Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's in your temple?

It has been over a month since I posted a blog. This was the main reason I hadn’t started a blog in the first place- because I knew I would start it and write a few times then never write again. I had told myself that I was going to keep this blog up! Ha ha! Nonetheless here I am now—writing my life. Honestly, there have been times I would go to write and I couldn’t find anything to say so I would just pray and cry out to God. He always meets me right where I am! Writing is one way I relieve stress and when I sit down to write and there is nothing, well that can be stressful to me to say the least. But in those times, God ministers to me unlike He does through my writings- so I would not trade those moments for the world!

Recently, I’ve started feeling better about myself. I’ve blogged before about how I am on what I like to call a “weight loss journey” and since I’ve been eating healthier and exercising, I feel better. When I was eating terribly and doing no kind of exercise, except from walking from the couch to the fridge and back, I felt awful- physically, emotionally, and mentally. Not only because I looked like I had had some kind of allergic reaction to peanuts and swelled up like a balloon, but because I was not taking care of my temple (“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As Christians, when we are living in sin (no matter the sin), we will not live comfortably. After the fact (the commission or omission of sin), I am grateful for the conviction because I know that conviction is God’s chastisement. He chastises those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). In the south, if we are asked if gluttony is a sin, we will say yes. Us southern Christians wouldn’t dare get caught saying that something isn’t a sin when it clearly is! However, we think that that gluttony is one of those sins that somehow pass by God’s heart without hurting Him. Every sin breaks the heart of God because it separates us from Him. All God wants is unadulterated intimacy with us. He longs for our health to prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). I honestly believe that a reflection of our relationship with God can be seen in how we take care of our temple. In my personal experience, when I was not taking care of my temple, I could not hear from God as clearly as I can when I am taking care of my body.

With that being said, tonight I bought the book “Eating Animals” by Johnathan Foer (technically the eBook, on my Barnes & Noble app for iPhone- get that app if you have the iPhone!!). From what I understand, the author of the book did extensive research on factory farms in America (where most of the meat I eat comes from) and proves how unsafe the meat they process truly is for our bodies. I am going to educate myself on how to eat properly and truly take care of my temple. While I do plan to lose weight (as a beneficial by-product), it is not my main focus in this venture. My main goal is to learn how to take care of my temple by not forsaking that gluttony is a sin with many consequences. I call this a “venture” because eating healthy and exercising is something I plan on doing for the rest of my life, however I may or may not be a vegan for the rest of my life. Ha ha! I love to eat meat! I have been raised on some good cookin and have learned how to do some good eatin! (That was in my country-redneck voice LoL!) My point is not to stop eating meat, but to know what kind and where to buy the right, healthy meat. I am excited about reading this book and rest assured that I will blog my critique of it.

…Well it’s 2 am and I still need to clean my room and shower before I go to bed! Goodnight my fellow bloggers!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Let me preface this blog by saying that this will not be one of my best blogs, lyrically speaking. This is merely my thoughts written out. Like I've said before, I find release in just writing out my thoughts, blessings, and lessons learned :) This blog is more for me than it is for anyone else. I'm not out to preach or offer some great epiphany to anyone because I earnestly believe that what God tells me, He can and will tell the next person that just makes their ears available to hear from Him. With that said, here are some of my thoughts for today....

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of His benefits." -Psalm 103:2 (KJV)

This verse has been on my heart for the past few days. I came across this verse for the first time during a bible study I was doing with my aunt's church a few months ago. The other day God brought this verse back to my remembrance- when I wanted to feel bad for myself. Then today, my mom sent it to me in an email. God has really been reminding me not to forget His blessings.

Often times it is so easy to look at the bad or the negative. I try to stay positive, at least outwardly in my speech. But quite frankly, I can be quite the pessimist. And oh how God rebukes me when I do! He says "Praise Me! And don't forget a single blessing!"

It is so easy to see bill after bill flowing in with no way to pay them (or at best limited resources to pay them) and to see our life not fitting into the pattern we had expected. But then God says, did you eat today? did you have something to drink today? what about clothes- didn't you have something to wear? I never told you I would give you the wealth of this world, but that I would supply your needs. Now Stephanie, haven't they been met? Praise Me! And don't forget about all of My benefits!

So my point in all of this, when life seems to bog you down and you are finding it easy to complain & think on the negative things- Praise God! Praising God in and of itself will lift your spirits, but that's not all- don't forget His benefits. God has more benefits than we can even begin to wrap our mind around; Praise God that we (the redeemed, His children) are the beneficiaries!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Tonight's blog is more therapy for me. I write as a means of expression and also as a way to help myself cope. Tonight is the latter.

