Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 30 Day Challenge Calendar



Another devotional from Youversion:

"I’ve made up my mind that I want to be a super-fit 50 year-old. Okay, so I have a few years before I reach that age (God willing), but there is no time like the present to get started. 

To go to the next level in my fitness, I joined a 2-week intensive exercise program at one of our local gyms. Running, sprints, squats, box jumps, push-ups, pull-ups…military-type exercises. 

It was very hard. 

But I did it because being fit and healthy is important to me. I want a disciplined body because I want to stay qualified for my life’s purpose. 

In today’s scripture, Paul talks about disciplining his body and bringing it under subjection. When something is under subjection, that means that something else controls it. 

In the case of your body, your mind is supposed to control what it does. But too often, we fail to exercise that authority! 

A vivid example of that was played out in the media not too long ago. 

A well-known athlete cheated on his wife with multiple women. Even though he disciplined his mind to excel in his sport, he failed to discipline his mind to resist temptation. 

And because of this, his body led him into a situation that hurt his wife, damaged his family, and caused him to lose respect from those who admired him. 

When it comes to your weight loss goals, you too must be careful to be a person of integrity, which means wholeness. You keep your word to yourself and others. And your actions match your words. 

I’ve seen many examples of people who say that being healthy and getting fit is important to them, yet they act in ways that will bring them the exact opposite result. It seriously damages your confidence and esteem when you say one thing and do another. 

So today, resolve to go to the other side of hard by disciplining your body. It starts with disciplining your mind. You can control your thinking and direct your thoughts where you want your body to go. 

If you keep your eyes on the prize, you will win and stay qualified for the purpose to which God has called you! "

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:27 NIV)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Something New

God has been talking to me in a series of ways.  Several years ago, after experiencing a natural disaster myself and losing a home, all our belongings, and dealing with the clean up, rebuild, and insurance disasters, I was watching an episode of the DOCTORS.  They were in Haiti after the earthquake and helping the many homeless and severe medical needs.  I remember seeing a little 18 month old baby girl who became an orphan due to the earthquake.  Her limbs were severed due to the natural distaster.  My heart just went out to her and the many in Haiti who were struggling for survival.  The fact was, many were struggling before the earthquake.  Haiti is considered a third-world nation, and doesn't have the resources we have in the states.  I felt a calling to the mission field back then, but wasn't sure where and when God would put me.  

Since then, God has placed this amazing partner in my life that started out as a friend and after a few years later, I was blessed to be his wife.  Jeff and I have worked together to put our Phi Theta Kappa honor society on a mission to continue to raise funds, volunteer, and run for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  We also co-created the Holden's Hope 5K as a fundraiser for MPS research and our cousin Holden's medical expenses.  The 5K event has grown over the years in what we have been able to offer and the sponsorship we have received.  The only reason could be is that God's hand is in this mission and He has placed us in a mission field we have created in certain ways.  

In 2011, we found a Pittsburg Nazarene who has one of the largest, if not the largest youth bus ministries in the city.  We were honored to be asked to teach the middle school class on Sundays in addition to helping with the Wednesday night Ignite Missions.  Again, God placed us as a team in the mission field.  By 2013, God gave me the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic with several other church members and experience a third world country mission.  Our first step off the bus into the mission field, my heart was pounding and my eyes were teary.  I felt the Holy Spirit in me at that moment and used my God given talent to document through photojournalism the 8 day mission trip.  

I now have another opportunity to go on a mission trip with Christians on Campus with my son, and maybe Jeff to Guatemala in the spring of 2015.  I recently received new camera equipment for Christmas from my amazing husband, and am excited to start using it in the mission field here and beyond.  Then, my brother gave me a word of encouragement along with the rest of the family, which I felt meant something different for each one of us.  However, God really laid on my heart, that I'm free to do HIS WORK.  Nothing is holding me back.  I have FULL support of my family and friends.  

This past Sunday, our pastor gave a sermon on "Something New."  The sermon gave me chills because it was another affirmation that God was sending me to do MORE for missions for HIS work.  The sermon was from: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NIV)

The pastor reminded us we can't go forward if we continue to look back.  I have made many mistakes in my life I'm not very proud of, but God has forgiven me, so I need to forgive myself.  In addition, the old jobs or careers were preparing me for what I'm in now and the up and coming...God's plan is always better than my own.  Solomon once wrote in Proverbs 16:9 that, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the LORD’s decree will prevail.”  I want to trust in Him more this 2014 and become more Christlike, so that someday I can use all my talents He has given me for His glory and for His work.  

Men working in the sugar cane fields in the Dominican Republic.  

Me and my roomies in the Dominican Republic right before SCORE night at the chapel.  

2nd Annual Holden's Hope 5K

The 2011 St. Jude Marathon Weekend and the first year Jeff and I created Team TENN-KAN for the Phi Theta Kappa St. Jude Heroes team.   

Embrace the Grace

I loved this devotional I found through YouVersion for Weight Loss.  It can be applied to so many areas of our life outside of our weight control.

