Staying Focus

I don’t know about you, but personally, I am, and have been, having a hard time for the past few months in the discipline of staying focus.  There are so many times when I’ve been sorely tempted to stray off onto tangents, and even when these tangents are supposedly “good things,” it became obvious that in saying “Yes” to entertaining them, I was saying “No” to what I actually needed to be doing instead.

With every choice we make, we are saying “yes” to something, and then also “no” to something else.

When I choose to say “Yes” to reading something ugly or passive aggressive, I’m saying “No” to something that is positive or uplifting, something righteous and from God that could have helped me on my path.  When I travel down that road of entertaining things that stem from other people’s unrighteousness, I’m straying off the course that I’m supposed to be on, that God desires me to stay on.

When I was finally convicted of this constant temptation to stray off the path of being focused on the purpose of my life, God’s Will for my life, it came after a long, wonderful evening with my parents when I was driving home on a long stretch of open highway as the sun was setting and dusk was appearing.  The wonder of the peaceful silence, the lack of cars around me, and the speed of the highway suddenly propelled my thoughts as God pricked my conscience that this was what He wanted me to do at this time.  To stay focus.

There were many exits I was passing that could lead me to places other than my purposed destination, but they would only distract me from getting to my goal (home), and finding rest and sleep – renewal and rejuvenation.  These off-roads would delay me in my journey, and pro-long my eventual arrival.  And so it is with distractions and temptations to stray off onto tangents in our spiritual journey, or to go down roads we were never meant to travel.

When I got home, I drew out the picture I saw in my head of a road going straight that was my purpose and God’s Will for my life, and little roads that led off of it in different directions.  I named each of these little roads that led me down unrighteous paths, and each one, as I drew it out and named it, suddenly became so convicting to me how wrong it actually was, and how much of a sinful distraction it was to living a righteous, purposeful, and productive life!  The beauty of it’s clarity was breathtaking, and this picture has been burned into my mind ever since.


Staying focus is not only a discipline of physically obeying by doing the right things, it is a mental obedience to adhere our thought-life to the right things.  Our thoughts eventually determine our actions.  If I am constantly (or even sometimes) thinking about things I shouldn’t be, wandering into places to look for contention with people I know I have friction with already, I will eventually end up following through on these thoughts with actions that take me off course.  I have to be mentally on course, staying focus, if I ever want to achieve and keep my physical obedience on course and staying focus.

Here are some verses that I’ve been dwelling on for the past few months regarding Staying Focus, from the Amplified Bible, because I love it and am a complete nerd who actually talks this way (with parenthesis because I’m awkward lol).  If you’ve never read the Amplified version, I encourage you to take a look at these scriptures with a fresh eye and mind attentive to hearing them explained in depth based on the actual language used in the text:

“Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above (the heavenly things), not things that are on the earth (which have only temporal value).”  Colossians 3:2 (AMP)

“Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],

Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of [b]scoffers (ridiculers).

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season;
Its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].

The wicked [those who live in disobedience to God’s law] are not so,
But they are like the chaff [worthless and without substance] which the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand [unpunished] in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows and fully approves the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked shall perish.”  Psalm 1:1-5 (AMP)

Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage]
And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity].”  Proverbs 4:25 (AMP)

“For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose].”  Romans 8:5 (AMP)

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”  Philippians 4:8 (AMP)

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character],

Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].”  Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.”  Psalm 32:8 (AMP)

The [intrinsically] good woman ( text says man) produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil woman (man) produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for her mouth speaks from the overflow of her heart.”  Luke 6:45 (AMP)

How blessed and favored by God are those whose way is blameless [those with personal integrity, the upright, the guileless],
Who walk in the law [and who are guided by the precepts and revealed will] of the Lord.”  Psalm 119:1 (AMP)

Protect Your Rest – Protect Your Family

Last week, one of the leaders in our Bible study sat at my table, she listened as we went over our homework and talked about the ideas or thoughts we had regarding it.  When it came time for her to speak at our table, she let us in on something she thought we should really know:

She said she wished she had spent more time playing on the floor with her kids, had had dinner more often at the table, rather than spend so much time driving around town getting to their activities.  She said she was always in the car, the kids ate their fast food dinners in it as they drove to the next big thing.  And now, as she’s looking back and her kids are much older, she wishes she had lived this part of her life differently.

