Monday, February 6, 2012

Let's Get Moving!

Well folks. 

It's happened. 


More Precious Than Rubies is no more...  Thank you all so much for the love and support you have shown the last several months as I have grown my heart (and blog skills) as God has moved me. 

But don't fret, dear readers. "7 Days Time" has been born. It's still gonna be plenty "Precious" and no, I am not changing my writing style at all. Instead, I am moving with purpose.  I am so stinking excited for how God is moving in my life (and He told me to invite you to come along!) 

So if you would be so kind, pop on over to my new blog at 7 Days Time. Subscribe by email. Follow. Like the ministry Facebook page. Pray for me. Share with your friends. God has called me to go big or go home. 

And I'm not ready to go home yet. 

It's not just a blog. It's a ministry movement. And I am beyond excited to share this ride with you!! 

7 Days Time: Limited time. Spend it Wisely. Live for God. 

Precious Love, 

"...God, our God, spoke to us: "You've stayed long enough at this mountain. On your way now. Get moving..." -- Deuteronomy 1:6

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Moving on Up

Top Five Things on my List that Make me Happy: 
1. Jesus
2. Husband hugs
3. A great workout
4. A hot bath
5. Chocolate

You might notice that "moving" is not on that list. As an army wife, this is rather ironic. 

(Actually, I tolerate moving with the army because I am not required to pack our stuff. Otherwise, I break a lot of dishes, and require massive amounts of all of the things on my top 5 list.) 

Don't get me wrong, I love the new places and adventure of the whole experience. I just can't sit still at our new home until things are unpacked and everything is in place. It's a bit exhausting. And stressful. 

On that note... God has called me to move. 

Wait, wait, wait... I don't mean physical locations. Let's be honest. While Georgia isn't exactly my favorite of the lower 48 states, I have a wonderful hubby, house and puppy here. 

I mean move my blog. That's right. We are moving on up... Or at least over. 

So. What does this mean for you dear readers? 

First of all, don't panic. That's my job. (Just kidding. But seriously.) I ask for you to pray for me. Because technology and I are not BFFs. And I am trying to make this move on my own. I've learned more about CODEX and SEO and PHP today than I never wanted to know. 

But stay tuned the next couple of days. God has something huge planned, and I am taking a leap of faith. I am going to need your help to get this new site up, running and known by others so we can spread this awesome message of God. 

So yes, I'm moving to a different locale in cyber land. I'm changing the name. I am expanding to make this into a literal ministry movement. 

But don't worry. I won't be changing my writing style or content. You will still get plenty of sarcastic, off-the-wall, flat-out-in-love-with-Jesus messages from me. 

Are you intrigued? Well, you should be... we are moving up and making things happen. 

Walking by faith and not by sight (or blog coding,) 

"On your way now. Get moving..." --Deuteronomy 1:7 (MSG)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Operation: Fortitude Fitness Update (Month #1)

Happy February Folks!!

Hopefully this post finds you still moving strong towards your "Getting SMART with 2012" goals... We are heading into month #2 and I'm hopeful that you are still hanging on to your goals and have not already fallen off track like a 6-year-old trying to use their dog to pull their Red Rider Wagon. 

Anywho... As promised, I am checking back in with you, updating all of you wonderful and faithful readers on my personal progress. I don't write these things to say "LOOK AT MEEEEEE!" but rather I am using this blog as my accountability partner. It would be pretty awkward to repost each month and say "Yeah, I didn't do anything productive with the last 30 days." 

It's been a good month... (To view the original "goal" post, click here. Get it? Goalpost? It's almost the Superbowl? Ok, I'm done.) 

