A Glimpse into my Prayer Journal Series: Daily Prayers

I am just a paper and pen kind of girl. Digital has it’s place for me, and I utilize it in many, many ways – but I used paper planner, paper journals, and a good ole paper Bible. I’m not saying my way is the only way – but it’s what I love, and it’s what works for me. I just encourage you to find what works for you… whatever excites you and makes you want to dive into God’s word and spend intentional time in prayer with Him.

The journal I’m currently using is just a simple insert that was made for a Traveler’s notebook. Foxy Fix is the brand, and I ordered it when I ordered my TN for my birthday this past year. It’s not my favorite insert notebook, but it works well enough. It came in a pack of three so it’s lasted me a little bit. My favorites are the Moleskine Volant-style and May Designs books. I use it kind of like a bullet journal with an index, and I’ve also added dividers (by washi-taping the edges of a few pages) and tabs to organize it a bit more and help me find specific pages easily. I like to decorate it with stickers too. (My favorites have been The Happy Planner Faith collection.)

Again – none of these fancy things are necessary. You can use the notes app on your phone or grab a composition notebook at the grocery store, and it will work just fine. I like the idea of journaling prayers, even if just in list-form, because you will be able to see how He answers them over time. I’m a list-girl, and there’s nothing more satisfying to me than checking something completed off a list. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it’s really really exciting to check off an answered prayer and praise God that something is no longer a struggle or He did what He said He was going to do.

Today’s Page of my journal that I’m sharing is called “Daily Prayers”.
These are scriptures I’ve found throughout my daily Bible readings that I thought may be good scriptures to pray every day and focus my mind on what I am doing. It sets the tone for my time in prayer. It’s also quotes from books or things I’ve found that do the same thing. I’ve just added a page of these to my journal, and I start here usually. It’s a short, but ongoing list that I add to as I feel the need.

May I be careful to maintain a constant habitual, sense of Thee in my mind; to live and act as in Thy Presence; to think often of Thee. May I ever remember that I am in the presence of the great and Holy God.
-Susanna Wesley

Give me a new heart, and put a new spirit in me. Remove my heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh. Put your spirit in me, and move me to follow your decrees and be careful to keep your lawas. Ezekial 36:26-27

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139: 23-24

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51: 10-11

Help me to be filled with the spirt. Ephesians 5: 18

Show me, Change me, Fill me!

Today, our special guest is my dad -David Keen. He is the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Louisville. He is truly one who is a servant of God and has such a heart for ministry. He loves people, especially his church family. He is always on the go – and most of the time it’s to help or visit with someone in the church. He is there to encourage them and pray for them, and he does his job well. Today, he’s here to share with us the simplicity of what it means to pray and how he does that each morning.

In the morning, before the world comes crashing in. Before the phone rings, Before the noise of the day begins… It is time to begin a conversation with God. I’ve always liked the ACTS prayer method. It may sound simple, but that’s me.
A – Adoration (speaking how much I adore God and all He does)
C – Confession (simply cleaning the slate… forgiveness, starting my day anew)
T – Thanks (This may take a while… thanking God for salvation, family, blessings… of life.)
S – Supplication (The needs of the day, direction, guidance, help, strength, etc.)

My normal prayer life consists of one special request… “Lord, use me today.” (and He usually does, whether I see it or not.)

My prayer life continues all day… riding in the car, Wal-mart, sitting in a deer stand, walking down the halls of a hospital, or studying God’s word.

Without prayer, we are powerless… we need the connection to the Father. Without prayer, we would continue wandering in the wilderness of this world.

Prayer really does change things!

A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal Series: Establishing the Habit

I am so excited to share this series with you! It’s something God placed on my heart last Sunday morning during my quiet time with Him. I was reading back over by prayer journal from earlier in the year and saw all the prayers He has answered for us and those around us, and it was so encouraging to me. I remembered when I started keeping a journal of my prayers not too long ago. I thought about the resources I found and that are working well for me – that also might work well for you. Later on in the morning, I started thinking about those people around me that are prayer warriors – about how good it would be to hear from them about what their prayer life looks like. Bascially just because I wanted to glean some ideas, inspiration, and encouragement for myself! Then, the message that Pastor Mike delivered was all about prayer too! It’s like God had lined all of these things up, and that is so exciting to me when He does that! This week, you will not only be hearing from me, but also from a few select people that I know are rocking their prayer life! We can all read and be encouraged by their stories! I hope that you will be as blessed by their stories as I have been as I compiled them into these posts. I hope you enjoy all of the resources I share with you as well.

Establishing the Habit of Quiet Time & Prayer in my Own Life:
Before I begin with the actual components of my prayer journal, I feel like I should share with you what my prayer life looks like and how it’s grown and changed. It hasn’t always been all that, actually. I used to pray, only when I thought about it, which wasn’t often. And I definitely was not intentional about it. I have always had lots of faith and belief that God does and will do amazing things, I would let him do his thing – whatever He wanted, and didn’t really feel the need to discuss it much, other than a quick prayer here and there. I also wasn’t reading my Bible on a regular basis either. I had all the good excuses too. I’m a stay at home mom. There is no “quiet time”. My kids won’t let me. I think I had this ideal picture of what my quiet time with God should look like, and I didn’t know how to make it work so I just didn’t. Our communication was lacking.

