Re-Defined: Finding Time

“Hey let’s get together soon!”
”Yeah, let’s do that.  I will find some time this week.”

I will clean the house when I find some time.  I will ___ (fill in the blank) when I find some time.

Ever had some sort of situation like that.  Is finding time is much like weight loss?  We hope to lose weight.  We try to lose weight but really without a plan we will never lose much weight. Finding time, like weight loss, doesn’t happen by accident.

There is no such thing is finding time.

find-time-make-time

Hope I didn’t burst your bubble.  Mine was burst this morning when a dear friend in Christ passed away.  I had spent the past four weeks trying to “find time” to go visit her.  She was on hospice, which of course means she didn’t have much time left.  How could I not MAKE TIME for such a dear woman?  Now she is gone and I wont see her until I am gone. I feel sad and frustrated with myself about this. Sad smile

We must make time for what really matters to us.  What if that had been my grandmother?  I am always trying to find time to call or write her. She doesn’t email much so I have to write her real letters to get to her; so of course I have to find time to do that.  What is wrong with me that I cannot grasp the concept of making time for these important things?

maketime2

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?

I wont blame anyone else for my issue.  I look for time all over the place but never find “extra time.”  Time is like money, when you have more it is rarely “extra.”  So I will stop right now.  When a friend says “let’s get together,” I will say “when?” instead of “soon” or the terribly untrue phrase about finding time.  When something comes up that matters to me I will stop putting it off and make time for it – put it on my calendar right then.

…Of course this means I have to use my calendar.

Do you have this problem?  Will you commit to stop trying to find extra time that rarely comes around and just start making time for what really matters to you?

recycletime

So lets get to it!  Start making time for what matters!

 

Ephesians 5:15-17

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because these days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

~Supera Matris

 

Faith vs. Trust: Are they the same?

I thought I had faith in God. I thought I believed in his ability and his desire to help me. Psalms 91:14 says, “Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This verse says many promises. God promises to: 1) rescue me, 2) protect me because I acknowledge His name, 3) answer me when I call upon Him, 4) be with me in trouble, 5) deliver me from trouble, 6) honor me, 7) satisfy me with long life, 8) show me His salvation. That is a lot of promises! Yet sometimes I find myself disbelieving in Gods follow through.

It is not that I do not believe He is capable. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20) I know in my heart that God is capable of so much more than I could ever need or want. So why do I not trust Him?

Trust is defined as: 1) reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of a person or thing; confidence, 2) confident expectation of something; hope

Faith is defined as: belief that is not based on proof. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and the certainty of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

So are they really the same thing? It would appear they are. To me, faith is not the absence of fear, but the courage to press on during hardships and still believe in God and His providence. It is believing that God will work things out. But if you believe someone will do something doesn’t that mean you also trust they will follow through?

So all my prayers for faith have yielded many trials: Two deaths in the family, A huge move from a haven I loved and enjoyed to a place I would never have thought to call home, A complete mental breakdown and the repercussions thereof, The rebuilding of my life since then, The consistent and ever-presence of Satan in my mind and in my life (yes I have rebuked the Devil; he still prevails). All these things have continually built my faith stronger and stronger. But still I lack the trust that God will truly follow through on all those promises listed above.

Will he really rescue me when I call for Him? Has he rescued me from Satan’s snare? Will he truly be with me during my troubles and protect me from trouble? I must say that I don’t trust that he will when I look at my most recent past. Trouble has followed me everywhere I go.

I feel alone and afraid. I feel deserted by God. Where is He? If He promises to rescue me then where is He? If he promises to protect me then why does Satan persist? Why do I continue to undergo trials and struggles?

The answer lies in my request: faith. As I said in a recent post: faith is not given freely, it is built through trials. I also cited a great verse in Corinthians that talked about how we are often put through trials not only so that we can feel the comfort and love of God but so that we may also show the comfort and love of God to others. So perhaps, just maybe, my trails exist to help someone.

I have recently taken up writing in hopes of publishing some books. One book I am writing talks about my struggles in life and how I have dealt with them. Many of my trials are not know by most of the people who know me, except those closest to me. My life has not been easy by any means. It has been one trial after another. But one theme has remained: God.

