January 30, 2013

Looking Back, Moving Forward

I have to say, after deciding to join up with Holley Gerth and her amazing community of God-Sized Dreamers it seems my mind and my heart have been slammed with things that pull and push and cry out for my focus!  Such is life, right?  But we have a choice: do we allow our Dreams to once again get pushed to the side while we juggle all that is thrown our way or do we come to the realization that our Dream (what ever it is!) is a priority and we are worth the investment of our own time and attention?  To be honest, for me - I have had seasons of both!  I just blogged about the importance of staying the course and scheduling in some 'Me time' in the midst of a bossy list and full crazy calendar!  I realized that when I pencil in Me Time, I somehow get more time! You can read that post on my other blog here.

So this weeks 'assignment' if you will came at just the right time! Holley encouraged us Dreamers to look back... to reflect back over our lives and think to another time when we took some positive action... she asked us what was one thing that helped us move forward and how can you - can WE - apply that again!  So the past several days I have been looking back, in order to move forward!  You see - I tend to be all in and focused for awhile... but pressures of life weigh down and it's not that the passion wains but more like it gets stuck and I can't see my way through to forward motion again.

For years, the Lord ever so gently spoke to me and worked with me about my lack of Follow Through.  Oh I would start something full on - but if it dragged on... I would allow my focus to shift and something else would become my priority!  In 2008, I decided I would focus on ONE thing... all year... just one thing would become my priority.  This was before the days of picking One Word (at least for me!) - but I had resolved that this year (2008) would be Change and I would not run from it! 

So... this was me, towards the end of 2007:

I went on to lose a total of 75 pounds... and this was me, about 18 months later:

 Then, for some (still) unknown reason - I hit that infamous wall... that plateau. It didn't matter WHAT I did, nothing was working! Still - I pressed on... but honestly - it got very discouraging! VERY.  I regained about 15 pounds over the course of nearly 2 years. Never completely giving up... still tracking my foods, still working out... I was just missing the outside results!  But something shifted... I pulled back from the online community that I had found that helped me to lose the weight in the first place, and I stopped making goals.  It got to be too depressing to make what was once an easy, doable goal - and again and again, not be able to reach it.  I got tired of not being able to cheer on the others, and not be able to say, "See? We can do this!" because I was beginning to let doubt come in and I was not so sure anymore!  I continued to watch what I ate and exercised regularly, but I stopped weighing myself consistently and somewhere along the line, I stopped believing I could actually do it! 

So Holleys' call to look back at what has worked caused me to realize that I need to get back to setting those short term goals.  Maybe not all based around a number on a scale - but something that I can focus on, reach for, and grasp hold of!  When I was on a roll - I was making goal after goal... trying new things... staying positive... (counting blessings!) and I need to get back to that, both in my weightloss efforts, and in my reaching for my Dreams!  Secondly, I need to get back to Community!  Having that connection helped keep me accountable and helped my focus remain secure - plus it gave me a place to encourage others (which is always my heart!)

So my tip:  Small, "do what you can" steps (as she calls them!)... they help you to stay focused and not overwhelmed! If you are like me, you can tend to look at the big picture and all the details between here and there can be overwhelming! So - while still keeping the big picture in mind, focus in on the next thing... the one detail that is first... set a goal... keep your focus... do what you can... and surround yourself with Community to help cheer you on!  You - WE - really CAN do this!

So - what is your Dream?  Set a Goal with me and let me know how I can be praying for you!

Once again, I am linking up with Holley and fellow God-Sized Dreamers at:

(My goal is to do an Alpha Reset Juice Fast next week - hoping believing it will help to reset my body and I can get back to losing!)

January 27, 2013

Open your hearts...

I am honored to be Guest Posting over at 5 Minutes for Faith today!

 "...the Good News is not that we are right, it's that God is LOVE!"  Read more of this post by visiting: Love Is On The way!

 Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

January 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Again

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes:
Five Minute Friday - AGAIN

This can not happen again... I missed the last two weeks now of the Five Minute Friday Twitter Party.  I can't explain how I miss those girls!  We have never met in person... and really have only begun being friends - but these sisters, these Daughters, these amazing women of God speak into my life and push me forward and I should have made myself come... sit here (or there - on Twitter!) and be real.  Instead - I entertained cruel imaginations and felt heaviness and despair wrap itself around me.  I should have come... luckily, within minutes... ok - maybe an hour... I snapped out of it and cranked up some music and worshiped my way back into a peaceful silence... quieting the downward spiral of thoughts that were pulling at me; whispering old familiar lies that can seem more real than Truth!