I begin to feel more and more conviction for not pursing God in the way that I should, and I decided I needed to make a change. So in October of 2015, I got on Amazon and ordered this Bible. It wasn’t quite this expensive then, but it was way pricier than I’ve ever spent on a book or Bible, but I wanted a really nice one that would last me years and years and years and could be passed on to my children one day. I saw it as a small investment into my spiritual life, and called it a Christmas gift for myself. (Justin – you’re welcome. You’re were off the hook that year.)

So I ordered the Bible, and it came in the mail and smelled SO GOOD! That leather — Yum! I couldn’t wait to dive in and start studying. I printed off Mackenzie Monroe’s Savor & Establish study of Phillippians for the month of November. I remember this because I was also using some of the tips I’d read in a post about how busy moms who can barely finish a cup of coffee can sneak in quiet time… One of those tips was to leave your Bible out so that you could come back to it when you have gaps in your day. I did this and my little Linkin used my pen and scribbled all over one of the pages when I wasn’t looking. I wanted to be mad, yall. But I chose not to. Instead, I labelled it with his name and the date so I could remember how old he was when it happened. A sweet little memory that shows growth in him and in my quiet times. I wish I could find that post for yall, because it was filled with tips, and they were good, but unfortunately it’s no longer online. So I guess I will be writing my own post about that soon.

So I started with that study, and I did an Advent study in December 2015. In January of 2016, I was determined to make this a habit and a rhythm of my life. It’s so important, yall. And so I did. I found the Journal & Doodle Bible Studies from Stone Soup for Five. They are so good! I filled up a few Moleskine books with my notes from these studies and prayers and scriptures. I’ve found that I really like having nice quality journals to use, and it makes me actually want to use them. Nice leather Bible, nice quality paper, and nice quality pens to write on. Investments into my spiritual life, and to me – these are worth it because now I actually use them.

I made my quiet time a priority, and I wanted my children to know that it was a priority for me too. At first when I would wake up early, they would wake up early too – no matter how quiet I tried to be. I tried not to get frustrated (because I really wanted to), but instead I would read it aloud to them if they would let me, or give them something to color, or tell them they could grab a granola bar so they wouldn’t be starving until breakfast time came around. It hasn’t always been perfect. I was pregnant last year so there was a lot of morning sickness. I can’t function well in the mornings when I’m pregnant. At least not during that first trimester. It’s just not pretty. So I did devotionals and the Bible reading app on my phone throughout the day, and I worked on my Journal and Doodle Studies randomly, when I found some time to do so. It took me MONTHS to get through the study of John. I think it’s definitely true that there are seasons of life, and God does give grace for those seasons in which it’s hard to prioritize this time. But I also think it’s up to us to make it happen when we can. God will always be there waiting for us. He’s just waiting for us to show up to meet him too.

During this time, I was learning the importance of prayer and how to strategically pray for myself and those around me. I learned how to pray scriptures, and I found that it makes it so much easier to know what to pray about certain situations when I do this. I will google a list of scriptures on a topic and select some to pray for specific people and situations and write them down in my journal. As I’m turning through the pages of my journal in the morning, I just pray as God leads me. I have many different things that I pray for myself, my husband, and my children especially, but I don’t pray every single item every single day. I just let God lead me and pray whatever is on my heart for them. I add to the list specifics that I’ve noticed or they’ve mentioned. I pray for my family, my friends, those that I know that are going through tough times or need healing, the members of my small group, my team members, and our pastors. If someone asks me to pray for them, I go ahead and do so right then. Many times I’ll have friends mention a prayer need during the week, and I want to make sure that I actually pray for them – instead of just intending to but never doing so. So I’ll pray for them immediately, then again whenever I think of them or in my morning prayer time, and doing that prompts me to follow up with them to see how things are going.

I usually have my quiet time of Bible study and prayer in the mornings in our living room. I’ve always loved when I’ve visted people’s homes and saw that they had “a chair” – a chair where their Bible study, books, and pens laid out right beside them. I’ve always wanted to have a “chair” like that – a place that I meet with God on a regular basis, and I have that in my living room now. I’ve found that I am more likely to spend time in prayer and Bible study when I have a plan in place. I have to be intentional about this time, just like any other thing for me. Whether it’s a Bible study, a list of scriptures to pray, or a journal that I can make a bulleted list of things to pray for – it helps me. I do pray spontaneously as I feel the need throughout the day, as something comes to mind, or as someone mentions a need. I love the idea of praying for my family while I wash the dishes, cook meals, or while I fold the laundry – but I usually use this time to listen to a podcast. I am noticing lately that I am prompted to pray more often throughout my day – sometimes I feel the need to just go in my room and get alone with God in the middle of the day. Sometimes I feel like voicing a quick prayer to help me through a parenting situation or some emotions I’ve been dealing with.

I’m trying to teach my boys to think about praying for situations in their lives – such as when they get hurt or when they hear the siren of an emergency vehicle going to respond to a call. I’m noticing the need to pray during our homeschooling times. I’m learning to pray when those frustrations arise and reset our attitudes so that we can do the work that we need to do. I’ve found that this is so important for cultivating this relationship with my children and encouraging them to love learning. They will not love it if it’s a fight every day and full of nasty attitudes from all of us.

My quiet time and prayer life is so important to me now. It’s grown so much over time, and I have goals that it will only keep getting better and better. I know that even as my prayer language is developed more, this will also take my prayer life to a new level.

Now I told you that I had a very special treat in store for you with this series, and this is it! I have invited several others to join me on this and share with my readers how they pray and what their prayer times look like. I don’t ever want this to be all about me – It’s so much fun to invite others in and have more of a community here.

