10 Ways to Keep Your Sanity When Moving Out of State

My husband and I are moving from Ohio to Tennessee. We built a house there on top of a small mountain. Building a house is stressful, takes longer than planned, and did I say stressful? Even so, moving from one state to another is even more stressful. Here are 10 tips I’ve figured out to keep my sanity during the move.

1. When it comes to moving companies, cheaper is not better. Find the company that specializes in interstate moves and has lots of good reviews. I learned this the hard way when I was helping my mom move. Some things to look for:

  • Price by weight not by box.
  • If they are packing you, they will charge you only for the boxes they need.
  • They will give you a couple of days to get to your destination before they arrive.
  • They give you a non-binding estimate. Stay away from companies that want to give you a binding estimate. They will make sure the estimate is high enough that they will  get the good end of the deal.
  • Make sure they use one truck per customer. Some companies try to load as many homes as they can on one truck.
  • Make sure they have employees who will unload. Some companies use transient workers at the final destination to fill in gaps.

2. Pack as much as you can before moving week. Decide what you absolutely need before the big day, and pack everything else. Moving week is a lot easier if you already have most of your stuff packed.

3. Lowes has the best prices on moving boxes and supplies. Their boxes are even cheaper than the moving company. And they have giant roles of bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is your friend when packing.

4. Declutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t need before the move. Trust me. You don’t need 3 gallon bottles of bleach or 5 sweepers. Have a garage sale, give it away, or throw it out.

5. Wrap fragiles in smaller boxes and use lots of bubble wrap. If you wrap too many breakables in a larger box, it will become too heavy. If its too heavy, it is easier to drop. If it drops, things will break. It’s worth the cost of a few extra boxes to protect that coffee cup your husband gave you on your first anniversary and the clay fingerprint paper weight your thirty year old son gave you when he was five.

6. Pace yourself. Don’t do too much at one time. Spread the moving project over weeks.

7. Get help if you need it. You’re not superman or superwoman. If you don’t have friends or family to help, pay the moving company to pack.

8. Decide what will go in each room and pack accordingly. Label boxes well. Also use a red magic marker for the boxes you’ll open first. When unpacking, you’ll be so happy to not have 50 boxes marked miscellaneous when you’re trying to find the toilet paper.

9. Don’t pack away things you’ll need as soon as you get to your new home (like toilet paper, paper towel, medicine, and underwear. Keep a suitcase or laundry basket out for items like this, and don’t let the moving company touch them. These are items you’ll want to take with you in the car.

10. Take time to relax. Moving is an exhausting activity. Free your schedule so your not overloaded, and take some time to visit friends and family before you pack up and leave.

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Top Ten Verse about Joy

6871b-joyThere is a teaching out there that the joy God gives is not really joyful. The teaching goes on to say joy is not really being happy. It’s not an emotion. While it is true the joy God gives is not the same as the human emotion of happiness, it is not true that God doesn’t care about our happiness. He wants us to be happy, but He wants us to find that happiness and satisfaction in Him. Here are my 10 favorite scripture passages about joy. They are in The Passion Translation unless otherwise stated.

1 Peter 1:8-9 You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory. For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory!

Romans 15:13 Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!

Isaiah 35:10 (ESV) And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Psalm 30:5 I’ve learned that his anger lasts for a moment, but his loving favor lasts a lifetime! We may weep through the night, but at daybreak it will turn into shouts of ecstatic joy.

Psalm 119:2 What joy overwhelms everyone who keeps the ways of God, those who seek him as their heart’s passion!

Psalm 16:11 (ESV) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 28:7 You are my strength and my shield from every danger. When I fully trust in you, help is on the way. I jump for joy and burst forth with ecstatic, passionate praise! I will sing songs of what you mean to me!

Philippians 3:1 My beloved ones, don’t ever limit your joy or fail to rejoice in the wonderful experience of knowing our Lord Jesus!

Psalm 100:1-2 Lift up a great shout of joy to the Lord! Go ahead and do it—everyone, everywhere! As you serve him, be glad and worship him. Sing your way into his presence with joy!

Romans 14:17 (ESV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

My Top 10 Easter Movies

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

This season is a great time for Easter movies. Here are 10 of my favorites.

10. The Robe

1953

Director: Henry Koster

Starring Richard Burton and Jean Simmons

This movie takes some liberties with the story, like the Romans crucifying Jesus without the Jews having anything to do with it and the disciples rescuing another Christian and having a good old fashion sword fight. Sometimes the discrepancies are laughable. That being said, it’s a great movie to watch and doesn’t change the essence of the Gospel. It’s also a touching love story. The line I remember most was when Richard Burton with his wide eyes glaring said. “Were you there?” It gave me the creeps.

9. Ben Hur

1959

Director: William Wyler Starring Charlton Heston

Who can forget Charlton Heston in the chariot race?

8. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John

2003 Director Phillip Saville

Starring Christopher Plummer and Henry Ian Cusick

It follows the words in the Bible. Good, but not as good as Matthew.

7. The Greatest Story Ever Told

1965

Director: George Stevens Starring Max Von Sydow

Great movie about Christ’s life if you can get past the music every time Jesus appears.

6. Jesus of Nazareth

1977 Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Starring Robert Powell

This miniseries on the life of Jesus impacted me greatly even though Jesus looked a bit too Heavenly and his eyes were the wrong color.

5. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of Matthew

1993

Director: Regardt Von Den Bergh

Starring Richard Kiley, Bruce Marchiano, and Gerrit Schoonhoven

This is my all time favorite portrayal of the person of Jesus.

4. Risen

2016

Director: Kevin Reynolds

Starring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth

This is a unique telling of the story of the resurrection of Christ through the eyes of a Roman soldier who is an unbeliever and sent to find Christ’s body.

3. Son of God

2014 Director: Christopher Spencer

Starring Dioga Morgada, Amber Rose Ravah, Sebastian Knapp

Read my review of this movie at this link.

2. Ben Hur

2016

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro

This is an awesome movie. I was surprised that it was so much better than the original even without Charlton Heston My favorite kind of Easter story is one where Jesus is not the main character, but the main character is forever changed because of His encounter with Jesus. This checks all those boxes.

1. The Passion of the Christ

2004

Director: Mel Gibson

Starring James Caviezel

When I watch this movie, I feel like I’m watching the real event. It chokes me up every time. From the first moment of the film, I felt the anointing.

Seven Ways Your Life Can Be Like an Adventure Novel

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

When I was young, I loved to read anything I could get my hands on, but my favorite types of stories were adventures where an ordinary young person was thrust on a quest of epic proportions. These stories resonant with us for a reason. We all want to think our lives count for something, no matter how insignificant they may seem. We all want to live a life of purpose that is somehow bigger than anything we can see.

We may not realize it, but God has written an epic adventure for each of our lives. According to Jeremiah 29:11, He has plans and purposes for us to give us a hope and a future. If we cooperate with His plans, God will use each of us in ways we never dreamed. Here are seven ways your life is like an adventure novel.

You are not insignificant to God. No matter where you are, or how life has treated you, God knows your name, and He knows where you live. He put you there for a purpose to fulfill your destiny. The Bible, the greatest adventure story of them all, is filled with seemingly insignificant people who do great things for God. David, Gideon, and many of the disciples make that list. Hebrews 11, the heroes of the faith chapter, doesn’t even name some of the heroes it who it says the world was not worthy of.

Super Hero Boy Ready to FlyA Quest Has Obstacles. We’d all love to have more adventure in our lives provided we don’t have to go through any pain or face any obstacles, but every adventure story has insurmountable obstacles the hero must overcome. We have obstacles to face as well. Whenever we read adventure novels, we know the main characters will overcome those obstacles even though we can’t figure out how. When we face obstacles, we have a promise from God that He has overcome the world.

The hero is pure in heart. The hero in an adventure story will make mistakes, He’ll get discouraged. He’ll make wrong turns. But he won’t give up because he has a heart to do right and make a difference. To be the hero of God’s adventure, you also need a pure heart, a heart after God. God called King David a man after His own heart. David wasn’t perfect. He committed grievous sins. But he was also quick to repent because he wanted a pure heart.

A hero is loyal. Every quest has a hero who is loyal to both his friends and to the quest. He won’t give up on either. We need that kind of loyalty to God and to the quest He has sent us on if we are to fulfill what He’s called us to do. So many give up on God or on the adventure He’s called them to because things get hard.No matter how hard things get, remember that God is writing your story. Don’t give up.

A hero puts others above himself. In adventure novels, a hero is self-sacrificing. He pours out his life for others and is even willing to die for them. As Christians in God’s adventure story, we should also be willing to place others before ourselves.

Our happy ending isn’t here on Earth. Adventure novels always have happy endings. Even if the hero dies in the end, he always fulfills his quest. It doesn’t seem to work out that way in real life, but this isn’t all there is. Our quest isn’t over when we die. Our happy ending is in eternity when we will live forever in the presence of God.

10 Ways to Find Time to Write Your Novel

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Writers have a difficult time finding time to write sometimes. With the burdens of family obligations, daytime jobs, marriage, and church or other activities, it sometimes seems impossible. It’s easy to make excuses and give up, but if you really want to find the time to write your novel, here a ten things you can do to carve out some writing time.

1. Get up an hour early. When you get up early, nobody is awake. This is prime writing time.

2. Stay up an hour late. This is the same principle. After everyone else has gone to bed, you’ll have the time you need. But be careful. Don’t get so lost in the story that you stay up all night. Set a timer if you have to.

3. Spend your lunch hour writing. If your work won’t let you use their computers for personal use, bring a small laptop or tablet to work and write while you’re eating.

4. Assign a certain time every day that you write. Let your family know that this is your “Do Not Disturb” time. Scientists have proven this will also bolster your creativity. You are training your brain to be creative during your writing time.

5. Get a maid. No, I’m not kidding. Don’t feel like you have to do it all. Hire a maid or someone to do your laundry. This will give you added time to write. Isn’t it worth the money?

6. Hire a babysitter. You could hire someone to take the kids to the park or to McDonalds Playland a couple of times a week. The kids will love it, and you’ll enjoy the writing time.

7. Stop time wasters. Organize your schedule and see where you are wasting time you could be writing. If you can’t figure it out where you’re wasting time, try keeping an activity diary for a couple of weeks.

8. Turn off the TV. Enough said. There isn’t anything good to watch anyway.

9. Take a tablet or small laptop with you  when you go to doctor’s appointments or kids’ soccer practices or everywhere else you go. You can write during waiting time.

10. Quit playing Facebook Games. Facebook and Twitter are great tools for writers, but don’t let them monopolize your time. Writers need to be on social media for advertising, but plan your time there, and set a timer to make sure you don’t get distracted while online.

So quit putting it off and making excuses. Find the time you need to write your novel, and get busy.

10 Ways to Keep Your New Years Resolutions

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by Tamera Lynn Kraft

This is the time of year when everyone is setting forth goals and making resolutions. Many times, they’re the same resolutions that were made last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Making goals to write a novel, get out of debt, lose weight, or get close to God are noble goals. But setting goals is only the first step. The difference between people who make resolutions and who succeed in achieving their goals is that the second group has learned how to finish it.

Here’s some tips to help you finish what you’ve set out to do.

Narrow Down What You Want: Some people set goals they think sound great, but those goals aren’t really what they want. Decide what you want out of life before you set your goals. What are your deepest desires and dreams? People who succeed are the ones who decide what they want most and focus on that. For instance, if your desire is to be healthy and have energy, you will want to set a goal of exercising regularly and eating healthy. So if that’s your goal, don’t make a resolution to join a gym and run five miles everyday. Instead make a goal that works with your desire. Plan healthy meals, and decide on an exercise plan where you work out a half hour every day. Then use the extra time to fulfill other desires you have.

Set Measurable Tasks: If your goal is to write a novel in a year, break it down into chunks. The first month, you might want to do research for your novels. The second month, you could devote to plotting and developing characters. The third month, you might plan to write 3,000 words a day ro write two hours a day. Whatever the case, break down your goal into measurable bite-size pieces and schedule them.

Schedule Your Time: It’s easy to fritter away your time and never accomplish what you want if you don’t schedule your time. Whatever your goals are for this year, schedule time in your calendar to work on those goals. Evaluate what your time wasters are and work on them. For instance, you might want to set a timer when you’re on Facebook to make sure you don’t spend the whole day there. Or you might want to turn off your phone during certain hours.

Evaluate Monthly: Sometimes your desires change, or it may take you longer to fulfill a goal because a major life event gets in the way. Take time a the beginning of each month to evaluate where you are, the progress you’ve made, and reset your goals accordingly.

Plan Your Week: Every week, plan tasks that will fulfill your goals.

Accountability: Set up a system of accountability. You might want to ask a friend or family member to ask you how your doing. Or you might set up a system of rewards that you receive when you make progress.

Deadlines: Set up a deadline to finish what you’ve started. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet the deadline. If your late, set another one.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Goals: Sometimes our lives change in a way that certain goals don’t make sense any more. You may have made a resolution to finish Spring Cleaning by April, but then a major project comes due. Don’t be afraid to change your goals to meet your present situation.

Learn to Say No: Adopt this motto when you are asked to do something for someone. “When I say yes to something, I’m saying no to something else.”

Pray before Setting Goals: Whatever we do, we should do for the glory of God. God knows what will happen this year and what He wants us to do. Before we set resolutions, we should consult Him.

My 10 Life Resolutions

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

While all of us are deciding what we want our goals and resolutions to be for 2018, I thought I would share 10 of my life resolutions.

Resolution #1: I resolve to obey God without delay and without consideration for the consequences or lack of resources.

Resolution #2: I resolve to be a student of God’s Word and as I read it to apply it to my life. I will be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.

Resolution #3: Because I want to spend time regularly with God and develop an intimacy with Him, I will continually be in prayer even when I don’t “feel” like praying.

Resolution #4: I resolve to be a worshipper because God alone is worth of my worship.

Resolution #5: I will not compromise my faith to become more acceptable to the culture. This would include salvation is only through the blood of Jesus Christ, that there is only one road to Heaven, and that what God calls sin is sin.

Resolution #6: I resolve to constantly learn and read.

Resolution #7: I resolve strive to forgive anyone who I become offended with and to resolve any matter where people are offended by me as far as it is up to me.

Resolution #8: I resolve that when I am stressed by everyday life, to be in joy and peace through Jesus Christ.

Resolution #9: I resolve to be expectant and ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at any moment and to live my life that way.

Resolution #10: I resolve to repent as soon as I realize I have failed with one of these resolutions and to return to fellowship with Christ.