Worship Wednesdays #12

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this lovely week.

There will be some changes coming beginning next week. I am moving my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Basically that allows me to control my blog and content by choosing to self-host. This will allow me to grow and change as I see fit and truly own my content.

In addition, I am changing my design for the blog. My friend Erin Lauray is creating it for me as we speak and it will be uploaded on the new blog sometime next week. Keep your eye out for that! Make sure to follow on my facebook page or on twitter to keep up with the latest information.

I wanted to share a really great song by Jesus Culture that has been blessing and encouraging me lately. I hope you enjoy it – and may you be encouraged by it, too.

Jesus Culture – Come Away

 

The Case for Community

For many years I have prayed for a best friend. I have had many close friends over the years, but because I have issues of trust and struggle with relationships, I have always felt that I didn’t fully connect with many of my friends over the years.

In the last 6-10 months, God answered my prayers. But not in the way I would have imagined or planned for myself. I had the honor of becoming best friends with the wife of my husband’s best friend – but not in person, through text messaging about our husbands (LOL).

In addition, I met a few of my other besties online – through The Influence Network. Like me, they are women who seek to deepen a relationship with God and to make Him known in every area of their lives.

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{My crazy friends. Love them!}

Most of my close/best friends do not live near me. Several I have never met in person. Awkward? Maybe. But am I blessed? You have no idea.

These friends are women I trust with my life. My deepest secrets. They are people I can vent to, who build me up and correct me when I am wrong. Like I stated earlier, one of my best friends is married to my husband’s best friend. We share life together and are bound together by a calling so big it scares us and excited us both tremendously!

Why are intimate friendships & community necessary? I believe Hebrews 10 states it perfectly – that we are blessed when others come to us with a need. It blesses us. And it propels us towards good work, towards helping others for His glory.

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{Another gem from the She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah}

Getting into relationships like this is not apart of a magic formula. You cannot sit around and wait for people to come to you. You must be vulnerable, reach out and connect with others, whether online or in your local community.

Reach out online. Set up coffee dates with people from your church or from your workplace. It is awkward at first, but is so worth it in the end. It took me many years to get here – and it has taken work on my part. (And I am still a work in progress!)

And don’t be surprised if friendships change over the years. People grow and seasons change, and people may come into and out of your life. Be blessed in the now and thankful for friends past, present and those to come.

Do you struggle with building friendships? What are some ways you can reach out to build new/deeper relationships??

Be blessed,

Worship Wednesday #11

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I hope ya’ll are having a blessed and joy-filled day.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure which worship song(s) I wanted to share with you today.

But then I was perusing instagram yesterday, and found this gem:

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{You can find Jessi’s blog & shop here}

So, you know I had to find out about this song. I don’t listen to a ton of Hillsong United music, but the ones I do like have AMAZING lyrics.

This song did not disappoint. Holy Spirit moved in on me quick when the song began playing from YouTube. It is such a beautiful picture of Peter walking on the water and how that applies in our lives currently. It is an encouragement to trust in Jesus in the toughest of times or situations. May it bless you today and encourage you to keep on keepin’ on in the faith.

worship wednesdays instagram

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.”

Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

When Waiting Sucks

Sometimes waiting just sucks.

We are in the middle of a lot of changes in our home. With my new job, our schedule has turned upside down…and it has been (at times) a rough adjustment for all of us. My husband has had to take on additional responsibilities while I work for a couple of hours in the afternoons when Eden is home from school. It certainly has not been easy.

In addition, we have been feeling/wading our way through another season of frustration in waiting for the next step. It seems to come in waves for us – periods of peace and trust in Gods timing and plan, and periods of frustration and feeling like we will never make it to step 2.

But the Word of God, my sweet brothers & sisters in Christ and worship music have all been a great blessing/comfort to me.

I posted this pic the other day on my instagram….it definitely shows me that our waiting period is for a purpose. “…waiting time is never wasted time.” MAN – God was pointing a finger right at me with that one!!!

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The She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah has had a profound impact on me. I think the book of Nehemiah is a preview of what is to come for my husband and I when we finally move to Arizona. It has blessed and encouraged me so much – and I am so thankful.

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And while I know in my head that everything will be alright – that God has a plan and is working it out as we speak. Sometimes waiting just plain old sucks – and I have to work through these seasons of frustration through Gods word and through prayer. I am reminded of a very important verse that gives me strength:

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I have to believe. God is good. Amen.

Blessings,

May Giveaway

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today I am sharing an awesome giveaway I am blessed to be apart of. My friend Kendall is hosting it on her blog, Songbirds & Buttons!

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You can visit her blog or click the link below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a wonderful day!

Content In All Things?

I am sharing this post on my friend Carly’s blog today, Texas Lovebirds. Go check her out!! She is amazing!

