God is greater than the highs and lows

I’m really excited this post is finally written because it’s taken me a while to get this one finished. You might have noticed it’s been a lot longer than normal since I last posted. Typically, I write a blog post a month and it’s been about two months. I’ve been going through some things- a lot of just life stuff happening. I’ve also been in a bit of a creative funk, but this post is straight from the heart. It’s a bit of what I’ve been experiencing, and so I want to share it with you in hopes that it can encourage you with whatever valley you’re trudging, mountain your climbing, or mountain top you’re relishing.

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This rock was one of the crafts that I did with my kiddos this week during VBS. I was super excited when they said they we’re letting the teachers do one. lolll

What I wrote on it though has been something I’ve really clung to lately. It stands for “God is greater than the highs and the lows.” You might have heard it before, but when I  heard it for the first time a few weeks ago, I resonated with it so much. I started writing it on my wrist with a Sharpie.

Since I first heard it, I’ve heard “highs and lows” a lot. Lauren Daigle’s song You Say has those words in it and another really good song by Hillsong is entitled Highs and Lows.

I think I resonate so much with it because life has a way of feeling like a bunch of ups and downs. One moment things are going great and in the matter of seconds everything can fall apart. It’s like a roller coaster except this one is the roller coaster of life, and you can’t get off when you want to.

I, however, am not a glass half empty kind of person. In fact, I’d like to say I’m working on being a glass overflowing kind of person. It’s hard for me to settle with this mentality of  “life will just always be hard.” Because 1. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light, so 2. I don’t want to live my life resisting every hard thing I go through; I want to figure out what God is trying to do by allowing the highs and lows in my life, even if they don’t always make perfect sense.

I will say this, and say it, and keep on saying it. God promises to work everything for our good IF we allow Him to. This means there is a reason for all the highs and lows.

So here are a few things the highs and lows I’ve experienced in my life have taught me.

First, high points and low points in life are inevitable, which we’ve already sorta established, but this isn’t God’s fault. It’s Satan’s fault. It’s the direct result of sin. The Bible says God has pleasure in the prosperity of his servants. YA’LL THE LORD LITERALLY DELIGHTS IN OUR SUCCESS. That is so overwhelming to me, but it means that He doesn’t find some sick pleasure in the pain we endure. He is cheering us when we climb the mountain, and He’s ready to rejoice with us when we reach the top.

Second, while highs teach us the joy of the Lord, the lows teach us joyful trust. The truth is if we only experienced highs, we would stray from God, just like the Israelite’s did. It’s because we’re human. Israel would turn to God when things got tough, but after they we’re over the mercy of God for their sins, they would turn right back to old ways and old sins. And they did this over and over and over for centuries. Did you catch that. CENTURIES. God knows us, and He knows that if things we’re always easy, we would stray too. The lows teach us to depend more on God. They keep us close to Him.

Third, lows not only teach us something, they help blaze trails for others. 
Sometimes I have a tendency to get so caught up in my problems that I forget to look up and look around me. Life is not all about “me.” I’ve been so thankful for the mentors in my life that have been generous and vulnerable enough to share with me their hard and painful experiences because it was in those moments that I connected with them the most. So maybe our trials are also to help the person or people behind us- to help them through the trials their facing that we’ve already walked through- to encourage them that things do get better despite the heartache- to help them avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made. Had the mentors in my life not walked through some hard stuff, they wouldn’t have been able to tell me their stories and encourage me. So let your lows not be in vain. Use them to help people.

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All of these things I’ve learned take a shift in perspective. You have to fight to not let Satan win the battle in your mind. He will grind you into the ground and make you believe there is no purpose for the lows and convince you that the highs are only temporary tricks of happiness, but it takes a brave person to choose to see God in the highs and lows and trust that He has a purpose for them like His Word promises.

So if you’ve experienced this or are experiencing this, these are some good reminders to help you through them:

  1. Keep moving forward ➡️
    Don’t stop because you don’t understand. Some day God may give you an answer. Maybe he won’t. But you have to keep going. You can’t let Satan keep you stagnant and stuck.
  2. Grow through what you go through
    As you move forward, choose to learn from what you went through. Try to see what God wants to show you or teach you. You don’t have to let this be just another low, just another trial. You can maximize your lows by growing through them and learning from them.
  3. But most importantly, focus the most on God
    – And not just who God is in the middle of your circumstances, but just who God is. If you know Him truly, you don’t have to worry if His plans for you are good or if He’s got your back. Focusing most importantly on God is the best way soothe your mind. After all, He is greater than all we go through! He is greater than all the highs and lows!!!

