Tidbit # I lost count

So I know I said I would post the tidbit’s I send out at work here.. But I’ve been a little behind the eight ball with it… So I’ll slowly but surely catch up.. Here is this weeks though!

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25

I wish I could just put the entire book of Hebrews in this tidbit, but that would be too long. So for those of you who have not read Hebrews, I challenge you to do it! It is a book all about who Jesus is and then what that means for us. It’s so good!

The above verses are kind of the shifting point in the book. Anytime you see a sentence that starts with the word therefore you should go back and see what it’s there for. This therefore is a big therefore in my opinion. I think it’s the writer taking a big breath after describing Jesus in depth and says because of everything I just said about who Jesus is this is what you should do.

Since I can’t put the whole book of Hebrews in this tidbit I’ll summarize a little of what the writer has said about Jesus. He starts out the book explaining that Jesus is his son, and is fully God. It states that Jesus is higher than everyone, or thing because it was created through Him. It talks about how God chose to speak through the prophets in the old days but in these days he chose to speak through His son. And because He chose to speak through his son, we better listen a little more carefully because Jesus is better than the prophets, better than Moses, and Joshua. Then he goes into how Jesus is a High Priest. And not a high priest from the line of Levi, but a high priest from a better order. It goes into how Jesus’ sacrifice was better than the rams and the bulls because those continually had to be offered for sins and Jesus’ sacrifice of his own body was once for all! The writer basically describes how Jesus is better in every respect than everything that has come before, and that the new covenant he established with his death and resurrection is so much better.

The writer says because of all that let us draw near to God with confidence, let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, and make sure we meet together and keep encouraging others.

So how do we do this? How do we practically live this out? I think we make sure we are spending time with the Lord, and when we pray we pray in confidence that He hears our prayers, and that He answers prayers. We remember that God is still in control, even when things seem like they are out of control, when things are so uncertain.

Instead of focusing on each other’s faults, or weaknesses, or the latest gossip, we focus on how to stir one another up to love and good works. Elsewhere in Hebrews it talks about how we should exhort one another every day, and that doesn’t leave much room for non-edifying talk. When we meet together let’s keep all the negativity out and lets focus on Jesus, and how to be more like him. Instead of tearing each other down let’s encourage each other.

My challenge this week is for us to pick two people a day and intentionally encourage them, or show them love, in some way. Whether you send an email, shoot a text, make a phone call, or say it face to face.

Jesus is better, so let’s strive to be like Him!

When God loves you enough

A year ago tomorrow I went on a date. A date I didn’t admit to being a date till after it was over. A date that led to a kind of relationship. A relationship that, as I look back on now, God used to “wreck my ship,” to use the words of my friend Bryce. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

In November and December of 2014 I started wanting to go on dates. I didn’t want anything serious and was still content being single, so I thought. I just wanted to go on out and have fun. At first it was just passing thoughts. But the more passing thoughts I had the more it grew into a desire. It didn’t change the fact that I still thought I was content with being single.

And of course while the thought of wanting to go on a date was becoming a desire I met a guy I thought I might be interested in going on dates with. We start talking every time we saw each other, and then eventually we started texting between the times we saw each other a bit. Then came the aforementioned date; the aforementioned kind of relationship.

Did it last? No. Did it end well? No. Did I ignore red flags? Yes. Did it cause unnecessary pain and heartache? Yes. Despite all this did I try it all again with him? Yes.

What I failed to see during it all was that I had become discontent with being single. Discontent in my relationship with the Lord. I had started to seek fulfillment from others instead of Him. I lied to myself about it all. I thought I could just date to date. Tried to convince myself that I could do that. And of course, it failed.

After the second time when it ended before it began the Lord opened my eyes to my sin. He opened my eyes to see that I was seeking fulfillment from others instead of Him. That I had stopped believing He was enough. He knew I was fooled into believing lies and He wanted my eyes open to the truth.

