Friday, July 29, 2011


the other day i tried to sit in complete, distraction-fee silence for 10 minutes. have you ever tried that? i thought i was going to sit in silence and get all these wonderful revelations from God that would spark my energy for the day.

what i got instead was all the millions of thoughts swarming around in my brain. quieting those voices is a task not easily maneuvered. sometimes we are our own worst enemy i suppose. here i thought i had eliminated the distractions, but there is one i can't ever eliminate- myself.

sometimes the biggest challenge we face each day isn't from those around us. it isn't our mounting to-do list or the endless pile of dishes. it's our own insecurities, doubts and pressures that we put on ourselves to be "just right" or to do things the way so-and-so would.

i suppose the ultimate challenge is letting go of the expectations we place on ourselves and letting ourselves just be still.

i realize that sitting in silence and not getting distracted by your own wandering thoughts is a discipline that needs to be practiced. and i hope to continue to work on it. in fact, i'm gonna go do that right now.

let's hope i don't get distracted by the dishes.

have a great weekend.


linking up with (in)courage for five minute friday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

year of promise

i remember, as we were entering into 2011, seeing a lot of bloggers talking about their "word" for the year. for some it was gratitude, for others it was patience and i decided that my word was promise. 2011 was going to be a year of promise. i wrote it on my chalkboard in the hall and i smiled as i passed it daily. after all, it did seem that 2011 was full of promises being fulfilled. i was planning my wedding, which to me was one of the biggest promises in my life that i felt God was finally answering. the year felt so full of hope and anticipation and that assurance of this being the year of promise excited me.

fast forward to today. 2011 is more than halfway over. and looking back now i have to be honest and say that it's felt more like a year of broken promises. after my fiance and i broke up in march i couldn't stand looking at that chalkboard. it felt like it was mocking me. so finally i erased that hopeful message. i was angry and hurt and broken and i didn't want to think about how long it would likely be until that promise of marriage would ever be fulfilled. so i came across a bible verse that had been speaking to me at the time and i put that in its place. and that's how it has remained.

over the last week or so God keeps bringing that word promise back to me. reminding me that he hasn't forgotten about our word for this year... had i? no of course i hadn't forgotten about it, but i was doing my best to shove it away. so much pain attached to that. little by little, in His gentle way, God has been reminding me that His promises to me are never broken. He didn't cause this to happen. He allowed it, yes, but His plans for me still remain intact... unmoved... unshaken by earthly circumstances.

so this morning i stood in front of that chalkboard and i wept. and i told God i was sorry for not trusting Him completely. for feeling like He failed me and disappointed me. and i thanked Him for staying by my side... for His faithful presence in one of the darkest times of my life. and then i erased the words and in its place i wrote:
the year of

while i might not be getting married this year, there are still plenty of promises in my life that God is fulfilling this year. i hope to share some of them with you soon.

so i continue to take it one step at a time... surprised by how fast this year is moving and all that has happened in a short period of time...  it's not an easy road, but i wasn't ever promised that. i was promised that i wouldn't walk it alone and i can totally attest to truth in that. 

grace and peace,


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

for the love of potential

yesterday i read this post from kelle hampton's blog and as soon as i read the first line i literally laughed out loud. she talked about how she's addicted to the idea of potential and the euphoria that comes with possibility and i can so relate to that.

i can spend hours searching for beautiful things to create (thank you pinterest) but how many hours do i spend actually doing the creating? i bookmark image upon image and dream of the day i'll finally do this project or that project. or dreaming about jetting off to this country or that island. sometimes i'll be sitting in my office and the urge to clean my house will come upon me. what happens when i finally get home? not the desire to clean, that's for sure.

i can walk through home goods or ross and my heart starts racing when i see the potential in this hodge podge of stuff and all the decorating ideas shoved deep into the recesses of my brain start bouncing around and then i have to force myself to stop and take everything in slowly. i'm not kidding people. this is really what happens to me. don't even get me started on clearance aisles or the dollar spot at target.

