Monday, November 17, 2014


I recently have become obsessed with seeing the morning sun as I head to work. Generally I do not look to the sunrise with anticipation because that means that I have to get up early and I am most definitely a night owl!  However I have to go to work and with what I do I have to get up early..I have to get up while the sun is rising! When I turn the corner off my street and head to the main road the sun beams hit me directly in the face! Often times almost blinding me but what the bright shining sun reminds me of is God's presence and His power shining so bright down on us.  Take a look at some of the views that I am blessed with on my way to work.

Now here is the crazy part to me...all three of these pictures are completely different but they are all taken in the same location. What makes the big difference is timing...five minutes can change how the sky looks in the morning. Along with other scientific and atmospheric explanations but that is way above my pay grade! Each day brings awakening for us. There are several definitions for awakening:

  • to wake up from sleep
  • a revival of interest or attention
  • to come or bring to an awareness; to become cognizant
The one that I want to focus on today is the third definition of becoming cognizant. The question that I have is how aware of you of God in your everyday life?

 I had an incredible experience this weekend in church. I was invited to hear a very special song called "Say Amen" and the spirit of the Lord was speaking to my heart during the first verse and chorus and let me preface a little before I reveal the next part of my story. I have always been self-conscious raising my arms in worship, whether thinking I would stand out or that my arms are too long to raise up because I would be blocking someone's view or whatever other silly reason that held me captive. There have been times that I have wanted to respond in worship by standing up or raising my arms and I (notice what word I just used "I") would always make up an excuse why I shouldn't or just ignore that voice that was prompting me. The Lord has been pursuing my heart hardcore over the past few months breaking down walls and barriers, that I spent many years building thank you very much hahaha, to get to my inner room. We all have an inner room it is where we are most vulnerable and there is no admittance unless you have the top level of security along with multiple references. Okay now back to my story...I am feeling the Holy Spirit stirring up something inside that inner room that longs to worship the Lord without any inhibitions. Well this time it was different. There wasn't a back and forth conversation/argument about responding to worship when the chorus rolled around...

"And if there's anybody here who's found Him faithful
Anybody here who knows He's able
Say Amen

And if there's anybody here who's seen His power
Anybody here brought through the fire
Say Amen

Anybody here found joy in the middle of sorrow
Peace in the storm, hope for tomorrow
And seen it time and time again
Then just Say AMEN!"

The next thing that I knew I was up on my feet with both my arms raised straight up in the air! There wasn't any time for hesitation it was almost like a reflex...God was calling to me and I answered as quickly as I could! Now once on my feet it was like the whole room had disappeared and it was just myself and the Lord. I felt so full of the Holy Spirit that I felt my legs start to shake and I had to open my eyes for a minute to make sure I wasn't gonna fall over! Sunday I had a divine encounter with our precious heavenly Father! This is a grand and beautiful example of how God uses things in our day to awaken us to His presence. Which leads me back to the question I asked aware of God are you in your daily life? When we are in communication with God through our thoughts and prayers He will show up in the small and big ways but we have to be aware of His presence. Look for God's little love notes that He is leaving around for you all over the place. For example when you are running late for work and hit all the green lights...that's not luck it's God!  When you notice a beautiful sunrise or sunset..that's God sharing His beautiful creation with you! When you are having a bad day and someone comes along and offers you a kind word or a hug...that's God showing you love and compassion. Isaiah 41:10 says"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." God is all around us all the time but we have to be aware of Him. 

God desires an intimate relationship with Him and in order to grow in that relationship we need to spend time with Him. The more time that we spend with Him the deeper our relationship grows and our awareness opens up to all the wonderful things that He has for us.  I learned a formula in my college class for intimacy that was profound and so simple that I need to share it with you. 

Intimacy=honesty + vulnerability

Three simple words but a very hard assignment to take on sometimes. The first word honesty doesn't bother me too much since I am a pretty straight forward honest girl but the second one, yikes! Being vulnerable has risks but the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to an intimate relationship with God because He will never manipulate, hurt, or leave us. Be on the lookout for God this week and notice how much He pursues a relationship with you!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Danger: Inner child running free

I just took a trip to Atlanta to visit with some friends and fulfill a dream of the 8 year old princess who lives inside of see "The Little Mermaid" on stage! The show was amazing and as we were waiting for it to start I couldn't help but notice that I had a huge grin on my face waiting in anticipation of seeing Ariel swim across the stage! Not to mention that I had to look all over the theater to find the photo op with Ariel :)

