Monday, March 28, 2016

What is one app I use everyday?



What is one tool I can't go a day without using?

Evernote!

It's a one-stop app that everyone, even those that are not bloggers, will be glad they have in their virtual toolbox.

For me it's like a virtual sticky note. 

Long before I was using it to help me organize my blog posts and ideas I used for random note taking and grocery list making.

Have you heard of this app? Seriously, I'm not a very organized person. If I want to remember something I know me well enough to know that if it's important, I better write it down!

Evernote is an app for IOS or Android where you can add, sync, and organize notes, files, voice memos and more.

Here are a few examples of how I use it:
  • I jot down quotes that I come across online that I want to remember
  • I take notes from church sermons
  • I take notes from online web seminars
  • I draft blog posts
  • Recipes
  • I take snapshots of book pages to remember
  • Jot down blog posts ideas to remember later
  • Keep my different email logins organized
I'd love for you to join me over at God-sized Dreams to read the rest!




I'm linking up with: #TellHisStory, #CoffeeForYourHeart, #ThreeWordWed, Thought-Provoking Thurs


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Quiet Life



Do you do well with silence?

I know of people who can't deal with the quiet, it unnerves them.

For me, quiet is the only time I can think, can write, can pray, can figure out what I'm feeling...what I'm doing. As I get older the more I long for more time to just be quiet. 

In January I decided to begin the year with a social media and blogging fast. I knew I needed to quiet my mind before God in order to know what direction he wanted me to go in for the New Year.

I was too distracted by the loud world of social media. Like someone who overeats out of boredom or anxiety, I was checking into social media the same way. I procrastinated on writing assignments out of fear of not having the right words, so instead I scrolled through Facebook and read countless and for the most part meaningless articles.

My habit was making me agitated and discontent.

My world always felt loud. 

I deleted all social media from my IPhone. I didn’t post any blog posts.

And thus began my descent into quiet. I delegated the first hour of my morning to being still before the Lord. 

I dusted off my prayer journal and began once more journaling my thoughts and prayers. I prayed like I hadn’t prayed in a long time.

Words and ideas for posts began to unfurl.

God felt nearer than He had in years.

Some days in my designated moments of quiet I wouldn’t say a word. Just sit there in the quiet, with my eyes closed and wait.

Meditating is not something that comes easy to me. I have a hard time shutting off my thoughts and being still before the Lord. But this is something I felt pressed upon me to do. Shut up and listen.

I would begin sitting cross-legged on the floor or just in my chair. Eyes closed. Head bowed. And imagine myself sitting at the feet of Jesus. He would be bent over and look me straight in the eyes and be so glad I was there to talk to him, and I would whisper, “I’m listening Lord, what do you want to tell me?"

"Please, Lord, speak” I begged. 

The birds chirping outside my window were the only sound that whispered through my ears. 

“Okay, God. I’m here. I’m quiet. And I’m going to shut up now, for real…please help me shut up.” I would plead. 

On the days I felt him responding, a word or a line from a verse would pop into my head. Sometimes I felt a leading to pray for someone. Sometimes an idea or solution to a problem I had been praying about would take form. 

And, sometimes, I sat there for what felt like hours, when really it was only minutes, with nothing.

Silence.

But the silence didn’t leave me feeling like I had wasted my time. I would get up and feel at peace, rejuvenated.

I always came away from these quiet moments with God feeling renewed in my work and life.

Who would have thought taking a break from your work to sit quietly with God would actually help you be productive?

Jesus did.

Exodus 20:8-11
Hebrews 3:3-4
Matthew 11:28
Psalm 127:2
Hebrews 4:9-10
I'm always more productive when I make time to be quiet. 

It’s been over a month since I took my social media sabbatical and I feel the pull to do it again. I promised myself I would be more responsible with my time and not fall back into old habits. I was hoping I would cling to the remembrance of  closeness I felt with God, but unfortunately, old habits die a long and arduous death.

I miss the closeness, but I'm busy being busy, I tell myself. 

I miss the quiet moments, but deadlines scream, “You don’t have time!”

Oh, but I do. I always do.

Because in my heart I know, the quiet life is a life that knows itself.  It's a life in which thoughts can be heard above the noise and can disentangle from lies and truth.

It’s time to make time, and let God elicit how good and useful quiet can be.

"Silence is a fence around wisdom." German Proverb

How do you seek quiet in your life?


Linking with: RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #ThreeWordWed, Coffee For Your Heart, and Thought-Provoking Thurs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Trust and Wilderness Living





Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path."

There it is again..I flip open my devotional; I read a blog post; I scroll through social media and the words stare back at me...Trust in the Lord...

Reminding me who is in charge...not me, and though things happen in life that make no sense; like the death of a child, the spouse who walks away...the directive to trust is there, everywhere.

I'm confused, because I'm not really sure in what area I'm not trusting. Momentarily I start to wonder and fear. Is God preparing me for something that will occur in the future?

What's going to happen?

Is someone going to die?

Will my husband lose his job?

