Adventure

EnCOURAGEment

March 22, 2017

Hello!

I hope you are having a beautiful day, wherever you are in the world. I woke up this morning and felt so strongly to encourage you!

This past week, I have received text messages, social media inboxes, phone calls from friends, family and acquaintances, encouraging me!  Even a woman at the gym randomly encouraged me while I was completing my time on the treadmill. Can I just say, it has brought me such strength, confidence and hope. I wasn’t having a bad week or even a bad day, but their encouragement inspired me to not only keep going, but to REALLY go after the things in my heart. Their encouragement echoed in my heart when I faced moments of doubt or felt anxious about something.

When I looked up the definition of encouragement, it read–the ACTION of giving someone support, confidence or hope.

Encouragement is an action that perpetuates action. When we are encouraged, we do something about it– We take the extra step, we go after what we are afraid to do, we complete the task and walk in strength.

So, I’m here to encourage you. I’m here to be that voice that whispers, you are good enough, you’ve got this. I am cheering you on, standing in your corner and believing that what is in your heart matters to God.

So be encouraged my friend! You’re doing better than you think, you are further than you can see and you are stronger than you feel!

 

 

But dont hoard this encouragement–go out and encourage someone else!

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Time

March 9, 2017

A few years ago, BJ had this job where his boss required him to fill out time slots–for every 15 minutes, he had to document what he did and what he accomplished. Yes, this was a very tedious and micro managing sort of task that I am sure this particular leader felt was necessary to ensure people within the organization were being productive. And, although I don’t agree with the leadership model, there’s something we can take away from this.

What if we took the same inventory of our time? What would we log every fifteen minutes of our day? Would we find countless time scrolling through social media? Would we find ourselves racking in the hours watching television, or maybe day dreaming of a life we don’t have, or worrying about our job, our friendships, our future? Or maybe we would find that we are taking better care of our health & working on our goals.

How we spend our time says a lot about who we are. It shouts our values, our beliefs and even exposes the idols in our lives. How we spend our time matters.

I believe that time is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. And as much as we wish we could have more of it, we don’t need another hour in a day, we need to spend our time, better.

So I encourage you to try this and take a daily log of your time! It will reveal areas where you can make your time more meaningful and productive as well as show you areas where you are making the most of your time. It will show you patterns of your day–when you are most productive, when you are most unproductive.

I did this excercise and it was incredibly eye opening and really helped me SEE areas I needed to be more intentional and identify time stealers and time wasters. Try it and let me know what you discover and how I can support you as you work to make your time count!

 

Adventure, Family, Marriage, Raising Kids, Uncategorized

Homerun.

March 3, 2017

This morning while at work, I received a text from my husband stating, ” Bad Dad award goes to…. THIS GUY!” He was talking about himself and how today was Jett’s Dr. Seuss party–the kids were supposed to dress in green and we were supposed to bring Hawaiian rolls (it’s our go-to on the sign up) for the party, later today.

This week was Dr. Seuss week at the kid’s schools– Each day, doing something fun in celebration of him. Whether it was wacky sock day, mustache day or today, green shirts and party!

My immediate response to my DADDY OF THE YEAR husband was, ” NO WAY, you deserve all the amazing awards… you can’t hit homeruns in everything.”

I know we want to, so badly–but the reality is that we aren’t going to knock it out of the park everytime we get up to bat. Some days we are going to have a homerun dinner, or make it to school on time three days in a row, we might remember to put our kid in a green shirt, and we might remember the Hawaiian rolls for the party. But we won’t knock it out of the park every time.

And, that is OK.

Knowing that we won’t hit a homerun in every area (work, school, marriage,parenting, friendships, etc) frees us from guilt, worry and the constant desire to be driven by what’s demanding us of our time, attention and money. Understanding that we aren’t meant to hit a homerun in every area allows us to run at our own pace and focus on the areas that deserve our best.

