Monday, February 1, 2016

This ones for April

As I waited in line at the post office to mail off some products to loyal customers today I met a calm, slender, studious young woman. I shyly commented on the Warby Parker box she held in her hands + we slowly exchanged enthusiastic commentary on our favorite frames + how the ones you think will be your favorite almost always turn out to be the biggest mistake for your face shape. Our conversation carried over to an exchange of how she adored my hat + my gentle confession 'it's from Target' made us squeal about how each of us favor Target's hats + share the same thinking about their sturdy construction.
Somewhere after she giddily shared with me that in March she's leaving for 27 months to join the Peace Corps with hopes to foster an understanding between the Ukrainian people + Americans. As she passionately explained to me her assignment within the education department she couldn't help but bounce up and down with joy + unconsciously kick her right leg up behind herself with emphasis on the good parts. As she spoke I couldn't help but cheese-illy smile along with her, with every word and breath her passion infected me. So much so that I began to feel as if I was going along on this adventure with her! Where's my bags?! It was near the end of our conversation, after my packages had been carefully delivered + payed for + our conversation was drawing its awkward close, that I realized it. 
He was with us. Not only was he there He was speaking to me, reiterating something gently to my spirit. 'When you seek me you will find me when you seek me with all of your heart'. You walk through days that seam ordinary and mundane but to me nothing is mundane, nothing is ordinary. I am with you in all of it + I have surprises around corners you wouldn't expect. I'm in the moments you pass by and I'm in the moments you choose to open. A simple hello or silly exchange can open up a door to heaven you've been asking to be opened. Lift your head lovely one and see that beauty is all around and its in the people I've created. There is good in this world and its in the heart of people. Unassuming everyday people all around us are on assignment to spread love + light + kindness making this world a better place. World changers are all around and we have the potential to connect with them everyday.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Morning Book Club: The Best Yes 17-19

Good Monday Morning everyone. Can you believe it's the last full week before CHRISTMAS???! You guys this month + year for that matter has flown by! You know what's also flown by? This book club! Today is our final chapter summary for The Best Yes. It's been fun + I've learned A LOT about myself + how to say yes in the BEST way. The girls from Simply Beaming have written this final summary for us. After the read head over to their blog for more information on how awesome they are! 


Hi everyone! We are Kate an Kelli from the Simply Beaming Blog! We are reviewing the last chapters (17-19) of the book "The Best Yes" by Lysa Terkeurst, and we were blown away by how much truth and wisdom she spoke in these pages. There were so many positive take aways we got from this book. We absolutely loved it! Find more from us over at and on Instagram @simply_beaming. Thanks for reading along with us!

Chapter 17-“The Very Best Yes”

When we are in a state of vulnerability, it can leave us feeling empty and ready to make bad decisions. Lysa talks about her experience with her daughter, who is going through a break up with a boyfriend, and how her daughter turns to her during her weakest moments. Lysa states, “Together is what we need when we hit tough patches in life. Making decisions when life is making you cry shouldn’t be done alone. No matter what hard place we find ourselves in, feeling alone can make us vulnerable to bad decisions.” The way to make your decisions better and to steer away from those unwanted bad decisions is to go to your safe place and open your Bible. She also talks about leaning on people who you trust the most and who have been through what you are experiencing at that time.

In this chapter, she also describes how one of her college aged kids did something that stunned her to the point where she thought she was having a heart attack. As her thoughts began to race on how she was going to cancel one of her big speaking events, she opened her bible and read, “Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” She called another speaker who told her that she wasn’t alone and that we all walk through hurts and disappointments. The best way to be able to walk through trials in our lives is through wisdom. We gain wisdom not only through these hard times, but through Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. As Lysa states, “Wisdom is our silver lining.”

Chapter 18-“When My Best Yes Doesn’t Yield What I Expect.”

