Moab, Utah 2022

Today’s post will be short and sweet on words—I’ll let the pictures do most of the work!

Last week we vacationed to Moab, Utah. Since we live in Nebraska it made sense to do kind of a circle through Colorado, hit up Moab (which is near the western border of Colorado) and then drive the southern highway of Colorado on the way home. By doing this we were able to change up the scenery a bit on the way there and back.

Welcome to our road trip:

Entering the Rocky Mountains (Colorado)
Lake Dillon in Colorado
First scenic stop in Utah
Hiking at Hidden Valley Ranch…
we never did find the bottle of ranch😉
On the drive to some arches
Hiking up to Corona Arch, no worries we just had to cross the tracks, not follow them😅
Bowtie Arch
Bowtie Arch
Corona Arch
Pinto Arch
Arches National Park
Delicate Arch
(this is Moab’s signature arch)
Ice cream break in Moab
Driving back to Colorado
Colorado—cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde

***The cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved in North America. Sometime during the late 1190s, after primarily living on the mesa tops for 600 years, many Ancestral Pueblo people began moving into pueblos they built into natural cliff alcoves. The structures ranged in size from one-room granaries to villages of more than 150 rooms. While still farming the mesa tops, they lived in cliff dwellings, repairing, remodeling, and constructing new rooms for nearly a century. In the mid-1200s, the population began migrating to the south, into present-day New Mexico and Arizona. By the end of the 1200s, most everyone had migrated away. ***Info noted at nps.gov

Cliff Palace
Petroglyphs!!
Square Tower House Overlook A.D. 1200-1300
Oaktree House A.D. 1250
Fire House Cliff
Long House Overlook
Nordenskiold Overlook
On the drive
Treasure Falls in CO
Our cabin in South Fork, CO
The Clay Mine
Creede, CO
Hiking in Creede, Colorado

Looking through these pictures I’m reminded all over again that we have an amazingly, creative God! He didn’t have to bless us with an array of color as he paints the sunrises and sunsets each day, or allow us the challenge of climbing and hiking his self-made obstacle courses through rigid mountains.

Landscapes aren’t in short supply, God has perfectly placed them all over the world and we get the opportunity to explore and praise Him because of this. We can see evidence of Him in the beauty of His creations! Nothing to be taken for granted.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. —Psalms 19:1

Northeast of Moab, UT

Where is, or has been, one of your favorite places to visit, seeing God’s handprint throughout? Maybe it’s even your own backyard…

Taking Directions From the Holy Spirit

Recently I was invited to a ladies gathering —just a sweet night of worship and fellowship time.

One of the women in our church was hosting at her house and I was unfamiliar with the address but thought I had a pretty good idea of the location. Nevertheless I typed it into Google maps this way I could have some reassurance.

Once I got closer to my destination though I began second guessing the directions my phone was offering. It pointed me to continue driving forward another half-mile but my unreliable self-made navigational skills were urging me to take the next left instead.

Reluctantly I listened and followed the GPS directions rather than my wavering mind. This is rare for me.

But guess what…I made it (without fail, rerouting, or wasted time) right to my destination.

After the evening was finished, and I was on my way home, I couldn’t help but ponder the irony of my “almost-wrong turn” I about made on the drive there.

I thought about how similar to my faith-walk at times…

God guides with perfect accuracy and I second guess, opting for my own curvy path—mindless to yield to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.

It’s interesting how, often times, I’ll ask God for direction or comfort over something I’m struggling with and He readily answers through a Bible verse, the words of a song, time in prayer, or the wise words of a friend and yet I completely miss the ‘spiritual’ road signs.

This is such a work in progress for me.

To help navigate life’s roadblocks, I love the reminder and truth of Jesus’ words spoken to the disciples in John 14:26-27:

“But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I will give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What a great depiction of how the Holy Spirit moves and will never lead us astray.

Allowing Him to speak into us will deter us from getting stuck by the wayside.

When our thoughts and actions align with what God’s word teaches it’s a clear indication that we’re allowing and listening to the Holy Spirit as He pours into our hearts with truth, love, encouragement, healthy thoughts, peace and positivity. When we feel and sense those things we’re surrendering to God’s faithfulness rather than our stubbornness.

