Seth’s Story: Overcoming an Addiction to Pornography

“If you were designing the perfect malicious tool,

it would probably be pornography.”

Seth’s statement rang out so boldly as I watched his testimony: a struggle to recover from an addiction to pornography. The subtle progression that Seth described here is exactly what James warns of,

Then after desire has conceived,

it gives birth to sin,

and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. ”

-James 1:15

This scenario is happening every moment in our communities, our homes, our own lives and we so often ignore the reality of what is decaying our person and relationships! Pornography is merely one tip in the sea of icebergs, but it is a significant, addictive, devastating tip. There is hope and healing for those who long to be free from these chains of addiction and sin! Follow Seth’s example: be humble and get help!

Booklook Review: Clout by Jenni Catron

As I opened the package I was reminded of how understated the design appeared on my most recent book review selection. In fact, the cover almost deterred me from choosing Clout, but I have followed Jenni Catron‘s blog for years now, and felt it would be a good read. I may have even reminded myself to “never judge a book by its cover.” I am so glad that I didn’t!

Jenni Catron‘s latest release, Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, is focused on helping the reader unearth their unique power and influence, or clout. Anyone who has wrestled with their passion, talents, gifting, strengths, and how that intersects with their purpose in this world would likely agree with me that it is no easy thing to pinpoint.

“Unexplored influence leaves us leading aimless or distracted lives where our deepest dreams and longings remain uncultivated.”

Jenni Catron, Clout pg. xxii

I was bought in completely and I had only reached the end of the introduction.

Aimless.

Distracted.

Uncultivated.

All of these words resonated with me and I knew that I had to dig into this book, gleaning all that I could from the wisdom buried in its pages. First, Jenni walks through the “Clout Killers” including: comparison, insecurity, and control. If you have ever been in leadership (even on the slightest level…that includes your clique’s lunch table!) you will find some piece of yourself connecting with one of the seven “Clout Killers”.

Thankfully the author does not stop there! Jenni Catron continues her writing by expounding on “Clout Cultivators”. In these four chapters, she lays out some key thoughts on identity, confidence, mission and passion. With introspective questions woven into the chapters and “Discovery Steps”, there is a lot to process if you really want to utilize this incredible tool.

Personally, this book arrived at my door at a God-ordained time. It is very evident to me that I need this book right now and that there are terribly significant choices on the horizon. I began reading right before going through a job change and within weeks I found myself grasping for control, trying to orchestrate my circumstances, and losing sight of the delicate stewardship of “being” and “doing” in my daily life. Not only will I be spending some more time to follow-through in working to cultivate my clout, but I would highly recommend this read to anyone who wants to grow personally. If you are in leadership, look here to learn and refine what you may already know, or just invest in self-development.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Recipe: Chocolate “Frosty” Shakeology

Finding a protein or nutrition drink that is actually full of quality ingredients, that actually tastes great, is pretty much impossible! However, good news; I would love to share with you that I have found one in Shakeology!

(Check out what’s in Shakeology here.)

One of my favorite recipes to blend up with my Chocolate Shakeology is one that is so crazy reminiscent of a Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty that it is like having dessert!

 

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Chocolate “Frosty” Shakeology

Ingredients:

1 Scoop Chocolate Shakeology

8 oz. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (if unflavored, add 1 tsp Vanilla flavoring)

1 Frozen* Banana (half is sufficient, but this is to taste/texture preference)

1 tsp Chia Seeds

Ice cubes (a handful or so to your likeness)

*A really ripe frozen banana will blend to the best thick consistency, but I have tried this with a nearly ripe banana + ice and it will work, just isn’t spot-on to my faux-”Frosty” taste. :)

Directions:

  1. Pour Almond Milk in blender, top with remaining ingredients. (for the best blending, always put your liquid in the bottom and frozen fruit/ice on the very top.)
  2. Blend, add ice and blend further to your desired thickness.

Interested in trying Shakeology? Contact me if you have any questions!

 

When I Became A Mom

MOPs has become a significant portion  of my life in the last 6 months. Aside from investing in my family, church, and whatever work comes my way, MOPs is high priority (and attending meetings, planning, and carrying out tasks takes up a good chunk of time).

I was blessed with an opportunity to share a devotion with our MOPs group this month, and thought it fitting to share here as well.

“When I Became A Mom…”

When I became a Mom, I found myself in a mess.

It’s difficult to say when or where the mess really began, but to sum it up…

  • pre-term labor
  • bed rest (which means no cooking, cleaning or further baby preparations)
  • 24 hour stay in the hospital (an hour away) to be sent home because labor was starting, but not really
  • unknown of the future: we had a date by which we had to leave Korea, but no destination or tickets to go anywhere
  • strain on friend and family relationships

This was all going on in the background, and then the day Maddy arrived…

  • active labor arrived suddenly
  • Mason stayed after work late to play softball (and injured himself)
  • Insurance company was called frantically (2am stateside time) to notify them we were headed to the hospital
  • Int’l Clinic was called (but didn’t tell the Delivery Room…so my doctor was not present.)
  • water broke before we got out of town
  • Mom (our driver) had never driven from our house to the hospital before
  • Timing landed us right in the middle of rush hour traffic trying to get into the capital of Seoul, Korea
  • Upon arriving at the hospital, progress was assessed and I remember the nurse telling me NOT to push, and yelling that they were moving me to the delivery room.

