March 31, 2013

Let the Countdown Begin... (in)RL

Oh yes... this is happening!

Yep - it's true! That is a little (in)RL #SwagLove for my Meet-Up at the end of the month!
(OK - I'll be honest - I have already claimed the T-shirt... but everything else is up for grabs!)

So what IS (in)RL, you ask?  Well - I am super excited to be hosting one of the meet-up's so if you are by chance anything CLOSE to 'local' (Yakima, WA area) - please let me know! I would love to have you come hang out with us!  Here is what the website itself has to say about (in)RL:

(in)RL was born out of two years spent listening to women in the comments hre at (in)courage craving local, real life community.  Derived from the social media acronym "IRL" or "in real life," (in)RL is an invitation to share what we've learned about community and encourage women with stories and suggestions for connection deeper in real life. 
Last year nearly 2,000 women from 24 countries participated.
Think of is as a girl's weekend away that doesn't require packing or plane tickets, where women can kick off any expectation of perfect, set aside their fears, their shyness, their worry that they're not good enough, and find some of Jesus' words of rest woven into every video shared here. 
The (in)RL webcast kicks off on Friday, April 26 and (in)RL meetups follow on Saturday, April 27.

For more information - click HERE and be sure to Register.  It is free and you can find a meet up close to you - wherever you are! And if you don't see one close by - consider hosting one yourself! (That's what I am doing... and I don't know if it will be standing room only - or me and one or two others - but whoever comes - I am so excited to meet in real life and create community and talk real together!)

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

March 30, 2013

Have a BLESSED Easter!

We made it and we are here in Redding, CA and celebrating Easter at Bethel! 

One of my God-Sized Dreams comin' true!

It won't be our 'normal' Easter Sunday - but we have HIGH expectations of encountering the Lord here... I will blog about it soon, my friends... but not right now!

So I leave you with this - from one of my favorite Psalms - to help remind you  just what Easter has done!

"God is sheer mercy and grace;
  not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
  nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
  nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
  so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
  he has separated us from our sins."  
                                      (Psalm 103:8-12 The Message Bible)

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

March 29, 2013

Be the Song... Walk in Tune...

"...and what does it mean,"
I asked, "to follow your heart?"
She laughed and beat on her drum.
"So you want my secret recipe?" she said.
I said yes.
"To follow your heart
is as simple as closing your eyes
and listening to the rhythm of your soul song.
Once you find the beat,
you will always walk in tune...." 
                                                                             ~ (#197) Monique Duval

Ah - yes... to listen to the rhythm of your soul song and walk in tune! THIS is the secret recipe to living a life wholeheartedly... to live in the present, fully present... to be authentic and learn to grow into your own skin!

Some say it happens around 40... for us women; for us who tend to be people-pleasers and want everyone to adore us... (or was that just me?)  I remember witnessing the shift with my sister, at 40... it gave me hope!  Something just sort of snapped within her - in the best possible way!  She said something shifted and she didn't seem to care as much about what other people thought of her, and she said she was just not gonna take anyone's crap anymore... well then!

I have a wonderful freeing truth for you... you don't have to wait!

I decided soon after her transformation that I was going to follow suit!  40 (back then!) was still a few years off, but I wanted my only stronghold to be Jesus!  Why wait another handful of years to live free and be happy? Why not just stand up tall in who I am right now - and glory in the gifts He's given that can point back to Him and acknowledge my own shortcomings and say, "Yeah - I'm human... I mess up - but isn't He just amazing?"

I decided I wasn't going to wait for 40... that was the best decision I ever made!

I beg of you... don't you wait either!  Don't wait... don't wait for another day to lean in to your dreams... to step into your true self and be who you were created to be!  Too many shy away from Brave... too many try to Blend In, or worse yet, Cut Down in order to Feel Tall... too many among us are All Grown Up and yet still So Small and Unsure of what our Soul Song even sounds like!

Follow your heart... Reach for your Dreams... Blaze a new trail and leave a path for others to follow your lead.  Live loud... Share Deep... Be Bold and Humble at the same time... Offer Hope... Be Love... for there are watchers out there... trapped in observing and unable to really live.  So let's show them what Freedom really looks like!

