sweet summer time

Well the summer is coming to an end - a fact which makes me super sad!  In honor of the ending of summer I thought I would share with you some of my most favorite things from this summer!

1.  I am in love with this song and the band - both are just insane!  Check them out!

2.  The Farmer's Market in Laurel!  It's so great to get to know some of the local artisans and farmers and to get some fresh/homemade goodies!  Its been great!  And it proceeds the Downtown Movie Night which is free and family friendly!  I just love Laurel in the summer!
Photo courtesy of Laurel Main Street Facebook

3.  Hanging out with #littlegirl - even though she can drive me crazy like nobody else!  I have chronicled our adventures on Instagram!  This summer we also have had some good sister time with Brit - she is a super busy mom of 3 beautiful children so some quality Beaty girl sister time is rare but needed!

3.  I have been made the Preschool Coordinator at our church, and I am so excited about the things we are doing in our children's department this fall!  If you don't have a home church, come visit CrossPointe Church in Laurel!  In preparation, I have been reading this awesome book - you need to check it out!

4.  Reuniting with some old friends!  

5.  We took this summer off, and honestly it has been one of the best things ever!  It has been a great time to regroup and refocus!  I am so thankful for this summer and the breath of fresh air it has been!

I hope all you have had a great summer!



Do you believe in ghosts?

Are you haunted by ghosts?

I do and I am.  While the idea of the spirit of someone who has passed really freaks me out, it is the idea of ghosts of my past that are the most frightening.  The ghosts of the person I used to be seems to haunt my reality - I am pretty sure there is more than one ghost.  The ghost of the young girl I was before I became a believer, the ghost of the timid wallflower I was during most of high school, and the ghost of the naive diva I became in college.

I was around four or five, quite young, when I became a believer so that particular ghost is not so much haunting as elusive.  That simple faith of my childhood that God would take care of everything is something I must search for and tap into on a daily basis.

The timid wallflower ghost seems to hit me square in the face anytime I step foot near my high school - yes it is just as bad as it sounds.  Its like I am possessed with the 16 year old version of myself anytime I turn in the parking lot and I try quite hard to blend into the seat of my car.  I was a substitute teacher there a few times when I moved home, and I had to remind myself not to look as scared as I felt because I was no longer that girl.

Most recently I have come face-to-face with the college version of myself, and for a brief moment, I found myself wanting to be that girl again.  Surrounded by great friends and family, successful in school, active in organizations, she was a devout optimist, confident in her abilities, and stubborn to a fault.  College was great, and I treasure those times, but the seconds were fleeting before I realized that this girl was un-tested and lacked depth.  Yes she had not experienced pain and struggles in any real way, but she also had never really experienced the strength of God's hand when you have nothing else to hold onto.

Even though it does make me sad that things have changed and that girl is a ghost, I wouldn't trade the lessons I have learned when all of those things were stripped from my life.  I had placed my friends where only God should be, I relied on my own abilities rather than leaning on God, and during my junior and senior years, I was "too busy" to spend real time in the word.  Little by little, God took away those things so that He could restore my foundation and form me into the person who could withstand the winds and rains of testing and trials.  Now I am not saying that I have "arrived" by any means, but I at least feel that I am on the right road.  Sometimes it just takes a few ghosts to remind us where we have come from!



"21 You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. 22 For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 Only [i]fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.”
I Samuel 12:21-25

Well you guessed it, I am a few weeks into a new study - this particular one begins with the period immediately following the period of Judges and continues through the life of David.  This particular passage is Samuel talking to Israel after they rejected God as their king and demanded a human king like every other nation.  The issue was not simply wanting or needing a king, but rejecting God as their king. You know I used to be quite the judgmental snob towards Israel, but the more I study the Old Testament and the more of this life I live, the more I relate to the people of Israel.  Which is typically the exact moment when I find myself acutely aware of both the grace God gives us each day and the need to submit to His authority in my life.

I think I identify so well with the Israelites because like them, I need these reminders "not to turn aside."  And then because I am that girl - I read scripture and then have this scene in my head.  This time, it's as though I am supposed to be listening to someone but I am distracted instead, and He snaps His fingers in front of my face and says, "focus!" Immediately I snap to attention as though He is the King and I am the lowly peasant.  He continues, "remember the Lord who is great and mighty, and remember what you are to be fighting for" (Nehemiah 4:14) because we must never forget, He is our King and this life is a fight!

It is so very simple to get distracted and to "turn aside."  Most of the time the distractions are not necessarily sinful things in and of themselves.  These activities become sinful when I place them where only God should be.  Still other times, it is not an activity at all, but an attitude towards things.  I begin working and desiring things instead of God - does that make sense?  The verse in Romans 12 that speaks of being transformed by the renewing of our minds means so much more in the light of this - so much of this battle is mental. We need grace everyday, and we need His word like we need physical nourishment - every day, three times a day sometimes.

I am immensely grateful and blessed that He does not abandon His people but gives us these "focus" reminders!