Today you will get to hear from Mrs. Susan Ruff. She is a volunteer on the prayer team at Northwood Church, and there’s a reason why. She has led prayer small groups, including one called The Battle Plan for Prayer, based on the movie War Room. I was a member of this small group, and it taught me SO MUCH about applying scriptures to my prayers and praying God’s word, specifically for different things. I’ve been a Christian for a long time, but it was like that was a light bulb moment for me – something people have probably told me all my life, but it didn’t click for me, until I was in this small group with Mrs. Susan. I love her faith, how she intercedes for others, and how she calls God, Father when she refers to Him. It’s so intimate and wonderful. God has used her in many ways, some of which she shares with us here.

So without further ado, here is what Mrs. Susan had to say about her prayer life…

“My prayer time is throughout the day. I am constantly asking questions, praising God, or just talking to Him. I do try to get away for 30-60 minutes a day to just be quiet, but it does not happen every day. I pray specifically by getting scriptures to pray. I know when I am praying his Word, then I know He hears, and I know the anwer is on its way. Sometimes my prayers are very quiet, sometimes loud. But all the time with great respect for Father and the King of Kings. I am very honest with Him because how else can you be? Sometimes I start off with music, and sometimes it is very silent. My favorite place to pray – well, actually I have two. I love to go to church and pray. My other place is being in my hammock. That is a place where Father has showed me some pretty neat things. I have journaled, and I have written out prayers, but sometimes my hands do not allow me to do that. I guess I just want to say that there is no certain way, I just pour out my heart to Father in the name of Jesus. He is always there and even when I don’t feel Him, I know He is there. I have learned prayer is not as hard as we try to make it. It is just talking to my best friend. And I know He has my very beset interest in mind. I have also learned that He always answers, but it may not be in my timing. I am always amazed at his timing. Right now He is speaking to me about faith and healing. He has been leading me to certain people and books, and He is really showing me how much He loves me. Oh how He loves me! It is sometimes more than I can understand, but it is oh so good! One of the prayers that God has answered is the salvation of my brother in law. His wife and I prayed sever years for him. To me, the salvation of someone is the greatest. One time I was used to pray over a child who was having seizures – she came out of that seizure and never had another one. Can’t tell of all the times He has just given me the desires of my heart overy everyday matters. He is just so wonderful, and I can’t wait to see Him face to face.”

Weekly Review

I’m a planner girl, and I’m trying to make sure that my planning process is as effective as it can be. This is new for me, but I’m going to try to do a little weekly review for myself and for you so that all of my planning efforts can come together and really work for me.

Our Homeschool –

A little peek inside our homeschool planner 😉 Just note that I don’t write our “plans” in here…. Instead I write down the things we actually get done because that’s what works better for me.

Our Language Arts Curriculum includes Reading, Spelling, Sight Words, Grammar, Poetry, Literature, Art, etc. We actually began this curriculum (Level Kindergarten) last Fall. Lawson was technically in K4 then, and I wanted us to have a relaxed Kindergarten year.  Plus- we took time off last year to get a new baby in our family! What I love about homeschooling, is the flexibility. Flexibility with our calendar. Flexibility with curriculum. I don’t have to follow any rules. I can make my own and do what works for us. One of those things was to eliminate the “spelling practice” last year. Instead, he just learned how to spell through our reading and lessons. Well I decided that we might should practice spelling this year and make sure we are on track and also because Lawson has become more and more interested in spelling and writing things down, so learning to spell words correctly is becoming more important. I pulled out the first chart from our curriculum and gave him a little test on it. I’m so impressed with how well he did! I always want to focus on the positive, so I told him when he finished, “Okay, now I’m going to circle all the words you got right! Let’s see how well you did!” This gave him a sense of accomplishment, and he felt good about the great work he did. And now we have a list of words that we can begin practicing over the next week or so!

We had a very interesting discussion in our Apologetics lesson this week about “The Fall” when sin entered the world. It destroyed four different relationships on earth: our relationship with ourselves (hello, self-confidence issues & insecurity), our relationships with other people, our relationship with the earth (destruction and other things that make work difficult), and our relationship with God (because that’s what sin does is separates us from God). It was so interesting to me to think about it in this way, and I’m so glad that I have my children home with me so that we can set a good foundation for them and give them a good biblical worldview. We also named several modern-day items that wouldn’t exist if sin had never entered the world such as eyeglasses and locks for our doors.


Day by Day-

Sunday afternoon as I was preparing my Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler for our small group, I went to grab a bowl out of the cabinet and it fell out and crushed one of my Pioneer Woman nesting bowls, made a mess of my ingredients, and cut my finger. The saddest part was the loss of my medium sized bowl, because the others could be easily recovered. R.I.P. red bowl. (The cobbler was a hit, by the way! Click the link above for the recipe. It’s one I’ve been making for years, and it’s a favorite wherever I go.)

Tuesday morning was cold, so it was a good excuse for snuggles! Lawson loves snuggles; Linkin – not so much. As soon as we got home from dropping Linkin off at preschool, we got back in mama’s bed and snuggled for a bit. Layten still had on her jammies, but she didn’t last long. She’s pretty mobile these days.

Bacially this happened because mama wanted them, didn’t feel like hiding, and so I used it as an incentive for him to complete his work and be rewarded

Linkin brought a puzzle into the kitchen Tuesday afternoon and dumped it out. I don’t know why out of all the places in the house, this is the place he chose to work it, but Lawson helped him, and here we had a good photo opp.

