Ask for it!

You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. ~Oprah Winfrey

I’m motivated by quotes. It’s like little truth nuggets that boost me throughout the week. I happened upon this today and had to share.

This quote is so pertinent to a goal I have going on this week. I struggle to say what’s on my mind. I’m afraid of hurting other’s feelings, or being rejected by other people. So I tend to not stand up for myself or voice any issues I’m experiencing.

Do you do this? We need to have courage to, kindly and bravely, ask for the things we need. It’s okay to not agree with everything everyone says. If others are willing to speak their minds, you should feel comfortable doing so too.

If you speak from a place of love and fairness, you need not worry about if your concerns will be rejected. Your voice needs to be heard, so speak your truth! Don’t let it build up from within. And feel freer knowing you’ve had courage to ask for what you’re needing today. You are worth it.

 

~Shelby

Kinder Than Necessary

It takes more work to be good. I keep thinking about this after a busy week. After seeing closed minded posts on social media, a parent being rude to me, teaching a crazy off the wall class at school…it had me feeling down.

We all have those thoughts that creep in. When we’re tired or upset or overworked it’s a lot harder to see through a clear lens. When people start clouding your focus with bad manners, hate and judgment it’s hard to filter that out to set the better example.

I listened to a podcast this week that talked about ‘being kinder than necessary.’ We’ve seen the Pinterest quotes and maybe even said the words ‘kill with kindness.’ How often do we actually employ this idea, all while letting go of anger or resentment towards the one that did you wrong? Being kind to someone’s face and then turning around to complain about it to someone else is not the same thing. Talking through a problem or asking advice is beneficial, but complaining is not. But seriously isn’t that the hardest?

I started thinking about this idea of being kinder than necessary. Showing love to the parent that was sarcastic and rude was difficult. Helping out a co-worker even when they should have accomplished that task already was not what I wanted to do. The thing about kindness is that it’s only kind if you do it out of compassion, concern and care for that situation. Have I done the kind thing so people think I’m a kind person? Oh, for sure. How often do we do the begrudgingly kind thing because we feel like we ‘should’ and not just because it is needed?

I struggle to see and hear closed mindedness. Sharing your thoughts is one thing, but doing it in a hateful or discriminatory way is never okay. We all have different ideas of what is right and wrong and the most important thing to remember is that each of us feel differently about different things. Assuming you’re the only right person and closing yourself off to conversation is not loving, it is judgmental. It’s also not kind.

It’s easier to be hateful and negative. It’s much harder to be loving. It’s harder to be willing to sit and listen to someone with a different mindset, without jumping in to correct them. It’s harder to accept differences than to categorize someone as bad or wrong. Listening can lead to some of the most fruitful conversations for both you, or for them.

In premarital counseling Marshall and I talked about how validating someone’s thoughts or feelings doesn’t mean you are agreeing they are right. You can validate why your husband thinks one thing, by listening and understanding them, without saying you agree. Validating a person’s feelings is important. If they ask for your opinion on the matter you can give a differing one, all while respecting how they might have come to their conclusion.

Allowing room for kindness, the kind you mean without a hidden motive, respect by listening, and love by caring are 3 essential parts of being a good human. Let’s all practice that today.

I bet you’re picturing that one difficult person in your life right now. How can you show kindness today? How will you balance kindness, validation and love without compromising yourself?

Let’s work on this together.

img_4245

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31:26

(A reminder for me this week to speak kindly and teaching lovingly!)

 

~Shelby

 

 

 

Aged Stout, Women in the Avengers and more… #WineWomenWordWednesday

Cheers to our first guest woman blogger. Molly is kind of awesome and so is her take on wine, women and the word. Read below! 

Wine:

At the end of last week I went out for drinks with some co-workers for some much needed “team-building.” We headed over to Black Acre Brewing in the Irvington area of Indianapolis. I got an amazing Russian Imperial Stout (I’m a big fan of dark beer – its actually the only type I really like) that had been aged in red wine barrels. The red wine brought out the fruit undertones and complemented the chocolate ones; it was honestly one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

The fact that you could taste the wine really helped too.

