40 Day Prayer/Scripture Challenge
I designed these bookmarks for my youth group. We are implementing a 40 Day prayer challenge for them. It's simple, we are challenging them to seek God's face every single day in prayer and the Word. I wanted to give them something simple to put inside the Bible or on their nightstand or even their bathroom mirror as a reminder. These are FREE to download, just click the button below.
Do you have a favorite sun hat or bathing suit cover you love? For me they are to protect me from the sun. I also where a tinted SPF most days on my face.
It is interesting that most of the rays of the sun do not bother the skin. It’s the UV segment of the sun’s rays that burns our skin. This rays come through the clouds, so that we can get sunburned on cloudy days, even when we are unaware of it. One of my most surprising burns was on the beach on a foggy day. The UV rays can burn and cause cancer.
I read Song of Solomon 1:6 this morning. The poor girl in that verse has so much sun damage and she hasn’t taken care of herself. She is burned black by the sun. While the pigment of her skin isn’t what is important here, it’s the condition of her heart that matters.
Many people think they can come into the light of the holy presence of God without a covering. They can not. No one can come into His holiness and stand in the light without the righteousness of Christ. That is our protection. We need to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ to come into His presence. Then and only they can we freely come.
The girl also talks about how she hasn’t tended to herself. She is a natural beauty, yes. Many of us know what it’s like to not take time to care for ourselves, we put everyone else’s needs first. She hasn’t had her hair styled, a facial, her eyebrows waxed, her skin moisturized, etc. She hasn’t been able to get that she needs to enhance her beauty because she works hard and neglects herself.
This is a picture of our hearts, our inner self, not just our outer self. We might think we are beautiful as we are without working on ourselves. Actually, when we neglect ourselves we can be unattractive on the inside. Ephesians 5 says that we can be sanctified and cleansed with the washing of the Word. That Jesus might present to himself a glorious church, not having a spot, blemish or wrinkle. Holy without blemish.
Christ is taking you to the “beauty parlor”. He will fashion us into His bride, without a spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. Covered and presentable but the washing, cleansing, and purifying that happens when we study His Word.
John 3:20-21 says “for everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
When I read the verse above in an old journal this morning it stuck. We want to be be hidden in Christ and not in darkness. Covered by Him, and not by the dark. Man’s love for the darkness is not for his own sake, but because of what he can hide. True deeds for the Kingdom welcome Light because of what it can reveal.
Let the veil of Christ cover you and He will usher you into the Light. Washed and covered. Clean and spotless and in the Light.
The Night I Dreamed of Piggies
Let me faithsplain...
I’m a dreamer and sometimes those dreams stick with me, they seem weird, real, and even unsettling. If you know me, you know my belief level in dreams that speak. Around 25 years ago I had a dream something terrible
was going to happen to my friends husband on a trip, I told her, she shrugged it off, and a few nights later she called me screaming in the middle of the night that her husband had been in a deadly wreck on his business trip, he survived but their lives changed forever. The news shocked me and took me back to the dream… I wish I had known better and could have stopped it, but that wasn’t God’s will. Another dream I had once…
Prayer Journal for Women
When my previous journal was filled to the brim, I started looking for a new one. Most store bought journals just had lines, and most online buys were over complicated. Then I thought, why don't I design one I want! I usually only use hard back books, 6x9, with a spine so that they are uniform on my shelves. My last one was larger and hard to carry, so I knew I had to go back down a size. I also love to write so I want plenty of free writing space. I almost always include a topic, idea, or them at the top which is followed by the scripture that I am focused on. And so... with all that in mind, I kept it simple and created a journal that I knew I would love and I hope you do too.
I had this really cute candle I bought at the store last fall and I burned it quite often. The scent was called Harvest Bakery and all I know is that it smelled amazing and it was in this adorable container. Recently, while it was burning next to my bathtub, it went out. It was done. Finished. At that moment, I realized how much my life right now was like that candle. Maybe you're going through the same thing too.
Other Little Boats
I've been a terrible mother. I have done and said things so many times out of frustration and anger that I regret. Have you ever? I'm telling you that it I have lost it and in the wake of my storm, when all is calm, I become highly convicted about my own behavior despite the reason why I blew a fuse. Then starts the comparison game. I bet my friend who is so sweet and calm all the time, never talks to her kids that way. I bet the preachers wife has never even raised her voice to her kids. I bet my friend from college is the kind of mother that scoops her kids up and has highly effective conversations with her little ones so that they never disobey, never mess with things, never undo hard work, and always hit the laundry basket every single time.
As I’m laying awake in bed tonight, unable to sleep, I thought I’d take a minute and write down a dream I had recently that had been an eye opener for me...
A few mornings ago I was able to sleep in a little later than usual. That usually means I’m dreaming something vivid. This morning was no exception.
