn’t feeling good, we had friends come over and keep my sister and me company with card games or dominos for long nights.
VAGod also provided tremendously for my mom. Because her cancer has not spread anywhere else, it was downgraded from the original diagnosis of 4C to a 3B! She had a secondary insurance company send her a check for every hospital day and every day at home, plus some of her co-pays. That check equaled what she currently owed in medical bills and then some. And she was able to work full time for about a week just before we left to the Virginias to do a little American History touring and spend some time with my Dad.
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MiamiAs I write this blog update, my mom and family in Miami have no power or cell service.  They were hit with some serious winds and flooding with Hurricane Irma, and I could not get a hold of them for 48 hours straight!  My mom had a rougher time recovering from round 3 of chemo and had been hospitalized just the week before.  But praise be to God, they are alive and well! Not only them, but all my in-laws and friends in Florida.  And what I learned from all this is what my kids and I have been reading about during our Bible Time in Matthew 14:22-33:
The power of Jesus is not evident in the absence of storms, but in such a fierce love that He would walk on water and meet us in the midst of it to calm our fears.
From Miami

Pressing In

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Confession: I have not been able to read my Bible since the beginning of this year.

I can do short verses at church on my phone.  Opening my book Bible and reading through it makes me nauseous.  The words swirl on the pages.  But it’s not just the Bible.  I walk around with this headache and blurry vision that makes reading mac and cheese boxes difficult for me.

This is a side effect of all that is going on in my physical brain. I am serotonin-negative, which is also known as clinically depressed.  I also have ADHD, which can cause random episodes of dyslexia and trouble focusing the eyes.

worshipIt is not, however, a reflection of my faith.  I could not stand firmer on God then I do at this moment.  Let me tell you, we serve a beautiful and personal God.  He is faithful to reach out to me, to captivate my attention when little else in this world does right now. He breaks through the walls caused by my physical symptoms like the kool-aid man!

When I have a difficulty seeing, I tune my ears (spiritually and physically) to listen for Him.

There was one Sunday a while ago (when we still thought we would buy a house this summer) when I was on the worship team at church, singing “Always“.  The Spirit of God showed up that day and in a way I can not explain, He brought me down to my knees in a quiet sob.

I think to most people it would’ve looked like I was distraught.  I wasn’t.  All of me was fully overwhelmed by His love and in worship.  But His Spirit was working in me to express a prayer I didn’t yet know I would need.  It came from the pit of my stomach, this brokenness, this cry for comfort and strength I wasn’t originally asking for when we first started to sing.

prayingSee, I didn’t know my mom had breast cancer, and we would be denied the pre-approval for a mortgage, or that a chiropractor had sued me and was going to levy our entire bank account clean.  I don’t think I could’ve mentally prepared for all this to happen in one week had I been warned anyways.  But when I was standing there completely dumbstruck by all this, that feeling in the pit of my stomach came back and I realized: God in His mercy had interceded for me, calling down the comfort and strength I would need while – in His providence – not revealing to me the very immediate future.

This is just one example of how God is working in my life even though the chemical imbalances in my brain make it difficult to read the instructions on a box of mac and cheese, let alone my Bible.

But I’m not excused from my responsibility to press in to the Lord.  Anxiety still starts building walls around me that suffocate me at times.  My friend Lo Tanner wrote about her experience with anxiety on her blog a while back, and God brought her very post to mind when I was having a rough time with this issue just last week.

So how do I press in?

  1. I listen to my Bible.  I listen to guided meditations based on verses.  And AFTER this I listen to worship music.  I listen to my kids studying their Bibles.  I listen to people who are praying for me and the things God laid in their heart over me. And when I have messages from God through out the day, I try to listen to them too.
  2. I pray.  There’s a whole lot of talking on my part through out the day.  It feels a lot more conversational.  I’m now “that neighbor” who stays in her car, “talking to herself” while sipping a cup of coffee at around 9am.writing
  3. I take notes.  I can’t explain why writing is easier to me than reading except it must be a different process in the brain; I’m regurgitating information and not receiving it.  But I have a journal where I write any thought that is worthy and I try to let go of thoughts that aren’t.  I also write affirmations to declare out loud daily so my brain can hear me in charge and not the other way around.  And I write this blog.

