Sunday, August 17, 2014

31 Days of Praise: Day 17

I am reading one of my favorite daily devotionals called, "31 Days of Praise: Enjoying God Anew" . It's a months worth of short daily readings that are all designed and worded to praise God through various circumstances and scenarios. This book continuously helps me to start or end my day on a correct and God centered mindset. It is a book that I read over and over again.


Today's reading really hit home for me...being new to this Louisiana area, being called away from my comfort zones that I established for myself in Washington. There are the obvious comfort zones such as the physical (house, career, friends, hobbies) but God has been using this opportunity to reveal that I was in a spiritual comfort zone back in Washington...and not in a good way...more of a complacent picture comes to mind...ironic because I take great effort not to be complacent in my life. Humble pie moment anyone?!?!

Strip away those comfort zones...feel out of your element...because it is when you are stripped bare, emotionally, physically, and financially, that God is able to really work in your life...He is able to be given the credit as it is due for His hand over your life. You are able to better focus and devote your time and energy to Him...and your are more willing and open to follow His plan and purpose for your life.


When a reading really speaks to me I find that there is great power in speaking it out loud...claiming that truth and power over your life. It makes the words come alive in my heart and allows me to make a stand and commit to my faith that much more... You might try it if you haven't.

So for today's reading (pages 76-77):

Day 17:

"Thank You that You have me in the place You want me just now...that even if I got here through wrong choices or indifference or even rebellion, yet You knew my mistakes and sins before I ever existed, and You worked them into Your plan to draw me to Yourself, to mold and bless me, and to bless others through me. Thank You that, even if I'm here through the ill-will or poor judgment of other people, all is well; for in Your sovereign wisdom You are at work to bring about good results from all those past decisions, those past events beyond my control-good results both for me and for others. Thank You again that You meant for good the terrible things that happened to Joseph, who was sold into slier, exiled to a distant country, and later sent to prison on false accusations...and that through all this You had him in the right place at the right time, for highly important reasons. I'm glad, Lord, that You are the same today-well able to work things out for us, to turn evil into good. I stand amazed at the complexity and mystery of Your wisdom. How safe it is for me to trust Your reasons for acting (or not acting) and Your methods of working!

Thank You that I can safely commit my location and situation to You. I can "be willing for You to shift me anywhere on life's checkerboard, or bury me anywhere in lives garden, gladly yielding myself for You to please Yourself with, anywhere and anyway You choose" (source unknown). Thank You that I can trust You with my future places-ready to go, ready to stay.

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" ~ Romans 11:33

Monday, August 11, 2014

Road Trip Part 2



Goodbye Washington!!! Hello Idaho!


So note to self...don't try to stay in Core D Alene right before the Ironman!!! The place was packed and obviously we had a little bit of difficulty finding a place to stay...it all worked out but still...that was a bit of an adventure!


I won't get tired of looking at this mug! Here he is working his magic with his phone to find us a place to stay for the night!


Ben was admiring this wooden boat...and we had a nice little chat with it's owner.
Back in to town we found a little place called, Crickets and they had the most amazing artichoke pesto pizza!! A quirky and eclectic place and I fell in love with the brass elephant bar accents!




We woke up and took a beautiful little hike to stretch our legs before hitting the road again. So glad I captured this shot!


Hello Montana...I hope this isn't a preview of the weather forecast for the remainder of our drive...


I'm starting to be intrigued by older, abandoned or decaying structures...as this old rusty railroad structure indicates...





We stopped off in Deer Lodge Montana later in the afternoon after seeing a roadside billboard advertising that the Montana Auto Museum was located there...We decided that we would see it the first thing the next morning... As you can imagine Ben was like a little kid the night before Christmas.


Located within the Old Montana Sate Prison Museum, there were some gems to be sure.


There were about 150 or so cars ranging from muscle cars, old military jeeps, Ford's, Chevrolet's and more located in this little museum. Deere Lodge Montana...who knew! There was even a raffle for what I believe was a classic 1966 Mustang, white convertible with red pin-striping going on. My finger's are still crossed for the drawing in December!


Ben was in his happy place walking through this collection to say the least.


Back on the road...at least until lunchtime!!!

 

A quick fuel stop for petrol and more importantly FOOD!
This little Pickle Barrel Sandwich Shop in Bozeman hit the spot!






Hello cows!


Montana has such beautiful scenery...We are going to take a slight detour to head to Yellowstone National Park for a bit...next stop Wyoming! 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hit the Road part 1

I cannot begin to express how blessed I am. While I did spend countless hours prepping not only mentally but the obvious physical aspect, the packing up of my house couldn't have gone smoother. There were definitely times when finding the motivation to finish packing efficiently was hard to find and living in a house that is in various states of disarray definitely had its physical, emotional and mental taxation, but I am so happy that I took to time needed to ensure the least amount of damage would occur to my belongings.

