R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It is a Saturday in September, therefore college football is on. Duh. :-) James is watching the game as I finish the Divergent series. I read the first book early this year, started the second, but didn’t finish it. I am planning to start it over and finish the series soon. It isn’t too shabby; we watched the movie and kept saying things similar to “That isn’t how it happens in the book!” We had the same issue with Heaven is for Real. Great book! The movie wasn’t bad, but there were some differences that I didn’t find particularly necessary.
So, a bit of a fill in on my life from my absence – my boyfriend’s name is James and I met him last April at an Emmaus event. We started dating at the end of December and were doing the distance relationship thing until June when I got a job with the same company he is with and I moved! He is an electrical engineer and I am mechanical…we could probably make some cool stuff together lol we have put together a hammock, that is as much as we have built together. But it went really well! I was pleased with that; those moments can get a little heated – especially when you have two engineers together. He is quite a blessing, I could not have imagined a more perfect person for me! God’s plans are much better than our own. His timing and plans are perfect. More on that later ;-)
Anywho, yesterday I was eating lunch with a co-worker and a woman came in the room who I have only spoken to in passing. She was talking about someone that she doesn’t get along with and ended with “respect is earned, not given” while shaking her finger. Now, she started her conversation with my co-worker as; “this doesn’t leave this room…” while I am sitting right there at the table. She does’t know me from Eve, yet she is going off about someone saying that she doesn’t want to tell others. Yeah, I am sure we are the only people she is saying this to…I took that as, “I am going to tell you, and the people down the hall, and anyone else who will listen.” I am obviously not going to go into what she was saying, because it isn’t to leave the room. I keep secrets. And it didn’t matter anyways. O drama. Anyways – the point of this was her statement of “respect is earned, not given” I have been thinking about this for most of the morning. I have agreed with this statement in the past and even said it myself a few times. However, I have reached a point in my life where I struggle with this. People deserve respect. All people; no matter who they are or what they do – deserve respect. We are all making an impact on those around us, good or bad. We are all making a difference, and I believe that most people want to feel as if they matter. I know that it is not easy to treat everyone with respect due to their behavior or their reputation, but I still think that it should be done! (trust me – I have a hard time doing this at times)
We don’t know or understand what others are really going through. We don’t know what in their past has caused them to become who they are today, so why not give them the benefit of doubt and believe that they are truly good people somewhere inside!? I know when I was at a low point with my eating disorder and such I was not always a good person to those that I love. I am not going to lie – I was cranky and not fun to be around. I had a lot of stuff going on that I didn’t even realize at the time. I look back now and realize I was not myself during that time, but that has changed. I am happier now than I have ever been before, and probably more empathetic and compassionate towards others. It took me several years to get to this point, but it was worth the valley. Maybe others are in the valley.

I try to keep in mind Maya Angelou’s quote:
People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

Respect everyone. They have been through a journey that we know nothing about.

I’m back!

I haven’t forgotten that I have a blog, I just haven’t taken the time to write anything for it :-/  I have had a busy year; through May I was traveling every weekend or had a guest, June I got a new job and moved 70 miles away, and have been traveling quite a bit since. I used to write on Saturdays,  but my Saturdays filled up and I lost track of time!  I will fill in some details now that football season is around. I am not a fan, but my boyfriend is…so I will have some time. Until then, I will leave you with this picture I took in southern Illinois a few weeks ago.  :-)

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Some Shocking Truth

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There are 27 million people alive in slavery today.TODAY. In 2014.  It is hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that this happens and is so prevalent, it is disgusting.

It sickens me that there is a market for this, people sell people because people buy people.  People steal, manipulate, and abuse people because people BUY people.

As you know, I tend to get on a soapbox about some things and human trafficking is one of them.  I have been around people who have poked fun at it and it didn’t take long for them to figure out my stance. This is not a joke, it is not funny. It is true, it is damaging, it is evil.

Just wanted to share this image, the Super Bowl is a high traffic time in the US. Be informed.

