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Serving Joyfully in a Self Serving World – Week 4 – Serving your Church/Community

This is my last post of the series, I hope you have enjoyed it! If this is the first post that you have read, I highly encourage you to read my previous 4 posts in this series first! You can find them here – Intro Week 1Week 2Week 3.

This one is a big one, for me at least. It’s easier to serve God, your spouse, and your family because you are surrounded by them daily. However, it is just as important that we listen to God and serve our church and community. We are not just called to serve God in our homes, but we are also called to serve others outside our homes. It can be so hard to find time between work, school, activities for the kids, making meals, keeping your house clean, oh yeah and sleeping/finding time to decompress as well. But this is important, and God’s word tells us exactly that.

 

 

1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s faith in its various forms.

I could honestly talk about this one in its own Bible study (and maybe I will in the future!), but I truly believe that God has given each and every one of us a specific gift to use for His glory. I not only believe this because it talks about spiritual gifts in the Bible, but because I have seen it manifest many times over in my own life.

When my husband and I first moved to Fargo, we spent a lot of time finding our church home. It turns out the church where we were born again at is the church that we now call home, and once we decided to call that our church home we knew we wanted to volunteer. We took some more time reflecting, praying, and just spending time with the Lord to direct our steps. My husband and I are both great with kids, so we started out leading a Sunday school class together.

As time went on, we felt maybe we should shift gears. Not because we didn’t love the kids we were teaching or what we were doing, it’s hard to explain how it feels but we knew we wanted to volunteer with other places in our church. I have been singing as long as I can remember, and have had a passion for singing and music my entire life. I started feeling led to be a part of our worship ministry, so I reached out to the worship pastor and am now singing on the worship team. I absolutely love it and feel this is where my heart needs to be, and I will continue to be a part of the worship team until I start to feel otherwise.

My husband on the other hand has no musical gifts, and that is just fine because we all have different gifts. He is a natural leader (which I envy at some times, but again we all have different gifts), and he has a gift of prophecy. So he leads a bible study at church (he is also studying for his pastor’s license, I could go on and on about how amazing this man is and how he follows God’s path for his life… but I won’t… right now!) and is part of the prophetic ministry team at our church.

As you can see this is why I said I could write a whole Bible study on just the topic of spiritual gifts! You know what you’re good at. If you don’t know, spend time in the Word and make it a point to pray about it daily so that God can reveal to you what your gift is. Or write some things down that you like to do, and see how that can correlate to your church or community. Of course your gifts can help you get involved in the community as well, not just your church! I highly encourage you though as a member of your church to make sure you not just attend, but serve your church as well.

 

 

Colossians 3:23-24 – Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you are working for the Lord rather than for the people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

 

Like I said earlier, it can be hard to find the time to serve your church and community. With all the responsibilities we have in a day, making time to do even more on top of that is a challenge.

 

Once you what your gift is, write down or research ways you think you can be helpful in your church or community. If you love to cook, why not help with church events that might require cooking or baking, or look for community programs such as homeless shelters or a program that helps kids learn to cook after school.

 

Finding the time to volunteer can be hard, but find what works for you and your family. If you only have time to volunteer once a month, then only volunteer once a month! If you are a single parent and the only time you can volunteer is on the weekends when you have your kids, find a program you AND your kids can do together. And what a wonderful way to show your kids how important it is to be helpful in your church/community.

 

I love the above verse from Colossians, when you work willingly at what you do it makes it so much more enjoyable. There is a saying that says if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life (or something close to that anyway). I feel this is true with volunteer work as well. Once you find what you are good at, and you find something within your church/community that makes you feel fulfilled it won’t even feel like work.

 

 

Hebrews 6:10 – God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

 

This whole Bible study has been of course, about serving joyfully! When we think about serving, just imagine how joyful it is to the Lord when he sees it. And when I think about how happy that makes Him, it makes me joyful to be serving Him and his people.

 

Not only does serving my church and community help others and make God joyful, but it also makes me joyful as well. As it says in Hebrews, He will not forget your work. He sees you loving His people and doing His work. When we do His work and love His people, we are setting an example of living our lives as followers of Christ. Not only that, but we can use serving our communities to bring people to Jesus that way as well. I know God sees me and the work I am doing, and He won’t forget it.

