Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks
Why My Masters Degree Means Nothing

A Life Update and Blog Things

Happy September beauties!

I thought it was a good time to check in with an update.

What’s been going on? What have you been up to? Share! Share!

The last month was busy, but good.

Let’s start with the MOHs stuff
I got my stitches out a few days after my last post.

Stitches out! Happy girl

I continue to heal. My nose is super red and will be for a few more months probably, but I’m thankful it’s all done and behind me.

MOHs recovery continues

Moral of the story? Wear sunscreen!

Chances are, lots of damage is already done from our younger years, and it’s all the more reason to take care of ourselves now!

I already see a couple more spots I’m going to have checked at my next appointment. 😳🙏🏻
Now for some fun and exciting stuff
P and her beau set a date and are getting hitched in November.

They went from planning a stressful and large soirée to a much quieter, simpler wedding. I love they went this route and will be honored to be among the small group of people they entrust with this sacred moment.

As a side note, how is my sister old enough to be married!?

I’m sure I’ll share all sorts of beautiful pictures, stories, and such in the coming months.

Oh and PS- Layla started preschool last week! I can’t believe she’s already old enough to be going to preschool! Not gonna lie, I got misty eyed.

She gets cuter everyday

Now onto the important stuff
All things college football.

Last Wednesday kicked off football season. It’s like an official holiday in our house.

We flipped back and forth between games soaking up every tackle, touchdown, and catch.

Our beloved Sooners took the field Saturday, and as usual, I nearly melted into a giant puddle from the intense heat.

We had a fairly mild August, but just my luck, temps went back to normal as football season started.

WHY DO YOU HATE ME!?

Nonetheless I’m excited about a new year and fresh start. I’m not picking us to take it all, or probably even win the big 12, but I think we’ll be much improved a serious contender.

My boot camp & a bible study

Guys, God has blessed me so much with this boot camp bible study thing. I can’t even take it!

I started out with just one person attending- ME.

Just a couple weeks later I was up to two, then three, with two more committed for our next session.

Considering we meet Saturday at the crack of dawn, I’m encouraged.

I gave it totally to God when I started in July and continue to let Him do whatever he desires.

Our workouts have been fantastic, the Christian playlists I’ve put together are ridiculous (in the best way possible), and our conversation has been blessed.

God is good! I sure wish you gals could join us.

A stroll down memory lane

For some strange reason, Will and I decided to stick in an old Frasier box set in while I was at home after surgery.

Here we are a month later and are already nearly halfway done with season 2.

I’m pretty sure it’s Will’s favorite show. It got us through lots of homesick nights in Kuwait.

It’s been fun and I felt I ought to remember it on her blog.
Other random things I feel you should know

We visited Will’s parents last weekend along with my BIL and SIL. It was fun. We went bowling and I broke my average 35ish range.

Serious stuff here, ya’ll.
Proof.

(I’m BB- still the lowest score but far better than my usual)

As for other things, I did a mini balyage treatment on my hair last week. I wanted to go back to my natural color thinking it was going to be a fairly dark blonde.

Turns out I was completely wrong!

I’ve highlighted half my head for years and never really paid attention to the underneath color. It always looked dark to me because the highlights were always so light.
Blonde blonde and back to my roots

Anyway, turns out I’m naturally way blonder than I thought (an 8 on a scale of 10), which explains a lot.

Such as why, upon realizing we were out of dish tablets, I put a tablespoon of ivory dish soap in the dishwasher, hit start, and let it run the entire cycle.

Let’s just say there were bubbles everywhere.

Everywhere.

Or why I threw Lucy’s much needed medication in the trash not realizing there were still several days worth of medicine still in the packet.

Resulting in a dumpster dive situation.

Genius.

Things like that.

All.the.time.

So yeah, turns out I’m not blonder than I pay to be. I’m actually really that blonde. Ha!

Important Blog Stuff I Need to Unpack
On a more serious note, I’m kind of unsure what to do with this space, guys.

It’s old, dated, clunky and I have no idea how to fix any of it on my own.

Not only that, but I kind of feel like this space is slightly schizophrenic.

It’s worked well for a decade, housing all my silly stories and experiences as a 20 something newlywed. However, now I’m not so sure.

I feel the few of you who still visit should be able to count on some sort of structured content each day, which I feel I’ve done a great job of keeping up with over the last few years.

However I can’t help but feeling the Lord moving me in a different direction, which is one of the reasons I’ve been posting less frequently.

I feel there’s so much pressure for everyone to have some sort of online presence, or following, or persona.

I completely see the value of online media and have so enjoyed keeping up with my friends that way.

However in this current season of life I’m prompted to pull back more. To take the focus off myself and to put it on Jesus.

