Why We Tithe 10%

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  — 2 Corinthians 9:7

In my career, I live and breath philanthropy. I have been the recipient of immense generosity in the past, and I work daily to connect donors to the causes they care most about.

Philanthropy: the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. 

TRUE philanthropy is cheerful and generous, and it is not something that comes naturally to everyone.

As Christians, my husband and I each feel that it is important to give our time, talents, and treasures wherever possible. But we are also human, and the reality is that we don’t always make the time or effort to pour into others. We can be pretty selfish, getting hung up on our own situations, and disregarding others’ needs. So when we first combined our incomes, we made it a point to put tithing in our budget. At the LEAST, we would give every month.

The “10% rule” comes up early in the Bible, starting in Genesis when Jacob vows:

If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house,and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.  — Genesis 28:20-22

The New Testament references giving MANY many times. It’s pretty clear that it is an expectation of us, not a request.

Look, I know the Bible tells us to do (and not do) a LOT of things, many of which I (and probably most of you) fail at on a daily basis. And there are plenty of months where one of us (usually always me) tries to justify why it just doesn’t make sense to give away that much when we have THIS and THAT and ALL OF THESE THINGS happening in our life. But if we go down that road, there is almost never a GOOD time to just give money away. Instead, we choose to joyfully give to the organizations that we care about and that are doing God’s work in their communities. We do occasionally use a part of our tithing budget to give to non-Christian causes that we care about, but generally speaking, tithing was asked of us in order to give back to God’s work. And honestly, we have reaped so many blessing from God these last several years, I have to believe it is in part, at least, due to our constant and (mostly) cheerful tithing.

PHEW that was a mouthful. I’m wide open for any thoughts or questions you might have. How do you give or tithe, and how do you decide when/ how much?

Making the Time

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Making the time for fitness is SO HARD sometimes, am I right? I’m generally an early gym-bird, but lately I’ve just not been able to pull myself out of bed in the morning, so I’ve been squeezing in lunch and after-work sessions. I always regret not getting it done in the morning. Life has just been crazy though and I’ve been craving sleep. It shows too – I’m averaging 8 hours these days which is crazy to me.

But honestly though, once I’m there, I really like working out. I’ve been sticking to my push-pull routine, and even though I’m not 100% consistent on days of the week, I’m making it happen and I’m starting to feel stronger in my arms after about four weeks. Here is my fitbit’s account of my workouts over the last four weeks – averaging 4-6 times a week, which I’m happy with! Apparently I hate to workout on Fridays.

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I’m posting today just to encourage you to make it happen, whatever “it” is for you. What do you care about accomplishing even though it may not be the most APPEALING thing right now? Just commit to something, and start chipping away one day at a time.

Plus I mean, wouldn’t you agree that nutrition is about 1 million times harder to stick with? It is for me anyway — probably because there are thousands of workout options out there, but only like, three ways to cook chicken and vegetables.

And remember…

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A 30 before 30 update + THE FUTURE

Greetings blog readers!

I haven’t been around as much lately here on the blogosphere, and there are many reasons for that. First, I haven’t been doing anything particularly crafty outside of the musical we just wrapped up. Second, to be honest, there is SO MUCH HAPPENING in life right now that blogging just doesn’t fall high on my list. There are also a lot of moving parts that I’m not really ready to share here yet, so it seems hard to come up with anything different to tell you about.

But today I realized I am THREE WEEKS away from my 30th birthday…WHEN DID IT GET TO BE SO LATE IN THE SUMMER? This means that my 30 before 30 list is nearing it’s end.

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Guys, I totally sucked at this. I think this will be my last list-type mission on this blog…Where did my motivation for crossing off lists go?? As of now, I am 15/30 complete…a whopping 50%. The good news is I have ONE REALLY BIG one pending, that should be wrapped up before my birthday!! More on that when it’s official…no jinxing here. Maybe I’ll manage to make a cheesecake in the next three weeks, too (now accepting your best recipes).

I’m not going to make excuses or explain why some of these items have not been accomplished… life is life, am I right?!

I also think my 30th birthday may mean some changes for this blog. It has truly been a personal journal for me for the last SEVEN YEARS (wow), and while I’ve enjoyed it, I certainly haven’t become any big blogging star. I expect I might write through some of the transitions that are coming up this fall, but beyond that… I’m not sure yet!

What would you like to see? Personal stories and ramblings? Food photography? Home improvement projects? Are you even still reading this post??

THANK YOU for hanging with me, online and in real life. Thank you for your comments and your shout outs. You are the BEST!!!

Music Theory on Coursera

There are many items on my 30 before 30 list that aren’t going to happen before I turn 30…but taking a class on Coursera will not be one of them!

Last week, I completed my first of five sessions of The Fundamentals of Music Theory, presented by the University of Edinburgh. Because I’ve played piano and read music my whole life, week one was pretty straight forward for me. I did, however, learn a few new words pertaining to naming modes and types of chords. Not something you usually learn in piano lessons.

