Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When God Is Silent

Have you ever felt like maybe God wasn't listening to you? Have you ever prayed and prayed for something and waited for answers that didn't seem to be coming? I think its okay as a Christian to admit that sometimes, it feels like God is silent. That He isn't answering our prayers. There's nothing wrong with feeling like that, because sometimes, we do pray for something and we don't get what we're asking for.

Its a good idea to know that some seasons, God may seem more quiet than others. I've gone through seasons where I just wanted to scream to God "Why aren't you answering me?!" I remember working at a job I hated, praying and praying for months for a way out. I prayed for healing when I first was diagnosed with my autoimmune disease but, I still have a chronic disease. Maybe you've prayed for something, big or small and you don't know why God isn't answering.

First of all, I want to tell you that whatever you feel like God is withholding from you, it is because it is not best for you right at this time. God's timing is good and perfect, all the time. Is it possible that what you're praying for might actually be bad for you? Just because we desire something, it doesn't mean it is God's best for us. Take heart knowing that God is the giver of good and perfect gifts, and He knows what is ultimately good for us, even though sometimes God's best may not match our own desires.

Second, has God given you an answer that maybe you just don't like? Because in my experience, I've accused God of not answering my prayer when in fact, He did answer. But sometimes, His answers are not easy to accept, or even understand. And thats okay. Its okay to not understand. But we need to realize that although God knows the desires of our heart, and often He is the one that places desires in our heart, we are still human with sinful and selfish nature and we don't always know what is best for us.

Third, I would ask you if you are seeking after God with everything you have. Are you continually spending time in His word, soaking up His wisdom? Are you have conversation with Him, inviting him into your day, asking Him to give you guidance and wisdom? I would like to encourage you to really invest in your relationship with God and give Him a chance to speak. Set aside the distractions and connect with Him. And know that this requires dedication-although God can and will speak sometimes the minute we start praying, sometimes it takes patience and perseverance.

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

If you are in a season where you feel like God is silent or not answering a prayer, heres what I would encourage you to do

  • Seek God with all your heart- Talk to Him, and read His word. Do everything you can to seek after Him.
  • Look in His word for an answer-sometimes, what we're wanting direction on is already addressed in the Bible. Reference scripture on whatever topic you are praying about, and read what God already has to say about it
  • When you start to stress or worry, repeat over and over "I trust You God. You are in control, so I don't have to be."
  • Examine your life-Ask yourself is there is any area in your life that you may not be living pleasing to God. This isn't to say God doesn't answer prayers if we commit a sin, because we are all sinners who fall short. God's Grace is a free gift he gives to each of us, but its important to recognize these areas in our life and confess them and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes Sin is tricky and it can block us from hearing God's voice.
  • Ask for prayer and counsel from trusted friends and mentors
  • Don't lose heart. God is FOR YOU!

I hope this is encouraging to you. Sometimes it seems like God is silent, but I promise He is always for you, pursuing you, smiling over you, and fighting for you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Running in the Rain

You wouldn't know it by the bright sunshine in the background of these two pictures, but I spent my Sunday morning running through a torrential downpour. I am not even being that dramatic, it literally dumped rain on my friend Molly and I for approximately one hour and forty minutes. 

We ran 9.5 miles, and the rain was coming down so hard, there was a small river in my shoes. My clothes were soaked all the way through, my hands were cold, and the rain was whipping me in the face. But it was awesome. During that run, I felt alive and free in a way that only running can give me. Running through the rain is a cleansing but brutal exercise. The sure determination it takes to keep moving instead of retreating somewhere warm and cozy is almost unimaginable.

A lot like running, in life, sometimes we are caught in a storm. In the rain that won't let up. And like when I am running, all you can do in those times is put one foot in front of the other. Over, and over again. Because the sun eventually will come back out-this I promise you. We are going to be dealt some hard times and experience our fair share of rain in life, but the clouds eventually break and light shines back through. So whatever you're going through, keep moving. Don't let the rain get the best of you. Embrace this season and let the rain change you, let it cleanse you and refresh you and let it be the season you can look back on, knowing you didn't let the rain keep you inside.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Life Lately

This post is brought to you by a bit of writers block-so I figured it was as good of time as any to fill you in on some of the happenings in the Rasmussen House. This past week has been a good one. Partially because I ran when I said I would, I made a valiant effort to stay on top of household chores, and I ate healthy, wholesome meals (that my husband prepared). I find it interesting that I’ve made some steps to having a more balanced and healthy week, but I still feel exhausted at the end of it.

