Coffee Date, Faith, Life

Coffee Date: Friendships

Friday. Ah yes, it is Friday. Time for our coffee date! I am really glad you stopped by, I love to chat with you! Grab your cup o’joe and let’s pick the comfy chairs so we can stay awhile… because I have a lot on my mind.

coffeedateamericano

If we were having coffee I would try out an Americano. I made one at home today and it was pretty good. I’ve been trying to change things around to not get bored with plain black coffee. I do add some canned coconut milk on occasion but it doesn’t make that big of a difference to me. I would tell you I’m actually surprised at how well I’m handling not having creamer in my coffee during the Whole30. It’s not nearly as bad as I expected it to be.

If we were having coffee I would want to talk to you a bit about friendship. See, I always had an easy time making friends. From being little and having friends in dance class, to finding friends in high school and youth group, and becoming close with my roommates in my internship program it just all seemed so easy. Friendships were born out of convenience. Then I got married and moved across the country and it became all too clear which friendships had roots that went deep and which friendships were merely friendships because we were always around each other.

If we were having coffee I would confide in you that I really miss having friends. For some reason over the last 6 years I’ve been married finding good girl friends has been so difficult. I’ve come close to having those soul sister relationships a few times over the years, only to have the relationships completely disintegrate for one reason or another. It is heart breaking when that happens. And it makes it all the more difficult to put myself out there again in fear of being hurt or rejected.

If we were having coffee I would ask you why friendship has to be so hard as a grown up. I would shrug my shoulders and sip away at my coffee wondering if you had the answers… because I have been looking for awhile now and I just can’t seem to find them.

I’m sure you’d wonder where this all came from – and I’d tell you that having a friend come visit last weekend reminded me of how amazing it can be to have someone to share life with. To laugh and cry with, to run with, to talk with, to struggle with. Yes- my husband is (and always will be) my best friend… but sometimes I just need some girl time. And not the kind where we all sit around the table and pretend to be perfect. I miss having those raw friendships. Accountability. Honesty. Raw and Real conversations. Where we aren’t afraid to challenge each other. I had that this weekend (Thanks, Em!) There is nothing more real than pushing your physical limits with someone (and living to tell about it!) and I loved it.

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If we were having coffee I would ask you if maybe I’m too intimidating. Too honest. Too real. I would ask you if that puts people off. Or maybe it’s because I’m not afraid to push the limits and to actually do what I dream about doing.

Regardless of if you had the answers or not, I would be thankful to you just for listening to my emotional rant. And hope that it didn’t scare you away.

Now that i’ve finished my rambling… It’s your turn!

If we were having coffee what would you tell me?

linking up with alissa.

Faith

The Charlatan by Jim Munroe

The first few years out of high school I was a part of a ministry internship program. The first year I lived in a tiny town in East Texas working in an office helping set up logistics for the Youth Rallies they held across the country. The second year I was a part of the ministry team that traveled to these events each weekend. I was actually a part of the drama team that got to perform on stage each weekend. I played a high school mean girl. ha.

victoria assembly

As we spent early mornings and late nights in rehearsals and pre-productions we heard little snippets of what the rest of the entertainment for the weekend would be. We expected the typical speakers and bands, but when I heard we were going to have Christian Magicians I was really surprised. I didn’t expect that from the organization I worked with, but I was excited to see it. They were called MAZE. I remember the first time I saw their show. I don’t think I blinked at all. Floating canes, smashing guitars, swallowing razorblades… They did it all.

whatismaze

They were never out to just perform a good show, though they did that every time. They wanted us to realize how easy it is to be deceived into accepting cultures definition of truth, rather than searching it out on our own. They wanted every person who watched their act to walk away asking themselves “How can I know what is True?” While they were there to reach out to the teens in the audience, I couldn’t help but search within myself. I would say watching their performance and hearing their story was one of the most life changing things that happened to me during my internship. I grew up being told about the bible and what to believe… but never why to believe it. I never bothered to ask the hard questions. MAZE encouraged me to do just that. Not everything is actually how it appears.