#ShockingTruth #EndIt #SuperBowl

New Focus

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

It is that time of year again. Time to begin making statements on things that we wish to do next year or changes that we want to make in our lives. The New Year seems to be a great time to do this, it is almost like a fresh start. 2013 will be gone, 2014 is here! Man, 2014 seems crazy. The years have flown by lately.
Last year, my plan was to re-evaluate the things I was doing and reduce my stress levels, I think I was successful in this at some points throughout the year. I eventually had no choice this summer when my body was like, “NO! You will do no more!” and then I was later diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal exhaustion.
I mentioned my goal for this year, to heal. That is one of my resolutions, I am excited to feel better and get back into the gym. I am planning to be back in there Thursday and know that I won’t be able to lift as much and will be discouraged initially, but it will come back. I finished another book yesterday, and I found a resolution in the acknowledgements. I read this before starting the actual book and thought, “this is how I wish my life were described, this is how I want to live!” so instead of coming up with a list of items I want to change or do this year, I am going to focus on this:
“I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to the gospel. It burns inside of me. And it seems to get hotter every day. I can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, writing about it, reading about it, wrestling with it, reveling in it, standing on it, and thanking God for it. For better or for worse, my focus has become myopic. My passion has become singular. Lesser things don’t distract me as easily. I’m more relaxed. What others think of me (either good or bad) doesn’t matter as much as it used to. I’m enjoying life more. The pressure’s off. I’m beginning to understand the length and breadth of the freedom Jesus purchased for me. I’m beginning to realize that the gospel is was more radical, offensive, liberating, shocking, and counterintuitive than any of us realize. And that’s beginning to be okay with me. Like Aslan in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, the gospel is good but not safe.” – Tullian Tchividjian Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Am I the only one that gets really excited and inspired to live a life like that?! I could not wait to dive into this book after reading that and I was not disappointed. It is a great read and focuses on the gospel and the impact it truly is. We tend to try to add things by our own merit and think “what can I do for Jesus?” but need to turn the focus around and think “What has Jesus done for me?” everyday. Remind yourself of the price He paid everyday and live in surrender to Him. This is my prayer for us all as we look forward to 2014, time to focus on what is the most important thing that has happened to us and for us. Time to learn the true freedom in Christ. Time to change the focus from inward (“me”) to outward (Christ)
The past several years I have been asleep at midnight and awoken refreshed and ready to take on the New Year on January 1, but this year I might be awake when the clock strikes 12. Or I might have to celebrate with another time zone so I don’t turn into a pumpkin. We’ll see how the night goes!
I hope everyone has had a 2013 that they made changes and grew in some way, and I pray for a life focused outward to Christ in 2014.

Resolutions

This is how I started my morning; coffee, a good book (Jesus + Nothing = Everything) and my white elephant Uncle Si blanket.  Love mornings like this!

This is how I started my morning; coffee, a good book (Jesus + Nothing = Everything) and my white elephant Uncle Si blanket. Love mornings like this!

Good morning!
This year the family had a very low-key Christmas. My sister and her boyfriend, Weston, came in on Sunday and had to head back to celebrate with his family on Christmas day. We had to change things up a bit, but it worked out well. I didn’t mind at all and actually really enjoyed it. Much less stress.
Christmas night I went over to a friends house and we played games with her parents. We started with Cranium, “It’s an easy game to play” she said. Right. My partner and I definitely were in the lead when we ended, but another group never got off of the starting spot. We ended the game and switched to Hedbanz when Erica* came in to join the fun. Hedbanz is a lot of fun, but can be a little tough at times. When you get a funny card everyone looks at you and laughs…not cool! It brought back painful memories. (not really!)
Between games Hannah* made a comment about needing to lose weight and Erica looked at me and said, “yeah, Sarah* is starting weight watchers January 1 too, doesn’t that make you feel good?!” Sarah then patted her stomach and said, “It needs to be toned, look at this, that is not cute!” Neither Hannah nor Sarah are overweight by any means, and Sarah doesn’t have much of a stomach to be patting. I took Erica’s comment as if to say – Jen, you and I are bigger than them, what does that say they think about us? It sounded as if she took their desire for weight loss as a personal attack. I have been there, I get it. Maybe it is my history and sensitivity to this issue that led me to this inference, but that is what I took it as. I wasn’t really sure how to address it at the time, so I just kind of shrugged my shoulders.
Honestly, this doesn’t make me wonder “what do they think about us if they think they are too big?” – It saddens me. They are beautiful young adults who have so much more to offer than just being a smaller size. They deserve to take up as much room as they please. We get so caught up on changing our physical size to in the upcoming year, that we miss out on bigger and better things that are out there for us. If you make a resolution to change your weight next year, understand what is driving you to want to change. Is it health reasons? Is it pure aesthetics? Is it to draw a certain kind of attention from others? Is it to fit comfortably in your clothes? What is your primary motivator?
I want to heal next year. I want to have a physical healing of my body, I want to heal the relationship I have with myself, and to continue to grasp the unfathomable power of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. I don’t want to be consumed with my size, I don’t want to take someone else’s desire for weight loss as an implication that I am overweight, I don’t want to have negative self-talk as my body changes. I have had too many years where I made resolutions with respect to my size and I am done.
I have finished yet another book, that makes 4 out of 23. Watch out, now!

