Once again we have Apostle Rick Ciaramitaro joining our channel. Let’s talk about Israel, rains and the Dead Sea coming back to life.
As I continue to learn about the names of God and the revelations of what they tell me about His nature, I’m constantly finding myself with deeper understanding of who my Saviour is. Today’s name has really grown on me the past few months. So let’s talk about Jehovah Nissi, the LORD our Banner.
There are a few examples of this name in God’s Word that we can discuss, but I want to start with Exodus 17:8-16:
8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner (Jehovah Nissi); 16 for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
A banner is “a flag, military ensign, the principal standard of a prince or state”. They honor champions, and commemorate heroes. They are meant to be seen and not ignored. On the battle field they even have more significance, the banner summons and calls people to it. It is a rallying point. The impact of this never really clicked with me until recently when I watched an old favourite movie of mine, called The Patriot. There’s this epic battle at the end of the movie, the enemy was advancing on them, the front line was faltering. The Flag Bearer fell, and the troops began to retreat.
You see in battle opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. The battle field is often chaotic, stressful, noisy and even worst filled with smoke and debris. So, I’m watching this movie, and all of a sudden Mel Gibson stops what he is doing, grabs this flag off the ground and starts waving it around. He’s screaming like a mad man with the banner. And then it happened, the troops see it, hope surges, courage rises, passion pushes them forward. In that moment your own heart surged, it like “Let me in the fight”. It’s all over, there was no stopping this army now.
This is what was happening with Moses on top of that hill. The banner of God was being raised with his hands towards heaven. When lifting high, the enemy was routed. When let down, the enemy would advance. So they supported the hands to prevail.
This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point. Jehovah Nissi is always visible on the battlefield because he is above the chaos. I told my son, who likes to play Apex Legends, that even when Bangalore drops their smoke on the field, when we look up above the smoke, it’s still clear.
Another important thing about banners is that they act as an anchor in times of uncertainty. When we are lost, hopeless and confused that banner reminds us that not only is Jehovah present but He is our standard to tell us what is real and what’s not. Jehovah Nissi is solid anchor of truth that can always be depended on.
The battle with Amalek was not just a physical battle but a spiritual one. Jehovah Nissi is our source of power, hope, courage and deliverance. God gave us other examples of Jehovah Nissi in Numbers 21:8-9 when the bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole and those who looked upon it were healed. How much more was that a foreshadowing of John 3:14-15 when Jesus, God Himself, was lifted up on a Cross for the Salvation of the world! Nissi is powerful! God is rallying the troops together in these last days. He’s calling us to pray. The sleeping giants are awakening and his Banner calls us to arise and conquer. It’s a day to advance and take the territory.
I was debating on whether I wanted to write this post, but it’s part of who I am.
So, here it is.
It’s October 31st.
Most people are toting around in their costumes, posting pics of their (awesome) makeup tips and tricks and stuffing their face with candy.
(and maybe a few of you too!)
For us, it’s just another day. However, it’s a day that we had to be very strategic with teaching our kids what we believe and why we believe it.
You see, we all love dressing up on occasion as well. So, what’s the difference between dressing up on any of the other day of the year compared to Halloween?
The truth is, when you know the history and reasons behind things, sometimes it can cause you to turn away from mainstream ideas. It’s not that we don’t believe in Halloween, it’s simply that we don’t celebrate it.
Sometimes this is hard for our kids to understand. I used to keep them home from school because our school still invites everyone to dress up. Last year, I finally felt like they were old enough to understand that other people might do things that seem fun, but that doesn’t mean that you need to feel compelled to do the same.
To my pleasant surprise, it didn’t even bother them.
Today was a bit different.
Today, we had to have another conversation discussing why we believe what we believe.
It was kind of hard. I mean, what’s the harm in wearing your sports uniform to school or adding a bit of fancy makeup to your eyes?
Except, now we’re talking about seeing how close we can get to the line without crossing it.
That’s a big concept to fathom.
It’s one that can be applied to anything that you believe is wrong. If you’re asking yourself how much you can get away with without appearing to cross the line, it’s quite possible you’ve gone too far.
So, if you wonder why I don’t post or participate in the festivities of the day, this is why.
Tonight, instead of hiding out in the basement with the lights off during trick or treating hours, we will be heading to an alternative option that our Church provides – Quest.
There kids will have the opportunity to have fun while going on a Quest to learn epic Bible stories and when it’s over, they get a treat bag filled with candy.
