Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Walk It Off Challenge

Have you noticed how many people walk for exercise these days?  Any town you may encounter usually has walkers up and down the roads.  If you are a walker, you find a bond with them as you pass!  

It's no wonder walking is so popular, it's fun, easy and brings a host of benefits such as:
  • Brisk walking helps reduce body fat, lower blood pressure, and increase high-density lipoprotein that transport cholesterol and triglycerides to the blood stream.
  • Walking helps to improve balance and coordination.
  • It is suggested that walking 6,000 steps a day will improve health and 10,000 steps a day will help one lose weight.
  • Walking can help decrease the risk of heart attack, decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and can even reduce the risk of bone fracture. Additionally, brisk walking can reduce stress and depression levels as well as improve cancer survival rates.
  • Researchers have found that women who walked at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function than women who walked less than 40 minutes a week.

As an avid walker, I have walked for years, even when it wasn't the in thing! My walking habits have drastically changed through the years and stages of life.  From pregnant walking or waddling!, to baby stroller pushing, to walking around and around the yard while young children played outside so I could keep my eye on them. I've walked many miles while waiting for sports practices to finish and some of the best times of fellowship have been while walking with friends and family.

There are no young children in our home now, so there is a little more freedom for walking. Routines change to accommodate work schedules and the summer heat. Although walking is enjoyable to me and I can eagerly get up and go, a little structure always helps me out.  A good challenge seems to inspire me and give me a little push to do a little better.

I'm joining  a free challenge which begins next week.  The Walk It Off Now Challenge found HERE, hosted by Wendy Pett is totally FREE and is a 6 week plan with video emails to keep you inspired. For those  (like me) who sometimes want to dig deeper, there is an option for an annual membership which provides daily interaction, group support and personal coaching.  If you would like to learn more, visit Wendy's website. 

The free challenge begins on July 3, but as a special surprise, Wendy is giving away one FREE upgrade. This includes:

Walk It Off Now program and a free year membership!!! $197 value.

1.            4 challenges for the year with complete plan via emails, video and download

2.            Access to join the private community with daily accountability and coaching from Wendie

3.            Walk It Off Now "DEVO" Style devotional (ebook form),

4.            Tracking journal

5.            Live walks each week with Wendie,

6.            FB Private Group party with giveaways (great prizes like a Fitbit)

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this blog post and a winner will be selected on June 30.   

I hope this will inspire you this summer to get walking and enjoy some great heath benefits!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Wendie Pett for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. ​

Summer Camp

As a little girl, I was a homebody. Spending the night away from home terrified me, going away for a week of camp never entered my mind!

About 15 years ago, our church joined with a few other churches to provide a close by camp experience for children. It was the first time our boys went to camp and they fell in love with it. That first year, there were 18 campers plus adult chaperones.   The camp continued and grew in number each year.  One year, I was asked to be a cabin counselor for the girls cabin. Being around a cabin full of girls was quite a new experience for me!  I quickly learned about the differences in boys and girls, from their emotions to the simple acts of preparing themselves to go out the door.

Every summer, my boys and I would eagerly go off to camp!  Once the boys were too old to be campers, they became junior counselors until they became too busy with work and adult life!  Our youngest son is now too old to be a camper and began his adventure of junior counselor.

I keep saying, there is no reason for me to keep going to camp, but every year, I am drawn to it.  Having an understanding of a parent nervously allowing her child to go to camp and needing assurance that the child will be watched closely and nurtured to remembering the feelings of insecurity a  young girl being thrust in the middle of a group of other girls may have. It is fun to be the bridge that assures the parent and nurtures the children!  Through the years, I 've learned that camp is made to be fun and is a time to make memories.  It is the one week of the year that I throw away my rigid schedule, my neatness obsession, my serious nature and have fun along with the girls!

This year, that same camp that began with 18 children, now had 109 children, plus many counselors. These sweet girls that began coming years ago, now are almost teenagers, they are worried about how they are perceived, noticing the cute lifeguards and changing into lovely young ladies. And the opportunity stills stands open to encourage them and fill their hearts with good things.  

What a blessing to find a once a year week of ministry!  Opportunties to bless others are all around us.  Camp is a time for others to truly 'do life' with you for a solid week.  But as we come and go in our daily lives, those same chances meet us.  How will you make an impact on those around you?

Here are the sweet girls of our cabin:

Here are my fellow counselors.  There is such joy in serving alongside others!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Celebrating June with Fathers, Love and Grace

This weekend, our 27th wedding anniversary and Father's Day are in the same weekend.  In the midst of celebrating, it is also a little bittersweet.  My father passed away within days of my wedding.  It was truly a devastating week, but also one where God's comfort and grace filled our hearts. Circumstances like that are where we find and experience God's grace.

Through those 27 years, there has been a time to grieve and a time to heal. A time to love and to allow God to grow us in love. Now, years later, a bit wiser but never at a place that stops growing and reaching for more, my heart is so full, it is overflowing!

As only God could orchestrate a life, He blessed me with a wonderful father.  He loved me, taught me many life skills, wisdom and embedded in my heart that I was loved and cherished. I was Daddy's girl, protected, adored and made to feel special from as early as I can remember. 

One area that lacked was a spiritual influence. I didn't realize it until my husband and I became Christians one year before we married. We entered our marriage determined to allow God to form us into a godly family, led by convictions to live with love, morally pure and do our best to bring honor to the Lord. That doesn't equal a perfect life or marriage, but in the midst of our weaknesses, hurt, pain and hardships, we found grace...God's great grace and His strength to always move forward. 