*Names have been changed for the protection of those involved (ha!)

Beautiful Truth

I must admit, my last few posts have been pretty random. Welcome to my world :-) boiling caramel burns, proper toilet paper placement…totally normal. This is beginning to get back to my normal. I am once again starting to feel better and be my goofy self again, let’s hope it stays for a little longer this time! I have started on the liquid herbs that my nutritionist sent me and they are working as signified by the side effect of anxiety. I didn’t expect that one. I noticed it because of my blood pressure spikes and I thought my heart was going to pop out of my chest. No big deal – really.
This first occurred after I brilliantly put a status update about the Phil Robertson issue, which is posted below. Some people missed the point of my post and proceeded to prove my point by saying some inappropriate things about him because they didn’t agree with him and don’t understand Scripture. Thanks for that, by the way. Then it turned into some Facebook evangelizing…always a good thing. No, it really isn’t. Unfortunately, the person that was making comments felt ganged up on and attacked, which was no ones intentions when responding to him. I have since messaged him asking if he would be interested in the book Jesus>Religion by Jefferson Bethke. I finished it yesterday and it addresses many of his issues with Christianity so I thought he might be interested. (There was good that came out of my FB status update, and for that, I thank Phil Robertson for his comments ;-))

FB status update:
“I’m a bit confused. There is so much outrage over a vocal Christian speaking his opinion and using scripture to support his beliefs when asked (was anyone really surprised at his opinion?); but it is ok, acceptable, and encouraged to say that he (and other Christians) is (are) ignorant, intolerant, and a bigot. Are only certain opinions are tolerated?”

Speaking of books I have read lately – I have read three in the past two days. I love me some books, what can I say? Jesus>Religion was great, Jefferson Bethke is so passionate about Christ and understanding what He stood for instead of the legalism and show that unfortunately religion has been turned into by some. Check it out, it is a good one. Plus watch his YouTube videos, he has some gems in there. (The book link wouldn’t work correctly; so here it is: http://jesusisgreater.tv/)

I also read Beautiful Lies by Jennifer Strickland. O my goodness, fantastic book. I think that every female, husband, and father with girls should read this book. I tend to hop on a soapbox about the impact of the media on our society, so I whole-heartedly agreed with this book. Since I have been on the uphill side of my struggle with an eating disorder, (I still slide down on occasion – but I am on the path upwards) I have become hyper-sensitive about things people say and do which can make an impact in someone’s view of themselves. The impact of our words and actions on other people’s body image can have catastrophic effects if we are not careful and they do not have a firm foundation of whose we truly are and why we are here on this earth. We are not here to be looked at, “complete someone”, or to be fulfilled by another person – not a spouse, child, parent or friend. We are here to glorify God and share His message. It is not a popular one, as I routinely find out through FB updates, but it is one filled with love, joy, and hope for those that receive it. It is a message that transforms people and gives a purpose. It brings meaning to our lives and fills that void that we are desperately seeking through worldly fulfillment. This book takes the myths we are made to believe from a young age and breaks them by sharing the truth that is found in Christ. You are what a man thinks of you? No, you are a beloved daughter of the King. You are what you see in the mirror? Nope, you are a precious creation – you are fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in your mother’s womb by the hands that created the earth. The Creator of the worlds, who can hold them in the palm of His hand; He created you, He holds you, He loves you. Seriously, so much more than a reflection in a mirror.
As I was reading, I kept thinking “Yes, yes, and yes. We need these messages shouted from every TV station, every teacher, every parent, and every magazine.” We live in a culture that glorifies sin and leads to brokenness and destruction, we need a change. We need The Good News shared on the nightly news. We need a heart change.

“The most striking thing about Jesus to me is that He loves those our world doesn’t. He touched those no one wants to touch and befriends those the prideful people refuse. The people who are full of sin and pain, the weak, the broken, the confounded – He loves them all. I feel like I have been waiting my whole life to meet Him, and now that I have, I want to follow Him wherever I go.” Jennifer Strickland- Beautiful Lies

Ok, I will hop off of my soapbox now and go read another book :-)

Merry Christmas!

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My family knows me so well. Books, books, and more books for Christmas from my Grams and Aunt Theresa! 
I finished the series of Lost on Netflix Monday and have been undecided on a new series (there has been some urging to watch Walking Dead…veto) I am glad I haven’t gotten involved in a new series yet, I have some reading to do.
Now, for the hard part…what to start with?

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and enjoys the time with family and friends! 

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

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