This is the pumpkin Linkin made for me at our Homeschool Co-op. He did great tearing and gluing all the orange paper, but he got tired with the black when it was time to make the eyes and face.
All Dressed Up for Her Birthday Dinner Out

There will be a full post of party pictures post when I post about my Party-planning Process. Here’s a sneak peek of a few pictures of our birthday girl and family on her special day.

 

This Week’s Posts:
A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal
The Flourish Conference
Praying the Psalms this Morning

This Week’s Favorite Social Media Post:

Podcasts I Listened to This Week:
The Simply Joyful Podcast – What if You Actually Do What the Bible Says?
Elevation Church Podcast – What are the Chances?
Simplified Organization Audioblog – How We Fit in Grocery Shopping

What I’m Reading this Week:
Commonplace Corner – My Favorite Quotes from the Weekly Readings
H3 Leadership: Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle by Brad Lomenick

“Brian Houston says, ‘Use what’s in your hand to fulfill what’s in your heart.’ It’s just too easy to think about what you don’t have (resource) and can’t do (action), but it’s a good habit to remember that God gives everything we need to do what He wants us to do.”

“When you work with others, your partners will recognize potential flaws you didn’t see. They’ll suggest improvements you didn’t see or wouldn’t have thought of. And they’ll bring a skill set and perspectives you don’t have. Along the way, you’ll learn new things you wouldn’t have otherwise known and create a stronger idea or process or product. But most important, lives can be changed because of the partnerships you forge.”

“Margin is a powerful habit. It creates opportunities. It creates profit, memories, generosity, significance, & options to pursue dreams, think, pray, process, grow, and ultimately live & lead more fully.”

Looking to Next Week!
I have absolutely nothing planned (beyond our normal routines, of course), and that excites me! However, the task-oriented self that I am will have to be careful not to add too many projects to my list. I would love to be able to sew some simple little bloomers for Layten to wear with her new shoes she got for her birthday and her knit socks I’m going to be ordering for her soon. We’ll see if I can get that done.

Have a great weekend!

Here is a template for you to print to be sure all your planning efforts are working for you:
Stone Soup for Five’s Weekly Review Checklist

 

Praying the Psalms this Morning

I am reading this morning over some things from earlier in the year in my Prayer & Bible notes journal. Sometimes that’s a good place for me to start. I’d handwritten some of the Psalms I was reading. And as I read them today and soak them in and pray them, It just moves me to tears at HOW GOOD AND PERFECT OUR GOD IS! Yall, I cannot even put it into words, but He always has our back! He always provides! He is always there! He never leaves us! He fights for us!

Sometimes life is hard. It just is. God’s Word never said that it would be easy for us as Christians. In fact, the things that are our prayer request now, are the things we will be so thankful God brought us to and through later. “We do it all the time. We run from conflict and pray for blessings. But if we are running from what we are praying for, how can we receive it? If we put down the weight when it gets heavy, how can we expect any muscular improvement?” -Steven Furtick

He’s teaching us things in the midst of the chaos. In the middle of the storm, we are growing and transforming. Let Him do His work in you. Turn to the Psalms. Pray them to God. Find one or more that speak to your situation, and just feel the presence of God. Be moved by his goodness!

Hear my cry, O God. Listen to my prayer, from the end of the earth. I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me heritage of those who fear your name. Psalm 61:1-5

So I will ever sing praises to your name as I perform my vows day after day. Psalm 61:8

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. For God alone, my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and wearly land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lifps will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will life up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you. Your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:1-8

How I Tracked My Progress & Successes for Weight Loss, Health, & Fitness

  • For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a planner. I love making lists, checking them off, and fitness was no different for me. When I got bit by the health & fitness bug and decided that I was in, I made some goals. Making plans, lists, and tracking progress is my love language I think.
    (Totally kidding here, but I do love my planners!) I think writing things down is a big part of my accountability with myself and my success.Here are some ways that I tracked my progress & noted my successes and accomplishments: 
  • I tracked my weight loss. Since this was my first goal, I made a page in my planner to track this. I weighed every morning so that I could see how it changed and how different factors affected my weight. (I realize not everyone can do this, but I love numbers, and it didn’t affect me too much if I didn’t happen to lose weight.) Each time I lost a pound, I got to color in a box on my page, and it was extremely satisfying & rewarding for me to do that.
  • I tracked all my meals and workouts. I used a fitness pack in my planner for this. In the monthly spread I wrote in all the gym classes I attended or home workouts I did (though these were very minimal at first), and on the weekly spread I wrote down everything I ate to hold myself accountable. This was one of my biggest struggles in the beginning. Adding stickers and decorations to these pages made it fun for me and encouraged me to look at this pages and use them often, and enjoy the process.
  • I took progress pictures of myself. I noted on my calendar when to do this (about every 6 weeks is good for me) Maybe one day I’ll share these, but for now- they’re just for me.
  • I took measurements. I made a page in my planner for this as well. I noted on my calendar to take weekly measurements.
  • I tracked and celebrated all the wins, no matter how small. If I felt skinny in an outfit, I took a selfie in it. (I am a milinnial after all. It’s what we do.) If I fit into an old pair of jeans I took a selfie and captioned it on snapchat. I sent some things like this to my close friends who celebrate wins with me, but some were just saved and kept for myself, printed later for my planner so I can look back and see success and accomplishments over time.

The Flourish Conference

Hey, friends!

