Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gingerbread Bars & Orange Creamsicle Shakes

Well, hellllllllo holidays!!

I’m not sure if it’s because this is my first time not being in school/working, but I feel like the holidays have totally snuck up on me this year. It does NOT feel like Thanksgiving or Christmas yet….but I have to say, I am SO excited for both this year. So ready to celebrate with Mr. Jase and his first Thanksgiving and Christmas!! Ready to make some fun memories, and really, really looking forward to spending time with our families.

So, just wanted to share our new favorite holiday treat…


Gingerbread bars and Orange Cream shakes!

Seriously, I am not even telling you how many of these bad boys we have ordered. We are a tad bit addicted. The orange shakes are the bomb diggity and a perfect meal, & the gingerbread bars….OH, MY, WORD. Heat those bad boys up for about 8-10 sec….yummmm!! Seriously, low cal, high protein (11 g), & it pretty much melts in your mouth.

Had to share because they are DE-LISH and you’re way missing out if you don’t get some.  The holiday products always sell out and you can’t get them any more (till next year), so we stock up something serious. And we love you, but we won’t share. (Get your own, bro!) If you’re already a member, go order ASAP with your own discount. If you’re not, you can get the gingerbread bars HERE and the shakes HERE. 

You’re welcome.

And Happy Holidays!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lord, Teach Me to LOVE

Do you love well?


I LOVE people and there was a time when I thought the answer to that question was YES. But, I have realized after a good bit of self-examination that I have a lot of work to do in the “loving” department. I do love, and I love deeply. I think the absolutely WORLD of my hubby and am so thankful for him. He is the love of my life!! And if you’re around me for any length of time, you will know that I think he’s the MAN and I shout his praises from the rooftops. (Not sorry if that annoys you.) I think my parents are true saints and I cannot begin to imagine life without them- I love them beyond words for who they are and what they have taught me. They are the most generous people I know. I love my precious friends who are such incredible people and inspire me to be better, and my sweet family who is there for me through thick and thin and loves me in spite of me. And I love my baby Jase deeper and more unconditionally, in a way I never knew existed until I held him in my arms. A love that has grown deeper every day I have been blessed to be his Mom.


Yes, I am a LOVER. I love people. BUT, as I have grown in my walk and asked God to give me eyes and a heart to see and love others how HE does, I have realized I am not as loving as I once thought.

Being totally transparent, I love “the loveable.” I love people who love me. Who are nice to me. Who treat me well. And the truth is, that is not something I deserve a pat on the back for. Anyone can do that. Non-believers love people who love them, right? As followers of Christ, we are called to LOVE others as Christ loves them. Not based on conditions. Not based on feelings or emotions.  Not because they do things for us, look or act a certain way, etc. And that’s where it gets tough. But loving others is the second greatest commandment. We are called above all to love GOD and to love OTHERS. God was strategic in that- He knew those would be challenging for us. (We can all say we love God, but our actions, thoughts, attitudes, and priorities do not always reflect that. That’s a different post for a different day.)

My new prayer is for me to begin to understand a glimpse of God’s love for us and to be so filled with it that it pours out of me and I can love others. Love them well. Love them deeply, the way Christ does. I want to be so filled with God’s love that I can’t help but pour it out to others, no matter who they are, where they have been, how they have treated me.

Just imagine the impact we could make on this world if Christians LOVED others the way we were called to love. So much less hate, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, anger, rage, unforgiveness, hypocrisy, gossip. We need to step our LOVE game UP big time. And I am absolutely starting with myself.

Here is the lesson I taught in Bible study this week. I hope it has the same impact on you that it had on me…

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:10-11


Last week we talked about putting off a negative, critical, faultfinding attitude toward others. There is no way we can do that unless we replace it with something. The only attitude big enough to replace a critical attitude is an attitude of love.


