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It all comes down to character. Our true heart is shown in the storms of life.
Join with me as we seek to find the
beauty in our storms along with maintaining our character through them. And let us listen for God's voice when it comes - whether a whisper on the breeze or a shout through the hurricane.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hang On

God always supplies.

Just when I’m running out of articles to use on my blog, He gives me inspiration.  And just when I’m about to drop and crash, from being so tired of running so hard and fast for weeks at a time….He gives me rest.

Just when I’m at my wits end with a problem, He provides a solution.

He always supplies. He’s always faithful.

Sometimes we give up right before the answer is ready to come our way. We are ready to quit at the precise moment that the wave of change, relief, and blessing, are ready to descend on us.

If only we could hang on. Hang on to round that one last corner. That one last mountain to climb. That one last disappointment. Hang on.

Friend, I’ve been there. Many times. I’ve felt my strength would fail me. I didn’t know how I could go another day or minute facing whatever it was that I was facing. Whether it was simply being exhausted, hurt, frustrated, lonely, or sick. Whatever it was, I’ve had moments – just like you – where I didn’t think I could hang on.

But I did.

And let me tell you, that my God was faithful. He came through for me. He blessed me. He took care of me and protected me.

Every. Single. Time.

He wants to do the same for you.

Please let Him. Hang on.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Eshakti: A Fun Option for Clothes Buyers

I was contacted over a month ago by Eshakti, asking if I wouldn't mind reviewing one of their retail pieces.  I had never heard of them before, so I stopped by their website and took a look.

They sent me this cheerful turquoise blouse.

This blouse would be a perfect addition for someone's wardrobe as we head into the Fall season. I think the sleeves are adorable and unique. They were a tad big on me, but I have pretty small arms. I still loved them.

As for quality, I was very pleased to see this blouse was solidly made. Might have been a tiny bit stiff and I probably would prefer a more relaxed material, but overall, very well made.  I chose to dress it up in a bohemian, western kind of way - but the great thing about this blouse is that it can be dressed up or down. Either way, it's pretty cute.

I don't know about you, but I like having things that are a little unique. I don't want to show up in the same thing everyone else is wearing! Eshakti has a lot of unique pieces like this blouse.

I think Eshakti would be a great resource for a woman who needs some nice pieces for work. You can even customize your pieces for a little bit added extra cost. They allow you to change things such as neckline, dress length, and sleeve type. 

I do feel that a lot of their pieces have a retro/old fashioned look to them, but there are some cute feminine things in the mix that are more contemporary.

Check them out and give them a try. You can find Eshakti here:

*Thanks to Eshakti for giving me this piece in exchange for doing a review of one of their products!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It's Hard to Give Up What You Love

Have you ever prayed so hard for something but when it finally started happening, you found the transition to be hard?

It is hard to give things up. It is hard to sacrifice.

I found that out.

I had been longing for years to move to a warmer climate. But wanting something and actually putting in what it takes to get that something are two different things.

I loved my home. My beautiful home. My “over 3500 square foot” home sitting on an acre about 20 mins out of town. I loved hearing the horses and the cows in the summertime. I loved the “buffer” zone we had between neighbors. I loved the greenery. I loved my beautiful big kitchen with the huge island in the middle and the openness between rooms in my house. I loved my walk-in closet and my big bathroom.

So wanting something different in locale meant giving up something that I loved. To gain, you usually have to give up something. And that was true in this case.

I was excited to finally be doing something. To be working towards something I’d wanted for so long. But the day we put our house on the market, I cried. I didn’t expect to, but I cried. I realized my house was a part of me. So many memories there. And I was so thankful for it. I knew it was a blessing. When we first built our house, I told God that I would always use it for Him because I knew it was a gift from Him. And I did. I let the youth group have parties at our house, we hosted missionaries, and we opened our doors to others.

Our house sold in two weeks. TWO weeks in a market that was still shaky. Exciting? Yes! Scary? Absolutely. Hard?? Most definitely.

