Adventure

Adventure
Sunshine

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas

It is December and the season of Christmas is upon us. The lights are twinkling all around, timeless carols float on the air, and their is a dusting of snow on the ground. I've always thought that Christmas is such a magical time of the year. I close my eyes and am taken back to the Christmases of my past, and I smile. The simple beauty of childhood memories are truly a priceless treasure, they are snapshots in the book of our lives. I remember the year my family didn't have enough money for a Christmas tree, so we got crafty with a refrigerator box and some green spray paint. We had to tack the lights and ornaments on, but it was beautiful. I remember the Christmases that my siblings and I sat in the living room with our mom as she read us "The Christmas Carol." I remember hours spent frosting sugar cookies which we proudly called, "lick in sticks," because you licked a little frosting and then stuck a little on the cookie. I remember the Christmas I spent in Namibia and the children's program we had in the little school where I worked. I remember last Christmas, when I was falling in love. All of these days are gone and are tucked away as beautiful memories. But, there is a Christmas memory that is new every year. And that is, that Jesus is the reason for the season. Without Jesus, we wouldn't have Christmas memories or hope. And yet He came. He came to give us life, hope and joy. He is the One who gave us our past memories and He has great plans for your future. So this Christmas season, remember the memories of Christmases past, but don't forget to look forward with anticipation at the journey that God has ahead of you. He is the reason. Merry Christmas.

"There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries."   ~W.J. Cameron

"God Bless us, everyone." ~Tiny Tim

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Voice

I was walking the other day and I realized that I couldn't hear the birds singing or the wind in the trees because there was road construction going on and the sound of the heavy machinery was overpowering everything else. And then, something occurred to me, fears are often like heavy machinery. They come in loud and overpowering until you feel as though there is no escape from it. They drown out the beautiful sounds of the world around you until you feel lost in a sea of noise, fear and distraction. But then I realized something, just because the machines are trying their best to overpower everything else, the birds are still there, the breeze is still dancing in the trees and the snow is still crunching under my feet. Just because I've stopped listening for it doesn't mean it has left. You just have to train your ears to listen over the construction so that you can hear the symphony all around you. Fear is relentless and if you give it power you will soon be sitting in the corner with your hands over your ears begging it to stop. What we must realize is that God promises to be with us always and He says that there is no fear in Him. So, when the fear begins to drown you out, you have to stop and listen. Listen past the clamoring thoughts and distractions in your mind. It says in the Bible that God doesn't always blare His words at you, He wants you to listen for them. Moses was expecting God to come thundering from the mountain tops, but He didn't. Moses had to wait and listen for that still small voice. So, when the fears and doubts begin to scream at you remember that though they may be the loudest, that doesn't mean they are the truth. God designed us to be in communion with Him. When we listen to the fears and believe them we stop communicating with God, the source of truth and peace. So, my challenge to myself and you is to start training your mind to listen for the still small voice. It is not going to be easy, because the fears aren't going to just give up, but listen past them and don't give them the time of day. Because the more time you give them, the more real they will sound. So, laugh, love, live and start listening for the still small voice.

1 Kings 19:12
"Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."

"The key to change is to let go of fear." --Rosanne Cash

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Perfectionist

I must admit something, I am a terrible perfectionist. When someone is hurting, I want to make it better. When I don't understand something, I want it laid out in clear, precise terms. When I fail, I take it personally. In other words, I like to be in control and when life is not in perfect order I don't know what to do. And today I realized something, I can't be in control of everything. As I look back over my life, I realize that I have all to often been legalistic. I've tried being a perfectionist for myself, others and God. I believe that Jesus died to save me from my sins and yet I still keep trying to measure up. I've given my life to the One who created it and yet I still try to hold on. I try to attain some unreachable standard, and I can't. I realize that I still look at God as a task master, someone who is waiting with a list of "To Do's". When the truth is, God sent His Son to die, so that the "To Do" list could be erased. My perfectionism has gotten in the way. It's okay to strive to be our best but what we must remember is that our best will never be good enough. That's why Jesus died. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn that gift, we just have to take it.  The list that is in our heads, the list that makes us feel hopeless, the list that feels so long is not God's list at all. The only purpose that this list serves is to make us feel hopeless and defeated, because no matter how many things you mark off the list it will never be enough. So, that is what I have learned today; perfectionism is only going to get in your way, because you can never be perfect enough. So I'm going to have to let it go. I'm going to have to let some things be messy and some things be unanswered and I'm going to have to trust. Because I know the hope that is in Jesus Christ, it's for you and me. Don't let perfectionism get in the way of the beautiful life of freedom that is waiting for you.


Ephesians 2:8-9
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Jump

      The girl is standing on the edge of a cliff and tears begin to roll down her face. It feels as though there is no more hope. For her beautiful meadow has come to an end and there is nothing before her but a great drop. She is discouraged for it feels as though there is no choice but to go back, the canyon is simply too big. And then suddenly, He appears. At first she does not see Him and he quietly watches the conflict play out on her face. Just when she is about to turn back He places His hand on her shoulder and asks, "What's wrong?' The girl looks at Him with tears in her eyes and replies, "What do you mean, 'what's wrong?' It's obvious, I can't go forward any more and I'm going to have to turn back."
          He shakes his head and with a slight smile, says, "No you don't. There is always hope and moving forward is the only way to truly live. You just don't see how, because you are looking at the canyon. You're gaze is downward not upward."
          The girl looks up and sees nothing but the sky and wonders what He means. Then He takes her hand and says, "The only way is forward and right now it seems impossible, because you are not fully trusting Me. It is easy to trust when you know where you are and how things are going, but it is times like these that your trust and faith will be tested. Are you willing to step out regardless of how you feel about the circumstances? Are you willing to trust Me even though you don't know what lies ahead? Are you willing to trust Me even though your mind is saying that the only way is backwards?"
         The girl looked at the canyon and it seemed so very big, and then ever so gently He took her hand. "I'm not going to make you do this alone," He said. "I promise to go through it with you. You just have to make sure that you keep a hold of My hand. When you let go of my hand and your trust wavers, you'll start to feel as though you are spinning out of  control. So hold on tight, I promise I won't let you go." And so, she took his hand and without looking back, she jumped.  
         Have you ever been there? At that place where you feel as though you have no hope and that the only out is back. Forward seems scary, because you have no idea what's out there. Your mind is screaming at you that it is not the right move and the enemy would have you believe that if you take that jump you will be lost, because he doesn't want you to win. But the One who created your heart, knows these struggles and He doesn't promise that they will go away. But He does promise to hold your hand through them. So today, stop looking back--It's not an option. The Lover of your soul is waiting for you to take His hand and trust Him. Your mind may scream at you, the world might tell you you're crazy. But look into His eyes and see the love that He has for you and Jump. You won't regret it.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

"Faith is two things: Either you'll take a step and find your on solid ground. Or you'll learn to fly." --Unkown

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." --Unknown

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flying

One of my all time favorite stories is Peter Pan. It is great, there are adventures, pirates, a magical island and best of all, he could fly. Flying is something that I have always dreamed of being able to do. I remember when I was very little, my Dad picked me up and was "flying" me down the hallway. I remember thinking, "just let me go Daddy, I've got it from here." Of course he kept a firm grip on me because he knew the law of gravity, but I just knew I could fly. In the story Peter is telling the children how to fly and he says, "All it takes is faith and trust...And pixie dust. Now think a happy thought and fly." As I was thinking about this the other day, something occurred to me. So often in this life, we feel as though we are just barely getting by. Nothing seems good or beautiful anymore and we feel as though we are stuck on the ground. And, sadly we have trained ourselves to believe that this is the only way. Oh, but there is so much more. Though we will never literally be able to defy gravity and fly, the One who has given us life desires for us to live victoriously, chase our dreams, love unconditionally... to fly. But you may ask, "how can I ever get past these circumstances? I've lost sight of dreams, love and faith." Well, my advice to you are the words of Peter Pan. Have Faith in the One who loved you enough to die. Trust in Him regardless of the circumstances. And think a happy thought, meaning, believe in the beautiful things of life. Set your mind on the positive, for the only place negative thoughts will take you is in a downward spiral. So next time you start to feel discouraged and stuck, take Peter Pan's advice, Faith, Trust and Happy thoughts...and soar!.

