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100-day Challenge

I'm starting some "resolutions" now in February. It's not too late, is it...? And to kick start, I'm journaling about 2 different 100-day challenges I'm doing. 

1.  THM 100-day challenge. I've eaten THM (Trim Healthy Mama) for awhile now but I got really off track (aka: lazy) last summer when I was commuting back and forth to HSC every other day and eating on the road. Not my finest time of self-care. I had other things on my mind. Anyway....I do know how great I feel on THM so I have great expectations from this 100-day challenge. The basics are: on-plan eating for 100 days; exercise (I'm doing what I can here); and setting a few other smaller goals for yourself. Goals are set....I even have an accountability partner....and she's seen my "before" pictures (never to be posted online under threat of death). 

2.  I'm also doing a 100-day challenge from Hilsongs. I'm not actually sure when the plan first ran so I've kinda adopted it to fit my own schedule and it seemed good to run these together. Basically the plan is to read a chapter of the Gospels each day (there's 89, so there are 11 grace days built in) and to do something creative each day. I have no shortage of creative things I WANT to do....the problem for me is putting them off (cards, Project Life, etc.) and never reaping the soul-resting consequences of being creative....or  not seeing the creative in some of the more mundane things I do have time to do (cooking, enjoying movies, walking through the art department at school, etc.)

So....that's my Februrary 1 - May 10 plan. 100 days of eating well, staying in The Word, and hopefully finding a snippet of time to be creative again. 


A re-post.....but a great reminder.

This blog post from 3 years ago popped up on my Facebook feed and I was stopped in my tracks and reminded anew how important it is to remember that God's love endures. No matter what my circumstances seem to be, no matter my perspective, no matter what I see....his love endures forever. So, I'm sorry, on a blog with such infrequent posts, to repeat myself...but this needs to be on here twice.  (Reposted and edited, from Jan.22, 2013)

I read Psalm 136 today in morning devotions.  Here's a snippet - in case you need a reminder of this great Psalm (complete text at the bottom of this post):

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.


So....I was reading this text again - like I've read it many, many times before but this time I was actually reading the words outloud.  All of them.  Even the repeated refrain "His love endures forever" which I (and I'm probably not the only one) skip over or just read in our heads.  It struck me as I read all the good, and bad things in the first parts of the stanzas that ALL of them ended with "His love endures forever" no matter how wonderful or horrible the action seemed - creating the sun, or killing kings.  

And then I wondered...WHAT IF I read my life like that.
I mean, I KNOW it in my head - that God's love endures forever; that he loves me; that he works all things together for good....
but what if I actually SAID it outloud like that - attached to the good, and the bad.


I woke up this morning wide awake and breathing.
His love endures forever.
My coffee was great and devotions were challenging
His love endures forever.
It's -43 with the windchill outside and I have to walk to school.
His love endures forever.
My van is in the garage and getting it back today will mean a big bill
His love endures forever.
My son got a part in the community play "The Sound of Music."
His love endures forever.
My daughter did not get the part she auditioned for.
His love endures forever.     

You see how this could go on and on....I could list every good or bad (in my perspective) thing that happens in my day/life....and still, His love would endure and every little thing in my life would filter through that understanding.  I think this would change my perspective on a lot of things.  I think I might start to see many more things as gifts from my loving Heavenly Father.  I also think I might begin to see HOW he's working things together for my good instead of being frustrated that I can't always see it. 

Today's Edit: 
It's Monday - first day of a new semester of school. 
His love endures forever.
I'm loving my job this year. 
His love endures forever.
My son has unrelenting headaches from post-concussion syndrome.
His love endures forever.
I am on a roller-coaster with another child.
His love endures forever.
I'm going back to school. 
His love endures forever.
My bills are piling up. 
His love endures forever.
The coffee is good this morning. 
His love endures forever.

His love endures forever.





As promised:  the entire text of Psalm 136

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder
His love endures forever.
14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.
17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.
23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Mountain #1


TRUST. 
The beginning of this journey, I think, is in dreaming big. Asking for big things. Trusting that there is nothing too big for God even when these things seem like mountains to me. Here's mountain #1. My kids. Every parent feels like they're failing at times in sure. Some of us more than others. And legitimately some of our kids face more obstacles than others. But I am trusting for my children to be God's. Not in word only. They've all made decisions for Christ in their lives. Early on. With childlike faith. But I'm trusting for more. Big faith. Big hearts. Big testimonies. Big mountains moved in their lives so that they will all willingly call themselves 'The Lord's.'


Isaiah 44:3-5

"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. 
One will say, 'I belong to the Lord'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,' and will take the name Israel. 


One Word: TRUST

I haven't ever really done the one-word thing before. Choosing, or allowing God to choose, one single word to be my focus for the year. I've had words that have been my focus in the past: safety, peace (lots of times), simplify, etc. But to actually sit, early in January, and ask God for a word....? I haven't really done that before. 
This year I think my word is TRUST. 
It's not a word I think I would have chosen on my own. I have a faith gift. And trusting is not something I generally struggle with. I trust God. I believe that if he says He'll do something, He'll do it. 

