Washing in the Word: The SOAP Method for Christians

Washing in the Word: The SOAP Method for Christians

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, finding moments of tranquility and spiritual nourishment can be a challenge. Yet, amidst the chaos, there lies a timeless practice that offers solace and deepens our connection with God – studying The Word. The SOAP method of Bible study is a great and practical tool for diving deep into the wisdom of the Word.

Scripture: The journey begins with scripture – the living, breathing word of God. As Christians, we believe that every word penned in the Bible is divinely inspired. So, as we embark on our study, we choose a passage that speaks to us, one that resonates with our current circumstances or simply tugs at our hearts.

Observation: With our chosen scripture in hand, we embark on the path of observation. This step invites us to delve deeper into the text, to ponder its meaning, and to uncover the truths it holds. We ask questions, we analyze, and we seek to understand the context in which the words were written. Through observation, we glean insights that might otherwise remain hidden, allowing the scripture to come alive in our hearts and minds.

Application: The true power of scripture lies not merely in its comprehension but in its application. As we reflect on the passage before us, we are prompted to consider how its message applies to our lives today. What lessons can we learn? What changes must we make? The SOAP method challenges us to move beyond mere intellectual understanding and to allow the word of God to transform us from within.

Prayer: Finally, we come to prayer – the cornerstone of our relationship with God. In this concluding step, we offer up our thoughts, our reflections, and our desires to the One who hears our every word. We thank Him for the insights gained, we seek His guidance in applying them to our lives, and we ask for the strength to walk in obedience to His will.

In essence, the SOAP method is more than just a study tool – it’s a spiritual discipline, a pathway to deeper intimacy with our Creator. Through scripture, observation, application, and prayer, we embark on a journey of washing in the word, allowing its cleansing waters to purify our hearts and minds.

So, beloved brothers and sisters, as you navigate the ups and downs of life, remember the power of the SOAP method. Take time each day to immerse yourself in the scriptures, to reflect on their meaning, to apply their truths, and to commune with the One who authored them. In doing so, may you find renewal, strength, and unwavering faith in the God who loves you beyond measure.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105

xoxo, molly
Magic and the Money | Disney World on a Budget

Magic and the Money | Disney World on a Budget

Okay, y’all- no gatekeeping here! As a former Cast Member, people are always asking me Disney questions. So today, I am here to spill allllll the Disney-tea about experiencing the magic of Disney- without breaking your budget!

Tips for doing Disney World on a Budget graphic

Embarking on a journey to the happiest place on Earth doesn’t necessarily mean you have to empty your life savings. In fact, with a sprinkle of pixie dust, a dash of clever planning, and a healthy dose of humor, you can experience the magic of Disney World without your wallet taking a trip to Neverland! So, buckle up your seatbelts & fasten your mouse ears. It’s time to dive into the ultimate guide on experiencing Disney World on a budget, laughter included.

Disney on a Budget | Tip #1: Lets Talk Tickets

Firstly, let’s talk tickets. Buying tickets to Disney World can feel like you’re funding a small moon landing. However, there are ways to shave off some of the costs. For starters, be on the lookout for special offers directly from Disney. They occasionally offer discounted tickets for longer stays, or for specific groups like military families. Another pro tip is to avoid peak times like holidays and summer vacation, when prices skyrocket faster than Space Mountain. Instead, opt for the less crowded, and less expensive, off-peak times. You’ll save money and won’t have to elbow your way through a sea of people just to catch a glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle.

Pro Tip: Plan your trip in the post-Christmas/pre-Spring Break window (the second week of January through the end of February!) The weather is IDEAL, the crowds are smaller than normal (since everyone is coming off of that Christmas hype and/or prepping for Spring Break), and the prices are some of the lowest of the season.

PS: Just a word of warning: Beware of a crowd surge around Super Bowl Sunday… Football die-hards love to visit the Magic Kingdom on the Monday after the Super Bowl knowing they may just catch a glimpse of their favorite QB!

Disney on a Budget | Tip #2: Lodging & Accomodations

Now, onto accommodations. Staying at a Disney hotel can be as expensive as buying a small castle in Arendelle. Fear not, for there are a plethora of budget-friendly hotels and resorts nearby that won’t require you to sell a kidney. Many of these offer free shuttles to the parks, which means you can save on parking fees (because, yes, Mickey Mouse also charges you to park your carriage). By staying off-site, you get to explore more of the Orlando/Lake Buena Vista/Kissimmee area, including dining options that are significantly cheaper than those in the parks. Just imagine enjoying a hearty meal without the fear of Goofy judging your spending habits. “Gawrsh!”

Some of our favorite off-property resorts include:

Disney on a Budget | Tip #3: Food & Beverage

Let’s talk food. Inside the park, a single bottle of water is going to run you close to $5. But fear not, there is a totally free way for you to smuggle in your own liquid life-sustainer. In fact, you don’t even have to smuggle it! Disney is completely cool with guests bringing in their own food and drinks into the parks. Yes, you heard that right. Packing your own snacks and water bottles can save you a pirate’s ransom over the course of your visit.

We always bring refillable water bottles. All Quick-Service Food & Beverage locations that offer fountain beverages have free cups of ice water! Note: carts and locations with bottle beverages do not offer free water. We use these complimentary, filtered waters to refill our bottles and it saves us soooo much money. Just note that glass containers of any kind are prohibited. I have heard that baby food in glass jars is an exception to this rule, but I would confirm with Guest Services before your trip to be sure!

