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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,

Dana

“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.