• Personal

    Reading God’s Word: What do I do?

    Lately, I’ve been in a dry season. I don’t feel like reading God’s Word. The holidays blurred by in a whirlwind frenzy. In all the chaos, I’ve been missing my daily time with the Lord; I’m being honest here, I have no desire for it.

    But someone once told me that the more you do something, the more you’ll love it. I’m not sure if that goes for everything. I can’t imagine ever loving beets or oysters. But I have found it true when I read God’s Word. The more I read it, the more I want to read it. The hardest part is beginning.

    So I thought I’d share what my personal time with the Lord looks like. Maybe like me, you need to start spending time with God again. Or maybe you’ve never had a quiet time with God before, but you want to start. Either way, I hope this encourages you to spend time with the Lord everyday. But where do you begin? What tools do you use to spend time with the Lord? What does a quiet time with God look like?

    The Tools You Need

    These are the tools I use in my daily time with God: 1. A journal. 2. The Blue Letter Bible App 3. A commentary 4. The Bible. The Blue Letter Bible App and commentary are optional. You don’t have to have them to spend time with the Lord.

    The Process You Use

    To help me know what to do when I spend time with God, I use the acrostic SOAP. Each letter stands for a step you do in your time alone with the Lord.

    The S is for Scripture

    If you have never had a daily time with the Lord, there are a few books of the Bible I recommend. Any of the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John are great places to begin. These books give you a description of Jesus and how he lived. Another book I recommend for the beginner is I John. It’s a short book that explains what a believer’s life looks like.

    Now that you’ve chosen what to read, it’s time to open up your journal. Write the Word SCRIPTURE near the top of your journal page. Pretty simple ;-). I suggest reading about 10-15 verses. As you read, look for ideas in scripture that grab your heart. Whether it’s encouraging or convicting, write the verse that speaks to your heart under the word SCRIPTURE in your journal.

    The O is for Observation

    The letter O is for Observation. Under the SCRIPTURE portion in your journal, you are now going to write OBSERVATION. This is the time you “observe.” Some questions to ask yourself in this step are: Who is the author of the book? Who is the book written to? When this scripture was written, what was going on in history? What is the scripture about? What do certain words mean?

    A commentary can be useful in answering these questions. A commentary is a book that explains the Bible. I use the Wiersbe Bible Commentary. But remember that commentaries are not the inspired Word of God. You don’t need a commentary to have quiet time with the Lord. Although I have found that it can be helpful to understand scripture.

    Another tool you can use to answer your questions during Observation is the The Blue Letter Bible App. I recommend you download the app to your phone, and explore the features. I use this app solely for defining words in scripture that I don’t understand.

    The A is for Application

    The letter A is for Application. Go ahead and write the word APPLICATION underneath the OBSERVATION portion in your journal. Now you apply what you’ve learned from Scripture to your own personal life. How do you need to change because of what you’ve read? What specific area of your life needs to change and why? Make sure to write it down.

    The P is for Prayer

    Finally, the letter P is for Prayer. Write the word PRAYER underneath the APPLICATION portion in your journal. Write what’s on your heart. But keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a long prayer. Your heart’s motives are most important. Adore him for who he is. Confess to him your sin. Be genuine. Thank him for all he’s done. And ask for him for anything. Write it down.

    Encouragement for the Road

    Spending time with God doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy. Jesus wants your heart. The real you. Go to him as you are, and he’ll change you into the person you are meant to be. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Growing in Christ is a journey that doesn’t happen in a day.

  • Personal,  Watercolor

    That Road To Bitterness

    Bitterness Road inevitably comes our way at some point in life.  This week, I found the road right outside my door.  Have you ever been there?  That place where someone is trying to help, but in reality they’re hurting your heart.  And all the while you’re listening to them, you’re screaming inside, “Lord, why are they doing this?  I thought this person was my friend.” Gradually, I found myself looking ahead and seeing that road to bitterness. The invitation rang with clarity.

