31 March 2014

amen and thank goodness

I've been doing some writing and reflecting on hope. More so reflecting with wishful thinking to write it out. So here I am, sharing some of my thoughts.
Hope really springs up. 

I shared part of this on instagram on Thursday.

Some days it's easy to remember truth. And then other days it's harder. Today has been a harder day. So I'm looking at this image, one I'll use in an already written piece for next week. For weeks I've seen little pieces of life on the oddest and ugliest places. My favourite thing about hope is that one day I won't have to hope anymore. Heaven is the fulfillment of all hope. On the long and dreary days, even when my faith seems small, I'll place whatever hope I can find in the truth that one day hope won't be necessary. Jesus is the fulfillment of hope. Amen and thank goodness.

Spring itself is a sweet demonstration of our hope. I believe that we need all of the seasons to fully experience hope. If we didn't walk through the dismal winter, would we care for the sunshiny summer days? Spring comes before summer. It isn't just winter and then summer. There are these other seasons, these transitional seasons. Spring. Autumn. Such pictures, to me. Of grace and hope and mercy and goodness.

Talking with a friend recently about transitions. We always want to be out of transition. We want the calm and non-crazy. We want the consistent. But truly, when is that going to happen? And even more so, are we promised it? We’re promised eternal life without pain and sorrow, but not here on earth. Here we still live in the mess and muck of a sin filled world.

Which is why we need that beautiful hope of ours.

That beautiful hope that finds its fulfillment in Christ, and that will not even be needed in heaven! Need I say it again? Amen and thank goodness

The one reason I keep thinking about how hope springs up is because I keep seeing flowers in odd places. In rocks. On the sidewalk. On a wall. 

And then that odd planter eek thing in the photo. On an ugly wall in a random alley - hope springs up. 

Amen. And thank goodness.

21 March 2014

grab a book

Last night I did something absolutely marvelous. It was a bit off character for me but nonetheless felt quite lovely.

I didn’t do anything.

Or more specifically, I rested. I decided to simply grab a book.

After getting home from work, I made a quick decision to grab a book and read. I sat at the edge of my bed, staring at the many books I’d like to dig into. I considered each, but felt my gaze lower to the bottom shelf. The bottom shelf holds my non theological books I simply read for fun, aka the books I never read.

My eyes scanned through until I saw one in particular. The Princess.

I grabbed it, walked to the living room, opened my front door, sat on the couch, opened a coca-cola, bundled myself in a blanket and started to read.

I read for the next hour and a half until I had to chat with a friend. I chatted, but once we were done, I wandered back to the couch for more. As I sat and grabbed the book again, now enjoying wine instead of the long-finished coca-cola, the idea of a bath occurred.

Hm. That sure sounded delightful.

So I walked around to find Epsom salts, my pi’s, a freshly poured drink and grabbed the same book I was now a hundred pages into.

For the next two hours or so I sat and I read, literally soaking in the rest.

I was ready to be done the bath and few minutes before finishing the book. Yep, almost 300 pages in just a couple hours.

I’d written on instagram earlier:

Sometimes I think it's important to grab a book you've read at least ten times, one that won't teach you anything, and that isn't on your goals list. Too settle under your favourite blanket, drink coca-cola, and let your heart rest for awhile. Anybody agree?

I think everybody agreed. Or at least the comments and double tapped hearts made me think so.

Self-care is such a buzz word. I always always always hate buzz words. Especially when I feel like a buzz word is for a particular group, self-care being for moms.

Yet as a single girl, with a fully schedule, who loves people and community, serving and all things gospel, rest matters. Self-care matters. 

I meant what I said when I said: read a book that won’t teach you anything and that isn’t on your goals list.

I’m always working to make things count, to make them matter.

When I go for a walk with the baby, I walk really fast so I can count it as exercise.

When the baby is in the bath, I’m lying on the floor beside her doing sit-ups and push ups and squats.

I fill up every minutes of everyday with purpose. I read books and blogs and I think the things I do are good. I think they’re from a pure heart that is seeking righteousness.

But Jesus rested. He really and truly did. Jesus rested amidst storms and sought solitude from a world that desperately needed Him to offer them Himself.

And then, at the proper time, He did offer Himself. Fully and completely, in the biggest act of grace and compassion the world had ever seen.

