Monday, June 30, 2014

Traditional Bahamian Johnny Cake Recipe

Every year my husband and I make an effort to take one trip for a family vacation. Back in February we saved up enough $$$$ to travel to my sisters home in the BAHAMAS! It was a wonderful few days (read about it here). Ever since our Bahamian experience I use avocados, lime, fresh cilantro, and butter like it's my job. Seriously, Bahamians know how to cook. And this Johnny cake will go with about oh, everything. 

Plus, it is so so so so so easy...

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 cup water
Extra butter for frying

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes before frying. 
Melt butter in a frying pan, pour in the cake mixture, cover and cook for approximately 5-8 minutes, add butter, flip and cook uncovered until done.

We ate Johnny Cake with a dish called Boiled Fish (super appetizing name, I know, but trust me, IT'S YUMMY). 
Johnny cake + avocado + fresh ocean Mahi + grits + bloody mary = FANTASTIC breakfast.
Kyle and I also eat it with another recipe called Fire Engine, which I will share as well, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Uplifting Playlist]

When I think "uplifting" I don't necessarily think of upbeat. I want words to inspire me, rejuvenate my mind, and help me focus on sound doctrine according to Scripture. Therefore, these days the only playlists that I find uplifting are those that help me focus on the majesty of Christ. Otherwise I find that my mood stinks and I'm not motivated to do anything. These songs point me back to my purpose in life: to glorify HIM.

Before checking out my list, be sure to hop on over to Melany's!

1. Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes 
is an incredible song reminding us of this promise: God is at work in our lives, we simply need to trust Him. 

This one line in this song is my favorite. I can be joyful in the midst of whatever life throws at me, because God is using it to sanctify me - to set me apart for His glory.
2. Word of God Speak by MercyMe 
I love how this one starts: "I'm finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is, it's okay. The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what You will say. Word of God speak, would You pour down like rain? Washing my eyes to see Your majesty. To be still and know You're in this place, please let me stay and rest in Your holiness. Word of God speak."

3. Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets 
The first time I watched this video, I didn't get it. Watch it upside down at first and see if you can't figure out the picture the character originally draws. Talk about awesome...!

4. Blessings by Laura Story
I can't tell you what this song means to me, but perhaps this post from November 2013 will give you an idea...

5. In Christ Alone by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Alison Krauss
This song helps me go back to my purpose of life time and time again.
"In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song, this Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm, what heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings ceased, my comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand."

6. You Are God Alone by Philips, Craig & Dean
"You are not a God created by human hands, You are not a God dependent on any mortal man, You are not a God in need of anything we can give, by Your plan, that's just the way it is." It's His world, with His rules and that's just the way it is. LOVE that.

7. Give me Jesus by Jeremy Camp
"In the morning, when I rise give me Jesus...
When I am alone give me Jesus...
When I come to die give me Jesus...
You can have all this world just give me Jesus..."

8. Indescribable by Chris Tomlin (See my story behind this song here.)

9. The Beautiful Body of Christ by Gordon Mote
"The glory of God most high, in fullness still resides in the beautiful body of Christ..."

10. Our Great God by Todd Agnew  Another fantastic song that helps me focus on GOD's great attributes. "Eternal God, unchanging, mysterious and unknown, your boundless love unfailing in grace and mercy shown, bright seraphim in ceaseless flight around your glorious throne, they raise their voices day and night in praise to you alone, hallelujah, glory be to our great God!"

What I like about this particular playlist that I'm sharing with you is that it's a God-centered, God-glorifying arrangement that focuses my mind on praising, praying, and worshiping Him for His greatness. I have MANY songs I could put on this list and the top ten could probably change daily depending on many factors. I debated on The Perfect Wisdom of Our God by Keith and Kristyn Getty, or the Revelation Song by Shane and Shane or Starry Night by Chris August or This is My Father's World by Glad, or With Every Breath by City on a Hill or All Beauty Speaks of Thee by Glad, or All of Creation by Mercy Me, or or or or or...

My recommended uplifting playlist could quite literally be endless... 
... and I'm sure Melany is in the same boat... 

Friday, June 6, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (DAY 40! Discipleship!)

