My Fitness

Friday, December 14, 2018

30 days to understanding the Bible - free copy

I am so excited to be reviewing this book!

A couple of years ago I went through an older version of this book and I am glad to see a new version. When I was asked to review it I thought it would be fun since I've read it before.
NEWEST 2018

Skimming through the newest edition, I love the new font and the new lay-out. Also, unexpectedly, Max actually signed my copy. How nice is that!

Seriously though, this is the best introduction to the Bible that I've read. I would love to lead a group of women through the book and incorporate The Bible Project's videos, too. That would be a great combination!

Each chapter has a summary and a self-test. The answers are given and straight-forward. There's no tricks and no need to watch an extra video or listen to a podcast for the "real" lesson. It's all right there. You could do this with a group or by yourself.

If you want a copy, for free, let me know! First comment wins.
Everyone else:
Promo video link:  https://youtu.be/6J8xqfbsGBM
Official website:  http://www.biblein30days.com




Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

giving locally!

Shop local! Shop small!

I am local. I am small. (well, relatively speaking.)


This is a gift going out to a local lady who asked for a copy of my book that I happen to have on hand! I'm so excited that I'm able to share it with her. I have a couple more copies on me. Let me know if you want one.

I'm hopeful that anyone who wants a copy will be able to get a copy. I have endless copies of epub versions. So if electronic reading is your thing, I've got you covered. Let me know!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

stop looking for the helpers

This is going to come across as bitterness. But I'm not bitter. I'm passionate and feel like no one is telling you that you need to be helping others. Please read this with the grace that you would want to be extended to you. Give me the benefit of the doubt and let me erase that doubt with assurance that I'm not bitter. I'm passionate and my heart breaks. Read this as from someone who has been deeply hurt and wants that to not happen to others. Passion. Not bitterness.


Many of you know about the toxicity of the last church was that we were members of. To give you an idea, when I was desperate and begging for help, a couple I didn't know hardly at all wanted to help. A leader at that church said that they didn't need to do that since they didn't know us. A leader. At a church. Where we were members. Said don't help those who need help. 

I feel like I shouldn't have to explain how anti-Christ that statement is, but just in case you don't know how evil that statement is, I'll share a few Bible verses.

James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Matthew 25:44-45 Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty...and not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'

Galatians 5:13 through love serve one another.

Luke 10:25-37 THE STORY OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN, where Jesus answered who is my neighbor, who should we love and show mercy, with "everyone who is in need."

Is that enough? One More?

Matthew 7:12 aka The Golden Rule; So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.

Fred Rogers was an awesome man and helped so many people learn to love their neighbors. He wasn't God but he was a reverend and God used the man. He's known for a saying in times of trouble, "Look for the helpers." 

Stop it.

That is a great sentiment for children. But some of you guys act like you've never grown up. You're an adult now. Stop looking for the helpers and help. 

Fred Rogers would want you to now be the helpers. He didn't mean for you to continue to sit around waiting for others to help. You need to help. You don't need to advertise how you've helped. You don't need to report to me. But if you walk past someone in need and say, "I always look for the helpers," God is speaking to you when he says,  "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." 

Is it your job to help every time? Yes. Every time. What if you're not able to help? Then no, it isn't. Every time you are able to help, it is your turn to help. How do you discern if you are able? Pray about it for 10 seconds then start figuring out how you can help. 

I felt like shaking people at my old church every time I saw a need posted and a meal train created. It was so painfully obvious who was popular and who wasn't. I would get on the group and say, "Hey! Look this person who I don't know is needing help. You need to sign up to help them even though you don't know them." I am not sure if it's just a Denton thing or a Southern thing. When I was Mississippi it would happen similarly. "Why is no one helping that family?" "Well, they are kinda rude." Funny how God didn't say, "Help those who are nice." He said, "Help those in need."

He also didn't say, "Help those who have helped you." No one I helped at that church returned the favor. It made me really bitter for quite awhile. But God specifically tells me and you, "lend and expect nothing in return." I am so ashamed of my bitterness. I could have helped even more people if I wasn't so butt-hurt over being neglected and unloved by those people. I know now that the church was being lead by toxic individuals and the congregation didn't even know that God wanted them to be loving, kind, and helpful. They didn't know that they should love the stranger. I was a stranger to them and they didn't owe me anything. They made sure I knew it. I've forgiven them and I have received forgiveness for my bitterness. 

Helping can be as easy as having someone over for lunch. Not once at my old church did we receive any such invitations. But we were faithful to extend those invitations. Not once did an established member introduce themselves during the service's "meet and greet" time. But we were faithful to do so. It's easy: You look around, see someone you don't know, get over yourself, and say hi. Ask if they've been coming here long. That's how I know everyone I spoke to had been members for years longer than us: I started talking to them. I initiated. Every time. 