Do you ever do what is required, but your outcome isn’t what you expected. In the beginning of the chapter, Lysa describes how she put in the required money into the vending machine, but nothing comes out. She also talks about how you can do everything to lead your child onto the straight and narrow, but that doesn’t mean your child is going to behave the way you expect them too. When the unexpected happens, we should have it point out our strengths and not our weaknesses. It will gives us the opportunity to have “The Best Yes.” We can choose to become angry and frustrated or we can take baby steps into the right direction towards our “Best Yes.” I love how she describes a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

She goes on to tell that Roosevelt himself could have been paralyzed with the unexpected fear, but he continued on a path of perseverance. He was able to conquer the trial of his wife passing away from giving birth to their daughter, and an hour earlier, his mother passed away from typhoid fever in the same house. Grief can lead you onto a path of bad decisions and destruction, but by allowing God to take over your heart, you are telling Satan, “You picked the wrong woman to mess with this time.”

Chapter 19 –“We Make Choices. Then Our Choices Make Us.”

Lysa talks about how she is not a baker. If you were to go into her kitchen and look at your pans, you would know, she doesn’t do much baking, although she admires women who do. As she talks about her baking experiences. She goes on to say, “It’s not the activities or accomplishments we string together that make lives well lived as much as it is the hearts of wisdom we gain and use along the way. Every day we are making choices and decisions without hesitation. Then with those decisions, it will linger into our day lives, and continue to carry on throughout our lives.

By our choices and actions it can either be displayed or betrayed by our wisdom. She uses the verse, “Matthew 11:19 So let’s choose wisdom. Let’s use the two most powerful words, yes and no, with resounding assurance, graceful clarity, and guided power. Also people may see Jesus when they see us. Hear Jesus when they hear us. And know Jesus when they know us.” Our lives are to carrying out making the best decisions by using our “Best Yes” and our best filter. We will be a grand display of God’s Word lived out. Now let’s go and live the “Best Yes” life!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Morning Book Club: The Best Yes 14-16

Good Monday morning dear friends, if you've been following along with our Monday morning Book Club I have had the pleasure of writing this weeks chapter summaries. I don't know about you but this book has been challenging my approach to the way I see an opportunity + how I respond to it. Happy reading + click over on my Instagram profile to the right ---> to get involved with our discussion.

Chapter 14: A Best Yes is Seen By Those Who Choose to See.
Be present and pay attention. There are Best Yes' being whispered, maybe yelled, in our minds and our ears every day. We have to choose to be tuned in to hear them. It is a matter of quieting your mind and tuning in to the Holy Spirit on a daily, moment by moment basis. I like to think of the impressions of the Holy Spirit as radio waves. They are around you RIGHT NOW, playing and filling the room. You can only hear them if you have a tuner that is plugged in, turned on and tuned in. I must make it a point DAILY to be tuned in to hear what He is already saying. "We want big directional signs from God.God just wants us to pay attention."

We often hear or think that Christians don't say no. This cannot be further from the truth. We must give ourselves permission to say no. A no isn't a rejection. A no is a BEST YES to something else. When you feel the difficulty of a no, picture the thing you can say your Best Yes to if you say no. Lisa, the author, asked on her social media account, "What decision are you having a hard time making right now?" The responses she got surprised her. The key is to focus on what is right in front of you, what you do know and the next step. Be in the moment. We often say yes when we shouldn't because we are concerned with what people will think of us which leads to a frantic, absent person. The author writes, "Great descriptions are birthed from great decisions." When we say no at the right time, give our Best Yes and live in the moment, we become our best selves.

Chapter 15: The Thrill of an Unrushed Yes.
Leave space in your life. Slow down. Relationships are about moments and those moments don't happen in a rush. Marriage, family and friends who are like family take time and moments. We live in a multitasking world. "Checking your email in the middle of creative work temporarily knocks your IQ down 10 points...We are not wired for multitasking." Some relationships may drain you, but the right ones spur you to greatness or even your destiny so be wise who you give your time to. 

"Conversational threads are what make up the fabric of relationships. We must take time - make time - to talk. Marriage is called "tying the knot". Every relationship has this in some aspect or another. It's not something just done at the altar, it's something we choose to do over and over again. An unrushed yes leads to us to these decisions and moments. The only way you are going to find an unrushed yes is to MAKE time and LEAVE SPACE.

