Weight loss update

#transformationtuesday

I still have 62.1 pounds to go to meet my personal goal of losing 110 pounds. I’ve lost 47.9 pounds since October 29th 2019. There have been days of planned indulgences such as Christmas then there was a couple weak moments of binge eating old habits such as that incident with the entire an of Pringle’s. I’ve made positive choices most of the days since I’ve started. I’ve learned to add some vegetables to my diet and to really enjoy them! My mental heath has improved just as much as my physical health. I’m have gained strength over food addiction and addressed the “why” behind me being obese. It was never simply because I just really liked food a lot. In fact the list of things I would eat was so small that even the simple act of going over to someone’s house for Sunday dinner was a huge struggle for me. The food I liked was not nutritious and delicious food. It was drug food laden with chemicals and toxic addictive additives. Things like Doritos,boxed foods,frozen chicken fingers,fast food,pop,and candy. This stuff isn’t food. I’m not saying a person should never eat these things but if someone chooses to consume such things it should be done with an extremely cautious way. I certainly don’t eat 100% clean but I’m working each day to get one step closer to that goal. It’s not going to happen over night. I just know that if I eat out it has to be planned and not a random situation. If I don’t, I’ll end up eating out every night that week. I’m very careful about what chips enter my home. They must be an alternative and be in a pre weighed package. Just having these little boundaries ensure I’m not eating out of an addiction but rather an informed choice. That way I don’t have those horrible situations where I consume an entire can of Pringle’s ever again just because I’m overwhelmed and don’t want to have to come up with a plan. It’s simply not an option 98% of the time to not have a plan anymore.

This weekend my dear friend is coming into town and I have a plan. We will be eating two non WW friendly meals. I don’t plan on overeating but rather ordering something I really truly want. The Cheesecake Factory is a 1-2 times a year treat and I full intend on ordering chocolate cake to which I’ll track all 80+ points. We have made sure that all of the activities we are doing while she is here are active and get our bodies moving! I’m not concerned one bit because I know above all else that my mind,heart and body have changed!

This side by side is so awesome to me! The today picture I had to hold in my dress because it was so loose that you couldn’t see the reality of my size difference. Like I said…I have A LONG WAY TO GO. This isn’t a get to goal and stop choice I’ve made. This is my new life and oh man it feels so very good!

Follow my journey on Instagram! I’m pilgrim.steps

A New Direction

I have made the official decision to go to college. First I’ll need to get my GED. I dropped out at 9th grade due to some family life situations that were out of my control. I’ve worked everyday since I dropped out. Ranging from at a movie theater to a teacher to a bulk foods store to therapeutic respite and everything in between. I’m not dumb and I’m a hard worker. However I do lack education and from my own research am probably at about a fifth grade math level. Getting my GED seems daunting. I’ve started the classes before here in Ohio and shortly quit because I was treated like less than human. The teachers husband had worked with ex German Baptist and through their slander she was very much biased against me. So I quit and let the lies of Satan tell me there was no use trying because I was stupid.

I know I’m not stupid. I simply had no real chance of getting ahead in my education as a kid. I remember being told by the principal of the Christian school I went to that I’d never graduate and never go to college. I was somewhere in the 3rd-5th grade range. That statement has haunted me. Well I did drop out but that lie of Satan will be defeated! I AM going to college and I am going to graduate!

I’m not trying to cast blame always on others. Definitely by time I hit 9th grade I simply didn’t care anymore. I was done and almost relieved to not have to go to school anymore. Looking back I would have still made the choice I did and I have no regrets. As a child it’s not that I didn’t want to learn, I simply had so much going on at home. Sometimes we wouldn’t have electricity,hot water,water at all,a bed,a home,or were living in a motel. I also went through a really rough stage when I was 13-15. I’m not blaming my parents because they have given me more than what those things can hold. They gave me a foundation of love,support,and encouragement to do whatever I wanted to do in life. Well I know what I want to do in life! I will be getting my GED after I study,apply for Occupational Therapy assistant school,and more importantly prove that it is possible to reach your dreams!

My story isn’t the worst out there. I wouldn’t change where I’m at or how I got here for anything. Yet I know people have come from less and have met bigger goals than mine! I look to them as my inspiration! I admire those who come to this country with nothing and yet have fought to have a new life. I look up to those who have had traumatic brain injuries and their families were told they’d be in a bed for the rest of their life but they are thriving! I want to prove that if you have a God given vision and you step out in faith that you CAN rise above the things that Satan will use to bring you down!

