Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What I've Learned {first quarter 2015}

1) Life surely has its seasons. I am discovering how true this is with writing and I am learning to be okay with now not being a season for writing. Now is a season for other special things.

God’s Word: “There is a special time for everything. There is a time for everything that happens under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

2) Things don’t always go as I plan but I can always trust in God’s plans. The same holds true for trusting in God’s plans for my children.

God’s Word: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

3) I won’t always understand His ways but His ways are always best.

God’s Word: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

4) Being a parent never ends. However, when you are a parent to adult children there are fewer opportunities to voice your thoughts, suggestions and opinions. But we can take our concerns to the Lord. “And the greatest thing about that is, when we take our concerns to the Lord – trusting that God hears our prayers and answers them on behalf of our adult children – it means our prayers have power to affect change in their lives.” ~ Stormie Omartian, The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children (pg. 9)

God’s Word: “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

5) “Yahweh gives courage; I can be unwavering in my obedience” @steveryancarter. It’s not about my strengths but about how God wants to work in and through me as I trust in Him. It’s not about me; it’s all about Him.

God’s Word: “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

6) The mission of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics to “inspire Christians to live out a Biblical theology that integrates faith, work and economics” is having a positive impact in my daily life as I try to integrate my faith and my work. I am grateful to The High Calling for leading me to this website.

God’s Word: “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

7) People want to be seen and known. We can start by knowing their name. It’s a good first step in loving our neighbors. And we all know our neighbor isn't just the person living next door to us. I have been at my place of employment for over five (5) years now and of the 80+ people employed with me there are many I still do not know. So I am starting with getting to know their names.

God’s Word: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

8) I need God ALL. THE. TIME. Knowing my need for Him is not new but I am learning how to find a rhythm of stopping to be with God throughout my day because of my constant need for Him. Thankfully, God promises to be with us ALL. THE. TIME.

God’s Word: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

9) When God asks me to do again the thing I fear most, I remember His faithfulness in bringing me this far and trust Him with the un-known future for He has proven Himself faithful.

God’s Word: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

10) Planning a wedding – a renewal of vows – brings much joy to my heart! We (hubs and I) have plans to celebrate 25 years together this fall with a big celebration!

God’s Word: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9

How about you, friends? What has God been teaching you?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Love always wins

I sat on our living room sofa Tuesday evening wrapped in a warm blanket in need of something . . . anything. My heart hurt. My husband sat in the kitchen, just one room over. I knew he'd listen to me as I made attempts to process emotions with his always compassionate heart but I did not know where to begin. Instead, I choose sleep. It too was needed.

This thing which causes my sadness is not something my husband and I can fix. We need to surrender this -- them -- to God. There's truth in these words by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest: “You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it.”

I won't write about the thing which makes me sad, at least not yet. What I will tell you is there’s no shortness of seeing Gods goodness and faithfulness even while my heart breaks.

He's my strength. And He keeps using that husband of mine to hold me up.

In the midst of sadness I also have joy. I see God weaving His way into the life of my boys, one more so than the other. How can I not rejoice when one tells me, “I think I might be coming around, Mom?”

While I may not be able to get through a day without tears, God always gives me a reason to give Him praise.

He expands my heart with a desire to love more and to love well.

I follow along with others as Kara Tippetts touches lives, even after her death. Kara “considered every moment a gift and an opportunity to learn more about Grace and trusting God; she believed suffering was not an absence of beauty, but an opportunity to understand God’s love on a deeper level.”

Can’t I too?

These tears that fall are for reasons which seem small compared to the suffering Kara and her family endured, and continue to endure. But they still matter to God. He catches my tears and whispers . . .

I am faithful

I am doing something good

Trust in me

Live fully awake

See the beauty of each moment

Choose love, it will not fail you

I will not fail you

For love always wins

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” ~~ 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a

I wipe the tears from my eyes once again and whisper back, “Yes, I will choose love. Keep showing me the way. I will keep following You.”

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Scattering of Love :: Batch 8

Original picture taken by a dear friend.

I am following Crystal Stine's lead once again and sharing some Friday Favorites, on a Thursday.


My dear friend Dawn writes so beautifully on His grace. And her post, Reflecting His Grace, speaks to how we need to give and receive His grace.

I  so appreciate writers who devote space on their websites to encourage others in their marriage. This past week Jennifer Dukes Lee told a beautiful story on How to Make Your Happily-Ever-After Last and Sheila Kimball writes on how staying in love in marriage takes daily devotion.

Need a reason to take a break from blogging? A friend who I have come to admire for so many reasons shares 5 simply splendid reasons to take a break.

Here was my comment to Linda's post on this semi-blogging break of mine: "While I may appear with a post here and there, it's all as the spirit leads. Seems like the right way for me. It can be a heart struggle as numbers go lower and lower but if I make it about the numbers I'm doing it for the wrong reasons. So day-by-day I'm learning to be okay with whatever God wants blogging to be for now. He's blessing me in so many other ways. His plans are always far greater than we can imagine."

And I'm sending you over to a new friend of mine who shares beautiful poetry. But mostly I share her with you because God bringing her into my life this past month has been such a blessing. It's a "for such a time as this" connection. Come meet Elizabeth. You will love her.