If you look around this blog, you will quickly realize that I’m not an uber-spiritual person.  I’ve talked about parenting, frustrations, weight loss, and other things too.  But if God impresses upon my heart to share a spiritual word, I have to be obedient.  It may be that as a friend you are in a season to receive the instruction to press in and perceive what God is doing in your life right now, and that may have a higher priority than other things in your life right now too.

PS. As a disclaimer I should let you know that the links which lead away from my site are not affiliate links.  I am not paid to advertise for any of these services or music, and I will not receive a dime in commission if you click on the link.  I’m just an honest Christian mom, giving credit where credit is due, and sharing the resources that are helping me in this season of my life.

When Refuge Feels Like Disaster

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Confession: While I believe in all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I’m not one to proclaim that I am prophetic, nor do I dwell a lot on the supernatural realm around us.  I’m very much a here and now kind of believer with a healthy fear for what the Spirit is doing.

It’s no secret that I’m under a lot of stress.  My mom is starting chemo and I’m heading to see her with my kids, flying across four time zones with two ADHD boys and a girl and my medications for RA.

I say all this because *usually* seasons of stress cause me to have random, vivid dreams.  I seldom remember details – I just wake up with uneasy feelings that I digest with a cup of coffee as I listen to my Bible app.

Which is why, when I have one of those dreams that I not only remember three days later, but that I also hear confirmation, I stop and take notice.  When I woke up from this particular dream, I felt almost instantly a call to share it.  That’s not something I do without giving it a few days first.

refugeI was in a forest of sorts, and there were people living there like persecuted refugees.  I saw people with really dark skin and assumed they were the refugees, but I also saw Caucasian people alongside them.  When I spoke to some of them, a few white men shared that they had been cast out from their communities as a result of standing up for the black people.  While we were all in the jungle trying to get away from the city, I felt like this had taken the world by a storm – overwhelmed in the night, like it’s a global disaster.  I also noticed a feline creature, kind of unrecognizable but as big as a tiger, stalking the perimeter of this refugee camp.

I was so overwhelmed by fear that I looked straight up into a starless sky and said, “Oh Jesus come soon!”  And was dumbstruck by how star-less the sky actually looked.  That’s when I was approached by a white, elderly gentleman, in a suit, very pastor-like.  He tells me, in a very calm and matter of fact manner that “a third of the stars fell with the enemy down to earth.

I ask him, “What’s happening here?  What’s with all these people?!”

He responds with a voice that almost brings the catastrophe around me to a low hum:

black and white“These are the people who have chosen to stand for God’s Word.  Don’t be confused; this is not a catastrophe due to racism or political issues.  These are the people who are standing on the word of God, who have chosen to see it as black and white, so to speak.  This is the bride, facing the consequences of their actions in a fallen world, where the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour..”

I responded with, “Oh Jesus, help us to be ready for You!  We need to prepare!”  And he put a hand on my shoulder to calm me down and said, “Maria, they are ready.  They are precisely where God wants them to be in this hour.  Your mistake is the assumption that the Bride gets it all together and then Jesus returns.  But it is God Himself who makes her holy and blameless for His coming, that’s not something you accomplish out of your own merit.  None of this is a surprise to Him who brought all these people here together, and this is exactly what He has provided for their refuge.  These circumstances out in the world are merely a winnowing fork.  Their hope in God’s Word brought them where God wants them.”

worshipI took the scene in one more time and said, “This is the refuge that God has provided for them.  This is for their good.”  And he said, “Yes! And now is when you will be able to see God’s glory.  This is the place where God provides miraculously and shows His power to save.  Even now don’t you feel it?  Haven’t you experienced God anticipating your every need?  Taking care of leveling your path before your foot hits the floor?”

And as I realized that He has, I woke up.

I believe this is an overall message of encouragement to everyone.  And that it will speak to those who are ready to hear it without any further interpretation.

The Cha-Cha of Life

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If it ever felt like we take one step forward and two steps back, it’s now!

We did not get pre-approved for a home loan.  We ended up moving into a small apartment just to be on our own again.

I’m not even trying to get into a home loan. I’m trying to get to Florida to see my mom and my sister.  And then get back.

whynottri1My mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  That blind-sided me.

A chiropractor is out to get me and levied my entire bank account.  The only medical place I have not been able to pay decided to help themselves to my husband’s entire paycheck and all we had in savings.