Being there seeing mermaids swim, dancing crabs, and true love triumphing over all made me miss the days of when I was a kid. Now don't get me wrong my inner child runs pretty free most of the time enjoying life but take a step back with me for a minute. Remember when we were kids and each day was an adventure and for most of us all of our needs were met. We didn't go searching for the next big thing that would make our lives easier or finally get us recognized. For me my childhood days were spent playing Barbies with my sister or playing outside. Of course as children we don't have the responsibilities that we do as adults.When we "grow up" we have jobs, mortgages, car payments, and  for some a family. We don't have the luxury to just be care free. However there is one area of our lives that doesn't need to become too grown up and that is our faith. Now hold on before you get feisty with me and say that we don't have responsibilities in our faith because yes we absolutely do! We are also called to become mature in the Lord and pattern our lives after Him. What I am talking about is how we have complicated our faith so much. Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." When we were children we had to trust in our parents and until we became teenagers we really didn't question them. Well most of the time we didn't question them!  The same is true of our relationship with God. 

We must trust in Him with a child-like faith where we are so excited to see Him show up. When is the last time that you were sitting on the edge of your seat grinning waiting for God to come before you? The reality is that most of the time we are all too busy to notice that God is all around us. This weekend I was anticipating a particular event that I already had expectations of how I was going to respond. Most of us don't live our lives expecting God to show up or we only expect Him to show up when something really big is going on.  God is in our lives every single day and the sad part is that most people do not take the time to notice. I have been reading a book in my bible study called "Satisfy my thirsty soul" by Linda Dillow and it is amazing! She speaks about how worship is more than singing on a Sunday morning. True worship is being aware of God in every aspect of your life and allowing His presence to work in and through you. She talks about how worshiping God through our words, attitude, work, will, waiting, and pain only brings us into a closer relationship with God which is what He longs for. It astounds me how the creator of the heavens and earth, the Almighty powerful God wants to have an intimate personal relationship with me. How cool is that!!! 

Disney movies sell girls two very serious and enticing lies...perfect hair and fantasy true love. Seriously who wouldn't want to come straight out of the ocean with great hair or wake up looking like you just stepped out of the salon! The greatest love that we could ever experience is with our Heavenly Father. He accepts us no matter what and will always continue to love us. Now that is the perfect fairy tale ending... but it isn't a story it is the amazing truth of being in relationship with God. I have a challenge for anyone reading this blog..take the time to notice. Look around your home, work, church, Starbucks, mall, wherever you may be for God's presence. Instead of looking at things as luck start to change your mindset to blessings. When I hit all the green lights now I thank God for blessing me and allowing me to arrive on time. Change is most effective when starting small and feeling accomplished. So start with the small things and be amazed at how BIG our God is! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Running from God

It has been quite a while since I have blogged and there are several reasons; none that are justifiable but I have several. In February I moved from Atlanta back to Gainesville. God gave me the opportunity over two years ago to transfer jobs to Atlanta. I thought that I was going up there to make a big difference either in someone’s life or through some organization but little did I know that God had a different and bigger plan for me. God opened the door for me to move to Atlanta to completely remove myself out of my comfort zone and have intense one on one time with Him. Let me tell you this was not an easy or pleasant process but a necessary one; learning so many things about who He is and about myself.

During my time in Atlanta I was separated from a life that I had created over 12 years in Gainesville. I had established myself in my job, my church, and my community of friends. Did you notice a recurring word in that last sentence??? MY! My life revolved around what I wanted to do and where I was comfortable. Even though God used me in many situations to grow and affect others my world was pretty safe. Relocating turned my life upside down. First of all when you move to a town where you don’t know anyone you have A LOT of time to spend with yourself and with God. My work environment started off rocky but then got better once we started our project. After a year the doctor who recruited me decided to leave…hmmm how did I feel about this? Well you know the basic range of emotions: anger, denial, confusion, betrayal just to name a few. I felt abandoned and deceived but still clung to the hope that God had me there for a purpose. The doctor who took over after that was a complete 180 from my previous boss and things started to decline rapidly at work. It got to the point where I had to convince myself to get out of bed and go to work. I felt like my soul died a little each day that I had to go there. I continued to pray and plead with God to show me what to do next. Do I leave and find another job in Atlanta or do I look to another town? God please show me what to do? I can’t make this decision without you. Experiencing one of the lowest points in my life I realized there is only one place to look and that is up. To look up to my heavenly Father for guidance, hoping and praying that I would hear an answer. The answer came six months later when my head boss told me that there was an opportunity to transfer back home to my old job. I was stunned into silence, which doesn’t happen very often to me. It seemed too good to be true and too easy. However a mentor of mine reminded me that this was an answer to my prayer.

While joy filled my heart that I would be able to go home and return to my community I knew that things had changed while I was gone and that I was a changed person. Returning from Atlanta I thought that I would snap right back into my old sassy self but with the state of depression my work situation had left me in the transition took longer than I anticipated. I felt as if I was working through some post traumatic disorder and figuring out how to recover and be myself again. My default is to shut down and go on auto pilot. Do what I need to but nothing above and beyond. It is funny to think of running from God when I wasn’t moving in any direction. Running is generally characterized my movement but when I run from God it is more in the form of ignoring Him. I sensed His presence and that He wanted to spend time with me but I had fear of what He will say to me or ask me to do. The fear comes from the obedience that has to take place if He does ask me to do something. It is so much easier to just tune Him or the world out by listening to music, taking a nap, or my personal favorite watching TV.  I am a master of ignoring everything when I am in the DVR zone! I know that TV is one of my greatest pleasures and one of my biggest distractions.  What a bratty child of God to hear Him want to spend time with me and yet, constantly coming up with excuses not to--Is there anyone greater to whom you should spend your time with??? I think not!

So I have a question-

If running from God doesn't burn any calories then why do we put forth all of the effort to do it? It all comes down to fear: fear that He will ask me to do something out of my comfort zone, fear that He will ask me to give up something that I have put importance on, or fear that He will ask me to change who I am to become who He wants me to be. True talk: we all are afraid! I am having to adjust my mind to be afraid of missing out on what God wants and has planned for me instead of being afraid of my world changing. The second greatest gift that God has given us (because the first is the gift of Christ and our salvation) is the people that He blesses our lives with. I have some of the most amazing and special people in my life who laugh or cry with me, push me when I am being spiritually lazy, and comfort me when I don’t understand. To have people in your life who love you for being you is an amazing gift. I am incredibly lucky for the people that God has blessed me with in my life. I can look at my future through hopeful eyes for all that He has in store for me. If I should forget I can always look to the scriptures for words of hope and promise from God, to my friends for encouragement, or even to my very own foot where I have a hope tattoo! I am such a stubborn child of God that I require tattoo reminders :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

What are you reflecting?

So as a sassfabulous girl who is trapped in scrubs on the weekdays when I actually go out on the weekends I like to dress up. Whether I am catching a movie, going to dinner, or hitting up the dance floor with my girls I like to kick my fashion up a notch. Now like I stated previously I wear scrubs to work so this isn't a big challenge! I like to think of myself as a princess and have the tiara tattoo to prove it.

Every since I was a little girl I have liked to play dress up. Probably because since the age of four I was involved in dance class. Costumes became my after school clothes. Once my mother allowed me to pack my own suitcase to visit my granny and promptly after being dropped off my mother received a call from my granny to please bring me some real clothes the next day because I had only packed costumes! As time has gone on my style has evolved from that little girl in dance costumes to a woman who is laid back casual to all out glam. My love of the sparkly has never faltered. One area that I really have only a small amount of knowledge is make-up. Looking at all those colors and brushes almost sends me into a mild anxiety attack.

Fortunately I have been blessed with friends to guide me along the way but my favorite ally is the instruction cards that come in the make-up kits. Even though it takes a few tries before I can get it just right, the cards are there to guide and teach me how to apply my lovely new products. So the other day when I was following my instructions I had a little God thought. I love it when He speaks to me through everyday things in my life. Wouldn't it be great to break out instruction cards every time something happened to me. Step by step instructions on exactly how to handle life. Navigating each curve that comes our way and knowing exactly which materials and tools are necessary to get the job done.  Well unfortunately there isn't a step by step instruction card but we do have the Bible to help us navigate through life. The Bible is full of information for every occasion: how to treat others, deal with anger or disappointment, having faith through the tough times, rejoicing with each other and many more. Just like the cards instruct me on how to apply make-up correctly the Bible can be applied to any situation that I face in life.

One of the greatest things that I like to do before going out on the town is turning on some music and all the girls getting ready together. Asking each other's advice on what eye shadow goes with this dress, how to wear our hair, or do you have earrings that I can borrow? God created us for fellowship to help encourage and support each other through life. For those circumstances where we are unclear on the instructions and we need to listen to advice from others. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." Often times we are in the habit of tearing each other and ourselves down and this is not what God calls us to do.  Think of all the effort that we put into our appearance: washing our faces, day time moisturizer, night time moisturizer, eye brow maintenance, styling our hair....the list goes on and on. What would we look like if we put half the effort that we do into what we look like on the outside, to what we look like on the inside. We are called to reflect God's love, grace and mercy. What steps are we taking to make sure that our spiritual reflection is something that others want to look at and admire.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hope...the accessory that goes with everything!

