Grow

Last week I wrote my recap post for my “One Word” for 2012: Embrace. Check it out here. Today, I’m revealing my one word to focus on for 2013, in lieu of standard new year’s resolutions (that generally fall through by February anyway).

In 2013, I’m claiming the word “Grow“.

OneWord2013_Grow

2012 was a year of everything new – new state, new job, new industry, new church, new friends. I was thrown in & tried to embrace all of the opportunities & challenges alike. It was a whirlwind. Now, with almost a year of the craziness under my belt, I’m going to focus on growing in 2013. Taking it to the next level. Continue reading

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A New Year, A New Look: Living with Eyes Wide Open

Living with eyes wide open

Just in time for the new year, I randomly decided today that the blog needed an update. A new look and name. Something a little fresher. So I started changing it. It will be a work in progress as I figure out all of the features of this particular layout, so please pardon the continued changes as I move things around, but I like it already.

A while back I had toyed with the idea of changing the name (from “Live. Love. Serve.”) but I couldn’t think of anything better & it fit well enough, so I left it.

But times are a-changing. Continue reading

Did I Embrace 2012?

One Word

At the beginning of 2012 I wrote a post called “Embracing 2012“. Embrace was my one word to focus on for the year, instead of all sorts of different new year’s resolutions. 2012 was my year to embrace a new season of life, with all of the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities that would come with it. You can read that original post here.

So how did I do?

It was quite a year, full of all of those things listed above: challenges, obstacles, and opportunities. Moving to a new state, adjusting to a new lifestyle, learning a new job, finishing my MBA, being lonely & trying to slowly make friends, settling into a church, and growing immensely spiritually…

Here’s what I wrote I would try to do at the beginning of the year & some reflections on each:

Continue reading

Fall Leaves & Fellow Commuters: Discovering Beauty All Around Us

I love fall. The changing of the seasons. The brisk, cooler air. Everything pumpkin. The chance to get some variation in my wardrobe again. But probably most of all, I love the colorful leaves. They are simply gorgeous.

Each tree is different. The varying, distinct shades of green, orange, yellow, red. My personal favorites are the trees that get bright red on top, while staying a rich green underneath.

Continue reading

The Difficulty with Dreaming

This is a post about dreams. My sweet friend & sister in “leap of faith” adventures, Lindsey, encouraged me to participate in this link-up. We both, around the same time, gave up our stable lives and made big moves to follow our dreams.

Three years ago I found my dream job. But, it wasn’t yet to be… It wasn’t time.

A year ago, it popped back up, and about 4 months ago I took it – working in marketing at International Justice Mission. I dreamed of making a difference, as part of this amazing organization that is helping combat violent oppression against the poor around the world. So we uprooted our comfortable lives and moved 700 miles away to start this new, great adventure.

You could say that I’m living my God-given dream. I believe this is what He created me to do. And yet, it is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
Continue reading

Spring is Here

Spring is definitely here, and I’m not talking about the weather or the time of year. I’m talking about this season of life. About 9 months ago I wrote a post called Embracing This Season. (click the title to read it in a new window) God had been speaking to me in themes, about the different seasons of life. We had been feeling really restless, like we were in a state of limbo, not sure of where we were supposed to be, or what we were supposed to be doing. We knew that God was preparing us for something. We just didn’t know what or when.
Continue reading

Embracing 2012

2011 was okay. It certainly had its ups and downs. Nothing catastrophic, but it definitely had its disappointments and hard parts. For various reasons, we both really felt like we’ve been in a season of winter, for a while now. Winter being defined as a time to be still, quiet, a time to focus on being nourished and preparing for whatever lies ahead. We’ve been restless.

I actually started off 2011 with some thoughts that now seem so relevant. In my post Jan 3rd, 2011 post, “Thoughts for the New Year“, I wrote:

…Before God reveals to us our grand life purpose, he has some testing and refining to do in us. I feel like I am in a season of testing and refining, and this is definitely part of that. I want to be ready when called upon… to be trusted with my grand life purpose. Much of that means that I need to be a better disciple.

You could say that in many ways, 2011 was a year for preparation, even though we didn’t know what exactly we were preparing for. Well, we have a little better idea now, but there are still so many unanswered, big questions.

So in the spirit of picking one word to focus on for the new year, I’m claiming the word Embrace for 2012.

Embrace:
1) to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea or challenge.
2) to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.

In 2012 we will move cross country, I will start an amazing new job, Cason will find/start a new job where hopefully he can thrive in his area of passion, we’ll make some drastic lifestyle changes, I’ll finish my MBA that I’ve been working on for almost 4 years, we’ll find our new place of ministry/service… and that’s all mainly now through May. I have no idea what May through December will hold.

I want to focus on embracing this new season of life, with all of the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities that come with it.

I want to:

  • Embrace the obstacles we’re experiencing right now as a way to grow in our faith and put our full trust in God’s plan for us.
  • Embrace the opportunity to live a new adventure, to meet new people, experience new places.
  • Embrace the challenge of a new job (in a new industry) with an organization that does amazing, life-altering work.
  • Embrace the difficult times ahead that will inevitably come with all of these new challenges, again, as a means to grow us personally, professionally, emotionally, & spiritually.
  • Embrace a new season of life and see how God will use us in it.

I am full of emotions about everything that lies before us. Emotions that can generally shift from one day to the next. But overall, I’m excited to see what 2012 has in store.

So here’s to embracing all that is to come!

What’s your One Word for 2012?

