Making Time

If it’s important to you, you’ll make time. 

Has anyone ever said that to you?

My dad used to say that to me all the time. He’d tell me we make time for the things that were important to us, that our time was one of the primary ways we express our priorities and communicate what matters to us.

I realized last weekend that any time I’ve wanted to do something, time has not come easily. No one or no thing in my life has magically happened without me actually making the time for it to happen.

I used to get up at 5:30 to work out every morning, and now sometimes I run in the dark at night just to get it done.

I have to get up an hour earlier than my coworkers because I drive an hour to work so that I could keep my job when we moved.

Brent and I often eat dinner at 9:00 at night because that’s when he gets home and it’s important to us that we eat together.

I wake up 30 minutes earlier than I need to so that I can spend time with God before the craziness of the day.

We don’t watch a lot of TV because bedtime and morning are both early for us, and a lot of times it seems like we’re washing dinner dishes and brushing teeth at the same time.

So when my alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, I only hit snooze a few times (hey, just because I get up early doesn’t mean I don’t love sleep) and got up shortly after. I had set my coffee to brew around the same time so I grabbed a cup and sat down at the desk to write. I keep saying I want to write. So I’ve decided to make the time.

Since I was little, God has given me a love for writing. So I’m taking that passion and giving it time and space, and trusting that God will use it for His glory in some way.

He Shows Up

Sunday night Brent needed to communicate something to his boss. He asked me how to best say it and for some reason I just couldn’t come up with the words, which is rare for me. I finally just said I didn’t know and he decided to wait. Ten minutes later his boss called him and initiated the conversation; it was so much better coming from him than from Brent and the result was better than we could have imagined. When He got off the phone we looked at each other and smiled. God showed up in my foggy brain and my husband’s decision to wait.

Two months ago the budget didn’t quite line up, but then I got two unexpected checks in the mail. God showed up in jury duty and dog-sitting, both of which I’d forgotten about and only of of which I thought would result in payment.

I know he always shows up, but do I? Do I miss it because I’m not showing up, not expecting, not waiting, not looking? I want to show up and wait for Him to show off.

He always does, and it’s in the moments right before he does, the moments when the budget looks like it’s going to be a negative or when what seemed like my only option falls through that I’m tempted to lose hope. But every single time, He shows up. It doesn’t always look like what I expected or anticipated, which is maybe why I miss it sometimes.

And maybe sometimes I miss it because I don’t think he needs to show up. A few weeks ago our pastor referenced the early church saying “If God didn’t show up, they were done for.” If God didn’t show up a few months ago, we still have money in savings. If God didn’t show up on Sunday night, Brent could have had the conversation later or tried again another day or a different way or not at all. Maybe I miss God showing up because I think I have other options if He doesn’t.

The thing is, I don’t have other options. The money in savings, it could be gone tomorrow, and we could reach a point where there is no more in savings. The conversation that needed to happen–without God showing up, we have no idea what could have happened. Do I truly believe that God showing up is my only option? Because whether or not I live like it, it’s the truth. I may have more money in savings and I may (currently) live in a place where it’s safer to be a Christian and Brent may have options about his career and his choices, but we are still utterly and completely dependent on the Lord, and I need to live like it.

If He doesn’t show up, I’m done for.

But thankfully, He always does.

Run or Read?

I love school and all things academic. Learning is fun and new pencils make me giddy and my college experience was literally sitting in circles under trees in the Spring discussing Thoreau.

I graduated college early, and have actually been accepted to graduate school twice, for two different programs, but never went either time. It was just never the right time or the right program or the right fit.

But lately I’ve been feeling restless. I miss learning and being intellectually challenged. I miss discussing ideas and I miss how simple everything seems in a classroom. The real world is hard; people don’t actually fit into theories and how in the heck did Thoreau actually afford Walden pond for two years?

So about a month ago I decided to take the LSAT. It’s a terrible time to go to law school; it’s still oober expensive, but no one can find a job. Factor in some family, personal, and professional circumstances, and it’s really a terrible time. But I decided I would just take the LSAT and see if it could even be an option for me.

Then about two weeks ago I had a life altering revelation: I am goal-oriented. To anyone who knows me, this was a “duh” moment, but to me, it completely changed the way I see myself. I realized that I need goals and check-lists and accomplishments to work toward, and then I realized that the only goals I’d ever really worked toward were academic. Could the restlessness in my soul be not so much for academia, but rather for the reaching of a goal, the process of working and checking off and moving and progress and eventually knowing I conquered what I set out to do?

