Happy New Year!

Happy 2021, friends!! I am so happy to be back in my little space. I missed writing to you guys, but definitely needed the rest. As you know, my family and I came down with the funk and it was rough! We are slowly getting back to normal and praising God that we are healing and recovering smoothly.

My kids go back to school tomorrow so I’m using today as my “get it together” day. Joseph and I have a couple of house projects we are working on and I am so excited to share them with you.

I’ve thought a lot about goals and resolutions as everyone does at the start of a new year.

I normally don’t set yearly resolutions. I quit that a long time ago. Joseph and I actually plan our goals five years at a time. Gary Keller says, “you can be anywhere you want to be in five years.” It’s true. We’ve done it.

But within those five years, we do have short-term goals that help us get to those bigger goals we’ve set out. And within those short-term goals, I have three daily goals.

Be organized, productive and intentional. If I set out each day to do these three things, I will give my best to everything I do. I started doing this a couple of years ago after I felt so defeated year after year. I would sit and write down a long list of resolutions only to not complete them all and feel like a failure.

So I minimized it and thought, how can I give my absolute best every day? And for me, when I am organized, I am productive and when I am productive I am intentional with every area of my life.

In my spiritual life, I set out to have a daily quiet time. In my health and fitness, I set out to workout once a day and eat according to my macros. In my business, I have certain tasks that need to be completed each day. And in my personal life, I have certain expectations I set out to accomplish.

Everyday looks different, but everyday I strive to be organized, productive and intentional.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23)

Maybe you’ve felt that defeat of not being able to complete one of your resolutions. Try to look at it this way and see if that helps. Set out to do these three things each day and I promise, you will be a lot happier. Are there days when I fail at these things? Absolutely! But I give myself grace and try harder the next day. We aren’t going to be perfect, but we can always, always give our best.

This year I’m changing it up and I’ve actually set one 2021 specific goal. I am going to read through the Bible in one year. I have about 30 ladies that have joined me in this goal and I am so excited! I’ve tried to do this many times and have failed each time. But this year, I hope and pray for perseverance and strength to actually reach this goal. I’m also hoping that the accountability will help me push through to the finish line!

How do you set goals? Do you do resolutions? What are some of the things you hope to accomplish this year?

I hope you are having a wonderful first Monday of 2021! I am off to finish up putting away Christmas decor and getting a couple of things marked off my list for today. I will see you back here tomorrow.

Have a GREAT day, friends,

XO

Merry Christmas from the Eternos!

Christmas 2020 definitely threw us a curve ball. We could throw a fit, get mad or sulk, but instead we are trying our hardest to make the best out of a crappy situation.

Please know, I’m not making light of our circumstance. I know the severity of the virus and how it can affect everyone so differently. I’ve had family members who’ve had it and said it was like a sinus infection and family members and friends that have ended up in the hospital with it.

I am currently sitting in front of my beautiful tree with all of the gifts wrapped and ready for my kids and honestly, I feel like absolute crap. But I’m trying so hard to stay positive.

I keep repeating 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 over and over realizing that as sucky of a hand as we’ve been dealt, I have to choose joy.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We choose joy by praying and giving thanks. And not just when life is going great, but also when you’re quarantined at home fighting this terrible virus.

So today, I am thankful for the strength to wrap all of the gifts even if it took me hours because I had to take multiple breaks. I’m grateful for the ability to cook Christmas Eve dinner for our family and enjoy a movie night with the kids even if I slept through half of it. I’m thankful that we are under one roof together. I’m thankful that we showed symptoms prior to gathering with our families and potentially exposing them. I’m thankful that so far, we seem to have mild symptoms. Not sure if it will stay that way, but we are hopeful and praying.

So we rallied the crew, put on our masks and took our traditional Christmas Eve pictures. Well…sort of traditional. The masks are definitely so 2020.

I hope and pray this finds you healthy. And if you or a loved one are fighting this virus, I pray for healing. Above all, I pray for God’s comfort to bring you peace and that you may experience His love this Christmas regardless of your situation.

I’m going to take the week off blogging to try to rest, get better and enjoy this final week with my family before the kids go back to school. I’ll be back on Monday, January 4th ready to tackle 2021!

