hitting me over the head

Okay, I’ve been hit over the head with this little truth over and over in sermons, blog posts, chatting with God, and talking with others. God sure seems to want to embed it deep in my heart:

Know Me.

Don’t just talk about me or talk at me or do things for me or sing songs about me. Know Me. Believe in Me. Trust Me. Rely on Me. Cling to Me. Invite Me into the situation, the circumstances, everything. Behold My face. I am who I say I am.

In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Proverbs 3:6

“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you: Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matthew 7:23 (told you, I’m loving on Matthew already!)

In running it out and chatting with God, He gave me a real-life picture of a path and how that relates to knowing Him.  I found myself on the path. Going in the right direction.  Looking ahead at my destination rather than my shuffling feet. Seeing the beauty around me and soaking up time with Him.

All is going along swimmingly, right? Well, that is until the creepy, slithering snake goes right in front of me ON the path.  My reaction: a gasp, a jump, and running faster! Pretty much like the last time I ran into a pretty little snake

Though, what God spoke to me this made me take a heart step back. Wait…the snake, the temptation, the suffering…you mean, they come along right in the middle of the path that He’s calling me to walk.  Sometimes I too often throw it all into a nice little box of if I’m going the right way then all of that would go aside.  But, no, that’s not how it works.

It’s in knowing Him and following Him that I can trust that He’ll get me through it. He’ll make sure that I can keep running toward Him, that I can finish the race. No weapon formed against me shall prosper.  Sure, I may run into things ON the path, but God is with Me. I can rejoice, I can find the joy. So, I’m stepping out boldly and confidently with the assurance that God is with me.

friday fun five

1. i baked my very first two layer cake that turned out beautiful!

chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. now just to give it to someone so that they can enjoy it!

i’m weird and like white chocolate…all that chocolate on that cake just sounds…ugh…

2. I’ve been running a lot more lately and oh how my heart missed it!

last year around this time I was wearing this to go running…notice the mittens on my dresser and the scarf hanging…as much as I am glad for the warmer weather and sunshine…I miss it…especially the people, the mountains, the style of life, the singing, the languages, and so much more.

so am i saying i’d trade summer for winter? yeah, yeah, i would but it’s more of a trade minnesota for africa 🙂

3. ohh, and in case you didn’t know, it’s world cup! and it’s in south africa! woot!

and i hope these guys are still kicking the ball around 🙂

4. have i mentioned that i love kids?

I love that I get to work with them, play pretend car, chase them, take them bowling, find random places like Menard’s to play catch, bake cookies, and even take sleeping bags to slide down the stairs!

5. oh, it’s summer, which means work has slowed down and so that means more time to dig deep!

so, that’s what I’m doing…digging deep, soaking up all the time I have with God, seeing what He has for me in His timing, getting back up, and turning up the passion.  Yeah, I’m a *bit* excited to see all the ways that God is….faithful, BIG, trustworthy, loving, shepherd, delighted in me, and the one who pursues me! Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

What’s on your heart this friday? fun or serious? prayer requests? thoughts? encouragement? anything?

Adjustment

Confession: I tend to be very black and white, all or nothing on some particular things. Yet, I am very see all sides and potentials of a situation while voicing them each. I live in that tension and I’m okay with that…it’s me.  Sometimes this tension makes me stop. pause. for some adjustments. some changes. some prioritization.

As many of you may know, I like to run. a lot. I ran 13 miles last Wednesday and yes, I agree wholeheartedly that doing that is crazy!  I started a training plan without a specific race in mind and more of a way to structure my running, take days off, have a goal.  Not a bad idea at all. But, the thing is…I started letting my structure and running schedule dictate my actions far more than it should.

So, today, I ran with a friend. I usually would have run again to fit in my “scheduled” run, but I drove home instead.

I’m choosing to say no to a schedule so that I can say YES: to God,  to trusting His plan more than my own, to more prayer walks, to remembering that this is NOT failure, believing that I’m not defined by running, to more spontaneous or even planned times with people, and to still running.

Because, really. for me, saying yes to life shared with God and others is worth the adjustment.

UP for some Real Me?

I lived in Africa for a year as many of you may know.  While there, I met this amazing girly who I absolutely love and we now have skype dates on Saturday that seriously make my week.  But, see, here’s the thing.  She doesn’t like movies. Like at all. And she rubbed off on me.

