life beyond the well…

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Weekly Word- G

Happy Wednesday!  On this Valentine’s Day, as we think about love and the essence of it, I’m often reminded that love, when demonstrated well, allows us to be our whole selves and lets us feel safe.  With that thought, this week’s verse is:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

The love of God is one that is compelling, but also one that is safe. We can truly find comfort and rest in Him, and in our weakness, He equips us with strength. I love that I can never escape the presence of God- whether it’s in times of trouble or times of joy.

I think we often utilize God has our place of refuge in times of trouble; however, I’d push us to think of using Him as a place of refuge even in absence of trouble.  We don’t have to be in trouble to “hunker down” and really spend time with God.  And it might just be that time spent “hunkering down” that helps to circumvent trouble.  I’m truly grateful that I don’t have to be in trouble to seek God or to experience His peace, help, or strength.

Until next time…

Be encouraged. Peace and blessings!

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32- All This Time

If there’s anything that I’ve come to realize, it’s that the days are long, but the years are short. Today I turn 32.  I feel like I was just getting comfortable with being 31, and actually living “in my 30s” and now I’ll have a different age to tell someone when they ask.

As I wrote last year, I’m not sure what’s an appropriate celebration for 32.  But what I do know, is that I have spent the last month or so just in awe of how God is working.  This year has been huge, as Preacherman and I stepped out on faith and launched Higher Definition Church.  We’ve experienced much joy and have been pressed to stretch our faith as we push for the next level of things that we are believing God for.  God has truly been good to us, and as we stand on the brink of another blessing, I can honestly say that I have seen visual representations and reminders that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.

And I know that I only got to this place because of Him. When I think of it, I reminded of the lyrics of “All This Time” by Britt Nicole:

All this time, from the first tear cried
‘Till today’s sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there, You were always there
It was You and I
You’ve been walking with me all this time

To God be the glory for the things He has done.  I’m looking forward to seeing what God is orchestrating on my behalf this year.


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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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Book Review: God in Slow Motion

I tend to find myself in a hurry more than I’d like to be.  In fact, it was my own feelings of needing to slow down that led me to review this book “God in Slow Motion” by Mike Nappa.

I really wanted to love this book, but I really struggled.  While the book makes excellent points about delving deeper into our destiny and the purpose that God has for us instead of speeding through life at a fast pace, it never fully captured my attention.  Perhaps that is part of the struggle that the book is trying to get us to dissect; however, I felt that it took intense dedication to really get at the heart of what the book was saying.  At times, I found it to be too wordy, and I found the author’s writing style difficult to digest.  Thus, while the content was good, I struggled to actually enjoy it and found it difficult to read.

I would recommend this book, with reservations.  Because the content is good, I wouldn’t want someone to miss the message.  But because of the struggle that I had with the writing style, I would definitely be selective about who I recommended it to.  Nevertheless, I believe that the message of the book is worthy of us understanding and paying attention to.

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

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Three Quarters Down…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

It seems like I took a blink, and now it’s October.

Seriously, this year has FLOWN by, and I know that I’m not the only one who thinks that.  2013 has been amazing.  God has moved overwhelmingly beyond our expectations, and it’s awesome to continue to be closer to what He has planned for my life.

And while it’s great that God has done so many awesome things thus far in 2013, I’m excited that there’s still some time left.  We’re coming up on in the 4th quarter of the year, and while it’s easy to get overwhelmed about what God has YET to do that you’re believing Him for, I encourage you to remember that there’s still time left.

As a track and field athlete, I ran the 400m Dash.  It wasn’t my favorite race physically, but I loved the mental challenge.  One of the mental challenges that sprinters have to overcome with the 400m is the “monkey” that can hop on your back after the first 200m.  You’re ready for the race to be over, but there’s still time left- and if you allow the “monkey” to get you- you can lose the race.  You really have to fight and press through those next 100m so that you can finish your final 100m strong.

This year has been like that for me.  The first 200m, I came out like a champ.  I was excited and passionate, full of resolutions and lists of what I was believing God for.  My momentum slowed a little bit during the second 200m, but I was still focused.  This third 300m, though- was just absolutely full of life changes and the monkey almost got me.  I really had to press my way to get to this point.

Here am I in the final stretch.  Three quarters down, or 300m completed.  I’ve shaken the monkey off, and now it’s time to not just finish the race, but finish the race well. It’s a challenge because while I know there are parts of this race that I’m ready to be done with, I know that the race isn’t over.  I have to endure until the end.  But while I have to endure, I can also be excited that God is still working.  A late win is still a win.  And while I may not have run the entire race well, it will be completed.

