11.24.2015

Six Things I'm Thankful For This Thanksgiving



             "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all                             circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
                                                ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18~


              I think I've mentioned before how crazy life has been for the last two years. I've moved twice. I've dealt with seasons of all different emotions and struggles. This Thanksgiving, though? I'm full of joy. Complete and utter joy. Not because everything is perfect, but because God has filled me with joy this season. Despite all of the chaos, the struggle, and everything else over the last few years, I'm full of joy. And that is worth celebrating. With that said, there are some things I'm thankful for this year that should be noted. 


  1.  Jesus. For His sacrifice, for His love, for His words of wisdom that keep me going when life gets hard, and for His comfort during hard times.
  2. My family. Parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great aunts, great uncles. I have a pretty big family, so there's lots of people to mention. I love each and every one of them to pieces! 
  3. My family. I say this again, because (like I've said before) family isn't always blood related to you. And I have a lot of family who aren't biologically related to me. I love them like crazy, too!
  4. A joy-filled heart. I'm thankful for the ability to remain joyful. I'm thankful that I can pray, and ask the Lord to help me remain consistently joyful, even when it's difficult.
  5. My friends! There's a lot to mention, but you're all fabulous. Oh, and specifically my best friend Anne just rocks, so thank you for being you! :)
  6. The kids I babysit/teach in Sunday school. They bring me so much joy, and I'm so thankful for all of them!
                   Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your holiday is wonderful, and spent happily with all of your loved ones. 

                                                       Love,
                                                    Kelsey :)

10.15.2015

A Lesson in Trust

Hello,

  I seemed to be under the delusion that I'd posted recently on this blog, when in fact, time had slipped away from me and it's been more like three and a half months since I've posted. Wow! I suppose the summer was just eventful, and time slipped away from me slowly.

 Rather than grace you with some long, drawn out post full of highlights from this past summer, I'll share one thing with you. And it has nothing to do with how my summer was.


                                                              source


  This. This verse has been prominent in my life for months. Not that I hadn't read it before, or hadn't understood it before, but it didn't really mean anything to me until now. Life has been chaotic for awhile, and things just seem so stressful and crazy sometimes, that it's hard to even determine what to do. What the next step should be. Not even in just one, isolated part of my life, but chaos has seemingly wormed it's way into every aspect of my life and it hits me hard sometimes. 
   
  The biggest reason I think I've been honing in on these verses is because it's a reminder of the things I need to work on. Truthfully, it is an encouragement, but it's more so there as a smack in the head, to remind me to just trust. Just trust. Easier said than done, but it's something I'm working on. Something I'm trying to remind myself of every single day.

  When you're in an unpredictable and chaotic situation, it's hard to hash out what is going on sometimes. It's like everything is moving and changing, and you're frozen in time, wondering where to move. This is where these verses come in and keep me levelheaded; bring me to a place of remembering to just trust. Sometimes I need to remind myself to trust like the act of trusting is the same as breathing. Trust in, trust out, trust always, trust to keep going. Then comes the part about not leaning on your own understanding. I think our tiny glimpse of the situation we're in can be deceiving without the ability to view it amidst the bigger picture. Finally, we come to the last part. Now, some may like to skip to the whole, "He will make your paths straight" part, but you really can't. "In ALL thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." I have to remember that acknowledging Him and His power and His presence, is almost like letting go and letting Him take over. Not that He's not in control all of the time, but it's the trusting and the letting go that's required to let Him direct our paths. 
   I have a theory that this doesn't mean that our lives will become any less chaotic or crazy or confusing, but I think it just means that the trusting, and the letting go, allow us to be free to live in spite of it. Even in the thick of life, and in the hardest, craziest parts, letting go and letting Him work through our situation allows a freedom. A freedom to just be, to trust as we breathe, and let Him pave our way. 

With love and hugs,
Kelsey

      












6.30.2015

"The Preacher Girl"

Hey there,

  On a regular basis, I find myself stumbling. Not just stumbling spiritually; but physically, emotionally, pretty much any way you can possibly imagine. I'm a stumbler. I'm not well-balanced, and I usually end up with lots of bumps and bruises.
   Besides being a stumbler, I also happen to be extremely sensitive, and I read too much into things sometimes. Guilty. Sorry. 

  All this said, it probably shouldn't come as any surprise to me or anyone else, when I had a strange reaction to being nicknamed "Preacher Girl," by my brothers. Why did they call me that, you ask? Well, let me set the scene for you.

  We were swimming last week, and we were splashing around and messing around as teenage siblings often do. My brothers began to say things that I didn't really agree with, I don't remember the exact conversation. Whatever they said came off as very worldly to me, and I responded with, "Well you know, you can be in the world, but not of the world." I was beaming, I was thrilled that I could pour out words of wisdom to my brothers. 
  After a few minutes, I said it again in response to something they had said, and they proceeded to say, "Whatever you say Preacher Girl!" At first, I was a little uncomfortable. I wanted to protest and say, "I AM NOT! That is totally unfair, I'm no preacher girl, I'm just your sister trying to give you gentle (or not so gentle) guidance here!!" 