Can I share my own secret with you?  You most likely won't hear the melody of your soul song until you lean in and start to sing out loud... take a risk.  Share who you really are - not someday.. not who you HOPE to be... but who you really are - today... on this day.

Hold successes and failures in both hands out in front of you... share what you have learned from both of them... for when we are open and honest, first with ourselves and then with others - our soul song rises up and others can join in with their song and we create a Symphony of Lives Lived Well.

We were made for connection... for community... and when we live Open - we offer Hope to others who are right in the middle of their own messy Real... The chorus shouts, "We're in this together! We are not alone!"

Join me, won't you?  Sing at the top of your lungs... head back, hands raised, living out who He created you to be...

Be the song... Walk in Tune...

Can I give you just a little advice?  Choose this radical life of soaring with Him... of living loud and real and taking risks... choose it every day!  Some days it will still feel scary and maybe even too risky... but the more we lean in - the higher we fly; the more we stay open - the easier the choice becomes...and soon... well soon it isn't a choice, but a lifestyle!

Let's live side by side... singing our songs... living a naturally supernatural life, bringing praises to our King!
Who's with me?

Speak Life.  Be Love.  Shine On.

Five Minute Friday - BROKEN

So - even after a serious burn and with suitcases empty, still needing to be filled - I managed to type away one handed and (mostly) keep up with the party that is #FMFParty on Twitter! I treated my hand and logged off early so I could rest and come back here this morning - get the prompt and see if I can use TWO hands to write out this post! I have to say... I literally poured boiling water into the palm of my hand (not on purpose, mind you!) - immediately I had blisters forming and my hand was bright red... the pain was crazy high in the scale of 1-10... however, this morning I woke up and other than the skin being just a little tingly... I have no scarring, no burns, no blisters... not even a hint that anything traumatic happened to it last night!  Praise God... on this day - THIS day in particular... I see how He willingly traded His hand in place of mine!

Back to FMF...

First - the fine print if you don't know what FMF is!  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 - BROKEN...


Broken... and on Good Friday, no less...

How can my mind keep from racing; my heart from frantically running for cover - the precious cover of the Blood being poured out at the foot of the Cross. To clamor and squeeze in close, finding my place under the flow... 

I know, right?

We are not comfortable with the imagery... we, in our Western Culture and proper (yet oh so improper) ways... we want to 'clean up' Good Friday - just a little... make it a bit more marketable.  We only like the blood and violence in our movies and when they are feeding fear... but not so much when the Blood is His... when He freely gives it... when He is sweetly broken... for you, and for me.  No, His Blood redeems and covers... it feeds Freedom not Fear... it produces fulfilled Promises not enduring Pain... But we'd rather clean it up - make it less messy... less torturous... less - well... just less. But let's not do that! Not today... not any day!

I think we try to do this because God willingly being BROKEN and spilled out... how can we even really fathom it? God... who could have chosen any other way - chose this way... chose this Cross... He chose to do it in exchange for this heart - and for yours too! 

We love the verse that says that 'but for the joy set before Him, He endured the Cross' 
but let's not forget His cry, "why oh why have You forsaken me?"   Those are two very different emotions... and yet both are bathed in redeeming Blood.  Our Jesus - was fully man... feeling all our emotions and pain... the weight of our sin and shame... our brokenness became HIS brokenness.

The Good News is Good Friday is not the end of the story... He was Broken... yes.. because we were Broken. Thank God He didn't leave us that way!

Oh no... 

Thanks to Jesus... and the Cross... we are made New.

Thanks to Good Friday... and promises fulfilled...
Easter is coming!

Thanks to God the Father and Grace like rain... 
   ...thanks to a Love that never Fails...
     " is won.  It is done."


                             All Sons & Daughters (Buried in the Grave)

Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

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 "BROKEN":
Five Minute Friday

March 28, 2013

Shades of Yellow!

"You ask me how things work.
I think of endless cycles,
the hum and spin of everything.
So I tell you this:
hold the pale green stalk up high.
And then run hard so the wind will
catch the wings of the dandelion seeds.
Let them fall like sparks, like stars,
back to the earth.
I can tell you are not satisfied.
But really. That's all there is to it:
The persistence of yellow." 
                                                                             ~ (#204) Monique Duval

"Once your dreams get so big,
they need houses, yellow rooms, empty vases."
                                                           ~ (#301) Monique Duval

So I am a seeker of Yellow and I am finding it everywhere!  I will be a bit quieter next week as it is Spring Break and we will be crazy busy with travels and sleeping-in mornings and sight seeing and family coming home... I will have the Joy of being at Bethel for Easter... where I left a piece of my heart years ago.  I will also have Joy in meeting up with two sweet amazing friends on our way home - two sisters... fellow bloggers... meeting up 'in Real Life' and I can. not. wait!

