Welcome to Five Minute Friday!
(Click the button above for how it all started!)
Five minutes of unscripted, raw writing.
You get the prompt, set a timer, write and wherever you are at the end of those five minutes you stop and publish.
Then, you go and link up at Lisa Jo's blog and visit the person who linked up before you!
(The only rule to this awesome link-up!)
In between. I feel like those words describe my life 99% of the time. I feel like I'm always in between something. I graduated from college last year and immediately moved to California. Now, that time has come and gone and I'm in between jobs, places to live... I feel like I'm in between stories. One story has ended and another story is about to begin.
In between friends, some who are far away and others who are nearer, but seem distant. In between family, learning how to deal with them and evolve into something better. In between dreams where I don't know what I want to do and whether I want to do anything, but knowing that I have too. In between jobs in that I don't have one. And I refuse to work in the food industry. ha
In between. Just a great phrase for where I am in life. In between two parents who support me and encourage me wherever I go. I'm so thankful for that.
Really all I want to be is in between two trees hanging in my hammock outside with a good book.
You know how whenever you ask a kid how old they are, they are very specific in giving you an answer? It's never just 3 or 8. They say three and a half or 8 and three quarters. Those little in between numbers mean a lot !
Well, I'm happy to say that today (27th) is my half birthday! Go ahead and celebrate! Break out the cake and ice cream! I'm 24 and a half !
Okay, who has known about this band and hasn't shared them with me? Shame on you.
Walk Off The Earth (WOTE) is a band from Canada who got their start by doing some truly amazing, genius covers. Check out their YouTube channel. They have done covers of Gotye, Bruno Mars, Fun., Maroon 5, Adele and even Taylor Swift.
This five-some just had an album released back in March entitled "R.E.V.O." Get it on iTunes!
Throwback Thursday to that time just three weeks ago when I was was living in California.
I was able to live in the Lake Tahoe area for 10 months and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The scenery alone is enough to make you say "West is Best!" Then, you just add the niceness and hospitality of the people combined with pretty much every recreational activity you can think of, it just makes it a wonderful place. Can you tell that I miss it?
I'm a fan of TV shows. The Big Bang Theory is a show that I've been wanting to watch for awhile, but it hasn't been on Netflix so I hadn't started it. But, lo and behold, when I got home from California I discovered that my dad had bought seasons 1-5. Can you imagine what I've been doing with my time? (Hint: I'm already on season 5)
This show is beyond hilarious to me and it has me laughing out loud every time I watch it! Something on my bucket list? To go to a live taping of the show. And plus, just look at how cute they are! It would be a blast to hang out with them!
Well, this is the end of this random post. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another post. Perhaps part of the amazing community of "Five-Minute Friday!" Find out the story on this link-up here!
Last thing. If you liked this post full of randomness, you should check out my other posts that aren't so random and then you should click that button in my sidebar that says "BlogLovin'" and follow me! :)
Thanks for stopping by today!
I haven't picked the flowers. I haven't made the centerpieces. The announcements aren't printed. I don't know the colors of the bridesmaids' dresses. Or what my "theme" is. I don't know what will be the first dance song or what the cake looks like. I haven't even picked out THE dress.
See, I deleted my wedding board, engagement style photos, and cute baby announcement pins from Pinterest this week.
Now, I'm not saying it is a bad thing if you have a wedding board on Pinterest and it's the one with the most pins, or if you have a secret stash of wedding magazines with pages folded down.
This was just something that I needed to do.
Why? Because I don't even have THE guy yet.
I'm only in my twenties (pushing the mid's, but that's another rant for another time), which has been a really hard place to be if I can be honest. I mean shouldn't this be a fun time filled with adventure, late nights with friends, doing stupid stuff and taking random road trips? Why instead am I being bombarded by questions of my future and what I'm doing next, where I'm going or not going and is there someone special followed by well, why isn't there someone special?
How do you politely tell people to stop asking what you are going to do with your life?
I know they mean best, but I'm at that point where when something good happens I will let you know, believe me!
