My Adventure in [Making] Cloth Diapers, To the Glory of God!

You might remember one of my goals for April was to finish sewing cloth diapers for a friend. I’m excited to say that I accomplished my goal! It was my first time sewing these and it was definitely an adventure.

DSCN0286

I think these diapers look so cute, I just had to share with you! 🙂

I learned a big lesson while making these diapers…I made a mistake in my fabric measurements. The pattern has the measurements for one diaper. I was planning on making three diapers. So, logically, you’d think that to make three diapers, you should just multiply the measurements by three, right?

That’s what I thought. But when I went to cut out my pattern pieces, somehow I had enough fabric to make way more than three diapers. I was pretty peeved that I had spent money on fabric I didn’t need! I was convinced the pattern had lied to me!

Suddenly the lightbulb came on: I only needed to multiply ONE of the measurements by three, not BOTH the width and the height. The height of my pattern piece stays the same for all three diapers, I’m just essentially multiplying the width by three in order to create three diapers. Or, vice versa. Thus, I had actually bought enough fabric to make NINE diapers! (If you don’t understand anything about laying out pattern pieces on fabric, just trust me when I say I made a dumb mistake…)

Yeah, suffice to say, I felt like an idiot. But hey, I inadvertently accomplished another goal of mine for this month: make a mistake and learn from it. Additionally, when I first decided I was going to make these diapers for my friend, I considered the future potential of making these to sell. Maybe I just accidentally kick-started my cloth-diaper-making business! 😉

My stupid mistakes aside, I’m proud of the finished products. I made mistakes along the way but with each diaper I learned how to improve. And I will seek to continue to improve as I get feedback from Breanna on how well the diapers work.

DSCN0277 DSCN0278

It is really amazing to be able to use a talent and skill that God has given me to bless others! I first decided I was going to make these for my friend Breanna because she was telling me how expensive cloth diapers can be! Even though it’s generally cheaper in the long run to cloth diaper your child, there is definitely a higher up-front cost.

As Breanna didn’t start cloth diapering her first baby until the baby was a little older, she didn’t have any smaller diapers more fit for a newborn baby. I decided that this was a gift I could give her that would come from the heart and my own handiwork.

Here I am with Breanna at her baby sprinkle and to the right is a picture of me with baby Peter, who I made these diapers for! I’m holding him only 13 hours after he is born…he’s the newest baby I’ve ever held!

 

                                 Breanna  DSCN0245

My thoughts from this diaper-making experience are simple: what hobbies or skills do you have? How could you use that to bless others?

If you can sew, who could you sew a special hand-made gift for? Or have you ever considered sewing simple clothes to send overseas to impoverished people? I’ve heard of ministries that do that and it’s something I would love to start doing one day.

If you are good at scrapbooking, drawing, stamping, etc, perhaps you could make beautiful cards that you fill with beautiful words of encouragement for someone who is having a rough time.

This isn’t just for us craftsy-type people either: if you’re skilled with cars, you could offer your car maintenance services for free to a single mom or a college student who can’t afford car work right now. If you’re a plumber or electrician, you could volunteer your services for free to you church. If you are good at yardwork, why not offer to help the widow down the street with her yardwork and lawn mowing? If you grow the most prized garden, why not share a bouquet of your flowers with some ladies at a nursing home?

There are so many more examples and possibilities, these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head! No matter what talent or skill we have, there is some way you can use it for God’s kingdom. It is amazing to think that God can use something that is just a hobby or common knowledge to us and use it for his glory. We certainly worship an amazing and very creative God!

Comment below, what ways do you use your hobbies to bless others?

                     DSCN0279    DSCN0283

Advertisements

“On Your Heart”, Part 2: 7 Tricks and Tips to Memorize Scripture

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this three-part series, you can check it out here. Are you convinced yet that memorizing Scripture is important for every Christian? As I said in Part 1, it’s not so we can check it off a holy to-do list, but because of the medium Scripture provides for the Holy Spirit to guide us, day by day.

