being mindful, daily moments, devotions

coffee shop conversation

What do you see when you look at this photo? A coffee shop? A table and chairs? Space?

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This is a little spot in a local
Starbucks that I visit regularly.

And this little spot I notice often.

Years ago, before the days of iPhone cameras in our back pocket, I saw a grandpa and his little granddaughter in this exact place… I saw them enjoying their drinks and just hanging out. And I boldly walked over and told them that I SO wished I had my big camera with me so I could have snapped their photo. It was just SUCH a sweet moment between two people!

Now, every time I see this spot, I think of them. Since then, I have seen others enjoying time together at this same table. Conversations. Phone calls. Moms chatting with babies in strollers.

So last week, while waiting on my nonfat mocha, I had the presence of mind to grab that phone in my back pocket, and snap a quick pic of my sweet memory of a grandpa and his granddaughter simply enjoying each other’s company .

And today, when I see this photo, I am feeling something that has been stirring in my heart since a very wise and faithful person recently made the comment to me: we are supposed to live in relationship with others.

Relationship. It’s a huge piece to our overall well being. Quality time with others, genuine conversations in the good and the hard times, guidance from mentors, advice for those seeking, REAL WORDS. They all matter.

I am right in the middle of a bible study and am learning better how to discern God’s voice. He no doubt is reminding me about the importance of relationships in life. I see this photo and it’s a great prompt for me…. who can I invite for coffee? Who do I keep thinking about that I can reach out and text? To start a conversation with? What friend should I invite to join me in bible study or go to lunch and catch up?

I am SO guilty of retreating. As life gets busy and full, I tend to just spend my time alone. And don’t get me wrong, there IS a time and place for alone! But not at the expense of authentic relationships. And I think I sometimes let this happen. This coffee shop moment, I feel, is God telling me to listen to the words of my wise friend…. to remember the early morning coffee date between family, and to pursue authentic friendships and conversations with others. Invite them in. Lean in. And let God work in His ways.

Do you have a friend on your mind? Do you have a person you can reach out to invite in? Let’s all pursue that and live in relationship together. Genuine, authentic, meaningful relationship. It’s always worth the effort.‚̧

daily moments, devotions

cold front clean up

 

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I spent pretty much the whole day working outside. After not feeling great, the fresh air and beautiful weather were a nice change from being cooped up inside. So I worked a little, stopped when I needed to, then worked some more.

Our flower beds needed SO much attention. They bloom and flourish all summer and fall, then we get a cold snap so they sit tight for a bit, then bloom and flourish again when it warms up (because in Houston it ALWAYS warms upūüėú), then a freeze happens and freaks the plants out and lots of it turns brown and gross. Then, it warms up again and feels like things should bloom and flourish, but all the dead brown stuff now seems glaringly ugly. It felt really good to cut things back and clean things out and pull away all the dead, yucky stuff.

This is so life right?? Things are rocking and rolling along, growing full and lucious… then we hit a brief spell, cold snap if you will, and we just sorta sit tight until it passes. When it warms back up… when things go back to that familiar place…. we go back to blooming and growing fuller and fuller. Then a big something happens, just like the freeze, and it stops us right there in that moment. All that fullness and fluff can get worn down, and we need to clear it out to make room for the bare bones of what we build our life own.

For me, that is God’s truth and those people in my life I love.

As much as I wish for cold weather this time of year, today I’m thankful for the cold snaps and warm ups, for the dead leaves and branches that clutter the ground, and for the lesson that cleaning out the yuck can be good for the soul.

80 degrees in January? Okay, God… I’m listening…‚̧

 

being mindful, devotions, friends, healthy living

words matter

I was wide awake in the middle of the night with a restless puppy. If I get woken up like that, I’m up, at least for a good hour or two. #frustrating. So, I did a little Pinterest searching. Better than Amazon prime shopping, right?!ūüėú.

I came across this great article about positive/negative words and how they affect plant growth. This experiment is not new- it has been around for a while and is a great illustration showing how words matter. How we speak to others matters!

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In the blog post I read, the author explained how the plant on the right was talked to with positive, loving, encouraging speech. In fact the container was even covered with positive words written out on it. On the left, the negative. Put-downs, hate, discouraging speech was spoken to it and negative written words covered the container. And you probably guessed how it turned out.

Our loving, good, positive words bring life to others. They build up and contribute to a life of thriving. And when we choose words that tear down? It’s stifles. It can make others feel weak. It takes life out of them.

This past week we have probably all witnessed this. It’s been a tumultuous week of feelings ¬†swinging vastly on the pendulum of emotions. One simple click of “post”, “send”, “tweet” has brought forth words of all kinds. Words that encouraged, words that offended. Words that showed grace, words that ripped apart. ¬†Words that left a sting. ¬†Words that extended a branch. ¬†Words that affected.

BUT… we often reflect outwardly what we struggle with inwardly. At least I do.

