Summer lovin

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10 {Things} I’m lovin this summer

    • Coconut oil. It moisturizes, calms the itch from bug bites, removes my eye makeup, is a healthy alternative to cook with, and just smells of summer.
    • Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. I’ve been hooked on this product for almost a year and I love how well it holds up while I’m swimming and sweating. Some light mousiturizer (with SPF of course), a bit of blush and bronzer, a swipe of my Fiber Lash and I’m out the door.
    • She Reads Truth daily devotions. Love this app, love the community it is building, and the summer long study of Women of the Old and New Testament is awesome. We hear tons of sermons preached about the mighty men God used but we can’t forget all the women that loved the Lord and how inspirational they are too. Women with busy lives and sin filled pasts were used for God’s glory. We can too.
    • Morning sweatseshes. During the school year I work out in the late afternoon and try to get a morning workout on Saturdays but lately it’s been my mission to start the day with a workout and I am loving it. It helps me make better food choices for the rest of the day, revs me up to tackle my summer to-do list, and quite frankly, is just nice to have done.
    • Rest. Apparently my body likes 9 hours of sleep unlike the 7 I typically get while working. And I’ll admit, last year was a bit much–managing a double caseload plus working on a yearlong project was more than I bargained for but I’m always up for a challenge and want to improve my craft. So this last month I’ve been relaxing, unplugging, and napping. I’m totally okay with it. My mind needs a break. I’ve even been trying to avoid looking at educational pins and have been outright avoiding the dollar spot at Target so I don’t see the back to school stuff. It’s only July people!
    • Water conservation efforts. Going brown is the new green in California and it’s nice to see people making a real effort to cut back. Yards are being revamped to be drought tolerant, car washes are less frequent, and you will totally get busted if you’re being wasteful 😳 I still don’t get how the state has the largest water supply along our border and we still haven’t figured out how to utilize it, but that politics for ya.
    • Late night patio chats. The warm weather, cool breezes, late sunsets, and time with friends and family outside enjoying each other company talking about everything from books to the aforementioned topic, and especially about life and Jesus is just what summer nights are for.
    • Reading. A lot. I’ve read quite a few cheapies from iBooks, 2 books that were super motivating to live bravely for Jesus, have been able to stay up-to-date on my Bible in a year plan, one book on how to better study the Bible with my mind and heart {stay tuned for more on this}, and just started a book my 11 year old niece is reading–Dorothy Must Die. I’m thinking read along with her will be super fun and will definitely result in some hilarious conversations.
    • Max. I know its a movie about a dog, but its so much more than that. Its the story of a family dealing with the aftermath of losing the oldest son to war. Its the story of coming together and being brave. Its the story of love, friendship, and the often unsung heroes. Go see it.
    • i smell great. And its not because of the suntan lotion and all the fresh fruit I’ve been eating. This perfume is AH-MAZ-ING! I am not a perfume wearer {is that a word?} by any means because typically the scents are too strong and I easily get a headache. But this stuff is subtle and super clean, fresh, and vibrant. The sampler pack is $14 and you get all 4 scents plus a coupon for future orders. You better believe there is an order in my future but narrowing it down to one might be a problem!

What are you loving this summer?

 Dorothy  max     

A memory

I originally wrote this on March 30, 2013. But today my heart hurts and tears stream down my face because, quite simply, I miss my Dad. What would have been his 56th birthday is just 4 days away. It remains unedited.

