Coffee Sips and Lovely Links: FREE Resources to Help You Stay Healthy and Get in Shape!

Friday, January 20, 2017 2 comments
Get Healthy and In Shape

I am so happy that today is Friday, I might just break out a Rebecca Black music video... Actually, I'm not quite that happy about it 😝. This week has felt so long to me and I am excited about sleeping in tomorrow and hanging out with my brother for the weekend. I sense that Mario Kart: Double Dash is in my near future! Woot woot!

But one thing I have really been trying to work on this week is staying healthy even when I want to drown all of my emotions in food. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I did excellently- because that'd be a lie. I ate bad things multiple times this week. BUT, what I did do was eat less overall and made sure that about 60% of what I ate was healthy. That may not sound so great, but that's about 20% better than I was doing a few weeks ago, so I am pleased.

Losing weight and getting healthy is so hard, guys! It drives me nuts! But I know that it is worth it, and I know it's what I want to do. Thankfully though, I don't have to do it alone, because I have found some awesome bloggers who encourage me to stay strong through their blogs, their email newsletters, and through chatting with them on Facebook.

So today, I am going to share three of my favorite, free resources to help you get in shape and stay healthy.

Why We Have to Do Hard Things: I'm on The Speckled Goat

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 1 comment

If you've been hanging out around these parts for very long, you probably know that I like things in life to remain at one setting: easy. I like slow mornings with multiple cups of coffee. I like to have a soft, cushy chair, a smooth, fluffy blanket, and I like to relax- it's my favorite after-school activity 😋

There's something to be said for spending time resting and relaxing. In fact, it's very healthy. But relaxation can turn into laziness and laziness can turn into not wanting to do anything that's difficult, that's challenging, or that stretches us.

We have to do many hard things in life, so living in a way that stands opposed to anything difficult just isn't going to cut it.

Today, I am a guest over at The Speckled Goat. I am honored to be working with Ally, who is one of my favorite bloggers.

So please take a little extra time to head over to The Speckled Goat to read more about why we have to do hard things, need to do hard things, and why doing hard things is good for us.


You Are Stronger Than You Know

Monday, January 16, 2017 32 comments

Have you ever felt so stressed about a situation that you kept clenching your teeth, getting headaches, and forgetting to breathe? Well of course you have! You are human and you walk through the same (or similar) stresses in life that I do.

You have money issues, family issues, weight issues, or some sort of "issue" that you struggle with. Everyone does. And when this issue gets too stressful, we tend to wonder if we can handle it anymore. We wonder if we are strong enough, smart enough, or patient enough to make it out to the other side still in tact.

But I've got news for you (and me): You're stronger than you think!

Surprised by Strength

When I went to college, my mom had to take a third-shift job at Walmart to make ends meet (thank you, Mom!). Not only was the job just undesirable to begin with, but my mom is also not a night person, has a birth defect in her back that causes a lot of pain, and she also just already had enough on her plate without adding that job... again, THANKS MOM!

But something happened while Mama was working there. Her body became stronger in ways that she didn't know were possible. She could lift heavier things than she thought she could after years of back issues and surgery. She also got semi-used to her new schedule.

Don't get me wrong- she still pretty much hated the job. She was not happy there. But that time working for Walmart showed her that she was so much stronger than she knew. With perseverance, practice, and some help from God, her back got stronger, she could lift heavier things, and the night shift didn't murder her. 

Mom may not have liked her situation, but she was still able to persevere, work hard, do the job set before her, and learn from the situation.

you are strong

Called to be Strong

I am in the process of looking for a second job just to make ends meet. I'm worried about my blog, my energy level, and my injured hip that causes a lot of pain when I over-do it. But I am stronger that I know, and I am capable of whatever I end up having to do.

What my mom did is what we are called to do. We may not always like where we are. We may feel like we just cannot do it and that life is going to be unbearable during whatever season it is that we are struggling through. But be encouraged, friends! You are stronger than you think- especially as you rely on Christ for help.

