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

The One Kind of Fear That Sets You Free | alyssajhoward.com

The One Kind of Fear That Sets You Free

I think it’s safe to say that we are all afraid of something. In this world, we are taught to be brave and face our fears head on, but that’s usually easier said than done. Fear truly is our greatest enemy. It keeps us from being at peace and enjoying life. It also keeps us from living the abundant life God has given us. Continue Reading

Have You Met My Dad? | 8 Attributes of our Heavenly Father | alyssajhoward.com

Have You Met My Dad? | 8 Attributes of our Heavenly Father

I am one of the lucky ones. I’m fairly certain that I have the best dad in the entire world. (Although, I may be a little bit biased…) One of my very first memories as a child was the time my dad took me to get ice cream after a traumatic fall landed me in urgent care in need of stitches. I must have been around three-years-old at the time, but I remember it well. I actually remember him carrying me while we picked out which flavor of ice cream I would get. Continue Reading

Seeking Wealth and Success: Is Money the Master of Your Life? | alyssajhoward.com

Seeking Wealth and Success: Is Money the Master of Your Life?

In our freedom driven culture, the term “master” seems to be a thing of the past. But we all serve something. We are fooling ourselves to believe that we don’t. We serve ourselves, our careers, our families, our own personal pleasures…the list goes on. The Bible is clear, however, that we can only serve one master at a time. Being loyal to one typically requires us to be disloyal to another. Continue Reading

A Realistic Look at the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31

When speaking of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, Bible teachers often focus on the attributes that make her a good mother, wife, and keeper of the home. But this passage goes far beyond that. It describes her as a woman who is well-rounded with a good head on her shoulders… smart and resourceful. The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 provides both food and clothing for her family as well as her servants, manages the home and its finances, takes care for the needy, sells her own handiwork, and speaks wisdom and teaching to others. (She is one busy lady!) Continue Reading

Taming the Tongue: Why It May Be Time for a Heart Check | alyssajhoward.com

Taming the Tongue: Why It May Be Time for a Heart Check

The Bible is clear that we have a choice to make. We can choose to speak words of life or words of death. Our words can lift others up and encourage them, or they can cause irrevocable destruction. I know that I’m not alone in admitting that my words have landed me in trouble from time to time. I’ve certainly said some things that I’m not proud of. Continue Reading

It's Okay to Rest: Finding Peace in the Midst of Hard Work | alyssajhoward.com

It’s Okay to Rest: Finding Peace in the Midst of Hard Work

I decided to start seriously running about 8 weeks after my second daughter was born. I was anxious to get back into shape, and running seemed like a perfect solution. Since then, I have spent most of my training days indoors on a treadmill.

Finding the time to run outdoors with two children under the age of two can be extremely difficult. (I commend anyone who tries!) With that being said, I finally made it outdoors and ran a 12K race on a challenging course with lots of hills… and hills aren’t exactly easy to train for on a treadmill. Needless to say, my legs were a bit sore!

I pushed myself pretty hard during this race, and my body needed some time to recover. After months of regular training, I found it extremely difficult to take a few days off. My head knew that my body needed to rest from the race, but my heart was dying to get back on that treadmill. Continue Reading

5 Reasons Why Prayer is More Than Bringing Requests to God | alyssajhoward.com

5 Reasons Why Prayer is More Than Bringing Requests to God

We talk a lot about prayer requests in church. We pray for our loved ones, our country, ourselves, and the list goes on. But here’s a part of us that knows we are called to make prayer more personal… to use this time to not just ask God for things, but to thank Him for His blessings and to spend time in His presence. Jesus is regularly seen in the Gospels praying and seeking after His Father’s heart. This is why prayer is essential to our faith. It’s our direct line of communication to God. Continue Reading

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really? | alyssasjhoward.com

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really?

Are you a follower of Christ? It’s a simple yes or no question. In Matthew chapter 26, it was a question that Peter couldn’t answer. Of all people, one would think that a disciple of Jesus could have answered that question with ease. He had walked and talked with Jesus. He had witnessed all of his miracles and teachings. Yet when put to the test, he failed. Peter could not identify himself as one of Christ’s followers. Continue Reading

True Love is Patient (even when we don't want to be) | alyssajhoward.com

True Love is Patient (even when we don’t want to be)

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the Bible’s “love” chapter. You may have heard it quoted at weddings… Christian and non-Christian alike. The chapter gives us a long list of character traits that true love exhibits. One thing I find particularly interesting about this passage is that the very first attribute listed is patience. (Everyone’s favorite – right?) Yes, true love is patient, which makes the opposite true as well. A lack of patience means we are not operating in love. Continue Reading