Magic

I love magic. **All people that know me rolls their eyes** My favorite books are Harry Potter and The Land of Stories, my favorite show is Once Upon a Time, and growing up I had recurring dreams about my twin brother and I saving the world… with magic (obviously!)

To me, magic is something that fills you with awe. It’s the unexplainable and beautiful things when we are often surrounded by quite the opposite.

I watched an episode of Charmed yesterday, a show about 3 sisters that find out they are witches, that sparked something in me. Not only was I grateful that watching Netflix all afternoon proved to be useful, but I also found myself thinking about the lesson it taught.

In this episode, the Halliwell sisters use their magic to teach a man, who’s dog keeps doing doing its ‘business’ on their driveway, a lesson. The premise of this show is that they are not supposed to use their powers for personal gain or for punishing the guilty; only to protect the innocent. The episode takes them forward in time to see the consequences of this one instance where they used their powers in the wrong way. In their futures they were wealthy (but lonely), had a child (but divorced), and one sentenced to death for killing a man that hurt someone she loved (punishing the guilty).

So I thought, “What would it be like if I saw my future?” Will I be successful at the expense of my health (I have an ‘over doing it’ problem)? Will I have skimmed through many wonderful experiences and only remember how anxious I was about everything being perfect? Or worse yet, will I be still searching for the person I want to be because I’m afraid to commit to the role God has laid out?

The lesson for me was two-fold.

1. Everything we do now matters. Everything you say, every way you react, every time you apologize (or don’t), every time you listen to the ways of the world and fall into temptation of worrying, money, shopping, busyness, rudeness, or being inhospitable, matters. Planting one seed of sin can grow very quickly. That’s not to say apologizing or asking God for forgiveness can’t wipe the slate clean, because it can. But when your pride and self righteousness gets in the way there is no room for growth, only for that sin to spread.

2. We can’t figure this out on our own. Today in church we read about James chapter 1. We talked about how your faith must not waver; you won’t have all the answers, but believe and true FAITH that you are making the choices God has laid in front of you helps you keep moving forward. You can ask God for help in your unbelief, but you cannot expect to live as the world wants you to and also be on God’s path. The road might be rocky, but James 1 explains steadfastness and strength comes from our trials. We will have things that are hard and seem wrong, but a lesson is being learned in everything we do.

Magic is defined as something influencing events by using mysterious forces. God is a mysterious force. To many people, the peace and understanding you have in God is mysterious and strange. When you’re at peace knowing the adventure you’re on doesn’t have a visible destination and yet you trust and wake up grateful for each new day, people will want a part of that. You are the magic in someone’s life. You can show others that there is a more peaceful and promising way to live.

I want to be magic.

I may not have sparks coming from my finger tips, or have the ability to move things with the wave of my wand (yet), but I do find something magical in finding strength in my abilities, confidence that I am an adventurous path, and faith that I have a guide along the way.

We all have the magic within to believe in the unseen, to love the unlovable and to change lives.

~Shelby

You go, girl.

Have you ever had those days where you think to yourself, “Man, I’m on a role!”

Today I had one of those. I LOVE those days. There were things I’d been wanting to do before school starts back up in August, but hadn’t really let myself think about so I could enjoy a couple weeks of summer without extra tasks. As previously mentioned, I have a problem over employing the word ‘yes.’ But the truth is, I do love to accomplish things on my task list. I’m learning to find a balance between feeling overwhelmed and feeling accomplished. It’s important to note that those are not the same thing.

So this afternoon after summer camp, designing a wedding invite, planning part of a bachelorette party, buying shoes for a wedding, running errands, picking  gifts for a shower, walking Moose, cleaning the dishes and watching an episode of Super Girl, I was feeling that to-do list high.

But with every high there comes a low.

I started overthinking it….was I overdoing things? Am I falling into my old trap of doing too much? It’s a blessing and a curse to have a brain that can run with 15 tabs open.

Then I had a friend text me. She shared about some awesome things going on in her life and reminded me that when you let go, when you accept and experience what is going on in your life day by day, you’ll be on track. When you knock on God’s door for help, he answers. I like to believe that if I write enough reminders in my planner I can keep everything under control. Let’s be real though friends, we can’t control everything.

It’s hard to free fall, but it’s exhilarating to let go of the constant worrying, lists and overthinking. Think of something that you struggle to let go of. Imagine picking it up off your shoulders and setting it to the side. Imagine setting it in God’s hands. Do you feel lighter? There are thoughts, worries and burdens we don’t need to carry just for the sake of carrying them.

