So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, DO IT ALL for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

How it started, and what we have done...



Several years back, my husband and I decided that we needed to scale back on Christmas. We celebrate with Santa in this house, but we wanted to make Christmas about giving rather than receiving. So we decided that Santa would bring 3 gifts to our kids on Christmas morning, and our gift to our children was to give them $50 each that they have to spend on someone else.



The first year we did it, it was really more fun for us to watch than them I think. :) We got the Samaritan's Purse catalog and they spent the longest time looking through deciding what to do with their money. Did they want to buy chickens, or goats, or school supplies, or medical supplies, or combine their money and buy something bigger like a donkey? It did this momma's heart good to watch them spend hours looking through to decide what to give others. I think all in all that year we ended up with mosquito nets, chickens, school supplies for 50 children, and a goat. Not too shabby for $200.



The next year when they were looking through the catalog in October, Brayden (8 years old at the time) was reading each section. He was very thoughtfully reading the description of what each thing would provide, and trying to make the best choice he could with his $50. He said, "I think we should supply clean water for Christmas." I told him, that he didn't have enough for the hand held water pumps. They would clean water for 1 household for up to 3 months. But it was $250. I told him he would have to convince his brother and sisters to combine their money, and then they would have to try to raise $50. He said, "No Mom, for a whole village. I want clean water for the whole village." I kind of laughed and said, "well buddy, that is $10,000. I don't have $10,000. We only have $200." He looked at me with the most sincere and serious face and said, "well... we have to try."

That is where the idea was born. I could not turn him down. I knew it was a long shot, impossible actually in my mind, but I wanted him to know we did everything possible. I wanted him to know God could do BIG things. So scared to death, we let the kids write a letter to friends and family.

We spent the next 2 months doing so many little odds and ins chores for generous people. The kids were 3, 5, 7, and 8... so we were a tad limited on what we could do. But people came up with some crazy awesome things for these little people and we did it! Sorting Legos, picking up sticks and pinecones, decorating Christmas trees, feeding farm animals, addressing Christmas cards, making Christmas cards... if people thought of it, we tried to do it! We baked about 9 million cookies for cookie exchanges and Christmas parties. The kids went through all their toys and started selling them. They gave their birthday and Christmas money to the cause.  A local paper picked up the story, and MOPS international picked up the story. We had all kinds of people sending money in that were far away, but wanted to help us reach our goal! Any where from $2 to a $2,000 donation came in. It was unbelievable and humbling.

As we got into December we learned that Christian Relief Fund (another amazing organization) had an anonymous donor that would be willing to match whatever we raised! We were so excited!
All in all the kids ended up reaching the goal and building the well! It was such an AMAZING lesson for my children God can do ANYTHING!

February of 2014 when the well was dug, they sent us pictures and it was the amazing, awesome feeling all over again! The well provided clean drinking water to people who were walking 9 miles to the closest (not clean) water source. This was the beginning of a life changing situation for this community.

Since that year of taking a leap of faith, we have continued to stay in touch with the village and the needs that arise there. In 2016, after moving to Maryland we took another leap of faith to raise a huge sum of money to put a solar pump in the existing well. The clean water that was being able to accessed was still on a hand pump situation. This would not only make it easier for the children to access the water (they are the primary water fetchers), but it would also allow them to farm the land.

This is the year we started to partner with We Help Two. It is an amazing organization that lets us sell fun and funky socks and receive 70% of the profit AND they provide us with a pair of thermal socks for the homeless in our area for every pair we sell. This was the perfect opportunity to show our kids how we could help both globally and locally. It also gave us the platform and opportunity to speak Jesus in the public school system where the kids were attending.

