A Thought for Your Thursday

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Would things happen if we didn’t petition for them in prayer? 

Would my friend have gotten the job? Would my husband have had the opportunity to share the gospel? Would that guy have asked her on the date? Would I have made it on time? Maybe. Probably. If they were God’s will, yes. 
But if I hadn’t of prayed, would I have noticed God’s hand so evidently and been so thankful, giving Him the credit? Would I have been so awed and aware of Him? Most likely not. No.
Prayer positions us to see God at work and give Him the glory, praise and credit. Prayer isn’t about changing God. Prayer changes us. Prayer doesn’t change things, changed by prayer, He changes things through us. 

(Photo Cred)

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What About You Wednesday | Ceci

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Today we welcome Cecilia (Ceci) to the blog! Let’s step into her season…

ceci's feet

Describe the season you currently find yourself in.

I would describe this season as preparation for what is to come, but still joyful!

What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season?

After I graduated from my undergrad, my life really slowed down and I was ready for the next step. I was ready to get a full time job somewhere “cool” and be the grown up I thought you had to be after you get your bachelor’s degree. But God really slowed me down. He made me look into my heart and asked me personal questions that broke down my pride. “Why are you in a rush, Ceci?” “Who are you trying to impress? You already have all of My attention!” Since then, Abba has opened my eyes to see how much He has blessed me; He’s surrounded me with such an awesome community and people that I was willing to give up because I was in such a hurry to be this person He did not intend for me to become.

He’s also revealing to me what it’s like to have Him as a Perfect Father. This past Christmas, as I was traveling home, my suitcases were stolen out of my car. Most of clothes and shoes were there, and as a girl who really likes clothes that can be so heart breaking! But God is so sweet. He reminded me that material things are so easy to replace. And for a God who owns it all, it is no inconvenience to provide for His children. Today my closet is probably double of what it used to be because of the generosity of my family and friends. I don’t think that He allowed that to happen simply because He wanted me to have new clothes. I know God was (and still is) showing me that HE is the Provider, that nothing is too hard for Him and that He cares about every single aspect our lives, apparently even our stolen underwear.

How have you/are you changing during this season?

I’m becoming more trusting of God. I’ve also learned to slow down. There are definitely hard days in which I doubt what I should be doing because it’s hard not to compare our lives with others through cool posts on social media and whatnot. But the Holy Spirit always reminds me of His purpose. I’m learning that life is a process and things take time. I remember one night God asked me to wake up early to go on a walk with Him (I said, “how early are we talking about Jesus?”). Anyway, while praying He showed me two trees. One of the trees was really pretty and big and the other one was scrawny looking. But God showed me that the big tree once looked like that small tree, that growth is a process and it takes time. I think that basically sums it up; maybe God is turning me into a hippie or something.

What encouragement would you like to share with someone who is in a similar season?

One of my favorite verses is Luke 15:31 when the Father addresses the older son “‘My son’, the father said, ‘you are always with me and everything I have is yours.’” Sometimes we miss out on being relational with God because we’re so stuck on “what is the next step” or even the burdens of daily life. But I encourage you to invite Abba into your daily life. Being still in the Lord doesn’t mean being stagnant; it means to trust Him without going ahead of Him. Just ask the Holy Spirit to interrupt your life when it doesn’t look like what He has planned for you.

A Prayer for Ceci

Abba,

Thank You for Ceci. Thank You for being aware of her and with her in this season, teaching her more about You. Thank You for how sensitive she is to Your Holy Spirit. I thank You for all the gifts You have given her, for her tenderness in relationships and firmness in the truth. Thank You for her sweet, encouraging spirit. Thank You for where You have her at this very moment. She seeks to obey You God, show her the way, show her Your way. Guard her from comparison. May what she sees with her eyes on social media not go to her heart. In this seasons of preparation, help her to continue to see it as a season of purpose as well. Help her to know she is making a difference today, even in the mundane. May looking forward not distract her from what You have for her now. Help her to know she isn’t missing out on anything, because if You wanted her to be somewhere else, she would be. May she seek You more than answers. When she questions her purpose in life remind her that You are Purpose. Continue to speak to her in the waiting. Continue to romance her and provide for her. Continue to be her Joy. Thank You for providing underwear for us. Thank You for caring about every detail about us, God.

