Sunday, March 30, 2014

April Goals

It is time for spring, can I get an amen?! I am a proud Michigander and I love winter but when it's the last day of March and there is still over a foot of snow in my yard it's time to move on. Thanks for coming winter, you were white and wonderful now get out!

I guess what I'm saying is that between this weather, a bout of the flu and a week at home recovering from having my wisdom teeth out spring fever is kicking in hardcore and I'm ready to move! Do you ever get that feeling like you've just been surviving a season and you're ready to thrive in the next? That's where I find myself. No more aimless drifting with my days and time, hopefully publishing some goals for myself will help me to stay motivated and make progress.

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I've never done monthly personal goals before so let'd do this, April!

1. Finish one house project.
2. Go on one intentional date with the husband.
3. Blog at least once per week.
4. Set up meeting time with mentor couple.
5. Switch out winter & summer clothes.
6. Mail out 2 homemade cards.
7. Exercise 3 times a week. 

What about you? Are you a goal setter? Got any advice or encouragement for me? I'd love to hear!

I'm linking up with Tiny Twig and other goal-setting gals today.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Life Lately

The biggest thing going on in my world right now is that I'm 4 teeth less wise! Tuesday morning I went in for oral surgery and got all 4 wisdom teeth out. Maybe I'll write a post on surviving the recovery but for now I'm pretty laid up on the couch with soft foods and ice packs all around so I thought I'd share a little insight on what else is new.

Eating: Smoothies, milkshakes, jello and pudding! Winning recipes have included the Mango Avocado Spinach Smoothie  and French Toast Protein Shake. 

Listening: Podcasts! I especially like listening while getting ready in the morning and driving. My favorite is the Relevant podcast, also on my playlist are NPR's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and the Bobby Bones Show.

Reading: Still doing the Word In, Word Out project and just read the story of Gideon. For kicks and giggles 'Second Thyme Around' by Katie Fforde, a British chick-lit novel. Nice and easy.

Hoping: For the longest winter in the history of my life to END! Three weeks ago I said I'd stop complaining but man oh man has it ever been hard! Just this morning (March 26) we woke up to 2 inches of fresh snow! I need grass, spring, flowers, sunshine! At this point I would even take mud. Not complaining. Kinda. Maybe a little. Ok, done now.

Watching: Parenthood! I got a Netflix subscription to help me make it through this wisdom teeth ordeal and I'm almost done with season 3.

Planning: Memorial Day camping trip with our buddies and Thanksgiving trip to North Carolina! Having things to look forward to is good for my spirits.

Thankful For: The chance to go and celebrate a baby shower with my college girlfriends last weekend. We may only get together a couple times a year but each time we pick up like it's only been a day and I laugh so hard I cry.

What's going on in your life lately?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Word In, Word Out {Made It Through Leviticus!}

Read about my Word In, Word Out project
It seems ironic that the week I decided to start partnering blogging with reading through the Bible I hit Leviticus. Not only did I hit Leviticus, but I hit mostly chapters containing rules on boils, itching, baldness (Lev 13, check it out) and mold. Yikes!

Happily I made it through and not only made it through but I'm on track with the daily readings. (Pause for cheering.) Yay! Seriously, if there was any goal I was going to keep, I'm glad it's this one.

I mentioned before that I'm keeping a notebook just for when I'm doing my daily reading to jot down verses, ideas and questions that jump out at me.

Deuteronomy 2:7 was a verse that really struck me and less than a week later the speaker at the CCCA conference shared it. Repetition of scripture has been one of the major ways God has used the Bible to speak to me so you better believe I'm listening! This is my current memory verse, might it be a good one for you to memorize, too? Let me know if you do, we can help each other!

What a comfort to know that God is blessing what I'm doing. He's watched as I've traveled some difficult paths and roads and has been with me. I truly haven't lacked in anything.