As I look back at my past I see His hand in every situation. One situation that I would like to share is a car accident I had when I was 17. At the time I was very uncertain as to why it had happened to me. It was a traumatic experience for me at such a young age. I was nearly killed because I ran into a telephone pole going quite fast; I never hit the brakes to even slow down because I was in shock.

Now, more than 10 years later, I fully understand the purpose of that accident. At the time, before my accident, my sister and I were at odds with each other. I didn’t like her much and she didn’t care for me either. We had so little in common and failed to even try to have a relationship.

When I was discharged from the hospital it was my sister who picked me up. I was starving after having been on a liquid only diet for several days. We got a roast beef sandwich in the cafeteria. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that flourished into a friendship I will forever cherish.

My sister died on October 30th several years ago. Were it not for that car accident I feel certain that we would have never overcome our differences and become such close friends. Sure we still had those differences, but we agreed to disagree and moved on, building a relationship around what we did have in common. I praise God for that car accident.

I have many such stories in my life. Times in which I suffered but now see the purpose, or at least know there was a purpose. So why do I still struggle with trust and faith in God? Perhaps it is because these trials never end. But that is part of the human life. Some might say God is cruel because He puts us through so many trials and struggles. But do non-Christians live lives of luxury and have no struggles or trials. Look at the news. Many people who are famous and do not profess to be Christians struggle every day with trials: drug overdoses and divorce to name a few.

So it is not God who is cruel. It is the choice Adam and Eve made many, many years ago. Life: a beautiful life with God by our side, walking with us in a Heavenly garden, or Death: physical death, physical and psychological pain and strife. They chose death, knowingly or not.

So we suffer. I suffer. It is a fact of life. One I must accept before I can truly trust and have faith in God. Do you accept the reality of the struggles of life and have faith in God, trusting He will follow through on his many promises to us? I am working on it daily.

I want more Faith in God.

I have often prayed something along the lines of “God make me have more faith in you and your plan for me.”  However, I realized today that praying for faith is like praying for patience.  How do you get patience? By experiencing things that are difficult and thereby forcing you to have patience with the situation.  I am certain many of you have experienced this one time or another.

Many of you know that I have been through a lot of trials lately.  I had a nervous breakdown in June and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. (Yeah maybe I share too much… Oh well.) Smile with tongue out   Presten was out of work for nearly 6 months.  Then he found an awesome job!!  The pay was great, the atmosphere was serene and he felt confident.  I don’t know what happened – why the *ahem* woman fired him – but she did. Oh and about two weeks before Christmas, too. Such a nice woman. Grr…  (Forgiveness still pending.)  In addition to all that, my health has been a roller coaster.  One day I feel great and happy, the next I feel distraught and paranoid.  Yes, my friend who loves me, I AM on medication, and have a great doctor who manages my meds.  He says it is all “normal” for me.  Yeah, like me and normal are friends at all!!  Riiiight…

So anyway… Through all this I have prayed “God grant me faith in you.” and “God give me peace.”  But today I realized he is teaching me faith and granting me peace through experience.  See I believe that is how God works.  Everything is lesson.  Pray for patience – get TAUGHT patience.  Pray for peace, faith, love, joy… really almost anything and he teaches it to you through your experiences.  Perhaps some of you knew this already but it’s a revelation to me.

So is this a good thing?  Is this method mean, unkind or uncaring?  Why does He not just GIVE us these skills.  Why when we pray are we not surrounded by a sense of peace, or just given that patience we need??  Now I am not saying this never happens.  I mean there have been times I have prayed specifically for peace and God has just covered me with a blanket of peace.  There have also been times I have been prayerfully working on surrendering to Him and he grants me peace about my choice to relinquish my control.  There are moments for me when God just covers me with whatever I am requesting.  But for me (maybe not everyone) those are just moments.  Then the moment passes and the feeling fades and I am left with whatever I already had within myself.

But when I am taught a trait (patience, peace, faith, love, joy… any fruit of the spirit) that lesson sticks with me.  And no this is not like a school lesson from elementary school.  One that fades with time.  No.  This is eternal.  Once my level of patience reaches a level through experience it stays there forever, or increases but never diminishes.

So back to the questions then…  Why does God do it this way? See previous paragraph.  Because it sticks with us.

