From Pain to Peace to Purpose

I love how God always has redemptive plans for us. For myself, I have noticed that when there is pain, it leads to peace which leads to purpose. There is always a journey to be experiencing. A few months ago I wrote about the journey I was on to simplicity.  Recently, I wrote about the changes that came about in my life in 2016.

I was experiencing pain which led to me to simplicity and peace. I discovered some things about myself that God wanted to change and I grew a lot. Simplifying and organizing our home was fun and helped get all of our lives in order. However, I got to the place where I felt healthy in all areas again and a pulling towards getting back to work. Not that I wasn’t working, but getting more involved in some way that would be healthy and use my strengths. My background is business, which I love. Balancing that and making sure I still get to care for those I love has always been the struggle for me. However, through all of this I have learned that it was such a struggle because I was striving to prove something. Now, I feel that I don’t have to prove anything, I just want to be used for what I am good at. But, I wanted to make sure that whatever move I made, it pleased God.

Just a few days later, my husband let me know he could really use my attention to detail and leadership more at church. When your husband seems to be asking for you to help.. it must be God. Just kidding!! However, I felt like it was the confirmation I needed. So, we had some very real conversations about what that would look like. I agreed to try to be more vulnerable with him and he agreed to hold me more accountable. I don’t want to fall back into old habits of trying to prove my capability and loading my plate with too much.

However, I can BE the girl who works hard to get stuff done that also has deep connections with others, enjoys cooking and gathering people around a table, and still has plenty of time to sit under my tree. I am flawed and going back into this season pruned of the pride that tries to hide those flaws. I am still enjoying this journey with you all and just wanted to give you an update. I will also be continuing to write on this blog. I love hearing from you all and love all of the encouragement I get from you.  It is good to know in this great big world, there are people who struggle with the same things that we do! Just remember, pain can lead to peace, which can lead to purpose if we let God use it.

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6 Ways to Keep Seeds from Turning into Weeds

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Recently, my husband said something that I didn’t quite like. It just kind of hit me wrong, but wasn’t a very big deal: so, I didn’t say anything. However, a seed had been planted. Later on, it began to bother me a little more. As I thought about that thing, it bothered me more. When I thought about that thing again, I was really bothered. That seed had grown into a weed that I had been watering and nurturing all day. Finally, in the bed that night I told him that I didn’t like what he had said earlier in the day and it really bothered me.

As we tend to do when trying to grow weeds, I had taken what he said very wrong. Once he explained it to me, I totally got what he was saying and what he had meant. Thankfully, that weed had not gotten so big that it was hard to dig up. I guess I wouldn’t be stealing the covers from him after all that night.

When a small seed is planted and not quickly uprooted it is not long before we start jumping to conclusions. We assume, we ponder, we accuse, we think negative thoughts and before you know it we are dealing with a giant weed. A weed that is sucking all of the nutrients from the good seeds that have been planted. A weed that is so big it is blocking our view, stopping us from seeing the right perspective. Oh how the enemy loves weed seeds. They wreck relationships of all kinds; loved ones, co-workers, bosses, employees, and friends. They also reek havoc on our emotions. Weeds cause anxiety, stress and keep us distracted from what we should be doing.

Some weed seeds are self inflicted. At times, we all listen to negative self talk or the the wrong voices. Some of the biggest weeds I have dealt with came out of my own negative inner voice.

What if we could throw out those negative seeds before they took root and started to grow? Here are some steps to help you get rid of that seed before it becomes a weed!!

  1. Seek Clarity! If you are confused by something, it rubs you the wrong way or you don’t quite understand; speak up!!! Get some clarity! It is on you if you are misunderstanding something and don’t speak up. This leaves lots of room for jumping to conclusions and that will quickly lead to a weed.
  2. Face Your Fears. A lot of stinking thinking seeds are planted out of fear. We are afraid of what people are thinking, we are afraid of failing or we are afraid of being rejected. We need to stop and evaluate the reason why we are feeling the way we are. If we are having these thoughts out of fear, we need to stop and ask God to make us more aware of His presence and who we are in Him.
  3. Prayer – I can’t express how important prayer is! Confessing our thoughts to God and asking Him to adjust our perspective is the quickest way to throw out a bad seed. Ask God to heal your thought process and give you wisdom!!
  4. Discipline – It make take time. A lot of us have trained our thoughts to be negative.  We must understand that we can’t always stop a thought, but we can change it if we are disciplined enough. For example, we may think, “what if this person doesn’t like me?”  We have to reroute that thought with, “I am going to be the best me I can be,  if this person doesn’t like me, I will be fine. God is on my side.”  Chasing away that negative thought with a positive one will quickly uproot a seed trying to become a weed. The more you replace negative thoughts with more positive ones, the more you will rewire your brain to respond that way. You are diluting the negative with positive. This will take discipline, but successful people are disciplined.
  5. Respond Instead of React: Understand that there will be conflict in your life. Instead of jumping to conclusions and reacting, choose to respond. Handling conflict well will help you avoid giant weeds of dissension!
  6. Above all...

