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Why I Love Valentine’s Day

The next best thing besides Hallmark Christmas movies are Hallmark Valentine’s Day movies. I have always loved this holiday. Picking out Valentines for my class was as exciting as making a list for Christmas.

I am not kidding. I was that little girl. Always giddy with the idea of choosing just the right one from each classmate. I drove my young self crazy trying to decide which one to give my crush that year.

Do I go with the straight forward “I like you” then maybe he would ask to play with me at recess?

Or be “friend-zone” and go with the “You are super cool?”

Oh, yes, real drama for Valentine’s Day.

Then I grew up and the holiday become full of red roses, chocolate and awkward stuffed bears. Girls are pretty easy, at least I am (chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate). And maybe a red rose thrown in there

But, let’s be honest, this is my 9th Valentine’s Day without a “valentine” so those things don’t come around every year so buying chocolate for myself has become my everyday Valentines Day tradition.

….And I am completely ok with that and here is why….

I truly do love Valentine’s Day!

And this holiday means so much more than just decorating with red hearts, having a special someone to buy you presents, or bring you roses and take you out to a fancy dinner (Don’t get me wrong, the hopeless romantic in me does look forward to that!)

To me, Valentine’s Day represents pure, sweet, overwhelming, passionate LOVE.

All kinds of love that fills our life.

Love for family.

Love for friends.

Love for your significant other.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:7-13

But, those love stem from the most important love of all, the all consuming, deeply passionate, never ending, forever forgiving, and always flowing love from our Lord and Savior. 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 

God sent His only son to die FOR ALL OF US. And because of what Jesus did on the cross, because He gave the ultimate sacrifice, He has showed us the truest, most passionate, sweet, pure, overwhelming love of them all.

Now that is something to celebrate (and to hang red hearts everywhere!)


Our body does NOT determine our value, but our body is valuable enough to take care of.  We only have one body.  Let’s treasure it and take care of it like the gift that it is! Want biblical truth?

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Would You Take The Risk?

There are a few people that see the brokenness in this world, yet still choose to believe in the goodness of God. They know that a bad day, week or year, does not make for a bad God.

•They choose good even when they know there is risk.
•They choose good when it hurts.
•They choose good when they know their love is not enough.
•They choose good when they know it will break their hearts.
•They choose good when they know it will be difficult.

They choose good over staying in their comfort zone because they know a life without risk is not a life of abundance (John 10:10).

They choose good over our brokenness because they know the strength of God’ love is greater than their tender hearts (Romans 8:37-39).

They choose good because they know of the God of comfort, peace, love and Grace (2 Corinthians 1:3).

Following Jesus is one of the biggest adventures we can take here on earth, filled with the biggest blessings, unexpected miracles, beautiful healing and answered prayers. But it is also a risk. We risk our comfort, our love, our hearts and even our lives.

We risk it all for the belief that if we can show one person the love of Jesus Christ then it is worth it, even if it means a broken heart.

We risk pain knowing that we serve a God of mercy and He does not let one thing go to waste.

We take the risk even if we don’t have the perfect answer or solution, knowing God will use it for His good (Romans 8:28).

So, what if choosing good and difficult were the same thing?

What if taking a risk is simply living out our belief in radical faith?

What if our broken hearts are just a gentle reminder of our desperate need for Jesus in this life?

What if our unending tears are a precursor to never ending joy?

What if? Would you still take the risk? I hope so. We need more good in this world.


“Even if darkness overtakes them, sunrise-brilliance will come bursting through because they are gracious to others, so tender and true. Life is good for the one who is generous and charitable, conducting affairs with honesty and truth. Their circumstances will never shake them and others will never forget their example.They will not live in fear or dread of what may come, for their hearts are firm, ever secure in their faith. ” Psalm 112:4-7 (TPT)


**This post was dedicated to my sister and her husband. Their story is below in her own words. Thank you Beth and Kevin for showing true faith and taking the risk in a world of comfort.**

Feb 2, 2018 is a day that will be imprinted on our hearts forever. Day 693 with our sweet Special K, we packed up his little clothes into boxes with tears streaming down our face. We placed his favorite toys in boxes knowing how much joy they brought him in our home. We listened to his sound machine of the ocean waves we couldn’t bear to turn off when he woke up that Friday morning hoping it would fill the void in our hearts of his absence. We tucked his favorite blankets and elephant stuffy into his diaper bag hoping it would bring him comfort in his new home like it did ours. 12:30 pm we watched our son of nearly two years drive away leaving us in complete brokenness on our living room floor.

