31 Days of Proverbs: Introduction

A few years ago, I was involved in a college ministry that met once a week. One Thursday, the pastor encouraged us to read one Proverb a day. Whichever day of the month it was, we were to read the corresponding passage of Proverbs. For example, on May 1st, you would read the 1st Proverb.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done this. I tried it earlier this year and only completed a few days. However, my pastor recently encouraged our church to try it. So, during the month of May, I will be reading one Proverb each day, and posting them here on the blog!

I hope that you join me on this journey, and that you are able to hear God speaking to you through His Word. Pray over each passage before and after reading it, and ask God how it applies to your life. I also suggest writing your thoughts down and making sure that you are in a place where you are not distracted.

I am so thankful that we each have the opportunity to read God’s Love Letter to us. It’s amazing that we can all read the same passage and He will give each of us individual insight and perspective. I’m excited about the month of May! Please contact me if you have any questions, and feel free to comment and share! 🙂

“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”

Hear, my son, and accept my sayings
And the years of your life will be many.
I have directed you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.”

Proverbs 4:9-11 (NASB)

 

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Faithful.

Oftentimes, when I hear the word ‘faithful,’ I think about it in the context of relationships. Romantic relationships, friendships, business relationships, etc. I also think about God’s faithfulness, and His many promises to us in His Word. I think about how Jesus gave His life for our freedom, and the hope and joy that it brings.

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And every now and then, I think about my faithfulness to God. Is my faithfulness to Him apparent in my life, my actions, my words? I believe that my faithfulness to God goes far beyond showing up at church every Sunday. I believe that my faithfulness to God is a lifestyle. Faithfulness is consistent and intentional. It requires you to look past what others may think, or the temporary things that you may lose.

“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 10:33 (KJV)

I remember having friends that only contacted me when they needed something. A ride to an event, a letter of recommendation, help writing a paper. They didn’t contact me to see how I was doing, but to see what I could do for them. I was also there for them during their dark times, but I didn’t receive the same level of support in return. After a while, it no longer felt like a friendship. Instead, I just felt used.

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you weren’t paying as much attention to God, but you still expected Him to do everything you needed and wanted? I’ve been in that place before. And I’ve wondered how it made Him feel. The truth is, we’re all faithful to something. We’re all committed to something.

It’s not a bad thing to be committed to your job, the family that you cherish, or something that God has blessed you to have or be a part of. However, we must remember that we cannot allow those things to take God’s designated place in our hearts.

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How can we be faithful to God? We can start by intentionally spending time with Him. Even with the busyness of life, it’s important to set aside time each day to spend with our Savior. We were created in His image, and we were created to communicate with Him. The more time you spend with God and reading His Word, the more clearly you can hear His voice. The Holy Spirit will also lovingly convict you and lead you to make changes in your life that are pleasing to God.

Living a life that honors God is not always the most popular choice. But from an eternal perspective, it’s all that matters. Not your past, and not your mistakes. Jesus died so that your past no longer matters. In this moment, you have the choice to surrender to God and make the decision to live a life committed to Him. You have the choice to build a relationship with the very one who created you, who has amazing plans for you, and who loves you without conditions.

65546bb39e57322a3fc1054234a6ce9fYou have the choice to stop putting Him second, and make Him front and center. At the end of your life, will God be pleased with your relationship with Him, or will He wish that He could have spent more time with you?

“I want you to show love,
    not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
    more than I want burnt offerings.”

Hosea 6:6 (NLT)

My prayer is that our faithfulness to God will be unwavering, and that we will cherish the opportunity we have to be in relationship with Him. “First and Only” by Elevation Worship reminds me that God is enough, and that He is faithful to restore us, even when we’ve drifted away.

 

First and Only by Elevation Worship

Mini-Trip to New Orleans! [$120!!!]

Spring is here and it’s time for another road trip! This Sunday I decided to take a one-day trip to New Orleans. The last time I visited Nola was in 2012, and I traveled by train with my family. This time, I took the 4-hour drive alone. My budget for this trip was $120!

First, I toured the Garden District. I’ve always been fascinated with beautiful homes. I felt as though I was walking through a magazine.

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My next stop was Seed; a plant-based restaurant that prides itself in local, natural ingredients, and giving back to the community. I decided to order from the brunch menu! I got tofu scramble, seitan, and wheat toast with vegan butter. I also tried a mango smoothie to go along with it. All for $18 😀

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The most awaited part of the trip was the swamp tour! Did I see alligators? Did I get bored by the tour guide? Was it everything I expected?

The swamp tour was much more than I expected… it was my favorite stop! Not once did I get bored by the tour guide. Captain Allen was hilarious, very down to earth, and knowledgeable. I learned so many new things. Alligators can go 6 months without eating, the temperature at which their eggs are hatched determines the gender of the alligator, and they also need warmth in order to digest their food.

I had never been on a swamp tour before, so I had no idea what to expect. The weather was actually pretty cool because of the rain storms on the previous day. And although we were able to see plenty of alligators up close, I had no idea that there was one on the boat the entire time! I was so afraid to hold him on my own, so I held his tail while the lady next to me held his head/mouth (which had tape around it). His belly was surprisingly smooth, and he didn’t try to bite my arm off. Yay!

