Sunday, November 30, 2014

Do daily devotions really make a difference?

This summer I had an interesting conversation with my friend Chelsey about faith. We shared our concern about why it is difficult to take time each day to spend with the Lord. We also talked about how sometimes we just feel so far from God. We began to ask why and discuss if those two concerns are connected??

So on a long truck ride home from a car show with Jeff I started to talk with him about doing an experiment. What if I asked Christian women in my life to be part of a 60 day - 2 phase study that would try to answer these questions.


Women in the survey would get a daily survey like this to answer. They would simply answer how they would describe their "cup of faith". It also allowed room to describe more about their day. 

After Phase 1 some women shared that this process of reflecting on their faith each day helped to keep God more in mind each day. But I was excited to start Phase 2.


I was most excited to see how Phase 2 would change the women's daily cup of faith surveys. For the next 30 days I sent a daily devotion in the morning for the women to read. The devotion had 3 parts.

First was the Scripture of the Day:

Second was the actual devotion for the day. I used various devotionals online, personal experiences, and devotional books to write the daily devotion. 

Third was the Focus Point of the day.  It usually included a question and an action step.

I asked the women to try to read these devotions within 1 hour of waking up. I thought this might set the tone for the day.

At the end of the day I sent the daily survey. For this phase I also asked the women to share thoughts on the morning devotion.


So...what did we learn?


52% of the participants described their "cup of faith" as much more full after the 60 days


29% of women described their "cup of faith" as quite a bit more full after the 60 days.  


93% of women felt like a daily reflection on their faith affected their faith walk quite a bit or greatly


78% of women felt like the daily devotions affected their faith walk quite a bit or greatly

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Planning our meals

Every Sunday night you will usually find me sitting on the couch creating our menu for the week. This system has worked well for me over the past 9 months or so.  Here is what I usually do...

First I look at the Fareway ad for the week. If anything catches my eye I try to use those items in my menu for the week.

Second, I start a word document with the days of the week at the top of the page and space for my grocery list below.

Third, I mark off any nights of the week I know we won't be home or we have plans that might lead me to choose a quick meal or a night it might be best to have a crockpot meal.

Fourth, I ask Jeff is there is anything he is craving. Usually I have a craving for a certain type of food like Mexican or Italian. I try to work those in first. I have found that choosing meals that sound good to us help us to not eat out as often. We actually look forward to what we have planned for the week!

Fifth, I start filling in some of our staple recipes that I can think of. I usually end up with two or three nights open.

Sixth, I head to Pinterest to find a new recipe to try. I usually search by the meat we have in the freezer or what is on sale at Fareway. These helps me narrow down the search that can be very overwhelming!

Once I have filled in the menu at the top of the word document I start my grocery list. I look at each recipe and quickly type the items I don't have in the fridge or pantry. Sometimes I type them down and put a question mark next to it if I am not sure. It is better to just get everything written down before I go check, otherwise I get distracted by other things!! :)

If my grocery list isn't too long I will add a "Sweet Treat" recipe to the list. I love to try new recipes for cookies, breads, etc. but I only add those items to the grocery list if I think I will actually have time to make the recipe or if I think I am not going to go over my budget for the week.

I also add those weekly items that are staples for our family like things we like to pack in our lunch (String cheese, pudding, pop, etc)

I try to type the items in groups on the word document by area of the grocery store. I am not always correct but being close helps.

Last I write my menu up on our chalkboard. This helps Jeff and I both to remember what's for dinner and usually one of us will remember to lay out the meat we might need that night for dinner. That really helps me when it comes time to cook!!

So...that's how I do it!! Here is a look at what we are going to have this week! I have linked the recipes that are online!

Monday – Little Cheddar Meatloaves and Baked Potatoes
Wednesday – Burgers on the Traeger Smoker
Thursday – Small Group (no meal)
Friday – Chicken Fried Rice
Saturday – Manwiches and Coleslaw or EAT OUT
Sunday – Chili and Cornbread
Monday – Eggs and Bacon

Either Jeff or I usually pick up groceries on Mondays so I usually plan one week out. I have the ingredients at home for the Monday night I get groceries so that I am ready to go the night I have to pick up groceries. The other factor I include is making sure I have enough for our lunches the next day. I try to make something good for lunches on Sunday night so we have food to take to work the next day or two. Friday and Saturday nights are better for things like steak which aren't quite as good as leftovers. 

Hope this was helpful or at least interesting! :)