Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"The Scale"

The cursor on the screen is blinking at me, almost as if it's a steady heartbeat, patiently ticking away the seconds, telling me to spill out my words upon the page. I am in a season of busy days, which often leaves me little time to write and a head full of lessons being learned and thoughts needing to be sorted. But as the cursor blinks at me, I find it hard to formulate what I want to share.

 Perhaps because there are layers of lessons through which I am wading right now. None of which are life-shattering, but all of which run deep in the waters of my soul. Diving in to them can sometimes drudge up the dirt at the bottom of the ocean, create waves I'm not sure I want to navigate. And yet I know that there is always a calm after the storm, even if that storm is only one which I can see. And so I will wade into them.

 For the season of Lent, I have mentioned in previous blogs that my church has encouraged the practice of giving something up (or perhaps doing something more, depending on the perspective.) As this has been a newer practice for me, I don't always know what to do. This year as I thought about it, I had a recurring thought on this. I hesitate to write about it, to be honest. And when people would say to me, "what did you give up for Lent?" I really avoided answering. Because my answer will seem awfully silly, but between me and God, it has made sense. So I hesitantly write and share about it today. In part because I am processing how this season is teaching me new lessons, and writing helps me process.

 I "gave up" getting on the scale.

 To some that will sound like a very silly, very minor issue. Lent and giving up "things" should be about something deep, something that makes us go deeper into our walk with God, to focus on Him more intensely through this season. But I want to share, because these weeks of not getting on the scale have been a time that has become a reshaping area.

 I think all people struggle with body image to a degree - how they view themselves or worrying how others look at them. I wish I could tell you it's not an issue for me, that I love who I am and how I look. But I wrestle with this as much as the next person. I just don't talk about it much. I would find myself getting on the scale and feeling so discouraged after doing so. Which I know many will find crazy because I'm not overweight. In my heart I know that, but my head so often will shout other thoughts about that number that looks back at me.

 And so as I thought about what to give up, I knew I was living in a place of putting too much focus on my body and so giving that up would (perhaps) help me to rearrange my priorities.
  The world places such value on the body. The commercials scream at us, even if subtly, that we need to be thinner, prettier, wearing the latest clothing, following the latest trends. Movies promote women with picture perfect bodies. Running magazines are filled with shiny pages of women with toned abs and muscular arms, leaving me feeling like after 9 years of being a runner perhaps I am doing something wrong because I look nothing like that! The point is, the struggle with my body image and how I feel about myself in those regards is real. I don't like it and I don't write about it a lot, but it is something which I am working on shedding, so it's time to talk about the struggle a little.

 Perhaps some of the ideas come from a variety of comments I hear around me, be it from men in my vicinity or comments made by men on tv, but I feel like I have to meet this standard or I won't be pretty. Maybe it comes from jokes that have been made that say "you're a runner. you ought to be 110 lbs! " (I most definitely am not that.) And while what I hear I know isn't true per say,  the words are difficult to erase, and so I wrestle with it. I don't feel pretty enough, thin enough. Somehow my brain became trained to say things like "I'm fat" when in reality that is not true. Or I play the ever ridiculous comparison game to the women around me, which is such a horrible thing to do.

 So as these weeks of lent have gone on and I have not gotten on the scale, I've been working to retrain my brain. I have been working to find balance with my thoughts. I have been working with God to embrace the truths about me rather than the falsely promoted lies that dance around so frequently.
 I believe in taking care of myself. But obsessing over how I look isn't a healthy mindset. Getting on a scale is ok, but going into a frustrated mindset when it isn't the "ideal"  number isn't healthy. Working out is a great thing for me, one which I highly promote and believe in.  But working out (for me) should not be about needing to be skinnier. For me, it is about time with my maker. It's about being a better me, the best me I can be. Not because I feel the  need to meet an unrealistic expectation, but because I feel better and happier and healthier when I do it.
  And if I get on a scale, it's a gage that helps me recognize I'm on track or not on track, but should not be a gage that says beautiful or not.