Maybe you are sold that memorizing God’s Word is important, but you’re wondering where to begin. How does someone memorize Scripture, just read it over and over? Here in Part 2 of the series, I’m going to give you a few tips and strategies on how to memorize Bible verses.

Bible

First, let’s get a few technicalities out of the way. Before you start memorizing, I think it’s important for you to define what “memorization” means to you. Do you consider a Bible verse as “memorized” if you can write it all out? Or maybe write it out with a few of the filler words given (like, “a,” “an”, “the”)? Or should you be able to say it out loud, off the top of your head? Do you need to get every single word right, or is it okay if you say “disciple” instead of “disciples”? Or what if you forget the word “therefore” at the beginning of a sentence?

I know it all sounds technical, but it’s important for you to have a clear understanding of your goal, so that you know what success looks like for you. Success may look different for everyone, but I’d say that for Scripture to have an impact on us, we should be able to say it out loud, even if we get a few of the words wrong on occasion. We should aim to get all of the major words right 100% of the time, but if we accidentally say “a” instead of “the”, etc, we don’t have to sweat it.

In my opinion, being able to say Bible verses out loud is better than just writing them. As you’ll see below, I do think that being able to write out Scripture is an important way to memorize, but I think that the best way to tell if Scripture is “on your heart” is if you can speak it. From what I’ve experienced, when you can speak Scripture you can usually always write it out. However, being able to write it doesn’t mean you can also say it.

Now that we’ve gotten those knitty-gritty details out of the way, here is my list of tips and tricks to memorize the Bible!


First Method: Memorizing by Writing

Personally, writing out Bible verses is how I always begin with memorization. For me, once I get a grasp on the flow of the verses through writing, it is easier for me to start saying it out loud. I will start with writing it out and then move to speaking it as I’m writing it. Here are a couple tricks to writing Scripture.

pencil-paper

Trick 1: Erase words as you go

This is easiest if you have something like a chalkboard or whiteboard where you can easily erase words. To do this method, first write out the entire verse or passage you want to memorize. Read it over a few times, saying it out loud as you read. Then erase a few of the major words. Now go through it again, filling in those blanks with the correct word. Erase more major words. Keep erasing and keep writing the missing words in, while saying it out loud. Eventually you will be left with only the little words like “and” or “the”. You may even erase these little words!

Trick 2: Fill-in-the-blank worksheet

This is very similar to trick 1, but doesn’t require a chalkboard or whiteboard. After you’ve read through your verse or passage several times, create a fill-in-the-blank worksheet for yourself. You can do this on the computer or write it out by hand. Write out the Scripture, creating a blank for all the major words, leaving the small words like prepositions or contractions. Before you start filling it out, make copies! Or, just speak it, saying the missing words out loud.

Eventually you will get to a point where you could write it all out off the top of your head! But don’t stop here, be sure to take it to the next step: saying it out loud.

Second Method: Memorizing by Speaking

Like I said before, I think that the best way to evaluate if a Bible verse is memorized is if we can speak it out loud. But it can be hard to start with speaking it until we get a handle on the verse (done by writing it). Once you are familiar with the verse, now is the time to start speaking it! There is only one trick to this: speak! Say it over and over again. But here are a few tips to help you.

Tip 1: Be active while you’re memorizing

Walk around or jog while you memorize. Or even do something as simple as chew gum. Studies have shown that moving while you memorize helps you memorize faster. This is because you are using both sides of your brain at once!

walk

Tip 2: Act out what you are memorizing

You might feel a little silly doing this, but it can help you immensely! Make up gestures and actions that go with the words you are memorizing. Similar to tip #1, it will cause you to use both sides of your brain, and the actions will help you remember the key phrases.

Tip 3: Draw or imagine a picture of the verse

Create a picture of the scene or some kind of representation of the concept of the verse. The Scripture will cease to be just a string of words, but will seem more tangible. Envisioning the picture will help you recall the words.

