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2018-01-22T06:09:44.102Z
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The past weekend our pastor posed a question to the millennials in our congregation, how can the church better engage millennials? He challenged any millennial to send him and the church staff ideas about how to get this generation, my generation, more involved. Normally this isn’t something I would write about, but here I go, about to try.

To preface this post I am writing very broadly. I am not just writing in regards to my own local home church but to the body of christ universally. That being said here are my thoughts on how the church can engage millennials.

Please read, teach, and engage me in God’s word. My generation is used to seeing advertisements and gimmicks so show me something different on Sunday mornings. Show me the goodness and truths in scripture and help me apply it to my life. In a world that is constantly changing teach me about God being the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Read me scripture because I need to hear it. Encourage and challenge me to study scripture and learn at home because it will enhance what I am hearing on Sunday.

When I was little I remember starting out in the sanctuary with the entire congregation and then 20 minutes into the service being led to the children’s class. I am not sure when this exactly stopped happening, but from late elementary school on I can remember only being with my peers unless I begged...

Several months ago I listed out what Josh and I should have put on our wedding registry if we could go back in time. Today I am sharing what I would ask for knowing what I know now when we were having our first baby. Here are my favorite nursery, feeding, bath, gear, and health/safety products for baby!

After 3 babies I feel like I have a fairly decent idea on what works (and doesn’t), what is needed, and what is a waste of money. Some of these items we did register for but most we didn’t and discovered them over the last 5 years.

Glider: They can be pricey but are so worth the money!

Swaddle Blankets/Sleep Sacks: There are lots of different types of these on the market. We bought the muslin swaddle blankets thinking we could swaddle our babies tight enough but it was a 50% chance that they would stay wrapped tight, which is why we ended up with the velcro saddles. I really like the muslin ones as baby grows and no longer needs to be swaddled.

Diaper Pail: Best diaper pail ever and your house won’t reek of dirty diapers.

White Noise Machine: We currently have 3 of these in our home and take them with us when we travel. I can’t sleep without mine now.

Blackout Curtains: The darker the...

Once upon a time, several years ago, I started an online bootcamp. Some of you longtime readers may remember this or perhaps even joined in the fun. It had been awhile since I had looked at these workouts and I had forgotten how many I had. These workouts are sitting on my computer and I decided to use them for the next few weeks at home for my own workouts.

The all levels total body workout can adjust to your time available as well as fitness level. If you need a shorter workout you can follow the newbie option. Lots of ways to make this workout fit your needs.

I did the intermediate option this morning and it took me 40 minutes. I did circuit 1 twice, circuit 2 twice, circuit 3 twice, followed by 3 minutes of cardio. Let me know if you decide to try it and how you did!

The post All Levels Total Body Workout appeared first on The Workout Mama.

Happy New Years Eve! I hope your Christmas season was fun and healthy. Ours was fun but our entire family was sick with the longest colds ever. We made so many fun memories with our family despite being sick. This month I am sharing five books I have read because there were so many good ones and two share worthy articles.

PTL: The Rise and Fall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (By: John Wigger)

This book was phenomenal. I couldn’t put it down and it was so informative without seeming like a bad tabloid. I learned so much about televangelism and the pentecostal movement. A few of the highlights was learning the reference to the term “holy roller”. This was actually coined when people would be slain by the spirit and literally roll across the floor of the church. I also was fascinated learning about the start of the 700 Club. The name of that show was created because Jim Bakker needed 700 people to make a monthly pledge of $10 for the show to be broadcast. I had never heard anything about Heritage USA before this book. This book truly shows that even those with the best of intentions are still sinners and accountability is vital in ministry.

Here Burns My Candle and Mine is the Night (By: Liz Curtis Higgs)

Here Burns My Candle is the first book in this...

This year marks my second year reading through the Bible. Last year I started in the Matthew and read to Revelation and then made my way to Genesis through Malachi. I didn’t follow a reading plan but read at my own pace. This year I read from Genesis to Revelation and used The Bible Project Reading Plan. I read the ESV version this year compared to the NIV that I read last year.

Below are a few things I learned from reading the entire Bible again.

The connection between the Old and New Testaments. This was probably the biggest thing that I noticed this year. The passage that really helped me grasp the intensity of this connection was Matthew 27:46,  “that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In the past I would have glanced over this passage but with further study and reading I learned that these words are the exact first words of Psalm 22. The next time you have a moment I encourage you to read Psalm 22 in context with Matthew 27:46. Jesus knew this Psalm was about him and was quoting it with his very last breaths. It seriously gives me chills because I have to wonder if those standing by the cross knew what passage he was quoting.

Psalm 22 begins, “Why are you so far from saving me, from the words...

I blogged about our Babywise experience with Caden and I am sharing how the experience with Babywise is going the third time. This is the last post I will be sharing in this series. Here are the links to the previous posts:

Schedule

Jesse dropped several nursing sessions during these weeks, going from four to three, three to two, and now down to one. The last session happened at night and became shorter and shorter. He transitioned to eating more solids and drinking a few ounces of formula each day as we weaned off the breastmilk. I am thankful to have been able to breastfeed all my babies for a year.

