Saturday

Never the Same

I will never be the same again, I can never return, I've closed the door. I'll walk the path, I'll run the race, and I will never be the same again. - Geoff Bullock



This morning in my quiet time I was in the book of Ezekiel.  To give you the Apryll's paraphrase of what had happened up to the point I am going to tell you about in Ezekiel... Israel messed up. Big time.  To say God was a little bit peeved is an understatement.  So, in order to teach Israel a lesson show Israel He is God, they went through a season of punishment. (ps Yes, God is a God of love and redemption, but if you have lost your healthy fear of God..I recommend reading the OT, it'll be good for you.) Now it was time to redeem Israel, again so they would know He is God. So in Ezekiel chapter 46 God is giving Ezekiel a vision of the new Holy Temple and instructions for the Feasts. Verse 9 jumped off the page at me:

"When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate show go out by the north gate: no one shall return by the way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead." ESV

What a beautiful picture!  I mean, yes it's logical, there are are hundreds of people flowing through the temple, and establishing traffic order, just makes sense...but I love the fact the He doesn't want people turning around and  going back to the place they just came from.  He doesn't want us making a U-turn back into our mess, He wants us to move forward, leaving worship changed, renewed, with a resolve to not go back to the mess He just redeemed us from.  The verse made me think of the song performed by Hillsong United song "I Will Never Be". I've sang this song hundreds of times in church...so many times there are Sunday's I'm singing it wondering if I really mean it.  If I will really leave that place of communing with God a different person than I was when I entered.  I need to stop making U-turns back into the comfort of old habits and sins; I need to go out straight ahead, changed, redeemed.  What about you?



Blessings!

Things that bring me joy:
* The peace and quiet that comes with morning
* A chance to live a new day
* A God who allows do-overs

Photo Credit

Friday

Crazy for Simplicity

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


My husband and I bought our time share in the fall of 2002, just before we were married.  It has been a tremendous blessing to us, because it has enabled us to go on several vacations we wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford.  So many of our friends mention how we travel a lot, and I suppose since we don't have children it is just a lifestyle we've adopted.  Jeff never really traveled before he met me.  His first plane ride was with me, and now I think it is fairly safe to say he has obtained the travel bug from me.

Traveling with our time share means that the destination we travel to there is a condo waiting for us. Sometimes it is one bedroom, sometimes two, but always a full condo...a couple of them have even been bigger than our own home.  It's nice because they have a full kitchen, which reduces the money we spend eating out, living room, bedrooms, etc.  There is something about these condos I mention EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.  How little stuff there is. Don't get me wrong, there is everything you could ever need to live here permanently....just nothing extra.  No nik-naks fighting for a space, everything has a home.  Today I was tidying up the condo getting ready for my husband to join me in the mountains, and it took no time at all.  It was so simple and efficient.  Every time I leave our time share I am determined to go home and get rid of every extra thing we simply don't need.  

I've mentioned several times on here how I'm tired of chaos, how I need to return to a place of simplicity, and the time is now.  I've been reading blogs, books, etc, on minimalism and the more I read the more I crave this simplistic lifestyle.  I truly hope it is something we can adopt.