This week we are going to look hard at what God’s Word says about LOVE and choose to obey it. Our goal is to live out our new understanding of how to love a person and how to get victory over a critical, negative kind of attitude. Jesus said in John 13:35 that this kind of love for one another is the number one mark of authentic Christianity. “By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). When people see contrast between a life focused on self versus a life dedicated to loving others, it grabs their attention. Most people long to know how REAL love by REAL people really works.


1. If you want to grow in your ability to love others, you must grow in your relationship with Christ. Love is rooted in His character. The closer you walk with God, the more His Spirit will give you the power to love others as God loves them.

2. Because God loves us, we ought to love one another (1 John 4:11). The message of Christianity isn’t that God loves us because we first loved Him; by the grace of God He CHOSE to love us. We can’t hoard God’s love, which we did nothing to deserve. We express our gratitude by passing it on.

We all know the words to and have sang “Jesus Loves Me,” but have you ever doubted God’s love for you?? Maybe during a trial or training? Or perhaps your relationship with God was blocked by unconfessed sin and God seemed far away?

The message of love is PERSONAL. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done, or what you’ve experienced; God loves you. It doesn’t matter what you have thought about yourself or what others may have said about you; God loves you. You are honored, precious in His eyes, and He LOVES you! (Isa 43:4)

John 3:16 is the most powerful Scripture about LOVE.

God- the greatest lover

So loved – the greatest degree

The world – the greatest number of people

That He gave – the greatest act

His only begotten Son – the greatest gift

God’s Word describes three types of love:

1. phileo- brotherly love

2. eros- a sexual love

3. agape- selfless, giving love; “you before me;”

Here’s what happens without love. Confront without love and someone gets hurt. Correct without love and someone gets hurt. Complain without love and someone gets hurt. Condemn without love and someone gets hurt. Console without love and someone gets hurt. Console without love and someone gets hurt worse. In most cases, when love is missing from the communication, everyone loses.


· Love is a debt worth having.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8

· Love keeps us thinking clearly.

For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;” – 2 Corinthians 5:13-14

· Love binds relationships together.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,” –Colossians 2:2

· Love keeps us fervent in our love.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

· Love gives access to distant relationships.

…Rather, serve one another humbly in love.” – Galatians 5:13

· God’s love allows us to conquer every obstacle.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

No wonder 1 Corinthians 13:13 says “The greatest of these is LOVE.”

But the greatest of these is love.

Love Languages:

How we show love is SO incredibly important too. Sometimes we show others love in the way we want to be shown love, and although our intentions are great, the other person may not receive it as we are intending for them too. For example, I LOVE to give gifts!! My mom is not really a gift person and much prefers quality time, so although I am attempting to show my love for her in buying her something, it would mean SO much more to her to just spend good, uninterrupted quality time with her. Jonathan’s two main love languages are words of affirmation (he would rather me tell him directly than speak highly of him to others- something I’m working on) and physical touch. He demonstrates his love through acts of service. All of these things are something we need to be mindful of- how we show love, like to be shown love, and the same with others. It will drastically improve relationships. No wonder they say “knowledge is power.”

(HIGHLY recommend if you haven’t read it yet- AWESOME! I wrote a post about it HERE.) Here are the 5 Love Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service or Kindness
  • Physical Touch

**The way you express love is most likely your own love language. Are you loving the people in your life according to their love language or yours?

Ways to Love:

Check out these Scriptures for some practical ways to demonstrate love. John 15:12, Galatians 5:14, Ephesians 5:2, Romans 12:10, Hebrews 10:24, 1 Cor 16:14, 1 John 4:21

We can also show love by:

1. Losing ourselves in others.

2. Listening deeply and hear what someone is saying and not saying.

3. Loving the unlovable/unlovely in our community.

4. Leaving our mistakes at the foot of the cross and forgive one another.

5. Discovering God’s plan for our lives. Pray and seek the Lord for one another.

6. Leaning on the Holy Spirit when we don’t know how to help or pray for one another.

7. Leading others to Christ. WOW!! This is absolutely the most powerful act of showing love. I’m ashamed to admit the last time I’ve led someone to the Lord because it has been such a long time- which tells me I need to step my game up and share the Gospel more. It is not enough to simply try to “live by example”…Time to refocus and make more of an ‘eternal impact’ in the lives of others.


