filthy rich

I’m reading a book.  And it’s rocking my world. I’d heard the name Jen Hatmaker and her book 7 about a year ago, but never dove in.  Until some of my friends and I started reading books together.  And it began…..

My wonderful parents raised us to be thankful people who didn’t have a sense of entitlement.  I can to this day almost hear their voices saying, “Compared to the rest of the world, we are rich.”  And I always agreed with them!  We didn’t live frivolously or aimlessly spend money, we ate many meals at home, had to choose whether we were going to take dance class OR play soccer, and overall I feel I could say my sisters and I are pretty wise with our money.  It’s so easy to compare myself to others (the bane of my existence actually!) and often times it takes its form in me “noticing” others who have more than I do.  As I look around in our American culture I can have those feelings of unfairness bubble up inside me when, for example, I compare my teacher salary with other people who I deem “work way less than I do.”

So I’m reading this book….and on page 3 Jen writes “How can I be socially responsible if unaware that I reside in the top percentage of wealth in the world?  (You probably do too:  Make $35,000 a year?  Top 4 percent.  $50,000?  Top 1 percent.)  Excess has impaired perspective in America.”

WHAT???  She is exactly right!  With my current salary I am in the top 4 percent of the wealth in the world.  Whhhhoooooooooaaaa.  That number hit me like a ton of bricks.  How could I have been so unaware.  Top 4 percent????  Top 4 percent.  4??  I’m sorry….it’s still boggling my mind.

How do I process that?  It definitely connects with what the Lord has been teaching me about thankfulness, but to a whole new level.  Hmmmmm….I feel like I’m just warming up….ok Lord….what are you teaching me??  I’m sure there will be more to come on this….I’m only just starting her book.

Oh…PS…Jen Hatmaker…..hilARious.  I literally laugh out loud about four times each time I read a section of her book.  She reminds me of my friend Angie.  There’s just nothing like a good laugh.  Thank You God for laughter.  🙂

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~forever eyes~

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Cancer, death, infertility, miscarriage, divorce, heartbreak.  This world is full of hardship and suffering.  I hesitate to even compare heartbreak I’ve experienced myself, knowing there is so much deeper pain out there.  Yet when I think about how much life can hurt, it makes me even more compassionate for those who have had to walk through even deeper things like the loss of a child.  As I grow older I realize how naive I have been to the reality of suffering in the world.  How blissful it is to be a child carried home wrapped in the loving arms of a strong dad.  The older I get (and I know I’m still so young) the more I experience and see reality of life on this earth.

What do we do with the hardships in this world?  What do we do when we experience suffering and it doesn’t go away?  What do we do during the healing process that can take so much longer than we ever thought it could?  What do we do when we begin to think about these things, and our minds and hearts become a downward spiral toward despair?

Look farther.

Not five years down the road…although that can be helpful in finding hope.  Not ten years from now….no not even fifty years will do.  We must look toward a time that we can barely even comprehend.  A time that we cannot wrap our puny (yes I said puny) human minds around.

Look to forever.

I know what you’re thinking….here we go again, another girl trying to make me feel better about the next fifty years that feel like eternity by telling me about heaven.  But what if we really thought about the reality of that??  Forever.  That’s a long time.  🙂  And no…I’m actually not trying to make you “feel better.” I’m trying to find joy.  Joy that is deeper than the things of this world.

If I could compare even the smallest of my “sufferings” to the magnitude of eternity, they suddenly grow much smaller.  When processing some upcoming hard things I will have to walk through a friend of mine mentioned that it will be hard and I will have to discipline my mind.  And she’s right; discipline my mind to compare the present with eternity.  It focuses my heart, my mind, and my purpose.  It makes me yearn to live for so much more than just “reaching happiness” in this life….as if there were such a point one could get to.  Happiness is momentary.  Happiness can be gone in a blink of an eye.  Joy is eternal.  Joy comes from knowing that I, a selfish human being deserve nothing, but was given everything in the cross of Jesus.  Joy comes from knowing that compared to eternity with Jesus, this present worldly suffering is but a moment.

Jesus give me forever eyes.  The lens in which true joy is found.

Here are a few short videos that have rocked my world on this topic this year….

Francis Chan rope analogy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF_x8dsvb_4

God’s goodness in your pain:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7_E_fZGVrI

The art of celebrationg:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VamJCsYMFBg

27 things for turning 27

Small group on my 27th birthday....they surprised me with a cake!

Small group on my 27th birthday….they surprised me with a cake!

My age rounds up to 30… :/

I am a full grown adult

Having people guess my age 8 years younger than I am is not starting to be SO bad.

Job…check….apartment….check.

I know who I am so much more than I used to.

I know God so much more than I used to….I never could have imagined what it would be like to know Him like this.