God never promised that this life would be easy, but he did promise to be with us, to sustain us, to help us, and to offer us peace and joy. Whether we decide to rely on him and take up his peace and joy is up to us. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. And either way, we still have to face the situation that we are in, so why not take God up on his offer of strength, peace, and joy instead of trying to do it alone? 

You are stronger than you think, friends, but as God's peculiar treasures, we find that strength that we didn't know we had when we let God provide it to us. When we decide to persevere for God's glory, we find that we are much more capable and strong than we thought!


 

Real Hospitality: If You Came to My House Unannounced...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 18 comments


If you came into my house unannounced, you would find many different things.

You would find unfinished laundry, dishes in the sink, and dog hair. With three big dogs, it really doesn't matter how often you vacuum- there will always be dog hair.

You would find that my Christmas tree is still standing with all of it's decorations still in tact. I would laugh and tell you self-consciously that I've never left it up this long before.

You would find theology books scattered in each room. That's part of being a seminary wife I suppose.



If you came into my house unannounced, you would be welcomed in, despite the mess.

I would ask you if you wanted some coffee or anything to drink. Then I would probably try to feed you... What can I say? I'm from the South 😉

I would ask you what you would like to do: talk, listen to music, watch TV... I would want you to pick because I hate making decisions for others. The guest should pick.

I would probably feel uncomfortable because, chances are, when you showed up I was in sweat pants. This girl likes to be comfy when she is home!



If you came to my house unannounced, you would find a home filled with affection.

You would find a marriage filled with love and friendship, despite its many imperfections.

You would find love for God and for sharing Him with others.

You would find pictures of family in nearly every room. And I would tell you how blessed we are to have the family that we do. They are wonderful.





You would find unruly, barking dogs that are actually super sweet and lovable if you can get past their first 15 minute burst of crazy.
I would ask you if you were okay with them being in the room with us, secretly willing you with my mind to be okay with it. Because dogs are the best, of course! But I would forgive you if you were opposed... one day 😋

If you came to my house unannounced, I would invite you in- probably with a hug.


Hospitality

My house is old and creaky. We rent it and can only do so much with it. And like I said before, we are not always the world's best house-keepers. There's always something else that needs to be done, ya know?

But I love being able to welcome people into our home. We aren't able to do that nearly as often as I wish we were, but when we are able, I like to take advantage of it.

Hospitality is one of my favorite ways to encourage others. There's something special about being welcomed into a friend's home, and feeling like you are welcome to stay forever.

I want to be that welcoming friend. I want Taylor and I to be the couple that is always available when someone needs a shelter to rest in, or needs a shoulder to cry on for a couple of hours.

And the thing about the ministry of hospitality, is that things don't need to be perfect. As much as I wish that our house looked liked Joanna Gaines' farm house, that just isn't reality. And as much as I wish that it wasn't so hard to keep the house spotless with three dogs, I can just kiss that wish goodbye. And yet, none of that matters when it comes to real hospitality.

Hospitality is about the love that is given to those that we host.
Hospitality is about sharing our lives with others and letting them share their's. Should my house be a pigsty when hosting people (or ever)? No, of course not! But the point is that the state of your home is not the point. What's important is the love you give and the welcoming atmosphere you provide.

That is real hospitality, and my hope is that if you came to my house unannounced, you would get a sense of that immediately.


Do you love hospitality? Is it one of your gifts, or do you prefer to leave that to someone else?


Why Taking Baby Steps is the Key to Success (Mug-spiration Monday)

Monday, January 9, 2017 21 comments

Welcome back, friends! And Happy Monday! We really haven't had a Mug-spiration Monday in about a month, so I am very excited to get back into the swing of things! So to get us back on track, today is all about goal setting and how to set ourselves up for success!

Have you ever set a goal or resolution that you immediately jumped headfirst into? You went full-force for a few days (maybe even weeks) before finding yourself worn out and over-done. At that point, all you wanted to do was quit, because the progress wasn't worth the burnout. Have you ever been there before? Well I sure have!


