When The Holy Spirit Lays Something On Your Heart…

…Listen and Obey. 

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I am in the beginning stages of planning something for the women of my church. The idea came to me after several months of hearing about many friends within our church dealing with various difficult circumstances. Some are dealing with their own illnesses or that of a family member, death of a loved one, marital conflict, parenting rebellious children, keeping the home front functioning while their husband is deployed, financial struggles, sin strongholds, and several other circumstances. I know that many times women carry the burden of caring for others while often neglecting themselves. Our church is large and many of us do not know each other. I want to bring us together for a day so that we can fellowship together and build lasting friendships and support systems. I want the women of our church will feel the presence of God even while they are dealing with heartache, tragedy, complacency, or any difficulty within their lives. I want our women to feel loved by God and know that God sees us and meets us right where we are.

Like I said, this is only the beginning stage… I have met with some church leadership who will present my ideas to the church board and staff. If approved, I can plan and organize to my hearts content. Just in the past week of meetings and creating a possible outline of events, I have felt the Holy Spirit working in my heart. I found myself crying for no apparent reason this morning as I was contemplating what to write for my presentation. The burden to encourage and to pray for the women of my church has swelled up in my soul.

I write this to you as a plea for your prayers. Please pray that if it is God’s Will for my ideas to come to fruition, that everything will fall into place:

  • that the church will give their approval
  • that a date can be set
  • that finances and child care will be available so that the women can attend
  • that God will give me the words to say
  • that the event team can create a plan that honors Him

Thank you for your prayer support! I’ll keep you updated!

Participating in Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday… the day that many observe the Lent season. The following I mostly posted back in 2014 Observing Lent along with some updated thoughts relevant to this year.

I was not raised in a family that participated in Lent. I always thought that Lent was a Catholic ritual. In high school I asked several friends why they came to school with ash on their foreheads and they could never give me a good reason for why they “observe” Lent. They seemed to be doing it because they were told to do it or because that is what they have always done. I never actually participated in an Ash Wednesday service until 2010 when we were living in Japan. When the pastor of our church did the service, I found that I really liked the concept behind Lent.

Got Questions?org gives this definition of Lent:

“Lent is a period of fasting and repentance traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations in preparation for Easter. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 40 days. During this time, participants eat sparingly or simply give up a particular food or habit. Ash Wednesday and Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves to repent of their sins in a manner similar to how people in the Old Testament repented in sackcloth, ashes, and fasting (Esther 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3; Matthew 11:21).”

I have found online that there is great controversy between Christians who think it is okay or not okay to observe Lent. It is important to note that Lent or any other Christian tradition or act of faith is NOT required in order to receive God’s gift of salvation and it will not win God’s blessing or make us more holy. It is not commanded in scripture to celebrate Christmas or Easter but we do so because it brings us joy to celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. In the same way, Lent can be a focused time of reflection. While participating in Lent or other traditions, some people may have wrong motives or they will be doing it because that is what they have always done. For me, it is a time of reflection and a time to remove something from my life that is hindering a closer relationship with God and/or to add something to my life that I should have been doing already.

I think that this graphic gives a good representation of how I choose to observe Lent (I can no longer find the original link I had to the graphic):

Lent-R1

This, of course, is something we should keep in mind all year and not just in the weeks leading up to Easter. I think that observing Lent is a humbling way to focus our thoughts and actions. We also need to keep in mind that while doing any type of fasting/abstaining/self-denial that it should be personal between you and God. While there is nothing wrong with telling others that you are observing Lent, it should not be used as a way to bring attention and glory to ourselves. Instead, we should be humble and desire to bring glory to the Father.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 NIV

Some years, I do not feel lead to participate in Lent and do not give it a second thought once I decide not to participate. Other years, like this year, I have a strong desire to participate which leads to prayer as to what I should eliminate from and/or add to my daily life.

This year, after much prayer, I presented the idea of participating in Lent to my girls ages 10 & 8. I explained the basics of Lent to them and when I told them what I was giving up they were in shock. I told them that they did not have to give up the same thing that I was but that they should choose something that would be difficult for them so that they can use the time they desire to pray. Even more important than giving something up, I plan to use this season to do a family devotional with the girls.

Lately, the girls and I have been having daily struggles of frustration of completing chores, attitudes (mine included), getting out the door on time for school or church, as well as other things. My oldest and I battle it out with yelling matches that unfortunately remind me of how much anger is a stronghold in my life. With my husband overseas and a newborn in the home, I need to find a way to bring peace between me and the girls. So, along with implementing consistent chore charts and behavior plans, we will be doing a daily devotional during Lent.