Since this verse has been so heavy on my heart I shared it with my interns at a staff meeting. It struck me that if this verse is true (which I believe it is) then it was true one month ago and will be true 5 years from now. If God is saying that you have not lacked anything and this verse will be true in the future then I'm not lacking anything RIGHT NOW, regardless of what I may feel.

Amen, amen, amen!

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Crowd

With some prompting from my friend Katie, I'm joining Lisa Jo Baker  for Five Minute Friday, my first ever. Basically you write unedited for 5 minutes on the prompt which this week is CROWD. Here we go!

Five Minute Friday

Crowds. Love 'em!

As an oldest child in a family of 4 and growing up on a camp I've been surrounded with crowds my whole life. I'm an extrovert in that I get my energy from being around lots of people. I suffered from "FOMO" before I knew it was a thing. In college if I found myself sitting alone for longer than half an hour I immediately started looking for a group of people to join in with.

And then I moved to Northern Minnesota for a year. Nothing in Northern Minnesota is crowded unless it's the frozen lake on an ice fishing Saturday. It's beautiful and serene but when you can drive for 20 minutes without passing a single car, you're out there.

At first it was hard. Where were the people? How would I survive? How would I ever find energy if I couldn't draw from a group? I was so far out there I didn't even have a library to get new books from. So I started spending more and more time alone. Well, alone with my laptop and seasons of Friends.

I didn't love that "uncrowded" season of my life, but I got through it.

When I found myself living back in a place where I had neighbors, plans and crowds around me again I realized I'd changed.

This extrovert had discovered an introverted side that I never would've guessed existed.

Nowadays I need that balance and I think that's come from my season of quietness but also from maturing and growing up a little. Rather than run to a crowd to fill my time I need to reconnect with myself (and still sometimes with that laptop and seasons of Once Upon A Time). My soul starts to feel crowded if I don't give myself that breathing space and I think that's a good place for me to be in.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Living The Camp Life

It was college spring break and with no money or plans, I tagged along with my parents to the annual Christian camping conference. I spent most of the week walking along Lake Michigan, napping, laughing with camp staff and attending sessions.

At the time I had no plans of someday joining the ranks of full-time Christian camping professionals but God did. So here I am, 8 years later (8 years?! How did I get so OLD?!) attending that same conference.
So... a few highlights!

We're camp people. It's what we do. 
1. This year I was asked to present a seminar! And not just one but two, one with a co-worker and one on my own. I struggled with feeling inadequate and unqualified until some wise people spoke truth over my insecurity and challenged me to banish those thoughts. The preparation process was BRUTAL. February and March are typically 2 of the hardest months of the year for a myriad of reasons and this year has been even harder than I anticipated.

I tend to have high expectations for myself and as a result I burned more emotional energy worrying and fretting about doing the workshop well than actually preparing. In the end both seminars went so well and I loved teaching. The response from other attendees was really positive and affirming. Yay!

Title slide from my workshop on theme integration in camping ministry. The whole workshop was spy themed.  

2. It's a family business. If Christian camping had celebrities, my dad would be one. Having both my parents, sister and even my Nana also working at Christian camps meant they were at the conference. My sweet Nana even came to my workshop to support and cheer for me!

3. Unique friendships and heart to hearts. Beth is a friend I met through the camp world. We were both women who started as program directors and got married in the same year. Now she's moved up to an Associate Director and has a baby but the chance to sit down and talk over a meal once (or maybe twice if we're lucky) a year is one of the most life-giving moments of the conference. She just gets it in a way that others can't. Melissa was an intern at the camp where I work when I first got here. She met her husband here and now they both work full-time at another camp, just like my hubby and I. We had a ton of time to talk, laugh, reminisce and encourage one another. We even planned a summer camping trip together! Woohoo!

That's the beauty of the camp world, we're not competitors or rivals, we're supporters, cheerleaders and coaches. There are former neighbors, mentors, babysitters, and co-workers who have moved into another ministry and we get to sit down and connect. It's the body of Christ in the truest sense.