I had never considered this illustration with how I speak TO MYSELF. ¬†I can be so guilty of this. I get in a routine and I do good with my healthy choices, my time management, my effort in relationships. And when I do, I feel good about myself. I speak nicely to myself. My inner voice is all rainbows and unicorns.ūüĆąūü¶Ą ¬†And I tend to approach things with that same attitude

But when any of those efforts slide? When I splurge on bad foods, skip the workout, spew forth a thought without thinking, or put minimal effort into my marriage or parenting when I know better? ¬†I don’t cut myself much slack. I don’t extend myself much grace. And the negativity begins. My inner self-talk becomes putting myself down. I find fault with everything I do. The rainbows turn to clouds and unicorns to something more like angry birds. ūüź§ūüė°ūüź¶ And I begin feeling a little like this withering plant. A little more lifeless, a little more crumbly. ¬†And that is how I find myself living my day to day- with a negative vibe in things I say and do.

We, of course, need to pay attention¬†to how we speak to others and always seek to speak words that bring life. ¬†Words that show respect. Words that don’t intend harm. But… we often need to get to that place by first looking in.

Have you paid attention to how you speak to yourself? Being content on the inside means there’s a greater chance you will spread that joy and good feeling to others on the outside. As you try to be healthier, help others, and live better, are you considering your self-talk? It matters! When you stumble, remember… Be kind to you. Show grace to you. Love you! Be intentional about this. Practice this. Live this. The picture illustrates so well how you’ll grow and thrive when you do. And when you get your heart feeling good on the inside, it’s becomes so much easier to spread that encouragement outwardly.‚̧

daily moments, devotions

winter bleak

 

img_0252Stark, bare, utter, complete
It’s what I see in the winter bleak

Simplicity… He alone in us
No extra fluff, no extra fuss

This morning’s hues of purple and pink
Are a bonus gift, like a nod or wink

Or really, it’s like a big, warm hug
Reminding us of His royal love

This season speaks straight to my heart
Of Him always in us- never apartūüíú

Thank you, God, for the gift of these skies this morning!

 

devotions

hope- then and now

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Hope. It’s a word we see a lot of during the season of advent. And in the advent studies I am reading and journaling through, it has been a theme woven throughout the lessons.

Hope. It almost seems kind of simple, really. We have this magnificent story we read every Christmas about the miracle of the birth of Jesus. He is Almighty, Wonderful, Everlasting, the Prince of Peace… of course I want my hope in a promise that encompasses all of what He is!

But this season, I keep thinking about Mary. I think about what hope meant to her. We have the story written out for us… we know how it all played out. We find our hope there. But Mary? She didn’t have the convenience of knowing how it would all work out. She simply had faith. She believed. And her hope… her feeling of expectation… her feeling of TRUST… that was the anchor.

I read this morning in this devotional above how we are made to be ambassadors of hope…. His ambassadors of hope. I think about Mary and it almost feels like a torch that gets passed along to each and every one of us. We have this incredible example of hope that we can follow… that we can learn from. Every single day, in big ways or small we have a chance to live out that expecatation, that trust.

So, what am I doing with my turn, with my time? It certainly isn’t as big as Mary’s role, but every piece to God’s story does matter. And it is a priveledge that He chooses us to be a part.

Dear God, thank you for Mary, for her strength to find hope in the midst of the miracle, and help me to do my part in living out hope right where you’ve planted me in your story. Amen.‚̧#10000dailysteps

daily moments, devotions

cloudy day light

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Cloudy morning, rain’s on it way
A day of soggy, wind, and gray
But just inside it’s rather bright
By the fragrant tree and the Christmas lights
It’s my favorite time to seek His ways
It’s my favorite place to start my day
But… the light isn’t coming just from the tree
His words illuminate truth for me
Shining so much brighter than the gloomiest of days
And pointing me towards the one true way‚̧ԳŹ #10000dailysteps

devotions, Uncategorized

chapter 2

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Chapter 2… it’s what I’m on in my #amilewidebook. I’m not finding nearly the amount of time I want to devote to getting this book read, but that’s okay. I think perhaps God is being intentional with me to soak it in slowly.

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Along side this book reading is a sermon series I’m hearing our pastor preach about: mission and restoring God’s creation. The Bible’s true story, from start to finish, tells us that His mission is to rescue His creation and restore it to its original form. I got to thinking how yes, this is for the world and it’s people, but when you think about it, it’s for our bodies as well.

I think most of you who I have connected with would agree that we are working day to day to become healthier and stronger…. Restoration of our physical selves to a place God truly intended from the beginning. We want to move and be active and feed ourselves foods that our bodies were meant to thrive on and be nourished by.

But why? Why do we seek to feel better and live well? Getting healthy physically is our Chapter 1. So, what’s our chapter 2? I believe we should seek health to feel better and well enough to serve our world. To serve others. To serve Him.

