Posted in Reflection

Something I’m glad I learned at an early age.

Perhaps it’s because I’m in a new stage of life now. I’m newly married. I’m turning older this week. Etc. But, when I was confronted with this topic idea for a blog post, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. What I mean is this, now that Hub and I have our own home, our own life, and our own plans and dreams for future children, we find ourselves (rather often) talking about things our parents taught us, things we appreciate about them, things our parents represent, and things from our childhoods we don’t want to take for granted.

So, here goes.

The prompt: Something you are glad you learned at an early age.

(There’s so many things I could talk about, I know. This, however, came to my mind first.)

 

I’m glad I learned at an early age that going to church isn’t optional.

 

Now, don’t sign me off right away. I’m not judging. I’m not trying to come across as “holier than thou,” either. And, I’m certainly not preaching.

Yes, I was a preacher’s daughter. I didn’t really have a choice. We attended church every time the doors were open. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Three times a week. Case closed. No questions asked.

But, it was much more than that. My parents taught me that it wasn’t all about what the church or the Sunday School lessons or the services could give to you; it was also what you were going to give back. How you were going to tap in. It was (and still is) a lifestyle.

This goes beyond being a preacher’s family, though. I firmly believe that if my Dad wouldn’t have been the pastor, we still would have been attending. Every service. Sunday and Wednesday. In fact, my parents both had parents who were laymen of the church – and they believed that same way.

I know what you’re thinking. “My church doesn’t even have Sunday night service.” “I work until 6 p.m. on Wednesday; there’s no way I can make prayer meeting or even stay awake during it.” “Sometimes I just need a Sunday night to regroup before the coming week.”

I get it. I really do. I’ve even skipped a service or two myself. And, I’ve gone a stretch or two not attending Sunday school. But, that’s not my point.

My point is this: I’m glad I had parents that didn’t. I’m glad I had parents that set the bar high. I’m glad I had parents who chose to attend church, even on vacation. I’m glad my parents made it exciting to go to church and encouraged me to use my talent of singing in a church setting. I’m glad my parents loved me enough to make me do what I didn’t always want to do.

We all have our reasons. We sometimes even have excuses.  Yes, the trend now is to NOT have Sunday evening or Wednesday evening services. Have break-out and discipleship groups, instead. That’s AWESOME! I even love the idea. And, sometimes we just don’t feel good. We’re sick. We’re stretched emotionally. We need a break.

I get it. I really do.

Here’s what I’m saying, though. In a world where people are looking for an excuse to miss church, be one of the faithful few. Teach that Sunday School class, be a mentor, choose a pew to sit in and be there. Faithfully. If you have to miss, miss. Just don’t make a habit of it. Support your pastor and his family. Your pastor prays and works tirelessly to get the mind of God for the message on Sunday. And, guess what… He does the SAME for the Sunday night and Wednesday night services, too! When did we start placing Sunday morning service as “THE” service that matters and the other two services as the “ones that don’t really count.”

And… Furthermore… If you are there, be ALL there. Put your phone away. Stop paying more attention to those around you than the One you’re supposed to be at church for. Focus on God. Focus on worship.

Focus on being there.

Focus on making church THE option, not optional.

 

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Posted in Growth

How do I feel more confident? How can you?

Confidence. Noun. A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

In a world where people are floundering, unsure of themselves and their purpose, and also critical of others, it’s time that we find confidence within ourselves to face the good days and the bad.

I’m not the most confident cookie in the jar, but I’m sure loving life and don’t have time for self-loathing.

Now, I’m not going to act like having a good sense of self-confidence is always easy – to get or maintain. I remember the days of constant insecurity, doubt, and defeat. In fact, I still have one of those days every once in a while. But, confidence can become a lifestyle, no doubt.

So, here goes…

5 ways that help me feel more confident!

