Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Moment with Rebecca: Technology & Connecting with God

Who would've thought that the potential new member I met on the first day of sorority recruitment would someday become one of my closest friends? (And gosh, I'm so thankful she did!) Though I was a year older when we first met, Rebecca and I were both from nearby small towns with younger brothers, teacher parents, and a desire to live out our faith in college. We immediately clicked. Seven years later, we've been roommates, phone dates, and bridesmaids in each other's wedding. I admire Rebecca's commitment to her faith, and am so excited and honored to have her share a moment today on the blog! Check it out.

Let's be honest; technology is one of the leading culprits for distracting us from time with the Lord. I’ll find just about anything to distract me from the Word.  Today, for example, I was home all day and somehow am just now getting to my time in the Word and prayer; it’s quite late.  However, technology allows us to have the Word with us at all times.  That’s pretty cool, right?

A little about myself:  I have been a self-proclaimed disciple of Jesus Christ since I was six years old (probably used the wording “asked Jesus into my heart” back then).  I, of course, have transformed a lot since praying the Sinner’s Prayer back in ’96 and I’m glad that Jesus has more work to do in me as I have far from grasped all who He is.  Jesus saves me from my flesh every day as I grow to surrender each moment, each decision, to him.  But the schedules we maintain which rule much of our attention make constant awareness of Him difficult, do they not?  So, what do you do?  Here’s what I’m doing now.  The point is that I feed the longing that I have for Him, and not just during one 30 minute session per day.

Lately, my husband and I have made a point to get up early, EARLY, to spend time in prayer and reading the Bible (quiet time); it’s the best.  Honestly, we just started last week and have already missed a few days, but it’s been great.  In order to stay awake during our quiet time, we get up even EARLIER to workout in order to take care of our bodies and to get the blood pumping. Guess what time…3:45 a.m.!  I don’t know if I recommend this time yet, but I’m thrilled about putting my quiet time first.  I just want to start my day off talking to God; this seems to shape my day into a constant conversation with Him.

So, what technological tools would I recommend?  I’m listening to a book called “Reshaping It All” by Candace Cameron Bure during my workouts; please put this on your booklist.  Candace, in case you’re thinking she looks familiar, played DJ Tanner on Full House.  Candace does a beautiful job of connecting health and fitness to her relationship with God.  She is encouraging and challenging, humble and bold, truthful and gracious, and she attributes it all to Jesus Christ. 

I’m also listening to a podcast called “Sons & Doubters” by Luke Brawner and Aaron Hale.  Luke and Aaron describe the podcast as “honest conversations about the times when faith is difficult and doubt is easy.”  Luke happens to be the Worship Pastor at my church, Grace Bible Church http://www.gbchouston.org/.  Oh, this podcast is refreshing.  Luke and Aaron are honest and humble here.  I have really enjoyed learning from their life experiences, studies, and even guest speakers.  The weekly podcast was just released in September 2015, so you’re not too far behind!  Give it a try, especially those of you who spend endless hours commuting in Houston (where I live currently)!

My Bible reading plan is from the “She Reads Truth” app; my particular plan is for reading the entire Bible in a year.  I like how the app keeps track of the reader’s progress and sections out text such that each day includes a chapter or two from the Old Testament and a chapter or two from the New Testament.  Psalms and Proverbs are sprinkled in there, too.  Oh and the app provides free adorable backgrounds containing scripture for phone screens.  Yes please! 

Having these tools with me throughout the day helps me to not get so sucked into the task at hand that I forget about God.  Sometimes, I take my 10 minutes “smoke break” to sneak away to an empty room at the office for some prayer and scripture reading using one of a few iPhone apps.  I tell you what, this surely beats turning to a soda or candy bar for that break and pick me up come mid-afternoon.

So, why go to all this trouble?  Because the Lord’s number one commandment is to love him and love others.  How do you suppose we are to love someone whom we don’t know?  How do you get to know a person such that you can love them?  Ah there it is!  You’ve got to spend time together.  And you’ve got to write it in your planner a lot of times.   Look, Jesus is it.  He’s what you’re looking for whether you’ve known him your whole life or are just hearing his name for the first time.  Pursue him!  I hope that some of this post has encouraged or informed you!  If you want to chat about my post or just shoot the breeze, email teamhill315@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading,
Rebecca Hill

There is so much truth in Rebecca's words, and I'm finding them as a great challenge for myself. I love her and her husband's hearts for the Lord, and the way in which they seek after Him, even if it means sacrificing sleep, lunch time, or other tasks. I'm thankful for their friendship, and excited to put some of Rebecca's tips into practice (though I may miss out on the 3:45 am workouts!). Do you have any great tips on using technology to connect with God? Feel free to comment below!