So this blog entry is a complete confessional of where I was a couple of weeks ago. Our lives our journeys that have ups and downs and ups and's how we view each adventure and the lessons that we walk away with that truly shape the person we are becoming.

Feeling overwhelmed with life over the past few months would seem like an understatement. However in true BCB fashion I like to pretend like I can do everything and not need anyone's help in the process. I am not quite sure when my superhero complex started but I truly think that I wear an invisible tiara and cape everyday and can face any challenge. Since going back to school it has become a learning process of how to balance work, school, social life, and not to mention my DVR! Last semester was the toughest I have had to face yet. I was taking a Psychology and Philosophy class, the Philosophy class required any where from 15-20 hours of work a week! Now did I mention that I still work full time and like to sleep...this was not working into my schedule. I just kept telling myself that it was only 8 weeks and I could survive anything for 8 weeks. I should also mention the fact that when I don't get enough sleep or downtime I can get cranky...mama needs her occasional naps!

 Well I finally made it to the final week, just a few more days and I  would have this semester behind me. Then one of the most tragic and devastating things happened to beloved Buffy died.

 I came home from work and she was the type of cat that would always meet me at the door. For some reason I just knew something was off that day but when I came home I just knew. I rushed to my bedroom and looked under my bed...there she was lying so still... I called her name and nothing. She was taking gasping breaths and I knew that she was dying. The luxury you don't have when you live alone is the opportunity to freak out or fall apart. I had to snap myself together and come up with a plan. I took her to the vet because I couldn't watch her die and didn't want her to suffer. When the vet took her back to put her to sleep she actually took her last breath...of course I had to make a joke and say thanks Buffy for not giving me a final vet bill. I made it all the way to the car before I lost it, it's like my brain went numb and I couldn't even think. Now I have three days to finish the hardest semester I have had so far and my brain doesn't work. A part of me had to push aside the mental breakdown that I wanted to have and deserved to have until I could get this work finished. I was able to finish only through the strength of God with about an hour to spare, managed an A in Psychology and a B in Philosophy.

I had no idea how hard I would take Buffy dying...we had been together for 13 years. She was my companion in life since I was 19 years old. She was a constant in my life. We had been through everything together. Everyday she would meet me at the door and sleep next to me every night. You take for granted the constant things in your life. Her meow was interesting to say the was more like a bird chirping. My home is now so quiet. Some days I just think that she is sleeping in another room. An interesting aspect has been my other cat Templeton and his grieving. I truly think that he is depressed that his best friend isn't around. Together we are getting through it..I know there are traces of a crazy cat lady inside of me but I believe that pets are the furry family that we choose. They are always there for us no matter what.

So into a depression I slid, through overwhelming circumstances and the loss of Buffy I was in a state where I didn't really care. I mean I would continue to go through the motions of work and school even conversations with friends but my sparkle had dimmed. I knew it was still in there but didn't have the energy or desire to try and find it.I knew that the devil was throwing a party at my behavior. A couple of weeks ago I went to church for the first time in a month. You see when I withdraw it's from everyone..God included. Which is really silly because can we really run from!

During the sermon the pastor was talking about our storms in life. He shared with us some scripture in Romans 5:1-5 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[ have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we] also glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." In that moment I realized that I wasn't just in funk but I had actually allowed myself to get in a state of hopelessness.

Since moving to Atlanta I can't say that things have turned out exactly the way that I thought. Didn't work for the first seven months and then the doctor who moved me up here quit and our work dynamic completely changed. I set way to high of expectations on myself as well in what I was going to do when I moved to Atlanta. A good  friend of mine say that expectations are just preconceived disappointments..he is completely true! I had allowed several circumstances to steal my hope. Where are we without hope? In a very bad place. The verses in Romans reminded me that our times of suffering produces character, which produces perseverance, which produces hope. If there is one thing I can always remain hopeful in is God's promises. God uses difficult times in our lives to draw us closer to Him not withdraw. When I could settle this truth in my heart my attitude changed. Nothing in my life is any different than the day before except for the place that my mind and heart are in, the hope and joy that I have in the Lord will sustain me through whatever may lie ahead. Everyday I have to remind myself to spend time with the Lord. Either through devotionals, music, or prayer. He longs for us to have an intimate relationship with Him.I prayed asking Him to replace the loneliness, grief, depression, sadness, hopelessness in my heart with grace, truth, peace, joy and hope.  So of course after owning this truth my first thought was to get a tattoo...I mean isn't that the next logical step riiight!