I hope this challenge did for you exactly what I designed it to: direct your thoughts to Christ, making Him your priority, so that you can selflessly and joyfully bless others because that's what Jesus did for you - your husband first and foremost.

Before I dive into today's final task I have some acknowledgements to make:

First, to you. THANK you for going this far with me. I can't tell you how much this challenge has changed my thought process and motivated me to redirect my thoughts on Christ daily. Doing so has changed every other aspect of my life, including the way I treat Kyle.

On that note, you need to understand something about this challenge: it is a result of discipleship. So I need to acknowledge these women who disciple me: Deb Evertson and Deb Boltjes. They challenge me to be a better wife and mother daily. What I learn from them about being a godly woman is astronomical. What I've said here screams the advice given from them. Also, I disciple Lori Widener and Brandi Carruthers and as we studied Romans together we got stuck on Romans 12:1-2 and together we dived into what it means to live a life of spiritual worship. Not to mention Jessica Hanks and my sister Mandy, who I also disciple; they force me to dive deeper into CHRIST's life because they are thirsty for knowledge. As I teach them, they also teach me.

This entire challenge is a result of those women, but also my pastor Hod, who gave me the tools to rightly handle God's Word so I can read it and study it rightly on my own. Without his lessons, his sermons, his teaching, this would not have come together.

Lastly, my husband, the pastor of my home. My wise, wonderful hubby who is patient with me and loves me despite my imperfections. I am blessed to call myself his wife.

Day 40!
I started with acknowledgements today for ONE purpose. I truly believe that the process of sanctification is not fully possible without fellow Christians to uphold you, discover God's truth's with you, hold you accountable, motivate you, &etc.

On that note, I HIGHLY encourage you to find a discipleship relationship. Find a Titus 2:3-5 woman who you admire for her purpose in life, her knowledge of God's Word, her loving attitude towards her husband and children, her self-control, her purity, her understanding of submission, her skills in how she manages her home, and her kindness. Ask her how she does it and ask her to teach you. The woman you are now, is not the woman you'll be a year from now if you follow through on today's task. I promise.

Also, I highly suggest you do the following:

  • Get a journal and write 5 thank you's per day (here's why). 
  • Begin memorizing a BOOK of the Bible (Here's my reasoning why, and here's a FANTASTIC way to do it.) And if these quotes aren't reason enough...

Right now I'm working on chapter 2 of Ephesians with Deb Boltjes and I'm going to be using the strategy Jon Bloom suggested in his Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible. He's memorized 5 books and is working on his 6th. 

Finally, over the next few days soak in what I've learned and written about discipleship and why it's VITAL in every Christian's sanctification. Find your own discipleship relationship and meet with this woman once every one or two weeks, you'll be amazed at how God will use it to transform your life, because discipleship is how HE designed fellowship with other believers (Read Jesus Christ's final commandment given to His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." If John the Baptist made disciples (John 1:35-42), and Paul made disciples (Titus, Timothy, Philemon, Onesimus, &etc.), and if Paul tells Titus that there are 3 things that are vital to the success of a church body: eldership, discipleship and godly living; then I'd argue that in order to grow as a Christian you need the help of others. So like Jesus' disciples come see what He is all about (John 1-2), choose to follow Him (Matthew 4:18-11, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:8-11, Luke 9:23-27, John 8:31, Mark 12:28-34), and serve others (John 13:1-20, Matthew 20:20-28, Philippians 2:5-11).