“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:6 (The Message)

What are some ways you keep seeds from turning into weeds?

Words, Goals and Whiplash

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Well, the pages of 2016 are closed! I have kind of cracked up at all of the posts about everyone being so excited that 2016 was over: like all of the messiness in our lives was some how connected to the calendar year. However, I do understand. I love the freshness and new possibilities that come with the new year.

For me personally, the mood swings of 2016 practically gave me whiplash. It was a year that we faced some of the hardest moments of our lives. I don’t think I have cried more tears in my life than I did in 2016. But, it was a year that had some of the best moments of our lives as well.  Everything the enemy meant to destroy us, God used it to bring good to us and grow us. Some of the messiness that came our way made us make some changes in our lives.  When everything gets a little wrecked, that doesn’t mean we have to be a wreck! This year, when bad things happen or things don’t go my way, I am going to try and stay open to what God is doing with us, rather than focus on how it is making me feel. 2016 had some tragic moments, but I don’t ever want to forget the good that God brought to me in 2016.

This past year, I stepped back and took some time to rest, renew and begin a journey of simplicity. It was hard, but much needed. Sometimes, in order to focus on what God has for you, you have to step back and just spend time with Him.  I had a lot of voices in my head that were competing with the Voice of God. When we are stretched too thin, those other voices seem to get louder and louder. The voices that were distracting me from what God has called me to had gotten really loud. They were also very confusing and chaotic. Voices that cause division or make you want to isolate yourself are not from God. (Hindsight is always 20/20!) Yes, alone time with God is good, but there is a line between being pulled away to be with God and isolating yourself. I have learned a lot about that this past year! I am also working on recognizing those distracting voices so that I can shut them down before they get out of hand.

There were moments I wanted to pretend like it was my husband called to ministry and not me. I wanted out and away from the fish bowl of ministry. But, God gently whispered to my heart who I was and why He called me. He lovingly and graciously showed me some things in my life that needed to change and some issues that needed to be dealt with so that these attacks from the enemy wouldn’t wreck me. He restored my heart, my love for people and my love for the church. Only He could of done that. He showed me some things that I had deemed as important that were not. He showed me that I was carrying some burdens that were not mine to carry.  He led me to being confident in who He is; not who I am or who people think I am. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned in 2016, but I hope not to have to repeat them again.

So, my goals for the new year:

  1. I will be starting each morning with coffee and the One Year Bible. ( No, not on my phone or computer but an actual one year Bible. You guys know I am old school.)
  2. I will be writing MANY more handwritten notes. I love stationary and will be sending more letters, notes and cards. Social media has become the lazy way out of saying we are thinking of someone. Though, it is a good tool, I want to go a little more out of my way.
  3. I will not be on social media, games on my phone, on my computer or anything else like that past 7pm.
  4. I will be more open and vulnerable with my husband when the voices of dissension start up in my head. He is my spiritual accountability, but sometimes I don’t go to him because of the huge burden I know he has leading a church. However, talking through issues and being there for one another is a part of marriage. I don’t like to be vulnerable, but I am working on it!
  5. I am going to celebrate everything!!!
  6. Read more, write more, and live more.

My “word” for 2017 is BE. 

No striving, second guessing, doubting, backtracking, struggling, compromising, or withdrawing. Instead, I will just BE. I will BE who God made me to BE. I will BE me but hopefully a better version of me. I will just BE.

 

Is Re-gifting Ok?

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Let me first confess, just a few years ago I would of given you a hard core “NO, re-gifting is not ok.” However, after many bath products, kitchen items, and other things that I didn’t like or already had one of just sat around till it was deemed enough time had passed to throw them out, I decided re-gifting is better than wasting.

I think it is ok to regift when you don’t like a gift you received and you know you will never use it or you already have one of a gift you received. In our current culture, let’s face it – we have a surplus of stuff anyway!!

A few things it is not ok to regift!

  • It is not ok to regift things that are sentimental gifts (like that collector’s item that has been in your family for 10 generations or Grandma’s coo-coo clock).
  • Anything that is personalized. Be sure there are no monograms or any other type of personalization.
  • Don’t give away something from meaningful people. Re-gifitng something you got from your elderly grandfather is just not nice. He may not be around many more Christmases.
  • Don’t re-gfit handmade gifts.

