Monday, June 20, 2016

An INTENTIONAL Adventure!

Have you ever considered the word adventure? During spring break a student (Caroline) and I went to Ponce City Market.  I had been wanting to go since before it opened! The design and idea intrigued me. A really old abandoned space being renovated for a new purpose but keeping LOTS of the old.  This design makes for tons of photo opportunities.  I took a shot of her shoe (a red high top converse/Chuck Taylor) on a sign that said something... "Always Brave" (I went to Inst to double check what it actually said).  At that very moment a hashtag was created because...why not! #adventuresoftheredshoe began! (There's more to that story and the gift I received of my very own red shoes! There is a video on Inst and it does involve a squeal - go check it out by searching the #)

Have you ever considered the word adventure? Adventure means: 1. an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks; 2. the encountering of risks ; 3. an exciting or remarkable experience.

I prefer #3 the definition in bold. :)

As I planned to set out on my 1st ever 'across the pond' almost 3 week long vacation I intentionally decided to call it my adventure. And every day was just that...an adventure!  An exciting or remarkable experience!

Yes, I was in beautiful places that I had only seen in movies or magazines. Yes, I was literally walking the streets of London, Paris, Liverpool...to name just a few. And yes, I saw Buckingham Palace and walked the aisle of Westminster Abbey - the same location of Princess Diana's funeral & Will and Kate's wedding. And yes, I may never have this same opportunity again...so I had to make it an adventure.

As my trip was coming to a close and my nose had turned towards home (my sisters term) I started thinking about the normalcy of life! Which can feel mundane, boring, and repetitive.  What if I intentionally made each day an adventure (an exciting or remarkable experience!)  A trip to Walmart...an adventure, Dinner out...an adventure, Dinner in...an adventure, A day trip to the mountains...an adventure, A day planning for next school year...an adventure, A craft day...an  adventure, Going to the grocery store...an adventure (this one you might have to really stretch your imagination to create an adventure). But what if we looked for opportunities to experience new things, or old things in a new way, or old things the same way but with fresh eyes...intentionally looking for the exciting and remarkable...truly everyday could be an adventure!



Everyday is an adventure if you choose to see it and for it to be one. As I'm on the plane typing this post the Steven Curtis Chapman song, Great Adventure is playing in my mind. So...will you intentionally choose to "saddle up your horses...you've got a trail to blaze...through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace..Let's follow our leader into the Glorious unknown...This is the life like no other (whoa whoa)...This is The Great Adventure...(Yeah)...Come on, get ready for the ride of your life." (Doesn't that just sound fun!?)

Here's to a summer full of intentional adventures...big and small! (With or without red shoes [I need a red converse emoji])

Let's go adventuring!


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

100 Happy Days - day #100

My sister and I decided 100 days ago that a great way to count down to our BIG ADVENTURE would be to challenge ourselves to #100happydays on Instagram.  It started a LONG time ago and we have now made it to day 100 - and we are super happy and excited about the fact that we are traveling together for a long European adventure - TODAY!!  

I didn't realize how deciding to do this countdown would require me being INTENTIONAL.  As I head out I just wanted to share the jist of what I learned over my #100happydays!

I was stopped a few Sunday's ago at church when someone commented on the fact that they like seeing what makes me happy every day. It was that comment made me realize that finding something to be happy about every day has been an INTENTIONAL choice.

Life is chaotic, hectic, awesome, disheartening, sad, emotional, frustrating… and in all of that - HAPPY. Happiness has to be a choice.



Every single day knowing that I needed to post something that I was happy about forced me to INTENTIONALLY find it. The last 100 days have not all been happy. As a matter of fact, some days have been downright hard. But even in the hardness - there has been happy things - when I actually looked (and somedays I did have to look harder than others!) What's great...when we INTENTIONALLY look for the happiness, we find it AND - our lives really are happier.

Scripture tells us in Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."  We must look at each day and see the gift that it is. Is it easy to focus on the bad things or the hard things or the crazy things or the things that hurt your feelings. But even in a list of bad things...if you look hard, you will find the happy things!

