Thursday, December 8, 2016

Moonless Seas

Where I have decided to forego the most popular form of social media (ahem, facebook) I have not altogether walked away from it. And today, I am thankful for that. I have a wise friend who posts an impeccably well balanced amount of humor and nuggets of truth. Most days her Hallmark hastags make me laugh, but today, she shared an Elisabeth Elliot quote, and it caused me to ponder greatly the words she shared:

"He is not all we would ask for (if we were honest), but it is precisely when we do not have what we would ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency. It is when the sea is moonless that the Lord has become my Light!"

Wow. The words gripped my heart and squeezed until I was tender enough to gasp at my arrogance, my insufficient "self sufficiency", my total disregard for how truly sufficient He is.

I think I *know* He is sufficient, but as she said, it seems to be only when He has denied, taken away, or temporarily withheld something or somethings from me, that I begin to see just how sufficient He is.

But I have a confession: sometimes He says no, He takes away, and He withholds, and I still think something else is the ticket. I still deny that He is sufficient enough for me. Sometimes my world is completely dark, and I still deny His help.

May this be a caution we take to heart dear sisters, that we not make our hearts go that far before we lean into Him for His sufficiency.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

22 things I've learned

A few months ago, I turned 22. Yikes.
Ew.
wow.
What?

It's been a mix of emotions being this old and feeling like I'm still leading the life of a high schooler. And yet, I realized that I have learned a lot in the last 22 years. So here's "22 things I know are true at 22". Enjoy. 

1) sometimes bad things happen- and there is no logical reason to be given. They just happen. 

2) sometimes bigger isn't better. This is something poignant I have noticed over the span of my life. For simple example, since working in a coffee shop (which will be a theme in so many of these points) I thought I would enjoy my 16oz cafĂ© con leche more than I would a 12oz- but I can assure you, the 16oz is simly too much, and the flavor is far better in the 12. Just my opinion...

3) friendships you intend to keep may fall apart, and, but they just may last. I have been warned against holding out for friendships to last forever, but trust me- some of them just might make it. It's a conscious choice you both have to make together though. But know, that sometimes circumstances are out of your control and sometimes friendships do fall apart. But I truly believe that friendships, like relationships can be fought for.

4) coffee shops are not quiet work places. I had this beautiful misconception that coffee houses were nice, calm quiet places for study, reflection, and deep conversation. And where those things still do and should happen, a coffee shop is most certainly not quiet. The espresso grinder, the blender, the gelato cabinet's machine running, the ice machine dropping ice, the scurry back and forth when the room is full of people waiting on product...it is not quiet. It's a warm, cozy, and nice place to be, but it is not quiet.

5) everyone has a reason for doing what they've done. Maybe it's not always a good one, but there is one. You don't have to agree with someone's reason, but listen to them. And respect their reasons, no matter how bologna they sound. (this is obviously very different when you are dealing with a small child- but I still believe they deserve to be listened to too.)

6) where you value people who will listen to you, remember that when someone talks to you, they value you listeningThis is a very personal thing, because I crave for people to listen to me (why else do you think I have a blog with grossly long posts?) but being someone who listens is so important. And people value it, more often than not, above your advice.

7) "you will be the same person five years from now, except for the people you meet and the books you read." Charlie Jones. The chance to change is yours for the taking- the trick is to simply take it. 

8) but, in follow up to that, be careful about who and what you choose, not everyone or everything changes you for the better. It is so easy to become influenced without even realizing it. What you read shapes your thinking, who you spend time with shapes your lifestyle.

9) age truly is just a number. There is value in building friendships with people of varying ages. 

10) I don't have to agree with you to be friends with you. I used to be deceived into thinking you could only be friends with people who thought just like you. "Likemindedness" is the term that was used. Where there is an element of that that makes some friendships easier, not every friendship has to be that way. It's ok, and I daresay even healthy to have some friendships with people you ardently disagree with. It causes several things in yourself: you either become firm with what you believe, or have your mind opened to possibilities you never considered. You learn how to fight fair, and how to disagree peaceably. You learn maybe the reasons why other people who believe like them, do believe like them. It also causes you to accept and love people who's political stance, diet choices, and music styles are different from your own.

11) It is good, healthy and Biblical to be quiet. We live in such a "go, go, go!" world, that we forget to just slow down for a bit. Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still, and know that I am God." so just stop every once in a while, and worship Him in silence, in writing, in song. Just be in Him for a little bit.