A memory
You know how certain things can trigger a memory? A sight, a smell, or a sound and BAM! you’re instantly back in that moment and no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop it from happening. Today it was a combination of a sight and a sound…
As I drove toward the next of many stores on my errands list I heard the ever familiar sound of sirens and saw the paramedics coming my way, fighting oncoming traffic. I did my best to pull over and silently yelled at those who weren’t doing the same. Then I caught a glimpse of the driver. It was him, one of the medics that responded the night my dad passed away. Instantly I was taken back to my dad’s front yard, that medic was standing there, unsure of how to help this young girl hysterically crying, waiting for the arrival of anyone familiar to comfort her. I remember the solemn look on his face as he stood in silence with the other firefighters, maybe he wanted to offer a hug but knew it wasn’t professional, maybe he thought about one day losing his parents, or of the dozens of calls he had gone on with the same sad ending. Instead he offered me a chair, afraid I was about to collapse. I didn’t sit, I just stood, tears streaming down my face, at a complete loss for words, begging some friend or family member to arrive to console me. When I didn’t sit he took a small step closer but didn’t say anything. A few of the guys stood off to the side, whispering; one of them said he’d known my dad. The minutes ticked by, only a few, until finally my sister and her husband arrived. My brother-in-law was the first person I called after hanging up with dispatch–I had told him he needed to come quickly because Dad was not responsive and the fire department was on their way. Within a minute I had to call him back to say Dad was gone . The crew stayed a couple minutes longer, gave their report to the sheriff deputies that had arrived, said their condolences and left.
I had always intended on visiting that fire crew’s station to say thank you for being there that night, for being a welcome sight when my world was crashing down, and for being so kind when they told me it was too late, that my dad had been “down” (their lingo) for at least a few hours. But I never did. Maybe a part of me knew that I’d cry like I did today, that it would just be too hard to see them and offer words of gratitude for being there that night. What’s funny is I’m not sure if I could pick out any other fire fighter that came that night, but today, seeing that medic in uniform, driving his truck with lights and sirens on, I knew without a doubt who he was and what he’d done. And I was instantly taken back to the night that forever changed my definition of normal.
Do you have any sights, sounds or smells that instantly take you back?

I saw that same medic on Sunday. I froze, took a few deep breaths, and thankfully, with God’s grace plus the perfect not-yet-spring air, sounds of a softball game, and the comfort of my best friend sitting next to me, I made it through the moment.

Shake it off!

Life has a way of shaking us. Just this last month I celebrated a miracle baby turning one, showered soon-to-be parents with lots of pink, and rejoiced as I realized prayers were being answered. I also wept as a friend told me her marriage was over, lifted up in prayer a little girl fighting for her life, and was so filled with anxiety that I was brought to tears. I was jumping with joy and shaking with sadness for this broken world.

This year is about being intentional and this last month has shown me how intentional I need to be with my heart. Do you ever wonder what God really wants of us? Or what it takes to spend eternity with Him? Psalm 15 has the answer…prepare yourself.

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.

Yikes, right? I told you to be prepared. Did that cut right to your heart like it did mine? I know as hard as I try my walk is not blameless, slander has come from my mouth, and I haven’t always kept my word or given my money (or time) to those in need.

But there’s some great news if you read Psalm 16.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,

Did you catch it? God promises to keep us safe and guide us as we strive to follow Him. When we fix our eyes on Him, we will inherit the Kingdom! So even when I mess up, let the worries of the day overwhelm me, or hold tightly to the things of world, I can trust that He is still with me. We can be at peace knowing our sins are forgiven and our lives are safe in His hands.

The best part is in verses 10-11: “Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Jesus lives and is the path to Heaven! He alone is the Way, the truth and the life {John 14:6}. When we believe in His death and resurrection, in His love for us that is so immense he bore the punishment we deserve {remember all that stuff from Psalm 15?}, we can spend eternity with Him! And as we do, our hearts and lives are filled joy.

But joy isn’t always easy to come by or hold onto. Life happens. Hearts get broken, mistakes get made, cancer invades our bodies, jobs and lives get lost and with it our joy. We begin to question the decisions we’ve made and fear taking another step. Thankfully, we have Jesus and yet another promise I myself know to be faithfully filled time and time again. Look back to 15:5b “He who does these things will never be shaken” and 16:8b “Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken“. First God promises that those who walk with Him will not be shaken then David proclaims it as true because he has experienced it. And we all know David had some troubles of his own that should have caused him to be shaking! But he trusted in the promises of God, the security and refuge he knew God would provide. He trusted in God’s forgiveness and strength. So when life comes at you and threatens to make you tremble down to your very core, know that God is with you. He is holding you up and will be your strength. Know that no sin is beyond God’s grace and nothing you are experiencing is beyond His control. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” {John 16:33} Believe in Him and trust in His strength and love for you. Life is going to happen so instead of being shaken, shake it off!

Shake it off

The truth is

The truth is last week was hard. I wasn’t ready to go back to work. My heart was full of anxiety and bitterness. My mind was full of thoughts on how to adjust, how to fight, and how to work for God’s glory. As much as I prayed, my attitude didn’t change.

The truth is people didn’t show up that were supposed to, my contractual “student-free” time didn’t happen, all the changes weren’t communicated as they should have been, and I never got any answers as to why all this was happening.

The truth is my heart was hard because I refused to let it be soft.

The truth is the changes weren’t as big as I was making them and I could have helped with the communication.

