What's around me...

After having an emotional moment with a friend over text yesterday, she told me to read Jeremiah 29:11. Knowing her and maybe just out of pure curiosity as to what Jeremiah 29:11 says, I searched my handy iPhone Bible ap since my other arm was stuck under my sleeping 2 year old. For those of you who don't know, it says: " For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 20:11

I've heard it before and it's one of my favorites. It's beautiful and perfect, especially for whatever it is I've been feeling lately (which I can't put into words...even if I try...one day friends). Then she mentioned she has these written all around her and it's helped so much lately and suggested I do the same. I had to giggle just a bit. If you've been in my office or have seen my journal from high school, you know that I am a bit of a quotes and Bible verse hoarder. I'm a little obsessed with inspirational things...books, videos, blogs...you name it. My soul craves it like someone addicted to falling in love craves a new relationship (if that makes any sense at all). It's also the reason I have a love affair with any sort of paper that will stick to a surface. My post-it notes have been replaced with cute little Martha Stewart notes. They line the bottom of my monitor, my bulletin board, the background of my laptop, and now there's even a Martha Stewart note with a quote on my laptop. Not only that, but since high school I've had a journal that is half full of favorite quotes, poems written by me, and general teen angst. I need to update it with all my recent loves. I always intended to pass this down to my littles one day (yes...like Mandy Moore kept in A Walk to Remember).

Now, in case you're needing a little inspiration today, here's what surrounds me and my day to day.

"Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart." Brene Brown (I heard this on one of her TED talks about shame and vulnerability)

"Let GO and Let GOD"

"Intention" This one was inspired by a webinar series about living a life of intention

"Release and make room" Inspired by several things I've read and heard. This can truly be applied to every facet of life...your heart, your time, business, etc. etc.

"There is NO BETTER day than TODAY" This is totally just me trying to tell myself to stop telling myself that today isn't the day to quit drinking Pepsi or to do any of the other things that I want to do.

"It's time to start living the life you've imagined." Henry James

"Give the world a reason to dance." Kid President

"There is no pain like having an untold story in you." I have no idea where this came from, but I like it and it applies to my current season of life where I haven't been writing and sharing like I want...scratch that...need to.

"In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you." Buddhist saying

"By stumbling along in one law, you are breaking the law" "Mercy triumphs over justice." "All things work for good for those who love God."  All of these are from the Bible, of course, but I wrote them down while listening to a series of podcasts from Bianca from the blog "In the Name of Love" (if you're a photographer, she's the twin sister of Jasmine Star)

"You are enough. You have enough. You do enough." From one of the many mommy blogs I've read.

"Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants."

"Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you."

"Fear will take you in one direction while love will take you the other direction." Again from the sermon I heard via podcast from Bianca.

On a similar note, I love books that I feel the need to highlight and write in. It's the reason I'm not sure I could ever love reading a book on a screen. I like holding it, smelling it, and writing in it. I love books that inspire me in general. I don't currently have my "Eat. Pray. Love." book, but it is one of my favorites. The quote I remember that I love the most is, "God is in you, as you."

Another favorite book of mine is "Love Does" by Bob Goff. Here are some of my favorite quotes from it...

"...the only weapon any of us really has is love."

"He raised a little girl from the dead, and what did He say? 'Tell no one.'"

"...add your whole life, your loves, your passions, and your interests together with what God said He wants us to be about, and that's your answer. If you want to know the answer to the bigger question-what's God's plan for the whole world?-buckle up: it's us. We're God's plan, and we aways have been. We aren't just supposed to be observers, listeners, or have a bunch of opinions. We're not here to let everyone know what we agree and don't agree with, because, frankly, who cares? Tell me about the God you love; tell me about what He has inspired uniquely in you; tell me about what you're going to do about it, and a plan for your life will be pretty easy to figure out from there."

"I especially see evidence of God in other people's lives. What's beautiful about them always looks an awful lot like God to me."

"If you ask a thousand people who don't want anything to do with religion why that is, they'll tell you all the reasons they don't like it, but I doubt they'd be describing the real stuff...The only way they can keep from being head-faked anymore is for somebody to give them a taste of the real thing. And what's great is that we each have a shot at being that person."

"Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It's about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light."

"I think of church as a vibrant community of people consisting of two or more varied backgrounds gathering around Jesus. Sometimes they are at a place that might have a steeple or auditorium seating. But it's just as likely that church happens elsewhere, like coffee shops or on the edge of a glacier or in the bush in Uganda. All of these places work just fine, I suppose. When it's a matter of the heart, the place doesn't matter. For me, it's Jesus plus nothing-not even a building."

"Jesus told the people He was with that it's not enough to just look like you love God. He said we'd know the extent of our love for God by how well we loved people."

"In the end, love doesn't just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does."

Okay...so I have just reminded myself of how absolutely incredible this book is.

So much inspires me in this life. People...the way they laugh and love and give and share...my family...the way my husband gives to others with endless strength...the way Steff plays and loves with such a pure heart...the way the light hits our house at sunset and fills our home, our yard, our garden with warmth...the way tall grass waves in the wind...the sound of night in the country...the quiet of a fresh night snow...the sharpness of the stars in a clear night sky...the feeling in my soul when I hear a truly great song...the way music can take you over and make you dance, sing, or just simply bring back a memory...photography and getting a glance at the way someone else sees the world...how we all step up and give when it matters most...and really just the way we are all inspired by each other and Jesus. It's really all such a beautiful thing and really all just God talking to us the way we will hear it...isn't it? I feel it's all connected.

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Yes...our window is dirty and that's okay. It adds character.

Finally, this post wouldn't be complete without the Bible verse I love most of all and sticks with me every day.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the fit of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, bud do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13

Peace and SO much love to each of you,

Cilla