Monday, June 17, 2013

What Faith Can Do: Eph. 3:20-21

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.
Ephesians 3:20-21.

Some times in our relationship with Christ we pray about something and then when God answers the prayer we are surprised...

We pray for our requests but don't really believe that God will answer it. I am going to brag on God a little for some of the answered prayers in my life recently.

About six months ago we prayed about buying a house. We researched online and drove around local neighborhoods.Then, one day we met a realor at our friend's Memorial Day BBQ. He worked to help us find a house in the nieghborhood and price range we wanted. 

During the process we saw God work time and time again as He provided the money for a down payment, worked through the red tape of buying a foreclosed property, and the insureance debackle after we closed. He did a great work during this time in our lives and I want to give him the glory for that!

Also, my husband (Keep The Walk) and I had been praying for a little over a year to see if it was God's timing for us to start a family. I was starting to become discouraged and started to wonder if something was wrong. Would God choose for us to grow through infertility?... If we were blessed to have a child would the baby have special needs (there is two generations of Downs Sydrome in my family)?... Would I have an easy pregnancy?...Would I have a safe and natual delivery?...

God is working exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think! I am 6 months pregant and have had a pretty easy pregnancy. Also, we are expecting a healthy baby boy who is DS free and I do not have the dormant genetic gene for DS. Lastly I am excerising my faith and giving God control of the details for a safe and natual delivery.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why Pray?

National Day of Prayer

Sometimes when I pray if I am not careful I can tend to view my prayer list as a "wish list" or a way to convince God of my perspective of why He should answer my prayer. This is unintentional.

I think my motives are meant well...see I am trying to pray more.

However, when I look at the true reason to pray, I realize I am being selfish in my prayer life. 
 God is not a genie in a bottle that we can just call on when ever we want something. Also, He is not going to change His sovereign plan because we try to convince Him that our plan is better than His.

These are the wrong reasons to pray.

I was listening to the radio broadcast of Turing Point with Dr. David Jeremiah and he was speaking on Prayer from the book of Daniel in the 9th chapter and how prayer effected Daniel's life.

Lately, I have been feeling that I have not had an effective prayer life because some of the major requests I have been praying about are still "unanswered".

I was worried and becoming discouraged!

So I decided to tune in and really allow the Holy Spirit to speak through him.
It's not that I don't enjoy listening to preaching, but some times when you hear a message about a subject that is often preached about you can zone out and not focus on the content of the message. I cannot tell you every detail of the message but I can tell you what the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about.

"We pray so that we can prepare our hearts for His answer to our prayer".

When we pray we are not trying to "change" things. God already knows the outcome because He is sovereign. He is not surprised, shocked, or caught off guard when the answer is revealed.

I pondered this truth which is evident all throughout the Scriptures when God's people prayed. I started to pray and ask God to prepare my heart for His answer to my prayers.

 I know that God answers every prayer as yes, no, or not yet. However sometimes His no and not yet answers can be perceived as He doesn't care or is not interested in answering my prayer. (What a lie that Satan tells!)

God cares enough to give you His best which is why he says no or not yet. He wants to give you the desires of your heart and He longs for His desires to become your desires.

Christian Friends, as we continue to live life together in community may the truth in this post encourage your heart and help to strengthen your relationship with our Savior as we learn why we pray.

What other truths do you encourage your heart with concerning the matter of prayer?


Monday, May 6, 2013

5 Practical Ways to Respond to Business Disappointment

            5 Practical Ways to Respond to Business Disappointment

If you have ever worked for a company, I am sure you have experienced business disappointment at one time or another. It can be difficult to understand and even harder to respond correctly. You question why didn’t this happen or what could I have done better? Whether your disappointment is from not getting a promotion, raise, assigned to a special project or whatever the business disappointment is, the practical advice below can help you respond correctly. 

 1. Do Not be Angry.
Getting angry does not help you or the situation. It can actually make the situation worse. If you are angry about the disappointment you will not be able to think clearly and make say or do something that you regret. Let it go, it is not worth holding on to.

2. Do Not Take it Personally.
There were reasons why the decision was made and one of those reasons was not to despise or hurt you. The disappointment was not an attack on your character. If you respond correctly it can be a positive reflection on your personal character and development.