Thursday

Wedding Anniversaries Spent Alone

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. ~ Simone Signoret



I'm in the beautiful mountains of Avon, CO.  The weather is crisp and cool making the fireplace in my condo even more inviting.  From my 4th floor balcony I can see the heated swimming pool below. The glow from the lights in the hot water beckon me with the steam wafting off the top of the water.  Many nights since I've arrived I have gazed down to the swimming pool and hot tub with the thought of going down for a soak.  Water soothes me like little else can, warm water surrounded by glorious mountains sounds like pure bliss...and maybe hints at romantic.  And that is why I haven't gone.  My husband couldn't get the time off of work to take our annual anniversary vacation, so I (in my infinite wisdom) decide it would be a good idea to go ahead and go alone.  Not wanting to go and partake in a romantic moment by myself, I stand in my room and gaze at the water from my window...drowning in self pity.  Tonight I look out and see a young couple embracing each other in the pool.  They have the pool to themselves, floating together underneath the evening stars.  I scowl at them from my window, mad for a moment that they get to be caught up in love on my wedding anniversary.  In my head I know it's silly to be upset at them, but in my heart I'm jealous and want that moment to be mine. With a heavy sigh I pick up my book to distract myself and retreat to the chair.  Later I hear roaring laughter coming from the area of the pool.  I look outside and the man is carrying his wife from the pool.  I can't help but giggle.  He sees me in the window and shouts out "WE JUST GOT MARRIED". I smile and nod with a little wave and retreat from the window.  I remember our honeymoon and Jeff carrying me into the ocean, and can't believe it's been 9 years.  It seems time has flown by, yet time has changed us so much.  We aren't the same couple we were then...thank goodness. I cannot wait for him to join me in the mountains, I miss him like crazy.

Wednesday

When is Enough, Enough?

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. - John Burroughs



I'm sitting here at Starbucks, in the serenity of the mountains in Avon, CO.  The crackle of the fire place warms the small cafe, jazz music flows endless melodies, and chitter chatter of employees and patrons surrounds me.  The lady to the left of me is working away on her Macbook Air and the gentleman to the left of me is reading on his iPad 2 and I start to get a little bit jealous.  It's crazy though because what I have is more than enough.  I do have my iPhone and the original iPad...and my PC laptop works great for what I need...do I really need to have everything Apple, and to always have the latest and greatest gadgets?  There is so much more to this life than stuff.  We have become such a materialistic culture that measures status on how much we acquire, instead of things that actually matter. Instead of drooling over the Macbook, I could be deepening my relationship with my husband.  I could be reading things that lift my spirit and push me to grow.  I could be reaching out to my friends that, all too often, I neglect.  There are so many things in life I can be doing better, and none of them have anything to do with acquiring more stuff. I'm tired of stuff, it is suffocating...I'm tired of buying...I'm tired of seeking a false sense of happiness.  Stuff is such a burden, if anything I want less of it.  So....they can keep their new flashy items...I'll stick with what I've got.

What brings me joy:
*Jazz music
*Good coffee
*Cool mountain air

Tuesday

Undo What I've Become

The Spirit is Love expressed towards man as redeeming love, and the Spirit is Truth, and the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. Redemption is inconceivable without truth and holiness. - Roland Allen


Undo - Rush of Fools
I've been here before
Now here I am again
Standing at the door
Praying You'll let me back in

To label me a prodigal would be
Only scratching the surface
Of who I've been known to be

Turn me around, pick up up
Undo what I've become
Bring me back to the place
Of forgiveness and grace
I need You, I need Your help
I can't do this myself
You are the only One
Who can undo what I've become

I focused on the score
But I could never win
Trying to ignore
A life of hiding my sin

To label me 
A hypocrite would be
Only scratching the surface
Of who I've been known to be

Turn me around, pick me up
Undo what I've become
Bring me back to the place
Of forgiveness and grace
I need You, I need Your help
I can't do this myself
You are the only one
Who can undo what I've become

Make every step lead me back to you
The sovereign way that You

Turn me around, pick me up
Undo what I've become
Bring me back to the place
Of forgiveness and grace
I need You, I need Your help
I can't do this myself
You are the only one
Who can undo what I've become



Monday

Thankful for November

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. - Johannnes A Gaertner

I think if I had to pick a month that was my favorite...it would be a toss up between two months.  February and November.  February, to those who know me...is fairly obvious.  It is absolutely not because of Valentines day (bleh)...my birthday is in February.  I love birthdays, I love to celebrate birthdays, and I love that there is an entire month devoted to me. haha  Self indulgent? Maybe...but I think a month focused on the celebration of life and living it to the fullest isn't necessarily a bad thing...but that is an entirely other blogpost and not the focus of today.