 Through this time, I have been learning to embrace my image, while still working to be the best I physically can be. I know when I'm not eating right and I know when I'm not healthy. Yes, I feel better when my pants are loser or go down a size. But life isn't about that.
 It's not about how I look on the outside or how much I weigh or what my size is. It's about my heart. And so I have been focusing on my heart.
 Sifting out the temptations and difficult things that get in the way of being the best me. Saying no to those fleshy desires. Denying myself.
 I have been reading passages in the Bible that remind me how much God loves me for who I am.
  I have been working on becoming the best me I can be. Physically... sure, to a degree. But I've been putting more focus on my heart matters. Eliminating those ugly things that get in the way of the beauty that God has created. When I shine the beauty He has made, He can use me more. And I shine that more when I am focusing on what He says about me, not what the scale says about me.

 Does this mean I don't still run and do TRX? Nope. In fact, I'm finally back to training again (blog to come on that soon). But truthfully being the best me physically can only improve when I'm being the best me spiritually. To deny myself is to find myself. (Matthew 16) I am happier when I am healthier. And I am healthier when I am not worrying so much about what others say I should be. Or If I look like those picturesque women (I don't.... nor will I.... )

 So, giving up getting on the scale may sound super silly to some people. But for me, it's been about digging deep and tapping in to the inner beauty God has given me and letting that shine through to the outside.
 I will always work on myself physically. That is ok, and it's part of who I am. But there are lines, or should I say there is a balance to doing so. Getting into a tizzy because the scale doesn't read like I want it to... not healthy.

   I am created in His image. He knows every hair on my head. He holds every tear I cry. He formed me and knew all my days before I do. He has plans for me. He loves me for me.
   And no number on the scale will ever tell me those words. But He tries to tell me them every day. I just have to get out of my own way and let Him.

 So that is part of what I have been learning. Perhaps body image will be a forever struggle. I hope not, but I don't really know. So long as I am growing and learning and applying, though, I want my beauty to be about His beauty. Not what the world says is beautiful. (And it's ok to remind me about this, friends, if/when you hear me slipping and complaining about myself.) One day at a time... I am learning to be the healthier me from the inside out.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


 It's been a busy few weeks for me, but isn't it for everyone, really? Lots of little ways to be thankful...

  1. I have had a few coffee dates lately that have thrilled my heart and been so good for my soul. Jessica and I met Wednesday morning and we are both analytical and deep, so our conversations get pretty meaty, but are so beautiful. How wonderful to have a special friend who understands my ridiculously crazy web of thoughts!
  Tammy is another beautiful friend in my life. She makes me laugh so hard and she makes me believe in myself in ways I never thought possible. She supports me and encourages me. Love this lady! She's a TRX "buddy" of mine.
Me And Tammy

  3. My church is awesome. I can't say it enough. Saturday we did a clothing event giveaway. And it was awesome! We had so much clothes, I was honestly a little overwhelmed at setting up with them. Like a good overwhelmed. and as we set up, I met new friends. And as we prepared to open our doors for people to come in and get clothing, Pastor Randy circled us, we grabbed hands and prayed together. That... and helping the community... is what church is about. I cannot say enough how much I love my church.

 4. A good laugh with my coworker. Lisa and I get a lot of work done, but we laugh a lot too. And when I found myself talking exactly like my boss this week on a day he wasn't even there, she looked around to see if Rob was the one speaking! (not really... but that's how much my statement reflected his verbiage.) I'll take it as a compliment, not even realizing I picked up on his phrases... but it gave us a super good laugh. And laughing feels so good.

 5. Watching a good friend get married and be in her bliss. Beautiful.

 6. Experiencing a bed and breakfast for the first time. My husband and I took time to enjoy my friend's wedding and we made a weekend out of it. We drank, we laughed, we dressed up, we danced and we made memories. We stayed up late, listening to the live jazz band playing in the bar area of our bed and breakfast. And we were spoiled with an amazing breakfast Sunday morning.