I can’t claim to do the things He did, and I hope never to have to bear a cross. But I do want to seek first His Kingdom.

And I think, well, I’d be willing to say know instead of think, that I’ll find His kingdom when I seek His presence for my rest.

Which is exactly what I did as I read The Princess last night. A book I’d read maybe even a dozen times, that surprised me with its sweet teachings of the rest and grace we find in Christ.

Self-care. What do you think? Valuable? Buzz word? Am I off in my perspective? I hope not. But let me know your thoughts on self-care.

13 March 2014

#shesharestruth Psalm 38

There are a few areas of the internet that I am constantly in cheering mode for. Aka, ministries and things going on that are awesome and that I love!

One such ministry is #SheReadsTruth, an incredible daily devotional. I had a chance to meet the writers at the Influence Conference back in the fall, and was truly honoured to write during the women of the Bible series for Rachel, Dorcas, and the Woman with the disabling spirit. 

During the current lent plan (a plan that is really good. Like, dang, it’s good and beautiful and convicting and comforting and IS the Gospel), there is a weekly link-up on Friday where we, the reader, get to pop in and share what we learned.

This week, the focus is on Psalm 38. Since I’m in a (forever and a year) long series walking through each Psalm, I looked back at what I had written for Psalm 38 last year and decided to share an edited version of that post. Aight, preface done.

she reads truth

There are two best parts of the Gospel, in my opinion.
The first best part is that all have fallen short of the glory of God. I kind of sigh a big relief sigh when I remember that, because there is almost a sense of community.
I'm not the only one who sins.
I'm not the only one who falls short.
I'm not the only one in absolutely desperate need of help.
The second and really very best part of the Gospel is this:
Christ died a sinner's death so that those who call upon His name never have to die that death.

He was forsaken by God so that those who call upon the name of Jesus will never be forsaken by God.

Christ experienced the fullest and most awful death possible so that followers of Him will experience the fullest and most amazing life possible. 

Our death, because of Christ if our faith is in Him, leads to eternity spent with Him.
He took our death.

And that, that is good news.

Are you linking up as well? Do! There’s little reason not to.

P.S. Those cool SRT friends of mine are creating an app. And pretty soon they're going to have a kickstarter campaign to make it happen. If you've got a heart for Gospel centered ministries, this is one to support. I'll be sure to share about the campaign (probably only on twitter though) when it happens. 

{a walk through} psalm 97

Psalm 97

12 March 2014

Let's talk about: Binti Designs

If you’re anything like me, you tend to assume that spring starts about January 2nd. 

Every single year, I’m surprised when it’s still winter come late January, come February, come MARCH?? WHY?? (#realtalk) It snowed two weeks ago. That’s insane. Though it has been super beautiful this week.

Anyway, one of the best parts of winter (and fall and even on a crisp day during spring) is the accessories. I love wearing boots and scarves, toques (beanies) and gloves. 

In the fall, I heard from Ashleigh over at Binti Designs that she was looking for some people to help share about her company. I emailed her quickly, let her pick a scarf for me, and have worn it often

binti scarves

Ashleigh launched the Binti Designswebsite the very first day of the Influence Conference. She told me that she has felt like the Influence Network has played a big role in her success.

Binti Designs is doing a good work. Not only are the scarves themselves beautiful and high quality, the purpose behind the scarves is also excellent.

Here’s what Ashleigh told me:

I knew the Lord wanted me to do something with my creative desires and I desperately wanted to do something that would help women overseas. In addition to that, I have always had a heart for giving women in the States purpose and a way to serve the Lord. I began praying about the time, the product, the name, and the mission He wanted me to focus on. I started making scarves and got tons of comments on them so I thought I would give it a shot.

I really want Binti to be an inspiration to women that they can do something good with the gifts the Lord has given them, whatever they may be. I also want to lead women into serving others. Right now I am giving 15% to micro-financing loans but I have so many dreams for the future.

Be sure to pop over to her site to order a scarf! 

The scarf that I have is sold-out but my personal current favourite is Berry Berry.

Use code “Nadine” during the month of March to get 20% off your next order

11 March 2014

5 songs I enjoy

music recommendations

Music always seems to fuel me. It pumps me up. It calms me down. It makes my day more fun. It causes me to think.