I'm at that point in my life where I can't get on Facebook without seeing engagement, wedding, or baby updates. Please don't hear me say that I am harboring bad feelings or having jealousy towards my friends who are about to be or already are married. I am always excited when they announce their plans and love celebrating with them and listening to their stories. They have reached that moment in their lives and it's awesome to watch a new journey take off. I'm just not there yet.
The main reason I deleted all my wedding pins? To guard my heart.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." -- Proverbs 4:23
Bottom line is that I'm at a different season in my life than some of my friends. This is the season that the Lord has me in. How long it's going to last is something that only He knows. But, I do know that the only way to fully be in this season and be happy at the same time is to trust the Lord.
Wherever I am, my purpose is to worship and give Him glory. That never changes, whether I'm single or married.
I want to fully be in this season: learning, loving and serving. In order to do that, I can't be worried about something or someone who isn't here yet. He is using this season to prepare me for future seasons.
He has written my story, He holds the future. I'm just reading it one page at a time.
The Lord knows my dreams, He knows my wishes and I'm sure He hears my prayers. I can't imagine that His plans for my life are not the absolute best. And as much as I wish I knew what tomorrow would bring, I'm learning to live in this season one day at a time. Letting Him prepare my heart for the future, what it may bring and who it may bring with it.
Now, off to look at pictures of puppies and places to travel on Pinterest.
I'm excited to be taking part in this new link up that is being hosted by One Girl! I've enjoyed following her blog and I'm glad she has decided to share what was laid on her heart with us in this awesome opportunity! Thanks, One Girl! :)
Basically, Chasing History is a new link up that will be happening every Monday. You pick a woman of the Bible and dig in the Word! Learn about her, write about her, share about her and you. Of course, One Girl gives you more details and shares about it in more eloquent words, so be sure to visit this page, here, or click on the button at the top of this post or on the right in my sidebar.
I have to be honest with you. Every time I read this story, I get Hosea and Gomer mixed up. I know, I know. I should know by now that Hosea is the male and Gomer is the female, but I mean come on, Gomer totally doesn't seem that feminine. (Also, if I just totally offended somebody, I deeply apologize. I love both of these names and after studying about them more it makes them even better. I'm just sharing my struggles.) Okay, carrying on.
Characters in our story:
Number one kids names anyone?? Although Gomer's name means "complete," this was far from what she was considered which was a promiscuous woman, a harlot. Hosea was a man of the Lord who was told by God to take an adulterous wife and have children of unfaithfulness.
"When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, 'Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord'...so he married Gomer..." Hosea 1:2
Hosea, in a sense, saved Gomer from her life. He was giving her a chance to have a new life. Yet, she continued to be unfaithful and "chase after lovers" that she would never catch. She never acknowledged the Lord.
"She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them...She has not acknowledged that I was the one." Hosea 2:7,8
As many times as Gomer ran away, Hosea came back for her. Just like Christ always comes back for us. How beautiful is the picture of redemption! The Lord always finds us. He is never going to leave us alone, scared, or in a place we cannot handle.
For Israel he allured her, led her into the desert and spoke tender words to her; He showed nothing but love! He gave back her vineyards, gave her hope out of trouble. He declared that she would call him her husband, not master.
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her." Hosea 2:14
The Lord betrothed Israel in righteousness, justice, love and compassion...forever.
He took back his anger, he changed those names from "unloved" to "loved." From "not my people" to "my people." All the charges, judgment and punishment that was issued upon Israel was taken away because of the love that God had for them.
Hosea continuously kept going back for Gomer. He continuously kept being reconciled to her, even when she rejected it the most. Who does this remind you of? This may be a story of Hosea and Gomer, God and Israel, but it's also a story of us.
We are Gomer. We are the promiscuous harlot women who chase after the world time after time, while our husband constantly runs after us, drawing us back to him. What is it about the world that seems so beautiful that we would rather have it, than the love of our betrothed? As many times as we may have been let down by the world, we keep going back. In our world of instant gratification, if we aren't satisfied right then, it isn't good enough and we move on to something else.
The Lord is persistent. He will fight for us. He will find us. He will love us.
Through the good, the bad, the ugly, He will be there waiting for us. He will allure us into valleys of hope where no trouble exists. He will restore our vineyards, making us fruitful. He will call us His people.