Do you have connection points? Friends in your same stage of life that you can connect with? It's worth it. I'm thankful for this life-giving break in the midst of a crazy season.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

She Shares Truth: Psalm 130

I've been in the depths.

Lying on the cold, hard bathroom floor of my college dorm room sobbing to the Lord. My heart was broken and after so many months of stone cold hardness it was crying out to Him.

O Lord, hear my voice! 

Even though it may not sound familiar, it has been a while since I've called to you.

Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy. 
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 

Because I know I cannot. The weight of my choices, my sin, my shame has become too much. It drives this stubborn soul to my knees.

Oh, sister. Have you been there? 

And then, a light shines through. Because there is still hope. There is always hope.

But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The good news for you and me. The better news? The darkness NEVER WILL overcome the light.

Oh, sister. Have you been there? 

Have you felt the freedom, the joy and the peace that come with forgiveness? In total surrender we find the One worthy of receiving our all. It is not too late. It will never be too late.

I will wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope. 

I pick myself up from the bathroom floor or wherever the latest depths have been.

For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. 

I am forgiven. Loved. I am redeemed, cleansed, free.

And you are, too. 

So I will live a life of anticipation. I will fear my Lord and wait for him, breathlessly watching for his hand at work.

Will you? Will you chose to live in your identity as forgiven? Will you chose to walk out of that dark place into his glorious light? He hears you. Call out today. There are no depths too deep, no iniquity too dark. 

This post is part of the #SheSharesTruth link up with She Reads Truth. If you are stopping by from there, welcome! As I was writing this I got goosebumps thinking about other women sitting on their computers with their Bibles open pouring over the same verses at the same time. I wrote a little more about the She Reads Truth community on their one year anniversary in this post.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Word In, Word Out Project

One of my goals in 2014 is to read through the Bible. Although I was raised in a Christian home and work for a ministry it's something I've never actually done and I found myself embarrassed to admit that. I believe in the life-changing power of God's words so why wouldn't I have read them? How could I encourage and exhort others to read their Bibles if I hadn't done it?

The real kicker to my guilt trip was when I finished counting the books I'd read in 2013 and realized it was 103. I'm pretty sure that if I stacked those books up they would be a whole lot bigger than a Bible.

After some digging I dusted off a chronological one-year Bible from high school that I'd started and committed. I haven't necessarily read every day but sitting here at the beginning of March I'm pretty excited to say that I'm all caught up with my reading plan!

Here are a few things I've done to help myself be successful:

1) Invite others to join in. My husband and one of the interns I supervise are also reading through the Bible this year. Accountability is huge!

2) Make it pretty. This is the most frivolous thing but I bought a brightly colored Bible case and special notebook just for the Bible I'm using. It makes it more noticeable and since I have a weird and undying passion for school supplies makes me more excited to use it.

3) Build a routine. Morning person is not a word you'd use to describe me so I do my reading mostly before I go to bed at night. That means my Bible (with case and notebook) sits on my nightstand and I develop a pattern.

4) Apply! The notebook that I've kept for this Bible is just for these readings, not for prayers, personal reflections, lists, or other thoughts. Those things go in my other (pretty) journal. *Sidenote: This is a great excuse to buy more than one notebook if you are a fiend like me!* I'm using colored pens to underline and star verses that stick out to me and to write out things I'm realizing. It's fun to flip back through and see what I'm learning.

The Bible to me isn't just another book for my list so I want to make sure I'm doing more than just reading it. Enter the Word In, Word Out Project. This year I'll capture some of the highlights from my reading that have stood out to me. It might be a verse, lesson, story or simple pondering that I've realized or something that inspired or convicted me.

As the word of God comes in to my life and heart, my prayer is that it would reflect out of me, that the God-breathed words would stir my heart, convict my soul and change my thoughts and action. I hope it does the same for you. Join me in this Word In, Word Out Project?

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