Work has been good-its been busy, but I have found myself feeling like I am providing value and spending my time doing meaningful things instead of pushing paper. This next week will be another brutally busy week, as I have a teaching part in a training class for new supervisors I still have to prepare as well as a day trip to a meeting in another town with my boss, and her boss.

I’m about one month away from taking my PHR certification test. This test and the certification that results if I pass is extremely important, and I haven’t studied as much as I should this last well…month. Its time for me to get back on that horse so I can get those three letters behind my name when I sign my emails. Brittany Rasmussen, PHR. I like it.

I’m also three weeks away from my half-marathon. I have mixed feelings about this. This weekend we have a long run of nine miles planned, and it just seems SO LONG, it feels impossible.

I’m currently praying for God’s provision as we get ready to embark on a new season-Ronnie is going back to school this fall to get his degree in Christian Leadership and Management. We’ve decided to make every effort to put him through school without student loans. We’re in our mid-twenties and have made it this far with no debt and don’t think that getting into debt at this point in our life is a wise decision, so what that means for us is a very large expense that I don’t exactly feel prepared for. What we do know is God is a God who provides for His children and that we will somehow, someway make it happen. We both feel that Ronnie’s education is worth the sacrifices we might have to make in order to make ends meet.

I am a leader in our church’s youth group, and my group of girls are seniors this year. They are getting ready to graduate and go off to college, which apparently makes me a sappy emotional mess because Wednesday night when we were talking about their “Senior Night” I started crying real crocodile tears. I need some good ideas for graduation gifts, that wont break the bank (see above).

Finally, I am still doing a LOT of reading. I have watched far less TV the past couple of weeks because I’ve been so engrossed in the books I’ve been reading. I read Sea of Tranquility and LOVED it, and am in the middle of Slammed and I seriously cannot put it down. All I want to do is read, read read. At lunch, I have been sitting in my car with a diet coke and the windows down and reading for a straight blissful hours.

Featured Blogger

Today I want to introduce you to my friend Cassie from Always A Blogsmaid. Cassie was one of my first friends I met through blogging when I started this blog. She was one of the first people that read, commented and followed my blog besides my mom. She really inspires me with her running and weight loss journey, and I’ve seen her come to know and grow in her relationship with God in an awesome way. She also is one of the most real people I know, who isn’t shy about sharing about hard things like breakups and feelings about dating & singleness on her blog. She’s an authentic and true friend, and I’m glad blogging has caused our paths to cross. You should go stop by her blog and say hello.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Running Is A Gift

It is impossible for me to run without thanking God at least one time for the ability to run.

If you're new around here, or maybe even if you've been around awhile, you might not know that I have an autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. Most people think arthritis is pain that their grandparents get in their joints because of aging, and that is one type. I happen to have an autoimmune disorder, which means that one day, my immune system woke up and believed that every one of my joints was foreign and should be attacked. My immune system mistakenly attacks my joints, such as my hands, my knees, my elbows, my wrists, my jaw, my neck, etc and causes intense swelling, inflammation and debilitating pain.

When I was first diagnosed, Ronnie and I had been officially a couple for two months. Two months people, and his fun loving, wild, free girlfriend turned into a dark, depressed girl who couldn't wash her own hair or turn a handle on a door knob. It was a dark time in my life, and for any normal new relationship, odds say we shouldn't have made it. But here we are, married, and in love and I have to tell you, I never saw Jesus so much in a single person as I did in those first few months of my disease.

Eighteen months ago, my doctor prepared me for the fact that I might not be well enough to run ever again. Cue identity crisis. If I wasn't a runner, who was I? When your world is rocked with a diagnosis of a life-long disease, its real easy to see where your hope lies. Where your identity is found. When everything I loved felt like it was being taken from me, I felt lost, angry and abandoned.

But eighteen months later-and my life has been radically changed by this disease. I had a season of darkness, but now, I am finally feeling back to normal. I've seen that God is trustworthy, even when life is hard. I've learned that the only thing I can place my hope in is Jesus. I've seen how God provides for his children, even in the most tangible of ways like a medicine that has completely rid my body of almost every symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, as long as I do not miss my weekly injection. I've seen people come around me to love on me, to care for me and to pray for my healing.

