January 31, 2011

January 2011!

I cannot believe that the first month of 2011 has come to an end already!  Yesterday was the final day of Awakening.  Has God done anything cool in your life over these past 3 weeks? I chose to fast on Wednesdays and spent meal time praying.  I made it a goal to not miss ONE day of quiet times during the 21 days. I really enjoyed the virtual conference messages and felt so full of the Word of God!  I also spent those few weeks memorizing my SSMT scriptures!  God definitely did some cool things in me these past three weeks...and I know this is just the beginning...the awakening to a new way of life!

Tomorrow is the first day of February, our Monthly Focus on Love.  And the next scripture memory verse in the Siestas Scripture Memory Team!  Pick your verse today and lets get ready for another two weeks of Christ-mindedness!  How did you do these past few weeks?  Did you take on the challenge?  If so, can you write your verse from memory? Mine were... 
1. "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you o Lord, my rock and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:14 (NLT).   
2. "Don't let your heart be troubled.  Trust in God and trust also in me (Jesus)." - John 14:1 (NLT), emphasis added. 
Interested in a new bible study?  Check out Gateway's downloadable 7-week study here!  You can also get the smartphone version HERE from your phone.  Each day begins with an original worship song to get your heart and mind in the right place.

This is also a great day to check all your online coupon resources and print the coupons you like before they are reloaded on the first of the month.

I hope you had a wonderful month of setting some good goals, and making great intentions without any guilt if you haven't been consistent or seen them all fulfilled yet.  I hope this has also been a month of forgiving and letting GO! Take a little time to look over your past four weeks, read through your journal, reflect and be excited about what God has done this month, and what He is wanting to do in February!
Tomorrow is a new day!!  Let's go live it well ladies!
"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." - Colossians 3:13 (NLT)

January 27, 2011

Eat Right America 28-day Challenge | More Jillian Michaels!

READ THIS FIRST:  Before I share some good tools for practical ways to get healthier, there is an incredible article written by Marissa Star (from Destiny In Bloom), titled I Am NOT What I Weigh where she opens up and shares her awesome testimony and helps focus us all on what is truly important.  Please go HERE and read it and make sure your motives are in the right place before taking on some new healthier habits!

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” - 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)

I found this link to the Eat Right America  28-day challenge on wholefoods.com blog page.  I thought I'd try it without really thinking much of it, just curious what it all entailed.  So after answering a 5-minute questionnaire, I received my first email with my personalized nutrition plan.  I glanced it over and than moved it into one of my email folders.  The next day I received Day 0 instructions.  I actually didn't even look at it until the day after that, then I realized it was showing me how to prepare for success over the next 28 days.  Pretty cool.
But the reason I thought you might be interested in checking this is out, is that no matter how involved you want to be, at the very least you get 28 days of simple steps you can take to get healthier, straight to your inbox!  So far, I haven't learned many new things, but it's really encouraging to have to focus on just one small task at a time and apply it each day.
If you're interested click on this link to learn more and follow the instructions to set up your own FREE personalized nutrition plan (with menu plans and recipes for each day too)!!  Let me know if you try it!

I am so excited to have MORE Jillian videos in my library now (thanks DJ, great Christmas gifts)!!  I got two 3-lb dumbbells (I always used 5-lbs and it was a little too heavy for working my shoulders, etc.) and 2 new DVDs!  6 Week 6 Pack and Shred-It With Weights.  I tried them both out and LOVE them both (of course).  But I decided to stick with six-week six pack for .... 6 weeks!  So I'm currently about 2 weeks in and with this and eating better, I'm actually feeling and SEEING some results!  I'll be honest and tell you haven't been extremely strict on myself: making sure I work out 5-6 times a week (more like 4-5), and I've still had some treats ... but I am trying to keep a healthy balance so that I stay encouraged and keep at it!  If you want to jump on board, get yourself 30-day Shred or 6 Week 6 Pack and start the 28-day Challenge, and really start to see (and FEEL) a difference!  Come on, let's do it!!!