 

I encourage you this month to think about ways you can serve your church and community. If you’ve been putting it off, spend some time praying and spending time in God’s word this month and really think about something you can do for others outside your home. You would be surprised what kind of doors God will open for you, and how many people you can help when doing His work.

 

 


 

I have LOVED doing this Bible study, as well as the previous one I did over the Christmas season. I would love your feedback! Did you enjoy this? Did you enjoy the previous one? Is there a specific topic that has been on your heart lately that you would like some guidance on? I am all about writing what is on my heart, but I appreciate you all so much that take the time to read my blog and support my little part of the internet. I would love to hear what you think! Please let me know with a comment below <3

January Date Night In Box Review – and Giveaway!

I meant to post this about a week ago, before my Whole30 adventure. But I’m not gonna lie, prepping for Whole30 took SO much more time than I thought it was going to! Add in the grocery shopping and researching, all the food prep, and getting ready to host a Superbowl party on Sunday this post had to wait.

 

Well I hope it’s worth the wait, because not only am I reviewing my Date Night Box In from January, but I get to *give one away*! Yay! Who doesn’t love free stuff? I love free stuff, and when I get to give something away that I personally love, that is even better. If you want to look at past boxes I have gotten and reviewed, you can find them here and here.

 

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These Date Night In Boxes are just amazing. They always keep me guessing, and this one was by far the most challenging one for me, in a good way! The game included in this one was hard for me because I’ve never played it before, but that didn’t make it any less fun.

 

This box theme is a night in Paris. First off, the treat that came with it was chocolate French crepes. They were absolutely delicious and I am so glad we did the date before I started Whole30. The thing that I also loved was that the company sent an email with this box letting you know there was a perishable item in your box so you could plan to open it within 30 days. I had one right from the bag, and another in the microwave. I liked the microwaved one better, and it came with 6 total which I also loved. OK, on to the rest of the box (you can tell I’m on Whole30 I wrote an entire paragraph on chocolate crepes….).

 

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In the setting the mood part of the date, they included a lavender sachet to help transport you to the foothills of France. Lavender is one of my favorite scents, so I absolutely loved smelling this and will plan on using this for other purposes. I haven’t made the suggested dinner recipe yet, and the next date night I get I am for sure going to because their chef Marina puts together the most perfect menus and I know it would help set the mood even more.

 

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After dinner and your delicious crepes, the first activity is to take your love languages quiz. My husband and I took our love languages quiz a good 6 years ago, so this was a good refresher. Especially since it was so long ago, it was interesting to see if they had changed. Both of ours were the same they were 6 years ago; however it was also nice to be reminded of what my spouse appreciates. If you haven’t heard of a love language, it’s basically the way you personally interpret love. Someone might appreciate quality time, while someone else might appreciate acts of service. All of these are explained further in the date, and once you know what your spouse appreciates it is easier to fall back on that if your spouse maybe isn’t feeling loved on a certain day. This has really helped our relationship throughout the years, and helps with communication for my husband and I as well. When we aren’t feeling loved, we have a hard time communicating. This was my favorite part of the date!

 

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The next part of the date was their fun twist on an escape room (this was the challenging part for me). There is a set of character profile cards included in the box, and each of you get to choose who you want to be. Once you have chosen your character, they encourage you to get into character. I am not good at things like this, so that is why it was challenging for me. I am awful at accents and don’t have a very wild imagination, so that is the only reason why it was challenging, BUT I still did it and we had fun with the process which is all that matters.

 

You and your spouse’s characters are in love and haven’t seen each other in years. During this time in the year 1919, the only way you have been communicating is through love letters. With this activity, you have both written a final letter to each other and will meet each other face to face soon. After reading that you are to write your own love letters as yourselves, not as your characters. They include these cute envelopes, notepads, and pens for all of the activities. I loved this part of the activity because we don’t often take the time to write out letters or feelings to our spouses. It also included some writing prompts which I loved as well.

