Posted in Write 31 Days

Back to the Beginning

I sat down to write tonight and had an overwhelming urging to look back at some of my older posts. I decided to start at the beginning and chuckled at myself at the first paragraph of my first ever blog post.

When I was a little girl living in a small Alabama town, I dreamed of someday leaving that existence to become a missionary doctor. I wanted to go to Africa to heal and save people. It was such a grand yet simple childhood dream, but it’s all I ever wanted and it’s all I ever talked about. It was my destiny and I knew this because God told me this was His plan for me. I had the grades and I had the faith. Why would I have ever thought this would not be my future?

I love that this was the item I chose to share with the world as I started what would become my blogging mission.

As Gil and I plan and raise funds for our first ever mission trip abroad, I can’t help but think back to the innocence and naivete in that dream.  I never had any doubt that God was telling me to do His work and spread His message. Life got in the way, as it tends to do, and I forgot He placed a mission in my heart. I’m so grateful to have found Him again and that for a few years now, He’s been recharging and refilling my heart with an unquenchable desire to tell anyone who will listen about His love, mercy, and grace.

Aspects of my younger self’s dreams have changed, but the overall picture is the same. I’ve learned my mission work does not have to be limited to some far away land to be meaningful and and impactful. I can simply show others in my everyday, ordinary life. If I can demonstrate love and mercy in the same way God grants it, I will have fulfilled that youthful dream in the smallest of ways.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Write 31 Days

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

If the title of this post seems confusing, I apologize. I’m just practicing my next mission.  Let me explain.

I’ve taken a few days off from writing in order to spend time with very dear friends and attend the Women of Faith Conference in Orlando. It was the second year I’ve attended and once again it did not disappoint. For three hours on Friday night and 8 hours on Saturday, we laughed, we cried, we worshiped, we prayed, we questioned, and we praised. There were special moments that shook my soul to the core and lifted my heart toward God.  I loved being there and I loved listening to these beautiful women (and Matthew West) bring their personal stories to life so that we could all find ways to relate to them on what felt like an intimate setting surrounded by thousands of other women. My heart and my reading list were very full when we left there.

I would highly recommend checking out every one of this year’s speaker and artists. Here’s a quick run-down for you. There was some wonderful content and messages that came from each of these and I hope to incorporate something from each speaker into this month of missions I’m on.

There was one message that really stood out for me during the weekend.  Lysa TerKeurst spoke about how we should say yes to God’s assignment each morning.  One of her quotes really jolted my heart because I will be the first to admit that prayer time and conversations with God are not first on my mind when I wake up. Lysa says we should “exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.”  WHOA!  Talk about a Godsmack statement! b36cbaec6e103d0ba2fcba3c9f67be6a

Patsy Clairmont says that saying yes to God daily keeps you open and supple to things like gratitude and mercy. Mercy is an area in which I struggle daily. Between my commute and what can only be described as an extremely frustrating work environment, I completely ignore God’s opportunities to extend mercy. I have to more consciously acknowledge these moments and say yes to Him, yes to his assignment to invest mercy in other people.

I’m now on a mission to begin each day with “Yes, God, I’ll do whatever you want me to do”. Whatever the assignment He has for me, I will say yes to it.  I know in my heart the words in this image are true and I hope that by succeeding in this mission, I will experience joy in more areas of my life.

Posted in Write 31 Days

A Call to Arms

The first time I noticed the beauty of a woman’s arms was watching Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got To Do With It. I watched that movie over and over thinking how I wanted to look like that. I envied how cut, toned,  and strong she looked.  She was exceptionally fit,  but for me,  it was all about her arms.

Now, fast forward 21 years. My arms were no closer to looking like Angela’s than they were in 1993. The reason for this is because I had done nothing other than wish my arms were strong and toned.  Well, guess what? Wishing for something without taking action to make those dreams a reality is about as useless as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

My husband and I made a decision 10 months ago it was time to stop wishing and start doing. We simply changed the foods we ate and the pounds started melting away. Before we knew it, we were down 50 pounds between the two of us, and we did this with virtually no change to our activity level. We were skinnier, but still pretty soft and squishy around the middle.

We knew we had to do something if we wanted to really make a change to our bodies.  Six weeks ago we joined a gym. We made a commitment to each other to work out each morning before work.  It has not been easy. And I’m not talking about the workouts themselves,  I’m talking about getting out of bed,  getting in the car,  and making the 10 minute drive to the gym. No one ever said it would be easy, but we keep going morning after morning.