Week 40 – 46
  • 6:50am: Eat/Waketime, Diapering
  • 7:30am: Breakfast*
  • 9am: Nap
  • 11am: Eat/Waketime, Diapering
  • 12pm: Lunch*
  • 1pm: Nap
  • 3pm: Eat/Waketime, Diapering
  • 5pm: Dinner*
  • 6:30pm: Eat/Diaper/Bedtime

*Jesse joins us for family mealtime at the table for his cereal, fruits, and veggies.

Week 47 – 50
  • 6:50am: Eat/Waketime, Diapering
  • 7:30am: Breakfast*
  • 9am: Nap
  • 11am: Eat/Waketime, Diapering
  • 12pm: Lunch*
  • 1pm: Nap
  • 3pm:Waketime, Diapering
  • 5pm: Dinner*
  • 6:30pm: Eat/Diaper/Bedtime

*Jesse joins us for family mealtime at the table for his cereal, fruits, and veggies.

Week 51
  • 6:50am: Eat/Waketime, Diapering
  • 7am: Breakfast*
  • 9:15am: Nap
  • 11am: Waketime, Diapering
  • 12pm: Lunch*
  • 1pm: Nap
  • 3pm: Waketime, Diapering
  • 5pm: Dinner*
  • 6:30pm: Eat/Diaper/Bedtime

*Jesse joins us for family mealtime at the table for his cereal, fruits, and...

I feel like I read so much more this month! And it could be because Josh bought me a Kindle Fire for my birthday. I briefly mentioned how I thought an e-reader would be nice to have and was totally shocked and surprised when I opened my gift. It isn’t something I would have bought myself but I am loving it!

How Masturbation Almost Ruined Our Honeymoon

“Masturbation is a grey area in the Christian world. It brings out the fire in people. I’ve wavered in my opinion over the years, but this new stage of life has confirmed to me, that regular masturbation can really mess with your future.”

‘Our Minds Can Be Hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

An interesting and thought provoking read about Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make this technology so addictive why they are disconnecting themselves from the internet.

Joyfully Lifting Malformed Hands in Worship

This post got me. Beautifully written and an amazing testimony of how God alone can give us strength and comfort even at the most tender and heartbreaking moments.

These Actors Found Fame But Risk Losing Their Childhood

For those of you who watch Stranger Things (I haven’t seen the show but thought this article was worth sharing).

Three Adoption Misconceptions

This is perfect! “If you’ve never seen these correlations between Christianity...

Each morning I wake up grateful for this life I have. I don’t type this as some cliché but as my true heartfelt sentiment. I am so thankful each morning when my eyes open and I can feel the bedsheets touching my skin and the way my socks feel on my feet. My husband thinks it is weird that I sleep in super thick socks. Even in the summer I sleep in them. When I was sick I couldn’t feel my legs so my socks remind me that I can feel. I can move. I can breathe.

With the Thanksgiving weekend slowly creeping away I always get a tad sentimental this time of year. My mind spins at 100 miles a minute thinking about how thankful I am for this life I have. My life is messy at times, I have three little kids, my bathrooms aren’t always clean, and my kitchen floor usually has several sticky spots on it. But in spite of the mess, when the sunlight starts to creep into our home in the morning and I see our kids awake, running around, playing, laughing, and how the light dances around their head casting an angelic glow against their hair and on their skin I am thankful. Thankful for life and for this moment in time that I wasn’t sure I would have years ago.

As crazy as Josh may make me at times he is the only person in the world who deliberately chose to do life...

Today is our 10 year wedding anniversary. Woohoo! Josh is my teenage dream come true! I had the biggest crush on him when I was 17 years old. I hope you enjoy my attempt to document how we started dating. 

The Prequel

It can be hard sometimes to determine where the beginning of a story should start. I first noticed my future husband the summer before my senior year of high school. I was 17 years old and lifeguarding at Kiwanis Wave Pool and immediately developed a school girl crush on him.

This guy, who I would quickly learn was named Josh, was walking across the pool deck wearing a Tennessee Titans hat and a shirt that indicated he was a pool manager at another city pool. I honestly didn’t think it would EVER be a possibility that I would date Josh because I knew he had to be in college, if not graduated, but I still joked with my friends at work over the summer that I was going to marry him one day and have his babies.I was able to get scheduled twice that summer at the outdoor pool while Josh was managing. I don’t think he spoke to me directly that day.

The summer ended, high school resumed, then it was summer again. I lifeguarded and taught swim lessons over the summer before attending Arizona State University and continued working in this capacity all throughout college.

Sometime between my freshman and sophomore year at ASU I got booted off my...

