Monday, December 31, 2012

the thing about JOY

As I stood in front of the mirror this afternoon in my bath robe, the water just beginning to dry in my hair, I picked up my brush. My hair sat damp, with a mess of tangles, just as it always does after a shower. There is only one way to get those pesky tangles out. 

 I can't part my hair or dry it until the tangles have been removed. If I start to brush my hair from the top, which seems the natural way to brush one's hair, then the tangles would only get worse. No, I must patiently begin with short and gentle strokes at the bottom of my hair. Once the ends have been smoothed, I can work my way to the top of my head with larger strokes and eventually the brush will glide smoothly through my hair, allowing me to make the part and dry it. 

I began the year 2012 with the ambition of focusing on JOY and finding more of it in my life. JOY is a fruit of the spirit. Which means that it is not something you simply command to be. I can't tell myself, "Kristin, be joyful right now!" and expect authentic joy to come forth. It must be produced through growth and nutrition. JOY is not a fruit of self; however, it is a fruit of the spirit. The spirit of Christ Jesus. 

Just as a granny smith apple (my favorite fruit by the way!) is the fruit of a granny smith apple tree, JOY is the fruit of Jesus' spirit. It is what's produced when the spirit of Jesus is living in us, controlling us, and having his way with us. 

Just as I cannot fix my hair after a shower without taking care of the tangles I cannot have JOY without Christ's spirit living in me and taking care of my sinful human nature. I cannot remove the tangles of my hair without starting at the bottom and working my way through them. The spirit cannot live in me and make me pure unless I grant Him access and permission, and willingly let Him nourish me and control me. When I let Him begin to work through the tangles He'll smooth things out in my heart so that true JOY may be produced. 

That is what my conclusion is on this year's end. 

Even though I've been saved for many years, I'm still continually learning new things about what that means. Even though I've let Christ in, I long to let Him stay and for Him to make known His presence in me every day. His fruits are one way that I can know that He's near. 

The way to have JOY, or any fruit of the spirit is to allow Christ to control you. Only then will his fruit be produced. And praise God for graciously offering us the gift of His spirit! 

"The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won't find any law opposed to fruit like this. Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us. 

Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let's keep each step in perfect sync with God's Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed  by provocation, pride, and envy." 

~ Galations 5:22-26 The Voice

~ Wishing you much JOY this next year! Happy New Year's! ~

Monday, December 10, 2012


"God is AWESOME!"

I'm pretty sure that I don't say that near enough. In fact, even if I said it all day long, it wouldn't be enough! But regardless, there is definitely a feeling of God's presence when you
 bask in His "awesomeness"!

I learned another lesson about JOY (my word for 2012) recently. As with all of my lessons learned, it's something I've always known as "head knowledge" but I really hadn't understood
 and felt convicted of it. 

As kids, we learn that it's good to make plans. I remember as a senior in high school, how daunting it was when we had to make 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year plans for ourselves. And guess what! 
NONE of those plans were put into action! Last year I would think on those plans and feel disappointment and grief. I'm not anywhere close to the person I set out to be. 

So, how does JOY fit into this, you might be wondering. Here is the big secret... it doesn't!

Plans that we make for ourselves set us up for disappointment, grief, stress, pressure, and unhappiness. 

This, I have learned first hand. 

I've discovered that one of the greatest keys to JOY is to allow yourself to be open to the will of God, and acknowledging His blessings along the way. When we are open to His plan over our own, the pressure is lifted and our mind has been cleared so that we can see His blessings. 

So I'm going to do my best to not stress over not knowing what is to come. 
I will be thankful for what already has!

If you have a couple of minutes watch this video and bask in the thought that GOD IS AWESOME! That's the one thing that really matters in our life! 

This video brings me back to soulful worship nights at church camp and loud and powerful youth rallies. Listen... think about it.... lift your hands to the Lord! 

I'm going to end this post as my daddy would so often do:

Because God is Awesome,
K. Jesch

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

not without effect

Have you ever felt a friend drifting away from you and then thought to yourself, "If they are not making an effort to see me, then why should I make an effort to see them? They must not want to see me very much anyways!"? Let's just say I've been around too many girls to think that I'm the only one who's had this thought cross her mind! 

It's probably a good thing that Christ was a male and not a female... because heavens, can us gals hold some grudges! 

Tonight, I'm at a place where I'm just amazed. Amazed at God's grace. 