So instead of taking the LSAT, I decided to run a half-marathon.

Earlier this summer I went to visit a college roommate and she happened to be running a 5K the weekend I was there. I had definitely not been running a lot, but I lift and sprint, so figured I could at least do a few miles. It ended up being really fun, and coincided with my self-realization.

So I made a training calendar and signed up for a half-marathon in November. Brent is running it with me, and he’s even running at my pace, which I know is painfully slow for him.

I love putting a line through each day on our training calendar. I love seeing my running tracker on my phone as I inch closer and closer to finishing the run for the day, as I increase my mileage and sloooowly increase my time.

My goal is simple: to run (not walk) a half marathon in under 2 1/2 hours. I’m not competing, just experiencing, and I’m super excited about it.

I’m excited to have a goal not related to academics. I’m excited to have a fitness goal unrelated to body weight or the way my body looks.

Will I still go back to school? Maybe. Will I go to law school? Maybe. Will I still be restless after I run a half-marathon? Maybe.

But for now, I’m running and I’m excited to reach a new goal.

Foundations and Friends and Holding On

We have been abundantly blessed in the friendship department, and Kurtis and Kylee are no exception. Brent has known Kurtis since high school, and when we first met Kylee at our rehearsal dinner two years ago, we immediately knew she was perfect for Kurtis. We don’t get to see them very often, but they are an incredibly special couple and we were so excited when Kurtis asked us to film and photograph his proposal this past weekend.

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We were late, Brent went to the wrong fountain, Kurtis didn’t know where we were and almost walked right by us, we were drenched in sweat from crouching in a tree, and we ran screaming out of the tree literally .001 seconds after the proposal, but she said yes and that’s all that matters!

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After the proposal, Kurtis mentioned it didn’t go exactly how he had planned….I looked at Brent and said, “I think it’s good it wasn’t how you originally planned, because nothing about life or marriage is how you planed it to be, so it’s good practice. At the end of the day, you’re getting married and that’s all that matters. The how and the when are fun, but it’s the WHO and the WHAT that really matters.”

Brent and I have been married less than two years, but we try every day to remember that SO MUCH of what happens fades away in time. We need to prioritize and focus on what, and who, really matters.

Last night on our walk we met a couple down the street, Jim and Shirley. They told us they’d be married 67 years in October; when I asked what their secret was they said, “Don’t get discouraged. Everything always works out. Just be patient.” Their advice was not to love each other more or to try harder. They didn’t say that everything had always been perfect and filled with fountains and diamonds and hidden photographer friends. They admitted it was hard, moments when they didn’t know if it was worth it. But hold on, they said. Hold onto God, hold onto each other, hold onto what matters, hold onto the promises you made even though you had no idea what they really meant.

This weekend was amazing and refreshing, but not every weekend is like that. Today I am holding on to memories from this weekend, trusting that I will find them again in moments when I’m discouraged.

I’m holding on to glancing over at B while we hid in a tree filming and seeing his blue eyes shine with excitement and his face dripping with sweat, sprinting out of the tree, unable to contain his excitement.

I’m holding on to long conversations about dreams and paths and plans, holding hands and knowing we’re in it together, even though we never agreed on what “it” was.

I’m holding on to sitting at the desk, paying bills, looking up to see Brent bent over a cutting board chopping peppers and spilling sugar and salt all over the counter while he finishes up a whim to make salsa.

I’m holding on to standing next to my husband, in a middle school auditorium, singing “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” a capella with people I barely know, preparing for communion, knowing God was in that place.

Here’s to Kurtis and Kylee, to Jim and Shirley, to holding on to perfect memories and awful moments and everything in between.

Food Inc.

As a trainer and coach, health and fitness is an obvious priority of Brent’s, and I join in him that, especially in the area of nutrition. For us, we’ve always tried to eat well, but this year, in an effort to live legacy, nutrition has become even more important to us. As we strive to give ourselves fully to each day, each relationship, each task, it has become obvious to us that putting good food into our bodies gives us energy and clarity, and allows us to live in a way that we feel good about.

First, definitions. For us, “nutrition” is the concept of what we’re putting in our bodies and how that impacts output and “good food” is defined as food that is raised and consumed in a way that supports positive relationships and interactions in daily life.

As we’ve defined these concepts and applied them to our daily life, our philosophy and consumerism has evolved.

I’d heard of the documentary “Food, Inc.” many times, but we finally watched it last night. LOVED.IT. It is basically the definition of my food philosophy, with one exception.

I believe that consumers speak with their dollars. I believe that God has given us dominion over the land and animals, to use in a wise and godly way. I believe that money influences government more than we care to admit. I believe so much of what is shared in the film about humane treatment of animals, and especially of respectful treatment of workers, about the effects of food and nutrition on our bodies, our families, our schools, and our communities.

But I take exception with the idea that eating good food is not economical. Yes, it is more expensive. BUT if you are eating the right food in the right way, I have found that you will eat less. I firmly believe that any family on any budget in any part of the country with any schedule can make family dinner happen AT home with a meal made from wholesome, flavorful ingredients. At some point, the consumer has to take personal responsibility for their choices, no matter how difficult the government or retailers or industry make it for people to make the right choices.

Watch “Food, Inc.” and tell the food industry what you think. Spend your dollars, your time, your energy on good food and good people.

Living Legacy in 2015: Six Months In

Six months ago, we resolved to live a year of legacy; learning about ours, leaving one, understanding what it means to us.

In the past six months, we have started new jobs, we have seen friends and family hurting and lost, we have seen our nation hurting and angry and divided by issues, we have learned new things about God and life and each other, we have moved to a new city, we have welcomed new family members, we have cried and laughed and prayed.

We set out with a plan of how to live legacy in every area of our life, and we have learned that God’s legacy infiltrates and influences every area of our life, if we let it.

There has been pain and celebration, and through it all, we have experienced a legacy of faith and love and hope, first and ultimately modeled by Jesus Christ.

We’ve messed up a lot, but we’ve also grown a lot.

Today, I sit in our new townhome, while Brent is at his new job, and my parents are far away visiting my new nephew. Today, our nation is still hurting and we still have friends and family who are hurting and lost. Today, God is still God and He is still good at being God. And we are so grateful to be a part of His legacy.

Can’t wait for the next six months of living legacy.

Living Legacy in 2015: Physical Resolutions

Living Legacy in 2015

Choosing the best things (the God Things) and making the most of every day this year.


Micah 6:8—He has shown you, o man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

1 Corinthians 15:58—Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

James 1:27—Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

This year, Brent and I chose “legacy” as our resolution word. It was kind of neat how God put it in our hearts and minds through various Scriptures, sermons, and even things like t-shirts and TV shows! Above are the verses we really want to focus on as we strive to Live Legacy.

One area that proved to be a really big, and somewhat unexpected, area for us was that of our physical health. These are the resolutions we came up with for physical health:

  1. Physically, We Resolve to:
    1. Put things in our bodies that give us energy and focus, so that we can make the most of each moment. (Genesis 9:3, 1 Corinthians 10:31,
    2. Celebrate the gift of pleasure by occasionally eating things for enjoyment, but do not make food the focus of celebrations or emotions, or let it prove to be an area where we lack discipline and self-control. (Proverbs 15:7, Proverbs 25:27, John 6:27, Galatians 5:22-23)
    3. Push ourselves in physical exercise in order to set a tangible example for how hard we must train in all areas of life. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
    4. Rest as God designed it. (Genesis 2:2-3, Mark 6:31)

For us, we couldn’t believe how much physical health influenced our ability to love people and serve the Lord well. Making these resolutions has led us to rethink the way we eat, exercise, and rest. I’m so excited to share more details of how we live legacy in our physical health.

“I can do ALL things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13: this is the verse Brent chose as our “verse of the week.” It’s not a hard one  to memorize, which has actually been nice because I’ve been spending the past couple days really meditating on it and mulling it over in my mind.

I used to think people “over-spiritualized” everything.  I would hear people talk about how losing weight was a spiritual battle or how they  prayed about what kind of dishwasher to buy and I would think “God does not care what kind of dishwasher you buy.” But then, as I got out on my own and realized that I ate food when I was stressed instead of running to the Lord and I started trying to figure out how God wanted me to spend my money, I realized that God does care about those things–that in fact, EVERYTHING is spiritual. 

So today, as I mull over our verse for the week, I am realizing that “ALL things” really does mean ALL THINGS. The big stuff and the hard stuff and the traditionally spiritual stuff, and also the small stuff and the daily stuff and the things I wouldn’t normally think about.

We can do ALL things.

B can do the early mornings and the long days and the late nights.

I can maintain a work/life balance.

We can live with an uncertainty about the future.

B can lead our family.

I can submit to Brent.

Brent can work and study and prepare.

We can manage our finances in a way with which the Lord is pleased.

We can live without fear, knowing God has us in a home he picked for us.

We can do ALL the things!!

But why do we fail? Because we’re trying to do ALL things through our own strength. I’m trying to keep an orderly home and be successful at work and run a great cheer program and keep a healthy body and memorize Scripture and maintain great friendships through Rachel’s strength. And Brent is trying to lead our family and study for tests and apply for school and work all the hours and maintain a healthy body through Brent’s strength. And we fail.

We can ALL things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.

We can do NO thing WITHOUT CHRIST who strengthens me.

Daily, moment by moment, we are learning to lean on Christ, to gather all our strength and ability from Him and through our relationship with Him, knowing that then, we can do all things.

 

Monday Moments

I’ve been trying to focus on being in the moment lately, just really soaking up time this summer. Here’s some of my favorites from the past few weeks:

Moment #1: Brent turned 25 this year. G20140714-135904-50344229.jpgosh, I love that man. We celebrated with all his favorite foods at my parents the day before, then he went to breakfast with his best bro on the big day. After a quick lunch meeting for me, we put Baby B in the car and headed out to my in-laws. We spent the weekend at their cabin, mostly just relaxing and eating A LOT. It wasn’t a huge celebration, but B loves family and friends, so it was a perfect weekend for him. Plus the man’s love language is gifts, so he always loves his birthday. He got the Jawbone Up 24, moolah, and tickets to see Brian Regan next weekend.   Moment #2: Cheer Camp!! Cheer ca20140714-140933-50973800.jpgmp is this beautiful, exhausting experience, and I love it. It’s pretty much exactly what you think it would be, except harder. There are matching outfits and big bows and glitter and there is so.much. pep. Except you have to maintain all that pep while you throw a girl in the air over and over and over again and you’ll probably get punched in the face or dropped on the ground and you still have to smile.  My girls did so awesome–we made it a whole week with very minimal drama, they brought home some trophies and had a whole lot of fun. Love those girls. Moment #3: I feel like the most beautiful situations do not exist without some pain, they are brutally beautiful…”brutiful.” When I was little, all I wanted to do was be a wife and a momma. I am absolutely devoted to prioritizing my family and giving my husband, and eventually my kids, the very best part of me. But shut-the-front-door, it is hard!! These last few months, work has pulled a lot of my best out of me, leaving a tired, disheveled, frustrated wife to greet Brent when he gets home at night. I hate that, and it makes me angry, which just worsens the cycle. I’m working on choosing Brent, choosing relationships, choosing quiet, choosing solitude, choosing the best things God has for me, and letting go of things that don’t really matter. It makes sense for me to have a job outside the home right now, but it definitely complicates my priorities and goes against the desires of my heart.  But that’s not an excuse–it’s just where God has me right now, and I need to remember that He is my ultimate priority and when I focus on giving Him my whole heart, He will help me line up my priorities. I’m daily striving to put my heart and time in God’s hands, holding loosely to my life, trusting that He will carry the pieces that matter and He will drop the pieces that don’t. So grateful my life is not my own, so blessed to share it with Brent. 20140714-135906-50346594.jpgDrove through incredible storms on the way to Brent’s parents over his birthday weekend. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hand.” (Psalm 19:1). God is faithful and good and beautiful.

“For Such a Time As This”

For such a time as this career developing moment in B’s life, God called and chose me to be his helper, his organizer, his cheerleader, and his supporter.

For such a time as this moment when my mom’s eldest moves far away from her hug, God called and chose me to stay in this town and be her close-by baby a little longer.

For such a time as this moment when the organization lost a leader, God called and chose me to pick up the pieces and fill in the gaps so that they can keep moving forward.

For such a time as this health crisis dampening the splendor of a new life, God called and chose me to sympathize, listen, pray, and encourage a new mom and a dear friend.

For such a time as this new marriage, God called and chose me to walk alongside her as one just a few steps ahead of her.

For such a time as this man’s unexpected career choice, God called and chose me to edify and support this wife so that she can do the same for her husband.

For such a time as this in-between year, God called and chose me to write in the corner, as a hobby in the quiet so that I can use my gift for His glory alone and fill the other roles He has for me right now.

For such a time as this summer, God called and chose me to teach third grade Sunday school because I have the time and the heart to fill the need.

For such a time as this marriage, this friendship, this career, this home, this neighborhood, this church, this place, GOd called and chose you to be His hands and His feet, light for His gospel and glory.

Esther 4:14 “And who knows but that you have come to your (royal) position for such a time as this?”

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.