Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Born for a Battle

Hi friends!  Can you believe it's been 2 months since I've blogged?!  I wrote about the big changes coming here but since that site is still not quite done I want to write this post to share a bit about what's going on with me.  

In November I completed my Revelation Wellness Instructor training and the day before I went on that retreat my husband and I completed a Spartan Beast.  Both of these things were defining moments for me because God did things in me spiritually and physically that I didn't even know were possible. 
(pic of me & Matt at the end of the Spartan Beast)

The last few weeks I've been battling with feeling defeated in all that I'm doing. I'm not real sure why but I just have been in a battle for my mind and the things God has called me to.  As I ran tonight I felt the Lord remind me of our Revelation Wellness theme for the month "born for a battle".  He reminded me that we are in a battle and battle can get ugly sometimes.  As I ran I felt Him download these core truths about being in a battle and I felt someone else could use this encouragement too:


The truth is that we were all born for a battle of some kind.  If you are a believer in Christ than your battle is the Lord's.  We are all in the Lord's army.  However, we all play a different part in that army.  We all have one goal but we will all be called to different areas in order to see God's battle plan come into action.  So my question for you today is: WHAT is the battle for which you were born?  


Now that we've established that we are ALL born for a battle we must answer the question: WHY is this my battle?  The battle in which I am called is two fold: one for marriage because I'm sick of seeing God's people ripped off of the beauty that God intended for marriage. And two, for our body, God's temple. I long to see people set free and God's temples restored.  When we answer this WHY we are receiving our call to action from God. This WHY is what drives us when we just want to quit.

(Side note: I wrote this article a few years ago called What is your Why? that has been my most viewed and shared blog post. I think many people are looking for the answer to this question :) )


Any good soldier knows there is a time to enter into battle, a time to study your enemy, a time to make your game plan and a time to rest. If we are going to enter battle we must WAIT on God's timing. If we run off ahead of Him we will get slaughtered every time.  The battle belongs to the Lord but we will only win if we get our marching orders from Him.


Because battle is intense it is important to know that you have backup support from other troops.  Who are you surrounding yourself that is for you?  Who's got your back in prayer and encouragement?  This is an area that I long to see the church rise up in and cheer one another on. We must stop competing and comparing and start completing one another. Take a minute today to ask God who He is bringing along side you to fight(like He did for David) and who He is asking you to come along side and cheer on.  A simple text or phone call to someone might be the momentum they need to keep fighting their battle.  

What is the battle for which you were born?  I would love to hear about it and know how we can support you. 

A few more fun pictures from our Spartan Beast:
Finish line!

Dunk wall

Wouldn't be a Spartan without some barbwire :)
Sandbag carry up & down a steep hill

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Truth about Teachers

If you have been following my blog for long you might remember my post I made last year on homeschooling our kids.  Last night I felt God ask me to share some things I've observed now that I have a semester under my belt. I shared my thoughts on Facebook and it spoke to so many people that I felt I should share it here for the people who are not connected to me personally on Facebook.  

Here are 4 of the few things I have learned in our homeschool experience:

1. Public school teachers don't get near enough credit and praise. I'm only teaching 2 and i'm exhausted and frustrated at times. Hats off to the teachers with 20 plus students.

2. Don't be quick to judge. Just like you will never fully understand the blood, sweat and tears that goes in to being a business owner if you have never owned a business, you won't understand the work that goes in to being a teacher. They do and endure way more than we will ever know.

3. Things aren't always what they seem. I now know how teachers feel when someone ask what they learned in school today and child says "nothing".  
4. The grass is always greener. Old saying but still so true. No matter where you are in schooling your kids, or at work or in marriage...if we don't take control of our thoughts we will let our mind wander to other options that just look so glorious. Every pasture has poop to step over. If it doesn't it means no life is there. So water your own pasture and watch it bloom.

Next time you see a teacher or a mom trying to keep their head above the water stop and give them a high five and tell them they are doing a great job.

Don't you love how God uses our personal struggles to encourage others?  Ask God how you encourage someone today who might be walking through a similar struggle.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

52 Scriptures Every Believer Should Know {Book Review/Giveaway}

Every year seems to come with resolutions to do more of certain things(like read the Bible and exercise) and less of other things(like overindulge on sweets).  This year I felt strongly that I am supposed to focus on what we can do rather than what we shouldn't do.  In fact, I believe this is the foundation for the freedom I have found in many areas of my life.  