It was the saddest day of our lives this past Friday as Special K left our home and the loss of my gramps but we are clinging to our good God and knowing that He has and will continue to hold our shattered hearts in His hands. Through this we have been so unbelievably humbled and grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, support, and encouragement our family has been given. Though we are experiencing a sadness and pain I didn’t know one could feel, we praise Jesus for a family restored. We thank God for grace, mercy, and hope. We praise Him for strengthened relationships only He could orchestrate. We wait in anticipation for all He has and will continue to do in Special K’s life. We wouldn’t trade one day we were given to love you sweet boy. Every day we had with you, is so worth the pain we feel, but we have confidence God has even more in store for you than we could ever imagine precious child! We love you forever and always. It was such an honor to be your mom and dad.

 


 

Our body does NOT determine our value, but our body is valuable enough to take care of. We only have one body. Let’s treasure it and take care of it like the gift that it is! Want biblical truth?

Join us for a FREE- 5-Day Health & Wellness eDevotional- STARTS. Feb 12th!

Sign up HERE for FREE!

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Four Practical Ways to Guard And Calm Your Anxious Heart

 

I love helping others feel more confident in their own bodies and discover what movements, nutrition and routines make their body feel the BEST!

However, my desire is more than creating physical habits. My desire is to share other healthy habits that will extend our influence, and a big part of that is creating habits that help guard and calm our anxious heart so we stop relying on our own strength and rely on God.

So, I do not want to miss sharing with you how to take care of one of the most important things we have… and that is our heart.

How often do you set aside time to tend to your soul? When was the last time you brewed a cup of tea or coffee, sat in stillness and opened your heart and ear to hear from our Heavenly Father?

I know life is busy, trust me I get it! As women we have plenty of roles we play and hats we wear throughout the day. I share a lot about taking care of our physical health, such as exercise tips, healthy recipes, meal planning, quality supplements…but with a busy schedule, it can be easy to forget to take care of the most important thing, the health of your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV)

I love how the New American Standard Bible puts it: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Being diligent means “to show care and intentional in one’s work or duties.” How can we show intentional care for our heart? We do that by looking after it!

I believe that if we store up good things in our hearts, our words and actions will be good. And the opposite is also true. If we allow our hearts to store up things of this world then our words and actions will flow from anxiety, fear and worry.

So, how do we guard our hearts to store up more of the good things in our life so our words and actions are impactful and not destructive?

Here are four practical ways I have found that can help guard and calm your anxious heart.


1. PRAY. I think we underestimate the power of prayer and the ability it has in our lives. The Bible is so specific on what to do what we start to feel anxiety, it says in Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God, and the peace of God with transcends all understand will guard your hearts and minds in Christ.”

This verse specifically says that instead of letting out anxiety get the best of us, let’s stop whatever we are doing, bring our requests to God through prayers and petitions-

Praying allows us to come into communication with the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to control your mind. It says in Romans, the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace

It doesn’t have to be a long or eloquent prayer, it can be as simple as “Jesus, I need you.”


2. Play your favorite worship music. Music always has a way of clearing my head, healing my heart, and lifting my spirits. Music can soften our hearts and opening them up to receive beautiful rest and hear from the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite parts of church is the corporate worship. Complete surrender, hands in the air, and preparing our minds and hearts to receive the message. When we are anxious it clouds our minds to be able to receive clarity from the Holy Spirit. Anxiety=distraction. When you feel anxious- turn up the music, sing your heart out, dance to the rhythm and blast away all the anxiety.
Some of my favorites right now Hillsong United’s new album WONDER-all of it, What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship, Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin, Do it Again by Elevation Worship. They are pretty much my go-to and you will always find me loudly singing them in my car.


3. One hour before bedtime, turn off your phone’s notifications. Have you ever told yourself you are going to wind down and relax, you turn on the TV, then five minutes later you find yourself distracted by a group text or aimlessly scrolling Facebook or instagram. That is not restful, in fact social media can leave us more anxious before bed which leads to a restless sleep and even more tired in the morning.

I know this sounds impossible. Trust me, I know how easily is it to grab my phone and aimlessly start scrolling through social media and the next thing I know I am comparing and anxious!
Put your phone on airplane mode. Your alarm will still go off by you will not get any notifications throughout the night.
Commit to reading before bedtime. I always have a book on my bedside table to read myself to sleep instead of falling asleep anxious after scrolling social media.