It was a nice treat. I rarely drink except for social occasions, and it was a fun way to get to know my co-workers better. If you’re ever in Indy, I highly recommend heading over to Black Acre!

girl power

Women:

I saw Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 this weekend and OH MY GOODNESS. No spoilers here, but honestly if I told you the ending you wouldn’t even believe me. I. Was. Shocked. In my opinion its one of the best Marvel movies– I think it might even make it into my top five (Yes, I am a giant nerd thank you very much).

One thing I really loved was the increased presence of women in the film. Of course that was bound to happen when you combine the characters from nearly all of Marvel’s previous 18 or so films, but this felt different than just character story lines merging. There was a lot of women interacting with other women, which is something audiences haven’t gotten a lot of in previous Marvel films. Not only did audiences get to see all the amazing and varied Marvel women in one movie, but see them together. In this movie women supported, praised, fought for and alongside each other. And that, is something that the Marvel universe has sorely needed more of.

proverbs

Word:

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

This is a well known verse, and its been one of my favorites since I was a kid. Lately, I’ve been grappling with my current phase of life. I’m in my first job post-graduate school (which I’ve been struggling with), in a new city where I know no one, and starting all of this without the built in social aspects of school. I went to graduate school straight out of college, so I’ve known little else besides academia. Its been a rough adjustment, and I’ve felt somewhat stuck. This is a verse I’ve been turning to a lot lately. It reminds me to depend on God and His plan, not my own, and that no matter how much I’m struggling with lack of control or where I am in life that “there are far better things ahead.”*

~Molly
Instagram: @_mollyherring_

 

*C.S. Lewis said it best!

Finding the One Your Soul Loves

It’s a rare thing finding people your soul truly loves. Not just someone you like or can be around, but someone your soul craves. Your soul is the true essence of who you are. It’s the part of you that needs to be filled up with goodness and truth; your inner being. When your soul feels dried up you feel tired, alone or forgotten. Allowing people in your life that love you from nose to toes, good, bad and ugly, refreshes your soul. You have to accept that love and allow yourself to be loved.

I thought about this today for two reasons: 1. It’s my husband’s birthday! 2. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about this word ‘soul.’

Though I love the portion of Solomon 3:4 it’s not really about finding any person. We all know the only person we’d need to find is relationship our creator.

I do love the essence of this quote though. I’ve been married about 6 months now and am learning to love and be loved. Yes, it is something you need to actually learn. Allowing someone to be part of EVERY aspect of your life can be super hard. It’s really the same with friendships and family members. I think too often we guard our true selves, our soul, or our essence from others for fear of not being understood. Unfortunately it is too easy to hide the things we don’t want others to know about us and to display the parts we want to be known for.

That is so detrimental to our wellness. I know it is for mine. I didn’t realize how much I adapted myself for others until this past year when Marshall and I did couples counseling. Luckily, I think Marshall is the one person that knows me through and through (lucky guy). When it comes to work it’s easy to hide our personal lives or put on a different face. It’s easy to share only parts of your life you think your friends will accept. It’s easy to keep prayer requests to yourself so your small group don’t know your true struggles.

I feel this tightness in my chest when I’m not being authentic and true. Many of us struggle with not wanting to be disliked. The truth is, not everyone is going to love us…or like us for that matter. It’s up to us to be faithful and kind to what we believe and what we need. Splitting apart your soul and sharing different pieces of it isn’t going to last for long.

I’m so (x 200) thankful for Marshall. Especially today on his birthday. He challenges me, he encourages me to do hard things and be brave. He’s the one my soul loves.

Who do you have that knows your fears, your ambitions, your dreams, your heart? Who do you have that loves you even when you make dumb decisions? I want all my close relationships to be this way. It’s time to stand up, stand strong, and be authentically you. No one else can fulfill your role on this earth but y-o-u! So why hide that goodness?!

Showing who you are to the core is the most honest, and scary, thing you can do today. And yet how freeing that is. I’m on a mission to be true and honest with every person that I meet, and you should be too.

~Shelby

Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found him whom my soul loves.
I held him, and would not let him go
    until I had brought him into my mother’s house,
    and into the chamber of her who conceived me.

