Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions Giveaway!

12-Day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway  

Do your kids clam up at dinner time? Are you tired of asking them how their school day went that being the extent of the conversation? John Avery Whitaker of Adventures in Odyssey’s Whit’s End has just the solution for you: Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions. Tricia Goyer and Crystal Bowman helped him come up with 90 ideas to help build your kids’ faith and your relationships.

To celebrate, Tricia is hosting a 12-day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway! From April 20 to May 1, visit this page for a new giveaway each day. Only those in the U.S. are eligible to win. Oh, and don’t forget to come to her Facebook party on May 1 (RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/350106761758181); you might see a few familiar Adventures in Odyssey characters.

Head here to enter Tricia’s 12-Day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway!

I have personally used this devotional with my daughter and she loves it!  Look for my review soon and a giveaway for that as well!

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What God has been speaking to me this past year.

I have certainly been on a journey with the Lord for a while now and as time goes by that journey gets more and more amazing and more and more accelerated!   Last year our families word for the year was Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Needless to say my faith grew greatly last year.

During my devotional times the Lord was definitely speaking to me about many things.  But one thing that continually came up was about being clean.  What does that mean?  That is what I was thinking and God has been faithful in clearing up that question.

Being clean means decluttering our belongings, we don’t need them all.  It means changing some of our hazardous leaning supplies to better ones.  It means getting rid of life choking debt.  It means removing time sucking activities that really have no real meaning and take away from God’s time and our families time.  And the last one is one that a lot of people really don’t like to talk about… it means changing the unhealthy eating and exercise habits and start fresh.

Now, I have some health issues I am trying to deal with.  I have been gaining weight for several years now despite changing our eating and cooking habits to eat more healthy and cutting out things like soda.  I used to be addicted to soda and my Father delivered me of that just over a year ago and I had expected to feel so differently when He did that for me.  But instead I am still exhausted, still in pain all over my body, still gaining weight.

So during my time of “believing” God and knowing He is the God who will do what He says He will do I went to Him asking, “what am I supposed to do?”  I have done all I know, now what?  Well he led me to a doctor who finally diagnosed me with hypothyroidism.  Why couldn’t I have found that out sooner??? lol  It runs in my family and yet my normal doctors didn’t want to check for it.  Now I am dealing with it.  So far I have not found the right medication to help so I have more time to spend with God to figure it out right? 🙂

God is good because He led me to some shows on Netflix.  All of them about nutrition.  They were great too but the one that had the greatest impact on me was, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”  You can watch it streaming on Netflix or you can watch it free on Youtube.  The thing it had in common with the other shows was how it endorsed how important juicing is.  See, most of us are nutrient deficient.  I know I am!  My body is no longer absorbing vitamins and nutrients from my food so I am highly malnourished, and it doesn’t matter how healthy I eat or how many supplements I take… I continue to have the same problem.  And that is why my body is in so much pain all the time.

What juicing does is take all your nutrients from your fruits and veggies and put them into your bloodstream within 15 minutes, giving you the boost you need to get healthy.  I will let you watch the videos and see for yourself. 😉

So after a long talk with God (many long talks) I know without a doubt that this is the path He has for me physically.  So I ordered my juicer (after saving for it and God providing unintended funds.. He is so amazing) and it just arrived yesterday!

I can’t explain to you how I feel.  I am terrified because eventually I will only be juicing and fasting all other foods for a while.  I know this is what God wants and I know it will be a time to get closer to Him and hear more of what He has to say.  But I am excited and exhilarated because I so badly want to be healthy and happy and without pain!  This is a new walk for me and I pray He leads the way and I continue to follow!

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Breville, The Juice Fountain Elite

I made my first juice this morning, not real exciting because I wasn’t expecting it so soon so all I had to juice was celery, apples and oranges.  But it was good none-the-less and I know it was the ultimate vitamin boost for my body!

God has great things for me and my family this year.  He does for yours as well!  I will write more about my experience as time goes on.  The good, bad and ugly of it all 🙂

What does God have in store for you this year?  Where is He leading you?

The Calling

Writing prompt ~ It’s after midnight. You find yourself in an eerie yet, magical swamp. You hear whispering and see flashes of light…what happens?

Long after the sun goes down I spend my time wandering, searching, looking for what always alludes me.  As I wander the voices keep coming, soft and gentle, luring me further in to the depths of the swamp.  What do they want with me and why do they keep calling?  Why do I keep following?

I can hear them now, their sound so gentle it almost lures me into believing I am so safe and so loved that nothing else matters.  Warmth flows over me, filling me with such joy I can’t believe there is anything sinister in their calling.  It is almost as if sweet romance is in the air, calling and beckoning me to take a leap of faith and just fall all in… all into the peace and serenity and soft comfort of their words.