January 25, 2011

Free $11 Amazon Gift Card | Viewpoint Reviews

Okay, just found out about this great site viewpoints.com where you write (and read) reviews on every product you can imagine.  Until January 31st, if you write just 11 qualified reviews you will receive an $11 Amazon gift card!  I'm only 3 in right now... go here to sign up and get started!!  

You can get a TON of great items at Amazon.com...I use the Amazon Mom program to get free 2 day shipping and look for Subscribe and Save deals (like DIAPERS where I get 30% off all diapers and wipes plus FREE shipping straight to my door!)  Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers are some of my favorite and Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes which get a 3 on the Cosmetics Database scale!  I also buy all my Jillian workout DVDs on amazon and this year most of my christmas gifts.

Don't forget to click on the link and get started surfing the web on swagbucks.com to get more free amazon gift cards!

January 21, 2011

7 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier

I have had this interest in a raw food diet for awhile now.  It's a bit intimidating, eating nothing that has been cooked over a temperature of 116 degrees.  There are lots of people who do eat this way, they say they have incredible energy, natural weight loss, healthier skin, better digestion and lessened risk of heart disease.  Of course, as with most things, there are some concerns as well.  I don't think I'll ever go strictly raw, BUT I want to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible.  No matter your nutrition plan, more fresh produce is always good!  Take a look at the fifteen foods you don't have to buy organic!

1. Smoothies!  These are fun and easy ways to pack in more fruits (and veggies).  And they are great at any time of day!

2. Eat a small-medium sized salad BEFORE your full meal.  This will help your digestion system get working for all the cooked food, plus you get in more fresh vegetables and feel a little fuller before eating the more calorie-packed foods!  Just watch how much dressing you drizzle!

3. Keep a supply of fruit on hand for snacks!  Bananas, sliced apples with peanut (or almond) butter and sprinkled with cinnamon (yum!), little tangerines are sweet and easy to peel!  Just remember, what you see more often and what's most convenient is what you will reach for first.  Try to keep the fresh stuff in easy to reach places!

5. Be the person to bring the fruit/veggie platter to the party!  It's great for snacking and healthy for you and the other guests!

6. If you have a juicer, use it!  I would start with some fruits and vegetables until you get used to the intense flavors.  Start small, look for some good-sounding recipes and enjoy drinks or soups!

7. Eat a fun salad as a meal.  Get out of the boring salad routines and throw in some fruit, nuts, dried fruit, vegetables you've never ate before, crumble some hamburger over your salad or sliced grilled chicken.  Make it fun and enjoy feeling healthier inside and out!!

Thanks Bitt of Raw Blog!  Have anymore ideas you want to share?! I would LOVE to hear them!  Leave a comment.

January 18, 2011

More Recycle Bank Points!!

I just found out about 80 Points (free) at RecycleBank!!  Play four games, 2 HERE = 40 points1 HERE = 30 points and 1 HERE = 10 points (you may have to scroll down, look for MillerCoors box on the side)!  It takes maybe 5 minutes to complete all four games and check out my previous posts (1st HERE and 2nd HERE) for a few other ways to earn free rewards if you haven't before.  I believe new signups are getting 100 points instead of 25 now.  Have fun using your points for fun rewards!

January 17, 2011

Are You Feeling Awakened?

Just a little check in to see how your 21 days of prayer, fasting and personal devotion are going?!  Post any thoughts in the comments below.  Want to jump in now?  Check out the links below for more info.

January 15, 2011

SSMT Reminder!

Today is the 15th ... so here we go with the Scripture Memory Challenge!  I hope you are on board with this awesome challenge, and anticipating what God wants to do as we keep our minds focused on God's Word in the midst of everyday life!  If you don't know what I'm talking about GO HERE and read up on the "instructions."  Also, if you want to check out the SSMT APP Go Here!  Let's have a better-than-great 2011!!!
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

Interested in buying the Siesta Spiral Notebook (pictured above)?  Go to the online Store!