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Five on Friday: Boundaries in Marriage

Guess what day it is, friends? Friday (happy dances all around)! This five on Friday looks a little bit different! Through my involvement in a blogging group of Christian women called The Peony Project, I was given the opportunity to do a guest post for a series called Marriage 101 on a beautiful blog named His Endless Love. Needless to say, I was so so excited to be involved. I put in my preferences for a post and waited to see what I'd end up with. I think it ended up being a great, challenging topic. Check it out. 

Photo: Lacey Rene Studios 
What is it about the idea of “boundaries” that often makes us think we’re missing out? Ever since the days of Adam and Eve, we’ve had it in our minds that somehow a boundary, which was put in place for our protection, was holding us back. Like a kid in the kitchen who’s upset with their mom for not letting them touch the hot stovetop, we continuously trick ourselves into believing that maybe whatever is out there can’t really be that bad….right? Time after time, our best intentions to justify our actions lead us to lots of trouble. In fact, this approach can be deadly when it comes to marriage.
Photo: Lacey Rene Studios

While we were dating, my husband recommended a book called The Best Question Ever to me. In the book, Andy Stanley challenges us to ask this question in every situation, “What is the wise thing for me to do, in light of my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams?” Stanley talks about fool-proofing your life by being prepared and making decisions that help you avoid regret. Though he mentions topics like jobs, finances, and even your calendar, the chapter on relationships particularly struck me. Most people don’t really plan to have an affair, but they don’t always plan not to either. This made me think about things in a new way. Just because my hubby and I are taking precautions and setting boundaries doesn’t mean that we think our marriage is going to fail, it just means that we are willing to go above and beyond in order to be proactive and protect it.

To see my five boundaries to help protect your marriage, head on over to the full post at His Endless Love! I hope the points I share make you think and bring strength to your marriage. Have a wonderful, blessed weekend.


Monday, September 21, 2015

A Moment with Sarah: Gaining and Losing

I first met Sarah when she started attending our church a few years ago. I immediately noticed her kind heart, great sense of humor, and genuine care for others around her. It has been so much fun getting to know her better as we've spent more time together at various events and Sunday School classes. She has recently embarked on an incredible journey, one that involves a struggle for many women, and she's sharing more about that in today's moment. I appreciate her honesty and her willingness to share her story. Check it out! 

Photo: Lacey Rene Studios
Comedian Nicole Arbour recently came under fire for a video where she essentially went on for six minutes about her opinion on overweight people. Spoiler: it’s not a positive one. She talks about how fat shaming is not a real thing, how overweight people are taking their bodies for granted, and by her dropping “truth bombs,” she hopes people will be inspired to lose weight.

The first time I remember being aware of my weight being an issue was fifth grade. A boy in my class made a comment about my size, and I started feeling uncomfortable with myself. Being 10 and developing early is tough enough, but having people point out insecurities you didn’t know you had is heart wrenching. I guess that was my first fat-shaming experience!

It’s been nearly two decades since that day, and my weight has fluctuated up and down and all over the place. I’ve been on nearly every diet you could think of doing.

The first diet plan I went on was the Richard Simmons Food Mover. It had little windows with pictures of food on it that you would close throughout the day.

The Richard Simmons Food Mover! Not only a dieting tool, but a toy for an awkward fifth grader who developed way too early.
Weight Watchers? Yep. I would just wind up saving all my Flex Points and eating way too much Chinese food on Saturdays.

Jenny Craig? Yep, and they have some good food! I lost about 50 pounds between 9th and 10th grade on it, and came back to school feeling really good about myself – I looked good, too. Unfortunately for me, a girl who didn’t like me because I dated a guy she liked the year before decided to say within earshot of me, “She should have stayed on Jenny Craig.” High school is tough enough, people!
I think I looked pretty good at 15! I'm in the middle here, prior to being told I should have stayed on Jenny Craig.
Dr. Tague at the Center for Nutrition was an interesting phase in 2009, as pretty much all I could eat were soy puffs and protein shakes. That definitely didn’t last long.