I’m struggling to find balance between posting what I had for lunch and sharing why I feel the Church needs to refocus our affections on our one true Love.

I’m struggling because this blog was created by me, for me, and doesn’t feel like it belongs to Him.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel right posting here anymore.

So I’ve been sitting quietly.

I’ve toyed with the idea of starting fresh and creating an entirely new space, but it feels daunting.

I’ve thought about paying for a makeover of the current space, but I’m not sold on that either for the above reasons.

So yeah, I have no idea what direction this little site is going.

I find it important to chronicle some of our goings on, as I’ve valued being able to capture memories over the years, but I’m not sure this space is the right space to cover heavy topics on my heart right now.

You’ve got my Wednesday workout right next to a post on eschatology. It seems a little incongruent.

Am I making sense?

It took me over 30 years but I finally get that this life is so much more and so much better when it’s surrendered to Christ.

That’s how our life should be, but somewhere between the garden of Eden and today we decided we could do things better on our own.

I don’t want to do things on my own anymore.

And He’s taking me up on the offer of my surrendered heart.

It’s glorious, but sometimes it hurts a little too.

But it’s worth it.

I want to share so much of it with you, but right now I’m taking a step back to see what exactly that looks like.

I had no intention of pouring this all before you, but since I’m on a roll I thought I better share.

I’m not breaking up with my blog, but I do think there will be some changes.

Perhaps I start a separate site with more frequent devotional type posts while still maintaining this old dinosaur for capturing updates and life stuff.

We shall see.

Until then, look for update type posts like this one (minus the whole giant book I wrote about the blog 😃) and devotional type posts.

So yeah. I think that’s my update.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you had a good extended weekend!

Part Four

Need a recap? Check out part one, two, and three.

So what now? Where do we go from here?

Good question.

The truth is, I have no idea.

It drives me crazy.

It drives Will crazier.

I began to think this whole unfolding was God’s “gentle” way of bringing Will back to the ministry, but we honestly have no idea.

So we wait on the Lord and take the next step He illuminates.

Despite the unknown, God has given me peace and assurance that my waiting has a purpose

I continue to live and walk in Him day by day.

The unexpected blessings that have arrived in our bank account, the continued reminders to trust and wait on the Lord in my daily readings, and the peace that surpasses all understanding. These things give me rest.

Sometimes you just need to rest.

Rest in the Lord.

We decided Will would take the summer off so we could catch our breath.

It’s been a bumpy start to the year, and we thought it would be good to regroup.

We didn’t just want to jump right into something else without truly seeking God and figuring out the next step.

Because honestly? We still don’t know.

The world tells us we need a five year plan. That we should know exactly what comes next and have a clear cut plan for execution.

While Proverbs certainly offers wisdom regarding preparedness, we also know we walk by faith and not by sight.

Verses

We can plan until we’re blue in the face, but sometimes God has a different plan.

Verses

God is up to something and wants to work in and through us if we allow Him.

That means surrender.

A word we don’t often like to use.

Verses

Sometimes that means our five year plans of grandeur get tossed altogether.

As Christians, we live differently than everyone else because we serve a God like none other.

It’s scary sometimes.

Because we can’t see what’s next.

But we walk by faith, and not by sight.

So, instead of Will just finding any old job immediately, we just decided to wait this summer and pray for direction. 

I would be lying if I told you there were days I wasn’t frustrated, or unsure, or completely exhausted by the waiting.

I feel that way sometimes.

There are no neon signs on the road we’re walking.

No bread crumbs to lead us home.

It’s us, and it’s God.

I often remind myself of the words He spoke to my heart last summer. “Do you trust Me?”

It seems logical to want to say no. It seems logical to flail my arms and scream that we have no idea what to do next.

Yet, we trust.

The spirit in me has yielded to God, and while I don’t know what our five year plan holds, I trust.

We put one foot in front of the other and let Him guide and lead.

We know the next step, that’s it.

I am preparing to launch my women’s Bible study.

Will and I are praying about a location to hold a Bible study for men and women.

It’s the natural next step, and how the Spirit has led our hearts during this time of uncertainty. 

We’ll take the summer off, and we’ll trust Him with Will’s job hunt just like we have every other step of this process.

Despite the craziness, things have actually gotten simpler:

I exist to know Christ.

To know Him deeply. To love Him fiercely. To serve Him wholeheartedly.

This life?

It’s not about me.

Something I knew, but only lived out when it was comfortable to do so.

Five year plans are great, but life really comes down to one question- do you know Christ? Do you really know Him in the core of your whole being? What have you done with this Good News?