Eighteen months after my diagnosis, and by the grace of God, I am training for a half marathon. Eighteen months after hearing "you may never run again" and I am running often, I am running hard, and I am running long. The other day, I was complaining and groaning about not wanting to do my long run to my friend and running partner, Molly. I asked her "Why did we sign up for a half marathon again?" And her words have stuck with me. "Because you want to kick your RA's butt."

Thats right. This half marathon coming up isn't about me winning a medal or breaking a personal record. Its to prove to myself that I am capable of overcoming this. To remind myself that I can do hard things. To encourage anyone out there who might be battling with their own medical issues that a diagnosis is not the end. That challenges we are faced with help us grow in a way we might never get to otherwise.  Running to me is a gift. Its a second chance I honestly am so thankful to have received. Not everyone gets a second chance after a diagnosis like this, and so I am so grateful to have the ability to do what I love. Sometimes I catch myself complaining, but then I remember just how lucky I am to have the choice to run. To not be held back by health limitations. For this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

8 Ways To Be Happier Today

1. Set down social media for a period of time. If you’re like me, setting it down for an hour is a huge accomplishment. We’ve all heard the studies-social media makes us more sad and depressed after we stalk others than happier. So, set down the phone and focus on something else. That book you’re reading, your job, or that movie you’re watching. Enjoy your latte without documenting it, go for a run without checking in at the park, or print that adorable picture of you and your bestie and put it on your desk instead of Instagram.

2. Get outside and move. Or inside a gym if that’s your thing. Because endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands.

3. Write a list of things that make you happy, and aim to do at least one of them per day. Maybe once a day is a stretch, but you should do something you love as much as possible. I love running, coffee, reading, being outside, and making lists, to name a few. When you are feeling especially down or in a funk, try to cross as many things off that happy list as possible.

4. Clean something. I know I can’t be the only one who feels like my world is a mess when my house/car/desk is a mess. By cleaning my room or taking care of those dishes that have been sitting in the sink, I feel like a weight is off my shoulders. With every room in my house that is organized, I feel a little more in control of my life. Even just making my bed in the mornings makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.

5. Take a nap, and then go to bed earlier tonight. Being sleep deprived does nothing for our crankiness. We all could use more sleep, so do whatever you can to turn in earlier. Squeeze in a nap if you can, and if you can’t, buy an extra shot in your coffee today, but then make a point to go to bed earlier tonight!

6. Tell someone you love that you love and appreciate them. It not only will make their day, but it will make you happier too. Call your mom, send your grandma a card, or e-mail your bestie at work and tell them you love them.

7. Tackle a to-do list. Make yourself a list of things you’d like to accomplish. Like, for instance sometimes my list is returning a phonecall or making a bank deposit. Simple things that you have been meaning to do and haven’t gotten to, but that are easy to do. This isn’t a list for a five year plan full of goals and steps, make a list that you can start crossing things off quickly, and get instant gratification for your superb productivity. I even heard once that instead of making a to-do list, at the end of the day, write down everything you’ve done and call it a Ta-Da List! Instantly, you can feel proud of your accomplishments, even if all that’s on the list is “Survived the day at work.” That’s something to be proud of, if you ask me.

8. If all else fails, get a spray tan. You have no idea the healing power of a good fake tan. It does wonders for my self-esteem, and makes me feel like a new woman. When I am too cheap to pay $20 bucks for a spray tan, I use Fake Bake self tanner and it is almost as great as a mystic tan. More work, but the same results.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thoughts on Busyness

Life lately has been somewhat of a whirlwind for the Rasmussen house. Life suddenly picked up the pace and forced us to move, when I was still stuck in winter mode of cuddling up and turning in for the night at five PM. Spring brings new air, blooming flowers and new life, and it brings a season of busyness. For me, busyness brings exhaustion, both the good kind that allows sleep the second your head hits the pillow with a sense of accomplishment, but it also brings that defeating exhaustion. The kind that you feel in your bones, that is hovering over you as you look around at the laundry piling in the corner or the grass that needs mowed but no one has had a free minute to get to it. Busyness can also bring a sense of guilt, and for me, sometimes I just want to bury my head in the sand and avoid everything on that to do list and just hide, hoping it will go away.