Pro-Tip: If you are traveling with a friend, consider snack-sharing! One of the best parts of Walt Disney World is all of the fun and delicious food. Save your Disney budget (and your daily calories) by sharing with your pals. We find it easiest to just alternate who buys and we share each item. It is great!

Disney on a Budget | Tip #4: Magical Extras to Consider

Celebration Buttons

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, don’t be shy about mentioning it! You might just find yourself with a magical moment, like a complimentary cupcake, making for a sweet mouse-shaped treat without the bitter aftertaste of buyer’s remorse. You can get one of these celebration buttons completely free at Guest Services (or most merchandise locations). If there is a little wiggle room in your Disney budget, I suggest having some personalized buttons made before your trip! They certainly add to the excitement as you countdown the days until departure, and make for great accessories to your magical celebration.

If you want to get some made for your crew, Alex, over at ClubhouseCreates is the best of the best at creating these buttons! She has made several for me and every time they are absolutely perfect. My little sister got engaged at Walt Disney World back in October, so I had Alex and her crew make some celebration buttons for that trip. Here is a picture!

Custom designed button that says "Just Engaged Ali & Riley" with their photo at the castle

That whole trip was so magical and fun. Read all about it here.

Resort Hopping

This is one of my favorite ways to spend a Disney day! Did you know that you can visit the various Disney resorts? It’s true, even if you’re not staying on property or at that resort! In some cases, you may have to make a dining reservation to be able to get in. Just check in with guest services before your trip. Touring the resorts is such a fun way to explore even more of the intricacies of Disney’s magic!

Pro-Tip: Try parking at Disney Springs and utilizing Disney’s complimentary buses to get around! OR, you could also consider Disney’s other complimentary modes of transportation:

  • The Monorail can take you to:
    • The Magic Kingdom
    • EPCOT
    • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
    • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
    • The Transportation & Ticket Center (TTC)
  • The Skyliner can give you access to:
    • Hollywood Studios
    • EPCOT
    • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
    • Disney’s Carribean Beach Resort
    • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
    • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Water Taxis will transport you to: (Note, there are several different launch points)
    • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
    • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
    • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
    • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
    • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
    • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
    • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
    • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
    • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
    • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
    • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
    • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside
    • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter

Gingerbread Resort Tour

Want to know one of the BEST times to resort-hop? Christmas time! The holiday season begins November 1st at WDW. This is when the Deluxe resorts are finalizing the installments of their annual gingerbread creations! Each year, the deluxe resorts create their own gingerbread creations out of REAL gingerbread. They smell absolutely heavenly and majorly “up” that whole “Christmas Magic” factor. My favorite gingerbread creation is at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

This life-size gingerbread house is actually used as a retail location during the holiday season! Yes- you can actually go INSIDE of this one. They even sell gingerbread shingles! Just like the ones used to create the roof! In addition, you can purchase gingerbread mix, gingerbread mickeys, and more inside of this location! While we were there at the end of October/beginning of November, they were just starting assemble the gingerbread house! We go to taste-test some of the gingerbread and it was to die for!

Honestly, these gingerbread creations are so incredible. I could do an entire Disney trip just touring the gingerbread houses. Yep- I am saying I could go without going to a single theme park! That’s a big statement.

Disney on a Budget | Conclusion

In conclusion, experiencing Disney World on a budget is entirely possible. With some strategic planning and determination, Disney on a budget is as easy as “bibbidi, bobbidi, boo”! Remember, the true magic of Disney World doesn’t come from how much you spend, but from the memories you create. So, pack your bags, your snacks, and your sense of humor. It’s time to prepare for an adventure that’s as kind to your wallet as it is magical.

xoxo, molly
God is Faithful & I got Diagnosed with a Rare Brain Disease

God is Faithful & I got Diagnosed with a Rare Brain Disease

I have Pseudotumor Cerebri.

Also known as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH).

Also referred to as “Liquid Brain Tumor Syndrome”.

No, it isn’t cancer. No, there is not a tumor. No, they don’t know what causes it (thus the “Idiopathic” part). Yes, I am doing okay. God is faithful. Read more, below!

Blog post Graphic

This post contains affiliate linkswhich means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Well hello, 2024. I have been pretty absent from my blog for the last several months. Sorry about that. Sometimes, life becomes all-consuming and something has to hit the back burner. This space had to take the hit for me for a bit. But I am back and hoping to be more consistent moving forward!

I started out this new year claiming victory since 2023 was such a nightmare. For those of you don’t know, we went on vacation to Florida in February 2023 and I tripped at our resort, (nearly falling over a third-story balcony railing) breaking my left ankle, my right foot, and tearing several tendons and ligaments in both feet/ankles, my right hand, and right shoulder. I spent most of 2023 in a wheelchair recovering from surgeries and wearing a walking boot. When I wasn’t in the chair, I was using a *super cute* mobility knee scooter. But don’t worry, I did not let it get me down! *Eye twitches*

I just knew that 2023 was going to be left in the past and 2024 would be a year of new beginnings! That has been true, so far… Just not the type of “new beginnings” I was expecting.

