moment

Carpe Diem

"Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone," Colossians 4:5-6.

Carpe Diem...Seize the Day, in Latin. Is anything really a coincidence in this life, or is it a "God-incidence"...a divinly orchestrated moment? As followers of Christ we must be ready to seize the day and tell others about how Jesus has become Lord of our lives.

A certain situation at work had left me alone in a car for at least a half hour drive with a much older man. He's a little on the akward side and maybe even what some would call "nerdy". As I got in the car, the casual, "Hello, how's your day going?" seemed to be drowned out by a cd playing in the back ground. Not music, but more of a book on tape.

As I began to pay close attention, it was clear what he and now I were listening to: "Why I'm an Atheist". All I needed was a pulpit, because I practically began preaching to the man! I told him how a mere two years ago, I had left religion for relationship and found the love of my life; Jesus Christ.

Although he thwarted most of my statements and questions with "scientific facts", I gave my account. When we parted ways, he told me he envied my faith, but said he was never willing to "go back". He was once a believer and the cards dealt to him had made him decide to leave it all behind.

Whatever the result, I knew I had planted a seed and seized the moment.

What's the latest "coincidence" you've had?

 

Heavenly father,

Help me not to judge, but show others how you've changed my life. Help me to always be ready to give an account.

When I speak about you, keep my words light, yet impactful.

I love you for who you are and everything you do!

1 Peter 3:15

"...And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way..."

Are There Instances Where Offending Someone is Okay?

Although we cannot keep people from getting offended, we should make sure that it is the truth that offends rather than our attitude, actions, or approach.

Designed to Live

 In retrospect, my friend was right; I should’ve bought the pillows.

 Like powerful, turquoise magnets, they pulled my eyes the moment we turned the

corner from kitchenware into home décor, and I couldn’t help but reach out and pick them up.

They were soft, warm, and gorgeous. I flipped, squeezed, and flipped again, taking in every

rustic detail.

 I can’t wait until I get married and have a cute little home to decorate, I sighed.  And then…I put them back.  There is something about not being married that makes me feel unqualified for a well decorated home, like I can’t justify spending money on pretty things just yet. I pick out colors and candles and pictures and think, "Someday I'll turn a house into a home...someday with someone I love." And then I settle back into my empty couch without the turquoise pillows and wait, as if everything now is temporary and my real life is just around the corner.

Ladies, to be honest, I'm tired of waiting.  I could blame it on my age. I thought I’d be married with kids by now! I could blame it on my job and all the ways it doesn’t fulfill me. I could even blame it on my friends and their busyness, their moving on and moving forward and my feeling left behind. But the truth is, I'm tired of waiting for my life to start because I’m not designed to wait for it at all. I’m designed to live it.

When God wired us together, He gave each of us purpose. A unique, important role to play in His story on this earth.  And He never intended for us to ignore it or hide it or impose some kind of limitation on it, as if we’re stuck in the mundane until we marry or have kids or whatever it is we think we need before we can embrace life. When Jesus declared that He came so that we might have life and have it to the full, He didn’t mean in 5 years or 10 years or when the wedding certificate is signed. He meant now. Today. In this moment, we have the power to live a full life.  But it’s up to us to live like we believe Him, to stop chasing someday and start living in the now. I’m ready. Will you join me? Together, let’s peel back the doubts that tell us we can’t or we shouldn’t or it’s not time and reveal the purpose buried in each of our hearts. Let’s agree to pursue God and to trust Jesus.  And let’s buy lots and lots of pillows.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and  have it to the full.”

John 10:10, NIV

 

 

Brittany is a 20something who loves frappuccinos, Texas, and salty air. She's passionate about the power and purpose of this generation and loves journeying with other 20-somethings on her blog, Faith in Between. She can also be found on Twitter (@britmwilliamson) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/faithinbetween).

A New Creation: A New Beginning

Hadley Grace Frierson, 8 months old, flashed her bright shiny eyes all around the church congregation.  Robert Koke, Pastor at Shoreline Christian Church, Austin, Texas was in the process of  leading Hadley’s parents in an oath to rear her in a Christian home.  Standing with Hadley and her parents as witnesses to this joyous occasion were her grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and little cousins. Upon arriving back at Hadley’s home after the ceremony, cameras flashed with everyone wanting to capture this moment.  “Smile, Hadley, smile,” and immediately she would flash her shiny big eyes and smile for the camera, never shedding a tear throughout the hour long photo session.