Wasn't I just talking about how the Love of God is All IN, and He comes at us Full ON... wasn't I just saying how important it is to remember even when we don't see it... when we don't feel it!  Then, out of nowhere, I am slammed into by an unseen force, a eucharisteo moment and I am feeling anything but thankful.  My thoughts turn to accusations and while I am not speaking it out loud - my heart is thumping, racing, running anywhere but here... I am wondering, "Where is Grace NOW?  Did You run out... are You withholding?"

Thank God I do not speak it... but thinking it can be even more dangerous.  When you speak it out - maybe someone will repeat it back to you and you will see the way it is twisted up and just wrong.  Thinking it can lead you down a spiral staircase that will get you no where good!

So I crank up the stereo... I lift my hands and my heart... and reluctantly my eyes... and that is when I saw it... again!  Again, I saw it - well, Him!  He was coming at me, full on and it reminded me of what I had been saying and I had to brace myself for His Full On love to wash over me and again... I saw it. I saw myself taking a step back in order to remain standing tall.

Sometimes it feels like we are going backwards or being knocked off course... but even then, He is right there with us... loving and covering and wrapping Himself around us and I knew I had the choice then and there... choose Him... or choose the despair.

Always... Again and Again... I choose Him!


Isn't it amazing how quickly something can come at us and knock us off center... and how quickly lies can feel like truth.. and how quickly we forget that we have a choice in it all... and how quickly - when we turn our attention to Him - He comes at us - FULL ON! (Did I not just write that here last week?)

Here... this should make the choice easier... I know it did for me!
(Thanks sweet Jennifer!)


Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "AGAIN":
Five Minute Friday

I am also linking up with Jennifer over at Studio JRU and her Creative Sneak Peak Fridays for Artists of all kinds:

January 22, 2013

What drives you forward...

What drives you forward... when everything else seems to be pulling at you?  That is the question.  What inspires you; motivates you; what is it - or who is it - that comes alongside to remind you of why you started this whole thing (whatever 'it' is!) anyway!

Between Ann Voskamp with her one thousand gifts and the challenge to reflect back over mentors who have poured into our lives, Emily over at chatting at the sky and her series on Artists and Influencers, and Holley Gerth encouraging us all to live out our God-Sized Dreams - I have been pondering this pull... this drive to press on, to keep going, to not give up!

And then today - it came in a question... a fellow creative, asked out loud in an artist group on facebook.  She asked us in the beginning - the very beginning - who and what was our inspiration and what has kept us going day after day.  She went on to say that she is asking because she was in need of some 'hard-core, where the rubber meets the road, nitty-gritty encouragement' today!  

This came after days and weeks of me really thinking this through!  WHY do I keep at this?  I have said it all along... I am called.  I never doubt it - but sometimes I doubt anything will come of it!  I have had seasons where I was willing to do the hard parts, put in the long hours. But to be honest, I've had seasons where I just wasn't!  It was not a priority or a task that captured my heart... I pushed it aside, or laid it down, and tried to ignore it.  But when you are truly called to do something... it never really goes away!

So this, my answer to her question, it caught me by surprise. Not because it was a new thought or revelation, but because it has been true all along!  It's just that some times... some days... {some years} I can lose clarity of sight and my vision fades. So this.  My answer:

"I started ages ago - and mostly out of obedience to the Lord! I have gone through seasons of neglecting it and honestly questioning the call - wondering if any one (literally sometimes - any ONE) was reading it. I write out of what He is showing me or sharing with me and my heart and inspiration for blogging is to share my heart and encourage a deeper real personal relationship between my reader and the Lord! I have recently recommitted to paying attention to it! LOL! I try to write at least 2x's per week. I have 2 blogs - one for my business (scrapbook and photography) and one for writing in a devotional/inspirational style- so some weeks that twice a week goal doesn't quite happen on both of them! I write for HIM... and pray others read along! I have to remind myself of that when I am discouraged or feel lonely in my little corner of the web!  Keep at it! You always ALWAYS have an audience of One!"

Aaaah - and there it is! What drives me forward, when all else seems like it is pulling me in fifty different directions?  It's HIM... it's my audience of One - and if He calls me to write - and it's just me and Him here on this blog... so be it!  As a bonus, if just one reader finds themselves here and they encounter Him... that is such a blessing! 

This blogging... this writing... (or this portrait-taking... or canvas painting... or any passion/hobby that has the potential to bring in income and become a career) - it can shift ever so slyly until the sheer joy of doing it is replaced with striving to succeed and constantly promoting and looking for trends and 'networking'...

For some, this really IS part of the call and there is nothing wrong with the business side of things.  But there is nothing wrong with it AS LONG AS it has not replaced your joy and passion with pressure and obligations. If it's robbing you, I can almost guarantee that you have forgotten that no matter how many subscribers you have, no matter who hangs your work in their office or home, buys your book, buys your (fill in the blank), the audience most important is always, always the One Who called you up on 'stage' to begin with!  

