inspired : 7.1.12

This week didn’t offer lots of free time for inspiration. So instead of giving you a long list of links to peruse, today I just want you to check out these two sermons from Chip Ingram of Living on the Edge. Don’t worry about the title – you don’t have to be bored or have the blues to listen. I’m definitely not bored and am feeling very unblue these days, but these two messages wrecked me in the best way. They ask tough questions about where our priorities lie and what true worship really means. It’s an essential reality check, and chock full of inspiration!

Overcoming Boredom and the Blues : Part I

Overcoming Boredom and the Blues : Part II

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:

making things happen monday : little fires

One of my favorite steps in The Challenge is making a list of what fires you up – the things that ignite a spark in your life and make you feel alive. Given my general enthusiasm for…everything…this was a tall but enjoyable order. Here’s the abridged version of my final cut:

scripture
love
Romans 12
color
beauty
light
creating
breakfast
coffee
photographs
typing thoughts into words into blogs
long runs
long walks
long weekends at home with Mom and Dad
snow
sunrise/sunset
being outside
s’mores
sweaty workouts
arugula/spinach/field greens
shoo fly pie
brownie sundaes
nouns
laughter
speaking truth out loud
praying alone out loud
country music
driving with the windows down
driving while having a revival-style worship jam session in my car
encouraging friends and strangers
Sundays
football
Gilmore Girls
magazines
healthy food
design
mentoring
Pennsylvania
the Packers
soft serve ice cream
road trips
flying
finding new restaurants
ESPN
NFL Films
The Food Network
cookbooks

The challenge for me isn’t knowing what fires me up. Clearly. If you have an hour or seven, I’ll be glad to tell you all about the things I love most about life. And, for the most part, the challenge isn’t even doing these things. As someone who veers on the creative side I have a natural tendency to cover all of my spaces with things that inspire me. I also have a natural tendency to protect time to invest in the things on the list above.

The hard part for me is consistency. Because, well, life is inconsistent. If I have a day with lots of free space I will jam-pack it with everything above. But on a normal day with lots of normal things – work and workouts and meals and bills and just LIFE – it’s hard to remember what’s on the list unless it’s starring me in the face.

So I decided to make it stare me in the face every day. I started lighting little fires to fuel the big bonfire above.

What can I realistically do daily to stoke little fires in my life? I can have time and space for the Lord. I can create a beautiful room that I want to live in. I can quit trying to work during breakfast and use that time to flip through magazines and watch ESPN (more on this coming soon!). I can commit to a workout program that makes me to sweat every day (another coming soon!). I can spend a free afternoon in the kitchen cooking to my heart’s content.

But probably the one thing that has made the biggest difference required the smallest commitment:

I can walk around my neighborhood every night, even for just a few minutes.

On almost every night since I’ve come home from Making Things Happen I’ve kept to this commitment. Because it encompasses SO many things that fire me up – time spent outside, the beauty of old houses, tree-lined streets, and nature in full bloom, perfect temperatures, long walks, peaceful quiet or thoughtful reflection or upbeat music, taking time to slow down and really SEE the gorgeous nouns in my life after paying more attention to the verbs during the workday, just taking time to be rather than do.

Sometimes these strolls start out cranky. Begrudgingly. Sometimes they end that way too. But 99% of the time, I come home markedly improved. More peaceful, more joyful, more grateful. And just plain happier.

It’s totally worth the 5 – 50 minutes that I probably would have spent on the internet instead. I’m getting something so much better in exchange.

So, friends, what fires YOU up? And what can you do to sustain little fires in your life (and roast a few marshmallows while you’re at it!)?

And Just To Review:

You can still sign up for the mini Challenge here on the blog! Here’s how to participate:

1. Comment here or on ANY Making Things Happen Monday Post to let me know that you are doing The Challenge.

2. DO The Challenge! It’s a 10 Step process that will set you up for success in every area of life.

3.  During The Challenge, you will receive email encouragement from me and a nice surprise in the mail when you successfully complete all 10 Steps (and you will successfully complete all 10 Steps!).

4. One lucky duck will win a prize package, announced at the completion of The Challenge.

I can’t emphasis what a game-changer this is. If you are a student, a mom, a business owner, a summer vacationer – if you are a human and you want to live life well – you can greatly benefit from the lessons you’ll learn from The Challenge! If you are serious about making the most out of every single day of your life, this is a really great place to start.