Many people tend to think that if they go hard for days/weeks at the time, they will win the race quicker than those who take baby steps towards their goals. I know people who haven't exercised in months who suddenly decide that they are going to go to the gym and lift weights at the highest weight they can, for as long as they can.

At that point, they are not only treating their poor muscles horribly, but they will also wake up the next morning so sore that they never want to lift weights again.

Trust me when I say that, for most people, taking baby steps is much more effective when it comes to achieving our goals.

3 Days of Encouragement (A FREE, 3-day devotional and an announcement!!!)

Friday, January 6, 2017 13 comments

Pretty much all my life, I have had a natural inclination towards encouraging others. I want people to feel good about themselves and about life. I want people to know that they have value and worth. I wasn't necessarily able to articulate it this way when I was a kid, but I have definitely been a natural encourager for most of my life.

I don't say this to brag. Plus, even though it does come naturally, I still have to work at it to keep being that way when I don't feel like it. And I am also much better at encouraging others than I am at encouraging myself.

I believe that my inclination towards encouragement is a spiritual gift from God, and I believe that each Christian has a gift that God has given them that they are particularly good at.

But that being said, I also believe that anyone has the ability to be an encourager. Sure, it is more natural for some people, and some people will just never be as encouraging as others. But just as I can become a more patient person through practice and prayer, a person who struggles to be an encourager can learn to encourage.

Anyone can learn to be encouraging, it just may take some extra work and a little bit of help. And that's where I come in!

What I've Been Working On

For the past year, I have had an idea for my blog that I kept putting off. And if you read my new year goals post, you'll know what that thing is: a free, mini-devotional/inspirational series. Plus, I have also been wanting to put together an email newsletter to go out weekly.


Enter Three Days of Encouragement!


Three Days of Encouragement (3DE) is a 3-day, mini-devotional email series that is geared towards how to better encourage others and ourselves. If you struggle to be an encouraged person, struggle to be encouraging to others, or just want to grow in those areas, 3DE can help with that.

When you sign up for 3DE, you will receive an email a day for three days, each with an inspirational, faith-based post that is designed to help you become a more encouraging (and encouraged) person.

Signing up for 3DE also means signing up for a weekly email newsletter from The Peculiar Treasure. This newsletter will come on the weekends and will include a short, weekly-happenings recap and a small scripture and devotional for the week. I will never spam your inbox. 

Why a Newsletter?

Like I said, friends: I don't want to spam you or give you one more useless email to delete. Ain't nobody got time for that!

But what I do want is to be a weekly source of true encouragement for you. I want to provide a simple, easy to read devotional that you look forward to and come away feeling a little stronger and more encouraged. I want to be a part of your life in a meaningful way. I want to give my readers that extra boost they (you) need.

So Excited!

I really am excited, guys! This has been a long, nerve-wracking process, and I am hopeful that you will love my first-ever freebie! I really appreciate your readership and your continued support and I hope that I can continue to add value to your life with each post I write and each newsletter I send.


Sign Up!

So, don't be shy! Go ahead and sign up for my weekly newsletter in order to receive 3DE for yourself.


How Freedom and Discipline Work Together (My Words of the Year)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 9 comments

What comes to mind when you think of someone who is free? What do they act like? What's their body language? Do they look a certain way?

Now, think about someone who is disciplined. Ask yourself the same questions about that person. Got your answers? Good!

When I think of someone who is free, my natural inclination is to think of a thin, tan woman in her 20s. I see her running on a beach with her hair flowing behind her- not a care in the world.

And when I think of someone who is disciplined, I think of a go-getter. I think of someone who hustles hard. They follow a lot of guidelines, and maybe don't have quite as much fun, but they accomplish what they set out to do.

But my first thoughts about these two types of people are not completely accurate. And not only that- they are not rooted where they should be.




Real Freedom

Interestingly enough, my view of a free person seems to come straight out of Hollywood. This tan, thin, beach-beauty is partially free because of what she looks like, and that's just not the point of freedom at all.

