Snap*Crackle*Pop!  That was NOT my breakfast this morning.  It was my body. 

Last week, I was looking forward to finishing my five-week Alpha, T-25 workout and recording my last devotional about working out the body and spirit.  When I woke up last Friday morning, my head and sinuses kept me in bed and made me rest a while longer. So…Week 5 Day 5 was put on hold.

Fast forward to last night…I went to bed ready to arise at 5:30 in the morning so I could finish what I had started.  The alarm went off, my morning get-ready-routine-for-my-workout began, and then that’s when it happened.  No, I didn’t break any bones or injure any part of my body, but something else was broken…it was the DVD player.  As I sit here and type, I can still see the words being displayed, “CD/DVD, reading…”

Well, being one that enjoys making lemonade out of lemons, I said, “Well, God, my prayer list is long and my body needs stretching, so no worries.”  As I turned, twisted, and extended myself for the normal twenty-five minutes of working out, I prayed the entire time.

When the time was up, my prayers were still going. 

My body felt release and healthier, and my mind was fixed on what it should be on…God and others.

So tomorrow is a new day for finishing the exercise routine.  I have faith that my man can fix the DVD.  But in the meantime, today has started out stronger than expected.  I have faith that The Man will answer my prayers.

Starting your day in prayer and meditating on God is the BEST way you can start your day.   I pray that you will seek the face of God before you seek the face of man.  Psalm 27:8 says, My heart says of you, ‘Seek His face!’  Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Oh, go ahead and read all of Psalm 27.  You won’t regret it!)

1 Thessalonians 5:17,Pray without ceasing.” (Don’t stop praying!)

Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Pray, meditate, and put a smile of not only God’s face but your own.)

Mark 1:35,Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (We are supposed to want to do and be more like Christ, so just do it!  He got up and prayed early each day, so should we.)

Colossians 1:9-12, For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (I just loved this when I was reading the scripture this morning.  This is my prayer today for you!)

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

God sometimes makes us still so that we can breathe, reflect, and observe His majesty.

The weekend was extended a day and a great day was being celebrated.  Good Friday and Easter were here!  A few days before this great occasion, I was ready to get much done and up for anything. 

Well, things changed.  I’ve been quiet and still for the past few days.  Yep, the cold/allergy/crud/achy season spent some time in our home. So instead of hustling around with all the plans that “I” had in my mind for the long weekend, I was taking it easy. 

The reflection time all started last Thursday when I had to take my youngest to the ER.  He had informed me the day before that his heart had been feeling tight for about a week.  I never knew!  He was playing around like normal, so when he told me I was concerned but not going crazy.  On Thursday he mentioned it again so I called the doctor and they told me to take him to the ER right away.  Well, that time in the hospital made me stop and reflect.

I reflected on the heart.  Not just the physical heart, but the spiritual heart.

  • Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7~Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  During our ER visit, I prayed, thanked God, felt His peace, and knew He was protecting our hearts.
  • Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. ~Renew a loyal spirit within me.”  Our hearts can get tainted.  We must keep our focus on God, be loyal to His word, and ask Him daily to purify our hearts and minds.

While being “still” I loved observing how my children interacted with others.  I was a proud momma when I saw my children giving godly advice to others (My cup runneth over!), enjoying a simple game of “hide-n-seek” at even a “big-kid” age, and simply staying out of drama.

  • Proverbs 1:8, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Sometimes I (we, parents) often wonder, “Are our children really ‘getting it’?”  Oh, how they are.  Little (and big) eyes are always watching how we act and react to various situations.  When you see them reiterating the same advice you’ve given to them to their friends, ahhh how refreshing it is.

Finally, over the past few days of not feeling well, I am quickly reminded that what I have “is just a cold”.  My heart is heavy with much prayer for family and friends.  Cancer, stroke, severe diabetes, failing organs, etc. These are a few of the symptoms/diseases that my dear loved ones are dealing with right now to the extreme.  It’s not “just a cold” for them.  So my cold was quickly put in perspective and my actions were turned to being on my knees in unceasing prayer.  I was praying not only for the sick, but for their family and loved ones who are caring for them.

