FAITH: Failing to be Christ-Like

As a Christian, I failed hard this past week. It was a doozy. A you-call-yourself-a-Christian?- kind of doozy.

I was surprised by the kind of hideous, frightening, evil-inspired darkness that bubbled out of me. I had no idea it was there, let along capable of it.

If you're a Christian, I'm sure you've been here. Where your heart revealed something frighteningly dark even though you've been seeking Jesus' light for so long. When this happened, I'm sure the accuser was quick to point out how all other Christians aren't as bad as you. Here's the thing, though; even if the enemy is right that I'm the worst at following Jesus, I'd rather finish this race in last place than get sidelined away from God's perfect will and protection.

Hallelujah for the Lord's grace that it's sufficient enough to cover our dark depths!

More thoughts...
Sin is sin. It doesn't matter if it's a little fib or literal murder - it's sin in God's eyes, and it makes us...

CLEAN LIVING: Indoor House-Planting

Find this $14 planter here!

Spring always gets me excited to try my hand at hosting live plants in my home (I usually end up killing them halfway through the summer. WAH!).  Perhaps getting a new planter will help me to fight harder for my plants' lives this year.  I'm looking for something under $50.  Do you have any favorites below?

I'm getting a Bamboo Palm and Snake Plant today.  I hear they're hardy and of course, great air purifiers.

FAITH: Don't Lose Hope

Seasons change, money comes and goes, babies are born, cars stop working, the highs and lows of life are constantly fluctuating. When I’m going through a hard time, the Lord reminds me that it’s not going to be like this forever and then He asks me, “so what are you going to do on the meantime?”

The answer is don’t worry, trust in Him, remember that He is the God of Hope and that the consequences of having faith in Him are joy and peace. We can’t fret our circumstances away so until Jesus gets us through a storm, let’s keep our eyes on Him.

Thank you for reading!  Jesus loves YOU.
-Alyssa

CLEAN EATING: Easy 3 Ingredient Jelly (Without Processed Sugar)

Processed sugar hides out in so many items we get from the store. Unless everything you eat is homemade, there's a good chance you're eating more processed sugar than you realize.

Making homemade jelly is one of the ways my family avoids processed sugar and it's really simple to do.

I add frozen organic berries to a pot with a little spinach or shredded carrots (for added nutrition), along with honey. Simmer for an hour, then blend everything in the pot with an immersion blender. From there, I taste  the mixture and add more berries or honey if necessary and simmer longer. If I don't need to add anything, I'm all done!

There's so many things we make with this jelly. Put in a dehydrator for homemade fruit roll ups. Mix with gelatin and make fruit snacks. Mash with half a banana and have strawberry/banana oatmeal. And of course, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (just mix the jelly with chia seeds for extra nutrition and to thicken the jelly).

Today, I went with a quick and nutritious snack for my kiddos - PB&J Banana Bites...

FAITH: 1 Samuel 18:3

The contrast between Saul and his son, Jonathan is unmistakable. Jonathan's loyalty to the Lord and to his friend, David, makes him one of my favorite people mentioned in the Bible.

Jonathan gives up worldly things like his "right" to the throne as well as risks family strife (between he and his father) for the Lord's plan. It's obvious Jonathan loves God more than his earthly "rights." Jonathan is more concerned with his relationship with His Heavenly Father than his relationships with anyone else.

My prayer is that my desire to follow Jesus will overshadow everything else. That I would never be afraid to follow Him even when the path seems lonely, even when my loved ones disagree, even when the grass seems greener on the other side.

Click here to read the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 18.
Click here to select a different translation.

CLEAN BEAUTY: MooGoo - Fresh Cream Deodorant

Back when I shared the contents of my medicine cabinet with you, I promised a review of MooGoo's Fresh Cream Deodorant.

I tried most natural deodorants out there.  Multiple times, I tried making my own.  I even tried going simple by simply swiping my underarms with rubbing alcohol throughout the day.  Of all the things I tried, swiping with homemade magnesium oil was the most effective... until, like with baking soda, my underarms said "no more!" by becoming itchy and inflamed.

At the very least, half a decade of no deodorant homeostasis had caused my body to sweat and smell less.  I could almost go undetected in a sniff test every 24 hours.  But I definitely needed a shower immediately after every workout.  No post yoga brunches for this smelly gal.

What was I to do?  Confirm to the holistic-suspicious that earth loving granolas like me are stinky?  I haven't used traditional deodorant with aluminum in almost five years and to be honest, there were times I considered returning back to aluminum.

Enter MooGoo's Fresh Cream Deodorant.  MooGoo is an Australian company I've talked about before.  They focus on clean ingredients, sharing information with their customers, and are just plain cheery and pleasant to deal with.  I'm already a fan of every product of theirs that I've tried, so I gave their deodorant a shot in my latest order.

This stuff is good!  It doesn't work as well as its aluminum-containing counterpart deodorants, but it's definitely the best natural deodorant I've ever tried (and I've tried A LOT).  For me, the MooGoo Fresh Cream Deodorant lasts all day and with a workout.  It won't keep me stink-free to hour 25 though.  But really though, showering everyday is something most people do so to not have to apply aluminum to my body is worth it!

I'll admit, I don't wear anything on my underarms every day, but if I know I'm going to be working out or it's hot outside, I definitely wear MooGoo Fresh Cream Deodorant.  I'll happily repurchase and to tell the truth, I think I'm done shopping around for natural deodorants.

What about you?  Have you tried MooGoo's Fresh Cream Deodorant?  How about any other natural deodorants?