Not every day is full of the "Facebook Moments" as we say. Those social media blissful pictures we all like to post. But when they are, aren't they worth sharing? I think so. Because I believe that having those memories and moments are a little bit of what will carry us through the rougher days and remind us. I believe in vulnerability and sharing our rougher moments, because we all have them and sharing them helps us learn. But remembering the beautiful Little Moments are so healthy, too. This week I was blessed to have many of them.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Remembering Mom

My head has had a web of thoughts lately, many revolving around my mom.
 Today, as we welcome in Spring officially by the calendar, I am reminded that 6 years ago today I said goodbye to mom on this earth. March 20 will always be a date in my mind that makes me reflect on my amazing mom.

 My thoughts have spanned over the last few days from the ache of missing mom 6 years later like I did on the day I lost her to laughing about silly memories I have with her. Every year at this time, I take time to look through old photos. I love doing that because photos tell stories. Photos are full of memories. But this year I took time to read some of my mom's old writings. I haven't done that in a long time, but when I do pick those pieces of paper up, it's a little like having a conversation with her. I can hear her voice, see her eyes rolling at her own self with an "oh brother" statement, and laughing the whole time. I can feel her faith teaching me lessons again, as though she were sitting next to me. The only thing better would be if we were sharing a cup of coffee instead of me having my own cup while I read. But I can imagine her here with me in that way.

 If you don't know, this whole blog began back in 2011 as an outlet for me to write about my grief and share about my mom. It has evolved into an entirely different tool for me, but there will always be the days I revolve back to the roots and share stories and thoughts about mom. Because mom, although she is gone, will always be a center piece in my heart and life.

 Over the weekend, my thoughts ranged from very sad and missing mom intensely to laughing and crying over some of the words she wrote. I love that her penmanship speaks volumes of her faith to me still. I am still learning from her, 6 years after her death. My mom was a remarkable woman. So, as I sat down in front of my computer on this 6th anniversary of her death, I thought to myself, what can I possibly say that I haven't already shared about mom? How can I express the depth of emotion that resides in my soul still over the remarkable woman that mom was? what words could possibly do justice to what my mom brought to me and everyone else around her?
  And the answer I had was that maybe I'll just share her words.

 Sometimes mom wrote silly stories or poems. Often times mom made up songs to pass time or make a chore interesting. She and one of her friends, Eleanor Taylor, would sit at the dining room table and take scripture passages and make them into songs to help memorize them. I am not sure I got the whole "deep analytical" part of me from mom.... her journals and inner thoughts were not often exposed. But I do know I got my love of writing and books from her. This weekend I picked up some of what my mom wrote while she was going through cancer treatments.

 Over and over mom would say in those pages, "God is so good. I don't know what will happen, but I have no fear because God is in control."
  She would share details of how blessed she was because she had family and friends to take her to all her appointments (mom hated driving.)
 The one page that expressed intimidation at all wasn't about her cancer... it was about the fact that she had to drive herself once to the appointment!
  The process was at times long for mom through the months leading up to her death. But she consistently would write "God is good." She always found blessings in the midst of the storm.

 I do remember that about my mom, but reading the words over again always helps me relearn how gracefully she embraced those truths.

 Mom wrote "now I must say a word about how good God is to me through this all. As my family and church family begin to find out I am having health problems, they call and end cards and most of all they pray and pray and pray. People I don't even know pray for me. I am humbled and feel so undeserving. I know without a doubt that their prayers have caused God to sustain me and uphold me. Though I don't know what the future will hold I have peace and do not live in fear. ... I mostly maintain a trust in God to do what is best in my life because He is good."

 Those are words to sit on for a moment. Mom's life verse was Proverbs 3:5-6 which says Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding...
 and mom lived that out.
 Honestly, how many of us choose a life verse but truly live it out to its full meaning? Mom did that. Those words written by her in the midst of Stage 4 cancer happening are evidence of her faith, her trust in God. That will never be lost on me. And it will forever hold an example for the woman of God I want to be myself, the mom and wife I want to be.

 I found a letter my mom wrote me back in 2001, just before I went on my first mission trip to El Salvador and Honduras. Mom said to me in the letter...."it's so wonderful to see you get to serve God how you have always desired."  That made me want to sit across from her and tell her all about my endeavors to Colombia last year and my excitement to go back again in June.

