Follow:
    LIFESTYLE

    Three Simple Steps to Intentional Living

    Through the years we’ve learned many things as a family, but one that continually sticks out – is that we do things a bit differently.  While yes, at one point in our lives we were balancing a lifestyle of auto pilot meets hustle to build the American dream, we realized it was just that – the American dream, and while, despite what may or may not be going on in our current societal setting, we are still proud to be Americans.  Sam and I both have strong military backgrounds in our families, and we are forever grateful for those who have served and continue to do so.  What we weren’t proud of was letting our dreams die.  Home ownership, babies, careers, moves, it all takes a toll on your day to day, a grating that can lead to complacency and numbness.  For us, it became a journey to get to a place of freedom; to step out of the flow, and move forward with hope.

    We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but we know we are right where we’re supposed to be, and stewarding well what we’ve been given – at least that’s the goal.  We honestly weren’t sure we’d ever buy a homeagain after all of our moving around and financial shortcomings, but we laid that desire on the table and said, “Whatever you want God” …funny how your life seems to radically change after those moments.

    Nonetheless, here we are.  We’ve purchased a home just outside of downtown Cincinnati, and it couldn’t be more suited for us.  I think when it comes to creating an intentional home and lifestyle, it can sound overwhelming at first, but I promise it’s not.  For us, we started to focus on three questions:

    1.  What do I want to be doing with my time?

    2. What do I want to be doing with my money?

    3. What do I know I’m supposed to be doing, but am not?

    Once we were able to answer these questions, we were able to set goals and begin creating a family vision.  That vision, not only shapes what we we’re working towards as a family, but how we choose to live out our day to day.  That, in itself, is the very essence of intentional living.  Since making a decision to be more mindful with our living, we’ve set aside time near the beginning of each new year to flesh out two focal points:

    1.  Goal Setting

    2. Vision Casting

    3. Optional:  Family Motto (If you don’t have one, it’s kind of fun, kitschy, and keeps you focused on why you do what you do).

     

    By setting goals of what all we want to accomplish for the year, we know where we’re heading.  Everyone gets a chance to write out what they hope to accomplish and/or participate in, from conferences and trainings, educational certifications, vacations and adventures, to simple house projects or new habits.  We also spend a lot of time around vision casting.  For us, that looks like a lot of time in prayer and asking for discernment of who we are and what we should be doing with our time, money and talents.  We all share what we believe and try to formulate that into a simple sentence or two for the year.  This year, and throughout the last few years, God has really been challenging each of us around identity.  Our vision/verse for this year has been John 8:14, “For I know where I came from, and I know where I am going.”  Jesus spoke these words to the Pharisees when they challenged his identity, and we are clinging to them as He radically draws us into ours.  So be patient, slow down, think about who you are, and what you were made to do.  Have that conversation as a family, and I promise you, you won’t regret it.

     

     

     

     

    LIFESTYLE

    Never Stop Creating

    Today I did three things that I’ve never done before:

    1. I made an embarrassing video of myself singing for the insta-stories
    2. I tried my hand at Adobe Illustrator and was pleased as punch with the results
    3. I made a tiny video of my face (is that like a velfie?  a video of yourself?? idk) purely from artistic desire.

    I hope that doesn’t make me narcissistic…

    Nonetheless, they all felt, well…me.  I don’t like being in front of a camera, and I don’t like putting my work out for people to see, but this new season, see it’s got me all sideways.   I like to create.  Whether it is good or bad, it will always be in my blood.  I was born for it.  So enjoy an awkward video of my face, because I’ve got more creating to do.

    And in case you were wondering, there’s something inside of you that is probably just itching to come out.  What is it?  Happy hunting.

    X

     

    DEVOTIONAL

    //REALIGN

    I am a Christian.  I am a disciple.  I am a follower of Jesus.  There are millions of ways to say that you have a relationship with God, but when is the last time you did anything about it?  I have to ask myself that frequently – I can’t call myself a follower of Christ, if I’m not actually letting Him lead.  It’s hard to get out of our own way.  It is hard to go against the flow – and not just the pop culture flow, but the flow of the day to day, the flesh that says ‘do this,’ the magazine that says ‘this will give you good sex’, the tv show that says ‘this is what makes you a great wife.’  I call bull on all of it.  We are living in a world that is not our own – this we know, and we also know we aren’t meant to fit in, but living here, living here is exhausting and I personally feel the weight of it all too often.

