Category

Faith

Serving Joyfully in a Self Serving World – Introduction

It’s funny how when I’m reading the Bible certain things can stick out to me even when I’ve read that passage of scripture before. When I’m doing my devotionals I try to let my mind and heart truly open to receive whatever God wants to tell me or learn. Although things aren’t always clear, and not always immediate with what I should take away from my reading, afterward I reflect and pray on what I read.

 

Lately when I was reading a passage, the word serve stuck out to me. More than usual, which I know for certain meant that I needed to pay attention. The more I read and thought about that word (I should have written that specific passage down, not just the word!), I felt like I needed to study passages that had this word in it.

 

The more I read passages that spoke about serving, the more I felt it was speaking to my heart. Serving has such a negative connotation these days, and why wouldn’t it? In our social media world with most people have a “me” mentality and wondering what is in it for them, serving isn’t something people want to do or even talk about. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t look out for your best interests, but serving others joyfully is something I’m focusing on this year – joyfully being the key word.

 

I wanted to share what I have been studying and reflecting on these last few months in the hopes it might help someone else like it has helped me. So starting Friday 1/19/18, I will be starting a 4 week bible study course specifically about serving. What serving means from a Biblical standpoint, specific areas you can focus on serving, and how having the right mindset can make all the difference. I hope you join me as we really dive into God’s word.

How to crush your New Year’s Resolution

We are already a week into the new year! How are you coming along with your resolution(s)? I love New Year’s resolutions and make them every year, but most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned after only 3 weeks. That is crazy to me, but totally makes sense because change is hard and you can’t expect to wake up one day and change everything overnight
I know a lot of people who don’t do resolutions, and if you are a consistent goal setter who evaluates their progress regularly throughout the year why would you set a New Year’s Resolution? At the end of the day, resolutions are a good thing not only if they are achieved, but if they lead to consistent habits.
I have goals I set throughout the year, but I still do resolutions because for me it’s like a reset button. New year, new (updated) goals. The important thing is turning these resolutions, or maybe they should be called goals, into a reality and throughout the year evaluating and adapting if you aren’t progressing. If you fall off the “wagon” by the end of the month, how are you actually changing? If you want to lose 10 pounds and only lose 5, next year you are going to make the same resolution and be right back where you started.
I wanted to share some simple tips that have helped me turn my resolutions into healthy, attainable, realistic habits over the last few years. Although simple, I’m hoping it’s a gentle reminder of what you are hoping to achieve this year and help you keep pushing toward achieving your goals. Trust me, if you follow all (or even some of these) of these and put in the hard work, you’re going to crush your resolution this year!

 

Be Realistic
This is probably the hardest one for me personally. Of course you want challenging goals, that’s why you set goals. To attain something that hasn’t yet been attained. However, if you are too unrealistic about your goals, or set too big of a goal, not getting there will be a letdown. Not only that, but you can set yourself up for failure before you even get started.

 

Let’s say you want to start a blog. Great! Then your goal should be “I want to start a blog by XX/XX/18”. If your goal was “I want to start a blog and have 10,000 page views a day by 3/1/18”, again it’s something that could be done but also unrealistic. If you have a realistic goal, and you reach it, you are going to feel so much better and continue on your path versus just giving up if you don’t reach it.

 

Be Specific
Ok, let’s touch on one of the biggest resolutions made every year – weight loss. If you say “I want to lose weight”, there is nothing holding you accountable with this vague resolution. If you lose 2 pounds that is technically losing weight and you attained your goal, but what if you want to lose 30? 2 pounds would be just the beginning of that. You have to be specific.

 

You need to set measurable goals and give yourself a timeline. If you want to lose 30 pounds, make it a measurable goal so you can hold yourself accountable. Saying you’re going to lose weight isn’t enough, challenge yourself. Going back to the blog example, If you have a goal to start a blog by 7/15/18 let’s say, have a date down on paper and work toward that daily.

 

Establish your “Why”
This may seem like an obvious one, but change doesn’t happen overnight. You have to put in the work. And it’s hard to put in the work if you don’t have the motivation for it. My “why” hasn’t changed much in the last couple of years, but the drive behind all I do is for my family and giving God all the glory. Knowing why I work as hard as I do helps motivate me when I don’t feel like doing anything.

