Out of Shape

I’m soooooooo out of shape. Anyone else? Raise that hand high. Admitting is the first step. And I’m there!

I haven’t been able to go to the ymca and be active because I’m in therapy and I’m not allowed to begin workouts other than the approved ones I’m doing. So, in my last therapy session they changed my simple little exercises to some harder exercises and I was like whyyyyyyy??? Haha! I know this is what I need, but my body was like nope girl...we done!

My therapist had told me that the exercises would get harder. And I knew they would, but I didn’t expect it to hurt when I laugh, cough and I’m not able to sit down without wincing. Y’all my core!!! I still have muscles there. I was beginning to worry that I didn’t. Hahaha! But I do and they have not been activated in awhile. And I’m feeling the BURN! And it’s not fun. Can I just go back to the simple, easy exercises? Haha!

But God he uses these things to show me and teach me. And I’ve learned to listen!

While sitting in my car today and feeling the pain in spots I remembered the saying no pain, no gain. And boy ain’t that the truth. And it’s this way in everything. I am doing the Bible in a year and following an app. And I just finished Leviticus. Shew! And I’m going to be honest....that is one of the hardest and toughest books to get through. There is so much! So much! And at times I was saying, I’m so confused or I’m so thankful for Jesus. And I’m so thankful he came to fulfill the law. So thankful God sent Jesus! 

Now, I say that to say this. Whatever you are doing it takes time to learn, build, understand, and be able to know how and what to do. It takes time!! That’s something that we have a hard time with. No pun intended! Haha! We value our time and want to use it wisely and sometimes we think it’s a waste to read directions, wait for the water to boil, wait for the car to completely defrost, read the book when we can watch the movie, or look something up instead of thinking about it and trying to remember. We are a society that focuses so much on time, but we honestly don’t take the time to do the important and most influential things, prayer and reading the word.

Some people think that just reading a devotional in the morning is good enough. Some people have a scripture verse of the day on their desk and they read it everyday. Some read books that are written by amazing people who have been given words by God and are powerful and full of scripture, but we are still missing the most important thing.

All these things are great. In the word through scripture and a verse a day is wonderful. Having a devotional to read and keep with you is wonderful...BUT don’t allow this to become your only knowledge of God. You need to be in the word and praying daily for him to reveal and show you new things. We must take the TIME to read HIS word. Scripture is God breathed and is there for us. It’s our life book, our instructions. It gives us advice, examples, shows us how to respond, how to love, how to lead people to Jesus, how to grow our relationship, how to pray, it tells us the mistakes of those before us, it tells us about Heaven and Hell, and it is relevant and alive.

If we are not reaching for our bible everyday then we need to ask ourself this question, what are we reaching for?

We need to re-evaluate our focus.

It’s so hard because we try to justify and say well I’m busy and just got a lot going on. Well, you have a phone and a Bible app on there. You can download one if not...it’s free!! You can read it anytime, anywhere. And it’s probably always close by to you or in your hand. Honestly we have no excuse. We don’t! But we make them!

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We were given this for a reason and a purpose. We NEED it! We need to use it and place it inside of us.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

We are missing a huge blessing if we don’t take the opportunity to allow ourself to get lost in his words. I have heard get lost in a good book... well this is it. And it has love, wars, death, miracles, friendships, foreshadowing, and so much more. It’s alive and relevant. Open it up to see!

So, just like working out and getting stronger. I need to open up the word of God more so I can grow stronger in him. It’s going to be hard because we do have full plates, but they should never be so full that we push him off to make room for something else.

Let’s grow in the word, in prayer, and in Jesus together.

Choose a book of the Bible to read this month. Start with a chapter and really read it. Find and discover new things! Write things down. Ask questions! Use scripture with your prayer and let’s change the way we are living.

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 1 Timothy 4:13

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Overwhelmed much?

Do you have a room in your house that is like your catch all room? I used to have two rooms in my house as this. I loved having these rooms. I could place stuff in them and that stuff would be out of sight out of mind. After having our kids these rooms became bedrooms and well my junk..I mean storage rooms were no more. It was kinda sad, but also good. They were bad...

So, my garage become that room. Haha! You didn’t think I got rid of it did you? Haha! And boy don’t we use it that way. It became a maze. That’s the best way to put it. I believe clapping when you made it to the other side would have been needed. Oh it was bad. Our Christmas stuff was hanging out in there. Things from our car that we hadn’t taken in to the house. Clothes? Random things. Tupperware and cups??? Toys! Toys that I have been meaning to donate. And anything that didn’t have a place upstairs just went downstairs to the garage.

So, today we decided to open the door and clean it. Oh y’all! It was horrible! Horrible! Not just all the stuff but my dogs. I’m telling you. It’s a love, hate relationship with them. Jackson apparently got scared one night and poof... his dog bed become a big poof of brown fuzz everywhere in his cage. And dog food! He hides it under his bed. I don’t know. You just have to know him. Anyways, it was packed and messy and I’m sure the look on my face was not pleasant during this experience... the look of panic must have been on my face.

Vaughn kept asking after ever spot we cleaned...feeling better yet? ...not yet! I would respond... tell I finally felt okay...

God spoke to me while cleaning and it was something that I deal with and need to really let go of. And he used that dirty, chaos of a garage to speak to me...

We get overwhelmed! We allow things to continue to pile up. We continue to say yes to things. We do things ourself because we think we do it best or we’re afraid others will do it wrong. We create a big mess. Like my garage... And then once the mess hits us we experience panic, worry, and stress which leads to breakdowns, meltdowns, and ultimately pain. We can only physically take so much and put so on ourselves before we break.

Oh why, Oh why do we do this? I might be the only one.. anyone else?

I love to help people and if it makes it easier for them then I’m like sure, I’ll help you. I’ll do it! But I don’t even think about the load I already have or what my life looks like. Then it’s like boom...

We have to have discernment when it comes to decisions. We can’t always say yes or no. We can’t always be the person that does everything. We have to listen to what God is telling us to do and allow him to speak through us. God, is this something you need me to do? Prepare me for it if so, or lead me away from it. Give me wisdom! 

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalms 94:19

I have so much on my plate most weeks. And I get overwhelmed. But God knows my heart and comforts me. But what I must understand is that some of the things I’m choosing are exactly that.. my choosing. Which is why I become so overwhelmed and crazy!

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

My choices, my thinking, my ways...will lead me astray. They will lead me to overwhelmed, meltdown, chaotic life. But, when I trust, pray, and seek wisdom about these choices and use the discernment from God I truly believe and know I will have an answer. He will reveal it to me. He will show me what and when I need to be doing things.

I overwhelm myself through the choices and decisions I make. I have learned lessons and I am continuing to learn. It’s not easy. It’s hard. It’s hard to say no and It’s hard to say yes. Sometimes it’s hard to say anything because we don’t want to offend or hurt anyone, but we must make a choice and make the choice reflects what we can deal or balance.

If you think about a scale and the more you put on one side the more it will go down. It will be weighted down. And there lies the problem, sometimes we have a hard time pushing our way back to a balanced life.

We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be super moms. We don’t have to be a step ford wife. We just need to sit on our Daddy’s lap allow him to speak into us. We need to ask him.. hey!!! What should I do? Help me!

I know I have a lot on my plate. I know sometimes I look and feel like my garage looked today. Yikes! But honestly, I know life is crazy. Life is full of opportunities, but we don’t have to take everyone of them. We can make the best decision for ourselves. We can take time to think about it. Pray about it! And allow God to speak wisdom into us. Instead of allowing the chaos to get to us and we end up looking like Cruella De Vil at the end of 101 Dalmatians. It’s not a good look. Haha!

Praying for those overwhelming moments And praying we realize that we must trust and allow God to reveal to us his wisdom in these situations. And I pray that we would listen and do what he says... not what we want or others want.

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Mama Can’t Get Sick!

I’ve been quiet this week and there’s a reason. I’ve been sick! There’s nothing worse to the family then when mama is sick.

Do we get sick days? Mamas can’t get sick. I mean...Everything is effected and you have to go with it. Things don’t get done. The house is a mess. The kids eat junk. And you just try to survive. 

Things don’t stop when mamas get sick. Wednesday I was by myself at home. And I promise you... the word snack was said 500 times. The minute I would sit back down in the bed they would say they were hungry or needed something. Seriously! Either MJ was needing help on the potty or Wade and her were fighting. It was something allllll dayyyyy longgggg! And I’m not sure how we made it.

Even when you feel like you can’t lift your arms or don’t feel like moving you still have to be a mom. The world keeps moving... I’m not sure it’s like that for ..*cough cough*, dads. But for real, it’s just different for moms... and all moms say Amen!

Sickness has been real this year and yes we do probiotics and elderberry... unless you just hibernate you’re going to get sick.. we have had stomach viruses, ear infections, colds and now I have walking pneumonia. It’s been a rough year... well, it’s just started but you get it. Haha!

So on Wednesday Vaughn came home for lunch and as he entered the house he said, “what have the kids been doing” Well, they’re living! Because I have rooted in this bed. And I’m not moving. I physically feel like I can’t. Haha! The kids had every toy out and everything was crazy. I mean, I put towels in the washer and to my body that was like an Olympic sport. That was about all I had energy to do after 500 snacks. No joke! But the kids were alive, fed, and entertained.

Life with kids is already a marathon most days but add in sick kids or sick parents and you have a marathon that seems never ending. The days just seem longer and there’s not enough toys, coloring books, tv, or movies to watch. And to really rest... well that’s out of the question.

I always love when people say, you just need rest. Just go home and rest. Yeah! I’ll get that at age 45. Maybe? Maybe 80? Who knows!

But over these last couple of days where we have had to slow down and not do much I have really had time to just reflect, read (when my eyes and head didn’t hurt), and just get back on track. And it’s in those tough times that I pray for strength especially when I feel like I have none.

I pray for God to provide me with physical strength to make it till Vaughn gets home.

I pray for patience! For God to give me patience, because y’all when you’re sick you got NONE! I pray for the kids to have it with me and for me with them and others.

I pray for endurance! Mama needs to be able to take the dogs out, make the kids food, pat Mj’s booty so she can fall asleep. And do all the things... well not all but you understand.

I pray for healing! So, we can get back to some normalicy.

And in Philippians 4:6 it tells us this:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

It seems in time of trial or when things aren’t going good we pray more, we need God more. But see the truth is... we need him ALL the time. In everything! But we recognize it more when things aren’t going well.

And through those moments we rely on him even more. And we know this: Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 chronicles 16:11 ESV

We must seek him and ask! We must! This flesh is going to go through things and things are going to happen but he will never leave us. He will never forget us! Even in times when we think things are going great... we still need him! We still need his word! And we still need that communication with him.

We can’t do it alone. We need him!

More of him, less of me! This is my quote for this year.

So, as I’m laying here still achy. Still hurting! Listening to my kids fight over who gets to lay beside me... they realize I’m sick right? Haha! I reminded that this is how we are supposed to be. We should want to be that close to Jesus. Desperate and wanting him not just in times of need but all the time!

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Find the Balance

Balance! Sometimes that’s hard. To find a balance in things we are doing. To balance on one foot. To balance your job, relationships, kids, house... etc. To eat a balanced diet. It just gets to where the balance is gone and we are left totally one sided.

 

I totally think about a scale when I’m thinking about balance. You have an old timey scale and when you have equal weight on both sides it’s “balanced”, but once you get more or less on one side...it just goes up or down.

 

Do you like things in your life to be balanced?

 

Oh I do! I struggle when things are not going as planned. It’s a flaw. Huge flaw! I like control..eekkk! I know! But, I’m a work in progress. Admitting is the first step!

 

We recently got big kid beds for the kids which means there are boxes and stuff everywhere....I mean everywhere. You know the packaging that comes... the white styrofoam...ahhhhh!!! The devil! And these aren’t small boxes. BIG ones! I feel like I’m being over taken. And I finally just got their rooms to normal or what the new normal will be, but the rest of the house is like an explosion went off. Boom! It’s all crazy and scattered and bothering me. Tiny white pieces of styrofoam because it’s fun to break it apart while mommy isn’t looking... I don’t see the joy in that or humor. Haha!

 

They say clutter makes you stressed. Yes! Yes! I would agree.

 

Whew! And this week with eating.....well, let’s just say that the clutter made me eat the brownie and chocolate chips. Oh okay! And the Doritos...

 

I need balance back in my life!!!!!!

 

What does balance look like? Well to me... it’s not having the whole house clean all the time. It’s having at least some rooms clean and being able to know at least some are. It’s eating healthy 5-6 days a week and rewarding yourself on a job well done. It’s watching tv, but also taking time to read your bible. It’s doing your job, but also spending time with your family. It’s spending time with your kids, but also with your spouse.

 

Balance can be hard. Extremely hard. I think we sometimes we are like that scale. We weigh ourselves down and fight to get back to normal and it’s even harder. And when it takes longer to get back to normal we complain and gripe and well just wish we could find the balance.

 

It’s like losing weight. Dear goodness I wish it was easy.... but it’s not. It doesn’t come off fast and it’s not fun, but it’s like that scale. It takes time to get back to where it started. It didn’t get put on over night and it will take longer than a day, week, month...why???? Because balance!

 

So, today I was sitting in the midst of my dirty, cluttered house. My kids getting more and more stuff out and I had a moment. During that moment I thought about how much this bothered me and why it bothered me. I sat and ate dark chocolate chips and just looked at the mess. I told myself there is nothing I can do about the boxes, but I can work around them. Are they still there? Yep! Did I about haul them in my van today? Yep! Could you have imagined what that would have looked like? Y’all.... hillbilly status. My van with the boxes coming out the back. I didn’t though.... it did cross my mind. I decided my time would be better spent cleaning up around them and moving past that room. They will be gone tomorrow. And the chocolate chips... well, I ate a lot but I will get back on track.

 

That’s the thing with balance. You can’t have that stuff everyday. You can’t focus on cleaning everyday. You have to balance the things in your life and make the most of everyday. Self control! I could have sat there and ate the whole bag of chocolate chips while looking at the clutter of boxes. But I didn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t! It would have been a waste of time and my calories and carbs for the whole day.

 

We must balance things in our life. We are going to become one sided a lot, but getting back to where we are supposed to be feels like home and it’s where we belong. We need to understand that not having control over things is okay. Because sometimes we gotta wait....that’s not my strong quality.

 

This verse in the Bible tells us this.

 

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

Waiting! Getting our balanced life doesn’t happen over night. It takes time and patience. Dedication and practice! But it tells us those who wait will have renewed strength... We are going to have ups and downs and we are going to have to work to get back to the balance.

 

We have to learn that it’s okay to not be balanced all the time. If you think people are... they are putting on a good front. Trust me. No one is perfect except Jesus. And we all have moments! 

 

So, let’s learn that’s it’s okay to be unbalanced because we are working our way back to where we are supposed to be. Sometimes we have to wait and sometimes we have to get up and go. We are not the same so pray about what your balanced life looks like and get there. It might take time....and that’s okay! 

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Choose Life!

People always tell you. The years go by so fast. Don’t Blink! Babies don’t keep. And they’ll grow before your eyes.

 

I remember when I first laid eyes on Wade and heard him for the first time. I wanted to cry from pain form childbirth, cry because he was there and I was holding him, and cry happy tears because he was absolutely perfect. I wanted to hold him and never let him go.

 

Before you were in your mother’s womb God knew you. Before Wade and MJ were even thought about by Vaughn and I.... God knew them. Isn’t that beautiful. It tells us this in Jeremiah 1:5.

 

Wade is always asking questions... good questions, hard questions. He asked me where he was before I had him? I simply replied God knew you, but I didn’t yet. And then I shared the above verse with him. I told him that God knows all. That he knows the past, present and future.

 

God knew that I would give birth to Wade on January 23,2014. He knew before I did that I was pregnant. He knew me before I was born and so on. He KNEW!

 

Well, I’m sure you have seen the news and heard about the new law. I mean unless you live in a cave or don’t ever look or hear the news then you have heard about the new abortion laws in New York. I have read news articles, Facebook comments, watched news clips, and then read more posts about it and I still don’t understand how we say this is okay.

 

In life we always have a choice. And in this decision that was made each person had a choice to make. The people behind this law were given a voice to share their opinion on the topic... vote yes or no. They had to choose one way or the other and majority chose that mothers whose lives were threatened by their unborn baby had the “right” to chose to abort their baby after 24 weeks now. And babies who have life threatening illnesses..if their family chooses they can be aborted at anytime now.

 

Really?!?!

 

Are we trying to choose who lives and who dies?

 

Are we trying to be God?

 

It’s scary to think that these people who passed this law had smiles on their faces and were excited about this news and even showcased excitement by lighting up a famous building in New York pink. I’m not saying all did. But, they were excited about killing people? I’m not sure I understand or even comprehend this. I have never supported abortion and never will. And I will never understand how someone can say that “the baby” isn’t a baby and they’re not really killing a person. It makes no sense to me. And hurts my heart to know this is where we are in America and in the world.

 

We are God’s creation! We are made in HIS Image. Everyone! He created us. It tells us this in Genesis 1 and 2.

 

Everything is created for a purpose. Animals have a purpose. Plants have a purpose. The sky, mountains, stars, sun etc have a purpose. People have a purpose. God’s creation has a purpose.

 

And this is where my heart breaks.

 

People are stating that these babies that have illnesses have no purpose. That babies that were created through rape or incest have no purpose.

 

Everything has a purpose!

 

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16

 

I have seen unwanted pregnancies and pregnancies happen to people who didn’t plan it. But I have seen love happen by that momma choosing to give her baby the best life possible through adoption. I have seen mommas step up and become momma and daddy to make sure that baby is loved. There is a choice and it doesn’t have to be to terminate, abort, kill the innocent baby.

 

I have seen people who have been told that their baby won’t make it after birth. And today he is a handsome, walking, talking boy. Was it difficult? Yes! Were their surgeries and doctors and lots and lots of appointments? Yes! Lots of doctors? Lots and uncertainties and Prayers? Yes! Lots of trusting in God? Yes! But, he is here and has a purpose and lights up the room wherever he goes. But, doctors told the parents to abort? There is always a choice! Choose life!

 

I follow a family on Facebook who lost their sweet baby soon after she was born. It was devastating. It was heart breaking. But this momma and daddy didn’t choose to abort. They chose to give the baby a chance. Even though things didn’t turn out liked they had hoped. This family pushed through and gave their daughter a legacy. The momma pumped milk for other babies and gave many many ounces to moms who couldn’t breast feed. They chose life! Even though they were told their baby would never take a breath on this earth they still chose life and had hope!

 

And everyday I read posts about woman who are not able to have children at this time. Oh how my heart breaks for them and how I pray for them. This world is hard and confusing... see we have some woman are choosing to end life and some are praying for it to begin in them. There is a choice and these women who are longing for a baby... would choose life for the baby you don’t want.

 

And so all I can do is pray! And share the truth that I believe and that I know is TRUTH! The more we can share Jesus to this world the more they will hate us... it’s true! But I’m going to share. The word tells us, 18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. John 15:18-20

 

I don’t follow the world. I don’t want the world to love me. I want the people, this world, to love Jesus. He tells us that they hated him. So, they will hate us. And I think we are beginning to feel that more and more.

 

God’s word tells us that children are a blessing from God. Allow them to be one.

 

God knows the decisions we will make. He could stop us from making them, but we have free will. He wants us to make choices that exemplify him and lift his name up. Well, this law didn’t do that.

 

But if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Let’s join together and pray for this nation and world.