For example, when someone starts a new diet(which means a way of life) they often focus on all the things they will need to restrict.  When we focus simply on the things we need to restrict we fail to indulge on the things that our body needs(like water, vegetables, fruits, and rest).  I believe if we fill up with good things than we don't miss the things we don't need to be consuming(like sweets and other junk food).

The same is true spiritually.  While it can be good to fast things like social media and TV it can't be done without fueling our self with things that give life, like God's word.  Over the last year I have been very intentional about reading God's word and I have noticed a big difference in my appetite for the things of this world like social media and TV(to name a few).  

Because I recognize the importance of God's word in my own life I am passionate about passing it on to my kids.  I was beyond thrilled to discover a new book set from Tommy Nelson Publishers called "The Joshua Code".  What's unique about this set is that it has a book for the parents and one for the kids but each weeks topic stays the same so you are studying the same verses at the same time.  How cool is that?!  Each book contains 52 scriptures every believer/kid should know.  Every week has a new scripture and devotional. 

The first thing that jumped out to me in the Joshua Code for kids book in was a quote in the foreword that said "If you give your child one thing by the age of five, let it be a big faith in God".  Wow, isn't that the truth?  

Another thing I love about the kids book is the plan for you to follow Monday through Sunday to help your kids memorize that weeks' scripture.  The stories are engaging and strike up great conversations between me and my kids.  

Would you like a FREE copy of this set of books?  Simply comment below and let us know if your family has a family Bible verse.  And if so, what is it?  

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Masterpiece {A creative use for old puzzles}

Every Christmas when I was growing up my super crafty mom would make us a gift.  We still got other gifts but this one was always so special to me because I never knew what it would be. I can remember almost every gift mom ever made me over the years. I can't, however, tell you many of the toys I received.  After seeing the impact this left on me I wanted to pass this tradition on to our kids.  The only problem is that I am not crafty.  I can be if you give me step by step instructions but even then I tend to have more pinterest fails then wins.  

As this Christmas season rolled around I decided I just wasn't going to make the kids anything.  It was too much time and effort.  But as I've watched my daughter, Ellie, work so hard over the last few weeks sewing and knitting gifts for people I knew I needed to make something.  It is her love language. So I started praying about what to make because God knows I need help in this area. :)

Earlier this week we discovered a local store called Scrap that has a ton of used craft supplies for really cheap.  I saw a tub of mismatched puzzle pieces for .25 cents a bag.  However, I remembered we have a TON of old puzzles the kids never use. When we got home I pulled out a few princess puzzles and got to looking on Pinterest for ideas on repurposing these puzzles.  I saw things like spray painting them and gluing them to a letter shape, or making a heart out of them on a canvas or gluing them around a picture frame.  While these things were cool they just weren't clicking with what I was looking for.  This might sound silly but I truly believe God dropped this idea on my heart of painting a piece for each of our family members that would connect together.  One thing lead to the next and before I know it I had created this masterpiece that I will cherish forever(and I hope my kids do too).

Here's what you need:

  • an old puzzle(just put it together first to make sure you paint the pieces that fit together)
  • paint & brushes(I just used what I had on hand but the color schemes, drawings & words are endless)
  • a word or image you want to be the central theme of your masterpiece

How to make it:

  • After you've determined the pieces you will use simply paint both sides a solid color. I did a brush but you could spray paint(I just didn't have any on hand)
  • Once that is dry paint whatever your design is on one side. 
  • On the other side write the names or initial of the people whose piece is part of the puzzle
  • Hole punch the top of those pieces and string them on a necklace(I used colored rope but any string would work)

I used 9 pieces because we have 5 people in our family(plus 1 baby who is in heaven). And I felt the Lord tell me to put God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the center.  The kids will each get a necklace with a puzzle piece(as shown in top 2 photos below). 

Here are the 2 key points the Holy Spirit lead me to discuss with my kids about this creation:

1. Our family is held together by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Without the trinity working in our lives we will fall apart.  

2. We each look different and have different qualities and talents.  Yet the puzzle is not complete when one piece is missing.  We must all embrace who we are and know we are valued and loved.  

This project is super simple, cheap and fun.  I hope you try it out for your family!  I have a feeling my kids will want to do one of their own. :)  

Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Big Changes Coming...