That year we had an outpouring of love from our community and a ton of people we didn’t even know. We raised $8,029.33 to help a little village in Kenya! And beyond helping the village on the other side of the world, y'all bought funky socks... like tons of them! And with the generous WE HELP TWO we provided 550 pair of warm socks that were distributed all over the state of Maryland, Washington DC, Missouri, and a few states in between for people in need over the winter time. And not only that... but 174 pair of fun funky socks for kids in the hospital! With those funds you provided a Solar well pump for fresh flowing water for that little village in Kenya. Not only did you do that, but there was so much money raised beyond the goal that they purchased beds, and mattresses, and lots of goats and chickens for the community!


Last year in 2017, my mom passed away from kidney cancer after a very short but fierce battle. She was a pre-school and kindergarten teacher for the last 25 years. It felt very hard to want to do anything last year with the loss of my mom and the (very unexpected) birth of our 5th child, but when our contact at Christian Relief Fund told us that the biggest need was to build a pre-school and kindergarten classroom, we knew this was what the Lord wanted us to do.  Our goal was to purchase 2 cows and a classroom (to be donated in my mother’s name) for the village in Kenya and to be able to have 200 pair of warm socks to donate here locally. Not only did we meet the goals- y’all blew it out of the water!
We got not 2, but 3 cows! We got not 1, but 2 classrooms!!! Not only did we get the classrooms, but desks for all 60 students! All of them y’all!!! ALL! And we have more than 400 pairs of socks to donate!
and we did it in my mom’s name. We partnered with We Help Two again, and we were able to use the end of the campaign to have people sponsor socks to go to children fighting cancer. 
In the last two years we have donated more than 850 pairs of socks to the homeless in Southern Maryland/ DC area and more than 250 kids in the hospital and foster care in our area have received fun funky socks… and that is only the local impact.

We believe the Lord is doing amazing things and letting us be just a little part of that.  This year our goals were HUGE! We wanted to get all 34 students attending at the Kriete School in Chemurgui sponsored. This would provide them with clothing, food, schooling, medical and Bible teaching. This was our number one priority, to make sure these kids were taken care of. We achieved this goal through lots of generous friends and family on Thanksgiving Day 2018!

Our secondary goals this year were to:

1.Provide the village there with a herd of 25-30 goats. Goats are hearty and multiply fast. The goal is that this herd will become 150 in the next 2-3 years. It will provide much needed milk for the school and give employment to many there that need it. People in the community can be hired to tend to the goats, use milk from the goats to sell at the local market, along with other things. This has a price tag of $1,500.

 2. Build a bathroom at the school. The school we built last year currently has no bathroom. They share a one stall outhouse that is collapsing (both underground and the outward structure) with the church across the road. We wanted to dig a new pit latrine that would provide a stable, 10 stall bathroom structure at the school. This has a price tag of $5,000.

So once again, we are partnering with WeHelp Two to try to raise funds and put socks on the homeless here in Southern Maryland. We also are trying to get 50 pair of socks sponsored to donate to kids in the hospital and foster care system.

So here in the final stretch of this year’s campaign,

 HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1.     BUY SOCK- $15 is for a 3 pack of socks for you. When you do that, $9 goes to the bathroom project in Kenya AND a pair of thermal socks is donated to the homeless here in St. Mary’s county. You can order those HERE through WeHelp Two sock store until DECEMBER 21st! Just put KRIETE in the organization you would like to support (step 3) at checkout.



2.     SPONSOR A GOAT-Goats are $50 each. You can send money through PayPal to krietechristmas2018@gmail.com and let us know how many you would like to sponsor. This also closes CHRISTMAS DAY!


3.       DONATE! Socks aren't your thing but still want to see this awesome things happen? We've got you covered! You can send donations to be applied 100% toward the BATHROOM project through PayPal to krietechristmas2018@gmail.com HERE or you can send donations to:


Cassie Kriete

27595 Avonlea Ct.

Mechanicsville, MD 20659



4.     5-SPREAD THE WORD! If you have already bought socks or donated... please spread the word! Share our story and our mission! Wear your socks! Take pictures and tag me in them! We are relying on you to help us get the word out!

