Monday, June 30, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 5)

Question: What is your greatest superpower and how are you using it to bless others?

I was going to go the route of asking you to describe what superpower you wished you had but then I recalled a post a writing friend wrote a while back and I loved the way she approached the topic of superpowers much better.

Instead of the superpowers we think of from Hollywood movies like Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman and Batman (or even The of my faves) how about we go the "halo and wings" route, as my friend Shelly would say?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." ~ Galatians 5:22-23

Those are some mighty superpowers, don't you think?

"The Bible refers to them as the 'fruit of the Spirit,' but I see them as supernatural, superpowerful traits that can change the course of history. When we use these superpowers, what’s meant for evil is turned to good. What’s right triumphs over evil and sin. God gets the glory and He delivers the benefits to His kids."
~ Alison Hector of Embrace the Struggle, Got Superpowers?

Alison added a nine more superpowers to the fruits of the Spirit that I will also add here because they too are mighty powerful traits to possess.
  • Prayer
  • Resilience
  • Flexibility
  • Tolerance
  • Empathy–not pity
  • Compassion
  • Wisdom
  • Encouragement
  • Praise
Because of God's grace, we all have special gifts (aka: superpowers) He has given us to do certain things well (Romans 12:6). What's yours? I know you have at least one you can tell us about. 

Oh, what's mine? Encouragement.

I hope you find encouragement whenever you stop by here for a visit. I'd like to say I use this superpower the most when I come by to visit you though. It's my favorite thing to do. I love coming over to let you know you and your words matter to me. They make a difference so keep on keeping on. 

What about outside of the blogging world? I'm a quiet one, friends. Extending encouragement doesn't come as easily but when I do have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with you (small gatherings are my cup of tea) I do my best to communicate the same: You matter to me. You make a difference so keep on keeping on.

I'm adding kindness as one of my superpowers too and will use the saying "not a mean bone resides in my body." At least I hope not.

Back to YOU. What's your superpower and how are you using it to bless others?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Randomness (Vol. 28)

Scripture speaking to my heart

"So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." ~ Acts 6:7

In the Life Application Study Bible it says this for Acts 6:7: "The word of God spread like ripples on a pond where, from a single center, each wave touches the next, spreading wider and farther. The gospel still spreads this way today. You don't have to change the world single-handedly -- it is enough just to be a part of the wave, touching those around you, who in turn will touch others until all have felt the movement. Don't ever feel that your part is insignificant or unimportant."

Wow! Let's be part of the wave, shall we?

More from Chasing God

"So I chased Him.
And as I came to a point where I could hardly do it anymore, He reached me with His tender truth.
I hope you'll let Him reach you too.
You didn't catch Me, child.
Let go of whatever gave you the impression you could.
The truth is simple, and it will change everything.
I choose you.
You weren't another face in a sea of thousands.
You are my daughter.
And you are well because you believed Me, not because you reached Me."

What's up next because I finished Chasing God?

"You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural.
You are more than dust and bones.
You are spirit and power and image of God.
And you have been given Today."

~ Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

A few of my favorite blog reads

"Because when we look for wonder, we see more of who God is; we see more of who He created us to be." ~ When You Need to Grab The Wonder Back, by Becky Keife

"It’s around this time every year that I take more time to close the laptop, walk barefoot in the dirt, and settle in among the green and good." ~ Faces over Facebook, People over Pixels, by Tsh Oxenreider via (in)courage // I need to take more Internet breaks. It really can wait.

"What if we claim passionate physical intimacy in marriage as a testament to the kind of intense, fierce, beautiful love God has for us, His daughters and sons?" ~ when intimacy is hard to do, by Justin and Jennifer Camp of Holy Entanglement // I've printed this post to spend more time on as honestly intimacy is hard for me.

My favorite, favorite blog read

"We have got beauty all wrong, all upside down and inside out. And that's the problem. Beauty is inside out and we're looking outside in." ~ For The Girls With Thighs That Touch by Kaitlyn of It Just Takes One // Spread this one around. It's a wonderful message for girls of all shapes and sizes.

Just for fun

If you are in need of a good laugh read this ~ Oh, Spam It. ~ by my friend Amy Sullivan. Actually, read no matter what. Hysterical. By the way, why do I not get spam?

