Friday, August 31, 2012

Success: it's what we all want, right?

Whew! I don't know about you, but this last week was crazy and long! We came back home from my monthly doctor's appointment, errands, trip to the ER, DIY project fever (thanks to Pinterest), sister's birthday party and much more, so in other words, I'm glad it's a new week! And what a better way to start the week off by making it to church, finally! There are many mornings when I just can't get out of bed because I'm hurting so much. In that situation, I watch church on the internet (gotta love technology!), but yesterday was different! I was up early and not as stiff as usual. I'm glad that churches now have online podcasts, but it's definitely not the same as being in church with a body of believers. Anyway, the sermon was so good that this post is going to be based around it. The sermon series the church is in right now, is titled "The Cardinal Rules of Success". Everyone wants success, right? I mean, I think it's part of being a human being to want success. In everything I do, I try to aim for success. Is there anything wrong with that? Welllll.....I think it depends on our definition of success. The world (and dictionary) tells us that success is defined by "the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence." The media tells us that success is owning 5 different sports cars, owning a Fortune 500 business (or two), having your own reality tv show, earning a 4.0 GPA and so much more. Hmmm....according to the media, I am not successful at all! So I'm thinking something is wrong with this picture. Are all the things I listed, true proof of success? Well, Pastor Craig Reynolds doesn't think so. He said, "Real success is not about us, it's about Him. Real success is about being in His presence." I'm not bashing sports cars or owning a Fortune 500 business or reality tv shows, but I think it's important to think about the motive behind those three things. If the motive is to show off and make people jealous of you, I don't think that is success. Real success is when we glorify God. Whether it be praying with someone or moving across the world as a missionary, we can glorify God through the little and big things in our lives. When we are in God's presence, we are blessed. When we focus on Him and not on ourselves, we are blessed with attributes like gentleness, kindness, love, patience, wisdom, strength, comfort and the list goes on. I don't know of any sports cars or reality shows that gives all of that. If you do, let me know, but good luck finding it! Pastor Craig also said, "It's about who He is and His will....if we focus on ourselves, we won't be able to find His purpose." So not only do you get all of those attributes when you focus on God, but you also find the purpose of your life! I don't know what could be more successful than that! So think about how you can be successful this week. Don't worry about attempting to get your own reality tv show or 5 sports can be much more successful...and it doesn't even involve money! Sign me up! :) Romans 12:2- "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will." Be blessed today! Oh, if you started back to school today (whether student or as staff), I hope you have a great & successful school year (it's a great mission field)! I would attach the podcast for the sermon yesterday, but it's not up yet. If you would like, you could look occasionally on Also, there was a lot more to this sermon, but I'll write more about that later :)

Waiting to catch a big one...

This past week my family and I were invited to come to my uncle and aunt's house in Port Aransas. It was a nice little vacation where us, ladies, spent a lot of time talking, reading, and relaxing while the men fished. Oh and I can't forget to mention the amazing seafood and comfy hammock! Anyway, because of my lovely illness (sarcasm, of course), I'm not allowed to be in the sun due to one of my medications or I would be burnt to a crisp...literally. Not a nice sight. So for the first time, I was unable to go wade fishing with the guys. I was quite upset because I love to wade fish. I may not be any good at it, but I've always liked being "one of the guys" out in the ocean catching fish...or at least trying. I still had a good time just relaxing, but I just couldn't see myself leaving Port Aransas without fishing. So like any good patient, I talked my dad into letting me do some night fishing. Of course, like any good dad, he couldn't say no to his precious daughter (haha love ya dad!). After my dad got my pole ready, I cast out my line, hoping to catch a big one! The stars were twinkling above, the wind was blowing, and the moon was glowing....what a perfect night for fishing! I've fished ever since I was little, usually just on vacations. I think what I liked most was being out there with guys and attempting to do something tough and messy (I guess you could say), but there was one thing I didn't enjoy much....waiting. I constantly was wanting to reel in my line and cast out again, but then again what do you expect for a little kid? Not many kids are exactly pros in the patience arena. This night was somewhat different however. As I sat in the boat, waiting to hook a fish, I realized that I wasn't necessarily anxious to reel in a big one. Of course, that was my goal, but I was okay waiting. I would be lying if I said I never once got anxious about catching one (especially since I was getting a lot of bites, that may have helped my patience), but when I wasn't getting any bites, I was fine with taking my surroundings in and just waiting. Have you ever been fine with waiting? Have you ever put waiting on the top of your most enjoyable things to do? I know I haven't! I realized during my time of fishing (funny how God can speak to you), that these past 8 months of treatment has taught me something....waiting. I knew from the beginning of treatment that it was a process and may not happen over night. Patience was required for this journey that I'm on. Have you ever heard the saying, "don't pray for patience"? Well, I'm guilty of that. I think I prayed that prayer years ago and guess what? I believe my prayer was finally answered! I'm not saying that I have mastered the art of patience (you can ask my parents), because I haven't. However, God has definitely taught me a lot about patience the past 8 months and really for the past 8 years. Now I don't think I have been patient on my own though. I think God has definitely helped me with that lately. I think we've all heard the phrase, "the best things are worth waiting for." I think that phrase is intended to make the waiting process easier, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Most of the time, waiting isn't fun. So whether it's waiting to catch a 22 inch red fish or waiting for good health, I think the most important part is what we learn while we're waiting. You may learn patience or trust or something about yourself, but no matter what it is, there is a reason for the waiting. If God is letting me go through this to teach me patience, then I'm thankful because patience is really important in life. So what are YOU waiting for? Good health, like me? A job? Spouse? Forgiveness? Whatever it may be, figure out what you're supposed to learn from it and grow. Find the good in the waiting and trust in God's timing. Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. A song that I love that speaks the truth about waiting is called "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller. Check it out, if you'd like! Blessings! <3