    Then for the rest of the week I re-played the scene over and over in my mind.  Ideas of what I should have said came to mind.  Why couldn’t I have thought of that when I was there in the moment?  Why did they judge me like this?  They don’t know my story.  They don’t really know me.  Over and over I rested my mind on the past. I lived there instead of moving on and resting my mind on Jesus.

    But this is what I found in God’s Word:

    My identity isn’t found in what others think about me; my identity is in Jesus Christ alone.
    I was not made to be a people-pleaser, I was made to please God.
    Some people won’t understand me.  It isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It just is.

    The more I thought on these truths, the less frustrated I felt.  The grudge I wanted to hold onto died.  The anger dwindled to nothing.  I stopped replaying the scene over and over in my mind.  You see, what other people think-it’s a small thing.  God’s truth is bigger. When I looked at my circumstances through the filter of Scripture, my heart changed. Bitterness Road disappeared.

    God’s Word really does set us free.

     

     

  • Health,  Personal

    Juicing and Bone Broth Fast

    This week, the hubs and I are going to start a three day juice and bone broth fast. I want to be ready.   Without a plan, I know I’ll fail. Also, posting a blog keeps me accountable. Obviously, I don’t want the whole world to watch me fail.  But without “a vision, the people perish.”  See, it’s Biblical.  Not the juicing part, the planning part. It’s good to visualize where we want to be.  It’s good to know the why and the how.

    Why?

    I want to kick my sugar habit.  Also, the habit of eating large bowls of cereal as snacks must stop. My caffeine addiction gives me headaches. I think most of you can relate to that one. But the main reasons for me are simple-candida and hormones. Candida is a form of yeast…don’t Google it.  I promise it’s disgusting. Some people are more prone to it than others. Candida grows when a person eats sugar-and other certain foods. You are more prone to candida when you are taking antibiotics.  Ever since I was prescribed antibiotics a year ago, my body can’t handle certain foods-especially sugar.  It’s like the antibiotics corrupted me or something.  I have no scientific proof of this.  But I do know my body. I used to be able to eat things like bananas, avocados, and bacon.  Now, when I eat those foods I end up doubled over in pain. Sometimes the pain is so bad I feel as though I’ll pass out.

    Not only do I want to kill the candida, I also want to regulate my hormones. Recently, I’ve been in bed with flu like symptoms because of hormones.  It should not be this way!  The pain is unbearable.  Suffering from pounding headaches, nausea, and extreme cramping, I feel like I’m pregnant (trust me, I’m not!).

    I’ve been anxious about what might happen.  Sometimes, the pain scares me.  The doctors can’t help me.  I’ve been down that road, and honestly, I come out feeling like a psycho. God never meant for any of us to live in a constant state of fear.  So instead of focusing on what might happen, I want to be proactive and take a preventative approach to these symptoms.  I want to do something to help myself.

    watercolor painting text

    How?

    The plan is to drink juice, water, bone broth, and tea for three days.  I’ll also be taking supplements, making sure I get all the nutrients I need for the full seven days.

    At the end of the juice fast, I’m going to be eating Whole30ish with a little Paleo. My hope is that the pain stops and my hormones get back to normal as I change what I eat.  We’ll see how it goes.

    (Also, just a note here. I have no medical experience at all.  I encourage you to do research if you want to try juicing or doing a bone broth fast. Talk to your doctor.  Because of my health conditions, my way to health may look a lot different than yours.  Do what is best for you and your health!)

    What happened?

    (The rest of this post was written the third day of the juice and bone broth fast.)

    The first day, I tried juicing and drinking broth equally, but sadly, many fruits cause candida to grow.  Honestly, I should have been more careful.   By the second day, the candida symptoms grew stronger. But I didn’t want to give up entirely.  Instead, I decided to drink only bone broth. The switch did wonders.  I’m on my third day of having no food.  I feel surprisingly great.  Whenever I feel the least bit hungry, I get the homemade broth from the freezer and heat it on the stovetop.  It’s fast and easy.