January 12, 2011

Esther's End...A New Beginning...

This time last week I was finishing up the wonderful Beth Moore Esther Bible Study with all the ladies in our group.  What an awesome 10 weeks!

It was quite a finish!  We celebrated with dinner and One Night with the King movie...and of course desserts!

 I highly encourage every woman to find a group of ladies and jump into this study, it was awesome!!!

Now that I have finished this great study I wanted something new to challenge me!  My challenge? Siesta Scripture Memory Team, an idea from Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore's ministry).  Click here for the full instructions (you can even find out how to get into a free conference in 2012).  But the idea is on the 1st and 15th of every month of 2011 you pick a scripture to commit to memory (over the two week period).  Seems like a pretty awesome challenge to me!!  So, since I got a late start I plan to start on the 15th and my verse is going to be:
John 14:1 (NLT): "Don't let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, and trust also in me." 
Short but sweet.  I thought I'd keep it simple to start!  I hope you will take this challenge with me!  Leave me a comment if you plan to join me!  I think the best way to leave you today is with this quote from Beth Moore's Esther study:
"Trust (in God) reverses the detours of adversity into highways of destiny."

January 10, 2011

Forgiveness | 5th Gracious Basic and Monthly Focus: January

One of the new things I want to start doing this year is getting one topic and focusing on it all month long.  In continuation of the six basic essentials to a gracious woman, I want to take January to focus on forgiveness.
I have actually spent the last few months pondering this.  Forgiveness seems such an overwhelming topic to me...it is (along with similar forms of the word) mentioned 116 times in the KJV of the Bible, I guess that says something about what God thinks about it!
As I've toiled over this subject and tried to study it so I have something worth writing about, I found it got harder and harder.  Then I thought I should just be real with you and share that I have some areas in my life that I still have a hard time applying forgiveness, and others that I don't even need to struggle with it anymore.  But just a few days ago I had lunch with a dear woman who gave me permission to share with you a vision she had regarding un-forgiveness.  I added a few touches to it, but this is basically the same picture she shared with me.
"I stepped forward with my hands outstretched until my fingers ran along the surface of a huge, cold boulder.  As I looked to my left, I saw more rocks - and to my right, giant boulders as far as my eye could see.  I looked up only to see these boulders piled on top of each other so high they blocked out the sunlight in the sky above.  Just then I heard God say to me "You built this wall."  At that moment I didn't have any feelings of pride or accomplishment at crafting such an enormous stone wall, I felt crushed with grief as He began to show me that this wall was built of un-forgiveness.  These rocks represented every hurt and pain I held against those people I couldn't forgive.  Every item on my "list" that I would drudge back up as soon as I felt one more prick of pain.  Every grudge I held.
Then God led me to the top of the wall.  As we finished our climb and my fingers gripped the tops of the boulders, my eyes peered over the crest in anticipation and anxiety.  As far as my eyes searched I saw nothing but black, muddy swamp.  Stink and filth oozed from the thick liquid.
I broke down at that moment because I knew that on the other side of that wall was me.  I was an oozing, boggy swamp with filth and grim stuffed in the deepest corners of my heart, continuing to be stomped down to keep from overflowing onto others.  I could stuff all I wanted, but the murky waters would still spew out on those around me.
I knew only God could help me tear down this wall, only He could give me the strength to drain this marsh, release my grudges, and forgive those who've hurt me.  As the tears streamed down my face, my heart was set.  But before I could even turn to ask Him for the help I needed to do it, the rocks beneath me began to break and the filth-infested waters began pour out (and fear gripped my heart knowing that everyone would see what was really behind this wall).  But as the waters passed through the crumbling rocks, it ran clear as crystal below us.  I could see myself in the reflection of it as it flowed out the other side.  The feeling I had was beyond description...that God would help me to be free of bondage! Un-forgiveness had kept me bound, and the overflow of that heart would only hurt those around me that I loved."
"For if you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. " - Matthew 6:14

There is a lot we could say about forgiveness, how hard it is to forgive and let go, how it's a challenge when we can't reconcile the relationship or how we've overcome these obstacles...if you have any experiences you'd like to share, please feel free in the comments.  I am challenging myself to walk in forgiveness each day, not holding any grudges or keeping any lists against anyone.  But also to journey into past hurts and relationships and ask God to show me if there are any areas I need to practice forgiveness so I can be free of the bondage myself, and have a pure and clean heart.  Amen!

