Tuesday, September 24, 2013

her life...

Her life has always been beautiful.

I met her when I was 10.

She and I share so many sweet memories.

I've watched her grow...from infant, to toddler, to a young lady, and now a beautiful woman.

Her life is a living example, a testimony, and a song sung back to the Saviour.

And now she is nearing the end of her college journey and stepping out into a greater world. I can not wait to see where God places her.

So to my friend, Claire Cottrill, this is my prayer for you.

Praying for peace as you tend to the rest of this year.
Praying for grace to greet you upon each day.
Praying for discernment to meet you in each decision you make.
Praying for your faith and for God to do great things in your life.

I am amazed at how you have lived your life and I feel blessed to call you friend.

Who is your her?
Or him?

Tell them today.
They need to hear it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What do you believe our hearts hold?

Question for the day...

What does your heart hold?

Before we answer this let's first talk about the heart as organ. The living, beating, pump we have stored within each of us.

Our hearts hold arteries, veins, ventricles, an aorta, atriums, a brevis and an apex.

Although all of these parts work together, they are also divided into four chambers.

The heart dwells as a divided organ.

When did your heart start beating?

Mine started sometime in November of 1982.
Isn't it amazing to think that our hearts begin beating only 21 days after conception?
And from that day forward, our hearts beat with every moment that passes.

All of what you just read is factual. We know much about the human heart scientifically.

But what do we know of the parts of the heart that are invisible and mysterious and real?

What else dwells there?

For me, my heart is packed, yet open. It gets broken and put back together, again and again.
It is where I hope, I dream, I desire.

For me, my heart is where Christ resides.
And if Christ dwells there, it is my job to keep it as clean, pure, and holy as possible.

This of course, involves the renewing of the mind.
I have read many articles about the heart and mind and how closely they communicate.
And I believe when your mind is renewed, the heart renews itself.

In order for my heart to be a dwelling place for Christ, I have to purify my thought life.
My mind, where my soul resides, is a battlefield.
And if I'm not fighting that battle, then the world wins every time.

When I set my mind on things above, my heart has more space for Christ.

What does your heart hold?

Think about your dwelling place.
Think about what lives inside you.

Make space to breathe in Christ's love and grace tonight friends.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Words we say matter...

Being featured on someone else's blog is always humbling.
Because when someone writes about an experience with you, it is personal and it deep and it reminds you of God's faithfulness.

This summer, as some of you know, I attended a conference called, She Speaks.
This conference changed me as a writer. I found a deeper connection with God and found a new voice I hadn't heard.

I met so many friends, just in a day. I connected with writers who shared the desires of my heart and mind. Conversations were easy and meaningful and authentic.

I met a friend.
Our souls connected.
And we both knew God intended our lives to intersect.

Yesterday she wrote about her experience and how one comment I made to her, changed her.
I didn't know what would happen after that conference and she didn't either.
But God knew.

Please bounce over to her page
and read about this awesome experience.

Speak life into someone today.
You never know how what you say could change their life.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Every moment is but a new beginning...

Alarm clock sounds. A new day.

Coffee perks. A new pot.

Showers rain down. A new cleansing.

Scripture read. A new understanding.

Every single moment of our lives is but an ending and a new beginning.

That's comforting isn't it?
Knowing that what is in the here and now, won't be forever.
some moments we cling tightly to. Feeling and knowing God is a gift and we bask in those times.
other moments we can't wait to be free from what is facing us. Breathing and living are hard and we feel paralyzed.

Whether good or bad, every single moment is an ending and new beginning.

Chance after chance we have a choice to set God's kingdom in motion here on earth.

And if every moment is a new beginning, then grace covers those moments when we feel shame and remorse.
Grace covers moments when sin remained in us.
Grace covers moments when we can't see, hear, or taste the Father.

Lord, we come humbly before you.
Praying that earthly moments can and will be used for eternal moments.
We pray that in the moments ahead we can remember Micah 6:8, and 1 Peter 1:13, and Colossians 3:23, and Roman 12:2.
Because when we seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, moments slow and we see what matters.
Because when we prepare our minds for action, moments are intentional and filled with grace and love.
Because when we remember you in all our words and deeds, you're greater good is found in these moments.
Because when we pray for renewal of mind, we can be on guard for each moment ahead.

Thank you Lord for each moment.
Thank you Lord for preparing an eternal Heaven, which will be filled with perfect moments, perfect love and intimacy with you.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

We know who holds tomorrow.

