Wednesday, December 23, 2015

six years ago

Wednesday December 23, 2009.  Six years ago today.  It was so unexpected.  Nobody could have seen it coming.  I mean you had just been cleared that past Friday.  I stood there and watched as you rang the victory bell in the cancer center.

I remember insisting on a picture which was uncharacteristic of me at the time and was always your least favorite thing ever. I had no way of knowing it would be our last…otherwise I might have rethought what I was wearing that day…or you know, fixed my hair.  Oh the awkward/un-coolness that I carried through to college.

I think what stands out most though is your face, it shows the storm you had just weathered.  You took a mighty beating in conquering that cancer.  Your neck a bit toasted from all that localized radiation but man other than that, it never looked better.  I mean who knew you were gonna get a neck lift in the process?

But saying goodbye to you that following Wednesday, I just never saw that coming.  None of us did.  I can remember running my fingers through your beautiful salt & pepper hair.  It was always so thick and fell just perfectly thanks to your careful training over the years.  Holding your strong, big hand.  I hadn’t realized how big they were because even though they had callouses from all of the years furniture refinishing and piddling around the house there was a softness to them.  They were makers hands. 

I remember always thinking it strange that people would want to still be near to someone who had passed away.  And yes, even now it does seem strange but I wouldn’t trade those last few minutes just looking at you one last time.  We’re never ready to let go of someone we love when the time comes…

Some years are heavier than others and this seems to be one of them.  It feels hard to get into Christmas this year.  Perhaps it’s just the heavy season of learning I’m going through or the 77 degree weather outside. Whatever it is I couldn’t help but think this morning as I woke up that I just don’t feel “Christmassy”.  Fully aware of the feelings of loss that were coming fast and furious, and hating that they were there just two days before Christmas. But then…feelings of receiving started to break through.

Yes, 6 years ago I experienced loss but 2000 years ago we all were given a gift.  For the first time this month it felt OK to not feel “Christmassy” because I might have missed it.  Missed the sweetness of Christ’ coming to Earth.  If it means not being all caught up in the cold weather, lights and presents I’ll take it.  I’d rather sit in the wonder of the humility of Christ’ coming as one of us but still being God.  I am overwhelmed with gratefulness.

I am learning that the best way to fight the weight of loss is to respond with gratitude.  There have been so many days in the past few weeks where I have felt the pull to sit in heaviness.  It creeps up in such a way that I don’t even realize what’s happening.  But wow, that’s a crummy way to live life. 

Maybe your struggling too this Christmas.  It doesn’t have to be for the same reasons but you know there is a heaviness that you just can’t seem to shake.

Choose gratitude…even when you don’t feel like it.  This much I know, the more you fight for joy the more it will come.  I choose to praise God for who he is and his deep love for me even when I don’t feel it.  I know it’s true because he has promised it in his Word and he has proven himself faithful.  I don’t always feel it after telling myself the first time.  Sometimes it takes 5 times and more.  Keep reminding yourself of his goodness this season.  I have fallen in love with the verse below and find it to be one of the most reassuring things to me. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

There is power in the coming of Jesus.  Power in his words. Power in his death and resurrection. 

There is power in the name of Jesus.  

You and I are loved more than we can comprehend.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, September 10, 2015

fashion cycles, a new season and the lion king

Well a new season is coming.  Your thinking back to your walk into work this morning and recalling the heat and humidity that will maintain itself for the next couple of months and thinking, "she must be crazy." Not that season, I'm talking fashion (stay with me). Its that time of year where the new fashion trends are coming out as people prepare for the Fall (obviously only those who can expect to experience a full Fall season).

My mom told me in high school that styles always come back around. Like most teenagers in high school I didn't really believe her or give it much thought.

Then I started receiving email updates from my favorite stores with pictures of these:

You see, I remember these about ten years ago...and I am just not quite ready to jump back into them for multiple reasons.

1) I am ummm...what some might  You will note that those lovely ladies above are rather long and lean.  Not my reality, which I'm quite content with until unflattering styles become the majority.  In fact I commented to a friend of mine, who looks like she could be one of those models, that the styles are totally changing in her favor. High fives for her! 