Back in May 2023, I started having issues with extreme redness my right eye. It didn’t hurt or itch, I wouldn’t even know it was red until others would approached me with concern saying things like “Oh my gosh! Are you okay?” Here is a picture:

At first, I assumed it was allergy related. Since moving to Chatt in 2019 (the seasonal allergen capital of the world thanks to the mountains surrounding the “dust bowl” that is Chattanooga), my allergies have been other worldly. I am talking watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, and ear infections all. the. time! I made sure to take my zyrtec regularly, and even talked to my primary doctor about any additional allergy meds I could take (she added montelukast) and I figured the problem would resolve on its own. When it didn’t, I decided to see my ophthalmologist to rule out something like a corneal ulcer or something. All of those tests came back normal, so my eye doctor assumed I was having an allergic reaction to my contact solution. We switched solutions, my eyes seemed to clear up, and we thought we had found the problem! Until it came back.

Not only did the redness in my eyes come back, I also had some really strange allergic reactions to a few different things that I had never been allergic to previously: (1) gel nail polish- my nails were literally lifting away from the nail beds and bleeding and blistering. It was wild and so painful, (2) meloxicam- a strong ibuprofen prescribed by my surgeon after ankle surgery- it caused horrific cramping. I was walking out to my car and was doubled over in pain. It felt like my internal organs were trying to fall out of my body. It only lasted a few minutes, but it was terrifying, and (3) I started having acne appear on my face, worse than when I was fourteen. Picture of my acne and rosacea covered skin:

My migraines started to increase in frequency, too. I have struggled with migraines since early high school. They are horrible. When one comes on, I have a very small window of time to load up on ibuprofen, grab some peppermint essential oil, a fan, my headache hat (just like this one that is only $9 right now!), and lay completely flat in a dark room until it eases up enough that I can somewhat function. Sometimes I would even use a massage gun on my head because the vibration would help to numb out the pain. Nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, lots of misery-induced tears, and prayer after pray of me pleading with God to please intervene and ease the pain. Talk about debilitating.

The fact that these headaches were becoming more frequent was a major problem. Not only did I not want to live with the constant pain, I also knew I couldn’t do my job well, I couldn’t do my grad school work well, and I couldn’t be the wife my husband needed me to be if I couldn’t function. I noticed that my vision, specifically in my right eye, was changing a lot. So I went back to the eye doctor assuming it was just time for my new prescription. My prescription had changed slightly, but the strangest part was that all of a sudden, my right eye was now nearsighted while my left eye was farsighted. Those glasses took some getting used to!

In addition to my bizarre prescription change, my eye doctor also ended up noticing I had a lot of dryness in my eyes and was concerned about the increase in my headaches, so she ordered some blood work, including an autoimmune panel to test for Sjogren’s Syndrome, Lupus, and anything else that could be flagged in an antibody test. Everything came back normal. I had two major ankle surgeries (one in May, one in September) in the middle of all of this, so my eye stuff had to take a back burner for a bit.

At this point, it was probably October. My new prescription glasses had come in and I had been wearing them for a couple of weeks. I had a follow up appointment to ensure my new prescription was working okay and to make sure my redness was under control. At that appointment, she had me cover each eye while wearing my glasses and read the tiny letters across the room. My right eye failed the test again. We did some more adjustments on my prescription and found that I needed a stronger power in that right eye now. The same process happened three more times over the next several weeks- I would go home and use the new prescription for a couple of weeks, go back for a follow up check, and the right eye would be worse. At the third appointment, my eye doctor noticed my optic nerves looked pretty enlarged and decided to send me for further testing; a visual field study (test peripheral vision) and an OCT laser scan (that looks deep at the optic nerve). When she called that other doctor’s office to setup my appointment, she had requested those scans be done urgently, so I started to get a little bit nervous, but I told myself it was going to be nothing and that everything would be fine.

About four days later, (we are nearing the end of November or so at this point). I went in for those scans. The techs that performed the tests were not allowed to give me any results and said my doctor would call as soon as she had them. The unfortunate part was that the results could only be sent snail mail after a doctor had read them and made a report of findings. This process took about eight days. Eight of the longest days of my life. I was sure once we got those answers, though, everything would make sense.

My doctor finally called with results about a week after Thanksgiving. I got the call when sitting outside of my counselor’s office right before my session. This was Divine intervention, as The Lord knew I would need a safe space to process all that I was feeling after getting the call. When I answered, my doctor said “Hey Molly, I got your results back from your tests. The visual field study looks great- no issues there. The OCT, however, shows some sort of tumor or mass on your optic nerve. The next step would be to get you into a neuro-ophthalmologist, but there aren’t any in Chattanooga. The second best option would be to see a neurologist, but there are none who are accepting new patients in Chattanooga currently, and even if they were, it can take 6 months or so to get in to see someone and we needed something that could help us figure out what we were dealing with more quickly. I am going to call a retina specialist and see if they have the ability to do a B-scan which can give us a clearer picture of what we are dealing with.”

I said “Okay. Thank you.” Immediately, I got out of the car and walked into my counselor’s office. As soon as my counselor said “Hey, how are you?” I started sobbing. We are talking ugly crying at this point. I was so scared. All these thoughts started racing through my mind, “How was I going to tell my husband? My kids? My siblings, nieces, nephews, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles? A tumor? Was it cancer? was it brain cancer? Was it benign? Was it malignant? Would I live even another six weeks? Would I become a burden on everyone around me now? Why would The Lord call me to go to graduate school if He was going to walk me through this?”

Once I was able to verbalize all of my fears, Sarah (my counselor) reminded me that God is not a God of fear or panic. He wouldn’t call me to something to abandon me, and He wouldn’t allow me to face a thing that He didn’t have an ordained purpose for. I knew she was right. We concluded our session with prayer. She prayed over me prayers of health, healing, deliverance, and peace. Once I got in my car, I sat there for a moment. I spent my drive home talking with God, saying “Okay, God. I am willing to do whatever you want. Give me courage and strength. Give me peace. Above all, help this whole situation point back to Your glory in a way that shows everyone around me, especially those who don’t know You, that You are the God who works miracles together.” I didn’t stop feeling afraid, but I did have peace.

