Friday, April 27, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Community

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. 

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on: :: Community… 

Ready? Set... Go! 

I sat at a table today and looked across my cup of coffee at a new friend. I've been living in this small town for almost two years, waiting for friends to appear. 

They didn't. I wondered why and thought, "Maybe I'm not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough...maybe I'm just not enough." 

Then someone told me..."People like you, Tiff. You just need to try." I wondered what it was I was doing this far, if it wasn't trying. I was trying...but not trying...enough. 

I had been in community before. I had been there, told my story, opened up...I had been real and in the end I was hurt. Left broken and wondering where in the world it went wrong. Why would I want to put myself in that place again? 

But I took a leap of faith and began asking people to have coffee with me. What did I find out? People will come hang out with you for coffee...and when you open up and talk, they will too! 

Friendship and community graced the room as we told our stories and saw that God was the center of both, weaved into the fabric of our words. As one hour turned into two, and empty coffee cups sat in front of us I knew that meeting for coffee this once was just not...enough. 

I anticipate more conversations over coffee, more smiles and laughter, more nods across the table as Sisters in Christ understand the detours that we have taken on our journeys. 

Community may not be easy. It may feel scary at first and you may be nervous and unsure if you are enough. It may mean getting past a hurt. 

 But keep going. 

 It's always worth it. 


Thanks for spending five minutes with me today!  For more on Community, visit the gypsy mama.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Grit

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays. And link up with Lisa-Jo.

We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids.

On Fridays we write like we believe we can fly. Won’t you join us? (<—Tweet this!) Today's word: Grit. Ready? Set. Go.

Years ago, When I was a junior in highschool some of my friends joined Winterguard. They handed me a flyer with the audition times and tried to get me to audition with them but I said no...I didn't really want to be in Winterguard. I put it in my backpack and forgot about it.

Later, I was talking about it to someone. I was halfway through telling them that my friends thought I should join when the person looked at me and said I would never be able to do it.

That was all it took for me to show up at the audition and prove them wrong. I practiced hard and made the team.

There were days when I wanted to quit. The thought that I would "never be able to do this" would find it's way to my mind often. But I didn't give up.

It takes courage to keep going when you feel like you can't. It's firmness of character, relentless spirit and determination.

In these situations you have the grit and determination you need to persevere. Look deep inside yourself, it's there.


Five Minute Friday: Awake

I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo. She calls it "Five Minute Friday" and we just write...without worrying if it’s just right or not.

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. We let our mind and our words and our heart fly free; wild – no editing, no over thinking.

Today's topic: Awake.

Ready? Set? Go.

In the winter snow covers the ground in a blanket of white as the earth sleeps. Quietly waiting for the light and breath of spring.

I look out my bedroom window almost every morning to see the sky as the sun comes up, bold and beautiful. Wondering what the day will hold, what I will do, think and feel.

Not so long ago my soul was awakened by a trip to Thailand and the opportunity to serve others instead of myself.

Loving kids at an orphanage and separation from all things familiar forced my soul awake, no longer sleeping under the blanket of white.

After that trip so many things in me were forever changed. I look out the window as snow quietly falls...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(in) Real Life Conference!

Are you going? To the (in)courage (in)RL Conference? It is going to be amazing! You really don't want to miss it. And one of the great parts about this conference is that it is everywhere (in)courage readers are! You don't have to travel farther than your own city, and if you are hosting a meet-up you don't have to travel farther than your own living room!

Here are all the details you need to know:

What is (in)courage?
-It is an online community for women all over the world. We like to think of (in)courage as a beach house where everyone is welcome to come sit on the porch and chat. Every day there are posts written by women for women about things women are going through and dealing with. And the pink sprinkles on top? It's faith based. We not only walk through life as friends on (in)courage, we walk through life as sisters in Christ.

When is this Conference?
-The webcast kicks off Friday, April 27th.
-(in)RL "beach house" parties follow on Saturday, April 28th with more live (in)courage content to tune into together!
-p.s. Everyone who signs up gets a free (in)RL t-shirt and a Simply Marvelous Card pack!

That sounds awesome! How do I sign up?
-Register here. Then go here to sign up to host or attend a beach house party.

You don't have to be a blogger to attend. This conference is open to women everywhere! We would LOVE for you to join us!

Do you have more questions?
Go here for the Q & A page. The (in)courage writers have answered any question you could think of.

I can't wait for the (in)RL Conference! I hope you join us!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Roar

Written Friday, January 6th, 2012

The first Friday of the new year. I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo. She calls it "Five Minute Friday" and we just write...without worrying if it’s just right or not.

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. We let our mind and our words and our heart fly free; wild – no editing, no over thinking.

Today's topic: Roar.

Ready? Set? Go.

