Thursday, May 23, 2013

Make Sure They Know I Love Them

Each morning from May 10 - August 17 between 7:00 and 7:30am I sit in a circle, we call it a huddle, with 40 college students and give them a word, a challenge, a short devotional. And some days I feel like God is pouring out his words through me and other days I feel like I'm grasping at straws and totally under qualified for this.

This week was just like that. I am not good at mornings. I heard someone say that today and I like it more than saying I'm not a "morning person".  Guess what? Neither are college students. The Late the night before I found myself searching through my journal, my Bible and my head trying to figure out what I should share. I had a lot of ideas but at the same time none at all.

Often I bring a challenge.
From Hosea 6:3, so let us press on to know the Lord.
From Psalm 127:1, are you building for God's kingdom or for your own?

But this night felt different. I stopped in my searching and prayed, "Lord, what would you have me tell them?"  

I felt him saying, "Make sure they know I love them." 

How simple. How true. How profound.

And so I shared Ephesians 3:16-19, one of my all-time favorite verses.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


In my head I fall into an ocean and I'm surrounded by the water on all sides. It presses in, envelopes and surrounds me, touches every part of me. Just like the love of God.

So on the days when it's just all too much, when you've run ragged and the challenges are on every side know that He loves you. It's the foundation, the cornerstone. Close your eyes, lean into Him and hear Him whisper, "Make sure you know how much I love you." 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chilling Out Maxing, Relaxing

Why yes, I did just quote the Fresh Prince of Bell-Air.

Life has entered the busy season. Summer camp starts in just a few weeks but the staff are already here. As the leader of the staff that means that I have people at camp reporting to me for 24/7 until the end of August. Days off go down to one a week and typically I'll leave my house before 7am and return after 10pm... on a good night. It's exhausting emotionally, physically and spiritually.

One thing I've been trying to figure out this year is what really makes me feel refreshed, relaxed and revived. So many times I get to the end of a day off and feel frustrated that I either worked too hard and am exhausted or worked too little and feel lazy. The perfect balance seems to be somewhere in the middle. This weekend I snagged a little time made sure to fit in some of these things.

1. Cleaning and Organizing
Just a little picking up around the house goes a long way to making me feel like I have some control over the chaos! A made bed, dishes cleaned and put away, quick vacuum and a few loads of laundry are my top clean methods.

2. Reading
This weekend I read 2 whole books and it was glorious. Check out my ongoing book list of the year on my What I Read page. Laying in my hammock while reading is an added bonus :)

3. A Little Outdoors
With summer approaching it's almost torture to be indoors! I love riding my bike to Lake Michigan, climbing on the sand dunes, walking in the woods and swimming in the lake. It's even better that I can do all of those in minutes from my house!

4. Slow Mornings
9:00 - 9:30am is my prime time. Unfortunately usually by that time I am well into my day. The fact that I'm not really a morning person is well-known around my office. If I can wake up slowly, drink some coffee (preferably French pressed), sit in the sun and read a book or do my devotions I am a very, very happy girl.

5. Good Food
Confession: total foodie wannabe over here. Mention goat cheese or brie and my knees go weak. Artichoke or roasted red pepper and my mouth waters. Now I enjoy a $5 Hot-N-Ready Little Caesar's just as much as the next girl but good food is different. On a great relaxing day, a great restaurant or recipe is definitely involved. This weekend I whipped up a Panera-worthy sandwich of baguette, chicken, pesto, walnuts, mozzerella and roasted red pepper. Drooooool...

Scallops and parmasean, asparagus, bacon risotto at my birthday dinner. 
6. People Love
Quality time is one of my love languages so a great day has some great time with friends or family. Whether it's me and the hubby, a double date, coffee with a friend or a huge group I love being around people I love! It's also pretty nice when my husband jumps out of the car to cut me some of my favorite flower, fresh lilacs!
I don't have it quite right but I know that these are some of the ingredients in my relaxation recipe. I'm figuring out more and more that I need to take time for myself and I need to do things that make me feel like myself. A better, more rested version of myself that can continue to work crazy hours, serve others and daily surrender my needs and wants to what Christ wants and needs of me. 