    Have good hair. I get it. Not every day do I have time for a picture perfect up-do. And, let’s be honest, my hair hardly every gets curled or straightened. But, I have found that when my hair is put-together, my day goes better. Silly, probably. But, it works for me. And, it leaves a good impression with strangers, employers, and acquaintances. Frizzy fros and dandruff dos get you nowhere fast.
    Walk with purpose. Even if I have no idea where I’m going. Even in the grocery store. Never slump the shoulders and drag the feet.
    Get good at small talk. I try to stay well-versed in the current weather patterns, workplace happenings, sports world, and funny memes. Pretty much anything that doesn’t really matter. Even throw in a little Fox News topic every once in awhile. Find common ground with the person next to you at lunch. I’ve found most people like to talk about things that aren’t too personal.
    Dress up, not down. Always. Not overboard, but never underneath. Don’t do too much, but never do not enough. When I scan a room of people, I feel most comfortable when my style falls halfway between the least and best dressed.
    Realize you aren’t the best and move on. It’s not easy to take a backseat to someone prettier, someone more capable, someone higher up the chain than you. But, it’s life. The sooner you deal with it, the happier you’ll be!

Let me know if you try one of my tips… or comment one of yours! I’d love to hear from you!

From one confidence seeker to another, Happy (almost) Friday! ☺️

Posted in Holidays

Doable resolutions for 2019.

I think that’s the key. Doable. Resolutions should be doable. They should also be something I’m actually interested in accomplishing. That’s where I’ve messed up in the past.

So, this year, I’m excited. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 things. Things I really want. Things I really believe I can accomplish.

  1. Read 12 books I have never read before.Sure, I’m an English major. You’d be shocked by the lack of reading in my life, though. After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is sit down and stretch my mind more by reading. This year, instead of spending such an exorbitant amount of time on social media, I’m turning to healthier outlets. My question is, what books should be on this reading list? Comment and let me know!

    P.S. I’m also starting a Book Journal. I have quite a few ideas for my own. If you’re interested – Check out this awesome post: https://pageflutter.com/reading-journal/

  2. Fast once per week.If there is one spiritual discipline I struggle with, it would be fasting. Disciplining myself to think of the eternal more than the earthly. Focusing on what really matters. Giving up something. Denying myself. Fasting a meal, social media, or spending. I need to reimplement this in my life, and I think once a week is a good (but doable) start.
  3. Blog every 10-14 days.Keep up with my writing. Work towards more followers. I’m praying that my blog becomes even more of a ministry and touches lives.
  4. Exercise a minimum of 10 minutes a day, 3 days per week.It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But, it’s a start. To be frankly honest, some weeks I don’t do any exercise, especially in the winter months. My hub is super logical, and he suggested this goal. I’m super pumped, because it doesn’t even overwhelm me. By the end of 2019, I hope to be blowing this goal out of the water!

 

So, friend, what about you? Any resolutions for 2019? I’d love for you to comment & let me know! <<Don’t forget – make them doable… and something you really want to accomplish!>>

Happy New Year to all of you! Thanks for following along on my blogging journey!

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Posted in Reflection

8 things I learned in 2018.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty downright excited about 2019.

A new year. A fresh start. 🎉👏🏽

I’ll celebrate my first birthday married. Hub and I will celebrate a year of wedded bliss. I just know there will be lots of adventures coming up! And, of course, some challenges, too.

I have some a couple neat resolutions and goals that I will be putting into effect on January 1st – be looking for a post on that in a day or two! But, before I get so focused on 2019, I’m trying to do some reflecting and reminiscing on 2018.

Each year helps shape us into the person we are and are becoming!

2018 was a year to remember. 2018 held a lot for me. A lot of beginnings. A lot of endings. A lot of lessons. That’s why I decided to make a list. Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to happen. Create the moment! I’ve experienced so much pure happiness this year. I can’t even explain. Perfect moments. Life isn’t perfect, but moments can be. It comes from letting go of expectations and realizing the life right in front of you is what you make of it.
  2. Change stinks. It’s hard. But, honestly, it’s not all bad. There’s so much good. Change forms us into new and better, stronger people.
  3. Everyone around me is fighting a battle that I don’t (always) know about. Everyone. Students, coworkers, family members, friends. Don’t judge. Be kind. Take time out of my busy schedule for others.
  4. We are each stronger than we realize. But you don’t know this about yourself until those hard conversations, difficult lessons, and stressful situations come. Until you have no choice but to face another day. Until you have to grow up. You can’t choose what comes your way; you can choose your response.
  5. I must hold people up to the standard of grace, not the standard of perfection. People let you down; they disappoint. That’s life. If you extend grace, you will grow. If you expect perfection, you will become bitter.
  6. Focus matters. Now more than ever. We live in a crazy world. God first. My family second. Family means my marriage, my future children. When our focus turns to other people and their opinions and problems, we lose track of ourselves, our progress, and our goals.
  7. Stop blowing stuff out of proportion. Little frustrations become big ones if I don’t let them go. Small stuff doesn’t need to come between me and the people I love. Life is too short for that.
  8. Life shouldn’t be about stuff. I’m super blessed. I have way more than I need and so much more than I deserve. Stuff doesn’t last. People and memories do.