My husband didn’t remember the Hawaiian rolls, and Jett didn’t go to school in his green shirt, but my husband woke up earlier all week long to make me and the kids fresh pressed juice, (yes you read that right.. fresh freaking pressed juice…and I’m not talking OJ. I’m talking ginger, kale, carrots, apples pears.. you get the picture, now) pack their lunches and kiss us all goodbye for the day. He fixed things around the house, hugged our babies, and he told me I was pretty, many, many times… he did all of this while leading our church and preparing everything and everyone for a BIG move.

Those are some serious homeruns, some serious RBI’s (google it if you’re not a baseball fan, lol). That’s where it counts.

So, if you are trying to knock it out of the park in all things, and beating yourself up for it, take a breath and remember, you aren’t meant to, and that is ok!

 

 

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Who Am I Trying To Impress?

February 17, 2017

Our son Jett turned three last week! Ah, I honestly can’t believe how quickly the past three years have gone by.  He’s seriously one of my favorite people on the planet–he brings everyone around him so much joy, keeps us laughing and he’s super cute, too. To celebrate his big day, we planned a family trip to Legoland at the end of the month. We have never been and scored a super great deal to go. Oh and as a teacher, I get in FREE! Heyyyy!!

His birthday fell on a Wednesday, BJ was out of town for work so it was just me & the kiddos. After celebrating with his classmates at school, I asked him, “Jetty where would you like to go today for your birthday, you can pick any place?” His response, “Let’s just go home and eat cookies.”

So that’s what we did, we went home and ate cookies. After about the third cookie, major guilt started setting in, especially when the phone calls and face time dates started pouring in–everyone asking him what we were doing on his special day. He kept replying, “we are just hanging out.”

I kept reminding myself that hanging out and eating cookies and receiving endless hugs and kisses was a great way to spend your birthday.

As the days went on, it was as if every kid was celebrating his/her birthday–big parties, fun parties, invitation, balloons and superhero guests! I wasn’t feeling like mother of the year.

So, I started to scramble–I started to plan. Maybe we can do a pool party at our house, of go to one of those kids places, that would be fun, right? Maybe a park or Chuck E Cheese (yes desperate) THIS would be better for Jett, right?

In reality, this had nothing to do with Jetty and everything to do with me. Jett was happy eating cookies (that were store bought… in case you were like well at least you baked them…I didn’t) He was fine with spending his day on his mommy’s lap.

As I went to store  to pick up a slew of vitamins, cleaning supplies and essential oils, because you know a stomach bug that hits the whole family (including the dog!!!) fits perfectly into this scenario , I starred at these store bought cupcakes and had a moment.

Why am I doing this? Who’s standard am I trying to live up to? What is my motive? Am I hoping to make myself feel better about not throwing a big ole shin dig? Who am I trying to impress?

I paused, reflected and I grabbed the store bought cupcakes that were decorated for Valentines Day and headed home. The next morning at the end of church, we sang him happy birthday  and ate cupcakes. No party favors, no piñata, just some cupcakes and his favorite friends.

He was happy. I was happy. Those cupcakes were yummy.

When we place unfair and UNNECESSARY expectations on ourselves we lead ourselves to frustration. When our motives are not aligned correctly we begin to force things to happen! And although we might succeed at doing whatever it is we are trying so desperately to do, we end up miserable.

Instead, we ought to fully embrace how we do things. This wasn’t about me not wanting to throw him a party and there is nothing wrong with going all out–if that’s how you want to do it, go for it! It’s more about me forcing something for the sake of doing something. Does that make sense?

So whatever it is that you are doing out of “obligation” or fear of missing out, pause and ask yourself these questions.

1. Who am I doing this for?

2. Who am I trying to impress?

3. What is my  motive?

If these answers lead to you do whatever it is, then do it. If they reveal that this isn’t something you HAVE to do or be a part of, or buy or post about on social media, then pass.

 

 

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RESET //

February 7, 2017

Sunday’s Super Bowl was all time! All time crazy, exciting, nerving, both extremely incredible for some and heartbreaking for others! I haven’t enjoyed a football game like that in a long time. Even if you’re not a football fan, you know by now that it was a fight until the end.

At the half, the Falcons were up big time! Nothing was going right for the Patriots & everything was going in the right direction for the Falcons. Of course, there was plenty of game clock left… oh and Tom Brady.