She wishes she had spent more time actually present with her children, rather than merely with them.


I had this sense of despair listening to her story… none of us want to have regret like that, especially in how we raised our children!  But how can we keep from having the busyness of life suck out our time together as a family, appreciating each other?


Rest is the antithesis of Busyness.  We need to protect our rest.  We need to have boundaries against how much we are pulled away from our family.  We need to guard our serenity inside our homes.  We need to stop getting our kids so insanely involved in every activity under the sun so that they’re exhausted – just exhausted – both physically as well as mentally drained.

We need to let go of any guilt we feel about our kids not being involved in everything, and embrace just one or two activities that won’t take over and steal the joy we have when we are able to rest with our children.

Peace is the opposite of Anxiety.

How many moms and dads need some more peace?  If you’re buying into this lie that we need to be as busy as possible, eat dinner in our cars most nights, spend every waking hour chasing something that we’re not even seeing an end to, then let’s come together and think seriously if this is what we want to be doing with our time.  We only have our kids for a certain amount of time, and from what everyone tells me, it goes by way too fast!

Living our lives running everywhere, never stopping for a break, never really getting to ENJOY our kids or life together, feels like living the life of a slave.  A slave to a life we think we need to have or achieve.

But God came so that we could have life, and live it abundantly!  Living abundantly doesn’t mean fast food dinners and regretting that we didn’t see our kids more – really SEE them.

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.  We are not slaves of this world, or at least, we don’t have to live as though we are.  We have freedom in Christ.

There’s freedom when you protect your rest – freedom to breathe, freedom to sit down as a family around your dinner table and enjoy for food for once!

Before we had kids, in fact, when we were pregnant with our first, my husband and I promised to each other that we would not over-involve our kids, and that we would always try to have dinner around the table with them.

Even with my son going to his sport’s practice 3 nights a week (excessive for us), we still have 3 hours together to play, relax, do homework, relax some more, and then eat dinner at the table before heading out to practice.  In that order.  Protecting your family’s rest will look different for each family, though.  A major factor of why we aren’t stressed even though we’re going out 3 nights a week to a field to practice, is because I’m able to be a SAHM and our children don’t have to wait for me to get off work. We can make sure our family has enough rest by altering our life or the activities we let them be involved in to ensure it.

You can’t give something you don’t have.  If you aren’t guarding your own peace and rest, how will you teach your children to?

I have those 3 extra hours that allows for my son to play, relax, do his homework in an unrushed manner, relax some more on the couch, then eat his dinner.  A working mother does not have that luxury, so a program that involves 3 nights of practice a week might not be what her family needs.  Protecting your rest will look different depending on how over-extended or busy you may already be.

But let’s not live our life with regret.  Our leader was a working mom, and she still admitted that there were times when she should have played more with her kids on the floor, or eaten with them at the table – so don’t use your career as an excuse for not spending enough time being really present with them.

Let’s show our kids how much we value them, and guard our family’s peace, protect our family’s rest.

Loving Through The Pain Episode 1


This is the MOST sacrificial love I’ve EVER seen a wife have for her husband regarding their sex life. Such a beautiful example of a wife caring so much about her husband’s needs!

Originally posted on Biblical Gender Roles:

“To women who feel it is their right to refuse sex, I can only give my thought process. I can be quite the feminist when it comes to certain things, but I don’t think there’s any place for that in a marriage.” – This is a quote from a woman named Angel who recently started commenting on my blog.  I include her full story below that she emailed me and gave me permission to publish this.

I am hoping to make this a continuing series as I get testimonials from married couples who have continued to show physical and sexual love toward one another through various physical adversities they face.

The most amazing thing about her story is that she and her husband are not Christians.  But they instinctively knew what God put in their hearts(even if they did not know his word on the subject of marriage).

Their story reminds…

View original 1,832 more words

Women Are Scary!

I was wondering through a bookstore a couple of weeks ago, looking for a new book to celebrate my birthday, when I found it… it was out of place, sitting there on the shelf with it’s front cover exposed, and it caught my attention right away with it’s hilarious and ironic title,

Women Are Scary

I laughed out loud, “You BET!”  Picked it up and leafed through it to see if it would be any good.  Two little cake pops on the cover with female heads looked like they were fighting; one had bitten off part of the other’s head!

