blessing

Think “Fast” (7 Experiment, Week 2 Update)

Half. Way. DONE.

That’s right, peeps– my darling husband and I are halfway through our 7 foods for 30 days fast. (Click here to get caught up to speed on this crazy journey. Oh, and here is last week’s update. )

For fifteen days, I have consumed nothing but eggs, chicken, bread, sweet potatoes, apples, avocado, spinach and water.

Can I have a Diet Dr. Pepper yet? Just kidding. We are still holding strong. Ish.

It has been challenging. And intense. And rewarding.  We have had a few revelations since last week:

~My current go-to meal: deluxe spinach salad, that includes chicken, apples, hard boiled egg, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of olive oil. Oh. And sweet potato chicken soup. I just finished my second batch of it last night and will be making another batch momentarily.  My husbands current go to meal? Anything that involves meat. Like chicken. Or beef (yes, beef made his list.) And tater tots. (I fought this point, saying he needed to eat “real” potatoes, but finally let him have this one… mainly because I was running out of ways to cook his potatoes.)

~I am developing quite the taste for pepper. I never used to use it hardly at all, but when it is one of your two choices for seasonings, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

~We. Miss. Cheese. The end.

Our latest invention: My hubby’s deluxe frittata, complete with eggs, steak, and potatoes. His thoughts? “It’s good, wife… But would be better with cheese.” Sigh. Isn’t everything, sweetheart?

~Traveling and fasting is HARD, especially with these dietary restrictions. I *almost* cried last week during our time at Chili’s when I was faced with another chicken avocado sandwich. But God turned it into a HUGE blessing through our latest Factor of 7. 

~Huge kudos to my hubby for sticking to his fast even after he hadn’t eaten for more than 18 hours last week after he got out of eye surgery. I had brought a partial loaf of french bread with me to snack on, so he chose to eat it, the provided peanut butter and apple juice post surgery. I was impressed, not gonna lie.

~Have I mentioned that we miss cheese? 😉

~My time with God has been rich, rich, RICH. I am obsessed with my new Bible.

~It’s been challenging not to get distracted on thinking about how positive this is for our physical bodies and our budget. While those are definitely great, that’s not the point. The purpose of this month is for God to cultivate grateful hearts in us for all of our incredible blessings and to seek His will for our lives, not focus on the numbers on the scale or how our checking account is faring.

~We haven’t cheated. At all. Which kind of blows my mind. It’s been super tempting to say “I quit” or “Screw it, bring me the frozen yogurt/Dr. Pepper/somethingcoveredincheese/justonebiteofchocolate” but we have held strong. Thanks, Jesus.

~We are still eating a lot of eggs. (I am so glad it is a semi-cheap food! And so diverse. Reminds me of those old commercials “the incredible, edible egg.”)

Oh, on that note and in case you missed the memo– we are doing a contest to guess how many eggs my hubby and I consume in a month. To enter, just leave a comment with your guess. (If you posted last week, you can enter again with a different number by leaving your feedback and a comment below!)

The prize? A gift card to your favorite breakfast restaurant (Winner will determine what restaurant the card is for- perhaps Ihop, Waffle House, Starbucks, Cracker Barrel, Huddle House etc.) That way you can go get yourself a big ol’ plate of eggs for breakfast.

Or a heaping, steaming stack of fresh chocolate chip pancakes smothered and covered in syrup, strawberries and maple syrup with a side of bacon, fresh fruit and a Diet Dr. Pepper. (Typing that was a bad idea. I should go eat an apple. Sigh.) Again, leave your comment below of your “egg guess” to win your breakfast gift card of choice!

So that’s where we are– God is moving and we are continuing to seek Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength. (And stomach. Let’s not forget stomach.)

Now if you will excuse me… I am going to go pretend that my apple is a stack of chocolate chip pancakes.

Hungry for More Jesus,
SGK

 “Appetite is an incentive to work; hunger makes you work all the harder.” ~Proverbs 16:26 (MSG) 

My breakfast frittata– eggs, chicken, spinach and sweet potatoes. (And for a dash of feisty, spread some smashed avocado on the top.) But yes, it would be better with cheese

Categories: attitude, blessing, food, God | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Think “Fast” (7 Experiment, Week 1)

It has been one week of eating only eggs, chicken, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocado, and spinach. That’s right folks. I’m eating only 7 foods for thirty days.