IF YOU ARE SINGLE, YOU ARE STILL PART OF THE CHURCH. I hear so many complaints from single adults about not being treated like they are full members of the church. But when someone needs help, where are you? I can tell you that the times that I needed help, no single person on their own came to help. One time one gal came along as a married woman gave me a meal. And one time a single gal came to watch movies with my kids as I mowed my lawn. Isn't that sad? If you can't handle tiny responsibilities, what makes you think you deserve big responsibilities? 

There's a parable about that. Matthew 25:14-30. Go read it. I'll wait. 

You might be reading this thinking, "Sheesh, Lauren, you're so bitter. I'm not going to listen to anything you say." I'm not bitter. I'm passionate. It breaks my heart seeing people in need. I'm trying to help but I can't do it all. I need you and they need you. You are needed. You are wanted. 

Stop looking for the helpers and help.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

new bible reading plan

Someone mentioned Professor Horner's Bible Reading plan. It's ten chapters a day. That's quite ambitious for a homeschooling mother to think that she might be able to read 10 chapters of anything in a day.

"Just wake up earlier." You don't know my baby. Lucas can sense when I'm being productive and wakes up early too so that he will interrupt whatever I'm doing. But I'm going to try anyway.

I should be on Day 4 today but I decided to write down my thoughts in a journal. So, I'm starting over. I KNOW! I'm crazy to think that I will not only be able to read 10 chapters but also write down anything.

Oh well. We'll see what, if anything, happens. Hopefully, I can do it.

Originally I made videos for my kids, but that was way too ambitious. After 3 videos, I gave up. I was thinking, "What if I die? Then my kids can have these videos of me reading the Bible to them." Nice thought. Not practical.

Find that plan HERE.

On a giant plus side, I am constantly trying to get back into my reading for the day so I am wasting a lot less time browsing Facebook and Instagram. -which incidentally might mean I missed your post. I'm sorry about that.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

get a copy for free (or not, your choice)

I want you to read my book because I think it will help you in your walk with Christ. This is especially true if you haven't been a believer for long or if you feel stagnant in your sanctification process.

(That might have been a bit too much Christian jargon. Your "walk with Christ" is your new lifestyle that has changed since deciding to follow the God of the Bible. A "believer" is anyone who submits to Christ as ruler of all. "Sanctification" is the process of becoming more like God and less sinful.)

But first, look at these pics my mom sent me of my bridge from NYC. Some people call it The Brooklyn Bridge, but now you know it's actually my bridge. I cried when I saw it again. I haven't been back to the city in a long time...since before I got married. I feel like Israel wandering in the desert wanting to enter the Promised Land.
 

Ok, so if you want my book, but don't want to pay for it, message me on Instagram or Facebook (or text me if you have my number). If you think $5, is nbd, follow THIS LINK and grab your own copy off Amazon.

Once at Amazon, you might see that there's a Prayer Journal also for sale, which has previously been shared on this blog. You are welcome to a free copy of that as well, just message me. Or you can buy it for $5 from Amazon following THIS LINK.

If you are local, I have a couple of physical copies that I can give away. Let me know if you want one. I share on Facebook the other day how I went back and started reading my own book and thought, "wow, this is really good. I should write this down." True story. Luckily, I had already written it down, and published it. ha!

I've got my next book ruminating in my peripheral thoughts so follow me on Amazon to know when it gets published.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

beloved devotional

When I was first approached about reviewing this devotional
I immediately thought of my student, Chloe. She's being raised in a good home and is well-loved. And I thought she might enjoy a devotional that was written especially for young women.

From Zondervan comes Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women:
Relationships, inner beauty, and chasing your dreams are all topics on the top of a teen girl’s list. So give them great Biblical role models to admire as they grow and understand who they are. Beloved is a topical devotional that uses the inspiring stories of girls and women in the Bible—such as Ruth, Esther, Mary, and Abigail—to encourage faith and confidence in today’s young women. Perfect for everyday use, Beloved will resonate with girls searching for truth and guidance.


Check it out here:  http://www.zondervan.com/p/beloved-devotional/   



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Ellie Claire Gifts - ART JOURNALS!!!!

Today I am so excited to show you some beautiful journals. I'm really excited about them. I have 3 to show you. They are great gifts. Check out Ellie Claire Gifts on Instagram!





 The first book you should buy is the Faith & Lettering Journal. What is wonderful about this journal is that it takes someone like me, who is artistically minded and mildly talented but lacks instruction. I love lettering. I love journaling. But I don't know what I'm doing.