From today's devotional on YouVersion:

"I receive a lot of emails, and the ones that always sadden me the most are from people who condemn themselves because of their obese state. 

And because they condemn themselves and others have condemned them, they think that God must condemn them too. 

Nothing could be further from the truth! God is about restoration, not condemnation. He sees differently than human beings see. Think of it like x-ray vision. God can look right past your body, straight into your heart and mind. 

He sees all the invisible thoughts and behaviors that contributed to your physical results. And He has the ability to help you change them. 

If you have been condemning yourself for your weight gain and generally being unforgiving to yourself then I believe it saddens God. Why? Because through His grace, He has set you free from garbage thinking. Continuing to put yourself down plays straight into the hands of the enemy. 

The enemy wants you to be so condemned and discouraged that you get deeper into bondage. But sin no longer has dominion over you. The only power it has is that which you choose to give it. 

Remember who your Father is. In your weight loss journey, think restoration not condemnation. Forgive yourself for your past; after all there is nothing you can do about it. 

The body you have now is just a snapshot of the choices you made in the past. The choices you make now will determine the body in which you will live in the future. 

A necessary part of embracing health is embracing grace. In that way, you can walk in freedom and newness of life, which is the gift that Christ died to give you."
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14 NIV)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weight Loss Devotional from You Version


One thing I have learned in my Christian weight loss journey is this: God is a forward thinking and acting God. 

I meditated on this fact recently when a scripture from Jeremiah 7:23-24 hit me right between the eyes during my morning bible study time: 

“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:23-24 (NKJV) 

Even though God led the Israelites out of Egypt, a place of oppression, wickedness, and idolatry, in their hearts they never left. 

Their bodies might have been free in the Promised Land but their hearts and minds were still in bondage back in Egypt. 

Too often, we allow fear, emotional pain, and habitual sins to keep us chained to the past. But God sent Jesus to set us free from all that so we can move forward in Him. 

A wonderful blessing to celebrate! 

I heard a motivational speaker once who said that we want the new thing, but still want to hang on to the old stuff! But that just does not work: To experience change, we must change. 

When I wanted to be delivered from emotional eating and food addiction, I had a vision: I saw myself huddled in a dark corner, cold, scared, and lonely. And I saw God bathed in light just behind me. I sensed Him calling me to come to Him and give Him my emotional burdens. And yet, voices were whispering to me that it was safer in the darkness. 

Imagine that: I actually felt safe in my misery! 

But God’s love was so strong that it compelled me to turn around and look at Him. I saw beauty, gentleness, and strength. I trusted Him, took His hand, and haven’t been the same. 

In order to receive real comfort and move forward, you have to let the false comforts go. Simple as that. 

Yes, it takes courage. It can be scary and hard. 

But say to yourself that you are willing to go to the other side of hard. 

That is where your reward is. It is waiting for you. All it takes is a commitment to forward motion, step by step. And you will get there! 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (Philippians 3:13 NIV)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eating a Healthy Devotion from You Version


Every time I read Proverbs 14:1, I can’t help but think about the story of the three little pigs. In the story, the big, bad wolf was hungry for a pork sandwich and he knew where the three little pigs lived. 

He went to the 1st pig’s house, which was made of straw, and begged for the pig to let him in. But the little pig would not, so he huffed and puffed and blew the straw house in. But the 1st pig escaped by running to 2nd pig’s house. 

Then the wolf came to the 2nd pig’s house, which was made of sticks. But the 2nd pig wouldn’t let the wolf in either. So the wolf huffed and puffed and blew the stick house in. But the two little pigs escaped and ran to the 3rd pig’s house. 

Then the wolf came to the 3rd pig’s house, which was made of bricks. He asked the 3rd pig to let him in but the 3rd pig would not either. So the wolf huffed and puffed and blew with all his might. But the brick house stood. 

The wolf blew all day but the house never budged. Finally the hungry wolf went away, determined get an easier meal elsewhere. 

Is your house (body) made of straw, sticks, or bricks? Your body is only as strong and healthy as the materials you put into it. Your body turns the food you eat into your bones, blood, skin, liver, and other organs in your body. 

Wouldn’t you have more confidence in a body built on lean protein, vegetables, and fruits than one built on Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and candy bars?

Now I am not saying that you can’t eat such items, but if you want to lose weight and live according to Christian health principles, then I wouldn’t advise a regular diet of them. 

My goal is to eat healthy 90% of the time or more, saving the other 10% for the other stuff. You get in trouble health-wise when the percentages are reversed! 

With your hands, you have the ability to feed yourself with foods that turn you into a brick house. 

Today, be a wise person by building your house with the highest quality building materials, which is eating foods as close as possible to the way God made them. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Coaches devotional from FCA day 2

Fight the Good Fight

When I’m recruiting players, one of the most important qualities I look for is fight. Fight is that one thing that serves as the axis for our team. If we do that, then we never have anything to be ashamed of. It’s the one thing we can control. There will be things that will come and go; shooting percentages, adhering to a defensive scout, whatever it may be. But you can control how much effort you give and how hard you fight. It gives you the chance to be the best ever if you are talented, and it gives you a chance to compete even when you aren’t as talented as your opponent.