"All you need is faith and trust...And a little bit of pixie dust." --Peter Pan

"Childlike faith focuses on our Heavenly Father--Not on our fears." --Unknown

Monday, October 17, 2011

Live

I've decided something. I look at my life and realize that all to often I have not been living. I've been making do, getting by and, more often than not, struggling. I am so richly blessed and yet I don't often live like it. I struggle with fears, doubts and worries and they do nothing more than dull the colors around me to a muddy gray. I sit and look at my shoes trying to think of all that I have to do to get it right and it overwhelms me because I just can't. And then yesterday something clicked in my head. I felt as though God whispered in my ear, "Beloved, stop. Stop looking at the mud because it's not going to get you anywhere. I have set you free but you are not living in it. It's time to start living." Jesus Christ paid the price for me and you to live a victorious, free life. So I'm going to stop looking at what I think I have to do to make myself worthy of that gift and instead, I'm going to look into the eyes of the One who gave it to me. I'm not saying it is going to be easy, even today I started to look back and get caught up in that nasty, muddy mess. But regardless of how I feel, I'm going to rest in the arms of the One who loves me more than I will ever know. So my challenge to myself and you is this: Let it go. Life is waiting.

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." --Unkown
              

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Clocks

 I live in a apartment in a big yellow house on a quiet street in a little town. The people who lived here once, long ago, were watch makers. I made a discovery the other day and it got me thinking. I was down in the basement the other day and there, way in the back was the watch makers desk. It was covered with watch faces, clock pieces and all the tools of the trade. The drawers were full of things just waiting to be discovered and the ledger sitting there dated back to the forties. What really struck me, were the glasses. There was an old wire rimmed pair of eye glasses sitting there amongst the clocks. It was as though the wearer had been in the middle of something when he set them down to run upstairs for a cup of coffee, and he never went back. It made me wonder why he had stopped and what ever happened next. And then I began to think. We only have so much time. Life is a precious gift and yet so often we spend our days worrying, grumpy, struggling, or wishing we were somewhere or somebody else. That is not the way we were meant to live. When God set your life in motion, I'm quite certain He smiled. Because He said, "I know the plans I have for you...They're good plans." So, don't let worry, fear, the grummpies, or discontent ruin your day. Because God has something much better for you, and it may very well be right in front of you but you won't be able to see it if you don't look. So, today with the precious time you have, let it go, smile, laugh and live the life you have been given. It's good.

"Know how to live the time that is given you." --Dario Fo



Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Music

Do you ever feel as though the music has stopped. You feel as though life has left you in the dust, and what once was beautiful and exciting feels gray and sad. Stop right now, and listen. Do you hear it? The music is still playing, it may be quiet and gentle, but ever so faintly it plays on. Because, the One who wrote the music promises to never leave or forsake you. Did you know that every organ in the human body vibrates at a certain pitch. That means that you are a living, walking song. The symphony of life is within your very being. God delights in you so much that He wrote His music into you. You can't hear it with your ears, and yet it is there. How amazing is that! Our very bodies are an instrument of praise to the One who has given us life. So, today whatever you are doing, wherever you have been,  regardless of what you feel like, let the music play. Smile! It's going to be a good day.

"Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. " --Lao Tzu

Psalm 101:1
"I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to You O Lord, I will make music."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn

I stepped outside today and couldn't help but smile. Fall is here. A time when scarves sound delightful, apple cider is fresh and your every step plays a part in a beautiful, crunchy symphony. Autumn is my favorite season of the year and I must say that the colors are a big reason for this. When the trees begin to change to a million reds, golds, oranges and browns it is as though God is putting on a color show. Close your eyes, do you feel it? The world is dancing with delight. As I was thinking about the change of seasons the other day, a thought occurred to me, autumn is a time of rest. With spring we see many changes as new things are born and life is happening all around. With summer comes a time of immense growth. And fall, oh sweet beautiful fall, brings rest. Some may look at the changing of the leaves and the onset of cooler weather as a time of death, but it's not. Fall brings a resting period. After months of change and growth fall is like a signal to slow down. I think that this correlates to our lives as well. We all go through springs, times of great change in our life, and summers, periods where we grow and learn. These are great and beautiful times, but to balance it all out we need to rest and reflect. I think that fall is a reminder to all of us to slow down, take a deep breath, look back at the summer and see how we have grown, and then rest. So on this beautiful autumn day, I challenge you to run through the leaves, feel the cool air on your face, breathe deeply of the earth's dusty aroma, and know that God delights in you and is inviting you, to come and rest in Him.

"Autumn's the mellow time. " ~William Allingham


"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."  ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Puzzle

Do you ever feel like you are walking around carrying a huge box of jumbled up puzzle pieces. You look into the box at the thousands and thousands of pieces and your heart drops. The box feels so heavy and you have simply no idea how to put the pieces together to make a whole. Sometimes you may try to put a piece or two together, and sometimes you just feel like giving up as you shake the box. I have been feeling like that a lot lately, and slowly slowly, the answer is occurring to me. I will never be able to put the puzzle together. Not on my own. It is a task simply too great for me. But just when the discouragement sets in, hope appears. Hope is a funny thing, because it is always there, it never leaves. Whether we realize it or not, hope is alive. Hope...His name is Jesus. He is sitting there with a heart that is aching for us. He knows that the only way for us to succeed is for us to give the pieces to Him. It's funny how the simplest things can sometimes be the hardest. Why do we struggle so to hand Him the pieces, they are just frustrating us, but still we have a desire to hold onto them. And yet, all we have to do is hand them to Him and with careful and patient hands, He snaps each and everyone into its place, and suddenly the picture emerges. And when we hand Him the pieces, the messed up jumbled things of life, He smiles and hands us His peace. So my challenge to myself and you is to hand Him the pieces and allow the Hope of the World to bring Peace to your life. And then dance in it.

"Life is God’s novel. Let him write it." --Issac Bashevis Singer


 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
      -
Isaiah 40:29-31

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Steps

The girl is standing in the middle of a giant field and slowly sighs. A sigh of frustration, fear and doubt. The world around is so large and seems to demand so much of her. A single tear begins to fall. And then, as the sun goes down and the moon begins to rise, He appears. And gently, oh so gently, as the stars begin to dance above, He takes her hand. Then, with the slightest of smiles on His lips, He gives the girl an invitation. He whispers, "Lets dance." At first her heart swells and she so longs to be swept away, until the realization hits her, she does not know the steps. She steps back and with fear in her voice says, "I can't."
        "Oh, but you can," He says, "For I am the one who created the dance. I know all the steps and twists and turns. All you have to do is let me lead." And so, she takes His hand and they begin to sway. But the girl soon stumbles and her heart sinks, for what if He, the creator of the dance will decide that she is simply not worth His time. But before she is even done thinking, He pulls her in and whispers into her ear, "I will never leave you. Trust me and know that it is okay to stumble, for if you only lean on me you will soon find that as you sway to my rhythm, the steps will come." So, she leans forward, lays her head on His chest and begins to move.
       And so it is in life. The One who created us and has called us by name knows all the steps in the dance. He promises to be faithful. As the seasons change, as the years go by, through the ups and downs. In the times of laughter and the times of tears. When it feels dark and like all hope is gone, He dances on. When we decide that He isn't leading properly, we begin to stumble and feel the bumps, and yet, through it all He never lets go. So, close your eyes, feel His promise and dance.