If you missed last week’s entry about this fast, let me catch you up. (Or you can click here to read the entire post.) My beloved hubby and I are fasting for 30 days by only eating 7 different foods. Only water to drink. No seasonings other than salt, pepper, olive oil (sparingly) and cooking spray.  This concept is inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: The Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” In short, it has two main purposes: to seek after God at a deeper level and to restore a heart of gratitude for all the incredible choices we have in this world.

We started on June 4, so we are one week into our experience. In two words: EPIC. CHALLENGING.

The first two days kinda sucked. Like, a lot. My beloved and I both had a headache, which honestly was to be expected. We were no longer drinking any caffeine. Plus, I was probably going through sugar withdrawal.

But once we made it through Monday and Tuesday? It has been epic. We are using the extra time that we would have normally spent grocery shopping/cooking/discussing what’s for supper to spend time in prayer and in the word.

Additionally, this has been awesome for our food budget. Great for our heart. And our physical bodies feel pretty incredible.

PLUS (yes, it goes on) God has brought out my hidden gift for creative and resourceful cooking. Seriously, I have created more shockingly tasty meals with limited foods than I have in my entire adult life. Here’s a brief glimpse of some of my creations:

Breakfast:

  • Power breakfast sandwich– egg, avocado, shredded chicken on toast
  • Eggs & toast
  • French toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Scromlet– scrambled eggs, spinach, shredded chicken
  • Fritatta– eggs baked with shredded chicken & spinach with avocado on top

Lunch/Supper:

  • Spinach salad including any/all of the following– shredded chicken, avocado, spinach, apple, hard boiled egg, salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Sweet Potato Chicken soup– chicken stock, chicken, sweet potatoes, salt/pepper (BEST. INVENTION. EVER.)
  • Baked Chicken dredged in egg and coated in bread crumbs
  • Egg/chicken/avocado salad sandwich (It looks a little funny  but tastes fine)

Snacks:

  • Dried apple chips (homemade)
  • Toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Hard Boiled egg
  • Croutons (homemade)
  • Apple Leather (it’s like a fruit roll up, homemade out of applesauce put in the dehydrator)

My sweet potato chicken soup and spinach salad… with homemade croutons. Nutritious, colorful AND tasty. Thanks, Jesus!

God has really brought about a new, refreshed and grateful heart in the both of us. He has also revealed how I turn to food when I am stressed– but now I am turning to Him first. Here’s to returning to our First Love!

So in short, it’s going great. Definitely still challenging every time I pass by a Starbucks or see free oranges for the taking at the gym. (And don’t get me started on the Diet Dr. Pepper situation.) But guess what… I have one more surprise for you.

I am doing a giveaway at the end of this experience. The prize will be… well, a surprise. (But it won’t be lame. I promise.)

To enter, you can share this post via Facebook, Twitter, email etc. You can like my Facebook page if you haven’t already done so. But to make it an “official” entry, leave a comment below with your guess of how many eggs my husband and I will consume by the end of this fast. (Hint: We like eggs.)

Random, I know. But hey, don’t judge me– I haven’t had any sugar or caffeine for a week. 🙂 Plus, I think it is going to be eggstremely entertaining.

What do you think so far? We would love your feedback–leave a comment (and your eggsact guess) below.

Loving this Jesus eggsperience,
SGK

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” –John 6:35

Categories: blessing, budget, challenge, Christ, food, God, gratitude, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

20/20 Vision

Do you wear glasses or contact lenses? I don’t. And I am very thankful for that. I have been blessed (so far anyways) to have pretty legit vision when it comes to reading and seeing near, far and everything in between. My beloved husband, however, is a whole ‘nother story.

Without his glasses/contact lenses, my sweet husband is practically blind. Ok, not really in the legal sense, but his eyes are jacked up enough that without corrective lenses of some kind, functioning is practically impossible.

His eyes are so out of whack, in fact, that they can’t be fixed with Lasik eye correction. However, this week his life is about to change. He is getting Implant Contact Lens surgery (ICL.) Yep, you read correctly– they actually implant a real contact lens permanently into his eye. (Isn’t the medical world fascinating?)

He says they will be his “robot eyes.” See through things, never need sunglasses, look two different directions at the same time. Right, honey.  (I think his expectations might be a bit high.)