This book… is the one!  

It’s been a funny read, cataloging the author’s awkward journey to understanding female friendships, especially other mom friendships.  She’s socially a little awkward (who isn’t?), she’s got her own weirdness, and she’s had a lot of disappointment and heartache in trying to have women friends over the course of her life.  Her journey is an interesting one to read, I laughed, I underlined in the book, and I even cried when it came to the stories of betrayal or loss of friendships the women in the book had gone through.

I understand, I’ve been there, too.  I’m lucky to have found my niche so to speak with getting to love women and mommy friends who are in our weekly life, but I haven’t always had this, quite the opposite at times!  I’ve been the enthusiastic, extroverted, crazy girlfriend, and I’ve been the socially awkward, weird one out because I couldn’t find anything to connect to someone with.  I’m sure all of us have had experiences like that – where you just click with some people, become immediate friends, or where the friendship never even gets off the ground because you’re too different.

In high school and college, I was a social butterfly.  I had friends that were gothics, friends that lived in mansions (we lived in a rich area), friends that lived in trailer parks, male friends that played video games and listened to Marilyn Manson, and a close female friend that was the Co-Captain of the Cheerleading squad.  I was always just a little bit weird though, and even I thought it was odd that I could connect with so many different kinds of people… like a sign of my weirdness.

With mom friends, anything goes now!  I have never had so much fun connecting to women of all sorts!  We all have our pasts of what we were in college, and it really doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is how willing you are to open up, be yourself, and be extroverted at least in the moment it takes to find someone new to talk to that could end up being a great friend!

Here is an excerpt from the book that I thought was especially cute.  For all you mommies out there looking for a sweet, easy read or for ideas on how to expand your inner circle:

“So for you, who are your people?  If you’re looking for moms with whom you can go running, let’s get you out on trails chatting up girls about their jogging strollers.  Do you love baking brownies?  Let’s find you a friend who loves eating brownies.  Do you struggle with confidence?  You need a friend who excels at encouragement.

Finding friends also means learning how to be a good friend, so we’re also working on our own stuff too.  As we seek to encourage and support the moms around us, we become exactly the kind of friend we want to have.

Where are you going to find your people?  The library for story time, a “mommy and me” class, the preschool pickup line, a young moms’ group at a church, or the sidelines at a soccer game.  Moms are everywhere, and most of us are a little bit lonely and starved for adult conversation. If you work outside of the home, you may spend time with other adults professionally, but yu stil need other moms to talk to.  Stay-at-home moms just need people to talk to, period.

My favorite relationships are the ones that start out bonding over our kids but transition to talking about books we’re reading, our thoughts on different issues, or just straight up laughter about something absurd.  I love coming together with other women over coffee to solve the world’s problems while a few feet away, our children learn how to share.  My girlfriends make me a better mom, a better friend, better wife, just… better.

I’d met Martha through another friend and really liked her. She was pregnant with her fourth child and looked like a supermodel.  No, seriously.  Picture the hottest pregnant chick you’ve ever seen.  She was always draped in something fabulous, and her third trimester looked better than my six months postpartum.

One day I was crying about my dog, and I needed a friend.  I should mention that at this point Martha was a cat person.  But something made me call her and invite myself over.  She is gracious and kind and makes hospitality look effortless, so I rang her doorbell.

I quickly learned that even though she had four kids, Martha was a voracious reader who had delightful opinions about everything and was going to change the world.  As I got to know her, the phrase, “just a mom” catapulted out of my head never to return.

I drove back to her house again and again, and she helped me decorate my messy new place.  We talked of books and writing and faith and events and ideas.  She showed me that as a mom I can still take interest in other things besides my kids.  Isn’t that a relief.

We have different friends for different aspects of our personalities.  I have my sci-fi-loving friends for movie watcing.  These are my “get my references” friends.  And I have the friends I call when I’m cracking down the center and need someone to pray for my brain.

So figure our who your people are, then start trolling (for moms).”

(Quoted excerpt from Women Are Scary by Melanie Dale)

Simple Sweet Maple Syrup Cookies


A few weeks ago, to really get into the festive fall spirit, my oldest son & I made some Maple Syrup cookies together to make for a special treat.  They made great snacks to take in his lunch box or to enjoy after school.  <3  So excited for the Fall season and all the baking, cooking, and … well, eating!!!

