These two chose to have their engagements on Anna’s family farm in Okemah, OK and despite all the crazy weather in Oklahoma that was forecasted we had a great session. Mike and Anna get married in October on the same piece of property and it is going to be beautiful.
I’m passionate about a lot of things, and health is one of them. In 2010 I decided to do my first Daniel’s Fast (you can read about it here, my focus was biblically based to grow in my relationship with Christ as a fairly new believer, that’s a whole other post), it was the first time I walked into a Traders Joe’s in Rochester, MI. I was told it was a “health food” store so I assumed I could get all the items I needed there. What I didn’t know when completing the Daniel’s fast is that it would begin my health journey and ultimatly lead to where I am now.
I know others who desire to make changes that benefit them long term. I was one of them. What I think others don’t consider a factor is…time. It has taken me almost nine years now to recognize what works best for my body and I am still on my own individual journey.
Through those nine years I have done it all and some things I am not proud of. In those times, I have birthed three children and obsessed over what my body looks like and I determined to change it. That has resulted in unrealistic dietary restrictions which resulted in stress (which actually affects your ability to lose weight) and depression, irritability and all this pressure to look a certain way. It didn’t help that during this time social media platforms were really taking off and everyone seemed to have it all together and it was extremely discouraging and made me feel the need to compare (yes, I know…super unhealthy).
I desire to be a voice for those who are struggling internally about their self-image but because I was still dealing with those internal battles I felt like a hypocrite and that I “shouldn’t try and be a voice when I still felt bad about myself at times. Over time, I have realized that there is always going to be opportunities to feel bad about yourself. It’s a daily fight, in the mind and a continual choice to cast down any thoughts that don’t line up with who Christ says you are.
I’m determined to inspire through experience in hopes to promote transformation, through the Word of God. When I first started this post, all I was going to talk about was Low-Carb Chocolate Chip Scones and here we are…
From now on, my desire is to still share plenty of my photography as I build business in a new market (if you didn’t know we moved, check out my life update on Instagram). I also am going to be wholeheartedly dedicated to helping YOU. Whether its planning your wedding or sharing here about a life experience I had that I’ve learned from that you can relate to or a recipe that encourages you eat a little better than you did before.
Time and time again I interact with others that are going through the similar internal battles or circumstantial disappointments and I desire to voice those struggles in hope to help others through theirs.
Oh, and those scones…AMAZING. Go make them. If you have any questions about the ingredients, reach out. I’d be happy to educate.
Monotony (and sighhhhhhh) according to the dictionary means:
- lack of variety and interest; tedious repetition and routine.
- sameness of pitch or tone in a sound or utterance.
Yuck. Sounds boring and well...monotonous.
Why do we need new moments, new things, new WHATEVER to keep us in a place of contentment. Why can't we come to a place where monotony is looked at as steadfastness and faithfulness, loyalty, patience OR perseverance?
I was driving today and I wasn't in a GREAT mood, wasn't in a bad mood, nothing in-particular is going right or wrong. I'm pretty much just driving. In-between errands and I thought about Paul when he was in prison (more than one time too) and how we often consider ourselves imprisoned by our own situations and circumstances. I chuckled a bit because my circumstances are so glamorous compared to the majority of the trials others have faced in the Word. Needless to say my life just seems boring lately.
Being imprisoned would cause many people to become bitter and give up but Paul considered it as one more opportunity to spread the Good News of Christ. Paul realized that his current circumstances weren't as important as what he did with them. Even in prison (PRISON, guys!), Paul decided to be a light in what I would consider one of the darkest places yet we can't maintain ourselves when the white LED light flashes on indicating the cashier in front of you at Target needs assistance with the current transaction and you already unloaded your cart with your three kids (add, all of them are crying too....trying to come up with worse case scenario here) and yet that scenario is NOTHING in comparison to Paul's.
GUYS, WE'RE SPOILED.
I'm not making light of traumatic situations one may face. I'm talking about the daily grind.
The dangers of monotony is that it can be distracting. It can hinder ones ability to actually continue to persevere, to be steadfast, faithful, loyal and patient and most importantly LOVE others.
What's the point? You can't escape the mundane, the responsibility of well...just being responsible. Doing what's right, working hard, etc. How do you handle those seemingly low moments that are just, blah.
Paul could have become depressed, discouraged, or disillusioned. He could have wallowed in self-pity and despair. Instead, he regarded his imprisonment as being appointed by God. God used Paul's imprisonment in Rome to bring the gospel to the center of the empire, as well as to give Paul LOTS of time to write letters that would one day end up in the New Testament and give us all this amazing teaching and encouragement.
