Living at The Speed of Life

I felt like a teenager again- and not in a good way.

Dressing for court in my most grown-up ensemble and bringing along the boy for moral support (or a scared straight tactic…whichever…) I faced a judge for the first time in my driving career last summer. Mercifully, he granted driving school for the speeding ticket I was given months before.

Looking back, the tendency to speed could be genetic…

Eager to be redeemed in the eyes of the court and put the whole ordeal behind me, I came straight home, changed into my comfy clothes and hit the books- burying myself in the online curriculum and prepping for the test (!) I would have to take on a public computer at the end of my lessons.

Later that night, after passing the exam, I pushed through the library doors into the humid evening air and laughed as I caught the reflection of my t-shirt in the glass, “Welcome to Mayberry” it declared above a 50’s style police cruiser and these sentiments below:

“Life is short. Enjoy the Ride.”

The refresher course in defensive driving took me back to all the studying I did in high school and dredged up miles of memories like navigating friendships, getting up to speed with computers and charting the right course in my choice of classes.

Challenging stuff at any age.

Finishing with honors, I stood before the whole graduating class to give my valedictory speech. With enormous pouf-y bangs peaking out from beneath the mortar board cap, and as much wisdom as a shaky 18 year old could muster, I held up a shiny silver quarter and likened it to life.

Much like the coin, we can spend life any way we wish, but we can only spend it once.

And here I was almost 20 years later, spending it in court fees and a million other ways I never imagined.

That fast pace and skewed focus was costing me my peace and I wanted it back.

Some seasons feel long and bumpy and enjoyment seems a long way off. We get so busy lamenting what we’re missing and rushing around chasing the lies of “if only I had more time, tools, sleep, money, schooling, help, room, exercise, or quiet, things would go so much smoother.”

Never grasping that this is it.

One small life. So short in its dusks and dawns. A blip on the radar of eternity.

To spend it always fast forwarding to the next minute or hour or year is blasphemy to the one who numbers our days.

And never grasping that instant gratification isn’t gratifying at all because your hope and your endurance has no time to develop in the waiting and the longing.

To eradicate hurry and rush is a struggle but a necessary practice.

It hasn’t been an easy or pretty process mind you, growing up is always awkward… curly hair and all..

As with any habit, there’s practice in involved and lessons to hold on to.

There are plenty of pains, ugly cries and correction. (I had all of those and more just in relation to that ticket..!)

We have to learn to slow down.

We have to relearn who in charge.

{Contrary to popular belief, it’s not us…}

We have to magnify our great God not our meager circumstances.

 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. THEN you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:4-7

The song was right- oh what peace we often forfeit…all because we don’t still ourselves often enough to carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer.

When we surrender control to the Master we gain life. When we choose to speak life, He grants us peace. With peace, we slow down and gain traction.

Are you waiting on the Lord or rolling full speed ahead?

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:30-31

If you’re longing for simple pleasures and a little more slowing down, won’t you join in by putting your email in here? {And you’ll get a cute printable set of scripture cards as a bonus!} So glad you’re here! xo

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

 

Tables and Knees and Folks Down the Road

Years ago in a fit of yard sale passion I sold my precious round claw foot pedestal table.

As I embarked on feeding a teenage step-son {and sometimes his friends…} I thought a more substantial square trestle style table {from my now defunct craft room} would be a better fit for our new family.

So off it went.

But despite my best interior design intentions, my beloved menfolk wanted nothing to do with pulling up a chair.

They preferred to take their meals from the comfort of the couch. It felt almost sacrilegious to the girl who grew up seated around a vinyl clothed tabletop every single day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But the bible says that Jesus and his disciples reclined as they ate so I suppose we’re ok…

Lately I’ve been hungrily perusing Pinterest boards and antique malls because maybe a cute 40’s style enamel topped farm table would entice them? Or perhaps a chrome 50’s diner set?

There’s a cute bar height table with comfy high backed seats at my best friend’s house that I admire.

And I wonder if this style of table would draw my people back over from the dark side of living room lap feasting?…

For the rest of the story you’re invited (YES, YOU ARE!!) to head over to Sue’s blog www.welcomeheart.com for her Every Table Tells a Story series. I’m pulling up a chair to her table today and sharing in a guest post. Click here and I’ll see you over there for the rest of the story! ♥

You’re always invited to the table. To stay connected and find out what’s coming next, won’t you go and put your email in here? {And you’ll get a cute printable set of scripture cards as a bonus!} Thanks for being here friend. xo

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

 

How to Answer When Creation Comes to Call

Our sweet outdoor kitty, not much older than a kitten herself, suddenly became a mama- not that she didn’t know it – but rather it came as a surprise to us.

At 10:30 am there was one. By 11:52, two more. Tiny things that barely looked like cats according to the boy who witnessed the whole slipshod miracle of life take place in the weeds and leaves down beside the porch.

{Not to worry, we upgraded the new family to better accommodations…}

Out in the driveway another miracle took place as a spare tire found it’s way onto my truck with a little help from family. It was a strange coincidence being that exactly a week earlier our other vehicle suffered the same deflated destiny.