Last week I grabbed something slightly heavy from a shelf and noticed something amazing.  It took me by such surprise that I couldn’t stop looking at my arms.  I stood there in my kitchen flexing my arms,  first the right arm,  then the left arm,  then the right again just to make sure I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing.  Then I showed my husband and he confirmed  it. What I was seeing were several defined cuts in the muscles of my arm. I was seeing definition and toned,  lean muscles.  I was not seeing flabby,  saggy skin.  My mind immediately went back to those memories of longing to have arms like Angela Bassett.  I began to realize that by doing instead of dreaming,  I was making those wishes a reality.

20141009_163849Now I’m on a mission to build on what I’ve started. I can see the beginnings of making a long forgotten dream come true. I’m on a mission to make my arms something I don’t plan my wardrobe around hiding.  I can wear that tank top and sleeveless dress and not be ashamed of the batwings flapping in the breeze. Before last week,  my time at the gym was just a workout.  Now it’s my mission to turn it up a notch because I’ve gotten a sneak peek of what I can accomplish.

Posted in Write 31 Days

Restful Mission

As I sit here trying to force my brain to stay awake long enough to get this post out there, I realize it’s a losing battle. I’m tired. No, actually I’m exhausted. The last five days have been a whirlwind of activity that started when my husband and I attended WordCamp Tampa last Saturday and Sunday. We’ve been going nonstop ever since. Between going to the gym, my day job, leading  Small Group at church on Tuesday night, attending a small group this morning at 6:00 A.M., work again, working out again, I’m beat!  Oh, and I accomplished a couple of administrative tasks I do for the church and cranked out a few blog posts. I’m physically and mentally whipped.  So, I have declared tonight my “I’m on a mission to get 8 hours of sleep”. If I go to bed RIGHT NOW, I may actually succeed in this mission.

I have a big and exciting weekend ahead of me. We’ll be spending several days with very dear friends we don’t see nearly enough, and I’ll be attending the Women of Faith Conference with my friend Lindsey. I’m looking forward to the next 3.5 days so much. And I know my body. I need to recharge. So please forgive the short post and come back tomorrow when I hope that my brain has had a chance to reset and I can tell you all about my next mission or mission related ideas.

Even my kitty Peppy says it’s bedtime.  Have a great evening and I’ll see you all tomorrow.

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~~~~~~~~~~UPDATE~~~~~~~~~~

Mission Accomplished – God had his hand all over this one!
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The read out on my Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit Sleep Tracker on Friday morning.

 

 

 

Posted in Write 31 Days

Which Mission Are You Talking About?

I found out about the Write 31 Days challenge late on the evening of October 4th. By the time I talked myself out of not doing it, it was already after 10:00 on the night of October 5th, five days into the challenge, and five days late. Sometimes you just have to say “so what” and just do the thing you want to do, even if it breaks or bends the rules.

I was able to post my first blog for the challenge with only minutes left to get in with the other 1200 bloggers taking part. Whew…it was a close one.  As a result of my limited time, I only touched on my purpose in this challenge at a very high level. Then yesterday for my second post, I didn’t get started writing until late again. To break what appears to be a pattern, I’m going to take the time today to write about what I’m going to write about. How’s that for filling space with words?

Since I’m writing about the word mission and all the things it means to me, I decided to see what Dictionary.com says it means to them. Here are all the different meanings of the word mission as a noun:

  • a group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like.
  • the business with which such a group is charged.
  • any important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed.
  • an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction
  • a calling or vocation.
  • a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose.
  • those sent.

During the next month, I will write about our upcoming mission trip to Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic with our church. We are partnering with SCORE International and will work in many different areas while we are there. I’m very excited about not only sharing how we are fundraising and preparing for this trip, but also my personal hopes and dreams for our work there.

I will also share about the personal path my husband and I have taken with regards to our health and wellness. We’ve been more conscious about the food we put into our bodies for the past 10 months and I would love to share some of the lessons we’ve learned and rewards we’ve reaped on this journey.

For several years now I’ve struggled with figuring out what my spiritual gift is. I plan to continue exploring this until I find that one thing God has placed on my life so that I may better serve Him. I may never fully realize this, but it won’t stop me from continually trying to better myself for His glory. This next month will be a chance for me to dig into that a little deeper and share what I’m learning through my blog.