Here we go: 

SMART Change #1: Operation Fort-itude Fitness. 
This was obviously month number one. In short, my goal was to log 98 miles per the month via biking, swimming, running, elliptical etc to begin my "travels" from Fort Benning, GA to Fort Riley, Kansas. Also, in order to stay on track with my strength training, I needed to do 2,500 various reps per month. 
I started out slow on this one since the first week of January was super busy for my ministry... but the last three weeks I have really picked it up. I logged 160.5 miles!! (62.5 miles over goal) This puts me at Forestdale, Alabama on my route! (For all of you non-southern readers, that is on the northwest side of Birmingham. Glad I made it through traffic in one piece.)  As for reps, I completed 2,811. Oh... and I added a new 5K time improvement running plan to keep my running accountable. Totally thrilled with meeting this goal! 
I made it from point A to point B... Very encouraging!
Next Stop: Mississippi! 
SMART Change #2: Spend at least one hour per day in the Lord's presence by using my new Jesus Calling Devotional and studying the accompanying Scripture. I will also continue to keep a prayer request list in a notebook and/or iPad.
I've been faithful to this goal... and man oh MAN has it been amazing!! God has done a HUGE work on my heart so far and I have fallen head over heels deeper in love with Jesus. (Side note: Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for some new, big, and exciting ministry changes coming!) Oh, and can I mention that He has already answered 27 prayers just in this month? 

SMART Change #3: Complete my 1000 Gift List (inspired by Ann Voskamp's book) by the end of 2012.
I'm not at 1000 yet, but since  my first post, I have doubled the number of gifts on my list. As of today, I am at #422. I'm swimming in a sea of gratitude. Amazing. 

SMART Change #4: Memorize a book of the Bible, starting with 1 John. 
Honestly, I am really excited and pleased how this goal is going. Out of all of them, I thought this would be the most challenging. Yes, it has been challenging as the NIV84 format of 1 John is what I have now deemed the book of "excessive pronouns and prepositions." I have learned a ton and made it all the way to 1 John 2:18. Very pleased with my progress. 

SMART Change #5: Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry and submit to God DAILY in all areas of my life. 
Again, it's kind of hard to measure this goal... It's probably something I am going to have to focus on the for the rest of my life. BUT... The extra time in prayer and reliance on Him has been evident that there is work being done in my heart. 

How is 2012 shaping up for you? I would love to hear about your progress. 

Oh, and thanks so much for the support and kind words. But remember, I really didn't have much to do with this list... "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Stay SMART, 

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." --Philippians 4:12-14 (MSG)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blow Your Circuits

"Ok, I have 13 minutes to finish blow drying and straightening my hair, slap on some make-up, throw my shoes on and be in the car. I can do this. Everything is fine..." 


Cue the moment when the surrounding area goes dark. 

Fantastic. WHAT HAPPENED? As I fumble around in the dark, I realize, that I blew a breaker because of overloading the circuits. SIGH. 

Fortunately, this doesn't happen extremely often these days, especially since we are living in a decent house on post. (Plus I have become an expert low-maintainence speed groomer.) However, when we were growing up in late middle school early high school in a single-wide trailer house, which had 6 people in it at one point (two of which were teenage girls) blown breakers were a common occurrence.

I would love to give a you a play-by-play account of how that happened, but the moment right after the loud POP and everything going dark usually included a profanity from someone. And I try to keep it clean.  Ish.

Other than overloading outlets and having too many things plugged in at once... have you ever thought of how magnificent and intricate God's creation is? Not just acknowledge that it exists, but REALLY thought about it. 

Now THAT will blow your circuits.

Seriously, think about it. How awesome is our God to create something a tiny and interesting as Seahorse? (one of my favorite sea creatures, BTW) Where did He come up with the idea of creating different climates and seasons? Why didn't He just keep it simple and consistent? What about different landforms: archipelagos (that's a group of islands for those of you who have since blocked out 4th grade geography), mountains, oceans, the sky? 


And don't even get me started on the actual human body. God is so creative that He made all of us completely different including hair and eye color, foot size and fingerprints. He could have easily said "Let's just make them all bald and purple with size 7 feet. Yep. That'll do it." 

But He didn't. We are made with love in His image. He loves us so much that he created us with such a deep complexity that I personally can't even wrap my head around. I mean seriously... He created goosebumps to keep us warm and sweat glands to keep us cool. I never would have thought of THAT. 

How about just the general homeostasis activities going on in our everyday lives?  (Homeostasis is the bodily systems that sustain us and keep us living everyday... Bet you didn't know you were going to get a geography AND science lesson today huh?) Just sitting in this chair, typing this blog, I am created for my brain to think of the words, my fingers to move at lightening speed to type them, my eyes to see what I am writing (and hopefully catch spelling errors in advance), my ears to hear the click, click, clinking of the key board. 

