My prayer life was looking, well, pretty pitiful! I had tried reading various books on boosting my prayer life, getting a grip on prayers, honing your prayers, streamlining prayers, etc. Nothing was working!

Now, don't misunderstand me. I said all the "Normal" prayers, Our Fathers, Hail Marys, praying for all family members, friends, special petitions, my own petitions, and on & on. But it was all so... jumbled. Never in the same pattern, coming up with great prayers one night, forgetting them the next, forgetting so-and-so's request... just a mess! And so, my Pinterest investigation began.

Nothing was looking great until I came across Kari from Stone Soup for Five's Prayer Binder, it was quite literally, an answer to my prayers! I turn on my Relax Melodies app, for some background sounds, then I set up my 30/30 app that Kari suggested and helps me stay on task SO MUCH!

I spend 1 hour a day, and I pray for everybody and everything under the sun (slight exaggeration, but it's pretty close!)  AND I get 30 minutes of bible study within that hour! Amazing, right? Yeah, I thought so, too! 

Kari suggested reading The Hour That Changed The World by Dick Eastman.  So while I was gathering my supplies that she suggested, I bought this book and dived in.  IT was fantastic! I couldn't wait to organize my prayer binder and get an effective prayer life.

To start off, I organized my prayer binder exactly like Kari did hers. I thought that after a while if something doesn't work for me, I can make adjustments. But so far, everything is flowing smoothly.

This is what I used:

Supplies:

1- Avery half sized binder
2- packs half-sized paper
2- packs half sized dividers
1- pack half sized page protectors
1 pack individual tabs
a couple rolls of washi tape

I found the book used on Amazon for about $12 total, and with a coupon from Staples, the grand total for all supplies and books came up to $33.78.

For the outside pockets, I made a cool watercolor graphics page, which I'll link at the bottom of this post, and you can print it out for yourself if you get the binders with the clear pockets! If not, no worries, I'm sure you can personalize your binder all sorts of ways!

I also had a book called Prayers with Purpose for Women by Jackie M. Johnson that was AMAZING for all my subcategories! You'll see what I mean in my photos.

This is how to break it up:

*Sections need to be using the plastic dividers*


Section 1- Praise,  praise God for all that He is! I like to think of this as the worship songs part of the church.  2.5 minutes.



Section 2- Rest, I sit and picture snuggling up to God, resting on his shoulder; a silent surrender to God so he can shower his love on you. 2.5 minutes.



Section 3- Confession, A.K.A. Spiritual Cleansing 2.5 minutes.


Section 4- Scripture Prayer, This is where you study the bible. I'm currently doing the read through the bible in a year with the Good Morning Girls. I spend 30 minutes on this one.



Section 5- Petition, Prayer for me. These I have split up into subcategories, using the individual tabs. This is where I used the prayers from the book Prayers with Purpose for Women by Jackie M. Johnson I mentioned above. Y'all, it's amazing! And you can switch these around. Obviously, you can add more subcategories for the weekend days. Or maybe you have a category that you need more prayer time in because you will be repeating the weekend tab over the weekend days.

 Monday- Christ follower,
Tuesday- Wife & Marriage,
Wednesday- Mother,
Thursday- Stewart,
Friday- Work/Encourager,
Weekend- friend & sister.
2.5 minutes each subcategory, but on the tab for that day.













Section 6- Husband (optional) I also broke this into subcategories using the individual tabs.  I didn't have a book like the Prayers with Purpose for Women for the Husband category, but I'm sure you can adapt some of the prayers to fit your husbands. What I did was just write down prayers from the heart. And I'm always adding new ones to the pages as they come along.

To protect the Mr.'s privacy, and that of my future child, I won't show their individual prayers, but it's broken down like this-

Monday- Faith,
Tuesday-Husband/Marriage,
Wednesday-Father,
Thursday- Brother/Son/Friend,
Friday- Employee,
Weekend- Leadership.  I also printed off a monthly calendar from Inspiredtoaction.com for Husband, and I pray a vertical line daily so I start the first line on Monday and the last line on Sunday.
2.5 minutes.



