25.

Well, today was my 25th birthday.

I ended up having the day off of work so it was a pretty relaxing and quiet day…just what was needed. Then this evening I met up with some of my closest friends for dinner, always a good time.

Here we are, at the start of another year and this idea got me thinking. It is not the year that ends of being good or bad. I mean, a year is simply the time it takes the earth to travel around the sun. Rather, the year will be what we make of the time we have ahead of us.

So…rather than hoping the year is good, I know it will be good because I am going to take action into my own hands. With guidance from Christ and the support of my friends/family I look forward to seeing what the year holds in store…ironically, I will end by saying it will be a good year!

Cheers and stay tuned for stories of my 25th year!

Porch Time

For the past few weeks or so, the weather has been absolutely beautiful where I live, on the Eastside of Seattle. We have had several days of clear blue skies and temperatures well into the 70s…for any area it would be considered good weather, but especially for this area.

One of the things I like most about days like these, are the evenings. I have done my best to spend time each day outside, and especially in the evenings. There is something peaceful about sitting on the porch and just enjoying the sunshine, getting to spend time in God’s creation. From reading, writing, taking a nap, or even just listening to the sounds of the birds and playing with my dog, it just feels great to be outside. During these times I spend time thinking and reflecting on many different things. I often just let my mind wander, for better or worse, and see where my thoughts take me. It is great having a time for reflection and relaxation, not to mention getting to soak up some good old Vitamin D!

This post does not have much of a main point or purpose, I just wanted to briefly mention that I enjoy these times and greatly appreciate them. I have been reminded to be intentional about taking time each day to relax and just enjoy life. Below are a couple pictures of my time this evening, including a picture of the writing of this post…which I am doing outside!

photo 1 photo 2

/1

I recently saw an add on TV that caught my attention, as many do. This one, however, seemed to stand out from the rest. Yes, it is about a soda and all that, but the message behind it is powerful. Take a quick watch to these two versions of the ad for yourself, then I will dive in a bit:

So for a moment, set aside the face that this is for Dr. Pepper (however delicious it may be) and think about the general message of the ad…”/1.” The first song says it best, “one of a billion…and that is something beautiful.”

We are each the person we are, and that is the only person we can be. No matter how hard we may try to be someone else, we cannot be. Instead of trying to be someone we are not, we need to embrace who we are and what we can do.

Not only is this the message in this particular ad, it is one of the messages in the Bible as well. We can see this in Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Even the Bible, God’s Word, tells us that we are all one of a kind.

Embrace who you are, for you are one of a kind, or, as the ad says…. /1.

Enjoy being you!

Encouragement from the Park

So for part of today at Camp, I spent some of my time at the Island Lake Skate Park. During the school year the park is open to the public, as a ministry, on Wednesday afternoons. As it turned out, today we did not have the staff needed to cover it so I went out there to hang out with the skaters…and what I witnessed surprised me.

Here were 10-20 middle school and high school boys who like to skate, and that is there reason for come to Camp. From what I could tell, many of these boys did not know each other previously, have varying morals/ideals that are important to them and only come to Island Lake to skate.

During my time at the skate park, I ended up being encouraged by much of their behaving as they went around the park, trying new tricks, laughing and most of all-encouraging each other in everything. With every trick performed, even if failed, was greeted with encouraging words from the other skaters. If a random bunch of high school-aged guys can encourage each other through skating, then we should be able to encourage each other through everything we do.

I urge you to learn a lesson from the skaters…look for ways to encourage each other through everything!

Switch Flipped…Burden Cut

So if it is okay with you, I would like to tell you a little bit about this weekend, but not in the traditional sense…Yes, I had an awesome weekend. I worked a concert, saw a great new movie and experienced a Seattle sporting victory-all while having a blast with various friends….but the weekend was so much more than that! It is so hard to put into words, but I am going to give it my best shot, bear with me.

When I got home late Sunday evening, I felt, well…different- but in a very good way, I assure you! Through everything that had happened over the weekend I felt like God had reached inside me and flipped a switch. It was as though so much of what I have been carrying around had fallen away. I have internalized various feelings, thoughts and emotions that are now gone. To be honest, I felt like Christian in Pilgrims Progress, when he stands at “the place of deliverance.” Essentially, he comes to cross and when the shadow passes over him, the straps of his burden break, and the burden rolls away.

This is really the best way I can try to describe the feeling: it is like my burden has fallen completely away…it is like God reached down and cut it free. As I mentioned above, it is also like a switch inside me has been flipped. I feel my hope in the future restored and my sights completely realigned on Christ and the path He has set before me. Now I am not saying that I was not focused on Christ before, but now I feel it alive inside of me. I have true hope and joy for the future and have been able to let go of so much.

The saying goes “time heals all wounds” but I raise a counter “God heals all wounds…in His time.” Sometimes it takes longer than others, but for the first time in a while, I feel healed of so much. I felt God speaking to me last night, and I now see that I am where He wants me to be in this moment. He healed me in His timing, not mine. He truly does make all things work together for my good.

I may not be totally sure what the future will hold, but I am confident in the plans the Lord has…all He asks is for me to be obedient and to trust and hope in Him…and I do! This weekend was good in so many ways (look out for another post to come soon!!) but for this I am the most thankful. Through the experiences and friends of the weekend, I truly felt God move and act…how great of a feeling is that!

What do you need to turn over to God and give Him a chance to completely heal? I promise you, the outcome will surprise you!

Vacation!

Well, the time has finally arrived! As I write this very brief post I am sitting at the airport, waiting to board. Ahead of me lies 5 days of relaxation, adventure and friends as I begin the trek to Kona, Hawaii. My college roommate, and one of my best friends, is getting married and he asked me to be his best man. I am so honored and excited!

It feels great already to be away from everything. Sure I have a couple responsibilities over these next few days, but I welcome it all because it means a break from everything else. For the next five days I get to push everything else from my mind and focus on having a great time with some great friends.

Five days…away….wow. Needless to say, I have been looking forward to this for some time and am so excited it had finally arrived. I’ll check in from time to time over the next few days, and I will be sure to post once I am back home…but for now I say goodbye. It’s time to sign off and start my vacation!

Five days…five days….

Aloha Seattle and Aloha Hawaii!

Lessons From A Jar.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”. The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.” he said.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you…” he told them. “So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.” One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Like my previous post, this too is something that has been passed around on various social medias and I wanted to make sure you got the chance to see it too. Throughout  your life, make you have your priorities right…your golf balls in the jar first, as it were.