As much as I love celebrating my birth month, I think November actually tops it.  November is a significant month for the hubs and I.  We had our first date on 11/11/1997, and we were married on 11/9/2002.  I can't imagine anyone I would have rather spent the last 14 years with.

I love the focus people have on being thankful in November. This month on Facebook people are listing something they are thankful for each day leading up to Thanksgiving. I wish this spirit of giving thanks was something that would extend beyond the month of November. This week I challenged my youth group kids to write down everything they are thankful for.  I have often spoke about doing the same thing, and it's high time I started.

I am beyond excited that on Thanksgiving I am surrounded by family.  I love time with family.  I love the late night card games, the shopping sprees, the shared meals (especially with Uncle Ed's cooking).  This time with family is what memories are made of.  This time leaves me fills me with love, and for a short period of time nothing else matters.  I cherish my family, and cannot wait for the clan to converge on our town for the holiday.

Things that bring me joy:
* Fresh mountain air
* Hearing my husbands voice

Picture Credit

Tuesday

Sucked into Negativity



So I was sitting in the normal spot that I retreat to for my morning quiet times.  Quietly writing away and happily sipping my coffee when I look up and across from me is the recliner my husband usually sits in.  Instantly that takes me back to a conversation from last night when I was sitting here on the couch, and he was sitting in the chair.  The annoyance I felt at that time...which I hadn't thought of since...came flooding back to me. I started getting annoyed.  Then it hit me how easily I can get sucked into negativity.  My poor husband is in bed peacefully sleeping, and in my head I'm planning my retort on a conversation we had 12 hours ago and he has completely forgotten. I stopped myself right away and thought "I need to be thankful for my husband."

I've also been extremely negative about work.  There are so many changes happening right now, and I'm ashamed to admit I have been trapped in negative thinking. Like "this is never going to work", "these changes are going to make things horrible", "the person who thought of these obviously don't know our job"...etc etc.  Instead, I should be focusing on the positive (like I actually HAVE a job) and be thankful.

Sometimes I feel like such an Israelite. Read through the Old Testament and you'll see if anyone had the spiritual gift of complaining, it was them.  I wonder if it is human nature sometimes to seek out the negative, and just wallow around in it.  I wonder what a difference it would make if we stopped complaining, stopped being negative, and instead chose to be thankful.

I stumbled upon these verses:

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning

uh huh, ALL things. It doesn't say "try not to grumble"...nope, it says Don't.Do.It.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

James 5:9 Do not grumble against one another, brother, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

Convicted yet? I sure am.  I am thankful for my husband.  He is a good man who spoils me rotten.  We have our disagreements, but I can't expect perfection from an imperfect man...anymore than he can expect it from me.  I need to be thankful for my job, that it's changing and it's not going anywhere.

Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, or order to bring praise to God.
1Thessalonians 5:11 Encourage one another and build each other up.
Hebrews 3:13 Encourage one another daily.

I know I need to stop myself when I start being negative, and speak the positive into the situation/conversation.  Do you?


Photo Credit

Monday

Minimalism: Essential Essays

Minimalism: Essential EssaysMinimalism: Essential Essays by Ryan Nicodemus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lately I have been trying to simplify the chaos that has become my life.  I stumbled upon The Minimalists website about a month ago.  They offer great advise on how to simplify life and focus on what really matters. I was excited to read they were publishing some of their greatest essays into a book and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I downloaded it on my Kindle the day it was released and devoured it in just a couple of days. They offer great advise on how to live with less. It's a quick read that shares their life experience from the beginning of their path towards a mimimalist lifestyle. While there are one or two curse words, which I found disappointing since both authors have an extensive vocabulary and didn't require vulgarity to get their point across, their message is worth the read and their practical advice is applicable to wherever you are at in life.


View all my reviews

Saturday

Friendship



"Never shall I forget the days I spent with you. Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours." - Ludwig van Beethoven

Relationships are hard, complicated, messy.  I've never been good at relationships...especially friendships. I used to work with a lady who grew up on a farm.  She would always say "Humans are the strangest critters I've ever met." I couldn't agree more.  When I would hear a preacher talk about how humans are God's greatest creation I wanted to say "Really?? Have you met any??"  

