Posts Tagged With: blessing

A Happy Dance (And Giveaway Results)

Sometimes God just blows me away.

Seriously. I look back on the last few years, and I’m like “REALLY, GOD? REALLY!?! Wow. You rock.” 

A couple of years ago, I was blindsided by the call to ministry… I didn’t see it coming. Like, at all. I had a bachelor’s degree in animal science, for Pete’s sake.

And if you would have told me I would be in ministry, write 400+ blog posts in the next couple of years and become a spiritual leadership coach, I would have seriously wondered if you had gotten a little cray-cray with the communion wine. (Although I think most places, including our current church, use grape juice… but I digress.)

Here I am. Writing to you as I always do, totally and completely in awe of God’s plans.

What a fun surprise.

A big old-school pic... but I still feel the same way about Jesus (and my hubby.) WHEEE!

A bit of an old-school pic… but I still feel the same way about Jesus (and my hubby.) WHEEE! (And my hair is a bit tamer these days. Mainly because I’m sporting the Mom ponytail. Don’t judge.)

Today’s post isn’t super deep or profound… It’s more of just a happy dance for all He has done in my life and this ministry.

Oh, and announcing the giveaway result winners. Drumroll please… Congrats to Rachel Kagay on winning the $25 gift card and Susan Park, winner of the inky-pen-journal combo. (Yay! Now I get to go journal shopping!! #nerdalert.) I will be contacting you gals shortly to get your info and hook you up with your prizes.

As far as the “final” and new tagline for 7 Days Time?? It’s still to be determined. I had some incredible feedback and your responses really got the creative juices flowing. So I’m taking it back to Jesus and letting Him have the final say. But look for new, exciting things in the next few month(s).

On that note: let’s take a few moments to just praise Him for all He has (and will!) do in our lives. Think about your own life…

When have God’s plans totally surprised you?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

How does God remind you of His love?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~John 3:16

Has he ever taken a hard or painful situation and brought good out of it?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28 

How can you share those awesome experiences with others around you to show God’s love?
“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20 MSG

Feel free to respond to any of the above questions in a comment to share… I am always so uplifted by your powerful testimonies. (It fills my cup.)

I’m just so thankful. Thankful for God’s faithfulness and provision… And you, dear readers! Your encouragement, participation, emails, comments, Facebook messages are what keeps me going on those days when I wonder… does this really matter?

According to Jesus (and you…) Apparently, it does.

So this, friends… Is me doing a virtual happy dance– on the keyboard.

Thanks for all you do for this ministry!!

To the Glory of God Alone,

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” ~Philippians 4:4 NIV

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Never too Small (Five Minute Friday)

Hey all!

First things first…  Before we dig into our weekly Five Minute Friday post with Lisa-Jo, I need you to do me a HUGE favor.

Please pop over to Monday’s post and leave a comment with your choice for the new 7 Days Time tagline. (I’ve got a giveaway going and would love for you to enter. Seriously.  Who doesn’t like free stuff? It’ll take you like 45 seconds. Pretty pleaassseee. I’ll wait…)

…….. Are you back? Ok. Thanks a million.

Now, on with business… It’s Five Minute Friday time! Each week I link up with Lisa-Jo’s writing community. She gives us a prompt, then we write, unrestricted, for five minutes.

Five Minute Friday

It’s that simple.

So let’s get started.

Today’s prompt: SMALL


We live in a world of more… better… faster…bigger…  And because of that general mindset, sometimes folks forget the smallest things can make the biggest difference.

Especially when done for God.

I remember a quote from Steven Furtick (paraphrasing here, people) “Nothing is ever insignificant if done for the One Most Significant.” (Or something along those lines.) For me, that means if I’m doing something with Jesus in mind, He sees it… and is pleased, as long as my heart is in the right place.

Maybe it’s opening the door for a stranger. Or bringing a casserole to your new neighbor. Or asking the grocery store check-out gal how you can pray for her.

And you know all of those small things of love you do every day? Loading the dishwasher, the seemingly endless battle to match socks, the dirty faces washed and diapers changed. The bills paid, emails written, floors vacuumed. The phone calls returned, meals prepared, groceries purchased. The thank yous to the mailman, smiles at the garbage truck driver, the hug for a friend, an encouraging word to your spouse, the extra moments spent with your child in the park.

When done for Christ… Those are NEVER too small.


How can you show the love of Christ to someone today? Be encouraged, friend… God sees your heart, how you love and labor… Your actions are never too small.