While I want to be able to live with some semblance of a plan as we work through this process, this experience has reminded me of my true purpose-

To know the fullness of Christ and the power of His resurrection.

I am left only to respond with my entire heart.

Anything, Lord Jesus.

Anything you want me to do, anywhere you want me to go, anything you want me to say.

Anything Lord.

This year hasn’t gone as planned, but we’re here, and we’re trusting, and we’re finally starting to get it.

We are made for You.

May it be on the forefront of our minds.

So what’s next for our family?

I don’t know.

But I know it’s not about me, and the pressure’s off in finally grasping that reality.

I appreciate your prayers as we start Will’s job hunt, as well as whatever else is in store.

Love you girls! Check in next week. 💗

WIOW: Bootcamp & a Bible Study (tips on starting your own workout group)

Today we’re talking my latest project.

Something that combines two things near to my heart- Jesus and workouts.

Jesus is my life and passion, and fitness is a giant earthly love I enjoy so very much.

It may seem weird to combine the two, but it’s not as big of a stretch as you’d think.

When you stop and think about God giving us this life and wanting us to honor Him with our temples, it’s easy to see how we can worship Him by taking care of our bodies.

It’s also not a stretch to see God leading me on this direction. Theee things are sort of my jam. They’re where I’m in my element.

I’ve been creating meal plans and workouts for friends for years, and continually get asked for advice workout tips.

Over a year ago, I did Jennie Allen’s Restless study. In a nutshell, the book talks about using your passions and the things He’s wired you for to serve Christ. 

I felt a stir in my heart, but struggled to believe He’d ever truly open that door for me.

Small faith, big fears.

Fast forward to today, and I’m preparing finishing touches on launching my boot camp and a Bible study! A short Bible study and prayer time followed by a quick high powered workout.

He is so good to me, I cant even take it sometimes!

Today I wanted to share a few practical tips for anyone interested in putting their fitness passion into practice in a similar forum.

And by that, I mean a (somewhat) organized fitness event.

There’s a few things to consider, so let’s get moving!

Waive hello to all your friends
Sorry, stupid joke.

But seriously- you need to get a waiver form together and have any attendee sign it. This protects you from lots of things, like lawsuits.

There are tons of helpful jargon waiver tips on legal sites online, and some are even free.

Protect yourself. Do a waiver form.

Location, location, location
Find a good spot to meet, and stick with it.

Make sure you’re easy to find! If people can’t find you, chances are they’re not going to come looking.

A lot of people aren’t in love with fitness like some of us. If you’re not visible, they’re getting back in their car and driving home!

Timing is everything

Pick a time and be consistent.

You probably know the people attending and will have a good idea whether they’ll be there bright eyed and on time or not.

Not everyone wants to workout at 4am.

I’m kind of in unknown territory right now because I don’t have a core group. I picked a time I think is attainable, but am going to be willing to flex 30 minutes after the first couple of times when I can get a better idea of attendance.

Also- make sure you call your local community government office to see if you need to have a permit.

A lot of places now require you to have a permit for organized events. It basically tells people, “Hey! I’m allowed to be here!”

Make sure you find out if you need one, and take the steps to get one if you do.

While we’re talking governance...
Make sure you investigate community laws when it comes to public nuisance and loud music.

Not kidding.

It only takes one call to mess up your perfect boot camp location.

Do your homework and know your rights.

Also?

Use sound judgement and be a good neighbor.

Obviously you don’t need to read bylaws to know it’s rude to host a boot camp in your back yard at 5:00 in the morning with music blaring for all the world to hear.

Since we’re talking music...
It’s kind of a huge deal.

Invest in some decent outdoor speakers (if you’ll be outdoors). They’re surprisingly cheap and should last a long time.

Keep things fresh with a few different playlists and always be on the lookout for songs to add.

I’ve talked about music till I’m blue in the face on this blog. I’ve got a mile long list of fantastic Christian remixes to keep things moving the entire workout. I can’t wait!

Don’t forget to modify!
My dream is to have women from all walks of life join me in this journey.

It’s about glorifying God with healthy bodies, foremost. Not how many burpees we can do.

Be willing to modify exercises for people with different fitness needs and levels. Some knees are older than others! smile

So yeah. That’s what’s going on these days. I am really excited to see what God does with my surrendered heart to this calling.

I sure wish you ladies could come work out with me! We would have such a good time.

That’s it for today. Check in tomorrow! 

Tech at the Turn of the Century: Deep Talks

It’s Tuesday and I’ve got nothing.

Typically when people have nothing to say...they don’t say anything.

It only seems wise and appropriate.

I, however, decide to scramble together a thoughtful (thoughtful? Ha! Who are we kidding?) post simply because

I HAVE TO POST ON TUESDAY.