The Holy Spirit will always usher us within the guardrails of peace and Jesus’ way—anything other than this just isn’t of Him and must be dismissed from temptation or acceptance. I can’t come up with a better route to take as I journey through this life toward my Heavenly destination.

Weekend blessings to you all.❤️

22 ‘God-Is-For-Me’ Affirmations (backed by scripture)

I’m gonna waste no time and get straight to raw transparency here…I’ve been in a season of life that feels like perpetual nagging in my heart and mind—downward spiraling thoughts of inadequacy, brokenness, and just flat-out self-depreciation. And it’s been tough, so tough.

I’d love to blame Covid, from a week of being cooped up in my room, away from family over the Thanksgiving break, allowing my thoughts to trail…but I’m certain the overwhelming distress would’ve caught up to me at some point regardless of Covid-isolation…Satan and a fallen world are the real culprits.

In this struggle, however, God has lead me to and blessed me with the kindest, most patient, sense-talking therapist one could ever imagine; and (as a result) even though I’m still surrounded by deep waters I can feel God’s strong presence keeping me afloat.

I’m probably 30 years past-due on counseling sessions so the content of discussion with my therapist is wide and harsh. I’m thankful for my husband and mom to debrief with afterwards.

The encouragement is sincere and passionate and for that I am grateful. Though the shoreline is a far distance off yet, my hope is fixed on an anchor of faith.

Friend, maybe you too are facing waves of difficulty in some way, but I pray you’d join me—embracing the calming, reassuring reminders of ‘God-for-us.’ I’ve compiled 22 affirmations of God’s faithfulness backed by scripture, with the intention that the solidity of these words would become more than just simple phrases and all about rich, heartfelt truth and comfort.

Read into them, pray through them, allow every single word to embody you…I’ll be doing the same.

GOD LOVES ME.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

We love because God first loved us. —1 John 4:19

GOD HAS SAVED ME.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18

For anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. —Romans 10:13

GOD FREES ME FROM FEAR.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:7

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “do not fear; I will help you.” —Isaiah 41:13

GOD PROVIDES ME WITH SAFETY.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

The righteous person may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all. —Psalm 34:19

The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. —Psalm 121:7-8

GOD HEALS ME.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds. —Psalm 147:3

GOD IS MY HELPER.

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. —Psalm 121:2

So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? —Hebrews 13:6

GOD CARES ABOUT ME.

Give all your worries and your cares to God, for He cares about you. —1 Peter 5:7

GOD EQUIPS ME.

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17

GOD POINTS ME TO TRUST IN HIM.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6

When I am afraid I put my trust in you. —Psalm 56:3

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. —Psalm 84:12

GOD DESIRES FOR ME TO REST IN HIM.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. —Matthew 11:28

Be still and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10a

GOD STRENGTHENS ME.

For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. —Philippians 4:13

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s scheme. —Ephesians 6:10-11

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. —Psalm 29:11

GOD COMFORTS ME.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —Psalm 23:4

GOD FILLS ME WITH JOY AND HOPE.

You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. —Psalm 16:11

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. —Isaiah 40:31

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11

GOD LEADS ME.

In their heart humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. —Proverbs 16:9

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. —Psalm 119:105

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. —Psalm 23:2

GOD IS WITH ME.

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” —Exodus 33:14

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10

GOD BLESSES ME.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. —2 Corinthians 9:8

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. —Psalm 84:5

GOD FORGIVES AND REDEEMS ME.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9

As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. —Ephesians 1:7-8a

GOD HAS MADE ME NEW.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. —2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. —Galatians 2:20

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18-19

GOD GIVES ME PEACE.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23

GOD HAS CHOSEN ME.

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. —Deuteronomy 14:2

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. —Ephesians 1:4

GOD DIRECTS ME TO LOVE OTHERS.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. —John 13:34

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

GOD WANTS ME TO LOVE MYSELF.