A day later our power went out. And stayed out. Thank God for family {again} who let us stuff every last frozen waffle, chicken nugget and condiment into their Frigidaire only to haul it back home a day later when the power miraculously came back.

And yet we soldiered on, because sometimes that’s all we can do.

Your life becomes a masterpiece the moment you see it as a gift of grace to willingly receive. – Ann Voskamp

As I wiped down the fridge and filled it back up, my eyes fell to the magnets I received from a sweet friend back at Christmas. They remind me despite all the bumps along the way that make life seem like an endless question mark, I am created, called and crowned.

Created

Far from just putting out the fires and changing the flat tires of life, we were created not by accident and definitely not by surprise, to create.

Our God is a designer and made us with the same intrinsic ambition to build- lives, families and sometimes temporary cardboard housing for cats.

When you feel like a piece of you is missing it helps to ask what have you created lately? We are art and made to make art. What that looks like is different for every one as no two of us are exactly the same. God’s pretty cool like that.

Called

According to a Japenese proverb, we can never see the sun rise by looking into the west.

Nor can we see exactly who we’re supposed to be without looking to the son, Jesus.

To know Jesus is to know our purpose.

It’s a scientific fact that people who are lost walk in circles unless they can sense the sun or moon as their guiding light. Of course the best thing to do when you’re lost is to be still but it’s our human tendency to want to find our way out even if it leaves us more confused.

When God wants to do a work in your life- he will often take you into the desert. ~Pastor Rodney Finch, Calvary Chapel Cary

Perhaps the biggest struggle for me is what am I called to do? {Yours too?}

My mind is constantly turning every pursuit and idea over and over looking for the perfect vocation. And when I’m lost and worn out from going my own way, I do my best to fit my mind around this verse:

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10

He has a calling for each of us. It’s where our gifts intersect with our service. Sometimes it’s elusive and sometimes it morphs as we go deeper and deeper spiritually, but make no mistake it’s there.

Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way; walk in it.”

No matter what job or station of life we find ourselves in it helps to ask for directions:

Am I glorifying God?

Am I producing fruit?

I’ve never seen a tree sweat trying to produce fruit.~ Pastor Steve Feden

Crowned

We have been created and called but we are also crowned. Sometimes we’re shy about putting it on… especially those of us who don’t naturally like to dress fancy! If we don’t receive it, we run the risk of never stepping into all that God has for his chosen ones.

Before we can receive the crown, we have to let go of all that binds us.

Like a tree, a woman can’t carry the weight of two seasons simultaneously. In the violent struggle of trying she’ll miss every bit of joy each season promises to bring. ~ Lysa Terkeurst

What holds us back from taking hold of our royal status as daughters of the King?

Thinking we’re not good enough.

Not worthy enough.

But when we do that, we’re essentially limiting God.

It’s a frustrating effort trying to put a limitless God in a limited box…we can bottle many things but God isn’t one of them. ~ Pastor Nick Holden

His crown is our equipping to do the things that He created and called us to do.

***

This week has been relatively quiet on our home front. We transferred the crazy over to my mama’s house where for a limited time they had creation quandaries of their own — a squirrel stuck in their “squirrel proof” bird feeder — you know the kind with the inner tube encased in a criss-crossed wire mesh ball?

No matter how much he struggled, the poor thing could not get out. It was only with some careful snipping of the wires by my brave Dad he was able to get un-stuck.

Friend, the same freedom is available to you.

You are created, called and crowned.

You are His handiwork, equipped to do every good thing.

Will you open the door to courageous creativity when the master calls?

Lord let us arise and greet the day with joy in our hearts and praise on our lips only for you – Not our accomplishments or accolades. Always thankful no matter what befalls us. We are created, called and crowned for you and you alone. Appointed to produce lasting fruit. Recreated in you to do the good things you planned for us long ago. Thank you for your capable hand and divine design. Amen.

You were designed for glorious living! To stay connected and find out what’s coming next, won’t you go and put your email in here? {And you’ll get a cute printable set of scripture cards as a bonus!} Thanks for being here friend. xo

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

When Nothing Fits {part 2}

{for part one, click here… seems I had a lot to say on the same topic 2 years ago…!}

Some mornings I stand in front of the closet for way too long contemplating what to wear. It’s not that nothing fits, it’s just that nothing seems to fit together. I tell myself I’m lacking some key pieces and I’m not wrong.

See, my shopping plan is really not a plan at all. It’s more of a luck of the draw. Typically I scour clearance racks until my arm can’t hold anymore and then spend eons in the dressing room trying it all on. An online shopper, I am not. I need to feel the material, check the size and consider the fit. Out of 18 things, I come out with 2 and still only have half an outfit once I get home.

And I think I’ve been going about this search for work that fits me in much the same disjointed way… afraid to make an investment or take the challenge to pull together what’s missing and opting instead for what’s left over.

God’s plan for your life is as special as you are.

Some days I still dream of owning a shop. Knee deep in knick-knacks and chippy painted vintage goodness my heart soars.

Then there’s the thought of being a online creative concierge helping others manage websites and social media. And lets not forget a penchant for moving furniture around coupled with a love for DIY would make me an awesome home organizer and re-designer.