3. Try to Look at the Bigger Picture.
There was a reason the decision was made. It was based on business needs or objectives that the company is trying to be meet. You might think you knew what was best, but normally you cannot see all the moving pieces of the decisions that needed to be made.

4. React Correctly.
In life the problem is only 10% of what is going on and 90% of how you react. Your leadership and peers will be watching to see how you respond. You want them to notice that you responded correctly.

5. Keep the Door Open for Future Opportunities. Lastly, responding correctly will lead to open doors in the future. The next time a promotion is to be earned you will be remembered or they will keep you in mind for a special project. When you keep the door open your future possibilities can be limitless!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Calling All Readers

While I was attending a conference last weekend I received a gift bag that contained a bookmark that advertised free books! I love to read and was very inspired to learning more. I decided to research the website on the bookmark (Blogging for Books). This post will explain what the website is about and how avid readers can benefit from their services.

To start the website requires you to register to participate in receiving free books. (Even though the title is Blogging for Books, the reader does not need to have a blog, start a blog, or use their personal blog to post reviews). During my registration I was given the opportunity to choose what kind of books I prefer. FYI, there is an array of categories to select from. Then I was given a selection of books to choose from to request my free book. Once you request the book they send it to you (free of charge). The website says you should receive the book in 7-10 days. You can also choose select titles to be delivered via E-book.

When the book arrives its all yours! You do not have to send it back. :) Then, if you choose you can write a review (300 words) about the book at their website. If you decide to write a review, you will have an opportunity to select another free book to be sent to you. As long as you write a review within the allotted time allowed (within 90 days although the website prefers that reviews are done within 30 day) you will be able to continue to receive free books. It seems simple but for further explanation of the program check out the facts and questions section here.

I selected "Lord, I Give You this Day", by Kay Author.  I am currently waiting for my book to arrive. I have received a confirmation that it was shipped. I plan on including a book review about every other month on this blog. I will also write a follow-up post after I have reviewed a few books to let my readers know how Blogging for Books services are.

So check back often for book reviews and an update of the services of Blogging for Books!

If anyone has used Blogging for Books or is interested in using it, please comment below. I look forward to reading and responding with my readers comments.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Beginnings

Every December 31st most of us commit to a News Year's Resolution. Commitments to lose weight, save money, accomplish a goal, or ____ (fill in the blank) are made with the best intentions. We begin with prepping the salads, packing our gym clothes, and setting up an auto transfer to our savings account. Then we get a request for a lunch meeting or play date and find the cutest pair of shoes and the salad sits in the fridge, the gym bag finds a home in the trunk, and unfornately we transfer the money back into our checking account.

Statistically this week most resolutions are broken. This past Monday was Blue Monday. It is deemed the most depressing day of the whole year! This is the week that we start missing family that returned home, the normal work or school schedules begin, the holiday spending bills are due, the weather is cold, waistlines are expanded, and the pretty decorations are packed away for the next 11 months. Sad times... 

If you have to succumb to the feeling of defeat as you make strides towards your New Year's Resolution or are facing the sobering realities of Blue Monday, you can be encouraged! As believers we have a "New Beginning" in Christ.

It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Lam 3:22-23.

Every morning we can begin again. I want to encourage you to make a “Daily Resolution”. We can commit daily to accomplish our goals. If you have or are thinking about giving up on your New Years Resolution, recommit to a “Daily Resolution”. Then measure your success daily. If you are not successful today doesn’t mean you can’t succeed tomorrow. When you start adding up your daily successes, you will end up accomplishing your New Years Resolution.

What New Year's Resolutions did you make? How are you making strides towards it? How can you allow the Lord to help you accomplish it through you? Please leave your comments below.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Conscious Couponing

Who doesn't like to save a dollar or two? I do! I remember growing up and helping cut coupons from the Sunday paper with my family. Next, we would make a list of what we needed and then head to the grocery store. When it came to clothes shopping we made a bee-line to the clearance racks or shopped at stores like Ross, Bells Outlet, or TJ Maxx.  Now that I am responsible for my own money, I cringe at the thought of paying full price for anything. Honestly, I try not to buy anything that is not on sale or without a coupon!