Getting into the retina specialist took longer than I would have hoped due to the holidays. We sat waiting in the unknown for about fifteen days, then I was finally able to be seen on January 4th, 2024. The B-scan (like an ultrasound of the eyes) was performed and the doctor was able to tell us that the mass seen in the OCT scan was not actually a tumor! Instead, it was a sort of sack of excess cerebrospinal fluid pressing up against the optic nerve. This seemed like great news! I said, “Great! So I don’t have a brain tumor?” The doctor said “… Well, I can’t guarantee that. But I am going to refer you to another doctor who has more experience with conditions like yours, dealing with increased pressure in the brain. He is a neuro-ophthalmologist. His office will call you within a week to set up an appointment.”

Great. More waiting. Another referral. Still no official answers, and no means of treating any of my debilitating symptoms.

It took two weeks for the new doctor’s office to call me and set up an appointment. It took another week and a half to get in to be seen. By the time we got to the appointment, I was so ready to finally get some answers. This doctor performed several tests. I was in his office for about two hours. By the time he went over all of the test results with me, I was exhausted and my head hurt so bad from all of the poking and prodding. The doctor said “The good news is, I don’t think we are at a place where your sight is in jeopardy…. yet. There is, however, some concern with these optic nerves and the excess fluid causing pressure behind them. I am going to order an MRI of your head, and an MRI of your neck, as well as an MRV (an MRI of the veins where they inject dye to check for thrombosis/aneurisms, etc.). I also want to order a lumbar puncture/spinal tap. We need to rule out any tumors or anything going on in the brain to be certain, but I think we are dealing here with a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri (also known as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension and Liquid Brain Tumor Syndrome)

Leaving this appointment felt both frustrating and also relieving. I wanted answers desperately, but at least this way I knew what we were going to be looking for.

My MRI scans and MRV came back clear and unremarkable (HUGE PRAISE & SIGH OF RELIEF).

My lumbar puncture/spinal tap was another story. The whole lumbar puncture process was painful and honestly, super traumatic, but it is done, and we got answers! My opening pressure was so high (35), spinal fluid actually shot out onto the floor! Knowing the doc had said I needed 25 or above for a diagnosis, I knew immediately that I finally had my answer. The next day, my doctor called to confirm and sent in a prescription for me. A “baby dose”, he called it, of Diamox- a diuretic.

I had joined several virtual support groups and done tons of research about Pseudotumor Cerebri leading up to my spinal tap, so I had heard all about Diamox. The majority of stories I had heard about Diamox were that it was intolerable and horrific. Many people actually said they would rather just live with the pressure migraines caused by the condition instead of dealing with the side effects of the drug. The side effects ranged from severe dehydration to kidney stones to hospitalization. I had also read that because it is a diuretic, it also keeps you from sweating meaning that sun exposure becomes increasingly dangerous and toxins have no way to escape the body. I had no peace about taking this. I even told my doctor that. He said “Yes, it is true that many people cannot tolerate the drug, that is why I want to start you on a baby dose and see how it goes.” I still didn’t feel right about it. I chose to not pickup the prescription at the pharmacy.

Apparently, when Diamox is not well tolerated, the next option is Topomax. Topomax is an epileptic drug that many people also do not tolerate well. Several comments I read regarding this drug were saying things like “Sure, you won’t have headaches anymore, but you will also wake up wondering what day it is or what your name is.” I knew that wasn’t an option for me either. At this point I started to panic, because the only other option would be brain surgery to have a shunt or stint put in. The people in the support group who have had this surgery reported that it was great for about three years, but then their tubing became infected or got wrapped around internal organs or they ended up with issues that landed them in the ICU!

Statistically, the mortality rate for this condition is also like 56 years of age, with the suicide rate among women who suffer from this condition being higher than normal due to the debilitating pain and suffering it causes. All of this information, the statistics, the personal testimonies- they all had me in a panic. Then I remembered “God has not given me a spirit of fear!”

I knew that I needed to pause and pray. So my husband grabbed my hands and prayed for us. We prayed for answers and just waited on The Lord to give us some direction. As we sat in our bedroom talking, the thought occurred to me- “There’s a kink in the hose.” I immediately pictured my spinal cord with a kink in it, blocking the flow of spinal fluid. I asked my husband “What if this is the key? What if the flow of fluid is really just disrupted or blocked somehow?”

Coincidentally, (or not so coincidentally, because God is GOOD), I had already set up new patient appointments with 100% Chiropractic a few weeks prior because of their new patient special- only $21 for x-rays, first adjustment, and a massage! I knew Jake and I could benefit from the massage alone and at that price, I couldn’t pass it up. So we decided that we would ask the chiropractor for some supplement recommendations and see if maybe some spinal adjustments could help. More on that later!

The night before our first appointments, a family friend reached out via Facebook Messenger (thank you, Kaye!) and shared that at the beginning of the year, she had posted a Facebook post asking people to share their favorite passages of scripture. She would be writing those passages in a calendar and would be praying those verses and for the people who recommended them. It just so happens that Sunday started the week where she had written my name and verse down! The verse I had shared with her weeks prior was Proverbs 4:20-23 (CSB), which reads:

My son, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to my sayings.
21 Don’t lose sight of them;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it is the source of life.

