Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Matthew 5:10

 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

I sit here drinking my coffee after reading day 7 of an incredible Lent study. Comfortable. Content. Free to worship to maker of the heavens and earth. My bible is currently in the front seat of my car - sitting there for all the world to see. I drive around town not even thinking twice about "putting it away" or scared that the "wrong" person might see it sitting out in the open. On Sunday I sat in the same spot I sit every Sunday listening to the word of God preached aloud. Not once did I check over my shoulder or worry about having to barricade myself inside from the terrors of the world outside. 

Here I am safe. Here I am free to worship.

As we all go about our daily routines and bicker about what Patricia Arquette's speech  really meant, we so often forget the privileges we have and the freedom we do not deserve. 

Twenty One men had their throats cut because they believed in the same creator I do. 

Twenty One families are grieving the loss of dads, brothers, husbands, sons, uncles, friends.

Twenty One faces so steadfast, brave, and dignified as they kneeled on a beach knowing they were about to take their last breath.

Twenty One men looking for work only to be lead to a beach and killed for their religious views.

Twenty One men who deserve to be remembered for their bravery and conviction.

Today I ask for Twenty One people to join me in honoring these men and professing your faith in a bold way. These men were Coptic Christians (Egyptian Christians) and thus I have pledged to get the Coptic Cross tattooed on my wrist and ask that you do the same. This tattoo is nothing new and worn by Coptic Christians around the world as a symbol of their faith.

"Therefore, the cross symbolizes not only membership in the Christian faith, but a remembrance of early Christian martyrs who died because they wore the cross and refused to renounce their faith" 

I have to be completely honest with you. Tattoos have never been high on my list of "things to do" but it was the first thing that came to mind when wrestling with the idea of honoring those lives lost. 

God calls us to do big things. Take bold steps. 

If you would like to join me in this way honoring the Twenty One lives lost please post a picture to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #21crossesfor21martyrs 

I leave you with this

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A big hug round the neck

I have to start today by saying "Thank you". Seriously. I was completely shocked at the response to yesterdays post.

Thank you for understanding
Thank you for listening
Thank you for your encouragement
Thank you for your honesty
Thank you for doing life along side of me.

Thank you.

Two weeks ago our senior pastor called our church body to a fast. If I am being completely honest I have always shrugged off "corporate" fasts thinking that God would call me to fast when he wanted me to - not my pastor. Though that is true, God can call us individually to fast, he also speaks through the leaders in our life. This time I decided to participate and see what God had to show me through this time of fasting.

If you are familiar with fasting then you know it's kind of like fight club. The first rule of fasting is you don't talk about fasting. Then there's me - sitting here talking about fasting.

Yes, I am going to talk about my fast but not to complain or wallow but to share with you a few things I have learned.

1. God works in mighty mighty ways when he calls his people to a fast. Hello job loss. His timing is impeccable.

2. Study. Draw near. Pull close. Learn. Rest.

I've never really been taught how to "study" scripture. There are daily devotionals and sure you can read a few scriptures a day but how do I really dig deep? Our pastor shared an example of taking scripture and dissecting it - studying it.

Thats what I want to share most with you today.

I started with Luke 1:45 // Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished //

Take each word and see how it relates to you, to the other words in the passage, the definition, what is its purpose in this verse..

Here is an example of what I did with the verse above

What I ultimately came to through my time of study was God was saying a lot of things to me through this verse

He is telling me that I am made holy (and you too) when we accept who Christ is and what he has done for us - through this his promises to us will all come to fruition. WHEW.

You'll see I jotted down a few things that he has spoken to me recently (and through this passage): stop worrying, refocus, slow down, I will never leave you... What has he spoken to you lately?

Try it. Take a verse that is really speaking into your life right now. Dissect it. See what God tells you through the process. Then glance back at it throughout the week. You will be surprised what new meanings it takes on.

I would love for you to share your various study habits/scriptures you are dissecting. Tag me on instagram/facebook or shoot me an email. Enjoy your day friends.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blessing even in the darkness

Life can change so quickly. It still fascinates me how in the blink of an eye your path and take a huge detour. 

Case and point - as I am writing this I am listening to the beautiful elevator music that gets played while waiting on hold (I am at 26 min and counting) with the Oklahoma unemployment agency. 

Cats outta the bag.

I have wrestled with writing about this experience or not - lets be honest its an ego blow to be laid off. What I realized though, is I am not the first or the last person to ever be laid off. 

A week ago today I was told my services were no longer needed with my current employer. Though I knew lay offs were coming, I will be the first to say I didn't really think I would be effected. There was always this fear in the back of my mind that I would lose my job and then I would get a call asking for help, a new meeting request, or a problem to solve and that fear was squashed. 

Getting laid off is such a roller coaster ride of emotions but one thing I have been completely astounded by is the love and support from friends and colleagues. I have joked a few times and said "If you ever want to know what it would be like if you died - just get laid off". 

Here is the biggest thing I have learned lately: God blesses us even in the darkest of days. 

Getting laid off was a complete blessing for me. 

Say What?

Yep, loosing my job has been a huge blessing for me. It has allowed me to refocus my career and really target what it is I want to do and where God wants me to be. 