I love my work with children with Reactive Attachment Disorder and I hope to continue to have opportunities to grow in knowledge and ability to give those families a rest. I don’t feel that it’s a path that is long term viable financially for me as a single person. The unpredictability of training,families to work with,and the nature of the job is better suited as a ministry vs. a career in my life. I struggle charging what I have to charge for families who are already pouring their entire life in fighting this battle. My current job situation ends come fall and that’s the time I’ll be making transitions in my life focus (Lord willing).

Likewise I loved and do love teaching. I strongly believe it is my gift. I have considered long and hard about going to college to teach. At the end of the day I simply have too many strong thoughts and beliefs that don’t line up with the mass majority (even among my own fellowship). That doesn’t make me superior to have a different thought process but there comes a time to know where I stand and to not feel ashamed for standing firmly in what I believe.

I have been incredibly resistant to the idea of going to school because I lacked the self worth that I was worth the effort. I now know that I am only limited by myself. I have been praying,seeking,pleading with the Lord for over a year now to guide me. I fully believed He’d drop what my next step was on my lap. After a year of Him being silent on the matter He did! I’ve had multiple people tell me that I was crazy and God doesn’t drop situations on people’s lap. It takes just picking something and going with it. One evening about a month ago He whispered into my heart “Nicci, I set you on the path to work with special needs and special situations. That’s what I expect you to do.” Initially I did a quick google search to see what jobs were available working with special needs. I thought “oh I’ll be a teacher with special needs kids!” However no more did I scroll I KNEW what I was going to do. Occupational therapy. It’s like something clicked. I would be able to use the knowledge and passion that I already have while gleaning new skills to help people live a more full life. From there I’ve been gathering information and praying and at this time I plan to go that route. I am open to the Lord directing in another way but as of now this is my plan. My very first step is that daunting GED! I feel very afraid because everything seems huge yet I feel excited because I have proven to myself that I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me!

I ask for your prayers as I move forward.

Blessings,

Pilgrim Nicci

Something to be Treasured

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Matthew 6:19-20

—-///

Have you ever stopped to wonder what treasure really is? What comes to mind when you hear that word? Is it a beautiful chest of gold hidden by pirates as depicted in the storybooks of our youth? It could be jewelry that a loved one has gifted you as a sign of love. Hard earned money at the end of a week of work could seem very treasure like as it is the key to buy even more treasures. Whatever it’s may be that comes to mind it is nothing in comparison to the heavenly treasures that God has given in the eternal life. Even the earthly treasures gifted to the earth by our creator are just temporary. We have things such as a Columbine flower,the sun shining for the first time after a long winter, birds singing in the morning, or that precious moment the trees began to bud. Those treasures certainly point us in a heavenly direction as we stand in awe of our great creator God. Yet they will fade in time. The Word says in Isaiah 40:8,

 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

Revelation 21:23 says,

 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Genesis 1:30 shares that all life,every living thing was given by God.

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

Ecclesiastes 3 shows us clearly that there is a time for everything and even those song birds and the budded trees shall die.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”

If our treasures even the God given earth treasures are nothing more than to be enjoyed in the here and now what is a treasure in eternity? First and foremost the greatest treasure given was the opportunity of salvation through the blood and life of Jesus Christ our savior king. Jesus said very plainly “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?-John 11:25-26 There will always be an earthly death. Just as Jesus died for our sins we too will die yet the kicker of it all is that WE SHALL LIVE AGAIN! The treasure of the life of Jesus lives in us is to literally be alive forever bound with Him in eternity in the permanent and forever kingdom. What other radiant treasures await us in that forever kingdom with our forever life?

If it weren’t enough to simply get to live forever worshipping our king we(the church) will have the great treasure of being married to Him in the most holy of ceremonies of all time. Revelation 19:7-9

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” As a single person this especially perks my ears and causes my heart to beat a little faster! Individually some of us may never get to collect the beautiful treasure of a godly marriage. The white dress may just be a fragment of our imagination. The sting is quickly lightened by the abundant fullness of this treasured promise of the marriage feast of the Lamb! Let us marinate a while in your heart right now. The king of King’s treasures you and you treasure Him in a love incorruptible by time or sway of affections. Ah a treasure indeed!