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{I took this photo during church this past week.}

I am one of those people you’d categorize as frugal. Cheap. Maybe even a tight-wad.

I adore the teachings of Dave Ramsey and I look for ways to save money.

You might even say I find some of my security in having money available. I am not talking SUPER WEALTH or anything. But just knowing I have something in case I need it, that gives me peace.

And for many years this has brought me guilt (okay, the Holy Spirit has convicted me). My husband is quite the opposite of me. He loves to give gifts to others and bless others in monetary (and non-monetary) means. I have always wished I could give that freely without feeling scared or worried that we might need that money down the road.

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{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

Then this past Sunday, my church began a series entitled Content in All Things. My worship pastor, Brian, spoke last week, and shared the story of the rich young ruler from Matthew 19 –

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” – Matthew 19: 21-24

Immediately, I became convicted again because I knew God has been working on me to surrender this area of my life to him. I have certainly come a long way. But this continues to be an area of dis-trust for me. In his message, Brian argued that one of the major issues facing Christians in the West is that we may be missing the mark in the area of generosity. He discussed how in the U.S. we value the idea of scarcity and attaining more things to equal ones worth as a person rather than being generous with others.

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{A favorite quote recently from Ann Voskamp.}

However, I don’t think this missing the mark with generosity necessarily means monetarily/material things only. We may be missing the mark if we hoard our money, for sure. But what about not being generous with our time? Our giftings? Our knowledge & wisdom?

Jesus asks us to forsake ourselves and live fearlessly for His glory. This means forsaking our agenda, our plans, our 401k plans, our savings accounts, our to-do lists, and yes….even our lives. And it is SCARY. It requires major TRUST because it involves great risk in the eyes of man.

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{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

One of the resources Brian mentioned in his message last week was the book Radical by David Platt. I have had the opportunity to read it, and it shook me to the core. David Platt does an excellent job of analyzing some of the issues/problems with the lack of generosity, lack of missional mindedness, lack of discipleship and community building happening in the current American church today:

“This is really the core issue of it all.  Do we trust him?  Do we trust Jesus when he tells us to give radically for the sake of the poor?  Do we trust him to provide for us when we begin using the resources he has given us to provide for others?  Do we trust him to know what is best for our lives, our families, and our financial futures?” – David Platt, Radical

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Ultimately, Jesus was communicating to this man [rich young ruler] that there was nothing he could do to enter the kingdom of God apart from total trust in God.  It is impossible for us to earn our way into heaven.  In the process, though, Jesus was exposing the barrier that this man’s wealth was to seeing his need for God.  His wealth on earth would ultimately keep him from eternal treasure. – David Platt, Radical

So, what do you think? Personally, I don’t think Jesus is calling everyone to sell everything they own and move into poor neighborhoods. I think Jesus is asking believers to lay down their choke-hold on their stuff and surrender fully to Him. This may mean you go through times of plenty or times of dire need. In both circumstances, give thanks and fully trust/surrender to Him. Allow Christ to lead you. And may you be encouraged by Paul’s account of the matter in Philippians 4 –

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little”  – Philippians 4:11-12

Please take a listen to the sermons mentioned above. Listen to the one by Brian Wages first, then to Jeff Henderson’s second. In addition, take a listen to the song “Rich Young Ruler” by Derek Webb. It puts to song the message behind the story in Matthew 19. Extremely convicting but necessary for our growth as Christians.

Rich Young Ruler – Derek Webb

I am giving away a copy of the book “Radical” here!! I hope it can bless someone else like it has blessed me!

Living in Acceptance

Many of us have experienced some sort of relationship breaking apart. For many, that may be a once or twice in a lifetime occurrence. But for me…well, you could say this is a “thorn in my flesh” kind-of a thing.

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What I mean is….abandonment & loss of relationship has been a running theme in my life. From losing relationships with precious & loved family members, to loss of friendships, to church friends and other friends de-friending me on facebook.…I have learned well what it means experience a loss of relationship. Some of these have been because I was in the wrong, some had nothing to do with me at all and others were from issues done to me.

Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud…” 2 Corinthians 12:7

But as I have aged, I have come into a place of acceptance of such things.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was in therapy for some issues stemming from my parents divorce. One of the most profound things my therapist said to me at the beginning of my journey was, “You’re extremely angry now. But you must come to a place of acceptance in order to survive.” At the time I thought what she was saying was plain old ludicrous.

I mean….I was so mad that coming into acceptance of what was happening seemed like an IMPOSSIBLE task. But as I moved through the stages of loss and grief, I found my way into acceptance. Getting there was certainly a long journey, but living there? Another story altogether.

Living in acceptance means that you must daily forgive those who have wronged you, as well as yourself for those you have wronged.

Living in acceptance means you must fight the apathy and avoidance that seek to cut you off from authentic, vulnerable relationships.