But before I go, I want to invite you to read through the Bible with me. This has been a goal of mine for years, but I always quit a week or so in. I’m determined to do it this year and would love for you to join me. I am using The Bible Recap Plan on my Bible app and have started a group. You can join me by clicking here. I’ve also bought the book on Amazon and I’m so excited to get started!

I’ll also follow along on their podcast. You can see all of the details here. They’ll start their episodes on January 1st.

Well, until next year friends! Thank y’all for reading and following my blog. I am so thankful for y’all!

Merry Christmas and Happy New year from my family to yours!!

XO

Merry Christmas Eve {Family Pictures 2020}

Christmas is looking a lot different for the Eterno Crew this year as we’ll be celebrating a QUARANTINED Christmas at home. Two from our crew started feeling under the weather this week so needless to say, we are staying home and keeping our germs to ourselves 🤪. This isn’t how we wanted to spend the holidays and we will miss our family terribly, but we are choosing to focus on the positive. I think that’s what 2020 has taught us, don’t you?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As I tucked Mackenzie into bed last night she was so worried about what we were going to do for Christmas. I assured her that we would make the most of it! It may look a lot different this year, but it will definitely be a Christmas we won’t forget.

We had our family pictures taken last month and I wanted to share a couple of my favorites with you!

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!!!

XO

Two More Sleeps

Happy Wednesday, friends!!! Can you believe we have TWO more sleeps until it’s Christmas?! I am so excited and a little sad that this season is almost over.

If you follow me on Instagram, I shared a little bit about how I am normally a grinch and scrooge when it comes to Christmas.

I normally get lost in my long to do list and focus on the material side of Christmas. I wish for for the season to be over before it even begins.

Every year, I’ve gotten a little bit better about it, but this year I was determined to enjoy the season to the fullest. I set out to make the most of it and I can honestly say that I truly have.

It all started with the Advent study I found from a blogger on Instagram. It kept my heart and mind on the true meaning of Christmas-Jesus! It made me see Christmas in a whole different way. The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of a promise and prophecy. And it’s just as important as the death and resurrection. I don’t know if I ever looked at it that way! I am so thankful for this study and I will for sure do another one next year.

If you want to read the recap of each week you can read them here:

Advent Bible Study Review of Week 1: HOPE

Advent Bible Study Review of Week 2: PEACE

Advent Bible Study Review of Week 3: JOY

Advent Bible Study Review Week 4: LOVE

Honestly I can say that mindset is everything. Instead of looking at my to do list and dreading what I HAD to do, I looked at my to do list as a list of things I GOT to do. I turned on the Christmas music, watched Christmas movies, wore the christmas attire, chose to be merry and joyful and guess what? Eventually it went from forcing myself to do it, to all of a sudden I was really enjoying it!

You know the saying, love is a choice not a feeling? I think that goes for a lot of things. We can’t just sit and wish to feel a certain way. Losing weight and eating healthy isn’t something you “feel” like doing most days, you have to make that choice. And eventually it will become second nature and something you enjoy doing.

Mindset and perspective are everything, friends.

Let’s all turn our frowns upside down this Christmas and choose to be joyful and enjoy it to the fullest.

I hope y’all have an AWESOME Wednesday!!

XO

Chicken and Rice Soup

With the winter weather rolling in, soup season is in full swing!

Two of our crew were feeling under the weather (praying it’s just a cold 😬), so I decided that Chicken and Rice soup was perfect for dinner.

I looked at a couple of recipes online and modified them a little bit. It’s super easy to make and the best part is that you can make it in under an hour!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil

1 yellow onion minced

3 carrots peeled and diced

1 1/2 stalk celery diced

1 teaspoon garlic minced

1 teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

5-8 cups low sodium chicken broth (you may have to add more as you let the soup simmer)

3 chicken breasts (I used the breast from 2 Rotisserie’s)

1 cup white rice

2 Limes squeezed

1 Cup of evaporated milk (optional)

Instructions

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot.

Add onion, carrots and celery and cook and stir for 5-7 minutes or until onion begins to turn golden.

Add garlic, parsley and thyme and cook 1 minute.

Add salt and pepper, broth, chicken.

Add rice. Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

Stir every 10 minutes or until vegetables and rice are tender.

Add 1 cup of evaporated milk (optional).

Enjoy and serve!

