Nothing can ruin my day

It smells like Spring. It reallllly does. Mmmmmmm. I think of past springs and reminisce over the times. What it was like to be younger. The older I get the more complicated life is. And I’m only 25. HA! I have feelings too. I don’t care to think about how much MORE complicated things will get as the years pass by. I am here. I am alive. I am well.

 

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I saw this leaf on the road yesterday as I was taking one of my clients for a ride. I bypassed it and started to think about how I am much like this leaf. So much alive yet still has some beautifying to do. Some conforming. Some growing and changing. This leaf is partly dead, but it’s more alive than dead. Unlike this leaf, I will continue to grow and change and become better. This leaf is separate from the branch and vine, and will die. But I am a branch. And Jesus is the vine. I am alive through Him.

Like a spring plant drinks water from the stem as it filters up, providing nutrients and life and CO2, Jesus and His Word gives me the sustenance that I need.

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I didn’t know that daffodils could be so beautiful. They’re everywhere. But if you look at the flower closely, you appreciate the beauty, the design. The delicate petals. The bursting color.

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This flower is so tiny. It’s smaller than my pinky fingernail. But it’s so soft, bright, beautiful. Now if only the photo weren’t blurry.

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And then we have the cherry tree. Ha, at first I wrote “cheery” tree. It is quite cheery, don’tcha think? Although I think it may be causing some of my allergy symptoms. Oh heck, I’m sure it’s all of the lovely spring things that’s causing them. I never used to be bothered with allergy symptoms before moving to Virginia. What’s the deaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!!!!!!!!! But I’m still delighting. 🙂

 

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And the wishing flower. You may call it a dandelion if you wish. But I call it a wishing flower. I have always made wishes on this little flower. And every time I see it I pick one and make a wish, given the opportunity! There must be 100 little seeds that float out from this one flower.

So then. Spring is here. April will be here tomorrow. I am alive. I am well. Things are blooming all around me for my eyes to see. And so many things are blooming that I can’t see as well! I’m sure of it. 🙂

Happy Springtime! What can you find delight in today?

 

xoxo ❤ V

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I dance while I swim

Wow. Here I am, inside Aroma’s coffee shoppe. I just went swimming at the Community Center on Jefferson Avenue. As I was swimming the sky opened up and the sun shone through the many windows on the West wall filling the entire pool room with light. And I thought about the scripture “put on the armor of light” which comes from the book of Romans. I felt as though I was wearing an armor of light in that moment and a wide grin spread across my face just like the light spread across the bottom of the pool below me as I swam down the lane, just before touching the wall.

And I started mentally putting on the armor of Christ. First, the belt of truth. Then the breastplate of righteousness. Followed by the shoes of peace. Then the helmet of salvation. And then I picked up the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. And I lifted up the shield of faith. And nothing could touch me. And I knew it. I know it. Nothing can touch me as long as the armor of God is on me. And I don’t have to consciously put on the armor every day, as in going through the prayer in my mind. I have the armor on already because I am in Christ. I have been in Christ for almost three years. I confessed that Jesus was my Lord and Savior when I was about 7 or 8 years old but I didn’t understand what that really meant until almost three years ago. Three years in June. A child of God. A child of light. For God is light. And we are called to be like Him. And we are being conformed to His image a little more each day.

I am the light in the room. I am the light in the pool that floods the space and brightens my face and the faces of others. I cannot be ignored. I am set apart. I am not of the world. I am holy, because Christ makes me holy. I am righteous, because Christ has made me righteous.

And so I swam. And I… danced. I danced. I smiled and danced. Each time I took a breath I wonder if the lifeguard off to my left side saw my smiling face as I gulped for air.

I hope he did.

And I hope he wondered why I was filled with joy. I like to think that I would have been filled with that same joy even if the sun hadn’t come through the windows. I know I could never have this joy if the Son hadn’t come through the window of my life and woken me up almost three years ago. I was swimming in an especially dark place then and wasn’t even aware of how dead I was. How much I needed Him. But when the light came in, when the Son shone in, it brightened everything. I saw everything so much more clearly. My life. My position. My priorities. My aspirations. My dedications. My value. My worth. All of these things rooted in the wrong things. Because if God is not first and foremost; if God is not at the center of my life and my thoughts and all that I do, I am swimming aimlessly. I’m swimming all over the pool and never getting anywhere. I’m swimming slowly and with so much effort and never accomplishing any goals. But when that light shone in, when the light shines in, I have order. I can see clearly now the rain is gone. Just kidding, I can see clearly how much tile is preceding the wall before I have to turn. I can see rays glittering through the water casting curvy, artistic shadows on the pool floor. I am reminded of light, the Father of light. Jesus, the light of the world. I am reminded that I am that same light, because He bought me and made me so. I am His. And He is mine.

