The Great Adventure

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"Adventure awaits you..."

I know it's a cheesy overused line, but even still, doesn't that sound exciting?

Usually adventure exists from desire to find something. It's highlighted from platforms, it's felt in our media industries, it's created some of the greatest plots for books and movies, and is used as some of the best gimmicks in marketing schemes. 

It's evolved into this trendy concept that people are buying into. Myself included.

The truth is our human nature desires adventure. This SEARCHING linked with FINDING, where the UNKOWNS link with endless POSSIBILTIES. 

What is it that we search for?

meaning

exictement

happiness

wholeness

love

peace

acceptance

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Is it that there is desire to escape our current realities?

Maybe our current realities lack the excitement and thrill we look for.

Maybe the thought of finding a "new place" prompts an illusion of a "fresh start."

Or maybe the fear of current outcomes leaves us unable to endure the moments... and escape is our relief.

Whatever the scenerio maybe be that prompts us to search, we were inevitably designed to do so. And not just to SEARCH but to FIND the truth of our existence and the purpose for our beings.

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For me, life with God has brought me the greatest sense of adventure. Not only has it brought a sense of purpose and meaning, but it's brought clarity and understanding about my time here. It is continually living on the edge. It's a thrill. It's scary and nerve raking at times and life might not end up the way I wished or planned, but it so far, it's way better than I could have imagined! Even the hard moments in life turn into a beautiful thing. 

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Living the adventure can start here and now, right where you are. You don't have to travel across the world to find it. But by embracing Gods plan for you're life, you are sure to experience the great anticipation of full adventure. Our job is just complete surrender.

The gimmicks and marketing schemes don't give credit where credit is do. Adventure's real creator himself, well, he is the best at it. 

Let adventure start now.  Welcome God into your everyday thoughts, here or there, angry or sad, frustated or confused, thankful or glad. And in your everyday experiences, asking for his leading in everything you do. It's easy and it's simple... Where ever you find yourself, just stop, and pray and invite him there into your world. 

For that in itself, is the beginnings of the greatest adventure.  

WHY I ALMOST DIDN'T

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I did... but I almost didn't...

Five months before this site launched, others around me started pressing me to start a website. I was really reluctant and kept saying no. I kind of thought it was a stupid idea for me. I didn't want to be another voice and feel like I was just wasting time. I also knew that I wasn't the best writer, and that were others who are far better at it. That's just not me. I didn't go to college for this stuff.

I think it all intimidated me, and mostly made me feel I just wasn't needed.

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In the process of deciding, I wondered for myself and others how many times we "didn't" when we should have. You didn't speak up. You didn't go to college. You didn't befriend that new comer. You didn't go on that trip. You didn't try that new hair style. You didn't call the guy or girl.

You just didn't... for whatever reason.

I guess in it all, I came to the conclusion I didn't want that to be my story.

There will always be a pull and a temptation to hold back. It can disguise itself in many forms. And there will always be someone, somewhere who is better at what you do. It's just inevitable, and if we let that define whether or not we put our skin in the game, then we'll never do anything. 

But we all have a part to play here.

Without you and without me, our world just wouldn't be the same. There are great responsibilities at hand, God initiatives and agendas that we are to pioneer. We are built to use our God-given talents, abilities, callings, passions, ideas for business, for art, for science, for literature, for design on all spectrum's, all for greater purposes.

There is more to be done and there is room for all in this world to live out your God-giving expression.

Something my husband and I always encourage each other is giving everything a shot. Don't worry whether or not you will hit the ball out of the park. Just try it! Hitting home runs do not happen every swing. Instead let your focus be on pleasing God and stepping out where you feel called to. And if it doesn't work out, don't cry about it, trust God, move on to the next, and embrace the mystery of discovering what you are called to do.

I appreciate others who have walked before me and set a beautiful example. They stepped out to pursue dreams and would eventually do incredible things but the beginning stages projected anything but that. Some, not knowing the outcome, ended up facing failure. Yet, they didn't give failure any attention, they continued on and as a result went on to fulfill their dreams. I hear their stories and I'm challenged to never let fear keep me from doing something or from moving forward. They "did" it. 

So here I am, keeping at this because   I too want my story be "I did."

 

Reflections

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After living in LA for officially two years, the life I lived in Seattle grows further and further away. The distance is increasing, and the memories are slowly fading.

For Christmas, I went for a visit and I wanted to remember what once was in my life...

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Sometimes it's the act of visiting certain places that triggers memories better than anything.

