Ok so. . . maybe there weren't lions or bears, but there were tigers! Big, gorgeous, ferocious ones at that.
My boys, Jerry and I had the time of our lives at a ranch outside of Austin on Monday afternoon. We sat in an open-aired safari jeep and were taken on a tour of exotic animals. The ranch, owned by an incredible sweet and impossibly kind Christian couple, was filled to the brim with hundreds of different species that were as gorgeous as you can imagine. We took in sights - and INsights about these animals that we'd never known before.
Like, for example, did you know that a zebra is actually black. Yup, I had no idea either. Their hide is black not white. I was also intrigued to learn that zebra's all have their own stripe pattern - each as unique as human's finger prints. In fact, this is the way that mothers are known and recognized by their young - not by their sent or by their sound but by their stripes. Mother and baby bonded by the stripes.
Or, how about this one - certain species of animals don't develop sweat producing glands until their are nearly 3 months old. In these first weeks of their life, when they are unable to run fast enough to escape a predator, their don't produce sweet and thus an odor that would attract a hunting animal. So, their momma can leave them tucked in a thick brush for safety and know that other animals will not detect her young.
Goodness gracious, anyone who doesn't believe that there is a God would have a hard time explaining phenomena like this. He thought of everything, didn't he? And what He did was soooo good.
So, as I clean out my iPhone photos today, I thought you might enjoy seeing these memories as much as we enjoyed making them!
It's one of my favorite things to gather with my girlfriends, especially if we are sharing an evening of worship and the Word. The truth is, its just more meaningful together. That's why I am so excited to share with you about our next live Awaken Event!
Do you know about Awaken? Let me share the vision with you.
Awaken is a special evening for women from throughout the DFW area that is birthed straight out of Priscilla's heart. She knows how important it is to create a special time for women from all walks of life and seasons to come together and awaken our hearts to the things of God, His voice and His presence in our lives. During this special evening you will experience incredible worship, participate in a very special prayer time and dig into the Word of God and have the oppurtunity to serve others in the city. Together, we will be awakened to the things of God in our lives and others.
Priscilla and the Going Beyond team will host this special evening of fellowship, worship and Bible teaching on October 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm. The event will be at Fellowship Dallas and the best part…it's FREE! Click HERE to register.
Please consider this your personal invitation to Awaken. We love the chance to gather with our sisters in DFW (and surrounding communities, if you dare to drive!) for the sole purpose of drawing close to our Father's heart for ourselves and others. It's going to be an incredible evening that you don't want to miss. Please bring a friend, or even a group of them and who knows? You might even make some new friends too!
So mark the date! Send yourself a reminder! Find a sitter! Do whatever it takes…We want to see you there!
Connect with us @AwakenDFW for updates and special info. Childcare not provided.
Sooo...I'm 28 and single. And that's absolutely fine. BUT... guys and dating have been on my mind this week.
You ever make an impossibly long list of all the things you're hoping for in THE ONE?
Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this!
Have you ever had a list like this?! It's exhausting.
Granted, this is pretty inflated …but TELL ME you haven’t made your own before. Maybe you made one in an effort to avoid that, ‘Try Before You Buy’ method that’s so popular these days, or maybe just so you could feel like you had a roadmap.
A high standard is absolutely important, but I'm sure you'll agree that an impossible list will only leave you frustrated.
- Is he God fearing and wise?
- Honest and good with money?
- Is he building a sound house?
- Does he have a vision for the future?
- Does he respect his parents? Respect YOU?
- Does he value communication and commitment for the long haul?
This is by no means all you could consider, but funny how that list shrinks. Physical attraction, stature and standing might be important features, but I was reminded this week that I need to be realistic about their place, and not let them drive my motivations.
Just a thought.
Maybe this is the week that you give the nice guy a chance. Sometimes the best ideas are right in front of our eyes...and I'd hate to miss out on my good thing cuz I'm too focused on a fantasy.
He has not given us a Spirit of fear . . . 2 Timothy 1:7
Turns out, I'm afraid of quite a few things. When I was a child it was the "man" hiding in my closet at night or the imaginary three-eyed monster that lurked underneath my bed.
These days, I'm afraid of more adult matters, like something tragic happening to my children or my husband. But I didn't really put a finger on this tendency until this past weekend when Craig Groeschel told me so.
The Women of Faith conference was a stunning gathering of women from all over the country. Six thousand of us filled an arena in Oklahoma and God graciously gave us many memorable holy moments together. The messages that Lysa Terkeurst, Christine Caine and Patsy Clairmont shared were incredibly moving and thought provoking. And when Pastor Craig came to the platform and launched into his message, we knew we were all in for it.
He asked us to name the thing we fear the most. Out loud. To each other. All six thousand of us were wide-eyed with conviction.
So, obediently, six thousand women turned one to another and took a few minutes to share what they are most afraid of. Didn't take us long to put our fingers on our fears either.
It never is.
You know what keeps you up at night worried and concerned, riddled with anxiety about what might happen with your job or to your child or with your finances or your health. Turns out, Pastor Craig told us that calling it out - defining it - is the first step to defeating it.
