How much reality resides within the pages of the stories that we tell ourselves?
What monumental lies pollute the purity of truth?
Who is cast as hero or heroine, villain and superhero?
How long have these stories controlled endings and snuffed out beginnings?
Who decides the mask being adorned to cover that which lies beneath?
In the stories that we tell ourselves, what vibrancy have we become color-blind to?
What is now smeared with lackluster appeal, stripped of breathtaking beauty?
How long has the role of victim been on debut?
What subpar mediocrity governs our potential?
Which cries have been in vain and laughs been silently forfeited?
What fact has been traded for fiction and what faith has been traded for fear?
Is their room for the Author and Finisher in these stories that we tell ourselves?
Have we thought to remove ourselves from the story to see what He can do?
Can we ask for truth to shine bright and strip the story of deceit?
When we invite the Author to the story, can the truth not be set free?
Who, Father do you say that we are?
What, Father were we created to do?
How, Father can we stop these stories that we have told ourselves and rewrite the truth?
Cozy is the sound of birds chirping amongst a frigidly cold morning.
It is the calming purr of the heat, blowing from the vent, warming our bodies without task.
Cozy is the cloud-like puff, billowing off a warm cup, aiding my cold cheeks.
It is the crackle and pop of the logs on the fire, warming our skin and our hearts.
Cozy is watching my children scurry around, snuggled securely in their favorite blankets.
It is beholding the world move slowly and hushed, from the safe perch of my window.
Cozy is, in Louisiana, the pitter-patter of rain coupled with the silent hope it magically turns to snow.
It is the sweet aromas that dance throughout my home, like sugarplum fairies in a dream.
Cozy is dimly lit rooms and brightly lit smiles.
It is anything that warms the heart, blankets the soul and recharges the mind.
Today. I. Am. Grateful.
Not because I woke up feeling grateful, not due to hapinstance, not because my life is extraordinary at present moment. More so, because I chose to be grateful. I woke up this morning and made an active decision to be grateful.
Now I agree, some days, this task is easier than others. Today is a perfect example…rainy, 4amwake up, no sleep, husband gone to work again, children acting CRAZY, etc. yet regardless, a choice was made. Really, if you think about it, a choice is made everyday in this regard. Why do you think, is it so easy to choose outside of gratefulness? Maybe it is not that we choose ungratefulness, but our choice is actually obliviousness. Oblivious to what really is and isn’t. Oblivious masks ungrateful.
I heard a sermon once about gratitude and the preacher discussed his habits for daily thankfulness. The process involved making a list every morning of at least 10 things he was grateful for. He quickly admitted that some days all he could muster was thankfulness for the pen he was writing with and the paper he was writing on. Oblivion blinding him until how quickly he realized these simple thanks led to an ease of unearthing more. As the thanks transitioned from shallow to depth the swifter the process of thanks shifted from searching-for to pouring-forth.
Searching and pouring, similar to squeezing and overflowing.
Squeezing for gratefulness versus overflowing with gratefulness.
Squeezing thankfulness, like obtaining lemon juice from a lemon. Manually, forcing the juice out of where it is comfortable. Manually forcing the gratitude forth wether felt or not.
Overflowing with gratefulness like a river. A source created solely to pour, rumble and overflow. An ease of thankfulness that cannot be contained, finding it in everything.
Some days might require the squeeze. In fact, most days, if I were honest, involve the squeeze. It is the choice to squeeze that will force the overflow. An overflow of awarness and an overflow of thanksgiving.
My hands are empty.
I place them out in front of me, cupped.
Showing God, showing others, I have nothing more to give.
Seems everyday, countless moments,
I place them in front of me, palms up,
Proving this woe.
God, I do not have it to give.
Have not the resources, the talent, the strength.
As more and more come,
As more demands mount,
More questions asked,
More time consumed,
I outstretch them,
Showing, pleading, imploring,
They are wholly empty.
Then the whisper,
The very breath of God.
It is in the humble outstretch of your empty hands,
That I Am capable.
When you expose your broken,
I Am enough.
Unashamedly revealing your bareness,
I Am the resource.
Exposing that which you know not,
I Am the talent.
And it is in your weakness,
I Am the strength.
I Am that I am.
Open them and cup them tightly dear one.
Allow me to pour all that am into who you are.