I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. —Psalm 139:14

To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper. —Proverbs 19:8

For no one has ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as the Messiah does the church. —Ephesians 5:29

The Darkness Has Not Overcome the Light

I’m finally feeling back to myself again! Which is a good thing I hope!!

I had Covid over Thanksgiving and man I feel for anyone who battles Covid physically, but for myself it really messed with me mentally—and with my emotions as well.

It was the reality of being secluded from my family (in effort to keep them from getting sick) over a holiday that’s bent on togetherness—that’s what really got to me. And although I tried to stay focused and connected to God through reading His word, devotions, and prayer through it all, Satan managed to squeak his ridiculous way in to play mind-games with me.

I struggled with the realization that my kids are growing up so fast…I worried that I didn’t enjoy them enough as babies…I longed to hug each of them individually and apologize for my crazy mood swings over the years…I feared that I’ve messed them up for future parenting of their own one day…

Forget doctor’s orders to stay hydrated, instead I filled up on shame and regret, even digging up dirt on myself from pre-Christian years and settling on the messy memories I have of childhood trauma. My thoughts felt completely out of my control. A total downward spiral. It was absolutely miserable and ugly. I was devastated and I cried a lot. A lot!

Looking back I can only now see how silly this must seem but it truly felt smothering at the time.

When Satan has his way with our thoughts it can cause those valley-seasons to feel like we’re endlessly cratering. The sense of darkness can seem overwhelming and paralyzing.

BUT THERE’S HOPE WHEN WE REMEMBER JESUSwhen we fix our eyes upward—when we cling to God’s faithfulness and we fill that somber void with His peace—when we remember seasons are only just simply seasons, and new ones are fixing to surface.

Several times during my depressive state, I would literally, pronounce, “get behind me Satan.There is power in our words and putting Jesus in front of everything else makes a profound difference.

Recognizing the struggle and anguish I was experiencing, I focused on verses 4 & 5 from John 1, stating that the darkness has not overcome the light…

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Our tree is now up to celebrate the Christmas season, and goodness the golden-colored lights wrapped around it are such a reminder of the beautiful truth in those verses. It amazes me that such tiny little lights can put out such a bright illumination…at night they cut through the dark effortlessly with such a stark contrast.

What a wonderful portrayal of the very way Jesus operates…He longs to overflow our darkest days with the hope and energy of His light if we’ll allow ourselves that kind of power supply.

Maybe you can relate with me and sometimes experience what feels as if it’s a shortage every now and then but as we stay connected to the Light, the darkness will never, ever overcome…and that’s something worth brightening our outlook!

You Version pic

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” —John 8:12

A Cord of Three Strands

This morning my oldest daughter, Paige, had asked if I’d braid her hair. She’s going out for girls’ wrestling this year and has practice today (even though it’s Thanksgiving break) so pulled back hair is her preference.

I found it interesting because at the time she asked, I was reading and studying over Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 which says this:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

When it comes to my daughter wanting her very long hair braided she always requests the help of either her sister or myself. It takes another set of hands to make it happen. It’s teamwork.

Today as I got the privilege of braiding her hair, with some new and fresh insight, I thought about the last part of the verses I’d just read, ‘a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’

Interesting given the fact I’d just woven three sections of hair together similar to a cord formation. The weaving and intertwining of the hair strands keeps it stronger and serves the purpose for which it was meant—to hold together.

Keeping these verses in mind we can circle the encouragement found here—there is strength when partnering up.

Last weekend I tested positive for Covid and to say I accepted the circumstances to follow with ease would be a huge falsity. I was not impressed and am still struggling. Plans were tossed and negative feelings pursued.

My “quarantine” time doesn’t end until Sunday evening. There’s nothing normal about being isolated from family over Thanksgiving break especially in my own home.

Out of respect for my husband and kids I’ve tried to stay to my room but I was really “wrestling” with depressive thoughts so I’ve graduated a bit more to the main areas of the house while wearing a mask. I know this probably doesn’t meet CDC recommendations but out of the personal health of my sanity it is what it is.

I admit this isn’t one of my most happy-go-lucky-post. Actually I always aim to just be as transparent as possible. I share all this though because I’ve been able to reflect on how much people matter to me.