Zephaniah 3:17
"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing."

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to be over, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."  --Unknown

 

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Heartbeat

The other day I snuggled up to my husband, laid my head on his chest and began to listen to his heartbeat. A steady, rhythmic, beat... The beat of life. There in that place, with his arms around me and his heart gently beating in my ear, I felt so safe and loved. And it was in that moment that I realized something. The One who made me and knows my heart, loves me more than any person will ever be able to. The One who  has called my name is sitting there with arms open wide, just waiting for me to run into them, lay my head on His chest and listen to His heartbeat... Because it beats for me and for you. The heart of the Father is the pulse of life, it sustains us and keeps us safe. So often in this life we get distracted by all that is going on around us. Worries, fears, and the cares of this world will try to distract us, and it is when we allow this that we begin to panic. Because when our attentions to drift away from the heart of life, we lift up our head so that we can no longer hear His heart beat. Now the important thing to remember here is that even when we do this and allow worries to seep in, it doesn't mean that His heart no longer beats for us, it simply means that we have gotten distracted and have stopped listening. This can feel very frightening. But all that we need to do is take a deep breath, turn our eyes back to the One who is patiently waiting for us to remember that He is always right there, relax against Him and listen to His heartbeat... It beats for you.

"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." --Hellen Keller

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Motif

Have you ever noticed something beautiful. It may be little and easily overlooked if one is not paying attention, and yet, it is always there. Like a musical motif, this beauty is always there. It occured to me that I have a motif running through my life as well. It is the grace, mercy, peace, compassion and faithfulness of the One who gave me life. No matter where I am or what is happening in my day, it is always there. And I remember this every time I see a butterfly, a small thing of beauty that consistantly appears and reminds me that I am never alone. As I was walking home the other day a butterfly floated accross my path. Over the past few months I have learned a lot from these delicate creatures. And now they are a constant reminder to me that God keeps his promises. A reminder to be still and rest, knowing that the One who made me is always with me. A reminder to chase my dreams. A reminder that life is beautiful and that I am loved. I so easily forget these things and allow my mind to start believeing otherwise. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, a butterfly lands on my shoulder and I remember. So as you walk through life with all of its bumps and twists, start looking around you, I can guarantee that if you pay attention, you will begin to see His grace, peace and mercy in a lot of ways throughout your day, those little reminders that you are loved more than you could ever imagine. See it in the laughter of a child, in the hug of one you love. See it in the delicate beauty of a flower or in the elegeant grace of a butterfly. But always remember.

"It's a wonderful feeling just being in this creative motif." --Roy Ayers

"The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection." --Michelangelo

Monday, August 22, 2011

Texture

Have you ever noticed that the road of life is often full of potholes, bumps and zig zags. As we are going through them we often get frustrated and wonder why it is happening to us. It is all to easy to get into the "why me" mentallity. We wish that all those bumps and thumps would just go away. I've had my fair share of these road problems, but they got me to thinking the other day. If we were to turn around and look back we would see that all those inconveinant and sometimes painful moments in our life, are exactly what give our lives, and ourselves, character and beauty. It's like when you look at a piece of art. Up close you see all the individual brush strokes, colors, mistakes and blemishes. But when you step back and look at it as a whole all those things come together to make it beautiful. If any of those steps in the process were missing, the art would not be complete. So, it is through the bumps and jolts of life, the things that make us cry and the things that make us laugh, the good and the bad, that we learn and grow to be the person that we are today. So when you look back on your life, don't sigh and think of all the hurt or frustration, think about the things that you learned through it, and the way that you grew because of it. And maybe, just maybe, when you look back you won't see caos, but a beautiful pattern that weaves together and gives texture to the canvas of your life.

"God doesn't put hard things in your path to hurt you, but to call out your strength and courage."
--Unkown

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Legacy

This week I had the privilege to spend some time with a truly amazing person, A woman who has touched the lives of many. She has seen many years and now she is stooped and moves rather slow. Her hand has a slight tremmer and her hair has turned the purest of white. To many who do not know this woman, she appears like any other old grandma. And sadly, most would probably over look her. And yet, when she smiles there is still a sparkle in her eyes and a hint of mischief in her voice. And when she begins to tell her stories, it as if she is opening a window into the past. A window from which we can learn, laugh and remember. As I sat there and listened, I was blown away. She reminded me that there is beauty everywhere, but especially in the little things about life. Like fun trips with friends, evenings spent outside around a campfire, and those little annoying things that in hindsight bring tears to your eyes because you cannot stop laughing about them. She reminded me that life is precious and ought to be lived to the fullest. That the One who has given us life is love. And that the people in our lives are our most precious gifts. Another thing that I learned is that life is not always fair. That sometimes we will encounter great pain, and yet, there is always a reason to smile. If the life of this great lady were laid out like a road map, I'm sure it would be full of bumps, hills and valleys, twist and turns, unexpected forks, wide open fields of sunshine and most likely some clouds. But it is these very things that have made her into the person that she is today. So I've decided something. I've decided that I don't want to just ho-hum it through life. I want to hold onto my hat and say, "Let's get going!" I want to experience life and all the adventures that are out there. And some day when I get to be old and grey, I hope to still have a sparkle in my eye and mischief in my voice. I hope to someday leave a legacy.


"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forewards."--Soren Kierkegaard

"The Legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example."
      --Benjamin Disraeli

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Colors

Today as I was standing in my room with the great debate of "What shall I wear today" playing through my head, I was overtaken with an urge to don as many colors as possible. My personal motto for life is that there should be no place untouched by color. I simply cannot imagine a black and white world. And so with this in mind, I proceeded to select a winner of an outfit. Starting, with pink leggings and a teal skirt. Moving up to a lime green and orange top. Yellow earrings and a string of multicolored beads add the right amount of flair, and to finish it off, what could be better than red and yellow high tops. Now tell me this, how can anyone have a bad day when it starts off with this much color and fun. And it was this that made me start to think. How often do I wake up and put on shades of grey for the day? It's not the clothes I choose to put on, but the color of my attitude, my thoughts, or my dreams. It is all to easy to allow grey into our hearts. To loose the joy of the little things all around us. To allow worries or fears to dull the true colors of the love of the One who has given us life and hope. When we allow cares, worries and burdens to have a part in us, we begin to mix grey into our hearts and the brilliant colors begin to dull. And oh, how sad a state this is. For that is not how life was meant to be lived. The One who breathed life into us is the one who gave us the colors. He created reds to be deep and purples to be rich. Blues to take our breath away and greens to sparkle. So today, whether your wearing a navy blue sweater and khakis, or all the colors of the rainbow, let the colors of your heart shine out and know the love of the One who gave them to you.

"Colors are the smiles of nature." --Leigh Hunt

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Book

Do you ever stop and think about how life is kind of like a book. A story full of adventures, love, tears, laughter, joy, sorrow and the unknown. Each page brings new twist and turns. And, as in all good stories, the plot is always moving forward. If we were forever stuck on one page, one chapter, the story would loose its interest. And so life moves forward and new adventures begin. I find myself at the beginning of a new chapter in my life. The page has been turned and an exciting new twist has begun. It started with a ring and a promise. With this change in the story, I took a new name, packed my bags, said goodbye to my childhood and took the hand of the one I love. And now as this new chapter of the story begins,  as I jump in the car and drive forward towards my new home and the great unknown, I smile and trust the One who is writing the story.

