Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Power Surge

I have finally found the time/the discipline to blog today. I am going to start with what I read in the book One Month to Live. This morning after reading the Bible I read Day 4 of the One Month to Live book. (I know, my progress in this book is slow but I have a lot going on and I'm trying to balance it all and not push myself so hard that I give up.) Like they say, "Slow and steady wins the race" (Whoever they are...haha)

The title of Day 4 is Power Surge and the basic premise was, In order to sustain changes you have to be connected to a power source that doesn't leave you in the dark. The power source being Jesus Christ. The chapter goes on to discuss the importance of spiritual health and how to achieve it. They discussed the versus John 15:1-5, which says that Jesus is the vine of a vineyard and we are the branches. If you know a little about vineyards than you know that without the vine the branches can't bear fruit. The most powerful part of these versus for me was at the very end, "He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5. WOW! This is something that I know to be true but reading it always causes me to reflect in amazement of how awesome God is.

The most important take away for me from this lesson is that when I rely I on Him he will reduce my stress and allow me the freedom to be fully engaged in life. And that in order to rely on Him I have to strengthen my relationship with Him. If you have been reading my blog than you know that strengthen my relationship with Him is my primary goal. I have been following through with the goals and I will update you on my progress later in this post.

Here is the Make It Last for Life section from today's reading:

1. What are the current barriers to spiritual health in your life? In other words what keeps you from connecting to God as your primary source of spiritual life?

Right now I would say my biggest barrier is time management. Being in graduate school and also being a wife can be very time consuming. I made a goal (haha, no big shocker there) to stay on top of my reading for school this semester. Usually I wait to read until right before a test and as one can assume it is not a stress free process. So far this semester I have kept up with my reading and that takes up a lot of time that I could be in the Bible, praying or even finishing this book.

There are 2 more questions in this section but believe or not they are a little more personal than I would like to go on this blog so just know that I answered them and if you really want to know what they are maybe we can discuss them in person. :)


I am on day 17 of my 365 day Bible reading plan which means I have completed 4.4% of my reading. Although I have fallen behind a few times I caught up and am now back on track. I have also been to church every week and was especially moved by last week's service. (I'll talk more about that later) I have been praying everyday but I would like to work on spending more time praying/meditating. I also received an email about volunteering at church and should be on the schedule soon. God also blessed me with an invitation to a women's Bible study at a First Christian Church. It fits into my school schedule and I was invited by two women that I respect and can learn A LOT from! That Bible study begins on Wednesday and all of my women readers are also invited to join! I will write about that experience when I get the chance.

As far as my other goals go I think I am also making progress with them. I am trying very hard not to cuss and it feels great to not have those words flying out of my mouth all of the time! On becoming a better wife...Travis would probably have to update you on that one. I am trying to be patient, giving, and encouraging. For guidance in this area I turn to Proverbs 31. It is a passage in the Bible that discusses: The Wife of Noble Character. It is a lot to live up to and I am not quite there yet but I hope to be one day! On being a better friend and family member. I think I am doing better in this area. I am trying to make time call/text people back and also just be there for my friends and family. I booked a flight to visit my parents and my brothers in D.C. next weekend. My nephew is turning one and I can't wait to see him again! I almost didn't book the flight because I knew it would be an inconvenient trip, it may cause me to fall behind in my school work and Travis can't come but I did because I knew my mom really wanted me to come!

Travis and I have also continued to seek God's guidance when spending the money he has blessed us with. Last week we only ate out once and we spent some money bowling with friends. On Saturday night we went to a friend's birthday celebration and ate at the house before we left! We are going to keep trying to do things like this and balance our spending so that we can save and pay off debt. Travis will get paid tomorrow and I will tithe our 10% first and then pay our bills. I still haven't been able to get any substituting jobs but I will keep trying. I have however applied for many jobs for after graduation and I ask all of you to pray that I find one!