Why doesn’t God just give us these traits?  Because I think its not the same.  What do I mean… well how interesting that I happen to be listening to the song “Stronger” by Mandisa.  The message of this song is that hardships will make you stronger.  How true this is.  When we come out the other side of a struggle we are stronger.  However if we were given these traits perhaps we wouldn’t be as strong as when we earn them.  Now I do know that some of us are created with certain gifts.  Some of us can love anyone where they are at and do not struggle with this.  Some people have an amazing enduring patience with everything.  Some people are just peaceful about life – living without worry or anxiety.  I personally have the gift of compassion and encouragement.  I love to encourage others. I’ll stop at that or I will sound like I am bragging or something… We each have gifts but there are some things we don’t have.

So one might bring up the story in the Bible of the men with the talents (which was a sum of money). [This is in Matthew 25:14-30] At the end it says that those who take care of what they have will be given more and those who do not will have theirs taken away.  The talents were given to them without merit (or lesson).  This is talking about money and not the same at all.

Lets look at one of my favorite verses about hardships.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

So the word “comfort” is used in there A LOT!  But the gist of it is that we go through trials so that we can be comforted and then later comfort others.  So our struggles, hardships and trials are not just for us – not just to teach us some lesson – but also for others in the future.  Have you ever been able to say “yeah I’ve been there”?  What is more is have the words “I’ve been there” ever comforted you?

When I lived in Oregon my daughter Wren was struggling with temper tantrums.  She would hit, kick, throw things, yell and scream and just be a terror. I had no clue what to do.  What I really felt I needed was for someone to say, “honey I have been there and this will pass. It will be okay.”  What happened when I shared it with most people, asking for prayers, was they laughed at me and said, “yeah she will get over it”.  It was mainly the laughing that hurt.  Wrens full name is Serenity Elizabeth Joy, however she was in no means serene or joyful during that time of her life so I am guessing that is why they laughed at me. Any way… There was one woman – Nona Skinner – who smiled at me, hugged me and said “honey, I have been there!”  She proceeded to tell me the story of one of her children who was as difficult as mine. She said, “This too will pass.  She will get better.” and then gave me advice of how to deal with her.  Every time I saw Nona she would hug me and remind me that it will get better.  She became such a comfort in my life.  Why?  Because she had been there, survived and had love and comfort to give.

SO in conclusion:  God often teaches us traits (such as the fruits of the spirit) through trials and situations that give us experience.  Why do I personally believe he does this?  To make us stronger and so that we can feel his love and comfort and generously give out his love and comfort to others as we see need.  This method of teaching rather than gifting is a good method because it sticks with us eternally, with increasing knowledge.

So if you are struggling in one way or another know that it will get better.  You will come out on the other side stronger and some day you will be able to comfort others because of your experience. Experience makes us stronger and wiser.  Oh and praying for wisdom is the same as praying for patience, too! haha… I could tell you stories about that, too.

Hope this wasn’t too long.  Thanks for the read.

Lots of Love
Super Mama Maggie

If you are a first time reader please read my bio so you will know why I am so very super. Open-mouthed smile

Life Style Changes to Create Long-term Health

Breakfast
Many have heard that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is true.  Not only does it jump start my metabolism, but it also sets the stage for healthy blood sugar levels all day – as long as sugary breakfast foods are avoided of course!

Exercise Regularly
There are two forms of exercise.  Generally people think of the first form: scheduled work out sessions on a regular basis (either anaerobic or aerobic exercise).  While it is important to work up to frequently scheduled workout sessions, there is another important form of exercise: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT.  NEAT is made up of all the movements your body makes outside of planned exercise.  This is movements such as walking, talking, toe tapping, guitar playing, dancing, singing, shopping, gum chewing, fidgeting and pretty much any movement not specifically intended to improve fitness.  One way to add exercise to our lives without jumping into the gym is by increasing our NEAT points. 
There are many easy ways to do this.

  • Have an elevator you frequent?  Try taking the stairs instead, at least for floor or two.
  • Usually look for the perfect parking spot right near the front door?  Park farther away from the entrance and work towards parking “way out there”.
  • Do you have a seated job? Perhaps stand up occasionally to work, or pace your work space while you work.  A good headset can enable you to move while you talk on the phone.
  • Think of some other ways you could improve your daily movement and prevent your day from being most sedentary.  A lack of movement is a perfect environment for obesity!

Consider if you have weight to lose and work specifically on weight loss before beginning a rigorous exercise plan.