Section 7- Child (optional) Again, I broke this down into subcategories using the individual tabs, Monday- Christ Follower,
Tuesday- Wisdom/Discernment,
Wednesday-Integrity,
Thursday- Purity & future spouse,
Friday- As a Student,
Weekend- Career. I also printed off a monthly calendar from inspiredtoaction.com for Children and pray a vertical line daily, same way as the husband section.
2.5 minutes.



Section 8- Extra- This is where I write down the prayers that I hear people need. Like, "Oh, so and so's father in law passed away this morning, pray for their family." Or any that I hear specifically from friends and family. 2.5 minutes.


Section 9- Daily, I broke this down into subcategories using the individual tabs,
Monday- Family,
Tuesday- Christian friends,
Wednesday-Non-Christian Friends,
Thursday- Church & Missionaries,
Friday-Our Nation, Weekend- World. I also printed off a 30-day prayer calendar for our nation  from ifapray.org, and same as the others, praying a vertical column daily. 2.5 minutes,


Section 10- Listen, This is where you ask specific questions for God and listen for his answers. 2.5 minutes.


Section 11- Thanks, You allow your mind to wonder over the last 24 hours and thank God for everything you can think of. The more specific, the better. 2.5 minutes.





Section 12- Praise. We began with an act of adoration, but we will end with an act of magnification of God. 2.5 minutes,



Below are the binder cover inserts I made using Picmonkey.com. Click the link below each design and it will bring you to googledocs so you can download!

Link to Download


Link to download


Link to Download



Please, go to Kari's blog to see all the details. She does a much better explanation of the sections than I do.

And get the book, it's amazing! Your prayer life will be so streamlined, it's the difference like night and day!

How do you streamline your prayer life? Leave your tips below!
DIY Prayer Binder, Get Your Prayer Life In Order

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It's not a secret, if you want to lose weight, you burn more calories than you take in. Simple enough, except when you have Fibromyalgia.

  The main thing my group of doctors say over and over is, "Take care of yourself. Rest, relaxation, the right medication cocktail and sleep are the keys to a good quality of life." So how in the wide world am I supposed to burn more calories than I take in, if I'm supposed to go easy on my body?

  Walking and yoga, that's how! Fibromyalgia patients benefit from at least 2 rounds of Physical Therapy a year, (so say the doctors) so, for my first round, I'm learning how to exercise my body with Fibro. Before, it was- work out hard, get the heart rate up, feel the burn, etc. Now, if I were to do that, I'd be down for days and could cause a flare up... you don't want that!

  Basically, walking is good for you, provided its level and you have supportive shoes. Yoga is also good for you. The problem with these is... they're not exactly fast fat burning exercises. So, as my doctor put it, you have to be stricter on food choices than the average dieter.

  There is also another problem, to eat healthier and meal/food prep, you need energy. And some days, I just don't have it. The only way, I can see, to fix this is to prep asap. and have things on hand that you can heat up. Some meals that are frozen or snacks that are already measured and prepped. And that's hard, my friends!

  I've pinterest-ed, (totally not a word, but you know what I mean) the ever loving mess out of this and I've come up with one lady who is all around amazing- Dashing Dish. This little lady does it all! She tells you exactly what to do, how to do it, how much to do, and gives you a bit of good old Christian gospel in the process? Sign me up! She's the cutest thing! Her meal prep ideas really helped me, and as we speak, I have about 20 breakfasts ready to go in the freezer, about 8 dinners ready to go in either the crockpot or the oven, and I'm figuring out lunch freezer/crockpot ideas. Really, this whole freezer to crockpot idea is a genius!

  I also found incredible help from this book- Trim Healthy Mama's Cookbook that I received complimentary from Bloggingforbooks.com. These mama's have it all figured out, too! This book was thick, pages were also thick, which I love for a cookbook. It means it can be used over and over in a kitchen and still last for years to come without being destroyed. Pearl Barrett & Serene Allison came up with amazing healthy alternatives to the all-time favorites and made them as slim as they could possibly be. At first, their code of the recipes is a little confusing. I had to read their guide many times to figure it out. Eventually, I did, but it's tricky. Most of the recipes are straight forward, but a majority call for special ingredients that the average kitchen or grocery store doesn't have on hand. Overall, it's a good cookbook to have. I like it, I would not have purchased it on my own, though.