I enjoy music so much and thought it would be fun to quickly share some songs I've been enjoying lately. Here are 5 (well 6, but by 5 artists) songs I'm loving.

When I go for a run, I'm always ready to run a bit faster when Nothing but the Blood by Citizens comes on. I still feel that I'm in the baby phase of running (as in I'm still learning the how to and I'm not very good yet) but my goodness, it feels good to run.

When the baby I nanny doesn't nap and we need to have a dance party, I'm quick to turn to Pharrell and sing the modern version of if you're Happy and you know it, clap your hands! Who am I kidding, I listen to this even if the baby does nap!

I like this song when it comes on during my run because it makes me feel like I can do anything. It also actually inspired me to buy a lipstick that was more peach in nature. It took me a few listens to dig this song, but dang, now I love International Smile by Katy Perry.

The lyrics for this song live on my chalkboard in my living room. I instagrammed the photos and then realized I had made a spelling error. Ugh. Each time I listen to Only Hope I've Got by Ellie Holcomb, I pray that the words will remain true for my heart.

I get really excited when my friends do cool things. A friend of mine, Ben Lam, recently released a FREE!!!!! EP called Transition. He plays on the worship team at church and he is one talented musician. The album is an electronic album and features a couple of my friends on two of the songs. Hearts Colliding features my friend Tiffany Haines and is a great song. Taste the Sun feels like a vacation. I love it.

What music are you loving lately?

10 March 2014

tell your story

Early evening yesterday, my friend Stef came over. I already had the front door open and was enjoying the surprisingly spring-like weather. She walked in and I suggested a walk. My roommate Alex joined us and we set off. We talked about our hearts and the things going on, and it was lovely.

We got home and enjoyed dinner and more conversation. 

At one point, Stef asked me what my story was.

For the next, probably thirty minutes of longer, I shared my testimony. 

It’s easy now, four years into a solid relationship with Christ to forget the nearly two years I spent not living for Him It’s easy to forget how very enticed I became with sin, how I served myself, and how He kept protecting me.

I often tell people of how, during my time away from Christ, I made decisions that should have had very distinct and serious repercussions. And God, in His sovereign grace, protected me. He didn’t let things happen that should have, and part of the reason I came back to Him and started to believe the Gospel was because I was so annoyed by His protection.

I’m praying for a heart that better remembers that time, that has better compassion on those who don’t yet believe (or even won’t ever) in the Gospel.

I’m remembering that grace is so good, even better the more I know it.

Jesus saves. He saved me and I really believe that He will save more.

Tell your story. Remind yourself that once you were blind and now you see. Remind yourself that at one time you were dead in your sin, but now you are alive in Christ.

Remind yourself that Jesus saved you from the darkest and worst thing possible, which is eternity away from Him. He gave you Himself, and that is truly the best.

tell your testimony

07 March 2014

my tenderness

When I was at The Influence Conference in the fall, I kept hearing the word tender. Like, all the time. Tender this, tender that, oh Lord, keep us tender.

I wasn’t quite sure about the word. It isn’t a buzz word here in Vancouver but it surely is one online. It’s a fancy word that is supposed to share a lot, yet I’m never quite sure exactly what it’s meant to say.

As I’ve looked to define it, I’ve found things that speak of softness and delicateness. I’ve read about it not being hard, but being soft. One definition mentioned it was being a young age. I couldn’t find any definitions that resonated with my soul. The definitions helped me get what others meant but I hadn't quite found my tenderness.

I read a quote by Zooey Deschenel and it made me stop.

"Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.”

The line in there, “Don’t let someone steal your tenderness”. Isn’t it beautiful?  

I want that type of tenderness to define my type of tenderness.

I want to be open. I want to speak up. I want to feel. I want to experience things. I want to be inconsistent in the way I style myself. I want to be warm and bold and utterly affected by things. I want to cry and laugh and maybe even do both in a five minute span. I want to be bothered by things that aren’t right and moved by things that are. I want to hear the words that people speak and know what they mean, and when I’m unsure, I want to ask them to tell me more. I want to speak words worth hearing and learn to listen a lot more than I speak. This is my tenderness.


What's yours?

06 March 2014

{a walk through} psalm 96

Psalm 93

There's one line in this passage in particular that has stood out to me for weeks every since I looked ahead at all the 90's Psalms (not to be confused with 90's music).