Over the next few days you have quite a bit to do:
  • Find a discipleship relationship.
  • Begin memorizing a book of the Bible, starting with verse 1 (don't move on to verse 2 until you have it down) while trying to learn what you can about the author, audience, and purpose of the book you're memorizing. Memorization is observation, which is step #1 in rightly handling God's Word. Observe the text, make sure you're interpreting it correctly, also (after observing and interpreting) make sure it correlates with the rest of Scripture (and if it doesn't you observed and interpreted it incorrectly), and then (VERY LAST) apply it to your life. Be wary of applying it first, if you skip the first three steps I promise that you'll miss GOD'S PURPOSE in giving you this book and will misapply it. It's not about you, it wasn't written to you! It was, however, written for you and I believe memorization of an entire book changes your perspective from a "this book is all about me, to me" to a "this book is all about God in the face of Jesus Christ" mindset.
  • Go back and read each of the links provided on this page.
  • Look up the Scripture passages given to you in the previous paragraph:
    • Come See (which is your foundational relationship with Jesus Christ by faith alone and it's at this step that you're investigating the things of Christ, just like His disciples did in John 1-2.) 
    • Come Follow (Matthew 4:18-11, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:8-11) 
      • Self Denial, Cross Bearing, Follow Christ: Luke 9:23-27
      • John 8:31 Abide in His Word (and the importance of studying it rightly - 2 Timothy 2:15)
      • Your daily guide: Mark 12:28-34
    • Come Serve (John 13:1-20, Matthew 20:20-28, Philippians 2:5-11)
Again, thank you. And I truly wish you all the best. Those of you who decided to join me in this challenge, I commend you. Also, know this one fact: I pray for you daily. My prayer is this, "God open the eyes of these readers to Your Word and give them strength to pursue the challenge of following YOU from now until the day they meet you face to face." I can't wait to meet you, my friend, if not here on earth, then in heaven. Until that day...

If you're interested in seeing the entire 40 Day Challenge, visit my Titus 2 Women page and scroll down to the the "Here's a Few Ideas for Your Time Together". You'll see the links for all 40 days.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 39: Embrace Your Femininity!)

I'm sitting at the kitchen table, facing my amazing husband. Both of us have our Bible's open before us, both of us meditating on His Word. My husband's depth of knowledge on everything constantly blows me away. Right now he's talking about 1 Samuel 15. Kyle keeps going back to GOD'S GREATNESS and HIS SOVEREIGNTY and how it's impossible for us to understand God's thoughts and God's ways because of our finite, sinful flesh. And then my wonderful, wise husband says this, "If God is not sovereign - how can we be sure of our salvation?" I'm going to take it a step further - "If God is not sovereign - how can we be sure of anything?"

This is a perfect segue into today's scripture in 1 Peter 3:1-6, "Likewise wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

Let's key in on a few things: 1. Author: Peter. What do we know of Peter? Every time I think of Peter I think of a rash man who did or said very little without thinking through it first. (Kinda like myself.) I also think of Christ's crucifixion when Peter denied Christ three times before the rooster crowed. The book of 1st and 2nd Peter reveal a matured Christian who understands his calling when Jesus told him that he is the rock on which Christ will build His church. Peter was given "... the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." (Matthew 16:17-19) That's quite a hefty calling. Secondly, who is Peter writing this book to? "To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." (1 Peter 1:1) Exiles = persecuted Christians. They fled heavy persecution. They endured sorrows, beatings, insults... and yet Peter was telling them to stand firm in God's grace! What is the grace of God? Read chapter 1.
  • So even if the government is persecuting you for your faith in Christ... Submit to them and stand firm in God's grace.
  • Even if your master (he was talking to slaves) mistreat you... Submit to them and stand firm in God's grace.
  • Even if your husband doesn't provide, protect, nourish and cherish you perfectly day in and day out... Submit to him and stand firm in God's grace.
Why? Because we are stewards of God's grace! We are living examples of Christ and what example did He give us? "For to this [suffering] you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly." (2:21-23) In other words, people of the dispersion, you do not have it as bad as Jesus, endure the persecution joyfully and glorify GOD!

In other words, oh-privileged-Americans-who-can-study-the-Bible-without-fear, we do not have it as bad as Jesus OR THE AUDIENCE OF 1 PETER, so how much more should we glorify God in all that we do!

