Friday, November 23, 2012


100 things I'm Thankful for.... 
(just to name a few...and in no particular order...)

1.     My Jed. He is wonderful and loving, romantic, manly, kind, genuine, playful, hysterical, sweet, tough, honest, gracious, strong, committed, motivated, intelligent… I could go on.
2.     Jed’s health and emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.
3.     The love of our families.
4.     Amazing friends.
5.     The health and well-being of our family and friends (physically, financially, spiritually etc…)
6.     The cottage and financial assistance from the Riekes.
7.     Jed’s job.  (He makes most of the income.  His boss is wonderful and he loves what his organization stands for.)
8.     My job.  (I have great benefits. I’ve had the ability to take time off work… even as a “new” employee… to tend to health and family priorities. I have kind, intelligent, “motherly” managers that have given me the encouragement I desperately needed after my last position.)
9.     Church family.
10. Running water.
11. Hot water for cooking and cleaning.
12. Cleaning products.
13. Air conditioning and heat.
14. Electric.
15. A fridge full of food.
16. The ability to go grocery shopping, pick food, prepare food, keep it preserved and use it later.
17. Restaurants (when we are busy or need a break).
18. A closet full of clothing (nice clothing, at that).
19. Warm coats
20. Scarves
21. Lip balm
22. Make-up in general. (so I can put my…. “best face forward”  ;)--)
23. The ability to walk and see …and take care of myself on a daily basis.
24. Bug spray.
25. Paper towels.
26. Sweet tea!  Hallelujah!
27. A nice open living room and kitchen so we can still ‘entertain’ in our little space.
28. Toothpaste and toothbrushes.
29. Our healthy Yaris. (despite some cleanliness issues ;)  …she’s pretty fabulous.)
30. Our Accord. (He’s good on gas and gets where he needs to go.)
31.  The identity group
32. Our non-concrete kitchen flooring. Praise, God. I doesn’t drive me insane everyday.
33.  A new (ginormous) tv.
34. Soft and snuggly throw blankets.
35. Clothes hangers.  I love non-wrinkled clothing.
36. My hair dryer, straightening iron and curling iron.
37. Bobby-pins and hair ties
38. The ability to look up questions on the internet.
39. Remote controls.
40. Locks on the house and car and office.
41.  Interesting articles (so I can learn).
42. Paychecks. WOOOOO!
43. Health insurance.
44. A good family doctor and a couple of good specialists (Dr. Saadeh in particular) who are willing to listen to me, work with me and save me time off work and money in little ways.
45. Pinterest. (so I can escape from work and emotion and just browse)
46.  All kinds of food. Sprinkle donuts. Burritos. Pizza bites.  Mac and Cheese. Mashed potatoes. Stir-fry veggies. Dark chocolate covered pretzels and cherries. Frosted flakes. Mini-Wheats. Perogies. Homemade stuffing. Apples. Chinese food in general.
47. Chai tea lattes. Caramel Lattes. Tea. Orange Juice. Apple Cider.
48.  Our rice cooker.
49.  The feel of new socks.
50. The soft glow and warm scent of candles.
51. Comfy couches.
52. Medicine to help the body function correctly.
53. Medicine to help take away pain.
54.  Warm showers.
55. Indoor plumbing.
56.  Fuzzy rugs.
57. A stocked food pantry.
58. Glasses to drink from.
59.  Pretty gift-wrapping materials.
60. Christmas ornaments and lights.
61. Our porch swing.
62. The plant on our porch that Teresa takes care of.
63. Visits from Daisy.
64. The lawn that’s taken care of by Dave.
65. Thursday night dinners and chat time.
66. Super fun rain boots.
67. A purse to tote all my stuff around in.
68. A calendar to keep me organized.
69. Nail polish to make me feel… ‘polished’
70. Hard times to keep me grounded and realistic.
71. The ability to understand things and connect with people.
72. Warm slippers.
73. Other medicine flavors other than grape!
74. Yoga pants.
75. Jammies.
76. Non-stick cookware.
77. Fluffy bed comforters.
78.  Cell phone with internet and texting.
79.  MUSIC.
80. The ability to sing.
81.  Fellowship with family, friends and church friends.
82.  Movies and tv shows to ‘escape’ into.
83.  Funny incidents and stories to tell.
84. Inside jokes and ‘mental images’ that always make me snicker.
85. Strong hugs.
86. Soft kisses from my man.
87. Board games and icebreakers.
88.  A grill.
89.  Safety during travel.
90.  Sunshine and cool breezes.
91. Autumn leaves.  That proves there is so much beauty in life and in death.
92. Falling snow.
93. Perfume, cologne, lotion.
94. Soft pillows.
95. Sunglasses.
96. Spontaneous dance parties with best friends.
97. Windy roads (they are so fun to drive on).
98. The ability to smell lovely and delicious things.
99. The ability to make others smile or feel special
100. A God that knows me so well and loves me so much.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