Which is hilarious.

I crack myself up.

You know, pretty much 99% of my posts back I’m the early days were based on absolutely nothing. I’d sit in front of the computer with nothing to say and manage to cover newlywed antics we all could relate to.

And side note, do any of us sit in front of the computer to post anymore? I sit in front of a computer all.day.long. at work, but all my blog and “fun” stuff is done on my phone or iPad.

Hence all the weird autocorrects or typos I never catch until after I publish.

Sorry about that.

Want to know something that makes me feel super old?

When Will and I were first married (and dirt poor), we didn’t have our own computer.

I was still in school, so I had to do all my homework and papers at my parent’s house or the school library.

Do people even go to the library to use the computers anymore?

I have no idea.

Since we’re talking tech stuff and feeling old, I also remember the first text message I ever got in my life.

Yes, there was a time when texts didn’t exist, kids.

I was sitting in class and Will sent me one. I don’t even remember what it said. All I can remember was staring at the screen- the black Nokia screen that everyone had back in 2003-thinking “What in the what is this?! It’s like an email message on my phone… From my fiancé!” 😂

Dying.

So yeah, who says I don’t have anything meaningful to share today?! We just discussed technology at the turn of the century.

Brilliant.

Do you guys like these random-y posts? I often have. I idea what to share on Tuesdays, and if you have any ideas, I’m all ears! smile

Beating the January Blues

image

Well, I did it in 2013, and again in 2014, and things are no different today.

The dreaded January Blues.

They’re back with a vengeance.

Vacation is over.

Decorations are up.

Fun Christmassy outings are done.

Work is busier than normal, since little gets done the last two weeks of the year.

The gym is busier than normal with resolutioners out to meet goals.

Life is officially back to normal.

I read about a dozen posts last week about the excitement of a new year.

I get it.

I probably kind of feel that way, too.

However, in all honesty, for the first couple weeks of January, I’m always in a bit of a funk.

Trying to ease myself back into normalcy.

The short days, bitter cold, and no holiday until April gets me every time.

As usual, it’s time to give myself a January pep talk and push on through the month.

Here’s my January plan for beating the post-holiday blues.

Clean house

I realize cleaning house seems like the antithesis of “perking up,” but it’s the truth.

I need to give my house a good post-Christmas once over.

I don’t need all this “new year, new you” stuff going around. I need my floors mopped and my surfaces dusted.

I’ll feel a million times better, I know it!

New year, new you?

No.

Clean house, happy me.

Use stuff.

You know the pretty glasses you own but never use?

Or the expensive perfume you have and rarely wear?

I have that too.

And the stuff seriously never gets used because I’m waiting for a “special occasion” that comes around once in a blue moon.

This month I’m going to use stuff.

There’s something enjoyable about luxurious lotion on a dreary Monday morning, or drinking iced tea from fancy glasses.

It just makes the usual, a little more fantastical.

Exactly what I need during the January doldrums.

Enjoy the weekends.

Yes, seemingly a no brainer.

Honestly, though, I feel like Will and I take our weekends for granted sometimes.

I want us to plan our weekends better and really soak up every minute we get.

Now that football season is over, our Saturdays are free, and I want us to seize the weekend during these dreary January days (and always 😊).

Perform a random act of kindness

I love the warm-fuzzy feeling accompanied by random acts of kindness.

It’s hard to be in a funk when doing a good deed!

While I hope I always seek such opportunities, I plan to be more intentional during these cold January days.

Finally, Pray and Praise

I need Jesus each and every day, whether it’s December, full of jubilance and festivities, or the quiet, still moments of January.

These dreary mornings, when I drag myself out of bed after a lengthy vacation, remind me to thank Him I have a bed to be “dragged” from.

Hot showers to enjoy, breakfasts to eat, and a place to work.

There are so many good things in my life that can be overshadowed by post vacation blues if I’m unfocused.

Spending time in prayer and in the word help me fix my eyes on Jesus.

It reaffirms my purpose and sets my mind on things above.

And oh boy do I need it during these post vacation January days.

So there you have it, friends. My recipe for beating the 2015 January Blues.

Here’s to getting into the swing of things and making it an excellent year!

Check in tomorrow! 

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas friends!

Hopefully you’re elbow deep in Christmas pancakes while simultaneously putting batteries in all your kid’s toys.

That’s the life.

I worked out today.

I then had a healthy green monster for breakfast… followed by two of my mom’s Christmas cookies.

The breakfast of champions.

Her cookies are killing me.

Every single one of them are delicious.

Delicious!

Every.single.one.

I love that she still makes us a big variety and plates it up all thoughtfully.

Moms are pretty much the best.

And so are their cookies.