Hi friends!  Wow, I have really missed blogging regularly and sharing my heart with you.  But as you know, God has taken me on quite a journey recently and I've been busy with new projects. In case you don't already know this about me, I've been teaching group fitness classes for almost 10 years and I have my Bachelors of Science in Health & Exercise Science.  Over the last 10 years God has brought me on quite a journey in my own health. I've had eating disorders, been overweight, underweight and just flat out hated myself(at times).  But God has set me free from all of that and I have a heart to see other women set free as well.  

With that said, God spoke very clearly to me about a fitness ministry I am to start called "First Fruit Fitness".  The story behind how God gave me the name and what it means will have to be its own blog post. But for now I want to share with you the direction God is taking me with this dream He has birthed in me.  Because it's a new name I feel I need a new site but am not quite ready to move on from Life Outside the Shell since my heart is still to see women set free and walk in all God has called them to be in every area of their life.  While this is not final, more than likely I will transition this to a new site under my name and there will be a tab for Life Outside the Shell posts and First Fruit Fitness posts.  

Now on to the exciting part.  Here is what I envision First Fruit Fitness will offer:

  • An At Home Workout membership library.  Each month you will receive new workouts(lead by me) and a new workout calendar written by me. 
  • Healthy Recipes & Nutrition tips
  • One on one coaching and/or accountability calls with me(this would be a separate fee depending on how often you want to do the calls).
  • Devotionals & Power Verses
  • Fitness games to play with your kids
  • and so much more...
I am not tech savvy at all.  Thus I must pay someone to help transition this site into something a little more functional and user friendly for all the things I feel God calling me to.  Will you please join me in prayer as I seek God about all of this?

I have to be honest, it would be so much easier to stay hidden in my shell(or should I say, tucked under my covers in bed) but I know God wants to use my personal testimony along with my experience and book knowledge of the body to help set people free.  Below is a short video on a few things I will be doing to raise funds to get these things up off the ground.  I would love your feedback on any and all of this so please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have comments or questions!  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to Walk in Your Season

New seasons in life come with many different emotions.  If you like the current season you are in you might feel sad or fearful to move to a different season. On the contrary, you might be delighted to move into a new season if you have been walking through a difficult time. 

My husband and I have gone through many different seasons in our 10 years of marriage. We went from being newly weds in college, to having babies and toddlers in the house, on to being business owners and now homeschooling our elementary age kids. With each new season comes new challenges as well as new and unexpected blessings.  Some seasons, like the baby phase, I was happy to move out of.  No more diapers or middle of the night feedings.  But while I'm not changing diapers I am figuring out how to homeschool my kids while still pursing other dreams God has planted in my heart. 

Here are a few lessons I have learned from each season of life I am in:

Embrace your season.

I remember when my kids were babies I would have older moms tell me to embrace the season.  It was so hard for me to receive that at the time because I was overwhelmed, tired and missed alone time with my husband.  But now that I am out of that season I see the many moments I took for granted. Never again will I nurse my children or be able to soothe them by rocking them to sleep.  But I do see how the seeds of love and nurture I planted in them in that season of their life are now blooming.  Because I took the time to nurture and grow them while they were young they are well adjusted children who are pursing their God given dreams and talents.  

Simply put, don't start decorating for Valentine's Day when we haven't yet celebrated Christmas. :) 

Practice patience & have faith.

I love reading about farmers and how they plant a crop then patiently wait for it to produce fruit. It takes a lot of faith for them to plant a tiny seed and believe it is going to grow into something so much bigger that can be used for many things. But I am certain with every year they do it the more patience and faith they have because they have seen it done before. This is why it is so immportan to read God's word and fill our minds with faith. As we read the stories in the Bible we fill ourselves with the truth that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and will continue to provide for His children.

I am currently in a season where I am doing a lot of planting and watering.  It is in these seasons that we must be patient and have faith that God will bring a harvest at the proper time if we don't give up(Galations 6:9).

Share the good news of your harvest.

When the season comes for you to harvest all the crops the Lord has given you, share it with others!  I love that God made plants and fruits to contain seeds that when planted produce more plants and fruits!  If you get fruit in your own life share it with others so it can build their faith and produce a harvest in their life as well.  

I recently received a book from Tommy Nelson Publishers to review called Parable Treasury. I was so excited to read it to my kids because it is exactly what the Lord has been speaking to me about seasons in our lives. I've already had to walk my kids through different seasons in life and this book gave simple yet biblical perspectives on new seasons in our lives. It reminds us that no matter what season we are in God is using it for a greater purpose.  We may not always see the why but God is always working overtime on every detail of our life. 

