Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days: A Month in Review

Wow. The past 31 days have flown by. At the beginning of October I decided to launch this blog that I’ve been sitting on for two years. I choose to focus on health, relationships, home, and heart on my journey of intentional living. Here is a brief update:

Health: I’ve stayed committed to my Body Transformation classes and have chosen to make several small improvements when it comes to what I eat. Simply being mindful of my eating habits can make a big difference.

Relationships: I’ve had such a blast developing relationships with people Downtown (it’s so much easier when you spend five nights a week with them). I’ve also been intentional about spending time with my Christian friends as well. Relationships are such a crucial part of our time here on earth. The most important part of being successful at cultivating them is making them a priority. I got very little house cleaning done this weekend but I invested in people and that pays eternal dividends. No matter how often I clean my house the basset hound will have it covered in drool and hair within the hour. I’d rather spend the bulk of my time investing in things that will last.

Home: Before 31 Days I was spending a lot of time crafting and working on more projects to glorify God in my home. However I’ve done very little crafting this month. (It may have something to do with all those relationships; it’s all about priorities people.) However because crafting is a creative release for me as well as a time to connect with The Creator I want to renew my goal to craft at least once a week.

Heart: I can definitely say that being intentional about keeping my 1000 Gifts list has helped the attitudes of my heart. I’ve committed to linking up every Monday and I bring my journal to work every day. Hopefully this habit will be one I can carry with me my whole life through

69. Evening spent around a fire with hubby and his parents

70. In-laws that I love to spend time with

71. Last minute vacations plans

72. Not failing at my new blog

73. People who’ve joined me on the intentional living journey

Thanks to all of you who have braved the last 31 Days with me. Let's keep pursuing intentional living on this crazy church planting journey.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days: Intentional Information

As a blogger, woman, wife, and Christian there are roughly a billion blogs out there that claim to have something I need. But I have limited time and even if I could amass all the information available to me I would not have time to put it to use. In an effort be a good steward of my time online I have intentionally chosen to limit the blogs I follow. Below is a list (that excludes my friend’s personal blogs that largely include updates on their families) of the blogs I follow:

Blogs I Follow Regularly:

Passionate Homemaking

The Nesting Place

Jones Design Company

A Holy Experience

Blogs I’m Following During the 31 Days:

Creative Kristi

Mom, net Mom

Cajun joie de vivre

Blogs I Follow Occassionally:

The Pioneer Woman

Emily at Jones Design Company also shared her blog list here. Feel free to share your favorite blogs below. Do you have a system for managing your time online and blog reading that you could also share?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days: Intentional in the Fall

Fall is the perfect time to share a meal. Pots of soup, chili, or beans are cost effective and easy to throw into a Crockpot first thing in the morning so that dinner is done at the end of the day. Apples abound for simple and affordable deserts, and a pan of cornbread can be whipped up in no time.

Despite all those simple options I still have mild bouts of panic each time I agree to entertaining folks in our home. Why? I’m a perfectly good hostess but I work a full time job outside of the home. I always worry the house won’t be clean enough or things won’t be perfect…

And that my friends, is the issue. When we ‘entertain’ perfection is an (unattainable) goal. But when we practice true hospitality connection is a goal. When we entertain the food and place settings must be perfect. When we practice hospitality the food is an opportunity to share with others our blessings. Entertaining forces an illusion of perfection. Hospitality frees us to be imperfect.


I started the absolutely lovely post above earlier today in preparation for our small group coming over for dinner tonight. Then I came home and fought with my husband. After a somewhat stressful afternoon at work I took my bad attitude out on my him. Instead of being thankful for the things he had done to help around the house I only noticed the things that hadn't been done. So while everything I said earlier is what I believe to be true, I still have a long way to go in living those things out.

