5 Unique Ways to Study the Bible

Over the years, I have gone through dozens of bible studies all filled with their own flavor and approach to study the bible. Some were very straight forward and some were like a recipe for relationship with Jesus that took several ingredients and steps to create something to feast on. I have learned and gleaned from all of them and after over a decade of pouring into God’s Word, I have found some unique ways to study the word that I believe will liven up your daily quiet time.

  1. Understanding : Over the years, I have learned that simply reading the Word, no frills, is deeply needed for our development and understanding of who we are and what we were created to do. Without understanding the Word of God, we are missing out on reading the manual of our identity. It’s like skipping the instructions for putting together a 200-piece furniture set. Somewhere, you’re going to get it wrong. Of course, while God is very straight forward, some translations are easier to read than others: The Message and The Passion Translation* (my favorite).
    • Recommendation 1: Select a book of the Bible, read 1 chapter per day in 2 different translations Recommendation 2: Select a chapter of Scripture, read in both translations, write what you believe is the message to be learned.
  2. Breaking It Up & Piecing Together: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, but as a puzzle lover and a girl who LOVES a good treasure hunt, this is my favorite way to get lost in the digging of true treasure. This is time-consuming, but so much fun and so rewarding.
    • Recommendation: Use blueletterbible.org and select 1 verse, word, or chapter to study. You can easily get lost down the rabbit hole, so start simple by playing around on the site and finding out the true meaning of the Greek and Hebrew translations by drawing connections across verses, books, commentaries, cross references, etc. For more information on studying like this, please read, “Mercy Like Morning” by Jane Johnson. AMAZING!!!!!
  3. Psalms & Proverbs: These two books of Scripture are pivotal in not only our understanding of WHO God is, but WHAT He has done. If you are going to seek to understand ANY book, I would start in one of these books.
    • Recommendation: Read each chapter aloud as you would if you were talking to God. For vocabulary that feels more natural, try The Message or The Passion Translation. These are also great starting places to develop a prayer life. Using Scripture can not only develop our understanding, but also build our faith as we recognize all that God has done before.
  4. Truth or Trash: This one is personal and so valuable. How many times have we said something so ugly to ourselves? How many times have we torn ourselves down in an effort to make us feel better? I speak first-handed when I say this. “You just suck at everything. I don’t know why you thought you would be good at this. You are worthless. No one cares about you. Life sucks right now because there’s nothing good at me. Everyone else has great lives and mine is just filled with hardship after hardship.” I know. It sounds awful, but are we even being real with ourselves if we can’ admit the harmful words that leave our mouth?
    • Recommendation: Get real with yourself. Write down every negative thing you believe about yourself, your life, your career, your family, etc. Then, be a truthfinder and find a truth in scripture that negates every negative thought you have. We do this not only because it helps us see the light in the darkness, but because when it comes down to a tough spot, we can cling to the truth.
  5. Pick an Author: While the Word of God is truly the breath of God Himself, there were around 40 people, inspired by God to write the Living Word of God. Each of their writing styles is different and studying the geography, history, and writing style really opens up a lot of our understanding of not only WHO God is, but WHO the people He called are. This is not only valuable for our comprehension of His Word, but for relating to the men He used; broken, sinful, and in need of a Savior. Sound familiar?
    • Recommendation: Choose an author. Choose a book to start. Study the geography, history, and any commentary of the author of that book. You can also use blueletterbible.org for this activity as well.

I hope and pray that this flavors your spiritual feast with richness. Sometimes, in the digging, we find exactly what we are looking for. And sometimes, we may find something we weren’t even looking for. Sometimes, the things we study aren’t to provide answers, but to provide humility, obedience, understanding or forgiveness. These things aren’t always what we come to the Father for, but it’s in these tasks that we not only grow in spiritual maturity, but we grow in our likeness of Jesus. So, get to studying. Get to reading. Get to praying. Get to anything that creates a wildfire in your soul; the treasure you’ll find is priceless.

Bonus: it can’t ever be taken away.

The Last 90 Days

If you look on IG these days, you’ll see thousands of women participating in the #last90dayschallenge. This is a challenge designed by Rachel and Dave Hollis to help you thrive and achieve your best during the last 90 days of the year.

There are 5 components of this:

  1. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water
  2. Wake up one hour earlier to have time for YOURSELF
  3. Eliminate one food category every 30 days
  4. Work out at least 30 minutes daily
  5. Write down 5 things you are grateful for

Of course, as a totally basic chick, I am intrigued. Thousands of women committing to eating healthier, drinking more water, showing gratitude, working out daily, and getting up earlier is RIGHT UP MY DANG ALLEY!