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Be Ready to Defend!

Lately it seems that everywhere I look there is some kind of fighting or arguing going on. It’s in our government, schools, churches, on social media, and even in our homes. We all have ideas, opinions, values, beliefs, and it gets kinda crazy when we start mixing together.

 

I’m reminded of the verse in Romans,Verse 12:18, If possible, if it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Yeah, we ain’t doing that. We ain’t doing that at all. And it’s sad. But, it’s not like this just happened over night. We have Cain and Able in the Bible...jealousy and hatred! We have Jacob and Esau...trickery, division, and hatred. Up next we have Joseph, who is sold by his brothers. I mean I can continue to list, but I think you see my point. This is all just in the book of Genesis.

 

The Bible is full of examples for us to look at and see that what we are facing is relevant. It is! The fights we see on the news between the Democrats and Republicans. The facebook posts about someone sharing their opinion on a topic. The arguments that take place between family members. The fights between different people groups. Wars! The Bible tells us and shows us the consequences they faced and we can learn from their mistakes. But will we listen?

 

Unfortunately, I think no. And that’s sad. We want to put a label on everything. We want to point fingers and we want to feel right. We want the other person to know their faults, their wrong doings, and we want them to know we don’t approve. Well, let me say this.... I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ. I know he came for me and this world. I know that we have to accept him. We have to ask forgiveness for our sins and understand that we are sinful. But once we accept...we look different the Bible says we are like white as snow. Does that mean we are perfect? Ummmm no! Not even close. We are still going to sin. We are still going to have bad days. We are still going to face challenges and have moments that we feel like complete failures. We aren’t worthy. But GRACE! He gives us so much grace. Why? LOVE!

 

He wants us and wants a RELATIONSHIP with us. It’s beautiful!

 

Now! Do you have a relationship with him? Have you accepted him? Because if you have then there’s a word I want to mention. And if you are a follower you know this word..conviction! See, as true followers of Jesus, when we do wrong. We feel it! We know it! And you know what? I pray for it. I pray to know when I fail him. I pray to realize when I’m doing wrong and I pray he alerts me when it happens. I sin! Everyday! But I learn from those mistakes and ask God to help me to be more like him and to not continue to make the same mistakes over and over.

 

I don’t like to look on Facebook. I don’t even like to listen to the news. It breaks my heart. I see so much heartache, prideful, hurtful, disrespectful and honestly disgusting things happening. I don’t see love! Here’s where it breaks my heart the most....When a Christian does speak out on a certain topic they get blasted and they can’t defend themselves. We have to know, what we know, what we know. And we have to know, that we know who has us in the palm of his hand. We have to have the firm foundation to stand on. We must be ready to defend what we believe. No matter what you believe you have to be ready.

 

I’m no bible scholar. I haven’t been to seminary. I can’t always quote verses off the top of my head. But let me say this. You don’t have to be all these things to speak about the one who saved your soul. But you do need to know what you believe and why you believe it.

 

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15

 

Notice, do it with gentleness and respect!

 

We are missing that in this world. There is a way to do it and a way not to. We are choosing the latter option.

 

I pray for a change in the hearts of our government. I pray for salvation to come to those in darkness. I pray for wisdom for them to make decisions that will better this nation and for them to work together. I pray for social media. I pray it doesn’t consume us and I pray that it can be used appropriately. I pray for HIS followers to be BOLD and to show the light that is inside of us. To be the one light that will light up the darkness.

 

He calls us to be the salt and light!

 

13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

 

Be prepared! Be ready! Be Bold in Jesus! It all comes from him. So speak it! Speak TRUTH! In the name of JESUS!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Thankful for answers!

In life we are always asked questions. Each day we have to ask questions and hope for an answer. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves ever when someone doesn’t respond or reply when something has been asked. Even if you don’t know or have to say no to something. Just reply, right?

 

We love to have an answer. Well, at least I do.

 

For the past year and a half I have dealt with a pain (in my pelvic area) that occurs everyday and sometimes is so bad that nothing helps at all. Most days I feel it and can manage but other days it’s horrible. I have thought I was crazy! I have seen so many doctors. And have even had a small surgery. Yet, I still had no answers.

 

This has been a very emotional process. It is something daily I deal with. I feel the burning pain, the achy pain, the poking pain and then the stabbing pain...which only occurs on the really bad days (thank goodness), but I always feel something. I have seen more doctors in the past year and no clear answers could be given.

 

I decided to advocate for my own health and made the decision to look outside our area and find someone new. And I did just that.

 

Vaughn and I traveled to Nashville on Sunday Night to go to my appointment on Monday morning with Advanced Women’s Health of Nashville to see Dr. Maikis. And I received options and answers. It was refreshing and believe me it was just what I needed.

 

I understand that sometimes we will have pain and not be able to explain it. I understand doctors are humans. I’m thankful that they know that and understand that they don’t know everything. I am thankful for all my doctors. But it was good for me to hear a second opinion and to know I’m not crazy. Haha!

 

I have decisions to make. I have options that I’m thankful for and I’m ready to take a step toward a healthier me. I know my pain will continue and I can manage, but it’s nice to know that it won’t always be this way. And that I can get to a solution or get closer to one.

 

See, right now... I have this pain. It’s okay that I have it because there are struggles in this world that we are going to face. There are challenges and problems everywhere. The enemy wants us to blame God for the bad in this world. He wants us to put our trust in other things. He wants us to feel loneliness, crazy, helpless, weak, and incapable. He thrives in those times when the followers of Jesus start to believe his lies. But DON’t believe them. DON’t listen to them! And DON’t allow yourself to get trapped in that.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

 

I am thankful for my pain. Yes, you heard me right. I am thankful because for one, it has brought me closer to God. Two, closer to God’s people who are suffering. And three, it has changed the way I look at things. I am thankful!

 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

 

I still don’t like the fact I have the pain..I don’t think anyone does. But, I am humbled and feel closer to God than I ever have. I’m in the word daily. I’m blogging (and that’s something I never thought I would say). I’m in ministry with youth and women. (another thing that wasn’t on MY list) And my prayer life has changed completely. God has used this pain in my side to open my eyes and bring me closer to him. So for that, I’m thankful.

 

This pain happens every day. And God has showed me that we need to be in his word everyday. Praying everyday! Thinking of him everyday. So, this pain is my reminder to get in the word. Pray more! And remain in him. It might disappear on its own. It might require surgery. It might require therapy. It might stay there for the rest of my days on thi earth, but that’s okay. I’m thankful for answers and thankful for God’s blessing of another day. And I’m not going to waste it. 

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Find something positive

God uses things in our daily life to teach us. Each day we have the opportunity to see his goodness and today was one of those days.

 

It was such a beautiful day in Tennessee today. This weather is not typical for January. It was 65 degrees and it felt so good. We ventured outside and rode bikes, played basketball, and played with cars.

 

Wade is all about basketball right now and he is wanting to learn everything about it. He starts practice this week for Upward Basketball and he is so excited.

 

We were practicing dribbling and shooting and I mentioned playing the game Horse. I explained it to him and we began to play. He was so excited and was doing great. He began to miss shots and when he spelled out the word horse he looked at me and said,”well, at least I know how to spell horse now.” I laughed so hard and told him that he saw the positive where a lot of people would have saw a negative...(of course I put it in kid language). We played again and he did better this time, but again spelled out the word. Usually he gets mad and upset ,and we have been working on how to act when things don’t go our way, but he just said, “I’ll practice and get better and we can play again. I think I ‘ll win next time.” I simply said, “challenge accepted.”

 

Wouldn’t it be great if we all could have this kind of attitude? When things don’t go our way. We don’t fuss or fight or say things we will regret. We just accept what it is and prepare for the next time. I needed this lesson from my soon to be 5 year old.

 

I have a difficult time when things don’t go my way. I’m very competitive, a little OCD over things, and once I put my mind to something well I have to finish it. These are some of my strengths and flaws. It’s like you love that you’re like that, but hate that you’re like that. Understand? See, we all need this lesson. Yeah it doesn’t feel good to lose. And when something doesn’t go as planned, it does create stress. But if we can teach ourselves to find one positive in that dark moment. I truly believe it will change that moment for good.

 

It’s like when you light a match in a dark room. It gives you light. No, it’s not as great as 4 light bulbs, but it’s a start. It’s a positive in a negative situation.

 

Jesus is always a positive. And I am trying to equip myself with verses from his word so that I can speak truth and something positive in those dark times. We allow ourselves to get so caught up in what is going on that our focus gets lost. I want to regain that focus and place it in the one that has me in the first place.

 

16 Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Find something in that rough, tough moment to rejoice about. It might be that you didn’t break all the dishes. It might be that slime isn’t all over the carpet. It’s contained. Haha! But rejoice, pray, and give thanks!

 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

 

Our mouths are hard to control. And my face is even harder. Yeah! I’m working on it. But, we must watch what we say and how we say it. We want to build each other up and not tear each other down. Listen, I’m working and learning this myself and it’s a struggle everyday. I’m going to be starting a new book a friend gave me...it’s like she knows me or something. Haha! No seriously, I need to remember it’s okay to not have everything always go right.

 

The book is called Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I’m excited to start it. Here is a quote from the book.

“Present over perfect.

Quality over quantity.

Relationship over rushing.

People over pressure.

Meaning over mania.”

We need to understand that we put too much focus on the stuff that doesn’t matter and open our eyes to the things that do.

 

So, let’s join together and be more willing to accept life’s ups and downs. We love when things are going right, but when they start to spiral down...we freak out ! I pray we can learn to handle those moments and not lose who we are when things happen.

 

God, I pray right now that you will allow us to be positive in the moments we want to be negative. That you will take the words that want to come out of our mouth that might be anger filled, hurtful, and painful to the person listening and that you will fill it with words that won’t harm and damage them. Words that will uplift them and encourage. I pray God that you will help us to realize we are not perfect and will never be. That you will help us to see situations as you do and allow us to use your words to provide encouragement and love to the person or people that needs it. I pray for you to make us people who can fight through our struggles and can share about how you brought us to the other side.

 

In Jesus Name!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

https://m.barnesandnoble.com/p/present-over-perfect-shauna-niequist/1122965081/2675620936596?st=PLA&sid=BNB_Core+Catch-All,+Low&sourceId=PLAGoNA&dpid=tdtve346c&2sid=Google_m&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIt7Oeqrvd3wIV9h-tBh0vPg7cEAQYAiABEgLB4vD_BwE

The New Year

2019! How???? How it is tomorrow?

 

I’m still in complete shock that 2018 is almost over. The years just fly by and it seems unreal that we are jumping into a new year. 2018 was not an easy year. A lot of challenges were brought before my family and myself. And yes, it was hard at times. A lot of ugly crying moments and feeling down. But, it wasn’t all challenging and hard. There was so much good in 2018 and so many wonderful memories. I’m grateful and thankful for what God did and is doing. Because he isn’t done!!

 

Some highlights:

* Wade turned 4 soon after we went to Disney World and had a magical time.

* I got to help with Night to Shine at my church. Just an over all amazing event.

* I had surgery to help figure out my pelvic pain. A few answers but no definite ones. I have seen more doctors this year than probably in my whole life.

* I got to host a Priscilla Shirer Simulcast at my church and was blown away and blessed by God’s words. Can’t wait for this years.

* I became a blogger. Still crazy and unreal at times. ❤️

* Watched Wade do Karate for the last time. Even though sad and not what I wanted... he wanted to try other things including T-Ball again and soccer.

*My mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She is cancer free. I had genetic testing done and tested negative.🙌🏻

* MJ turned 2 and was potty trained a couple of months later.

*Took my Youth to Student Life Camp with just me and my intern. 

* The kids started a new school, Playhouse Pals.

* We went to NYC on our first trip away from the kiddos. It was an amazing, tiring trip. It was so much fun.

* We went to Panama City Beach with my parents.

 

* Wade decided to play basketball.

* We got 12 inches of snow and had an amazing time in it.

* Went to see aunt Holly.

 

I’m excited for 2019 not because I have a bunch of goals set for myself, but because of new things that will be happening. And I’m also dreading 2019 because my baby will start Kindergarten...y’all might have to give me pep talks and encourage me along the way. And any advice is appreciated. Us mamas have to help each other out.

 

In thinking about years past it got me thinking about what 2019 will look like. Yes, it will be different. Yes, there will be similarities. But, with each passing year we grow and learn. Let’s use our past to push us to be better and not allow it to define who we are. Tomorrow is a new day and literally a new year.. haha! But seriously, 2019 will be a time for us to try new things and strive to do more than we did in 2018.

 

There are going to be decisions made this year. Not sure how important or non important they will be, but I know we will be making choices each day and some might seem more important than others so my prayer is for God to give us wisdom and allow us to see his will and make the choices that best reflect that. Not ours, but his!

 

I know 2019 might bring struggles. I pray for God to prepare our hearts and lead us during the times of trial and when we enter into different seasons of life I pray that we ask for encouragemenand support from our brothers and sisters in Christ and remember to pray boldly and consistently daily.

 

There are going to be happy, exciting memorable moments that will be documented and remembered. There will be sad, emotional moments that might change things our lives forever or for a time. We have to be accepting to both happy and sad. Even though one is harder than the other. We have to be strong in him and push through. There are going to be mistakes, big and small, and choices each day to do the right thing. What will we do? We can pray for our heart and mind to choose wisely and not allow our view to be worldly. That we will learn from our sins and make choices that reflect our savior, Jesus.

 

2019 is going to be great. Yes, it will be filled with tough and happy times. It will be challenging and encouraging. Just like every year up until now...you walk into the year ready and willing to start it off right. Don’t lose the momentum. Don’t allow a bad day to completely crush you. That bad day will turn into a week, a month, months and then here we will be celebrating 2020. And we will think, why did I allow that to affect me?

 

If you want to set goals, set goals. But be realistic, okay? Don’t set yourself up for failure. Set something you know you can accomplish and once it’s accomplished set another one. And if, IF, a bad day comes in 2019. It will be okay. Pray! Talk to people! Read! Write! Talk some more! Pray! Find encouragement! Don’t focus on the negative. Find a positive nugget and allow that to pull you through. Here’s one of mine!

 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

 

Amen! Amen!

 

Now, I do have a few goals set.

 

* lose 10 more pounds

* less time on technology—take breaks

* More time for me (5-20 min daily)

* Read the Bible (Old Testament and New) no particular order

 

I could name more, but I’m being realistic. I want to lose more weight, but 10 pounds seems realistic to me. Spending alone time with just me. Some days that looks like a couple of minutes and some days it’s 30 or more. I want to place my focus other places so there will be breaks with technology for me and my kids. And to read the Bible completely...I’m going to attempt. When I get to Leviticus.. whisper a prayer. Haha! No seriously it’s something I have always said I was going to do and this year I’m going to try.

 

Set some goals or don’t! Enjoy the last day of 2018 and welcome 2019 in. Pray each day and make 2019 to the best year yet.

 

Happy New Year!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Don’t be rude!

Words, phrases, comments! They have an impact on our day, week, month, life. What people say to us can change the mood we are in and can help or hinder us. It’s true. I used to say the old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. But do we mean that. Have you ever been hurt by words? Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George? ...haha! Mean girls reference, but I believe we all know a Regina George or have/had one in our life.

 

See here’s the thing. We live in a society where people find comfort in making others feel small. Because they feel BIG while making them feel small. Most of the time these people have been damaged by something so they are fixing themselves while destroying you. Unfortunately, this happens a lot.

 

We all can be smart alecks! Some people know how to use it to be funny and use it at appropriate times and others, well, let’s just say their timing is horrible. Horrible!!! And let me say this. Just because we have free speech and are able to talk....doesn’t mean we need to say ever thought that enters our head. Let’s think before we speak!

 

Take this for example!

 

All you pregnant women out there. You are beautiful and doing amazing! They don’t want to hear....wow! Your belly is huge. You look like you don’t feel good? Are you having twins because you are large? You must be due soon, you’re getting big. Do you think you should be eating that while pregnant?

 

With both my kids. I gained a lot of weight. I was also very swollen, especially with MJ, but the comments from people just plain hurt. And I still remember each one. And I have talked to others and they have said the same thing.

 

Nice comments go a long way. It’s not just pregnant women that are affected by this. People make comments to everyone. And I’m not sure whether people are just super negative, don’t know they are doing it, if they have no filter, or if they find joy in putting others down. Don’t know! All I know is that words...Words are hard to forget! And you remember them.

 

The enemy! Oh! He tries to plant things in our minds and get us to think about what that person said, did. He tries to get us to hold on to that grudge. And what happens is we try to get back at that person or it does effect us, but it effects everything in our life. And every time we see that person we remember what was said.

 

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 ESV

 

See some people don’t see your sarcasm as sarcasm. And it’s all about the presentation of how and when you deliver it. And I’m not saying that we have to walk on pins and needles around people, but I am saying no one wants to hear these phrases come out of your mouth! Have some tact and respect for yourself and others. 

 

“No offense, but....”

“You really shouldn’t eat that!”

“When are you going to have kids?”

“You don’t look very good today!”

“Are you pregnant?”

“You need to do better!”

“You look tired!” 

“Why are you wearing that?”

“Do you really like that color?”

“Are you trying to lose weight?”

“Oh, that style must be back!”

“Don’t take this personally, but....”

“You really shouldn’t let your kids eat that!”

“Did you even parent your kids?”

 

And there are more. And I know we all have been there and made a rude comment to someone and not intended for it to be harmful, but think before you speak and ask yourself, “would you want them to ask you that?”

 

Most of the time the answer will be, No!

 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV

 

Sometimes we are in a very vulnerable state and need some encouragement...we don’t need your opinions or your views on the situation. Unless we ask! But we need encouragement, love, and respect.

 

I want to lift people up with my words and not make them feel put down or worse. I know that I have done this because I’m not perfect, but that just means I can work on it and be more intentional about what is coming out of my mouth.

 

And in those times when someone says something rude or hurtful, please know that you can nicely say something back to them. Even if you don’t necessary want to. You can state truth! — especially if someone is trying to put you down.

 

State TRUTH in as nice of a way as possible. And remain calm. I know, I know! We usually want to react, but react in a calm, reasonable way. And also, there are just some people who are just rude and have no tact about them. You don’t need those type of people in your life. You don’t! You don’t need the negativity and all that comes with them. There are just some people like that and we must make the decision to say, bye Felicia! Haha!

 

And this time of year you would think it would be happy, positive comments, but holidays are horrible for people and their attitudes and rude comments. So, let’s just say this. As a Christmas present to each other let us forgive those that have spoken negative comments, words, or done things to us. And let us remember how we felt when it was done to us so we will do our best not to do it to others.

 

Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow. 1 Peter 5:8

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Speak Kindness and Love even if others don’t,  be different !

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

GIVE

Winner, winner chicken dinner as one of my friends would say. I was going about my day as normal when I got an instagram message telling me that I had won a giveaway I had entered. In shock I went to verify that it was legit and realized...IT WAS!

 

Now, I have won stuff in the past, but never something this big. It was a $200 Visa Gift Card!!! I was excited and so happy. My mind went crazy with ideas and I was totally thinking just about me. I had just dropped the kids off and sent a message thanking the person and telling them how excited I was and as I went to work I thought about what I was going to do with that money. My list of things: my nails, pedicure, new bedspread (because kids ruin everything haha), the kids some things, medical bills, etc. It was a list about ME and what I wanted.

