Category Archives: Beauty

Sun

sunrise

sunrise (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I have been traveling more lately. Being on airplanes is often somewhat therapeutic for me. I probably won’t be saying that after the next month of crazy travel that I have! But, I wrote more about that here.

But, something has been causing me to think lately. No matter what the weather or the situation is when you take off (rain, snow, sleet) – the sun is always shining when you get up over the clouds. We don’t always think about that, do we?

We are always focused on what is right in front of us. Stress, anxiety, problems, and rainy days.

It gives me hope.

It reminds me that we can always count on that. As long as we are alive, the sun will always shine. It will always come up tomorrow, even if we can’t see it.

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How do you feel it?

How do you feel God’s love? I often feel it most during church. Sometimes, I can’t help crying. Other times, I am totally overwhelmed by it. I feel completely thankful and totally secure in the arms of God. It is an awesome feeling.

I didn’t always feel like this in church. In fact, for many years, I felt extreme conflict. I felt the tug at my heart from God, but I continually pushed back. I fought it. Over and over again. I couldn’t wrap my arms (or mind) around the fact that He loves me just as I am. Not how I think I should be or how others think I should be. He loves me. Period.

I will never forget the first time I heard Taylor Phelan sing the song “How He Loves”. I had never heard it before. I literally cried like a baby as he sang it. Because I finally understood it. He really does love me that much. It didn’t hurt that Taylor has an absolutely amazing voice, either!

I have realized that music is a very big way that God speaks to me. It is partly because I am a musician, but also partly because the words and the music together are something that resonate deeply with me. That’s why I can sometimes cry continuously through the worship portion of the service. It’s also why I have not yet gotten involved in our worship team. I am fearful that I would never be able to control my emotions!!

I have also realized that God speaks to me in many different ways. I just need to slow down long enough to pay attention. He surrounds me with His love continuously throughout the day, and not just in church. However, I do think that there is always something special about gathering with so many other believers and worshiping together. The intensity seems stronger sometimes.

I also feel so close to God on an airplane. Very strange, I know. There’s just something about seeing the earth from the air and taking in its beauty that draws me in and makes me incredibly grateful.

So how does God speak to you?

Through art?

Through nature?

Through poetry?

Through words?

I would love to hear from you.

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Sunsets

I have always loved sunsets.

It’s an appreciation I learned from my Dad.

Sunset from the Space Needle

He taught me to see their beauty, and to stop and soak in the magnificence.

He took thousands of pictures of sunsets during his life.

From our house

Today would have been his 79th birthday.

So, in honor of you, Dad, here are some of my recent favorites, along with some that I found that remind me of you.

Wisconsin Dells

I can’t help but think of you and how much more beautiful these must be in Heaven. I’m sure we can’t even imagine.

We love you!!

 

A life touched by God always ends in touching others.

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Lessons I learned from Jamie

I can’t stop thinking about all of the lessons I learned from my friend, Jamie.

I hate that I had to learn these lessons from her, as I wish she had never had to go through what she did. But, she continues to be an example to so many and is still bringing people together for a greater good, even after her death.

Her birthday seems like a fitting time to share them, as well as some pictures that touch my heart.

Speak from your heart. Always.

Smile. It’s infectious.

Take time to listen to others.

Blog.

Never give up on people.

Pay it forward.

Treasure every moment, every hour, every day.

Be thankful for everything, even if it’s hard.

Ask for prayer when you need it.

Give yourself completely to others.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Surround yourself with amazing people.

Tell your friends and family what you want.

Start on your bucket list.

Celebrate life. No matter what you are going through.

Much love.

Thank you, Jamie. For being a friend, an inspiration, and an encouragement to me and so many people. Your spirit lives on through Aaron, Kayden, your family and friends. I am blessed to have known you.

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Filed under Beauty, Friendship, Life lessons, Thankful

Beauty

There is something breathtaking to me about seeing the beauty of different landscapes from a plane. 

It reminds me how small we really are in this world.

It reminds me what an unbelievable job God has to be there for all of us.

It humbles me.

It reminds me that where we live is such a small part of this earth.

It reminds me that there are so many people in our world.

It overwhelms me and draws me closer to God at the same time.

When I see new areas of this beautiful earth, it reminds me that this is nothing compared to what heaven will be like.

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Morning of reflection

Last Friday, I finally took the morning to be by myself and focus solely on having a morning of quiet time, prayer, and reflection. My Pastor has encouraged me to do this for some time, but I never made the time to actually do it. Wow! It was so incredibly peaceful and serene.
 
One of the places I ended up was a forest preserve with a Japanese garden and island right by the river. I had been there before, but only in a rush. I never took the time to see the beauty all around me.
 
One of the first things I noticed when I was off the beaten path, were these trees. They were not straight, like many of their neighbors. They were stretching and reaching across the path. I couldn’t help but think about what a great analogy that is for where I feel I am right now. God is stretching me in so many areas, and although it can be painful, it is also beautiful!
 
 
 
 
The next area where I spent a considerable amount of time was next to this lighthouse, which was right along the river. I loved how it is cracked and aged, but still standing strong, providing light to those around it.
 
I spent the majority of the time sitting next to this lighthouse reading my Bible, studying, and praying. I had specific people I was praying for, as well as asking for direction in many areas of my life. Romans 12 was the area where I spent the most time that morning.
 
 
 
I am in the process of eating healthier, and trying to make better decisions. This verse continued to resonate with me. “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1
 
I am also in the midst of determining some life changing steps that I believe God wants for me. To this point, not many things have been clear. So, the following verse was very applicable as well. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Wow! God was definitely speaking directly to me through these scriptures that morning!
 
 
Here are a few other pictures that I took that morning. I finished the morning feeling restful, peaceful, and with my soul restored. I would highly recommend carving out some time to have a day of reflection. I never could find a way to have a whole day, but the morning worked incredibly well for me. Next time, I’ll plan for the entire day.

 

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