Why, you ask?

Well, let me tell you. Resolutions own me…every year. I start so strong and slowly creep away as I go hide behind all of the bad habits that continue to keep me glued down to the room of mediocrity that’s coated in molasses.

The truth is, I love this challenge, not because it’s trendy or feels good.  I love that someone is calling me out on all of my shortcomings and encouraging me show up as the best version of myself. It’s like your friends and accountability group are your own cheerleaders, rooting for you and also doing this weird rewiring with you.

We love these things because we like not only who we become but we like that there are people who are truly FOR us. We like to know that at the end of the day, someone is proud of us and will still stick around when we totally cave and sleep in, eat way too much chips and queso, and took a break from the gym. More importantly, we like that we have a reason to be better and show up for who we want to be. We like the people who are checking in with, “Is your workout complete? How about your water today? What about your gratitude journal? How are you?”

Most importantly, as an enneagram 2, I like that I can show up for me. I often feel so guilty for spending so much time on personal development that it has caused me to suffer in so many areas. I can’t help but look at the girl I’ll be 3 months of now and knowing how proud she will be. So, that’s truly the only “why?” I need. I love that in the short 2 days of this challenge, I have started created habits that will one day lead to a legacy of life long decisions. These 5 simple habits are already creating other habits within me in just a short amount of time, so I can’t wait to see

So why the “last 90 days”? Why not all of the time? Sister, this is just one chapter in the book of things to come. I feel silly that I needed a challenge and a gutsy girl friend to pluck me from out of my comfort zone of mediocrity, but at the end of the day…I know I will look back on these 90 days and realize that I changed the trajectory of my life simply because I was willing to commit to myself and promise to start living in the fullness I know I was destined for. I decided to start showing up for the me I want to be and if this is a vehicle to propel me there, by gosh, I’m going to be in that driver seat.

So, join us. It’s never too late for the last 90 days, so we might as well show up as if it really is the last of them and live them well. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

Sign up here: https://thehollisco.com/pages/last-90-days

I Don’t Have a Dad; I have a Father

For most of my life, I grew up in a perfect bubble.

Divorce? That’s what other people’s parents did…not mine.

Weird relationships with your dad? Sure…my dad was weird, but I always thought we were close in a way fathers and daughters were.

Stepmoms? Couldn’t relate, other than seeing them in movies.

Arguing parents? Not our house. We had so much fun with family nights and dinners and talking for hours on end.

And then one day, he walked away. Literally. Packed up a suitcase and decided he didn’t want “this” anymore.

I don’t know what heartbreaks have completely shattered your heart and caused you put life on hold just to put all of the pieces back together again. But I do know, with confidence, there is a purpose behind every pain we face.

The thing that destroyed my vision of the future helped me to see through different eyes filled with faith and hope.

The thing that made me question every relationship, helped me to appreciate people in a new way and learn the value of giving people your presence.

The thing that caused grief beyond compare, helped me to feel empathy and compassion to walk into other’s pain.

Most importantly, it led me to where I was supposed to go. Because despite things not working out how they are supposed to (deaths of loved ones, relationships being torn apart, careers taking a different path, and long seasons in the waiting room), God’s plan always illuminates the path to where we should be.

You see, in the midst of me putting all of my trust in people, things, and comforts, I was neglecting a Faithful Father that had been there all along. And unfortunately, He was getting a lot of the blame from me. “How could you do this to me? Why am I being punished? Why does my life continue to be out of alignment with the thing I so deeply want?” We’ve all been there.

And then, I was reminded Who He is and I stopped. The Word gives us invaluable information that not only trust in, but base our lives on.

There are 66 books of the bible filled with knowledge, power, and guidance for us to live a divinely orchestrated life in relationship with a Father who will never leave. And that, my friends, is what good daddy’s do: fill our life with affirmations and truth, guide us back to where we are supposed to be going, help us to fight every battle with power and defenses, and the desire for relationship with us.

In one of my bible studies with Priscilla Shirer, I wrote this down and write it everywhere to remind me of the value and treasure I have within the Word of God and found in each and every book. I hope this helps you to find treasures in each book, no matter how difficult it is to relate to.