 

Maybe your why is your family, or taking a dream vacation, or feeling confident with yourself, or even being able to quit your day job to pursue your passion; whatever your why is make sure you write it down. I have pictures printed as well and last year created a dream board with all these pictures and inspiring words on it. It is so helpful on hard days to look at the board and remind myself what I am working toward. Print out a picture of your family, a beautiful beach, a dream job, something that will keep you motivated to keep going when you want to give up.

 

Set Milestones along the way
Using the example of weight loss here, let’s say you want to lose 30 pounds this year. Give yourself 10 pound milestones so you are feeling just as accomplished and proud on your way to the 30 pounds loss. Not only will you feel great when you meet your 10 pound milestones, it will no doubt keep you motivated to keep going until you have reached your ultimate goal.

 

This can apply to most things, not just weight loss. If you want to launch a blog by June, break up all the things that go along with launching a blog into milestones. Your first milestone can be deciding on a blog name and hosting site. Your second milestone can be deciding on a logo (if desired), and setting up your social media pages. You can break any big goal down into small milestones to help you along the way.

 

 

Celebrate!
Once you do hit your goal, even your milestone goals, make sure to celebrate those accomplishments. Write down a list of things you would love to do once you meet your goals. My list includes a pedicure, a few hours alone in a coffee shop (this SAHM needs that time away!), buying a new pair of workout clothes, buying a new swimsuit, etc.

 

One of my best friends (who is getting married in May! So some random wedding posts might be coming up in the next few months) recommended recently to try and make your rewards non-food related, especially if you are celebrating weight loss. She explained it’s important (and healthy!) to not reward yourself with food to break that cycle of associating food as a reward. You can do plenty of things that don’t involve money or food to celebrate! I try to focus on experiences or things like new workout gear to keep me motivated.

 

 

I hope that these tips help you meet all of your goals! Do you have any tips or advice you have learned along the way to help you reach your goals? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Winter Wonderland Faith Night In – Review

It’s hard to believe that another Christmas season has already come and gone, but here it is the third day of January! I am so excited to get back into my routine and start running toward my resolutions I made for the new year.

 

But first, I had to share my review of the Winter Wonderland Faith Night In box that I received for December. You may have read my review of the November Date Night In Box (if not, you can find it and more about the company here) by the same company Night In Boxes, so I was excited to try their Faith Night box since I loved the Date Night box so much.

 

And of course, no surprise here, I loved the December box too. I wanted to share what we got in this box and how it compared to the box we had in November. Like the last box there was an activity, something to set the mood, a fun treat, and something that made us take some time to reflect. I love that both of the boxes had these, and I am excited for the future boxes to come.

 

First, came dinner and setting the mood! Of course dinner didn’t come with the box, but we received some very wonderful balsam fir incense. Before dinner, part of our box contained name tags. This was a fun guessing game, where you were encouraged to write a name of a Christmas character on your name tag and put it on your significant other’s back. They had to guess who they were only by how you would weave clues into conversations – not just giving hints until they guessed.

 

 

After dinner, for dessert we had our hot chocolate on a spoon that was included. Not only were they really cute, but they tasted great! Super easy, just add hot milk or water and stir until it’s mixed. A lump of coal came in our box, which I loved once I realized what they represented. The coal is actually coal soap, and for the month of December the Night In Box company partnered with The Adventure Project. They help teach women in Kenya and Tanzania learn how to cook their meals over stoves, run by coal. Each stove drastically reduces toxic smoke, cooks food faster, and saves six trees from being cut down to be used as fuel as well.

 

 

I am loving that both boxes partnered with a great organization that I haven’t heard of before to help others. I am hoping that this is a continuing trend because this makes me love the boxes even more. After reading about our lumps of coal, there was another game included called Tune or Tale. One side of the card has a Christmas song to hum, while the other has a holiday movie to quote. We both enjoyed this as we love all kinds of games, especially pertaining to Christmas.

 

After our game, we read our detailed discussion guide of our Bible reading for this box. Naturally this month’s scripture reading was about the birth of Jesus, but it made us think about Jesus’ birth from the perspective of the wise men. I liked that, and I also enjoyed the questions it encouraged us to ask to dig deeper into scripture.

