Saturday, July 27, 2013

Walk This Way: Wondering in the Wilderness Part 2


Deuteronomy is probably my favorite book of the Bible, if I had to choose. Imagine getting married and your spouse telling you specific ways in which you could love him to ensure a successful marriage. You'd be all up on that, wouldn't you? That is what Deuteronomy is to me. It is specific blueprints to conquering the wilderness and finding lasting pleasure and security in your promised land. Just like a marriage, though, we have to do our part and dig into the Word to receive these directions. If you're frustrated and lost in the Wilderness, do not lose hope: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 

Knowing that I need direction on my present journey, I dug into Deuteronomy. Chapter 7 was where I felt led so I began to read. (I encourage you to stop and read this chapter now, as I am not going to summarize it but just hit a few keys points.) I read the text 2-3 times as a good Bible student has been taught to do and immediately began to see the blueprint. Here are the points that jumped out to me: 

1. You must destroy the enemy nations.

The major theme of this chapter is Israel needing to conquer the nations that are dwelling in Her land. In fact, if she doesn't completely destroy them, she will not inherit the land. Period. This applies to us as well. We must destroy the enemies that are dwelling in our God given territory. 
Upon first reading this text, I practically skipped over the names of the 7 tribes listed for Israel to destroy. Hittites, Girgashites...Girgashites? That sounds like the villain from the Smurfs...Amorites..when are they gonna just disappear already...Canaanites, blah blah blah! Ill just skip these ridiculous names and get on to the meat! But as I continued to read, I felt Holy Spirit tell me to back up and pay attention to the names. It is important that you name your nations. They each stand for something standing in your way. If you research the meaning of the names of these tribes, you will see they have symbolic meanings such as fear or worldliness. Israel had specific strongholds to conquer. Don't ever skip over names- they mean something. What are the names of your nations? Don't worry if you don't know right now. That will come. 

2. Don't be afraid. 

As I was pondering on the naming of my nations, my eyes fell upon verse 17 and I read, wide eyed, till verse 20: 

17 "Perhaps you will think to yourselves, ‘How can we ever conquer these nations that are so much more powerful than we are?’ 18 But don’t be afraid of them! Just remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt.19 Remember the great terrors the Lord your God sent against them. You saw it all with your own eyes! And remember the miraculous signs and wonders, and the strong hand and powerful arm with which he brought you out of Egypt. The Lord your God will use this same power against all the people you fear. 20 And then theLord your God will send terror to drive out the few survivors still hiding from you!"

Ok, now this part is really really really crucial. Are you ready? If you start fretting over all this, you're not getting it. Earlier today- I was not getting it. Just a few hours after reading this passage, I was already fretting...big time! I was in pain and questioning his plans. I was frustrated and questioning God's motives. Yup. I do that sometimes. Don't you? 

What do you mean conquer these stupid nations!? How am I gonna do that!?! How am I gonna conquer depression, anxiety, pain?! You're mean! You say you have a future and a hope for me!! Is this some sort if cruel joke?! 

It's ugly inside my heart. That I will never deny. I identify with Paul, feeling like the greatest of sinners. I'm pompous, cynical, fearful, lustful and hot tempered, but OH! how I love Jesus. Love him because I am those things and he sees something worth dying for and something worth living for and something worth loving. Sweet, sweet Jesus. And he lets me yell, kick and fight. He lets me question his motives, this man that died so I can live. He doesn't smite me. He could. But he doesn't. He leads me back to his words, the words He's already told me and I've already forgotten. And this process is sure to be repeated as I am quite forgetful. 

I have a feeling I will frequent these verses quite a bit in this season. It's unnatural to not fear something that threatens to harm, but that is what God is requiring of me - of us. He is calling us to remember the times in our lives when He dominated our enemy, delivering us from the grips of hell. He's saying, "remember when I did that? Strengthen your faith because I am about to do that again!" He is our army general, on his white horse, giving us the pre-battle pep talk, causing bloodthirst to rise our veins. Our horses can barely stand still and we hold tightly to the reins until our leader yells for us to charge. Our general is undefeated and we're guaranteed the victory, if we keep our eyes on him. Not only will our enemy be demolished, but verse 20 tells us that even the hiding stragglers - the ones we aren't even aware of - will be driven out and slaughtered. He's a tried a true warrior. 

Are you bloodthirsty yet?

3. He will reveal their identities 

In point one, I encouraged you not to be upset if you have no idea what your nations names are. To be honest, I'm feeling a little in the dark still. He has a specific battle plan for us. Verse 22 reveals part of this plan: "The Lord your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. (Emphasis mine) You will not clear them away all at once, otherwise the wild animals would multiply too quickly for you." 

