All is new, all is well

We Only Have What We Remember

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By Natalie Wise

This year was a little rough around the edges
Cold around the dawns
A little tarnished, a little blemished, a little bruised

There were shadows, true
Grays and blacks and blues
But there were also mes and yous

Life is fragile and fleeting
But I am strong and solid and sold on the idea
That it is also beautiful for the believers

Instead of longing, I linger
Looking for words winged and rare
Instead of haunting, I hunger
For a world of peace and quiet
Instead of wanting, I wonder
How my two hands can help

There were shadows, true
Grays and blacks and blues
But there were also yes’ and I do’s

May next year be softer around the edges
Warmer around the dawns
A little lighter, a little brighter, a little glean
May the midnight bell ring in your heart
All is new, all is…

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Stop Stereotyping Success

So I have lots to say on this topic, but I want to keep this particular post short and simple. In our society today, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Been there, done that. Our appearance, our possessions, and most comically- our accomplishments. Even what we succeed is measured and compared with the world around us. At times I’ve even set a ‘personal’ goal based on what I thought other people wanted me to do. In the end, I felt anything but successful because my accomplishment did not fulfill what I wanted or needed myself. I allowed others to set and measure my accomplishments. Yet, this is my life, not theirs. It is I who should define what I ‘accomplishment.’ For it is me who will experience the consequence, gain the reward, for a reached success.

OUR goals, dreams, aspirations, desires, and accomplishments need to become our own again. Instead of measuring our success by comparing it to someone’s else’s; we should appreciate it for what it means to us. Recently, in goal setting, I have learned to not only keep them specific and attainable but also personal. I am now reaching to flourish in the areas I care about and grow as an independent individual. This entails doing the things I love, including people specifically special to me, and putting in place practices that add value to my life. It is so much more fulfilling to reach for something that matters to us uniquely, opposed to reaching for other people’s approval. There is no need to look around and devalue our accomplishments by comparing our own success to someone else’s. Their reward means something different to them, and their journey is different than yours. The best profit we can gain from our achievements is self-approval. So, give yourself credit. I cannot express how important it is to appreciate yourself, and pat yourself on the back for all you do. It’s easier for others to celebrate you when you can first celebrate yourself.

Aspire to do the things you’ve always hoped to do. What did you dream about as a kid? What gets you excited? What stars can you shoot for right now? Don’t get caught upsetting unattainable goals to impress bystanders. There’s no need to depreciate your passion because it’s outside the ‘norm.’ This is YOUR success story. We are all successful in our own way. Believe it and keep working towards being you! Be encouraged today for you are worthy of success. Search deep for what matters most to you and work hard to attain that goal. Before you know it your life will be filled with passion. Focus on adding value to your life, and you will eventually bring value to the lives of others. Celebrate who you are today because making it through today is an accomplishment in itself. Count the little things as success, and greater success will follow. This is your life, your journey, and your story of success.

 

 

The Oregon Coast

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If you ever visit Oregon and decide to take a trip to the beach don’t waste your time on overpriced sunscreen and that ’30 day to a perfect beach body’ workout. Chances are the sun wont be out and you definitely wont need a swimsuit.

The Oregon coast is pretty darn cold. The breeze slowly increases and the skies remain gray. This isn’t meant to discourage you from going to the coast – simply prepare you. I promise you every minute at the Oregon Coast will be absolutely worth it.

There is something about escaping to coast that brings a sense of infinite moments of simplicity. All responsibilities and worries seem to be left back in the city.

Life is busy. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning with a million things to do but instead I get in my car and start driving. 9 times outta 10 I end…

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Our Key to Affordable Travels

Life worth Living

Traveling the inexpensive way, your way.

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Adults commonlyadvise against settling too soon, “See the world, travel, experience and find yourself.” Here we are loving and enjoyingone another. Herewe areliving andsoaking in their expertise.Assimpleanduncomplicated as removing bills and obligations seems,the majority of us never truly free ourselves from responsibilities. Responsibility isa part of life and gives light toour character. Rather than fighting it, weembrace it and appreciate the vacation as the holiday away.

How do we afford to travel?