    However, my husband lasted only a day and half. Ha! He hated it.  He decided not to include the bone broth in his fast- only straight juice. By the middle of the second day, he called and said, “I’m feeling hangry.”  I told him to try the bone broth, but he was done. He came home and ate pears, grapes, and chicken. He’ll never do it again. Trust me.  Ha!

    Would I do it again?

    Well, I would never do a juice fast again. Even if I try to stay in the “safe” fruit category, the risk isn’t worth it for me.  But I would do a bone broth fast again.  I’m surprised at how it fills me up.  It isn’t like food, but if I keep drinking the broth, I feel fine.

    Overall, I’m glad I tried it.

  • Homeschool,  My Book,  Personal

    My Random Life Update

    Hey guys!

    So here is what’s going on lately. I’m doing this in list form, because like the title says-it’s random.

    My husband passed his dissertation defense.

    When Josh told me the good news, I got a bit emotional.  There may have been tears in my eyes. It came out of no where.  My throat got tight and there was a catch in my voice.  I could hardly speak.  It’s hard to believe that we began this journey four and half years ago.  This May Josh graduates with a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration.  I’m so proud of him. But mostly thankful that God was with us every step of the way.  Now we wait and see where God leads.

    The paintings for my book are almost finished.

    Sara Jo from Bryarton Farm has been painting the illustrations for a year now. I couldn’t have done this without her.  (Sara, you are amazingly talented, beautiful and real!  Thanks for pouring yourself into this project with me!) After I receive all the illustrations, I’ll move on to finding an agent who will get the book to a publisher.  The process is complicated and the odds are not in my favor. But God is bigger than the odds.  Right?  He’s the One who moved me to write this book. I will trust Him in the outcome.

    Homeschooling is kicking my butt.

    We’re in the middle of second quarter exams.  Did I mention homeschooling is kicking my butt? I consistently have to remind myself that what I feel doesn’t define who I am.  Feelings can be liars.  So often, I feel like I’m not doing enough. I feel like everything I’ve taught them has gone in one ear and out the other.  But it isn’t true.  And a little encouragement to you homeschool mamas out there- your children hear you.  I’ve learned more about Jesus when I feel weak and worn than when I feel like I have everything together.  Lean into your Savior.  He is enough.

    Juicing will be an adventure.

    I say adventure, but I’m not sure what kind of adventure it will be.  On March 1st, I’ll be starting a seven day juice fast.  People give me weird looks when I mention juicing-as if I’m an alien or something.  I encourage you to do the research-if you juice correctly, it can be extremely healthy for you!   In my own personal experience, I know that the food I eat directly affects my health.  After I juice for week, I’ll be eating whole 30.

    Amazon shopping is one of my favorite things!

    The dress and scarf are from Amazon. Together, they make one of my favorite outfits. (The boots were from amazon, too.  But they must have stopped selling them because I can’t find the link.) The purse is a great color with the blue dress!  It’s small and compact. I only carry my wallet and keys, and maybe a book to read-no extras.  My favorite thing about Amazon is that I can shop from the comfort of my home.  There is no waiting in lines wondering how long my four children will last before they go insane.

    Outfit-Maxi Dress

    So, there it is.  A random life update.

  • Personal

    A Chai Tea Latte Recipe for a Wintery Afternoon

    If you are anything like me, you aren’t entirely committed to coffee. I know-some of you out there almost choked.  But it’s true, tea will always have a piece of my heart.  I love it.  It’s especially yummy in the Autumn months when the leaves are falling and the wind is rattling your windows. (We live in an old house.)  But even now, with this thick blanket of white snow covering my Michigan world, I still want a chai tea latte.

    Now, a few things before I give you the chai tea latte recipe. ( I promise I won’t be long.  I hate to have to scroll endlessly to the bottom of the page to get the recipe.  Why do people do that!?)  Let’s talk about the milk for this latte.  You can do whole milk or almond milk. If you choose almond milk, I recommend making your own.  Homemade almond milk tastes 100% better than store bought. My kids hate all almond milk except for the homemade kind.  I promise the work is worth it! I ate paleo for about 5 months last year and I thought the almond milk tasted great.  Now that my stomach can handle dairy, I use the whole milk.  But either works. It depends on your preferences and needs.