And I swim. And I dance.

V

Sunday

Today has been a long day. To say the least. I’ve been up since 6:00am. Got to church at 7. Played music at 8. Went to Starbucks at 8:30. Til 10. Then putzed around until church at 11. Then walked in the woods for a while, which was nice. The sun was out today, which was also nice. And I listened to a good sermon on what Jesus has done for me and how I owe him my whole life and nothing less.

I am rather deadpan today. As opposed to alivepan. Just kidding, that’s silly, and doesn’t make much sense. I think I’ll go to the store now and get some Halo Top.

So I just got back from the store. Took 20 minutes. Not bad, considering I sat in the car and listened to about half of “Stars” by Skillet

 

 

SO that was good and uplifting. Reminds me that God’s got it in the bag. When I’m having a hard day, He’s GOT it…! I just need to ask for help.

In the store, my cashier was super cute. Not in the traditional sense though. She had a boyish haircut and was pretty overweight, and normally probably wouldn’t have been confident or talkative. I’ve actually had her as my cashier before and she acted like she wasn’t sure if I was going to judge her or not, as she clearly judged herself. This is a way that I’ve changed since re-committing my life to Jesus: I no longer dominate other women with my eyes and attitude and behaviors to get an ego boost. I would try to dominate so I could feel powerful and good about myself. Praise God that now I desire to lift up other women and show them love and affection and empathy and compassion!!!!!

Anyway, she was confident tonight because her frand or boo-thang, or half-boo-whatever-flirt-crush walked by her and she made a comment to him like “it creeps me out when you slip behind me like that”; even though he simply walked by. Though I understand what it’s like to have a crush. You do or say whatever to get their attention onto YOU. You do whatever you can to get noticed. Louder. Flirtier. It was cute. And made me smile. I’m glad I went to the store. For multiple reasons. Including my pint of S’mores HaloTop ice cream which I’m about to eat….!!!!!

Another song I heard on the way home was “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey. Here is the chorus:

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
So I did. I told my heart to beat again. Words do have the power to bring life or death.
Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
So I am going to speak good words to myself. Life-filled words. I am going to listen to life-giving music, messages. I am going to spend my time with life-giving people. And I am going to read the ultimate life-giving resource: the bible. Praise God for giving us this amazing book of truth to govern our lives and know Him personally.
He keeps no secrets from us about how to live a fulfilling life. Starting with surrendering your life to Jesus and admitting you need help. You can’t do it on your own. You don’t have the control you thought you had. You can’t make people and things do what you want and happen the way you want them to. But it’s okay. Because God is available to you and wants to help you. Hear you.
Today I was feeling rather dark. Tired. Sleepy. Sleep-deprivation causes depression for sure. But even through that, the Lord has picked me up. Helped me up. Given me the time and the tools I needed to be restored. He is my well-spring of energy. Christians are not supposed to work and live on their own strength. We have the Holy Spirit and ought to let Him do the work. So I call on God.
Praise God for helping me get through this day… and for giving me so many blessings along the way. For sleep. For church. For music. Guitar. Talent. Coffee. Friends. Singing. Praising. Prayer. The Bible. Truth. Sunshine. Walks in the woods. My phone. My car. Time. Safety. Energy. My house. My job. Rest. My computer. The internet. Videos. Ice cream. Money. People. Inspiration. Wine. Pretzel chips. Hope.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23
So now I’m going to go eat my halo top and revel in my blessings. ❤
#blessed
xoxoxo

Sick

There aren’t many things worse than when you’re itching to go on an adventure or do something incredible but you can’t because your physical body is sick. I’m one of those people who tends to get sick more than other people… It’s the unfortunate combination of (1) a weak immune system mixed with (2) the inability to eat small amounts of sugar mixed with (3) having the capacity to spread myself thin like too little butter over too much bread mixed with (4) fate.