THIS Art Journal has a "How to Use this Book" section and when I saw it I breathed a sigh of relief because, as I said before, I didn't know how to use this book! It is designed to be a safe place to practice prompts, try your hand at different styles, and grow in your lettering skills. Plus, they used the Oxford comma, so you know these guys are legit and intelligent! Also, there's bonus points for the pen elastic on the binding. I love that!


The next book you need to buy (or reverse the order) is the Illuminate Your Story Journal.
This is another beautiful art journal. It took me through a brief history of illuminated letters then listed suggested supplies followed by its own "how to use this journal" section.


If you're like me, you might remember that old meme about how to draw an owl. "First draw a circle, then finish the owl." It's a joke depicting the hopeless feeling a lot of us feel trying to follow art directions. Rest assured, these are NOT like that! You can do this!


Think of how awesome your Christmas cards can look once you practice in these journals!


The final journal is my favorite! The Illustrated Word is more of your standard journal except it's beautiful. Each page has an embellishment from historic religious artwork and several coloring pages that are inspired from that artwork. It is beautiful!


Go to www.EllieClaire.com to see a full selection. Pick up a set for yourself as well as for the aspiring artist in your life. You can even use this as your homeschool art class. Every journal has nice thick pages which work well for pencil, pens, and markers.

The Illustrated Word journal





Faith & Lettering journal
Illuminate Your Story journal

Sunday, November 4, 2018

are you thinking about a christmas present for a young christian

Or are you thinking about a Christmas present for an older Christian? Or maybe you are thinking about getting some direction for yourself.

If you know a Christian who wants to feel closer to Christ and know the God of their salvation (maybe that's you), I cannot suggest more that you get them a copy of WARPS. If the Amazon price is outside your price range, I happen to know that Recycled Books in Denton has WARPS for $10. And I have copies available as well. -just contact me! I want you in the Word of God more than anything and if you can do it on your own, wonderful! Buy this book for your mentee! If you need help, get a mentor or join D-Group or read this book! These are all great options!

If someone you know needs help to see why they should be in the Word and practicing spiritual disciplines beyond just going to church on Sunday, buy them this book! I've not heard a single ounce of bad feedback on it. The newest edition has a list of questions for further discussion. I hope that it will aide in your edification and sanctification!
Add caption
FOLLOW THIS LINK TO BUY IT ON AMAZON or contact me

And lest we forget, there is a prayer journal as well. It has helped me to focus and worship in my daily prayers. It is beautiful. I hope that you will love it!


FIND THE PRAYER JOURNAL HERE


Monday, September 3, 2018

chalam faerytales adventure


A friend of mine has started writing a new adventure in a fantasy world that is full of love and magic. This is a classic tale of a pure love. I hope you will check it out! Morgan even has a giveaway going right now that you could enter to win a copy of your own! Follow this link!



Saturday, September 1, 2018

review and giveaway ~ The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible

I'm excited to tell you about the latest book I've been asked to review. By Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible is beautiful and captivating.

My favorite Psalm is 51 with the cry of sinful man wanting to be made pure before God. Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. I was excited to see these verses appearing throughout the Bible.

If you'd like to enter the drawing for your own copy, simply leave a comment below! The winner will be announced Saturday, September 7. To purchase your own copy, follow THIS link!

Here are some of my personal photos:








Description: The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.

Author Bio:   Doris Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.

Illustrator Bio:  Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.











Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

pencil dream

Last night (I wrote this on July 19) I laid my head on my pillow and immediately fell asleep. That by itself is bizarre for me. That never happens. And I immediately had a dream. It was just one image: a giant pencil asleep in my bed. I was the pencil. I was so startled that I had fallen asleep so quickly that it actually jolted me right back awake.

The image of the pencil stayed.
it was a dream. don't judge.
I know I can't draw ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I started thinking about how a giant pencil would walk and talk if we were in a cartoon. How do pencil's move? Maybe mine would fly since it doesn't have legs. This pencil would have to have someone else do the movement for her ("her" since it was me, remember?).

And then it struck me: This pencil can desire whatever it wants but it can only be moved by God.
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

The pencil will be worn down when used. As the led or graphite is used, the pencil gets smaller.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

It would be silly to think that the Pencil did anything. Only the One holding the pencil should get the praise.
Matthew 5:16 they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven

And when the graphite runs raw and needs to be put through a pencil sharpener, it will cut away what is useless and sharpen the pencil.
1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So the Pencil can't even get out of bed without the Writer deciding to use her. Anything the Pencil does that is of any use is because the Writer decided to write something. And when the Pencil stops being effective, the Writer will need to sharpen her and cut away the protective covering to get to the inner usefulness, which is the Holy Spirit.
Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you...