It’s a safe environment that glorifies what we believe in.
That’s something that I can stand for.
I failed at today already.
It’s 8:11 in the morning.
I slept through 3 alarms and only crawled out of bed moments before Brian’s alarm went off.
I double booked my morning. I didn’t write a blog post. I ran out of milk. I yelled at the kids.
Anxiety is a killer today.
So, here I am, pressing the reset button. Fixing the things I can, putting priorities back in order and getting back on track.
Have you ever had those days? Nothing seems to go right, but you still need to be put together and look alive when you leave the house?
Having a 5 minute makeup routine helps on days like today.
Let’s start with 3 principles to set the stage.
#1 Organize your makeup
If your makeup station is organized, it’s easier to be able to quickly find the products you want and move on.
#2 Know your favourite products
It’s a good idea to have certain products that you know you love and always seem to work for you. If you want to go one step further, throw them all in a makeup bag so that you can just grab the bag if you are in a hurry.
Keep it simple, sweetheart. Simple makeup is great for everyday makeup – I mean, who glam is glam, but not necessary.
I have worked to get my makeup routine down to 5-10 minutes. This is the simple routine I have been following:
Step 1 – Moisturizer
L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Day & Night Moisturizer
Step 2 – Primer
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
Step 3 – Foundation
Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation (2N1 Desert Beige)
Step 4 – Bronzer/Contour
Ulta Matte Bronzer (Cool)
Step 5 – Blush
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush (Paaarty)
Step 6 – Highlighter
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter (Opal)
Step 7 – Mascara
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara
Step 9 – Brows
Tarte Busy Gal Brows Tinted Brow Gel (Taupe)
Step 10 – Setting Spray
Hard Candy Illuminating Setting Spray (Sheer Envy)
Ten steps might seem like a lot, but I can barrel through these steps in a few minutes.
Slap that moisturizer on, wait a few seconds and do the same with the primer.
Throw a few dollops of foundation around your face and blend. The foundations I’ve been trying lately seem to work best with a brush, which works better for me because it’s faster to use a brush.
Once the foundation is blended, quickly blend some bronzer stripes on your cheeks, nose, forehead, under lip, and chin.
Add a few strokes of blush to the balls of your cheeks and strobe some highlighter just above and onto your temples. Don’t forget to highlight the tip of your nose and your cupid’s bow.
Mascara is where you need to take your time – no need poking your eye out with your wand. Plus, if you take your time with mascara, you can separate your lashes nicely and arrange them in a beautiful wispy formation.
Line your lips, top them with lipstick.
Brush through your brows and if needed, add some brow gel.
Now set it all with your spray.
Grab a fan, sit back and take a moment for yourself – and to air dry your face.
That’s it! Super quick. Super easy.
Do you have a quick every day makeup routine that you follow or do you like doing full-glam every day?
Ok, I know, I’m behind on my blog.
Hopefully this video makes up for it.
People always talk about how you’re either a morning person or a night owl. I used to be a morning person, but up until recently I haven’t been a morning person or a night owl – I like to go to bed early and sleep in.
In this video I am going to share with you how I’ve switched my routine to become a morning person.
Let’s start with the reason why I wanted to become a morning person.
Since the end of 2016, mornings have become a sore spot in my life. We’ve kind of gone through an extended period of time where we’ve endured waves of trials and tests in our life with little to no rest in between the waves. As time goes on in this manner, it gets more and more difficult to drag your inner Barbie out of bed each morning. So, I thought I would teach the kids how to get up and get ready on their own without needing me to be awake. Although that is good practice for life, it didn’t prepare them for school in a way that I would ultimately like. A beautiful woman recently encouraged me to cultivate a desire for God within my kids. I instantly knew I needed to start by revamping my morning routine.
Step 1 – The Night Before
Prep is key. It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning if you haven’t had a good rest the night before. I put together a night routine that would help me get adequate rest.
- Make sure my bedroom is clean (fresh sheets/blankets/etc)
- Make sure the kitchen is clean (waking up to dirty dishes and clutter adds stress)
- Nightly skin care routine (wash/moisturize/lavender lip balm)
- Utilize essential oils to set the atmosphere for sleep (Peace blend)
- Get to bed by 10pm
- Set my alarm (I actually have 3 alarms – 2 on my phone and the sunrise one on my bedside table)
- Have a plan for the morning.
