Thursday, September 29

Without fear

She laughs without fear of the future...

How often do you find yourself laughing without fear of the future? Fear of anything? Career, finances, relationships, children, and on and on and on.

I'll be the first to admit that I fail at this, a lot. I have found that I am driven a lot by fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the what ifs.

Fear -- it's not a very pretty word.

When I think of the woman portrayed here in Proverbs 31, my heart resonates to be that woman. To be clothed with strength and dignity, to laugh without fear of the future, to be wise, to be kind, to be a blessing to others. My heart desires to be this kind of woman.

The good news is I think it's an attainable goal. I think it's a process and I think that with God's power and grace it is attainable. I often think that I can accomplish this sort of feat now. That if I do this or that, then I will be like the Proverbs 31 woman. Truth is, that is not true. I have to remind myself that it is a process and that it may take my whole life to continue to strive to be like this woman.

I've been intentionally working on letting go of my fears and trusting. I think in my life fear is used to enable me, to keep me in a place of stagnant. To keep me from attaining my potential. But if I let go of the fear, surrender and trust, I'm sure I'll find that beautiful freedom.

It's hard to retrain your mind after years of a certain way of thinking. But with God all things are possible. This is my truth and hope.

It's been a long week. Lots of traveling for work. I am so looking forward to the weekend. My brother and his beautiful fiance are coming for a visit. There are plans of pumpkin patches, grilling out, relaxation and lots of laughter. I can't to come.

Monday, September 26

Controlling planner

Do you ever have one of those moments when you feel like you're being controlled by your planner?

I do.

I love my planner. Kind of weird, but it's true. Right now I'm obsessed with my Moleskine planner. I used to just use them for my journals, but I've branched out and now have a planner. I love it probably  more than I should. You should get one. Just sayin'.

I love  being able to write and mark and make plans. I love to make plans. I love the thrill of a new plan or a new adventure. Nothing gets me excited like a new plan does...and then getting to write it in my planner. When I was in college, I would make it an activity in some of my none favorite classes. Plan making in my planner! Woo...I'm cool.

But sometimes I can get sucked into being controlled by my planner. Controlled by the plans I've made, the commitments I've promised. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by it. When this happens, I have to take a step back and plan to stop planning. I have to mark out time for just me. I have to plan out time to take a break and rest. I can get so caught up into planning and busyness. It can be my worst enemy. Calendars, planners, cell phones, computers. Whew. I get tired just thinking about it.

Today I must remind myself to PUT THE PLANNER DOWN and just enjoy each moment, especially when it starts looking like this....


This past weekend, I had one of those unplanned moments. Actually the plan was to go to church and the sit on the couch all day. Then I had one of those "I love my life moments." We got home from a great church service, put on a sweatshirt, grilled up some hot dogs, and sat on our butts in front of the TV. I just sat there looking at my life in that moment and my heart smiled. The beauty of a moment. You can't plan for that.

Thursday, September 22

Think like my puppy

Sometimes I can be a worry wart. Just one of those personality traits that is a character builder. Not something I particularly enjoy, but I've learned a lot about myself and life through it.

The past few days I've been thinking, wondering, worrying about all sorts of things. What's next in life? What's next for my career? Should I go back to school? Should I wear purple or blue? Skirts or pants? Big, little. It usually doesn't matter.

A dear friend of mine gave me a new devotional book, Jesus Calling written by Sarah Young. It is beautifully written as if Jesus is writing and talking directly to you. This is what Jesus was saying today...

"Trust me and refuse to worry, for I am your strength and your song. You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today's tasks - or even tomorrows.  So leave them in the future and come home to the present...Among all My creatures, only humans can anticipate future events."
~Sarah Young

As my puppy is playfully jumping around me playing with her lowly blue monkey, I had a eye opening moment. I need to be more like my puppy. I need to live in the moment, enjoy each moment, appreciate each moment just like my adorable little puppy does with excitement and eagerness to embrace the moment I am in. This simple thought brought me peace. I'll just be more like my puppy, right?!?