The book contains 4 different parable stories for each of the 4 seasons of the year. One of my favorite parts were the scriptures that were on the bottom of each page. My 6 & 9 year old girls love this book!  

Would you like to win a FREE copy of this book?  Simply comment below with your answer to this question to be entered:  What season is your favorite and why? 

(Please note: I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Finding Peace in Your Relationship with Food

When most people write about stress during the holidays they address the hustle and bustle of different parties and the weight of feeling the need to do everything.  But God put it on my heart to address another aspect of Thanksgiving and Christmas that brings stress and anxiety to many people. This article is going to address the anxiety that food brings to the table(no pun intended).  

When I opened my email today I received one entitled "How to survive Thanksgiving".  At first it sounded interesting so I clicked it to read their tips and as soon as I started reading I heard the Lord tell me to stop.  So I closed out the browser and He began to speak to me about my own anxiety when it comes to parties and food. He showed me How deeply saddened He is that a time that was meant to be full of thanks has turned into a time of anxiety about what to eat and how to burn the extra holiday calories off.

As He was speaking to me about this someone sent me a video on a new eating disorder called "EDNOS" or "Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified".  As I watched this video my heart broke, especially when the girl referred to her disorder as "Ed".  The number of Americans, especially women, who have eating disorders is growing by the minute.  Everywhere we turn we are told we need to look a certain way in order to be valued and loved. If we weren't born naturally thin we will go to great lengths to ensure we fit the norm.  

When I was a teen girl(and even throughout my early twenties) I would go in cycles where I would binge or starve myself.  I remember in the times I was starving myself I would have nightmares that I was eating junk like pizza or donuts.  I would wake up terrified and disgusted with myself.  Because of this I know all too well how much of a death grip food can have on your life. If you are addicted to food, or the lack there of, you will rearrange your entire day around it.  If you are addicted to eating it you are concerned about what the next meal will be even while you are eating the first. If you are addicted to withholding food from your body then you will decline certain party invitations if you know it will be too tempting to eat food.  You will retreat and isolate yourself to a place where you feel in control.  To put it simply, satan has you on a chain and the idol(food) is leading the way.  It tells you when to go and when to stay.  God has no voice in your life when you are in bondage to food.  

For those struggling with something like this, Thanksgiving and Christmas, times that are meant to bring joy and peace, can bring nothing but anxiety and wishing you could just play sick for all the family gatherings.  I can tell you that God has set me free from this cycle of bondage but it is something that I must keep submitted to Him or it will rear its ugly head.  

Here are two key truths in finding peace with food and your body:

1. Food is Fuel.

Food was created by God to fuel our body. However, from the beginning of time satan has used food, a beautiful thing God created, to get between us and God. Food was never intended to be our enemy or an idol in our life. 

There is nothing more true than the statement "Eat to live, don't live to eat".  I remember when binging on junk food was a bondage of mine I  meditated on this truth often.  God's word says in 1 Corinithians 10:21 "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Pray before you go to the Thanksgiving feasts or Christmas parties.  And pray often.  Even as you are loading your plate, ask God to give you wisdom and self-control.  Ask Him to show you how to enjoy the food but not over indulge. Reevaluate often and ask if your behaviors are bringing glory to God.  Ask questions like: am I at war with food?  Am I using it to fuel my body or to fill a desire only God can fill?

2. You are not your own. 

 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says  "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."

If you are a born again believer your body is a temple of the most High God.  He dwells in you and you in Him.  There is not one moment of any of our days on this earth that this is not true. There are no exceptions or special holidays when our bodies are no longer temples. So when we enter into holiday parties we must keep this perspective. Does God want us to enjoy a yummy meal with our family and friends?  Absolutely.  But does He want us to go to an extreme and either starve ourselves out of fear of gaining weight OR go the other way and binge until we feel we are going to throw up?  Not at all.  Do everything in moderation and with a sound mind and God will bless your temple.  

If this article spoke to you today I encourage you to take a few moments and talk to God about it.  Ask the Holy Spirit what He is asking you to give up this holiday season or enjoy with no guilt.  He cares about every single detail of your life and food is no exception. In fact, food was His idea.

I pray you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! :)