Friday, June 20, 2014

Spreading JOY Daily Giveaway

A few months ago, I got an email from the Spreading JOY Daily Team.  The email asked if I was interested in spreading the word of Spreading JOY through my blog.  I was honored!! 

A few weeks later, I received two copies of Spreading Joy Daily by Marie Wikle.  I read the book in two sittings.  The book gives 365 ideas for ways to spread joy.  It is genius.  Some ideas are free and others involve an expense.  But, none of the expenses are too much that you couldn't swing them every once in a while.

I truly believe in the movement of spreading joy.  Our culture is not the most positive and encouraging.  Someone who intentionally looks for opportunities to spread joy through encouraging words (written and verbal), gifts and actions can change the outcome of someone's day!  Just give it a try!!

I would love to share a few of my favorite ideas with you...
- Written Words Are Powerful... This is free!  Just write a card to five people that you encounter during your day!
- Cheesecake, Glorious Cheesecake... Purchase a cheesecake and give it to a neighbor!!
- Big Grins... This is free!  Just flash your pearly whites at everyone you encounter and see what difference it makes for you and those you encounter!
- Kids that Knock and Ask... Get... How many times has a kid selling Girl Scout cookies or popcorn knocked on your door, and you just said "no thanks?"  Can you only imagine how many times the door has been shut in their face?  Just buy a box of cookies the next time someone knocks on your door!
- That Was Awesome... This is free!  Just make eye contact and give a sincere thank you to someone who does a good job, or is wearing an outfit that you like! 
- Tips Bring Smiles... Slip a $5.00 tip to the bus boy!  Can you imagine the sheer joy it bring the bus boy to be noticed!

That is only a brief preview!  You'll have to enter the giveaway to get your hands on the copy... Or, you can purchase the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million!

Please take some time to explore the Spreading JOY Daily website.  There are ideas on how to spread joy without spending a penny, resources, more books and more!  You can send a stamped envelope to their address, and for FREE they will send you free Spreading JOY cards, for when you are inspired to purchase the meal of someone behind you! 

To be entered into the giveaway...
- Post a comment below by June 27th. In your comment, let me know your name and what you are most looking forward to in the Spreading JOY organization!
- On June 30th, I will announce the winner!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Get Fit Summer 2014

So, I have a confession or two... I am extremely competitive.  I, also, lack follow throw.  I will come up with some great plan, but if I am doing it on my own, I will not follow through to completion.  It's terrible. 

A few years ago, I participated in a 80 day fitness challenge.  It was intense.  No sugar, no soda, 80 ounces of water every day, 7 hours of sleep 3 times a week, exercise 6 times a week, 5 (I think) servings of fruits and vegetables every day... and, I feel like I am forgetting a thing or two.  But, because I was competing, the follow through was a breeze.  I came out on top!

I've needed to get my health back in order for far longer than I'd like to admit.  I just can't ever seem to follow through on my own.  It's too easy for me to talk myself into a midnight snack, a bowl of ice cream, a quick run to Sonic...

All that to say, I recently decided that my health could no longer be put on the back burner.  It is time to get serious!  But, knowing my weaknesses, I knew I could not do this alone.  So, I drug my roommate into a fitness competition.  But, what happened from there is like nothing I would have expected.

I put a little blurb on facebook about doing a fitness/health challenge and anyone interested could join.  Over the course of a week and a half, over 20 women from five different states have joined.  Today, we will begin "Get Fit Summer 2014" Or, #GF2K14 for short!

So, here is how the eight week challenge works.  Everyone will be paired with someone who lives in their state.  Points will be rewarded for contacting the partner, drinking 64 ounces of water, not eating after 9 pm, eating 2 servings of fruit, eating 3 servings of vegetables, not eating sweets, keeping a food journal, exercising for 30-45 minutes, getting 7 hours of sleep, and not getting fast food.  Weight loss points are also rewarded at the end of each week.  At the end of the competition, everyone (in each state) will get together to celebrate their accomplishments.  The pair within that state that earned the most points will not have to pay for their meal, and everyone else will equally chip into the winning pairs meal. 

I can't take all the credit for this.  I adapted the idea from Six Sisters Stuff - 8 Week Weight Loss.  They have a free document to download.  I just added a few things to best fit the needs of our group.  So, thank you to the Six Sisters for sharing your creation for free!

I am inviting you to join me on our journey over the next eight weeks.  It is going to be quite a ride.  I will share every Monday a re-cap of our week!  So, come along!  And, if inspired, jump on in with us!