The two rooms that had the most boxes were obviously my craft/art room and my kitchen! Yikes what a mess organized chaos looks and feels like!

Two tips that I found to be SO useful (Thank you Pinterest!): Buy brown paper lunch bags (available at most dollar stores) which you place your glasses in mugs in and push the tops of the bag into the opening of the glass! Huge time saver and there is no ink so you don't have to rewash anything after unpacking!

The second was to purchase disposable styrofoam plates and bowls (again available at most dollar stores). These you place between your plates and bowls and they absorb a ton of shock, they help to keep your dish ware from shifting and they don't add to the weight of the box!! BRILLIANT!



I had three strapping men help to load the moving van and it was the perfect amount. Two to bring furniture and boxes out from the house and one to organize and load the truck.

I can't thank you enough John, Alex and Ben! I really couldn't have done it without you in the time frame that you achieved! We are talking in about three hours, my entire house was loaded into a 16 foot Budget truck. A lifetime in such a small space...a little surreal.

It was overcast and cool the majority of the morning and about as soon as we were locking the truck up, the sun came out in full force! The timing couldn't have been more perfect! So glad we avoided the SPF and melting under those rays.

I treated the boys to lunch at one of my favorite sandwich shops called MSM (Magical Sandwich Maker's) Deli and their name is more than appropriate. They makes the most amazing sandwiches in the area and the meal wouldn't be complete without their magical cookies!

I had fun using my panorama camera mode on my phone!!! I love these guys!

Words will never do justice to how appreciative and blessed I am to have such amazing and generous people in my life. John and Robin let us crash at their place that same evening and sent us off with two bags of road trip treats! 

Driving through the Snoqualmie pass!
It was such a delight to watch Ben's reactions to seeing a different part of Washington for the first time! He was definitely a fan!


 Cows!!! About to pass the junction to Yakima!

A quick break close to the Gorge in Eastern WA...I'm a little windblown as you can see! haha but the weather was amazing!

The beautiful Mustang monument. So stunning...It took our breath away. Not sure if you can see the scale of these beautiful sculptures in comparison to the little person all the way to the right (after the last horse).

Next stop Idaho!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Follow your heart

Change: Nope, I'm not talking about the pocket kind...I have made some decisions recently that have surprised me. There are life changing decisions being made from this gal who is know for her preference and major planning skills and who's idea of gambling big would be to spend a maximum of $20 at the penny slots.
 

 
 
Ben has been in my life for over a year and a half now (how time flies when you are having fun!)...and it has all been long distance. While there have been hardships with the miles physically separating us, the blessing that have come from this distance have far outweighed any of the hardships. We have had to be inventive in our approach to stay connected and have been rather forced to develop certain communication skills faster than non-distance relationships might.
 
Anyway, we have been discussing the idea of living closer to each other...the funny thing about this whole moving topic is that Ben still has one more year to serve in the Military. This means that he doesn't have the "luxury" of relocating and thus makes our options pretty simple...if we were going to try to close this distance gap, I would be the one that would have to relocate.
 
So, you probably have guessed it...
 
I AM MOVING!!!
 
 Ben and I took this lovely walk on his last visit. It was breathtaking when we turned the corner and were greeted with this stunning scene as we begin our stroll. Oh you beautiful Northwest how I will miss you!
 
I have put in my notice with all of my places of employment, have been working on finishing some improvements to my house, figuring out how to rent my home and starting the reviewing process of rental applications, all while trying to make time to visit with friends and family, fitting in last minute health appointments while I still have insurance with my job, donating car loads of random items I don't want to schlep across the country and let's not forget the ever thrilling process of collecting moving boxes (and the list goes on).
 
Over this last visit Ben was gracious enough to help me with a big project of repairing part of my back patio...a project that would end up being much bigger than we anticipated.
 How many building supplies and 6ft 7(ish) Bens can I fit in my car???

One lesson that I have learned through the home renovating or maintaining process is NEVER underestimate a project and its ability to grow...
What I thought would be a few boards to replace from dry rot turned out to be almost the whole deck and structural support beams. YIKES!!!

Good thing I had this handy guy volunteer his carpenter skills!




Didn't he do a nice job!?! And my painting skills weren't too shabby either if I do say so myself!

Doesn't that floor look shiny and new!! Yay for being able to walk safely on it!
 
 
I also finally cleaned the last section of siding at the back of my house! Looks SOOO much better and was a killer arm work out! Who needs a gym when you have a house!
 
Well as you can see this ball is rolling! I have less than 30 days before I am on the road saying goodbye to Washington and saying hello to an amazing adventure filled with unknowns...I'm so excited to begin this new season in my life, to take risks and take myself out of my comfort zone, to experience and embrace all of the love, joy that I can because in the long run that's what life is for right?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Press On!!!

