Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Being Brave

"Sit quietly in my presence while I bless you. Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it. Rest in My sufficiency, as you consider the challenges this day presents. Do not wear yourself out by worrying about whether you can cope with the pressures. Keep looking to Me and communicating with Me, as we walk through this day together." -Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling"

I don't know about you, but its really hard for me to "sit quietly" in God's presence. My brain is trained to think that in order to follow God's will, I need to be constantly moving, seeking and taking steps. I just laugh (and cry) with God sometimes because He loves showing me who's boss! And, its not me!

God has been teaching me a lot these past few months. He's slowly revealing things to me in His time. I just finished She Reads Truth's 13 day study on "Justice." You guys, it was amazing. I learned so much and was extremely humbled by what God revealed to me. Its so easy for me to get so caught up in what I want and what I think is best for my life, especially when the things I strive for are good. But I think sometimes God asks things of us that we'd never choose on our own. Discerning what those things are is really tough, and then being obedient to God once He reveals them, is even tougher. Because sometimes saying "yes" to God means saying "no" to myself. And that's just not always that much fun, am I right?!

God is working in all of us though. He's working in my life. He's working in your life. And He's even working in the lives of those we so easily dismiss. God doesn't forget anyone. As I wait with God, He is opening my eyes to things I've never seen before, and along with that, He is opening my heart to places and things that have always scared me. Doing things on our own is pretty scary, but we aren't alone. My prayer today and in this season of my life is that I will be brave. I pray I can face the things that scare me with a new perspective, a new hope, and a trusting attitude.

As one of my favorite song's says, "I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back." I stumble every single day. That will never change, but the good news is that Jesus doesn't change either. His grace is new every day. He is the same every day, and that's where I put my faith and my trust... not in myself, but in His promises.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him. -Isaiah 30:18

I hope you find these words from the study as encouraging as I did...

"When we understand God’s insane mercy and grace, we will be compelled to live them out in our own lives, meeting the needs of others in love. The Holy Spirit will grow fruits in us that enable us to act justly. But when we forget the generosity of God and the freeness of salvation, we will begin serving ourselves instead of others.
Let’s not be women who forget. Let’s not take for granted God’s grace and mercy in our lives. Let’s remember that we were pardoned and accepted into the family of God. That goodness and sweetness is restoration, friends, and we should seek that restoration for others." -SheReadsTruth

Have a wonderful week. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Choosing to love

A photographer that I follow on Instagram shared a picture of a wedding she photographed a few weekends ago. She said that the message was about how we are so often guilty as husbands and wives of loving ourselves more than loving others. The last part really struck me though… “There is no such thing as falling in and out of love. There is only choosing love.”

I, especially after being married almost 5 years, love that message. No, its not necessarily a super romantic, lovey-dovey message, but choosing to love is the best way to love. It’s a deeper kind of love than that initial “falling in love” feeling. Choosing to love each and every day is a verb, an action. It’s putting another person’s well-being before our own.

I must admit, I am married to a man that is very easy to love. He is patient and loyal, and all kinds of wonderful. But I think what makes him so easy to love is that he puts into practice exactly what I talked about above. He chooses to love me every day, even when I’m not feeling, doing, acting, or looking my best. He chooses to love me that same way every day.

I loved seeing this reminder on Instagram. I love that aspect about social media. I “follow” so many people that are so inspiring, so filled with love and kind words, and I’m grateful to those who share pieces of their hearts through that small window.

So, not only in my marriage, but in so many relationships, it got me thinking… Where can I choose to love better?

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The end of a journal

This morning, it happened. I fell upon the last page of my current journal. Its something that only happens once a year or once every couple years. Its special. Its sacred. Its my thoughts, my words to God, letters, scriptures, quotes, funny stories, struggles, tear drops, coffee rings, pens, markers, pencils, dried flowers, a couple pictures, prayers, reflections, lists, ideas, dreams, notes taken at Bible study, tickets from a movie I liked, recipe ideas...

A journal is such a wonderful treasure to keep in the midst of so much done on computers these days. A journal is so private and precious. A place that only I see (unless you're my sister, Molly, and you've snooped through my childhood room and read my "diary"). The best thing about a journal is the ability to go back. To see where and how God has worked in my life in such powerful ways that I never could have even seen at the time.

I finished the last page of this journal this morning. This journal is so special to me. They all are, but this one holds such treasured memories. A huge chunk is from our trip to Haiti a year ago. I did a lot of journaling while Nick and I were there and I'm so glad I did. Reading through those pages brings me right back to that porch at the M house.  

A lot of goals, dreams, lists, struggles, prayers, and quick mentions of daily happenings. My journals are pretty simple. They aren't full of beautifully scripted words. A lot of days I'll just jot down a sentence or two about something that day that I want to remember. Sometimes, I pour out pages and pages of words to God. When I can't pray or speak, writing really helps me communicate. Its been that way my whole life.

So, there I have it. Another journal done. Can't wait for the next and to see where God takes me on this journey of life.

Go places.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A photo collection of my sister's college graduation

About a week ago, my little sister graduated from The University of Minnesota!
Go Gophers 
We had a great weekend in Minneapolis celebrating with her.

BBQ with Molly and friends the night before graduation...

After the ceremony...