I recently discovered there is a Burn Boot Camp 10 minutes away from my house. I might have even squealed a little bit as I drove by and noticed the sign on the building. When you have taught group fitness classes and are also a personal trainer/nutrition coach this is what gets you giddy. I immediately came home, went online, and discovered they were offering a 30 day Groupon for $33. With the Groupon purchased I made plans to redeem my voucher the following week.

Burn Boot Camp had been on my radar for years thanks to Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers and also friends in Tennessee who are members. The location that is so close to my house opened last year and once I started my Groupon discovered that several of my friends are members. I am pretty sure this never came up in conversation because I had just had my third baby and exercising was the furthest thing from my mind.

I am on the last days of my Groupon and ready to give my honest review on Burn Boot Camp.

THE WORKOUTS

Burn Boot Camp is a fun and friendly community style gym that offers multiple camp times throughout the week! No workout is ever the same and all fitness levels will easily feel welcomed and encouraged. To give you an idea on what times the classes are held here...

Happy 500th Reformation Day and Happy Halloween! I hope you and yours have a safe and memory making 24 hours filled with candy and fun. This is the post where I share anything noteworthy I have been reading this month. Lots of great blog posts below to ponder on and read from this month.

Don’t Waste the Darkness

“These are the lessons that Halloween can teach us: the darkness is real, it’s relative, and it’s routed. But this is why, traditionally, All Hallows Eve was followed by All Hallows Day (also known as All Saints Day). That’s how it was meant to be. In modern times, though, we seem to have lost our confidence in the day.”

The Gospel Coalition Reformation 500 Statement

“Wherever we find Scripture alone as the highest and final authority, grace alone as the only hope for resurrecting spiritually dead sinners, faith alone as the only instrument by which we are joined to Christ and justified by the imputation of his righteousness, Christ alone as the only atoning sacrifice for sin, and God alone as the ultimate object of our worship—wherever we find these truths sung, savored, and celebrated, we have reason to rejoice in the Reformation.”

Let’s Get Real About Women’s Discipleship

I really appreciated this. “I know too many women who are desperately holding out for a discipler that looks more like a unicorn than an...

“I, Josh, take you, Tamara, for my wife,to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

The older I become the more I feel the amazing blessing of being loved this way. When Josh and I said our marriage vows to each other on November 10th, 2007 I was in the midst of battling a neurological disorder. There were many unknowns about what our life would look like moving forward.

I became sick several months into our engagement. The save the dates had already been sent when we learned that the muscle weakness and paralyzation I was experiencing weren’t symptoms that would be quickly fixed or even had the potential to get better. Josh was under no obligation to stay with me. Walking was a struggle, driving a car wasn’t happening, and just being able to get out of bed in the morning was hard.

The reality is that most 23 year olds don’t get to start off a marriage the way I did. Our plans for the wedding and honeymoon changed to accommodate my illness. And never once did I feel like I was a burden to Josh. He piggybacked me around the streets of Monterey, California on our honeymoon gladly, carrying me when I couldn’t walk.

During our engagement when I became...

Now that Josh and I are just a few weeks away from hitting our 10 year anniversary I can honestly say that most of the items we registered for are not what we actually needed. If I could go back in time and tell my 23 year old self what to purchase here is the list I would give myself.

This post contains affiliate links.

WHITE NOISE MACHINE

You don’t know this yet but your husband sometimes snores. This doesn’t happen super often but you will find it is worse on days that are in between busy 24 hour shifts. Also he falls asleep really quickly and it is nice to drown out his rhythmic breathing while you are still mentally prepping for tomorrow and wondering why you can’t fall asleep as quickly as him.

THE DYSON VACCUM

Keep this on your register. It is still going strong almost 10 years later.

INSTANT POT

Granted, these weren’t available yet in 2007 but if I could I would time travel one back. You will enjoy (gasp) meal prepping large quantity menus in your freezer in the future. I know it sounds crazy but it is true. Embrace it.

STEAM MOP

When you begin to have babies you will understand why this is important. Clean floors don’t last long with little ones but it is nice knowing that you are sanitizing and removing...

This morning I did this really fast and fun workout at Burn Bootcamp! Shoutout to the Gilbert, AZ location! I have been wanting to try this place forever and I am thrilled!

THE WORKOUT

This upper body workout is inspired by what I did this morning and will take you under 30 minutes to complete. The main set contains six exercises and each exercise is performed for 60 seconds. You will then perform the set again.

FALL BREAK FUN

We have been enjoying our kids being on Fall break this week and have already done so many fun things together. Over the weekend we went to the Phoenix Zoo to see the new Dinosaurs in the Desert exhibit. This was fun but if you plan to go get your tickets ahead of time, either online or at the ticket window during general admission hours. With our zoo membership we entered the zoo early and didn’t know that you would need tickets to see the dinosaurs and ended up waiting in line for 30 minutes. It wasn’t a horrible wait and my kids now know the entire theme song to Jurassic Park but it would have been nice to not have to stand in line.

Yesterday we visited the pumpkin patch and watched Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and today we hit up the pool. I love being able to spend more time with...