12) in three years, what ever new thing you bought won't matter. we become so focused on the "stuff" and the "things" we lose sight of the thing that really matters: the people. People have souls, and souls are eternal. Why are we ignoring them?

13) everyone has at least one weird quirk. Do not judge others for theirs, don't be embarrassed about yours.

14) pet peevs only matter to you the moments they happen- don't let them cause bigger issues. I have become so upset with people over trivial issues, that in the grand scheme of things, don't matter. Things that on that fun questionnaire when they ask "what is your biggest pet peeve?" I can't call anything to mind. Because they just don't matter at that point. Stop making them a bigger deal than they are.

15) be friends with people who have different backgrounds, different first languages, different ethnicities, different hobbies, different taste in music, different family dynamics than yourself. Be open to their interests, and so long as it doesn't compromise what you believe, be willing to give it a try. 

16) when you feel lonely, and there will be times when you do, you never know who you will happen upon. So be kind to everyone, and remember that strangers can become friends

17) at every opportunity you are given, try something new. New food, new destination, new sport, new music. Whatever it is, try it.

18) read, learn and remember history. Your personal ancestry, your country's history, your favorite period in time. Read. Go to museums. Watch documentaries. Find people who know about it, and ask them questions. 

19) there are a lot of wise teachers and a lot of good resources, and you should use them, but nothing can replace the Word of God. It's ok to have a favorite speaker/teacher, favorite book, favorite quote, and favorite sermon, but don't press into these things as Gospel truths.

20) its ok to be friends, even good friends, with people of the opposite gender- but certainly safeguards should always stay in place when you are. There is something beautiful that happens when you have those alternate perspectives on things. There is an element of irreplaceability in these friendships. 

21) "my biggest regret was the things I did not say" --- "where words are many, sin is present."
Say what you need to, but no more than that. It is a delicate balance, but essential to find.

22) every person deserves your respect. This is another coffee shop lesson. There have been all sorts walking through our door. Blue hair, alternate lifestyles, face tattoos, people who were drunk, high or both...but every customer deserves to be greeted with the same enthusiasm, and every one deserves to be respected the same. Mistreating someone just because you disagree with them should never be ok. Being mean isn't a way to disagree anyways.

I don't know much, and I will (try to) be the first to admit that. But I do know these things are true. Every day is a gift, use it well. Learn. Grow. God didn't give us feet so we would stay in one place. Seek who He wants you to be, and be that person fully.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

facebook, health and joy right here

Well in case you haven't noticed, my blog has been a bit sour as of late. *Insert every cringe emoji here*

I think we all by nature want to be joyful, and yet by nature are not. I know that's basically the conundrum I have found myself in. Wanting it, but not actually doing it.

There were a lot of reasons riding on the decision, but a week ago today, I decided to leave facebook for an indefinite period of time. I know that sounds so silly, and people may be wondering why on earth I even felt it was worth mentioning. Have you ever heart the term "keeping up with the Jones"? Being active on facebook fuels that like you wouldn't believe.

This in addition to the horrid behavior I was witnessing from people I love, admire and respect were really the basis of my decision to leave. I didn't need a constant reminder that everyone else's life looks better than mine and that politics can tear families to shreds.

Here's just four quick things I have learned since leaving a week ago:

1) I spend way to much time browsing social media
I hate to admit this, especially right at the top of the list. But this was the most immediate thing I realized. I would pickup my phone upwards of 50 times a day (towards the beginning) to just "check real quick" only to unlock my phone and realize the little icon was no longer there. I found myself substituting with other social media platforms (twitter, and instagram namely) but have started browsing there less as well.

2) Anything I need to know about can be found in other formats and places
So I have thought about going facebook free for a while, but my biggest excuse to myself was that it was the only place I was seeing news. And, that was true. But honestly after leaving, I haven't missed the petty and sometimes depressing headlines. I have however chosen to follow a few news outlets on twitter, and have been able to keep up with what I need to.