Downtown for a little lunch at Monte Carlo

my extremely entertaining parents, "posing" 

Shopping at one of my favorite boutiques, The Foundry Home Goods
Anna's store is really wonderful.

A FaceTime call from Mr. B (my brother) who was away on a rock-climbing trip

Shopping at another Minneapolis boutique, Askov Finlayson

It was a great weekend celebrating my little sister... love you Molly!

Friday, April 25, 2014

it's about time

I've been meaning to write a blog post about every week for the last few months. My last one was at the new year. Yikes! Sometimes I'm a lazy blogger and Instagram doesn't help because its just so. darn. easy. But, that's no excuse. I have to write because I love to write!

Spring is finally starting to feel like its here, and that alone is reason enough for celebration.

Let's chat about what's new. For the most part, not too much. But lots of little things here and there that keep life fun and interesting.

Reading lately

The Fault in Our Stars - this was a wonderful quick read. I found it on the best-seller rack and I think its actually a young adult book, but it was the best book I've read in a while. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Chasing God - An honest look at how so many of us seek God... I felt like every page was speaking to me in such a conversational way. Sometimes I get bored with non-fiction books, but this one was such a quick read. I read it in one weekend and so much of what she wrote about resonated so deeply with me.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette - This was a fun, quirky read. Read it on vacation and it was a perfect beach read. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Funny and entertaining enough to be a fast read, but I wouldn't rave about it. I know a lot of people that just loved it, though, so give it a try!

Cooking lately

We've been pretty lame in this area... need to step it up. A lot of just eggs, meat, veggies... no fancy, fun recipes. A lot of Trader Joe's finds and quickly assembled dinners. This week and next I am challenging myself to not grocery shop at all and to use up what we have in the fridge, freezer and pantry. We've had plenty of food and its fun to get creative with what we have. And also kind of sad b/c I'm realizing how much excess I buy and how much we waste... not cool. Now that its nice out and the farmer's market starts soon, we can change that. I want to start doing some more healthy baking too! Any recipes? Send them my way!

Inspiration lately

"We must be tenacious to align with God's agenda and not ours." -She Reads Truth

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.”

"We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is about abandoning ourselves." -David Platt
Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.”

I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. -Psalm 34:4

Search me, God, and know my heart.
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable. -Mary Oliver

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. -Pablo Picasso

You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail. -Proverbs 19:21

Have a wonderful weekend!
Go places.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thoughts on the new year...

Each year, I love to pick a scripture that I really want to live by and to focus on.
Last year, it was Proverbs 3:5-6.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."  
This year, it will be Romans 12:1-2.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
As I come into the new year, I want to face it with a renewed mind that is focused on making each day a journey and a walk with God, always seeking His will.
 I struggle with finding balance between making plans and trusting God. This has always been a challenge for me. I don't do well with change. I tend to get very comfortable. This scripture above is a wonderful balance of allowing me to rest in God, but to also be courageous and brave in stepping out of my comfort zone and being willing to be transformed by Him as well.
I love the way God works and when we ask for wisdom, He delivers...
Today, my devotional title was “Balance.” J
The scripture was from 2 Samuel 10:11-12 about when Joab was fighting the Ammonites. The message part went on to say,
“There must be a balance in life between our plans and our faith in God. Joab said, “Let us fight bravely.” In other words, they were determined to do all that they could, using their minds to figure out the best strategies, using their strength to fight, and using the other resources God had given them. But Joab also said, “May the Lord’s will be done.” He knew that when they had done all they could, the outcome was in God’s hands. Balance comes as we use our minds and our resources to obey God and, at the same time, trust him for the outcome." (The One Year Daily Inspiration)
I think this describes such a beautiful way to look at balance. Yes, we use the gifts and resources God has given us, but at the same time, trust that His plan prevails. And no matter what the outcome, we trust that the Lord cares for us.
This year, I am not making resolutions. I am meeting God where I am and trusting that if I cling to Him, He will lead me, change me, and transform me into everything I need to be.
Thank you for stopping by the blog to read.
Happy 2014, but mostly, Happy new beginnings and new adventures to you!
May God bless your year ahead.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Homemade-ish" gifts

Some Christmas season updates... 

Tonight I went shopping! At the Galleria. And I found an adorable store, with amazing stuff, and they gave me champagne. I loved browsing, sampling and picking gifts out for some of the lovely women in my life.

These little homemade signs made by Naptime Diaries have been a Christmas favorite in our home. They are basically a daily advent calendar and there is a devotion along with each day. Her online store and her story have been a favorite now for a while. 

If I had time to make everyone a homemade Christmas gift close to the heart (literally), I'd make you all a pallet Christmas tree. Seriously, how cute are these? I saw them at the Church where my Bible study is hosted. Crafty!

Last weekend we had our annual girls Christmas with some of my college gal pals. We used to do a cookie exchange but the last two years we have done a "favorite things" party. We all bring a favorite thing, within our designated budget, to share with each person there. Jill, our lovely and creative host, made this adorable hot cocoa bar that was a tasty little dessert! 

My parents were in New York over the weekend for an event/benefit... Don't they look cute?! I had to put this up because it made me smile when they emailed it to me. 

Have a wonderful night! More tomorrow! 
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