Tonight I'm exceedingly grateful for a God and a husband that are full of grace towards me even when I don't deserve it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days: Intentional Meals

My husband works for the company that runs the world’s largest cigars stores. He has been working for said company for over two years and is currently the bar manager for one of the stores. Yes, you read that right. Cigars and booze. When we moved to Orlando to plant a church this is not how we planned it. As I was growing up as a Christian in the South this is not how I saw my life playing out. As a matter of fact once upon a time I would have considered my husband and me to be on a pathway straight to hell because of the places and people we associate with. But this has all been very clearly part of God’s plan for our lives and our ministry. As Michael Frost said:

“If exiles are looking for where God is already working, they might be surprised by what they find. They might find God in the bar or the biker gang, in the strip club or the casino…No one in Jesus’ time would have thought to find God eating with tax collectors or playing with children.”

Due to my husband’s occupation he works an interesting schedule which means I spend five nights a week at a cigar shop. No seriously, five nights a week. This means I get to talk to lots of people and form lots of relationships. Usually I try to cook/bake something for the employees at least once a week. This week I made them soup and we had a ‘family dinner.’ It was lovely. Everyone had some and the results lead me to my 1,000 gifts list:

38. ‘Family Diner’ with friends

39. Empty soup pot means dinner was shared with others

40. Diverse languages spoken at a multicultural dinner

41. The connection to the Creator that comes with preparing real food.

42. The joy in chopping veggies and meats

Click here for a list of articles regarding the theology of meals.
Can you believe this is the last full week of 31 Days? I can’t. Where has October gone?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days: Intentional Time Management

Check out these ideas on time management:

Scott suggests asking some questions that were really helpful to me:
  • What are the things only I can do? (The Nester addresses this subject here)
  • What are the thing I need to give up/not do?
Scott also says that it's key to prioritize our time by putting God first, family second, and everything else last. I know you've heard this a million times before but how many of us really live like this? I know I don't. I've started to think about how my life would differ if I REALLY put God first...

Are your priorities in order? If not how would realigning them change your life? Do you have any tips for managing time wisely? If so please share them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days: My Progress

At this beginning of this journey toward intentional living I chose four areas to focus on: health, relationships, home, and heart. I thought I would update you on my progress as a means of encouragement:

Health: As you know I started a twelve week Body Transformation at my local Y. I haven’t missed a class and have been working out habitually two days a week. Tonight and Sunday I plan to work out as well getting my weekly total to four days a week. I would love to be there at least five days a week as I was before but I’m certainly making progress.

Heart: I’ve wanted to continue to cultivate the practice of eucharisteo as well as be more intentional about my time with God. I’ve been linking up on Mondays with A Holy Experience to share my gifts list. This has really been helpful as it’s made me more disciplined about keeping my keeping my list since I have to post about it.

Relationships: One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a long time is to be more intentional about my relationships with non-believers. My husband’s new work schedule has been really helpful in this regard since I spend five nights a week at a cigar store. Just this past Sunday we started a missional small group with some of the guys my husband works with and it was amazing.

Home: I feel like this is the area I’ve had the least progress in. I’ve really wanted to work at decluttering, simplifying, and organizing. Since we are nearing the end (I can’t believe it) of the 31 Days I think I will make this more of a focus.

Lisa at Mom, net Mom has also chosen Live Intentional as her 31 Days theme. She wrote a great post that includes an intentional prayer. Be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days: Intentional Faith

Yesterday I received some very sad news. Way back at the end of May my husband and I applied to a great organization called Apartment Life to be a CARES Team. We were so excited to be accepted and start this new ministry journey. We then began what could be a three month process of waiting to be placed into an apartment complex. Meanwhile we went to a training for CARES Teams and brainstormed ways to reach our future community.

Three months came and went and we heard nothing. We contacted Apartment Life and they said no properties in Downtown had opened up but that they would let us know as soon one did. Then we waited some more. Yesterday they called us. They didn’t expect anything to open up Downtown. They offered us opportunities outside of the part of the city God has called us to. That wouldn’t work. We decided to be put on their long term waiting list.

Since our application with Apartment Life many things in our lives have changed including my husband’s work schedule. Additionally God has been providing many new ministry opportunities. We knew that God may be leading us in a different direction. So I expected a call like yesterday’s would have made me happy to have something more definitive. But it didn’t. It made me cry. I cried because I was further convinced that we have no idea where we’re going to live or what exactly God has in store for us. I don’t like uncertainty and not being in control. It was all very emotionally draining.

