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20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago last week I left home for foreign shores, and crossed the ocean for the first time. I had zero fear about it…only total exhilaration! I was getting to study at the University of Derby for a whole semester! It was a dream come true for me.

It was the first time in my life that I went after and accomplished something I really wanted in life. For me it is still a huge deal. 

Anyway…I’ve been thinking considering taking a giant leap but I am not 100% sure what I really want to get out of this giant leap for Jill-kind. 

So the point to ponder while you wander today is actually a prayer request for clear direction and understanding for my next step in this next season. I am overdue for some adventuring!! 

In return, I pray that God will reveal to you a greater measure of His love for you. So you’ll never doubt His love and affection for you. And that His love will embolden you to embrace who you are.

Fun Fact Friday: Happy as a Clam at High Tide

​Ever wonder what “happy as a clam” meant?  Me either.  But I found the meaning and I’m sharing it just incase you did ever wonder.  Because that’s what I do.  I answer questions that no one asks.  😉

The full expression is “Happy as a clam at high tide.” At high tide, they’re safely covered in water.  They are blissful, or the closest clams can be to happiness, I would imagine.  But at low tide, people (& critters I would suppose) go clam digging.  Then they are no longer happy & blissful clams.   
Consider your unasked question answered.  😚

Point to ponder while you wander…Joy of the Lord is strength. Joy keeps you strong even when you aren’t situationally  happy as a clam. 

Fun Fact Friday: Be a Maverick

The term “maverick” means original, nonconformist, eccentric, an individualist. But it can also mean an unbranded calf or yearling. But why? Where did these meaning originate? 

Well…These definitions come from an actual Maverick. No really. His name is Samuel Maverick.

Sam Maverick was a cattle rancher (also a politician and a lawyer) in Texas in the 1800’s who refused to brand his cattle. He said that branding cattle was cruel, so he didnt do it.

His rivals said that he didn’t brand his cattle so he could claim any cow found without a brand. But the truth is more likely to be that nearby ranchers were branding unmarked “mavericks” with their own brand, since Mr. Maverick was closely involved in interests outside of raising cattle. 

Point to ponder while you wander… God created you to be you. Not to be a robot or a carbon copy of those around you. Jesus likes mavericks. ⏬ See Romans 12:2.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

Behind the Scenes 

Sometimes I like the behind the scenes on a DVD more than the actual movie. To hear about what it took to write, cast, produce, and film the movie inspires me. The process of movie making fascinates me.

The process…. ah the process…

In my own life I loathe the process it takes to get me from point A to point B. I pout and whine and beg God to move faster or just pick me up and drop me in a new place like Dorothy into Oz.

But the truth is that the journey is the interesting part, not the arrival.

Don’t believe me? 

Think about the movies you love. 

It’s the journey that draws you in and causes you to root for someone. Their journey, not their arrival. Watching them go from the cocoon to flying is what inspires us.

So if this is true…and it is…why don’t we get that we are on our own journey? Why can’t we easily submit to the growth process? Rather than beating ourselves up for not being perfect or being frustrated that something we desire is out of reach? 

Why aren’t we rooting each other on behind the scenes? Why do we expect perfection from ourselves and others?

Point to ponder while you wander…You are on a journey be kind and gracious to yourself. Believe in yourself.

Those around you are also on a journey, encourage them. Cheer for them. Believe in them.

Sunset Through My Eyes

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Simple Joys

Swinging for the sky…
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Blowing wishes in the wind…
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Random Birthday Thoughts

Today is my birthday. Here are some thoughts…

Random Thought 1:
Number of candles doesn’t matter because me, myself, and I voted unanimously to be 25 on the outside and 7 on the inside forever. #youthrenewedliketheeagles

Random thought 2:
My name means youthful heart and my lifetime passage of scripture based on that definition is: “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from deathand crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!“- Psalm 103:1-5

Random Thought 3:
I have this scripture of the day calendar. It’s one without the year so I can use it forever. I don’t always flip it everyday, because I sometimes need to stick with one particular verse for multiple days. But I always check out my birthday verse and it is:

.”Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.“- Psalm 36:5

This was been my source of praise through the 2 year suckfest and again now in a time of deep loss and grief. I am profoundly grateful for His unfailing love and that He never leaves me when I am in need. Such a wonderful Father.