So forgive the silence... the crickets song... but I encourage you to lean in to Spring - and search out the Persistence of Yellow for yourself!  Fling seeds of joy and love and dreams everywhere you go... For real... set out to speak life, be love, and let Him shine brightly through you!

I will attempt to pop in from time to time next week... but we will catch up over a cup of something yummy for SURE when I get back!  I DO have plans to join in tonight for the #FMFParty over on Twitter... so here's hoping I will have a Five Minute Friday to post in the morning... and then it is packing Yellow and Crazy Joy and High Expectations (and yes - some Nutella To Go and coffee... oh LORD, let's not forget the coffee!) and hitting the road!

What about you?  Do you have any plans for Spring Break this year?  Are you game for looking for Yellow?  Tell me where you've found it! I'd love to know!


March 27, 2013

Real Love - Rising up, Spilling out

It is Resurrection time... but I tend to get ahead of myself here... this week is known as Holy Week and Good Friday is fast approaching, with Easter (Resurrection) Sunday on the horizon.

I have to say, having not been raised in the church, I had no idea what Easter was all about when I fell in love with the One who died for me. I was all of 21 and thought for the whole of my life that Easter was just for the Religious. I wasn't sure what that meant, but I knew that it didn't mean me. (There was a season where that could no longer be said of me... but praise God - I can boldly claim that once again!) 

Easter - for this girl, was all about Hallmark and Cadbury, jelly beans and dying eggs, having Ham and coloring pages for grocery store coloring contests, and eventually consuming lots and LOTS of egg salad sandwiches.  Oh sure - I knew it had something to do with Jesus... or lambs or A lamb... with new dresses, bunnies, and somehow sitting through church. But - I didn't get it. Luckily - having the basket of candy helped to ease my pain.

So this Holy Week, I try to find myself walking through the Bible with Jesus... I reread the Gospels... I remember the Passion of the Christ... I count gifts... oh so many gifts... I bend low, and I climb up higher.  I find with each year, that He captures my heart and refreshes my spirit... He reminds me of our call.

Whatever it is that we are destined for - we are to be doing it all while we are being love.

The first commandment, Jesus said Himself, was that the Lord our God is one Lord and that we were to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second was like it - to love our neighbor as ourselves.

He also told us that if the world were to know that we are His - they'd know it by observing and seeing our love for each other; they'd know we were Christians by our love.  It's helpful to note that the kind of Love Jesus was referring to in John 13:35 was Agape love.  God is Love - and this Agape love... this is HIS, not ours... This kind of love is sacrificial... it's a choice - not based on emotion... but on commitment.  It's a decision we can make to allow Him to flow through us to be love to those around us!

So - I know my personal mantra this year (Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.) can sound whispy and girlie and romantic... but it is a choice and it is not always easy!  It takes purpose and grace and focus...

So when I say "Be Love" - I am not talking about a mamby-pamby, I'll-try-my-best-to-stir-up-my-own-failing-selfish-faltering-love kind of Love. Oh no... that falls down face first in seconds flat.  That kind of love just won't do!

I am talking about Christ in you - the hope of Glory... I am talking about a Love you can't control or contain... a Love who shouts YES when all you hear is no... a Love that sees no shame, when all you feel is guilt... a Love that covers... forgives... stands in our place... pays our ransom and calls us His Beloved.  I am talking about a Love that silences all your reasons and excuses of why you really shouldn't love or how you just don't want to love and reminds you that Love came in and swooped you up and showered you in Grace... and before that - you were just like 'them' (whoever 'they' may be!)  Hint: often - 'they' are us!

Because, listen sweet one... on our own... in our own best efforts and with our own conditional love - we just can't Be Love... not the way we are called to be!  But when we bend low and fill up fresh... when we remember that we have found a love greater than life itself... well - when we do that - it's not so hard... it's not so impossible... it's less about us, and it gets to be all about Him!