 

Leave me a comment & let me know a lesson or two that 2018 taught you! We are all in this thing called life together! 💙

 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Posted in Holidays

Who do you need Baby Jesus to be?

C H R I S T M A S.

It feels as if the last month my life has been spinning, spinning, spinning. . .  and refusing to stop. Parties, decorating, baking, wrapping, working, shopping, planning, eating, celebrating. . . and then – repeat the list all over again!

Is anyone with me that, while this is the most wonderful time of the year, this is also the most emotional time of the year? Two weeks ago I almost fell apart. The week was so busy that I didn’t know how I was going to function. Every day tasks became ginormous obstacles. I know I tend to be dramatic, but this time I’m being serious. The Christmas joy & festive spirit seemed to be afar off.

Somehow, at Christmastime, we tend to be faced not only with busyness, but also with an enormous amount of feelings. Some wonderful, some painful. Wanting the perfect Christmas that is always just out of reach. Facing feelings of hurt and disappointment from friends and family. Longing for a closer relationship with Jesus during this time of year but being bombarded by many things trying to keep you from attaining that goal. Struggling with feelings of discontentment as we see how all our friends celebrate their holiday, seemingly bigger and better than we do.

All of this and more.

Perhaps that’s why this one question has been spinning around in the head for the past few weeks.

 

Who do I need Baby Jesus to be this Christmas?

 

Ask yourself. Do it. I dare you.

We each bring different emotions, situations, personalities, hearts, and lives to the manger this Christmas.

As you stand in front of the manger, do you see Baby Jesus for who He is? Baby Jesus is everything, friend. Everything. No questions asked. God sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth for YOU. Jesus is the answer.

 

So, who do you need Baby Jesus to be?

 

Are you in need of Immanuel this Christmas? God WITH you. Every moment. Every second. Never to leave or forsake you. Ever present. Ever with you.

Do you need a Healer this Christmas? Is your heart broken? Has your life fallen apart this year? Baby Jesus came to put all those pieces back together. He came that you might have life. Abundant, full life.

Do you need a Counselor this Christmas? Do you need someone to hear you out, listen to your woes, care for your heart?

Do you need a Savior this Christmas? Are you far away from freedom? Are you bound by chains of sin? Baby Jesus is the Chain Breaker. He came to save your soul. Turn your night to day.

What about Peace? Are you lacking quiet and tranquility of soul? The peace of Jesus transcends understanding and comprehension.

What about Light? Is your way dark? Is the path you are taking in life dismal and dejected? How long has it been since you have seen and truly appreciated the light of day? Jesus proclaims that He is the Light of the World – YOUR world!

Do you need a Comforter this Christmas? Are you trapped in grief? Have you lost someone close to you, in death or separation? Are you in the process of watching your loved one go through the worst thing imaginable? When we mourn, He mourns with us. When we cry, He keeps track of our tears. Don’t lose heart. Run to the indescribable, comforting arms of Jesus.

Do you need a Master? Are you tired of the struggle? Do you need someone to take control of your heart, your life, your desires, your plans, your dreams, your wishes? Jesus is the Lord of Lords. He rules. He reigns. He is more than capable of directing your life. Will you let him?

Do you need a (fill in the blank) this Christmas? Whatever your need, Baby Jesus is the ANSWER.

 

Don’t leave this holiday season more broken than you were at the beginning. Come to the manger. Discover Baby Jesus to be everything you need this Christmas.

 

 

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

Posted in Holidays

The day after Thanksgiving.

Oh, sweet Thanksgiving. I mean, really. There isn’t much better than a day or three spent with family RIGHT before the busiest time of the year. The classics like creamy mashed potatoes, pecan pie, sweet potato casserole, and a yummy ham — all help make the holiday that much more amazing. Throw in a couple competitive family games and lots of laughs and storytelling — and you have a pretty good picture of what my day looked like.

