Do the work…

“Make a plan.  Set a goal.  Work toward it.  But every now and then look around.  Drink it in.  ‘Cause this is it!”

Often times I become obsessed with the first part of this quote.  I am great at making plans and setting goals!  Working towards those goals is a bit scarier. Especially when they are not so easily accomplished, or when my plans are not sure to succeed.  Sadly enough, even when those plans are from God I can question my ability to make them work.  Or question whether or not God really is behind them.  Undoubtably I can get stuck in the planning phase. Frozen by fear of failure.

But ofcourse, I’m reminded that I was not given “a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”   Which means that even though the path is unclear and the road likely to be bumpy, I’ve got to start putting in the work.  Stepping out in faith, and not holding back.  Praying for His guidance.  And trusting Him to lead.

So…I will dive in.  Or ‘jump in already’ as my blog is titled.  I will “look around” for His hand in opportunities.  “Drink in” His presence.  And work…

Oh yeah…
10 points if you know where that quote came from 🙂

Testing. 1, 2…

Sometimes I hate computers.  I’ve been trying to make something work and the computer just won’t do what I’m trying to make it do.  So…this post is just a test to see if I can use this illustration on another page.

We’ll see…

Shaken

It’s interesting to me just how quickly things can shift.  Wonderfully relaxing and fun weeks give way to the more stressful and worrisome ones in a heart beat, and often without warning.  It always takes me back and sets me up for some soul searching. 

You see…I like to think that the joy in my life comes from Christ, not from my circumstances.  That is how it should be, and that is how I want it to be all the time.  But all too often He is reminding me just how much I wrap my happiness around how my life is shaping up.  It’s a scary reminder to get.  Whenever that shift in circumstances rears its head, I never seem to be prepared for the shock of it.  It always throws me off course–leading my immediate response to be one of anger, bitterness, worry, or doubt.  Not the things that mark me as a follower of Christ–like hope, love, perseverance, and joy despite times of stress. 

God has used the last few days to really point out this failure of mine.  To show me my negative reactions when life gets bumpy are not things that reflect the relationship I have with Him.  If I was placing my joy in Christ and living by Psalm 16:8, I should not be shaken so much by my circumstances.  So…as I wrestle through this lesson, time and time again, I can only be thankful that He is patient.  And that He is faithful, always leading me closer to Him in the end.  He will see me through, whatever the course may be.

Just to clarify…all is well with me and baby!  God is using other areas of my life to refine my character and relationship with Him.

Time for…

I’m starting to realize something I didn’t before.  I have an incredible gift right now–the gift of time!  I never realized what a rare treasure this little thing is.  Life is usually so busy!  With only 24 hours each day, and so many things I want/need to do, normally even fun stuff could become just another thing to add to my to-do list.

But lately, God has blessed me with an abundance of time.

Time to spend with my husband and his ever-changing work schedule.  Time to get away.  Time to hang out and build relationships with some wonderful people.  Time to plan for a baby.  And real time to work on things I love to do!  I’ve always had a collection of hobbies that I would try to dabble with occasionally.  Trying to build a photo and design business on only sporadic bites from the creativity bug wasn’t working too well!  But since I’ve quit my job, God has provided me with so many opportunities to work on these things I love!  And he’s even given me reason to develop some new skills!

Most amazingly, through all of this, I am getting a glimpse of how this could fit in with His plan!  In my time spent with Him, He has begun to show me the big picture in how I can serve Him by doing what I love.  Some of my lingering questions, like “Why would God care if I knew how to edit pictures or draw on the computer” are starting to be answered.  It is an awesome feeling!!!

Come November, I may look back at this post and laugh.  I imagine I won’t be in awe of all my free time with a newborn baby boy on my hands.  But until then, I plan to make the most of this gift–having fun, working on stuff I love, and looking for ways to be a blessing to others.   And hopefully with all of this time, I will be doing a little more blogging again too. 🙂

Our amazing addition!

Ok…yes…I am officially a slack blogger.  But I’ll just pretend that I haven’t been out of the loop for months and share a couple of things that have been on my mind this week.  So here we go…

Monday, Travis and I found out that we will be having a baby boy!!!  I am so incredibly excited that I can’t begin to describe it!  Over the last few days everything has begun to feel about a thousand times more real.  I loved the little one growing inside of me before, but after the latest ultrasound it has suddenly become so much more than it was.  It is like the reality of being a parent is actually here.  I don’t just feel like a pregnant woman, I feel like a mother.  I don’t really know how to pinpoint what the difference is, but somehow it feels massively and amazingly different.  

It got me to thinking about why my mentality changed so quickly.  I came to this conclusion:  I needed the confirmation that everything looked just fine.  You see, I can be a bit of a worrier–saying ‘a bit’ is putting it mildly–and I have been quite tentative through the first half of this pregnancy.  It took us quite a while to get to this point, and I have been worried, off and on, something would be amiss.  With the tendency to get worried, I have to constantly be aware of why I worry, and take steps to keep it far away.  I know the only way to do that is to trust the one who is always faithful.  The one who has provided Travis and I with the blessing of the incredible little man we already love so much.  And in trying to trust Him more, I have to say that this pregnancy has done wonders for my prayer life.  It has really shown me my lack of control, and the necessity to have faith in Him.  Now I am just so thankful that I can breathe and feel truly at peace–trusting in my Father to take care of everything.  “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”   Isaiah 26:3

Our little boy!