Do you have difficulty accepting your station in life? Do you resent where God has placed you? Although education and focused effort may enable us to take a new role or get a new job, God, many times, puts us in a place to serve. Whether its in an actual prison or a place that feels like one, God wants you to serve Him faithfully and joyfully.
I just put the kiddos down for a nap and I started scrolling Instagram. In my mind, as I was scrolling, I noticed myself saying things like “oh, good for you.”, “Um. Ok!” and other statements like “well, aren’t you just perfect”. As sarcastic as can be. Only to discover that that sarcasm was rooted in a deep hurt inside my soul.
Most of those statements were aimed towards everyone’s life who seemed to be going so perfectly. I know that’s not everyone’s story but that seemed to be mostly what I saw (of course). Not to mention it’s Christmas-time. So bring out all the perfection. Especially on social media.
When my life isn’t going according to what I think it should, or what I think I “deserve” or happen as fast as I think it should. I get like this. SURPRISE.
How did I get here? Things look so differently than I thought they would by now. At this age. When I had kids. This past year was not what I thought it was going to be. Can I wake up now? And on it goes, inwardly.
As I sat saddened by my circumstances, I decided to clean my office as I tried to ease my mind of all the typical thoughts that come when facing trails and tribulation. As I started to clean, all I heard in my Sprit, is “It is well”. Most of us have sung the beautiful hymn "It Is Well with My Soul" for years without realizing that it was written by a man who experienced great personal loss. Even in the midst of his tragedy, he was able to exult in God's goodness. This great hymn encourages our souls to praise our gracious God whatever our circumstances.
For me, in times of trouble, its easier said than done.
What makes us choose to allow our circumstances to reign? Because of God’s faithfulness, why can’t we say “it is well with my soul” in times of peace or sorrow?
I have a harder time saying “it is well with my soul” when there is unresolved conflict. When a season is taking way longer to walk through than expected. When things don’t go according to planned and it doesn’t seem like change is near but very very far.
I dug a little deeper.
What I discovered was surprising. I realized I wasn’t doing what brings peace and contentment.
I wasn’t trusting God.
Recently I started reading “Rooted” by Banning Liebscher. In Chapter 2 Banning mentions how Nehemiah had a powerful encounter with God after hearing a report about Jerusalem’s fallen walls and God gave him the assignment to rebuild those walls. He arrived in Jerusalem, scouted the walls to determine how bad things really were and what needed to be done. Then he called the priests and people together to delegate the work.
Nehemiah 3 lists specific individuals or groups to work on the wall and the exact part of the wall they were assigned to rebuild. For the most part, people were assigned to work on the part of the wall that was closet to their homes: “The priests made repairs, each in front of his own house”. (verse 28).
Stay with me here.
Nehemiah basically said “Walk out your front door and look directly in front of you. The wall that’s directly in front of you— build that.” Strategic, yet simple.
THIS is a powerful picture of how God works in our lives. Sometimes we miss what He is doing right in front of us because we look longingly at other people's portions of the wall, wanting to build those areas, we get distracted watching other people doing other things, in different seasons of life. The grass looks so much greener…over there, at their section of the wall. We can't see that God is using what is in front of us to develop the root system we so desperately need. The need for significance makes us look at other area's that feel more exciting or more in line with our desire's.
So often I have a hard time focusing because what is in front of me sure doesn’t look like the promise, dream or vision that is in my heart.
That’s where I was missing it.
It takes faith and commitment to trust the God who gave us both the dream and our current assignment and to say, “I don’t know how you’re going to do it, Lord, but I trust you”.
“Faithfulness to build the wall is not giving up your dream; it’s trusting God with your dream” (Liebscher)
I was reminded that I am ultimately not called to be passionate about a dream but about Jesus and His cause on the earth.
Are you more passionate about pursuing a dream or about following Jesus?
Don’t think I don’t know that the majority of all those things we see on social media are the highlight reel of each individual who posts.
Do I believe we can get to a place where contentment isn’t based of circumstances but based on trust. That’s my goal. To not look at my circumstances and allow them to determine how I live my life.
To walk in faith and obedience no matter what it looks like. To wholeheartedly follow after Jesus continually acknowledging Him so He can direct my path.
If he can do way more than we can even imagine why are we so quick to try and figure everything out?
Thankful for His love, and grace, forever and always,