    TIME FOR A RESET

    //RESTORED

    David cries out in Psalm 51:1-12Have mercy on me, O, God, because of your unfailing love.  Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.  ie. Hey guys, my name is David and I’m a sinner, a big ol’ heap of trouble, and I’ve made some major mistakes, but I know your grace is unconditional and your love is true, so can I get a reset?

    Not only has David massively screwed up in his past, he was a leader.  (#KingStatus) So if the leader of God’s people, can have sex with another man’s wife, and then have said man murdered to try and keep it a secret, and then cry out to God for forgiveness–I’m certain God’s forgiveness is there for us.  We’re all fallen, in a million different ways, and surprise – even with God’s grace and forgiveness, we won’t be perfect in this world.  David didn’t become this awesomely perfect being that never messed up after he cried out to God, but he knew where his hope was.  He asked God reset his mind to focus on Him, and not his own desires.  He asked God to reset his heart to seek the Father that created him.  He asked God to reset his heart to walk in the light, no matter how badly he failed.  And to tie it all up in a neat little bow, he asked God to restore his joy in that very salvation, and give him the willingness to obey.  Guys, our God is a god that hope-fully restores, and that door is never closed.

    So, step one to realignment, ask myself what do I believe?

    I BELIEVE I AM A HOPELESS MESS WITHOUT HIM, BUT WITH HIM, I AM HOPE FILLED, HOLY (NOT HOLIER THAN THOU), AND RESTORED.

    //RENEWED

    Fast forward to Paul dropping truth in Romans (8:1-5), when he says there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because Y O U belong to H I M, the power of the L I F E-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death…letting the Spirit control your mind leads to L I F E and peace.   

    HOLY SPIRIT IS GIVING ME LIIIIIIIIIIIIFE. (AND IT IS GOOD, THE B-I-B-L-E TELLS ME SO).  

    I mean for real, Spirit is giving me L I F E.  I am made new, redeemed and complete in Him.  There’s no condemnation for me, my past does not define me, and I am free to experience life the way He designed it.  This means choosing to set my mind on the goodness that He has for me, and not the hurts of the past, fixating on the hell that I walked through, but definitely focused on the victory and redemption that has been provided for me.  I am renewed, redeemed, and choosing to set my mind on His redemption, not my own righteousness or severe lack thereof.

    Step two:  Why do I believe what I believe?  Because I’ve tasted that freedom and redemption, it is electrifying, motivating and and carries me when I think I am beyond my weakest.

    //RELEVANT

    So now we remember what we believe, why we believe it, and the challenge is to live that out.  We’re all shiny and new, and BRIGHT and we have to hit the grind of living it out in the DARKNESS…because this world is a pretty dark place, despite the good that we get to experience.  (Those are called blessings, btdubs).  Don’t lose heart, though we aren’t the light, we have the light living in us.  Over in 1 John 1:5-10,  John writes, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.  Catch that?  NEVER.  We are literally walking around with an illumination inside of us that only He provides, but this slippery slope seems to be where we all too often get stuck.  This is where we let the ‘church’ or ‘religion’ step in and give us our rules – so how do we do this?  We study the character of Jesus and the Word – how he taught (with story), who he built relationship with (the least of these), how he spent his time (using His gifts/living out His purpose, residing in community, and resting and creating space for His Father to speak to Him).  God is good, Jesus was good, but as a dear friend recently said – He wasn’t always nice.  (Flipping tables, anyone?)  That doesn’t mean we’re jerks, but it does mean its okay to say no.  That we don’t just agree with everything, or disagree with everything.  How do we remember to meet others where they are with love?  We have to be relevant to the world’s current state, without conforming to it, and this seems hard.  But I promise, the days I remember to submit my will to His, to ask what He wants me to accomplish and work from a resting state of His grace vs. the hustle that the world dictates for me…the burden IS LIGHT.  I am filled with his truth, and have a supernatural grace for those around me that my own human-ness can’t even begin to grasp.

    Step three:  How am I living out what I believe?

    WALKING IN THE LIGHT DOESN’T MEAN KEEPING OTHERS FROM JOINING YOU IN IT, AND IT DEFINITELY MEANS THEY CAN’T SNUFF IT OUT

    Own it people, we have to own who we are, who we were made to be, and let it shine; because that is a reflection of our sweet Creator.

    Happy weekend.

    X