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The thing about the guys behind MAZE, Jim and Tennyson, is that they were just captivating offstage as they were onstage. It became no secret throughout the tour that I was the #1 MAZE fan of all time. I literally never missed a show. I watched each weekend for 8 months straight and never got tired of it. Some of my tour mates may say I was a little obsessed (mostly because I was not so secretly in love with Tennyson)

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One time in Albuquerque, NM they were performing a trick where they guessed a phone number out of the phone book. Each weekend they would have a “decoy” phone number they would guess so the audience would think they messed up the trick and then reveal the actual number hidden under a tablecloth that had been there the whole time. That weekend I was standing by the sound board, like normal, as they were performing that trick. I was told to make sure not to miss this one (like I’d miss any of them…) when they opened the “decoy” phone number I couldn’t believe it… they put MY phone number up there. AND they told the whole auditorium to call the number and tell that person they ruined the trick. They listened. I got tons of phone calls… that lasted for like the next week. Hilarious.

After the tour ended in May I didn’t really keep in touch with them besides my facebook stalking. It had been about 5 months since our last event in Des Moines, IA and I was newly married and living in St Louis. One of my friends from the tour called and told me that Tennyson had passed away. I couldn’t believe it. The world lost a beautiful shining soul. While I was devastated to hear about this, my thoughts immediately went to Jim. I couldn’t imagine what he was going through, him and Tennyson were like brothers. I followed him closely on Facebook. I was glad when I saw he decided to continue with MAZE. Just over a year after losing Tennyson, Jim fought Leukemia. It all seemed like so much to handle. I had no idea how he did it. A few years later I had the opportunity to go to a show he was putting on at Missouri Baptist University. As I sat watching some of the “classic” tricks him and Tennyson performed while we were on tour together there was something different about it this time. The words he spoke about truth were so much more… piercing. The passion for communicating his story burned in his eyes. He spoke with painful conviction as he explained that his life was literally saved by someone giving their blood to him. This story about Jesus and redemption and hope was real to him, because he physically lived it out.

Jim just recently released a book about his journey. It is called The Charlatan: The Skeptical, Mysterious, Supernatural True Story of a Christian Magician.

 

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I bought this book a few days ago and couldn’t put it down. I never knew his back story, but after reading it I am even more amazed at how he ended up where he is today. This book is painfully honest. One of my favorite things about this book is that he doesn’t shy away from sharing his struggles and questions. I think so often we just want to sit back and accept what we are told, because questioning it takes guts. Asking hard questions and getting hard answers is painful. In the wake of learning his parents were getting a divorce and realizing his perfect Orange County family was falling apart he shares:

“And once you have everything, and then realize it’s nothing, somewhere deep down, you start to lose hope there’s anything truly worth having.”

and I wonder… How many of us have felt that way? I’ve been there. It’s a painfully dark place to be. But from that place you can begin to search for what it is that does matter, what is it that is really worth having. And Jim has done that. I dare you to watch his performance, talk with him for a few minutes, or read this book… and try to tell me that he hasn’t lived through hell and back (several times) and come out with such a fire to share these revelations of truth with anyone he comes in contact with.

A few more golden nuggets from The Charlatan:

“Most Christians refuse to engage with the honest questions atheists, skeptics, and followers of other religions wrestle with. I’m not sure if they feel guilty for asking or if they’re afraid where their questions might take them”

“Love’s not magic- you have to work at it. You have to choose love every day. You have to put the other person’s needs ahead of your own, over and over and over again.”

“I began to realize how pain, adversity, and tragedy create an opportunity to connect with others in a powerful way. The mysteries in our own lives make more sense when we hear about the wonder and awe in someone else’s”

“Life isn’t fair. It often doesn’t make sense. It leaves you with scars, bruises, and a limp, if you can walk at all. It’s not neat and tide. It’s messy, difficult, challenging, and painful, and yet, there’s beauty in every moment.”

Please, read this book. You will not regret it.

Coffee Date, Dreams, Faith, Vlog

Coffee Date: Love the Moment

Good morning Lovelies!

How are you doing this week? I’m feeling a little behind. After being sick on Sunday I have felt a day behind all week. I didn’t get to some of my weekly chores from my Home Routines App, I’m trying to stay on track, but it gets hard sometimes ya know? I always look forward to these friday morning coffee dates to share with you. I’m drinking some Caribou Coffee in my new favorite cup- What are you having?

Coffee Date

This week I have a lot on my mind, a ton of thoughts on reaching for goal after goal vs loving the moment. Plus there is a ton going on this weekend. Ready for our coffee date? Here we go…

I’m linking up at Rags to Stitches and The Wiegand’s

Your turn!

If we were having coffee – What would you tell me? What are your plans this weekend?