We'll we shall see, but I'll at least try. Trust and don't worry. Trust and don't worry. Just another thing I've learned from my precious pup.

And my favorite season starts tomorrow. FALL!!! I love all things about fall, especially candy corn.

Monday, September 19

Freely blessed

I've recently been on this kick of listening to old hymns. Pandora has everything, seriously. I grew up in a church that still plays the piano and where we sing out of hymnals. Every time I hear a hymn, it brings me back to a place that my heart so quickly recognizes. It's what I grew up on, it's the food that feeds my musical soul. There is nothing more glorious than hearing a verse of Amazing Grace, or my personal favorite, Pass it On.

So maybe I've just been missing home, or maybe my soul is craving some spiritually musical nourishment. Either way, there is something simple and classic about hymns.

Next thought: this past Sunday our church started a new sermon series on Romans Chapter 8. Just chapter 8...basically the good part.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."

Basically, what Paul is saying is that if you know Jesus, you're free. Free from guilt. Free from shame. Free from condemnation. Free from sin. Free from your past. Free from mistakes. Both now and in the future. You are free.

If you're anything like me, I have a really hard time wrapping my head around this. Free. Freedom. We live in a country where we are free. We have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, but freedom from our sins? For some reason, I still struggle with this idea from time to time.

I often find myself working for my salvation. Trying to do the right thing, say the right thing, do this and not that, be like this, be more like "that" person. But what Romans 8 is saying is that, that is nothing but a waste because there is nothing that I can do, or say, or not do that will earn my salvation. It is free to me. It's a gift. All I've got to do it take it.

Seems pretty simple, almost too easy. Right?!? But that's what happens when you have a God who loves you. He blesses you with gifts, and freedom from condemnation is probably the best gift I'll ever receive.

This message is something that is meant for me to go through right now. God's timing is so perfect. I don't know why it surprises me but sometimes it still does. We're starting a new small group this week, so I am encouraged with what will come of it. I'm hopeful for good fruit to continue to grow and blossom in my heart.

Thankful for freedom.

Wednesday, September 14

It's a beautiful morning

I'm not a morning person. Let me put a side note with that...I love morning time. I love sitting enjoying my morning. I don't like getting up. It take me a solid 10-20 minutes before I'm enjoyable. However, once I'm awake, I'm up and usually thoroughly enjoy my morning time.
I think one of the things I miss most about being a student (aka not having to be at work by 8 a.m.) is drinking my coffee out of a coffee cup...not a travel mug. Reading and taking in the morning. Preparing myself for the day. Now, I'm lucky if I get to eat cereal out of a bowl, and even more lucky if I can sit down and do some devo time in before I go to work. I am working on it though...slowly.

One of my favorite things about the morning time is the hope that comes with a new day. The anticipation that comes with the sunrise. It's a new day. Anything is possible. That may scare some people, but I try to embrace it. It's what drives me in the morning time. You just never know what your day is going to hold. I find some exhilaration in that.

The other morning, as I was driving to work, I was graced with an absolutely beautiful sunrise. It's in those small moments, that I can feel God breathing down and saying "Yes, I am here. I will take care of it all today." Now, I don't always embrace His promise. But this particular morning, it was needed and I did. I love how God can create beauty in something so everyday as a sunrise.

Friday, September 9

Friday's random thoughts

Every now and then I have one of those days where I have so many thoughts and ideas that I can’t seem to focus on anything else. Not necessarily thoughts that were productive or insightful, just thoughts. I’m an ideas person. I like to think and daydream and plan. I also sometimes get in moods where I just want to drop all my responsibilities and just go. Today has been one of those days.

