Wednesday, May 30, 2012

fruit of the spirit: peace.

the drive to and from the blueberry farm on Saturday. you're on a bridge crossing Lake Pontchartrain for about thirty minutes. it's not a very threatening bridge, but a long one nonetheless, so if you're not into bridges.. sorry 'bout it. a peaceful drive that day though.

more on peace soon. for the time being though, read along with these wonderful people too:
by feet or heart | the ever-changing thought | broken rubies | apopiptolepis |

listen: I Breathe You In, God [Bryan and Katie Torwalt]
If I Were A Fish [múm]

Saturday, May 26, 2012

lisamom on joy and why battles are FUN.

lisamom has some things to say about joy today and I believe you're really going to enjoy it. just in case you don't know who she is, lisamom is chad's mom. I feel like the term 'mother-in-law' is kind of icky for some reason. I think the world has tainted it for me in my head or something. so she's lisamom. because she is like another mom to me anyway. why not have another? she's known for being called momma t by many of the women at her church, so you can see that she is pretty incredible and loved. which makes me one blessed lady.

she is the queen of seeing fun in everything. I've watched her help many people, including myself, through struggles that make a person feel hopeless and she smiles through it all. she's known for asking, 'isn't this fun?!' right after she's seen someone cry their eyes out and tell her what they're going through (am I right , ladies??). I'm pretty sure they just look at her like she is a crazy person at first. but at this point it's almost a comfort to me. because I know she can see and truly believes that I will be victorious in the end. and if she can see it, you just take her word for it, trust me. so I just laugh a little and say 'I guess so..'

so now you can get a little, but great, glimpse of the fun that is happening in her heart and mind.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds! James 1:2
For some reason that may or may not be your favorite scripture but when you consider how much God loves us, we can find a deeper joy when we are in the middle of all kinds of battles. Now that's fun!
It's not about being happy. I think people get the two mixed up. Happiness is fleeting but joy is deep in our beings. True joy comes from Love, knowing that no matter what, our Lord will never leave us which brings us strength! Holy spirit loves to help us through every circumstance and tapping into that Love brings an everlasting Joy! Now that is Fun!

I love the distinction she makes. joy and happiness are two different things! that was a good reminder. and sort of a relief, ha. thank you, lisamom. love you.
leave her some love down there in that comment box. (:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

okay. don't judge me..

today I saw a preview for a show I've watched many times before and it led me to watching old videos and reminiscing my dancing days. maybe some of you have seen it; So You Think You Can Dance? don't judge me. once a dancer, always a dancer, alright?

[this doesn't really have much to do with the fruit of the spirit series. maybe it does, I don't know. dance did bring me many moments of joy. anyway.]

last year I was pretty busy with both jobs and getting ready to move across the country so I wasn't really planning on watching the show. that is until I saw the powerhouse that is melanie moore. and this dance you'll see in a second. it was obvious from her first performance that she would go pretty far on the show. the first time you saw her on stage was breathtaking. normally you see the talent improve, but it almost seemed like she didn't need to. for a minute I felt like it would be pointless to watch the entire show because there was no way someone could compete with her. but I decided to keep watching when I could because she was inspiring and so beautiful to watch. and then she won.

so I just thought I would share this video. and keep watching her other performances, it will prove to be a good day. (okay, if you're into watching dance. if not, well that's too bad.) seriously though, she's adorable. and just look at those massive leg muscles. yeesh.

have a good one. choose joy! and think about watching the show that starts tonight. I won't because we don't have cable. but maybe I'll think about catching up on hulu tomorrow. maybe. (:

okay and maybe, just make sure you watch this one too, because it was one of my favorites and super cute and all that girly stuff I don't like to admit. (;

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

fruit of the spirit: joy.

joy | joi | : noun. 1. the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation: She felt the joy of seeing her son's success.
                               2. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated: Her prose style is a pure joy.
                               3. the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
                               4. a state of happiness or felicity.
                  -verb: 5. to gladden.

another one of those words that can't truly be understood by a literal definition.

I always understand joy and (choosing it) better when I remember that everything is grace. feelings, possessions, people.. each pain or time of sorrow. celebration and happiness. shame, and then forgiveness and restoration. rules and choosing to follow them. the sun, the night time break from the sun. a roof. stairs. trees.. everything is grace given.

because I remember what the alternative was, before Jesus so lovingly saved our souls.
instead of just suffering now, we would have been put to death. being alive and learning from Him and receiving His forgiveness is grace. so I choose to be content in all circumstances; to choose joy. because all of that grace I receive, in every moment of every day, gives me no right to be a grump.