Reference: MacDonald, James. Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (April 1, 2008)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lord, Change My Critical Attitude

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:29-32

Criticism is a sin. It breeds consequences. God cares about how we treat one another and holds accountable one who criticizes His children. The root of a critical attitude is a sinful heart, and there are deeper underlying issues for those who have an overly critical attitude. While constructive criticism can be helpful, there is a fine line- and the difference is the HEART behind the criticism. Is it truly to help make someone better, or simply to make you feel better about yourself??

Criticism: to dwell on the perceived faults of another with no view of their good; disapproval of people for having faults different from your own

**Numbers 12- Who was criticized? For what? By whom?


Ex: marriage counseling/spouses, kids, preaching, leaders/government, bosses, success of others, spiritual gifts/talents, new teacher (class at gym), outfits, etc.

When people are critical, there are deeper issues behind the criticism.

The REAL issues behind criticism:

1. Unforgiveness – with unforgiveness in the heart, criticism will be on the lips

2. Bitterness – living apart from God’s grace, unforgiveness of past hurts

3. Envy & Resentment – jealous, discouraged by own failure

4. Careless, Thoughtless Words- loose lips, often unintentional

5. Pride – Proverbs 16:18, self-exalting! Cloaks insecurity

**Other issues: Anger, Irritation, Disappointment, Unmet Expectations, Impatience, Stress, Guilt


Consequences of a Critical Spirit:

1. Disunity in the Body of Christ – Prov 6:16-19, 7th thing that is an abomination to the Lord

2. Divide and Conquer – The enemy has a military strategy to divide the body of Christ, undermine our joy, usefulness, and unity.

3. Discontentment- Criticism leads to discontentment. When you’re finding fault in every situation, you’re going to be dissatisfied with your God given lot in life.

4. Desensitized to the Sin of Criticism- Talk to GOD about it first.

5. Criticism Plugs the Flow of God’s Blessings- It is impossible to grow more like Christ when you have a critical attitude.

How to Take Criticism:


Follow Moses’ example! When you are doing the Lord’s work, you will be criticized. You will need God’s mercy to help you. Ex: At one point in the 40 year wandering trek across the desert, the people wanted to kill Moses and Aaron. Before the stones began to fly, God showed up in Numbers 14:10-12 and offered to take care of the problem by taking out Israel permanently, but Moses interceded on their behalf. He asked God to forgive Israel, and God showed compassion. God didn’t need the reminder, but Moses needed the reaffirmation of his faith and to demonstrate he trusted God’s merciful nature and modeled that.

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” - Psalm 19:14

“Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.” – Ecclesiastes 5:2

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” –Proverbs 15:1-2

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” – Matthew 7:5

“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” –Luke 17:3

How to Handle CONFLICT:

The Bible clearly addresses how to handle conflict. It does not say be critical, have a sharp tongue, fight, gossip, bully, engage in verbal or physical combat, judge, discuss with others, etc.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” –Matthew 18:15-17


Few things put you in the “wilderness” faster than a critical attitude. This attitude saps all joy out of relationships and sends your own perspective to a dry land far from the Promised land living. Like a slow poison, we may experience the consequences of a critical attitude without realizing it. When God says “Don’t criticize,” it’s not because he is trying to deprive us of some satisfactory experience, but rather to protect us from destructive consequences. Being critical goes against the nature of who He created us to be.


Reference: MacDonald, James. Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (April 1, 2008)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Christmas Day at Bass Pro

On our girl’s trip in Destin, Mom (Grammy) went to the outdoor mall one day and called me to let me know they had a huge Christmas display set up at Bass Pro Shop. She wanted me to bring Baby Jase (her and Jonathan & his parents especially are SO EXCITED about his first Christmas), so I waited till he was done napping and headed over. We only had about a 45 minute window to play - by the time I fed him, got him ready, and accounted for the drive over and the drive back- we had to hustle.

