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,

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,

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,

Recent Events

This week is going to be pretty busy for me at work. I was just given about 90 new students that I have to call, discuss things with and then activate into the course. Each call takes about 7-10 minutes, so….you do the math. 🙂

I am really enjoying it, however. The people I work with are amazing, supportive and uplifting. My students and parents have been gracious and friendly (so far). Every question I didn’t know the answer to, I was able to find out and get back to them within the day, keeping them happy.

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{Photo Credit: Caryn Recker}

As someone who hates being on the phone, I am not on the phone ALL THE TIME. And I know God is using this as a way to build up my communication skills. I feel this is necessary as I move into a role of church planting in the future. I have a difficult time communicating, especially with people I don’t know well or trust. I have felt an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment as I have moved forward into this new job. I know only God can do that, because I am massively uncomfortable talking on the phone, especially with people I do not know.

This week is going to be a big week – lots of phone calls, but also I have some great things upcoming:

  • Tuesday, I am getting some head-shots/photos taken by my good friend Adam. He lives in New Orleans and came home with his lovely wife to visit family, and agreed to do some shots for me. He recently opened his own design & production company. If you’re in the New Orleans area, check him out!
  • Wednesday, I get to go out to lunch with some co-workers who live in the Jacksonville area. Since we are virtual teachers, we most often work alone in our homes. FLVS teachers host get-togethers monthly so we can get out of the house and work together or just fellowship. I am looking forward to a great lunch and a nice time of meeting new co-workers!
  • Friday & Saturday my church is hosting a “Wounds that Heal” conference, led by Dr. Steve Seamands. He is going to be teaching about bringing our wounds, hurts and issues to the cross. If you’re in the Jacksonville, FL area, please come out. It is free! 🙂
  • My husband has been after me to begin writing music with him. I have felt God speaking to me about faith and trust for some time. Please pray for me, that I might be open to God’s voice and write down what He has to say (and not force something to happen).

If you think of it, please lift me (and my family) up in prayer this week. It is a busy week, and I want to make sure I balance my work and family time appropriately.

Thank you all for your continued support and love. How might I pray for you?? Please feel free to e-mail me with prayer requests, even if they are unspoken.

Blessings,

Non-Blogging Passion

Today, I am participating in another Girl Behind the Blog!

Today’s Topic:

What is your non-blogging passion(s)? Why are some things you do not always share on the blog, but you are passionate about?

I hope you enjoy! Check out the other blogs participating by clicking the icon below! 🙂

Blessings,

5ohwifey

Happiness or Joy?

One of the biggest things I am learning in this time of my life is that I may not like every single second of each experience I am in. For example: as a mother of a young child, I am often told by other mothers or grandmothers to “enjoy every moment” because they go by quickly. While I understand and appreciate how short life is and how precious each milestone is, I am not sure that is achievable for mothers to do.

As a mother, I think Glennon at Momastery said it best in a recent column, “Don’t Carpe Diem.” She expresses how I have felt about this issue for some time. I can do the best I can, but I know and can guarantee I won’t be enjoying every single moment. Can I get an amen from all my momma’s out there?

And as a person, I have always struggled with this. I want to find the happiness and joy in every situation I am in. I want to be able to suffer well. To find the lesson in my troubles. But there are those days, where I am stressed out and sometimes I forget that I can cast all of my cares on Jesus. And perhaps it would be tempting for me to feel guilt or shame for not always reacting the way I should.

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But life happens. And I know Jesus loves me. And I can go to Him in my crazy, overwhelmed state and He accepts me as I am….and then He teaches me and molds me into someone who is more and more like Him.

What are you going through today? Are you struggling to be joyful “in every moment.” You may not feel it, but God will mold you and make you content in where you are with Him.

Blessings,

May this song encourage those of you who are struggling today!

Desert Song – Hillsong

Happy Anniversary, honey!

Today I celebrate 8 years of marriage with my wonderful husband!!!

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In some respects, it seems like we JUST met. Time flies. In other ways, it feels as if 8 years is a LONG time – in that we have grown so much together, have been through many things together.

Outside of my relationship with Christ, my husband is my greatest blessing. He is the yin to my yang. He challenges me yet supports and encourages me. He is inspiring and my biggest cheerleader. He tentatively cares to my needs. He almost always puts me first and gives 100 percent to our relationship. He is also an amazing, Godly spiritual leader of our home. He exemplifies the meaning of “loving your wife like Christ loves the Church…”

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He is also an amazing father to our daughter. I couldn’t ask for more and I know she will count her blessings when she thinks of him, too.

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Happy Anniversary, honey. To many more years to come. I am thankful to share life with you. Love you always.

I’m off!

Hey friends!

I will be taking a sabbatical this week until Easter Sunday.

Why?

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{Royal Caribbean: Freedom of the Seas}

Because….I am going on a cruise! My husband and I are off on a week-long cruise to celebrate our 8 year anniversary coming up.

I pray you have a blessed week and that you enjoy the Easter holiday with your family.

How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap

I am thrilled to be co-hosting the “Sweet Simplicity” link-up this week with Nicolle! The link-up will be for posts sharing simple, easy DIY, recipes, etc. See the link-up below to add your post!

I am an avid fan of Pinterest. When my husband and I were looking for ways to trim our budget to help pay off our debts, I stumbled upon a myriad of posts on homemade cleaning products. One of my favorite one on how to make your own laundry soap. You can find the original post here: Laundry Soap Recipe Original Post.  (I decided to share the copy-cat recipe below.)