The church that we attend does not do an Ash Wednesday service, so we will not have ashes on our foreheads today. However, my girls and I will still begin our reflection journey together. I am praying for peace, reconciliation, obedience, and respect to be present in our home. I have a bad habit of starting things and not finishing them, so if you think of me or this article sometime over the next couple of months, please consider taking the time to say a prayer for us!

Giveaway Reminder!

Don’t forget to enter to win my Quiet Time Book Giveaway!!! TWO DAYS LEFT TO ENTER!!! Winner will be announced on Wednesday-March 1st! Please share the giveaway with your friends and family who may be interested. Visit the original post for instructions on how to enter to win! Click Here:

Quiet Time Book Giveaway

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Quiet Time Book Giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS TO LEIGHANN H.
WINNER OF THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!
You have been notified with a message to the email address you provided. PLEASE RESPOND WITH YOUR MAILING ADDRESS WITHIN 5 DAYS AT:
hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com
*****

It has been awhile since I have done a giveaway… so let’s do one now!

This is a great time of year to start new routines. Some of my goals are to journal daily, organize my home, etc. On March 1st, I will give away the following package of books:

(Total Value: $40.00)

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ENTER TO WIN:

~(Mandatory) Comment on this blog post:

What are your quiet time goals for 2017?

~(Optional) View/Like Heart Treasures Facebook Page

Click on the Rafflecopter Link Below to register your entries!

Terms & Conditions:

1. Entries will be accepted until midnight Tuesday, February 28, 2017. One (1) winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted.

2. The top of this post will be updated with the announcement of the winner and I will attempt to contact the winner by the email they provide.

3. Winner must e-mail me with name (first & last) and mailing address within 5 days of announcement otherwise the book will be sent to a new winner. hearttreasurescontact@gmail.com

Disclaimer: This is a free giveaway at Heart Treasures Blog’s expense, therefore, Heart Treasures Blog is not responsible for loss or damage of the giveaway item(s). Giveaway open only to residents of the United States (unless you have a US Military address such as APO, FPO, etc.)

Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Erin Condren Notebooks

I jumped on the Erin Condren bandwagon last year after several friends raved about their planners. I browsed through several of them and spent a lot of time on the EC website before finally deciding to take the plunge!

I have already reviewed the Erin Condren LifePlanner and Teacher Lesson Planner. More recently I purchased two Erin Condren Notebooks. I use both of them for different purposes. The base price for a notebook is $20.00.

You choose your cover design and coil color. There are so many covers to choose from and they all are removable so that you can change them out whenever you want! Several of them have color variations so you can pick your favorite color scheme. Seasonal covers are often added to the collection various times of year. All of them have the option of personalizing with name or other information. The covers that have metallic designs are an additional $5.00. As always, the covers are laminated so that wet erase markers can be used on them. There are 4 coil colors to choose from. I have always picked the platinum coil because it matches the most covers if I decide to change my cover. Several of my friends have said that their colored coils started chipping pretty quickly. The gold, black, and rose coils are an additional $10.00.

You choose size: 7 x 9 inches or 8.5 x 11 inches for an additional $5.00. Then you choose layout: Classic Lined (neutral), Productivity (colorful), or Dot Grid (colorful).

One of my notebooks I am using for sermon notes and prayer requests (size: 7 x 9 inches). customized my cover with my name and favorite scripture reference:

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And I chose the classic lined layout:

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The other notebook I am trying to be more creative with (size: 8.5 x 11 inches). I am using it for journaling, lists, plans, coloring, scrapbooking, etc. This is the first time I have chosen a cover with the metallic look (blue and platinum) and I absolutely love it! This is by far my favorite cover that I have purchased so far! I chose the dot grid layout for this notebook. The photos below will show the various ways I have utilized some of the pages.

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Daily Journaling & Scrapbooking:

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2017 Goals:

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Organization Projects/Checklist:

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Decluttering Tracker:

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Yearly Tracker (using a printable I purchased online):

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Debt Tracker:

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Blog Post Ideas/Checklist:

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I use an assortment of Erin Condren stickers, The Happy Planner stickers (Hobby Lobby), and the washi tape that I have picked up in various stores like Hobby Lobby or Target. Erin Condren has several sticker books ($15.00) and sticker pages ($3.00-$10.00) to choose from.

So far I love my notebooks! The paper is thick like it is in the planners. The customizable covers and sticker assortments available make notebooking fun whatever purpose you are using them for!