God is The Great Physician. My God can heal diseases (Psalm 103:3), restore you to good health (Jeremiah 30:17), and has great compassion (Matthew 14:14).  Yes, He can heal.   May His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

So, my wimpy illness may have slowed me down, but God helped me to see things and others in a pleasant light, and has brought me to my knees in thanksgiving, humility, and urgency for others.

Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalms 46:10

Please join me in prayer for:

  • Aunt Joyce (My mom’s only living sibling…had a mini-stroke plus other health issues.)
  • Doug (A lifelong friend, and the one who got me and my husband together back in 1985…on breathing tubes and dialysis.)
  • My cousin Brenda (needing a new kidney and liver)
  • My sister-in-law’s mom, Jean (brain cancer)
  • Another dear lifelong friend’s brother, Keith. (severe burns to his body, escaped his home that was burned down)

Be still and pray!

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

Finally!  I’ve been waiting for about three weeks to see the movie with the whole family, and today was the day!  And what a perfect day it was on…Good Friday.  On the day that the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated, my family went to the movie theater to see “God’s Not Dead”.

That’s right… “God IS NOT dead, He’s surely alive. He’s living on the inside roaring like a lion.” (The Newsboys’ song)  (Click to see the music video.)

I was grateful to see this movie with my whole family.  Now that Hunter is graduating from high school and college is knocking at his door, the stand that the character Josh, a college freshman, took to prove that God’s not dead was powerful and encouraging.  I pray that when others’ philosophies come my children’s way (and I’m sure they will), that they will be able to stand strong in their faith in God like Josh did in the movie.

In the movie you have various groups represented: atheists, Muslims, totally-materialistically in-the-world folks, open-minded college students, Christians in an unequally yoked relationship, other cultures, a priest, a missionary, etc.  Yet the underlying connection was their belief or unbelief in God the Creator.

Some powerful scenes in the movie, without giving it all away, were:

  • When Josh was arguing with his college professor (the atheist) and shot back at him with these words, “How can you hate someone so much who you claim doesn’t exist?”
  • When others are faced to believe in the way their families have raised them or choose another path.
  • The realization that it’s never too late to put your trust in Jesus Christ.

I sat there ready to be entertained, but I also was ready to critique another Hollywood production.  I am happy to say I was pleasantly entertained and also intellectually challenged.  It wasn’t a “sugar-coat” it movie. They argued points and provided sayings and scriptures that kept the movie intriguing.

This movie is a movie of hope, a portrayal of grace, and a reminder that standing up for what you belief in is not always easy but will end victoriously. Glory!

So this movie gets a “two-thumbs-up” from me.

Spread the word…God’s NOT dead!  And this is the perfect weekend to share The Good News with all.

Happy Resurrection weekend! 

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

The team goes beyond these ladies with me. This pic is from a field trip last year. I love these ladies!

 

My family is my support!

I am so grateful that I have a wonderful support system in many areas in my life.

My co-workers are awesome!  We have lunch together, gather in the halls, and are always there to back each other up.  When times are tough, unexpected, or when there’s much to celebrate, the group of people I’m surrounded by daily never fail to help and encourage one another.  No matter how diverse we are or what stage in our lives we may be, the support we give and receive from each other is refreshing and greatly appreciated!

The support at work doesn’t just end with my team, but it extends throughout much of the faculty and staff.  I have the BEST boss. The administration, support staff, custodial staff, and beyond are pleasant, and often have a smile or hug to give, and even a prayer to share.

My family!  Need I say more?  Parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, my children, and my man!  The support is needed, given, and honored. 

My church family (pastors, staff, teachers, and members) are supportive and encouraging in my walk with God.

My friends…let’s just say I am a blessed girl who has lots of “Barnabases” in her life.

You!  The reader.  The encouraging words I hear and read from you keep me grounded. Thank you for your support.

But where does my great help come from?  The Lord!

Psalms 121  reads:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

 

This morning while working-out, it seemed that the instructor kept referring to “the modifier” (Tonya) more often today than usual. Even though I’ve done this section numerous times, I guess God wanted to reiterate to me the importance of support from others in our lives. 

Do you have a good support group? I hope so. 

