How to Start a Blog When You Feel Called to Blog

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series (Part 5)

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How to Start a Blog when You Feel Called to Blog

Starting a Blog from Scratch

In Mindfulness in Faith and Food’s call series, I have talked about finding your call by using the clues checklist. I explained how clues, signs, and circumstances lead me to believe blogging was my call. Perhaps you feel like starting a blog is your call as well, but you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry; I can walk you through the steps I took to start a blog.

When I started blogging, I was starting from scratch. My blog facebook page and pinterest account had zero followers! I didn’t even have a personal Instagram account! I remember looking at my zero followers on my facebook and Pintertest pages and thinking, ‘how am I ever going to get people to read these blog posts? Jump to seven months later, and I am so surprised at how much the Mindfulness in Faith and Food blog has grown. Since I started from scratch, I thought a post about how to start a blog from scratch might be helpful. So here are the steps I took to start a blog from scratch:

Step 1: Pray

I believe we should remember to pray before every choice we make. When I pray, I ask God to lead me and help me know what is the right thing to do. Praying before working on my blog helps me feel closer to God and helps me remember why I started blogging in the first place. I also pray that I am careful with my words and write words that God would want me to write. I am sure I mess up at this sometimes, but I hope that I focus on what God wants me to say instead of letting my emotions, insecurities, and biases rule the blog.

Step 2: Determine your Niche

Your niche is the topic you feel knowledgeable and passionate about. This is the topic you are going to discuss in your blog. Your topic can be broad like “being a mom” or specific like “how to save money with a big family.” My blog is called Mindfulness in Faith and Food, and discusses nutrition as well as what I call my personal “God Moment” stories. I also emphasize the importance of mindfulness in our eating habits and in our faith journey. See why the name fits so well? You will pick your name in the next step.

Along with figuring out your niche, you should probably think about why you want to start a blog in the first place. Knowing why you are blogging will keep you motivated during the times when you aren’t making money or getting as many likes. When you are in a blogging slump, focus on your purpose.

So why are you blogging? Do you just want a place to record your thoughts? Are you hoping to help others by teaching, inspiring, or encouraging your readers? I am hoping my blog provides tools that are helpful to other’s lives, and I hope my ‘God Moment” stories provide hope and encouragement that just maybe God REALLY IS working in our lives TODAY. When times are hard and our faith and hope is weak (I have been there), I cling to these stories. I remember God really DOES care, LOVE us, and is truly INVOLVED in our life.

Step 3: Determine your Blog Name and Domain

After you determine your niche, you need to pick a name. You may want to make a list of possible names in case your first choice is taken. You can use this name to come up with your domain name. This is the blog web address. The web address is sometimes a variation of your Blog name. Fortunately, my blog name wasn’t taken so my blog domain name is www.mindfulnessinfaithandfood.com. I registered my domain name through the hosting company, Bluehost.

Step 4: Pick Your Host Site

I picked Bluehost, and I am so happy I went with them. After researching, I felt Bluehost was the way to go. You can use other free platforms, but if you even think you MIGHT monetize your blog one day, I would go with a selfhosted platform like Bluehost. Self-hosted means you own your blog and the content. I also like Bluehost because I can take care of several steps on one site. I was able to register my domain through Bluehost and install WordPress. Plus you can get your domain name for free if you decide to use Bluehost! Since I was just starting out, I picked the least expensive Bluehost package. I figured ‘why spend a bunch of money before you are making money?’ If you want to look through the great Bluehost plans click here.

Step 5: Install WordPress

Next I installed WordPress. This is WordPress.org NOT wordpress.com. WordPress is a website creation tool. In other words, you build your blog through them. You can install WordPress through Bluehost. You just need to login to your Bluehost account adn click the wordpress icon to install!

Step 6: Select a Blogging Theme

Now that you have WordPress you can play around and customize your blog. You do this on the WordPress Dashboard. I would first select a theme. Again, I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on this blog since I wasn’t making any money yet, so I picked one of the free Themes. I picked the “Twenty Fifteen Theme.” I think this is a nice free theme and seems to work well for blog style websites.

Step 7: Pray and then Write a Post

Again, I pray for me to know what God wants me to say, and that I remember that my true purpose is helping others. Now you can write your first blog posts!  I decided to write several posts in draft form before going live with my blog. I wanted my blog to have a little substance and depth before the blog was viewable. Having 4 or 5 post already written before going live just looks nice and more established.

Step 8: Write an ‘About Me’ Page

You don’t have to do this yet, but I think having a place where readers can find out about you and your topics helps establish your blog’s identity. You can always write a short ‘About Me’ page, and go back to make changes as your blog evolves.

Step 9: Add Plugins and Play around with the Appearance of the Blog

Now you have to play with the appearance of your blog and add plugins. A Plugin is software that can add specific features to your blog. Plugins are a BIG part of creating your desired blog, and many plugins are free. I recommend adding plugins for “sharing buttons” so that readers can share, pin, and like your post by simply clicking a button. I used the “Ultimate Social Media” plugin for my sharing buttons. “ImageInject” was one of the first Plugins I added. With ImageInject, I am able to easily search for free images and photos and insert them into my blog.

I also installed a subscriber sign up form through Mailchimp. People sign up to receive email updates whenever I publish a new post. These are just three of the many plugins available.

You are Now a Blogger!

Setting up my blog takes time. I played around in the WordPress dashboard until I was satisfied enough with the blog to go live. I am still often making changes here and there as I learn more and more.

That is it! Now you have a blog! The next steps are to promote the blog and look into monetizing your blog.

So you have a blog, now what? Check out my blogging work schedule to see what things you should be doing each month, week, and day as a blogger.

Did you find this post helpful? Did you decided to go with Bluehost through the links on this blog? If so, let me know so that I can celebrate with you by being one of the first to promote your blog through one of my social media accounts!

 Part 6 of this series, “Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Promote Blog Checklist

 

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food. You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

 

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Are These Signs From God? A Call Story

Hearing and Answering God’s Call: Part 4

Are These Signs From God? A Call Story

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The Ripple Effect

I Noticed a Change in Me

After I prayed THAT prayer from part 3… the one when I told God I was ready to do what God wanted instead of what I wanted, I first noticed a change in me.

I truly wanted to know what God wanted me to do each day. Since that prayer, I TRY to remember to pray EVERY morning. Each morning I ask, “God, please help me see the needs of others today.” Do you know God did start giving me little opportunities to serve throughout my daily life? Check out the blog “We Ran Out of Gas” for one example.

I also started trying to pray in the car and pray before I entered any new environment. I started trying to be more mindful of God’s presence in every room I entered. Notice my blog is about Mindfulness? Do you see where all these circumstances are leading.

After Praying THAT Prayer

Because I am more mindful of God’s presence, I have noticed more “God Moments” in my life, and now I have even more “God moments” to share on this blog! If you read part 3, you will remember all of this started because I read a book called The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures). This is a fantastic book about a man praying and waiting for God to lead him in almost every aspect of life. I highly recommend reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures). Because of this book, I started incorporating prayer and listening to God in my everyday moments.  (I truly think God lead me to read this book because God knew the reaction I would have. You can see this story in Part 3)

I have many “God moments” since praying THAT prayer after reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures). You can read specific “God Moment” stories by clicking on the links below:

Did that Just Happen!

We Chose the Same Picture!

I prayed and then this happened!

