good things : june chalkboards

living room :

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” – Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)

bedroom:

Romans 8

kitchen:

Be YOU tiful.

june magazine line:

staying faithful [nc series] : making things happen 2012

So, let’s talk about the real reason I went to North Carolina. The greenery was beautiful, the food was plentiful, and the tea and friendships sweet…but attending Making Things Happen was the culmination of a host of long-hoped-for dreams. It was so much more than I ever imagined it could be. Kind of like the first time I went to Disney world…as a wide-eyed 20 year old…and fell head-over-heels in love with something I knew I would love but couldn’t fully anticipate just how overwhelmingly I would love it. Or like visiting the holy land, Lambeau Field, during the road trip. Clearly, I knew this was going to be good. But I didn’t think I would lose complete control of my tear ducts for hours on end.

Making Things Happen was a similarly expectation-exceeding (and tear-duct-draining) experience. Meeting mentors I’ve only previously known on my computer screen, getting to know the other thirty wonderful women in attendance, harnessing the power of speaking tiny dreams and big fears and tiny fears and big dreams into existence just by saying them out loud…it was just more. So much more than I had hoped for.

Far be it from me not to launch into a long and drawn out monologue about every detail of this experience…but I’m actually not going to launch into a long and drawn out monologue about every detail of this experience. Mostly because my Making Things Happen experience is still happening. What started in that conference room continued on the drive home and has been growing ever since. So talking about my Making Things Happen experience right now would be like talking about the gorgeous flowers in my flourishing garden beds when I’ve only just tilled the ground and planted the seeds. Aside from a lot of hard work and a lot of grace-filled weather, there isn’t anything to really talk about yet. It needs time to grow.

Even though it’s not quite time to delve into the personal side of Making Things Happen, one thing I do want to talk about are the practical lessons I learned and have been implementing from the workshop. Where one series ends, another begins! Over the next few posts next week we’ll be talking about the every day ways in which MTH is changing my workflow, efficiency, mindset…even my furniture arrangement!

But for right now, I’ll just close with these verses from Romans 8, which are changing my life.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

[...]

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

staying faithful : open windows

First things first…when it comes to nights that are not ideal to leave your cell phone at work, the night before your birthday is probably pretty close to the top. Sorry, world. But I’ll be back soon!

This concludes this morning’s Public Service Announcements. In other news…

On Sunday night I went to bed late. (You’re probably thinking that this post is really riveting so far, but trust me, it gets better!) The kind of late when you hope you go straight to sleep in .05 seconds so you’ll get as much sleep as possible to make up for your decision to stay up into the early hours of tomorrow.

But I couldn’t get comfortable. Oddly, because it’s only mid-April in Antarctica Rochester, I was too warm. I wanted to crack a window for some fresh air but there were a variety of reasons not to. Street noise was a big one. The proximity of my face to the fire escape was a big one too, seeing as how it’s the place where all the good drunken ramblings and domestic disputes take place (thank you, city living) and I didn’t want an inebriated stranger crawling through my window to snuggle with me in the middle of the night.

The lull of fresh air, though – air that was reportedly not freezing – it was just too much to take after 6 months of frozen air! So I pulled the blinds, pushed back the curtains, and opened the window to backfiring buses, HBO-style feuding, and…

the most welcome gust of cool night air I’ve ever felt.

I was in awe. The gentle breeze, the warm lights from distant windows, the beauty of angles and architecture. All of which I had the chance to experience solely because I decided to open a window. I opened it despite of the perceived inconveniences. And I received SO MUCH MORE in return.

I went to sleep that night feeling so grateful for life. For the scene right before my eyes. For falling asleep in a bed, under a roof, with clothes on my body and food in my stomach, employed by a variety of gracious employers, loved by two parents whom I love, surrounded by wonderful friends whom I don’t deserve, overwhelmed by the Lord’s constant presence, mercies, and unfailing love.

I slept better than I’ve slept in weeks. And I woke up to this:

It made me so aware of the abundance of blessings I too often take for granted – or worse – choose to complain about. It made me so aware of the Lord’s great love and of my great ingratitude.

Today I get to start a new year. (If anyone knows how I’ve already arrived at 26…please feel free to fill me in.) Today I get to set the pace for the 365 days that are to follow. With that in mind, this year I’d like to:

  • be fiercely, relentlessly grateful for every second of my beautiful life and the nouns that make it so meaningful
  • stay humbled by God’s moment-by-moment love, grace, and provision and to share that same love, grace, and provision with everyone I encounter
  • open windows of all kinds, without hesitation, every chance I get

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

Romans 8:31-32

[Thank you, Lord, for LIFE!]

beka stays real : march chalkboards

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[ bedroom : RELENTLESS : belief in God (1), gratitude in each moment (2), pursuit of dreams (3). (be transformed by the renewing of your mind - Romans 12:2) ]

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[ living room 1 : "People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now." - Matthew 6 ]
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[ living room 2 : be an exclamation point, not a question mark. ]

and here’s the march magazine line too:

beka stays faithful : undeserved grace

Honest to goodness truth: When I walked into church on Sunday and saw the communion table set up, I started to panic. Not because I have an aversion to wafers and juice or dislike the special Sundays when we do observe the Lord’s supper. But because my heart was not in the right place for communion. More like 8,000 miles away from the right place. Clear on the other side of the spectrum of places.