Ready Set GO!!!

beka stays real : april chalkboards

kitchen:

[what is most important?]

bedroom:

[“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:45]

living room 1:

[anything less than your best is a failure]

living room 2 didn’t change…because I still need to be reminded of this on a daily basis!

[be an exclamation point, not a question mark]

beka stays athletic : don’t hold back

Don't Hold Back - 8 x 10 Typographic Print
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Remember when I thought that running 3 miles and then finishing them off by running an 8 minute mile was cool?

Well…guess what?!

On Saturday I went to the gym with a plan: run 6 miles at a steady pace over mild hills (so that I’m not quite as shocked when I transition to outdoor running and the ground is not perpetually flat and electronically powered beneath me).

(That joke is always on me.)

Anyway…I started running.

It did not feel good.

It felt like the opposite of good.

Problem: I should have waited longer in between breakfast and running. I’m not one of those people who eats to fuel workouts…I actually have much better results on an empty stomach.

I toughed it out until mile 2.5, when I decided to pause the treadmill and head to the bathroom since I wasn’t sure whether I had to pee or throw up. Turns out it was the former (lucky for one and all). (And apparently the theme of today is Unwanted Personal Information Day. Apologies, Internet.)

I got back on the treadmill determined to at least finish the 6 miles I originally set out to run. It kept getting easier and easier as the miles passed and I kept feeling less and less like I was going to keel over in the middle of Planet Fitness.

The six mile mark came and went. I started walking to cool down. But then I thought a dangerous thought.

“I could probably keep going.”

And then I had to keep going. Because I’m crazy.

So I decided to bump the speed up to 8.0 and see what happened.

No worries, PF patrons beside me, it’s totally ok that I’m glaring angrily at the PAC 12 gymnastics championships for no apparent reason other than athletic motivation while Jay Z shouts into my eardrums and yours via my amped-up inspiration playlist and I’m sweating/panting uncontrollably. Nothing to see here.

Except for my new mile time: 7:30.

Stranger things have not happened.

I am really starting to be convinced that hard work for your body is better for your soul. Because – at the risk of sounding like something that has the potential to start trending on Pinterest – doing something that challenges you changes you.

Over the past few months I’ve felt a passion not just for committing, but for committing to being the absolute best version of me that I can be. Giving 100% all the time, no matter the circumstances. Being that person means I can’t cater to excuses or explanations, won’t be derailed by disappointments or discouragement, don’t leave well enough alone.

On Saturday, that meant not calling it a day at the gym when I knew I still had more left to give, even though I had “other things to do” and “wasn’t feeling my best” and “had a great workout already.”

Nope, nope, and nope. All of those factors are well and good. But only if you want to meet the minimum requirements.

And I don’t! I want to far exceed them!

Every time I make the decision to take the harder road, the one that asks the most of me, I change a little. I learn that good enough is never really good enough. I become someone who is confident in the knowledge that I can always give 100%, and that giving 100% is always better in the end.

I also become someone who laughs out loud and jumps up and down with arms raised in triumphant victory while stepping off the treadmill.

Which is what everyone else does, right?

beka stays faithful : even better easter inspiration!

While I was searching for Easter inspiration on Pinterest yesterday I came across so many scripturally-based designs. These are the real gems!

truth

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John 16:33

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Philippians 4:8

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Jeremiah 29:13

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(which you do not know)

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Isaiah 43:1

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.

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always loved this verse

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Matthew 28:6 "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."

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Enjoy celebrating Easter, friends! Yellow daffodils and jelly beans and hopping bunnies and all – but especially the hope we have in Christ!

(That’s the best part…even when Easter candy is involved.)

beka stays real : my Making Things Happen application

About a year ago I blogged about taking the Making Things Happen Challenge.

(This is different from the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge I’m currently doing. Challenges and me? Apparently we’re tight!)

The Making Things Happen Challenge was to me like spinach was to Popeye. I felt more empowered than ever to take charge of my dreams and conquer fears of all kinds. Ever since then I’ve been praying about being able to attend a Making Things Happen workshop because, well, I can’t think of anything I’d like to attend more. (Packers game at Lambeau notwithstanding.) I’d really love to be able to harness whatever it is that is inside of me to do…and then DO it!