  After much deliberation on my part (also known as, obsessive over thinking of my newly acquired nickname, wondering whether or not I should be offended), I realized; we're all supposed to be preachers. 

  Don't get me wrong here, I'm not implying that everyone should go out and go to seminary and become world renown ministers! No, what I'm saying is, that we're the light in this world. Our lives should be a ministry to others, our lives should be a message to others. 
   Matthew 5:14-16 says, 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 
   Jesus are the light of the world. You're responsibility is to shine that light. The love that's poured into us is meant to be a light to others. The love that we receive should be pouring out of us. Jesus died so we could live, yes; but that's not the end of it. He also wants us to shine His light, for others to see.

   Your life should be a ministry to others. The love God has for you, should be so evident in your life, that people become curious. People wonder. 

   Am I offended by being called "Preacher Girl?" No, because it means at least something I'm doing is resonating with someone, even if it is my brothers. After all, we should show the light to our families as well, right?

   There's no need to jam the Bible down someone's throat, or smack them over the head with it (even if it may be tempting sometimes). First, show love. First, illuminate their lives with the light of Christ. Everything else can come later.

                                                             source

                                                             Love,
                                                                        Kelsey :)

6.18.2015

Dear Past Self (Another Thursday Letter)

Dear Past Kelsey,

  I don't have any time-frame I'm writing to you about, but I do know one thing; I probably shouldn't focus on the past. That's kind of a popular statement these days, "Focus on the now, don't look to the past." I agree, yet I disagree. I think looking to the past occasionally helps to remind you not to make the same mistakes that you have before. 

  I have a few things to say to you Kelsey, and I hope it helps for me to get them written down. You always had that habit, and still do to this day; writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you to figure them out. 

  First off, I want you to know something. You did it. You made it to sixteen. Whether you have one or one-hundred years left, I don't know, but you've made it this far. I know there were times where you didn't think you could do it, didn't think it was worth it; but it was, and I want to tell you, life isn't any easier, but it seems to be getting more beautiful.

  As I slow down and take a look back at your life, at our life, I'm noticing more and more how time flew when I felt like it was taking too long. Time, Kelsey, is very, very precious, and I'm determined not to waste a second of it. If I could be off of social media more often than not, I would do much better at not wasting time. 

  Secondly, you made it. You got over him. Maybe not fully (who actually gets over a guy fully?), but you shifted the way you were giving him attention. It might have hurt like nothing has ever hurt you before when you realized it was time to get over him, but I promise, he is not the entire world. That's why they say a guy won't complete you, because you get disappointed and heartbroken sometimes.

  To the little version of me that was scared to become independent, scared to dare to do more than just hide in the shadows of other people: you're not that girl anymore. The process of finding out who you're going to be is still ongoing, but you're getting there. 

  To the little girl who thought at sixteen she'd marry a prince and live in a candy castle: sorry, it hasn't happened. Hey, I did just turn sixteen, so you never know. Maybe he'll come along. 

  And finally, to the 13 year old version of me. You thought you could never change your ways, you thought you'd be a horrible, mean person forever: You're a work in progress. Things are gradually changing. You're trying to change your attitude and trying to sweeten up your disposition, but it's still ongoing. We'll get there, though. With time, I'm hoping we can get this straightened out. 

   Past me, I know you'd wished for a life totally different than the one you've got, but this is what we've got, and you're going to make the best of it. You're trying, anyway. Remember, kiddo, life isn't always easy; but with a little love and a whole lot of Jesus, I think you'll be just fine.
                                                       Love,
                                                  Kelsey :)

                        For your enjoyment, here are a few photos of "past me." 




6.14.2015

Choices

Hey there! 

   I hope you like the updates on this blog. The name change was because, after a few years of having "Dreamer" as the title, I thought it was necessary for a change. I hope this change reflects the way I'm living, and if it doesn't, it'll be a reminder to always seek the Lord's heart.

   You may or may not know this, but I teach Sunday school. I have very few kids, but making sure they're learning is really important to me. I may not know fully what I'm doing, but after a year of teaching, I'm starting to get the hang of things.

    Today, I planned a lesson (based on a free lesson online) about choices. The verses that we focused on were:

        "13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
                                           Matthew 7:13-14

      I had eight-year-old twins today, and they have a tendency to be rambunctious. They're rowdy boys and I have brothers, nothing really surprises me when it comes to them. They were their usual rowdy selves, and at times they didn't listen, but I've come to the conclusion that situations aren't always going to be perfect and tied up in a neat little package like you want them to be. Sometimes, the things we do can be hard.

    Which brings me back to the lesson. 

     We were talking about choices, and how making good choices in life will keep you on the right path to eternal life. As I kept reminding them that making good choices was always the best option, a thought struck me; they're not the only ones who need to hear this. I needed to hear it. I needed to be reminded that no matter how tempting that wide, easy road is; it eventually leads to destruction. 