I understand that the purchasing an Erin Condren planner or notebook is an investment. It is somewhat costly but I believe that the quality is worth it (more so for the planners vs the notebooks). I most likely will not be purchasing another notebook until I runout of paper in the ones that I have. Even then, I would only purchase them if there was a significant sale/discount on them. I still really like them though!

If you are interested in trying an Erin Condren planner, you can use my referral code to get $10.00 off your first purchase. By doing so, you help me earn credit towards my Erin Condren purchases. After you sign up, you will get your own referral link to share with your friends! Click the following link:

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-12-10-27-am

It is also important to note that there is a long processing time for orders. When you browse the website, there are expected ship dates listed but they are subject to change. When you pay for expedited shipping, you are paying for the actual shipping time not the processing time. So do not expect to receive your order within the same week even if you pay extra for shipping. Keeping all this in mind, I place my orders a month or so in advance of when I actually need to start using them, especially when it comes to ordering anything that is personalized.

*****

More Erin Condren Reviews:

Erin Condren LifePlanner

Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner

*****

Do you have an Erin Condren notebook? I would LOVE to see photos of how you use it!

(Be sure to edit out any personal information before posting photos).

Erin Condren Teacher’s Lesson Planner

I jumped on the Erin Condren bandwagon last year after several friends raved about their planners. I browsed through several of them and spent a lot of time on the EC website before finally deciding to take the plunge!

The Erin Condren Teacher’s Lesson Planner was the first EC planner I ever bought. No, I am not a full time teacher. I am a substitute teacher but that does not involve making lesson plans. So why did I get the lesson planner? Glad you asked!

The main reason why I got it was because it is 8.5 x 11 inches which is bigger than the Erin Condren LifePlanner  (7 x 9 inches). There are many customizable options that allows you to make it your own. The base price for this planner is $55.00. Some of the customization options will add to the price.

Like the LifePlanner, the first thing you do is choose your cover design and coil color. There are so many covers to choose from and they all are removable so that you can change them out whenever you want! Several of them have color variations so you can pick your favorite color scheme. Seasonal covers are often added to the collection various times of year. All of them have the option of personalizing with name or other information. The covers that have metallic designs are an additional $5.00. There are 3 coil colors to choose from. I have always picked the platinum coil because it matches the most covers if I decide to change my cover. Several of my friends have said that their colored coils started chipping pretty quickly. The gold and rose coils are an additional $10.00.

Here is the original cover that I ordered:

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The heart cover below is a seasonal cover that was available last year around Valentine’s Day that I bought a month or so after I received my planner. Interchangeable covers cost $8.00-$13.00 when buying them separate from a planner.

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At the time, I also had a lot of responsibility in many areas of life and I wanted a planner that would help me organize all of those areas!

As you continue through the planner you have several pages that are specifically for teachers. I covered the pages that did not apply to me with various printables that I found online. Some of the teacher pages, I did not cover but modified them to meet my needs. There is a 2 page spread of Holidays and Dates to remember. A 2 page spread for keeping track of birthdays. Several pages of absentee logs (I used these for keeping notes). Several pages of graph paper. Then, you have a 2 page spread of plan your year boxes to use as you choose. I used them to keep track of my substitute teaching jobs and paychecks:

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You can choose between colorful or neutral color schemes for the planner. The colorful has colored tabs and the Neutral has black tabs. I chose the colorful scheme.

One thing that I absolutely love about the lesson planner is that you can choose your start month. This is perfect for those who buy planners mid year or for teachers who need to start their planning in July or August.

Here is my January:

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And here is my July:

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I use an assortment of Erin Condren stickers and the washi tape that I have picked up in various stores like Hobby Lobby or Target. Erin Condren has several sticker books ($15.00) and sticker pages ($3.00-$10.00) to choose from. There are customizable event stickers ($2.00-$4.00). I also love the dot stickers ($4.00). The date dot stickers add a pop of color to the neutral scheme or coordinates with the colorful scheme. I like the daily dots for color coding recurring events like dance classes.

Between each month, there is a note page and a quote page.

After the monthly calendars, there are many lesson plan pages. Here is where I got creative to plan my various areas of life! Instead of class subjects, I created categories: Family & Household, Subbing & PAC (Parent Committee), Church & CBS (Bible Study), Blog & Books (Reviews), Norwex Team, and Saturday/Sunday. I started out the year using color coding with different colored pens… but that did not last long! I wish there was an option to have more lesson pages. Having more would be helpful for year round homeschoolers, teachers who have summer school, or people like me who use them year round for other purposes.