But it doesn’t ever just go away does it? The bills must be paid, Monday always rolls around faster than I’d like, and the calendar fills up with events. And instead of stomp my feet and refuse to enjoy any full day because I’m too “busy” I’ve realized that I don’t have to wish away these days. That this season, though we may be stretched is also a time where we can grow. This week in particular I am going to try to take control of my schedule, instead of letting it control me. This means I hope to have better planned days, utilizing my free time better, and not wasting precious time in the black hole of social media.

I plan on tackling one or two chores after work, like washing the sheets and vacuuming and folding laundry, so it doesn’t all pile up all week and have me ripping my hair out by Thursday. I plan on cooking something nutrious and satisfying right after work (or talking Ronnie into cooking something nutritious...) so its out of the way and the temptation to order pizza when I am starving at 8 PM isn’t too strong to resist. I plan on being productive in the first few hours of my evenings so I can rest well for the rest of the nights, instead of scrambling at 9 PM to get a blog post written and lunch prepared for the next day.

I also am going to stick to my scheduled running schedule for the week-because if last week taught me anything, cutting out the one activity that fills me up and refreshes me is the worst thing possible to do when I am already feeling exhausted and burnt out. Even when busyness tries to get in the way of something you love, I hope you can find a way to move it to the top of your priority list. Because what we do with our time matters. And taking time to rest well, to recharge, to connect with a friend or loved one, to read a book or go for a run, whatever it is that your soul needs, it matters. Its important enough to make time for.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Weekend

I feel like Easter weekend started for us Thursday night, even though we both worked Good Friday. Thursday night, we attended a Staff Dinner at the church Ronnie works at, and got to experience the Good Friday service as a staff and family. We did this so we would be able to attend the service, but also serve on Friday night.  The service was incredible and so powerful. 

On Friday night, I served in our nursery and held babies while their parents attended the service. Ronnie and I were able to run out to grab some dinner real quick, but then he went back to work to get ready for Easter Sunday at church. These past few weeks we've both been SO busy at work, and our schedules have made it hard to spend time together. Tis the season, right?! 

Saturday my friend Molly and I ran EIGHT MILES people. Eight whole miles. By the end I was exhausted and could feel the blisters forming with each step, but it was still the highlight of my day. As tired as I was after, I felt like a million bucks! When I got home, Ronnie was still at the church working, so I gave myself a free pass on all the housework and sat on my porch with a diet coke and read a good book.

Sunday my mom attended church with us, and then we spent the afternoon BBQ-ing at my brothers house. It was a real treat to have the whole family together, and I got to play a bunch with my precious niece so I was thrilled. Our first married Easter was a success. Although, I am kind of sad that we don't have many major "first married" holidays between now and our one year anniversary! Wah!

I hope you got to spend the day reflecting on what Jesus did for us on the cross, and what the resurrection means in our every day lives. Because Jesus overcame the grave, He has given us new life in Him, the power to overcome sin, hurt, pain, failure and fear. Today, I am feeling refreshed and renewed which is a nice change from my normal miserable state on Monday mornings. Have a wonderful day, friends!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Every Blogger Needs This Coffee Mug

Today, I am keeping it short and sweet because its 9:30 PM and this week has wiped me out! I had a recruiting event today at work and worked ten hours, and went straight to church for a dinner and little service for the staff members + family.  I have been drooling over this "Eat Blog Love" Coffee Cup for months now, and when I was thinking of things I'd like to win in a giveaway, I realized I am easily pleased and this coffee mug was one thing. So, instead of gifting myself with it, my lovely sponsors and I want to give it, and a $20 gift card to Starbucks away to one of you lovely readers.

Enter away, and say hello to the gorgeous girls who teamed up to give it away. They're all gems, and I was friends with all of them before they decided to sponsor my blog which makes this whole thing REAL easy for me. I am confident you'll love them as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Being A Newlywed: What People Don't Tell You

Hello friends---today, one of my very favorite gals is taking over. Rachel's blog was one of the first blogs I ever read-her blog was inspiring, funny, and I felt like I was her instant BFF. Rachel is a gorgeous, charming southern belle who recently got married and has post full of wisdom and truth about what being a newlywed is actually like. ENJOY! 

Hi y'all! I'm Rachel and I blog over at Rachel Rewritten. 

