Tag Archives: life

Words for Your Weekend #1

No, I didn’t make a mistake- you’re seeing correctly! I meant to get this out last weekend! I am starting something brand new!! For everyone that has stuck with me this far when I have been pretty inconsistent with my blog, I just want to say a HUGE thank-you!!! You have been so very patient and kind.

Words for Your Weekend will come out every Saturday. It’s just like a newsletter but in video format. I will update you with all the things, give announcements, and share a word of encouragement! I will also put the links under the videos for you to find stuff! Oh, and normally videos will not be this long! It’s just my first one so I had much to say!!

Hope you are encouraged!!

Video Part 1

In this video below, I have a special announcement at the end!

Video Part 2

Also…. how can I pray for YOU? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Fearless Retreat in Houston

MOPS Brownsville

ChannelMom Interview

Lone Star Pacesetters Duathlon 2017

Music: Kim Walker By My Side // Jesus Culture Love Has a Name // Hillsong Wonder

If you decide to order your groceries from Wal-Mart, use this code for a $10- coupon! $10.00 Coupon

Bible Study- Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

My new Instagram series started this week! To follow, go to Instagram-spiritualpassion

Thank you again for following along on this crazy journey!! Have a blessed week! I’ll see you back here Saturday!!

2 Cor. 12:9- Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Do something that scares you a little- Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

 

Your Life is a Gift

Celeste podcast
About two years ago, the Lord put it on my heart to start a podcast. And I’ve been thinking and praying about it ever since! At the beginning of the year I felt like it was time to start. Here’s Podcast #1- Your Life is a Gift. And we hope to have them up on Itunes by next week so you can subscribe. I will start writing every Monday and Podcasting every Wednesday. This is new to me, so it is a work in progress! They will usually last between 7-10 minutes. It’s a way to get a dose of weekly encouragement, and to be challenged to be all that God has called us to be (Your best brave). So grab a cup of coffee and your journal, and enjoy! (Would love to hear your feedback- feel free to comment and share!)

The Day-to-Day Stuff is It

family“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

“Oh nothing as exciting as you …just the day to day stuff…” That’s what my uncle said as we were catching up. I told him, “I promise my life is not that exciting right now.” But after we hung up the phone I was thinking… “Does my life ‘sound’ like it’s so exciting that it makes others feel like theirs is just so ‘ordinary’? I must admit, on Facebook I like to post fun get-togethers and outings…I do.  When I update people or post pictures, I don’t show pictures of me struggling or us waiting to figure out what God is doing in our lives. I don’t post or share the inadequacies I feel at times as a parent and the many (many) ways I’ve dropped the ball.

I have been guilty of looking at posts or pictures thinking, “Wow, life looks like a party over there.”  Or, “Wow, traveling and speaking all the time, now there’s the gig!” But let’s be real honest for a moment, shall we? There are things and events that happen that give us stuff to look forward to and share with our friends and family. That’s a part of life; a small piece in the life puzzle. But something in what my uncle said struck a cord with me.

I have come to realize that the normal, day-to-day stuff is the stuff that makes life. Someone’s vacation is great, but that’s maybe once or twice a year. Speaking and traveling if you’re called to it is wonderful, but you don’t see the amount of hours and preparation that went into the day-to-day before that one big event happened. I am convinced that our day-to-day stuff is the real meat of life. And the sooner we embrace our day-to-day every-days, the sooner we will realize just how rich life is.

Working and being a part of the tribe that you work with, learning the ins and outs of their lives as they learn yours. Baseball games. Parks. Coffee dates. Walks. Making family memories. Movie nights. Bonfires. Meetings. Classes. Breaking bread together. Game night. Playing dress up & tea party. Going swimming. A picnic. Watching a child play sports. BBQ with friends. Baby showers. Weddings. The people we let in who begin to become part of our story. It’s the people in the day-to-day stuff that matter. The everyday, ordinary, real life stuff is what makes the journey joyful- if we realize it. The hard part is to be in the moment instead of always waiting for the next ‘big thing’. Guys, this is it.

I have another uncle in California (I have a lot of family in California). He doesn’t have a lot of money, but his life is so rich. He’s spent his life investing in people- sewn costumes, shown up for plays, shows up for sporting events, takes pictures for people, records music for family, and the list goes on. I look at his life and think, he gets something that so many of us miss. He’s invested in the real, day-to-day stuff. I’m not always great at this, but God has been working on me. The Lord has been asking me “Will you just show up?” You know, be all there. Be in the moment and hold this moment for what it is. When you see it through God’s eyes, the day-to-day, ordinary stuff is truly holy ground.

I was telling some girlfriends the other day about our beautiful, ordinary night. We went to Academy Sports Store and bought a soccer ball & some cones. Exciting, right? And then we went home and played soccer as a family in the backyard. It was so fun! And then my husband lit a fire in our fire pit. I looked out the window and saw my husband and my teenage daughter just relaxing by the fire. Then we finished the evening off by making smores. Nothing extravagant- just a beautiful, ordinary night. And I think sometimes we miss those moments because in our society, we seem to always need something to look forward to- more. But truth is, most of our lives are lived out in the day-to-day stuff.

My brother in law has cancer and has been undergoing chemo for the past 8 months. Ya’ll, what he and his wife wouldn’t give to just have some ordinary day-to-day stuff going on. What he wouldn’t do to just go to work and come home and have dinner or spend quality time with friends and family. Please, don’t take your every day life for granted. Invest in people. Always. Every time. You will never go wrong investing your time and energy into friends and family.

Let us love deeply and drink up the ordinary. Let us be there for one another, and embrace our day-to-day, sometimes messy, sometimes clumsy, sometimes stressful, ordinary, holy life.

Lord, I pray that you would help us to realize that the big things really are the little things. Each day is a gift from You. Help us not take it for granted. Remind us that we’ll never get this day back. Help us to embrace our ordinary, because it’s in that ordinary day that you open our eyes to see the extra, to make it extra ordinary. And Lord, sometimes when we’re going through something hard, we just want to get through the day. Would you show us that you’re with us, send people our way, and even in little things, remind us that You’re in this day. In Jesus name, amen.

 “That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.” ~Russell from UP

 

Authentic Faith 2014

2014-2

Happy New Year!! Okay, so I know most people post their new years blog on the 1st, but I like to be different! I had been praying at the end of the year for my ‘word’ for the coming year. I know surrender is one of my words, but I knew there was something else. Then as my husband and I were driving on New Years Eve to my brother/sister in laws house I got it. Authentic Faith.

A life following after Jesus is not perfect. It’s actually quite messy. We mess up, we make mistakes, we loose our temper, and we can become easily distracted. But His mercies are new for us every morning! We have financial stresses just like everybody else. The difference between us and those who don’t know Jesus yet is that we have a Savior who walks beside us and gives us wisdom and teaches us self-control. Our families go through sickness just like other families, we just happen to serve a powerful God who can heal us if He so chooses- but He is also ever present, walking with us during our sickness. He is always with us.

In the past, women, especially those in ministry, have worked hard to maintain an image that if you follow Jesus, well, then everything is perfect. Perfect home, perfect image, perfect kids, perfect life- problem is, that image couldn’t be farther from the truth. You see, that image not only leaves us frustrated and disappointed, but also feeling like we can’t measure up. We can’t live up to the image of the perfect Christian that we’ve tried so hard to maintain. And for others watching our lives, they feel like they must be doing something wrong and they feel like failures as a Christian. They see our Facebook life and ‘think’ we have it all together. Truth is, most of the time, we just really enjoy sharing our victories with others or our favorite photos. That doesn’t mean life doesn’t carry its share of trials.

Make no mistake about it, we do not have it all together, for I fear if we did we would not need Jesus so desperately. We all have our issues. We have messes all around us- kids that throw tantrums, kids that have entitlement issues, days when our marriages are less than perfect, fears about if we’re even doing this parenting thing right, hoping we’re not messing up our kids. Some of you reading this have even cried yourself to sleep recently because, as I said before, life is messy.