 

The last activity was probably my favorite part! Included in this box was a gingerbread camper, yes you read that right, not a house but a camper. I love decorating gingerbread houses with my daughter, and this year alone we did at least 3. It was fun to do the gingerbread camper just my husband and I because we normally do crafty things with our kids and not each other, so it was fun to decorate it together just us.

 

To be completely honest, this was my favorite part but also tested our patience. I loved the idea of decorating something other than a house, but when we took out the pieces to put it together it only had two little rectangles to have the two sides stick together. It also said to let it sit for several hours. We didn’t have time for that, so my hubby made it work a different way. I wish there were more pieces to stabilize it; I feel like it would have worked much better had there been more pieces. Other than that we had so much fun doing it! We both decorated one side.

 

 

After our gingerbread camper was complete we closed in prayer and reflection with prompts we found at the end of our guide.

 

Overall it was another great date and like I said previously, I am looking forward for all of the date nights in a box to come!! I love how in keeping with the season both boxes have been, and how special they have made date nights at home now for me and my spouse. If you want to order one, click here!

 

 

*** This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I 100% believe in and love, and by purchasing through my links you are helping support me as a stay at home mom. For more information click here. ***

Thoughtful (and easy!) Gift Ideas for Women

*** This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I 100% believe in and love, and by purchasing through my links you are helping support me as a stay at home mom. For more information click here. ***

 

Christmas time is here! And I couldn’t be more excited! If this is your first time here, I have already written a few times about Christmas and I can’t say enough how much I love this time of year.

I thought I would write up a gift inspiration post for those of you still looking for Christmas gift ideas for the woman in your life. I am putting together a few of my favorite things that I use personally and recommend to all of my friends. The best part about them? They are super easy to buy, but very thoughtful and will definitely be a gift anyone on your list will love!

 

Night In Boxes

If you haven’t read my review on the Date Night In Box my husband and I did in November, you are missing out (and can find it here!). Night In Boxes in a subscription date night box company that focuses on having meaningful and romantic date nights at home. I love how thoughtful everything was and it made my husband and I more intentional with our nights at home. They have Date Night In, Faith Night In (religious themed date night), and they also have Kids Night In for the kid(s) in your life. Everything is included (minus dinner!) and I couldn’t think of a more thoughtful gift to give. You can order by clicking here!

 

Fab Fit Fun Box

I haven’t been able to post a review for this box yet, but Fab Fit Fun is a seasonal subscription box filled with surprise goodies that appeal to all different women! The boxes are sent 4 times a year, and you can cancel your membership at any time. They do such a great job of having different items in their seasonal boxes. Their contents focus on health, wellness, beauty, and some fashion items as well. You can find more information here. I would love a box from them as a gift, and as a reader of my blog you can enter SAVETEN in the promo code box at checkout to save an additional $10 on your first box order (how cool is that?!?). You can see what has been in past boxes on their website as well if you are curious on past box contents. #FabFitFunPartner

 

Emily Ley

It’s no secret how much I love Emily’s products. I have posted reviews on 2 of her products so far (the Simplified Planner and her first book Grace, Not Perfection), and I am currently reading her newly released book that came out last month. Emily focuses on living simplified and being intentional each day. From her books to her planners, if someone in your life is craving simplicity and focusing on being intentional with their time you are sure to find something for her here. The planners help keep daily life simple and organized, and her books are something I read often to keep my mind and heart in the right place.

 

I wanted to write a gift inspiration post versus a guide so you can still feel like you are picking the gift yourself. These 3 ideas are sure to get you brownie points with whomever the gift is intended for! Again, so easy but so thoughtful, and ordering now you still have time for them to arrive before Christmas.

 

Do you have any go to thoughtful Christmas gift ideas, or just gift ideas in general? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Date Night In Box – Review & Giveaway!

*** This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I 100% believe in and love, and by purchasing through my links you are helping support me as a stay at home mom. For more information click here. ***

 

Before I started blogging, I was searching for easy date night ideas for my husband and I. Having two toddlers, going out for date night isn’t the easiest thing. Not only is it hard to find time, but it can get expensive! Between a babysitter, dinner and a movie, date nights can easily cost $80 if not more. We are lucky to have family and friends in town who offer to look after our kids for no charge, but between busy schedules and just plain exhaustion it’s hard for us to still find the time and energy to make plans for date night.

