Thursday, 30 August 2012

Lies we tell ourselves.


If you had known me in High School, I hope you would have understood me and seen where my heart was on a lot of issues. I was interested in mentoring younger girls and really seeking to encourage them to pursue purity and a deep relationship with Jesus. I really wanted these girls to understand the deep love the Lord had for them and to build their lives around Him.
Over time, I wrestled out conflict with several girls the Lord had put into my life back then who had told me their perspective of my intentions towards various people back in high school, how I came across and how I had messed up their lives.


You know, I believed them. 


Without even realising, I had allowed Satan's lies to soak into my soul and taint what the Lord had been doing in and through me back in High School. I began to try and forget about those years and just claim I was young and inexperienced, so of course I had hurt a lot of people through whatever I had done. I could no longer remember any good coming from my life during those years.


I came into contact with a girl from my youth group recently who thanked me in a conversation for mentoring her while in High School. She told me what a great role model I was and how she had appreciated my intentional friendship more than she could explain. 
Girl, I fought back tears while she told me those words.
I finally saw that I had allowed those few people to rob me of my identity in Christ from those years ago. I had let their words define who I thought I was back then. I had refused to listen to truth about what God had seen and done through me and chosen to believe Satan's lies.


I am not claiming that everything I did was perfect. Oh goodness no. I am young and I am sure that several girls were hurt by some insensitive things I did back in High School. From my recollection, I never purposefully meant to hurt any of them. My heart for them was just to be like an older sister and point them to Jesus. To share with them the way that He had changed me and how loving Him was the best decision they could ever make. But I allowed those lies to creep in and settle in me. 


If I was honest with you....I battle these lies everyday. As I am sure you do to some extent. They may not always look the same, but they are of the same origin. They are lies. Not God's truth.
Some mornings it is the fact that noon has come and gone and I feel already overwhelmed at how the morning has not gone according to plan. I did not get up seeking the Lord, praising Him for another beautiful day. I snapped at my family for something small and silly like something being where it shouldn't have been (dirty laundry on the floor). I ate an unhealthy snack and then felt guilty knowing I was trying to eat healthier. I tried to write an encouraging blog post but the words wouldn't flow and I can hear the lies telling me.....


....I am a failure. 



I begin to think maybe God can't really use me, simply because I couldn't do it all.
Then I can choose to tell myself the truth.


'For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.'
(Romans 8:38-39)



'My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 
Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.'

(psalm 139:15-16)


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  
(Jeremiah 29:11)



I can choose in those moments to remind myself of what God thinks of me. I can take a moment and just soak up His word hearing His truth. Telling myself not to believe lies but instead to know what my worth and value are in God's eyes. 
To remember that acceptance and love from Jesus is not about what we do.
It honestly is ok not to have it all together.

Know that God wants to know us & He wants us to know Him. 



Emily Freeman beautifully wrote:


'You are not accepted because you are good.
You are free to be good because you are accepted.
You are not responsible to have it all together.
You are free to respond to the One who holds all things in his hands.
You do not have to live up to impossible expectations.
You are free to wait expectantly on Jesus, the One who is both author and perfecter of your faith.'

(Grace for the Good Girl, p.137)




I'm choosing to reject the lies friend, and embrace truth.
Will you join me?


Much Love,

L



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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Girl Behind the Blog: How has blogging changed you?

5ohwifey


The Prompt:
Time limit: Vlogs should be 2-3 minutes long
Introduce yourself and your blog
What is one of the main ways blogging has changed you?
How has blogging changed the way you reflect on issues that you wouldn't have before?
 At the end of the day, how are you empowered and encouraged by blogging- by your own and by others?
How do you think you could add to your blog being a blessing to yourself and others?



Thanks to Ashley & Sarah, the lovely ladies behind this linkup, for hosting.
I also wanted to add that I have been so encouraged on my walk with the Lord by reading
all the blogs that I have been able to read.
Blogging has just helped me grow so much in my walk with God, in wrestling
with difficult issues and learning to share my walk with Him more openly.
I am so blessed by the wonderful friends I have made here in this community
and I hope you guys will enjoy the video and head over and linkup your own.





Much Love,
L


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Monday, 27 August 2012

She Shares Truth.