These things consistently keep fluttering around in my brain while laying in bed, when I’m getting ready in the morning, when I drive to work, when I’m cleaning up, when I attend showers and graduations, when I think of applying for jobs or look at our student loan bills…  some of which truly weigh heavily on my heart, a some are just brief moments of question and concern. I try to keep these feelings and thoughts at bay by focusing on God’s truth, His promises, His blessings in my life and my own responsibility for keeping my emotions in check. But this has been my recent journey and conversation with God…

I really feel “misled” sometimes. I say this because it’s the only way I know how to. You obviously know my flaws. You know I'm capable of being stubborn and lazy and mean at times. But you, of all people, also know how much my heart desires you. You know how much I love you and how many times, despite mental/emotional chaos, I’ve still trusted. I have security in knowing you’ll never leave me or forsake me and for that I’m so grateful. You are always ‘there’ for me (here for me) when I need you most. There are definitely days though, when despite searching and seeking and praying, I don’t feel a clear answer from you.

I also wonder why (when you have presented me with a clear answer) you can be so quick to take it away.  It hurts so badly sometimes and it makes me question, not necessarily your goodness, but your direction in my life.  More so than that, it makes me question my ability to interpret your direction. How am I to know if I’m on the right track if it feels as though the leading that I’ve been following has had less than desirable ramifications?

I think (and thought) that I've done almost everything in my power to make wise choices. I seek wise (biblical) counsel, most with differing opinions.  I’ve tried to fill my mind with your truth. I’ve talked to you consistently, gotten involved and made steps toward seemingly open doors. So, what am I missing?

Jed say’s ‘patience’
…I need to learn patience, but I know it’s much deeper than that. I’ve been very patient before. I am capable of waiting and hoping. You saw me do it for years. You know that it’s not the waiting that I’m afraid of, it's waiting that won't lead to clarity.  

I suppose that I'm supposed to stay where I am right now, until you show me otherwise.  But I’m frightened by the idea that when you finally do show me, I will love it... If I'm too comfortable or want it too much, then you’ll take it away...  and my heart will be broken, yet again.  I know it’s a ridiculous fear (so selfish and over the top perhaps) but I end up fighting that feeling all the time.

I also can’t help but feel as though I've gotten reprimanded for following what I truly thought was your direction.  Like... going to college.  A big, no huge, “step if faith” in the financial department has left us in quite a predicament. Like, working really hard and then getting physically sick and tired.  Like... finally getting position within my field and then getting sick again. I could barely focus and my hormones were out of control.  Like... having surprise positive pregnancy test and then… no baby. What does it mean? How am I supposed to feel? What conclusions should I draw?

Were those things wrong?  In those cases, was the hardship a consequence of not following your direction well enough or was it simply a test?  Was it because I wasn't thankful or excited enough?   I really thought you led me in all of those things. I really did do what I thought was best, according to the information I had.

It's hard to see your perfect timing in it all when you seem to specifically allow something, but take it away. (Even if it's just the hope of something). I know it’s not much to pay in light of the incredible blessings you give,  but even the slightest dissolution of these hopes can really begin to break down the spirit.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be ‘sure’ about decisions again, full-knowing that you’ve orchestrated it all. I felt it when meeting and marrying Jed.  I knew, without a doubt, that we were best for each other, best with each other, and that we could serve you well as a team. But God, I’m so desperate for peace now too. I’m desperate to feel hopeful and at ease with choices and/or with standing still, if that’s what you want from me.

I haven’t lost hope though, and fear hasn’t overcome me. But God, I’m having a hard time feeling at peace. I'm so anxious. I know your truth, and I do believe it.  I’ve clung tightly to your truth this long and I’m so grateful that you’ve always brought me back to you when I decided to wander.  You delivered me when things completely crumbled and I’m so grateful for the blessings you’ve given me. These ridiculous girl feelings make it hard to function sometimes though. Mental chaos isn’t very becoming for a lady following after you.  It’s not that you feel distant or uncaring, God, just vague.

