September 30, 2013

31 Days of Encountering God

Can you even BELIEVE that it is October already?

Oh wait... it's not quite... but still - here we are kicking off the amazing Crazy that is the #31Days Challenge!  The Nester hosts this huge link up, inviting bloggers near and far to each pick ONE TOPIC of their choosing... and write about that one thing, - Every. Single. Day. - for 31 days (aka October).

Last year, I couldn't decide and in a lapse of sanity, I decided to do it on TWO BLOGS... you can browse through those HERE (Captured and Counted - a Photograph a Day) and HERE (31 Reasons to Fall for Autumn).

I am not as crazy this year... but rest assured, I am not as prepared as I had hoped to be either! I was hoping to have posts pre-written and scheduled to go live ahead of time so I could sort of coast through October.  Apparently, that is just not my style... so most of these will be written right before I hit publish!

This year I will be writing about Encountering God, both in ways that I have and that you can!  Only God can know what He will have me write here but my prayer is that He will show up in the midst of your reading and you will have more than a few Encounters of your own!  Some posts will be short and sweet and just invite Him right in with a prayer or a song... some will be more of a testimony of how I have enountered Him in the past... some may include a vision or a Scripture... but no matter what form they take, my prayer is that He is in each one!

So... check back... as the month unfolds,
I will add links for each Day below!

September 29, 2013

Things I Learned in September... A Link Up with Emily Freeman

So - once again... I did NOT remember to keep a running list of things I learned last month.

The issue with this fact is I am over 40 ya'll... so this really IS a problem!

I can't know if I retained any of the things I learned last month... or recall them at all... but - for you, the internet... I will rack my brain and refer to my Instagram profile... yeah... that'll do!  (What? You remember my Instagram addiction admission from last month? Whatever.  It came in handy tonight!)

Here we go... my random list:

Things that I learned in September:

1. I learned that sometimes - even if you are 43... you can still FEEL 23 - and that is what Taylor Swift is for!  That... and late Summer afternoons with the sun roof open and the stereo blasting... iced tea and no where to be... with or without the Nearly Grown Girlie sitting next to me!

2. Biscoff vs Nutella - for the #fmfparty crew:  So - I kept hearing all this debate about how Biscoff was (gasp) better than Nutella! I know... Shhh... this kind of thing needs to be whispered quietly so as not to shift the entire universe?  Now  - apparently this taste test doesn't fly because the Spread is way different (?) than the cookies... but in my book, #Nutella still wins... hands down! (I won't even tell you what kind of spinning out of control was happening when I dipped my Biscoff into my Nutella... but I WILL say it was not as magical as - say - the first time someone dipped their chocolate in someone's peanut butter... or was it someones peanut butter, dipped in chocolate? Either way... Nutella Wins!)

3. I (re)learned that there is not really anything much better than Fun Mail from internet friends who send sweet cards and hook a girl UP!  I have the BEST friends! My amazing friend Jennifer knows of my love for all things Pumpkin Spice and she mentioned on Twitter that she found these so I went out looking... here in the PNW we have Candy Corn White Chocolate M&Ms - but no Pumpkin Spice? WC/CandyCorn M&Ms are just not the same!  Well... she surprised me and not only sent a bag of YUM... (which - btw - I still have half the bag... a personal record I am quite proud of!) but she included a super encouraging card, as well! LOVE YOU JENN!

4. I learned that Bountiful Baskets is AMAZING... and come late Fall throughout Winter... I will be using this ALL the TIME! But for now... we are blessed abundantly with local produce that I can actually hand pick myself and not get 'stuck' with things I wouldn't buy and don't know how to use! (Think way too many hot peppers? Like... WAY way too many!)  

5. I learned that apparently our Nearly Grown Girlie can just pick up and plan her own vacation and leave town - all on her own?  Our girlie and one of her BFFs decided last minute that before college started, they wanted to take a trip to the beach and so they found their own hotel and packed up and went... all on their own?  (I also learned that I could manage to not worry or panic the whole time and it turns out I really CAN trust God with her after all?)  

6a. Just as Instagram MAY be a bit of an addiction... I learned that my desire to read All The Books may be too?  This may really turn into a problem due to going back to school with my hubby (One class per week... think Bible college-ish!)  And here's the thing: this isn't even ALL my books... nor does it include the apx 5 Kindle books I am reading right now... well - not right NOW... but you know... sometime tonight, anyway? This also may explain why I had no time to make any lists of things I learned last month? (but surely I learned things from all these books, yes?) I'm sure I did... I am sure I am... but who has time to process because...