I'm amazed that I can live selfishly as I often do, and that God still takes me when I seek Him. The fact that God still desires me even when I'm not always making an effort is beyond incredible to me. How powerful and yet merciful He must be to take me even when I'm selfish beyond measure. 

I'm reminded of Paul's words to the Corinthians:

"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect."

~ 1 Corinthians 15: 9-10 ~

That is perhaps one of my favorite scriptures, if not my absolute favorite scripture. My favorite part is, "and his grace to me was not without effect." 

Because God's grace has HUGE effect on me... it changes me, it motivates me, it humbles me, it encourages me, it amazes me. 

To be able to be reminded of God's grace is a blessing. When I sit and meditate on it, I'm brought to tears almost every time. 

When I first began this post, I had the intentions of sharing the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, "Mighty to Save". But another song has been brought to my heart tonight. It's an old song, but the message rings clear: Oh how marvelous is my Savior's love for me. 

I absolutely love Christ Tomlin's arraignment of this song. It's slow and really allows you to reflect on the power of the words being sung. I hope you'll take 7 minutes to watch the video and hear this song. Please, take this sort time to reflect and meditate on God's amazing grace that flows from his amazing love. 
Remind yourself often of his love so that his grace is not without effect! 

Many blessings your way!
~Kristin Marie

Friday, November 30, 2012

"en route" to heaven

A friend and I were talking today about problems. More specifically, we were were saying that we wished we could understand why God allows bad things to happen to people, especially people who are good. 

One of the characters in the (fictional) book that I'm reading, lost faith in God after his girlfriend's father was killed in the 9-11 events. It started with him believing that there was no purpose in praying- if God's will was going to happen either way then why bother, which led him to think what good and merciful God would allow such horror to happen in the first place. Before he knew it, he was no longer believing in God, but in humanism. Now, thankfully this is fiction... and I'm almost positive that the next book in the series will show him coming back to the Lord, but sadly... this is not an uncommon series of events. 

God seems to leave so much out when it comes to revealing His plans for us. Sure, we know the general idea... it's the specifics that are so mysterious. Why does God allow us to feel so much pain? I'm sure that I don't need to list examples. Just think of someone whom you've known to face a hard battle that just didn't seem fair. Maybe that person is even yourself. 

Some things we'll just never know, but I did find some encouragement as I read today's section from my Jesus Calling book this afternoon. I'll share some of it with you.

"Problems are a part of life. They are inescapable: woven into the fabric of this fallen world. You tend to go into problem-solving mode all too readily, acting as if you have the capacity to fix everything. This is a habitual response... not only does this habit frustrate you, it distances you from me. 

.... Rather than trying to fix everything that comes to your attention, ask me to show you what is truly important. Remember that you are en route to heaven, and let your problems fade in the Light of eternity."

~ Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I'm not trying to solve the mysteries of the Lord, but perhaps problems, what ever they might be, are an opportunity to draw near to the Lord and feel His presence. It's not always our first response, but if we practice doing it enough, maybe someday it will be! 

I wish that I could sit down with a cup of tea and talk about this with everyone who is reading this. There is so much more that could be said. Biblical examples, personal life examples, philosophical theories and more. But the truth is this:

"Come near to God and He will come near to you." James 4:8

As long as I know that I'm in God's presence, I will have the strength to overcome and the assurance of a better future. 

I hope you are as encouraged by this as I am. 

Wishing you many blessings! 
~ Kristin Marie

Thursday, November 8, 2012

a great impact

It's funny how in November so many of us start to get in more of a thankful spirit. I personally like that we have certain months to remind us of certain things. For example:

January: goals
February: love
March/April: Christ's death and resurrection
July: our country's independence
November: thankfulness
December: the birth of Christ

Some people have told me that they don't like putting so much focus on things like that for a short period of time, because those are things we should think about all of the time. But I personally really appreciate these times to really focus on such subjects. Of course, I try to remember them all of the time... but I like having a special time to think about them even more.

I've been doing the popular challenge on facebook, to post something your thankful for every day of November. Today I posted about how thankful I am for christian music.

I've been thinking about it all evening. Of course, I enjoy other music... believe me... when I hear "Chicken Fried" pull up on my itunes I jam out like there is no tomorrow! And I'll still sing Crazy Train at the top of my lungs when Blake and I are road tripping. The point is NOT that I think everything else is wrong.

The point is that christian music has been very encouraging to me during this transitional phase in my life.

Last year, I committed to only listening to christian music when I was driving. It had been a slow process getting to that point. It all began with throwing away a trashy CD (that had been my favorite) when I was a freshman in college.