 

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Once you are done, you are supposed to seal your letter and set them aside while you complete your character/escape room activity. Your trusted mutual friend has found a way to deliver this box to you, inside you find envelopes numbered 1-5. You have to work together and use these clues to identify the time and location for your meeting. You can’t open the next envelope until you have found the answer to the previous clue. Once you have gotten through all the clues, the final letter uncovers the details about the meeting. Once this is done, you can exchange the letters that you wrote earlier in the evening to each other.

 

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I have really been loving all of the dates I have gotten so far! If you want to enter to win a box of your choice, go to either my Facebook page or Instagram account (or both if you want to double your chance to win!), like my page/follow my account, like my giveaway post, and comment which box you would like to win! You can pick either the Date Night In, Faith Night In, or Kids Night In. Good luck! The contest will end midnight CST on Friday 2/9/18.

 

*** 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. ***

Serving Joyfully in a Self Serving World – Week 3 – Serving your Family

I am having such a fun time writing this bible study! If this is the first post you are reading of this series, here are the links back to the intro, week one, and week two. This week I am writing all about serving your family.

 

When you think of family, a few different things can come to mind. Family to you might mean your spouse and children, or your children and parents, or if you are close to extended family that word might include all of them. Whatever family means to you, this can apply to them.

 

 

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his household, he has denied faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ~ 1 Timothy 5:8

So, these verses I have found for family don’t necessarily have the word “serve” in them like others do, but they can easily be interpreted into ways you can serve your family.

 

This chapter of 1 Timothy is actually instructions for the church from Paul to members of his church, specifically his delegate Timothy, regarding his ministry. Although these were meant as instructions to the church, we can take these words to heart as members of the living body of church. When I hear this Bible verse, I feel like this means we should not only be providing for our family but sharing our faith with our family members, especially our household.

 

Sharing our faith with our household I feel is probably something God loves the most. Seeing us grow in our faith as we share it with others. Praying together as a family, reading Scripture as a family, and my personal family favorite having worship music dance parties in the kitchen. Finding daily habits you can share as a family is an easy and lasting way to instill the word in your household.

 

Being mindful of talking to family members about your faith I feel is important too. I don’t necessarily mean preach the gospel every time you are at a family gathering, but living your life according to God’s word and also being open to share if you feel led is a way you can share your faith with your family.

 

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The next two bible verses are directed towards raising children. If this doesn’t apply to you, I hope you still are able to learn something; however I write what I know. With two toddlers in my house I am constantly reading scripture to work on being a better parent.
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Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. ~ Ephesians 6:4

 

You know that famous bible verse from 1 Corinthians that’s read at most weddings (including my own)? “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not easily angered…” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 if you want to read the entire thing). So many times in the bible we automatically, or at least I do, think of love being with your spouse. While this is great, I have been coming back to this 1 Corinthians verse about love as relating to my children.

 

As a stay at home mom, how many times in a day could I practice more patience? How often am I easily angered at something my children do? I am not perfect by any means, but I am constantly working on improving my patience and my quick temper on my difficult days at home. In this specific bible verse, it is referring to fathers; however this can apply to all parents. As trying it can be at times (especially with toddlers), trying not to treat our children out of a place of anger but rather love and patience will leave a lasting impression on our kids.

 

Now I’m not saying you should never get mad, because obviously there are times that warrant it, but focusing on joy and patience on a daily basis can help you come from a more positive place. I know when I focus on the positives I always have a better day with my kids. Figuring out what some of your triggers are when you’re having a rough day with your kids is important. For me, my triggers are when I don’t get alone/quiet time before they wake up, lack of sleep, and too much expectation for the day. When I get enough sleep, wake up before the kids for my quiet/devotional time, and lower my expectations for the day I am in a much better mood. When I’m in a better mood, it’s easy to come from a place of love versus anger or impatience.

 

 

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

 

Every day at some point, my family and I turn on worship music and we all sing and dance as goofy as possible. Not only is it fun, and most of my favorite memories are from dancing in my kitchen with my husband and kids, it’s such an easy way to share the word especially with kids. To hear my 3 year old singing Jesus Loves me or The B-I-B-L-E around the house makes my heart soar.