+joy doesn't come from having your circumstances in order and under control; it comes from what's in your heart.
+there's nobody happier than a truly thankful person, a truly content person.
+we all want to see things get better. but where you are right this minute doesn't have to disturb you.
- Joyce Meyer

+to learn to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or empty. that is a secret worth spending a life on learning.
+joy doesn't negate all other emotions; joy transcends all other emotions.
-Ann Voskamp

Sunday, May 20, 2012

something you love?

  he's the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.
   what do you know about God that makes you love Him?

| by feet or heart | the ever-changing thought | broken rubies | apopiptolepis |
if you want to join with us in this series, you are more than welcome.
let one of us know and we can add you to the list.
starting tomorrow, the fruit of the week is joy.
[photo credit]

Friday, May 18, 2012

love, continued.

I now know even better why I was uninspired before this series started. I was supposed to be reminded of something. of love, really.

it sort of bothers me when someone tells me how I should live my life. there is advice, and knowledge and wisdom, and I am always open to that. but that is different than someone telling me how they think things should go when they aren't even involved in the situation directly.

so I've been thinking lately.. that I really hope I don't do that, ha. I told Chad the other day that 'I don't want to want to be right all of the time'. <-- read it again slowly, it makes sense. I had to say it a couple times too. (:

but who am I to say how someone's life should go? unless God clearly speaks, shows me something, then I don't have a say. I am just supposed to love.

I recently read the book Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (really spoke to me, by the way. good read.), and there was a chapter on how to really love other people. he talks about someone he went to church with that he had a hard time being around because he just really didn't like him. everything this guy did and everything he talked about was annoying and rude. but then God spoke to him and he realized the issue wasn't the friend, it was himself. after he decided to let go of judging the friend, he realized he was really funny and smart and couldn't believe he hadn't noticed it before. once his view of his friend changed, they both started to change for the better.

I don't know if any of that made sense but this is the part that is sticking with me..

'I could feel God's love for him. I loved the fact that it wasn't my responsibility to change somebody, that it was God's, that my part was just to communicate love and approval.
When I am talking to somebody there are always two conversations going on. The first is on the surface; it is about politics or music or whatever it is our mouths are saying. The other is beneath the surface, on a level of the heart, and my heart is either communicating that I like the person I am talking to or I don't. God wants both conversations to be true. That is, we are supposed to speak truth in love. If both conversations are not true, God is not involved in the exchange, we are on our own, and on our own, we will lead people astray. The Bible says that if you talk to somebody with your mouth and your heart does not love them, that you are like a person standing there smashing two cymbals together. You are only annoying everybody around you. I think that is very beautiful and true.
..Now when I go to meet somebody, I pray that God will help me feel His love for them. I ask God to make it so both conversations, the one from the mouth and the one from the heart, are true.'

he also said, 'by being true I am allowing people to get to know the real me, and it feels better to have people love the real me than the me I invented.'

my job is to love.

like this..

dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 john 3:18

by feet or heart | the ever-changing thought | broken rubies | apopiptolepis |

how are you feeling about love today?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

tuesday trivia: love.

not necessarily trivia for you, but still the beatles. continuing with the fruit of love. 'all together now!' enjoy. (:

Monday, May 14, 2012

fruit of the spirit: love.

my aunt asked if I was interested in starting a fruit of the spirit series with some other bloggers a couple weeks ago. (blog partyy!) each week we will be highlighting one fruit. I'm looking forward to all of the great things that are going to come from this. I know great things will be coming because I was really excited about the series and all of the sudden my aunt and I were uninspired in the few days leading to it. I figure God's got something big in store and a certain someone isn't too happy about it. (: so I just need to focus more and dig a little deeper.

love | lev | : noun. 1. an intense feeling of deep affection
                             2. a person or thing that one loves : she was the love of his life

the dictionary defines love, as all words, in a literal sense. but when I read all of the different descriptions, I didn't feel like they did the word justice, you know? it is such a big word in a little, four letter body.

I thought today though, since I posted recently on a real love revelation I had, I would link to that. it is still fresh in my life, as it was only some weeks ago that it happened, so I thought it would be appropriate for this first fruit of the spirit.

the dictionary doesn't talk about this kind of love. real love.

love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. love never fails.. 1 corinthians 13:1-8. the verses we hear so often, but are we always being all of those things?

I sometimes wish we could love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. there are a great many souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story. -g.k. chesterton

'Even if everything goes wrong, love is always right. There is ridiculous hope in this.' -ann voskamp.

stay tuned for more love this week. and keep up with the other wonderful people that are joining in the weeks to come.

also, I'd love if you would read this post. if you haven't already.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

why all of the romania reminiscing lately?

well.. why not? it was a great trip and I've never shared the photos before. and that place deserves the recognition.

but also because, in August I will be going again! it is official. I will be travelling with friends Brooke and Christy, and we'll be in that same hospital, working with the same amazing ladies, and holding some of the world's most precious babies.

this is a trip I've been longing for. I think, for about a year. so now that we are in the official planning stages it doesn't seem real. but it does at the same time. because now, we actually have to pay for things, ha.