This verse tells me 2 things: First, if you don't know what enemy nations you need to destroy, he will reveal them to you in his due time. Second, if you do know your nation's identity, you must wait until he drives them out for you. Either way, wait on Him. The verse is very clear about what will happen if you don't - chaos will insue and overtake you. 

Be patient. He's got this. 

4. He will give you the victory!

As odd as this may sound, God is not a selfish warrior. Let me ask you a question. Imagine you are a king. You've given your life for the sake of your kingdom. Your kingdom is so majestic that all other kingdoms abhor you, desecrating your kingdom and defiling the people you've spent your life protecting. War is declared and you've proven your might as the entire enemy army lays dead at your feet - except their king - who you've got in a strong hold. Would you call over your most pathetic soldier to take his lifeblood, to revel in your victory as his own? 

Verse 23-24: "But The Lord your God will hand them over to you...He will put their kings in your power, and you will erase their names from the face if the earth." 

Christ is that king. He will devour our enemy then hand their leader over to us to finish. To revel in a victory that is not ours but has been made ours. 

I don't get it. I don't understand his love. 

It doesn't stop here. Verses 12-15 list many more blessings that he will bestow upon us if we're obedient in this journey. 

Why does he do this? 

"The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept theoath which He swore to your forefathers,the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt." Deuteronomy 7:7-8

This wilderness jouney will not be easy, but it will be redeeming. God has not lead us here to let us die. He is a faithful king. A fierce warrior. A promise keeper. He's good, our God!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Walk This Way: Wondering in the Wilderness

No, that's not a typo or misspelling in my title. As I'm wandering in the wilderness, I'm doing A LOT of wondering. I'm not asking why me? or why am I here?, but rather taking in my surroundings and pondering why this place - this wilderness - has been so despised. Perhaps it's because we don't like to wait. Maybe it's because we don't like to feel any sensation other than pleasure, while the wilderness typically holds a certain amount of growing pains. During my wandering and wondering, I've come up with a few points of encouragement. Feel free to adopt them as your own:

1. Forget the negative connotation

The wilderness might be uncomfortable or less than thrilling, but it's a perfectly normal part of the Christian life. One of my favorite verses, Hosea 2:14, speaks of the wilderness: 
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her." 

God wasn't leading Israel to the wilderness to be mean or punish her, but to get her alone - free from distraction. The wilderness speaks of intimacy with Him. Not sounding too shabby, eh? 

2. Put your thinking cap on. 

Sometimes the reason God wants you without distraction is so that he can teach you and grow you - like the Israelites on their way to the promised Land. He was preparing them for something big and the wilderness was their training. They made a mistake, though, and did not submit to that training. Being in the wilderness wasn't their punishment, having to stay there for longer than he intended was. So spend your time wisely by watching for his lead and submitting to his instruction. 

3. Retrain your brain

I've been thinking a lot lately about why we tend to push away from growing pains. When we lift weights and exercise to build our muscles, we experience growing pains. Why should we expect any different with other areas of our lives? A wife learning to better serve her husband might experience stretching; a mom giving birth will feel pain during labor; a child learning to read might get frustrated as he struggles to learn. These emotions are uncomfortable, but they are necessary and can be looked at as mile markers on our journey. When we feel them, we know we are progressing toward our destination. 

 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 3:14 

If you're in the wilderness, you're not alone! Take this time to enjoy intimacy with Christ. Seek his face and follow his guidance. Keep pressing on!! 

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Stop Making Goals!