 The pages can go on about the words I have been able to pour through the last few days. It has been a blessing to have the penned pages my mom wrote through her time. That is partly why I find letters and writing so important. It speaks volumes from the heart. That is why I still write letters and that is why I blog. Maybe one day my words will reach across the pages to someone's heart like my mom's have for me. And if they don't that's ok.
 I have learned much from my mom and continue to do so.

 The ache of missing mom will always be there. But the peace that comes with the memories outweighs that sadness (most of the time.)
  I could write volumes and never give her justice to the beautiful legacy she left. She was an amazing mom. And spending time remembering her is always a beautiful time of reflection.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Time to share this week's little moments. Sorry if you get tired of this, but I do believe finding little things to make one smile every day is important. And possible. It's true some days are yucky and hard to find a positive, so when I share these, please know I am not being fake and saying life is all roses and sunshine. It's not.
 But... there is always something to find to smile about. And if I struggle to find it, I can look back and read these posts and remember, which in and of itself become something that makes me smile. That is why I write. To remember. (in part.) and that is why recording Life's Little Moments matters. So this week....

 1. Talking with my brother. He's younger than I am, but he retains everything he reads. Literally. And so sometimes it is hard for me to keep up with his intelligent conversations. It's difficult to find time to phone chat, especially with him living in a time zone 2 hours behind me and (me being the old woman I am) going to bed at 9 our time means connecting with him, a single father parent.... is a challenge. I digress. The point is.... we found time this week to talk. And it was so refreshing. I love my brother tons. And he is strong. And he encourages me. And he always gives me great book and podcast suggestions (which also comes from my older brother who has the same gift of retaining knowledge). The point is.... it made my day and part of my week to find time to connect with my brother. Also, he loves history and he is really good at that knowledge thing, and since I'm in a history class right now we got into a large discussion about it, which could have gone on for hours and was rather enlightening. Thankful for Tim.


 2. My dad. Happy 72 birthday to my dad! We enjoyed having him for dinner and dessert and time to play games (love to play games!) and watch a movie and laugh. My dad may not be a man full of deep conversations, but  he has taught me so much through life and I am so thankful for him. 

 3. My best friend, Paula.  We live an hour apart, but we work hard to find time for one another each month. I love when we get to meet and have coffee and talk for hours. So thankful for her friendship. She's such an amazing woman of God and a wonderful inspiration to me. I am thankful God brought her into my life (via Colombia). A few hours never seem enough. We laugh, we cry, we share. We drink coffee. I was super thankful for those few hours this weekend. 

 4. Colombia bracelets. I never used to be a bracelet person. But when I went to Colombia and had a life changing experience, I came home with a few bracelets on my wrist as gifts from people there and reminders for my time in their country and all God had done. Recently they broke :( Made me sad, but I knew I'd be returning in June and could get more. Well.... my best friend Paula happened to just have returned from there a couple weeks ago and wouldn't you know, she brought me some new ones. (unbeknownst to her that my old ones gave way.) She also brought me one that says "I am strong" A reminder of lessons I took in last year and still work to apply today. I love them. 

 5. Podcasts. I guess I'm a "grown up" now, because often times I choose to listen to a podcast rather than music. I still love my music, but I really enjoy gaining knowledge and listening to others teach or speak through podcasts. Does that make me Old? :) I don't think so... 

 6. 5K Planning. If you don't know, I host a 5K in memory of mom every year. This year we will be on May 13. But I picked up the mock-up of our medals for this year this week. I LOVE them! Here it is... and it makes me happy.
 If you want to learn more, you can check us out at Ferguson5K

 7. Theology. I really like to learn. My older brother has a wealth of theology knowledge since he went to seminary. I grew up Baptist and I understand what we learned and why and why I believe those things. What I don't always know or understand is why another denomination does something how or the way it does. Lent, for instance. That is obviously a big topic in society right now, and I've even blogged about it. But I don't always know the answers. I loved discussing with him and learning origins and reasons of  these things this week. 

