Thursday, July 28, 2011

Inspiration Workshop {Week #9}: THE BEACH!

I'm linking up again this week with the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop! The prompt this week was: The Beach!

Now let's get serious, folks. I am a redhead.

I don't tan. I burn and freckle.

And I live in Florida.

How can a redhead survive at the beach in Florida? I'll tell you!
It's called a beach canopy.

A really big beach canopy

Also handy (as seen above):

A big floppy beach hat
(Awesome, stylish Italian friend is suggested, but not necessary...well, not necessary for anyone but me, that is.)

I really do enjoy the beach once I actually get there.

I especially love the beach on the west coast (of Florida, that is) at sunset. And not just because I can come out of the canopy! Florida sunsets are the best!

I also loved the beaches in the Dominican Republic when I was there on a mission trip 4 years ago. I know that I took more pictures, but this was the best one that I could find to post:

The water was absolutely gorgeous and super warm.

Now I'm really thinking that Ben & I need to hit the beach at least once before the summer is over. I'm sure that he will be thrilled since he could live at the beach and surf! We'll probably be hitting the east coast beaches for sunrise instead of the west coast for sunset, though. Heck, it's Florida. We could probably swing both!

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Inspiration Workshop {Week #8}: Your Inspiration

I'm linking up again this week with the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop! This week's prompt is somewhat of a free-for-all: "Your inspiration." I've thought a lot about what inspires me.

I've been listening to the music of Andrew Peterson for a little over 10 years now. I have lots of great stories involving him and his music. My husband has even more since Andrew was his middle school camp counselor! (Note, this was LONG before we met. Our first real communication back and forth involved Andrew and his music!) Andrew is "The Proprietor" of The Rabbit Room and one of my favorite musicians. His "Counting Stars" album came out last summer and I've listened to it more times than I can count. Here's a little peek into his writing:
I can see the storm descending on the hill tonight
Tall trees are bending to your will tonight
Let the mighty bow down
At the thundering sound of your voice
~"The Reckoning"

But the rulers of earth could not control Him
They did not take his life--he laid it down
All the chains of earth could never hope to hold him
So in the night my hope lives on
~"In The Night"
Andrew Peterson, Ben Shive, & Andy Gullahorn
(a.k.a. "The Captains Courageous")

Here at the magic hour
Time and eternity
Mingle a moment in chorus
Here at the magic hour
Bright is the mystery
Plain is the beauty before us
Could this beauty be for us?
~"The Magic Hour"
Andrew Peterson & Don Chaffer

A thing resounds when it rings true
Ringing all the bells inside of you
Like a golden sky on a summer eve
Your heart is tugging at your sleeve
And you cannot say why
There must be more
Andrew Peterson & Pierce Pettis

I could go on and on with the lyrics. The words paint a picture that draws you into the story. The story is one of hope and redemption. The story is just part of the "capital S" Story - the Story of us all. The Story of God's love and sacrifice for us. And if that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what does.

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hi, my name is Anxiety and I'm, well, anxious

I am anxious. I always have been. I hate it. I hate having my mind jump to the worst possible conclusion. I hate not trusting my Lord. I have struggled with it for years. I have even been on medication for it at one point when it was making me so physically sick that I had lost tons of weight. I lay awake at night and sometimes have to use a relaxation script (thank you, podcasts!) to calm myself down and get to a place where I can slow my mind down enough to fall asleep.

A week ago Friday (7/8), I heard this broadcast of Erwin Lutzer's "Running to Win:" Renamed By Christ. I've heard this sort of message before, but this time it really hit me. Maybe because it was out of the blue or perhaps it was because of a particular phrase that he said. He was talking about coming to the place where we can admit our position to Christ. He said that we should come saying,

"'My name is Anxiety.' Then Jesus can say I'm going to rename you and call you peace."

My name is peace. No, literally, it is. My middle name is Irene.

Irene is a name derived from the Greek word εἰρήνη (eiréné) meaning "peace".

How have I lived for all these years acting the complete opposite of my given name? I know where my hope lies. I know who guides my life. Matthew 6:27 says, "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" I don't know why I do it, but I know that it certainly isn't adding anything to my life other than more sorrow. And I was not made to live in sorrow.