I’d walk around my back yard in the season that I loved living in my house the most. I knew I was going to miss it. Terribly. I had no idea where I’d live next. Would it be a tiny little house? Would I even have a grass backyard much less an acre? Would my kitchen have beautiful hardwood floors? Would I be proud of my house?

And the verse kept going through my head over and over again – “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matthew 19:24

I never considered myself rich. But I finally FELT and understood the words in this verse. It is hard to give up blessings and good things in life. It’s hard to give up material things. And it is at that point when it’s hard, that we have placed them too greatly in our lives.

Sacrifice is always hard. No one said it would be easy. But if we refuse to do it at all, then we are just like that rich man who values what He has more than He values God’s kingdom.

I still had a hard time letting my beautiful house go. But from that moment on, I could look at it and see that a house is just a house – no matter how much you love it. It’s the family that lives within those walls that makes a house a home. And that can be done in any building.

I don’t want to be like that rich man. I don’t want to be too selfish to give up the beautiful things in my life. It may not be easy and I may trade them in for something that isn’t quite as beautiful; but a rich life isn’t in things….it’s in people. And it’s good to remember that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sometimes I Lose My Balance

I continually have to learn lessons in life. I wish I didn’t, but I do. Alas, I am imperfect and very flawed. 

Sometimes, I lose my balance in life. It’s usually when I think my feet are on solid ground and I stop seeking God’s perspective in one area or another.

Sometimes I grow very critical. Other times, I grow anxious. I’ve had seasons where I’ve been too self-righteous or judgmental. Too ambitious, without checking to see what GOD’S plans might be for me.

It’s easy to lose our way. To lose our focus.

I’m thankful for these times (after the fact) though. They remind me of the kind of person I want to be. They remind me of the character I want to carry with me. I want to be humble. Patient. Kind. Forgiving. Gracious. Joyful. Blessed. Warm. Loving. Accepting.  These traits don’t come easily. They may sound easy, but they are easy to lose.

It’s easy to lose the quality of forgiveness when you’ve been hurt so deeply and your heart is feeling so bitter.  It’s easy to stop being patient when it seems you’re always waiting for “your turn” at something and you are doing things the right way, the honest way, and you see others skip ahead of you by cheating, tricking, or cutting corners. 

It’s too easy.

I don’t ever want this world to turn me into a cold-hearted, unforgiving, selfish person. I don’t want to be abrasive and judgmental.  So, I have to listen carefully and seek God constantly. I have to listen to those in my life who may be letting me know that I’ve gotten off-balance somewhere. I have to seek God out every day – not just on Sunday or Wednesday. I have to put my priorities aside at times, for the good of others, or the Glory of God.

It’s a constant process, but it’s what I want. It’s what I want for my life.

I want to be in balance. Centered. Focused. And I know that when I’m in those times of keeping things in check, those are the moments where I feel most satisfied and fulfilled. For God is living in me and working in me – instead of me working in myself.

I may always have to be juggling this balancing act in my life…. But hopefully, I will improve and get better at it over time, learning and growing so that I don’t have to balance quite as often or as much. May it come easier to my heart each time I regroup.

I pray the same will be true for you. May we both get the hang of it, so that our footing lands on solid ground much more often than shifting ground.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

You Were Meant For More

You were meant for more than that guy you are settling for. The one that you know doesn’t quite keep his word, or embellishes the truth. The one who is ‘nice’ – but not quite honorable.

You were meant for more than that job you are sticking with. The one that takes advantage of you.

You were meant for more than those friends. The ones who are fickle and care more about appearance than your heart.

You were meant for more.  You deserve more. You are valued more.

There is more out there for you than what you are settling for. You don’t have to ‘put up’ with things. You don’t have to ‘suck it up’ and handle being stepped on, taken for granted, pulled down, or lied to.

You were meant for more.

