I am Moses.

Moses and I have a lot in common. Moses and I struggled with many of the same things. Insignificance. Insecurity. Insufficiency. Inadequacy. And yet look at how God used Moses.

Moses made excuses because he felt inadequate for the job God asked him to do. It was natural for him to feel that way. He was inadequate all by himself. Just like me.

Moses couldn’t do much until he was replaced with “God with Moses”.

Shanda (that’s me) is utterly inadequate until she is replaced by Christ in Shanda.

Nothing good lives in me apart from Christ in me.

But Christ in me affords the chance to be bold, take risks, do things that are way beyond my imaginings and comfort level.

That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes let Shanda get in the way of Christ in Shanda. I do. In fact, here some’s proof. I wrote this in church one Sunday in response to God speaking to me through His word and His messenger.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned to do well in my walk with HIM, it’s to be honest and transparent. Authentic. So if I’m scared, I’m gonna tell HIM. If I’m mad, I’m gonna tell HIM that too. After all, He knows it already. Why not just acknowledge it instead of trying to hide my face from HIM?

Sometimes, pretending gets really old, ya know?  So let’s get real with God and others, especially those we know and trust.  Let’s be who we are without the masks, shall we?

When you think on the statement “Nothing good lives in me apart from Christ in me.”, what feelings or thoughts do you have? I would love to chat with you about it.  Feel free to comment, email, track me down on social media, send me telegram…whatever works!

I am Gomer.

Who is Gomer? Do you know? If you do, I imagine you are the one who always win at Bible trivia. If you don’t know who she is or that Gomer is even a she, well, don’t feel bad. I’m sure that many would admit that though she’s a person from the bible, we don’t often hear her story. It’s not a pretty and sweet story.

It’s aggressive.  It’s graphic.  It’s violent.

It shows a side of God’s character that most of us don’t want to look at.
We want to imagine a God we can fit in our God-sized box.
We want a God who is always exactly how WE think He should be.

But HE is not.

And the truth is: God is God. He can do whatever HE wants. Because HE’s God. It doesn’t matter what we think.

We find the girl Gomer in the book of Hosea. Go ahead and look it up. I’ll wait. Head on over to chapter 2. If you have a Message bible, well, prepare yourself. It’s rather intense for what you expect from your Bible.
I’ll be honest.
I AM GOMER.

Did you read the chapter?
If you did, I imagine you might be confused.

No. I am not outing myself as a prostitute.
Well, not really.
Oh, maybe I am.
Just not the type of prostitute you’re thinking of.

The dictionary says that prostitute means to sell or offer (oneself); to put to any base or unworthy use.

Well, when you put it that way….

I really am Gomer.

I given myself over time and time again.
Offered myself over to idols.
Given my time and energy away to someone…something unworthy of it.
Given my affection and attention to things of this world.

Did you read the part where HE rips off her clothes, exposes her, and dumps her in a field of thistles?

You might be thinking that’s pretty harsh, huh?
I know I did.

But listen to what I’m about to say…
She needed it.
It was for her own good.

Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom.
Sometimes it takes being wrecked and brought up short.
But then, guess what?

HE does the unthinkable.
HE gives a brand new start.
HE woos.
HE courts.
HE gives flowers.
HE speaks tenderly.
HE brings hope.

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HE is no longer the master- slave driver. HE is the HUSBAND.

He gives her a life she doesn’t deserve.

Gomer is made new.
Gomer is loved.
Gomer is HIS.

I am Gomer.

Hosanna Revival review

Attention, attention: You are going to stop whatever you’re doing to read this post.  Not because it is eloquently written but because it’s my new FAVORITE thing.  Of. All. Time.  

About a month or so ago, I discovered a small etsy shop called Hosanna Revival . Katie custom paints bibles. I instantly fell in love with her style. I feel pretty sure you will too. 
My new bible is an ESV journaling bible that has been recovered by Katie and was customized with the colors, scriptures, and design that I chose. The Bible cost me under $65 shipped. In my opinion, this is well worth the price!  

Hosanna Revival is all about “exciting women about the Word by making the actual book as beautiful and personal as the words inside of it.”
Oh. My. Word. I am in love. 
FYI:  I’m receiving no kind of compensation for this.  I just really love this Bible! 

   
    
 
Find out more:

www.hosannarevival.com
Hosanna Revival on Instagram

Embracing  Imperfection

I don’t know about you, but I want everything to be perfect. 

I want my house to look like one you would see in a darling little neighborhood  in Waco, Texas.

I want my kids to have adorable matching ensembles for Easter so that I can capture that perfect candid shot before we all happily make our way to the Easter Sunday service. Early. (Never mind that they’re 18 and 15 years old. I still want them in pastels I picked up at Gymboree. Let me dream, okay?)

I want to create meals from scratch with all organic ingredients that were gathered at my local farmer’s market.

But…that is not my life. 

My life looks like three loads of unfolded laundry covering my lovely new love seat. 

  
My life is pizza delivered and Sonic happy hour 99 cent corn dogs. 

My life is opening a cute little Easter banner purchased at Target and finding this. 

  
Life is not perfect. For anyone. But we each get to decide what we will do, how we will react when we are faced with all those pesky imperfections. 

I’ve decided to be like Max. My puppy embraces the imperfect. In fact, he revels in it. 