On this writing thing we do

3 Myths That Hold Your Best Writing Back ~ by Bryan Hutchinson via Positive Writer // I really, really liked these words: "You have to be uniquely you." Amen!

HTB #30 - The Foundamental of Becoming a Better Writer - with Denise Hughes (a podcast) // It's worth the 30 minutes of listening.

Favorite photo of the week

Our son reenlisted in the Navy for another four years. We are so proud of him! I loved the below photo captured by his beautiful wife from his reenlistment ceremony. Please keep them in your prayers as his deployment draws near.

Second favorite photo of the week

I love being loved by my hero.

Post by Wives of Faith

Because this is always what I wish for you . . . Blessings upon blessings and grace upon grace.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Love at Hello

Throughout my husband’s deployment the way he greets me via a text message, email, or over the phone never leaves me questioning his love for me or how much he misses me. When we are able to Skype we do this silly movement with our hands as we say good-bye too. Neither of us remembers how it started or what the movement means but it’s now the thing we do and I love our thing.

With an end to the deployment in sight, I dream about his homecoming A LOT. A video of a military homecoming brings me to tears. Imagining my husband’s homecoming brings buckets of tears . . . joyful tears.

In Dare #9 of The Love Dare book it states how you can tell a lot about the current status of a couple’s marriage by the way they greet one another. “You can see it in her smile, hear it in his voice, and sense it in the tenderness of their touch. Or lack thereof.” (pg. 41)

Don't expect to see a lack thereof when my husband walks off his plane. He will receive one big kiss the moment he’s within my reach.

There have been seasons when our greetings lacked tenderness. I wore fewer smiles during those seasons and my voice did not reflect a woman who loves her husband. We had our seasons of playing the role of a happily married couple when underneath we were anything but happy.

I am not ignorant to the fact that difficult seasons will come our way again.

My husband’s reintegration back to civilian life will come with challenges. I have a choice in how I choose to greet my husband during those seasons. Even if feelings are contrary, I can choose to be kind. There is always a reason to choose kindness — “love being the greatest reason of all.” Because love is a choice we make.

“While greetings can reflect what’s currently happening in a relationship, they can also become a loving investment in its future health.” (pg. 41)

The writers refer to the story told by Jesus of the prodigal son. After making poor choices the son returns home humbled and ashamed expecting to live like one of his father’s hired servants. The greeting he anticipated was not the one he received. “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

The way I choose to greet my husband can set the stage for better moments ahead. A loving greeting communicates he is loved and treasured no matter the circumstances. It’s a gift I can give to him every single day. Just like Christ gives to me (us).

A smile came to my face as I read on in the chapter and came to these words: "So choose to love at hello." Like me, those words may remind you of the movie Jerry Maguire. You know the scene toward the end of the movie when Jerry (Tom Cruise) proclaims his love to Dorothy (Renee Zellweger)? Dorothy eventually stops him and says, "You had me at hello."

My prayer is that my husband knows he wins my heart at hello. He will have imperfect moments (so will I) and choosing to love him at hello won't always come with ease but love makes the choice to see beyond the imperfections and to love anyways. I choose to love my husband well beginning with hello.

I realize it may be easier to make such a promise with my husband on the other end of the world. What happens when he returns home and those nuances we both bring to our marriage are back in the game? I hope the time we have spent apart has taught me to never take for granted the ability to greet him with a warm touch the moment he walks in the door.

“Since we each have no guarantee of tomorrow, every new day with our spouse is a gift from God for us to cherish and enjoy.” (pg. 43)

I don't know what the future holds. Only God knows. But I know this love dare challenge and the time I am spending with God is changing my heart. If I am not choosing love the problem lies within my own heart. Thankfully, I have access to the One who is in the business of heart transplants.

Scripture reveals that He places significant value on marriages. I trust Him completely too continually work on this heart of mine to teach me how to love my husband with His kind of love.

Dare #1: Love is patient
Dare #2: Love is kind

Next week: Love is unconditional

Monday, June 23, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 4)

Deciding on the question to ask you for Get to Know You Monday isn't all that easy. Oh, the places my thoughts go. Is it too deep of a question? What if you don’t like my question? What if no one answers my question? It can be exhausting.

I am making a promise to myself to stop the over-thinking and simply ask the question.