Whenever we simply turn our thoughts and our heart toward Him, we will find that He is always All In! 

There is no shadow of turning... and He is with you and FOR you. So whatever it is that you dream of doing... know that first and foremost,  He is your target audience... and He is already there - cheering you on!  

As you think about what that would look like; what that would sound like... may I encourage you to be a cheerleader for someone else today; to find someone who is DOING what it is that you are dreaming of doing and cheer them onward! We all fight against discouragement and questioning the call... may I encourage you to be His Voice to them. We are called to be One Body and as Dreamers - we reach much farther, when we reach together!  We need one another - not for comparison or competing, but for encouragement and uplifting!

To Speak Life... to Be Love... to Shine on... for them, and for your audience of One!

Who Dreams with you?  Who - along with the Lord - inspires you to press on? 

P.S.  I am linking up with Holley today and her community of God-Sized Dreamers! Click the button below to join in and find someone to cheer on!

January 19, 2013

Cherished - Part Two

On Friday I began this post while writing on the word prompt from Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday and you can read Part One by clicking the link below... (but don't forget to come back!) This is a continuation of the thoughts that unfolded while tapping out my feelings associated with "Cherished"...

Read Part One HERE

My prayer is that you will know... REALLY know, my friend, that you are cherished! I have no doubts about it!  No hesitations... there are no questions I must ask first, no hoops to jump through... no qualifications you must strive to meet beforehand.  No.  Right here.  Right now.  YOU are cherished... all of you - the good and the bad... the cleaned up parts and the hidden messes... the you that you pretend to be, and the you that you are trying to escape from! All of you is cherished by all of Him!  It's true! If it weren't true, trust me, I could not walk in such bold confidence of it for myself!

As I mentioned on Friday... I too have Flashbacks... some good, yes. I was blessed to have someone whisper to me in the dark of night that I was destined... saved for a purpose... cherished.  But I also have some memories that want to scream out that this is not the truth! I have had dark seasons when "Cherished" was not what labeled me or gave me identity.  That was not a word in my vocabulary nor an emotion of security that I was privy to.

I am like you... I have failed.  I have tried my best and come up short.  I have clawed my way out of pits too deep and too dark to believe that any one... Any. One. - could cherish me.  I have put on a smile and spoken a "Fine" and faked my way through too many days to keep track of... when all along I knew - even if no one else could see through me - I KNEW that I was anything but fine. Yes... these Flashbacks try to grab hold of my attention and once again cover me in labels of 'Not Good Enough'... of 'Never Gonna Measure Up'... of 'Damaged'... 'Broken'... 'Not Worth the Trouble.'

It's tempting... with all their bright lights and smoke screens to turn my eyes to take them straight on. However, the One who knows me best and Cherishes all of these parts of me has captured my heart and even when the flashbacks, and the voices in my head, and the world around me may be fighting for my focus - it's HIM that my eyes stay fixed on!

Flashbacks come as I rocked my little one... cherished - that is what SHE was... still is - even when I could not believe it for myself!  Oh how I purposed in my heart that she would always know this!  That it would be truth to her, and always True. But like it did for me, life unfolds and 'reality' can feel so real... despite our biggest wishes and best words, she went through her own struggle with knowing, but not remembering. How it can break our hearts when we so clearly see the Gold and the Glory in a precious one... a friend, spouse, daughter, son... and yet they are blinded by the enemy and cannot see anything worthy of Cherishing.

You see, I first tried to believe it on my own... to freely receive it when I first heard Him say so.  It wasn't long after, however, that I began to feel like I could make it MORE true... that I could do something to bring increase... and if that was true - then surely I could do things that could make it LESS true... cause decrease too. I see it so clearly now as a slight-of-hand trick of the enemy but at the time, it felt like there was no other way.

It was not until I doubted it all together and gave up hope when He came beside me, and grabbed my hand... I heard Him speak my name with so much love that it took my breath away... and in an instant, I knew! I remembered! It's not in my doing... it's in my being... in my becoming.  He cherishes all of me  - not because of anything I do or don't do... but because of who He made me to BE! I am His Beloved... His cherished one... His Bride.

He had been prompting me to read through the book of Hosea in the midst of all my trying to Earn His love... I ignored and put it off time and time again thinking, "I know that story... I have read that book..." I was wanting something New... something personal... but when He laid down beside me and simply surrounded me with His mercy, He spoke softly once again.  "Now will you go read Hosea?" I could not get to my Bible fast enough to drink it in... it's when I got to Hosea chapter 2 that I was undone in all the right ways!  I encourage you to go... read it all.. and find the power of the Truth within the power of His Word.  It's right there... and if it's for me, then I promise you that it is for you!