And more than the bunnies and the candy and even the chocolate... Easter - more than anything else - should be all about Him! Don't you agree?

Have a Blessed Easter, my friends!

Speak Life.  BE LOVE. Shine On.

"I Found a Love" by Jenn Johnson... turn it loud... sit back... and fill up!

March 26, 2013

I want to Forget, too!

"On Tuesday, she woke up and realized she had forgotten
the definition of the word 'Impossible.'
She decided it must not have been important." 
                                                           ~ (#230) Monique Duval

"I met my dreams in a dream last night.
They were whining about the view, the humidity,
the reckless rooms inside my heart.
"We need room for flight," they cried.
So I'm deconstructing my tiny house today.
I'm giving my dreams the starlight as their steeple,
the uncluttered winds for their kites." 
                                                           ~ (#300) Monique Duval

So, Holley Gerth asked us last week what a typical day in our life looks like, and I realized that my days look a lot different now than they did even a few short months ago!

God is so smart in His transitioning!

My answer a few months ago would have mostly included chauffeuring our daughter around - to and from school... sometimes to and from her job... and it also would have included running more errands somehow and leaving the house to workout on a consistent basis with a friend.

However, my workout partner has been sick and we got out of the habit and ever since our daughter bought her first car a month ago, well - for the first time in 14 years, I don't HAVE to get up and brave the cold March mornings... or face - well - anyone - before the coffee is done brewing.  

My mornings are quieter, slower... and even though I love the warmth of my cozy bed, I DO admit to missing those hectic crazed mornings running out the door, beating the clock and her own dread of Morning and tardies... having conversations in the car during our short commute to school to start off our days.  

However, in missing those hurried car rides, I have invited in the unrushed.  Sure - I had conversations with the Lord before, but now they can last longer... go deeper... linger and seep into the rest of my day easier!  

Now my days look a little more peaceful, but also a little more  lonely  on my own!  I find I am battling thoughts of not DOING enough, although I know full well that in this season, He is calling me to BE... 

My typical day now still revolves around somewhat bossy lists, and Bible study groups and Coffee dates, as well as those less 'fun' things like grocery shopping and laundry, but I have learned in this season of transition - this season of Being, that I also pencil in hours for writing.  I know - it sounds so luxurious... an empty house, and hours actually set aside for writing, for art, for spending time with Him. 

It sounds dreamy and like Heaven and so Romantic... and some days it is! It is all of that on some days... but on others? On other days it is still hard and it's work and I get distracted.  All this 'free time' and I still find that if I don't manage it well, it will slip away from me.

My daughter drives herself everywhere now... she works, which has given us a glimpse into what lies ahead... not many dinners around the table all together anymore.  Not unless we wait until 8pm to eat, which honestly - some nights we do - just so we can sit and be together over a meal

But when my day to day life can seem small... boring even... like I am not accomplishing much at all... I must make the choice anew to forget, as Monique wrote, what the definition of Impossible is.  I am doing with each day what He has called me to in this season.  I am not asked to look around and compare... (in fact, we are warned against that!)  In this season, on this day... my days are ruled by Him and while I do need to pay closer attention to the hours that slip away (and maybe have less Tabs open at once!), I simply let Him lead.  

I am a Mary at heart, and so spending time at His feet or on His lap stirs me up and pulls me close... part of my God-Sized Dream is to create community and while I do that live and in person in my home on Tuesdays and in real life, in groups and one on one, through out the week, I also feel a call to do that here - in this space, online, and in other arenas on the web.

My call, my Dream, is to live out my mantra in real and in tangible ways... my hearts' desire is honestly - with His help (because without it, it truly IS impossible) - to:

Speak Life. (We hear enough death all around us and coming from our own negative thoughts within us);

Be Love. (I want to allow His Love to so saturate me, it spills out and pours onto you!);

Shine On. (We are called to so let His Light shine that they will see and know that there is something different about us... that wherever we go - darkness has to flee!)

No matter what my day looks like... my night, for a few more months anyway, wraps up with thanks, and lean-in hugs, and bedtime kisses on the cheek... no longer physically tucking her in - but tucking her in still the same!