 We Ran Out of Gas

Why Are you So Afraid?

 God Follows Through

 Should I Share My Personal “God Moment” Stories with Others?

I was so thankful that after saying the big prayer, God seemed to be showing me small ways to serve throughout my day, but I also felt like God was leading me to do something specific (see why I thought this in part 3). But what? Would I get any signs from God? While I waited..well, I became impatient so I decided to actively write down a list of some of my accomplishments and talents. ‘Maybe I can use some of my talents to serve God,’ I thought. I jotted down that I enjoy writing and had written nutrition columns for the local newspaper in the past. But how in the world could I use this to serve God? Blogging wasn’t even on my radar at the time.

Still I thought, ‘well I do have several personal God stories that may encourage others. I could somehow share some of these personal experiences I have had with God.” Could sharing these personal “God Momens” be my calling? But how would I know that this is something I should do? My goodness, I could do so many different things, how will I EVER know what God thinks I should specifically do?

Signs from God: The Answer is “Yes, Share these Stories.”

Then Sunday rolled around again, and I went to church. Guess what the sermon was about? Our pastor did a sermon on telling your personal call or God story. Well if that wasn’t an answer to my question, I don’t know what was.

In the sermon, the pastor said that a person’s personal call or God story has one of the greatest impacts when you are telling someone about God.   In fact, a person’s personal story is only 2nd to the Bible when you are trying to tell someone about God.  Well this totally spoke to me. How amazing that as soon as I thought about sharing my personal stories and experiences with God, our pastor started talking about how important it is to tell YOUR personal story! So I decided I did want to write my personal stories down in one place so that I can use them somehow later.

Another God Moment: Finding the Time to Write

The next obstacle was finding the time to write. You see, I couldn’t write while the kids slept because I slept in the bed with my 3 year old  (I know I should never have started that habit, but you mom’s know how it is. I was just so tired of the nightly sleeping battles that I just gave up. My son would go to sleep easily if I was lying with him. Sigh.)

The problem was that if I got up for anything, even to go to the bathroom, he would wake up and cry, “hold mommy, hold mommy!” How was I going to get up and begin writing again? I wanted to not only write, but also, pray and read God’s word more often. Do you know that when I decided to get up to write, my son didn’t wake up! I was able to write, pray and read about God while my son slept! Could this be yet another of the many sign’s from God?

Doubt and Fear and then More Signs from God

Now, if I was stronger I would not have needed another nudge from God, but unfortunately fears and doubt began to creep in.  I had written some of my stories, but I began to think, ‘do I really want to SHARE these stories with others?’  Just when I started backing away, God called me again.   Literally right after I started backpedaling and doubting, two of the sermons talked about answering God’s call and even emphasized telling our own personal stories.  The words and phrasing used in the sermons spoke to me so clearly that I had chills. Were all these signs and coincidences signs from God?

Finally Ready to Take Action

Okay, finally I was willing to take action. I still didn’t know what to do, but since our pastor had inspired the idea, I decided to send my written stories to our pastor. This was a total leap of faith. I don’t normally do things like this. These stories were personal, and I felt silly just sending them to someone. This was several years ago, and I still wasn’t familiar with blogging yet. In fact, the pastor was the one who mentioned blogging. (He is a lot younger and more tech than me 🙂 ) Turns out, the pastor had been contemplating starting a church blog, and he was even more encouraged after I sent in my stories that our church should start the blog. Maybe even the pastor was receiving signs from God?

And so a church blog was started. I became one of the admins for the blog. I didn’t know anything about blogging, but I wanted all the amazing stories from church members to get shared somehow. Church members would send their stories, and I would post. Now church members had a place to share their personal call story. After all, like the pastor said, “a person’s personal story is only 2nd to the Bible when you are trying to tell someone about God.”

More Coincidences: The Leap to Starting MY Personal Blog, “Mindfulness in Faith and Food”

This church blog was established years ago, but I still never considered starting my own blog. Then two things happened.

I was still writing down all my “God Moments” as well as any lessons I had learned over the years. I decided I wanted to organize all these stories for my children. So I started working on a little book that I would only give to my children. (See there I go, writing again!) I wanted my children to feel inspired and have hope that God is there even in the tough times.

“Hmmm, Should I Start a Blog?”

As I was organizing all of this for the book for my children, I thought, “hmm, some of these stories are so encouraging and give so much hope; I wish I could share them somehow. Well, I could start a personal blog. Then maybe a few more people could see all this ‘stuff’ God has done.” Just like most thoughts, at first I didn’t think much of the idea. But the next circumstance would make me think much more seriously about blogging…

Our Church Combined Faith with Nutrition

I was still working on lessons for my children’s book when one day a church staff member asked me that since I am a dietitian I would be willing to become the coordinator of a new church wellness program. The program was called FAN: Faith, Activity, and Nutrition. The goal of the FAN program is to promote, encourage, inspire, and provide opportunities for a healthier life within the church. The FAN program focused on helping the whole person- body and soul. I loved how FAN incorporated scripture, spiritual health, and physical health into their messages. I usually didn’t get to incorporate my professional background in dietetics with my faith in this way, and I loved it!

Again, “Hmmm, I Could Start a Blog”

When I became the FAN coordinator, I dusted off my nutrition materials (I was currently a stay at home mom) to see what I could use for FAN. As I was looking through all the handouts, articles, and client books I had developed, I thought ‘this information is not helping anyone just sitting on my computer or in my desk. I need to find a way people can have access to this!’ Again, I thought to myself, “hmm, I could start some kind of nutrition blog. But if I started a blog, I would also want to talk about my faith and God experiences. Would combining faith and nutrition even work as a blog? Wait! Look at the FAN program, this program incorporates both!”

Signs from God: Everything Was Falling into Place

And this is how the idea of a faith-based nutrition blog was formed. Everything seemed to be falling into place for me to start blogging. I was already organizing nutrition and faith articles for FAN and my book for my children, and I was already incorporating faith with nutrition at church. The fact if the matter was I was already writing about faith and nutrition, why not go ahead and blog? The timing just seemed right.

My Vision for the Blog Seemed so Clear

The next part might be harder to explain, but I will do my best. My vision for my blog seemed so clear. Let me explain the opposite of clear, so that you can understand what I mean. When I was trying to decide on a name for my private nutrition counseling, I struggled with finding a name and my brand. For one, I wasn’t being true to myself. I settled for something generic, but I cringed when I said the name. The name wasn’t bad; the name just didn’t ever feel right.

When I decided to blog about God and my passions, the name almost immediately fell into my mind. I wanted to call the blog, “Mindfulness in Faith and Food.” I am still relatively new to blogging. In fact, I have only been blogging for about half a year, but this blog still just feels right.

The Creation of Mindfulness in Faith and Food

So I decided to do it! I started a blog. All my past writings- journal entries, nutrition handouts, God stories, and partial books have found a home on this blog. Who knew that I was writing for this blog for so many years and didn’t even know it!