25057546

Overall, this whole getting healthy with Fibromyalgia process will be a sloowwwww process. Incredibly slow. I'm not going to shed pounds like a normal person, and I'm okay with that... as long as that scale is moving in the right direction and I'm getting healthier, not just worried about being slim, right?

What's your favorite cookbook? Share below!




Getting healthy with Fibromyalgia

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 Recently, our apartment complex renovated the kitchen and bathrooms. That meant we had to get everything out of everywhere, move completely out of those spaces. And I hate moving. Mostly because it forces you to see how much stuff you've accumulated. It sickens me to see!

   When I moved to Hawaii, I had two suitcases. That's it! Granted, I had left my childhood memories, amongst other things, in my parents barn, but still! Moving from Hawaii to Illinois, we have 5 huge CRATES! Owning that much junk makes me feel... gross. I tossed or donated about 2 crates worth of stuff to charity.

  After reading The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, it inspired me to chuck even more in an effort to simplify my life.  I thought that if I simplify everything on the outside, get rid of the excess stimuli then all the internal jumble  can calm down so I can create. My parents and the Mr. complain because I have not painted in forever. I find that when I'm stressed, I can't paint. So, that's my theory- eliminate the external craziness and the art can come out. Sounds good in theory, right?

  So, when we had to empty our cabinets, you guessed it, even more junk was outta here! Which made me think, what does God have to say about Christians living in excess? I mean, there's things you need, like have to have to survive. There's little extras you buy to make life a little easier. And then there's just plain excess-  things that you absolutely do not need, like at all,  and you buy anyway. Which is a waste of money, and God doesn't like that. He says we are to be good stewards of the money he entrusts with us. So that's one strike with buying in excess. And then there's the saying I've always heard, "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without," strike two.  So,  I went digging in the bible for hard truths.


+  1 John 2:16-17- 16-  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.


+  1 Timothy 6:9-10- Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.


+  Ecclesiastes 6:9- Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 


+   Ecclesiastes 5:10-11- Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?


+  Luke 12:15-  Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”




+  Colossians 3:2-3- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.


+  Proverbs 11:28- Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

  

+  Psalm 119:36-37Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 


So, with all these scriptures telling us NOT to worry about being selfish, how are we to make it in this world? This day in age when EVERYTHING is about making more money so you can buy more things so more people can think you are awesome?

+  1 Timothy 6:6-8- But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.


Be content with that! God brought us into the world with nothing, and he will take us out of the world with nothing. I believe if we work hard at pleasing Him, studying His word, your life will be fulfilling without all the excess junk, but that's just my two cents. 

9 Verses Warning Christians About Being Materialistic

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So, here we are, halfway through February, and I'm just now posting about how we are working on my word of the year, "Thrive." Way to go, Jessy! Ha! Ah well, better late than never!

Catch up with us by reading this. 

For February, we're focusing on Knowledge, and this is how we're doing it:

+ The Mr. will work on getting more certifications in his field, I couldn't explain it to you if I tried, so I will spare you!

+ I am plugging along at getting my degree in Theology. I'm so excited to use this degree to deepen my relationship with God. I'm unsure about what I will use this degree for, but God called me to this, so I'm sure He has a reason for it!

+ I also have always heard about colleges offering free courses online, which I think is amazing! You don't get credit for them, but it's just a great way to learn for free. Both of our families have been devastated by Alzheimer's, so the phrase, "Use it or loose it" hits home for us. I think it would be a shame to waste such a great resource like this.

+ We are trying to read more books. In preparation for our adoption, we packed almost all of our books and put them in storage! Thank God for libraries and Kindles!

I think this month will be a breeze to thrive in!



How's your word of the year working out so far?


How I'm 'Thriving' in February

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Hey, Y'all! I told you I'd keep you in the loop about our adoption, and I am here to keep that promise!