As a senior in high school, there was a concert I wanted to go to SOO bad. When my daddy wanted to view the band's website.... I knew I was headed for trouble. I was embarrassed as he read the lyrics to their songs. He told me about some of the songs he listened to when he was a kid... he loved the rhythm and the tune so much but when he listened to the words.... he knew he was singing along to something that was sinful. He said he'll never be able to forget those words. Needless to say I was never aloud to go to the concert.

Out of all of the moments I've had with my parents growing up... I think that one conversation had the most impact on me. In my life timeline... it deserves a big star. Because I was never the same after that. In all this time I've continued to progress in my desire to be an authentic christian. But that was truly what spurred it on the most.

Through all of the ups and downs that being an emotional girl brings, the one thing that keeps me sane is knowing that I'm in the Lord's presence.

Christian music reminds me of that. If I ever have a bad day... I turn the radio on to KLOVE or a good playlist of songs that remind me that God is near and is filling my life with blessings. In the morning, it's hard to start of grumpy if I've listened to Toby Mac's Good Morning song or "Learning to Be the Light". If I'm feeling anxious, all it takes is listening to "Where I Belong". If I'm feeling in the pits... it's hard to smile to "I'm so happy" or "Shine" by the Newsboys.

The point is.... I'm SO thankful christian music because it's been such a blessing in my life. It helps me connect to God. It preaches to me better than ANY sermon ever will. It helps me speak and pray to God. It reminds me to be thankful. It reminds me that I'm His child. It reminds me of His love. It helps me see His love.

What a blessing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Our God

I realize that my posts have been a little heavy lately. So here is something positive that God has reminded me of tonight:

It doesn't matter what we face, God is stronger. 

Through the ups and downs of our life, we are called to praise the Lord. In fact, our hardships give us opportunity to praise God, because we can honor the fact that He is stronger than any problem that comes our way. ANY PROBLEM! 

We serve such an awesome Father. We can take joy in knowing that God is greater than our struggles! (Big or small)

Our God Click here to listen to this song.
Chris Tomlin

Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind there's no one like you none like You!
Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
What could stand against. 

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
Then what could stand against.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

round and round

I've got another song on my heart. I know that all of my posts have been about songs, but lately that's how God has been speaking to me the most.

Today's song is sparked by a need for some change. Major change. Blake and I both have noticed that we need it. The sad part is that I've found myself in this spot way too many time in the last 5 years. I'm not sure if the problem is me or what. All I know is that the 4 or 5 times I've been here, I made a choice that didn't last. So I guess I feel like all of the following:

 "Oh great... here I am again."

 "What difference does it really make what I do... I'll just be here again."

"What am I running from?"

"Am I searching for something I'll never find?"

Tonight I listened to a great sermon online from the preacher at Quail Church. He talked about Joseph and all of the ups and downs he faced. He talked about the time Joseph waited in prison, and how we have some low points that seem to drag on and on. But God continued to lift him up and in the end, Joseph left the past behind and forgive his brothers. We have to leave the past behind to so that we can move on. Maybe that's what I have to do now. Just keep trusting that God is going to get me through this once and for all! Loved it so much.... here it is if you could use some encouragement.

But here is the song. I don't think a song has so perfectly fit how I was feeling before. (If you're reading this by e-mail you can click HERE to watch the video and listen to it. )

The Motions 
By Matthew West

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)
take me all the way (through the motions)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tuesday Tunes- Rest Easy

Wow! I find myself on the couch tonight feeling emotionally drained, yet inspired. Our bible study tonight was amazing. I don't know what was better, hearing Beth Moore talk about Esther or hearing all the strong ladies around me share their praises, fears, and struggles. I don't think very many left this evening's study with dry eyes.

The theme for this past week in the study was: "It's tough being a women in another women's shadow".  Ya wanna talk about how much I understand that one!!!! Oh my goodness, as I work so hard to be the perfect wife for Blake, I struggle with the image of someone very dear to me, who appears so perfect in every way possible. Even though I pick her brain, listen to her wisdom, take her encouragement.... in my mind I feel I can never be as great of a woman as she is! Oh, how I love her so much, but am I under her shadow? You bet!

As I'm under her influence I've been striving to be a better wife. But oh, how discouraged I often feel! As I pray to God and ask Him to shine through me so that I can show Blake that perfect love, I am definitely... oh what's the word? HUMBLED? Oh, sister, is THAT an understatement! Sometimes I get so humbled that I feel defeated!