Brandon has worn glasses for nearly two decades. It is a hassle for him as a soldier, because he can’t wear contacts in the field for very long without risking an eye infection, he always has to worry about breaking his glasses etc. But God willing, at the end of this week, he will no longer need corrective vision anything.

However… Although we will both have close to 20/20 vision in a matter of days, we are the first to admit we need our vision corrected in different ways.

We need to see others like Jesus. I would take a wild guess to say that you might probably kinda sorta find yourself in the same boat.

If only there was a simple surgery to help us see through Jesus’ eyes and we would never have to worry about it again. However, getting our vision corrected by Jesus is a life long process.

Jesus didn’t judge based on appearances, actions or past sin. Instead, He judged the heart. I sure could use some help to see others like He did.

Think about the last time you judged someone: Perhaps that single mom. Or the overweight man. Or a disruptive kid that runs around your neighborhood wreaking havoc.

I have been praying daily for God to help me see like He sees. We aren’t called to judge. We are called to love.

Today, I challenge you to take a good look at your heart– do you have eyes like Jesus? Or do you  need you vision corrected? How can you judge less and love more by seeing through Christ’s eyes? I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic… as I think we all struggle with it. Leave a comment below.

Let’s ask God to give us Jesus glasses. Or maybe to give us contact lenses made of faith and love as we see others as He sees them. Then and only then will our vision be corrected and truly be 20/20.

Jesus help me see more clearly,
SGK

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” -John 13:34-35 (MSG) 

Categories: blessing, Christ, God | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

Lord, Thank You for the Socks (Five Minute Friday: Expectation)

Come one, come all!
The time is here once again,
To bust out a Five Minute Friday post,
With all our online friends!

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama,
We get only five minutes to write,
Our urge to over think and edit,
We must honestly fight.

She has given us a prompt,
So without further ado,
Let’s get to crack-a-lacking,
What are we waiting for, hop to!

Today’s prompt: EXPECTATION

GO!

*******

It’s covered in beautiful paper and decorated with a bow. I shake it. It doesn’t rattle, but hey, that doesn’t mean much. Maybe it’s padded really well. The time has come– my heart pounds as I rip open my gift with great anticipation and expectation. Maybe it’s that new book I wanted. Or a sweet pair of shoes. Or maybe even something shiny…

Socks. It’s socks. Talk about your all time expectation let down. Siggggghhhh.

I force a smile and blink my eyes, trying with all I can to be grateful. I had expected such big things only to get socks.

Isn’t that how it goes sometimes? We dream up all sorts of ideas and plans of what the ideal gift or circumstance may look like, and sometimes God gives us proverbial socks.

It certainly isn’t wrong to have high expectations. But just because those “socks” we received from the Lord aren’t shiny or have a great plot-line, doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose.

Sometimes what we see as socks from God can really be the initial pathway to His incredible plan for us. That seemingly let down expectation of a gift is in fact very useful and necessary.

Through those less than perfect circumstances and gifts from God, aka the “sock gifts of life,” we have an opportunity to seek Him out at a deeper level. If it is a trial or period of uncertainty in life we didn’t expect, we can rest in His protection.  We are kept warm. And our feet are covered and prepared for the journey ahead.

The outcome of that gift, while initially might seem like a let down, can result in an experience that changes our life and surpasses all of our wildest expectations.

So in that case… Lord, thank you for the socks. 

STOP!

******

Always such a fun rush,
For my brain and my fingers,
But hey it’s almost the weekend,
No reason to hang around and linger!

Jesus pumps me up,
SGK

“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” –Romans 8:19

PS: What did you think of today’s quick-fast (and slightly goofy) rhyming post? I always love hearing from folks… feel free to leave a comment below!

Categories: blessing, Christ, excited, Five Minute Friday, gifts, God, gratitude, perspective, plans | Tags: , , , , , | 23 Comments

God Only Knows Where We’d Be

I was never a crier. I was the tough girl. I once went through an entire semester at college without crying.

And then I fell in love. With a soldier. And with Jesus.

At one point in my life, my heart was hardened. I was not compassionate and completely confident that I could make “it” on my own. Tears were not an issue. I had it together.

And then I feel in love. With a soldier. And with Jesus.

Today is Memorial Day. A day of tribute. A day of remembrance. I am forever thankful for our soldiers– and for Jesus.

