Dear Younger Me…

 

Dear Alyssa,

It’s Alyssa… from the future, I know, creepy but true. There are a lot of great things that are going to happen in your life, but there will also be some tough times. I mean tough times… There are a million things I can warn you about. For example, try NOT to steal mom’s car to put up garage sale signs around the neighborhood. You’re underage and it will cause more of a headache then just walking and doing the task by foot. Also, just let Heather borrow your clothing (and most likely ruin them). The relationship between sisters is more important than a piece of clothing. Plus, you don’t stand a chance against her when you fight… take my word on that one. OH, and Kenneth is a big teddy bear, don’t be fooled by his size.

The only thing I want you to really listen to me about is something that I bet you haven’t thought twice about since you were 9 and thought you were being called to ministry… JESUS. Oh, Jesus, there is no greater name.  There is no doubt your life is chaotic right now, but trust me when I tell you He can heal every aching wound. You are one step away from laying down the chains that bound you to a world of never-ending rejection and being adopted into the family led by The Prince of Peace.

Doesn’t that sound nice? The prince of peace is waiting for you with arms wide open, just waiting to ease the anxiety and stress you battle inside every day. Trust me when I say you were made for more and you do not know everything. If you don’t believe me pay close attention to how He silently pulls at your heart over the next six years. He will lead you to pieces of your life puzzle that will become your biggest blessings in years to come. Don’t take them for granted!

God deserves all of the Glory for your life, and it’s important to start ASAP. Follow his plan for your life, and pray that he makes His plan so clear that there is no denying Him.

If you are having trouble finding him here are a few tips… Look for Him in the silence of the night when you heart clings to a hope of tomorrow. Find Him in the love of your parents when they say, “Love you to the moon and back a million times”. Find Him in the feeling of determination you get when you’re facing a hard trial. Seek Him in the grace you receive from others when you know you don’t deserve it. Most importantly, find Him in the wave of peace that crashes over your soul moments after your parents tell you they’re getting a divorce or your mom tells you she has cancer. Those are the times that you will feel Him the most, but He will be loving you unconditionally for every min and every second of every day until you acknowledge Him.

I know your soul is thirsty because I’ve felt it… seek the well that will never run dry.

You are going to grow up to be a lovely God fearing woman. Never underestimate God’s power to work through you.

Blessings,

Alyssa Heitz (one of your amazing blessings hint, hint) xoxo

3 Tips On How To Have A Healthy Holiday

Oh, the Holidays! The best time of the year. From parties to presents and food to fun it truly is jolly in every way. However, there is one elephant in the room that we are not addressing… the dreaded Holiday bloat and weight gain due to irregular sleep patterns and over indulging at events. We all do it! In fact, I bet most people don’t just over indulge at events, who doesn’t love some fresh baked Christmas cookies? In fact, my God Mother sent me a box of fresh cookies in the mail today(God Bless Godmothers).  So how does one keep the spirits high and the weight gain minimal or even non-existent? Here are three ways to help you stay on track and still enjoy the magic of the season!

 

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-7-07-05-pm EAT BEFORE YOU PARTY

I would guess that most people don’t eat regular meals on days that there is a holiday party planned. It’s easier to run around all morning, tell yourself you want to feel great in your dress, and silently promise some extra hor ‘d oeuvres to yourself after pictures have been taken! BAD IDEA! My first tip is to eat throughout the day as you normally would, then have a light healthy meal before the party. I personally have a meal replacement shake an hour before I attend an event where there will be a lot of tempting options. By eating a light meal before attending the event your body will still be open to a small sample plate, but you will avoid over indulging!

 

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-7-07-11-pm LEARN THE WORD, “NO”

The fear of missing out is a real thing, but so is being overworked and run down. When it comes down to it, miss activities so you can recharge. Our bodies can’t be overworked for an entire month with the promise of relaxing on New Years Day. Learning to say no is liberating. Make a list of the parties that are a “MUST” attend and parties that are a hit or miss then stick to it. If workouts and eating right are being cut out because of daily exhaustion there is too much on your plate. Let’s all say it together… “No, I am sorry I can’t …”

 

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-7-07-18-pm WRITE IT DOWN

What is, “It” you ask? Well, IT is the schedule that you are going to stick to for the last 2 weeks of December. The schedule will consist of when and what you’ll be eating along with workout times and social events. By writing everything down you increase the chance of achieving them by more than 70%! Just a reminder, what is written on the schedule doesn’t need to be a new crazy goal, it can simply be a maintenance plan designed to keep you and the family from over indulging.

 

My prayer tonight is that God is with you through this holiday season and opens your eyes to all of the blessings that he has placed in your life. I pray that you continue to love him and allow his love to flow through you so he can love others.

