Sunday, February 27, 2011

Today is Sunday

Nate brought a great word today at the Stirring. He spoke on living a life on mission. There were so many powerful things that he shared, but the main thing I took away from the message today was this: God wants to show up
Wherever you are
Through you
Not someone else
Not somewhere else
Through you

I didn't grow up in the church.
I stepped foot in a church for the first time at the age of 22.
Through a series of very powerful, very FAST events, I gave my life over to the Lord and started living a life passionately pursuing God.
I quickly became a leader, and often felt like I had NO clue what I was doing.
It was so easy for me to hear God speak to me, or see an opportunity to step out in boldness, but brush it off... "No way, God wouldn't use ME!!!" is what I would usually tell myself. "Somebody else, somewhere else. Not here. Not now. Not with me. It's ME. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not good enough or smart enough or know enough of the Bible for God to use ME!"
I remember living in that place for a long time.
And wasting too many opportunities because I was convinced God couldn't use a clueless, broken, scared, rookie-of-a-girl.
But here's the thing; God WANTS to use us. All of us. Right now. Exactly where we are. Exactly HOW we are. We don't have to be perfect or have it all together for him to use us.
We just have to be willing.
Jesus came saying the Kingdom of God is HERE. NOW!
It's not somewhere else in someone else.
It's here. Now. Living in all who believe.
Even the ones who are brand new.
Even the ones who are scared, and broken, and confused.
Yep. Even those ones.
Because, like Nate so powerfully said tonight, wherever you go, God is with you. And he wants to use you. To bring healing. To bring hope. To change lives. To bring the Kingdom.
Don't let another opportunity pass.

Friday, February 25, 2011

My thankful moment.

Today, I'm thankful for this face.

How can you get mad at this face? I'm pretty sure it's impossible.
There's a lot going on in life right now, but it's moments that I spend with little faces like these that get me centered again. The stress will always be there. There will always be "things" to get done, but I cherish the time I get to play Hulk with this little dude...
Mo's quote of the day: "Noooooo Emmy! I not a sweet little boy! I MOSES!!"
I'm so thankful for these moments, and for this face.
Do you have thankful moments? That re-center you? Remind you of what's important in life? That get you back on track? What's your thankful moment of the day? Of the week? Who's face are YOU thankful for?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I heart Chuck.

There are many things I look forward to in my day:
-My morning coffee
-Waking up to my sleeping cat right next to me
-My Tuesday/Thursday runs with the girls
-Cracking open my Bible at one of many favorite coffee shops
-Checking the mail (strange but true)
-Slipping my feet into my favorite slippers upon arriving home
The list could go on and on.
My days are full of wonderful things! But there is one thing that I REALLY look forward to.... Something that gets a true, genuine, crazy laugh out of me every time. Something that I can't even share without cracking up... Yep, I'm talking about my Chuck Norris widget. All I have to do is drag my cursor to the left corner of my MacBook screen, and PRESTO! A new, hilarious, amazing fact about Chuck Norris.

Here's the latest: If Chuck Norris round-house kicks you, you will die. If Chuck Norris misses you with the round-house kick, the wind behind the kick will tear out your pancreas.

I love it.
Possibly my MOST favorite part of my day.
I'm pretty sure everybody needs a Chuck Norris widget... It's the greatest thing out there. It brings laughter to all! Just ask the people in the office with me... they LOVE it :)

Who Knew?

A friend of mine made a comment to me the other day that struck me. We were somehow on the topic of creativity and she said, in a really matter-of-fact way "Oh, you're super creative, so this will be no big deal..."
I laughed out loud.
Me? Creative? Negative. I'm not creative. I glue my fingers together when using a hot glue gun. I spill paint everywhere when painting. I'm clumsy and Left Brain dominated.
I am not creative.
When she asked me why I was laughing, I explained my stance on my creativity.
But she quickly disagreed.
"You're creative with your WORDS Emily!"
I would have never recognized that. I would have never connected blogging with creativity. I love blogging. I enjoy it. It's a great outlet for me. I love using words to paint pictures and creative imagery. To help others see what I see the way I see it. To introduce others to a new world, a world of words and pictures and thoughtful (or, sometimes, thoughtLESS) ideas. I might have to admit that I have a love affair with words.
Maybe I am creative after all. Who knew?!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Germs be GONE!!