 

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”

 

 

sweet potato toast:: brekky heaven

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Today’s post is a yummy one! Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables. I actually prefer them over white potatoes, but I never thought of them as a brekky idea until I tried this sweet potato toast. I fell in LOVE!

Not only is it a yummy idea for breakfast, but it’s also quick, easy, nutritious, and filling! The nut butter and avocado help keep you nice and filled up all morning.

So without further ado, here is the fabuloous breakfast idea that you’ll be making erremorning!

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Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Salt (I use Himalayan Pink salt)
  • Coconut oil

For sweet:

  • Cinnamon
  • Nut butter of choice
  • Granola
  • Honey or agave
  • Banana and/or other fruit

For Savory:
(my personal faavorite version 😉 )

  • Garlic and/or onion salt
  • Avocado
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Goat cheese or other cheese of choice *optional- it’s great without it 

The directions:

  1. Pre-heat yo’ oven to 350° and then cut your potato length-wise into several long slices.
  2. Then put your potato slices on a pan and brush a thin coat of coconut oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and either cinnamon or garlic salt.
  3. Next, place your slices in the oven for 15-20 minutes. It’s best to set a timer for 15 mins. and then poke with a fork and check periodically until the slices are soft and tender.
  4. After your potato slices are nice and cooked just spread and sprinkle your favorite toppings! For the avocado I just mash it up, add some salt and onion salt and spread it over the slices. Then I sprinkle on the goat cheese. With the nut butter I just spread it on and then layer and drizzle all the toppings.

Alll I an say is enjoooy! This is definitely one of my most faavorite brekky ideas right now!

 

STAY CLOSE TO THINGS THAT FEEL LIKE SUNSHINE

 

I’m realizing that yellow is a pretty cool color. I love how vibrant and happy it is. Yellow doesn’t try to blend in or camouflage, it exists loudly. I think everyone should embrace the things that make their soul full of happiness and joy.

Sometimes I use caution when I say happiness because happiness is usually a feeling we have based off circumstances and temporal, materialistic things. Joy, on the other hand, is something we choose and is not based off circumstances or things necessarily. I think both have their place.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the things that you like if they’re pleasing to the Lord– God has given you things to enjoy and just because you do, it doesn’t mean you’re materialistic or off focused even.

Before really committing my life completely to the Lord, I lived my life as a Christian on the line. I thought I had to choose between the world or Jesus- my kinda music or hymns, fun or serious, ect. Everything was like a tug-of-war. But through some hard struggles the Lord pulled me closer to Him, and my love for him grew to the point that none of it felt like a choice. I desired do the right thing (most of the time) and felt a sense of peace when I did.

BUUTTTTT I also realized something important. God and being close to Him is NOT a boring, solemn, reserved-life kinda thing. God is all about fun, and He wants you to enjoy your life. I believe God has even given us the likes and dislikes we have for a reason.

So the point of this blog post? Stick close to the things that feel sunshine- the things that make you smile, that make you really happy, the things that are YOU.

The people that know me best know that I love coffee, indie music, healthy food, and so many other things because I tend to have lots of favorites… What can I say, I like a lot of things 🙂 Things like painting, going to really cute restaurants, talking about the Burnadoodle I’m going to own one day, going to grocery stores and farmers markets, letters in the mail, flowers- all these little things are what make my soul really really happy.

So what makes your soul really happy? What things feel like sunshine to you? And do you like the color yellow? Because honestly i used to think it was pretty ugly, but it’s growing on me 🙂

On a last note- like what YOU like. Do not change what you like or who you are because it’s not what everyone else likes. If everyone liked the exact same things, we’d live in a suuper boring world 🌎 So don’t be afraid to stand out. #actconfidentandnoonewillquestionyou

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New Year : Out with the old- In with the new :

Alaynasparklers

what was your best memory from 2017?

  • A cruise to the Caribbean that my family and my sister’s family went on.

what was a big milestone or moment from this past year?

  • I turned 16 and got my license!

what did God teach you in 2017?

  • I learned a lot about God’s character and His involvement in my life. He taught me that He is with me, even when I feel so far from Him, and I question His goodness. I learned that even the most trying and seemingly useless struggles have a purpose in God’s plan for me. I feel that He has taught me so much that I can’t possible write it all down! 🙂

who really influenced your life during 2017?

  • It sounds crazy, but I was influenced so much by watching both Cambria Joy and Sarah from Sarah’s Day on YouTube. I truly believe God has used them both in a unique way in my life to inspire and influence me.

what is a main takeaway for you from 2017?

