Thursday, July 20, 2017

He Alone is My Strength

This week has been a whirlwind of sadness that began with the very 
unexpected death of a dear friend and co-worker. 

This sweet friend- a precious, strong, brilliant, bright light in this world is gone 
and has left her friends and family left shattered, reeling & broken hearted. 
Our hearts ache thinking of her precious children growing up without their amazing mama 
& the world without her brilliance, but we are thankful she is living with our Lord in 
paradise and that we WILL see her again one day. 

(She loved the beach more than anyone I know so I love thinking of her sitting on the most amazing beach
 ever with the sun shining on her & that beautiful smile on her face and a drink in her hand.)

Grief is hard and awful and I've said several times this week that there is no right or 
wrong way to process the loss of someone you love. 
It's okay to be sad and angry- even when you love 
God with all your heart and trust in His promises. 

To question WHY- even when you know without a doubt 
you will see your loved one again one day. 

To struggle to make sense of senseless tragedies-
 even when your heart aches and you just can't understand.

I am so, so thankful that I am not alone, that God grieves with us in our
 pain and sadness and that He is near, holding us in the palm of His mighty hand.

Thank you sweet Jesus for assuring me that Your promises hold strong and 
true even when life seems awful and devastating. 
You alone are my strength and my hope and I am so thankful for you precious savior.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Struggling to Walk

I took my sweet puppy Poppy for a walk the other night. 
Although super stinking adorable, she struggles on walks- 
sometimes trying to eat the leash, sometimes trying to lead and run ahead, 
sometimes getting tangled up in the leash, sometimes following far behind me, 
sometimes getting startled & distracted by loud noises nearby, 
and sometimes getting tired and just gives no up and sitting down mid-walk. 

As we walked and I laughed at her I thought about how much I'm like Poppy. 
I KNOW God is in control and has the very best for me, and yet I still struggle
 to follow Him sometimes. 

Sometimes I try to lead, sometimes I get weary and stop, 
and sometimes I follow far behind Him ignoring His call to me. 

Y'all I'm just like my crazy, silly puppy. 
Jesus leads me to keep me safe because He loves me so-just like I love Poppy. 

Deuteronomy 5:33 is the perfect reminder of this to me.... 
"So be very careful to act exactly as God commands you. Don’t veer off to the right or the left. Walk straight down the road God commands so that you’ll have a good life and live a long time in the land that you’re about to possess."

My prayer for us today is that we are reminded that we are to walk straight 
down the road following Him- not veering to the right or the left- 
remembering that His guidance is for our safety & protection 
and is because He loves us so! 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

July Scripture Writing Plan: Obedience {& a GIVEAWAY!}

Happy almost July friends!
The new topical plan for this month is over the topic of Obedience.

If you ever struggle with doing what God calls you to do- this plan is for you!
My prayer is that every verse will be a reminder of God's commands and promises to us.

I made the plan 31 days and plan to do that with
 all topical plans in the future so that they can be done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

You'll notice the plans got a little makeover this month. 
I added the check boxes to help you mark off as you complete the verses 
and decided it was time to make the look a little cleaner and simpler too!

You can find a copy of the plan in English and Spanish
in the folder HERE.

At the suggestion of a blog reader, I also decided to do
a fun iPhone lock screen with the plan on it.
You can download a copy of it HERE.

This is the plan for the month of  July from last year
which is topical plan on Patience and Perseverance.

You can download a copy in the folder HERE.

At the urging of some blog readers, I've also created a long version of the plan this month
and placed it in my ETSY store HERE.

It a 127 page printable digital file that includes:
-The 31 Day Scripture Writing Plan on the topic of Obedience
-A page for each day with the verse written out in NIV version with space for you to write the verse
-A page for each day with the verse written out in The Message with space for you to write the verse
-A page for each day to write observations, keywords, and takeaways from the verses
-A page to write next steps, prayers, and applications from the verses
-A page with six printable obedience verse cards

Here are a few sample sheets:



It's perfect to print and bind or put in a notebook.  
It would also be great to print and give someone as a gift! 

Giveaway: Leave a comment below of what topic you hope will be next month 
and I'll choose one winner to get a free copy of the long plan! 

Coupon Code: And to celebrate summer, use the coupon code HAPPYSUMMER 
for 20% off of your purchase in my ETSY store, Sweet Blessings, from now until July 7th! 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Love Shows UP

Love isn't easy y'all. 
It's a daily choice because sometimes we don't feel it. 
At all. 

