life beyond the well…


Leave a comment

Book Review: Living Well Spending Less

I saw this book floating around on Facebook for a while, and I can admit that I was intrigued.  And then, when I had the opportunity to review it, I was excited.

I consider myself to be a reformed shopaholic.  Or maybe, a reformed saleaholic.  I’ve never met a sale that I didn’t like.  It’s how I go to Target with a list that only has 3 things on it, and leave with 7 items.  I know that I’m not alone there.  So, I snagged this book hoping to acquire a few more strategies to deal with my “saleaholism”.

Living Well Spending Less is not just about budgeting and money saving strategies.  It helps to deal with issues of the heart that contribute to spending.  The author, Ruth Soukup describes living well as being more about who we are than what we have.  I appreciate the candidness and transparency with which she shared her own struggles with spending and how it affected her family and marriage.  But more than that, I appreciated the thoughtful words of wisdom and applicable advice (i.e.: she doesn’t just tell you to budget, but provides different suggestions on how to do so).

This book reads well and I would definitely recommend it to anyone- especially those of you who are interested in improving your finances.  You’ll enjoy it!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.


Leave a comment

Today.

“Today, I am here to be the best that I can be. To lift up our community, to be the best that we can be. To make each second count. To make new mistakes and learn from them. To support my teammates in our mission to make the world a better place. I am proud of my hard work, but I am humble. I still have a lot of work to do. Above all, I am grateful for those who have made my life better. I am ready to get to work.”

Every morning, our students recite our school pledge, listed above. I’ve heard it so many times that I am also able to recite it. I have it posted in my office above my desk as one of many motivating reminders when I struggle to find or remember the meaning and purpose of what I do and who I serve.

Working with children is hard. Period. My office is nestled in a space where I have the joy of hearing our elementary students and our middle school students.  I never know from day to day what I might hear.  Sometimes it’s the joyful exuberance of second graders.  Other times it’s the patient instruction of our band directors. You just never know.

Earlier this week, I heard an exchange between a teacher and a student.  Apparently the student had engaged in some form of inappropriate behavior, and the teacher was insisting that the student apologize. The more that the teacher insisted on an apology, the more the student refused. Their voices escalated, and then I heard both the teacher and the student storm down the hall.

But it was what I heard later that really caught my attention.

Maybe 20-30 minutes later, I heard the same teacher and student having an exchange.  But in this case, the teacher was apologizing to the student for the way in which he spoke to him. While I couldn’t hear the entire exchange, I did hear the teacher say, “I apologize for speaking to you that way. I should not have done that…”

Teachers make mistakes too, ya’ll.  But what I love is that this teacher owned it, and showed his student the respect that we all deserve.  Even the smallest of us deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

I won’t say that my school always gets it right. But I will say that each day the students AND adults in the building commit to that pledge, and our community is better because of it.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!


Leave a comment

Updates: Higher Definition Church

So, the last time I really talked about Higher Definition Church, was in this post, when we were 5 days away from launch…and that was 7 or 8 weeks ago.

We launched!

It was awesome.

Seriously, we successfully launched the church on March 15, 2015, and have been moving forward since.  Preacherman and I are so excited about how God is working in us and through us.  Every Sunday since launch, we have had people accept Jesus or rededicate their life to Him.  To God be the glory for things He has done.

A couple of things- you can access the podcasts to each of the messages through Preacherman’s website.  I encourage you to check it out, and share with others.  Because I love you so much, I’ve linked the messages below.  They’re good. For real, for real.

And- would you pray for us? It is our true desire to leave a footprint for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.  Pray for God’s guidance, for people to join us in this endeavor, for our families, for the families of those who have already partnered with us.  Pray for the city of Jacksonville- that hearts will continue to be open and receptive to the work that we have been led to do here.

Finally- connect with us! You can catch us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

I am so grateful for your love, encouragement, and support…and when you’re in Jacksonville, I look forward to you joining us at church!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


1 Comment

Worth the Wait.

I married Preacherman at 29- which was about 4-5 years longer than I wanted to be single.  In my perfect life plan, I would have been married at 24 or 25, with babies coming along around ages 27-28.  I’d have finished having babies by 32 (at the absolute latest).  And we’d live happily ever after.