God loved me enough to give me what I thought I wanted. A date. Even though He knew it was Himself that I really wanted. And through the date and the wreckage that followed, He patiently drew me back to himself and saved me from my sin yet again.

 

The Hard Moments

If you follow me on Instagram you see a lot of the fun moments, the crazy moments, the silly moments of my job. But you don’t see a lot of the hard moments. And believe me there are lots of hard moments. I’m not saying this to complain, but as a reminder to mostly myself that while it’s my job, its real life for my kids.

Parenting is a blessing. Parenting is hard. Parenting is fun. Parenting is exhilarating. Parenting is exhausting. It’s joyous, heart breaking. Every emotion can be used to describe parenting. And this last month I’ve felt every single one. There have been times of great fun, like Canadian Thanksgiving, playing outside, bedtime stories, etc. But there have also been moments where I felt like I was putting a band-aid on a bullet hole knowing more needed to be done but it was all I could do.

So what is there to do in those moments? In the nitty-gritty hard moments where there is no magic answer. When you see your kid beating themselves up because they keep making the same mistake, when your kid is aching for a love they don’t even know how to accept. When the disrespect is at an all time high and it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their real families drama. What do you do?

It’s easy for me in these moments to lose hope a bit. Easy for me to start doubting my ability to do this job. Easy for me to give in to the lies of the devil. But God is bigger. Yes I have no idea what I’m doing in these moments most of the time. But I know that I have a God who does. I have a God who cares about these kids and knows every part of them. I have a God that I can go to in prayer and petition for these kids. I have a God who is going to use these hard moments for His glory and for His good!

Please join me in prayer for my kids, as the holidays are coming and emotions are running high. It’s a hard time for them and they are already feeling it.

 

The story of tattoo #2

Since yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of getting my first tattoo I decided it was finally time to share the story of tattoo number 2. I have multiple blog drafts saved about this topic and haven’t been able to finish any of them… Why you ask? Well because the story of this tattoo involves a lot of hurt, and I just haven’t been able to share that hurt honestly and in a way that is edifying. But I think I can do it now… So here goes
11102625_10100562751508571_5011736061697326537_nThis tattoo is about five years in the making. I knew I wanted a tattoo on my left wrist but I couldn’t ever find a design that fit. I searched and searched, then would let go of the idea of getting one. Only to start searching again a few months later. I wanted it to encompass the two ways I try to live my life for the Lord. Love Deeply and Take Big Risks. Last November I finally found a picture of a tattoo I could get on board with. I sent it to Lydia and asked if she could draw it out with the changes I wanted. She did! So then started my waiting period. I always wait a few months after finding a design to see if I really want it. And this one stuck through those few months. So in March while I was in California for Normy’s bridal shower I got it.

Now you may be thinking man there isn’t any hurt in that story, minus the pain of getting the tattoo… And I would say you are right… But the story of this tattoo doesn’t end there. Where the hurt comes in is when I got back to Texas and the months that followed….

Many of you know I work at a Christian group home for kids from families in crisis. I am one of many teaching parents. We all love Jesus, but have different convictions, traditions, and things like that. Totally fine, the Holy Spirit guides us in our own. But we are to remain one as a body as it says in most of Paul’s Epistles. That idea is where the issue arose.

The night before I got my tattoo one of the married couple teaching parents that I worked closely with sent me a text stating their conviction against tattoos. I did not have a problem with receiving that text or the conversation we had following it about our different convictions. It was good dialog and stayed edifying for the most part. Having that conversation didn’t change my mind about getting the tattoo. I figured we would be able to stay unified as a body in Christ through our different convictions.

When I got back to Texas with my tattoo, there was major tension between this couple and I. And I wasn’t sure how to fix it. They did not approve of the decision I had made and it caused a rift in our team. I wanted to stay unified, but I wasn’t sure what that looked like, or how to do it on my part.