5.     PRAY- If none of these monetary options are for you, we covet your prayers. We ask for prayers for the people of Chemurgui, Kenya and the homeless here in Maryland. And as a mother, I ask for you to pray for our family… that we always keep the focus on the Lord and remember we are just the hands and feet to His amazing works!


THANK YOU!!! To everyone that has and continues to support this mission! Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Last Month of Fasting Journey

 We are entering the last month of this fasting journey, I am both very excited and a little sad. I am so excited about this month, Prayer.  I am excited to see what the Lord will do and what He will show me, but a little sad to see it come to an end.

The Purpose of this month is to take 7 intentional pauses a day to focus prayer in 7 specific areas of life. I know things have been revolving around the number 8 during this fasting journey, but I read the verses in Psalm 119:164-168 (I really love how the Message puts it)

Seven times each day I stop and shout praises
    for the way you keep everything running right.
For those who love what you reveal, everything fits—
    no stumbling around in the dark for them.
I wait expectantly for your salvation;
    God, I do what you tell me.
My soul guards and keeps all your instructions—
    oh, how much I love them!
I follow your directions, abide by your counsel;
    my life’s an open book before you.


This just felt like seven was the right number to pause and address the Lord... so we are going with seven. :) 

Here are my times and topics

6am- Prepare my heart and mind for the day. Ask the Lord to help me accomplish what HE wants me to accomplish that day and be aware of opportunities that He puts in front of me.

7:30am- This will happen with my children on the way to school. We will pray for their teachers, other students and that the Lord will show them ways they can be used for Him.

10am- My husband, my marriage and other marriages (both specific and in general)

12pm- Our leaders. Church leaders and government leaders and their families.

2pm- The sick and the orphans of this world (both specific and in general)

6pm- (dinner time with the family) Sock mission, the people of Kenya, the homeless, and the people that we should reach through this ministry.

10pm- Prayer of thanksgiving. I will thank the Lord for blessings in my life.

I am excited to see how the Lord moves through the power of prayer. I invite you to join me at any or all of these times to pray this month. And if you have sometime you would like me to be praying for this month, please let me know, I would love to be praying for you.

Thanks for joining me on the journey. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Socks for the Season- Year 3!

SOCKS FOR THE SEASON!!!

It is that time of year again! The time of year where we kick off our sock campaign and we couldn't be more excited! In case you have forgotten, or you are new to this adventure... let me give you the run down of how it works.

The sock campaign is our primary way of raising funds for the pit latrine and 10 stall toilet house at the school we built last year. The current bathroom situation is a bad one. The school currently has no bathroom. They have 34 students, along with teachers and staff. They are sharing a bathroom with the church across the road. That bathroom is failing. It is a VERY old pit latrine that's walls are caving in. The outside structure is also unstable and infested with bees. And there is only one stall for the church and the school. We would be digging a pit latrine that would provide enough capacity for 10 separate stalls and a much more (non-bee infested) structure. After talking with the people there in Chemurgui, this is the most immediate need they have. This project has a price tag of $5,000.

We have partnered with an AMAZING organization called We Help Two. We sell these super fun socks in packs of three for $15. You get your pack of three pair of fun funky socks, and we get $9 toward the toilet project AND a pair of warm thermal socks to give to the homeless right here in our area! You read that right... we get $$$ toward our project AND thermal socks for the homeless while you get your fun socks!!! It's a win-win-win!

This year we have NEW STYLES and NEW DESIGNS! We still have tall fun stripes, but we also have ankle socks, sports socks, tons of patterns (some new and some old) and my favorite... socks for littles! They have a whole new size (children's 8-12) for all the little people in your life! They are called First Funky and they are adorable!

So how do you purchase?

 We have 2 ways...

Local people- I have lots of  new styles on hand to purchase! First Funky, Pastel Pop, Yukon Strips, Whitehorse Stripes, Funky Zebra, Ankle Sport, and Performance Ankle! Simply contact me through messenger or email (cdkriete@yahoo.com) and I will get them to you! This is ZERO shipping, and first come first served!