Whether you’re facing an illness or any sort of struggle that may come your way, fight is a way of life. That is also very true when it comes to our existence as Christians. In athletics, we coach our players to fight for loose balls or to fight through adversity on the playing field. But in the spiritual realm, we coach those within our influence to fight the good fight. We help prepare them to fight through adversities on this journey to our eternal life in Heaven.

When you talk about gritting your teeth and standing your ground, maybe nowhere is it more important than in your daily Christian walk and the moment-by-moment decisions. That means doing things that aren’t always easy but what’s necessary. That requires fight. That requires perseverance. And eventually, we will finish the race and be able to say, as the Apostle Paul did, we have kept the faith. – Sherri Coale

1. In athletic terms, how would define the word “fight?”
2. Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8. What is the fight that Paul describes here?
3. How can you incorporate “fight” into the spiritual challenges and decisions you face daily?

1 Corinthians 9:24-25; Colossians 3:17-24; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me the strength to fight the good fight. Help me to stand against temptations and challenges that I face daily and stand up for my faith. Help me to have fight in my spiritual life. Amen.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

3.8 mile jog in Pittsburg. by jdphotog at Garmin Connect - Player

3.8 mile jog in Pittsburg. by jdphotog at Garmin Connect - Player

Christmas Day Walk in Arkansas by jdphotog at Garmin Connect - Details

Christmas Day Walk in Arkansas by jdphotog at Garmin Connect - Details

Coaches Devotional from FCA Heart of a Coach

This devotional was so good, we had to share: (You can find this on YouVersion Bible App)

Correct, Don’t Criticize

When I first started working towards becoming a head coach, people wondered if I could do it. I wasn’t the type to yell at people. I wasn’t the type to get in people’s faces. They didn’t know if I could control the players. How would they respond to my coaching style? How would I handle being in charge of an entire team?

My style has always been one that relies on motivation, encouragement and teaching. I always want to help people get better. That’s the idea behind correction. It’s not about tearing people down. It’s about helping them improve. You have to let them know when they’ve done something wrong, but the goal is helping them became a better player and a better person.

There are certain things that are going to be done a certain way and they’re not negotiable. The punishment is already set and everyone knows it. But then if a rule is a broken and you have to correct, it’s best to avoid sharp criticisms but instead to discipline with love. That approach gives the person the best opportunity to change their behavior.

Jesus corrected by telling stories. He showed examples. He pointed things out. He didn’t just say, “This is wrong and this is right.” He corrected people by getting them to think. When He corrected His disciples, they walked away understanding that it was for their benefit.

As a society, we desperately need to develop young people that are correctable. The youth generation is sometimes difficult to correct because of the way they’ve gotten correction. They have rebelled against correction because they see it as criticism. When the time for discipline comes, sometimes it’s easier to demonstrate authority. It’s more difficult to build relationships because it takes time and patience.

But when we follow Jesus’ model of correction and avoid the temptation to criticize, we are better able to build long-lasting relationships and we increase our influence over those within our care. – Tony Dungy

1. How would you describe your style of discipline?
2. In what ways does correction differ from criticism?
3. What are some things that you can do to become less critical and more encouraging as a coach?

Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me and helping me grow through correction. Help me to model Jesus’ style of correction to those that I teach and influence. Amen.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Runners Devotion from FCA

Trials of Life

Steve Beckerle


“A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” - James 1:12


At 13 years old Ryan knew exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up. Just like his father, he was going to be a major league pitcher. He worked hard, day after day, to make his dream come true, but often fell short. He wondered if God could really build a dream and a passion so big in his heart and let him fail.

Fast forward several years, and it’s evident that God had bigger and better plans for Ryan Hall. A world class Olympic marathon runner and American record holder for the half marathon, Ryan has truly been blessed by God.

God asks us to “consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials.” (James 1:2) This is often the last thing we want to do when experiencing tough times. It’s important to notice that He uses the word joy and not happiness. There’s a big difference. Joy comes from a relationship with Jesus, and happiness is a short-term earthly emotion.

This challenge seems big, but the promise (James 1: 3-4) that comes afterward is simply amazing: “so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” What a promise!

I’m sure 13-year-old Ryan struggled with not knowing what God had planned for him. But in enduring to follow God’s plan, Ryan matured in his walk with the Lord and was blessed for his obedience. His running has given him amazing earthly success along with countless ministry opportunities. So consider it joy, God’s got a plan for you too.


  1. What kind of trials have you faced recently?
  2. What was God trying to teach you?
  3. Have you seen God’s blessings after a trial?

    James 1:2-4
    Romans 12:12


    Lord, help me see You in the mist of my trials and replace my frustration with Your joy. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holden's Hope Documentary


This link will take you to a video documentary about a 9-year boy who suffers from a rare genetic discorder called Mucopolysaccharidoses, type VI (MPS VI).