3) I think, in some way, being off of facebook has made me a more genuine, kinder person
This might be a bit of a stretch, it might not. But I feel like when I see friends I can ask what they have been up to with a more genuine attitude since I don't already know what they've been up to. It has already paved the way for me to be more personable with people I call "friends". As well, it has made me be more genuine. Its not longer just polished, edited photos that I am putting out there. When people see me now, all they see is the real me and however I actually look, not necessarily how I want to look.

and lastly, 4) facebook is not inherently bad
I felt like this was important to mention, because my post can come across judgmental and that I think it's bad, or wrong for people to use. I don't think it's bad or wrong in the least! However, social media, like anything, can quickly become a god and a point of worship- either of self or others. It most certainly had for me. I was comparing my life, even subconsciously, to the lives of those on my newfeed. I think facebook becomes wrong when we start to think our lives are better or worse than everyone's and when we put the use of it above so many other things. I probably spend an average of 1-2 minutes browsing every time I opened the app. That's almost an entire hour of my day that I could spend a different way.


In addition to my mental health, I have decided to get a reign in on my physical health as well. As I have mentioned, I have had a rapid weight gain for no real explicable reason. Where my eating habits aren't great, I certainly don't pig out. However, eating habits are just one facet. My gut health needed to be upgraded as well. So in addition to a daily workout, I have also started drinking one bottle of kombucha every other day, as well as 8-12 ounces of almond milk every morning. Almond milk has numerous health benefits, and many of them tended to be exactly what I needed. (Including boosting metabolism, and increasing kidney health and function- so look into it!) And at only 60 calories a serving, its a great filler without a lot of wasted calorie intake! What better combination?!

Look I'll be totally honest, the past week has been rough emotionally. So many little things have added up, and I have felt weary and joyless. But the Father has tenderly reminded me, that joy is not a circumstance. Joy is not a feeling. Joy is a choice. And I haven't been choosing it. Hold me accountable sisters, because today, I am choosing joy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Not where I thought I'd be

I recently had a birthday. I'll be honest, my 20's are so far not all I thought they would be. I don't mean to sound depressing, but I am going to be totally honest.

We dream big as kids. We're gonna see the world and then we're gonna change it. We're gonna be known and do something amazing. Everyone has the same basic idea, it just looks a little different for each dreamer. I know my dreams certainly didn't include still living in the same town, still single, and still driving your dad's car. And yet here I am, doing and being all of those things.

I keep coming back to a quote, though, that says "Maybe the plans God has for me are better than the plans I had for myself." I believe I once blogged about how this sounds like a paraphrase of Jeremiah 29:11. And it's true, His plans are very obviously much better than the plans I have. It is however, sometimes very disheartening when it feels like nothing quite pans out. It has left me more often than not, with a sense of "ok so what am I supposed to be doing?" I feel like I've beat down every door I have within reach, or even thinkable reach.

My mother has been one of the biggest sources of encouragement, telling me to constantly pursue The Father, and chase His Word. The problem is I just don't know how specifically that is supposed to look in my life. What am I supposed to be doing? Complacency has always bothered me to no end, but anytime I have tried to do something radical, it hasn't been the kind of crazy I was supposed to be doing.

Look, I'm sure all of this sounds majorly depressing and like I hate my life, I DON'T!! It just is not where I thought, dreamed and imagined I would be. This life has been a journey, as I am sure it will continue to be! And I am so thankful for those the Father has chosen to walk through it with me!

I want to serve Him well. So pray, dear sisters, that I would hear and be sensitive to His leading, all the days of my life. That complacency never become normal, and that my heart would remain always tender and laid out before Him. This very well may be where I am supposed to be for a very long time, and if that is the case, I ask for joy, contentment, and energy to engage with those around me, and the ability to see where I need to plug in. Because whether for a long time or a short time, this is where I am. And I want to be here well.

Xo,
M

Monday, October 31, 2016

Joy Theif

A wise man (most of the sources I have found suggest it was Theodore Roosevelt) once said, "comparison is the thief of joy" truer words have been spoken, sure. But these are a close second and dear to my heart. I am always so sad when I compare myself, and yet it is something I relentlessly do.

I almost didn't post this picture. As I have said before, it is pictures, not the mirror, I loathe so much. This particular picture was actually, pretty good. My hair looked good, my belly wasn't huge, and I like my boots, brand new Nicole dress and my chambray shirt more than almost any other clothing I own.

But all my eye could see was the terrible double chin poking out the bottom of my face. "What a nasty looking lady"

It's such an unhealthy thing to think about yourself, and here I was, with my finger hovering over the post button thinking deeply about it. Post or not.

I didn't.

I didn't the next day either.

Or the next day.

But finally, I decided that I need to get over myself. It was a pretty decent picture.

No, posting the picture didn't bring me joy: my joy isn't found in posting a picture or getting likes on it: my joy is found in Christ. But joy can so quickly become damped when I begin to compare myself, in any regard.

