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30 Day Walk 1 Mile Challenge | Update #2


So, here's the deal. 

I missed a couple of days.

I had to talk myself into not sweating - the failure.

I mean, the small stuff.

Both days of not walking one mile was because of my pain levels. It just hurt too much to walk.

To be quite honest there were some days I barely walked a mile.

On the bright side, there were some days I walked; and walked; and walked.

With one week left on my challenge my plan, barring pain, is to finish strong. To overcome those trying-to-walk-on-the-weekend-is-a-bear days, and exceed total miles each day over 2 point something or other.

52 New Books in 2016 | 48


The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

Hum. Not sure about this one. Rave reviews abound for this self-help book on wholehearted living and many from those people in the blogging world that I've enjoyed reading for many years - but there is that nagging thought-provoked, "why are you leaving God out?" Brown doesn't exclusively, wholeheartedly, leave out God but she doesn't put Him first, either. This is where self-help books and I always seem to go askew. 

That being said, Brown amassed some really good talking points, much of which requires the practice of...authenticity, gratitude, wholehearted living, or cultivating of...hope, joy, faith, laughter...and much of which I've gleaned from experiencing everyday, ordinary life; where I have found the sacred in the ordinary; it is necessary to practice gratitude and not just have an attitude of gratitude and joy is totally tied to gratitude.

The chapters on shame were enlightening because I experience this, or have experienced multiple times over, usually because of someone's actions for which I suffer the shameful consequences; when I should find my worth in Christ (my words not Ms. Browns'), but I can't seem to...

So, here's the deal. The book is good. But, not great. It will be one I keep on my shelf for reflection therefore I will give it a...

Rating: 7.5

Prayers for my husband from his head to his feet | Day 13


Pray for his hands...

I pray, O Lord, that my husband will continue to bless You as long as he lives, lifting up his hands to You in prayer (Psalm 63:4) for You desire men everywhere to pray with holy hands lifted up to You, free from sin, anger, and resentment (1 Timothy 2:8). Lord, I know you want my husband to stand in your holy place, to have clean hands and a pure heart. May You cause him to lift up his soul to you and receive your blessing. As he seeks your face and lifts his hands in praise may you lift up the gates of my husband's heart that You, the King of glory, might come in and rule his life with strength and might (Psalm 24).

I pray that whatever my husband's hands find to do, whether he is at home, at his job, or elsewhere, as long as it lines up with Your will, then he will be led to do it with all of his might, working as if working for the Lord, and gaining your favor (Ecclesiastes 9:10, Colossians 3:23).

I pray my husband never lets go of you, holding onto you continually as You remind him that you hold his right hand and guide him with your counsel. Even though his flesh may be weak, or fail, You are the strength of his heart and his portion forever (Psalm 73: 23-26).

May my husband always know with certainty the power and the strength of his hands have never and will never produce wealth for him, but always remember it is the Lord God, who gives him the abilities, power and strength (Deuteronomy 8: 17-18). I pray with those abilities, power, and strength my husband works [ with his hands] with all diligence and is righteous before You; for You, O Lord will not let the righteous or the lazy hands go hungry; you thwart the cravings of the wicked and bring wealth to diligent hands (Proverbs 10:3-4). I pray my husband has skillful hands and serves his King above all (Proverbs 22:29).

I pray he willingly opens his arms to the poor and extends his hands to the needy (Proverbs 31:20). I pray he serve wholeheartedly, as if he were serving the Lord and not people, because the Lord will reward whatever good he does (Ephesians 6: 7-8). I pray he always obtains the favor of the Lord in whatever the work of his hands devise (Proverbs 12:2). In Jesus' Name, I pray.





Stories 2016 | Star Wars - Hogwarts


Honestly, I didn't know what to journal. So, I shared with Samuel all about Star Wars and Harry Potter and how his family loves the movies - but, his Grammy loves the books more! Samuel's onesie is Ashley's favorite of all the onesies she has: I am a Jedi Like My Father Before Me...Unless Hogwarts sends me a letter like my Mother...It's perfection!

And well, so is Samuel!

Truly, I had fun putting this page together. I downloaded a Star Wars font and a Harry Potter font from DaFont so I could type the Star Wars/Harry Potter title. I added phrase stickers from various Ali Edwards Story Kits, Heart, Magic, and Little Things - kits. Added a couple embellishments, used a silk screen journaling block, also Ali Edwards, and I love it!

Come on! Who wouldn't love this little guy, too!

