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I'm so glad you have come across my little nook in the cyber world. Here I strive to be real and inspire. I talk about my walk in faith as a Christian, motherhood, the loss of my child, and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me for a minute and relax?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY-FOUR

It takes on average about twenty-one days for a habit to form. So, I want to congratulate you on making gratitude your way of life. By now, living with an attitude of gratitude should come much easier and I hope that you have found more creative ways to express gratitude outside of your journal. Let's not give up, but keep going. I encourage you to invite others to join you. Find yourself a gratitude buddy. This is someone who is interested in inviting more gratitude into their lives. Commitment with this person can help you and them stay on the path of gratitude.

Now is the time (if you haven't already) jump out of the journal and show your life of gratitude. Make yourself a commitment from this point forward to only show the joy you feel. Let's turn our social media into a boost of gratitude for others. Make it a point to share your blessings with your virtual friends every day. You could even find that gratitude buddy through this step.


Start each day with a post of what you're grateful for. You could invite others to join in by asking them what they are grateful for too. This starts your day filled with hope, joy, peace, and happiness. Make gratitude one of the first things you express because this will put the morning in a positive standing and it'll start your day on a good note without any negative thoughts. Remember waking up in the morning is a gift to you from the Lord. So make the most of it. 



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Attention Spouse

Over time and after we have kids, our appearances are the least of our concerns. Yes, guys, I'm talking to you too. So, let's look your best—dress to honor him/her and make him/her proud to be seen with you when you’re out together. Guys...take a quick shower, trim up the face, put on your nice clothes, and add some cologne. Ladies...shower, shave, fix your hair and make up, and wear those favorite jeans that your husband likes. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY-THREE

Everything in this life has one kind of label. If you're talking about food, it's a label identifying all the ingredients. If one is talking about a person. Unfortunately, we are labeled by a variety of things, such as the way we look, dress, and act. Humans are constantly putting labels on each other. We tend to wear labels just as food in the store does.

What is your label?

I've had a lot of labels throughout my life. Many were hurtful. I've been UGLY, POOR, UNWORTHY, and a DISAPPOINTMENT.

These labels were given to me when I was young and in my school days. Of course, I didn't know this then, but they do NOT define me. God defines me. He defines you.

The Lord has shown me that I am none of the above.

I am not UGLY....I am BEAUTIFUL, FLAWLESS.
Song of Solomon 4:7 says: "You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you."

I am not POOR. I am RICH.
Matthew 5:3 says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I am not UNWORTHY. I am WORTHY.
John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

I am not a DISAPPOINTMENT. I am FORGIVEN.
Romans 5:8 says: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
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Words hurt when used against another. This is why we must always be careful of what we say. It's important that we recognize how we use our words towards others. Not only do our words affect those who we are directing them at, but they also have an effect on us in Christ. 

What are the labels I believe now?
REDEEMED, LOVED, PURSUED, CHOSEN, FORGIVEN

I am a Woman of God
Redeemed by Jesus Christ
Love, Pursued, and Chosen
Equipped with Words of Life
Clothed in Strength and Dignity
Commissioned Here and Now
Gifted by the Spirit
Forgiven and Unbound.
~Blessed is she who Believed.~

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Today, I ask you what labels have you had given to you? What labels would you give yourself? Write them in your journal. Why would you give these labels to yourself? You are not anything other than what Christ has labeled you as. He is the ONLY one who matters. 

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Attention Couples

Write down 25 different reasons you're grateful for your spouse. Then, show your list to your spouse. Jot down their reaction so you can keep in mind their thoughts for future references.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY-TWO

I believe that there is no greater gift that you can give your Pastor and other spiritual leaders within your church than prayer. They can not win the battles alone. They need to be lifted up in prayer as they face the same challenges as you. They are human too. They face the many of the same challenges you do and even more than you at times.

They grow tired. They are faced with temptation. They may find it hard to balance their roles and responsibilities within life. One of the biggest things you could give them is support and encouragement.

Prayer for your Pastor is important for the well-being of the church, their families, and for them as an individual.

I would like to challenge you today to pray for your Pastor. Then, give them words of encouragement. Let them know just how much they actually do for you. Let them know how much you care for them, not only as a Pastor, but as a person. In your journal, write how the experience went. What did you include in your letter? How did your Pastor react?

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In my part to this challenge, I posted a HUGE thank you to my Pastor on his Facebook page.

Pastor Delas Stuzen, 


In the few years that I have known you, I can say that I am truly blessed to know you. Since you and your family have entered my life, my walk with Christ has strengthened into something I could have never even imagined. I truly believe that the church is blessed to have you as our Pastor. God knew what he was doing when he called you to be the Pastor at Noah's Ark A/G Church. I appreciate all the guidance and love you have shown to me and my family and for that I am grateful. 

