Unity

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭7:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Someday, when we get to heaven there will be people of every tongue, every race, every nation worshipping the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. God created us, He knit us together in our mothers’ womb. He is infinitely creative, making us unique and beautiful in our own ways.

Yet here we are, divided. Every time I turn on the news there is another story of hate. This is breaking my heart. I believe God wants reconciliation. He doesn’t want us to hate each other for any reason. I believe the Lord wants to see healing happen in our country and our world.

I believe this needs to start with the church. We need to repent, we need to forgive and we need to love people. I believe there is a healing that needs to happen in people’s hearts and minds. I sincerely believe as we seek the Lord on this issue, He will be found. He will bring healing. It doesn’t matter the race, religion, or sin issues (we all have sin issues folks, the Bible says all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Me included)! Remember, Jesus had meals with tax gatherers and sinners.

Let us be a light to this world and show people love and kindness.

Lord, please help me show Your love to the people in my path today.

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Jumping When God Says Too

It has been a long time since I have written on my blog! My family and I have experienced a sudden, unexpected change in direction in life about a year and a half ago. It has kept us very busy adjusting ever since.

Several years ago, my husband started to feel like the Lord was speaking to him about being a nurse. When you have two kids, working full time and one income, that is really hard to do. We kept trying to figure it out but it was put on the back burner for years.

In November 2015, I felt like the Lord started putting on my heart that we needed to move so my husband can go to nursing school. I told the Lord, He was crazy but God was persistent. Right before Christmas I told my husband what God was putting on my heart, fully expecting him to tell me I was nuts. He got in the shower, and came out ten minutes later and laid out the rough draft of a plan. I would need to get a full time job. We would need to sell our house, find a home to rent in Phoenix, this would likely take months. Grandma could watch the kiddos to help out (thus the need to move, we needed family). Within one week I found a job in social work paying me the 40k I needed. Serious miracle right there as I don’t have a Masters. We found a home and moved within a week and a half. Our house sold one month later.

God said to jump so we jumped. The last year and a half has been a crazy, wild ride. My husband has his CNA now and is on the waiting list to begin the RN program. I am working full time in foster care, which is an area that has always been my passion. My kids are going to a great school, enjoying making friends.

I found out later from my husband that he knew instantly that what God laid on my heart was from God because the day before a homeless man walked into his mattress store he was working at. My husband gave the man food and water. The man then told my husband he was not homeless at all. The man was a pastor of a homeless church and walked into the store because God had given him a prophetic word. The man then went on to tell my husband God wanted him to move on and pursue the call God has for him.

When I look back on this I am still amazed at the way God stopped us in our tracks and moved so quickly to get us where He wanted to be.

Vitamin C Power Smoothie

I love making up smoothie recipes.  I often make them up with whatever happens to be on hand in my house.  I woke up with a little bit of a sore throat this morning, so it is time to come up with something to fight off sickness.

Here is what I came up with this morning.  It is loaded with Vitamin C and even better, it is really delicious!

1/2 cup kale

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

4 strawberries

1 banana

1 orange

1/4 cup of vanilla flavored greek yogurt

1/2 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon of ground flax seed

a few ice cubes

Blend well and enjoy.

Are You In Need of Wisdom?

Are you in need of Wisdom?  It doesn’t matter what area of your life that you are in need of wisdom…it could be really in any area of your life.  For me, I have really needed wisdom in regards to how to help my son in one area in his life.  He has really struggled substantially with feeling mad about everything that didn’t go his way.  I’m not sharing this to get judged on my parenting skills.  Let me tell you, I am the first to admit that I am not the perfect parent.  This area of his life has been troubling to me.  I have so wanted to help him.  Telling a four year old that he shouldn’t be mad so much does absolutely no good (in fact when I have heard myself say that or something like that I usually feel like an idiot but out of desperation I say something along that line anyway).  I’ve really started praying and asking the Lord for wisdom as to how to help him.

The Bible says that whenever you need wisdom to ask God.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6 NLT

According to the Bible, if you need wisdom and do not waver in your faith in God, He will give you wisdom generously!  It does not say he just gives you a tiny drop.  How awesome is it to know that God gives you wisdom generously.