God didn’t design us to be alone. In the beginning of His Word we read in Genesis 2:18, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God created woman in effort to reinforce that idea. We know sin ensued shortly after and humanity has suffered the results since. But God didn’t leave us without a Way to overcome…His name is Jesus.

When we include Jesus in our life, and in our relationships, that cord we read about in Ecclesiastes exist with the type of supernatural strength that points to Him.

Life is for us to do together. To lift one another up. To encourage. To cheer one another on. To smile. To hug. To laugh. To cry. To fellowship. To be in communion.

So even though Thanksgiving has definitely looked and felt very different and has not been my first choice of creating memories in this way, I can focus on the fact that I am blessed beyond measure—I know the importance (without a shadow of a doubt) of how beautiful life is when we are fulfilled by relationships. And the best is with Jesus laced right in the middle.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken…

I pray your Thanksgiving was blessed and (even if it may also look different like mine) that you can turn your focus to the positives with an attitude of gratitude. ❤️

The One Who Never Changes

I took one week away from blogging and every time I do this it always seems funny to me on where to pick back up…but a few things come to mind…

First of all WordPress notified me that I’ve been blogging for four years now! Time goes so quickly!!

Along with that the blog has over 700 followers, there’s been 10,000 plus visitors, and I’ve written over 173 posts—so crazy to me! Praying hearts would continue to be reached For His Purpose and I’m also incredibly thankful for the fellowship happening through the blog! Thank you all for being a reason to share my thoughts and share Jesus.

Moving on…

The past few weeks have brought some changes and if I’m honest I’m not a huge fan of change.

Change.

My grandma has been in the nursing home for months now and unfortunately her home must be sold to offset the necessary fees there.

I was offered the chance to choose some of my grandmas things from her home of over fifty years and it was such an uncanny experience rummaging through the house as many things are being sorted and boxed up. Her house was always so cozy and very orderly and now it is anything but.

The turntable pantry that was notorious for its strong scents of ginger and cinnamon and all things baking has now faded to nothing more than an abandoned stale cupboard—not even appealing to a mouse.

The entire house is just so different, it feels so empty and sad.

Here are the few things I chose that are packed with personal sentimental value.

My grandma had a large chicken collection and this is Big Al, one of her favorites. ❤️

I’m gonna miss making memories in my grandma’s house but will hold dearly to the ones I’ve been blessed with over the years.

More change.

Here at my own home, our remodel is nearly complete and while I’m loving how it’s all coming together I’m still trying to bring in that old homey feeling we had before we started. I miss seeing some of the old base colors we had. It just seems so foreign to me right now.

Funny how we get so familiar and comfortable with things…but it’s a reminder to hold earthly things loosely—especially keeping in mind that a house and it’s features is just simply a temporary dwelling until the good Lord calls us to our permanent heavenly home. That’s where our excitement for character and charm should truly fall into place (not in decor and comfort of earthly homes) but instead with a focus upward and becoming more like Christ!

I’ll share photos of our remodel when it’s complete. I know some of you enjoy seeing those before and after house projects.

Changes.

Some recent test results with the doctor show that my health has changed and things will be a bit different for an unknown period. Although I wish it could be avoided, I have such a sweet peace from the Lord in this. I trust so big that He will heal and that I can look at this as an opportunity to grow even closer to Him.

I’ve never been great with patience but I’m praying to be teachable and maybe now my desire (and neglect) to becoming more patient won’t go unchecked, maybe God is using this very obstacle for such a time as this.

In this various season of change I’m holding on to the truth of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Things change, it’s inevitable but God remains the same loyal steadfast God He always was and ever will be—no matter what.

In the areas I’m noticing change I remember that as Christians this earth is not our permanent home and these bodies that are wasting away will one day be restored in the most perfect of ways.

The assurance of God’s unchanging dedication and love for us is what can bring peace to unexpected and inevitable changes in our lives. He is solid and stable. He is wonderfully unchanging.