Drifting away? Feeling lost?

So today, me, my mom, and my two oldest neices went to see ICE AGE: Continental Drift. It was pretty cute and witty. It even inspired me to blog! If you haven't seen it and don't want to know how it ends, STOP reading, right now! Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen any of the Ice Age movies, there are a few reoccuring themes of searching, getting lost, and facing many roadblocks. Can you relate to that? I know I can! Throughout all of the Ice Age movies, the character, Scrat, is on the pursuit of holding onto this beloved acorn and finding more. He focuses so hard on this acorn that he loses sight of everything around him. In fact, in Ice Age: Continental Drift, his acorn causes the upheaval of Pangea's split. Throughout his search for more acorns, he is completely oblivious to all the havoc around him. Not only is Scrat involved, but many other characters such as Manny, Ellie, Peaches, Sid, and more. They are all separated because of Scrat's tunnel vision of acorns. The movie is about these characters getting separated from each other, being lost, and finding each other once and for least I think so, unless there is going to be an Ice Age 5. Anyway, Scrat finds the skeleton of the acorn and gets upset because it is not whole. Soon he realizes there is a map inside of it that is the guide to the acorn heaven. He follows the map and soon finds a palace of acorns. Scrat is in heaven! So you may be thinking, "how in the world would you be inspired by a kid movie?" Well, with me, anything is possible (haha)! So the lightbulb turned on while I was sitting in the movie theater...we can be a lot like silly, lil Scrat. Is there something that you focus on so much that makes you lose sight of everything else? Is that object all that matters to you? Would you do anything and everything to find it and keep it? Well, how's it working for you? I know when I set my sight on something other than God, I can feel lost and all over the place. I don't know about you, but that is not a fun feeling! Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." When Scrat found his map, he knew where to go and how to get there. Once he got there, he found more than he could ever imagine. So when we let go of the things that keep us distracted from God and allow God to guide us, we will find more than we can imagine. Yes, it may be hard to let go of that object or relationship or habit, but it is worth it. God will guide us in His will and lead us to what is best. For Scrat, it was a heaven filled with acorns, but for us right now, it can be peace or joy. However, the best part is the very ending....being in heaven! So if you're holding onto something that is being a wedge between you and God, think about laying it down. Luke 9:23-24 says, "Then He said to them all, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." So lay it down & trust God's map for you! One of my favorite songs is "Lay Em Down" by NEEDTOBREATHE...check it out! <3 Peace :)

My own personal cheerleader

I know last post I said this time I was going to write about "finding God's specific will" from Gregg Matte's book, but as I was watching the Olympics tonight, that entry got pushed back to another time. Anyway, I just finished watching the All Around Women's final in Gymnastics. I've always enjoyed watching this event, especially this year. I think we had a lot of really good talent on the team and the girls seemed real down to earth. Another part of the event that I liked was watching the parents. Boy do they get into it or what?! I loved watching all the intense emotion from these supportive people. While I was watching Aly's parents squirm and Gabby's mom yell with joy, it made me wonder if that's what God is like up there in heaven. I wonder if He beams with pride when we reach a goal? Or does He feel our agony and pain that we go through? Or does He stand up and cheer us on when we're about to give up? Or does He give us advice when we ask Him for it? What about when we mess up, does He hang his head and whisper the words "it's okay...I still love you"? I think the answer to all of those questions is a simple "yes". I like to think of God as my own personal cheerleader. He may be far up in the stands sometimes, but I know He is always there. He never leaves. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." On top of that, even when I lose or screw up, He's still there. He doesn't give up on me. He doesn't storm out on me, but instead, He forgives me. He truly forgives me...He remembers my sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). He doesn't continue to remind me what I messed up on (that's not cheerleader-like), but He moves on and guides me to a new playing field. Lastly, He encourages me and motivates me to do better. He reminds me that with His strength I can do anything. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." I can't think of a better cheerleader than that, can you? Never forget that you have a cheerleader 24/7....ready to cheer for you, ready to be there when you mess up, and ready to encourage you to move on. Check out one of my favorite songs that reminds me of mine & your cheerleader! "Your Love Never Fails" by Jesus Culture.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chicken Nuggets vs. Salvation