James 1:12

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” From my brief study on the subject of crowns there are five types of crowns to be given as a treasure in heaven. The crown of life,the crown of righteousness,the crown of rejoicing,the crown of glory,and the incorruptible crown. I won’t even begin to expound on each one. I’ll leave that for your own personal study. I’ll leave you with this thought. Straighten your back and hold your head high. Imagine the hand of God placing a crown upon your battle weary head. Look around,what is it you see in your heavenly visions? It’s going to be so much more of a treasure than what you or I can conjure up in our human imaginations. I know this one thing, with a crown comes confidence. 1 John 4:17 17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

We love him, because he first loved us.” Christian hold your head high not of your own earthly strength but because of the boldness that is in you from Christ Jesus,aka practice wearing your crown.

There are two more treasures that perhaps should’ve been placed in the beginning but they are so interwoven to my life that I hadn’t thought to place them in the category of treasure. Yet the very fact that they are such a forefront of my life and the life of all Christians shows that it’s a treasure of now and to come! The first one should go without saying and it is the written Word of God. Left for us to have here on earth as the greatest adventure,live story,self help,and life saving letters and communication from our Father. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”- Hebrews 4:12

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 1 Timothy 3:16-17

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 People through time have fought over this treasured Word of God. It’s been translated over and over and is still being translated to new languages as we speak! It has been kept alive throughout Eve generation and will for eternity!

Lastly although there definitely are more heavenly treasures, is the Holy Spirit who is God Himself left to comfort and guide us while here on earth but for all time. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13 says “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” This tells us where our joy and peace come from. If we ever find ourselves lacking of those things it might be wise to evaluate if we’ve pushed the spirit aside and given His room away to something else. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”-1 Corinthians 3:16

Often we push the Spirit aside in times of trials or temptation. If we would rather call upon Him with all authority He is here as our great defender and comforter.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”- John 14:16

I hope you have a little bit better understanding of what a heavenly and worthy treasure is after reading this. Perhaps you(and I) will remember that when our next paycheck comes or when our ever human heart begins to long for the next shiny trinket that will ultimately end up at the Goodwill later. I believe the more we meditate on the things above the closer we are at making eye contact with our Lord. You can’t easily be distracted when your eyes are locked on the God above. When the awe and wonder,beauty and might of our Father and are experienced in our lives, the earth bound things become less and less attractive. One day you’ll realize those aren’t what you hunger to collect because to take your eyes away from the Father for even a moment is more than you can bear. For a moment from His goodness is a moment in desire that can’t be filled with the world.

Lock your eyes on Him and when you must slumber pray as I heard once “that eternity be stamped on my eyelids”.

Blessings and peace,pilgrim Nicci

Let’s Rock…Shamrock!

If you’re anything like me you’re a sucker for a good holiday treat. Long held as my very favorite holiday was St. Patrick’s. Only recently was it bumped to second place by Valentine’s Day. Naturally when March 1st hit my inner party animal started to crave the shamrock shake from McDonald’s. Not only am I repulsed by McDonald’s but a quick scan of my @ww app told me that the minty goodness would cost me an entire day’s worth of points. I said “see ya later alligator (see what I did there..it’s green,the shakes green) and I started a Pinterest search for a #ww friendly shake option! It wasn’t long on the enter-webs that I found my desired recipe. After work,after I hit the gym, and I hit the local Walmart. If you know me you know that Walmart is my least favorite place to shop but desperate times call for desperate measures. I gathered the necessary ingredients and straight home I went! I followed the recipe to a T and what I got was good but not great. Not one to give up so easily I added this and a pinch of that and what we have here is the most rocking shamrock shake ever created! I know,I know, I’m a genius mastermind and you can start sending me gift of appreciation at any time.
So what’s in a shamrock shake you might ask? I’ll tell you…because that’s just how incredibly nice I am!
Equate vanilla shake
3 oz. plain Greek yogurt
8 grams sugar free pudding mix
Stevia tad
Vanilla splash
Mint 1/2 teaspoon
Green food coloring
Ice more than 10 cubs that’s all I’m sayin
Optional topping:
I did 23 grams coconut whipped topping this added 2 extra points
Sprinkles this added the fun

Can you guess the points? The original McDonald’s one is 23 points. Mine is 3 for the shake and 2 if you are addicted to whip topping. That’s a total of 3-5 points on blue! Not bad eh?