I've often joked that I could be the crazy dog lady (because, really...who wants that many cats??) who lives 100 miles from the nearest person and be perfectly content.  It's safer there. No vulnerability, no fear of rejection, no condemnation. Putting myself out there hasn't always worked out so well for me, so for a long time I just haven't.  I'm pleasant, I'm friendly, I try to help out when I can...but I didn't open myself up to people. No one saw the real me...frankly, I've kept her hidden away so long I wasn't so sure what she was like either.  That is starting to change though.  

There are now a handful of people in my life who I am honored to call friends, and humbled they would consider me one.  People who care what is going on with me, who want to know what I wrestle with, who want to do life with me through the laughter and tears. I am so incredibly grateful for each and everyone one of them.  It's still hard.  We hurt each others feelings, we get frustrated and annoyed.  The difference with them is we love each other enough to talk it out...to call each other out on our crap.  To link arms together and be glad we fit.  All this stuff I've avoided (the pain and heartache) is just as much a part of the blessing as the laughter.  I've grown through these friendships.  At the age of 34 I'm finally I'm learning how to be a friend...I'm learning how to be myself....and (gulp) I'm learning how to be real and vulnerable.  It's frightening, but the value of these relationships is worth more than anything.

Wednesday

Public Service Announcement

When you call a department because you have a problem with a product/service, most likely the person who answered the phone isn't the person who created your problem. However, this person is your first link to getting said problem resolved.  Just a loving reminder to begin with kindness instead of cursing and name calling...sugar will almost always get you further than vinegar.

The end.

Photo Credit: Baton Rouge Today

Tuesday

What I Learned Running My First 10K

This day last year I had recently started a diet.  I was 222 lbs and had lost my first 2 lbs.  Excited that I was no longer at my heaviest weight ever (hey, 2 lbs counts, right?? LOL) I promised my husband: "Next year I will be thin enough to run the Bolder Boulder with you."  By November I had lost 70 lbs. It was very excited for the accomplishment, and immediately got into a running routine...after all a promise is a promise.  I did very well with this running routine until April....and then life happened.  I just got busy, didn't have time to run...didn't make time to run.  But I had already promised my husband I would run the Bolder Boulder and didn't want to let him down.  So even though I hadn't run in two months and was fairly certain I was going to die....I approached the starting line on Memorial Day with 55K other people.  I finished in an hour and a half, in 38,361st place.  I was thrilled I finished, thrilled I at least beat 16, 639 other people, and I learned a few things for next year.

1) Plan ahead a little better.  I started looking for parking at 7:00 am, and didn't find a spot to park until 8:30...barely in time to catch my wave.  When 55K people are looking for a spot to park near the starting line, they fill up fast. :)

2) MAKE time to run, schedule it in even if life gets busy.  The evening after the race, I have never hurt that bad in my life.  It hurt to sit, stand, walk, lie down....every inch of me hurt.

3) Don't try to run 6.2 miles if the most you've ran up until that point is 3 miles.  Next year I want to be able to run about 10 miles, so 6.2 seems easy. :)

4) Get there in time to properly warm up and stretch.  Because it took me forever to park I didn't warm up or stretch at all before the race.  Probably great contributed to the  previously mentioned misery.

5) Have fun.  This race is a ton of fun (yes, even though it is 6.2 miles)  There is live bands throughout the race, people with slip and slides in the yard.  It's a huge party every mile of the way.  I really tried to take it all in, laugh, and have fun...but I was really worried I'd be the girl who the golf cart picked up because I was going to slow to finish in time. haha

I'm SO glad I ran the Bolder Boulder, it really was a ton of fun and I cannot wait to do it again next year.  :)

Wednesday

The Biggest Winner

Last night my husband and I went to have dinner and watch the season finale of The Biggest Loser with friends.  I haven't watched this show in several years, so I was struck last night by how I felt watching it.  I was emotional for two reasons.