I can't even begin to explain how much wisdom I have been absorbing from the book 'Pure' by Rebecca St James.
And this amazing bible study group....
She reads Truth.
They have been blowing my mind as I have worked through purity with RSJ in the mornings and
read proverbs with a community of ladies in the evenings.



SheReadsTruth

(If you aren't already a part of the She Reads Truth community, you totally should join all the amazing ladies reading through the plans together)


I have been blown away these past few days by meditating on this verse from
Proverbs 14. About how wise women will build their home, and thinking about how building can be referring to trust, love, peace, building an environment in which love can grow and people can feel secure and encouraged.


Then it got me  thinking about how we are totally capable of tearing it down 
with our own hands.
And I'm fairly certain this wasn't talking about literally heading out and taking 
tools to the drywall. But rather, how by criticism or through bad attitudes, we can totally tear apart anything we try to create.


For instance, while watching 3 little children that I care for, I can put on worship music and create an atmosphere through activities we are doing and the tone of my voice which helps them feel comfortable, loved and able to be themselves.
It creates a loving, fun environment for all of us.
Should one of them then start behaving in a way which drives me crazy,
I can very quickly start wanting to change my tone to show my frustration or turn off the worship song because I am frustrated by the noise level which has just dramatically increased.


I feel God has been showing me that I need to be careful, particularly with my words and tone not to tear anyone down and change the atmosphere in my home to one were people feel unloved, not valued or uncomfortable because of my mood. 


I realise this verse is from a previous chapter than where we as a group are currently at, but my reflections have been a lot slower than my reading.
Sometimes reading the chapter in multiple versions at night helps. But often
my mind is drawn back to a verse a few days later.


What are you guys learning?
Any of you reading Proverbs with She Reads Truth?


Much Love,
L

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Receipe: Mango Salsa


Since its coming to the end of the summer, I didn't want you guys to miss out 
on this awesome receipe.
I'm a huge fan of salsa and mexican food in general....
but as mangos will only be in season for a little bit longer, this one is a must currently.
(Also Qdoba have the mango salad right now which is AMAZING....if you live in the states, 
you really should go try their salad....no really!)

So here is my adapted version of a mango salsa receipe.

Fresh Mango Salsa 
2 mangoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, diced (peeled if you want)
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup green onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
a pinch or two of salt


Dice the mangos, cucumber, pepper, onion and place into tall Tupperware.
The add cilantro, lime juice, sugar and salt.
Put the lid on the container and shake well.
Serve with favorite salted chips.


(I added too much sugar without meaning too and actually....it turned out really well.
Especially since the mangos weren't quite as sweet as they could be)

They also have strawberries added to some of the receipes on Pinterest.
They look really yummy!


Much Love,
L

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Bridal Shower Planning & Tutorial.


My sister is the first person I have ever been Maid of Honor for.
So I am totally loving these few weeks before heading across the Atlantic 
mainly because I have been able to plan her Bridal Shower.
Here are some ideas so far:
(I know she doesn't read my blog....if you do happen to be on here sister STOP READING)


{via}

I went to party city and picked up some cupcake holders like these so that we can make a garland of flowers with fairy lights.
(Totally appropriate for indoor or outdoor depending on the weather, its England after all!)

And these pompoms will be in pink & silver.


{via}

I picked up some other fun things like a sash for her to wear and a Banner.
(I debated making a bunting but decided there were enough things to DIY)
I'm super excited to see all these things made up once we get there.
I will totally try and take some pictures of the finished product for you guys.



I also wanted to share a tutorial for the craft we will be doing together at the shower.



My sister has lately been into crafts so my mom & I decided we would add that as an activity to do as there won't be any gift opening
(partially because bringing gifts to a shower in England is not a tradition there and also cause they are moving to the States so we are asking everyone to have them shipped instead)



So.......



{I apologize for the bad lighting, this is due to the fact that our humble abode is currently a basement}


Materials Needed:
~ 2 earring pieces ~
~ 6 jump rings (I used 4mm) ~
~ 6 head pins (I used different lengths from a variety pack) ~
~ 1 larger pearl bead & 2 smaller ~
~ Jewellery making tool (I used A's Leatherman, but flat pliers would work) ~



Start by making a chain with your 3 jump rings (for one earring) and connect them to your earring piece using your tool.




Place the larger pearl bead on a long headpin and using the tool, bend it back to form a loop which ends back at the pearl.
(You may also want to loop the headpin through the last jump ring in the chain you made in the previous step, before you close it completely) 



Repeat the same process with the two smaller pearls, attaching them both to the first jump ring in your chain instead of the last. 