I do recall one day not too long ago staring at my Instagram feed at the end of the evening knowing that I needed to post something to be happy about. And honestly the day just stunk ( I wanted to say sucked but I know some people don't like that term) at that moment I had a choice: 1) To ignore the fact that I had committed to finding something that made me happy for 100 days, 2) To lie and say I forgot to post, or 3) to pray and rethink my day and find something that made me happy.   And you know what… I found something to be happy about!! It was small and it was probably insignificant but it was something!!

God never promised happiness but He is a Good, Good Father and when we INTENTIONALLY look for the good and the happy...it is there and it can be found. 

As we have now concluded lots of graduations and have touched our toes into summer I reflect on what I write every year in students yearbooks...Seek hard after Christ and He promises that he will be found.  It's in finding Him that we find true happiness and true joy. 

Jeremiah 29:13 says "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." And just like having to seek Him...we must seek the happy things of every day and we will find them but we have to look… INTENTIONALLY.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Need a Little Water?

At the end of last week I was at Walmart and saw some beautiful purple potted flowers for $6.96 each. I don't know what the flowers are called but they are purple and they are pretty.  My front door his yellow...and purple and yellow look great together...so I bought them to go in the same place that my poinsettias were located at Christmas time.  (literally took the poinsettia pots to the trash when I placed my new spring flowers) I set them there for curb appeal and when I left the next day they were beautiful! But you see I don't use my front door very often and I don't always look at my front door as I'm driving by my house to get to my driveway.  So...truthfully...I forgot all about my little $13.92 Spring purchase.

Midway through this week...I did look at my front door as I was passing my house to get my driveway and I noticed that my purple flowers were completely dead. 

My house faces due west - I think! (I'm from Georgia and we don't do many things based on directions!) but I do know this the sun shines through the cracks in my blinds every morning and blinds me awake and beats the majority of the day on my front door!  Since the sun rises in the East and sets in the West...I think I'm right!  So the dead plants sparked my interest and I walk through my house to the front door to see what the deal was and it was exactly as I had seen from the road.  The plants were dead...the one on the left was a little more dead! Can you be more dead? If you're dead...you're all the way dead, right?  But either way...the one on the left looked a little worse for the wear.  How did I handle my sad curb appeal?  I did what any good gardener would do… I gave them some water. And then right away I did what any bad gardener would do...I forgot all about them again! Because as I said...we don't use the front door very often!  

Fast forward a few more days to TODAY!  Again...I was paying attention and actually looked at the front of my house as I was pulling into my driveway and guess what I saw?  Yep!  Dead plants!





I went into good gardener mode...gave the plants some water and was determined NOT TO FORGET about these guys!  I was going to INTENTIONALLY go check on them!  (I set an alarm!)  As I was waiting to check on my purple beauties I began thinking about the plants.  I have LOTS of plants in my front yard and they don't react like my potted, front door plants. So what is the difference?  The area where these plants live get more direct sunlight for longer periods of time everyday, they also are not rooted deep into the soil, and once they are out of water...there isn't any to draw from. These realizations made me think about my 2016 goal is INTENTIONAL LIVING.  Sometimes I am placed in an area where the elements are hard, I feel isolated and alone, and it can fell like life is being sucked out of me!  I'm not rooted deeply in the truth of God's Word so I wilt when things get tough, and there is just nothing to draw from!  

When I feel this way it doesn't always mean that I am in the wrong place, or that I am outside of the will of God (pray and seek Him to make sure that's not the case!) but what it does mean is that I need water!  The Living Water that brings LIFE, the Living Water that only Jesus and His Word can provide.  

There are times when I am just busy and I am in the constant beating down of the elements and I get distracted with much and I miss the cool water that my Jesus and His Word provides!  I have to be INTENTIONAL and drink (get in the WORD) and stay hydrated so that I don't lay down when things get hard but instead that I draw from the water of the Word and stand up, strong, in His truth. (my alarm went off and I went to check on my purple beauties!)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” ~John 4:13-14


It's amazing what Loganville tap water did for my plants...can you imagine what the Living Water of Jesus will do for you when you are thirsty, dry, and on the verge of death and then you choose to INTENTIONALLY DRINK! Get a big gulp today!