Question: Who is your favorite of the twelve (12) disciples? You know, those 12 men who followed Jesus throughout His ministry.

Uncertainty on how to word my question led me to send a personal message to two of my trusty and fabulous writing friends. I asked them, “Do I say 12 disciples or apostles?” We had quite the theological discussion as a result of my question. Somehow or another we went from a theological discussion to talking about ice cream. I love you, Shelly and Joan.

As you can see, I went with calling them disciples. Now . . . I did send an email off to another trusted source for her input.

Me: So the 12 followers of Christ . . . called apostles or disciples?

Her: They were both. Disciples (followers) and Apostles (sent out workers).

Here’s a question for you. When does one stop calling themselves a new believer? I accepted Christ in February 2012. I still call myself a new believer with a whole lot to learn. I know . . . we all have much to learn, don’t we? I love how we never stop learning.

Why am I telling you this? My intended first response to the question: Paul. Hence, new believer with a lot to learn. My mind had assumed Paul, because I like him so much, was one of the twelve. Let’s say Paul is my favorite follower of Jesus in the Bible.

Side note: I also learned this week that Matthias replaced Judas. Does that mean you could choose from 13 disciples? Keep in mind, one could also choose Judas. He did fulfill what Scripture prophesied.

Again, I did a good deal of over-thinking and doubting with regards to this question. I am keeping it real by sharing my thoughts. This is a let’s get to know one another better series. You should know I have a lot to learn.  I am careful with how I reference Scripture in a post because it’s important to me that I use in the proper context. I am an imperfect follower of Christ so I am sure I have said something wrong along the way.

Can we go back to Paul because I really, really like Paul? The first book of the Bible I read in its entirety was Philippians. From there I read Romans. I gave my life to Christ when our church did a small group study on Romans 12. After Romans I read Ephesians. Who doesn't love Ephesians?

To eventually discover Paul was also Saul surprised me. This follower of Jesus had won my heart and he once persecuted Christians? If God could transform someone like Paul he could surely transform my heart. For me, God has used Paul over and over again to speak to my heart on the hope we have in Jesus. Seriously, in the Who’s Who in the Bible book there are 10 pages devoted to Paul. He’s my fave.

But . . . Paul did not follow Jesus from the beginning; he is not considered as one of the twelve. If you wanted to say Paul too I’m good with that. Just so you know.

Who is my favorite of the 12 disciples? Peter.

I have much to learn about Peter but I say Peter because I am fascinated by how he denied Christ three times. But even more so by how his heart ached after realizing he denied him three times. I see a bit of myself in Peter. My heart aches for the years I denied Christ but I have been forever changed as a result of choosing to follow Him. By the way, there are six pages devoted to him in the Who’s Who in the Bible book.

A few of the 12 disciples we know little about because the Gospels don’t tell us a great deal about them. Maybe the unknown is what attracts you to a particular one.

Okay, enough from me. I want this series to be all about getting to know YOU.

So, who is your favorite?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Randomness (Vol. 27)

***Beware: There was lots of goodness the past week. Proceed with a willingness to click on many links and be blessed by the hearts of others.

Scripture speaking to my heart

Quotes of the week

Check out the wonderful quotes and scripture Deb Wolf of Counting My Blessings is sharing on grace. It was too hard to choose one as a favorite.

If I really had to choose one it might be this one:

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” ~ Anne Lamott

More from Chasing God

“We don't follow Him because we are moved to do so or because we think we're sufficiently prepared. We don't wait for a moment of emotional revelation. We simply fix our eyes, steady ourselves with His promises, and put one foot resolutely in front of the other out of obedience.

And when the feelings of unbelief come like clouds on the path, we form these words with our lips, and we step forward anyways.

Lord . . . I believe.