Okay, I think that pretty much updates you on my goals progress. (Oh except that I also have not drank since I started this whole process and I do not miss it at all) The last thing I would like to discuss in this post is the great service at Experience Life this weekend. This past weekend was the 3rd week of the series, 30 Days to Live. I cannot articulate how moving this sermon was so please go to www.experiencelifenow.com and watch it if you get a chance! The premise of the message was forgiveness and saying what you need to say to the people you love and care about most. The sermon came from Matthew 18:21-35 where Jesus calls us to forgive as often as someone sins against us and ask for forgiveness as often as we sin against someone. Chris Galanos, our Pastor, called us to reconcile with the people in our life who we have hurt or who have hurt us. Travis and I both thought of people we need to reconcile with and we will be attempting to do it.

I felt called to reconcile with some of my family members. Both of my mother's parents passed away last February and unfortunately a lot of drama surrounded their passing. I am going to attempt to reconcile with some of my cousins. I am only putting this on my blog so that I can be held accountable to doing this difficult task. Pray for me and pray for openness from both sides when I try to reconcile these relationships.

Okay, it feels good to blog! I hope this finds all of you well! Remember that we can't do anything without Him! Rely on Him today! Jesus, the best I know how, I commit my life to you. Amen

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trying to get inspired. :)

This is the first blog that I haven't felt very inspired to write. This week has worn me out and it's only Wednesday! I have been in God's word and went to church this weekend! It was a great service that related a lot with a section in the last blog I wrote about tithing. You can watch this sermon and many more at www.experiencelifenow.com. My pastor discussed the importance of tithing, giving offerings and trusting God with the money he has blessed us with and spending it in the way he would desire us to spend it. The biggest take away I got from the sermon was that we should be investing our money in eternal things not temporary things.

Travis and I have decided to make this a focus in our life and have done pretty well in the past couple of weeks. Among other things, we haven't eaten out in close to two weeks which is a huge accomplishment for us. We also have stopped drinking alcohol for many reasons and money is one of them.

One of my reasons for not drinking is because I have felt convicted about it for a long time and I finally decided that I should listen to that conviction. I do not think that drinking alcohol is wrong and don't want people to feel like I am saying that. However, I do feel like drinking to the point of drunkenness is wrong. Which I have done too many times to count and have decided that because I can not control myself after one or two drinks that I should just not have any.

Not drinking will be a challenge for me because drinking has always been a way for me to relieve stress. I am just naturally a person that worries and stresses a lot. It is something that I try to control but it just seems never ending. I know putting my trust in God will cure the constant angst that I feel but that is easy to say and not always easy to do. So for my friends that are reading this please respect my choice to not drink and don't ask me to. Peer pressure (among other things) has always been a factor in me not achieving the personal goals that I have set for myself but I don't want it to be a factor this time around. And if you can not respect what I am asking then please understand when I move myself away from you. I'm sorry but I am not willing to compromise my beliefs anymore in order to fit in. (whoa...I know)

Okay that was something that I needed to get off my chest but have been avoiding for a while. Please don't be offended and I'm sorry if you are.

Moving on, I am only on day 3 of the One Month to Live book but I am not going to stress about it. Here is Day 3's section of, Make it Count for Life:

1. What consumes most of your time each day? How meaningful is it? How much of your day do spend doing only what you do best?

Currently, school consumes most of my time each day. Whether it is class or studying for class. It is not typically meaningful but getting an MBA has always been a goal of mine so the means to reaching that goal is very meaningful to me. As far as how much of my day do I spend doing only what I do best, that is a hard question. I am not even sure I know what I do best so I just don't know how to answer that question..And now that I think about it that is pretty sad. Any reading have any suggestions??

Okay, I'm losing focus probably due to listening to great music while I write this. Thanks for reading sorry if today's blog seems off like I said before I didn't feel very inspired or really know what to write about. Hope you all have a great day!

Jesus, the best I know how, I commit my life to you. Amen.

Listening to: Knees to the Earth by Watermark....AMAZING SONG!

Friday, January 22, 2010


I am so thankful that today is Friday. For some reason this week has been very busy for me. I wanted to make time to blog each day this week but it just never worked out. The books I needed for class arrived late so I played catch trying to get everything read before my classes. I still didn't get everything read but I am going to catch up this weekend so that I can have more time to work on my personal goals next week.