As I stood over in the corner of the living room waiting my turn to be photographed with my granddaughter, I couldn’t help but think: “It is easy for Hadley to smile and be joyful.  She has nothing to worry about like we grown-ups do.  She’s one of  God’s new creations with a new beginning.”

No sooner had I sized up the reason for Hadley’s smile and joy, I heard  a little quiet voice within me say:  “When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you, too, were a new creation with a new beginning in life just like Hadley. But often times, you have  allowed the circumstances of life to put a frown on your face, instead of joy.”

My thoughts raced back to one cold January morning a couple of years ago when I had sat down to write out my new year’s resolutions.  Number  one on my list - -“Bridle my tongue.”  About that time, my husband entered the room and said something to me that made me want to scratch that new year’s resolution immediately, and let the words on the tip of my tongue flow.  Instead, I decided it was time to take a walk to the local high school track.  It is there I often retreated to walk off  my excess body fat, as well as my excess frustrations.

By the time I finished the first mile around the track, I had poured out all my feelings to God about what my husband had said to me on this particular morning.  However, I wasn’t finished with him. On Mile 2, I poured out what he said last week.  On Mile 3, I poured out what he had said ten years ago.  By the time I reached Mile 5, I had remembered everything he had said and done the last 40 years of our marriage.  What a fantastic memory I have!!

At last, I came to the 6 mile marker, and my steps slowed down to catch my breath.  It was during this slow pace that I came to a realization that:

I needed to experience a new refreshing of God’s faithfulness every morning, not a list that left me feeling hopeless and like a failure for not keeping.  Lamentations 3:22-23 says it so beautifully.  “It is the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

And that, I believe is the secret to retaining joy in our lives  - -knowing that God’s mercies are NEW every morning because of His faithfulness to us.  He is the God of second chances and we can have a new beginning every day of our lives.

Now, that’s enough to make Grandmas smile just like Hadley.

Emmy Awards Fashion 2011 Roundup

Primetime Television never looked so good!  With a year that's seen so many changes in television from cancellations of long-running soap operas replaced by 'reality' TV to new shows that look like they were filmed in the '60's, the night brought out your favorite weekly stars to celebrate the new look of TV.  Thankfully, we got to see some familiar faces as well and I must say, I wasn't disappointed!  Of course,  my favorite is the seeing the stars glide down the red carpet.  Here are a few of my favorite red carpet moments.

Sophia Vergara in Vera Wang

I love the color against her skin and she looks effortlessly with her beautiful brown hair.

The 1920's trend showed up on  he runway during fashion week and it's already made it's way to the red carpet with the 2 following stars.

 Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab

Simply sleek with a 1920's hairstyle to compliment her beautiful black ensemble.

Aubrey Plaza in Juan Carlos Obando

 The beautiful, white  dress was reminiscent of the flapper era polished off by her hairdo of the same look.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Pucci

Who says a rockin' hot mom can't rock a mid-drift at the Emmy's?

 

Jane Lynch in David Meister

The night's host looked beautiful and age appropriate.  She's one funny girl who actually understands how to dress.

 

Katie Holmes in Calvin Klein

 Choosing one of Fall's bright colors never looked so easy as only Calvin can do!

 

The Color of the night was Red and these stars looked hot!

 

Tell us who your favorite was

 

 

Representing the new face of TV, the cast of Charlie's Angels.  All three showed their individuality.

 

Funny Moment of the Night

It may not have been a fashion moment but it's one we have to mention.  In the category of best supporting actress in a comedy, all the nominees stormed the stage like a beauty pageant to hold hands waiting for the winner to be announced.  It was a first for the show and ended with the biggest laugh as they crowned the winner...literally, with a crown!

 

 

Zeo Dechenel in Monique Lhuillier

Although she was crowned Fashion Police's worst dress by Joan Rivers, I loved her look!  Zoe is quirky and walks to the beat of her own drum and she didn't disappoint.  I thought her look was fresh and cute with a hint of the 1950's.  Plus, the dress had pockets that always come in handy!

Until next year, I hope you enjoyed our Emmy Fashion Roundup!