  Think about it for a minute, in all the years you've read your Bible (this is for those who read their Bibles. If you don't, I highly recommend flipping through to correct me if I'm wrong), has it ever once said, "Wide is the gate, and easy and comfortable is the road that leads to eternal life." I've never read that. 

   Life is always going to be hard. There are always going to be challenges to overcome, comfort zones to step out of; but maybe the path to eternal life is hard so that we need Jesus more. Maybe that was the point. 

   Last year, when I went to Leadership Camp, one really big thing for me was when we were running in the woods. I was breathless (super out of shape at the time), struggling to catch my breath, and performing some weird mix of running/walking/hyperventilating. Everyone was SO nice about it, though. While I was embarrassed, everyone else was making sure I was okay and helping me if need be. 

  I think that's why the narrow, rugged road was made for believers. It's to see if we're willing to take it, no matter how difficult. At the same time, though, when it does get difficult, Jesus is right there to pick us up. He's there to lean on. He's there to encourage us and keep us going, just like when I was back at camp. Had those people not been there, I probably wouldn't have finished all that I did. If I were by myself, I surely would have just stopped, at least slowed down. 

  That's why not only is it important to lean on Jesus in the hard times, but it's so important to encourage others during the hard times, AND  surround yourself with people who will encourage you. Do you think you could finish a race with someone yelling, even whispering, doubts into your ears. No, because encouragement is super important when it comes to our Christian family. 

   Making good choices is always the best option, and if you make the good choice to follow down the rugged road, Jesus will be there to lean on, to tell you that you can make it; to help you finish the race. 

                                                    Love,
                                                Kelsey :)

5.24.2015

Changes Are Coming

Hello there,

 In an attempt to revitalize and breathe new life into this blog, there will be some changes coming. Most likely it will include, a name change, a design change, and a little bit of change in the overall format, but it will be the same me. 

  I hope you all have a fabulous Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend. Have a wonderful day!

                                              Kelsey :)

5.17.2015

God Doesn't Care What Color Pens You Use

Hello there!

  The title might seem a little strange, but this is a lesson I really had to learn recently. It's something that I probably should have learned awhile ago, but I'm stubborn. 

  Let's face it; Bible study isn't always easy. *GASP,* you say? How can I say that? Well, I'm a big advocate of honesty, and I truly believe we need to be honest in our Christianity, because it isn't easy. Actually, it rarely ever is. (Check out my last post for more on that) I know it's been said that "being a Christian doesn't have to be hard," but I don't think that's the truth. I think it is hard. I think it takes a huge amount of discipline, self-control, and complete dedication and surrender. I also think it's hard, at times, as a method for us to grow closer to the Lord.

 With all of that said, Bible study can be tough. The discipline of sitting down everyday and studying the Bible isn't always easy. Sometimes, we're busy, or lazy, or we feel guilty sitting down and studying when we have a dirty house, a thousand errands to run, and homework or, if you have a job, work to do.

 Now to be extremely honest, I don't study my Bible like I should. I don't study nearly as much as I need to. I get busy with school, or day to day activities and I put it off. Or I'm downright lazy and get too wrapped up in the hypnosis that is television, and I can't seem to get sucked back into reality. I'm not making excuses, though. I guess a lot of it has to do with a lack of self-discipline. 

  Now, let me paint a picture for you. I'm sitting in my bedroom, feet kicked up on the bed while sitting in my totally cool, pink, fuzzy, saucer chair (thanks, Auntie!), and I finally get my butt in gear to do some Bible study. I'm really getting into it and I'm prepared to sit there for hours and hours and just keep studying. Laundry? You shall wait! That two-page writing assignment for school? Psh, no time for that! This is studying time! Then, comes the dead halt in my study. 
  Before I go on, you have to understand, that I write things down. A lot. Whether in Bible study, or regular studying, or even just writing down to-do lists; I write things down a lot. Therefore, during my Bible study, I take notes (just as I do in church). 
  To continue the story, I was sitting there, in my pink fuzzy chair, all pumped up to do some Bible study, when I came to a dilemma. Are you ready for this? Are you truly prepared? I asked myself, "Oh goodness! What color pen am I going to use?" I kid you not, I spent a solid five minutes in this dilemma, sitting, staring at these pens, unsure of what color to use for my notes. Do I use pink? Or red for the really important things? Do I underline my notes? Don't even get me started on highlighting!

  I sat there, in this predicament, when the thought occurred to me, "Hey you! God doesn't care what color pens you use, He cares what you get out of this study." I kind of wished someone were in the same room to smack me in the head. I wasted all of that time (five minutes may seem short, but minutes are precious, guys) thinking, WORRYING even, about what color pens to use, when I could have been studying more. 

  All of this said, solid, habitual Bible study can only come from strong self discipline. I'm told it's easier the longer you've been doing it, but I haven't quite gotten there yet. I'm still learning, just as many are. I'm so grateful, though, that I've found the Lord at this age, because otherwise, I'd probably be even more busy and even more distracted from Bible study. Buckle down, Kelsey. Get in the Word. It's got so much to offer.


                                                   Love,
                                                    Kelsey :)