My niece has a sign on her door that says "My prince has come...his name is daddy." While that is sweet and cute for a three year old little girl, one day my niece will want to find the love of her life- and it won't be her daddy. But what do you do when you find that love and HAVE to let it go? I hope my niece never has to do that- I hope that the first guy she falls in love with will be her husband and everything she needs in one. Then she'll never experience the pain of lost love.

They say it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I disagree with this statement. When you have loved and lost, loved hard, and to lose is the worst pain anyone can experience. Indescribable. To know that you love someone more than life itself- that you are willing to give up any and everything for that person because your love for them is so strong- to lose that....hurts beyond words can describe.

I thank God for certain people being placed in my life that help me along this road. My Pastor is one of those people. He told me that as much as I think I love this man, it's all I know. All I know is all I know....therefore, I don't feel like I could ever love anyone more than I love this man- merely because it's all I know. I've never loved anyone like I love him and it is hard to conceive loving someone more than I love him. Point being, how do I know that I can't love someone more than I love him? Just because it's all I know right now, does not mean that that's all there is! I'm taking refuge in that truth! When my heart and flesh feel this way- I have no other option but to turn to my Savior. My refuge, my strong tower, my strength when I am weak...the place I should have went first. I have no other choice but to trust God concerning my future husband. There is one that I want it to be, but if that's not what God wants, I'm ok with that. I have learned, through various life situations, that I would MUCH rather have God's plans for me than Stephanie's plans for me.

I have heard people say that if someone wants to walk out of your life, LET THEM! Especially if it is a boyfriend or girlfriend. Later, you will realize that they were the fool for leaving! I know that when my husband comes I will be able to say, "It is obvious how much he loves me!" (Song of Solomon 2:4). What I am taking this time to do is to truly see God. I want my heart and my motives to be pure. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8). With everything in me, I want it to come from a place of purity- not just sexual purity- but in everything I do and everything I say- I want it all to come from a pure motive, no pretenses. I know then that I will be able to see God in everything in life. Right now, as single as I can be, I am completely whole. Just like my Pastor has been preaching- I do not lack anything! "The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything." Deuteronomy 2:7...while I'm in this wilderness, just like the children of Israel, I will lack NOTHING!

I know that I can be a good girlfriend- of that I am sure! I will put my boyfriend first and make sure I have done everything I need to do as his girlfriend. What I want this "single time" in my life to be is a rejuvenating process to get me to the place where I am not only a good girlfriend, but a godly girlfriend- living out godly principles and preparing myself to be a godly wife.

God never promised that this road would be easy; He just promised we would never walk it alone. And I'm clinging to that promise tonight: "I will never leave you; I will never forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5). No matter how forsaken I may feel, I will have to reconnect to the Spirit and remind myself of this promise. Thank you Jesus- my Savior, my Friend!

....this blog has accomplished it's mission of being a therapy session for me. Ha ha!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Unused Seconds

There are so many days, hours, and seconds that go unused. Unused? I mean making effective use of the time we have because it is steadily slipping through our fingers. I remember as a child how slow time seemed to move. Waiting on summer so I could go swimming, waiting on my birthday so I could get all of the presents I had been asking for, waiting on Chirstmas to get the new baby doll or bicycle....time just seems to be every child's worst enemy. As I have gotten older (since high school), I realize the great value in time and how quickly it seems to pass by.

I've often told my friends how by this time in my life, I should be well established in my career, married, with a baby possibly on the way....ha ha- well none of that is true at the moment, does that mean time has passed me by? I think not. To answer the question of why I haven't accomplished the goals my 15 year old mind set for me is because my plans were not God's plans and His ways are higher than mine so I will readily submit to them (Isaiah 55:9).

Nonetheless, time is of the essence. Everyone knows that our days are numbered and we are only here for so long then we are gone. My goal in life is to make each day count, each moment count. I have been forced to think how am I actually doing that?

I can't help but be burdened with the fact that every day lost people are dying and going to Hell. In reality, this very second I could be reaching someone to Christ. As I went about my day today, doing the things on my agenda that needed to be done, I am crippled by the thought of how I have not shared Christ with someone. As Christians, Christ has called us to share the gospel and make disciples (followers) of Him. I get so caught up in the things I have planned to do and my goals for life, that I forget my purpose is to be making disciples. The things I do here on earth should only be a means to making those disciples. (Matthew 28:19)

One thing I've found to be so true: when I keep eternity and judgement day on the forefront of my mind, I make my decisions based on godly truths and I'm less likely to turn back or regret decisions I've made to follow Christ.

Beyond everything, how are you using your seconds, minutes, hours, and days to glorify God by accomplishing your purpose here to make disciples?

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Beginning

Well this is where my blog begins. I've thought about starting a blog plenty of times before and actually have prior to this without actually posting any blogs. My motivation for actually doing it now is I really want and need a way to express myself outside of my personal journal. "Thoughts, Blessings, and Lessons Learned" - I always thought that this would be the title of my autobiography after I become really famous for some kind of invention or cure that helped better humanity or something of that nature- ha ha. But since not too many people even know I exisit, I guess it will suffice as my blog title.