Sometimes I simply need to take Blake's advise and quit worrying. Because really... our life is pretty great. Our relationship is pretty great. He is pretty great.

I was reminded of that tonight as I heard this song on my drive home. I'd never heard it before so it really spoke to me.

I'm a very lucky gal to be married to someone who loves me the way my Lord and Savior loves me. So lucky to be married to someone who takes me as I am. No doubt, after listening to this song, I think I'll rest easy.

How great is my God for giving me Blake!

Watch this video to hear about the song writer's story behind the song! It's so great!! I can relate to the guy in so so many ways! Maybe you will be able to as well: CLICK HERE FOR IT!!!

Now, you MUST take a couple of seconds to listen to the song! Watch this video for a great interpretation of it! CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT!!

Rest Easy
Andrew Peterson

You are not alone
I will always be with you
Even to the end

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy

Do not be afraid
Nothing, nothing in the world
Can come between us now

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy

You work so hard to wear yourself down
And you’re running like a rodeo clown
You’re smiling like you’re scared to death
You’re out of faith and all out of breath
You’re so afraid you’ve got nowhere left to go

Well, you are not alone
I will always be with you

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
You can rest easy

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Tunes

I've written about this song before. It's one of my favorites, and by the grace of the Lord, I find it when it seems that I need it most. 

The last time I "found" this song, it was a time when I was striving to be perfect. Wishing so badly that I could be a little kinder, more soft spoken, thinner, smarter, patient, neater... basically a picture perfect image. The song helped me see that all of the laws I tried to create for myself not only didn't work... but left me aching inside. I needed to focus on Christ. 

Today I write because it found me again, but in a different way. Showing me this time that if I truly want God's will to be be done in my life then I have to allow His spirit which I've accepted into my heart to truly shine through me. To truly shine through the sinful nature that seems to embody me. It's the only way. 

I can keep fighting myself with who I think I am verses who God wants me to be. Or I can give up my identity and be who God wants me to be- and that is a living and breathing radiance of Him and His splendor. 

My favorite verse in the whole entire bible hints at this too:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." ~ 1 Peter 2:9

And Matthew 5:14 reminds of what we are:

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."

Light. Overcomes. Darkness. 

Read the lyrics and listen to the song. It's an absolute beautiful piece. I hope it speaks to you! :-) Click here to hear the song: Own Me by Ginny Owens
(If you are reading this from my actual blog link & not e-mail, you can click the video at the bottom of the post to hear the song)

Own Me
Ginny Owens 

Got a stack of books,
So I could learn how to live;
Many are left half-read, 
Covered by the cobwebs on my shelf.
And I got a list of laws,
Growing longer everyday;
If I keep pluggin' away, 
Maybe one day I'll perfect myself.
Oh, but all of my labor, 
Seems to be in vain;
And all of my laws, 
Just cause me more pain;
So I fall before You, 
In all of my shame;
Ready and willing to be changed-

Own me
Take all that I am,
And heal me
With the blood of the Lamb.
Mold me 
With Your gracious hand;
Break me till I'm only Yours-
Own me

Oh, you call me Daughter,
And you take my blame;
And you run to meet me,
When I cry out Your name,
So I fall before You,
In all of my shame.
Lord, I am willing to be changed


Thursday, September 20, 2012


"I am writing to you, young people, because He has given you the power to conquer the evil one."
~ 1 John 2:13b

It's one thing to focus on the Lord's presence in my life. It's a whole other thing to think about "the evil one's" presence in my life. I absolutely shutter at the thought that Satan might be present in my life, but the fact of the matter is that I face evil every day. We all do. 

I'm not saying that Satan is evident in our life. I'm saying that he is present in our life. If think he isn't... please go on and tell me about that. But every time I'm tempted to say something I shouldn't or think something I shouldn't I'm assuming that the evil one is definitely lurking around. 

I love that verse above. That particular version is from The Voice, which sort of translates the scriptures into a way that lets you understand the context a little bit better. Originally, the Greek translates it closer to, "I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil (one)". 

But how did they overcome evil? 

They overcame the evil one because, through Christ, God gave them the power to conquer. 

Choosing to follow Christ allows me to conquer the evil one. 

As I face temptations on a daily basis, I must realize that I am facing the evil one. When I realize that I'm not just facing a temptation, I'm facing Satan, himself, I can choose to deny him. I can choose to take Christ's side. 

I'm so glad that I've come across this verse. When I'm faced with temptation not only will I try to remember that the temptation is from Satan, but I will try to remember this verse. 