Today I am clinging to the fact that God is in control. We are at the beginning of a journey to purchase a home and that in and of itself can be terrifying and full of emotional highs and lows. I find it even more necessary to trust God even though I can’t see where I’m going. Even though I like the stability of having a plan that includes a long term home I must have trust him.

God, thank you for giving me yet another opportunity to exercise my faith in you. Please help me to trust you more and more.

Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days: On The Patio

There’s a cigar store in Downtown Orlando where people come to hang out with friends, unwind after a long day, show off their bucks, drink away the pain, and little do they know, have their lives changed. There are few things in life that cause people to really slow down and be real with themselves and others. A cigar is one of those things. Last night was one of those times.

Because my husband works at the aforementioned cigar store we have developed many relationships with hurting people. Amazingly God has brought many other Christ followers to this store in Downtown Orlando with the same desire to see lives changed. Last night we began a discussion group with some of the employees and customers. It was a huge success. In that span of two hours seven of us gathered around a patio table many with cigar in hand. We talked about dreams and the pain associated with striving to achieve those dreams.

What made this small gathering a success? People were brutally honest. They shared about masks, fears, secrets, and loss. It was truly amazing on this first night of meeting that people would be so openly transparent about their struggles. That they would trust us and feel safe enough to share is only by the grace and spirit of God.

Today I am exceedingly grateful:

23. People trusting us with their pain

24. The sweet smell of tobacco leaves burning

25. God empowering my husband to lead

26. That God doesn’t leave people in pain but heals and restores

27. God’s amazing plan for our lives

28. God’s amazing plan for the lives of those in our group that we can’t begin to fathom

31 Days: Intentional Worship

Thanks to Ann Voskamp for sharing this timely video.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days: A Decision

This morning I woke up, gobbled down a quick breakfast, and went straight to my class at the Y (yay for being intentionally healthy). I then came home, showered, dressed, and left town for my future sister-in-law’s shower. I ate lunch in my car and wrapped the shower gift in the parking lot of the Walgreens where I stopped to get a gift bag. I went to the shower, ate dinner with my parents, drove back to Orlando, and visited my husband at work. Now I’m finally back home, after 11:00 PM, wondering where my weekend has gone. I’m sure you can relate.

My to do list is untouched and tomorrow we start a new missional small group. Everything within me screams “you don’t have time for rest.” In light of my previous post and my commitment to intentional living this month I believe I owe it to myself and to you to practice what I preach. Now I must choose tomorrow what truly must be done along with what is life giving to me and push everything else to Monday.

Amy shared a 31 Days post earlier this week on this very topic. She provides a very helpful free printable for prioritizing rest on your calendar. So are you with us? Will you commit to intentionally taking a Sabbath rest?

31 Days: Be The Church

I’ve recently started revisiting the idea of ‘church.’ In anticipation of further discussions on this topic I’d like us to think about the following questions:

What is the church? People or place?

What are the implications to our lives if we believe church is the people of God?

What are the implications to our buildings and worship services?

How will this affect how we spend our time each week?

Previously when I’ve wrestled through some of these questions I’ve wanted to ‘throw the baby out with the bath water.’ This time it was different. Perhaps I’ve made an idol of my American, not necessarily Biblical, definition of church because it felt as though the Lord might be wrenching it out of my hands. This thought caused me to think of Hugh Halter’s book Sacrilege which is now being added to my reading list.

The fact is that defining what it means to be the church is incredibly frightening for me. I’m hoping to discover a more Biblical definition of what church means and if my thinking is correct than my future ‘ministry’ could look completely different. I think it would be much easier to go on living with things the way they are now. But that wouldn’t be intentional living…

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days: You Can Take A Break!

It’s ok to take a break. Even more so it’s important. The Sabbath commanded in the Bible is about rest. Rest from work and even ministry should be a regularly occurring event on your calendar. This doesn’t mean you’re excused from any opportunities the Lord brings your way but it does mean you’re free to relax and recharge without guilt. You can do so intentionally.