Coming soon…

I had this picture taken 4 weeks ago.
 
 
 
Just in case you can’t tell what it is…Travis and I will be joining the parenting club this fall.  When the ultrasound was taken it was pretty much just a little ball of cells—-with a beating heart!
 
Can’t wait! 🙂

It’s the thought that counts

“After all, it’s the thought that counts.” 

Stretching in the gym after running several miles I heard someone say that phrase.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard it before, or how many times I have said it myself.  But suddenly, as my knees throbbed and my body was dripping with sweat, my brain began to evaluate the truth behind those words.  

The week previous to this run had been spent away from the gym.  Through that week-long hiatus I had thought about running a lot.  I had even scheduled times to run, but I was just never able to find the time and energy to actually do it.  So…did all of my careful thoughts of big runs count?  Did all the Chick-Fil-A nuggets get burned off by my thoughts?  I wish!

I’ll take it farther:

I’ve gone to restaurants determined to eat something healthy, but somehow the smell of french fries can often lead me to a last minute change of heart.  Does the thought of eating healthier actually bear any fruit?

I thought about calling a friend to catch up the other day.  Did I do it?  No…but I thought about it.  Does that count for anything…really?

Putting thought into something I care about is essential.  Whether it’s a relationship, a career, my health, or anything else I may hold dear.  But when I heard that statement on this particular day it made me realize that, all too often, my great thoughts and wonderful ideas never even get done.  Those ideas stop in my head. 

So…knowing that, I’m going to try a little harder to make my thoughts really count by actually following through on them.  It may require sacrifice of time, money, energy, comfort, or even convenience, but I’m hoping I can stick to this plan.

Guilty Pleasures

There are quite a few things in life that I’m a little ashamed to admit I enjoy.  Some are bad for me, others are just things that I am a little embarassed of.  None the less, I will fess up now 🙂 .

1.  Late night desserts–  This should be a no-no, but lately I’ve been overindulging in the more-than-occasional late night snack.  Maybe some cookies and milk, a bowl of icecream, or a little rum cake.  Definitely not great for the figure, but that’s why it’s a guilty pleasure (one that I am trying to lose as I type). 

2.  Celebrity magazines–  You know what I’m talking about.  People, In Touch, Entertainment Weekly.  As I wait in line at the grocery store I can’t help but look to see the latest news on Tom and Katie, the Bachelor, or Brangelina.  Yes…I know it’s trash.  I admit it.  But what else can I do standing in line?  Right?!?! 

3.  Elimination reality shows–  Ok…I never intend to add another one of these to my DVR, but if I get caught in one episode I am totally hooked all season.  I’m not just talking about the cool shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race, but also the Bachelor, Top Chef, , and even America’s Next Top Model (hanging my head in shame as I typed that).  I could probably list out even more, but I think you get the point.

4.  Books written for people half my age–  I thoroughly enjoyed reading Harry Potter.  I even took the day off work when the last book came out just so I could start reading it right away.  Pathetic…I know!  It doesn’t end there though.  I found the Twilight series equally addicting.  I guess I am a sucker for teen romance when it’s filled with fantastical creatures like vampires and werewolves.  It’s a little embarrassing…

Those are some of my guilty pleasures.  What are yours?

Search your heart…

Last night I heard a new song, and I can’t describe just how much the lyrics touched my heart.   It’s called “True Love” and I immediately looked it up when I got home.  Part of it went like this:

“Search your heart, you know you can’t deny it.
Come on, lose your life just so you can find it.”

Lose my life to find it.  That is one of the truest statements I have ever heard.  All too often when I search my heart I find way too much of myself.  To live out my purpose I need to lose myself in Christ–which can sometimes be a struggle.  I admit that I am naturally selfish.  I am way too concerned with the condition of my own life and circumstances.  It’s only when I truly lose myself in Him that I begin to see what I am here for and be in tune with the greater purpose for my life.  Not to live a comfortable life, or to stay to myself and worry about my own troubles.  I am here to be a servant for Christ.  To do what He wants me to do.  Using my gifts to encourage and reach out to others so that they too can know just how amazing His love is. 

The only way I can keep that focus is to lose myself in Him.  I have to cast away my cloak of selfish comfort and seek hard after Him.  It isn’t easy with all the distractions that this life has to offer, but I know that Jesus offers so much more.  I don’t want to live a life that amounts to nothing.  I want to know that I was able to become who God wanted me to be–and I can only do that if there is less of me, and more of the Spirit He put in me.

“The Earth was shaking in the dark.
All creation felt The Father’s broken heart.
Tears were filling Heaven’s Eyes
The day that True Love died.
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down.
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died.”