This weekend as I pondered Father's Day with so much thankfulness, I realized how abundantly blessed I am. My father's love had filled my heart and in the midst of the loss of that, I was immediately placed in the care of a family that understood and took seriously the role of men who were ready to be a spiritual father. From a husband who purposed even before children what kind of father he wanted to be to my father in law and brother in laws, this family had the desire to love and lead with integrity their families. As this weekend, we celebrate Father's Day, I am thankful in many ways.  For an earthly father, the wonderful father of my children and those who modeled before him how to be a good father and of course my Heavenly Father. God, the author of love, protection and the One who can meet every need. 

Every year for this blog, I do a June post, to remember and celebrate these monumental life changes. And, every year a new opportunity to reflect on and celebrate God's love comes to be!

So..Happy Father's Day from one thankful mama!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Finally Found a Planner For Me!

Being one who loves order, a planner is a very important tool.  But, did you know that it's not enough to desire order, but you have to pursue it? I formulate in my mind many great plans, but follow up seems to be my slacking point.  Things like spending a day writing my weekly plans, but never opening the planner up!  I need a planner I can use...daily!  Every year, a new one is purchased and I"m always looking for that right one.  In the beginning of this year, I purchased one that promised to help me fulfill my goals, by setting them and marking the steps to move toward the goal.  Sounded great, but is too complicated!  I'm a day to day conqueror!

An email came recently offering the opportunity to review a planner from Anchor Press Planners.  I quickly jumped at the opportunity, expressed my interest and went along the way, mainly forgetting about it!

A package arrived in the sweetest box stamped "packaged with prayer" along with a heartfelt welcome letter. That got my attention and a smile! In the letter, information was shared about the logo - an anchor, representing  God as the anchor of our lives and the clover - a gentle reminder of what the clover stands for - the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and God's Grace. A Christian company and a designer who's mission is for Christian women to not only be organized, but to empower women to seek the Lord first and make it easy to do that! To help women get anchored in God's Word and stay organized!  I LOVE it!

The planner's purpose is to be a one-stop spot for everything that keeps us organized, and the family running smoothly. Over the years, the creator has turned this day planner into a place to keep her schedule, devotional, prayer journal, meal plan, goals and memory keeping in one tidy place. Truly, this planner can do all this!

It has sturdy monthly tabs that can be quickly found, a daily schedule divided into all day segments. a verse for the day and devotional thought, a place to plan dinner and to prioritize the tasks for the day.  It is easy and manageable. I love the size of the planner, which is easy to transport and also pretty!
Here are a few quick features::
  • Daily pages + combined weekend pages
  • Daily page includes: an hourly scheduler (6am-8pm), top 4 to-do list, dinner plan & a place to meet with God everyday
  • Daily Bible verses & inspired devotions
  • Mid-week prayer over your children
  • A weekly spot to thank God for your blessings
  • Monthly designated page for prayer requests
  • Family goal planning page
  • Family memory making prompts
  • Family go-to dinner page
  • 2016 yearly calendar and holiday pages
  • 12 two-page monthly views

I'm so glad that I took advantage of the opportunity to review this.  I love everything about it, but mostly the simplicity. The ability to peek at my to do list and see reminders from God's Word help me keep what is important within sight. Being able to jot down moments throughout the day I want to remember, but won't go back and record. This planner is one to keep near all day and looked upon often!

Would you like to take a peek?  Here is a link that gives a detailed description and option to purchase.  Anchored Press Planner.
Also you will find that the 2017 planners release late August and that, thanks to this year’s success, there will be an expanded product line! 2 formats, more color options and a separate prayer journal. One of the planners has 52 devotionals, 1 for each week written by some amazing women of God such as Christine Caine and Jenni Catron! The current 2016 planners are 40% off which is a great deal because there are still 7 months left in the year to enjoy them.
But...there is also an opportunity for a free one!  Here is a link to a giveaway of the Anchored Press Planner, make sure you go and enter!  Giveaway ends June 30. I promise you will love this planner!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Anchored Press for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. ​

Disclosure: Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Anchored Press in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” 

Enter you email for a chance to win 1 of 10 Anchored Press Planners!

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

In the Beauty of Holiness

Adoration, Holiness, Stillness, Awe....characteristics of worship.  How do we as Christians worship God? What exactly is worship and what does it look like?  A recent sermon touched on the thought ..."Those who know God best, worship Him the most." To worship God, we must know Him.  We know Him as we read His Word and discover His greatness.

I've always loved the verse...
"Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
 Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." Psalms 29:1-3

The last phrase "the beauty of holiness" is a thought I've always loved, but again, what does that look like?  I found out one morning this week!

My usual morning routine is that my husband wakes up an hour before me. He comes in to kiss my goodbye and then I get up.  This is usually around 5:30 AM.  The clock is on the opposite side of the bed, so one morning this week, I got up and out of bed before I saw the clock which was about 30 minutes earlier than I thought!  I decided to use that extra time to go ahead and get up. Coffee cup in hand, Bible and devotion book nearby and an extra few moments were about to break the dawn.  In the stillness of the moment, right before my prayers began, it hit me that the I was about to address the God of all Creation, the Great I AM, in prayer. Everything was quiet and still...and beautiful.  Pondering on how great God is and telling Him brought out His holiness and was truly a thing of beauty....the beauty of holiness..

We can truly worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness anytime.  Circumstances don't have to exactly line up perfectly.  It is a moment in the heart that acknowledges God alone and how worshiping Him is a beautiful thing. Be encouraged to stop, look around and ponder the wonder of our God.  It is easy to bask in this beauty on a mountaintop, or standing beside the vast ocean shore, but in our living room, or our car, that breathtaking moment can shine through. That moment we realize God loves us and loves to meet with us.