2) Flare jeans require that heels be worn. As much as I love heels for work, church, special occasions etc. I no longer associate them with jeans.  This starts to make jeans feel like a burden which should NEVER be the case.

3) Skinny jeans have become a beloved friend in my wardrobe and you can bet your sweet Bippy I will be stocking up before they suddenly disappear.

(side note: I don't doubt they will become a part of my wardrobe but I'm still gonna ride out the skinny's as long as I can.)

Seeing those flare jeans I couldn't help but think about how life has its own seasons.  I hear you, " Yes, thank you Captain Obvious." I know, this is nothing new...but man this year has carried a long period of dryness so I'm pretty happy to see signs of change in my life.

The first thing that came to my mind was the scene at the end of Lion King. You know when Simba returns back to Pride Rock to fight Scar and the land is cracked and dry? While he's fighting Scar a fire starts burning the land. Then as he walks up Pride Rock to take his place rain is gushing down and you see the land change from dry, unable to sustain life to luscious and full of growth.

Before you try to connect the dots of symbolism with Simba my focus is on the land.  

I feel exhausted of resources, dried out.  And you know what?  It's OK. Its fine to admit that I am transitioning from one season to another.  This is OK for you too.

The most difficult part of this transition for me has been stepping back from things, much of it being good. 

I do not doubt what the Lord can do and that he can use anyone no matter where they are but, I am learning to observe when the seasons change in my soul. 

We often encourage one another to rest and take a step back but rarely allow ourselves to do so.  

I have noticed that I am quickly depleted on a regular basis. This has led me to take a step back.  

I love something Gary Morland said on this Hope*ologie podcast.

"No matter what season you’re in the seeds of the next season are already there and are already going on, and the change that is gonna come has already started. Ya just can't see it yet."

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that new things are coming.  Growth can be happening even though you can't see it.

May we not diminish the value of growth under the surface that's not all showy to the world. Hope is in the seeds that have already been planted. We will see them soon.

Aaaaaand, if you would like to relive a moment of your childhood this is just for you. Gotta love the musical build up.

Now don't mind me as search for the fastest way to get me hands on a Lion King DVD since I no longer own a VCR.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

a long season...

I can't seem to stop dwelling on how long it has been since I have posted know how absence only makes you want to slink away and disappear all the longer? I'm feeling it. This has been an interesting season of life.  One that I believe will be a mile marker in the grand scheme of things. I say will because...its not over yet.

I have not really been able to find my words during this season. There is so much to process and I feel like I can't keep up.  Each lesson standing alone and holding its own weight of importance. Rather like an over stimulation of learning.

This looooooong season has been hard and there are so many times that I have wanted to tap out (and would've if God had/would let me) but deep in my soul I know I am grateful for the learning.

I have been asking so many questions lately, trying to understand what God is doing or at least what my role is supposed to be.  This constant searching makes it difficult to offer up anything here that seems finished and so I have not written. But I am learning...learning that it is ok to share without it feeling complete or finished because its the middle and we all need to know that there are others around us experiencing the middle to.

One thing I have learned over the past year is that when I have taken time to write in this season, the better I am for it. The more I recognize God's goodness and purpose.

I missed writing but could not figure out how to begin again, but that pull to be here, to share in the experiences we all face, has been building. It is time.

And so I muster up these words that I myself need to believe. No regrets friends.  Let us move forward.  Let us share in each others stories. Let us remember that we are not alone and are creatures created for community. Let us not feel the need to make it perfect before sharing by recognizing that we are a work that is not yet perfect until we meet God.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

when you haven't folded clothes for two weeks...

(Hammocking with Jen, whom I begged to read to me since I left my book at home.  She sweetly obliged)

You thought you would see a picture of unfolded clothes didn't you?  Yea, well I don't feel like a picture of my clothes piled high sitting on the internet for eternity so I figured I'd surprise ya instead.  It relates though, I promise. ;)

I have had a pile of clean (yes, clean) clothes on my bed for two weeks.  Each night I crawl into my bed thinking, "ugh, I need to fold those tomorrow".

It is a rather large pile because it is now about three loads worth of clothes that were only washed so that there would be clean underwear.  I mean lets just be reeeal honest for a moment, that is the only reason most of us wash clothes on a regular basis right?