As many of you know, my goals for the year include losing weight. So yes, I would love to be thin. And since I love the beach it totally makes sense that I would want to be tan and on a beach- because let's be real... when do I not want that?!

But real freedom has nothing to do with being thin, the pigment of my skin, or my location. It doesn't even mean that I won't have a care in the world.

Real freedom is rooted in Christ. It's knowing my final destination (Heaven), it's knowing the grace and love God has given me, and it is caring about the right things- the eternal things. It means caring about people in the way that God has cared for us and it's about sharing truth and being the hands and feet of Jesus.
It's not about what others think of us. It isn't about what we look like, how long it takes to get married, whether or not we get married at all, or how many kids we have. It isn't about our jobs or how much money we make. Freedom isn't something we find when we work from home, when we get out of debt, or when we get away from those who hold us back. Those things are certainly helpful in our freedom journey, but they are not what makes us truly free.

Real freedom is knowing God's love, loving him back, and making the most out of the life we have right now. It is finally being able to lay all worry, fear, anxiety, sin, and strong-holds at the feet of Jesus. It is trusting God and resting in him. Real freedom is enjoying and making the most of the life we are in, for the glory of God.

Real Discipline

Discipline is all about standing firm in what we have set out to do. It's about being unwavering in what we know we should do, in what we know is right, and in what we have been called to do.

Discipline is sticking with what we started, and living life well. It is about being a faithful, reliable person- not just to others, but also to ourselves.

A disciplined person lives as if the reward is worth the wait, and lives out the steps it takes to get there. A disciplined person sees the value in waiting, the value in doing what is right. And they hold that value above whatever instant gratification they may or may not be able to reap.

Discipline is following rules or guidelines that we know are good for us, because we want the best possible life.


How Discipline and Freedom Work Together

Sometimes in my mind, freedom and discipline are at odds with each other. I know better, really, but I find that freedom always seems so much more appealing than discipline.

But in a lot of ways, it takes discipline to become free. Freedom is ultimately of Christ, yet living a life a freedom means taking steps to improve the way in which we live. And taking steps towards improvement requires discipline.

Here are a few examples of how discipline can lead to freedom. Not all of these are personal, I just wanted to give you something tangible to help.

Example 1

If I want freedom from my incessant addiction to food, then I have to discipline myself and keep myself from eating constantly. I am not trying to find freedom through losing weight, but rather, I am trying to be free from an obsession- an addiction. This requires discipline and leads to freedom.

Example 2

If I want to stop lying, I have to discipline myself to always tell the truth and come clean if I haven't. This forces me to be accountable and helps stop the cycle. I am not finding freedom in one single act, but freedom from an act that changes me as a person. Being disciplined will lead to freedom from compulsive lying.

Example 3

If I want to rest in the love of Jesus, I have to stop trying to find it in other places. I have to discipline myself to stop seeking the approval of others, stop putting so much value in "things" and "possessions" and actually start believing that God's love for me is far beyond anything else in life. It requires that I stop seeking compliments for everything good I do, that I stop seeking love from anyone and everyone who will give it, and that I stop compromising who I am for other people.
This takes discipline, but leads to freedom.



Freedom and discipline are good friends. They pair up perfectly to help us achieve what we have set out to do. Discipline is the catalyst that bring us into a place of true freedom. Discipline doesn't always have to be synonymous with "hustle". You can discipline yourself to be at peace, to enjoy life, and to rest in Christ. Discipline is simply doing what you know you need to do and what you know is best, in order to become who you are meant to be in life- which leads to freedom.

Before I decided that these two words would be my words of the year, I had not really thought through how these two concepts work together, but I am glad that I did. There are so many things in my life that I want to be free from, and discipline is the way to that freedom in almost every case.

And something tells me you can relate. Why? Because a search for freedom is part of being human. We may have never put it into words, but we all crave it. So maybe this year, we can work together to discipline ourselves in order to find freedom. What do you say?



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