Tip 4: Try the buddy system

If you have a friend who also wants to memorize Scripture, try memorizing together! Get together for a memorization date and try saying the verse back-and-forth, each of you saying only one word at a time. This is tough, but fun!

friends coffee

Not all tricks or tips will work for everyone. We all learn differently, which means we all memorize differently. Don’t be afraid of trying out some new methods to find out what works for you. If one trick doesn’t work, move on to another. Remember the old phrase: if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Find what works best for you, and don’t feel discouraged if memorization doesn’t come easy at first. It takes time and hard work, but it’s worth it!

Here’s one last tip: make it visible

Keep the Scripture that you are memorizing somewhere you will see it often. Write it on your mirror. Put it on flash cards that you tape up around the house or in your car. Keep it visible and handy. The more often you see it, the more it will be on your mind, and the faster you’ll commit it to memory!


I hope these tricks and tips have inspired you to embark on a journey to hide Scripture in your heart! Be sure to comment and let me know of some of the tips you have used to memorize. And be on the lookout for Part 3 of this series, where I’ll give you an idea list of Bible verses to memorize.

2 Ways to View People Like God Does

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” 2 Corinthians 5:16

Are you a glass-half-full or half-empty type of person? All you cynics out there (some of you would prefer to be called “realists”) probably get pretty irked by those type of people who only see through rose-colored glasses. And you optimists probably get annoyed by those “downers”! Some people just seem to see the world optimistically, while others see it pessimistically, and still others “realistically.”

All of us experience life through different filters, different points of view, shaped by all sorts of things…how you were raised, the events that have shaped you, your opinions, your beliefs, your mood, etc. Even two different witnesses of the exact same crime can tell different versions of what happened because they experience the event through their own lenses.

We all have different points of view on life. This week’s devo challenges us to have God’s point of view, specifically to view people through his lens.

Glasses

Basically, there are two different “lenses” through which we can see the world. First is the “worldly point of view.” What does it mean to view people in a “worldly” way?

Basically, it means we judge others based on the values of our sinful world. We place value on people based on what they can do for us or what we can get from them. We may judge based on outward appearance. We might judge based on past mistakes or previous slights against us. We judge by skin color, ethnicity, accent, country of origin, level of schooling, or career. We may place value on how much money they have or what kind of house they live in. We sum them up by their clothes. We hate those who hate us. We might dislike those who think or believe or live differently from us.

Kind of a dog-eat-dog world-view, isn’t it? It is painful to see how much backstabbing and insecurity can come when people view others through this lens.

But in our verse for this week, Paul says that while we may have judged others through this “worldy” lens in the past, Christians should regard no one from this point of view anymore! Instead, we should view others through God’s point of view. Looking at people this way affects how we view (1) other Christians and (2) the whole world.

With a godly point of view…

1. We believe that God can change anyone.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

To see people through a godly point of view means that we believe that Jesus changes people. No one is too far gone to turn to God, and when someone chooses to accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of their life, God truly washes them clean and gives them a new life.

Unfortunately, sometimes Christians judge other Christians, expecting that once they choose to believe in Jesus, they should be expected to clean up their act right away. We sometimes think that other Christians should know an unspoken check-list of how to act properly in church, what movies to watch, what songs to listen to, etc.

We may observe a sin in the life of another Christian and hold it against them. We will forever know that person as the woman who cheated on her husband, or the man who neglects his family for the sake of his career, never again pausing to consider that the person they are now may be very different from the person who committed that sin way back when.

But the truth is, being a Christian doesn’t mean you automatically become perfectly holy in every way. It doesn’t always mean we can painlessly give up sins and addictions in the blink of an eye (though sometimes that does happen).

That’s why church is a messy place: it’s a gathering of all kinds of people who aren’t perfect but who have all chosen to follow Christ. God calls us to trust that all of these imperfect people are actually changed people: that if we could see each other the way he sees us, we wouldn’t judge each other based on our outward appearances, but on the inward transformation he is doing (and has done) inside each and every one of us.