You strive to teach the word of God while praising Him at the same time. You have impacted many people and have inspired so many. Thank you for all that you do. 


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ATTENTION SPOUSE

Pray for your spouse several times during the day. In the morning, pray for a blessed day filled with as little stress as possible. In the afternoon, pray for a filling lunch to nourish your spouse in any way needed. In the evening, thank the Lord for allowing you to have another day to show gratitude towards your spouse and for allowing you to love him/her for another day. Thank Him for allowing your spouse to make it home from work.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY-ONE

Life is full of it's up and downs. Stress seems to fill your life with every turn you make. At times, it seems as if everything in life is against you. The bills are stacking up and turn off notices are flooding your mailbox. Food seems to be running low. The kids are in need of stuff. The house is running out of the household items such as paper towels, toilet paper, and dish liquid. You're at your wits ends and feel like giving up.

Does this sound familiar?

I know it does to me. I've been there. As of a matter of fact, I'm there right now! As the troubles and pressures are stacking up, I feel as if I am drowning in life and have no idea what direction to go in. However, I know one thing. God is with me. He will NEVER leave me to handle all of this on my own. As much as I know this, I understand it can be hard. 
I know there seems to be a lot of talk throughout this book about attitude and the way you look at things. When it comes to gratitude, your attitude towards life and this journey is the main focus. We are training ourselves to think, speak, and even do differently. This all starts with your attitude.
Giving thanks when things are tough can be an extremely difficult thing to do. I believe that with a sour attitude, working towards a life full of gratitude will be hard. Expressing gratitude towards God in times of good and blessings is a start. I often found myself giving thanks in these times, but my attitude was sour towards other aspects within my life. Before my walk with Christ, I never thought to thank anyone for the good in life. After I lost my daughter, this all changed. I got closer to God and started thanking Him for not only the good blessings, but for the gifts I didn't think were a blessing.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, to be THANKFUL in ALL circumstances, not just our circumstances, for this is what God wants his followers to do.
At times, I do find it hard to thank God for everything, especially when good things happen to bad people or when I see someone else getting the gifts I had been praying for. Gratitude is the furthest thing from my mind in these circumstances. I find myself comparing my situations to the situations of others. This is the big one.... envy. When I see others getting the blessings I'm longing for, I tend to feel envy toward them. I question God's goodness and love. At times, I even wonder if He's even listening to me.
This type of attitude is wrong. I shouldn't be envious when I see another blessed. I should be happy for them and celebrating with them. The right attitude to have in gratitude has been shown to me through the gifts God has given me. Remember, the Lord wants us to have an attitude of thanksgiving towards others and their blessings. Regardless of how it makes us feel. As a follower of Christ, we should pray for the attitude of gratitude by giving thanks in every circumstance and we should celebrate with those around us when we see that God has blessed them, even if it's a blessing we long for.

So for today, we are doing to create a prayer list. Let's pray and give thanks to the Lord for the blessings we have witnessed others receive. Give thanks to ALL circumstances, both good and bad.

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ATTENTION SPOUSE
We have hit texts, snail mail, and letters of appreciation to your spouse. Let's take it one more step. Today, let's take advantage of how amazing technology is and text your spouse a sweet love note VIDEO. Include the kids in on the video. Give your spouse different views as to why they're appreciated and why you all are grateful for him/her. Then, text the video to your spouse. (This may need to be in several video's depending on your phone.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY

Behavior is one thing I believe we all need to work on. The way we represent ourselves is a representation of who we are in Christ. Our behavior helps others perceive us for who we are. One part within our behavior that some tend to bypass is our manners.

A big place where we use our manners (or where we could use them) is one of the most popular places to be in today's world....online.

We see behavior everywhere on the Internet. Blogs. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Emails. Chat rooms. But do you ever take into consideration how you're behaving online?

I tend to sit back and watch a lot of the time how people treat each other and most of the time it's sickening. We tell our youth today not to follow in the steps of being a bully, yet a great deal of the time adults are bullying each other, especially women. I'm sure you see it just as much as I see it. If you're unsure of what I'm talking about, head on over to Facebook and look up your local news stations page. Then, pick an article and read the comments. I bet there are people in these comments treating each other poorly.

As humans, our race is sad. We are mean and hateful to our own kind. I think we need to start with ourselves before the world can see any type of changes. I believe that if we start speaking nicely and with love, regardless of how others speak to you, the world would change. I'm not saying that you can't disagree, but when you do, it can be done with love.


Today's challenge (as well as your life challenge) is to speak love to others through kind, uplifting, and encouraging words. For the day, everyone you cross paths with, give them a kind message or uplifting word. Let's add a smile to someone's face. In your journal, write how it felt to give encouragement to another person and how it helped to brighten your day.