You see, my life in LA in comparison to Seattle, couldn't be more different.

The landscape, the pace of life, the weather, the people... Well, it's all just so different. And when it's that different, it happens to be easy to forget.

And in a lot of ways I needed that.

Yet, I had forgotten, without realizing it, where I've come from and the important elements that have made me who I am today.

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When we moved two years ago, I was ready for a change.

In fact, I craved it.

I felt my soul longing for something new, and deep down I knew God was about to do just that. 

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I was searching for God to fill me anew once again. I had grown so accustomed to my life, I couldn't see the forest for the trees anymore.

Like listening to a song over and over... After awhile, you don't hear it the same. The lyrics you loved now go right over your head. You don't appreciate it as much. It doesn't move you like it once had... You just become somewhat numb to it all.

At the core, my heart was transitioning, and so was God initiating the closing of a chapter in my life.

And so he did.

Two long years later, it was time to visit. 

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When you visit something that once was... that no longer is... Sometimes you can have mixed emotions.

You can remember good moments, but then be sad that those moments are gone, forever.

At the same time you might have bad memories, but be so glad that you are now far removed from them.

Mixed emotions... It's real. And It's weird.

And I had a lot of them.

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It felt as though I was visiting a cemetery of chapters of my life that no longer exist...

Even relationships that were subject to the process of change and evolution, and even handling the passing of a few loved ones.

The realization that things are not as they once were, can sometimes feel weird.

It's interesting how it all works, as life evolves, looking back can leave you with such mixed emotions.

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Most times though, remembering can be so positive and so encouraging... Remembering all the moments and people that have made you who you are today... It can be quite overwhelming.

A lot of gratitude fills my heart as I reflect back. So many good things for me to remember...

Like - being so young, naive and in love with God...

Wanting to see his miracles working in my life....

All of the leaders/pastors/friends/family members that were so influential to me...

Dating Wes for the first time...

Becoming a pastor...

Even remembering how God helped me to overcome real challenges...

Remembering the first time I felt God's call on my life...

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And now, years later, sensing that his call has never left me... That's it... What I really needed to remember, that God is still with me.

A sense of invigoration has filled my heart. I'm bright eyed and I have a full heart as I look back.

I'm thankful for all that has been, acknowledging the special moments in my life... They're all so special to me.

But I must remember moments do not last forever... They're not suppose to. Those small moments are not the point of our lives...

Jesus is the point of it all, His kingdom and eternity... We have much to look forward to.

 

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I'm so grateful for what was in my life, I couldn't be more proud of my "roots." But I'm more grateful that God is with me, and truly my best days are ahead. His obligation isn't to fulfill only one season of my life, like I've seen in Seattle, but it carries on from beginning to end.

He's with me. And he's with you. 

I feel as though by appreciating my past, I can embrace my here and now with a tighter grip. And I feel release to do so.

I couldn't be more excited about what's ahead!

Here's to 2016. 

making BIG decisions

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I was not quite sure once again how everything would come together in this moment... Should I go back to work... Should I have another child... Is it time to pursue certain dreams... Where do I give my time and energies too... What does this year look for me?

The quest of discovery has been so real... So many questions and so much to figure out. (Do you hear the drama in my voice??? So. Much. Drama. Lol)

Maybe, like me, you've found yourself being consumed and caught up by your future, and how things will work together, and really, the fear of making the wrong choice. If you're anything like me, sometimes I try to figure it out on my own. I'll pull out the journal, the budgets, whatever I need in the moment to come up with a plan of execution.

Now, if you've lived long enough, you'll know that sometimes that isn't always the solution. Most times, it's all a matter of trusting God. Especially when there are things outside of your control, and especially when you're in the dark about what's ahead. 

It's all apart of learning to trust God, in which I certainly have not mastered completely.

When we operate in the position of trying to control those things we don't have control over, that's where the frustration comes... A state of mind where stress, anxiety, fears, worry and all bad things dwell. A place the Lord has not designed us to take residence at.

I'm thankful we do not have to do this alone, and that Jesus is not only cheering us on but helping us along the journey.

What a relief.

In my journey, I've done my best to continually let go of the things I have no control over, and in the moment of trusting and waiting, what I really want is nothing more but to give it to God and trust that He'll put it together.

In the process, I wrote down a few statements that have been a guide for me to remember what I believe, so that my thoughts and attitude would be filled with faith.

If you've ever had to make a big decision. If you've ever felt pressure about whether you should turn right or turn left. If you've ever wondered about the future. This is for you... 