Support
Research shows that people who begin a weight loss plan without support are more likely to either quit their weight loss program or regain the weight quickly.  Have you ever tried to start walking consistently and found yourself forgetting or lacking motivation?  Perhaps you then asked a friend to be your walking partner, asking them to remind and encourage you to walk and you would do the same for them. It is likely you then found it much easier to walk consistently.  This is precisely what I am referring to.  Without support it is difficult for most people to stick with a weight loss plan and even more importantly avoid regaining weight.  It is vital to have friends and family who actively support your health goals.  If you find yourself frustrated by a particular friend or family member who is unsupportive, address the issue with them and explain your plan and purpose for your health changes.  Most of the time our friends and family love us and just want what is best for us and discussing it will solve the support issue.

Find at least one partner who you tag as your support buddy and fully explain your intentions, reasons and plans with them and ask them to hold you accountable.  Knowing that someone is going to ask, “are you making wise choices” can make a big difference in the choices you make.

Low-fat snacks every three hours
It is common for Americans to eat three large meals a day, likely far apart from each other and filled with over-sized portions and unhealthy foods.  I found that, before my health changes, not only was I overeating but I was also making very poor choices on a regular basis.  So overeating unhealthy foods!

Change not only what you eat, but also how much and how often.  Research shows that eating several smaller “meals” a day is much healthier.  Make certain these meals include healthy choices such as carrot sticks, celery, or yogurt.  I have many healthy snack ideas if you are interested.

It is best to eat 2 1/2 to three hours apart.  This sounds like a lot but consider that most of these “meals” are more like snacks rather than a huge meal you cook.  It is still important to consume three larger meals a day but not the traditional definition of large.

Individual Plan
It is important to formulate your health goals around your activities and life-style.  Get a notebook and every evening jot down what you did that day.  Do this every day for at least a week and then look back at where you had dead spaces – gaps of time you were doing little or nothing – or wasted time, time where you did something that could be replaced with something more constructive.  A “soccer mom” for example who is very busy would use this to determine when she can fit in an exercise plan.

Take the same or a different note book and keep track of every morsel of food you put in your mouth for at least a week.  Some people are heavy snackers.  A cookie here and a handful of chips there adds up to a heaping dose of bad calories and eventually an unhealthy, overweight body.  Keeping a food journal will help you determine the poor health habits you need to eliminate.

Monitor
It is essential to monitor  your weight and health to insure you are on a path to long-term health.  Without looking at the signs on the road how can you be certain you are still going the correct direction?

Set up a regular schedule for weighing a measuring your body.  Women tend to fluctuate more in inches rather than pounds and it is important to keep track of that fluctuation.

A good pair of “skinny jeans” is a great way to tell if you are gaining or losing weight.  Notice how tight or loose your clothes are.  If you find your clothes getting too tight perhaps you need to check the other areas I’ve mentioned to determine why your clothes are tight, rather than replacing your clothes! 😀

In Conclusion
It is extremely important to live a life conscious of my health.  Ignore it and it will go away!  Changing things in these areas is certain to improve your health!

All information taken from Dr. A’s Habits of Health by Dr. Wayne Andersen

Being healthy IS NOT a number game.

Being healthy does not require your scale to have a certain number on it.  Otherwise it could be said that if all males were 185 lbs and all females were 135 lbs they are perfectly healthy.  HEALTH has little to do with your weight.  It does, however, somewhat have to do with how much fat you have verses how much muscle mass you have.  Your weight is merely a guideline of how much fat you do or do not have. 

But once you are the “proper weight” and have the best possible muscles to fat ratio are you then healthy? Possibly not.  Being healthy is not just about how much fat you have, either.  I have known unhealthy lean people who you might look at and say they don’t have a pound to loose and you would, in fact, be correct.  This is because your health is much like many other things in life: it is a complete compilation of many factors. 