Signs From God: The Ripple Effect

Now, looking back, I can see the ripple effect from each of these events that lead to writing a faith and nutrition blog. Each by themselves may not seem like much, but you put everything together from part 1-part 4 of this series, the sheer number of signs and coincidental circumstances are impossible to ignore

A Recap of the Ripple Effect

  1. My passion for writing since childhood (See Part 2)
  2. My weight struggles as a middle school child that initiated my interest in nutrition (See About Me)
  3. Being open to following God’s call after reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures (Part 3)
  4. Signs from God: After I prayed THAT prayer asking God to show me my call the sermon was about hearing and answering God’s call (Part 3).
  5. Then Even more signs from God seemed to indicate I was going to hear God’s call soon (Part 3).
  6. Reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures) further helped me become more mindful of God and God’s call throughout the day. Thus, I was able to notice more God stories. Now I write about them in my blog! (Part 3).
  7. Even more signs from God? Just when I was contemplating that perhaps sharing all my personal “God Moment” stories is my call, the sermons were about sharing your personal God stories (Part 4).
  8. The church blog was started after I took a leap of faith and sent our pastor all of these God stories (Part 4).
  9. I started organizing all my God stories and lessons for a book for my children. This gave me the thought, “Maybe I should share these amazing stories in a blog.” (Part 4)
  10. Meanwhile I was introduced to the FAN program, which combined faith and nutrition. I loved this, and a concept of a faith-based nutrition blog was born. (Part 4)
  11. My faith and profession as a dietitian also collided when I started incorporating ‘mindful eating.’  Mindul eating lead to weight loss and lead to mindfulness of the presence of God. (See “The One Thing I Did to Lose Weight AND Strengthen My Walk With God”)
  12. Throughout my life I had already written several ‘nutrition and faith’ blog posts through writing and journaling, I just didn’t know it!
  13. The Blog name and niche seemed so clear. (Part 4)

 Feeling Called to Blog? Want More Information about How to Start a Blog?

Have you noticed any signs from God or coincidences that you think are leading you to your calling?  Are you feeling God’s call to serve in some way? Maybe you are even feeling called to blog?

Do you are feel called to blog, but don’t know where to begin? My next post goes through the steps to start your own blog. You can check it out by clicking on this link: “How to start a blog when you feel called to blog.”

 

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

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Hearing & Answering God’s Call: Too Unbelievable to Just be Coincidence

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series: Part 3

 

Unbelievable Coincidence

 

Recapping Part 1 and Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 2, writing kept creeping up in my life. Even as a child, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I would put the thought of writing aside, but years later I would find myself writing again. Part one of this blog series talks about the 4 clues that you are hearing God’s call. One clue is you have a God-given passion for something. Another clue is that you keep getting signs over and over… and over. Sometimes your passion keeps finding its way back into your life… over and over. I think this reoccurrence of you passion could be a sign in and of itself.

(*An important note: Just because you have a passion, does not mean you are called to pursue it. Also, every passion we have is not a calling. After all, we often have passions for not so good things. Passion is just one clue. We need to look at every clue to figure out a calling. Another clue is that your passion matches up with God’s teachings. This series looks at several pieces to “What is your Calling?”

This post may contain affiliate links (See full disclosure here)

The Call Became Stronger

True, my passion for writing was a nice little clue, but standing by itself this clue really means little.  The call became much stronger later…

We had just joined our church, and my husband and I were in the process of visiting Sunday Schools.  One Sunday, we randomly visited a Sunday school class called “Open Doors.”  During the class, the teacher off-handedly mentioned the book, The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures), which was about a missionary named Brother Andrew.  I thought to myself, ‘that sounds like a good book to read.’   Almost a year later, I still remembered this specific Sunday schools comment about this ONE book, but I couldn’t remember the name of the book. It’s funny how one small comment will just stick in your mind, isn’t it? One day I saw the Sunday school teacher, and I asked her again for the name of the book.  This time I didn’t wait around. I quickly purchased the book, and my journey began…

One Book Changed the Direction of my Life

Brother Andrew’s story was inspiring.   The things that he accomplished when he listened to God’s call were amazing.  When he was truly doing something God seemed to ask him to do, God took care of every one of his needs to get THAT job done.  (I thought this was interesting because we sometimes use God as a wishing well, but when we are truly following God’s wishes to help others; then, he will help us do THAT job).  In other words, if God tells us to do something, then God will help us get it done.  If you want to read some truly amazing God moments, I strongly recommend this book.

Awesome “God Moments” from the Book, The Narrow Road

Some of the amazing things that happened in the book were: 

* Brother Andrew had an injured leg. The leg hindered the particular mission work he felt called to do. In fact, he felt the leg would nearly make the mission impossible. One day Brother Andrew talked to God about not being able to do this mission work due to his hurt leg. His leg was healed immediately!

* Brother Andrew felt strongly that he was suppose to take Bibles to persecuted countries. Bibles were not allowed in these countries, and sometimes Brother Andrew was faced with difficult situations. One time some guards stopped him. The smuggled Bibles were right on the seat of his car and the guards didn’t see them!

* Once or twice the money for missionary school was about to run out, and the exact amount came to him in peculiar ways just in time.

Mt Favorite Brother Andrew Story: This is GOOD!

One of my favorite stories took place during Brother Andrew’s time at missionary school.  Brother Andrew and the other students were asked to do local missions as an assignment.  They were given no money, food, or housing and they were told that they were not supposed to ask churches or anyone else for help. They were asked to trust that God would provide.  This was an exercise meant to teach them how to trust God completely.  This didn’t mean that the missionary school thought that people/charities should not ask for donations; the school just wanted them to practice putting all their trust in God for this particular exercise.

The students were also expected to tithe!  The students were divided into two groups. Brother Andrew’s group tithed at the beginning of each week no matter what challenges they faced.  The other group planned on tithing if they had enough after they fulfilled their own needs.  Interestingly, the group who tithed no matter what, always had enough for themselves and the missions. The other group constantly ran out of money and supplies.

They Needed Cake, and They Got a Cake in the Mail!

God seemed to always answer the needs of Brother Andrew’s group no matter how small.  For example, a church asked Brother Andrew’s group to come to a church event. The church also asked the group to bring a cake to this event. Remember, they have no money! The group panicked about how they were going to get the money for this cake.  They even considered doing something they hadn’t done yet, which was ask people for donations.  Just when the decided against asking for other’s help, they received a package in the mail.  Do you know what was inside the package? A cake, sent to them by a loved one!  The giver did not know they needed a cake; she just thought it would be a nice gesture!

The Prayer that Started it All

This book inspired me. Like Brother Andrew, I wanted to experience God’s power and presence more regularly. But was I willing to follow God’s will no matter what? Yeah, I still struggle with that questions, but I decided to pray. Instead of praying for my needs, I prayed for God to show me what God wanted me to do. I told God I wanted to follow and serve God, and I wanted my life to be about serving God and others, not myself. (Yeah, I’m still working on that.) I asked God to please tell me God’s will. I figured if I really listened AND followed, I would see some amazing things happen just like Brother Andrew.  Basically, I was asking God to call on me.  Then God started talking…

God’s Call: Signs That God Was About to Answer My Prayer

Before telling me my specific call, God seemed to be telling me that my request was heard, and is being answered. Messages about God’s call bombarded me everywhere.

In fact, RIGHT after I prayed for God to call on me, our church started “The Call” series, which was suppose to help us learn how to hear and answer God’s call! Even our church band played songs about hearing God’s call. But here is the kicker; the band did not know the sermon topics when choosing songs!

After church, I experienced another coincidence. After church, I grabbed a veggie tales movie for my son to watch not knowing that out of all the Bible stories; this movie was about Jonah trying to push away God’s call!