First, because there was a girl whose starting weight was only 7 lbs heavier than my heaviest weight.  It struck me right then.  At one point in time I was big enough to have been on the show.  Now I would never have wanted to be on the show, but we look at the before pictures and that was ME.  I could see myself in so many of those girls.

Second, because I knew how they felt.  I knew how they felt when they were showing interviews from the beginning of the season.  I heard girls saying they were nothing, that they had failed at life because they had failed at their weight.  One girl said she felt like she deserved nothing out of life because of her weight.  Someone referred to their weight as a prison.  I understand all of those statements to my core.  I felt them, I lived them.

But what was great about watching the finale, is I got to rejoice with them. I know how great that victory feels!! When their faces light up with joy at the scale, I've been there.  I, too, have done my share of weigh in dances and shouts of joy. I get it, and it was great to see.  Losing weight is such a hard battle, but it is so worth the fight.  It remains one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.  The changes in me run so much deeper than my physical size.

Last nights show inspired me to keep living the healthy lifestyle I had established, to not slip into old habits...because I don't want to look in the mirror ever again and see the girl I was a year ago.  One lady on the show last night said how there might be only one Biggest Loser, but that they were all Biggest Winners.  I liked that. :)

Tuesday

Anniversaries

We live in a country that likes take the time to stop and remember past events.  We tick off anniversaries of past tragedies. Last month was the 12th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings.  This year will be the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Next week will be the 100th anniversary of the Titanic launching out of Belfast.

Sunday was an anniversary for our community.  Sunday, the day Joplin, MO was ravaged by a tornado, was the 3 year anniversary of the tornado that hit the building I work in and went on to cause destruction in the neighboring town of Windsor, CO.  Both tornadoes were a mile wide. Both tornadoes were classed as an EF-4.  Three years ago I counted my blessings that all I lost in the tornado was a car, friends of mine lost everything. We were lucky as only one person lost their life in the Windsor tornado, last count I heard indicated 116 people lost their life in Joplin this weekend.  Watching the horror of the Joplin tornado unfold on the news is devastating and more tornadoes are expected in the region today.  My heart breaks and goes out to them. I'm sure there are many groups rushing aid to Joplin, but I know one way you can help now is through the Red Cross.  The Red Cross also has a Safe and Well list. If you are seeking the status of loved ones, it is a good place to start.

Monday

Good Day

Days like yesterday leave me refreshed to return to work today.

Morning and evening filled with worship with my Church family.

Lunch filled with laughter with these same people.

Afternoons filled with discussion and digging deeper...again with my Church family.

Early evening volleyball games with teens, and catching up with old friends.

Yesterday was a good day, my heart is happy.  I am so blessed with amazing people in my life. I am so thankful for each and everyone one of them.  I'm thrilled with friends who encourage me and expect better from me.

Friday

I'm No "Extreme Couponer", but....

The hubz and I have been seeking out ways to save some money and pay off some bills. Several years ago I tried to do some shopping combining sales with coupons, but it was a lot of work for little savings. Inspired by TLC's show Extreme Couponing, I thought I would give it try again and bought a newspaper last week. I have no intention of become a hoarder...but if we can get the things we are going to use anyway for pennies on the dollar...I'm all for that. :)

The deals don't really add up until you've accumulated about a months worth of coupon inserts, but I was pretty excited to see what deals I could find early on. We had a fun night figuring out the deals and just spending time together.

So here it is:




We got about $30 worth of products for $9...would have been $7 but I grabbed the wrong coupon. Oh well. LOL

- Blessings!

Saturday

Essential Oils I Can't Live Without - Peppermint

There are two oils I keep in my purse so I don't leave home without: Lavender and Peppermint. They are the two most versatile oils, and my "go to" oils for just about anything.