Random Thought 4: Last year was a milestone birthday…and I wasn’t upset about the age. I was amazed at the fabulous friends I was surrounded by and had a party to acknowledge & celebrate them. I loved telling these amazing women what is special about them. Most of us cried. (Now I am singing it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… HAHA) It was my best birthday party, because I left ealing loved and oh so grateful for my amazing friends.

Point to ponder while you wander…if your birthday number is large…don’t focus on that and get all sad about how much of your life is over. Instead concentrate your celebration on the people who’ve made all those years full.

Springtime Roadtrippin’

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Spring’s here! Car’s loaded. Sun’s shining. Sunroof’s open. Window’s down. Oldies playing. Roadtrippin’ time.

A 10 Year Old’s Inspiration

When I was 10 I fell in love with an English actor I thought was about 9 or 10 years older than me. My logic was when I’m 20, he’ll be 29. #perfect

Like I said, I was 10.

I had been watching his show for about 2 weeks, when my Nana sat down with me to watch this “weird new show” I was telling her about. Then she ruined my day.

The conversation went something like this…

Nana: “Oh my goodness! I haven’t seen this show since your mom was your age!!”

Jill: “Isn’t it fun? Wait! What???”

Nana: “These are reruns Missy. This show is from the 60’s.”

Jill sits in silence as she tries to process.

Nana: “One of my nieces actually kissed the lips off of one of his posters.” (Points at the love of my life).

Jill shakes her head in disbelief as she realizes the love of her life for these two long weeks is not 19 nor is he 20. He is… (gulp)…in fact…41.
#NOOOOOOOO
#TotallyDevastated
#DreamCrushed

The show was The Monkees and the dreamy guy was Davy Jones.

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I may not have ever met him, but this dreamy maraca and tambourine playing Brit inspired my love for England, musicians, British accents, and my dream of going to England. And while in England I discovered that I love tea, Jane Austin’s Mr. Knightly (played by Jeremy Northam in 1996’s Emma), and riding in the front on the 2nd level of double decker busses. So thanks for the inspiration, Davy! 😉

Point to ponder while you wander…My dream of going to England was inspired by a dreamy kid on a 1960’s TV show that I watched 20 years after it originally aired. That dream came true 11 years later, when I studied at the University of Derby.

Inspiration is everywhere, my blog reading friends. So keep your eyes open and Dream Big!

Clutter Piles and God’s Glory

I’m feeling random today.  Prepare yourself.

I guess it’s because I spent a day and a half cleaning my room.  This means that my body was occupied but my mind was left to wander all over the place. My wandering mind can find shenanigans too easily.

And yes, I actually spent a full day and a half cleaning my bedroom.  A full day and a half!  You see, when I get upset or have a lot of change I start piling things around my bed.  I don’t even realize I’m doing it until one day I walk into my room and I can no longer see the floor.  I call it “nesting.”  I’m literally building a protective nest around my bed.  It’s one of those unconscious things I do when I can’t deal with all the things.

And I’ll be honest…I’m struggling to deal with all the things.

Even though all the things are good.

  1.  New place to live.  Inexpensive.  Great Roommates.  I have the biggest room, mostly because I have the most stuff.  Most of the stuff is books and art supplies, and a 5 foot stuffed alligator that a really dreamy friend won for me in England during a study abroad.  Good times bringing that home on the airplane.
  2. New job.  First full time job in over a year.  Pays well.  Benefits.  Good coworkers, including a dreamy one who is the just the sweetest.  Interesting work, most days.  I learn every day, because it’s completely different than anything I’ve ever done.  And I get to organize things in spreadsheets! (Don’t mock me I like organizing things, and I like spreadsheets.)
  3. New car.  2 years old but new to me with low miles.  It’s the color of Yoda and gets like 35 miles to the gallon.  I LOVE IT!
  4. New church.  Well not exactly new, I’ve been there for conferences and to visit friends, but now it’s my church.  The people are fabulous and the word is good.  But for some reason I cannot settle in there.  I don’t know why.  It’s been a battle.  God confirmed that it’s my church.  I have peace about it.  And yet I don’t want to go.  So weird.