Jase LOVED everything though!!! He was so cute & I was glad I took him over there to check it out.


We actually have pictures of me & Jonathan sitting in front of this same aquarium on our beach trip to Destin forever ago. So cool to see it come full circle and now our little man there.


He also randomly started sitting up for the very first time (on the beach, actually) & now he thinks he’s such a big boy. He is still a little wobbly, but he seriously looks so grown in these- I can’t even take it!


Can’t wait for Christmas with this little boo…


Fun times with Grammy! Getting us excited for the HOLIDAYS!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jase is 26 Weeks!!

October 31- November 6

Weight: We go back to the doctor soon for 6 week shots and I can't wait to see his growth! I don't feel like he is growing as much...he seemed to get big fast and now he's plateaued some. Hoping the doctor says that's normal. He is probably about 17 lbs now, so double his birth weight.

He is for real wearing some 12 month and 18 month clothing's crazy. Jon was itching to buy him some footsie pajamas since it's getting cooler and he insisted we get 9 months. YEA RIGHT!! Poor Jase is busting at the seams and they aren't near long enough. I couldn't help but sing "Fat man in a little coat" when I was trying to put him in them.


Health: Whew! Wonder week in the HOUSE!!! That Wonder Week stuff is LEGIT. (You can download the app & track your baby's leaps.)  I also think he is having a 6 month growth spurt. So needless to say, with that sweet combo, we’ve had some tough naps and he’s cried and fussed more than I’ve ever really heard before. He’s lost his “sweet cry” too. Oh joy! Yep, we’ve heard some serious screaming a few times this week.

(FYI- This is NOT how he is fastened in his car seat. I snapped some pics before we got him tightened up and the chest clip moved to his actual chest.)



Such a cutie patootie in his hats...thanks, Linz!

Sleep: Naps were not so hot this week, and he woke up during the night several nights this week too. After reading BabyWise blog about dropping naps, I am thinking Jase may be showing signs of being ready to drop his evening nap. I tried one day, but he got pretty fussy so we just put him down. I decided to wait, and I really think it’s from the growth spurt and time change. Time change was pretty tough on us & he’s been waking up way earlier. We’re about to crack down and get serious about his consistent awake time.

I will say, we have had LOTS of sweet, sweet snuggles this week though…love my cuddly boo.

Nursing: No more biting this week- whew! He is getting super distracted when he eats and it takes forever. I try to limit distractions, but our curious lil dude wants to be all up in everything going on around us.

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What Jase is up to: Saying "Mama" FOR SURE.

Getting so ready to crawl!

Started eating big boy food. (I cut back to just avacado to make sure he doesn't have a reaction. He does NOT like them....even after 3 days. We started some scrambled pasteurized egg yokes too and he seems to like the taste better.


Meeting Emily (Mom's dog)...and he LOVED her! Unfortunately she didn't share the same sentiments toward him. Poor puppy. Ha!

Neighborhood walks are the best.

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Post-Partum: I feel awesome!! I think this kickboxing has really revved up my metabolism and I’ve been eating super, super clean. That always helps.

I have had a little bit of baby fever for a few weeks, but plan to wait a bit longer (18 months to 2 years) so I can attempt a VBAC. (I think…still praying, but either way, making a baby is SERIOUS work and our bodies NEED time to recover.)

Thoughts: Even though this was a “tougher” week (and I definitely say that lightly), I know I am so blessed beyond measure. Baby Jase, you are the sweetest, most precious blessing and we fall more and more in love with you at every new stage. You are SO much fun & really starting to get some personality. You smile at pretty much everyone now & are learning so many new things.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Sweet Day at the Beach

Precious memories with the girls at the beach...