Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is it possible?

So many times over the past year I have sat down, written a post, and then deleted it all. I write but at the end of it I am disappointed. My words proving to be insufficient, at least to me. Trying to articulate thoughts has been a frustration..

Over the last few years I have read multiple stories and books about those in the persecuted church, about those who were/are in prison, about those who survived genocide, about those who survived the trauma of humiliation, about people who kept their faith in the midst of horrific evil. I have read biographies, auto biographies, accounts of miracles, stories of the Gospel spreading through concentration camps and prisons...stories of people keeping their dignity, and sanity, and faith in the darkest places of suffering. My eyes wildly taking in every word reading about people who painfully lost everything because of the unjust choices of another man or the corruption of their government.

It dawned on me the other day while I was driving my car that over the last few years I have not just sought these stories out but I have frantically sought these stories out. why? I realized then that I have been searching for something. I realized then that I have had this subtle gnawing question deep in my heart for quite sometime now and I suppose I was searching for a remedy. I so badly desired to know if people could keep their hearts soft and unoffended at God in the face of immense injustice and tragedy because my own faith, I felt, proved to be faulty when it came to this. One disappointment in my life and there I go, questioning God. But more than that...my own experiences with loss and grief I have felt produced a hardness of heart within me towards Him and I have been grieved over that. Something has been crying out within me, "teach me!". Teach me what you know, teach me about humility, teach me about love when all seems lost, teach me how to have an unoffended heart towards Him no matter what...and I guess I was thinking maybe I could be taught through these stories by the people who have lived to tell them.

I wanted to know how people kept their faith in God's love even though they suffered torture, loss, devastation, a concentration camp, the heartbreak of betrayal, humiliation, a dark prison cell, solitary confinement, death, and deep heartbreak. Is it possible to not let one's heart become embittered against God and man in those circumstances? Is it possible for people to keep their hearts soft and unoffended at God in places like that? Surely the Sunday school answer is yes. But when you have been touched by those things yourself simple answers and cliches will not satisfy. I wanted to read about people who had actually lived it, I needed know that it really was possible. Of course I know it is... but I went on a search anyways..

"with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (matt 19:26).

In all the stories I have read all the characters who display great courage and strength all have something in common. Humility. Their stories have taught me to embrace mystery through humility, and without humility we will never be able to relate or get to God. Only through humility can we trust Him at all times with all things. Embracing Him, the mystery, through humility. Those who have lived to tell about it afterward have become some of my personal heroes, those who have kept the faith. Those who have been through the toughest of circumstances only to come out more loving and soft and tender then before. They truly are my heroes and my teachers. They also have another thing in common, that they have no regrets. they all realized at the end of their lives that walking with Christ really did prove to be the greatest adventure full of danger, full of risk, but also full of fulfillment and true love. :) 


The love I have read about in these books is not a love laced with sarcasm, nor with criticism, nor with conditions, but a love that loves just because it's love! If that kind of love exists how can we not be ruined, wrecked, and undone by it? Surely I have been and will be again.







Friday, December 21, 2012

*Christmas is almost here*



 Here is some Pre-Christmas cheer from our lives lately! Hope everyone has a great Christmas!


 

Pine Cone Painting



Ugly Sweater wear at it's best

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fall Feature

Well fall isn't over quite yet and I'm happy about that! I wanted to share some pics we took a few weeks ago with our new camera. Just kind of a test run of sorts. :)

 





Thursday, September 6, 2012

A thing called: LEADERSHIP

                           
Ever heard the phrase "some people are just natural born leaders"? Maybe, but more often than not I think people are born with potential more so than they are born leaders. Leadership skills are learned and honed through experience. A lot of us will learn to lead by leading!!


A lot of times we take someone who has a lot of natural charisma and who are sometimes just plain loud and stick the label "leader" on them. Really? If we look for leaders this way then we are going to end up with a bunch of Sauls (1 Samuel 9). People who look good on the outside but lack character on the inside. The first thing I look for in a leader? (we are talking church leadership here). The oil of intimacy with Jesus. Everyone has a lamp, not everyone has oil (Matthew 25). And then obviously there is love, humility, and a willingness to lay oneself down for the people they are leading (all I could expound upon but not in this post!)