The factors that most strongly affect your health include:

  • How much water you drink (that is WATER, not liquid!)
  • How much and how often you move your body (not just exercise but literally MOVE IT!)
  • What foods you eat on a regular basis and the amount of NUTRITION therein (Let’s face it; it is not healthy to eat chocolate cake and drink soda for every meal every day!)
  • How much rest you get on a regular basis (Nope. Those 4 hours of sleep were NOT enough!)
  • The quality of air you breathe
  • The quality of your thought processes

Now that last one may have you going “huh”!?  Haven’t you ever known someone who was negative and they pulled you down?  When I worked at Wal-mart there was this lady who was always in a funk.  No matter how happy I was when I went to work she would inevitably bring me down.  Try as I may to remain positive, her negative attitude was no good for me and frequently got the best of me in the end.  Your thoughts are no different.  If your thoughts are negative – focusing on the glass being half-empty instead of half-full, for example – then they will inevitably bring you down.  God says it better in Philippians 4:4-9 (my personal favorite verse):

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

So according to that if we let our anxiety go, give it to God in prayer and think happy thoughts then we will have peace.

So my whole scatter-brained point is this: Health cannot be judged by the number on the scale or how lean your body may appear to be.  We must work on our whole-body health – mind included – before we can honestly claim to be completely healthy.

May God bless your health endeavors.  Let me know if I can help! Smile

X ❤ X

Super Mom

The Ultimate Friend

Ever vent to a friend? Ever have them complain you vent to much? Not GOD! He doesn’t mind us venting to Him whenever, where ever and however often. He wants us to focus on the good things in our life and Philippians 4:4-9 tells us how – to not feel anxious but instead tell him our troubles and ask for a resolution then believe he will take care of it and LET IT GO.  Then think of all the positive things in life!

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I know, it is much easier said than done.  We have all been in a situation where someone wronged us and did not know or perhaps did not care and it really hurt.  What do we do with that? Sometimes we bottle it up and just feel upset forever; even the mention of their name makes us relive all those emotions of the painful situation.  But God calls us to be people of forgiveness.  He charges us to forgive as he has forgiven us.  What has God forgiven you of? We have all sinned and have much to be forgiven for; so extend forgiveness as you were forgiven.

Of course letting the feelings go, even after telling yourself you forgive them, can be difficult.  I find the best solution is to focus on the good of the situation.  What did you learn?  How did your relationship with God grow because of the difficult situation?  How have you become wiser or stronger?  And it also helps to think of the good within the person or people involved.  Though it can be tough sometimes to find the good in someone, there is good in everyone’s heart somewhere (I believe) and you just have to find it.  Focus on that good.

Most importantly always remember in every situation – both good and bad – to turn to God.  God wants to hear our joys and appreciates a simple thank you.  He also wants us to share our struggles with him.  Hey, he already knows your sins even before you commit them! So why not talk to him about those too!

He is the greatest friend you could ever hope for.  Not just because He is a good listener but also because more than any other friend God actually has the POWER to DO SOMETHING about your struggle! Smile  Just because he does not instantaneously remove our pain when we tell him about it does not mean he is not present and working in our life.  His mighty hand is there and he is working the situation our for ultimate good.

May you feel the blessings of the Lord in your life today!

xox
Maggie

A New Beginning

This past weekend I spent several hours listening to Dr. Andersen, creator of Take Shape for Life (TSFL).  He is such an enthusiast for health! He said many great, motivational things and I have been churning them over in my mind.

One thing he discussed was the Law of Action vs. the Law of Transcendence.  The Law of Action states that you are where you are and who you are because of your past choices and actions.  Whereas the Law of Transcendence says that Anything and Everything can change at ANY time!  How inspiring!

99% of those who read this will be over the age of 25.  Once you are past a certain age you can no longer blame your tough situation on your parents, grandparents, friends, colleges, your boss or any other adult around you or in your past.  You are who you made yourself at this point.  Sure, circumstances happen beyond our control; however we are always in control of how we react to these circumstances.

So I am beginning again.  I have spent so much time blaming my life on my parents, my circumstance, my husbands job, my lack of “free time”.  I am so done with blame.  I put all my sour feelings and disappointments in a proverbial box and shoved it in the back of that closet – you know, the one that NEVER gets cleaned – and I am never opening it again.  Instead I choose a better life and will focus on not where I was, am, or how bad it makes me feel but instead on who and where I want to be.  I am seizing my dreams and giving my life all I’ve got.

We have one chance at the life and I don’t want to screw my chance up!  There is this great song by Switchfoot that says, “This is your life.  Are you who you want to be??”  NO!  I am not!  So what am I gonna do about that? Whine?  Cry?  Pout?  Sit in a pool of depression and invite all my friends to my pity party?? NO!  Y’all don’t wanna come to a pity party!  You want to join me in CELEBRATION!?  Which one is more fun?  A funeral with sorrow and tears?  Or a PARTY with music, laughter, dancing and joy!?  I choose the second choice.  My funeral will come when God chooses but until then I choose to live a life worth celebrating!