I've been stewing over how to write this out and if I should post about it for over a week now. This past Friday, I decided that I really needed to. You see, Friday afternoon, Ben lost his job. He's been with his company for just over a year and has worked his tail off on the job and in the apprenticeship schooling program (electrician). Due to a boss losing money and Ben being in the wrong place at the wrong time (in the way of someone looking to get rid of someone on the job), he received a termination notice on Friday.

I have watched my sweet husband display the exact opposite of anxiety in the past few days. I have watched him display complete trust in a sovereign God who takes care of his children. I have watched him take care of me as I worry (surprise!) about what will happen and if we'll be able to pay all of our bills next month. I have watched him tear up at God's provision for us through our church family, who have already flooded him with contacts for job possibilities. I have watched him get excited about finally having the time to meet with men in the church that he hasn't had time to meet with due to an hour commute that started anywhere from 4:45 to 5:45 am.

Again and again, he has reminded me, not even knowing that I have been going over this in my head for a week.

Something that has also really helped me is praying through Psalm 23. Our Community Group has been using this strategy for praying. Taking a verse at a time and praying through that particular verse. Amazingly enough (ok, not really), by the time I get through the 4th or 5th verse, I'm already starting to calm down enough that I start to fall asleep.

I know that I have not conquered this sin. I know that I have miles to go, and that, in fact, it will be a lifelong journey. It is a constant placing of my anxious thoughts under his sovereign care. And there is no one better to give them to than my Lord.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Inspiration Workshop {Week #7}: Sunshine!

Linking up again with the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop this week! This week's prompt was "Sunshine!" This is what I think of when I think of "sunshine":

I took this picture with Retro Camera on my phone back in May at "Mayfaire by the lake" here in Lakeland. (That's right, folks: no iPhone. Not cool enough yet to have "Instagram.")

I love the light right as the sun is starting to set.

Today, however, I went out right in the thick of it. I took the Holly-dog out for a walk and did a photo shoot at lunch. (Which was from 1-2 instead of 12-1 today.)

She loves the camera.

But mostly she loves to do this:

What I know for sure is that she loves being outside and wishes that our yard was fenced so that she could run around in the sun.

Oh! I almost forgot: the rest of these pictures were taken with my actual REAL camera! I finally found it after 5+ months looking through random boxes for it!

And so, I'll bid you adieu with one more shot of the Florida {stinkin' hot} sun.

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday {Week 8}

It's been a while since I posted one of these. Mostly because I wear the same outfits to work every week and all of my pictures looked the same. The last week or so I've actually put together a few new combos, so here we are!


Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft (Outlet!)
Skirt: J Crew (Hand-me-down!)
Necklace: Forever 21
Scarf: 99% certain that it was my Grandmother's
Shoes: Payless


Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft
Pants: New York & Co
Necklace: Kohls
Belt: Old Navy (from an old pair of pants)
Shoes: Payless
Flower in my hair: Thirty-One Gifts

And this is just for fun. I wore my hair like this on Sunday morning:

I had probably about 20 people come up to me thinking that I had cut all of my hair off. The answer is no. It's just Florida, it gets pretty hot and I'm always looking for different ways to put my hair up! Unfortunately, there are only so many places that I can get away with this look:

{I have gotten a little braver and worn this look out a few places!}

I'll be back tomorrow with a little bit of sunshine and an Inspiration Workshop post!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Inspiration Workshop {Week #6}: Pamper Yourself!

Linking up again with the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop this week! The prompt this week was "Pamper Yourself!" Normally when I think about pampering myself this is what I envision:

Or maybe the bathtub from last week's Inspiration Workshop. Pampering myself this last week was much simpler.

On Saturday I drove the long way to Ikea all by myself. I took the back roads through Plant City so that I didn't have to deal with the crazy people on the interstate. I listened to a podcast that I've been meaning to listen to (Laura Story on Midday Connection).

I treated myself to Swedish Meatballs, mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam at Ikea. I wandered around the showrooms, gathering tips and ideas for arranging things in our small space. I left only with the two things on the list and replacement bowls (for the ones that had the nasty fruit in them that I forgot about in the fridge. Oops.).

I drove home the same way listening to Laura Story, Melanie Penn, and Tara Leigh Cobble. It was lovely.

I miss the days when I would just take myself out for a drive and see where I would end up. I felt refreshed when I got back. So refreshed, in fact, that I took a nap when I got home. Because I could. It was a great day and I need to remember to take time to do it more often.

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!