Friday, June 21, 2013

A Trusting Heart

John Ortberg wrote in his book, Love Beyond Reason:

"If I want to fully experience the love of Jesus, I must receive one of the most important gifts he sends me--his teaching...I must trust that he is right--about everything. And that therefore where I disagree with him I must either be wrong, or not yet understand what it was he was saying. I must allow Jesus to teach me how to live." 

Wow, that's powerful. Have you been there? 
  • "But, God, why is the cancer back?"
  • "God, I thought you told our family to do this, but it's not working out like I thought it was going to."
  • "God, how come those people don't ever seem to suffer, but all that I see in my life is trouble."
  • "God, how come I struggle with ______ , but have done nothing but serve you faithfully."

One thing I know for sure is that God is good. He does not delight in troubles, as in ever. Is he using them as growing opportunities in your life? Well probably. Is he trying to teach you something? Perhaps. But, maybe not. Sin brings trouble much of the time. Maybe there's nothing you did to cause it, but the sin in the world is always going to affect us, because this is a broken human race, and that's what we were born into--a world full of sin. Sometimes trials provide the best opportunities for us to be thankful, amen?

God can do what he wants, and he has that right as the creator of the entire universe. If all he did was save us and that's it, shouldn't we still praise him? I know for a fact that he does not want us to suffer, because our God came to earth as a human to save our lives by laying down his own. Does that sound like the kind of God who likes to see you suffer? 

So what's the point I'm getting to? If we don't understand God, and we don't know what he's doing with our lives right now, I just want to remind someone out there to trust. He always has your best interest at heart. If you find yourself questioning that, stop for a moment and ask yourself what you're missing. You may not understand God's will in this moment, but please be confident that it's part of a greater plan. God never wastes a moment to use your struggle or hardship for good. He won't miss it. Never. He will use you, where you are, in this hard spot, and he's going to use it for his glory. Maybe you'll see it now, or far down the road, or hey, maybe never. That's just how cool God is. He's the soon-returning, glorious Lord of all creation, and he cares about your troubles. He has a plan, and you may not be in on all of the details, so trust.

Today I'm choosing to trust him about everything, and if I don't understand or see where he's going with things, I still choose trust. To experience Jesus, I must read his book, learn from his words, and listen to his voice. The Bible is full of life-giving wisdom, audacious people, miraculous miracles, gobs of hope, love, and peace, and enough challenging moments to keep your soul busy for a lifetime. I've heard people say the Bible is boring. Now, does that sound boring to you? :) 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Aiden Photo Preview

My son Truett has a really wonderful best friend, Aiden. It kind of melts my heart when they hug. Here are some pictures from a mini-shoot last week!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Green Family

I love this family so much! They are quick to love, always full of laughter, hope, and lots of hugs and kind words. I loved taking these so much!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Baby Camden

For the last three years, I've been blessed by the most beautiful friend. Candace and Evan are going to be some really amazing parents. Isn't she the most gorgeous pregnant lady you've ever seen?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Healthy Oatmeal Muffins

Now, these may not look quite as fluffy as normal muffins at a bakery, but they pack a PUNCH of flavor! Trust me when I say, oatmeal muffins don't have to be boring. This recipe was first given to me by my friend Lori Bollinger, and I've altered it a tad. Thanks, Lori, for saving my boring Saturday mornings!

This recipe makes 12 muffins.

2.5 cups quick oats
1 small package applesauce (I used natural, no sugar added)
1 small 6oz non fat greek yogurt (I used Chobani apple cinnamon flavor) 
1/4 c agave nectar (or honey)
1/8 c Truvia (or 1/4 c sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
2 T whole flax seed (or ground flax)

1. Put all ingredients in a blender and mix together well.
2. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking or baking spray and pour your mixture into the cups, filling each 3/4 full. You should have exactly enough for 12!
2. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Teaching the Bible to Truett

It's easy to roll over in bed each morning and check Facebook on my phone. It's also just as easy to roll over, open the Bible App, and read God's word. Both take about the same amount of time, but the difference in the end result of my day is staggering.

As one of my goals this year, I've decided to start reading my paper Bible in the kitchen, and it's not because I don't love YouVersion. I love it so much it hurts, actually, because it has truly transformed how much I engage with the Bible! But, something I've realized these past few weeks more and more is that my son, Truett, at just 18 months old, doesn't understand that I'm not just texting or playing on my phone. He doesn't see me read the Bible using an app, so ya know what, I'm going to show him. When he gets older and understands that I'm reading the Bible every morning, then I'm ok with reverting back to my phone, but until then, this small little change is really important to me. I need him to actually SEE Jesus in my life. I need him to know, without a doubt, that Jesus is important in this house, and in my life. I want to be a light that shines Jesus in our house, and this choice starts in me.

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 
Deuteronomy 6:7 NLT

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Homemade Chai Latte

Best Homemade Chai Latte

You'll need:
1 bag of vanilla chai tea & 8 oz hot water
1/2 c almond milk (or milk if you prefer)
1/2 T Truvia (or sugar if you prefer)
1 tsp. vanilla

This is so easy you're gonna die.

