Friday, February 6, 2015

Prayer Journal for a Prayer Warrior

"When my arms can't reach people who are close to my heart, I hug them with prayers."

This is a quote written in the "Friends" tab of my prayer journal. I started this prayer journal last Sept. (2014) Prayer is my weakness. I'm a study and reading powerhouse but prayer - not so much. I often would find myself getting distracted when I prayed. Also, it seemed I didn't cast my prayers very wide. To me, this means I'd just pray for the same stuff going on in my little world only.

I've had a basic prayer journal in the past but this one has helped me because I tabbed it! You may see 5 tabs but there are actually 6 sections. When I was creating the tabs I accidentally forgot to make one for the section on my prayers. When I realized that, I found it fitting that other prayers were forefront over me. :) The sections are:

Beloved (me - that's what my name means)

I don't write in each section ever day nor do I pray through ever section at one time but this has helped me to pray much deeper. In the Gratitude section, I journal to God things I'm happy and grateful for while in the Worship section I doodle and record scriptures that inspire me as I worship God. In the Beloved section I tend to pray about things I need to grow in and sometimes record points during a sermon that personally pierce my heart. This section also has some specific "Mom Prayers" I pray for fairly consistently so that I can grow as a mom too. In the Family section, I pray different things for my family and I have this list of things I continually pray over my daughter. (the list below)

The largest section ends up being the Friends tab. I record prayers people ask for and pray almost daily for these needs and desires. Sometimes I date them when I begin praying and I place a heart next to the ones I finish praying for when the prayer is answered or when that person has asked me to now pray for other things.

The Beyond section is the section that really stretches me! I try to pray for world events, tragic happenings, and bold prayers for people I don't even know! I pray for our country and for other countries. I pray about the wars going on, the people in power, the hungry and those in need. I pray for public health issues and for Christians under persecution.

I wish there were more pictures that I could show you but I want to be respectful of the prayers I'm praying for others. There are lots of different examples online of prayer journals- this is just the one that has been working for me. Anyway, it's been great to have this little journal and if you are looking for a way to be more of a prayer warrior but like me, really struggle to go as deep as you really want to in prayer, then I hope you'll think about giving it a try.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Gentle Jesus

When Peter saw Jesus walking on water, he asked the Lord to invite him to come join. With the invitation, Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water too but then got afraid. Beginning to sink, he cried out to the Lord Jesus. Our Messiah reached out and saved him then said, "You have so little faith. Why did you doubt me?" Matthew 14:22-36

I've been moved lately to the conviction that Christians in general don't hear or speak enough about Christ. Instead the bulk of our speech and what we are taught is about "right living." I'm beginning to see how letting our conversation be saturated with talk of Jesus is a narrow road and how a focus on mostly "right living" is the broad one. So in our family times, and more in my conversations, I want to speak about him most because he is the Heart of All!!!

Last night during our family devotional, my daughter and I spoke about Jesus and it was amazing! Like many of us who didn't grow up consistently attending church, there is SO much about Jesus she doesn't know and what she perceives isn't biblically accurate. I can relate.

So as she described Jesus to me, and since she's reading through Matthew in her personal times with God, she brought up the story above and mentioned how mad Jesus was at Peter. Is that how you read it too? I remember as a younger Christian reading verses the same way! Do you read scriptures as though Jesus and God are totally frustrated at people all the time? Honestly, many of us do. Consider with me, though, Galatians 5:22-23. In this passage the fruits of the Holy Spirit are described, " love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." These descriptions are of God's why do we so often read Jesus with a harsh or disappointing tone even if he's correcting?

Since the bible is not labeled with emoticons :) my suggestion to her, and to you, is to read Jesus with a fruit of the spirit tone unless there are words written to describe his tone differently. I described the verse above to my daughter again but in the light of thinking about when a child walks for the first time. See the excitement in the parent's eyes with each step the child makes...when they stumble or get scared most parents don't come back with a harsh tone. When a child is experiencing walking for the first time parents try to be there to swoop them up in their arms. So I see Jesus with excitement in his eyes as Peter takes his first steps of walking on water. Then I see him swooping him up like a father would his child in a huge hug when he got scared and began sinking. Then how Jesus spoke about faith and doubt but with compassion, gentleness and understanding.