God has empowered us so that we can defeat the evil one! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"the reality is you have no idea"

I came across this passage today during church,

"Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, "We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We'll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up." The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another. It would be best to say, "If it is the Lord's will and we live long enough, we hope to do this project or pursue that dream." But your current speech indicates an arrogance that does not acknowledge the One who controls the universe, and this kind of big talking is the epitome of evil. So if you know the right way to live and ignore it, it is sin- plain and simple."
                               ~ James 4:13-17 The Voice ~

Does that hit anyone the way it hits me? The rebel in me just loves this because the world we live in strives for plans. It tells us we need to make 5 year, 10 year, 20 year, 50 year plans. We need to always know where we are going. We need to know what our dreams are so that we can pursue them. "The American dream" is the pursuit of so many Americans. So the rebellious part of me just loves that here in God's word we read... hold on just a second... not so fast... we can't center our lives around this stuff!

I'm serious though, how often do we make our plans and not look to God at all. OK, so I can't speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. This is something I've been working on... depending on the will of God above my own. It isn't always easy, in fact sometimes it's really hard. It's challenging enough to figure out what I want... then I have to make sure it fits with what Blake wants... but hold up... now I have to add in what God wants too! I can't assume that I will make my desires happen, and that doesn't come natural to me! I want to believe that I can make anything happen if I want it bad enough.

But that's not the truth! The truth is that God's will should be placed higher than my own will. I should seek His will first. I should seek His will above my own plans. I shouldn't depend on my plans.

I also shouldn't put things off.

I shouldn't say, "Oh, when this happens THEN I'll serve God is such and such way".... or "Well when I have a normal schedule, then I'll do my bible studies". Nope. I need to do those things the Lord calls me to do. I'm like mist-- only here for a moment. I've got no idea how much more time I've got.

No, I don't want to be bound to my plans.

I want to be bound to God's plans! Those things He calls me to do are so much better than anything I could plan or dream up myself!

So I will continue to pray for His will to be revealed to me.

I just loved this passage so much. I've read it several times before, but it just had so much power this morning as I read it. Through this passage, I even believe God spoke to me.... helping me.

It's so incredible to feel God's presence as you read His word! I just love it! Glory be to God!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


When I was browsing our local office supply store a couple of months ago I came across this little note pad in the Martha Stewart section. (Oh, how I love Martha!)

Anyway's I keep it on my desk so that when I'm feeling stressed I can think about the good things. There is something about a positive attitude that can really turn your day around. This is pretty well known across the board- religious or not. What I LOVE is that God calls us to do this as Christians. It reminds me that God really does know what's best for us!

"Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God's will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)  
               ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

I often find myself getting frustrated about our small living space. We seem to be busting at the seams of our 1 bedroom apartment on the third floor. So I decided I need to rejoice in the positive about our living space. Here goes!

Good Things (About our apartment)
1. We have a place to live.
2. Because it's on the 3rd floor... I'm guaranteed some exercise. 
3. Because it's on the 3rd floor... we have no bugs.
4. Because it's on the 3rd floor... we don't have to listen to noisy people above us.
5. We have things to fill our apartment (and our car trunks.. and in-law's house) with. 
6. It's nice and new and clean. 
7. We have the money to pay for it. 
8. The maintenance people are fast and take care of everything. 
9. It's 100x better than our old apartment. 
10. It can fit our large couches, large table, and large bed. 

So there we go! I will celebrate our apartment and be ever-so-thankful that we have such luxury. Can I tell you something? I already feel a lot better. :) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

a new chapter for a new story

This blog has always been a hodge pot of sorts. Pretty random for the most part. 

I've decided to give it more of a focus, a new chapter.  

Over the past few months the Lord has really worked in my heart. I've been learning how to listen to Him and truly seek His will. I've also been learning how to witness His presence in my life. 

It's pretty amazing to see Him at work. It's become so obvious at times that I don't know how I'd ever missed it. Once I realized that God is there always- that I don't have to continually ask to be in His presence- that was when I truly felt the joy of my salvation. 

When I was saved that summer in an Oklahoma swimming pool over 11 years ago, I knew I had assurance in my eternal life. I didn't understand the joy of it though. I didn't understand that my salvation meant I would get to be in God's presence from that point on forever more. In my mind the joy of salvation wasn't experienced until after my life on Earth was over. Oh, how I was wrong! I've truly found the joy of my salvation-  it's getting to be in God's presence!