What devastation is waiting around the corner that God keeps reminding me to trust in him?

And then a visit with two God-sized Dreamers happens. A weekend to talk, pray, laugh in a safe place with safe women. And one reminds me of Elijah and the humbling circumstances he had to endure before taking his mighty place (1 Kings 19).

And another points me in the direction of a blog post and I read about the Israelites and the all too familiar wilderness wandering before they were allowed into their spacious place, The Promised Land (Numbers 14)

And the lightbulb goes off.

Even though faith and wisdom has replaced my insecurity and fears of the future what-if's, I could very well be in a wilderness season without realizing. Is this possible? To be in the wilderness without knowing?

I may trust and have faith, but I am guilty of complaining of good blessings God has given to me. Wanting and praying for his provision in a different way than what has been given.

God, forgive me for my Israelites ways. I will be grateful and not grumble.

The Israelites were in full blown crisis mode and deserved every year of their 40-years of roaming. Despite ALL that God had shown them. They doubted and feared.

I opened my Bible to Exodus and begin reading about their journey they saw an ocean literally split down the center right in front of them!

and they still doubted.

They saw bread from heaven fall from the sky to feed them.

and they still doubted.

They saw a rock in the desert flow forth water.

and yet they doubted

They heard God speak and lead them in a cloud.

and they doubted.

What was it going to take to get these people to believe!?

I don't doubt what God can do, because I've seen and experienced it with my own life.

I believe. So I realized, right now, I'm in a period of waiting and I guess in a sense, my own wilderness. I'm not sure what God is going to do, but I don't doubt that He will do it.

Life is filled with all kinds of uncertainties.

And the Israelites needed to trust God beyond their own understanding. They needed to believe that if they did, He would direct their paths. He wanted to. But they couldn't grasp the how part and so they grumbled and they doubted.

Today, we doubt because we do not understand HOW God is going to do something. But when we come to the understanding that it doesn't matter how and when, just that He will, then we can walk through the wilderness with peace and belief that we will be ushered into our promised land...one day.

When the time is right.

What about you, when you find yourself in the wilderness how do you respond?



Sharing with: #TellHisStory, CoffeeForYourHeart, Thought-Provoking Thursday, ThreeWordWed

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Getting to the heart of who you are



What if I told you there is a way to discover who you are created to be?

***

You are loved.

Beautiful

Chosen.

Enough.

Called.

Wanted.

Aren't those beautiful words?

A lot of the time we go through life just trying to keep up, and the idea of realizing our dreams or discovering who God created us to be seems ridiculous. We are surviving, just trying to get through each day.

Just last night I sat in a circle with a group of women, practically strangers, as we talked our way through last week's lessons from Children of the Day (a wonderful Beth Moore study). When one woman spoke up that she wasn't sure if she was doing what's she's supposed to be doing. That she feels she needs to be doing BIG things like some of the prophets in the Bible and missionaries around the world.

As I glanced around the room at the faces of the other women, each were nodding in agreement.

We all want to know that what we are doing matters and is kingdom worthy.

I wish I could have given my new friend this Life-Growth Guide I have been reading.

It's a wonderful new tool from Holley Gerth that is a companion book to "You're Already Amazing."

The Life-Growth Guide has six easy to read sections which contains quizzes and charts to help you recognize your skills and strengths.

Once you realize what you are good at, then you can think of creative ways to use them in your everyday life.
"All of the roles we have in this life are temporary. Who God made you is eternal. A thousand years from now you will not be in the thick of motherhood or at a particular job. But you will still have your strengths and skills."
With each turning of the page, we catch a glimpse of Holley's heart to encourage women to know they are meant for more in this life than:

Defeat,

Weariness,

Idleness,

and

Lies.

We are meant to discover who we are in Christ and live boldly. When you discover your skill-set you will use them in whatever capacity God has you in at the moment.

Life comes alive!

Never before has there been such a thorough book to go through in a group setting with other women to read, watch, and discover your talents.

I can almost see the lightbulbs going off and the eyes lighting up when women across the globe realize how specifically they were created.



The Life-Growth Guide has a companion video, and together, along with the "You're Already Amazing," book, you are all set to discover who God created you to be. 

Each chapter begins by asking you to read a chapter(s) of "You're Already Amazing," (but you don't have to have the book)then work through the Life-Guide lessons. Each session begins with an intro, and then moves into exercises for you to complete to dig deeper. And concludes with Your Life Coach, and a journaling page.

The Your Life Coach section is like sitting down with your own personal life coach, that is what I think is so neat about this new book. Who wouldn't want to sit across from Holley and flesh out your answers more to the previous questions?

I already really enjoyed Holley's book, You're Already Amazing, and with the Life-Growth Guide and video added as companions, I like it even more.

I may start a small group just to watch eyes light up for myself!





Thousands of women emailed and begged Holley for this group guide and I got to say, she really delivered! I think you are going to LOVE this latest offering from Holley!

What do you think your strengths, skills and who you are called to serve are?



Will you join me over at Holley's to help her celebrate her latest release?

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