 

The best part of this season of childhood is that my 3 year old is a sponge! She loves learning and singing and dancing, so what works for her to learn the Word easily is through worship music. We also have a children’s Bible we read daily, and we also have her in a weekly Sunday night kid’s group at church called Awanna. We as parents know our children best, and not every child is the same. If your child loves books, get them a Bible with lots of pictures and other Bible books they can read too. If they love arts and crafts, get them a Bible themed coloring book and go to Pinterest to find easy to make Bible themed crafts.

 

If your child is older, think of ways you can incorporate Scripture into their daily lives. Maybe you can get them a devotional book or a Bible study/game app on their phone or tablet. If they love action movies or comic books, there sell amazing comic book story Bibles. Whatever your child is into, there are simple and creative ways to incorporate God into their daily routines.

 

 

 

That’s it for Week 3! Next week, which is the final week of the series, will be all about serving your church/community. I hope you are enjoying it so far! I challenge you this week to work on patience with your children, as well as a new activity or routine that will help incorporate Scripture into your child’s daily lives.

Why I’m doing Whole30 this February

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, I have a sweet tooth. Not just a normal “oh yum cake!” sweet tooth, but “I could eat my weight in dark chocolate sea salt caramels and ice cream” kind of sweet tooth. While I have been losing weight slowly but surely, sweets are something that are still an obstacle for me to overcome.

 

In the month of January, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to kick my daily (ok.. sometimes 2-3 times daily) Diet Coke habit. I blame my second pregnancy for this habit of mine. You hear those old wives tales that if you have really bad morning sickness it’s a girl, and if you don’t it’s a boy. Well with my first (a girl) I lost 15 pounds my first trimester, and for some silly reason I assumed if I was pregnant with a boy the next time around the morning sickness wouldn’t be so bad. Yeah it was just as bad with my second (a boy) and I lost about 15 months in that first trimester too, but this time I was chasing around a toddler. I didn’t have the luxury of taking a nap whenever I was tired like I could when I was pregnant with my first.

 

Enter Diet Coke. I was absolutely exhausted all the time, and on top of the exhaustion I was sick at least 2 times a day from week 6 to week 16. Not only that, but my favorite drink in the whole entire world – coffee – made me sick. I had a drink that gave me the caffeine, helped me keep food down, and tasted sweet and I couldn’t get enough. Once I had my second child, trying to lose the baby weight and now having two children I still needed that caffeine boost in the afternoon.

 

Fast forward to the end of 2017. My baby is almost a year and a half, sleeping through the night, and I’m still drinking Diet Coke every day. Of course I was thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, but not only that I hit a plateau with my weight loss. I know how bad diet soda is for you in general so for the month of January I decided to only let myself have it maximum 3 times. I surprisingly stuck with it! I found some great tea that is naturally sweet (www.teamiblends.com – enter code FFPS10 for 10% off your order!), and I also let myself have some Zevia a couple times a week because I craved that carbonation. But again, I was still eating sweets a few times a week and still found myself craving sweets every day.

 

The last few months I have been researching elimination diets. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it’s a meal plan that eliminates certain food groups from your diet and then slowly reintroduces them later so you can truly see how certain things impact your body. It’s not about eliminating food groups from your life forever, it’s about discovering what foods are best for your body.

 

I decided on Whole30 because one of the things that interested me is that there is no sugar, other than sugar naturally found in whole foods. No sugar, no sugar substitutes (Stevia, Splenda), no natural forms of sugar (honey, maple syrup). None. As someone who absolutely loves sugar and has a hard time staying away from sweets, this is not only going to be a big challenge for me but will also truly let me see how much better I will feel without it!

 

This Thursday, February 1st, I am starting Whole30 and would love if you joined me or just follow along if you’re curious! I wanted to write this post for accountability, as well as explain why I’m doing it and how I’m hoping it will work for me. There are so many great resources out there, and I’m planning to write another post when I’m done with the 30 days, but here are a few I have found so far if you are curious as to what Whole30 is about:

 

Whole 30 Book – Entire Plan Overview, Successful Tips, and Lots of Recipes. This book is perfect if you only want one resource.
Whole 30 Day by Day – This is more of a supplemental book to help you along with your day to day struggles. This doesn’t have recipes, but is meant to be used as something to keep you on track.