We are entering a new year. I believe this is a year of authentic faith. What is authentic faith? It’s a faith that is real, transparent, lived out in front of believers and non-believers alike. Many of us have had disappointments from the previous year. If you’re breathing and you have a pulse (and I hope you do), I am sure there have been a few. And when I say authentic faith, I’m not saying to go around telling anyone available all of your deepest life problems. As Christians, we are to pray for wisdom. And God will guide and direct us to other solid Christians we can share our struggles with. But authentic is real. Its ‘welcome to my beautiful messy life’.

Living a life of authentic faith points us, all of us, to something that the world is desperately trying to find- hope. The opposite of despair is hope. And as a follower and friend of Jesus, we can have hope. Hope in God that He will restore and make all things new. We have hope in a Savior that has promised to walk with us no matter what we go through. He is near to the brokenhearted. No matter what the enemy tries to throw at us, my God has the final say and the last Word! And on the other side of this mountain He will take us to a place where there’s no more tears, no more pain, and no more suffering. I pray that by living a life of authentic faith, I just might be able to take a few people with me. Not fake, but real. Real is refreshing. There is freedom in our stories, and our stories make up who we are. People can relate to that much more than us having it all together.

The number one enemy of authentic faith is fear of man. What will people think? What if I write something that people criticize? What if I share my struggles and people don’t think I have enough faith? What if… what if… what if. There will always be more than enough ‘what-ifs”. Here’s a couple of scriptures to help you with being worried about what people think (fear of man)-

Acts 5:29 I am a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser. I obey God before man.

1 Cor. 4:3-4 I am not controlled by what people think of me. As long as God is satisfied with me I am satisfied.

Gal. 1:10- I don’t try to be popular with people. All I want to do is the will of God.

I don’t want to tip-toe around, always worried about what others think. I want to use my gifts, talents, and abilities to live for the Lord. If that means writing something that doesn’t get very many comments, then I will write for the sake of the gift and craft God has given me. Life isn’t a popularity contest, although I will admit, it feels like it at times. Being authentic is truly honoring the person that God has made you to be. The good , the bad, and the ugly. It means that we stop comparing ourselves with how everyone else is doing it, and we do things the way we feel like God has called us to do things- for us, for our families, for our friends, and for our lives. Authentic; real; transparent; refreshing.

So who’s with me in this New Year of 2014?! Together we truly can be a light to a dark place. Let’s show others that though we don’t have it all together, we know Someone who does!

Lord, Help me to walk out my faith in this coming year. Messy houses, messy kids, messy cars, messy lives- but You Lord can turn a mess into a masterpiece! It is my hearts desire to put You first in this new year and I know that everything else in my life will flow from that. I am so over trying to act like I have it all together, because that’s not real. But what’s real is that You’ve promised to carry me through all that I go through. And You can even surprise me with joy when I least expect it. I pray that as I encounter obstacles, challenges, and even heartaches in this new year, that I would face those obstacles standing on Your Word, spending time in Your presence, and just seeking You. Let Your Word be a light to my path in the coming new year.

In Jesus name, amen!

 John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

The Struggle

Sun Rising over Lake Tochigi-ken, Japan

This struggle

This fight to survive

A place at times so challenging

We wonder if we’ll make it out alive

A place so deep

And so intense

Our emotions keep telling us to run

And hide near the fence

But we fight

And we thrust

Because this life is worth it

And we must

Lord, I stop running

And trying to push it down

I fight for this life

And I aim for the crown

My only request as I freefall into the deep

Is that you would give me the strength to live fully aware

My soul not to sleep

Through it all, change must take place

My heart cannot stay untouched

In this crazy race

Transform me, and change me

And make me more like You

Allow me to feel every pain, every joy- until you’re through

Because on the other side is a joy so real, and a love so deep

That those emotions cannot be obtained

Until I’ve awakened from my sleep

Whatever it takes, however hot the fire

I’m so over going through the motions

It is You I desire.