Finally while I was putting my son to bed, I was showing my son pictures from his Children’s Bible. He was young, so we were just looking at pictures instead of reading the words.  The bottom of each page had a one liner prayer.  I finally randomly glanced at one of the prayers.  The prayer was literally asking God to help us listen to his call!! Out of all the prayers, why was this the one I randomly read?

I asked God if God would lead me because I was ready to do what God wanted instead of what I wanted. God seemed to answer imediatly. God seemed to be saying through signs, ‘Of course, I have been waitng for you to ask this! I will lead you to what I am calling you to do.’

But the next questions was, “What IS God calling me to do?”  Check out part 4 for the answer…

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

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Did God Give you a Passion for a Reason?

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series

 Part 2: Did God Give you a Passion for a Reason? If so, What is Your God-Given Passion? 

Did God give you a Passion for a Reason?

Blogging is my Passion. What is Your Passion?

 I had the hardest time picking a title. I am hoping this post will be helpful for anyone searching for their God-given passion and calling, but I also want this to help people specifically contemplating blogging. Although I talk about my passion for blogging, this post is about so much more than blogging.

Ask your Own Questions as you Read

I hope this post is helpful to you. As you read my story, I hope you can begin thinking about your passions and where God might be calling you to serve.  Although I am using my call story as an example, I really hope you to use this post to think about your call story. As you read, think about your God-given passions. Is writing one of your passions? Look back on your own life. Do you see your passion continue to pop up throughout your life? Is there a group of people your heart breaks for whom you want to help?

My Call Story

So here is my call to blog story…

When I think about my call to blog, I have to go back and I mean way back. Isn’t it funny to realize how God was putting your call into place even from childhood?

My call to blog started even before blogging existed. When I was little I would say, “I want to be a writer when I grow up.” When other kids wanted to be teachers, athletes, princesses, singers, and firemen, I wanted to be a writer. I was often reading and writing. In 5th grade my first “published” work was a short story printed in our local newspaper.

By high school, I realized becoming an author wasn’t practical so I put those thoughts aside. I started looking into more practical careers that  would still fit my interest and heart. Being a school councilor or a dietitian sounded appealing. (Read here to find out about why nutrition became important to me). Ironically, I am now a dietitian who writes about faith, nutrition, and spiritual growth. How amazing that I get to write (my passion) about my other passions!?!?

I Kept Going Back to Writing

Saying writing has always been my passion doesn’t tell the whole story. Writing feels more like a need. I have kept journals since I was little, and I have little short stories and unfinished books from childhood still sitting around my house.

I would push this God-given passion aside and say journaling is just a hobby, but I kept finding myself writing in different areas of my life.

After college, I was dealing with something difficult. I just couldn’t make peace with broken friendships and my lack of trust in men after experiencing broken promises. I just couldn’t get past this, so I asked God to help me make peace and move on. This next part is so hard to explain. Suddenly, as if a whisper in my mind, I thought, ‘write your story.’  I had not thought of writing in years, but this thought popped in my head. The thought was strong and immediate.

So I got up from my prayer position, went to the computer, and started writing everything that happened. In fact, I wrote about every experience I could think of in which I felt God’s presence.

My story started in middle school and ended after college. I not only wrote the story, but I also wrote how God helped me through different challenging times, and I wrote about the lessons I had learned, and the mistakes I had made. Writing down my story brought me peace, and writing down the moments I had felt God in my life, helped solidify those moments to my memory. After writing those stories, I was able to easily remember and share those stories with people in conversation, and I have even shared written portions of those stories in my blogging.

My Husband Based His Marriage Proposal Around my Writing!

Do you know that writing is such a part of who I am that my marriage proposal was based around it!

When I wrote this particular story, I was dating a really sweet guy (He is now my husband). I mentioned to him that I had written a story, but I hadn’t finished it yet. I told him that one part of the story was about my lack of trust, and I even told him that I had a hard time trusting even his words. After all, I explained to my boyfriend,  people say they will love you forever and then change their mind. I was scared that everything my current boyfriend said would turn out not true, and I was scared that eventually he would change his mind about the way he feels and break promises too.

My boyfriend knew I had written about this so when he proposed he had written what he said was the ending to my book. The night of the proposal, he had left  pieces of paper and a flower on a park bench. As I looked at the pieces of paper, he tells me that he knew I had not finished the story I was writing so he wrote an ending for the story. He made me read the whole thing. He wrote that I had finally found someone I can trust, and I had found someone who would be committed forever. At the end of the page he wrote, “Will you marry me?”

What is your God-given passion?

Still Writing as a Dietitian

Again I never connected my writing hobby as a possible calling. And yet, I continued to feel an urge to write. As a dietitian, I found ways to write. I wrote a full book for my weight loss clients, and I gave each of them this book when they hired me. I also wrote for a nutrition column for our local paper.

Throughout my career, I would write about nutrition just so that I could organize my thoughts and ideas.

Writing Personal “God Moment” Stories

I also wrote anytime I was humbled and awe struck by something that God did. I kept what I called “God journals,” and I would write out my prayers, my questions, and my thoughts in these journals. You can find stacks and stacks of these journals in my home. Again, it never registered that writing could be a calling.

Looking Back, Now I See It!

NOOOW that I blog, I see it! When I look back at my old journals, I realize how much writing has been a part of my life. I keep coming back to writing over and over.

My passion for writing now feels like it was the first of many clues that writing was my calling.

Why Passion Might Be The First Clue to the Question, “What is my Calling?”

So what is the lesson in this? Having a passion may be the first hint to your calling.

1 Corinthians and Romans tells us that God gives us spiritual gifts that will help us do God’s work. Knowing your gifts may help you determine your call. However, I think God not only gives us gifts and talents, but God also gives us a passion for where we are being called to serve. If we don’t have a passion, we are probably not going to give the job our best efforts. If we are not passionate, we may do something only halfway.

When we are passionate, we feel driven to do the best we can do. The Bible seems to back this up through example after example. Most people in the Bible, who were called by God, also had a passion for their calling. Moses, Paul, Mark, John, Isaiah and of course, Jesus, all were passionate about what they were called to do.

You May Have a God-Given Passion and STILL Not WANT to Do It

Passion doesn’t mean we won’t have to step out of our comfort zone. We may have a passion for something and STILL not want to do it. We may have a passion but feel too busy or too scared. Take those same people in the Bible who had a passion for their calling. Many still felt scared and even incapable at first.

Take Moses for example. He didn’t want to step out of his comfort zone and into danger by leading the Israelites out of slavery. But you could see he had a passion for helping the Israelites fight this injustice. My goodness, he even attacked a man for beating an Israelite. Luckily Moses started following God’s lead instead of JUST his passion after God called on Moses. Some had such a passion for God and others that they even gave their own life. They didn’t WANT to give their life, but their passion for God and others gave them strength.

Whew, You Mean I Don’t Have to Do Something I Despise?

Understanding that I will probably have a passion for my calling was such a comfort. Before I began to think about my calling this way, I would say ‘yes’ to everything. As crazy as it sounds, I even felt like I should be slightly miserable as I served. I felt like I should ALWAYS sacrifice my happiness since Jesus had sacrificed so much for me. What a relief to realize that God gave the people of the Bible a passion for their calling. I could really focus on a few ways to serve instead of saying ‘yes’ to everything. I could give my all to those few areas instead of spreading myself too thin. By saying yes to everything, I was not being very helpful anywhere!