January 7, 2011

Awakening | 1-10-11

See what our church and hundreds of other believers are taking part in starting January 10, 2011!  A 21 day season of prayer, fasting and personal devotion!  What a great way to start this year right!!  Let's get focused on what's most important and make an effort to seek God a little deeper this year!  See all the information below to get involved! 

(I'm so pumped about the Virtual Conference!  Even if you choose not to be a part of this awesome challenge, you can go here and get 3-4 sessions a day of the Word from powerful speakers all over the world - cool!)

"Seek first His (God's) kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:33, Let's start here ... and trust that as we set our priorities straight God will enable and help us get the other areas of our life in order as well! 

January 6, 2011

A New Year... A New You...

I feel like I see that phrase everywhere this time of year, "A New Year...A New You!"  What's wrong with the old me?  It seems we are always trying to "trade in" for a newer model: shinier hair, brighter teeth, tighter skin...  I say lets learn to love the "old me" and enjoy the journey to being the best stewards we can with what we've got!!
The New Year is the perfect time to get excited about your dreams, goals, health, habits...pretty much a chance to "start over," and turn a new leaf.  Well, the truth is, all the resolutions and goals are fine (see some of thoughts on that), but without accountability we can quickly fall off course.
Over time I've come to realize that if I don't keep my goals written down and in plain sight, I get distracted and easily become unmotivated.  This doesn't just apply to fitness; things can get so out of control when I'm not staying focused - whether it be spiritually, financially, physically, etc.  I get distracted so quickly with budgets, workout and meal plans, gardening, crafts, reading, cooking, even in quite times with Jesus... pretty much I need a little boost of enthusiasm and redirection in every area of my life at times.  So when a new fashion magazine comes in the mail, I get excited to try a new wardrobe combo or hairstyle.  A new journal or bible study (esp. Beth Moore) can get me pumped up in studying the Word!  I have to work a little bit at staying excited with nutrition and exercise, new workout videos or a new outfit to run in can help.  Reading up on health books and trying new recipes.  All of those things can keep the "goal set before you" and help you stay excited on the journey.
I was reading in The Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto and found a couple principles that really help me stay excited about my health and some that can be integrated into other areas of life too!  Just thought I'd share some BALANCED and POSITIVE thoughts about our bodies during this time of the year, when "everyone" is wanting new ones!

"Conflict: I have no time.
Solution: You have all the time there is - twenty-four hours a day - the same amount as Bill Gates...It's not that you don't have enough time, you simply haven't chosen your priorities or put them in the proper order yet.
Conflict: I have to give up all the foods I love.
Solution: Where did you get that idea? You can eat chocolate, ice cream, pizza, or whatever else you want as long as you eat those foods infrequently and in small amounts. The only thing you have to give up is eating more calories than you need.
Conflict: I'll never lose weight because of my genetics.
Solution: Genetics do not stop you from losing weight unless a genetic predisposition meets a sedentary lifestyle and unsupportive environment. You simply haven't made all the necessary improvements to your environment and lifestyle yet.
Conflict: Life is too short to be in the gym all the time.
Solution: Your life will be really short if you don't take care of your health. Who said you had to be in the gym all the time? Maybe you just haven't learned how to train in a time-efficient manner yet. You can save time by training at home.
Conflict: I have to take care of others first.
Solution: You can take care of yourself and others, it's not an either/or situation. And if you don't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of others.
Conflict: If I go on a diet I'll never be able to eat at restaurants.
Solution: Never? That's ridiculous.  If you choose, you can eat healthy in almost any restaurant. You simply need to make good choices and keep the portions small.
Conflict: It's impossible for me to start a workout program now because I have a bad (insert your excuse: knee, shoulder, back, etc.).
Solution: Impossible or just a bit more challenging? Having an injury doesn't mean you can't do anything, it means that you'll need to work around it and focus on what you can do.  Besides, even if you were laid up in bed, you can still get leaner and healthier by improving your nutrition." - Tom Venuto, Body Fat Solution
I like to keep scriptures, motivational pictures and inspirational quotes or sayings posted around the house.  I have a print out of my short and long term goals taped up on the inside of my pantry door.  Using the computer screen saver can help too!  Whatever it takes to stay excited about getting healthy (not just physically)!  What are you doing to stay focused and excited about your PASSIONS?