When I read verse 22, I could feel the Presence of the Holy Spirit so tangibly. I felt so much inexplainable peace and knew that He had a plan to heal me. I told Kaye that I was so thankful for her reaching out, that God’s timing was perfect, I needed to read those verses that night. I shard what had been going on with me. She asked how she could pray for/with us, and I knew exactly what to ask. I asked her to please pray for the following:
1. That we would find a chiropractor who can help us far beyond what we could ask, think, or imagine.

2. That we would find the right neurologist to work with.

3. That we would be able to design a treatment plan and protocol that would allow me to continue my work here at the childrens home and also sustain me as I go through graduate school? I’m currently pursuing my masters in counseling with a plan to get my doctorate in counselor education and supervision after that.

4. And finally, will you pray for the pain in my body? I have debilitating migraines constantly because the condition causes an excess of spinal fluid to build up in my brain and causes swelling. This can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. In the meantime, my eye sight fluctuates greatly and can be quite straining at times, inducing other headaches. Thank you thank you thank you. We need all the prayers we can get this week!

She agreed to pray with us, and I went to bed that night feeling hopeful. The next morning, we woke up for our 8am appointments at 100% Chiropractic.

My first impression of the office was that it was beautiful and peaceful, very aesthetically pleasing (which for your girl, is a very welcome experience). Definitely passed the “vibe check” as the kids say these days… There was fun music playing, the atmosphere was lighthearted, and every single person was genuinely kind. One of the receptionists, Gabriella (I think she may actually be the office manager), gave us a tour of the office and took us into a private room to chat about our medical history get us setup for the doctor to come and take x-rays. When she asked us what our goals for care were, we answered with the basics- less back pain, more agility and energy, fertility, overall health and wellness, etc. I then shared all that we had been walking through with my new diagnosis and said that above anything else, handling that was my priority. She looked at me with so much genuine compassion in her eyes and said “I am so glad you’re here- I genuinely think we can help you. You’ve come to the right place.” I had so much Holy-Spirit peace when she said that.

Shortly after that moment, Dr. Bryan came in and took us across the hall for x-rays. In the short twenty seconds (or less) that it took to walk across the hall, he flipped through my chart and said “Ah, yes- I think I know what’s going on with you.” He then positioned me in front of the x-ray machine. Jake (my husband) stood in the back with him. I could see Dr. Bryan nodding and pointing out something to Jake and Jake nodding in response. Then, Dr. Bryan grabbed the spine model and said to me “So, this bone is supposed to be like this [pointing to the C1, Atlas bone, right at the top of the spine, referencing the normal positioning of the bone] but yours is like this…” He then pinched the bone in such a way that it literally causing something like “a kink in the hose” of my spinal cord! I couldn’t believe it. I literally started crying out of relief and said “You have no idea- you just told me more in about two minutes time than four other doctors/specialists have been able to tell me in nine months.” He asked if he could give me a hug and encouraged both Jake and I saying “if you guys are serious about this, I really think we can help you.” Here is a visual. The left is a textbook “near perfect” cervical spine. On the right, is mine. The C1/Atlas bone that is circled should have a nice space above it, just like the other bones. The atlas bone should also lay parallel to the skull. Mine is almost inverted.

cervical spine xrays. A healthy spine on the left and my spine on the right with pseudotumor cerebri

That was Monday, 2/27. By Friday, 3/1 I had three chiropractic adjustments and went three days without having a migraine. I had a *slight* (so slight it was totally bearable without any meds or oils) headache on Friday morning (it was also raining, which is prime migraine weather) and after my adjustment, it was gone. Completely. I am in awe of the relief I have already experienced and I am so thankful that The Lord saw fit to bring us to this place that believes in supporting our bodies, giving them tools to heal themselves. Just as God created them to do!

Over the next several months, I will be getting frequent adjustments, making some major dietary modifications, and working to get in more movement each day. I will continue to update the blog with posts about how I am doing.

I want to point out that I am not a doctor, I am not a medical professional in any way, and I am not saying that people with this condition do not need to take medications. I made that choice at my own risk.

I simply wanted to get my story out and honor what God has done in my life recently. He has been gracious and kind and I know He will continue to heal me, especially as I seek to honor my body.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. If you made it all the way through, you either really love me or were in need of some hope yourself. Whatever the reason, I am thankful you’re here. I hope you stay awhile and maybe even find some more encouragement. (Maybe check out this post here, or this one here!)

If you are someone who is also suffering with Pseudotumor Cerebri/IIH, feel free to email me with any questions you have regarding my experience: [email protected]

xoxo, molly
Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide for Women

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide for Women

Welcome to my last-minute holiday gift guide for women! Yes, it’s that time of the year again where you have to scramble to find the perfect gift for your loved ones. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some thoughtful and unique options!

Holiday Gift ideas for women including a mug, prayer journal, devotional, beanie, mug, blanket, and necklace

The Gift Ideas

Heaven-Inspired Jewelry & Gifts

First up, we have the Heaven-Inspired necklaces and gifts from the Crowning Jewels Company. These gifts are perfect for those who love to be encouraged in The Lord. How does the “Heaven Inspired” process work? Their website explains it this way:

How Does it Work?

  • Choose a style
  • Select your favorite chain color, size and tag options, if applicable
  • Fill in your name or the name of the person you’ll gift this to
  • Add to cart and checkout

We then pray for you or the person this is intended for and design a custom piece based on the promises we heard! Your jewelry will come in a beautiful velvet bag with an encouraging personalized card.