If we could see each other this way, we’d know that God has already made each of us into new creations through the saving work of Christ. And we’d also have patience with each other as Jesus slowly molds us to look more like him on the outside, day by day.

All Things New

Secondly, with a godly view…

2. We believe that everyone needs Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

To view the world like God does means first and foremost, we view all people as treasured creations of God who are in need of Jesus’ saving love. How would your life be different if you viewed the world this way?

How would you react differently if someone cut in front of you in line at the grocery store? How would you treat other drivers on the road who annoy you? How would you talk to your co-workers?

To view the world in a godly way means we take serious the claims of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus didn’t say that you get to God through Buddha. Through Islam. Through being a good person. Jesus claimed that he was the sole way to God. That through belief in his death as the payment for your sins & by accepting him as your Lord and Savior, you are made right with God.

This is what 2 Corinthians means when it says God reconciled the world to himself through Christ. God knew that there was no way that we can be “good” enough to attain his holy standard. God made a way to bring us back to him: through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, this is the only way to get to God. And we can either accept that or reject it. God desires to be reconciled to all the people on earth, if they will choose him.

So, Christians, if we truly believe that everyone is in need of Jesus, we have to get serious. We must realize that we aren’t just trudging through life: we are missionaries out in the world. God gave us a job to do: reconcile people to him. Every person matters to God.

That person who cut in front of you matters to God, whether you are happy with them or not. That driver who is annoying you matters to God, whether you think he or she deserves a ticket or not. Your co-workers matter to God whether they make your workplace a living hell or not. Lost people matter to God. As our pastor at CCV, Todd Clark said, “God loves people you don’t like!”

So it’s time we set aside our petty differences (and even our well-justified dislike) and remember that there is something much bigger than us going on: there is a story of truth and eternal choices, there is a battle raging on for the souls of this world, there is a grand plan for the universe and we have a part to play in it as we try to help as many people as we can to know the love of Christ.

This week let’s strive to view other Christians and the world the way God does. Let us give each other grace, as we remember God can change anyone. And let us take seriously the mission that God has given us: to be God’s ambassadors to the lost – in our home, our workplace, our city, our world.

City Overlook

Questions for thought:

1. Be honest with yourself: do you most often view others through a worldly view or a godly view? Maybe you don’t know. Take note on your initial thoughts or reactions to the people you encounter this week. Do you most often judge by the world’s standards or God’s standards?

2. Have you ever judged (or are you currently judging) another Christian you know based on outward appearances? Do you actually know the facts of their situation, or where their heart is with God? Perhaps they do need some gentle nudging to abstain from a sin in their life, but only through the confines of a trusting relationship is that appropriate. Either choose to build a relationship with them (get to know their testimony, ask how God has changed them and find out how he is working on their heart right now), or get over it. Trust that God has made them a new creation and that he is doing far more in their life than you can even imagine.

3. Do you take Jesus’ claims seriously? Do you believe he is the only way to God? Does that claim make you uncomfortable? Why? If you had to choose between the two, which one is more important to you, truth or tolerance? The Bible claims there is one way to God, but it is a free gift to all, open to anyone who will receive it. It makes no difference who you are or what you’ve done. Christianity is different from other religions in that it doesn’t claim that we get to God through good works, but simply by accepting the free gift God gave us.

4. Do you view yourself as a missionary? Every day you encounter people who have not chosen to make Jesus their Lord & Savior. How will you choose to put aside your own feelings and show God’s love to those that you may dislike?

Just The Way You Are

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Corinthians 12:14-18

I don’t know about you, but I am so good at only seeing my flaws and failures. I am quick to compare myself with others and put myself down. I look at my personality and compare it to others and think, “I’ll never be successful until I’m more like them.”

Comparing

I was struggling with this a lot when Kevin and I were working at the East Valley campus of CCV (Christ’s Church of the Valley). I love all the staff at that campus dearly, but the majority of them are very different from me. The majority of them are rational, tell-it-like-it-is type people. They aren’t going to beat around the bush. They are confident.