I have a few things I thought I'd ask for prayer for..
initially, Brooke found a great price for tickets (the girl is so productive and on top of things, praise the Lord) but the rest of us weren't quite ready to take the plunge. when we finally committed, the price randomly went up a bit. so if you could all be praying for the price to go back down, we would be so grateful.

there's this looming question over my head.. of whether to be super cautious or just trust God. since, when we came home last time, my aunt was sick. my first reaction is to trust God. so let it be known, I'm going to Romania. but I'd still like prayer for health and protection before, during, and after. and for all of us.

that said, I'd also like to find a nice, reputable place to get the meningitis vaccine because I've never had it before. and I don't know anything about doctors and hospitals down here and finding a new one always makes me a little nervous. so prayer for direction in that area would be greatly appreciated too!

also, funds. we're trying very hard to save for a few important things this year (this being one of them, and also Chad currently joining the union) so continued prayer for our finances is on the list.

I'm going to be adding this button to the side of my blog for a bit.. please do not feel obligated. just pray for us and then if you feel God is leading you in the direction to help with funds, you can click on the button and it will take you to a paypal page with instructions on what to do (it's through my shop's paypal account, so you'll see Southwood Drive at the top.. just so you're not confused, that's the right page)! easy peasy.

thank you all so much.. for being a part of this journey. thank you for the prayer and if you had helped with the first trip, or have decided to help with this one, I am forever grateful for your generous hearts. those two things (praying and giving), are just as important as me actually getting the opportunity to be there. you're a big deal in my book.

happy mother's day again to all the mommas!

Friday, May 11, 2012

the journey to five hundred necklaces.

this weekend, we celebrate mother's day (I have a great one by the way. she has given me a gift of such compassion. hi mom.)

two great ones, really. hi lisamom (she shares with me so much of her wisdom and teaching). love you both so much.

but this weekend, for the past few years, has also marked a big weekend for the Freedom Center, our home church in Michigan. they have been putting on this amazing women's conference, where hundreds of women from the surrounding areas are blessed, empowered, and sent home with a greater sense of self worth and love of the Father.

I have been involved a few times in the past years, and this year they asked me to be a part of it even though I'm twenty hours away! what an honor.

each year, the women attending receive a gift. and this time, they wanted it to be a hand made gift but also something that would raise money for an outside ministry. so thankful (not lucky) me, my shop already donates to Firm Foundations, and they wanted each woman to be able to take home a necklace.

you might remember me quickly sneaking this photo in a wednesday without words post..

maybe you don't. but that was one of the beginning stages. and I didn't want to ruin the surprise so I just posted the photo. Chad has been my amazing financial coordinator through all of this, since "I just wanted to do it and didn't care how much it would cost!" which was a lot. because it was 500 necklaces. the first thing Faye texted me after my quick yes answer was, 'you know that it would mean 500 of them?!?!" yeah, I knew. I was just really excited about it. thanks, Faye and Miss Dena, for thinking of me and asking me to do this.

five hundred. I am a crazy person.

but I really loved every minute of it. I love using my hands for work like this. and knowing that I would be able to give a pretty big chunk of change to my friends in Romania made it so worth it. what in the world will I do with my time now? (: (I know, I know.. "get a job, ali!" okay, fine.)

so ladies in Michigan, I hope you enjoyed the conference and I hope your life was forever changed for the better. Jesus will do things like that at these kind of events. I pray you left full. and I hope you love the necklace. maybe you don't. that is okay too. (: really, it is.

{believe it or not, there are five hundred of those little nests in that jar right there}

thanks for reading my journey to five hundres necklaces. to the few of you that knew it was happening, thank you for the encouragement along the way (thank you, Tina, for using your crafty hands to help once in a while too!). and happy mother's day to all of the mothers out there. you're a blessing. if you're technically not a mother, I'm sure you have acted as one to someone in some way, and that will be passed down generations just like it is with moms. so you're a blessing as well, and deserve a great day too.

even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she can have her young-a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. psalm 84:3.

1000 Moms Project

Saturday, May 05, 2012

jazz fest anniversary.

for our second anniversary (which was Monday, by the way. yay!), Chad bought us day passes for Jazz Fest on Thursday. Jazz Fest is in full swing  every weekend for a few weeks but he decided on Thursday because Florence + the Machine were going to be there! it was a very hot and sweaty day, full of lots of walking, new foods, and some really delicious iced tea, but we were so grateful for these intimidating rain clouds that kept hovering but never let out any water. they were a nice break from the sun. Florence is very fun to see live. she is so soft spoken and sweet but the noise that comes out of her mouth when she sings is larger than life. such a whimsical show. the photos on her albums do her absolutely no justice. she was so beautiful and lovely and weird and I loved it so much.
we were pretty far away, but we're not really front row concert people anyway, so it was nice to not be elbow-to-elbow with lots of other sweaty people. (: and we could see her on the screen just fine. that said, I don't have a photo of her loveliness that day (here is one from someone up close), but I can show you how far we were, ha.

 have a great weekend.

Friday, May 04, 2012

wednesday without words continued.. on friday: paris.

after getting over the initial shock of what was happening in Paris (which I don't think ever really happened, but I calmed down a bit), we decided to take some photos.