  • In Genesis, He is the Breath of Life
  • In Leviticus, He is the High Priest
  • In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb
  • In Numbers, He is the Fire by Night
  • In Deuteronomy, He is Israel’s Guide
  • In Joshua, He is Salvation’s Choice
  • In Judges, He is Israel’s Guard
  • In Ruth, He is the Kinsman-Redeemer
  • In 1 & 2 Samuel, He is Sovereign
  • In Ezra, He is the True & Faithful Scribe
  • In Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder of Walls
  • In Esther, He is Courage
  • In Job, He is the Timeless Redeemer
  • In Psalms, He is the Morning Song
  • In Proverbs, He is Wisdom
  • In Ecclesiastes, He is the Time & Season
  • In Song of Solomon, He is the Lover’s Dream
  • In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace
  • In Jeremiah, He is the Weeping Prophet
  • In Lamentations, He is the Cry for Israel
  • In Ezekiel, He is the Call from Sin
  • In Daniel, He is the Stranger in the Fire
  • In Hosea, He is Forever Faithful
  • In Joel, He is the Spirit’s Power
  • In Amos, He is the Strong Arms to Carry You
  • In Obadiah, He is the Lord, Our Savior
  • In Jonah, He is the Great Missionary
  • In Micah, He is the Promise of Peace
  • In Nahum, He is our Strength & Shield
  • In Habakkuk & Zephaniah. He is our Revival
  • In Haggai & Zechariah, He is the Restorer of the Lost
  • In Malachi, He is the Son of Righteousness
  • In the Gospels, He is The Messiah
  • In Acts, He is Reigning Fire from Heaven
  • In Romans, He is the Grace of God
  • In the Corinthians, He is the Power of Love
  • In Galatians, He is Freedom from Sin
  • In Ephesians, He is Glorious Treasure
  • In Philippians, He is the Servant’s Heart
  • In Colossians, He is God & the Trinity
  • In Thessalonians, He is our Calling King
  • In Timothy, Titus, & Philemon, He is the Mediator & Faithful Pastor
  • In Hebrews, He is our Everlasting Courage
  • In James, He is our Healer
  • In Peter, He is the Faithful Shepherd
  • In John & Jude, He is the Lover Coming for His Bride
  • In Revelation, He is the First & Last, our Savior Forever

Wow, talk about a Dad with a resume’. Despite the challenges we face and gaps and imperfections we often find in our relationships with friends, spouses, parents, siblings, or even within ourselves, we can rest in the fact that we have a faithful, timeless, grace-giving, lost-seeking, love-saturated Father ready to lavishly pour every ounce of His gifts on us. And He supplies every need and supplies far more than anything ever taken away from you.

So, while I don’t have a dad, I do have a Father…and sister, so do You.

3 Ways to Empower Yourself Today

empower
[əmˈpou(ə)r] VERB
          give (someone) the authority or power to do something.
         make stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

In this culture, it’s easy to get wrapped up in “all the things”, but it’s so important to have the power to accomplish our dreams and the confidence to pursue the journey that has been specifically designed for each of us. Empowerment gives us the freedom to not only dream with purpose, but to plan accordingly to make those dreams reality.

So how do we make it happen?

First, 10-10-1

I snagged this skill from Kelly Brock when she shared it- definitely follow her on IG! Her feed and stories are filled with wisdom and encouragement.

The 10-10-1 was developed by Rachel Hollis as a way to organize and leverage your ability to become the version of yourself you wish to be, with small, incremental steps toward your goal. So, let’s look at how to do this in your own life. Grab a pen and an empty notebook and plan for 30 min-1 hour.

  1. The first step represents 10 years from now. Think about what you want your life to look like in 10 years. What will you look like? What will you be doing? Will you have children and how old will they be? What will your relationship or marriage look like? How much money will you be making? You get the point. Be detailed and thorough and write it all down.
  2. The second step represents 10 goals that will reflect and support the vision of your life 10 years from now. All of your goals need to be in the present tense. For instance, if you are wanting to get out of debt and not operate paycheck-to-paycheck, “I am debt free and have $(amount of money) in my bank account at all times.” If you are wanting to be successful at your dream career, “I am a successful (Dream career title) and love every minute of it.”
  3. The last step is to write out 1 measurable and achievable goal that supports your dreams. “I spend one night per week with each of my children.” “I read one business book per month and apply the new skills to people on my team each month as we gather sales data.” “I limit my screen time to 3 hours per day.”
  4. Finally, you write your dreams and goal down every single day. This serves as an affirmation to the person you want to be, but it also serves as a way to measure how far you’ve come as you get closer towards reaching a goal.