So, based on my own perfect life plan, I’m a little behind.  And while I generally hate being behind on things, I’m okay with it, because it has been worth the wait.

I love that I know and see so many young women who desire to be Godly wives; who spend their time committed to their church, and pursuing God so that they can be who God has called them to be.  And while I know from my own experience that waiting to be found can be a struggle, let me encourage you- IT IS WORTH THE WAIT.

I know that you get tired of hearing it. I know that while you’re happy for your friend, you’re not excited about adding another bridesmaid dress to your closet. I know the excitement of welcoming your friend’s newborn into the world, while wondering if you’ll ever have that life for yourself.  But please know, that it IT IS WORTH THE WAIT.

There’s nothing wrong with you for waiting.  But don’t wallow.  Enjoy your single time.  Travel. Shop. Save money. Start your business. Finish that degree. Follow the dreams that God has placed in your heart while you’re waiting- because when you get married, it’s not the same.  Marriage requires a consideration that isn’t necessary when you’re single–a consideration of another’s thoughts, dreams, purposes, and plans, and you have to proceed with prayer and caution.

I wish that I could say that I waited patiently to be found by Preacherman. If only that were the case. There were times where I would be content with my singleness, and there were times where I tried to force relationships that I knew weren’t for me.  But once I truly committed myself to my singleness, and becoming the best person that I could be, things (slowly) fell into place.

Please know, you are worth the wait- and it’s better to be alone than in bad company. My prayer is that you are able to enjoy this season for the blessing it is and understand the purpose it serves in your life and for the husband and family that you will soon have.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


Leave a comment

The Danger in Disconnection

The other night, I was fixing dinner and I heard the timer “ding” on our George Foreman grill.  Excited that the grill had “preheated”, I went and placed the salmon burgers on the grill, but I was a little concerned that nothing seemed to be happening.  Under closer inspection, I discovered that the power cord was disconnected from the outlet.

While I chuckled at my dinner mistake, I later began to reflect on the danger in disconnection.  You see, there have been times in my life, where I’ve been disconnected from my power source.  I’ve been far from God, not really close to people who were trying to live a way that pleased God, and I was just doing my own thing.  Go to work. Do school work. Hang out with friends. Repeat.

But there was a point that I realized that something wasn’t right.  While I was going through the motions, I didn’t feel any real sense of purpose.  To go back to my cooking scenario, I was on the grill, but nothing was happening.  I wasn’t being prepared for the point of completion.

As believers, our ultimate source of power is God.  He is our strength and our hope.  And when we get disconnected from Him and His people, we began to lose a sense of who we are and what our real purpose is in life. We begin to handle things in our own strength, instead of trusting and depending on Him.  And then, when we don’t get the results we desire because WE didn’t do things the right way- we blame God.

I can’t blame the power source because the grill was disconnected.  It was my responsibility to make sure the grill was connected so that the food could be cooked–to completion.  In the same way, it is our responsibility to ensure that we remain connected to God so that He can work in us to completion.

I encourage you to do what it takes to stay connected.  Dedicate time in your schedule to reading the word, to spending time with Him in prayer and worship.  Don’t let the things of this world distract you to a point of disconnection.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 


1 Comment

The Path of Resistance

Working with students (and their families) is something that brings me great joy.  There’s nothing like working alongside people to help them reach their goals, or to put them on the path to reaching their goals.  In some ways, I like to think that part of my responsibility with my work is to create opportunity–to help them navigate paths and open doors that lead to many opportunities.

What I find challenging in this work is that more and more, I’m faced with students (and parents) who believe that opportunities come without resistance.  That things should be easy and without challenge–and that if there IS any sign of opposition then the opportunity must not be for them.

That frustrates me.  And it makes me sad.

The idea that things must always be easy and without challenge is a lie that is fed to us to keep us from reaching our full potential. The second that things get difficult, we’re ready to quit- and when we quit, we lose the opportunity to become more than we are in that moment.

I’ve heard Pastor Steven Furtick say it like this: “What has not been tested cannot be trusted.”  I’ve heard Preacherman say it like this: “There is no victory without opposition.”

In my own life, I’ve found that resistance is a sign that I’m on the right track.  It’s a sign that I’m pushing for a higher level, an increased capacity. And the result is that, I get stronger. I get better. My faith increases and deepens. But that doesn’t make it easy.  When you start working out and you exercise and strengthen your muscles, you feel a pain and tension.  But if you (when you) keep going, the pain and tension goes away, leaving you stronger and equipped to handle more.