We used this recipe from,

Maple Cookies

1 cup butter – softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup authentic maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, syrup and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into mixture until well blended. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool on wire rack.

They came out so beautifully!

Make sure to use a really great maple syrup – it’s healthier and the flavor is so much more intense!







Think Pink Boys!!!!!

My son has started Kindergarten this year, it is our first experience with having a child in the school system in America, and it has definitely been an interesting journey.  Although we’ve opted for a different kind of school than normal, one by several of our friends’ admissions, is more “boy-orientated,” as opposed to structured to favor more feminine behavior, my husband has been particularly upset by the still prevalent, undeniably female emasculation of boys.

To put more bluntly, our American schools seem like they’re doing everything they can to get our boys to become less masculine.  We are faced with the task of parenting boys (we have 2 now) who at every turn it seems, are being constantly told that they need to be less male.  To embrace the feminine.  That there’s nothing wrong with them misunderstanding their gender.  That they can in fact, undergo surgery to become a woman, and will be lauded as a hero.

So let me explain… we picked a school based on it’s prestige of focusing on science and technology.  Our friends who have or have had their boys in this school are extremely happy with it.  The school provides smaller classes and teachers that are more able to bend the “rules” to “allow” for the typical boy behavior (and documented scientific need) to move around in order to be able to actually learn what they need to. When the boys get older, they have the option of entering exciting things like Robotics Club, Lego Club, and even are able to experiment at such a young age at learning how to build real amazing rockets!  This school is great, and yes, my husband wanted more than anything for me to do all I could (turn in all the papers on time, fill out the online applications, etc) last year to be able to get him into it.

It started with my husband and I seeing that our son would receive a color to represent his behavior in school each day.  This is the color chart below… take a look and try to tell me that our schools (even schools geared towards boys!) aren’t trying undeniably to feminize our boys:

  • PINK = Outstanding
  • PURPLE = Great Choices
  • BLUE = Good Choices
  • GREEN = Ready to Learn
  • YELLOW = Warning
  • ORANGE = Consequence
  • RED = Parent Contact

The first day, and for the first month or so, our son hovered on Blue or Green, with one Yellow in the entire month.  Every day it became a discussion of him telling me that he really really wanted to get Pink… that he wanted to receive their treat at the end of the year for getting into their Pink & Purple Club Party.  He stressed about it, and each day when he saw he had Blue or Green, he was disappointed in himself.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for rating behavior to some degree, schools need to give kids feedback on where they’re at.  At my elementary school, you know in the 90’s (holla!), we had a simple traffic light model that was used in class.  Red, Yellow, and Green, with Green being the best behavior.  My husband and I were angry and frustrated that the top two colors were Pink & Purple.  He wanted to know who came up with that “idiotic idea,” and even the teacher doesn’t exactly know.  It might seem silly to be upset or frustrated at such a small thing, but for our son, this is a major objective (and frustration) in his little life right now.  The goal of getting into that ever flippant Pink zone of outstanding behavior, and the lure, as well as the terror that is not being invited to the Teacher’s Pink & Purple Party.

We were walking in a mall recently, looking around at the shops and spotted a girl’s clothing boutique.  Guess what the name was?  I’ll give you two guesses…

Pink. &. Purple.

No kidding?

You don’ t say?

Well my my… I guess girls really DO hands down almost always love and prefer those two specific colors. But what about boys?  Do you ever see a boys’ clothing store named “Pink & Purple?

Unless there’s some strange attempt at a popular homosexual clothing line that I’ve somehow missed up until now, I believe no such thing exists.

It’s been documented before, many times, that the schools at least here in America are desiring boys to be more feminine in behavior… and not just because girls are easier to manage for the teachers, but as you can clearly see with this color chart even, the feminine behavior is now deemed The Ideal.

The problem with teaching boys that their behavior, their innate, God-given masculine behavior, is undesirable, is that it creates a horrible dilemma inside our boys that wants to reject everything they deem masculine now and in their future.  

If the feminine is held up as the golden standard of perfection, then the masculine is automatically falling short.