I've given my blog a new title- Embracing His Presence

As I continue to seek God and listen for Him I want to write about it. Anytime I write on a spiritual matter, I feel God's presence. I can feel Him working on my heart. 

I can't claim to be a great writer by any means and I sure don't know anything about spelling or grammar. 
What I can claim is that I have a story to share. As long as God is casting His presence onto me I will have a story to share! 

"Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blessed;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long"

Do you have a story that needs to be shared? 

Monday, September 10, 2012

fit to follow

Eternal One: Before I even formed you
                      in your mother's womb,
                      I knew all about you.
                      Before you drew your first breath, I had already chosen you
                       to be My prophet to speak my word to the nations.

Jeremiah: Ah, Eternal Lord!
                 I'm too young and inexperienced to speak for You.

Eternal One: Don't use your youth as an excuse;
             you can and will go wherever I send you.
             You can and will say whatever I tell you to say.
             You have no reason to fear the people you speak to,
             for I am with you and will defend you.

- Jeremiah 1: 5-8 The Voice

My grandpa told me that when he went to college, the biggest lesson he learned was that he didn't know anything. At least... he said something like that.

I know exactly what he means. As a freshman going into college I thought I had all the answers, had the best methods, and knew the best theology. OK... so I didn't think I was the best, but I was pretty confident in myself.

Then I took exegeses.

Can I just say that any self confidence I still had at that point was completely and utterly destroyed! Jeremiah's words, "I'm too young and inexperienced to speak for You" most definitely were on my tongue.

Going to a Christian college challenges your faith on so many levels. You hear all sorts of views and ideas and sometimes you feel like you don't know why you believe anything you believe because everyone else has a better argument than you. Sometimes you feel like you've been doing things wrong your whole life. Sometimes you feel like your finally grasping an idea you never could before.

Then sometimes you feel like there is no way you'll ever feel confident in what you think again because clearly you don't know the facts that everyone around you seems to know. And clearly you don't know how to argue your points as good as everyone else!

Then suddenly you feel to young and inexperienced to speak for the Lord.

(By the way... I'm saying "you" but really I mean "me".. but I'm trying to make myself feel better by thinking I'm not the only one this happens too!)

Here's what I've learned post graduation:

God will send me where He wants me to go. God will give me the ability to say whatever He wants me to say. I have no reason to fear because He is with me and will defend me.

God said this to Jeremiah in a very specific context, but I believe with all my heart that those words apply to all of His children. As long as I am willing to follow God, He will lead. As long as I am willing to speak for God, He will tell me what to say. When I'm longing for Him to be with me, he will be with me. As long as I'm standing for truth, He will defend me.

It doesn't matter what I know, or how educated I'm able to make myself sound. As long as I am willing, God will use me in the way He wants to use me.

So even though I feel inadequate to speak for Him, I must pray that He will continue to reveal His will t for me and that I will be willing to accomplish whatever that will might be.

Monday, August 27, 2012

in you

I am up way past my bed time right now. About two hours to be exact. So please excuse any typos or spelling errors that may occur. That is because I was in the car chatting it up with a wonderful gal after our bible study. Bless our husbands for putting up with our inspirational talks that have made us late more than once.

Anyways, one topic led to another, and before I know it I'm laying on my living room floor listening to Chris Tomlin's "I Will Follow You"..... and then I hear it.

"In You there's joy, unending joy."

My word for 2012 has been JOY... it was my new years resolution to learn more about joy and develop more joy within my heart. What I didn't know was that I was going about it the wrong way.

You see, joy is not something that you seek to develop within your self. Joy is something that you allow God to develop in you. God's got the joy, and He's got to give it to us.

Let me put the above quote into more context of the song.

"In you there's life ever lasting.
In You there's freedom for my soul.
In You there's joy, unending joy.
Where you go, I'll go."

Yes, I've know that God is the key to having joy, and that when we allow Him, there can be a supernatural joy that takes over us.... but it's more than that.

I don't gain more joy in my life by trying to be happy and positive. I get JOY in my life, through God.
I get true JOY when I ask God's spirit to dwell within me and free my soul from the bondage of sin. When I am truly allowing the Spirit to reign in me that I can experience His JOY.

In God there is JOY and when I allow God to be in me, JOY will be in me. 

I know that I've talked a little bit about this before, but it just hit me in a much clearer way tonight. Praise be to God for talking loud and clear to me! And perhaps I realized it before, but tonight I was refreshed. Heavens knows I need constant refreshing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Autumn Fancies

Seriously, autumn can not get here soon enough! I know that so many people out there savor the last days of summer... not this gal. I find myself pretending it's already fall.