I would like to take this time to thank all of you for subscribing to my blog. It really means so much to me! God has put so many things on my heart, and I am so encouraged and inspired right now. I have so many things to share with you.

As you may already know, next week I will be beginning a series called, A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal, where I will share what I’ve learned about prayer, the process in which I pray, peeks into my journal pages, as well as some tools and resources that I use that you might find beneficial as well. I also have a BIG TREAT in store for you in this series! I think you are going to LOVE it, and I can’t wait to tell you what it is – but for now my lips are sealed!

This series is still a week away, and I’m not sure which posts I’ll get published this week, so I wanted to leave you with a little something to thank you for subscribing and feed your appetite until my series is ready to begin next Monday.

Enter The Flourish Conference! The Flourish Conference is a Free, Online Conference that will be sent directly to your email (like my blog) for five days this week. You will receive three video interviews each day where speakers will reveal how you can flourish in practical ways. I hope you enjoy!

I also have some fun post ideas that I’m working on as well. I’m not sure exactly when they will be posted, but I’m hoping you will find them interesting as well:  

My Party Planning Process – (as you know our little girl turns one this week) so this is something I’m working on now

Creating my Capsule Wardrobe – I had a great capsule for Spring that transitioned into Summer… now it’s time for an update as I add some pieces that flow into cooler-weather months and store or purge some of the Summery colors I don’t want to be wearing right now. I would like to show you a glimpse of my process as well as some resources I’ve used for inspiration.

All About Me – You know those posters your kids do when they are student of the month or something that tells all about them, their favorites, and what they want to be when they grow up? I kind of want to write one of these for myself – a little more detailed because I’ve learned a lot more about myself since school. My personality type, my strengths and weaknesses, my favorite products, really just whatever I feel like including.

Thank you so much for joining me on my blogging journey! You will hear from me again soon!

A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal…

Reading over my prayer journal from earlier this year…

Prayers have been answered🙌🏼
I have changed and grown in maturity.🙌🏼
Our marriage and our family is stronger.🙌🏼
My kids are no longer struggling in the areas I was praying for them about.🙌🏼 
And many of the things I was praying for my friends and family have been answered too. 🙌🏼

This is why you write down your prayers…
(mine are not written word for word – just in list form of the things I am praying)
SO YOU WON’T FORGET. 👌🏼

From the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer (one of my favorites 👊🏼)
👉🏼So you won’t forget who the real enemy is.
👉🏼So you won’t forget the One in whom your hope lies
👉🏼So you won’t forget what your real need and dependencies are
👉🏼So you won’t forget the record of how God responds

You write out your prayers so you won’t forget. 📒🙌🏼

So I thought maybe I would give you a little glimpse inside my prayer journal. I’ll share with you tools and resources I have pulled from various places. This will be an email series, and each day I’ll share with you a different section of my journal.

Daily Prayers
Praise & Adoration
Rest
Confession
Personal Prayers
Praying for My Husband
Praying for My Children
How I Pray for Others

Weekly Review

I’m a planner girl, and I’m trying to make sure that my planning process is as effective as it can be. This is new for me, but I’m going to try to do a little weekly review for myself and for you so that all of my planning efforts can come together and really work for me.

When your friends send you memes like this… I’m not sure if they’re saying I need it or are looking to me for the solution. Either way – it gave me a pretty good laugh this week!

Our Homeschool –
This week was our first week of this homeschool term. We do Sabbath-schooling, which means we do six weeks of schooling and then have a break week. Sometimes this means that we school longer than public schools do to get our required number of days in, but I really love the flexibility it gives us. It allows me to plan more often instead of once and done for the year. I love love love planning, so this is more enjoyable for me. It’s the every day consistency that is my difficulty, but we’re getting better at that one too.

Lawson requested to learn how to type so we added that in this term. I’m not sure yet if this is the best age for it or if we will have success there, but we’re giving it a try. I want to honor his academic requests of what he wants to learn as much as I can to make homeschooling more enjoyable for him. I need all the help I can get there!

Day by Day-
My mom came for a visit on Monday. My kids enjoyed an adventure with Nana out of the house after bedtime to Walmart for fun snacks and light-up spiders and swords. They tried to have a popcorn party and watch a movie, but they couldn’t find the remote. #RealLife We loved having Nana join us this week. She helped Lawson with some of his homeschooling on Tuesday. We picked Linkin up from preschool and went to have lunch at Pizza Inn for a fun treat before we played at the park! She brought Layten a Cozy Coupe car, and the boys loved pushing her in it around the neighborhood.

I took the family to the Crossfit box on Tuesday afternoon and got a little tire-flipping/rowing workout in as well as some back squats.

On Wednesday we joined Daddy at the box again at lunch time, and he had a gym full! It was one of those wods where you add on another round if you complete the one before it in the allotted time. It’s like a bonus because your score will be better,but you lose your rest time the longer you take doing the movements. I reached a mental block at the end of round 3, and was thinking, “I don’t want to finish this round because I don’t want to have to do it again.” Crossfit is hard. That is all. I still got in a good workout in though, and I’m happy with that. I will crush it on re-test week.