Their words are not all that leads me deeper into the forest, but the words give light!  It is a pure light, one can not fully explain but one that can only be felt.  It is a light that gives warmth and satisfaction every time you glimpse it.  It is a light that gives hope in the midst of the darkness.  It is a light that makes you feel safe and whole and free, one that never leaves you alone or forsakes you.

As I go deeper, wandering into the forest I am greeted nightly by this beautiful light and melodic voice and each night the outcome is the same. I find myself lying softly in a bed of moss staring eagerly into the sky waiting for them, knowing they are there because they beckoned me there this night, just like every other night.  I close my eyes and they surround me filling me with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… I have felt them before, and they are a welcome guest.

My spirit leaps with excitement and expectation, because they are there… bringing with them all I need and all I will ever want.  Without them I am nothing and never will be. Each night I go with expectation, and each night I am embarrassed because my expectation is never high enough to match the the moments that happen deep in the darkness of those swamp.  My expectations are always so small compared to the gift lavished upon me.

Long after the sun goes down… the world quiets and only then am I free to go wandering, searching and looking for my true desires…  only then do I find them.

(What am I talking about?? Who are “them”???)   🙂

A great way to connect with your kids!

In today’s day and age it is very easy to lose connection with our kids.  Alarmingly, it happening at younger and younger ages.  God has put this on my heart and I have thought about it a lot.  I have a 8 year old daughter and the thought that we may someday be separated by silence is heart wrenching and quite frankly it scares me.

So, with that thought and much prayer I set out to come up with a way to keep us connected in some small way.  Something that would strengthen the bond we already have and I think it is a fun one at that.  Can you see me smiling?!

Journaling!  Now, to some this may originally sound boring.  I know some people do not like to journal for many different reasons but hear me out.  This is not just any journal it is something that will be fun for both you and your kids.  It will also give your kids a way to say the things they would never say out loud!

If you do this set out to make something special.  You could choose to go and buy a journal.  If you did make it fun by making it a date and pick something out together that really speaks to the heart of your child.  My daughter is super crafty and creative.  UNLIKE ME!  I am not.  So I decided that I would create her journal even though it would be a challenge for me.  I made it for a couple reasons.  First I needed cheep, we are on a budget like many families and sometimes you have to do with what you have.   A novel concept anymore I know but a good one none-the-less.  And second because I knew it would mean a lot to her and that is what mattered most.

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So here is what I did, first I took a small notebook I had and since I didn’t want that white paper on the front that looks so boring I decided to add a cardboard front too it using rubber cement.  I forgot how stinky that stuff was!

After bonding the cover over the original I decided to put a name on it so Muppin would know what it was to be used for.  It was a journal for us so I put our names on it.  She helped me decide where the flowers and hearts went and decided when we were done drawing.  She had an incredible time doing this but still didn’t know what it was going to be used for, it was a surprise!

Before I put the cover on and before she knew what I was up to I wrote a note inside the journal.  The note started out, “My dearest Muppin! I love you so much…” and went on to explain what this journal was for and why I was doing it and then finally how to use it (we will get to that in a moment).

I can’t explain to you the excitement in my daughters eyes when she read the words on those pages.  You could see that she was feeling really loved and cherished.  She was feeling like she was super important and that she was going to be heard and really listened to.  Now she is only  8 but being heard and understood is still important to her.

My heart soared with excitement knowing that she was going to be sharing with me and I with her all the things that are important too us.  We were on our way to strengthening our bond we already have, making it unbreakable.

As for the practical use of the journal here is how you use it.  You give it to your child and after you read to them, do their devotionals, cuddle or talk… you know, all those bedtime things we do together?!!  When those are done and you have kissed them good night it is their time to write.  See, a lot has happened in their little day and this helps them get it off their chest.  They can write about what happened with friends, what happened with you, the family or the dog.  They can also write about what has upset them, made them happy or things that confuse them.  They can ask questions about God, boys, friends, or your family relationships.

Most importantly when there is something that is too difficult to say out loud, they can write it here and not fear what will happen.  It gives them a sense of release and the sense of an open door.  They know they will be listened too.  Now when they go to sleep they put it on their side table, dresser or book shelf and go off to slumber land.  The next morning it is up to you to go get it, take it to a private place and read it.

The most important thing you will need to remember I believe was something the Holy Spirit really wanted me to convey and it is this… never act shocked, shaken, angry or freaked out over what you read!!!  I repeat, remain calm no matter what!  Or you have lost them.  This must always be and remain a safe place remember?!

Once you are done reading what they have written you then write back to them, answering all their questions, giving them advice kindly, and most of all telling them how much you love them no matter what they let you know.

I have told my daughter that I might come talk to her about some things once in a while, but that it will always be out of love.  And if it doesn’t sound like I am being loving she has my permission to tell me so.

Her heart was so filled with excitement.  She is ready to communicate and to connect.  This will be a lot of fluff for a while I am sure.  She is only 8 you know.   But as she gets older, and this tradition continues… How much more valuable will this be?