We are... no matter how we FEEL or what WE think... we are His Beloved and because of who HE is (not who WE are) and because of Whose we are (not WHAT we've done)... He is All. In.  He is madly, passionately, unabashedly, unfathomably in love with us!

So if ever you begin to doubt it... or find yourself working for it, simply this: Cry out "My Husband!" and watch and see how Cherished you are!


“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
“And it shall be, in that day,”
Says the Lord,
“That you will call Me ‘My Husband,
And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’…
… “I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord.” 
                         ~ Hosea 2:14-16;19-20 (The Message)

January 18, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Cherished (Part 1)

I was SO sad to miss out on the Twitter Party that happens on Thursday nights (#FMFParty) where so many in this gifted gathering of writers meet up to connect and be real and eat chocolate and wait for Lisa Jo to give us the Five Minute Friday prompt... I had saved some of my yummy Cherry M&Ms and was ready to chat and write together but after a full day of working (which involves sitting in this chair, looking at this screen) my eyes were done and my head was pounding!  Still... it's Friday... and I can't keep myself away from this amazing BOLD freeing exercise of seeing a word prompt and writing wild... for five minutes.

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes:
Five Minute Friday - CHERISHED


Cherished... just pondering the word itself stirs up Flashbacks of how I have always known it.  I am cherished.  I have always known it, but I haven't always felt it.  No, there are memories that come in a flash that feel anything but... it feels lonely, dark, unprotected, forgotten, wounded, invisible... it feels like truth, but I know it's not.  I haven't always remembered that though.  Somehow, it's easy to forget.  But in the deep of who I am, and in knowing Whose I am, I know.

Flashbacks come in the story of my miraculous surviving of birth and blood battling and too many 'She's not gonna make it through the night' warnings... of how tears and pleadings came 6 weeks after I first gasped for air and finally... FINALLY my skin was soothed and held by the one who pushed me here.  I believe it was in that mothers' touch that healing first rushed in. I knew... I was cherished.  From that moment on, it was spoken over me, whispered to me at bedtime, said about me... "God has saved this one... She has purpose.  She is cherished."

Things can be said about you, but still life unfolds and reality can come crashing in - but how many times is reality not real? Good and bad spilled out around me, from within me, and I grew... There were moments when I remembered, but months when I did not. And then, suddenly, I came face to Face with the One who cherishes me most... and somehow I fell madly in love with my husband and my Lord at the same time and I had never felt such power in the true Truth of how I was cherished.  Again... romance ebbs and flows and motherhood can rob you of focusing on more than your own heart beating outside of your chest and religion can bind you and use you and you can reach the end of being tired of being tired.  You can so easily forget.

It's not in your doing... it's in your being... and always - no matter WHAT you do or be... you are cherished!
Yes, you! Always!


I am so wanting to continue this line of thinking... of revelation... of remembering! So I think I will refer to this post as Part 1... and write on! You can read Part TWO here!

Do you know -really KNOW, friend, that you are cherished?  Because I can assure you without an ounce of hesitation that you are! Oh, how you are!  Join me in traveling through flashbacks... seeing how He has loved you all along the way to here!  What stirs in you when you hear that word: Cherished.  I'd love to hear.


Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "Cherished":
Five Minute Friday

I am also linking up with Jennifer over at Studio JRU and her Creative Sneak Peak Fridays:

January 15, 2013

One Small Step toward some God-Sized Dreams

Yeah - that's right... I said it!  DreamS - as in more than one!

If you have been around here, or facebook, or know me in(RL) - you know that I am not so great at picking a favorite!  I just can't do it hate being locked in to just one (fill in the blank!)  I am terrible at those Lists of Favorite Things... you know, your favorite song; your favorite color; your favorite ice cream... who can pick just one of ANY of those things? Not too mention Dreams!? Just ONE? Really?

Now I know the importance and power and effectiveness of FOCUS. So choosing one dream at a time seems very wise and maybe even more productive, but what do you do when it seems that the Lord is opening doors for SEVERAL Dreams... and all at the same time?

This has been an unfolding 'problem' for me over the past several months or longer.  One door opens wide and I excitedly say Yes to adventure... Yes to Creativity... Yes to opportunity! ...and God blesses it.  Before I have a chance to really catch my breath and process what it could mean, or what is should mean, or what I should be doing next... a different door opens up and it seems He is ushering me toward it.

Recently, I have realized that maybe - just maybe - He intends to wind all three of my passions together.  This is why when I first took the dare to boldly say out loud what my Dream is - I was surprised by it.  Always, it has been writing.  Recently - it's expanded to include a passion for Photography. The third door is a door I am familiar with and built a business around... it is Art - but this time - it is a completely new form... something I am not confident in or necessarily talented at and yet - doors continue to open!

