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. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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?) Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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! Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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!) Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

They Will Know Jesus by Our Love for One Another | alyssajhoward.com

They Will Know Jesus by Our Love for One Another

Religious freedom gives us the right to worship as we choose. And I am so thankful to have religious freedom in this country! But what happens when we all disagree on how (or who) to worship?

Nothing demonstrates the vast array of religious beliefs in this country like the comment section of an online news article…especially when it is dealing with a religious issue. Sadly, it’s usually a lot of bickering and complaining. It’s interesting how we feel the freedom to slander one another when we’re not face-to-face.

I have to be honest, there have been numerous times where I have genuinely been embarrassed by the some of the comments self-proclaimed Christians chose to leave for others. Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who demonstrate Christ’s love? Continue Reading

Your Point of View: What Do You See from Where You Stand?

So much of life is what we choose to make of it. How we see ourselves and the world around us truly impacts the life we lead. While I was online the other day, I couldn’t help but notice all of the inspirational quotes that people shared through social media. It seems that everyone is looking for a little inspiration. We know that staying positive can change our outlook on life; but when push comes to shove, it can be difficult to not be brought down by the people around us or difficult circumstances we encounter. Continue Reading

The Truth About Marriage and Our Call to Submit | alyssajhoward.com

The Truth About Marriage and Our Call to Submit

In today’s modern culture, submission in marriage is fairly controversial. We’ve been taught for generations that man is the “head of the household” and women are called to “submit to him in all things.” Many churches today teach that men and women are equal in God’s eyes, but they each have different roles to play. And in the end, the husband has the final say.

But I can’t stop thinking about this term “submission.” Because in my mind (and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way), submission by the world’s standard means blind obedience. It requires me to put myself under the authority of my husband in a way that dismisses my thoughts and feelings. I can’t help but envision the way a dog submits to his master. He obeys, honors, and respects the wishes of his owner. It’s this mentality that makes it so difficult for many wives to accept that this is God’s perfect will for marriage. Is this really what Paul had in mind when he called wives to submit to their husbands?
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Pushing Through the Pain Towards Your Victory in Jesus

When I find myself exhausted during a long run, it’s easy for me to concentrate on how tired and weak I feel. If I stayed in that mindset, however, I would probably find myself defeated. I have to change my thoughts in order to find the strength to keep going. I need to remind myself to breathe and to persevere. I tell myself that pushing through the pain will be worth it.

It is during these difficult moments that I develop the most strength as a runner, and the same is true in life. Learning to endure during a difficult run is very similar to enduring through life’s struggles. If life was never difficult, we wouldn’t have the opportunity for growth.

We usually learn more through our struggles than we do in the good times.

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How to Discover True Happiness (according to the Bible)

I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t have the desire to find true happiness and contentment in their life. Truth be told, we all search for it in different ways. We focus on our careers, our families, helping others, our faith, etc. all in the hope of finding true joy.

A famous author once said that in order to be truly happy in this life we all need “someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” Biblically speaking, he was right… Continue Reading