Waiting on the Lord

Some quick thoughts to begin this week…

It seems like so many people in my life are waiting on the Lord for something – for a job, for health for a family member, for something financial to come through, for Mr. or Mrs. Right, to find our true calling, for hope in a desperate situation, for a straight up miracle, for peace that surpasses all understanding…

And let’s just say it. Waiting stinks. We want answers now. And in our idea of what perfect timing should look like. We are an instant gratification culture. We live in a land of instant conversation (texts & twitter), fast food, and on-demand TV. If we have to wait in a line at Starbucks for more than 5 minutes we grow impatient and irritated.

God doesn’t work like that, at least not 99% of the time. But His timing truly is best, even when we can’t see it.

I was reminded recently of the Israelites, wandering in the wilderness (I’ve been reading through the Bible and am in Deuteronomy right now). Time and time again God would work amazing miracles in their lives. If the miraculous delivery from the Egyptians wasn’t enough, there was the pillar of fire to guide them, manna from heaven to feed them, water from a rock to quench their thirst, etc. They had these incredible signs from God of His amazing provision. But before long, they’d grow impatient and make their demands of Moses and of God, not believing God would deliver on everything He had continuously promised them.

I don’t want to be like the Israelites. Even after God clearly shows up and does something amazing in life, it’s like we forget about it just two weeks later. We start to doubt again and go back asking for answers or a sign.

As I’ve said before, I love it when God works in themes. One of them right now is waiting and trusting. And in the midst of the waiting & trusting, all we can do is focus on the present, on the things that we know we need to do today…

The below verse and quote both popped up on the same day. I’m trying to take notice. I hope these may encourage you also.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:13-14

When you don’t know what to do, wait while I open the way before you. Trust that I know what I’m doing, and be ready to follow My lead,” -Jesus Calling, (November 4th)

Are you waiting on something? What is your favorite verse/passage or quote about waiting on the Lord? Please share it in the comments below.

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Relationships Take Work

We were meant to live life in community. It’s hard to deny that. It’s repeatedly talked about in the Bible and it is woven into the very fabric of our beings.

“Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love & to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.” Hebrews 10:24-45 (The Voice)

Unfortunately, fellowship and time spent investing in the lives of others is one of the first things that gets sacrificed when our lives get as busy as they generally do. In my last blog post, I talked about the need to Get Less Busy. We cram everything in so that there’s no space left for anything else – for the spontaneous opportunities that arrive and especially for quality time with loved ones.

Relationships take work. Dating relationships, relationships with spouses, with family, friends, co-workers. They all take effort & intentionality. If you don’t make the necessary time for them, they will suffer.

And it is a tragedy.

To be honest & transparent, I go through periods of wondering who my real friends are. Who are the ones who really care. I often feel like if I don’t initiate something then no one else will, because maybe they don’t really care in the first place. So I’ll withdraw & wait. (I’ll generally work through it, get over it, and try again… until the funk comes back again.) Just being honest here…

But recently I’ve come to decide that the biggest problem is that everyone is so daggum busy. (Is that how you spell that?) It’s not necessarily that they don’t care (though maybe some really don’t), it’s just that they aren’t making the time needed to keep a relationship going…

Here’s a great thought on the value of living in community:

“The word translated ‘church’ in English Bibles means literally ‘assembly of the called’; it implies that members have said ‘yes’ to God’s call in their lives. We assemble because we are called into being by God himself. Some people, for reasons only they know, choose to live their Christian faiths in isolation. When they do, they cut themselves off from the gifts, encouragement, & vitality of others. And perhaps, just as tragically, they deprive the church of the grace & life God has invested in them.” Note from The Voice New Testament, p. 343

So I’m on my own personal crusade right now to Get Less Busy, and to invest more in relationships. I’m trying at least. Will you join me?

Take time this week/month to clear your schedule. Invite someone to lunch, dinner, coffee. Pick up the phone. Send an email (or even better, a card).

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

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Get Less Busy

My most recent revelation is an obvious one, but it needs said.

We, as a culture, are far too busy.

We hurry from one thing to the next, constantly filling our schedules to the brim until there is no time left. It’s like an addiction. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I can be as guilty as anyone else, and I surely do have my seasons. Especially as I’ve been pursuing my MBA these last couple of years. (And I can’t even imagine what it’s like once you have kids.) But right now, I’m trying to soak up the opportunities that present themselves, while I have a little break.

In general we leave ourselves with no margin. We have little to no room for anything “extra”. The things that suffer: real quality time with our spouse/family, with friends, time to serve, time to be able to stop & help someone else with a need, time spent sitting still in God’s presence. What about time to actually relax for a few minutes and feel refreshed. There is no margin to be able to seize opportunities like this one, when we’re going 70 mph.

So what do we need to do?

  • Quit something. Create some space.
    This is most often easier said than done. There are definitely seasons of life that might dictate this. But it’s a good idea to take a good, hard look at our weekly schedules and see what we can eliminate in order to save space for other important things that might come up spontaneously. We are a culture of doers. It might be time to quit something.
  • Learn to live more intentionally.
    Don’t go through life filling up time with just anything. Figure out what the things are that you really want to be spending your time on. Prioritize. Figure out what is best (not just what is good).
  • Spend more time reaching out to others.
    Call that friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Send an email or a card. Ask someone to go grab coffee or a meal. Invite some neighbors over for dinner. Relationships are often one of the things that suffer most from our activity-packed lives. And it’s a tragedy. Life is meant to be lived in community.
  • Carve out times to be still (Psalm 46:10).
    I’ve had a really hard time with this one lately and I’m seeking to improve. I’m finding it really difficult to quiet my mind and to be still with the Lord. But it’s so important.

What other tips do you have for shaking off our addiction to busyness?

Get less busy. Start now. Go.