We did a triathlon as a family!  Then I injured my foot and haven’t been able to walk pain-free since June 9th.

I joined itWorks!  I can’t wait to get my starter kit.  Looking forward to making money for using products I would buy at GNC and start losing the weight I gained.

My dog Momo had a major seizure…

life groupOne step forward, two step backs.  It’s a cha-cha. The Salsa lover in me should find this beautiful… Except I feel violently shaken and disoriented right now!  Part of the reason I haven’t been able to blog, other than depression (and I’m seeing a therapist and a doctor for that) is I’m kinda’ stunned speechless! Yet I’ve been very well taken care of by my tribe of believing homeschooling moms and that has made all the difference.

I guess I forget I’m dancing with the Lord as my partner and He takes the lead! Not an original idea, but I heard Amena Brown, a spoken word poet and she NAILED IT, it’s so good I’m sharing with you the lyrics. Not quite as good as hearing her recite it, but it’s the best I got today:

Dance with Him
He puts His hand on the small of my back
Two fingers pressed into the center of my palm
He pulls me close
Steps with His left, my right
I focus on His eyes and try to ignore my feet as they clumsily count one – two – three
I’m trying to trust Him
He knows this dance better than me
I’m still a novice and it’s obvious
I have yet to lean in and let Him control the turns
He takes His time and even when I miss a step
It’s fine
He knows I’m learning
He wants me to put my hand in His
Close my eyes and trust Him
With my life
My heart
With worry
And “I’m so scared”
With hurt
lifeWorth and unworthy
Loving and unlovable
And my heart has been hurt before
I have been burned before
Loved
And endured loss before
I am in no mood for a dance
No mood to be romanced
I have become a grace cynic
And love’s worst critic
He sends me invitations every day
And even though I have yet to RSVP
He doesn’t mind me
He keeps pursuing
Taking steps in spite of me
He is a songwriter
Composing the notes that hold together eternity
And He wants to teach my limbs to sing
He’s been waiting to watch me let go of woe
And worry…until my soul
Sings in that beautiful voice He gave me
That I have someone come to think
Is not so beautiful
To dance with Him
I must give in
And give up
Plus
The trust it takes to really love
And I want to love Him unbridled
Believe in Him with a faith that is unshakeable
Like tree roots centuries deep
Until I learn to follow His time
Take deep breaths
Rest my head on His chest
And my cares at His feet
But I never fare well
As long as I depend on mewhynottri2
Take His hand
Take a chance
Fingertips in the palm of the One who holds galaxies
In His hand
Hand on His shoulder
Heart in His hand
We dance
To a down beat
That keeps time with His heartbeat
Sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me go
When He’s only letting me turn
And sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me fall
When He’s only letting me learn
His is the song that never ends
His love
Sinners become friends
He wants to dance with you
Until the only Song you hear
Is Him

When I have nothing to encourage you with personally, it’s ok.  That will get better.  But I’m never without encouragement from the Lord, without His peace, or His provision.  As a Christian blogger, the best I can do is share the encouragement I’ve received with you.  I pray it lifts you up today.

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Lifelines While On The Go

Confession: I don’t have a lot of time to blog this week. It’s been super busy!

Between doctors appointments and school activities, American Heritage Girls and homeschool cooperatives, I’m mentally and physically maxed out. But the climax of this week that has my undivided attention is Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!


Easter for our family has never had anything to do with bunnies or eggs. We don’t even give kids baskets or gifts to celebrate the day. But oh do we celebrate!  My children understand that through Jesus’ death and victory over the grave, we are now invited to the greatest party in the universe!

“When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:14-18‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

I think some people see believers who turn to the Lord as lemmings who have signed up to a list of dos and donts. Certainly Jesus described those who would make excuses not to come. But entering a relationship with the most Holy God is not a bore! It’s a feast!

The Parable of the Great Banquet

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Luke 14:15-24

It’s an access with the King of Kings we did not have before that veil in the Temple was torn, one where we can delight in the presence of God and His fullness of joy. It’s being satisfied unlike anything in this world can do in us. 

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:5‬ ‭HCSB‬‬


So there is a lot of singing, a lot of worshipping, a lot of fellowship, some good food, and definitely some family time in the sunshine in store for us. 

