Breaking Free

Have you ever felt weary, overwhelmed and bound up by schedules, deadlines and the monotony of everyday life? I sure have..and if you have too, this is for you.

What does it mean to be f r e e? 
Free: Liberated and released of things that shackle, ensnare and bind us up. To be without hinderance or confinement. Freedom. This enables us to become who we were meant to be, to grasp our purpose and run with it, arms reaching toward a life of divine significance, more than just a release of the monotony of daily life and the trappings of societal confines, but rather to embrace a promise, a new way of truly living, each breath a gift, a confirmation: "I am alive."

Inhale. Exhale. Blink. Smile. Your hearts beats for reasons, situations you do not yet know of, to shine brightly in places where darkness abounds. There is more to you than a mass of parts, each woven expertly together; you have a purpose. There is liberation, freedom and overwhelming passion awaiting you. This is beyond the limits of humanity and mankind in it's faults, past mind's comprehension, it is both a gift and a call...will you answer? Lift your head, the chains of the past are broken, shattered at your feet..walk again, better yet, run toward the most incredible adventure of your life with arms wide open, ready to embrace His grace.

You.  Are.  F r e e

She's A Gem

After mentioning my need to be consistent with journaling, I was inspired to go back and find a few of my old books filled with thoughts, prayers, quotes and lessons learned from different points in my life. As I turned page after page of memories from various years, I smiled seeing how many things had changed in my life since those words were penned. Oh how differently I thought things would have turned out, and looking back now, how glad I am that they didn't work out the way I so badly wanted them to. My thoughts and most pressing concerns from those times seem so trivial now, yet in those moments were all amusing the past is when reviewed in the present. Anyway, I came across a passage in one of my devotion/prayer journals that I found worthy of sharing, as it is a great reminder to me in the season of life I'm in; I hope it will speak to you also. Enjoy!
Proverbs 31:10 "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." 
The rich red ruby can be, because of it's rarity, worth more than diamonds of equal weight in value. Once a woman like this is found, she is of untold value. What does this mean for me? I am to bring life, light, joy and beauty as a sparkling jewel to those who face hardship, pain, weariness, drudgery and sorrow. I am to supply beauty in the lives of those around family, friends, relationships..etc. Elizabeth George, mentions in a study on the Proverbs 31 woman that as gems increase in value as time passes, so should we. There are things to do that will help us enhance the sparkle & brighten up our lives as well as those around us. 

Become a woman of strength: 
-Nurture a peaceful heart (Prov 14:30)
-Know how to wait (Prov 19:2)
-Do not strive (Prov 19:11)
-Restrain your spirit (Prov 25:28)

Challenge yourself to watch your words. 
Ask if they speak like the piercings of a sword or do they promote life & health? (Prov 12:18)

To Bring Sparkle Into Your Life:
-Speak less often, listen more (Prov 10:19)
-Speak only after you think about what you're going to say. (Prov 15:28)
-Speak only what is sweet & pleasant (Prov 16:21, 24)
-Speak only what is wise and kind (Prov 31:26)

Gems are rough to begin with; all their flaws and imperfections must be removed, polished and roughed out, how true that is of us as well. Before we can truly become a vessel, a gem of rare and exquisite beauty, we must be refined. It is a process, a tough challenge and often uncomfortable, but that makes it all the more worthwhile. 

God, purify my heart and life, remove the flaws that dull my sparkle. Work your refinement and beautifying process in my heart & my life, keep me humble and always growing. Ignite the passion to do what is right and pleasing in your sight, guide my words so that they speak life and light into other's lives, and mold my life into the gem it was designed to be. 

Written Words

(Top: Lilly Pulitzer, Pants: H&M, Necklace: Dillard's, Shoes: Christian Louboutin)

This year I'm making a concentrated effort on my writing, and getting into the habit of consistent journaling. When I began my first year in college, I was religious with my journaling, and am so glad  as I now have an entire book to look back upon, full of thoughts, memories and even a few mementos tucked into the gold-trimmed pages. Since then, my writing has been rather sporadic, only happening when I felt "inspired", but let's be honest, if I want to get better, than the way to do it is to practice...same with just about anything else. So, whether it's here sharing with you, scribbling down brilliant ideas as they come, or just sitting down and making myself put pen to paper and dreaming a little, this is my public declaration that I'm going to be dedicated to it :) Do you journal? 

Short & Sweet

(Top: F21, Shorts & Belt: Lilly Pulitzer, Necklaces: Etsy, Kate Spade, Sunnies: Target)

One of the things I love is the beauty found in the last few summer days..the air is warm, the days are sunny, each moment of free time is savored, and the evidences of a good time apparent in the sunkissed skin, lightened hair and relaxed attitudes. There's so many sweet memories of summer adventures to reflect upon as schedules once again resume and the season draws to a close. We took a day trip to the nearby art museum to wander about the galleries, oohing and ahhing over the many pieces displayed. It's the relaxed schedule and impromptu adventures I'll miss most as this season ends. 


Just Keep Going

Elbert Hubbard once said,  "A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success." 
Lately I've been thinking about persistence & perseverance..the concept of finishing strong and holding on until the end. There's such a joy in accomplishment after knowing you went through tough times and held on through the obstacles and trials. At this point in the year, I find myself thinking on what I want to accomplish in the next few months, and persistence is a necessary component in this process.

A somewhat small example of this comes to mind when thinking on persistence. I've recently gotten into taking Pure Barre fitness classes, which happen to be rather intense, and have discovered that you'll reach a point when you're working so hard that muscles are quivering, feel like they're on fire, and it seems as though you've hit a wall in your strength. At this point it is tempting to give up, to say "hm, I'll just relax a second or two or just wait until this set is over, and then I'll continue again.."; however, what I found is that if you continue to push through the pain, keep going and not give up, you'll discover a renewed inner strength, a power you're not expecting and the satisfaction of continuing all the way through. While this is a somewhat trivial example, the concept is still there...persistence pays off, and when the tough moments come, this is where the positive change happens.