Some of my thoughts have been things, such as:
  • Looking into a new career field
  • Moving out of Indiana
  • Taking the rest of the day off
  • Going on a road trip this weekend
  • Planning a vacation for this winter
  • Going home (Illinois home)
  • How excited I am that football season is here
  • Finding a bakery for breakfast tomorrow
  • The food I want to cook tonight when I get home
  • Weddings (eek…someday)
  • Two of my closest friends are having babies! WOAH!
  • I want to plant a garden
  • How much I love music.

Ok, that’s enough randomness for one Friday afternoon. Who knows what I’ll get into this weekend, probably nothing but maybe something grand. You just never know!

This best friend is preggers! Woo hoo!!

Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, September 6

All we need is love, love is all we need

I've been having lots of conversations this week about love. Love of all sorts. There are so many ways to use the word such as I love fall and candy corn. I love my puppy. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my boyfriend. I love my God. Right there I used to word love six different times, each of them carrying something different along with the word. 

Also, I think I am in love with the word love. It seems to be everywhere. It's written 551 times in the Bible. I look around my house, I've got it somewhere. We watch love stories. We read romantic books about love. We're attracted to images that portray love. Why are weddings such a big deal? All because of those four letters L-O-V-E.

This is the love all over my house.

So what does it really meant to be love? 

I really enjoy conversations about relationships. I thrive on them. I don't think I'm an expert but like I said...I love love. So, I always enjoy a good conversation about what love means. I used to think I understood what love was, but then I met a certain someone and my whole view of it changed. Everyday love takes on a different meaning to me. I used to think that love was something that I felt, all day, everyday. But now, I am learning that love is something that I do. It's an action. 

Someone very wise (aka my mom) once told me that one of the greatest struggles that my generation will face is the misconception of what love and relationships are all about. And I so get that. Doesn't TV tell you that love is passion, romantic dates, buying nice things, more passion? Just watch a prime time TV show, or yet...The Bachelor.

Did you know that there are three different kinds of love? Yep, three. Philos, Eros, and Agape. A short lesson: philos - friend, eros- erotic, agape - unconditional. Three different kinds of love, for three different ways to love. Someone whom I love once said "I think the best kind of relationship is one that encompasses all three kinds of love: friendship, passion, and unconditional love." And I tend to agree. Why wouldn't you want all three?

Anyway, my tangent on love is simply to just say...there is no direct formula. There is no magic feeling that you must feel. Love is different for each of us. We experience it differently and we love differently. Relationships are already messy, so keep love simple.

Thursday, September 1

A dream is a wish your heart makes

The other day as I was just sitting and thinking, which I do a lot, the thought of dreams came into my head. Not the dreams that you have when you're asleep, the kind of dreams you have as a child. Dreams of going to Disney World, dreams of ice cream, dreams of being a princess...

Err, ok maybe not exactly like that. More like the dreams that you have for your life. Like for me...I have always dreamt of the day when I can be a wife and a mother. I've dreamed of becoming a teacher. I've dreamed of spending my life helping others through my passion of baking and coffee. Now, as of late, none of those dreams have yet to officially become true, but that doesn't mean that they won't.

I started thinking about how we develop dreams like those. We don't often just wake up one day and say, "Oh, this sounds like a good idea, maybe I'll have the dream of doing that." Ok, maybe some people do, but that's not how mine came about. My dreams came from back before I even realized they were dreams. When I was a child, I played "house" often. I was a wife and a mom, played with my baby dolls. Some days I would play "teacher" where I would make out my class list, naming each child my favorite names. I'd come up with seating charts, homework assignments, classroom scenarios, and the list goes on and on.

I played those things and have those dreams because of something deeply rooted inside me. Something that I didn't put there. My dreams are a gift from God. They're given to each one of us with a desire to contribute those dreams to the world.

I used to be somewhat fearful that my dreams were just my selfish desires coming out of the things that I wanted out of this world. But, I soon came to realize that those dreams were created in me for a purpose and that in the right time, they would come to surface for the furthering of the Kingdom.

Stay tuned...

"Humble yourself under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:6-7