Many people post tributes and touching pictures on Facebook in support of our troops. That’s great. But I have quite a different perspective. See, I am married to one of those soldiers. And not just married to him, but deeply in love with him.

My beloved has served overseas three times. He’s been shot at. He’s watched his battle buddies fall. All the while– he clung tight to Jesus. And led me into a relationship with Christ much deeper than I could have ever imagined.

As my relationship with my soldier and my Christ has deepened, my heart as been softened. I try to avoid “tearjerker” videos because I still don’t like to cry. But it is hard not to be overcome with emotion– primarily in the form of gratitude- when I stop to really consider what my beloved husband AND what Christ has done for us.

They both have willingly offered to DIE for me. Simply the thought of this type of love moves my heart.

The song “Soldiers and Jesus” by James Otto sums it up pretty well.

(If you couldn’t view the video in your email, click HERE to watch.)

Have you EVER really stopped to think about the sacrifice from Christ and our soldiers? How does it make you feel? How have you experienced life from another’s sacrificial love? Please don’t be shy… Share your comments below.

So today, lets take a moment to give thanks for those who have given us a hope and a future by laying down their lives. There’s only two people who have ever died for me… Soldiers and Jesus. Without them… God only knows where we’d be.

Thankful beyond measure,
SGK

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13

Categories: army, blessing, Christ, cross, death, fight, freedom, glory, God, Jesus, life, sacrifice, soldier, Tribute | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Rule of 4.0

“Moooommmm… I… didn’t…do…good…on… (sob)…my (gasp)… Chemistry… (sniff)…tessssttttttt. I…won’t…get…an.. A!” 

That is a real (ok, paraphrased) excerpt from a conversation that I frequently had with my Mom on the phone my freshmen year of college at K-State.

Chemistry was a nightmare. And when I bombed that first test, I was convinced my life was over. Seriously. Up until that point, I had only gotten a “B” on a report card ONCE in my life, and that was my freshmen year of high school in Algebra. (What IS it with freshmen year? And boo on math.)

I despised chemistry. (And still do, just for the record.) I didn’t understand it. I didn’t get it. And I didn’t get an A that semester. What a way to start out my college career, huh?

My friends and I had a theory in college. We called it the “Rule of 4.0.” The idea was that there were many things in life that once you fell short, it was hard to care about trying to work hard at it again.

Chemistry class was my example. After I got that first “B” in college, I knew there was no hope of pulling a 4.0. My record was marred. So I had a choice to make… would I keep trying to do well in college? Or since I had fallen short of my dreams of “perfect” grades, should I just sorta half-way try and count it all as lost?

Fortunately, my motivation kicked in and I kept trying. No, I didn’t get my 4.0 due to falling short early on (Thanks, Chem I and II…) But I did manage to graduate with honors five years later. (I took a victory lap for my undergrad, just because I could.)

Now you might be wondering: “Uh, Sharita, I am kind of done with school. What in the name of sodium chloride does this have to do with me?”

Great question. I’m glad you asked. The “Rule of 4.0” doesn’t just apply to literal grade point averages. It also applies to different areas of our lives. For example…

The Rule of 4.0 kicks in during a long-distance run after you made the mental decision to walk for a few steps… You failed right? Whats the point of trying to redeem your run? Might as well walk the rest of the way, yes?

The Rule of 4.0 applies when it comes to purity… maybe a girl (or guy) decided to engage in pre-marital sex with a significant other, but then they broke up. She/he isn’t “pure” anymore. So what’s the point of abstaining from that point forward until marriage?

The Rule of 4.0 shows up when we get reprimanded at work– we weren’t the perfect employee, so why strive to regain a solid work ethic, right?

The Rule of 4.0 comes to life in our everyday lives when we sin. We messed up… so why try to make it right and live a Christ-like life? We failed.

Obviously, this way of thinking can be a dangerous and little off the mark. The Rule of 4.0 is meant to be an encouragement to think twice about making a decision that might damage your heart, your GPA, relationships or work life. HOWEVER… like it or not, we are ALL going to fall short.

None of us are going to graduate from this life to the next with a 4.0 without the help of Christ.

Will you allow Christ to help you “graduate” from this life to the next with a 4.0?

We might get a B or C in life… or we might even flunk on occasion. God grades on a curve. And that curve is in form of The Cross.