Read a book that intimidates you and 52 New Books in 2016 | 47


For my 2016 Reading Challenge, read a book that intimidates you, I chose Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It's a dystopian science fiction novel that passes back and forth between past and future, interweaving a middle-aged famous actor-playboy and the rippling effect of his death, a young girl (of the past and the future as part of a caravan of traveling actors and musicians), and a catastrophic, flu pandemic that near-erases the past and changes civilizations future. Dystopian fiction intimidates me because on my own I don't often understand the main themes of the genre, the hidden meanings behind the words. But, Station Eleven came with rave reviews. While I haven't had much luck with 'rave reviewed' books, I'm after new and different and stretching myself beyond (J.D. Robb). Ha Ha.

The first trip from past to future in Station Eleven was a shambles - for me, but as soon as I caught on, I was hooked. And, somehow I, early on, recognized one of the main themes of the book, survival is insufficient, which is lettered on the lead caravan of the Traveling Symphony, and a line from an old Star Trek episode. Simply surviving is not enough to make a life. There has to be something more. Another theme was relationship, fraught throughout the book, most, in some way centered around the famous actor's life - and in his death. Very interesting weaving of how one person can impact so many in different ways.

This was not a quick read by any stretch. It took me days to get through as I'd get sucked in for a large stretch and then would need to put it down because it weighed heavy over me. But, man, this was a sterling piece of fiction.

This is also book 47 in my 52 New Books in 2016 challenge. Which means only 5 more books to go!

Rating: 9.5

Prayers for my husband from his head to his feet | Day 12


Pray for humility...

I pray my husband worships you in humility; that he enter's Your gates with thanksgiving and Your courts with praise; giving thanks to You and praising Your name. For You Lord are good and your love endures forever; Your faithfulness continues through all generations (Psalm 100:4-5). I pray, in humble gratitude, my husband lets the word of Christ dwell in him richly as he teaches and admonishes others with all wisdom, and as he sings psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in his heart to God (Colossians 3:16). I pray, with an abandoned heart, my husband does not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but makes himself nothing, with all humility, and serves Christ through others (Philippians 2:6-7). Like Jesus did, I pray my husband, with an obedient heart, humbles himself and becomes obedient to the will of God (Philippians 2:8), even unto death.

I pray Lord my husband does not allow pride to overcome him, for that will only bring him disgrace; instead, I pray he has a humble spirit which will bring him wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). As humility is the fear of the Lord and its wages are riches and honor and life (Proverbs 22:4), I pray Lord my husband has a healthy fear of You, O Lord, full of reverence and awe. Following after You, I pray my husband rides forth victoriously for the cause of truth, humility and justice (Psalms 45:4). 

I pray O Lord, my husband seeks after You, seeks righteousness and humility, and perhaps, O Lord, You will shelter him against wrath (Zephaniah 2:3). And Lord, that my husband would do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but, with humility value others above himself, not looking after his own interests but to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4). For You O Lord oppose pride but give grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5)

As one chosen by You, holy and dearly loved, I pray my husband clothe himself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I pray, in humility, he relinquishes any bitterness or grudge against another and with the grace and mercy You lavished on him give him the power to forgive (Colossians 3:12-13). I pray that my husband heaps good deeds done in humility on others showing himself wise and understanding (James 3:13). I pray also he wisely chooses his words, being careful to not boast for that is never good and is not worthy of the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:6). Let someone else praise him, and not by his own mouth (Proverbs 27:2), but if his must boast may his boast be in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31).

As Jesus was the servant of all and He made Himself of no reputation I pray my husband evaluates his heart and repents of any lack of humility or servant-hood in his life and pray he takes time being humble - and still - before the Lord. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve... (Mark 10:45) in humility. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

friday, with a cup of coffee | 7


Photo source

You were not meant to do what you love, you were meant to do what you're good at.

Shauna Niequist for Storyline blog, You're Never Going to be Fully Ready for anything.

Here are 5 Truths about Caring for Yourself.

Beautiful post Before Helpless Turns to Hopeless

Making Things Happen versus Letting Things Happen

I love this tote bag - in Cognac; I love the word Cognac. It would be on a words that I love list.

My love of everything books is growing so it's not surprising I found the most beautiful libraries in the United States, all fifty states, each with its' most beautiful library an enjoyable pursuit. Unfortunately, the library my husband's company built didn't make the cut for the state of Georgia - oh well - the one selected is beautiful too.

A beautiful display of photographs during an Altiplano Expedition by Daniel Kordan. The Altiplano is an Andean Plateau, in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest and is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside Tibet. Just amazing!