Weekend blessings to you all!!❤️

Resting in God’s Goodness

Hey! Quick post today as I’m off to Vegas 👎🏼this weekend (of all places) for my uncle’s celebration of life. He passed away last year due to a lung disease and side effects of agent orange (Vietnam) but thanks to covid we’ve not been able to gather with family until now.

My Uncle Gary is and will continue to be missed like crazy!!! He was seriously thee most full of life and fun guy I’ve ever met.

xoxo❤️

Last weekend our family spent Labor Day weekend in Colorado at a cabin in the mountains. It was such a much needed time of rejuvenation, even hiking was peaceful and relaxing.

Honestly I’ve felt a wave of trials lately and just when I get back up another wave comes. It’s been a tough season…but God. He is always in the midst of our storms and serves as the best source of a life preserver. Consider how a life vest wraps around us to keep us afloat, God goes deeper by encircling us not only in His arms but graciously holding our hearts and minds as well. We feel and get that blessing as we keep in communion with Him.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says this: ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’

Wow! What hope, strength, and renewal we get from the pages of scripture.

In John 16:33b Jesus reminds us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Though the storm may rage the calm can still be felt, our saving grace is found through Jesus!! His ways are higher and His plans are perfect. His love and mercy never run dry. He is good and He is able.

In Jesus I will place my resting hope.

Colorado pics Labor Day Weekend 2021

The highlight of our trip was seeing this moose within twenty minutes of our arrival at the cabin. People call the lion one of the most majestic animals on earth but I think I beg to differ after this guy strolled gracefully upon our cabin grounds.

He was just so confident and it was incredibly soothing observing him as he made his way to the little pond just steps away from our cabin’s deck.

Have a blessed weekend, I’ll be in crummy Vegas (sorry not a fan at all) but spending time with family that I don’t get to see enough will make the positive difference and focus—and for that I am grateful.❤️

Spending Quiet Time With God

During a women’s Bible study I used to be a part of we talked at one gathering about intentionally spending more quiet time connecting with God. Some women were already making this happen daily but many others admitted they were struggling to make it happen at all and they longed to make a change in this area.

Daily time with God (and honestly all-day-long connection with Him) is something I crave otherwise if I skip out I’m a bigger mess than I am naturally, my day feels unorderly, and the people I interact with probably question my desire of love and care.

This wasn’t something I was always great with but like my post from last week about habits, this is one of those habits I’m sooo thankful I started!

There’s a verse that reminds me just how beneficial it is to seek God from the start of the day—in the early waking moments.

Psalm 90:14 says this—

“O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Pic from YouVersion app

That word ‘satisfy’ catches my attention. The Hebrew translation reads it as saga and it means ‘to be fulfilled.’

I think if we’re honest we all long for fulfillment. Often times though we’re guilty of looking for it where it was never meant to be found—through bank accounts, exercise plans, food, relationships, and so on.

But through God’s word we learn that genuine fulfillment comes through Him, and by digging into His word. This is where our mind and heart’s satisfaction becomes truly fulfilled and in return we express an outward joy.

And notice that verse includes ‘morning’ as a time reference…the thing is when we kick off our morning with God (even just a small heartfelt prayer, a devotion, time reading His word) then we set our day up with hope, encouragement, and Jesus to get us through the rest of the day…all our days!! There’s still a good chance we’ll encounter problems throughout our day but when (or if we do) we’re more likely to reflect on Jesus and handle those curve balls with a better outlook.

Here are some ways to begin and run the day with Jesus (I’m preaching to myself here too because these ideas are just as much meant for my motivation as they are for the next person).

  • Wake up just a little earlier, before distractions undoubtedly slip in and get into God’s word! We will feel much more refreshed from this act, over a few more moments of sleep!
  • Spend time quietly in prayer and praise while waking and when getting ready for the day.
  • Begin a Bible reading plan from the You Version app or use a physical Bible. The You Version app always includes a verse of the day and I love if I’m in a hurry and need some reflection and inspiration to check out the verse because it’s so quick and convenient but incredibly helpful!
  • Subscribe to a daily email devotion: thelife.com this one my husband uses or Proverbs31.org is the one I use.
  • Turn on worship music while getting ready for the day, while driving, or at work, etc.