Coffee Date, Faith

Coffee Date: What I Wish I had Known…

FRIDAY! Ah- how I love Fridays. It is the start of the weekend (YES!) and it means it is time for our Coffee Date! I really look forward to these times. I love being able to chat with you about what is going on. It’s so… relaxed! Pull up a seat, grab a warm cup of joe and let’s chat…

There is just SO much I wish I would have known.
That I wouldn’t marry “that guy”
That I shouldn’t take myself too seriously
That I was going to LOVE running.
That I would write. and Often.
That I didn’t know it all.
That God had bigger plans for me than I had for myself.
That I am Capable of so much more than I thought.
I thought I was so smart – but I didn’t have a clue. Ha.

I know I said I hadn’t made coffee yet, and that was true- But I quickly fixed that. Today I’m drinking my Green Mountain Wild Blueberry Fair Trade Certified Coffee that I was sent to try out from BzzAgent (#gotitfree)

 

love this mug from my BFF Kylen.

Did you know October is Fair Trade Month? Buying Fair Trade Certified Products, like Green Mountain Coffee, help to protect the environment and improve the lives of those who produce the products. Buying Fair trade certified products can also help support education and provide health care in the communities as well.

Want to know more about Fair Trade or are you interested in finding out how to reduce your slavery footprint? Check out my friend Jen over at Extra*Ordinary, she’s doing a 31 day series on it!

Your turn- If we were having coffee what would you tell me?
Do you try to buy fair trade certified? 

linking up with ragstostitches and the widgand’s

Faith

Through Her Eyes – Why I am excited about being a Compassion Blogger

Do you notice anything different about my sidebar? I’ll give you a hint, it looks like this:

Join the Compassion Blogger Network

While I have partnered with some awesome organizations, I am probably most excited about this one. You see -back when I was in high school I was convinced I was going to be a missionary. I spent most of my summers on missions trips. I have been to Mexico, Peru (twice!), New Orleans, and Panama. I spent anywhere from two weeks to a month on these trips. While my friends were laying out at the beach, going to the movies, or going bowling I was having the time of my life serving these small, and often desolate, communities. At the age 15 I even decided to sponsor my own child through Compassion International. Her name was Gloria. She was a beautiful little girl from Peru, probably around 7 or so when I was sponsoring her. I was actually lucky enough to meet up with her on one of my missions trips to Peru. We spent the day playing at the park, having lunch, and laughing at my broken spanish. Her eyes were filled with hope and innocence. I’ll never forget that day.

As time passed I returned to my high school life and the chaos of it all left me with not a lot of time to work and no money to continue the sponsorship. I moved on to my internship program, falling in love, getting married and eventually found myself drawn to a different child sponsorship program where my husband and I sponsored a child for 3 years. Just recently they closed down the project where our sponsored child was and it left us sad that we would no longer be able to connect with her. Shortly after that I noticed Maggie from Gussy Sews talking about her trip to Tanzania with Compassion. And once again I remembered Gloria. Then I saw a tweet about signing up to be a Compassion Blogger. I was in. My husband and I sponsored a new child through Compassion and here I am now blogging about it.

This month (September) is Blog Month at Compassion. They are trying to raise awareness for the children in need through blogging. Their goal is to have 3108 children sponsored this month and as of 9/24 they had 2297. If you want to make a difference in the life of a child go to Compassion now and find a child to sponsor. Just $38 a month provides your sponsored child with nutrition & hygiene education, medical screening, bible teaching, tutoring, & materials needed for school.

The writing prompt for this blog is supposed to be for us to write a post from the view of a sponsored child. So, here goes.

I wake up to a loud grumbling noise. My stomach is growling again. I think about the last meal I ate, lunch yesterday at the church. The only time I know for sure that I will eat is when I’m there. We have small meals at home, but those are never guarunteed. If dad got a job for the day we may have some rice, but work has been slow lately… so those days don’t happen too often. I slip on my shoes, they are worn out and my heels hang off the back, but this is all I own. I see a few children in the village preparing to go to the local school house, I want to go but mother says we cannot afford it. Plus, they need my help. My job is to walk to the well and carry buckets of water back to the house. This takes up most of my morning. When it is time to head to the Compassion Church I get excited. The people there are so nice and welcoming. They teach me about a man named Jesus. They make me feel important. I am thankful that my sponsors send me letters and even sent a Bible so I could read about Jesus! They feed me and help me if I’m sick. Without them I wouldn’t have gotten the medicine I needed for my infection last year. Someday I hope to meet my sponsors, but until I do I will keep writing them letters and sending them pictures.

Have you ever sponsored a Child? If not, what are you waiting for?