I have always suffered tension headaches and migraines, using peppermint oil has completely replaced my use of pain relievers. I just dab a little on my forehead and the base of my neck, and shortly thereafter the pain is gone. This, alone, makes the oil worth every penny to me, but it's good for so much more!

  • Put a couple drops in hot water for a yummy tea and soothe digestion
  • Rub several drops in your stomach if you have an upset stomach or motion sickness
  • Garlic/Onion breath after lunch? Put a drop on your tongue after lunch, it will both freshen your breath and increase alertness and concentration as you return to work.
  • Breathe in the fragrance of peppermint to curb appetite and lessen the impulse to overeat.
If you want to try out Peppermint for yourself visit YoungLiving.com and use ID # 1137825.
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Blessings!

Monday

Torn

I have to admit I'm torn over the death of Osama Bin Laden. There are two sides of me dueling and I'm not sure which to pick.

The first side is the American in me. As an American who cannot forget 9/11 and the effects it had on my country, and even my family. This part of me wants to jump up and shout that the man who has been responsible for the death of thousands of people is now dead.

Then there is my faith... Jesus tells me to love my enemies and to pray for them.

"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. "If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:27-36

"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him." Proverbs 24:17-18

I have often on this blog talked about how I want to be a person who chooses love. I'm not always successful at this, I know. But I just have to think that if more people chose a response of love instead of a response of hate/anger, this world would be a little better place.

Let me say that I agree with the Navy SEALS taking down Bin Laden. He had committed a horrible crime, he needed go be stopped, and his crime needed to be punished. I think it is one thing to celebrate a victory, I'm just not so comfortable celebrating the death of a man...regardless of who he is.

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
~Martin Luther King Jr

I guess I have made my choice.

- Blessings!

Location:Torn

Saturday

Counting Moments

I have been reading Ann Voskamp's Blog A Holy Experience for sometime now. I love her blog, it has become a constant source of ideas and encouragement. I highly recommend checking it out. When I heard she was writing a book, I couldn't wait to read it. The book is One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

This particular post isn't a review of her book (perhaps later); this is a means to tell you I do want to begin counting my moments...I want to begin focusing on and being thankful for the blessings that are right in front of me...and I want to encourage you to do the same thing.

Watch this:




- Blessings!

Wednesday

Essential Oils I Can't Live Without - Purification


This morning I woke up with four little bug bites on my arm!  Definitely, not a pleasant way to start the morning.  SO, after throwing all my linens in the wash to try to get rid of my new little "friend" who decided to spend the night...I headed to my essential oils to get rid of the itch.  

Purification is the PERFECT oil for this.  It can be used directly on the skin to cleanse and sooth insect bites, cuts, and scrapes.  I dabbed a little on each of the little bites, and my arm didn't itch all day.  It was wonderful!!  We are heading into "mosquito bite season."  I know I will be stocked up to sooth the bites from that summer nuisance.

What else is Purification good for?

You can diffuse it to get rid of unwanted odors and purify the air.
It is an uplifting and rejuvenating aroma 
Can be used to remove hard water stains.

For more information or to order visit my website.

Blessings!

Thursday

Mission Statement




I stumbled upon someone’s personal mission statement today, and I loved it. I have heard recommendations from different leaders to have a personal mission statement for your life. I have always loved the idea, but never really sat down to write my own or tried to figure out what I want to strive for in life.


Seeing the mission statement today inspired me, and I finally have come up for one of my own. Are you ready?


I intend to live with passion, believe in myself, continually demonstrate Love, and help others in my highest capacity.


That’s it. What do you think? Do you have a personal mission statement?






Wednesday

Essential Oils I Can't Live Without - Lavender

I love spring time...allergies - not so much. Spring is in the air, flowers are blooming, trees are budding, cotton is flying. Oh, yes, there are plenty of allergens for everyone.

Spring allergies threaten to ruin my favorite time of year, especially since I avoid taken medications as much as possible. My go-to natural treatment for allergies is Lavender.





You can:
* put a drop or two in your hand, then use a finger to spread some down your nose and cheek bones
* cup your hand to your face and breathe in the aroma
* drop a couple drops on your pillow at night (will help you relax, too!)