For all the gods of the people are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

That part all the gods of the people are worthless idols, it's stuck with me. It comes to mind when I'm making decisions between things that are good and things that are holy.

I almost simply put that verse over a picture of a cup of coffee to remind myself that the Lord is more giving of life than coffee. But then I didn't because maybe sometimes His grace is a cup of coffee. Or maybe not, so I'll just let this coffee thing go.

I love when I read a scripture and it sticks with me. What's a scripture that's been sticking with you lately? 

03 March 2014

march goals

march goals

I like the way Hayley spoke of writing goals that work with what you’re doing. She wrote it far more eloquently so be sure to read her words. I agree with her philosophy because sometimes when I write a list of goals, I get overwhelmed. However taking twenty minutes to think about what I want a month to look like is exciting and fun. It's all about wording for me. Goals = scary. Wants = yay! Anybody else??

February wasn’t a month of failure. Lots got done. Much was enjoyed. I didn't write about my February goals but I did speak a little about accepting grace right in the midst of failure.
Here’s 5 things I did in February.

1. Decided to go back to school. I’m still waiting to hear back if I got into the program I want so I won’t share all the details here. Something happened one day in February though. I was ready to look forward. I haven’t been looking forward or back for a few months. I’ve simply been settling in each day, doing each task, and moving on to the next. It’s been necessary and healthy and now I’m ready to look to tomorrow and make good decisions. School is a good decision for tomorrow.

2. I put up my heart headboard. I'll talk a little more about surroundings in my March goals below, but dang it, I missed my hearts. I don’t use a fan in my new room, so while I don’t hear them whispering to me all night, but they’re still beautiful and lovely. I might get a fan again simply so I can hear them whisper over me.

3. Other than the last week of the month, I worked out at least 2 times each week. Believe me when I say that’s an accomplishment

4. Back in November, I wrote about passion. I've been seeking it out since then. I'm learning to say no to many many things in order to say yes to the right things. In February I said yes to a lot of good conversations with friends, community, adventures, and worship team opportunities. I'm learning that it is okay to pursue the life giving things. 
5. I finished Chasing God by Angie Smith. I've got a lot of thoughts on the book and will probably write a review in the coming weeks. I shared quite a bit as I read over on instagram, specifically here, here, here, here and here. P.S. As I went over to my instagram and read the parts of the book I had shared, I was reminded again how much I loved the book!

Now, here are 3 things I’m wanting to do in March.
1. Finish filling up my walls. Much has happened in the last week on my walls which is good momentum for me to keep going and make good decisions about walls. I function best when the space around me is beautiful and inspiring. I also really really really believe that the words we see impact us, even if we don’t read them all the time. So I like to put good and truthful words on my walls. My favourite prints as of late are this one, this one and this one as well.

1b. Share some pictures of my home here on my blog. This is a secondary part of the first goal because it’s not a top priority. But I think it’d be cool to do because I always love seeing other people share their spaces. Maybe it’s time I share mine. The lighting in my home is awful which is crummy for photo taking but I shall attempt to do my best.

2. Keep making healthy choices. January was an easy month to exercise and eat healthy in. February was harder. I still exercised most weeks but eating healthy was hard. I want to keep creating good patters and systems that will help me succeed this month. I realized in January that I actually feel better (emotionally, physically, and surprisingly spiritually as well) when I'm making healthier choices.

3. Invite people over for dinner. I’m hesitant to put a number on this because that will either stretch me or make me feel content once I’ve hit it and stop inviting. For years I’ve wanted to have a weekly or monthly night when I have a lot of people over. I’ve never done it because I’ve been waiting for the right time. Which truly, is silly. It’s never the right time for company and it’s always the right time. Community is a calling on every life because the call for each Christian is to go and make disciples. Jesus spent a lot of time eating meals with his disciples so I want to invite people over and provide space for conversation and full tummies. For my birthday party I had a bunch of friends over for dinner. I loved the time it took to clean my home, make lasagne, and then simply sit back and watch community happened. I want a lot more of that this month.

Now what about you? Hayley hosts a monthly linkup for goals so if you've written a post you should share. Otherwise (and also if you link up there), let me know in the comments what some of you goals are. What's right for your month that will be both life giving and also stretching?