(...Wait for it...  
Here comes 6b...)

6b. I rediscovered the LIBRARY, ya'll!  I somehow forgot that there is this magical place... where they keep all the books... (and some music, movies, magazines, etc.) and you can read more Things... oh my! Honestly my Honey is way more excited about this rediscovery than I am... as he was beginning to think that I was a little too flirty with Amazon as of late! 

 7. I (re)learned that taking a risk for the Kingdom of God is always... always worth it! My Honey and I volunteered to help 'man' the Prayer Booth that our school was hosting this year at the State Fair.  I also learned that I have never - in all of my life - felt like a Carny until now... I recognized the glassy eyes and the no eye contact and the half smile and keep walking... Recognized? Oh - I INVENTED that walk... it's hard work to make people see that you are not really trying to sell them anything... not even 'Jesus'... I mean - we were offering Him, sure... but we were there to be a blessing and not to make anyone repeat anything after us.  We had the honor of praying for people for health issues, for family and friends, for jobs and houses and forgiveness and freedom... We prayed with them... we encouraged them... we gave some of them some prophetic art... we invited them in, or went out to meet them on the pathway and hopefully - they each walked away with less burden and more hope! I learned that really - if someone is needing prayer... all you need to do is offer it and the floodgates will open!

8. I learned how to make some new recipes in September... I was like a Pinterest fool... actually MAKING some of the things I pinned! But these?  These are recipes I found on other BLOGS (which... I am sure were also pinned somewhere on Pinterest!) But these were the top three recipes discovered this month!  The top pix is homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer - it has a handful of ingredients and they are all actual real food... so that is nice! No chemicals in my coffee.  The middle pix is Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette from Bread & Wine.  The bottom pix is a Crock Pot recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos that is to DIE FOR ya'll! (and you're welcome!)
9. I learned that it is true that God really really REALLY wants me to meet Jen hatmaker in person... like, REALLY!  I have been pretty consumed with making All The Plans for my trip to #Allume and in browsing hotels and beaches and Biltmore Estates online, I totally forgot that I should like - ACTUALLY purchase tickets to go to Women of Faith when I return.  I mean - sure - I would think of it... but my friend and I both just never really paid that much attention - until one day last week when said friend sent me a message via facebook in which was she super scared and sort of afraid that I may unfriend her in all the ways possible because the Women of Faith conference is now SOLD OUT and we never did get our tickets? I assured her that even though I was sure God wanted us to go so I could stalk meet Jen Hatmaker, that we could still be friends and hang out together!  However, in a last ditch attempt  just on a whim - or was it divine inspiration? - I put it out there on Twitter and Facebook that we were needing two tickets... and - well - it turns out that God really DOES want us to go!

10. I learned that it doesn't matter how much I have the best of intentions to preplan and be uber organized and annoyingly done with 31Days before October even has the audacity to show up... it just never happens! Last year was my first experience with the 31 Day Challenge... and because I was - way back then... when I was younger and so overestimating myself and my abilities - I decided that both of my ideas were too good not to do - so I did 31Days on TWO blogs... yeah - I was cray-cray! My husband pleaded with me to NOT do that again.  I had learned though already... so when we talked about it in mid-August... I told him I already had two ideas and was planning on prewriting at least half of my posts and thought I would have all this time during October to read... you know... All the 31Day Things.  Sigh... I have not written ANYTHING.  (Truth be told... I just made that Button for this post?) And the Link Up goes live... I don't know... tomorrow?  So... my other idea will be turned into a fun little series in - well - later... and my 31 Days of Encountering God will indeed require some fresh encounters and a lot of grace... but tomorrow... Well - tomorrow I will be writing my first post for Day 1!

What about you? What fun or interesting or challenging things did YOU learn in September? I'd love to hear! Also - are you doing 31Days? If so - comment below with your title... because, you know - I just don't have enough to read yet!

Linking up with the lovely Emily Freeman, sharing what we learned in September!
Join us!

September 28, 2013

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 12

This is shorter - not because there was less Awesome to find - but because we are hitting the road and I just can't always do All The Things... I'm learning to be alright with that!