I have yet to go to a movie theater since being back in the States, shame, eh? I did thoroughly enjoy Earth from Red Box and would be so incredibly happy to own that entire DVD series.  My “bonding time” with my mama over “The Bachelor” is just about as poppy as I get when it comes to this stuff.

All of that to say that yesterday, I watched a movie after I went on my long run (and yes, we were friends!).  Remember how I told you that I ran 16.1k, well, that was on the docket again for this week.  Though, this time I ran outside (woot! woot! love me some warm(er) weather and running tights and wearing mittens to carry things) and listened to a whole jumble of worship songs*.  Plus, I improved my time!

Despite my speedy running and motivation to attempt to arrive on time, I didn’t…plus, when I got there I stopped and chatted for a bit with the pastor’s wife (love her and hey! relationships matter! and yes…still working on the time thing).  Thankfully, my friends (yes, I’ve been home long enough to even make “friends”) usually extend an extra big dose of grace. Hey, they must be friends if they’re already learning to not let me get away with my answers that aren’t answers (aka indecision) by helping me commit and they put up with my half inviting myself by saying that I so want/need to see said movie they are talking about watching.

By now, you must REALLY be wondering (or you’ve given up on this long post–usually I dislike long posts greatly and even spent time trying to make this shorter, but there’s just too much fun stuff to share….) what movie I would want/need to see….dun dun dun… UP.  Confession: the main reason I wanted to see this movie was because another fabulous girly I met in Africa watched this movie on the plane ride home (I fell asleep..I do that often especially during movies) and told me about an absolutely gut-wrenching line that simply made us BOTH teary eyed or should I say bawling (oh, side note: my eyes turn an amazingly gorgeous green when I cry)…as if we weren’t already since we were leaving “home.”  Today, I didn’t cry nearly as much as I would have if I had watched it then…I only got teary eyed and missed my people and my home.  All because of a few lines:

“It might sound boring, but the boring stuff I remember the most.”

“Thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one.”

Congrats to you if you made it this far!  So, your turn: have you seen UP? do you run on africa time?  do you like movies? tell me something I don’t know.

*Running Playlist for the day: Battlefield by Jordin Sparks, Everything Falls by Fee, More Like Falling in Love by Jason Gray, Rain it Down by Carlos Whittaker, There’s Only One by Caedmon’s Call, How He Loves by Kim Walker, This Day by Audio Adrenaline, You Said by Shane and Shane, Let My Love Open the Door by Audio Adrenaline, Glory to God Forever by Fee, This Could Be Our Day by Addison Road, God of Wonders by Third Day, Show Me Your Glory by Third Day, From the Inside Out by Hillson, Tomalo by Hillsong, Not Enough by Caedmon’s Call, Madly by Steve Fee, All We Need by Charlie Hall,

Running Around

“Authenticity has less to do with what I look like and more to do with what I say and do.” –Sarah

A while back there was thing called “Real Me” running around the “blogosphere.”  I kept intending to participate, but never ended up having a camera after those real me moments. Until tonight…

See, the real me loves to run.  I haven’t always. Back when I played tennis like it was my job, I loathed running.  But then, tennis season ended and I love the feeling of a good workout…

So, on a whim, I picked up running. I hit the pavement searching for cute little neighborhoods and found myself loving the mixture of music, God time, and the feelings afterward (from i hurt to okay I did that!).   Give or take about three years, here I am still running.

Now, as for the picture…I took this little gem right after my 16.1k (or 10 mile) run–sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself…  My legs hurt. I did not smell pretty. I’m pretty sure I had salt on my face. I had just listened to Battlefield on repeat 22 times to remind me to get my armor on (yes…I counted while I ran and I wanted to get my $1.29 worth out of the song I bought in part just for this ridiculously long run and check out Ephesians 6).

I’ve got my cross and heart necklace around my neck (I’ve worn the cross since high school and June gave me the heart last year–yeah…I never take it off…literally).  I have a watch on my right hand (and no, I’m not left handed, I just like that hand better for watches).  I’m wearing flip flops because that’s how I roll even in negative temperatures.

I’m missing my big earrings and sunglasses, but  just imagine they’re there because they normally are.  Oh, and yes, I’m taking a cheesy self-portrait hand out smiling style picture because I like documenting things like this and yes I smile in them…iPhoto has plenty of these stored away.

