Overworked and Exhausted: 5 Tips to Avoid Burnout | alyssajhoward.com

Overworked and Exhausted: 5 Tips to Avoid Burnout

My alarm went off at 4:40 this morning. The last thing I wanted to do was get up and go for a run. Don’t get me wrong. I love to run, and I am actually enjoying training for my first half marathon. But if I’m being honest, the transition from sleeping in my bed to putting on my running shoes was brutal. …And my day was just beginning.  I’m fairly certain that neither one of my toddlers slept well last night. There were more tears this morning than we’ve had in a long time (my own included.) As I was changing probably the worst diaper in history, the exhaustion set in. I was totally burned out.

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What Is Your Heart's Desire? | alyssajhoward.com

What Is Your Heart’s Desire?

What is your heart’s desire? Is it to be happy? Have a family? Be financially stable? Or perhaps you would say that your desire to be more like Jesus or to be the best Christian you can be. As followers of Christ, we are called to see the world through the eyes of God. So to put it simply, His desires should become our desires.

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Potty Training is Easy: Learning the Fundamentals of Our Faith | alyssajhoward.com

Potty Training is Easy: Learning the Fundamentals of Our Faith

“Potty training is easy and fun!” I’m pretty sure no one has ever uttered these words. This past week has been a wonderfully delightful experience as my husband and I decided to take on the challenge of potty training our toddler. (Notice my subtle sarcasm.) Potty training is not fun, and it is certainly not easy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for no longer needing to use diapers, but cleaning up accidents is not exactly my favorite thing to do either. All said and done, we know it’s time. Our daughter has been ready for quite a while, and absolutely loves using the “big kid” potty. Now if only we could get her to tell us before she has to go rather than during! (Any tips?)

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Faith is a Verb: Putting Our Beliefs into Action | alyssajhoward.com

Faith is a Verb: Putting Our Beliefs into Action

As Christians, we hear a lot about faith. But what is faith exactly? Many of us equate it with belief. I have faith when I believe in something or someone. But I have to think that perhaps faith is more than simply believing in something. The Bible tells us that we are called to walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) It isn’t a feeling or an emotion; it’s a way of living.

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Milestones: Crying Out for Spiritual Growth | alyssajhoward.com

Milestones: Crying Out for Spiritual Growth

The day our first daughter was born, it all began…milestones. We documented everything. It’s crazy how many “firsts” there are in the first year of life! Every holiday was a first (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, etc.) There’s also the first time she ate solid food, her first words, her first tooth, etc. And don’t get me started on the biggest milestone of them all…the day she became mobile! It was time to baby proof the house! I also love how my youngest daughter is starting to communicate. She only has about 5 or 6 words that she uses correctly; but between that and hand gestures, I’m starting to get a little glimpse into her personality as well as her wants and needs. Did I mention that her words are incredibly cute? She asked me to go “nigh nigh” this afternoon. Yes, you read that right. My one-year-old asked if she could take a nap. Too cute!

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The Truth About Marriage: It's a Covenant, Not a Contract | alyssajhoward.com

The Truth About Marriage: It’s a Covenant, Not a Contract

We live in a culture that is very contract-minded. We make promises to one another, often in writing, but if one person doesn’t hold up their end of the deal, the contract is canceled. In other words, the contract can be broken if one party decides not to keep their word. We do this to protect ourselves. We don’t want to have to hold up our end of the deal if the other party is unwilling to hold up theirs. A covenant, however, is a much deeper agreement – one that is binding. Covenants aren’t common in our culture today. We like to know that we can back out of an agreement if we’re not getting what we need or want out of it. In a marriage situation, we like to know that if our needs aren’t being met, we can choose to walk away and find someone else to meet them.

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Seasons May Change, But God Never Will | alyssajhoward.com

Seasons May Change, But God Never Will

Seasons come and go, and every season gives us something to enjoy and celebrate. In the summer we get late nights, fireworks, swimming, and play dates. The fall brings pumpkins, cooler weather, and homemade pie. Winter is when things get chilly. We celebrate Christmas, play in the snow, and drink hot cocoa. And finally, there’s spring. We get to enjoy flowers, birds singing, and lots of rain. (I love the rain!)

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Finish Strong: Crossing the Finish Line After a Failure

I remember it well. I was a gymnast at the time, and I had just fallen off the balance beam in a competition. As I was getting back up onto the beam to finish my routine, I could hear my team mates shouting from the sidelines, “Finish strong!” Those two words have been ingrained in my head ever since my days as a competitive gymnast. It was so easy to let a big mistake or a fall get the best of you. Allowing a fall to ruin your concentration could easily lead to more devastating mistakes. Those two words were a great reminder to forget the mistake and to move forward. I could never undo the fall, but I could choose to have a strong finish.

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Are We Giving the World Something Worth Imitating?

Children are always watching and learning, even when we don’t think they are. My two-year-old “baked” cookies today for all of her animal friends. She even wore her oven mitt when taking her pretend cookies out of her pretend oven. She loves to imitate mommy. My one-year-old is the same way, only she copies her sister as well. She is always trying to do all of the cool things that her big sister is doing. (It’s quite adorable if I do say so myself!) Unfortunately, little ones also pick up on our bad habits. I’ve learned the hard way that I need to be careful to live a life worth imitating around my girls. They imitate everything I do… both good and bad.

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