To say I'm thrilled to be posting here on Brittany's blog is an understatement. I love her and I love everything her blog stands for, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of it! I'm a newlywed who loves Jesus and my husband, so Brittany and I have that in common! I'm here today with a little post about the newlywed life and the things no one tells you.

So, first you get engaged. And then it's all fun and games while you're surrounded by parties, showers, planning, and a big white dress. But what happens after the honeymoon ends? When all the hoopla dies down? Now you're just a wife, living the newlywed life. Here's the dish on what people don't tell you. 

{one} The advice starts pouring in. Everyone around you thinks they're an expert at marriage. Anyone from your hairdresser to your cousin's best friend's dog walker will provide you with unsolicited advice on how to make sure your marriage is successful. Take all these tips with a grain of salt people, because, let's face it, your marriage is YOUR marriage, not theirs. Even in our short 3 months of marriage, I've learned that I have to do what's best for us, regardless of the advice that's been given.

{two} People have no shame in asking about your sex life. You'll get the, "So how was the honeymoon?" question, along with a wink wink. Sorry people, what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. This isn't the Real Housewives, I don't kiss and tell.

{three} The baby questions start before the reception is over. "So are y'all going to have kids soon? You should wait a while and enjoy yourself!" Oh, thank you, random stranger, who asks it as if they just asked something as simple as what I ate for lunch. It's the age old story---when you're dating, they want to know when you're getting engaged. Then engaged to married. And now married to having kids. Sure, we want kids. Just not yet. I want to enjoy this stage of life and the freedom that comes with it. But when it happens, we'll be the happiest couple around.

{four} Balancing friends and husband is more difficult than you'd think. As the days go by, I realize how important it is to spend time with my husband. Not just sitting next to each other on the couch, but real, intentional, involved time with each other. And at the same time, I miss my movie dates and girls nights with my friends. The balance is a very fine line and I'm learning day to day that it's not easy. In the end, I know my husband comes first and everything else, second. Your real friends know that and understand. Even if the girls nights go from once a week to once a month, it makes those nights a little more special! 

{five} Time flies when you're a newlywed. I feel as if our wedding was just yesterday, and yet, almost 3 months have gone by. Cherish each day with your husband. Make time for each other and don't let the days slip away. Before I know it, it's going to be our year anniversary, so I want to make sure we make the most of this year! 

{six} Take time for you. Although spending time with your partner is so important, you've gotta have "you" time, too. Find something that you like to do on your own. Create a quiet space in your house for you to enjoy. Trust me, your husband will thank you when you're refreshed and energized. And he needs to do the same! Your marriage will thank you--when you ARE together, that time will be so much sweeter.

{seven} Despite everyone telling you the first year is the hardest, it'll be the best time yet. Learning to live with someone and figuring out all of their quirks and habits is tough, but I wouldn't trade this time for anything. We've been together for 3+ years, but these first few months of marriage have been special--I feel like we're back in the early stages of dating when everything is new and exciting again. I wait impatiently for him to get home from work. I look at him and get butterflies, because this man is my husband, and I get to be his wife. It's a crazy wonderful feeling.

Well, even after all of that, I'm clearly no marriage expert (hello--3 months in!) but every day I'm growing and learning, and every day I'm growing to love my husband more. I think I like this newlywed stage, y'all. Thanks for having me, Brittany! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I'm Reading

A few weeks ago, I saw a blogger that I love (Joelle from Something Charming) post a "What I Am Reading" post, and when she described the kinds of books she was into and loved, I knew that we were on the same wave length. I love to read, and I love a book that has a story that sucks me in. A story that makes me not only know the characters as well as I know myself, but gets me inside their heads and feeling what they're feeling. I love a good intense, emotional, dramatic love story. The drama and the pain and the heartbreak in stories kills me but it also sucks me in. I can't do very many of those easy breezy light beach reads- I need the raw, real, emotional stuff---but I also need it to leave me with a happy ending. I need that happy ending. 

Lately, I've read three books that Joelle has recommend. I read Hopeless first, and I was HOOKED, hook, line and sinker. This book drew me in, because it was so much deeper than just girl meets boy, boy pursues her and breaks down her wall, and they live happily ever after. The ways their stories and lives intertwined is what was so heartbreaking but also beautiful and I don't want to say too much but this book was incredible and if you like emotional, intense books about l-o-v-e and family and more, this book is DEFINITELY for you.