I always relate to the memes that say “I’m anxious because I’m not anxious.” It sounds silly, but in all honesty it is true for many of us. When things seem good it can be hard to accept it for fear of something going wrong, or forgetting to do something on your never ending task list. Today’s the day to let that go. To release and to trust!

After accomplishing all those tasks this afternoon I decided to go on a little jog around the neighborhood. I started breathing heavy, overthinking the things I did today, analyzing the level of productivity and wondering what else I could accomplish. Maybe I wasn’t as awesome as I was giving myself credit for…

Then someone drove by with their windows down. Without stopping a woman yelled out her window, “YOU GO GIRL!!” I didn’t have time to wave, but there was an immediate grin that spread across my face. Deep in my own thoughts, the little reminder that she yelled out her window brought me back to the happiness I felt earlier. You know, I think she may be right.

It’s time to be proud of our accomplishments, thankful for our experiences and encouraging to others. Text a friend, write it on your hand or yell it at a random jogger. Shout it from the rooftops! When we are humble enough to know we can’t do things on our own, but strong enough to accept that we are all worthy of great things, nothing can stop us.

You go girl.

~Shelby

 

2nd Corinthians and…Harry Potter?

Over the past two weeks it’s finally begun to feel like summer. Un-shockingly to everyone, but myself, I have managed to make every waking moment of my tech-teacher summer break full of one to-do or another. (It is continually on my list of goals to stop saying yes so often…pray for me).

Since summer has begun I decided that, along with 1st and 2nd Corinthians, it was time to start rereading Harry Potter. I’m up to my eyeballs in all my favorite Harry Potter quotes, reveling in the victoriousness of Harry’s ultimate weapon- LOVE.

I finished preparing for our Wine Women and the Word bible study today. As I was looking through the beginning of 2nd Corinthians I tried to pull the main points that can make this week’s study as applicable as possible. What knowledge we don’t put to use is just wasted information (spoken like a true Ravenclaw, am I right?)

Second Corinthians was written about a year after the first letter to Corinth church. In this letter, Paul praises those that have repented and urges the few remaining members in obstinance to follow their lead. He is giving them one last chance before he returns to rebuke those that still reject his faithful message about Jesus Christ.

*[SPOILER ALERT]*

In the last book of the Harry Potter seriesHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we find some similar messages. In order to bring down the dark Lord Voldemort Harry approaches him prepared to willingly give up his life. This willingness and love for others (among other things) help him overcome the curse that was supposed to lead to his death.

In the final chapters, Harry and Voldemort prepare to duel. Harry gives him one final chance to show some remorse, to be in touch with his humanity, and yet Voldemort’s greed and wickedness cloud his judgment and he is vanquished.

In the end love wins. It is the light that darkness can never overpower. Light and love is something darkness and sin will never understand. There is always a time to turn things around. No one is too far gone. Whether you’re a rebel from the corinthian church or a crazy wizard, there is #Always an option to choose the light.

And if that isn’t enough HP for you, I have a parting gift. Perhaps my favorite verse from this week’s She Reads Truth study is this:

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:12-14

Just as Harry was The Chosen One, called to snuff out darkness, so are we, chosen by God to put on kindness, humility, meekness, patience and most of all LOVE. Love snuffs out darkness. It took Harry until the end to understand what Dumbledore meant when he said he had a type of magic that was unbeatable. So often we forget that simply loving is a powerful tool. Love is fierce. It’s caring for a family member when they are ill….it’s talking to a friend that has been acting poorly and encouraging them…it’s sticking with what you believe….it’s what God has called us to do to every person that we meet.

How fun is it to know that we all have the ability to use that magical force? I’m looking forward to making more nerdy connections to HP as we are finishing up 2nd Corinthians.

Go out today friends and use your magic! Let’s work together to defeat the darkness.

~Shelby

 

1 & 2 Corinthians Summer Study Begins!

1 & 2 Corinthians | Our Wine Women & the Word Summer Bible Study

I am getting really excited as I start learning the history of Paul and the Corinthians in preparation for the new She Reads Truth study. In this study about 1 & 2 Corinthians I’m curious to hear Paul talk about topics such as love, spiritual gifts, repentance and resurrection. It’s really interesting to me, as I read about common problems for the church of Corinth, how relevant they still are today. (I’m sure I’ll see even greater connections after the study). Arrogance and the desire to gain social notability is just as relevant now as it was then, even if the context has changed a little. We are surrounded by people that live to please themselves, that search to gain better jobs or more recognition, to get more money or more followers on social media. Can some of these things be great? Absolutely. But how easy it is to fall into that trap of desiring it for your own benefits and not for the advancement of the Word.