Oh, and while we’re on family, Christmas week texts with mine are a hoot

I'm no wrapper

I’m an awful wrapper. Always have been.

We did Christmas with them yesterday.

I also plan on relishing yesterday’s Christmas Eve leftovers when we get home tonight.

Pretty much everything was healthy, so that’s a win...except the dessert part.

Today we’re off to celebrate Christmas with Will’s family.

Every year we do a Christmas brunch and exchange gifts.

There’s an outing later this afternoon, but Will and I have to work tomorrow and decided to pass this year.

Oh yeah, did you see that sentence above?

I’ll be holding down the fort tomorrow. 

Wee!

Anyone else?

I realize working the day after Christmas is a serious drag, but I’m wearing my big girl pants tomorrow and am going to relish each and every painful minute.

I’m probably lying.

Also, my husband is a big stinker.

Very early this month we both agreed we were NOT buying gifts for ourselves this year.

Period.

Later this month it was all like, “We’re not doing gifts this year, right? Because I’m not doing anything, so you better not be either.”

“Agreed. No gifts.”

Only, the conversation was more annoying because I double and quadruple checked with Will.

“Seriously, no gifts right?”

“Really- we’re not getting presents, right?”

And so on and so forth.

Anyway, that guy up and bought me a little something and it touched my heart.

We’re really big time trying to save money right now because of all these recent changes (which will be revealed very soon), so it was a big deal that we absolutely not buy anything for ourselves.

Yet Will spent his fantasy football earnings to buy me the fanciest herb garden EVER, complete with LED lights and all.

It's about to get herby

It’s funny, I’ve tried to have one on my own many, many times but they’ve always died.

And it really bummed me out. I really want to channel my inner Nigella with fresh herbs from my house.

He knew that. smile

It’s never a gift I would have ever have thought to ask for, but sometimes Will, who pays better attention than I realize sometimes, knows me better than I know myself some days.

It was a kind surprise, and a sweet sacrifice.

No pressure on keeping everything alive now.

You know, since I’ve had such good luck…

Let’s think positively, though. It’s Christmas!

Today, this beautiful Christmas Day in which I’m not working, I’m going to soak up the rich love of Christ and celebrate Him.

He is my savior. The innocent baby who came to earth and made a way for me to know him. 

Happy birthday, Jesus. Today I rejoice in you. ❤️

More to come soon. Until then, Merry Christmas friends!

What all are you up to today?

(Mostly) Smarter Than a 5th Grader

I’m pretty sure I’ve told you before, but I’ll tell you again:

I hate math.

But we’ll get to that soon enough.

I’ve partnered with a local elementary school and get to spend some time each week tutoring a little girl.

This school is full of underprivileged students, and many have seen more at their age than one should ever see in a lifetime.

Oh man guys. It is such a rewarding blessing to be able to be a light.

Although, I gotta come clean.

Sometimes I have absolutely no clue what my student is learning in school, or how to explain it in a way she understands.

They learn a little differently than they did “back in my day.”

And the math.

Oh the math!

“Do you want to read today?”

“No, I want to work on my math!”

Except… I have no clue how to help you!

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Apparently not.

I graduated with honors, and even have a master’s degree.

Yet I’m struggling to covert fractions and figure out triangular degrees without my phone calculator.

HELP ME.

The good news is that she’s pretty darn smart.

Whew.

That’s good news for both of us. smile

Despite my lack of fraction skills, I do feel like I’ve been helpful to her and be a positive influence.

She sure has been a help and day brightener for me, too.

I look forward to the days I get to see her, and feel like I’m making a difference when she runs up and gives me a giant hug.

It’s pretty darn rewarding.

Today is our tutoring Christmas party!

I was able to buy my student a small gift, and will get to do some fun artwork and spend some time together.

I got her a lotion and body spray set, her favorite scented lip balm, her favorite snack, some Christmas candy, and a new book since she loves reading so much.

(Maybe I should have picked up “Elementary School Math for Dummies” for myself)

I feel like this gift will be my favorite to give this year.

So yeah.

I’m not great at elementary school math, but I hope I’m pretty good at being a positive light to my girl.

That’s what I’m loving this Thursday.

As for other things, I wonder if I can ask Santa for better math skills this year…

The Art of Face Shaving

There’s really no eloquent way to discuss today’s topic, so I’m not even going to try.

Today we’re talking peach fuzz and how we don’t have to live with it. 

Face shaving.

For women.

Not lying.

Before you click off, hear me out!

I’m sure we all know women who wax, thread, or Nair parts of their face. This is the same concept, but in my opinion a little better.

Let me be clear-

You’re not grabbing your hubby’s razor and lathering up with Gillette shaving cream.