We don't know what tomorrow holds, but we do know who holds tomorrow.

We don't know what joys will come or what sorrows will fall, but we know who holds tomorrow.

We don't know if we will sing or shout or scream, but we know who holds tomorrow.

We don't know whose hand will need held or if or hand will be in need of the holding, but we know who holds tomorrow.

We don't know what will happen from sun up to sun down.
But we can know...

We can know, because we know of the faithfulness, the joy, and truth that our Father promises with each new day.

We can know He is watching and is waiting for us to hold His hand.

We can know He is God.

So be still tonight. Remember who holds tomorrow. Remember who holds your hand.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When you watch learning, real learning...

One thing I love about my studio is watching authentic learning take root in my students. From there I watch ideas grow and do my best to water their ideas with that I have learned about teaching. But mainly, I believe they know how to grow, they just need belief. They need encouragement. They need love. Because when they are learning about what they want to learn, what God built inside them to carry out, amazing and beautiful things overflow.

I've seen it over and over again with one of my students. He is an idea machine. Constantly using his creativity to fuel his work. I love being a part of the growing of his mind, and offering my part of it as well. I know he will go far in life.

This particular student loves drawing the "Life is Good" stick guy, but he made his own little stick figure. His looks different. It's unique. Just like him.
He knows the value of putting your own spin, on another's ideas.

After seeing him use this stick figure in so many of his illustrations, we decided to read up on the background story of the Life is Good guys.

We researched. Printed Articles. Highlighted interesting facts. But in all the research, we mainly discovered the guys behind the t-shirts were just regular guys who lived out a van for awhile, selling
 t-shirts door to door. What made them achieve was their momentum. They didn't stop learning and growing. That's real learning.

He wrote about what he learned.
He made another sketch of his stick guy version.
And today...
He made this tshirt.

I love it.
I want one.

He was proud of His work.
And I was blessed to watch the life cycle of this simple stick figure.
The life cycle of learning.
Real learning.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Days Matter...

Today, our not-so-little boy started preschool. A new beginning.
Today, his parents waved goodbye. A new goodbye.

What a blessing to watch the first day unfold. And an even greater blessing knowing he is in good, God loving hands.

One little step today, paved the way for many more, as this not-so-little boy walked into a new world. A world of play, and fun, and friends. 

We strapped his backpack on and gave him a red apple, a gift for Mrs. Kim, his teacher.
Our not-so little boy, wanted to test out the apple and make sure it was ripe enough for his new teacher.
Mrs. Kim did not get an apple today. Ha.

These boys, oh these boys. They are precious. And their daddies, they watch them so closely. Their daddies will pave the way, showing the boys how to be men. Men of integrity, of faith, of God.

We walked into this new beginning with old friends. Friends who have always been there. Friends you know God placed in your life on purpose. Walking in with familiarity, makes a heart beat slow a bit.
We felt that today. Together.

The classroom door was closed. A few children had arrived. We walked through it with them. Together.

His teacher- so loving, so kind, so perfect for my son. A gift she is. With her help, he will grow.
His friends- 6 boys and 2 girls, some old friends and some new. Together, they will grow.

We watched them as parents, not teachers. Being on the other side of it, when you are the one walking away and leaving. It's a different feeling. A good feeling. A feeling that is unforgettable.

We walked away tearless. We were okay.
We slowly turned the corner. 
Reminiscing began. 
"How do they grow so fast?"
"This time last year, they couldn't walk or talk?"
"Remember, when they....?

Our voices trembled a bit.
Our eyes wet with mommy tears.
Our hearts happy, but still a little unsettled.
Knowing things don't slow down from here.

A day of hello and goodbye's
A day of unknown.
A day that we can never get back.
First days matter.

Here we go.
A new hello.
A new goodbye.
Thank you God.

broken crayons

Last week I was working on a lesson at school.

I needed crayons to outline what I was wanting to emphasis.

As I outlined, I thought about how most of us stop using crayons when we grow up.
We think we are too big, too old to grasp something so small and child-like with our grown-up hands.
We let go of the former things of life. We are too busy to think about crayons. 

I continued coloring.
Then I thought about all the broken crayons I've seen as a teacher.
Crayons that break because of too much pressing. Too much pressure.
Crayons can only take so much.
Then snap-- what was once whole, is separate. 
Yet, the color still remains.
The crayon still has purpose.
It can still be used.