Breathe in, Breathe out (before I take you on a treasure hunt)


A few of my favorite blog reads

“But the slow rhythmic strides seemed to settle my numb heart, somehow cocooning it, cradling it. The quiet steps soon morphed into the sweetest of prayer walks, a most comforting companion as I sorted through troubling news with the Lover of my soul.” ~ In Which Pacing Became a Prayer Walk, by Linda of Creekside Ministries

“Of course we know that as believers we have the Spirit of God living within us. We are His temple now. So, He's there.  But perhaps, just perhaps, His JOY cannot arrive until I open the door through praise.” ~ Code to Joy, by Sharon of Sharon Sharing God (A Three Word Wednesday post)

“The 'waiting room' can be a place of worry or anxiety, a place of uncertainty not knowing what the future holds. It can be a place of preparation for that future. Or like Paul, it can be a place to (cliché alert) 'bloom where you’re planted.'” ~ Are You Waiting?, by Susan Allen Panzica

“It is often said a man is his worst critic. But I think the truer statement is this: a man is his own bully. All day long under the yoke of comparison and shame, we speak cruelties to ourselves.” ~ Kick Your Negative Self Talk To The Curb by Mike Foster via Storyline

“Let me be clear: there is a difference between honesty and over sharing.  And let me also be clear: many of us cross it.” ~ 8 Important Questions to Avoid Online Over-Sharing by Lisa Whittle

My favorite, favorite blog reads

“I have been wrestling with God, a tug of war if you will, trying to be somebody vs. being the somebody He has asked me to be, made me to be. The struggle between being known and making Him known. But in actuality, I am known by the One and the ones that matter most to me.” ~ The Post I've Been Avoiding by Katie of Echoes of My Heart

“We need to know our stories. For ourselves. For each other. They help us remember who we are and what we are made to do. They help us to mark and to celebrate. We have to believe that, know that, so that we will make time for it.” ~ What Happens When We Hold Our Words Hostage? by Melanie Gillgrist via The Gift of Writing

Great outreach ideas

7 simple outreach ideas to do with those in your neighborhood, town or whomever you are wanting to reach with the love of Christ.” by Karen Ehmann // There is a giveaway too.

A summer ebook to read

My milspouse friend Lori of Standing with the Military Family has an ebook available on Amazon: Front Porch Living: A Faith Journey To The Summers of Yester-year. Sounds like a wonderful book to add to those summer reading list. It's up next for me.


And just two more from me.

A dream come true

This week I shared a guest post with Wives of Faith, a faith-based website that connects military wives. Sharing my words there was a dream come true. You can read my "Hooah" story here.

About Me

My About Me page has finally been updated. What a relief it is to have that completed. Deep sigh. THANK YOU to my sweet friend Tammy for her help. And thank you to Declare for the kick in the butt I needed to make the changes so I could link-up with other attendees.

Wishing you blessings upon blessings.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 3)

I simply adore Monday's now. You make me smile, friends. I hope you are enjoying the opportunity to get to know one another as much as I am. If this is your first time joining us for Get to Know You Monday, you can catch up here and here.

Today's question is an easy-peasy one. I will explain why at the end.

Question: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? If you do not like ice cream, do you have a favorite dessert?

This question came to my mind as I passed by one of my favorite pictures hanging in the hallway of our home. It always makes me smile.

The two sillies above (hubby and youngest son) both love butter pecan. My son said he's pretty sure chocolate ice cream resided in his cup at the time of the photo though.

Since I am sharing their favorite flavor, I might as well share the favorites of the entire family.

My son's girlfriend, who is very much a part of our family, loves mint chocolate chip.

My favorite? I love all things coffee flavored too. Just one scoop, please. You can keep the cone and I will pass on any toppings. Simple, yet oh so yummy.

Now it's time for you to share your favorite. Feel free to share for the entire family too. If you're like me that may require reaching out to confirm what their favorites are. Want to include how you take your ice cream? Go right ahead. The floor is yours. Pictures can be shared on my blog Facebook page.

Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would hop on over to Circles of Faith to read my post. I am a regular contributor for them and today's post takes you back to how my Love Dare journey began. If you've been following along, it goes back a little further than I initially shared. Read post here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Randomness (Vol. 26)

Scripture speaking to my heart

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” ~ Psalm 46:10

Quote of the week

“We don't have to find ourselves, sisters. We simply have to come home to who we already are...and the One Who Has Always Loved Us that way.” ~ Holley Gerth

And head over here to read the beautiful quote Carrie of Let Hearts Bloom shares with her readers.