Do you see anything bad in this list?  No.  Me either.  And yet I’m struggling to get into any sort of routine in this newness.  And I’ve been lacking in the joy area lately.  No joy=No strength.  I’ve been trying to figure it out, and  I realized two things:

1.  I’m struggling because after the past few years of reoccurring unemployment, having my car repossessed, having my house auctioned, and my credit sliding into the 500’s, I simply do not know how to not struggle.  I keep waiting for my job to go away or some other trauma or drama to occur.

God used these crappy years to show me His faithfulness and provision.  He used this to show me that I don’t have to be afraid.  In feast or famine He’s there.  He never leaves.  He didn’t cause my issues, but he used them to teach me and turn things around for my good.

Despite learning all of this and coming out of it with a new perspective, I cannot settle into my new life.  I think that’s part of the other reason my room was a disaster, I wasn’t unpacking or getting comfortable here because I was waiting for it to turn ugly with my roommates, or to be kicked out or something.

I’m not a low expectations kind of gal.  I’m a dreamer with a big imagination.  If I don’t keep tabs on my thought life…I can be caught rehearsing my best original screenplay Oscar speech.  Seriously.

I’m so frustrated with myself about the expectation of calamity and drama.  I know that we receive what we expect and believe.  If I expend all my energy being afraid and worrying, I’m actually agreeing with the Enemy’s plan for my life.  His plan is to steal from me, to kill my dreams and bring sickness my way, and to destroy my joy and peace.

But Jesus came to give me life and an abundant life at that!  (John 10:10)

So what is my deal?  Why am I building a security nest?  Why am I sad?

Am I not believing God?  Do I doubt Him?  Am I ungrateful?

No.  No.  And no.  I believe God will do all He said He would do.  He just does it in His perfect timing (Which is not my timing, clearly.)  I’m so thankful for my job and home and car and everything else that I’ve been blessed with.  God is good to me!

So again what is my deal?  Or as David puts it, “Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise Him again-my Savior and my God.”  Psalm 42:11

This is where my second realization comes into play:

2. My new life isn’t what I expected.

Aw crap.  There’s that expectation word again.

I had a similar breakdown when I turned 25.  My life isn’t what I expected and I’m not where I expected to be at 40, and I’m sad about it.  Some of that has to do with me feeling like I’m failing and like I’ve missed opportunities. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time dealing with my issues that I’ve not been doing anything beneficial for the kingdom.  I feel like a failure.  I feel worthless.

I know that these are lies.  I know that I am valued by God.  I know that I cannot fail unless I quit.  I know that preparation time is not wasted time.  But I’m still struggling with it.

Some of it has to do with God’s timing.  I feel like expired milk.  I feel like Mary and Martha telling Jesus that if He’d have gotten there sooner, Lazarus wouldn’t have died.  Except that I’m saying, “Well Jesus, If you’d only given me what you promised in my 20’s then I wouldn’t have to be starting over again at 40.”

But I know Jesus is good.  I know He doesn’t withhold good gifts.  So why all the waiting?

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.  Finally, he said to his disciples,“Let’s go back to Judea.”John 11:4-6 NLT

The first point of this passage is that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  And I know that Jesus loves me just as much.  The second point of this passage is that when the situation looks absolutely hopeless from a human point of view, when there’s nothing more that can be done, that’s when miracles happen.  That’s when God shows up and displays His glory for the world to see.

Points to ponder while you wander… You are loved.  It’s never too late.  The bigger the problem the greater display of God’s glory.

PS  If you’re so inclined, read Lazarus’s story in John chapter 4.  It’s an amazing story!