Purpose Changes Things

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It has been a little over a month since the boys, our dog and I stepped onto a plane with three suitcases to meet my husband Jason in our new city, the city of San Francisco. A few weeks ago we moved into our new home and today I am taking it all in.

Taking time to reflect during transitions, change, and new seasons is important. During this time it is easy to get caught up in all that has to be done, but I am a firm believer you have to hit pause and allow yourself time to reflect.

As I sit here thinking through the move and the transition, I am in awe with how much peace has been in each step, even steps that came by surprise. It has been a whirlwind for sure as we, natives to Louisiana, moved from Grapevine, Texas to San Francisco, California. In addition to leaving the “southern world” and entering the “west coast world”, we moved without furniture, a car and our Texas home still for sale. All of those details can be overwhelming, but I can confidently say that the transition has been full of peace and purpose. I feel that PURPOSE is the very thing that has provided peace…the purpose behind the move, the purpose behind some of the chaos, the purpose behind navigating the finances and more. When there is purpose there is an unexplainable peace that exists. Yes sometimes in the moment I can become overwhelmed and question everything, but when I pause and remind myself of purpose, my perspective shifts and peace invades. I wish I had discovered the significance of this years ago. When something in your life carries purpose, you will discover that you face scenarios differently. For instance, many might have seen the unfortunate event that took place in the middle of the day when Jason was getting stamps to ironically send out thank you letters to everyone who has helped us on this journey. While in the store, someone broke into our car. Initially, I was broken just like the car window. Questions, doubt and fear rushed my heart and mind; then purpose appeared and things shifted. I was reminded that we live in an imperfect and broken world and this was the very reason we moved into this city…to deliver hope, healing, and love. A broken car window was something that could have happened anywhere, yet in the moment fear gripped me and I questioned why we had moved here. But thank you Jesus for reminding me of the why and setting purpose in my heart.

PURPOSE CHANGES THINGS. I am not sure what you are facing or what you might be walking through, but I encourage you to pause and discover purpose. I encourage you to think through the purpose of your job, the purpose of your family, and the purpose of the roles you carry. Maybe like us, you need to pause and remind yourself of the purpose behind the move, the purpose behind leaving “comfort”, and the purpose behind diving into the unknown. Don’t let the to do list, the challenges or the misfortunates of today blind you of the purpose for your day. So today, pause and reflect and discover purpose.

 

And here is a snapshot on the Lairds Adventure in SF:

  • When we arrived we were grateful to stay with Jason’s sister until we found furniture for our new house, which was a huge blessing!
  • One of our best friends offered to drive our car here with some of our things, which again was a major blessing!
  • After a week of arriving here, we moved into a beautiful rent house and are continuing to make it our home.
  • The boys and I are working on getting back into our routine of homeschool and hoping to connect with other homeschool groups in the area.
  • Jason continues to move the church forward everyday. He is building great relationships and is excited about all God has in store for the Bay Area.
  • To stay up to date on our journey continue to check out itsalladventure.com.
  • You can also find out about Sozo Church at sozo.co and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @sozochurchsf
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“Shout Out to All the MOMs!!!” by Heather Cromer

A few weeks ago my good friend, Heather Cromer, shared such an encouraging word to a group of moms and I could not pass up the opportunity to share with you. Heather is an amazing mom of two boys, 4 and almost 2 years old. She mothers with such a beautiful heart. She is the mom who has gone and will go to the ends of the earth for her children. I have watched first hand. I hope her advice and reminders below encourage you as much as they encouraged me.

Dear Sister Friends,

The past 2 years I have found myself in one of the most authentic, hilarious, life-giving small groups of women. I think I love it so much because I see the body of Christ active in it. As a group, we celebrate when one of us has something to celebrate. When one is grieving, we all mourn AND PRAY together. During this season of raising littles, there have been so many times I just needed someone to remind me that I, my unique self with desires and dreams of my own, was still in there. I needed the reminder that I was more than just a mom. That I was more than just a food-preparing, laundry-folding, diaper-changing robot with no actual thoughts or feelings. These moms do that for me. When I got together with them a few weeks ago, God gave me some encouraging thoughts to share and I pray they encourage you as well.

DISCLAIMER: For the following thoughts to make sense, You should go read 1 Corinthians 12:12-28.

– COMPARISON is SUCH A KILL JOY. I am so thankful to be in this particular time and surrounded by a group of women who seem to be understanding that we are not in competition with each other. In fact, we actually help to complete each other. We are after all each different parts of the body! God is all about unity & honors it. We need each other!

– I want to bring to your attention the fact that there are internal organs in your physical body that will literally never see the light of day BUT without them, we DIE. In the same way, there are some behind the scenes roles in the body of Christ that may never be recognized or abundantly appreciated but without them the body of Christ does not function as it should. I know sometimes as a stay-at-home mom with a son with special needs, I have thought, “I may never see the light of day”. However, the work I am doing is SO valuable. So is YOUR work. I want to encourage you if you are feeling like an “unseen part” THE BODY CANNOT FUNCTION WITHOUT YOU. I SEE YOU. GOD SEES YOU.

– Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first. You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life” – Anna Quindlen

– From For the Love by Jen Hatmaker:  “A worthy life involves loving as loved folks do, sharing the ridiculous mercy God spoiled us with first. It means restoring people, in ordinary conversations and regular encounters. A worthy life means showing up when showing up is the only thing to do. To Mama at home with a bunch of littles, you can live a life worthy right now. Your calling is today. God makes you worthy as you desire goodness for your children, meeting needs and nurturing little souls. No future calling is any more important than your current stationYou have access to the kingdom now: the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That is every Christians calling and the gospel is perfectly demonstrated through the daily labor of parenting.” (Can I get an amen!!!)

– Faithfulness is not easy, but it is simple. You are already able, already positioned, already valuable in your normal life on your normal street next to your normal neighbors in your normal work.

Jen Hatmaker in For the Love described my heart’s desire for you so perfectly. I encourage you to read this out loud and replace the “you” with “I”. Declare this truth over your life.

“You are smart and capable, strong and wise. You are an overcomer, a prized member of the body of Christ. You have so much to offer. You can gather your girlfriend tribe and raise kids together, providing the happiest childhood they ever complained about. You can crack open your bible and preach good news to the poor. You can model faithful friendship around your table, and you can stretch your hand across oceans to mamas everywhere. You can do small work. You can do big work. You are so able in Jesus, so beloved, so permitted. You have a role. Your place is secure. You have authority to use your home as a sanctuary, your hands as tools of healing, your voice as an instrument of hope, your gifts as channels of incredible power.”

I want to continue to spur you on to pursue your dreams and encourage you as you complete your everyday duties. I want to continue to be this sisterhood of fierce women who complete each other as we are pieces of the body of the Christ. Thank you for choosing to lift each other up rather than tear down. Thank you for doing hard things in invisible trenches. I am so inspired by you!

Much Love & Respect,

Heather Cromer


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Looking Back

Last week I began thinking about 2015…What were my goals? What did I set out to accomplish? What were all the things I planned to do? (I know this was probably not the ideal time to take a first look at this being a week away from 2016, but better late than never.) I searched Evernote, journals, and notes on my phone until I found my 2015 goals. As I began reading them, I realized that I had not nearly accomplished all I had set out to do. I felt a little depressed as I looked at the list and thought of all I had not done. There I was with all my un-accomplishments staring me in the face. As I buried my head in regret, I asked myself a quick question, “What had I done with 2015?” This simple question that was being asked in regret, instead lifted my head as I realized all that 2015 carried. It might not have been a year where I checked off goals completed, but it was a year that was filled with purpose. Sure I wish I would have been better at looking at my goals throughout the year and I definitely wished I would have sent more cards to friends and family and read a few more books, but just because these things were not completed does not mean the year was a fail. This year was full of purpose…

  • Liam started Kindergarten and our homeschool journey officially began;
  • Jason and I celebrated our ten year anniversary in Israel;
  • Friends and family moved to the DFW area;
  • We received impactful words of encouragement from our church, family and friends;
  • We no longer have diapers in the house (this should definitely be celebrated!);
  • We had great traveling adventures with family and friends;
  • We watched friends and family step out in faith to accomplish the dreams in their heart;
  • We watched our two boys grow in their personality and character;
  • We walked through some “valley” moments and we came out stronger;
  • We had a few updates to our house;
  • We played and rested; and
  • So much more.

So yes this year might not have been all it was set out to be according to my plans, but it was indeed a year that had purpose. Saying all this, I want to encourage you not to be so hard on yourself for missing a few check marks on your goal list or to do sheet. In reflection of 2015, think of all that was accomplished. I firmly believe there was something good that occurred and even some great that 2015 carried. Give yourself grace to enter into 2016 free of guilt or regret instead of being focused on what wasn’t completed. This is what I am choosing. I am choosing to focus on all that was done and all that is left to do with excitement, joy and grace. Will I walk into 2016 with more goals and another to do list? Most definitely, but I will not become so focused on completing them that I lose sight of everything else that is happening around and through me. I want to step into 2016 being aware of each day and all that it holds.