So this week we were encouraged by Holley Gerth to take one small step towards our Dream. Just one... the smaller the better.  Because I am an over-achiever can be a bit over the top, I did 3.  One for each Dream.  Okay... truth be told, I did 4. One for each dream, and 1 for the dream that may just incorporate all the others!

1. Writing - I put myself out there and offered to write a Guest Post for a couple of Blogs. Baby steps, right?

2. Photography - I took a class for Basic Photography as a refresher... (The class was great... my bowing to intimidation was not so great... but something I intend to learn from and overcome at the next opportunity!)

3. Art - I said yes.  I shared last week for our Five Minute Friday post on DIVE that I designed the artwork for a Women's Retreat and they called this afternoon to ask if I would teach a class on Prophetic Art. One Small Step... felt like a Giant Leap for sure... but I said yes!

4. Lastly - in keeping with the God-Sized Dream that I talked about last week, I decided not to let my head-on battle with intimidation from a few days ago shut me up or stop me from moving forward!  My God-Sized Dream involves creating community with sisters, daughters, mothers, friends... sharing words and experiences and life - written, spoken, whispered... on the page, over coffee, or from a stage... my God-Sized Dream is to create Community where our hearts can connect, and you can know - REALLY KNOW - without a doubt, of his amazing, abiding love for you... and what better way - and easier One Small Step - than to sign up to host an in(RL) Meet Up in April?

So what about you?  What kind of God-Sized Dreams are you entertaining lately?  I encourage you to take just one small step toward it... you are not alone... together - one step at a time... we can see our Dreams unfold into reality!


Linking up again today with Holley and other God-inspired Dreamers! Click HERE to read what small steps others are taking towards fulfilling the Dreams He has planted!

January 14, 2013

Diving In... Keeping Time... Pressing on

I am linking up today with Ann Voskamp and "multitudes on mondays" in counting on... in giving thanks. By drinking in our blessings, by unwrapping them simply by acknowledging them, we are finding it is filling us up!

In keeping with my OneWord (Surprise) - I am purposing to be a bit more spontaneous... more adventurous... (flexible, if you will!) and in doing that, my Mondays have changed.

For over a decade now, I have had a band of Happy Intercessors gather in my living room... a powerful and precious community of women who have taught me and let me teach them... we have lived real life together... out loud, messy, honest... vulnerable.  We have prayed, and dug in deep to the word, we have read books and sang songs, and gotten out of our comfort zones to go out beyond these walls.  However, for 6 weeks anyway, we have switched things up!  We are meeting on Tuesdays at another friends' home and we are learning together how to count! How to Keep time... how to live fully, right where we are!  We are watching the DVD series 'one thousand gifts'.

So - this morning, when my home is normally filled with smells of coffee and candles and sounds of worship and prayer... I sat in quietness, and counted off gifts, one by one... adding to my ever growing list of one thousand and beyond:

#634) The faint sound of traffic outside, reminding me of the gift of Slowing Down.

#635) A compliment that warms and blesses.

#636) Regaining confidence after being (too easily-) intimidated.

#637) New Chris Tomlin CD on replay... over and over... feeding my soul.

#638) A month later... for Teachers and Staff who stepped up, hovered over, and kept safe.

#639) Squeezing in Yoga on an over-scheduled day!

#640) My favorite Scarf, striped and happy and cozy warm.

#641) That His whispers speak louder - deeper - than the internal screaming doubts of my fears.

#642) That His Love never fades, never gives up, never runs out on me!

#643) That He would bless me - Bless. Me. - with such an amazing little family - so filled with love.

You can click the image below to read more of the gifts that are being unwrapped today... with multitudes on mondays and comment below.

What is on your list of gifts... ways He has blessed you today?  I'd love to hear how He is showing up for you in everyday ways! 

Speak Life, Be Love, and Count On!

January 10, 2013

Five Minute Friday - DIVE

It is so good to be back to routine and back with this amazing community of writers. It's only taken a few months, but I think I am finally getting the hang of the #FMFParty over on Twitter too!  My plan tonight was to chat and then go to bed BEFORE the prompt, and write - go figure - on Friday! However, I couldn't stop talking and before I knew it the prompt was up!

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes:
Five Minute Friday - DIVE

"Dive!"  Just seeing the word written out screams adventure and faith and crazy impulsive who-can-know-how-it-will-turn-out jumps forward!  Maybe it's because my OneWord this year is "Surprise" or maybe it's because I am still (yes - STILL - at this age!) trying to overcome my fear of water and being over my head - both figuratively and literally!

So many times I have found myself standing at the edge... of a cliff, of the unknown, of a decision, of something 'new'... with all that is within me, my spirit wants to Dive in... to take a leap of faith... just TRUST Him and fly!