So we all know about extreme couponing. There are blogs, classes, and shows devoted to teaching you how to "get paid to shop" and walk out with carts or bags of free groceries and house goods. Sales are great and "free stuff" is even better. However, this post is not about that. I want you to stop and think about the saying, "There is nothing free in life."

Did you think about it?... Really?...
Woman thinking about Coupons

Now I know at this point you are thinking. “Why am I reading this since I am not going to tell you have to save oodles of money and get free stuff?” Please stay with me...

This blog is about learning and growing together in community. With this in mind, I hope that my method of couponing will help those who want to conquer the task of couponing, even if they do not have the time or desire to spend hours cutting coupons, searching for sales, or devouring stores for deals. The solution to this is "Conscious Couponing".

1. Learn what foods and products you and your family use.

*If you use a certain hair product, look for sales and corresponding coupons for the hair product that you need (or want).

*If a grocery item or product is on sale that you don’t need, don’t buy it just because you have a coupon (unless you can get it for free and plan to give it away to help someone less fortunate).

2. Sign up for store mailers, email coupons, and text message offers.

*If you don't know about the deal then you cannot save on it.

* By signing up to receive offers they are sending you potential savings.

Example: Our favorite casual dinning steak house is Logan's Steak House. The mailers that are mailed to the house have Logan’s coupons. However, some times we want to go out and we don't have the mailer. Since I have signed up for their emails, I get email coupons too!

3. Make a list of what you use and how often you purchase each item.

* You probably know what items you buy regularly, but it may take a few months to learn how frequently you need to purchase them.

Example: We buy toilet paper in bulk about once every 6 months, but we buy a gallon of milk every 2 weeks.

4. Glance at store ads either online or in the local paper. Make a note to what is on sale from what you need to buy or will need to buy soon.

*Browsing ads online is free and less cutter. Also several websites allow you to click the on a sale item and add it to your list.

**There are websites that you can Google that will show you all of the best deals at all the stores, but this method of couponing is about being conscious of the items you need at the stores that you regularly shop at.

5. Browse the coupon inserts and online websites. Cut and or print only the coupons or coupon codes that you will use.

* When you cut or print coupons and codes that are not going to be used before they expire, it is a waste of time.

*Also, when you save coupons that you are not going to use, it takes extra time to cut, and organize them.

6. Place coupons in a small carrier that you can access quickly. Carry the coupon organizer with you or in the car.

*When I have a big folder or binder it is normally not very accessible.

7. Whenever you get out of the car to shop or dine, check the organizer for a coupon.

* Get excited about your savings! (money, time, and energy)

The whole purpose of Conscious Couponing is to make sure that you’re really saving. The goal is to save money on the items that you are going to purchase regardless of whether you find them on sale or have a coupon.

I hope this method of couponing can help you maximize your money and time.




Friday, January 4, 2013

Welcome 2013, Why are you here already?!

As I began to recap my blog posts for 2012 (as many of my fellow bloggers have done), I realized that I had only composed 3 posts last year! What....2013...Why are you here already?! I'm still trying to finish 2012. Yikes, I had planned  to start a blog a couple of years ago, but I just recently made the commitment in November. Whenever I was about to start, I found myself making excuses...

Well after I began blogging, the topics for blog posts came naturally but the posting were few. I was excited and ready to share with the world, but I wasn't doing it! To be honest, I believe the root cause behind my excuses for not blogging is best expressed as Jeff Goins said in his interview with Michael Nichols HERE, "As I've set out to help writers, the biggest struggle I hear consistently is a lack of confidence. They know they’re meant to write but aren't sure they can."


My lack of blogging is a direct result in my lack of confidence in my ability.

 As we finalize our thoughts towards 2012 and begin to welcome 2013, I want to encourage my readers to be confident. Be confident in everything and anything you do!  Don't let a lack of confidence hold you back as I did last year. We are encouraged to be confident because God has started a good work in us and will preform it until He is finished (Phil 1:6).  Since I didn't have enough posts to recap 2012, I will use this post to commit to be more confident in Christ to work through me to give me the ability to blog.

*** Please follow, bookmark, and visit the Blog "Alex Marie" every Tuesday morning for a new blog post that will focus on learning and growing together in community.***

Is there an area in your life where you are lacking confidence? What are some resources that help you overcome your lack of confidence? Feel free to share in the comments. :)