I have to fight the urge to put all of my beliefs and expectations into next year, or the next race.  Doing so can allow me to ignore the amazing amount of possibility that is present.  Even worse, moving my beliefs and expectations into next year and limit how I experience God because I’m limiting how I believe and expect Him to work in what’s left of this year.  I truly want to be able to say that the scripture referenced above from 2 Timothy 4:7 is my testimony for this year.

Three quarters are down, but there’s still time left!  Don’t give up in the 4th quarter!  Don’t lose the race in the last 100m!  Finish, and finish well!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings.

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Book Review: Think and Make it Happen

I am a firm believer in thinking positive thoughts, and not allowing your mind to be controlled by negative thoughts. Yet while I do believe that, I will be the first to admit that it can still be a struggle. Thus, I was excited to read “Think and Make it Happen” because I was confident that it would be something empowering.

I have to admit that I was disappointed by the book. While the overall message was positive, I felt that Curry’s language was more scholastic and academic as opposed to encouraging and supporting. Thus, while the book itself wasn’t horrible, it didn’t meet my need. It read more like a psychology textbook than a book that was encouraging or uplifting. As a person who loves to read and thoroughly enjoys books, I really struggled with reading and completing the book.

Would I recommend this book to others? Honestly, it depends on what they are looking for. I could see this book being useful in an academic setting (mostly because of the language use). If I knew that someone was particularly interested in reading a book that would transform their thinking, this would not be the book that I would recommend; as I feel that it can be so cumbersome that it may be discouraging. Nevertheless, I do feel that the book offers very interesting psychological insights to our thoughts and how we can be empowered or hindered by what we think and believe.

I do believe that for the right audience, this book could be a tremendous asset; however, the style of writing made it difficult for the book to resonate with me. I do appreciate that Curry’s thoughts and writings challenged my thinking, making me reconsider the role of my thought life. Overall though, I really struggled with the book.

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Who Waits With You?

I saw them together every morning.  Just the two of them.  The younger male, and his elder.

I never knew who the elder was.  In my mind, I assumed that he was a grandfather.  It just seemed to sit well with me that he was.

But every morning, he was there.  With the younger male.

I often wondered what they talked about.  Perhaps it was the weather.  Maybe they traded stories about good times long past and those soon to come.  Or maybe they just waited together in silence.

But the point is that he waited with him.

Every day he waited.  Whether there was rain or wind, whether it was warm or chilly, he waited.

I saw this on my drive to work for months, and I thought about the message that the younger man was receiving from this elder, someone who loved him dearly and obviously cared for him.  How wonderful is it to know that there is someone who cares enough to wait WITH you?

See, this is different than waiting for you.  Waiting for you, is the hope that you will come around, that you will decide to change, that you will make the effort to see things the way the other person sees them.  When someone is waiting FOR you, you are empowered, and you make the decision.  When someone is waiting for you, they’ve already arrived- and are anticipating your arrival; believing and hoping that you’ll get there some day.

When someone is waiting with you it’s different.  You feel loved, you feel valued, you feel important.  There’s no choice or decision for you to make in regards to that person- they are there in support of you.  Sometimes they wait quietly, and other times they speak.  But they are there.  When someone is waiting with you, they look to take the journey together.  Step by step. There’s a partnership, and a belief that we can AND will do this TOGETHER.

Waiting WITH someone.  It’s so unselfish.  It’s so sacrificial.  When you wait WITH someone, you give up your most precious commodity- your time.  You’re not worried about the things that you should have, could have, would have been doing.  You value the person enough to wait.  You realize that by waiting you’re investing in the person and the relationship, which is a gift that you could never buy in any store.

It’s weird because our relationship with God is one of waiting.  He waits patiently for us to enter into a relationship with Him, for us to spend time with Him, for us to desire to grow that relationship beyond our wildest dreams.  He waits for us.  But He also waits with us.  When everyone else is too busy, too tired, too consumed, too preoccupied; He waits with us.  He waits with us, even when our desire is to be alone; over and over again, promising that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Who waits WITH you?  With whom are you willing to wait? Are you willing to wait WITH God?


Am I willing to wait with God for what He’s promised?  Am I willing to wait with God when it seems easier to walk away?  Am I willing to wait with God when the last thing that I want to do is wait?  Am I willing to wait with God when I’m tired of waiting? Am I willing to wait with God when what I’m waiting for doesn’t seem to be worth it?  Am I willing to wait…with God?