  
What if, instead of constantly trying harder, we choose to accept and even embrace the imperfections of our lives? What if we gave ourselves some grace? What if we decided that “Happa Easter” is really quite funny, especially when your 15 year old adopts it as his new holiday greeting and sounds much like a mobster when he says it?

Sometimes joy can’t be found until we let go of something. For me, it’s the striving and straining, the constant need for perfection from myself and those closest to me. 

So this day, I resolve to let go of the things that don’t matter. I choose to embrace the imperfections. I choose to count it all joy. 

Let this be my prayer, my goal in this, to:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you at all sides.” James 1:2 MSG

Linked up as a part of #tellhisstory

Naps are good. 

Flashback post originally written October 28, 2008:

It happened on a Sunday afternoon. I knew I should have opted for the nap. Instead I found myself surrounded. Held captive by two little people with pleading eyes and a love of the game. Endless choices. Would it be Life, Monopoly, or the favorite family classic…Scene IT Disney edition?
How could I have known? Could this travesty have been prevented? Only God knows.
Scrabble. We had never attempted the likes of Scrabble before. Scrabble was reserved for people with a modicum of intelligence. Individuals whose vocabulary went beyond “poop” and “fart”. But being the fantabulous edu-funtational mom that I am, I suggested it. How hard could it be? So we would use smaller words…We could do this thing. I knew we could. We would conquer Scrabble, and prove our intelligence to one another and the world beyond.
I was wrong. So very very wrong. I learned an important lesson that day. A lesson I shall never forget.
Naps are good. Scrabble is bad…especially when playing with a seven year old who can’t spell.

I won’t: I will. 

**originally written 5/20/08

When others look away

I won’t.

When they laugh at you

I won’t.

When they blame you

I won’t.

When they assume you can’t

I won’t.
When they forget about you

I won’t

When they disown you

I won’t

When they treat you like dirt

I won’t.
When they don’t treat you with respect

I will.

When they won’t come near you

I will.

When they don’t keep their promises

I will.

When they won’t sit by you on the bus

I will.

When they don’t see your value

I will.

When they won’t acknowledge your achievement

I will.

When they won’t love you

I will.

**I wrote this poem in response to the compassion that wells up within me for the people I serve every day, people who struggle with mental illness. It began as my call to action, but as it took shape on paper I realized that I am not capable of doing these things. Only Christ in me can. So this is how I desire to be, but reading it back now, I come to realize that this is what HE does for us all every day of our lives.

Favorite Thing Friday- Project Life

  
It’s Friday…and the end of most of the area’s spring break. My kids will go back to school on Monday…but I won’t. I teach special needs students in a program that goes to school year round. That means I get more time off throughout the year. Instead of one week for spring break…I get two!  Hooray!  

I have an extensive to-do list for the next week, but I’ve made sure to include some fun things too. One of those fun activities is the highlight of my favorite things Friday post this week- to get up-to-date in creating project life pages. 

Only in the last year have I come to know, appreciate, and love Becky Higgins and Project Life. Sure, she doesn’t know who I am (which makes the previous statement only slightly creepy and stalkerish), but Project Life has totally changed how I scrapbook. 

Now, let’s be clear…I haven’t scrapbooked in the past 10 years. It’s just sooooo much work and hassle. You have to pull out a gazillion pens, papers, cutters, stamps, stamp pads, washi tapes, glue, and on and on and on. Can you read the exasperation in those last few sentences?  By the time I would pull everything out and make a disastrous mess of my kitchen table, I would be so over it. I just don’t have time for that. 

Enter the Project Life app

Y’all. This app is AMAZING. I can’t sing its praises enough.  I can create while waiting on my kids after school. In my car. I can scrapbook in my car. Let that sink in. I can lay in my bed and create this (which I totally did):

  
I can then post it to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever….immediately!

Within 5 minutes, y’all! Can you tell I get excited about this?!

So let’s talk about cost…

The app itself is 2.99 regularly. They often lower the price to .99 (I got it at this price). However, I believe that the 2.99 price is well worth it. 

A few kits come free with the app…but all the kits are priced at 1.99 or .99. I know that some people don’t like to spend on apps, but when I consider the amount of money I’ve sunk on scrap booking supplies over the years….well, this is a tiny fraction of that cost. 

The app now has the capability of ordering prints directly. I love this!  I usually wait to order until I have a good sized order since there’s a flat $5 shipping rate. 12 x 12 prints are 1.99 and 8 x 8s are .99. I printed all our Disney layouts in an 8×8 format and I couldn’t be happier with it. The quality is fantastic!

   
The Disney 8×8 pages

  Last summer I did a page layout for each week during the summer. I took about 10 minutes each Sunday afternoon to create a page. Most of that time was spent narrowing down what pictures to use. Easy peasy!
These are my 12×12 layouts. I plan to do one album for each year. I’m actually excited about documenting our lives again. This just makes it so easy. 
I am also currently working on small albums for each of the five students in my class, and I’m thrilled with how the project is turning out. Obviously, due to privacy, I can’t share those here. 

Project Life did not endorse or pay me a thing to write this post. I just love it and wanted to share the love. 🙂
I’ll leave you with a few of my most favorite pages that I’ve created:

   
    
 If you have any questions…please ask in the comments.  I would love to connect with other project lifers!