You might be thinking, "goodness how much clothes does she have that she doesn't need to wash often"?  Well, there has been lots of unnecessary digging for that shirt or those pants in this pile...

You also might be thinking, "is this all she is going to write about? unfolded clothes"?

Nope, it's not.

I just about died when one of my friends came over this weekend and started walking towards my room as she announced, "she hadn't seen my room in the handful of times she had come over and wanted to see it now".

She had arrived at my bedroom door before I could stop her. For that I am grateful.

Even though at the time I was ashamed of the cluttered surfaces, pairs of shoes scattered around and the royally huge pile of clothes on the bed I can reflect back on that memory as beautiful for a few reasons.

1) She didn't judge.  Ok, she might have a little but then quickly let it go.  (thanks Jen!)

2) I had to quickly get over myself and my quest for showing the "neat" home to people.

3) I can climb into bed with a happy, guilt free heart lying next to that pile of laundry.

Lately I have been choosing relationships and sleep over tidiness.  This may seem like a slap in the face to my desire for discipline I shared at the beginning of the year, BUT it has actually been a source of freedom.  Freedom to allow life a little flexibility in discipline.

I realize how contradictory this seems but as God takes me through a season of learning in relationships, I would much rather choose to be present in that season than hold myself to an ideal of discipline.  I believe that he is focusing his attentions of discipline for me in that place right now and I have no intention of turning my back on it.

The neat freak inside of me still cringes a bit when I walk into the clutter and the time to do something about it has almost arrived...but for now I choose to sleep a little more and reflect on the conversations that would not have been had should the clothing be tucked in its proper place.

Sometimes that which is left undone is a reflection of things that have been done.  And so that pile of laundry is a reflection of the friendships which have been given time to grow deeper.

P.S. - I'll be sharing a little bit about how the Whole30 went later this week, but first...some folding. :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

blog posts aren't just for fleshed out thoughts...

So I have been really silent here lately.  Even if you haven't noticed, I have.  Part of me was bothered and reprimanding myself for not staying consistent and the other part of me cried out for freedom to step back and not pressure myself to post for the sake of posting.

I thought I needed space to think and process my thoughts completely so that they would be their best when I typed them here, but I have a new found freedom.

Not all blog posts need to be fully fleshed out.

I am a heavy internal processor who just happens to talk-think those ideas to friends.  I am realizing that is allowed in this place too.

There is no need to have so much pressure on oneself.  If like me you are a talk-thinker, we know that much of what we think is formulated while we are saying it.

I was becoming too concerned about my posts feeling complete.  I am one who can get stuck in the rut of making all things a teachable moment.  Let's face it, we all hate being around that person.

I can promise you this much, I won't hang on to my thoughts like I have been.  We will journey through fleshing out thoughts and living life together.

Friday, February 20, 2015

soul-rest | full beauty

How I wish peonies were in season.  Actually I wish they didn't have a season and grew year round.

I also wish I had remembered to buy and plant some this past Fall.

I have found them to be one of my favorite flowers with their many layers.  Even as a bud that has yet to open they are beautiful.  You see so many of the layers there ready to unfold from one another to stand out but remain connected.

Its difficult to see the beauty of a peony without taking in every petal to make the whole.

Similarly it is impossible to take in the full beauty of a person if we only focus on one thing, looks, personality, character traits, etc...

So often we spend time just looking at one thing to focus on in our own selves, something we are trying to grow in or improve.

I have found in myself a tendency to stay on that one thing neglecting to spend valuable time on looking at the big picture, how that one thing affects everything.  It is easy to lose sight then of the full beauty and get caught up in the flaws.

Learning oneself and what one needs is a beautiful and painful journey that I don't think will ever end.  But I sure don't want to miss the full beauty of it.

One of my favorite bloggers to follow actually wrote a little something in regards to this very subject here.

Enjoy.  Make time for your soul to rest.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

fighting the suffocating to do list in your head

Lately all I have wanted to do is escape from life for a few days.  Like, turn off the phone, skip work and go stay in an unfamiliar place with no laundry to fold or tasks to be done no matter if they are good or bad.

I have felt shame about this desire, repeatedly.

How dare I wish to escape from it all? This is the life I am called to and I should not wish to get away from it.