Despite exceptional incomes, planning finances for vacation can be extremely over whelming for everyone. Our truest and mosthonest answer to glamorous affordability: Sacrifice.
Adventuring (in our opinion) is not thecookie-cutter, time enhanceditineraries accustomed to showers, readiness,running around, late arrivals, dinner reservationsand missed cabs. We trash the materialistic and replace it with passion and simplicity.While comfort is important, lenience and optimismmay be themost beneficial mindset forinexpensive travels.Baringthe sacrifices is simple and certainly…

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Living a Life of Worship

Living a life of worship. What does that mean?  To me it means praising God by doing what I love most. It is finding my own, unique way to express the love that has been lavished on me. To worship God is to honor Him, and therefore honoring the work He has done in my life and having faith to believe He will do even greater in the time to come. This being said I believe God’s glory is shown when I pursue the passions He has placed in my heart.

I love mountains, I absolutely adore them. Growing up in Montana: peaks, ranges, and basins are the places I have discovered a deep sense of home. Something else I love, it to ski. Skiing is my way of associating with that which I adore [worship]. When I ski I come into direct contact with the air, the ground, and the commute I most admire. Found in complete peace it’s as if my whole being flourishes thorough the high elevation. My skin slightly stinging as I am reminded of that one time I got frostbite…thankful for my new fleece face mask. Memories of childhood make their way into my mind as I reflect on all the hot cocoa breaks me and my dad made when the wind chill got a little too chilly. When God brings back memories we are given yet another chance to worship him.

Another one of my favorite parts of skiing, is the people. It absolutely amazes me to think that every itsy bitsy ant looking figure making their way down the massive mountain face, is a person. A person with a past, a present, and a future – a story to be told. People from all over the world come to places (like Montana) to experience the glory I got to grow up in. That in itself is something to be amused by and truly appreciated. This concept also sets the stage for me to bond with people in my favorite way – interactively. Being put on the same ski lift with a stranger or bumping into an old acquittance on the slopes brings sudden commonalities breathing unity. With my siblings and closest mates, skiing is a time relationships can be built and brought deeper, outside of daily routines and stereotypical obligations. Its just me, them, and the snow brimmed trees (expect for in Switzerland, where most of the skiing is done above tree line). On the mountain I’m comfortable, as I know skiing is a way I can always express myself. This usually leads to my underlying weird side coming out, and my awkwardly funky facial expressions immersing.

I feel like worship can be expressed through our relationships. Giving thanks and honor to God by the way we treat people we know; as well as the people we don’t. By loving well and always attempting to seek out the best interest of others, God is gloried.

If you’re already doing something you enjoy, being kind to those around you comes easy peazy. Loving people is simply a symptom of being/feeling loved in the first place! And we can feel that way when we take initiation to do the things we enjoy (liking shredding the knar) and continuously seeking God’s pure goodness is all we do.

Maybe you’ll worship God through giving gifts, because that’s how you express your love towards others. Perhaps it will be by running a marathon for yourself this spring, or going back to the place your grandparents taught you how to ride a bike. Maybe your way to worship is by taking photos or constantly reorganizing your closet. Express yourself by putting those mad art skills to use. If skiing is your thing, go skiing, ski with me! Whatever it is that you love: name it, claim it, pursue it, and use it in the beautiful light of worship. Before you know it, you’ll be living a life of worship. You’ll be living the life you love.

Till next time, Felicia ✌🏼

New Day, New Year, Renewed Faith {120 encouragements for 2017}

This past year that I have stepped out to discover a life of faith for myself. I would like to share some of the golden nuggets I’ve gained along the way of my crazy amazing journey along the year of 2016. These things have not only changed my life but continue to refine, renew, refresh, enlighten, change, and breathe into my very being – as I hope they do the same for you.

That being said I invite you to search deeper, seek better, and become greater with me. Why? Because we are worth it! So here we go, 120 points of insight I’ve been given the past 12 months that can come to challenge us as we step into 2017. Shall they speak to us, inspire us, and ignite the flame within us to chase after God this year like we never have before. Here’s to January 1st, 2017, and every day which follows!