I always wish I could be in the locker room to hear what’s being said during half time (minus the smell of lockeroom). So, when the sports reporter gives us a little insight about how the coach motivated his team, I am usually leaning in.

“Coach Dan Quinn told his guys to RESET.” (Dan Quinn is the head coach for the Falcons)

That statement practically came out of the television. It was as if she was screaming that word, RESET. Reset? Why would the Falcons need to reset? Momentum was going there way. Reset? You never want to reset what’s going right and you never want to reset Tom Brady. Instead, you want to keep going (I would say keep pounding but I’m pretty sure that’s a North Carolina Panether thing.)

Well, That’s exactly what happened. With about eight minutes to go in the third quarter there was a major RESET. Except it resulted in the Falcons giving the Patriots their fifth Super Bowl title.

The Falcons didn’t need to RESET, they needed to FINISH.

The same is true for me and for you. Although I often want new beginnings, fresh starts, do overs, and even resets,  what produces results is when we finish. Finish what we start, even when we are smack in the middle of where we were and where we want to be–whether we are ahead or losing by a lot.

 

What area in your life do you find yourself tempted to hit the RESET button time and time again? I want to encourage you to keep going and FINISH.

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When Do I Really Get to Play?

January 27, 2017

I love this season of life we are in with our family! Our kids are at such fun ages–our twin girls just turned six and our little man will be turning three in a few, short weeks. This past summer, we introduced recreational sports to the kids. We signed the girls up for soccer and signed Jett up for baseball. It’s been so fun seeing them learn new things and try something they have never done before.

We decided to enroll them in leagues that are ran more like clinics than actual teams. I have seen one too many “soccer games” where I witnessed a bunch of kids swarming the soccer ball up and down the field–occasionally scoring a lucky goal, most of the time, in the wrong goal. (Makes me anxious just thinking about it, haha.)

After a few weeks into the season, our girls asked this question. “When are we going to really play soccer?” This was a BLOG moment for me.

We went on the explain that they are playing soccer. They are learning and doing everything a soccer player does, except for playing an actual game, where you keep score. It took a few times of us explaining this to them before they realized that even though they aren’t playing in an actual game, they are playing soccer.

Do you desire to be a writer, photographer or a CEO of your own company?  Do you ever find yourself saying things like, “I can’t wait to actually be able to do what I desire/ love to do?”

I’ve done this too! I have spent weeks, months and sometimes even more time asking, “When can I really play?”

Sure, we could have signed them up to “really play” soccer but they wouldn’t actually be “really playing.” They would look like a soccer player, (cute, especially) but not posses some of the skills and disciplines a soccer player must learn in order to be successful. Playing soccer is much more than wearing a jersey and getting to eat snacks after the game. It’s more about learning to dribble (I thought that was only a basketball term), passing the ball to other players, getting into position–it’s about learning to put on your own cleats and tying your own shoes.

So, instead of asking, “When do I get to really play?” Let’s go out and really, play–with all that we are, embracing every lesson and step in the process, understanding that all that we are walking through and expericing is not only foundational but critical to our success.

 

Adventure, Uncategorized

Celebrate Thirty Three

January 20, 2017

I turned 33 yesterday–It was such a fun day. I’m so thankful for the family, friends and community of people in my life who wished me a great day, productive year and lots of calorie-free, birthday cake. I’ve never really been into celebrating my birthday, I don’t know why. My husband BJ has tried to throw me surprise parties and spoil me rotten, but I’ve usually taken a rain check and opted  for a quiet celebration, with just us and the kids. This year was different.

As 2016 came to a close and as we kicked off this new year, I felt different approaching another year around the sun. For some reason, I was excited like never before and when asked the famous birthday question, “How does it feel to be thirty three?” I couldn’t help but share my excitement.

I’ve always been thankful for another year of life, but this year, my excitement was beyond my gratitude for the gift of life, but a desire to celebrate, more.

I don’t celebrate enough. Most of us don’t. When things go right, we quickly move on. However, when things aren’t going well, we tend to stay a little longer. There have been some really amazing things that have happened in my life time, this week for that matter that deserve to be celebrated in a BIG way. Whether it’s that my baby boy Jetty hasn’t woken me up in the middle of the night to have me accompany him to the potty for the past week (can I get a witness) or like today, when I saw that I have a free, birthday Starbucks drink on my Starbucks card, I ought to celebrate.

When we take time to CELEBRATE, we cultivate thankfulness and gratitude. Celebration is a great habit to develop in our lives, one that multiplies and continues to bear fruit day after day. It reminds us that all that we have and experience is a gift from Jesus. I would even go further to say that, celebration is a reflection and result of our childlike faith. I have three littles and anytime they practically do anything, or witness something that to me could seem ordinary, they celebrate! They clap their hands, do a little dance and say things like, “Isn’t that so awesome?!” They are in awe and wonder over the smallest detail. Overtime, we lose that childlike faith and exchange our party hats for cynicism; we put up walls and await for the other shoe to drop.

Becuase of this reality, celebration takes intentionality! So, when you think about something or someone, CELEBRATE that person/ that thing (doesn’t have to be on Facebook, just saying) throw a party, eat the cake and do a little dance. It might just be a scribbled piece of “art work” from your two year old, but in the spirit of celebration it might as well be the Mona Lisa.

So, let’s celebrate more, together! Who’s with me?

 

Blurry pic, but whatevaa.

Adventure, Family, Marriage

Happy New Year!

January 11, 2017

I love wishing people a Happy New Year even after being a few weeks into the month. There’s something about keeping the reality that it is a new year fresh in our minds and hearts that keeps us on track with all that we have set out to do, accomplish and become.

I’m not one to set New Years resolutions, but I do take time to pray, to seek God and ask Him, “What do you have for me his year? How can I love & serve, well?  I pray that He would give me eyes to see and ears to hear all that He wants to reveal to me. I pray that I would be immovable in His promises and flexible with His process & timing. I find myself with a verse from the Bible, a statement and even a word that I anchor in my heart for the days to come.

At about September of this year, I was finished–finished with 2016 and all that it had been for me. It wasn’t the year that I expected to live out, one that I wasn’t hoping for or anticipating. I wanted OUT. As I began to seek God, search within myself and pretty much beg God to GET ME OUT OF THIS YEAR, He showed me something better.

In the middle of my tears, snot (you know that kind of cry), my clenched fists and defeated posture, I had a BLOG moment. I wanted to GET OUT of this year but God asked me, “Sarah, What will YOU GET OUT of this year?”

I know it was a process He had been taking me through, but in a moment I saw it differently. Life can be hard, situations can be difficult and seasons can be dry–when those times come, our first response is usually to want out.

Rather than asking WHEN can we get out of it, we should be asking WHAT can we get out of it.

When we search for what we can learn, understand and grow from in the midst of our trouble, our pain carries a purpose. The truth is, our God IS a deliverer and HE will deliver us OUT of dry and tough seasons, but it’s up to us to get something OUT of it.

So many people wish to forget the passing year–burry it, burn it and even throw it away. But God doesn’t work that way. Although He makes ALL things new and desires for us to look forward, He builds on what we have experienced, walked through and even learn from. As much as I wanted to leave 2016 in the dust, I knew I needed to take some things with me.

I’m thankful for all that I walked through and experienced in 2016, the good and the bad. I don’t say that because it’s over, I say that because in September, while I begged Him to get me out, He gave me eyes to see what I could GET OUT of it all. In the middle of “that year” things shifted in me.

This understanding allowed me to finish the year in strength and walk into a new year with momentum and a renewed perspective.

What are you hoping to forget from 2016 that God is asking you to remember?

 

Adventure, Uncategorized

Your Someday Might Be Your Next Day

November 21, 2016

This past weekend I hopped on a plane to California to celebrate my best friend getting engaged! Alyssa and I have been best friends for 15 years. We became friends in the most unusual way–(before knowing each other) in high school, I dated her ex boyfriend & according to high school code 101, we weren’t supposed to be friends, ever. Fast forward to college when we attended the same university and instantly became friends. It seems like yesterday that we spent one evening talking to almost 4am catching up on the first 18 years of our lives. We have experienced a lot over the past 15 years, college, dating, break ups, jobs, relocating to different cities and states… the list goes on and on.