Deep down inside though, I know it is something my soul needs.  It needs to be able to tune out the list of things to do to truly be present.

In the meantime I bundle up, grab my camera and settle on a chilly walk outside as winter temps have returned to Texas.

Many people go running to relieve stress or get out of their head.  While I love some good physical activity, running just to run has never really brought me joy.  It becomes a fight to finish...and so I walk instead.

In walking slow my body follows suit.  My muscles relax, I breathe in the fresh life in the air.  My eyes begin to see beyond what is in front of me and find the small things you miss when you rush by.

Walking slow reminds me of how much I enjoy being a passenger in the car.  I am often silent when I'm not driving and really absorb everything passing by.  My eyes are no longer distracted by the road and I see things I have never seen but have passed hundreds of times.

Spotted this little guy for the first time.

I am in love with this plant.

I love the depth that comes to an object or person when we take the time to look deeper.  In walking I find myself going deeper with God, not always in understanding him but just doing life with him.  Memories begin to build just as they would with a friend walking right beside me.

When I slow myself I share more with him and see that which he is sharing with me.

And so I refuse to feel the lie of shame in wanting to get away from this world.  That is only an excuse to keep me from seeing glimpses of Heaven.  When I remember to breathe my chest loses all of the weight it once carried and the breaths come in slow, easy rhythm.

It becomes easy to get lost in this fern lake

Breathing cannot help but slow when beholding this beauty captured just before dusk had its way.

I realize as I'm walking I had the same unwavering urge to get outside and experience this same slow exactly one week ago at the exact same hour.  I am thankful he draws me back to him repeatedly, to the slowness that my soul craves.

The to do list can wait and not everything is a number one priority.  Bringing rhythm to breathing brings rhythm back to my life and I find myself again...The self who loves to take things slow and finds no shame in doing what is counter-cultural from the world.

Monday, February 16, 2015

monday motivator | beginning

Allow yourself to dream,
And when you do dream big

Allow yourself to learn
And when you do learn all you can

Allow yourself to laugh
And when you do share your laughter

Allow yourself to set goals
And when you do reward yourself as you move forward

Allow yourself to be determined
And when you do you will find you will succeed

Allow yourself to believe in yourself
And when you do you will find self confidence

Allow yourself to lend a helping hand
And when you do a hand will help you.

Allow yourself relaxation
And when you do you will find new ideas.

Allow yourself love
And when you do you will find love in return

Allow yourself to be happy
And when you do you will influence others around you.

Allow yourself to be positive
And when you do life will get easier. 

Catherine Pulsifer

There is too much good that can come out of new beginnings, let us not allow fear to keep us from the good.

Friday, February 13, 2015

soul-rest | the simplest of things

Because things don't need to be as hard as we make them and beauty is found when we keep our eyes open.  Let's take ourselves out of survival mode and look a bit deeper at our surroundings.  Find the simple.

brothers/daddy & daughter dance - no matter how young or old I don't think girls ever get tired of twirling.  Such a sweet post from one of my favorite bloggers.

this book, a game changer - I had the joy of sitting under Kori de Leon's teaching in the Fall as she was finishing up this book, printing out the chapters as she finished them.  It's not just a book that inspires you to adore God but puts it into action.  I'm so glad I will finally have a bound copy to mark up. You will do some work in your life reading this book, its beautifully unavoidable.

when you need to change it up - you know when you fall in love with a song and listen to it until you hate it?  As with many others, this happened with All About That Bass. I have been reviving it in my life lately with this version.  Check it out and kick it old school.

goodness from Australia - a man at the age of 109 knits sweaters for penguins.  Adorable.

If you enjoy this weekly post and want it sent directly to your email be sure to sign up to follow by email!  Glad you stopped by. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

holy tremors

I was standing in a stadium along with 15,000 other people, all gathered together for one purpose.

Exhaustion was starting to make itself known.

It was only the first night.

I knew that I had to conserve energy to make it to the end.  Being a conference for college students, youth was in the air.

The band began to play a song that caused anyone sitting to rise to their feet.

The chorus brought an irresistible urge to start jumping to the beat.  Irresistible to most everyone but me.

My body could not bear the idea of moving anymore than necessary.

And then I could feel it...this massive cement block of a building was tremoring beneath my feet.

