Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? | alyssajhoward.com

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I love the pumpkins, the falling leaves, and of course drinking hot chocolate on a cool autumn day. There is, however, one thing I’m somewhat torn over… Halloween. Don’t get me wrong. I would love nothing more than to dress my adorable toddlers up in cute costumes and then show them off as we go door to door. There’s just one problem. As a Christian, how do I justify my Christian beliefs with Halloween? Can I still live out my faith and participate in this holiday event? Continue Reading

To Be Glued: Clinging to God in All of Life's Circumstances | alyssajhoward.com

To Be Glued: Clinging to God in All of Life’s Circumstances

It has been a particularly long and difficult week. Not only was it my daughter’s birthday, so party plans officially took over my life, but I also managed to injure my right arm on the morning of the party. Taking care of two toddlers with only one strong arm has been a challenge, to say the least! I’ve been fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who stepped in to help with some of the housework I could no longer do; but even with the help, my week has been quite chaotic. Continue Reading

Embrace the Uncomfortable: Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones to Grow in Our Faith | alyssajhoward.com

Embrace the Uncomfortable: Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones to Grow in Our Faith

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be frightening. Nobody enjoys being uncomfortable. In fact, most of us despise it, and we will do anything to avoid it. The truth is, however, that our comfort zone can actually be the most dangerous place to be. Why you ask? Because when we are too comfortable, there is no inspiration to grow or move forward. We become content with where we are at in life. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing…it’s not exactly a good thing either. Continue Reading

Wasted Years: A Lesson in How God Lets Nothing Go to Waste | alyssajhoward.com

Wasted Years: A Lesson in How God Lets Nothing Go to Waste

What comes to mind when you think of Moses? Maybe the phrase “let my people go” comes to mind. Or perhaps you recall how he parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could cross over to safety. We remember the great moments of his life, but what about the not so great moments? Moses wasn’t always the great leader of the Israelites that we remember. He began his life just like you and me, and he had his fair share of ups and downs. Continue Reading

Christians and Alcohol: A Realistic Look at What the Bible Has to Say | alyssajhoward.com

Christians and Alcohol: A Realistic Look at What the Bible Has to Say

Growing up in the church, I have heard many differing opinions on the topic of alcohol. Some argue that the Bible condemns drinking alcohol of any kind. I even had a professor in college who argued that Jesus turned water into grape juice, not wine. Most would agree that the Bible condemns drunkenness, but many teach that drinking in moderation is not a sin. Some would even go as far to say that drinking is often celebrated in Scripture. So what does the Bible really have to say about alcohol? Continue Reading

Divisions in the Body of Christ: 3 Ways to Handle Our Differing Beliefs | alyssajhoward.com

Divisions in the Body of Christ: 3 Ways to Handle Our Differing Beliefs

For those of you who don’t know this about me, I love to do research and analyze my findings. Those who are close to me know this “flaw” of mine firsthand. I get stuck on a theological topic (usually controversial in nature), research it for days, and then share my conclusions with those around me until they are sick and tired of hearing about it! I’m not exactly sure why I do this, and I usually know full well when I’m doing it. I just can’t help myself sometimes. I get so caught up in the debate over differing beliefs. It’s fun for me! Continue Reading

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

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