Monday Moments

Joy seeks us when we’re intentional

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So often we have the best intentions when it comes to making a change in our lives. We have the best intentions to do something good or helpful. Trouble arises because more often than not our intentions and our actions fail to fully line up leaving us feeling defeated. Following through on our good intentions becomes an impossible job due to interruptions, time constraints, saying yes when we should say no, saying no when we should say yes.

Every morning we wake up, we direct our attention to something intentionally or unintentionally. Throughout our day we tend to things needing to be done in that moment often forgetting what we originally intended do to.

Joy is not sought. It seeks us when we’re creative, outgoing, and living unto the ultimate intention.” (Devern Fromke)

I recently read this quote and couldn’t move past it because it was so challenging. What if we woke up every day and said yes to doing just one thing that inspires us creatively, one thing that causes us to look outside ourselves and our daily needs to see others, and one thing that expresses our purpose in life?

Purpose is such an intense word. Maybe it’s better to think about doing the one thing everyday that only we can do and no one else can, one thing that makes us feel at home in ourselves. It’s easy to want to fulfill the best intentions of everyone around us, but making room to have the intention every day to do something creative, outward focused, and only we can do causes joy to seek us.

Joy starts to chase us when we pause for just a moment every day to do something creative and  outside of our everyday obligations. Being intentional about this one thing will change the landscape of our whole day.

Monday Moments

From mundane to majestic

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Four changes in thinking have transformed my life the past year. It’s been an incredible journey so far and I’m still growing and being challenged everyday by this arbitrary list of statements that encompass the last year of choosing to look at and think about life differently.

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Mundane is opportunity: rather than lamenting the seemingly dull moments in life, see every little boring detail as having opportunity in it – folding laundry, driving to and from work, doing dishes, raking leaves, answering emails. The opportunity to see beauty in creation, to talk to God, to worship, to sing, to think about friends you want to connect with, to turn work into play with kids.

No such thing as mundane. Mundane does not exist. Mundane is opportunity. There is no such thing as boring. It’s all about how you view your life. It’s all great stuff! (Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer)

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Big ideas in small places: I read about this garden in Paris, Square du Vert-Galant, that feels massive when you’re inside, but is actually only 2/3 of an acre. The designer decided to make this tiny plot of land as beautiful and grand as possible; he ignored its natural limitations and went wild with creativity. Our lives are like gardens – we have the opportunity to grow and cultivate whatever we want in them. And no matter how small our day-to-day activities seem, we can make them as full and brimming with life and beauty as we imagine and dream up. The sky’s the limit!

Big ideas in small places is what the garden Square du Vert-Galant is all about. If you start to feel as if yours is a measly 2/3 acre life, remember nothing about you, your ideas, or your garden will never feel small again. (Vivian Swift, Gardens of Awe and Folly)

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Waking up and going to bed are a gift: It’s so cliché to say this, but it’s been a massive revelation. Rather than lamenting the rising and setting sun because of tiredness or boredom or frustration, embrace it because we only have the guarantee of today and today’s time is God’s expression of love towards us.

The daily round of sunrise and sunset, for example, that marks the coming and passing of each day, is no longer a symbol of human hopes. or of God’s majesty, but a grind, something we must grit our teeth to endure. Our busy schedules, and even urban architecture, which all to often deprives us of a sense of the sky, has diminished our capacity to marvel with the psalmist in the passage of time as an expression of God’s love for us and for all creation. (Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries)

to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

(Psalm 136:7-9)

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Change the lens: sometimes life requires us to zoom way out to see the big picture and gain some perspective, and sometimes it requires us to zoom way in to see the details and focus on what’s important and beautiful. Learning which lens to put on in which situation is the tricky part, but so worth the effort.

I needed to change the lens through which I viewed everything familiar. (Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project )

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Monday Moments

Embrace the wait

Waiting is the worst. Maybe not the worst, but it definitely isn’t fun.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to make a loaf of no-knead whole grain bread. I didn’t read through the whole recipe and realized after mixing all the ingredients together that I would have to wait almost 24 hours to eat the bread.

I wanted to enjoy crusty, fresh bread immediately not in 24 hours! Certain things just take time – the yeast and other ingredients need time to do their thing. I’m sure there is a technical term for all the chemical reactions happening.

It didn’t matter how much I wanted the bread to be ready. There was an appropriate and necessary waiting time before it was actually going to be ready. This is why waiting is the worst. There’s a massive disconnect between when I’m ready for something and when it’s actually ready for me.

I eventually did get to eat fresh baked bread. It was delicious and worth the wait and effort.
I eventually did get to eat fresh baked bread. It was delicious and worth the wait and effort.

One of my favorite verses in the Old Testament describes Hannah, a woman who couldn’t have children but God answers her prayers. In 1 Samuel 1:20 it says, “And in due time, Hannah conceived and bore a son.”

There is a due time for prayers to be answered, dreams to be fulfilled, seasons to change, breakthrough to happen.

Here’s the thing though, waiting isn’t passive. It’s standing firm in the knowledge that things will shift in due time. And until that due time arrives, we can shrink back and become disheartened or we can patiently wait, steadfastly hope, and stand firm.

It’s easy to get worked up and try to make things happen before their time. When Josh and I were looking for a house last spring, I remember asking God for specific things in a house. Here’s the thing. We saw 16 houses before we found the one that ticked all my boxes. It didn’t look like I expected, but it had all the things I wanted.

It was just a matter of waiting and actively looking without becoming anxious. Sounds easy, right? I felt God remind me of 2 Chronicles 20:17: “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf,”

There are times to get moving and put in some effort. This was not one of those times. It was time for me to stand firm, hold my position, and watch God move.

Whether you’re simply waiting for spring, like me and everyone else in Michigan, or waiting for God to move and answer a big or small prayer, it will come in due time. One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, writes:

I’m ready for spring, but it hasn’t arrived.

Not yet.

Still I take my walk, looking for any

early enhancements.

(“Walking to Indian River” from Felicity)

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When we’re ready things to change and the waiting becomes agonizing, like those last few days before a baby is born, staying hopeful and expectantly looking without losing hope takes courage, strength, and faith. Whatever it is you’re waiting for and hoping for, it will come in due time. Until then, embrace the wait. In due time prayers will be answered, dreams will be fulfilled, seasons will change, breakthrough will happen.


Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.

                                                  Proverbs 13:12