Lots of good scripture reads over the last several days...Last week one of my favorite verses arrived in my e-mail (I even have it posted in my car). Although this verse has spoken to me in many different ways over the years...upon reading the commentary by Dave Whitehead, this scripture  once again spoke to my heart on a whole new level.
Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:15 PM PDT
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
– Philippians 3:14-15 (NIV)
Today’s commentary
by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

Christian maturity is not a life of apathy. If we expect to grow in our faith we must keep pressing heavenward, no matter what our age. In other words, if your Christian walk is best described in the past tense of memories your growth is stunted. Yet in our quest for maturity, we often make the mistake of thinking we need some new or exciting revelation to grow, but the Scripture places a much greater value on living in the light of what we already know.

"Living in the light of what we already know"... Pursue Him and trust in Him with ALL of your heart, "In all of your ways acknowledge Him [another translation uses the word, "submit "to Him] and He will direct your paths"- Proverbs 3:5-6 He will make it clear what you have to do...and I have found time and time again that He reveals this through peace...giving me peace about decisions is often times how I know which decision to make. Do not mistake that with this peace means that He has called for you to walk an easy path...it might get very rocky, very steep, but I do believe that anything worth having requires effort. Pressing on, means pushing ourselves past what we believe we are (and most often these limits are self-established) capable of...and to go beyond any limits that we have placed upon ourselves. How often is it that we restrict ourselves from accomplishing all that God has called and made us capable to do?
 

 
I love using the physical/athletic analogy for this... So let's use the example of muscle. I'm sure you are familiar with the saying "if you don't use it you lose it". You can't build anything strong without first tearing down the old muscle...making room and a foundation for healthier stronger muscles to grow and be replaced. This however requires strain and force...friction and resistance...and ultimately is a process. It isn't instantaneous but rather reinforced and repeated behavior and actions that then transforms into muscle memory.

With freedom comes responsibility...a responsibility to maintain a disciplined life. Freedom is anything but free...ironic as that sounds, but it's true...it takes time, effort and energy. You get back what you put in...or "reap what you sow" is another very familiar verse/saying that you might also be familiar with. You have to eliminate or put up boundaries to unhealthy choices...and through establishing these "limits" and maintaining a disciplined life ultimately gives your more freedoms in the long run.
 
"Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart" (Colossians 3:23). Regardless of the outcome or situation you can take pride in your work and effort and I don't think I can remember a time when putting forth my best work/effort hasn't paid off or taken me down a bad road, but rather it has opened more doors than I sometimes knew what to do with.
 
Now it's time to practice what I just preach...It's time for me to get back on the working out a bit more...I have slacked off and although I have been trying to maintain my spiritual and mental health...my physical well being has been put on the back burner for longer than I want to admit... I'm going to change this...my treadmill is calling my name...it time...time to turn up the heat and PRESS ON!!! 
 

 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

50 Healthy Habits

I came across this list today of 50 healthy habits and had to share it. It felt really refreshing to realize that simple things/ways of taking care of yourself are often underestimated and have a HUGE impact on your well being. Thought I would share it with you too.
 
 


Monday, April 7, 2014

"Consider the Source" by Holly Furtick

Thank you Holly Furtick for such an amazing post! This is so good, I had to share it!
Follow her blog, The Preacher's Wife
 
Her most recent post:
 
 

"Yesterday we continued our series, Consider the Source, with a very challenging message. Last week Pastor Steven taught us, “Don’t forget where you come from.” This week he taught us, “There’s more where that came from.”
 
He gave us 4 questions to see if we have a MORE mindset or a SCARCITY mindset.
  1. Do I see myself as ENTRUSTED or ENTITLED? Duet. 8
    Any blessing I don’t turn back to praise turns into pride.
  2. Do I give out of RELATIONSHIP or RELUCTANCE? 2 Corinthians 9:7
    For God so loved the world that He gave! Love gives!
  3. Do I give out of OBEDIENCE or is it OPTIONAL? 2Tim 6:17-19
    It’s not a decision, it’s devotion. If you wait until the optimal time to give, you will never do it!
  4. Do I want to MULTIPLY or MAINTAIN? John 6:32-35
    When you bring the resource to the source, it becomes MORE!!
The message was so challenging I especially love the encouragement at the end that when I keep all the resources I have been given, that’s all it will be but everything that I give to God multiplies!
You can watch the message today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.
And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone." ` Holly Furtick: Posted Monday, April 7, 2014 at www.hollyfurtick.com

So, Do you have a MORE mindset or a SCARCITY mindset? I highly encourage and will even go as far to challenge you to either watch or listen to this sermon online.

Happy growing!