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The Wind

This morning I woke up at 5:09. (A little later than yesterday, but it is the second day so I am giving myself a break.) It was hard to roll out of bed and even though I am trying this new early rise thing, I know I probably could use a little more sleep. I have stayed up later than normal the two nights before I started to wake up early. Lol Tonight I may get to bed a “normal” time.

As I have enjoyed this morning and the quiet, Bible reading, breathing and the like, I realized how much my soul needed this time. Just the second day in and I am breathing life into my day. I notice what is around me, beyond the floor that may need swept or carpet vacuum lines that are disappearing. Today I noticed the wind.

We moved into our house at the end of July so each day brings something new to our lives. Today I noticed the wind. I know the weather isn’t supposed to be super great today and that bums me out, but I cannot help but notice the beauty of the wind this morning. I opened the porch door to let the stinky dog (My affectionate name for our dog Sparky) and the wind was loud. If I closed my eyes I could imagine the sound was the waves crashing against the rocks at the beach.

I grew up in the state of Oregon and I loved visiting the coast. We called it the coast out there because even though it was a beach with sand and ocean, it was usually cold. I rarely went there on a day it wasn’t overcast and windy. The air was fresh and the smell of salt water taffy filled the boardwalk. I have been to other beaches throughout the States and none of them were really the same as the Oregon coast.

I loved going to the coast when I was younger. It made me feel fresh and new and ready to explore. It was so pretty and the ocean looked liked it never ended. The sand was course and the waves crashed loudly against the rocks . Such a beautiful place amongst the dreary weather Oregon had so often.

This morning when I heard the wind I was brought right back to the ocean (without the smells of course). I love being outside and enjoying the atmosphere as long as it isn’t too cold outside. The freshness of the air on a day like to day is awesome. It is renewing and life filling.

This is so much like what it feels like to have Christ refresh and renew us each day. Opening up the Bible and reading from God’s word is like that refreshing wind this morning or the fresh sea air of the coast. I am not sure where you are today in your spiritual journey, but I encourage you to read God’s word today. You don’t need anything fancy, no special plan, just read. Start with the book of John in the New Testament or read a Proverb every day.

There are all kinds of resources for you to find a way into reading the bible. From YouVersion studies or daily posts from different authors or programs like Daily hope with Rick Warren, Proverbs 31 Ministries and the First Five app. The list of all the resources could be another post altogether. I just encourage you to read. Take a deep breath and allow God to speak life into your day.

There is a song by Audio Adrenaline that I always enjoyed listening to. It talks about breathing in and out and starting your day with Christ. You can listen to This Day here. I hope you find time to breathe in and breathe out today, notice your surroundings and choose to let God in.

Stephanie

Practicing What We Read

Yesterday I picked up the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Have you read this book? I am about 3/4 through the book and oh my goodness, what a great book. If you are wanting to do more and reach for your passions, this is a great book to read.

Though I haven’t finished the book, I decided I had to get up early and just start. So far, day one, a success. One day is easy, let’s see how tomorrow morning goes. 🙂

I want this time to be different, and I think after reading this book, it is possible. I have had times in the past where I would get up earlier and start my day with more Bible study and quiet, but somehow I let life get in the way and I stopped waking up early.  Consistency is important, but the mindset is huge! I learned by reading and listening to The MIracle Morning about how your focus on waking up in the morning starts with what you are thinking before you go to sleep. If you go to bed focusing on the amount of sleep you are getting, then you will wake up with that on your mind and you will most likely have a hard time waking up. Makes sense to me, but yet this thought process is so unique to the popular mindset.

I have been inspired by so many different books with help on how to be more productive. There are so many books about maximizing your mornings and helping you learn tools to make the most of your day. I seem to have a theme in my reading, I am always reading about how to be more productive and to use my time better. I have really enjoyed books like Hello Mornings by Kat Lee, Holy Hustle by Crystal Stine,  Best Year Ever by MIchael Hyatt and a new favorite Make it Happen by Lara Casey and so many more. I feel bad leaving out others, but these have been great books for me as I am walking toward my journey of my passions and potential. I highly recommend each one of them for maximizing and making things happen in your life.

As much as all of these books have played a part of my mindset and growth, just reading them and not actually putting into practice what I have learned is where I am lacking. Often times we read books filled with knowledge, but we stop there. We are either filled with fear and doubt or we are not in the right mindset to actually take it in and apply it. I want to change this in my life, what about you?