Sunday, April 3, 2016

INTENTIONAL CHECK UP - I've FAILED!! (and a reminder)

Isn't it crazy how quickly an intentional focus can be derailed!  My last post was more than 1 month ago.  I honestly haven't thought much about being intentional...and it's obvious!

My fitness plan is still going strong but many other areas are lacking!  So today was a day to get back to thinking INTENTIONALLY.

It's funny that this time last year I was also pulling weeds (and learning lessons)!  And the thoughts I had then...crept back in today along with a few other lessons.  Here are my bonus lessons today (and I did NOT finish pulling all the weeds so more to come I'm sure!!)
  • when you aren't intentional...things get overwhelming
  • sometimes a really big, daunting weed is only rooted in one place
  • sometimes you have to move things in order to get the root...if you don't get the root...you're wasting your time
The post below is from last year but the Lord reminded me of all these lessons today again!  Isn't he gracious to not say..."You idiot...haven't we been here before?"

Lessons from Spring Break 2015 - WEEDS

Isn't it amazing what you can learn when you SLOW DOWN and BREATHE and LISTEN?  Breathing comes pretty naturally, slowing down and listening not so much!  But today (Spring Break day 3) I took some time to pull some WEEDS!  Lots of weeds, way too many weeds, but weeds nonetheless.  As I was pulling weed, after weed, after weed a few things came to mind.  It would have been easy to dismiss them but I chose to SLOW DOWN and LISTEN. 

  1. Neglect allows weeds to take root and take over (often we are surprised by the vastness of the weeds when we finally choose to deal with them!)
  2. If you handle weeds when they 1st pop up...the task isn't near as daunting
  3. The longer they remain close to the earth the more roots they put down and the more difficult they are to get rid of
  4. In order to really get rid of them you have to get your hands dirty
  5. Stick to it and finish the drill - it will be worth the back pain in the long run once they are gone
  6. Don't neglect them again
Here's the deal...this isn't the 1st time I've taken several hours to pull LOTS of weeds and it isn't the 1st time that these thoughts have crossed my mind but today I chose to BREATHE, SLOW DOWN, LISTEN, and attempt to APPLY the lesson that I felt like the Lord was sharing with me.  Scripture talks about weeds in several places...but specifically Jonah talks about feeling trapped by weeds and later in Matthew Jesus tells us the parable of the sower.  In this parable the weeds choked out the seed that was planted.   As I was elbow deep in weeds today I thought about how sin comes in like weeds and chokes us and traps us!  And it's sneaky...often it's subtle...it starts small and then takes root.  When we ignore it, neglect it, or just decide it's part of everyday life it takes over...it consumes us...it chokes us and traps us.

So...what do we do?  How do we learn from the weeds?  First, I think we understand how they work!  We open our eyes to the weeds (sins) that we've neglected that are beginning to take root and we deal with them radically and quickly!  We get our hands dirty and we take whatever measures necessary to pull the weeds...no matter how many roots they have put down or how bad our backs hurt while working to get rid of them...we get them all!  Then we stand guard.  Proverbs 4:23 says, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."  At the first sight of a new weed (which there will be new weeds) we pull it...from the root, when it's easy, when it's not attached deeply, when it doesn't take handfuls of soil to eradicate, we get rid of it and then we stand guard again! Guarding our hearts from the weeds that creep in while we aren't paying attention.  

My hope as I look at my dirty hands, dispose of the weeds, and rest my aching back that I will remember the lessons I am learning from the weeds!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Some Tools Required...

Have you ever bought a piece of furniture that comes in a very small box but supposedly a large piece of furniture is packaged inside.  Usually these can be purchased at IKEA!  You've seen them...they come with step by step picture directions and often in the upper left hand corner is this...

A picture of a couple of tools that without them...you will NEVER be able to complete the furniture piece properly. The tools are usually simple in nature...a screwdriver, a wrench, and a hammer.  Tools that many of us have just laying around but when we put them to intentional use we end up with a beautiful piece of furniture! (we usually have to bring patience along as well!)

On my quest of INTENTIONAL LIVING… I've realized that for me some tools are required! I am quite certain that every person has their own set of tools...some might be the same and some might be different but they are usually simple, usually available, and just need to be put to intentional use.  

For me to be intentional, day after day, consistently, on purpose...some tools are required!  This is what my tool list looks like...