For some reason, I think many ladies get overwhelmed with the idea of making their own laundry soap. However, it is incredibly simple to do. Not only that, but it has save us a tremendous amount of money. I only have to make this once every few months, and that saves us a big amount on our grocery budget each month!

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

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Items You Need:

  • 1 bar of soap (any kind you like – I change mine all the time depend on what scent I like)
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • A cheese grater (the old-fashioned kind)
  • A funnel
  • A large liquid measuring cup (I use my 4 cup Pyrex one)
  • A large soup pot
  • 2 gallon containers
  • A large container to hold the soap (or, like me, you can collect old laundry soap holders and put the soap in there, hehe)

Launrdy Soap 2

Directions:

  1. Grate the bar of soap and then place into the pot.
  2. Fill a one gallon jug full of water and pour into the pot.
  3. Cook the grated soap and gallon of water until the water dissolves. I usually cook on medium heat.
  4. Once the bar soap is dissolved, put in the one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda into the pot.
  5. Cook until the mixture comes to a boil. DISCLAIMER: watch this carefully, if you walk away and it boils, it WILL SPILL OVER THE POT. (Ask me how I know….lol.)
  6. When it begins to boil and before it spills over, take off the heat.
  7. Add in an additional one gallon of COLD water and stir well.
  8. Using the funnel and measuring cup, begin pouring the laundry soap into your containers.
  9. Place the containers wherever you keep your laundry soap.

Additional Notes:

  • The laundry soap coagulates. Make sure you shake the containers well when you use it to do laundry!
  • You may not see suds. That is okay. Suds do not equal clean.
  • You can use 1/2 a cup for each load. Sometimes I use 1 cup if it is a larger load.
  • I use old laundry soap containers to store my soap. However, if you prefer, you can purchase a large, clear container like this one from Amazon.

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The Bitter & The Sweet

WARNING: INCESSANTLY LONG POST AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…. 🙂

It is with a joyful but heavy heart that I write this post.

As is no secret to those who know me well, for some time I have desired to transition to virtual school education. Having been a public school secondary (middle & high school) teacher for almost 8 years now, the pressures and exhausting schedule had begun to wear on me and my family. I have several friends who work for our state virtual school, and really enjoy it. While they work year round and have to be available and different times of the day for student questions, they are able to have more flexible schedules to meet their families needs.

Back in December, I got a call from the virtual school asking to begin the interview process. I had applied for a position a LONG time ago and forgot about it. Taking it as some sort of sign, I decided to go with the flow just to see what happens. The first initial phone interview went well. Then I didn’t hear ANYTHING for over a month. I was surprised when almost 6 weeks later, they called and asked me to go ahead with the second phase of the interview process: an online orientation and an all-day group interview at their corporate offices in Orlando, FL.

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{My husband and I chaperoning prom last year}

Excited and nervous, I went forward. I was extremely impressed with the company. They seem to value individual student learning, and genuinely care about their staff. They were completely forthright with their requirements and emphasized that transitioning to virtual education is a family decision (again, because you need to be available for random times of the day, unlike the traditional public school where you’re only there until 2:30 P.M.

At the end of the all day group interview, we were told that we would get an email letting us know if they wanted to continue the interview process with us or not. If they did, then you entered the hiring pool and were told you might have to wait months to hear anything. I got asked to continue on. Again, I was very excited and nervous because frankly, I was surprised to make it this far. And so I waited.

About 4 days later I got a call requesting I come BACK to Orlando, FL for a face-to-face, individual second interview. At this point the whole process began to seem EXTREMELY real. I began to have my few close friends and family who knew about this situation to pray. I felt strongly that if God wanted me in this position, that every detail would be worked out – including issues with our vacation at the end of the month, issues with having to leave immediately from work, etc.

The second interview went great. I got the opportunity to speak with one of the social studies leaders and a lead teacher for American History who was with us by phone. Both of them asked me questions and we had a good conversation about different experiences I have had with students. When the interview was over, I asked the social studies leader who was present a few questions about my details and concerns about getting hired so quickly. He eased my concerns by informing me that he was recommending me to be hired for a full-time position, and that he felt confident they could meet my scheduling needs.

WOW. What a wonderful, detail-oriented God we serve! Being a detail-oriented person by nature, it never ceases to amaze me how God is an on-time God, and concerned Himself with every small detail of a situation. It shows just how much He loves me and values even my seemingly trivial concerns.

All of that to say – I will soon be transitioning from a public school high school teacher to a virtual school high school teacher.

I am both excited and scared. Change is tough for me. But this is a challenge I am looking forward to.

Why am I making the move? For many reasons, but the main few are: more flexibility with work and a significant pay raise. This means I can increase how much money I put towards debt reduction and savings (for our eventual move to Phoenix to plant the church) without having to take on a second job. I can also be more readily available to my daughter as she transitions to VPK and Kindergarten in the coming years.

The hardest part about leaving my current school is leaving my students and my amazing co-workers. I love my students as if they were my own children, and I hate leaving them behind. I also have formed wonderful, supportive relationships with many of my co-workers, and I dread not getting to see those folks every day. I am thankful for the time I spent working with them and I know I will build great relationships with my new co-workers at FLVS.

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{Helping with graduation last year, posing here with some of my wonderful colleagues!}

Your prayers are appreciated for my family as we make this transition. Thank you to those of you who have been praying for us! We are so grateful.

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