Tonight as I was sitting in church, God really answered my prayer.  My heart cry has been God how do I help my son be happy and not upset all the time (when I say all the time, I really mean it).  I felt like God pinpointed an issue for me to help teach my son.  I felt like the Lord showed me that I need to teach my son to cultivate a thankful heart even when things aren’t going his way.  There is a lot of truth in this.  The start of having joy in your heart is being thankful.  Sometimes, when you really aren’t thankful you have to go back to the most basic things you can think of to be thankful for and work from there.

Let me tell you, it did not take long for me to put this new gem of wisdom into practice for my little guy.  We got in to the car and within a few seconds my son was mad at my daughter because she made a noise or something.  Really she doesn’t have to do much to make him mad.

Here it is, my open door…I asked my kids this question, “Hey guys what do you think the Bible says about how to have a happy heart even when you are maybe having a bad day?”

My son said, “I AM NEVER HAVING A HAPPY HEART AGAIN!”  At the moment, everything for him is going to last forever.

I said, “Boy buddy, that is a bummer. I don’t think that is what Jesus wants for you.”

My daughter said, “I think the Bible says to spend time with God to have a happy heart.”

I told her that she was right and it also says that Jesus wants us to be thankful.  I asked my son if he could think of one thing he was thankful for and he of course said, “I’m never going to be thankful again!”  Back to everything being forever…

I asked my daughter, “What is one thing you can think of that you are thankful for?”

She said, “I’m thankful for my new mermaid doll.”

I told her that is a great thing to be thankful for and told the kids that I am thankful for being their mommy because I think they are great.

We continued this activity for the rest of the car ride.  We started out taking turns naming something we were thankful.  Eventually my daughter was upset because my son wouldn’t stop naming all the things he had to be thankful for.  I reminded her that it is a good thing that he is so thankful and then helped her squeeze in why she was thankful.  When we got home, I asked him “How is your heart feeling son?”

He said, “Mommy I have a happy heart!”

Tonight, I am very thankful that God gave me wisdom as to how to help my son find reasons to have a happy heart.  Please know that I get that anger is a valid emotion but there is a point when it is ruling things and making you just flat out unhappy.  Unfortunately, that has been where my son has been and thus the reason for my concern for him.

I asked God and He gave me the wisdom to help my son.  I truly believe that although this will take time, with consistency he can learn to be thankful.  With thanksgiving, comes joy.

Whatever you need wisdom for today, remember to stop and ask God.  He’ll give it to you!

Strawberry Pumpkin Smoothie

I absolutely love drinking green smoothies for breakfast!  I have been drinking green smoothies for breakfast regularly for almost a year and it has really helped me with my energy level.  I think the biggest difference I have noticed is that as long as I drink a smoothie, I don’t crave foods that are super high in sugar and caffeine.  I don’t feel as tired and I find that I am able to think clearer.  If you are new to drinking green smoothies one thing that is important to remember is that what you put into the smoothie is very important.  You should try and avoid adding extra sugar if at all possible.  The fruit provides natural sugar.  The quality of the ingredients has a major impact on how much better you will feel.

I don’t know about you but I am all about experimenting with what I put in my smoothies.  Around my house, this time of year we have lots of pumpkin puree around the house after roasting the pumpkins we carved for Halloween.  I have personally never put pumpkin in my smoothies before but today I thought why not give it a shot.

Strawberry Pumpkin Smoothie

1 cup of Kale

1/2 apple

1/4 cup of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

4 strawberries (if your strawberries are frozen you won’t need ice, if they are fresh you will need some ice)

1 cup almond milk (you could use any milk you prefer)

1/2 cup of lowfat greek yogurt

1 tspn of ground flax seed

1 tspn of ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in your favorite blender and blend until smooth.

This smoothie is packed full of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.  Since it has so much vitamin C and Vitamin A this is a good smoothie to drink to help build up your immune system.  This smoothie is also good for your vision.  Pumpkin has nearly twice the amount of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A.  Vitamin A  is found to have health benefits for your eyes, skin and teeth.  The yogurt and milk have protein to help you feel full and also has calcium.  After drinking this smoothie, I felt an amazing burst of energy that lasted long after any caffeine would wear off.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Do You Want to Hear the Coolest Thing?

