May 31, 2013

Imagine... {Five Minute Friday}

I missed out once again last night - not making it back home in time to join the #FMFParty on Twitter. That makes two weeks in a row... and sadly will most likely mean three weeks in a row because next week... -well, next week is full of All Things Graduation and that means that we will have an Awards night and a friends' graduation on Wednesday, Baccalaureate and another friends' graduation to juggle next Thursday, my Girlies' graduaton on Friday, and an Open House Party for her on Saturday. Yeah - so the chances of me being at the Twitter Party next week is pretty much zero - but I hate to just come right out and say it! I miss the Community... the support and encouragement... the prayers and the laughter! But this... well - this is why I missed out last night:

(Dreamy, right? The lighting was magical!)

So - 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 - IMAGINE...


With all this Graduation talk, I have found myself remembering the past, and imagining the future... envisioning a life without high school drama and early mornings running out the door... I'm thinking of dinners and breakfasts and movie nights for two, instead of three.  Don't get me wrong - as much as I love my Girlie and am not looking forward to her packing up her closet for the first time ever, and the quiet that will inevitably fall on our home - I AM looking forward to this next season.

I know it will still - it will ALWAYS still include her... but there will come a day - whether it hits me this summer, or in the Fall, or in two years - there will come a day when my Girlie falls asleep in her bed at another address.  But with the passing of one season - comes the unfolding of the new!

I am beginning to imagine a future... a bit more romance, and a little less busy... maybe more traveling and weekend getaways and probably less milk and Nutella in the kitchen! (ya see what I did there?)... I am beginning to imagine a future that is getting less uncertain, less intimidating, and more full of promise!

After all - I think I have read somewhere before that all of His Promises are Yes and Amen and I can imagine that after the busyness of next week - with all the reflecting back and pointing towards the future - I will be ready to lean in to some of the new; I will be ready for some of the Yeses and Amens!


What about you?  What are you leaning in to? What are you imagining as of late? I'd love to pray with you and come in agreement for some Yeses and Amens for you as well!

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 "Imagine"

Five Minute Friday

May 29, 2013

From One Mama to another... on What I've Learned So Far...

In which I write about what I know now... from one Mom to another - just in case it may help. So let's sit back and chat over a cup of something yummy... let's Talk Real, Live Honest, and Offer Hope...

Let me start by assuring you that what I actually DO know now is still not much... I am no expert! But what I've learned over the past 18 years, well - most of it I had to learn more than once!

So, first off - the lie that you have blown it... well - it's just that - a lie! Trust me, for there have been more times than I could count when I was pushed down low with that one, but more often than not we get another chance to try... another chance to choose a different reaction or approach. We get – if not a Do Over – at least a Do It Again, and maybe next time- maybe next time, we'll have learned.

Next up: There is no way you could've known beforehand... no amount of studying could have prepared you enough to understand the shift in balance of your universe the first time your eyes locked on to this miracle of flesh and blood - of your very heart beating now, breathing now, on the outside of you. So relish in it... be amazed by it - by her or him... and then, turn your attention to the Father who so gets it!

He understands that feeling - that love... that I-would-do-anything-for-you emotion that rises up... He understands it, He meant it - and no matter what is wrapped or naked, cradled or cracked - He means it still.

Also, you know this: that there will come a day when you miss those Po Na Na's (you know... the little ponytails that stick straight up with toddler curls!) You will miss the chubby thighs and cheeks (that one day you will swear up and down and promise that neither thighs NOR cheeks are chubby... You will PROMISE!) You'll long for the days of innocence first trying on a lie... of the sneaking that is anything but sneaky... and of drama with friends when it involved playgrounds and recess more than facebook and snapchat!

What you may not know is this: You'll even miss the attempt at slamming doors, eyes rolling at epic proportions, & words escaping without thought - or worse yet - with a lot of thought, intended to cut. You'll miss the heart break (theirs and your own), the yelling, the garbage not picked up, and the piles of laundry – intermixing and co-mingling and the who-can-know-if-it's-clean's. Yes - even this, you will miss!