There are people out there who will keep their word. They will come through for you. They will encourage you, instead of using you for their own agenda.

There are people out there who will work hard and strive for excellence, instead of always looking for an easy way out. They want more for themselves – and will want more for you, too.

There are people out there who will see your inner beauty, as well as your outer beauty. They will help you flourish and help you be who YOU want to be.

There are people out there who have morals and values. People who believe in honor and integrity.

Don’t settle. Don’t adjust your life to something because you don’t see anything else on the horizon.

There IS more. It’s out there.

And you deserve it.

Wait for it. Pray for it. And welcome it with open arms when it comes.

Friday, August 8, 2014

You Don't Always Get What You Want In Life

You don’t always get what you want in life.

Life goes a totally different direction than you want, at times. Sometimes people make choices that affect you, and it’s not welcome. Sometimes, changes have to be made for mere physical or emotional survival.

Life just happens. And it happens to us, with us, around us, and about us – whether or not we are on board with what is going on.

Things can really stink, at times. We hurt and we grieve over losses that have happened to us, or will happen to us. In the process, our attitudes can become bitter and hardened and we can say things that inflict a wound on someone else.

Let me say it again. You don’t always get what you want in life.  How we handle those moments, though, says a lot about our character.  Are we vengeful and spitting hurtful words at those who sit in front of us, or are we gracious and trusting that God has the events all in the palms of His hands?

I’m often reminded how no detail is a surprise to God. No circumstance beyond His control. He knew it would all unfold the way it did, and He knows the ending, as well.  And when I’m reminded of these facts, I grow more at peace with what is going on, because I know my God is GOOD and He wants GOOD things for me.  Even if what I’m going through is painful – I can pray that He will get all the glory when all is said and done. And that’s enough for me. It’s enough, because I know if He gets all the glory, that everything will work out as it should. As it’s meant to.  Even if it’s not what I would have wanted.

Our pride is a big thing. Setting it aside and letting God weave and work through our circumstances is hard. We forget so easily. We think we know better. We act as if we’re smarter. We fail to see that there could be any other plan besides our own.

And yet, sometimes, there is. A bigger plan. A better plan.

We don’t always get what we want in life. Sometimes we get less. But, sometimes? Sometimes, we get MORE.  Trust in God. Believe in what He’s doing with and FOR you. Have integrity through the process.

And watch things unfold as they were meant to be.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

There Are Days Where You Just Have to Be Brave

 There are days where you just have to be brave. You have to face things you’d rather run away from. Head on.

There are days where you just have to swallow your pride and head into the storm, knowing that the wind and rains will beat against you. Sometimes you’re prepared – other times not, but travel on, you must.

There are days where you have to wipe away the tears and keep going, even though you’d rather collapse on your bed and let the tears wrack your body.

There are those days.

And when we are living in the moment of those days – it seems as if the sun will never come out again. A smile is so far from our lips and laughter only echoes in our hearts and minds. Life seems tough, cruel, unfair, and lopsided. We can feel alone and our fight seems eternal.

Those are the days where you have to be brave, courageous and strong. Draw upon your roots, your faith, and the love you have in your life. Let them fuel you and comfort you.

We all have those days. The days that seem like they are 72 hours long. The days where you wonder if there is any way to escape the challenge you face, unscathed. You want to win and defeat the enemy – whether that be a circumstance, or a person. Yet you can feel so weak and frail.

Call upon your courage, frail one. Call upon your Lord. You CAN overcome. You CAN defeat this challenge. You CAN be victorious! There is a door that you can walk through.

Just be patient.

We all have our battles to face. We all have to find out what we’re made of. We all need to walk through certain things alone. But you can do it. One step at a time. One prayer at a time. One breath at a time.

Be brave. Be a warrior. You have it in you.

Walk through the storm. The sun WILL shine again and it will be warmer, sweeter, and brighter than ever before because of you what you have gone through.