I’ve gotten better at avoiding being sick over the years but that inevitable cold Creeps in every few months or every so often. Today is February 8th and it’s been about 3 months since I was last sick with a small head cold. The last time I was sick for a solid week was at the end of September and the beginning of October when I moved from one apartment to the next, started a new job and started taking care of seven or eight little toddlers every week. Being around children that young is a sure-fire way of getting ill but the Lord has protected me ever since for the most part.

Unfortunately there are still other factors that I can control that helps me to stay well but I haven’t gotten smart enough to avoid them completely. One of my downfalls is eating too much sugar which is why I am doing a 21-day sugar detox currently. I am on day 11 right now and things have been going pretty well. For the first 7 days I only consumed 55 grams of sugar give or take a couple of grams and the last 4 days I have tried to be sugar-free. There was one instance the other night where a couple of chocolate caramels made their way onto my plate without me being able to do anything about it so I’m going to let that slide… But for the most part I have been sugar free and it is definitely not been fun. I have had a headache, fatigue and worst of all I think these cold symptoms have something to do with the detoxing effect.

You see, I have never taken a legitimate break from sugar in my entire life. I can remember being 4 years old and robbing the cookie jar as soon as my mother went outside and left me alone in the house. After that I have been known to consume large quantities of sugar every few days and also replace regular meals with a large portion of dessert justifying it because I didn’t really eat a meal so then I could obviously have a giant bowl of ice cream with a brownie on top with a side of three cookies and chocolate syrup and sprinkles and caramel and extra sugar on the side.

But for real, I am not used to not eating sugar and I am very thankful that I’m able to do this detox. I just hope it creates a rift between sugar and I that makes me not even crave the stuff. Whoever says that sugar is not on the same level as other drugs hasn’t suffered with a sugar addiction before. I see this seriously now but for a long time I have joked about it saying that I have sweet teeth and I love dessert and things to that effect. And all that stuff is true… But what is also true is that sugar has led to overeating and weight gain and keeping on weight that keeps me lethargic, makes me unhappy, and weakens my immune system all the same time. So I’m thinking if I can cut this tie with my good friend sugar once and for all I will be able to avoid some of these things for good. I’m not saying I believe that I’m never going to get another cold in my whole life once I stop eating a lot of sugar but I know that it is definitely a factor that I have some control over. Nor am I saying that I’m never going to eat sugar again… I believe that God gave me the gift of self control and it is my desire to exercise that self control over every area of my life including eating. I want to be able to enjoy sugar and dessert in small quantities every so often and I don’t want to give it up for good. But this detox is good for me in the way that my mind won’t automatically start thinking about sweets every time I am finished eating. It might take more than 21 days for this to happen, especially because the first seven I wasn’t completely sugar-free… But at least it’s a start!

Have you detoxed from sugar before? Are you a sugar addict? Post your comments below!

Love you all!

XoxoV

“Have you been writing?”

She asked me yesterday when I described how busy I’ve been.

“Have you been writing? Journaling? Getting quiet time and time to yourself?”

Umm well… not really. Not a whole lot. I’ve been around people a LOT. I’m not used to being around people a lot. I have always been somebody who recharges by being alone. And lately I’ve been changing. I’ve been in situations where I can’t find time alone. When I say lately I mean the last almost two years. I have been living in community with other people.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s really important to live in community. Really healthy. To have people keeping me accountable each day to stay consistent. Even though I think consistent is boring. I have always switched up my “routine” so as not to have a routine. I don’t like to do things the same way for very long so I don’t develop some “stuck-in-her-ways” identity. Nothing is always. Nothing is forever. I hate static. I can’t be static. I love change and always aspire to do better and to be better.

One of my fears is that I am going to be figured out. That my actions are going to be closely paid attention to, and somebody is going to figure me out. There’s something about being figured out that I really don’t like. I don’t want to accept help from people so I won’t feel like I owe them something back.

What’s wrong with me? Isn’t life on earth an opportunity to love others and pour out love? If so, why do I want so badly to be disconnected. I want to be independent. But I still want to help others.

I want to live orderly. But I can’t do this without accountability from other people. Because I’m weak. I am so weak. Sugar is my weakness. If only I could survive off of cookies and brownies. I would if I could. Since I can’t though, I have had to learn to have it only sometimes. Otherwise it makes me ill. Sometimes literally. It weakens my immune system.

I just want a night to myself. Is that too much to ask? Of course it isn’t. Of course, of course, of course it isn’t. I’ll get one this Friday, actually. That’s right. I’m not going to make plans for this Friday night and I am going to treat myself to something nice. Dinner. Video making. Yes, that would be fun. Guitar? I miss playing music. I miss singing. I have been sick-ish so I haven’t really sang.