  • I feel that I am moving forward from 2017, taking away a simple truth, and that is the fact that I want to have fun with my mission for God! I want to carry with me the idea that anything and everything I do can be a love offering to God. I want to use my passions to glorify and live my best life for Him.

what is something you want to capitalize on in 2018?

  • I want to carry insane joy, happiness, and adventure into 2018 and send it hard! I want to have fun in my mission for Jesus, and be more full of Him than ever before. I want 2018 to truly be a significant year. ❤

 

I love moving forward with ideas, plans, and hopes for the new year, but sometimes reflecting can be hard. Especially when you feel like you haven’t grown in the areas you wish you had. But guess what? You aren’t alone.

For years I made New Year’s resolutions, and I would say that all of them involved, like most people, some kind of fitness goal. I would make all kinds of plans and lists. I would research all that I needed to know, get, and eat to make my goal happen. These types of goals always consumed me and my time, and every year I was disappointed by my lack of progress.

So whatever your goals have been, if you haven’t succeeded like you wanted to, don’t be discouraged.

What I have learned is when I keep an open mind about things, God is much more able to use things to help and grow me. I have also learned that perspective changes things. Maybe your goal(s) fell flat on its face, but what can you learn from that to help you in moving forward? Maybe your goal(s) went differently than you expected. What is God trying to show you?

I had three resolutions last year. They were to get fit, grow closer to Jesus, and live life to the fullest. In a lot of ways they were pretty general, but God used each of those goals in ways I never would have expected.

  1. Getting Fit

Last year, getting fit to me, meant probably dropping 10lbs. and being thin. Instead, God really showed me what it means to be balanced. I am so happy because balance was really what I wanted all long, but I was afraid to relinquish control. Once I stopped obsessing and started being intuitive, I started to thoroughly love the gym and focusing on being strong. My relationship with food changed and I no longer felt like I ever needed to deprive myself.

2. Growing Closer to Jesus

God really did grow me closer to Him, but it was in an unexpected way. He helped me overcome one of my greatest internal struggles, and He taught me so much about Himself in the process. He showed me that even when I question His goodness, He is there beside of me. He showed me that everything in my life, even the seemingly useless things have a purpose in His plan for me. My word for the year was VISION, and God really showed me so much in 2017. I feel so much clearer than ever before about my calling, even while not understanding the details.

3. Living Life to the Fullest

I honestly don’t remember my exact thoughts when I wrote this one down, but I probably considered myself living life to the fullest by trying new things, making meaningful decisions, ect. But what I learned is that my mission for God, the passions I have, and the way I want to live life differently with insane fun- they don’t have to be separate, they shouldn’t be separate from one another. I struggled with this one because I thought that if I was serving God and having fun in the process that meant I wasn’t doing it right. That’s just not true. If we are filled with Christ, then His joy will be inevitable in our lives. That joy, the happiness we choose, the adventures we have with God, that is like a beacon of hope to the world around us who have no reason or purpose for living. If God is my reason for living, then I have a reason to celebrate. God doesn’t want straight faced, unhappy Christians, He wants people who will make a dent in the universe by living for Him and having fun with their missions. Get high on the Holy Spirit.

 

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“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

My pastor said it perfectly, “assess the past, don’t obsess.”

Sometimes assessing brings us joy for the victories and sometimes pain for the failures and shortcomings. What is important is not how you succeeded or failed but how you move forward. Let how you want to improve be motivating and not frustrating. Commit it to the Lord and live determined!

I leave you with a favorite quote of mine.

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I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s, and I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you! ❤

 

 

Works Cited:
F. Scott Fitzgerald Quote: “Live A Life You’re Proud Of.” The daily quotes, 2015, thedailyquotes.com/live-a-life-youre-proud-of/.

 

August:: 10 Things

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It’s the middle of August. I actually can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. When I start thinking about it, it makes me want to take a little more time to enjoy each moment. The past few days I’ve spent time with my sisters and my niece at my older sister’s house. These are the times that I will cherish forever! Because there is nothing like the bond of sisters!

Since my older sister is pretty laid back, I have been able to catch up on some sleep and just relax these past few days. Today, we woke up and decided to be active and went for a walk downtown. My sisters and I love seeing older homes, and I especially love their charm. I’ve decided my dream home needs lots of windows! We also got to enjoy random conversations about whatever came to mind.

It was also nice to be outside even though the heat is always a staunch friend this time of year. Also, the shots I took for today’s post were from outside around my sister’s house. Nature is beautiful.

So if your wondering, I decided to try posting something new! Basically it’s a list of 10 random things about me or things going on in my life. Barefoot Blonde does these types of posts, so I thought I would give it a try! She has an awesome blog, so definitely check her out: www.barefootblonde.com/.