I am Gomer. There are so many things of this world that I want, that I crave. You best believe that I run after those things time after time after time. As far as I think I'm running away, there is nowhere I can run that will be out of the reach of God's love. That is what I am reminded of when I read about Gomer. She had this life that she thought gave her everything she needed, but obviously wanted more. Whenever Hosea would come to her rescue, bring her back home and love her, she would keep running away. Why? I don't really know. Why do any of us run away from God's love back to the world that let us down? That answer is different for all of us, but the one thing that remains true is that we have a Redeemer. As long as we accept it, we can be clothed in beauty, righteousness, and love. We don't deserve it, but the Lord gives it to us anyway.
"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12
First off, I have some news that is exciting and opening a new door! You might notice a new "button" over on the right. I am now a blogger for Compassion International! The organization has a network of bloggers that dedicate their blog to writing about and advocating for children around the world. A few times a month we are given a new assignment and then we write. You don't have to be a sponsor of a child to join, just as long as you have a voice and want to use it! So, look for those posts in the future and for more information on Compassion or becoming a blogger just go to their website.
Now, onto today's post.
I recently started reading through the book of Ephesians. And by recently I mean I started when I was still in California and then stopped. The old excuse of, "I got too busy." Anyways, the Lord has brought me back to it and He couldn't have brought me back at any better time. I just got done reading chapter 1 and the Lord has already presented me with a challenge.
He is challenging me to be a better friend.
In chapter 1, verse 16 Paul writes, "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." The first thing that popped into my brain when I read this was that Paul was serious. He meant that wholeheartedly. How often do I ask my friends how their day is going or how they are doing and they quickly reply with, "good" or "okay" and then we are off on our tangents or gossip or even just walk away. How often do my friends and myself say "I'm fine" and actually mean it? I'm going to take a guess and say not often. I'm usually stressed about finding a job, student loans, my social life, my spiritual life, how I'm going to pay to fix my car... the list goes on. We aren't quick to say how we really feel. It's easier to say, "I'm okay," than it is to say, "Well. Today has been a real crappy day. My car wouldn't start, I was running late for work and got a speeding ticket, my boss wasn't satisfied with my work today, I forgot my lunch, and we ran out of toilet paper at the house." If that was the first thing out of our mouths when people asked how we were, they might slowly start to back away.
But why? Why is that our response? Why do we give shallow answers to our friends who are supposed to be there for us through it all? Why do we not allow for people to truly tell us how they are? Why are we afraid of their answers? Why are we afraid to be intentional? Why do we think we have to have all the answers?
Why am I not telling my friends that I have not stopped giving thanks for them and that I am praying for them daily? Or why do I say that I am, but I'm really not?
How are we going to be better, intentional friends if we are afraid to ask the hard questions?
I can't know how to help my friends and specifically pray for them if I don't ask. And how will they know that I am there to help if I don't tell them?
We have to ask.
So, that is exactly what I did. I made a list of people that the Lord had laid on my heart and I asked them. I asked my friends what were some concrete ways that I could be intentional in our friendship, how I could help them and encourage them, especially in their walks with Christ.
And let me tell you something. I was actually kind of scared. I didn't know what my friends were going to think or how they would respond. I didn't know if they would think I was crazy or just saying this to make noise and not mean anything. I know it is crazy to have those fears when talking with friends, but those were literally the thoughts going through my head.
I think something that happens a lot is that we feel like we are alone on our journey. That no one else could possibly be experiencing the same frustrations with work, the same stress that comes with unemployment, the same loneliness of feeling like there is no one around, the same struggles of being single, or the same feeling that the Lord's timing is annoying and not what we want it to be! Yet, the more that we talk with our friends, the more we find out this just isn't true. At least that is what I found out.
I didn't get responses from my friends immediately. Which of course, just kinda furthered my thoughts of them thinking I was completely crazy. Then, one friend answered, and another, and another. And what did I see? The ways in which they were struggling and asking for help were just the same for me. I wasn't alone.
They told me ways they wanted me to be intentional and ways I could pray for them. They opened up. They told me more than "fine." Just seeing that was enough for me, but they didn't stop there.