But I think maybe God is asking me this year to ask Him for bigger things; to actually write down and pray for things so big that ONLY He could possibly give them; to put aside the fear of "it could never happen/I don't deserve it/it's impossible" and ask. And trust. Trust that He's got it. Trust that He can do it. Trust for bigger and bigger things. 

The first verse he impressed on me this year. On January 1st, actually, was this one: 

He knows how to give good (and big) gifts. He wants to bless. 

So I've started my list. My list of big things. Things so big that when He shows up, there will be no doubt that it was Him. 
And I'm going to trust. 

A new year....a new song

A new year, a new song.


Time for resolutions? I guess.  There are always  things I'd like to improve on and do better.  I don't know if I'd say they're resolutions.  Last year one of my best accomplishments was, for the first time in my almost 40 years as a Christian, reading through the Bible from cover to cover.  I'm amazed at how it all flowed and fit together into this beautiful story.  I've known the parts and I've read it all before....but never in order and with purpose like that.  I'm really thinking about doing it again this year.  My early morning coffee/reading times before anyone else was up were some of my favourite times this year!  We'll see.  And of course I'd like to eat better and exercise more....or exercise at all.  Aren't those the standard resolutions we make?  It's a journey, people.  

But here's my real resolution....
To let go.  To trust.  To keep my eyes on Jesus.  
   Even in the storms to remember that....  
  He's there.  He's in control.  He's got this.

You know how you have that one song that you play over and over and over on your playlists? It won't leave your head; it gets you choked up every time; it encapsulates what you feel.  This is my song right now.  I hope that it will be my song all year long. 

The whole concept of "letting go" has been a theme for me for about 5 years now....letting go of what I'd thought I'd be; letting go of what my own (small) dreams had been; letting go of what I thought I needed to be ok....and just letting God catch me; teach me; show me what his dreams for me are.  I love the bridge, "Let go, my soul, and trust in Him.  The waves and wind still know His name." 
 Of course they do.  He is LORD.  The waves and wind obey Him. 
 I can trust that He can handle the storms in my life too. 

And,  I get chills sometimes singing the line "This mountain that's in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea" because I KNOW He's moved mountains for me in 2015 and I'm excited to see what He will do in the new year.  There are still a few more mountains I'd like to see removed from my life and I know He can do it.  




Bethel Music - It is Well

Artist: Bethel Music
Album: You Make Me Brave
Verse 1
Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Chorus
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Verse 2

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see
And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Bridge
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul


Anthropologie has these amazing books cut into monogram letters.  
One of my best friends sent me the original Anthropologie picture and asked me if I could make her something like these.   I couldn't really back down from a challenge like that, could I?

Anthropology:
http://www.jkhnelson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/anthropologie-monogram-books.jpg 

So cool and so feeding my love of recycling/upcycling and vintage and power tools - they really tick all my boxes :)  Buuuuttttt, they're almost $30 each.  Seriously?  Can't justify that.  Not when I can pick up these awesome vintage Reader's Digest Condensed books from local thrift stores.  And I not when I have a cute little lime green Bandsaw just begging for some action. 



So, I put out ads using this picture looking for Vintage RD books - the ones from the 60's with these awesome colourful covers.

 Lots of books started showing up at my house....so yummy!!

 And then I went to work.  I may have tackled a tough one to begin with but one of my best friend's last names starts with G and I wanted to make her something.  Her son (who's first name starts with G) is convinced I made it for him.  That's ok too. 


 This set of two I made as a gift for my Brother-in-law & Sister-in-law. 

And I did get around to making the letters for the first friend who got me started down this road.  Her last name is only 4 letters so it was a fun little project and by the time I did hers, I had many books to choose from so I could pick colours that went well together.  

Happy new year!

 I'm in year 13, I guess, of having the school year influence this feeling I have that everything starts fresh in September. New books and clothes, new schedules and plans, new work experiences and school grades....it feels to me, at the beginning of every September, like it is New Years Day. 
 There's a slight feeling of loss now too, recognizing what didn't get done during the summer. And a feeling a apprehension as always when starting something brand new. But for the most part,  I'm ready for the adventure. 


One plan I had this summer was to finish ready through The Bible. I started in May with a very lofty goal (see chart at the end of this post - Read through The Bible in 90 days) and I knew I wouldn't finish on schedule so I gave myself an extra month to finish with the goal being to be done when school started again (next week Wednesday). As you can see, that won't be achievable. Just today I'm finished Isaiah and starting in on Jeremiah. I wish I could say it is solely due to the fact that I got sidetracked by all the truths that God kept showing me and the pauses I had to take to absorb what he was saying to me. And in some cases that was (and is) very much the case!! But sadly, there were also many days of procrastination, too much TV watching, busyness, driving here and there for various things, and days full of errands (both good and not good). 

So....my new goal (a New Year's Resolution of sorts) is to be through the Bible by Christmas. I have no illusions that reading straight through is any better than any other reading plan but it's something I've always wanted to accomplish and I do have to say, reading at this pace has been fascinating because you get to see the bigger picture as the stories unfold. I read with a bright pink highlighter in my hand so I can highlight the parts that speak to me and I can come back to them sometime when I'm studying for a different purpose. 

Here's my plan that I'm "following" or, maybe I should say, the plan that inspired me to get going. Enjoy! Happy New Year!