What Does it Mean to Have a Grateful Heart?

Some of you may be reading this and thinking – “A blog post about gratitude, but it’s not even Thanksgiving…”

I know. You’re right. Yet, the Lord moves in creative ways and is teaching me this timely lesson right this very moment.

Psalms 107:1 – “O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever.”

I have always liked this verse, because it reminds me of one of my favorite worship songs – “Forever” by Chris Tomlin. Moreover, it reinforces the point that God is good and merciful, regardless of our circumstances.

  • Although the student loans are accruing interest, literally moment by moment – He is my Provider (Luke 12:31).
    • When I am exhausted, beat down, and fatigued – He is my Healer (Matthew 14:14).
      • When I am challenged by the overwhelming needs of the students that I serve – He is my Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).
        • Even if I’m approaching thirty and still living with my mother-in-love – He is still somehow SO good (1 Samuel 16:17).

If I’m being honest – I’m so bad at being grateful. I take many of my material possessions for granted, struggle with being content in this season of my life, and look with envy on the lives of others.

The Lord is using the flood that has been plaguing Houston this week to point out this sin in my life.

Here’s some statistics about the Houston flooding:

Want a better visual of how much water we’re actually talking about? Check out this video footage of the flooding in Cypress, Texas.

Many of my coworkers and friends have experienced damage to their cars, homes, and property. Some of the items that they have lost in the flood can never be replaced.

Other Houstonians have lost their lives and I’m complaining about my circumstances. Really!?!

Sometimes I am so ashamed at the thoughts that travel through my head. Even still, if we revisit the truth that we started with in Psalm 107:1 we are reminded that His mercy endures FOREVER. God’s grace and love covers a multitude of sin – even my selfishness – and it extends throughout this lifetime. Thank you, Jesus!

Want to help those impacted by the flood?

  • If you’re local, then you can partner with the Langham Creek YMCA or one of the many churches planning flood relief for our community.
  • If you want to help, but you live outside of Houston, then please visit the American Red Cross website to learn how you can support our city.

How Can You Get a Full-Body Workout in 40 Minutes at Home?

We’re all busy, right? If you’re like me, then you’re frequently trying to keep all of your balls in the air and workouts can sometimes become an after thought.

On my busiest days when I find time for my workout, I work my way through a POPSUGAR Fitness video, like the ones listed below:

*40-Minute Full-Body Workout

*40-Minute Metabolism Boosting Workout

*40-Minute Bikini Body Workout

*40-Minute Full-Body Workout -Beginner Strength Training

class fitsugar

The only equipment that you’ll need are some 5 to 8 pound free weights, a mat, a towel, and some water. I also like that the exercises are easy to follow and change pretty frequently. Plus, each video is broken into ten minute segments – cardio, core, arms, and legs – and includes a cool down stretch.

Do you have any workouts that you like to do on busy days? I’d love to try them out!

What Does the Bible Say About Worry?

Are you a worrywart? Prone to anxiousness? Fearful about the future? Me too.

If we ask around we will find plenty of advice, like the quote depicted below:

worry quote

There’s nothing wrong with this quote. I actually like it and think that it summarizes the burden that worry can leave in its wake, but I cannot be assured that it is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16).

As a Christ follower, I should look to God’s word for wisdom and truth regarding worry.

Matthew 6:25-34 says “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I am by no means a Biblical scholar, but I think that this passage is pretty straightforward – do NOT worry. That does not leave a lot of room for interpretation. If I choose worry over trust, then I am being disobedient.

UGH! Then, why is it so difficult for me to choose to trust in the Lord? Maybe this is a challenge, because I think that my plans are better than His plans. Maybe I struggle, because I do not want to relinquish control. Francis Chan provides another perspective:

Francis-Chan-worry-quotes

Whatever the reason, I can confidently say that it is a sin issue and something that the Lord is working on in me. Some days I am defeated by my worries, but the more I talk to God about my stress the easier it gets. When I feel the fear creep in, I will seek to meditate on Psalm 56:3“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” 

There’s another piece to this worry puzzle that is much more important than our struggle. This passage is full of God’s goodness – He really is our loving, Heavenly Father! He knows our needs and cares for us in unimaginable ways.

How do you fight your fears and renew your trust in the Lord? Do you have any examples of God’s faithful provision? I’m open to suggestions and would love to hear an encouraging testimony from you.

What is PanAway?

PanAway is a Young Living essential oil blend of Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Clove, and Peppermint.

PanAway may reduce pain and inflammation, increase circulation, and accelerate healing. It is included in the Starter Kit and I have a few powerful testimonials that I would like to share regarding this unique blend of oils:

A friend of mine suffers from ovarian cysts and was regularly taking prescribed pain medication. I shared some PanAway with her which she applied “neat,” meaning just the essential oil without a carrier oil, and she was able to stop using the pain pills. Wow!

My husband has a benign tumor in his hand, which pushes against his nerves. He had surgery to remove it, but it has grown back. Last night the pain was so bad that it woke him up. He took some over the counter pain medication, but was still unable to fall back asleep until he applied some PanAway “neat” to his hand. Amazing!

Check out this pin from Oil Revolution Designs for more information about how to use PanAway.

panaway

Would you like to try or order some PanAway? Comment below. 🙂

What are Paleo Freezer Meals?

I’m frequently too busy for my own good, which tends to get in the way of my desire to eat Paleo. Hopefully, I’m not alone in that – Can I get an amen?

In an effort to be proactive, I have been pinning various Paleo meals that can be prepped ahead of time, frozen in gallon size plastic bags, and warmed up in my slow cooker.

Over Spring Break, I finally made some time to prep some of the recipes listed on Jam Kat’s post, “Paleo Slow Cooker Freezer Meals,”and Life Made Full’s post, “Paleo Freezer Meals.” These are the recipes that I tried:

*Hawaiian Barbeque Chicken

*Chicken Balsalmic

*Yummy Italian Chicken

*Italian Sausage

*General Tso’s Chicken

*Cilantro Lime Chicken

*Garlic Ginger Beef

It took about 3 hours to grocery shop, prepare all of the ingredients, bag each meal, label it with cooking instructions, and pack in the freezer. I did not take any pictures along the way, but suggest that you check out the previously mentioned blog posts for pictures, if needed.

It has been so convenient to not have to answer the dreaded “What’s for dinner?” question during this busy season at work.

Do you have any Paleo freezer meal recipes that you would like to share? I’m always looking for new ideas.

How Does Stress Affect Us?

According to Psychology Today, stress occurs when we respond to a triggering event which disrupts our sense of balance. These triggers can be positive or negative. Stress can come from multiple sources – relationships, exercise, worry, finances, busyness, work and more.

As someone who works in public education, I can personally attest to the fact that people’s jobs can interfere with their quality of life. Check out “The Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs” from Salary.Com. My career field made the list. What about yours?

This infographic below was created by C3* for Stress. While I have never tried their product, I think that this image does a wonderful job of breaking down the effects of stress.

The Effects of Stress

Lately, I have been struggling with many of the negative effects of stress. What about you?

Long-term stress can result in sustained exposure to the chemicals released by our nervous system. Psych Central’s article entitled “The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress” explains how stress contributes to heart problems, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, skin problems, pain, diabetes, and infertility.

I do not want any of these side effects to be a reoccurring part of my life. Therefore, I have to find a way to reduce and cope with my unavoidable stress. Future posts will focus on different stress relief strategies and ideas.

You can also check out my “Relax!” Board on Pinterest to find ways to start de-stressing now. 🙂