This practice can be the same in our spiritual lives as well. So often we read God’s word and know what it says, but don’t really take it on and do what we learn and read. We could have all the knowledge in the world, but if we don’t practice it, where does the growth come from? Philippians 4:9 says,

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-
put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Or in Matthew 7:24,

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them
into practice is like a wise man who build his house on the rock.

Are you choosing to be wise and build your life on the rock? Do you have a head full of what to do’s without practicing what you have learned? It is time to take hold of the knowledge and step out and do what you have learned.

Will you join me in practicing and moving forward?

 

 

Peace

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Today marked a milestone in my life as it was the first of very few Tuesdays that I didn’t go to work at a job I have had for almost eleven years. This decision was by choice as I recently stepped down from this position and the transition stage has ended.

The job I held was great and I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had to work in the position. It came at a time that was absolutely perfect. A time where we needed income and I wasn’t even sure how it would come. I worked for my friend in her home office and gained so much by having this position. It was a bittersweet end to a wonderful time in my life.

However, peace is what I felt this morning when I woke up and knew the day was mine to navigate. Not that my last job was bad, because it wasn’t, but today I had say into what my day would hold. The peace I am feeling is a mixture of freedom for having a big responsibility off my plate, but also the availability to move on to new and exciting things. Things God has led me toward.

I have longed to do different things with my life and have come to this new opportunity by God’s design that I never would have dreamed it could be. It gives me an amazing amount of peace knowing that God has got this all planned and He knows the path of my future. He provides the peace I need that will help me pursue my passion and recognize my potential.

What about you? Is there something you need to do or release in order to have peace? Not saying there is a job you need to step down from, but is there something that is preventing you from having the peace in your life you desire? Where do you search for your peace? There are different forms of peace, but the best peace we can have comes from Christ. In John 14:27 is states:

Peace I have with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Don’t you love that God has it all figured out? He knows what my future holds and what decisions I will take. He knows when I try to do it all on my own and when I finally let go and let HIM lead, Romans 14:19 says,

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.

Take some time today to write down the peace you long for. What action steps can you make today to move toward that peace? You have got what it takes, trust me you do.

Stephanie

Peace, Passion and Potential

So, this morning I decided to start a 31 Day writing challenge. I will be writing every day to be part of the challenge and we will explore everything that relates to finding Peace each day, landing on our Passion and exploring it and looking forward to the Potential we have that we have not noticed before. I am so excited to be writing each day, sharing my life and the journey toward them all.

Peace will explore the ways in which we can find peace each day. Whether through a walk, a time of refreshment or time spent in God’s word, we will see out Peace for each day. Peace is so important for the growth of our lives. Taking time to look for time of rest and reflection, recreation and restoration.

Passion will be sought out as we go through each day. What are you passionate about? What makes you tick, keep going and put your all into? Why aren’t you going toward that passion? What is in your way? Let’s seek out your passion and help you pursue it!

Lastly, your Potential. Now, it may seem too similar to Passion, but it is not. How often do we put limits on our potential because we lack the belief to go forward. Through these 31 days we will explore your potential, recognizing what you have and allowing your God given potential to shine.

I am excited for you to join me over the next month to learn, grow and be the woman You desire to be.

What are you looking forward to learning about you?

Have You Asked God What You Want?

Ok, so I know i haven’t really written lately, but I just had to this morning. I will do another catch up post later, but just had to share about my devotional I read this morning.

I read a devotional on YouVersion and it was talking about asking God what you want. It talked about the two blind men in Matthew 20 who asked Jesus to have mercy on them. They had to yell it loud over the crowd to be heard. Jesus stopped and asked them what they wanted. Get that? Jesus asked them what they wanted! The author of the devotional brought up that the blind men had to ask what they wanted even though Jesus, of course, knew. He went on to write that we too need to ask God what we want. I know I have always been taught to pray and ask God the desires of your heart, but do I really allow God to give me what I want? Have I actually asked God for I want or am I pre-judging what I ask before I make a request? I know that ultimately God will give me what He has set in motion for my life, but I still need to ask.

As many YouVersion studies, there were a few passages linked to the study and this one also had a passage in 2 Kings linked to read. The author of the devotional didn’t talk about this passage, but this is what struck me. 2 Kings talks about a woman who’s husband had passed and he had owed a debt. The debt collectors were going to collect her two sons to pay the debt, so she cried out to the prophet Elisha for help. He too asked her what she wanted him to do. She wanted to save her sons but did not have anything to pay the debt. This cool passage tells us that the prophet Elisha tells her to collect empty jars from all of her neighbors, and to collect all of them, not just a few. He then told her to take her small jar of oil and begin pouring it into the empty jars. What happened? The jars were filled, all of them. She asked her son for another jar and he told her they were all filled. All of them! Then they sold the jars of oil and were able to settle the debt and live on the rest.