I will, because I am.
My Pastor preached from the parable of talents this morning. Many of you may know it, but for those who do not, here is a short synopsis…
A master is going on a trip. He gives “talents” aka money to each of 3 servants. The first servant he gets 5 bags, the second he gets 3 bags and the third, 1 bag. When the master comes back from his trip, the servants come to him and present what they’ve done. The guy with 5 bags of money doubled his allotment and gave the master back 10 bags. Likewise on the guy given 3, he doubled his money to 6, but the servant with 1 bag, he messed up. This servant tells the master amongst a long drawn out monologue that he hid the money in the ground and then gives him his 1 bag of money back. This infuriated the master and he calls the servant wicked and takes the money away from him.
I’ve heard this parable a hundred times, possibly a thousand, never until today, never until these probing questions were asked- statements made, has it hit home so significantly.
“What gold- (talent, resources, gift), have I been given and buried in the ground?”
“What (or who) is on the other side of my decision to double what I have been given?”
“When I diminish the gift God gave me, I insult the giver.”
“When I breakdown my bag of talents, actually look inside and see what God has given me, what do I see, what is inside it?”
It was this last question that struck me like a blow.
Often, I struggle with insignificance. Unimportance. Quietly asking myself those iconic questions, why am I here? What am I doing that’s important? Isn’t there more than this? Maybe, it’s being bombarded by “influencers” through social that seduces these questions. The constant cycle of highlight reels available 24/7 in every color, size and genre. Or perhaps, it’s just human nature and despite social and it’s ease of access has always been a vexing topic. Not quite sure of origin but am highly aware of its impact.
Yesterday though, when asked to really look inside my bag. Taking the time to open, do inventory and digest. What became visible, clearly made all my other questions silence instantly.
It wasn’t talents, gifts or resources that I saw when looking inside my bag. I saw faces. Faces of the people in my life that God gifted specifically to me. Not by chance, not for fun, for a specific purpose. The faces of my children rose up first, one by one, as if looking in a pond that shows reflections. Floating into focus, allowing me to see each ones uniqueness. Each face was followed by another and another. Each face floating in and out muted more and more of my doubts of insignificance. Some faces I believed were just acquaintances, God revealed much more. In an instant He revealed a plan so big, a sea of significance so vast. All because I opened the bag and really looked inside.
So now I must ask you, What’s in your bag? Have you taken the time to truly look. Have you stopped to do an actual inventory? Ask God to show you and I know that He will.
There’s something wonderful about a dallying rainy day. Whimsical, lazy, peace ridden. Waking to the drizzle, the roll, the splash of raindrops rapping drop, by drop, by drop. Puddles pool, gutters roar, trees shower, nature rests. Comfort embraces, blanketing every ember of my soul, in the soothing sounds of pitter-patter that fall beyond the skirts of my burrow. These subdued droplets authorize slow beginnings, easiness in demands, sluggish sips.
In these, You are there.
Ominous clouds roll in. Thunder claps. Lightening excites. Wind billows- rolling the rooted, shaking the settled. The same droplets dilate, multiply, increase in speed. Vision is blurred, hearing is muffled. All is dark. The clouds have clothed themselves like grief, mourning the unseen. Sleep is stirred. No longer waking peacefully by soothing hearings of rain, rather jolted suddenly by a vexatious symphony. Peace is stolen and replaced with worry.
In these, You are there.
Sunlight rents the darkness. Splitting its edges, fracturing the bleak. Nature awakens, resuming its simply complex sound. Clouds unmask, unclothe and dance. Rain drops nourish the parched and evaporate into the suns rays. Sleep no longer robbed, worry no longer spirits foe. My burdens drying, no longer weighted with the heft of rain. Lightness allowing dreams of days to come, energizing creativity bolting head to toe.
In these, You are there.
In all of these, You are there. Unwavering. Unsurprised. Knowing every shift. You stand in the midst of it all. You beckon me to know, to rest in the safety of the truth. That above All else, You are there.
Carefully wrapped, sealed and packaged, tied up with a pretty bow. Manufactured using the highest quality, genetically engineered, counterfeit fluff. Acting as though you can’t see my heart, like you didn’t handcraft my very being. Scandalously portraying a persona as if you don’t know what I desperately need. I sashay into your presence, bow my head to pray and I offer up plastic prayers. I speak the things I believe I should, I use words that fit. Socially acceptable, adequately complete, wholly intact. Plastic words.