How a special needs sister teachers about the love of Christ.

Our church recently moved into a 2100-seat worship center; an add-on to our already-large church (which has an additional building for Student Ministries and another for Adult Ministries) plus 5 other campuses within a 60 minute drive. I had no qualms about why, as a church, we were doing this: lead more to a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. We needed the space. This article speaks volumes about the why of a bigger building.

I would love a spiritual retreat for my spiritual health. Wouldn't you?

Having trouble controlling your emotions, not taking care of yourself, neglecting what's important, these are a few of the Seven signs you are too busy.

Prayers for my husband from his head to his feet | Day 11

Pray for his self-control...

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control (Proverbs 25:28), thus it is better for my husband to be a patient person, one who rules his spirit, than a warrior, one with self-control rather than one who charges in uncontrolled and takes a city (Proverbs 16:32). So I pray Lord for my husbands unwavering self-control. I pray Lord my husband desires nobility and therefore is above reproach, faithful unto me, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and with a teachable spirit doing so in a manner worthy of full respect (1 Timothy 3:2-4). I pray my husband becomes an A+ student in the school of self-control, listening with the intention of being taught. Teach my husband Your way, Lord, that he may rely on your faithfulness; give him an undivided heart, that he may fear your name (Psalm 86:11).

I pray, O Lord, that you fill my husband with Your Spirit, the Spirit of God that does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) to walk by the Spirit, and not gratify the desires of the flesh, nor do whatever he wants (Galatians 5:16-17) but instead, I pray, he lives by the Spirit bearing such fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, for against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Father God, as my husband is the head of our marriage and our home, I pray he would be worthy of that which You have called him. Remove any traits that are overbearing or quick tempered, may he not be given to drunkenness, violence or pursue dishonest gain. Instead, I pray, he is hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined, trusting Your Word, encouraging others with sound doctrine and refuting those who oppose it (Titus 1: 6-9).

Lord, I pray my husband is a child of the light and a child of the day. May he not be as some who are spiritually asleep, but belonging to the day; may he be sober-minded, alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8). 

I pray he makes every effort to add to his faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if my husband possesses these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep him from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of You, O Lord - Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8). I pray his self-control would grow immeasurably as he pays attention to whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable (Philippians 4:8). In the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Prayers for my husband from his head to his feet | Day 10


Pray for his integrity...

I pray, O Lord, my husband is a man who walks in his integrity (Proverbs 20:7), cultivating a strong integrity of his heart, and that his integrity guides him, so that you will lead him out of sin, so he will not be destroyed by his duplicity (Genesis 20:6; Proverbs 11:3). May integrity and uprightness preserve my husband (Psalm 25:21), and be unwavering as he waits on you (Psalm 26:1)  and may he not compromise his convictions, but instead, resolves to honor the name of the Lord and to not defile himself (Daniel 1:8; Malachi 2:2).

I pray my husband keeps a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against his good behavior, which is in Christ, may be put to shame and that he desires to live honorably in every way (1 Peter 3:16; Hebrews 13:18). You detest lying lips but delight in those who are trustworthy (Proverbs 12:22); may my husband be trustworthy and that no deceit passes over his lips but only speaking honestly and sincerely keeping his oath even when it hurts (Psalm 15:4) because such a man will gain honor and respect.

Father, as he always instructs others, instruct him to let his Yes be Yes and his No be No (Matthew 5:37). And, I pray Lord that he keeps his eyes straight ahead, fixing his gaze directly on You, giving careful thought to the path he is walking and remain steadfast, not turning to the right or to the left so that he keeps himself from evil (Proverbs 4:25-27).

I pray Lord that my husband does to others only what he would want them to do to him (Luke 6:31). May my husbands business dealings be just and true and honest; for only this will delight the Lord (Proverbs 11:1). I pray his testimony before man and God is that he has conducted himself with holiness and godly sincerity (2 Corinthians 1:12) and that he will be worthy of being honored as a capable man, a man who fears the Lord, is trustworthy, and hates dishonest gain (Exodus 18:21).

Father, my husbands words and actions flow from the condition of his heart, may the intentions of my husbands heart not be ones of deceit or schemes, but rather, may the words of his mouth and the meditation of his heart be acceptable and pleasing to You, O Lord (Psalm 19:14) and may my husband always keep growing in You, striving to live and speak honestly (Zephaniah 3:13) and until he dies never denying his integrity (Job 27:5). In Jesus' Name.