The voices of Reason and Second-Guessing can yell louder than His whisper at times and I can so often shrink back, simply hesitate, and the thrill of the call fades. Oh to embrace change and the adventure and the leaning in and leaving doubts and fears and realistic thinking behind.  That is the goal.

I hear Him singing... He is beckoning me to come.  To DIVE in to more of Him! To dance with Him and sing with Him and to trust Him.  The surprises He has in store for me are good, this I know!  So why the hesitation... why the pausing and worrying?

I have vowed to be more spontaneous this year... something that is out of this Bossy List Maker's comfort zone!  Speaking of that... this is a piece He led me to create a few months ago... as I think of it now, I can hear Him saying, the cage is open my Love... come, Dive in, and Soar with me!


How are you at Diving in... to Him... to a new adventure... to an unknown!?  Do you courageously go forward or tend to hesitate like me?  I am praying for boldness to Dive In to more of Him this year for each of us!


Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts!
Click here to read what others have to say about "Dive":
Five Minute Friday

January 8, 2013

My God-Sized Dream is bigger than I thought!

So, I saw this post... this invitation to share and be bold and just type it out loud and put it on out there for all to see.  It was Holley Gerth who asked, "What is your God-Sized Dream?"  She wrote this question on her blog and then threw open her door and put on a pot of coffee... inviting us all to step up, speak out, and once again share about what God has put in our hearts.

A few other friends took her up on the chance and I loved reading their hearts and seeing the call on their lives to dream big with God... But, to be honest, I had no intention! Not that I don't love the question, or even the push and pull that takes place in searching out the answer.  It was more that my original thought was this was a question pointed at fellow Bloggers... I just sort of thought my answer, my dream, would fade in the mix... it would be a cookie cutter version of what all of the other writers would say... to write a book, to be/get published, ...blah blah blah... Those are all good dreams... all quite possibly big ol' huge God Dreams... I am not in any way discounting them. I believe them to be true, and real, and a call greater than I.

I blogged at Kimberly's place over tea about how all of my life, I have felt the call to write.  I have fought it, I have pressed in to it, I have thought that I knew what it would look like, and I have given up on it - pushed it up on the top shelf and then towards the back, out of sight... thinking I could fill my life with other things and ignore the pull towards putting pen to paper or fingertips tapping on keyboards.  I could not.

I started this blog back in 2006... answering a call from God to give Him a year of Tuesdays.  He had asked me to attend an intercessory prayer group on Tuesday mornings, and expect Him to meet me there... and He then asked me to give Him the afternoon to write about what unfolded.  One year turned into two and then comfortably three, even though I knew.  I knew then that my commitment was over and maybe, just maybe, I should start editing all of these amazing God encounters of the early years.   But you see, I much prefer the art of writing over the discipline of editing... creating over business.  I began to once again question the call.  Maybe - just maybe {easy way out!} I wrote what was asked of me already and whoever was supposed to read it would magically find my little corner of the web and ministry would happen and I could have accomplished my Dream.  It didn't take long to realize that this was not the case.  The call is still loud and clear... catch the vision and write it down...

...and so I write. I journal. I blog... and just recently, I dream again.

You see - as much as the call to write is real... and the desire of my heart is to create pictures with my words that draw you in... not to me, but to Him... what I am finding is that my REAL God-Sized Dream doesn't STOP at writing or getting published.  No - God is not that small!

My Dream still is to share His amazing Abiding Love, and His Abounding Grace! My real God-Sized Dream involves creating community and sharing words and experiences - whether written down, spoken over coffee, or at a podium, where my heart can connect with yours and you can grasp, on a deeper level, the real intimacy... the passionate pursuing Love that He has for you!  THAT is my God-Sized Dream.  It only begins with writing!

What kind of dreaming have you been doing lately?  What is He calling you to partner with Him to accomplish in this world that He so madly, madly loves?


Click the button below to read what others are sharing:
Dream God-sized Dreams

January 6, 2013

#OneWord365 - Living with my One Word So Far

It has been about a week...

Longer really - but a week since I bent low and decided to allow the One Word that picked me to be mine.

I posted about my struggle here last week, but in the end, I chose to let it choose me after all!

"Surprise!" at first glance seems exciting and fun... full of adventure and joy and laughter... rainbows and unicorns... Sigh... you get the idea!  Once I got to 'laughter' and 'rainbows' another angle of "Surprise" started to dawn on me... it could mean risk and unknown... scary and unwanted... it could - but I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't HAVE to!