We are called to be imitators of Christ. We can in no way relate to the audience of Peter and I can in no way relate to women who do not have a husband like the one I mentioned in my first paragraph. I call him my Zeus because this man looks like the greek statues... fit and strong and capable of performing any physical task to perfection. PLUS, this man is unnaturally smart. His depth of knowledge blows me away daily. I could brag on him and the way he treats his family daily. But Peter is telling us, that even if you can't do that, you should. Go back to 1 Peter 3:1-6, "Likewise wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

Let's dive into this verse with the background knowledge we talked about (author, audience, purpose) and do not forget yesterday's lesson - your attitude is important:
  • Like Christ we are called to submit. (Day 19)
  • Like Christ we are called to be respectful. (Day 20)
  • Like Christ we are called to act and speak with pure conduct. (Day 22)
  • Like Christ we are to entrust ourselves to HIM and as a result we will have a gentle and quiet spirit. And we will not fear anything that is frightening! If we trust God our souls are at rest and therefore we have nothing to worry about, our spirit is sure in one thing: our hope of salvation for everyone who believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Day 3)
So no matter what curve ball life throws us - we are steady. The drama of this world does not affect our emotional state, because GOD IS SOVEREIGN. We can continue to rest in the gospel knowing that no matter what happens here THIS IS NOT OUR HOME. As a result of that knowledge we can joyfully and with thanksgiving, serve those around us, including a non-believing, or believing husband.

If God knows your trust is entirely in HIM, He finds that beautiful.

So today I am challenging you to embrace your femininity! Peter tells us that God sees a gentle and quiet spirit as very precious. Do you know why? Because that means our foundation is Jesus Christ and that we understand God's sovereignty; as a result our hearts, and minds, and souls are at rest IN HIM ALONE. There is nothing of this world that can shake us. We are solid. Our #1 is GOD. We do not waver in our purpose (Day 9). We rest in the power of the gospel message and the promise of eternal life (day 1). There is nothing He wants more than that. He wants our life. And if our spirit is quiet and gentle, we are happy even if the sky is falling. Because we trust in GOD (Proverbs 3: 5-6) and do not fear tomorrow, ahhhhhhhh... we are free from the crap of the world. Do you see what makes us beautiful? The most beautiful women are the women who's smile is genuine, fearless, and who's eyes show a permanent crinkle around the edges because this dang smile can't be wiped off our face! God has put women on a pedestal - we are beautiful if we rest in him (we don't need outward adornments like jewelry or clothing, even though those things are fun...) and He has given us a beautiful job: to nurture and create life and to be a shining example of Christ... 

In our home.
In the way we dress.
In our actions.
In our words.
And with all of our heart.
No matter what.

If you just joined us I encourage you to start with day 1, there's a reason for the order...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 38: What Is Your Attitude While Serving?)

As this challenge winds down I want to reiterate one resounding fact: to be a follower of Christ requires that you take up your cross daily. For Christ to teach that His disciples must deny himself and take up his cross daily in order to follow Him, requires that our hearts and minds and attitudes must be renewed daily as well. Just because this challenge is nearly over does not mean it's over. Day 40 marks day 1 in your challenge to not be conformed to this world and to focus your heart and mind and soul on CHRIST ALONE.

Day 38
Here's the truth about why it's so important to constantly focus on Christ: what you do here on earth will be tested on the day of judgement. If you decided yesterday, with a begrudged heart, that you are going to be your husbands helpmeet, everything you do will be burned with fire. If you decide to serve your church by helping in the nursery with a crappy attitude, it will be burned with fire. So whatever you do, do it with thanksgiving and with a joyful heart of servitude (like Christ).

Everything you do, everything you are, everything you think should be CHRIST-like. He's calling you to serve. Do it joyfully. He's calling you to manage your home. Do it joyfully and with thanksgiving. He's calling  you to love and submit to your husband. Do it with all your heart. If not, don't bother.

He wants all of you or none of you. 

You, like the hypocrites of old who followed traditions and commandments need to hear Jesus' words when He quoted Isaiah, "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:1-8)

That is why Paul tells us over and over again throughout his letters that we need to transform our minds according to Scripture so that we can love and honor God with all of our heart, mind, body and soul. If we renew our minds according to God's mercies displayed throughout Scripture, we can joyfully and reverently give thanks and honor and praise to an all-knowing, preeminent, unchanging, beautiful, wondrous, miraculous and mighty God! (Remember Romans 12:1-2?)

What we do every day is a form of worship because our HEARTS SHOULD BE SO FOCUSED ON CHRIST THAT WE HONOR HIM WITH ALL THAT WE DO. Even while we wash the dishes, have sex with our husbands, change a dirty diaper, listen to worship music, read and pray to a Psalm, write love letters, plan a date, decorate our homes, play ring-around-the-rosy for the upteenth time... if our hearts and attitudes stink, it doesn't matter!