and please tell me that someone else experiences this, too? i doubt i'm alone but i don't blame you if you don't want to own up to it. haha

i guess the challenge is figuring out how to channel this love of potential into the act of doing. i think sometimes it's because we have these expectations that it's going to be so wonderful and we'd rather hold onto the expectation than come to grips with the reality that it might not be so great. take for instance my day yesterday. i went to the park with my sister and her daughter. we met up with my best friend lyryn and her boys. it was hot and humid and there were way too many big kids running around with water guns and somehow i always seemed to end up in their crossfire. regardless, it was emeline's first time at a splash park so kate and i were trying to help her discover the fun that could be had. there were a few special moments tucked in there but it mostly consisted of trying to get her to actually stay in the splash park and not run over to the playground where all the big kids were. and did i mention it was hot? after almost 2 hours we were pretty much done. by the time we got in the car kate and i were miserable. we were hot and sweaty and dehydrated... and i just looked at kate and said, "how do people do this? it's so exhausting." and there was only 1 kid between the 2 of us! on the way home we talked about how sometimes it's just easier to stay home and avoid the stress of it all. but when you look at the pictures (kate posted a few on her blog today) you see the special moments. you see the cuteness of kids running around in their swimsuits, screaming out in delight when they get splashed or the discovery of a little tube on the playground that is so exciting to a 1 year old. and you're glad you went. yeah, maybe it wasn't all you dreamed it would be, but life rarely is.

photo courtesy of my sister kate

it's so easy to look at other blogs and wish we had that life or wonder why ours isn't so perfect. but remember- it's a small glimpse into a bigger picture of what's really going on. we all have hot, humid, sticky, frustrating days. but we also all have beautiful special moments tucked in there just waiting to be discovered.

so while i do enjoy dreaming off all that could be i don't want to miss those moments of actually doing those things that give me joy and are life-giving. it's something i need to remind myself of daily.

hope you find your beautiful moments today!


Monday, July 11, 2011

connecting for a cause

i'm always amazed at the power of the internet. yeah, it has it downsides, but it's also a very powerful tool to connect people and stories and ultimately even change lives. if you've been a follower of my blog for a while you might remember when i posted a request a year and a half ago to raise funds for a deaf school in zambia. 38 kids were in need of mattresses and i saw with my own eyes that all they slept on was wood slats. i put out my request and within days we had raised over $1,400. a couple months later i joyfully shared the photos of these beautiful children with their new pile of mattresses and i was once again blown away by the generosity of strangers.

so you see, we have the power to do so much good with this tool! today i'm going to share another opportunity with you. i have a friend, who i have known since junior high, who is desiring to adopt a little girl from the democratic republic of congo (that's in africa in case geography isn't your thing- and it's also next to zambia which is a country near and dear to my heart). her and her husband have 2 adorable little boys and this little girl will complete their beautiful little family.

right now on their blog they are hosting a giveaway for an iPad2. tickets are $10 each and all the proceeds will be going towards their adoption fees. currently they are trying to raise $5,500 to cover their home study and first agency fees. what an exciting way to be a part of this beautiful story! please click on over to their blog, buy a ticket, follow their journey...

it's so incredible that we can partner together in literally CHANGING LIVES! i love it!

thanks for reading and even if you can't give financially, please show them some love on their blog- tweet about this giveaway- let's get the word out so they can bring their baby girl home.

have a great day!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

proof in pictures

i went to the doctor today. turns out i have bronchitis. a mild case, but bronchitis none-the-less. i'm glad i went. my chest has been hurting for days and i had a feeling it was more than just a little cold. i'm on antibiotics now so hopefully things will clear up quickly. but alas, this is not the reason for my post.

i used to hate going to the doctors and that was primarily for one reason. the dreaded scale. what is it about those scales at the doctors offices that's so intimidating? i think it probably has to do with the fact that a perfect stranger is standing there adjusting the scale to find your dreaded number. suddenly it's as if you're sharing this intimate moment with someone you just met. after all, for some of us our weight is one of our deepest darkest secrets and God forbid someone knows the truth. please tell me i'm not the only one who has had these thoughts?

all that to say, today i had none of those feelings. when the nurse called my name she apologized and said that i would have to get weighed today because i hadn't been there in so long. i told her that was fine and happily jumped up on that scale because i'm proud of where i am today. i was extra excited when it was only a pound different from what my scale at home said before i left. sometimes i swear those digital at-home scales are way off, but mine is actually right on.

so get ready. i'm about to share one of my deepest, darkest secrets with you...

i snuck a peek at my chart to see what i weighed the last time they weighed me there (it was 2008 btw- i'm so bad about going to the doctor). it said 221. yup, that's 221lbs. and when i weighed in on my first day of weight watchers this past january? 224. oh dear jesus, hold me now. did i really just put that out there on the web? i guess so.

today their scale said 184. yeah that's 40 lbs people. no wonder i was so stoked to jump on that scale. my doctor was absolutely thrilled with my weight loss and encouraged me to keep going, which i thoroughly plan on doing! and even though 184 sounds great when compared to 224, i still have more journey ahead of me. i can't wait to bust into the 170s and so on and so on. honestly, i cannot tell you how great it feels to be in control of my body in a positive way. i am changing for the better and it is so much fun! this week i fit into size 10 shorts from the loft. i haven't worn a size 10 since i was 20 and i'm almost 29! at target the other day i snagged a dress off the clearance rack in size medium and IT FIT! who is this girl? seriously? you mean 16s and XLs aren't in my clothing vocabulary anymore? wow. i'm just amazed.