Biggest blessings to you,

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” ~Colossians 3:23-24 NIV

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Never Lonely (Five Minute Friday)

Five Minute Friday
Hey all!

It’s Five Minute Friday again. In short, each week I link up with Lisa-Jo Baker… She gives us a prompt and we write. On the spot. No over thinking or excessive editing.

So let’s get to cracking.

Today’s Prompt: LONELY



It might creep in during the darkest time of the night… Or perhaps early morning when no one is around… Or in a time of trial… Or we might even feel it in the midst of a crowded room.

Being lonely kinda sucks.

Yeah. I said it. It can suffocate us, cripple us, paralyze us. It can take over our heart, body and emotions. Super not fun.

And we’ve probably all been there to some degree.

Perhaps it’s when we are new in town and left behind all of our close friends. Or we are facing a deployment of our Beloved husband. Or our sweet posse of kiddos are headed back to school after a summer of fun. Or we trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.

Loneliness can come in many forms…  But this post isn’t to bring you down and remind us of what we don’t have in those times… This is to remind us of what we do have.

Friends, no matter WHAT you are facing, you aren’t alone. I know you have heard it before– but I’m reminding you because it’s true. God is right there with you… You might not feel Him, but I promise, He’s there and He will give you the love, strength, hope and encouragement you need to bid sayonara to that lonely heart. You can always rely on Him– He is always faithful, always present. He is our friend, companion, lover.

With God holding our right hand and whispering sweet words into our heart… What more company do we need?



Praying this post speaks to you today, darling reader… If you are feeling lonely, weary, uncertain, worn out, whatevs… I would love to pray with you. Gimme a shout out by leaving a comment or sending me a message on Facebook on Twitter or even via email (sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com.)

Be blessed today!

Never Lonely with Him,

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

Categories: Five Minute Friday | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Our Heart and Macaroni Art (In case you forgot…)

On a scale of one to ten… where is your heart with God today? I ran across the post below as I was walking down bloggy memory lane– I remember a brief season when I was disconnected to Him– and how He brought me back around. 

If you find yourself in the same boat (or anywhere near the boat… on the shore, in the lighthouse, whatever) check out this reminder post below… and grab ahold of the love God is offering to you! Oh, and as usual– feel free to comment. 🙂 

Loving Him,


I saw him from a distance. My heart started to pound. I smoothed my hair and gave myself a mental brownie point for wearing my favorite shirt. I considered moving closer to him… but he turned and started walking toward me. My breathing sped up. He was coming. He was beautiful. And I knew I belonged to him.

Pretty romantic huh? Probably sounds like every chick flick ever produced. But I am not talking about anyone tall, dark and handsome (or blonde with blue eyes in my case.) I am talking about God. Our Father. The One.

Perhaps I should back up a little bit. God (obviously) loves us and woos us. Last week, I had a dream where God told me to fall back in love with Him. A few days later, I awoke in a panic, realizing that I hadn’t had my official CRAVE time (quiet meditation) with Him at church in over a month (maybe even two!) I had been doing my daily Bible study during our leave holiday vacation, but my heart wasn’t really focused. My mind was all over the place, and I bet if you pick a page on my journal from the last two weeks, it would be pointless gibberish.

So I needed to fall back in love with God and CRAVE Him. I was still working on my 1000 gift list, but He told me it wasn’t enough. I prayed about it for the next few days and when we arrived back in Georgia, one of our first things to do (after unloading the car and sleeping) was to head to church. Confession: I was tired. Really didn’t want to go.

But I am sure glad I did.

I arrived at CCC and was blown away. The worship song line up was incredible. (Good thing they didn’t play Amazing Grace, or I would have been sobbing face down in the aisle.) I felt myself falling… back in love with God. Then the message sealed the deal. Why? Because for the first time in my experience at Christ Community during Sunday worship, we actually had a mini CRAVE time.

I realized that God wasn’t asking me to do anything but receive His love. That in itself allowed me to fall back in love with Him. He met me there and swept me off my feet. Again. But we have to be attentive to Him and show Him that we care. All of the things we DO for our amazing God like prayer, petitioning, quiet time, worship etc seem so small compared to the beauty and glory that is our Bridegroom Jesus.

But God is our father. And He adores our acts of love, as small as they might seem in our eyes. We are like the child, coming home from school and giving Dad a picture with dried out noodles glued on it. Our small actions are simply love in the form of macaroni art. He doesn’t throw it out. He appreciates it and puts it on the fridge.