"Dream dreams and write them aye, but live them first. " --Samuel Eliot Morrison

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rest

A little girl is standing in the field and a tear of frustration rolls down her cheek. And she cries out, "Why? Why do I feel as though I am striving to reach your peace and yet, it is always just out of my grasp?" Then, out of nowhere, a butterfly floats by. It flits and flutters from one place to the next. The girl is mesmerized by this thing of beauty and begins to go after it, but it only seems that the harder she tries the less she succeeds. When suddenly, He is standing next to her. He puts his arm around her shoulder and says in a gentle yet firm voice, "Beloved, my peace is like the butterfly. It cannot be obtained by striving. You can't chase it down and catch it. Sit still and watch." The girl is unsure of this, but she trusts the One who tells her. And so, she sits and waits. And in no time, the once allusive butterfly, glides over and gently rests on her shoulder. The girl gasps in amazement and delight at the butterfly. He sits down beside her and chuckles ever so softly. Then He says, "Beloved, my peace is like the butterfly. It's yours to have, but striving for it will only frustrate and wear you out. Peace and striving will never work together. All you have to do is rest. Rest in Me, delight in Me, trust Me, and my peace will surround you like a song."
              
Psalms 46:10a
"Be still and know that I am God."

"You can chase a butterfly all over the field and never catch it. But if you sit quietly in the grass it will come and sit on your shoulder." --Unknown

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Faces

Do you ever have one of those moments where you are so blown away by the One who holds life in His hands. One of those moments where life simply stands still, and all around you you see snapshots of His greatness and majesty, goodness and grace.Today I had one of those moments. A moment where I could do nothing but laugh as the tears fell down my face and marvel at the love of the One of who has called my name and promised to never leave me. Sometimes you may find yourself in a place where you are unsure. Unsure of His love, unsure of His goodness. Unsure of this life and how you will ever make it through. And then, when you absolutely need it the most, you see a sparkle, a snapshot, a declaration that He is true and real and good. Sometimes we may think that we have to wait and see God in some great, solemn, majestic way. And yet, God is all around and He reveals Himself in so many ways. And today, I saw it in faces. In the face of friends who show up at my families door step with pizzas, saying "Have dinner on us."  In the face of the one who has captured my heart and is soon going to become my husband. In the face of a fourteen year old girl who's life is drastically changed in a day, and yet still smiles. In the face of a a little boy who drives you crazy all day with his constant chatter and then melts your heart when he asks for a hug before he goes to bed. God is there. He is real. He is good. And you know what, He desires the best for you and He will fulfill that. He's not going to leave you hanging, He always comes through. So, look for the snapshots, see Him in the faces all around you. Loose yourself in the moment. Laugh, cry, dance, dream and never forget.

"In the midst of our lives, we must find the magic that makes our souls soar." --Unknown


Friday, July 22, 2011

Stars

Stars are magical don't you think. As the dark approaches, they begin to sneak out one by one until they just spill across the velvety night skies like sparkling diamonds. They twinkle, they dance, and occasionally they shoot across the sky leaving a glittering trail. And that trail is like a tantalizing arrow drawing you into a wish, a dream or maybe an adventure. As kids we understood the beauty of the stars and sang with simple innocence, "Twinkle, Twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are." Don't ever loose that wonder. I still love to go out on a cool summer evening and marvel at the skies. There is just something peaceful about loosing yourself in the beautiful greatness of something so much bigger then yourself. So go ahead, make a wish.

Psalm 147:4
"He counts the stars and calls them all by name."

"There wouldn't be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one." --Frances Clark

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pinwheels

One of the silly little things in life that make me smile are pinwheels. There is just something so simple, happy and delightful about a pinwheel dancing in the breeze. In fact, I have a pinwheel with all the colors of the rainbow sitting on my windowsill. I love to lay on my bed in the evening and watch it spin like crazy as the stars start to sneak out one by one. I was thinking about this the other day and the thought occurred to me that life is sometimes like a pinwheel. Occasionally the winds blow and it feels as though I might be spinning out of control. And yet, no matter how dizzy I may get, I don't have to fear. Why is this you ask, it's because I know that I am grounded in the One who will never let me go. Yes, sometimes the winds will kick up and they may even turn into a storm. But He's not going to let me go. And the beautiful thing is, that it is often during these times of spinning that beauty shines through. A pinwheel is beautiful when it is still, but when it begins to spin the colors merge and whirl and a whole new beauty shines forth. And it is our choice whether or not we are going to allow ourselves to see that beauty. We could choose to have an attitude of fear and doubt and spend our time fearing that we are going to spin ourselves out. Or, we can choose to laugh our heads off, throw our hands in the air, feel the breeze on our faces and know completely that God has it all under control . That is when the beauty truly begins to shine.

"Be inspired with the belief that life is a great and noble calling; not a mean and groveling thing that we are to shuffle through as we can, but an elevated and lofty destiny." --William E Gladstone


Psalm 31:14-15a
"But I am trusting in you, O Lord, saying, 'You are my God!' My future is in your hands."

Monday, July 18, 2011

The silver lining

So I was thinking the other day about clouds that have silver linings. And this of course made me think about all the different types of silver linings out there...
* Without storms, we would never have rainbows.
*Ridiculously hot days just make ice cream taste that much better.
*Maybe you burnt the cake, but that means you can eat the frosting by the spoonful.
* Mud puddles may be inconvenient but then you can wear your mud boots.
*You walk into a road sign and have to get 3 stitches in your head(Yep, I've been there) but then you have a great story to tell.
*You stained your favorite shirt, then pull out the tie-dye
*The winds may be kicking up, but just put up your sails and enjoy the ride.
         These are just the silver linings that I've come up with. Look around you, the sun is peaking through the clouds if only you look.


"Miracles happen to those who believe in them." --Bernhard Berenson 


"A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy." --Alexander Solzhenitsyn



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Close your eyes and think back to when you were a kid. After a long grueling day in the 4th grade what did you do? As soon as the bus pulled up in front of your house, you ran across the front yard, up the porch steps, through the front door and into the kitchen.  You then proceeded to drop your backpack, full of important and heavy fourth grade kinds of things, onto the kitchen floor. And there was your mom standing at the counter with a plate of hot, gooey, chocolate chip cookies. You climbed up on the stool, took a deep breath and began to relax as the soothing sounds, sights, and smells of your mom, the kitchen and the cookies swirled around you. Your mom was the absolute best because she could instantly tell if you had a bad day or a good day. She new when to say something and when to just sit with you and share a cookie. In the kitchen, on that stool you were safe to share your day and truly be yourself. Once you were there, you began to forget about how heavy that backpack was, the bullies on the playground, and the D you got on your spelling test. In the kitchen, life just slowed down and no matter how much homework there was to do, you knew it was okay to take some time for your mom and a cookie... You know what, though you may not be in fourth grade anymore and your backpack is a little heavier these days, there is still a place as safe as your mom's kitchen. We have a Heavenly Father who longs to spend time with us. He so wants to take some time just to sit with you. He knows if you've had a good sort of day or a bad sort of day. He knows about the bullies on the playground, and the D on the spelling test. And, He so desires for us to come to Him, drop the backpack, climb on the stool and share a cookie with Him. You don't always have to have something to say either. He just likes to sit with you. And believe me, when you take time out of your day to sit in the kitchen with the One who loves you more than you will ever know, you will find that the weight of the world that you seem to be carrying around will become more manageable. Because when your with Him, you will realize that, no matter what, He's always there for you. So, today I challenge you to walk into the kitchen, drop the backpack and have a cookie.


