Simple gratitude.

This year my goal is twofold.

1. Strengthen my relationship with Jesus

2. Simplify

I’ve decided to challenge myself each month with a theme to simplify my life. Month one is simplify my home. Some things I’ve tackled so far:

Entryway and coat closet. Note to reader…CAUTION this will leave you with an extreme, uncontrollable amount of excitement and satisfaction. We have a small space but I knew it was workable if I changed it up. Our shoes were OUT of CONTROL! Our coats didn’t fit in the closet and ended piled on the floor in a corner (if not somewhere in the kitchen), and the baskets for my two and one year olds’ shoes were a nightmare to find even one shoe from a pair in. Here’s how I took my sanity back. I took my shoes off the shoe rack in our closet, eliminated about 6-7 pairs that I never wear and took the shoe rack out. Instead of baskets for my 2.5 year old and 12 month old, I now use the shoe rack. It’s not the most beautiful thing our entry has seen but it is 💯 more practical.

I am seriously in awe of how in control of my house I feel with some order in the entry of our home.

2. Refrigerator, outside first. Try to trust me on this. So we purchased a new construction home, and were allotted so much money per appliance. It was a reasonably priced upgrade for stainless steel, so we splurged for it. Two years in with kids, our refrigerator has finger prints everywhere within thirty seconds of a wipe down, the freezer has three dents from a new tricycle incident last spring, and the door boasts our two year old’s (to Mom and Dad) award winning artwork along with 10-12 family/friend photos all of which I firmly believed brought me immense joy.

10 Things to Pray For During the Happy, Sad, or Hard Times.

Prayer. It is such a gift to have a direct line to the Heavenly Father. Long before technology was even a thing imagined, God gave us access to the best possible kind, AND we can reach him anytime, anyplace, regarding anything.

10 Things to Pray For  

1. Words to Say

Don’t think, just pray. Pray while you think of what to pray. If you don’t know where to begin start by asking God for some help. God isn’t like the people on this earth who care about the words you choose. As long as your heart is there, and you hold tight to the belief that through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven…that’s the only start you really need.

2. Help

It’s easy to get lost and forget that God is here to help us. He doesn’t always answer in the way we might like, and his timing doesn’t always match our ideal window, but we can pray for help of any kind.

3. Releasing Anger

If you’re upset about something and just can’t let it go, a prayer can help you find strength to let go, and let God. A memory etched in my mind is of my mom giving me [at the time one very angry high school girl] advice about holding onto anger. As I huffed and puffed about a situation I was upset over, my mom told me that the girl I was mad at probably wasn’t even thinking about me. “Why give your energy to someone who probably isn’t thinking about you for a second?” She also gave me her speech about never going to bed angry. It is so much clearer now looking back. Of course things happen that make us mad and upset, but we need to find a way to let them go to move on with our own lives. If we can’t, we should pray until we can. God will give you peace. You may not get a resolution, or understanding, but God will work in your heart if you pray hard and long enough to move on with your life.

4. Strength to Forgive

Letting go of anger and forgiveness go hand in hand, although for those BIG things, forgiveness can be as hard if not harder. The best way I know to find the heart to forgive, is to look in the mirror and think of all the forgiveness Jesus has allowed me. Jesus responded to the question of how many times one should forgive their brother with 70×7. Jesus didn’t mean forgive 707 times and then you’re clear to move on. Forgiveness is a gift that’s been given to us by our Savior. Sometimes the greatest gift of forgiveness is forgiving myself, or someone else. In my experience forgiveness is freeing every time. Even if it is undeserved. Especially if undeserved. Keeping my reflection close reminds me that I should be quick to forgive others knowing I am a sinner. Just like with anger if you can’t forgive, pray for the heart that eventually can.

5. A Grateful Heart

I am a firm believer that the true key to happiness is having a grateful heart. If you look around there is so much to be thankful for. If you’re feeling down give a heartfelt thank you to someone by giving them a call, text, or better yet a hand written card or note.

6. Wisdom

It’s tough sometimes to step back from controlling our own lives and say Jesus I need your wisdom. We don’t know it all, He does. What a beautiful gift to be able to ask him to give us his infinite wisdom. Along with any wisdom I’ve ever asked for I have always been granted peace following the prayer.

7. Childlike Faith

Speaking of wisdom, a wise teacher Mr. Marv Erdman once told me that a person should never become so intelligent that they lose their childlike faith. If there is something testing your faith, you may need to ask for guidance in finding your childlike faith. Put your trust in Jesus, and he will sustain you.

