Monday, February 1, 2016

on reading in 2016...

Carrying on with the idea of cultivating growth, this year I want to be very intentional about what I read. I love words, I love highlighting them and circling them and putting them on Post-Its throughout my common places (my bathroom mirror, my desktop computer at work, my planner) to remind me of ideas and truth. 

Over the past month, I have asked friends all over America what they have been reading and what I should be reading. I have also scoured Instagram accounts and blogs of my favorite authors to find out what they have been reading. Through all of this highly skilled and effective research, I have carefully crafted my list of books. 

I can't tell you how excited I am about these, because a good portion of them are new and written by some of my most favorite writers! 
(all images found via Amazon)
My goal is 12 books in 12 months, which I feel is very manageable. I am excited to have something to stretch me and grow me each month. And because I am Type A, I have planned out all of the books I plan to read throughout this year...

"Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert

"A Praying Life" by Paul Miller

"Search for Significance" by McGee

"Looking for Lovely" by Annie Downs
(I also just applied to be on her Book Launch Team, so that could be a thing!)

"Wild and Free" by Jessica Connolly and Hayley Morgan

"Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling

"Love Does" by Bob Goff

"Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown

"He Speaks in the Silence" by Diane Comer

"A Prayer Journal" by Flannery O'Connor

"Emotionally Healthy Spiritually" by Peter Scazzero

"If You Feel Too Much" by Jamie Tworkowski

There you have it, my list of reads for 2016! Honestly, I hope I read more than what's listed here, but I am trying to be realistic (again, I am great at starting, not finishing!).

So friends, what is on your list?

Friday, January 22, 2016

on soccer moms & championing your people...


Confession: I can't wait to be a soccer mom. Or a football mom. Or a baseball mom. Or a ballet mom. Basically, my future children have no choice, they will be in sports. 

The foam fingers, pizza parties, uniforms, practices, the wins and the losses... Give me all of it, please and thank you. (Except injuries, I could do without those. Dear Jesus, please protect my future babes from such evil.) 

You guys, cheering is my jam. My spiritual gift is encouragement (which sometimes translates into very long text messages, handwritten notes, cups of coffee, large posters and cardboard face cutouts). My personality oozes championing and cheering, just ask my high school girls. And really, anyone else in my life. When I am a fan, I am a fan. Championing and cheering on others is something our culture desperately needs. We often let fear and sadness reside in places that are meant for expectancy and joy. We should be willing to climb into those places with a shovel, digging out the fear and planting hope for our people. 

What if we decided to do this daily? What if we decided to grab a shovel and a foam finger and cheer people on in the everyday moments? I think that we need to channel the spirit of the soccer mom off the field; we need to champion our people, in the big things and the small things. There is so much power in letting people know they are being thought of, prayed for, championed. Sometimes, that's the only thing that keeps people going. During a season in my life, the only thing that carried me through was the excitement and the hopeful expectancy that my community had for me. I was used to rejection and denial, I couldn't see past that cycle, past my experiences, past those lies. My people came beside me, they prayed for me, loved me, and championed me in ways that I needed. Because of their excitement and hope, I was able to have excitement and hope. They grabbed their shovels and foam fingers and said, "Girl, God's got this, you've got this."

I want to stand on the sidelines of my people with a foam finger and tell them they can do the hard things; as they enter into battlefields and new seasons, I want to be the one who calls, who sends the text, who buys the cups of coffee, who sends the flowers. I want to grab the shovel and climb into those places with them now so that I can rejoice with them later when the trophy comes. 

If Scripture tells us that God is for us, why would we not model that to the people in our lives? Why would we not be a constant source of strength and courage for them, serving as a reminder of how much God is for them? Fill your people, breathe joy and life and hope and expectancy into them. Give them big pep-talks for the big things, and even the small things. Let them borrow your confidence, and most importantly, remind them of their confidence in God. Champion them. 

Who are you championing today?

Friday, January 15, 2016

a coffee date...


If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about fear, anxiety, stress. Do you know that everyone is anxious? Everyone has fears? Everyone is a little overwhelmed? I think that we need to be reminded of that every now and then; you are not alone.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how Adele's "Carpool Karaoke" is the greatest. I want to be her best friend. I think everyone needs to hangout with Adele and sing her songs with her. And chug tea. 

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I am 83% positive that I am going to start Whole 30 after MLK Weekend. I also need to get back into my workout routine because health. And because El Nino is almost over which means no more scarves and puffer vests and big jackets. And summer is coming and I plan on spending a lot of time at the beach.

If we were on a coffee date we would talk about our plans for this THREE DAY WEEKEND! I will be starting the weekend off by seeing "Thirteen Hours" because I am a sucker for those Navy SEAL stories. And also John Krasinski. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday will be filled with spring cleaning, packing up Christmas, real life coffee dates, church, and hopefully some adventures. 

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how I leave for Ecuador in 48 days. FORTY EIGHT DAYS, WHAT. This is my first time travelling internationally alone, which is a little bit daunting, but will be completely worth it.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that Organic Peach Cobbler Tazo Tea is a thing and it is from the Lord Himself. 

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I love women's ministry and I am not ashamed of that in any way.

If we were one a coffee date, we would talk about dating. Do you know that you can have a great date and still decide to not date the person? I didn't know that was a thing, so... #datingishard

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about the concept of inheritance can only be obtained after a death. What in your life needs to die in order for you to inherit what God has for you? 

If we were on a coffee date, what would you want to talk about?
What are your plans for MLK Weekend?

Monday, January 11, 2016

on cultivating...