This dream and realization and meditation on Scripture was good for me. Recently I've been rather discouraged. But this dream encouraged me to remember that life isn't about the Pencil. It's about the Author. So maybe people hate the pencil. But that's silly because the Pencil isn't doing anything and can't do anything on her own. When people hate and lie about the Pencil, they're really hating and lying about God.

And that's none of my business. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

when salt has lost its saltiness

Jesus once asked, "If salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?"

Wait.

How can salt even lose its saltiness? How can it lose its taste?

Salt
NaCl
sodium chloride








If part of this simple chemical formation is broken off, its still salt. It just becomes less salt.







Then why would Jesus warn us that we can lose our saltiness? Seems weird. I did very little searching to find out that the only way for salt to lose its saltiness is for there to be "additives" in the mix.

The purpose of us being salt is so that others would see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven. But if our salt is impure it can rot. If we are impure, we can rot. And at that point we are only good for being trampled under people's feet: people can use rotten salt to help pave their way. Rotten salt, rotten christians can serve as a warning to not lose their saltiness. (Maybe that's a stretch. Maybe that's not what Jesus meant at all. The warning is still good - don't stop being salt or you'll be useless.)

If you mix something other than the gospel into the gospel, you think you are adding a preservative but really you are contaminating the gospel and the Christian and the salt.

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its taste how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and hide it under a basket, but put it on a stand so it can give light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to the father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16

So what is the gospel? And how can we be pure before God?

In a word, love.
We should define love using scripture.
By this we know love: that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16
Consider 1 Corinthians 13. Who embodies that description of love? Jesus.
How have you laid down your life for anyone today?

Consider this short message from Tim Keller below. It stayed with me because I happen to be memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (the saltiness passage) right now and I have been ruminating on it and letting it marinate in my soul. Hearing him cite it got me thinking more. I hope it will get you thinking more. Religion that is pure and undefiled is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27


Friday, July 13, 2018

so basically I published a book

That about sums it up. You can order it on Amazon in both paper back and Kindle.

I was inspired to write a book whenever I noticed that I had a rote answer for when people were "stuck" in the walk with Christ. Someone might say, "I keep stumbling in this sin. I feel like I'm pursuing Christ but I feel stuck like God is distant." I went through my answer with every person that was almost identical. The answers were always rooted in spiritual disciplines.

And so I wrote a book. Well, more like a booklet. It's devotional style and short. I don't claim to have all the answers. But I do claim to know the One who does. And by truly and actually pursuing him and not just pursuing religion or a good life, I suspect that a "stuck" spiritual walk will blossom! This book is meant to give you a taste of what that's like.

Check out and buy a copy! For the remainder of the month of July it is discounted: WARPS: an introduction to spiritual disciplines

Last year I wrote a prayer book. In my devotional, I mention that prayer book. I wrote that you can contact me to obtain it. You can find that book by following my author's page on Amazon: L. E. Mulford It was very simple and there's a link in a blogpost where you can download it. Or you can get it at cost from Amazon: 31 Days of Praying Scripture for Our Souls

I want to thank Libby Williams for helping me edit. I want to thank those friends who encouraged me. With all the sadness and evil done to me and my family this year, I am happy that God was able to still keep me focussed and driven.

I really like this book. I've reread it and still found it to be encouraging and convicting! The prayer book, too! It's good stuff and I hope that it will accomplish its purpose of pointing you to Christ.

Why did I write under the name "L. E. Mulford" instead of Lauren? I've always done so. Since I was 6 or 7. Back then I was LEB and once I got married I changed it to LEM. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I didn't tell my family that I wrote a book. But I did mail my parents a copy. Here's their reaction to receiving it:

Friday, June 29, 2018

read scripture aloud

Many of you received person invitations from me inviting you to come eat food and read the letter to the Ephesians. I am so excited to be writing that we had fun and gained some insight in how to make the next one run even smoother.

I was inspired by The Bible Project broadcast about Reading Scripture Aloud


I hope you will try it on your own. Or consider joining us when we finish reading Ephesians. We got through chapters 1-3 tonight.

As you can see from these clips, we had babies and kids being a distraction and themselves distracted. And that's ok. We took turns reading and then we shared a couple of observations. Our biggest take-away was that we are to be loving just like God is loving and the way we show that love is by sacrificially serving others.



so much food!

people and food

friends

children

friends

watching TBP video I shared above

PIE!

he says he wants to be a preacher now

she slept through the whole thing