Thoughtful Christmas

Christmas has become so stressful. Between rushing around from one event to the next, family gatherings, school plays, church, the weather, the crowds, the money. So much money. I have spent many a night wondering how I am going to get everyone everything they want. I want my kids to wake up and be surrounded by all of their hearts desires. I want a perfect Hallmark family moive Christmas. Well, without the whole storyline of being in a dead end relationship with a rich city boy until I come home for the holidays and run into my high school boyfriend and we somehow reconnect and I leave my big city life and rich but too busy fiance and move back to the small town to plant the roots I’ve been running from all my life.

This was my old mindset. This year we decided we are going to do a thoughtful Christmas. We are cutting it back, WAY back.

I thought this would be painful.

I thought there would be tears, from mainly me.

I thought there is no way I will actually go through with this.

But, I did.

I have enjoyed this so much. It has caused me to be more mindful of what I spend my money on. Has made my kids only ask for what they actually want and not ask for a million things that they know will lose their interest. I have taken the time to wrap my gifts, with bows you guys! BOWS! I even made a bow. I am not feeling overwhelmed. I am not robbing Peter to pay Paul just to buy “one more gift for ______”.

We are taking it back to what Christmas should be about.

In our family we believe in the virgin birth. I believe this way of gift giving is more reflective of that. Less materialistic. Less madness.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to judge anyone who goes all out. Do you! I think its great if you can afford it and if that is what you want to do go for it! For me though I just feel better doing it this way. I feel good about it.

Now, you might be wondering what does a Thoughtful Christmas look like?

Let me tell you!

I got my girls each a gift that fits into one of five categories.

A Want

A Need

Something to Wear

Something to Read

Spiritual Gift

We had our girls each make a list, the youngest one had some help, and from there they ranked what they really wanted from what they just kinda maybe sorta wanted.

Another huge bonus in doing this, is that we have more funds available to take the family and just go and do stuff. We aren’t homebound, stuck because of our reckless spending on things. That’s honestly been the best part.

It’s been an interesting but fun transition. I can’t wait to see my girls open their gifts Christmas morning, knowing in my heart they are opening gifts that they will actually be excited about.


I pray every day.

I found myself wondering;

“Is there a certain way to pray?”

“Am I doing this right?”

“Should I say ‘Thou’ or ‘Thine’?”

“How should I start?”

“Do I always have to end with ‘Amen’?”

Well in wondering these things I bought a book that I wanted to use for a lesson plan with the youth at my church called, G5: Growing in the Five Commandments of a Campus Missionary. I am so glad I bought this! This first chapter was all about prayer and it really laid it out for me. I have read the Bible front to back and back to front, I have researched root words, found the Greek meanings, read many books and listened to countless sermons. This book was able to break everything down in a what that makes you just go “Ahhhh I see! Why did I make this so hard?!”

I figured I would share with you what I learned and hopefully answer any questions you might have concerning prayer and how it’s done!

PRAISE : “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name….” Matthew 6 : 9

When we begin with praise it takes our minds off of our problems and puts it on God and His goodness. We have to remember that prayer is about more that just getting from God it’s about getting to know God and praise is a GREAT way to get to know Him.

Praising is the easiest in this process to me. I love to worship God and thank Him for what I have. I know a lot of people who just aren’t comfortable with praising because they feel as if they are boasting or bragging but I want to tell you that God desires to hear how happy we are with what He has blessed us with! He yearns to hear how much we love and need Him! Our God gave us the free will to choose to love or leave Him and when His children come to Him and cover Him in love and praise He rejoices!

REPENT : “Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6 : 12

We all need to confess our errors [sins, mistakes, things we know are wrong in the eyes of God] and repent so that God can start to move in whatever situation we are in.

It’s like this, I don’t bathe my child until the end of the day. When she’s done playing and ready to calm down. I don’t wait until bedtime to bathe because I like my kid running around looking like a vagabond all day, I do this because I know that all the work and care that I put into bathing her wont be in vain.