Although I was busy I still worked on my goals I just wasn't able to write about it. I read my "assigned" Bible readings each day this week and I found inspiration, comfort, and encouragement in each days reading. I am on day 6 of my 365 day plan from youversion.com which puts me at completing 1.6% of the reading plan. I know that seems like a very small percentage but I am very results oriented so seeing that percentage lets me know I have accomplished something. (And I am proud of my accomplishment)

Some of the verses that inspired this week are:

Proverbs 4:24-25 "Put perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you." (I thought this went right along with my attempt to not curse and along with that reminds me that I also need to work on not gossiping)

John 4:13-14 "'Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Along with my week being busy it was also a little stressful. On Monday I found out that I didn't get the part time position I was hoping to get in order to help out with mine and Travis' expenses during my last semester of school. While this was a little disappointing I realize that it was not apart of God's plan for us. So I am continuing to pray about getting substitute jobs in order to help with our bills and the strength and discipline to not spend money on things like eating out and social activities.

Travis got paid on Wednesday so I paid our end of the month bills and tithed 10% of his check to Rekindling Ministries. Rekindling is a non-profit organization that our friend Shannon Kirkpatrick started a few years ago. The ministry does many things including hosting in depth Bible study courses for the community in Northern Virginia. Here is the website if you would like to learn more about it...http://www.rekindlingministries.org/. God put it on my heart to tithe to Rekindling last year for many reasons but the main one is because Shannon consistently updates us on the needs of Rekindling and in our opinion they outweigh the needs of any other tithing options we have. Last year we did not tithe to Rekindling faithfully but as I said in my last post this year I would like to budget the money God has blessed us with according to his instruction. So Travis and I are going to trust that God will provide for us and we will be tithing at least 10% of our income from now on.

I pay the bills in our household and report back to Travis what I do and where we are financially. Each time that I even consider tithing I hesitate because we live month to month and sometimes do not have the money we need to pay for everything. This area of trusting God seems to be the hardest for me because I worry that we will not have enough. Pray for me to know that God will provide and just like his word says that I will give my worries to him. Matthew 6: 34 says, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

~God, I trust you to meet the needs of Travis and I. Thank you for your many blessings!~

I haven't been able to keep up with reading the One Month to Live book but I'm not going to stress about it. I am just going to read each day when I have the time to do it. The last day/chapter I read was Day 2. The Make it Last for Life section in this chapter asked:

1. If you were certain your life as you know it would end in a few weeks, what would be your biggest regret? Why?

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this question was, I would regret not sharing my faith with others more and being a terrible example of someone who believes. I know that this sounds like the "right answer" but it is honestly what I thought of when I read this question. And on top of missing the opportunity to witness to people I don't know my biggest regret would be not being a better witness/example to the people I know and love namely, my two brothers. I would regret this because I believe in eternal life in heaven with Jesus and I want everyone to be there and because I know the joy and peace of walking with God and also want everyone to feel these things. (I know this paragraph is kind of wordy, sorry. :) )

2. In what area of your life are you suffering from the Someday Syndrome? Make a decision today never again to use the phrase "someday, when things settle down." Realize that today is your someday.

I definitely feel like I am trying to live by this motto. Everyday I realize that this challenge is very difficult. I tend to be a very realistic person so my first thoughts when reading this were, Okay I'll realize that but the truth is that I will probably always say someday I'll do this or that...And honestly I think that's okay. But the one thing that I have decided can not longer be part of the Someday Syndrome is living my life as God would have me live it. That I will do now and I won't wait to do it when I'm older or when I'm a mother or when I retire.

Overall this week was great. I feel like I accomplished a lot and made progress in changing myself. Thanks for everyone out there that is cheering me along. I really appreciate the support!! Oh and by the way I emailed the church this morning about being a volunteer again. I will keep you updated on what happens.

Thank you God for a great week and for the time to rest during the weekend!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 3: Class has been canceled but school is still in session.

Today is the third day of my journey to strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ and start living my life the way I would live it if I only had one month to live. I don't know if I will continue to count the days as if this process is going to end at some point. My hope is that it will never end and it will become a way of life for me. The way that I have always wanted to live and have always felt called by God to live.