Books I'm reading:

I love the new devotional, Savor, by Shauna Niequist. She stays true to her awesomeness.

Donald Miller is quickly become a favorite author of mine. His new book, Scary Close, is a must read. This quote from page 19 of his book hasn't left me . . . "Because the more we hide, the harder it is to be known. And we have to be known to connect."

Something more:

I am considering a blog series devoted to sharing things about me that I have never openly shared out of shame. Maybe it's time to bring them to the light and then let go. Such as this one thing. . .

Shame: I got a 16 on the ACT = I'm not smart enough. I'm stupid. I'm not capable.


"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." ~ James 1:5

"God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself." ~ 1 Corinthians 1:30a



It has been a season of watching our boys deal with hard things. My heart hurts when their hearts hurt. A friend said it so well: "Our boys are our joy and our heartache."  But I also watch God weave His way into their lives. They may not yet see Him but I do.

Life will not always be easy. We have a choice to run from the pain or to run through it. As one runs through the pain, we pray He invites God into the midst of His pain to carry him through toward transformation. (Prayer taken from pg. 86 of Shauna Niequist's new book.)

Thank you, God, for the few days you are giving us to witness such profound growth in these two young men you have blessed us with. We are blessed.


Oh, how I need to clothe myself this way . . .

"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way."

~~ Colossians 3:14-17 (MSG)

Image by Lisa Kerner

"The King is among us
And His glory surrounds us
And His fire is falling as we sing
The Savior is for us
And His love is victorious
And revival is rising in His name"
By Elevation Worship

I seriously cannot make it through this song without tearing up. And when we sing as part of our worship time at church . . . oh my.

Blessings upon blessings.
Grace upon grace.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Scattering of Love :: Batch 7

Crystal Stine does a weekly Friday Favorites post which is rather delightful and fun so I thought I would follow her lead with my not-so-consistent Scattering of Love post today. I do love to share with you the things I love and adore.


Making Right Choices by Meredith Bernard. Not only is Meredith a favorite writer of mine but her photography is stunning. Check her out here.

Speaking of photographers, you should also get to know my friend Lisa Kerner of Simply Living Photography. She has agreed to help me with a special project so expect to hear more from me about this lovely lady. I loved a recent post of hers titled "5 things to capture during each season."

Since we are on a roll, here's one more photographer I adore. Come meet June by reading her post, Inspired by . . . the rhythm of the rain.

Why I ate Chicken Spaghetti in the Bathtub by Jennifer Jackson Linck. Jennifer shares with such beauty and authenticity about daily life. It's inspiring. Her recent posts remind me of a quote by Bob Goff: "Your worst day doesn't define you." Thank you, God!

I spend lots of time over at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics lately. An Invitation to Consider Jesus As Your Constant, Unchanging Source of Confidence As a Leader was a good read.

Creatively and Soggy Celery is an encouraging read by Amy Sullivan for those who create. “Those who create share stories of life, but if we forget to live, there's nothing to create.”

A recent favorite quote: “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu


I'm missing my Thursday evenings with the Parenthood clan. With the series now over I am open to recommendations on shows to watch. Basically the only thing being watched these days in our home are car shows {hubs choice, not mine, but I go along for the ride}. Seriously, there are endless options out there.


A little fact about me . . . most of what I wear comes from The Loft. Quite honestly, I hate to shop (another about me fact). Their is a particular sales lady at my local store whose oh so kind in helping me put outfits together so she makes shopping a little less hateful. And did you know the color of the month is Mint? I think I need to get myself something minty.


Take in the lyrics of these two songs. Just beautiful. They tend to be on repeat around here.

If you missed my last post, catch up on the one new thing I'm up to these days here.

How about you? Do you have a favorite read? Are you wearing a particular color lately? What are you listening to? And be sure to share any show recommendations. I don't watch much TV but I do enjoy having at least one on my radar.

Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Not Writer's Block [and God's goodness]

The fewer posts are not a result of writers block. It has nothing to do with not having anything to write about. As I wrote in my last post, there’s a wrestle that happens when I write but maybe the wrestle will always be there. Maybe it has to do with how God created me. It simply takes time for me to process my thoughts.

That’s okay. What God creates is always good.

There's a wide range of topics I could cover in a post because life is full these days. The days are filled with good and hard stuff. In the midst of everything my heart still sings of His goodness. There are truly ten thousand reasons (and more) for my heart to find.

Yet, I do not feel prompted by God to write. Well, there are words still written. Bits and pieces of my heart scatter around me in different forms. These things on my heart though, sometimes they are more sacred and not meant to be shared.

Some of the writing happens via prayer requests; there's a big one circling right now. Thank you to those who are praying. You are teaching me the power found in gathering with sisters and brothers in Christ in prayer. Prayer does works.

A friend wrote to me today and left words which encouraged my heart. Her words remind me of how God puts people in our life for a reason. We are called to be the body of Christ and this body has many parts. And every one of us is a vital member of the body (1 Corinthians 12:27). I am also reminded of words from Jesus in in Matthew 18:20: "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." He created us to gather with others. The way we gather is not limited. Oh, how unlimited the ways we gather can be.