Monday, August 4, 2014

To Live Life On A Deeper Level

Some people live life on a deeper level. They just “get it.” They get what this existence of living is really all about.

Some people see the meaning behind words and emotions – they feel the “moment” that will never be felt again, and they see the beauty behind everyday things in the world that everyone else passes.

I strive to be one of these people.

I want to be an old soul, yet have a youthful vitality. I want to be a deep thinker, yet always have a smile and laugh ready to come to my lips. I want to know how to be quiet and still, yet ready to embrace adventure.

I want to see the beauty behind an old lady’s wrinkles and feel the love in a quick hug. I want to understand and know my child’s heart – despite what they DON’T say. I want to be able to read the pain behind someone’s eyes.

I want to “get it.” I want to understand the universal language of the heart. To know that people hurt everywhere, love everywhere, and dream everywhere… no matter their skin color, or heritage.

I want to see past a race that is known for hate, and decide for myself if someone is good or not, based on how they treat me.

I want to take snapshots and photos with my mind so that I can freeze life’s beautiful scenes even when I don’t have a camera with me. And I want to remember the lessons God teaches me, even if I don’t write them down or share them with the world.

Life. I want to feel it in my bones. See it with my heart. Know it with my mind, and love it with my soul. I want to learn to see in others, what God sees. To see past the judgments, mistakes, and packaging.

I want to love and be loved.

Real living. Real loving. On a deeper level.

This I want to be. This, I seek.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

When No One Else Knows, HE Knows

That day my feelings were hurt and I told no one – God knew. He saw my tears that were shed in private.

That moment when I was angry with myself for saying something stupid – He knew. He saw me inwardly berate myself and call myself names, demeaning and putting myself down; thinking I should have known better.

That time I got really scared – God held me together. He walked with me and never let me go until I felt I was on safe ground again.

Those dreams I share with no one? He sees them. He’s working on them with me and for me. Cheering me on.

He sees it all. Those words I don’t say, those thoughts I don’t share, and those wishes I tuck inside.

And they are all safe with Him.

I know my God will never betray me. He won’t laugh at me for feeling what I feel. He won’t be angry with me for making that “countless” mistake I’ve made a hundred times over again.

He’s my shelter. My safe harbor. My protector and shield.

Sometimes I lie to myself about what I’m going through or thinking. But God knows the truth. He sees through my lies and doubts, and He still loves me.

What beauty there is in knowing that. How humbled it makes me. If I still myself long enough to dwell on those truths; how loved I feel.

There IS no greater love. And how thankful I am to feel just a piece of it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Birds

Birds have never bothered me. I like most of them. Their array of colors and noises. They are fun to watch.  Most of them.

The black birds that are always around in the parking lots of grocery stores or shopping malls? Those, I could do without.

Until now.

As many of you know, we are recent “newbies” to the state of Texas. And every time I go grocery shopping or out running errands, I see the beloved black bird hanging around. They are slightly bigger here in Texas than in the northwest. And they have become one of my favorite things.

You see, when they open their mouths to sing? It sounds so cheerful. So tropical. So cool! I absolutely love it. It makes me smile every time I hear it.

Who knew something so ordinary could have such an extraordinary sound?

It reminds me of how we judge each other by our outward appearance. Some of us aren’t colorful or darling on the outside. We are (by our own assessment) boring, normal, or even ugly.  But God has given us each a gift. It’s our song. And when we live within that gift and use it to the best of our abilities – a beautiful thing happens. We are transformed. Our voice becomes something of joy and beauty. Our appearance is changed and others are drawn to us.

Just like I am with these black birds.

Never underestimate yourself. Never belittle who you are. Something beautiful lives inside of you. You just need to find it and then sing it out for all the world to hear.  “This is me!” This is me!” And I promise, it will be beautiful.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Expect Something Better

All too often we “settle.” We settle for being in whatever financial state we’re in, we settle for a relationship that isn’t quite in our best interests, and we settle in jobs, or expectations that are placed upon us.

