Monday, October 20, 2014

Greed vs. Gratitude

I'm reading a book, along with my staff team by C.J. Mahaney, Humility. And I was very convicted while reading in chapter 5 and came across this sentence.... "An ungrateful person is a proud person." YIKES! I can be SO ungrateful and am disgusted when I think of myself as prideful (although that is the reality). 

Rather than pout about how sinful of a person I am (don't worry--I did spend time confessing and praying through it), I decided to take some proactive steps towards heart change. Last year, during the months of October and November, I was intentional in seeking to love others well and seek to have a posture of thankfulness and prayer. And while November is the obvious month to purposefully concentrate on all that we are thankful for, I didn't want to wait, I needed to start now.

So at the start of October, I began what I am calling a Gratitude Focus (very creative, I know). Each day I choose and thank God for something different--a person, a circumstance, something I have, etc. This has only just begun to peel back the ugly layer of entitlement and greed within my heart. It's much easier for me to find something that "God has yet to provide me with" but that's just the moments of lusting after something, am I trusting God to meet my daily needs? am I focusing on the blessings which He so abundantly pours out on me each day? No. I am focused on what I want and then begin to doubt God and His desire or even ability to provide.

But the truth is this: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" 
- Matthew 7:11

I'd assume I am not crazy or alone, and that you can how will you choose an attitude of gratitude over greed? God does indeed give us good gifts, don't miss the opportunity to enjoy them because you're so focused on what you don't have.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Life Lately

Obviously, 2014 hasn't so much been a banner year for me and blogging! But, I'm planning to take strides to pick it back up--with intentionality.

Since my last entry back in March (yikes!), MUCH has happened!! Some quick highlights...

My mother-in-law made a trip to visit us in NJ! We had a blast showing her around Rutgers, Princeton & NYC. 

My not-so-baby brother graduated from Florida State University! It was such a joy to be able to celebrate him in Tallahassee. [He's now planning to move overseas for a 10 month job teaching English as a second language. His courage inspires me.]

My best friend and her Mom had a long girls weekend in NYC. They were sweet enough to let me join them one day for some adventures around the city! I loved being able to see them both =)

Tyler and I took a weekend getaway to New York-- visited America's oldest winery and enjoyed the weekend at the lovely Thayer Hotel on West Point's campus. We absolutely loved the quality time, delicious food, and change of scenery. 

Thanks to a generous gift card from my grandfather for Christmas, Tyler and I enjoyed a matinee showing of The Lion King and dinner in NYC. It was an absolutely incredible show!!

We spent most of the month of June overseas with an Athletes in Action track and field tour. Our journey began in the Canary Islands, continued on the mainland of Spain, and ended with an overnight layover in Switzerland (pictured below). It was a fun and unique experience that was made a little more challenging for me because....

Just before leaving for Spain, we found out that we are expecting!!! And just last week, we found out Baby Stowell is a little girl =) We are so thankful to God that our family is growing!

That's it folks, a quick flashback over the last six months. Now that you're all caught up... I look forward to sharing about more going on...more often =)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Where Have I Been?

It's dawned on me a few times recently that I have been completely MIA from the bloggersphere for quite some time now. And my excuse seems pretty lame....

I've been busy.

Told you, lame. Because let's be honest, who isn't busy?

But for me, it's been a good busy. Busy spending quality time with the love of my life. Busy investing in the girls I spend my time with on campus. Busy staying connected with my friends, both near and far. Busy getting my new co-worker acquainted with "the ropes" of AIA life. Busy in the kitchen. Busy traveling for work. Busy reading. Busy with every day life.

Better yet, simply put, I've been busy where the Lord has me. And I've really been enjoying it. That being said, I may go MIA again for some time. It's not that I don't miss blogging. And if I could do it as easily from my phone as I can from my laptop, I'd probably keep up with it. But the truth is, my hubby and I share not only a car but a laptop. And his days more often than mine, require the laptop. So, I'm left with little time....and without a laptop.