It’s the same concept, except God is cleaning our inner filth up. He wants us to be done playing games and ready to settle down with Him before He goes in and cleans up our mess and God isn’t going to just clean us  up without us asking! We have to go to Him and confess, “God I’m ready for you to take this situation/sin/issue and have YOUR way with it. I’m done doing it my way because it’s not working. Cleanse me and make me whole.” It’s not enough for us to know that we have sinned, we have to commit to go in a new direction with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Confess : Agree with the truth

REPENT : to turn around and go in a new direction

Repenting is not fun, well I have never had fun doing it at least! It is the hardest part for me! I find it so hard to go and admit to God all my issues and bring my junk to Him! Yes, I understand that He already knows what my problems are but I just hate the whole process of admitting and the shame I feel while I’m facing Him. I feel SO good afterwords though! Complete freedom, but actually saying my issues out loud can sometimes be hard for me.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the LORD.” Acts 3 : 19

ASK : “Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6 : 11

One thing we all must remember is that we should NEVER be ashamed to ask! God wants us to ask and is delighted that we do! Just don’t get discouraged if His answer is “No” or “Not right now.” We have to remember that He knows best and we need to trust Him wholeheartedly.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” Philippians 4 :6

YIELD: “Listen to my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.” Isaiah 28 : 23

Relationships are built by and maintained with the art of communication. Communication is made up of two parts; TALKING and LISTENING. God is not different from you and me when it comes to this. He needs us to BE QUIET long enough so that He can respond. If we are truly looking for guidance we need to give God the reins to guide and listen to where He wants us to go.

If you are anything like me, hearing the voice of God is intimidating and confusing all wrapped up in some out of this world wrapping paper. Here’s what I do; invite the Holy Spirit in to speak to me and I STOP talking long enough to let Him! The Spirit is not always loud or found in the “signs” a lot of us look for. He is quiet often found in a “still, small voice.”

“Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.’ And behold the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks into pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantel and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him and said, ‘Ware are you doing here, Elijah?'”

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” Hebrews 3 : 15

By actually listening to the voice of God we are giving ourselves a chance to get blessed, be guided and comforted by God. We are giving ourselves the opportunity to be obedient and through obedience to God we become stronger in our faith and spirits.

ENGAGE IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE : “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.” 2 Corinthians 10 : 4

Our job is to exercise the authority Christ has given us and to pull down the strongholds of the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ. We are to intercede [step in for] our unsaved friends and family members.

“For though we live in the world, we DO NOT wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world , on the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10 : 3 – 5

RECEIVE FROM THE LORD : “If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21 : 22

Simply receive-by faith-answers to prayers, direction for the day, wisdom from God, and anything else with which the LORD desires to bless you with. We also need not to take this verse out of context, we will receive whatever we ask for that is under the will of God.

Have faith in God. Jesus had faith in God because He knew His character. We learn about God’s character by praying and listening to Him, reading His word, and by being in His presence through worship.

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.

He fears nothing from prayer less studies,

prayer less work,

and prayer less religion.

He laughs at our toil,

mocks our wisdom,

but trembles when we pray.”

Samuel Chadwick

So remember when you prayer to use the P.R.A.Y.E.R. pattern.

Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield, Engage In Spiritual Warfare, Receive

God Bless!

Luke 9:23

Luke 9:23

Everyday we have to make the choice to lay down our pride to pick up our cross and follow after Jesus. When we choose to carry our prides and put ourselves first we put Jesus back on the cross and we sit ourselves on the thrones of our hearts but that is not His plan! We need to take Him off the cross and put ourselves there! We need to die to our pride and let Him rule and reign over our lives!


Long time, no write. I know. I’m lame.

I want to be the first to say 2012 was one of the hardest years I’ve ever had. I lost both my grandparents, one of my cousins, got a job then lost it, my husband had some medical issues and I strayed away from God.

I’ve never felt so alone, scared, angry, dumb, empty, and hurt.

As I write this I am so ashamed of myself. Seriously, I know better than to allow myself to slip into this pit of lies and frustration. Yet here I am feeling deflated and totally defeated.

I’m a leader at my church and I’m held to a high standard. It’s not unrealistic but when you feel worthless and lost it’s almost impossible. I feel like I can’t talk to anyone in the church about it because they might judge me and I know I need some guidance.

Some counseling.


Now, I haven’t done anything sinful. Just stopped attending church like I should. That’s a big deal at my place of worship, and it’s a big deal to me. I really need to go more. Once again I’m scared of what people might say. My husband works most Sundays and the last time I went to church without him on a consistant basis some “saint” started telling people I was going through a divorce. Which was a dirty dirty lie. So now I’m uncomfortable. My friends tell me I shouldn’t worry about it, but they don’t understand. None of them have had those rumors spread about their relationships. It’s hurtful and I don’t want my kid hearing that.

The loss of my grandparents has me all shook up. It’s hard because sometimes I just want to call my grandma and talk to her about the kid and I can’t. She was the best listener.

My husband had some issues with his man area. He had to have surgery and we’ll find out soon enough whether or not he’s sterile now. Which is stressful in itself. I will say that we are extremely blessed with a child already so no matter how that turns out I’ll deal. Wiht his problem I lost my job. He couldn’t take care of the kid because of the pain he was in, I understood completely and me getting a job was supposed to make things easier. I still was bummed though because the freedom I felt was amazing.