Psalm 27:8
"My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with Me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'"

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every day and then  lay down on our blankets for a nap."--Barbara Jordan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shoes

This week I got a new pair of shoes. And these are not just any shoes, they are red and yellow high tops... It really doesn't get much better than that. And the really exciting thing about these shoes is that I am going to say "I Do" in them. Yep, I'm wearing red tennies to my wedding. But, I don't plan on wearing them just for the one day and then putting them somewhere in the back of the closet to collect dust. I plan on living life in those shoes. I'm going to run, jump, dance and skip in them. Because, shoes are meant to be worn in and worn out. Meant to get us from here to there. Meant to take us on grand adventures. As I was thinking about my new shoes yesterday, I realized that God has given us a pair of shoes to wear too. It says in Ephesians that we are supposed to shod our feet with the Gospel of Peace. I think that this verse means that we are to take the peace of the Good News to the world. But then I realized something. God is the god of peace and He brings peace to every part of our lives if we allow Him in. How often do we find ourselves unsettled and lacking peace in our lives, because we are holding God at a slight distance because we are afraid, or doubt that He is big enough to take care of us. God gave us a pair of shoes when we came to Him. They are the shoes of peace, and it was never His intention for us to wear them for one day and then put them into the back of the closet. He gave us those shoes to live life in. To run, jump, skip and dance. They are a gift to us, to wear in and wear out. To get us from here to there. To go on grand Adventures in. So, next time you feel doubts or unrest, think about where you put your shoes. They are God's gift to you, are you wearing them?

Ephesians 6:15
"For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fireflies

I saw fireflies the other night for the first time this summer. They were so beautiful. I love how they seem to fill the cool night air with magic and wonder. And they got me thinking. You only see fireflies when it is dark... When we were kids we were often scared of the night. It always seemed that when the evening shadows began to darken the ordinary turned scary. What once was sunshiny and beautiful was all of a sudden dark and unknown. But then, just when we start to get scared and wonder where the beauty of the day went, a single firefly begins to dance and soon he is followed by hundreds more. And they turn what was scary and unknown into something magical. Sometimes life is like this. We are going along and suddenly things go dark and we become afraid. We feel all alone and fear what lies around every dark corner. And then, just when we are completely at a loss, a firefly begins to dance. These fireflies of life come in many different shapes and forms, but they always come when we need them the most. And the really cool thing about these little bits of magic is that if life was always sunny and good we would most likely miss them. Sometimes it takes the dark times in life to really see something beautiful. So I encourage you, don't be afraid of the dark times, you are never alone... Just look for the fireflies.

"...I enter the battle, and I am not afraid. For I am not alone." Wayne Batson

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stuck

Sometimes life is funny. Have you ever had one of those moments when it just seems so absolutely ridiculous and yet all you can do is laugh about it. Today was one of those moments. I was babysitting my younger siblings this weekend and one of them managed to get wedged under the bed. He crawled under there, put his feet up and managed to get good and stuck. It took a bit of calming down and maneuvering before we managed to get him out of there, and hopefully he has learned the valuable lesson of not crawling into tight spaces. I think that life is like that sometimes. We occasionally find ourselves wedged into a tough spot and we wonder how in the world we will ever get out. And often during those times we start to panic because we are afraid that we won't be able to get out. And yet, God is always there ready to pull us out of whatever mess we have gotten ourselves into. What we need to realize, is that we need to calm down and relax and allow God to help us through. Because when we start to panic we simply get ourselves wedged in tighter. So, take a deep breath, calm down and let God pull you through. And if you can, laugh and laugh hard about it. Because laughter is truly the best medicine of all.

"When you come to the end of your rope, make a knot and hang on." --Unknown

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Flower

There is a girl sitting in the middle of a vast field and in her hands she holds a flower. One by one she pulls the petals of... He loves me, He loves me not. As she does this she is filled with a dread that maybe she will end up with one petal and the words "He loves me not." As she gets towards the end of the petals a single tear begins to roll down her cheek as she thinks, "What if?" And then, out of no where He appears. He is beautiful, and powerful and oh so gentle. He sits beside her without a word, and for a minute there is silence. Then He speaks, "Beloved, there is no 'what if' with Me. My love is unconditional and never failing. You never have to fear that the last petal will seal your fate, because that is not how I work. Do not doubt the love I have for you, for you are mine and I have called your name." Then with strong hands that bear a scar, he takes the sad, ruined flower and hands her a beautiful rose without a single blemish.
          Never forget the unfailing love of the One who is the lover of your soul.

"Grace is more beautiful than beauty." --Emerson

Psalm 42:8
"But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to the God who gives me life."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Butterlifes

Next to the window sits a old jar and inside the jar is a beautiful butterfly. It is a  amazing, delicate, creature. And ever so gracefully it flutters about. It is so delightful to see butterflies floating on the breeze. And chasing after them through the fields is one of those simple joys of childhood. And as I sit and watch the butterfly in the jar, I realize something. Butterflies are like dreams, they are meant to be chased. When we put them into a jar all we can do is look at them. They are not going anywhere and they are not being all that they could be. Butterflies and dreams were not meant to be stuffed in a jar and put on a shelf. They were meant to be chased. Sometimes we get scared that if we pursue our dreams they will get lost or we will be hurt. Just like we are afraid of letting the butterfly out of the jar for fear of loosing it, we often are afraid to truly chase our dreams. We say to ourselves that it is just better if we put them up in a jar where they will be safe. But that is not what dreams are for. Dreams are meant to be chased, for the fun is in the chase. You just never know what you might encounter as you run through the fields of life. Don't ever stop dreaming! Don't stop believing! Don't stop delighting! Don't stop chasing! So what is your dream?

"When you cease to dream, you cease to live." --Malcolm Forbes

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer

I love summer. And you know what I think is the best part about it... All the little random things. Like having the truck break down at work and finding it so funny you can't do anything but laugh on the side of the road. Jumping into the swimming pool in your jeans at the end of a long hot day. Ice cream with your best friend. Funny tan lines that make you look ridiculous. Fireflies filling the fields with electricity. Sidewalk chalk. Ice cold lemonade. The list could go on and on. And you know what, I think that is the amazing thing about life. It is the little things that make us smile and that often leave the biggest marks in our hearts. So, I challenge you this summer to stop waiting for the big events, and to discover the joys of everyday life. You just never know what you might discover.

"Sometimes," said Pooh, "The smallest things take up the most room in your heart." --A.A Milne

Friday, June 3, 2011

Gifts

Have you ever thought about the beautiful gifts that have been given to you? Life is full of them and so often we don't see them, or we take them for granted, or saddest of all, we don't accept them. I think that sometimes we get it into our heads that we don't deserve the gifts. And yet, that is why it is called a gift. Sometimes we are handed something beautiful and we get scared. We are afraid that it might get taken back or perhaps we aren't worthy of something so precious. And yet, God is sitting there saying, "Beloved, the gift is for you, accept it. I delight in blessing you." God loves you, do you realize that? He has given us the gift of joy, and the ability to see the beauty all around us. A lazy summer day, the joy of being in love, a gentle rain that refreshes the earth and bull frogs singing at night; there is a gift in each of these, and it is your choice whether to accept it or not. You can choose to say, "No, I don't deserve it." Or, "No, I'm just not good enough." But that is not how gifts work, they are simply free. God's waiting for you to take the gift. So let go, take a leap of faith and discover the joy that is waiting for you.                            