We have the beautiful and blessed opportunity to start fresh every single day, reaching out to Christ for that 4.0 perfect score. Each time we give an incorrect answer or fall short, we can take it to The Cross and learn from the ultimate teacher.

Christ is our Valedictorian. He is the one who will help us graduate summa cum laude. He is the one to restore us to our 4.0.

Here’s to “graduating” with Honors,
SGK

“If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.”
–2 Thessalonians 1:12 (MSG) 

PS: Where have you needed Christ to grade on a curve in your life? Have you struggled with the “Rule of 4.0?” I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.

Categories: blessing, challenge, childhood, Christ, fulfillment, God, grace, perspective, promises | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

25 Reasons Why Moms Rock

“But Moooooooommmmmmmmmm…”

“Mom, you just don’t understand.” 

“Whatever, Mom.” 

Aaahhh, the sweet, sweet sounds of my childhood. (My teenage years were kind of brutal. Just ask my parents. Apparently, I had something called an “attitude.” Pshaw. Whatever 😉 )

Fortunately, I am well on the other side of my teen years and my beloved Mama and I no longer butt heads. (At least not like we used to.) In fact, she is my best friend. It’s amazing what a little personal maturity can do for a gal. (Talking about you, Mama. Just kidding…)

Love my Mamas. ❤

Just in case you didn’t get the memo, yesterday was Mother’s Day. (If you didn’t call, text, or acknowledge your Mom, I will allow a brief blog intermission for you to panic and subsequently rectify the situation.)

Are we good? Ok, great. So yeah, yesterday was Mother’s Day. And for the first time in my adult history (at least I think?), I actually had a chance to celebrate Mother’s Day WITH my Mama. Yes, folks, she is spending a few days in Georgia with me. This is a big deal… because I haven’t seen her since Christmas, and this is her first time in Georgia since we moved here over a year ago.

We’ve had a great time. Scratch that. It’s been incredible. I love that woman.  In the days I have spent with her (and the days leading up to her arrival) I couldn’t help but think about why my mom (and moms in general) simply rock. They are just so awesome.

Thus, in honor of Mother’s Day, I have compiled 25 Reasons Why Moms Rock. (Feel free to forward this to your Mom in case you forgot to acknowledge her awesomeness yesterday.) Let’s praise Jesus for the gift of our Mamas! Drumroll please…

25 Reasons Why Moms Rock

  1. They love you unconditionally.
  2. Moms always know what to say.
  3. They know what NOT to say.
  4. Their hugs are unbeatable.
  5. They ALWAYS have that one recipe that you need… memorized.
  6. Moms laugh at your jokes… whether you are funny or not.
  7. They give great advice.
  8. When angry, their voice can be projected and heard up to 3.64 miles away.
  9. They are great nurses when you are sick.
  10. They are so good at drying tears.
  11. Moms always have the cool band-aids on hand.
  12. There is always something good to eat in their fridge.
  13. You can sit together in silence with your Mom and it’s not awkward.
  14. Their eyes have the sweetest little laugh-induced wrinkles.
  15. Moms are the ultimate cheerleaders.
  16. They are supreme holiday tradition-setters.
  17. The things they taught you in your youth stick with you… forever.
  18. They don’t get stuck on “biological requirements” to be a Mom.
  19. They are Moms to every child under 17 in the neighborhood. (See #18.)
  20. They are resourceful.
  21. Their remedy of “eat some chocolate and get a hot bath” will fix almost anything.
  22. The Mother of the Bride/Grooms are ALWAYS the prettiest people at weddings. (Bride excluded)
  23. They pray for you. A LOT.
  24. You can always call them. Anytime.
  25. They were HAND HEART-PICKED by God.

Why does YOUR Mom rock? Please feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment HERE. 

To all the Mama’s out there (My Mama CJ and Mother-in-Love Lex specifically) THANK YOU for being such great role models and influences on our lives. You are truly a gift from God, and I pray that your legacy lives on for generations.

Thanking The Father for our Mamas,
SGK

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” –Proverbs 31:28-29 

Categories: adoption, baby, blessing, cheerleader, childhood, chocolates, Christ, Love, parents, patience | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Blessed Abundantly (Versatile Blogger Award)

God just keeps pouring on the blessings to this ministry. Wowzers. (Sidenote: Wowzers is a super fun word.)

This week, I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. I’m humbled. I’m flattered.

I’m stinkin’ excited.

So today, I simply rejoice in the continual and abundant blessings of the Lord. (Yes, you have my permission to let out a huge sigh of relief since I will not be giving a 35 minute acceptance speech thanking everyone from my puppy to my first grade teacher. Oh, and Jesus. Can’t forget Him.)

But with this recognition come a few responsibilities. (Don’t worry– they aren’t major and it is an honor to participate!)

First…. Thanks to Peach State over at JustBetweenCousins for this wonderful honor. You rock. 🙂

Share 7 (yes, 7– I see that number continues to surface!) random facts about yourself. Hmmm… Ok, here goes:

  1. I am a certified auctioneer. (Seriously. I have a diploma to prove it.)
  2. Chocolate Avocado Mousse is my favorite dessert… to eat and make.
  3. I wore Duct Tape to my senior prom. (Total cost: $32.)
  4. I own a pair of ruby red slippers. (Hey. Don’t judge. I’m from Kansas.)
  5. It is a physical impossibility for  me to play any sport that involves flying objects without getting hit in the face or bruised. (Not kidding. I once split my lip open playing ping pong. Sigh.)
  6. I’m allergic to peanuts. (Yes. That means no PB & J sandwiches or Reese’s cups. Rough life, I know.)
  7. I believe that the top three most acoustically effective places to sing are in the shower, elevators and stairwells.
Finally, I need to nominate the next batch of amazing winners for this award. (The “Rules” say 15… but I am nominating my top 5 favorite blogs to follow, just to keep this from being overwhelming.)
FullHerLife-– Amy Alves
A Pause on the Path— Shanda Oakley
Finding Heaven— Jen Ferguson
One Degree Ministries— Tracy Steele
So congrats to the new winners… thank YOU for blessing me with your amazing words each day 🙂

Isn’t it simply amazing how God gives little snippets of encouragement on our journey? How does God encourage you? Is it with a song? Affirmation from another? A hidden blessing? I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment here to share how God is encouraging you in your daily walk!

Remember friends, He is so loving and faithful… Just ask and obey– He will bless you abundantly!

Abundantly Blessed,
SGK

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” –Proverbs 11:25 (MSG) 

Categories: affirmation, blessing, cheering, encouragement, faith, God | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Unblock Your Heart

I will never forget that phone call. It was March, my senior year of high school. I was “supposed” to be in English class, but of course was spending my time ever-so-wisely in the library. The secretary tracked down my location and transferred the call to the library. It was announced: “Sharita… You have a phone call.”

The chorus of “Oooooooo, I wonder if she’s in trouble?” echoed in the room from my schoolmates as I rolled my eyes and made my way over to the phone.

“Hello?”

“Sharita.” My mom’s voice sounded… weird. “Um, your Daddy is sick.”

“What kind of sick?” I wondered why Dad having a stomach ache would warrant a phone called to school.

“I think he’s having a heart attack.”

BOOM. There it was. He was 45 years old. I was a senior. My sister a junior. And little brother just started kindergarten that year. How could my Dad be having a heart attack? Just 45 days before, he had been to the cardiologist for insurance check-up stuff… and they gave him a clean bill of health.

 I didn’t really understand the severity of his heart attack until they decided to LifeFlight him to the Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita. The events over the next several hours could easily fill up a week’s worth of blog posts. I will never forget the details.

Turns out, an artery in his heart was 98% blocked. By the time Mom, my two siblings and I got rounded up and arrived in Wichita, he was already out of surgery from receiving a stint and resting in the ICU.

Scariest few hours of our lives. All I could think about was the fact that we might lose him that day. Not fair. Where did that blockage come from? They said he was HEALTHY less than two months ago.  He was supposed to see me graduate high school and college, walk me down the aisle at my wedding and give me away, hold his grandbaby in his arms.

All of that was threatened to be taken from us from a tiny blockage in his heart.

When was the last time you had a heart check-up from God?

I am happy to report that over 8 years have passed and Dad is still kicking. (Thank you, Jesus!) As I reflected on this event, I couldn’t help but think how our OWN heart blockages can threaten to take our lives…

I am not talking about the heart blockages from plaque and build up. I am talking about the “heart junk” that keeps us from being in an intimate relationship with Christ. If our heart is blocked, it becomes hard… we start to die from the inside out. We grow farther and farther from Christ.