4. Start your first waking minutes of your day reading the Word, not the world. How many of you use your iphone as an alarm clock? Guilty. Many mornings, I would start to read the notifications from Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, email before I even got out of bed. I noticed myself already anxious with one millions things to-do within the first five minutes of waking up!

When we wake up, our minds are like a sponge. It will absorb the first things we allow in and then those things, good or bad, will penetrate our minds throughout the day. Do we want peace or anxiety?

Listen to what it says in Exodus 16:21 “They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.”

In the Old Testament, The Lord would gift the Israelites manna, bread, that He had placed upon the ground overnight. Gathering the manna was a critical part of the beginning of the day, because they had to collect it before the sun came up. Their collection would always be more than enough for their day’s requirement. Once they were out of manna, they had to wait until the next day to collect more of their daily bread.

Perhaps this ancient story and illustration depicts for us the reason why our hearts so often long for fresh word of God- fresh bread- early in the morning, before the heat of the day.

We were created and designed to need daily bread from Jesus to keep us sustained for the daily. We crave Jesus.


Just like our body craves nourishment, vitamins and minerals, from our food, our hearts need nourishment we only get from Jesus. We may try to fill out cravings with worldly desires, but that soon only leaves us anxious and unfulfilled. What our hearts truly need is truth, which only comes from Jesus.

Psalm 42:2 says, “My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

There is something about what happens once the sun comes up. Once the sun is up the pressures and events of the day start. Worries can intervene in those afternoon hours. And time is racing so fast that the stresses can be so overwhelming, causing our hearts to weaken and become anxious.

I want to encourage you to get up early enough and set time aside to dig into the Word, read the truth from the Bible– even if it’s just 10 minutes to start creating this habit!

If you don’t know where to start, here are a few places I recommend: Read through the Psalms or start in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). Start a daily devotional (these are great because you simply follow the plan – one devotional a day!) HERE are a few of my favorites.

 


 

Have you listened to the latest episode on the “Daily Destiny with Jessie B. Podcast?

On this episode, President & Founder of Relevant Entrepreneur, wife and new mom, Kristin Molenaar, shares what it means to serve God in business, daily habits from going from dreaming to doing, and the one piece of advice for new entrepreneurs.

 

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Four Ways Jesus Changes Everything

I heard this quote once, “My heart swings back and forth between the need of routine and the urge to run.”

Since moving to Arizona three in a half years ago I have had to really let go of my control for routine. There are days down in Arizona where my heart longs for my old life. The old life consisted of believing abundant and adventurous life were not for me. That big dreams, desires or passions were for the most driven. My old life loved routine of being comfortable in my own little world while knowing exactly what was going to happen from the moment I woke up, to when I went to bed. All while putting God in a box. Routine became ingrained in me. Any bit of threat to that comfort would cause bitterness and anger to stir in my heart. I idolized the predicability of my safe, comfortable, routine life.

Then,  I came into an authentic and intimate relationship with the real and living Jesus Christ, and everything changed, because Jesus changes everything.



 Four uncomfortable, but beautiful ways that Jesus changes our lives when we start an authentic relationship with Him:

Jesus changes our passions. He starts taking the passion off our own selfish desires on onto His. We start to ask Him daily to break our hearts for what breaks His and out of that compassion births a passion to move into action. The passion and drive to do whatever it takes to stop the pain and injustice of those around us.  We start to long for more unpredictable life and desire the daily adventure with Jesus.

Jesus changes our dreams. He starts placing dreams on our hearts that we could not possibly dream up ourselves. They start with a thought, move to an idea, then He gives us actions steps and we suddenly realize that He actually desires our dreams to be fulfilled! He gives us confidence to move forward with impossible dreams because that is His starting place. And with each step forward, He opens doors for us and we walk through them with expectation. Along the way to one dream, He fulfills others dreams because Jesus is a dreamer, a giver and a lover of His children. We start to realize that abundant life is truly for us and dreams are meant to be fulfilled in Jesus.

Jesus changes our relationships. We start to higher our expectation of the man we desire to marry and realize that we are worthy of a man that is chasing after the Cross. We realize marriage is one of Jesus’s biggest ministry tool He uses to use to spread the Gospel and we desire to take on that responsibility. We realize marriage is more than the “happily ever after”, more than comfort and companionship, more than cultural status and labels.  We start to view marriage the way it was designed from the beginning, as the most intimate relationship designed to be used as a ministry tool to represent Christ’s love to His church.