Have a HOLLY JOLLY weekend!

 

Blessing,

Alyssa Heitz xoxo

2016 PINTEREST PARTY WINTER BLOG HOP

This post is part of the Pinterest Party 2016 Winter Blog Hop. The Pinterest Party is a group that helps people grow their Pinterest following. Find other posts in this blog hop below:

1. Steampunkary – Steampunk Christmas Ornaments & Decorations Gift Guide
2. Grammie Knows How – Winter Essentials for Safety on the Road
3. Determined to Shine – Inspired by Angels: A Holiday Art Journal Project Using Coloring Book Pages
4. Deal Finding Family – Fun, Family Winter Activities
5. Unique Christmas Decorations – Winter Wonderland Christmas Decorating Ideas
6. Kids Fun Reviewed – Grinch Printable Whoville Cupcakes Topper
7.  Little Blog in the Country – Peppermint Herb Bath Bombs
8. fitforgod.co (you are here)
9. Birthstone Magic – Winter Colored Birthstones: Beautiful Blue and White Birthstones for Winter Celebrate the Season
10. Olives-N-Okra – Christmas Granny Square Dish Cloths – Free Crochet Pattern
12. Housewives Hobbies – Christmas Free Knitting Patterns
13. Essential Oils for Guide – 20 Ways to Stay Healthy & Stress-Free During the Holidays
14. Best Gifts for Happy Living – How To Decorate Your Dining Table For Christmas
15. Pennies & Playdough – 25 Christmas Books Your Child Will Love
16. http://victorianchristmasparty.com/
17. Stephanie Grams – Products and Tips for Protecting Your Skin this Winter

The Gift Of Grace

Have you ever sat down and pondered God’s grace? How endless and forgiving it is. Think about it… Sometimes we think of grace in the sense of forgiving great sins like adultery and murder but what about all of the little sins that we commit everyday? All of those “minor” sins are seen by God, every last one. Yet we still receive God’s grace.

In the book of Nehemiah, we run into the same theme of “backsliding” into our sinful ways only to be saved by a stranger extending God’s grace to them. Chapter 8 and 9 discuss how Nehemiah shared the law with the inhabitants of the land and the people repented and God accepted them back into his good graces.

Geez… God’s grace. Sometimes I feel that trying to understand it is a waste of time, that his grace is something that our minds cannot process. But then there are other times when I feel it is healthy to ponder the wonders of this gift, a gift that was given to everyone who acknowledges the sacrifices of His Son.

“But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies. “

God’s grace can be gifted through multiple sources. During the season of Christmas, I like to think God is gifting grace through the source of the people in our lives. The people who feel a tug on their hearts to love and support others this holiday season and pass along the gift of grace. The gift of grace that had been extended to them when they required it the most is now being passed THROUGH them extending to those in need.

What is on plastered on your the Christmas list this season? Is it something you are looking to receive or something you are challenging yourself to give? Why not try something different this year and make a list of ways to extend grace to others, because when it comes down to it we already received the most wonderful gift of all… the birth of Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Alyssa Heitz xoxo

How to Find Your Church Home

It was November 16, 2016 a Wednesday afternoon at approx. 2pm when it settled in. Pete and I are moving to Florida. We had said goodbye to our friends and family members(multiple times) without a hint of tears, yet here we were sitting across from our pastor saying goodbye and I was fighting back tears. Although it may seem like we don’t like our friends and family that much… my tears weren’t about missing everyone as much as they were about the amount of gratitude I had for our Church.

My tears symbolized my gratitude for each and every member of the church and how they molded mine and Pete’s relationship with Christ. From life changing life groups, to tear jerking worship services, Searchlight knew how to listen to Christ and tap into the souls of those who were willing to follow their lead. One of the topics that came up during the coffee date with our pastor was the idea finding a new church in Florida. As he explained to us the importance and significance of finding a new church, he mentioned a few key traits that a church should embody. I’ve never put our love for Searchlight church in Long Branch into words before now but once Pastor Chris shared these points with us, I knew it was the exact reason why I call Long Branch and Searchlight “Home”. For that reason, I feel everyone should be blessed with a church that has blessed Pete and me as much as Searchlight has so here are the 3 points.

1: Know the DNA of the church

Pete and I began to plant roots in Long Branch 2 months before we were married and we knew it was time to find a local church that we would be able to call home. We googled churches, judged them based on their websites, and created a list of churches that we would begin to visit.The following Sunday Pete had the opportunity to visit Searchlight while I was visiting my parents and that day our list of potential churches was thrown in the garbage.