For example, online friends are real friends who gather together via the web. Online friends continue to bless me daily. They give me at least a thousand reasons, likely many more, to sing praises to God.

The friend I mentioned above wrote the below in her email to me:

"I love how you write - truly from the heart and I miss your more frequent posts, but am excited to hear what new things God is calling you to?? So tell me...what is new...what are you up to?  In what direction is God tugging your heart?"

It was Christ that bound us together across the interweb as I read her email.

As I pondered my response to my friend, I thought I might share with you at least one thing I am up to these days. It's all kinds of exciting. It has everything to do with Him becoming greater in my life.

One of the best yeses I have given to God since becoming a Christ follower is joining a local Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. Every Monday, since September 2014, I gather with 200+ other women to be in God’s Word together and have meaningful conversations. Every day of the week, since the first meeting I attended, I wake early to be with God and study His Word.

This time has drawn me closer to Him. You do know it’s what He wants must from us, right?

The above has led me to give God another yes. Last weekend I started training to be a Group Leader for BSF. Oh friends, I have wobbly knees over this yes but I am also super-duper excited to lead other women in going deeper in their relationship with Christ.

I happen to be writing a lot these days as I give daily lesson questions more thought and attempt to figure out how the heck to do homiletics. More hours per week are devoted to my studies but it’s so worth it.

God’s Word is indeed alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). It’s rocking my world!

There are other new things to talk about but until we make the rounds with family I am holding off on talking about those things here. My husband and I both come from large families so give us time.

Oh, by the way, the friend of mine who so encouraged my heart today has a beautiful blog. I would be most grateful if you would hop on over to say hello to her. You will love her, I promise. Meet Beverly of Walking Well With God

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Scattering of Love :: Batch 6

I am not quite ready to fully return to this place here. The below, which I shared on my blog Facebook page, comes from my heart on where I stand with writing for now.

"Go into the day today with confidence, and with a heart aligned with the One who knew your name before time began. He sings songs over you and quiets you with His love. If you are brave enough to listen, you might hear the sounds of your own name echoing back from the great I Am." @angiesmith19 ‪#‎incourage‬ ‪#‎perpetualcalendar‬

I'm thinking God's asking me to do more listening these days than writing.

This blogging break of mine may last longer. I have grown tired of the wrestle to find the words for all the thoughts twirling around in my head.

On my drive to work this morning I considered taking a stab at yet another post. This attempt would be to tell you how I have always wanted one thing that I am good at. And I thought writing was finally my one thing.

But maybe placing my hopes on one thing I am good at is still me finding my worth in the wrong place. What if the one thing is simply this: to completely embrace that I am His.

He gave up His own life for me by dying on a cross. Shouldn't that alone tell me just how valuable I am to Him?

So yes, I will go into this day with confidence and with a heart aligned with Him. And I will be brave enough to listen..


But a desire remains to connect with you, so I thought I'd carry on with the Scattering of Love series I started a while back. And really it goes with a desire I always have to share what others write that so encourages my heart.

Here are a few recent faves:

Courage Is A Heart Voyage (or an Eastern Bluebird) by my dear friend Tammy who has done so much to encourage this heart of mine. I just love her. Don't miss her presence in this beautiful online world.

Let's Lay Down our Swords by Michelle DeRusha. Just Yes and Amen to all of this. And ditto the "Yes and Amen" to A Quiet Appeal to Us, in the Spirit of Matthew 18 by Deidra Riggs

The Golden Rule - Loving Myself?? by Sharon. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Sharon in real life last week while in California. What a delightful time we had. She really truly spoke to my heart with this post because loving myself . . . yes, that's still a wrestle.

Four Choices That Will Improve Any Marriage from Refine Us Blog. I couldn't agree more with these four choices. Especially #4 because I witness it often and it makes me sad.

Grace in the Neighborhood: A Promise, A Dare, and a Turquoise Table from Grace Table which happens to be one of my favorite places to pull up a chair these days. I'm so getting us a picnic table and painting it turquoise before the warmer temps fall upon us.

And this by Denise Hughes because it's truth us bloggers need to remember: How to Blog with Focus via Allume.


If we are not "friends" on Facebook or you do not follow me on Instagram (@SimplyBeth3), here are a few pictures from my time in California. God . . . well, He pretty much left me in awe once again of His love and goodness.


On Monday we will celebrate this guy's birthday. One of these days I really need to write a post fully devoted to what a delight this youngest child of ours is to the world.

He's rather talented too. Juggling is only one of his many talents. Friends of the hubs call him "the talented one." But he's so much more than that.


Watching our sailors ship return home with HIM on board . . . all kinds of goosebumps!

Oh, how my heart continues to burst with joy. There are no words. Just joy. Lots and lots of joy. Praising God for returning him home safely to us.

"For all Your goodness I will keep on singing, 10,000 reasons for my heart to find."

Good and hard things lie ahead for me and my family. But with God as our anchor, we move forward one step at a time knowing He holds all things in His loving hands. He holds us. And this much I know . . . we can trust in Him.

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