How do I know this? Well, in God's sovereignty, he has provided mind transforming lessons in Scripture given by our pastor AND awe-inspiring women who disciple me and by whom I am discipling. The last few months have been incredibly life transforming.

You see, right now our church is going through a major transition. Our worship team family moved and it left us in an unfamiliar place asking, what now? What will worship look like? What are we going to do for music? I was part of the worship team and came to love this family and their heart of servitude. In the midst of saying good-bye and trying to bless them in this new journey, my heart has been aching. I've been struggling with worship and what it looked like and also my hearts attitude while worshiping. Our pastor took a break from Hebrews to focus our minds on CHRIST and what it means to worship Him wholeheartedly. 

I've been struggling with this for 3 months! I've been struggling with my selfish attitude and my idea of what worship is; and God has used HIS WORD in discipleship and the lessons of my pastor to transform my mind. Every day of this challenge reflects what I've learned....

This whole process has been so mind boggling that I'm having a hard time explaining the entirety of this story in one paragraph or one blog post. You see, my attitude was not Christ-like. When I began to wrap my finite brain around the enormity of Romans 12:1-2 I thought I understood the importance of a daily renewal of mind, but when my pastor taught 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, my mind blew up as a result, 
"According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, or precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. if the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."
First of all, who is the "I" in that passage? Paul. He wrote this book to the church in Corinth for what purpose? Go to 1:10, "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement." Okay, the church in Corinth obviously had some issues. They were divided. Paul wants them to be united in the same mind and same judgement. How were they divided? Go to 1:12. Some said they followed Paul, others Cephas, and some arrogantly said they followed Christ. Paul was trying to squash those ideas and transplant this truth: that they are united in the same foundation and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is of FIRST IMPORTANCE. Paul was trying to get them to understand that no matter who planted the seed, GOD GIVES THE GROWTH. (3:6) And that's where we get into verses 10-15. 

Like his fellow apostles and teachers, Paul laid a foundation because they preached the gospel to those in Corinth. As a result God gave them growth and they were created for HIS WORKMANSHIP. Paul's point to Christians? Like Christ we are called to serve others, because they are (like you) saved by Him. We are UNITED IN CHRIST! 

THEREFORE, if you have been saved by Christ (your foundation) you need to build upon it. What you build - gold, silver, precious stones OR wood, hay and straw - will either be refined by the fire on judgement day or consumed by the fire on judgement day. Whether it's gold, silver, precious stones or wood, straw, or hay is all determined on YOUR ATTITUDE. 

Is your heart focused on Christ? 
Or do you honor Him with your lips, but your heart is far from Him? (Matthew 15:8)

What you do here on earth, based on your heart and attitude, will either be rewarded in heaven or lost forever. You are already saved by Jesus Christ, but you will either be rewarded for your selfless heart or what you do here will never matter because because of your selfishness. 

What should our attitude be like while serving others? Including (but not limited to) our husbands? Keep reading in chapter 4, verse 1...

"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."

Stewards of the mysteries of God.

What are the mysteries of God? Go back to day 1, it is of FIRST IMPORTANCE.

If you just joined us I encourage you to start with day 1, there's a reason for the order...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Life Changing Books]