Not to mention that my heart is beating, my stomach is digesting my lunch, my lungs are breathing, eyes blinking, muscles recovering from my workout... Need I continue? 

I say all of this because God's love for us specifically seen through His creation of us and this world blows our brain circuits. I simply cannot comprehend it. IT'S AWESOME!!

When is the last time you stopped and thought about God's creative hand in our lives and world? He created us in love. Down to the last hair on our arm, fingerprint on our pinkie and beauty mark on our leg. 

Just thinking about it blows my circuits. And lemme tell you, while I am overwhelmed at the whole idea, I am thankful that I can revel in His creation. I challenge you to do the same... today. 

Here's to all things great and small, 

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." --Genesis 1:27

Monday, January 30, 2012

Check it at the gate

"Attention passengers, flight 324 to Rome, Italy is now boarding." 

I am far from a professional flier. In fact, I was nearly a sophomore in college before I had the chance to fly for the first time. After that flight from Kansas City to Washington, DC (which was a little nerve-wracking as my co-traveler was also flying for the first time), I started to gain confidence on how to navigate airports in a timely fashion. 

I've had the privilege of flying to DC, Atlanta, Spain, Chicago, Denver, Portland, Orlando, Rome, and China (and probably a couple others that I am forgetting.) Compared to my first time flying my nerves are much more in check. 

Now I really don't stress too terribly much about missing my flight because I do all I can to plan accordingly. But there is one place in the airport my blood pressure tends to rise. 

The security line. 

Yes, I am THAT girl. The closer I get to the front of the line, the more thoughts are racing through my head. I am strategizing on how to keep my boarding pass on my person while ripping off my shoes and/or belt, emptying my pockets, unpacking my laptop as I gracefully walk through the metal detector trying not to look like a bumbling fool and tick off the person in line behind me. 

Meanwhile, other thoughts are racing through my head. "Where did I put my plastic baggie with 3 ounce liquids? Did I take my mini-pocket knife out of my purse? Are they going to confiscate my dried apple slices? Does a fingernail file count as a weapon?"

I also suffer from OPS... Overpacking Syndrome. I never fly without a carryon. If I did, it would eliminate a majority of the above thoughts/worries... But then I might  arrive at my destination without a spare set of clothes.  
This is how the Knobloch's travel... Rome to Home.
We were on our honeymoon. Can't you tell? ;-) 
I couldn't help but wonder if we are sometimes like this in our faith. Are we carrying too much baggage that in the end just weighs us down? The more baggage we carry around, whether it is insecurity, things from a past relationship or worry about future "stuff" the more likely Satan is going to be like the TSA agent who digs through your bag and finds that nail file. He will pick through our "baggage" and find the one thing that will bring us down and ruin our day.  

Jesus asks that when we are traveling with him to leave our baggage behind. Don't believe me? Check out what he says to his disciples in Matthew 10:9-10 as He is sending them out to the world: 

"Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep."

The Message version is even more direct:

"Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light."

If I was there as a disciple, I am sure I would the one in the back to raise my hand and say, "Um, Jesus? Yeah. Are you sure about this? I mean, I would really like to have a toothbrush and change of clothes. Oh, and what about my cell phone and charger? Jesus? Hey, where you going, man..." 

While we all may still choose to fly with a carryon, (hey, I trust Jesus way more than the airlines) we can travel luggage free with Christ. He gives us everything we need. He has called us to come on a journey with Him. So what about all that extra baggage? Yeah, lets go ahead and check it at the gate. 

Flying Free, 

"Then Peter chimed in, "We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?" Jesus replied, "Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first." --Matthew 19:27-30 (MSG)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Regain your Breath

Ever had the wind knocked out of you? 
Source here
I am going to guess that the answer to that one is probably yes. It might have been the physical wind knocked out of your lungs... Like when you, as a 2nd grader, thought that jumping from the low bar to the high bar on the jungle gym at recess was a brilliant idea. Next thing you know, you are flat on your back on the ground, staring at the sky gasping for breath. 

