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        Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, ect..) has taken the world by storm over the last decade. Our newsfeeds are filled with cute cat photos, celebrity breakups, political debates, and sarcastic E-cards. Your public profile gives the world a glimpse into your life. Through out the day or week, you share details and pictures with your friends. You read news articles, “like” blog posts, and poke people for fun. Yet, the constant need to portray a seemingly perfect life or capture the perfect photo to post can leave you feeling drainedIf you become overwhelmed by what you read on a daily basis, let the Lord pour his love out on you! Let Christ fill your heart so you can turn around and use social media for His glory.

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     The world likes you to believe that social media is a complete waste of time. But that is completely false. By choosing to share encouragement,  you not only have the ability to change someones perspective on life but also the opportunity to be a witness of God to others. Even the pictures you share can bring a small amount of sunshine to a persons day! Share uplifting articles with meaningful messages. Build others up by sharing kindness and posts with a purpose. You never know who may need that in their life at the moment. Make a point to fill your feed with speakers that share positivity and light. That way you can share good things with others. And remember to always take a break from social media to let your mind and heart refocus so you are more inspired to share the word of God with others. Lets choose to make a difference in the world by starting where we’re at.image

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         Many young couples are curious what the secret to a long and happy relationship is. In the last few years, the sanctity of marriage has come under attack and scrutiny by those that no longer believe in the principles that the Bible laid out for us many years ago. There is a spiritual battle being waged against families and the rate of divorce and broken homes have increased tremendously. The truth of the matter is that there isn’t some magical secret that couples married for fifty plus years only hold the key too. The answer to a long and successful union between a husband and wife begins with bowed heads and a servants heart. 

        My husband and I are far from perfect. We both have flaws and are aware of each other’s imperfections. We have had our fair share of highs and lows but remain determined to stand together in a world that is continually threatening faith and marriages. Several years ago, we began praying with each other in the mornings. No matter how busy our day may become we always make it a priority to lift our praise to the Lord together. Normally, my husband will lead the prayer. He begins by thanking the Lord for all of our blessings and then asks the Lord to supply all of our needs. He ends it by covering our marriage and other areas in prayer.  We have been continually blessed in our marriage and we feel as if the Lord has heard and answered many of our prayers!

        Prayer is a powerful tool and is essential to any healthy relationship. Not only does it bring you more close to God but it brings you closer together as a couple too! By making it a prime focus, you can turn your marriage into a testimony of your faith. Soon, people will be curious what your secret to a blissful marriage is! And you can simply tell them that, “A couple that prays together, Stays together!”

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      Technology is addictive. If you’re like me, you are guilty of checking your social media accounts multiple times a day. It’s a hard habit to break. You feel the strong need to check your personal feed while you are drinking your morning coffee, waiting in line, working out at the gym, eating lunch with your friends, or lying in bed. Your phone has become an extension of you. You use it to capture moments you want to remember, as an alarm clock, and to check the weather. Our phones have a sick power over us. We become mesmerized by having this source of connection at just the swipe of a finger. But what if we were compelled to put our phones down? 

       Take a look around you in a restaurant and count the number of people on their personal devices. The number will quickly astound you. The idea of being able to connect to the Internet has become so popular that many businesses offer free wi-fi and ports that charge your gadgets right there next to you. What happened to sitting down to a meal and holding casual conversation with the person seated across from you? 

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     What if we decided to be a part of the experience and take it all in, instead of trying to capture the perfect shot to share on our wall? To enjoy that much needed vacation instead of taking pictures of our feet strategically placed in the sand? To savor our food intensely instead of posting a picture of our expensive meal? To be more engaged in conversation instead of only giving half of our attention? 

     Just like our phones, sometimes we need to let our battery recharge. We need to unplug and let our minds rest from the amount of information we take in on a daily basis. We need to be reminded that outside of our screens there are moments waiting to be lived. It’s time to invest in what’s real! Let’s stop allowing our phones to dictate our relationships, drain our energy, and control our lives. Make a conscious effort to be fully present wherever you are! You will quickly feel a sense of freedom you have long forgotten.

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    The giving season is upon us! During the next few weeks, we will be sucked in to the whirlwind of the holidays. For many, Thanksgiving is completely skipped over and Christmas has taken its place. I urge you this season to slow down and remember why it is that we gather and celebrate in the first place. Take an opportunity this season to be a blessing to others and feel the joy that comes from giving from your heart. 

Here are twenty ways that you can be a blessing to others this season: 

  1. Bake a pumpkin pie & deliver to someone letting them know how you are thankful for them!
  2. Go caroling to the shut-ins!
  3. Invite someone who doesn’t have family to join yours for Thanksgiving dinner!
  4. Write a list of reasons you are thankful for your spouse! 
  5. Hold the door open for someone whose arms are full of packages.
  6. Pay for the persons coffee behind you! They will be thankful for that yummy pumpkin spice latte. 
  7. Remember those that are away from their families serving our country! Send a care package, write a letter, say a prayer, ect..
  8. Buy someone a cold drink! Leave some change in the vending machine.
  9. Make cards for those in the nursing homes. You don’t know how much this will brighten their day!
  10. Leave chalk messages on the sidewalk that says “I’m grateful for you!” Or “Gobble til you wobble!”
  11. Lend a helping hand at your local soup kitchen. 
  12. Donate extra blankets to your furry friends at the shelter! 
  13. Leave a poinsettia on your neighbors porch!
  14. Round up three toys your children no longer play with and give to a child in need.
  15. Ring a bell! Be a local bell ringer for The Salvation Army. You get to greet people with a smile and make a difference at the same time! 
  16. Partner with your church to put together shoe boxes filled with blessings for those in need.
  17. Read the Christmas story to those who will spend the holidays in the hospital.
  18. Help someone take their groceries to their car!
  19. Leave a generous tip on your receipt for your waitress with a note that says “Happy Holidays!”
  20. Leave a note on a random car that says, “Have a blessed day!”