I haven never touched a lion's mane or sat next to one. I have never been face to face with a lion and listen to it roar. But I have been that close to a tiger! When I was in Thailand I visited "Tiger Kingdom" where they have tigers of all different ages in huge cages. The cages are so big...when you step inside you don't feel like you are even in a cage. It was like they each had their own little jungle.

We would walk right up to the door of the cage and they would let me walk right in. With only a Thai guide holding a tiny bamboo stick as protection. Yes, you read that correctly, I walked into a cage that was home to a real, live tiger with nothing for protection except an Asian guide holding a stick.

They let you pet the tigers and lay on them and take pictures. I've always loved tigers. They look so mysterious and majestic and beautiful, I was so excited to see one up close. I was with a small group and I was the last one to walk up to the tiger. He was sitting there so peaceful and quiet.

I walked up behind him and all of a sudden I was really nervous. I began thinking "What if this tiger freaks out and attacks me?" I looked around the cage trying to make a plan of escape...just in case. I took a deep breath and inched closer and knelt down behind him. Now I was scared out of my mind! "What was I thinking?" "Why am I sitting next to a TIGER?!"

Everyone was looking at me and taking my picture and telling me to pet the tiger and lay my head down on him. But I just couldn't. The thoughts just kept raging in my mind. "What if... What if... What if..."

So what did I do sitting next to that tiger? I prayed for protection. And then I reached out my hand to do the thing I was most afraid of in that moment. After a few minutes the tiger whipped his tail up and smacked me in the face with it! I was frozen as I felt the sting on my face. What do I do now? I looked over at the Thai guide. He just laughed. The tiger wanted to play!

It's like that a lot in life. We begin adventures with excitement and soon we let fear slip in and it can paralyze us so much that we forget what we were doing in the first place. No roar, just fear.

Lift up your fears to God. He can handle it. And He can give you peace while He helps you work through it and move past it. He created us to do so many things...not to walk around paralyzed by fear.


Thanks for spending five minutes with me today.

Don't ever forget us

Written Friday, July 16th, 2011

I will miss Thailand. How the air smells like spices. How everyone greets you with the "wai". How the days go by slower. I will miss the spicy food and all the unique fruits.

But more than any of that, I will miss the people, I have made many friends here.

On Sunday in Phetchabun, Dtoi asked me why I came back to Thailand. "Because I missed all of you." I said.

"We missed you," he said, "And I prayed that you would remember us and come back one day, and you did. Don't ever forget us."

I looked at him and said "Never. I could never forget you. And I will come back."

I meant every word with all of my heart. I will never forget my friends in Thailand. I will leave Thailand today, but everyday I will think of them and pray for them.

And I will go back again. One day, because I know I will miss them too much not to.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Word For 2012

If I were to look back on 2010 and give it a name, it would be Change. In so many ways it was the year of change for me.

I finished an internship. I went to Thailand. I said goodbye to friends, my job and my church of 7 years, packed everything I owned in my Ford Focus and moved from South Texas to North Carolina. I worked at a temporary job. I learned to paint. I made plans. I listened to God and changed my plans. Again I said goodbye to friends and family, and packed everything in my car for the second time in 6 months...and moved from North Carolina to a tiny town in Illinois. I moved into my first apartment. I adjusted to a new town, new job, new church, new friends, new me, new life.

After the year of Change, I decided to be intentional about naming the next year. I wanted to choose a word and christen the year with it before it even began.

In January 2011 I chose the word Grace for the year. It was fitting. Grace means “favor”. After the year of Change, I craved a year of grace. As I learned a routine at my new job and made new friends, grace fit. As I tried to continue to build relationships with my friends and family who were hundreds of miles away, grace fit still. As I chose verses to memorize throughout the year, I noticed a theme...more often than not, the verses I chose contained the word “grace” or “gracious”. I was shown favor when I wasn't perfect. As I messed up and made mistakes, I was given grace.

My word for 2012 is Eucharisteo. It is a Greek word I learned while reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. This word, eucharisteo, means “thanksgiving” but it's so much more than that. The root word of eucharisteo is charis...which means “grace”. This word. Eucharisteo. This word is what I want 2012 to be for me. A year of accepting grace and thanking God for it. Thanking God for every moment of grace and favor, every gift He has given me.

A life filled with change. A life given grace. A life giving thanks.

What is your one word for this year?


Monday, January 2, 2012

A Brand New Year

When January 1st rolls around every year I read Psalm 65:11 and let the words soak in.

"You crown the year with Your good blessings, and You leave abundance in Your wake."

I love the beginning of a new year. I love fresh starts and nothing but dreams and plans ahead of me. I love the promise that this verse holds for us. God crowns the year with good things before it even begins. Not just a few blessings for us, but many!

I want this year to be different from the ones before it. Different in many ways. I want to grow and change and learn more than ever before. I want to accept the abundance of good blessings that God has in store for me this year.

As we begin this new year, let's thank God for the plans he has for us and the blessings he has in store for us.

Happy 2012!