And absolutely no finishing the job with a splash of Old Spice. 

I promise.

There are actually special (and inexpensive!) facial razors on the market for this very purpose.

In fact, you might be surprised just how many ladies, famous and non famous alike, sport smoothly shaved faces without you even knowing!

Here are some of the reasons snipping that upper lip hair is beneficial (I’m killing myself over here 😂)

1. Exfoliation

Doing so removes dead skin helps with better cell turnover and overall younger looking skin.

2. Better product penetration

I personally feel like I get quicker absorption with a smoother face. When you spend good money on anti aging products, that’s a plus!

3. Smoother, more flawless looking foundation

This is a big one.

Foundation glides on so much better and really helps produce a beautiful glow on a smooth face. I also find highlighters reflect so much better on a smooth face, too.

Other things to know:

1. You need the right tool.
You’re obviously not taking a Venus razor to your face! Beauty supply shops sell razors specifically for the face area. I got 3 for $5.

2. You’re not going to come home with a 5 o’clock shadow.

I repeat! You’re not going to come home with a 5 o’clock shadow.

When you use the correct tool, your hair grows back completely the same way it was before- fine teeny little baby hairs. Scouts honor.

3. Where & how
For best results, do it in front of a window for natural sunlight with a clean, makeup free face.

Now you little more about why it’s great, but don’t take my word for it! Try it out for yourself!

I made a three minute video that covers the basics of all you need to know to buzz your fuzz (haha).

Sort of goofy, but hopefully a little informative.

Check in tomorrow for Ezra chapter three! I can’t wait to talk about this chapter. <3

How to Fall Away From God (Streams of Consciousness)

When we cleaned the garage last weekend I found lots of interesting things.

Some I wondered why I even kept, some made me laugh (like my Super Nintendo), and still others made me incredibly reminiscent.

The reminiscent stuff is what I want to talk about today.

Do you have some time and some coffee?

Go get some and come back.

***

We found lots of “treasures,” but a few stand out:

A giant picture frame someone gave us, full of pictures of us with youth at the church where we served,

Post

A couple pictures that used to hang in my bedroom before I got married,

Post

And a journal I wrote in my first few months in Kuwait.

Post

All are distinctive, yet united under the same feelings evoked when I saw them.

Depending on how long you’ve read my blog, you may not know that Will was a youth minister when I met him.

Will & Brittny-counselors at Super Summer 2003

Here we are serving as camp counselors together way back in 2003!

It was perfect. I surrendered my life to ministry as a youth, and our marriage and ability to help serve alongside Will at our church was a dream come true.

Only, no one ever really told us just how difficult our time there would be.

It didn’t come easy like the places where we were before.

The youth were so very different than we were used to. No more squeaky clean preppy kids with parents who were involved.

Every week Will would drive the church bus to pick up almost every single one of those kids in some of the worst neighborhoods in town.

Only a few had parents that went to church, and only a couple helped out.

The biggest struggle was that the church was wrought in pain from the past. There was much division, and the church had never really recovered.

A few months into Will’s service, the pastor was asked to leave, and we faced so many new challenges.

Talk about a heavy load for two kids in their early 20s.

It was hard, and Will hated it. It wasn’t exactly the dream I envisioned.

Then the chance to go to Kuwait surfaced.

What initially seemed like something so outlandish, became an attractive opportunity.

We prayed about it and it seemed like everything lined up to go, and so we went. (Perhaps this will be a future post?)

If you read the archives from waaaay back in 2005, you’ll see lots of adjustments to the new life.

I didn’t work for my first four months there, which felt like torture at the time but in hindsight was such a huge blessing.

It gave me time alone with God. To seek Him and draw close to Him.

When I look back on my journal, I could still see a lot of immaturity and want to tell myself, “Oh Brittny, if you could only see how God was doing a work!” However, I also saw growth and my desire to really pursue a relationship with Jesus.  I had loved Him all my life.

When I looked at people seemingly very close to God who had fallen away, I could never understand it.

How could you be so close to God, and so deeply pursuing Him, and then all of a sudden completely fall face first and turn away from His goodness?

Well, sadly I can tell you how it happens.

Listen up, and be mindful my friends. It pains me to be able to share these lessons, but I sincerely hope it somehow serves as a lesson to some of you who may be going through something similar.

The truth is, when I would see people who were formerly strong in their faith who had fallen, I was only seeing the end result of much more.

A process.

Do not be deceived friends, the enemy is all around and wants us to stumble. The Bible says he looks for someone to devour.

Verses

It’s very true. The enemy was very patient with me, as I suspect he is with many believers.