Make sure your Sabbath occurs regularly each week. While it doesn’t necessarily need to be observed on Sunday, especially for those in fulltime ministry, having a regularly scheduled Sabbath helps you make it a habit. While chores, work, etc. should not be on the agenda consider these items instead:

Do something that is life giving to you like having coffee with a friend, reading a good book, or going on a nature walk.

Do spend intentional time with God. Maybe on this day you can give more time to this than you would on a typical day.

Do rest. Don’t forget this part. Just do it.

Do have fun. Maybe watching a movie with your spouse or playing Wii with your kids can be the perfect end to your Sabbath.

This afternoon I’m not feeling well so part of my Sabbath might come early this week. Maybe I’ll just cuddle with my Basset Hound tonight on the couch. No matter what happens I won’t feel guilty. I’ll be honoring God by recharging to serve him better. Obeying his commands can one of the most life giving things you’ll ever do.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days: Think Outside the Box

Over the weekend we had what seemed like a monsoon in Florida. A typical Florida rain will last a couple of hours in the afternoon where the clouds will burst to their heart’s content and then it will all be over. If it’s going to rain in Florida you usually don’t have to worry about it ruining your plans. It will come and go and you can enjoy the break of an afternoon shower and then resume whatever you were doing.

But sometime on Friday night it started raining and it didn’t stop until sometime Sunday night. Picnics, beach trips, parades, and even entire festivals were cancelled. On Sunday morning I had what I thought was an original idea. I decided I would go to the farmer’s market in the rain. When I got there the baker’s booth I wanted to visit wasn’t even setup so I never got out of my car. But there was another couple braving the weather to pick produce and do you know what? They got rewarded. They were the only ones at a freshly setup both and they got the pick of the crop.

I proceeded to attempt what I thought was another original idea; go to Panera. What really got me excited about this was that the rain would allow me to park right outside instead of typical downtown scenario which requires a several block walk. I got my prime parking spot and while Panera was quieter than usual, other people had shared this idea as well.

As I settled in with my hazelnut coffee and soufflé by a window to watch the rain I made some observations. First that it was a great idea to go out into the rain while most others in The City Beautiful had relegated themselves to their living rooms. I also noticed that a few brave souls had done something truly original. They had gone through the rain to the usually crowded and now flooded outdoor patio to be alone. It was just them and the rain. Let me tell you, I was jealous.

Probably the most important thing I observed was the need to think differently in order to get the best results. Both the folks on the patio, at the farmer’s market, and I could have stayed home enjoying our dry sofas. But I wanted to retreat with God. The folks on the patio wanted to be alone. Apparently the folks at the farmer’s market were really passionate about produce. This got me thinking that real intentional living will cause us to think differently, to experiment, to take risks. And so I challenge you to break both society’s and your own norms today on your quest for intentional living.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days: I Don't Want To

Today I feel like a little girl in a super market stomping her foot, shouting “I don’t want to!” I don’t feel like being intentional today. As a matter of fact I don’t feel like doing much of anything. Things that once came easy are now accomplished only with much difficulty and gritting of teeth. Things that once brought me joy are falling flat. Why? Because I’m not where I wanted to be in life and things are not going my way. I am unfulfilled and uncertain.

Now I know I have some options for pulling myself out of this rut but they all seem hard. And honestly right now I just feel like wallowing in the mud of this mess I’ve made. One thing I’m certain of is that when I live for myself I always realize that it’s not enough.

God, please help me to live for you first, others second, and myself third.

What do you do when you feel like quitting?

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days: Hard Eucharisteo?

This morning I read Ann Voskamp’s post and on her list of 1000 gifts #2755 was “hard eucharisteo: lost camera memory card.” At first I was shocked. Why was she thankful for this? Then I thought that if this truly was something to be thankful for than it had implications for my life.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It’s written right there but I don’t like it. You see I recently lost my Kindle while traveling. I’m not making this up people. I’m not sure if I left it on a plane or if it was stolen. There are two points in my trip that the location of my Kindle is questionable. If you’ve ever lost anything while traveling you know it’s almost impossible to locate it through airport lost and found.