Chill bumps raced all over my body in the way they only do when so many people are united together.

As the ground kept trembling below I couldn't help but think that if 15,000 people could make the ground move then how much of a rumble could we make for the kingdom with our lives?

We are united even when we are a part.

May sin tremble and chains be shaken from their death grip by the way we live out each day united with one love God and make him known.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

starting the Whole30 - I'm glad I waited

Perhaps you are thinking

"Whole30? What's the Whole30?"

Well the husband of the couple who came up with this lifestyle originally just wanted to see if when he removed certain food groups from his eating diet the inflammation in his arm would go away.  Turns out it worked. Bonus, him and his wife found that when they ate whole foods they had more energy.  Through this process they also broke unhealthy emotional eating habits.

"So...why are you doing it?"

Well, you know how I mentioned that I wanted to be more disciplined this year?  Food happens to be one of the things I would like to be more disciplined in.

A little over a year ago I ventured into cleaner (more whole food, less processed food) eating and found that I too had more energy, better skin and less unnecessary body fat.  Before you jump to the conclusion that I'm in this to simply lose weight, stop.  While losing unnecessary weight will be great that is not my focus here.

You see food and I have always had a bit of a toxic relationship.  I tend to be drawn to food when my emotions change.  Meaning I want food (especially processed & sugary) when I am upset and when I'm pretty much 24/7.

You can see how this could be a problem.

I did diet's in high school (remember Atkins anyone? smh) and never found success because the way we see diet now is something to do for a short time until we reach our goal and then jump back into old habits and then are surprised when we gain the weight back.

"Isn't the Whole30 just another diet?"

It could be if you choose to look at it that way.  Here is a snippet from their website that pretty much explains why I chose this journey.

"Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured or free range. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress… for 30 straight days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food."

"Yea, but you already said that you started eating cleaner a year ago?"

Yes, indeed I did but I lost track because I didn't take the time to be disciplined when I did it.

I tend to be the all or nothing type.  If I don't go all in now when I am applying discipline to my eating habits I won't hold to them.

Being the type A person I wanted to start this on January 1st...but I'm so glad I didn't.  I realized that my schedule was going to be slammed for a month and lets face it, I didn't need any extra discouragement during this process.

I'm pumped to grow in my cooking skills with spices and vegetables I would never find myself eating if I was still doing the same old thing. I just might be that shameless person posting things about food, pictures of food (just a heads up).

Loving bread and all things dairy, I will be eating those things again after the 30 days are up but in moderation and awareness of why I'm eating it rather than how much I should or shouldn't.

I'm so glad I waited a month.  Rather than jumping in right when I made the decision I have had a month to indulge in the foods I love but won't be able to eat for the next month.  Yea, I know that sounds weird but eating the junk knowing that I am headed to the good stuff makes me realize just how unsatisfying it really is.

The suspense has been built up and the wait is over!

And so the old adage is true, some things really are worth the wait.

Here's to healthy eating habits, literally and figuratively. ;)

This post is in no way supposed to make you feel any guilt or give reasons to change your lifestyle.  This is just share time and nothing else. (Just sayin).

the next big thing | monday motivator 05

Social and news media have something in common, a feed.  This feed shows the latest and greatest (according to those who post it) of what's happening in our world.

Because these feeds reach a multitude of people, with every one of us wants to be known, we can't help but want to make it on that feed.  And then once we get a taste of it we only want more...leaving us in this wearying spiral because there will always be something else that trumps us on that feed.

With the way our culture is always searching for the next big thing its really easy to believe that we should too.

You know when you hear something that's seems off but at that moment you can't pinpoint what the right thing is but you know its not what you just heard?  Then you realize that it was staring you in the face the whole time?

Yea, that's where I was at.

Whether we know what the next step is in our life or not, we can be sure of one thing.  Our unchanging purpose is to bring glory to God as a messenger of his kingdom.  Living and making choices with that knowledge will lead you and I to take the next step unique to our own lives.

Having that foundational piece understood I no longer fear the uncertainty of the next step.

I want that to be what my feed represents.

Knowing that I am not just trying to get a singular message out but working alongside others with one message leaves me a bit awestruck.  There is no longer this temptation to make it to the top of the feed when working in collaboration with others.