Snippets:Time

Lost time is never found again.

-Benjamin Franklin

——/

I’ve had a lot of time to think about time. We cannot go back in time and we have no key to the future of time. Only our Creator knows how much time we get but we get to chose how we use our time. I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert on how to effectively use one’s time but I have another thought that began brewing as I had some time to think about time. I’m going to share it with you and I hope it’s not a waste of your time. Do as little online shopping as you can. It reduces our time with outside human contact,fills the earth with more packaging,and you spend extra money in shipping that is wasteful. Make eye contact with those around you. Share a smile too. Make an appointment with a random friend once or twice a week. Make that a habit and try your best not to break it. For me it’s Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and it’s delightful. Laugh more than you cry unless you need to cry. In that case embrace the tears and move on. Set a monthly goal and make sure you achieve it. You don’t want to start the next month with regret but rather accomplishment. Your time here on earth matters so make the ticking of the seconds count. Serve others,keep on growing as a person,and above all else be thankful to the Lord above for the time that you have. Tell your friends and family and maybe even a stranger or two that you love them. You never know who might need to hear it. While your at it, even if you’re not a touchy person give hugs! Yes, hug those around you because why not? This world is sorely lacking human contact and you maybe the last hug a person gets while they have time left here on earth. Share the gospel freely but maybe not in a shove it down peoples throats kind of way. Share it in bold relationship and pockets of time that the Lord gives. Time, it can’t rewind and we can’t go forward until it’s time…how will you use your time?

Weight Watchers Chicken Parmesan

I’m not a food blogger by any stretch of the meaning but I do like food and when I create something that works why not share? This is a pretty basic recipe I made ahead of time for dinner tonight and I cannot wait to dig in! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I hope you will!

I got most of my ingredients at Aldi. You can tailor this to meet your needs and point desires or family size! If you share this recipe I ask kindly that you credit me somewhere in your post.

2 serving Chicken Parmesan (7) on Blue

Cubed chicken (0)

Simply marinara (3) for 1 cup

Shredded mozzarella (5) points 1/2 cup

Mix together and bake @350 for 30-40 minutes

Topping mix in a separate bowl

28 grams shredded Parmesan or 1/4 cup (3)

Bread crumbs 28 grams or 1/2 cup

Garlic powder and Italian seasoning to taste

5-10 sprays of butter spray (I personally don’t count these you’ll have to look it up if you’re a purest) mix to combine. Put in top after the bake is done. Broil 2-3 minutes on low(watch it)

Snippet:When We Call Out Sin, It’s costly

When we call out sin, it is costly.

There is a type of false Christianity that I want no part of. It’s the American Christianity where we build million dollar buildings to play sports but call it a ministry. Where we say we want the lost to be saved but only if it’s the type of brown skin we approve of that we are saving. It’s bombing one nation because they are the enemies then adopting the children of those whom were slaughtered. Wear your suit and your political party colored tie to church on Sunday. Hear a sermon that lines up with how you vote. Teach your children to be good American citizens first then to trust God second but be sure when talking to others say it in reverse. Protection comes from God while on the corner tracts are passed out but when it comes right down to it the faith is not in God alone but in the trigger pulled where it never should have been. Serving others is nice unless you have to deal with their problems. This is a Christianity that dehumanizes those that don’t see eye to eye where verbal knives can be thrown without seeing the consequences. Once saved always save keeps a person comfortable in sin. Children pledge to a flag but never themselves commit their life to God content to cling to the religion of mommy and daddy. Love fully,give freely,straighten your tie,make sure your rings sparkle. Have 2.5 children and go to church. Put in a smile,shake the hand,turn around the mask comes off. This is a dangerous place to be. Not because of the shots fired or persecution but because of a kingdom turned into culture that’s far too content resting in the arms of the world.