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Chapter 2 in A Mile Wide is called “A Bigger Gospel”. Yes! We get healthy to then live beyond just serving ourselves… to live bigger! We live our chapter 1 to feel good so that in our chapter 2 we can serve more and add joy and goodness into the world. His world. His creation. ¬†We should live at our best to give at our fullest

Chapter 2 is where we can do our part to start helping Him restore. Chapter 2… what’s mine? Honestly I’m still seeking clarity on the direction I feel God is stirring in me and I’ll keep you posted through this blog here. Chapter 2 is the beginning of the rest of the story. My story. Your story. It’s important. It’s where we meet others. It’s where God can really start using us.

Chapter 2… I’m seeking how mine will be written. What does it say for you?‚̧ԳŹ

daily moments, devotions, friends

a tree out of season

 

Do you notice anything about the photo below ? ¬†I spotted this little scene earlier this year on one of my many treks down Highway 6 to Target. ¬†In fact, it jumped out at me so vividly, that I turned my car around and pulled over just to snap this pic. ¬†When I look at this image, I see spring in full bloom, nice and green, fresh flowers, plants neatly growing with each other. ¬†And then there’s the orange tree. ¬†It’s gone ahead and jumped to autumn. ¬†It’s out of season from the rest of it’s surroundings, doing what it can to grow in the season it appears to be in, but seemingly just a little out of sync.

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Have you ever felt like this autumn tree? ¬†Like, everyone is in their season of pretty‚Ķ of all kinds of got-it-together-ness and you’re ¬†‚Ķ.. not? ¬†I have! ¬†There have been so many times that when I look out around me, I see everyone’s lives sort of like spring‚Ķ bright and colorful, fresh, neatly planted. ¬†They seem so in sync with their surroundings. ¬†And all the while I’m sitting by my lonesome in fall‚Ķ feeling more like those cheery colors are fading out and the now brittle leaves are getting ready to shed at any time.

Seasons can be good. ¬†They’re often anticipated and expected. ¬†They give us variety to life and can be something to look forward to. ¬†They can bring with them a welcome change from what has been and encourage traditions and newness for the months ahead. ¬†If it wasn’t for seasons, life could be pretty monotonous and dull.

But, not all seasons are times of refreshment.  Some seasons very much throw us off.  They can come unexpectedly.  And some seasons bring about change that we would rather not go through, much less embrace.

The bible  talks about all kinds of seasons in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

The seasons of life can be good. ¬†And they can be scary. ¬†They can be joyous. ¬†And they can be full of worry. ¬†And unfortunately, we don’t get to choose our season. ¬†We don’t get to pick one everyone else is in, which stinks because¬†I really don’t want a season of crying when everyone else is laughing. ¬†That’s just no fun. ¬†And I don’t want to be gathering my stones if everyone else is able to be carefree and tossing theirs about. ¬†Nope.

I don’t want my scene like the one I saw on Highway 6 last spring. ¬†I don’t want to be out of season from everyone else. ¬†I would much prefer we all bloom and then we all shed. ¬†All at the same time. ¬†There’s safety in numbers, right?

But that’s not life. ¬†We aren’t meant to be in the exact seasons at the same time. ¬†I need to pay attention to what’s around me so that I see the full picture, not just my piece. ¬†It doesn’t matter if I’m the autumn tree or if I’m neatly growing with all of my surroundings. ¬†I need to be able to see the fresh blooms of some and the shedding leaves of others. ¬†We are meant to lean on each other and do life together. ¬†That’s where it’s beautiful. ¬†That’s why the juxtaposition works. ¬†Just look at this photo again. ¬†The colors of both seasons very much compliment each other in such a beautiful way. ¬†One stands out BECAUSE of the other. ¬†Their differences are what makes it interesting. ¬†And¬†I think that’s how life works, too. ¬†Fresh spring flowers and autumn trees- they CAN grow together in unexpected ways.‚̧ԳŹ

 

 

 

devotions

bloom inward

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I found out something yesterday. I learned that a fig is really a flower. It blooms inwardly and the seeds you see are dozens and dozens of tiny blossoms. It is a miracle of nature to see the inside of these delicate buds daintily hanging from trees.

At first glance they, for the most part, blend in with the tree as a whole. But when the right person comes along and opens them up, their beauty is revealed. They grow and bloom, unassumingly doing their thing on the inside, until they are shared with someone and that inner beauty is exposed.

I read this AFTER I bought these delicious looking figs at Costco yesterday. And I just couldn’t stop thinking about them being flowers. It’s just cool.

I think God was giving me this idea… this is what I want to teach our girls. They are teens and an almost tween… definitely in a crucial stage of life, growing blossoms of beauty inwardly. Blossoms of kindness and compassion, self-respect and respect of others, honesty, strength, and love. They may have times where they just blend in with their surroundings and that’s okay. They just need to keep unassumingly blooming on the inside until what’s there needs to be shared. Those dozens of blossoms are there for whoever comes along in need. It could be a friend at school or a person they meet while volunteering. It could be a random act of kindness with a stranger. It could be a sister you live down the hall from!

Bloom inwardly. Keep nurturing those blossoms that make you YOU. And when that is meant to be shared, open up and reveal who you are. A beautiful inside really is a true thing of beauty.‚̧ԳŹ