 

Now, here are a few re-gifting rules:

  1. Re-Wrap it and be sure you take the original name tag off.
  2. Don’t re-gift it in the same circle of friends. Awkward!
  3. Be sure to give it to someone who will really appreciate it.
  4. Don’t give it back to the person who originally got it for you. (It happens)
  5. Re-gifting should not be your main way to give Christmas presents. That is just tacky. Remember it is only if you know someone will LOVE what you are giving them.
  6. Don’t re-gift things of no value. No one wants your soap on a rope.
  7. If you get busted, just be honest.

 

I have been in some circles where everyone gets each other something just to say they did. No thought goes into the gift and it all can mostly be classified as “junk” or “unwanted” items. If you find yourself in this situation, maybe you should consider getting that squad together and changing things up.Try something like drawing names and everyone gets 1 person something, play Dirty Santa, or don’t give gifts and get together to donate to a charity. It is not like we all don’t have enough stuff. Let’s make it meaningful one way or another.

DIY – Christmas Night Light

I LOVE these things!!! I gave them to a few kids and they loved them as much as I did!! They are super easy to make!

Here are the things you will need:

  • Button Magnets
  • Mason Jar
  • hot glue gun
  • LED tea lights
  • fake snow
  • Christmas ornaments ( I found mine 1/2 off at Michael’s!)

 

  1. Glue button magnet to the bottom of the tea light candle.
  2. Place fake snow, and ornaments in the bottom of the mason jar. (You could glue the ornaments down, but I didn’t.)
  3. After the glue has dried; turn on the tea light and  stick the tea light candle underneath the metal lid,  put the lid back on the mason jar. Keep a few extra tea lights with the magnets already glued on around in case it goes out.
  4. Remind the kid you are giving it to that it is a nightlight and NOT a snow globe. 😉 image1.JPG

 

5 Fav Small Gift Ideas

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I love giving gifts!!! Sometimes it is the small gifts that are the hardest to pick out for someone else. Here are a few of my favorite small gifts to give because I love them so much!! Click on any of them to be taken to them!

Vaseline Pink Bubbly Lip Therapy. I totally love this stuff!!!

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L’Occitane Roses Hand Cream – A must have in the winter! They have several smells, this one is just my favorite.

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Le’Creuset Mugs : It is true that I am slightly obsessed with all things Red Le’Creuset, but these mugs do make coffee better. 😉

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Kate Spade Small Notebooks – I always keep little notebooks in my bag. I jot down thoughts, words I like and may use in a future blog, dinner ideas, etc. These are super cute!

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Monogram Tassel Keychain : Every southern girl needs a monogrammed keychain. I love this one with the tassel on it!

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Hope this helps your Christmas shopping!!! I would love to hear some of your small gift ideas! Comment below and let me know some of your favorite gifts!

Bringing Life to Life

This past weekend I celebrated my 38th birthday. Someone asked me the other day if I was 29 again and winked, I said, “No way, I am 38.”  I wouldn’t go back to being 29 for anything. I am proud of my age and who I am becoming at this age. It took a lot of work, prayer and medical bills to get me to this sweet age and I intend to celebrate it, not be ashamed of it.

Birthdays use to bring a little bit of gloominess to me. I have always enjoyed celebrating, but birthdays reminded me of all of the things I could have been by that age. You know how it goes; you see a ballerina younger than you and think, “I could have done that.” (NOT REALLY) You wonder if you had of started younger, figured out what you loved sooner, been more dedicated than maybe you could have been more.

There it was; more. I never felt like I was enough and birthdays reminded me of that. The journey I have been on this year has led me to being satisfied being exactly who I am and where I am. I am no longer trying to be the next anybody, I am just being me. This change in perspective led me to celebrate a little differently this year.

This year, I threw my own party, which is fun for me because I love hosting events. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. We had my party under my favorite tree in my own backyard. There were tiki lights leading out to the tree, a fire pit, enough comfortable chairs for everyone, lights hanging from the tree, lanterns filled with candles, tons of cheese, meat, bread, dips, cake and chocolate pie. It was perfection.

As we all settled in under my tree and around the food, a warmth like sweet honey filled my soul. We were gathering, connecting, sharing, eating, and celebrating life outside under the stars in the middle of God’s beautiful creation; and it was enough. I was enough. This is what life was about and it is worth celebrating. Sometimes being broken is what will lead you to a journey of living an abundant life.

I am grateful for the broken places that were in my life. They led me to make some life altering decisions that guided me to a place of being loved, cared for, known and enough. It is a journey that continues everyday to be me, but it is a journey that is bringing so much life to my life.

Our lives are fleeting, they are shorter than we will ever want them to be. When you get a chance to celebrate, do it. Light the candles, laugh, talk , love, dance, sing and sit under the stars. Bring life to your life and to the lives of others. Let’s really live! bringlife.jpg