Song of Solomon 3:4

Wine Women Word Wednesday

Wine:

Couldn’t help myself…this is a busy week after all! I have the will, so where is my Rosé?
Rosé-Kick-Off1

Women

With a woman so strong, so accomplished and so admired, I couldn’t help but share this quote. I don’t like that the stereotype among women is that we can be catty or mean to each other. So often I see quite the opposite- women boosting other women and standing up for each other. This is something young and old women alike need to be reminded. When you stand for another woman you stand for yourself.
instagram-15

Word:

Proverbs 4:25-27
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

I love reading psalms and I love reading proverbs. There are so poetic. Not knowing where to search today I simply searched our date 4:25…I love what it showed me. Keep your eyes forward, ponder your path and turn your foot from evil. There is so much going on right now for all of us, this couldn’t have had better timing.

 

I shall ponder this verse over a glass of wine!

~Shelby

When in Rome

One year ago today the Millers were in Italy taking in the sights, eating all the gelato and experiencing beauty as we walked down the narrow cobblestone streets. This day last year we were in Rome, specifically. Exploring the city felt like we had stepped back in time. The architecture and ancient history was very evident as we took it all in.

The amazing thing about travel is the chance to broaden your view of the world. Seeing how other people live their day to day lives is so fascinating. Perhaps the craziest thing to me was to see modern life happening around these ancient structures. The Colosseum bold and still standing strong was breath taking. The intricate details of each church was unmatched and there was a quiet hush as we entered them for a better view.

Sitting in those many churches in Italy brought perspective. The church and God’s people were the heart beat of so many places we visited on our trip. Take time to go somewhere new and experience putting yourself out of your comfort zone. It allows a lot of room for reflection. Just having that childish sense of awe over beautiful things and large buildings is humbling. We are all part of making history right now. It is exciting to think about what impact each of us might have if we follow our God given paths. We were all made for the same greatness that was visibly evident in the beautiful cities we visited.

Kathleen, my mother-in-law, sent out a great reminder today including some verses that rang true for her about the trip. I asked her if I could share because they were too good not to! To tie in scripture to these great experiences really helps me to enjoy the beauty of our trip again and again:

Exodus 36:5

The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done. (This verse is about the building of the tabernacle, but makes me think of all the time, devotion and gifts dedicated to building the beautiful cathedrals and churches.)

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us and we are His.
We are his people, the sheep of all his pasture.
Enter His gates of Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
Give thank to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(The response we felt as we experienced the beautiful churches and his beautiful creation and the reminder of His faithfulness through ALL generations.)

Psalm 90:1-2
Lord you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

(All that we saw and experienced to me was a great reminder that God has been and always will be our dwelling place – He is everlasting!)

Romans 1:7

To all in in Rome (or who have been there) who are loved by God and called to be saints. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Thanks Kathleen!

~Shelby

 

The Time in Between

We all go through times of transition. We all go on journeys every single day to accomplish something new. The motivated, type A, part of me forgets that. I want to be at the destination NOW. I want to be done with grad school NOW. I want to be able to do the full splits NOW. It’s hard to wait and be patient for something good.

It’s almost harder with life transitions. College women going from messy buns on campus to an adult job. Transitioning after a breakup. Healing from trauma. Moving states, changing jobs, starting new health goals, building relationships, creating better habits…the list goes on.

For me the transition has been unpacking my busy brain. Spending so many years pushing aside hurt and barreling forward only worked for so long. Never stopping to evaluate your mental health and well being only leads to failure. I’m a go-getter and I LOVEEEEEE checking things off my to do list. The thing I don’t like to admit is that some things can’t just be checked off. Some things take time and extra work.

This week I was in the final chapters of Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. And, of course, was listening to the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. Both were hitting me with similar messages (love when that happens!)

Though Good Friday was a few weeks ago, I started to draw this connection with the struggle and transition of the ‘in between’ times. Jamie and her guest Tova Sido opened my eyes to the importance of ‘Saturday.’ We know Jesus was taken on Friday and that he was resurrected on Sunday. But what about the time in between? The struggle and anguish of Saturday made the resurrection of Sunday that much more important and beautiful.

This showed a logical translation into my life (and I would bet yours too). If we immediately go from the pain to the resurrection of our problems we miss the important work that happens in between. It’s hard not to be impatient and to want to free ourselves from the hard things. But those places where we work through something difficult is the place we see growth.