What do you do to relax? Any tips or ideas? Make time for it, I promise it's worth it! 

I'm heading back to my hammock to catch a few last rays of sunshine for the day :) 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Clumsy Crafting: Spray Painted Frames

"Thrifting" is not my thing. My sister enters Goodwill and emerges with 2 armfuls of clothes, brand new shoes and adorable purses. I usually find... nothing. I don't love digging through racks or feeling the thrill of a good find so it was really a labor of love when I let my sister drag me into Goodwill on (gasp!) half-off Saturday.

It was c-r-a-z-y. I mean wall-to-wall bargain shoppers elbowing and nudging for that $1 top. 

Sure enough, my sister bought about 10 things (including 2 adorable sundresses that I was majorly crushing on) and I bought three hideous and heavy gold mirrors for a total of $4. Bam! 

After a good washing I cut up cardboard and taped it over the mirrors covering the glass. With a trusty can of white spray paint I headed outside and sprayed away! 

The white didn't cover perfectly and I probably could've added another layer but I liked the weathered look of the gold showing through just a little. After a slight drying period I removed the cardboard and... VOILA! 

The mirrors now hang on the wall of our bathroom that has been blank for the almost 3 years that I've lived here. We just painted the mint color a few weeks ago and it was time for some sprucing up! I've been on the hunt for the right decoration for a while and apparently it took getting over my thrift-phobia and a good old can of spray paint to figure it out. 

Clumsy moment of this craft: apparently I did too good of a job taping up the frames because I somehow managed to get cardboard stuck between the mirror and frame in a few places. After using a toothpick, knife blade and exacto knife I still couldn't get it out so if you ever come use my bathroom, don't look too carefully around the edges! 

I must admit I feel a little spray paint crazy wondering what else I can turn colors with the press of a finger. Lamp bases, figurines, picture frames, plastic chairs watch out! I'm coming for you with my trigger-happy finger. Prepare to be painted! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

If God Asks Something Crazy

I consider myself a pretty adventurous person. I'm up for trying pretty much anything once. A weird food, adrenaline pumping activity, strange home remedy, whatever. I went through a phase where I got caught up in pretty much anything someone asked (dared) me to do and tried to break a board with my head. NEWSFLASH: It's really hard and if you don't know what you're doing you might end up with a goose egg and some splinters in your nose. Not that I'd know personally...

Even though I'm adventurous I think I have a good head on my shoulders and I think I know when something  is just plain stupid crazy. It matters who asks, who dares. If a friend says to try it, I'm more likely than if a stranger says it but ultimately it's my decision. So why do I try the crazy? Why would I do something potentially dangerous, uncomfortable or weird because someone tells me about it? 

I trust the person asking. I believe they've been there and done it before. I think the risk is worth the reward. 

Recently I started reading the book of Hosea from the Bible with the She Reads Truth community. It's a little book in the Old Testament written by the prophet Hosea and I've never really dug into it before. The most I really knew was from the fictional book, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (which I highly recommend by the way!)

God asks Hosea to do something really crazy, to take a prostitute for a wife and continue to pursue and love her even as she turns away again and again. God uses their relationship to show us his relentless pursuit for us even as we turn away again and again.

God asked Hosea to marry a prostitute...
Noah to build a boat in a dry land...
Abraham to sacrifice his son...
Peter to step out of the boat and walk on water...
Jesus to leave heaven and come to Earth as a small, helpless baby...

Has He ever asked me to do something crazy? Have I missed it? 

Would I recognize it as God's call on my life or would I dismiss the idea as illogical or irrational? 

I don't feel like I've done anything that crazy for God and maybe He hasn't asked yet.

But I sure don't want to miss it when, not if, when He does. 

In order to know if God is asking something crazy of me, I have to know God. To be in His presence, spending time in His word, able to recognize His voice. Only then will I be able to say, "Yes" when he asks me to do something crazy. I pray that I will say yes. 

Because I trust the person asking. I believe He's been there and done it before. I think the risk is worth the reward. 

(Image created by me on picmonkey)