This is YOUR life.  Are YOU who YOU want to be??

*Love and HUGS*
Maggie

Hey! How’s that diet going??

So I have now been on this meal plan/diet for almost 2 months.  I expected that by now I would be at my target weight; however I am not.  I am not working toward a weight as much as I am working toward health.  Really I am working on myself until my thighs, upper arms, and abs are so toned that they have more muscle than fat.  I realize that this transition may make me weigh more because muscle weighs more than fat.

So I am trying my best to eat what I should, when I should and have now begun to exercise.  I love to exercise!!  I am really looking forward to exercising at nap time today!! 😀

So far I have lost 30 lbs and have not lost any more weight in 2 weeks but I have lost inches here and there.  I am down a couple pant sizes and I have finally lost most of my “mommy belly”.  I am thrilled.  I haven’t dug out my “skinny clothes” yet because I want to wait until I know I will fit into some of them.  How depressing to work on this diet and then not yet fit; so I am just being patient.

Keep me in your prayers.  This has been a rough trip but already my body is much healthier than it was.  At my last check-up the doctor said my gallbladder is doing great and so is my liver.  Very good!  I feel much better most of the time.  I would feel even better if I could make myself go to bed earlier.  I am just addicted to the quiet house after the kids go to bed.

I would recommend this meal plan to almost anyone.  It has been very good for me.

Thanks for the encouragement.  Now its time for me to go exercise!! 😀 YAY! 🙂

x ❤ x

Are you a flowing River or a Stagnant Puddle?

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV) says:

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

In essence, we should give God a portion of our wealth (from the “firstfruits”).

Then in Luke 6:38 Jesus says:

“Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lapFor with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

(Note that while this section (Luke 6:37-42) is discussing “judging”, verse 38 is clearly discussing giving.  In other words, give instead of always judging.  Have an attitude of “what can I do for you” rather than “what is wrong with you”.  I take these two being put together (that is judging and giving) to mean that if we are to look at others and see their need we should try to fill it with our giving, rather than pointing at them and scoffing.)

By putting those two together (Proverbs and Jesus’ words) we can see that we should be giving to God and the measure we use to give to God will be used also for Him giving to us.

I would like to reveal to you that me and Presten have not been giving any money to God for a while.  There is simply no room in our current budget for tithing.  Of course I am sure some of you are thinking “then make a new budget” and you would be right, but it is never that simple, is it?  In order to make room for God other things must be cut.  And there are things that could be cut like, for example, our internet connection, or our car payment.  If we could cut out our car payment then we could afford to give God the usual 10% that we would like to give.

It makes me wonder, though, if perhaps the reason we have so little money is because we give God so little money.  Our “reason” is “there simply isn’t enough room to give God money", we have other priorities” so I am sure God is using that same measure, “I apologize, Witherspoon Family, but there simply is no money for you right now; I have other priorities like, for example, feeding the hungry.”

While I do not advocate giving to receive, one must wonder why they are not receiving. 

20Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

So the problem here is obviously not that God does not have the means to give us more.  The problem is quite obviously that we are not giving to God so He is not giving to us.  As I said, I do not intend to give so that God will give to me.  But if I love the Lord as much as I do then why would I not offer Him a gift back to say, “thank you and I love you”? 

Consider this: there are two holidays (the origin of which I have no idea) that are of particular interest to parents – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  The purpose of these days (aside from boosting greeting card sales etc) is to give back a bit of gratitude to our Mothers and Fathers for all that they give us.  Our parents spend their entire lives caring for us (if you think they only spend 18 years then clearly you have no parents or no kids!) why wouldn’t we want to give back to them more than just these two days?  Someone once postulated that it costs more than $1,000,000 to raise one child.  So how much, then, should we monetarily repay our own parents for such a financial undertaking?

If, then, we dedicate so much love and repayment to our own biological, earthly parents, why would we not desire to repay our Heavenly Father so much more? He not only provided us with those parents, but also with the job we have, the spouse we have, the children we have, and any other good thing that has come into our life.  If you question whether a blessing is from God or not perhaps you need to read your Bible more, starting with James chapter 1!

I speak to myself here, folks!! I do not have a monetary job so I cannot give more than my own time, but I do help with the budget.  I know the need to give to God is there.  However, is it not easy to tell ourselves why we cant give to God during this economic crisis?

A good preacher once delivered a very good sermon: “We are a river, not a reservoir”.  It was about how money should flow through us, not to us and stop.  God blesses us with things and money and we should then give back to God and to others, and the cycle will continue.  But if we do not give then we will not receive.  Do you know what happens to a body of water that does not move?  My parents have a creek down at the bottom of the hill behind their house.  The creek has many twists and turns and when it rains the overflow of water will fill up the creek more than usual.  As the water flows and the rains stop puddles are left on the sides of the creek.  They are too far from the creek for the water to flow through them.  So as the day gets hotter they begin to get stagnate and stink!  Eventually they dry up and are gone until it rains again.

Are we like this sometimes?  God pours out so much blessing on us that we move father from Him (the creek and source of the water) and are on our own.  He stops blessing us because we have moved from Him and we begin to, well, stink!!  It is only when we draw near to Him that His blessings can again flow through us and make us alive again.  We should not hoard.  We should not worry about if the money will “run out”.  (Read Matthew 6:25-34)  God always provides us with what we need, and often what we want, as long as we are “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33).

Keep your eyes focused on Him and allow things to flow through you.  Bless others with the blessings He has given you.  Meanwhile, I am going to work to fix our budget.

How’s your budget??

xox

Day 7: WOW!

So that burst of energy I was hoping for finally came!!  I spent most of the day cleaning while my kids played near by.  I deep-cleaned their bedroom, cleaned my kitchen, cleaned the living room and almost finished all the laundry.  Its amazing how much laundry piles up when you don’t do it for a week.

Today for the first time in longer than I would like to admit I enjoyed being a stay at home mom.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the idea of it all the time.  But imagine being me with no energy, constant grumpiness and tense nerves, and feeling half asleep all the time.  Would you enjoy staying home with two kids who have 10x the energy of you and feeling like ripping out your hair because your nerves are shot?  Me neither.  But today this wasn’t the case.  I felt calm, at ease, energetic and more than ready and willing to face my day and clean, clean, clean.  I love to clean.  I love to organize.  And I love my kids, no matter how bad I feel.  But today I enjoyed my kids.  Not only did I clean but we played and danced and we they didn’t watch one single movie until just before bed. We got a new DVD from Netflix and so we sat down and watched “Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson’s Hairbrush!” and they ate popcorn while I munched Nacho Cheese puffs (from Medifast, of course). Dear, God, make this a normal day for me from now on.

I sure hope this is the beginning of a very nice life full of energy, wellness and sanity.  The only thing is tonight my chest feels tight and I am having asthmatic symptoms.  My nose is stuff, too, and the combo makes me think I’m just reacting to the dust I stirred up cleaning today.  I was trilled to get so much done and enjoy the day with my kids!  Thank you so much, God.

This diet isn’t perfect, just as no diet is, but I do believe it is the best I have heard of or read about.  I started this diet so addicted to sugar that I literally could not go more than a few hours without having sugar.  My list of negative symptoms included everything from frequent headaches, to grumpiness and constant exhaustion with insomnia to boot!  The list was incredibly long and it seemed there was no way I would ever feel good again!  I tried so many things, and several diets.  I considered myself a somewhat healthy eater and tried my best to be my best but that’s the thing about health – you can push through feeling bad but you cant snap your fingers and feel better or get better.  This diet is hard work.  Its so hard to make myself NOT eat the chocolate chips in my cupboard or the (air pop) popcorn I pop for my kiddos occasionally.  But I FORCE myself to behave because of my greater goal.  With this diet – and most other meal changes – you cannot just do it sometimes.  You have to commit to it and stick with it completely, never straying from the plan to “cheat” or take a “vacation” from the plan.  You have to do it all the time or not at all or you will not receive the results and certainly not as fast and therefore you will get bogged down and depressed and probably quit.  So I am committed, despite the call of sugar from my cupboard and my kiddos begging for me to bake cookies like I used to.  I am committed because I love them, I love me and I love my life and want to enjoy it not survive it.  Are you enjoying your life?

xox