Masters degrees, masters degree, new jobs, family planning,  save money, spend money, pay more, enjoy some now or always plan for later?   ...So many questions.

I really need clarity of mind and heart. I know it’s a lot to ask, and it takes a lot of work on my end... but I know you are more than capable.  I’m trusting that your plan is perfect, that you are teaching me, growing me, making me new, and whole, and lovely. I’m trusting that instead of taking a 'step of faith', that my 'lack of stepping' will prove to be most faithful in our situation. 

I think you are telling me to wait. I don't feel peaceful about spending any more money and I don'twant to make the same 'mistakes' as before (regarding loan debt).  I think you are allowing this anxiety within me in order to (subtly or maybe not so subtly) show me your timing.

Please help me know that you are concerned about the seemingly small things in my life. They compile to make quite a mess in my mind.  I know others are dealing with pain and grief and uncertainty and they desperately need you, but I need to know you are small enough to tend to my heart and big enough to tend to those I love too. Help me see the obvious and give me the clarity I'm so desperate for.

Please know that I’m so grateful. I trust you. I love you. And I’m hanging on to your every word.

<3 Me

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; Psalm 37-23
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  Isaiah 11:2

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage;  Psalm 94:12-14

 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Proverbs 16:1-2

She does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. Proverbs 5:6

 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. Psalm 37:30-31

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Results of "Weeding the Gardens"

I've been relaxing today, just thinking about the past year and reflecting on what all has happened in my own heart and mind.  I decided to look into my journalings ... and stumbled upon this article that I posted in November of last year on my "mind the little foxes" blog (One of those "articles" again, you know how much I love them ;) ).  

I am finding it truly amazing how much God has been subtly answering my prayers requests from a year ago until now. He's been very gentle about helping me find truth and acceptance... which, despite my disinterest in being patient and waiting for answers, is perfect for me.  God must know me well.  ;)  He is letting me process things a little bit at a time.  He has given me some space and time to sort through things, he's allowed me to have some meaningful conversations with people I have met, people I admire, even people that I don't want to be like (if that makes sense) in order to better understand myself and his desires and will for me and my Christian walk.

I kind of relate my answered prayers (and timing) to watching a child grow up.  You know how you're always amazed/shocked at how much someone has grown or changed if you don't see them on a regular basis ... but when you see them daily/weekly, it's just normal?   Well, I think that's kind of like my prayer life with God in the emotional sense.

I haven't really had any shocking, "ah-ha!" moments.  Nor have I had any real instances of feeling like "Blam, that was God's hand" in my life.  Mostly I've felt like I've been floating along ... talking to God, voicing my concerns, but not really knowing exactly how to fix the problem and hurts in my heart.  I didn't even really know what to pray for.  I've been slightly 'jealous' (lets say) about the "clarity" some consistently have  and the overwhelming answers to prayers that have been going on around me ... and was trying to think about how/if God has been answering me... like that. 

And all of a sudden, “Blam!” God’s answer became apparent...

#1. Remember, it’s not your job to “fix” everything.  You asked me to help you. You asked me to change your mind and to change your heart... and that’s what I’ve been doing.

#2. I know you much better than you even know yourself. My ways are perfect.  And by perfect I mean, I know exactly what you need... even down to the timing and way that your heart and emotions are affected. 

#3. I placed people in your life when you were ready to listen and ready to heal.

#4. I gave specific people (and their wisdom) when you needed to connect ...and  opportunities to serve when you needed that too.

#5. I know that you don’t like dramatic change.  Clearly.  Even you know that. So I didn’t throw one big thing at you or try to change your mind and heart in one day.  I let you process and sort through it all. Sometimes it was quiet and calm, sometimes it was chaotic.

#6. When you pleaded with me about certain things, I knew when your heart was serious about not being able to function at your workplace etc … and I helped orchestrate a change.  A great change.  …and I’m still working.

#7. ...also, in case you hadn't noticed, I allowed you to be in an environment like that, because it inspired the kind of feelings (that before) you would have brushed under the rug or run away from. You didn't want to deal with them before and some you didn't even really know about until they to boiled to the surface again.  I want you to be healthy and stable and able to love me and serve me in to the very best of your ability. 