In Your Loving Name,Amen.

Tasty Tuesday | Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

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This recipe is a great follow up to last week’s queso recipe! Every single time I make these, they go super quick. I haven’t found one person who doesn’t like these, even if they don’t like cheesecake. Once again there are different versions of sopappilla cheesecake, but this is the one I use and it is on point!

Originally Posted Here.

sopapilla-cheesecake-bars-recipe

Ingredients:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dough sheets
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Directions:

>Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
>In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla extract until fully combined and smooth. (If you don’t have a mixer like me, you can use handheld mixer/beaters).
>Place one sheet of crescent dough in the prepared 9×13 pan. >Spread cream cheese mixture over the dough and top with the remaining sheet of dough.
>In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and softened butter. Mix with a fork until combined.
>Drop small pieces of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the dough.
>Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has puffed and turned golden. Remove from the oven and cool before serving. (Optional: drizzle honey over the bars before serving. *I’ve never added honey to mine.)

On Counting Blessings and Calories

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I was a chubster growing up. When hubs sees pictures of me, he laughs, and so do I. What can I say? I enjoyed my after school snacks of Slurpees, Cheetos, and French Fries maybe a little too much (and no, not all in the same day).

When I got to Junior High, sports became a huge part of my life. And I began to slim out. High school resulted in even more weight lose as I grew, matured, and was more active in sports, playing volleyball both for school and for a club team.

When I got to college I quickly gained the “freshman fifteen” thanks to Caf food and late night runs to Whataburger for Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits. Not to mention all the events with free food! That’s the best way to get college students to anything, after all.

My junior year I decided to start running again, and trained to successfully complete two half marathons. I stopped running for awhile (after overusing a tendon in my foot putting me in a boot). But picked it up again and completed another half marathon my senior year.

My weight fluctuated after that, as my running did. I thought that if I worked out I could eat whatever I wanted to. When I stopped running, I would pack on some pounds. When I started running again, I was slim down a little.

When I got engaged, I was living at home, ran routinely each morning to clear my mind, was stressed and busy with wedding planning, and depressed over my current job situation and transition out of college. All of this partnered together to shed some pounds. I didn’t exactly plan to go on a “wedding diet,” but I did slim up. I felt great in my dress on my wedding day!

Then marriage began. I began eating the same portions as my husband (who can literally eat pretty much whatever he wants and still look super slim thanks to his awesome metabolism that I hope our kids are blessed with). I felt pressure to eat more because I didn’t want to waste the food we made. Cooking for two is hard. We also enjoyed eating out and trying new restaurants in our new neighborhood. On top of that I was working at a bundt cake bakery, and let’s just say bundts go straight to the butt. I never knew how much I love sweets until I lived with someone who doesn’t. I never realized I was a snacker until I lived with someone who isn’t. I never knew my eating habits were sort of out of whack until there was someone questioning, out of love, why I ate certain things, or amount of things. Also, I began to realize food was a comfort for me. When I was having a bad day, I “deserved” a treat to cheer me up. (And during the first few months of marriage I was having a huge struggle with identity and purpose, so of there were lots of opportunities for treat days). When something good happened, I “deserved” to celebrate with a treat!

All these years I had never really struggled with my weight or body image. I was never the slimmest of my friends. I was blessed with “big bones.” I had just come to accept it. Yes, some days I felt fat, and when seasons changed and my clothes didn’t fit I felt a little discouraged. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized I had the wrong mindset in regards to food. It’s not that food controlled me, it’s just that I didn’t really think I needed to control what I ate, I wasn’t mindful of the effects it had on me. I was ignorant of what I was actually putting in my body. I was pretty passive toward food. I realized I wasn’t being a good steward of the body God had given me.