 

 I fight for the light to stay on in the dark, because in the end, if that means You, I will cry out from the depths of my soul- it is well. Whatever the cost, it is well with my soul.

 

 

 

 

Lessons on the Run

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.”
-Les Brown

My running lately has been very up and down. Sometimes I run. Sometimes I don’t. Ironic thing is, I love it. Not every single moment. But love the feeling, especially when I’m done. It just feels good. Sweat dripping off my face, heart rate going through the roof, God downloading to me messages through the music.

Today was no different just a quick 20-minute run. I even caught myself tearing up through Black Eyed Peas “I got a Feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good good night” (Hey, don’t judge, it gets me running! And I once heard Shelia Walsh came out on a Harley to that song!). Needless to say, I can’t write out everything God showed me on that run, because some was personal, but He gave me some lessons through the run I wanted to share.

I had already planned on it being a short run, with all I have on my plate today. And I allowed myself to have an easy run, because after all, I haven’t been running a lot lately. The Lord asked me if I could run fast and hard even if just past one house. Would I allow myself a little discomfort instead of always letting myself off the hook? Okay Lord- but just one house. I ran hard, through the grunting and discomfort, I actually ran myself hard past several houses.

Lesson #1- Spend time with the Lord, even if it’s been a while. Just like our work out routine can sometimes feel like a roller coaster, our time with the Lord can too. But don’t let that stop you from pressing in and pressing on! I’ve heard people say, “Why start working out now, it’s been years?” One day is better than no days! You have to start somewhere. Take a few minuets today to read His Word and hang out with Him. Don’t listen to that voice that says it’s been too long, what’s the point? You will be so glad you did!

Lesson #2- God wants to use you. He wants you to be able to push yourself sometimes to see what you can really do. I knew the Lord was with me. I knew it was something He was telling me to do. That’s key. Don’t step out unless you feel like it’s him pushing you out of the boat.

I then was telling myself I was just going to do a quick run, so I saw my house ahead and was mentally preparing to stop. The Lord asked me if I could just do one more block. I knew I had not run to my full potential, but I was okay with that, because, after all, I had much to do. The Lord said again, “Will you do just one more block?” “Okay, but I’m really okay with being done.” So I did one more block, which turned in to one more, which turned in to… you guessed it, one more.

Lesson #3- Don’t take easy street. Sometimes we get so use to letting our self off the hook and taking the easy, comfortable road that we never really see God’s full potential in us. He showed me this morning that the things He has for me are far greater than anything I could ever imagine, but I’ve got to stop letting myself be okay with all of my many excuses. “I’m too tired. It’s too hard. It’s too uncomfortable. There are so many people already doing what I feel called to do, am I really even needed? Maybe I’m just making these things up in my head and I should just be happy with where I am at and stay here.” He never calls us to easy and comfortable- but He has promised that He will fulfill the desires of our hearts. Psalms 37:4- Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. And will this journey be pain free? John 16:33- I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

What is it that the Lord’s been asking you to do that might be uncomfortable? Are there steps that He is asking you to take that will require a dying to self and a sacrifice? Are there dreams in your heart that you have specifically asked, “Lord, if this is not from you, please take this cup from me” but still find those dreams burning with in you? The Lord is asking you today, “Will you run the extra mile?” “Will you go the distance?” “Will you keep going even when you’re a little bit uncomfortable?” “Will you trust me and run this race just a little bit more and see what I can do though you?” And ultimately, “Will you trust me?”

 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us- Hebrew 12:1

Painful Life Lessons

boredom

“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.”

Intentions: noun. A thing intended; an aim or plan.

I used to think all my good intentions should count for something, right? I mean, I really will at some point have that couple over for dinner. At least, I hope so. And I really will call that girl that’s been on my heart and see if we can meet up for coffee just as soon as things slow down.

What? Things don’t really slow down?