But we show up for those we love. 
When they are being awesome and when they are being awful. 
When they say & do kind things and when they irritate the ever loving tar out of us. 
When they are being sweet and when they are being flat out ridiculous and dumb. 
When they say kind things and when they say things that truly wound & hurt us. 
When they ask us to be there and when they push us away.
When they are there for us and when they let us down. 
 It's what love does. 

Romans 12:9-10 in the Message says 
"Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply, practice playing second fiddle." 

So today that's my prayer. 
That we would all choose to love. Forgive. Make the call. Reach out. 
Show up. ❤️

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Haven of Hope

Want to order a super cute shirt AND bless grieving mamas at the same time? 
Here's your chance! 

These shirts are a great reminder that Jesus loves you 
and all proceeds will benefit Haven of Hope Ministries.

What is Haven of Hope? 
Haven of Hope ministers to mothers that have suffered the loss of a child and point 
them to our HOPE in Jesus Christ. 
It was started by my precious friend Susan, 
who lost two of her children (Jennifer and Josh) 
as well as her father in a horrible accident in 2002. 

This ministry is a tremendous blessing to ladies 
who are walking the most difficult path imaginable.
Each year Haven of Hope hosts a retreat in the spring where these sweet mothers 
can spend time with others who truly understand their grief and pain. 
All proceeds from the sale of these shirts will go to help fund scholarships for ladies 
that would like attend the retreat but cannot afford to pay the registration fee.

You can find out more about the retreat HERE or join Haven of Hope on Facebook HERE
Shirts come in red, lapis, mint, and asphalt v-neck (NOT slim fit) 
and crew neck red and dark heather. 
All shirts can be ordered at the link below- 
and will be mailed directly to you a few weeks after the 
deadline of June 25th with proceeds going to Haven of Hope.

The Booster is also set up to allow you to make an additional donation or just a flat donation
if you'd like to donate without purchasing a shirt. 
Thank you for helping us to bless some precious mamas!

Friday, June 9, 2017

You are MORE

Do you ever feel like choices you have made make you beyond help? 
That your mistakes are too big and have made you unlovable?
That your failures make you less than others? 

I heard one of my favorite songs on the way to work today, 
You Are More by Tenth Avenue North which is such a beautiful 
reminder of God's redemption.

I so love these lines:
You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.
'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

This song reminds us of God's undeserved incredible grace! 
I think so often we feel the things we've done are too much 
and we don't deserve love and forgiveness. 
But the truth is that no matter how what you have done, 
God is waiting for you. 
He is waiting with open arms, ready to offer you love & forgiveness. 
He doesn’t care what you’ve done, he doesn’t care who you are; 
He loves you regardless of your past choices, failures, and mistakes.

But because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are washed completely clean! 

Even though we sin every single day and make mistake after mistake after mistake, 
God still loves us more than we can even know. Isn't that the BEST? 

2 Corinthians 5:17 says....
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!
I try to comprehend that fact and it's almost impossible for my little mind to grasp. 

It is so hard to wrap my head around the fact that He loves me no matter what. 
It is not by my own works that I am saved (thank the Lord for that!).
It is only through His sacrifice that I am worth anything at all!
It is because of Him, I am MORE. 

I pray that today (and everyday) we all take the time to thank Him for the fact that He does not give us what we deserve, but that He died for us so we could live FOREVER in eternity with Him. 
I pray that we are reminded that if our worth was determined by our own actions, 
we would be counted as worthless. 
 But with and because of Jesus' ultimate act of love for us, 
we can live and know that with Him, 
we are worth more than our failures and mistakes. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

When Your Faith Gets Tired

Driving to work recently I heard this song and really listened to the words for the first time.

This part brought me to tears...

When my faith gets tired
And my hope seems lost
You spin me round and round
And remind me of that song
The one You wrote for me
And we dance

I hate to admit it but the truth is my faith has been tired before. 
Like.....I'm done God, tired and DONE. 

Have you ever prayed for something over and over and over again
 with what seems like no answer? 
When you feel like God is not hearing you or ignoring you or
 must have better things to do than answer? 

I have. 
For almost 10 years straight I prayed the same prayer.

In the beginning I prayed it every day. 
But as the years passed, I grew weary.
Like tuckered out (that's a Texas word y'all), exhausted, dragging WEARY. 