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Following the lesson plans are the checklist pages. 7 come with the base price, 14 for $5.00, 21 for 7.50, or 28 for $10.00. I used these pages for keeping track of my Norwex team and other lists I thought of throughout the year.

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Behind the checklist pages there are event sticker sheets, Keep It Together Folder, Sheet Protectors, and a Plan For It Pouch. You can choose how many sheet protectors you want. 1 comes with the base price, 2 for 1.50, or 3 for $3.00. I wish I could have more than 3 sheet protectors. Between my Norwex business, school, and church, I always had more flyers than sheet protectors! These were an awesome way of keeping important pages together in one place allowing me to refer to them quickly whenever needed!

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Overall, I really like my planner! I wish there was an option to have more lesson pages. Having more would be helpful for year round homeschoolers, teachers who have summer school, or people like me who use them year round for other purposes.  This planner definitely meets my organizational need as well as encourages my creative outlet!

I understand that the purchasing an Erin Condren planner is an investment. It is somewhat costly but I believe that the quality is worth it. There are less expensive lesson planners out there but I have not found one that is comparable to this one. I searched high and low for the perfect teacher planner when I homeschooled but I never found one that met all my needs. This one would have been awesome!

If you are interested in trying an Erin Condren planner, you can use my referral code to get $10.00 off your first purchase. By doing so, you help me earn credit towards my Erin Condren purchases. After you sign up, you will get your own referral link to share with your friends! Click the following link:

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-12-10-27-am

It is also important to note that there is a long processing time for orders. When you browse the website, there are expected ship dates listed but they are subject to change. When you pay for expedited shipping, you are paying for the actual shipping time not the processing time. So do not expect to receive your order within the same week even if you pay extra for shipping. Keeping all this in mind, I place my orders a month or so in advance of when I actually need to start using them, especially when it comes to ordering anything that is personalized.

*****

More Erin Condren Reviews:

Erin Condren LifePlanner

Erin Condren Notebooks

*****

Do you have an Erin Condren planner? I would LOVE to see photos of your decorated monthly and weekly spreads!

(Be sure to edit out any personal information before posting photos).

Erin Condren LifePlanner

I jumped on the Erin Condren bandwagon last year after several friends raved about their planners. I browsed through several of them and spent a lot of time on the EC website before finally deciding to take the plunge!

The LifePlanner is what Erin Condren is known for. It is 7 x 9 inches and has many customizable options that allows you to make it your own. The base price for this planner is $55.00. Some of the customization options will add to the price.

First, you choose your cover design and coil color. There are so many covers to choose from and they all are removable so that you can change them out whenever you want!  Several of them have color variations so you can pick your favorite color scheme. Seasonal covers are often added to the collection various times of year. All of them have the option of personalizing with name or other information. The covers that have metallic designs are an additional $5.00. There are 4 coil colors to choose from. I have always picked the platinum coil because it matches the most covers if I decide to change my cover. Several of my friends have said that their colored coils started chipping pretty quickly. The gold, black, and rose coils are an additional $10.00.

Here is the outer cover of my LifePlanner. I chose not to have it personalized this time:15940895_10211878922797591_1167106922123676010_n

And here is the inside of the cover, which is perfect for jotting down notes with a wet erase pen (set of 4- $10.00). The back cover of course corresponds with the front and is also removable and laminated:

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As you continue through the planner you have a 2 page spread of 16 mini monthly dated calendars. Then you have a 2 page spread of 12 blank boxes to use as you choose. I use them to list all of the birthdays and anniversaries I need to remember. It makes it easier for me to have them all in one place! I hold together all of the months that have passed with an Erin Condran elastic band (set of 3- $7.00). I use one to keep my whole planner held together as well!

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Between each month, there is a lined note page and a watercolor quote page.  This is the spread between January and February. 16106034_10211878932237827_7727129935987594933_n

You can also choose between colorful or neutral color schemes for the planner. The colorful has colored tabs and the Neutral has black tabs. I chose the neutral but as you can see above there are still splashes of color throughout.

You also choose your weekly spread: horizontal, vertical, and hourly. This time I chose hourly:

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Before the weekly spreads, there is a monthly spread. Here is my January:

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I use an assortment of Erin Condren stickers and the washi tape that I have picked up in various stores like Hobby Lobby or Target. Erin Condren has several sticker books ($15.00) and sticker pages ($3.00-$10.00) to choose from. There are customizable event stickers ($2.00-$4.00). I also love the dot stickers ($4.00). The date dot stickers add a pop of color to the neutral scheme or coordinates with the colorful scheme. I like the daily dots for color coding recurring events like dance classes.

