So the idea of "seeking sanctuary" is one that has fascinated me for many years (I am a nerd, moving on)!  If you are not familiar with this idea, allow me to explain a bit.  "Seeking sanctuary" is the idea of those who are oppressed or persecuted because of political or religious beliefs seeking asylum or sanctuary in a church or a country offering asylum.  Some countries, including our own, still offer asylum or a safe place for those who are refugees, but seeking sanctuary was most prominent in Medieval Europe.  Many churches had a "sanctuary ring" on the doors to be allowed into the church.  I am not exactly sure why this has fascinated me for so long, but I have always felt safe at church and liked the idea of seeking refuge in a safe place.  Now I love old churches - they are just so comforting.  In fact I kind of picture God as an old church sometimes - one that has been in the community for centuries, where the pastor knows your name and entire family history, where the interior is that incredible mix of comfort and awe, and where the hushed sound of a whisper is life-changing.

This morning our pastor talked about anxiety and how to biblically deal with anxiety!  Sometimes I think he must know what I am thinking or what I am dealing with because it hits so close to home.  But I know that is the Holy Spirit speaking through him and God knows me inside out. You should really check out the sermons - they are amazing and you can watch them here.  Anyways, he talked about Paul's exhortation and instructions to the church at Philippi in Philippians 4,  and it rocked my world.  

         4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. 

 Rejoice in the Lord always is not something that has come easily to me in the past.  To be really honest I kind of skipped over this part of Philippians 4 because it seemed so cliché and insincere to me because I never thought it was possible to really rejoice in the Lord always.  First of all my idea of rejoice (be happy) is completely wrong, and also my idea of God and His character was little.  A few years ago, I found myself without a teaching job and without anything else to tell me who I was.  I was lost.  I was disappointed with God and my faith.  I thought I had done something wrong in the formula of me + follow rules = God adhering to my plan and needed to start over.  I had no idea where to go next.  But in the midst of my pain and grief there came a quiet voice saying “be still.”  So I began to listen and out of the stillness came love and grace.  The God of the Universe was pursuing me and wanted me to know Him and His character.  He wanted to be my everything.  So I began with getting to know Him – Kay Arthur’s study of God’s names will rock your world – I am proof.  And through knowing God, I learned how to worship God where I am, to align my plan with His, and to find joy in His presence even when things are not going my way.

This idea of finding sanctuary in a church – the church would be a refuge, a safe place for those who were oppressed.   I feel like I have found that idea of sanctuary in truth, a firm foundation in knowing more about God’s character.  My sanctuary is God – He is my safe place and my refuge!           


a crock pot, a recipe, and pinterest

Okay so Candace and I are horrible about going through a drive-thru on our way home from work.  And really after taking care of children all day, who really wants to come home and fix dinner?  Besides eating out getting really old really fast, the food is terrible for you, so we have been trying to cook more at home.  The one thing that has been a life-saver is the crock pot - it's not just for Rotel or your grandmother.  Last week, we put beef tips, potatoes, onions, bell pepper, and 1/2 cup Dale's Steak seasoning in it and had a feast when we came home from work!  Tonight I put 6 chicken tenders, 1/2 a bell pepper, 3 tbsp butter, 1 part chicken stock, 1 part water, a dash of salt, a dash of Tony Chachere's and poultry seasoning, and we added some mashed potatoes and called it dinner!  It was amazing, and our house smelled like yummy chicken goodness when we came home tonight!  As the weather gets colder, I can't wait to do more soups and stuff in the crock pot!  It makes coming home and passing the drive-thru so much easier!

So I have discovered and fallen in love with Pinterest!  Finally a place to keep up with the all of the ideas that are floating around in my head!  Candace and I are looking to move back to Laurel, and the idea of decorating a cute little apartment makes me so excited.  The idea of moving again does not make me so excited, but it's time and we need to move!  So I created a board with ideas that I would love to do in the Apartment, and I will link it so you can see! Check it out!  I have a few other boards on there as well, but I have not dedicated as much attention to them as of right now!  Below is a cute little kitchen that makes use of typically wasted space!

Lately I don't know exactly what it is but I have been so very distracted by life and everything in it that I have neglected my personal Bible study time - I like to call it an un-quiet time.  I have missed my un-quiet time and I can definitely tell when I have missed it!  My entire attitude changes, my world is upside down, and it sucks.  I am trying desperately to get back into the Word - Truth is the only thing that can change me! I am reminded of the importance of renewing our minds, and it is so very important and vital to living this life for God.  It may so very cliche but I promise this is truth!

Therefore, I urge your brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is - which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2


Favorite Things

Okay so the past several days, I have been addicted to Spice Girls radio on Pandora because it plays all the 90's pop that takes me straight back to middle and high school!  I love this song and the video is really cute too!  So thought I would share!  Also thought I would share a list of my favorite things - because you know I love a list and I am in a really good mood!