 

1. Grow my hair out      

To me summer screams long locks of curly, wavy hair, and I so badly miss my own long flowy hair and milk-maid braids! So I decided after my last hair cut to grow it out. I just randomly had this urge to have long hair, and now I’m trying to figure out what makes hair grow faster… 🙂

2.  Permanently stop dieting- listen to my body- balance

This is a struggle I’ve dealt with for a long time. I’m an all or nothing person. So when I used to “diet,” I would diet all the way and restrict myself, which ended up causing me to binge eat every weekend and “start fresh” each Monday. So I’ve decided enough is enough and I want peace in my life, including peace in how I eat and exercise. I love being healthy, and I love the way exercising makes me feel, so I want that to be my motivation and not a perfect body. I’m also wanting to get more in tune with my body and listen to its needs, all while learning to enjoy treats without feeling guilty- AKA balance!

3.  Redecorating my room

Currently my room is a disaster… but I’m sorta ok with it since I’m currently redecorating and trying to get rid of some things! So I’m in the middle of updating and maturing my space. I’m transitioning from bright colors to lots of white and neutrals like gray, and I’m also using lots of wood. I’m also adding a few colors like a rosy pink, a deep green, and mint. I’m actually excited about it except for the small amount of stress that comes from all the decisions! So my current mottoes are ‘slow and steady’ + ‘only one thing at a time.’ My favorite thing about my room so far, just might be my new IKEA white, trestle desk. Seriously, IKEA is the place to shop cute, inexpensive furniture!

4. Favorite tv series

My favorite tv series right now is Person of Interest. I’m hooked, my family’s hooked, even some of my friends are hooked. It’s so good, and it makes me secretly want to fight someone. Plus I discovered that I love Jim Caviezel- nothing better than finding out your favorite actor is actually a normal person in real life and a Christian!

5. New favorite face product

Recently, I have struggled with break outs on my face. I tried everything I could think of, while trying to keep it natural. I bought a face scrubber, I tried apple cider vinegar, turmeric, home-aide face-masks, I did a 10 day sugar, gluten, and dairy cleanse, and I tried a natural foundation. I even tried different natural cleansers. I was just about to break and try Pro-Active, something I have fought for a while, when my cousin recommended Shea Moisture. It’s a natural brand for acne and so far I LOVE it. It’s extremely gentle on my skin, and I’ve seen an improvement since using it. Hopefully, it’ll continue to work!

6. Coffee mug

So I needed another coffee mug like I needed a whole in my head, but I wanted a special mug for my desk when I do my devotions and school work. I ended up getting one from Target, and I love it! I call it my heavy duty school mug for intense studying since its super tall, like twice the height of a normal mug. It’s white and has cute dimensional polka dots all over it.

7. Commitment- go to bed earlier

Getting beauty rest is definitely an over-looked health need. Since the beginning of the summer, I developed a bad habit of going to bed at 11:30 or later, but I want to commit to getting more sleep, especially when school begins!

8. Good reads

Good books are like gold. Currently, I’m working on reading some books that I would highly recommend. The first two are great Christian reads and the second two are good reads for buffing up on your history. Especially Of Plymouth Plantations, because it contains essential knowledge of the history of America’s foundation- the depths of God’s involvement in America’s foundation and in the people who founded America is remarkable!

  1. When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy
  2. Your Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
  3. Of Plymouth Plantations by William Bradford
  4. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

9.  Homemade hot chocolate

You will probably find this recipe in a later post but I thought I would include it. Last night I wanted something sweet, but I had all ready had ice cream and  was wanting something slightly healthier. So I had this random idea to make hot chocolate using some of my coconut sugar and it was so good! Like the best I’ve ever made and I think better than a mix! I basically started out with almond milk in a small pot and heated it with two stevia packets, a spoonful of coconut sugar, a sprinkle of sea salt, around two tablespoons of cocoa powder, some vanilla, and a teaspoon of coconut oil. Ya, it was delicious if I do say so myself!

10. One thing I’m looking forward to

I think by the sounds of my new “heavy duty” mug, you can guess I love coffee. I love it not because of the buzz, because quite frankly, I’ve never felt a buzz from coffee, but because of the taste and smell. It’s just a ritual for me to have a cup, and it makes me look forward to the mornings. Since, hopefully I will be getting my license in the next month, I’m looking forward to my many dates at the coffee shop during the school year- just me and my school books! Well, it’s not the school books I’m looking forward to, but I’m very excited about me and the coffee! I’m thinking I’ll need some nerd glasses to complete the look!

 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you for reading! Cheers to the month of August! It means fall is right around the corner!

Psalm 118:24

“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”