But even with all these things going on, I still need to train for a triathlon (and my family too)! And spend time in prayer and personal Bible study. And time with the kids. And time with the husband. The blogs with the book reviews, lessons learned, and fitness encouragement will have to wait until next week. 

I’d like to leave you with some lifelines I use to help me stay centered on the go:

  1. Perspective: journal on my phone. It helps me keep track of my priorities and rate the day based on how I centered I was to things that are important to me. This ADHD brain needs tools like this so I don’t get lost between vet appointments and frog dissections.
  2. Bible In One Year Audio Bible: I honestly don’t have time to read my Bible and I hate being so hectic. But I value this resource so much! I listen to the Bible and the commentary and it’s very edifying. It turns something mundane like making breakfast or folding laundry into a holy moment; while my hands are busy, my heart and my mind are engaged in God’s Word. 
  3. Nike Fitness Club: I’ve been able to enter what weights I could use and what supplies I have, and how often I can exercise this week. It builds customized workouts no more than thirty minutes and within my abilities. 
  4. Audio CDs: our van is old school and comes with a CD player. When we spend so much time in the van, we listen to stories as a family. It gives us something to look forward to and something to discuss as a family. It definitely beats everyone to their own electronic devices and the disconnect that can happen when you’re just running from one thing to the next. But if you have Bluetooth capabilities in your car, Audible is a great resource! Or check out Overdrive and see if your local library is on the app to borrow audio books directly to your phone, from your house!


These are all resources I use for free. If you choose to upgrade to a paid version I will not be compensated in any way. The only apps I found worth paying for are:

  • Fitstar Yoga: I desperately need to stretch my achy joints. I paid the fee to have workouts built for me as I improve. And I can play any music I want in the background, which usually is my worship play list so I can relax and release tension. 
  • Abide: This is a Christian meditation guide. It’s prayers based on scripture that you can hear in the mornings or at night. With background music and based on topics. It’s an active prayer and scripture meditation app in that you are prompted to think and pray about specific things in your life, and meditate on the significance of the Bible verses in your own life. 

Both these apps have free versions too, and if you choose to pay for their subscriptions I won’t be compensated in any way. This isn’t an affiliate post, it’s an honest mom blog post. 

It will be a wonderful week! Be blessed!

What are you doing this weekend?

Unanswered Prayers

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Confession: My husband and I are fighting a battle against the Credit Bureu over our score and our history.  It has been a loooooong battle against years of unemployment/underemployment and identity theft.  And it feels uphill and unfair.

And by looong it means we have been living with our friends since last July, a family of five with a family of four in a three bedroom condo with three dogs and a bunny.  We have been paying a credit repair company AND a credit report monitoring company to help us fight this battle.

While I’m extremely thankful for our friends’ hospitality, it’s not something I want to abuse of.  It’s also not comfortable. I’ve been ready to move out since October 2016.  But our credit scores were still pretty bad and not climbing as fast as we hoped.

Then last month we were finally only 15 points away from the magic number!  We were so optimistic.  Things were just bound to turn a corner soon, right?

Wrong.

For reasons I still don’t understand as I’m writing this we lost 46 points.  It felt like a punch to the stomach while the referee called a time-out.  It’s like doing the cha-cha with someone who is actively trying to step on your already sore toes.

If I’m completely honest, at some point I was in the shower, asking God, “What kind of animal sacrifice do I need to offer You for me to get a little bit of favor?!  What more do You want from me?!?” And these are common reactions to unanswered prayers… Why? When?? How??? With a dash of bargaining and trying to bribe Him.

But then I chose to anchor myself on truths against a bombardment of lies from the enemy in response to these questions.  I said these truths to myself like a creed, over and over until my heart caught up to my brain:

Eklutna

  1. God has surrounded me in a team of prayer warriors that are supporting me.  The friends that opened their home for us did so because they believed in the work that God will do in our families when we are able to stop renting and can afford a stable home.  For the same reason, they have asked us to stay: because they want to see the Lord bring this to completion as much as we do.  Our realtors are covering us in prayer.  Our church is covering us in prayer.  I am not alone.