All the while, we could convince ourselves that we have a “clean bill of health” from the outside. We are “doing” all the right things– going to church, half-heartedly praying, giving to the poor– but inside, we are slowly dying. Our heart for Christ is blocked. Clogged. Slowing down. Ceasing to beat.

Our blockages can come in many forms. Unconfessed sin. Unforgiveness. Desire to control our lives. Inability to trust God. Worry. Anxiety. Depression. Unhealed hurt from others.

Fortunately for us, God is the most talented cardiologist that ever existed. He doesn’t require medication, LifeFlight helicopters, or surgery. We must simply RECEIVE His grace and mercy into our hearts. If we share with Him openly our hurts, sins and grudges, He is the one who can heal them. Clean them out. Immediately.

Ask God if you are living your “clean bill of health” from the inside out or if you have some blocked areas of your heart. Ask Him to reveal any “blocked areas” to you and then help you to clean them out… He is The One who can make your heart beat, healthily, wildly and passionately. For Him.

Today, let’s allow Jesus to unblock our hearts so we can Live for Him.

Lovin’ His Lub-Dubbing,
SGK

“…Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having ourhearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” –Hebrews 10:22

How is your heart beating today? Is it healthy? Has God helped to unblock your heart? In what ways? I would love to hear about it. Comment here.

Categories: blessing, Christ, faith, Family, fear, God, healing, health, hope, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Helping Hands & Burgers for Babies (Factor of 7)

Did everyone see the awesome article in The Bayonet yesterday documenting our latest “Factor of 7: Latte Love?” If you read it and were inspired, I have some GREAT news for you… You can share the love of Jesus RIGHT NOW!

Mandy Gramkow is a friend of mine from college, a fellow blogger, a wife, a mama to two precious little ones and a daughter of Christ.  She ran across 7 Days time and realized that she was actually in the middle of her own Factor of 7. Team Gramkow’s journey of faith will simply blow you away, so please check out her message below to answer her call of sharing the love of Christ!

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Our miracle preemie, Beckett was born at 2 lbs. 2.6 oz. at 25 weeks gestation. During our a 88 day NICU stay, we walked alongside so many parents who were in need of support of this difficult journey. Beckett’s neonatologist, Dr.Grubbs, and his wife Lisa founded NICU Helping Hands here in Fort Worth, Texas. Team Gramkow believes in their mission to helping families who endure a NICU journey.

Our Beckett turned SEVEN months on Monday….So in honor of Beckett’s SEVEN month birthday, we would love to have SEVEN people pledge to donate TODAY to our fundraising efforts for NICU Helping Hands. We only have SEVEN DAYS to reach our goal of $2,500 to get a table at Burgers for Babies! The Burgers for Babies event is here in Fort Worth on May 10! May 1st is the deadline for us to receive donations. 

We are so appreciative of any support you can lend to this cause. God’s blessings to you! 

Love,
Team Gramkow (Ben, Mandy, Ellie and Beckett) 

(See Beckett’s 7-month birthday challenge blog post  for complete information and how to make your donation today!!)

Ellie and Beckett... Celebrating God's faithfulness! High Five!

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Wow, folks. That is powerful stuff, huh? I personally have been following Team Gramkow’s journey ever since Ellie was also born prematurely at 28 weeks in 2008. They are such a powerful testimony to God’s love and faithfulness! As of this writing, Team Gramkow has received donations totaling $1300. Pray about this opportunity to share the love of Christ. And if you feel so led, then pay it forward by making a love offering to this wonderful mission. Don’t delay– we only have 5 days left to help them out!

If this story has touched your heart, don’t hesitate to show the love via leaving a comment here or making a donation. Every little bit counts. Remember that you will be part of Helping Hands, Burgers for Babies AND multiplying HIS love by much more than a Factor of 7!!

Little babies and great love,
SGK

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”–Matthew 19:14

PS: HUGE congrats to our Latte Love winner Tina (Aka GoldenPrayerBear) over at Pot of Manna!!! You have won a Starbucks gift card! (I will be in touch with you asap to get info) Thanks to all of you who shared the love of our ministry and left encouraging comments… Keep ’em coming 🙂

Categories: baby, blessing, challenge, Christ, Factor of 7, faith, Family, generosity, God, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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