Stop making goals your only focus, that is. We are taught that making goals equals success, and while I believe goals are powerful motivators, I think we can become so bogged down in our target that we miss the forest for the trees. Let me explain. 
Earlier today my husband texted me, explaining that he'd left his wallet at home and wanted me to bring it to him by his place of work. We agreed to meet at 11:00. 11:00 was my target! I planned my time accordingly. I was working on our budget (different blog post all together!) but stopped in time to get dressed and take him his wallet. I pulled into the parking lot at four minutes past 11, which is practically early for me, only to realize I didn't have his wallet! I had planned my morning around this goal - made it my priority -  and yet somehow forgot my entire purpose for meeting him in the first place! Now I might've had an out if I'd batted my eyes at him and half whispered in a sexy tone about how I was so overcome with excitement to wrap my arms around his sexy neck that I obviously couldn't be held responsible for my silly mistake! However, while he does make my heart go pitter patter, he knows me better than that - I dropped the ball and had to fess up. And believe me, my voice was the farthest thing from sexy - more like Speedy Gonzales meets Janice from friends - as I blurted out "You're gonna kill me and I think I'm gonna cry!" I was too chicken to even confess! Haha! The worst part was that he didn't even seem shocked. He just calmly said, "you don't have my wallet". I've let him down before. He's become accustomed to my scatter brained ways. As we parted ways, him home to get his wallet and me to take up permanent residence in loserville, I began asking God about my track record of lameness. The conversation basically consisted of me half hysterically begging God why I seem to stay in ditz-mode most of the time. Then his voice, which by the way sounded much more calm then mine, broke through my babble and he answered me. God told me why I am a ditz. Now, if I'd had this same conversation with Ben and he'd assumed my question of why am I so ditzy was anything other than rhetorical...well, ladies, you know what I mean - it would've hit the fan. God is God though so I let him explain to me the source of my flibbertigibbet ways. He simply told me that I'd missed the forest for the trees. That I'd become so consumed with getting to my destination and completing my goal that I'd missed steps along the way. He then began to apply this to other areas of my life, like our budget. If all we care about is paying off debt and saving a bunch of money but don't take the time to build our discipline muscles, we won't be able to hold the weight of success or maintain a debt free lifestyle. We must allow him to take us through the process of growth and take the steps necessary for residual financial success. You could say the same for weight loss. You can starve yourself or go on a ridiculous diet to lose weight, but if you do not learn to control your eating and exercising habits, you will quickly regain the weight. Much like me, you will arrive at your destination but not possess the tools to complete the task- you will ultimately fail. 
Are there areas in your own life that you struggle with rushing to your goal without building your foundation? I encourage you to evaluate, as I will also. Once you've determined a problem area, feel free to bask in the freedom and joy that will come from obtaining your goal, but then promptly give it to God, trusting him to guide you through the process. Give in to the uncomfortable feeling that growth often brings. Feel your muscles, whether literal or figurative, grow and flex. That's when we know the finish product will be good!! 

Galatians 6:9

And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Scary Prayers

If you're a Christian and have prayed any amount of prayers, you have probably prayed at least one that scared you. For example, take the "Lord, give me patience" prayer...ouch! Haha! Anytime we begin to submit our flesh to God and ask him to make us look more like his Son- we can pretty much assume it's gonna entail some discomfort. If you're new to Christianity or aren't a Christian, this type of "self inflicted" pain probably seems strange. I can honestly say that the first few "scary prayers" are most likely done naively.
 Take the new wife who is struggling to find peace in her marriage: she prays, "God, please help us get along!" Next thing you know, it hits the fan! In the midst of the marital non-bliss, Holy Spirit tells her to feed his sheep or wash their feet or something else equally hippy-ish and spread the love sounding. More realistically - serve your him Christ's love. *kill the 50's show tunes and birds chirping outside window* 
New wife is confused and slightly perturbed! This is NOT what she had in mind when she prayed! 
This is what I mean by naive prayers. We pray for one thing not knowing that our desired result will require some stretching on our part. We eventually catch on, though, and even realize the end result is worth it.  At which point we can either choose to ignore the need to pray for things that might involve us stepping out of our comfort zone or just give in already! Chances are, if we're feeling the need to pray about something, Holy Spirit is already working in us regarding said thing anyways- might as well work with Him rather than against.
So what's my point with all this uncomfortable prayer talk, you ask? Well.....I have a prayer bubbling in my soul and it's......SCARY!!!  I've been feeling like my faith has become routine. I sing about Christ's sacrifice and love, but  do I really believe it? Have I grown cold? Do I truly appreciate his death or do I take it for granted?  Sunday during worship, we sang a song referencing Phillipians 3:10: "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..." I should have quit singing. I felt like a fake. I have no desire to suffer. I have a feeling most of us in the church singing that song truly do not mean the words we're saying. We're privileged. We have little working knowledge of suffering and have no desire to. I'm left with the question of what will refresh my faith- my gratitude. Enter my prayer, which encompasses all those emotions and questions. Paul counted "everything as loss because of the surpassing knowledge of knowing Jesus Christ".  I'm not there yet. Do I dare pray that God take me there? 
Do I dare know him in his sufferings? Is Holy Spirit already working in me concerning this? Should I just give in already? 