Step 2 – In The Morning
It took me a few tries before I figured out what would work for our family. Personalities and tendencies can all affect how mornings roll in your house. One of the key things I realized is that Violet needs food before she can function in the morning, so asking her to pray/read her Bible before breakfast will likely cause a struggle.
I’ll be real with you – it’s still very hard to drag myself out of bed each morning, but it is getting easier and easier each day because I know the atmosphere I want to cultivate and why I want to do it. That makes the struggle all the more worth it.
Mornings might not be a current strongpoint, but I would encourage you to figure out what it would take to cultivate the right atmosphere in your house each day. Then plan it out, tweak it, and when you’ve found a good groove, stick to it. Know your why – it definitely helps.
When I was a teenager and into my early twenties, before kids, I would change my nail polish to match my outfit pretty well every single day. I’m not just talking a coat of polish, I’m talking all out designs – fingers and toes!
I’m sure if you have kids, you can deduct that that kind of time is non-existent when you’re running after those precious gems. My nails took a bit of a back seat in my beauty regime – I kept them short and rarely ever painted them.
Let’s rewind a bit…
I went to beauty school.
Well, kind of.
I went through to become a nail technician right after highschool because I spent the majority of my free time painting nails. I hated everything about those courses except the designs I could paint. I literally had every shade of nail polish you could think of – and I used every single one.
I absolutely loved painting nails.
One time, my sister and I even went to the hospital to paint a dear friend’s nails. When the other patients around heard what we were doing, they wanted theirs done too. That day was so much fun and one of the best times I’ve ever had in my nail painting career.
Now let’s fast forward to 2018.
I wanted to start getting my nails done again. I started looking for the best technician within driving distance and found John – every time I liked someone’s nails, they would always say ‘John does them.’
My nails grow fast, so unless I want broken nails, I need to go every 3-4 weeks. That can get crazy expensive, so I decided I needed to start thinking outside the box again. You know, that whole no-spend August really impacted my spending. Plus, I get so bored with having the same nail polish design on my nails for 4 straight weeks!
I checked out the price list and saw that acrylics were a good $12 cheaper than the gels that I’ve been getting. I sat and asked myself what the actual difference was between gel and acrylic.
You know what?
I didn’t know.
So, as soon as I got home, I googled it (no internet at the nail salon and the only answer I can get out of a technician is ‘gel is better for your nails’).
This is what I found out:
THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!
So, I read article after article and watched a bunch of videos on it and they all said the same thing – same product, different method.
One video explained that it was like baking a cake – gels are like making a boxed cake and acrylics are like baking a cake from scratch. The smell difference is just because our senses can’t pick up the fumes from the gel (although they are still there and just as potent as the acrylics). The only other difference is the way they are cured – uv or led lights cure the gel, while acrylics cure without any special lights. That difference only matters to the nail technician – gels have more play time and acrylics cure (or set) quickly.
So, even though I went through school for this, I had no idea they were the same thing (in my defense, gels weren’t really a thing back then). My new plan is to get acrylics done at the salon and paint my own designs weekly at home. This will save me $15-$30 every month. Violet is really into painting nails, so it will be great bonding time for us. She came home from school the other day and told me that all her friends think it’s so cool that I’m a nail artist (she has kept all of my old practice nails safe to show them).
I think I’ve shared before that my favourite nail polish is the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. The opacity of these polishes is stellar – you can absolutely get away with one coat. Plus, they dry so fast that sometimes I’m painting my nails on the way to church. Then, the price point on them is so reasonable! I just bought 9 new colours to try out for Violet’s birthday this weekend.
What nail design trends are your favourites? Let me know in the comments and I will try them out!
Although I’ve loved makeup for a long time, I haven’t always loved taking care of my skin. I always found it to be a hassle taking off my makeup before bed or applying cream, serum or anything. I kind of had the thought that skin care products would cause my skin to radically dry out.
I’m grateful to say that I’m a little older and bit wiser in this area. My skin has changed so much since I started really caring for it. I learned that finding the right products was key in keeping my skin fresh, hydrated and healthy.
Before we dive into my current routine, let’s see how my skin care routine has changed a bit over the last few years.
This was literally the only thing I used on my face (besides makeup). You can use FCO as an eye makeup remover, makeup remover and moisturizer, all in one. My face was never dry or greasy when I used this (although it is comedogenic, so you want to be careful with it).
Reason why I switched? It bothered my eyes so much that my vision would be blurry for about 2 hours after using it.