1.  Brit is having a baby girl and naming her Daisy Claire after our Mamaw!!! I get kinda teary eyed just talking about it!  (Nothing new)
2.  We have had several places that are not typically known for their hospitality have been so very nice to us lately! Directv, Wal-Mart, Payless are among the companies that have taken care of us!
3.  The weather is perfect fall weather right now - a little chilly perfect for a cute sweater!
4.  God is teaching me so very much right now in Bible Study!
5.  I have a job that I love which is such a blessing especially when you know what its like not to have a job at all much less a job you love!

"Therefore, we exult in tribulation because we know that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.  And it is a hope that does not disappoint because it being poured out through the love of Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:3-5

I have held onto the promises in this verse for my life's breath for the past few years, and to see it come to fruition and feel that hope that does not disappoint leaves me completely awestruck!  

Have a blessed day!



Friday night, I was checking Facebook on my phone as I do most every night before I go to sleep, but Friday night was a little different.  First, I see so many of the youth from our church asking for prayer for a brother and sister who were involved in a horrific car accident.  I realized that I did not know the siblings, but my heart still broke for the family and for my kids in the youth that were facing the possible loss of a classmate.  My mind immediately took me to the day of my junior year in high school... come to think of it, it was the first week of October 2000 when one of my classmates passed in a car accident.  I remember being slightly lost and overwhelmed at the loss of someone I saw every day and had spoken to earlier in the day.  For as long as I can remember, sadness and loss touch me to my very core.

It is in times like these, that I want to question God's plan.  I know that He is good and that His goodness does not change due to my or anyone else's circumstances; however, at the same time I don't understand where tragic accidents, parents burying children, and children growing up without parents fit into that.  I really hate the idea of death taking people we love from us, and the injustice is increased as I know that death is not a villain I can defeat.  And in the midst of tragic loss, knowing that you will see them again if both of you are believers is not nearly the comfort it will be when your head stops hurting from crying and your senses return to you.  At the same time, know that there will be a time when your head stops hurting and your senses return to you.  It does get better.  God is good, and He is in control.

I do not personally know the McGill family, but I do know loss and I know God.  I have such a burden for the family and friends of this precious family, and they are in my prayers.  I pray ultimately for a miracle for Angelica and strength, comfort, and peace for her family and friends!


a girl and a unicorn

Okay so the past two weeks have been so very busy as it seems that everything is happening at the same time! But during this time, I found a little inspiration from two of my favorite shows - "Glee" and "The New Girl."  Last week's episode of Glee was titled "I Am Unicorn"! I won't give too much away because you need to watch it, but one of the characters gives the other one a pep talk which begins the phrase "you are a unicorn."  (Paraphrasing here)  I know what you are thinking, no one wants to be called a unicorn - it's a little weird, but hang with me for a minute.  This character goes on to say that a unicorn is something or someone with magic inside them that is not afraid to let it out as a unicorn without that one horn is just a horse like every other horse.  I think we all have something special or magic or whatever inside of us, but we are afraid for whatever reason to let the magic be seen.
Last night, we were watching "The New Girl" with Zooey Deschanel whom I absolutely adore.  Anyway, Zooey's character Jess is asked by her roommates to suppress who is she is in order to be a date for one of them to a wedding and make the ex jealous.  Now Jess is usually completely original and goofy, and the suppression only lasted a little while.  At the end of the show, Jess tells her roommates that she is and will be exactly who she is!  She let her magic and personality be seen - she is a unicorn.
So often, some sort of idea on television will strike a chord with me and I end up dwelling on these things. Just a little heads up, that is exactly what happened with this which will hopefully make sense to someone else out there!  I suppose my first thought was "would people see me as a unicorn" to which my initial response was no, and if no then why not.  After some searching, I think I may have something of an answer.  When I was in eighth grade, my favorite teacher told the class that we did not need to tell people how smart we are because then people will expect too much from you.  Now I don't know the context of why she said this, and I adore this teacher because most of the things she said still have a profoundly positive effect on me today.  However, I think this may have had a profoundly negative effect on the girl I was in eighth grade.  I think this along with many insecurities and the hostile environment known as middle and high school began a long process of suppressing who I really am. I am a nerd, school always came easy to me - I like to study and find out new things and I like to share what I find.  Not in a snobby, i-know-this-and-you-don't kind of way but I-know-this-and-you-should-to way!  So for someone to say that I needed to keep this in sent a powerful message to me at a young age, but as I have grown up and become more aware of the person God made me to be, my ideal has changed.
I believe that God made us all unique with a specific purpose to fulfill.  I also believe that we all have some kind of magic or story inside of us that if we let it show makes us all  unicorns.  But we have let it out, don't keep it all in.  Be that unicorn and be proud of who God made you to be.  Don't keep the magic inside and be content to look like the cookie-cutter expectation that society throws at you!  I believe that the only people who have ever changed the world were unicorns in their own way - people with magic inside them that were not afraid to let it show!