These things have helped me so much in my faith and growing closer to God, along with writing and blogging. Some days I have more time than other days to spend in quiet time with God or studying scripture but even a little bit makes a huge difference.

God gives us an abundance of resources to draw closer to Him and feel His presence but we have to choose to make it happen!

I would love to know if you have other ways of connecting with God, leave a comment… and as always sweet weekend blessings!!

Scripture Memorization

Last week was a bit rough and I’m not sure this one has been much better.

If you remember from my post last Friday we had this rabbit at our house that my daughter was pet sitting for someone, it ended up getting sick and I shared a post about patience and prayer with the hope that it was getting healthier. Friday night came and the poor thing declined rapidly and didn’t make it. So awkward having to call the family and tell them.

Then just when I’d been thinking Paige’s driving was also getting better (which is necessary as she turns 16 the end of September)…while in town one day she was inches away from smacking a post at Walmart while backing up, then pulled out in front of somebody when coming away from the bank, and two blocks later she stopped at a red light and then got ready to take off again (like it was a stop sign). All within a half hour. Yikes, this girl! Not sure I’m gonna be able to graduate her from the school bus to her own set of wheels!

Another part of my week consisted of me receiving a phone call with an unexpected job offer. I accepted right on the spot because I felt it was a God thing, then after two days decided it was probably not a good choice so I fired myself and felt horrible making the phone call to let this lady know I wasn’t taking the job after all. Humiliating.

On top of that I’ve been stressed over our house project (installing ceramic flooring)—it hasn’t been without it’s share of trouble. And I currently have my fridge, stove, and kitchen table all in my living room while we replace floor so the entire process feels unorganized, crazy, and really time consuming.

None of these things are over-the-top traumatic but with them stress heightens and vulnerability unveils.

As my heart has felt unsettled and my mind has drifted from peace lately I know how pertinent it is to stay connected to Jesus.

Two verses have helped steady my emotions:

Give all your worries and your cares to God for he cares about you. —1 Peter 5:7

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. —Psalm 138:8

I love the simplicity of those verses yet the deep comfort and certain truth they provide.

God longs for us to go to Him with our troubles, fears, and worries. He meets us in our place of discontent offering us compassion and hope as a remedy.

When I began having those feelings of weakness and doubt through my current struggles I was immediately drawn to scripture that I’ve memorized over time. These pieces of scripture have taken the edge off my fragile mindset as the Holy Spirit lays comfort on my weary soul.

The importance of scripture memorization became clear to me when I first started getting real about my faith in my late twenties. There were so many obstacles in my way at the time and goodness was God’s word such a guide as I traveled a new-to-me path. Since that time I’ve continued to learn new scripture and memorize it.

What I love is that even though difficulties can seem overwhelming and impulsive, God’s word is solid and sure, and it offers direction over the twist and turns of life. There is literally a verse to cover any difficulty we face.

Often times the Holy Spirit will lead and remind me of a verse I have tucked in my heart and I’ll rest in those words of peace. If my mind feels absolutely blank I’ll simply do a quick Google search typing in something like, ‘Bible verses on worry’ (or whatever the topic/concern might be).

Over time, as I’ve memorized scripture I’ve recorded them on paper and I’ll periodically reread the verses and references to keep them fresh in my heart.

Here’s an example:

She’s a bit worn and in need of a reprint but still efficient.

Since the verses are aligned in one column, and the references in another, I can fold my paper so I can flip back and forth making sure I’m recalling each of them correctly.

So I might look at the reference side only and choose Romans 3:23 and then I’ll quote that verse and if I need to double check it I can flip back to the verse side to be sure I’m right.

There are many different memorization tools (flash card style, games, apps, etc.)—some work better for one person than another.

Hiding God’s word in our heart is a lifeline to Him. It’s incredibly useful and a sweet part of our relationship with Him as well.

When the darkness rises it’s such a blessing to choose God’s words of encouragement to rest in. Our situation may continue in gloom for a time but the trial fades as we walk opposite of it’s direction and intently in His—eventually we see the Light of His glory brighten.

