Friday Finds: More Favorites

friday find favorites

I share a lot of purposeful blog posts, but every once in a while I enjoy kicking back and just sharing regular life with you. This is one of those days. I hope that’s okay with you. It has been a mile-marker of a week for me. I finished a MAJOR project (WOOT), stayed up way past my bedtime attending a Mumford & Sons Concert (outside, in Arizona, in June – yes, yes it was 99 degrees at 9pm), and then hit our one-month countdown for the arrival of baby girl. HOLY MOLY. You get the picture. I’m taking a cue from Maria Von Trapp this morning.

Without further delay, here are my favorite things from the past week/month…

 

1. A backyard concert of Awake My Soul

This has always been my favorite Mumford Song, and after the concert last night… its’ my favorite, favorite, favorite. I loved hearing 20,000 voices sing out

“In these bodies we will live,
in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love, 
you invest your life…”

The dogs singing along, the rich harmonies… I thoroughly enjoy this little video.

 

 

unglued

 

2. Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

Check out the subtitle of this book: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions.

I feel like there has been something good to glean out of every chapter of this book. It’s only taken me a year to get around to reading it, but I feel as if it’s entered my life at just the right time.

“I can’t control the things that happen to me each day, but I can control how I think about them. I can say to myself, ‘I have a choice to have destructive or constructive thoughts right now. I can wallow in what’s wrong and make things worse, or I can ask god for a better perspective to help me see good even when I don’t feel good.'” – Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued

 

3. A blog post by Emily P. Freeman

I enjoy just about everything Emily posts on Chatting at the Sky, but this entry keeps coming to my mind.

“Why You Need to Tell Someone How Scared You Are.”

Intriguing, right? I don’t want to give the whole post away, but suffice it to say, it’s definitely worth you taking the time to click on the link and read the entire entry! Here’s a little taste: Sometimes it’s good to let them see you sweat even when it feels awkward. Fear seems to grow in the darkness of isolation. But when you expose it in the light of community, it tends to lose power. Sharing my fear is often the path that leads to courage.

 

 3. Mentoring Girls 101 from the LivingProof Blog

If you are involved in mentoring teens, tweens, or even college students – this post has some great basic reminders for those relationships. Sometimes the idea of mentoring or discipleship can feel overwhelming, but Lindsee shares some practical steps to get you started. These aren’t the ONLY ways to mentor, disciple, or build a relationship – just some suggestions!

 

4. The Dollar Section at Target

If you haven’t been to Target in the last week, let me be the first to tell you that there are some great $1 finds. I picked up a new coupon book, some stationary, a cosmetic bag, and a bunch of odds and ends to have on hand for gift baskets.

target bag

Thanks to Target, my friends can no longer make fun of me for carrying my lip gloss and lotions in a ziplock bag. Thanks to the brand new photo app #ABeautifulMess for making my kitchen floor look WAY more exciting. (And also, fyi, it’s a great app.)

5. A post from The Storyline Blog

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to read this entry based on the title: “A Question to Ask When Faced with Conflict.”

I figured the answer was simply: fight or flight… cover an offense with love or confront in love.

But then I read the incredible story of Leon Fleisher. And now you should be clicking over to read about this world-famous pianist and a question from the Benedictine Monks: “God, what do you have for me here?”

 

6. A small medium large Strawberry Slush from Sonic.

I know there are about 1,000 more exciting choices for your next Sonic run, but there is something so cooling and comforting about this drink. Perhaps my preference is related to the high of 106 and being 8 months pregnant, but who cares. It’s good. And now I feel the impulse to drive to Sonic. ;)

 

Stay cool, my friends! Happy Friday.

Following,
Ginger

Getting Ready

trust quote

Does anyone else find anxious thoughts to be a default mode when it comes to the unknown future? Anyone else feeling nervous about a coming transition?

Had you asked me  a month ago to identify my nerves on a scale of 1-10 (1 being totally calm, “ain’t no thing” and 10 being “I can’t fall asleep at night/these thoughts consume me”), I would have likely said a 6 or maybe even a 7. The more books on pregnancy, delivery, and child rearing that I read, the more fears I seemed to add to my list.

But in the last week I’ve felt and watched that worry level drop all the way down to a 3… and at times even a 1. I KNOW. It’s been amazing.