It was years of slow erosion. Slowly chipping away in such tiny increments that I barely noticed. He’s crafty that way.

Oh friends, I allowed myself to step out from God’s umbrella of protection and became so vulnerable to deception.

How did it happen?

Let’s dissect.

1.Lack of Community

Moving to a Muslim country made it difficult to openly pursue a relationship with the Church.

Thankfully, someone we knew hosted a Bible study which allowed us the opportunity to meet with other Christians and fellowship and study the Bible.

Unfortunately, soon after our arrival, conflicting schedules prevented the leader from hosting and things dissolved.

Will and I were on our own.

The Bible stresses the importance of relationships with believers.

Verses

I needed that community of like minded people in my life to encourage, to get encouragement, and to have a support group as we collectively pursued God together as a unit.

It was hard doing life on our own, but we managed to adjust.

Of course we did.

If you’re a Christian not attending church, you’re missing out and vulnerable. I would encourage you to find a church that preaches God’s word and get plugged in.

Verses

2.Compromise & Complacency
In addition to lack of community, small compromises here and there primed my heart for falling away.

Seriously- like minuscule things that didn’t seem like a big deal.

However, that small wearing away allowed my heart to become vulnerable to attack. The more “small” sins I determined to be acceptable, the more I was on a slippery slope.

The more satan can get you to dip your toe in sin, the easier it can be to get dragged into the depths of the sea.

Sin is sin in God’s eyes, friends, no matter how we weight it here on earth.

Verses

The Bible says God has “honest scales.”

Sin separates us from God.

If we allow what we believe to be “small” sins in our lives, we are sinning plain and simple.

We are opening our hearts up for more and more compromise. I know because I did it myself!

Before long, compromise was followed with complacency.
Verses

Being totally fine with those “small” sins. In reality though, they were totally hardening my heart more and more.

Want to fall away from God?

Start making compromises and allowing sin in your life under the justification that “it’s not that bad.”

3.Apathy

Inevitably, compromise and complacency give way to apathy.

You just slowly stop caring about the things of God.
Verses

You might say you do, but the heart doesn’t lie.

When we first moved back, we halfheartedly visited churches and kept on the outskirts or things.

Having spent three years without attending made us sort of accustomed to not going.

The first few years home weren’t our best. As I’ve shared so many times, my heart was so different than the one I knew so well as a youth and young adult.

As crazy as it sounds, I didn’t feel like me.

I felt like some other person, so unlike the Brittny I knew my whole life.

Living a sinful life far from God.

I stopped praying and reading the Bible.

Apathy will do that to you.

Apathy is such a dangerous place to be for professing Christians.

In fact, I’d venture to say it is nearly impossible to come back from a place of not caring unless the merciful Lord intervenes.

Thank God He is slow to anger and bountiful in love.
Verses

4.Fear and Doubt

I started to feel Jesus’ gentle pull back to himself a couple years ago, but I believed I had gone too far. That He couldn’t take me back.

After all, I was the “perfect one” all my life. The youth leader, and the one who went on mission trips and truly loved God with every fiber in my being.

How could I go from that, to what I had become?

And how could God forgive me after I had already known his love so well and yet still fell away?

Apathy turns to fear and doubt.

And fear and doubt can often keep people from repentance.

It’s one of satan’s worst lies of all.

I was paralyzed in this fear, and yet slowly and continually, piece by piece, God reassured me of His love.

He reassured me that He could scatter what I had become as far as the east was from the west if I truly came with a broken and repentant spirit.

That he could restore me and bring me to an entirely new level of knowing Him.

Verses

***

Oh friends, this is but a glimpse into the story.  However, I felt compelled to share it with you because we must be on our guard against the devil’s schemes.

They’re much more insidious than we think.

Verses

That’s what makes them so dangerous and painful. 

If you want to fall away from God, you do the foolish things I did above.

Saturday night, as I tried to go to bed, I thought about the things I discovered in the garage and hot tears began to stream down my face.

The streams turned to quiet sobs, and I did my best not to wake Will.

Sooo, I crept into the bathroom and sat on the toilet seat.

Classy gal.

God and I had been in this place many times before (well, maybe not plonked down on the toilet seat per say, but in this very same situation).

I needed a lot of reassurance from Him along the way.

I found myself at His feet once more apologizing for wasting such a huge portion of my adult life living selfishly. Thanking Him for His mercy, and pouring my heart out to Him.

Telling Him how I want to get to the same level of intimacy we were before, yet in some strange way feeling as though I was more raw and intimate with Him recently than in my entire life.

I ended up reading exactly what I needed at that moment. This post about how God can make beauty from ashes.

In fact, the Bible days that things meant to harm us can even be used for good.

We serve a big God.