Have you been writing? She asked me. I really haven’t. And now that I finally am it all comes out. Random things. Frustrations. Desires. Wants. Dreams. Hopes. Loves. Passions. Pursuits. Aspirations. Dedications. Motivations. Alliterations!

What would satisfy me more than anything right now? A hot bath. Too bad there is a dirty dehumidifier in my tub so I can’t take a bath! I don’t feel like cleaning that thing right now. That would require going out to the garage and getting a bottle brush; getting my hands dirty and scrubbing the awkwardly shaped water tank, and then drying it, putting it away; cleaning the tub…. Yeah no.

Other desires of my heart. To sleep. To Stop Feeling Congested. I suppose I should put some essential oils on myself

Okay I did it. I gave myself a little head, temple, face and neck massage too

I just continued on with that massage. It was lovely. I would like an even longer massage now. Of my entire self. That would be lovely. Very desirable. Yes please.

And then sleep.

And then for someone else to go grocery shopping for me first thing in the morning solely to buy mixed greens, carrots, celery, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, nuts, cheese, salad dressing. I’m going to spend $30 on a salad for post thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night. And I have to go at 8:30 a.m. so I can chop the stuff

Nope I just decided I am NOT going to chop the stuff. I am going to buy it and bring it to my family’s house and figure it out there. Why has this salad been such a burden?

What lesson can I learn from procrastinating buying salad stuff?

A) Don’t procrastinate next time

B)

I can’t think of a second one.

What else?

I should go to sleep. But I am expecting a phone call at 10:34 so I cannot. Maybe 11:00. Or a little after. I should be able to sleep then. Yes. So in the meantime I suppose I should clean out that darned dehumidifier. Sigh.

I think I’ll start writing again. Now that I’ve got out all of these ultra-important topics, next time I can focus on something better. Different. More profound.

Next time she asks me I’ll tell her I’ve been writing.

V

Similarities Between Dating and Gardening (Also so for the ladies)

We’ve all heard the expression

“the right place at the right time”

and it turns out that

there’s simply nothing simple about it.

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all flower pics were taken in my neighborhood!

God created nature to have order, and order means timing and placement matter.

Timing is everything. This post is about the importance of timing when it comes to gardening and dating. Believe it or not, they have a lot in common.

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Planting the Seed

It’s spring time in April, which means it’s time to plant. Seeds and dating relationships. Starting the process of germinating and planting can’t be done too early or too late, but has to coincide with the season at its’ proper time.

In order to germinate a seed, the proper amount of light, warmth, time and saturation is needed. With too much or too little of these things, it will not germinate.

Dating is one in the same.

When a seed is germinating it takes anywhere from 24 hours to several days for the seed to sprout. Once the sprouted seed is planted, some seeds may grow into plants, and some seeds will not grow at all. Some plants will bear fruit, and others will not.

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fresh parsley from the garden 😀

Dating relationships and seeds have a lot in common. Without time and patience at the beginnings of a relationship, nothing will become of it. Just like you can’t force a seed to sprout, you can’t force a relationship to sprout.

Application: Wait patiently for the seed to sprout before planting. Timing is everything. If it doesn’t sprout, don’t plant it (in the ground or in your heart

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ermegerd this leaf is kinda heart-shaped :-}

The Growing Season

Once the seed/relationship has sprouted into something alive,

the right soil (…where you spend time)

water (…what feeds your relationship)

and sunlight (…energy sources/motivations) become very important. Without the perfect balance of these things, nothing might become of the seed/relationship. Some things will take longer to grow, and some will not grow at all.

Some plants are like the asparagus; slow to start. Did you know that a baby asparagus takes three years to start producing edible stalks?!

If I was in a relationship with asparagus, it would be hard to patiently wait for that fruit. 😉 ❤

We never know what kind of relationship we may enter into. Prepare your heart for any kind; even if it takes years to cultivate.

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I have creative neighbors.

🙂

🙂

Some plants are quickly abundant & massively fruit-bearing. All ya gotta do is toss some seeds at the soil and BAM you’ve got fruit. So if you don’t want melons in your garden this year, think twice about where you compost your melon seeds 😉
Or take potatoes. Stick a piece of potato in the ground and leave it alone. Wait a couple of months and you’ve got tens of pounds of potatoes! (Unless you also happen to have ground moles, in which case you had tens of pounds of potatoes 😛 )

🙂

Watering and Pruning

Other plants require much more work & TLC to grow.