 

Well, a couple of hours later, while driving in my car, God was telling me something and I was being resistant. Really resistant! I broke down in my car and just sat there and said okay....tell me! Tell me what to do! I sat there with tears falling down my face, asking God where, who, what needed this money. Because it was clear. This gift card was not for me. It was coming to me. But this gift was for me to GIVE away.

 

I prayed and said God tell me what to do and he laid a couple of ministries on my heart, Shades of Grace, Engage Tri-Cities, to do a little extra for our secret God Child and to make and give more blankets to chemo/ hospice patients at the hospital. I am not writing this to say, “hey look at me and what I’m doing!” Because honestly I was selfish and planning to use it all on myself. But, I was reminded of what “our elf”, Clyde, did last night. Well, what mommy elf did. Haha! The elf wrote the kids a note to remind them the real reason of Christmas and actually brought them a gift. And at the end of the note it said, “now, what can you give to someone?”

 

This time of year and anytime of year really, our focus should be giving to people of our time, money, and talents that we have. My pastor has preached on this and today it just hit me that I have a huge opportunity to think of others and not of myself.

 

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35

 

I am BLESSED! Truly, truly blessed. We have shelter, vehicles, food, heat and air, jobs, spending money, people who love us, and usually buy whatever we need.

 

I was reminded...It is more blessed to give them to receive. I don’t need the gift card. Yes, I wanted it and was excited. But I am even more excited now because of what God laid on my heart. You can tell God no. And I’ve done it before. It’s not a great feeling and it ate me alive.

 

Today I wanted to say, no God...I help people, iI helped someone yesterday an even this morning and this is mine. But, he knows best. And you know what. I can’t wait to see how this money blesses other people. I can’t wait to see how this gift that I was gifted will be used to help more than just one person, but many!

 

Remember that the greatest gift was given to us and as we celebrate HIM during time of year I hope we can be givers. Full of joy and love.

 

Give this week! And next week!

Be GIVERS!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Comfort

A cough! The annoying tickle in your throat. The horrible feeling. You can’t sleep unless on a mountain of pillows sitting straight up. And then you just can’t sleep. You can take medicine, different concoctions, use humidifiers, oils, and breathing treatments, but you still cough. It’s just plain horrible. I had a cough for about two weeks and MJ is going on three weeks. I never actually felt bad, but would just cough a lot. Never a fever, just a dry, hacky, continuous cough.

 

Now, stay with me here. No, we’re not just going to talk about coughs..haha! But I do want to tell you about MJ and when she was 4 months old. She got this terrible cough. It was horrible. We started breathing treatments, she was on antibiotics, which she hated. And I would sit in the shower at 2:00 in the morning and allow the steam to open up her airway. I would hold her and keep her upright. This cough was terrible and every time someone would hear it they would be like, oh poor thing. Is she sick? Have you taken her to the doctor?

 

Now, I figured it was a one time deal cough. Nope! She gets that cough every time she is sick with a cold. Unfortunately! As I lay here in bed with her. Just finishing a breathing treatment, oils in the diffuser, and the humidifier going. I realize how much she needs me. How she needs me to help her through things and to help her seek relief. She relies on me to be the boo boo fixer.

 

Our Father in Heaven is like that. When something is going wrong he leads us to people, places, his word and allows us to see how we can seek relief, peace, and happiness. But also, the enemy tries to attack us. And places doubts, worries, and even thoughts in our head that can lead us astray. See children see it differently. They believe in things they can’t see. They believe that mommy’s kisses heal and daddy’s hugs make it better. They believe!

 

When MJ wakes up in the middle of the night she will pat around the bed until she finds me. I think of adults like this when the world is throwing so much at us... we pat around and try to find answers and we sometimes search for awhile because of what we are searching for we seem to not be able to find. We have the enemy who is tempting us. Hurting us! Causing trouble! And making life hard.

 

See when she finds me In the bed...she snuggles up really close and I hear a sigh of relief. It’s exactly what she needs, to be comforted. What do you need to be comforted?

 

Here’s the deal. We seek comfort in a lot of things. Sometimes it’s a blanket. Sometimes it’s a person. Sometimes it’s food. And honestly, it can be anything that we see or make that leads us to believe is helping to comfort us. And believe me. I truly think having something to comfort you, calm you, and help you is needed. But, should it take over the ONE TRUE COMFORTER, Jesus? No!

 

Simply, No! However we allow it. We seek out things that we have been told will comfort us and we take it and go with it. He tells us in his word that he gave us a comforter, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us and is here for us. He states this in John 14:16. He doesn’t leave us alone. And let us all say AMEN to that. Because loneliness does not belong in the life of a follower, not saying that it can’t happen, but it doesn’t belong there. Feeling comfort from the Holy Spirit brings a peace upon us. Like MJ, who finds comfort in knowing her mom hasn’t left her side. She can relax! She doesn’t have to panic! She has been comforted.

 

So, if you are going through something in your life and it’s like MJ’s cough. Annoying, keeping you up, not allowing you to rest fully, and maybe just causing problems. Find comfort in the one that is the true comforter and allow him to wrap you up and fill you with what he has to give. We can find a temporary comfort in things of this world, but it will be nothing like what he gives us.

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

I’m Ready!

A little mini get-a-away! Yes please! My parents invited us to go to Pigeon Forge with them the week of Thanksgiving for a couple of days and we decided...yep, We’re going. Well, me and the kids. Vaughn had to work. Boo! I know. Anyways, God used a little boy riding a roller coaster at Dollywood, in the dark, to show me something. And it has been going through my head non stop.

 

See, Wade loves rides. He is a little on the shorter side, thanks to my genes, but is finally 42 inches and he is able to ride more things at DollyWood and other places. He was so excited and kept asking what rides he could ride. He asked about every roller coaster and for some he wasn’t quiet tall enough yet, but there were two new ones that he could ride and this made his day.

 

We got in the first roller coaster quick. It’s the little one, but he loves it. And as I was trying to put my arm around him. He said, “mommy I’m okay. I’m not scared”. He wasn’t and screamed and laughed the whole time.

 

Next, we went to the roller coaster he has asked about every time. The Fire Chaser! Now, it was dark. And this one was a 35 minute wait. It goes backwards also. He was determined to ride and get on this coaster. So, we waited! For what seemed like forever. Finally made it to the front of the line and got in the second row line. He was nervous and I asked him if he wanted to ride and he said, “oh yeah!” As we got in our seat and we got our lap restraints on he just looked at me and said, “I’m ready!” Well, at that moment I didn’t see a little boy. I saw a big boy who was being brave and was expecting something so grand from this coaster because he had waited for so long to be able to ride. He was determined and was ready.

 

God at that moment just revealed to me and over the last week that we, as his people, have an opportunity each day to say, “I’m ready Lord!” But most of them time we just go about our same old routine. And we just get stuck in a rut. For one, it’s what we are used to. Two, we have to do it or need to. And third, we like being in control and knowing what is going on. Right? But sometimes, we’re going to have to do something different, act different, and truly mean and say, I’m ready God! Send me! Use me!

 

Being brave, bold, and willing can be a challenge. We don’t want to leave our comfortable house, comfy clothes, our routine, our friends, etc. I know! I get it! I’m right there with you. I love my routines. But, we have to ask ourselves does God want us to take a a leap of faith? What is he asking?

 

The coaster was Wade’s Favorite. The look on his face was precious. Hearing him yell, laugh, and say, this is awesome...made it all worth it. Now it could have been the opposite. Which happens!! Tears, screaming, trying to get out. Seeking help from people. But, thank goodness it wasn’t. But this again reminded me of life. We have two reactions we can take and when God is calling us to do something we can GO, put on our big girl panties,and GO. Yeah it might not be great. It might be horrible. It might even look like a hot mess. But it could also be amazing and crazy good. It could also be tiring and emotional, but happy and joyful. Get the picture..if we say yes it might not be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but if we say no....it won’t be either and could be even worse.

 

We have to take the first step to see what is on the other side. Sometimes it’s the best and other times not. But, if God is asking you to do something then what is stopping you? Excuses? Time? People? I’m telling you that it is scary, but listen and know what God is saying to you.

 

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

 

Wade could have rode the little coaster and probably have been happy, but he took the chance. He allowed fear to pass and excitement to come. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what God is calling you to do. I almost didn’t let Wade ride the roller coaster because it was dark, it went backwards, and it was an intense coaster. I thought he would be afraid so I kept asking and telling him...You know it goes backwards, right? You know there’s fire? You know it’s fast? I was trying to prepare him, but also I realized I could have placed doubts in his mind. And caused him to believe he couldn’t do it.

 

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

 

Don’t hold people back if they are being called by God. Pray for them! Pray for them to know his will. If he is telling you something simply say, okay God...I’m ready! Show me! Help me! Use me! Prepare me! Instruct me!

 

Is God asking you to get off the little coaster and on the something bigger? Not literally...haha! But use this with things in your life. Pray about it! Ask God to show and speak to you about how to be bold, willing, and prepare you for what is coming. If he is telling you do to do something don’t allow the fear to come. I love the song by Zach Williams, Fear is a Liar. It is! And it can control us and what we do if we allow it.

 

Don’t allow fear to hold you back! Don’t allow excuses to hold you back! Simply say, I’m ready!

 

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Unplug

Have you ever unplugged yourself? Truly unplugged from social media, television, radio. Everything! Well, I never have completely and I think it would probably be one of the most amazing things, but also one of the hardest.

 

I want to say that I would be able to do this, but honestly I don’t know for how long. I find listening to people’s stories about when they were little and how they played outside and made mud pies, ran and walked everywhere, and played all day. I wish we could have just an inch of that back. And yes! I know we can still go make mud pies and play outside, but there is a part of me that longs to know what it was like before technology and live without it.

 

I know, crazy! I love my air conditioning and heat. I love to know things also. I’m Very thankful. But, the more I think about what social media, movies, tv, and radio do to us..I just get overwhelmed and upset. For those of you on Facebook..you know what I mean. I unfollow people all the time. Sorry, not sorry! Haha! It’s one of those love, hate relationships. I love seeing babies and families, but I’m not interested in the crazy, horrible side of Facebook. You know what I’m talking about. The one that makes you want to delete it. Yep!

 

I have to take breaks from social media and there are times during the day that my family doesn’t touch the tv, iPad, or phone, but I can honestly say I have never been truly unplugged from technology. All the negative that comes with technology, of course there is a ton of positive. I mean we are super advanced and continuing to do amazing things, but as I have said before we are raising generations of kids who only know technology, to just care for themselves only, and have the mentality that they can be who or whatever they want no matter what. And let me just say, that’s just scary.

 

We need to unplug from the world and plug into Jesus. And some might think that sounds corny, but I’m telling you if we don’t and we don’t teach our children too. It’s only going to get worse.

 

Unplugging yourself...what does that look like? Well, it’s hard and but needed. And it doesn’t have to be a complete..I’m done with it all. Start small and even stay small! Don’t look at your phone when you first get up and don’t use if for an hour...Don’t turn on the tv. Just have a free morning! Don’t listen to the radio on the way to work. Just use that time to talk to God or have time for yourself. There are things we can do and eliminate. We have just gotten in the habit of doing it. It’s our routine. It takes 30 days to break a habit or so I’m told. And I’m not saying do this everyday, but if you need or want to.. great!! Unplugging yourself for a time is refreshing.

 

One morning after my kids woke up I told them we were going to read a morning book and read a scripture from the Bible. They said yay! When will you turn the tv on though? Hahaha! I said later after breakfast. Usually I try to do one or two days a week where we have a quiet morning. It’s hard and not easy for them or me, but it’s needed. We were in a habit of turning the tv on as soon as we woke up. And we still do some mornings, but it’s calming not to have that going on in the background some mornings. And other mornings it’s my sanity and how I’m able to accomplish anything..shew!

 

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

 

I want to make wise choices and raise children who will think wisely. I want to raise my children to know more and do more than be on their phone, watch tv, play video games, and just be consumed by these worldly things. We have allowed these things into our homes, but we can limit them and model how to use them appropriately and wisely.

 

We don’t need to be on our phone, computers, or other devices constantly. We aren’t going to miss anything, well we are truthfully. We are missing what is happening right in front of our eyes. And it’s heart breaking. Yes...I ‘m convicted of this because I do it. And yes I want to do better. Not just for me, but for my children.

 

So, where do I start?  Put the phone down. Turn the tv off. And just do Life. I mean it definitely won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Try unplugging yourself from social media, tv, radio..and plug yourself into family, reading, quiet time, games, outside, adventures, cooking, crafts..whatever you want to do. Let’s not be consumed by something of this world but by God and what he has for us. And listen, I’m not saying don’t connect with the world. But, focus on your little world more, so it can help change this world.

 

Let’s unplug!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Prayer

Have you ever prayed so hard for something that you expect God to be a magic genie and say your wish is my command? We view prayer like this sometimes and unfortunately miss out on a huge opportunity that we have to connect and be with God. When we have this view we have a huge misconception of who God is and what prayer is intended for.

 

See, I know we want answers, we need to see things change, or we want things to happen immediately. But prayer is so much more and is something that we take for granted. The Bible is full of scripture that instructs us, tells us, and allows us to see prayer for what it is. We can read the examples of prayer God gave us. And we can see the power of prayer throughout the entire Bible. But really what is prayer and how to we need to view it?

 

Prayer is our communication, life line, with God. It’s our time to connect and share. To listen and hear. It’s the part of the relationship that is needed. I tell my youth this all the time....do you talk with your friends? If they never talked with you would you be able to know what was going on? No! Would you even be friends?

 

Prayer is our time with God. We have a direct line at all times and there is beauty in that. We can go to him at anytime and talk with him about anything. We can bring our sadness, anger, happiness, struggles, praises, and even just tell him about our day. He’s our daddy. He wants to hear from us. Prayer is one of those things that we take for granted and then when we need to pray we’re all about it.

 

Do you have a imitate prayer life?

 

Do you only pray in times of need?

 

What does your prayer life look like?

 

Be honest with yourself and answer those questions. The good news is that if you are slacking and only praying when you have a need...that can change and it can change today.

 

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

 

When we begin to view our prayer life as a part of our day and to strengthen our relationship, and not just a chore that we must complete, it changes completely. We need to put value and time into prayer. It doesn’t have to be all fancy. Doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be big words. Listen, God wants us to draw near to him and for us to pray. Just like in the verse above...let your requests be known to God. But something we must remember and be encouraged by is praying for his will to be done..not ours. And here is where we get caught up sometimes. And we get discouraged.

 

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 1 John 5:14 ESV

 

God hears us, but when we ask for things like healing and that healing isn’t a part of his will we have to understand and know that he is using this for something and there is a greater plan that we can’t see. But we pray for God to show us and we continue to pray for the healing in our lives or others. We pray! We pray for his will to be done. I’m learning this right now.

 

As I have prayed for God to take this pain that I have or for the doctors to be able to tell me for sure what it is. I know God is preparing and his will is better than mine. So, I will continue to pray and wait for God. And it’s hard. Very hard. But, I am at peace and know that my prayers are being heard. And God will answer this prayer in his time.

 

When things go wrong and we don’t understand why, because we prayed for them to be different, It’s hard. We want happiness, healing, strength, and we don’t want bad to happen. But our sin and this world...it will happen. I fully believe in miracles. And I know God can and is able to perform a miracle at any point. So, we pray believing and knowing that he can do anything. We pray and we pray for his will to be done. In Luke, Jesus prayed Not my will, but yours be done. Our example, Jesus showed us and modeled for us. He modeled prayer for us in Matthew and showed us how to pray and where.

 

My mom told me while she had her first cancer diagnosis that she knelt in her room to pray. Tears, Prayers, anger, sadness, happiness was all placed on her knees on this pillow that she knelt upon as she prayed to God. I’m sure she prayed for healing, for her family, for her life, for the doctors, and for God’s will to be done. That pillow was a special place, I’ll put it that way. The minute our knees hit that pillow we felt that it was a place of prayer. I know, crazy! But true! This was a place of an intimate prayer life.

 

Prayer is important and as followers we should be desperate to talk to our father and come to him continuously. It’s an honor to be able to talk with him and him listen to us. And he is listening. I’m so thankful!

 

So, prayer! I encourage you to pray and I encourage you to establish time with God daily. The peace that I feel can only come from him. I tell him everything and I know he is with me and hears me.

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Be Bold!

United we stand, divided we fall!

 

Last night I had the privilege of taking some of my youth group to hear Sadie Robertson on her Live Original Tour. She is such an amazing speaker and has a way about her that just makes you feel comfortable and like you are listening to your best friend talk. There was so much goodness spoken last night, but there was a couple of things that have been replaying in my mind.

 

Have you had that happen before? You can’t stop thinking about what was said or to just want to tell someone. Well, this was me today. One thing that totally stood out to me last night was the statement, “United we stand, divided we fall”.

 

Now, I have heard this a billion times, but for someone reason God kept waking me and telling me this. We are so focused on the hatred in this world that we are forgetting the love. Yes, there are horrible, terrible things that are happening daily. But if we always focus and bring attention to those things...what happens? More horrible, terrible things! Honestly, it’s sad that when you turn on your tv or look on the internet the first thing you see is negative things. We are creating a culture that’s focus is on self instead of being united together. And more importantly being united in Christ.

 

The Bible tells us we are called to be a light in the darkness. I told my youth this on Wednesday and Sadie spoke to it last night. If we join together and are all lights shining brightly can you imagine what would happen????? Like oh my goodness! It would be a beautiful, amazing thing. If we would step out of our comfortable zone and use the freedom we have been given in Christ we would start to see unity. What a picture that would be? Can you imagine if all followers of Jesus would rise up and be bold, what that would look like? Mic drop! Jaw drop moment!

 

As I sat there I felt challenged, which is always good, but also into a territory where you are like, that’s okay God...I’ll stay right where I am. Right? Haha! Here lies the problem. Too many people are stuck. God is telling them to do something, be something, say something, but they choose excuses. I know I have been there and done that and let me just say this, if God is calling you to do something....Be bold! Be willing! Expect God to do big things. BIG THINGS! When we allow ourselves to be a vessel and be used by Christ. When we serve and not want to be served. When we chose love and not hate....we will see unity.

 

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV

 

Sadie shared with us about perfect unity. The garden before the fall of man. One day we will have perfect unity again. But until Jesus calls us home. We can work towards uniting together for Christ. Fighting! Serving! And being uncomfortable! We are called to be more. So how can you be more, do more? What is God calling you to do? Are you willing? Let’s unite together and be the body of Christ. 

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Not Mine, But Yours!

Have you ever been scared to step out in faith? To not do what “YOU” want to do and allow God to show you and use you. It can be one of the scariest moments of your life and it can also be one of the best.

 

We live a society that is so ME driven. The main focus is how to get ahead, help yourself and people only think of themselves. I’m not saying all are this way, but the majority of them have this problem. It’s sad to see that people are so focused on themselves that they miss the big picture and what God has for them.

 

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:7 ESV

 

I loved my job teaching. I was a second grade teacher for 5 years. I had amazing co workers and loved being with “my kids”. After having Wade, things became different and it was hard on me. Leaving him each day and not being around caused me to feel guilty and I wanted to be there. I knew I wouldn’t get these years back. I prayed! I prayed for God to show me and open doors so that I could stay at home. This was a desire I had. I wasn’t sure if it would be possible, but He did! Doors were opened for my husband. And through that job promotion I was able to stay home and be with my baby and now babies. However, I was terrified.

