Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Peace, Hope and Joy in the Storm


I love how God's timing is always perfect. I've been wanting to write about finding contentment in the middle of life's trials and in July I heard a sermon that touched on a lot of what had been floating around my brain. It's taking me this long to get the thoughts into some sort of coherency.

The goal isn't to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But rather, to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering.
So Many people I know  are in the middle of some really tough trials, myself included. It's so easy to get caught up in the enormity of it all. One of the big things I struggle with as a Christian is rejoicing in my trials. All I can ever see is  what's in front of me, whats going wrong, the anxiety, the stress, the darkness and not the light. I know God is working on by behalf, that there's so much I can't see but its too easy to get wrapped up in the day to day of it all. Whether it's unemployment, infertility, relationship problems, depression, parenting, work problems or what ever giant you face all you can see is that issue.  The giant just gets bigger and bigger, but God is bigger than that

The question is though how do you find the Joy of the Lord while in the eye of the storm? 

 It's been stirring in me for a while and I've had this blog half written for some time and I keep coming back to and praying about the topic wanting more answers.

The eye of the storm is actually calm. Outside that is where all the crazy winds and general chaos are. When you're in the middle of the storm, seek out God. 

Ask yourself:
What is my storm? 
Where am I in it?
Where is my safe place?
Am I willing to be honest with God so he can take me to the safe place?

What are the things you are seeking for comfort? Food? (that's my go to) alcohol? exercise? media? music? self help books? What are you allowing to speak into your life? If you're stuck are reading something that says "you can do this on your own, it just takes hard work!" or you saying I just need a drink to relax. Is that really helping? or is it just a quick fix?

What are we putting in place of letting God do something new through this trial? Before God can do a new thing, we have to learn to listen in a new way. If we're having other stuff say you can do it on our own, we will believe that. But why do we have to do it on our own? Why can't we let God work through this? He can see the big picture when all we can see is a very small piece.

I always ask myself why I always seem to believe that it will be easier on my own, when it never is!
Vulnerability is never easy. Saying hey God I'm struggling! is hard, but He is my father, I can tell him anything and he knows what I'm going through. 

Here's what I've been doing and its helped alot, am I still in a storm? yes! But I know God is my hope and my anchor 

Listen to good worship music, turn it up and praise the Lord! it's hard not to find joy when lifting your hands and truly seeking Him. My favorite right now is Lauren Daigle's "Trust in you" 
Favorite part:
"When You don't move the mountains I'm needing You to move
When You don't part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don't give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!"

Read the bible
 Reading it daily is something that I've always struggled with and I'm not there yet but definitely better. I've also been looking up verses specific to what I'm dealing with.A few that I keep going back to lately: 

Psalm 46
Proverbs 3:5-6
Philippians 4:6-7
Hebrews 6:19

The Hewbrews one I actually have written down on a little card on the inside cover of my planner and I look at it and am working on memorizing it. It's a good reminder and helps

 a little, a lot and often. Holding it in only makes it worse and compounds the issues in your head.

what storms He has gotten me through in the past. I wont be stuck in this forever, even if it feels like it at the moment. A few of mine include:
Marriage troubles
Joblessness (multiple times)

Ask for help.
 I am fortunate to have a great church community, an amazing pastor and several wise women I can go to. If you don't have that ask God for guidance to find the community you need. The key is don't isolate!

God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble. 

Psalm 46:1

God is your safe place, Seek him and not answers in the world and he will give you comfort and support.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Let's Get Organized!

(A mom I used to work for used to sing a little diddy Let's get organized to the tune of Olivia Newton John's Let's Get Physical, it always made me giggle)
Some goodies from around my apartment, things that are intentional, aesthetically pleasing and good reminders. I need more of this kind of  decorating in my home
About a year ago God prompted me to purge. I've tried to be obedient in that area but it's been a slow process to say the least. I'm a pack rat by nature and sentimental to boot so I thought emotionally it would be difficult. Surprisingly enough the emotional part hasn't been the hard part. Which I guess just goes to show that really was a prompting from God, because he will equip you for anything he guides you to. God is God of peace and order (1 Corinthians 14:33) and I need to take that to heart more. 