Snippet:“Will I regret this if…”

Here we find ourselves in the very last few hours of 2019. Our news feeds are filling up with pictures of the year past and hopes and dreams for the year to come. If you’re anything like me you are more than ready to say good riddance to 2019! I don’t need to bore you with the long list of why “woe is me this year was horrible”. Maybe you have a reason to whine and complain or maybe you don’t but that isn’t stopping you from doing so. Whatever the case I’m encouraging you(and me) to leave 2019 in 2019 and look forward with all anticipation of what God will do in your (my) life as you seek His face in each of the moments to come. There will be trials just as in 2019 and those years gone on before but you survived and you’ll survive any bumps in the road of the future. There’s also going to be great memories to experience,relationships to form,love to share,goals to achieve and when you(Me) make it to this time next year you’ll be proud of yourself IF you keep your focus on the Lord and the goals you set out for yourself. My problems in 2019 can largely be attributed to me losing focus as I faced challenge after challenge. I could have saved myself a lot of pain. Ask yourself (I ask myself) “Will I regret this if…” and “Does this make me proud?” Oh and most importantly “Am I glorifying my Father?” Most of you know my goal this year is to lose 110 lbs(now 95ish). As you follow along on my journey I want to encourage you to make a big goal for yourself. Share with me how you are doing with it and let’s support each other along the way! Comment your goal and I’ll write it down and pray for you!

Here are my beginning pictures I took tonight. Remember this thing: You only have to make one choice at a time to reach your goal. We only get one day at a time so why not live it to the fullest taking as many steps one step at a time as we fulfill each moment we are given.

1)I feel beautiful and happy tonight the last night of 2019.

2-4) My before pictures as of today. I took before pictures 13lbs. Ago but I wanted to share tonight’s.

Update

I realized I’ve been sharing with others but I wanted to share with you all as well.

Wednesday I wrote:

Today I made a choice. Today is my day to begin my next journey. I’ve debated if I’d share it with others or if it something I’d silently do on my own. I think I’ll do as I do with the rest of my life. I’ll be honest. I am overweight. There’s no hiding it or pretending it away. I can honestly say I’m fat but I don’t look in the mirror and see ugly. In fact I wish I did because maybe it would have been more motivating in the past. My choice is being driven by my career choice. I work with complex children and have to have the stamina to keep themselves and myself safe when they are in my care. I can’t be winded going up a flight of stairs because they’ll know that I’m physically weak and they will twist that to believe they are not safe. I choose strength over weakness. Weakness of physical limitations and weakness over mental limitations. I have let other people’s unintentional hurtful words keep me from caring to be the best me. Well after this year of overcoming hard things I’m done letting others rule my life. No I don’t feel ugly by my fat but I do feel weak and I am not ok with that. I choose to be strong! However let’s be honest, we as women all* want to be slimmer than what we are. It’s just a fact. I’m ok admitting I look forward to what I’ll see in the future. Strength in my confidence!

*Some women would wish to be able to gain weight. I just meant we all want to look good!

On Saturday(I’m not share my exact words because they are not for this setting.)I wrote about being thankful to be alive and how just a month ago I seriously started questioning me being alive. I hated myself and and felt so alone. You can see the difference in the side by side pictures. I really reached an all time low. I knew if I didn’t make some choices I wouldn’t just be dying on the inside but I’d actually die if I didn’t do something. I decided to make some choices to delete my social media accounts and make new ones. I did this to control who’s lives I saw and who saw mine. It was too hard to see the community I was once active in go on with life. They made a choice not to be in my life and they no longer get the privilege of seeing my life through a window so to speak. It was the most freeing choice. Then I made a choice to start weight watchers. That too has been a freeing choice. I have made a series of positive and life changing choices so I might choose to live and not simply survive each day! I have never been more proud of myself! I couldn’t have done it without the prayers of my true friends and community. I have had my burden lifted!

Today I wrote:

New Zero

—-/

I’m thankful for a new day to love,serve,and become a new me. We start each day at zero. Zero knowledge of how the day will turn out. Zero steps logged in the pilgrimage for that day. Zero mistakes made (yet). The possibilities are endless and a good portion of those possibilities are in our own control to move forward in them or not. We have the control over a lot..not everything but with each step we are making a choice. With each step our zero becomes 1/10/100/1,000/10,000 and more which help up reach our goal! The zero can either look like a defeat before we even begin or an open road with victory at the end. WE get to choose which way we’ll view this pilgrim road! I started my journey at zero. I had nothing left. I was literally at zero. I had lost zero weight,I had zero care in me. I had zero of the life I once had. Until one day I saw my zero as a possibility! My zero is now four! I’ve lost four pounds and those four pound are just as exciting to be lost as if it were the 110 lbs. I need to lose. Just as we start out at zero in our personal lives we start out at zero in our spiritual lives. Before we have Christ we have nothing! When we see and accept His unfailing love for us that’s when our nothing turns into a possibility. From there we set out to follow Him on the greatest pilgrimage we will make. The goal is our marriage to Him. We are literally journeying on to get to our wedding to the king of kings! Along the way we drop a lot of weight. Step,step,step…drop anxiety. Step,step,step…drop the anger. Step,Step,Step …drop our idols. Step,Step,step…What weight will you drop today? Soon your zero will bring you to your finish line and you won’t be walking but rather running and I don’t know about you but I’m excited for each of my steps from zero to then!

——/

Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

So a recap of what all this means. I crashed, I mean I REALLY crashed and I was not ok. I’m thankful for the people in my life that help me. I’m ok now..better than ok I’m thriving. I have made positive choices to only have the people in my life who invest in my life and I them. I started weight watchers last week and I’m loving it! I’m making good life choices and I’m a new me!

Thankful Snippets

Here are a few snippets I’ve written over the past few days as I choose to be thankful.

Today: Drive

——/

What drives you? Why is it that you wake up in the morning? I’d really like to sound super spiritual and say that every single morning I’m driven by knowing I can serve the Lord. If I’m going to be honest with you then I have to tell you the truth. I get out of bed some mornings simply because “that’s just what you do.” I mean come on. You can’t live a fulfilling life in your bed or on your couch. You have to make a choice so I choose to throw back the covers and go forward with my day. Yet 9/10 my drive is changed by (my drive) to work or wherever it is I’m headed. I am nearly always reminded that we do have a purpose beyond just living one day at a time until we are in the grave. I have a God to glorify,love to give and receive, a job to do so I have the financial ability to feed the hungry and give to the needy,people to give rest to,and the gospel to share. So in a sense,my drive drives me. On my drive I see the sun rising in the east by the power of our creator. There are birds,deer,squirrels,and all types of creatures just trusting in the Lord for His provision. Children with their parents waiting at the bus stop. I wonder “Do they know Jesus?” I pass the same cars going to the same places. I sometimes even see people I know and we wave as we go by! This morning as I was being driven by my drive I was thankful,so very thankful for my drive to work. I don’t enjoy the act of driving. In fact it comes with a lot of fear yet God has given me many blessings as I drive to the places I must go. Today there was a thick layer of fog covering the morning sky and the earth. It was so beautiful and I just had to tell the Lord how thankful I was to be surrounded by such a big cloud of beauty. It changed how everything looked on my drive and I saw things in a different way. What drives you? Will you be driven by the vehicle of this world or by the path of the one true God? Choose wisely the things that drive you it will be a matter of life and death one day.

October 25

Harvest

—-/

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Galatians 6:7

——/

Yesterday morning before work I took a picture of our back yard and didn’t give any thought to it. In fact I assumed I’d delete it later that day. That evening after work as I pulled into our home something was different. I couldn’t place my finger on it but there definitely was a difference. Then it hit me! Part of the field had been harvested! It’s interesting to me to see the two fields side by side. You know when I was going through my dark days in effort to mask the truth behind what I was going through I filled my life with junk. I was binge watching videos,eating just to pass my time,and writing all the hate and sadness I had for myself,and was focusing a lot on what I no longer had and deep down inside I was mad at God. I was a little like that field that is still standing. Stuck. Immobile.Swaying in the wind.Cold.Crusty. I was dead inside. Even being a believer I was sowing seeds that Satan was placing right into my hands. I was making poor choices that only aided my frustration,anger,hurt,and fear. I was the problem because I was not making choices to be used for the glory of God. I was not choosing to be a kingdom worker. I was content to stay in the dead field being blown around by the angry winds….until I started having frightening thoughts. “I just want to die. I’m dead inside anyway.” That was the moment I knew if I died right then in the state I was in there was a chance I wouldn’t see my Jesus. I knew I had a choice to sow the seeds again in my life that I wanted to see produced. I made a choice to be thankful instead of being bitter. I made a choice to rid my life of my idols. I made a choice to live alive and not rot in the field of what could have been. This was not done alone in my power but with the Holy Spirit. I have seen the beginning of the harvest again in my life! Joy real not from pretending but from seeing the blessings all around me! Peace free of crushing anxiety. Love oh the love for the people around me has deepened in a way I cannot explain! What we sow is what we’ll reap. What choice will you make today?