This self-rejection (or even self-hatred) of their masculinity lasts far beyond their elementary education, and the damaging effects to our society as we produce more and more effeminate men, paired with our girls being pushed to be more aggressive, controlling, pushy, bossy, spoiled, and sexually promiscuous, we end up having an extremely tumultuous society.

I’ve written before about the “crisis” boys are facing in our culture and especially the school system, our church did a sermon on it that you can find here.

Oh… and my son finally got that elusive Pink.  We were happy that he had such great behavior, but again, what on earth is this teaching him?

The Sin Us Women Easily Fall Into… Comparison-S’merison

I found this great post on April’s The Peaceful Single Girl blog.  April has spent years learning and searching out wisdom and spiritual maturity, especially in regards to the particular temptations and sins women fall into.  She can be found running her Peaceful Wife blog as well, where she graciously takes her time to answer some of our most difficult questions in marriage or regarding submission to our husbands. She’s even, to my surprise, personally taken the time to council me privately in regards to my purpose in life, and what I should take time to focus on more – what path I should take when I’m at this crossroads of confusion about the future.  She is a wealth of information and incredibly generous with taking the time for you, so check out her blogs and drop her a line if this speaks to you.  Get to know April!  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Whether you’re single or married, I found this to be an interesting post from her friend.



Today’s guest post is by my dear friend (from my church) who is a single sister in Christ and is in her early 30s:

Hey y’all! I’m Krystal, and I’m excited to be sharing on PSG. April has been asking me to write for a while now, but I’ve hesitated because I think the folks who write here are really good and I’m not sure if I will measure up. So I thought it appropriate to start off with an area in which I clearly have a temptation/sin issue. Let’s talk about comparison.

I am convinced that the temptation of comparison has been Satan’s go-to for women across the ages. Look at how he tempted Eve in the Garden: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 5:6, emphasis mine). It started with her, and it continues today. But before we get to us, let’s take a pit stop just a little to the right of Eve’s story, in Genesis 29 – 30, and look at Leah’s story.

Isaac has directed Jacob to go to Laban, his maternal uncle, and take one of his daughters as his wife. The first thing we learn about Leah is that she is the older of Laban’s two daughters. And the second thing we learn is that she has what has been most often translated to “weak eyes” in English. The meaning of the Hebrew here is unclear, but Leah’s weak eyes are directly contrasted with Rachel’s beauty. So whatever having “weak eyes” meant in ancient Hebrew culture, it probably wasn’t a good thing. Essentially, Rachel was beautiful, but Leah was not. Hello, comparison.

So it’s no surprise when Jacob decides that Rachel is the sister he wants. And not only that, he volunteers to work for seven years to get her as his wife. Then the seven years are up and Jacob has his wedding feast. He goes into the tent and consummates the marriage. And then, “in the morning, behold, it was Leah!” Laban had tricked him into marrying Leah. So not only was Leah passed over by Jacob for her beautiful younger sister, her father thought he had to trick someone into marrying her. Where I live, this is where we stop, shake our heads, and say, “bless her little heart.”

Leah lives in a culture where beauty is highly valued, and she apparently doesn’t have it. Comparisons to her beautiful sister abound. Can you imagine what people say behind her back? “Oh poor, Leah. Too bad she’s not beautiful like Rachel.” What about to her face? “Leah, you should try [insert beauty regimen/workout routine here]. Maybe that would help you get a man.” And imagine what she now has to endure, “Did you hear? Laban had to trick someone into marrying her.”


I volunteer with the college group at my church, and we were talking about Leah this week with a group of upperclassmen and graduate students. I was shocked as girls all around the room talked about how they identified with Leah. These beautiful girls who I would have definitely considered “Rachels” had story after story of comparisons they make (or others have made for them) and experiences they have had with guys choosing “my friend who is prettier than me.” They taught me this week that in the battle for our minds and in Satan’s tempting us with comparison, we’re all Leahs. We all live in a culture where beauty reigns, and we all feel like we don’t measure up.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” –James 1:14-15


Appearance is a super common area of comparison for women, but it’s certainly not the only one. I have a younger sister who has always been prettier, skinnier, cooler, and more popular than I am. I know I get myself into trouble when I compare myself to her, yet I continue to do it.