I pray that you will find a good base of support, whether it be from just one person or many.  Co-workers, family, and friends, need to help each other out, not tear each other down. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,…”

Just know that when you may feel that no one has your back, God does.  Turn to Him.  He’s watching over you.

Enjoy getting fit physically and spiritually.

3 John 1:2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

I’m praying God’s blessings and abundant love for you. 

 

Good thing I got a pedicure last night. :)

Something I heard last night has been ringing in my head still this morning.  “This will be the best 25 minutes of your day.” This is what the exercise instructor said at the beginning of the workout.  I immediately thought, “Yea, it could be, but there is so much more to make it ‘the best’.” 

Having all my family together in one room…the best!

Snuggling with my man…the best!

Actually cooking a creative meal with family while listening to music…the best! (Oh, how I wish I had more of these moments.)

Watching the sunrise or sunset over the horizon…the best!

Teaching children in school and at church and seeing them have an “Ah-ha” moment…the best!

This list could continue.  But what is really at the top of my list is my prayer time and getting into God’s word seeking His desire for my life…the best!

Now, if you want to combine all those “bests” together and have me sharing God’s love with others at sunset, on the beach, with a great meal we prepared together, and then end it with a snuggle time from my man…then that’s just fine with me.

God led me to Romans 10:17 this morning.  I love how when I read one verse, and then another translation expands one verse to others so you catch the meaning of the verse intended a little better.   That’s what happened when I was reading verse 17, and then The Message translation extended it from verse 14 to verse 17. 

It reads like this in The New Living Translation:

  • Romans 10:14-17, “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?”17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”

Here I was seeking a verse that focused on spending time with God, and I was surrounded by so much more. 

Hearing God speak is what I enjoy while spending time with Him.  But, when we hear the Good News about Christ, we need to make sure that we just don’t soak it into our marrow and let it just resonate within us, but let it overflow from us and share that Good News with others. 

We are to be the “beautiful feet” and share God’s love and goodness with others.

This week would be a perfect time for you to do that.  This coming Sunday is (in my opinion) the greatest holiday for Christians.  This Sunday we will celebrate our risen Savior.  He’s alive!  Why not invite someone to church this Sunday?  They just may be waiting on one simple invite.  That invitation can come from you.

Go be the beautiful feet.

I pray that you will spend at least 25 minutes of your God-given twenty-four hour day with our Creator.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

Yea, you thought I was slackin’.  Well, maybe this morning, because I needed to get to school early today.  But tonight, week FIVE day one routine resumed.    I can’t believe I’m on week 5!

Tonight I heard Shaun T. say a couple of saying that stuck in my mind; “Give it everything you’ve got!”  “Do this with a purpose!”  Amen and amen! 

In life, give it all you’ve got and live with a purpose.

In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 we read, “Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.”  (MSG)  I love Paul’s writings.  He lays it all on the line and encourages me to live for God more. 

Yes, we must be on guard at all times.  Satan loves to see us stumble.  Don’t let him grab hold of you. 

Always stand firm in your faith.  Hold on to it.  Even when your conviction goes against the grain of everyone else’s perception, hold tight! 

Give it all you’ve got!  Be courageous.  I love all the synonyms for the word courageous:  spunky, audacious, daring, brave, spirited, etc.  If that doesn’t make you want to get up and go, I don’t know what will.  I just had a thought… maybe for some, those words sound exhausting and/or terrifying. Hmmmm, well then, just be brave for God.  He’ll take care of you.

Above all, do everything with love.  Lots of love!

Psalms 138:8a reads, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.”  He has a purpose for you.  Seek His will for your life.  Live for Him!

Enjoy getting fit physically and spiritually.

3 John 1:2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

I’m praying God’s blessings and abundant love for you. 

I’m glad we are not like my thumb-drive…“a lost cause”.

A few weeks back one of my students walked by my classroom computer and accidentally bumped into my thumb-drive while going back to his seat.  When he did, it bent the chip inside.  (He has no clue he did it.  I never told him.)