Everyone- ORDER ONLINE!  It is sooo easy! Just go HERE to the Sock Store and choose whatever pattern and style you want (new and old)! Add it to your cart, and make sure you put "KRIETE" in the organization you want to receive credit (step 3) and then it gets shipped directly to you!

It is that easy! So BUY SOCKS! By socks for you, your sport's team, your youth group, your friends, your sister, your brother, your Aunt Sally, and your Grandma... everybody needs socks! And share, share, share... so your circle of people can buy socks!

Just to recap...
You buy fun funky socks.
We get $9 AND
A pair of warm socks for the homeless!

Happy shopping!


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Christmas in Kenya- How to Help

"Every great journey begins with a small step."

I read this phrase last night and was very touched by it. It made me think about the Chemurgui village and how 5 years ago when we started with a HUGE dream of providing clean drinking water to this place we knew nothing about... and now. Now there have been so many changes to this little village and we have fallen in love with the people there. Over the last 5 years we have dug a fresh water well, provided them with a solar pump for the water to farm the land, provided beds and mattresses for the agriculture school there, lots of chickens and goats, cows, and last year we built 2 classrooms for the Kriete School and filled them with desks for the young children in that area to learn and grow!  What an AMAZING journey that started with just one small step! The step was to say "yes". All we had to do is say yes when the Lord nudged our heart in that direction. We said yes, and he provided through YOU!

We are so aware that there is NO WAY that our little family could ever do this on our own. But with much prayer and a whole lot of amazing generous people, the Lord has provided!

This year our contact at Christian Relief Fund traveled to the Chemurgui village in August. She took a ton of pictures and spent a lot of time with me on the phone answering every question I had and sharing so much about what things are like there. After many conversations (and pictures that just stole our hearts) we decided our number one priority this year was to get the children sponsored that will be attending the school we just built. These two classrooms are pre-K and kindergarten, so most of the children needing sponsored are ages 3-5.

To sponsor a child is a $35 a month commitment. This provides them with medical, food, schooling, and Bible teaching every month! This will be LIFE CHANGING for this community! It keeps kids off the streets during the day, it provides them with much needed food they are not getting at home, and it helps pay the teachers that are working there to stimulate the environment and provide safe and appropriate employment. When we started a month ago, we had 34 children in that area that needed sponsors. We are now down to 15! That is so amazing and we are so thankful for those who have chosen sponsorship, but we aren't done yet! We currently have been granted a private page to try to get these children sponsored. We have until Thanksgiving, and then they will go into the mass system of all waiting children in all countries that Christian Relief works in.  We would LOVE to get each of these children a sponsor BEFORE Thanksgiving, as to not get lost in the shuffle of all waiting children.
If you are interested in sponsoring you can visit our private page HERE. If sponsorship is not for you right now, please take the time to go read some of these children's stories and choose someone to pray for until they find sponsorship!

The other two goals for the year are to dig a pit latrine and build a stable a secure 10 stall bathroom for the school and to buy 25 goats.

The current bathroom situation is horrible. There is no bathroom at the school. The school must share with the church across the road. This bathroom is a very old, one stall situation. Currently the pit is caving in and the rickety structure surrounding it is infested with bees. When talking about all of our options for physical needs, this was ranked as the most immediate need!

We also would like to purchase 25 goats. This provides soooo many things for this community. Employment of tending to goats, milk for the children at the school, milk to sell at the market, and many more possibilities. The goal is to have a herd of 150, but we would like the people there to be invested in raising this herd to its potential. With a herd of 25 they felt they could get to 150 in 2-3 years.

HOW TO HELP

We have several ways you can help!

1. PRAY- this is so important! We strongly believe that prayer should be the first line of action, not a last resort! So please, please pray for this to be a successful effort!

2. Hire our kids! This sounds bad, but our kids are willing to do the work! If you have a job that needs to be done, they are willing to try to do it!

3. Sponsor a child- We have 15 more children desperately needing sponsorship. You can go HERE to read their stories and choose someone to sponsor.