Galatians 6:9 says,
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

I encourage you (and me) to be persistent, unwavering and strong in walking the path to accomplishing your goals, growing in your faith, and being faithful in what you've been entrusted with. When things get tough, life is painful and goals seem far out of reach, remember that perseverance brings reward, and often the accomplishment is right around the corner of adversity. Be strong, don't give up! You can do it.

Have a great day!

(Click here for more on persistence & faithfulness)

Celebrate Summer

I recently had some friends over for an end of summer & belated birthday celebration. It was such fun to catch up with everyone, swap stories and enjoy good food & good company. For this hangout, I wanted things to be simple, and reflective of the pretty colors found in this season. We kept our menu pretty light with easy prep work so the majority of the time could be enjoyed and not spent in the kitchen. Shades of blue, tan & coral with a hint of gold here & there provided the perfect color story, and tiny candles left things glowing far past the sun's departure. It was such a fun time, and a perfect way to celebrate summer's drawing to a close. 


It's About Time!

5 more minutes of class, 10 days until vacation, 1 year until my next birthday...We're always thinking about time, counting down the minutes, days and hours or looking forward to things ahead. How do you view time in your life? Is it a blessing or a hinderance to your future? Personally, I've been on both sides of the issue..there's been times when it seemed like I was waiting forever for an answer or waiting for when I thought God should show up in a particular season/situation, and there's been times when there just wasn't enough time to accomplish all I'd planned.

Many of us, myself included, often see time as a constraint within which we operate, rather than a gift to use. We often hear people talking about how we have only a certain amount of time here on earth, and while this fact is indeed pertinent, how much more of an importance is there in the growth and things we're experiencing currently? I'm often guilty of looking forward to things ahead, and in the process, totally missing out on the beauty of the present moment. Others do the same thing, but only looking back to the past, and how things used to be/should have been.

It is said that all good things take time...lives, relationships, character. Something of substance and strength takes time to build, so as we are building lives of strong character and convictions, we must expect that it will take time. Instead of viewing time as a restraint, see it as grace to become a person of character. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says there's a time & a season for everything..this is truly liberating! The more we see time as a part of our building process, the more we begin to become the people God has called us to be!

Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, says, "God has graced us with time so the purposes and desires of our hearts can become a reality."

 I want that to be true of my life, and I hope the same for you also! I hope & pray that you will not only change your perception of time, but embrace it with open arms..see it as a friend and a tool to achieve God's will for your life! No longer a constraint, but grace to become the person you're created to be!

Hello There!

Just a quick hello from the Islands! Hope you're all having a wonderful week, and perhaps enjoying some sweet moments of rest here and there..I sure am! It's been lovely to swim, soak up the sun and actually relax. Yesterday I paddle boarded and finally learned how to sail, yay! That's been on my dreams list for quite's safe to say I'm absolutely in love with it! Can I just say how beautiful it is here?! Wow..Paradise found. 
Oh how needed this trip was..can't wait to share some photos and details when I'm back!



Someone once said "Do things with passion or not at all." Its often at this point of the year that I make some new goals, evaluate my progress up to this point and prep for some positive changes in my life. In the midst of all of this, I began to think about things that invigorate, energize and inspire me..what drives me to do something? Your motives, reasons and beliefs play a big part in your daily routine, but have you ever stopped to think about what causes those? Passion is something that can cause an interruption, a change, a gives meaning and fuels desire. If this is so important, why don't we take time to examine what role passion plays in our lives?

I've found that passion is almost like an are so energized and driven that obstacles and possible setbacks don't even register as you work towards a goal. There's such energy and excitement in passion that you're unstoppable. What causes passion to well up within us so much to move us forward? Things like opportunities, a particular cause or need, God-given talents & abilities, values and beliefs are all catalysts for passion to arise. When you find something that drives you so much that you grab on and refuse to let go until changes happen, you know it's passion.

When I was in 8th grade, I remember going to a conference for teen girls, and it was there that I realized that there was a need for strong mentoring & leadership training for the pre-teen to teenage age group. Working with teens and empowering and training the next generation of leaders was something that sparked a passion inside of me, so ever since then, I've used that passion to begin my work on a book for young women, invested many summers helping to train students in leadership, and have had many opportunities to speak and influence teens in a positive direction. All of these things are energizing to me, and continue to fuel my passion for working with the next generation. Perhaps that's something you're interested in, or maybe your passions lie in a different area; whatever that is for you, find it, and invest time and energy into fueling it.

While the excitement of passion-driven activities is thrilling, it is also important to check priorities as well..what kinds of things should you be passionate about? Are they worth investing your time & energy in? Will passion cause changes that make a positive difference? These are all questions you'll have to answer yourself in examining the passions in your life and the causes that invigorate and excite you. Don't settle for the life of passive mediocrity, but instead find your passion, and begin working towards achievement. Perhaps passion is something that you need to allow in your daily routine; finding the excitement and meaning behind a job that maybe seems stagnant...or maybe even totally switching career fields and doing something you know you'd really love. There's no limits or rules that say you're too young or too old to get passionate about things in life. Find your passion and follow it.

What are you passionate about? 

Weekend Notes

Oh what fun it's been to be home for a short while to see friends, catch up on emails and things around here before packing once again and leaving on another adventure! This one is a far cry from the last with visions of infinity pools, swaying palms and sandy beaches just up ahead. I'm so looking forward to some time to relax, rejuvenate & perhaps even get a little writing work done! It's so lovely to have a bit of time to enjoy the summer...I just love those easy breezy days. 

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