Sweet

How To Shop: Deals To Steals!

Deals to Steals

I love shopping. Love. Shopping. But I don’t always love the price tags and the end total. I’ve shared my love for Old Navy in the past, but I’ve never sat down and just spelled out why I like shopping here so much.

I am not an advocate for credit cards and getting in debt. If you don’t have the money, credit cards aren’t the answer. However, I do have an Old Navy card that I pay off as soon as I charge something to the card. Why? Because they have an amazing rewards program. I can shop at Old Navy with my Old Navy card and earn incredible points in no time. Without going into debt, or racking up a ton of interest on the card. It’s the only store card I fell prey to and like I said, I’m extremely cautious and make sure to pay it off as soon as it goes on the card. You can also use the Old Navy card (and earned points) at Gap, Banana Republic or any other Gap Inc. Brand. If you’re interested, go to their site and learn more because that was not the point of my post.

I had $15 in rewards, so it was like I had a “free” $15 to spend. I say “free” because I did spend money to get the $15. Anyway… I stormed the clearance rack and stuck gold! I got two light sweater/tops and a super cute blouse. The total? $16.60! Yes, I bought three tops for a grand total of $1.60 outside of my rewards. And I had a gift card from Christmas, so I used that for what the rewards didn’t cover.

 

 

I love deals, but I really love steals.

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Spiritual Things · Sweet

My Beloved

“I’m the last one left.” This was the thought running through my head a few weeks ago. I was skimming through my news feed on Facebook when all of a sudden a relationship status had been updated. “So and so got engaged to so and so”. Great. I’m the last one left. (Okay, I do have one girlfriend left that’s not currently engaged.) I had been dating this great guy that I absolutely adored but we broke up about a week after this event . So, needless to say, we weren’t getting engaged any time soon. Every day and everywhere I went I’d get stopped by people looking at a certain finger on my left hand. The look was usually followed by a, “Not yet, huh?” or “It will happen.” This particular day, I had been asked if I was engaged yet about 5 times, three friends got engaged and I hadn’t seen my (then) boyfriend for almost a month. I wanted to cry. “Lord, I feel like the only girl not getting married, and who doesn’t have a ring to show off.”

The next day I was at work and decided I would go into praise and worship. (I work at a Bible school and we have praise and worship 3 times a week.) One of the students, who I don’t really know very well, came over to me and said, “Ashley, I really feel like the Lord told me to tell you something. I told Him, ‘But Lord, I don’t really know her.’ He replied, ‘But I know her.’ He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are the apple of His eye. He thinks you are beautiful and special. He adores you.” She then handed me this little something that was wrapped in pink paper. She opened her Bible to Isaiah 54:5 which says, “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”

When I got back to my desk I opened the gift she gave me. It was a beautiful pink ring! I started crying when I realized that God not only heard me the night before, but He fulfilled my desire! It was an awesome reminder of who God is. God reminded me that He is faithful, loving, caring and giving. His desire is to be in constant relationship with us. It wasn’t a life changing word or anything. I would have lived, and life would have gone on even if this would have never happened, but God’s desire is to love us and give us the desires of our hearts. My desire was not spiritual. It was a dumb desire I had, but God knew how much it meant to me.

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Not only did I get a ring to show off, but God told me how much He cherishes me. He even took care of the little details. Pink is my favorite color and the ring is pink and was wrapped in pink paper. It’s the perfect size, too. I have always had a really hard time finding rings that fix just right and this one is a perfect fit!

The woman who gave me the ring later told me that when she was getting ready for school God put it on her heart to go grab that particular ring and bring it to school with her because He was going to give it to someone today.

Isn’t God amazing?!

Spiritual Things · Sweet

Who Do You Want To Be?

When I was a little girl, and even into my teen years, I would think about the man I wanted to marry. I started making out ‘lists’ in my head of what kind of man he would be, what characteristics he would have, he’d have a horse, sing me songs, he’d save me from the evil dragon keeping me locked up in my tower… You know, just you’re average Joe. All kidding aside, though, most of that was true (once I start mentioning a horse, it’s all jokes from there).

When I started growing up, though, I had the thought, “Am I the kind of woman the kind man I want to marry would want to marry?”. The very first thing on my ‘list’ was “someone who puts God above everyone and anything.” Was that who I was, though? Was I putting God above everyone and anything else in life? The things I was expecting from ‘my guy’ were all things he would look for in ‘his girl’, too. Would I even attract him with who I was?

I quickly threw out all of my preconceived notions and ‘lists’ and started making a new list… “My Husband’s Dream Wife”. I started thinking about the qualities and characteristics that would draw a Godly, spiritually-minded man to me.