I think when we see Jesus fully in the light of the fruit of the Spirit, our whole outlook and reading of his life on earth can make our hearts take a beautiful shift! Remember Jesus love you.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Valentine Day Gift Ideas

Did you realize Valentine's day is only 28 days away. Don't wait until the last minute to plan for your special loved one. Take some time to really make them feel special. LOVE is awesome! Whether you are single, dating, or married the fact is we ALL have someone that we can show love and appreciation to. Here are some quick ideas to spark your mind and heart. Please add your own special touch to these and adapt them. I've started out with some basics and added variations to get your creative juices flowing. Enjoy spreading the love!

Gift ideas for Children
  • Tic-Tacs & Tic Tac Toe board. This is precious, can be fun to play together and not too much sugar. 
  • Make the bracelet above for your kid'o. Here's how: Heart bracelets
  • My dad left for work early before mom and I had gotten out of bed but, even if the holiday fell on a weekend, he always left a red box of Valentine chocolates for my mom and a pink one for me when we woke up. Made me feel super special!
  • Leave surprise notes all over the house for kids to find. On them share what you love and appreciate about them.
  • Consider surprising your child in the morning by hanging hearts in their doorway. (or all over the house) On the hearts, write sweet words of encouragement and love. Check Hearts Galore idea here. (picture below)

Gifts ideas for Women
  • Romantic: Simple wine glass (dollar stores are a great place to buy one) - if it's painted, even better. Fill with chocolate, or hand written encouragement notes. Tie a fancy red ribbon around the base for special touch. ** Variation: buy two and enjoy some wine/sparkling cider with a toast in a location that's special to you both. Add simple grapes/cheeses for an "indoor picnic".
  • Poetic: Buy a small, cute box. Write your own poem(s) or print off some special ones. Roll up like a scroll and tied with a fancy red ribbon. Place some real rose petals or silk flowers inside the box along side the poems. Wrap and give with a sweet valentine card.** Variation: After the gift is opened, recite these poems personally to your special person. If there is a special item mentioned in the poem (like a rose, jewelry, etc) consider handing it to them as you speak those words in the poem.
  • Dreamers: Purchase an inexpensive book that would inspire your special person. Inside write a sweet note of love and encouragement. Consider flipping through the book and marking some pages that you think they will enjoy with heart shaped memos.** Variation: Spend time together flipping through the book or making a dream list. Cozy book stores or in front of a fireplace are great locations for this.
  • Inspiration: On squares of beautiful, valentine card stock, write out inspiring quotes or sayings. Carefully hole punch the left corner of each square and loop all the cards together with fancy red ribbon. Please a few chocolates inside and wrap in a pretty valentine box. ** Variation: make each card have positive affirmations or romantic quotes. You can also write on each card things you love about your special person.
  • Simple reminders: Fill a picture frame (valentine theme a bonus) with encouraging words, favorite poems, funny pictures of the two of you, things you have drawn etc. Wrap in valentine gift wrap and include a sweet card. **Variation: Keep & display items from dates by creating a shadow box and embellishing with hearts inside. Some examples are: ticket stubs, branded napkin from a favorite restaurant, tokens, photographs...etc...
Gifts ideas for Men
  • Are there any successful men or someone he admires? Fill a small photo album with quotes from them. Gift-wrap in valentine style and consider writing to him why he is a man you admire.  
  • Gift him a special valentine card and with it provide a food gift certificate/gas card inside. Guys do enjoy practical things sometimes.
  • Gift him tickets to his favorite upcoming sporting event. Surprise him by placing them in a place he won't expect it.
  • Want a gift that gives on Valentine's day and beyond? Give a food, beer, or wine of the month club gift certificate.
  • Cook him a special or favorite lunch/dinner. If a lunch, consider if there is a way to deliver to him at work. If dinner, set a special valentine atmosphere.
  • Bake him something sweet! Wrap up in a simple valentine box and surprise deliver. Consider sharing with him what you find to be "sweet" about him.
  • Buy an accessory for his favorite gadget. Package in a valentine box. Share with him all the special ways he improves your life and makes you smile. 

Here's an idea of a funny, homemade 3-D card. I thought this was priceless and perfect for all those in love! Origami Valentine

 Pop-up Cards instructions:

  • Fold a colorful sheet of paper in half vertically.
  • On the fold, cut four short lines near the middle of that fold.
  • Push the two “flaps” these cuts make towards the inside of the card and make a crease.
  • With construction paper cut out balloons, flowers, or letters spelling your message.
  • Tape or glue these items to the “flaps” inside your card. (make sure these items do not stick out when the card is closed)
  • Glue another piece of paper around the edges to the outside of the card.
  • Write any further messages. (design and date the back)