I hope y’all have a wonderful Tuesday! Only three more sleeps until Christmas!!

XO

Advent Bible Study Review Week 4: LOVE

It’s been a super crazy day! Thank y’all for being patient with me in getting the post up!

Today we are reviewing our final week of Advent! I can’t believe we have come to the end of our bible study. I don’t know about you, but I really have loved doing this and I know that I will definitely do it again next year.

Day one, God Loved, God Gave.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins. We all are so familiar with verse 16, but like our book said, “many people would find greater comfort if they read John 3:16-17 together. Jesus is reassuring us that God’s motives are good. His motive isn’t to judge, but to save us through His son. After Adam and Eve sinned, God could’ve said, “oh well” and went about His ways. But instead, He made a way for us to be saved. All because of His great love for you and me.

Day two, Love Was God’s Idea.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-12)

“God is the author of order, not chaos, and the sending of His Son into the world was not an act of random happenstance. God planned it from the beginning of time; it is rooted in His loving and unchanging character.”

On page 112 it talked about the two reasons that God sent His Son. He sent His Son for the purpose of satisfying the penalty for sin, but in 1 John 4:9-10 it says that it was also because He loved us.

I also loved how it reminded us that God’s love isn’t passive love. We don’t receive it once and that’s it. His love is forever.

Day three, Love is Action.

God’s love was shown through the action of sending his Son, Jesus. He laid his life for us so that we could be saved. There is. no action greater than that.

Day four, Christ’s Love Compels Us.

Once we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives, the Holy Spirit lives in us and we are made new. Also, Jesus dying on the cross gave us direct access to Him. We don’t have to go through a priest to talk to Him. We can talk to Him wherever we are and whenever we want.

As a new creation, we are told to go out and make disciples. Because we have received His love, we are to share it with others. This week was big on this. Ask God to place someone on your heart that needs to hear the good news.

Day five, The Wonder of His Love.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)

What if we saw Jesus’ birth with the same sense of wonder as the shepherds and wisem men did? The last couple of weeks, Advent has helped me really think about that moment and how amazing it must have been. Can you imagine?

I’m just speechless and in awe thinking about it. And it gives me chills to think that all of that happened because of God’s love for us.

I don’t know if you’ve ever received Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, but I can’t end this study without sharing this with you. God sent His son to die on the cross for you. He loved you that much. You, too, can have eternal life with Him by receiving Him as your savior. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are lost without Him and destined for a life apart from Him. Heaven is real and He wants you there. But He’s not going to make you. He gives you the choice.

If you want to know more or if you would like to receive Jesus today, contact me. You can comment below or email me at don’tlookbackbabe@gmail.com. I would love to talk to you more about it.

The last four weeks have been so good for me. It has truly been exactly what I’ve needed. I shared that Christmas, for me, is always a time of stress and dread. I focus on all the things that the world offers instead of focusing on the ultimate gift which is Jesus. I hope these weeks have also helped you and encouraged you.

Thank y’all for doing this with me!

XO

Friday Favorites {12.18.20}

We made it! It’s Friday and this afternoon officially kicks off CHRISTMAS BREAK for our family. I don’t know about you, but I think I look forward to the break more as an adult than I did when I was a kid ha!

Today is also my final FRIDAY FAVORITES post of 2020 because next Friday is CHRISTMAS! Y’all, I’m so excited!!

As always, I’m linking up with Erika and Andrea and sharing a couple of my favorites for the week. Let’s do this!

On Friday, Joseph and I celebrated our 16th anniversary with some of our good friends. When I posted this picture on my Instagram, a couple people asked about my dress. Well, I bought it at H&M for $17.99!!! Yes! You can find it here.

I am loving my Nativity set by Willow Tree. I shared a little about it here.

It’s on my foyer table and it’s the first thing I see when I come downstairs. I feel like it just puts me in a good mood as it reminds me why Christmas is truly about.

I know I’ve shared this multiple times, but I just can’t tell you enough how much I’ve loved doing this Advent study.

This year I set out to truly enjoy Christmas and this is the number one reason that’s happened. I’ve also loved meeting with local friends to discuss each week. It’s been so so good for me.

This was my first year doing an Advent study and it definitely won’t be the last.

Tuesday was my daddy’s birthday and every year on his birthday, we get together and make his pizza.