So if you don't know, today was a day to either support or boycott the Chick-fil-A CEO's belief in traditional same sex marriage. Usually, I don't get involved in things like this, but as I laid on the couch today looking at Facebook on my phone, I read many posts about Chick-fil-A and all of a sudden I got this HUGE craving for waffle fries and Chick-fil-A sauce! So I jumped in my truck around 1:45 and headed over there. I soon realized that a lot of people are joining in on Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day or they just might want some chicken. Anyway, the picture above was taken in my truck (don't worry, I wasn't moving) and it took me probably 10 minutes to get into a packed Kroger/Chick-fil-A parking lot. I would have stayed in my truck for the drive-thru, except that my AC isn't cooling like it should and I was low on gas and there was no telling how long I'd be there. After I finally found a free parking spot in the back, I headed into the restaurant. It was packed! The line was all the way to the door. It was so packed people could hardly move. Usually people get pretty agitated in confined spaces and in long lines especially when they're hungry, but as I scanned the room, there was nothing but smiling joke! As I'm waiting for my waffle fries, diet lemonade and of course, Chick-fil-A sauce, I had an epiphany and felt compelled to share it with you. My next blog was supposed to be about God's will, but I couldn't pass this opportunity up. Now don't worry I'm not going to talk about gay/lesbian marriage or the freedom of speech. This rally of supporters made me think. So think about this....why can't Christ followers make a statement like these Chick-fil-A lovers (me included)? I mean, yeah you get chicken nuggets and waffle fries (yum!), but you get salvation and eternal life from Christ! PLUS, unlike the chicken nuggets, you don't have to pay to be saved! It's free! It's a gift! All you have to do is believe. So I don't know about you, but I think salvation is a lot more important than chicken nuggets. So why aren't we, as believers, rallying together about what Jesus Christ has done for us? The CEO made a statement about his beliefs on marriage, but Jesus (a perfect man) died on the cross for you and all your mess ups! Talk about a statement! He didn't grill you up a chicken sandwich, He gave you more! He gave you grace and forgiveness all because He LOVES you! All the CEO has done has provided us some good food and he gets all this support? I don't get why we can't get excited about Jesus like this. We should have a Jesus Appreciation Day everyday! That's how we should live. We should be bold. We should take action. I heard a mother saying she had been to that Chick-fil-A twice that day and each time she brought more people with her. Why can't we invite people to church like that? In fact, this "appreciation day" was such a big deal that it made it on the news. Can you imagine if there was more of Jesus on the news? I saw on the news that a man and his family were going there for each meal today. Why can't we be that devoted? Now I'm not going to say that I am bold, because I'm not. I'm guilty of sitting back and letting the world pass me by. So I'm writing to myself, too. I'm guilty and trying to change that. I think this world would be a much nicer place if Christ followers were this devoted, excited and bold. So think about how you can be more bold about your faith or beliefs (whatever you may believe). How can you make a statement? How can you show your appreciation to God for all that He has done for you? I didn't think driving 10 minutes and waiting for 30 minutes at Chick-fil-A would make such an impact on me, but it did. It really made me think. I'm sorry if this entry seemed jumbled or negative. My goal was to just make you think about and how you can make a statement of appreciation for what Christ has done for you. If you're heading out to Chick-fil-A today, maybe take advantage of the wait and talk to people about your beliefs. 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. I Corinthians 16:13 - Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. Peace! :)

What is my purpose?