I’m abundantly blessed. And so are you.

I find myself, though, every single Thanksgiving a little bit stressed. These are the thoughts running through my brain. “Am I being thankful enough today?” “Have I sent all my friends a text saying that I appreciate them?” “Am I feeling as happy as I should be today?” “Should I post something on social media to make sure people know I’m thankful for all my blessings?”

Pressure. Pressure to ensure that I’m living up to the spirit of Thanksgiving. The spirit of gratitude and appreciation.

Whenever I’m feeling frustrated or frazzled, I turn to my best friend. . .  who also happens to be my husband (AKA – 💙Hub💙). Hub is super patient and such a good listener. Turns out that I am a little more emotional of a human being than he is. 😂😉 Normally, I can’t see past the next five minutes when I am feeling overwhelmed about something. I also tend to bring stress upon myself and blow things (at least a little) out of proportion. 😬

As I was unloading all this to hub yesterday – and finally “got it all out.” He just stopped me and said something like this. “Babe, Thanksgiving is not just a one-day thing. It’s more about being thankful always, not feeling pressured to get it all in today. You are thankful; don’t make yourself feel that you’re not.”

Well, duh. . . I knew that. Sometimes, though, it takes hearing it at just the right moment in order for it to truly sink in.

So, this is the truth.

Nothing really changes the Day after Thanksgiving.

When I woke up today, I have. . .

  • The same blessings.
  • The same God on my side.
  • The same loving hub.
  • The same amazing family.
  • The same faithful friends.
  • The same church in which to worship.
  • The same country, full of freedom and opportunity.
  • The same job, where I can learn and grow and become a better teacher.
  • The same cute, little house.
  • The same necessities. (i.e. Furniture, Clothes, Shoes, Glasses, Towels)
  • The same extras. (i.e. Wifi, Phone, Computer, Camera, Cute Home Decor)
  • The same personality, with all its uniqueness.
  • The same life, with all its areas for growth.

And, if you think about it, friend. . . You have a list that looks pretty similar to this, too!

T H A N K S G I V I N G  is not just a day. It’s a lifestyle.

Join me in celebrating gratitude on the Day after Thanksgiving.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Posted in Introspection

He rejoices over you.

Perhaps it is because I am a “performance-based” individual. I thrive on accomplishing my goals, doing my best, receiving compliments, excelling in presentation, and so on.

I care. I care about what I do, how I present myself, what to say, how to live. That’s not all bad, if I keep it in check and maintain a healthy balance.

But, you know just as well as I do that success isn’t continual. I don’t always succeed. I don’t always say the right thing. I don’t always receive compliments for the good and helpful things I do. I sometimes fall short of doing my best. And, furthermore, some of my dreams and goals still seem so far off.

Why can’t I get there? Why can’t I just live in a state of success?

I know, I know. Life doesn’t work that way.

Life instead looks like this: Trying, living, failing, questioning, and getting back up.

Oftentimes, we get discouraged. We get weary. We get frustrated. When we don’t measure up to our own requirements, we somehow love ourselves a little less. That’s not right, nor is it OK.

My Daddy, my hero, has always said this: “It’s not about where you are — it’s about where you are going.”

Right now might not look exactly like you want. Your job might not be perfect. Your family might be falling apart. Your laundry might need folded. Your heart might be broken.

Life, though, is SO MUCH more than just RIGHT NOW.

Don’t make the “snapshot” of what is today the cover for the “album” of what your life has been, is, and is going to become.

Don’t lose heart. Don’t quit trying. Don’t love yourself less. 

In these moments – the less than perfect ones – hold on tightly to the only thing that ALWAYS succeeds and NEVER fails – God.

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.

~ Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

When you can’t stand where you are in life, when you can’t handle failing again, when you can’t imagine another hurt coming your way. . . Think on this.

Our crazy, awesome Heavenly Father is sitting up in His Heaven. He is delighting over you. He is celebrating you. He is right beside you. He won’t let you go. He never loves you less. He longs to quiet your spirit. He desires to calm your anxious spirit. He is singing about you. You’re his favorite.

You might not be happy with yourself. You might not have much to rejoice about right now.

No worries. . .

God is rejoicing just because you are, and He made you that way.

 

Photo by Leon Biss on Unsplash