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Here they are, faith statements...

 If I really trust God then:

I do not have to force things in my life : as I remember that no one or nothing can prevent the perfect will of God from happening in my life.

I do not have to fight for a spot in life : I trust that as I'm faithful to God and all He's put in front of me, I'll never miss a beat with Him.

• I'm okay with His "No's" or "Wait's" : as I trust in His perfect timings.

I can rest, I can laugh and I can enjoy my right now : because I know and I trust in His absolute love for my life.

 

Declaration sayings:

• I trust in your leadership, where you're leading me and how you lead me

• I trust in your love for me, that you would never do anything to hurt or harm me

• I trust that you're in charge of my life, that no one and nothing can stop your will in my life

• I trust that if something is suppose to happen - you will make it happen. If it doesn't happen - you have something better for me.

 

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Wherever you're at in your journey, may this help and encourage you along the way as it has me.

If you have any statements you use, I would love to hear them! Leave a comment below.

xo

 

when art speaks

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Tell me, do you know what these names have in common? 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Oscar-Claude Monet. 

If you would have asked me a few years ago, I could tell you they were artists but nothing more. And if you guessed that same thing, you're right.

Yet, they're not just any artist.

Theses men spearheaded The Impressionism Movement.

A movement that brought a fresh perspective to the artistic world, with methods unique enough to become its own genre of art.

The picture above is a Monet. 

When Monet showed his first painting, named Impressions, to the art community in Paris, surprisingly, it was ridiculed and taken as nothing more than scribbles from a child's hand, insulting his talent and ability. They felt it was unfinished. 

Let me give some background…

The art communities in Paris were so intrenched and unreceptive to anything other than traditional French paintings. Something they were working hard to preserve. Monet's style was evolving and couldn't have been more different.

Traditional French paintings were meticulous and labored over, not one small detail left out. There were specific methods and standards that were religiously adhered to and taught. Not just that, they only painted portraits, historical events and religious events.

Monet and friends were uninterested, indifferent and unenthusiastic about practicing and preserving traditional French art. After being trained under the leadership of modern teachers, they discovered a new approach to painting. They threw out tradition and embraced their own creativity.

Instead of painting in a studio like the current artists strictly followed, they loved painting in the open air with natural light. 

Instead of painting only portraits and events, they loved painting landscapes and nature. 

Instead of making sketches before painting, they would just apply the paint straight onto the canvas with no prior outlines. 

Instead of being so precise about every detail, they painted more to give an impression. 

Colors were no longer blended perfectly together, they were painted side by side showing their true contrast, and hardly any dark colors were used.

Everything that the art community had adorned, the Impressionism creators had abandoned.

 Year after year they tried to gain acceptance in the art community of Paris by submitting their work for exhibitions, but they were continually let down. Either they were not accepted, or they were placed in the worst parts of the shows, giving no opportunity for recognition. 

They went through the fire of grueling opinions of the art juries, the discouragement, the misunderstandings, the belittling, the looks, and the opinions of other. 

They were getting no where by relentlessly trying to fit into a system that never was going to change. 

Yet, they kept painting. They kept creating. They kept dreaming.

And still, they didn't give up.

Any human being would have give up by this point. It takes gumption and guts to do wha they did.

While it could have seemed like this was their end — I mean how much could they take, this was in fact their launching point — their turning point.

They thought, If the Parisian Jury wouldn’t take their work seriously, then they were going to go to where it would be.

And that “space” didn’t exist yet. So they thought, “we will create our own exhibition”

An exhibition showcasing new styles of art.

Their first production astounded the art juries in Paris as the audience took off like wildfire. People from around the world would eventually come to view and purchase the Impressionism pieces. A little rejected exhibition, unbeknownst to them, would showcase some the greatest paintings of our time.

Despite the stiffness of the art community, Monet and friends voice was finally heard. They did not give up and because of it, they won. 

Now, it's their art work that hangs in famous art galleries today, hundreds of years later, having a monetary value in the millions.

To think those who turned them down and called their art work “child’s work,” ironically enough, history cannot even recall their names. But Monet? Who doesn’t know that name.

What a moving story. 

It makes me think... It makes me wonder... wonder where they gathered the strength to push forward. I wonder where they drew the courage when all they felt was discouragement. I wonder where they turned to when everyone one turned from them, while their reputation as artists were hanging by a shoe string.

Maybe, was it a dissatisfaction that compelled them to chase a dream no matter the cost?

Was if because they were tired of doing the same-old? 