I will continue to reflect on His word in the midst of my frustrations and even after—and whatever it might be that you’re experiencing I pray you’d be sparked to do the same.

Sweet blessings!

Learning Patience in Prayer Over a Rabbit…(what a weird title)

This past summer we’ve been taking care of a pet rabbit for a family (that we don’t at all know) as they’ve been out of state.

In early June my oldest daughter, Paige, received a call from a lady asking if she’d watch this rabbit of theirs and Paige accepted…for what she thought was just going to be a long weekend pet-sitting job.

Communication skills are and have been a large work in progress with our darling Paige…

When this woman showed up with her bunny she also brought along its living quarters, a very VERY big package of bedding, a few bags of bunny litter (yes it’s potty trained), and enough food for a whole herd of rabbits, as well as a tub of accessories.

Immediately I gathered that this was no weekend visit we were preparing for.

After chatting with the woman a bit I learned that her little fur friend would be with us much longer than Paige had understood over the initial phone call—for months she’d be with us in fact.

We never did ask the name because personally I was trying to process the idea that we’d involuntarily committed to this indoor rabbit’s extended stay.

I ended up calling her Kaytee, however, because the brand name on her water bottle has this name and I thought it seemed fitting.

Kaytee is not the kindest bunny; she’s sassy, threatens to bite, and when we put her outdoors to run in our fenced in grass area she’ll literally grunt and then lunge at us like a four legged chainsaw when we’re ready to bring her back inside—it’s entertaining, comical, and terrifying all at the same time.

Overall things have gone well having Kaytee in our home…until this past week.

Her food and water went untouched, she seemed sluggish, and her droppings weren’t typical looking. I contacted her owner to let her know I’d be taking the bunny to the vet immediately.

After iv fluids, two shots, and some follow up nutritional supplements the vet sent us home along with a warning that we weren’t out of the woods yet and only time would tell.

Time.

Time requires patience.

Like Paige struggles with quality communication, I struggle with zero patience.

Because absolutely no concern of ours is too insignificant for God, I prayed a lot over this rabbit—that God would please just heal it; but I also knew patience would be key.

And knowing I needed some encouragement in the area of patience (while waiting on this rabbit’s outcome) I pulled up my Bible app to do some studying over that difficult-for-me word.

Patience.

Isn’t it just like God to speak to our heart when we’ve finally quieted our whirling thoughts?

You guys!! The verse of the day on my Bible app was this:

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.” —Psalm 130:5

Bible YouVersion App

Time. Wait. Patience.

Those words aren’t always graciously welcomed in my little ‘Alicia world.’

But that sweet verse reminds me that while waiting for God to answer prayers, hope is found in His word and His word points to Him.

Profoundly beautiful.

Praise God Kaytee appears to have made a positive turnaround and will go in for a check up today to evaluate her health.

A quickly answered prayer in this case.

I’ve been around long enough to know though that waiting sometimes never produces an answered prayer—and that can be a tough truth to swallow, one that can cause bitterness even.

When I think about this from God’s view I consider the countless times He’s waited on me…to come to faith, to learn patience, to fully trust, the list goes on…and yet He’s never given up on me even though these things haven’t all come to fruition.

I want to echo His consistency.

Ephesians 5:1 says this, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children,”

When we commit to following God’s example—His leading—we learn to walk, talk, and do life with patience filling our mind and heart through whatever issue comes our way. This truth is where hope hushes the trial and prayers become selflessly surrendered to fall under God’s will rather than our own. Patience is needed in our prayers and it requires a decent amount of trust but the lesson and peace gained in the midst of our struggle makes the wait worthwhile…I don’t know about you but that type of God-focused path is one I want to “hop” on!

Sweet blessings friends, thank you for reading!!

God, you’ve provided us with your word, which is choke-full of direction and hope and we are so incredibly blessed to have such encouragement straight from your heart. Thank you for answered prayers; help us to be patient as we wait on other prayers, just as you’ve had to be with us at times. You are an amazing example and I thank you for showing us your Way. Amen.

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