And let me tell you why:

Because all of it – the good and the 'bad' – all of it means you are living a life out loud. You're creating a family and that is messy and hard, sometimes – but easy and joy-filled at other times. Hopefully, you're pouring out the very heart that was broken and poured out for you... you're learning from your mistakes... and from theirs... and the one piece of advice I have to offer- the most important thing I have learned is this:

I have learned a secret... it's both terrifying and freeing at the same time and here it is:

There is no One Way... perfect, tried & true way to raise a child... and even if there was, there is no guarantee!

I know some of us (ahem) like the idea of following in the footsteps of other successful parenting stories, but you can do all the things right - and they can still choose a less-than-stellar path... or you can do all the things wrong, and they can choose the straight and narrow!

I used to look around me, trying to judge what went wrong or what others were doing right. It was a mildly hidden form of comparison, but I did it silently and under the guise of 'learning from others' mistakes' in order to map out a plan. But here's the deal - we get moments to sow, to speak, and to pray into them. We must take those moments, jumping in with all that we've got. But we're raising tiny humans and they'll one day choose their own maps, their own plans, and dream their own dreams!

The thing that you can always do... the one thing that will always hang on, always hold through, and always win out? It's His way: Consistently strive to pour out Love and offer up Grace, for them and for you!

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.


* I originally wrote this as a guest post, but I just couldn't leave it in my Drafts folder - unpublished, unread... and then I read THIS by the amazing Sarah Markley - in which she oh so beautifully expresses the same thought... 

Linking up today with Barbie over at The Weekend Brew:

May 26, 2013

Being Fully Invested...

"I  live in a small town.  The same small town I was born and raised in. I have been blessed with friendships over the years that have stood the test of time (and the tests of the enemy!).  Some have been but for a season and we either grew apart, parted ways, or simply got busy with new hobbies and new people.  However, it’s those forever friends that test you the most… that see you at your best and at your worst… and that often require the most Grace from you..."

I am honored to be writing over at Embracing Grace today on being fully invested in friendships!  Come over and let me know how you invest...

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

May 24, 2013

His View is Inspired and Romantic

So - yesterday, as I wrote out my Five Minute Friday post, this is part of what poured out at the end:
"As I reflect back over the past 18 years - smoothing over the rough spots, and joyfully reliving the highlights - I am reminded of the One who sees all and knows all and holds us all in close.  Nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard - and I reflect back and I see His hand so clearly through out all of the years... hedging in, building up, breaking through... and His View of us is always eternal... He is inside and outside of time and when He looks on us, He sees not just who we are now, but who we will be and who He created us to grow into."
Well - my five minutes were up and yet, I wanted to pursue this line of thinking; this remembering that His View is what matters most and how He sees us is the most accurate 'us' that we can grow into being!

I was just reading in Matthew the other day of Peter, and how he was bragging to the Lord that no matter what happened - he would never deny Jesus!  (Matt 26:30-35) Aaah Peter... how we love him! (How we so often are just like him!)  He - who was so zealous for the Lord - was stating what his heart hoped to be true... but Jesus sees inside and outside and He knew that while Peter wanted what he said to be true - the truth was that when pressures came - Peter would fall short, hunch down, and hide... Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him - and yet He still took him with Him to the garden to pray just minutes after He revealed this fact to Peter. 

I love how the Lord didn't allow Peters' shortcomings to limit the calling on his life.  He didn't look at Peter and his quick temper and 'shoot first, aim later' approach to life... instead, He called him the Rock and he gave him chances time and time again! I love how Jesus comes to Peter after he denied the Lord... after the death and resurrection, and He restores him three times... three times he asks Peter a question and three times he gives him direction.

I pray you caught that... Jesus is not caught up on your sins or your failures.  He's not surprised by them and he's not holding them against you - or holding good things from you because of poor choices.  He paid the price... He gave Himself... and when He looks on you, He sees His beloved... the one He is ridiculously in love with! His View of you is one of Beauty and Grace... one of a Completed work and a Spotless Bride, a Cherished Princess (or Prince) and the one who has stolen His heart!

I can guarantee you, when you look at Him...
you take His breath away...
When you sing His praises,
or let His name pass over your lips
- you bring a smile to His...
When you cry, 
when you want to pray in faith
- but it feels more like desperation - breaks His heart
and oh how His heart beats for you-
just for you!

He wants you to know...
His thoughts are higher than our thoughts - yes
... but we've now been given the mind of Christ!
He WANTS you to know...

He wants you to know that
He is crazy mad about you - not AT you!
He is romantic and graceful,
so forgiving and all southern charm.

His View of you has captured His heart
and you have become His desired one.

He's coming after you,

and you had Him at Hello!

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

I am linking up with Barbie over at My Freshly Brewed Life for The Weekend Brew:

The View from Here... Five Minute Friday

I hated to miss out on all the fun of #FMFParty last night... but between a sick girlie, still being limited to my laptop, battling a headache myself, and 'playing' with old pictures - well, my energy was zapped and my focus was a little scattered at best.  So rest won out... but know that you were all missed!

So - 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 - VIEW ...


In two weeks, my girlie will be walking down an aisle... marching ceremoniously, keeping time with music, and I can only imagine that a midst the pomp and circumstance and all the caps and gowns, my View will be a bit teary, eyes swelling with flashback memories and a good dose of thankfulness. But that is getting ahead of myself...

This week?  This week - this is my View:

Snapshots of a life unfolding... of a love growing...
snapshots of the best thing I have ever done getting taller...

My, how time just slips right on by
when you are not paying attention!

My, how I wish I could slow it down,
drink it in, and not blink!

There will come a day when she will once again walk down an aisle,
march side by side, and cause memories to come flooding back...
but here I am, getting ahead of myself!

As I reflect back over the past 18 years - smoothing over the rough spots, and joyfully reliving the highlights - I am reminded of the One who sees all and knows all and holds us all in close.  Nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard - and I reflect back and I see His hand so clearly through out all of the years... hedging in, building up, breaking through... and His View of us is always eternal... He is inside and outside of time and when He looks on us, He sees not just who we are now, but who we will be and who He created us to grow into.  

And as proud as I am of her...
she's not done yet!
And oh my heart,
how she shines...


Hmm - I really didn't want to write about my girlie - yet again - but as you can see, she just seeps in to everything I do!  (Finding the pictures definitely didn't fall in the 5 minutes... but oh how it was my favorite art!) Of course - this line of thinking of what HIS View of us is has stirred me up!  I think I will continue that  thought in another post for tomorrow! Look for it over at Barbie's at The Weekend Brew!

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 "View"
Five Minute Friday

May 23, 2013

From the Archives: Why I Write...

From the Archives, for #ThrowbackThursday... originally posted on 12/17/12

Why I Write...

My new friend Kimberly Coyle over at find time for tea has been blogging about writing and creativity this week and she got me to thinking... why is it that I write? Sometimes it feels like it is for Him... often times I'd like to think it is for you... and a lot of the time it feels like it is all for me! Honestly, I can't remember a time when I didn't write?  I am what you call a Journaler…

...from the age of locked diaries hidden beneath beds, all the way through the poetry phase and crumpled up stories littering the floor, to the moment I met Him… (& ‘him’ – meeting both Jesus & my earthly husband at the same time!)

I write because it's a call… it is part of who I am!  I journal everyday happenings, I write note cards to friends, send emails to family far away, I blog about hobbies and daily life and how He is so madly, madly in love with us.  All of it, with the hope that He spills through the ink, reaches through the screen, and that He will transform even a simple line into a breakthrough for the ones who will receive it!

It seems everywhere I go, the Lord is stirring up creativity and wanting each of us to know that we ARE creative!  We are created in His image… part of our identity is wrapped up in eyes that can glimpse beauty and hands that make Glory be seen. No matter if you consider yourself artsy, or crafty, or creative, or not - you ARE, because He is!   This year the Lord has reminded me again and again of the power of words; the creative power of words.  He has taught me to speak on purpose, with purpose!  He has called me to speak Life and speak Love and speak into those hurting and lost - to tell them what good that I see in them; what it is that God sees in them.  For He looks at us outside of time and see us EXACTLY how He created us to be!  And that is my Call – to write about Him… and who we are in Him, and part of what I love most about writing is spending time with Him… catching a vision, and painting it out with words.

My hearts’ desire & why I write is that He will move in it and through it not only to touch my heart, but to touch yours!  For my life message is wrapped up tight in those childhood diaries filled with dreams, that teenage poetic heart, and those young adult fresh eyes, seeing grace freely handed out some 20 years ago, for the first time! It’s also wrapped up in the now daily life of bossy lists and everyday realness of being a wife and a mom, a daughter, sister, friend... My life message is written down, so that it may encourage me on tough days, remind me when I forget, and be a testimony when I am gone!

I encourage you to journal your walk with Him, what He is speaking to your heart, and watch and see what He will pour out through your words!  Whether it turns into a book or not… or if you even mean for it to, it is YOUR story... a legacy to pass down to the generations that follow!

I stumbled upon an old treasure on a few years back while going through boxes of pictures with my mother:  a very old, crumbled, yellowed-with-age poem, handwritten by my Grandmother… it was her story…  it is my story… and THAT is why I write!

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

May 22, 2013

When there are no words...I invite you in

I want to write...

I want to have something to say...

But not just anything
- not just words
to fill your screen,
but I long for prose
that will allow
hope to fill your heart.

Me - who is rarely at a loss for words,
am finding myself in the quiet... in the still... waiting...

                                                                                         Blessed Memories 2013

I am sitting in corners, and praying silently for Oklahoma, for all of us... 
I am gathering with my tribe and talking about the best and the worst,
and where we found God in between...

                                                                                        Blessed Memories 2013

I am searching for words of wisdom,
and yet leaning in to embrace the Grace of God
that in times like these can seem elusive
and the mysteries of God that can seem unfair...

Oh my how in these moments, we just wish He would answer to us!
...that He would explain Himself and this mess of a world
and why if He could calm the wind and seas back then...
then why can't He do it now?
Through us?

And in the midst of my wondering and my whys - this... 
this is what He said:

"Never forget, My love, that I hear you when you pray! Never let your intercessor soul fall into a routine of saying words, but not expecting that I am gathering them up as they slip out of your heart and right past your lips! They make a difference... YOU make a difference... simply by turning your heavy heart towards me and lifting up heavy hands anyway."

Sometimes we praise on - anyway.
We do it because we know in our heads it is right
even when we feel in our hearts that it won't matter.

Sometimes we have to be like Jesus
and call things that are not as though they are...
and sit back... breathe in
even when we have no air
- and watch Him work! 

                                             Blessed Memories 2013

There is a goldmine... treasure untapped
when we remember that our God is in the details,
but He is also a Big Picture God.

He is inside and outside of time and He holds everything in His hand.
He uses all things together for good for those
who are called according to His purposes
but oh how these verses can hurt
when they are meant to heal.

Sometimes - we are just too zoomed in... too caught up in the details,
and we forget that He is so madly in love with us...
that His heart is for us more than anyone elses'!
He holds all the answers, even when He is
- for whatever reason - not really doling them out for us.

When we are broken - He was broken first...
When we feel at a loss and out of words
- He IS the Word,
and He assures us that
not one tear, not one sparrow
 not one beloved person - young or old -
is ever truly lost to Him!

So I invite you in...

In to the quiet today...
in to the gentle rocking back and forth,
- a mothers' silent anthem of comfort, to the leaning in, the praising on,
the unspoken accepting of the fact that sometimes
- sometimes - we just don't have all the answers,
but thank God, we know the One who does...

We know the One who can bring peace,
restore order, heal brokenness...
We know the One who holds our hearts
and gathers our tears,
and He can take all our
wondering and our why's...
He longs to be a Bench for you
in this season of unknowns.
He is willing to sit with you,
hold you close, rock you warm, & hear you out...

...and in return, He asks for you
to be a Bench to others.

                                                                                       Blessed Memories 2013
And so, I invite you in...
How can I be praying for you today?

Speak Life.  Be Love.  Shine On.

May 20, 2013

Counting On, Pressing In, & Requesting Prayer

"We must not reduce ministry to what we are capable of doing."                                                                                                       ~Bill Johnson

When I heard this spoken out loud, my spirit wanted to cry out in agreement and my flesh wanted it to take root down deep and bear fruit right away!  Oh how I am guilty of this... and not just 'ministry' but life at large.  We forget that we are in relationship with a God who is intimately, ridiculously in love with us and He is at work when we can see/feel/hear/know Him, and when we can't!

Last week was rough...

I thought I knew Hard Eucharisteos before... but then we got a bad report, a confirmation of something we had been praying against for awhile now and I was so unwilling to give thanks for it.


Sometimes the hits just take your breath away and sucker punch you right where it hurts the most... while gasping for air and blinking away the dizzying stars, we can tend to invite the enemy just right on in and we can reduce ministry, life, -God, to what WE are capable of doing (forgetting He is in this equation too!) and in the midst of bad news - the grey skies and thunder rolls scream at us that we can't do much. Not anything 'right' anyway.

And yet... we count on.

It may take awhile to count the cancer as a gift... (if ever, really) - but we can see His hand in other ways - Peace that is unreasonable in the face of illness and uncertainty; Love that draws us in close and reminds us how fragile we are... how this life is temporary when all the while, we are eternal... we see His hand in reminding us of the power of prayer... of 'keep on keeping on' and building our faith, of how we are not made to live alone - disconnected, but we are part of the Body of Christ and we so often need others to come alongside us and hold up our arms... and that means that we have to be willing to be real and to ask and to allow others to see that we need help, that we don't - in fact - 'got this'!

Sometimes that alone is scary... we can think it is safer to keep it all to ourselves and (sadly) sometimes it is... but we were made for community and it is easier to Count On when we are surrounded by others whom we are truly grateful for.

If we can't count the eucharisteo,
we can count the ones who are willing
to go through it with us!

With that said, my sister and her hubby took a risk... they got real and real transparent and they risked having to battle fear all the more by letting others in. But this - this - they couldn't (and didn't want to) face alone!  A very small handful of people, us included, have been praying against cancer for quite some time.  After doing natural treatments, and seeing some success... after several prayers and the laying on of hands, and seeing the lump shrink, it was concerning that the wound was still not healing.  So they came to the conclusion that it would be better to know for sure - all along the way - praying that the report would be good.

They have lived this out... this - another quote that I heard Bill Johnson say regarding how to have Breakthrough:

"In private, you cry out for more, and in public you take risk."
They have prayed and cried out in private - individually on their own, with each other, with us... and now they are 'in public' taking risk but clinging to the power of prayer and open to prayers of friends and family - and strangers who are family at large...

This is Jack... my brother-in-law and my brother in Christ... simply my brother whom I love...

He is my sisters' other half and they intertwine and mix as one flesh more than anyone else I know... he is an amazing husband, a loving father, a trusted friend... this man is an anointed worshiper and song writer whose gifting and voice has yet to be heard as it should be! He is a faithful worker, and a beloved son... a man of honor and a man of the Word... I could go on and on... but mostly, this is a man who is in love with Jesus and has faith in a healing God... in 'on earth as it is in heaven'... and we are asking for prayers for him and his family.

We believe that one day every name shall bow to the name of Jesus...even the 'name' of cancer. We are believing and praying for healing and wholeness and a long life ahead; that cancer will bow, and Jesus will lift Jack up - healed and whole and ready to continue the work of the Kingdom!

They go in today to meet with the doctors and schedule surgery... and now, more than ever, we count on...

Speak Life.  Be Love.  Shine On.

I am linking up with Ann Voskamp today and her Multitudes on Mondays as we count to #1000Gifts and beyond:

3 Gifts found in your mother:
#1209 - She is a Giver
#1210 - Sense of Humor/Quick Wit
#1211 - Commitment - when it's easy, and when it's hard!

3 Gifts found in His Word:
#1220 - His Promises are Yes and Amen!
#1221 - His mercies are new every morning!
#1222 - He heals all my diseases (Ps 103:3)

3 Gifts Unexpected:
#1226 - Jonah, sleeping in the new dog carrier on his own! 
#1227 - My girlie - WANTING to spend Friday night with us!
#1228 - Online friends - praying from afar

May 16, 2013

" Song" - Five Minute Friday!

After a rough week, while it may have seemed logical to curl up and turn to sleep for comfort (or Nutella - ya see what I did there?) - instead - I turned to the #FMFParty and - as always - it was the right choice!

So - 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 - SONG ...


Ah yes... this!  This is something that has been rolling around in my spirit for some time now!  The call to know the rhythm of your heart and to BE the Song.

To tune in, listen close, and sing out loud... live out loud - to Speak Life, to Be Love, and to Shine On!  

Sometimes it is risky
because we don't know the words...
but oh - if we but quiet our thoughts
& open our hearts,
we can hear Him singing our song...
we can hear Him calling us
to join in and sing!

And then... I read this post by Ann Voskamp, and about the African Tribe and how the pregnant women go out in to the wilderness and wait until they hear the song of the child... and they return to the village and teach the song to the rest of the tribe... 

And as we sat outside in my Tuesday group, we read Ann's words, and we wrote words on rocks, we crafted and we prayed and we asked God for NEW words, and we realized that this right here... this was our Tribe - in real life!

We have lived life together in this group... we have leaned in and fought hard, and cried buckets, and prayed strong. We have won, and lost, and lost our way... but not for long... because even when we didn't really have the language for it -
we had the drawing of the Spirit
to whisper in our hearts the words,
the lyrics, that were needed...
& we hugged tight & laughed loud
& we spoke the words soft
& sang some low...

...and we realized right then & there,
we didn't know that
we knew each others' songs
- but we know the Song Writer,
the Master lyricist, & when we ask,
well - He promises that
when we ask,
He hears us!


So lean in... listen for your Song... but not yours alone!  Ask Him to sing the song of others too... for I believe when we all sing out our songs together - what melody, what harmony there will be - 'on earth, as it is in Heaven!'

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 "SONG"
Five Minute Friday

May 15, 2013

When the Choice is Really Yours...

Every day.

Every day we are faced with choices... every day we make decisions, draw conclusions, and come into agreement with things or people or circumstances - almost unaware.

Some of our choices are formed by habit... choosing the same thing over and over lends to a routine that requires little choice at all. Your favorite outfit, your go to breakfast, the route you take to get to work, that morning coffee order...

Some of our choices are made on purpose... choosing a yogurt instead of the donuts, choosing to edit your thoughts before you speak your mind, being NICE when that is not what you feel like being, building up instead of tearing down...

Many of the choices we make, however, are made without thought. They can almost seem to be made for us... out of our control.

Friend, can I gently remind you that you hold the power of choice within you, no matter what you face each day... every day.

We've learned it real and lived it hard:
the lesson of the value that is immeasurable
when we count gifts and look for blessings...

...when we turn our attention to Him and give Him thanks; when we choose and determine to Speak Life, to Be Love, and to Shine On... every day. We've learned that this works... when it looks like it is working - and when it doesn't give any clue to whether or not He is at work at all.

Life can come down on you heavy, nearly suffocating the ability to fill your lungs, even just a little bit. You can round the bend only to be knocked off course fast... unsure of your footing and dizzy with confusion and pain.

Bent Over, but not Bent Low...
Panting for Air, but not Breathing In.

I am not saying to deny the truths of these things but to remember that even in the midst of challenges, possibly ESPECIALLY in the midst of challenges - we hold within us the power of choice. We are in Him and He is in us and we are One and we can choose to relish in that alone -count THAT! We can choose to silence the whisperings of the enemy shouting that we are in it all alone and that there is no hope. No - we can choose to not listen - to not entertain - to not give room for those thoughts to expand and take over!

Sometimes it has to be a choice on purpose to line up with what seems impossible, but we do it anyway - knowing that nothing is impossible when we are found in Him.

No - to Speak Life we must first

We must stop making room and giving over chunks of time in our thoughts for Death... we must count on - even when the blessings are hidden and not where we want to find them. We count on anyway... we CHOOSE.

I am a faith girl, and one who strongly believes in the power of words... of what we speak AND what we allow to roll around in the back of our minds.  There is the power of life and death in our tongues... life and death for ourselves, and for those around us!  So let's purpose to CHOOSE life... to CHOOSE life in how we see ourselves, and those around us - in how we see our circumstances and what we deem 'impossible' or a 'lost cause'... let's ask Him for His perspective and what His choice for us would be and then, let's line up with that!

I know. I know it sounds so much easier than it really is and here is the secret of consistency in choosing on purpose, with purpose:

Do it anyway.
Do it when it's hard...
do it when it feels like
you are the only one doing it...
do it when it feels like
it's not working...

and here's the other key... don't do it in secret!

Take a risk and share it... let someone else know what you are choosing and why! Create a little community right where you need it most! They don't need to make the same choice... they don't even have to agree with yours... but let them in... Make it a discussion and find company in the struggle, commonality in the fight.  You may be surprised who will come alongside you in support of you (if not your choice)... for we were not meant for battle alone. We were created for Community and when we try to fight the impossibilities on our own, we fall under the attack of the enemy who woos us into thinking we have no other choice.

When really... the choice is ours... every day.

It's amazing what one small choice towards life - and one small step away from thoughts of death, of darkness, of impossibilities - can shift within you. Even if nothing on the outside changes, a ray of Light and a glimpse of Hope moves around inside of you and you will find yourself choosing on purpose, with purpose, more consistently.

Why, you ask? It's simple. Because when we teach ourselves this choice... this discipline... we find joy!

...and who among us
couldn't use a little more peace,
a little more joy...
a little more Life
in our every days?

May 13, 2013

Counting on: Where I continue beyond 1000 Gifts & 18 years

Yesterday was Mother's Day (but really, isn't every day Mother's day?)

When we remember to Drink It In Slow, to Breathe Out Thanks, and to Count Gifts -to look for blessings, & stay grateful- throughout our days, every day holds within its' hours a Chance to Celebrate, and to Be Celebrated; an Opportunity to Honor, and to Be Honored; a Choice to Love, and to Be Love(d)!

In one full weekend, our Only turned from Baby Girl, to Nearly Grown Girlie, to All Growed Up!  18 and counting, and my how she can catch my breath and leave me slack-jawed and amazed!  Amazed by Grace; Undone by Love. 

How He shines through her - in the midst of good times, and in the darkest of hours. My how she shines, because - really - didn't Emily Freeman just say it best: "Her light comes from Jesus, not from her awesome behavior..."  So it makes little difference in what is going on outside - it's that He is going on inside and it just spills right out of her - His Joy... His grace... His Beauty!

Our All Growed Up (but not so much, really) Girlie got all gussied up and glammed out and went off Saturday night to make some memories at her Senior Prom.  After a hard year or two, and lots of (potential) Drama, she Braved Up and Leaned In and Refused to Miss Out!  She has some amazing friends, and they gathered together in celebration of all things High School and had an incredibly fun night!  

In the midst of her Prom, at the stroke of Midnight, she sent me a Mother's Day text.

Be. Still. My. Heart! ( #1204 and I count on...)

You see, this Motherhood thing is never finished!  We are never done. And whether life has been Birthed from Within Your Womb, or Built from Coming Out of Your Heart, it's what Spills Out from Between Your Lips that Creates a Bond... a Pouring Out and Filling Up and Loving Anyway;  A Grace Shower, Forgiveness Offering, & Holding On Tightly through it all...  

I have been blessed with an amazing Mom - but my mothering has not been limited to her alone!  Some of the best Mothers in my life didn't Birth me, but they did help to Birth Something IN me!

So as Mother's Day passes by, and the bouquets begin to wilt, the gifts are unwrapped (or counted and written down!), and the chocolate is nearly gone - let's not let the sense of Honor fade. 

Let's purpose to mother
and to be mothered
- for we ALL need it!

Let's risk the Breaking of our own Hearts in order to help Build Up someone elses!

Let's Count On... knowing that because we love Him, we are called to love each other!

Let's look for Open Doors, Hurting Hearts, and Lonely Eyes...

Reach Out, knowing that no matter the age of our children, "Mother" is not just what we are called, but it is who we are... it is what we do and it is not limited to the Littles we are raising!

I am counting on today - beyond one thousand gifts (I'm at #1210 today!), and beyond 18 years, because I know that my job is never done - no matter how old my baby is!  She had to work on Mother's Day, but I counted gifts all around me even with her not right in front of me... for I am blessed, and I count on...

For she, WE, all of us - need to be reminded...
(to) Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

I am linking up with the lovely Ann Voskamp today, with 'mulitudes on mondays'... Join us in counting gifts, and keeping an eye open for all the ways God blesses us, day in and day out!

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