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
I admit, I continued to use the FCO to take off my eye makeup because it worked so well. I never had to scrub, it just melted it away. Closer to the end of 2017, I tried to use just the Makeup Eraser, but I felt like it left a film on my skin, so I added a cleanser. I tried a sample of the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser and I loved how it cleaned my skin. I just couldn’t get over the smell and how dry my face felt afterward.
So, I switched. Again.
Nivea Eye Makeup Remover
Biore Powder Cleanser
Tatcha The Deep Cleanse
Tatcha The Water Cream
This year has been an amazing start for me with skin care. It all started because I was travelling to Israel and wanted to pack in a carry-on. I did a lot of research on cutting edge products and found a powdered cleanser – which would eliminate that out of my liquids allotment. The problem was that it was so expensive and I wasn’t sure if it worked. I began looking for a cheap version of it when I found Biore had one. It was $6, so I couldn’t resist trying it.
I love it!
I know this is kinda gross, but my pores felt like they were exploding dirt right out of them! My face felt so clean after. The only problem was that it tightens and dries the skin as tight as I used to roll baby diapers.
I needed a cream.
I had a sample of Dr. Jart+ Hydrogel that I started using and I LOVED it. It wasn’t heavy, moisturized my face and literally felt like water.
Then I ran out of it.
I immediately ran out to Sephora to get a new sample or possibly buy it, but they didn’t carry it in the store. I decided I would get a sample of the Tatcha Water Cream and see if that compared. I got distracted, like usual, and tried the Tatcha Deep Cleanse on my hand. I’m sure if they have cameras in the store, they could pull up first of all how I accidentally squirted a boatload onto my hand, but secondly how excited I got with it.
I was talking loudly. To myself. In a very animated monologue. Then, in the middle of my monologue, I turned around and a shaft of light ignited the end-cap in front of me and I found myself staring at a travel size duo, for just $30.
So I did what any beauty lover would do. I bought it and ran home to wash my face.
At 10:00 in the morning.
I’m not even going to tell you anything about it, cause I’m saving that for a full review, but I will say that it quickly made it’s debut into my skin care regime.
So now, I feel like my skin is the best it’s ever been. I owe it all to my new skin care routine.
1. Remove eye makeup with Nivea
2. Take off makeup with Biore Powder
3. Wash my face/neck with Tatcha Deep Cleanse
4. Moisturize with Tatcha Water Cream
Do you have a tried-and-true skin care regime? What is your favourite product? Comment below.
I LOVE traveling.
Ok, I don’t LOVE the travel part of it, but I do love being on vacation. I mean, who doesn’t, right?
When I was a kid, I would get so excited to go anywhere, that my trip started weeks (or sometimes months) before the day we were scheduled to leave.
Shout out to all my planners out there!
When my kids were little, I would make sure that I had every detail of every little thing worked out for the sitter (usually my parents!). Then, as they got older, I didn’t do any different! As a matter of fact, I’ve probably become more and more meticulous with organizing their lives before I leave. I have checklists and lists and notes and files and everything else you can possibly imagine.
Yes, probably a little over the top, but I want to make sure that life doesn’t skip a beat for them (or the sitter) just because the hubs and I are gallivanting across the universe (or lazing on a beach somewhere tropical).
Let’s get into how to make travel easy peasy.
Well, Looky Here…
A typical vacation for us is when I find a deal online, quickly check coinciding flights, book the vacation and then usually leave within 5 days of booking.
I’m ALWAYS looking.
I mean, usually the day I get back from vacation, I’m already hitting up my fav travel booking sites. You know, just to see what’s out there.
Regardless, I have tried and true favourites that I lean towards.
- Favourite Cruise Lines
- Favourite All Inclusive Resorts
- Favourite Airlines
- Favourite Deal Finders
I watch for sales and deals, freebies and incentives. This not only gets me great deals but it keeps me excited about our next travel adventure.
Plan on Planning
I have basic travel planners, spreadsheets and lists ready to go at any given time.
Sounds a bit crazy, but if you have a base plan, it will take the unnecessary stress away from the travel process.
Some of my lists include
- Packing List
- To Do For Vacation
- To Do Before Vacation
- Schedules (for kids and pups)
- Schedules (for vacation)
Last minute vacations usually get you the best deals. However, it’s difficult to plan last-minute vacations if you are not flexible.
If you can, try to be flexible with things such as
- Vacation time with your employer
- Where you are willing to vacation
- When you are willing to vacation
There is seriously nothing like being prepared for something. I usually keep a pre-packed travel bag that has everything but clothes so I’m ready on the fly.