Before I leaned over to tell my friends, Lisa and Christine, about my fear regarding the well-being of my kids, I don't think I'd vocalized or even clearly realized that it was such an issue for me. And just saying it seem to lessen some of its powerful hold on me. Deflated it a bit.
So, I'd like to humbly add on to Pastor Craig's powerful statement:
Or DIFFUSING it.
Or DISMANTLING it.
Or DEMOLISH it.
Oh. . I like that last one! Allowing God to demolish our fears is what we need in order to move forward successfully in our Christian lives. The enemy knows that a fearless Christian is a victorious Christian; which is why He will work overtime to cripple you with this very vice.
As you work through this in your own life, I want to share with you the 2 things that Pastor Craig told us that our fears reveal:
1. What we fear the most reveals what we value the most
If your biggest fears have to do with your finances, then your financial security is what you treasure. If your fears are in regards to your family, then you value your family. If they are in regarding your job or health, then those things are most significant to you. To be clear, none of these things inherently wrong. In fact, it's good to value some of them. But, your fears are good indicators to tell you what is most important in your life.
2. What you fear the most reveals the areas you trust God the least.
Whoa! No explanation needed. If that statement alone isn't convicting all by itself then I don't know what is. Name your fear today, my friend. I mean, say it out loud to yourself or to another person who cares for you. Better yet, post a comment to the blog today outing your fear for all of the blog community to see. That'll send the enemy reeling as you begin to deflate the power it has over your life. Then, confess your lack of trust in God in that particular area of your life and choose to surrender the thing or person you value the most to His tender loving care.
Freedom awaits you on the other side of your fear.
Love you fiercely,
Let's talk about this little issue I've been having with my cable.
I know, I know ... it's a luxury, and it's trivial. But truth is, I've gotten used to it: the dull hum of the television and the endless chatter of the news, or my favorite show as I cook or clean up, OR just sit back and enjoy it.
When I moved in to my new place, I found what I thought was a great deal online, so I signed up, set up my TV in the living room, and waited for the technician to arrive.
And waited ... and waited.
Two weeks later, someone did finally come to get me all set up, but it wasn’t installed right, and … I was back to waiting.
I'll admit that as soon as I decide something isn't working for me, I want to change it (and see immediate results), so righteous indignation over not having working cable led me to spend hours (literally HOURS) talking to the customer support line, trying to get the right services for the right price.
While I was working to get everything fixed, I spent almost three weeks with no hum or endless chatter ... and I was just fine. In fact, when the cable company did finally get everything straightened out and I sat down and turned the TV on, I didn't even have the access to the channels I normally watch.
What. a. bummer.
Can you believe it?!
The time and energy that I’d put into something so unimportant not only tired me out, it distracted me, and in reality, I think a side conversation between God and me about the TV was meant to go more like this:
So this week I called and cancelled my service, and then last night I unplugged the receiver from the wall, untangled the cables, found the remote, and stacked them all by the door.
No more cable.
Life is just going to be different right now, and it's fine. God is faithful and the best is yet to come; I need to remember that. I don't have time to waste sitting at home, wondering and complaining about every little thing that doesn’t go the way [I think] it should.
Maybe I'll find an alternative, video streaming and such, but in the meantime I'm going to learn to live without cable. There’s simply more time to enjoy my new city and please the [only] One that matters.
I'll let you know how it goes!
Took my boys to Six Flags over Texas at the beginning of summer.
Actually, (honesty is good for the soul) it was during the last week of the school year. I mean, the weather is a bit cooler and the lines are much shorter so, yes, I'm that mom that takes her kids out of school for stuff like the State Fair of Texas in the fall or the Dallas Symphony Orchestra children's special event in the winter. Between those random events and our ministry travel schedule my children are certainly not in line for the "Certificate of Perfect Attendance" Award.
Oh well. You can't win 'em all.
So,I nabbed the boys out of school early on one of those final days and ventured down the highway for a half-day of fun and adventure. This has become our habit - ending the school year on roller-coasters with tummies full of cotton candy and lemonade. It's just our way of celebrating their successful completion of another year and, (let's be honest), MY successful completion of the year.
And this time, with their cousin Alena in tow, they rode ride after tail-spinning ride and enjoyed (almost) all of them, except for that one particularly intense coaster that had cliffs so steep and turns so sharp that every single one of them looked like terrified deer in highlights for the entire thing. It was funny. . . not to them. . . to me :).
Their favorite by far - was Runaway Mountain. It's a coaster that was built inside a massive warehouse constructed to look like a mountain.
So, this ride is in the dark.
I wish you could have been there to see those kids waiting in line to ride. They wanted to do it so badly but they couldn't hide the jitters and insecurities that they were having about the whole idea. They rang their hands, leaned against the wall and looked pensively up toward the front as they anxiously awaited their turn. The pummeled me with question after question about what was to come. As if I knew. I'd never been on Runaway Mountain and couldn't give them one solid answer about what might be awaiting them.
So, we were just going to have to all be in the dark. . . together.
They were scared. In fact, I thought a couple of them were going to bail out altogether as our turn quickly approached.