  1. Knowing about God is not the same as truly knowing God
  2. God speaks through everything
  3. God’s voice always brings life to you and others
  4. “Don’t be scared to fall, for I am with you”
  5. Pray with faith and know your authority in Jesus
  6. Be bold, what is there to lose?
  7. When we speak life, our life speaks
  8. Love is more than a feeling, its a choice
  9. There is no end to love
  10. The more we know God, the more we know ourselves
  11. What we believe about ourselves with supersede what we are capable of
  12. We are made in God’s image, we are children of a good father
  13. The more we give, the more we receive
  14. Repentance is not a condition to salvation, but a choice we make in the process of being sanctified
  15. We aren’t meant to do this alone
  16. Boundaries are healthy and beneficial to us
  17. The Lord is our redeemer, The Lord is our refuge
  18. Perseverance takes time
  19. We are set free from the prison of our own minds through Christ
  20. We are a working masterpiece, God is our master artist
  21. We are the co-author of our own stories
  22. Relationships are about what we can offer not about what we can gain
  23. Love is to seek the higher good for someone else
  24. The more we walk with the Lord the closer we get to discovering our destinies
  25. To have amazing faith our faith must remain active and alive
  26. God has the potential to change our lives every moment; it our choice to stay engaged
  27. There is always an opportunity to step into the unknown
  28. God places, knows, and values each and every desire of our hearts
  29. Hebrews 10:14 By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified
  30. Through the cross we have been given forgiveness, healing, righteousness, life, blessing, abundance, glory, acceptance, and eternal renewal
  31. Letting go and letting God is always a good idea
  32. To be a light we must know the light
  33. The environment we pursuse should match up with the dreams we have
  34. To need God we must look to do the impossible
  35. God doesn’t want worthy, He wants available – we dont have to be worthy, just availible
  36. We can make our own plans and hope God blesses them or we can pursue the plans God has already made and has already blessed
  37. We shouldn’t compare our chapter 3 to someone else’s chapter 20, but instead get inspired by it
  38. Encouraging others can only do good – no harm in helping
  39. We have to choose to see the gold in other people
  40. We have the capability to deliver others from that which we have been delivered from
  41. We are responsible to obey God, we are not responsible for the outcome of that obedience
  42. Relationship is the soil for revelation
  43. God longs to restore our identity through a culture of honor and empowerment
  44. Guard that which is precious to you
  45. True value comes from knowing our identity in Christ
  46. We choose the world we live in
  47. Purity is a process (a process that’s worth it!)
  48. God continues to pursue a deep, real, and sincere love relationship with each and everyone of us
  49. God invites us to join Him in the work He is already doing
  50. We are predestined for purpose
  51. We are anointed to fulfill the purpose of that which we have been called to
  52. Whatever is feeding you will be the fruit you bear
  53. “If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me”
  54. Wake up every morning anticipating something great, and great will come
  55. Our job isn’t to change or people, but to love people where they’re at, and allow God to do the rest
  56. Humility breathes humility
  57. To lead well we must love well
  58. Don’t react to the storm, respond to what God wants you to do in the storm
  59. There are valleys, and there are mountains; there is potential for life to spring from both
  60. As we obey God and put Him as our reward, we will never lose our way
  61. We have been set free from condemnation
  62. Don’t try to be perfect, do try to be better
  63. God doesn’t change but is viewed differently among different parts of the world, the more we accept that the more we will see Him move in cultures that are not our own
  64. Approach the future being mindful of the past without being imprisoned by it
  65. To have a faithful friend, we first must be a faithful friend
  66. God’s timing is perfect
  67. God doesn’t give us anything we aren’t ready for
  68. What we are learning now can be used that we may thrive in whatever God has for us next
  69. Never give up
  70. Provide a platform for God to move
  71. We need to treat disunity as a crisis, because it is one
  72. God has called our generation into such a time as this
  73. Where there is darkness there is great redemptive purpose
  74. “Whoever holds onto his life, will lose it”
  75. Do not let anyone who is speaking out of a motive of fear, speak for you
  76. Hospitality is our strongest evangelistic strategy
  77. God is jealous for justice
  78. When we accept our weakness we are able to accept God’s uniqueness
  79. Be willing to forgive yourself
  80. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it to our full potentials
  81. We are meant to walk in fullness, not in fear
  82. There must be passion to persevere
  83. Knowing, learning, and loving diversity allows us to understand how it paints God’s bigger picture
  84. ‘The important thing is to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become’
  85. Let your dream become your occupation – that’s what it’s there for
  86. God is love, and love is the key to every lock
  87. Everyone needs a king like Jesus
  88. Seek out honest feedback and never stop learning
  89. Hold yourself accountable, and have other accountable people hold you accountable
  90. Everything we do influences someone in someway
  91. Since we are made in God’s image we have the capability to create, think, write, (etc.) something that no one else ever has before
  92. Every single person sees life through a different lense
  93. Our actions will reflect what we deeply value
  94. The best thing we can do is respond in a Christ-like way, no matter the situation
  95. Living a fruitful life is living a life of quality rather than quantity
  96. Let’s have people in outs lives who see us for what we could become while still appreciating who we are right now
  97. Serving others leads to self discovery and leadership development
  98. ‘You never graduate from the foot of the cross’
  99. Being God’s and being unique are the two best things we could ever be
  100. Our character is constantly being developed for either the better or for the worst – let’s choose for the best
  101. Life is made up of seasons and putting ourselves in context of our current season will help us gain greater perspective
  102. Keeping perspective is to view every situation through eyes of hope
  103. We need to give each other permission to be working on ourselves
  104. Value the individual
  105. Jesus asks us to make a difference in this world by being effective servant leaders
  106. Let’s allow God to call us to a higher standard
  107. ‘Take God beyond the compartment of your private spiritual life and give Him free rein in all your daily actions and relationships’
  108. We were created by community, for community (by relationship, for relationship)
  109. We are breathing parables, written by God himself
  110. ‘One man or woman with passion is equal to 99 who simply have interest’ -J.s. Mill
  111. God wants to be known as the relational God He is
  112. Live in accordance to the Word, and trust that it is God’s best for us
  113. When we worship God we become more Christ-like
  114. Communication is far beyond our words
  115. As we draw wisdom out of our experiences and we allow ourselves to never stop learning
  116. There is a deeper, greater, larger place God is trying to take us
  117. Comparison does nothing but limit our own self
  118. Be who God is calling you to be, not who someone else already is
  119. There is beauty in all things, and we will se if if we are willing to search for it
  120. GOD IS SO SO GOOD, NO MATTER WHAT