Let me add here that sometimes we feel passionate to do something, but don’t love every aspect of the calling. Yet our passion drives us to push through. Maybe you feel passionate about helping the homeless, but you don’t love all the early morning hard work that goes into working at a certain organization. Your passion and calling can drive you to do the less appealing stuff. Does this make since? Jesus certainly didn’t enjoy the pain he endured on the cross, but because of Jesus’ passion and love for us, Jesus suffered the pain for us.

Blogging is my Passion. Could Blogging be Your Passion Too?

So when trying to determine your calling, first look at your spiritual gifts AND your passions. (You can see more about Spiritual Gifts in Part 1 of this series.)

So my questions for you:

  • Do you have a God-given passion?
  • Do you have a love for something? Perhaps you have a love for reading and writing? Or do you have a love for something else?
  • Is there an area or need you feel passionate towards?

Do you feel like Blogging might be a passion for you, but you are not sure how to start? Coming soon, learn about blogging in Part 4 of this series on “How to Start a Blog when you are Called to Blog” AND Part 5 of this series entitled “My Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Blog Promoting Checklist.”

Although God Gives us a Passion for Where We Are Called to Serve, Not Every Passion is from God

One more little side note. Just because you have a passion, does not mean you are called to pursue it. Also, every passion we have is not a calling. After all, we often have passions for not so good things. Passion is just one clue to look for. This series looks at several pieces to “what is your calling?” One of these pieces or clues is that your calling and passion matches up with God’s teachings. Make sure you weigh your passions against God’s teachings when trying to determine if your passion is a God-given passion.

So the take home message is that every passion is NOT a calling, but your calling MAY be one of your passions or will become a passion.

Your Calling Doesn’t Have to Be Your Job

Sometimes our jobs are different than our calling and even passion and that is okay. Some people feel called to volunteer in certain areas. I love how Bob Goff, a lawyer, looked at his job. In his book, “Love Does,” Goff said he viewed his job as fundraising for his mission. We can also view our jobs as a fundraiser for our passion to serve other.  Our calling can even be how we feel we should live our lives. For example, maybe you feel called to be an encourager, so you try to encourage others wherever you are. You encourage your co-workers, your family, or random people at a store.

Bob Goff’s book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World is a really good read. His wife, Maria Goff, wrote a book as well called Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want. I have read and enjoyed both books.

Keeping a Jouranl May Help you Figure Out Your Passion

Even if you are not a writer, I think keeping a journal might be helpful. Sometimes writing helps us organize our thoughts. Writing your thoughts, ideas, spiritual gifts, talents, and listing your God-Given passions in a journal may help you begin to contemplate what your calling might be. I find that I am more open to hearing God’s call when I pray before I write. You can also use a journal to write your prayers and write down your awe-inspiring God experiences. I am able to remember those amazing “God moments” in my life when I write them down as soon as they happen.

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Here are a few beautiful inspiring journals.

 

Check out Part one of the Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series: “What is God Calling you to Do?

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You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

 

 

 

 

 

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What is God Calling you to Do?

Hearing and Answering God’s Call: The Series

Clues of your Calling

Part 1: What is God Calling you to Do?

I have always longed to know what God wanted me to do. Does God have a specific plan or call for me…for us? This is not an easy question to answer, and sometimes knowing the answer takes time. Perhaps callings even change over time. Recently  I began to notice interesting clues, coinsedences, and circumstances that made me feel like perhaps God was giving  me a few clues to help me determine my call. Of course I am human, and I sometimes get it wrong. But here are 5 clues that I felt lead me to my calling. Perhaps they can help you determine your calling too.

(Note these 5 clues are based on my personal experiences so please take what I say with a grain of salt. I think God reaches all of us in different ways)

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links (See full disclosure).

  1. You have a Passion for Something.

In the Bible God seemed to give others a passion for whatever God was calling them to do. Therefore, I think God gives us a passion for where we are being called to serve. If we don’t have a passion, we are probably not going to give the job our best efforts. When we are passionate, we feel driven to do the best we can do. So are you passionate for certain needs or causes? Did something happen in your life that seemed to develop that passion?

  1. You have Certain Spiritual Gifts and Even Talents.

1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 Says

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Romans 12: 6-8 Says

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

1 Corinthians and Romans tells us that God gives us spiritual gifts that we are suppose to use to serve God and others. So knowing your gifts may help you determine what you are being called to do. If you are curious about your spiritual gifts, you can find several spiritual gifts surveys online.  I won’t provide a link since there are so many different types, and many are available through churches. I will let you pick which survey will appeal more to you.

You may not fully know your gifts after taking a survey as the answers to the survey do not dictate these are your spiritual gifts, but maybe the spiritual gifts quiz can lead you in the right direction. These surveys ask questions to help you self-reflect. Pray for God to guide you as you learn about yourself. Sometimes God not only gives you the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, but God also gives us talents we can use to serve God and others. Do you have certain talents you can use? Perhaps brainstorming and writing your talents down in a journal will help you move closer to understanding your call.

 

  1. Signs and Coincidences Keep Pointing You in a Certain Direction

This one makes me nervous. As humans we can often see the signs we WANT to see. I know that I sometimes do! Or when I am feeling pessimistic, I see signs I DON’T WANT to see. HOWEVER sometimes the coincidences are just too unbelievable or signs are occuring one after another. When the signs are just too amazing, maybe we should take notice.

If you want to read an awe-inspiring book about God leading someone, read The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures).


This book motivated me to ask God to lead me even if it was scary. And my life changed after that…

Coming soon: Read more about how my life changed in Part 3 of this series.

  1. Your “God Calling” Matches with what Jesus Teaches.

This one is soooo important.

Matthew 22: 36-40 says

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So does your call line up with these two commandments and the other teaching of Jesus? God calls us to help and serve others. Does your call help and serve others?

Clues to God’s call

Your Calling Doesn’t Have to Be Your Job

Sometimes our jobs are different than our calling and that is okay. Some people feel called to volunteer in certain areas. I love how Bob Goff, a lawyer and writer, looked at his job. In his book, “Love Does,” Goff said he viewed his job as a lawyer as fundraising for his mission. We can also view our jobs as a fundraiser for our call to serve other.  Our calling can even be how we feel we should live our lives. For example, maybe you feel called to be an encourager, so you try to encourage others wherever you are. You encourage your co-workers, your family, or random people at a store. Sometimes we feel called to do something, but don’t love every aspect of the calling. Yet our passion drives us to push through. Maybe you feel passionate about helping the homeless, but you don’t love all the paperwork that goes into working at a certain organization. Your passion and calling can drive you to do the less appealing stuff. Does this make since?

Bob Goff’s book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World is a really good read. His wife, Maria Goff, wrote a book as well called Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want. I have read and enjoyed both books.

Keeping Track of Your God Calling Clues

As you contemplate your calling, you may want to keep a journal. Sometimes writing helps us organize our thoughts. Writing your thoughts, ideas, spiritual gifts results, talents, and listing your passions in a journal can help you in your search for your calling. I find that I am more open to hearing God’s call when I pray before I write.  You can also use a journal to write your prayers and write down your awe-inspiring God experiences. I am able to remember those amazing “God moments” in my life when I write them down as soon as they happen.

Just in case you are looking for a good journal, here are a few beautiful inspiring journals.

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This is part one of a five part series. Part 2 talks about clue number one, which is finding your Passion. Sometimes the fact that a passion keeps surfacing throughout your life is a sign in and of itself….