 
 4. Purchase Socks!- I will have an entire post dedicated to socks early next week, but here it is in a nutshell.. We have partnered with this amazing organization called WeHelpTwo. You get to purchase fun funky socks (3 pairs for $15). Every time you purchase a package of socks, we get $9 toward our goal AND we get a warm pair of thermal socks to donate to the homeless in our area! It is helping both globally and locally- win, win! We have heard your requests, and they have TONS of new styles and designs this year.  Tall socks, ankle socks, stripes, polka-dots, athletic socks... and in a size for EVERYONE! They even created "funky first" for the toddlers in your life (and they are super cute).
If you are local- I have all of the new styles and designs on hand and you can purchase them NOW! it is first come first serve on what I have in stock. Just send me a message and I will hook you up! If you are not local- you can still purchase socks. Go HERE to the sock store and you can purchase any pair of socks you desire and have them shipped directly to you! Just make sure you put "Kriete" in the organization you would like to support (step 3) so we get the credit for the socks you order!


5. Make a donation/sponsor a goat- if purchasing socks is not your cup of tea, and you don't live close to have the kids work for you, but would like to contribute... you can send a donation through PayPal. Goats are $50 each, and we would love for you to sponsor a goat! Just send money to krietechristmas2018@gmail.com through PayPal and we will be happy to get you covered!

6. SPREAD THE WORD!  We know not everyone can contribute financially right now, but you might have people in your circle that can! Please share our story and our mission! We want as many people praying for this goal as possible, and that requires you!


These BIG goals have a $6,250 price tag! That is a lot of work to do before Christmas! But as I said in the beginning, every great journey begins with a small step. Take your small step today!

Thanks for joining us on the journey!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Spending Month Purpose and Guidelines

So...  Last week I had this really long blog post wrapping up Me month. It was very "standing on my soapbox-ish". I usually give myself 24 hours of praying and then a re-read before I post something kind of preachy... and I'm glad I did. Beth Moore Bible study saved me on Sunday morning, so ya'll will get the less preachy/soapbox-ish version  of the conclusion to Me month later today. But for now...

Spending Month.

I took 2 weeks off this time (I'll explain more in Me month post), and that has put me in a different position than I wanted to be for spending month. It will go through the week of Thanksgiving (and Black Friday!!!), so let me outline the purpose, guideline, and fears.

Purpose: To know where all of our money is going and making sure it has a purpose and is not being wasted. To be a good steward of what the Lord has provided.

Guidelines: I will only spend money at 8(ish) locations. I will not purchase any non-essential items for myself this month.

Here are my locations:
1. Bill Pay- this is all the major (and not major) bills that MUST be paid every month. Things like house payment, electric bill, propane, phone, etc.... these all get lumped into one category.
2. Gas- I do a lot of running kids where they need to go, so I did not pick just one gas station. I can purchase gas anywhere, but only gas.  Gas stations will not be used for snacks or food, gas only.
3. Aldi- food purchases... though I don't get everything there, and it is not conveniently located to me, so I had to pick another one too.
4. Food Lion- I did not really want this to be my grocery store option... it's not my favorite. But I needed something that had long hours and was closer than a 25 minute drive. So here I am, stuck with Food Lion.
5. Local farmers/Amish- this is for food purchase also. Since food month and waste month I have really come to rely on some staples from these places and visit them often. I also think it is important to support local, so they get a spot.
6. School/Activities- I hate this takes a spot... but with 4 children in the public school system and extracurricular activities, there is always something that comes up that needs money from school, music or sports... so school/activities get spot number 6.
7. Doctor/pharmacy/dentist/orthodontist- these are necessary evils. I have three kids that see the orthodontist and if I didn't put these on here there would be a major medical emergency. I also didn't want "breaking the fasting rules" to come into play when trying to decide to take someone to the doctor or dentist.
8. Target- this is my "in case" store. I am going to try very hard not to use this store this month, but sometimes there are school projects or certain item that need to be purchased for an activity that you can't find at your local farmer/grocery store.