For example, I just got a fitbit. Today she challenged me to a competition in which the person who takes the most steps during the day wins. I typically go trail running on Saturday mornings but it’s been raining here for a few days so I decided to skip this week and have a lazy Saturday. She had not skipped the gym, so she had over 12,000 steps by noon (that’s like 6 miles). Well, I just could not let her beat me by so much, so I went out to walk for an hour this afternoon. And then I ended up staying out for an hour and a half so that I could pass her step count. Now, going for a walk in and of itself is not a bad thing; in fact, it’s a pretty good choice to make on the surface. But look at my motives; look at my heart. I was out there walking only so that I could catch up to her steps. And then I decided that it wasn’t good enough to just catch up, I needed to win. In the time I’ve been writing this post, I’ve checked twice four times to make sure I’m still ahead. Yikes.

What is wrong with me? The same thing that’s wrong with all of us. We are sinful people living in a world devastated by sin.

Sisters, we are hard-wired for the temptation of comparison. Satan lures us this way precisely because we have a deep desire to measure up to, or more often to be better than, someone else. We must recognize that we are tempted in this way and take action to stop this temptation from becoming sin. As James tells us in those verses above, ignoring temptation and giving in to it will eventually lead to death.


  1. Identify and keep yourself from situations that tempt you.

I have to admit: this is so hard. Living in the world but not by the world’s standards is so, so difficult. For me, social media provides the biggest opportunity for comparison temptation in my life. It seems like all my friends are getting married, having babies,  buying houses, losing weight, or getting promotions… and the list goes on and on. I found myself living in the middle of all that jealousy and feeling sorry for myself by comparison fairly constantly. So I made the decision last year to get rid of my Facebook account.

Jesus has strong words about keeping ourselves from temptation in Matthew 18:8-9: “And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.”

Wow. Deleting my Facebook account seems incredibly mild and much less of a sacrifice in comparison to this. I’m also much more careful about what movies and televisions shows I choose to watch these days, as well as which books I choose to read. It’s hard enough to be tempted to compare myself to real people; I’m totally setting myself up for failure when I start comparisons to made-up characters. For other people, totally different things may lead you to the temptation of comparison.

Action Step: Write down each time this week you feel the temptation of comparison rise to the surface and what the immediate cause was. Let’s learn to recognize our temptations and take steps to avoid putting ourselves in those situations.

  1. Know the Word.

Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness before his earthly ministry began (you can find accounts of His temptation in Matthew 4, Mark 1, and Luke 4). Jesus overcame this temptation by responding to Satan using God’s Word. In the acute moments of our temptation, it is essential that we have hidden God’s Word in our hearts.

Memorization of Scripture is essential in fighting temptation. I did a lot of memorizing scripture back in my Bible drill days, but I have to admit there’s a good 15 – 20 years since in which I did practically none. I recently restarted this spiritual discipline, and I have focused on memorizing full books rather than verses out of context.

Action Step: Join me in this endeavor. It sounds incredibly overwhelming, but I promise it is not only doable but also a huge blessing and a totally different interaction with Scripture than reading or even studying it. I follow this plan for extended scripture memorization, and I can tell you that it works. Pick a book that you enjoy studying or frequently found yourself drawn to. Ask God where you should start.

Jesus specifically instructs the disciples to “watch and pray” in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His death so that they wouldn’t fall into temptation. They didn’t, and they all fled. Peter famously denied knowing Christ three times before morning.

We must make use of the power of prayer in overcoming our temptation. God hears our cries for help (Psalm 18:6). 1 John 5:14 tells us: “this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.”Fleeing temptation is certainly according to God’s will, so we can be confident that he hears our prayers for help overcoming temptation.

Action Step: Let’s get serious about praying for the Spirit’s wisdom in overcoming those things by which we are tempted. I find it helpful to keep a prayer journal. I write down my prayers, what God tells me, and how I respond to his instruction. This process helps me identify patterns in my life and remind myself of how faithful God is.


Let me wrap up by pulling us back into Leah’s world. Jacob ended up marrying Rachel too, and he loved her more. In fact, Genesis 29:31 tells us that Leah was hated.

  • But it was Leah who gave Jacob his firstborn son.
  • Leah is the mother of both the priestly (Levi) and the kingly (Judah) lines. Don’t miss this: Christ’s lineage goes back to Leah, not the beautiful sister whom Jacob loved more.
  • Leah, not Rachel, was buried in the family tomb with Jacob, Isaac, Rebekah, Abraham, and Sarah (Genesis 49:31).