Other benefits of Lavender:
* it is great to treat sunburns
* eases sore muscles
* de-stress, promotes relaxation
And more!

Lavender is one of the most versatile Essential Oils there is...and one I do not let us run out of.

- Blessings!

Sunday

Late Night Musings

I love family. The unspeakable bonds that join people together...it is more than blood. These are the people who get you, these are the people who make you want to be a better person. These are the people who...even if you only see them every couple years...feel like home.

This week I have the pleasure of spending time with some family in Florida. I am SO happy to be here. It is days like today you want to hold on to forever. As the day ends,and people go to bed...it is almost sad to bid the day goodbye.

I am so, incredibly, blessed.I am surrounded by people who fill my heart with such joy and peace. For a little while this endless ache for something better passes away, and I am filled with contentment. I really should make more time to be in this place.

As everyone was going to bed tonight Yngvild asked me if I would stay up and watch a movie with her. We decided to watch Eat Pray Love. This is one book I have read more than once, and I have loved the movie just as much. Tonight I finally get it. I get why I have been drawn to Elizabeth Gilbert who was on this quest to feel something. To feel life, love, devotion to something greater than yourself. I have been on a quest of my own this past year. A quest to find me, to find purpose. Weeks like this, surrounded by loved ones...they help.

Blessings and good night.

Thursday

New Favorite Product - Deep Relief

Lately my neck and shoulders have been so tight and sore, the pain is unexplainable.  I kept seeing Young Living's Deep Relief essential oil blend, and this month I decided to order it and see if it could help.  Now I wish I ordered it MONTHS ago!!  Within minutes the tension in my shoulders started to melt away, this stuff is a miracle worker!!  I'm sitting here on my laptop with relaxed muscles and no pain, I can't get over it.

Primary Benefits this oil provides:
* Soothes sore joints and ligaments
* Helps counter stressed nerves
* Reduces inflammation and muscle spasms
* Eases tight/sore muscles

I'm telling you, it did all this for me.  If you would like to experience some of this relief, check out my website.  For more helpful Essential Oil information, sign up for my newsletter while you're there.

I'm off to sleep with my relaxed muscles. Nighty night!

Saturday

Be Still

Fresh snow has fallen on the ground, steam puffs out of the pipes on the roof tops, the sun is slowly rising, and my coffee is brewing.  I love quiet mornings, people are sleeping, the world around me is peaceful. Few things are better than this.

Everything in this world moves so fast, it's easy to get swept up in the tide of business.  I have to be purposeful to find still moments. Taking a cue from my Savior, I often rise early in the morning before my family to spend some time in peaceful solitude, alone with my God.

Mark 1:35 and rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (ESV)

I have found that if I don't take this time to stop and be still (aka if I choose sleep instead)...I'm often not a fun person to be around, I'm grouchy, I'm quick to snap...I'm not my usual joyful self.  Taking this time helps me face hard times with a little more grace and be fully present for the joyful times.  I crave for, I long for, I need time to be still.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.

I stumbled upon this poem and it made me giggle thinking about my early morning rising...it's not always easy:

A Morning Poem
I woke early one morning,
The earth lay cool and still,
When suddenly a tiny bird,
Perched on my window sill,
He sang a song so lovely,
So carefree and so gay,
That slowly all my troubles,
Began to slip away,
He sang of far of places,
Of laughter and of fun.
I stirred beneath the covers,
Crept slowly out of bed,
Then gently shut the window,
And crushed his little head,
I'm not a morning person.
-Author Unknown

OK, I have to admit my first response was to roar with laughter instead of feeling sad for the little bird...I mean we've all been there, right?  Sleep is SO important to our bodies, it's natural to want to sleep a little later.  We were created to sleep for a reason; however, time for me to be still is often important...plus it gives me a good excuse for a nap later on. haha

I hope you can find some time in your day (maybe it's not early mornings for you) to stop and be still.