The final mission I plan to share with you are those little things that nag at me, my never ending want-to-do list. These include learning spanish, photoshop, and learning how to code for WordPress.  I have a pretty long list and will write about some of them. I’ll let you know my progress, setbacks, and successes during the month. So far, my mission to write every day for the past 3 days has been successful. I’ll take that win!

When I told my husband about my topic of On a Mission and what I planned to write about, he asked “Aren’t you just listing goals you want to accomplish?”  I thought about that for a minute and conceded that he was absolutely correct in his assessment of my plan. However, I believe simply listing a group of goals is a passive thing. By saying “I’m on a mission to…”, I feel that I’m being more active with my intentions. I’m not expressing a desire to do something. Instead I’m telling you I’m doing it.  If I  say “I have a goal to drink 100 ounces of water tomorrow”, it feels different than “I’m on a mission to drink 100 ounces of water”. In my mind, the “I’m on a mission” phrase evokes more passion and desire, which fuels me to ‘git er done’.

So, there it is. These are the stories I’m on a mission to share with you. I hope you will come back and see what I have to say as I blog my 31 Days On A Mission.
31days

Posted in Write 31 Days

This Is My Mission Field

For the Write 31 Days Blogging Challenge, I selected the topic On a Mission for many reasons. Of course, the fact that I’m going to fulfill a childhood dream of doing mission work in January is very much in my thoughts and on my heart these days. But, even more than that, I’ve had a phrase that I’ve tried to focus on for the past few years. For full disclosure, I got the idea from a Steven Furtick sermon I listened to a few years ago. The sermon made me realize that as much as I have a desire to do foreign mission work, my mission field is actually any place I am. My office at work is my mission field. My car in the middle of rush hour traffic is my mission field. The grocery store, the soccer field, the gym, these are all my mission fields. I realized that no matter where I am, I can always minister to those around me without ever saying a word. If I’m living my life as a reflection of Christ, then my actions should  reflect Him. I can show grace, forgiveness, love in every situation I’m in.

Now, do I? Do I shine a light where  ever I am? No, not even close.  Am I able to do it more than I could 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 5 hours ago? You bet I am. When I find myself in a stressful situation, and I can catch my thoughts before anger and rage take over, I’m able to recite five simple words to bring me back to where God wants me.

This is my mission field.

THIS is my mission field.

This is MY mission field.

Whatever the situation I’m in, this phrase serves as a reminder that I don’t have to be in a village in Africa or an orphanage in Central America to show others what it means to love and be loved by God.  My everyday provides me with golden opportunities to do this.

I struggle so much with allowing my emotions to take my thoughts in directions I know my Father would not be proud of. I beat myself up about this fairly often. Each time my mouth explodes with a slew of profanities over a frustration at work, or I find myself gossiping about a coworker, I know I am failing God. But, the beauty is, God knows my heart. He forgives me when I struggle and fall. He also provides beautiful reminders that He’s there in those situations. He makes sure I remember.  And when I remember He’s there,  it’s my job to let others know He’s there, and  it all turns around. My thoughts come back to a more peaceful place and my emotions become less explosive.

I have the following bible verse in two different places in my office.

Philippians 4:8  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

This verse helps me to refocus my thoughts so that my actions better align with my dream of being a missionary for Christ. Even if that mission field is a small office on Kennedy in South Tampa.

31days

Posted in Write 31 Days

Write 31 Days – On a Mission

31daysThis post is going to be short, but I really wanted to share this new challenge I’m going to take part in.  It’s called Write 31 Days and it’s very different  from the previous 30 Day blog challenge I did. Instead of having 30 prompts over 30 days, this one challenges you to choose a single topic and write about that topic for 31 days. The goal is that the bloggers will dive deeper into their chosen topic.

The challenge was first started by blogger Myquillyn Smith at The Nester,  back in 2009 .  I learned about it on  Claire Wiggins’ blog, WordyLadyWorld. I highly recommend you check out Claire’s blog if you are a word geek. She writing about…well….words. Go see what she has to say.

I didn’t have to think very hard about what my topic would be. It’s actually a topic word that has multiple meanings and its a subject that’s been in my heart and on my mind a lot lately.  My goal for the next 31 days is to share various missions I’m on or hoping to be on, whether it be my new exercise plan, some personal improvement hopes, or our upcoming mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Please check back tomorrow for a little more detail as I dive into my first mission.

Here’s a quick link to my other 30 days of posts.