Soon after the Dr. Tague experience, I was incredibly frustrated with how hard it was for me to lose weight. A coworker suggested I go see her primary care doctor, since mine at that time was pretty useless. I went to see Dr. Amy Brose, and after some discussion, she decided to do some blood work. After the results came back, she diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s a hormonal endocrine disorder that affects 1 in 4 women. It increases the risk of a lot of health issues, many of which Nicole Arbour listed in her video as being part of what being plus size means (diabetes, heart disease, etc.). Not all women who have PCOS experience weight gain, but I was one of the ones who experienced that.

Now, I’m not going to say that PCOS is totally to blame for my weight issues. I certainly have eaten way too much Ben and Jerry’s in my lifetime, and I should probably have spent more time at the gym. But I can tell you that for every five pounds someone without PCOS loses, it seems like I lose half a pound.  Not only I am overweight to begin with, I have to bust my butt harder in the gym and resist temptation even more! Unfair, right?

Wrong. It’s not unfair. It’s just the hand I’ve been dealt, and it’s something I need to overcome. Over on my blog, I quoted my pastor Ritchey Cable when he said, “The amount of physical and emotional pain and suffering you experience because of a decision is no barometer of whether you’re being obedient to God.”

This spoke to me for several reasons, the main being that I cannot stay comfortable if I want to follow  Christ wholeheartedly. I believe God is using me to speak to people who are struggling with their weight as I go on a journey of my own.

Photo: Lacey Rene Studios
Earlier this year, I met with a dietitian named Rachelle at Hy-Vee (a grocery store for the non-Midwesterners out there). She was prepared for me – she even had a book about PCOS out on her desk before I got there. She explained my condition in ways I could understand. Since I first met with her, I’ve been preparing myself to make a giant change in my life. She began working for a company called TruBalance, which bases the types of food you eat at certain points in the day with what time you exercise. They call it synergy, but it’s just integrating diet and exercise in a perfect marriage that promotes weight loss.

It’s going pretty well so far, but it’s hard when only you notice the weight you’re losing. I sometimes want to just snap my fingers and be at my goal weight, but I know it’s going to take hard work and a lot of frustration.

The message I have for Nicole Arbour is that many of us who are overweight desperately try to reach our goals, but like anything worth doing, it’s a difficult journey. Do I make some bad choices Absolutely. But so does everyone else. Mine just happens to have a physical manifestation that allows people to judge me and make assumptions about my lifestyle.

I haven't always been the most faithful Christian. I've struggled, and I've created a lot of idols in my life, and I think food and my weight are two of them. There is one truth to Nicole Arbour's video- she said, "You've got one body, one, and it has to last you until the end." She's right, I only have one earthly body, and that body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. I do need to take care of myself, because I am an image-bearer of God. Leaning on Christ through this journey is already showing me that I don't need to make my weight loss the center of my life. If I make sure Christ is there, then everything else should fall into place.

The amount of support I’ve been given by friends and family has been overwhelming. I was so honored when Kelsie offered for me to write for Currently Kelsie, and I hope to write again when I reach my goals. I will probably have lots more to say!

Gaining and losing is such a struggle and focus for so many women, including myself. I love Sarah's point that we can't make weight loss the center of our lives- that's the place that should be reserved for Christ alone. Follow Sarah's journey on her blog, sarahbeeblog.com, or connect with her on Facebook. 

Like this moment? Check out the others here, or sign up for the newsletter. Interested in sharing your own moment on the blog? I'd love that! Contact me here.    
Currently, Kelsie

    Friday, September 18, 2015

    Five on Friday: Goldfish, Love, and Burpees

    In the blink of an eye, we're over half way through September. We're five weeks into school, I'm already behind on grading papers, and I have officially become the winningest coach in my school's C Team history...with only two wins. How cool is that? Hoping we can pick up another win or two so I can secure my name in the record books (ha!). This week has been full of some really fun, really exciting adventures and little changes in our life. Let's just say that our house and hearts are full (and we're both learning how to get up really early). Here are this week's highlights, y'all! Hope you're enjoying this beautiful fall weather.