And repeat the entire process to make your second earring. 



And there you have a simple craft and a beautiful pair of drop pearl earrings.
Of course you can totally personalise these by adding more pearls to different jump rings 
and using different sized beads. And even make them longer by making a longer chain of rings.

Oh and just fyi, I bought all the supplies for $15 from Michaels (not the Leatherman though).

Happy Crafting!!

And if anyone tries to make these, I totally want to see your creation.


Much Love,
L


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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Seeing Beauty.


While we were in Kentucky for a wedding at the end of last month, 
I was observing how beautiful a lot of the buildings are.
Since living in the States, I have a new appreciation for the older 
beautiful buildings.
I totally spent my childhood in Europe and then was in Oxford
while at college but I think I began to take the beauty of the 
architecture for granted.


Now I am super excited to be heading back to England.
To see London and Oxford again.
Having my camera with me, YES!
And seeing all the fun people who will be there.



So today, I am thankful
for beautiful buildings & beautiful people (I mean the inside hehe).

Much Love,
L

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Monday, 20 August 2012

Contentment & the 10th Commandment



As we were sitting in a bible study early Sunday morning, the pastor started preaching on the tenth commandment. 
I will go ahead and say that I don't know that off the top-of-my-head.

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”

[Exodus 20:17]


This is not normally the type of passage which is talked about a lot, at least not where I have been attending church. 
So it caught my attention.
As we unpacked the actual definitions of that verse, it becomes clear how serious this is to the Lord as He added it as a command. Right up there with murder and loving the Lord above all else.


So while we talked about it as a group we discussed the meaning of covet: to want something that belong's to someone else and discussed what we could want that others have.
Material possessions (like a house, iphone, etc)
Relationships (boyfriend, fiance, perfect husband)
Situation in life (good job, set financially, obvious spiritual gift, big ministry)





As a group we then talked about how the Lord has each of us in a specific situation for a reason.
If He has chosen not to give us that job right now, or bring that guy into our lives or bless us with a baby......
then 
He obviously knows that we don't need those things to accomplish what He wants us to do with our lives right now.


And how do we counter envying others?

With contentment.

We chose to focus on where God has us. Not where He has those around us.
Seeing those blessings He has put into our lives, the opportunities given to us.
As we focus on what we have instead of what we don't have.
We will grow in contentment with where the Lord has us.




This has been a hard lesson for me this past year.
Choosing to trust the Lord with our finances when I thought we had so little. (He always provided)
Trusting Him with involvement at our church when we lived so far away and couldn't realistically get involved. 
Being frustrated seeing others the same age or younger than us seem to have it a lot more together and start a family. (I have since learned that comparing myself to another just brings frustration, never contentment) 


Learning that we are not anyone else.
We are us.
God has plans specifically for us.
Just like He does for you.
And they might look very different to everyone else around you. 

What an exciting adventure!





'And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.'
[Philippians 4:19]




Much Love,
L


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Friday, 17 August 2012

Making the most of the season.



Can you believe that Summer is nearly over? 
There are just a little over 2 weeks and it will be September. 
I mean, I am totally excited about everything the Fall will bring......
My little sis is getting married so we are headed to England for 10 days in September for 
amazing adventures, seeing old friends and witnessing a commitment to each other before the Lord.
The Influence conference is fast approaching as the days bring Fall closer.
And I am super stoked by that!

Not to mention the finding of a new home for the hubby and I as we transition out of our temporarily
location into a more permanent home closer to where he works.


So as the summer is beginning to fade, I am trying to make the most of every moment.
Enjoying every season.
I might try and make that my plan for this year.
And it helps to start with the season that is my favorite.

So in trying to make the most of this season.....
I went blueberry picking again this week.
With some other friends who I thought would enjoy picking the fresh fruit off the leaves of the bushes.
And picked another 31 lbs of blueberries. 
(I only came home with 7lbs this time myself)
(That's a combined total of 56lbs of blueberries in 2 weeks for those who love numbers)


Summer things I am thankful for:

Blueberries growing on bushes for us to go and pick.
Summer sandals and flip flops.
Sunscreen and bug spray.
Hubby's family visiting from overseas for the summer.
Encouraging friendships.
Meeting up with blogging friends.
Being able to spend a lot of time outdoors.
Flip flop tan lines.
The sound of crickets sending me to sleep at night.
Painted toes poking through sandals.
Amazing natural light for photography.
She reads Truth reading plans.
Pure by Rebecca st James.
Hot weather bringing the ability to wear sundresses and tank tops.