    Also, you can cut out the brown sugar.  I usually do.  But if you’re in the mood for some extra sweetness go ahead and add the brown sugar. I usually just add another spoonful of maple syrup.  Maple syrup is my all around go-to for a natural sweetener; it has this warm creamy flavor that I absolutely love in hot drinks!  Overall, this recipe is very forgiving.  Don’t freak out if you don’t get the measurements just right.

    That’s it.  (Told you I wouldn’t be long!)

     

    CHAI TEA LATTE RECIPE

    CHAI TEA LATTE

    SERVES: 2

    Ingredients:

    2 Chai Tea Bags

    3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

    1/4 tsp all spice

    1 1/4 cup water

    1/4 tsp ginger

    1 1/2 cup whole milk

    1 tbs brown sugar

    2 tbs maple syrup

    whipped topping

    ground nutmeg

     

    Directions:

    1. Boil water on the stove top or use an Electric Kettle.  Then soak the chai tea bags in the water with the cinnamon, all spice and ginger.
    2. At the same time the water is boiling get a small saucepan. In the saucepan, combine the whole milk, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  Cook this until it’s heated through.  DO NOT BRING TO A BOIL!  You want it hot, but not boiling.
    3. Fill 2 large mugs half way with the milk mixture.  Fill the rest of the mugs with the tea mixture and stir. (Feel free to use less milk and more tea or vice versa!  It’s all about what you like.)
    4. Then put a generous mound of whip cream on top with a sprinkling of nutmeg.

     

    Now, go enjoy that wonderful latte while reading a good book!

     

  • Personal,  Photography

    Fireflies and Wonder

    His eyes light up. No words, but you can tell his heart is beating faster.

    You watch him hunch over, close to the ground.  He’s in his own little world. A perfect world where there is adventure and happy endings happen every day.

    Then you see him capture something in his hands.  He’s careful. In fact, you’ve never seen him move with the care he is showing now.  He turns toward you slowly. Again, you see the light in his eyes.

    Holding up his clasped hands, he says, “Look, I caught a firefly.”  His voice is barely above a whisper.  You smile at the awe and wonder in his eyes.

    You know this isn’t a perfect world, but you pray he’ll take his wonder with him everywhere he goes.  You pray they all do.

     

     

     

     

  • Personal,  Photography

    Fourth of July

    This Fourth of July, our friends from Alabama came to visit us.  We’re so thankful for them.  These are the times my kids will remember forever.  Good stuff, ya’ll. Good stuff. There’s nothing like hanging out with good friends.  Ya know?  Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July.

  • Personal

    That Time I Colored My Hair Blue

    I always wanted to color my hair a crazy color.  Something slightly subtle, but loud enough-you know what I mean?  I wanted something with personality. A couple weeks ago, I took the leap and dyed my hair a pretty icy aqua-ish blue.  I loved it!  But there were a few things I wish I had known before I went and took the plunge.  First, crazy pastel colors fade more noticeably that other “normal” hair colors.  Hair is different for every person, but my hair dresser said I should recolor my hair about every two weeks.   As a homeschool mom of 4, I am not up for that.  The up-keep was more than I had anticipated. Sadly, my icy blue hair slowly began to fade to a weird shade of green.  Green isn’t really my color, y’all.  I finally decided to dye my hair back to my original color.

    So before you decide to take the plunge and dye your hair in a pastel color, here are a few pointers:

    1. Understand the up-keep.
    2. Make sure you trim your ends before you dye your hair.  Split ends don’t hold the color very well.
    3. Think about the color that the original color will fade into. (Blue faded to green.)

    Would I dye my hair a pastel color again?  Yup.  But not blue.  I think I may try purple sometime.  But it’s not on my radar for now. For now, I’m going to look back at all the pictures that my daughter took of that time I colored my hair icy blue, and remember that I was brave enough to take the plunge.