And I am blessed to curl up close next to this gift of a man, who dreams alongside me... who tells me how God is at work and how I can do it - how I AM doing it... whether or not it appears on the outside as if I did anything that day!  

We love real and we honor true; we share life and whisper out prayers of hope... prayers of faith... we give thanks...

...and we always kiss goodnight.

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

March 25, 2013

The Happy/Sad of Reaching 1000 Gifts!

"Most of my life," she says,
"I've been in search of IT
And I thought IT came inside a big box
with a bow on top,
carefully marked and labeled and numbered.
I brushed away all the
'incidental' discoveries like cobwebs.
But now everything counts.
Now I search for traces of miracles...
and I find them everywhere."
                                            ~ Monique Duval (#172)

I pulled out a little book called "The Persistence of Yellow" the other day and fell in love with Monique Duval all over again!  

So - last week... I did it.  It took me from October through most of March and I can't quite explain how I felt at the writing down of #1000!

Happy; accomplished - yes.
Sad... because it's over - yes.

Wait... no.
No - it's not over!  I am never done counting...

So we start over again at #1!

Where are you on your counting of one thousand gifts today?  What are among the blessings you have took notice of, and grabbed hold of lately?  I'd love to hear...

Linking up this morning with Ann Voskamp and "multitudes on mondays" over at a holy experience.

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

March 23, 2013

Aaaah - Saturday! How I love thee

Oh Saturday... how you woo me!

It is Spring (and it almost feels like it!) and for some insane crazy reason, (for the love of God... do not tell anyone this...) we have No. Plans. (I mean... nothing. Nothing on the calendar... nothing on little Post It Notes... nothing that needs to get done!)

Sure - there are things we maybe SHOULD do... but... who can know if we will get to those things... after all... this is waiting for me:

I know, right?  Are you not just in love with that little Grateful mug? Gorgeous!   The new Spring issue of FOLK, some Bible reading, Journaling, California trip planning, and coffee... lots and lots of coffee... in this precious new fav!  

I actually bought three - because I couldn't choose... 

These are part of the Ever Grateful collection from Dayspring... 
each cup has a little inscription on the inside rim... 

Super cute, right?  And no - I am not an affiliate... but I like to share the love!  You can order these little beauties here!  They came in a flirty big box filled with fun!  I will post about THAT on another day! (Soon... just a box with a little Swag Love purchased for the upcoming in(RL) conference!)

So - what are YOU up to on this fine Spring Saturday morning?
Do you get to lounge a bit - or do you have Bossy lists of things to do?

Whatever you do, I pray you have a happy Saturday!
Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.


March 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday - REMEMBER

Even with the early prompt - I was beat last night!  I decided to wait for morning... and coffee, (and maybe a little Pride & Prejudice) before I sat down to write.

I finally made it back to the FMFParty for a bit last night - I hate to miss this gathering... this flash mob of Awesomeness... Man, how I thank GOD for you girls! Seriously... each one of you... so thankful for you!

{First - the fine print if you don't know what FMF is!  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 - REMEMBER ...


Aaah Remember... yes - I am in a Remembering Season...
the coming to an end of an age...

I am reflecting, remembering, reliving...
letting go, and holding on!

My girlie - my heart beating on the outside -
bruised and broken, healing afresh...
graduating high school in a few short months!

She is my pride and joy - the best thing I have ever done... 
when she stands tall - and when she stumbles...
when she sings loud - and when she is but a faint whisper
... always - she is my heart beating
    ...pounding... living out loud! 

No matter how many years I am given on this earth,
my hearts desire is that I will live a life of example.

I pray that through me
she has seen Grace and Mercy,
Forgiveness and Real...
that she has felt Loved and Cherished;
Safe and Covered...

I pray that she will remember that
in the face of danger or the unknown,
    she should stand still... pray loud...
        and watch the Lord come through for her.

...that in the midst of a storm...
    that she will bend low... hang on...
        and feel His arms around her.

...that in the long cold dry seasons...
    she will search Him out... be honest...
        take a risky chance and keep her heart wide open.

...and that in the growing-so-fast seasons...
    she will point to Him... let Joy flow... and give Him glory.

I pray that she will remember that on good days
    and on not-so-good days
        - to count gifts... one by one (by one by one...)
            - that she will maintain a spirit of thankfulness
                and all her days will be better for it.


I had too many thoughts running through my head today... to many 'rememories' as she used to say!

I wanted to edit and rewrite... but here it is - as it's supposed to be.

My neighbor this week buried her son.  It's just not right.  I pray for grace and mercy and healing... my Mama's heart beats strong for hers... and I cannot imagine... and I cannot let myself go there.  He was 33, Jesus... this son of hers... born with sickness and yet everyday there was hope.  33... Jesus... and it's almost Easter.

I don't know her as well as I should... I intend to fix that. Her very name means Hope... and that is what I am praying for her today as I know she too is Remembering...

Remember the good... let go of the bad... look to the hills from where your help comes from! (Ps 121)

Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

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 "Remember":
Five Minute Friday

"I will lift my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come"
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,m
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever."
                                              (Ps 121 NASB)

Yes - remember this!

March 21, 2013

Leaning in to Live your Dreams

"Once your dreams get so big,
they need houses, yellow rooms, empty vases." 
                                                           ~ (#301) Monique Duval

Holley Gerth has a book out, entitled "You're Made for a God-Sized Dream"... you can get it here!  In full disclosure, I have not yet read it... I have plans... Oh - I have plans!  But I have stacks and stacks of books and little to no time to read what I already have lined up - and yet, I am pulled to this idea of Dreaming again! I find myself Leaning In!

I encourage you to get this book... I really do plan on buying it myself and digging in!  In the meantime, I have been following her posts on her blog about this and joining in with the community of God-Sized Dreamers and I don't know about you - but I am ready for my Dreams to awaken again and for them to get so big that they need houses, yellow rooms, and empty vases - (preferably all at the beach!)

My life, while it IS charmed, is nearing a(nother) new season.  We are fast approaching the Empty Nester season. For nearly half of my life I have poured into this one... this precious incredible beautiful creature that has literally and figuratively stretched me... pushed and pulled me... broke me and held me... She became my dream... my focus... my most important ministry.  That has not changed, but it is shifting and I can feel stirrings of Dreams beginning to reemerge!

                                                                                            (Original Art by Karrilee)

"And what does it feel like?" we asked.
"Well," she said, leaning over to us like a secret,
"it feels like a gust of wind blowing inside your heart.
 It feels like bright yellow paint." 
                                                                             ~ (#81) Monique Duval

Can you feel it?

I pulled out this treasure of a little poetry book when I got out my decorations for Spring... you will be finding  several quotes in my posts next week from Monique Duval's book "The Persistence of Yellow" and I hope that her creative words will reawaken dreams and joy and hope within you, as they are doing for me!

I invite you to dream with me... no matter what your season - let me say that again... hear me... hear HIM through me... 

no matter WHAT your season... He has some God-Sized Dreams that He is wanting to blow through your heart and invite you to live out!  

Lean in... Dare to Dream...

What are your Dreams... how can I pray with you to Lean In?

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

March 20, 2013

Lean In to Easter!

Happy First Day of Spring!

There is something romantic about Spring.   After a long, cold Winter, seeing new life push up through the hard dry ground whispers Hope to this weary heart of mine.  Our lives revolve in seasons, and the older we get the more we learn to embrace them; to lean in to them.  We come to realize that no matter what the season – good and glorious, or difficult and despised, ‘this too shall pass’ is written all over us.

So as I take a morning stroll and drink in the greenery – persistent and determined to breakthrough and find the sun… how can I not let my mind wander to Easter and all things new?

I am writing over at Creative Threadz today about Easter and what my prayer for you is in this season! To read more, click HERE...

What is your favorite part of the Easter story? I'd love to know!
Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

March 19, 2013

Finding Joy...

(Surprise!!! It's been here all along!)

I am joining in with Holley Gerth and her God-Sized Dreamers today and we're talking about what brings us Joy in relation to our crazy brave Dreams!

It really doesn't matter what your dream is - how big or how small... whether it requires you to stand up front and draw attention, or bend down low and blend in... (it will probably require a little of both!)  When you know that you know that it is part of what you were created for... it can feel overwhelming and so far out of reach!

We know... Oh WE KNOW that inner soundtrack of all the reasons why it won't work out. Why we shouldn't try, shouldn't hope, shouldn't dream.