The past week I have been trying my hardest to rest and be a good patient. So instead of just laying on the couch doing nothing, I decided to read. My mom lent me this book called, "Finding God's Will" by Pastor Gregg Matte and she thought I would love it. She was right! It's a short, easy read and it's jam packed with a lot of good information and advice on "finding God's will". I don't know about you or where you are in your life, but I'm not totally sure what God wants me to do with my life. Like I've said in previous posts, all my life I knew what I wanted to do as a career and now that I've graduated, I feel a little lost. Can you relate? Now just because you read the book doesn't mean that the minute you finish it, God will reveal His specific will for you. Maybe He will for you, who knows, but that's not what happened with me. We can't expect God to just drop a career or whatever in your lap, we have to do some work too. The first point in the book is "to find God's will, do God's will." Let's pause for a second- do you feel like you have a purpose in this world? Wait, let me answer it for you, OF COURSE YOU DO!!! God has a purpose for everyone! He doesn't have a purpose just for the wealthy or the goody-two-shoes, He has a purpose for a each and every person on this earth. Never doubt that truth. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Pastor Gregg explains in the book that God has a general will and specific will. You wanna know what the general will is? It's God, love one another and share the good news about Jesus Christ. So if you feel totally lost right now, that's a good place to start. While loving others, seeking God and reading His Word, God will reveal to you His specific will for you. In the book he talks about a German proverb that goes like this..."Begin to weave, and God will give you the thread." He also says, "I believe that if we would simply walk with God in our ordinary routines, we would discover that He is present and waiting to show us His will." So no matter how old you are or what stage of life you are a in, know's not too late to find God's will for you. The first step is to start living in His general will - love God, love others, and share with others the love of Christ. Before you say, "but", (I know I'm guilty of speaking that lovely word), ask God for strength, grace, and forgiveness to live in His will. Then try it out! How are you going to love someone today? Who will you share the good news with? 1 John 4:19 - We love because He first loved us. We'll talk about the "but" next time....Show some love today! :)

A Bit of Heaven on Earth

I was watching the opening ceremony last night and obviously, it inspired me to write even though I just wrote yesterday! I'm on a roll! First of all, if you don't know me, let me let you in on a secret...I'm a tad bit sentimental. So bare with me if what I'm about to write seems a little far fetched or silly or emotional, but it just popped into my mind! I'm not going to critique the ceremony or talk about the funny moments of Mr. Bean or the queen and James Bond (even though it was pretty entertaining), but I'm going to talk about the hope I found in the ceremony. You may be wondering, "What hope? The hope that team USA is going to win? The hope that the media is finally going to stop talking about Ralph Lauren's opening ceremony outfits?" Nope, I'm not going to talk about either. So enough with all this chit chat, let me get to the point. I had a glimpse of heaven while I was watching the ceremony. No, I don't think heaven is going to look like London, however, you never know! What made me think of heaven was when I saw the flags from the different countries on the hill surrounding the tree, the eight people carrying the olympic flag, and the thousands of excited athletes. All these people from around the world have finally arrived to this one place after four years (or more) of intense training to practice their skills and abilities. Aside from the competition aspect, I saw heaven in the faces of the ecstatic people. I saw heaven in the dancing. I saw heaven in the music. I saw heaven in the community. I saw heaven in the excitement from around the world. Everyone is talking about the olympics. It's one of the few times that the whole world comes together for a positive reason. The fact that 204 countries, 10, 902 athletes and billions of people watching the events are all involved together blows me away. It reminds me of heaven because all people of different cultures and walks of life will meet together for one reason....belief in Christ Jesus for their salvation. Revelation 15:4 says, "'Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.'" Just like the excited athletes, everyone in heaven will be more than excited. Who wouldn't be excited about no pain, no tears, no war, no sorrow (the list goes on)? Revelation 7:16-17 says, "They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them,nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Not to mention, we as a body of believers, will be reunited with Jesus. I don't know about you, but it sounds like a party to me! So we should be inviting people to this party. Matthew 28:19-20, also known as the Great Commision, says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Now I'm not saying the olympics are heaven, all I'm saying is that it was a good reminder of what heaven will be like. So what does heaven look like to you? Who are you going to invite to the biggest party of all ages?! Be blessed! Enjoy the olympics :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Everything happens for a reason