As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.

Take kale. This plant requires more pruning than others, and if you don’t stay on top of pruning it, the plants will stop producing fruit to focus on producing flowers. Say bye-bye delicious garden vegetable, and hello to weeeeeeds.

Have you ever felt like you were wasting where you were putting your precious energy? Ever feel like you were pouring time, money, and energy into aesthetics (like kale flowers) that look all pretty and nice from afar but don’t reap any real benefits?

When plants aren’t pruned, they become lawn decorations rather than produce, kinda like this kale.
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^ I had to dodge the sprinkler several times to get this shot. Funny for my roommates and neighbors to watch. 😛 But the flowers sure are pretty, aren’t they?? 🙂

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Relationships are the same way. Some people click right off the bat and have great fun together; like potatoes. Buds spring up and grow rapidly. Life seems to have been barren one day and bountiful the next. ❤

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Other relationships are immense amounts of work and require constant pruning, like kale. “Didn’t I just prune that off yesterday?” Translation: “I thought we just went over this. Must we deal with this again?”

If left un-addressed, the weeds overtake every good part of the relationship and suffocate it. What was once a beautiful bed of flowers and life becomes unrecognizable & useless.

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Application: If you want a plant or relationship, be prepared for pruning. Pay attention to the weeds when they spring up, and prune back those bad parts to save the plant.

~

~

When to Harvest the Bounty

So what you’ve been growing looks mighty fine. And you’re seriously considering picking off some of its’ fruit. I will take it upon myself to warn you my friend; although the fruit looks good and tasty, it may not be ready to pick.

If picked too early, fruit tastes bland, crunchy and tangy.

Think back to a time you picked an apple or another fruit that wasn’t quite ripe. You couldn’t wait to eat it and dug your teeth into it’s semi-tough skin. Hardly any juice came out of it and your tongue was left feeling dry with a sour taste. The fruit was bland, chalky and hardly had any flavor.

You were so hungry and just couldn’t wait. The fruit satisfied your temporary hunger to an extent but you were left with the overarching feeling of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and a slight stomach ache. The rest of the bitten fruit suddenly wasn’t very appealing anymore.

You should have waited until it was ripe.

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my phone takes good pictures

The same is true of physical intimacy in a dating relationship. Sex before marriage. There are many who don’t know what good sex (or fruit!) is because they only know it recreationally; outside the covenant of marriage; AKA when both individuals are “unripe” for sex.

Sex outside of the covenant of marriage versus sex inside the covenant is like the concept of having a perfectly okay knife for slicing tomatoes and then realizing how incredibly dull said-knife is upon the introduction of an excellent knife.

You can’t believe you settled for the knife you had before for so long without knowing what else was out there.

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This is a good knife for chopping onions. Yes those are goggles for swimming. And they prevent onion-tears too! 😀

Don’t rush into physical intimacy in a dating relationship. The fruit is desirable, of course, but if you bite it too quickly it won’t satisfy you long-term. Trust me. It will be a much duller version of what it is when ripe; under the covenant of marriage; where commitment is a promise. Only under this context can you explore the depths of sex as it was meant to be created. Wholly, fully; a unity. This is the difference between recreation and something real.

Application: Wait to pick the fruit until it is is ripe.

I think Solomon sums it up pretty well in Ecclesiastes 3. Christian or non-Christian, this message of Truth will give you confidence and trust in times of waiting.

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

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  a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

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     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

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a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

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a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

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     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Gardening, dating, whatever the case may be,

timing is everything, as you can surely see.

Don’t jump the gun or haste & waste, or live your life for today

But live with an eternal lens and trust it’ll be okay.

Oh how I long for the flowers to bloom and the full sun to shine on my face

Oh how I long to be one with Him and never again feel pain.

Oh how I long for the joys of life and ache o’er all the sufferings

But thanks be to God for another day to learn Truth in spite of our wondering.

I hope you learned something here! Happy planting everyone!

xoxo V

Comparing Ourselves to Others

I’ve done some pretty society-deemed-cool things in my life.

Been to some cool parties. Traveled to a few places. Met some cool folks. Seen a ton of concerts.

Hiked some mountains in California and other places.

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But contrary to what society and the world says, what I have done does not define who I am.