    1. Pictures
    Oh. My. Goodness. I am so so excited to see all the pictures that my amazing friend Lacey at Lacey Rene Studios captured this weekend. I think Lacey did an AMAZING job capturing our love. I mean, look at this photo from our "teasers". Be still my heart. We headed out to sweet little Weston on a gorgeous Saturday evening for our first photos together since our wedding (how has it already been almost two and a half years?!?). We found some awesome backdrops downtown, caught the sunset at Weston Bend State Park, and finished up in time for a date night dinner at O'Malley's pub (with an obligatory visit to the PC Dairy Queen on the way home). This guy has my whole heart. Can't wait to share the rest once they're up on Lacey's blog!

    2. Early AM Workouts
    Every morning is a constant battle to drag myself out of bed, but I've been learning that I secretly really really enjoy early morning workouts. I go to the local 9Round that's less than 5 minutes away from our house, and I love it. I'm for sure half asleep when I first get there, but I feel more awake and alert at school after a morning work out and a shower. Aaron is up by 5:45 anyways, so I sort of wake up around then either way. I've had to take extreme measures to make sure I actually drag my butt out of bed and get over there instead of snoozing for another hour: I've even parked my car behind Aaron's so I have no choice but to get up and move it before he leaves. I'm down to my lowest weight since high school, and more importantly, I feel like my clothes fit better, I'm healthier, and I'm more confident. If you missed my post on the fight to be fight, check it out here.
    The Muckfest Aftermath from Last Week
    3. YoungLife
    It has truly been incredible watching God bring together the team of people that He has chosen to use to grow Liberty YoungLife in a matter of a few short years. After lots of prayer, some rejection, patience, and pursuit, we could literally have a YoungLife Team of twelve leaders by the end of this semester. TWELVE. Crazy to think it started off with just Aaron and I. We had our first club this week and we're so excited about the promise of this year. I fall more in love with my hubby every time I get to hear him share a message with kids, and this Wednesday was no exception as I listened to him tell a packed room of high schoolers that Jesus offers them life to the fullest. There is seriously nothing in the world like leading a worship song and hearing 40+ teenagers lifting up their voices up right along with you. Where else can you win sunscreen in a raffle and walk blindfolded through "live fish"? (Check out the video below to see what I mean!). Where else can kids be kids, and know they are loved?
    4. Greece
    Stuff is getting real, friends! I had my last recruitment meeting, and have officially had enough kids sign up in order to go to Greece for free. What?! Is this real life? I have some really fabulous students going along on the trip, and I think as July draws closer and closer it will start to get more real. Reading The Odyssey this year is going to take on a whole new meaning. For now, I'm picking up any last stragglers who are interested in going, and trying to recognize that this isn't all a dream. After six qualified travelers, I also get to go on a FREE training tour to Europe before the trip itself. Again, someone pinch me please. If you want to come along, let me know! 

    5. Roomies
    As I shared in my post on Our Second House-iversary, Aaron and I bought our home just over two years ago with the hope that it would be filled with life, love, and lots of laughter. We are thankful that it has been just that and more. We were blessed to get a great deal on our home, and its four bedrooms seemed like a great idea for re-sale and or filling the rooms with babies (but not yet, Mom). Airbnb has been a fun adventure for our guest room, but I'm even more excited about the newest adventure for our home. We're filling another room. Nope, no baby. We have a friend that needed a place a little closer to work until her new apartment building opens up. Not only do I have a new excuse to make another room a little bit cuter, but I also get a little more roomie time with an awesome friend who will be so much fun to have around!

    Welp, that's what's up with us, friends! Lots of fun, new, exciting things on the horizon. Hope you have a blessed weekend (which I'll be spending coaching softball- hoping to pad those win stats)! Hugs to you.


    I'm linking up with A. Liz AdventuresFaith Along the WayWhat Joy is MineThe Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogRunning for CupcakesMomfessionals, Life in LeggingsWeekend Retreat Link PartyJust Another Linky, and DIY Vintage Chic.  

