So Big, So Small

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“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call meTake me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine”

-Hillsong United, Oceans
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QR2KGmL50k
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Comparing God & NYC

{Trip 1, Trip 2, Trip 2, Trip 3}

{Nov Trip :: Feb Trip :: Feb Trip :: July Trip}

Today my husband and I are headed back to the Big Apple. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my parents are paying for our flights to go visit them. What a huge blessing! Well, as we head up today I can’t help but think back to the first time we visited the city together- the first time my husband EVER visited the city. It was exactly one year ago this week. To say my husband didn’t share my love for the city the first go around would be an understatement. He was okay with it, but he was definitely ready to go home at the end of the week. The second trip he learned to enjoy the city and by the third trip we were meeting with the apartment complex we planned on moving into. Almost everything was set. But as usual, The Lord’s timing is perfect and He shut the door on our  move to NYC- for now. Looking back, we are thankful for His obvious direction. Looking forward, I cannot wait to share with you why He closed that door. But today, my mind and my heart are in the city. So let’s go back to some pictures I took in July and to a post I wrote a year ago. A post that compares our Heavenly Father and the Big Apple.

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“This week my husband and I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend the week in New York City visiting my parents. Yes, that is right- we get to see the Macy’s day parade first hand! And it is hubbys first time to the Big Apple!

New York has been one of my favorite cities since the first time my mom and I came to visit when I was in eighth grade. Ever since then my mother and I have visited the city at least once a year as our mother daughter trip. I was even blessed with the opportunity to live in and work in Manhattan one summer. Despite having visited countless times, the city never grows old to me. There is always something new just waiting to be discovered. Today I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the city. The buildings, the history, the culture. So many of the buildings are so old and the detailing is just breathtaking. As I walked down the streets of one of my favorite cities, holding my husbands hand, I couldn’t help but smile. (I either looked like such a tourist or a complete looney-toon).

Today as we were walking I was really aware of how quickly the locals walk through the streets and just how little they look around. It’s as though they have become so used to the magnificence of the city that they fail to recognize how truly beautiful and wonderful it is. There are so many hidden details and beauties. Even a New Yorker (born and raised) could never experience all of the intricate details that make this city so special. When I began to recognize how intricate and beautiful the city was, I could not help but be impacted!  I felt so small in such a big, beautiful city.

As I continued to think about this and pray, I began to realize that all of us are (to some extent) in the same boat. Not necessarily with our city, but with our God. We have each become so used to God’s magnificence and how truly beautiful He is, that we walk around without giving Him glory and praise. We need to look around and allow his magnitude to impact us. We must recognize how small we are compared to Him.

Today as you walk around, try noticing at least 5 beautiful things that the Lord put in your path this day. It may be something you see every day but never spend the time to notice or something completely new. Life is a beautiful gift and our God is omnipotent.”

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Searching for Adventure

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Anyone else enjoying the fall? Confession- I traditionally don’t care for the fall. While the changing leaves are beautiful- the cooler weather always reminds me that winter is around the corner… And winter and I are not best friends. But this fall is a little different. The cool air blowing in this season is also blowing in new possibilities and new adventures. And the Lord is teaching me to embrace it all. This fall has been filled with laughter, dancing, hard work, joy, trials, and abundant blessings. The cool, overcast weather has been surprisingly liberating! My husband and I are rejoicing in His goodness, overwhelmed by His timing, dancing in His grace, and basking in His adventures!

Recently the Lord has been teaching me a lot about adventures. As an individual who is always ready to visit a new city or new country I have always envisioned adventure as being an act of going somewhere. But the Lord is teaching me that each day, right where I am, is an adventure. We are called to live bold, meaningful lives. And the more we embrace the lives He has given us, the more glory is pointed back to Him. Adventure is a state of heart. We must program our hearts and our minds to wait expectantly for where God leads. We must pray big prayers and wait to see how the Lord fulfills them.

So this fall we are being intentional about studying Jesus and what His life looked like. As Christians we are called to turn away from my old fleshly desires and to follow Christ- to emulate Christ (Acts 3:19). That is an adventure. One step at a time, each day as it comes. Every morning starts a new page in your story with new adventures to be experienced. In November I am choosing to look for the adventures in each day.

Has anyone had any adventures recently?

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The Fun Lifestyle

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What is life about? The other day one of my coworkers and I were talking. She had just gotten off the phone and stated, “sometimes I think people just forget what life is about.” And you know what, she is right. Often times I am guilty of forgetting what life is about too. I get caught up in the routine of the day and forget my main purpose.

Over the past few months the Lord has really put Thailand on my heart {why thailand? i’m not sure… asia has never been high on my bucket list of places to visit}. But after doing a little bit of reading the Lord has used the Thai culture to teach me. For those of you who don’t know {aka people like me} Thailand is known as the ‘Land of Smiles.’ In everyday life Thais’ put a strong emphasis on the concept of ‘sanuk,’ the idea that life should be fun. They also deal with disagreements, mistakes, or other problems by saying “mai pen rai” (translated ‘it doesn’t matter’). Thais’ shrug off less-than-ideal situations by simply recognizing that in the scheme of life, it doesn’t matter. A smile and the sentence “mai pen rai” indicate that an incident is not important and therefore there is no conflict or shame involved. They forgive and move on.

The Word tells us that Christ came so that we can have life, and have it to the fullest {John 10:10}. I believe that if we are living life to the fullest, as Yahweh intended for us to live, life should be fun! We should embrace the “mai pen rai” way of thinking because life is too short to let the little things bother us. And can you imagine the ministry opportunities? If I saw someone with a smile on their face 90% of the time, who emphasized the idea of ‘sanuk,’ and ‘mai pen rai’ I would want to know what made them different. Can you imagine how brightly the light of Christ would shine?

Life is about Christ {2 Cor 5:17}. We are called to live for Him {Gal 2:20}. We are called to be imitators of Him {Eph 5:1-2}. We are called to be joyful always {1 Thess 5:16-18}. We need to forgive one another as we have been forgiven {Col 3:13}.

I am going to embrace the Thai ‘sanuk’ lifestyle and “mai pen rai” way of thinking!

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Lemon & Lavender

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{yes, I did blur out most of our address. I did leave some for you to see the pretty fonts!}

Last week I  received a sweet little package in the mail from Ashley LaRue of Lemon & Lavender! The timing could not have been better (right after our one year anniversary and a couple days before my birthday)! Because of her sweet package my man and I now have a lovely stamp with our names and address on it to add to all of my letters. Could the font be any prettier!? You can purchase your own here! Or purchase it as a wedding gift for your soon-to-be Mr & Mrs friends or give it as a house warming gift for those who just got a new address- as if you actually needed an excuse to pick one of these up! 😉 She also included a set of her Seahorse Ikat Note cards and a few other goodies that I love! I’m so excited about all of the new cards I acquired over the course of the past couple of weeks!  If you haven’t already, you MUST go visit her shop. Her custom designed stationary & invitations are incredible! And she is about to have her third precious little one before moving back to Africa! You definitely want to go follow her adventures! Thank you Ashley! Praying for you sister belle!

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Savor September Goals

Happy September!! Can you believe fall is around the corner?! While I am not sure if I am actually ready to say good-bye to summer and hello to cooler weather, I am excited for #SavorSeptember (inspired by the lovely Lara Casey). If you follow me on instagram then you have probably seen quite a few #IntentionalAugust hashtags. August was all about being intentional and while I do want to continue being intentional, September is all about savoring the moment. Ann Voskamp says “hurry always makes us hurt…hurry empties our souls.” So this month I don’t want to hurry, I want to savor every moment.

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Right now the Lord is teaching me to be content where I am at. While my heart & my head think that I am ready for the next step, change, or big move… the Lord clearly thinks knows otherwise. I’m thankful that His timing is always good, perfect, and beautiful. But I would really like a little bit more of a glimpse into the future. I am overwhelmingly thankful for the little steps He has given us {& the incredible excitement we have} and the options we are seeing in the future… but I am also so anxious to see what our next step will officially be. So as I am in this season of waiting & learning I will focus on what I do know and what I can do. Voskamp reminds us that “they say time is money, but that’s not true. Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find fullest time.” This month I want to live life to the fullest and savor every moment. So here are a few of my goals for September.

1.)    Pray more. Pray for direction. Pray for relationships. Pray for a stronger desire to know/seek Him. Pray to be a better wife. Pray for opportunity. Pray for contentment. Pray for those who will surround us in our next step. You get the gist… I want to pray without ceasing!

2.)    Spend more time with others. By the end of the week I am exhausted. I know, I’m not the only one who works 8-5. But being a newlywed who still wants to spend 100% of my time by my man’s side, who works 8-5, is working towards finishing grad school, and is working on one other bit of work {exciting, but still work none the less- more to come in a few weeks!!}… life is pretty busy. But we are called to be in the world and to be intentional with our relationships. I want to spend more time investing in others. And savor that time.

3.)    Workout more consistently. Not necessarily more, just consistently.

4.)    Savor every moment. I truly believe this will help me as the Lord teaches me to be content. I almost titled this one ‘Find contentment,’ but opted to stick to the ‘savor September’ theme. My current struggle is that I yearn to be by the sea (like literally, living a bike ride from the beach) and serving/traveling/living internationally. I yearn for culture. Why is my heart overseas right now? I’m not 100% sure. The Lord has just put this incredible desire in my heart that I can’t seem to put into words. There is something bigger out there; it just isn’t that time for Him to reveal what that ‘thing’ is. Until then I must savor every moment where I am and be more then content. His timing, not mine.

5.) Be intentional with my time. When I think about time in terms of it being life (rather than in terms of time being money) I realize just how important my minutes are. If time is life, then I want to fill my time (my life) with what matters most. Jesus. Family. Pouring into others. Loving on others. Being Brave. Savoring every second. That is the life I want to live.

How are you going to savor September?

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Scavenger Hunts & Pretty Papers

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Words can hardly explain how full my heart is right now. This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our first year of marriage!! {I am still in complete shock that it has already been a year!} As many of you may know, each year of marriage has a specific gift theme. Year one is paper. I seriously struggled with this one. We have enough décor so I didn’t want to have something made {or make something} to hang. No gift seemed good enough. My husband on the other hand, knew the perfect gift! Even Pinterest didn’t give me this idea!

The morning began with a letter from my husband inviting me on a ‘walk down memory lane.’ {For those of you who don’t know, our first ‘date’ was a morning walk while working at a kamp– yes with a ‘k.’}  On the scavenger hunt he brought us back to memories from when we first met and brought us forward to some of our future plans. He used everything from pictures, letters, items from the past, gifts, streamers, gondolas, Eiffel Towers, and more- how awesome is he? It was seriously incredible. {Who knew you could take a trip to Paris, Italy, London, & Dallas all in a 24 hour period? 😉 } By the end of the scavenger hunt we found ourselves back in our kitchen with a picnic basket full of goodies for our getaway, packed bags, and a few gifts left to be opened. {More on our getaway later}

As if the scavenger hunt and sweet little notes along the way didn’t fulfill the ‘paper’ gift enough, he also had beautiful custom monogram cards made for me! {The picture really doesn’t do them justice}. He even included wax and a letter ‘A’ stamp to seal the envelopes with. The gift could not have been more perfect- specifically because I love snail mail and writing letters. I seriously write at least a letter a week. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t love receiving a goodie in the mail?! I know I do!

Best. Idea. Ever!! I would recommend this idea to anyone!

{I didn't realize how poorly my pictures turned out until I started looking through them... These don't do his hard work justice}

{I didn’t realize how poorly my pictures turned out until I started looking through them… These don’t do his hard work justice. He pulled out a ton of details from our wedding day!}

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Anniversary Trip

Happy Thursday! A couple of weeks ago my husband and I snuck away for a long weekend in NYC. While my parents do live there, they were actually in Hershey, Pennsylvania for most of the time we were there- but we did get to spend one day with them!

My husband and I had been trying to come up with something fun to do for our anniversary and realized NY would be an exciting trip. After some talking we decided to head out to the city earlier than our anniversary so my husband could experience NYC in the summer- the true summer. It was so much fun to explore the city hand-in-hand with my best friend. Here is a little glimpse into our long weekend.

Any suggestions for our next trip to the city?
It looks like we might head out for Thanksgiving!

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Messy Bits

For as long as I can remember summers have been filled with family, friends, Kanakuk, Saturday’s waffles of wisdom led by my dad, the lake, and traveling.  Thinking back to previous memories has made me quite nostalgic for summer vacations spent in various European cities, Morocco, and many other beautiful countries. As my Husband and I have begun talking about our future trips (and by future I mean we have not made any definitive plans, just dreamed and made loose plans) to other countries we have begun watching every movie we own that takes place over sees and across the pond. One of my favorites is ‘Letters to Juliet.‘  While I love that whole movie, there is one line that specifically stands out to me.

“Life is the messy bits…”

I love this. As a very goal oriented person I sometimes find myself living in the future and not embracing the here and now. I want to see the end goal. But this line from ‘Letter’s to Juliet’ is a beautiful reminder. Life is the messy bits… not just the final result (Tweet This)

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