You see, in just this short week of living with "Surprise" I have found myself a little more expectant, looking for surprises all around me.  I have noticed that already I am feeling a bit more spontaneous and having spur-of-the-moment ideas... with the boldness to follow through! Plus, I am learning right alongside Ann (with no 'e') that even in dark times, we count on... and we see God actively, intimately involved in our lives.  (Today's Joy Dare:to name one thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart: #585. In my Bag: Shea Cashmere Hand Lotion. #586. In my Fridge: Leftover Christmas Candy (peppermint patties). #587. In my Heart: Whomever the Lord brings to the new Tuesday study going through the 5 session DVDs based on 'one thousand gifts')

I am determined, no matter the Surprises... I count on!  Sure, some of the Surprises that come my way may cause me to catch my breath or want to run in the opposite direction, but the truth is that the Lord has changed my natural bent and I am now most often a Glass-Half-Full kind of girl anyway! So, with all my talking about embracing Change and feeling a stirring of desire for adventure - I have decided to lean IN, and hold ON... we are in for quite a ride!

How about you?  Do you have One Word for 2013? If so, I'd love to know what it is - and how you are seeing it show up in your life already this year!


P.S. I am linking up with Ann today for Multitudes on Mondays... counting our gifts, one by one!

January 4, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Opportunity

It is our FIRST Friday of the New Year... and that gloriously means the return of Five Minute Fridays with Lisa-Jo Baker and the crazy-fun, incredibly anointed writing Community that gathers on Twitter for #FMFParty - connecting and encouraging, sipping tea and coffee (and yes, Nutella Hot Chocolate!) and waiting together for the prompt to be posted!  Oh my - it was so good to be back... and to get to call myself a part of this amazing group of bloggers is a joy and an honor!  You are invited to come and be a part as well!

Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes:
Five Minute Friday - OPPORTUNITY

I spotted it the other day... a simple "Like" on facebook that a friend shared... this simple hand-drawn picture and in all it's simplicity - the neon lights went off in my head and the word flashing all around my heart was: "Opportunity!"

The sketched-out and all-colored-in picture is titled, "How to Build Community" and the suggestions that follow are DRIPPING with opportunity!

Community... that has been a key word, a key desire, a key call on my life for the past several years.  Jesus called me to Be Love last year.  I wrote a little about how my Mama's heart was broken... for my own, and even now - for so many others! She... they... searching for identity, searching for purpose, so in need of Community! In this techny-texting-snapchat-instagram world we live in, where everyone is communicating but no one seems to be connecting, we must look for opportunity to slow down and really listen.  To speak life and be love and pour into those around us.  It starts first in the home, with your spouse and your kids, and moves outward to other family members and friends, but if we do it... if we REALLY do it - before we know it. We will have Community!  It takes simple small purposeful steps - but OH how I encourage you to take them!

"Turn off your TV"

"Know your neighbors"

"Look up when you are walking"

"Honor Elders"

"Have Potlucks"

"Read stories aloud"

"Ask a Question"

"Organize a Block Party"

"Ask for help when you need it"

Some of us will have to be Bold... leave our comfort zones... but, as Judah Smith preached at Passion the other day, we are CALLED into Community!  Jesus Himself is Community - three in one... He came to build something... and we are His Living Stones!


Opportunities are all around us to Be Love, Be Life, Be Jesus with skin on... I remember going out on a Treasure Hunt before the holidays. I had prayed, gotten my clues... then went looking for God's Treasures, and was not able to find ONE from my list.  As I was sort of murmuring to the Lord about it, He reminded me of specific people with whom I had made eye contact, or smiled at, or offered to help get something on a top shelf... You see, I am not bold in real life... it takes a lot for me to approach a stranger and start a conversation but the Lord reminded me that it is connection that people are hungry for and while they may not have matched up to my treasure map, they were most definitely on His and the thought came that "whatever we do unto the least of these... "

The sign (which I have now printed out and hung in plain sight) ends with: "Know that no one is silent, though many are not heard.  Work to change this"

Five Minute Fridays does just that... click here to read, and then find your voice and join the community!
Five Minute Friday

I'd love to hear what things stood out to you in the picture above... pick one or two and be purposeful this weekend in putting them to use! Take the OPPORTUNITY to create and encourage Community all around you!


January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

2013... For many it's a welcomed change! 2012 was difficult... I think many started off in expectation and hope and then life came at us fast and furious and for some - knocked us off center... sent us reeling a bit, stumbling around dazed and feeling in the dark.  If you, like me, are among those - we are ready for change!  Ready for New... waiting to Hope to arise once again!

2012 was a tough year, both personally and nationally.  There were blessings and good time mixed in too of course, but it definitely held within it several hard eucharisteo's... going through Heartbreak and Doubt... What If's and If Only's... the Death and Letting go of Dreams and Plans laid out so very long ago... Unanswered Questions and Bends in the Road unforeseen along the way.