I’m so guilty of this.

As my Wine Women & the Word bible study starts for the summer I am excited for us rockstar women to have some real talk about love, redemption and our roles. We will strive to connect these principles to our every day lives. These aren’t just stories to read, they are guidelines on living. Are we going to read the letters and ignore the teachings? Or are we going to choose to really understand and apply what we know?

I’ve thought about what it would be like to totally disconnect from social media for a day, for a week, or a month. I like to understand and know what is going on, so for me social media would be the hardest thing to completely give up. I think a clean break from scrolling through feeds on Instagram, CNN or Pinterest would be so much more challenging than I like to admit. But I’m feeling tired. I’m feeling brought down by the world and the worldly expectations of others. We are here to build each other up, so why do so many of us feel weighed down?

As we start week 1 and 2 we will begin to learn what it means to boast in the Lord and to find our roles in the body of Christ. I may not be a member of Corinth’s church, but for any of us that believe and know about Jesus we are members of his church and are given a specific way to live wisely and lovingly. I’m excited to see what we learn and to share our journey along the way.

Read below for a history and background of 1 & 2 Corinthians. Having this base knowledge will create even more depth for the study. Allow yourself to read, connect and  learn.

 

Fun facts:

  • Paul wrote the letters 1 & 2 corinthians
    • Out of the 27 New Testament books, Paul is attributed to 13.
    • Paul was originally born as Saul. His early life was not one of a Christian. It involved hatred towards the Christians, arrogance and persecution.
    • He was a an educated Jewish scholar that originally thought Jesus to be a false Messiah. He even took part in the stoning of a Christian man named Stephen.
    • Paul had a life altering encounter (some say supernatural) with Jesus that caused him to see and repent. This just shows that no one is too far gone to turn their lives around.
  • Acrocorinth is a small, but step mountain high on the Peloponnesian peninsula in southern Greece.
    • Corinth was built at the mountain’s foot.
    • This city was destroyed in 146 BC due to a war with Rome.
    • In 44 BC Julius Ceasar rebuilds Corinth as a colony of Rome.
  • The author Pausanias wrote about Corinth in the mid-second century and described the city like a tour guide of pagan monuments and sacred sites. Corinth was littered with many temples.

 

Image result for map of corinth
Map of Corinth

Background and History

The letters 1 & 2 Corinthians were written by Paul from the city of Ephesus in the Roman province of Asia. Paul wants the church in Corinth to work together to advance the gospel. He is writing to them because they have become divided by arrogance and pride, especially among those of the more powerful members.

Corinth connected the Greek mainland with the Peloponnesian peninsula. It was a high traffic area where many cultures and religions resided. Many gods found a home in Corinth and were integrated into governmental activities such as festivals, trade guilds, social clubs and every day life. Traveling spokespeople often stopped in Corinth to charge a fee as they advised people on how to advance socially. (Hmmmm that sounds like society today!)

Paul brought the gospel to Corinth and a church was established. After settling in Ephesus for 3 years, he heard word of the church’s problems and he sent a letter to the church addressing problems such as sexual immorality, division in the church and social snobbery. This extended letter (also known as 1 corinthians) addresses the root of the problem: arrogance. He says that living in this way was incompatible with God’s free gifts to them in Christ. The gifts including: wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. A self centered lifestyle  as the expense of the under privileged was simply not going to cut it. It was clear that their personal social advancement was more important than the gospel’s advancement.

The second letter to the Corinthians (the book of 2 Corinthians in the bible) focused on the relationship between the suffering and the power of the spirit in Paul’s life/ministry/message. This letter is a response to a complicated history between Paul and the Corinithian church. Paul sent Timothy to Corinth and found the church, again, in turmoil. Paul then went to Corinth himself to resolve some issues, but found a small minority of the church to be very rebellious towards him. He left and extended mercy to them. He writes to strengthen the majority of the church that are faithful and to offer the small percentage of rebels a chance to repent. He covers topics about encouragement, discipline and joy over the repentance of the Corinthians.

Questions to consider:

  1. Paul has a crazy cool story about accepting Christ and changing his lifestyle. What have you seen in your life, or someone else’s, that has changed dramatically since learning and following Christ?
  2. What ancient Corinthian problem do you  most relate to and why? How do you overcome it? (Pride, arrogance, social status, privileges, rebelliousness, etc.)
  3. The Key Verse for the She Reads Truth introduction of our 1 & 2 Corinthian study is: 1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his son. Jesus Christ is our Lord. What do you think this verse means? What do you hope to know more about this verse and this study?