This post doesn't have a pretty, wrapped up ending. It ends with a question, because that's what I'm left with in my mind. I will however leave you with a verse that I have been soaking in the last couple days. 
" I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
    We are not able to plan our own course.
24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.
    Do not correct me in anger, for I would die." Jeremiah 10:23-24

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

My fail safe, get well regimen!

Yesterday morning I began to feel under the weather but carried on with my day... By the way, when I say "my day" what I really mean is laundry. I did about 20 loads of bedding. Have you ever noticed that laundry doesn't stop? It just keeps growing!!! Just when you think you're caught up, BAM! 
Wow- didn't plan that rant- back to the actual reason for this blog. So I started feeling sick and by last night, I felt like crap-ola. I ached, was sneezy, dripping nose, basically felt like I was getting a cold. I was pretty bummed because my girls and I have just started a couch to 5k plan and last night was suppose to be one of our nights to run. I knew, however, that I needed rest so I grabbed for my trusty "get well fast when you feel like crap-ola" regimen. I thought I'd share it with you. Drum roll, please! 


There she is, tried and true! Well, actually the first step is something new that I added last night, Ill break it all down for you- here we go! 

The first step is a muscle relaxing, toxin releasing bath. Throw some Epsom salt and 100% therapeutic grade lavender essential oil into a warm bath and soak. The lavender oil is also a brilliant anti-histamine! There are a lot of different variations for toxin releasing soaks- feel free to choose your favorite. This one is simple and I really needed the anti-histamine, so that is why I chose this combo. (See my warning below) 

Funny story: during my soak, the electricity went out. So there I was- naked in the tub in the pitch black. Thank goodness I had the light of my phone! My husband was asleep, and my kids (I found out later) were scared and huddled in my son's room. So not only was it pitch black, it was also silent! What'd I do? I Shrugged my shoulders and kept playing Candy Crush! Hahaha!! 

Any who, the lights eventually came back on and out of the bath I came- on to step 2. 

When you're feeling sick, your immune system is obviously suffering. I grabbed for my B complex with C and Zinc for immune function and my secret weapons: Inner Defense gelcaps and Ningxia! If I could only do 1 step of this regimen, it would be to pop a couple of these bad boys and down them with Ningxia! They are full of essential oils and other goodies that are great for your body, especially when it's compromised. I have used these alone when in a pinch and could tell a big difference! ( see below for additional info on where to find listed products) 
I chugged these miraculous wonders down and moved on to step 3. 

Essential oils. If you use essential oils already, you know the healing power they have. I chose these three for their specific abilities. Immupower boosts your immune system, Thieves kills harmful bacteria in your body- and only the harmful, and valor helps the spine align and boosts emotions. I simply rub a couple drops on each on the bottom of my feet and voila! I'm ready for my last step:

Herbal tea and local honey. This particular tea is medicinal strength and wonderful when you're feeling under the weather! The honey adds a little sweetness, plus since it's local honey it provides extra help against allergies. I use two tea bags and let it steep for several minutes. I sip on it while tucked in my comfy bed and hit the hay early so my body has several hours to recoup! 

I feel so much better today! I will continue with the Ningxia, Inner Defense, and vitamins and get plenty if rest. I also increase my OJ when I'm feeling under the weather to ensure I'm getting plenty of vitamin C. 

Thanks for popping by today! God bless you and yours with healthy bodies! 

Warning: please do not use essential oils found at drugstores, etc. they are mixed with unhealthy alcohols and perfumes. Only use 100% therapeutic grade oils. Even if a bottle says it is 100% oil, it doesn't  mean there aren't harmful fillers mixed WITH the oil. I can ONLY suggest Young Living Essential Oils. They have a "seed to seal" guarantee that ensures their quality. This is the only company I have knowledge on, therefore the only one I can only recommend. Feel free to check out their products online: 
You can also hit me up for additional info. 

Products: I buy my tea from Kroger in the organic section. Check around for people that sell local honey in your area, especially if you suffer from allergies. It provides a bit of a vaccine effect. The Epsom salt can, of course, be found at any ol' store in the pharmacy section. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Organized Crime

Ok, so there wasn't actually any crime  committed, but seriously y'all- there outta be a law. My sister in law and I are partners in crime, against clutter that is. Haha! I stated in my last post that she needed to organize her ribbon for her bow business and find a way to store it. We killed it! Check out the before and after pics: 



WOW!!! After sorting through all of her inventory, we condensed it and organized it into one functional and neat closet! We used a $4.00 hanging closet organizer and $4.00 worth of 1/4 inch dowel rods. There is enough room in each cubby to insert two rods. We used .88 worth of small binder clips as stoppers for the rods.