How are you going to fall deeper in love with God? What kind of macaroni art are you going to make for Him today?

Receive Him. Fall deeply in love with Him. Give Him your heart and some “macaroni art.”

So in love,

“Get up, my dear friend, fair and beautiful lover—come to me!” Song of Solomon 2:10 (MSG)

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Leftovers: Only For Eating (A Refresher)

As a new Momma… I am SUPER hungry. Like, all the time… And as I was thinking about a post to share with you all, this one popped into my head. It is one of the very first I wrote when we launched this ministry over a year and a half ago… And while my writing style might have evolved and developed, God’s message still stands firm. 

Enjoy a fresh batch of God’s word– I promise His love is better than any leftovers you have waiting for you in the fridge. 

On that note… I think I need a snack.

Chowing down with Christ, 


Ready for a quick trip down memory lane? Sweet, let’s go. When I was growing up, one of my favorite foods was… (wait for it…) leftovers. Yes, we were the family that it was totally legit to eat the leftover lasagna from supper for breakfast the next day. I remember in middle school we were writing our “Newsletter” and did a survey of our tiny student body of their favorite “after school snack.” There was one write-in vote for “Leftovers.” Fortunately for me,  the surveys were anonymous and when everyone literally laughed out loud at the ridiculousness (practicality?) of the thought, I never owned up that twas I who wrote that as my favorite snack.

Let’s be honest, somethings are better leftover. My top picks: Homemade macaroni and cheese, chicken and dumplings, pizza, egg casserole, strawberry pretzel salad, German potato salad and anything involving chocolate. (Ok, chocolate is good fresh, leftover or licked off a plate– anything goes in that category.) Hold on… now I gotta run and take a snack break. (Just kidding)

As much as I still adore leftovers,  I do know someone who isn’t the biggest fan… God. He doesn’t want our leftovers. And sometimes, that can be hard! Most of us deal with some, all or a combination of the following on a daily basis: spouse, work, kids, bills, church, community activities, parents, siblings, homework, exercise, grocery shopping, sleep, (insert your own daily activities here). So the question is: Where does God fit?

Unlike our “shoved-to-the-back-of-the-fridge-leftovers,” God should be at the front of the list for a priority of things in our life. Exodus 23:19 says  “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.” Now don’t miss construe what I am saying here. God DOES understand that we aren’t always going to be on our A-game, peppy as Saturday Night Live Spartan Cheerleaders. However, he does expect the BEST or “Firstfruits” of ourselves to be dedicated to him.

I know. Giving our firstfruits to Him can be hard. But just like we don't want bruised apples or mushy bananas... God wants our BEST.

I know. Giving our firstfruits to Him can be hard. But just like we don’t want bruised apples or mushy bananas… God wants our BEST.

“Firstfruits” is mentioned in the NIV 31 times… “Leftover” is only mentioned once. To me, that is an indication of what God expects from us. We can give the most and best of ourselves daily by our actions and our thoughts. I don’t know about you, but if I put off something until the end of the day, the less likely it is going to get done. Example: If I wait to have my quiet time with the Lord until after supper, something seems to be more likely to come up or cause distraction. Plus, I might be weary from the days hoopla and chaos, so I won’t be my “best.” I try to pray before I even get out of bed in the morning, asking God that whatever I do that day it may be to his glory. After all: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24

Another and more “touchy” area of “firstfruits” and the non-leftovers issue is the idea of money, especially tithing. No where in the Bible does it say “Each time you get paid, wait til the end of that money then give me whatever you have leftover. Yep, that’ll be fine.” Instead it says Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10) This is the great news– God isn’t asking to tithe back to Him because He “said so” and is on a power trip. Instead He has made us a PROMISE that if we show this act of faith and reverence to Him by giving our “firstfruits” He will let the returns overflow! If that’s not motivation to cut a check, I don’t know what is!

Bottom line: God doesn’t want our leftovers, whether it is in devotion, energy, love, money or service. He desires our firstfruits. Yes, it seems as if much is asked of us, but oh beloved, SO much more is given! It is our privilege to serve him in this way. “We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the Lord each year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree.” (Nehemiah 10:35)

Are you representing a beautiful, ripe, sweet piece of fruit right off the tree or a wilted lettuce salad leftover from the day(s) before? God desires our firstfruits, not our tupperware-clad-back-of-the-fridge leftovers. It tastes sweet to Him– but oh-so-sweeter for us!