I would love to see your thoughts on this… and pictures of yours.  Share your blog links and pictures and how things are working out for you.  Most of all… may your relationships with your kids always be blessed!

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I wish I could just disappear!

bird in rain bird in storm“Why?  Why did I have to do this?  I always do what I want instead of what I should and I always get myself into trouble.  You would think I would learn!  I am so cold.

“So silly of me.  How could I have thought I could do it.  I am just a bit of a bird.  Not even a real bird, not like the Great Ones you see flying about.   Ha.. they could handle it I am sure, and probably without even a wince or a bobble.

“When will I learn? My heart aches because I know what I want and where I want to go but I know also I cannot get there.  What must the others think?  I am sure they can see me and they are all twittering amongst themselves about silly Bepa!  Oh the things they must be saying.  Now my heart is more a flutter!  I wish I could just disappear.  I feel dizzy.. oh dear.

“They must know I know it!  They have to!  How could they not?  I mean really, anyone who sees would know right?  I am a coward through and through.  Oh how dreadful I am, how horribly, awfully dreadful.  Ohh ho ho hoooo….  NO!  I mustn’t.  No crying, not for me not for them… never.

“All I need is a moment for the wind to let up then maybe… Or the air to warm then maybe… or my wings to… oh lets face it, I am lost.  What am I doing out here?!  I am not one of the Great Ones!  What am I even here for, there is no use for me I am not at all important.  I have nothing to offer.  I want to go home yet I can’t!  What a grave situation I have gotten myself into.  I will surely die.”

“Shhhhhhh…”

“Who is that?  I don’t see you!  Oh no, I am going mad!  What else could go wrong!

“Shhhhhhhhh Bepa.  Quiet your heart.  You are exactly as I have made you and you are beautiful.  You have a purpose Bepa, one that only you can fulfill and not one of the Great Ones can do what you can do so be still now, lean into Me.  Give me your fears my love.

You must remember that you are never alone Bepa I am always with you and you will not perish because I have your every moment in my hand.”

“Abba, is that really you?  I am so frightened.”

“Yes Bepa it is me.  I have been here the whole time but you would not hear me.  I will never leave you.  Now turn slowly, lift your head and jump into the wind.  I want to take you somewhere only you may go.  Trust your Abba.”

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This was written from an image prompt from Free Write Friday.  The image is the bird above.  To join the writing prompt click the button below and it will take you to Free Write Friday’s page.

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A Conversation with Jesus

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Woman at the Well by Simon Dewey

Not long ago a conversation I had with Jesus went something like this.

Jesus: Sweet Carri, I have missed spending time with you recently.  Do you miss spending time with me?
Carri: I have been really busy with my daughter’s school, our businesses, house-work and family life in general.  Of course I miss you.  Things are just so demanding.

Jesus: I understand. But you know the Shepherd knows when his sheep wander off for awhile.  I have seen you wandering. 
Carri:  I am not wandering Jesus, I am just very busy, you know how it is.  I love you.

Jesus:  I know you love me, but all the business is just an excuse my love, you know you are truly wandering deep down inside of you.
Carri:  Sigh… I know, I’m sorry.

Jesus: I was glad you came to me with your fear about being ill and all the changes you wish to make.  I am here guiding you and repairing inside of you what needs repaired.  I am your healer.
Carri: I don’t know how I could have handled that without you.

Jesus: I am there for you. But you know I am also there when things are going well.  I want to rejoice with you as much as I want to heal you.  I want to dance with you, love you, break bread with you.
Carri: I know. I forget that sometimes and I get so busy with stupid things that I forget to pray and spend time with you.  I forget to even invite you in.

Jesus: I was just wondering something.
Carri: What?

Jesus: Did you find time to spend with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, through email and other places today?
Carri: Do you need a refill of your drink or something to eat?

Jesus: Nice try. You make time for what is important to you. I want to be as important to you as your computer, friends, writing, chores and family. I want to be important to you, like you are to me.
Carri: Why do you put up with me?

Jesus: Because I love you. And I always will.  You are the reason I came.  You are my beloved.

If you are like me some of your days are very similar to mine.  What is your relationship like with Jesus?  All or nothing?  Mine often is.  When things are great, I have no time for Him, when they are bad, I run to Him.  I often wonder if he allows us to reside in our trials longer only because that is the only way we will seek Him.  Would those trials lessen or be over quicker if we learned the truth?  He wants us to remember that no matter what is going on in our daily lives whether it be burnt toast or birthday’s that He is there waiting for us to run to Him and tell Him all about it. Yes, He already knows, but He still wants to hear it from you.

Think about our own kids, nothing gives us more pleasure then seeing our children run to us with good news, joy filled excitement over what wonderful thing just happened. Jesus wants that with us too. His heart breaks when ours does, and His heart overwhelms with joy when He see’s our happiness and excitement. Don’t keep Him locked out, invite Him in. He is waiting, ever patiently with His love that never fades.