This story just got me in the feels. All of the jars were filled. She asked for help specifically for a way to pay her husbands debt so she did not lose her sons. How often do I shield what I ask for? Even though I know God provides for us every single day. He fills my jars and I have an overflow of blessings. Now, I know I an not rolling in money and I certainly don’t have debts to pay that would cost me my children, but it made me tear up. I am so thankful that my God listens to my needs. He knows my needs, He knows what I need and will answer my prayers. He loves me enough to ask me what I want, asks me what is on my heart. I just need to talk to Him. I need to reach out to Him, lean on Him and let Him to do the rest.

For some reason when I read the jars were all full and once they had all they needed the flow of oil stopped. I wonder how many times I get in the way of allowing God overflow His blessings on to me because I either try to do things on my own or I never asked.

I have goals and aspirations I would like to reach, but do I ask God for them? Are there things in my life I should be asking God for or am I making judgements on what God wants for me before I even ask? What overflow of oil is waiting for me to ask God for?

I challenge you to find an empty jar to remind you that God will fill our jar with what is needed, we just need to ask. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us, by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3. What do you need to ask Him today? I challenge you to do it and then see your empty jar be filled.

Have a great day!

 

Drama Mama Hangs Her Hat

Recently, I was privileged to be stage manager for our local High School’s production again this year. It was my third year being stage manager and it is so rewarding, but extremely exhausting. I am ready for a break, but will soon have the desire to jump back in. This Drama Mama is going to miss this someday!

I love being able to be involved in my kids lives and the theatre has been an outlet for that. It was very different this year with my son now in college. My daughter is a freshman so I have three more years to do this while I have a kid in high school. We have done theatre at local community theatres since my son was in third grade so we are no strangers to the stage.

It is funny how different it was this year without my son there. He has always been the driving force behind our theatre involvement. For the first time in many years, I didn’t audition for the musical at our local theatre and it will be quite strange to not be involved. I think we needed some time off, some time to recoup and refocus, but I will miss it. My daughter runs track and I am super excited to be able to be all in watching her. No rushing from a track meet to a rehearsal, no more worries if the track meet will be done in time to get her on stage for her scene. It will be a nice break, but strange.

I know much of my excitement and joy in my life comes from being involved in the theatre. The friendships you gain while in a production of a show is just wonderful and completely make the experience memorable. You become a sort of family after spending so many months, weeks, days and HOURS by the time of the run of the show, it is hard not to become close with those you work with. I will miss my drama friends, but am excited to see all God will open up for our next season. I know theatre will jump back in starting in May (Yes, this is another post I started and didn’t have the guts to post at the time, lol) when my daughter will audition for summer teen theatre and I will have the wonderful opportunity to watch my son as he was just recently offered two roles at a theatre for the summer. So, I will embrace this time off and get ready for the next step.

Is there something in your life you need to take a break from? Are there activities you need to step away from, even for just a short time, to help you refocus and recoup? A healthy habit for our lives is to set time for rest. Believe me, I KNOW it is hard to say no sometimes and just let others take the lead and you sit out, but in the end it is usually worth it. You never know what opportunities will come to you when you take time to hang your hat and sit back for a bit. I encourage you to look at your schedule and see what you could set aside for a brief time and let the rest so important in our lives to occur.

 

 

Sidewalk

“Direct my footsteps according to Your word;
let no sin rule over me.” Psalm 119:133 


Ok, first let me make a disclaimer that this blog post actually started back in September. It was an awesome morning and I actually talked most of what I wanted to say into my phone. I have edited it several times and am so sad I didn’t post it at the time. So, before I go any farther and write any more posts, I felt it fitting to post this one. 🙂

As I was walking this morning I noticed the sidewalk. I take this walk every day and passed by the sidewalks with each step, the similar path every day, but today I noticed them more. It rained last night and I knew that I need to be more careful, because let’s face it, I’m not always the most coordinated. I am one of those people that say to themselves, “Don’t step on that toy, don’t step on the toy, don’t you dare step on that toy,” and what would do? I trip over it. Yep, that’s me. However, most of the time I walk past the sidewalks and pay no attention to them.