Right now, I'm "unemployed"- I used quotations because to me that is such a relative term. I run a small (very small) photography business so in some sense I'm not unemployed and most days I have plenty of things to do. I have been without a "real job" since February of 2009- almost a year now. I refuse to let this time of my life go by without taking it as a "Lesson learned." There is nothing in life that we go through that is just for our own heartache. It is to teach us a lesson thus making us a better person. A few things I've learned from being unemployed (like I said I don't really like using that word- we'll just say since I've been without a steady pay check- yeah, that's more like it):
1. The value of a dollar & how to budget- I have some of the best parents a girl could ever ask for, seriously I do! My friends have always made fun of me for being spoiled and I will readily admit that I am. We are not rich BY ANY MEANS!! So don't get it twisted. But I will say that God has blessed my family and never have I had to go without. Point being, as grateful as I am for my parents and the many opportunities they have afforded for me, I do believe that in some ways I was sheltered from learning how to budget merely because of my parents willingness to help me whenever I was in trouble. So since I've been without a steady pay check, I've had no choice but to make the best decisions concerning my money- certain things take greater priority than others and my financial priorities have changed greatly!!
2. Unemployed people have lives too- One thing I've noticed is that since I don't work 8-5 at the office is that people seem to think that you can do any and everything for them. Not that I don't mind doing things for people. I enjoy helping people as best I can. But my inability to say no has gotten me into overwhelming situations. So this unemployment has forced me to learn to say no so that I don't stress myself out being everyone's gopher.
3. God will supply all of my needs- I am forever grateful to my Lord and Savior for sustaining me during this period of my life. Yes, my parents and some friends have helped me tremendously but they were all mere REsources coming from the true Source- my Heavenly Father. Not once in the past year have I gone without a meal, without clothes, and I've had gas in my tank. Now granted I haven't had all the best clothes and latest fashions like I've wanted, but I can always go to my closet and find something to wear- and that's a true blessing. And no, I haven't always had a full gas tank- but I have not gone without. I recognize that God is the sustainer of my life and my Jehovah Jireh- My Provider. He PROvides for me- I honestly believe that before I even lost my job that He had mapped out how He was going to provide for me during this time in my life. I'm eternally grateful to Him.

Another big thing in my life at the moment that is causing me to change as a person is this weight loss process I am going through. What I am realizing is how much of a mental and spiritual thing this truly is. I used to be smaller back in high school. I played soccer all the time and I loved to run. I went to college and stopped running and playing soccer therefore I gained weight. The 4.5 years I was in college, I gained 70 pounds. That's crazy! In December of 2009, I went snowboarding with some of my friends. That night, not only was I terrible at snowboarding- ha ha (even though I loved it!)- I realized how terribly out of shape I was. That following week I joined a gym and started working out regularly. As it stands today, since that day that I joined the gym (December 11) I have lost 18.5 pounds. More than the pounds I've lost, I've noticed a change in my mental state. Ha ha- that sounds like I'm a crazy person or something. But I'm truly realizing the mental strength it takes to do this. When I'm running on the treadmill I have to talk to myself because trust me, after about 10 minutes, I want to stop. But I have tell my body to keep going. I'm planning on running the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston on March 27. It's a 10K- which is 6.25 miles. Right now I'm running at 2.25 miles. I'm going to try to up it today to 2.5 miles. Like I said, yes there is physical part to it all but I'm realizing that most of it is mental- I have to mentally push myself and my body will have no choice but to arrest itself to my thoughts. I've learned that's the case with anything, but that's another blog for another day. I started running at the gym, well jogging, on the treadmill at 4.0 speed and did .25 miles the very first time. Each day, I increased my distance and speed a little. I knew that if I pushed myself too hard at first that it would be like any of my other fitness endevours and I would be so sore for a week that I would never go back to the gym. So I took it slow, very slow. And although, I'm not to the point where I want to be physically I'm on my way. I don't want to just lose this weight for me (although one of the main reasons is to be more healthy since heart problems run in my family), but I want to help others who may be battling this same weight issue. (What I'm about to say I have never told anyone about this experience so this is really me putting my thoughts out here) My friend Andrea (my best friend's sister) is such a sweet person with such a caring heart. I told her about my personal fitness goals one day and she was so encouraging and put the song "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus on her facebook and said that it was for me. So the next day I went to the gym and the whole time I was on the treadmill, I put that song on repeat. I reached a goal that day- it was .75 miles. I was literally in tears when I finished. That's the day I realized that this was more than just a physical journey, it is also an emotional and mental healing process. So as this process in my life evolves, I'll be blogging about it too.

Well that's enough blogging for today.

Have an awesome day!!