More from Chasing God

“He is a God who deserves the glory we offer in our meagerness, and He can be trusted with our lives. He is good, and He is a promise-keeper. He is all the things He claims to be and He delights in us as His children. He is our Father, our safe-haven and our comfort.” ~ Angie Smith

A few of my favorite blog reads

“I am filled with His joy and infused with His strength.  I can face the unknown future with confidence, with boldness, with JOY!” ~ The Joy of the Lord, by Elizabeth of Just Following Jesus

But He waits....still.  He will never turn His back...though she has turn her back on Him.” ~ He Waits, by Jen Avellaneda of Faith Rich Rising

“So what do we do? Just do something. God can take our something, when it’s done with love, and turn into the miraculous.” ~ While I Ate My Cereal This Morning, A Child Was Starving, by Abigail McDonald of Fearfully Made Mom

“The truth is that God loved you before you could move the scales of goodness or worthiness one single ounce. Knowing that we can’t do it on our own, He placed the burden of measuring up to His holiness upon His Son.” ~ The Weight of Worth, by Renee Ratcliffe via The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

My favorite blog read

“Grace is True North when it all goes south.” ~ The Meaning of Grace by Jennifer Dukes Lee

In honor of Father's Day

Nine Ways to Love Your Husband {Father's Day Edition} from my dear friend Rebekah of A Soft Gentle Voice.


To my friends who host link-ups: I have not permanently disappeared from joining you. I have decided to take the summer off (at least for now) from linking up and to focus more on my Three Word Wednesday community. As time allows, I plan to still come by and indulge in the sweetness that is found in your communities. Love you.

Get to Know You Monday

We've shared our favorite colors and what we wanted to be when we grew up so far for Get to Know You Monday. Monday's are now hands down my favorite day of the week! Getting to know you better is absolutely delightful. Please know you are never too late to join in.

Time with God

I ventured out on my bike three times this past weekend. (Notice the Red, White and Blue love I spotted.) The time out among His creation truly restores my soul.

May your weekend be filled with more of Him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Love isn't jealous

From my husband's last promotion.

In the second post of my love dare series I admitted my jealousy towards my husband for the free time he has during his deployment. The jealousy continues to live in my heart.

My husband recently posted a Facebook status update expressing joy for the evenings when his unit gathers around a fire. They tell stories of basic training, other deployments and life back home. He mentioned these times almost felt like they were home, but the one thing missing was a cooler of beer.

The initial thoughts I had did not resemble a wife being her husband’s biggest cheerleader. Shouldn't I be the one thing missing?

When I read his status update it hurt my feelings. I also had a hint of jealousy over his evenings of fun. Don't get me wrong, I’m grateful he has those opportunities but I am longing for us to have an evening of fun together. I want to be the one thing missing.

I know there are other occasions when I let jealousy win over being his cheerleader.

He has an outgoing personality and makes friends easily. Kids adore him for his willingness to get on the floor and play. These qualities do not come with ease for me. When we are in situation where he has won the hearts of those around him, I tend to pull back instead of cheering him on.

With him being a soldier he often receives accolades for his service to our country. There are times when congratulations are in order for his accomplishments or advancement in rank. I get jealous of the attention he receives.

“Because love is not selfish and puts others first, it refuses to let jealousy in. It leads you to celebrate the successes of your spouse rather than resenting them.”– The Love Dare (pg. 37-38)

Jealousy plays out in other areas of my life too.

It creeps in as I read someone else’s blog. They write far better than me. I get jealous of the talents they have and I wish I had. They have more followers. Their posts have more shares. The list of where my thoughts can go goes on and on.

On all accounts, it comes down to envy and selfishness. (There is that selfishness once again.) I want what others have and lack gratitude for the gifts God has given me.

In James 3:15 we are told, “Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (James 3:15). And right after that it says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:16).

We are even told in Galatians 5:19-21 that those who live with envy and selfishness will not inherit the Kingdom. Ouch.

There are times when jealousy is legitimate. Jealousy was justified by both of us when on separate occasions we gave ourselves to another. I rightfully wanted back what belonged to me and the same held true for my husband.

A jealousy which comes from envy and selfishness will infect our marriages and other relationships. It keeps us from living a life of love. God’s wisdom tells us we are to “spur one another on toward love” (Hebrews 10:24). 

As my husband’s wife I need to encourage him by celebrating his successes. I should be captain of his fan club.

Before my heart becomes rooted in envy and selfishness I need to seek God and His wisdom. He will free me from the need to compare myself to others, especially my husband, and want what they have. I want a heart rooted in God’s love. When rooted in His love, He will help me reflect His kind of love toward my husband and to others.