{Head over to Erin's blog for contagious thankfulness}


Tank: OldNavy
Pants: New Look (England)
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: TheHollieRogue

How are you enjoying the rest of summer?

Much Love,
L

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

How to have an epic blog-friend adventure.


I Love the friendships I have made through blogging.
Seriously, I can't even begin to explain how much they are an answer to prayer.
Before I started blogging, I was desiring friendships with sweet girls who love Jesus with their whole-being. Girls who were a similar age, the kind of friends a lot of people seem to make in college.
Well I went to a secular college the other side of the world and struggled for a while there to find sweet friends (I did eventually btw).

So when I moved to the states, I was unsure where to meet girls my own age who loved the Lord.
I met a few through my hubby's friends, but not anyone I really immediately bonded with.
Then I started blogging and met multiple girls who were the same age who just loved Jesus, who wanted to use their blogs to share their journey with Him.
I have been so blessed by this adventure.

It was even more exciting to find out I lived 20 mins from one of these girls too.
So for the last few months, she and I have been meeting up on a regular basis and spending time together....which has just been such a huge blessing in my life. 
So since I have shared the background and how I am thankful for these sweet friendships.....
I thought it might be hilarious to share with you the adventure that

Annie from what she saw

and I 

had today.



Probably not the first thing you think of when you picture meeting up with a blog friend.
And that is definitely true, because we usually go to places more like the first picture.
However let me explain how we ended up in such a place.

So my plan for the day was to meet up with Annie for lunch at a Mexican place (can I just add a yum in there) and there was a pile of junk I needed to get rid of for a friend who had asked me to pile it into the back of his truck and take it out to the landfill. Now I thought I would be really cunning and load it up and meet her for lunch, then since I was only a few miles from the landfill.....I would continue on from there.
So first of all....I decided I only needed like 2 mins to load it from the garage into the truck.
Umm really not sure where my brain was on that.
Plus I had put on cute clothes to meet a friend, so yeah my nice jeans and a nice top with cute accessories.

So I start loading things out of the garage and into the truck and discover like an entire extended family of crickets in the pile of junk.
I'm not really a bug kind of girl.
So once I had recovered a little, I strategically maneuvered the container with the crickets into the back of the truck without getting super close.
Then added a few more items like a toilet?
I'm sure by now any neighbors were wetting themselves while watching me attempt this task.

Then climbed into the truck and headed out to lunch.
We enjoyed a nice lunch together laughing at my gross cricket encounter.
Then I mention I am heading to the landfill and does she want to join me for the adventure.
She said yes.


So Annie and I pile back into this awesome ghetto truck and head down to a dirt track
(which really needs resurfacing like there are potholes the size of kids)...
and find the landfill! 
Yes neither of us knew it was there.
Then we join the back of a long line of smelly trucks.

At this point we are laughing super hard at the attempts of trying to make the scenery look something like this:


And Annie pulls out her camera laughing at how awesome this will make for a blog post.
So we continue to drive the truck into the landfill,
yes even across a weighing scale. LOL.
And dump it into the civilian area, so we didn't get to drive up the epic roadway
that really did look like that picture.

Then we proceeded to throw all the trash into the landfill.
The car smelled a ton better on the ride back just FYI.

I supposed the rest of the afternoon was more normal.
We made ourselves at home in the christian inspiration aisle at Barnes and Nobles hanging out on the floor talking for 2 hrs then buying nothing.
Then heading to Trader Joes and laughing so hard at random things.

All in all an epic adventure.
Blogging friends truly are the ones that will help you carry out your trash 
and won't judge you if it includes a toilet. 

I am so thankful for the awesome adventures and encouragement these friendships entail.
Stay tuned to see how our epicness continues as we adventure to Indy in October for the Influence Conference.
(yes, we are road tripping and detouring to pick up friends from an airport on the way)


Much Love,
L


P.S. I bet you didn't know Pinterest had pictures of landfills either? 

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Monday, 13 August 2012

25lbs of WOW.