The reason I felt compelled to get this tattoo was to remind me everyday who I need to have hope in...not others and especially not myself but in my glorious and amazing Father and Lord! It represents the infinite hope that we can have in God and His promises for each of us. I am not under any delusional ideas that I will not be overwhelmed or struggle in life again but I am confident that I won't go through it alone and that it always plays a part in God's  plan for my life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A colorful mess...

Recently I participated in the Color Run. A charity run for a local children's hospital in which you start off wearing a white shirt and throughout the 5K you get hit with four different colors and during the finale about every other color imaginable! We had a team of four called "The Amazing Grace" in honor of Easter weekend. As you can see we started off looking so clean and cute.

Now this isn't one of those serious 5K's where you are trying to finish first. The purpose is more to have fun and support a good cause. Our team was determined to walk away a hot colorful mess. First through the yellow station, then green, pink, and finally purple. We let them throw it straight in our faces, all over the front and back of us, as well as laying down in it. Ok so I was the only one who laid down in it but hey purple is my favorite color :) And then the finale was a countdown to color explosion. It was an intense haze of colored powder and you could barely see right in front of you until the dust settled.

Post Finale

Throughout the day I kept talking with Emily about how much fun we had on our adventure. Then God revealed to me an insight for what we experienced. I do love when He relates lessons to my everyday life. Just like in the Color Run we all start off looking pretty clean and cute. Then we start our race through life. Picking up color from the choices that we make and the lifestyle that we lead. Just like running through each color station we looked forward to what would happen and enjoyed it. Many things that we do in life seem like fun in the moment, however we walk away with an imprint of the choices we made or what happened to us. Moving right along to the next choice...each color layering itself on top of each other. In fact sometimes we really enjoy bad choices in life..wallowing in them just as I rolled around in the purple station. At one point I was so excited that I screamed during a color throw and got pink straight in my mouth! Now this was not an enjoyable part of the day. Same is true for life...we start off enjoying something and then some circumstance happens and changes our view. Most of the time we recover and move one. Sometimes we aren't so lucky. The finale scene was intense, you are all smashed together in a giant crowd and can barely hear yourself. Once the colors are thrown you can't even see right in front of you. Isn't life like that sometime?. You feel like you are lost in a crowd and can't see your way out...can't see until the dust settles.

Life is a race where we make decisions at every turn. Each choice leaves an impression on us and shapes who we become. After the Color Run I got to go home and get a shower to wash it all away. The only way to wash away all the stuff that sticks to us in life is to go to God and confess and allow Him to wash us clean. I was more mindful of this fact since the run was right before Easter.  I am one hot colored mess sometimes but I am truly blessed and grateful that the God I serve is always there to dust me off and send me on His way!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A dangerous prayer...

So I find this image of praying hands and the first thing that I think is man why aren't my own nails painted so that I could have just taken a picture of them :) Already I am distracting myself from my own blog!

On Sunday the message in church was on vengeance. My first thoughts were well I will file some of this stuff away because I am not a vengeful person. Oh contraire sassy...there are actually subtle forms of vengeance. Hmm, I didn't know this. Alright I am listening,  please continue..the speaker proceeds to talk about how avoidance, holding a grudge, suppression, and tearing people apart with your words are all forms of subtle vengeance. I leaned over to my friend and said I don't think I want to hear anymore today because I am becoming convicted. Isn't that so typical, go to church to learn something and I want out the moment it gets personal. Instead of avoidance we should engage with the people we are pushing away. Holding a grudge is not doing anyone any good so just let go. Suppressing our frustrations allows for things to build up to volatile levels so you should speak up when you are hurt or frustrated. Instead of tearing each other apart we should be lifting each other up and encouraging one another. 

As I left church this message weighed heavy on my heart. Having 3 out of 4 didn't seem like a good thing but the bigger question was what did I need to do about it??? The biggest point I walked away with on Sunday was that if we harbor these things in our hearts we aren't allowing Christ into those places. He begs us to let go of all these things and allow in Him. My thoughts were geez Lord, do you want everything! Why can't I keep some of these things? That isn't what He desires from us. He wants everything that we have...the good, the bad, and the down right disgusting.

So last night I prayed a very dangerous prayer. I asked God if He would reveal those parts of my heart that I have tried to lock Him out of, to bring to the surface things in my life that need to be replaced with Him, and to give me the strength to deal with this process. Before I said those words I asked myself are you really ready to invite Him in to those inner rooms? Are you ready to have your life drastically changed by what He has planned for you? So with a deep breath I began to pray...