Air Born + Zicam + vitamin C + Emergen-C + Neti-Pot = My recipe for health. Both of my roommates have been sick, my entire Life Group was coughing and sneezing last night, and I work with children... I suppose the odds of staying healthy are stacked against me. However, I am determined to beat this thing. So, I will be guzzling vitamins by the handful, and Neti-Potting like a mad woman. To top it off, I wash my hands 100+ times a day (that's the trick people!). I have also been known to Lysol an entire house a time or two... Germs, be warned! Your life will be short-lived!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


As I was reading my Real Simple magazine, I stumbled across a funny little article that made me laugh. It was in the "Life Lessons" section. It was titled "5 things you can learn from your pet". I was intrigued, so I began to read... item number 1 made me so happy, I had to share: "Celebrate EVERYTHING." Anne-Marie O'Neill (the woman who wrote the article) goes on to say that dogs celebrate everything. Every moment she walks in her door, even if she's only been gone a short minute, her dogs celebrate her. Lathering her in kisses and attention and love. They get excited about every visitor, every door-bell, every returning entry. Her dogs celebrate everything.
I love this idea
I love the idea of celebrating everything.
Every person I meet
Every victory in my life
Every moment I'm alive
Every holiday
Every birthday
Every new friend
Every old friend
Every phone call
Every interaction
I want to be known for celebration.
For rejoicing with those who rejoice.
For making those around me feel celebrated. Daily.
I want to learn from Anne-Marie's dogs, and celebrate EVERYTHING.

Monday, February 21, 2011


We all have mountains in our lives.
Whether it's the loss of a loved one,
or divorce,
or our job,
or an addiction,
or the stress of parenthood,
or abuse,
or heartbreak,
or assault,
or a past relationship,
or forgiving someone who's wronged you...
We all have mountains in our lives.
I have this mountain in my life. One that I've been climbing for a while. One that I've stumbled, and fallen back down a few times. One that has, at times, seemed impossible. One that I thought I'd reached the top of... until recently. On Sunday, it felt like this mountain was reappearing before my very eyes. The impossibility of it seemed to be more real than ever. The thoughts running through my head:
-when will this stop?
-will I EVER get over this?
-what's wrong with me?
-why can't I figure it out?
-why can't I just get to the top?
I walked into the Sunday evening service at the Stirring feeling incredibly discouraged and defeated and frustrated and sad and disappointed.
My mountain was too big. Too steep. Too dangerous. Too impossible. Too high. Too much.

The opening lyrics to one of my favorite worship songs goes like this:
"Higher than the mountains that I face, stronger than the power of the grave, constant through the trial and the change, one thing remains..."

It wasn't until the worship team began to play this song that I realized my God is bigger. He's bigger than the BIGGEST mountain that I could ever face. His love is bigger. His strength is bigger. His wisdom is bigger. His power is bigger. It doesn't matter what I face, what my mountain looks like, how long I struggle with this mountain, how huge it seems to me, how many times it reappears, God will always be bigger, and he will never give up on me. He won't ever give up. He won't ever leave my side. My God will see me to the top of my mountain. Every time. Every mountain that I face, he will see me to the top.

The song goes on to say that "his love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me..."
That's one promise I'll hold tightly to tonight. Remembering that no mountain is too great for my God, and that his love NEVER fails me. His love NEVER leaves me. His love will see me to the top of every mountain.

We all have mountains in our lives.
But, the only way to get to the top is to take one step at a time. And trust that God is with you. Every step. He will see you to the top.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A week of gifts!

This has been the week of gifts.
First, Jess and I surprised a friend with a Valentine's Day gift on his truck tire.

He publicly claimed to "hate" Valentine's Day. He had reason after reason to support his stance, but Jess and I were determined to turn him into a love-loving individual :)
The next day, a package arrives on my desk with this lovely bag in it.

If you know me, you know I'm a lover of bags. And a HUGE lover of birds. And a HUGER lover of love... so this bag with "love birds" on it made my heart the happiest ever.
I was feeling so incredibly loved and thought of. I mean, someone had taken the time to order me something that they KNEW I would adore. It couldn't get much better than that... until today. I was out and about, all morning and afternoon in meeting after meeting. I returned to the office to find a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of white flowers on my desk.

The card on it said there was no message or sender information available. So, of course, I grill Meg and Amy about who it was... either they're great liars, or they really don't know who sent them.
As much as it kills me to not know who sent me the beautiful flowers, the mystery behind it is kind of fun :)
So, whoever you are, thank you for making me feel thought of and extremely loved. You brought many, MANY smiles to my face today.
Isn't that the wonderful thing about thoughtfulness and generosity? It always seems to come back around... and usually in bigger and better portions.
Today, I'm thankful for secret admirers and thoughtful friends :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A thankful moment

I need a thankful moment.
I've been zipping through the days lately, not taking much time to appreciate the things I'm so thankful for. I found myself busy, stressed and discouraged today. I hate that. I couldn't get to the bottom of it... until just now. I realized I need a thankful moment. There's something about ignoring all of the negative, bad, annoying, discouraging, stressful, taxing things in the day and pinpointing ONE thing of thanks.
Today, I'm thankful for heartfelt Valentine's Day cards handcrafted by 7 year-olds.