October 24

Belonging—-/

From the oldest to the youngest there is a place to belong. I’m thankful that no one has to be left out of the church if only they choose the path of the cross. Sometimes I know it can seem as though there isn’t room for the single and the widow or the young and the old to blend together into a rhythm where everyone has their place. However I propose that if you believe that then you are giving room to the devil. There IS a place for all! I just loved the children’s communion bread creations being made as the adults labored for the up coming love feast. We don’t need different services for different ages…there is a place for all.

—/ I’m thankful that I got to go to bread baking. In past years I was working and was unable to attend.

YET there is room the feast is spread

For every hungry, thirsting soul; And living streams and living bread

Are ours when once we reach our goal.

Yet there is room! the home of peace Throws open wide each crystal door;

And voices full of love and bliss Bid us come in! and rove no more.

Yet there is room! the eternal song Waits till our voices join the strain;

Room, room amid the choral throng, Who praise the Lamb for sinners slain!

Yet there is room! the arms of love Stretch wide to welcome sinners home;

Oh, haste, no more in sorrow rove, “The Spirit and the Bride say come!”

October 23

Reflection —/ I’m thankful for the reflection of Jesus Christ in myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ. That through the testimony of our lives in Christ, might plant a seed of faith or minister to the lost. You know what? I had a whole post planned yesterday for today because I was so thankful today was my day of rest after six long days of respite. Then this morning the cross caught my attention. No, not the cross that hangs in the window but the light shining through it casting a beautiful image across the way. Lord let me be your Image bearer each day. Though some days are weary and while others exhilarating let that have no impact on how your light shines through me. Let the love you have bestowed upon me be given freely and I ever be reminded that I’m not veiled from your image. You are reflected in each one of my siblings in the faith. I’m so thankful for the cross. I’m so thankful for the resurrection! I’m so thankful that one day the light of the sun will no longer be needed but the radiance of the SON will be the only light because He is the light! There is so much to be joyful about! So maybe you’re like me and have had a week surrounded by angry negativity and just need a little rest. I want to encourage you yes take that nap you so desperately need but more importantly find your rest in the Lord.

——/

1 John 4:8

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

2 Corinthians 3:13-18

13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

October 22

Grace

–/

Today I’m thankful for the grace of God. We deserve to die not only a natural death here on earth but in our eternal life should be tortured and killed. God in His perfect love for His creation has provided a way through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Not by our works but by His Grace we who claim and follow Christ have life if we are raised in Christ here and in eternity! Not by my(Nicci) ability but by His love I get to live. ——/

I have taken a picture on October 22 of this tree every year for 7 years. Today I debated what to do because it was at “the school” and I didn’t want to stop in and be awkward. It turned out I needed to stop there to pick up a kid last minute anyway this morning so I got my picture! It still is beautiful as it has been for all these years. Although it was a small problem,silly really, I like to think that God worked this out for me.

——/

Galatians 2:16-21

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

October 21

Calm

——/

Today I’m thankful for those quiet moments in life that allow you to breathe before moving forward in the battle. Whether they be the few minutes stolen while on the deck before work,the special time with the Lord, an entire day set aside to rest,or a season of life a little more free from care. Today my calm and quiet moment came as I stepped onto the deck and allowed myself to just soak up the beauty around me. After a long four days of being hyper in tune to my surroundings and going on with my normal work week today, I was so thankful for a small refresh before I marched right back onto the battlefield.

October 20

Body of Christ

——/

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:28-29

——-/

Today I am thankful for the body of Christ. Knowing that my brothers and sisters span all across the globe and generation is such an exciting reality. We lift one another up though we may have never met. We support each other’s pilgrim journey. There is a bond we feel when we run into a fellow pilgrim in the grocery store or at the airport. We battle in the Spiritual warfare against Satan. We are different colors,backgrounds,sizes,and abilities yet each one of us is perfectly knit together for the honor and glory of God! Together we stand for the labor of our kingdom and praise of our king. That’s pretty awesome to me!