In in my dream I am still living at home with my parents. I could not figure out why I was back home in the house I grew up in. I kept thinking, “Aimee, you are 41 years old. Why are you still with your mom and dad?” It just didn’t make sense. Nothing made sense and I was completely frustrated.
Then, suddenly I would remember that indeed I had spent the last precious 16 years in my own house. Oh. And yes, I had a husband and children. Then for a brief second I would remember my life like a flash.
As as quick as the memories came, they left and I again was wondering why I was still living with my mom and dad.
This went on and on in my dream and it would break my heart every time I would remember my actual life, It was the most frustrating feeling. I was so upset and angry at the situation. It eventually occurred to me that I actually wasn’t living with mom and dad again but that I was living somewhere unfamiliar. I was never in my reality long enough to explain to anyone what I was experiencing.
When I woke up from this dream my heart ached. I called James and told him to which he replied “you have dreams like that often. They’re sort of reoccurring. The same theme but not exactly.”
Maybe I’m projecting some of this on myself when I talk about how forgetful I am concerning details of my life. Maybe it comes from how sometimes I can’t say in front of others what I really want to say, it never comes out right. Maybe deep down that’s the thing I’m worried about later in life. Forgetting. Feeling lost.
What I did realize in all of this... I am sure that this is how demntia must feel. I feel like I’ve been given a view inside the mind of someone who suffers from this awful phychosis. I could feel it in my soul, the suffering of not being able to make sense of this life.
What does one do with this new knowledge? I can’t seem to shake that this is prophetic in some way either concerning someone I know or myself someday. Whatever the reason it’s a reminder to be kind to those you know who suffer. Be compassionate and understanding. We can’t tell but their hearts are breaking and their minds are not on board with reality much any more.
Planted: We Are Meant to Thrive.
We've all heard the phrase, "bloom where you're planted." It really is a great little quote to share but even more so, to meditate on. We all have a past and parts of our past we tend to grieve on the regular. Maybe you grieve those moments in the kitchen with Grandma, or watching. your kids sled down the neighborhoods favorite hill; maybe, you grieve for loved ones that have moved out and moved on or for just the moments spent with those you care so much about. We all do it, and sometimes we can let grief keep us in a dormant state.
In early January, I pulled up my Etsy app and started searching for Peonies. They are my absolute favorite flower. They graced my mothers front walk way and my grandmothers back door. I just think they are the most majestic flowers and I have decided that I want every kind I can find. There is a great little Etsy shop that is based just north of us and shares the same planting zone. I decided to take a chance on some mail order Peonies. They arrived fairly quickly and because I love receiving packages I was also quick to open the box. I was excited to find 3 pots of dirt, wrapped in plastic and surrounded by packing peanuts. I pulled each pot out of its plastic and it literally just looked like a pot of dirt. Somewhere beneath all of that soil that was shipped was a plant, a dormant plant.
Being that it was still January, I let the little ladies hang out in our basement for the time being. We had not yet even built our front porch on our house and I want them to be tucked in around our front porch. I would have to wait. They would also have to wait and remain dormant. Then there was a really beautiful, warm winters day today. Our porch is built but unfortunately not yet ready for landscaping. I was a little anxious to see how my baby Peonies were doing so I pulled them out of the basement from their box and carried them out to debate on what I should do based on their conditions.
Sprouts. Sprouts were poking up just ever so slightly, beginning to reach for the sky in search of the life giving sunlight. My baby girl and I pull out my grandmothers 3 concrete planters and prepared them to receive my three precious Peonies. We carefully transplanted each. These are the moments when I wish I had a small green house. (Hmmm, I think that will be my next project.). I want to make sure those little ladies are well protected and able to thrive. I've put so much thought and have been so careful to make sure they can reach their full potential.
See, flowers and trees really have such a neat life. The go about life doing what they were created to do. The may flower, bloom, bud, or just stay green all year. More than anything, every little plant has one goal, just one. To grow as tall as it can! It is going to reach and stretch with all its might to the sun until it can reach no further. Many factors will come into play to determine just how far it can reach. If conditions are just right it will thrive. If conditions are not just right, it will struggle.
Struggle & Thrive
Now, there's a thought. As I was planting my little Peonies I prayed that they would thrive. I wanted the best for those little plants because if they reach their full potential, they will bring so much joy to all who meet them when they are clothed in all their flowering glory.
Isn't that kind of like us as women? We are planted and we are told we should bloom where we are planted. How can we ever reach our full potential though if we aren't given the right conditions, no matter how much we want to bloom. If the conditions we are in aren't conducive to thriving, what are we to do? The answer is so very simple. Pray.