"I want her _____(hair, wardrobe, body, boyfriend, family, job, church, car, phone, etc.)" the list is a black hole.

Stop comparing yourself, because when you do, you simply steal your own joy.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Musings

Wow what a week this has been!! One week ago today, I was painting a step/stool behind our gelato case in preparation for our "normal business hours" opening the next day. In so many ways that feels like so much longer than just one week. And obviously in others, it seems like I have only been doing this for a week, mostly because of how my body feels. My SHOULDERS are killing me! Which is awesome, who doesn't want to build up muscles you haven't really ever worked, but seriously, want to discover muscles you didn't know you had? Become a barista.

Since I was hired and trained as a barista, its what I've been doing a lot of, but I've been able to scoop some gelato. It's an art, let me tell you. You'd think plopping some frozen milk in a cup or cone would be simple, but it's really not. It slides off my paddle into another flavor, and I greatly admire my sisters and dad for being able to scoop it so smoothly. I'm sure the muscles they're working they're feeling as well! How could you not??

When things get popping around here, I am especially thankful for my little sister who is also trained as a barista. We have a three group head machine (which basically means there's three places where water comes out) and it's awesome since we can each craft a drink and hardly get in each other's way. Makes efficiency easy to attain!

The week has had it's fair share of ups and downs, and our first slow day was almost disappointing. We have since learned however, that Wednesdays just tend to be that way. That was pretty reassuring. However I confess amid the "new" and "exciting" I've had some fear. The previous occupants of this building shut down because they didn't have enough traffic to stay open. What does that mean for us? Well, I don't know yet. What we do have going for us, is they were a three season, walk up that sold ice cream exclusively. We have indoor seating and serve coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. So maybe we'll have some more success? I can only pray!

I have been exceedingly thankful for the friends who have stopped by and sat and chatted for a bit. Friends who have no idea what's going on in the coffee world, and other barista friends. Each have been encouraging in their own ways, and I am so thankful to be so well loved!

Before starting, I was so nervous about crafting drinks, feeling like maybe I wouldn't be able to remember how to construct each one. But not only have I remembered and been able to craft quality drinks, but I've been able to master several. Milk pouring has become easier, and I even have a bit of a following for one of my drinks! It's been so cool. I've also had customers ask for something that wasn't even on our menu, and there's been some flops and some wins, but learning new ones has been fun! (Ever heard of a red eye? Neither had I)

Overall, I think this is going well. The hours are brutal, because only three of us are here full time. (Little sister part time, and older sister comes after work). I love the work, I love being able to build relationships, but I am tired. It's hard work.

I'm thankful though, for this season in my life, with so much new! So much is changing and going on. It's been a crazy ride, but I am thankful! <3

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I plead the Blood

Growing up, my sisters and I watched a series called The Super Kids. Think 80's/90's cheap special effects, with the lead roll being the daughter of charismatic, name-it-claim-it pastor, Kenneth Copeland. Watching them as an adult? They're a little much. But as a kid, those movies were the bomb dot com. I actually remember when the last one came out('99 to clarify, there was a new one put out in 2013, and this one I have not seen)

The last (of the original) movies was when the leader of the group of kids, Commander Kellie was put on trial for being a Christian. As a little kid, I didn't get a lot of the lessons in the movie. Right over my head.

But the other day in church, (confession time) I zoned out. The pastor had just made a comment about how God punishes sins. That was all it took. One little phrase popped into my head.

I plead the Blood.

The thought took me right back to 2000 on the living room floor, watching as the bald, sleazy judge asks Commander Kellie if she pleads guilty or innocent, and after standing silent for a time, she says "I plead the Blood."

Once the thought was settled into my mind, I considered what it actually meant.

I plead the Blood.

What an enormous thing to be able to say.

you.

stand.

guilty.

You're guilty.

But JESUS came in, and took that punishment that you rightly deserved. You're still not innocent, but you no longer stand in your shame and sin, your life has been paid for, and you stand coated in the Blood of the most innocent Man to ever walk the earth. The only Man that has ever been both fully man, and fully God.

You are no longer charged as guilty. You have pled the Blood, and you walk a free man. Free only because of Christ, free only IN Christ!

What a massive thing to be thankful for, as we move into a season of thanksgiving. Be so beyond words thankful friends, that we live in the time in history, when we can plead the Blood.