Chapter 16: The Panic That Keeps You From Your Best Yes.
Panic NEVER SAVED ANYONE. Panic only leads to loss. Panic gives the sensation of drowning. Its not easy to begin to be a Best Yes person. Saying no.or yes, takes courage. Any time we are asked to be courageous our insecurities rare their ugly heads. Even if we think we are not insecure, we can find ourselves comparing or disqualifying our way out. "It works for them, not me." When we are drowning in our insecurities we often think or are told, "Suck it up. Get over it. Insecurity is just pride turned inward." Lisa writes, "That's like telling a person drowning to just swim harder." The same way the Holy Spirit's voice is like radio waves, our insecurities about ourselves are a song played by the enemy of our souls. Sometimes he just sings the first few lines and, like that hit on the radio, we pick up the rest of the song.

When we realize WHO and who's we are, our insecurities fade. Our security and significance comes from God alone. Our beliefs about ourselves and God are deeper than a thought we can easily articulate, they are a mindset that shapes our behavior and ultimately the environment around us. Our identity, found in Christ ALONE, determines our beliefs or mindset, which determines our thoughts, which determines our actions and emotions, which determines the environment we live in. When I CHOOSE to READ, SPEAK and HEAR the TRUTH of who He says I am, I turn off the radio station of the enemy and tune in to His Spirit. My spirit agrees with His Spirit and I sing His song of love and truth over my life. Lisa writes, "Just as our bodies need oxygen, our souls need truth flowing steadily in and out."

The song or voice you agree with gets the power and is amplified over your life. Who's song are you singing, the enemy's or The Holy Spirit's? What lies are you believing and how are they affecting your thought life, actions and environment? What TRUTH counteracts those lies and how can you choose to agree with that TRUTH and change the "song" that you are singing?


Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday Morning Book Club: The Best Yes 11-13

Good morning and happy Cyber Monday i'm feeling the post turkey madness hangover how about you?!
Here to take us back into some encouraging Monday morning routine is the sweet Carla from Heart in High Cotton. 

Happy Monday, y'all! I hope you had the sweetest weekend with family, eating your favorite foods, and hopefully everyone in the family enjoyed an extra-long, tryptophan induced nap! :) 
I'm so glad you're here checking in for our weekly Monday Morning Book Club and I'm thrilled to get to guest post today!  For those of you who don't know me, let me introduce myself. I'm Carla and I blog over at Heart in High Cotton - mostly chronicling my adventures in motherhood, sharing my favorite Southern recipes, and the thoughts Jesus puts on my heart. I have two beautiful baby girls that keep me on my toes and fill my heart so full. I've been married to my ball-capped sweetheart for almost 5 years and I truly believe that because of Jesus' grace and mercy my heart is "in high cotton." This morning I'll share with you some highlights and takeaways from chapters 11-13 ofThe Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. If you've been reading along you know this book has been a treasure packed with truth and encouragement for the weary mama's heart! 

Chapter 11: The Power of the Small No
The small (and big) no can be really hard, particularly for us Type A, people-pleaser personalities. It's an awful feeling when we believe our "no" will be a disappointment. Lisa suggests that even a "small no can be given in such a way that it becomes a gift rather than a curse." Proverbs 24:26, "[an] honest answer is like a warm hug." 
Two typical responses are to respond with a quick yes without tracing that 'river's path' or a defense mechanism of delay. Lysa very poignantly suggested that neither are necessarily a good way to respond. Earlier in the book we've looked at the peril of a quick yes without considering the cost. However, the issue of delaying cut straight to me. Oh, how I could identify with when she said, "we delay - as if delay will somehow make this request go away so we don't have to deal with it." Even if it is a small request/issue, a "no" can seem huge when it means feelings will be hurt or someone will be disappointed. I appreciated how Lysa suggested that delaying isn't just a defense mechanism but it's also unfair. It builds false hope, prevents other plans, and eventually makes receiving more difficult. Personally, I was encouraged that out of consideration for others I can purpose to resist delaying. 
I have loved how Lysa keeps each chapter balanced between determining the "best yes" while keeping in mind that saying no to everything doesn't work either. She duly noted that a "no! ninja, karate-chopping response" to everyone can result in suffering relationships. We can do great jobs, be nice, etc while remembering we can not take on every responsibility offered. 
In this chapter she also talks about "tracing the river." A metaphor for thinking long-term as it relates to making decisions. It's important that we don't jump into a raging river of demand without considering how consuming the metaphorical current will be. We should be people of faith, trusting God to lead us through those rivers but we should also be wise people listening to His calling. Maybe we aren't intended to jump in, but rather walk alongside the water, listening to His instruction. "We can't forget why we give small "no" answers. It's so we can have the white space and wherewithal to recognize God's assignments and give Best Yes answers to those."