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ATTENTION SPOUSE


Communication is one of the key factors within any type of relationship. Be sure to express your thoughts to your spouse in an open, neutral way. We shouldn't allow friends or family to disrespect our life partners under any circumstances. Defend him/her in any situation. 

For today, write your spouse a letter/text telling him/her that you apologize for any situation where you may have defended a friend or family member over your spouse. Tell them why you should have made a better decision and promise to NEVER allow it to happen again. 

As a reminder, keep up with writing the letters to your spouse in the notebook. Once it's full, make sure to give it to them in a way they would least expect. The element of surprise is what we're aiming for. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY NINETEEN

The idea of being wrong isn't one that appeals to us. No one likes to be wrong. It's hard to admit when we are wrong. It's even harder to apologize for being wrong. As a matter of fact, I'm sure many people have grown up in lifestyles where hardly anyone apologized. I believe life would go a bit smoother for us if we were able to apologize and save time with us getting into meaningless arguments. In a way, isn't apologizing giving up the control of the situation? It's as if you're taking a step down in order to apologize.

As an example, my husband and I tend to be big headed most of the time. We hate to admit when we are wrong. I hate to admit it. That's a flaw I'm working on within me. I believe we could have avoided many of the pointless arguments we had in the past with a simple apology. 




For today's challenge, I am asking that you make a point to apologize first. Whenever you come across a situation where "I'm Sorry" will defuse it quickly, I'm asking you to take that first step. 



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ATTENTION SPOUSE

Let the kids eat in front of the TV one night and have a nice, adults-only dinner. Be sure the kids have everything they need before you sit down with your spouse. Over dinner, talk about why you're grateful for each other. Show your appreciation through your actions by dedicating the dinner to your spouse and give your spouse your undivided attention. That means leave the cell phones turned off until after dinner. Then, the both of you clean up the dinner mess. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY EIGHTEEN

Set our minds. Set our hearts.

When we focus on something, it tends to consume us. 

I'm sure there are things in life that we can come right off when asked for which we are grateful. When we dwell on the positive within life, we tend to easily see the good things coming at us. These things bring us joy and gratitude. When we dwell on the negative, we tend to see them more and focus more on the negative. 

It's impossible to show gratitude towards God if we don't take the time to focus on the good in life. How can we if we're focused on the bad and complaining about how or what is wrong with our lives? In order to start a life full of gratitude, we must first remember who's sending the blessings to begin with. 

I'm going to talk with you about the core principals within life that I believe are needed in order to live a life of gratitude. These have come to me by the way of live and the struggle to get to where I am. 

First (and most important), we need to put God in everything. We can not have a life of gratitude without Him. Therefore, we must put Him in everything we do. One way to remember Him and keep Him our center is to memorize His word. I personally started with verses of gratitude, then love, then faith, etc. A way that I found to be helpful in memorizing Bible verses was to place them around my home. I used index cards and wrote one verse on them at a time. To make it eye-catching, I decorated the index card with markers and bought the neon colored ones. This way, I was surrounded by His words everywhere within my home. When I walk by them, I'm sure to read them. After I'm able to say the verse by memory, I replace it with a new one. 

Second, learn to recognize the movement of God within your life. This is where a journal comes in handy. I also suggest keeping track of them by writing them down as they come. This can be in a notebook, journal, computer document, or even in your cell phone. I use my phone during the day to make notes of the blessings I encounter during the day. Then, when I sit down at night to study my Bible, I transfer these blessings into my journal of gifts. I'm sure to write as much as I can about each blessing. This way when things seem tough, I'm able to reflect back to the exact moment and it helps bring me back to a peaceful state.

Third, push fear and anxiety to the side because these are the complete opposite of gratitude. Normally, fear and anxiety lead to complaints, which leads to a negative attitude. If any type of negative feelings overcome you, put on your favorite worship song and sing with everything you have. If music isn't your thing, write or walk. Find something that comforts you and brings you peace so you can rebalance yourself and tackle whatever it was that brought you off track.

Fourth, DO NOT WORRY! The Bible even tells us this. Worry only steals our time where we could see a great blessing. Worry tends to blindfold us where we can't see the blessings coming our way. 

Five, Turn to prayer. This will be the best part of these principals because God loves when we take the time to talk with Him. We don't hesitate to call upon Him when things are going wrong in life, but do we stop to thank Him for the blessings, too?

For today, I'd like for you to start memorizing the verses of your choice. Then, create a prayer list. Include with this list those in your life who you think could use prayer. In your journal, write about the positive things going on in your life. 



ATTENTION SPOUSE

I'm challenging you to go for a walk together. ALONE. Find a sitter for about an hour to watch the kids. While you're out, ask each other intriguing questions that will have you both thinking. While you're out, leave the phones in your pockets and give yourself to your spouse for the entire walk.