Saturday, January 13, 2018

Miracles do Happen....

Image result for weight loss journey


    

     A month ago I had asked if anyone knew of a chiropractor in the area for me to see? I had a traumatic experience years ago and never felt that I would use that kind of practice as an option for my health. In fact, it was a fear I buried but never realized the extent of the fear it was until a few months ago, when I felt like God was wanting me to overcome this fear. I put it off for an entire month and literally did not loose any weight. I plateaued the month of December, actually gaining 6 pounds. I was very discouraged because I didn't meet my weight goal to loose 75 pounds by my birthday!  I reevaluated my goals for 2018, created new ones and decided that I was not going to give up! I am thankful for what God is doing in my life and I don't want to take it for granted.

     I called one of the chiropractors that had been suggested and set my appointment. Wednesday came and I could NOT believe how fearful I was. Unfortunately, I was completely focused on "ME" and "MY PROGRESS" instead of trusting God at His WORD. ALL I kept thinking was, "What if she hurts my back and I regress, or worse go back to the excruciating pain I endured for 5 years?" YES, I was making a mountain out of a mole hill but didn't care! I literally felt like I was going to puke walking into the office. I felt like I was going to pass out and surely felt like my blood pressure was going to spike and then create a concern. I asked a few people to pray for me and I started to calm down. I met with the chiropractor and told her my history. I explained I was walking out a healing but that I pulled my hip out inadvertently a few months ago playing volleyball, naturally creating pain in my lower back.  I explained how I do stretches every day to help my lower back and hip. She asked me to show her the stretches, so I did. I had to stand up so she could see my posture, she asked me to bend over so she could see my spine. When she asked me to bend over carefully as far as I could go, I went all the way down and touched my toes. SHE was impressed! Then she asked me to move several different ways and I obeyed each command easily. She felt my hips and did a few other things and finally asked me to sit down. I began to get nervous again because I assumed the adjustment was coming! But, what she said I couldn't believe.  She said I didn't need an adjustment! (in my mind I was already asking why but before I could get it to come out she continued) She said she was impressed with my posture and loved my hip placement. She said as I loose weight I may need adjusted but right now there was no need. She explained how the stretches must be helping. I told her a year ago I couldn't walk 5 minutes much less do all the bends and things she asked me to do!  I finished my appointment and I left.  THATS IT!
     Seriously, God knew ahead of time that HE was going to heal my back by aligning my spine perfectly & placing discs exactly where they need to be. He has been my ULTIMATE PHYSICAN.  HE KNEW I would not need adjusted. HE KNEW that HE was protecting me.. but HE wanted ME TO SEE!!! Just the simple act of obedience is all HE WANTED!! I continue to get overwhelmed by what MY GOD, MY HEALER, has and is doing!! I think we pray for answers and because our thinking is so finite we can't grasp or fathom the goodness he bestows upon HIS children!!
     I did my FRIDAY weigh-in and guess what?  I lost 2 pounds!! I have lost 66 pounds on this journey.  My desire is to bring Gods name glory while getting healthy and to share that Miracles STILL Happen.
      In my bible study right now I am learning that all too often we seek the Gift Giver's hand verses the Gift Giver, HIMSELF. We want the answered prayers, but fail to spend the time building the relationship that He desires to have with us. We miss the importance of God being the gift himself. When we are waiting for answered prayers we don't have to miss out on the most important thing, which is to experience God and His presence.

    Speaking of MIRACLES... Lyv & I are waiting on ONE as we wait to see if we will get enough money for ISRAEL!!  THE MONEY IS DUE MONDAY!! We are believing that God will use those who want to help us to provide for this trip.  As a reminder if you are feeling lead to help, in any amount, we would be so grateful for your donation!?  You can go to the link I have provided and pay via paypal!  For those who have already donated, we appreciate you and Thank YOU so much!!

  paypal.me/solmen






                                    Image result for jeremiah 17:7-8





   

Saturday, January 6, 2018

ISRAEL



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Lyv and I have the opportunity to travel to Israel with United Faith Community Church on
March 6th-20th.  We would love it if you would prayerfully consider donating to help us with the cost of this trip?  Please let me share my heart with you to explain the reason behind the support!!