Melany and I's topic this week focuses on a topic we are both extremely interested in: BOOKS!
These are the books that have made the most impact on my life, which you've probably heard me talk about them many times before:
  1. BIBLE (particularly the books Job, Romans, and Titus) I've been talking about these 3 books in my 40 Day Challenge... I can't even begin to tell you how God has opened my eyes to His Word and the impact it's had on my life.
  2. A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent
  3. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  4. Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman
  5. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - Since I don't have a review on this book I'll just share a little blurb: it's one of the best love stories I've ever read. Francine wrote it as a parallel to the Bible book Hosea and it will rip your heart out. The main character, Matthew, marries a whore and despite all the times she hurts him, he keeps going after her. The way it ends... Oh My... It's definitely worth reading and rereading. It puts our relationship with God in such an amazing perspective - he keeps drawing us to him, even though we forsake him time and time again.
  6. Fearlessly Feminine by Jani Ortlund 
  7. The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennet - This book has transformed my prayer life. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, you'll see a portion of one of my favorite prayers. Also, I briefly wrote about another portion of a prayer here.
  8. A Marriage After God's Own Heart by David Clarke - Kyle and I read this book after we got engaged and while we went through pre-marital counseling. It transformed our relationship, pointing it directly to Christ and how to keep HIM as our central focus. This book, along with For Women Only/For Men Only, are staple wedding gifts from Kyle and I.
  9. Gentle Passages: Guiding Your Daughter into Womanhood by Robin Jones Gunn
  10. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Plus 1. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks is one of those must read romance novels about Noah and Ally's daughter, who's been married for at least 20 years and her marriage is failing. This is the story about how her husband's efforts to fix it (with the direction/help of Noah of course). I loved this story, and it's such an encouraging one to never give up. 

JUST can't help myself: Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austin is another incredible read about how one woman's decision to get a divorce affects generations after her.

I had to laugh because I easily listed 7 and after that I struggled. After adding #8, the books that changed my life kept rolling... I think this could be an endless list! But I'd say this is an excellent start. I HIGHLY recommend any book on this list.

Don't forget to check out Melany's most inspiring, life changing books.

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 37: Pledge to Give of yourself, Serve & Glorify God)

It's so incredibly difficult to accept God's design for our lives because it means we must submit to His Word, which in turn means we need to submit to our husbands. That S word is difficult for us because we are so selfish in nature we want to be in charge. Letting go and letting God work is a choice we must make daily. That includes putting Jesus Christ as our centerfold. That also includes accepting His sovereignty. That includes focusing our mind on Jesus and praising Him for His wondrous works, even in our trials and tribulations. That includes thanking Him for what He is doing in our life, because we need a fire in order to be refined. A very integral piece of submission is self-denial and that includes making Jesus #1 in our hearts and putting our husbands needs before our own...

Day 37
If you've made it this far in the challenge you're obviously willing to submit to God's design in your marriage, which we talked about on day 11. We were created to create and nurture life and that includes the home God has given us. Our home should be our main focus because our home is a direct reflection of ourselves. It shows our innermost desire and who gets the focus in the course of our day. In other words, our home should reflect Christ. Not only in its outward appearance, but also the words exchanged and the actions displayed. Everything we do and say should reflect Christ and he came to glorify God and live a life of servitude (so we should too).

If you're willing to transform your heart and mind according to Scripture and not be conformed to this world, I'm going to challenge you with this pledge:

Hang it up somewhere, signed and ready to accomplish each task because that's what God is calling you to do joyfully. Give of yourself, serve and glorify God.

If you're like me and already have it, reread it daily. I don't know about you but I need a daily renewal of mind...

If you just joined us I encourage you to start with day 1, there's a reason for the order...

Monday, June 2, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 36: Bless Your Husband)

After writing all these reasons why we love and respect our hubby, our heart should be overflowing with the willingness to come alongside him and help him in any way we can. Once we truly begin to admire someone for all they do, servitude becomes easier. (Notice I never said easy, if it were easy I wouldn't be doing this challenge!) Also, planning something with the intention of blessing him, becomes FUN.

Day 36
That's the purpose of today! Plan something to take place within the next few days or weeks with the intention of blessing him. You know what he enjoys doing, so plan an activity that you know he'll enjoy (and it may or may not include you...).

I encourage you to go all out!

If you do have the intention of setting up a date: A GREAT source for Christian wives that offers many, many ideas is The Dating Divas.

P.S. I also challenge you to do this often (and by often I mean more than once a year), so the bar you set is the bar you need to keep!

If you just joined us I encourage you to start with day 1, there's a reason for the order...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 35: Write a Love Letter)

After writing 40 reasons why you love your spouse today's activity should be pretty darn easy...

Day 35
Write a love letter to your husband with the intention of giving it to him. I only have one request: be sure that he knows how much you respect him and why. Don't forget that God wired a man in such a way that they have a hard time differentiating between the two; to them showing respect is showing love.

OH, and don't forget about the 7 day challenge given on day 31... ;)