"There are two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Promise

A few days ago I received an amazing gift, a ring from the love of my life. When he slipped it on my finger it became a promise of something beautiful. A promise to love me forever. I naturally was very excited and have not stopped staring at my finger since. And then I realized something, I've also received a promise from the One who created the universe. God saw me before I took my first breath and said, "She's mine and I'm going to love her forever." And though I don't wear a ring from God, He reminds every day of the love He has for me. Whether it's in the beauty of a sunrise, a gentle rain, a birds song or a child's laugh, I am constantly reminded that I am loved by the One who made me. And I wonder, why do I ever doubt this? Why do I sometimes wake up and fear that just maybe God's not going to love me today? That is the craziest thing in the world because If I know that a mere human being could love me so much and want to spend the rest of his life with me, how could I ever doubt the love of One who is so much greater. So I wear this ring, as a reminder that I am loved.



"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered. I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me." --Psalm 139:17-18

"How do you spell love?" asked Piglet. "You don't spell love," said Pooh, "You feel it."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let it go

I have been thinking a lot about trust the past few days and I've come to realize that I am not always very good at it. Sometimes we come to a point in life where we are holding on so tightly to something we are trying to protect. We hold it in our hands and squeeze hard trying to keep it safe. What we don't always realize is that in so doing we are not saving it, but suffocating it. And while we sit there with our efforts, God is patiently waiting for us to open our clenched fists and let Him take it. We so often think that if we let it go and loose control it will all come crashing down around us. Yet, what we don't realize is that God is good and He wants the very best for us. When we open our fists He gently takes what we were holding and before our eyes we see Him breathe life into it. When we tried to take care of it on our own, it was like we were holding a small flower bud and squeezing it in our hands trying to keep it safe. But, when we hand it to God and allow Him to take care of it, all of a sudden the flower is allowed to bloom in His gentle hands. It is not always easy to trust, it requires us to believe, have faith and to truly realize that God has good plans for us. So, open your hands, give it to God and watch it bloom into something beautiful.

"You say, 'let it go.' You say life is waiting for the ones who loose control."              --Tenth Avenue North   

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just keep playing

Today I sat down at the piano and started playing. I always find so much peace and joy in music. I love how the notes on the page come to life in such a beautiful way. As I was playing, every once in awhile, I would hit a wrong note. And it made me think. That is kind of how life is. Throughout the course of our lives, we are bound to make mistakes. That is just the nature of being human. But than I realized, mistakes are okay. It's when we dwell on the mistakes that a problem arises. If every time we hit a  wrong note we get upset and stop, the music will not be what it could. When I make a mistake on the piano I just keep on going and don't let it interrupt the fun of simply playing. If I was to play the piano so intent on not making any mistakes I would probably end up playing worse than if I simply allowed the mistakes to roll on by. That is how we should live life. Know that mistakes will happen, but never forget that there is grace. So, keep playing, don't dwell on the mistakes and enjoy the music. 

"Life is drawing without an eraser; that is to say, don't worry about making mistakes." --Robert D. Clements

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beautiful Potential

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
    Do you believe in the beauty of your dreams? Do you realize that life is beautiful and that God has good things for you? He does. We have dreams for a reason, to chase them. If we didn't go after them we would never go anywhere. If we life with the mindset that our dreams are pointless or unattainable than we will never really live. I believe that God gave us our dreams and He smiles when we go after them. And you know what, He likes to make them come true. Stop thinking that you are not worthy of what you dream or worrying that you might get hurt if you go after them. Their may be pain in the journey but that all works toward you becoming a better person, the person you were truly meant to be. So today I challenge you to start dreaming and watch the future unfold.

"Your life is an occasion, rise to it."  --Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dandelions

I think that Peter Pan was on to something, he never wanted to grow up. So often we are in a rush to get somewhere: School, work, errands, we are always trying to get there. We are in a rush for time to pass, we just want to get through this week, this month, this year. And sometimes, we are in a rush to grow up. We think that when we grow up we will finally have life figured out. But that just isn't true. As life goes on I have come to realize that I will never have life figured out and you know what, that is okay. I think that when we grow up we loose something. Kids have the ability to trust without all the answers, they possess an unwavering faith, and joy that bubbles forth from deep within. Kids have the ability to enjoy the simple things in life and realize what is truly important. Just the other day my little sister came into the house with an armful of dandelions. She firmly announced that she was saving them from the lawn mower. You cannot help but smile at this and yet think about it, she took the time to save her favorite flowers from destruction when we as adults would look at them and see a bunch of weeds. When she looks at  dandelions she sees beauty, summer and a bouquet just waiting to  be enjoyed. So you know what I want in my life? I want to never grow up. I know that I will never be eight years old again, thats not how it works, but I do know that I can keep that childlike joy in my heart. I want to look at dandelions and see flowers, I want to laugh at the silly things, and I want to have that simple unwavering faith. I don't want to ever grow up.

"Life is too important to be taken seriously." --Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 16, 2011

Motorcycle Rides

Today I rode home on the back of a motorcycle. And I must admit It was pretty fun. There is something nice about speeding along on a beautiful day watching the world fly by in a rush of colors. As I was enjoying the world around me, I started thinking. I realized that I felt completely comfortable speeding along in the open air at highway speeds because I knew that my Dad was driving and that he knew exactly what he was doing. If I didn't trust the driver, the ride would suddenly go from being fun and relaxing to terrifying. But I knew my Dad was in control and that he would keep me safe. I realized then that a motorcycle ride is a lot like life. We speed through this life and at times it may be scary or feel unstable, but I know that the Heavenly Father is driving and He knows what He is doing. If I stop trusting Him, I will be unable to enjoy the ride because I will be so worried that He doesn't have my best interests in mind or that maybe, just maybe, He doesn't really know what He is doing. But you know what, God made the ride and He knows how best to navigate through the twisting roads of life. So, instead of worrying about every turn, sit back, relax, watch the colors fly by and know that your driver has it all under control.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." --Helen Keller

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friends and Life

Do you ever think about all the different people you come into contact throughout your life? Whether it is an acquaintance or your very best friend, people play a part in shaping who we become. When I think back, it amazes me how people can walk into your life for a season and then walk out. You can spend a piece of your life with someone, and then that time comes to an end and you both move on. And, I suppose that is just the way of life. Then we have those friends who we know will be with us through the thick and thin of life, no matter what! I have several such friends in my life. I don't know what I would do without them. They are there through the laughs and the tears, the dark places and the sunny days. As I continue on this journey of life I am thankful for the friends, the ones who last a lifetime and the ones that last for a season. They are all important and a blessing. And the amazing thing is that, everyday we have the opportunity to both be blessed and to bless the people we meet. You never know, the person you meet tomorrow may just turn out to be one of those friends that lasts a lifetime.

"A Friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails."
--Unknown.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Antiques

The other day I went to an antique store, and as far as I'm concerned, antique stores are better than museums. I always love the interesting, odd, beautiful and funny things that can be found there. As I was walking around, I started to think about how all these things are a window into the past. A glimpse into someone else's life. I especially love looking at the old photographs. They always make me wonder about the lives of the people in them. That picture was just one second in someone's life. Who were they, did they have someone they loved? Did they have a secret they were trying to keep? Where did they live and what did they do from day to day? All those things that are found in an antique store, were at one point used by someone. That old dress was someone's best outfit that she wore on her first date, the funny looking toaster (which we would call a fire hazard) was once sitting in someone's kitchen used to make someone's breakfast. That aged and yellowed diary was used to record someone's secret thoughts and dreams. The owners of these things, are now long gone, but they had a story. They loved, laughed, cried and lived. So, from all of this, remember that someday all the things we own will be nothing more than items sitting on a shelf, a glimpse into a past life. The stuff is not what is important, what is important is the life that is lived around it. So, don't get caught up in the stuff, get caught up in life. You only get one, so live it!

