Sunday, January 26, 2014

le chocolate fest

I knew with that kind of title I'd have you....

Yesterday, I had the chance to partake of the yummies that wafted through the air at the Northwest Arkansas mall at the Le Chocolate Fest supporting the Pink Divas.

I was excited when Cindy, my new team member at work, said yes to my invitation to join me.  Both of us know we have to do a better job on Saturdays of getting out and about and exploring Northwest Arkansas and a sunny, Saturday morning with a few of our girlfriends and 12 chocolate vendors was pretty motivating!!

I mean look at this stuff -

(Royal Treats was my favorite...cant wait until I have a reason to go visit them!)

(NWACC Culinary won best taste for the pecan praline truffles)

There was even a line 30 plus deep waiting for hot s'mores funnel cakes - I didn't wait.  I was distracted by the Shake's ice cream...

As expected, the best part of my day was running into some of my favorite ARWB ladies and Debbie and Rhonda never disappoint for laughs and encouragment!
Yes, we did get a little nerdy and I'm sure Cindy was ready to talk about sports instead of words, but she was kind to just keep smiling.  We finished with a family lunch with the Bramell Bunch - not gonna lie, that sweet girl twin yelling my name and running to me for a big hug completely made my day, even more so than a box of chocolates!


Monday, January 6, 2014

2014, what's next

yesterday I joined many other by attending church "online".  In college I used to attend Bedside Baptist when I was too lazy to get out of bed on a Sunday morning.  I'm not sure what you call yesterday.  In December, Prestonwood called it #icechurch, so I might just stick with that.

I was so ready to get back to my Fellowship family this weekend.  It was one of the reasons I came back early from home and wanted to get settled.  I wanted to start the year off in the place that has meant so much and been such a refuge for me during 2013.  But, weather would not have it.  Actually, anticipating that the weather would be ugly on Sunday, I went on Saturday night and I'm so glad I did.  Worship was exactly what I needed and I rand into some old friends from Arkadelphia who invited me to join them for dinner.  A wealth of conversation ensued and I was so refreshed by the feeling of home.

But, Sunday morning, I joined Cross Church.  Ronnie delivered a strong message.  A powerful message that smacked me like Goliath right on the forehead!  I've been so scared about 2014.  I've been dreading it.  (for many reasons that I'll share if you want to get together for coffee!) But, after the message, I was reminded of a couple things.

1.  nothing I have in front of me to endure is new.  There are no new just for Keisha trials, obstacles or tests that have been created.  Others have gone down this road, are going there now and have jumped these hurdles like Olympic champions.  No, it won't be easy.  No, it wont be fun everyday.  But, can it bring God glory?
2.  I have prayed and even begged for God to give me a journey that will expand my sphere of influence for His sake.  That gift He has given me; dare-say even bestowed.  So, now it's time for me to walk forward, to journey on, for HIS GLORY.  Keisha aside, His GRACE upfront. 
3. Gen 50:20 will continue to be my anthem - what they intended for evil, God intended for good!

Of course, as these rocks were hitting me head on, I had to open up a word doc and take some notes.  If nothing else, these are an Ebenezer for me; a rock in the river to remember the lesson I learned this morning.  Its not always that my sermon notes are on the www.  But today, I share!

Life is full of seasons.  (Ecc 1:9-10)  Sometimes they come earlier than expected.  Outside our land already looks like the end of February.  The grass is dry, the trees are bare and needing something more.  Winter came early.  It surprised us and hit us unexpected.  But it came.  And, just like it blew in, it will move and the next season will come.
Sometimes life looks like today – a billowy winter’s day – where you are begging for the springtime

Wouldn’t it be nice if life was just full of spring times or the fall where it’s all beautiful and colorful, fresh and great and it’s just good?  Life is full of winter time.  But, life is full of summer times where it’s heated.  Where you just want to turn to the Lord and say “enough”.  It’s HOT enough.    

What kind of season are you in?

1.       Trials- James 1:2

2.       Transition

a.       Seasons of life

b.      Transition that failure brings – regardless of your failure, the Lord will stand with you and he will strengthen you.  You will learn that your failure is not fatal.  Your future is in the hands of God no matter where the failure happens.

c.       Success – who gave it to you?  Who walked there with you?  “It’s much more fun to ride the wave of success than the undertow of failure”

d.      Promotion – new heights.  You will wonder how can I do this? God you will empower me once you enlarge those borders. (Prayer of Jabez)  Walk me through this.  He will stand with you even in the transition of promotion

e.      Change – it’s inevitable.  It’s real.

3.       Tragedy – 2 Cor 1:3-7 – He comforts us in our affliction (and it is shared) – its why we need the church and the community of faith

a.       Death

b.      Diagnosis

c.       Loss of job

d.      Loss of mate, partner, spouse

4.       Test – God uses the trials, transitions to test us – Exod, Numb, Deut are full of stories of people who have been there and a picture of God’s faithfulness

a.       Learn the first time and never forget! – Ps 105:19 – until the time his dreams came into reality, the Lord tested him (Gen 37-50) – lots of pit before he went to the pinnacle – Gen 50:20!!!! What they meant for evil, God did for GOOD

b.      James 1:2-5

c.       To mature you in your faith and help you learn and grow

d.      Testing gets us ready for God to fulfill something wonderful in our lives – the Lord will stand with you and He will strengthen you

How do you prepare for what’s next when you don’t know what’s next?