The most beautiful part to me? They asked me the same question. They asked how they could be intentional to me and how they could pray for me.
Community is hard.
Being in community is living close to people and asking the hard questions. It's being real and raw. It's wanting to know how people are really doing and finding out that we aren't perfect (surprise!). It's not walking away, even when you find out people aren't perfect. It's not walking away when things get hard. Community is walking over to your friend, your brother or sister in Christ, and putting an arm around them and telling them that you aren't going anywhere. Community is telling them that yes, you will be that annoying friend who asks you everyday if you've had some alone time with God. Community is letting out all your frustrations and crying over the day, month, or year that you've had. It's breaking down the walls. It's getting to your core. It's listening to your struggles and then finding real ways to climb over the wall. Community is there to encourage us. Community gives love, even when we don't deserve it. Community allows us to give thanks for our friends and to pray for them. Community points us toward Christ.
My friends and I took the first step; we asked the question and we answered honestly.
Now comes the hard part; actually being intentional with each other. Is it going to be hard? Yes, most definitely. Are we going to slip up sometimes? Of course. But the rewards are sure to be great.
The challenge for you? Ask your friends how you can help them. Then do it.
And if they ask you the same question? Answer honestly. Be real. Be you.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." -- Hebrews 10:24-25
So, I have this bad habit of doing posts daily for a good bit and then just sort of falling off the face of the planet...mostly because I can suffer from some serious writer's block. But! I am not going to let that stop me this time! So keep checking back!
One of the next posts I hope to put up soon is about living in community with other believers.
I am going through the book of Ephesians right now and after reading 1:16, "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers," I felt like the Lord had given me a new challenge in how I treat my friends. Not that I see myself as a bad friend and I have not been told that by any of my friends, but it got me thinking about how intentional am I really with my friends? Do I really care about them as I say that I do?
Am I encouraging them in this crazy life that we live?
Do I strive to push them towards Christ or do I lead them away from Him?
And what does this look like anyway??
How in the heck am I supposed to encourage my friends when I am feeling discouraged !?
Why is community hard? And why do we need to make it a priority?
I have to tell you a secret: this top ten list wasn't compiled by polls or science, it's strictly my own.
10. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina
Growing up in Tennessee I pretty much spent my summers in the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg. My family would meet up with friends and we would spend a week holed up in a cabin at the top of a mountain. Cabins with names like "Awesome View", offered just that. With wrap around decks, views of the rolling mountains and gorgeous sunsets every evening. During the day we would venture into town to shop, see a movie, play mini-golf, go to the aquarium. However my most favorite memory is taking a four-hour horseback ride.
9. Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
The tallest sand dunes in North America are here, rising up to above 700 feet. The park also hides alpine lakes, aspens, grasslands, wetlands, and even a waterfall. One of the popular activities is to try and sled down the dunes. This park is also said to be the quietest national park in the States.
8. Glacier National Park, Montana
Located close to the Canadian border, this park covers over 1,000,000 acres, 130 lakes, and many different species of plants and animals. Day hikes, back-country camping, fishing, and more can be done in this park.
7. Arches National Park, Utah
Has preserves of over 200 natural sandstone arches, like the one pictured to the right, in over 75,000 acres. Climbing on the arches is now prohibited. However you can partake in backpacking, biking, hiking, and camping.
6. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Mountains, lakes, wildlife, forests, tundras, the Colorado River, hiking, and camping. Other activities include horseback riding, and rock climbing in the summer. In the winter you can cross-country ski and go snowshoeing.
5. Denali National Park, Alaska
Home to the highest mountain peak in North America, Mount McKinley (Denali), over 400,000 people visit the park annually. This park is home to over 6 million acres and many different landscapes and animals. Denali allows for wildlife viewing, hiking, and backpacking. Dog-sledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are offered in the wintertime.
4. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Home to the 40 mile long Teton Range on 310,000 acres in the vast land of Wyoming. Only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, this park also has the well-known valley of Jackson Hole. The Grand Tetons have over 1,000 drive-in camp sights and 200 plus miles of hiking. Mountaineers, campers, hikers, boaters, fishermen and winter sports enthusiasts can all find something to do in this park.