 

But, I am a firm believer in continuously dating your spouse. My husband and I have been together for almost 11 years, married for 6 of those years, and dating your spouse is so so so important. I’m not saying it is the most important thing, but I honestly feel it should be made a priority especially if you have kids. Finding ways to have alone time with your spouse helps you stay connected and the romance alive once kids are in the picture.

 

So, here I am on Pinterest just a few months ago looking for an easy date night idea that I could possibly do at home after the kids are in bed. That is just the season of life we are in now and that is OK with me. I just want to spend some alone time to connect with my husband, it doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing that is important to me. I was finding some really cute ideas, and as much as I loved them I just couldn’t find the energy to do any of them. Then, I stumbled upon Night In Boxes.

 

This company has exactly what I needed! A date night all ready to go, minimal planning required. They have Date Night In, which is the box that I picked for this post, Faith Night In, and Kids Night In. Date Night In is exactly what it sounds like, a date night in at home with your significant other. Faith Night In is also a date night in, but is religious based. Kids Night In is an activity box for kids.

 

Night In Boxes is a subscription box service, and you won’t know what you are getting until your box comes in the mail! You can choose to buy just one box, or you can save some money by buying a subscription service to have them delivered every month. Each month a new box is curated for whichever Night In Box you have selected, and has a theme. I decided to try the Date Night In, and this box is the November “Give Thanks” Box. So with the theme of Give Thanks, all of the activities in the box are geared toward this theme.

 

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This is the first Date Night In box my husband and I have tried, and we both loved it. It really enhanced our date night and put such a unique spin on an average “dinner and Netflix” that our normal date night ins include. My box came with a pamphlet of information so you can follow along and set the mood for your date. I would highly recommend looking at this a day before or a few days before your actual date night at home because it has recommendations and tips on how to make your date night special.

 

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Date Night Itinerary with included candle

 

First off, I will start with setting the mood. The pamphlet included in the box has a recommended dinner menu for your date night. This was so well thought out and is developed by a wonderful food blogger specifically for each date night box. This menu for this box had an appetizer, entree, and dessert, as well as options on what to drink. My box came with mulled cider, so it had recipes on how to add alcohol if you would like or how to make a simple cinnamon whip cream to put on the top. I loved the attention to detail with this, because you can truly elevate your date night box with the easy to follow recipes.

 

Not only does the box have a menu recommendation, the pamphlet directs you to an already made Spotify playlist and this month’s box came with a candle. Candlelight, dinner, and a playlist made specifically for you is a great way to set the mood. During dinner, in keeping with the Give Thanks theme, you are encouraged to tell your partner how thankful you are for them. In addition to telling them, it comes with an activity with Post It Notes and a pencil. The Post It Notes say “Thank You For”, and you are supposed to fill them out and leave them in special places for your significant other to find them. I love this, not only so you can verbalize what you are thankful for, but putting them places your spouse won’t find them all right away keeps your date night going past the actual date night.

 

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After the Post It Notes activity, there is a Thankful Mad Libs activity that I enjoyed. Again, it makes you fill in verbs and adjectives to remind you what you should be thankful for. This box came with mulled cider and pumpkin seeds, so we did this activity after dinner and drank our cider and ate our pumpkin seeds. Both were delicious, but that cider is the best cider I have ever had in my life! Notes of apple, pumpkin, and a little licorice made this cider really delicious.

 

To end the date night, this box included a segment with Operation Gratitude which I absolutely love. The end of the pamphlet encourages you to reuse the box by sending it to a member of the military. It comes with a paracord to make a bracelet together with your significant other, as well as see through baggies and a list of items to include in your box for the care package. The address is provided to have it shipped, as well as a website address of where you can get a shipping label provided by Night In Boxes. This was the only part of the box that I was confused on, as my husband and I thought the materials for the bracelet were for us to keep. In rereading the instructions we saw there was only enough for one bracelet and was to be included in the care package to a military member. We had fun making in and included it in the care package, it was just a little confusing at first glance.

 

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Although lengthy, I had to post a full and honest review. My husband and I loved this date night box and **highly** recommend it to anyone who is thinking about trying or gifting it. I loved how simple and thoughtful it was, it really made us take the time to connect and were reminded what we are thankful for in life. The boxes have a new theme every month so you won’t ever get bored, and all the guesswork is taken out for you.