The truth is I held onto everything I knew I needed to rid myself of {1 Peter 2:1} and was refusing to love as I’m called to do {Romans 12:9-21}.

But as Friday morning began and I spent some quiet time with Jesus before work I began to feel the peace settle in, the anxiety and bitterness melting away, and the Holy Spirit reminding me why I do what I do. I teach because I love it. I teach because I can help my students. And I teach because it is what God has called me to do {for now}. I teach because it is my way of loving like Jesus does.

So as another work week begins tomorrow I will hold tightly to the truth that God graciously poured over me because the truth is love is the only way.

Take Action

What’s my goal for 2015? Take Action.
So often I wait for the perfect time, the just right moment, the page to look just so, and the list goes on. I get so caught up in my need to have it be either “right” or accepted that I miss opportunities and I waste valuable time.
My desire is just to start taking action, make decisions, get things done – whether they are how I want them to be or not – just get them done!!
My first action was to get my family reading the Bible together. So tonight, my husband and my son and I all sat for 10 minutes of Bible time. Did it go as I planned? Of course not! My son wanted to read out loud and make a “speech” out of it. My husband found the lights I had turned on too bright so I had to read in semi-dark.
Was it “perfect”? Yes, in it’s own way it was. And I look forward to this particular action taking place night after night.
So what about you? Did you make goals for 2015? Have you taken action on them yet? If not – what are you waiting for?
I pray whatever goals you may have that God’s will be done, and you are on a path that shines light on Him.
Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
English Standard Version of the Bible
retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=let+your+light+so+shine+&qs_version=ESV

Be{ing} Intentional in 2015

Last month on my birthday I prayed for guidance for the year ahead. What would 31 look like if I gave it to God and followed the path He set for me? The Lord took me to 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

“6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”

And it struck me that so often when asked how I am doing, my answer is always, “Good, busy, but good”. But what was I so busy doing? Was I busy doing things for the Kingdom? Working for the glory of the Lord? Often the answer is no. Often I am just “busy”.

But this year I want that to change. I want to be busy, but busy in ways that honor God. This led to thinking about a phrase that would capture that desire and motivate me when I was watching TV for no reason, scanning Instagram for the umpteenth time, or when I find myself glorifying “busy”, something that would remind me I am not to just be “busy” but to do good and work with a purpose. Two words popped into my heart and haven’t left: Be Intentional. God wants me to be intentional with my heart, my words, my finances, my actions, my thoughts, my life. He doesn’t just want me wandering around squandering the blessings that He has given me, but to be intentional with them because that is what brings Him the most glory.

So this year my plan is to be intentional with…

My heart–by filling it with Scripture. Psalm 1:2

My love–by ensuring that it is real. Romans 12:9

My money–by spending less and giving more. 2 Corinthians 9:7

My thoughts–by worrying less and thinking of things that are true and lovely. Philippians 4:8

My time–by using it wisely–more time in the Word, serving, and spending time with godly people. Mark 10:45, Psalm 1:1

My words {spoken & written}–by carefully choosing them and not just talking to talk, but talking about Jesus!

My work–by doing it all for Him no matter how crazy my students drive me or if I don’t agree with decisions made, I will remember that ultimately I am working for the Lord. Colossians 3:23, Proverbs 31:17

It is my prayer that by being intentional this year that the Lord will be glorified and I will grow closer to Him, that I will find more joy in saying yes and peace in saying no, that my heart will be full of His word and with love for others. His will be done.

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What are your plans and goals for the new year?

This Year {2014}

“Each day it feels like nothing has changed, but when we look back everything is different.” –Unknown

Its funny how as the year passes, at times quickly and others slowly, it seems like nothing in our life is different. But if you really take the time and think about where you were one year ago, nothing is the same. I often forget all that has gone on in the last year–the adventures, the lessons, the laughs, tears, and memories; I am so thankful I take a lot of random pictures! And keep a gratitude journal. I don’t read what I’ve written until the end of the year   and it is really amazing to re-live the days and reflect on what brought me joy. 2014 was quite a year!

Babies were born that fill my life with snuggles;

Health became more of a priority (and I like it!);

Adventures were had across the country (Kentucky, Hawaii, Silver Lake, Pismo);

Nieces and nephews grew before my very eyes into amazing little people;

Beauty was seen in things big and small (the colors of the sky, the smell of summer rain and hot coffee);

Relationships flourished;

Books were read that made me smile, relax, think and get motivated;

Challenges were faced (remember Challenge-tember?);

Disappointments served as lessons learned;

Hope grew;

And Jesus poured out grace upon grace, love upon love, and mercy upon mercy until my cup overflowed.