I read through the obvious scriptures like Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5, but didn’t stop there. Proverbs 12:4, 11:16, I Peter 3. I even started looking at women in the Bible like Ruth, Sarah, Esther, Rahab. They all had incredible faith and qualities I wanted to have.

As girls, it’s so easy to get distracted or worried about meeting the right guy, at the right place, at the right time, but if we don’t prepare ourselves and our hearts then we won’t be ready! I know that I am complete in Christ! I know that my Maker is my Husband. I don’t need to be concerned and carried away by worries in this life. That’s easier said then done, but I want to be the virtuous woman whose worth is far above rubies. I want my husband to read through Proverbs 31 and say with joy in his heart, “that’s my wife!”.

I implore girls/women of all ages, and at any point in life, to decide who you want to be. Don’t feel bad if you come up short. No one has the right to judge you but God alone and He won’t ever judge you. God is there with you every step of the way, guiding you to where you need to go. He won’t drag you, though. It will take some effort on our part, but it’s worth it 🙂

Spiritual Things · Sweet

Running to Win!

How many of you want to live the life that God has planned for you?
How many of you want to live a life of faith?
How many of you want to run the race that is set before you?
Have many of you want to WIN the race that is set before you?

I not only want to run and finish my race, but I want to win my race. But how many of you know that you aren’t going to run, let alone win a marathon if you can’t even run a mile. Or if you’re like me, can’t even run a block… Okay, I can’t even run down the drive away without losing my breath! I’m not a runner. However, I could train myself to run, the only problem is I have no desire to run. So, do you have a desire to run the race, or live the life God has planned for you?

Hebrews 12:1-2; Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • Dedication

What’s dedication? -The quality of being dedicated or wholly committed to a task or purpose.

  • 2 Timothy 4:7- “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
  • Luke 6:12- “Now it came to pass in those days that when He went out to the mountains to pray, He continued all night in prayer to God.”
  • Luke 5:16- “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”

You have to make a decision that you are going to life by faith, do what God’s called you to do, go where He tells you to go and be obedient no matter what happens along the way. Jesus took time to draw near to God and grow in the things of God. He finished His race and it’s because His goal, the focus of His life, was to win it! Athletes are focused on one goal- to win the gold. They don’t go back and forth, they make a decision and follow through.

  • Be Single-Minded
  • James 1:6-8 – “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
  • Colossians 3:2 – “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

We cannot live a faith-filled life if we are double-minded. Being double-minded is essentially the same thing as having zero faith.

  • DisciplineTraining and correction.

You are going to have to discipline yourself to stay focused and not get tired. Satan will try to distract you and get you off track to keep you from running your race.

  • James 1:14 – “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away or lured by his own desires and enticed.”
  • James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

There are times when it’s not fun being responsible and committed, but we have to push through the hard, not-so-fun times in order to train ourselves to be the athlete we need to be.


I am dancer, or used to be I should say. As a dancer, athlete, musician, you must train yourself in your niche and discipline yourself to practice and study that particular trade or sport. I spent at least 2 hours, 4 days a week dancing or training in dance to get better and build up endurance to dance well. My friends got so tried of asking me to do things with them that they finally stopped asking! They knew I was always at the dance studio in class and/or rehearsing/practicing.


You won’t get any better at something if you don’t practice!

  • Work
    Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.


That’s right… it takes WORK. You can’t expect to accomplish much if you don’t put effort into it.

  • Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
  • Proverbs 13:23 – “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. “

All of these things; Dedication, discipline, keeping focus or being single-minded and hard work will teach you to push through and produce in you the endurance or patience needed.

  • Endurance
  • James 1:2-4 – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

What’s endurance? The power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving away or giving up.

You won’t run, let alone, win a marathon if you don’t have the patience or endurance to train or build up to it.

  • How do we accomplish these things?
  • Looking unto Jesus
  • Faith
  • Relationship with God
  • Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith

We have to set our eyes on Jesus. We cannot be looking around at every distraction, every little problem or even people. We have to be focused on Jesus and listen for His voice.

  • Peter walking on the water (Matt 14:22-32)
  • Faith – Complete trust or confidence in someone or something

Faith is trusting God in every situation.

Trusting God is simply being confident and secure in His love for you.

  • James 5:6-7 – “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Know that God cares for you and He has plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13). You are His child and He has said that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

  • If you don’t know God in a personal way, get to know Him!