When we do this we will find we are no longer driven by our own desires but seek to know the desires of God.

Bringing glory to God with my life feels so much more satisfying than trying to convince others that I have something worthy or giving attention.  Cause you see, we are fickle people who jump from one big thing to another but our God takes great delight in the little things.

For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them.
Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds.
Psalm 149:4, 5 (NLT) 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

soul-rest | truth, beauty & a giggle

When I think about getting some soul-rest, a mug with a hot liquid of some kind is always present.  A mug without a to-go top insists that I be still enough not to spill.

So grab a mug or whatever it is that reminds you to slow down and take a moment for some soul-rest.

Here is a load of truth about love, lots of beauty and little giggle for your weekend.

The goods that love songs don't offer.  If you need to hear truth about love. period. In a relationship or not, take some time to soak in the lyrical words of Ann Voskamp. Songs on the radio won't hold a candle to this kind of love.

Photos that speak to my soul.  I can only hope one day to take photos that resonate so deeply as these.  They make me feel like I used too when I was young and would get lost for hours in the world of a good book.

Here is a little giggle.  Because laughter extends life and because Jimmy Fallon has a gift for bringing it, give yourself a break and embrace the giggle. He blends some old and adds some new to the Fresh Prince.  I mean who doesn't know that theme song?!

Rest on friends.

Monday, February 2, 2015

the bigger reality | monday motivator 04

This, here and now, is temporary.

Don't let yourself get absorbed in this little world we are in.  Our live are but a mist in time. (James 4:14)

Go deeply into prayer to see the big picture of God.  Even when you only see a tiny it, walk in faith.

We confine ourselves when we obsess on our own lives.

Step into he bigger reality he has for you.  There is freedom there.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

soul-rest | chasing after the sunset

This past Monday I found myself sitting in traffic with one eye on the road and the other at this sky.  I get off work right in time to watch it go down as I drive.  On this particular day, like many recently, work had drained me dry.

Knowing I was in need of some soul-rest I chased this sunset to the top of a parking garage atached to some apartments where a dear friend of mine lives.  It can be a bit tricky to find a good view for a sunset in the city.  Buildings like to eat up the horizon but this right here is my favorite spot to take in the sky.

Nobody else was there.  I did not need to be "on."  This time was for me and God to have some peace and quiet together.  I leaned on the side of my car for several minutes and gave my soul some time to rest.

I connect and feel closest to God in the midst of his creation.  Being in the city it can be tricky to find a place that isn't surrounded by concrete, but the sky seems to cancel out all of that.  When he fills the sky with this kind of art I can't help but see him in all of it.

There has not been a gray sky once its come time for the sun to set this whole week.  Each time I see the sunset I enjoy a bit of the soul-rest from Monday.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matt. 11:28-30

If you are like me you have read this verse so many times you don't really pay attention to it anymore.  Give a fresh look and lean on its truth.

How do you find rest for your soul?  What does it look like for you?  Can you remember the last time you did it?

Take some time out from this weekend and give your soul some rest...and then come tell me about it in the comments.  I want to hear all about how you rest!

Much love.

Monday, January 26, 2015

monday motivator 03 | choosing hope

In those moments when you can't get all the work done, God is right by your side.
In those moments when you want to rip someones head off, God is present.
In those moments when the tears flow without permission and just won't stop, God is there.
In those moments when you feel completely hopeless, God is holding your hand.

He is present, right there beside you, holding your hand all the way desiring to restore your hope.

You know how I know this?  Because I have experienced it on multiple occasions.  I will share more later but recently I had lost all hope.  My world was crumbling, not outwardly but inwardly.  I was collapsing on the inside.  I felt like a black hole, all of the life being sucked out of me.

I didn't know it when it was happening but I was denying hope.  I unconsciously stopped believing in it.

This weekend I found hope again.  Reading Psalm 73 yesterday morning was the second most important decision I have made in sometime.

The first was making the choice to believe it this morning.

I awoke to thoughts of anxiety, a list full of things that have to be done.

I laid in bed coming out of the groggy cloud and could sense the choice right away.  My first thought was, "you are right beside me Lord".  I made the choice to choose hope.  To believe once again that things can be good.