Now we joke that we went back to Searchlight because of the $5 welcome gift card they sent us in the mail, but the real reason we went back was because of who they were. They were and still are the church in the Seashore day school that has the most genuinely friendly people. The moment Pete got out of church he called me and described the amazing experience he had, the compelling word that was delivered, and the moving worship that was sung. We chose Searchlight because every last detail about the church matched the DNA that they have described on their website, that meant they stood in complete integrity with who God wanted them to be, even if that meant being a little different than a traditional church.

2: Join a church that is on a mission

Within the first month of our time at Searchlight we signed up to participate in their annual Trunk of Treat event. This event is put on by the Church for the community. Everything is completely free for the community and meant to give neighbors a safe place to have fun on Halloween. This church was on mission in their community. This church was not only preaching amazing ideas on how to reach and teach people about Jesus, but they were actually reaching and teaching people about Jesus through service!

At that first event, the staff/volunteers treated us as if we had been going to the church for years! They thanked us for helping, and showed love to us even though they didn’t know us. Here is the real blessing, this year at Trunk or Treat I had the honor of assisting the pastoral staff in organizing and running the event. As I walked around to the different trunks and thanked them for coming, I recalled the warm welcome and endless gratitude that the pastors showed Pete and I a year ago and wanted so badly to impact all of the new volunteers in the same way! The pastoral staff had set an example of how to truly love people like Jesus and I was duplicating it. To me… that is the definition of being a Christian and ministering to others.

3: Stand in Integrity With Their Core Values

I mentioned it in my first point, but it is important enough to mention again. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Searchlight Church stands in Integrity with their core values.

1) IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY… We all mess up and fail and that’s okay. Jesus didn’t hang out with the perfect people and neither do we.

IT’S NOT OKAY TO STAY THAT WAY… No matter where we come from, when we encounter Jesus, we cannot stay the same.

2) GROWING PEOPLE CHANGE… Forward motion is our only option. God will always give each of us a next step and we will not miss the opportunity to take it.

3) YOU CAN’T DO LIFE ALONE… We’re committed to being a community where everyone maters. The best life is a shared life.

4) FOUND PEOPLE FIND PEOPLE… If you’re part of the church, you’re part of the SEARCH.

5) SAVED PEOPLE SERVE PEOPLE…We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others. We refuse to sit on the sidelines.

6) YOU CAN’T OUTGIVE GOD…We believe in generosity at any cost. We choose to live with an open hand.

Each and every core value was displayed multiple times throughout our time at Searchlight church. This church taught me that it is okay to not be okay, but taught me how to become stronger in Christ and create a new identity in him. Searchlight had me realize my potential to change others lives through simple acts of kindness and the fulfilling feeling you receive from breathing life into others. Each and every member reminded me that I couldn’t do life alone on Sunday mornings (Sandy Bova’s hugs were the only thing getting me through my husband’s 6-month training). The stories shared on prayer nights, and the new faces that were brought in over the past year was a testimony to “Found people find people”(shout out to our top recruiter Paula <3). Searchlight showed me that there are still churches that are so focused on the mission of reaching others that they would rather give up basic amenities such as a church building and  the luxury of not having to set up church every week so they can utilize those funds to serve the community. Finally, they taught me how to live a life with an open hand by displaying grace and generosity in everything they do!

These are just a few of the reasons why Pete and I chose to be baptized at Searchlight Church and will continue to call Searchlight our forever church home.

Blessings,

Alyssa Heitz xoxo

Real People, Real Life, Real Love. 

LOVE

 

Pastor Tim & Erica, Thank you both for being a source of companionship and laughter! Pete and I knew from the first time we had you both over that you would become forever friends and with every passing week it is confirmed.

Pastor Chris & Cheryl, Thank you for putting EVERYTHING on the line for this church and trusting God with your church. What you have done has not only impacted your members, but it has impacted every person that your members have encountered.

Pastor Jim & Sandy, Thank you for being you. Pastor Jim your prayers make me feel so much peace and hope in our Lord and Sandy your hugs do the SAME thing!

Pastor Matt & Rebecca, Thank you for being one of our first friends at Searchlight and blessing this church in SO many ways. You both work beautifully as a team, and your faith is inspiring dozens of teens in the community.

Our Friends, you guys know who you are! The ones who called to go on walking/coffee/catching up dates on the boardwalk. Hanging out on the beach talking about everything and anything. Eating chinese food at our apartment! Crying with one another when the trials of life seemed too hard to handle. Most importantly loving and supporting each other throughout the past year. I heard a quote that said, “friendship isn’t about how long you’ve somebody. It’s about someone walking into your life and saying “I’m here for you” then proving it.”. Searchlight friends ❤ you are true friends ❤