Monday, May 12, 2014

101 in 1001

If you have followed .Redeemed. for any amount of time, you know how much I love making goals.  I thrive off of making goals.  I recently found this amazing concept... 101 in 1001, 101 tasks in 1001 days.  1,001 days is almost 2.75 years.  This leaves more room for flexibility.  A few of these are far fetched, and a few are just for fun.  I am really looking forward to the adventures that the next 1,001 days will hold!  So, without further ado, I present to you, my 101 goals in 1,001 days! 

101 Tasks in 1,001 Days
Starting - May 12, 2014
Finishing - February 6, 2017

101 Tasks in in 1,001 Days
1.       Inspire someone else to do 101 things in 1001 days
2.      Dedicate 1 blog post per completed task
3.      Put $10 in savings every time a task is completed
4.      Create a new set of 101 Tasks in 1,001 Days
Adventure in Texas
5.      Go to the TX State Fair
6.      Go to a Beach in Texas
7.      Attend three local performances
8.     Ride a mechanical bull
9.      Rent a bike and explore Fort Worth
10.  Explore ten new sites in Texas
11.   Get a Texas license and plate
Adventure in the United States
12.  Go on a girls weekend trip with my mom and grandma
13.  Have a half-way weekend getaway with North Carolina friends in Louisiana
14.  Go to a North Carolina beach
15.   Visit five new states
16.  Ride a train
17.   Go to two concerts
18.  Make a surprise visit home
19.  Go on a Segway tour
Adventures Around the World
20. Get a passport
21.  Visit a different country
Be My Guest
22. Host a game night
23. Host a dinner party
24. Host a holiday party
25.  Frame my Bachelor’s and Master’s diploma’s
26. Finish my high school graduation scrapbook
27.  Begin writing a book
28. Learn three new skills
29. Get a second tattoo
30. Have a necklace made of Philip’s signature
31.  Journal daily for a month
32. Take a painting class
33. Complete ten DIY projects
34. Participate in 100 Days of Happy
35.  Use Hebrew three times after finishing Hebrew classes
36. Use Greek three times after finishing Greek classes
37.  Have a Master’s in Divinity with a concentration in Children’s Ministry
38. Learn how to make five desserts from scratch without using recipe
39. Learn how to make ten dinner recipes from scratch without using recipe
40. Learn how to make five breakfast recipes from scratch without using recipe
41.  Put all perfected recipes in a cook book
42. Bake one new recipe a month
43. Try 20 new restaurants
44. Try 20 new foods
45.  Take a cooking class
46. Run 5 5k’s
47.  Work out 3 times a week for three months
48. Reach and maintain my goal weight for one year
49. Take a unique work out class
50. Learn one new health related skill
51.   Go white water rafting in three different places
52.  Have three months salary in savings
53.  Treat my parents to dinner
54.  Make and stick to a budget for three months straight
55.  Justin Timberlake concert tickets
56.  The entire Friends series on DVD
57.  A Hammock
58. A pair of rain boots
59.  Host a blog giveaway
60. Write a guest blog post
61.  Purchase a blog domain
62. Blog 10 times a month the entire 1,001 days
63. Have 100 followers on .Redeemed.
64. Learn how to and become successful at making money blogging
65.  Find, follow and comment regularly on ten blogs related to .Redeemed.
Serve Others
66. Do 20 random acts of kindness
67.  Leave a 100% tip
68. Pay for a strangers meal
69. Volunteer at 10 events
70. Send someone a package for no reason
71.   Send 50 snail mail letters
72.  Give 10 “just because” gifts
73.  Make and pass out 10 packs for needy
74.  Serve a meal at a homeless shelter
75.  Go on an international mission trip
For One Month
76.  Give up Starbucks
77.  Go on a spending freeze
78. Give up Complaining
79.  Give up sweets
80.Give up technology one hour before bed
81.  Give up Technology every weekend
82. Give up social media
83. Give up hitting snooze
84. Go gluten-free
85. Stop eating out
86. Get 8 hours of sleep every night
87. Eat recommended serving of fruit and vegetables a day
88.Go on a walk every morning
89. Read the entire Bible
90. Lead 10 people to Christ
91.  Commit 50 verses to memory
92. Lead a women’s small group
93. Memorize the books of the Bible in order
94. Share my testimony on 10 different occasions
95.  Get my own health insurance
96. Have a full-time job in ministry
97.  Become a Starbucks Gold Member
98. Become a member of an organization
99. Have 500 followers on Twitter
100.         Read ten books for fun
101.          Watch twenty-five new movies

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Year Later

April 23, 2013... I was at work.  I happened to be making dinner for the family I nanny-ed for.  I checked my email real quick.  I had an email from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was emailing to congratulate me on my acceptance.  I remember being overwhelmed with emotion.  I screamed on the inside.  I sent a mass text to a group of friends.  And, then I was overwhelmed with fear.  This dream that God had placed inside of me was becoming a reality.