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  2. God is FOR me.  I can look up and expect His help!  He doesn’t just mildly like me, and He’s not indifferent to these trials.  Just because He hasn’t released it to me in my timing, does not mean that His answer is “No.”  His heart is generous towards me and is more than able to provide!  So for all this time that He has not said “Yes”, I have to believe it’s because what He has in mind is better than what I am seeing right now. I will continue to look up and expect His help.
     Portage
  3. God is accomplishing something good in my heart through this trial.  It’s not a trial that will result in bitterness, or wedge distance between God and me.  This is a trial that has me fall onto the Rock of ages – and I will remember these times with fondness! I will recall how God held us, and sustained us, and did wonderful things in our family and all around us.  This may be a painful part of His plan, but it is still with the purpose of causing good in me and around me. So I will worship Him.

This faith-based perspective is by all means it’s not of this world.  It’s definitely not in my nature.  It is His Spirit working in me, comforting me, and giving me a hope I could not manufacture on my own through ‘positive thinking’.  So if you are going through a trial, the best I can encourage you to do is to dig deep into God’s Word and prayer.  He can lift your countenance better than any motivational phrase can!  If He has this strength available for me, He can do this in you too!

If you like the Bible verse images, go ahead and save them! They make great smart phone wallpapers, and I own the rights to the photos. 🙂

What is God revealing to you about your season of trials?  How can I align myself with God’s will for you in prayer? Share below.

One Thing I Learned from Mandy

finish well pin
Confession: I have been rocked by tragedies recently, although mostly peripheral to me.  I don’t know if my heart is just more sensitive today, or maybe it’s God trying to show me something…

I have been gutted by multiple instances of overnight fires, claiming multiple lives.  Even here in town.  I shared on my Facebook feed a news article as a prayer request in one incident because it felt horribly close to home, and my husband knew the couple involved.

But my phone wasn’t done blowing up with these types of notifications, as last week on Tuesday many of my blogger friends expressed grief that a fire took the lives of a mom, dad, and two children during the night. In sadness, I said a quick prayer for people involved but it didn’t really register at that moment.

How You Finish

Mandy Kelly was a wonderful Christian blogger at Worshipful Living, where she created a lot of brilliant resources for Moms/Homeschoolers/God-fearing women like me… One of these being the Good Morning Girls ministry, where she was the Leadership Coordinator.

I cannot even begin to share how the Good Morning Girls Facebook page influenced my life; I followed along their Bible studies, I was encouraged to dive into my Bible (even through seasons where I didn’t really feel spiritual), and I often used these studies in fellowship with other mom friends when we felt a little too busy or disconnected.

When I realized it was “that Mandy”, my heart sunk.  Even though I didn’t know her personally, she was who “I wanted to be when I grow up”.  I think every Christian mom-blogger does this chore of Pinterest and social media promotion with the hopes that they’ll be able to use their voice and influence others the way Mandy did.  I dream of having this humble beginning of a blog become a solace for all these godly warriors who are fiercely on the front lines of God’s Kingdom over their households.

As I prepare to participate in a link-up to honor Mandy, I have to think about ONE THING she taught me and I’m at a total loss for what to say.  She taught me to read and highlight in my Bible, and how to do the SOAP method.  She taught me that I can rekindle the joy in my homeschooling, and that having the faith of a harlot can be a remarkable thing.

But I think the main lesson I can walk away with is to finish well.

Her life and ministry was an example of how it doesn’t matter how you start as long as you do, and nothing on this earth is fatal or final; until you are before the very presence of God – where Mandy and her family found themselves last Wednesday morning – you can always be used by God.  You are never out of grace.  You are never beyond hope.  So finish this race, and finish well.


Even though it came as a surprise, I know she was welcomed into eternity as she heard Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Because in her earnest desire to finish well, that phrase describes who she was and what she inspired others to be.

Mandy’s church has opened a fund to help raise donations for the family. You can make donations here. When you visit the website, click on the green “Give” button and designate your donation for The Kelly Family.  The funeral for Scott, Mandy, Lizzie and Judah Kelly will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 27, 2017, at her church. Visitation will be held before the service from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. I ask that you please hold the surviving two children and extended family in prayers during the service (for Alaskan reference, this would be between 6:30am – 10:30am our time).

In Memory Of

This post will be a part of a link up of other bloggers choosing to honor Mandy, which goes live on March 29th. I encourage you to read more from other bloggers at that time.  And I can only pray that should I pass on to eternity unexpectedly, I would have made my mark on this world like Mandy did.

What are some ways you hope to finish well? How can I encourage you and pray with you through this?