Cheers to 2016!!! Let this be a year full of joy, love and grace!!!


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Along for the Ride

Hi there! I hope you had an amazing and adventure-filled summer. I know we did. Three months that I thought would be slow flew by us rather quickly. Even though it was fast, it was fun. Between out-of-town guests, soccer, vacation, and church, it was full, but we had a blast. Now that we are getting back to our schedule, blogging time has reappeared. Today I am excited to share a quick thought with you.
The other day as I was getting in the car, I had this thought as I drove away. I was heading to a place I knew about, but my children did not. Many times my boys, especially my oldest, need to know the plan. He daily asks, “Mom, what’s the plan?” or “So here is the plan, Mom”. If I do not have a plan for the day, he is usually able to create one pretty quickly. Well in this moment, we were leaving the store and I had this thought to surprise them with the next stop. I assume they thought we were simply heading home, but little did they know I would be taking them to get some frozen yogurt.
In my drive to the “unknown” place, I began thinking about how much I like to know the steps for my life and especially like to know the destination places. However, most of the time the steps and places I am led to are not the places I assumed I was going. Many times God just wants to take you and I along for a ride like I was taking my children that day. He wants us to sit back and trust him to bring us to the right destination. Like an excited parent who is driving to a place to surprise their children, God gets excited to surprise us with our next place. I can only imagine the joy God gets as He orders our steps to bring us into our next season. I can only imagine the great wisdom and discernment He implements to drive us to our next place.
When I arrived in front of the frozen yogurt store, my boys were stunned. They were so excited that their initial response was speechlessness. They could not believe where I had brought them, but as soon as they walked through the door they were running to try all the flavors offered. Is that how I respond when I arrive to a surprise destination that God has brought me to? Sometimes, but there are definitely times when I do not respond with excitement. I am speechless out of fear, confusion, or anger. That day I felt God tell me to trust Him more. Trust Him in His perfectness to bring me to the place He desires. He wants me to be okay with not knowing all the details and He wants me to arrive with the same excitement as my boys. God wants us to walk up to the next place He takes us, open the door and walk in with full confidence that this is where He wants us. I pray that we all can grow stronger in trusting our God to have full control of our lives, including our steps and destinations. I believe the closer we stay by Him in our journey, the more we will see His goodness and perfect plan for each of our lives.
psalm 32 8


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This is the Season

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that seemed to become a recurring conversation you have with multiple people? This recently happened to me as I was talking to a friend. What we discussed then came up in conversations I had with multiple friends. Because of this, I really began thinking more and more about the topic and would like to share my thoughts with you.

As I sat with my friend, we began discussing different seasons of life, particularly times when your gifts or passions are laid aside. We are currently both stay-at-home moms that have passions and gifts on us, but it seems that motherhood gets the most, if not all of us. As I sat listening and discussing this reality with my friend, my mind began racing with questions…

“Is putting your gifts and passions on hold a reality? Does it have to be this way?”

“Is there anyway to continue in your passions and gifts no matter your season?”

“People claim that we can do it all, but is this just a claim and a not a real possibility?”

With each additional conversation regarding this topic, my thoughts and questions increased. Then one day as I was driving, I had this revelation moment. My mind was held by an image of a woman sitting on the bench during a soccer game. (I will use this sport, since it is the sport I currently play. Go Double Shots!) The woman on the bench was not called to play in the game, but if called in, she was ready. She had been exercising and practicing as if she was to be the MVP of the game. She was prepared for the moment she would be called in. It was here when I had my “ah-ha” moment. I felt like I had gained answers to some of my lingering questions.

Putting our passions and gifts aside because of our current season may seem like the only option sometimes, especially when we feel like we are just sitting the bench. We can have many reasons why we put our gift “on the shelf” per say; whether it is taking care of kids, no current opportunities, financial issues, or simply time. But as I thought about the soccer analogy, I have come to believe we can exercise our gifts and passions no matter the season or circumstance.  It may not be the picture perfect way we thought our gifts and passions would be lived out, but if we do not exercise them in all seasons, how will we be prepared when our ideal opportunity comes.

If you are gifted to teach, find ways to teach. It might be teaching your children, having a small group of friends over, or tutoring at your local library.