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts I grew up in a Christian home, went to church all the time and remember asking Jesus to come into my heart at 4 years old. I knew Jesus died a cross to save the world from their sins, but I thought that’s where the greatness of the cross ended. I didn’t know God Himself thought of me as His own beloved child. His very own. As I am a part of my parent’s DNA, I am part of God’s DNA as well. (I John 3:1, Romans 8:16, Matthew 7:11)

I didn’t understand that by His stripes I was healed. Period. No loop holes, no exceptions, it’s not based on how “good” or “bad” I am, but by His grace (love) alone I WAS healed when Jesus took the stripes for me. (Isaiah 53:5, I Peter 2:24, Matthew 9:35, Psalm 103:3)

I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to worry about anything because He takes my cares for me if I let Him. (Matthew 6:30-34, I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:19)

Once I started learning and gaining knowledge of who God really is, and experiencing a personal relationship with Him (a relationship like you have with your best friend), I was able to trust Him and let Him lead me which way I should go in life. My life today is nothing like I thought or imagined when I was little, or even 4 years ago. He has brought me to some amazing things that have become my greatest desire. I never thought I’d have a blog where I would share the things He shows me, but I love it! I never thought that I would teach people of all ages what God has taught me and it’s turned out to be one of the things I enjoy most in life! I never wanted to go to Bible school, but I did and I am so glad I did. I even work at the Bible school now. My point is learning who God really is through a personal relationship with Him has changed my life and I know it can change your life too!

Are you willing to discipline yourself to run the race. When your muscles start aching and you’re tired and feel like you can’t go on, that’s when you have to dig deep and say, “Jesus, I’m looking to you and I WILL finish my race strong and win!”
And then, just like Jesus, when we have endured and ran the race, laying aside every weight and focusing on God and we can cross the finish line a victorious winner!

Spiritual Things · Sweet

The Word of Life

Psalm 107:19-20

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses.He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

To me, it seems that these verses are saying that God’s word:

  • Saved
  • Healed
  • Delivered

The previous verses talk about the various ways people are in trouble. “Some wandered in desert wastes”, “some sat in darkness”, “Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction”. No matter where these “some” were God saved/delivered them from their destruction or distress.

God acted upon their cry out of his steadfast love. He didn’t just stand back and make them figure it out on their own or punish them.

Verse 20:

“God sent His word and healed them”
God acts or moves on our behalf. When we are in trouble or need help, whether it was our own actions or not that got us there in the first place, He is moved with compassion to save or deliver us from the place we’re in.

Here is the point I really want to make, though. The verse says, “God sent His Word and healed them.”
God’s Word is just as powerful as God Himself speaking. For instance, if you are dying from cancer and read and believe what the Word says, it is as if God Himself is speaking/praying over your body. God spoke every word of the Bible and it is the breath of life. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
God’s Word is power and life! When God created the world He said, “Let there be light” and there was light. Well, with just the power of God’s spoken word, the light is still in existence and has not failed.

Whatever you may be in need of, there is a word full of life for you to receive today! Don’t let the enemy steal, kill and destroy what God has given to you through His blood. You have the victory and He is the Word of life!

 

 

Spiritual Things · Sweet

God Never Fails :)

Sometimes it feels almost hard to trust that God will never fail you at some point. I definitely went through a time or two like that. About a year ago, I felt like everything I put my hand to was not prospering like God’s Word says it will, but instead, it felt more as if everything I put my hand to failed.

After I had felt let down a few times more than I thought was right or fair, I had a heart to heart with God. Okay, more like me whining to God with my complaints and hurts. God never let me go, though. Through all my anger, God held my hand and wiped away all my tears. He just loved me.

‘”Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”‘ -Malachi 3:10

Well, that verse was enough for me. I was going to put God to the test and He was going to have to prove to me that I had not wasted two years in Bible College and years of believing in Him. He was either going to show Himself strong and faithful, or a total liar.

God showed Himself strong! I had been looking for a full time job with absolutely no luck. I had applied at several places and hadn’t gotten so much as an interview. One day I was at the ministry my mom works at helping her decorate for a luncheon they were putting on. There I was kneeling on the ground picking up shredded pieces of paper when a woman who worked at the Bible College I had just graduated from (and is located in the same building as the ministry) came over, looked at me and said, “I think you’re the person I need to speak to.” To my amazement she was coming over to ask my mom for my phone number to ask me if I would be interested in a position at the Bible College! Right then and there she took me to her office and I had an interview!

About three weeks and two more interviews later, she called to tell me that I was hired! She told me that as she was going through applications my name kept going through her head, so she knew she needed to talk to me about the job. Here’s the amazing part… I had not EVER put in an application! The Lord laid my name on her heart so strongly that she came to find me. I have worked for the Bible College now a year in November 2013.

You may be thinking, “Well, God may have done that for YOU, but He hasn’t and probably won’t do something like that for me.
That’s just not true though. God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). In other words, God shows no favoritism. You can see something that amazing or something even better, happen to you, too.