And to be honest, I'd get a little ticked off at waiting.
I'd get kinda irked at God.
So for a time I would stew about it and fuss at God 
regarding it and stop praying for it.
I'd kinda temporarily give up. 
But then my heart would be reminded that God 
sometimes answers with WAIT instead of yes or no. 
And I'd start praying again. 
For TEN long YEARS I repeated this cycle. 
{That's a long time to pray for something.}

God has lots to say in His word about faith and growing tired. 

One of my favorite verse about faith is:
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

During that LONG season of waiting, I often felt like this verse in Psalm 22:
"Oh my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest" .
Psalm 22:2

Thankfully I was over and over again reminded that God is GOD, not me. 
And that his plans are always best and better than mine. 

This too is mentioned over and over and over again in His Word:

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers, and remember to be thankful when they come. Don’t forget to pray for us too, that God will give us many chances to preach the Good News of Christ for which I am here in jail. Pray that I will be bold enough to tell it freely and fully and make it plain, as, of course, I should.
Colossians 4: 2-4
“ ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD.
‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’”
Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:2-4 MSG

Over those 10 years I finally realized is that sometimes....
1. God uses those struggles to get our attention. To draw us TO Him. 
2. It is through our weakness that He can show His strength in our lives. HE IS OUR STRENGTH.
3. The answer is yes, no (I have something better for you), or wait/not now. {I don't know about you but that Wait one is hard for me!}

So the hard part is....I don't get to decide the order in which 
what promises are given to me. 
It's not up to me, it's up to Him.  
God's promises for us are bigger than the promises we think He has for us.
 His promises are greater than we could ever imagine. 

My prayer was answered- after 10 long years-but not in a way 
I would ever have guessed or imagined. 
But it WAS answered. In God's time, not Shannon's time.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

June Scripture Writing Plan: Who I am in Christ

Happy almost June friends!
The new topical plan for this month is over the topic of Who I am in Christ. 

If you ever struggle with who you are, (and if you are enough)
 this list of Biblical truths will reveal exactly who God made you to be.
You need to truly know who you are in Christ so that you can live your life as God intended.
God's opinion is the ONLY one that matters. 

My prayer is that every verse will be a reminder of your true position in 
Christ because of victory won at the Cross.

I made the plan 31 days and plan to do that with
 all topical plans in the future so that they can be done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

You can find a copy of the plan in English and Spanish
and a plain copy of each in the folder HERE.

At the suggestion of a blog reader, I also decided to do
a fun iPhone lock screen with the plan on it.
You can download a copy of it HERE.

This is the plan for the month of June from last year
which is topical plan on Forgiveness.

You can copies of those plans to print out for yourself in the folder  HERE.
For those that have asked, there is also a blank form 
to write your verses on that can be found HERE

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hiding God's Word in Your Heart

I had the great honor of speaking at a women's retreat this past weekend
 and it was such a sweet and precious time.  
As an added bonus one of my college roommates is the women's ministry director 
for the church so it was a fun time getting to visit and catch up with her. 
Her church is full of some sweet, precious, and FUN ladies who 
love the Lord and each other and we had such a great weekend!

The theme for the weekend was Anchored and one of the topics 
I spoke on was being Anchored to God's word.  

I truly believe that God's word anchors us to Him and is what 
directs us to fulfill our purpose in life. 
It is God himself that gives His word power, 
and it is in and through His word that we encounter Him. 
Reading and meditating on God's word builds our relationship with Him stronger. 

Several years ago after my brain surgery, I had a few weeks where reading 
or listing to anything was very difficult for me.  
Not being able to read my Bible truly changed me and
 made me want to read and memorize as much scripture as I possibly could- 
in case that were ever to happen again. 

In America we have such amazing access to God's word- 
(I personally have 15 bibles in my house and access on my computer, phone, iPad, etc.)
but that is not always the case and who knows when that access could be taken away. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I the Lord Do Not Change

Everything in our lives changes. 
Seriously, EVERYTHING. 
Relationships change. 
The amount in our bank account changes. 
Hairstyles change.
Our health changes. 
Technology changes.
Our weight changes. 
Our feelings and emotions change.
Everything changes- sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. 

Our world is moving at a crazy hectic pace 
and things seem to change in the blink of an eye. 
Change usually brings uncertainty and anxiety- even when it's good change. 

When circumstances and situations change and move and shift, 
it unsettles and often freaks us completely out. 
BUT that is only if we put our trust and faith in those circumstances. 

Your circumstances are not your savior. 
Your relationships are not your savior. 
Your bank account balance is not your savior. 
Our Lord is the ONLY thing that does not change. 
He alone is our Savior. 
His mercies endure forever. 
His love remains constant despite our challenges 
and trials and all the crap that arrives in our lives. 