Second, GRATITUDE JOURNAL

As a glass-half-full person and someone who finds the glitter in the mess, I love to acknowledge all of the things I’m grateful for. But more importantly, practicing gratitude empowers us to walk through life, no matter the season, with an attitude of love and appreciation for each thing we have been blessed with.

I get it…we all have bad days, weeks, seasons, and years…but there is always, always, always something to be grateful for.

The way I do this is by writing 5 things I’m grateful for at the top of my 10-10-1 page.

Third, PLAN ACCORDINGLY

“A dream without a plan is a wish.”- Katherine Paterson

Dreams are great, but without a plan we are setting ourselves to keep dreaming. And no one wants to have unfulfilled dreams. Planning also shows to decrease anxiety, sets up systems to make us successful, and sets the standard to accomplish daily measurable tasks to accomplish goals.

I LOVE planners…like I have an addiction. But, I have a favorite. I’ve used about every planner out there, and the Passion Planner is BY FAR the best. It not only gives you a passion roadmap, but it’s set up to achieve whatever you wish to achieve, by the hour, along with weekly goals, and to-do-list spots.

I know from experience that these three things not only prepare for a more joy-filled life, but a confidence that allows us to chase after our dreams. Sometimes our dreams and goals seem too large to take, as a whole, but if we start with small daily steps, we will be able to see huge leaps and progress toward becoming the empowered person we want to become.

15 Beauty Products You Need in Your Life

I absolutely love beauty products. I often “self care” by browsing in Sephora, Ulta, Target, or your neighborhood Walgreen’s. Something about getting a new product excites and relaxes me all at the same time. A quick 10-minute trip through the make-up aisle, and I’m a new woman. While I love makeup, beauty products extend to accessories, masks, hair sprays and serums, and lotions and let’s be honest…I bask in the beauty department in all of her glory. So, I’ve narrowed it down to 15 products I LOVE that I think everyone could either use or gift.

Vanity Planet ‘Pose’ mirror

  • If you had to choose just one and you were willing to splurge a little (currently $89.99), this is the one I would get. As a girl on the go, this is the perfect thing to pack with me when I travel. I am the weird person who will sit in front of the window at the hotel for good lighting and now, I can get ready anywhere, no matter the lighting.  This has been a game changer in every getting ready routine and I imagine it will make a great gift. For those wondering, you can adjust the brightness and it is a chargeable mirror, which is so much easier than battery-charged.
Get it here

111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Mask

  • Oh my MASK!!!! These are insane. I received these in a subscription box and I am hooked. They are a bit pricey ($32 for a single, $160 for a pack of 5), BUT I say confidently that the results are INCREDIBLE. It’s a hydrogel mask with 24K gold and rose extract and my face thanks me for it every. single. time. If you are looking to get over a break up and splurge or needing a facial pick-me-up…grab these.
Get yours here

Jade Roller

  • I’m probably the millionth person to refer these, but you can get these almost anywhere now. I have received them as gifts and purchased them at almost any store or Amazon from $10-$15. I always give them as gifts with a gift card or candle or face mask. The way my face actually absorbs my moisturizers with it is a total gamechanger. Forever a jade roller babe now. Stick in the fridge or freezer for added benefits- plus it’s amazing at de-puffing those eyes in the morning and it’s the perfect way to say good morning.

Doctor Rogers Restore Healing Balm

  • Let me preface that I am a “Lipbalm Girl”. Have been since the early 90’s. I also received this in a subscription box…and I’m obsessed. Have already ordered another one. Why? Because it works. Chapped lips? Check. Burn? Check. Cut? Check. Cracked skin? Check. Will never spend my days wondering down the lipbalm aisle in mid-winter wondering if I’ll ever be able to feel my lips again. It’s $30, so like $10 a month, if you use it regularly.
Get yours here

Vanity Planet ‘Exfora’

  • I know, I know. I was influenced. BUT it works so well that friends and family have also gotten their own. If you like to deep clean those pores and boost collagen in your face, then get this NOW! If you like clogged pores and saggy skin…well, it’s not for you. It’s $200 or 4 payments of $50.
Get yours here

Rodan + Fields Redefine Night Serum and Roller

  • It’s called ‘Botox in a Bottle’ for a reason. This stuff is pricey and I have used the Redefine regimen for a while, but this stuff is my favorite for two reasons: 1. It feels like velvet on my skin 2. It has Retinol and Peptides, making my skin younger right after I microneedle it. It’s $227 regular prize, or $204 with perks. And homegirl, it comes with 60 capsules, so if you are using on twice a week, it should last you 30 weeks, and I actually use one capsule/week because it contains so much in each one, so mine lasts over a year.
Get yours here