My tools are my Bible, My Fitness Pal, my To Do List, and my calendar.  

My Bible is the tool that helps me to make sure I stay on the right path...between the guard rails. And I will be honest, I am not always as diligent as I need to be.  My mornings get away from me, my quiet time gets overrun with other things.  BUT...it has to be my 1st INTENTIONAL tool!  God's Word is living and powerful...alive and active!  It is how the Lord communicates with me and how my relationship with Him grows.  It is essential and REQUIRED!

My Fitness Pal is a tool to help me intentionally be mindful of my health and my body.  It is a tool that truly helps me to be aware (on purpose) of the items that I put in my body and how often I get up and move.  My body is a temple...and I only get this one!  So this is a REQUIRED tool for me that keeps me accountable and focused to INTENTIONALLY be healthier and more active in 2016.

My To Do List causes me to prioritize the things that must be done and the things that might be able to wait but it also allows me to visually see what I am accomplishing on purpose.  For me...a To Do List is a REQUIRED tool in order to be INTENTIONAL with my time! I might even write things on it that have already been accomplished when I am feeling overwhelmed and nothing is getting marked off the list quickly!  

My Calendar is what allows me to look ahead and know what is coming so that I am prepared and not taken off guard.  When you are trying to be INTENTIONAL with your time, relationships, health, etc it is important to know what's on the horizon so to the best of your ability you can plan ahead.

These are my REQUIRED tools...yours are probably different BUT I bet you have some.  Many are probably laying around..so take some time to identify your required tools and then make sure they aren't rusted, damaged, or unusable so that you can put them to intentional use...on purpose!  When we use our practical tools as the Lord leads we just might end up with a beautiful life!

Here's to a more INTENTIONAL 2016!







Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Procrastination & Compromise Does Not Equal an INTENTIONAL life!

One of the items on my To Do List last weekend was to post a blog that talked about compromise and how it can thwart a plan of intentional living...I even took pictures as proof of how compromise can cause things to pile up and allow clutter to move in and take over.  Often in that clutter and chaos peace leaves!  This has been true in my life many times and in the process of mulling over the idea of how compromise robs us of so many things...the week went by and I had totally missed the compromise post due to procrastination!  This is the story of my life BUT 2016 is supposed to be different because I am on a quest to live INTENTIONALLY!  So...this will now have to be a combo post!  I do feel that compromise and procrastination can go hand in hand and rob us of our intentional living.  Procrastination & Compromise often like to walk along life's path together with Chaos following close behind.

My real life example of this...my kitchen table...I am the Queen of Piles!  And I often just move them about.  I will NOT bore you with the pictures of all my piles just know...I am the Queen!  But with my plan of being INTENTIONAL...keeping things picked up was on my list of things to do ON PURPOSE, intentionally.  When the house is picked up there is just more room for peace and time for things that really matter - people, relationships, and healthy living.  And it just isn't that hard to put things where they go as opposed to just laying them down and then dealing with them later (or so I've been told!). There is a productivity principle called "Touch it Once" (seriously...I looked it up to verify!) that states that we increase our productivity when we consciously only touch something once.  Things were going great!  The dishes were making it to the dishwasher, the mail and other stuff was making it to the office/bedroom and the other places it belonged.  The kitchen table was staying cleared off because things were NOT getting placed on it each afternoon.  There really was peace and an absence of chaos and clutter...and there was more time to do things that matter.  BUT THEN...instead of putting the mail in the office...I set it on the kitchen table (enter Compromise...and please understand...the office is literally 10 steps from the kitchen table!) and then the next thing I noticed was a table completely covered with STUFF (and I was adding stuff to it every day) and it was quickly becoming overwhelming, chaotic, not intentional and not peaceful!  Now...at this point...I could easily have made an INTENTIONAL effort to pick up each thing and put it where it goes and restore order and peace and intentional living but instead...(enter Procrastination) I decided it could wait until another day because it already looked bad and was piling up so it could wait.  Why take care of it today when it will be there tomorrow?  See how the cycle starts?