I wonder why I bore of this dialogue. My mind so quick to wander. Grocery list, things to do, heavy eyes, all mastering the controls. Mindlessly held captive, a prisoner of my written script. Coming less and less to spend time with you. Burdened by the task of prayer. Unable to make up words and facades, exhausted by its task. Fostering a stale kinship at my own accord.
In the desperate times though, everything changes. There is a shift. A transposition of the equilibrium. When my spirit is grieving and my soul is heavy. When the burden has become too much to bare. When it is as though I am trudging through mud. True prayers pour forth. Like a volcano that can no longer hold inside its core, I bellow out the real. The real needs, the real desires, the real pain. I expose the wounds of my heart and finally surrender truth.
It is in this surrender the veil is removed. In this truth, the plastic melts. This surrender is what you long for. The genuine dialogue you created me to have. The relationship you long to foster with me, your creation, your masterpiece. You joy in the removal of the veil.
Father, no more plastic prayers. No more handcrafted exposes. No more veils concealing the truth. Help me find the freedom in being veil-less.
I snip and fix
Delete and recapture.
Perfectly perfected, arranged and predisposed
Minimal actuality, taunting reality
Terrorized endlessly with what is
Plagued deeply by what isn’t
Driven by a dependence unsustainable or attainable
Quick to cover
Hiding fault and flaw
Leery of rest, knowing there truth lies
My truth, secrets protected
Exhausted by the game, addicted by its prize
Perfectly perfected, arranged and predisposed.
Controlled and shackled
The endless cycle of fraud
Unable, powerless to produce
Father remove the fetter, release your grace
Set free the fear of rest
Redeem my soul
Perfectly perfected, arranged and predisposed.
After terrible storms last night, I wanted to make my kids a warm, comfy breakfast. Storms brought cold, balmy weather and what better way to get cozy, then a warm muffin? This recipe is super easy and would also be great with some lemon in them, for a twist!
1. Cream your sugar and shortening.
2. Add eggs, beating after each.
3. Add in your vanilla
4.Sift your dry ingredients together.
5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk into the creamed mixture.
6. Smash 1/2 cup blubbering with a fork and stir into batter.
7. Fold in remaining blueberries.
8. Line your muffin pan with liners. We used brown paper.
9. Fill tins.
10. Sprinkle tops of batter with sugar.
11. Cook on 375° for 30-35 minutes
Cool and serve!
Scrumptious Blueberry Muffins
Preheat oven to 375°
Cream shortening and sugar
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each
Sift all dry ingredients together.
Add to creamed mixture, alternating with milk
Crush 1/2 cup of blueberries with a fork and stir into mixture.
Fold in reminding blueberries
Line muffin pans
Sprinkle tops with sugar
Cook for 30-35 minutes
Remove from oven and cool
Taking down my Christmas decorations always makes my house seem a little empty, a little drab and a little less spunky. And y’all no one wants less spunky! So, this year, in an attempt to combat the after Christmas blues, I decided to decorate for Winter! What could be better than a Winter Wonderland on the inside! Decorating for winter is easy as pie and will keep your house looking glitzy and glamorous just a little while longer.
1. Christmas decor can stay, just pull out the red.
Such an easy way to keep your decorations out, after all, you spent so long putting them up. Just remove the red, or other vibrant colors and keep the whites and blues.
2. Mix in earthy tones.
Browns, taupes, burlap, pinecones all mix well together glitter and white. They will help balance out all the sparkle, making it less like Christmas but still fabulous!
3. Flocked everything!
Flocking adds just a little bit of magic. We can all use a little magic in the dead of winter!
4. Wish for snow, even in the South.
Along with wishing for snow, you must obtain a chalkboard. This one was a diy from a thrift store mirror! A little paint and waaaahhhlaaaaa! Also, you can find tons of different ways to write “Let it snow” or make it your own.
5. A 3-tiered tray is a great place to start decorating.
One of my first decorating feet’s was getting a 3-tier tray from Hobby Lobby and going to town. I spent months pinning different ideas for items to add to my display. These are such an eclectic way to show your style and keep it simple!
I hope you guys found this post helpful! Happy decorating!