Faith, Life Lessons

redeeming love

so a couple of weeks ago i started reading “redeeming love” by francine rivers. i couldn’t put it down. i was captivated by this story of Michael’s obedience and sensitivity to the Lord’s prompting. my heart was broken at the insecurity, fear and sense of worthlessness of the woman he takes as his wife. i was dumbfounded at how many times the woman sabotaged her own happiness because of her distorted self-view. this story left my heart wandering for several days. just like when i read the stories of God’s provision to the Isrealites in the desert and asked “how could they not see God was taking care of them? how could they complain?” and then realized i do the same thing more often then not, i realized that i can oftentimes sabotage the blessings and life God has for me because i don’t feel worthy. the horribly messy truth is that i am not worthy. i am a wretched sinner, but i have been redeemed by a loving God. It was in the last week that I had my ipod on shuffle and the song beloved by tenth avenue north came on. this lined up so perfectly with the lessons i was learning from this book.

Love of my life
Look deep in my eyes
There you will find what you need
Give me your life
Lust and the lies
The past you’re afraid I might see
You’ve been running away from me

You’re my beloved
Lover I’m yours
Death shall not part us
It’s you I died for
For better or worse
Forever we’ll be
Our Love it unites us
It binds you to me
It’s a mystery

Love of my life
Look deep in my eyes
There you will find what you need
I’am the giver of life
I’ll clothe you in whine
My immaculate bride you will be
Oh come running home to me

You’re my beloved
Lover I’m yours
Death shall not part us
It’s you I died for
For better or worse
Forever we’ll be
Our Love it unites us
It binds you to me

Well you’ve been a mistress, my wife
Chasing lovers it won’t satisfy
Won’t you let me make you my bride
You will drink of my lips
And you’ll taste new life

Cause you’re my beloved
Lover I’m yours
Death shall not part us
It’s you I died for
For better or worse
Forever we’ll be
Our Love it unites us
& it binds you to me

You’re my beloved
Forever we’ll be
Our love it unites us
And it binds you to me
It’s a mystery
It’s a mystery

so good. if anything marriage has helped me learn more about the depth of the love of God. I can be having the worst day, be emotionally unstable, feel like I look horrible and Chris will come up out of no where and say something about how he is a lucky man to have a beautiful girl like me. I feel so unworthy of that. I need to learn to see myself the way that God (and my husband) see me. I have been redeemed by the amazing love of Christ. Yet still I fill myself up with other Gods… be it tv, music, food and even the internet. I allow myself to be satisfied with things of this world, rather than hunger after God. I “know” this truth, but sometimes my soul forgets it. How is that? I forget to remind myself. I’m so thankful for a God who is patient and forgiving.

What are some lessons God is teaching you right now?

Faith, Life Lessons

i am not what i do.

oh how i’ve been struggling with this since i started staying at home with Payton. hmm. now that i think about it i guess this goes further back. WAY back. i don’t think by any means that i had a horribly tragic childhood, let me just put that out there. do i know people who had better childhoods? yes. do i know people who had worse? most definitely. growing up in a family of four kids its pretty much a given that there will always be a war for attention. some kids got it by acting out, some by getting hurt…. i chose the “good kid” route. i was always a good kid. i made all the “right” choices and knew all the “right” answers. looking back now i can see how i showed love by doing things for people…. helping with housework, achieving the top award in whatever program i was involved in, taking care of kids… whatever needed to be done i wanted to do it. thats how i got the attention i so obviously craved. in the meantime i think i lost a definition of who i was and replaced it with what i could do. “how can i fix this?” was my first thought whenever i heard of a problem someone had, whether it was a friend, sibling or parent. thing is… sometimes it wasn’t my place to fix it. it wasn’t my job. heck, half the time it wasn’t even my business. this way of thinking transferred itself over to my relationship with God, my marriage and even now my parenting. I’m the classic martha from the old bible story. always doing something. especially since i started staying at home with Payton. i started to feel guilty for not “pulling my weight.” i’d feel even more guilty if i took a nap or sat and watched some tv. i had to be cleaning, baking, organizing, planning…. always doing. i take joy in taking care of chris and payton. but sometimes they just need me to be, not do. this is something i struggle with on a daily basis. its ok to take a break. its ok to just be. to just be in the presence of God and not worry about what you’re doing for Him. to just be with my husband and not worry about cooking for him or making sure the house is clean. to just be with my daughter in the midst of the mess and have a fun time playing and laughing. i am not defined by what i do. i am who i am. and thats a lesson i’m still learning.