Find out more about the first clue that God is calling you in Part 2: Did God Give you a Passion for a Reason?

This series is meant for anyone searching for God’s call. However, if you are contemplating blogging or think blogging might be your calling, you might find later posts particularly helpful. I go into not only my blogging journey, but also the steps I took to start a blog.

Other Related Post:

How to Start a Blog When You Feel Called to Blog

Did God Give You a Passion for a Reason?

My Weekly Blogging Routine

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

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My Favorite Family Time with God Products

Here are a few of my favorite “family time with God” products.

Spend Time Spreading Kindness with your Family

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links (See full disclosure).

Family time with God

One of my favorite ways to spend time with family is by doing random acts of kindness for others. My childen get so into it, and get to experience how great giving feels. These Kindness Matters Cards – Box of 100 – Kindness Is Contagious Challenge Card are so sweet and full of great random acts of kindness ideas. My children and I love doing these random acts of kindness together throughout the year!

 

Coloring Inspirational Cards

I don’t think children know how much the gift of their art means to others. When I get a colored picture from a child, my heart melts. One of the most meaningful acts of kindness a child or even an adult can give is a colored encouragement card. This is why I love the Bundle of Christian Art Gifts Inspirational Biblical Color-In Note Cards.  Families can color cards together and deliver them to family members, friends, nursing home residents, or anyone who needs a little lift.  The opportunities to spread love with these cards are endless.

Family Time Conversation Cards

I love spending quality family time. So I enjoy anything that brings my family together. This is why I love family time with GOD products like  The Art Of Christian Conversation cards. My children received similar conversation starter cards during Vacation Bible School this year. I must confess that I looked at the cards and thought, “those are cute,” and then sat them aside for a while. One night we picked them up and randomly decided to read a few before bed. I was hooked!!!! The great conversations my 7 year old son and I were having were unbelievable. I have come to cherish these conversations. When we finished the cards, even my son was disappointed that the cards were finished. The cards not only got us talking about random everyday things, but these cards also found a way to teach us too!

Did I mention I really love doing these Conversation cards during my family time with God. So I am going to recommend a few more like The Art of Children’s Conversation cards are geared more towards children.

Although these cards are not geared towards Christian conversation like the above cards, you may find Christian topics come up when you get your children talking.

Okay last conversation start cards. These family-focused faith cards are called The Meal Box: Fun Questions and Family Tips to Get Mealtime Conversations Cookin’. Love it!

 

Scripture Coloring Books

 

My children love to color. What a great way to combine inspirational scripure and coloring with this &34;The Word in Color": Hardcover Biblical Inspiration Adult Coloring Book. You can even color with your children WHILE praying or talking about God.

 

How to Get Coupons and Discounts When You Shop

Lastly, I don’t want to write a products post without mentioning how to save money on many Amazon products plus products from a huge list of other stores. I always check three free apps before I buy anything.

These apps are Ibotta, Coupons.com, Ebates, and Swagbucks

Ibotta and Coupons.com

Ibotta and Coupons.com are very similar. I simply go to the app,  select the coupons I want to use before I shop, and then I shop. I can either shop through the app if I am shopping online, or I can shop in a store and scan my receipt after I shop to get the rebates I selected. You can also add rewards cards to your app and the rebates are used automatically when you scan your store rewards card. For example, my Food Lion Card is on the app. I pick out the coupons I want to use on the app before I shop; then when the cashier scans my card at checkout, the discounts are included.

These apps are totally free. To sign up for Ibotta, click on the link below:

Ibotta.com

Sign up from coupons.com below:

Coupons.com 

Swagbucks

I also like to use Swagbucks. For this app you get points for shopping at certain stores. The store selection is huge. I can buy items on amazon or a birthday present for my daughter at The American Girl store and earn points. You can also earn points by answering daily questions and taking surveys through the swagbucks app. You can use the points to get gift cards!!! And these are legit great gift cards. You can get $25 gift cards to Amazon, Bath & Body Works, Walmart and so much more! It is pretty amazing. Start getting swagbucks as my referral by clicking on the link below:

Swagbucks.com.

Ebates

The final app I use is ebates. You can buy all kinds of products and save. Again, this app gives you discounts to a huge number of popular stores like Kohl’s, “Bed, Bath, and Beyond”, and of course, Amazon. The list goes on and on. Whenever I am about to buy somehting online, I check this app along with the other three apps to see if a coupon or rebate is available. You can download this app as my referral by clicking on the Ebates button below.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 

If you would like more product ideas, check out:

“The Ultimate Gift Guide for the Health and Fitness Fanatic.”

The Quiet Time with God Basket

I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite ways to spend time with your family? Do you have favorite family time with God products as well?

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You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

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The Quiet Time with God Basket

Making Quiet Time with God a Priority

You know, I tend to make better choices throughout my day when I take the time to spend a little quiet time with God. During this time, I love to snuggle up in a cozy spot, read the Bible and often devotionals or books, and write in my journal.  I also enjoy lighting a sented candle and sipping on some relaxing hot tea. I try to focus on the moment and be truly mindful of God’s presence in this moment. Oh wow, how amazing does this sound?

Make a Quiet Time with God Basket

I love my quiet times and yet I often let the business of life get in my way. I need to make this a priority. If I notice my actions and choices are better when I take the time to do this why do I keep pushing this time aside? I have recently decided to try to do this almost every day. This is a goal I have set for myself. To help me achieve this goal, I want to make my quiet time as convinient as possible, this is why I have a quiet time basket ready to go.

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links (See full disclosure).

What to include in the “Quiet Time with God” Basket

I like my basket could include little gems like a my Bible, prayer journal, relaxing tea and a inspirational mug as well as a calming sented candle and a scripture coloring book. Somtimes I have the latest book or devotional I am reading in the basket too. Below I have listed some of my favorite quiet time basket products.

Making Quiet Time with God a Daily Goal

The Prayer Journal

If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I love journaling. See a post here. I use my journal to not only write out my prayers to God, but also to write down lessons I have learned or thoughts and questions I had while reading the Bible, books, or devotionals. One of my favorite things to include in my journal are any “God Moment” stories. I make sure to write down anything amazing that happens so that I don’t forget.  The My Prayer Journal: A 3 Month Guide To Prayer, Praise and Thanks: Modern Calligraphy and Lettering and the The Weekly Prayer Project: A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect, and Connect with God are beautiful journals.

Inspirational Mug

Nothing Like Hot Tea in an Inspirational to Get my mind in the right place. This God Is Love Coffee Mug With Scripture – Psalm 143:8 – Graduation, Birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day Gift – Black Ceramic 11 oz Custom Printed in USA or this MerchGeek The Struggle Is Real But So Is God Coffee Mug (11 oz, White) would look great in the “Quiet Time with God” gift basket.


 

Calming Tea

Add some calming tea like TranquilyTea Anti-stress Passion Flower Linden Pear Herbal Tea 3oz 40 cups NEW PACKAGING to the “Quiet Time with God” basket. This tea would go great witht the mug!

 

Scented Uplifting Scripture Candles

This uplifting scripture scented Candle – Rose Of Sharon Scripture Tin – 8oz fits in perfectly in the “Quiet Time with God” Basket or is a nice gift to give all on its own. Various scriptures and scents are available.

 

Biblical Inspiration Coloring Book

My final recommendation for the “Quiet Time with God” basket is the &34;The Word in Color": Hardcover Biblical Inspiration Adult Coloring Book. Coloring WHILE praying is a great way to quiet the mind and focus on the presence of God.