Yesterday I wanted to blog as soon as I woke up but this little thing called errands got in the way and I wasn't able to. I did however make progress on my journey by purchasing the book I wrote about in my last post, One Month to Live. I wanted to order it off of Amazon because it was listed used for only $8.00 and in the bookstore it retails for $19.99. But I also wanted to be sure and start reading the book yesterday. One of my faults is making great statements about things I am going to do and not ever actually doing them. My blog is probably proof that I don't want to do that anymore. I want to actually follow through and do the things I say I am going to do.

To solve this problem I resorted to my iPhone which as some of you may know it is one of the greatest inventions and it has an "app" for just about anything. Falling in the just about anything category is a Kindle for the iPhone. Just like the Kindle I can buy books from Amazon at a much lower cost than the bookstore and can read them on my phone. Which counts as a double bonus because I only paid $10.00 for the book and it will always be with me. After all, no one leaves their house without a cell phone these days.

Okay, so I accomplished something in making sure that I bought the book yesterday and I even went further and actually read the first chapter. I read it while I waited for my husband, Travis, to finish his workout at the gym. Yes, I waited for him to finish. We often go to the gym together which I am so thankful for because anything that makes me want to go to the gym more is a blessing. But, I usually don't work out quite as long as him. For me an hour or less is just enough and he can usually workout for at least an hour and a half!

So, back to the first chapter. The book is set up as kind of a challenge to those who decide to read it. The first chapter breaks down the ideals and structure of the book and ends with a "make it last for life" section. In this section there are a few challenges given and I decided that I would talk about those challenges through my blog. I may not write about them all but if you want to know what they are or if I'm doing them I encourage you to ask me!

Day 1: Make It Last for Life
1. Make a list of five things you'd change about your life if you knew you only had one month to live. Choose at least one to begin changing today, right now.

Well we all knew this was coming or at least I did. I wrote last time that I didn't know exactly what changes I wanted to make and that I would seek God's guidance in this area. I have been praying about many things in the past couple of days including what changes I need to make in my life. I started making a list of these things at the beginning of the year. My list was created with the intent of being a list of New Year's resolutions. Making a list of New Year's resolutions is not something I typically do. I feel like God has being laying this change on my heart for a while so I decided to use an edited form of that list. I will continue to seek God's guidance in this area and continue to edit this list as necessary. This list is in no way complete it is just a starting point.

1. Strengthen my relationship with God, my Savior.

I realize that saying this is easy and that doing it is what will actually be difficult. Here is my plan for doing it. First, I signed up for a Bible reading program on www.youversion.com. My plan is called Project 3:45+. This website has over 20 plans for reading the Bible and each user can choose what they like best. Here is a synopsis of my reading plan:

"Project 3:45+ is an extended version of the New Testament reading plan, Project 3:45. The “Plus” adds a Psalm or Proverb per day (including weekends) and selected readings from the Old Testament five days per week. The beauty of a Bible reading plan is that all the guesswork is removed and there is always a place to start and a sense of direction. For those that really want to add more to their devotional reading time Project 3:45+ offers great options." (www.youversion.com)

The website is really neat and hard to explain but each day I log in and read a portion of my reading plan and check of each section as I go. My plan is meant to be finished in a year and it shows me my progress through a percentage read tracker. I really like the website and encourage anyone to check it out!

I started my reading on Sunday and have completed each reading since then. Today one of my readings was Proverbs 3. It is a wonderful chapter of the Bible and a verse of encouragement that I took from it is, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6.

The second way that I will be strengthening my relationship with God is through prayer. I have made a promise to myself and now to all of you that I will pray for at least a few minutes everyday. In the future I would like to build my prayer time but I need a starting place. I will keep a prayer journal and would love to pray for any of you. Please let me know your needs and I will pray for you and them! The Lord encourages us to pray throughout the Bible and a verse that I will hold onto while I do this is simply, "pray continuously" 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Lastly, I will be attending and participating in Church each week at Experience Life. I volunteered in the children's department at Elife for a few weeks and would like to start volunteering again wherever they need someone. I will report back to you all on my experiences at Church and I invite all of you to come to Experience Life or any Church that you have been thinking about going to or that is in your area. Hebrews 10:25 explains the importance of meeting together with other believers saying, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

For the rest of these I will not elaborate on my exact plans for how I am going to actually do these things but I will write about the progress I have made when it seems appropriate.