To the Glory of God,


“As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything.” – 2 Chronicles 31:5

Categories: firstfruits | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

This is the Stuff…

Ever have one of… THOSE DAYS?

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Things just seem to fall apart, one thing right after the other.

We’ve all been there.

In case you are there today (or were yesterday. Or might be tomorrow) let’s shift our perspective.

Here is one of my fav songs of all time– a great perspective shifter. It’s “This is the Stuff” by Francesca Battistelli.

Pay close attention to the lyrics… and just see if it doesn’t give your frustrated brain (and/or heart) a quick Jesus switcheroo!

What kind of “stuff” does God use to shape you into the person He has called you to be? How do you deal? Spill your guts (well, at least your thoughts) and leave a comment. 🙂

Hope your day is less messed and more blessed– By Him!

Beyond blessed even in the mess,

“And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” ~Colossians 3:17 MSG

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SURPRISE! Everyday Jesus Series Intro

Not gonna lie… I just love it when a profound and exciting Jesus idea pops into my head.

Seriously. There are few things more motivating.

As we approach the birth of our first child, a season/event which my husband and I fondly call BabyTime, I have spent significant time thinking/praying as to what ministry will look like when our “Little Patriot” makes his/her debut into our lives.

My answer: I have no idea. 

Don’t get me wrong… I’m sure there will be plenty of sleep-deprivation and poopy diapers. But as to what 7 Days Time and ministry looks like? Great question. I will get back to you when I have the answer myself.

One thing that was made pretty clear to me was not to quit completely. I know some folks cut all ministry/writing/bloggy ties when baby comes into the picture, if not forever, at least for an extended season… which is completely acceptable and understandable. Apparently being a Mama is a poop-ton of work (pun intended.)

But while we are excited about the arrival of our new little one, God hasn’t released me from this ministry (for which I am very thankful!) Also, He didn’t tell me to take a specific type of break. (Because really, it would be waaayyy harder to stop for a few weeks than legitimately pick it back up again instead of write it off forever. And honestly, Jesus and I have worked too hard and too long over the last year and a half just to be like, ok, DONE. Chapter closed. Moving on.)

Instead, He told me to ask for help.

So help I am getting.

Here’s the loose game plan… Next Monday will begin a new chapter at 7 Days Time– a guest blogging series from some of my greatest Jesus writer-y girlfriends (and guy friends, believe it or not!) The series will run til… well, until I run out of guest bloggers 🙂 The series is entitled “Everyday Jesus.”

The general premise is going to be about how my sweet guest bloggers have experienced a “Jesus sneak-attack” in the everyday moments of life… At the grocery store, doing the laundry, even on Facebook, etc, etc…

OR how they have been a part of Jesus moving in someone else’s everyday life.

I have a sneaky suspicion that these posts are going to be  funny, quirky, heartfelt, intense, all over the board.  (The sky is the limit.)

Um, I might kinda-sorta-perhaps be a smidgen excited about this season of life and this Jesus opportunity/epiphany to feature some incredible writers who have remarkable hearts for Jesus.

Monkey surprise

Are you as surprised and excited as these guys? I am.
(Image Courtesy of Doug Wheller via Flickr)

I know that each and every one of you will welcome these awesome guest bloggers with open arms– and leave them lots and lots of love in the form of feedback and comments. (Hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Plus, you will get some sweet connections to other Christian-esque blogs.

Plus, you will definitely be encouraged about how important it is to look for Jesus in everyday life.

Are you excited? I sure hope so… because I can hardly wait!!

So on that note: What are you looking forward to most about this blogging series? Do you have a great “Everyday Jesus” story moment you would like to share? Comment below!

Thanks for your flexibility and support during this new life season for us– it’s gonna be a wild ride, but I have a sneaky feeling that Jesus is gonna be with us each step of the way… every day!

Ready to rock and roll,

“This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details.” ~Ephesians 3:7 MSG

PS: As of this very moment, I hope to continue blogging on a regular basis in addition to the Monday guest bloggers… It might be a little sporadic from time to time, but my pre-birth nesting phase has transitioned into the digital world (thank you, Jesus!) so I am/have been working on several fresh posts to share post-baby. Stay tuned!

Categories: guest post | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Workplace Warfare

Most of us have been there.