#8. Your vulnerability and challenges have allowed me to plant seeds, ideas, passions within you…

#9. I have given you time and space so that my truth has a good chance to sink in.  And just as it took several years of negative to make an impression, it takes time to learn and heal now too. 

#10. Your challenges and search for truth, have (perhaps) allowed opportunity for others search too, pray too.

For Reference:
This is what I was struggling with, wrote about, was praying about and working towards a year ago.... regarding some of my issues with rejection and identity. 

November 2012

This is NOT my writing... but certainly my thoughts. Among several other related topics, this particular one has been weighing on my mind and heart a LOT lately.  I keep falling into the same cycle of feeling just like most of this post describes.  It's certainly a hard mindset /stronghold to break and honestly I'm not doing so well.... but with prayer and willingness on my part... I'm truly hoping that God's truth will free me from this.  

I really need to be fed truth ...and mostly be willing to accept the truth for what it is, solid and unfailing, not manipulated or exaggerated.  God is not PEOPLE. People fail. I fail, and they most likely have failed for the same reasons I am right now.  But the difference, perhaps, is that I'm willing and really desiring a solution, a surrender, a change in thought and heart and action. 

I've got to start somewhere.  Getting to the root is the hardest part.  But I'm weeding the gardens now and trying to let the beautiful things bloom.  I'm quite tired of the lovely things being suffocated by all the ugly.     

Step 1: PRAYER, and lots of it.
Step 2: Focusing on the truth. (not the world's 'truth but God's ACTUAL, SOLID, ETERNAL TRUTH)
Step 3: Thanking God for EVERYTHING.  ...and I mean EVERYTHING.  My chai latte, my quiet time, my job (even the stress that comes with it- because I'm growing- slowly but surely (I'm holding on to that)). My housing, my shower, my truly wonderful husband, my limbs, my brain power, my non-dirt floors, my car, gas, bedding... even maybe my past.  Perhaps I could even be truly grateful for that too ;)
Step 4: Forgiving. Forgiving the details.  Laying it down, once and for all.  Think about the root of the anger, bitterness, hurt, anxiety, perfectionism etc...   Who, when, what.... and then think about how I don't DESERVE forgiveness either.  And finally LET IT GO once and for all. 
Step 5: Putting in GOOD and throwing out the bad. What goes in must come out. So, I'd better get cracking on the 'filling up with good' part of this objective ...cause God knows, there is a lot of bad to be bombarded with quite regularly.  (But again, much more good to be seen than just at first glance or first instinct.)
Step 6: Changing my 'mode' of dealing. I've kind of been trained/trained myself (now that I'm older) to fight hard or let go completely.  But mostly, a middle ground is the answer... and it seems as though I've got the two extremes flipped around a bit. So... working on that too.

WHEW. Alright then. I could use a small army of prayer warriors if you'd be gracious enough to think of me when you're talking to God. :)    

Thanks to everyone who has prayed for me.  I am far from "whole" but honestly, I've felt much different over the last few months and I've had a different sense of peace. I think that perhaps... much of the truth I've been engulfed in... is finally sinking in, at least a little.  :) If nothing else, there is hope in that. And hope is really, all I need in order to feel like something is tackle-able. So thank you and please keep praying (as this stuff is a daily battle of heart and mind).  ...and probably a daily battle for many people you know and meet.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


On a more serious note...

A lot has happened over the last few days. It feels like we've all been trapped in this whirlwind of dark weirdness.  So much in such short period of time and I haven't really had any time or energy to sit down and think about it, let alone put any of it in words.  I don't know about you but writing helps me process through all the emotions I have rolling around in my head and the unrest in my heart.

It's truly been a week of the most bizarre mix of emotions I've (maybe ever) experienced.

For a few days there, the only thing I could express to people who asked how I was was...
 "too much"

I'm not a big fan of losing.
I don't like failure, I don't like losing control, I don't like crying, I don't like losing someone I love. I don't like having my hopes crushed by harsh reality. And I absolutely hate when the people that I love are hurting so deeply!  It's just hard. It's hard to process so many emotions at once, especially when those emotions are conflicting. It's hard not being able to 'fix it '...or having appropriate words to comfort with.  It's hard when something so precious is taken away.

