Empty Shelf #2 : One Thousand Gifts

business life Mar 07, 2014


This year, I joined the Empty Shelf Challenge for my reading instead of making a list of books to complete. The second book I finished was One Thousand Gifts : A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.

I really did like this book, although the way she writes isn't totally what I love to read. But honestly, it wasn't hard to get through because I was so inspired by her story. She really taught me to find joy in all things. Even the hard things.

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted...a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved--by God.

I started my own gratitude journal to record 1,000 gifts. I absolutely love the process of...

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What My Freaky Online Friends Taught Me About My Real Life Friends

faith life Mar 06, 2014

As most of you know, I've been part of an online community for about 8 months. It was formed by Jon Acuff for people who wanted to dream bigger. There are almost 2,000 people from all over the world. Some are starting businesses, some are writing books, some are losing weight, and some are still figuring out what path to take.

Whenever I tell someone about my "Facebook Friends," I get the strangest looks like, are you ok? Did you smoke something? Should we call a therapist? But what they don't realize is that these people have become my friends. Like, for reals. I love them.

We put up a fence around our community and it created a safe place for us to dream. For us to share our deepest fears and biggest accomplishments. There's no judgment {well, I'm sure there is from some because people are just people and that's what we do} and if someone's a jerk, they're out. We have lost loved ones, gotten married, gotten divorced, lost jobs, quit jobs, lost weight, gained weight, you name it....

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I'll Take The Bread, Please!

faith life Feb 23, 2014


It seems as though we're always longing for something more, never satisfied. And we know deep down inside what truly satisfies. As Christians we like to say that it's Jesus who satisfies. And while that's partly true, I believe there's more. There's something to fill that void and we often skip right past it.

Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst - not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life."
John 4:14 The Message

If we take the water that is Jesus Christ, we are given eternal life. End of story, right? But we all know that water, while keeping us alive, doesn't always satisfy.

If we are stranded in a desert, it's the water that will keep us alive. But our bellies will never be satisfied. That empty feeling will never be filled with water alone.

And so it is with our spirituality. Jesus brings life, eternal life, and he does bring...

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A Morning With Nick Vujicic

faith life Jan 15, 2014


A couple of Sundays ago I visited a friend's church and was pleasantly surprised to find out that Nick Vujicic was speaking. I have followed him on social media for quite some time and have watched some of his videos.

Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs in 1982. In just over 30 years, he has accomplished more than most people who do have arms and legs. When he was just 10 years old he tried to drown himself because he had no hope. Now, he is an evangelist and has shared the love of Jesus with millions of people all over the world.

 "If you don't get a miracle, you can still be a miracle."

Although he's prayed for a miracle of arms and legs many times, he IS a miracle. And so many times we look past the miracle that's in front of our face. We think we know the miracle we need. But maybe the miracle we need is actually BEING the miracle.  Allowing God to use us in other people's lives. To bring Him glory and expand the kingdom.

Nick spoke a lot on FAITH and FEAR...

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faith life Jan 09, 2014


Change. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad. Sometimes it just has to be done whether we want to or not. When it would be easier to just stay. Sometimes we shouldn't.

I fully believe we need to be planted and stay planted. Uprooting a tree can be detrimental. But what happens when the gardener stops watering it? It needs to be moved.

As humans we have the privilege and the responsibility of planting ourselves in healthy soil. We also have to know when it’s time to move. God will protect our roots in the mean time. God will water them and nourish them until they can be gently placed into the soil they belong.

And that’s how I see it. I know that God has our best interest in mind. I know that because I know that he has the best interest of others in mind too. And if I am to play a part at all in the outcome of anyone else's eternity, He is going to place me where He wants me. Not where man wants me.

I am wide awake. I know that there is no mistake under heaven...

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faith home life Jan 07, 2014


By Jennifer Silvis

I have never sat down to write before. I am always moved by reading other peoples blogs. I feel that they have this ability to convey their thoughts so much more eloquently and real than I ever could. I wish that I could write that way. It’s frustrating to have all these feelings inside, with no way to properly put them down on paper, so that others can feel the depth of what I’m feeling. I guess it is not a gift that I have.