I’ve been reading the Bible consistently and on my own for 15 years……whooooooooooaaaa….that’s nuts!!

I have waaaay more fashion sense than I used to.

I try new things.

I am so blessed with many friends….so many I can’t keep up with them all and it makes me sad.

I still wish there were 30 hours in a day.

I sing, I dance, I create.

I am now a blogger.  (In fifth grade I remember thinking I would like to be an author when I grew up.  Yes.)

I now TEACH fifth grade.

I’ve experienced heartache.

I have dreams.

I am an aunt!!

I’ve dyed my hair,

traveled to several different countries.

My mind is expanding to think about deeper and deeper things. The more I know the more I realize how much more there is to know.

I celebrate new years to come,

I mourn past years I can never go back to.

My heart continues to capture childlike thoughts.

I still love to play outside.

I am content,

learning to live in the moment of today…

hoping for a beautiful tomorrow.

 

 

 

I have a feeling about 27….I think it’s gonna be good.

First Days

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First Day of Teaching 1st Year Thoughts

  • I’m SO nervous!!  Eeeek!!
  • How did I get to be old enough to be a teacher instead of a student??
  • I have no idea what I’m doing
  • I hope they like me!
  • Breathe…just keep breathing…
  • I hope I’m ready
  • These students look so big!  Some of them are almost as tall as me!
  • Wow….you did not need to tell me I look like one of the students
  • I hope they think I’m funny
  • Oh shoot…I have to pee….I didn’t plan this!
  • I feel weird asking questions to my coworkers…they feel like strangers.
  • What am I gonna teach them tomorrow??
  • I don’t even remember this stuff!  I’m gonna have to reteach myself!
  • I love my kids.  I can’t wait to know them better.

First Day of Teaching 5th Year Thoughts

  • I’m feeling a few butterflies…I wonder if those will ever go away on the first day.
  • How did I get to be old enough to be a fifth year teacher??
  • What was it I did last year on the first day??
  • I’m ready for a new and fresh year
  • I think they like me too much….need to bring out the strict teacher in me.
  • They look so little compared to end of the year fifth graders!!
  • Wow.  I’m still getting told I look like a student.  Why yes I am old enough to be teaching your child.
  • This class doesn’t get my humor yet….but they will.  ; )
  • Bladder empty…check.
  • I’m so happy to be back with my coworkers…they are my family.
  • Remember my first year when I was so nervous?  Ha.  I feel so much more confident and ready.
  • How will I make tomorrow’s lesson better than last year?
  • Oh yes…I relearned this last year…now I can focus on the best way to teach it.
  • I love my kids.  I can’t wait to know them better.

Life-giver

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Here is an exercise and idea that one of my college mentors, Michael Brown developed that changed the way I interacted with people….

If you could spend 24 hours straight with one person you know in the world, who would it be?

If you were really sad and lonely, who would you want to call right away…simply to hear his or her voice?

Think of one person, someone that you totally admire, that you would want to be just like…who would that be?

What are some of the qualities of the people you thought of?

Michael proposed to us that these people we would think of would all possess characteristics of what he would call a “lifegiver.”

So what is a lifegiver?? I’m so glad you asked…

Life-Giver (not Life-Robber)

Loving
Intentional
Fun-Loving
Expressive
Giving
Inquisitive
Vigorous
Enthusiastic
Responsive