The Winter Has Past; Spring is Here

Please view Song of Solomon video (40 seconds) before reading. The most typical interpretation of The Song of Solomon is that it portrays the love relationship between Christ and his bride, The Church. 

In the first few verses of Chapter 2, Christ is pictured coming to His bride to spend some time with her.  The way in which He is approaching her clearly shows that He is full of joy and excitement as He looks forward to spending some intimate time with His bride.  He comes leaping over the mountains and bounding upon the hills;  He comes swiftly like a young deer  (vs.8-9)

When Christ arrives, he looks into the window of His bride’s heart, and says:

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away and come with me. For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers are springing up and the time of the singing of birds has come.  Yes, spring is here. The leaves are coming out and the grape vines are in blossom.  How delicious they smell!  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come way.

Spring:  A time of nature’s rebirth, and my favorite time of the year.  I can tell you that there have been times over the years as I read those verses that I have literally visualized myself leaping into the arms of my Lord.  I then visualize Him carrying me up to a grassy hillside and we sit and view the flowers blooming, the green leaves on the trees, and listen to the birds sing.  A more magnificent spring day could not be experienced than the times I have felt as though the two of us were so intimately engrossed with one another. 

But one day as I was reading, I was struck by the fact that before Christ described the springtime to his bride, the first words out of his mouth were about winter.  I was curious.  What did Christ mean about winter as he looked into the window of His bride’s heart.  Quoting from Matthew Henry’s commentary, he states:

As the earth is to winter, so can our hearts become cold, dark, and barren.

That was a definitely a defining moment for me, one that I had not expected.  Having lived in the great state of Maine, I know what it means to live in the depth of winterMany mornings we woke up to snow above the doorframe. There were months of  freezing, cold, dark, rainy, barren days.  The flowers were dead and buried, there were no leaves on the trees, and no fruit was being produced. We certainly couldn’t hear birds singing; they had all flown South for the winter. The winters were so cold that Spring seemed like something we had only read about.

Could my spirit actually become that cold?  As I searched my heart, I suddenly realized that it had been a long time since I had had a vision of sitting on that hillside with my Lord having an intimate moment with Him.  I had allowed so many things to creep into my heart that had, indeed, caused it to become as cold as those winters in Maine. 

And so, I bowed my head and asked His forgiveness for all those things that I had allowed to creep into my heart, and rose up and disentangled myself from them. It was then that I heard my bridegroom say ever so eloquently:   

“Come away with me. The winter has passed. Spring is here.”

Instantly, I knew that I would once again:

  • Bloom like a beautiful array of flowers with the light of my Lord shining through me
  • I could sing like the birds of the  mercies and grace of my Lord
  • I would now produce fruit as the grapevines with the gifts that He had placed within me.

And I leaped into His arms, and off we went to that grassy hilltop engrossed in an intimate relationship with one another.  How I love Spring Time with my Lord!

Black Friday Fever

Ah yes ladies, it's that time of year again. Each year, no matter where I spend Thanksgiving, I end up in the same place on Black Friday. The mall. I will take any mall, in any city, at any time. Dare me. In fact, that's kind of the point. While listening to all of the Black Friday mumbo jumbo in days leading up to the "busiest shopping day of the year", I heard so many interviews with women saying they loved Black Friday for the sport. I thought, "Wow, women really are crazy." Until I got to the mall at 7:30 this morning and thought "Hm, finding a parking spot was so easy... I'm going to get so much good stuff before anyone else!". In that moment I found myself a victim of the bloodsport. Just another crazed woman at the mall.
The Tradition
I must say it should come as no surprise that I love the game of beating other shoppers to great deals. I have been shopping Black Friday sales since before I can remember. I've been a tag along since before I even enjoyed shopping. Now that was a while ago. Those were the days, before the internet leaked the sales and people paid others off to hold their spot in line. Just good, clean, fighting over Tickle Me Elmo's. Though I have to admit I am glad we have evolved in some ways.
For instance, yesterday while at work I browsed Ideeli.com, one of my favorite discount websites. They had "Black Friday" deals all week, including $50 cashmere and closeout prices on Calvin Klein accessories. After drooling over those deals I hopped over to Cybermonday.com, which was equally as awesome. Coupons galore and all the scoop on the weekend sales.
It's true-- I have given in to the internet leaks and the coupon codes, but its time you do too! If you missed out on the Black Friday deals because you wanted to "avoid the crowds," get some Christmas (or personal) shopping done with the rest of your weekend. Tomorrow has been declared "Small Business Saturday" and of course Monday is "Cyber Monday." So put yourself out there, you still have time to beat someone to a deal they didn't even know about!