2. Become a better wife and improve the health of my marriage with help from my husband.
3. Follow God's instructions for tithing and budgeting and move away from materialism.
4. Become a better and more reliable friend and family member.
5. Stop cussing. (I know that seems silly but it is something that I would like to change)

So, here I go! Pray for me!

Jesus, the best I know how, I commit my life to you. Amen.

By the way, the reason for the title is due to my only class of the day being canceled! :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

30 Days to Live

I should warn all readers that I am a terrible writer and most of the time do not how to punctuate or phrase sentences correctly. I am sorry in advance but the real purpose of this blog is to keep myself accountable, grow personally and strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ. I will try my best though.

I went to church this morning at Experience Life in Lubbock, TX. One of my resolutions for 2010 was to go to church every week. I went the first week, skipped last week but restarted my resolution this weekend. (Just as in dieting I am okay with having to start over every now and then) Anyway, although my resolution seems good natured enough today I realized that I would not only like to go to church every week but that I would like to renew my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I'm not sure who will read this blog or if anyone will so I guess I should give some background on myself in order to keep everyone on the same page. I was born in 1984...haha, just kidding. Really though I am 25 years old and I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church and home in Texas. I committed my life to Christ for the first time at the age of 8. Some people may think that age to be controversial but I understood the commitment that I made and believe that it has kept me close in God's sights even when I didn't want to be on his radar.

I have wavered, to say the least, in my faith and my relationship with God throughout my life. I have been in every position of the sideline whether it be doubting His existence or sharing His word and my faith with most notably, my husband.

Okay, so that is a little about my history...I know it really is only a little but I want to stay focused on my purposed for starting this blog today. As some of you may know I have ADD so staying focused can truly be a difficult task for me. If anyone reading has questions about my past or anything else please ask me through comments, emails, or text messaging, whatever works best for you.

Okay, back to the purpose of today's blog. The sermon at church today was entitled, 30 Days to Live. I have been anticipating the start of this series at church because I knew it was going to be extremely powerful. The series is based loosely on a book called, not surprisingly, One Month to Live: 30 days to a No-Regrets Life by Chris and Kerry Shook. I have not read this book but plan on going to get it today. I have seen a few people talking about it on Facebook which got me even more excited about the series at Experience Life.

The theme of today's sermon was, you don't always have later to do what you should be doing now. At 25 I have lived long enough to experience this truth a few times through the death of friends and family members. Death always causes me to think of eternity and my relationship with Jesus Christ but death is not the only thing that causes me to think of these things. Sermons at church, movies, books, music, reading the bible, and conversations with friends also cause me to question how I am living my life and the things that I need to change.

Lately, I have thought about the changes I need to make in my life. God has placed these changes on my heart for a long time and today I would like to honestly start pursuing them. While I was in church this morning He placed blogging on my heart. I'm not sure that this blog will be more beneficial for me or the people that may read it but I know that it will allow me to be held more accountable through the written words on the screen.

I guess this brings me to the things I need to change and how I am going to change them. I wish God had also placed a perfect plan for change on my heart and in my mind today but this isn't the case. I know he will guide me as long as I seek his guidance. So, that's my plan. Seek His guidance and then share what He has shown me and how He has changed me. I could go on and on about the the things I see in myself that need improvement but at this sentence I feel like I completed the task He gave me for today. I'm not sure how often I will blog or what in what format but I will update send emails to anyone who would like to know when I have written a new blog.

Oh, I almost forgot. The title of my blog is a phrase my pastor says when calling his church to dedicate their lives to Christ. It is a prayer that I want to pray to Jesus everyday because I don't know it all and I will fail over and over again but this prayer truly is my goal everyday. So, Jesus, the best I know how, I commit my life to you today. Amen.