 

It was not something I had ever done and I absolutely loved what I did and where God had put me. So, I talked with people, prayed, prayed, and prayed some more and came to the decision that I would resign from my position. It was a hard decision and at first when I walked out the door and turned in my key I had that moment of, what are you doing??! You were getting ready to get tenure. You worked with an amazing team! You had a great job in a great county. You messed up! Go back in and say you messed up and want your job back. That was the enemy. He didn’t want me at home with my family. He didn’t want me to start working at a church with a youth group. He didn’t want me to grow closer to God. I got in my car and drove away with the last load of my teaching things and begin my new journey. I heard in my ear all the positive comments people had made and I cried the whole way home. When I got home I saw Wade. I saw what everyday was going to look like. I saw my future.

 

I still remember the first day of school starting back and I took Wade to lunch and to the park. Yes, I missed my kids and having a classroom and working with some of the best people ever. But God confirmed it on that day that I was right where I needed to be. And flash forward to a couple months later... we find out we were pregnant! Surprise!!! Literally, surprise! Two babies and a mommy who has a flexible schedule and can watch her babies grow.

 

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

 

Now, it’s not been easy. Some days are super hard and I’m like okay God I’ll go back to teaching..haha! But honestly I have been super blessed and so humbled by getting this privilege. And I’m so thankful that I listened to what God wanted and took the leap. It was difficult. We went from two incomes to one, but God has blessed us and continued to promote Vaughn. Yes, there have been challenges with this from weekly trips and being away from his family or late nights working. But, I’m thankful God knew and prepared me for such a time is this.

 

So, if God is telling you to quit your job..do it! If he is telling you to foster or adopt..do it! If he is telling you to go serve in another country or become a missionary.. do it! If he’s telling you to change jobs.. do it! If he’s telling you to stay where you are.. do it! Pray! Read scripture! Talk with other believers. Pray and Fast! Pray for God’s will to be revealed to you and your family. Listen and know!

 

God’s plan is greater than ours. We have to allow him to direct us and through tour relationship with him, prayer, fellowship with other believers, scripture we can know what he wants for us. Not what we want for ourselves which can lead us down paths that can mess us up!

 

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Don’t eat that!

 

Why is food so good and dieting the worst thing in the world? Honestly, I have come to hate that word, “dieting”, and have been telling myself make healthy choices. Now, do I always do this...NO! But, I could definitely do better. And need to do better.

 

It’s so hard. And it’s something I have dealt with since middle school. Watching my weight has always been something I have had to do. I have done weight watchers 2 times and it worked, but again once you change your lifestyle and go back to old routines. Well, you get in your old routine. And it’s so easy to do. I do good for awhile and then think I need to reward myself and boom! I fall down the rabbit hole.

 

Anyone else with me? I told my cousin a couple of weeks ago that I had fallen off the bandwagon and just kept bouncing, haha! It’s funny, but it’s not. It’s hard! So hard. It’s hard physically and emotionally. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and notice your clothes are tighter or you don’t even want to look at yourself. It’s hard to see yourself in pictures. It’s hard to think about all the changes that you will have to make to be able to lose weight. And then when don’t lose weight you give up and go back to your routine. It’s just plain hard. This is where I have been.

 

Over the last year I have tried different things and would lose a little weight but nothing major and since I didn’t see a lot of change I would start to fall back into old habits. Because that’s what they are. Did you know that it takes 30 days to break a habit? A straight 30 days. I have done so good before giving up sugar, tea, bread, or whatever else it may be. And then after 2-3 months when I’m not seeing big changes. I give up! I get upset because I don’t look like all my other friends. That they can pretty much eat whatever they want and still be skinny, fit. And then there’s me. I can look at bread, a cookie and well....I gain! Geez! And I know I’m throwing a pitty party, but sometimes you just have to.

Here’s what I know and I’m beginning to pray.

 

God, You made me who I am. I am your creation beautifully and wonderfully made. I am needing guidance and help on this journey and I want to treat my body as it should be to give it what it needs. Help me to resist temptations of food and enjoy healthy alternatives. Help my family to be supportive and to encourage me along in this. Help me to be mindful of my choices and allow me to make good decisions when it comes to my body. Help me to feel good to exercise and not have the side pain that comes and goes through the days. Lord, send me an accountability partner someone that is going through this same thing. I need someone who can encourage and uplift me especially on days when I just want to fill my face with all the sugary goodness this world offers. I pray that you will provide me with strength when I am presented with the sugary goodness and I can resist. I pray that I will not be hard on myself and will see beauty.  Thank you God for helping me to see my weaknesses and I pray that I find strength to make the change that is needed.

 

29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 ESV

 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalms 32:8 ESV

 

It’s hard and not easy. The temptations of food are hard. But, we can do this! A day at a time. We will have good days and bad ones. We will have days when we fail. But there’s a new day the next day. Start over!

 

If you are struggling and need a partner to help you through this journey I would love to be that person. Send me a comment or email me at zhrh13@goldmail.etsu.edu. We can enocourage each other and keep each other accountable.

Love and Prayers,

Holly

The Struggle Bus

Oh the struggle bus! I mean, it’s not a real bus, but it’s a phrase I have been using here pretty often. See the struggle bus is best described as a place in your life when you just aren’t moving forward and you seem to just be...well struggling! You just keep riding and riding and you never get off.

 

Lately the kids have been fighting. Now, I know this is just the beginning and that things will only get worse, but y’all it’s no fun some days. I’m an only child. I didn’t have this problem growing up. I had cousins that I saw and of course friends, but to have someone with me all the time and to have to share, I just didn’t have to do that. I never imagined it would be this intense at age 4 and 2. I wanted my kids to have someone to grow up with and I want to have more kids...well most days I do. Haha! But, the fighting, screaming, and the constant mommy, mommy, mommy...well it just gets to me some days!

 

And hence the struggle bus!

 

Honestly here lately no matter what I say, threaten, or do they just keep doing what i told them not to do. Geez! Why? I don’t know, but what I do know is I want to establish peace in my home and allow my kids to understand this ain’t working. So, what can we do? Well first off, we must establish rules and discipline within our house. Second, prayer! Pray for your babies each day, all day, everyday! Third, take a breath, chill out, and remember you’re not alone in this.

 

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. And I’m sure that I’m not the only one to lose my cool when it comes to an all day, constant, no sharing, picking on one another day. But after saying no a billion times, be nice to one another, and multiple time outs, you just kinda go crazy..and then feel the guilt. The wonderful mom guilt that rushes in. That makes you feel like so small and like a terrible person.

Shew! I’m telling you the struggle bus.....so, how can we not get to that place of mom guilt? That’s the question I want to answer and I truly believe it can be answered.

 

I love to talk to other parents and get their side and their life with their kids. Getting advice from others can sometimes be the best thing because sometimes you have exhausted all that you know and do. It’s important to be open and try everything even establishing new rules and new discipline strategies. Because let’s be honest we are creatures of habit and once in a routine we grow comfortable. So, I definitely think that switching things up can be a help and beneficial especially when you feel nothing is working. We’ll try anything especially if what we are doing isn’t working.

 

Prayer! Me and the kids pray every morning for their day and we always say for them to love each other, to help one another, to share and listen to others, and to make good choices even when they don’t want to. Yes they still make bad choices, don’t share all the time, and hurt each other’s feelings, but I will continue to pray and continue to encourage my kids to pray no matter how hard the day might be. Give it to God and allow him to fill you with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The fruits of the spirit! It tells us these in Galatians 5:23-24 and I pray that I can be filled with these in good times and bad. It times of sadness and happiness and that I can portray these to my kids and the world.

 

There are going to be bad times in parenthood..and on those days it’s best for you to take a minute. And some of you are like...ummmm I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself yet. Haha! I feel ya! But try to take a minute to yourself. Try! Even if it’s turning on some music and telling the kids to have a dance party. Turning on the tv or letting the kids watch the iPad. Getting a babysitter or asking for help from family. Take a minute for you and allow yourself to regroup. We can only take so much and it’s okay to say...I’ve had a bad, long day and I need a minute. That’s not weak...that’s strong!

 

So, don’t stay on the struggle bus. Get off of it and be strong. Be strong in teaching your kids right from wrong. Be strong in prayer and be strong in taking care of you. You are an amazing creation and so are your kids. We all make bad choices and have struggles but find your strength in God and fill yourself with the fruits of the spirit. Pray these over yourself and your kids and pray for God to fill your hearts with them. Because the struggle bus is no where to stay

.

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Lies!

Being told a lie is never what we want. It’s the worst feeling in the world to know someone lies to you or is telling lies about you.

 

You know who’s a liar? The enemy, Satan, The Devil.. whatever you want to call him. He’s the father of lies. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy us. And the sad part of this is sometimes he does. He can get into our head and put things there. He can have other people say things that might make us mad or get us thinking. He is at work and doesn’t quit. Does he tell you lies? Do you listen to them?

 

Unfortunately, we do sometimes. And it gets to us. It affects us. It causes us to doubt, question things. It causes anxiety, stress, or other emotions that can come about like anger and sadness. When he attacks and we allow him to fill our mind with lies we begin to feel unworthy and unloved...but oh goodness, children of the King listen up because there can be good news in the darkness. Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:5 NASB

 

The light, Jesus, is there!!!! You are God’s and you can’t be plucked from his hand. You have the amour of God. You are clothed with strength and dignity and you laugh without fear of the future. We are called his children! We are HIS! So let’s talk about this because the enemy is at work and we see it everyday. Families being torn apart by divorce. People committing suicide because they are depressed. Children being abducted and taken. Parents consumed by drugs and alcohol because of addiction. Bullying that causes kids to question if they are loved, liked, and wanted. I’m telling you the enemy loves to create messes and is loving the chaos he causes. He thrives on it. And we fall right into his web and lose a piece of who we are if we’re not ready and careful.

 

In John 8 it tells us that the enemy was a liar in the Garden of Eden and still is. He hasn’t changed and is still deceiving people just like he did Eve. But God says in his word, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV How do we resist when we feel unworthy, powerless, and like we can’t continue? How do we get up and move when we feel the need to stay put? Yeah, it’s not easy. And we think that revenge, gossiping, belittling someone, or bullying will make us feel “better”. And we start to believe the lies we are told and become something we are not. And it happens so quickly.

 

When I was in high school, and yes it’s been 13 years since I graduated...yikes! Anyways I used to have horrible dreams and I hated to sleep by myself. I remember at night praying over my dreams because I would have nightmares. I remember someone telling me to speak the name of Jesus and pray for Satan to flee. I began to pray nightly and say Jesus when fear would come to mind. In my prayer I would say, Satan flee this room and my head. My nightmares seemed to disappear. My sleep was eased and my mind was clear to sleep. There is power in the name of JESUS!

 

Resisting Satan and asking him to flee! Resisting the need to seek revenge and talking back. Resisting the urge to give a smart aleck comment. Resisting our sinful nature!! Pray for Satan to flee from the situation, place, area whatever it might be and speak Jesus over it. His name has healed, saved, and completely changed this world. Just say Jesus!

 

These lies that we are told by the enemy can be hard to hear.... You’re not good enough, pretty enough, strong enough, tall enough. You’re not skinny enough or smart enough. You’re not who they want! You’re not God’s! Let’s make these truths!!

I am beautifully and wonderfully made.

I am God’s temple and he dwells inside of me.

God sent his only son for me and I am wanted.

We are his and we can never be plucked from his hand.

 

Speak the word back at the enemy! Put scripture everywhere. Memorize it! And allow it to flow out of you. And when he attacks, be ready!!!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Life’s Struggles

Anyone’s kids have meltdowns or breakdowns when you ask them to do something? Or just because they feel like it. Goodness! It can definitely be an emotional, upsetting, embarrassing time. You’re thinking..Why are you acting this way? What in the world? Everything you say or do is just the end of the world and their little life is falling apart. Right? And they seem to think you can solve it but you are looking at them like I have no idea why you are this upset and literally screaming and laying in the floor. Been there, done that? I have many times and it never gets easier.

 

When Wade turned 4 his tantrums ,as we will call them, just turned and became different. It was like a switch went off in his head and it was time to start acting like a complete...well, fool. I mean, sometimes I just leave him and wait till he realizes he is acting a fool. But, there are times that I try to aid him that end up resulting in me yelling and getting upset and then that causes him to do the same or get worse.

 

Raising kids is hard. No one tells you about the days when you will look at your kid and think,what are you? Haha! And you might want to crawl behind a rock and just lay there because you’re embarrassed. I’ve been there and know many people who have. And this is the part of parenting that is the hardest. The struggles of parenting!

 

We all struggle with something whether it’s getting our kids to eat good food and drink water, not letting them watch too much tv or iPad, cleaning up or doing chores, wearing clothes that match, or listening to us when we say something. Kids can be struggles. And it can be hard to see that these struggles won’t last and new struggles will be beginning. We will be hit with dating, relationships, decisions that are good and bad, them leaving us, and not listening to us when we say something..haha! That will remain the same. Whether you have a little kid or a big kid we all have struggles that we go through with them. The struggles we go through with our kids when they are small will seem the worst because we are in them. When you’re going through it, it seems like it will never end and will continue to be a struggle. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel because we are so focused on what is happening but there is a light.

 

Looking back on things we can see how God was at work. How he’s in it and using us. How he prepared us and allowed us to face and go through things. At the time it seems unfair and we question why? But, there is a plan. And it’s not ours. And that can be hard to understand.

 

Whatever struggle your going through whether it’s with your kids, marriage, job, sickness, or just with yourself...believe me when I say this.....It’s going to be hard for a time. But in those hard times and moments speak out scripture and prayer. Get in the habit of speaking truth!

 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Pslams 46:1 ESV

 

17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Pslams 34:17-18 ESV

 

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV

 

In these times when we feel depleted he asks us to cry out to him. He is made strong in our weakness and he wants us to give it to him. He is our strength. These breakdowns the kids are having are making me feel crazy sometimes and it makes me become something that I regret. I don’t want to be that mom. It hurts my heart when I allow myself to go to that place, but this mom can only take so much and when I’ve been with the kids all day long...sometimes I just lose it. I’m being completely blunt and honest here. It happens! And it’s okay because I’m not perfect, but I don’t want to lose self control of my mouth or actions I want to speak truth and life into my kids while also being a parent that disciplines and shows them that we have consequences for things we do. And it’s not okay to act like a complete insane person. Right? Haha! 

 

So, my struggle may not be the same as yours, but whatever it is I truly believe that we can get through it one day at a time and with prayer! And talking with others. Because we all got struggles! Amen!

 

So pray in those time of struggle. Speak truth and wisdom through your mouth. Go to the Bible and search the scriptures and ask God to reveal to you what your heart needs. Don’t just sit and stew in your anger and sadness and allow the enemy to win. Don’t allow it to take you over and become your focus. Just pray! Give it all to God!

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

I’ll do it later!

For the last couple of weeks I have been trying to find my groove or get my groove back into my daily routine of bible study, scripture reading, and time for God without interruptions or me having excuses. And I have failed! Many, many times! I have made excuses each day and have allowed or convinced myself that MY stuff is more important and you know what. It’s not!!!

My relationship with God is more important than anything I plan, do, or say. It takes precedent over all things or it should.

 

So, my excuses! Here you go! I need to make the kids lunches. I don’t have time to read that scripture this morning or look at that devotion. Oh, I need to fold the clothes during nap time and watch my shows I missed. I’ll do my quiet time later. Another one and this one...gosh! I just have a busy week so I’m going to take some time for me. Yes, all legitimate and real excuses, but I missed the part that starts my day off and puts me in the right spirit. I missed the opportunity many times last week to draw closer to God because I waved the flag of excuses. Anyone understand what I’m feeling? I feel guilt as I write this and know that I am in the wrong.

 

So, I’m getting back on track and not just in a routine, but daily interaction and time with God. I love doing a daily verse and the You Version Bible App does this for you. It sends it to you first thing in the morning. Usually what I do is I read that scripture and then read the chapter that the verse is in. Like today’s was: 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. James 1:13-14 ESV

 

I started my day with this and prayed for temptations this morning that they would be removed and that my body, mind, and heart would resist my own desires hat can sometimes lure me into destruction. The Devotional I have been doing each day is Pressing Pause! A 100 quiet moments for moms and I am really enjoying it and love where it takes me. I do a couple of 5 day Bible studies or devotionals on You Version also. I have different ones. I have done Ruth studies, mom studies, listening to God...etc. If you don’t have the app you need it. It has so much and has different versions of the Bible. It’s a great resource!

 

My daily life looks different when I start with God and continue throughout the day with him. And there’s a quote that my mom has had in her bathroom for forever and it always comes to mind when I focus too much on me and not enough on God. It says:

 

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day. I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t take the time to pray. Problem just tumbled about me and heavier came each task. Why doesn’t God help me? I wondered he said, “my child you didnt ask.” I wanted see to joy and beauty but the day toiled on gray and bleak. I wondered why God didn’t show me. He said, "But you didn't seek." I tried to come into God's presence; I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, "My child, you didn't knock." I woke up early this morning, and paused before entering the day; I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

 

Let’s  take time to pray and be in the word. And encourage one another to do so. Let’s hold each other accountable. 

 

Love and Prayer,

Holly

He says!

Have you ever felt not needed or that you didn’t have any value? Like you were worthless to a group of people or that they didn’t really want you or love you. It hurts! It causes us pain and puts us in a place where we think we aren’t good enough. We try to question what it might be that they don’t like about us or why they treated us this way? If you’ve never felt this way I want you to think about someone who has been through this. Because I’m sure we all know “one” that has felt this way.

 

The song, You Say, by Lauren Daigle. If you haven’t heard it go google it now or just read the lyrics, but honestly you need to hear her sing it because she has an amazing voice and her song lyrics hit home. Okay, back to the song. The lyrics provide us with who God says we are.... You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing You say I am strong when I think I am weak You say I am held when I am falling short When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours.

 

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 ESV We are LOVED! Love comes from God and is God. So even when we have been hurt and damaged by people... God is saying I love you! I want you. Come to me because I am love! Remain in him.. and not the world!

 

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:29 ESV He wants to us to call out to him when we don’t feel strong. Because truth is we are strong in him. Our weakness...His Strength! He is made perfect through our weakness. We might feel weak, but we have the strength of God on our side. He is mighty! He is strong!

 

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." Isaiah 41:13 He is holding us through it all. Even when we mess up and create a huge mess. He is there. We can never be plucked from his hand. He is with us!

 

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalms 139:13-14 ESV We are HIS!! He formed and knew us before we were born. It says he knit us in our mother’s womb. When we doubt who we are or why we are here just think about how special you truly are and how you were fearfully and wonderfully made. We are created in his image.

 

He says all this about us. He tells us this in his word. To encourage us, for us to know, and for us to be able to share and tell others.

 

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me in You I find my worth, in You I find my identity. What does he think of us?? That’s what it’s about. He loves us and wants us. Sent his son for us. The opinions of this world will pass away, but HE and HIS WORD will stand forever. We have identity in him and are found in him. Amen!

 

Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet. You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory. This part of the song is where I always just lose it and raise my hands and basically have a full on worship in my car. I’m sure people think I’m crazy, but I have to give him praise. Surrendering all that I and giving him all my failures and also my victories which are only because of him. Through him all things are possible.

 

He makes this mess beautiful! And gosh! I’m so thankful. This week.. read about who God says you are. Read about what Jesus did for us and see yourself as the beautiful creation you are. No matter what people say...he says you are his. Believe who are you in him!

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI

More!

I want more! Have you ever thought those words about something in life? Honestly I think we all are always wanting more of something. More food, love, clothes, purses, time, shoes, etc! We want more,more, more! And of course we live in a society that is driven by this and pursues this. We want what we can’t have. We want what our neighbor has. We want to be like them. Being content is hard. Not just for adults...but kids too!!!!! It’s the hardest thing for them to understand they don’t need another match box car, baby doll, or whatever else. 

But America, because I’ve never lived anywhere else, struggles in this area. I mean, I have to admit when I see a new pair of boots on a website or in store I go through the process of do I need them? They are so cute. Will I wear them? Back and forth! I’m figuring out if I need one more pair. 

Are you with me on this? I have three pairs in my closet, but I’m deciding if I NEED another one. Just one more, right? 

Why aren’t we wanting more and pursing God in this way? Why aren’t we looking at scripture and wanting more if it? Wanting more alone time? Quiet time? More church time (that’s only for Sunday mornings, right? Ha! )I mean we are supposed to want more. More of him! Always wanting more! So, why don’t we refocus our more? 

In Ephesians 3:20 it says,Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. He is able to do more and more and more than our brain can process. When we pray we need to be praying knowing that he can do more than we can ever imagine. More than our minds can comprehend on this earth. 

He is more! 

Have you ever prayed for something? I sure hope so, but if not we come expecting God to hear us. We come knowing that God is able to do what we are asking and is able to do more than we could ever or any person on the earth could do. If we believe and allow him to work through us, we as his people, will be able to do more than we ever thought possible. Why? Because he is more. He is inside of us and wants us to want...more!  

So, wanting more is not a bad thing! Unless it’s another pair of something we already have four colors in. Haha! I know! I’m right here with ya. But we need to refocus our more and allow God to do abundantly more. He is already doing so. We just need to get on the same page.

We really don’t need much in this life to live a life for Christ and do his work. We just need to know that HE is able to do more than we can possibly imagine and he is at work within us. 

God, 

Please help us to know that you are working through us. That you created us for a purpose and you us to want more of your word and love. Help us to crave wanting you more than material things in the world. Help us to know that you can do abundantly more than what we ask or think and encourage us to ask you and pray to you. I pray we come with an expecting heart and knowing you hold us in the palm of your hand. 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Why Be Rude?

What do you do when people are rude to you? Do you blow up at them and allow them to affect you? Do you try to reason with them? Do you try to be the bigger person? I know we have all have had to deal with this and unfortunately it’s just hard. Sometimes we are the rude person. Yep! You know it and sometimes it’s the other way around. But ultimately rude people just plain stink and ruin your day. 

So, I’ve been on vacation and yesterday was a day for rude people. I mean I’m 10 hours from home, but that doesn’t stop people from being who they are. I work at my church as a youth leader and yesterday I had an interaction with a parent through text messages. I left the conversation early in the day thinking we were good and that she understood what I was saying. Oh boy! Was I wrong!!!! She did the opposite of what I said and caused a chain of events to happen and she ended up involving other staff at my church. She was rude with her words, she was mad, and she was saying things that were uncalled for and probably things she will regret. I was trying to handle the situation from here and unfortunately the other staff members got the worst part. 

Why be rude? Why do we do this? When we feel threatened or when things don’t go our way, we react! Right? 

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.  Proverbs 29:11 ESV 

When we don’t have self control....I mean a lot of things can happen. We have to be able to know what to say, how to say it, and not lose ourself because things don’t go our way. 

I don’t always do this! I’m working on it. And yesterday as much as I wanted to react...I didn’t! I wanted to call this person and be just like her. But I didn’t. Did I react? Yes!! I cried! Because I wasn’t there and felt helpless this was happening. I got upset and then settled myself and realized that getting upset and venting to this person would only result in a worse outcome. And I ended the conversation with love for the student! 

28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 35:28 ESV

So, I know it’s hard to be the bigger person and not lash back with a smart aleck comment, but having self control and not responding as the world would is what we are called to do. It’s a lot easier to react and be like them then to be like Jesus. But we must train and prepare and be aware for these moments. It won’t be easy! And I know this won’t be the last encounter I will have, but I learned and will continue to learn. I pray to be like Christ in all aspects of my life. I know I will fail, but I’m going to try my best to not let my anger, words, actions control who I am. I am a child of God. Through him I can do all things. Praying for those moments of opposition! 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly 

 

We NEED to Love!

What is one of the most difficult things to do in life? Any ideas! Well, I know for me and I’m going to be honest. To love ALL people. To love the people that make horrible decisions. To love the people that hurt you. To love the people that are different than you, really different. To love people who are in politics. To love people who lie. To love people who get high or get drunk and then get in a car. To love people who give up their child or don’t take care of them. To love people...You know what? It’s hard. Just plain hard. It’s one of the most difficult things to do, honestly! 

 

Let me start off by saying this. Loving people is something we are commanded to do. In the Bible it talks about Loving your neighbor as yourself. This is not just talking about the person beside you, but every person you meet, know, and don’t know. We are to give them respect, love, and our attention even if they are completely opposite of us. And woah! That’s hard. It’s hard for me to be kind to someone who has chosen drugs over their child. It’s hard for me to show love to someone who beat their wife and has no remorse. How do we do this? How do we follow through with God’s command. He tells us in John chapter 13 verse 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." He tells us that we are loved, so we must show others love so they can see we are his. When we act like we don’t love people who are we allowing to win.....the enemy! 

 

Oh goodness! He loves this and wants this. He wants to ruin marriages and cause babies to not have their parents. He wants to create a lie and use it to ruin a friendship. He wants you to spread that rumor. He wants you to take that drink or drug and risk your life. He tells you the lie that no one loves you!! He strives on that. And Jesus gave us this word in John that we must show LOVE. Even in the midst of someone cussing you out. Show love! Even in the midst of someone making a wrong decision. Show love! 

How can we do this? Well, like I said it’s not easy and won’t be our first response. But we must learn to pray to love others with a heart that is accepting and capable to love. We are creatures of habit. And when things change or go differently we react. We don’t always want to be around things that have changed or are different. We are uncomfortable...BUT that is where God wants us to be. Who did Jesus hang out with? Yes, the disciples! But, he was around the prostitutes, the diseased, the tax collectors, the people who were outcasts. We aren’t called to be comfortable. And that’s the first place our love journey has to begin. 

 

1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

We have a huge opportunity if we will allow God to use us. If we open up ourselves to love and allow our hearts to truly love our neighbor. I’m talking about the person that you don’t get along with at work. Bring them a coffee and tell them you hope they have a great day. To the person that’s a different religion or that is confused about their sexuality. Pray and be there for them. Be love even though the world tells you  y’all are different. You might not agree with them and that’s okay, but show love. To the person on the side of the road begging for money. Bring them water, food, or dry shampoo. Or give them money! Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru. Be a blessing! Be LOVE! Be someone who they can trust and know is there for them. You never know what someone is truly going through. 

 

Now, some of you are sitting there saying well they are going to take advantage of me and my kindness and get used to me helping and never want to do it on their own. I’m going to be stuck!! Well first of all we don’t go into any situation looking at the negative outcome. That totally changes our attitude and how we love and act, right? So, yes there will be people who take advantage, but we continue to help and pray that God will continue to allow you to help in the situation for as long as possible. This might be where and what God is calling you to do. It might take time, but don’t miss the opportunity he has for you. We pray for them. So, don’t miss it!! 

 

Love! I encourage you to do random acts of love as much as possible. Whether it’s volunteering, helping at church, helping someone in the grocery store, giving money, going to a nursing home, adoption, fostering, going on mission, doing something in your area or another state, or creating a new ministry for people. Whatever God is telling you to do...do it with LOVE. His love is like no other. A love that is indescribable. Let’s allow God to use us, allow his love to pour out of us, and show this world who he is. 

And just like the Beatles sang...Love is all you need! It’s true!  And this world needs love...lots of it. 

Praying for us to love ALL people! 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

I can do it!

Do you ever say the phrase, I can do it? Well, if you have kids I’m sure you have heard them say it. Right? Haha! You sit there and watch them not do it because they don’t know how or they somehow do it and they look at you like, see! Haha! We all can be stubborn and unfortunately it’s one of those things that can be good but mostly just bad. 

I’m stubborn...yep! Bad! I don’t like to have help. I don’t like to be told I’m doing something wrong or did it wrong. I agrue and end up thinking to myself why? Why am I so stubborn? 

 

A couple of months ago I put together a trampoline for my kids...ummm just a two person one with a net. But oh my goodness...the parts and the directions were crazy. I couldn’t get it to work and my husband came over and said you have that on backwards...well I’m sure I rolled my eyes and then said, I did it right it just won’t work. I can’t  remember exactly what I did but this continued until he came and helped put me in the right direction. I never asked him to help... my stubbornness, but without him it wouldn’t been right or finished. And there are a lot more examples...but let's move on.

 

See my daughter is the same. Yeah she’s two! Not good! Haha! Very strong willed. Okay! She got something stuck in her foot last week. We looked at it. We did the baking soda thing and tried to get it out. She went all CRAZY on us. Flopping her body, screaming no, kicking and hitting. My dad said that was you, holly. Great! So, each day we have checked her foot. Worked on it! Been kicked, hit, yelled at..etc. She doesn’t understand even though we tell her what we are doing. She just flips out, overacts, and senses we are doing something and it’s going to hurt. It’s  been tough. But God!! He showed me something through these stubbornness moments we’re having. And believe me..I see now! 

 

I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.” (Ezekiel 11:19)

We are stubborn because we are trying to protect ourselves. We put up a defense. We try to attack back.   We want to be right. And not be seen as someone who doesn’t know something or that is weak. We guard ourselves. But boy, aren’t we missing the big picture. God wants us to not fall into the temptation and sin, but to put on the armour that he has given  us. (Check out Ephesians 6) And he wants us to know that we are not battling against people.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

 

Satan wants to destroy Us. He wants us to lose our cool. He wants us to not forgive. He wants us to be stubborn. He wants us to not let people or God in. He doesn’t want us to accept Jesus. SO, he attacks! And I have let him win so many times. And admitting this breaks my heart. But, I see now that God has equipped me with tools that I can use to defend myself from the enemy. And did you read that last part of the scripture...He came so that we may have LIFE. Thank you, Jesus!

 

Now, this is something that is not going to change over night. Will it take time? Yes! I have been stubborn for 31 years. Haha! Shew! Pray y'all! But through reading his word, praying to him about this weakness (sin), and praying for my children to understand that that is not the way we are supposed to be. Pray that they we can realize when we are allowing it in. I will not let this attitude, affect me and change who I am in Christ. I’ve allowed it for too long. It’s time to let go. (Don’t you think of frozen there) haha! 

 

Praying for all the stubborn people. It’s okay to admit it, but admit it and change it.  And believe me there are sometimes that being stubborn over something is a good trait to have. But when it’s affecting your heart then we must reevaluate and see how God can use this weakness and change it to a strength. He becomes greater in our weaknesses. Allow him to take it.

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

 

Storms

Storms! Some people like them and some hate them. We have storm chasers who love it and people who are out of there the minute you say, there’s a storm coming. Do storms scare you? I’m sure as a child they did. Wade has been scared since around age 2 of thunder and lightning. His eyes grow two sizes and he shakes. He doesn’t like it at all! And MJ has watched her brother so you can guess how she acts...exactly the same.

I was looking at the weather yesterday and was watching how scary the Hurricance Florence looks to be. I told Wade there was a chance that this weekend we could have some rain and storms. And he just looked shocked and scared. He was froze.

It reminded me of things that happen in our life that we aren’t ready for. That’s the look we get. Confused, nervous, scared, and cautious. We don’t want to take a step because we can’t see. We want to hold on and keep everything the same. See storms come in all diffeent shapes and sizes and in our lives this is true also. Sickness, divorce, death, affairs, miscarriages, anxiety, losing jobs, arguments, bad days, etc. These storms happen daily and wreck lives. They tear up our families, our homes, and sometimes we allow them to deplete us. We have the same look on our face as Wade and we are shocked. Stunned! Unable to comprehend what is happening and why?? Why is it happening? 

Right now they are asking for residents of certain states to seek shelter outside the east coast. Why? It’s not safe. This storm will harm them and it’s dangerous. What is happening is not good and is only going to cause damage. Now let’s look at when we are in a storms. The best thing we can do is get ourself out or find a way out. And begin to look for the calm. God doesn’t want us to live in a place of destruction and harm. He wants us to fight and He tells us, He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Pslam 107:29. He made it all! So, yes he can calm the seas of the Atlantic Ocean if he chooses, but he can also calm the storm that’s happening in your life. Whatever it is!!!! Big or small....he is in control. No matter what is going on. He’s waiting for you to reach out and say, I need help! I need you! I can’t do this. I’m not strong enough. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 2:9 ESV This storm may be a weakness, but give it fully to him. And we can see those weaknesses transformed and God use them for his Kingdom. 

This storm is only for a time. It will change things. It will produce new things. Things will look different. It might not be how we saw it, but it’s exaclty how God sees it. We might think they are bad. They might be horrible. But, our scars will speak boldly about how God showed us how He can calm the storm. So, don’t be scared. Put all your trust in him. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Praying for all the people having to evacuate and praying for God to weaken this storm and to calm the waters. 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

 

Don’t lose your cool!

Are there days in your life that you want to just throw up your hands and be done? Ha! I lost count a long time ago. It’s a struggle to keep your cool when things happen you don’t agree with it or if they upset you. Shew! Some days I hold back the words and anger that I feel. But sometimes, I completely  lose it. It’s a bad feeling and it doesn’t make anything better for anyone. It makes it worse. Ugh! 

Anger is one of those things that can be dangerous. It can start small and grow into something or someone you don’t recognize. Every situation is different! And how we handle it is huge! But, It’s definitely not easy. It’s a lot easier to lose your temper than direct your mind to something else or take your mind off of it.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart and your kids can make you upset one minute quickly and then the next they’re smiling. Some days my kids are angels and other days they make me be the devil. Oh I hate it! And feel so bad afterwards. I mean after the 4th or 5th time of saying something I have to pull out mean mommy and become someone that I don't even recognize. And on days when it’s just been a very longgggg dayyyy those are the worst. Maybe it’s my evil twin that comes out? Haha! Who knows! I just snap at everyone and everything. Oh the guilt though after. Shew! Losing your cool is never the highlight of anyone’s day. But what can we do and be reminded of, because the Bible is FULL of words and information about anger and we just need it i read it and get it inside us

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20 ESV

Every time we get upset and filled with anger we are not producing something of God. It’s  the opposite. And this verse shares that we must listen, think before speaking, and not jump in our anger. It can be hard because I know for me when I have say the same things over all day long or if someone might be doing something annoying and even someone might say something that offends you. How will you react or do you react? Honestly we don’t know how we will respond. Most of the time we jump before really knowing and then it just goes down hill. But, we can pray for our reactions and ask God to help us with this battle. 

1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.Proverbs 15:1-2 ESV

We all have bad days and are stressed. We have the tension and usually all it takes is that one person or thing to make you lose it. Last week, my vaccum wasn’t sucking. You have one job vaccum!!! It wasn’t doing what It should be doing. I got so upset that I kicked it and then started calling it stupid. As soon as I said it and I was still huffing about it, there sat my kids with their eyes on me. Ugh! I was so consumed by the function of the vaccum that I forgot about how I need to be functioning around my babies. Yes, there are times for sternness, but not harsh words filled with anger behind it. I could have handled it so much better, right? But I chose to allow my tongue power.

My vaccum is fixed by the way. Yay!  And it wasn’t harmed..haha! It takes a bigger person to hold their tongue then to speak all they are thinking.  It’s so easy to say or act like the first first thing that pops into our head. But we must practice self control. Remember this: A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.Proverbs 25:2 

When we allow ourselves into a vulnerable place then we are exactly like this scripture. We can be strong! We can resist the urge to get angry and snap back. It’s not easy. But this week focus on how to respond in those tough moments. We all can become unglued, but don’t allow the moment and what is happening overtake you.

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

 

 

HEAR

For the past couple of months I have brain stormed ideas and thought about how to implement, change, and help my youth group. It has been one tough cookie and God finally showed me where and what to do about 2 months ago. Thank you, Jesus!!! Thank you! 

See, I wanted more for them and wanted to give them my youth group experience. God one day said, Holly they can’t have your experience because it’s a different time, different people, and you need to change your mindset. Got it! That plan was

off the table and I was ready and willing. I listened and began to plan. I searched through pinterest, listened to people talk about youth ministry, and then asked for advice. I don’t know everything and I never will...and that’s okay! But, I had to try something different, new! And God is still at work and is going and is doing amazing things. And here’s one thing God is doing in this group....

This month starts a new meeting for our group. It’s called CORE Groups. These groups are going to allow me and the students to grow closer together, but also have them search God’s word and really dig in. I wanted to share this process with you because it’s so so good. 

We are going to be starting in Genesis. Each week the students will have chapters to read and there will be a verse that is picked out. This verse will be a key verse to think about, maybe even memorize it. (Teenagers don’t like to memorize, but yet they can memorize an entire song...strange haha!) We will only meet once a month to discuss and talk together. But, they will continue to work each week on their own time and we will discuss each month our verses and  about the scripture.

They will begin a process with these verses called HEAR. 

H- HEAR and HIGHLIGHT God’s word (write the verses down)

E- EXAMINE or EXPLAIN the scripture ( 2 or 3 facts your questions..who, what, when, why and how) 

A- APPLY what can you do to use this scripture or share/show? Write out your plan.

R-RESPOND in prayer. Write out your prayer or just pray. 

I have used differnt acronyms to study scripture with and some are not as sound and allow you to give your opinions( it’s okay to have an opinion, but we need to understand why the verses were written). This acronym HEAR, it allows you to fully focus on God’s word while pulling out and really understanding why it was written and how it pertains to us today. Because listen, even though the Bible was written many, many, many years ago. It is still RELEVANT today! And we must use it! 

I can’t wait to share this with my youth and do this for myself. I have gotten out of the habit of doing this and honestly, I miss it.  It doesn’t take long at all. So, give it a try. Start in Genesis or with this verse below. 

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 ESV 

There is a great bible study that you can do that will take you through the Bible in 260 days. It’s called Foundations by Robby And Kandi Gallaty. I got this idea from the Bible study and from another youth minister in my area, but we are not using the study at this time. The format is similar. Except I feel with the study it would be good to meet weekly and have a small group. It goes much faster and includes scripture from New and Old Testament.

If you are looking for a study to take you through the Bible and to dig deeper, then I would Highly recommend this study. They have it for kids-adults. Get a group together and make a plan to make your way through the Bible. I’m starting it this week!! I’m just a little excited! 

I can’t wait to begin CORE Groups with these students and help them to build their relationship with Jesus and others. We need people and he gave us each other. So, let’s join together and read his word and share about who he is and what he has done. It’s never too late to open your bible or pray.

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

https://www.amazon.com/Foundations-260-Day-Reading-Believers-Journal/dp/1430045558/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536030594&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=foundations+bible+study&dpPl=1&dpID=41De5ts836L&ref=plSrch

 

They also have this at Lifeway! Enjoy! 

 

 

You got style?

Everyone has a style or a look that they can rock. Some people are just more stylish than others or like fashion. Others just live for comfort and the attitude of it doesn’t matter. I’m some where in the middle. And if you ask me about “fashion” I truly have no clue. I’m usually trying my best to stay in fashion, but it changes so much. So I’m clueless. I just do me. 

When it comes to women there are 3 different “looks” to me. Each are different and serve a purpose. But, can I be Real? I am most of the time thankful that I have clothes on and some makeup. So top 3 styles....here ya go! 

The Home/I ain’t trying look

1. The dirty hair( I think I it washed 2 days ago??) it’s up in a messy bun, no makeup on, some clothes on (maybe pajamas) look. Most of the time this is just for home, but there are certain times in life that you go out and grace the people with the radiance you have going on. I’ve been here a few times, it’s one of those times in life when you are not sure what day it is. Haha! There is nothing wrong with this look. Some people don’t have have to wash their hair that often...lucky! But, I think if we are being honest we all would say atleast “once” we have been this type of look. It’s not glamorous. But, we get the job done and accomplish life. 

2. The comfy cute look

The ponytail, messy bun, or a cute braid with a workout outfit, jeans, or leggings and an oversized  shirt or t-shirt. Makeup is simple:  powder or tinted moisturizer, blush, and mascara and why not, Chapstick or gloss for the lips. We run errands, shop, and get stuff done. This is where I live. This look!!! Nothing fancy! Just basic! It’s comfortable but I feel alive and not like death. Haha! This is where I feel most comfrotable and most like myself. 

3. Work/Church/Date night look

You look put together! The fixed hair, makeup on point, outfit picked out the night before or prepared in your mind. This look is going places. And it ain’t Walmart! Lol! Effort was given and it needs to be showed off. This look doesn’t happen much for me. Even my work outfits blend in with my comfy look. Yep! Mom life. But, it’s nice to get dressed up every now and then. 

As moms, no matter what look you do...You rock it! No matter if you stay in the, I ain’t trying look all week. Haha! Our society puts way too much pressure on us to look a certain way or dress like this person. We have new styles every year and we spend lots of money trying to “stay in style”. It’s hard!!!! And time consuming. 

So, as much time as we put into our style we should be working on our inside too, right? When looking at both which is more important?? Your inside. I know, I know! We want to look pretty and it’s okay too, but don’t get so caught up in it that you forget that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. It tells us this in Psalm 139. Tape it to your mirror. Write it in expo marker! Make a canvas! Know that you are HIS. And you are beautiful no matter what you do. 

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV

You had to know this verse was coming..ha! God only cares about the heart. About your heart!! Our focus sometimes is all about how people see us. How we look? We forget that they are watching us deeper. Our actions, words, behaviors. What’s in our heart will come out. And they won’t be talking about what we were wearing. 

Its okay to be a fashionista. I need help! Literally i just ordered my first Stitch Fix box. Yep! I told you. Haha! But, don’t forget the most important thing. Take care of what you’re putting in. Guard your heart! And show people who lives inside you. And you can rock whatever style you got going on. But remember our focus!!!

3 Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

G-O-S-S-I-P

Well, I’m going there! Yep! Gossip...why do we do it? Have you ever played the game telephone? A person starts with a sentence or phrase and then it filters through 10-12 people. By the end you probably won’t even recognize what it was the person said to begin with. It’s usually so transformed and not even close to being right that the person who said it wouldn’t be able to believe it was their words that began it. And that my friends is an example of how we are. Gossip is real and gains its power through us. I know, that’s hard to hear. But it’s true! 

It’s so hard to resist and easy to fall right into drama and gossip. I can say I’m not going to and the next day....bam! Most of the time it’s just conversation, but then it turns and you get sucked in and by the end you realize what has happened. You’ve gossiped or shared information that wasn’t yours to share.

Do you struggle with it? I think women in general do, but not all! But, as a majority...yes! Do you have a place that you gossip more at? Do you have a person you gossip more with? It usually occurs out of curiosity or the eagerness to share something that we have “heard”.  But, is it ours to share always? And should we share it? 

What exactly is gossip? 

casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

It’s so hard to know exactly if something is true or not. With the world the way it is, we are even more confused about things and question people a lot. However, is gossip something we should be doing? No! And yet we catch ourselves doing it a lot. It’s out of habit most of the time and we usually don’t even think about it till after the fact, that well, we’re gossiping. It can happen because of relationships, kids, church, school, things in politics, job related, or something we saw on Facebook....yes, shocker people put stuff on social media that might not be true or that shouldn’t be on there. Here’s the thing, we don’t need to be telling stuff unless we know for sure it’s true and honeslty we don’t need to be sharing about other people and their lives. I get it. We see it and hear it and it usually just comes out of our mouth, but is it always necessary? Nope! 

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, Matthew 12:36

Yeah! This speaks for itself! Be careful about the words that come out of your mouth. We will have to give an account!! In Ephesians 4:29 it says, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Build up one another and give words that fit the occasion. I mean, I know my words haven’t always done this. But, this should be our goal each day. We should strive to not spread rumors or help to not spread them. The old saying is true, if you can’t say anything nice, just don’t say anything at all. Keep it shut! Shew! This is hard to type. And don’t think of me think of me as the person that just walks around creating rumors or sharing rumors or that never does gossip. I’m definitely NOT one that starts it, but I have and do gossip! 

Now, sometimes it’s out of concern for the person. I guess we’re being nosy and want to know and make sure they’re OK. Other times it’s just we’ve seen something on Facebook and we wonder what in the world is going on. Haha! Thanks social media, you cause more harm than good most of the time. 

Here’s my belief on this topic:

Our concern should not be for the gossip it should be for the person. Having compassion and kindness in the midst of drama and gossip is what we as a people need. I know it is easy to get caught up or to even partake. But gossip only causes other things to happen and can lead us down a road of destruction for ourselves and the person or people we are talking about. So, be kind! Redirect gossip! And pray for the person who is being talked about and the one doing the talking. Now, 

we can do this in a way that is polite and shows Jesus. He tells us in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. Be a peacemaker! Take the gospel in, instead of gossip. We don’t need and should resist it as it comes near. 

Will it be hard? Yep! Will it take time? Oh yes! The first time you hear gossip will you want to lend an ear...I’m sure, but if we allow our focus to shift God will begin to do a work in us for his glory. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 ESV

So, we can do this! We can resist gossip and focus on what is true, honorable, just, and pure. It might look weird to people. And it might be strange to you, but We got this! One day at a time. 

Love and Prayers and no gossiping! 

Holly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opinions

Yep! Everyone has them and don’t we know it. People are more than willing to share what they think and why it’s the right or best choice. It’s their opinion. It’s not a bad thing, but it definitely can cause problems really fast. Especially if we are sharing our opinion out of opposition or anger. 

Social media is the worst for this...can I get an amen?? I mean honeslty there are times I have to click unfollow or delete because people use it for the wrong reasons. Now, don’t get me wrong I have laughed over some comments on people’s posts haha!, but the world we are living in is so hung up on what they believe and what they want that we forget that there is a real person on the other side of the screen that typed those words. It makes me shake my head and wonder what will it look like in 5-10 years. What kind of world will my kids grow up in? I’m not sure, but I do know as Christians we are called to be set apart, peciular people. And if we are acting like this world, then how are we different? 

Now listen, I’m not sitting here saying don’t ever give an opinion...give it! But, know that you are speaking words into that person. Words can’t be taken back. It’s like a tube of toothpaste. Once you squeeze it out you can’t put it back in...no matter how hard you try. I’m not just talking to you...I’m talking to myself just as much on this one. I’m a blunt person and most of the time I try to tell it like it is, but I always make sure that my opinion is staying true to who I am living for, Jesus. Because believe me, Satan is waiting and is thriving on this. He is ruining relationships and homes with opinions. He is a destroyer! 

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2 ESV

If our only focus is sharing our opionion and not listening and valuing people then we have missed the whole point. Loving people! Do we have to agree??? Goodness no! But we must understand that we are all different and will never all be on the same page. Never!!!!

Democratic, Republican, Independent...I’m not going into a political discussion, but here we see opinions tearing down people, creating tension, and dividing. Our news stations, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, constantly posting things to get people at each other’s throats. Ads being posted to create problems and cause fights. There will always be this in the world. So how do we control and not allow our opinions to become the focus so we don’t lose the main focus, God? It’s not easy. But we must have control. 

As individuals we have this body. It’s ours! We have control over it! We control what we put in and what comes out. We aren’t perfect! But, if we are followers then what can we do to set ourselves a part in this world of opinions...well first start living a life that shows who you are, a child of the king.

Share your opinions, but do it with a love like no other. Pray before you do! Pray for wisdom and for God to give and speak the words out of your mouth. Especially when we don’t agree!!  No, they’re probably not going to agree with you on the topic and yes it’s okay to say, “you know I just don’t agree with you”. But don’t beat them black and blue with your words. They are watching you and how you handle yourself. Love them!!!! It’s hard, I know! But honestly, what would Jesus do? I think it’s pretty clear because we have the Bible. He would have shared his heart and told them what he believed and loved them. Would he have been persecuted? I’m sure. Because he was while he walked the earth. 

I’m tired of seeing kids commit suicide. I’m tired of seeing families torn apart. I’m tired of people devaluing themselves. I know this is the repercussions of sin. But, it’s time we as HIS people do something. Train ourselves up in the word, prepare ourselves. We’ve already won the battle, but Satan is and will attack us. Our words are powerful, but we can use them for something much greater. Speak boldly! For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:20 ESV —allow his words over yours. 

Let’s join together and Pray for this world. That as followers we will rise up and speak truth. That we will speak wisdom from God. That we will speak love. That we will be peciular and people will have to ask us...why are you weird? Well, let me share! 

Start today! Don’t let your opinions become all that you are. 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10. ESV

BE HIS! 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

To workout, or not workout?

Who likes to excerise? I mean there are people out there who just LOVE it and crave it. God, why couldn’t I be one of those people??? Haha! Why do I crave the bad stuff?? Now, I don’t hate exercising and most of the time feel better after I do it, but making myself go is the hardest part. I struggle and once I get there I’m good and then I wake up the next morning and think what did I get myself into. Haha! The sore legs, arms, abs, etc. I mean when You can’t even sit down on the toliet you know it was a good workout... anybody been there? Haha! Well, honeslty I love working out, but right now my body doesn’t. But oh well, Life goes on and I’m getting back in my routine of exercise whether my body likes it or not. You might have to pick me up off the floor or I might have to take baths with Epsom salt and oils, and pain medication a lot ....but I’m going to go and enjoy the hour of sweat and being out of breathe because who wouldn’t enjoy that..lol! 

I love to take group classes! It’s just a lot of fun and you’re not alone. I joined the ymca after my surgery in March and started going, but of course started having problems again. And they haven’t left, but I need to workout...I need it for me!! I also enjoy the treadmill, the bike, but my favorite is the group classes. I have been to different ones and each one has something new and different. And they have so many that it’s sometimes hard to choose. 

As I sit here and type and move my body around..I feel all the sore muscles that were worked yesterday...ouch! But it’s a good thing!! If we don’t work those muscles and train them what will happen? The same goes for training ourself in the word. If we only pick up our bible every once in a while we’re going to be rusty. We must be prepared spiritually and physically. 

7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV

As much as working out is important it shouldn’t be our main focus. I try to include during my workout a podcast, Christian songs, a book, scripture.. except during the group classes. But, if I’m doing an exercise myself that time is for me and God. 1 hour, more or less sometimes, of me just allowing HIM his words into my heart and mind. I’m doing two things during that time, but one is preparing me for my life after this. And exercise isn’t it!!! This body ain’t going to Heaven!! 🙌🏻 

So, believe me! I think exercise is super important. But, if you aren’t exercising your mind in the word of God then our priorities must shift. We must take care of ourselves and both of these are ways to do that. He wants us to treat our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit. 

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

Taking care of ourselves is a priority and it’s more than what you eat, wear, or do. We are a temple! When we view it that way it changes our focus! What we put in our body will come out! So, glorify God with your body. We only get this body on earth! And it’s going to fail us, but we must try to keep ourselves trained physically and spiritually and be ready! 

So, if you’re like me and you are on the fence with exercise. It’s that love hate relationship and it’s okay! Prepare your body! Walk, run, skip, jump, take group classes....whatever you got to do! Make that time for you and God! Now, I’ll be over here rolling my sore muscles.....fun times! 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

Getting Older!!

Life happens! We must age and change. It’s something that at the age of 16 I didn’t think about. What my life would look like at 30, 40, 50 and so on...I mean I had hopes and dreams of course, but my only goal was to have kids before 30...haha! Not sure why that was a goal, but we did accomplish that. Haha! 

Today is my birthday... and I’m 31! Crazy!!! Time truly does fly by. And I didnt realize how quick it goes until I had Wade and then MJ. I have some thoughts and ambitions for this year and I want to share them with you. 

1. Exercise more and get healthy!!! Lord please help me! 

2. Put scripture in my heart. Simply read the Bible and I truly believe it will flow out.

3. Devote more time to my family as a whole!! Have a family night and establish that night family only! 

4. Find out what is making me have side/ pelvic pain. I will see a new doctor in September! 

5. Read more! Other than children’s books! Haha! Read for me! 

6. Stress less and allow the moments that I feel overwhelmed  for God to overwhelm me with his love, word, and encouragement! 

7.Spend more time with my husband...JUST US! 

8. Enjoy this year with Wade because next year he starts school. Do as much and love on him as much as possible. 

9. Encourage people! Love people! 

10. Lead someone (maybe more) to know Jesus Christ as their Lord! 

So, this is 31! I am excited and ready! I’m willing an open to God’s leading and pray for his will to be done. 30 was a difficult year for me and my family, but God is still faithful and so so good! 

My scripture for this year..

Lamentations 3:22-23 ~ 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Each morning I wake up I thank him. Thank him for a new day...Yes, my days still might be hard and yes some days are complete fails. But, God is faithful and his love is never ending. He still loves me through it all because of Jesus. 

31 might be old to some... and some days I totally feel it. But, I’m holding on to God’s word that we are not consumed and his compassion only grows stronger for us. And each day is a new day.... we will never get it right, but we should try. 

 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

—I am also doing a birthday fundraiser for a local charity. Find me on Facebook if you would like to be apart of it. Holly Hill McConnell

Thanks!! 

Busy Week

We all have times in our life where it just feels like we need to be cloned to get everything done. Those times when you feel the pressure to be everywhere, do everything, and still be able to function. Have you every had a week or day like that? 

This week has been that for me. The end of July is usually jam packed anyways, but this year I added youth camp to that list also. So, 3 birthdays, work, camp prep, a doctors appt ,and trying to pack and clean the House. Everything was going as planned until Thursday night. I was juggling well and was in a good flow. Thursday was my husbands birthday. We celebrated with family and had a great time, but after everyone left I decided it was time to start the cakes for MJ’s party. And right here is where it all goes down, goes wrong, and gets me to a place of Jesus take the wheel before I completely wreck everything! Haha! 

It was 9:00 p.m. I was going to get all my cakes baked for my daughters 2nd birthday party. Usually that’s the easiest part, but not this night. I started the process and got two cakes in the oven. No problem....next two in! I begin to make the next batter and notice it just looks weird, but continue. I get the other cakes out and place them on the cooling racks and they look good until they just fall apart.... I mean fall apart. I’m disappointed, but I know It can happen. So, I put the next batter in which is cupcakes...check them in 15-20 min and they just look weird. I let them bake a little more and end up throwing them away. I stood there and questioned what went wrong and why 3 things had flopped?? I didn’t know, but I continued and made another batter. Put them in the oven and waited. Cleaned up the mess and realized I didn’t have an ingredient for icing. I went downstairs to tell vaughn and  let him know I was going to have to go to Walmart, yes at 11:00 p.m...went back up stairs and realized I needed to wait for the cakes to finish. So, I waited! I took the cakes out and honestly I just wanted to cry. They didn’t even come out of the pan. They fell apart and I thought, well maybe I can patch it...hahahahaha! No! No way! They were GONE! 

I was discouraged, disappointed, and mad. By this point it was 11:40. So, what did I do? I went to Walmart. 

Walmart is an interesting place anyways, but at night it was even more so. I was SCARED! I was carrying my keys between my fingers so I could stab someone if they tried to get me. I was walking behind two ladies who could whip someone if needed. I had a plan and basically just followed them around and then out of the store... lol! But, on the drive home.. I prayed! God, I’m not sure what lesson I’m needing to learn from this, but God help me to know and understand. I’m struggling and need help to complete this task. I need YOU, before I completely lose it. 

When I got home I started to bake, but I heard a soft voice say....no, go to bed! It was 12:30...I was tired and upset. And sleep was what I needed. I needed rest. I needed to refocus and restrategize my game plan for the birthday party, plus I needed to focus on me...

Being busy is apart of our life and we are busier than we have ever been. But we must stop and take time to refocuse, recharge, and give ourselves a moment. God spoke to me. I was emotionally and physically tired. I didn’t make a best yes decision that night and God lovingly told me...stop! Rest! This is so hard for me to do, anyone else? I mean, I love to have stuff to do. I do!  But, I was reminded in the midst of chaos that night to stop and rest! 

In Matthew 11 it tells us, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”.

When I prayed in the car I thought I needed endurance to finish the cake that night/morning. Honestly I needed rest. God knew what this body needed and it wasn’t a completed cake that night. God is so so good. I had my plan, but his plan was better. My plan failed miserably.And that’s okay! 

I woke up the next morning around 7:30 and began to bake. I threw away 3 or 4  more cakes because they just broke apart. But, I ended up having enough...a 4 layer cake with 24 cupcakes. Not sure how I ended up with what I did. I’m believing God performed a miracle. I made my icing and began to pipe. The finished product was beautiful and good and I’m just thankful she had her dog dog cake. Haha! 

Once it was finished I realized that I should have never started baking the night before. Like I said, I now know that wasn’t a best yes decision and next time....I won’t start baking that late and definitely no Walmart that late. Haha! 

Get some rest! I’ll be at camp all week...Rest for me please! Haha! 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

The Waiting Game!

Waiting! No one really likes to wait. We have become a society where waiting is one of the worst things that can happen to us. We sit in line at restaurants. We have to wait for results of a test or results of a diagnosis. We even have to wait in line while shopping. It seems the waiting game can happen anywhere. I’m struggling with waiting and needing answers...and I’m fighting the urge to just sit and have my own little pity party. Do you want to come? Haha! 

I mean, some days we just need a good cry. I get it. But over the last year I have been in a waiting game with my side pain. I had a test done on Monday. I’ll just tell you...a colonscopy. It’s about as fun as it sounds. It wasn’t terrible, but honestly I’ve been through it all and still NO ANSWERS! And on Monday...I was upset! I had prepared my heart and mind to be okay with them finding something...praise God they didn’t, but when they said everything was normal...it made me cry. I’m not sure if it was the medicine or just me, but I had questions and was upset.Why am I having this pain? What is causing it? I was sad, mad, and happy all at the same time. I don’t remember much, but I do remember crying a lot. My heart was hurt and my mind couldn’t comprehend we don’t know what’s causing your pain.

I’m struggling with this and my family is also!!! I want to have answers and know what is going on in my body for sure, but will I? The answer... I don’t know! It’s all in God’s timing. I have been praying and reading in Romans about suffering...and that your suffering produces endurance and through endurance you produce character and then hope. This has been my prayer that I will produce something from this. That God will use it and heal me in his time. However, until yesterday I realized that my prayer needed to change some. God’s will might not be for me to be fully healed. It might be for me to be in this season for days, months, years...but it’s his will. It’s hard to realize that God is using this and he is preparing me for the season I’m in. But it’s something we must understand. 

So here’s what I’m going to believe and hold on to during these times:

1. God knows EVERYTHING! He is not surprised or shocked at anything that happens. He knows ALL about us. 

You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.  Pslams 149:3-4

He knows the path we will go down, even though he gives us the free will to choose he still KNOWS all. 

He knew they weren’t going to find anything on my test. But the test was still needed to confirm that. God allows us to go through things so we can learn and grow. 

2. We’re going to go through stuff. It’s going to happen. We are still to pray and pray faithfully.  We are going to have different challenges and obstacles, but God is trying to shape us and mold us to be like Christ. 

Look at Jesus in the garden praying before the guards take him away...he prays so hard that his sweat turns into drops of blood. And his prayer is that if there is a way to take this away from him then he asks God to do it. 

Can you all imagine if God always said yes to our prayers? Ummmmm...Jesus would have never went to the cross. 

God knows what he is doing. His will! His plan! His purpose! We must understand that during our sufferings it’s hard, but we must see or look at the big picture and continue to ask God to reveal his plan to us. We are learning how to be like Christ. He suffered just like us. 

3. God is going to give us a peace. It is coming!!! I promise. It might not happen right away, but pray for God to give you a peace. It might not be exactly what you pictured, but trust him and allow him to guide you. 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 ESV

This season you’re in...whether it’s a job, sickness, relationship, family, decisions you have to make  or whatever it might be. Let’s pray for God’s will to be done, let’s pray for a peace to come over us. Let’s pray for strength to endure the suffering and allow God to build something within us. 

Here’s the thing. We’re going to have scars. Even Jesus when he came back after dying on the cross had his scars. It’s his story. We are still in our story. Even though some days I want to have my little pity party....it’s okay... we all have bad days. Just know that God has you, that he has plan, and that he’s going to give you a peace. How long will it take??? I don’t know! But God will be there every step of the way. 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

 

 

Busy Days

Sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in the day. It’s crazy how time flies and how you can get caught up in the busyness of life. This week so far has been that.

We have been having Bible School this week. Yep! I’m tired, but having fun and enjoying being with the kids. I’m teaching  a class this year and I had forgotten what teaching a class feels like. I used to teach elementary school... well I forgot how that felt and how tiring it can be. Whew! Plus yeaterday add in a car wash fundraiser for our youth. I’m ready for some RNR! 

Do you ever start your day just thinking, oh gosh I’m already tired how am I going to do this? That was me yesterday morning. I was up all night sick that’s night before. My side problems! I don’t know what else to call it at this point. Anyways, I woke up to my alarm and just wanted to lay there and keep sleeping. But that can’t happen. The kids were up shortly after and it was breakfast, get ready, take the dogs out, etc. My busy day! Shew! I knew It was going to be crazy and there wouldn’t be rest..and I was right. However, I allowed God to use me. I knew by the end of the night I was going to crash...But I got to serve with my youth group and share the Bible to 12 kindergartens and 1st graders. Most days are busy like this and it can be hard. We just need to remember: 

25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. Proverbs 4:25-28

Our eyes must be looking for what God has in store for us. We must think about our feet and the paths they will lead us on. We must be stable, sure, and confident in our decisions. I’m doing a bible study right now at my church called The Best Yes!! If you haven’t read the book...do it! So good! It challenges you to think and make the best yes for your day, month, year, life! Each day we have the choice to choose what we do, why we do it, and how we act about it. Believe me when I woke up this morning....it crossed my mind to cancel and not have the car wash. I felt terrible and I was tired, but I would have missed a blessing by being with the youth. We had a great time. And VBS..it’s only a week...it feels super longer haha! But, you get to see, hear, and experience amazing things each night. The best yes! Are you making them each day? Even though I have been busy... this day was a best yes for me personally and for my family. 

So yes, this week is busy! Next week might not be, but it could. I’m going to go in with my eyes focused, my feet ready to lead, and I’m going to listen to God and how he is leading. I’m going to make my best yes choices and really strive to do those things that’s God is showing me or telling me. If you have a busy week....pray! Focus! Enjoy! And be ready to be tired...because you will be. Make some best yes choices! 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

And seriously get you a copy of this!!!! 

 

https://www.christianbook.com/the-best-yes/lysa-terkeurst/9781400205851/pd/205851?en=google&event=SHOP&kw=poor-performing-0-20%7C205851&p=1179710&dv=m&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI75PFmYqW3AIVmY3ICh0Mcg_TEAQYAyABEgKSpvD_BwE

 

Journaling

Have you ever kept a journal or a diary? In Elementary School and Middle School I had a diary. It was filled with my crushes, drama with friends, and “break-ups” and new boys. I think every little girl at that time had something like this or at least I hope I wasn’t the only one. Haha! When I got into high school my diary changed. It become a journal for prayer and scripture. I would write down prayers and scripture that I would hear. If I would read something then I would apply that to my written prayer in my journal. I had two or three of these journals just filled, but once I got into college things changed. 

College is mostly papers. You write, read, study and write some more. I got to where I hated to write and couldn’t even imagine writing in my journal anymore. I still remember my last semester of college, which was student teaching, and how much I was on my computer each day and having to make lesson plans, article reviews, and whatever else they have you do. Honestly, I just lost the passion to do what was most important. 

Flash forward to Marriage and kids and you know what...I kept finding excuses. Don’t we always? And until a couple of months ago I stopped playing the excuse game and told God, okay!!! I know what I need to do and what I NEED! I need to journal. 

God had been speaking to me and telling me, Write!! I had again kept putting excuses in front and over top of what God was telling me. I was refusing to do what was natural to me. 

Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.  Psalms 111:2 ESV

11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 

12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.  Pslams 77:11-12

I want to remember and look back on what God showed me. I want to remember the first time I looked at scriptures and then see what God is showing me now. Scripture can reveal things to us each time we look at it.  I want to ponder on his word, works, and all that he has done. I want to use his word and allow him to use me. Hence, the blog. I’m totally out of my comfort zone sharing some of these things. But God! But God said, Holly share your heart and my words. He told me he would tell me what to write and he has. I have had to pull off on the side of the road, stop what I’m doing, be woken up in the middle of night, or just read something and God says there it is. 

So, I enocurage you to get a scripture, prayer, or just a plain journal and just write. Be  encouraged by what His word says and write it down, memorize it, or share it with someone. So, go getcha a notebook, journal, diary..whatever you want to call it and your bible. Start with a verse, write it down, and use it in your prayer. 

I hope you’re encouraged and build your relationship with God each day. 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Brownies!

I love sweets! Who doesn’t! Well there are people out there who don’t eat the icing on the cake or they just don’t like chocolate. Really! I can’t relate. Haha! I love desserts! I’m not much of a Little Debbie fan, but if you put a hot brownie, a chocolate chip cookie, pound cake, or birthday cake in front of me...well, I’m going to enjoy it, a little too much.

These last couple of weeks I have tried to limit my sugar intake. I have tried to keep below a certain number of grams and you know what? Sugar is in everything!!!  It’s crazy. Yesterday, I was wanting..no needing something sweet. I found this recipe on Pinterest for healthy brownies. I made some the other night that weren’t bad, but these looked even healthier. I made the batter and it looked good, smelled good, and tasted good. It didn’t have eggs, so it was safe. And come on, I don’t know many people that don’t eat the batter. Lol! I put the batter in my brownie pan and went to check on the kids who were napping. 10 minutes later I go to check and ummmmm the brownies are pouring off the sides of the pan and just bubbly.. ewww! Yeah it wasn’t good! I quickly grab the pan and place it in the sink and begin to run water over the brownie mess. It was a terrible, smelly mess. 

I kept thinking, did I miss a step or an   ingredient? Did I add too much of something? What went wrong? What would cause something that looked good and tasted good to become that bad? Well, this happens to us too. Think about! When we get over stressed, over worked, not enough sleep, not enough time for ourselves, when we run around everyday, or stay home everyday, we begin to bubble over and spill out. I know I’ve been there, many times actually! This brownie accident reminded me that when we feel overwhelmed or heavy allow God to take it. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

He tells us to go to him. Go to him in prayer, in praise, in times of trial, in times sadness and anger...go to him! We will find rest in him. A lot of times I struggle to actually rest. I mean I have two kids who are still small so, rest is not a word that happens very often, but I can find rest in my Jesus. And it feels like that moment when you take a deep breathe and all of the worlds problems are gone. He’s calming! He’s there...ALWAYS THERE! 

So, like the brownies. I was SO excited about them, but they didn’t have everything they needed. Sometimes this is us. What do you need today? What is making you spill or bubble over? Take time for yourself and take time to be with God. I promise you won’t regret it! And just make regular brownies...and enjoy them! 

Love and Prayers, 

 

Holly

Give it to God!

God never gives us more than we can handle. That was the phrase I had always heard and said actually many times. Well, I want to rephrase this and look at it in a different way. I believe that God helps us handle what we have been given. We are going to be given or go through more than we can handle emotionally, physically, and spiritually sometimes. But the beauty in a followers journey is that God never leaves nor forsakes us. 

This past month and a half has been a roller coaster of emotions for my family and especially my mom. In May, my mom had a hysterectomy and a week after the procedure she was told she had endometrial cancer. We didn’t know much information and she was given an appointment to see an oncologist. Now, for the ones that know me well or know my story you know my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. I was a senior in high school. She had a double mastectomy and no chemo was required. She was monitored for 10 years and was in remission or named cancer free. Praise God! Now, flash forward to May 2018 and we hear the words cancer again when  we weren’t expecting it and our hearts and minds were confused, concerned, sad, and of course questioning...what is going to happen? 

See, it’s just a God thing. My mom went to the doctor and they decided it would be a good idea to do the surgery because of some issues she was having. The doctor didn’t think cancer and even when he told us the surgery went well that he was positive and seemed pretty certain that it wasn’t cancer. However, a week later we got the news. My mom called me and I knew when she called that it wasn’t good news and when she said the words, I held my breathe and began to pray in my head while talking with her. I held back the tears and remained strong. And encouraged her the best I could and told her I would start praying. Now, I went and broke down in another room away from my kids and had my moment, called my husband, and then talked with my grandmother. As I walked back in the room with my kids I asked them to pray with me for their Nanny. And we prayed! 

As devastating as it was to hear my mom had cancer again and the fact that she might have to have chemo..I had a peace from God and so did she. No one wants to hear bad news and especially when it hits your family it’s even harder to process. But, God allows us to go through these storms and trials and it’s okay. It is tough? Yes!!! Is it sometimes more than these bodies can handle? Yes!! But WITH GOD, all things are possible! And what he wants is for us to cling to him, talk with him, and rely on him.

His word tells us ,The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  Psalms 145:18

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28

Let’s go back to the statement, God will not give you more than you can handle....God loves his people, but because of sin we face challenges, sickness, and many different trials of life. But, the blessing of these trials is he is near and he knows us. He gave us this life and NO ONE can take us away from him. No sickness can take us away. No drama can take us away. No fight can take us away. Hallelujah! Amen! 

So, my mom got amazing news last week from her ct scan that the cancer was not found in her abdomen or pelvic area and that no chemo was required. So, the cancer was contained and no treatment was needed. My prayer for my mom was for her to be given strength during this season of her life. That God would place people to encourage and uplift her. I prayed for her to feel a comfort and peace and for God to prepare her for the days to come whether good or bad and to prepare her mind, heart, and body.

I’m so thankful for the news we got, but I’m also aware that the seasons of our life can change in the blink of an eye. Are you prepared? Are we really ever ready? No, but God is! He can handle it when we can’t!  

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Thank you to all those that have prayed and talked with my mom. We appreciate all the love and support. 

 

 

Habits

We all have habits. Some are ones that we inherited from our parents and others we have picked up along the way. It's crazy to think about the things we do just because we have always done it. So, what is a habit? The internet says it's a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Are habits hard to give up?? YES!!! And to be honest, we all have them. Some are good and some bad, but we all have habits.

Here lately I have been in the habit of using my phone as my bible. Actually, I use my phone for everything: note keeping, picture taking, bible, food and weight tracker, alarm clock, shopping, and so much more. But I have gotten in a habit of using it alllll theeee timeeee!! I didn't even realize I was using it so much for a bible until this Sunday sitting in church. I used to bring my bible every sunday and take notes, underline, and highlight. I was in a habit....a good habit. I was convicted on Sunday about this and not that using a bible app is wrong because the bible apps are great, however, I sat by this lady of our church. I have known her for many years. She is an amazing Godly woman. Strong in faith!! And as I looked over at her bible that was on her lap I saw the underlining, the highlighting, dates written down with the person preaching, the notes in the margin, etc. I just about started to cry. The beauty!!! To be able to look back and see what was revealed to that person at that time through the scripture is amazing. To have the memory perserved. I want that for my kids. I want to pass my bible or bibles down to them and for them to see words of encouragement, trials, happiness that are written at that time. Maybe what the scripture spoke to me or another person? I want them to see my notes in the margin and share with another. I want my bible in my lap again. I want to take notes and be able to look at it one day and see what God showed me or that person. I was to pass it down to my children and my children's children. And for those people who are sitting there thinking that I'm being critcal of apps or if you prefer that...no I'm not. I love them and use them daily..actually every morning to read a devotional, but I want to use "my bible" more than my convienent phone. 

My family usually vacations at Daytona Beach. One summer my parents, a friend, and I went to see The Dead Sea Scrolls. If you don't know what I'm talking about here is the website..... https://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/. As we looked and walked around and saw pieces of the scrolls and saw the translations it was amazing. I was in awe. I still till this day think about seeing them and how cool it was. This just brought a new perspective and new way for me when looking at the bible. It was amazing to see in person. 

Most Christian households have a bible or more bibles in the house. I know we have at least 5 and I barely pick them up. It's God word and for me....I want to break my phone habit and get back in the habit of using my little pink bible. I want to write in the front pages, underline and highlight, and use that bible everyday. Any habit can be broken or stopped?And they say it takes 30 days to break one. If you have a habit that you want to stop or that is causing you problems, work on it. Believe me, I have a ton of habits that I need to work on. But first, I want to get back to basics and I'm starting tonight. You can too!!! So, if you're like me and you need a little wake up call like I had on Sunday God will give you one. I pray you see it and realize what it in your life needs attention and I pray he allows you to have the strength and dedication to break that habit.

Love and Prayers,

Holly

When Plans Change

Things don’t always go your way or how you want them to. How do you handle? Do you just lose it? Cry? Get mad? Shut down and don’t talk? I mean we all respond differently. When things happen that we weren’t expecting, it causes a reaction from us. So, what is your usual response to things when they don’t go your way or how you imagined? 

Mine? Oh goodness! I get mad. I get upset. I sometimes just shut down and don’t want to talk or I cry. Yeah! I have a hard time. I like things to go as planned. I like a list and I like to check things off. I like to be prepared and on time. I like to know ahead of time and not find out last minute. I love a routine.  I’m a little OCD when it comes to planning things and when things don’t go as planned it bothers me. 

I NEED to work on this! I want to be one of those people who will go with the flow. I want to be able to throw the checklist away and not worry about checking boxes off. It’s such a bad/ good habit. It helps sometimes, but can cause stress when I can’t check something off. Ugh! I know! I’m weird. 

Vaughn, my husband, has always been my person. What do I mean by my person? He calms me, can cheer me up, talk me down, and allow me to see that I’m being ridiculous sometimes.. “just sometimes” haha! He has this way about him and it encourages me. He knows me well. And he knows when I’m about to crack or fall apart. He knows how to handle me in any situation. Thank goodness! 

I don’t do well with things changing last minute. I never have been that personality, but I have become more flexible since becoming a mommy. I have learned you have to roll with the punches. 

I’m a work in progress!! I am still working on going with the flow and being flexible. It’s  not easy....AT ALL!! But, things are going to happen. God uses these things as tests. I have to believe this. Well, I’m failing miserably at these tests. Honestly! It’s bad. Like I said I’m working on it, but it’s so hard for me. Here’s an example: Each year I plan my children’s birthday party. I love it! I pinterest and shop and have my checklist. I’m in my element. Well, of course as it gets closer things start happening. Last year at MJ’s we had it outside and NEVER AGAIN....especially if I have balloons. My mother in law had to go after them down the hill behind the shelter. Y’all my heart couldn’t take it. Tonight I witnessed a family having a birthday party and y’all... everything went wrong. The shelter was double booked (they had to leave). The church where they had to have the party at, the air wasn’t working. They had to contact guests and tell them about the new place. The balloons were on the ceiling because of an accident.  And you know what?? I would have probably been in the fetal position crying in the corner, but this family was smiling. I know they were stressed and probably not exactly happy with the way it all happened, but y’all they showed me that life changes and we have to go with it. We can’t see the future, but we know who holds it. God knows! We are being tested in those moments..when life throws us a curve ball..we might not be ready for it, but how will we handle it? It’s something I need to work on...majorly! 

Mary and Martha the story from Luke 10. Are you a Mary or a Martha? I’m a Martha...but I’m striving to be a Mary! 

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."

41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,

42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:48-42

So, I’m going to remember that God is in control. When I feel overwhelmed and like I’m breaking because my checklist isn’t being checked.. I pray for God to instill in me his wisdom and a peace to know I’m going to be okay. To help me come up with another plan or idea and not break down, get mad, or cry. I’m tired of being this way! So, I’m going to work on it. I’m not going to be perfect and it’s going to take some time. But with prayer, encouragement,and support I got this. And you do too if you’re struggling! 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Speak!

Have you ever been outside and it looks like it’s going to storm and then all of sudden it starts pouring the rain?? I mean pouring. You weren’t ready and definitely not prepared so you of course find shelter or take off running to find a place. 

This happened to me tonight at Wade’s T-Ball game. Totally not prepared! Ugh! But, as I stood there I began to think about the rain as words we speak and how sometimes those words come out of nowhere from people. Sometimes they are encouraging and uplifting, but other times they are harsh and bring you or that person down. We’ve all had this happen. 

We have a choice each day if we are going to speak life into people or we are going to bog them down with more negativity. This world already has enough and unforunatley we let our tongue have control in situations when our heart should be leading us.  The tongue is a dangerous thing. Shew! It can get us in trouble. Big time!! 

 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.  Proverbs 21:23

To keep our tongue under control...it’s so hard. I’m a very blunt/honest person. It’s a great quality to have, however, I still must keep my tongue under control. God doesn’t want me to destroy someone with my words just because of my opinion. It can happen,very easily. We must truly think before we speak and make sure the words that we are saying are going to be useful and encouraging. 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6

I know it’s hard...believe me!! However, we must build one another up with our words instead of tearing people down. 

If your tongue is a problem...I’m right there with you. Here’s what we must do:

Pray! That God will help us to be aware of the words we use and say. That we will keep quiet when needed and be ready to speak life and truth at all times. Sometimes it’s just better to be quiet. “If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all”. Remember that! It’s true! Why be hurtful? I’m not saying to lie.. be honest, but pray before you speak and know when to stop. 

Speak encouragement, love, and support all day. It will become a part of who you are. Just like in the verse in Ephesians 4... don’t let the harsh words come out of your mouth. Build the person up! 

And lastly, our minds and heart. Whatever we are putting in our mind and heart will flow out. So, be careful what you are listening to, watching, and reading. What we put in, it will come out. 

Above all else, guard your heart, all that you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

So, let’s not allow ourselves to be a down pour of rain on someone. Speak with love.. and sometimes it’s tough, I know! We’re not perfect and can’t tame our tongue but anything is possible with God so pray for those tongues and pray for us to speak wisdom from God and truth with love and encouragement. 

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

New Journey

Modified clean eating day 1! Why is eating right so hard and so expensive??? Why can’t zucchini taste like a cookie and a cookie taste like zucchini? I mean I love zucchini, but I love my sweets more. 

Today I began a new journey....A new way to eat. Over the weekend I researched, Pinterested, watched two documteries and was shocked... plus made my Walmart list on the app...(Walmart pickup is amazing, but that’s for another post). I ate a lot of bad stuff over the weekend and today was a new day. So, here is what my day consisted of: smoothie for breakfast, apple and quest bar, side salad for lunch, grilled chicken, baked veggies, and steamed green beans for supper. Lots and lots of water. Plus I made some energy balls to snack on and had one of those. 

Today is just day 1 and I already feel like surrendering.. haha! It was a stressful day with the kids and that made me want something sweet...hence the energy balls. I didn’t have any caffeine...so grumpiness was real and Wade wanted Chick-fil-A and I didn't even eat a french fry that fell on my lap, even though I wanted it, I resisted. 

So, this new food journey is leading me to this...God wants me to be healthy, but it has to be my desire to be healthy. In those moments that I want something that’s not healthy for me I pray that I would turn to prayer. My prayer being that God would remove the temptation and the craving. That he would replace it with his words and encouragement. Also, I need to remember that even though I think food makes me happy.. it truly doesn’t...I mean that donut I had yesterday was amazing! But, it lasted less than 10 minutes and made my body probably go crazy on the inside trying to balance everything out. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t splurge once in awhile. Everyone needs a cheat day, but you can’t have a cheat day everyday. That’s my problem. 

So, you’re not on this journey alone. If you are starting a new journey in eating I’m right here with you. It’s not easy and we will have good days and bad days and that’s okay. God is with us and we have each other and remember we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Phillpians 4:13 ...we got this!! 

Oh! By the way, I’m still hungry. Haha! Hopefully day 2 will be better.

Love and Prayers,

Holly 

New Beginnings

It’s that time of year!! Graduation! It’s a pretty major accomplishment and begins the journey of adulthood. It doesn’t hit you until later on, but life is about to change after graduation happens. And that change brings new challenges, trials, happy moments, sad moments, and of course hilarious times. 

We all can think back to our graduation.. mine was 13 years ago...oh boy! Shew! I remember sitting waiting for my name to be called and so excited. I really didn’t realize what walking up and getting my diploma meant.. I was closing a chapter in my life. Not that I wouldn’t still see these people, but it would be different. Things were not going to be the same. We live in small area where everyone still sees everyone and now with social media we can see people and catch up with them just by looking at their profile. But things were going to change! 

The closing of a chapter is hard, but beginning a new one can sometimes be stressful and challenging. It’s anything in your life you begin whether it be a new school, new job, buying a new house, moving to a new area, marriage, divorce, having a baby..you begin a new chapter. This new journey will of course be different.. you are changing something you have known, built, worked on, but here’s what I try to do and take with me when I’m faced with something new or when I begin a new journey. 

1. My past..it doesn’t define me.

If you are a Christian and are saved by his blood then you are new creation. Live like it!  Be an example! Take HIM with you...

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

2. Who am I trying to impress?? If I’m trying to impress people then I have a major problem. I need to do a re-evaluation and check myself. Am I doing this because I want it or people want me to do it or is this something God is calling me to do?

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

3. Prayer/Time with God

Have I put this new journey in my daily quiet time and asked God to show me his path? I pray that if this is not his will that he show me and prepare my heart. That he will direct my mind, heart and body to go where I am needed or need to be planted at. I pray for HIS direction. 

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!  Psalm 143:10

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.  Psalm 37:5

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:6

4. Support System

People who you know will be “your people”. It’s the ones you were friends with in high school that are still your friends. If you just graduated.. you’ll see. The ones that are always there that pray and are by your side.  Your family, those who know and love you and will be COMPLETEY HONEST with you. 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Starting or beginning a new journey can sometimes be hard because we have been in a routine. I resigned from my teaching job 3 years ago. A very tough decision. I prayed! I talked with people and made my decision... now what I didn’t know was God was already at work. There was a position at my home church that I was asked if I would consider. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. It took me almost a month to understand what God was telling me. But, it has been confirmed even more since saying yes that this is where I am supposed to be. 

So, a new journey, beginning... it can sometimes be scary, happy, or sad. But remember it’s new! It’s supposed to be all those things. Praying for those new beginnings and congratualtions 2018 graduates. It flies by!! 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

Freedom

Freedom, it’s something I take for granted each day. I’m so thankful for all who gave and all that was given for us to live in this country and live in freedom.We are so blessed!  It’s hard to watch people disgrace our country or not respect the men and women who have given so much for us. I don’t understand it and probably never will. But I am thankful! I am thankful for God giving you the abilities and the willingness to protect, fight, defend, risk everything you have for this country and it’s people. I’m thankful for God placing this passion in your heart and for the willingness to go. I pray God goes with you and protects you in all that you do. And for your families that they are supportive and understand your calling for your life. 

God calls us all to do something. We have a purpose. It looks different because we are all unique in our own ways. Sometimes we don’t understand what we are supposed to do or we question, but God has blessed us with freedom through Jesus if we accept it. Freedom! The definition is: the power or right to act, speak,or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Unfortunately as Followers of Jesus we aren’t using our freedom enough. We have been given something so special in a place where we are free. And, I know God can’t be spoke in schools and blah, blah! But y’all, we could make a difference if we weren’t so scared. We are free!!!!! We have FREEDOM! If we rise up and go and share..Could you imagine what would happen??? It would be crazy! It would be like a revival times 50. In Galatians 5 it talks about the freedom we, followers, have been given. But verse 14... is something we are missing in America...

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 

We don’t love our neighbor! What a blessing we are missing. What an opportunity we are missing. It’s sad. We have this freedom, which other countries would die for and we are taking it for granted. 

Today, thank God for your freedom! Thank God for placing people in the military that have a heart to protect and serve you so you can have freedom here. But, let’s pray for our neighbors.. let’s love and show them Jesus. Let’s demonstrate the freedom we have been give through him. Because if we his followers don’t...who will??

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Outside and Inside

I have weaknesses! Many! But one of my biggest is sweets. Oh I love them! I love to make them and eat them. I catch myself each week making something sweet. It’s like my stress relief in a way. I enjoy it!  Plus, everyone gets to have something special. It’s a win win...

Last night we decided to stop by a restaurant close to our house and get dessert. We rarely do this but their desserts always look amazing. Vaughn wanted cheesecake and I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I needed to check it all out. I scanned the cases and tried to decide what I wanted. There were so many to choose from and they all looked amazing! I ended up with German chocolate cake and a piece of cheesecake. I was excited and so was he. They were huge pieces too. So, we knew we would have extra left. However, it wasn’t what we expected. 

When we got home, we dug in... Vaughn paused and wasn’t eating his cheesecake. I was shocked...Mine was good,but it wasn’t as great as I had imagiend. They looked so good, but the inside didn’t taste like the outside looked. We just looked at each other and didn’t say much. 

Well, God spoke to me about this. He reminded me that we portray things on the outside that show beauty, strength, a smile..etc., but our inside shows a different story. We look put together on the outside but goodness on the inside we are screaming something different.

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 

1 Samuel 16:7

As people we have always been concerned with our outward appearance and how fancy, special, or different we can look. We have become a society who is so focused on this even more.  Just like the cake, it looked amazing on the outside, but the inside wasn’t the same as the outside.  Do we place more value on the outside than the inside? 

When you first meet someone you don’t “know” them yet. You see them, you talk with them.. but you don’t know them. The more you are with them, the more you talk with them, and see them you will begin to see the “real” them. We are so quick to “judge”. I’m speaking to me here too. We look with our eyes and hear rumors and gossip with our ears and are so quick to make an assumption about the person that we miss an opportunity that God gave us. It’s so hard. It’s easy when the people are within your circle group, but try to venture out and woah!!! 

We tried a new a place to get a dessert and even though it wasn’t what we thought doesn’t mean we won’t go back. If we never try then we will miss out... just not on desserts haha! But on people who need to be shown God’s love, people who need someone to look at them, not for the outside but the inside, people who just need someone to talk to. You never know who God might send your way. So, be ready and be willing! 

I pray We can be more like Jesus and care more about the heart than the outside. I truly think the world would change! 

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

When Bad News Comes

What do you when you hear bad news? Break down, scream, cry, pray, worry, keep it in, or tell someone. Bad news is hard. It hits us hard! Whether it’s job related, medical, family, etc. it hurts and it affects us. So, what do we do? 

Well, I’m a cryer! I’m very emotional and let everything out. I can’t keep it in. When bad news hits me, I cry, pray, sing praises, and pray some more. I am worrier sometimes, but I have Learned that we can’t control what happens. Life will throw us curve balls and well, we need to be prepared. So, what do we do?

First, we need to understand that God allows us to go through things to build us. Sometimes to strengthen our faith and bring us closer to him. His word says, Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s Love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Is it still hard? Ummm yes! Is it still a battle? Yes!!! Do we fight? Yes! Micheal W. Smith has this song out right now and it says, this is how we fight our battles...it may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you. He surrounds us!! His love... like the scripture says, his love is poured into our hearts. We will rejoice because God is produceing something in us and we are going to have the endurance to finish strong. He is building us and strengthening us. 

Second, prayer! Prayer changes things! It’s our communication to our Father. He hears our prayers. He hears our heart when our mouth can’t speak. We pray for HIS will.  In Philippians 4:6 it says, Do not anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. In 1Thessalonianss 5:1 says, pray without ceasing. Luke 18:1 says, And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and to not lose heart. There are so many more scriptures that refer to prayer, I wish I could list them all, but I encourage You to open the word and read. Search the scriptures and use scripture during your prayer time. 

You know, sometimes when we pray it’s so focused on OUR plan. What we need and what we want? We have to remember to pray for God’s will, it’s not about us...it’s all about him. He doesn’t like or want bad things to happen to us, but sin is what causes all these things. We can’t blame God, because it’s not his fault. It’s ours! But we can ask why and ask him to reveal this to us through our prayer time. Pray!! 

Third, tell others! Don’t battle things in this world alone. Share your story. Share and ask people to pray. Understand that God gave us each other. Let’s lean on each other and build one another up just not in bad times, but in good times. He is with us, but he also provides his people. 

The bad times are rough! Sometimes brutal! Whatever you are going through today I pray that you know Jesus. I can’t imagine trying to fight without him. He makes me strong when I feel weak. He provided a way for me to be in Heaven one day...a free gift! I can’t imagine my life without him. I pray that you dig into his word and find comfort, peace, and a love like no other. I pray that you suuround yourself with followers of God who will pray and speak words of encoragement over you. I pray You will feel a God’s Love and strength to battle through this storm.

Natalie Grant’s song..more than anything..... help me want the healer more than the healing, help me want the Savior more than the saving... help me want the Giver more than the giving ... help me want Jesus more than anything!!  

Praying for those storms!!

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Suffering

Anyone that knows me well knows that I don't do well with pain. I mean, I have gotten so much better. I used to be a real wimp. Really!! After having kids I have become stronger and able to handle things better. However, pain everyday is a battle for me.

I have Endometriosis. I was diagnosed in March after having a diagnostic surgery. They weren't able to take out what they saw because it was lesions on my uterus and there were blood vessels surrounding it and it's still there. I feel it everyday. It had gotten better, however, it is back full force and occuring multiple times throughout the day and unforunately even at night. It effects my sleep, my day to day happenings, when I sit it hurts, when I stand for to long it hurts, and exercise I discovered doesn't help...it makes it worse. 

I feel crazy, literally I do. Because it's not something people can see....it's inside my body. It's not like I can point and say see??? I have been put through so many tests, procedures, and doctor visits for them to tell me they don't see anything, they aren't sure what's causing my pain, and to the point that they don't know what the next step will be. I continue to meet with my doctors..obgyn, urlogist, and GI...plus my primary care. When I say I have been through tests I mean...I have been through it. But I start to think about other people and what they have went through. Challenges they have faced, procedures, tests, obstacles that seem impossible. I mean this seems little! It's big to me because it effects my life. And has changed my life. 

I want to be able to do stuff and not feel bad, however, sometimes I'm in so much pain that all I can do is pull my knees to my chest or switch positions a billion times. As I type this I have a pain in my low left side. It's my little friend that I wish would go away. It's like that annoying sound or habit that people have that just makes you want to pull your hair out. Just imagine them doing that 10-15 times a day. And to describe the pain which occurs in my abdomen and in my back it's like a sharp stabbing or needle pricks continously. It hits me all of sudden or lingers for minutes upon minutes.

I realized something the other day. I need to pray more for myself about this. I mean down on my knees praying, journaling, etc. Because God allows us to go through things to make us stronger. And I know this!!! I struggle so much with this. I mean does anyone like it?? It's hard. In Romans 5:4 it tells us, Not only that but we REJOICE in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

We are going to go through trials. We are going to face things that bring us challenges. So, what do we do. We rejoice! Because through that suffering God is bringing us to a new place with new a outlook. And it's not easy. I wish it was, but honestly I'm having trouble rejocing in this suffering. But as I read those words...that it will produce endurance...I will be stronger!!!!  It will produce hope! I know God will get me through this one way. It might be, he heals me (I fully believe he can) and it's gone or more surgery, doctors, etc. This suffering will not stop me from being who I am called to be.....I am HIS!!! I will proclaim him till the last breath I breathe on this earth...Sufferings, they are going to happen. Pray! Push through! Cry! Talk with people! Praise him! We will come out of this suffereing looking different, not just physically, but spirtitually,emotionally etc. Allow God to produce something in you....we might have to walk through the hills and valleys for awhile, but he's right there saying..come on!! You got this!! I'm here. Don't give up! 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

Oh, that darn thing!

If you are a woman you know that darn thing I’m talking about. It catches your eye as you are getting out of the shower, it sometimes has dust covered all over, because well it hasn’t been used, or you step on it everyday hoping,praying the number hasn’t changed or it has went down at least. You know what I’m talking about....THE SCALE!!!

I so wish weight wasn’t something I had to think about, worry about, or even cry about sometimes, but it is. I have always struggled and probably always will. I mean some people can eat food and I just look at it and I gain. Haha! You can laugh.. I do! I wish I had a better metabolism like my husband...yeah! He can eat anything, but I don’t. And you know what, this is my body and it’s up to me to change it,help it, or do something about it. 

After having Wade the weight stayed on for a couple of months after I  quit breastfeeding. I mean I had always heard breastfeeding will help you lose the baby weight... ummm am I alone!!!! It didn’t! I mean I lost maybe 10-15 pounds, but that was it and I gained a lot more than that. Let’s just say 50... yeah! So, the weight did finally come off and I was back to kinda normal. I was running again and felt like myself. Now, flash forward to MJ. Well, the weight has stayed around. Same thing, I breastfeed her. I lost about 10-15 pounds and still to this day I have Only lost 12 pounds since stopping breastfeeding. It’s like my body said you’re good! 

I want to to be honest. I’m not good. I don’t like the size I am and I want to lose weight because I want to be healthy. It’s not that I want to be skinny. Trust me, I wont every be! I don’t ever want to wear a bikini...I ain’t trying to impress no one.. lol! just want to fix my problem areas and be a healthier version. Can I get an Amen??? 

In the Bible it talks about our body as a temple.. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 

We are to take care of ourselves! Eating right, exercise, reading, not watching too much Netflix (guilty), being outside, being around people, reading God’s word, fellowship with other believers, and just being alone sometimes is what these temples of God need. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. But, we must honor God with our body. 

So, even though I struggle and deal with this weight thing daily I have sought a plan of action to help with this little battle. I have been doing weight watchers online since March and working out at the YMCA. Is it still a struggle?  YES. Do I feel better? YES! Do I still want food that is bad for me? Ummmm YES! And it’s okay! Im working toward a better, healthier me and right now I have a little jiggle when I wiggle..haha! But, that’s me and my reminder that God blessed me with two babies..and I’m thankful for that. 

Be happy in your skin, push through on the days the devil attacks you ( NOT TODAY SATAN), and that scale that is eyeing you in the corner... go stand on it, throw it away, or don’t.. It don’t define who you are. 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Ephesians 2:10

Love and Prayers, 

Holly

Daddy's Home

It's that sigh of relief when you hear the garage door open and the kids start jumping up and down or when he texts and says, "be home soon". It's a moment like no other. Your partner, your love, your friend, your help...he's home. To me it's a wonderful feeling, not only because he's off work,  but he's home!!!

Vaughn's job has always been challenging for me. When we didn't have children it wasn't as bad. He would work 8:00-5:00 most days and it was a normal schedule. After Wade, his work changed. It's a great thing! He has moved up in the company and deserves every promotion he has worked for. He is a hard worker and dedicated to his job. However, this requires more hours and more stress.He works hard! He travels out of town most weeks and is gone two, sometimes three days a week.  I know I'm not the only one out there....right? I know there are men and women who work shift work, are on call, who work straight days, who scarifice holidays, and time with their children. I wish I could wave my magic wand and all the mommy's and daddy's could be home together all the time. I wish it was that simple...However, it's not reality.

Before having Wade, I read the book Power of a Praying Wife and did the study. If you haven't read it and you are married or soon will be...go get yourself a copy. It put things into perspective for my prayer life for Vaughn. I knew I needed to pray for him, but this laid it out so beautifully and took you through how to pray for your husband fully and completely. It opened my eyes! Two kids later, I struggle. I focus more on them sometimes. But, I pray for my husband. I pray for him to have wisdom and strength to get through his work day. I pray for him to be kind and respectful. I pray for him to give advice and be a mentor for younger and older employpees. I pray he is an example of Christ while he is at work. I pray for him to strive in his job daily,to make wise decisions, and to be a light for those who might not know Jesus. I pray! I pray! I pray! I pray for my husband. 

Something I have been doing lately is praying with scripture. God gave us a guide book, a life book...use it!!!

Psalms 90:17

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yet establish the work of our hands.

Prayer--Jesus, may the favor of our God be upon my husband. Please bless and establish the work of his hands and heart each day.

Ephesians 4:1-2

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one in love. 

Prayer--God, Please help my husband to live in accordance to you will. Please allow him to be humble, gentle, allow him to have patience in stressful times, allow him to love people as you have asked us to. 

 

I grumble a lot..ummm I do, about his work schedule. It can be hard some days when he doesn't get home till 7:00 and he left at 6:00 a.m. or earlier. But, I need to remember that God has blessed us and allows Vaughn to work. This job has allowed me to be a part time stay at home mom.. and truthfully I'm mostly just a stay at home mom. It's the biggest blessing God and Vaughn could have gave me as a mom and wife. So, I going to try to grumble less and pray more and remember that God hears my prayers. He hears my heart and my desires. He knows how much I love Vaughn and how much I want him home so we can be complete again. But, I'm also going to pray for myself that God would take this grumbling and negativity that I have sometimes towards his work schedule. I pray that I would speak kindness, have understanding, and love. And I pray that Satan would flee because you know...he's the one placing those thoughts in my head. So, NOT TODAY SATAN!!! And not tomorrow either...pray for those husbands...and tell them to pray for you too!! 

 

Love and Prayers,

Holly

 

 

Power of a Praying Wife Study Guide

 https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/power-of-a-praying-wife-prayer-and-study-guide-stormie-omartian/1100301348/2679343065090?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_New+Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP164949&gclid=Cj0KCQjw28_XBRDhARIsAEk21FhWIHxKsHGd-V54PiBSNgcMie0iiRJ5wN5KL591PmXp7T7KCPGEqJAaAnqiEALw_wcB