And I do this because of God's love for me. His love compels me (2 Corinthians 5:14) to love my husband and others with His kind of love.

Dare #8: Email, write, or telephone your spouse to tell them how glad you are about a recent success that they have achieved.

My husband keeps saying it's a “we” effort but I've expressed my appreciation to him via email, letter and phone for how he diligently stayed on top of our once horrible financial situation. As of today we are out of debt (minus a mortgage payment). There were virtual high fives during our recent Facetime. While I contributed financially, my husband contributed financially and did the grunt work (even while deployed). Praise God for how He provided and made this possible.

Thank you again, friends, for staying with me through this love dare journey.

Dare #1: Love is patient
Dare #2: Love is kind
Dare #5: Love is not rude

Next week: Love makes good impressions

Monday, June 9, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 2)

Our first volume of Get to Know You Monday was so much fun! We are one colorful group. If you missed the first post in this new series and want to share your favorite color or see what other shared, come on over here. I have declared you are never too late to join in.

Question: What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was young I dreamed of being a dancer.

The picture above is not me because I could not find one but below you will find the oh so sweet younger me. Wasn't I cute? he he (And notice the similar bun action going on.)

I danced throughout my younger years and also spent three of my four high school years in a dance club. By high school I was smart enough to know a career as a dancer was not likely. Instead, I had my heart set on being my father's secretary. He owned a successful business at the time and I thought he had a cool secretary so why not. I even took shorthand and typing classes to prepare myself. Graduation came and plans changed.

I went off to college to pursue a degree in psychology. I joined a dance club too! School and I never agreed with each other so I dropped out half-way through my first year. I returned home and began temping as secretary. (I also did the whole get marriage and start a family thing.) As the saying goes, "the rest is history." Twenty-six years later I am still a secretary; now referred to as an executive assistant.

I've held some interesting jobs as an executive assistant. The early years of my career were rather bland but in 2000 I landed a job in the entertainment industry working for a multi-billionaire as his personal assistant.

Being around that kind of money for six years and the perks that came with being in the entertainment industry did some soul damage. I began to feel entitled. In other words, I became spoiled.

I moved from the entertainment industry to the gift industry as a personal assistant to another man of wealth. He also happened to be a complete jerk. I have stories...many, many stories. My role was like what you saw portrayed in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada." Not only did I have his coat thrown on my desk, I had his dirty laundry thrown on my desk. It was just bad.

When I finally had enough I left a note on the jerky man's desk saying, "I quit!"

I now work for the kindest man I could ever ask to work for. There is nothing flashy about him (other than his kindness), the company or my role and I am okay with that. My role does allow me the opportunity to travel to nice places once or twice a year...hello Hawaii come September!

And I'm no longer the spoiled girl I once was. God meets all of my need (Philippians 4:19).

I wonder though, am I too old to take up dancing again?

[Sorry, this post ended up longer than I intend for these to be. I got caught up in the memories.]

Now it's your turn. What did you want to be when you grew up? Remember, if you have a picture you would like to share you can come share on my blog Facebook page. How about joining me in sharing a picture of you from your younger years? If you are inspired to write a post in response to the question feel free to share a link in the comments or on my blog Facebook page too.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The touch of your hands

The last time I felt the touch of your hands was November 30th of last year. That was 189 days ago. I would do anything to feel your touch again.

We had a rocky exchange of messages yesterday. Those exchanges hurt deeply when you are on the other end of the world. In a small way I had let you down. I understand why. Your packages arrived and I did not rush to open them.They were filled with gifts for others but every item had been touched with your hands. The box folded up and taped also held by those hands I long to have hold me.

You called a few hours later. Technology has been a blessing allowing me to see your face almost daily during these many months apart.

Now you must go on a mission . . . a mission which may prevent me from seeing your face or hearing your voice for days. Tears flowed from my side of the screen. I miss you so much, dear, and simply want to feel the touch of your hand.

You lifted up your hand and touched your side of the screen. Your eyes saying what I needed to hear. "I miss you too, my love."

God gave me a precious gift in that moment. Through the screens of our phones I could feel the touch of your hand. He gave me the desire of my heart (Psalm 37:4). He has surely been my strength; never letting go of my hand. Thank you, Lord.