Zeke made me this sweet card. I hung it right by my door. I look at it as I am rushing in and out of my room. It's importance to me goes beyond the message displayed on it. It holds great value in my eyes. I am so thankful for it. I hope that one day, Zeke knows how much I love him and his generous heart.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

God > Darkness

Ever have one of those days? The kind of day where you are suddenly struck with the growth and change that's taken place in your life and in your heart?
The kind of day where you look back and realize that the painful, dark, impossible, awful season you were in has finally given way to a new, joyful, beautiful one?
I had that day today.
Dan spoke at the Stirring today, and had an amazing word about traveling alone.
He framed it all around an experience he had while running during the wee hours of the morning.
In the pitch black.
He talked about the importance of friends when running in the dark. About how friends bring clarity and courage, because in the dark you can start to believe some crazy things.
They remind you of the reality of the situation.
This won't go on forever.
You can get through this.
It's going to get better soon.
This is just a season.
Keep going.
Be strong, don't give up.
Because it's easy to forget what you know, what the truth is, in the dark. Friends remind you.

Another point Dan made was that when you're in a dark season, you need community. You need your Church family. You need people around you who can attest to God's goodness. Who can remind you that they were RIGHT THERE at one point. They were where you're at, but now they're not. God will show up, he will heal. He will restore. He will fulfill his promises. He hasn't forgotten. You need community, you need to hear the stories of people who have been there.

I especially love the picture that was painted about the rooster... how roosters bring hope that dawn is near... light is near. The darkness is coming to an end. This time WILL end. We all need roosters in our lives. People who are constantly reminding us that this painful, heart-wrenching, agonizing, dark, lonely season WILL come to an end. That light is coming. Jesus is coming. He will free us. He will heal us. He will restore the hurting.

I look back on the past year of my life, and realize it was an incredibly dark, painful, agonizing, impossible season.
I faced some hard stuff. Stuff that might take me a while to share. Stuff that lived for YEARS hidden and buried, not talked about, not thought about, untouched, forgotten. Stuff that, as it began to surface, and as I began to feel it and grieve it, God began to heal it.
I can't sit here and tell you it was a quick, pretty, relatively pain-free experience.
It was not.
It was messy, and hard, and not very fun, and agonizing at times.
There were a lot of tears.
There were days where I was just sure I couldn't go on.
I couldn't feel the way I felt for one more second.
I couldn't face the things I was facing one more time.
But I did.
And God showed up.
But, I have to be honest, I could have never done it alone.
In my darkest season, I had friends around me. Friends who I was going there with. Friends who knew where I was at, and were walking (or, RUNNING) with me.
In my darkest season, I was fully submerged in community. I was there. Every week. At Life Group. At work. At church. In community. I wanted to isolate. I wanted to run! I wanted to get the heck out, but I didn't.
In my darkest season, I had roosters all around me. So many. One in particular was a VERY loud rooster... Every Friday, I would sit on Alyssa's couch and she would remind me "You can do this. Don't give up. It won't be this bad forever. It's just a season. It's just a process. There is hope. God will restore. He will show up. He will heal. It won't be like this forever." When I left that couch, there was a confidence that hope was near. Something in my soul knew that light was coming. Even though it felt impossible. Even though I didn't want to face another day. Even though my heart was broken and my pain was overwhelming, there was hope. Morning was coming.
I look back on the past year, and realize my morning has come. The darkness has lifted. Light has filled my life. That impossible feeling is gone. There is healing. There is restoration. There is joy.
And more than ANY of that, there is a reason I went through it.
Dan's last point tonight was this: People with experience are important when you're in the dark. You need to find people who have been there before. Who have traveled that road. Who have been through some of what you've been through. Because they bring a different insight. They bring different perspective. They KNOW that road better than others.
I hope that, some day, God will use my story to help me journey with others. Other women who are experiencing the same pain and suffering that I have experienced. Women who feel like they can't go on. Like there is no hope. I know that I went through that awful, painful, miserable, dark season so that I would know the road. And be the rooster for someone else.
What I love is that, even though there was so much hardship, there is tremendous victory in my story.

God rescued
and redeemed
and set free
and healed
and saved
and restored in my story.