So, there’s a little glimpse into the real me. I’ll try to share more as these moments pop up, but I’ve written more than enough me…tell me something about the “real you” because I so would love hearing from you!!! (and yes, I use multiple exclamation points or question marks to emphasize that I really do want to know..I do) 🙂

What IS working?

Sure, I can go through my list of what has NOT been working (speaking rashly, going to bed way too late turned not getting up early to go running, getting places on time, being on the computer too much, and the list goes on), but where does that get me? Usually…discouraged, frustrated, trying to do it myself. Not a good place.

So, in the midst of my crying out, God gave me a little reminder tucked away in my journal written in orange highlighter:

And that,right there, is where I’m choosing to turn my focus today.

What’s working: journaling, days at work, seeing joy in the little things, adventures

From here, I’m going to keep finding out what’s working, do some more of that, fill in the gaps where I can, and mostly lean on Him to give me the strength because He sure does tell me that I can do nothing without Him.

And while I’m at it since I’m a words girl…I’ll keep singing:

“Cause even in the dark you can still see the light”

“I don’t want to go one more day without your all consuming passion inside of me. Just okay is not enough.”

“It’s joy unspeakable”

“Hey now, this is my desire, consume me like a fire cause I just want something beautiful to touch me.”

So, how are you doing today? What’s working for you? What are you listening to?

from “i hurt” to feeling beautiful

Here we are again. Another week. Another post. Let me just say, I feel like each week, I notice more, I am inspired by more, I find more joy, I am more optimistic. And that alone, I love!  Here are some of the experiences of joy this week…and don’t forget to tell me one of your own!!

359. capturing a moment

360. chasing sunshine and clouds

378. The moment when the skating pair finishes well and locks eyes

380. feeling beautiful after getting my hair done

395. the “i hurt” after a run because it means i did something

397. helping kindergartners make paper penguins

408. being called miss tiger 🙂

417. naps in the sunshine with the snow just outside

419. a walk with my beloved

424. a kiddo on each leg

430. making veggie lasagna from scratch

437. scheduling posts

439. skype dates with tara

449. cake batter with oatmeal cookie batter…yum, I love coldstone

456. looking at Africa pictures with grandma at “christmas”

 

I am most myself when…

I loved the idea behind this post and the happy thoughts generated so I thought I’d share with you all here:

I am most myself when I am sitting on my bed watching the sunrise mulling over the Bible and talking with God.

I am most myself outside…running, hiking, sitting, soaking up the sun.

I am most myself when I’m in shorts, a tank top, bare feet, and curled up in my bed with a good book.

I am most myself when I am wearing sunglasses on top of my head.

I am most myself when I bring my laptop in the bathroom/am driving with my ipod and turn the volume up way loud and get lost in a song.

I am most myself surrounded by kiddos.

What about you?!

Counting it All Joy From Mittens to Haiku

61. writing in my Bible

65. happy purses

66. bible study ladies

67. prayer: being able to ask for it, praying for others

78. Hope House name tag found in my Bible

79. carrying keys in my mittens

83. giving away homemade mugs

86. writing late at night

91. haiku poetry

95. personal bests at running

What about you? What gift did you find this week? What brought you joy? What did you find beautiful? Take a look around this week…and count it all joy with me!

 

Gratitude Community

Wonderwall

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable

Wall: a continuous vertical brick or stone structure that encloses or divides an area of land. something perceived as a protective or restrictive barrier.

“Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you

by now you shoulda somehow realized what you gotta do

I don’t believe anybody feels the way I do about you now

And all the roads we have to walk are winding

and all the lights that lead us there are blinding

Because maybe you’re gonna be the one that saves me

and after all you’re my wonderwall.

I’ve realized what “I gotta do.”  Run to my wonderwall (my protector, my strong tower, the one who leaves me in awe and wonder at His love and forgiveness).  Run to Jesus.  Because that is where I find healing and I trust Him “because You’re gonna be the one that saves me.”  He is the one that makes “all the lights that lead [me] there are blinding.”  He brings light to the darkness (1 John 1:5).  God is so blinding that Moses literally glowed when he left the presence of the Lord (Exodus 34:29).  He makes a way in the wilderness: “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of past.  Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19). He wants me to get to the place where He wants me and to do what “I gotta do” because He knows what is best and causes all things to work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).  He loves me like no nobody else does.  So, that’s where I’m running today.  To the foot of the cross where I lay it all down and ask Him to “take it all” because I trust Him.  He’s my wonderwall.