FIRST THE EXPERIENCE, Lyv has expressed interest in the mission field; in fact she would love to go to Haiti but you have to be 18 with the organization our church sponsors.  As she has begun to express some interest in the mission field, I can't thank of a better opportunity for her than to go to the HOLY LAND.  She will gain some experience of traveling into a different country and an understanding of a different culture all while being poured into with the knowledge of Christ.  I believe we are called to serve others but in order for us to give we must take opportunities to be filled first. Lyv would have a passionate lifetime learning experience opportunity to see the Bible come to life while studying the Old Testament. This opportunity would not only be an amazing experience but would also be educational and life-changing!   Speaking of life-changing, we have an opportunity to be baptized in the JORDAN RIVER!!

SECOND THE EDUCATION, because we homeschool we have the freedom to learn outside the four walls of our home. As part of our mandatory studies we have always chosen to make Bible a core class each year instead of choosing it as an elective. Visiting Israel would be an opportunity for her not only to read the stories in the Old Testament, but to see them come alive and physically see the geographical locations of where Jesus ministered while here on earth.  My Pastor, from Nebraska, that we will be traveling with quoted:

"Once you have been there and seen the terrain, get a feel for the distances, and feel the spirit in the air, your reading of the Bible will never be the same" Pastor Carl~ 

While in college, Lyv would have opportunities to go on short-term missions or to study abroad.   If we went to Israel this would give her a small taste of what that would look like to help make a decision on whether this would be something she would be interested in doing while in college.

THIRD TO EMPOWER,  going to Israel is not an ordinary missions trip where we go over to a different country and serve others; but it is a missions trip where Lyv would learn about the ONE who not only created her but also you!!!! She then, will be able to take the knowledge she has gained back to her youth group and get a chance to witness to others; about stories that may be familiar or unfamiliar.  She can share the joy and the life-changing experiences that made a great impact on her and share the significances that are found in the Bible; which ultimately would bring God's name glory. The excitement she gains from this experience can be shared with those around her prayerfully igniting a fire and an ambition in others to be passionate about Jesus.
Just as Jesus took the time to go off and have a place of solitude, quiet and rest; we are all called to do that as well. We can do that anywhere, even in our homes!!!  In today's society, noise surrounds us constantly and steals are focus; we are bomb-barded with commitments, engagements, sports and activities. Enabling us to set all this aside to have this opportunity to be experienced, educated, and empowered would be a passionate lifetime learning experience opportunity!!!




LUKE 4:42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.

LUKE 6:12 It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.



Lastly, It has always been my dream to visit Israel in my life time. I have wanted to pick up the stones where David killed Goliath. I have wanted to sit and imagine the agony Jesus must have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have wanted to sit on the Mountain looking over the Sea of Galilee,  to envision the boat in the middle of a violent storm all the while Jesus walking on water. I have wanted to visit the town of Jesus and see where the last BATTLE will take place before JESUS returns for HIS children.  I have wanted to walk where Jesus walked, preached and shared the gospel, to be in the places where he was rejected, persecuted and hated all because HE WAS THE MESSIAH!!! Experiencing this life-changing opportunity would be amazing. But to experience it with my daughter would be a whole different level. I have paid for my initial way but I am struggling with the funds for her. I’m asking for you to consider helping us with her portion????   I could let her have my spot if I needed too, but I am not ready for her to go  to a different country alone, especially since we both have the desire to go to Israel. We will make a decision if we can't come up with the funds, but first I am reaching out to all of you!!! Please help us?!  We would not be able to THANK YOU ENOUGH!!  I do believe this will be the beginning of a changed heart for both her and I.

 
I WOULD LOVE TO CREATE THIS MEMORY WITH HER.
WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO HELP HER HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY!??

Any amount you could give would definitely be appreciated!!!  If you are willing to donate here are ways that you could send funds:

~You could make it out to United Faith Community Church, and put Lyvvie's name in the memo.
(it even can be tax-deductible) If you do this please let me know so I can keep track of donations, and for THANK-YOUS!!

