Saturday, February 2, 2019

Creating an Active Prayer Life





Prayer is a game changer.  When done consistently, our hearts learn to lean towards Jesus in all areas of our lives.  The abundant life that He speaks of in John 10:10 becomes a reality.  This is not to say there will never be trials, heartache, tears, and anger.  These things are a given when living in a broken world.  However, cultivating an active prayer life will change the way we deal with these things and create an overall sense of peace and calmness amidst the storms.  Fears will still come, but they won't pull us under the roaring sea.  When prayer is part of your day and part of your life, your life truly will change.

Sounds great, right?  But how does one pray continually?  We have so much going on in life and so many things to think about, plan, and execute.  I remember on numerous mornings telling myself I was going to pray throughout the day only to crawl in my bed that night and realize I didn't utter one prayer.  I would get discouraged and frustrated with myself.

I began to really think about how I could pray continually throughout the day.  I realized (God probably actually smacked me with this reality!) that prayer is not a wordy, impersonal act.  Prayer is literally just talking to Jesus.  Prayer is our direct line to Him.

Think about it...we talk to ourselves all day long.  Instead of just speaking to ourselves, we can train our minds to speak to the Holy Spirit more than we speak to ourselves.  And that, my friend, is prayer!  Nothing fancy.  Nothing showy.  Just pure, honest talk.

So how do we train our minds?  With lots of practice.  Anytime we begin something new, it takes effort.  We create habits over a series of days and weeks, not minutes.  The practice of continual prayer is not meant to frustrate us, it is meant to encourage us and enrich our lives.

There are many ways to train our minds.  We are all different and, therefore, some things work for some while other things work for others.  I'm going to share how I was able to train my mind.  You can use it all, you can use bits and pieces, or you can throw it all out the window.  Do what works for you.



How I trained my mind to have an active and consistent prayer life:

1.  I begin my day with Jesus.  Before doing anything else, I grab my prayer journal and write out what I am thankful for, personal prayers, and prayers for others.  Prior to beginning, I ask Jesus to show me sins I need to confess and people I need to forgive.  This clears my heart and prepares me to focus on Jesus.  By waking and going to Jesus first thing, I center my thoughts around Him rather than around me.  It has made a HUGE difference in my life.

2.  I committed to reading Scripture daily.  This is often done mid morning or early afternoon.  I have found that this has helped me so much.  If my mind wanders away from the will of Jesus, reading Scripture always brings me back to Him.  This can be five minutes or thirty minutes.  It is dependent upon my day.  However, I generally always stick to it because it has made such a difference in my mindset and heart.

3.  I like to focus on a verse each day.  When I wake in the morning and have something on my heart, I will look for a verse during my prayer time that I know will help center me.  For example, if I am in what if mode, I will think upon Philippians 4:6-8.  If I do not have the verse committed to memory, I will write it down on a small index card and keep it with me.

These practices have been so helpful in training my mind to think upon Jesus throughout the day.  My prayers are short - often one to two sentences - but they are consistent.  For example, if I am outside with my puppy and hear a bird, I will tell Jesus what a beautiful sound He created and thank Him for allowing me to hear it.

Praying consistently has made such an impact on my life.  I feel so very connected to Jesus.  I recognize His presence so often and feel Him speaking to me.  There truly is a peace that surpasses all of my understanding and I know, without a doubt, that it comes from having an active prayer life.

My mom recently said something that was a golden nugget.  I grabbed it and tucked it away for safe keeping hoping to never forget it.  She said, "As I'm praying throughout the day, I don't say Amen.  I keep my heart open so that my prayers are flowing all day."  I love that!  Let your prayers flow all day and feel the transforming effects of a consistent and active prayer life.