Best Qualities and Practices of a LIFEGIVER

Loving an individual means accepting them unconditionally, regardless of their behavior or beliefs.
Loving an individual means serving them and meeting their needs tangibly.
Loving an individual means caring about them, putting down your guard and letting your heart feel.
Loving an individual means showing love to them.
Being intentional with an individual means going to them, and not waiting for them to come to you.
Being intentional with an individual means hanging out in their world and on their turf.
Being intentional with an individual means moving close, making eye contact and engaging.
Being intentional with an individual means making that phone call, setting up that hang out time and stopping by their home.
Having fun with an individual means doing fun stuff with them, without an agenda.
Having fun with an individual means being their friend, just because.
Having fun with an individual involves spontaneity.
Having fun with an individual means laughing at their jokes, enjoying their quirks and celebrating their joys and successes.
Having fun with an individual means diving headfirst into their world of interests – taking risks and trying new things with them.
Being expressive with an individual is encouraging their strengths and unique contributions.
Being expressive with an individual is telling them how you feel about life – both the good and bad.
Being expressive with an individual is telling then how you feel about them and their friendship.
Being expressive with an individual is letting them see the emotions that flow from your pain and pleasure.
Being expressive with an individual means sharing life-words, with no expectation of verbal feedback.
Being generous with an individual means sacrificing your time to be with them.
Being generous with an individual means sharing your prized and precious possessions with them.
Being generous with an individual means being generous with your money.
Being generous with an individual means seeking out opportunities to meet tangible needs in their lives.
Being generous with an individual means mostly the willingness to give your heart away…with no safety nets in place.
Being inquisitive with an individual means being sincerely interested in other people.
Being inquisitive with an individual means rejecting passivity in conversations.
Being inquisitive with an individual infers a willingness to carry most of a conversation, until a certain level of comfortability is achieved.
Being inquisitive with an individual means not giving up on the quiet or socially awkward person.
Being inquisitive with an individual means taking risks to explore with them the deeper issues of life; talking about things that matter.
Being inquisitive with an individual means courageously asking very personal questions in a caring way.
Being inquisitive with an individual means understanding the importance of timing and tact.
Being inquisitive with an individual means asking intelligent, open-ended questions.
Being vigorous with an individual means persistence despite relational barriers.
Being vigorous with an individual means asking probing questions to uncover the root issues.
Being vigorous with an individual means responding to relational distance with expressive love.
Being vigorous with an individual means not shrinking back when conversations get tense.
Being vigorous with an individual means forging ahead even when friendship is not reciprocated.
Being vigorous with an individual means being the first to pursue resolving conflict or acknowledging relational tension.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means approaching each day with an optimistic outlook.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means running after them with your heart, not just your feet.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means being energetic and excitable when with them.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means laughing hard with them.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means giving your friendship with them your all.
Being responsive with an individual means being fully engaged when they are sharing with you.
Being responsive with an individual means learning to use the power of touch as relational glue.
Being responsive with an individual means maintaining great eye contact in conversation.
Being responsive with an individual means responding quickly to their initiative – either by phone, email or in person.
Being responsive with an individual means replacing that blank stare with an expressive and interested face.
Being responsive with an individual involves verbal and non-verbal responses – when they are speaking.
Being responsive with an individual means becoming a student of your friend…seeking to know and understand their ways.
Being responsive with an individual means picking up on their cues for help – and doing something about it.
Being responsive with an individual involves “rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn.”

This kind of thinking totally revolutionized the way I saw myself and who I wanted to be. Here’s some more of his thoughts that are a bit challenging and could be hard to swallow…

Why Lifetakers aren’t often Lifegivers:

You may be preoccupied with what other people think about you.
You care about people, but only to the degree that you get something out of them for your benefit.
Men: You may be insecure about your sense of masculinity.
Women: You may be trapped by comparison to other women.
You are self-absorbed, making life all about you!
You may have never seen lifegiving modeled in your upbringing and present-day experience.
You have the leaky bucket syndrome: your own heart may be so starving for love attention, that you have little to give others!

Now this idea of being a lifegiver actually comes from scripture.

In Matthew 10:39 Jesus says “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (NIV) or “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me” (Message).

See Jesus was the ultimate lifegiver. And if I am to follow after Him…then that’s the kind of person He is shaping me to be. As I reflect again on this idea, I am challenged by the kind of person I’ve been recently. Have I been giving life?? Hmmmm.

One thing Michael challenged us to do in college is this…be really bold and ask 3 people in your life who know you really well if you are more of a lifegiver or a lifetaker. Yikes! Could we be bold enough to hear the honest answer to that question.

Be encouraged. Be challenged. Join me in seeking out the lifegiver lifestyle??

Thanks Michael Brown for your thoughts!

The Year of Bravery!!

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Every so often I have seasons of my life that I give names to. It could be “the summer of rest and restoration,” or “the year from hell.” Last summer I did something a little different and started brainstorming a list of possible names for the year to come….

The year of freedom.
The year of hope.
The year of beauty.
The year of independence.
The year of “coulds.”
The year of me and Jesus. (Whoa corny!!)
The year Jesus’ power was made perfect in weakness.
The year of creativity.
The year I did.

But what I decided on was this: The year of bravery.

What started out as a goal of “being trendy” this year actually was an outpouring of what I desired God to heal me from. I used to be so afraid of what people thought of me, that I let it control me. All my actions, reactions, and choices were dominated by what I wanted people to think about me. And I was desperately afraid that if people knew the real me, they would just leave, or I would be less important to them. Because I was so controlled by worry and fear, I didn’t take risks or do what I wanted because I was held back by fear.

It also came out in what I wore. I would see something that was maybe “fashionably edgy” and think to myself….I could never wear that! And while some have told me, Lindsey, you always dress cute, yes (and thank you)…but I didn’t dress bravely!!

And this began the goal of being trendy this year. 😊 It started with a pair of shoes…pictured at the top. And grew from there. I would see something that in my definition might be outrageous and think…I love that….but I could never wear that! So I would pick it up, march myself to the dressing room, and try it on. Say to myself….I am brave. I can totally wear this!

Freedom.

I have seen over the past year as He has broken off chain after chain in this area of my life. And enjoying and embracing fashion is just one outlet I’ve found.

A podcast I found especially helpful was from my homegirl Beth Moore. She mentions the story of Joshua in the Bible and says “If Joshua hadn’t been afraid, why would God have said over and over again ‘Be strong and courageous.'” Ha. I love that leaders in the Bible were afraid. And they chose to press past their fear because God was with them. Here are some other thoughts I scribbled down in my journal from July 28th when I first watched her podcast…

We may protect ourselves so much that we miss out on what God wants to do through us.
I am afraid….but I did. Not, I am afraid…so I didn’t.
I have to choose to obey God over my fear every time.
Would our fear of missing God exceed our fear of doing anything God tells us to do.
Are you projecting an old fear on a new day?
We have to be able to get out there and be willing to look weak or foolish in order to learn! On the job training.
Do not be paralyzed by past fear! Again. Get back up and go at it again. Refuse to quit doing what God has put before you.
We have an AGAIN God.

God says “I will not fail YOU!!”

So here’s a toast to a year! A year of freedom. A year of agains. A year of new choices.

A year of bravery. ❤️

Starbucks-> manna from heaven??

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Well European adventure is over and the first thing I do with my 6 hour layover is visit Starbucks. I ask the surprisingly patient worker if it’s possible to make an iced peppermint mocha since the temperature here is up by about 20 degrees from my past two weeks. She asks another girl if thats possible, and then turns I me and states

“Yeah, she can make that.” My hero!

As I sit in the Philadelphia airport sipping my newfound drink, listening to a jazz band playing behind me (What!?!), I smile as my mind drifts back to my mana Starbucks year.

Now maybe you’re not the Bible reading type, but I’m a big fan. And there’s this story in the book of Exodus, chapter 16 which in my Bible is entitled Bread from Heaven. If you’ve seen any of the Moses movies the story takes place after the Israelites are freed from Pharaoh, cross the Red Sea, and Pharaoh and all his home boys drown, but BEFORE they enter the Promise Land.

They are wandering around in the wilderness and get pretty cranky, so naturally they start complaining to God. And God, in His great mercy, starts providing for them, manna. Bread from Heaven. The literal meaning: “What is it?” Haha. Seriously. That’s what it means. Anyways…each morning when the Israelites woke up, there would be this special bread all over the ground. Enough to feed the thousands.

Now there are a lot of other details to the story that are pretty amazing, one thing that just jumped out at me when I read it today…manna, according to verse 31, had the taste of wafers made with honey. How sweet! God not only satisfied their need of food…but he made it taste like honey!! Holla!

So what does that have to do with Starbucks you ask? Ok…here’s my little story…

A couple years ago I found myself working as a long term maternity substitute. I jumped from one classroom to another as teacher after teacher had her little one. Four positions in all. And while I loved my experience, especially the people I worked with, it didn’t necessarily provide me with a bountiful salary. It proved a little stressful financially, I was ok…but just had to really be tight with my finances. Totally fine. It was definitely a transition year, a preparation year as well.

So I have a heart for young adult women. I love spending time with them, love getting to know them, challenging them, speaking truth, living life together. I feel like that is one thing God has called me to in this life. And one of the most common ways this happens is through coffee dates. Sipping on something wonderful as I share life with many women. I love it! It is a blessing to be trusted with so many stories. In short…God has called me to get coffee with women. (Could be worse callings right! 😉)

So the year I was subbing I truly didn’t have the finances to really go to coffee a lot, but here’s where the mana part comes in….I went a whole year not having to buy my own coffee and still going to coffee as much as I normally did. Maybe even more than I ever had! Through gift cards that friends, students, and family provided, I never had to spend money from my own paycheck. I didn’t ask for it,it wasn’t something I expected. In fact, it was truly unexpected. But I found that every time an opportunity arose, I had the money in form of a gift card. God simply provided, every time.

I remember at the beginning of this school year, probably a couple weeks before my first paycheck from my full time teaching job, I was standing in line with one of my coworkers and used the very last of my Starbucks gift cards. I told her my mana story and said,

“Well, I guess the mana….or gift card provision…is done…..I suppose God has provided me with the job though to pay for my own.” 🙂

See that’s what happened to the Israelites too. When they got to the Promise Land, the manna stopped coming. Now some might say…what the heck God? You stopped providing! But God had given them something else….land….on which to grow their own crops, and make their own bread.

So…that’s my mana story! Do you have one??

Oh yes…and I also must leave you with a picture of my nephew and a few things I learned about him….if you’re still interested in reading them!!

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Things my nephew likes:
His mommy, food, milk, black pants on aunt Lindsey, daddy, the yellow lion on my Gahanna shirt, hard floors, balls, buttons, zippers, people holding him, my Hero book, straps.

Happy summer!