Dad made this pizza all the time. He loved inviting people over to our house and making it for them. Now it’s something he’s remembered for and I love that.

Dad was so special and I blogged about his life here.

Mary wanted some boots like my Madden Girl ones, but I couldn’t find them in her size anywhere. Earlier this week, I stopped by our local Walmart and was so excited to find these! And the best part we’re that they were marked down to $19!

So of course, I bought them in both colors!

And that’s all I have today, y’all! Short and sweet today.

I hope y’all have the BEST day!

XO

Throwback Thursday {4.28.20}

Good morning! I hope you all are having a great week. We are two days away from Christmas break!! One more wake up and we are done. We got this!

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a post from April of this year. I hope it encourages you this morning!

Let Go of the Old and Receive the New

I am struggling to find the words, y’all. The last two mornings have been a bit of a challenge and I haven’t had time to sit and really dig into God’s Word. I don’t like writing just to write so I took the day off. But I wanted to share something that I’ve thought a lot about the last two days.

On Sunday, we listened to Steven Furtick’s message about letting go and I’ve been thinking a lot about it.  He said,

“Certain changes are not embraced, they must be forced.”

Our natural reaction when something is being taken away from us is to fight to keep it. Or when change comes, we don’t welcome it and instead wish for things to go back to the way they were.  I know I’ve had times in my life where I made myself miserable trying to resist change.  You probably have too.  But won’t you agree that on the other side of change, when we finally surrender, we are better for it?

Many of us are frustrated and ready to go back to our “normal lives.”  But what if God has something so much better for us than our “old normal lives?”  What if we are so stuck on our past that we can’t see what God is trying to do for our future?

I used to struggle with my past.  I allowed my failures and mistakes to keep me from walking in the freedom that Jesus gave me when I chose to follow Him.  I allowed my past to keep me from truly experiencing His mercy, His grace and His love.

But I think we can all do that.  We can be so hard on ourselves and live life offering all the grace and forgiveness to everyone else, but when it comes to us, we crucify ourselves for the mistakes we made.

But 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

We are a new creation!  We can’t receive the new if we keep holding on to the old.  Read that again.

WE CAN’T RECEIVE THE NEW IF WE KEEP HOLDING ON TO THE OLD.

God wants to set you free today, but you have to do your part and let go.  Let go of the hurts, the past mistakes, anger, resentment, bitterness, defeat, worry and anything that is keeping you from walking in the freedom that Jesus has given you.

You may be reading this and have never experienced this freedom.  Maybe you’ve never given your life to Christ.  If this is you, I would love the opportunity to share Jesus with you.  God sent Him to take our place.  He took our sin and all of our brokenness and He died on a cross so that we may have eternal life.  Life forever with Him.  You can experience this freedom by simply acknowledging your brokenness and admitting that you are a sinner.  Your sin has separated you from Christ and you are in need of a Savior.  And that Savior is Jesus Christ.  He stands with open arms ready to fully accept you just as you are.  He loves you so very much.  If you want to experience that freedom and choose Jesus today simply pray the following prayer,

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness.  I know that you are the son of God sent to die on the cross to save me from my sins.  Lord Jesus, I choose you today and everyday.  Forgive me of my sins and save me today.

If you prayed this today, please let me know. I would love to pray for you. You’ve made the best decision you could ever make.

Willing and Available

Good morning, babes!

I hope you are having a great week! We are almost to Christmas break and I can’t wait.

Today, Joseph and I are headed down to Hilton Head Island to take appliances, a window and bathtub to our current house project. The workers are rocking and rolling. They have gotten so much done already. I can’t wait to see the progress.

A couple of days ago, I shared my new to me Willow Tree Nativity Set on Instagram. A friend of mine found it in her attic and thought of me!

I’ve wanted a set for a couple of years, but could never find one. I finally set it out on my foyer table and I love it. As I came down the stairs this morning and saw it, I thought about that night in the manger. I really do get speechless to think about that event. And now as a mom, I see Mary so differently.

Mary’s song is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. You can read the entire song in Luke 1:46-55.

“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49)

I can’t imagine how Mary must have felt to know that the baby she carried and delivered was Christ the King! The Messiah they were waiting for was finally here. Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of a promise. The promise of a Savior coming to save us.