  1. Make your chai tea using boiling hot water and the steep for 6 minutes, so it's good and strong!
  2. In a separate large mug, mix the almond milk, truvia, and vanilla together and microwave this mixture for 45 seconds on high (adjust according to your microwave's strength).
  3. Whip the milk mixture really fast for 30 seconds until it foams up. I use a cute little tiny whip, but you could use a spoon if you have awesome skills like that. :)
  4. Pour the froth you made on top of the tea and enjoy! My mom doesn't whip it all together, but I prefer to, so it's up to you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Father's Day

Any mothers of young kids out there struggling with what to do for the Father at your house on Father's Day? Why this stresses me, I have no idea. I know Jonathan would die if he knew it did, because he doesn't care as much about cutsie homemade handprints and that type of thing. He loves Truett to death, but all of this worry and work I'm putting into thinking of the perfect thing started to get to me. It's the part of me that wants him to feel so loved and appreciated that it's not even funny, so I tend to put ridiculous expectations on myself to deliver the perfect Pinteresty gift. Am I the only one? So, I paused. I decided to talk with Jonathan last night. It went something like this:

me: Hey, can I ask you something?

him: Sure, what's up.

me: Well, I know Father's Day is coming up, and I just wondered how you feel most loved. What I mean is, when you think about Father's Day in your mind, what do you expect the day to look like? What would be a perfect day to you? I can't promise that I'm going to do all of the things that you say, but I think it will help me to understand how you feel loved and appreciated as a dad. Does that make sense?

him: Michelle, that's very nice, but honestly, I just want time with my family. Uninterrupted quality time. You don't have to top something you did last year every time you know, or make me some cute gift. You can if you want, of course, but it's not expected. I just want to sleep in, and spend time with my favorite family. Does that sound ok?

And with a simple two-minute conversation, my stress plummeted to zero. Open communication my friends, open communication. No surprises ruined, no feelings hurt, no expectations unmet. This father's day may just be the best yet, even with no Pinterest project. :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Best Things in Life

I've been alive for 27 short years on planet earth, and the following is my short list of best things you should not risk failing to experience in this lifetime:

  1. Jesus' relentless love
  2. True love (mine came in the form of Jonathan Meisner!)
  3. Sunshine
  4. Fantastic Stories
  5. Music that makes your heart sing
  6. Chocolate cake
  7. The love of a mother
  8. White snow on Christmas morning
  9. Green grass
  10. The beach
  11. Sitting by a campfire making smores
  12. Best friends, and the photos you should definitely take to remember those best friends

You know what!? The best things in life really are free, or less than $5. ;)

Being Perfect

It's hard being perfect. I am though, don't every way.

Bahaha, hopefully you don't think I'm serious, because if I ever told a joke, that would be it. We all have flaws! If you're reading this today and you think you're perfect, this post isn't for you. If you're reading this and know you've got some issues, well then hopefully I can bring some hope today. Maybe God can use me in one little way on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Right now I want you to think of something you've purchased in the past that you loved loved loved, and probably paid a little too much for, but because you were so in love with it, you were never regretful for the tiniest millisecond. Have something in mind? What is it? For me, this may seem silly but I bought a nice raincoat for a trip. For whatever reason, raincoats are hard to find, and I looked and looked, but never had much luck. I'd find a few for a reasonable price, but they were never quite what I was looking for, so I would pass. When I found the perfect one, I thought it was about $40 overpriced, but still bought it. Am I sorry? No way! I needed a raincoat for the 7 days of stormy weather we were about to experience, and it was perfect! So perfect, in fact, that I went home to wear it around the cool, dry house all afternoon, just because. Come on, you know you've made purchases that you've loved that much before too! This jacket did, and still does the job on rainy days, it's super-cute, and fits perfect. It's worth every penny ever me. Now, if you asked my neighbor, Mr. Biggs, if he would have spent the same amount on the raincoat that I bought, I can assure you that the answer would be no. But the value isn't the same to him, because it doesn't fit him, he doesn't need or even want it, and he certainly wouldn't pay full price. See, it's not about how much was spent on the jacket, but about the value that it has specifically to ME. This is sometimes how God sees us in so many ways. He made you unique, he thinks you're super-cute, that you fit perfectly in his plan, and that you're worth a high price! You're not like your best friend Lisa, because you're not made to do what Lisa does. You are unique to the purpose God put inside of YOU, and there is no amount of money that changes your value to him. You might have a little stain or rip here and there, but he's keeping you forever, because there is nothing he wants more than exactly what you are. God has big plans for your life, and you're beyond valuable to him. 1 Corinthians 7:23 says, "God paid a high price for you, so don't be enslaved by the world."

In other words, don't waste time being consumed by what others think, how you can fit in, why you don't have this or that gift, or how come your life doesn't seem as good as so-and-so. Don't knock yourself down for your failures in the past...because, let's face it, aren't they in the past? Let it go. I sometimes forget how valuable I am to God, but he bring me right back to it often. I'm special to him, and of indescribable worth. He thinks I'm beautiful, and I'm perfectly lovable just as I am in his eyes. I'm not perfect, and although I'm striving to be more and more like Christ every day, I don't kill myself for my mistakes. I apologize, learn from them, and get up and try again. In the process, I'm becoming a stronger person, a better wife, a good mom, and a better friend. Maybe it's time for a few of you out there to start seeing yourself as God sees you, huh? Maybe today is your day to start figuring out what makes you tick, and what God put inside of you, and go do that! I can guarantee that you'll never be happier than you will be when you're right in the middle of God's will. Yep, guaranteed.

As a side note, if you don't know where to start discovering what God has planned for your life, this is a great free, online tool to help!

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