The planner also comes with a Keep It Together Folder, Plan For It Pouch, Four Event Sticker Sheets, and a Snap In bookmark.

Overall, I really like my planner! I anticipated needing my hourly weekly spread much more than I actually do. Depending on how much I actually use the weekly spreads this year will depend on if I choose it again next year. I am interested in trying the vertical spread at some point. This planner definitely meets my organizational need as well as encourages my creative outlet!

I understand that the purchasing an Erin Condren planner is an investment. It is somewhat costly but I believe that the quality is worth it. There are less expensive planners out there that are comparable. So it ends up being a personal decision as to what you prefer.

If you are interested in trying an Erin Condren planner, you can use my referral code to get $10.00 off your first purchase. By doing so, you help me earn credit towards my Erin Condren purchases. After you sign up, you will get your own referral link to share with your friends! Click the following link:

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-12-10-27-am

It is also important to note that there is a long processing time for orders. When you browse the website, there are expected ship dates listed but they are subject to change. When you pay for expedited shipping, you are paying for the actual shipping time not the processing time. So do not expect to receive your order within the same week even if you pay extra for shipping. Keeping all this in mind, I place my orders a month or so in advance of when I actually need to start using them, especially when it comes to ordering anything that is personalized.

*****

More Erin Condren Reviews:

Erin Condren Notebooks

Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner

*****

Do you have an Erin Condren planner? I would LOVE to see photos of your decorated monthly and weekly spreads!

(Be sure to edit out any personal information before posting photos).

Character: Discipline

66022_1_ftc_dpA couple of weeks ago, my ladies Bible study continued with Session 2: Discipline in the book:

Character: Reclaiming Six Endangered Qualities, InterActions Series
By Bill Hybels / Zondervan

You can read my post on the previous session here: Session 1: Courage

The key passage for Session 2: Discipline is:

Proverbs 1:1-7 “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Because it was used a couple of times in the key verses, I looked up the definition of prudence. It is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason, shrewdness in the management of affairs, skill and good judgement in the use of resources, and caution or circumspection as to danger or risk. I think that knowing this definition helps with understanding of the verses.

This session focuses on four areas of personal discipline: Spiritual, Physical, Financial, and Relational. In each section, it has us reflect on how disciplined we think we are in these areas.

The Essence of Discipline… Delayed Gratification

The author describes delayed gratification as “the commitment to schedule the pain of life first so we can really experience the pleasures of life that follow.” So in our areas of personal discipline, delayed gratification might look like the following:

Spiritual: Waking up a little earlier or going to bed a little later in order to commit some time to spend reading the Bible, praying, and having quiet time with God.

Physical: Committing to exercise on a regular basis and making healthy food choices.

Financial: Creating a savings plan in order to slowly set aside money for a big purchase, vacation, and/or retirement.

Relational: Make an effort to have heart-to-heart talks with a friend or family member you desire to have an authentic relationship with.

The Practice of Discipline… Advanced Decision-Making

Once deciding that delayed gratification is essential to discipline, we must take the next step. This involves making decisions ahead of time about how we will practice discipline in our lives. If we have a plan set firmly in our mind, then when temptation comes to ignore the plan, we will be more likely to stick to the plan. Some plans might look like the following:

Spiritual: Committing to be involved with a local Bible study group and making time to do the homework before each meeting.

Physical: Scheduling time several times a week to go to the gym and/or workout at home.

Financial: Creating a monthly budget and sticking to it.

Relational: Make time to regularly call, write, and/or meet a friend or family member.

The Rewards of Discipline

When we are able to commit to delayed gratification and advanced decision-making in order to be disciplined in our daily lives, we start to see the benefits of being disciplined. Rewards could be as follows:

Spiritual: A growing and mature Christian life and a close relationship with God.

Physical: A healthy body, increased energy, and increased self-worth.

Financial: Being free from debt and not having to live paycheck to paycheck.

Relational: Having a flourishing marriage, family life, and close, significant friendships.

*****

I have had enough experience in my life to know the downfalls of not being disciplined in each of these areas. I think that I am pretty disciplined in my planning and organization. However, putting my plans into action is a different story. In all of the areas we discussed, I have some work to do. Being disciplined in each of these areas requires constant attention, perseverance, and prayer!

How can you put discipline into practice this week?