So when I saw the announcement for this year’s tour and the availability of scholarships, I wanted to enter an application immediately. But I decided to wait until I knew what I wanted to say.

Cue the crickets.

I had no idea where to start. It’s hard to describe what you want and why you want it when you want it in such a big, clumsy, just-try-to-define-this-sucker kind of way. I put it on the calendar to do next week, thinking that at least I’d still have a week after that until applications were due in case I was still struggling with dreamer’s block. But then this afternoon, unexpectedly, I just started typing. And this is what came out:

“I just spent 15 minutes trying to photograph the reflection of my earring on my computer screen. And the 30 before that scrubbing dishes from the kitchen explosion that resulted in 5 lunches and 5 dinners, packaged and ready to go for the week. Prior to that you would have found me driving home from church, windows down, belting inspirational song lyrics so enthusiastically you would have thought I was Stella and I’d gotten my groove back.

Lara, Emily, Gina, and Natalie: Even though I’m teetering on the edge of a “bless your heart” moment, I’m telling you all of this because it’s the core of what I want to Make Happen. I don’t specifically want to take pictures of my earrings and spend weekend afternoons up to my elbows in soapsuds and sing Joss Stone songs until the cows come home (or, in today’s case, directly to the cows). But I DO want to live 100% from the depth of what fires me up, from the desires I believe God has put in my heart for a specific purpose.

I don’t have a clear-cut job description to offer you. I’m not looking to go into business as a photographer, a designer, a writer, or a motivational speaker (although I’d like to do elements of all of those things!). I’m not sure what to call what I want to do, although Lord knows I’ve tried to wrangle it into a career category for the past 5 years. But I’d like to attend Making Things Happen (in Chapel Hill, please!) to harness the passions that keep me up at night with butterflies just thinking about their possibilities. I want to utilize the full power of those passions and then LIVE them so that other people can catch a spark from that fire and live out their passions, too. Basically, I want to do what Marianne Williamson so eloquently suggests:

“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Do I really believe that making ice cream out of frozen bananas and hanging pages from magazines on baker’s twine and gushing endlessly about the beauty of mason jars can make a tangible difference in the world?

Not in and of itself. But I believe with 100% of my being that God can take my full effort, derived from my truest, most sincere desires and abilities, and use me as He sees fit to make as much of a difference in the world as possible.

That’s what I want to Make Happen!”

It was the honest-to-goodness truth. It’s kind of uncoordinated and kind of sappy…but so I am! So I’m really happy with what made the journey from heart to fingers to keyboard. It feels like a step in the right direction of being an exclamation point, not a question mark.

Applications are due by April 1st, so hopefully scholarships will be announced soon after that. I can honestly say that I’ll be praying that right person is chosen for this scholarship. But I can also honestly say that I’ll be praying that I might be that person.

(And if your prayer requests list is looking a little sparse, please feel free to add me to it!)

Guys, if YOU want to Make Things Happen, apply for the scholarship to attend a workshop!!! Or just spend hours soaking up the goodness that is the MTH Tumblr. Or take The Challenge! One way or another, choose to act on the things that have been put in your heart for a reason. I don’t think you’ll ever regret it.

inspired : 3.11.12

this video makes me want to ride my bike more

these brownie roll-ups take me back to my swiss cake roll days

pickle juice is the secret to chick-fil-a?! who knew? can’t wait to try these!

two of my favorite things : greek yogurt and pancakes

oh my goodness…i need to write a book while living in a coastal hut so i can experience this costa rican cuisine

what a fun run!

at the first sign of discomfort…keep going

two great posts from lara casey : peace and gratitude

tim tebow, you are one good man.

these lightroom presets are beautiful!

seth godin on conflict and self-discipline

i can’t get over all of these beautiful and reasonably priced treats on one girl cookies

pin of the week:

Jamba Juice...

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(jamba juice…@morgandornsife and I are coming for you SOON!)

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 real : february chalkboards

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[bedroom: positive minds live positive lives.]

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[living room 1: “it’s important to keep trying to do what you think is right no matter how hard it is or how often you fail. you never stop trying. i’m still trying.” – coach wooden]

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[living room 2: commitment: doing the right thing when you don’t want to. character: doing the right thing when it’d be easier not to. integrity: doing the right thing when no one’s watching you.]