When you've faced trials in your life, I'm sure you've heard the common phrase, "everything happens for a reason". A lot of times that phrase doesn't make us feel any better about the situation we are in, but I think it should. Since I've had a lot of down time the past 7 months, I have had plenty of time to meditate on the past 22 years of my life. Ever since I was little I always had my life planned out to a T. I look at my life now and is it anything I had! For instance, I always said I would never go to Sam Houston State University and where did I graduate from? Exactly, SHSU. Obviously, I never planned to have Lyme Disease, but I do. I always wanted to be in broadcast journalism and be a host on Good Morning I? No. Maybe one day, you never know! I planned on meeting my husband in college....did I? I don't think I did haha. If I did, I don't know it. So it's clear that my life has not gone the way I had planned. Am I angry about it? No, I'm not. Even though it hasn't been easy, I know that everything has happened for a reason. God planned it better than I could. It's really cool to see how the puzzle pieces have come together so far. There was a reason I went to SHSU and if God hadn't pulled me there, I wouldn't have been a part of an amazing college ministry. I wouldn't have met some of my best friends. I wouldn't have had so many awesome experiences. Most importantly, I believe my faith wouldn't have grown like it has. While I was at SHSU I didn't really see what God was planning, but now I do and boy, am I impressed! I mean who wouldn't be impressed by the creator of the universe?! Looking back and seeing how God has clearly placed people and situations in my life to help me is so encouraging. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Through a guy I met, I was introduced to a wonderful girl who also has Lyme Disease. Without knowing her, I think I would be lost during this Lyme journey. Although Lyme Disease really stinks, I know that God has a purpose through all of it. Even right now I don't understand why certain things have happened, but I have hope that one day I will. I can trust that God knows what He's doing. I definitely can't trust myself because I mess up all the time. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" So if you're at a point in your life and you just don't understand why things are happening or why things aren't happening, remember that everything happens for a reason. All you need to do is trust that God is putting the puzzle pieces together, piece by piece. You see some puzzle pieces, but God sees the full puzzle. Think about how things have fallen into place in your life and be thankful for each puzzle piece. Continue to trust in God's plan for you while being obedient in His will. Be blessed today :)

Rest...cure all for everyone

So last week I went to my monthly doctor's appointment. My doctor is very funny and usually always happy, but this appointment was a little different. He was funny and happy until I listed off all of things I have done the past few weeks. Once I had finished explaining my obligations and my wish for a normal summer, he quickly reminded that I have Lyme Disease and can't be normal at the moment. He was not happy that I had been so busy. Unfortunately, because I have been so busy this past month, my health has suffered. Now we are backtracking on treatment which I was not happy about. Anyway, his advice and demand was that I rest so that I will get better faster. I agree with this advice and believe that rest is important, but I hate laying around all the time. With support of my adamant doctor, family, and friends, my goal of the month is to rest. So where am I going with this? Well, I don't think I'm the only one who needs rest. Even if you don't have health issues like me, I feel that everyone could benefit from just resting. However, these days it's really hard to rest when our schedules are jam packed with things to do. We are so focused on getting things done that we forget one of the most important Jesus said (Matthew 11:28 NIV), "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." It's important for us to step away from our hectic lives and just rest so that we may be rejuvenated to the face our next busy day. Resting can be different for people. How do you rest? Maybe your rest is gardening or reading a book in bed or napping! Reading the Bible could even be your rest. Whatever it may be, try being proactive and setting aside 15 minutes a day to just rest. If I'm not resting by laying down, I like to rest on my deck. There I can clear my mind and focus on what the promises that God has given me. So my challenge for you AND me, is to rest every day. We can't miss the fact that true rest only comes from God. One of my favorite singers is Audrey Assad. She sings a song called, "Restless". The chorus goes like this..."And I'm restless, I'm restless, 'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You...I wanna rest in You." We may feel rested after a long nap, but we don't find true rest until we seek God and all His promises for us. It can be tough to step away from our hectic lives, but it's definitely worth it! It can help physically, but also spiritually. So go get some rest, I know I'm going to! Be blessed today! :)

Surrounded by Joy

This past weekend I was surrounded by joy. I was honored to be a part of a wonderful celebration of two lives coming together as one by being a bridesmaid. One of my best friends, Joanna, married the love of her life, Spencer, on Saturday. It was such a beautiful weekend full of laughter, excitement, love and joy. It was clear at the dress rehearsal dinner that God was bringing two people together who are very loved. Words of memories and kindness along with tears of joy affirmed that the next day was going to be an emotional day of celebration and praise to God for bringing these two very special people together. The day of the wedding arrived and seeing Joanna with complete joy was contagious. Although I was not around Spencer much before the wedding, I knew that he couldn't wait to marry his girl. I'm a pretty emotional person when it comes to weddings, but I had no clue how emotional I was going to be during the ceremony. While I was walking down the aisle towards the front of the church, Spencer was beaming. He couldn't wait to see Joanna and be married to her at last. After I found my spot at the front of the church, I looked at the faces of the bridal party and the groom and I found happiness. Tears began to well up in my eyes and I was thankful for the thoughtful, groom's mother that had given us tissues and the pockets in my dress. The time had come for Joanna to walk down the aisle to this beautiful song called, "Hundred More Years" by Francessca Battistelli. Because of my height I couldn't see her walk in so the next best thing was to look at was Spencer's face and let me tell you, what a wonderful thing to see. As a tear rolled down his cheek, he was mesmerized by his bride like time had stood still. Joy had consumed him. That's when I almost lost it. It was such a beautiful moment. When Joanna met Spencer at the front, the love they share together became evident. As the vows were spoken, not only was the bridal party crying, but many guests were crying as well. They weren't crying tears of sadness, but tears of joy. I was surrounded by joy. I will never forget the love and joy that I felt that day. Their wedding reminded me of the joy that God wants us to feel. He doesn't want us to wait for joy, but to find joy now. We may not feel like the time is appropriate to be joyful, but God wants us to find joy in everything. We shouldn't wait for the big things in life to be joyful, but we should also find joy in the little things. I believe joy truly comes from being confident in the promises that God gives us. When we surround ourselves with those promises, we find joy. Psalm 90:14 says, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Before Jesus was crucified and resurrected, he said "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them" (John 17:13). Acts 2:28 says, "You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence." Sometimes it may be hard to find joy in the present. It may take some time away from your hectic life to find it, but it's there. You may be looking in the wrong places. 1 Chronicles 16:27 says, "Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place." So today take the time to find joy and live in it. Don't wait for it to come to you. Find it. Have a blessed week! :)