 

Websites/Posts I love:
https://whole30.com/
https://www.blesserhouse.com/2016/09/my-whole30-body-makeover.html – This blogs is one of my favorite blogs in general, so you should check it out anyway!
https://www.instagram.com/acouples_whole30/ – This is an instagram account, but man do they post some really yummy recipes that I am so excited to try!

 

 

Have you done Whole30? Did you enjoy the process? If you have any tips or resources for success I am all ears!

 

 

*** 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. ***

Serving Joyfully in a Self Serving World – Week 2 – Serving your Spouse

It’s the second week of this bible study series, and I’m just going to dive right in! You can read the previous posts here if you missed the intro or week one of this series. This week is all about some of the biblical examples of serving your spouse.

 

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. ~ Colossians 3:18-19

 

This verse is a hard one, and always has been for me personally. The word submit is a lot like the word serve to me, difficult for me to follow. They are both such strong words and I have a very, let’s say opinionated, personality. I like being in control and I have naturally taken on the role of the rule maker in our house since becoming a stay at home mom. So for me to submit to my husband can be difficult at times because I am very opinionated, but I come back to this verse often because it challenges me.

 

It’s hard to let go of our self serving ways on earth, and it can be especially hard to do this when we don’t feel someone deserves it. Now, I’m not about to say my husband doesn’t deserve to be the head of our household or for me to submit and concede at times. However, when I feel something should be done a certain way I have a hard time biting my tongue and letting him make the decisions he should be for our household.

 

I’m not saying we should let our husbands make all of our decisions and it’s his way or no way. Marriage is a partnership and we make the majority of decisions together. I am saying that we do also need to make sure we are submitting to our husbands when it’s appropriate. Looking at the second part of that verse when Paul tells husbands to love their wives and do not be harsh with them, the Bible has clear instructions to both husbands and wives on how we should treat one another.

 

 

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three stands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

 

If there is no other Bible verse about marriage that you commit to memory or come back to, let this be the one you remember and come back to often. It’s quite simple, A cord of three strands refers to a husband, wife, and God working together in unison. If you both are consistently seeking God and keeping him at the center of your marriage, your marriage will stay strong and won’t be easily broken.

 

The key to this is both the husband and wife consistently seeking God. I’m not saying marriages can’t work with a husband or wife seeking God on their own, but imagine how much stronger your marriage would be if you both actively sought God and made decisions together honoring Him? Thinking back on my marriage before we were strong in our faith and after, we have been such a better team with God at the center of our marriage.

 

 

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. ~ Proverbs 31:11-12

 

Ah, Proverbs 31. Such an empowering and uplifting chapter of the Bible for women in particular. I have read Proverbs 31 many times, but reading it again recently this verse really stood out for me and I thought it would be perfect for this Bible study. Proverbs 31 has great guidelines on how Christian women should live, but this one specifically talks about our husband’s hearts.

 

My husband is a very kindhearted person. He thrives on being around people and getting to know them on a deeper level, but with that can come heartache. Because my husband is sometimes taken advantage of because he is so kind and giving, I work very hard to guard his heart, if you will.

 

Now I’m not saying my husband is an emotional guy or comes home crying because someone hurt his feelings. But when he hears someone saying something negative about him or he helps others and it’s not reciprocated, I try to make sure I am there to not only listen but keep his heart safe. We are so used to hearing about making sure we respect our husbands, and yes that is important but we also need to be the safe haven for their hearts. It says in this verse just how important being a safe place for their heart is as well.

 

When I say guarding his heart, I mean making sure I listen without interrupting, making sure he has a safe place to talk without judgement, gently reminding him if he is over committing himself to too many things, reassuring if he needs it, etc. After being with your husband you will know what you need to help guard his heart from, and doing what you can to make sure his heart is safe is a wonderful way to serve your husband.

 

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I purposefully focused on writing about how we can spiritually and emotionally serve our husbands this week. I didn’t want to speak about housework or finances or what have you because not only are those touchy subjects, but what works for me and my husband might not work for you and yours. You can serve your husband in more ways than the physical acts of service.