Catch up on previous posts by reading these, then this...
  • We completed our PRIDE classes. Yay! The classes were 9 sessions long, 27ish hours of classes, but we were on a double schedule so we had two classes per day, which was pretty tough!  Since our classes fell over the Thanksgiving holiday and a snow storm, we had a couple of reschedules, but no big deal. 
  • After the classes were completed, we had the official home inspection and our interviews.  Being me, I took to doing my "Research" online, spending countless hours, scouring the internet, reading horror stories about the interviews taking 8+ hours or even multiple days to complete! I had worked myself up so much about them that I could hardly sleep the night before. Honestly, I'm not sure if our licensing worker was so nice, or DCFS policies don't include 8+ hours of questioning, maybe we didn't have things in our lives that required 8+ hours of interviews, I don't know. The only thing I do know is that the interview day came, about 2.5-3 hours and WE WERE DONE!  It wasn't that bad! 
  • Now, one of THE hardest things is waiting. Well, the most frustrating part is all the paperwork that needs to be perfect. There is quite a ton of papers that need to be perfect and turned in. Sometimes, you're waiting on others, sometimes you're waiting on yourself, and it's just a period of waiting. It's the hurry up and wait for sort of situation, which is hard when you're thinking, gimme all the babies! But, just waiting for things to line up, things to get from one person to the next, things to all come together, the stars to align, waiting for God to advance a prayer for you to become a parent along a little further, is THE hardest waiting in my life. And the moment when I can say this... it makes it worth it....
So, where are we now? Well, our licensing worker emailed us last night and....

We're officially a licensed foster home!!!!!!!!


What does this mean? This means we will start getting calls from case workers about children who need foster homes. As a family, we've had MANY discussions about what will work best for us, but I truly feel that God will lead us to our child, regardless if the child or situation is completely opposite of what we had pictured in our minds! 


That's the latest. We still ask for your prayers for us on this journey. Prayers for the child, or children. We have to remember that even though we will be thrilled to add a member(s) to our family, they are losing members of theirs. And it can be downright scary for them. Prayers for smooth transitioning. And you know things get stressful and hectic, so throw in a prayer for our patience, if ya don't mind!


Another way to support us during this process is to help the adoption fund! Check out my Etsy shop here to support the fund AND get yourself something really cool!

Etsy-TheArtsyCajun
Etsy Shop- The Artsy Cajun
The uber cute  (and funny) Mr & Mrs. Awesome pillowcases are in the shop in time for the upcoming wedding season, so get a jump on your gifts now! Don't worry, I have to traditional personalized pillowcases with the couple's last name also!

So, how's your Thursday going?

Adoption Update: BIG News!

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Happy Mardi Gras, Y'all! I hope y'all are enjoying all of the festivities, enjoying some of that Cajun spirit, Sha!  

I'm currently stuck in Chiberia where the "Feels like" temperature is 2 degrees! Yikes! Certainly not Mardi Gras parade weather, even if Chicagoland had such a parade! Ah well, we do it all for love, right?

You can bet your sweetheart that I have my gumbo bubbling on the stove as we speak! And if you'd like to channel your inner Cajun, click the link to be taken to my personal gumbo recipe!

Jessy's Gumbo Recipe

laissez les bons temps rouler!


Throw me somethin' mister!!!!

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I'm joining in with   Jenna and Anne for February's edition of Currently.  This month's prompts are:


Dual-Use Priority Mail Flat Rate/Priority Mail Express Box - 1


Sending- This month, I'm sending care packages to Louisiana and to my best mate, Kate in Australia! I'm really excited to send her care package because she's asked me to draw her an adult coloring book. As of right now, I'm still working on it, but I promise to give you guys a peak, and I may even sell it in my etsy shop! EKK! It's exciting!


A photo posted by @theartsycajun on

Eating- If you read this post, you know my word of the year is Thrive. And, you also know that every month, I'm breaking it down into subcategories. January's subcategory was Health so we've been trying new healthy recipes and will continue to try to turn our recipes healthy! 


Tips For When Buying a House. Before you buy your next home, there are many things you should think about so that you can be as prepared as possible. It can help save you money and save time as well. http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2013/03/buying-a-house-tips.html:

Dreaming- Lately, I'm dreaming of homes. We will be buying a home sometime in May, and I can't stop looking at realtor sites! I keep looking at home after home, dreaming of our lives unfolding in each home to see if it will work. 