As you can see, this unique gift idea is a great way to show your loved one that you care about their spiritual journey, while also gifting them something special and heartfelt.

Planners, Prayer Journals, and Bible Study Gifts

Next, we have The Daily Grace Co‘s bible study, planner, or prayer journal. Because let’s be real, what better way to start off the new year than by getting organized and prioritizing abiding in The Lord at the same time? These gifts are perfect for the woman in your life who is always looking to grow and learn.

A Cute Beanie or Hat

Now, let’s talk about the stylish beanie/hat. The Carhartt ones are my favorite. Who doesn’t love a good beanie? It’s the perfect accessory to keep you warm and stylish during those winter months. Plus, it’s a great way to cover up a bad hair day. Trust us, your loved ones will thank you for this one.

The Famous Barefoot Dreams Blanket

Moving on, we have the Barefoot Dreams blanket. This blanket is the epitome of luxury, and it’s perfect for those who love to snuggle up on the couch with a good book or movie. Plus, it’s so soft and cozy that you might just want to steal it for yourself.

A Cute Coffee Mug & Stirring Spoon Gift Set

Up next, we have a super cute coffee mug, like this one!

Let’s face it, coffee is life. And what better way to enjoy your morning cup of joe than in an adorable mug? It’s the little things that can make a big difference, and this gift is sure to put a smile on your loved one’s face every time they use it.

Gift Cards for Pampering Herself

Gift Cards may just be the way to the heart of that special person in your life. A massage, a pedicure, a day at the salon getting her hair done- rest assured, we ladies LOVE to be pampered, so you absolutely cannot go wrong with this one. Reach out to her bestie if you’re not sure what salon to choose.

PS, If you’re feeling extra festive, tack on a Starbucks gift card so she can get herself a treat to enjoy while she is out and about.

Soy Wax Candle & Wax Melt Gift

Last but not least, we have a clean-burning soy wax candles and wax melts from Garden Ivy Soap & Candles. These products are perfect for those who love to unwind and relax after a long day. Plus, they all smell amazing, ha have incredibly long burn times, and are made with all-natural ingredients, so you can feel good about gifting them!

Gifts for the Limited Budget

If you’re working with a more limited budget than you were hoping, or you have a thrift-loving lady in your life, don’t discredit the power of shopping secondhand! For more ideas on what to look for, checkout my post here. I share some of my own thrifted finds and how I styled them in my home.

You can get more gift inspiration here from Danielle over at the Sustainably Kind Living Blog and her post titled 101 Best Secondhand & Thrifted Gift Ideas for 2023.

That’s All, Folks!

And there you have it, the last-minute gift guide for women. I hope you found this guide both helpful and thoughtful. Happy gifting!

PS, if you end up choosing any of these gift options, feel free to tag me on Instagram and share the recipient’s delight with our community! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

xoxo, molly
Heavenly Peace: Seeking Self-Care in the Holiday Shuffle

Heavenly Peace: Seeking Self-Care in the Holiday Shuffle

The holiday season can be “the most wonderful time of year”, but it can also be incredibly stressful, making self-care a must! Let’s jump in, bestie. I’ve got you!

Christmas tree lit up with stockings on wall behind

As Christ followers, we know the importance of grounding ourselves in the message “Jesus is the reason for the season!” But there is a conflicting heart-tug we often face that brings a pressure to make sure everything is perfect for those around us. It’s important to remember that taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of others.

Prioritize Rest

One way to take care of ourselves during the holidays is simply prioritizing rest. It can be tempting to stay up late wrapping presents or baking cookies, but getting enough sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health. The Word tells us in Psalm 127:2, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.”

Set Healthy Boundaries

Another way to prioritize self-care is to set (and maintain) healthy boundaries. It’s okay to say no to certain events or activities if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s even okay to say no to gatherings with family/friends, annual traditions, or the office Christmas party if you know you are not in a place to celebrate authentically. Protecting your energy (and your sanity) will be well worth it in the long run. Remember, it’s better to have quality time with loved ones than to try to do everything and end up feeling stressed and exhausted.

Get Intentional Movement/Exercise

Exercise is one that can be extremely difficult in the cold, busy winter months. Trying to find pockets of time to exercise during the holiday season feels laughable! It’s easy to fall out of our normal routines when life gets busy. Self-care in the form of physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.

Whether it’s going for a walk or doing some intentional stretching and breath work, taking time to move our bodies can make a big difference. I have been enjoying doing the ISO stretch low-impact workout videos through the FasterWay to Fat Loss program. I am able to do these in the comfort of my own living room and start my day by checking “exercise” off of my to-do list. The act of checking that box each day has even proven beneficial for my mental health and influences the rest of my choices each day.

Guard Your Quiet Time

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t forget to guard your daily quiet time like your life depends on it… Because it does!

Taking time to connect with God during the holiday season has obvious benefits, but if we truly desire to get through each day in one piece, this is one practice that needs to be priority. We know that oxygen and food/water are essential to physical survival. In the same way, studying the Word, abiding in His Presence, cultivating Biblical wisdom, and communing with Him in prayer are essential to spiritual survival. And we know that our spiritual survival has eternal significance!

For more information on a morning-routine, check out this post here.


I know this is all easier said than done. It truly is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but taking a few minutes each day to pray, read the Bible, or reflect on the true meaning of Christmas can help us stay grounded and focused on what really matters. We know the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour, we know he comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. If we truly believe these things, mustn’t we consider that one of the greatest strategies of Satan and his army just might be to use distraction and busyness to keep us just unfocused enough to miss the glory of God around us?

As you navigate this holiday season, remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish. You deserve it, and your loved ones will appreciate a happy and healthy you! After all, you cannot pour from an empty cup. So be sure that you’re slowing down enough to have your own cup filled to overflowing every now and then.

xoxo, molly

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Rising with Faith: A Guide to a Rooted Morning Routine

Rising with Faith: A Guide to a Rooted Morning Routine

A morning routine is a set of actions that one takes every day, usually upon waking up, to prepare for the day ahead. The way we start our day sets the tone for everything that follows. As women seeking to live rooted in Christ, a morning routine firmly grounded in faith is vital.

Christian Morning Routine list titled Rising with Faith

This post contains affiliate linkswhich means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Morning Routines for Proverbs 31 Women

Proverbs 31 women are known for their industriousness, wisdom, and dedication to their families. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of a morning routine for those of us who aspire to be modern Proverbs 31 women (more on that here), and how personalizing such morning routines can help us to fulfill our many responsibilities with grace and efficiency.

Structure & Order

First of all, having a morning routine helps to establish a sense of structure and order in our days. When we wake up at the same time every day, and follow a consistent routine, we create a rhythm of productivity that offers a sense of predictability that can reduce stress and anxiety. (Can I get a “Hallelujah” for anxiety reduction?!)

I’m sure I don’t have to convince you that we often have many tasks to juggle at once, from caring for our families to running businesses or ministries. When we know what to expect from our mornings, we can approach each day with a peaceful confidence and find satisfaction in our purpose.

Goal Setting

Setting structured daily goals can help us to focus our priorities effectively and appropriately. Proverbs 31 women are known for their wisdom, and what could display wisdom more appropriately than being intentional about how we spend our time?

By starting the day with a time of reflection, prayer, and/or Bible study, we can center ourselves and remind ourselves of what truly matters. We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

Growth & Soul Care

Finally, a morning routine can help us to cultivate a sense of self-care and lead to personal growth and sanctification. It is true that Proverbs 31 women are dedicated to serving others, but it’s important to remember that we can’t pour from an empty cup. By taking time in the morning to exercise, read, journal, and spend time alone with God, we can nourish our souls and grow in intimacy with Christ, which always leads to a ripple effect of blessing in our lives.

Crafting Your Morning Routine

Cultivating a morning routine that is specifically tailored to your needs and lifestyle is easier than you might think. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Start with prayer and scripture reading. Before you even get out of bed, before you grab your phone, stop and take a few moments to pray and read a passage from the Bible. This will help you set your mind on Christ and prepare yourself for the day ahead.
  2. Set aside time for quiet reflection. Whether it’s through being still in His Presence, journaling, or praying, taking time to reflect on your faith and your goals for the day can help you stay focused and centered.
  3. Incorporate worship into your routine. Whether it’s listening to worship music, singing hymns, or streaming a worship service/sermon, incorporating worship into your morning routine can help you stay connected to your faith and start your day on a positive note.
  4. Practice gratitude and offer thanksgiving. Take a few moments each morning to reflect on the things you are grateful for. Thank the Lord for Who He Is! Study a new characteristic of Him that you are unfamiliar with and praise Him for that characteristic. This can help you deepen your understanding of God and develop deeper intimacy with Him.

Remember, cultivating a morning routine that is rooted in Christ is a process, and it may take some time to find a routine that works for you. But with patience, perseverance, and a disciplined commitment to your faith, you can create a morning routine that will help you grow in your relationship with Christ and live a more purposeful life.

My Personal Morning Routine


Please note: in different seasons of life, these rhythms look different and are tweaked. Overall, the elements remain the same, but it is important to remain flexible. When we become to rigid and too dependent on the consistency of the structure, it can have an opposite affect on us. What is meant to be a space where healthy boundaries provided a wide open space to safely roam within can quickly turn into an imbalanced snare of legalism, producing shame, guilt, and feelings of failure.

Just remember this: “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

My Morning Routine

With every passing year, I am becoming more and more of a morning person. Not because waking up is always easy, but because the mornings are full of mercy, hope, stillness, and light.

Biblically speaking, Proverbs 31:15-17 shows us that the Proverbs 31 woman herself rose even before the sun to prepare for the needs of her family!

There is something reverent and holy about waking up before the rest of my household, opening the blinds to let the light in, making my morning coffee, lighting a candle, grabbing my Bible and a fuzzy blanket, and curling up on the couch. Usually, my sidekick- my Jobie girl (my Golden Retriever), will snuggle up with me for Bible time, too. One of the best parts of my day for sure!

woman hugging her golden retriever

Musical Worship

I always start out with some form of musical worship. Some days I will go to my piano and make up melodies to the Psalms and sing them to the Lord- I (along with many in the worship songwriter community) call this practice “Psalming”.

woman playing piano

Sometimes I will sing my favorite worship songs, and sometimes I even write new songs to sing to the Lord. Often times, I open the Spotify app on my television and play an acoustic worship playlist. I spend about 15 minutes doing this. Three or four songs or so.

Pursue Peace & Eliminate Distractions

I have mentioned before on here that I have ADHD. Therefore, I am very easily distracted. I choose to play an instrumental worship playlist while I read my Bible. Though I can’t explain the science behind it (but I know it really is “a thing”), having music play in the background helps me to focus in more on what I am reading. I specifically choose to listen to instrumental worship while I read because, as a singer/songwriter myself, I am easily distracted by beautiful voices, melodies, and lyrics.

I love the peaceful atmosphere that is cultivated in my home when this music plays. It is deeply soothing. Sometimes, I will even let it play all day long so that nothing disrupts our peace.

Bible Study

Next, I simply read my Bible. I love to highlight and write in the margins. I have this gorgeous Hosanna Revival Note Taking Bible (CSB translation) and I love it so much. It is a hard cover Bible with a beautiful lemon tree design on the front (which some believe to be symbolic of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness and God’s provision and deliverance into the Promised Land).

Bible with highlighted text and notes in margin on table next to coffee cup

The back cover has the Fruits of the Spirit passage from Galatians printed in a stunning gold foil script lettering. Because of the light, off-white color, I opt to keep mine stored in the green hardcover book sleeve when I am not using my Bible. I have found this to be very helpful. Even with it though, my Bible is still not in perfectly unblemished condition. But that is okay, because you know what they say:

“A Bible that is falling apart belongs to a person who isn’t!”

Fruits of the Spirit engraved on Bible with pampas grass on wooden surface

I also love these no-bleed, quick dry highlighters (and right now you can get this set of $12 aesthetic highlighters for under $5!). The colors are lovely, easy to see through, and they have a soft chisel tip, perfect for getting nice straight lines across your text.

My Personal Notebook

I have a personal “notebook” that I have cultivated that I carry with me everywhere. This notebook is adapted from Donna Partow’s book Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be: A 90 Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life. (A must read if you’re looking for practical, Biblical steps to get organized, motivated, and equipped!)

I will share more about my take on this personal notebook in another post soon, but this is not just a notebook with lined paper. No, I’m talking about a small 3-ring binder with dividers and sections and all kinds of fun (well, fun if you’re a nerd like me) things!

In my “Time Alone with God” section, I have subdividers featuring things like:

  1. Scriptures to memorize
  2. Encouragement from the Lord (words that others have spoken or prayed over me)
  3. Encouragement for others (words from the Lord/ things I feel led to share with others).
  4. Prayer Requests
  5. Answered Prayers
  6. Personal Affirmations
  7. Personal Mission Statement

I try to work through each divider in this section during my morning quiet time.


Section number 4, “Prayer requests”, does get a significant amount of my time. Daily, I pray for my family, close friends, and for our kids/our organization/our ministry team. Next, I write down the names of those I have said I would pray for first (often times I will write them down as I tell the person I am going to be in prayer, so they know I won’t forget!) As I pray, I try to also send that person a prayer or word of encouragement, sometimes a passage of scripture. Then, I pause and ask the Lord to place anyone else on my heart that He wants me to intercede for, encourage, or reach out to.


In another section of my notebook, the “personal productivity” section, I have a daily block schedule system I like to use (adapted from Jordan Page of funcheaporfree.com’s Productivity Planner.)

If you’re a planner gal or person with ADHD that needs flexibility within structure, this is a must have for you!) I have bought so many of these planners for myself and for others- the only reason I don’t use one anymore is that I now have designed my own version that is more customized to my own needs and I can’t carry multiple bulky books everywhere I go. But I 10/10 recommend this planner and Jordan’s block schedule system (not sponsored). You can find an overview of this schedule and even a free printable on her site here.

On my personal adaption of the daily block system, I have a box where I list three additional prayer requests and three things I am grateful for. In the requests box, I put my top two long term prayer requests (like praying for a loved one who has cancer) and the third one I put a prayer specific to that day. Similarly, in the gratitude section, I always list my salvation first, my husband second, and then a third thing I am grateful for. There are days I take both my salvation and my husband for granted. I have felt so convicted of that. So I list those two first to help my feelings come into alignment with His Will over my flesh. Cultivating emotional intelligence & emotionally healthy spirituality has been a major part of my healing journey, so this practice has been really helpful for me.

My Morning Routine List

Before ending my quiet time, I like to make a practical plan for the rest of the day. I go through what is called my “morning list”, which is also partially adapted from Jordan Page’s productivity planner and partially from Donna Partow’s book mentioned above. My morning list is a checklist I do every morning, without compromise:

  1. Quiet Time with Jesus
  2. Take Meds
  3. Make Bed
  4. Exercise
  5. Get Ready for the Day
  6. Unload Dishwasher
  7. 1 Load of Laundry
  8. Encourage a Friend

This morning list (in addition to it’s counterpart, my evening list) keeps me productive, keeps my family functioning, and ensures their basic needs are met.

Concluding My Morning Routine: Everyday on Mission

Finally, I have a section that I call “Everyday on Mission” where I write out one goal and action item to complete that day in each of the following areas:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Physical
  3. Relational
  4. Personal
  5. Ministry
  6. Financial

Having this breakdown as a visual helps me to stay on task, stand rooted in my faith, take care of my family well, and helps ensure I do not neglect my the responsibilities. All of these elements together help me steward well what God has entrusted to me.

In Conclusion

I am by no means perfect and would never claim to be.

This routine did not come to me because I reached a certain level of holiness or spiritual maturity. It came to me like a life raft, by God’s grace, in a sea of struggle. He put things in front of me, like the tools from women like Donna Partow & Jordan Page, to to help me come into alignment with Him. By my flesh & human nature, I lack discipline & self control. Add that to my impulsivity and distractibility and I am telling you- I am a mess.

But a fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. He provides a way out of temptation and struggle. So by His Spirit, I am organized. I am disciplined. I am rooted.

Well… at least I try to be! 😉

xoxo, molly
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