1.        Commit yourself to a time with God daily – be ready

a.       Your ammo is the word of God and prayer

b.      Let him teach you through the power of His word.  He will store those things in your heart for the day you need it.

c.       The Lord stood with me and he strengthened me

2.       Commit yourself to ministry in and through the local church – you can commit yourself to a lot of things but involved in a LOCAL church.  Those will be the people who will be around you when you need community most

3.       Commit yourself to personal wellness

a.       Body, soul and spirit – one affects the other

4.       Commit yourself to developing yourself in every way for the glory of God – 1 Cor 6:19-20

a.       You are a sanctuary of the holy spirit – your body is where God lives – on this earth God is present in you


c.       The Lord stood with me and strengthened me.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

let this be the year

Let this be the year!

That's been on my mind lately. I guess it could be the fact that I've been staying up late and sleeping in like I'm a college student or the weird combination of foods that I don't normally eat.  But, something has had this rolling around.

Let this be the year!

It's what I'm claiming.  I'm not one much for resolutions or even sitting down and creating a big list of goals.  I do that kind of mess every day.  I'm a dreamer.  It keeps me awake at night, distracted during the day and now that I'm over 30 wakes me up to lay wide-eyed at the wee hours of the morning.

Let this be the year!

So, what will it be?  What will this year hold?

The year I __________ more.
The year I __________ less.

Let this be the year!

The year I give more ___________ away and take less ____________.
The year I become _________________ and quit doing ___________.

Let this be the year!

The year I learn to ___________ and give up ______________.
The year I try ___________ and stop ______________.

Let this be the year!

The year I forgive ____________.
The I claim _____________.

Let this be the year!  The year I'm different.  The year I'm better.  The year I go there.  The year I discover the best of me, the most of the moments, and give it all away!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

holiday blues

As I've spent the last couple days reading social media and blog posts about the ending of 2013 and 2014, I've struggled to come up with words for where I am.

I'll be honest (because you know I usually hold back)

I HATE JANUARY - and typically February, too. 

I do.  I'm a living breathing example of SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder).  No, I've not been official diagnosed, but this is one self diagnosis that I know I've not missed.

I hate it.  And after watching some DVR shows today while cleaning and putting away Christmas I think its because of several reasons.

-intention hits the door-  All the commercials on these shows are heart warming.  They are thank you messages from businesses, they have great lighting, they have soft, kind music, their topics make you feel good and are so different from what we hear the rest of the year.  I mean, what if we had something like the CMA Christmas music special a couple times a year?  What if we stopped and said "thank you" in May or September too?  What if we looked at tradition more than surrounding a couple holidays each year?  What if we sought to see our family and friends like we do in December?  What if we gave everything away like we do in the winter months?  What if we gave 12 months out of the year instead of seeing what we need to get rid of for tax deductions?

-togetherness leads to loneliness- I realize I'm a little more spoiled than others in that I have always been in positions where I get an extended Christmas break.  Whether its working for an educational institution or needing to take unused vacation days, I usually get a hefty helping of family time over the break.  For the first time, this year it was hard to leave home.  I realize we had a big family event that put the next steps of life in perspective and gave me a chance to have some QT with my parentals as an only child, but I did not want to come back.  And, for the first time since graduating college I began to feel the pull to be closer to home.  My family is close.  We are friends and spending time with them is one of my favorite things to do.  When you leave being surrounded 24/7 by people you love, hugs and encouraging words, less than 12 hours in your own home begins to feel like isolation.

-I hate change and beginnings-  I'm always scared of the unknown.  The terms "potential" and "possibility" are pregnant with "anxiety" and "fear".  I question myself, my abilities and my capabilities.  So much about my life right now is not what I expected, what I wanted, or what I know to maneuver.  I can't think about today because I'm anxious about Monday at work.  And I can't process what all needs to be done on Monday because I'm anxious about working on the next Monday-Wednesday.  I can't think about the next Monday because I'm worried about planning for the end of the week.  See where this is going?  Its terrible.  I've spoken about it before and I'm sure I'll re-visit the subject.  It seems to be a plague I follow.  But, I want more and different.  I want to experience rest and peace.  I'm one that likes to make a well thought out plan and then work towards that, long term. 

Last year I learned lots about obedience and surrender.  Apparently I'm super hard headed because I feel like I'm back in the same place.  Wondering, questioning (when I should be trusting), and feeling anxious (a feeling I know all too well).

I want something to look forward to, to strive for, to give back to.  I want to dig roots.  I feel like a nomad.  I know I have purpose and I know I have many thing to fight for, I just want to see and feel progress and know its ENOUGH. 

That's it.  I don't feel enough.  Enough in my personal life, my professional life and both of those are a result of my spiritual life. 

I cried today on the phone with my mom, and yesterday leaving my sister and at lunch with my dad the day before that! I want to feel whole, productive, contributing, and settled. 

When Jan 2013 hit, it didn't know what would happen at the end of Feb or in April, May or July, Aug 22 or labor day weekend, Nov or how amazing the last 3 weeks would be. 

I heard Robin Roberts say in her recent interview with Barbara Walters that she "cant look back because it depresses and can't look forward because it creates anxiety", so she is "just going to focus on today".  Seems like a perfect mantra to me.  If only I can keep reminding myself.