Beautiful Disaster was also amazing, and I honestly read this book in 24 hours. I stayed up one night in Seattle while Ronnie slept because I couldn't put it down. Its about a girl who can't help but fall for a guy that she thinks is all wrong for her. The book seriously had me so angry and wanting to yell at the female main character, but thats also why I loved it. She was flawed so it was real and relateable to me. I was wrapped up in their lives much more than I care to admit.

Finally, the Sea of Tranquility was the most recent book I finished, and I lovedddddd it as well. It was different than a lot of books I read and that is why it was so good. I loved the way the author weaved in the past with the present, and the ending had me BAWLING in my car one day during my lunch hour. 

All of these books have some romance, but they have way more deeper underlying issues going on and thats what sucks you in. The story is about much more than girl meets boy and girl falls in love and they live happily ever after. SO MUCH MORE. And I feel like each one of these books have given me a little insight into myself, have caused me to feel more deeply than before. Is that weird? I don't care. I LOVE BOOKS. I especially love books that make me feel and think and cry, and laugh. That was these books. Read them. All.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Getaway : Seattle

What we did in Seattle on our weekend Getaway, in pictures:

1. We drank amazing beer at the local breweries

2. We tried out at least three different local coffee shops and saw the original Starbucks. And of course I instagrammed every latte with foam art because if I didn't instagram it, all those poor baristas hard work would've been in vain.

3. We visited Pikes Place Market and had the most amazing mini donuts EVER

4. We saw the nasty gum wall

5. We went down the the boardwalk
  6. We ate more amazing food and drank more good beer

 8. I made my husband take one million selfies of me

8. We ate dinner at a fancy restaurant on the pier for Ronnie's birthday and saw this view on our way in. At dinner we had a gorgeous view of Puget Sound

Things we did not get to do:

-Meet Mcdreamy and McSteamy from Greys Anatomy
-Visit the Space Needle
-Go to the Unicorn Bar in Capitol Hill (Wahh)
-Have a unblocked view of the water in our "water view room"

View out our window: The scaffolding around our hotel was a nice sight for sore eyes

We had the most amazing time in Seattle, and neither of us were ready to come back! The whole way back I read and my husband the trooper drove the whole eight hours. That weekend was a BLAST and I already am ready to go back-or on another weekend trip. So much fun!

Friday, April 11, 2014

33 Questions to Ask Your Heart

33 Questions is A digital booklet written by my encouraging and inspiring friend, Ashley. It is filled with thirty three power packed questions to empower you to have honest and soul stirring conversation with your own heart. In our hyper-connected culture, there is insane value in learning how to connect with the one person we're with all the time, ourselves.

I started going through this book recently, and really asking myself some of these challenging and thought provoking questions. I have to be honest with you friends. I didn't really know how to answer the "What Sets My Heart on Fire." ...I honestly am still working through that right now, and working through what it means to be that passionate about something.

Another question I am working through is "What gives me life?" And "What takes the life from me?" Because I think its important to know these things about ourselves. Its important to know what fills us up and brings us joy. Peace is such an elusive thing sometimes, I've found that its important to identify what gives me life so I can be sure to care for myself by doing those things.

But I also realized something else going through this book. Somethings, they might be draining me, but that doesn't mean that I get a free pass and don't have to do them, ever. God doesn't always call us to do the easy thing, to be comfortable and pursue our own interests and desires 100% of the time. Sometimes, he calls me to love on my friends or youth students when my introvert tendencies are tempting me to just sit in my own little house all by myself and enjoy my alone time. Sometimes, cooking dinner after work is the most draining thing for me after work, but its a way for me to love my husband well. Sometimes I honestly think that running sounds like the worst thing ever, but I feel refreshed and renewed when I am done.

I am still working through this amazing book-but so far what has stood out to me the most is the importance of B-A-L-A-N-C-E. It is crucial and necessary for me to spend time resting and loving myself by doing things that fill me up. I absolutely need to make that a priority. But I also can't live in my own little world, caring only about my desires and my preferences. Oh, how quick my selfish tendencies want to come out to play. There's no right or wrong here-it is just about finding a balance between resting and loving myself and loving others. Its about staying close to God's loving voice so when he prompts us with a nudge, a whisper, or a thought that can only be from Him, we immediately act.