But we are choosing to tune our ears instead to the Voice of the One who woos us... the One who courts us and pursues us... who equips and enables us.  We are learning to lean in and listen to the One who sees in us more than we even dare to hope for for ourselves.  He is the One who planted these God-Sized Dreams in us in the first place and the words He speaks over us are full of Light, and Love, and encouragement!
So I am stepping into the pieces of me that make up who He sees me to be and one of the most powerful Aha  Moments in pursuing my Dream came when I decided (yes - DECIDED)... You see, I had made the CHOICE to step out into a new open door, without Fear.  I kicked him to the curb and refused to let him come with me!  

Part of this revelation of Choice started to unfold throughout this past year... when I oh-so-slowly savored the words of Ann with no 'e' and joined her in counting gifts.  No surprise, eucharisteos started coming at us hard and as they say, when it rains, it pours!  However, as a family, we were learning to count on - on good days and on bad days... for in every day, He is here.  

Did you catch that?

He is HERE... right here... right now.  For me and for you.  He is the best gift ever given and with the dawn of each new day - He is here... giving of Himself again and again... how can one not find Joy in that?

Remembering that He is here - this is HUGE! ...and having the honor to share about how this is true and this is Truth and how if He is here for me... speaking... sharing... romancing... then surely He is here for YOU caused me to step back in the moment and truly watch a part of my God-Sized Dream to unfold.  It helped me to feel Joy.  I was invited to teach a workshop at a women's retreat on prophetic art - which (not so ironically) incorporates all the pieces of my God-Sized Dream... (writing, art, community, speaking)
I wrote about that experience in a previous post - but you get the gist of it here:
 To begin the classes and see the ladies faces - knowing that they were nervous, a little unsure and scared... not knowing what to expect... I loved being able to tell them that by the end of the class, they would be surprised and would have had fun!  They laughed as if it were a joke... but it was true!  Watching them grasp that it's not really about skill or artistic talent... watching them pray and hear from God, then take a risk and draw or color or... you get the idea!  All of that was priceless, but the best part was watching them trade art and share what God had showed them... it was like watching them each get a hug from God. Such love... such encouragement.   There was joy... laughter and tears and hugs;  I-can't-believe-He-sees-that-in-me!'s and I've-Never-Told-ANYONE-that's!  There was Awe and wonder and magic and Glory lingering around that room!  As I watched the classes wind down, and art being treasured not so much because of the beauty of the work but because of the heart of the message, I thought - this is it! This is the beginning of the unfolding of my God-Sized Dream. 
(How do you Wrap Up what is still Unfolding?) 
The beauty of this moment is in the realizing that I can choose Joy.  It's in remembering that - always - it's all about Him... and not about me!  I can choose to step back in any moment and count gifts... see His hand and heart at work both in me and through me.  I find Joy in the gathering of my prayer group, in joining hands and hearts and lifting needs... I find Joy in the circling of the dinner table, in talking of the mundane and laughing at nothing really... I find Joy in cozy conversations that run deep and go long over a cup or glass with a friend - new or old... quenching thirsts of many forms.

The real revelation is that I am living this God-Sized Dream not just when I am a guest, out of town - but most often, it's when I am wearing slippers in my own home.  It's doing laundry, or painting a picture, or standing side by side, doing dishes. It's in bedtime prayers, and morning goodbyes, and it's tapping words on this keyboard.  My call is to invest in relationships and inspire intimacy with God and if that doesn't need to start at home, I don't know what does!

My God-Sized Dream is coming true every time I choose Joy and remember that this dream comes true in the unfolding... not so much in the completion!  It's the old 'Joy in the Journey' and if we could but grasp the weight of that truth - we'd remember to choose Joy every day!

My Dream is to share His Abiding Love and His Abounding Grace. It involves Creating Community and Sharing Real and Living Honest... whether my stories are written down, spoken over coffee, or in front of a podium, my dream is to connect my heart with yours and see you grasp on a deeper level the real intimacy - the passionate pursuing Love that He has for you - YES, YOU!

And when you catch a glimpse of just how crazy romantic He is about you... when I see you feel Him wrap His arms of Love around you... when I see you begin to hope that it is true... there is Joy and my heart bursts...

So where do YOU find Joy? What makes your heart burst it's banks?
How can I be praying for you and your God-Sized Dream today?

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

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