It's hard.  It's so hard, in fact, that sometimes tears won't even come. It's like mental war.  No tears, just anxiety. Somewhere along the line, my defense mechanism changed from tears to...  nothing.  When I'm truly overwhelmed, I feel, nothing.

...But things have boiled over in the last couple of days that I didn't even realize were an issue.  Everything from jealousy to grief.  This whirling dervish of emotion includes things like:

Fear. Fear about things I didn't even know I could be scared of  like meeting and then losing a child.  I've definitely thought about things like miscarriage, being child-less, fostering children (and them having to go back home), but never this.

Aggravation with God's 'Justness'... especially when I see such dysfunctional families on a daily basis and then I see loving parents losing children.

Difficult memories surrounding many near-death experiences with my mom, hospitals, surgeries etc. Hospitals instantly make me anxious. Even when going to meet Evie, I was so anxious as soon as we pulled into the hospital.

Memories regarding family and holidays that changed because of death or missing people.

Memories of people I loved choosing to walk away or dying.

No matter the situation, the person, the issue... I was powerless. I couldn't make them stay. I couldn't make them love me, choose me.  I couldn't make their hurt go away.  I couldn't control death. All I could do is watch and hope.  Again and again, the things I prayed for and wanted came and went. But I always had hope that things would get better, that people would come around, that family would come, that Jesus was caring for the family I lost.

...but, I guess, at some point I stopped believing that hope was around the corner. I learned to expect disappointment.  I realized that by being a "realist",  blows of disappointment could be temporarily lessened. And that 'simple' change in thinking is still haunting me to this day.

At some point, controlling the tears in order to be strong for my mom or for my sister, changed into resentment, anger, frustration.  I then decided that I had to learn to control, not only the tears, but the emotions themselves.  I thought I was "guarding my heart".  The only way I knew how to do that was to push those emotions down deep and cover them up with anger. Afterall, when I was angry, I didn't hurt anymore.

I guess in a way, I'm kind of like a recovering addict.  I've been trying to change my entire way of thinking. The way I've been taught to, and consistently have processed life's hardships isn't applicable anymore. It isn't good for me, it isn't good for my marriage, for my family, our family.

For the last several months, and for this week in particular, I've been trying desperately to cling to the good. I've been trying to give the anger and frustration, jealousy, hurt, powerlessness, anxiety to God. And I've been fighting hard to suppress the anger and then fighting against the 'numbness' that a lack of anger seems to leave me with.  And fighting is hard.

It's hard to watch family walk through such difficult times.  And oddly enough, it's hard to see family pull together, be together, cry for each other, stay with each other, take care of each other (like our family does).  It's really hard to watch family love like they are supposed to. Weird, I know.  I sound like a lunatic.

But if you see me, and I'm quiet, it's probably because I'm processing.  Please don't think I'm heartless or disinterested, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Please, if you think of it, pray for me.  Pray that my heart and mind will match someday soon. Pray that the good stuff won't be so difficult to process emotionally and that I will be better equipped to sift through disappointments and surrender them to God. Loving is risky. There's so much to lose but there's also so much to gain. I'm clinging to the promises that God has given me ...and my family.

I'm so proud of Josh and Sarah for the incredible way they've handled themselves through everything. I'm particularly amazed with Sarah's ability to feel, and love, and hope despite their circumstances right now. I love you all so very much and I wish I could take your pain away. But I know that my best tool at the moment is prayer. I hope you feel them and know that you are cherished. <3

Hey! I'm Walking Here!

So.... today had an interesting start...

I actually went in to work a tad bit late today because I wasn't feeling very well and thought it might be smart to prevent sickness by recouping a couple hours of sleep this morning. Anyway...things were pretty normal and casual.  I casually drove into work, casually got out of my car, casually walked toward work, casually started crossing the street (when the little 'white walking man'  said okay)... and then casually hit by a car! 

I know!  I'm not exactly exaggerating, the guy was only going like 1 mph, but still!!!  I stepped out, took a couple of steps and felt something hit my left knee. I was shocked at first, then angry.  I thought he was trying (as some ridiculous people do) to scare me by lurching towards me.  Those "city people" ;)   I'm please to say that he certainly wasn't trying to run me over.  I don't know if he was half asleep, distracted by a bee or just blissfully unaware of his surroundings... but he certainly wasn't paying attention.  I'm guessing that he simply took his foot off the break and his shiny automatic car decided to move.  