 8. My pastor. I probably will say this often, but when I get excited about something.... I talk about it. I can't help it. And it is SO good to feel at home in a church. We have searched since we have lived here for a place to really call home. We had some temporary places. And they fit for our needs during certain times. But never felt "ours." Especially after we had an amazing home church in Florida. Restoration Park Church is our home. And I love it. And right now I am working closely with Pastor Randy and another lady on a Free Clothing event (featuring prom dress give aways!) for the community and I am so thankful for him. And his calling to RPC. It's a newer church, but evolved out of an established body. And I am so glad for having a place to call home.  

   We went from 65 degrees one day to 24 the next...but that's ok. There are plenty of things for which I can be thankful for (while I wait for that sun to come around and stick around!)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Train V. Try

My friend Jenny is a life coach and she once said how much she disliked the word "try." Because trying was sort of a cop out statement that made it seem like a person was attempting to achieve a result of some sort, but they really weren't putting in a full effort. I appreciated her sharing that but I really didn't dwell on it.

 And then this topic came up again in church on Sunday. My pastor, Randy Warner, did a sermon all about Train V. Try. You can listen to it here and I totally recommend you take the time to do so.

 So I decided to piggy back of these thoughts a little into my own world of how I'm learning about Training V. Trying.

 This is again where my spiritual life and my physical life intertwine, and I love that. I love the examples given in the bible of training, which can apply to various aspects of my life and tie them together.

 I am a runner, as you know. As much as I'd like to say I'm just going to go do a half marathon and be able to complete it because I have been doing them for several years now... I cannot. This winter, as I have shared, has taken a bit of a hit in my training. I had every intention of doing a half marathon on March 19. But I know right now that isn't going to happen. While I can likely go out and complete 13.1 miles by that time, my body really isn't up to that task right now because my training has not been up to par. And I would suffer for that.
 So I began thinking about an April 9 race. But even that would push me a little bit. I do my long runs on Saturday, so between now and April 9, I would only have the ability to run 4 long runs. Honestly, it's not enough time to build my stamina to where it needs to be for a half marathon to complete it well.
 This revelation makes me a little sad. But not without hope. I simply won't give up.
 Yes, the winter has had its obstacles. But as my body continues healing, the fighter in me continues to train. I am not going to say "I'm going to try to do a half marathon this spring." The answer in me is: I am going to train for a half marathon this spring. That is why I continuously pick races to do. It gives me a goal towards for which I am training. It gives purpose to my training runs.
 I would run regardless just because I enjoy it and what it does for my body. But when I have a race towards which I am working, the purpose in the training runs has a greater meaning. I am training. Not just trying. If I try.... it becomes so easy to give it up. But when I am training, I know there is a prize of sorts for me in the end. (Perhaps the medal like everyone else gets; maybe a PR; perhaps just the satisfaction of knowing I overcame some sort of obstacle.)

 The same is true even more for my spiritual life. I can't just say I am going to try to pray more. I have to train myself to do that. I can't just say I am going to try to read my Bible more. I need to train myself to do that. I can't just say I'm going to serve God more. I need to train myself. To make a plan. See how training v. trying applies to all areas? I can't just try to be a better wife, I have to train myself to be so. I can't try to be a better mom. I become a better mom by learning, training, working towards. It's a life time event, this training.

 I love how the spiritual and physical line up so often. Pastor Randy used this verse in the message, and again, I am going to piggy back off that a little. I love these verses.

 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
 "Do you not know that in a race all the  runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly. I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

  This is Lent Season. As I shared a week ago, that practice is sort of new to me, having grown up in a church that never exercised it. But while my sacrifice feels sort of silly when I talk about it out loud, it is something between me and God that is training me to put my focus on Him and not on myself. I'm learning to embrace how He has made me from the inside out instead of putting down what He has created. I am working towards a crown that will last. Because in the end, these things that we do focus on usually aren't what has eternal value or worth. And day by day He is really working this lesson in to me. Sometimes I mess it up and have to start my training all over again. But it's never square one, even if it feels like it. Because He has already brought me far. I just have to keep going, keep training, keep working towards the finish line. I cannot run aimlessly. Sacrifices get made, but the rewards are great.