We go to church every Wednesday night.  It’s my favorite night of the week.  I absolutely love being in the house of the Lord but there was one Wednesday night in particular that was most special to me.  I took my two children to church on Wednesday as usual.

After church, my children absolutely love hanging out for a little while and playing on the play ground.  This Wednesday was no different.  My son was playing on the slide and I was shooting baskets with my daughter.  My son called me over to him and said, “Mommy, I need you to come here.”  In my mind, I was wondering if he was a bit jealous of me shooting hoops with my daughter, but I didn’t say it out loud.  I just went over to him and asked him what he needed (it is all of ten feet away, from the basketball hoop, in case you were thinking this was some long distance).

My son, just so you know just turned four years old.  He is sweet, smart and can be a bit of a pistol.

Anyway, he gleefully asked me, “Mommy, do you want to hear the coolest thing about Jesus?”

I was a little surprised by his question, but of course I said, “Yes, tell me son, what is the coolest thing about Jesus?”

He said, “Did you know that Jesus died just for me Mommy and if I pray and tell him I am sorry for the bad stuff I did, He will forgive me and he wants me to give him my whole life and if I do He will live in my heart and won’t remember the bad stuff I do sometimes.”

I fought back tears of joy as he was saying this to me, and calmly said, “You are right son, that is the coolest thing.”

He said, “Yay mommy it is the coolest thing ever.”

I asked him, “Are you thinking of giving your life to Jesus?”

He said, “Yep and I am going to do it right now, but I need your help Mommy.  I don’t know how.”

That night, sitting on the slide of my church, “I led my precious little boy in prayer to give his heart to Jesus.”  When we got home from church, he excitedly ran up to his daddy and told him. “Guess what Daddy?  I belong to Jesus now and He lives in my heart and He loves me sooo much!”

Jesus loves you too.  The coolest thing about Jesus is while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  The Bible says that when we surrender our lives to him, He forgives our sins and He adopts us as His sons or daughters.

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In Times of Trouble

When hard times in life hit you, how do you respond?  You lose a job, what do you do?  You get sick, what do you do?  I can tell you my tendencies.  My first response is usually to freak out and then I get busy.  The worse the problem, the busier I get!  I appoint myself to fix the problem!  I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to find a way, anyway really, to improve on my current situation. The bad thing is I don’t usually know what direction to go, so I spend tons of energy working as hard as I can in the wrong direction or in thirteen different directions.  My hope is if I throw out enough arrows, maybe one will hit a target.  I don’t stop to consider if it is the right target. Ultimately, I don’t get anywhere, I am tired, stressed out and things haven’t gotten better at all.  I don’t think this response is rare, I have a feeling I am not the only one that responds to life’s challenges this way.

Interestingly, my natural response is opposite of what the Bible says to do.  I guess that is not surprising, I have found most of the things the Bible says to do are not my first response.  I am by nature, sinful after all.

The Bible says, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am god: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

As I read this this morning, I started to think, that is all great but what does it mean to be still.  In my mind, I thought of it as being quiet.  I am sure that it does help to quiet your mind to hear God, but that isn’t what this verse is referencing.  The word ‘still’ is a translation of the Hebrew word rapa, meaning “to slacken, let down or cease.”  In times of war, it denotes putting down your weapons.  This phrase actually means to stop the crazy stuff you are doing and just stop and be still.

The word “know”  in this case means to “acknowledge or be aware” in Hebrew.  The Bible tells us to stop the crazy activity that we are doing to fix the situation, and acknowledge that He is God!  God is all knowing, He is present everywhere, He is all powerful, holy, sovereign, faithful, and good.  He knows what you are going through and He cares about all the details of your life.  He also already knows how to fix it and He knows how to bring you through it.

Why is it the more messed up my life is, the faster I move….do I want to just get to the wrong place quicker?  Really, what is the point?  My natural response is actually not very logical when I remember who God is and how much He loves me.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an everpresent help in trouble.” NIV

I don’t need to go into crazy busy mode when there is a problem.  The reality is, it won’t be me to fix it.  It will be God.  He is my everpresent help in trouble!  My first reaction should be to stop, go before the Lord and let God direct my steps.  How nice it is to know that He will give direction and be my help in time of trouble!