Making a List

I'm not sure about you, but I like to make lists. I make to-do lists, grocery lists, medicine lists, and even lists to remind myself what to talk about (gotta love that Lyme brain haha)! Sometimes I even make lists in my head about all the things that I've failed at, things that I need/want and a list of my flaws. All these lists can be overwhelming and even degrading. They certainly aren't real encouraging. Unfortunately, the world motivates us to make lists like this, but doesn't motivate us to make lists of the good things. Since when was the list time you made a list of all the things you have gotten DONE? Or a list of all the food you have in the pantry? A list of all your skills and abilities instead of imperfections? What about a list of all the things you are blessed with? I know I hardly ever make lists like the ones I just mentioned. This past Thanksgiving I wrote down something I was thankful for everyday, and I believe it really helped my attitude. I'm beginning to think I shouldn't only do that around Thanksgiving, but throughout the whole year! Although I may not be the healthiest, richest person in the world, I know the God has blessed me with so many things that I could think of something I'm thankful for everyday for many, many years to come. It may be difficult at times because we are so trained to think about what we don't have instead of what we have, but I know it's possible. Little things that I take for granted like running water or a roof over my head often don't make my thankfulness list, but I think they should! In the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "in everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." So instead of letting a list overwhelm us with not-so-good feelings, why don't we make a list that overwhelms us with thankfulness and gratitude! Feel blessed today (because you are!) :)

Flying with Intention

So this morning I was sitting on the deck and something caught my eye...a butterfly. I know you are probably thinking, "Gosh, she keeps on talking about butterflies!" I don't know why, but maybe I'm supposed to learn a thing or two from butterflies. So I'm watching this one big, orange butterfly and I notice it keeps flying back to the same flower. It would fly to others, but it would consistently come back to this same pink flower. Obviously butterflies don't have much to do, other than fly and collect nectar. Sounds kind of boring, if you ask me, but anyway, I'm digressing. In order for a butterfly to live, they must eat (just like us) nectar from flowers, pollen, and other different things. Therefore, the source of their life is nectar. They have to go back to it to keep living. We as humans also live off of food, however, there is a deeper source of life...God. Yes, food keeps me noursihed, but I really believe that I have life because of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, John 14:6 says, "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." So my nectar is God. (I really hope this makes sense.) In order to live I must always go back to God, just like the butterfly kept going back to that one flower. Do I always go to God? No, I don't. I try my hardest and I will fail at times, but I should always remember that He is the source of my life. My intention should always be to turn to God. It may not be easy, but that should always be our intention. I also realized that not only was the nectar that butterfly's lifeline, it was also the lifeline for many other insects and plants. That butterfly was getting the nectar/pollen from that one flower and then spreading that pollen to other flowers. Through this process of pollination, flowers grow and insects feed on them in order to stay alive. So how does that relate to us? When we go back to God, He nourishes us so that we may be able to spread His love, grace and forgiveness to others. The trick is always going back to Him just like the butterfly was flying with intention. So think about it....who is your source of life? What are your intentions with life? Are you flying with intention or are you just flying for the sake of it? I hope this made sense to you. My explanation might have been a little flawed, but I thought it was a good analogy. This "aha" moment was just a good reminder of what I'm supposed to do and it made me realize how intricately God made this world. Desperation Band sings a great song called "Rescue". It talks about God being the source of life. I love it! Be blessed!