 

My days, my life, and especially my heart are very different than they were 365 days ago and for that I am so very thankful.

This year 2

 

 

 

Christmas Reflections

{Sigh} Christmas is over. The decorations are still up and the smells are still lingering, but the excitement of it all is gone. Before I put it all away and make plans for the new year, I thought it would be good to reflect on the season and why it fills me up.

  • Everything glitters and sparkles and is just plain fun! Something I needed after many busy months. I even broke my own rule and decorated {2 days} before Thanksgiving!
  • Gifting giving is probably one of my love languages. I love picking out the right gift for each loved one, wrapping it, and seeing a smile as they open it. And the sweet kisses from my nieces and nephews as they say thank you…nothing better!
  • Merry & Bright Gift Swap! This year I did something extra fun and participated in a gift swap through Brave Love Blog. Bailey Jean had to sift through 150 emails and pair people up from all over the world who wanted to participate. It was fun and a little nerve-racking to pick out a gift for a person I knew only through a questionnaire and Instagram! But in the end, it was really about connecting with other women and finding a way to celebrate the season together even though my partner and I were on opposite sides of the country! Sandra blessed me with some super cozy socks, yummy hot chocolate, coffee, and candies, plus a gift card to Target! Plus its always fun to get presents in the mail, right? Thank you Sandra for your thoughtfulness!

    Goodies from Sandra

    Goodies from Sandra

  • Family time. Its amazing how family can live just a few miles away and yet I don’t get to spend time with them like I wish I could. And oh man, the laughter that ensues we were are together. I am blessed to have so many people to call my own.
  • Rest. As a teacher I get three weeks off and I always try to make sure I sleep a little longer and make at least one day a pajama day {that was yesterday}. Of course there are projects I brought home that I need to work on in the next two weeks, but getting to relax and go at a slower pace is rejuvenating.
  • Quiet time with Jesus takes on a whole other meaning. The season is all about celebrating HIM. God, very God, came to Earth so that He could know His loved ones. Know their joys and heartaches. Know their triumphs and failures. Except in His perfectness, He never sinned, but showed us all how to love and live a life that brings glory to the King. In the midst of the craziness, it is heart-filling to spend time with the One who its all about.

Quiet time

I read through the Advent Devotional by NapTime Diaries. It was amazing!

And to think I still have 2 more weeks of vacation! Yay!! Off to spend more time with family!

Highs & lows

The end of September and all of these crazy challenges is just two days away. Yay!! It really has been a super busy, productive, stretching month but more on that when the month actually ends.

Highs & lows is one of my favorite games because it really can get people to open up while remembering that though things seem bad there is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Thankfully this month was filled with a lot more highs then lows.

Highs

….completing a ton of new activities  for my students

…..successful parent conferences

….fixing my fence by myself {its just a band-aid that is already falling off but I did it!}

….running more than I thought I could

….increased time in prayer and in the Word

….spending a lot of time with friends and family

….more #happymail than I’d like to admit

….some super yummy sushi

….more laughs than I can count

….fall attempting to make an appearance

….camping in San Diego

….my first sleepover with my niece

….good books

Lows

….work  to catch up on

….still having a broken fence

….not getting to write daily like I wanted to

….a few too many vet visits for my sweet pup

Tell me one of your month highs! {Lets focus on being grateful!}

 

Fall bucket list

I’m told that fall has officially started but with highs still in the 90s its a little hard to tell. Thankfully the slight chill in the air lets me know its coming…eventually, if only for a day or two.

While its here I have a small bucket list of my favorite fall things to do…

….visit the pumpkin patch with my nieces and nephews

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{Fall 2012}

….bake all things pumpkin

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….create some fall banners, wreathes and decorations

{So many ideas, so little time! Here’s some of my faves on Pinterest!}

….purchase a new warm and comfy blanket to snuggle in

….breathe in the crisp air

….run more miles

….enjoy the early sunsets

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….host a framily Thanksgiving

….finish Christmas shopping {yes I started this month}

….take my nephew to the fire station

….cheer on the Chargers at a game

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….savor hot coffee

…read good books

….celebrate birthdays of loved ones

….go ride dirtbikes {its been waaaay too long!}

Okay maybe I do love Fall more than I really want to admit. It is a beautiful time of year, isn’t it?

What’s on your fall bucket list?

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Today’s post brought to you by Brave Love