 

I encourage you to find a way you can serve your husband this week (and going forward) that isn’t just about the physical acts of serving. Talk with him about something that might be troubling him and do your best to listen without giving advice, unless he asks for it. Ask him what his dreams for the future are, and ways you can work toward those dreams together. When we serve our husbands this way, it not only strengthens our marriages but is another way of serving God.

 

 

Serving Joyfully in a Self Serving World – Week 1 – Serving God

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. ~ Joshua 24:15

There is so much in the Bible that talks about serving God. We were made to serve Him (you can read more on the background behind the motivation for the study here). This is something that was laid on my heart and I thought I would share in hopes of inspiring others. Not only to view serving as a joyful thing, but how doing so pleases God. The first week of this bible study I will be discussing serving God.

His master said to him ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ ~ Matthew 25:21

To me serving God is not only about spending time with Him in His word, but by making sure we serve Him first and foremost with each and every day. I do this by carving out a specific time of the day that I can give Him all of my attention, usually right away in the morning before my kids are awake. Getting myself in the right frame of mind before my day even starts ensures I am focusing on Him throughout my day.

Serving Him also means (to me) making Him a priority in all parts of my day. Since I’m a stay at home mom for me this means listening to worship music when I make lunch, watching Veggie Tales with my kids, reading Bible stories, and having dance parties to Toby Mac in my kitchen. Serving God to me means finding ways to make sure that I put the focus back on Him throughout the day. As it says in the verse from Matthew above, I want God to look at me as I go throughout my day and say “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! ~ Psalms 100:2

As a mom of two young kids, sometimes I struggle with getting up early or staying up after a long day to read my Bible and devotionals. If I skip one day, it is so quick to snowball into a week of slacking and then I find myself more behind than if I had just kept up with my daily habit.

Reading my Bible and spending time with the Lord is a lot like laundry, I need to do it daily to keep my house in order. I might not feel like doing it at times (I actually love doing both things!), but if I decide to be lazy and avoid it, it’s just going to pile up until it’s overwhelming. When I finally do catch up, I’m left mentally exhausted and upset with myself for not keeping up. Maybe I shouldn’t have compared my devotional time to laundry, but I hope you can see the point I am trying to make with that.

It says right in this verse to serve the Lord with gladness! Thinking about all of the blessings in my life fills me with such joy. If you find yourself having a hard time serving joyfully, take a step back and think about how much you have to be thankful for. On days when I don’t feel particularly joyful, taking a minute to remind myself of all of God’s blessings helps me bring that joy in my heart to the surface.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ~ Mark 10:45

How humbling is it to know that God not only sent His one and only son Jesus to die on the cross for us, but to serve people on earth and give God all the glory in the process? Jesus was the ultimate servant, and there are too many examples in the Bible to list them here with how he served God with every one of his decisions throughout his limited time on earth.

Serving God is to honor Him in our daily lives. Making sure you spend time with Him throughout your day will make it easy to stay in the mindset of a serving Him. And not just serving God, but serving Him joyfully.

To wrap up the first week of this series, I thought I would encourage you to challenge yourself this week. I encourage you this week to keep in mind your attitude as you serve God throughout the day. Are you coming to God with a neutral heart, and not a lot of joy? Are you coming to God with a bitter heart, and are upset about something you aren’t ready to let go of yet? For the next week, choose joy when you spend time with God and see how that pours over into your daily life for the better. If you already feel like you are truly being joyful in your approach with God, write down some joyful inspiration that keeps you in this frame of mind so you can refer back to it on the hard days.

I truly hope you enjoyed the first week! The next week of the series will be all about Serving your Spouse.

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!

 

 

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New Year’s Resolution Ideas (that aren’t about weight loss!)

The holidays have come and gone. I, like most people, am looking toward 2018 and am starting to think about things I would like to accomplish in this coming year.

 

I personally love New Year’s resolutions. It makes you take the time to reflect on your past year and see what you were able to accomplish and areas you can improve upon. If you didn’t hit a goal of yours, you can always make it a goal the next year and come up with other strategies to achieve it.