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, that's why they call it the present." --Kung Fu Panda

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Song

It's a cool spring evening. Step outside close your eyes and listen, what do you hear? Do you hear the wind in the trees, the gentle waves on the lake, the sweet song of a pond full of bull frogs, the beautiful silence of the night. It says in the Bible that even the rocks will cry out in praise to the Lord. And that is just what I hear when I listen. I hear all of creation singing to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. It is like the world is one big symphony that never ends. It started a long time ago and it's going to keep on going. How can you know this and not smile. And you know what I think, I think that laughter praises God too. When we laugh and let joy come forth, it is like a song, bubbling forth from our hearts. And that makes God smile. So, take a minute and listen to the symphony of life and join in. 

Psalm 98:6b "Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sunrise

Early this morning I was lying in bed trying to fall back to sleep and I started thinking about the sunrise. The sunrise is like a great big splash of color that lights up the sky and reminds us of the promise of a new day. It is as though God is taking the empty canvas of the night sky and creating a masterpiece for the morning. And then I realized that God gives us an empty canvas every day. Every morning when we wake up we find ourselves with a brand new day before us. It is like God is giving us the opportunity to create our own masterpiece. And the great thing about this is that we will mess it up some days, but it's ok. Some days will simply not turn out that great. We'll spill the paint, smudge the picture or worst of all, not do anything. But, the great thing is, that no matter how bad it may turn out, God gives us a new day to start fresh. So, wake up every morning with the determination to live, create, and dream.

"Life is a great big canvas and we should throw all the paint on it that we can." --Danny Kaye

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What makes you smile?

We all have those little things in life that we just can't help but smile about. Sometimes they are the silliest things, but for some reason or another they always manage to brighten our days. Here is what makes me smile.

1. Laughing Babies
2. Thunder storms
3. Starry Summer nights
4. Chocolate and Peanut Butter
5. Colorful shoes
6. When the sun is shining and it is raining at the same time
7.Coffee
8. Fireflies
9. Letters in the mail
10.Bubble wrap
11. Mud puddles
12. Gerber Daisies
...And so much more


"Life is not measured by the number of breathes you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."
--Unknown

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Unexpected

Do you ever find yourself fearing the unknown and the unexpected. You go through your day with the slight apprehension that your routine might get messed up and things will suddenly be chaotic. I think it is funny how we humans are such creatures of habit. We like to sit in the same seat in class and Church. We like to eat the same breakfast day in and day out. We all have those little routines and patterns that we find ourselves following. I am as much a creature of habit as anyone. I went through a phase for a couple of years where I had Grape Nuts every single morning. I sit in the same seat in my math class because that is where I sat on the first day. I have a routine for just about every day of the week that revolves around class, homework, and friends. I find that I like the routine sameness and the structure of life. But, since life often has a mind of its own, sometimes routines get messed up. Sometimes these little sidetracks are fun and exciting and sometimes they can be scary. But no matter what, they are bound to happen. What do you do when the unexpected happens? Do you get freaked out because you don't know how to handle it or do you get excited about the possibility of a new adventure? I think that is just what the unexpected brings...opportunities for new adventures. I also think that our attitudes about these unexpected happenings can make or break whether things turn out good or bad. If we get upset about the new twist in our path we will be more likely to miss the awesome possibilities that it opens up to us. However, if we look at the unexpected as a door opening up to something new and exciting we are more likely to come through the experience with a smile on our face and the realization that we have learned something new. Now I know that sometimes the unexpected can be painful and terrifying, but if we look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow, even the painful can become good. So, next time your path takes a twist and you feel like things are spinning out of control, look at it as an opportunity to learn and discover something new. And always remember that no matter what may come, God is bigger than we are and He will get us through. So sit back, and enjoy the adventure of life.

"Adventures are funny things. They may creep out of holes, appear down a seldom trodden path, fall out of a tree, or even arrive in an envelope, but they always start the same way. Adventures always begin with the unexpected..." --Wayne Thomas Batson

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Laugh

One of the things about life that I like the most is laughter.  There is something pure and magical about the way that a kid can laugh, it starts in their toes and bubbles all the way up. And when you hear it, you simply have to join in. What would life be like if we never laughed? I think that it would be like living in a black and white world that never saw a splash of color. It would be drab and sad. Think about it, laughter is like a breath of fresh air to a stale soul or a healing touch to a wounded heart. I truly believe that there is power in a laugh. It's like when we laugh, it allows our hearts to break free. Even if you don't see anything in life to laugh about and your soul feels heavy with worries, doubts and the trials of life, I challenge you to laugh, it doesn't really matter what about, just let it go. Laugh until you cry, laugh until it hurts, laugh until you are so out of breath that nothing else seems to matter. But no matter what, never stop!

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing." --Unknown

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crayons

I love crayons, they are fun, colorful, and they remind you to be a kid sometimes. And you know what else is fun about crayons? They come in all sorts of colors. If you open a box of 100 crayons, you will find 100 different colors. Sure, some may be very similar shades, but they are all different. This is kind of like people. In the crayon box of life, you will find no two alike. Sure, we sometimes resemble our parents or have an uncanny resemblance to some famous movie star, but no matter how similar we look, we are all unique. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "I sure wish I was more talented, or looked like her, or had a better voice, or had curly hair, or was just plain different." But then, I wouldn't be me. If all the colors in the box were the same, the drawing would be rather boring. If we were all one color, we would cease to be interesting. Just like with the crayons, the world needs the browns, reds, pinks, greens, yellows, blues, etc. We are beautiful because we are different. The quirks that make you who you are, are like your gifts to the world. Don't hide them, let them shine. Be your own color, and make the world interesting.

"Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken." --Oscar Wilde

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April Snow

I am sitting here, looking out my window at a winter wonderland. Now, this wouldn't be interesting except for the fact that it is April. April 15th to be exact. I must say, when the snow began to gently drift down this afternoon, I was not impressed. The past couple of weeks Spring has begun to show itself all around. And I was ready to put winter away for another year. And now, once again, we are encased in a blanket of fluffy whiteness. I was grumbling to myself about this until the thought hit me, that this is just like life. Sometimes, when we least expect or want it, something crazy happens, like a snow storm in the middle of April. And whether we want it or not, whether we are prepared for it or caught off guard, it happens. Life happens. And, when life happens, we have a choice. We can choose to look out the window and grumble that this was not in the plans, or we can choose to look all around us at the beauty of a midnight snowfall. And, if we choose to look at the beauty instead of the cold, we might be surprised at what we find. The unexpected may be just what we need to discover something new. So, when the next storm blows through your life, don't just grumble and look at the piles that need to be shoveled, look at the beauty of a new adventure.

"When God throws you a curve ball, don't duck, you just might miss something." --Extreme Days   

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Child's eyes

Children are amazing. They know how to laugh, they know how to play, they know how to find joy in the littlest things. I love how kids experience the world around them. Sometimes their logic on life is hilarious, and sometimes I am stopped in my tracks by the profound words of wisdom that they come up with. As I look back on my childhood, I smile and yet, I don't want to go back to being a kid. I mean If we decided to stop where we are and never move forward, we would miss out on so much that we can learn, see and do. However, If I could keep one thing the same, it would be to have a child like faith. Kids have a trust and faith that is so simple and pure. They simply believe, no questions asked. They trust with their whole hearts. They have a faith that is deep. That is what I want in my life. To learn to once again trust like a child. Trust, this is something I have been learning lately. It is so easy to look at life and become overwhelmed. To allow fears and worries to creep in. And when we let this happen it is like a dark cloud rolls over our hearts. Sometimes our fears can become so overwhelming and so convincing that we can loose sight of the truth and the love that God has for us. And yet, this does not have to be. God calls us to Trust Him. To turn to Him with the eyes of a child and simply trust. To know that He is in control. When we fail to trust, we fail to move forward. Because if we are to scared to trust, we will never move. Worry stagnates the heart and strips the joy out of life. But, if we turn our eyes off of the things that we fear, look into the face of the One who loves us more than we could ever know, and trust that He has good and amazing plans for us, we will find that life is full of opportunities and adventures. So, my challenge to myself and you is to turn your eyes to the One who created you, take a deep breath, and learn to look at life through the eyes of a child.