Jesus changes our mission. We will start to see ourselves and others through the lens of the Word and not the world. That perspective alone will change us. We will realize that when we fail we are covered in His Grace and we boldly rise up again and persevere in our mission. Our mission to make Jesus famous. Our mission to help others understand that Jesus died for them and the freedom, hope and joy He brings. Our mission to bring mercy to the unjust, a voice to the voiceless, stand up for those who cant, and point others to Jesus. Our mission to live with joy in the midst of trial, and hope in the midst of waiting, because we know that living for Jesus is the most exciting, thrilling and joyful adventure of them all.



So, I believe what our hearts long for the most is not the comfort of routine or the urge to run to adventure, but to bring Jesus Glory. How do we bring Him Glory? We come to Him. We allow Him to direct, guide, and change our  lives. We allow Him to break our hearts and transform our minds. So, whether He calls us into a season of routine or a season to run, our desire to seek Him brings Him Glory, which ultimately fulfills our true hearts desire.


 

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BONUS: You will also receive 18 tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2018!

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The Best Cheat Sheet For Ready-To-Go Fuel Options

 

 

There are a few seasons in life where we are not busy. In fact, most days we are pulled in a million different directions the moment we get up and if we are not careful, we can easily become drained… and fast!

That is why making sure we fuel our body, not only with good nutrition, but also often, is important to keep us going and our energy levels up! However, making a full meal every time, well, that takes time. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Here are seven easy, protein-packed, delicious, ready-to-go fuel options for your body so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time slaying your day!

*PLUS, cheat sheet of protein at the bottom!

1) MEAL SHAKES: I personally use THESE Meal shakes. Not only are they yummy with six flavors to choose from, but they also are a perfectly balanced meal with 24g of carbohydrates and 24g of protein. With a 1:1 protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, meal replacement shakes support weight management and provides sustained energy for daily physical activity. They also add in 26 vitamins and minerals to your day and only 210-220 calories per meal shake!

Need plant-based?  Try THESE plant-based meal shakes in salted caramel and chocolate chip cookie dough!

2) MEAL BARS: Meal bars are a delicious choice when you’re in need of a convenient, on-the-go meal. I use the AdvoMeal bars that are chocolate and peanut butter! Hello, goodness! The chocolate peanut butter-flavored AdvoBar® Meal is a delicious nutrition bar that can help meet your needs whether you’re looking for a quick, nutritious meal, limiting calories for weight management or supplementing with additional protein to support muscle growth and performance.

I also love the ThinkThin bars. You can get those at any local grocery store.

3) NUTS: Nuts like almonds, cashews, and pecans are great sources of protein on the go. Just watch your portions, as they are also very fat and calorically dense!

4) EGGS: I hard-boil a dozen of eggs at the beginning of the week to have on hand. Slice it up and add it on top of avocado toast, in your salads, or enjoy as a little snack with salt and pepper. It’s an easy six quality grams of protein per egg, and a wonderful source of healthy fat!

5) PROTEIN POWDER w/ FRUIT: Most protein powder servings are around 20g. Again, this is a great meal because it has the 1:1 ratio of protein (powder) and carbohydrates (small fruit). Perfect and easy pair for on-the go! Bananas are really high in carbohydrates so I recommend sticking to berries for fruit (plus, extra antioxidants!). You can blend the powder and fruit for a smoothie, or you can drink the protein and eat the fruit. Whatever is easiest for you.

I use THIS protein powder- 25g per serving.

I also love THIS ready-to-go product- 20g per serving.

6) YOGURTS: Greek yogurt is an amazing source of protein. One cup can contain upwards of 20g of protein, so top that with some nuts and seeds and you’ve got yourself the perfect breakfast to start the day! (Make sure to look at sugar content)

7) OVERNIGHT OATS: You have to try these! These are the best for early, grab-n-go mornings. An easy, quick and flavorful option to get your protein in!

Below is a recipe for a Strawberry Vanilla Protein Overnight Oats. However you can use any protein or fruit.

½ cup old fashioned oats

¾ cup AdvoCare Ready-to-Drink Protein Vanilla (Chocolate would be good, too!)

1 ½ tsp chia seeds

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup sliced strawberries

*Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with strawberries and enjoy! Easy, right?!


MORE TIPS! 

  • PROTEIN! Make sure you getting a minimum of 20g+ of protein in each option. The protein helps sustain your hunger and gives you energy!
  • Watch for sugar.  I used to eat the CLIFF bars. They had HIGH protein but loaded with sugar! The bar I loved had over 32g of sugar- WHAAAT! Not ok.
  • Do your research. Not all bars, shakes and protein powders are created equal.  Even the different ones at your local GNC. I personally trust AdvoCare, the doctors who make them and the qualities ingredients they use.
  • Always, always, always stay hydrated! Being hydrated helps with our hunger and energy

PROTEIN OPTIONS!