There you have it. I'm your average human who cannot possibly do it all. I've come to terms with it. Have you? What's cluttering your life and keeping you from being where the Lord has you?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

First of the Year

Well, it's far past January 1st. But this is my first post of 2014... Yikes! If that's not any indication that I've been busy and enjoying some computer-less time, I don't know what is.

Last year was the first year I chose "a verse of the year" for both me and Tyler-- one I prayed through regularly and trusted God for. 

I enjoyed it so much and saw God answer my prayers, that I chose to do the same thing this year! 

For Tyler - But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. - 1 Timothy 6:11

For myself- Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. - Colossians 3:6-7

I look forward to seeing God work in and through us in these ways.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thoughts on the List of 23 Things....

Yesterday, this blog post showed up on my Facebook newsfeed several times, as multiple of my friends had posted it and commented how much they enjoyed it. Just the title, "23 Things to do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23" got me a little fired up... mostly because I was 22 when I was both engaged and married to my best friend and now husband. As I read through the blog, I became even more irritated! I almost felt personally attacked and began feeling defensive for "getting married young" and let's face it, I owe no one an explanation.

Then, today, I read this blog. And I just about 100% agree with every word. This girl, who is my age, articulated almost exactly what I was thinking reading the list of 23 things yesterday. At the end, this author suggests doing what's right for you...and I'd take it a step further and say to do what God has for you! Our loving Creator has a unique plan for each person. I wholeheartedly believe I am in God's plan for me. If you're single and 23, 35, or 65, I hope you can stand firmly in knowing you are exactly where God wants you--because that is what matters.

A friend shared with me this post, which I believe is a better guide of "what to do before marriage" than the 23 things listed in the first blog my humble opinion.

Oh, and happy new year.

"...rejoice in the wife of your youth." 
- Proverbs 5:18

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Full Days

I cannot believe we are in the homestretch of December, let alone 2013. This month has been packed full of fun, visitors, dates, ministry, and just daily life.

The first weekend of December, my father-in-law visited us! It was a great time-- especially for he and my husband... they talked, watched, and digested football all weekend. And loved. every. minute. It brought my heart much joy to see them spend quality time together! And of course I loved having him here, too! But I did learn that although I am a sports gal and enjoy football, I cannot keep up with the two of them, haha!

After a day to ourselves, Tyler and I then hosted some of our best friends as they visited from Florida! The four of us kept saying "we couldn't have hoped for a better time" -- like everything was perfect, weather, timing, events, schedule...everything. In their few days stay, we packed it all in... a Rutgers tour, Hoboken, NYC, Princeton, nights full of board games, and playing in the snow! We loved spending quality, God-centered time with them and look forward to connecting with them again soon in Florida over Christmas.

In the midst of all of that, AIA at Rutgers closed out the semester with a Christmas party, Tyler & I got our Christmas cards (finally) sent out, we hosted an Ultimate Training Camp little reunion dinner for some athletes, we had our small group Christmas cookie exchange Christmas celebration, celebrated our third wedding anniversary, and even began packing for our trip to Florida. 

To say December has been a whirlwind already, would be an understatement. But I count myself very blessed as the end of this year has been much more joy-filled than the end of last year. Each of the above events have been God's whispers of "I love you. I Am Good. You are cared for." And for that alone, I praise Him.

"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." - John 15:11

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Anticipating His Coming

Advent, defined by Merriam-Webster, is the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting.

This December, how are you celebrating and observing Advent? I thought I'd share a few wonderful resources that I am familiar with to help you prepare your heart for Christmas! This list is not extensive, as there are MANY great Advent season resources. But I hope you enjoy these and jump in... it's not too late ;-)

  • 25 Days of Christ by Redeemed Girls Ministries -- this is what I am primarily using this month as my daily time with the Lord and I am absolutely loving it!
  • The free YouVersion app has topical reading plans to take you through the Christmas story in Scripture-- an excellent resource.
  • Transformative Vision a fabulous and practical resource that Jacob's Well, our church here in New Jersey, has put together.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” - Luke 1:30-33