It’s challenging because I hate waiting.  I want what I want, when I want it; and I find ways to make that happen.  But there are some things that require waiting.  Sometimes I am thing that requires waiting.  I’m glad that God waits on me.  I’m glad that God waits WITH me.

If I’m gonna have to wait, I’m gonna do with God.

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Go With What YOU Know

So I wouldn’t normally advocate for “going with what you know”, mostly because I recognize that what we think we know can be flawed based on our perspective, our circumstances, our life history, and a zillion other things.

However, I’ve faced some challenges recently that have forced me to follow this “go with what you know” advice.  As I’ve begun to move forward, making and preparing for different changes in my life, I’ve faced resistance.  While this is to be expected, it’s forced me to also reexamine what I know- and HOW it is that I have this knowledge. 

The challenges that I’ve faced this year have forced me to plug in (even more) to God and to trust where He is guiding me and what He is telling me.  I’ve been forced to not only trust God, but to go with what I know He has told me, shown me, and promised me; moving confidently in that direction regardless of the dissatisfaction of others.

It’s not to say that the dissatisfaction of others is meaningless.  I strongly believe in seeking Godly counsel.  At the same time, there’s a point where relationships change because people change and are headed in different directions.  Sometimes as relationships change, we’re not able to provide people with the best advice for them because we’re examining them through a lens that is no longer applicable.  That said, I believe in taking advice from people who have been where I have been and who are where I desire to be.  Those are who I believe that I can trust to help be the bridge between my now and my future.  

But ultimately, despite who’s been providing me with Godly counsel, praying for me, praying with me, and supporting me; this has really been a time where I’ve had to rest in God and go with what I know through Him. 

Until next time- peace and blessings!


I Never Tire of You…

You know, there are these songs that you never tire of.  That no matter how many times you hear them on the radio or on your iPod, your first thought is “THAT’S MY SONG!” and you find yourself bumping the music up a little longer and singing at the stoplight.  As a matter of fact, if someone saw you at the light, they’d be on a mission to try and identify whatever it is you’re listening to because they want to join in on the fun.  Yeah, songs like that.

While doing some driving over winter break, I started to think of the list of songs that have that effect on me.  Here are some, in no particular order:

  1. UGK- International Players Anthem
  2. Common- The Light
  3. The Roots featuring Erykah Badu- You Got Me
  4. Michael Jackson- The Way You Make Me Feel
  5. Michael Jackson- Rock With You
  6. Journey- Don’t Stop Believin’
  7. Bon Jovi- Living on a Prayer
  8. Jay-Z- Ain’t No N***a
  9. Kanye West- Diamonds from Sierra Leone
  10. DJ Khaled- All I Do Is Win
  11. Stevie Wonder- Higher Ground
  12. John Legend featuring Andre 3000- Green Light
  13. Beyonce’- Get Me Bodied
  14. Taylor Swift- You Belong With Me
  15. Gladys Knight and the Pips- Midnight Train to Georgia
  16. Maroon 5- Sunday Morning
  17. The Fray- You Found Me
  18. India. Arie- The Heart of the Matter
  19. Dixie Chicks- Wide Open Spaces
  20. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes- Wake Up Everybody

I’m stopping at twenty songs because I realized the list could go on and on…easily to 50.  These are the first 20 that I thought of, and then I started to think of albums, which led me to think of more individual songs, and then I started to get frustrated.  After looking at this list, I thought of how random my songs are, and how, in a lot of cases, it depends on the mood that I’m in.  Ah well…I’m entitled to like what I like without apologies.

What songs do you NEVER tire of?

Until next time…

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Book Review- “Outlive Your Life”

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I agreed to review Max Lucado’s “Outlive Your Life”. Having read and reviewed Lucado’s books before, I knew that I would be in for a treat, but this book definitely came along at the right time for me.

In “Outlive Your Life”, Lucado expresses the ability that each of us have to leave a legacy, or to have impact beyond our days on earth. Through reading fables and scripture, the reader is encouraged with ways to make their lives matter beyond the here and now,

As someone who sometimes suffers from having a short attention span, I appreciated that the chapters were short. However, the lack in length of a chapter certainly didn’t impact the meaning that was provided. Each chapter packed a punch, leaving me wondering what was I doing now to ensure that I outlive my life.

I haven’t felt so moved to be in sync with God’s plan while reading a book since I read Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life”. I recommend this book to all who desire to leave a legacy.