Sol de Janeiro, Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

  • This stuff smells heavenly… and it helps tighten and smooth. Need I say more? And…it’s only $20 for a medium size.
Get yours here

Skin & Co. Truffle Therapy Face Toner

  • Yall, I have sensitive skin. And toners typically burn the ever living daylights out of my skin and I feel like it still doesn’t get clean, BUT this stuff is incredible. It deep cleans and purifies my face, but it also removes dead skin and bacteria…and that’s exactly what I want cleaning my face. You can get a set of 2 online from Ulta for $45.00- split it with a friend; you won’t regret it. (Or you can get a single for $27)
Get yours here

Rodan + Fields Microdermabrasion

  • Calling everyone who wants their own pot of gold. Seriously. I adore this stuff. Anytime I am exfoliating before a spray tan or just needing a scrub for my hands or face, I use this. Won’t ever try anything else. It’s the absolute best and lasts forever. I’m not joking. I swear it’s just a gift that keeps on giving. $83 at cost, or $74 with perks. I like perks.
Get yours here

Tarte Creaseless Concealer OR Shape Tape

  • Tarte owns the concealer industry. I’m not joking. If I’m relying on one makeup product to be my wing woman, it’s this girl. She ensures my bags are covered, blemishes are nonexistent and highlights to literal perfection. Only $26, but always check QVC’s website to see if they have two for $33 (total steal).
Get yours here

LaVanila Pure Vanilla Perfume

  • “My word, you smell good. Whatever you put on, keep wearing it.” You think I’m joking? I’m not. I literally hear it 3 times a week. And it smells heavenly and bonus, it has no phthalates, no propylene glycol, and no aldyhydes and great for sensitive skin- and I stumbled on it searching on Amazon. You’re welcome! Side note: as a health coach, it’s super important to use products that are natural and free of harmful ingredients that can affect your hormones and cause so many other preventable diseases. It’s also only $48 and you need WAY less of this than a normal perfume.
Four amazing scents here

The Perfect Face Shimmer Pigment ‘Grace’

  • This is the best highlighter ever for only $19.50. I use it literally everyday for something. From highlighting your brows, to adding some pop to your lips…this is and will always be my go-to. The owner, Danielle Doyle, is so kind and so innovative. I promise you will continue to find other products of hers that you will make staples. Hint: lip gloss, lip stick, lip liners, and the primer. Yall, you will be hooked.
Get glammed up here

 Fake Bake Flawless Darker & Desert Bronze Tan

  • I am naturally fair and very proactive in preventing skin cancer, so I have self-tanned for years. I have tried literally everything. I think I could review every self tanner that’s been on the market and I only LOVE two.
  • 1. Fake Bake Flawless Darker is my go-to. It absorbs well, has amazing color, and lasts for about a week. I also love this one because I don’t have to exfoliate like a maniac in order for it to look good. It doesn’t smell great, so you’ll definitely need to shower and probably be self conscious for a day, but if you’re looking to be tan for vacation or something lasting a little longer, for sure use this. It’s only $32
  • 2. Desert Bronze is BRONZE!!! It gets you super dark. Unfortunately, you 1000% need to exfoliate every inch and need to watch your sensitive areas like your feet, hands, knees, and elbows- the linger is real and it is super drying…but I bought it to get super tan and I love it for that. If you’re looking to be tan for an event or for the weekend, definitely use this, but bring a good moisturizer. Only $28.99
From bronzed babes
Get bronzed here

Unwined by Hask Rose’ Color Shampoo and Conditioner

  • This was purchased on a whim and it will be purchased on purpose next time. 1. It’s inexpensive for the quality 2. It lasts a while 3. It smells absolutely incredible, if you like subtle wine scents. I also am a tried and true blonde and love that it’s keeping my color so sharp, in between visits to the salon. Only $8.99 for shampoo
Get yours here

Bonus: Amika Detangling primer

  • If you haven’t gathered, I get really attached to things that smell super good, BUT they have to have that somethin’ special to be on this list. This is a bonus, which I have no idea why since I use this every time I have wet hair…and you most definitely should too. It’s hilarious because I was on a girls’ trip and came out of the bathroom and all of my girlfriends were like, “Did you just spray with Amika? It’s the best!” So, you need this in your life, because apparently, it’s in everyone’s staple items. Only $25!
Get detangled here

Hope you find something you love!