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… of all kinds of got-it-together-ness and you’re  ….. 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… 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… 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.❤️

 

 

 

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.❤️

devotions

inspiration, information, transformation

This. I’m about halfway through the book “Uninvited” by us a Terkheursr and I want to both sit and finish it all TODAY and spread it out over the next month so it won’t end… it’s that good and that applicable to life for me (and my girls!).

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This quote in chapter 13 really jumped out at me as I read today. This is SO what I do. I’m a questioner and researcher and ask ‘why?’ about A LOT. I just have a curiousity to understand things better. And I am completely into encouragement and inspiration… Anything that is positive and uplifting…. sunshine and rainbows is what we call it with my daughter. ☀️🌈. I’m ALL about that.

But transformation? The DOING? That’s where I lack. That’s where either laziness or fear step in. Almost.every.time. The brainstorming and idea part is fun. The lets-make-it-happen freaks me out. This is true in every part of my life. I read and study daily. But applying it? That needs work.

I’m learning in this book that so much human emotion and repercution could be avoided if I would DO what His words tell me to do. I’m realizing the same is true in so many areas of life. Bible study, eating healthier, parenting, being a good wife, being a good friend… The list goes on. APPLICATION is what creates my TRANSFORMATION. Not good intentions. Not acquiring knowledge. Not motivation. I’ve got to DO.

For me, this was the perfect excerpt to read at this time of trying to practice intentionality.

Thank you, God, for finding me in the quiet and stillness this early morning and teaching me to apply your holy words to every step I take throughout the day. Every step matters.❤️

daily moments, devotions, working out

the monotony of exercise

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Have you ever started a new workout- loving every second, going everyday- only to find yourself burned out months… maybe even weeks later? I certainly have. I still do! It takes intentional effort on my part to find variety. I will try a different format to teach in jazzercise. Last year I took some tennis lessons which I had never done before. I went back to yoga, and here lately I’m getting outside more to just walk. The change breaks up the monotony, it brings about excitement in me to try something new and exercise in a new way, and it gives me the desire to make it part of my routine.
Strengthening our spiritual life is very much the same. Monotony can set in quickly when we find ourselves following the same routine week after week. I am speaking from experience! A daily morning habit of reading and following a study all of a sudden has felt a little blah and monotonous over the last few weeks. In looking for a pen this morning, I found this bible study journal that I forgot I bought. It was tucked away in a drawer. The scripture I had on my mind this morning was 2 Peter 3:5-10. And the notes I had jotted down from a previous sermon talked about spiritual exercises we can do to participate in our faith- to grow. I could have just sat and read this scripture and notes and I would have gotten the message on how to supplement our faith. But using my journal prompts helped me to think and engage in a new way. I was interactive with scripture in a way I hadn’t been doing. I was studying in a new way. One new change felt like I broke the monotony of the last few weeks and I got to learn and process in a different way. My life in this simple moment was illustrating exactly what my notes said.
Spiritual exercise matters just as much as physical exercise. And sometimes adding variety to how we spiritually “workout” brings about a new desire to keep going and keep growing. But, just like planning a healthy menu for the week, or planning to teach a specific jazz class, it takes being intentional.
I’m so happy I came across this journal this morning. I feel like it is a new tool to help me continue to grow in a new way.❤️

daily moments, devotions

coffee grinder gratitude

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I woke up this morning and this coffee canister was empty. EMPTY. That is NOT a good feeling when you are an overly-dependent A.M. coffee drinker like I am. I starting rummaging around our pantry feeling quite panicked at the thought of no morning cup-o-joe.

It didn’t take long for me to find this bag of whole beans, tucked away since last Christmas, a gift from a jazzercise customer. Thankfully I still had a grinder, too, and within minutes I had the pot brewing.

I realize being without coffee is ABSOLUTELY a #firstworldproblem, but as I sat there happily listening to the whir of the coffee pot, I was reminded of the book of Matthew where he talks about being anxious:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

God met me right where I was this morning, a place I mindlessly operate every morning just trying to get my day started, and He jostled me awake with such a simple reminder of how He will always provide what we need.

I think every time I look at my coffee canister I will be reminded of His love for us and how He will always provide just what we need if we seek Him first. ❤️

being mindful, devotions

the living word

imageI spent time getting caught up on my Women Living Well (an Instagram community) Ecclesiastes study this morning and learning more about haste and contentment. Both are good words for me to focus on while on this specific journey God has me on, right here and now in 2016.

It’s SO easy to get caught up in the comparison game, looking at what others have, how quickly they’re losing weight, how far they can run or how fit they are, and how fun their social life/friends seem to be. And in playing that game it’s equally enticing for me to be rash in my decisions on what to buy, what to eat, the things I pursue and WHY I’m even pursuing them.

This morning, I sensed God steadying my heart with His words. I feel Him centering me (yet again!) in finding peace in letting Him guide my path, my daily steps I take each day.

I’m so glad I copied this Pinterest idea and added this Hebrews scripture to my outer bible pages. His word IS living and active. It does find me exactly where I am in life and help me discern what is in my heart and the plans He has for me… not what I want for me.

Help me to keep seeking you, God, and thank you for your words that feel written specifically for me this morning. ❤️