If you've been around .Redeemed. for a while, you know the story of God calling me to SWBTS, me telling God no, God persisting, me applying, me getting accepted and me moving halfway across the country to start a new adventure.  Not new to .Redeemed., well... God called me to SWBTS in November 2012, I told God "there's no way", God told me "there's a way", I applied, I was accepted on April 23, 2013, and I moved halfway across the country in July 20, 2013. 

So, it has been a year since I was accepted to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  What a year it has been.  I would like to replay the last year for you. 

So, I was accepted to SWBTS on April 23, 2013.  In May, I went to dinner with my parents.  They thought I was taking them out to tell them that I had a boyfriend.  Instead, I told them that I was moving to Fort Worth, Texas.  Also, in May, after being unable to put it off any longer, I told my boss that I was moving for graduate school.  Everyone was so happy for me.  It was so reassuring to have so many people supporting what God was doing in my life.

June was quite a month.  For the sake of consistency for the children I was nanny-ing, they got a new nanny.  Fear of being jobless overcame me, but the Lord provided.  I began working for my parents, and picked up many babysitting and housesitting jobs.  I received an email from SWBTS with my name on it in June.  At the end of June, I moved out of my home for a year and a half and couch surfed for the month of July. 

July was filled with emotion.  It was in July that I would pack up a moving truck and travel halfway across the country to start a new adventure.  I would be leaving behind friends and family to chase after a dream of mine.  This was exciting, but terrifying.  I spent a lot of time with family and friends.  And, on July 20th, we set out for a three day adventure to Texas.

I was homesick, lost and lonely the majority of August and September.  The roommate situation wasn't fabulous, I had no friends, and I wasn't going to a church within the SBC *gasp*.  I wasn't finding my place in Fort Worth, Texas.

Things got better in October.  I was finding my place, making friends, embracing the place God had called me to and standing my ground... even when it wasn't in line with the Southern Baptist Way.

I got to fly home in November for Thanksgiving.  I am not one to cry in public.  But, after a not so grand flight experience... and being away from my family for far too long, I balled like a baby when I saw my brother at the airport at midnight in Augusta.  It was grand to share a midnight snack with him in the ghetto of Aiken at Waffle House.  It was absolutely wonderful to see my grandma, and my mom and dad, and baby brother.  Being back home with family for Thanksgiving was perfect.  Because my birthday is a week after Thanksgiving, we celebrated my 24th birthday a few days early. 

December flew by with exams, a family Christmas cruise, catching with friends and sleeping the days away.  Before I knew it, my five week break in Charlotte was up, and it was time to fly back to school.

January brought all sorts of transition.  When I arrived back in Fort Worth, I finally got to see my fabulous new apartment with my fabulous new roommate.  Thanks to wonderful friends, all of my furniture was already in our apartment.  The next day, I began my second semester at SWBTS, enrolled in thirteen hours, like a crazy person.  January, also, came packaged with an interview or two.  One door was closed because...

February brought a dream job!!!  After four years of praying for a position in ministry, God so eloquently placed the opportunity in my hands. 

March was a month of stretching.  Stretching of my time.  Stretching of my faith.  I had to remind myself that I am who God says I am.  I am qualified because God has called me.  I may not be your cookie cutter Christian seminary student, but I am a child of God who has a unique call from her Heavenly Father.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Be Present - Reflection

On Monday, I shared with you how Pastor Craig Groeschel challenged the men and women of his church to pick one verse and one word to guide their decisions, actions and thoughts throughout 2014.  I shared with you that my verse for 2014 is James 4:13-15 and my word is present.

Today, I would like to share with you how I am doing on being present.  First, I would like to share with you what being present looks like in my life.

When I first decided that present was my one word, I realized that it is kind of vague.  What does it mean to be present anyway? 


To me, being present means...

- Turning the phone on silent and facing it upside down or out of sight when with friends.
- Not worrying about the mile long to do list that tomorrow brings.
- Not dwelling on all that I should have done yesterday.
- Not being on social media when I have carved out time for homework or work.
Ultimately, being present is focusing on what is here and now, no matter what has happened or what is to come.
So, I haven't been doing so hot so far.  But, being present means that that is okay.  Being present means that I am not going to sit around and mope about how being sick took over my spring break and I didn't get half as much done as I needed to.  Being present means that I am not going to beat myself up every time I peak at my phone when a friend is over.  Being present means that I am not going to regret the moments that I didn't put my computer aside when my roommate was talking to me, because I needed to keep working and could multi-task.  Being present means that I am going to be present now and make some changes.