"...whenever that negative internal voice spouts off inside your head, you can interrupt that inner critic and challenge those old ways of thinking." - Tom Venuto

January 5, 2011

Happy New Year | With a Side of Goodies (The Calorie-Free Kind)!!!

Well here we are, day five of the new year 2011!  I am actually kind of relieved that the holidays have passed this year, so hopefully life can slow down a little bit and feel more "normal" (though I highly doubt that will happen)!  I am not a resolution-making kind of girl, because I've realized that when I tell myself I have to do something I usually have a harder time doing it (I'm sure some psychiatrist out there knows why).  If I did make resolutions my list would be miles long: have a deep quiet time everyday; pray for ... well everything each day; lose those 5-10 pounds I've never been able to shake (which translates: workout 5-6x a week and eat HEALTHY); practice guitar everyday; blog at least once a week; start/pickup-where-I-left-off/finish my book; be creative often and write some more worship; play with my girls each day doing fun baking and crafting activities.......I could literally go one for hours in my "dream resolutions list."  But, even though I won't say I have to accomplish these things I am challenging myself to do as many of them as I can in these next 12 months.  I started already, woke up at 5:30, had a beautiful 1+ hour quiet time and worked out, showered, even put on some makeup before the kiddos were up!!!  I'm a little sleepy as I write this, but hopefully I can get to bed at a decent time and hit it again tomorrow!
I pray that your end of the year and kick off to this new one was great!!!

If you've stayed with me this far you will get to partake in some of these fun treats:


  • www.NoiseTrade.com - You can download free music from tons of artists, some are even full CDs and donate if you'd like.
  • RecycleBank, click here those of you who don't know what it is.  If you "Like" them on Facebook and leave a comment (this week is about recycling) you are entered to win one of 5 weekly drawings for 2011 RecycleBank points (can be used to get coupons for Coke, Sprouts Farmers Market, lots of Organic products...etc.)!  Check them out!
  • DisneyRewards Program. Try out these codes for some possible points to get you started: FM39V03SSW, FPSNN83JX9, 9FTMRYWEK (50 pts!), 9EKSMN38SH (50 pts!), cool (50 pts!), Fill out your profile for an additional 25 pts, and try not to enter more than 10 codes a day (they may freeze your account)!  ENJOY the Disney Rewards!!
  • If you have an iPhone (or maybe works on any app-phone), and you downloaded KickBucks (click here for my previous article), they currently have an electronic coupon for 1 free 2-liter of Dr. Pepper at Target.  I have only had this app a few months and have already accumulated enough points for a free $5 Target card! 
  • Also for iPhone-users, if you download Sephora's new app you can take your phone into the store and supposedly get a free iPhone cover!  I haven't tried yet, but you can go to this site to see where I found out.

Not for the faint-of-heart or Faith:

  • www.EpicBeauty.org - Ministring to women that are employed in the adult entertainment industry by giving them Baskets of Love filled with essentials to encourage these women that someone does care.
  • www.climb4freedom.org - A video for the strong-hearted only.  A group of women's challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Human Trafficking Awareness through the A21 Campaign.
  • www.wonderfullymade.org'sEncouraging blog on Weight-Loss Resolutions
  • An adorable 4 year old knows how to affirm herself, we could take a few notes: 
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