Mary was willing and available to be used by God. She placed her fears and doubts aside and accepted God’s will for her life. For goodness sake, she gave birth in a manger! I mean that alone…wow!

I encourage you today to set your fears, anxieties and doubts aside and look to Jesus. Give all of that to Him, He can handle it. Whatever He’s calling you to do, take that first step and do it.

I hope y’all have a wonderful Wednesday!

XO

Be a Joy-Giver

Today is my daddy’s birthday! If you are new around here, my daddy passed away five years ago. He was the epitome of being joyful in all circumstances. I could write a book about my dad’s life and everything he went through, but here’s a shorter version:

My daddy was a pastor. If you know a pastor, you know that’s not an easy calling. I could go on and on about that, but today I want to tell you about the final 10 years of his life. In 2006, dad ended up in the ER with stomach pain. This ER visit forever changed his life because it was then that he not only had appendicitis, but they discovered his diabetes was out of control and his kidneys were barely functioning.

This began a long journey for dad. Dialysis for years, but eventually did receive a new kidney that allowed him to live a more normal life for a little while. He actually almost died during that surgery….so crazy. But that surgery allowed him to go visit his family in Mexico. Something he had not been able to do in years! During those 10 years, he developed vascular disease. He basically had no circulation in his legs. After multiple tries to try to help this, he had his first leg amputated. And then a year or so later, he had his other leg amputated, too. He then was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple of years later. It was stage four and had spread throughout his body. He passed away almost a year after his diagnosis.

During the last 10 years of his life, dad was in and out of the hospital. He had good days, but he also had terrible days. My mother, a legit angel, was by his side through it all. She lived out her vows until dad’s very last breath and still continues to live them out today.

But even through all of dad’s hardships, he didn’t lose sight of Jesus. He fully trusted in God’s plan for his life even when it seemed that God had turned from him. When he had his leg amputated, he could no longer drive on his own so he depended on my mom or one of us kids to take him anywhere he needed to go. That’s when dad began to use his resources to love people and continue to spread God’s word. He would skype his sermons to churches in Mexico and he wrote devotionals and recorded videos for his Facebook friends. He also never missed your birthday! He personally called all of his church members on their birthdays.

Dad was an encourager. He loved people no matter who they were or what they had or didn’t have and he didn’t miss an opportunity to share Jesus. When he passed away, the funeral home was very gracious and gave us special pricing because they said dad was always there when they needed him. If they had a hispanic family without a pastor, they called him and he always showed up.

He woke up every morning at 4:00 AM to spend time in prayer. I still remember hearing him from my room. I’m so thankful for that example. But I’m also thankful for the time he spent in prayer. He showed me the power of prayer.

I share all of this with you today because I want to encourage you to to be a joy-giver. In our advent study it describes a joy-giver as “ one who is confident in the Lord, content, likes being around positive people, seeks to be obedient to the Lord, enjoys celebrations, and rests in the Lord’s plan for their life.”

My dad was not perfect by any means. But that’s the beauty of the Gospel, right? Even in our faults, mistakes and terrible choices, God still uses us to fulfill His purposes. He uses us just as we are to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Today, I don’t remember my dad’s faults or mistakes. I remember how God used him in the lives of all of those he came in contact with.

Stop worrying about your mess ups and failures and choose to live a life for Jesus. Choose to love God and love those around you. Be confident in the Lord. Be content. For goodness sakes, be happy with where God has you. See the positive and choose to rejoice.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18

This verse tells us how to do it. We rejoice always by praying continually and giving thanks to God no matter the circumstances. True joy is about trusting God, not our emotions or circumstances.

My daddy prayed continually and he always, always found something to be thankful for. And I believe that is why he lived a life that was full of joy no matter what he went through.

So today, in memory of my dad, find a way to give joy to those around you. Choose to fully trust in Jesus.

And if you have never chosen Jesus to be your Savior, then please let me talk to you. I would love to tell you about my Jesus.

Happy Birthday, dad. Thank you for the example and the legacy that you’ve left us. Thank you for choosing to love God with all your heart, mind and soul and teaching us how to live a life of joy no matter what we are going through. I can only imagine what heaven is like and how much joy you have being in the presence of your Savior.

I hope this encourages you this morning. Rejoice, pray and give thanks always my friends.

XO