8. Peace

In our chaotic, sin filled world, peace can only truly come from our Lord and Savior. There is no other way to feel it than through divine intervention. Pray for one of the many types of peace: inner peace, peace on earth, peace in our relationships, peace in our family. You choose the peace that your heart needs most or better yet pray for multiple types of peace in one sitting. Even if you don’t need peace right now, you know someone who does if you think long enough.

Here are some types of inner peace that you may want to pray for:  Pray for peace from comparing yourself to others, peace from unhealthy lifestyles, peace for the broken hearted, peace for our families, and the list could go on to an infinite number number. See how I found peace through my 30 day social media elimination diet.

9. Placing God First

Pray for making God your first priority, and know that everything else will be in His care. I often struggle with loving God more than my children. I know that in reality they are His children and I have been blessed to keep them in my care. Maybe there is something else in your life that you keep putting first: money, your spouse, job. Pray to keep God the biggest priority in your life.

10.  Releasing Our Need to Control

I saved the best for last. What a merciful God to take control of our lives for us. He has a plan, and we will flourish through it when we look to Him.

In a world that focuses on social media, it is no wonder that so many let God take a backseat. Posts scream that we ourselves alone are powerful and in control of change. God absolutely wants us to be bold and confident in our own abilities. He wants positive changes for our lives, he is after all our Heavenly Father that wants the best for us. The best for us is to remember that ultimately He is in control, and we should live our lives for him. He wants us to rely on him when our willpower runs thin, or our strength runs out. He will give us all the strength we need to reach our goals.

 

 

Mother’s Day for the Grieving

 

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My mom and I on Mother’s Day four years ago (hair growing back after her aggressive cancer treatment). She went to heaven on this past New Year’s Eve.
As a new mother myself, the only gift I will ever want for Mother’s Day is time with my sweet blessings, Brooklyn (almost 2) and Carter (5 months). My mom always loved when her kids would come home, and her personal favorite- join her and my dad for church on Mother’s Day Sunday or any Sunday for that matter. I never really understood why, but now that she is gone it makes sense to me. I am sharing my experience hoping that I can help someone else who is dealing with grief. Whether it’s the loss of a mother, father, grandparent, sibling, or friend, I hope someone can find a level of peace through reading my experience.

A verse that I cling to these days is: “Your faith has made you well” Matthew 9:22 (ESV). The story from the Bible surrounding this verse has nothing to do with grief, but instead is about Jesus healing a woman when she touched his clothes. My mom loved and read it often after her diagnosis (6 months or less) holding on to her faith that only He had the power to heal her during the four years that she battled anaplastic thyroid cancer.

So what does this verse have to do with me, or the grieving? After all, my mom’s faith was unwavering and she still had her life taken by cancer. How does it relate to me when I still miss my mom every second of every day…grab my phone to call her, and start to add her to a family group text with pictures of my children? Or when to my surprise I miss her most in the happy times when I would have called her to tell her something great that happened, knowing that noone else will ever be as elated as she was when I would tell her that Brooklyn said a new word, rolled or crawled? The way it relates to me is actually pretty simple. These powerful words of Jesus “Your faith has made you well,” give me hope. No explanation or thing on this earth will ever give me a remnant of peace, strength, hope, or understanding as to why my mom was taken from this earth so soon. It is through the word of God, His mercy, and much grace that I find these things. Through my faith I realize that God’s plan is better than mine. It will never be easy to accept that she is gone, but it is through faith that I can.

Through my faith, I am thankful for Mother’s Day, and every day. I’m grateful for the promise Jesus gives that one day I will be with her again. I am especially thankful for the opportunities that I have to go to church, even on Mother’s Day where I might have to swallow hard and wipe some tears, and fight back a few more thinking of how much I miss her. Although it will be hard, church is the place where I feel the closest to my mom. I now understand why she loved so much for us kids to join her and my dad any Sunday we could after we left home. I am thankful for the grateful heart that my mom modeled throughout every moment of her cancer battle. She reminded me that there is “always, always, something to be thankful for.” When asked how she was, she often replied “I’m grateful.” I am thankful for the love of family and friends, and for the blessing of being a mom myself. I am thankful for the 31 years that I was able to spend with my incredible mom.

On Mother’s Day and everyday, I’ll strive to live in the joy of knowing that God’s plan is better than mine, and hold tight to the promise that I’ll be together with my mom again someday. So for those sweet loving friends and family members who are thinking of me this Mother’s Day, you can know that through faith alone, I am doing well. And you better believe I am snuggling my sweet babes and thanking God for my chance to be their mom.  ❤️🙏🏻IMG_3906