Rooting for you and your prayer life,
Marci

Friday, March 16, 2018

Detox Your Life – Part 1 {Your Body}




Our bodies are exposed to tons of toxins.  We eat them, drink them, lather them on our skin, and breathe them in.  Just thinking about all of the uglies that go inside of our bodies can cause an uneasiness and a sense of urgency to rid our bodies of anything foreign.
Before you panic and do something drastic, let me give you some good news.
  1. Our bodies are stronger than we think.  We have been gifted with immune systems that fight for us every single minute of every single day.  Think of your immune system as the best SEAL team ever.  This team doesn’t have any other job but to protect our bodies.  Also, this team never sleeps.  It is punching the clock 24/7.
  2. I am going to walk you through a detox program that will be easy (if you are committed) and free your body, mind, and environment of nasty toxins.
The definition of detoxification is:  The process of removing toxic substances or qualities from one’s body.
Signs that you need to detox your body:
  • Lethargy
  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain
  • Indigestion
  • Excessive sinus problems
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Bad breathe
Think of toxins as horrible rebels that want to take out our SEAL team.  Little do they realize that we are on to their drama and we are going to take away their swords and shields and leave them running for the hills.
Detoxing our bodies takes effort and commitment.  I have some great news, however.  It will not kill you and will actually make you feel better.  When most people think about detoxing, they think belly aches, no food at all, and tons of added supplements.
That’s not my kind of detox.  I believe that detoxing our bodies is really just fine tuning our lifestyles.  I am going to share with you a way to pull those toxins out without making you go crazy.  I will warn that if you are a sugar lover or caffeine goddess, you will experience headaches and an overall feeling of grumpiness for the first 2-3 days.  It stinks, I know, but stick with it because the reward of feeling better and improving your health will be worth it.
My advice is if you fall into the sugar or caffeine category mentioned above, reduce your amount by half for a week before starting this program.  It will not be as big a shock to your system and, thus, you will not experience the cold turkey symptoms that may make you feel like jumping in front of a truck.
Are you ready?  Thinking about boarding the detox train?  You won’t regret it!
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Detoxing your beautiful and amazing body:
  1. Before beginning, take a glance at what you're eating and drinking on a regular basis.  Be mindful of when you are eating and what you are snacking on.  Define your goal for detoxing.  Doing this will prepare your mind and you can refer to the goal(s) when you feel like throwing in the towel and running for the nearest junk food aisle.  Also, jot down alternatives to all the foods/beverages on this list.  This will prepare you and keep you ahead of the game.
  2. If you drink from plastic water or juice bottles, find an alternative.  Plastic bottles release toxins into the liquid, especially when they are warm.  Remember, they probably were pretty warm as they were being transported to your local store.  If you work outside of your home, take a cup that you can refill often.  My favorites are the Dyln water bottle and the Corkcicle cup.  They fit nicely in my car cup holder and it keeps my drink cold for over 8 hours.  I can continue to add water to the ice that stays all day.  
  3. Remove coffee and all caffeinated beverages.
  4. Drink LOTS of filtered water and herbal teas.  Stay away from tap water.  The goal here is to visit the bathroom often!  The water will help flush out the toxins.
  5. Avoid sugar at all costs.  Remember, this is not forever.  It is only for a set amount of time.  {We will discuss times in just a sec!}  Read the labels of everything you put into your mouth.  Sugar is added to pretty much everything.  The best rule of thumb for this process is to stay clear of foods that are sold in boxes – crackers, cereals, breads, granola, etc.
  6. Remove all white foods.  This includes rice, bread, and flour.  Brown is best!
  7. Avoid alcohol.  Sorry, it’s not forever!
  8. Say no to dairy.  This includes milk, cheese, and butter.  This is a great opportunity to taste test various nut milks.  I have become a huge fan of almond milk.
  9. Add a probiotic to your day.  I know I said this detox program would not be a crazy one that involved buying the entire supplement store, but a probiotic will help flush out toxins and help your gut bacteria balance out so that your belly feels in tip top shape.
  10. Eat the rainbow.  No, not Skittles!  Eat a variety of various colors of fruits and veggies.  This does not have to be boring and cause you to stare down the produce department.  Be creative with your eating.  Create awesome salads and garnish them with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.  I add some cayenne pepper to the vinaigrette for an added flavor boost.  You can also roast veggies in the oven with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt, pepper, or your preferred spices.
  11. Organic, organic, organic!!  Stay clear of fruits and veggies that are not organic.  If you eat produce that is not organic, you will be adding toxins and chemicals with every bite.  That kind of defeats your purpose!
  12. Keep away from meats, chicken, and pork.  Replace them with legumes.  Thankfully, there is a wide variety of legumes for you to test out.  If you must eat meat and chicken, only eat organic, grass fed beef and free range chicken that you are certain contains no antibiotics.
This program can be done for 7, 14, or 21 days.  It depends on you.  I generally do the program for 7 days.  I notice a HUGE difference in my energy level, calmness, happiness, and gut health.  I always feel like pulling out my Wonder Woman cape and wearing it everywhere I go.  Ok, I don’t really have one…sniff, sniff.  But if I did, I might just add it as an awesome accessory!
Once you have completed the length you desire, don’t rush to the grocery store and overflow your buggy with all things not on this list.  This program not only detoxes your body, but it helps train your body, mind, and taste buds to eat in a healthier manner.
Now I’m not na├»ve, I know sugar and caffeine will be added back.  Heck, I add it back too!  However, do it gradually and mindfully.  For example, if you generally drink 3 cups of coffee, cut back to one and a half.  You will most likely find that your fine with this and actually may  now prefer only one cup.  A trick to reducing cups is drinking it more slowly.  Don’t chug it like the world is void of any more coffee.  Take your time drinking it and really enjoy every sip.
As far as sugar is concerned, choose the days you will enjoy a delightful treat.  Rather than grabbing something sweet on a daily basis, designate official dessert days.  For our family, dessert days are Friday and Saturday after dinner.  It has worked well for us.  That is not to say we never, ever eat sugar on the other days.  We just don’t make it daily occurrences.
Also, remember to continue to read labels and notice sugar amounts and those ingredients that look like you are back in high school on the first day of your foreign language class.  Avoid those as often as possible.
Repeat this program when you notice those crazy symptoms sneaking back up on you.
Ok, now it’s time to begin.  You totally have this!!  Once your designated detox time is up, you will feel accomplished, empowered, and awesome. You go, people!!
I’m excited to hear about your experiences.  Let me know if you need any help, guidance, or have questions.  You can shoot me an email anytime, just head to my work with me tab.  My email is listed at the bottom of the page.
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Cheering you all on!!
Marci
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