Romans 8:28 gives us confidence that everything we endure is used for God's glory, for a greater purpose, for good. We know that when we are in His hands, not matter the circumstances or conditions, He will make it all right. Even if it's grief, you don't have to stay dormant.
I want to encourage you, that if you don't feel you are thriving in this life to ask God if you are planted where you ought to be. Are you in the best place so that He can use your life and make it beautiful? If you don't feel that is so then just ask Him to plant you in the right place. Ask Him to begin to surround you with people who can encourage you, speak life into you, pray for you, and help you see yourself as God sees you. Ask Him to send life giving words your way, favor, and to uproot you from where you are if the conditions aren't what He sees as His best for you. Don't be afraid of being uprooted when you are in His hands. Sometimes that's just what we need to leave our dormant place and begin to grow where we have not. Sometimes it's what we need to get the conditions just right for thriving.
Six months ago, my family of 7 put everything we owned on truck beds and trailers and stored as much as we could, nearly everything. We moved into a camper and a small cabin between us. It's not what I personally would consider ideal but it works for us. In the mean time, I have watched our new house rise out of the ground. We are thriving and making progress. My kids have discovered that they can actually play in nature and enjoy it. We have become closer as a family than I could have ever imagined. We've even add a really sweet dog to the mix who is our protector and friend.
God took what might look like a mess and misery to others and has made it beautiful. In the end, we have prayed over and over that we do not owe one single cent on our house. We own our land free and clear but a house is a different story. It sounds impossible to some.
Your circumstances maybe currently be ideal and perfect for you and your family to thrive. I pray that is the case for more and more families. However, as I have friends that reach out concerning needing prayer various circumstances I find it so very heart breaking that they just are not thriving. I have seen doors open and doors close for them and for others. I have seen God move and make a way were there shouldn't be a way. I have seen God drench families in His love and He has radically changed their circumstances so that they begin to thrive. The struggle, it will always be there. We aren't promised that things will be good and easy all of the time.
1 Timothy 4:10 says "That is why we labor and strive". We work and struggle. We work and struggle. We grown and stretch. We grow and stretch. It's not for our glory that we finally get to bloom. It's literally, for HIS glory that the world gets to be a witness to all the goodness and beauty that our story brings to the world.
I still find myself grieving for what once was. We had a beautiful home and were surrounded by family for 16 years. We brought home all 5 of our babies to that house, 2 were handed to us at our threshold there. I still grieve for my Granny who lived next to us and for the security we had in having my parents across the street. I find myself starting to grieve those things and that's okay. The thing is, I can't stay dormant long because God planted us so very perfectly. We were meant to thrive.
It's all for His glory.
So many little things have been coming together lately and making me question my own purpose. Do you ever find yourself wondering if your purpose in this life is bigger than what you currently see in front of you? We have lived so much of our lives as women and mothers; and we have to believe that all we've been through and all we are going through has a purpose beyond our own little lives. Advice we give from our own experience or a word of encourage to another because we've been there may give purpose to some of the things we've been through. Do you ever feel you have a higher calling as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, woman?
Have you ever reflected on you life and thought, "How could God even use me?" Do you feel very insignificant and alone? Do you feel bound by the little life you have and the mundane tasks you are in charge of daily while admiring others who have found a higher calling? Nothing in your life has ever happened that seems significant enough for a powerful testimony that God can use? It was only a few years back that I felt this way, but I had this feeling inside of me that called me to do something bigger. It's a very confusing thing to feel one way about your life and being called to do the opposite.
I saw your heart last night. I don't always get to see it, but I saw it.
We were all tired from a long days work and it was my birthday. You've never made a huge deal out of birthdays. I get that some how this is because of how you grew up, how your birthdays were treated. Still, your small efforts to show me love were seen. Your kids saw it too.
Hey husbands, you know that girl that you took by the hand and promised to love and honor forever. She's worth it.
As time paces forward and the days come and go she finds herself standing in front of the mirror wondering if the years show. She puts on the cream to try to rid her eyes of the lines from laughing and the lines from worry. She wonders if she can recapture a bit of the youthful girl you fell in love with and wonders if you think she's worth it.
All the late nights rocking babies and tending to the sick ones wear on a momma. She looks at her body and knows it's not the same. She aches some days from laying carefully and awkwardly next to a child that wouldn't let her go. Her hair is dull from too many days of dry shampoo but she's surviving and hoping for a moment a peace which she often only finds in the car while it sits in the drive way; and she wonders if you still thinks she's worth it.
She sees her hand weights and yoga mat collecting dust and knows that she bought them with good intentions, just like the work out videos and running shoes. She's on her 4th cup of coffee and just trying to heave the laundry from washer to dryer. She feels like she's gotten a workout already. She imagines that she can do it all, but knows she's not meant to and yet, the thought crosses her mind as she whispers to herself, "Am I worth it?"