So... I tried to do a little prep for this month by purchasing or paying for things that I would need to during the month on the list. Landen's birthday party- pre-paid. Canvases/prints for the house- Groupon purchased. Holiday cards- already paid.  I tried to think of things I knew that would need to be done that are not fasting friendly... but I'm sure I will discover things I forgot along the way.

I also had a little girl date with my girls on Saturday. We went out to eat and did a little shopping for the baby so I could try to get a little of the impulse buy of adorable baby girl things out of my system. It was a fun little date and the girls LOVED shopping for their new little sister!



We also splurged and ate out a couple of times this weekend, knowing that we are entering a month of no eating out (again!). Side note: A lot of these fasts have required us to not eat out. I should probably take a closer look at to how that aspect of our life runs into so many different things...hmmm...

Couple of fears/anxiety:
Fear 1- Eating out. We don't do it a ton, and I'm aware it is a luxury not necessity, but I struggle with the convenience of it when I am exhausted, Eric is traveling, and there are a million evening activities. That probably means there are some pretty good lessons to learn there. Ugh. It also limits quick date options with my hubs during the day while kids are at school (on the rare occasion he is home) and meeting up for something quick with friends.

Fear 2- Christmas shopping. I've done ZERO! Black Friday falls during this fast and that is just the pits! I know this will keep me from buying a LOT of things I do not need... but again, ugh! It is also craft fair season... so many craft fairs!

Fear 3- Thanksgiving meal. I hate that I don't have the option of a better grocery store to pick up what I need to prepare how I want to prepare... but alas... Food lion and Aldi will have to do.

I guess I should also define "spending". This is money that we spend on our family's needs/wants. I do not consider money that is allocated for missionaries, sponsored children, tithing or any other donations that we make regularly (or that the Lord places on our hearts to make this month) to be considered spending. That is giving.

This month the kids and I will participate all month. Eric will participate when he is in town, it is impossible while he is traveling.

I'm excited and nervous to see what the Lord has in store for the month! Thanks for joining me on the journey!




Friday, September 28, 2018

Satan's Roadblocks

Here is something I have learned during this fast... when you commit things to the Lord, Satan attacks. Satan does not want you to succeed, so he finds an area of weakness and pounces. I really struggle with focusing on myself. I have this false guilt, that I think most women have, that everyone else comes first.  And though I do feel I was put here to serve the Lord and meet the needs of others, I don't think there is anything wrong... it's actually probably really good for me... to take a step back every now and then to see how I am doing.

Since I started the "me" fasting 10 days ago... you know the one that focuses on taking care of myself physically, spiritually and emotionally... well Satan has thrown a few roadblocks to make it more difficult than originally thought.

I have had 4 of my 5 children sick and a traveling husband. This makes it a tad difficult to focus on me. Very few things are getting accomplished to the extent I was hoping at this point, but I am trucking along. Here's where I stand:

Study/Journal my way through the book of James-  This one is actually going fairly well. I have made a bit of time each day to spend sometime in the Word. It has been great. I'm taking my time, but just about finished with James, so I will be moving on to another book when I'm done. I've enjoyed it.


Keep Prayer/Gratitude Journal- This one has been eye opening. I have seasons of struggling with one child more than others. Looking back through my daily prayers actually written out makes it blaring obvious where I am struggling and what I am abundantly grateful for. I am also really enjoying that some of the kids are really getting into it.

Read a book for entertainment purposes- nothing. I have done zero for this... haven't even looked at options so I am open for suggestions. Nothing self help... only for enjoyment.

Take a trip with Eric- This is planned, booked and paid for.8 more days!!! I am soooo excited and ridiculously nervous about leaving the kids.

Take a day trip myself- I have in mind the things I would like to do, but this one has been increasingly tricky to get scheduled. Eric's work schedule has been brutal, which makes my finding a day alone difficult.