I ask the Lord every year, on this - the first day of a New Year, for a prophetic word or phrase as well as a book in the Bible that will be significant in the year to come.

The Phrase: Faith FILLED Patience
  (I know, right?  I so wanted it to be different, too!)

The Book:  Habakkuk

"But (the time is coming when) the earth shall be
filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea."
~Habakkuk 2:14

Habakkuk is a minor Old Testament Prophet. His name means Embracer; his name means A Hug... and he is unique in that most prophets are God's voice to the people. but Habakkuk is the people's voice to God.  He - in all realness - questions God with, "Why" and "How long?"  Oh my... have we not all stood right there with him?  Gods' answer to the Embracer is still the same to us today... in HIS time things will work out... and in the meantime, the just shall live by faith! (Remember, Faith FILLED Patience this year!)

The Apostle Paul quoted Habakkuk several times and it was Paul's writings that referred to Habakkuk's that captured and inspired Martin Luther and helped to bring about the Reformation!  It's to Habakkuk that God said to write the vision clear, so that he who reads it may run with it!  He assures him that it will surely come to pass!  I have been feeling a coming Reformation for along time now and so this connection excites me and stirs up Anticipation!

"...His glory covered the heavens and the earth was full of His praise.
And His brightness was like the sunlight; rays streamed from His hand,
and there (in sunlike splendor) was the hiding place of His power."
~ Habakkuk 3:3,4

With so many things fighting for our attention... our focus... (our fear)... from the Fiscal Cliff to healthcare to the cultural/moral/political state of our world... to relational issues, spiritual issues, injustice and corruption - it will serve us well to remember that we WILL survive... that the just shall live by faith. In fact, Paul quotes it three times, and emphasizes three different words.

"The JUST shall live by faith..." (Romans 1:17)

"The just shall LIVE by faith..." (Hebrews 10:38)

The just shall live by FAITH..." (Galatians 3:11)

I fully believe that we will live by faith THROUGH the hard times that are sure to come... keep the faith... thank Him and worship Him all the way through... 2013 holds MANY blessings, but I believe some will only be seen while clinging on tight to His promises, with faith-filled patience! God in all His infinite wisdom and grace, is pretty consistently right on time... even when, to us, it feels like He is so very slow in coming!

So rest assured - no matter what things may LOOK like, God is here... He is GOOD... and He is at work.  When our eyes fall down to our circumstances, hear Him calling you to lift your vision higher... look UP... remember from where your help comes from!  When things look dark... because... well - this is real life here... remember that He is the Light and when we count on ...listing all the gifts He gives us - even in darkness and brokenness, we are faith filled in patience... knowing that no matter our circumstances, He is good!

In my reading up on Habakkuk, I stumbled up on this quote by Sidlow Baxter in a Commentary that just may sum up our call for 2013.  In reference to Hab 3:18, he writes:

"The literal is "I will jump for joy in the Lord;
 I will spin around for delight in God."
Here is the hilarity of faith!
- joy at its best
with circumstances at their worst!
What a victory!
May it be ours!"
  (~Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book, p. 212)

Yes, Lord.. let is be so!

P.S. To read about my OneWord365, click HERE and join the movement away from Resolutions, and into a changed life!

My One Word (OneWord365)

Last year, following a friends' lead, I jumped in and picked One Little Word, not really knowing it was a growing movement!  A break away from Resolutions and a new way of inviting a Word into your life... As the website says, "Forget New Year's Resolutions.  Scrap that long list of goals you won't remember three weeks from now anyway.  Choose just one word.  One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.  One word that you can focus on every day, all year long."

My one word last year was "Releasing" and Oh My, how it fit!  In good (easy/positive) and bad (hard/negative) ways, "Releasing" took place all over 2012!  So, as the new year approached, I was excited for a new Word!  I was thinking of something poetic and pretty... something nearly tangible that I could quite possibly plan some things around!  So when the word popped into my head and heart, to be honest, I didn't want it.  Oh - I KNEW it was mine... I knew it was true, but I was (am, still) a little hesitant to embrace it full on!

My OneWord for 2013:  "Surprise!"

Oh sweet Lord, have Mercy!  Don't forget to shower me in Grace and pour Mercy out freely!

"Surprise?"  Really?  Now we Both know this will require me to embrace change, to take risks, to live a more (gasp!) unplanned, adventurous life!  All things I have been talking about and blogging about and teaching on... so - well - it should be no surprise!  Just the word alone stirs up excitement and joy, anticipation and trepidation!  It causes my heart to beat faster... my breath to catch sharp.

Buckle up... Here we go!  I pray 2013 is full of great surprises,
and faith filled (to overflowing) patience
for you when you need it most!
Happy New Year!

(To read about the prophetic phrase/book in the Bible the Lord gave me this morning, click HERE.)

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