A Stuffed Heart

It's that time of the year again - - -a time we set aside on the calendar for "giving thanks for our blessings" and "stuffing the turkey."  It's a time when, no matter what kind of trials we have gone through during the year, we find so many reasons to count our blessings and give thanks.  As for stuffing the big bird, we pull out our recipes and head to the grocery store to buy the necessary items needed for stuffing it. When Thanksgiving Day arrives, families gather together, have a time of thanks, and then carve the stuffed turkey waiting on the platter.  For just a brief moment in time, most Americans capture the true meaning of  "giving thanks unto the Lord in all things."

I have to be honest and say that the day after Thanksgiving, I usually come face to face with myself as I reflect on my heart of thanks.  "Will I stay in this attitude of thanks every day of the year, or will I stuff my heart with other things that rob me of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ?"

And so I ask you, "if you could actually put your heart on platter like the stuffed turkey, what would you see stuffed inside that might rob you of that intimate relationship?"

Would you see some of the following:

  1. Complaining AttitudeThere is a big difference between a complaint born out of a real need verses a complaining attitude.  Chronic complainers play a game called "Ain't it Awful what has happened to me."  Complaining traps us into seeing ourselves as a perpetual victim, leaving no room in our hearts for thanks.
  2. Low self-esteem:  Low self-esteem says:  I messed up, I failed, I'll never amount to anything, I feel so inadequate, my future is hopeless. I have nothing to be thankful for.
  3. Busy, Busy, BusyBecoming busy with the mundane things of life can crowd out our quiet time of prayer and studying God's Word.  Without prayer and the reading of God's Word, thankfulness falls by the wayside.
  4. Past HurtsSome people keep a tally of all the things that have ever been said or done to them.  It's like they have reserved a room in their hearts with a sign on the door that says:  "Hurts - come on in."  Holding onto hurts and always thinking of self robs our heart of being thankful.
  5. Unforgiveness:  Resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness can grow deep into our spirit, and become like an infectious disease that spreads to others.  For example, you may say you love your children, but if you have bitterness and unforgivenss in your heart for someone, you are loving your children with a contaiminated heart. Unforgiveness and thankfulness cannot reside in the same heart.

So, this Thanskgiving season, I challenge myself first, and then you, to judge our hearts.  Perhaps we need to change our recipe for what we have "stuffed into our hearts" and replace it with a recipe for a heart of thanksgiving all year long.

"Happy Thanksgiving."

Waiting for it

Just recently my daughter had her two front teeth fall out, and thank God they did! It was pretty traumatic for the both of us, because these weren't your typical loose teeth, these suckers where stubborn! As her new front teeth started to came in, her old front teeth were pushed straight out, so every time she would close her mouth you could see them sticking out. They were really loose and ready to fall, but still held on for dear life! It was when I learned that kids at school started to make fun of her, that I felt I had to do something to speed up the process. So I asked her if she would let me try to pull them out, and she said "NO WAY! I will just wait until they fall out by themselves." I couldn't believe she didn't even want to try, especially since kids at school were being so mean about it.  It was really neat to see her choose between waiting, or taking easier route. Who knows what could have happened if she took the easy way and risk doing some damage. Well, her teeth eventually fell out and amazingly right before school pictures. How awesome is that! She was such an example for me. Her success story made me realize that it's not always pleasant to wait for things to happen at the right moment, but just think of the damage we can do to ourselves, physically, mentally, and spiritually, if we don't wait. What may usually seem like a "good idea" is not always a "God idea". We have our integrity and self value at risk when making desperate decisions and taking the easy way out can lead to painful regrets. Yes, God restores painful regrets, but why not spare yourself that. As difficult as it is to have to wait for that something or someone to happen to you, be encouraged that we never have to wait alone. God knows the timing of everything and he is NEVER late. He sees and knows your every thought and in his time he will give you the desires of your heart....plus a bag of chips!

Helen