Living in acceptance means you have to be willing to risk heartbreak and open yourself up to new relationships with others.

Living in acceptance means you must reject fear and embrace love.

I am not going to pretend that I get it right all the time. I honestly struggle with creating new friendships and relationships. I have been told by many people that I come off as cold, stand-offish and even bitchy when they first meet me (because of how nervous I get around people I don’t know and trust). I struggle with maintaining intimate relationships with those I love. I have a difficult time communicating how I really feel.

But God is faithful. He is using this time of acceptance as a means to grow me and use me for His glory. He is using my weaknesses as a means to bring others to Himself. And He is showing me it is okay to trust and rely on Him, and others.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I am getting there.

Blessings,

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is teacher appreciation week. As a teacher myself, I quite enjoy this week! It is a nice time where people from all over let teachers know how special they really are.

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So, if you think of it, thank a special teacher (or two, or three) who have made an impact in your life or in the lives of your children,. Nothing means more or boosts our spirits better than hearing how we have helped others.

The teachers that impacted my life were the ones who were supportive of me, and yet challenging to me. They were kind, funny, sarcastic and authentic. I knew they cared.

And that is what I hope to bring to the live of my students every day…that they know at least one person cares about them.

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Sidenote – You may also consider buying them a Starbucks gift-card. Just sayin’.:)

Blessings,

Worship Wednesday #10

Hey all!

It has been another busy week in virtual teaching world. I am sure hoping it slows down some in the coming weeks so I can return to blogging on a more consistent basis! I am hoping to implement some of my organizational strategies to help me get on track with blogging!

For this worship wednesday, I wanted to share some Gungor music with you. I have been re-listening to some older Gungor music and I am just LOVING their lyrics and musical stylings. (It doesn’t hurt that they are a husband & wife team, which just tugs at my heart!):)

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I hope you enjoy worshiping today with these songs – check out my post later this week on some of my favorite Bible reading plans/apps, too!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace….today and every day ahead.

Gungor – Beautiful Things

Gungor – Jesus and John

Gungor – Please Be My Strength

Gungor – Dry Bones

Staying On Task

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I chaperoned prom (at the high school I used to teach at) this weekend and had  a blast! Here are some photos….

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{After I had my makeup all done.}

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{All dolled up!}

The Struggle….

One of the things I have been struggling with is time management & staying on task. My productivity for the first few weeks of my new job was terrible. I felt overwhelmed and, at the end of a long day, often felt like I wasn’t getting much done, though I felt like I had run a marathon! (It doesn’t help that since having a child four years ago, my brain cells er, memory has slowly diminished!)

One of the things my new employer encourages us to do is to develop a strict daily schedule. While that sounded really great in theory, I found myself “flying by the seat of my pants” most days and was paying for it. This past Friday, I put my plan into action. And to my surprise, I felt more productive and accomplished, and was quite successful in my daily tasks!

What are some things that you can do to make your life more productive, whether you’re a working from home momma, working outside the home momma or just someone looking to make their days more productive?

I want to share some of my favorite apps, items, etc. that have assisted me in becoming more task-oriented and less-stressed in my daily life.

Creating a Daily Schedule (and sticking to it!)

I find that creating a simple daily schedule on excel has really helped to keep me on task. I break it down by the hour and record EVERYTHING I plan to do that day. While we all know life happens sometimes (and that may mean I don’t hit EVERYTHING on my list every day), at least I have a plan and that helps me stay focused on the goals for each day.

Work Schedule

{A photo of my work schedule I created with Excel, since I work from home.}

Utilizing Apps/Websites

I utilize a TON of apps and websites to help me in my daily life. Many of them help with my diminished memory, but some do assist me in organization as well.

  • Outlook Calendar – I use this to track appointments, meetings and events. You can simply add an event on the date & time you need it, and set multiple reminders that will beep at you. If you use an iPhone, it can sync and beep at you on the go, too!
  • MailBox – This is the latest and greatest for email organization. It allows you to load multiple email addresses, organize emails into lists to save, and also lets you determine varying times for you to answer emails! Basically, it allows you to keep a de-cluttered email inbox which can lead to lower stress (in my opinion!).:)
  • Reminders App – I use this pre-loaded app on the iPhone for grocery shopping. It lets me add/create multiple lists, and when I have added each grocery item to my cart, I can check it off of my list. Then it disappears, which lets me know I have the item in my cart. You can use this app for MANY tasks, but it is definitely a favorite of mine when shopping.
  • Online Timer – when working from home, I use a timer to let me know when it is time to move to the next task.:) There are plenty of free online timers online or on your smartphones!

One app/website I want to try – RescueTime:I just found out about this website on twitter. Its goal is to help diminish online digital distractions. I am interested to see how it works!

What are some things that make your day more productive? Feel free to share in the comments below!:)

Blessings,

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