{The Need for Physical Proof}

I have been studying the book of John in my daily devotional which has sadly become less daily than I would like. That is my conviction, and I hope you'll help keep me accountable in spending time with the Lord daily. A couple of other blogs I was reading introduced me to She Reads Truth, a devotional designed by, and dedicated to women in Christ. I was intrigued and so my friend Jasmine and I bought the John study and have been working mostly independently through the series.

This morning while reading John 4, I read John 4:41 and John 4:48.

These verses come after Jesus has had one on one conversations with two people; the first a Samaritan woman, and the second a royal official in Cana in Galilee. Both versus struck me as very sad this morning. I feel like Jesus says them and is deflated because they need physical evidence that Jesus is who he says he is. For the Samaritan woman, Jesus told her about her own life, and for the royal official, Jesus healed his dying son miles away from where the son lay.

Both miracles created more believers in Christ, which I believe any Christian would say is a good thing. It is, and I don't discredit that. What made me sad though, was the fact that our society hasn't evolved in this need for physical evidence as much as we would like to argue we are different from the people in Jesus' time.

News flash: we are not different. We are all human, and are still flawed in the need to have everything instantly and its existence justified. In fact, I might go as far as to argue that because we live in such an instant gratification world of getting everything from clothes to facts at the touch of our smartphone, and the limitless selection we have, we may be worse off than our ancestors. Take coffee for example. Not only can I choose from Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, or QT (to name a few) for my daily joe, I have each one of them insisting their product is better through their justified reasoning. And that's JUST coffee. What if we looked at cell phones? I guarantee you can turn on the TV and see a commercial for some smart phone in less than 10 minutes. Try it.

So, how do we combat the need for proof and evidence of our Savior? I can only hope that staying in the word, praying for eyes that see Him without the flash and flair, ears to distinguish His voice from all the noise in our world, and a heart so in tune with His that it aches to be close to Him and pounds when He is near will help me to live out Hebrews 11:1.

Doesn't the Lord delight in our ability to see Him without having to SEE something? I'd like to think that's where this verse comes from.

I know that because I am human there are going to be days where I am on my knees after being knocked down repeated that I cry out to the Lord to show me He is near. I have no doubt that the Lord will humble me when I become too big for my britches. I am a flawed human, and am in no way saying that I don't crave justification, but I hope that when it matters my foundation is strong and rooted.

In a world that screams, "Look at me! Look at me! I can prove I am worthy of your praise and adoration!", may the Lord give us the gift of discernment, and the anchor of truth in our hearts to not have to see proof, but to know He is there.

Just some thoughts. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

{Health Kick}

When we officially booked our trip the Dominican Republic, I downloaded the Dreamdays app, a countdown app, to a) track the time until our trip, and b) hopefully motivate me to get beach body ready.

This is what the app looks like in iTunes.

I highly recommend it. Everything is so pretty and dreamy. :)

Thankfully, the app DID keep me motivated. I think summer school helped too because I really had to pack what I needed for lunch the day before and take it with me. While I haven't weighed myself, because we don't currently have a scale, I can without a doubt tell I have slimmed down. For one, my pants size has dropped from a loose 8 to a semi-loose 6. In fact, I bought these cute Old Navy jean shorts and 2 weeks later, they didn't fit and I had to go get a smaller size.

My exercise hasn't changed very drastically, as I have been and am still pretty active. Between yoga, walking the border collies, running, Power Barre, BvB football practice in 100+ degree temps, softball,  kickball, and the occasional full practice swim with my swim team kids I like to be moving.

What has changed is what I'm putting into my body. During the week (Monday - Thursday) I've been eating/drinking a lot of healthy green smoothies. While they look displeasing to the eye (to some), they sure are tasty in my opinion, and who can say no to all those healthy greens? What an easy way to get my veggies in. I've also been eating a lot of fresh ingredients, fruits, and less processed foods. I've cut my beloved pasta intake down to a mere once a week, and when I do eat it I generally lean towards the whole grain pasta option with less processed sauce. (I really should start making my own pasta sauce.) I try to stay away from bread and empty carbs in general. I even got a little adventurous and made homemade mashed sweet potatoes. It was super easy AND DELICIOUS! I used olive oil and salt and pepper, and threw them into my food processor. So good! I would add a teeny bit of brown sugar for added sweetness if you need want more a sweeter addition.

Here are my smoothie recipes:

I can't really take credit for the Sweet Greens Recipe because Buzzfeed featured a dietician and she said this was the smoothie she made daily... for the most part. Hers calls for greek yogurt which I am not a fan of, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. I made it with the spices originally, but I liked the sweeter taste of the pineapple better without the spices. They definitely give it a different flavor.

So, between the better eating, exercise, and smoothies I have trimmed quite a bit. I feel better, more energized, lighter and more cheerful. What sealed the deal for me was the way I've improved in my running and endurance in classes. I ran a mile in 9:48 last night. With both border collies! I am so proud of myself for sticking with this healthy eating goal, that I am without a doubt going to continue after our vacation.