Here is a list of some of the most common protein sources for your meals, so you can figure out how much you are currently having (and/or if you might need to add in more)!

    • Plain Greek Yogurt: 23g per 8 oz serving
    • Eggs: 6g per 1 large egg
    • Chicken + Turkey Breast: 24g per 3 oz serving
    • Steak: 23g per 3 oz serving
    • Ground Beef: 18g per 3 oz serving
    • Pork Chop: 26g per 3 oz serving
    • Tuna: 25g per 3 oz serving
    • Salmon + Halibut: 23g per 3 oz serving
    • Lentils: 9g per ½ cup serving
    • Peanut Butter: 8g per 2 tbsp serving
    • Tofu: 12g per 3 oz serving
    • Quinoa: 8g per 1 cup serving
    • Navy Beans: 15g per 1 cup serving
    • Chickpeas: 15 g per 1 cup serving
    • Peas: 7g per 1 cup serving

 

Get the FREE Saturday Devotion! Every Saturday you will receive a short encouraging note from me. Sign for up HERE.

BONUS: You will also receive 18 tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2018!

 


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Beat Weekend Overeating!

Are you a Monday-Friday clean eater and then the weekends leave you running for anything fried, sweet or salty?

Now that fall is here, most weekends will be full of feasting, football, friends and family!

Are you prepared and confident to stay on track so you don’t lose your progress? 

 

Here are four strategies to beat weekend overeating to help you stay confident and not lose your progress:

Be less restrictive during the week. Oftentimes, dropping calories too low and denying yourself of snacks or treats can backfire. The mentality that the weekend is a time to relax, coupled with the feeling of be deprived, can lead to an over the top calorie fest. The eating plan that AdvoCare has created is designed to nourish your body so it doesn’t feel deprived come the weekend. Try not to skip meals or lower calories so that you can head into the weekend without feeling the need to have your “fun” while you can before everything off-limits again.

Engage in non-food activities. Guess what? Not everything needs to revolve around food. Find things to do in your area that don’t involve chowing down at the latest burger joint. Play a round of golf, go for a leisurely bike ride, go for a fall drive. You can have plenty of fun without extra calories.  

Add some structure to your weekend. Working Monday to Friday typically means having a set routine through the week. But when the weekend comes, the day is wide open, and meal structure can fly out the window. (Hand raised) Maintain some healthy routine- such as eating breakfast and going to the gym.

Have fun, but set reasonable limits. It is natural to want to relax when the weekend comes! That doesn’t mean you deserve to over indulge or binge, however. Give yourself permission to enjoy somethings, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat the whole plate of cookies or down several pitchers of beer during the same. Enjoy treats/snacks in moderation.

Be smart, be mindful, and set yourself up for success! You got this!


 

Get the FREE Saturday Devotion! Every Saturday you will receive a short encouraging note from me. Sign for up HERE.

BONUS: You will also receive 18 tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2018!

 


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My Top Five Books of 2017

“Reading changes you. It helps you think differently. It sparks your creativity. It gives you a boost of confidence. It evokes passion. It keeps you focused. And, perhaps most importantly, it expands your knowledge so you can go out and make a bigger influence on the lives of others. ” 

My goal this year? Read two books a month. Instead of turning on Netflix before and after work, I desire to turn on my inspiration with a book. Life is to short not to be intentional. My hope is that reading becomes a big part of your life in 2018 if it isn’t already, which is why I wanted to give you a few books to start with and share a few of my favorites from 2017. 

 A Wind in the House of Islam: How God Is Drawing Muslims Around The World To Faith In Jesus Christ  by David Garrison

There are nine geo–cultural “rooms” in the “House of Islam,” and the Wind of God’s Spirit is blowing through every one of them. David Garrison spent three years travelling a quarter–million miles through every corner of the Muslim world to investigate reports far and wide of Muslims turning to faith in Jesus Christ. In this amazing odyssey, Garrison gathered the stories of more than a thousand Muslim–background believers, asking them the question: “What did God use to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ? Tell me your story.”

The result is a historic and unprecedented insight into the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history. Hear the stories of men and women who have sacrificed everything – home, family, even their lives – for the sake of following Jesus. In this book, you will hear from men and women from West Africa to Indonesia and everywhere in between. You will see how God is at work through answered prayers; dreams and visions; 21st–century technologies such as Internet, satellite television, video and audio tools; and bold Christian witnesses who have often paid the ultimate price for the sake of reaching Muslims for Jesus Christ. Along the way, you will also gain insights into the fascinating background of each of these nine geo–cultural rooms in the House of Islam.

Finally, and most importantly, you will learn how you too can be a part of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history, both overseas and in your own community.

Buy book HERE


Free of Me  by Sharon Hodde Miller

We live in a culture that’s all about self, becoming the best “me” instead of becoming like Jesus. This me-centered message affects every area of our lives–our friendships, our marriages, even our faith–and it breaks each one in different ways. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we never quite break free of insecurity.

In this book, Sharon Hodde Miller invites us into a bigger, Jesus-centered vision–one that restores our freedom and inspires us to live for more. She helps readers:
– identify the secret source of insecurity
– understand how self-focus sabotages seven areas of our lives
– learn four practical steps for focusing on God and others
– experience freedom from the burden of self-focus

Anyone yearning for a purpose bigger than “project me” will cherish this paradigm-shifting message of true fulfillment.

Sharon Hodde Miller Website

Buy book HERE


Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

All too many of us struggle under the weight of life, convinced we need to work harder to prove to ourselves, to others, and to God that we are good enough, smart enough, and spiritual enough to do the things we believe we should. Author and Bible teacher Jennie Allen invites us into a different experience, one in which our souls overflow with contentment and joy. In Nothing to Prove she calls us to…

* Find freedom from self-induced pressure by admitting we’re not enough—but Jesus is.
* Admit our greatest needs and watch them be filled by the only One who can meet them.
* Make it our goal to know and love Jesus, then watch what He does in and through us.

As you wade into the refreshing truth of the more-than-enough life Jesus offers, you’ll experience the joyous freedom that comes to those who are determined to discover what God can do through a soul completely in love with Him.

Jennie Allen Website 

Buy book HERE


Stay the Path: Navigating the Challenges and Wonder of Life, Love, and Leadership by Bobbie Houston

God calls all women to some level of leadership. Yet seeing yourself as a leader, discerning what one is meant to do, and navigating one’s role as a woman and leader can be a challenging task. Drawing on the wisdom of 40 years of ministry, Bobbie Houston helps all women to discover their specific purpose and divine calling in STAY THE PATH. She shares the truths and experiences that have kept her and her husband, Brian Houston, on course, on point, and focused on the path before them.

Readers will be able to recognize and believe in their unique gifts. Packed with personal stories, helpful advice, and leadership strategies for women, this book will challenge readers to claim their God-given potential and lead with confidence, poise, and grace.

Bobbie Houston Website 

Buy book HERE


Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey

If you’re looking for practical information to answer all your “How?” “What?” and “Why?” questions about money, this book is for you. Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money covers the A to Z of Dave’s money teaching, including how to budget, save, dump debt, and invest. You’ll also learn all about insurance, mortgage options, marketing, bargain hunting and the most important element of all―giving.

This is the handbook of Financial Peace University. If you’ve already been through Dave’s nine-week class, you won’t find much new information in this book. This book collects a lot of what he’s been teaching in FPU classes for 20 years, so if you’ve been through class, you’ve already heard it! It also covers the Baby Steps Dave wrote about in The Total Money Makeover, and trust us―the Baby Steps haven’t changed a bit. So if you’ve already memorized everything Dave’s ever said about money, you probably don’t need this book. But if you’re new to this stuff or just want the all-in-one resource for your bookshelf, this is it!

Dave Ramsey Website 

Buy book HERE

Read my blog post how Dave Ramsey changed my life, “Three Must-Take Action Steps To Get Out Of Debt.”


 

Get the FREE Saturday Devotion! Every Saturday you will receive a short encouraging note from me. Sign for up HERE.

BONUS: You will also receive 18 tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2018!

 


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18 tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2018

(Blog post originally written by AdvoCare Renew)

A new year is the dawning of another opportunity to invest time and enjoying in developing the new YOU. Here are 18 tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2018!

1) Drink more water.

Water is the most vital sources of energy and makes up 60 percent of your body weight. Proper hydration aids in keeping your joints lubricated and helps rids your body of waste. Try incorporating more water into your fit lifestyle by setting reminders throughout the day, drinking a glass of water prior to each meal and/or carrying a water bottle with you.

2) Downsize portions.

Opt for smaller plates when preparing your meals. Portion sizes are often one cause for consuming too many calories. When eating out, split a meal with a friend or ask for half of the entree to be placed in a to-go container.