I've noticed especially lately that as work is busier and internally things are chaotic the more and more my home becomes chaotic. This needs to stop. 

Over the last few weeks we have kicked the purging into high gear. Currently half our living room is piled high with stuff for a garage sale we're having tomorrow. We've gone through so much and gotten rid of so much but the more I look around the more just clutter I see.

I see other peoples homes that are pretty clutter free and I ask myself, how do they do it? Part of the problem is both my husband and I are collectors. we've been trying to be more intentional with what we collect and what we bring into our home, but that doesn't account for the stuff we already have.

So physically, time wise up to this point it's been a slow process but now I'm ready for my home to be more organized, intentional. 

I've come across a few resources that I'm sure many of you have heard of but are new to me:

The Fly Lady  this is for cleaning/organizing. I've heard of her before but that's about the extent, I found her via Instagram through another blogger that I'll talk about. I haven't looked too much but she has easy tips for breaking your home into zones to not get overwhelmed, I think this will help me alot. 

Jen Plans I found her through Instagram as well and hers is all about organizing your life over all; finances, health, home, family. She uses an Erin Condren Life Planner primarily. I got one of these for Christmas and have been using it this year and loving it, but after finding Jen I know I could be utilizing it so much more then I am. I am a very visual person so being able to see all parts of my life written out and when things need to get done helps me alot. Part of my life being so busy is usually a good thing for me because I'm a procrastinator. If I only have a certain time to get something done I usually do IF I have a plan. A big part of why nothing has been getting done lately is because I haven't been planning and I just see all that needs to be done and get overwhelmed and then nothing gets done. 

Organization for me in general is something I love, but am not naturally good at so hopefully these resources will help as much as I think they will. The tag line on Jen's blog is "Get Organized. Then Get it done" and I think that's just what I need to do.

How about you? are you naturally an organized person? what's helped you organize your home? I'll take any tips I can get.

Just Write

I miss this place, I miss free time to write, to quilt, to craft. I've been working alot and studying alot and working. I texted my bff the other day and the jist was this: My day is shower workcoffeeworkcoffee sleep and repeat. Thankfully I love my job but between the increase in hours and the fact we don't have a working car right now I'm gone from 6:30 to at least 6:30 M-F. By the time I get home and throw something together there's little physical or mental energy left for anything fun. I'll finally have the inspiration and a few minutes to kill, I pull out the laptop and I have 48 updates just to turn on my computer. It's all been just too annoying. 

The work is good because we're saving for a new car, for me to go back to school for my teaching credential, and to pay off student loans . It's what needs to be done right now, it's a season and wont last forever but in the middle of it its exhausting.

Fortunately I'm off today and decided to Just Write. There's been ideas for posts floating around my head that hopefully I can get written soon. The big one being finding contentment in the middle of a storm. So many people close to me, myself included are dealing with some real struggles right now and it's so easy to go to negative and focus on all the turmoil and not the blessings, because there's always blessings to be found.

I think I need to take a break from, It's something I've been contemplating for a while (mainly because the vast number of pregnant women, and pregnancy announcements make me grumpy and sad) but also because it's all so political these days. I'm all for freedom of speech but the main reason I use in the first place is to keep in touch with friends and family that live far away. The politics, while important (very important) topics are just becoming loud, angry, noise. There are proper forums for real (REAL) change and I don't believe posting or tweeting from the safety of your smart phone is the proper forum. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Meal Plan Monday

I had to stop at the store on Saturday for extra butter for a cupcake challenge I was participating in (more on that later + recipes)and was like I don't want to have to come back here, so I meal planned in the produce section. 

Another busy week so keeping it simple. Lavash is a middle eastern flat bread. I don't know what its supposed to be used for but we spread hummus on it, throw in whatever veggies we happen to have, roll it up, cut it sushi style and voila! easy dinner. The package always comes with way more then we need for one dinner so we started using it as a pizza crust. Really good with bbq sauce, sounds weird but try it!