Had it become too much, that what once was considered a joy, the art of of painting, had now become a prison? The prison of stifled creativity.

Did the opposition they face not compare to the greater frustration they felt inside, that trying to blend in was like death to their soul?

Even though years later, they are considered art geniuses, in the moment of it all, I wonder how hard it must have been... To fight for it all and never truly be received by the art community in Paris. Maybe they even felt like they failed. 

After all, they didn't have the luxury to know that years down the road their pieces would woe and win the world. That their whimsical, abstract, colorful pieces would eventually take stand in the best spots in art galleries. That what was once was scoffed at, is now worth millions. And that those who discourage Monet, cannot be named nor remembered.

For Monet and friends, loosing their uniqueness was like death to their soul. A sacrifice they were not willing to make. They believed enough in their creation, enough to not back down from being their authentic selves.

Now, we celebrate their legacy. We flock to view their work. People stand in awe and are inspired by what they've created. Others have invested millions just to own one of their paintings.

While I'm certainly inspired by their works of art, I'm most inspired by their story. 

The art we see, tells a story of so much more... of lessons learned and a life lived.

Art certainly speaks. 

you never know

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Isn't it a mystery, how things turn out in our lives, and why and how it all happens?

Maybe you can recall scenarios that led you to destinations that you never planned. A friendship that blossomed out of a small conversation.  A job that led you to greater opportunities. 

I was in ministry for some time, and it never ceased to amaze me what individuals blossomed into becoming essential leaders and would eventually play a vital part in the church. Some who I thought were uninterested, or not passionate enough, or preoccupied with other details of life. Yet despite my own preconceived ideas, they surpassed them all. 

I certainly love this scripture:

"Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock. You never know from moment to moment how your work will turn out in the end." The Message Bible

"Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow -- perhaps it all will." The Living Translation

It prompts a sense of adventure, certainly keeping me on my toes... Mmmm, I wonder what's to come of this, if anything at all.

The thought behind this scripture is that where ever you are, and whatever you are doing, keep on giving and keep on moving. Keep giving your all in your life. The passions that are inside, keep pursuing them. Keep welcoming people into your life. Keep investing into relationships. Keep doing those small acts of kindness, keep serving, keep loving, keep forgiving those around you. The act of sowing may look different to us all, but whatever God has put in front of you, don't give up on it, just stick to it....

You never know what may come...

Words from the Hubs

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My husband is a brilliant thinker, my greatest encourager, and a constant source of fun. I couldn't think of anyone else but him to be the first guest writer on this website. Don't worry, I am paying him well. Very well.

Enjoy. Xo

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From Wes:

“When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.” Genesis‬ ‭29:31-35‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Leah, the unloved wife of Jacob attempted to "earn" her husbands love by bearing him sons. Sons were a sign of honor.

When her first son was born, she even stated, "now my husband will love me!" But that didn't happen.

Then came another son, Simeon. But nothing changed. 

Jacob seemed to not notice that she had supplied him with his only heirs, and so at the birth of the third son she said "this time my husband will be attached to me." All to no avail.

Finally, a fourth son is born, Judah. Leah says, "this time, I will praise the Lord."

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Have you ever tried to win a boss's approval or a teacher's favor? Working extra hours, doing extra credit, extra extra extra - and then nothing changes? Or even, things get worse? The boss still cuts your hours, the teacher still gives you a hard time, the coach pulls you from the game early. You've done everything you know you should do to earn the "A" grade in their book and somehow you still seem to come up short in their world?

This is how Leah felt. She had done the miraculous of 3 boys in a row - which would have been a great sign of honor in that era - and yet, she still felt unloved. Even hated.

When it came time for her fourth son, Judah (which means "praise") she finally turned her attention to the Lord, "this time, I will praise the Lord."

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We cannot make someone love us, let alone like us. We cannot force a boss to give us that raise or force a client to sign on the dotted line or force our parents to pay for that college even though we are their favorite child. (Insert your name here:)

But we all can look to God. 

We can work as if we are working for him. We can turn in assignments as if He is the teacher. We can play as if He is the one watching in the stands. We can live as if we are living for His attention, and not the attention of another. 

If you've ever been in a spot like this (I have many times) we can get frustrated and think frustration is our only logical end. 

Or we can say, like Leah, "this time, I will praise the Lord. This time, it's about Him. This time, my work is for Him. This time, my assignment is for Him. This time, my giving is for Him. This time... It's all for Him, all for His glory, and all for his Praise. 

Praying that this encourages you wherever you are.

Wesley