For the next half hour I laid in bed making the choice over and over again.  Each time I would keep thinking of encouraging scriptures that I have heard more times than I can count to reinforce my choice.

I have not regretted that choice for one second today.  There has been a weightlessness in everything I encounter and do

Child of God, you have a choice to make.  Oftentimes it is a choice you make repeatedly in a matter of minutes.  It may seem redundant but I can assure you of this much, when you persevere it is worth it.  You will feel the joy to your core when you choose to believe in hope.

Your father is constantly with you, ready to hold you up when all of you is collapsing.  You simply need to let him.

Monday, January 19, 2015

monday motivator | quotable 02

Feeling like you can't get it done before five?  Or are you in circumstances that seem impossible?

See below.

Yes, I recognize that it is easier said than done to stop worrying.  Trust me, I did my fair share of worrying the past couple of days.

However, once I read the ever wizened words of Corrie Ten Boom I couldn't help but admit that she was right.

Worry seems to try and steal my strength the moment I awake, sometimes even waking me up well before my alarm.  I know that is one of the tools Satan uses to deplete me of my strength before my day even gets going.

I trust the words of a woman who suffered much to make her prone to worrying in her lifetime.

So let's not just "make it" till the clock chimes freedom from the task at hand.  Let's finish strong, free from the worry and filled with the strength we possess in Christ.

Much Love,


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matt 6:25-34

Monday, January 12, 2015

monday motivator | quotable 01

I don't know about y'all but Monday's are rough.  Really, motivation to get out of bed in the morning is non-existent...especially on Monday's.  Sooo, as a deep lover of quotes I thought I would start a series for Monday's because I could use the reminder and thought you might enjoy them as well.

As my focus for the year is discipline I figured a quote to assist in promoting discipline would be a great place to start.

I went to the Chiropractor last week and they had this quote from John C. Maxwell written on a bright pink neon poster board in the waiting room.  As soon as I saw it I jotted it down.

Seriously, I struggle to create a habit when I'm really trying to make it stick.  A lot of that has to do with not maintaining it each day.

I am realizing that discipline doesn't have to be a grand habit for it to be influential.  It is the building of a healthy habit that is important.  When I first thought about discipline for the year my mind immediately went to having a daily quiet time.  There is the morning quiet time camp and the evening quiet time camp.  I have always leaned towards the morning camp because I get irritated that I miss a whole day to put into action anything I learn from an evening quiet time.

BUT, I struggle with making myself get out of bed each morning with enough time to spend with God and get ready.  That is definitely a change I would like to add to my daily routine.

However, as I looked at this quote I knew I wanted to be a little more well-rounded in my changes.  I bought a lime tree earlier this year that has seen better days mostly because I don't water it regularly. Each morning I am going to attempt to water that lime tree.

I also want to utilize creativity every day even if it is as simple as writing in  a new font.  I have realized over the past few months that I miss creativity when I do not do it regularly so I intend on incorporating it until it becomes second nature.

Once I absorbed this quote I did a little research on John C. Maxwell and a great amount of his life is spent in encouraging leadership in others.  That is obvious by several of the quotes I found of his.  There are quite a few gems here.

Now, do you have a change that comes to mind when you think about your?  If so, what are you going to do with that knowledge?

We have the power to make a change in our lives.  Let's stop hesitating to act on that power.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

it's too hot for a latte {cold-brew iced coffee recipe}

If you're anywhere in the South you know how hot it gets in July and August soooooo the idea of drinking hot coffee can become pretty unappetizing. 

I am not a coffee connoisseur by any means but I am delving into it little by little.  Last year I discovered cold-brew coffee. I have stuck to The Pioneer Woman's recipe since and it has not failed me yet. 

As she does a pretty great job of explaining it herself I'm just going to recommend you checking out her recipe here.

There are so many ways to brew coffee but I think my favorite thing about this method is that you can't mess up the flavor.  If you're not careful, while using a method of brewing with hot water, you can actually burn the coffee making it taste bitter. #notafan  

Though it takes longer to brew, prep time is practically non-existent.  For early mornings when you snooze one too many times (or maybe two or three too many...) this is ideal.

All I can say is keep it simple.  