Why me?! Part Two

So in my last blog, I talked about how when bad things happen we (or I) tend to wonder "why me?!". Also, I talked about how life isn't supposed to be really isn't. So what do we do when we face a road block? Well we have 2 choices...let it stop us from living and grow angry OR we can overcome it and find joy. During my Lyme journey and other times in my life, I have faced a road block and had to choose. There have been times when I have chosen the first one and others when I've chosen the latter. In the beginning of my Lyme journey I chose the first, but now I am choosing the second. Enough about me, because I've said from the beginning I don't want this blog to be totally about me! I believe that God turns the bad into good. My Lyme disease is a bad thing, but I have already seen how God is working through it. I need to embrace it. I need to use it. Think of the tough times that you have faced. Which decision did you make? Whether you believe in God or not, don't let tough times defeat you! Pick yourself up and keep truckin! Philippians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." God wants us to use whatever situation we face to show His love, grace, and mercy to others! So I look at it this way...we shouldn't stay in a cocoon, but we should be a butterfly! I definitely think God is teaching me a lot through this journey and I can't wait to see what he does with it! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" So think about about how you can make your trials into triumphs! Be blessed today :)

Why me?! Part One

So it's been awhile since I have posted. It's been a rough, busy week , but I'm back now! I want to say as a disclaimer that what I'm about to talk about (as well as all my other posts) you may not agree with and that's totally fine! Just speaking my mind :) So let's be honest...we have all said the infamous two word phrase, "why me?!" In the past six months, I have said these two words quite often. In fact, I have used this phrase many times in the last 22 years of my life. Well, maybe not when I was a baby, but you get what I'm saying. Anyway, whenever I face hard times I often wonder "why me?!" Really, I should be saying, "why NOT me?!" For me to think that my life should be all rosy 24/7 is pretty ridiculous. I have done nothing to deserve a perfect life. I'm human. I mess up. How can I expect a perfect life when I'm not perfect? The truth is I live in a world full of crap because the world is full of non perfect people. The only hope that gets me through is that heaven IS a perfect place and I can't wait to be there. My point is...when bad things happen I shouldn't scream at the top of my lungs, "why me?!" A great friend who is in ministry pointed out that in Psalm 23 it says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters." Obviously since it states "green pastures" and "still waters", that shows us that there are brown pastures and rough waters that we'll face, BUT God is always with us. Isaiah 43:1-2 says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." I think it is pretty clear that life here on earth isn't supposed to be easy. It's how you deal with the tough times that matter, as well as how you cherish the good times. I'll talk more about that part on my next blog post. So next time you are about to scream "why me?!", remember it was never promised that life would be easy. Most importantly, remember that the creator of the universe has your back! PS- check out "If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens. It's a great song :) Be encouraged today :)

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Well today is the last day of May...the last day of Lyme Disease Awareness Month. This month has been so overwhelming in so many ways, but one stands out to me above the rest. I have felt so thankful for the huge amount of support I have received for my Lyme Disease fundraiser. In April, I had thought that I wanted to do something for Lyme Disease Awareness month. I thought about designing shirts and selling them to help raise awareness and medical expenses. I talked it over with my parents and they agreed that it was a good idea. So we dove on in. We decided to order 50 shirts and probably only sell about 35. Boy, were we wrong! It is the last day of May and we have already turned in our third order! Still in shock, we have sold over 200 shirts. It is has been so amazing how people have stepped up to help us. Strangers from out of state have even joined in. I have always known that God has been the sole provider of everything I've had, but this month He has magnified that truth. Ever since I was a child, I have always worried about money. So after my Lyme diagnosis when I found out the extreme expenses for treatment, I immediately began to worry about money. I know I shouldn't have, but I did. In the Bible, Matthew 6:34 says, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Man, God has definitely taught me that this past month. It's sad that it has taken me 22 years to truly see that God provides me everything, but if this is what had to happen to prove to me that truth, I'm glad it happened. I will forever be thankful for all the support and love I have received this month. God truly is good and always will be. Although Lyme Disease Awareness month is coming to an end, I hope the awareness doesn't stop now. Shirts will continue to be sold, benefits will continue to happen, and sadly, more people will experience Lyme first hand. With more and more awareness of this debilitating disease, we will be getting one step closer to more reliable lab tests, insurance coverage, and acceptance. Before I end this blog entry, I want to talk about a few facts of Lyme Disease._ ~Lyme Disease is a multi-system disease that affects many organs. ~Lyme Disease is cyclical, can lie dormant, and awakened by stress. ~Lyme Disease can be chronic if not treated shortly after being infected. ~Ticks not only can carry Lyme Disease, but carry many other coinfections such as Babesia, Bartonella and others. You must be able to treat all infections in order to be cured or put into remission. ~When treated for Lyme, antibiotics make you feel worse in the beginning because the bacteria dies off and releases toxins, this is called a "herx". If you have any questions, feel free to ask me! Be blessed today :)