I ordered my ticket with Cajun Pride Swamp Tours online, and it was $21. The tour lasted an hour and a half. It was a memorable experience that I will always cherish 🙂

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Just a little joke! Fun Fact: gators and crocs are two completely different species.

I wanted to visit Audubon’s Insectarium and Butterfly Garden ($23). Two years ago I toured the Butterfly Garden at The Chattanooga Aquarium, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. However, the Insectarium is on the edge of the French Quarter, which is always super busy. Plus, there was a live event going on, which meant that it took me an hour to get through all of the traffic.

Once I finally reached the Insectarium, I could not find a parking spot for miles. I had also wanted to try a West African Vegan restaurant in the French Quarter. At this point I was a bit frustrated and I really wanted to get away from all of the chaos. So, I went back to Seed for dinner (where I spent $21 on my meal).

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I tried the vegan chili cheese fries and the vegan chicken nuggets. They were absolutely, amazing. In fact, they were so amazing that I accidentally left my to-go boxes inside the restaurant. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize my mistake until it was too late. I was already on my way to do a little shopping on S Claiborne Avenue. I used the money that I would have spent at the Insectarium, plus money that I had set aside in a separate shopping budget.

Finally, I stopped by the gas station to fill up ($40) before heading back. Overall, I spent about $123 (does the extra shopping really count? 🙂 ) I truly enjoyed my trip to New Orleans. Although I’ve visited before, this time I had a new experience and new adventures. Perhaps next time, I will make it to the Insectarium, and maybe even a Pelicans game! I’m so thankful that God has blessed me with the opportunity to explore what He has created. Now, where to next?

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Meatless Mondays: BBQ Meatballs & Mac & Cheese (Vegan)

There’s a certain comfort that macaroni & cheese brings, that you don’t have to miss out on if you’re removing dairy from your diet… or, if you would like to try something new. As I mentioned before, I was very skeptical about non-dairy cheeses, but Daiya has changed my mind completely! Yes, it’s from a box. And yes, it still tastes amazing.

As far as the BBQ “Meatballs”, I am a huge fan of Gardein. They have so many products that have made life much easier (and tastier) for me, as a Baby Vegetarian. This particular meal is easy to prepare, and it doesn’t take long. The work is already done for you!

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Here’s what I used:

1 bag of Gardein’s Meatless Meatballs

1 box of Daiya’s dairy-free macaroni & cheese

Your favorite BBQ sauce

 

 

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 and bake the meatballs for 18 minutes.
  2. Boil the macaroni in 2 cups of water and drain them when they are done (about 7 minutes).
  3. Add the cheese sauce and stir. Use pepper and salt to season.
  4. When the meatballs are done, use your favorite BBQ sauce to cover them.
  5. Enjoy!

Make sure to let me know how it turns out if you try it! 😀

Eternal Perspective

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my book ‘Chosen for Such A Time As This’. You can find it here on Amazon, and I blogged about it here.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 (ESV)

One thing that I like to do is travel. Whether it’s a quick road trip or a cruise to another country, I love going to different places, and also learning about other cultures. There are so many states and countries that I would like to go to, and also revisit, in the future. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Imagine that you’ve been granted an all-inclusive trip to your dream destination. Your food, airfare, accommodations and the resort are paid for. On top of that, you can invite anyone you want to come with you, and they won’t have to pay either. This is a gift that has been given to you, and although you don’t have to spend any of your money, you must prepare for it. You have to tell other people about it, pack your bags, get your passport, and it helps to research the place you’re travelling to.

However, you don’t know exactly when the trip will be… You just have to get ready! So you learn about this amazing trip and in the beginning, you’re super excited! You’re telling everyone about it and you’re preparing for it. You’ve gone shopping and you’ve saved money. Your bags are packed, you researched the culture, you’re ready! Right? You’ve got everything set, but the trip hasn’t happened yet.

Time continues to go on and you get back into the swing of your regular routine; studying, exams, working, bills, happiness, frustrations, everyday life. You still think about the trip, but you don’t have the same zeal that you used to have. You’ve actually began to take a few things out of your suitcase, and you also spent the money that you saved. Even though you told your family and friends, and even strangers about the dream vacation, you don’t really mention it anymore.

Then one day, you get a phone call from your travel agent. He says, “You know the all-inclusive vacation that you’ve been preparing for? We’re ready! I need you to be at the airport in an hour.” What do you do now that your bags aren’t packed, the people you invited aren’t ready, and you’ve spent all of the money that you’ve saved?

Salvation doesn’t work exactly like this, but it is similar. When Jesus died for us, He gave us a free gift – eternal life. Discovering and accepting that Jesus died for you and is preparing a place for you brings excitement, hope and peace! As you learn more about Jesus and grow in your faith, your life changes and you tell others about Him. And sometimes, it seems as though life gets in the way.

You know that Heaven will be better, but right now all you can see is what’s happening in your life and in this world. There are times where we may even fall off track or begin pursuing things that we know we shouldn’t. It is dangerous to think that you have plenty of time to turn your life around. Because the truth is, we don’t know exactly when Jesus will come back, or when our lives might end. Our travel agent, our Savior, can call at any time, and we just have to be ready!

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

 

Available for purchase on Amazon (click here)!

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