I’ve had many opportunities in my life to be thankful for hardships including the loss of a spouse, depression, marriage crisis, and that’s the short list. But let me tell you, for me it’s much easier to see God’s hand in the big things and be thankful. But these little everyday trials…

I can be thankful that the loss of my Kindle gives me a better chance at conquering my e-Book gluttony (thanks to Dana, one of my readers, for the wording). It helps me to focus on one book at a time. It’s causes me to be more thankful for my husband’s sacrifice to get me a nice gift, which I lost. Perhaps God is trying to teach me to trust him more during my travels so I’ll be less anxious. Be more clear headed while traveling alone could certainly help me to avoid another loss of property.

My list is coming slowly but it’s coming. Here goes:

#6 hard eucharisteo: lost Kindle

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days: I Broke The Rules!

Perhaps you figured this out reading some of my previous posts about my legalistic upbringing; I like rules. They make me feel safe. That my friends is a sin because my sense of safety and security should come from Christ alone. This particular sin I struggle with on an almost daily basis.

Imagine my horrow this morning when my eyes blinked open and one of my first thoughts was, "Oh no! I forgot to write my post!" In the interest of intentional living I tried to avoid my computer yesterday and only got on to read one blog post yesterday morning. And it worked. I got an amazing amount done and avoided my computer so well that I completely forgot to post. Previously this would have stopped me in my tracks. I probbably would have never posted again and maybe even deleted this blog. But thanks be to God who is helping me to fight the enemy of our souls.

"As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear him, and know he is there,
But not so far from men as to not hear them,
And remember they are there, too."
- "I Stand by the Door" By Samuel Moor Shoemaker

If you haven't read Shoemaker's poem already be sure to follow the link and read it all the way through. There were times that while I was reading that I wasn't sure if I would agree with where he as going but I encourage you to read to the end. It will be worth it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days: Fighting Consumerism Part 2

As someone who is prone to consumerism, another way I’ve decided to fight this leaning is to create a reading list. Sounds simple right? Well it is but it has made a world of difference. Previously I would have 5+ books on my nightstand none of which I would ever finish. I would constantly be receiving book deliveries from the library that would clutter my house. Worse yet I could never return them on time and received numerous late fees. When I received a Kindle for my birthday things got worse. There were so many books I could get for free, many that I never intended to read. Oh, and the glorious book samples were a paradise for someone with Input in their top five strengths.

So I created my reading list with goals. My goal is to read one fiction book and one nonfiction book per month. Below is my list so far:

The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett (finish)

Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge (finish)

Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels

Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Black/Red/White all by Ted Dekker

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (finish)
I’m obviously low on the fiction side and I would like to have a list for an entire year but this is a great start.

What’s on your reading list? Am I missing any must-reads?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days: Fighting Consumerism

One of my top five strengths in the Strengths Finder is Input. That means that I can stockpile lots of information in my brain, on my computer, etc. When I’m working from the basement of this strength it also means that I could be a know-it-all, a hoarder, and overly consumeristic. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to confront thisleaning toward consumerism in myself. One way Idecided to do this was read less blog posts and intentionally process the ones I read.

When Mike Breen wrote this post a few weeks ago it was a bit controversial. While I think my take away was somewhat different than most folk’s below is my response to (in an effort to process) his post:

I’ll admit it…I am obsessed with doing. The idea of doing that is. I’m really in love with “being missional.” I believe it’s a Biblical concept. Simply being a missionary, fulfilling the Great Commission. Those are good things. Here’s the problem(s):

First of all I don’t know what to do. No seriously, I have no idea what to do. I have lots of ideas of things I should be doing like teaching a Bible study, talking to lost people at a coffee shop, volunteering with the homeless, tutoring kids, and bringing food to the people my husband works with. All of those ideas excite me but I can’t do them all. Worse still is that I spend time with Christians forty hours per week. They’re great and all, but by the time my job is done each day I have little energy or time left for the activities listed above.

Additionally I grew up in a legalistic church. While I’ve tried to break away from that bad theology so much of the doing is ingrained in me. I always feel like I’m not doing enough as a wife, Christian, friend, etc. But I’ve read some great quotes lately that have got me thinking:

“Many church leaders unknowingly replace the transcendent vitality of a life with God for the ego satisfaction they derive from a life for God.” –Skye Jethani

“We are a group of people addicted to and obsessed with the work of the Kingdom, with little to no idea how to be with the King.” –Mike Breen

And they got me thinking, does Jesus+ Nothing (really) = Everything? You see I believe it does but I don’t live like it does. It’s true I don’t know how to be with God anymore. But I’m thinking that if I did and made that a priority maybe missional living would naturally spring from that? What I’m certain of is that I can’t worship the ‘doing’ like I have been or beat myself up when I don’t live up to my own standards. Likewise I can’t use my freedom in Christ as an excuse for laziness…

What I’m sure of: I need to spend more time with God.

What I’m good at: cooking for people, hosting people in my home, listening to people

What I can do: continue to invest my time with the lost people my husband works with Downtown

What I want to get better at: responding to people with Gospel-centered conversation

Maybe those four questions will help you get better at intentional living as well. If so feel free to share your answers to them below.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days: The Crap Hit The Fan

It’s interesting how life can blindside us. Some friends of our have been hit by a full on storm in their lives. When the people you love are hurting you hurt too. Suffering causes us to reorient our lives. It causes us to consider what really matters. It forces us to be intentional.

We recently talked about what real community looks like in our small group. We shared practical examples of how God was leading us to or helping us to live out genuine community. Then today happened. My husband and I have been thrust into a situation with our friends that will cause us to re-determine what matters most. It won’t be easy. But it will remind us to invest our lives in things that are eternal. It will cause us to once again give up our selfish ways.

Would you pray that we can reflect Christ in this situation with our friends in an intentional way? Feel free to share any prayer requests you have below and I’ll be sure to pray for you as well.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days: Notice

God gives us the boat and the oars, but then tells us, “It’s up to you to row.” Making ‘positive acts of faith’ is like training this faculty; it is developed by training, as the muscles are developed by gymnastics.

- From Letters from the Desert by Carlo Carretto

Yesterday I talked about the need to let God be your source for intentional living. That’s still one of the most important lessons I’m learning. But in connection with God’s empowerment we have a responsibility to act. That’s the essence of the Great Commission. GO! Balancing God’s leading and our action is an age old debate but despite what side you fall we can agree that there is a responsibility to act.

One way to actively engage in intentional living is to practice eucharisteo or at its simplest form, thanksgiving. Ann Voskamp wrote an incredible book on this. I know I’m probably the very last person to blog about One Thousand Gifts but I figure if I’m late to jump on the band wagon someone else might be too. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten…

Do you see the picture above? I work there, surrounded by beauty five days a week. And I miss it. I often forget what beautiful scenery I’m surrounded by or worse, I walk by and ignore it. So what’s your practical assignment for intentional living today? Notice. And start giving thanks for what you find. If you need more direction than this be sure to pick up Ann’s book and read or re-read it.

Here are some gifts from my list today:

Slightly cooler weather freeing me from the Florida heat

A delicious lunch with a friend

God saving my husband and me from making an expensive decision

Coconut gelato

Would you share one thing that’s on your gift list with me?

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 Days: The Secret

"So long as you hold on to even a little hope of achieving something by your own powers, the Lord does not interfere. It is as though he says: 'You hope to suceed by yourself--Very well, go on trying! But however long you try you will achieve nothing.' May the Lord give you a contrite spirit, a humble and a contrite heart."
-From The Art of Prayer

Even as a little girl in Ft. Lauderdale I was involved in church plants. In 2005 I began attending a church plant not too far from home. One of the earliest sermons I heard from the pastor was on the vision of the church to plant more churches. During that service God compelled me to be involved in future church planting. From that moment on I was hooked.

Fast forward to 2011 where I’m currently working in the national church planting office of an organization that plants churches domestically and abroad. Just over two years ago my husband and I moved to Downtown Orlando to plant a church. So everything is going just swimmingly and I’m exactly where I wanted to be in my church planting adventure, right?