I wish I could tell you that my kitchen table is the only example of compromise and procrastination that rears it's head in my life...but it's not!  I have photo evidence (and so does my husband) of many areas where ONE small compromise has lead to LARGE scale chaos!  The dishes in my sink, the clutter in my car, the clothes in my floor (I swear I am a teenager at heart!), the props closet at school, the weight I've gained, and the stacks on my desk.  I told you there were many areas! See, compromise starts with ONE small thing/decision.  One dish left in the sink, one coffee mug not taken out of the car at the end of the day, not hanging up what I put on in the morning and hated so I threw it in the floor, not completely putting the props away from a show after a busy weekend, not exercising today because I'll do it tomorrow, not documenting what I ate on My Fitness Pal for breakfast and lunch so why even consider logging dinner.  And in each of these areas...chaos is there due to procrastination and compromise.  The most frustrating part is that with each compromise...I was taking a step (whether big or small) toward and then onto the wheel of chaos.  And while spinning out of control I just want off.  And how do I get off? By INTENTIONALLY choosing to get off!  Taking small intentional steps to stop the chaos!


It all starts with ONE small thing!  Today, I am committed to being INTENTIONAL about the ONE small thing.  You see if I can conquer the one small thing...compromise and procrastination won't have a place to survive and therefore chaos will NOT take me for a ride!  And TODAY needs to be the day.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Put Down Your Phone...


This is the phrase that has continually been ringing in my ears over the last couple of weeks but it seems like the volume turned up this week.  So…what did I do proactively and on purpose to continue in my INTENTIONAL living?  Did I put down my phone?  Did I decrease my scrolling?  Did I change any of my mindless habits?  Was I intentional about having “live” conversations instead of constantly managing the buzzing of my phone?  NOPE!  I didn’t do any of those things!  And what has the Lord has done for me due to my obedience in this area, you ask?  He has graciously highlighted the amount of time and the # of times that I check my phone to SEE if anything is there!  I mean…I wouldn’t want to miss the latest scoop, pic, recipe or news within moments of it happening!

This week I have been AWARE of the constant checking, mindless scrolling, watching senseless videos, and time sucking that my phone is stealing.  But I am totally allowing it.  It is like I am watching a criminal come into my space, take my things, and I just wave at them as they leave…with my STUFF!  The stuff that I hold dear, the stuff that I would hate to actually have taken away but nonetheless I sit back and idly allow it to be taken away moment by moment, minute by minute, 3 minute video by 3 minute video.

I was listening to a study this week by a pastor from Montana named Levi Lusko…it was a message from the series entitled The Fourth Wall in which he is teaching on Practicing the Presence of God...the reminder that the Lord is always with us and we need to live as such.  It is a great series…I highly recommend it!  www.freshlifechurch.com.  The message covered so much but as I was listening he went on to share about the distractions that we are faced with that cause us to forget that we are living life with our Heavenly Father and that He is WITH us!  Then he gave a few statistics about phone usage that I don’t remember exactly so I found my own!




Keep in mind I listened to this message after the ringing in my ears about my INTENTIONAL living and the distraction that I have allowed my phone to become.  It was eye opening and it was convicting and it was gracious that the Lord continued to remind me that I am at a stage in life where I have been given some time back and that I am squandering plenty of it…looking at a 5” screen.  The Lord is with ME and wants to be with ME!  

Now…I will be honest…I do NOT plan on destroying my phone, never using my phone again, and right this minute…I’m NOT even deleting social media and every app that steals my time.  What I am doing is making small changes – turning off notifications that bing and beckon me even when I’ve intentionally PUT MY PHONE DOWN and living life with a timer!  I haven't determined what the time will be but it's all about baby steps in the right direction, right?  Once my PHONE TIME timer goes off…my phone gets put down!  I am hoping that with the Lord’s help and the gift of self control that I can intentionally put down my phone, look around, be intentional in my relationship with my Heavenly Father and in my “real life” relationships with people. 

What is God asking you to PUT DOWN?  I truly believe that for each of us…it is different.  We all have things that steal our time and energy from living the life that the Lord has laid our specifically for each of us.  I challenge you…ask Him!  Ask the Lord if there is something that you need to put down to intentionally enjoy His presence.  And be ready for the answer!  I’m all about some baby steps into INTENTIONAL living!  Let’s get going!