Although you aren’t likely in the exact same situation of anticipating the birth of your first child while finalizing the manuscript of your first book, I believe that the tools for combatting worry are the same regardless of the extenuating circumstances. These points carry over the various question marks in our lives.

1. LIST IT AND MATCH IT.

Once I’m able to take those circular thoughts that keep racing around my head and put them on paper, they seem to lose at least a portion of their strength. Often the list is shorter than expected. If it’s something stealing peace in your day then make sure you write it out, even if you feel like it’s silly. Sometimes seeing how silly a worry looks when written is all that it takes before I’m able to cross through it.

For example:

  • We still don’t have everything we need for a newborn baby.
  • My face might be swollen in our first pics together as a family.
  • Labor could be far more painful than I’d ever imagined.
  • I don’t get to eat while in labor. (I am the worst case of hungry [hungry + angry] you’ve ever seen.)
  • Embarrassing moments will happen at every turn in the hospital.
  • I will have to fight for my preferences in the hospital.
  • I will never finish the manuscript.
  • AND ON AND ON.

Once I captured every worried thought, I jotted down two Bible verses on the top of the list.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV

“You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3

So how do I take those thoughts captive and keep my mind steadfast, trusting in God?

I identify each fear and assign a truth match. Something like this…

Even if labor is more painful than I’d ever imagined… He will be with me, strengthen me, and help me.Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Even if I have a gazillion embarrassing moments in the hospital… it really ain’t no thing in the grand scheme. I have to remind myself that the medical staff have all seen CRAZY things during their career. This part of life is beautiful AND messy. At the end of the day… I can cast all that anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares about my worries and fears.Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

2. CARRY THE TRUTH.

Once we’ve identified the problems and set out to get rid of all that anxiety, I believe we have to make the choice to actively walk in that truth. So after you’ve matched your fears with God’s Word, jot it down on notecards and keep it at your side! Memorize the verses. Choose to take God at His Word.

“Beloved, belief is not a feeling. It’s a choice. We may live many days when we don’t feel loved or lovely; but in spite of our emotions, we can choose to take God at His Word.” – Beth Moore, Breaking Free

3. TALK THROUGH IT.

I’d recommend that you talk through the whoppers on your list with someone who has walked a similar path, a specialist, or someone who is spiritually mature in this area. I have been asking specific questions of my doctor. I’ve talked through my specific fears with my husband and he and I talked about ways he could encourage me during labor and delivery. Sometimes keeping yourself in the dark can produce way more fears than you need. Vocalize what’s keeping you up at night to someone you trust. 

4. PRAY THROUGH IT.

Life up your fears and requests to the Lord throughout the day. Share any remaining fears with a prayer partner. I love when someone asks me to pray specifically for a need. As much as I enjoy writing out a long list of names, I am always challenged to pray more when I know what to ask my Heavenly Father for.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13

5. GIVE OUTWARD.

Sometimes I just need to get out of my head and concern myself with something other than MYSELF. Loving others is a great way to shift our focus outward. A laundry list of worries can keep us self-focused and isolated. Call your friend. Send a card. Pick up your neighbor’s paper. Hold the door open. Volunteer with the refugee family. You get the idea. When I start giving my capacity to worry decreases immensely.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Regardless of the date my daughter arrives or how prepared I feel, this transition is going to happen.

crib

  • You will start college in the fall.
  • You will find the job you’ve been hunting.
  • The move will happen.
  • The unexpected will occur.
  • Your friend might transfer to another school.
  • Your plans might have to change at the drop of a hat.

Transitions are coming. We can’t control much of the circumstances but we can choose to control our thought patterns.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend these weeks in joyful expectation rather than anxious trepidation. Life is too short and our God too loving for us to spend it walking on eggshells.

“All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. Dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip or dance, but do not tiptoe.” –Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution

Following more and worrying less,
Ginger

Shaking Knees

faith

As I lay in bed last night I turned to my husband and said, “We are really doing this. We are having a kid. Whether we are ready or not, life is about to change at light-speed. How do we get ready for this?”

