life beyond the well…


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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!

 


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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.


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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!


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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


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Respond with Grace…

I really struggle with rudeness and lack of manners.  Working with students, I realize that these often provide the opportunity for teachable moments.  But when I encounter these traits in adults, it is a harder pill to swallow.  Mainly because there’s an assumption that as an adult, one would know how to treat other adults.  But I’ve come to realize that isn’t always the case.  And sometimes people DO know better, but something has happened that has broken their filter, and their ability to appropriately manage their behavior and their response is in flux.

My solution: respond with grace.

This is NOT easy.  When I’m mistreated or wronged, my natural tendency is to want to respond in the same manner- even when I know better.  Even when I know that responding in the same way serves only to escalate a situation that doesn’t need to be escalated.  Even when I know that what is really needed in the situation is grace, mercy, and love.

But what does that look like?

That looks like: utilizing manners. Being overly respectful. Not raising my voice. Choosing to listen. Choosing my words carefully. Making sure the other person is (and feels) heard and respected.

I’ve learned that in MANY situations- their frustration isn’t about me.  It’s about a million other things that have brought them to this moment.  And since it’s not about me, I can choose to not take it personal and to respond in a way that is totally about them- by extending kindness.

I am a product of grace and mercy.  Every day, God pours these two over me, in conjunction with his love and as a result, I have been blessed.  In tough and challenging moments, I am given the opportunity to share this grace, mercy, and love to someone else.

Who could use some of your kindness, grace, mercy, and love today?

Be encouraged.  Peace and blessings.


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Book Review: What’s Best Next

I don’t know that there are enough words to explain how excited I was to read Matt Perman’s book “What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done“.  I can definitely be a busybody, involved with a lot of activities both at work and at home; and I know that it’s important that I begin to prioritize things in an appropriate way.  The truth is that there will always be things that “need” to get done and that NEED to get done.  I’m all too guilty of letting the urgent crowd out the important.  I’ve been determined to be better, and this book was a huge help for me!

There were so many things that I appreciated about this book; however, his thoughts on email and how to handle it helped me the most.  I get SO. MANY. EMAILS. between my work and personal accounts it’s overwhelming to me- as I prefer that my inbox number be as low as possible.  His approach to email helped me to pare it down and manage it much more efficiently.

This book really resonated with my thought that “good things aren’t always God things”.  As a result, I need to rely more on the gospel as a measure of what I’m pursuing and how things (and what things) are getting done.

This would be an EXCELLENT book to check out for the new year.  Start the year off strong, doing things in a gospel centered way.  You won’t be disappointed!

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.


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Stuff Kids Say…

Our little one is growing by leaps and bounds, and it’s something that gives Preacherman and I great joy.  She has taken kindergarten by storm, and we’re excited to see how she’ll continue to mature and develop.

Kids are funny.  As with the Lord, their thoughts and ways are not like ours.  It’s funny to see and hear this come forth in conversation.  Here’s a snippet of last night’s conversation (we were talking about the different classes she has at school):

Preacherman: “So, in technology class, do you use computers or ipads?”

Our little one: “We use computers. THAT’S why it’s called TECHNOLOGY.”

Well, I guess that settles it!  Preacherman and I had a good little laugh about that.

Parenting is a joy and a blessing.  What are some funny things your kids are saying?

Be encouraged!  Peace and blessings!


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2015 Book List

I love to read.  Since I was a kid, reading has been one of my favorite ways to pass time.  Preacherman and I have a ridiculous number of books in our home, and we can’t seem to stop adding to the collection.  Unfortunately, other than reading the Bible, blogs, and news articles, I haven’t had time for much book reading.  It’s something that makes me sad, and that I’ve committed to fixing for 2015.

I took some time during the latter part of 2014 to create my 2015 book list.  I’m pledging to read all of the books listed below, and if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to squeeze in a few more.  Here’s what we’re looking at (in no particular order):

  1. Instinct by T.D. Jakes
  2. Make it Happen by Lara Casey
  3. Purpose Awakening by Touré Roberts
  4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  5. Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo
  6. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  7. The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel
  8. Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado
  9. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKerst
  10. Rhythms of Grace by Kerri Weems 

I’ll also be reading The Bible again, and I plan to re-read Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life.  While I’m excited about reading all of the books listed above, I’m probably most excited to dig into The Best Yes by Lysa TerKerst.  I’ll be reading it with one of my college best friends, and I’m looking forward to the growth that comes through sharing and accountability.

So, there you have it- my plan to get back in the act of reading for enjoyment.  I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going!

What are you reading this year?

Be encouraged!  Peace and blessings!


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Recapping 2014

I can hardly believe how fast 2014 has passed.  I have such vivid memories of last New Year’s Eve, that I find it hard to understand that we’re at another one.  As I get older, I find this saying to be more and more true: “The days are long, but the years are short.”

This year has been nothing short of amazing.  Preacherman and I continue to fall more in love with Jacksonville, the people, and our hearts are broken for the city.  We are so excited to be here and to be used by God to reach others for the Kingdom.  Though there are times where we find ourselves missing North Carolina, our family, our friends, and all the great restaurants we love; we are enjoying the challenges of getting acclimated to a new city, making new friends, and finding new restaurants to love.  I’m finally starting to find my way around to the point of not requiring Google Maps directions everywhere I go.  A new grocery store has opened up closer to home that allows me to get fresh salmon weekly.  Our little one started kindergarten this year and continues to amaze us.  Small victories, but victories nonetheless.  We are truly blessed.

And now we gear up for 2015.  We are praying and believing for God to move in us and through us like never before.  2015 will be a landmark year in our lives, and I’m looking forward to watching things unfold!

Believing God’s best for you and yours in 2015!

Be encouraged!  Peace and blessings!


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Shop for a Cause: Higher Definition Church

Last week, I was blessed to host a Stella & Dot Jewelry Party as a fundraiser for the church Preacherman and I will be launching in 2015.  Generally, hosting parties is slightly outside of my comfort zone, but I was excited to welcome some new friends into our home and to invite them to help us launch Higher Definition Church.

I’m excited to extend that same invitation to you.  Until January 8, 2015, you can shop the online trunk show, and a portion of the sales will be donated to Higher Definition Church.  While it may be a little late for Christmas shopping, it’s a great opportunity to get an early start for Valentine’s Day!  Also, if you know someone who has a birthday early into the new year (like my mom, who has a birthday on New Year’s Day), you can go ahead and knock out that present as well!  There are a ton of pieces I love- scarfs, necklaces, bracelets, bags– I wish I could make it all mine!

I’m so grateful for Laura, the Stella & Dot stylist (who is also a member of our launch team), for offering to put this together for our church!

Peace and Blessings!

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