Why after our vacation, you ask? Well, let's be honest... we're going to an all-inclusive resort which means I'll be enjoying the island cocktails whenever I please, indulging myself in guacamole, and of course breakfast which really means bacon!! I'm not going to go overload or crazy and flush all my hard work out the window, of course, but I am going to enjoy myself on vacation. :) I've even tried to convince myself I'm going to workout while I'm there. I know we'll be playing lots of sand volleyball, and maybe some Spikeball on the beach, but even if I don't actually "hit the gym" I will be getting plenty of relaxation which is what I'm really looking forward to. Being a teacher is tough work, y'all! I can't wait for my REAL vacation to start.

Until next time, I'll raise a piƱa colada for you.

{Summer Account}

Hey there, little space and friends!

As I usually say when I've abandoned this space for some time, I have been pretty busy these 34 days of summer. You can give Ryan a big round of applause for making me even glance in the direction of my blog since this past weekend he mentioned I've been pretty MIA from my blog.

34 days of summer have elapsed. 34! Surely it has to be more than that! Nonetheless, it has been quite a whirlwind of a summer so far. Here's what I've been up to as of late.

1 // Summer School
Back when I blogged somewhat regularly, I told you I would be teaching summer school with 1st graders at my new school. While this has caused it not to really feel fully like a summer for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to get reacquainted with my childhood elementary, meeting new people on the staff (some of which will be there in the fall), getting out of my comfort zone teaching 1st grade, and slowly, very slowly, moving things into my classroom since I am in the classroom I will be teaching in in the fall.

I blogged here about being sad about leaving my old school because the staff was incredible. Heck, it brought me one of my new best friends! The LORD has been there, as always, and gave me some new friends the very first day of training. One teacher and I have particularly clicked, and have been nearly inseparable at school since. She is quite tenured in teaching and I have already learned so much from her in our short time together. I felt instantly close to her, like I could share so much of my life (love, struggles, joys, concerns, prayer requests) with her because she was very upfront about being a God-fearing woman. I am so grateful the LORD brought me her friendship. HE is so good! Ryan, of course, just laughed and gave me a good old "told you so".

Summer School has had its own rollercoaster to deal with the past few days. I started with 14 kiddos, one of the largest summer school classes school wide, as I was the only 1st Grade General Education (aka non-bilingual) teacher assigned. However, this past week it was brought to our attention that many (more than half) the students at summer school did not meet the parameters to attend summer school. That being, they HAD to fail 2 core classes (math/reading) this prior school year.

So long are the days of sending a child to summer school for extra help over the summer, of parents getting their kids extra prepared for the next grade, etc. So long as the state is paying for it anyway. That was the problem. C'est la vie. We now only have 4 days of summer school remaining as it's only Monday-Thursday, and my class size has shrunken to 3 students. We're going to have a lot of fun, and I'll be having even MORE fun when summer school is OVER. I am looking forward to the break because the day after I'll be leaving for a week long vacation to the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!!!!

2 // Swim Team
In addition to summer school, my friend Jasmine asked me if I would be interested in helping her coach a neighborhood swim team this summer. I was so excited when she I asked and said yes immediately! It has been such a blast working with kids between the ages of 4 and 13. They have improved so much in the short time we've been working (about 7 weeks) and they are all so fun to be around. Plus, it's SO FUN to coach with one of my FAVORITE people! There are some kiddos in particular I basically want to take home with me, but apparently that's frowned upon.


3 // BvB Dallas
Finally, my Sundays have been dedicated to the Bru' Crew. What's that you ask? That would be the Brunette powder puff football team I've joined this summer with BvB Dallas. Our goal is to raise money to help Tackle Alzheimers Disease and ultimately put an end to it. We each had goals of $1,000 and I am proud to say I've reached my goal, but PLEASE DON'T hesitate to help me raise more by clicking here! DONATE TODAY!

Every Sunday the Bru' Crew practices, and it has been a total blast. I forgot how much I love flag football. I haven't played since my Baylor Bear Intramural days, and obviously that's too long. I've also really enjoyed meeting some new friends. A teacher from my old school is playing too, so that's really fun! We're on Offense together! The game is August 8th, and that is quickly approaching. We get to play at the Cotton Bowl, so if you want in on the action don't delay on getting a ticket by donating $25 on my page. I can't wait to crush Team Blonde! :)

That's the majority of my summer craziness, but I do have a few fun things coming up soon!

Upcoming Awesomeness:
- July 16: Summer School OVER and LAST swim meet for me!
- July 17-24: Family Vacation with the Nabors in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- First Weekend in August: Visit to Waco to see my besties!
- August 8: BvB Dallas Game Day - Bru' Crew vs Team Blonde

The husband is flagging me down that it's time to go play kickball. Hope y'all are having a great summer! I sure am!

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