For I the Lord do not change; … Malachi 3:6 

It doesn't matter what has changed in your life or what changes you will face today,
you can rest in the truth that

Your circumstances may seem shaky and scary today 
but there is a firm foundation, a Solid Rock, 
on which to plant your feet and steady your stance. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

What IS, NOT What IF

I have a confession to make. I am a WHAT IF girl. 
I can easily start thinking about something and spiral down into a huge pit of WHAT IF. 

Are you a WHAT IF-er? 
Do you find yourself thinking....
WHAT IF......I lose my job? 
WHAT marriage falls apart? 
WHAT IF.....someone I love dies? 
WHAT IF....the medical diagnosis is scary? 

God clearly calls us to focus on WHAT IS, NOT What IF. 
What IF is speculation and allows Satan to get a foothold in our hearts. 
Dwelling on WHAT IS- the facts laid out in the word of God- is what we are called to do. 
His TRUTH that is LIVING, ENDURING, and remains FOREVER. 

I love the Message version of Matthew 6: 33-34 which says...
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

This is a perfect passage to remind us to focus on WHAT IS, NOT What If in our lives. 
God WILL provide what we need. 
Worry is needless, senseless, useless, faithless, godless, ridiculous and pointless. 
1 Peter 1:25 says....But the word of the Lord endures FOREVER! 

My prayer today is that we would focus on WHAT IS, not on WHAT IF!

Monday, May 1, 2017


I have a confession to make. 
At least once a month I think 
(and sometimes say out loud)
"I'm quitting writing scripture writing plans. NO MORE. I am DONE."

Now as I write that I realize it sounds ridiculous. 
But let me explain. 

I get tons of emails each month from some sweet readers of my blog 
and followers of the scripture writing plans and I LOVE those emails. 
Seriously you can't imagine how much those sweet emails mean to me! 

They are full of stories of how the scripture writing plans have 
touched them, caused their relationship with Christ to grow, 
and how they are using them with friends, family members & those in their church. 
I can't begin to tell you how much I love those emails, am thankful for those sweet people 
who take time out of their busy schedule to write me & how much joy they bring to my heart. 
I love hearing how God is using my tiny works for His good 
and He is so very gracious to show me through those emails. 

However in addition to those precious emails....
I also get a handful of emails that I do NOT love. 
The kind that upset me and make me utter the statement above about quitting. 

Those emails are ones that complain & do so not very kindly.
Complain about the topic I chose for the month. 
Complain about the fact that there isn't a general plan for the month. 
Complain about the fact that there isn't a short plan. 
Complain that the new plan for the month hasn't been posted yet.
Complain about how the plans print on their printer. 
Just complain. 

And those emails make me sad. 
And sometimes I'll admit, angry. 
Angry because I do the plans in my spare time- of which I do not have much- and for FREE. 
(Fun fact: I don't make a single penny off of my blog and in fact running my blog COSTS me money
No sponsorship. No ads. Nada.) 

Like many of you, I have a super busy full time job, 
lots of volunteer opportunities I'm involved in, 
a family to love and take care of, a Bible study to teach, a blog to write 
and a million other tasks to accomplish each day. 

Writing a plan takes time and isn't something that I do quickly or take lightly. 
It takes time in the word to research and read. 
It takes time to create it, have it proofed, have it translated, format it, post it, etc. 
And I love doing it but when I get those emails it honestly makes me want to cry. 
And sometimes it does. 

As I was thinking of the latest not kind email I received late last night I realized something- 
those emails are having the EXACT effect that Satan would like for them to. 
He is CHEERING when they upset me and make me think of quitting. 
Because he would LOVE to cause me to quit writing those plans. 
Because he hates anything that would cause us to grow closer to the Lord. 

And that made me wish I was wearing this shirt of mine that I love: 
Because stupid, stinky Satan will not win. 
I will NOT quit doing something that I know God has called me to do. 

Galatians 6:9-10 says....
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Such a sweet reminder that when we are weary 
(and that's when Satan loves to attack us) 
we are to carry on doing good. 

So my prayer for you and for me this morning is that when folks 
around us are used by Satan to make us angry
 and want to quit doing those things God has called us to do- 
that we see that clearly and say loudly: 

PS If you have to write someone an email to complain, please try to at least say something kind in it too! 

PSS Y'all are so sweet! Thank you for your kind words on this post- I promise that was not my intent when writing this. 
But know that you have blessed me greatly with them!