This question could be applied to any life transition you like: graduation, new jobs, travel, dating, marriage, risks… change. I spent the morning with a friend and mentor who in the past year married off a daughter, became an empty nester, and is currently packing up her house to move to Colorado. Light-speed change. We both voiced our fears over the fact there is so much that we cannot see in our futures. It’s a cocktail of excitement, trepidation, anticipation, and random worries. I love the loop-da-loop on a good roller coaster when my stomach ends up in my throat, but I also hate the slow approach up the very first hill. Even though I know I’m going to love a majority of the coming experience, I still dread that initial dropoff!

In the face of all the newness and uncertainty of life, how do we step forward without our knees shaking?

I don’t know that we have to fake fearless living. The more I experience the more I realize that fear is a valid feeling and emotion. But I’ve also learned that I don’t want fear to make decisions for me. The first time I jumped off a high dive I screamed the whole way down and even continued to scream below the surface of the water. Did that make my jump any less authentic?

It is okay to acknowledge that I am afraid of the changes coming my way. I don’t know what it’s like to parent a child 24-7. Part of me wonders if I’m up to the task. I know I’m selfish. Do I really need to have a child to figure this out? Do I need sleepless nights to affirm the strength of my marriage?

I may scream the whole way off of this diving board, my knees may shake as I climb the ladder, but either way… July will come and my life will transition for the thousandth time.

We walk forward even when our knees are shaking.

“Feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate where your heart is in the moment, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to dictate your behavior and boss you around. You are more than the sum total of your feelings and perfectly capable of that little gift . . . called self-control.” – Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued

I’m just sharing in case you needed a pep talk today. I know I did. Clinging to this… the answer to our fear is faith.

Following,
Ginger

When fear is an excuse…

“The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is ‘Do not fear.’ It’s in there over two hundred times. That means a couple of things, if you think about it. It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn’t let fear boss us around. Before I realized we were supposed to fight fear, I thought of fear as a subtle suggestion in our subconscious designed to keep us safe, or more important, keep us from getting humiliated. And I guess it serves that purpose. But fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life… the great stories go to those who don’t give in to fear.”

–Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

It seems as if facing fear continues to be a theme around here. I’m slowly learning to recognize and face my own worries and anxieties. Friends are asking for prayer about things they fear most. And the “Dear Ginger” questions keep pouring in with repeated similarities: I’m afraid… I’m so scared… I’m worried… I can’t sleep… I’m terrified…

“The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is ‘Do not fear.’ It’s in there over two hundred times.”

Questions:

1. What are your greatest fears?
2. How often is fear the greatest influence in your choices?

Facing fear to live a better story,
Ginger

Shark Week

“What we fear is what we’re subject to; our fears define our master. When we fear God and God only, we are no longer bound by all of the other fears that would hold us captive. The fear of death, the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of insignificance ~ all…become powerless when we know the fear of the Lord… Perfect love casts out all fear.” –Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way

It’s the Shark Week on the blog. Okay, so not really shark week… but we are definitely facing our fears.

Facing Fears,
Ginger

In spite of…

SCARY DECISIONS
Choosing a college
Deciding “what to do with THE REST OF MY LIFE”
Making a big move to another state
Trusting someone to say “I do” and enter into marriage
Starting my own business venture

I suppose scary is relative.  There are plenty of scary movies or situations that are definitely much more worthy of the “scary” title.  I’ve definitely had those moments.  But what I’m talking about is the kind of fear that keeps us up at night or the anxiety that keeps us guessing and worrying throughout the day.

I don’t even like choosing where to eat my meals, much less what to do with the rest of my life.  So when it came to my college graduation I had a plan… I wasn’t hearing God audibly, so I tried to quiet myself and just listen.  I tried driving my car out into the middle of a field and opening the sunroof and looking at the stars.  I tried opening my Bible, closing my eyes and pointing… but I didn’t really hear anything.

I felt desperate.  I had tears rolling down my face during prayer as I begged, “TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

But what takes more faith – an arrow that says “go right here” or taking steps and trusting that He sees me and will guide me?

COURAGE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR, BUT THE ABSENCE OF SELF
I become nervous even when I speak or take the stage.  It doesn’t mean I’m doubting… I just have to learn to go IN SPITE OF the fear and remember that He is with me.

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

If you are searching for answers today, trust that God will be with you wherever you go.  Seek to honor Him with your life and He will continue to guide your steps.

‎”Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” -Corrie ten Boom

Following and listening,
Ginger