I quickly moved sideways and hit his hood with the palm of my hand once. Apparently he didn't see or hear me, still... and he kept on coming. By the time I caught a glimpse of his face (instead of the side of his head) I was fully bent over the front of his car and pounding on the hood with  both fists!

Obviously he hit his breaks and gave me the 'two-handed double high-five of regret' as he mouthed "sorry" (I think). I was just so stunned at what had happened... and there was an entire row of cars that were also sitting at the light.  I was embarrassed, I'm sure he was embarrassed.  As soon as I passed, he quickly made a right turn and sped away.  In a 2 second period, it's funny how much stuff went through my head. I'm sure I looked like a deer in headlights. Then my eyes teared... and then I snickered the whole way into work thinking of how ridiculous I must have looked as a hood ornament.   By the time I made across the next block to my building I was shaking so badly I thought I might need to sit down though.  Silly adrenaline.

Rethinking the situation I really wish I would have done a couple of things differently...
1. I would have actually yelled something in hopes of him hearing/seeing me sooner  ....and for effect....
I would have either:
1. Kicked his bumper really hard after he hit me this granny.... Granny Hits Car 
2. Pulled one of his windshield wipers off (Jed suggestion) or
3. Taken a pronounced bow  :)


Poor guy.  I was thinking afterwards how scared he must have been. Hitting a pedestrian is on my top 5 list of things I'm completely petrified of.

Anyway, I hope this bizarre little experience gave you a chuckle too.
I'm really grateful he was only creeping along... it gives me fun stories to tell.

Monday, November 5, 2012



In preparation for Thanskgiving, I've been thinking about the blessings that have come to me this year and I've been trying to think about one thing in particular that has meant a lot to mewhich brought me to the idea of affirmations.  I'm so incredibly grateful for the little notes or texts emails or facebook comments I receive on an almost daily basis, even when nothing particularly traumatic is happening.  It’s just so nice to know that people care and it’s nice to know they think of me every once in a while and that they are willing to share a little moment of their time telling me about their day or asking me about mine.  :)

I find it particularly wonderful to hear the words “I’m proud of you...” every so often.  That simple little phrase makes my heart melt and brings tears to my eyes instantly.

It’s so comforting and fulfilling to hear that someone I admire thinks highly of me... or thinks of me at all, really. I have to admit, it is one of the few things that truly helps me feel ‘on track’ in life. When I can't hear a direct, "good job" from God, it's sure nice to hear it from those seek wisdom and advice from.

When Jed and I did our pre-marital counseling (either for counseling or on our own… I can’t remember) we read the book The 5 Love Languages again.  I think I ranked ‘Words of Affirmation’ second to last.  For me, quality time, physical touch and acts of service took the cake as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the love language department.  I guess I never realized how much I really do need to actually hear loving things though.  

After years of trying to convince myself that I didn't need affirmation, confirmation, or recognition from those I looked up to... I'm beginning to realize just how heavily those comments weigh on my heart.  This recent realization came from my endeavors to work through some of the negative self-talk in my head. It's amazing how we can remember exact comments from so long ago and how deeply they can impact us.   I think it's really important to understand just how detrimental and hurtful words can be   ...and also how important and wonderful positive words can be too!

When I stop hearing ‘little praises’ here and there, it becomes more apparent how truly encouraging those little praises are.  I know that it helps my heart to hear when someone is happy with me.  All I want to do, after all, is please people. *An attitude that I have been  working on tweaking a bit in recent years …and a discussion/post for another time*  But truly, I love when people are pleased. I love it when I feel as though God is pleased. 

All that to say that I have been trying to remind myself how much I love to be encouraged an how I should, in turn, encourage others.  Everyone has their own unique 'love language' (and it may not always match mine) ...but I've been trying to do little things here and there  in hopes of loving others in the best way I can.

I encourage you to do the same! You probably already do... but just in case you need a little inspiration…

Words of Affirmation
Let someone know that you care with little, but meaningful, things like note or cards.  Share "little praises". Tell them when you are pleased, appreciative, honored, impressed. Check in over the phone, send a brief email or text just to say hi. Send encouraging verses or stories ...or just chat about life.

*If you know of someone who is particularly kind or attentive at their job,  take time to let their manager know how pleased you are with their service.
* If you see a child that is well-behaved or helpful (at the grocery store, for instance) compliment them in front of their parents.