I've broken out the denim jacket! I don't care if it's still hot outside.... It's finally staying in the low 90's and 80's and besides, it's cool inside. I spend most of the day inside anyways.

I'm dreaming of the leaves changing.... romancing the idea of it anyways. It's not exactly Vermont around here, but we do get a little bit of color in some areas.

My taste buds are watering in anticipation for loads and loads of my mother-in-laws incredible chili recipe along with made-from-scratch cornbread. Along with roast and stews and turkey/ wild rice casserole.

Oh, and how about desserts? Pumpkin muffins, apple pies, crock pot apple sauce... oh that reminds me... pork chops and apple sauce.... pumpkin pies, CRANBERRIES!!! Oh goodness. Apple cider anyone?

Or how about Starbucks's pumpkin spiced latte? In the words of Jessie Tanner.... "HAVE MERCY"!!

I'm ready to pull out my pumpkin table runner and spiced candles. Ready to put our Pottery Barn duvet back on our bed.

I'm ready for Big Red and Dallas Cowboys football.... which means jalapeno poppers, home-made pizza sticks, veleveta cheese dip, and all those different dips I make from mixes I get at the fair.

The fair? Oh yes! The lovely Oklahoma State Fair! Where I can find my most anticipated treat... cheese-on-a-stick!

How about cooler weather? With all of this yummy food, I'll definitely be needed to take more walks/jogs. Oh that cool crisp air will feel so wonderful!

Have you noticed? Autumn is my favorite season of the year by a landslide!

Some how, everything seems so much more friendlier, cozier, and wonderful during the fall. I know we still have a few days to wait.... but I tell you what. When September gets here... wait no longer. It'll be fall in my book!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

crazy days & blessings

Is it just me or does summer go by at turbo speed? It seems like only a couple weeks ago I was sitting beside the previous administrative aid at school getting in some training for my new job. Now I'm actually doing the things I learned... with my own pictures on the desk and my own sentsy warming my favorite scents.

I've gotta say, I think it was the fastest summer of my life. I don't say that every summer either. Summers tend to drag for me (even when they are packed with fun things), but this one really went fast.

August is by far going the fastest it's ever gone. It's like we are almost to the half way point! Well... there are still a few days but STILL!

OK so enough about that.

Anyways, I just find it so funny that I pictured things going so differently right now. Little did I know what was in store for me this month.

From going back to work - to buying a car in another state - to buying a washing machine. These 9 days have been insane. I've pulled frozen chicken breasts out to thaw and thrown them back in the freezer to instead have sandwiches or something else not needing cooking. I've had the same chicken in and out of the freezer probably 3 times. I know they say not to do that...but we haven't died yet.

As soon as things slow down something happens.

Tis life, I'm told. I guess we have to just hold on tight and brace ourselves.

In the mean time, I'll be counting my blessings as the hymn goes:

"Count your blessings. Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings. See what God has done."

Looking forward to going to the Women of Faith conference this weekend with my good friend Glory and some of the gals in her family! That is the next blessing coming my way!

Monday, August 6, 2012


As I eat my breakfast and watch Good Morning America I realize something. Every single thing they are talking about, I've already read about on facebook. I find myself wishing they would hurry up and quit taking so long to tell me the stories. The sad part? Most of the stories are only told in under 2 minutes! 

Before I go to bed, I check facebook on my phone. When I wake up, I check my facebook on my phone. Plus, multiple times throughout the day I check facebook on my phone. Then when I get home, I check facebook on my laptop. 

It's pretty crazy how far facebook has come. I got my account back in high school, I had a few friends and the fun part of facebook was giving each other bumper stickers and picking out flair for our boards. Never thought that everyone I knew would have an account along with every business out there. 

Hard to believe that facebook is how I hear most of the news and current events. It is though. 

And as much as people talk bad about facebook- I love it. I don't want it to go anywhere any time soon! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

how to take your spiritual life to new heights

In my last post, I talked about how I've really witnessed God working in my life to strengthen my faith. This is the second part of that post. I talked how I've noticed the change. Now I want to talk about HOW that change came about. (And I'm sorry it's so long! I tried to be brief!)

There is a secret to having growth in your faith. The secret is seeking God and opening your heart to the way He wants to move it. God wants to move our hearts, but because God gave us choice, we have to allow Him into our hearts to work. (Now, I still think that God can move us when our hearts are hard- goodness knows I don't want to deny the grace of God and how powerful it can be! But when we feel something missing and we long for a stronger faith, this is how we can do our part to let God to achieve it!) When we are focusing on God, we will see how He works in our lives. We will be continually moved by His grace for us. 