How do we change good intentions from a noun to a verb–an action? How do we allow our thoughts to move from a good thought to the actual doing? Hate to over-simplify, but if it’s important to us (which people should be), we’re going to have to fit them in. We need to make a conscious decision to stop ‘thinking’ about it and actually take the steps necessary to make it happen.

Have you ever said to someone, “We need to have y’all over for dinner.” But days come and go, and it never happens. Or then there are times when you do actually have someone over and you’re stressed out, running around like a mad person. And they come and you really enjoy the company, and when they leave, you look at your spouse and say, “That was so nice; we really need to do this more.”

When I moved here just over a year ago, I was looking forward to the new possibilities of getting to spend time with all my family here. We’ll hang out, go out to eat, watch movies, etc. etc. It will just be one big party. Okay, not exactly, but I knew having family close would really be nice.

Someone in particular I really felt like I needed to connect with was my cousin Laura. But as you know, life gets busy. Between working Monday through Friday, three kids, football and many church commitments, I didn’t get to see her very much. I always loved seeing her during the holidays or at baby showers. She recently moved to a beach condo and we talked of bringing the kids by to swim at her pool. We would talk (good intentions) about getting together for a run or something, but it just never happened.

Last Thursday night we received a phone call from my husband’s mom. It is a phone call I will never forget. We learned that night that my beautiful sweet cousin had passed. I’m not going to lie; even as I write this, I’m still in shock. She was 22, with her whole life in front of her. And the record that continues to play in my head sounds like this: I just thought I had more time. I just thought we had more time.

As I look back, I’ve had to learn some painful lessons. It hurts. To come to grips with the reality that I could have, would have, or should have.

Painful Lesson# 1: Jesus loved people. He has called us to love His people. NEVER ever take a person for granted and just ‘expect’ that they will be there forever. Do the people that God has placed in your life know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love them unconditionally and that they matter to you? In James we are reminded of how short this life really is.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14 (NIV)

This week has been a painful reminder that we truly never know how long our time is here on this earth.

Painful Lesson #2: All my good intentions are the same as not having any intentions. We need to live our lives on purpose. I’m starting to take notes. I’m going back to all my intentions, almost like an intention bucket list. Who did we say we are going to invite over recently? I’m writing it down, and going to make it happen. I’m taking notes the next time I say, “We really need to meet up.” Even with my kids. I can’t tell you how many times I say, “I really want to start …” Write it down. If it’s important, make it happen. Show people and your family that they are a priority to you.  Sometimes we get caught up on the temporary–and we miss out on the eternal.

Painful Lesson #3: The best present you could ever give someone is to be present. Live in the moment. As you learn not to take people for granted and to live your life on purpose, be present. The best friend someone could be is the friend who will turn off the TV (unless of course you’re watching a movie together), put down the cell phone (I promise Twitter and Facebook will still be there later), and just be present. Have you ever heard those sweepstakes commercials that say, “Must be present to win”? Well, it’s true in life also.  

We are given no promises for tomorrow. What will you do with today?

Lord, as we come before You today, would You forgive us for not treating others as sacred human beings that are made in Your image? We get lazy; we get comfortable. Help us to truly see the frailty of life and the gift in today. Help us to not take each other for granted but to love extravagantly, as You love us. Help us to turn our good intentions into actions. You, Lord, are ever so present with us–help us to live that way with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Storm of the Century

MP900178446         

I was on the balcony, overlooking the ocean- book in hand. Out of nowhere, a thunderous downpour. The sky turned gray as the clouds rolled in. People were running to find shelter. After about five minutes, the rain completely stopped, and a ray of sunshine broke through the clouds.
The Lord reminded me of many times where I wondered if there would ever be sunshine again in my life. All seemed dark, with shelter no where in sight. Some of you might feel like you are in the storm of the century. Hold on- The Son will break through your darkness and you will see His ray of Son-shine again. And don’t forget where to run when the rain hits hard. You can run under the shelter of the Almighty. Rainy days and dark skies might be here today, but they will not last forever. Run to our Heavenly Father. He’s waiting with open arms to be your shelter in the storm.

Psalm 91:1-
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 32:7-
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.