and that’s only a tiny slice of the cake…. Here’s to 2017!!!

Always Unique and Forever Communicating

Growing up people always told me “oh you’re so unique.” As a 16-year old I took this more of an offense than a compliment. For some reason I would have rather heard something more, well, mainstream. Why couldn’t they just tell me I was pretty or athletic or someone to be envied (yes, high school messes with your head). As I was trying to climb into the box of “fitting in,” my true identity begged from within me to be let out. Today, as a 19 year old, I know my true self much better than I did three years ago. After graduating high school I’ve witnessed an incredible increase in self-discovery. [practicing to love yourself daily is a good place to start]. Truly, I am proud to be where I am today, but that place surely isn’t anywhere near perfection. I still struggle with even the simple stuff, like being myself no matter who is watching; still having the  unrealistic desire to impress people by being someone i’m not. Yet, as I dig deeper to find underlying motives of my heart and hidden hurts from my past, I have come to realize it is possible.

It is possible to be who we once were to begin with. Before all that crappy stuff happened in our families, before that guy/girl broke our heart, before we altered our amazing uniqueness to fit earthly expectations, before we went crazy trying to meet unrealistic standards, before we had to take on a role that was never ours to fill.

All this to say I learned a lot this week. A lot on our week’s topic, which was communications (with Jospeh Avakian), but also a lot about myself in relation to it. Joseph informed us that a good communicator can do much with a little, and much with much. Honestly, i’m not sure if I do either, but for the rest of this blog my attempt is to say a lot with only few words. Here are some of the things I am working through, many which were provoked by Josephs teaching.

  • God knows me better than i know myself
  • Everyone is created unique, not one person is like another
  • Chasing someone else life will never bring fulfillment in our own
  • Whether its on purpose or not, my insecurities will come out in the way I communicate
  • Is the message I carry enhancing or hiding the greatness within the individual i’m speaking to?
  • Am I being driven by my freedom or by my fear?
  • First we must accept ourselves, it’s then when we can begin to truly love ourselves
  • Uniqueness isn’t a set back it’s an opportunity, a gift, and an expression of God’s artful creation
  • Instead of trying to change people, let them own what they own and offer them what they need and don’t have
  • Its better that we learn to appreciate our differences than allow them to bring uneeded frustration
  • I am made to live to the rhythm of my own heart
  • We have the option to either be part of the problem, or part of the solution
  • Our comfort zones can become our prison.
  • Just because i’m speaking the truth doesn’t mean its out of love (which it should be)
  • Am I putting myself above or below others? Both are a demonstration of arrogance
  • Ask, don’t assume.
  • It’s better to be known than to be hidden behind the unknown
  • Practice love, embrace love, usher love, allow love, and give love
  • Leading with integrity calls for consistency and follow through
  • Be the best you that you can be
  • Our differences are the most beautiful things we have
  • I’m not always going to have a solution, but I can always be there to listen
  • Who am I to love you any different that God loves you?
  • I can either be a product of my environment or my environment can become a product of God inside me.
  • Don’t only expect authenticity, create it
  • If I don’t take catch up with my past, my past will catch up with me
  • God isn’t going to give me something i’m not ready for
  • Be the kind of friend you are looking for
  • It’s not only how I act when life is great, but also who I am when everything goes wrong
  • It’s okay to ask for help
  • And it’s also okay to not be okay

Oh, and last but not least….