Lord, help us to embrace resistance, knowing that as You call us, You equip us. Help us to trust Romans 8:28- that in ALL things You work for the good of those who love You and are called according to your purpose. -Amen

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


2 Comments

5 Days Away…

…from the launch of

HD LOGO BLUE LONG

Wow.

To God be the glory.

We are so excited.  Please partner with us in prayer this week as we prepare for the launch.  We are believing God for an awesome worship experience; that lives will be touched and changed and we will begin to have an impact for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

 


Leave a comment

Book Review: Make It Happen

Y’all. This. Book. Is. Everything.

Okay, but for real.  I had a feeling that I might like Lara Casey’s book “Make it Happen”– because I really like Lara Casey.  I love her work, I admire her humility and transparency, and I think that she’s just an all-around awesome lady.  Plus, she lives in Chapel Hill, and anyone who has sense enough to live in the Southern Part of Heaven is alright with me.

But when I tell you this book took me all the way in…

This book is everything that an excellent book SHOULD be.  It’s well-written. It’s captivating and compelling. It’s inspiring.  It makes you think, and then challenges you to act.  And while ALL of that is great, what I really love about this book is the level of transparency shared by the author.

She kept it all the way real.  And as a result, I felt that I could trust the suggestions that she makes in the book for how we, as readers, can “make it happen”.

This book has been on my radar for a while, and I am so happy I read it.  I’ve already recommended it to quite a few people that I know, and I told Preacherman that I would use it for a book club at our church.  This book can (and will) change lives.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of Lara Casey’s book– read it and gift it.  There are a couple of people I know who will be receiving this book in the mail very soon!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.


3 Comments

The Appointment

It’s not something that’s on my schedule.  If you were to check my iPhone and my Outlook calender, you’d notice that the space between 4:45pm and 5:00pm Monday-Thursday is always empty. It’s the end of the day, and during that time, I find myself doing two things: prepping for the next day and waiting.

Waiting for my appointment.

I don’t know when it became an “appointment”.  It kind of just happened.  She would get dismissed from her class and swing by my office before heading downstairs to get picked up.  Initially, it was just to ask a question about high school or college. But eventually it became more- the visits became more frequent and the questions (and conversations) became about life.  Real life stuff- the kind of stuff that can trip up even the smartest, most talented person if they aren’t equipped to deal with it.  She shares, and asks questions.  I listen- until she’s ready for me to ask questions or provide feedback.

After talking with Jesus, and praying with Preacherman, this is one of the best parts of my day. When working with students, you often wonder if you’re really impacting their life.  You wonder if what you do, what you say, how you teach and instruct is helping to move the needle; not just in the classroom, but outside of it as well.  Most days, I’m given this appointment- this 15 minutes to plant some seeds, water other seeds, and pull up some weeds in this student’s life.  It’s something that I cherish- and I’m grateful to God to be entrusted with this responsibility.  My life is better because of it- and I pray that hers is as well.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


1 Comment

In the No- God is Sovereign

Preacherman and I have a lot of plates spinning right now.  Things that we’re believing God for in the short term and long term.  We always take time at the beginning of our consecration to write down what it is that we’re believing God for, and midway through, we sit down to discuss and pray over where we’ve seen progress.

There are some areas where we really feel like things are working in our favor.  We’re feeling confident and excited about the growth and progress and how we believe that God is moving.  Then there are other areas where we haven’t seen progress; areas where the answer has been a “No”.  That’s tough, because when you’re in a season of expectancy, you’re expecting that the answer will be “Yes”.

But, we’ve been reminded of this:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

It’s really hard to be mad or disappointed when we remember that.  Just that- in the “No”, God is still sovereign.  He’s still in control, working on our behalf behind the scenes.  And while we sometimes have to fight the feelings of disappointment, we can also look back at so many situations in our life where God’s “No” has been exactly what we needed.

If you’re struggling with the “No”, I want to encourage you.  God knows about your situation, and He cares.  Trust Him.  He is still in control.  Be encouraged, friends.  I’m praying for you.

Until next time.

Peace and Blessings

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,931 other followers