It was pretty crazy, and pretty much a big mess.

download

 

When I looked back at the pictures from the hospital and delivery room that night, I struggled to see the beauty. I actually found that they were more appealing if I converted them to grayscale images. It helped me to find the beauty in the mess.

In the early days of having Maddy home, I found myself in more messes: poop-splosions, projectile vomiting, and trying to breastfeed a newborn baby. Add it all together and it is a recipe for laundry and cleanliness disaster!

Now that our Little Girl is a toddler, I find “toddler trails”. These are not paths, but rather the evidence that my child WAS there! Toys, books, food particles, dress-up clothes, actual clothes, the occasional diaper and shoes, bags and whatever else looked interesting along the way are all spread in the direction from which she came!

Life will be full of messes…big, overwhelming messes. I realize this, and I want to find the beauty in the mess of life, because there is glory to be found!

“If I’m not purposeful to sort out the good and the bad,

I will pass on the good and the bad to those I lead.”

-Jenni Catron, Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, pg. 46

Clout, by Jenni Catron, is written for those in leadership positions, and motherhood is most certainly a position of influence. As I read Jenni’s statement, I contemplated how whatever mess I am in affects not just me, but my spouse and children as well!

Finding beauty requires wisdom, and wisdom is available to any one of us. In Proverbs 8:17, “Wisdom” promises,

“I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.”

No matter what mess you face…

No matter what mess surrounds you…

No matter what mess threatens to drown you…

take a breath and learn to find beauty in the mess!

Pass on the good you find to your family.

Share.

Rejoice

Be thankful.

Celebrate.

Be purposeful to pass on the good to those you love!

#WorldsToughestJob

 

#WorldsToughestJob

With job expectations, education requirements, and that salary (with no hope of a raise), why would anyone agree to fill this position?

Sunday evening I was sharing that even considering everything I do for our family: keeping the house, planning and cooking meals, taking care of the Little Girl, managing so many nth details, I have no paycheck to show for it. It’s pretty incredible when you ponder this!

I am so thankful for my Mom who took on the #WorldsToughestJob and has worked her hardest at it for several decades now. Thank you, Mom!

 

New Ventures in a Healthy Lifestyle

Team Beachbody Coach

Exercise. Nutrition. Accountability.

All three of these have been a part of my life (some more significant depending on the season), but the three were never aligned in such a way that I felt I had established a balanced, healthy lifestyle. My main health goal for this year was to eat to fuel the body, not to satisfy cravings.

Health Goal:

eat to fuel the body, not so satisfy cravings

 

In March my initial response to my experience with Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix was blogged and I simply continued using the program and drinking my shakes. I have felt such a huge difference in my energy levels, diminished cravings, and even surprised myself by losing a few pounds along with toning down by several inches. Team Beachbody proved to be exactly what I needed to help me achieve a total reset and the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

If you have any questions or are interested in Shakeology or fitness programs, please email me! I would absolutely love to help you achieve your goals as you steward your healthy life!

FAVE: Kamani Designs Review & Giveaway

See this face? I love this cute face so much.

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The messes this little girl can make are absolutely astounding! Maddy is our first child, so when it comes to mealtime, I very quickly found a few tools that worked, and those that did NOT! Bibs are one of those things that are either major “WIN”s or “FAIL”s (if you are a parent, you know this!). We tried several different bibs, and not surprisingly, the homemade bibs that friends gave us were holding up the best (aside from a decent toddler pocket bib with NO BRAND ON IT!) Needless to say, I have been searching for some good bibs that we can actually put to use around here.

I had a few requirements:2014-03-28 05.45.03auto

  • pocket to catch the mess
  • large enough to cover the “eating area”
  • safe materials to have on my daughter’s body and touching her food
  • well-made for durability

I got desperate at one point and almost purchased a OXO Tot Roll Up Bib or BABYBJORN Soft Bib, but I held out in hopes of not wasting my money on something that wasn’t going to work for us. The Etsy hunt ensued and it took me a bit, but I came across something that appeared unique when Kamani Designs popped up in my search results!