I have also heard it said that your not a leader if no one is following you. Well that's nice in theory but I wouldn't base the number of people following you on how good a leader you are. Look at Jesus, His own people murdered Him. By text book definition this would be a leadership FAIL but in fact Jesus was the wisest and best leader to ever walk the earth! An authentic characteristic of leadership is shown by a willingness to keep doing what is right even when no one else is doing it, which means that sometimes you will be left alone without a herd of followers.  

I think being a good leader has less to do with taking charge and being out in front and more to do with setting an example (1 Peter 5:3) and yes, sometimes they go hand in hand. There is nothing wrong with those who have take charge personalities I am just saying that if we put our emphasis more on the outward personality and charisma of the leader than on the inward heart of the leader we are liable to miss it. Character is to leadership what the skeleton is to the body. It is the foundational structure on which good leadership rests. Being a leader has to do with who you are just as much about what you know because you can say what you know but only impart who you are. You cannot have sustained good leadership without inwardly having good character, and charisma is not character. 
  
God evaluates leaders with different eyes than we do. How many of us would have chosen someone like Gideon to lead an army?! (Judges 6) According to the word he was cowardly and kept to himself. What about Moses the murderer, Noah the drunk, Jacob the liar, David the adulterer...
Even Samuel, the prophet of God, would have over looked the greatest leader in Old Testament history. 1 Samuel 16:6 says that Samuel would have anointed Eliab king if the Lord didn't stop him because Samuel was focused on his outward appearance. In fact, David was over looked by everyone. His brothers, his own father, and even the prophet of God...David was overlooked for leadership by everyone but God because God saw his heart. In scripture it says the reason why God chose David to be king was because of his HEART. So it is the spiritual posture of a person's heart that qualifies them for leadership in the kingdom not their outward appearance.

When we are looking for potential leaders among a crowd we must use our spiritual senses to discern a person’s heart in order to spot them, otherwise, like Samuel, it is very likely we will overlook some of the best people for the job.

Many times we can find a million reasons as to why we think we are "disqualified" for leadership in His Kingdom. But many times it is our "disqualifications" that actually qualify us! If we have a "YES!" in our hearts towards God then we are qualified. Don’t disqualify yourself for any reason and especially because you may be less outgoing than others. God looks at the heart and by the way, introverts make GREAT leaders, (Bill Gates, Ghandi, Einstien, just to name a few!)

We have the ultimate and best example of leadership through the example Jesus gave us. For my own personal life, I base a lot of my own thoughts about leadership off of 1 Peter 5:2-4. It's a foundational building block for me when it comes to leadership. TRUE leaders are marked by: character, humility, LOVE, selflessness, service, and passion. All of these traits transcend personality. It doesn't matter whether your are introverted or extraverted these traits are the staple to any good leader and ALL of them can be cultivated through intimacy with the Man who exuded them from His own life while on earth. The best leaders are the ones with FULL lamps. 

I love this topic and I feel like I could potentialy write pages about it... so there is prolly more to come soon. :)  

Friday, August 3, 2012

mother daughter mini vaca!

My mom and I got out of town this past weekend and headed to Lake George to enjoy a mini vaca. It was great to break away from the routine of life even if only for a few days! Our trip mostly consisted of trolley rides, ice cream, hiking, swimming, and outlet store shopping. Not too shabby! ;)


Lake George Glory :)




Our sweet ride

Did some antique/vintage shopping

The best treat after a long hike!

We made a pit stop in Saratoga Springs on the way home and had a lot of fun checking out all the shops and boutiques there.


  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sweet Summer Saturday!!


This past Saturday was made complete with homemade strawberry daiquiris, Frank Sinatra, tea lights in mason jars, tomato and mozzarella, and I finished a project for our bedroom I was working on!! and the late night talk with a best friend on my deck only added bliss to an already sweet summer day :)  

Friday, July 13, 2012

too much

I haven't written one of these in a while. Not because there is nothing to say but because there is too much to say! For a long time now I have sat down to write and I get overwhelmed, so overwhelmed that nothing seems to come out at all! It's amazing how you can be living a seemingly mundane life on the outside yet soo much goes on on the inside. Guilty am I of an intricate inner life.

I can't seem to get it sorted right now. It has been such a season of learning...a LONG season of learning and yes I'm still in it! I keep having dreams that I am back in school (not fun) taking tests. I just keep praying I pass and whatever I'm supposed to learn I learn! I have heard it said the longer the transition takes the more profound the change.

Something I'm learning about myself is that I never knew I could be so "stubborn"..but in a good way. I think that's what perseverance is sometimes. There are some things you find you just can NOT compromise on under any circumstance, even if it brings the sting of loneliness into your life. Sometimes a trial comes and when it's over you look back and realize you just found out what you were made of. 

I know that I have been learning how to REACH for Him. In the mundane I am REACHING for Him. In the frustration I am REACHING for Him. In the anger I am REACHING for Him. And in the joy of trial and perseverance, (yes I said joy) I reach for Him. Learning how to put a demand on His anointing and loving kindness because I am one who is in need of it, and knowing I am in need is half the battle. Instead of letting the frustration of the season shut me down (and it has many times before) I am leaning into Him anyways, because He ALONE makes me lie down in safety (Psalm 4:8). So many times I have tried to comfort my aching heart with other things and through other means but I have learned the hard way that He is my ONLY remedy. There's that word again...learn. This whole thing sounds repetitive to me, have I written a post like this before?? I think I have been here for a while. Probably because it's taking me forever to learn whatever it is I need to learn!! ;)  

Jesus said "those who have been forgiven much, love much" (Luke 7:47). He is not referring to a literal list of what we have done wrong He is saying it's a matter of perspective. We have ALL been forgiven of so much, it's just a matter of whether we realize it. To the degree we realize how much He has forgiven us is to the degree that we will love much. I haven't done it right, I haven't done it perfect, and sometimes I have done it with a bad attitude but I'm still here. I'm still here Lord and that has to count for something right?

...because You gladly lean to lead the humble, I shall gladly lean to leave my pride...


"We don't have to understand God in order to trust Him. Instead, we have to trust Him in order to understand Him."
-Kamran Yaraei


maybe in my next post things will be more "defined" but then again... 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Outdoor movie party


Would totally LOVE to do this!! :) :) SO cozy and such a good idea for summer!!! Since the hubs is starting a new job he won't have any PTO accured for the summer, so we won't be doing as much traveling as we would like. So I'm thinking of fun things to do locally and trying to use our deck space to the max! Brunches, making homemade ice cream, and the public market are just a few things swirling around in my head...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Taking to the Skies!






Matt got to fly a plane this past weekend! I got him an intro flight lesson as a gift for starting a new job! He is thinking about eventually going for his pilots license in the future. It was so fun and something adventurous to do together! We both love a little bit of risk ;)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Brights









Summer is almost in full swing for us and I'm pretty excited about it! Flowers, skirts, deck parties, farmers markets, bon fires, bright colors, and lemonade await me

For those of you who don't know my husband took a new job and we are pretty excited about that too! (don't worry it's local) and to celebrate we are doing something a little daring and out of the ordinary this weekend...and I might just post something about it afterwards ;)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Photo: cuuuuute

Seriously in love with this picture! I can't even help it. SO. CUTE.

I found it on a blog I follow called the Rockstar Diaries

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

*Bottles*

I love the use of bottles as decor around the house. These are perfect for a party, a windowsill, or deck. Nicely done, Urban Outfitters.

Friday, May 11, 2012

~CUPCAKE ATM~

Just found out about the world's first ATM that dispenses cupcakes! Blog worthy? I think so!

Located in Beverly Hills, It's just like a regular ATM only you choose which flavor you want, pay with your credit card and out pops a freshly baked cupcake! open 24 hours. genius? :)



Monday, April 9, 2012

::weekend getaway::

 Matt just got home after an 11 day business trip so we decided to we take some time for ourselves. We went to Barton Hill Hotel & Spa, SO NICE! Would recommend it to anyone! It was so quiet and quaint, perfect!




 


morning :)
   


Reading the morning paper at the local bakery
  


strolling down Main St.
  
 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spontaneous Roadtrip...

to Baltimore....because really, why not?!
Matt had to take a business trip there and he invited me to join him.
We had plenty of time to do some gallivanting around the inner harbor area,
also, marriage is fun... just had to throw that in there!! ;)




Spent sometime at the National Aquarium



venture into the "rainforest"
 


Matt was obssessed with the Jellies...and now wants his own tank. grrrreat ;)
 


watch out Matty!!
 


it was bright and sunny!
 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day through Instagram photos

 We hosted a Valentine's Day party this past weekend and it was LEGENDARY!! ....well maybe not legendary but it was a lot of fun :)

 



 vintage records

 Home made cake pops!!

 and yes I wore pink ruffles to work today because it was Valentine's Day...I am that person.

I also won a trip to the Spa in a raffle at work. Very unexpected.
Happy Vday!!!!