And friends, so can we.
The lesson here is that we are all those broken crayons.
We come broken.
We come used.
We come separated in pieces, fragments.

Yet, our maker sees us.
All that we have been.
And he bonds us, and still uses us for good.
Because he knows what we still have in us.
He lets our colors shine through the broken cracks of our lives.
If we let Him.

So today, I challenge you to pick up a crayon.
Press it lightly onto a sheet of notebook paper.
Write the words
"I am broken and beautiful."
While remembering that one day you will be made whole by your Father.

We are broken crayons.
We are still capable of coloring the world.
One moment at a time.

Color the world today.

Monday, September 2, 2013

reading. watching. listening (what i'll be up to in September)

So, September.
We meet again.
I'm awake.
Breathing still.
Ready for your show.
There is a lot to be learned.
A lot to be seen
And a lot of Jesus living and loving to do.

So, September...
I'll do my part, if you will do yours!
Let's make it good, what do you say?

Here's what I'll be up to...

What I'll be reading.

1. Wonder- THIS BOOK IS BREAKING MY HEART. Right now I am on pg. 91 and have reread so many perfect sentences. Sentences that I wish we could make kids understand. Reading a young adult fiction book is refreshing and so relevant to my big-girl life because inside I'm still little. This book is about a boy who has a facial deformity and what he experiences everyday. His favorite day is Halloween because he is able to put on a mask and no one stares at him. My favorite line in the book so far is "Everyone born of God, overcometh the world."

2. Chase- By Jenny Allen  God is already using this book in MIGHTY ways as our women's group is wrestling through it. We are learning about the heart of David and why his life was a model for us, even as sinner. (Because aren't we all, oh yes yes.)

3. The Genius of Generosity- Daniel and I are currently reading this book and wow, is it a great book if you are turning your finances over to God. Chip Ingram is one of our favorite pastors and I can promise you this book will inspire you to check your heart and your checkbook.

4. 1 Peter- Tomorrow I will begin reading this new testament book and digging in deep to learn more about hope and holiness.

What I'll be watching. (The list is short because I'm not much of a TV gal).

1. Panthers Football (we are looking pretty good this season)
2. Nostalgia for the Light- A documentary about the Atacama desert. The driest place above sea level on earth, where astronomers gather to observe the stars.
3. Mr. Holland's Opus- an oldie but goodie and a fabulous movie for teachers and families.

What I'll be listening to.
1. Christa Wells: Feed your Soul

2. Volcano Choir: Repave
3. Sara Bareilles- The Blessed Unrest
4. Watermark- A Grateful People
5. Chip Ingram and Jonathan Martin Podcasts

So there ya have it!

Let us take moments of our month to remember the the excitement that a new school year brings, but let us also remember the pain our nation felt 12 years ago. If you get a chance, please listen to Green Day's song, Wake me up when September ends. I googled its meaning and discovered this.

In this song Armstrong reveals his feelings about his father who died in September of 1982 when Armstrong was 10 years old. However this is not the only meaning that this song bears. For most Americans the month of September is associated with the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. A lot of people have lost their loved ones to that tragedy andSeptember (which comes on the album as track 11) is connected not only to the death of the author's father, but also to the families of the victims of 9/11, and the pain of losing loved ones in general. This is a song of wisdom and acceptance. "Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we are" - the realization of the fact that everything we go through, all the pain and losses, all the hardships we meet along the way are meant to make us stronger and shape our personalities.

Read.Watch. and Listen this Septemeber friends.
And please, please share what you are up to with me.
I love learning and hearing about you too!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Welcoming what is to come...

It's going to happen.

What is to come will eventually arrive.

Whether we want it to or not. It will come.

The question is...

What will we be like when it gets here?

Will our hearts be soft? Will our minds be open?

Every day is preparation for the next moment and the next and the next.

And it we are open, willing, and ready to welcome what is, then maybe the "what is" won't be so bad after all.

What will we be like when "what is" lands?

I pray we will be grace-filled, dream-driven, compassionate Christians who are overtly open to God's creation and desire for mankind.

Because when you are open to the next thing and the thing after that, you start seeing yourself as brave and capable and creative.

You start seeing yourself as Christ sees you.

And pretty soon, you're welcoming what is to come.

So tonight, make a big pitcher of sweet tea and leave the light on.
And welcome what is to come.
It's coming.