 

The most popular New Year’s Resolution by far is weight loss. While I love a weight loss goal, I have my own I will be crushing this year, I feel like there are also plenty of other resolutions that would do you good in this coming year other than just a weight loss goal. So, if you are looking for some inspiration for setting your own New Year’s Resolutions I thought I would share some non-weight loss resolutions that can help you set all your goals in the New Year.

 

 

Break a Bad Habit

I can’t think of a better time to break a bad habit then at the start of a new year. For me, my bad habit I will be breaking is my daily diet pop habit. I know Diet Coke is bad for me, but I got myself into this bad habit when I was pregnant with my second child and I have been trying to break it since.

 

When you know you have a bad habit, think of all of the good it will do you to break it and write those reasons down. When you are having a hard day and want to give in, like giving up pop or smoking or emotional eating or whatever your bad habit is, going back to your list of why you are giving it up will make it easier not to give in.

 

 

Start a Healthy Habit

This goes hand in hand with the first resolution, start a healthy habit. My bad habit of getting rid of Diet Coke is a New Year’s Resolution of mine, so the healthy habit I am starting will be to drink more water. My goal is to drink anywhere from 80-100 ounces a day, but the last few months I have definitely been slacking. Drinking less Diet Coke, kicking my bad habit, will allow me to drink more water.

 

If losing weight is one of your resolutions this year, having a number in mind you want to lose is great but starting a healthy habit will help you reach that goal. So instead of “I want to lose 20 pounds”, try “I am going to cut all sweets from my meal plan and work out at least 4 days a week.” Another example could be saying “I will reward my healthy choices with XXX instead of food” if you are an emotional eater. It could be a spa day or a new pair of workout shoes instead of rewarding your healthy choices with food.

 

 

Set a Professional Goal

This may seem irrelevant considering I am a stay at home mom, but I have big goals for this little blog of mine by the end of 2018. It’s funny, I had the normal goals of promotions after awhile when I worked my 9-5 job in the corporate world but nothing like the professional dreams I have now. The biggest goal I had while working at the bank was leaving it!

 

Last year I was challenged to make a dream board. Just putting my goals and dreams to a pen and paper really helped get my goals out of my head and something that I could look at on a regular basis. One of my professional goals was to start my blog, something I had dreamed of doing for so long, and I finally did it! I am so glad I was challenged to really dream about what I want to do in life and I am taking steps toward making that happen. I encourage you to do the same and think about what you really want to do with your career this year.

 

 

Organize a Space in your Home


I think that I am a fairly ambitious person. I am also someone who thrives on organization. So when we first moved into our house a year ago all I wanted to do was buy all the organizational tools and things that existed (my favorite store is The Container Store). But I stopped myself, and although a year later I am going just a little crazy that my house isn’t as organized as I would like I’m glad I gave myself time in my space to figure out what will work best for me and my family.

 

Now that I have taken the time to figure out what we need, I won’t be spending any additional money on things we don’t need and won’t use. For my New Year’s Resolution I am only committing to organizing the biggest stress for me and my family, and that is organizing our playroom. I would focus on just one space of your home for your resolution so you feel accomplished once it’s done. Saying I am going to organize my family’s playroom versus I am going to organize our entire house sets myself up for success and I can always move on to another room in the house once that room is done.

 

 

Make Family and/or Marriage Resolutions

Resolutions are normally about self improvement. This year I decided not only am I going to focus on self improvement, which benefits everyone, I am making resolutions for my family and my marriage. By that I mean I am going to be intentionally working on my relationships with my husband and kids.

 

I am finding it more important as my kids get older the figuring out the kind of mom I want to be. This goes for my marriage too. I am setting these two main resolutions for my family, the first is doing a minimum of one date night a month with my husband. The second is being more present for my children during the day – i.e. not being on my phone as much, getting more done while they are busy or asleep. I also have a few books I will be reading to help with both of these resolutions.

 

 

 

I hope you received some inspiration for setting your own New Year’s Resolutions for 2018! Some of these might be ones you have set before, but I hope you are able to approach this new year with goals and drive. I would love to hear some of your resolutions for the coming year as well, drop me a comment below!