The author of this book is my friend, Ashley. She writes an incredible blog that leaves me saying "YES! Me too!" and feeling so encouraged daily.  Ashley is so encouraging and genuinely cares for her blog readers. She has randomly reached out to me and offered words that encouraged me and prayers that I desperately needed. This girl is an absolute gem.I had a hard time picking my favorite posts of hers because I LOVE all of them, so if I were you, I'd go check out  her entire blog. Also, You can download her wonderful E-Book for free by signing up to get her weekly newsletter. Trust me, you will want this newsletter if you need some encouragement, truth, wisdom and hope in your life.

My top 3 favorite posts from Bright and Gutsy:

-When Adulthood Isn't What We Thought It Would Be (because its not...)
-25 Ways to Have The Best Day Ever
-3 Truths to Help You Rest Well (I needed this one, like woah.)

Connect with Ashley:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Not So Great Things About Being a Grown Up

The other day, my friend Ashley posted a really encouraging post-When Adulthood Isn't What We Thought It Would Be.

And it got me thinking. I thought about the years I wished away as a teenager, dreaming of finally being an adult. As a college student, who couldn't wait to own a house with a two car garage and a backyard in the suburbs. One who thought commuting to a 9-5 professional job where I had to get up, get ready, and look not only presentable but professional sounded glamorous.

Sure, there are some great things about being an adult. No one tells me what time I have to be home by, and I can stay up as late as I want. If I want to eat chips and salsa for dinner, no one reprimands me. I like the size of my paycheck far more now then I did when I was in college, but, why is it that that money doesn't seem to go as far anymore? I think being an adult is just plain hard sometimes. Here are ten not so great things about being a grown up, according to Brittany:

1. Taxes are confusing and maddening
2. Working five days a week, 52 weeks a year. I definitely took my automatic spring, summer and winter breaks for granted. What I wouldn't give to have a week off every few months.

3. Spending your day off cleaning, grocery shopping and otherwise prepping for your work week.
4. Spending all your money at Lowes on supplies to take care of and manage your home and yard.
5. Not having the option to "skip class" when you were tired, grumpy, sick or even just needed a day off.
6. Going shopping usually doesn't mean a new dress and pair of heels for your night out with friends. It usually involves toilet paper, cleaning supplies and laundry soap.
7. Getting calls from the college you graduated from asking for "alumni donations".
8. Waking up every single day for work close to the time you went to bed in college
9. Getting paid and watching that money vanish that day by the time you pay your mortgage and utilities
10. Parties just aren't as fun as being at home eating chips in bed.

Tell me-whats your least favorite part of being an adult?  If you are feeling particularly positive, tell me why you love being an adult. Ice cream for dinner?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

6 Things My Husband Has Learned In 6 Months Of Marriage

Surprise! My husband apparently has learned a few things over the past few months too! I asked him to write down six things he has learned before he saw my post. I also want to take a quick minute and brag on this guy-he has been really committed to eating healthy and working out lately, and I attribute my own weightloss to all his healthy cooking! He has lost almost 10 pounds over the past couple of months! Last night he spent two hours in the kitchen-not only did he make dinner but he also cooked up a ton of chicken, veggies and quinoa and made a breakfast quiche so we had healthy choices for the rest of the week. I laid in bed and blogged while he did all that, so I obviously win wife of the year. 

Moving on...6 things My Husband Has Learned In 6 Months Of Marriage:

1. Marriage is the most rewarding thing on the planet apart from serving God

2. Being selfless isn't always easy but it's one of the most loving things you can be for you spouse 

3. I thought working at a church, having friends, and a wife was going to be easy. Reality check, it's not. However I'm a better husband when I hangout with my friends and just be a dude. Women make your husband do this. Men it's a tension to manage, your wife is your ministry but in order to do it well you need other dudes around you to challenge you, encourage you, lift you up, etc.

4. I am SINFUL man but God is even greater than my sin. 

 5. I wasn't as good of a leader as I thought. Somewhere along the road I stopped growing, I stopped learning, & I stopped being passionate. NEVER STOP. 

 6. Pursuing your wife isn't easy. I don't know what it is but for some reason we men just love to conquer things and move on to the next. However our wives aren't commodities or just another task. I can't say that I have done a great job of doing this the past 6 months but I am committed to getting better.

There you have it. I think you girls should show this to your husbands-remind them that even though you're married, that you still want to be pursued like when you were dating. :)