This seems so obvious, but is easy to overlook. Whether we are struggling to the point of being overwhelmed, or constantly searching for our answers, we can easily be blinded from the wonderful path laid out in front of us. We are all called to do something great. No one can fulfill YOUR role on this earth.

I love seeing people thrive. You can tell when people are at peace with the path God has laid out for them. It’s inspiring. It reminds me that my goals and dreams don’t have to be done for anyone else. In fact, they can’t be done to please anyone else on this earth. If you’re doing what you’re feeling called to do you will succeed.

I want to enjoy the Saturdays. I want to wrestle through the bumps and find learning in each moment. (Perhaps I’m feeling reflective as grad school is about to start!)

Take this week to enjoy every moment- the beginning, the end and the moments in between. Something valuable will come from each experience. Don’t push an angry conversation to the side, hurt feelings, or struggle at work. Write or think it out and be opening to asking for help. You got this.

“Our Lord’s divinity has never been hesitant to step into the mess of humanity. He is the great answer to our every desire.”

Lysa Terkeurst, Uninvited

~Shelby

The woman to be admired & praised.

This is just poetic.

Proverbs 31, The Message

1-31 A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.

She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.

She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.

When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

Hospitality

romans 2-1-03

I have been working on the hospitality study from SheReadsTruth. I’ve always categorized Hospitality as taking care of someone. Like when you have someone in your home, whether for a meal or for the night, it’s how you take care of them.

But I’m finding that it’s more than that.

This study has focused on glorifying God and living in harmony. It’s about your relationships with strangers, friends, children, and the self righteous. It’s about showing love to the people that are hardest to love.

For the Wine Women & the Word bible study I prepared a study of hospitality. The article from SheReadsTruth describes something that just happens so easily. It’s that mindset that if I work hard, get good grades, get a promotion and live upright that things would always go according to plan.

I crashed and burned too many times before realizing the fallacies of that mindset.

How easy is it to think that because we are doing good things, because I’m living for God, or helping others, that I deserve only good things to happen to me. It seems like simple cause and effect, right?

But if you’re in the same boat I am, you know that isn’t the case. I really struggle with this because when I started realizing that bad things happen to everyone I started wondering why I was working so hard for perfection. People get sick, relationships change, jobs are lost and injuries happen. It’s all part of our life experiences.

Over the past few years I started falling into the habit of thinking, “of COURSE this is happening to me.” When you only notice the imperfections in your day your outlook on life starts to look a little gloomy. Realistically, for every two steps forward we take one step back. It’s all part of trying new things, putting yourself out there and living boldly.

Perfectionism enhances self-righteousness. When you strive for perfection, you are striving for something that doesn’t exist. You can’t be perfect and it’s self righteous to think you can be. When you fail after reaching for perfection you have a much farther way to fall. We cannot expect perfection from ourselves because we are flawed and we are sinners.

The story of the prodigal son is one of my husband’s favorites. It describes a son that took his inheritance and ran off, only to squander it and sheepishly return home. He knew he did not deserve the favor of his father and was even willing to work as a servant on his land. When he returned home his father went to him, welcoming him home with open arms. The older brother was very angry and resented the fact that this brother returned home despite all his screw ups. He felt that he deserved so much more because he had acted rightly.

It’s so easy for us to see other people’s faults and ignore our own. It’s easy to become jaded when you work extra duty at work while other teachers are celebrated (**cough, something I’ve experienced lately).

Maybe you know someone that had a past of poor choices and mistakes. It may seem hard to love on them, or even hard to trust them. But in reality, it’s not our duty to hold that against them or to tell them how they should be living. If someone is making an effort to be better, they deserve to be encouraged and lifted up. This portion of Romans 2:1 sums it up very simply:

For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.

Imagine being slower to judge, quick to love and open to sharing in other’s redemption. Each of us have shortcomings and judging others just condemns yourself.

Make a conscious effort to set aside your judgments and assumptions this week. Clothe yourselves with love and understanding. What tangible steps can you take? How can you show hospitality to someone that you struggle with?

I’m making an effort to show love to those not-so-trustworthy students. It’s so hard not to assume they are talking or causing trouble. I want to show love and fairness to each of them and not pass judgment on their character when they have days of struggle.

Who will you be showing hospitality to this week?

 

~Shelby


Judging others: Matthew 7:1-5
Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11-32