Thursday was a crazy day for me. I’m trying to see if I can stretch our grocery budget a little further. We are spending SO MUCH on groceries lately, and I know this is only the beginning. (We will have two teenage boys as soon as I blink my eyes!) We buy groceries. And we eat them. All of them. Between keeping up with meal-prepping and macronutrients and fueling the bodies for their Crossfit training sessions and keeping up with now three littles who love to eat and snack… it’s not going as far as I’d like. This mama has tried to enforce some discipline (or control them, cough cough) with the snacks and meals. I’ve rationed out snacks and portioned our meals. I decided I couldn’t go one more day without grocery shopping, so I had to figure out where to fit that in our daily plan between preschool drop off and pick up, baby’s naps, homeschooling, and Daddy’s training and class schedule. We made it work, but it meant skipping homeschool co-op to meal-prep and re-focus. I took some time to “introvert” while my boys had some screen-time. Basically, another Mental Health Day for me. I’ve needed a lot of those lately.
**If you guys have any solutions for stretching the grocery budget, be sure to let me know.

Thursday eveninig Papa spent the night with us since the boys have been begging him to since the Spring when they got their new bunk beds. For breakfast, I tested my Homemade Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls on him for the party next week (Our Little Pumpkin is Turning One!). I made a batch for breakfast and to share, and a batch for the freezer. Grinding wheat for flour, refrigerating dough overnight, and assembling the rolls takes time so I’m trying to elimnate some of that time before a brunch/birthday party next weekend.

I pulled down boxes from our attic storage on Friday…. hand-me-down 3T Fall clothes & shoes for Linkin, a few Fall things for Lawson from last year, and toys to switch out. I grabbed the Melissa & Doug Pots and Pans and the Mega Blocks for Layten, and the wooden Melissa & Doug cars, trucks, airplane, and parking garage for the boys. In turn, I stored away some of the toys from their room. I’m thinking of maybe rotating this toy box out once a month or so to keep them interested in their toys, but not having so many out that they don’t clean up or play with them at all. I also put away some of the baby toys, baby clothes, and baby accessories we aren’t needing anymore right now. It feels good to get things shifted around, but now I’m washing all those clothes so it’s another load for me this weekend. It’s okay though – if something (screens) or someone will watch my kids, I’ll turn on a podcast and knock out all that folding!

This Week’s Posts:
How My View of Food Changed

Labels

This Week’s Favorite Social Media Post:
I keep reading that successful people wake up early and get more productive work done before most people even step into work. However, the times they list as “early” didn’t really seem that early to me 5:45 or 6am. I personally think 5am is “early”, and I was surprised to find that many of you wake up this early or earlier for various reasons. I followed up this question by asking another question – how you you spend your “Wake-up-early” time in the mornings? This is all just me looking to better myself and grow personally – not a knock on anyone who does things differently. I’m finding that as a stay-at-home mom of three little ones, I don’t have much time to do focused work, but I don’t want to use this as an excuse to never do any of the focused work I need to do. In fact, most of it are things that are necessary like working our budget, making grocery lists, meal-planning, etc. 5am has been my wake-up time for quite some time now. I’ve been really loving having that quiet time to myself to study my Bible, pray, and do whatever else I need to do before my kids wake up and want breakfast. It’s really the only time of the day that I have to myself (since we gave up fighting for nap times around here), so I want to use it wisely. If I sleep in, I miss it. It makes it easier for me to get up and fit that in my day. Writing, for me, takes even longer though, and I want to spend some time every day doing at least some writing. So for two mornings this week, I woke up at 3:30 with Justin. It just so happened that that was the time that Layten woke up to nurse so instead of going back to bed, I just stayed awake and got to work. It was nice in the moment, but I’m not gonna lie – I was strugglin’ later in the day so it’s still up in the air whether I will continue this or not. I may give it another try next week though. And I know 3:30 sounds crazy – especially for a mama who stays at home and doesn’t have to go anywhere. But ya’ll – I’m just crazy enough, that I’ll do that if it works out better for me, and not even look back if it does…so we’ll see how it goes!

Podcasts I Listened to This Week: 
Elevation Church Podcast – How to Find Meaning in Your Mess
Cultivating the Lovely – A God who Makes Up for our Mothering Shortcomings
The Homeschool Solutions Show – How to Find your Homeschooling Joy Again
Simply Convivial – How We Organize Homeschool Stuff
The Homeschool Sanity Show – How to Be a Proverbs 31 Homeschool Mom, Part 1
The Homeschool Sanity Show – How to Be a Proverbs 31 Homeschool Mom, Part 2

What I’m Reading this Week:
Commonplace Corner – My Favorite Quotes from the Weekly Readings
Knights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys by Heather Haupt
“As a mother of boys, one of my goals in parenting is to raise them to be calculated risk-takers… balancing initiative with wisdom. That means we step in and intervene at times, especially if the consequences could be life-threatening. Other times, we stand back and let them try, even if it means they will fail or get physically hurt on a small scale.”

H3 Leadership: Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle by Brad Lomenick
“Set your standards so high that it may seem impossible to reach them, and stick to it. Be a yardstick by which all others measure their mediocrity.”

“Serving God should elevate our level of excellence in every part of our lives, not lower it. Allow your faith to be the standard that pushes you to greatness.”

“Your twenties establish your seventies. The man of God you want to become when you’re seventy-five is the man of God you’re becoming when you’re twenty-five. The way you start determines how you finish.”

Looking to Next Week! 
Our little pumpkin is turning One! I’ll be planning and preparing for her birthday party this week. I can’t wait to share those photos with you!