Words of affirmation can be wonderful, especially in the work place. You could help someone, who deserves it, get a raise...who knows.  And kids need all the encouragement they can get. Who knows if they get any at home.
Quality Time
Take the time to sit down over dinner or coffee and talk with someone. Share prayer requests, disappointments, silly stories, history, and hopes.  Teach someone something new.  Find a common interest or new hobby. Give someone attention when they are busy getting on your last nerve ;)

Physical Touch
Give a hearty hug and a smile or even a little wink and nudge.

Receiving Gifts 
Send a little care package, a card or gift certificate. Tip above and beyond the regular guidelines when eating out.  Buy a meal or coffee for someone else the next time you go out.  Share your coupons or make something special for someone... like a craft or a meal.

Acts of Service
Help a loved one with the dishes, the laundry, a craft project, homework or cooking.  Help build, fix or move something. Bring them a drink or offer to take over a chore for them.

Let those that are struggling know that you are available, that you’re sorry they are hurting, that you empathize, that you’ll pray. Encourage service, outreach, rest, and prayer when things get tough and when things get easier too. Participate in fellowship, in outreach and be a shepherd who tends to the needs of those around you, whether they are emotional, spiritual or physical.

I so admire those who use their valuable time, energy and money to serve others and show them that someone cares! You are the little bit of sunshine is someone’s day… so keep shining!  Don’t get burnt out.  Do what you can, spend quality time with God, have some fun, laugh a little and spend some quality time relaxing too.

Thank you for all you do and thank you for being such an excellent example of Christ’s love to those around you! <3

Friday, November 2, 2012



This one simple word has been coming to mind a lot lately.

 There are times in everyone’s life when encouragement is hard to come by. Life can be quite discouraging overall sometimes, and somewhere between our minor daily disappointments and our seemingly ‘broken dreams’, we lose heart and we lose motivation.  I truly believe there is great importance in the Christian community coming together to encourage each other. And I don’t mean in only “spiritual” ways…

We each have a part to play and we each have different gifts. We all are capable of encouraging, even the most ‘realistic’ of us. ;)  Every Christian should be optimistic in a couple of respects:

1.      There is always HOPE.
…Maybe there isn’t always hope of recovery or hope of more time on earth. Maybe there isn’t always hope for someone who’s now dealing with the consequences of the past or to recover lost time or money. But there is always hope in knowing that God is in control. There is hope that if you believe in Christ, you will have a heavenly escape after this life on earth. There is hope that nothing is too great, too broken, too far from God’s hand and His heart.

2.      There is always POTENTIAL to INFLUENCE.
… There is always potential to influence and encourage those around us.  Maybe it’s one neighbor, a stranger, a few co-workers, or perhaps we have a large audience, but no matter what, there is always potential in influencing those around us in the way we live and speak. It doesn’t necessarily take money or status to influence others.  It takes us living respectably and with integrity.

3. We are only required to LOVE GOD.
…Loving God means having a relationship with Him. It mean following His commandments and wanting to please Him, always.  It means loving others.  It means doing what we say, acting in a wise manner, seeking wise counsel and aligning our goals with God’s ...and surrendering our will to His. When we consistently align ourselves with the bible and it’s principles, our actions and thoughts all follow along.
If we were judged based on perfection, none of us would ever measure up. We aren’t perfect, just forgiven. Redeemed.

4.      There is always POTENTIAL for CHANGE.
…We can’t always change our circumstances or the world we currently live in but we can change ourselves. We can be responsible for our choices and actions. We can direct the path of our own lives. We can help direct the path of our families, our companies and our communities. We can change our hearts, our minds and our motives. No one is beyond God’s reach. He won’t impose himself on those who turn their back, but He will always be there and will never let go of his kids.

I challenge you to continue to…
"Encourage one another daily," Hebrews 3:13

…Because we all need to be reminded of the hope and potential we have through Christ.

<3 Lauren

Never Far

Click to Listen
Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said, 

"I know you've murdered 

and I know you've lied
and I've watched you suffer all of your life
and now that you'll listen 
I'll, I'll tell you that I..."

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew

This song gets me every time I hear it.  It doesn't matter how dysfunctional, corrupt or desperate we are, God still loves us.  Period. We can always find comfort in knowing we are never far from Him and that in our darkest time, despite our mistakes, our choices and our past, when we turn to Him, He won't turn away.

 <3 I'm so grateful for such a loving Father.