"Faith is two things: Either you'll take a step and find your on solid ground. Or, you'll learn to fly." --Unknown

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rainy Days

I love rainy days. Days where you can sit and watch the rain stream down outside your window and listen to the thunder rumble. There is just something about the freshness that fills the air, it makes everything feel clean and renewed. It's like a cleaning of the slates, a fresh start, and the bringer of growth. And sometimes, on these sorts of days, you just have to throw caution aside and step outside. There is something magical about playing in the rain. To just let go and feel the cool air swirl around you. So, quit worrying about getting your shoes wet and dance in the rain.


"Whoever said, 'Happiness is sunshine,' never danced in the rain." --Unknown

Forever Love

Do you ever stop and marvel at the greatness of God. A God who created, loves and sees us through our lives. A God who not only is with us, but who delights in us. These days I have been simply blown away by this. That the One who created the universe knows my heart. Lately, He has been reminding me of just how much He loves me. I see it in the beauty of spring, in the smile of a friend, in the quiet moments when I just stop and listen. And guess what, He loves you too. His heart is for you and He's calling your name. His mercies are new every morning, His grace will guide you through the day, and His peace will fill your dreams.
Psalms 27:8
"My heart has heard you say, 'come and talk with Me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lessons

God has been teaching me some things over the past couple of days. He's been teaching me about butterflies and rocks. Yep, you heard me right, butterflies and rocks. You may wonder what in the world those two have in common, but they do. Butterflies and rocks both go through metamorphism. A metamorphism is a change. Butterflies are simply beautiful creatures, but if you think about it, they were not always that way. They start out as caterpillars. It is only through a process, a change that they become butterflies. Rocks too, undergo metamorphism. They start out as one thing and through a process of burial, heat and pressure they change into a new form of rock.(I'm learning something in that geology class:0) And that is just what God has been teaching me. Changes don't come over night and rarely do they come easily. In order to change we must experience pressure, darkness and sometimes uncertainty. And yet, if we are willing to trust Him no matter what, He will bring us through the change stronger and better for it. So, the next time you feel pressure in your life and wonder if the darkness will ever lift. Remember, change is a process and trust in the One who created you. For through change, we have the potential to become something new, and simply beautiful.

Ephesians 2:10
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."   

Monday, April 4, 2011

Good Days

Today was a good day. There wasn't anything particularly special or amazing about it, it was just good. Do you ever have those kinds of days? Days that are good simply because it's another day to live, another day to smile, another day to laugh over nothing with friends. There is a song by Matt Nathenson that says, "Everyday is the start of something beautiful." Do you look at life that way, or do you look at life as a great big challenge that isn't so much fun? I must admit that I am often guilty of this, but I also realize that life is going to throw us challenges, that is just the nature of things. But that doesn't mean we can't see it as something beautiful, something new to be discovered. So, wake up in the morning with a smile, and the knowledge that you are at the start of a new and beautiful day. And, even if the rain comes down, you spill coffee on your white shirt, and you're late for work, I challenge you to look for the beauty in the day. It's there, just look.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring

Spring is here. Some days it feels like it is struggling to push past the gray clouds of winter, but I know that soon, it will conquer the last bits of the cold, and shine down on us with all kinds of promises of new things.  A promise, that is exactly what I think of Spring. It is a promise of new life, new hope and adventures to come. Spring is also a time of change. A time of moving from the old of the past into the wonderful new future that God has ahead for each and everyone of us. Sometimes, spring is messy. There is mud and piles of old leaves and and snow from the year before. But, without the mess we wouldn't have the spring. That is kinda what change in our lives is like. It can be messy and seemingly chaotic, but through it all the sun is shining down with a promise to keep on going, because there is newness in the air. Something new and wonderful is ahead just waiting to be discovered. And you know what, God is faithful to the promises that He makes. So, as Spring takes bloom, stop for a minute, look around and revel in the promise.  

Song of Songs 2:11-12
"Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dance

To dance: What does this mean? I think to dance means to loose yourself in the beauty all around you.
How often do you do this, simply let go and revel in the beautiful world that God created for us to enjoy? I think that we sometimes get so caught up in life that we think we don't have time to stop and marvel, to dance, or to simply take a deep breath of spring. But, I ask you, is it worth it? Is it worth it to always be busy and never take time to enjoy the simple things? So, I challenge you to stop what you are doing, if only for five minutes, and dance in the sunshine, sing at the top of your lungs, laugh until you cry, splash through a puddle or just lift your face to the sun and feels its warm promise of spring. And you just never know, that five minutes may be just what you need to make it through the day with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. SO DANCE!

"There is no box made by God nor man, but that the sides can be flattened and the top blown off to create a dance floor on which to celebrate life." --Kenneth Caraway

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dreams

Do you ever wonder about dreams. And, I don't mean the weird and random dreams you wake up scratching your head about. I mean the dreams that you have in life. We all have these kinds of dreams, sometimes they are big and flashy and sometimes they are very simple. But no matter how big or small, we all have dreams. Or at least we should. I cannot imagine going through life without dreaming. I think that if we don't dream, we are not fully living, but simply existing with nothing that we are working toward or hoping for. But, maybe your thinking, what is the point of dreaming, it will probably never come true. So, maybe all of our dreams won't come true. But if we have the ability to dream and go after our them, we are going to experience life in a whole new way. If we wake up every day with a dream in our heart, I think that maybe, just maybe we will be more open to experiencing all the wonderful opportunities and adventures that life has to offer. So today I challenge you to discover your dreams and go after them. And so what if they never come true. I bet that if you start dreaming your going to discover some things that maybe you never knew before. Open your eyes and your heart to the world of possibilities all around you. In the words of James Dean "Dream as though you'll live forever, but live as though you'll die today."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quotes

People collect all sorts of things. Stamps, books, shoes. Pretty much if it exists, people collect it. Well, I like to collect quotes. Here are some of my favorites.

"Be yourself because everyone else is already taken" --Oscar Wilde

"Sometimes," said Pooh, "The smallest things take up the most room in your heart." --A.A Milne

"I find that the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, but in what direction we are heading."        --Oliver Wendell Holmes

"God called you, not in spite of you who you are, but precisely because of who you are." --Reggie McNeal

"Summers don't end. They just tuck away someplace in your memory and wait to be recalled." --Unknown

"Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" --Miss Frizzle

"I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and the most special places your heart has ever known." --Unknown

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can." --Danny Kaye

"Art enables us to find ourselves and loose ourselves at the same time." --Thomas Merton

"Figure out who you are and do it on purpose." --Dolly Parton

"If you are already walking on thin ice you might as well dance." --Gill Atkinson

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." --Unknown

"Everyday is the start of something beautiful." --Matt Nathenson

"You'll become what you dream, so dream big!" --Delilah

Life

Life is an interesting thing. All to often, we get so caught up in living it that we fail to see the beauty of  it. We wake up each morning and work our way through whatever the day holds for us, and sadly, we often miss the beautiful opportunities that are presented to us. Do you ever think about that, that there are opportunities all around us, and we have the choice to take them or leave them. The stranger walking beside you could be an opportunity of a new friendship. Taking a little time to stop and smell the fresh spring air could be an awakening of new dreams in your heart. Taking a step into the unknown could very well lead you into a new and exciting adventure. Each day, no matter what it is like, holds opportunities. What are you going to do about it?

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost


   Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference