Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Today is the day all of us have been anxiously anticipating - the day for the gathering of family and friends, for exchanging beautifully wrapped packages, and for reflecting on the generous and gracious love of our Father in Heaven. I love Christmas and all that it represents in my life.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:14 (NIV)
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.

James 1:17 (NIV)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights...

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

A new month begins! Love this time of year with the glistening snow, the lights, the scents...all of it is so magical and beautiful!

With the start of a new month comes a new Scripture Memory Verse...

James 1:21 (The Message)
In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Only 25 days until Christmas! Ready for some more time off of work and all the holiday madness!

Happy December!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scripure Memory Verse #22

I'm a few days late with my post, but it was a very busy and tiring week. Thankfully, it's been a great weekend and I now have a little time to post my 22nd Scripture Memory Verse for the year...

Luke 1:50 (The Message)
His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.

I came across this verse while perusing my Bible's topic index. It's simply stated, yet profound. I need God's mercy on a daily, even hourly, basis. Though marked with moments of victory and wonder, this year has also been incredibly challenging for me in that it's been filled with a great deal of change which has invoked a great deal of stress. I've struggled this year more so than in others. I'm happy that I've managed to make it through thus far, but still find myself wrestling with anxiety and discouragement at times. I'm glad that even though I may not always act or feel my best, that God still sheds His love, mercy, and grace upon me. I'm grateful for that promise and for the fact that He never changes, even when I do. He is AWESOME!

This week is Thanksgiving week! I've continued my 30 Days of Thanks on Facebook - it's been fun to share my blessings - there really is so much to be grateful for and it serves as a good reminder of how amazing life is!

I'm looking forward to only having three days of work this week - it'll be a nice time to spend with my hubby, family, and not have to worry about work stuff for a change. I'm definitely looking forward to the break! And I'll be running the Turkey Trot again this year on Thanksgiving morning so I'm excited for that too! The exercise will give me a good reason to enjoy all that great food!

That's all for now! Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November!

November 1st...where has the time gone?!? This year is coming to an end very quickly...

So, let me give an update since the last time I was on...

*I ran a Halloween themed race on October 22, the Headless Horseman 5K! It was a lot of fun - I actually finished in 3rd place for my age group which entitled me an award - a stainless steel water bottle! Yay!

*Over the past week, I finished the Duty or Delight? bible study by Tammie Head. It was very cool, and I'm glad I got to share what I learned with my girlfriend who is overseas for a missions trip.

*I took a day off from work yesterday (Halloween) and indulged in some me time, complete with watching the Today show and drinking coffee in my pjs, retail therapy, and a fabulous stress relieving massage at one of the best places in town! It was WONDERFUL and greatly needed!

That's about it - now we're on to November and that blessed holiday season made fantastic with good food, time with family and friends, and time off work - woohoo!

Since it's November 1st, I have my 21st Scripture Memory Verse to share for the year...

Hebrews 12:28 (The Message)
"Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God."

I picked this verse in the spirit of Thanksgiving, because let's face it, there's so much to be thankful for - the first of which is GOD - His Word, His love, His ability to transform and redeem lives, and His faithfulness. He is so GREAT and so GOOD to me!

Here's to a thankFULL November!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse #20

Just a quick post to share my 20th Scripture Memory Verse for the year...

1 John 3:24, The Message
As we keep His commands, we live deeply and surely in Him, and He lives in us. And this is how we experience His deep and abiding presence is us: by the Spirit He gave us.

I came across this verse as part of my bible study, which I am now more than half-way through. This week's lesson focused on how God has supplied with everything we need for our lives through the Holy Spirit and how we can trigger more of the Spirit's power in our lives. Very cool!

Celebrated my birthday on Monday - can't believe I'm 27 years old now - how time does fly! It's been a good 27 years though - can't wait to see what the next 27 years will bring!

Heading out today to see the Spartans play the Wolverines - hoping for a big MSU win! Let's Go State! Then going to my grandparent's place to see family and watch the Tigers game! Oh, how I love Saturdays!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy October!

Happy October!

Reasons I love this month...

1) October is when all the colors on the trees really start to the change, the air gets crisper, the scents are spicier, and cozying up with a hot cup of something just feels oh so good (pumpkin spice or gingersnap lattes especially)!

2) My birthday is October 10th (10/10) - so there's always a little celebration to look forward to! (This is also my brother and sister-in-law's anniversary!)

3) October is when we frequent the cider mill, winery, pumpkin patch, and apple orchard. Love making those memories with my hubby.

4) Halloween! Love the scary and family fun movies (Hocus Pocus, Casper, Haunted Mansion), the music (Monster Mash, Thriller), and passing out candy to the cute little ones in costume.

For these four reasons alone, I can say that I really think this month will be great! Super excited for what is in store over the coming weeks.

I just finished my second week of bible study. I'm really liking the lessons. Much like the Kelly Minter studies, Tammie Head's lessons are easy to get into for someone like me who is on the go. The lessons are short and simple, but deep and insightful. I really like the overall layout too - I'm a bookworm and for me, everything from the feel of the book to the look of it inside and out matters. It invites me to sit down and take part in its pages. Last week it focused on how God has chosen me. This week it focused on how God has redeemed me. Throughout the past two weeks, I've been reminded of how much God loves me and just how freeing that love is. It's really amazing what God does for us who believe in Him.

Since I'm captivated by God's love, I decided that my 19th Scripture Memory Verse should focus on this...

Ephesians 3:17-19, The Message
"And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God."

May my love of the Lord Jesus increase as I focus on and accept His lavish love of me!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Capital City River Run Half Marathon

Well...I DID IT! I ran my first half marathon yesterday and it was AWESOME! I put all of that training (12 weeks, 121 miles) to the test and it paid off! Here are the results...

Capital City River Run Half Marathon 2011
Miles: 13.1
Time: 2:09:22
Pace: 9:53
Place: 42 out of 80 in my age group

I am so thrilled to have accomplished this goal. All year I have wanted to be able to do this and to finally have it under my belt feels amazing!

Saturday night, Kenny prayed over me and yesterday morning before the race, I knelt in prayer again and read the scriptures. I was reminded, of course, of my scripture memory verse (I can do everything through Him who gives me strength) and also of Isaiah 40:31 which says, "Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." I clung to these promises throughout my run, and in Jesus' name, I was victorious! Even when my knees began to feel the burn of the run and I had to slow my pace, I just continued to lift up my prayers and praises for the beautiful, perfect weather, and the opportunity and blessing to run this race, and He helped me get through to the finish line! God is so GOOD!

I'm continuing to celebrate today by taking my first day off in 6 MONTHS from work, and enjoying a rainy day with my hubby! It's going to be GREAT!

Praise God for everything He has done! I am so blessed!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse #18

Just a quick post to share my 18th (wow!) Scripture Memory Verse for 2011...

Philippians 4:12-13, NIV
"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

This verse is PERFECT for my race, not to mention life in general. I know that in God is where I find my peace, happiness, and contentment. I will be keeping this as my personal mantra while I run hard on Sunday!

12 weeks of training = 121 miles of running (134 as of Sunday)! Feeling victorious and ready to take on the world! Let's do this!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Decade Later

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks across the nation. I remember sitting in my high school computer class watching the television with fellow peers as the events of that day unfolded. It was a horrific day - one that I, nor anyone else for that matter, can ever forget.

Today I am reminded of just how blessed I am to live in this country, with all the opportunities that have been afforded to me. I am grateful for the men and women who have laid their own lives on the line for the sake of my freedom. I am encouraged by the strength of my fellow citizens who rose up out of the ashes that day, and continue to do so everyday, despite the loss and heartache suffered.

President Obama read a scripture this morning, that I will now close with - a reminder that no matter what, God is in control and His hand is upon us...

Psalm 46:1,7 (NIV)
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

God Bless America, my home, sweet home.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy September!

It's finally here - September - YAY! I've been so looking forward to this month, as it officially marks the start of college football, cooler weather, changing colors, and a new season, which ultimately makes for a fresh start! Thank God for new beginnings!

I am writing from my place up north. Hanging out, listening to the crickets and grasshoppers through the window, while my MSU Spartans are playing their first game on the television...this is the life! It's nice to be up north and have the extended weekend ahead of me. I am in need of a little downtime as things at home have been so busy. I'm looking forward to some time of refreshment and relaxation. And speaking of chilling out, I've attached a few pictures of a recent hike my husband and I took last weekend. Nature is such an amazing way to get away from the strife of life and get some breathing room. It really makes a difference in my life when I take the time to get outside and enjoy God's creation!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I managed to get through all of Margaret Feinberg's books this summer, which were fantastic - I highly recommend for those hungering to hear God's voice and have a more intimate relationship with Him. I also re-read "Captivating" for the fourth time. That book is what helped me to fall in love with Jesus all over again in June of 2006 and inspired me to recommit my life to Him. I try to make a habit of reading it once every year, just as a little reminder of that special time in my life. In terms of fiction, I just finished "The Help" and absolutely LOVED it! It was a great story and very encouraging for those of us who hope and dream for more and better in our lives. Reading has greatly helped me to take the time to just chill in the evenings after a busy day and has given me something to look forward to at the end of the day. I just picked up two more books and hope to read those over the weekend!

I've been continuing to run. I'm a little over two weeks away from my big race. I can't believe how fast time is going and that it's less than 20 days away! I am incredibly excited, but also nervous about what race day will entail. Above all, I've been praying for strength, endurance, and God's grace from head to toe. I know that in Christ, I can do all things. He will make me victorious and help me to finish strong - in this I put my faith and trust!

With it being the beginning of a new month, that means it's time for my new scripture memory verse (#17)...

1 Thessalonians 4:7, The Message
God hasn't invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful — as beautiful on the inside as the outside.

I happened upon this verse and it just struck me as so simple and yet profound. The life God calls me to is a life of holy beauty. So often I settle for less, but He desires the absolute best for me. In no way do I deserve His love, grace, or mercy, but He willingly extends His hand to me and invites me into this glorious adventure with Him. When I get to Heaven, I hope and pray it will be said of me that I always said "Yes" to God when He reached out to me. I know I've missed plenty of those moments in my life already, but I so desperately desire to be willing and obedient to Him.

Lord, give me the heart to know You, the eyes to see You, the ears to hear You. Restore, rebuild, and renew me from the inside out. Make me beautiful in Your Presence. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Here's to September...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse #16

Just a quick "hello" to share my sixteenth verse I'm working on memorizing for the year...

Hosea 6:3, NIV
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.

I came across this verse through a book I've been reading and it has just stuck with me since seeing it. Acknowledgement of God for everything should be a central part of my life, but I'll admit it isn't always. I so often acknowledge other things over Him. But my heart's desire is to know Him and give Him all the glory. I pray that may be the point of my life every day!

That's all for now. Goodnight!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy August!

It's the first day of August - hard to believe it's here already! The month of July just flew right by!

This past week was incredible. My brother and his family came to visit from South Carolina and pretty much stayed with us the entire time. It was great because we got to spend some quality time catching up and visiting and we had the chance to really bond with the little one. I absolutely adore my nephew! He is the sweetest boy! When they left yesterday morning, I felt like a piece of me left. I've really been missing him. I sort of got used to waking up and coming home to see him here. I really hope it won't be too long before we get to catch up again. Hopefully by Thanksgiving we'll get to see them!

In addition to my brother and his family being here, we had much to celebrate this past week. My dad's birthday was on Wednesday so we went out to dinner for that and then came back to our place and had cake. (My step-sister made a fabulous homemade carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting - it was delicious!) Then my husband and I had out 4 year wedding anniversary on Thursday. We exchanged cards and will be celebrating just the two of us later this week! And then Friday we had a little cookout here at the house, which was great because we got a new grill and were able to entertain for the first time this summer! It was nice to hang out on the deck with family and friends. And on Saturday, we went up to Grand Rapids and watched our dear friends, Logan and Nicole, exchange their wedding vows! It was an absolutely beautiful day and the time spent with old friends was awesome! So, overall, a very busy week filled with so many good times! I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family and to be surrounded by so much love!

In other news, I registered for my half-marathon yesterday! I will be officially running my first half-marathon race on Sunday, September 18th! I'll admit I am a little nervous, but I am also super excited and looking forward to the challenge! I had a fantastic 4 mile run on Saturday morning - it was a perfectly cool and sunny summer morning and I felt like I could have ran forever. It was so refreshing and incredibly motivating! Only 7 weeks to the big event!

Well, because it's the first day of the month, that means it's time for Scripture Memory Verse #15...

Hebrews 6:18-19, The Message
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God.

This passage has been coming up a lot lately as part of my devotional reading and it's really inspired me. I love the imagery of grabbing onto God's promises with both hands, never letting go, and being drawn deeper into His Presence. This is ultimately the desire of my heart - to cling to Him with all I have within me and to be brought closer to Him in every way! May my life be transformed and may I fulfill the purposes He has for me as I seek to live out my life for Him!

Happy August! :-)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Goodbye Weekend, Hello New Week!

Another weekend comes to an end - unwinding from the first weekend back up north after spending the last couple weeks at home. It was a nice weekend. Yesterday was great. I woke up at 6:30 and went for a 3 mile run down to the end of the pier and back. It was really pretty as I got to see the sunrise over Pere Marquette Lake and the City of Ludington. It looked like it might rain, but the clouds completely disappeared and there was nothing but sunshine and blue skies the rest of the day.

My dad and I went down to the beach for a bit. We laid out in the sun and I read a book, which I finished today! I love summer reading - that makes two books I was able to read in the past week! Later on, we ordered a couple pizzas for dinner because it was too hot to cook. Then my hubby took me downtown so I could indulge in some Ultimate Peanut Butter Brownie ice cream from House of Flavors - DELICIOUS! Then we went out on my dad's boat for a little cruise. The pictures I have posted on here are from that little trip. There wasn't much of a sunset because the fog rolled in from offshore, but it was still fun!

Overall, it was a good weekend away and now I'm preparing myself for a rather full week. My brother and his family are in town and there are a lot of things to celebrate - my dad's birthday, our four year wedding anniversary, and then our good friends' wedding. Really excited to meet my nephew for the first time and to spend quality time with family - it's going to be AWESOME!

I finished reading the Book of John this weekend. After doing the study this spring based on the Book of Luke, I took the opportunity to leisurely read through the Book of John and see what new insight I could glean. I've read through John many times and am familiar with the stories, but new things did pop out at me and I was really inspried by the things Jesus said, the way He said them, and the way He was able to relate to the people He came in contact with. The Book of John really showcases the way we are to live our lives and what that means for us here on Earth, and more importantly, what that means for us eternally. I am blessed to know God more by reading through John's Gospel and pray that everyday I can become more and more like Jesus!

That's all for today. Here's to the end of a great weekend and the beginning of a fabulous week! Peace.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse #14

Already the middle of July which means it's time for my new scripture memory verse!

2 Samuel 22:33-34, NIV
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.

I came upon this passage as part of my devotional readings this past week and after my awesome race last weekend and for everything that God does for me on a daily basis, I thought this was perfect to focus on for the rest of the month. He is my strength! He makes me victorious!

So, I've been "on call" this week which means I've pretty much just been home after work and throughout the week in case something comes up with work. I actually had to respond and got some overtime this weekend, which will make for some nice extra cash! But, overall, it's been a pretty relaxing week. I'm happy to report that two weeks away from up north enabled me to catch up on things at home - mostly cleaning and organizing - which is really great because soon my brother and his family will be here. I am so excited to meet my little nephew, Jace Ryan, for the first time. I can't wait to hold him, cuddle and snuggle with him, and spoil him in love! He's so cute!

Being that I've pretty much been at home this week, I was able to finally finish The Hunger Games series which I had started back in the winter months. I really liked the first and second books, but found the third to be pretty dark. However, I feel overall that the series is really good and I am looking forward to the first movie to come out next year!

I also recently finished The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg and LOVED it! My aunt and I decided to read this as a book study, which is perfect as there's questions and verses to go along with each chapter. Much like the book I read last month by Angela Thomas, it describes characteristics of God, namely that He is...


Breathtakingly Beautiful

Amazingly Wise

Surprisingly Talkative

Wildly Infallible

Outrageously Generous

Unbelievably Stubborn

Abundantly Kind

Deeply Mysterious

I love what she writes in the first chapter, because it's such a reflection of how I feel at this point in time with regard to my relationship to Jesus...

"I want to discover God again, anew, in a fresh way. I want my love for him to come alive again so that my heart dances at the very thought of him. I want a real relationship with him - a relationship that isn't altered by perfumes, additives, chemicals, or artificial flavors that promise to make it sweeter, sourer, or tastier than it really is. I want to know a God who in all his fullness would allow me to know him. I want a relationship that is real, authentic, and life-giving even when it hurts." -pg 20

Amen, Margaret! I fully agree and long for the same thing with Jesus, the Lover of my soul! Praise God for speaking to my heart through this book! He is so GOOD!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A New PR!

As part of my half-marathon training, yesterday I was scheduled to run 3 miles. I decided earlier in the week to sign up for a 5K because it's 3.1 miles, the competition is invigorating and motivating, and I get a t-shirt which only adds to my ever-growing!

I woke up early yesterday morning, ate a lite breakfast, had my morning devotional and prayer time, and then made the 30 minute drive to the race location. Honestly, I was a little nervous once I got there. I hadn't raced since March, right before I started my new job and of course, before I broke my foot. I've been running every other day the past two weeks, but wasn't really expecting a whole lot time-wise. (I suppose you could say I was just going to be happy if I finished the race without walking.) As part of my prayer time, I had specifically asked God to be with me during the race, for His power and strength to be within me. Let's just say - He came through.

I began the race feeling "slow" and for whatever reason, I had a horrible ache in my abdomen. But I pushed through it, telling myself to "keep going, you can do it." There were a couple hills and I found myself just blasting right through them and then picking up the pace to the finish. I wasn't sure how I did because I didn't see the race clock as I passed the finish line. So, I waited for the results to be posted...

Finally, after probably a half hour to forty-five minutes of waiting, the results were in! I looked for my age group, found my name, and dragged my finger over the page to the right to see the results. Shock. Awe. Unbelief. A smile. I had finished the race in the Top 10 for my age group (#6) with a time of 24:37 (pace of 7:56/mile) - my fastest time yet! A new PR! To say I am happy is an understatement - I am THRILLED!

This is really a testimony of God's power and strength in the life of a girl who is wanting to live her best for His glory. As I said before, I haven't raced since March, I spent 7 weeks not doing any cardio due to my broken foot, and I only started running hard again in the past two weeks. This can only be God working out His goodness and faithfulness in my life. I praise Him and offer thanks to Him for being with me and allowing me to experience this victory. It encourages me to keep up the hard work and affirms that "I can do everything though Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)." In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Just wanted to write a quick post to say how blessed I am to live in freedom and how grateful I am to all the troops (past, present, and future) who put their lives on the line to defend and serve this amazing country! God Bless America!

I also wanted to share some pictures from a little trip we took on my dad's boat last night. We decided to take the boat from Ludington to Pentwater to watch the fireworks from the water. It was a perfect night for us to make the 10 miles journey - the water was smooth as glass. And the colors of the sunset and the reflection of it off the water was absolutely breathtaking. It was like being in the middle of a painting with God Himself as the artist. He is so creative and beautiful! While on our little trip, we decided to put some lines out as well, and luckily, I got to catch my first fish of the season - a Steelhead! It's the little things in life that make it all so sweet!

Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy July!

A new month is here! And we're back up to our home away from home for the long holiday weekend! Gotta love the long, hazy days of summertime!

I survived my first week back to work after our week off. I had a productive week, and not only that, my anxiety seems to be more under control. I've been starting my days off in a posture of prayer and submission to God and I know that's really made a difference. I even attended a prayer meeting at the church this week, and I am so grateful for the prayers that were lifted up on behalf of our women's ministry and for us as individuals. The power of prayer is something I have definitely come to appreciate more of in my relationship with God. Daily communication with Him helps me to stay connected to Him and there is no better way to get through the days.

I started my training schedule for the half-marathon I hope to run in September. Altogether I completed 6 miles total. It feels good to be back on track - the simple act of running is so freeing and it totally helps to empty my mind of anything negative. When I complete a run, I feel not only a sense of accomplishment, but a sense of refreshment. I thank God for healing my foot and allowing me the pleasure of being able to get back out on the road.

So, because it's the beginning of a new month, that means it's time for a new scripture memory verse. I came across this verse yesterday as part of my daily devotional reading and it just really spoke to me. Like the last verse I chose from Psalm 62, it speaks of resting in God, but it also speaks of His love and care for us as His children. It's a good reminder for me - He is in control, He is my strength, and He is the God of my life - Hallelujah!

Deuteronomy 33:12, NIV
“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields [her] all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”

Before I close, I must mention that I have been working more on having a balanced life. I'm proud to say that I have been giving more time to relationships (both with God and people) rather than my "to do" list. It's a process for me - it's hard to let go of the "going, going, going" but I know that I need to take care of myself and be able to foster and nurture those relationships I cherish so much in my life. I'm still on the quest for balance and wholeness, and I know it's in someways a lifelong journey because we won't really have this completely until we are in Heaven, but it is what I long for and keep working towards, with my eyes focused upward towards God. He is mighty to save!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vacation's End

The week "vacation" is at an end as of today. It is always bittersweet when something good comes to a close, but nonetheless, I am very grateful for the time to have been away from the normal routine of life.

My hubby and I made the most of Traverse City despite the intermittent rain and clouds. After my training ended each day we hopped in the car and did some sightseeing. We ventured downtown to the shops and to Old Town, then up to Bower's Harbor and Mission Point. We enjoyed delicious food, the beauty of vineyards and cherry trees, and spent quality time together being silly and adventurous. On our way back to Ludington, we took scenic route M-22 which is just an absolutely gorgeous ride along the lakeshore. All in all, it was a great time, and we've been able to recuperate at our "home away from home" these last couple days which has been fantastic considering a busy week is upon us at work and at home.

One of my favorite parts of my little vacation was being able to read another book. Yesterday, I finished "Do You Know Who I Am?" by Angela Thomas. I had never read her before, but when at the bookstore recently, felt compelled to pick this book up, and I am so glad I did. Her words combined with Scriptures really spoke to my heart. There were twelve chapters in all, each addressing a different question and every answer points to a different aspect of Jesus. To summarize...

He is worthy.
He is my God who sees.
He is my comfort.
He does not grow weary.
He is my sufficiency.
He is my Savior.
He is here.
He is my strength.
He is generous.
He is my King and Father.
He is my Redeemer.
He is my hope.

To this Jesus girl, these reminders of who He is in my life are exactly what I need with everything that has been going on. I am clinging to these truths and His Presence. I cannot get through life without Him. I know the anxiety and insecurity I've been facing are bumps in the road and will eventually pass as long as He is close to me. I am so blessed for the time to be able to soak in this book and in His Word. I pray I would be strengthened, uplifted, and motivated by these truths of who Jesus is in my life to fulfill the purposes to which He has called me.

That is it for today. We are going to pack things up and head back home shortly to get things around for the coming week. I am praying that my refreshment from this past week will carry forth into my home and work life. I need my Jesus. I know He is here with me. I thank Him for being my Rock and my Redeemer, my salvation and my hope. He is my God. I will love Him and praise Him my whole life long for what He has done and who He is!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy "Vacation!"

I'm not always one for surprises, but there are some (big and small) that just make life so sweet. We are back at our home away from home this weekend and had originally planned to head home this afternoon so I could work tomorrow. Well, because I have a training up north Tuesday through Thursday, which is about 40 hours altogether, I found out that I actually get Monday (tomorrow) off! Yippee! So, we get an extended period of time here and then we only have to go about 2 hours north of here for my training and then we can come back down here for next weekend. It's my summer vacation! LOL! It works out so well because my husband had taken the whole week off and wasn't all that thrilled about having to go back home for just one day, but now we don't have to do that and oh, what fun and relaxation we will enjoy!

This extended time away is such a blessing from God. It seriously couldn't have come at a better time considering all that I've been going through recently. Sometimes I think everything just sort of catches up with you all at once. Out of the blue, it can just feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, even though you look around and everything feels and seems perfect. There's no one explanation for it, it just seems to be everything culminating into one big something. This has been me lately. I think everything that I've experienced in the last year - the changes in living, health, and jobs - have finally sunk in and my body has been reacting to all the pent up stress. I'm a person who tends to stuff it all in and keeps going, going, and going. The problem with this, it gets to a point where you can't stuff anymore down and all this stuffing causes things to get off balance and then BOOM! It hits me - mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually - and I need time to sort it all out and release it all to God. (If only I could learn to do this sooner!) That is my hope over this week. I need to let things go; to be emptied of anything not of God. I need to release my desire for control to the Lord and let Him take over. I need to get my balance back and feel clear-headed, focused, and in tune with His presence. No more going through the motions. No more striving. No more lack of faith. Give it to God. Experience His love, grace, mercy, and redemption. And be fully alive in Him again. This is my prayer.

I finished my 40 day journey through The Purpose Driven Life this morning over a hot cup of vanilla coffee and the sound of raindrops falling from the trees onto the roof of my RV. (I love that sound - it's actually very calming.) I really learned a lot from reading that book. I had attempted to read it through in the past, but always ended up stopping for some reason. Looking back, maybe it wasn't the right time for me to read it. It's a full 40 days of discussing the five purposes for your life and I think you have to be ready for that kind of message. I think I'm finally at a point in my life that I can appreciate what the book had to say and definitely feel that it opened my eyes to understand the life I am called to live in Christ. To summarize, the five purposes for my life are to...

1) Bring God pleasure. (Worship)
2) Be a member of and participate in God's family. (Fellowship)
3) Become like Christ. (Discipleship)
4) Serve God. (Service)
5) Be on a mission. (Mission)

The book ends of this note that I need only focus on God's purposes for my life, as opposed to my plans, because His purposes are what will last forever. That's really something I need ingrained in my head. I lose this perspective all the time. I'm so structured and planned and organized, and these are definitely strengths and things God wants me to use for His glory, but so often my nature is to focus all of my attention on the plans and I end up losing complete sight of Him. I can only imagine the number of things I have missed out on because I have been so focused on my plans and not God's purposes. I don't want to live that way. I want to live out loud for Jesus and be His girl - all of my heart, all of my soul, all of mind, and all of my strength - fully committed to Him! I want it to be said of my life that "[Hannah]...served God's purpose in [her] own generation." (Acts 13:36a)

In other news, my dad and his girlfriend are now officially engaged! I am very happy for both of them. They have been together three years and our families have definitely become one in the course of that time, so it makes sense that this would be the next step for them. I'm really happy that my dad has found it in himself to be happy and trusting again. I know it's been a hard process for him, but he's persevered and overcame so much, and for that I am grateful and even inspired. It's great to see those you most care about in life truly happy.

Well, I suppose that is all for this post. I am so looking forward to the coming week - spending time with my God, my husband, my family, and all in the beauty of the great up north - does it get any better than this? Life is GOOD! God is GREAT!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse #12

Just checking in quickly to share my Scripture Memory Verse #12...this is the half-way point...woohoo! So cool to flip through my spiral notecards and see all the verses I've been focusing on this year. Memorizing God's Word has greatly encouraged me to develop a more intimate relationship with Jesus and the more I draw closer to Him, the more He draws closer to me and this has been a tremendous blessing to me!

Here's my verse for the next 15 days...

Psalm 62:1-2, NIV
"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken."

This passage means a great deal to me right now. I think all the changes I've been through the past year have finally caught up with me - I've been sort of teetering on the edge of burnout - and I know a lot of it has to do with the pressures I put on myself to do this, do that. I'm really trying to just trust God for everything and rest in Him, hence why this verse is so perfect for this season. In God, I am NEVER shaken. He keeps me firm and secure, and this knowledge is wonderful! I'm sticking with Him, no matter what!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy June!

I've been trying to get on my blog the past few days and for some reason, the usual route of getting here has not been working. But I have somehow defeated the odds today, and alas, I'm able to check in and say "hello!"

It's already June - hard to believe this year is essentially half over - how time is flying! And because it's a new month, that means I have a new scripture memory verse. This time I'm focusing on a well-known verse, but one that I believe is essential in getting me to my ultimate goal in life: a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus.

Mark 12:30, NIV
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

I know that in order to love Jesus more and become like Him, I must surrender my heart (my core, inner-self and all of my affections), my soul (my physical life and self-concept), my mind (my ideas, viewpoints, and perspectives), and my strength (my abilities, talents, gifts, and physical powers) to Him. In doing so, He makes me whole, complete, and life becomes more beautiful and wonderful! Hallelujah - He is GOOD!

That is all for today. I've added a few pictures to this post of the first sunset of summer at our great up north destination. The beauty and creativity of God never ceases to amaze me!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oh what a beautiful morning!

The weather the last four days has been absolutely glorious! I have been able to plant my flowers and enjoy the outdoors of my home to the fullest - it's FABULOUS! I am currently sitting on my back deck, enjoying the sounds of birds chirping and reveling in all the green leaves that surround me - I love this country life I live!

This has been a really good week for me - productive and relaxing. I've actually been on call since Monday so it's always a little tense and you never know when your phone will ring. BUT, despite this, it's been great! And this weekend has just been pure joy. I've been up early which means I've accomplished the necessary tasks early enough to not impede on the rest of the day and as I said before, the weather has been fantastic so I've really been able to just enjoy being outside for a change.

I had dinner with my good friend twice this weekend, and might I also add that both Friday and Saturday nights we indulged in turtle sundaes...yes, we did! And they were mighty good, although I wouldn't have minded more caramel, fudge, and pecans...but I'm just sayin...LOL! I love this season and all the good food and desserts that come with it. I'm not overindulging either - I am still sticking to my guns with my diet and exercise routine while this foot heals - but I'm also trying to enjoy these things too. I'm a person who thrives on balance and I know well enough to not go too crazy, and fortunately I haven't backslided and have continued to maintain my healthy weight, so PRAISE GOD!

I started reading The Purpose Driven Life a little over a week ago. The last time I spoke to a trusted spiritual mentor at church, she had mentioned that I might consider reading this book as I continue to seek and grow in my relationship with the Lord. I've actually owned the book for quite some time, but never got past Day 8 for some reason...I just must not have been ready for the content or something. I'm happy to say that I'm currently on my twelfth day and I'm really enjoying it. I just read one chapter a day and by the end, will have done this for a full 40 days. I hope to come away with a deeper understanding of who I am in Christ and what His purpose is for me by the end of this 40 day journey.

Summer tends to be more relaxed for me. My activity with the church tends to slow down a bit, as I like to recuperate after two full sessions of study and leadership during the fall and spring seasons. But just because my activity slows, doesn't mean I want my relationship with God to grow stagnant. I'm really praying that my relationship and friendship with the Lord would grow tremendously over these summer months and that I would be drawn into deeper intimacy with the God of my life. I'm really craving God - I've even come to think of myself as a Jesus Girl - I just want ALL of Him to envelope ALL of me! My aunt and I are actually looking to do a book study together starting late June. We're going to read Margaret Feinberg's "The Organic God" and I'm super stoked about it. I've only read one of her books to date, so I'm looking forward to checking out more of her material. I'm prayerful that my aunt and I will learn a great deal, and not only grow closer to God, but to each other as well. It's such a blessing to have a spiritual friend in my family!

I've included some random pictures as part of this post. These are the little things in life that bring me joy. It's part of that process of me becoming more transparent and living my life out loud and in the open. I think to be genuine is to be open with ourselves, others, and God about the things we like, dislike, etc. It can be difficult at times, but I think it's also the best way to be.

That's all for now. Time to enjoy this exquisite sunshine and warmth! Happy Sunday!