Living the Free Life

Today is Memorial Day...a day to remember the lives that have been taken in service to our country. It is also a day to remember the freedom that we have be given through the dedication of men and women in our military branches. It is a day to recognize the sacrifice these people have so willingly given. Sadly, I think we often forget the sacrifice of Jesus. Memorial Day is a wonderful holiday that I totally respect. I think it is vital that we remember the people who have fought for our country. However, if it wasn't for Jesus Christ we wouldn't ultimately be set free. Yes, we are free to do many things in our country (which is awesome!), but Jesus is really our true source of freedom. I, myself, often forget this truth. At Easter time I think about it a lot, but after I tend to let it slip from my mind, which is not good. Ephesians 1:7 says, "He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His son and forgave our sins." I should always recognize the fact that Jesus was the ULTIMATE sacrfice. He was perfect, while I am not. He died on the cross for MY (and your's too) sins, while I am alive. He reigns forever, while even though I don't deserve eternal life, He gives it to me anyway! I believe all of this, but at times it seems almost too much to wrap my mind around. How could He do that? The answer...because He is love, TRUE love. Now this freedom found in God doesn't mean that I can go around and do whatever I want. He doesn't want us to live in a box and do nothing. He wants us to be bold and get out there and "love one another" despite color, actions, or judgment. Because He has given me this freedom, forgivness, and sacrifice, I should live in a way that pleases Him. Yes, I am human so I'm going to mess up a time or two (well, actually a lot more), but I should try my hardest to live a life pleasing to Him. Jesus sacrificed his life for me, so I should act like He did. 1 Corinthians 8: 9, "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." So this Memorial Day (and everyday) remember the sacrifice that Jesus gave for You. Live like you were there that day He hung on the cross. Praise like you were there that day when He had rose from the grave. Hold it close to your heart. May it be motivation for you to live a free life of pleasing Him. Also, pray for our country's leaders, families, and people who are serving our country. Happy Memorial Day! :)


So you might be thinking, "Breakdown? Your car broke down?" Nope...I broke down last night..yes, me. No, I didn't break down and eat some chocolate (that I'm not supposed to eat), but I guess you could say I had a mental break down. I like to think of myself as a strong person. At times, I am strong, but most of the time I'm not. Last night, emotions and lies overwhelmed me. Every second I would have a new emotion. I've never felt that way was not a fun feeling. Part of it is that my treatment is killing some bacteria and releasing toxins in my brain so I kinda go a little crazy (haha I have an excuse! jk ), but the other part is that I am overwhelmed by so much. If I had a list of things that are overwhelming me, they could probably line a football field...well, maybe not that long, but you get the picture. So enough about my break down...I'm not sure, but I don't think I am the only person who has break downs. Many people may think that break downs show that you are weak. Last night, I did feel weak. The truth is that we are weak. It may not seem like a good thing, but it actually is...yes, I know you are probably thinking, "You're kidding, right?" No, I'm not kidding. The reason why being weak can be a good thing is that God is strong. He can be our strength. It's hard to stay strong on our own. I was trying to stay so strong for so long, but I couldn't stick with it. I'm weak. Am I proud of it? I should be, because God is my strength. He is the only person that can be strong 24/7. Isaiah 40:28-31 says, "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 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." Well that's proof that we our weak, but God is our strength. What a great promise! We must wait on the Lord and trust in Him that He will make us strong. So back to the break down...when we have break downs, remember it's okay for us to cry and to feel weak, BUT we MUST remember that as long as we wait for God, He will be strong for us. Many blessings :)

Let me introduce myself

Like I've said before, my name is Chelsea. I'm 22 years old, graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies class of 2011, and not working. I'm not working because I am NOT lazy, but because my life has been put on hold. Why, you may ask? I was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease and now I am on treatment. I'll talk more about that later. So because I have so much time on my hands, I figured a blog might help fill some time. I truly hope that what I write in this blog will be a blessing to someone reading it. This whole experience of staying at my parent's house, doing treatment, is driving me crazy, but at the same time I am learning so much. My whole life I'v been productive and busy, but now I don't feel that way. So even though I may feel awful physically, I try to do something, like making hair bows for my nieces in bed or writing on this blog. Something to keep my mind off this pain that I'm feeling. Anyway enough about me! This morning "while on the deck" (haha), Lola (my pup) and I sat outside for awhile. The birds were chirping and the wind was was refreshing. I love may sound silly, but I do. It reminds me of the quote on "A Walk to Remember" when they are on the pier and Jamie says, "It's like the wind, you can't see it, but you can feel it." I agree...whenever I feel the wind, it reminds me of God's presence. I saiah 43:2-3 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God." So even though I may not feel the wind in my bedroom, I still know that God is with me, but the wind is just a reminder. So what reminds YOU of God's presence? Think about it. Be blessed today!