Here is a random (and incomplete) list of Awesomeness found this week:

* This post by Lisa Jo Baker - because, as I have already stated in previous Volumes... whenever LJ writes about Motherhood... or daughters... it's gonna be on this list!

* This post by Susan Basham over at The Prodogical Magazine on the power of seeing beyond the obvious!

* This post by Kate Bartolotta over at Huffington Post - where she shares "How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps."  (Seriously... trust me, peeps! This one is great!)

* This post by Jennifer Dukes Lee where she goes into all sorts of awesome of why we (bloggers) shouldn't get caught up in the Numbers game!  Seriously - I didn't think I could love her more... and then this?

* This post by Shauna Niequist over at Storyline... talking about trusting the wind and accepting a life less predictable!

* This post from right here at home is what has gotten the most traffic... in case you missed it - here it is... where I talk about Speaking Life!

Lastly - because #ThatsHowWeDO... this video... enjoy!

Happy Reading... and enjoy your weekend!
(Yeah... I know... not even a photograph... because I am all about breaking my own rules!)

September 27, 2013

Speaking TRUE - Five Minute Friday

While the party was going on last night over on Twitter and all sorts of Awesome was gathering, encouraging, uplifting... my Honey and I were manning a booth at our local State Fair.  We are part of a school that hosted a "Deep Fried Prayer" booth.  Yep... you read that right! Everything at the fair is Deep Fried, right? So why not keep with the theme, have a little fun, and offer up prayers and blessings?  So while I so missed all the fun, I was having some of my own on a chilly September evening near the Midway Lights, praying for healing and broken relationships, and restored faith... for favor and jobs and houses... We were given the opportunity to Speak Life... to Be Love... and to Shine On in a little 10x10 tent in the midst of our own city. Now... on to writing!

Oh but - 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 10pm Thursday night (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 - TRUE...


So Lisa-Jo invites us in... she is laid open - vulnerable, wanting to share True... to not hold back... and my heart leans in and my spirit cries Yes!  Some of what she 'reveals' I actually DO know... some I don't... and while I love and believe in the cry to Live Out Loud and Be Real... I also read between the lines and I suspect that the enemy has been at work here.  On her.  On me. On us all.

(It's his job and if there is ONE THING he is consistent at... this is it: LIES!  Lies, I tell you!)

You see - this whole internet thing is tricky.  We get in deep long before we ever meet face to face. This is a blessing (mostly) and so much needed for so many of us. To connect real... to live honest... to be weak and messy (from afar!) and to find community where we can slowly - ever so slowly - Let Down the Masks.

However, I can say - as a Mama of a nearly grown girlie... this living MY story and not hers, when she has her own to tell... the lines get blurry and while I want to share my True... so much of mine is wrapped up in hers, and in his, and we can feel like in being Vulnerable and True - we must be an open book to everyone.

I get that... I want that... until I step over a line and begin to tell a Story that, while it is TRUE, it isn't all mine to tell. But the temptation is strong.. in the name of being Vulnerable and True.

So - let me caution the young(er) Mama's out there... well - all of us really:

Be Real - YES!

Live Out Loud and Take Risks to be who you are...wherever you go.
Strive to be consistent in Living Real.

Don't Belittle Yourself or Your Call.

Don't fall for the lies... and when you feel like maybe you ARE believing them... giving in to them... making room for them to just move right in to your heart... reach out! Ask for help!

Even in this amazing blogosphere of writers, our stories are not always for the multitudes... and they are not all written by us alone. Boundaries are our friends... and not every one has the right to hear ALL of our story.

So PRAY = share what He tells you... what He puts on your heart. And if it includes someone elses' story - talk it over with them before you write it all out for the world to see!

So Much YES - LIVE TRUE... in Real Life first... give yourself a little time and a lot of grace to grow up and stand tall in who you are... and as you do that, you will find yourself living True everywhere you go!


Well - now I fight the urge to erase and start over... this is not my typical style but I think we can feel like in order to be real, we must put everything out there... and to put down the masks - we must let everyone see because if we are going to preach Real and tell everyone to be Vulnerable - then we must lead the way! But let us lead the way in wisdom... not without boundaries... but without walls and secrets! Oh my - how there IS a difference, friends!

And I have found... in Living True, we find ourselves
 Speaking Life.  Being Love.  Shining 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 "TRUE"  
Five Minute Friday

September 24, 2013

Speak Life...for real... wherever you go!