All so opposite of me! I’m a people-pleaser, HARDCORE. Always afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or saying something they don’t want to hear. I don’t like conflict. I’m passive, sometimes to the extreme of letting people overstep boundaries. I beat around the bush. And definitely not confident…which is why I couldn’t help but compare myself to them!

I couldn’t help but think, “Look at these people who are so opposite of me, and so good and successful at what they do. How will I ever be successful by just being me? Where does a person like me fit-in in ministry?”

I felt so down on myself. Do you ever have these types of thoughts?

This week’s devotion is for people like you and me. This is God’s reminder that he made you to be you.

In this passage in Corinthians, Paul is comparing the church to a body…specifically the body of Jesus Christ. He actually uses a metaphor saying the church is the “body of Christ” (v.27). Just like a human body has many parts, so does the church.

Now imagine a human body (…with body parts that can think for themselves…). The foot, which is so far down, gets covered up all day long, and often smells bad, looks up and sees the hand. The foot thinks to itself, “Man, I am so useless. Look at that hand up there. It grabs for things, types up papers, texts friends and family, and brings food to the mouth. What do I ever do? I don’t belong here. I’m nothing.”

But of course, just because the foot feels useless compared to the hand doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong! How else would we stand?!

In the same way, you, though you may feel useless to God, are of great value to his plan for the world. Just as you are.

I love the way Jonny Diaz puts it in his song “More Beautiful You”: “You were made to fill a purpose that only you can do.” Or this quote, “You will never influence the world by trying to be just like it.”

Crowd

The truth is, God didn’t make you to be like Suzie Smith or that really successful coworker or that person you know who just seems perfect. God made you to be you. He has a plan for your life, when you live it as you, not as someone else.

And God loves you for you! You are special. You are wanted. You are important to him. We must remember these truths anytime the temptation to compare ourselves to others sneaks in. It’s easier to listen to the lies and insecurities about ourselves but it takes courage to dare to be who God created us to be.

So whether you are a hand, foot, eye, nose, arm, stomach, or liver in the body of Christ, there is a place for you. And if we are ever going to win others to Christ, the church needs you to fill the role you were made to fill. Instead of trying to be like others, God desires you to be the best you possible.

And what does that look like, exactly? That means that we look like Christ, no matter what part of the body we are.

So for me, instead of comparing myself to the staff at East Valley, I should focus on being the best version of me. This doesn’t mean I pretend I’m perfect. I do have to be honest with myself and note areas in my life I need to work on. For example, my tendency of extreme people-pleasing and my fear of saying no to others are things I’m going to have to cut out of my life if I want to be successful. But I should also view myself in a healthy way, the way that God sees me. I should note my strengths and abilities and work on honing those.

We waste so much of our lives when we strive to be someone we’re not. This week, quit the comparison game and spend more time focusing on improving your strengths rather than feeling overwhelmed with your weaknesses. And find peace in the beauty of this verse: “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

Challenges for this week:

1. Write out a list of your strengths. One great resource to help you is the Strengths Test. You can take this test online for free!! It is a valuable tool to help you discover the things you are good at and ideas on how to use those skills.

2. We all know our flaws. This week instead of thinking about a flaw you want to improve, spend effort on using a strength you already have. Pick one tangible way you can use the gifts, skills, or personality God has given you in order to help others.

3. Pray that God will show you how he could use you in the church or ministering to others. Be open to the opportunities he provides. Perhaps you will feel him nudging you to follow through with challenges 1 or 2.

Further Reading: Psalm 139

March Goals Check-Up & 12 Goals for April

For my first month of goal-setting, I’d say I did so-so. There were many areas I fell short in. But I’m still proud of what I was able to accomplish, especially considering that our schedule got thrown off a little this month with family members visiting.