I hope you liked these ideas. Do you have a favorite?

Save money on These and Other Products with These Four Apps

Lastly, I don’t want to write a shopping post without mentioning how to save money on many Amazon products plus products from a huge list of other stores. I always check three free apps before I buy anything.

These apps are Ibotta, Coupons.com, Ebates, and Swagbucks

Ibotta and Coupons.com

Ibotta and Coupons.com are very similar. I simply go to the app, select the coupons I want to use before I shop, and then I shop. I can either shop through the app if I am shopping online, or I can shop in a store and scan my receipt after I shop to get the rebates I selected. You can also add rewards cards to your app and the rebates are used automatically when you scan your store rewards card. For example, my Food Lion Card is on the app. I pick out the coupons I want to use on the app before I shop; then when the cashier scans my card at checkout, the discounts are included.

These apps are totally free. To sign up for Ibotta, click on the link below:

Ibotta.com

Sign up from coupons.com below:

Coupons.com 

Swagbucks

I also like to use Swagbucks. For this app you get points for shopping at certain stores. These store selection is huge. I can buy items on amazon or a birthday present for my daughter at The American Girl store and earn points. You can also earn points by answering daily questions and taking surveys through the swagbucks app. You can use the points to get gift cards!!! And these are legit great gift cards. You can get $25 gift cards to Amazon, Bath & Body Works, Walmart and so much more! It is pretty amazing. Start getting swagbucks as my referral by clicking on the link below:

Swagbucks.com.

Ebates

The final app I use is ebates. You can buy all kinds of products and save. Again, this app gives you discounts to a huge number of popular stores like Kohl’s, “Bed, Bath, and Beyond”, and of course, Amazon. The list goes on and on. Whenever I am about to buy somehting online, I check this app along with the other three apps to see if a coupon or rebate is available. You can download this app as my referral by clicking on the Ebates button below.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 

If you would like more product ideas, check out:

“The Ultimate Gift Guide for the Health and Fitness Fanatic.”

My Favorite Family Time with God Products

 

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

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3 Social Media Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

Updated on November 13, 2017

You can Show Random Acts of Kindness on Social Media Too

I love Random Acts of Kindness. My family did a year of Random Acts of Kindness once, but that is a post for another day. Since, I have been a blogger, I have noticed that Random Acts of Kindness can extend to Social Media as well. Sooo here are 3 Social Media Random Acts of Kindness Ideas.

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links (See full disclosure).

  1. Spread Compliments on Social Media

If a positive thought pops in your head about the post or picture you see as you scroll through your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds, share it with the person! If we keep the compliment to ourself, we will miss a chance to lift someones spirits.heart photo

 

2. Write a Positive Review

If you love a store, restaurant, or business, go to one of their social media pages and leave a nice review or comment. Make sure to mention by name any employees who were particularly helpful. This will not only put a smile on the employees face, but could also potentially improve their chances of getting a raise or promotion.

3. Uplift a Blogger

I never realized how much heart, sweat, and soul a blogger puts into a post. I just never thought about all the work that goes into a post. Now that I know, I try to comment and show my support for any blog post I find helpful.  Sometimes, when I am in between books or devotionals, I use Christian blog post as a way to do little” devotionals.” I simply read and take notes on Christian blog posts. When I do this, I try to leave a comment to let the blogger know their post was used in this way. In fact, when I use a tool or product a blogger recommended or I follow a bloggers “how- to” steps, I try to let them know in the comments as well. Sometimes just this little comment of encouragement, is just what a blogger needs to stay motivated.

package photo

 

For more Random Acts of Kindness ideas check out the Kindness Matters Cards – Box of 100 – Kindness Is Contagious Challenge Card

 

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You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

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The Ultimate Gift List for the Christian Soul

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links (See full disclosure).  I also have included my favorite FREE money saving apps at the bottom of the post, and I receive incentives when you sign up for the free savings apps through my referral links. I love these products and apps and my opinions are my own.

Christmas Gift Wish List for the Christian Soul

The Gifts That Keep on Giving

I love Chistian inspired gifts that focus on showing kindness and love. These gifts do just that!

  1. I cried when I first read the The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas book. No really! I cried right in the middle of the store. My husband just looked at me like, “There she goes again,” and “well, I guess we will be buying that!” This is the sweetest book about giving to others. The book includes a sparkle box (which is meant to be a gift we give to Jesus on Christmas day.) Throughout the Christmas season, your family is suppose to show kindness to others and then write down the kind act on a piece of paper. You put the paper into the sparkle box. On Christmas day, you open up the box and read the pieces of paper. The pictures are beatiful and the story is so sweet!

 

2. These Kindness Matters Cards – Box of 100 – Kindness Is Contagious Challenge Card are so sweet and full of great random acts of kindness ideas. My children and I love doing these random acts of kindness together throughout the year!

3. I don’t think children know how much the gift of their art means to others. When I get a colored picture from a child, my heart melts. One of the most meaningful acts of kindness a child or even an adult can give is a colored encouragement card. This is why I love the Bundle of Christian Art Gifts Inspirational Biblical Color-In Note Cards. I would love to get a gift like this because I could use this gift to spread more love. My family could color cards to give to our family members who are going through a tough time or to a friend who just had a new baby. We could color these cards and give them to nursing home residents or widows who are alone for the holidays. The opportunities to spread love are endless.

Family Time Gifts

4. I love spending quality time with my family. So I enjoy any gift that brings my family together. This is why I love The Art Of Christian Conversation cards. My children received similar conversation starter cards during Vacation Bible School this year. I must confess that I looked at the cards and thought, “those are cute,” and then sat them aside for a while. One night we picked them up and randomly decided to read a few before bed. I was hooked!!!! The great conversations my 7 year old son and I were having were unbelievable. I have come to cherish these conversations. When we finished the cards, even my son was disappointed. The cards not only got us talking about random everyday things, but also found a way to teach us too!

4. Did I mention I really love doing these Conversation cards with my family. So I am going to recommend a few more.  The Art of Children’s Conversation cards are geared more towards children.

Although these cards are not geared towards Christian conversation like the above cards, You may find Christian topics come up when you get your children talking.

5. Okay last conversation start cards. These family-focused faith cards are called The Meal Box: Fun Questions and Family Tips to Get Mealtime Conversations Cookin’. Love it!

christmas gifts photo

“Quiet Time with God” Basket

One of my favorite things to do is have some alone quiet time with God. I love to use this time to pray, read scripture, write in my journal, and just be comforted by the presence of God. So I would be so delighed if I recieved a quiet time with God basket as a gift. The basket could include little gems like a prayer journal, relaxing tea and a inspirational mug. The basket could even include a calming sented candle and a scripture coloring book. Below I have listed some of my favorite quiet time basket gift ideas.

6. If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I love journaling. See post here. The My Prayer Journal: A 3 Month Guide To Prayer, Praise and Thanks: Modern Calligraphy and Lettering and the The Weekly Prayer Project: A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect, and Connect with God are beautiful journals.

7. This God Is Love Coffee Mug With Scripture – Psalm 143:8 – Graduation, Birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day Gift – Black Ceramic 11 oz Custom Printed in USA or this MerchGeek The Struggle Is Real But So Is God Coffee Mug (11 oz, White) would look great in the “Quiet Time with God” gift basket.