Here is a template for you to print to be sure all your planning efforts are working for you:
Stone Soup for Five’s Weekly Review Checklist

Labels

I don’t like labels as much as the next person… the things that will define you as a person. I’m not going to stick on a label and say, “this is who I am”, and claim this over my life forever, especially if it’s a negative thing. BUT I do think labels have their time and place. When you are feeling so misunderstood because you seem to have it all together and are doing lots of good, but inside you are struggling, constantly overwhelmed, and falling apart – you need a label. Not so you can pity yourself or wallow in whatever the label may mean, but so that you can find answers. Learn how to cope. Help others understand. And know EXACTLY how to pray about it.

For me right now, that label is High-Functioning Anxiety. It’s something I learned about quite a while back and diagnosed myself with, kind of jokingly and didn’t give it much thought beyond that because at the time I was managing it well. It didn’t affect me too much then – I just noticed a pattern of similarities between my life and the list I had read. Now I’m reaching for that label. Not to stick it on my shirt and proclaim it about myself, but so that I can take a look at it and figure it out, be open about it, learn how I can manage it, pray about it, and overcome it.

It is so hard for me to admit that I struggle with anxiety. Not because I’m ashamed of it or because I think that it is a sin. No. It’s hard for me to admit that it’s a thing for me because I know that it is so much worse for other people, and in comparison, my anxiety seems like not such a big deal. From the outside, I look like I have it all together. For the most part – I am still tackling things, making progress in areas, and acheiving success in areas of my life. So to admit that I have anxiety, most people would look at me, roll their eyes, and say “No, you don’t.” And I would feel like a fool. That’s why the “High-functioning” part of the label makes such a difference and clarifies it for me.

Here are some steps I am taking to deal with my “Label”, but I think it might could work for many other labels of things you may be dealing with as well:

1. Do not wallow in self-pity. I’ll tell you there are days where my emotions are all out of whack, the lies in my head are louder than anything else, and I want to feel sorry for myself and curl up and hide. Author Jon Bloom writes, “Self-pity is a feeder sin, encouraging us to comfort our own poor selves with all manner of sinful indulgences like gossip, slander, gluttony, substance abuse, pornography, and binge entertainment, just to name a few.” Gosh, yes. How many times have I reached for the sweets and wanted to binge on Netflix when the days are hard? Recognize your feelings of self-pity, and ask God for help. Repent to God for the sin of your self-pity. Repent to those your self-pity has affected, often those closest to you.

2. Cling to and pray scriptures.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
A Sound Mind. Oh, how I want and crave this.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
“Your peace, Lord, I need your unshakeable peace. I receive your peace now.”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for wellfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
I recognize that Satan has a very different plan for me and that he is working hard to debilitate me with this anxiety and cause me to hold it over myself so that I feel that I cannot move foward… forward towards the life that God has planned for me and my calling. So I’m choosing now to fight against the enemy, using my spiritual armor and my weapons… I’m taking my life back.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29
Yes, you are, Lord – greater than all. Thank you for holding me, for keeping me safe, and not letting any harmful thing get to me. Thank you for your protection over me. Help me to listen and hear Your Voice louder, louder than all the lies and voices of destruction in my head. Help me to follow You and not lose my way.”

3. Take a Mental Health Day. Sometimes we need to plan breaks for ourselves to recharge, refocus, and refresh. I did that last week, and it was amazing! It’s something I will definitely be planning to do more often now.

4. Get some help.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
“Give me direction. Show me what action steps to take. If it is to seek counsel and get help, Lord, I will do it.”
Don’t keep it to yourself and continue to struggle. Be open about it with someone. Tell someone who will pray with you and help you find the help you need – a small group leader, your pastor, a Christian counselor or someone who will have the tools to help you cope and move past it.

Related Articles I Found Helpful:
Lay Aside the Weight of Self-Pity
How to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Anxious for Nothing
4 Ways to Calm Anxiety

Articles to Explain High-Functioning Anxiety:
*Please keep in mind that I didn’t write these so they may not use the same language that I would use, and they are not written from a Christian perspective. 
Living with High Functioning and Hidden Anxiety
7 Signs Someone Has High-Functioning Anxiety
Loving Someone with High-Functioning Anxiety

More Scriptures for When I am Fealing Anxious:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

I prayed to the Lord and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, whic his here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?”. For the Pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly father know that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough  trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34 

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28-30 

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

 

How my View of Food Changed

One of my biggest hurdles for getting healthy and feeling better about myself (and is for most people I think) was my battle with food. There were SO MANY excuses that I could list that were encompassed in the category of “food” such as being the cook of my family – they surely wouldn’t want to eat healthy with me-, how to eat in social situations where food was a focus of a gathering, and my addiction and craving for sweets.

I began a Bible Study called, The Lord’s Table, which was recommened by a girl I follow on Instagram. Days one and two of this study rocked my world and shifted my feelings toward food in a dramatic way.

So  whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

I learned that my whole “why” was wrong. The reason I wanted to lose weight and why I was choosing to make a change in my life. It was for selfish reasons, and I instead, had to shift my thinking and my purpose to be that all I do is ultimately to give God glory. I realized that the way I was living my life and the way I was struggling with my sweets cravings wasn’t giving God any glory at all. I was craving sweets more than I was craving time with my God.

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I’ve now lost over 70 pounds since having this precious little one a year ago!