FAITH: When I Chose Modesty

When I was in my teens and early 20s, I was extremely immodest. While I was getting ready to go out, my goal was to look as hot as possible and collect as much attention as possible. 

I thought that if I could be the hottest woman in the room, I would be able to capture attention and it would be mine for as long as I wanted. It didn't occur to me that the kind of attention I was seeking is a fleeting kind. In other words, it didn't matter if I was the most beautiful woman that guy had ever seen. The kind of guy who appreciated my immodesty had zero standards whatsoever. He'd hang on my every word until someone else's skin flashed by. He'd flirt with me and then turn around and flirt with every other girl as well. This guy didn't care about whose makeup was better, who was witty, who had better legs, who was nicest, etc. The kind of guy who is attracted to immodesty is only interested in one thing and that's not your heart. This dude has no other standards and sees immodest women as all the same - potential bed partners. 

If you go home with him at the end of the night, it's not because you "won" and it's not because you're the best and all the other women left behind in the club are subpar. It's because you were the first one to say, "yes." And coming from a former hoochie mama, I hate to break it to you; you're easily interchangeable with anyone else who would say "yes."

It wasn't until I went to a strip club for the first time with friends that my eyes opened to the kind of guys I had been seeking attention from. I watched the eyes of the males in there consume flesh without a care. Those eyes didn't care about that woman's story. Those eyes didn't care that she's a single mom trying to make ends meet. Those eyes didn't care that most women in this line of work end up drug dependent because most are incapable of doing this job sober. Those eyes are driven by lust and lust doesn't have standards, it's selfish and just wants to be satisfied and anything'll do. Those eyes don't care if you're the hottest/sweetest/most gifted/funniest woman in town, if you say "yes," you'll do. 

I left that club feeling so down about the world and about men. I remember thinking to myself, that if that's what all men are like, I'd rather never be looked upon again and I'd rather be alone forever. If it's true that all men are dogs, I want no part. 

Thank the Lord that He started talking to me about this! He told me that NO! Not all men desire immodesty. He put some acquaintances in my life who were godly men and pointed out their examples. I saw that these godly men were so different from the guys I used to try to impress with my short skirts and teeny tops. These godly men had their eyes locked onto the Lord and in turn, they only had eyes for their wives/fiancรฉes. They cherished the woman God put in their life above all other women and they purposefully guarded their eyes for her. It didn't matter how attractive or charming any other woman was, their eyes were loyal to the godly woman in their lives. That godly woman had won! She had beat out all the other women in the world. 

I had been seeking this exact same kind of attention but went about trying to get it from the wrong guys. Males who have an eye for immodesty don't cherish one woman and don't seek to guard their eyes from any other. To them, flesh is flesh. In contrast, the men who seek one woman to love and hold above all the others are probably getting their example from God. And one of the instructions from the Lord is to guard your eyes and not lust after anyone. These godly men are not in strip clubs. These godly men are not giving attention to the scantily clad.

If what you're looking for is a loyal man, consider this, God is explicit in instructing men to stay with their first wife. The Lord wants people to be loyal and stay married. He provides detailed instruction on how to be able to uphold a strong marriage in which the husband places no other woman above his wife and the wife places no other man above her husband. I think we can agree that God supports the idea that you should be special to and cherished by a good man. However, that man deserves a godly woman. One who doesn't show off her goods to anyone she's not married to. 

If what you want is a man who wants you and only you, stop surrounding yourself with and trying to attract lustful guys. If you think it's better to be caught up in drama with a philandering playboy rather than sleep alone, it's time to ask Jesus to put things in perspective. 

Sister, you were fearfully and wonderfully made. God created you so special. He wants you to have His best which is the best! Don't cheat yourself. Instead, seek to please the Lord and He'll inspire your heart to want what He wants for you. On top of that, the Lord will give these things to you as long as you keep following Jesus. So button up/get a larger size and smile because you have now weeded out a good portion of men who you don't want anyway. 

CLEAN EATING: Bliss Bites

I posted Bliss Bites (peanut butter cups) on my Instagram a couple months ago, but they're definitely worth mentioning here on the blog as well.

My boys and I often make A Couple Cooks' Bliss Bites. How can something that's 100% plant based and processed sugar-free taste so amazing and be so easy to make?!  We finished the entire batch within ten min.  They're even vegan-suspicious spouse approved ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜ Also, I love that this recipe called for the ingredients to be heated in a sauce pan rather than a microwave. #NoToNuking

The only thing I did different was add half a teaspoon of chia seeds and half a teaspoon of hemp hearts into the chocolate mixture for added nutrition and protein.  Also, I use cacao instead of the cocoa they called for.  Cacao is the raw form of cocoa but they were still amazing.

FAITH: 1 Samuel 4

Regarding the Israelites foolishly taking the ark into battle without reverence to God.

It's so easy for our flesh to want religion - a formula.  This means, as long as we keep up the formula, we don't have to surrender to the living God, because we performed the "routine."  This routine/formula/religion looks like superstition and quickly becomes bondage.  The etymology of "religion" breaks down to, "return to bind," or "return to bondage."  Today's study points out that the Israelites put their trust in the ark instead of the Lord.  We may not be putting our trust in the ark, but perhaps we're putting our trust in specifically worded prayers that are on repeat, word-for-word?  Perhaps we're putting our trust in the act of going to church every Sunday rather than in worshiping Jesus with our lives?  Perhaps we're counting on proxy to godly people to make us holy?  This is a great chapter that's getting me to check my heart and remember where to place my trust and worship.

Click here to read the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 4.
Click here to choose a different translation.

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