If it were that easy, I should be happy being a mountain-climber or a college graduate or the top of my class.

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But those things will never be enough.

If our identity

is rooted in

what we have seen

or done,

or what we have,

we are easily shaken.

We forget the things we have done and the places we have been and what is most important to us when we compare ourselves to others who society deems more successful or better-off than us.

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We’ve all done it. We’ve all compared ourselves to someone else and felt like we didn’t measure up. In middle school it was with whoever had the best clothes or coolest gadgets.

In high school it was who had the nicest car, cutest boyfriend or girlfriend, or who got the best grades.

In college it was who got invited to the best parties or went on the most interesting trips.

After college it’s who has the most success in finances, employment, or marriage.

———-> As soon as we compare ourselves to others who have more or have done more, what we had before feels like it doesn’t measure up. It’s a human and societal tendency.

I’m here to tell you it’s not fair or right to compare ourselves to people who are just as flawed as we are, and who have walked a completely different walk than us.

How could comparing ourselves to a 100% unique brother or sister do any good? !

How can we expect ourselves to be like somebody else? We are ourselves! We are who we are.

You have probably told yourself that. But you still compare yourself to others.

And that’s because you want to grow. You want to be better. You want to improve. Us humans do that. We desire to be better. To go further. To live bigger.

And that’s cool. That’s great, even. Without a goal in sight, a prize to aim for,  a direction to go in, life seems a lot less meaningful.

So lemme tellya a secret.

For the purpose of giving yourself direction, you can compare yourself to somebody.

You can compare yourself to this person for the sake of getting better.

The purpose of this comparison is to become a better person.

So here goes.

There is one and only one person

we should ever compare ourselves to

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Purple Majesty in Yorktown (not the actual name of the flower lol)

and it’s not yourself, so don’t get all excited. You and I both know you have plenty of growing to do. 😛

 

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Pretty in Pink in Yorktown (I make the names up :D)

First, I’ll tell you what this person didn’t have.

What this person (the one you should compare yourself to) didn’t have:

This person didn’t have the most money.

He didn’t have the latest hiking gear.

He didn’t have the most successful dating relationships.

He was hated by most people.

He was loved at first and then treated like a loser, by some of the people closest to him.

People were nice to him so he could do things for them and get them free stuff but he loved them anyway. Unconditionally.

 

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Now for what he did have.

What he did have:

And while you are reading, be comparing this man to yourself, and see how you measure up. It may take a while.

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A tiny flower by the James River

He had a heart of love, not darkness ❤

He was grateful for all he had, knowing each breath is a gift

He trusted that the outcome of a storm would always be a rainbow or provide more growth.

He never dwelt on what he could not change … I love the word dwelt. Isn’t it great??!

He was able to look past people’s facades and images of success and happiness, knowing what every person craved and needed in their heart, and his desire was to help people meet that need: of love.

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York River

joy

His words brought life, joy, and clarity.

He spread joy to others wherever he went.

His joy brought out the best in others.

Instead of tearing people down,

he built people up

always

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York River

He was so incredibly calming.

Whenever somebody needed a shoulder to cry on, a place to take refuge, or a listening ear, he would be that person. He didn’t complain or lash out or shrug people off.

He was always approachable.

In fact, he was magnetic. People were drawn to him wherever he went. And he had the power to fill whoever came to him with incredible peace.

❤ 🙂 ❤

He didn’t force anybody to do anything, but gently and lovingly approached all people and situations.

~

~

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He spoke truth to his brothers and friends when they were in trouble and helped them overcome their struggles.

He never enabled anyone to do something that was harmful to themselves or others. He was never thinking about getting ahead or beating somebody at something. He was seeking love and unity.

He never held onto bitterness or resentment towards people that hurt him, but forgave them fully and immediately. Immediately.

~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~

The only person

we should ever compare ourselves to

is

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Sunset over the York River

J e s u s

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He was the perfect human.

He is the only one who has ever, can ever and will ever set the standard for how we should live our lives.

Lovingly teaching others.

Keeping short accounts of what people have done wrong to us, and forgiving others for their faults, well aware that we are so faulty ourselves.

He wasn’t taken by surprise when people fell short; he loved them anyway.

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If you don’t know Jesus, believe me when I say this:

I’ve been getting to know him for almost two years now, and the truth is, learning about Jesus and trying to become more like him is the most noteworthy thing I have ever done. It’s way cooler than any mountain I’ve climbed, trip I’ve gone on, or experience I’ve experienced.