After a weekend of relaxation fun (or, if you are like me and a few other folks I know, a weekend filled with catching up on your to do list outside of the working world,) the alarm sounds at whatever-o’clock in the morning.

It’s Monday. Time to go to work.

Which thought below typically pops into your head first?

A) YESSS!! Another day at an awesome job that I love! (in a non-sarcastic tone)
B) YESSS. Another day at an awesome job that I love.  (in a sarcastic tone)
C) Morning ALREADY? For serious??
D) Must. Wake. Up. Bills. Need. To. Be. Paid.

So which one did you choose? Does it depend on the day or what’s on your schedule? I know it does for me. Although I haven’t had to officially “clock in” daily at a paying gig for a little while, I have already had my share of workplace experience. From getting up at 0400 am to make the 45 minute drive to the hog barn when it was 16 years old, to working in the pizza-making section at a gas station during one summer of high school, to writing for a local newspaper, to various internships throughout the nation, to working HR for a corporation (all shifts of the day– that was icky!) to non-profit work… I’ve been around the block a time or two.

And yes, I have had ALL of those thoughts before. But really, I love to work. It makes me feel fulfilled. I like enjoying a job and doing it well. Hopefully you are the same way. (Ish?) It can give a great satisfaction.

Time Card

Another day. Another dollar. Another battle. Another blessing.
(Image courtesy of M Sullivan via Flickr)

But as I was thinking about this job/workforce experience, I couldn’t help but think about those around us who might make facing our Mondays (or any other day of the week) harder or easier.

They could be an awesome boss (or not) or great co-workers (or not) or other factors…

Such as the enemy himself. Yeppers, I’m talking about Satan and all of his stinkin’ minions.

Unfortunately, the enemy is REALLY good at his job. Like, really good. If there was an award like “Employee of Eternity” in the category of causing chaos, distraction, pain and havoc, the enemy would likely be a very viable candidate.

SIGH. So what’s a girl (or guy) supposed to do?

Well, we can fight him. Both inside and outside of the workplace.

Because no matter who your earthly boss is, whether you work in a school, office, on a construction site, in a restaurant, in the armed forces, whatever… The person you ultimately report to is Christ.

And He is one legit boss. For reals.

Christ is willing able to provide all of the training, tools, instructions and encouragement we need to overcome those schemes of the devil… and make his job to kill, steal, and destroy much, much more difficult.

Think about it… How many times during the day at your place of employment do you stop to pray? (Even if it’s for 30 seconds at your desk or at the water cooler or yes, even during a bathroom break.) What about reading His word over your lunch break? Or sneak-attack witnessing with your actions and mannerisms to a co-worker? Or casually bringing up your weekend plans and tossing Jesus into a conversation? How do you work for Him daily? Comment below!

We can always be working for Him no matter where we are or who we are employed by. And when we do so, we really throw off the enemy’s plans of doing his evil work as efficiently or effective.

It’s workplace warfare, folks. We are all engaged in it. And yes, Satan is really stinkin’ good at his job. But honestly– Christ is our boss… so who will you be clocking in for today?

Working for the Big Man,

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” ~Colossians 3:23 NIV

Categories: work | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Factor of 7: Jaw-Dropping Jesus Moment

Ever have a moment that catches you so off guard that your jaw just drops open automatically?

I have. Several times actually. It can be a result of some shocking information (“So-and-so is getting married!” or “Jim Bob down the road wrecked his truck because he hit a cow—but don’t worry, he’s ok.”) Perhaps it’s from someone jumping out from around the corner trying to startle someone. (which the jaw-drop is quickly followed by a thwack from me to the alleged scarer.)  Sometimes I don’t even know my mouth is gaping open with surprise til someone awkwardly tells me to pick my jaw up off the floor and close my mouth. (Such a proud moment. Sigh.)

A few days ago, my beloved husband and I had a pretty intense jaw-dropping moment… brought to us by Jesus Himself. Here’s what went down…

We were traveling for the holidays and on the second leg of our journey from Columbia, Missouri to Worthing, South Dakota, we needed to stop for breakfast. We hadn’t done a “Factor of 7” act of kindness for December yet, but honestly, my preggo brain was not focused on the Holy Spirit at 6:54am whatsoever—all I was thinking about was “Protein, protein, must have protein. Hungry, hungry, hungry.”

We found a sign on the interstate to Subway (it’s hard to eat a healthy breakfast on the road!) so we took the exit. At the top of the off-ramp were two homeless people holding a cardboard sign. Brandon turned to me and asked, “Hey lover… Can we buy breakfast for those two?”