Chapter 12: The Awkward Disappointment of Saying No
Bless her heart, Lysa begins this chapter with the description of a painfully awkward experience. However, she goes on to share that as uncomfortable as that situation was it was through the experience she was able to find her Best Yes appointment with God. Without a doubt there will be times when the pursuit for our Best Yes results in an awkward situation. No one really likes to be told no, but it's important to remember the reason we push through the awkwardness. Even if we have to repeat it out loud we must recite to our selves, "I will not let the awkward disappointments of others keep me from my Best Yes appointments with God." 
It's confidence and conviction in our Best Yes that helps us learn to graciously push past the awkward. And as always, our confidence and conviction must rest in God's Word. It has to be front and center. "We have to be thinking about it, be able to quote it. Refuse to let fear and discouragement hold us back." A perfect scripture to hold fast to is Joshua 1:7-9.
"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Chapter 13: But What if I say No and They Stop Liking Me?
This chapter cuts straight to the chase - that proverbial elephant in the room we've avoided calling out. People pleasing. Y'all, the struggle is so real on this one. Everyone wants to be liked. It's a tough pill to swallow when you realize no matter how hard you try, we cannot make everyone happy. 
Lysa creates the perfect case-study scenario for when a "yes" really needed to be a "no." I'd be willing to bet the scene or something similar has played out in each of our homes. She agreed to do something she knew was going to be stretch. She felt pressure for approval and subsequently her family endured the consequences. She found herself snapping at the children, arguing with her husband, and cleaning up a massive pile of soggy cereal on the kitchen floor as the guilt set in. Why did she get caught up in this? Why do the opinions of others matter so much? 
"So another mom will say thank you and maybe be impressed by your Rice Krispy treats for 5.3 seconds?" We must "resolve instead to make decisions based on what is realistic - not on trying to earn the approval of or impress another." 
Here's the thing, in healthy relationships, when you respond with a "no" the other party understands. She knows your heart and if you say, "no" there is more to the story or a good reason. Sure, you're there for her at other times- you just can't be there every single time. "If they push back when you say no, that's disrespectful on their part. And if you play along, it's dysfunctional on your part." That is not love. Y'all I can't stress this enough - there is no need to participate in dysfunction. It's unhealthy, unnecessary, and usually undetected. Simply put, "at the end of the day, a healthy relationship isn't void of service. Of course we must serve, love, give, be available, help, and contribute to the greater good. But we must have the freedom to say yes or no responsibly without fear of emotional consequences."
 Lastly, she talks about the strings that we attach to acts of service. If I do this, then I will get that. If I make sure this is done, then they will appreciate me. "[We] need to be able to say yes to something without presuming this yes will make a way for me to feel more, have more, or have more owed to [us.]"
 I pray that we can be women motivated by love and not fear. That we'd do what Jesus calls us to do and walk in freedom when He says in the quiet of our heart we need to sit this one out. 
What are some of the biggest things that impacted you as you read through these chapter? Please share your thoughts, responses or questions in the comments box below! I can't wait to hear how each of you are learning and growing as we walk through this journey together! Also, don't forget to hop on over and join us on Instagram for further discussion in our weekly #mondaymorningbookclub chat loop! Until next week, happy reading! 

With Love,