She shuffles the kids to bus stops and through car rider lines, signing forms and searching through backpacks. She pulls out folders and the homework then Googles how to do 5th grade math. She catches herself day dreaming while listening to a child read a book. She's dreaming about you....
She's worth it you know. She's worth coming home to and asking her about her day. She's worth a moments hug or gentle kiss. She's worth offering a minutes peace to so that she can capture a little of herself back from the day that seems dwindle her away. She's worth asking the question, "what can I do to help?." Make her heart race with words of giving love.
Your support is important.
Your love is important.
Your tenderness is important.
Your gentleness is important.
Your strength is important
She's worth it.
She just needs you to see her.
See her strength and beauty.
See her worth.
See her efforts.
She's worth lifting up.
She is worth your love, your affection, your attention, and your honor.
She is worth it.
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. - Proverbs 3:15
In the last few weeks I have spent several hours washing my families dirty laundry at the laundromat. Each time I need a load cleaned and dried I have to deposit quarters into the machine. With each quarter I get closer to the promise that I’ll end up with a load of clean clothes. I have been think a lot about these deposits and the promise that when I leave I’ll have baskets of clean clothes and my family will have what they need for the week.
I love a good story and one that especially touches my heart and teaches me more about how to be a better wife. I want to share with you a story that truly helped open my eyes to what I was called to be...
Take a deep breath.
Four little words that play through our minds when we feel like things are spiraling out of control, when we feel like we are losing our grip, when the unexpected just took control over our day; take a deep breath.
Go ahead, breathe in deep.
Now, let it out.
Do it again and again until you feel the calm sweep back over you.
Your heart rate steadies, your blood pressure comes down, and you can focus on what truly matters.
You Are Mighty Important
You know that place where you go to hide, to be alone for awhile? For some of us, it might be under the sheets, curled up in the corner of the couch, in our cars after pulling in the drive way, or even in a hot shower so you can hear nothing except the water streaming down.
We all have that place. We all have those reasons. Maybe you need to escape, maybe you are afraid, maybe you have let your thoughts run amuck and just need a minute to settle them down. Maybe you are weary from fear and shame; and the burdens of life are weighing heavy. You just need to escape and hide.
You Would Leave the 99 too.
If one of your babies was lost out in the world you wouldn't stop looking for them. Ever. Right?
In this throw away world, it’s uncommon that you hear of someone going after something they’ve lost because of the abundance they have. I bet you we don't even notice most things we've lost. We typically keep moving forward in a world where losing one thing compared to the other ninety-nine things we have is okay. We have so much that we value that in reality, we value very little. If you had $100 would you really miss $1 of that if it were lost? It’s just 1%, right? No big deal. When we have fewer of something, we tend to value it more. If you have 3 cars and one is wrecked or out of commission you notice. It probably bothers you or upsets your daily plans. What if one of those things you were missing was one of your children?
Lies, All Lies
In 2015, I was in a real spiritual battle. My husband and I were embarking on something that the Lord had called us to do and within that the Devil knew that God was placing us into the battle for a purpose. We remain victorious as long as we are in His Will. Let me take you back to a journal entry.
Straighten Your Crown, Daughter
We all have those days that just don't go as planned. We can all relate to feeling like we have too much on our plate and we just don't know how we are going to do it all. The day to day can feel overwhelming, much less the year to year to do list. I'm so thankful that this method of organizing my anxious thoughts and to do list works...
There are so many memories we forget because we don't record them. I found this little gem of a memory in an old blog post. It serves as a brilliant reminder of someone I deeply love and grieve for many days, but it also serves to help me remember a precious memory I can share for generations.
I don't know about you but the adult me has struggled. It makes me sad to know that my adult life, up until a few years ago, was miserable. My battle with my weight led to a cycle of being miserable, unhappy, and depressed for so long. I am so thankful that I finally found a way to break that cycle...
5 Tips to Make Chore Charts Work
I have been mothering boys for a long time. The one thing I always share concerning raising boys, is raising boys whose future wives won't hate me. They know how to help out and pitch in. They may not always do it willingly or in a timely manner but they know how to get it done. Here is a simple chore chart if you need to help keep your little ones (or big ones) on track.
Enough with the Stuff
Christmas with too much stuff is exhausting and I'm hearing the cries of Momma's and Daddy's everywhere that they are sick of stuff. It seems like this season has taken a turn like I've never seen before.
9 Reasons to Workout
I'm Aimee, former Early Childhood Educator and Reading Specialist turned author, speaker, blogger, and mom of 5. This website is meant to inspire & equip parents of little ones to promote early literacy & language development at home. You will also find fun crafts, devotionals, and recipes to explore..
Learn more about me here.