 

Night In Boxes is giving me a box to give away this month! Just in time for the holidays! You can pick from the Date Night In, Faith Night In, Kids Night In, or a gift card to use whenever you see fit! All you have to do is head on over to my blog’s Facebook Page, like this post and comment to win! The giveaway closes on 11/30 at midnight, and the winner will be announced Friday morning 12/1 on my Facebook page.

 

I would love to hear if you have used this company or what box you would pick if you won!!

Preparing your Heart for the Holidays – Week 2 Peace

*** Don’t miss out on the intro of my bible study series! You can find week 1 – Mindfulness – and the inspiration behind the series here. ***

 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

 

When I first started thinking about this bible study series, peace is one of the first words that came to my mind. Isn’t that what most of us want in general, not only during this time of year? Peace in our hearts and minds that God is in control always. Peace that God has a plan for you even when we can’t see it. Peace that makes us slow down and enjoy time with those we love most.

 

This is what we are focusing on the second week of the series, Peace. Jesus is called many things in the Bible, but Prince of Peace has always been my favorite. Focusing on peace this week (and hopefully more often than just this week!) is going to help me personally keep things in perspective.

 

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

I want you to reflect on a time where you truly felt at peace. What was going on in your life that evoked peace? Was it when a stressful situation was remedied? Was it when you were reading your Bible or listening to your favorite worship song? How did it feel to be truly at peace?

We as humans, especially in the age of social media where there is information overload, tend to make our peace or happiness circumstantial. “I will be at peace if XXXXX happens” or “I don’t remember the last time I felt at peace”. God calls us to “let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts”, not to feel peaceful every once in awhile or if everything going on in your life is “perfect”.

Peace to me is almost synonymous to faith. Having true peace means to trust God in all things, even in the hard times, and to truly be peaceful we have to have faith that God is in control.

 

 

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Along with the first verse I posted, this Bible verse also talks about peace and your hearts. I am sure these are mentioned together in more Bible verses, but I find I need to pay special attention when words are repeatedly put together in the Bible.

It’s obvious to me with reading these two scriptures, peace in our hearts is very important. Peace is important always, but making sure our hearts are peaceful is made very clear in the Bible. We can tell ourselves all day in our minds to be peaceful, but until it is felt in our hearts we won’t truly be peaceful.

One of the best things you can do while reading the word is being mindful of the things you want to work on. If you are working on being more peaceful, you can come back to these verses in times where you struggle to find peace. One of my absolute favorite things to do is listen to worship music. If I am in a hard place, I turn on worship music I find peaceful and that puts me in the right frame of mind.

 

 

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I can’t think of a better verse to stop at than the reminder of the best gift ever, Jesus. Prince of Peace. Every time I stop to think about the wonderful gift of Jesus I am so humbled. Knowing my life is found because of his selfless sacrifice gives my heart peace.

During the Christmas season I will be coming back to these verses often. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or frustrated or uncertain, I will find peace and comfort in these wonderful reminders of where are hearts should be. I pray that these verses will also help you find peace in this sometimes stressful Christmas season.

 

I would love to hear what you think and if there is anything you have found to bring more peace to your lives, especially when things get too stressful to handle. Please leave me a comment below!

Preparing your Heart for the Holidays – Week 1 Mindfulness

As another holiday season draws near I am so excited for it to be Thanksgiving, but especially that it is almost Christmas time again. There is something so magical about the Christmas season! As a Christian I love celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus.

 

Being a parent to 2 toddlers, there is a lot of pressure on parents these days to make the Christmas season extra magical. We have our Christmas traditions of course, and there are things I will continue to do to make those memories with my kids especially while they are young. This year I am preparing my heart (more than usual!) to focus on Jesus during the whirlwind that is the holiday season.

 

Simply put, I want the focus of Christmas to be on Jesus. Taking the next few weeks to spend time in His Word and praying I feel will help me be more intentional this Christmas season. Of course I will be buying presents for the kids and my family, and decorating and making cookies and listening to Christmas music. But I refuse to stress myself out about every single detail and worry about the perfect present, moment, etc.

 

And that is the point of this series! This Christmas I am going to focus on being present, not stressing about presents. I am going to enjoy time with family, not spending hours upon hours shopping. I am going to enjoy this season, but mostly I am going to be intentional with my time and energy. With all this being said, let me move on to the first week of my series – Mindfulness.