   Just like I have a race goal toward which I am working (which is in May now... more realistic for my standards and goals) I am working on what He has put in front of me spiritually. As time unfolds, it likely will become a blogging event because I value sharing what God is teaching me. but for now, it's a practice God is working into my daily training and therefore, I am still processing through the lessons He is showing me.

 One step, one prayer, one day at a time.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


I love reflecting on the positive moments. It takes me out of the mundane of the week and puts me in a happy place.
 This week's Little Moments...

 1. Reconnecting with an old friend. We spent a year at the same Bible institution in Florida in 2000-2001. Then we both got married. We were great friends. But we lost touch. This week she reached out to me and it's as though we didn't miss 16 years of talking. I love friends like that. Makes my heart happy.

 2. Planning for Colombia. As the team just returned in June, I've seen the progress made since I was there a year ago, and speaking with the team leader for the upcoming trip makes me excited and makes my heart happy.

 3. The upside of having a minor surgery  and not being able to do everything I usually do? Reading! I love to read, but life is so busy, I don't get to do it as much as I would like. Do you ever read a good book and get sad when it is finished? I do. I had time to read over the last week and have savored the seconds of it all over again.

 4. My dog, Bronco. His name suits him. He bounces around like a bucking horse full of energy. But he is so loving. He made me smile more than once this week by placing his jowels on my lap, loving on me with his big puppy dog eyes. He usually doesn't settle down for much, but it's amazing what a dog can sense. And the fact he multiple times stopped his rambunctious play to give me a brief cuddle was evidence of a dog's sense of understanding. He is ready for me to be back running, though....

 5. My health. Getting my wisdom teeth pulled has not been a very fun experience. But honestly, life could be so much worse. And the truth is, I am in very good health, and I am grateful for that. Sometimes I need a little perspective to remember that I really am blessed in that way of life.

 6. Lent.
 It's the season of  Lent. Growing up, that was not a word I understood or was super familiar with . We celebrated Easter of course, but we never called it the Lent season (that I can recall). I suppose because Lent was more of a Catholic foundation and we weren't Catholic. But I have come to appreciate and embrace the entirety of the season. I love having those 40+ days beginning Ash Wednesday that lead up to celebrating the time of Jesus's death and resurrection. I think we should spend more time year round focusing on it, but the idea that it is laid out during this time makes sense. This year I am focusing more on reading the scriptures. It has been a story I have read and known my whole life. But in learning history about the Roman culture, I've come to appreciate that aspect, and so I am going to spend these 40+days digging into those things I may never have learned. Even when we hear something our whole lives, we can always have a new perspective and gain new appreciation. I am looking forward to this. I also am spending this time focusing on preparing my heart for Colombia. My first time around, I spent a lot of prayer over the trip. And now that I am going again, my perspective is different, but I want to make sure I am in tune with what God wants to teach me this time around.  It's important to do always, but Lent seems a good time to be in tune with His preparations of my heart.

   It's the Little Moments that make up the memories.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What I've Learned This Winter

Today I'm linking up with fellow blogger, Emily P. Freeman.
 She started a link up on her blog a couple of years ago that entailed writing every month what we learn. She's made that more of a quarterly event now, so today I link up with her to share with you some things that I have learned this winter.

 2017 has been sort of a chaotic start for our family, but we are managing to navigate the bumps that come our way. And along the way, I am always learning new and interesting things. Here are a few:

 1. I love Essential Oils

 A year ago I had a friend tell me about essential oils, and while I deeply respected her, I sort of thought it was quacky. (Sorry , Lori... though you know I've come around)  I just didn't understand how an oil could help me feel better.
 Well, let me tell you, I am a believer. And if others want to call me quacky now, that is ok with me. Because they work. There is an oil for everything. Literally. And you can combine oils to make remedies for any malady you may experience. Now, this little discovery can be an expensive hobby. Lucky for me I have some very kind friends who are sharing a lot of their oils with me.  I am not a big spender, but if I can go natural, it will be worth the pennies spent.
  A couple of examples: I just had my wisdom teeth out (not a pretty experience.)   but the oil cloves is recommended to help with mouth pain. So I added a drop of cloves to my mouthwash that was prescribed and I was able to stop taking the pain meds!
  Another example would be stress away. Yes, there is an oil called that. I put that in my diffuser. I also wear it in a little locket and guess what? I have reduced my anxiety meds in half. Perhaps eventually I can go off them. Time will tell.
 Lastly, my son, who laughed at me about this, has been experiencing a cold. DayQuil isn't helping him, but I put some oils in the diffuser. Today he came home from school and immediately turned the diffuser on. It's helped him greatly.
 I once was a skeptic. I now really enjoy these oils.