Smelling- Lately, my migraines are still once a week. According to my Neurologist, for some folks, strong smells could trigger migraines. So, I've stopped burning all my candles and put maybe one drop of essential oils in my diffuser and run it once a week or so. I don't know if this is the culprit or not, but something has to give!




Hearting- I'm hearting my bed like crazy lately! As I mentioned before, migraines knock me on my butt once a week, and it can last a whole day to two whole days. During that time, my bed is my BFF! I'm loving the fact that about 2 years ago, I started caring about thread count, and textures that I liked, and textures that I couldn't stand. I adjusted our bedding accordingly and now it's all my favorites. You wouldn't think those types of things make a difference, but they do when you can't get up! 


I hope you've enjoyed reading what I'm up to currently! What are you up to? Comment below!


Feburary Currently

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Hi! Is everyone still hibernating like I am? I love that it's warming up a bit, but it's still cold and I still plan on a couple more months of hibernating. One of my favorite things to do during hibernation is read, and I love finding new books to get excited about. And when I do, I love to tell EVERYONE about them!

Since I've been a bit MIA from my blog, I have a ton of things to share today!

In the Bookworm department:


Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram from NetGalley.com, This book is exactly what I needed! Which, I'm sure if you're in a spiritual lull, you'll say the same thing.  Logan Wolfram refreshes your faith in a way that makes it feel natural, not forced. You walk away from this book with a sense of purpose, your faith is renewed, you have an inquisitive mind about the bible and God, and you dive into learning as much as possible just as you did when you learned it for the first time. This is a book that I will keep and read over and over, throughout the years when I need that extra bit of refreshing.


Now Your Speaking My Language by Gary Chapman from NetGalley.com,  Mr. Gary Chapman always says exactly what you need to hear in a way that rocks your core, and this book is no different! I believe that marriage doesn't get good, you have to work to make it good. And the biggest difficulty in marriage is communication. In this book, Gary Chapman teaches you what the bible says about husband and wife communication, and what a huge role intimacy between husband and wife plays in your marriage. I would suggest reading this to all married couples and even to some engaged couples. It never hurts to put forth effort in building a stronger marriage.


God is with You Everyday by Max Lucado from BookLookBlogger.com  Y'all, this little, or I should say thick devotional is amazing! Max Lucado is a personal favorite author of mine, so I may be a little biased when I say that this is the best devotional I've ever read! Messages are short, sweet, uplifting and perfect! I would recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a great devotional to keep in their collection for years to come.



101 Family Meal-Time Devotions by Greg Johnson from NetGalley.com,  I love a good conversation starter and this book is chalk full of them! But, not just any starter, these are family devotions! I love the fact that instead of everyone looking like a zombie in front of the tv screen, you can actually use dinner time to bond with your family over Christian devotionals. These devotionals don't have a correct answer, but rather encourages discussions amongst the family. The "What If" situations will provide even the shyest person a good prompt to speak up and enjoy the dinner table discussion! 



In the Doggie department:

                                              

Dr. Harvey's Sweet Potate'r Chews from Chewy.com  These treats are the best in the world according to sweet Ginny Patrice! She LOVES sweet potato anything, but these are big slices of dehydrated sweet potato, so they're quite chewy and leathery, taking her a while to gobble it up. It says on the package that they are the natural alternative to rawhides and other bone types, and I'd agree! I'd much rather give my doggie these than rawhides! I will be purchasing these again, or, at least, making my own.


In Beauty Products:



Winter wreaks havoc on my skin! My hands and cuticles become so dry and gross! Influenster was kind enough to send me a full sized bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion to try.  They say it's for sensitive skin, clinically proven to heal very dry skin in 5 days, and is very rich. Honestly, it felt a bit watery to me. It didn't feel very rich at all. And it took a few minutes to absorb, which I don't care for. I also am trying to get away from all the chemicals in my beauty items, so I don't want petroleum type of products in my home. I'm sure it may work for some folks, but for me, this is a no go. 


*All items were given to me complimentary, but opinions are honestly how I felt about the materials.*

And that's it for now! What good books have you read this Winter? Comment below!
Scrumptious Winter Goodies

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