I took it to my tech people at school, and they recommended that I take it to a computer store because they didn’t want to damage it more.  I finally went today!  I walked into one store and the gentleman tried to read it, but no luck.  So I went to another computer store, and they too were unable to save my year’s worth of lesson plans, some devotionals, and some old photos from my other computer. 

I said to the two owners, “So, you’re telling me it’s a lost cause?”  Their reply, “Yes, so sorry.”

Remember in Luke 15:3-7  the story of the lost sheep?

  • “So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”

Did you read that last verse?  There is much joy and a celebration when the lost one is found. Glory!

Many folks think that they’ve done so many wrong things that God won’t want them.  Or they have it in their head that they’ve got to “do better” before they turn their life over to Christ.  Are you kidding me?  We cannot do this on our own.  A changed life is a God thing.  He wants all of us to be with Him in paradise.

Luke 19:10  says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Yes He did! 

So I’m here to inform you that you are NOT a lost cause!  No “so sorry” here.  Just much rejoicing when you’re found.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

Nuts!

 

My oh my where has the time gone?  My boy is graduating this year from high school! 

Yesterday I got to take pictures of my “four boys” for their grad party.  They were a hoot!  Then they sat around in the backyard and we talked about when they first met each other, mom’s advice on finding a church to attend while away at school (New York, Colorado, & Tallahassee) and having each others’ back, and they joked about “stuff” in general.  Memories!

This morning I was thinking about bible verses you may want to use with a graduate.  I remember writing a journal entry about this very topic a while back.  When I opened up the website and found the entry, the picture made me go, “Wow! Where has the time gone?”

If you need a verse or two or more for a graduate, click here.

I’m sure I’ll post more on this topic as the month passes.  (*sigh* *tear* *choked up*) (Ugh, here I go again with needing some tissues.)

 

 

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

Christian, Hunter, Landon, and Hassan.

 

 

 

 

Yea, this one. My heart overflows with love, still.

“Inhale…Exhale”  journal entry has taken on a whole new meaning.

Slowly breathe in and out.  Count to ten.  Close my eyes.  Think positive.  Focus on God’s goodness.  That’s what I had to do this morning with a certain teen in my house this morning.  I’m sure big brother loved the head-to-head/never-back-down conversation between me and his lovely sister.  I can just see him smiling and thinking, “Haha, it’s your turn.”

Ugh!  Teenagers!  Especially when they have the stubbornness of their mother.

Yea, yea, yea, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.Psalm 127:3.  I know.  There are just times when…no I’m kidding, I’d never return my kiddos.  I just would wish God would polish that reward a little more.  In time, Stephanie, in time. 

Breathe in and out.  In and out.  This too shall pass.

Maybe God needs to keep polishing me too.  (Keep rubbing, God.)

Blessed!  Ok, I am blessed!

Am I alone?

Just Breathe. 

Have you ever been near a chemical plant, landfill, freshly “used” cow pin, or your own trash on a later day than normal trash day, and tried to inhale deeply?  Ugh!  That is stanky!  You know you want to remove yourself from that vicinity as soon as possible.

Now, let’s switch the scenario. Place yourself in a new car, a field of wildflowers, or a laundry room where the fresh dryer sheets or clothes detergent’s aroma fills the room.  Ahhh, the newness, beauty, and freshness are so pleasant.

That’s a lot like our daily walk with God. 

When you are in a situation where you are surrounded by sin or wallowing in it yourself, you feel “stanky”.  Flee!  Run far away so you won’t have to breathe in the foulness, and be consumed by it.  Sin can consume you.  It’s up to you to turn from sin, and instead turn to God.

When you are spending time growing closer to God, desiring to know Him more, and spending time in His word, that is a pleasing aroma to God.  You will feel “as fresh as a daisy”. Inhale God’s goodness.  Fill yourself with His love and exhale His love to others.

Inhale.  Exhale.  Inhale God.  Exhale God.  Now doesn’t that feel refreshing?  Glory!

  • Psalm 150:6, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16a, All Scripture is God-breathed

That’s what I thought about while focusing on my breathing today while working my abs.  Turn your daily life routine into a God thought.  Go for it!

Enjoy getting fit physically and spiritually.

3 John 1:2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

I’m praying God’s blessings and abundant love for you.