In the end, they all got on. . . . .
and, get this, they had the time of their lives!
In fact, it was soooo fun that they couldn't wait to ride it again - FIVE TIMES OVER. That's right, we got in the relatively short line over and over and over again and the same kids who had just been mortified before were now itching with enthusiasm and a excited anticipation as they eagerly waited for their next turn.
I'm so glad that in spite of their fear, they did it anyway.
Listen to me, do it scared, ok? Whatever it is that you're steering clear of because you feel intimidated or outmatched by it, turned off by it or just plain ol' fearful of it. If God is calling you to it, take the plunge and just do it. I know that moving forward in obedience into the mysterious unknown with God can be. . .well. . .dark and mysterious and unsure, but on the other side of your willingness to obey is an adventure with Him that you'll want more and more and more of for the rest of your life.
I've written about this a little bit in this month's Jewelry Box article. Click on the link, check it out and then come back here to tell me what you sense God calling you to do and how we can pray for you - that you'll have a holy boldness and courage to move forward without reservation.
You are loved today,
I hope y'all had a good weekend. I can not believe it is almost August, this summer has literally flown by!
(Although, I must say I am looking forward to cooler weather...boots, scarfs, hot Starbucks drinks...oh my! Anyways I digress...)
Since joining the Going Beyond team my morning commute is longer than I have had in the past. I have to admit for the past few weeks I haven't really used that time well. My drive time is usually spent with me toggling between several radio stations and not thinking of much more.
But at the Grand Rapids event last week Priscilla shared about how log an average of 13,500 miles a year in our cars. She mentioned that since we spend so much time in the car anyways we might as well use it for something. This has really inspired me to think about how I spend my time.
So this week I am turning my morning commute into my morning quite-time. I am going to listen to worship music, start memorizing a scripture, and listen to what God is saying to me about this week. The ride to work is actually the perfect time to do this for me...a set amount of time, with only me and the road.
Here is the verse I am focusing on this week:
"Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Here is my worship playlist:
(Click here to download for spotify users)
How do you spend your time in the car? Have you ever tried a car quiet-time?
Happy driving :)
I've been on a pillow buying binge.
I've been in my apartment for a few weeks now, but I'm still trying to settle in. There are boxes and bags all over the place! I left most of what I own back on the east coast, so little by little I've been on a quest to fill my tiny space, and hoping to make it a little more like home (you may remember me mentioning last week that I bought a couch).
I'd outfitted my bedroom with well, ... a bed, and a small nightstand, but the 'big room' as I like to call it, was completely empty, and I got this crazy idea in my head that pillows would do it. So, I went out last weekend, explored one of the trendy neighborhoods I'd been dying to see, and popped into a couple of my favorite "home" stores , searching for inspiration … and a clearance sale.
I came home with a decent sized stash of knick knacks, and a stack of pillows, and promptly piled them on my small sofa.
Overload, much? Or maybe I've just subscribed to that idea that everything is just bigger in Texas. Well, the other morning I found myself roving over yet another site advertising a pillow sale and it hit me: This COULD be a problem.
I'm done shopping for now, and I'm pretty sure at least a couple of these need to go back to the store. The good thing is, I've remembered that 'home' is really where our Father's heart is, and that has given me incredible peace over the last couple of days!
But I'm curious to know: how do you settle in to a new season?!
P.S. I'm STILL trying to decide which of these I should keep! What do you think?
Hope you are fantastic today.
Glad you popped over to the blog today, 'cause I'm talking to a friend that I'm sure you'd love to hear from. Last week, Ms. Beth arrived in Dallas for 24 hours of rest. I scooped her up from the airport around 5:15pm and took her directly to one of my favorite Dallas boutiques.
You heard me right. We left the airport and went immediately to shop.
That's just our way. We didn't pass "go". Didn't stop to collect $200. We just went straight to the store. We had to hurry because it was going to close at 7pm. Fought rush-hour traffic and arrived in time to have 45 minutes inside.
Lots can happen in 45 minutes.
Then, since we have a tendency to work up extreme hunger when we are frantically ripping through a store that is about to close, we went to dinner with my sister Chrystal.
We ate and laughed ourselves silly.
When we left the restaurant it only took a few minutes of drive time before Ms. Beth let out a yawn. Then another. I knew that if she was yawning she had to REALLY be tired. Cause in all these years I've known her, I've not ever seen her do that. I mean, not once can I ever recall seeing that woman yawn. She just seems to be like the energizer bunny - going and going and going.
But her 4:30am wake up call was catching up to her. So, I took her home and put her to bed . . .
. . . .but only after we made her do a little work around the GB offices to earn her keep.
She struggled to keep up so Jerry helped her along as much as he could.
(We decided she's not right for the job though. Should definitely stick to speaking.)
In the morning, my boys and I scrambled her some eggs along with sausage and toast. Then the two of us sat down to record a video that was intended for her blog community - a group that has spent the first half of the summer doing the "Gideon" Bible study together. We had so much fun goofing around on tape that I thought I'd post the video here for you to enjoy as well.
So, sit back for a few minutes and take a peek :)
Have a great day friend!