Even on our tight working-for-Jesus-dollars-single-income-we-have-a-baby-coming budget, I of course said yes, moved by my darling’s ability to be attuned to the Holy Spirit when it was the furthest thing from my brain. (Side note: As a Christian, my husband is the most beautiful, handsome and yes, sexiest, when he is listening to Christ. Did ya hear that, Brandon? Write that down…)

We parked at Subway, ordered two sandwiches for us and two more for the couple standing on the ramp. We dropped a 7 Days Time card in the bag, gave the two hot foot long breakfast sandwiches to the couple and let them know we would be praying for them.

So our day continued. Our hearts (and stomachs) full. On the road again.

But the jaw-dropping Jesus moment came later that evening…

Brandon and I arrived in South Dakota, and one of our first stop post-supper was going to the hospital to see Grandpa Willie. We stopped by Grandma’s house to get her car so she could drive herself home since there wouldn’t be room in the truck with all 6 of us piled in and she had hitched a ride to the hospital with a friend earlier in the day as the roads were kind of icky.

My beloved and I were riding in grandma’s car, just the two of us, following Brandon’s parents, brother and his brother’s girlfriend who were riding in the truck in front of us. As we watched the street before us, two pieces of paper blew up off the ground as the truck in front of us drove by. Brandon stopped mid-sentence and said “What was that?? I think it was money.”

Before I could utter a word, my darling made a u-turn, parked in  front of a church sidewalk (no irony there), and jumped out to investigate. I watched this scene from the passenger seat, jaw-dropped… Expecting IF it was any kind of cash, it would be a couple of one-dollar bills.

He comes back glowing and shouting—it was a $10 and a $20.

I gasped as I suddenly remembered what we had paid for breakfast that morning for ourselves and the homeless couple.


(I will give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the ground.)

I reminded Brandon of this $30 blessing moment from earlier that day—all He could say is “No way… Seriously?!?! SERIOUSLY!?!?”

Yes. Seriously.

Maybe $30 on a small town Iowa street doesn’t seem to be very significant to you… but we were confident that this jaw-dropping moment was surely brought to us by the One, the Only, Jesus Christ Himself.  There were WAYYYY too many variable factors for this to just be a “random coincidence.” (Plus, God is sovereign over all—so as far as we are concerned, there’s no such thing as a coincidence.)

As we recovered from our shock and overflowing heart-joy, we realized He didn’t just “pay us back” the $14 we paid for the stranger’s sandwiches… He also covered OUR breakfast as well.

Wow, Jesus. Wow.

Bottom line: God cares about the big and small. He is always watching and listening. He is the ultimate provider. He will encourage, reward and smile at us when we do something in His name, via His love.

So what’s stopping us from living like this ALL the time? Today is a great time to start. Won’t you join us?

Jaw-dropped by Jesus,


“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” ~Luke 6:38 MSG

PS: What did you think of our latest “Factor of 7” and Jesus jaw-dropping payback? How does Jesus make your jaw drop? Comment below!

Categories: Factor of 7 | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

10 Commandments of Pregnancy: For friends/family/strangers

Remember a little while back I wrote a snappy lil blog post called 10 Commandments of Pregnancy for Husbands? Well, it was such a hit (per generating many laughs, comments and/or AMENS) that we are adding a new chapter of 10 Commandments of Pregnancy…

This time, it’s for everyone. That’s right, friends, family members, acquaintances and yes, even strangers.

Buckle up. Brace yourself. And get ready to chuckle at these real life, personally-instigated guidelines from this pregnant gal.

Remember: They are funny (and applicable) cuz they are true.

So without further ado… We now present “10 Commandments of Pregnancy for friends/family/strangers/etc.” Let’s do this…

1. Thou shalt not give unsolicited advice. This is a big one. Remember that pregnancy, especially for a first time mama (like me) can be overwhelming in general. Our body is doing some absolutely crazy stuff and we are bombarded with information on TV, the internet, books and our doctor. If we approach you asking for advice, by all means, let’s pour a cup of decaf coffee and chat. However, if we met four seconds ago in the produce section of the grocery store, please don’t share the latest statistics about how the .0001% amount of pesticides that might possibly be on the lettuce could cause birth defects. Unnecessary.