Be safe, my love. Soon we will spend our days holding hands again.

Friday Randomness (Vol. 25)

Scripture speaking to my heart

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal." ~ Isaiah 26:3-4

Quote of the week

"If we only got into the Christ-faith through the door of forgiveness, how can we claim Christ as our home if we aren't people who forgive?" ~ Ann Voskamp

*(in)courage Home for the Hearts of Women - Perpetual Calendar from DaySpring. (June 4th)

What am I reading

I'm slowly making my way though Chasing God by Angie Smith. My slowness has nothing to do with the book; finding time to read continues to be a challenge. I love, love the book.

"With praise on our lips and conviction in our hearts, let us recognize the King as we set one foot in front of the other in response to His gracious love for us."

and also

"What He has chosen not to reveal to me is inconsequential when compared to what He has promised me."

I could go on and on with what I have highlighted in this book.

A few of my favorite blog reads

"Please come to my house and feel welcome because you are… just the way you are." ~ The Invitation Every Woman Wants, By Jennifer Rothschild // It truly is the invitation you've been waiting for.

"Instead, I’ll spend my time soaking in the grace of God’s presence. Hidden in that grace is everything he is. And he is joy." ~ Ode to Joy by Ceil Ryan

"I expected God to meet me in my solitude and study. But He had other plans." ~ When Watching Cartoons is Worship by Kim Hyland of Winsome Woman

"For this is the time, the place to sort through the weekend's myriad swirling emotions, the endless activity. And process the highs, the lows that swing from grief to joy, apprehension to peace, uncertainty to gratitude." ~ In Which This is Not the Time to Write by Linda of Creekside Ministries

Katie of Ehoes of My Heart is hosting a beautiful Psalms Series with many contributing writers. I have loved every single post. You can catch up here.

Love Dare

You must be tired of the photos I have been using in my love dare series and eventually I will run out of options from that lovely photo shoot with my hero. I have used the photos for a few reasons: 1) they feel appropriate considering the series, 2) it takes the pressure off of coming up with a photo each week and 3) I love looking at them. I really, really miss him.

Get to Know You Monday

I kicked off a new series for Monday's called "Get to Know You Monday." What a delightful time we had this past Monday sharing our favorite colors. You can still join in here. Be sure to come back on Monday for the next question.

From a writing friend

The below meme was created for me by my friend Elizabeth (and her husband Eddie) of Beauty Observed. They are both so sweet! You can comment on her Positive Meme Monday post to let her know what verse you would like to see on a meme in the future!

Song of the week

"Hope Can Change Everything" ~ K-Love World Premiere

Just listen to the amazing words. I pray the words I write reveal how hope can and will change everything.

Random thought

The weekends are oh so quiet without my husband around and I've discovered the best cure for when I'm missing him most is to hop on my bike and head out for a long ride. Maybe each week I will share a picture from one of my peaceful rides . . . an opportune time to connect with God.

Can I share another lovely quote from Ann Voskamp? Your nodding your head yes, right? I shared this on my blog Facebook page but since you may have missed . . .

I pray this for you, dear friends: "May God bless your journey with the greatest gift of all -- more and more of Himself!"

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Believe the best

There have been seasons in my marriage when my thoughts of my husband were far from believing the best about him. There were seasons when I would say under my breath, I hate you. It hurts tremendously to admit such a thing.

I never stopped loving my husband, even during our two separations, but there were seasons when it seemed easier to hate him than love him.

In chapter seven of The Love Dare the writers refer to having two rooms in your home: the Appreciation Room and the Depreciation Room. The Appreciation Room is obviously where positive thoughts about your spouse take place and the Depreciation Room not so positive. The dare takes you to both rooms by asking you to write down the positive and negative things about your spouse. I have not read ahead so I do not know what I will do with my lists. Apparently we return to the lists at a later date.

Honestly, I have no interest in going into the Depreciation Room.

I write from a perspective of my marriage being in a good place, yet I know God wants me to reach those who may be where I once was. The years when you would most likely find me in the Depreciation Room were a dark time.

In the Depreciation Room I would write on the walls all the things that bothered and irritated me about my husband. As said by the writers, I “placed words and opinions there out of frustration, hurt feelings, and the disappointment of unmet expectations.” The more time I spent there the easier it became to add to the walls. Eventually I thought there had to be better so I left my husband looking for better . . . I left twice.