The rods won't move this way, and she is able to pull out her ribbon and cut it straight from the spool if she chooses. 

I had a blast doing this with her and was thrilled with the finished project. 

Check her out on Facebook at Sassy Chick Designs! She specializes in cheer bows, sports team bows and shabby chic bows and headbands. 

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Sunset and Braids

I have been spending the last couple of days with my Sister in law and her family. They live about 1 1/2 hours away from us, so usually when we visit we stay for a couple days. Between our two families, we have 7 kids. That's a lot of kids under one roof, which means it gets crazy, but you can't beat family with a stick!! I wouldn't want to beat these folks anyways - they are pretty neat-o!

     We are having fun with the girls doing makeup and learning new braids! (I also snagged a glitter tattoo kit at Walmart in the "as Seen on TV section on sale for $5.00!!) If you know me, you know I love all things makeup. I have since I was a teen. I often look at ladies and create a customized makeup look in my mind, and when I see a face without makeup - I see a blank if you just happen to like having your makeup done,let me know and  I'll grab some brushes and paint you!! I had already planned on having some makeup fun with my 12 year old (almost 13!) neice and then noticed that one of my favorite Blog/Youtube makeup artists is doing a Makeup challenge. The challenge is to create a summer sunset inspired look. Here's the result:                                                                                                

Whatcha think? She loved it, which made happy.:)

     The summer time is a great time to brush up on your hair fixing skills (for those of us with young daughters), so I decided to learn some of the new braids that are popular right now. I think I have mastered the waterfall braid, lace braid, and ladder braid. I also mastered a really pretty crown braid that can look a little more glamourous for those of us that are a bit older. Here are the pics with a bits of explanation and a link with great videos for learning the braids! 

   "Ladder braid".

  "Waterfall Braid"

     "Crown Braid" 

The crown braid is a simple french braid beginning behind one ear (so the hair covers the start of the braid), staying close and tight to the forehead - pulling only from face side of the braid. Once you make your way to the other ear, continue with a regular braid. Secure with hair tie and bobby pin the end of the braid underneath the hair. This would look great on older girls and ladies also. You can make it more mature by backcombing at your crown and adding waves. 

    You You can learn how to do the ladder and waterfall braids here: The name of the channel is Cute Girls Hairstyles and she has a ton of tutorials on different braids. She even has a collaboration video with Kandee Johnson ( +Kandeeland ), who shows a couple of great preteen makeup ideas! 

     I had a lot of fun doing girly things with the younger Nelson ladies. But the trip wasn't all play and no work. While I was here, I helped My sister in law with some organization. She makes hair bows as a side job and her ribbon supplies had gotten a little out of control. We managed to do some major condensing and created a really nifty (and cheap) storage solution for her ribbon that makes it easy for her access. That will be explained in detail in a later blog - so watch for it - complete with pics and how to make the ribbon storage!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where's my shovel?: Why I am Starting a Blog

I have put off starting a blog for quite some time now. Why? One reason: clich. It seems that everyone has a blog nowadays and the rebel in me cringes at the thought of joining the masses just for the sake of it. My thought process goes like this- Isn't everyone tired of blogs by now? Will anyone even read it? What if no one reads it and I put my heart and soul into something just for it to float around cyberspace? That's a waste of my time! So if I've surmised that a blog is a waste of my precious time, then why am I starting one after all?
     Here's where I get to be vulnerable and explain my reasoning for beginning this journey. It begins in Matthew 25 with the Parable of the Talents. In the parable three servants are given talents, or gold, by their master and entrusted to put it to good use while the master goes away for a time. The first servant got five talents and doubled them during his master's time away. The second servant was given two talents and also doubled his amount, but the last servant was given one talent and instead of putting it to use he buried it. When the master returned, he constuled with his servants concering their talents. He was very pleased with the first two servants and increased their responsibilies, but was very upset with thte third servant and did trust him with any new talents. What does this have to do with my writing a blog, you ask?
    I feel as though I indentify more with the last servant, burying my talents by letting them lay dorment - for one reason or another. Laziness. Boredom. Apathy. However, my desire is to be the first servant who doubled his five talents and was able to show his master ten- ten talents! So, it's time to grab my shovel. I've got some digging to do!
     This blog will be a springboard for me to do just that.I can write, share hobbies, etc. and keep myself accountable to using the talents God has given me and just plain being accountable to working to maintain the writing.
     I hope you enjoys my blog and getting to know me a little through my posts! feel free to leave comments and please Subscribe!