2. Thou shalt remember that the pregnant future-mama’s word filter is broken… if it is still intact at all. This is no excuse for us preggos to be rude… but sometimes, especially if you violate commandment #1, our broken/missing word/politeness filter reaction will be automatic and we will say something we will probably regret later. We appreciate your compassion to laugh it off and take no offense to our surge of progesterone word-vomit… or better yet, just nod your head, smile and walk away before the situation escalates.

3. Thou shalt not uninvitedly share your overly-detailed, graphic, or scary aspects of your personal delivery experiences. (This especially applies to complete strangers.) I understand that birthing a child results in the automatic induction to an elite and awesome mommy club. Which is super cool. But remember that our preggo brains are already really good  at dreaming up all of the crazy possibilities that could (but probably won’t) happen during delivery.  So please, please, don’t share with us how much you “tore” during labor (Dear Lord!) or the fact that the 48 hrs you were birthing your child were the most horrific two days of your life. It’s not encouraging. It’s just scary. (And we would like to live in denial for as long as possible, thank you very much.)

4. Thou shalt be excited for said pregnant mama. It doesn’t matter if it is her first baby or her twelfth. The overall idea of two leedle, bitty cells coming together to make a person as part of the coolest Jesus arts and crafts project ever is something to be celebrated. (See commandment #10)

5. Thou shalt not awkwardly apologize for things that do not need to be apologized for. Weird, but true. Even if the mama is a little overwhelmed by the fact that she is expecting her second baby in record time after baby #1 was on the ground, (whoops) or if she announces that her third baby happens to be “another” boy just like the previous two, don’t apologize. It can be offensive and disheartening. (Refer to Commandment #4 and #10.)

6. Thou shalt offer to help in any way possible. Yes, we preggos want to be independent… but sometimes it is nice to be taken care of… I mean seriously, who doesn’t want an extra casserole in the fridge in preparation for baby’s arrival? (This one is especially important if future-mama doesn’t have immediate family right down the road… or in the same state… or in the same time zone.)

7. Thou shalt not be judgey. Seriously. This is dangerous for all parties involved. If you see me shotgunning a Venti Starbucks drink, please don’t shoot me a look of doom… Because in all honesty, it’s probably decaf anyways and it’s been “one of those days.” Yes, if we are super close as friends/family and you see me going to town chowing down 13 Big Macs, by all means, lovingly call me out. (But keep your fingers back. I might bite.)  This also applies to general parenting decisions, such as whether or not we are finding out the gender, or what kind of diapers we will be using. If its something seemingly harmless, just let us be.  It is the safest option for all parties involved.

8. Thou shalt make and extra effort to guard your word vomit… Specifically avoiding phrases like “Wow, you are HUGE!” or “No baby YET!?!” or “Oh you are still super early in your pregnancy” or “Oh you just wait…” Each one of these make me cringe. Remember that we preggos tend to be overly sensitive and hormonal with broken word filters ourselves. So when we are miserably 40+ weeks pregnant counting the hours still baby makes his/her appearance and you utter the words “Still no baby yet? You look like you are going to pop!” we reserve the right to mutter something under our breath about “I will show you pop” then whacking you in the face. (Just kidding. Violence is not the answer.) But seriously. Please guard your words.

9. Thou shalt not touch the belly… or enter into the mama-bubble at all unless invited. I haven’t had to deal with this one too much– yet. I don’t know if it’s because I am not “super big” yet at 27 weeks, or I am not around enough people or if I naturally wear a subconscious look on my face of “Stay back or I will cut you.” Just remember that if you get all up into our kool-aid to “pet” our baby bump, we might spray you down with lysol (if we happen to be in a germaphobic mood) or reach out and pat your belly– which will just make the situation super awkward (and remind you that you shouldn’t have eaten that extra piece of cake after supper last night.)

10. Thou shalt encourage and pray for the mama-(and daddy)-to-be! Much like the 10 Commandments of Pregnancy for Husbands, we need all the prayers and encouragement we can get. As first (or second, third, fourth, etc) time parents, its super exciting, overwhelming and scary. I promise you that if you ask how you can pray for us, we will appreciate it– and be more willing to extend grace when you accidentally  violate any of the other 10 commandments.

What do ya think? Got any other commandments to share (that perhaps personally happened to you?) Don’t be shy about commenting below or sharing with your friends for a lil dose of encouragement today!

Grow baby grow,

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” ~Psalm 139:13

Did you take notes?
(PS: For all of you demanding baby bump pics~ Here’s one from around 23ish weeks.)

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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