More importantly, getting laid off has pushed me closer to my savior.  Trust is something that does not come naturally to me - its on the lower end of my competencies, if not the lowest. The easiest way to get me to trust something is to give me control. I know it will all work out better if you just let me do it....

Funny thing though, the definition of "faith" is to have complete TRUST or confidence in someone or something. So to have FAITH that my God will work all this together for my good and that he guides my path means I have to TRUST. 

It also means I have to turn over the reigns. Uh.... about that. See these reigns are super glued, cemented, and then surgically implanted into my hands. To let go of them takes some major work. Daily work. Heck, hourly work. But then I hear him whisper in my ear "Sarah, let me bear your burden. Rest." 

So thats where I am. Resting in his truths, exploring new opportunities inside and outside of my comfort zone, and allowing God to do the work. TRUSTING that he will make clear the path he has set before me. It isn't easy to let go. It isn't easy to not see immediate response. It isn't easy to wait, but I know that his direction is much more clear than anything I could ever try to create.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under Gods mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" 1 Peter 5:6-7 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Its been a while...

So much has changed since we last touched base - heck a new year has rolled in.

Every year for the past 3 years I have done a look back on the previous year and a look forward to what I hope is to come (here is last years) no worries, Ill do that later this week.

First, things first. How've you been?

Sorry to go silent for so long. If I'm being honest I was a little blog burnt out. I would think about writing or uploading pretty images and then... I wouldn't. Good news though, a new leaf has been turned and you are about to get more than your fair share of me!

Here are a few images to tide you over until next time ;)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Garden : Raised bed planting

Last time we talked about the new raised bed it looked like this:

After a free weekend (FINALLY!) It looks like this:

I knew I had to get some veggies in the ground asap and after having the bed for a solid two days realized Murphy was going to make it his personal outdoor playground. There was no way I was about to let him trample all my hard work and those glorious veggies!

I found these rolls of cedar fencing and Lowes. I grabbed three (seeing as the side along the house doesn't need fencing) and rolled them out. Starting in the farthest right corner I slowly worked my way around the bed hammering in the pickets. Turns out this process was way easier than I imagined and so far Murphy has left my garden alone!

Now lets talk about what everyone is just dying to know - What did I plant?! 

Along the side of the house (see the picture above) I have four pepper plants - three bell and one jalapeno with a few "pollinators" mixed in. In the same bed but towards the yard you have two spaghetti squash and two butternut squash plants. These I put at either end of the bed to give them "running room" towards each other.

In the back corner - where the two beds meet - I put seeds for beans that will form a bush rather than pole beans that climb.

Down the other side of the bed I have four tomato plants - celebrity, arkansas traveler, roma, and big beef. 

All the tomato plans are staked and tied with twine to help as the grow larger. Once they overtake the stake I will put a cage around them. 

The metal markers you see I bought at target THREE years ago thinking I would use them for parties or a craft project. Instead they are being used as intended! I loved that I happened to have those on hand.

Lastly, I planted herb seeds. One thing I found out is that cilantro is a WINTER herb and is not intended for summer growth. How crazy is that?! 

Italian herbs are best in summer so I planted basil, oregano, and parsley. I cannot wait to see them start to pop up!! The herb markers are left over stir sticks from this bridal shower :) resourceful if I do say so myself! So there you have it, my fully planted garden.... now to get things to grow and more importantly - stay alive!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gotcha Day : Noah

Goodness that sweet little face! Noah is the sweet boy you see up there. Today Noah is officially placed in his forever home with the Craig's. 

You might remember the Craig's from here // at the end of 2012 they brought home three amazing little girls to multiply their family. Goodness this family, they blow me away. They first had the two babies (Noah and Grace) and then when the court ordered the three girls (siblings) stay together they petitioned to bring all the girls home with them while also caring for a newborn Noah. The court granted their wish and for more than a year they fostered all four babies. Today - they are all officially family.

Noah, or Noahie Bear as I like to call him, has the sweetest spirit and sure knows how to love. 

Welcome home for GOOD, Noah. You are so loved little man!

I had to throw this last picture in there - Tanners foot flying, the little girls in their own world, the laughter - I love it all!

Happy Gotcha Day, Craig family

Friday, April 18, 2014

Raised Garden

Its finally here! This little space I have been wanting for quite a while now is FINALLY HERE! You'll remember a few years back I started gardening in hay bales. Though, that turned out really successful, I wasn't able to keep the hay bales more than one season of gardening and it turned out to be a lot more work than imagined. So, I did a lot of research - aka pinterest - to figure out what type of raised garden I would want in the future. I knew I wanted something a little different than the norm but also something that could be added to in the future if I out grew one bed.

I enlisted the help of Groggs Green Barn here in town and they came out to do an evaluation of my yard and size up the potential bed. Two weeks later we were ready for install!

Please dont judge the current state of my back yard - its bad now - but gonna be so good in the future!

I am so excited. The bed is an "L" shape and each leg is 10 X 3 and sits 12" high. 

This shape gives me a lot of options in the future - I could add a square bed in the bend of the "L" or add another "L" facing the opposite direction that would result in a large square of sorts. 

Right now I am just so excited to get some transplants in there and start growing. Looks like a lot of summer veggies will go in - peppers, beans, tomatoes, maybe some squashes, and cucumber! YAY

Any professional gardeners out there have tips?!?