 

8. Add some calming tea like TranquilyTea Anti-stress Passion Flower Linden Pear Herbal Tea 3oz 40 cups NEW PACKAGING to the “Quiet Time with God” basket. This tea would go great witht the mug!


9. This uplifting scripture scented Candle – Rose Of Sharon Scripture Tin – 8oz fits in perfectly in the “Quiet Time with God” Basket or is a nice gift to give all on its own. Various scriptures and scents are available.

10. My final recommendation for the “Quiet Time with God” gift basket is the &34;The Word in Color": Hardcover Biblical Inspiration Adult Coloring Book. Coloring WHILE praying is a great way to quiet the mind and focus on the presence of God.

Scripture Jewelry and Decor

11. Jewelry engraved with scripure are beautiful and uplifting. Your Christian loved one may also love a prayer box necklace like the Silver Plated I Said a Prayer for You Today Prayer Box 18 inch Chain. I have a prayer box necklace, and I enjoy writing prayer request and prayers for loved ones in the box. I can remember who and what I would like to pray for where ever I go. What a great Christian inspired gift to give this year.

12. Finally, I love inspiring scripture home decor. I want people to feel uplifted and encouraged when they enter my home. What a great way to spread joy by having beautiful scripture decor througout your home!

I love this Love Never Fails Quote Reclaimed Wood Pallet Scripture Sign Home Decor


13. or these Decorative Pillow Case Love Extravagantly Scripture Cushion Cover 18″ x 18″

14. Or this Luxuriously Soft Scripture Throw Blanket | Jeremiah 29:11 | 50×60 inches (Brown)

 

I hope you liked these ideas. Do you have a favorite?

How to Get Coupons and Discounts When You Shop For Gifts

Lastly, I don’t want to write a shopping post without mentioning how to save money on many Amazon products plus products from a huge list of other stores. I always check three free apps before I buy anything.

These apps are Ibotta, Coupons.com, Ebates, and Swagbucks

Ibotta and Coupons.com

Ibotta and Coupons.com are very similar. I simply go to the app,  select the coupons I want to use before I shop, and then I shop. I can either shop through the app if I am shopping online, or I can shop in a store and scan my receipt after I shop to get the rebates I selected. You can also add rewards cards to your app and the rebates are used automatically when you scan your store rewards card. For example, my Food Lion Card is on the app. I pick out the coupons I want to use on the app before I shop; then when the cashier scans my card at checkout, the discounts are included.

These apps are totally free. To sign up for Ibotta, click on the link below:

Ibotta.com

Sign up from coupons.com below:

Coupons.com 

 

Swagbucks

I also like to use Swagbucks. For this app you get points for shopping at certain stores. These store selection is huge. I can buy items on amazon or a birthday present for my daughter at The American Girl store and earn points. You can also earn points by answering daily questions and taking surveys through the swagbucks app. You can use the points to get gift cards!!! And these are legit great gift cards. You can get $25 gift cards to Amazon, Bath & Body Works, Walmart and so much more! It is pretty amazing. Start getting swagbucks as my referral by clicking on the link below:

Swagbucks.com.

Ebates

The final app I use is ebates. You can buy all kinds of products and save. Again, this app gives you discounts to a huge number of popular stores like Kohl’s, “Bed, Bath, and Beyond”, and of course, Amazon. The list goes on and on. Whenever I am about to buy somehting online, I check this app along with the other three apps to see if a coupon or rebate is available. You can download this app as my referral by clicking on the Ebates button below.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 

If you would like more gift ideas, check out “The Ultimate Gift Guide for the Health and Fitness Fanatic.”

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You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

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God Moments: We Ran Out of Gas

Just a Normal Drive to Work

Class shouldn’t be too long tonight.” I said as I was leaving to teach nutrition to a group of college freshman. I figured I would be home shortly since this was the first class of the semester. I usually just go over the syllabus and class expectation on the first day.

As I was driving to work, I noticed a policeman carrying a gas canister to a car stopped on the side of the road. I thought to myself, ‘oh that is nice. That driver must have run out of gas and the policeman brought a canister of gas to the stranded driver.

God Moments: We Ran Out of Gas

The Quick Prayer

This made my mind wonder as it often does. I began to wonder how often I was too busy to notice others in need of some help or assistance on the road or in a store. I’m not sure why, but I decided to pray a very specific prayer. I prayed, “God, if I pass by someone on the side of the road who has run out of gas, please help me notice, AND help me do the right thing.” Then I went to teach my students. As predicted, my class was short. I was glad since I had lots to do at home. So I jumped in my car and headed home…

She Said “We Ran Out of Gas.”

On the way home from class than evening, I kid you not, I see a car on the side of the road. A mother and her middle school aged son were standing beside the car.

I am going to tell you the truth even though I am embarrassed. My first thought was ‘Are you kidding me? Am I really suppose to stop NOW?!’ What is the likelihood that I would pass by a car on the side of the road right after saying that prayer?’ But I HAD just prayed to God about this very thing. I did ask God to help me notice others in need. Well, I noticed, and now I have to choose to do the right thing. So I pulled over and asked, “Are y’all okay? Do y’all need anything?” (I’m from South Carolina, so you will find I say y’all…a lot). Do you know what the mother said? She said, “We ran out of gas.”

Is that not something! How often is someone stuck on the side of the road because they specifically ran out of gas? This family’s car battery wasn’t dead, and their car wasn’t broken down for another reason. No, this family was not stuck on the side of the road because of any of these more common issues. I asked God to help me notice if someone ever runs out of gas, and here in front of me is this mother and son standing with a car WITH NO GAS!

Filling Their Tank and Filling My Heart

I responded, “Okay, hold on. I will get ya’ some. I’ll be right back.”

I don’t know why I prayed such a specific prayer; maybe I thought that I wouldn’t be much help if the car trouble was much more than an empty gas tank. For whatever reason, I prayed, “Please help me notice and stop when someone runs out of gas,” and the NEXT time I drove, I passed by someone who had run out of gas!

Did God know these people were going to need gas at this time? Did God find a way to encourage me to stop for this family? I don’t know, and I don’t even understand. I just know it happened, and I still remember the look of shocked appreciation on that middle school child’s face when I came back with a canister of gas. Their thankful faces, and God’s answer to my prayer filled my heart that day. As I filled the tank, my heart was filling up too.

Your God Moments

I am so thankful God leads me because my decisions would look very different without God.

Do you have any God Moments you would like to share? I always love to hear how God is working in our lives. Please share your stories in the comments. If you enjoyed these posts, and would like to be notified when a new one is posted, please follow “Mindfulness in Faith and Food.”

We Have a Giveaway Winner

To celebrate the God Moment series, I had a giveaway. The Giveaway is now over, and we have a winnner! Congrats to one of our subscribers, Lauren! She won the Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal.

This is such a fun Journal! You can use this journal to write down you prayers, questions, thoughts, and God moments. After writing, you can color in the journal while you pray and think about what you just wrote. What a great way to slow down and be mindful!

I love journaling! This is one of my favorite ways to learn, grow, and relax. Here are a few awesome prayer journals:

(Click on the journal for more details.)

More God Moments:

  1. God Moments: Did that Just Happen?

2. God Moments: Choosing the Same Picture.

3. God Moments: I Was So Afraid

4. God Moments: We Prayed and Then This Happened

5. God Moments: God Follows Through

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

 

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