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth,
but what is good for necessary edification,
that it may impart grace to the hearers."
                                                                Eph 4:29 NKJV

When I was a baby new Christian... this verse was a hard one for me!

It's not that I had a potty mouth or that I let anger dictate my sentence structure (much).  It was more that I have this slightly twisted, dry, highly sarcastic sense of humor.


I come from a long line of Quick-Wit... Sarcasm drips thick from our Family Tree.  We wear that 'badge' with honor and pride.  But I learned early on - partly from trial and error, and partly because I really am soft-hearted and loving... I learned how to be sarcastic while not (usually) cutting anyone down!  Still - this verse brought a little conviction and a lot of condemnation.

I spent more than a few years biting my tongue (not entirely a bad thing) and trying to change or hide who I really am (always a bad thing!).  I held up the mask of "Good Christian" while not saying a word (but still cracking myself up under my breath!) 

Now... I don't have a uber colorful vocabulary. I can swear like a sailor(ish?) but that is not how we roll.   Swearing is not common in this house, nor is it our fall back way of describing - well - anything... but it does happen once in awhile.

With that said, I gotta tell ya - I read this verse a little differently now... It's not limited to the occasional curse word or rant... oh no... it is harder than that!  When I read this verse now, I think back over those calm conversations as well as the confrontations. I think of the everyday tape that is on repeat - whether or not I speak it out loud or just let it play in my own head.  Are those things spoken corrupt?  Are they damaging?  Do they impart grace to the hearers?

We purposed as young parents to Speak Life to our girlie.  I wanted to raise her in an environment where she knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is loved and accepted and that we think she is awesome.  Not a false sense of self-esteem - but 'she is awesome' as in God made her that way... like He made all of us to be.

Whether it be with our kids, family, friends, pastors (let's be real, now!) or neighbors... it's EASIER to point out what is wrong; what is lacking.  Anyone can spot the dirt... but I believe we are called to bring out the treasure! 

Speak Life... tell them what they are doing RIGHT... when we do this, each word really can be a gift!

Here the verse is in The Message:

"Watch the way you talk.
Let nothing foul or dirty
come out of your mouth.
Say only what helps,
each word a gift."

I wrote more in depth about this on my Shine On page... (Is it weird to quote myself? Maybe a little... but either way - I am cutting and pasting:)

"It's in your Words... how they speak life and stir up hope and wrap up in safety the hearts of those around you...  how they speak truth in love, gently - not to wound, but to woo... to help birth dreams and grow hope...
It's in how you Act... in the grocery store, on the phone, in the car... at home, at work, at church...
It's in how you Fess Up and Live Real and Ask Forgiveness for the times when how you acted was not really the kind of Beacon of light you were hoping to be!
You see... to Shine On - you must be willing to be seen... on the good days and on those not so good days! The world doesn't need to see Pharisees... they are looking for honesty and messy truth... they are hungry for the authentic... for the real and the less than perfect!  We want to be Jesus with skin on... radiant and full of grace..."

We have purposed to live our lives this way!  We are far from perfect, and we blow it (often) - but we don't deny or hide anymore...  we live our life (sarcastic humor and all) out in the open... and we look for ways to Shine.

Which brings us to our photo for #BehindTheScenes.  This was taken when we were vacationing in the Spring and were roaming around Redding, CA. We were hoping that our girlie and her friend would have words spoken over them in a way that would impact them as they neared graduation and All the Things Changing... however instead of them getting prayed for... well - this happened:

After walking around the SunDial Bridge for awhile, this woman approached the girls and asked if they were from a local church there. (Bethel)  She said that they 'look like Bethel people... you look really happy.  Would you pray for me?"

And... as the creeper scrapbook Mom that I am, I snapped a photo!

Instead of receiving a word... they gifted some words.  They prayed for this stranger in search of answers and offered her encouragement and they imparted grace!

And really... is this not what we are all hoping for: words of encouragement... words full of grace?

Father God,
We want what comes out of our mouths to be imparting good...
we want them to be a gift to all who hear our voice!
We want all those who hear our voice...
to hear Your Heart!

Help us, Holy Spirit, to hold our tongues...
Partner with us to tame not only our tongues
but our thoughts, as well!
Help us to impart Grace...
to make each word
a Gift.

In Jesus Name!

Joining in today with these lovely Link Up's:




September 23, 2013 which it begins again!

Today is the day...

My baby girl nearly grown Girlie's first day of school!  This is the first day that I did NOT snap a picture... one of her with her backback, standing outside our front door headed up the path... the first first day of school that she was (maybe?) too old for that... and I'll be honest, it made me more than a little bit sad.  Maybe my chin quivered just a little bit as she walked out the door on her own, into a whole new world.

She is entering completely new territory here... for neither her Dad nor I have graced the halls of campus life.  It's all new... and exciting and scary and even with all the growing and maturing and changing... my prayer for her first day of school is still the same as it always was... "Give favor Lord, with classmates and teachers... help her to have instructors who teach in a way that she can learn from... give her confidence and joy and courage to be who she is, wherever she is... grace, Lord - for her and through her..." All of these things, I pray for her!

...and always, we count on (...Ann Voskamp style!)

#1585 - Fall is finally HERE!  Officially and everything! Planning on slowly taking out Autumn Decor and decking the halls this week (and lighting my yummy fall candles too!)

#1590 - A new freezer (slowly stocking it now!) After 20+ years of marriage, we finally have an extra freezer.  Of course - with only 3 of us - it hasn't been necessary, but it was a gift and I am so thankful for it! Looking forward to adding some staples to it for winter!

#1591 - Knowing glances across a room (or just across a conversation) between my girlie and I... and between my Honey and I... usually followed by laughter!

#1592 - A walk and one on one time to talk with a new friend!

#1593 - A lunch date and photo session...

#1594 - Thankful for a friend who is a pro and was willing to take a few headshots for me!

#1595 - Getting Happy "We're Expecting" news from friends... so precious!

#1596 - Our girlie rec'v enough grants to cover the cost of her classes this year... so all we need to come up with is book money! (Relieved to finally confirm this!)

#1604 - A new recipe for homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer... buying the ingredients today (which are all 'real' btw!) and mixing it up!

#1606 - Praying for our city... my Honey and I volunteered to pray in a booth at the fair.  We spent 6 hours on Saturday sharing hope and love and encouragement... praying for people for healings, for family issues, for direction... it was such a blessing! (And we get to go back in a couple of days and do it again!)

#1607 - Random wandering at the Fair... the smells and sights of a small town fair (minus a lot of photo's as my phone died - which was a gift as well - to stay completely present in it all!)

Which leads us into #1608 - Having one of my girlies' friends offer me her old iPhone... (I've been praying for one to have before Allume and while it's not a 5... or even a 4... it looks like I will have one and can sign up for one of the classes at the conference for iphone photography! So fun!)

#1609 - Watching my Honey at the Styx concert.  He was SO loving it!  I am just a bit younger - and was not so into that band but did recognize a good number of songs - but for my guitar player hubby - he was playing right along with them on every single riff!

#1610 - My girlie and her friend, planning out their first day! Excited and nervous and happy to have each other!

#1610 - While making all sorts of grown up plans, my girlie still asks my opinion and cares what I think... I have to be mindful to not use this to my own advantage... but I'm continuing to let go and encourage.

#1611 - First day of college = no front step photo.  (Thankful I didn't think of it until she was gone!)

(NOT from this morning!)

#1612 - A fall walk with a friend - early and needing long sleeves and PANTS already?  Great conversation and a good workout... all before coffee!

#1613 - Parents who live right next door... and that we are able to help them out with the little things when they need it! (Moving things around... clearing things out... fixing things... etc!)

#1614 - Fun Pens and a Glittery Binder (getting ready for Allume!)

#1615 - Freedom from guilt... freedom to say no - letting peace be my umpire!

#1616 - A quiet Sunday morning with a lovely stack of books, and a warm cup of healing goodness from my Honey!

 (Organic Honey, Cinnamon, and purified boiling water! So good!)

#1617 - New Boots to complete an outfit for Fall... waiting pays off! (Got 'em for 1/2 off!)

#1618 - Any minute... my girlie will be  home from class and (hopefully) she will have all sorts of words to share.  Counting the gift that she is still home... and still shares!

...and counting on!

What about you? What are you thankful for today? What sort of gifts are you counting?

Linking up with Ann Voskmap and the Multitudes on Mondays:

September 21, 2013

11th Edition of That Thing I Do Now

This has been a crazy week around here... lots of shifting taking place in our little home.  With both parents back to school, and our Only starting college next week - we were squeezing in all kinds of lazy... ya know... to make summer last just a little bit longer!

I have to admit, however, the thrill of waking and needing layers for my morning walks made me a little bit giddy! But I am not quite ready to switch over from iced lattes to anything hot!

Fair and Fall is in the air around here this weekend... and I am loving it!

Here are some of the great finds I stumbled upon over this week online... I hope they bless you as they did me!

* This post  by Diana Trautwein where she looks at John 2 and causes you to see Glory in your everyday life!

* This post by Melissa over at Numbering Our Days shares on Galatians 6:10 and encourages us each to "Be intentional. Be the first. Be the trailblazer in heaping. good on others."

* This post by Holley Gerth on why we really DO need you to live your God-Sized Dream - even if it looks a lot like someone elses'!

* This one by my friend Alia Joy on learning to let go and see God in every season!

* This post by the ever encouraging Beth Moore on what Grace is!

* This one by Amber Haines over at on how to be a better friend!

* I considered featuring this one for our video this week, but technically it is both a post and a video so just think of it as a BONUS!  I can't tell you how excited I am about this coming book by Emily Freeman!  Watch and see... live and breathe... the art you were made to create!

* This post by Kate Bratskeir over at The Huffington Post about the Habits of Supremely People!

* This is the post around here that has gotten the most traffic... where I continue to count beyond #1000Gifts and attempt to wrap up a season!

Lastly - the video of the week... I have to thank Jennifer Dukes Lee for sharing this one... as much as I LOVE Sad Cat Diaries - this video from 'zefrank1' is powerful and true in a totally different way!

What will YOU do with your jelly beans?

I hope you have a GREAT weekend, and are able to fill it up with some incredible reads (not to mention the coffee and the community and all the other necessities, too!)

September 19, 2013

SHE... Five Minute Friday

This earlier reveal causes the #fmfparty to start earlier and oh my stars it is frantic reading and just a little cray cray to try to keep up... but how I love Thursday nights!  This community is amazing... and we gather to lift each other up... to encourage, to pray, - and Oh. My. Stars. - to literally laugh out loud together!  So - here it is... your Five Minute Friday post - that is pretty much written and posted on Thursday nights now! Enjoy! 

Oh but - 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 10pm Thursday night (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 - SHE...


She underestimates herself... giving in to the whispers of not enough, of it's too late, of who gets do overs really anyway?

She entertains thoughts of I can't do it, and I wish I were different.

She oh so often forgets her beauty... more importantly, she forgets her value.

She is brave when it's needed... but this is not her first inclination. Oh no... she steps back, blends in, observes from the back.

She has plenty to say - and words come fast... thankfully, not so furious... but she second guesses herself and wonders if anyone hears... if anyone cares... if anyone really gains anything from the sound of her voice!

She is grace and laughter and joy... she is truth and real and boldly shy in how she is vulnerable...

She is determined in that quiet strength kind of way - but only when she has made up her mind and oh boy - watch out when her and her God come into agreement!

She is unstoppable and has found a call that she can crawl into...  

She is embracing change...  leaning in... letting go...

She is starting new... excited and nervous and more than a little unsure... but trusting all the more!

She is stepping out... taking risks... growing faith!

She is the best thing I have ever done... and she is learning to let God have His way with her... 

'She' is my girlie... and 'She' is me...

Isn't 'She' a little bit of all of us?  I pray that you will dive in deep and in this season - whatever season it is you find yourself in - you will learn to tune out the whispers and the lies... and tune in to the truth of who you are; of who She is!


She is (We are) Speaking Life.  Being Love.  Shining On.
Join us, won't you?

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 "SHE"  
Five Minute Friday

September 17, 2013

hand in hand in hand... (in Hand!)

A few years ago, while on a family vacation, I had planned out a little family portrait session on the beach.  I have always wanted a beach portrait and since it is where we go to get away and to regroup and to meet Him... since it is one of our favorite places as a family - it just made sense!

I planned out our outfits and decided ahead of time on poses, on hairstyles, on makeup... I mapped out the time of day and the backdrops and my plan was to be oh so bossy for just a few minutes and get enough shots in to make it easy and not forget that we were on vacation, and not working at all!

It worked... we shot for maybe 20 minutes and got some of my very favorite family pictures ever!  This shot though?  This was going to be staged walking towards the camera - but as we were positioning ourselves far enough  away, this was captured: 

I can't tell you how much I love this! How much this one portrait captures that is just so "us"... 