I hate making a post about negitive stuff.

Now, it’s the start of a fresh new year. So I am ready for a fresh new outlook.

I’m going to try to get over this fear of what everyone else thinks.

I’m going to give all of myself to God again. Turn my troubles to Him. My heartaches to Him.

I can’t do it alone.

I can’t expect my husband to have all the answers.

2013 is going to be a year of breakthroughs.

The year of freedom. Yep. I’m going to claim that.

I will be free of degrading thoughts and feelings.

So please come on this journey with me as I find my strength through God. I’ll be updating more often and sharing my experiences. My triumphs and failures. I’ll also be posting some Bible verses and study notes.

This year is going to be amazing.

Half Way Through…

My first work week!!
Working has been a little different for me. The first day was like the first day of school all over again!  I spent so much time getting ready and I was so nervous that my husband drove me! Then I sat through a 2 hour orientation followed by a 6 hour training time. It was a lot to absorb and a little overwhelming at first. The second day was so much easier. Well easy isn’t a good word but I was more relaxed. Here in a few hours I will be heading into day 3 and I know it will be a successful day. 🙂

Everyone I work with are extremely nice and helpful.

The men and women I’m training with are so funny and encouraging.

I feel like I’m slowing starting to get the hang of things. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot to learn and there is NO way I’m ready to take a call yet.

[For those of you who might be wondering, I work at Victoria’s Secret Direct. I take your orders and take care of any questions or concerns you might have.]

During my break times I am able to get into the Word. Which has helped me tremendously! I love reading about God’s love and the greatness of Him.

I am also reading The Circle Maker. Which is an amazing read about the power of prayer. I HIGHLY recommend it! I only need 2 words to describe it… LIFE CHANGING. I’m only on Chapter 2 and it’s already rocked my world.

Well, I have to go and get my kid ready for the sitter and get myself all dolled up for work. I’ll write more when I get a moment!

Until then I hope that each and every one of you have a beautifully blessed day!



From Stay-At-Home to Working Mom

ImageThe past four years have been so amazing. I have been blessed to have been able to be a stay-at-home mom. I have loved being able to spend so much one on one time with my daughter, Lilly, and to have been able to teach her and give her all the attention I could mustard up. Have I missed the conversations with adults? Yes. Would I trade all the time spent with my child? No way!

Come Monday, I will be back in the work place. Full time. I am so excited to be able to get out there and contribute to the income but I would be lieing if  I said that I wasn’t a little sad and even feeling a little guilty about it.

I want Lilly to have the best life possible. I know money doesn’t buy happiness but it does make life a lot easier! We are able to live off of what TJ, my husband brings home but once I start working we will be able to thrive. We will be able to bless others and we will be able to give our daughter the things that we weren’t always privileged to have growing up. I’m so excited that we will be able to take her places on our days off and we are even talking about saving up for a nice vacation or at least an extended weekend away sometime next year.

I am going to miss her so much though. She is so much fun and for the past four years she has been my whole world. She has been my shadow and it’s going to be so weird not tripping over her all the time. All the little annoying things she does, wont seem so annoying anymore. I’m going to miss her squeaky voice and listening to all of her stories. I am going to miss watching cartoons with her and snuggling on the couch. It’s going to be so different for all of us but I know that it’s going to benefit us in the long run.

I feel like she’s growing up so fast already but once I start this job I know that time is going to fly by.

Working is going to be a lot of fun and good for me. I haven’t had the opportunity to get out and work with adults in so long! I hope that I will be able to find things to talk about. I’m sure that they wont want to talk about Wild Krats or Sesame Street. I will have to find new material for this crowd and I’ll have to keep up with Lilly’s world too.

I know that God had a plan for my family. I know that He will keep her protected and will continue to guide TJ and I to be better parents. I am excited for this new chapter in our lives. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be rewarding. We will make it through and we will prosper because my God has never failed me and He is going to work this all out for His glory.

TJ will be less stressed and will be able to enjoy his time off without looking for side jobs all the time. I will have more adult relationships and will be able to help provide for our family. Lilly will be able to start to find her identity outside of her parents and she will start to have a feeling of independence. These are the thing that I am looking forward to.

Our family is about to go on a BIG adventure and it’s going to be so worth it! I cannot wait to see what all God has in store for us.

Genesis 50:20

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

How encouraging is that? No matter the situation you find yourself in today, God can use you. God WILL use you! You just have to let Him in and let Him be the steward of your life. He will NEVER ever lead you astray. You will succeed through Christ Jesus.