God’s plan for our lives is in no way based on our worldly standards of comparison. By worldly standards, Leah did not measure up. But that didn’t matter to God, because He sees us not based on our worldly standards of outward appearance but based on our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7) and His plan is not hampered by our weaknesses (Isaiah 14:27). Let’s pray that He will teach us to see ourselves in His way and that He will help us to overcome the temptation of comparison.

The Best Thing

We were out running errands this last Thursday, when my husband decided to stop by an RV dealership just to look and see what they had since we saw we were ahead of schedule.  He’s had this hint of a dream of owning an RV for a few years now, it started with the desire to be able to travel in retirement, and then grew to the dream of using it for vacations with our children camping around the country.  It is cute, and even though I really disliked the thought of RVs in general, I adore how he is so drawn to them.

We were met by a salesman who wanted to know how to help us, and were up front in saying that we weren’t ready to buy anytime soon, but just wanted to look at the prices and see what they had to get some research on what it’d be like to own an RV.  The salesman didn’t mind taking us around and even offered us the entire property to explore on our own.  As the time went on, him showing us RVs and asking us questions about our life, he started talking about his own family and offering some great advice.

He had married young, and was still a very handsome man, he had 6 children with one wife, and was honest with us in saying that he loved seeing how we acted with each other, and hearing what we were doing and planning to do with our “beautiful” family.  It was such a sweet encouragement.  He talked with me about the importance of staying home with my children while they are so young, how 4 out of his 6 children had that privilege with his wife and as a result, excelled in school and even in college – finishing in just 3 years with their degrees.  His last two children didn’t have that opportunity, as his wife had already started her career, and as a result, were in daycare from a young age and struggled the entire time with their schooling, including college.  All of kids though, were now adults and doing excellent in their own paths in life.  He showed us a picture of his family – it was so sweet, and his wife looked so impossibly beautiful that I actually thought she was his daughter!  Meeting him, hearing him talk about his family, feeling the reassurance of our own paths in life, was a blessing to me personally.

One thing that stuck with me when talking to him while expressing how much I loved being able to be home with my babies, was him agreeing and saying that having a family, enjoying your family and actually getting to be with your kids, was just “the best thing in life.”

The Best Thing.

And it really is.  There are so many times when I can’t believe how blessed we are to have each other, to have our boys, and the excitement I feel for the future paired with the pleasure I feel in just enjoying the mundane moments together.  He encouraged me about feeling so behind on my career, how it was on the back burner.  I was not a woman who didn’t know what to do with my life.  I had a profession in mind when I was only 9 years old, I loved school and especially college.  I was ambitious… I had motivation… I knew what I wanted and was going after it at lightning speed!  :D

I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, and graduated with honors mostly because genuinely enjoyed the difficult classes.  I devoured my education, and loved every last bit of it.  I had the taste of utilizing my degree by working in research and still miss it, miss learning new things everyday, and miss the excitement of scientific discovery.  The salesman reminded me that I was still so young, and that his own wife had waited until mid to late-30’s to even start her career in nursing, and still climbed her track steadily until she became a very prestigious nurse.  It was so interesting to hear him talk about how her particular type of nursing was her vocation, her calling (and very necessary one, giving chemotherapy to child cancer patients).  But he also insisted that raising their children, creating a beautiful family, was also an incredible part of her success.

It was The Best Thing.  Not her amazing job, not how she’s using her talents now, not how she’s able to help children who are dying… but how she raised her children.

Her family, her ensuring that her children grew up to become good, healthy, well-adjusted people, kids who excelled in school, who knew what they wanted in life, was “the best thing.”

Him having a family, enjoying his family while they were growing up in his household, seeing them turn into adults, was the best thing.


I know with our toxic environment that is aggressively hostile to the family, especially the traditional, Christian family, it’s hard to feel any encouragement that what we are doing is making any difference.

But if you are out there, trying to do the right thing for your family, if you’re a wife who is working because the income is needed right now, or a stay-at-home-mom who is lovingly teaching her children and faithfully home-schooling them so sacrificially, I just want to encourage you.  I’m thinking of you tonight.