If you are gifted to sing, find ways to sing. The platform may not be there yet, but your family can hear you, the local choir would love to have you, or the mirror in your house is waiting for you.

If you are passionate about missions, find ways to serve. It may not be Africa, but your neighbor is waiting on you, your kids school needs you, or a local nonprofit is waiting for your help.

I am learning that God does not give us gifts to be placed on the shelf to collect dust. He desires us to use our gifts no matter the season. He wants us to exercise them so we are prepared when He calls us out. He wants them to be stretched so they can grow and be strengthened. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “…be prepared in season and out of season..” Paul wanted to make sure Timothy was ready.

be ready

Are you ready? Do you have gifts and passions that need to be taken off the shelf and utilized? For me, I used to exercise my gifts daily as I worked full-time, attended mission trips, served at church, and served my family. When I became a stay-at-home mom, many of my gifts and passions seemed to be pushed to the side. I began to make excuses for the reasons this was happening. Thankfully God showed me ways to exercise my gifts in my current reality. He has stretched me to teach by home schooling. He has helped me connect with others through blogging and joining different groups and teams. He has opened my eyes to so many creative ways to stay utilizing my gifts and passions. I am hoping that you are now stirred. You are dusting off your gifts and passions and determining ways to exercise them because there will be a season where you are called off the bench. Are you ready?


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SPRING Time

spring-buds-1-of-14

Staring out of the window this morning, my eyes quickly noticed the budding of our trees, birds at the feeder, and the grass growing. It is a new season; spring is here! As I sit here being reminded of spring, I want to share a few spring tips and thoughts with you.

1. Reboot. Entering a new season is a great time to do a health reboot. Three day juice or detox cleanse, a sugar detox or a whole 30 challenge are great ways to do this.

2. Clean. I know the dreadful word for most, but its time to have a good spring cleaning. Here are a few items to tackle..clean your fans, change your air filters, dust your baseboards and blinds and clean out your refrigerator.

3. Plant. If you have not cleaned out your garden, now is the time to do that as well as plant your veggies and fruit for the spring. Check out Urban Farmer to see planting options during this season.

4. Out with the old. Step into your closet with a bag and get rid of clothes, especially those that were not worn last spring. I know the thought, “But this might come back in style.” Trust me I have said this phrase before, but chances are when it does come back in style, it will no longer fit or it will be out of your ages dresscode. Also grab a bag for your kids to get rid of the toys that they no longer need or play with. Then take your bags to the nearest shelter or thrift store.

5. Reflect and Respond. This week we are celebrating the events that changed mankind’s eternity. We reflect and celebrate the last week of Jesus Christ’s life, his death and his resurrection. We take time to read the Bible to remind ourselves what took place during this week. We take time as a family to have communion pausing our schedules to take the bread and cup in remembrance of what took place on the cross. We celebrate his life with community by attending church to worship together. And I hope that you will do the same this week. I pray you take time to reflect and respond…grab your bible, attend and engage in church, and worship the one and only Savior of the world.


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“Is It On Sale?”

“Is it on sale?” This was a question my mom repeatedly asked me before a purchase was made. She even wrote me a poem once and lines within the poem were “never buy it unless it’s been marked down twice.” Today when I visit with her, she is quick to show me a new purchase that was bought on sale. Recently my four year old and I were in the store and he picked something out and said, “Mom, can we get this or is this not on sale?” So I guess you could say that my mom’s ways of shopping have rubbed off on me.

So today I want to share a few of my shopping habits with you:
1. Is it on sale? This is definitely a question I pose before any purchase. And when I look for a sale, a couple of dollars off is not much of a sale, but if the item is something I must purchase then $2.00 is better than none.
2. When I purchase items online, I will always google coupon codes for that site. For instance, when I recently made a purchase I found a coupon for 20% off and for free shipping. I went with the latter as it was the best savings for me and I ended up saving $7.00 by using the free shipping coupon code.
3. When I purchase large items in the store or when I am only making one specific purchase in a store, I will google that item to see if it is cheaper anywhere else and then see if the store will match it and these days most stores will match competitors prices. This has helped me save up to $20 or more sometimes.

Now I will admit that I am not a coupon queen, but I am about a deal. I will also admit that I am not much of a shopper, but when I do shop I look for a deal. You also need to know that just because something is on sale does not mean that it needs to be purchased. I know that is hard for some to hear, especially my mom if she is reading, but we must be wise with purchases. 🙂

I would love to hear some ways you save. Please share as I know many of us looking for a deal are always looking for more ways to find them.