 

1 Peter 1:13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. (NLT)

When Peter is writing this letter, he is giving us guidelines on how to live as followers of Christ. These words are so simple, yet still ring true today. We have to prepare our minds and hearts daily so we can focus on Jesus and the wonderful gift his birth means. Being mindful and intentionally reading God’s word will prepare us for the season ahead.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? For me, I love listening to Christmas music and decorating our tree. Now, what can I do while decorating the Christmas tree that will set my mind and heart on Jesus? Of course, we will be listening to Christmas music while we decorate. Taking the time to listen to the words being sung and singing them to my 3 year old will help make that simple tradition even more beautiful. Reflecting on my ornaments (the background picture for my series was taken by yours truly of one of my favorite ornaments!) and explaining the meanings to my daughter is another way I can be mindful while decorating the tree.

Being mindful doesn’t need to be any extra work or stress, it’s being intentional with your time and energy. Another fun Christmas tradition is making and decorating Christmas cookies! Having Christmas themed cookie cutters and reading the story about Jesus’ birth is an easy way to be mindful while doing this (I will definitely be getting this for when we do Christmas cookies!).

 

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. (NLT)

What most people think of when Christmas comes to mind is shopping. Black Friday, pre-Black Friday, pre-pre-Black Friday…. and so on. The world is telling us in this season that we need more and more stuff. And if we don’t need more stuff for ourselves, we focus on buying the perfect gift for others. I enjoy buying gifts for my family, but buying the perfect gift can put a lot of unnecessary stress on yourself.

A few years ago on my husband’s side of the family, we decided to stop doing individual gifts for every person. When doing individual gifts we even put a spending cap on the gifts, but it still ended up being too stressful on everyone. Instead of individual gifts, we now each buy one gift with a max amount of $20 that can be gifted to anyone. This change was very much welcomed as I no longer stress about what to get each person in his family or how out of hand spending can get.

When we focus too much on what the world says we need to do, we can’t successfully spend our time focusing on Jesus. If gifting everyone gift cards or baked goods or coffee is easier on you and your family and helps you enjoy the holiday season, then do that. I for one love receiving any of the above things, and I certainly don’t expect to get gifts at all. Do what you need to do to slow down and enjoy the holidays as well as spending time in God’s word.

 

Colossians 3:2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. (NLT)

Thinking about the wonderful gift of Jesus always brings things into perspective for me. Focusing on that, and being intentional with my time, I am hoping this will be one of the best and least stressful Christmases ever. Setting my mind on things that matter, and knowing at the end of the day the best gift ever is Jesus, is what I want to focus on these next two months.

 

I hope you enjoyed my first week of this series! This was laid on my heart a few months ago for me personally to focus on this and I love being able to share it with others. I encourage you to not only spending time in God’s presence, but to think about the weeks ahead. What can you eliminate or change that would allow you to have more time to relax? Is it less presents? Or less holiday events? Setting limits and saying no to some things can allow you to spend more time with your family and slow down this holiday season. Because other than Jesus, isn’t spending time with family the best part of the holidays?

One Month Giveaway and a sneak peek!

My little blog is one month old! I am having so much fun and I can’t thank you enough for visiting my little corner of the internet and all of the love and support I have received so far. So THANK YOU!!

 

To celebrate, I am giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card on my Facebook Page! Just like my Facebook page, share, and comment on this post and you will be entered to win. The winner will be announced Tuesday 11/7/17, so you have all weekend to enter!

 

Now on to my sneak peek! For a few weeks I have been working on a bible study series that I am super excited to share with you. Preparing your Heart for the Holidays – a 3 part bible study on preparing your heart to focus on Christ this holiday season. I will be doing one part of the series every Wednesday starting 11/8/17.

 

Since becoming a mom I have find it more difficult finding peace and reflection during the Christmas season. I absolutely love Christmas, and I am intentionally spending the next few weeks preparing my heart so I can enjoy the season focusing on Jesus. I would love for you to join me!

 

Do you have any Bible verses or songs that help prepare you for Christmas? I would love to hear from you on Facebook or in the comments section below!

 

-Kristen

 

 

 

 

How to set up a devotional space… and why you need one!