Blessings!

My One Word - Thanksgiving

Ending 2010 I wrote a post about how I'm not going into 2011 with New Years Resolutions, but instead was going to pick one word to define this year. I thought in mid-January I had picked my word.  I thought I had picked the word "Present".  I felt like I needed to focus on being present in each moment, with each person I was spending time with...instead of distracted over last night's conversation, or what someone else who is sending me on a text message...I felt I needed to focus on being fully in the moment with the person I'm with.  This isn't a new goal for me, it is one I've written about and struggled with for years.  I didn't post about picking this word though, because I hadn't settled with it, I wasn't comfortable with it.  I guess I knew that it wasn't "the word."

Today I bought Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts and while reading it my word chose me, my word smacked me in the face. Thanksgiving. I'm not living in the present moment, because I'm not thankful for the present moment.  I'm not content with what I have been given, I'm not choosing joy. This has to change, for I have been given so much.  I have been blessed with amazing family and friends, there is much to be thankful for, and this is where my focus needs to return.  So, Thanksgiving is my word for 2011.  Have you picked your word yet?

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thes 5:18, NLT)

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 5:20, NLT)

Blessings!!

Wednesday

A Dios Le Pido - I Ask to God

The teens in my life introduced me to this song, and I have to say I love it.  I catch myself singing it often. Reminds me of a friend.



The Lyrics in English:
I Ask to God

That my eyes wake up every day with the light of your look, I ask to God
That my mother will not die and that my dad remembers me, I ask to God
That you stay by my side and that you never leave from my life, I ask to God
That my soul never rests when it is about loving you my sky, I ask to God
For all the days that remain and the nights that haven't arrived, I ask to God
For the sons of my sons and the sons of your sons, I ask to God
That my country doesn't spill so much blood and my people will rise, I ask to God
That my soul never rests when it is about loving you my sky, I ask to God
One more second of life to give you and to stay forever by your side
One more second of life to give you and my entire heart to give you
One more second of life, I ask to God
And that if I die will be of love and that if I fall in love will be of you
And that your voice will be this heart everyday, I ask to God
And that if I die will be of love and that if I fall in love well be of you
And that your voice will be this heart everyday, I ask to God, I ask to God

Sunday

Stop and Think

I'm currently reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  He has several videos he has made to correspond with the book.  I loved this video because it clearly states what God is all about.  The God we serve is all about love.  In this world we see a lot of people do/say hateful things in the name of God...but I say they have it all wrong.

I hope you enjoy this video:

How Do You Measure a Year?

My Church just started doing a series called Crazy Love, with a challenge to measure this next year with love. It really resonated with me since I still had love on my mind from yesterday's post.

Our praise team sang this song from Rent and it was awesome.  If you're choosing love this year, why not make it Crazy Love?



Blessings!

Things that brought me joy today:
* Breakfast with my family
* Amazing church service
* Chill time this afternoon :)

Saturday

Choose Love

Happy New Years!!  I guess it's natural to be reflective over this week, and I'm no exception to that.  I was listening to my iPod this morning and Luther Vandross's song What the World Needs Now came on.  I know it might be a little cheeseball, but I think it's so true.  What would happen if we lived in a world where people chose to love?  Not just the people in our lives we should love (although I know I can do a better job about that as well), but also the people in our lives that are hard to love.

Matthew 5:43-48

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy'. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"

Love your enemies...what a powerful message. I think it is too easy in every day life to look for the negative, to be judgemental and condescending.  There is unity in complaining about wrongs or the sense of being wronged.  It is not only easy, but it seems acceptable to display anger and hatred....even among Christians.

What if people started to turn the tide?  Started practicing love, patience, grace....forgiveness?  In this New Year, New Decade, my challenge to you is to choose love.  Choose to show your loved ones that they are loved.  Choose to show grace to the guy who cuts you off in traffic or the person in front of you with a cart-full of groceries in the 20 items or less line.  

Happy New Year dear friends. 

Blessings!