United Faith Community Church 
P.O. Box 600 
Valley, Nebraska 68064

~You could send funds via my paypal
paypal.me/solmen


Thank you for your consideration, and your prayers!!

Image result for israel





While in Israel we will visit:

~Netanya
~Tiberias
~Sea of Galilee
~Jerusalem
~Israel
~Judean Mountains

 





If you have any questions please feel free to private message me on facebook or text me if you have my number!!  If you want to learn about the detailed places we will visit you may ask about that as well!! Of course, I will be blogging about our experiences so you will be able to travel with us indirectly!!

Breakdown of FUNDS needed:

Initial cost $2200.00
Travel to Chicago $400.00 (approximately)
Food Cost  $160.00 (approximately)

Total: $2760










Friday, January 5, 2018

Books for 2018

 
     I realized I didn’t meet my goal last year to read 35 books. 📚 To those who are avid readers this might seem like a low number, however,  I gained a new found love of reading back in 2015 so I have been increasing my goal each  year,  making reading more of a priority. I did read several books and spent a lot of time in God’s word and bible studies, so I’m not disappointed. I started off strong but didn’t finish strong. So this year, I took to Facebook to ask what were some must reads.. After compiling a list I think I will be able to achieve my goal this year as I make my way through these suggestions. I’m not sure  I will be able to read them all but if not I will have a list ready for the following year!! 😉  Thank you all who suggested these books 📚 and if anyone wants to use these suggestions, feel free and if so let me know so we can discuss them afterwards!!



Books to read for 2018:

Mrs Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
Winter Wheat by Mildred walker 
The moonflower vine by Jetta Carleton
The giver Lois Lowry
Love Anthony by Genova
Still Alice by Genova
Renewal refocus recovery by 
The life she was given by 
The hyggee By
Same kind of different as me by 
At the scent of water by linda nicolas
The invisible thread by Laura scroff
40days of Love by Rock Warren 
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Leading with a limp by Dan
The rest of God by Mark Buchanan
The upstairs room by Johanna Ross
No more faking fine by Esther fleece 
A gospel primer by 
Gathering blue (sequel of the giver)
Messenger (sequel of the giver)
Son (sequel of the giver) 
What women fear by angie smith
I’ll always write back by Caitlin alfirenka
Daring to Hope by Katie Davis
Gretchen Rubins the four tendencies by
Love does by Bob Goff
Hinds feet on high places by Hurnard
Never give in by Mansfield 
Oswald Chambers abandon to God the life
A man called Ove by Fredrick  backman
The lucky few by Heather Avis 
the Austin escape by Catherine Ray 
the orphan the widow and me by JT olsen
before we were yours by Lisa Wingate 
a gentleman in Moscow by Missy Franklin
relentless spirit by 
And it was beautiful by Tippett 
and still she laughs by Kate Merrick  
a daring escape by Goyer
Jesus my father the CIA and me by 
messenger by Lowry
As home in he world by 
Beneath the surface by Michael Phelps
Courage to soar by Simone Biles
Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray
Calm my anxious heart b Dillow
You are free by Lyons
Love Lives Here by Maria Goff
Mom set free by Jeannie Cunningham
Whisper by Batterson
Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith Md
Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
The road back to you by cron & stabile
Present-over-perfect by shauna Niequist
Mary Oliver devotions by penguin press
Relaxing wth God: The neglected spiritual discipline by Andrew Farley
Seven lessons from heaven how dying taught me to live a joy filled life by Mary Neil
The rest of the gospel on the partial Gospel has worn you out by Dan stone
Orphan train by
before we were to by
A daring escape by
The war that saved my life by
Mitford series  by Jan karon
The sacred romance by Brent Curtis & John. Eldridge 
All the pretty things by Edie wadsworth
The lost by Robert whitlow
Martian by
What has America done to Jerusalem by
Miss Julia series by Ann B Ross
Mary Kay Andrews 
Dry grass of August by 
Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich



Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 goals and word~






I went back the last five years to look over what my words were that I spent the year focusing on to work through and to be challenged with.