You never know when the most amazing deal is going to strike and if you’re prepared, you could be vacationing sooner than later.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite travel stories.
The hubs wanted to go away on vacation.
To appease him, I looked and looked for a deal, but was not finding anything that fit in our budget.
Grateful, I finally told my hubs that it wasn’t going to work out and asked if he could maybe switch his vacation time so I could find something at a more convenient time (not so close to Christmas).
Before he did, I thought I’d give it one last go. I found a 7 day cruise from Houston for only a few hundred dollars. I laughed and told him that I would go if we found cheap flights (under $100).
Ugh! I found $50 flights from Detroit to Houston and on top of it, the cruise line offered an on board credit of a few hundred dollars.
In the end, the trip only cost us peanuts and it was one of the greatest times we had.
Do you find travel planning stressful or do you thrive in the wake of lists and schedules? Comment below!
7 Basics to Include In Your Sketch notes
Everyone loves a pretty picture. Sketching notes transforms words (that might normally go in one ear and out the other) into beautiful masterpieces. If you’re anything like me, when I first started I felt like the empty page staring back at me was intimidating and clearly mocking my inexperienced creativity – I had no idea where to start. So, I tried to do something only my husband knows how to do, I attempted a logical thought process.
That in itself could’ve been enough to send me careening into a downward spiral, but thankfully I survived. My logic?
Divide and conquer.
Seeing the page in sections helped to minimize the stress of having to fill up an entire page. When I first started, I would draw my title really big in the centre of my page. Then I would write notes around it. It did make it less intimidating, but it kind of looked like throw-up in a notebook.
Thankfully, I soon developed a formula that made sense to me and kept my notes from filing for insanity. This simple formula wrangles my notes together every time, whether I’m feeling the creativity or seem to have an empty crater for a brain.
This is the format that I use every time I listen to a sermon.
Use these 7 basic elements in your sermon sketch notes and you’ll look like a pro every time.
- Scripture References
- Key Thoughts
There you have it!
Before you know it, the service is over, you are standing to your feet and you’ve created a masterpiece with the inspired words that God gave to your pastor.
Take your notes and purpose to mull on them over and over throughout the week. It really adds a spark to meditating on the Word of God, day and night.
Do you have any other elements that you add to your sermon notes? Let me know below; I’m always looking to expand my creativity!
So you’re interested in Creative Journaling – sermon sketch noting. This is one of my favourite things to do.
Now, I’m no expert, but I have a few tips on how you can get started in your creative journey. The info in this post are my recommendations for starting out.
Get some paper
Ok, if you’ve ever been to my house, you’ll see that I am a journal hog. I’m mesmerized by pretty covers and the smell of soft leather as I fan the pages it envelops across my face. This is the uniqueness that comes out in me. Now, you don’t absolutely need a journal, you can use any paper you would like. It took me a good year before I found my perfect journal – and I’m sure it will morph as time goes on. (Excuse the fact that my dog decided he loved my journal so much, he could eat it.)
One thing I do recommend for starting out, is lined paper. It can help with dividing up your page and writing neater. As your skills increase, your preference may change as well.
Does size matter? To some it does. I’ve used larger journals before, although it’s not my preference. I prefer to use 5×7 because it fits nicely in my purse, it’s the perfect size for my lap during service and it seems to always fit everything I want to write neatly on each page.
Get a pen
Find your favourite writing utensil. You can use pencil, pens, markers, etc. This is a preference thing and it’s best to start with something that you are comfortable writing with. I’m currently using Sharpie fine tip pens. They’re smooth enough to glide on the paper, but not too thick as to bleed through. When I practice, I sometimes use a pencil.
This is key, peeps! Be patient with yourself, you will not be a pro the first time you try this. It will get better, practice will enhance your notes. Remember that your notes are unique to you – and like you. Don’t compare your notes with others, because you’ll only ever be second best. Embrace your own quirky penmanship and drawing.
Practice, practice, practice
If I had a dime for every time someone said to me that they are not creative enough to take notes like me, I’d be rich. As a matter of fact, I’ve said that myself! Yes, there’s an aspect of creativity that goes into these notes, but anyone can do it! I believe there’s a spark inside of everyone, and if you practice, you will excel beyond what you thought capable.
Have you started sketch noting sermons? Leave a comment below on how you got started, I’d love to know!
*Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. There is no added cost to you.