Fully Persuaded

Friday, November 22, 2013

Image/Art by Zeke Tucker 

The past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the crazy, awesome, unwavering belief that Abraham had in our heavenly Father. I remember learning all about Abraham in Sunday School when I was little (anyone else remember the song Father Abraham?). I remember learning about the significance of his role as God promised him that he would have descendants as many as the stars, and I remember the story of his bold trust in God when he was asked to put his son on the altar… but I don’t think I fully understood how great of an example Abraham’s faith really was.


Want to read more?  Head on over to Our Circle of Friends to see the full post.

Held Accountable

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy Friday!  This week seems to have flown by and with it, went my very good intentions of writing several posts this week.  So here I am, it's already dark out (which I am still having a hard time adjusting to) and I'm waiting for my sweet hubby to get home from work.  But before he arrives, I wanted to leave you with a little something to chew on. 

The past couple months, my small group has been studying the book of Romans.  I am a huge Romans fan, so I have been thoroughly enjoying revisiting these scriptures.  But it never ceases to amaze me how whenever I re-read the text, there is always something new that jumps out at me.  Here's what got me this time.  Chapter 3:19 says, "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God." Just to give you a quick idea of what's going on in this chapter... Paul is teaching about how the law is not grounds for righteousness.  He talks about how it is through faith that we are credited righteousness, and that "through the law we become conscious of sin" and aware of our need for a savior.  (It's a great chapter, if you're not familiar check it out.)

But now I need to apologize because I'm pulling a chunk out of the verse that is somewhat out of context, (forgive me) but it's a phrase that's had me thinking the past couple weeks.  It's the idea of being held accountable to God.

I am a big advocate for accountability.  I think sometimes it gets a bad rep like it's just for people in AA or a churchy-small group sort of word, but I think it's much more than that.  For me it's having a person (or two.. or six) who is willing to hold me responsible for my actions.  More specifically, it's someone I can depend on to help me stick to the goals I've set for myself, who pushes and encourages me when I'm struggling to stay disciplined, and someone who is willing to call me out when I'm acting like a fool.  

As I was reading these verses, and thinking about the fact that we are held accountable to God for our actions, I couldn't help but ask myself, why isn't this truth enough?  When I went to a friend's wedding from high school a couple weeks ago, I went into it knowing that I was going to be tempted to have more than my share of beverages.  There were many days in my past that I dabbled in the fun of having a few too many [and it's definitely still a struggle sometimes], but now I know that's not how I want to live my life.  Knowing this, I texted my sister and said "hey, will you hold me accountable to making good choices tonight?"  For whatever reason, even the simple act of reaching out and asking someone to be aware of what I'm doing, is enough to remind me and motivate me to make good choices.  But what gets me is, why isn't the fact that God knows what I am doing, and knows the decisions I'm going to make before I make them... why is that not enough to motivate me to do the right thing?  

Don't get me wrong, I know that God created us for community, to need each other's support and encouragement.  I'm not discounting that, and I'm definitely not going to go ditching my accountability partners!  Having you guys in my life has made a huge difference in helping me work towards being more Christ-like, and encouraging me to pursue the hopes and dreams that He's given me.  

What I am hoping to do though, is put more emphasis on the truth that I don't just have to rely on my husband or sister or whoever else I've asked to hold me responsible.  The God who created me wants to be a part of my life and help me be the very best that He created me to be.  

My hope and prayer moving forward is that knowing that, would be the motivation and encouragement I need to not only make good choices in the sticky situations, but to push myself in the goals and dreams that I feel He has laid out for me.  

November to-do list

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I don't know about you, but I am all about checklists.  In college, I would write down my daily assignments in my planner, looking forward to the proud moment when I could cross the item off my list.  And I must admit, I am totally one of those people who would add an already finished assignment onto my list just so that I could have the satisfaction of crossing it off.  There is something so exciting about that physical action of drawing a line through it, isn't there?

Maybe that's part of the reason that for me, lists are not just a good reminder, but a good motivation to get it things done.  That's why, as I'm linking up with Hayley over at The Tiny Twig, who challenged us to join her in making goals for the month of November, I'm calling it my November To-Do list instead of my November goals.  For some reason, the idea of goals sometimes feels too far fetched.  Simply throwing the title "to-do list" up there makes me feel like my goals are way more attainable.  It's totally a mental thing, I get that.  But for me, it helps!

With that said, here is my list of to-dos for the month of November.

  • get a lil Christmas shopping done [buy at least 3 gifts]
  • read A Million Little Things
  • go to Body Pump once a week
  • hang some pictures on the walls
  • write November goals post
  • go to Puerto Rico!!!

Notice how I added the one item that I can already check off the list?  :) I couldn't help myself.

One thing that I thought about as I put together this little list, is how important it is to me that my list isn't just made up of things I'd like to get done, but also a reminder to celebrate special moments and choose to make joyful activities a part of my goals.  It's so easy to think of goals as all the gruesome, hard things that we kinda don't want to do, but feel we should.  But why??  Last year, I declared somewhat of a 2013 resolution- that I wanted to be more in love with life, by being intentional about choosing joy in any way that I could.  I loved this little challenge I gave myself, and was significantly encouraged by the discipline that I built to make joyful opportunities happen and reflect on those blessings by sharing some on my blog.  Like this one for example.  Putting joyful activities on my list of to-dos is just another way I hope to carry on this discipline.

In John 10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." My prayer is that your November may also be full, not just with the things that you need to get done, but with many intentionally joyful activities.

The Cat Eye House

Sunday, November 3, 2013

When my husband and I got the chance to meet the seller at the closing for our house, I had a feeling it would be a little special, but I had no idea she would hand over a tradition with a lot of pressure in the words "we've been doing it for YEARS.  People will be looking for it."  Looking down to see what she was passing to me, I couldn't help but giggle to myself as she presented the kitty-cat eyes that you now see in the image above.  I remember thinking to myself briefly, "ugh, lady!  we just bought your house- you can't make us do anything!"  [I was a little defensive, but that probably had more to do with the other, not so fun parting gift that she left in the house for us...] Back in the car, we laughed about the odd, (yet thoughtful gift) and chatted about whether or not we would take up the role as the Cat-eye house.

As Halloween approached, the time came to make the decision.  My sister vouched for no, saying they were super creepy.  Going back and forth a bit, we decided to go for it, and see what all the buzz was about.  After taping the poster-like cat-eyes up in the window and turning on the lights inside giving the eyes their evil glow, I ran outside to check out the results only to hear one of the neighbors across the street say, "Hey neighbor! I'm so glad you kept the tradition going!"  After hearing that, and catching myself a little giddy about our home's transformation, it's fair to say that we have officially accepted the role as the Cat-eye house.

It was fun to see trick-or-treaters stop in front of our lawn and say, "whoa, cool house!" and see some other folks stop to take a picture.  I am thankful for the previous owner who was thoughtful in passing the fun decor on to us - I'm definitely looking forward to carrying this tradition on for years to come.


Besides the kitty-cat eye fun, my awesome parents drove a half hour each way to surprise us, on our doorstep, in costume, ready for a little trick-or-treating fun.  It was great!!! [My parents really are amazing.  I am so thankful that we have such a tight-knit family and that we have so much fun together.] I only hope that Chris and I can grow up to be like the amazing parents we have been blessed with.

Aren't they seriously adorable? 
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