3) Find an accountability partner.

Invite someone close to you, ideally a person with similar fitness goals. Having a friend or family member join you in your journey not only allows you to hold one another accountable, but also fosters a support system when you are feeling discouraged.

4) Create S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, realistic and time-bound.   

5) Make self-care a must.

Stress can wreak havoc on our health and potentially become a roadblock to achieving fitness goals. Take time to manage your stress by incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, getting a massage or reading a good book.

6) Don’t completely eliminate your favorite foods.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet does not mean you must eliminate all of your favorite treats. The key to eating a balanced diet is enjoying food in moderation.

7) Aim for progress, not perfection.

Achieving your fitness goals is not an overnight process.    For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is ideal for keeping weight off in the long run. Set small goals and celebrate each milestone!   

8) View food as fuel (not a friend or a foe).

Each macronutrient has a vital role in keeping your body fueled for optimal performance; however using food as a coping mechanism for stress, sadness or even eating out of boredom can lead to an over consumption of calories. By the same token, viewing food as an enemy and practicing behaviors such as eliminating entire food groups, or eating at a severe calorie deficit can slow your progress.

9) Monitor your progress.

Continuously track your fitness journey by monitoring your weight or inches lost, taking photos of your progress along the way, etc.    By doing this you will be aware of adjustments that can be made to help improve your efforts should you become stagnant or fall behind in your progress.

10) Get more sleep.

Inadequate sleep may negatively affect weight management efforts. Production of leptin, a hormone that transmits signals to the brain to regulate appetite is dependent on the amount of sleep we receive. The National Sleep Foundation recommends you receive 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

11) Eat breakfast.

Eating breakfast can help alleviate cravings throughout the day by supporting blood sugar levels, boosting brain health and supporting the body’s natural process of sustaining energy. Choose breakfast options that are high in protein and fiber like oatmeal and eggs.

12) Don’t be discouraged if you stumble.

During your fitness journey, there is a chance you will face a few challenges. Whether giving in to temptation by indulging in one too many treats, skipping a few workouts or even an injury, do not be discouraged! Learn from these slip-ups and look for ways to take alternative approaches to help avoid repeating the same mistakes. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress!

13) Stretch.

Stretching a few times a week, especially after a workout, can help improve your performance by supporting increased flexibility. Take at least 30 seconds per day to stretch each major muscle group. Avoid stretching prior to high intensity activities, as this practice may weaken the muscles.

14) Mix it up.

Incorporate a combination of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity with resistance exercises to support a comprehensive fitness routine. Aerobic exercise burns calories during your physical activity, however resistance exercises help build lean muscle mass, which can further support your metabolism.

15) Get a physical.

Obtain a physical this year to get a general understanding of your health and fitness level, especially if you have had a change in your health or have family history of disease. Preventive efforts can help mitigate problems before they arise.

16) Start slowly.

When starting a new fitness program ease your way back into your routine, especially after a prolonged break. In order to prevent injury and discouragement, take baby steps; set realistic goals, start at a lower intensity, and commit to 2-3 days per week.

17) Always warm up and recover.

Warming up and cooling down is vital for your workout routine to prevent injury and increase performance.    Warming up increases body temperature and blood flow to muscles, which helps supply more oxygen to your muscles. Recovery can help your heart rate return to its resting rate gradually and help prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure.

18) Be confident.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” –  Henry David Thoreau 

What other tactics will you take to set yourself up to enjoy your best year yet in 2018?


 

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The Promise of Christmas

“May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

I am now back in Arizona from being home for the holidays. For one week I was surrounded by family and friends. My heart was filled with nostalgia of old Christmas memories and the laughter of my nephews filled the rooms.

I was the only child staying at my parents house this holiday. My sister has her family in Enumclaw and both my brothers have moved out now. It was just my parents and I. Though I am (cough) 32, I cherished this time to just be their daughter again.

After 29 years of living in Seattle and three years in Arizona, traveling home for the holidays is still a new experience for me. I love coming home, but if I am honest, I am always little anxious how I would handle the emotions of being home and the holidays.

But, before I left one of my friends gave me some of the best advice. She said, “Put your phone down and be present with the people you are with. Facebook and Instagram and all of that will still be there. Even when you feel like you are sitting around, look around and think about amazing things going on around you like your nephews laughter. Even in the car rides. You don’t realize what you are missing.”

I wasn’t perfect the whole week being off my phone, but I tried hard. And you know what happened? I truly felt present.