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Kamani Design owner, Lia, was willing to let me test and review a few bibs, so Maddy helped pick out three. Before I tell you about our experience using them, here are the standout features for Kamani Designs products:

  • Safe Fabric: all Snappy Bibs are made with safe fabric that has been tested as lead and phthalate free and is CPSIA approved so it is considered safe for use by children (unlike oilcloth).
  • Ease of Cleaning: Snappy Bibs are very practical to wipe off or hand-wash and they are ready to go again! This is GREAT when you are on the go and need to be able to put that post-mealtime bib back in your diaper bag. The snap-up pocket also un-snaps for thorough cleaning without having to wash every time.
  • Sizes: adjustable neck sizes with 2 snaps make the Snappy Bibs very practical for extended use with your little one.
  • Coverage: unlike other trim bibs, Snappy Bibs are designed with wide shoulders and a full torso with a snap up pocket to catch the mess.
  • Style: not only are Snappy Bibs reversible, but with a variety of bright and colorful fabrics to choose from, you can even mix and match your own favorites to design a custom bib! As well, Lia handcrafts matching Pacifier Clips and Splat Mat/Art Mats. hint-a set would make an incredible baby shower gift!

Our three bibs were put to use immediately when they arrived, and have become fast favorites. Well, Maddy’s favorite is the “pow” (cow) bib that she picked when we ordered. We also chose a “puppel” (purple) one and the third a pretty black, white and yellow print.

package bibs

Upon opening the bibs, I found myself pleasantly surprised when I discovered detailed care instructions as well as a bright and simple guide for how to use the pockets on the Snappy Bib! (Lia has designed a unique fold which keeps the pocket open to “catch” whatever falls.)

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We were packing up to head out of town for the weekend for a family wedding, so we tested these intensely right off the bat. Maddy used one to eat her lunch about 10 minutes before we headed out the door, and it was SO EASY to wipe off with a damp cloth and fold it right up to put in our “go” bag. I was instantly relieved about mealtimes over the weekend (the Snappy Bibs were going to make it so easy)! These bibs truly did make mealtime and clean up a breeze while we were out, and we got tons of compliments on them.

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I really want to emphasize just how convenient these Snappy Bibs have been for me to use, wash, and re-use. The Snappy Pocket Bib works beautifully to catch (and then release) the mess, leaving no food particles stuck in a seam! I haven’t needed more than running water and a quick scrub for the worst of our dried-on messes. (Because, let’s be honest…the mealtime mess doesn’t always get cleaned up immediately around here!) #keepinitreal
clean collage

Hanging to dry is only necessary if you wash them under running water. A damp cloth wiping would typically just require a quick dry with a towel.

Hanging to dry is only necessary if you wash them under running water. A damp cloth wiping would typically just require a quick dry with a towel.
pocket collage text
There is not enough positive I can say about our experience with the Snappy Pocket Bibs we chose. Lia is creating great products and I am so proud to support her and share her business with you!

Here’s where you get a chance to try out a Snappy Bib!

Which print will you choose?

Which print will you choose?

Kamani Designs is offering one of YOU a custom  Snappy Pocket Bib. Are you a mother of a toddler? Do you know a mother of a toddler? Follow the link below to enter the giveaway!

CLICK to go to the Entry-Form

Disclosure – Per FTC Regulations, I am disclosing that I received product(s) from the business mentioned above, at a discounted rate, for review. I was in no other way compensated for my review. The views expressed above are my own, honest opinions and any claims should be verified on the sponsor’s site.

snow…snOW…SNOW!

{I always get the song from White Christmas in my head when I say sing the word “snow” to myself!}

2014-03-26 03.58.22

Some people I spoke to did not believe the weather forecast, but I was certain it was really going to happen.

Not that I wanted it to.

I just knew that it would.

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Why?

A year ago we were moving into this wonderful townhouse with the crowd-sourced furniture Mason gathered up (along with our few boxes and suitcases of belongings) and within the first couple days of living here, it had snowed. [read about it here]

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Winter tends to tempt me toward feeling of depression, but thankfully for the last 2 months Mason and I have been regularly exercising together so the barrage of winter storms has barely even phased me. Whereas the other storms have come and gone, my thoughts hardly paying them any mind, this storm halted my emotions and I found myself reflecting on this week just a mere 52 weeks past. Praise God for where he has brought us. Wow!

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It is truly amazing what God can do in a year, and I look forward to another in this beautiful townhouse.

YNAB is Now Free for College Students | YNAB

Did you hear?

 

You Need A Budget is FREE for COLLEGE STUDENTS!

It’s true-there is an AWESOME deal out there for college students right now!

557031_10151005607393703_382475381_nI can’t recommend this software strongly enough, and the fact that YNAB is giving it to college students for FREE just makes me like this company one thousand times more. Yes, one thousand times, which is saying a lot because I already adore them!

This is the tool that helped Mason and I reach our financial and debt-free goals thus far, and it has taken all of the stress and strain out of my budgeting process. It’s just that good! {I talked about YNAB before in this post.}

I know, many of you aren’t college students, so for now the best I can tell you is that if you use my referral link (<–right there) you’ll get $6 off the software. I cannot stress how much it’s WORTH THE MONEY, Y’ALL! If you have any questions about it, just ask and if I can’t answer, I can point you to someone who can!

*Disclaimer-this post includes referral links from which I may receive profit. Use or not, it’s up to you. Thanks!

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