Other days, my spirit leaps at the thought of leading women’s groups and planning retreats. Brainstorming beautiful settings, crafts and teaching draws out my inner arranger and the excitement of sharing truth in so many different forms is exhilarating.

{Cumberland Antiques}

But on top of it all, there’s this pull to put words on paper (and sometimes this sacred space) creating content that connects with you because whether you’re in Australia or Illinois this internet thing lets us share stories from our virtual homes and entertain angels – of which every one of you who read this blog are! – on a regular basis.

Some ideas I’ve tried on for a day like doing pop up shows or worn for a season like leading a bible study. Some I’ve merely admired through the storefront but may have to wait a while before I can afford the luxury.

Just like a cute dress for a cut price or a pretty handbag, maybe some of these ideas are simply wants and not needs. Hobbies rather than vocations. Accessories to something greater God has in store for me but has yet to reveal.

And it’s here I learn to pray, Lord don’t give me what I want, give me what I need.

Author Shana Schutte says: “As you pursue your God-given purpose, there will be plenty of problems to solve.”

  • First, pray and ask God to give you direction to do His will.
  • Second, define the problem.
  • Third, make a “What if?” list.
  • Then, allow your thoughts to chew on the problem for a period of time.
  • And don’t forget to expose yourself to situations in which your mind is relaxed or “at play.”

I scribble notes and I ponder what if’s. I try my best to define the problem but much like trying to figure out what’s missing in my closet my efforts fall flat.

And as I mull it all over for the millionth time I come to this conclusion:

The Lord is more concerned with our character than our career.

When we get caught up and stressed out trying to figure out all the missing pieces, we do well to remember this:

Our number one job: to glorify God and point people to Him.

We may not know what to do (or what to wear!) but every day we can become just a little more sure of who we want to be.

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. ~ 1 Peter 3:4

So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. ~ 1 Peter 1:13

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. ~ Proverbs 31:25-26

What do you want to be? I’d love to hear from you! And if you haven’t found the link yet to get your set of scripture cards, won’t you go and put your email in here? Thanks for being here friend. xo

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs

The Answer for When You Want to Run Away

When was the last time you wanted to run away? Last year? Saturday? Just a few minutes ago when you shut yourself in the bathroom to see what the internet held for you and found yourself reading this post?

Yep I get it.

Pete: Where’s Cora, Cousin Wash?

Washington Hogwallop: [chewing and choosing words carefully as his young son ate beside him at the table] Couldn’t say… Mrs. Hogwallop up and R-U-N-N  O-F-T.

Everette: Musta been looking for answers.

~ Oh Brother Where Art Thou

Almost ten years ago I ran off to the mountains.

On a Tuesday.

Looking for answers.

And with a friend we hiked up beside a waterfall and spent the afternoon at the top eating our bag lunches, dissecting dreams and plotting our separate plans for the future.

Last year another friend and I drove east until we encountered sandy shores and crashing waves on a particularly windy March day. We searched for sea glass and shells and meaning in all the messes of life.

And just yesterday my best girl and I ran off to Farmville again looking to get lost in a few antique shops. Along the way we detoured to the High Bridge trail, once a railroad crossing over the Appomattox River.

The urge to run was strong this week… because turning 37 tends to make one think long and hard about their station in life and wonder if they missed the train?

It seems I’m always running and looking for answers. (And that I’m often looking through the lens of a camera…!)

What about you?

The quest for who we are and what we are here to do feels like an unending uphill climb and the undertow of what we think we should be doing often pulls us from what we were meant to do.

It helps to know there is no where on this earth we could run, no where we could hide where God doesn’t see us and desire to lead us.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying “this is the way: walk in it.” ~ Isaiah 30:21

For He has fashioned each day for us and there is hope if we hold on to that confident faith- not in ourselves- but in Him.

Answers do not always manifest themselves at the ocean’s edge or the mountain top. If anything those places just bring more questions… like why isn’t there a bathroom out here?!?

They are not found in Facebook posts or my email inbox.

Answers are not found in anything man made, but in God alone.

Look no further than Psalm 139. When my latest searching landed me there, I read and reread it from the King James to the Message and everything in between.

Then I put pen to paper and copied it down.

Writing words on paper – especially the scriptures – never fails to find them etched indelibly on my heart.

He searches me and knows me best so it stands to reason He knows what’s best for me too. And details – like the smallest grains of sand – never slip through His fingers.

Those who leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hands in everything.

Look no further sweet friend, the answer has been there all along.

No running necessary.

The real you cannot be found on a mountain somewhere or in any other change of physical location. You find yourself, not by searching outside, but through the Spirit of God within you. When you ask God to reveal who He created you to be, you can rejoice in His loving grace and mercy. He will gently point out your weaknesses and failings and graciously forgive you when you ask. The One who created you is the One who knows you. You will only find yourself in Him. ~ God’s Little Devotional Journal for Women

Are you looking for answers too? I’d be honored to pray for you. And if you haven’t found the link yet to get your set of scripture cards, won’t you go and put your email in here? Thanks for being here friend. xo

Sometimes I link up with these lovely blogs