We settle because we don’t believe we deserve the best. But we do.

Whether we’re tired of waiting, have low self esteem, deem the work, “too hard,” or simply just feel like we are unlucky….each one of us can have a better outcome if we would only shift our thinking and attitudes. Even just a little bit.

I have found that when my day starts out rotten and I continue on thinking it will be a bad day, it often is. But if I can plug through the mess and still have a positive attitude, I often look back at the end of the day, surprised that it didn’t end up as horribly as I thought it would!

Attitude is everything.

If we expect better for ourselves – we will find better. Just as if we expect little for ourselves – we will find little.

We can make the absolute best of what we’ve been given and in doing so, suddenly we find that what we have isn’t so awful. It improves with perspective, time, and attitude.

Other people will believe in us more, help us more, and respect us more, if we show initiative and endurance, coupled with a positive attitude. It really is true that people who help themselves get farther in life!  You can’t sit back and wait for the world to take pity on you, for the world will just keep on walking.

Expect more out of yourself, and more FOR yourself. Dream. Give yourself boundaries and goals to work through and towards. Put positive people in your life who you can emulate and learn from. Pray. And smile. Laugh. Learn. Grow.

Expect something better. Hope for it. Wait for it. It will come.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When Life Sends You a Curve Ball

Life is full of curve-balls. We get on the road we want, head in the direction we want to end up in… and then it takes us twice as long because of a curve-ball thrown our way. One that frustrates, disappoints, and sometimes worries us to no end.

It’s that new job that ends up including work you didn’t intend on doing.  That class that changed teachers at the last minute, or the baby you’d waited so long to have that ends up having extra health issues.  It’s the day you set aside to get your work done and your computer goes on the blitz.

The curve-balls.

Do you ever wonder why they come? Why they seem to arrive at the worst possible time?  Is it because God wants to test us and see if we really want that ‘thing?’ Is it because He DOESN’T want us to get that ‘thing?’ Is it because we need to be reminded to have some humility?

You just want to yell out, “What is it, God? What? WHAT?”

Some curve balls are just minor nuisances. They are more like detours in our path. Other curve balls end up rerouting our end destination completely. They change everything.

When you feel like kneeling on your knees and putting your face to the floor in deep prayer before God, I think those are the curve balls that need deep attention. For they have completely captivated us.

I wish I knew why things don’t always go according to plan. I know in my heart, that of course, they all won’t. That they can’t. But I still wish and hope, that they will. I don’t have the answers for when they don’t… especially when I know at times, we all feel like we are heading the way we are supposed to.  I DO know that God will never leave us adrift. That there is always purpose in the shifting sand, and that He will give us the strength, peace, and support we need in those times.

There is always something to learn. Always room to grow. Sometimes it takes curve balls to remind us of what we need. Sometimes, they remove weeds growing in our life and heart, or sift out what needs sifting. But whatever they do – guaranteed – they were aimed our way for a reason.

The thing is? I don’t have to be afraid of them and neither do you. My God has a big catcher’s mitt. He can catch all those curve balls. Every. Single. One. And He will be there with me for every pitch and ball that heads my way. He’s not leaving.

For that, I am eternally thankful.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Some Day The House May Be Quiet

There are days where I long for some alone time. Some “me” time. I feel like I can’t do anything without interruption. Noise abounds. My beloveds are under foot in every room of the house and I long for quiet.

I long to do something without someone questioning what I’m doing, how long I’m doing it, and why I’m doing it.

Peace is what I seek. Stillness and freedom to do what I want, where I want, and for how long I want to, and to be accountable to no one.

On some days.

But I always remind myself that someday that noise will be gone. No one will be under foot. There won’t be a big family to cook for, or many clothes to iron. I won’t have any interruptions at all – and I will miss it. Dreadfully.