    Wednesday, September 16, 2015

    A Moment with Lauren: Love is Learned

    I first met my friend Lauren when we were both middle schoolers at church. The two of us were instant friends, and I was drawn to her humor, her smile, and all that we had in common: our grade, our sports, and our passion for life. Through the years, we've shared our hearts over endless Starbucks frappes, poured our minds into scripture, and kept up our friendship through miles, years, marriages, and moves. I'm so thankful for Lauren, her wisdom, and her heart for the Lord. She has navigated marriage (through her husband's residency and med school) with such grace. Thankful for her heart and the words she's sharing in today's moment.

     A few weeks ago, I was browsing my Facebook feed and I came across an article titled, “If your partner doesn’t make you feel these 11 ways, it isn’t true love.” Ways to tell included, “This person should make you happy,” “This person should make you excited about life,” “This person should make you feel at peace with yourself,” and the list went on.

    As a newly married Christian woman, this article scared me to death. Mostly because marriage stretches so far beyond what we “expect” or “think” marriage should be like. As women, we grow up with fairy tale stories about how couples meet and ride off into the sunset together in only a matter of days. Society has put into our minds that love should be just like romantic comedies. My partner should make me feel these amazing feelings that I’ve never felt before. I should get butterflies when I see him. My heart should beat faster when I’m near them. If it doesn’t, then you better end it because it isn’t true love. To me, that just doesn’t sound right. I was truly bothered by that article.

    I believe that men and women today are expecting our marriages to live up to “feelings.” And unfortunately, when we base our marriages on feelings, those feelings go away. And if we are expecting our spouses or partners to give us purpose in life, it won’t happen. We are with people that make mistakes, just like we do, that need forgiveness, purpose, and love. And the Bible says we will never get that fulfillment from others. We get that fulfillment from God who should be at the center of our lives before we even think about being with someone else. “To know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God,” Eph. 3:17-19. If we expect life to look exactly like it does in the movies and blame our spouse for our own unhappiness or fulfillment, it will not end well.

    So according to that verse, what should make us full? God’s love. If we can’t understand God’s love for our own lives, how will we ever understand how to truly love our spouses? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

    God doesn’t say he loved the world because the world gave him fulfillment. He doesn’t love the world because what the world gives him. In fact, in Ephesians it specifically says that nothing we do will earn Gods love in our lives.  “For by grace ye are saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Eph. 2:8

    God loves the ugly, the nasty, the broken, and the shamed. He is never disappointed. He is never basing his love off of our performance for him. He loves us no matter what. And in our marriage, that is what Caleb and I have been trying to do.

    God doesn’t base his love off of what we can give him- so why would we base our love for each other on successes or failures? We want to focus on what we can give to each other, not take.

    Now trust me, this is so much easier said than done. It takes a lot of work to put yourself second and think of your spouse first. But when we have done it- when we are really in God’s word, getting our love, our happiness, and our excitement about life from Him, we love each other in the purest, most beautiful way… and the way God intended!

    Believe me, I still have a long way to go. My whole life revolved around boys growing up. I was constantly seeking a man’s approval in my life. I was desperate for love and attention and every single relationship I was in never worked out because I was expecting that person to give me what I craved so badly. I wanted purpose, I wanted acceptance, I wanted worth and I wanted love.  All the while, my Bible gathered dust on my nightstand.

    When I finally gave up and picked up that book to seek God’s love for me, and let God be enough for me, Caleb walked into my life with the same attitude. I am so thankful I married a man that loves God more than me. YES I said it!! He loves God MORE than he loves me. And that is just the way I like it. That is what I believe makes our marriage so special. Its what I believe has made this past year (intern year of residency) worth every struggle we’ve faced.

    If I could leave you with anything it would be this…
    God will make you happy: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13

    God will make you excited about life: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

    God will make you feel at peace with yourself: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

    God loves you and will ALWAYS love you: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

    Those are just a few of the thousands of promises in that book. So I encourage you to seek that happiness in Christ; seek the peace, seek the joy, but must importantly seek His love. Find verses that minister to you as a wife, as a husband, and let that love that Christ fills you with overflow into your marriage and your relationships with others.


    Don't Lauren's words speak such sweet truth? I'm so thankful for her heart, her friendship, and her willingness to share her story. I love the idea of focusing on what we can give to each other in marriage, not take. What a great reminder of the one who truly loves us and always will, with no strings attached. 

    Like this moment? Check out the others here, or sign up for the newsletter. Interested in sharing your own moment on the blog? I'd love that! Contact me here.    
    Currently, Kelsie