I gave myself permission to JUST BE this Christmas

I gave myself permission to feel the nostalgia of the season… to be joyful…to be still and listen to the sounds of Christmas carols and laughter of my nephews… to stop and smell the balsam & cedar candles and my moms cooking… to let go of my past failures and mistakes of the year…to let go of the responsibilities of the future.

I gave myself permission to find peace in knowing my Savior has already come to clean up this imperfect, but beautiful life of mine.

Because through all the hustle and bustle, through the hard and the messy, I almost forgot the most powerful promises of the season; the ones that got lost in my anxiety and the pressure I put on myself.

 

The Christmas promise of HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE. 

PEACE that my future is already secured

JOY that my future will be better than imagined

HOPE that my Savior is coming and will come again

LOVE that is grace-filled and never ending 

 

Jesus is truly the reason for the season. And the best part? Because of Jesus, we can receive HOPE, JOY,  PEACE, LOVE the gifts of Christmas, all year.

This past year I have opened myself up to letting Jesus take over and He has taken me on an adventure that excites me more everyday: The gift of Christmas

 

The past year Jesus has romanced my soul into an intimacy I have never known: The Gift of Christmas

 

The past year Jesus has placed dreams and passions that have set my heart on fire: The Gift of Christmas

 

The past year Jesus has given me endless amounts of Grace from my mistakes: The Gift of Christmas

 

The past year Jesus gave me freedom in situations I labeled impossible: The Gift of Christmas

 

The past year Jesus has given me friends and family that have blessed me more than I deserve: The Gift of Christmas 

 

Jesus is… 

The gift of Salvation 

The gift of Grace 

The gift of Love 

The gift of Joy

The gift of Peace 

The gift of Hope

 

As you take down your last bit of Christmas decorations…

As you begin to reschedule your work and school schedule…

As you begin to write your resolutions and To Do lists..

 

Remember…

Christmas is not ultimately a place you go home to or a day we celebrate

Christmas is the ultimate Person

JESUS 

 

The gift of Christmas is Jesus. You don’t have to wait until next christmas to receive it.  Receive it today and everyday. The magic of Christmas truly lives in our hearts.


 

 

Have you listened to the latest episode on “Daily Destiny with Jessie B.?” On this episode, I share 10 tips to stay fit & energized this holiday season! Subscribe and listen HERE.

 

 

 

 

A few pictures of  my time home this year! One of the best gifts? A white Christmas!


 

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The One Thing You Can Do While You Wait

 

If you are anything like me, being patient is not easy. And it is especially hard for me to be patient with my dreams.

That dream of a blog with a platform to encourage thousands of women.

That dream of starting a ministry.

That dream of getting married.

That dream of writing a book.

Those dreams that seem to be taking waaaay too long. Well, in my naive, limited human opinion

But listen to what God says;

” With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness… He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” – 2 Peter 3:9

I might be in a hurry, but God is always on time.

I might be anxious, but God is always calm.

I might think I am ready, but God says,“not just yet, daughter.”

He is never late or early in keeping His promises.

He is always ON TIME

So, what can we do while in the waiting? We can prepare by planting seeds of faithfulness in our life.

The “seed and harvest” cycle is a way of life for progress to occur. When farmers plant seeds they EXPECT it to harvest when the time is right. We are farmers of our dreams and every day we are planting seeds for our future.

 

When can choose to plant seeds of joy and happiness when we want to be bitter

We can choose to plant seeds of service and generosity when we don’t feel like helping

We can choose to plant seeds of faith, trust, and belief in the midst of fear and doubt

 We can choose to plant seeds of boldness and expectation in the midst of confusion

However, we also must be aware of the GAP time of planting those seeds and harvest. The time in between can be miserable and extremely difficult, but also necessary. During this time is God working on our hearts- even when we can’t see it. This time is where our hearts are refined. We grow as leaders. We grow as women of faith. We grow as mothers, daughters and wives as we wait. Then, when the time for the harvest comes, we will be prepared.

So, at the end of my day, sometimes it isn’t about how many items I checked off my list, how many blog followers I have, LIKES on Facebook, or how many pages I wrote in my book

Sometimes, it just about knowing I did my best to plant as many seeds as I could to help nurture those dreams- seeds of love for others and love for my God

Because by the Law of Harvest and by the Law of God’s Perfect Timing, I WILL reap the blessings when the time is right, and so will you.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

 


 

 

Have you listened to the latest episode on “Daily Destiny with Jessie B.?” On this episode, I share 10 tips to stay fit & energized this holiday season! Subscribe and listen HERE.