A few weeks ago I asked my mom about a three day diet I knew her and my dad had done before. I wanted to kick start a new lifestyle (including running again). So I began the diet, and it was rough. I was hungry all the time, revealing that my body was used to massive portions. Therefore when I ate smaller, healthier portions and foods, my body was longing for more. It was used to something else. It needed to be retrained. I also realized that my portions were not balanced. I looked at the plate of what the diet called for and saw a different ratio of veggies to meat than I usually see on my plate. Sometimes it’s not about eating less, it’s about eating more of the right things. Those three days opened my mind to the fact that I need to be more mindful about the things I am putting in my body. It also made me more thankful for the tastes of food.

calorie-counting

(Photo Cred)

After the diet ended, I downloaded a calorie counting app. Not only does this app allow me to count calories, but the other nutritional values of food (protein, fats, carbs, etc.) as well. It gives me goals to stay under each day for each category. (And by the way, I am aware that there are people who say calorie counting doesn’t work, just like there are always haters for everything, and people who say that anything you eat causes cancer…*sarcasm*).

I have been using the app for about two weeks now, and it has really changed my diet. The other night hubs and I went out to dinner and dessert. As I looked at the menu trying to decide between two things I said “I will go with this one, since it has less calories.” “I’ve never heard you say that before!” said a surprised husband. He could see a change in me.

This isn’t about losing weight, it’s about a mindset change, it’s about being more mindful and practicing self control. It’s not about not enjoying food, it’s about finding more enjoyment by enjoying foods in moderation. It’s not about being legalistic and always saying no to “unhealthy foods”. It’s about being free to take time to really savor foods (not just scarf them down) and praise God for the wide variety of foods He has given us and the nutrients He offers us through them. It’s about being a better steward. It’s about being more mindful in general.

I’ve found that counting calories is a lot like counting your blessings. It’s an intentional way of stepping into the moment and gathering the richness of life.

As A New Week Dawns…

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When your body hurts after a work out, it’s a sign that your muscles are growing stronger. Our muscles are stretched and torn but come back together more resilient, they grow. You may struggle to walk for a few days, but the hurt will prove profitable. 

May we see this week’s trials, temptations, and tests as God’s way of building our spiritual muscles. May we work out our faith, may our faith grow. Although faith building may not always be a pleasant process, it proves profitable.

(Photo Cred)

A Song for Your Saturday

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This song is so refreshing to my soul. It makes me long for Home, for Heaven, while encouraging me to make the most of today.  We are not waiting for eternity, eternity has already begun. We all have endless years, yet where we will spend them differ.

The music is beautiful, the lyrics soul piercing.

Hear The Father sing these words over you today…and for those who believe, this is just a taste of our endless years…

I will hold you, child
When all is done
When the world is gone
And many songs have been sung

You will be with me
Through endless years
We will dance and sing
When your heart is fulfilled

So don’t you close your eyes
Don’t you lose your way
Don’t you miss all the gifts
That are unforeseen

I’m your anchor and shield
I’m the wind in your sails
I’m the song in your heart

The God who saves

Featured Friday

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For your Friday, here’s a photo and a few words from my friend Breanna…

bre

“I’ve been thinking a lot on sobriety; not physical sobriety, but spiritual. Physical drunkenness causes a person to lose their judgement, self-control, alertness, understanding of consequences, and usually leads them to only pay attention to personal desire. Alcohol is not the only means by which a person can be intoxicated and act this way. Many things can intoxicate our minds and distort our perception of reality. Whether it’s anxiety, lust, anger, idolatry, or fear; sin is toxic to our hearts and minds. We as the consumer become the consumed. BUT we have the gospel and grace of Jesus Christ, which like a cold shower or a hearty meal sobers us and brings us to our senses. And the Lord will NEVER grow tired of bringing us back to the reality of His unconditional love for us. IT WAKES US UP. He is faithful when we aren’t. If that doesn’t cause you to boast in your weaknesses all the more, I don’t know what will. Make much of Him today.