Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you are a woman, you can identify with this poem/article.  I know I needed it today and thought maybe you might, too.  My favorite lines are somewhere in the middle: "God loves you so much, you conquering woman, you.  You victorious daughter.  You princess.  You warrior."  I love how I always seem to find my way to the website {in}courage at just the right time.  Hope this piece and the entire site will bless and encourage your heart today.  It certainly encouraged me personally and even brought to mind specific others who need this reminder in their life right now.  I think I will pray it for myself and for them...

Monday, September 27, 2010

"We are above all things loved - that is the good news of the Gospel - and loved not just the way we turn up on Sundays in our best clothes and on our best behavior and with our best foot forward, but loved as we alone know ourselves to be, the weakest and shabbiest of who we are along with the strongest and gladdest." - Frederick Buechner

I just wanted to share this quote from someone I consider a kindred spirit.  I love his words and identify with him so much.  I want to know him...and feel like I do.  It is that whole communion of saints thing I get so excited about all the time.  Buechner is tops on the list of people I have connected with despite the fact that we have never met.  Search the blog and you'll find plenty more quotes from this remarkable man.  Enjoy and soak this one in first, though...and be encouraged.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally...A New Post!

{Insert copious apologies for not posting for more that 2 months.  Give excuses as to why this is: work, life, baby, etc.  Take it all back and just apologize for being a slacker.  There.  Done. Now the new post...}

Yes, I am a slacker.  It is true that have failed at keeping up the blog as-of-late.  And it is not for lack of things to discuss or share.  More for a lack of time to sit down and write about said things.  Yes, I have been extremely busy at work and in trying to get things ready for the arrival of our little guy.  Have you ever started a new job and found out you were expecting within the same week.  Yep.  That's me.  Yikes!  Needless to say, both have kept me busy and a little exhausted...and equally (if not more!) blessed.  I do have stuff to say...funny, serious, exciting.  I will get to that.  All two or three of you who have not completely given up on the blog...thank you.  Please stop by soon for more thoughts and updates.  I have got to do better.  Blogging is good for me. :) For now, just enjoy these pictures. 

The bedding...
The bump...

The bag...

(I totally want this.  How cute is it?!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's A Boy!

 I do apologize for the lack of updates as-of-late.  As you can see, things have been a little CRAZY!  Nothing like starting a job unlike anything you've ever done AND finding out you're pregnant shortly thereafter. Seriously put a cramp in the style of this planner!  Funny, though...the very best things that have happened to me in this life have come in the most unlikely and unexpected ways/times.  Life is funny that way.

So, we are expecting a BABY BOY on or around Thanksgiving weekend this year.  We are very excited and just starting to decide on nursery stuff and (struggling with) names. I promise to post pictures and thoughts along the way.  I have been feeling great.  No morning, evening, or night sickness to speak of thus far.  Just a little more tired than usual, but I don't mind that.  I imagine I need the extra rest for what's ahead! :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mid-Week Reflection

It is the middle of what is shaping up to be another busy week at my {awesome} job.  I have been going pretty much non-stop since I started here.  This is a busy and sometimes unpredictable job I have! 

I'm a little pooped. 

I still ♥ my job for sure.  But it can get a little overwhelming and somewhat exhausting sometimes.  Add to that still trying to figure out what it means to be a wife and work full-time.  Our "schedule" is still a little out-of-whack as I navigate my ministry responsibilities here. 

Knowing this job would be a different kind of difficult than all my previous ministry positions, I have tried to n watch for the signs of fatigue and "combat" them with little things.  I decided (somewhat unconsciously) to return to an old devotional favorite of mine to begin each day.  This has helped immensely both vocationally and personally.  Still, I sometimes feel what I would call a nagging void or a sense that there's more out there God wants to tell me through others right now in my life.  I've picked up random books to thumb through here and there.  I am a girl who loves to read and I inherited a number of what look to be fantastic new books with this job.  Nothing seemed to spark interest, provide encouragement, or even challenge me in the way I longed for and wanted.

At the end of this busy Wednesday, I found myself a little tired and unmotivated to dig into something else.  Plus, it seemed all the little things I needed to do to complete the day could not be done for a variety of random reasons.  It was then that I remembered a website I've linked on my blog but (admittedly) forgot about.  The website is called {in}courage.  I jumped on over there and found a number of articles that challenged, encouraged, and motivated me. The whole website is incredible, but today I want to offer you this article.  It is called Courage to Be You. Hooked yet?!  That is definitely something we all need.  Plus, I am relatively certain that my handful of readers out there can all identify with what this woman is saying in more that one way.  I hope you enjoy it and find it just as edifying and life-giving as I did!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Real Discernment

"Discernment is God's call to intercession, never to fault finding." - Oswald Chambers

I just ran across this quote.  A few years too late, I must say.  I wish I would have had this one in the back of my mind when that guy in seminary told me he had the "gift of discernment" and proceeded to air what he thought were my flaws to another person on campus.  Fortunately she was a friend of mine and thought what this guy said was out-of-line and simply untrue...and she came right to me and told me what he said!  He confronted me (hmm...) when he found out I heard what he said to my friend.  He explained that he wasn't trying to be hurtful, he was just "blessed with the gift of discernment" and was sharing that with others.  In no uncertain (though kinder than I was feeling...) terms, I explained to him that he did not know me well enough to speak to my faults.  I told him I was aware of my own weaknesses and could list them for him and what he was accusing me of (Codependence...I am still not sure what in my life at this point made him think this?!) was not one of them.  He kept talking about having the "gift of discernment" and...blah, blah, blah.  Lots of words about God giving him this insight about people and a bunch of stuff that didn't seem the least bit true to me nor of the Lord.  I told him I admittedly didn't know much about the gift of discernment, but what I did know was that it was not meant to be used to tear others down.  This is the part where the above quote would have been PERFECT.

Please don't misunderstand my sharing this story.  I do not hold a grudge against this person.  I forgave him the minute our conversation/confrontation was through.  However, I didn't exactly go out and make him my best friend either.  He did teach me a valuable lesson that seemed to be solidified with each passing year in seminary.  I learned that there are many people who put God's name on their agenda and call it a "word from the Lord."  I learned to be leery of the people who seemed to say this too often. Learning this lesson even helped me make peace with people from my past who sought to (and succeeded in) speaking into my life their own "word from the Lord."  Finally, and more positively, I learned to value those rare real words from the Lord through friends and mentors who have sought to encourage and challenge me along this journey.

So, I guess it is good I didn't have the above quote during the incident I described.  I might have used it against that guy.  And all it really is and needs to be is a confirmation and encouragement that everything someone puts the Lord's name on is not always directly from Him...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Returning to our Heart

I meant to post this quote around Easter.  Alas, my life (the new job, mostly) got in the way and I failed to do so.  But I love it and it is Easter-y and I refuse to wait until next year to post it.  Also, we're Easter people, people!  In fact, our pastor is still doing Easter messages at church right now.  The series is on "Easter's Enduring Message."  It was borne out of a deep conviction that we ought to embrace that we are truly Easter people.  We're still singing all the Easter hymns that are often reserved for one Sunday a year, too.  I am LOVING it. 

I encourage you to embrace this season we call Eastertide in the church.  Never heard that word?  Join the club...unfortunately.  It is a beautiful season.  Research it.  Celebrate it.  Enjoy it.  It is a lovely word and a most blessed season.  It is all about what this quote says...returning to our heart.

So, here's the quote.  Hope it helps you to embrace Eastertide and the triumph that is Easter!

"And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here." ~St Augustine

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I ♥ my job.

I ♥ my job. It is like nothing I have ever done and everything I have ever prepared for in life. It uses all of my training and background (something my amazing husband has prayed for since before we got married). It is very busy, at times quite difficult...and the perfect choice for this time in my life. I have felt more at ease here from the very beginning than I ever have at previous jobs. This is interesting considering I entered with a measure of trepidation. I worried (as always) about the "what ifs" in the week between accepting the job and actually starting. I was completely overwhelmed at the enormity of the task before me that very first day (largely because I was unsure exactly what my responsibilities would be on a day-to-day basis). That all began to dissipate within the first few days.
I have already encountered a number of things I would have never considered myself prepared for if I had been warned of them beforehand. I have trusted my instincts on these and other things and it has worked for me. I have given myself more grace and space to figure it all out over these next few months than I have ever given myself in the past. I am relatively sure this is due to the fact that my work environment is grace-filled. I work with pastors and people who are all about the ministry of peace and presence. This, for me, makes all the difference in the world.

So I ♥ my job. It is wonderfully complicated, deeply humbling, and exceptionally challenging. It is just what I never knew I always wanted.*

*I do not mean for this to cheapen my experiences in student ministry over the years. I believe that was where God wanted me then...and this is now. Our ultimate call - to God Himself - never changes. Our vocational calling is ever-evolving, even if we find ourselves in the same sort of ministry throughout our lives. God uses us in different ways and through a variety of avenues throughout our lives. And besides...the student ministry stuff is already coming in handy, too and I feel certain God will continue to use those experiences in this one. :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Listen to what God says to you:  I am your salvation. I am your peace.  I am your life.  Stay with Me to find peace." - Thomas a Kempis

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Right on Time

"We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." - Romans 5:3-5

I have been clinging to these verses and others like them for months now.  Any verse with the word hope in it has been close to my heart and forefront in my mind.  I'll go ahead and tell you right now that though verses of hope and confidence in God were constantly playing in my head, my heart and life did not always follow.  I have been discouraged, disappointed, despairing and downright depressed along the way.  But somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I knew that hope would not disappoint...

I have learned (and re-learned!) a lot of lessons over the last eighteen months as I have searched for a job.  I am still processing it all and promise to share more as I do.  Suffice it to say for now that I find myself humbled and hopeful once again.  My confidence in God's timing has been renewed and my trust in Him is stronger than ever.  After a lot of uncertainty and many tears, I find myself at the beginning of what looks to be a wonderful new job and journey.  I am excited...and so is Jason!  More on everything as it unfolds!

Let me leave you with the beautiful Message translation of the above passage for your benefit (italics mine):

"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  Christ arrives right on time to make this happen." - Romans 5:1-5

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Lenten Reflection

This challenged me this morning, so I thought I'd pass it along to you.  It is worth thinking about as you consider what to "give up" during this Lenten season.  I certainly found myself convicted by these words!  My first thought after reading it?  That all sounds way too difficult!  That is when I knew this must be my resolution during this season.  And hopefully this sacrifice will leave a lasting impression on my life and extend far beyond the 40 days of Lent...

A Lenten Reflection
Give up complaining - focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism- become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments- think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry- trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement- be full of hope.
Give up bitterness- turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred- return good for evil.
Give up negativism- be positive.
Give up anger- be more patient.
Give up pettiness- become mature.
Give up gloom- enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy- pray for trust.
Give up gossiping- control your tongue.
Give up sin- turn to virtue.
Give up giving up- hang in there!
- Unknown

WARNING: Catherine Marshall, best known for the novels  Julie and Christie (and for being the wife of great preacher/teacher Peter Marshall) once wrote about her own experience of fasting from complaining. I'll try to find the book where she speaks of it and post some of her thoughts.  For now, just know that she said that this one experience really exposed how negative she had become and how often complaint and pettiness consumed her.  Be prepared to be humbled by this experience!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"The surest way to get a thing in this life is to be prepared.  Remember - you are braver than you believe, you are stronger than you seem, and you are smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


The major theme in my life right now is perseverance.  That being the case, I thought I'd visit the trusty for a definition of this loaded word.  I found myself encouraged and infused with strength from my visit.  Who knew the dictionary could provide that? :)  I've included the definition and some synonyms below.  I've italicized the stuff I found particularly delightful.

perseverance [pur-suh-veer-uhns]: - noun
1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.  2. Theology: a continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.
1. Doggedness, steadfastness. Perseverance, persistence, tenacity, pertinacity imply resolute and unyielding holding on in following a course of action. Perseverance commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application: endurance and perseverance combined to win in the end. Tenacity, with the original meaning of adhesiveness, as of glue, is a dogged and determined holding on. Whether used literally or figuratively it has favorable implications: a bulldog quality of tenacity; the tenacity of one's memory.

2. Guts, moxie (which implies courage, hope, and spirit...), pluck, spunk, stamina, steadfastness, immovability, stick-to-itiveness

This word occurs more than thirty times in the NT alone.  There are countless references to steadfastness throughout the Bible.  Incidentally, this is a favorite word of mine and the chosen title of a devotional I hope to write one day.  :)  Here's the Greek definition for you:

ὑπομονή (hü-po-mo-nā')
1. steadfastness, constancy, endurance
        a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his
            loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
        b) patiently, and steadfastly
2. a patient, steadfast waiting for
3. a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

Southern Chick Lit

Just finished reading this delightful book the other day. Fun, Southern chick fiction at its finest. Pick it up today and enjoy!

Up next? More Southern chick lit for this girl!

Monday, February 01, 2010


It has been three full weeks since my last post. Sorry about that. I vow to do better this month. Thoughts are swimming around in my head as I type, but I haven't got time to write a full post at the moment. More later, I promise...

Monday, January 11, 2010

That Place

When you see God, it will not be a new discovery. It will be a profound recognition of that heart and soul of yourself that is already in union with God. All contemplation, all true prayer, is an attempt to go back to that place. – Richard Rohr

I want to find that place Rohr is talking about here. Daily. I am searching for my "Upper Room," as Beth Coppedge put it in a chapel message one morning in seminary. I have never been able to escape her words or that concept. Your "Upper Room" is that place that is just yours and God's. Once you find that, everything else in your life will be His also. It is a place of surrender, a place of peace. Mostly, it is a place for you to "be" with the Father...openly and honestly. Raw. Unrestrained. Filled with praise and prayers and listening and loving.

I am desperate for that place right now. I want to find a real space where I can meet God everyday. Those times in my life when I have experienced the most peace are those in which I have carved out a time and space for intimacy with God. This is lacking in my life right now. Oh, I still "do my quiet times" and "say my prayers" as I should. But I still feel a little empty spiritually, which only leads to emptiness, unrest, and frustration in other areas of my life.

I am determined to find my "Upper Room" and establish residency in the place Rohr is speaking of in the quote above. I am certain that once I do, I find the peace I seek. And eventually "that place" will be everywhere...