Some days I count my steps 1-2 and step in each little section with the rhythm, but soon I get off because they were mismatched in size and shape and the rhythm would just fade away. Today though, I thought about how the sidewalks are similar to life. Each sidewalk is in different shapes and different stages of life so to speak. Recently there has been work done in our neighborhood and there are some brand new sidewalks. There a few places, where the sidewalks are flat, smooth, fresh and new and almost pretty to look at. I like the light gray lines on the new sidewalk, poured so nicely and made so professionally by someone who knows what they’re doing. However, not too many steps ahead there’s a sidewalk, broken in pieces or even nonexistent; actual dirt where a sidewalk used to be. (These sidewalks, of course are the culprit to my slips and almost falls.)

I began thinking while I walked about those sidewalks and the differences in each of them. Some of them have been around for a while and are still in decent shape, some covered with rocks and debris and others are shaded by trees so they stay damp and wet with lack of full sun drying them up. There are the sidewalks with not much sidewalk left, mostly dirt and others worn a little. One sidewalk looked as if it had been stamped with leaves and brown paint. It is funny how sidewalks can compare to life and the different stages within. The new brand new sidewalks could represent a new family moving in or new birth in the home; new life, a new beginning. Then, what about the tattered sidewalk? What caused it to break up and fall apart? What caused relationships and families be torn apart? What things that happened in our lives that cause us to to be little worse for the wear?

What about those who poured the sidewalks? Who poured them originally, who walked on the very first sidewalks laid in our town? What conversations occurred when they were being poured? What was the status of that person’s life at the time? Were they happy in their job and surrounded by friends and coworkers, or were they having a hard day? How many songs were listened to while they were being poured? How many people sing songs to themselves while working? Were they lonely? Would they get together with friends when they get off work or go home? Do they not have much to go home to?

I could go on and on with curiosity, but I will stop. So, what is my point? I started relating my thoughts about the sidewalk and began to think about how God meets us wherever we are at. Whether we are the brand new sidewalk or the one broken in pieces, the care of God is given to each one of us right where were at. God is such a personal and loving God. He meets me right where I am at, each day, every hour, every breath, He is there!

This is the brown “stamped” leaf sidewalk! 🙂

Just like the sidewalk, God is dependable to hold me up and give me a path to walk out every day. I’m thankful that God is my creator and He walks through life with me. No matter whether I am starting as a brand new sidewalk or living as a crumbled one, whatever has come in and out of my life, God is up there holding me keeping me on the straight path.

I pray you have the knowledge of God’s great love and power in your life. If you don’t, ask me or someone you know to let you know about all He does for each one of us! Let me see posts of your sidewalks in your town. This could be fun!

Today has been a nice day, a day I have been waiting for. I typically have Fridays off, but for some reason, today really feels like a day off. I have been domesticated today, cleaning, making homemade veggie broth (check out this link from a local farm that shared how to do this as well as a printable PDF they made), and prepping some tomatoes for freezing. My house smells amazing! The roasted tomato recipe was told to me by a friend and it is so good! It looked so pretty when I put it in the oven too. I will have to ask her if it is okay to share the recipe, but yum!

So what makes today different? God! I know most Fridays I could choose to do the same type of things, but lately I have had so much on my to-do list that I would get overwhelmed and just get a few things done.Today is no different, there are PLENTY of things to do on my to-do list, but for some reason I have had a calm about me. I know there will always be something else I need to put on the list and then check off, but today, taking time to do domestic type things like this was what I needed today.

You see, I have two jobs, which I do enjoy, but I miss being home. I was a stay at home mom most of the time my kids were little and slowly added more hours as they began to grow. This has been a transition all in itself. I have been working for my friend Amy, for 9 years today. Yep, nine years and I am still getting used to working. Ha! I recently started working as a Ministry Assistant  for our church too (which I really enjoy), so now I am gone four pretty full days.

I know many of you are thinking, “Four full days is nothing, I work way more than that.” However, for me, this has been a huge change. I have always been the mom who is home during most of the day, the mom who greets their children at the door when they return from school, the mom who could volunteer to help during the day, and so on, you get it. I am now a working mom who gets home in time to make dinner and then help us as we rush to the next activity. Rehearsals for Drama Club, Band Booster meetings, Board meetings, concerts, and so on. Our lives seem to be pretty full right now. I have adjusted pretty well, but I do miss days of less chaos, a house that is most always clean and tidy and the laundry caught up. I miss the times with my kiddos after school as they would fill me in about their day, help them through their homework and make dinner at a pleasant pace.

Working has been good for me, giving me a new sense of purpose and using the abilities God has given me in different areas of my life. I never really thought about working when my kids were younger, but I am sure I was discontent about the lonely times at home wishing for human contact above two feet tall. LOL! It is hard to remember those days though. My son is a freshman in college and my daughter a freshman in High School. Wow, time flies fast. Wasn’t I just in college a few years ago? Ehem.