 

 

Rupi Kaur & Purple Moon Wine #WineWomenWordWednesday

Wine:

Ladies, grab a glass of wine tonight because YOU DESERVE IT. Not that you need a reason to treat yo’self, of course. I’m having a glass tonight for self care, for relaxation and to enjoy the complexity of something so simple. I’ll admit I’m writing this before Wednesday. I’m sipping on a Trader Joes wine called Purple Moon Merlot. I’ve always had a love of full moons and their beauty so that’s the real reason I was drawn to this one (I can’t help but love the designs). Coming in well under $10 it was worth the investment, plus I loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As I sip I read my combined Women & Word section posted below. This poem is so simple and yet impactful. Each of you, though pretty, are born with so much to be proud of. You were born on this earth for a specific purpose only YOU can fulfill. Don’t forget that and don’t forget to keep striving for your greatness. Remind a friend today of all they are worth and that they are important.

Women & Word:

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rupi kaur instagram

 

~Shelby

Ahimsa, Hope & Truth

I love when the universe collides. You know how someone mentions one thing to you and then all of a sudden you’re seeing it everywhere? Or when you’ve been reading about a topic and all of a sudden it pops up in something totally unrelated?

That’s some real life magic right there.

adriene-sidebar
Yoga with Adriene

This month I got a Yoga with Adriene email newsletter. Adriene Mishler- the creator and teacher on Yoga with Adriene– always has an uplifting point of view. I love that she is just so real and QUIRKY. She is just so fun. I’m currently doing one of her yoga challenges you can find here.

I followed a link to a blog post about a little something called Ahimsa. This was a topic I studied in yoga training and have always enjoyed. Ahimsa, by definition, is the principle of nonviolence toward all living things. It is a building block of yoga and one of the first yamas.

Anyway, the idea of nonviolence is crucial to our happiness and to finding truth in our lives. Violence does not necessarily mean fighting or physical violence. We show violence to ourselves in many ways, and always to our detriment.

Not forgiving a friend produces resentment. Eating unhealthy foods in excess isn’t treating our body like a temple. Being angry while driving sets your day off on the wrong foot. Not taking time to rest, doubting ourselves, saying harsh things about your appearance or abilities…all these things are so common and are examples of violence.

Ahimsa is the practice of nonviolence. It’s taking the time to realize what things you need to be more kind about. For me, it has been battling negative thoughts about my relationship with friends and coworkers, or even my relationship with myself. I could sit and wallow in that for days. My act of Ahimsa has been journaling and making distinct efforts to understand my friend’s ‘Love Languages.’ I’m also being kind to myself when I start identifying more with my faults than my strengths. We all have both of those things, it’s what we do with them that matters.

Perhaps yours is negative self talk. Today your Ahimsa could be listing out the negative feelings that constantly bombard your brain and counteract it with some TRUTH. Next to the negative things write down a truth that counteracts each of those thoughts. You can even write down solutions to those struggles.

How can you start practicing Ahimsa?
Start taking time for yourself.
Start a gratitude journal.
Show love to that odd coworker instead of talking about them in the lounge.
Take time for a yoga practice or regular walks.
Give yourself 5 extra minutes in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Allow time in your schedule for changes.

Stop and think of that thing, person or activity that reallllly pushes your buttons. Don’t let that anger or self-talk take over your day. How can you practice non-violence, or love, towards these situations? If you don’t like something then change it.

So I’ve had Ahimsa on my mind. Then that thing happened where you start seeing other connections.

Recently at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) we were reading about showing love and encouraging others. We read in Romans 15: 5-7

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

and then Romans 15: 13

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

These messages began to fall so perfectly together for me. The idea of being filled up with joy and peace leaves our spirits to abound in hope. When you are filled up with joy, peace, hope and truth there isn’t room for violent thoughts.

When we are filled up we are then called to do the same to others. We are to encourage and lift up those around us. It is our duty to build them up in the same way The Word has built us up.

That’s some serious Ahimsa.

Today I hope you take time to work on nonviolence. To allow scripture and words and love fill you up. When we are feeling fulfilled we can better combat those violent lies that creep in. You have to actually invest time and effort to see progress, so why not start now? It’ll only result in a happier self. You’re worth it. Perhaps your first act of nonviolence will be taking this time and making changes for yourself.

Namaste,
Shelby

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