 2. Fast Girl

 I loved this book. I could not put it down. It's a true story about an Olympic runner who was bipolar. She lived a crazy lifestyle for a while until she discovered that was her issue. Now she speaks in public about the illness and shares her story with everyone. I applaud her courage. Everyone has a story. When she shares hers, I think it should inspire more of us to tell ours.

 3. The Roman Road

 This semester I am in a history class and a computer class. In the history class, we studied a few chapters on ancient Rome. I loved this because it intertwined all the Bible stories I have read with the historical accounts of life during that time. While there was a familiarity with it, I gained a new appreciation of what is taught in the Bible by learning more about the Roman history.

 There are a series of verses in the book of Romans often called the Roman Road. The verses in the book used in this reference are all in regards to salvation. I have heard this term my whole life. But I got a new spin on the term when studying history in my class. The Romans were the first society to ultimately begin building roads. While initially designed for military purposes, they obviously came to serve many other purposes. But one thing my history book said was the that roman roads provided the gospel to be more easily spread because the apostles could make it more easily from area to area. I had never heard that. And while it wasn't the reference I was used to, really they tied together.
There were many other fascinating facts  I took in while studying those couple of chapters. I love that this class does not eliminate the Christian beliefs from the history.

 4. Minimalism is Fun!
 I have begun listening to the podcasts of The Minimalists, as well as reading their writings and practicing some of their "challenges" that they put out. Their concept is not new, but I have begun embracing it and I so enjoy it. Getting rid of "stuff" I really don't need is freeing. It makes me really evaluate what I need, if a purchase is necessary and things along those lines. I am having fun going through all of my cabinets and getting rid of things. When Spring comes around, I am excited to tackle my shed... which is something I never would have thought would make me excited. You can take their concepts and apply them as it fits your life. It's really interesting how all of these things play together and make a healthier version of me. It sounds crazy, but... it's pretty wonderful.

 5. Change...

 It takes change to often drop our lives into a new place of growth. I want to be honest with you. I am typically very open and vulnerable on my blog, but I protect certain areas. Michael doesn't particularly get into the world of blogging, and he isn't an extrovert like I am. So I leave a lot of the lessons that are learned through the world of marriage out of the blog so often. But in the midst of this winter, that has been a center piece of growth for me. I am not going to elaborate on details here, but I will share that we experienced some total chaos in the world of work in his job. Which ultimately led to his loss of a job. We knew it was coming, and I believe God was using the time of rest he has forced me into (in His ever so gentle way) to prepare us for what was to come. Through many trials, conversations, tears, dreaming, sharing, and praying.... he did lose his job in the early weeks of February. But that same week, God provided a new one.  I give Michael some great credit in how hard he looked to find one. He didn't miss a beat. And we are confident somehow God has a better plan laid out with all of this.
 But it has taken time to adjust to the changing winds. And in the process I have been refined.  He has used my fears to test the waters of my faith and has taught me lessons so great that perhaps I can expand on that at another time.
  Change is part of life. At times I deal well and other times, I go kicking and screaming, only to later become the calm child, realizing how ridiculous my tantrum (even if quiet) was. I have struggled through some of this change, and yet it also has become one of the most beautiful times for God to make me sit still and know that he is God. He is in charge. He is in control. And not one ounce of worry or fear or frustration I shed gets me closer to an answer. But sitting still and trusting Him carries me in a way that is unexplainable. Easy? No way. But worth it? 100% yes.

 6. My  new favorite song....

  I am confident there are probably one hundred more lessons I have learned this winter, but that encompasses a lot. Thank you, Emily, for creating this idea and letting me link up! Life is full of interesting moments.