So, today I am thankful for time to be in my home feeling a little like it was years ago. My house won’t be as clean as I want by the end of the day, and most likely I will be putting the sheets on the bed last minute so we can crawl in later tonight. However, I will celebrate in the veggie broth, tomatoes and the freshly cleaned sheets for today.

I was talking to my friend and “boss” yesterday about feeling overwhelmed, like I just couldn’t do anything well because I was spreading myself too thin. I wasn’t complaining, but just feeling a bit defeated and discouraged. Wouldn’t you know it, but God listened and heard my cry for some peace.Today,is God’s gift to me!  He knew I needed rest and time to recuperate. God is so awesome, that he hears even little prayers of overwhelm and discouragement. I am so thankful for a loving God who hears me and listens to my heart.

What are you thankful for this Friday?

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

Transition is, well, Transition

So, I have been trying to get myself to start writing for almost a year. Now, I spent some of that time trying to decide what I would write about, but it took almost a year to start to write. What would the words I put on the screen do for someone else? I mean, let’s face it, I am an average mom, with 2 kids, a dog and a husband. What could I write about that would be helpful, inspire, or for that matter, even be interesting? I am not the best with grammar and not typically a great storyteller, but for some reason I have had a tug on my heart to write for a long time. I am not an avid reader, but once I start reading I usually enjoy it. Recently I started listening to books on Audible and have loved it so far. I find little time in my average day to sit and read, but listening to books has been amazing.  

Wanting to grow and learn more, I decided to make listening to podcasts a priority and I am so glad I have!! I have been inspired by so many women. Many times I have a sense that I missed out somewhere along the line by not stepping up to the blogging/podcast trend years ago. If I came down to it, I would love the chance to connect with other women through the blogging world, travel and listen to speakers and learn how to better myself for life and ministry. There are so many godly women out there I can learn from and be influenced to do amazing things.

I thought about writing a blog on organization and cleaning of the home, or our journey to homesteading, which I really don’t see that happening anytime soon, though it was an attractive idea to my husband and I awhile ago, or maybe my Grubby Primitives business. There are endless ideas on what to write and talk about, but nothing was standing out to me. What was I supposed to write about? Who would be my audience? Would people even care what I wrote about? I am sure most bloggers starting out would think the same things. Or am I just too critical of myself?

One day after listening to the audiobook Breaking Busy by Ali Worthington, she said something that just allowed my brain to connect to what my purpose for blogging is. I can’t remember what she said and I will probably fill that in later, but I knew I had a reason to blog! What is it, you ask? Keep reading and I will tell you.

Recently, my son Ryan started his adventure in college. Yep. We enjoyed his Senior year, relished in every event, concert, musical, contest and more, soaking up every bit of time we had with him before he took off to school. Where did the time go? How can he already be heading to college? Wasn’t he just five years old? Seriously, the old expression “Time Flies” can feel so true in stages like these.

The transition hasn’t been too bad after dropping Ryan off to his campus a little over an hour away from our home. However, I do miss him so much. I keep telling others, “Knowing he is happy, makes it easier. I know he is where he is supposed to be and that makes it more bearable.” Though there is a little truth in that statement, I do miss him so much! Our house is much quieter without him at home. Ryan would always be singing or at least listening to music and he left a big hole in our home. I miss our talks we would have before he would leave for school or when we would both be home long enough to spend some time talking. Ryan and I would spend a lot of time talking together. He was my son first, but also my friend. His friends, were part of our lives too. My daughter Makenna and Ryan, don’t even get me started. They have such a great relationship and I am grateful, but is has been a hard transition for Makenna as well.

All of this is where the blogging with a purpose came in. I’ve read many blogs about keeping the home, trying the next recipe, how to be a mom of small children, the best homesteading and homeschooling hacks and so on. However, what do you do when your kids are older? Where do you fit in when  you have a Freshman in college and a Freshman in High School? As a mom, what is my purpose now? What should I be doing now my kids are older? Should I be doing something extraordinarily different than before? Is there a proper next step as you enter into a different stage of the adult life? This is the direction I need. How do I discover who God wants for me now my kids aren’t so dependent upon me? How can I strengthen my relationship with my spouse? What can my husband Matt and I do to help us come together closer before Makenna goes to college and leave us empty nesters? Am I really old enough to be talking about any of this?

What if there was a blog about the transition, the time where I need to “re-invent” the Stephanie I thought I was? So, this is my start. I wrote the introduction, now I need to write what’s next. I do hope you will enjoy my journey toward discovery and invite you along for the ride.

Stephanie 

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