CourseraThe whole reason I’m taking this class is to learn more of those technical details. I want to know WHY music works – the math behind it. I was always kind of jealous of my friends who took AP Music Theory in High School, so I’m using this as my chance to catch up. I’ll let you know how I liked it in the end!

Push/Pull Workouts

We all need variety in our lives, whether it’s our food, friends, activities, clothes, or workouts. I mean, we live in a culture where it is NOT OKAY TO BE BORED. I fill my “boredom” with Netflix, crafting projects, baking etc… The idea of doing nothing is literally terrifying.

But I digress. Today I want to talk about variety in our workouts. If you’ve been around my blog a while, you’ve seen me share a variety of workouts – because I LOVE a variety of workouts! Seriously, I enjoyed my stint with crossfit. I like to jump rope. I like to row. I like to lift. I like to yoga. I like to follow a plan. I’ve even run even though I don’t really like that much at all.

Some of my favorite 12-week stints have been Jamie Eason’s Live Fit trainer, which was awesome. I’ve also done your traditional back/bi, chest/tri, legs, sholders/abs routine…with Live Fit and with this, I would feel SO GUILTY for missing a day because it was like, a WHOLE GROUP OF MUSCLES I was totally skipping. OH THE PRESSURE. And then, for the last month or so, I’ve mostly been doing sporadic home workouts with my Nike Training Club app, and it was just what I needed. I was burnt out on the gym, and my schedule with rehearsals got a little crazy (I’m getting too old to handle late nights). But now, I’m ready to get back into a solid routine.

And as I’ve mentioned before, the BodySpace app is MY FAVORITE when it comes to planning and tracking workouts.

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To lift the pressure of the traditional weight lifting routine, I’m now shifting into a Push/Pull split. Basically, you have two kinds of weight workouts – one where you pull, and one where you push. Literally. By doing this, you are working your whole body each time, but different parts of each muscle, giving the other parts plenty of time to rest. Here is a good image I found:

So a “Push Workout” may include things like:

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Full Squat
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Standing Military Press
  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Skullcrushers
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Side Lateral Raise

And then a “Pull Workout” may include things like:

  • Bent Over Barbell Row
  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Shrug
  • One-Arm Row
  • Barbell Curl
  • Face Pull
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
  • Seated Cable Rows

I’m aiming to do weights three times a week (so one week would be push/pull/push and the next pull/push/pull), HIIT cardio two times a week, and then a bonus day of either extra cardio or a yoga class. A lot of people also add a leg day in here, but I’m okay having squats in my regular workouts, and then also doing leg-intensive HIIT workouts. I’m not training for a body building competition, here. I also think it’s important to switch it up, sometimes doing more reps with less weight, and other times doing less reps with more weight. This is the balance I want for myself, but I know it’s different for everyone. I started back into this routine this week and let me tell you – I am SORE and I am SLEEPING LIKE A BABY. Both of which are good signs in my opinion :)

We made a show!

I know you are sick of hearing about it, but now that we’ve got one weekend of performances under our belt, it feels like a REAL SHOW and we DID IT.11823014_10207129319052470_8409766406364155295_o

It wasn’t without its hiccups. We didn’t have lights until opening night. Microphones were a little iffy, including the fact that we sometimes heard bits of conversation from on stage / in the house. One of our main characters slipped on fake blood and sprained her ankle and had to do Sunday’s show on crutches.

You read that right. Fake blood. Lots of it. We’ve added mopping between scenes.

#COMMUNITYTHEATER am I right?

Attendance was small, but it’s a small space and it honestly felt perfectly cozy! Most of us play multiple roles throughout the show…It’s how it was written. And honestly, it makes it pretty funny since everyone plays both men and women. You get quite an eclectic cast of characters that way. I play Ruthie/Ned/Young Meredith.

I’m really looking forward to our next performances, since I think we are all having a little more fun with it now. WE FINALLY KNOW OUR LINES so it’s on us now to just have a great time. If you’re in Columbus, come out and see us! Details are here: http://www.emeraldcityplayers.com/

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Tech Week

Ahhhh, tech week. Ask anyone who has ever been in theater, and they will cringe at those two words. It’s the week before you open. There are lights and costumes and props and microphones and people all in places there never were before. And you weren’t totally confident in your memorization of lines as it was, and now adding on all these pieces?? Yeah. It’s a little rough.

Tech week is stressful, and in community theater, it’s even more fickle. Our lines and our harmonies vanished into thin air. Half of the microphones don’t work…

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We have new props, like this twisted-pinterested Bat Baby…

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There is general confusion, hubbub, and mess…

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Yes you may notice this does not look like a theater. That’s because it’s not – it’s a local office building. But we are in the beginning phase of transforming it…All this and we open on Saturday. So much fun and so little sleep!!

And if you’re in Columbus, PLEASE come see Bat Boy: The Musical so all of this is not in vain!!! :)