Some day the house may be quiet and I may go crazy in that still calm. I will crave the days of noise, laughter, and inconvenient interruptions. I will long for someone to notice what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, and why.

I will want the company. In every room of my house, at any time of day or night.

So now, even though sometimes I still know I need a little refreshment for my soul and some time to think and dream on my own….I don’t despise the noises. I don’t wish anyone in my house away….ever. For I see time ticking. I see the door opening and all too soon I know they will walk through it to their own homes and lives. Their own noises and hustle and bustle.

Some day my house may be quiet. But for today, it is full. And it is rich. And I am thankful.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You Will Get Through This

Strength. It’s a funny thing. When we are going through something really hurtful or challenging.

We feel so weak. Like we have no strength of our own. Yet, in hindsight, when we’ve gotten to the other side of that hurdle in our life and looked back on it, we sometimes see a different story. Maybe there was physical weakness or emotional weakness. But usually, there is strength present in some form. If we were physically weak, God gave us emotional strength. If we were emotionally weak, God gave us physical strength. Sometimes it’s simply spiritual strength that He gives us – even if we don’t want to recognize or acknowledge it.  And sometimes, our strength is drawn from the “others” in our life who love us “well.”

Trials. Oh, boy, do they come. They usually blindside us. But they come.

Are you in one right now? Is your heart heavy? Have you been sitting in the “wait” of a season, which seems like it has gone on forever and ever? Do you feel physically weak?  Are you sad? Lonely? Frustrated?

Let me tell you that it won’t last forever. You WILL get through this. Because, God is giving you a strength that you may not see right now. He loves you. Oh, how He loves you and me!

I remember a spiritual battle that plagued my heart and life for years. YEARS. But that one day came, that finally, FINALLY the clouds parted and it was over. I was released.

I made it through. Sure. I was a little beaten up on the inside. After all, it had been a long battle. I still carry some scars from it with me. But I made it through. Wiser.  Softer, hopefully. More willing to give grace and mercy to others.

I made it through. And so will you. 

We can look back someday on our lives and see all of the things we have gone through. All the mountaintops, desert experiences, sun-scorched land, and horrific storms that have swept over us from season to season. In each one, I bet, we felt like we hardly had the strength to get through it. But you do. Get through it. You wake up, you breathe, you pray, you put one foot in front of the other and you get – through – it.  And before you know it, you wake up, you breathe, and you smile before you pray. Then you wake up, breathe, smile and sing. And you feel thankful. Blessed. For you know where you’ve been and you know who has brought you through it. And that knowledge will stick with you through the next battle that will come.

He will be there with you through it. He will provide the strength and courage you need – in some form or another.

You can do this. You will make it through.

Just don’t give up. A brighter day is coming.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Why Don't We Ask?

Our God is a BIG God. He can do anything for us.

When my dishwasher breaks, He can fix it.

When I need a job, He can provide one.

When I run out of cash, God can supply some out of thin air for me.

When we’re stuck for what to say at Bible Study, as we write, create a presentation for work, or in handling an awkward situation….God can give us the right words.

When we need self-control with food, our words, our  children, our drinking or anything…God can give us that self-control that we struggle to find for ourselves.

Whatever we are going through – God can fill that gap for us.

So, why don’t we ask? Why do we forget that He can do the big AND the small?

Do we think we can handle it ourselves? Do we think He doesn’t care about the small details in our lives like a new pair of jeans? What, exactly, is it?

Just as I want my children to come to me with small concerns as well as big ones, I believe God wants us to come to Him. He considers it an honor. And it grows our intimacy with Him to have Him walk with us through all our journeys, concerns, and struggles in life.  Yes, He can handle the big ones. But He can also handle the small. In fact, I bet He HAS handled many small details in our lives without us coming to Him at all.

Because He loves us. And because He cares. About all of it.

So, let’s ask. Ask BIG and ask SMALL. Ask in faith and ask in doubt. But ASK.

He wants us to.


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