Bigger than our failures.

A God big enough to help us pick up the pieces and create a masterpiece that could only be used for His glory.

Perhaps you’re caught in one of these situations?

Maybe you’re on a similar path to falling away that I shared?

Oh friend, turn to Jesus.

I know the trappings of this world and “doing as thou wilt” sure seems great sometimes, but it pales in comparison to the freedom of living a life centered in Jesus.

I can say it because, unfortunately, I’ve lived on both sides.

Commit to Him and His plan, friends.

To wrap things up, I decided to hang a couple of those pictures.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even hang the collage I once deemed “hideous” as a simple reminder of the impact a life devoted to Christ can make.

Thanks for listening, and know I’m here to listen too!

❤️

The Hostess with the Mostess

A few years ago, when my heart was incredibly hardened, I would come unglued at the thought of people coming over to our house.

Absolutely unglued.

I was in graduate school, working full time, stressed out of my mind. Seemingly any little deviation from normalcy would derail me.

I would have such an ugly attitude.

Since I was in school at the time, our house was a disaster not as tidy as I hoped, so I would take off Friday and spend the whole day cleaning.

Cussing, and cleaning.

Angry and ugly.

I was mad my plans and schedule were interrupted, and I was always relieved when our guests left.

Oh friends, when I look back I was seemingly forever in a state of total pissed-off ness. Sorry for the term, but it is so very true.

You’d never know on the outside, but I did. I know Will saw plenty of glimpses of my ugly heart, too.

That’s the funny thing about the heart. You might be able to fool a lot of people, but you can’t fool God.

As you have hopefully seen over the last couple years, The Lord has been doing a work in my heart and in drawing me back to him.

He restored me, cleansed my filth, and made me new.

I look back over the course of the last several months and see His guiding hand over so many changes in my life.

Hosting family last weekend was yet another confirmation of His grace. 

He is so good to me.

I never would have looked forward to hosting four people overnight before, and yet this time I did.

The Bible says to be hospitable without grumbling, and with his spirit and help, I was able to actually do that!

Verses

I enjoyed preparing for our guests last weekend. I got excited thinking about ways to serve them.

I made little gift bags.

While I cleaned, I didn’t stress about the details.

I simply thought about having our family with us and enjoying their company, and less about my selfishness and being “put out.” I didn’t feel that way at all! I was blessed to host them.

Who the heck is this lady!?!

Girls, The Lord has blessed us richly, and we should enjoy opening up our homes to others and sharing his blessings and love.

I realize I sound all fluffy, and that I’m making this transformation seem so easy.

Trust me, I’m not.

However, Jesus is able to transform even the hardest of hearts.

So how are ways we can begin that transformation and be the hostess with the mostess?

1. Be thankful

I find when I’m worrying less about what others have and what I don’t have, I’m much more conscious of what I do have.

Practicing gratitude is a must if you’re going to be a good host.

I decided to worry less about dirty outside windows and more on ways I could show my guests I loved them.

I decided not to worry about my house not being fully decorated in some places, and more about the many blessings God has given me and our house.

2. Be generous

Verses

Everything good and perfect thing comes from God.

It’s His, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

He’s given me a beautiful house he’s allowed me to live in, and I can’t help but feel compelled to share these blessings and God’s goodness with others.

Proverbs tells us that when we are generous we will prosper, and when we refresh others, we are in turn refreshed.

Instead of feeling like the life is sucked out of me, I want to feel like I’m willingly giving myself to others.

For example, I got totally giddy at the thought of making them little goody bags!

Just a simple mindset change actually blessed and refreshed me just as I prayed I would refresh my guests.

3. Be a servant

You don’t hear that much these days, do you?

Verses

I would often scoff at all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry associated with overnight visitors.

However, the more I prayed for God to soften my heart and make me more like him, the more I desired and actually looked forward to serving my guests.

I took joy in cooking something yummy for them, or laying out freshly scented towels.

I wanted them to see God’s love in me, and the best way I felt like I could do that was to serve them with an undivided heart.

4. Ask for a heart change

Sometimes?

Sometimes, just like my story, we need a heart readjustment. No amount of trying to serve or be grateful can change us if it doesn’t first start with our heart.

Oh friends I’ve so been there!

The good news is that He makes water flow in even the driest deserts. 

He can change your heart towards being the hostess with the mostess and a whole lot more if you let him.

But it’s our choice. We have to choose to turn away from or junk and let Him be Lord.

So what’s it going to be?

****
Here’s to hoping you show some hospitality to your family this weekend!

It’s Will’s birthday weekend, so I intend to do just that! Our weekend involves a peanut butter ice cream cake. HELP!!

Check in Monday! ❤️

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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