Now that you have a few good ideas to get started– go be a blessing to someone today!

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**November is Preemie Awareness Month! In honor of premature babies and their mothers, here is a letter I would like to share for NICU moms that are currently facing the battle.**

     Dear NICU Mom, 

          Welcome to the club you never planned on having membership too! That’s right..no one ever expects to become a part of this exclusive society. Each baby has a different story to tell on how they gained V.I.P access to the undivided attention they receive behind the locked doors of this club. 

       You may have been like me and had a extremely healthy pregnancy. You took special care of yourself and the life growing inside you. You did everything just like your doctor recommended. You even carried your baby to full term. But then something suddenly goes wrong and your little one is whisked away before you get a chance to welcome them into the world. 

       Ever since you found out you were expecting, you pictured holding your baby and looking into their eyes. You imagined how you would feel when that precious life was placed in your arms. But then without warning, those first moments you anticipated for so long are stolen. The thought never crossed your mind that you wouldn’t be bringing your baby home as soon as you would like. Instead of being close to your newborn and feeling their tiny fingers interlock yours, you spend the first days, weeks, or months of their existence peering at them inside a clear box. You spend hours watching their heart rate on the moniter. Countless calls to the nurses, hundreds of hand washes, numerous tears, and incalculable prayers are the only thing you’ve come to know. So many questions yet the one that weighs on you the most is, “Why?” What could I have done differently? Is there something that I did to cause this? The guilt you can carry can be overwhelming. But you are not alone!

     You have a whole network of mothers who are behind you and have been in your shoes. They know the uncertainty you are facing and how what was supposed to be one of the most beautiful experiences of your life has been stained with tears and worry. You have been forced to find strength that you never knew you were capable of possessing. Some of us have been there before and some of us are still there.  We share a bond that many won’t understand because it is a journey they have not personally taken.  The days are long and it may seem as if this trial will never end. But you and your baby will conquer this. It may not be today, tommorow, or even next week. But from a mother who has been right where you are, hold on! When things look dark, look up! God hears our prayers and He still performs miracles today. And they often come in the form of tiny babies who are born early yet right on time! 

Love, 

A Fellow NICU Mother

Your Identity In Christ

    Tomorrow, the streets will be taken over by witches, goblins, and other masked creatures of the night. Halloween is a fun tradition where your imagination has the ability to run wild and all of your favorite characters come to life. I am a big enthusiast of this particular holiday and enjoy the excitement of finding the perfect costume to surprise my family with at our annual Halloween party. This year will be especially fun since this will be my sons first trick-or-treat experience! 

    A quick stroll down the costume aisle will quickly leave you feeling overwhelmed by all of the werewolves, superheroes, and political figures that seem to jump right out at you. Each year on October 31, you are given one night to take on a whole new persona. You can transform into whomever it is you wish. But just as the clock strikes midnight for Cinderella, on November 1st you are turned back into your same self once again.

   Similar to wearing a mask on Halloween, there can be times in our lives when we feel we no longer recognize the person we see before us in the mirror. But I have great news! Look past your tired and weary eyes…past your worry and wrinkles…your identity in Christ has been found! Psalm 139:14 tells us, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Isn’t it awesome knowing that Jesus knows all of your skeletons and He still calls you a child of God? He is there to rescue you from life’s monsters! He wants to bring you out of the darkness and into the light.

    Halloween is a day for fun, memories, and lots and lots of candy!! But it is also an opportunity to shed your mask. To dust your soul of the cobwebs and allow yourself to be freed from the chains that bind you. The devil is full of tricks but Jesus is the ultimate treat!

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     My little one decided that four a.m. was the most reasonable hour to wake his parents this morning. After much coercion and rocking back and forth on my end, the stinker finally gave in to a few more hours of sweet slumber. As a new mom, one of my favorite moments are the quiet ones. The moments I can lie and stare at my sleeping baby and watch his chest rise and fall. The moments I catch a sweet smile on his lips while he is dreaming of something happy. My grandmother once said that when a baby smiles in their sleep that means they are playing with angels! Well, if you’ve ever caught a baby giving you a sleepy grin then you know this must be the only explanation.

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      For me, one of the best moments of the day are in the mornings. While the rest of the world sleeps, I lie awake and watch the sun slowly creep into my home and cast an orangish glow onto the walls. I hear the birds in the large cedar tree outside my window singing the loveliest melody because they are happy and thankful. They sing praises to the One who created it all. 

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    Before I ever set foot out of bed, I am overwhelmed by the blessings in my life. I get to wake up and do this everyday! I get to  experience another twenty-four hours full of Gods love and mercy. Another day to be called Mommy! There will be a day in the future that I won’t be able to lie here and watch my baby sleeping peacefully. He will be in his own bed and I will be missing him in mine. But, for now, I will just stay here and be still and be thankful for these quiet moments. The moments I can just take it all in and appreciate this gift of motherhood.