                                                                 2017
                                                            "Endurance"

                                                                2016
                                                           "self-discipline"

                                                                 2015
                                                           "communication"

                                                                2014
                                                            "balance"

                                                                 2013
                                                              "renewal"

Ironically the word RENEWAL came to mind for this year. I had forgotten that I had already done this word.   Currently, I am working through unrealistic expectations, waiting on unanswered prayers to be answered, prioritizing commitments, refocusing priorities, and balancing my desires and wants. I wanted a word that would help challenge me in all areas of my life including; spiritually, mentally, physically,  and emotionally.

I  reread my blog from 2013 and the word was inspired by the book

"40 days of LOVE" by Rick Warren.
The Five Renewal

Personal Renewel

The first renewal is personal renewal; it starts inside the heart of the leader. We cannot take people further than we have been ourselves. We cannot expect other people to be more committed to Jesus that we are. We cannot expect other people to grow or sacrifice unless we are willing to continue growing and sacrificing. We cannot expect other people to change if we are unwilling to change ourselves. We must model this in our leadership. Personal renewal is basically when I get my life right with God. It's when my heart warms up to Jesus, and I become more aware of the presence of Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit in my life. Jesus said, "Lay down your life for the sheep if you want to be a good shepherd." He said, "Whoever wants to be great must become a servant" (Mark 10:43 MSG) 

Relational Renewal

The second renewal is relational renewal; it is renewal between us and other people. First get your heart right with God and then you get your heart right with other people. The first two renewals are simply the Great Commandment of Jesus. When Jesus was asked what is the most important commandment in the Bible, he said this, "First, love God with all your heart" (that's personal renewal), "then love your neighbor as yourself" (that's relational renewal).

Missional Renewal

The third renewal is missional renewal or "purpose renewal." This stage of renewal has to do with "purpose." In missional renewal our church realizes that we are not here for ourselves; we're here for a purpose. God has a job for us to do. We have a mission, an objective; we have some work to accomplish.


As I was searching for a different word the prefix “RE” kept coming to my mind as in:
                        *Refocus *REnew *REcover *REdiscover*REstoration*



I found a book called “Renew, Refocus and Recover" by Raquel R. Robinson
A road trip to the Life you Deserve 

The books description is as follows:
Renew, Refocus, and Recover! is a timely pocket guide that readers will use as a continuous reference. Raquel uses inspiring and candid anecdotes to bring clarity and focus to what really matters most. The blend of biblical application and life coaching keeps the reader encouraged
and inspired to cross the threshold from an average to extraordinary life.

Rediscover who you really are in Christ
Renew your commitment to pursuing your dreams
Refocus on the things that really matter most
Recover when things don't go the way you planned

There is no comfort in your discomfort zone. So pack your bags and get ready for the road trip of your life. You deserve it!!

LIKE SERIOUSLY!!!! These words were running in my mind before I even came across this book!!! SO, I am putting this book on my must reads for 2018.

One of the areas I want to focus on is my identity. I have hidden behind the identity of being a wife and mother. These things are good in and of themselves but that's not who my true identity is. Because I placed my family and marriage as an idol removing them as my number one priority has left me feeling empty! I love them so much and that isn't wrong;  but placing them as first priority was wrong. God desires our first priority to be HIM. And so I want to rediscover who I am in Christ.  I came across this chart on Pinterest:



As my research continued on picking the perfect word for 2018, I landed on RESTORATION: 






Synonyms for restoration are renewal & recover.  One of my prayers this past year has been for restoration in relationships and for lost souls! The verse I have stood on is Isaiah 43:19 and will continue to stand on this promise into 2018~



The word I am choosing for 2018 is RESTORATION. I will be applying each aspect of restoration to each area of my life: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  My goals for 2018 will reflect each of these words:   

"Restoration"
"Refocus"
"Rediscovery"
"Renew" 
"Recover"

I am eager to see what 2018 will bring. I am thanking God in advance for overcoming what is to come, for the victories, the blessings and the answered prayers!! I also am thanking God for the pruning, the pain, the hardships, & the valleys as well. These are the things that build character, that mold us, and shape us into who we are called to be.  Without the valleys we cant experience the mountain tops!!! 