Alyssa thought I was flying out to California for a much needed girls weekend. Hiking, getting our nails done, coffee shops and a nice dinner out on the town were in order. I must admit, I held it together pretty darn good, keeping my game face and made sure to get her to downtown LA by 4pm,where the love of her life would pop the BIG question.

The night before, we spoke about life, love, our futures and the faithfulness of God. It was just like many other conversations we have shared before, only this one was a little different. As she shared her excitement of her “one day” I couldn’t help be distracted by her “next day.” What she thought was her soon to be moment, I knew was her next day moment.

The morning of her engagement, we got up, got dressed and I drove her to work. It was like another, ordinary day, except it wasn’t. This day was her day, she just didn’t know it yet. As I headed to coffee and dialed her fiancé-to-be to get the final details for the day, I had a BLOG moment.

Things change on a dime.

I’ve been a part of many surprises, but none compare to this! It was so exciting to know that what my best friend had prayed for, believed for and patiently waited for was happening before she did! I imagine that’s how God feels towards us–He is all knowing and all powerful, and in a moment, He does what we have prayed for, believed for and patiently waited for.

I use this beautiful story to encourage you, to stay ready, leaning in, full of expectation. Your one day might just be your next day! Things turn on a dime.

I’m sure you’re wondering if she said YES… she absoutely said YES! It was one of the most amazing experiences, ever. We not only went on hikes, grabbed coffee, got our nails done and had some much needed girl time, but we celebrated her ENGAGEMENT all weekend long! Let the wedding planning begin!

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Exhale

November 3, 2016

Life is busy. Life is filled to the brim with appointments, deadlines, to do lists, birthday parties and grocery lists. Life is busy, and there’s nothing you can do about it right?

That’s what I used to think–I still do at times. It seems like every time I finally make that coffee date with a friend or call that long distance family member, we think and often say, “We have to do this more often.” We shrug our shoulders and say, “Well, you know how it is, we are busy!”

A couple of weeks ago, the same was true. Had coffee with a dear friend, exchanged the “busy life” line and moved on. As I drove home I thought to myself, it doesn’t have to be this way. Life and busy don’t have to always go together.

I’m a wife, a mom of three, a pastors wife, teacher, tutor, after school program leader, a friend, sister, daughter…you get it. So life can be, busy.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how busy doesn’t really mean fruitful. You can run place to place but not produce any lasting, meaningful fruit in your life. Busy isn’t an award we should be pursuing. If you’re a leader, a doer, a mover and a shaker (just wanted to say that) busy is adrenline to your soul. You love being busy! But, it often leaves you poured out and empty, with not a lot to show for it, except a completed to do list and maybe even a pantry filled with this week’s grocery list.

The other night at community group, I was talking with another mom friend of mine. We were talking about how our lives seemed filled to the brim, not necessarily with meaningless things. Family, work, community–all the right things. For us, it is not so much removing any of those main things, but more about decluttering the unnecessary and avoiding the trap of being driven to do something rather than led to do something.

For some of us, we need to get rid of certain things that are not producing real fruit in our lives. We need to say NO to the things that are keeping us from saying YES to the things that build us up. But for some of us, it’s simply exhaling and pausing. Sitting and being rather than doing and completing.

What does that look like? How can we carve out moments? It’s not easy and it takes intentionality.

Each morning at work, I have a planning time while my students are at their specials. This is a time I get work done–copies, grading, planning. But today, I chose to breath to EXHALE… to sit and read my devotional  ( I snoozed twice the AM & didn’t get to before beginning my day). Sure, those items that I need to DO will still be there, but I will be more calm, better focused and be clear minded when I do.

I soaked up this incredible Florida fall morning, sipped my coffee my friend bought me this morning and sat. Reflected on the goodness of God, prayed for my friends who are hurting, and pulled out my phone to encourage you to breathe.

 

Do you find find it hard to carve out moments to just sit?

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