Hanging out in the Depreciation Room will kill your marriage. “The more time you spend in this place, the more your heart devalues your spouse. It begins the moment you walk in the door, and your care for them lessens with every second that ticks by.” (pg. 32)

I always had a choice, and still have a choice, of how I choose to think about my husband. I could choose positive thoughts or negative thoughts. But love chooses to believe the best.

While the things I've written on the walls of the Depreciation Room may have been or still hold true, so are the things written in the Appreciation Room. Love focuses on the positives.

As I filled the walls of the Depreciation Room with the ways my husband had hurt me the more hurtful I became towards him. The time in that room truly almost killed my marriage and the blame did not fall solely on my husband. We both had areas where we failed because we are both sinners in need of God's grace.

“Love knows about the Depreciation Room and does not live in denial that it exists. But love chooses not to live there.” (pg.  32)

Paul says in Philippians 4:8 that our thoughts should only be of that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable. When I think back to those dark seasons excellent or praiseworthy thoughts about my husband seemed impossible. But with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). I now know I need to pray and ask God for His help.

I love what the writers say to do if entering the Depreciation Room again: “And the only reason you should ever go in this room is to write ‘COVERED IN LOVE’ in huge letters across the walls.”

With confidence the writers will have me do something positive with a list of the ways my husband bothers or irritates me (such as tear it up), I briefly entered the room I no longer like to be in and wrote one thing on a piece of paper. I then wrote “Covered in Love” in big letters over it, folded it up and tucked away until I receive further instructions.

While surely my husband does things that bother me, I choose to see beyond them and focus on the reasons I appreciate him. The months we've spent apart have taught me there are indeed many (many, many) wonderful qualities my husband beholds.

Love is a choice we make. We make it by choosing to place God first in our lives. We make time for Him and we get to know Him by spending time in His Word.  God is the answer to loving our spouse with His kind of love. What a wonderful gift it is to serve a God who cares about every detail of our marriage. He is eager to help us spend our days believing the best about our spouse.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” ~ Isaiah 26:3

Dare #1: Love is patient
Dare #2: Love is kind
Dare #5: Love is not rude

Next week: Love is not jealous

Monday, June 2, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 1)

When I began blogging three years ago never did I imagine the friendships that would bloom as a result. All praise truly goes to God for connecting us in this blogosphere. I am grateful to Him for the beautiful gift of YOU.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." ~ James 1:17

I would love to do something fun on Monday's and getting to know you better sounds like great fun to me. So I am going to do a new thing. "See, I have already begun!" (Isaiah 43:19)

Every Monday I will share a question. I will use a picture or two and a few words with my response to the question and then open the floor for you to do the same.

I'm not doing a link-up because my heart wants to keep this informal. Let's imagine you are coming over for a cup of coffee or tea. You simply stop by, take a seat at the table and we begin to share with each other. For purposes of this conversation the comments section is our table. If you have a picture you would like to share, please do so on my blog Facebook page. (I don't think it allows you to share pictures in the comments.)

Let's begin . . .

What is your favorite color? A nice and easy one to start with but feel free to be descriptive.

My favorite color is actually three colors. I have quite the love for our Red, White and Blue. The colors in my home are red, white and blue (along with neutral colors like grey and tan which makes the blue and red stand out). I have a lovely flag from Pottery Barn hanging in my kitchen. Don't you love those two handsome faces?!?! These men have a little something to do with my love for red, white and blue.

Okay, I'm also giving you a partial view of the flag so you can see the red, white and blue flowers I have throughout the house. They are fake because otherwise they would be dead. Pardon the staged photo; it was taken for my blog when I first launched Simply Beth. Even my coffee cup is blue!

If I could hang a big ole flag in front of my home I would. My home isn't nearly as big as the one in the photo below (not even remotely close) so it might look awkward. I actually captured this home while doing a boat tour on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. Pretty cool, don't you think?

Instead, we have an extra large flag pole (my husband is like Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor from the show Home Improvement and always needs to have the biggest in the neighborhood) with a beautiful flag hanging from it in the front of our home.

Now it's your turn. Don't leave me hanging here, pretty please. I really do want to get to know you better. I promise the questions will be slight more creative as we go along. Well, hopefully they will be.

Happy Monday!