Brain in a Binder- This is something I lived by when all my kids were little, but have gotten away from it the past several years. Now that I have a baby at home again, I have found that I need to have that structure again. I have managed to re-organize and revise it to fit my current situation. I am very loosely using it this week and hoping to be more stringent starting next week.

Create something- I have a project in mind and a day set aside next week.

Learn a new piece on my trumpet- not sure this will be done by the end of the month, but I'll be working toward it. I'm actually pretty excited.  After hours of listening to trumpet pieces and reaching out to the band teacher for some guidance I've settle on a piece and it is ordered. It has been a LONG time since I have prepared a musical piece.

Beth Moore Study through church- I missed the first week with sick kids. The next Sunday, Eric was home and offered to stay with sick kids so I could go. I would normally say no (feeling it was my responsibility to stay home) but I let him. I really enjoyed the study and am looking forward to the weeks to come.

Brush, Floss, face washed and vitamins every night- this is the only one I have accomplished EVERY day. Even the night I fell asleep on the couch, I got up and did my nightly routine.

80oz of water a day- fail. 64 is my go to number. I have had a hard time doing this very simple thing.

Train and run a half marathon- This one had an * next to it. Cat's out of the bag... so the * comes because I am 13 weeks pregnant, so I am playing this by ear. I don't want to push too much, but I would like to push a little. Between sick kids, traveling husband, all the rain... I have only got one run in. Doesn't seem to promising, but I would like to keep on trying.

I'm tired. Satan really doesn't want me to accomplish goals this month. I could use some prayer and motivation.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Me Month

So... I took a little break from blogging. I've still been fasting and keeping notes and taking pictures, but life has been busy and I have been focusing on the fasting part and not the blogging part. :)

The last two months were waste month and media month... I hope to catch y'all up on how those went and what I learned, but I'm going to jump in where I am and hope you can learn something right along with me this month.

This is Me Month. Sounds kind of like an oxymoron with fasting so let me explain a little...

Purpose: To focus on my spiritual, emotional and physical health.

This is something I struggle with. I think a lot of women struggle with this. We get busy with everything that needs to be done for all the people around us that depend on us, and we kind of push ourselves to the back burner. This month I am giving myself permission to focus on how I am doing spiritually, emotionally, and physically... and is what I am doing in those areas glorifying God?

This month is a little different that previous months. I'm not really setting guidelines or rules to follow, more of a list of things that I would like to accomplish/focus on in each of these areas of my life. Some of them are one time things, some are daily, some are goal oriented. I prayed a lot about these things. Honestly when I started more than 6 months ago, I had in mind what this month was going to look like, and... well... life changes and the Lord shows you things you didn't know you needed to know and gives you things you didn't know you needed. So here we are 6 months later with a very different looking list than originally thought. :)

So, without further ado... here's my list for the month:

1. Study/journal my way through the book of James.
2. Keep a gratitude/prayer journal for the month (everyone in my family is participating in this and keeping their own journals this month)
3. Read a book for entertainment purposes.
4. Take a kid-free/work-free trip with Eric
5. Take a day trip for myself
6. Revise, organize and utilize my Brain in a Binder
7. Create something (and not for a birthday party)
8. Learn a new piece on my trumpet
9. Beth Moore Bible Study through church
10. Brush, floss, face washing routine, and vitamins EVERY night (even if I fall asleep on the couch)
11. 80oz (at least) of water daily
12. Train and run a half marathon*

My solemn prayer for this month is that, even though this fast is a "me" fast... I want the focus to remain on the Lord. I pray that focus stays on how He has blessed me and the gifts He has given to me, and I do not turn it into an excuse to be selfish or self-centered.

I hope to take you through some of these that might need a bit more explanation as we go along and keep you up with my tasks as we head through the month. I'm excited and a bit nervous... focusing on myself tends to make me uncomfortable and shut down. Praying I keep the focus on the Lord and all goes smoothly (as smooth as fasting can be ;) ).

Thanks for joining me on the journey!