So I sang. And I prayed. And I listened. And I actually forgot all about communion until the end of the service. I went to the table and then back to my seat with the grape-soaked bread still in hand. I sighed. I began to list all of the ways in which I’ve failed as a Christian lately: being too busy for reading my Bible, too distracted for heartfelt prayer, too silent when I should be vocal and too vocal when I should be silent, too blinded by my “needs” to see the needs of others. So I sank into prayer. “Lord, I SO do not deserve to accept communion right now.”

Far be it from me to attribute any thought that pops up in my own head as something God himself speaks to me, but the next thought seemed fairly congruent with something he might say:

“Child, when have you ever deserved it? That’s the point of grace: you can’t earn it.”

Well. That made my head spin a bit.

All of my efforts to work harder at being a better Christian so that I can achieve God’s favor? Futile. Because he already did the hard work on the cross. And because I’ve put my trust in him and in his saving grace, nothing that I do – great or terrible – can alter his love for me.

It’s so contrary to popular belief that I can’t understand it. It literally doesn’t make sense to me. But I’m so thankful for undeserved grace, for the unexpected reminder, and for these verses from Romans 8:

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

   “For your sake we face death all day long;
   we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

the dailies : 11.1.11

daily word: “31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one.” Romans 8:31-34

daily sweat: 6 mile run! again!

daily dish: I went to Moe’s for the first time tonight. Holy goodness! It won’t be the last time. Now truth be told, I’m a Chipotle loyalist for life, but I appreciate Moe’s customizable features to make things a bit healthier: the whole wheat wrap and junior size options, specifically.

daily mile:

Day 57: for halloween, i’m going to be a hermit

21 days: 3/3 today! 6 hours of sleep, healthy meals all day, and a long run!

the dailies : 10.18.11

the daily word: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  – Romans 8:38-39

daily sweat: working a 13 hour day = workout

daily dish:

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Greek yogurt parfait with pear spiced sauce and granola from breathe…LOVE this!
daily mile:

the dailies : 9.27.11

daily word: “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.” Romans 11:33 – 36

daily sweat: I had an orientation to the weight room today at the gym. I think I will also have an orientation to new muscle pain tomorrow when I wake up. I’m also taking a beginner’s yoga series at breathe, which was probably exactly what I needed to stretch out my overused/undertoned non-muscles.

daily dish:

I had pictures but my phone/email is rebelling and won’t deliver them. So here’s the rundown:

Beautiful breakfast on the canal (thanks to an early morning workout!) with an Ezekiel muffin with sunflower butter, banana slices, and triple berry jam. A nectarine and a handful of fall-colored M&M’s in between, and then lunch was leftover pizza, string beans with hummus, and chocolate chips with dried cherries. Dinner was on-the-go before yoga: a peanut butter oatmeal square, banana, and iced caramel macchiato. And then an apple and more M&M’s to top the night off!

Oh my word. That’s so boring without the pictures/anything new. I’d take it all out but since I just made the effort to jot it down I’ll leave it as is, but tomorrow I’ll try to put something especially exciting in the mix for you to make up for the lameness today.

daily mile:

Day 22 : taking time to learn about the story

the dailies : 9.14.11

To preface, it should be noted that Bath and Body Works is taunting me. They must know I’m weak. I got this email today:

New! Marshmallow Fireside

If that doesn’t sounds like the perfect fall candle, I don’t know what does.

I might have to break the November rule.

daily word: “We must not just please ourselves. 2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself.” Romans 15:1-3 (NLT)

daily sweat: 75 minute Power Vinyasa yoga class at 5:45 am. Awesome way to start the day.

daily dish:

breakfast:

This breakfast – food and location and temperature and EVERYTHING – absolutely perfect. Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal (recipe coming soon) outside on the canal after this morning’s class. I forsee many repeats in the future.

lunch:

Quinoa and Bulgar salad with prune plums and fig newtons – on the side, not mixed in. Use your imagination, because I forgot the cell phone photo shoot again.

dinner:

OH. MY. WORD.

I’ve been wanting to try the Owl House forever so when my dear friend Morgan suggested we meet there for dinner I was only too happy to oblige. It did not disappoint! We split the sweet potatoes fries with gorganzola cheese and balsamic reduction as an appetizer. For dinner, I went with the panzanella salad because I love panzanella and it’s almost the end of the appropriate season to order it. Then we split the chocolate mousse, which was divine. It was a healthy mixture of cocoa and avocado topped with fresh fruit and cacao nibs.

The dangerous part: I want to try everything else on the menu too. And this place is less than a mile from my apartment. I have a feeling I’m about to become their #1 customer.

daily mile:

Day 10: beating clarkia into submission