Meal Plan W/E 3/14/15

Sunday: Baked Potatoes and green salad 

Monday: Lavash wraps

Taco Tuesday: Chickpea tacos with rice

Wednesday:  Church night- leftovers

Thursday: last week of mens group- going to try and bake some sort of desert.
Class for me

Friday: Lavash Pizza with green salad

Saturday: Polenta bake

Also on hand: veggie curry, raviolis, and burrito bowls 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Meal Plan Monday

A few weeks ago a friend asked me about meal planning. She's a single person on a budget and wants to start to doing it. It had been a while since I've really meal planned. Life (mostly work) has gotten in the way. It got my wheels turning, remembering what helped me when I first started. I sent her some links with such warnings as "you're going to have to adapt it because that person meal plans for a family of 5, and shops for a whole month" or "ignore their actual price breakdowns because they live in the middle of no where and don't have the living in the city surcharge to deal with"

which really got me thinking- there's not much out there as far as budgeting/ meal planning for couples and singles or anyone living in a city. 

So I'll be doing more of that on here-reinstating Meal Plan Monday along with other posts on how to maximize a budget, have a well stocked pantry in a small space, throwing together meals on a busy week and so forth. 

Meal Plan W/E 3/7/15

Monday:  Pesto pasta with green salad 

Taco Tuesday: BBQ chickpea tacos with Spanish rice (double batch of rice to use later in the week)

Wednesday: I never make it home before church, it will either be leftovers or sandwiches 

Thursday: Class/ Men's group- the guys will have snacks 

Friday: Black bean and Sweet potato enchiladas with roasted red pepper enchilada sauce and Spanish rice.

Saturday:  Veggie Curry 

Also on hand: Polenta casserole, Baked Potatoes 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Clearing out the cobwebs

Dear Blog,

   I have not forgotten about you, I promise. I have posts and musings rambling all around my head. I have pictures taken and sorted that I would love to share. Life has  just gotten in the way. 

2014 has been full of ups and downs, such is life. I've let the twists in the road, the disappointments outweigh the joys which has prevented me from writing. Which is just silly. (Both on the writing part and not giving more weight to the good things that have happened)

2015 is looking like a year of transitions, a year to trust God more and let my fears and heartache control me less. 

This isn't about resolutions, or 2015 will be this or that or the other thing. Or promises of posting every Monday. It's about realigning my priorities and time management. Sharing the good and the bad and not holding back.

I start now by dusting off the proverbial cobwebs and saying "Hi"

So, hello! I hope whoever is reading this has been able to remember the good more then the bad and remember whatever rough patches you're currently in, it's only for a season. Together lets not dwell, lets find the lesson in the storm. 


Friday, July 18, 2014

Spring/Summer/Fall Cleaning

We've been in purge/project mode around here for the last few months. I came home one day and my dear husband had boxed up all his desk stuff. It's still sitting in boxes in our dining room as it was an act before he thought moment. we have the plans for a new desk but hadn't done the budget or made the final decisions. Oh, and I haven't boxed up my stuff. Minor details.

Our running joke around here is that we're sorry excuses for adults. Yes on paper we are,  in reality we can't keep our apartment organized. Partly it's a space issue, partly we were just never organized in the first place. Really though we just can't keep our desk and bedroom from exploding with life (flat surfaces!). Well we're over that, which really goes back to the theme from the women's retreat I attended this spring- See change as necessary. I love it when things circle back.

Well now that we see it, we've been acting. Tossing out stuff left and right. It's felt good but with work and life the whole thing is taking longer then I would like. Also everything has felt half done. I decided to do something about that tonight and rearrange some stuff to make a couple of spots look intentional rather then holding places for random stuff. In reality the  frames need to be repainted, (that yellow! what was I thinking?) and there's a fourth frame that needs a picture but for now I can look at these and smile, rather then them buried under random stuff on the desk. 

I'm pretty happy with the top of the book shelf and would like to leave it but that spot is pretty fluid (it's our mantle at Christmas for the stockings) and never stays the same for long. Love that plant there though. I'm taking care of it for a friend while shes in NY working for the summer, but she may not get it back!

I'm off early today and I've told myself it's just the opportunity I need to purge my desk and I think that I'll follow through on that thought. 

It's time.

How about you have you ever put something off and feel so good once you do it you have no idea why you put it off in the first place?