Wrong. Almost nothing is going as I had planned. Two years later we’re nowhere near where I wanted to be. And nothing, not even our ministry, looks the way it I wanted it to. I could consider this a story of defeat and failure but I don’t. God has shown me that he’s knows exactly what he’s doing even though I don’t. The connections and relationships we have could never have happened in our own strength. The experiences we’re having now will prepare us for all the rest of life.

So what does this have to do with intentional living? Everything! You see the secret to success in intentional living is that YOU CAN’T DO IT ON YOUR OWN! God is the secret ingredient. He knows the plan and what’s going to happen. We don’t. One of my biggest struggles is the desire to do everything in my own strength. But when I go that route I always fail. When I stop trying to be in control God does his thing and amazing doors start opening.

Maybe God wants us to plant a stereotypical church (does this even exist?) in Downtown Orlando. Or maybe he wants us to have a small group of cigar smokers who fall in love with the Gospel. Perhaps he wants us to minister to homeless or partner with another local church plant. I really have no idea. But I know he has a plan. And that my friends, is the secret to intentional living.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days: How I'll Be intentional

For the next 31 days I've chosen the following areas to practice intentional living:

Relationships (too bad I couldn't think of an 'H' word for this one)

In terms of relationships I want to be more intentional about my missional relationships. Most of those originate at my husband's job downtown. When it comes to my home I want to be more intentional about how I use my time there, meal prep, and creating an atmosphere of hospitality. In terms of my heart I want to learn to be with God again.
When it comes to health I need to improve everywhere but mostly in the exercise department. I had really gotten into a routine and was going to the gym five days a week. Then life happened and my routine came to a screeching halt. Last night in honor of this new commitment to intentional living I went back for the first time in a long time and it was great. But that’s not enough.

The schedule you see is for a program called Body Transformation at my gym. It’s supposed to help me loose weight and become extra sexy. Well it better. Do you see those dates? It’s a twelve week program right in the middle of holiday eating and parties. And it’s not cheap. I’ll be paying a significant amount of money in addition to my membership fee to get kicked into shape. I’m excited and a bit nervous. Most of all I really hope it works.

I’ve chosen several of areas to be more intentional about this month. That will either turn out to be a really good thing or a really bad thing. Would you choose one area in your life and join with me on this intentional living journey? Maybe it’s something simple like eating only one candy bar each day or wasting less time on Facebook. Or maybe you’re gutsy and want to loose some weight, improve your marriage, or rekindle your relationship with God. No matter what you choose I can’t promise the next 31 days will be easy but I hope you’ll find them worth it.

So what are you going to be more intentional about this month?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 Days: I Must Be Crazy

I've been toying with the idea of starting a new blog for roughly two years now. I actually did set everything up. But I kept it private. I was afraid...I was afraid that I had nothing to offer; that the world didn't need another blog because there were so many amazing ones already out there. I was afraid I would fail; that I wouldn't post enough and leave my followers hanging or that I wouldn't even have any followers.

So I might be crazy but here I am starting another blog. And just in case this wasn't test enough for my sanity, I'm starting with a 31 day challenge. I've joined with The Nester along with many other bloggers to write on a specific subject for the month of October.

I've choosen 31 Days of Intentional Living. What does that mean? Well I know it can mean very different things to all of us but what I'm sure of is that we all squander lots time in our daily lives. I don't want to live like that. Up until recently I said I didn't want to live like that but I didn't mean it. But recently I've had less time for squandering. Between my husband working nights, us choosing to cancel our cable, and many new hobbies and relationships, I've really had to stop and consider what matters most. I'm certain it's not tv shows and I'm convinced it has something to do with relationships. I'm convinced it has little to do with possesions and a lot to do with memories. I know it has nothing to do with society's definition of success and everything to do with eternal impact.

So here by the grace of God go I. This may be a complete bust or a lfe changing endeavor. But if nothing else the next 31 days will be a challenging and exciting adventure.

In the next post I'll be more specific about what the next 31 days will look like.