Berry picking in this country brings me so much joy. Well I should add fruit picking since
I also love the apple picking in the Fall.
It's the first time I have lived in a country where you could actually pick so many
different types. Can you pick potatoes in England? (Not that I ever did! lol)




So this past week I went with my mother-in-law and younger sister-in-laws to the berry farm
where we headed back to the patch labelled wow. 
And WOW.
Yes....berries everywhere you look. Just falling into your hands in bunches.
We had so much fun standing around for a few hours picking those berries.
And now of course they are in the house in abundance.




So I want to hear your favorite blueberry recipes.
(I have frozen a ton of the lbs of berries so they don't go bad)
But since we have them in abundance, I would love to try some of your favorite recipes.
So please share away in the comments.


How are you guys enjoying your summer?

Much Love,
L




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Saturday, 11 August 2012

As the dawn breaks, I will praise His name.





'Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
Sing about the glory of his name!
Tell the world how glorious he is.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.
Everything on earth will worship you;
they will sing your praises,
shouting your name in glorious songs.'
[Psalm 66:1-4]


I so wish I was a morning person. But I am definitely a night owl. 
Some of my most creative ideas and deepest thoughts have happened late into the night. 
However on our recent trip to Kentucky, we left before the sun rose. 
As I was unable to sleep, I watched the sun rise over the fields and shine through the fog.
It was such a beautiful even to watch.
I couldn't help but be in awe of the Lord while watching. 

Whenever I am awake early enough to watch the sun rise, I never regret it.
As pretty as sunsets are, I think the sunrise is definitely more eventful.
Maybe its because I don't see it as often.

Either way, I hope someday it will become a regular occurrence to rise early
and watch the sunrise while praising Jesus.


Much Love,
L






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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Where do you find your worth?


I don't know how many of you ladies have had the opportunity to watch
 (or read if you are a book-lover) The Help
I watched it when it came to redbox with a precious friend when she came to visit last December
and just loved it. 

This past week, while I had no internet and felt completely pooped from all the moving and cleaning.....
I decided to watch it again.
This time the sweet interaction between Skeeter (the main character) 
and the maid from her childhood, Constantine, 
reinforced a similar thing I had read in my devotions 
(I started reading Rebecca St James Pure about a week ago).


Skeeter is feeling depressed about her school friends and mother telling her
she isn't pretty and is sitting alone in the garden.
Constantine says to her:

'I wish you'd quit feeling sorry for yourself!
Now that's ugly!' 

She goes on to tell Skeeter how everyday that you wake up in life
you have to make a decision about whether you are going
to believe what other people are saying about you.
It so resonated the message from the day two devotion I had read about 
who you let determine your worth.

As women, are we basing our value on what others think of us? 
Do we spend all our time making ourselves beautiful because of
how others will respond to us? Do we behave a certain way to win the respect
of those whose opinion we value?
Do we let other people's negative comments about us get us down?
Do we hear those comments and opinions above what our precious heavenly Father thinks of us?




There are a few people in my life who I would love to have positive opinions about
me. But to what extend should I want those opinions?
I certainly don't think I should change who the Lord has made me and change
the ways He is using in ministry just to seem better to a select few.


Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? 
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
[Matthew 10:29-31]


I am not trying to preach a self-worth message, I am just talking about seeing
oneself with God-worth (not self-worth).
Choosing to believe the Lord's truths about yourself instead of trying to win the approval
and respect of others to find worth.
I hope to never live life with a sense that God is disappointed in me,
that I will never be good enough.
But instead to choose to believe His truth.
That I am loved and secure in Him.
I belong to Him.
I am accepted and cherished - By Him.


Remember that there is one person whose opinion matters.
He has already told you what He thinks of you.
(Read the Bible to know more...)


Don't base your opinion of yourself on false or conditional love from others.
You are not more important to Him because of what you do or don't
do for others.
Don't get so wrapped up in selfishness that you can't see beyond yourself
to see who you are in Christ.
(Yes, that is possible....)


You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, 
though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
[Romans 5:6-8]



{Via}


Remember ladies.....

The Lord loves You.
He wants to spend time with You
(even if it feels like no-one else wants to).
He values You.
He won't exclude You.
He understands You & Cherishes You.

Know that you are Loved by the Lord.


Where do you find your worth?



Much Love,
L





P.S. I hope to be back now with regular internet =) Thanks for being awesome hosts for my guest posters.

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