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Jesus is the ultimate role model

& the more I find out about him, the more I realize how important it is to know him.

The more you know about Jesus,

the more you want to become like him.

Jesus is the only one worth comparing ourselves to. He is perfect. None of y’alls brothers, sisters, bosses, coworkers, friends, girlfriends or boyfriends are perfect. They are all human; AKA heavily flawed. They may go on some cool trips or have some fancy possessions or beautiful significant others, but they are trying to figure out how to navigate this journey of life the same as your are.

Raise your standard.

Raise the bar.

Compare yourself to the Risen King.

If you don’t know about Jesus, I recommend getting to know him.

Love you all!

xoV

Bird Facts for Dummies

I’d like to start off by saying I don’t know a thing about birds. I see people who know their birds and wonder how the heck they know that stuff. I never studied birds, and I frankly don’t think about birds all too often. Kinda like I don’t think about dogs or lizards or cats or gophers. They all exist, but I don’t think about them. Animals have never been my passion. But today, I learned a thing or two about red-breasted robins.

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Robins like to dance. They like to play. Their legs are built to hop, and are naturally very muscular. They hop from branch to branch and in the grass when it’s too tall to see over. They can walk or hop, and sometimes they hop just for fun. Isn’t that cool? I hop just for fun sometimes too. And I have naturally muscular legs. My mom used to call them Amazon-woman legs. I forgive you mom. You didn’t know that I was built to hop.

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The truth is, I was having a rough morning this morning and wasn’t sure how to get over it. I was frustrated with more than one person and feeling heated physically and mentally, and maybe had too much coffee to drink. After journaling, praying, and talking about it I wasn’t sure what to do.

 

Lord, I need you. I can’t do this.

 

And I looked up, away from the caked muffin tin I was scrubbing and out  the window … and I saw this guy.

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The red-breasted robin, also known as the “Turdus Migratorius” is in the Turdidae family, Turdus genus, and migratorious species.

I love how “turd” is in his name.

I know, I’m five. :~)

^_^

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Camellia in full bloom!

And I watched this robin and his best friend dance with each other. Ralph (Robin #1) and Ronnie (Robin #2) mirrored each other. Ralph took a few steps forward. Then Ronnie took  a few steps forward. Ralph hopped a few steps to the left. And Ronnie followed. Ralph stepped towards Ronnie and looked left. Ronnie stepped towards Ralph and looked right.

Ralph is the leader in this situation. Whatever Ralph does, Ronnie does after. That’s how human relationships can be. Leaders and followers.

But then Ronnie did a backwards thing. He started towards the right, and Ralph followed him. The next few moves were done by the opposite bird. I was confused. So God said

I can teach you in all things and through all things. You’ve just got to look up and listen.

Here I was, having a rough morning, focusing on what was wrong in my life and how uncomfortable I was, and God starts teaching me a lesson with two Robins in the yard.

“You know the way to the place where I am going”

John 14:4

This was the verse of the day on my bible application. And it reminded me, in conjunction with seeing the birds dance, that sometimes all we gotta do is look up.

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Because I looked up, I saw the robins.

I saw the camellias.

I went outside barefoot and took pictures.

I came inside and researched robins.

I learned that robins hop just for fun sometimes.

And I saw that sometimes robins lead, and sometimes robins follow. And just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, life surprises us.

Thank you Lord for using some of your intricate creation to teach me. Thank you for pulling me out of my funk and brightening my day with a couple of hoppin’ robins! Thank you for your unpredictability, spontaneity, creativity, and beauty.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

xoV

 

 

Dear Ex Who Never Was

Dear Ex Who Never Was,
I’m sorry I can’t be what you need. I see how lost you are and I know you love my energy. I know you want somebody to share your life with. I want that too. But you’d drain me. You’d hate me. You’d kill me if you could. In fact, you already kill me just thinking about how we are so wrong for eachother. 

I want to cry at the prospect of you, hoping you might be him; my love, my strength. My other half. But God hasn’t led me to him yet. The Lord’s building me up and making me stronger every day. But He’s also humbling me and breaking me; showing me how much more I need Him

I’m sorry I’m not the her you are looking for. I want so badly to be that her


…so I can have a him. But I must wait for Him before meeting him

I pray we both shine brighter every hour, and make each other smile like brothers and sisters building sand castles on the beach, and watching as the tide takes them away~

XoV