if you would have asked me back in january if i thought i'd feel this good about my body today i don't know what i would have told you. every day i get more comfortable in my skin. every day i am shrinking in size, but growing in confidence. sometimes i get this crazy irrational fear that maybe i haven't actually lost weight. maybe it's in my head. yeah, that's a bunch of nonsense. just look at old pictures, sue. you have done this and you are going to continue to do this.

i browsed through some photos and found a couple full body shots... one from 2008 and one from january of this year. below that you'll see a couple shots taken at the beach last week. i'd say the change is pretty obvious. these are definitely not before and afters because i'm still in the middle of this weight loss journey but i think it's good to stop and reflect on how far i've come and to encourage myself to keep at it. see for yourself.

so the proof is in the pictures i guess. i'm not crazy after all! haha!
thanks for all of your support and encouragement as i keep on trucking through this!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

one for the birds

i have my mother to thank for my love of birds. her backyard is pretty much a bird sanctuary, what with her dozens of feeders, bird houses and wide variety of trees for them to nest in. she's got the book and binoculars and many summer mornings you can find her sitting on the patio trying to find her favorite ones. it's no surprise that when i moved into my house last year i wanted to be able to observe birds, too. but hello... i live in the city. in a townhouse. i don't have a sprawling backyard. or really any backyard for that matter. there is a row of bush-like tree things behind my house though and throughout last summer i realized that a lot of little birdies called them home. so i went out and bought a feeder that stuck to my dining room window so i could watch them eat. and eat they did. i loved watching them in the morning while i had my coffee and got used to the noise of their wings hitting the window, signaling that someone was trying to eat. i learned to be stealth so as not to scare them away. so imagine my disappointment when i hung the feeder this year and it crashed to the ground, the plastic shattering into a dozen pieces. my house is built into a hill so the dining room window is actually 2nd story and not ground level. i was bummed. and so the search for a new feeder began.

the search actually proved to be really difficult. finding a feeder that could hang on a window and didn't cost an arm and a leg was frustrating. one sunday though i ended up at lunch with my parents and they needed to run into the local hardware store. and there it was. the perfect feeder. my dad was kind enough to buy it for me once i explained how much i wanted to be able to watch the birds just like mom. she's converted him into a bird lover, too. i was so excited to put it up once i got home. i filled it with seed, stuck those suction cups good and tight to the window and waited. and i waited and i waited and i waited. i thought for sure those birds would show up any second to devour that precious seed. but they didn't. and it stayed that way for days and then weeks. every day i'd look at the feeder and notice that the level of food stayed the same. i couldn't figure out why they hadn't found it yet. one of the bushes behind my house fruits some berries so i thought maybe they were feeding off that. and then yesterday it happened. i heard the sound of wings hitting the window. i ran over and opened the blinds, which obviously scared him away, but i knew he'd be back. and he was. along with a friend. i grabbed my camera and slowly neared the window hoping to capture this momentous occasion.
as you can see from the photos, i did. and in the last 24 hours those birds have been going at it. the feeder is almost empty already. i don't how they can stuff any more seed in those tiny little birdie bellies, but they're doing it. in fact, i think they're becoming a bit greedy. this morning i've been watching them literally peck one another to keep them from getting the food. i realize this is nature and the cycle of life and all that jazz but i found myself getting angry about it. i wanted to yell at the bully birds who weren't letting the smaller ones get any food. i even contemplated taking away the whole feeder to teach them all a lesson. now, that almost makes me sound crazy. and it got me thinking...

is this how God feels sometimes? watching us fighting each other and pushing other people down so we can get ahead? taking more than we need while people around us go without? and how easily God could just take everything away from all of us to "teach us a lesson," but yet he doesn't. instead i think he is longing for us to just get it. to see that life isn't about gaining more and more for ourselves but that its in the act of giving away that we truly gain. i think He desires for us to really understand what it means to live content with what we have... to share when we have abundance... to come alongside each other and build one another up. and oh i have so far to go on this journey but God is convicting me of this more and more each day. i don't know exactly what it looks like but i think the change has to happen in the heart first so that it can then overflow from there.

so that's my prayer today. start with me lord. make me content in all things. remove my desire for more "things" that bring no lasting satisfaction. i don't want to be tied down to my possessions. i don't want to hoard what i have. God, forgive me for my selfish ways and for not always responding when you tell me to give. change my heart God. show me how to be more like you. less of me God and more of you.

in His love and grace,