This verse is quickly becoming one of my favorites because it speaks of the HOPE we can have in God, and his great desire to free us from the darkness...
"Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever...The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine." Isaiah 9:1-2

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Slinky

I have this Slinky.
It sits on my desk every day.
This Slinky is my friend.
When I am stressed, I like to "slink" if you will.
When I'm deep in thought, I like to "slink."
I think it's the sound of the Slinky that is what I love the most.
It's relaxing. It helps me think. It sooths me.
Others in the office don't necessarily agree with me about the effect the Slinky has.
They just don't appreciate the power of the Slinky!
Today, I'm thankful for my friend the Slinky.
Thanks for all of your help :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The humanly impossible...

Last week at our All Staff meeting, Dan presented us with a few great questions.
Questions meant to get us thinking about the year ahead of us.
Questions meant to stay with us, not easily answered, not easily forgotten.
I've been sitting with these questions since last week's meeting, and one continues to haunt me.
It brings me to tears every time.
Pinching a nerve in me that maybe isn't ready to be pinched.
Opening my eyes to a reality I'm not yet ready to face.
The question is this: What is one humanly impossible thing you're praying for God to do this year.
My answer is complicated.
Isn't it always?
There are so many humanly impossible things I want God to do this year.
To do right NOW.
But only one thing brings me to tears every time with is impossibility.
Because, you see, this is something that's been around my whole life.
Something that's become part of me. Part of my life. Part of my family.
So it seems absolutely humanly impossible for this thing to be gone.
Here's the complicated part; What if I pray and pray and pray for God to do this impossible thing, and I pray with CONFIDENCE that He WILL do it... and it doesn't happen?
That's my fear.
But I know that the Father does not give us a spirit of fear. So, I boldly approach this massive prayer with confidence every day.
Every. Single. Day.

So, I say with confidence that I believe this is the year that alcoholism will plague my family no more. This is the year that God will bring healing and restoration. This is the year for humanly impossible things to happen.

What are YOU praying for this year? I hope you approach yours with confidence...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day.
Call me a hopeless romantic, or a sap but it's true; I love Valentine's Day.
I love all of the hearts everywhere
I love the cards (seriously, I spent over 20 minutes reading Valentine's Day cards and just crying a little)
I love the cute treats and balloons and decorations.
I love love. I guess that's what it comes down to.
Valentine's Day came to our office early this year.
I went out and bought the girls (Meg, Jenna and Amy) each a bundle of flowers and a cutesie little card and delivered them this morning. (Jenna, if you're reading this SURPRISE!).
The moments that followed my Valentine's Day delivery were what make me love the day so much.
Letting someone know that they're loved
And thought about
And deserving of a little extra attention
That is what makes me love this holiday so much.

So many of my single friends (and NON single friends alike) openly detest Valentine's Day. They say it's the "worst holiday ever." My question for them is, WHY?
Why is it so horrible?
Why do you hate it so much?
I would venture to say that many of them are missing the point of the day.
Sure, I've had my fair share of disappointing Valentine's Day. I've spent the majority of them alone. Shoot, I was even DUMPED on Valentine's Day one year! But that doesn't deter me.
That doesn't lessen my love for the day.
I love to love others.
I love to make others feel celebrated
And loved
And special.
That's what Valentine's Day is all about.
But here's my question: Why do we only celebrate once a year?
Why do we take only ONE day to stop ourselves from the busyness of our lives and tell the ones we love how MUCH we cherish them?
Why don't we do it EVERY day?
In November, I joined with a few other bloggers in a "Gratitude Challenge." The idea was to find one thing each day to be thankful for, because one day in November just isn't enough. So I find myself tempted with the same idea; show love to another every day, not just on the holiday designated for love. I want to be known for love. I want those around me to feel loved always. The hard reality is that you never know when you won't have the opportunity to love those in your life again. And I don't want to waste ANY time.

So, there you have it. I love Valentine's Day. It makes my heart happy to celebrate the love I have for those in my life. I'm a pretty lucky girl. I am surrounded by people who value and cherish me. I serve a God who loves me with an everlasting love. I'll be sad when this lovely day passes, but I sure won't stop loving... I will, however, stop crying in the card aisle at the store (hopefully) :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blogging Wall

I feel like I've hit the "blogging wall."
It's not that I don't have anything to say... it's just the opposite!
I have SO much I want to share, but I'm not sure where to begin.
For now, I'll say this:
I'm thankful for God's promises to us. The promise that "...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Cor. 5:17
I'm thankful that I have the promise of a new life. I don't have to live from the old life any more.
That's what I'm thankful for today.
Now here's to hoping I can make some sort of sense out of everything passing through my brain, and that I can overcome this darn "blogging wall."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Family continued...