“Have courage and be kind.”

A Week In the Life 

This week was one of those weeks. One that you look back on in amazement of how much actually happened, how much I actually learned. Looking back I’m in shock of how many moments, this short 7 days held, where I stopped, saying to myself “wow THIS is what it’s like to follow Jesus. THIS is what life’s about.” I feel incredibly unworthy yet overwhelmingly blessed to admit, this phrase has been a recurring one throughout my journey so far. Doesn’t mean my life has been perfect (because it surely has not), but it does mean that even in the midst of my worst experiences and darkest seasons, God has somehow confirmed His love through moments like the ones I saw so many of this week. I could go on about this forever, but that’s not all that made up the past 7 days.

For almost the past year I’ve been involved with an international missions organization, YWAM. Doing both a disciple training school and now a school of ministry development, I’ve been amazed how much more there is to “bible school” than reading the Bible and learning about God in lectures. Yes, I’ve gotten some AWESOME teaching supplying me with further knowledge on God, leadership, character development, healing, and so on- but I also get to live in a community is which all this can be directly applied. First I get to learn about God, then I get to see His move. This week I got to learn about “How to finish well,” then I got to turn around and apply the notes I took during class- to my life.

Something that God has been emerging into all my personal growth over past five months- has been a focus on loving people well. This for the most part has been pretty straight forward, as God brings new insight to me through the relationships I hold both here and at home. The past two months it’s been more about loving people I don’t know as well, and treating everyone I come in contact with as a son/daughter of God. Though these are both journeys I’m still on, God has thrown a curveball at me this week.

By the help of my leaders, accompanied by both in class and out of class teaching, I came to the recognition that I myself need to evaluate several different areas of my own life. One of these is how I’m meeting my social base needs (emotional support, economic support, strategic support, and social support). Tied in with Lisa’s teaching Friday on accountability and having people that will hold you accountable; I was quick to realize that I need to spend more time with those who can pour into me. Even though God is the first person I should go to when faced with problems (which I also need to work on), it is healthy, even vital, to have people who do more than sympathize with me- but also work towards a solution along my side. In this I realized that I do have two habits that occasionally get in the way of me finding strategic and emotional support, along with reaching out to people who can keep me accountable. This is something I’m still processing, as it doesn’t match up complete (yet)- but I’ll share anyways.

So, here they are. First, I love having fun, and I value friendship so so so much. I do believe this is a gift from God, but as I evaluate this so call “habit,” I begin to see how it can get in the way of having relationships in which that person can push me, evaluate my growth, and give honest feedback to how I think I’m doing. Secondly, I always find myself trying to take care of people. Again, not a bad thing. Yet again, something that I think gets in the way of my personal growth. It’s hard for me to admit but probably up to 95% I jump to take care of others before taking care of myself. Over and over again I find myself measuring my emotional state by that of those I care about it. For example, if my housemate isn’t doing very good, I feel almost bad if I’m doing great. If a close friend of mine is dealing with something I call them in hope to solve their problem, before dealing with my own.

So in the end of this all, I realize I want these two things. I want to be held accountable, pushed, evaluated, and given honest feedback. I also want to take care of myself, and deal with my problems. The problem isn’t that I’m scared of doing so; it’s just I get too caught up in other stuff that I forget. I forget that at the end of the day it’s about my relationship with Jesus, my mental-physical-emotional-spiritual state. Not how many people I make laugh, or how much time I got to pour into my friends (even though I still love and value doing both these things); because at the end of the day if I’m not happy, I can’t effectively bring joy into the lives of others.

I’m overwhelming thankful for this realization because now I myself am aware, I can begin to work on finding balance. Most amazing thing is, I feel like God has already begun showing me how to do so, he’s already began to place people in my life as I attempt to put in practice 1. Seeking out accountability, and, 2. focusing on my well-being first. Then, I believe, God will entrust me with more. More people, more wellness, more love; that I can continue to love people like Jesus love them.

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