Several people have said to me, and I've noticed myself, that when we're digging in the word and studying the Bible we feel closer to God. After all the Bible is God's word, so it seems like the first place to go when we long to feel closer to Him! 

I think that the following 2 passages really show me how to strengthen my faith. Even though these are so familiar to us, I encourage you to really thing about what they say. 

"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. Let us fix our eves on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scoring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the thrown of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and loose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Did you catch that? If we want to avoid growing weary and loose our passion for God, we need to continually consider Christ and what His sacrifice meant. We also need to constantly be focusing on Jesus because if we do, He can can impact our faith, because he is the perfecter of our faith! It's like the magic words... right there! That just makes me so excited to see that!

Now.. the next verse of wisdom:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ JesusFinally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." 
Philippians 4:4-9

We gain the peace of God by thinking about good and pure things. It's time to put away those awful magazines full of immoral tips and articles telling us how to think self-rightously. Time to toss out the music that makes our minds tolerant to filthy and suggestive lyrics. Time to cancel our DVR on the shows that fill our minds with garbage. Instead we need to be thinking about things that are holy. That is how we get the peace of God!

 I tell you all of this from my personal experience. Because when I started putting my focus on rejoicing in God, thanking him, praying to him about my troubles, and focused on pure things- I found peace and joy like I'd never experienced it before. 

THAT my sisters, is how you find God, and how you open your heart to him! 

So fix your eyes on Christ and and fill your mind with what is pure. It'll take your relationship with God to new heights! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

show me where you brought me from

Happy Monday, friends! Over the weekend, Blake and I went to Bartlesville, OK to stay with his parents. Their church, Dewey Church of Christ, was celebrating their 60th anniversary. What a neat event that was! We had 2 very good potlucks. (And NO ONE can do a potluck dinner the way DCOC can!) We heard lots of stories, met new people, sang lots of songs, and had a fun time.

On Saturday evening during the song service we sang, "Remind Me, Dear Lord". (Click HERE if you want to hear that song.) I have to be honest, that's never been one of my favorites, and I'm not sure that I had ever heard that song before we went to South Yukon. Usually when I hear it I think, "oh my, this song sounds like it should be in an old Western Movie from the 60's!"(Now there was also a group of men who performed this song for us, and I thought it was real sweet, and I enjoyed that very much... but I'm talking about actually singing the song as a congregation.)

But God allowed me to hear it differently this time. I can't say it's my favorite song or anything, but I did actually think about the words. It's mostly the chorus that I really like:

"Roll back the curtain of memory now and then.
Show me where you brought me from
And where I could have been
Remember, I'm human
And humans forget
So remind me, remind me, dear Lord"

Now, having grown up in a Christian family, and having such steady Christian roots, I can't say that I have much of a past to be "reminded of". I do however remember those rebellious teen years that many find themselves in. Even though, I never did anything just awful, I do remember those horrible feelings of insecurity and the constant need to be impressing people. It's a horrible burden to hold. It's a burden that can easily lead to sin as well. It's also a burden that many people carry into adulthood. I've watched people I know carry it into their adult lives.

But God has lifted me from that. Yes, I still feel insecure at times, and I can't say I never want to impress. But those feelings don't control me the way they used to. Of course, some of that was lifted when I met Blake, and even more of it was lifted after we were married. However, that was still a work of God. The Lord has also worked in my life to help me find peace and joy. Those two fruits of the Spirit are so important!

So when I hear those lyrics, "Remind me... show me where you brought me from", I think of that insecure girl I used to be. And I am so thankful that I've allowed God's grace to inhabit every part of me! I'm so glad that the Lord has stirred my heart in ways that have been life-altering.

It's so hard to imagine how life would be if instead of growing closer to God in the last 5 years, I grew further away. I'm so thankful that God's helped me to strengthen my faith, and really make it my own. I was telling someone the other day that I feel like I'm at a place in my life where I have all the good from the "old me" without any of the bad. It's very empowering when you are aware of God working in your life.

So hearing that song over the weekend helped me remember where I was, and realize where I am now. Glory to God for seeing me to this point! And I've got hope that He will continue to see me through my journey on Earth. Our God is an awesome God.

I've also got some thought on how to strengthen our faith and get closer to God. I'm going to save that for my next post though! For now, I want to focus on how thankful I am for new ground God has brought me to!