If you’re a husband who’s keeping it together, making the best of your life, and honoring your commitment to your children, I want to encourage you.

It really is the best thing.

Something Old & Something New


Last night out at the field, we had a blast.  I finally was able to work up my nerve to run on the track – the real freaking track – complete with baby in tow in the stroller.  It was intimidating before, especially when you’re around other people LOL.  Run like no one is watching!

Running again felt so wonderful, I felt my muscles wake up, get rejuvenated, and felt so wonderfully exhausted by the end of it.  The baby didn’t mind it, either, he seemed to like the speed and held on tight… success!!!


And I swear we both fell asleep faster and slept deeper after it… running used to feel easy, lol, I was surprised how exhausted I felt afterwards.

Look out, extremely random & happy baby picture below that will make you want to cuddle!!


This kid wakes up with joy… it’s so unfair that he doesn’t need coffee! ;)

This last weekend we were gone on a long weekend get-away, a road-trip without the kids, traveling for what seemed like forever <3  through the beautiful Texan small towns, the big cities and their lights over black waters at night, so fun!!!!  And such a great surprise from what I was expecting.  What was supposed to just be a quick trip to celebrate a good friend’s wedding, turned into a mini-vacation and love-get-away adventure.

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We drove through a little town of only a population of 90 people.  There were antique stores everywhere, with some beautiful things.

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I love finding things like this – looking at the way things were built, once upon a time… to me, walking into an antique store is exciting, full of anticipating wonder.

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Wonder & Joy-Full!

Yesterday morning I met with a group of women for our yearly adventures in Bible study together.  It is SUCH a blessing and wonderful thing to spend all Tuesday mornings with these women.  I’m usually one of the youngest in the class, this year looks to be no different, and I’d not have it any other way!  This is where I find some of the most amazing older women I know, chances for mentorship, guidance, and accountability in my life, and friends who have been pursuing God’s truth longer than I’ve been alive!

It was so good to see them again after this Summer’s break, and to learn about what we’d be studying this Fall – the deliberate pondering of all the intricacies of God’s wonder, and how to “fight back with joy.”



-Margaret Feinberg


We talked extensively about what makes us wonderstruck – the beauty of nature, the incredible feelings of joy when we cuddle with our children, or those special moments when someone speaks such truth in our life, that we are taken aback with it’s beauty and power.  The moments that feel like a little bit of Heaven on earth, that make us desire to have more of God – to be curious about Him because of the glimpse of beauty we saw or felt.

When we were on our vacation, it was hard to get up in time to see the sunrise over the ocean, especially with the late nights spent swimming or on the beach – or the feedings with the baby that interrupted the night’s sleep – but each time we managed it, it was always immeasurably worth the difficulty!  The beauty of seeing the sunrise over the ocean was just breathtaking, but we had to be intentional about seeking out that wonder, or otherwise we’d have gone the whole trip and never known what we’d missed.  If we’d slept a little longer, the encounter with God, being wholly captivated by His beautiful character displayed in nature, would have been lost.

God is full of wonder, in fact, we found that His Name is Wonderful… literally, full of wonders.  

Sunrises happen all the time, and people who live in beautiful places may grow accustomed to the constant display of wonder, and begin to take the chances to experience God through nature for granted.  We all do it, all the time.  Every time that I’m annoyed at my children instead of taking the moment to appreciate the gifts they are, or every time I pass by glorious displays of God’s beauty in my surroundings because I’m too busy or distracted to notice, these are chances missed to embrace God’s awe.

Sometimes we can harden our hearts towards God’s captivating wonders in life, relying on science and technology, agnosticism or atheism to guide us through.  Life, with it’s trials, succeeds in hardening our hearts; nothing can more quickly take away joy than experiencing great heartache, pain, or the bottomless feelings of depression.  It’s interesting to me that in the latter part of our study, we’ll be focusing on using Joy as a weapon against such things.

And for insignificant purposes… today I turn 29!!!!  I was reminded last night when filling in my gratitude acknowledgment for the day, how wonderful it is to have my two boys.  They are both such perfect gifts, and it is only that more obvious on my birthday, that they are treasures sent from Heaven. <3

Here’s to another year full of embracing and chasing the wonders of God, and learning how to fight back with Joy.