***GOALS for 2018***

~Israel Trip (see upcoming blog on this) 
~Clingmans Dome & Andrews Bald
~Hike Grotto Falls
~Alum Cave Trail
~Hike Rainbow Falls Trail 
~Hike Middle Prong Trail
~Walk a Half Marathon (green belt)
~Begin Strength training
~Lose 30 pounds
~Start each day earlier
~Do four Bible Studies 
~Study the bible daily
~forgive quickly
~Read 25 books
~Memorize Scriptures
~Share the gospel
~Be a better listener
~communicate with friends and family better
~work on time management
~Journal & BLOG better 
~Go on a few college visits
~Build credit
~truck & trailer for Mike
~a visit to Florida
~a visit to Nebraska 
~a visit to Ohio
~go on an anniversary cruise




















Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reflection of 2017~


See the source image

   



      My word for 2017 was endurance! I had no idea at the time when I chose it how I truly would have to endure this past year. But God knew just what I was  going to walk through.

Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps"

     God is a faithful God who will never leave us or forsake us, for those who remain in him. The road isn’t always easy but it is in the hardships that produces the most character.  At the beginning of 2017 God needed to prune me of things I no longer needed to be carrying around. The pruning is painful but it frees us of things we do not need to carry to move into deeper waters!!  God is a jealous God.. He desires a relationship and our priorities to be balanced. One of the many things God revealed to me this year was that I still placed my family and marriage as an idol. I didn’t realize it until they were removed temporarily from my life! It ceases to amaze me how easy we can make things an idol.  An idol can be anything or anyone we devote too or give more attention too than a relationship with Christ. My hearts desire is to reflect the LOVE of Christ and to obediently follow His plan for my life

i•dol

 (ˈaɪd l) 

n. 
1. an image or other material object representing a deity and worshiped as such. 
2. (in the Bible) a deity other than God. 
3. a person or thing devotedly or excessively admired. 
4. a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance. 
5. a false notion; fallacy.

“Do not worship any other gods besides me.” Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god! (Exodus 20:3-5 NLT)”
     
     Another major thing in 2017 was that I walked out a healing in my back. Not that the Lord needs our help to achieve His will for us;  but He was calling me to loose weight and start a journey towards health. I firmly believe He requires us to do our part! We are in a partnership with Him. Therefore we must do our part. Obedience is an action and in order to obediently follow out His will for us in our lives we must submit to His calling and be willing to do what He asks us to do. I felt like the Lord was calling me to a healthier lifestyle so that I can be used in my fullest potential for what's to come. I barely could walk at the beginning of 2017; I had a mountain to climb. A few things I have learned in regaining control of my health are as follows:

~I had to admit to truth that I wasn’t healthy 
~I needed to create smaller goals to attain
~I needed to make changes slowly
~I realized everyone’s  journey will look differently
~I had to rely on God to help me
~I had to incorporate more water & veggies into my diet
~I had to start moving
~I realized that a journey to health isn’t always in the number on the scale.. it’s also about the non scale victories such as inches lost, and being active, increasing water intake, sleeping well  etc etc. 

I began the year only walking for 5 minutes. I remember setting a goal to walk 30 minutes a day but I couldn’t do it! So I would would walk 10 minutes for three times. Gradually, I made my way up to 30 minutes at a time and that was a huge victory! As I began to walk and make changes I couldn’t believe how much of a mental game a journey to a healthier lifestyle was! Realization of how unbalanced my diet was became very overwhelming.  I remember starting My fitness Pal and thought after just a few days about quitting.. I would log in all my food and everything would be over the amount I was required to eat!! How in the world could I change all of this all at once!? Mike reminded me that it didn’t take overnight to get the way I was, surely it would take longer than overnight to learn balance!! So I set off only paying attention to one thing at a time; for example sugar. Once I understood what I could and couldn’t have I moved to carbs and then fats. Unfortunately, I don’t always get it right and when I am discouraged I remember where I was and where I am now! 
One area of my journey to health was my sleeping pattern! I struggle with this
greatly and will continue to work on this into the New Year!

I also jumped on the Fitbit bandwagon which was a great benefit to my weight loss journey.  I have had people ask me why it was so important to lose weight while walking out healing and my answer is this:

Only those who are close to me know the level of pain and difficulty I had to endure these five years of back pain. Not everyone wants to talk about that but Everyone desires at some point in their lives to try and better themselves and are always looking for support or encouragement. By losing weight others would ask what I was doing. By asking it gives me a platform to explain how I am walking out a healing and how God is still preforming miracles in His timing!!! I get a chance to bring Gods name glory and I have a second chance for my health!!! God has given me grace and mercy and protected me from major health issues! I want to be around for my FUTURE grand babies. I want to be actively involved with my adult children and not feel as If I am being held back, and I want to be physically capable of doing whatever God calls me to do!
     God showed me that no matter how hard things are he is right there in the middle. A few of the highlights from this past year was:

~Mike came off the road but had to take a major pay cut
~ this summer all three of our cars broke down
~our washer broke down
~the accident Mike had been in was deemed his fault which meant we had to pay for his hospital bills
~we owed our insurance penalty
~Lyvvie needed money for her volleyball and school
~the boys had moved out
~We had just finished working for Team Effort and needed to decide what to do to get out of this hole we were in.. Mike and I decided what was best was that he would go back on the road which added to the emotions.

But through all of this God:
~Allowed me the opportunity to go to Florida
~Paid for a plane ticket to St. Louis so I could attend the Joyce Meyers conference with dear friends
~Blessed us with a washer & dryer
~gave us an opportunity to go to Nebraska
~We also went on our very first cruise
~Mike & I celebrated our  21st anniversary
~Kirk turned 22
~Owen turned 20
~Lyvvie turned 17
~Both Mike and I turned 40!!!

As we were reflecting over the decade we just left, 10 years seems so long but really it went by in a blink of an eye. To think about what the next ten years could bring is both exciting & overwhelming!!
   
     I didn’t achieve all the goals I made for 2017 but I will keep trying! I know the word I choose for 2018 will bring its challenges. I am excited to see what 2018 has in store for us. I’m not certain how it will unfold but what I am certain about is that God will be there! During the summer I had this vision of the Lord actually climbing into my boat that was in the middle of a storm! I loved it because it gave me such peace! Sometimes when we call on the Lord He stops the storm, but other times He will climb into the boat and give peace as he wait out the storm in His timing! Either way, it is reassuring to know that no matter what we go through in life we can trust that God has us in the palm of his hands.

I am blessed to travel this journey, we call life, with my best friend! We have our moments but I couldn't imagine doing life with out him...  I am truly grateful for my three wonderful children. As we have entered uncharted waters once again in raising adult children the hardest challenge is trusting that God has a plan and a design for their lives as well. I struggle with the burden of worrying about them. Again, I am not perfect!!  Over the summer, my one son & I had a disagreement about what it looked like to "be on his own" It broke my heart, because somewhere along the line he got it in his head that just because he wanted to be on his own he believed he had to do life alone! I think we misconstrue intentions all the time which leads to hurt; left uncheck can turn to  bitterness and resentment. If we are doing life alone, that is a choice that is made only by the person who chooses to be alone. We are called to live life abundantly. One of Satan's arrows he throws is to get us to loose focus and off of His will for our lives.  Once I was able to explain to him my intentions we came to an understanding. The hardest part for me is that my identity was in being a wife and mother. I had to struggle with feeling like I had lost my identity. I have always been active in my kids life, and want to continue being active in their lives now that they are adults! As I was dealing with them pushing me away I had to place my trust in God.  Jesus was and is pushed away all the time. Mistakenly we, as his children, think we can do this life alone.  God desires a relationship with us; to walk with us in the good and the bad times, he desires our worship and desires to be active in our lives no matter what season of life we are going through!!

A few highlights of the 2017~