(That's a totally hypothetical situation of course. I certainly never did that. Completely made up.) 

Or maybe your breath was taken away when you received some sad news about a friend or a relative. Perhaps the wind was whooshed away when your beloved proposed marriage to you. 

There are a million different possibilities. For me, specifically as an army wife, the wind-knockage experience will typically come from my husband either in person, on the phone or via text. 

It usually starts with the phrase "So, I've got some news..." 

Let me tell you something, readers, falling off the jungle gym or getting bucked off a horse can't compare to the "Hey-baby-got-some-news" army marriage wind-knocking conversations. Because whenever I get in that situation, I am trying not to panic while I keep my breath, fight back tears, AND not to throw up all at the same time. (Fortunately, ALL of those don't usually happen.  Not because I am a pro at keeping it together, but because it would  be a mess. And if I am dealing with profound breath-takingly uncertain conversations, I don't have time to clean it up.)

When you love someone as deeply as I love Brandon, it is hard to get "news." I am so thankful that news coming from first from Iraq and now here at Fort Benning hasn't resulted in reporting any injuries or catastrophically terrifying information. (Thank you, Jesus!)   

Instead, this "news" usually revolves around changing schedules. And time apart. So forgive me if you think it sounds a little melodramatic. But hey, I love the man, I love spending time with him and he is kinda my best friend. Plus, I am a planner, so when I get the "first news" I process it, pray and prepare. When the "news" changes, I have to do it again. It's exhausting. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I am a "strong, independent woman." (My Mama's words, not mine.) But when the Holy Spirit gets ahold of me, coupled with an awesome husband who's job takes him away on a semi-random yet regular basis, I become much more vulnerable. Which means I cry more. Which I hate. SIGH. 

I had one of those wind-removing moments yesterday afternoon. The past few weeks, I have been preparing my head/heart for Brandon to go to Ranger school. In a nutshell, it's a two month (ish) long training where he doesn't come home at night and communication is minimal. He was planning on attending pre-ranger school, which according to our calculations, started February 16th. 

Apparently, our math skills stink and our calculations were incorrect.  I received a text yesterday saying that it started on the 10th. Yeah, in like 14 days. Dear Lord. Cue living room breath-leaving-the-lung moment. (To you non-military spouses, six days might seem like peanuts... and I suppose big picture, it kind of is... but it's still hard to be like "Yay honey, we are going to be apart even longer!") 

If I am being completely honest, I have to say that yes, being apart is difficult... but the changing schedules and unknown of "Will he pass? Will he get recycled? How long will this take? etc" is almost overwhelming. 

But it's only overwhelming if I let it be. No, I was certainly not thrilled with this new information. My fleshly side of me, as I was trying to stay composed (and briefly failing) wanted to just jump off the deep end right there. I wanted to get down in my living room floor and throw a tantrum. Sobbing, snotty, kicking and screaming. Very adult. Real professional. 

Somehow I refrained. I'm not gonna lie, I did have a few tears... But I immediately engaged my newest army wife mantra. As I took deep breaths to restore my composure, I started saying out loud, "I trust you, Jesus. I trust you, Jesus. I trust you, Jesus."

It worked. I was able to breath again. And even managed to blog about this. Good work, Jesus. Very impressive. 

We won't always understand WHY things happen in this world, whether they are small-scale like 6 extra days of Ranger school/spouse mandatory separation or life changing-scale level like dealing with cancer of a family member. But we can trust the unknown to a known God. 

Trust all things to Jesus. He didn't promise that this life on Earth would be easy. But He does vow that trusting Him is worth it. Let Him restore your composure. Allow Him to be the air you breathe. Ask Him to help you regain your breath. 


"And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else." Acts 17:25

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A January Thanksgiving

It came no surprise to me that I needed a drastic perspective shift yesterday. After all, I had written a ra-ra-shish-koom-ba post  and no doubt The Enemy saw it... and wanted to derail it.

But great news. He didn't win. 