Living in Family has been hard for me.
I feel like I need to start by saying that I love my parents and my sister.
Very much.
My mom and dad have been incredible parents. They really have.
But it's safe to say that childhood wasn't a dream.
The truth is, things were difficult.
And those difficulties turned a scared, insecure little girl into an even MORE scared and insecure grown-up girl.
A girl who always questioned her place in her family.
Who never knew if things were safe.
Who didn't want to "rock the boat" or draw any kind of attention to herself.
Walk on eggshells. Don't make waves.
These were the messages that carried over into my adult life.
So, this is some of my baggage that I so slyly carried with me into this NEW family I found myself part of.
A family where people said it's OK to be yourself... but the fears remained.
A family where there was health and truth and understanding... but the fears remained.
What if they find out who I REALLY am, and leave?
What if I bear my soul, and they walk away?
Living in Family has been hard for me.
But, as the walls came down, and the secrets came out, and the soul was beared (is that a word?), the craziest thing happened: This Family stuck around.
Nobody ran for the hills.
Nobody told me I was too much, that my baggage was too great to handle.
Nobody rejected or abandoned or betrayed.
As the walls came down, and the truth came out, I was received with love and compassion.
The fear in my heart was replaced with trust.
But it had to start with the walls coming down.
Family is hard.
It's messy and scary and all over the place.
But God hasn't called us to live on our own. We have been called to live in this crazy, messy, all over the place family. And as our walls start to come down, God will replace our fear with trust. He will replace our abandoned and rejected hearts with hearts that are loved and embraced and accepted.

Living in Family has been hard for me, but God has used this family to heal those wounded parts of my heart.

Today, I'm thankful for Family and the health that comes with it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Best. Day. Ever.

Today was a big day for me.
I did something I've wanted to do for YEARS.
Something that will forever change my life.
Something that is so wonderful and beautiful that it brought a tear to my eye....
Today, ladies and gentlemen, I bought the Dyson Animal.

Upon arriving home with it, I ripped the box open, carefully put it all together, and vacuumed to my little heart's desire.
What a great day.

We also had a wonderful day of staff fun-ness at blacklight mini golf. It was a blast. I lost. BAD. But, ya know what, I really could care less. We had so many laughs. I love all-staff days. Our team is amazing. And we have fun. A lot of fun.

Dan asked some really great questions today during our "this-is-the-business-part-of-the-meeting" time. I think I'll talk more about that tomorrow.
For now, I'm going to head off to dreamland, with visions of Dyson's in my happy little head.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Life Group

I love my Life Group.
Laughter, tears, snacks, birthdays, prayers, awkward transitions, highs and lows... Such a fun night. I love hearing heart's cry of the women in the Stirring community.
It's unbelievable to me how similar some of our struggles are.
Going around the group tonight, there was one resounding theme: Discouragement.
Discouragement in our relationships
Discouragement in our jobs
Discouragement in who we are
Discouragement all around.
Something really powerful happens when a group of women come together and share their hearts, revealing lies we've been believing, and then pray for one another, releasing God's truth in our lives.
God has so much freedom for us. And this group is where it will begin for some. I'm stoked to be part of it. To watch lives being transformed. To share in this amazing time.

Tonight, just like many more Tuesday nights to come, I'm thankful for my Life Group.
And for Life Group Birthdays :) Because Shelby bakes treats, and they're ALWAYS good!


We've all got it.
It's there in all of our lives.
For some it comes in the for of
divorce or
sexual assault or
addiction or
rejection or
abandonment or
family or
The list could go on and on. Every one of us, in our own way, has some form of baggage.
Trust me, I have my fair share.

Here's the wonderful, beautiful, AMAZING part though: We are not alone.
We are not alone with it! We are not alone in the feeling of despair we may have, or the overwhelming insecurities that plague us. The great thing about everybody having baggage is that we can understand, to an extent, what others are going through.
My story might not relate EXACTLY to yours, but chances are, I can relate with the pain, with the hurt, with the sadness, with the frustration, with the loneliness, with the wounds.
And I can also remind you of the JOY that waits for you on the other side.
You see, baggage doesn't have to be a bad thing.
It shapes us.
It makes us who we are.
It gives us the stories we have.
Without my baggage, I wouldn't have the triumphant, resilient, glorious story I do.
Sure it's hard, and messy, and it evokes some emotion.
But I'm okay with that.
My baggage, and God's perfect grace, are to thank for who I am and where I'm at today.
Images by Freepik