February 27, 2015

The Llamas are a loose.

Please watch until the end. You won't regret it! 

1. I feel like I should yell "FREE THE LLAMAS!" really loud for obviously no reason but for the satisfaction of yelling such a thing.

2. How many people does it take to catch two llamas?? Apparently, an entire town.

3. The stories those reporters get to tell now... "How was your day at work hunny?" "It was actually quite excited. I got to report on local llamas who got loose for a full hour. Later, I even got to interview him! He's been on SNL!" SMH

3. I also have these words from Llama Llama Red Pajama swirling around my head, "Baby Llama, what a tizzy! Sometimes. Mama's very busy. Please stop all this llama drama."  Yes,  I do have the book memorized. 

4. I need a lasso lessons, because you never know when YOU might encounter a llama.

5. Better yet maybe I need a cowboy.

6. Better, better yet maybe I need to train Jeremy in how to be a cowboy.

7. Now, I want Mexican food.

8. Why? Because, clearly, all cowboys live in Texas and Texas has the best Mexican food. Duh.

9. I think I want a pet Llama. Do they eat Mexican food?

10. Maybe I shouldn't be blogging at midnight.....

Night! :)

February 20, 2015

Jessica Reads: Through Gates of Splendors

I finished reading Through the Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot last night. I have to say it took a while to get through all the flight plans and strictly informational style of writing, but the 2nd Epilogue made the read so worth it. To the point that I while I give the book 3 stars, I would tell you to please go read it.

In a world full of suffering, our inclination is to be selfish through our own. We want the hurting to stop. We want healing. We want it to be spring again.  So we focus on our needs, our wants, our desires. We are taught that our faith must be strong and God will move. Like our sinful faith is somehow greater than our holy God. We are told we have sin that we must rid. But who doesn't??

"It is not the level of our spirituality that we can depend on. It is God and nothing else less than God, for the work is God's and the call is God's and everything is summoned by Him and to His purposes, the whole scene, the whole mess, the whole package- our bravery and our cowardice, our love and our selfishness, our strengths and our weaknesses."

We are even told, falsely, that God is only over the good of this world. But doesn't the Bible teach that ALL things are from above? Both good and bad? (Lamentations 3:38, Job 2:10. Isaiah 45:7, Jeremiah 32:42)

As Christians, suffering brings refinement. It brings growth and a closeness to our Lord that cannot be achieved when everything is going well. Through the hard times, we gain an eternal view of the world around us. We are reminded that this life is but a breath. We are refocused on God. And, many times, it brings us to our knees in repentance.

"Cause and effect are in God's hands. Is it not the part of faith simply to let them rest there? God is God."

During these times, we must learn to rest in the unchanging character of God. We must sit at the feet of our Sovereign Lord recognizing that His ways are not ours, but that HE IS GOOD no matter what the outcome. We must remind ourselves who God is rather than what we think we are.

"God is God of human history, and He is at work continuously, mysteriously, accomplishing His eternal purposes in us through us for us, and in spite of us."

I LOVE the final chapter of Job.

After losing everything, declaring his innocence, declaring that no one knows God's ways, and then listing exactly what God's ways should look like, God comes out of a whirlwind (Seriously, check it out! It's crazy, freaky! I would have peed and pooped all over myself) and declares his sovereignty and hand in all creation. Never does God answer Job's questions of why he is suffering or what he did wrong to deserve such treatment, but instead God reveals Himself to Job.

In the final chapter of Job, Job realizing his sin and answers the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 ‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”
Oh, that I would repent of my consumerism-based faith and realize that all I need is God in good times and the bad. May I rest there knowing that he is in control and that there is nothing better. May I show the same faith and trust, Elizabeth Elliot showed when she went into the homes of her husband's killers and years after that experience later wrote:

"during all the years since as I have recounted it and reflected on it in the light of my own subsequent experience, has pointed to one thing: God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere, but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakaby beyond my largest notions of what He is up to."

God is God.

January 21, 2015

Finding PEACE in 2015

Come to me 
Walk with me 
Learn the rhythms of my grace 
Come to me 
I have all you need 
Learn to rest even while you are awake 

Are you tired? 
Are you worried? 
Worn out from the day? 
Have you been in a hurry? 
I will slow the pace.

- Sandra McCracken, Come to Me | Rain for Roots

I LOVE this song. The first time I heard it I pulled over on the side of the road and cried. I was weary, I was worried, I was tired, and I needed God's grace. My kids thought I had lost my mind. Bradley came home and told Jeremy, "Something is wrong with Mommy. I think she is hurt. She cried a lot today." 

We live in a moving world. A world that is moving so fast. Deliveries take 2 days and any longer we call to complain. We are bombarded with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a number of other cool apps I decided I was too old to add to my already crazy long list. We feel the pressure to respond to e-mails within a couple hours and to return phone calls or texts faster. We are also told, especially us women, that we can do it all... at once! It's multitasking: an art form we perfected. 

This is crazy!! In actuality, multitasking isn't really possible. When you attempt to multitask, you are actually LESS productive and using LESS of your brain potential. You are also probably way more stressed than those who work on one thing at a time. 

taken from an amazing presentation given by Stephanie Howard, a fellow Junior League of Macon member

And this is where I lived 2014. Working from home was really, really hard. I was trying to balance a husband, a house, kids, and two jobs. I would get breaks, but would quickly fill that time with something else I thought I needed to do. 

Then, at the end of the year when contracts were being drawn and discussed, Jeremy was asking me questions about the kids and I was being asked questions about my future plans, I realized that this isn't what I wanted my life to look like. I enjoyed everything I was doing, but not the way I was doing it. So I began making changes. 

I started by saying "no" a lot. Even to stuff that I wanted to do or knew I'd enjoy. I said no to things that I "should" be doing, but would have to sacrifice time with my family when I already hadn't had much that week. Saying no is so hard for me. I question myself each time the word comes out. I want to do it all. But this past year taught me that I just can't. I have to set priorities and stick with them. 

I began doing more yoga and enjoying the quiet mind. I like doing it at night to refocus myself away from the stress of the day and on to a good night of sleep. This meant no more late night work sessions. 

I re-negotiated contracts that gave me more time away from set work schedules. I delegated more responsibility onto those around me where it made sense. 

I reorganized my e-mail so that I can quickly skim through the important ones and decide if they needed to be responded to now or if they could wait. If it can wait, I move it to a different folder and forget about it until I really do have the time to sit and only do e-mail. 

On the same note, I revamped the way I looked at my to do list and made it more manageable and realistic. One that would not produce stress, but encourage me to focus on one task at a time. 

I created an environment where I could thrive by taking away the need to multitask as much (I am a mom! Some multitasking is just necessary.) and one where I could find time to spend doing the things that really matter. 

PEACE. That's my word for 2015. I want to live more simply, more focused, and less worried. What about you? What do you hope to achieve in 2015?