Stick to whatever coffee you know you like. Side note: grinding it yourself just before brewing lends to a more flavorful cup.

I split her recipe in half to save on refrigerator space.

When I first started making it I would add half & half and sweetened condensed milk but have found that the condensed milk is plenty rich enough for me, a bit cheaper to keep around and kinder to the waist. :)

So do yourself a favor and brew some of this tonight.  Join me. Lets never look back together.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

looking towards what 2015 will hold - discipline

For a couple of years I have noticed that there has been a word that resonates with each year.  I wasn't sure what 2015 would hold or when God would reveal it to me but throughout December I became aware that he repeatedly emphasized discipline.   

I often think of the spankings I got as a child when I think of discipline but that is not the type of disciple God has in mind for this year.

I can see that he has been prepping me for this journey for a few months.  From working to spend time alone daily with the Lord to creating things with my hands regularly he has impressed upon me a desire to be more focused and consistent.  

As a very curious person I easily pick up many interests...and then become overwhelmed with wanting to do it all but never having enough time.  I often pick up on an interest but do not discipline myself to become good at it or learn more because I do not stick with it.  This year I am choosing specific things to actively discipline myself to focus on for this year.

In typing this I am following through with a couple of disciplines he has given me: to write on this blog and to get away with him.  Coffee shops happen to be one of my favorite places to do so as reflected by my Instagram feed.

I have failed at this in the past when I have not held strong and turned down other opportunities or plans that come along.  It can be easy to choose a party or watching a Netflix marathon over putting forth effort to do something that challenges me to grow or learn.  Christine Caine says it well, "it takes courage to have discipline...Discipline and focus are the hallmarks of doing what God has called us to do."  My desire for this year is to build habits that keep me seeking to do what God has called me for in this life.

A quote that has resonated with me since I heard it this past year is from Louie Giglio.  He says, "Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else.  Make sure your yes is worth the less."  I desire to be courageous in this next year to say no to things that keep me from the things I have already said yes too.  Right away this desire overwhelmed me.  I began to wonder if I said yes to the right things.

So to squelch (yes, squelch) those doubts and fears I sought after the Lord and looked at what he is calling me to do at this time in my life.  I know the things that I have chosen will be hard to accomplish.  Discipline is a challenge that does not come easy even if it is towards things that are enjoyable.  

As I kept listening to the podcast by Christine she nailed my bad pattern on the head.  She said that "vision will get you inspired, discipline will take you there."  I no longer want to be a person who is inspired but has no follow through.  I desire to be consistent in my focus and dependable for those in my community.  I am filled with hope by her words, "being strong and courageous beyond your gifts and abilities will take you into the promised land."  

Why would I not want to do everything in my power to walk into the promised land?  My favorite part of that sentence is "beyond your gifts and abilities."  I am relieved that the pressure is off.  Though my gifts and abilities are from God they will not get me there.  I must be strong and courageous.  It is clear to me that my strength and courage do not come from me (Ps. 121:2).  

My God rules the Heavens and the Earth (Ps. 47), I have faith that he will provide all that I need to accomplish this task.  He does not want for me to keep going at it alone.  I know it seems crazy to think that anyone would want to help without expecting anything in return but that is how the Lord is.  He enjoys blessing us.  The neat thing about seeking the Lord is that when you do you desire to return the blessing to him.  

As I was reflecting on 2014 this morning I opened up my "new" favorite books to read each day.  My Utmost for His Highest spoke directly to the feeling of shame and failure we so often have as another year ends.  

My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ in my own person by fearless courage.
                                                                               Philippians 1:20 (MOFFAT)

Oswald Chambers gives us the words of Paul to empower us to rebuke the shame which Satan lays heavy on us and choose to be courageous.  You cannot be courageous while carrying around shame.

So I will not dwell in shame of my failures but choose courage through discipline to succeed with Christ.  I know he has good things intended for me in his will.  Join me.  Do not hold on to the past and let it keep you from your future.  The Lord has a great many things planned.  Let us choose now to say yes to him regardless of the past.

May you make the choice to receive the blessings he has for you this year!

To listen to the podcast by Christine Caine that I referenced often throughout my post click here and look for the one titled Courage posted on December 1, 2014.  It will be some of the best 11 minutes you can spend.