"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness…" 
- Psalm 37:3

Themes are a relatively new idea for my walk with the Lord. Before then, I made all the resolutions about all the things (weight, relationships, organization, etc.). In 2014, I focused on the idea of discipline, coming from Hebrews 12:11 and in this past year, I focused on being still, coming from Psalm 46:10. These past two years have been hard and good, growing my understanding of God and myself like WOAH.

Looking ahead to 2016, I have a slew of goals and things to be excited for (like a trip to Ecuador, my second year working at CBU, a bunch of weddings, new and old ministries, and some BIG personal projects!), but I want to be focused on the idea of growth… cultivate.
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Cultivate: to prepare; to use for the raising of crops; to loosen or break up soil; to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care, or study
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Lately, I feel like the Lord has been loosening a lot of the soil in my heart; and honestly, some of the things that have come from that process have been pretty surprising. The more I experience that, the more I want of that; as those spaces loosen and break up, I find that there is more desire and room for Him, which is everything. The past year I learned what it meant to rest in the Lord, to be still (which is an active state of obedience and choice), and I am praying that God is using this past year as a springboard into this one. 

This year, I want to cultivate; to cultivate something requires work, intention, focus, and that is what I think the Lord has been pressing on my heart. I want this year to be one of growth, of study, of prayer, of action, of labor; I want 2016 to be the year that I decided to put my work pants on and really dive into all that we have access to as a child of God. I don't know about you, but I know that I haven't even been close to tapping into the fullness of the Holy Spirit, of the Word, of my community. I want this to be a year of full journals, empty coffee cups, and highlighted books; a year full of tables, coffee dates, and good, hard conversations; a year of adventure, of faith triumphing over fear, of new things and old things. 

One of my favorite bloggers (who has a book coming out soon and I can't wait to get my hands on it!), Jess Connolly, just wrote a beautiful post titled "This Is Not A Flower Year" and it resonated deep. Jess stated that "this year is not a year of flowers, this is a year of deep roots and growing trees." And you guys, I really love that. Her post is all about being intentional and being aware of the working God is doing (cultivating!) in your life. SO DANG GOOD. 

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would stir within me, that I would be open to His tilling and sifting. I pray that I would truly learn to dwell in His land and cultivate faithfulness during this year, whatever that may look like. 

What are you focusing on this year?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

#bestthirtysix...

Two thousand and fifteen.
I wanted to get away to write this; I wanted to take a retreat to really spend time with the Lord and dwell on this past year and the year that lies ahead. But, sitting here at the local Starbucks, I think that the Lord is speaking just the same. This year has been abundant; I mean abundant in every single way, in both the trials and the joys. There has been an abundance of laughter and blessing, but also an abundance of change and mourning; an abundance of life and also death. 

As the year began, the Lord spoke softly to my heart a theme… "Be still." Throughout this year, the words of Psalm 46:10 were an encouragement and a comfort… "Cease striving, be still, and know that I am God…" Stillness, it's not my spiritual gift, but with each moment and lesson this past year, it was the sweet whisper that the Lord was faithful to give… "As you wait for this new position… be still. As you end seven years of junior high ministry… be still. As you pray through your singleness… be still. As you mourn the death of your grandpa… be still. As your best friend moves overseas… be still. As you welcome new babies and take on the title of "Aunt Kristi"… be still. As you seek God… be still. As you wait for God to move… be still." This year, I saw God move mountains and open floodgates in the stillness. This year taught me that stillness on our part allows for movement on His part. 

Social media has been blowing up with the idea of the #bestnineofinstagram. I love this campaign, but when I generated mine, I had a few thoughts. First off, this is generating the photos that "the people" (whoever they may be to you) liked most, NOT what I liked most about my year. Second, NINE SQUARES? You guys, only nine little squares?! That's not the way that I roll… So, here I am (and on Instagram!) with 36 teeny, tiny squares of memories and moments, reminding me that this year has been hard and rich and full. I want to stop and rest in that, just for today. 

This year has been incredible! When I look at the little details, I recognize it's true fullness. When I look back on 2015, I will look back to when I went to the IF: Gathering in Austin, TX, ended my time serving in vocational ministry at my church, started a new job at CBU, transitioned from junior high ministry to high school ministry, bought a new car, mourned the passing of my Grandpa, became an Aunt for many sweet little babies, turned twenty six, drank too many hawaiian lattes, was published at Incourage, had conversations with Annie Downs via Twitter, read some incredible books, watched every season of "Parks & Recreation",  quit my job as a substitute teacher and barista, went on my first date ever, got seriously healthy and became a runner/jogger, saw great movies, ate great food (mostly BBQ and Mexican), took rest very seriously, went to the 1989 Taylor Swift concert, went to a Luke Bryan concert, went to a Brett Eldredge concert, went to a Shane and Shane concert, learned the importance of FaceTime dates with my best friend living in Ecuador, had a house broken in to, went to Disneyland, spent a lot of time driving around my town and praying, had hard conversations with the Lord, learned a lot about myself, bought a rug, started a retirement fund, and nurtured old friendships and made some new ones. And I am sure I am forgetting a lot of other things! Man, 2015 was rich. (But please note, 2015 was NOT the year that I became rich. #targetstealsallmymoney)

I have spent time in prayer over 2016, asking the Lord to reveal a theme to me. I sat with an expectant heart, waiting to glean what He would speak. I am excited to share that with you all in the coming week, but for now, I am leaning into the gleanings of this past year rather than the excitement for the new one, because there is a lot there. 

So here's to 2015, the year that has come and gone. Whether you want to forget it forever or relive those memories for years to come, I pray that you would lean into the things that God has done for you. May the pains and the joys be redeemed by the work of Christ! Raise your glass (of sparkling cider) and celebrate that there is a time for everything, for mourning and for dancing (and lets hope tonight is full of dancing!)!

Cheers to 2015, friends!