Thinking on that, I wonder, what gifts do I have? What do I have to offer? I can say I’m a good mom, but then I am daily disappointed in my “mom” abilities. I should be more patient. I should be more involved with my girls individually and personally. I should be more “on top of it”.  I suck at laundry!

Am I a good wife? If my house isn’t spotless with a homemade dinner on the table at 6pm every night, am I a failure? Do I strive to encourage my husband, and think the best of him and speak...

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One Word 2014

business faith life Jan 03, 2014


I'm usually very into my goal setting and vision planning when it comes to New Year's Day, but this year I took a different approach. I'm still setting goals, I just decided that I wanted to fully embrace Christmas and New Year's and spend time making memories with my family.

I didn't want to start some freak diet on January 1st because I wanted to celebrate that day and just chill with my kids and eat junk food and watch T.V.  And I didn't want to start on the 2nd either because that was our last day with our Disneyland passes and I wanted to enjoy our favorite tasty treats while we were there.

So now, on January 3rd, I begin.

New goals, new dreams, healthy habits being restored that have gone to the way side with all of our holiday binging.

I've been thinking about my one word and just really freaking out a bit. Last year I chose Expectant. And I loved it. It was perfect because I was expectant for God to do amazing things and He did. Like always. So I guess I'm freaking out...

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Knowing Who Your Soul Is Connected To

faith life Dec 12, 2013

Sometimes I don’t even know what I feel until I start to write. It’s like I’m numb. Just going through the motions. Noticing things, but not remembering them. So even if my writing doesn’t turn into anything, at least I’ll have this.

I’ll know I’ve felt. I’ll know I was alive and awake and present.

I miss my Grammy today. It’s been 8 months since she passed and even though that isn’t long in the scheme of things, it’s long enough to lose the sting. It’s long enough to go a few days without thinking about her.

But it seems that with Christmas so close, she’s all I think about. She was Christmas. She loved Christmas and she loved giving.

The thought of Christmas without Grammy makes my heart feel like it’s being drowned. Deep into the sea and never to surface. Like I can’t breathe.

And sometimes I wonder, how we can feel so heavy. So much. There’s proof of a creator in my own feelings....

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How Safe Are You?

faith life Dec 10, 2013

Fear No Evil

I've always been one to take a risk, go out on a limb, try something new. It's just in my blood.

I often forget that this is actually rare. My husband for instance, is not as risky as I am. I wouldn't say he's the exact opposite, but he's definitely floating somewhere on the opposite end of the spectrum as I am!

This year has brought many risks for me and all have been pretty attainable. For the most part, all I was risking was my own personal comfort and I learned that it's actually quite rewarding to take a risk and punch fear in the face. It's helped me realize what I was made to do and how I can help others realize that too.

How much are you willing to risk, to go out on that limb God is calling you to? How far will you go?

Will you stay close to the trunk of the tree, where the limb is strong and sure to hold your weight?

What if He's calling you further, to where the limb is starting to bow and shake? Will you trust Him?

We had to make a decision as a family recently that was...

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Writing and Wrestling

business faith life Dec 04, 2013

It's time. It's been far too long and I don't even know what to type, but I'm going for it. This may be by far the worst post you'll ever read from me because I really don't even know what I'm going to say.

Heck. I don't even know if I'll hit "publish."

When I woke up this morning I thought to myself, "It's time. Go write something."

But once again the to-do's got in the way and now I've been up for 5 hours and I'm just starting.

Thanks to Carlos Whittaker's post that I stumbled upon just a bit ago, I think I know what my problem is.

I've been wrestling.

I was waltzing and life was grand. And it's not really that it's bad right now. Maybe that's the problem. It's just mediocre. Not good. Not bad. Just there. And there's where I get lost.

I keep reaching out for and wrestling with God. Wondering what to write and not having the right words, when actually it's Him who gives me the words. So why am I even trying?

Why do I do this?

Why do WE do this to ourselves?

I guess it's part of...

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