As a Christian I make it a priority to spend time reading the Bible and spending time in His word daily. The deeper I have gotten in my faith, the more important it has been for me personally to create a special place in my home to spend time by myself to read and worship. Especially since I became a mom, it is also good for my mental and emotional health to have a quiet space in my home just for me. No kids, no noise, no distractions. A relaxing and inviting space helps me focus and renew my mind and spirit daily.

 

Today I am giving you a look into my devotional space in my home, as well as what I have in mine to set myself up for success.

 

 

Recognize what you need to focus.

I don’t know about you, but all day long I am bombarded by noise. Having a one year old son and three year old daughter, I am used to constant noise in my house. But when it gets too noisy and there is too much going on, I get overwhelmed. The TV is on, my son is crying, my toddler is screaming and/or running around our laminate floors with a plastic grocery cart, my phone starts to ring, the list goes on and on. It can all just get so noisy, and I have noticed when I try to read my Bible and devotionals I can’t focus as much as I need to when my environment is noisy.

 

Now, for you noise might not be a problem. Maybe you have a hard time being around clutter/disorganization, or maybe a trigger for you is a place you associate with other things, such as the kitchen. When you know your trigger that makes you unable to concentrate, this will help you decide what to focus on when finding a devotional space. If noise is distracting, then your main focus will be somewhere quiet. If clutter is distracting, then you will want to find somewhere in your home that is tidy and organized so you aren’t distracted with thoughts of organizing while trying to spend time in His word.

 

Find a space you can make your own.

For me, I found the perfect spot for a devotional space in my husband’s office. Although we set this room up for my husband’s job when he works from home, we set up a couch/futon in the office and I have officially claimed that area as mine. I love having a spot where everything is cozy and most importantly, quiet. This is probably the least used space in our house because it’s not a bedroom or main living area. That means I can leave things there and they won’t get moved… because, kids. Quiet, cozy, and no interruptions are exactly what I personally need when reading my Bible.

 

 

Once you have decided where you want your space to be, think about the things that help you relax and incorporate them into your space! For me, that’s peace and quiet, candles, cozy blankets and pillows, and somewhere to set my coffee. So in the office, I have a little side table next to the futon. On that side table I have my bible/devotional book, a spot for my coffee, and normally a candle. I have a big cozy blanket and a pillow ready to go on the futon (see below!) as well so I can be as comfortable as possible.

 

 

 

 

Everything in its place.

In addition to having your own space as well as some of your favorite things, I also have a basket that has everything I need while studying my Bible and devotional. In my basket you will find my current devotional books, bible highlighter, pens, notebooks, and a prayer journal. Having all of those things in one spot helps me to focus and relax before I even open my Bible. Knowing I have everything I need so I don’t need to run around looking for it while I’m trying to read makes my type A personality very happy. Maybe you have a favorite chair that you have made your devotional space; you can set a small end table next to it and add a decorative basket that you can easily access during your devotional time. Or maybe you prefer to have your devotional area in your bedroom with all of your things on your nightstand. Whatever space you choose, make sure it’s one that invites focus and relaxation.

 

 

 

Do what works best for you.

This may seem silly to say, but if you don’t like your space then change it! Maybe your devotional space is in your living room but you find you are too distracted with the TV. Or your devotional space is in your kitchen but you can’t focus or stop staring at your dishes or crumbs on your floor. Give it a good week, and if the spot doesn’t work for you then move it! For the longest time my devotional space was in my bedroom, and I kept everything on my nightstand. That worked wonderfully for me until I noticed I spent more time cleaning and watching Netflix then I did reading the word. Changing my devotional space did wonders for me and I will continue going to this space until I feel I need to change it.

 

 

While this may seem like common advice, or you already have your own devotional space set up, I find that when I am intentional and consistent I am the most successful at reading my Bible daily. It’s very simple, but if you have a devotional space for yourself in your home you will more than likely use it. I personally feel every Christian should have a space where they can read and worship privately and comfortably in their own home. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, just somewhere you can focus and clear your mind of everyday thoughts. A corner of the couch, your favorite chair, your dining room; make your space your own and enjoy your time with Jesus.

 

Do you have a devotional space already? Where is it in your home and what items do you have in it? If you don’t have one yet, I encourage you to make a space and see if it makes a difference for you personally.

 

 

-Kristen