Here's the very general back story: I posted "Your Personal Cheerleader" talking about how awesome God was, how we all need a pick me up sometimes etc. Well, between army stuff, normal life stuff, army stuff (oh wait, did I already mention that?), hormones, and general marriage stuff, I myself needed a pick-me-up. Things were wearing on me. Oh, and it's prayer week at Christ Community, which is great-- except God is (fortunately) using some of that time to create revelations in my heart, which makes my emotions vulnerable. (He know's what he is doing... but its never easy.) 

Needless to say: I was in a pretty rotten mood yesterday. SIGH. I despise being in a funk. It stinks. 

The mopey-grumbly feeling didn't show up til about noon yesterday. Due to some brief miscommunication with my beloved and/or the army, my optimistic cheerleader apparently decided to hibernate. Fantastic. 

For the next couple of hours, I grumbled to myself around the house, slamming cabinet doors, stomp, stomp, stomping, ignoring the whispers from God about what He was trying to reinforce in me about patience, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, being slow to anger etc. Yeah, all those super-sweet subjects. 

I made it to about 2:30pm. I had already done one workout at the gym totaling 10 miles (2 on the elliptical, 8 on the bike... it is my low impact day) I sat down to blog... and nada. Zippo. I couldn't get inspired to write anything positive. 

Suddenly, as I was staring at the computer screen, fighting back tears for the second (or was it third?) time that day, I had a revelation... A feeling of thanksgiving swelled over me. I was sick of moping, and I knew that if I sat here, letting things stew and boil before I could discuss them with my beloved when I see him next (which wasn't going to be until the next evening) things would not go well. I would be a mess. 

I slammed my computer shut and told (yelled towards?) Baby Dog Justus, "Screw this. We are going for a walk. And I WILL be thankful for today and smile if kills me!" (Can you say "Screw" on a Christian blog? Hope so. Cuz I just did.)

I slapped on my tennis shoes, grabbed my purse, keys, pen and pencil. Our normal walk around the neighborhood wouldn't suffice. I needed some nature. With God. Where I could give thanks. 

We stormed out of the house. (Sidenote: Is it really storming out of the house if no one is there to see it? Kind of like if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around does it still make a sound?) Justus and I hopped in the car, and off we went. 

I drove for a few minutes across post to a little pond nature-y trail area. We took off. 

We had thanksgiving in January. As I walked, I was intentional to breathe deeply and keep my eyes open to the gifts God had placed in my life. (That was what the pen and pencil was for.) 

Three miles later, I had captured the following Thanksgiving gifts for my 1000 gifts list. (Based on the book by Ann Voskamp.)  Not all of these things actually happened, but I was reminded of them on our walk. My mind drifted to thoughts of God instead of thoughts of annoyance and this world. 

347. Reading by the water
348. Warm wind blowing through my hair
349. Gazebos
350. January days that are warm enough to wear shorts
351. Puppy "smiles" that show white teeth and pink tongue
352. Seeing fish swim in a pond
353. The distant sound of rifle/gunshots at a range on post (I'm an army spouse. Don't judge me for this one. I think it is really sexy cool.)
354. Wet musty cool dirt smell
355. Ivy winding up a tree
356. The sound of a tractor
357. Eating fresh honeycomb
358. Hollow trees
359. Magnolia blossoms as big as your face
360. Leaves covering a path
361. My bucket list
362. Butterflies
363. Big backyards
364. Patio furniture
365. War memorials
366. Soldiers working crossing guard duty
367. The Infantryman's Creed
368. Being up high looking down
369. Laying on your back outside looking up
370. Random conversations with an awkward middle school boy on a bike about your "weird dog"

By the time Ladybug (our red Pontiac Vibe) was back in view, I felt great. Honestly, I felt like a new woman. My perspective shifted from incredibly ticked to incredibly thankful. I went from "poor, poor, pitiful me" to "blessed, thankful, God loves me." We don't have to wait til next November to be thankful. Start today. Right where you are. Even in the midst of a pending storm. 

I didn't have to have turkey, gravy and pumpkin pie to have my Thanksgiving in January. I just needed Jesus. And I don't know about you... but I am STUFFED. 

Enjoying His Gifts,

"Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!" --Hebrews 12:28-29 (MSG)