First Kevin’s mom and dad visited us and we had a great time sight-seeing the Grand Canyon, going to a Leadership Institute parent’s lunch, golfing, and hanging out by the pool. When my mom and sister came to visit us, we went on a beautiful 5-day hiking trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona.

Suffice to say, I was pretty busy this month! I wish I had accomplished all my goals, but I’m okay with what I did accomplish and even more determined to work harder in April. Failure to complete all our goals is not a reason to never make goals. Instead, every failure is an opportunity to evaluate, what worked, what didn’t work, what can I do better next month? If we want to live an intentional life, we can’t let set-backs keep us from moving forward.

pick-yourself-up


Here’s my March Goals Check-Up:

Spiritual

1. Read Bible every day

Week 1- 7 days; Week 2- 6 days; Week 3- 6 days; Week 4- 4 days

I’ve found that I stay on track best when I have a daily time of Bible reading on my lunch break from work. It’s very relaxing to come home and eat lunch while I read a chapter or two.

2. Finish memorizing Romans 1 by the end of March

Not completed – I’ve mostly memorized verses 1-29. Still working on 30-32. And working on getting to the point where I can say the entire chapter out loud without needing to look at the first word of a paragraph, etc.

3. Start serving weekly at church

Completed! I attended our Volunteer Orientation and started to work at a welcome table. I love the opportunity I get to welcome first time guests to our church.

Marriage

4. Complete acts of service 4 times a week.

Week 1- 2 times; Week 2- 3 times; Week 3- 2 times; Week 4- 1 time

This one has been hard for me because I think I need to better define “acts of service.” In my mind, it seems like these should be grand acts, but that’s not what is even meaningful to Kevin. Acts of service to him means more like, getting him a glass of water, picking up his plate from the dinner table, etc. Seeking to improve this in April by narrowing my focus.

5. Read The Love Dare daily together

Week 1- 6 times; Week 2- 4 times; Week 3- 5 times; Week 4- 3 times

Not only do we want to be more consistent in this, but we want to discuss our thoughts on the devotion after we read it.

Health

6. Eat vegetables 4 times a week

Week 1- 1 time 😦 Week 2- 1 time 😦 Week 3- 3 times; Week 4- 3 times

I’m pretty disappointed in my lack of vegetables. Definitely needing to put more intention into our eating habits!!!

7. Price a Gold’s Gym Membership and decide if we want to join

Completed! Found out that the gym we are looking into is actually called EOS Fitness (but owned by Gold’s Gym). The price is really great, but as Kevin and I will be moving in about a month, we decided to wait to join until we move.

8. Wear my retainer at night 4 times a week

Week 1- 1 time 😦 Week 2- 2 times; Week 3- 4 times; Week 4- 2 times

Relationships

9. Give someone a genuine compliment or expression of gratitude 3 times a week

Week 1- 2 times; Week 2- 3 times; Week 3- 4 times; Week 4- 1 time

Personal

10. Finish reading The Power of Habit

Completed! What a great book! Planning on writing up a review of it for you.

11. Clean my car

Completed! It needs a nice car-wash on the outside and a little dusting on the inside but I’m happy with at least getting rid of all the trash and random papers!

12. Make wedding photo CDs for parents before they visit

Completed! At least, I made them CDs before they left to go back home, so that counts right?


Goals

Last month it was those routine goals that got the best of me. I’m striving to put more effort into those areas!

Here are my goals for April 2015:

Spiritual

1. Read Bible every day

2. Memorize through Romans 2:16 by the end of April

3. Spend time praying over a prayer list once a week

Marriage

4. Complete acts of service 4 times a week

5. Read The Love Dare together daily (and discuss!)

Health

6. Eat vegetables 4 times a week

7. Wear my retainer 4 nights a week

8. Drink only one soda a week

Relationships

9. Give someone a genuine compliment or expression of gratitude 3 times a week

Personal

10. Read Have a New Husband by Friday

11. Sew cloth diapers for a friend

12. Make a mistake and learn from it!

What are your goals for this month?