3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Over 2,000,000 acres, Old Faithful, lakes, canyons, rivers, mountains, an active volcano, Grizzly bears, wolves, bison, elk, boating, fishing, hiking and camping.
Just prepare to stay awhile.
2. Yosemite National Park, California
Over 700,000 acres of valleys, canyons, waterfalls, streams, and Giant Sequoia groves including El Capitan, Half Dome, Mirror Lake (pictured on the left), Glacier Point, and Yosemite Falls. There are countless opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, camping and to see deer, Black Bears, and other animals.
1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
A 277 mile long, 18 mile wide, 1 mile deep canyon carved out by the Colorado River.
A place that cannot be described adequately with words.
You just have to see it to believe it.
(I cried the first time I saw it...)
I will admit that back in November when The Civil Wars announced they were cancelling tour dates and pretty much breaking up, I was devastated! Have you heard their music?? It is simply amazing. From the sound, to the lyrics, to the chemistry that Joy and John Paul have on stage with each other. Put it all together and you have something truly incredible!
So, imagine my surprise and heartbreak when I got their e-mail last fall saying it was pretty much over. Yet, they did offer a glimmer of hope! The last sentence of the note read: "Our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013."
Well, that hope has been satisfied and as John Paul put it in his new note: "Patience is a virtue. Yours has been appreciated. Here's to the hope you consider it rewarded." And as Joy put it in her new note: "I'm grateful for your patient support...I'm very glad to say that new music is coming..."
The Civil Wars are releasing a new self-titled album in August (pre-orders are now!) and I am so excited for its release. The duo have been so nice as to release a single off the anticipated album in order to tie us over until the fall. Have a listen down below!
Visit The Civil Wars at their website for more information on the soon-to-be released album and to read their personal letters at thecivilwars.com.
Defined by dictionary.com as "father."
Defined by dictionary.com as "a male parent, any male ancestor, especially the founder of a race, a man who exercises paternal care over other persons, a person who has originated or established something."
As the saying goes, "anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad."
My dad is one of those men. My dad has given me so many things. My dad is a great dad.
He has sheltered me. He taught me how to ride a bike. He gave me rides to school. He taught me how to drive. He helped me with homework. He supported me when I changed my major...three times. He supported me through college. He supported me when I moved across the country. He welcomed me back with open arms. He laughs with me. He taught me sarcasm. He took me hunting. He taught me appreciation for music and sports. He gave me my love of archery. He laughs with me in funny times. He hugs me when I need it. He talks me through the future.
He gives me hope for the future.
He is my dad.
Happy Fathers' Day to all the Dads out there!
The other night I was hungry for a snack. After looking around for something yummy, I stumbled upon some peanuts sitting lonely on the counter. Okay, well maybe they were not lonely, but I was hungry. So, I opened up that blue container and preceded to eat a handful of salty, delicious peanuts. Boy, were they salty. After that handful was quickly gone, I got another...
See, since embarking on a new journey of healthy eating, I have been reading fitness and nutrition articles almost obsessively and many of them say the same thing: limit your sodium/salt intake. Do they know how hard that is??! Sure it is easy to write that down, but actually living it out? Watching your salt intake is a hard thing to measure! Many foods today, natural and certainly processed, have different levels of salt and if I tried to journal every amount of salt I took in, I would quickly drive myself crazy (props to those who are able to do this and if you have any helpful tips, please e-mail them to me).
Now, I have been limiting my salt intake for awhile and I can definitely tell a difference. I am not adding extra salt to my foods, I intentionally look for "lower sodium" labels, I buy my savory snacks unsalted. Yet, I still felt like there was more that I could do. So imagine my excitement when I got an e-mail on the subject in my inbox . In one of the weekly Jillian Michaels' e-mails I receive, there was an article with tips on how to cut the salt from your diet! Brilliant! I quickly read the tips wanting to know what I was already doing right and ways I could further limit my salt intake.
If you have been looking for ways to limit your salt intake, just look below and say "adiós" to salt!
Nixing the Salty Six
For the whole article from Jillian Michaels and more nutritional information, click here.