At first - it made me think of when Moses asked to see God and He told him that He would make His glory pass before him and Moses would see His backside... (Ex 33)  Not that we are God - or that I really want ya'll to see my backside... but that Scripture always reminds me that God goes before us... and when all we see is after the fact... when our vision is limited to what already happened - He is willing to show us a glimpse of what lies ahead!  I believe what Moses saw was a prophetic vision of the future and I believe that God is still wanting and willing and waiting to show us glimpses of Glory - if only we will ask.

As I mentioned... this was taken a few years back... before broken hearts and broken dreams and broken trust... this was before hope and the best laid plans were all shriveled and dried out... all starved up... before heaps on kitchen floors and a slow awakening to a deeper grace and a truer love.

When I look at this picture now... I think of this Scripture:

"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good.
At the right time we will harvest a good crop
if we don’t give up, or quit.
Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance,
let us work for the benefit of all,
starting with the people closest to us
in the community of faith."
                                                             ~ Galatians 6:9-10 The Message

You see... these... those two up there in that picture?  Those are my people... My Honey and My Girlie and they are the core of my Community of faith... they know me - all smiles and out there... and they know me - all broken and stuck in here... We have been broken together - and have been healed and made whole again (and again and again) - together.  

Hand in hand in hand... all the while clinging to the Hand that heals and saves... holding tight to the nail scarred Hand that set us free!  

We could have given up... hardened our hearts... gone all legalistic and self righteous... if we would have gone down that path - it would have led to destruction.  To be honest... there were days I had no strength... no will to go on.  No one ever told me that it would be so hard.  After all - didn't we do all the things right?  There were moments and hours when - when I was raw and reeling - I could feel my heart building walls of protection... resolving to broken trust never being healed up whole.  I felt a pull to the downward spiral of shame and of failure and of how-could-this-happen.

I had to fight against that.  I had to find someone... maybe two... who would remind me of Truth when the lies felt more real.  I had to allow His Love to pour in and through and out - when I just wanted to keep it all for myself. I needed it... but that is not how He has created us to be! We are vessels... conduits, if you will... and He is abundant in how He fills and overflows! And this verse? This verse reminds me that I can not give up.  Not I... because He never does.  No one is too far... every one is within His grasp and Grace is free for all.

Oh - it cost Him... it is never free... but because He paid the price, it is, for us, Freedom!

So we purpose to do good... to press on and press in and work for the benefit of all, to be mindful of being a blessing.  We hang on to each other and we hold hands with the One who spread His Hands out wide... Who bled and died... Who became sin for us... Who loved us this much!  

When we cling to Him... and hold on to each other...  doing good is easier.  Oh - it's not always easy... but when we are in it together... it is easier.  When we lean in and trust anyway... when we ask to see His face, He gives us a glimpse of what is to come... His glory passes before us, and He calls us to stop looking back... to stop looking at our past, but to look ahead to His future.  The plans that He has for us are good.  They are more than good... they are overflowing with grace and love and purpose... they are redeemed and wondrous and Kingdom... 

So now, when I look at this picture... I see what was ahead for us back then... and I see the Glory of what lies ahead...

(...and I see us still hand in hand in hand... in Hand!)

Won't you join with me in prayer?

Father God,
we come to You and reach out for Your Hand.
We desire to weave our fingers in close and hold on tight...
to press our palms into your Nail Scarred Hand
and get a glimpse of Your Glory,
a vision of the future ahead.
Jesus, we thank you that when we are weak, You are Strong!
When we feel at the end of our rope and unable to do just one more thing,
You fill us up fresh and show us the way!
Thank You that You don't call us to do ALL the Things...
but You set before us each day certain things
and when we partner with you,
we are mindful of being a blessing!
Holy Spirit - remind us that doing good leads to something...
that when we gather together and work for the benefit of all, 
when we sow seeds with reckless abandon
and let Your Love flow...
we reap a Harvest of good...
of answered prayers and testimonies and provision...
of healings and miracles and community...
and we reap a Harvest of growing alongside our brothers and sisters
and belonging in the community of faith!
So we reach for You... 
we want to hold Your Hand
and be led by the Spirit...
we want to do good,
to make a difference,
to be the gift!
In Jesus' Name!

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