There were a few excerpts from this study that really spoke to me…

One of the reasons we overeat is because the human heart craves fullness and satisfaction. We may turn to food for fulfillment and/or satisfaction, but we must admit that we are not truly satisfied, nor are we “full” after even a big meal. 
I’ve found this to be so true. For me, it was Reese’s Eggs (at the time of this study, but it’s always something for me.) I craved them and loved that chocolatey-peanut butter taste. I tried to limit myself to one a day (which even that would be considered excessive to me now), but when the day was rough, I would want two or three. And one especially really stressful morning, I finished off a bag of the smaller ones. Even as guilty as I felt for doing that sort of thing, I was still not satisfied. And then if I had none left, I felt the need to go to the store and get more to have some for the remaining days of the week. That, my friends, is the reason that I use the word addiction when I’m referring to my battle with food.

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Jesus Christ describes himself as “true food” and the “bread of heaven” in John 6:53-58. We can understand, then, that feeding on Him gives us life and fills the emptiness, not in the stomach, but in the heart and soul. These verses tell us that feeding on Him brings not just fullness of the belly, but life for the soul. When we feed on Christ, we are full and satisfied, and we have everlasting life! 

Get used to discerning whether you are experiencing physical hunger (hunger pangs) or soul hunger (the desire to be full and satisfied). If your belly is not growling, and yet you are tempted to eat, have a Bible nearby that you can pick up and read. Begin calling out to God for help to be able to turn from food, when not hungry, to Christ.

I had to learn the theory of “replacement“. When I found myself craving foods and sweets of any type, I had to learn to crave Jesus instead. So whenever I had a craving, I would pray instead, or open up and read the Bible. And this happened a lot, so I learned over time to replace my sweet treats with the sweetness of Jesus and his words. And it was beautiful. And you know… I began to crave sweet treats and Reese’s eggs less and less as the days went on. And I began to crave my sweet Jesus more and more.

During this time, I also had decided to clean up my diet and eating habits as well. (Note: There are many different ways to eat healthy and so many diets and ideas out there about this. I’m not saying any of them are wrong, but this is the way that I chose to do it.) I spent time learning about and focusing on the macronutirents in the foods that I ate. Not only prioritizing the clean and simple proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – but also looking at the timing of my meals and snacks throughout my day.  Before I was eating “healthy-ish” (if that’s a thing), but I pretty much only ate my three meals a day plus whatever I was “craving” for a snack in between. In the very beginning I had to make myself eat more often than I was used to, by timing my meals and snacks to at least every three hours or so. It was odd for the first day because I didn’t feel hungry yet, but by two or three days of this I was hungry, starving even, between those meal and snack times.

I must also note that at the time I began this journey with weight loss, I was also breastfeeding our little girl. I was very careful to not do anything that would jeapordize that, as I was her sole form of nutrition at the time. I was actually eating way more food than I was accustomed to. I really wasn’t sure if this would even work for me to lose weight this way. My body had always been the kind that held on to the extra weight from pregnancy to keep those fat stores for my baby, it seemed. It just wasn’t in my genes for the weight to just fall off while breastfeeding like some moms. I didn’t understand how I was supposed to lose weight if I was eating MORE FOOD than before? But you know what? I did! I lost weight that week and continued to lose weight as I continued to eat more often and ultimately more of these healthy foods that my body (and also my baby) needed. I was speeding up my metabolism by eating more often, and my body was using the nutrients I was feeding it to sustain it and burn energy I needed and used daily. In my experience this diet was amazing for breastfeeding because I was eating more of the foods that not only I needed, but she needed as well. So with this, I actually noticed an increase in my milk supply and also lost weight at the same time. I didn’t know it was possible for me to lose weight while breastfeeding, but I’m so glad that I’ve found out why and how to combat that now.

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3 Things that Had to Change for me to Find Victory in my Battle with Food:
“Change is not change until there is a change.” This is a quote I recently heard from our lead pastor, Van Ducote, in a leadership meeting. I love it because there can always be great intentions and wishing and hoping, but unless action is taken – it’s all just good thoughts and no real change will take place.

1. My Why Changed – My reason for doing this became all about giving God glory. I don’t want any accolades for this, but I want to get rid of any hang-ups I have and any areas of my life that aren’t giving God glory so that I can be the best me I can be. I want to fulfill my purpose in this life, and I can’t do that well if I’m hanging on to things like sweets addictions and insecurities.

2. My Cravings Changed – I went from craving sweets and looking to them for satisfaction to craving the sweetness of my time spent with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I still love an occasional sweet treat, but I’m choosely them more wisely now, they are planned for the most part, and it’s done in moderation – a much healthier way than before.

3. My Eating Habits Changed – I learned to discern whether or not I was really hungry for real food or if I was just in the mood to eat something to satisfy me. Learning this made all the difference.

If we begin to focus on the glory of God, we will inevitably change. And, change is exactly what happened in me. I did change. I’ve had a heart change, and I’ve seen outward results as well.

Where the spirit is, there is freedom. And this has been true for me as well. I’ve experienced freedom… freedom from stress and emotional eating, from my addiction and craving for sweets, and freedom from other issues such as insecurities I was dealing with.

When we turn to God, we are transformed into an image of his likeness, from glory to glory, piece by piece. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

I just can’t even describe to you how much I love this verse. I have seen it manifested in my life in so many ways, this year especially. I’ve seen an inward transformation. I’ve seen an outward transformation. I’ve faced fears. I’ve faced hurts. I’ve seen battles won in my life. I have found victory!

Challenge: Write this down somewhere, and post it where you will see it often, especially in those times when you are craving food or feeling the desire to eat for satisfaction.
   “No food will satisfy my heart, nor fill the emptiness in my soul. That is what Jesus Christ is for. He is the “real meat” and the “bread of life”, and I am to feed on Him.”