I had gotten called into managements office to discuss my tattoo, which was not against policy, but that had caused a rift in our team. They wanted to find a way to keep our team together for the kids in the cottages sake. And while this is what I wanted, I felt like I was the one being made to do everything to get rid of the rift. Granted I was the one who got the tattoo, but short of getting it removed I wasn’t sure how I could change the feelings of other people. So why was I the only one being asked to change anything?

I began to feel very hurt, and very bitter at the entire situation. I started to question whether I should have gotten the tattoo when I did. Maybe I should have waited. I found it hard to love my tattoo when it caused all this drama. I let bitterness have a foothold in my heart, and it took over. Especially when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to stay in the cottage. I threw a major fit in my heart. I didn’t want to leave that cottage, and I was mad at not getting my way. And I sat in this for way longer than I’d like to admit.

In the midst of my inner tantrum I chose to change cottages. Because despite what I felt I knew the Lord was working and leading. He was closing the door to being in the cottage whether I liked it or not and opening the door to work in the other cottage. I followed His leading, even though I was kicking and screaming the whole way.

Since switching cottages I’ve been trying to work on my attitude, on letting go of bitterness, on forgiving, and on trusting in the Lord’s plan. You see I am 100% sure that even if I hadn’t of gotten my tattoo I still wouldn’t be working in that cottage anymore. There were other issues within our team that would have torn it apart.

More importantly I know the Lord was leading me to this other cottage. I have seen traces of this throughout the summer working in there. None more clear than through the text I got two days ago stating that the couple who works in there is leaving. This cottage has been through so much change in staff in the past year that it breaks my heart. But I am so humbled that the Lord led me to that cottage to walk with these kids through yet another abandonment and to love them through it.

 

 

Lent 2015

As Ash Wednesday was approaching this year I was unsure what I was going to give up. Last year I gave up naps and it drew me closer to the Lord more than anything I had ever given up before. I knew this year I wanted something that would do the same thing. I wanted to do social media, but it wasn’t something that I was feeling led to do, I just knew I was wasting a lot of time on it for no reason and wanted to break my habit.

As I was praying about it and thinking on it a lot I realized I didn’t really feel “led” to give anything up. I thought it was strange. So I decided to give up social media. Then in a conversation with a co-worker about what we were giving up we decided to give up bread.

Today after celebrating Jesus’ resurrection at church I was hanging with the girls in the cottage and reflecting on what I learned through the season of Lent, and how giving up bread and social media drew me closer to the Lord. To be honest… They didn’t really… dun dun dun…. But here’s the thing… Through the last two months the Lord has been teaching me, growing me, and opening up so many good conversations with friends about Him.

Yes giving up social media made it easier to use my time during the days wisely, yes when I went through bread withdrawals I needed to rely on Him for strength, but that wasn’t what drew me closer to him. What drew me closer was the choice to spend time with him daily and to be in His word, and to read good books that fed me spiritually.

So as I look back I realize why I didn’t feel led to give anything up. Turns out it wasn’t strange. It was just that the Lord was using other ways to draw me to Himself. He was using other ways to grow me, challenge me, and allow me to fall deeper in love with Him.

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Music

This song has been on repeat in my head and on my phone pretty much all day today. And I just feel like I need to share it with all of you.

The second verse and the bridge are my favorite… So good!!

Don’t think you need to settle for a substitute
When I’m the only love that changes you

Open your heart
It’s time that we start again

Intervention

Hello my name is Juliann and I am a cookie butter addict…

How did I find this out?? Was it the fact that I ate half a jar in two days, without even eating half the bag of pretzels I bought to go with it? Nah that’s not too terrible… I was having a veg weekend when I did that so it’s justified… So was it the fact that I put it on my birthday list and got 3 jars of it… Nah they were gifts… Is it that I will just eat it by the spoonful… Nope lots of people do that… So what made me realize I was an addict? biscoff Trader Joe's

Last night did… I knew that if I brought my pretzels home from work I would end up having pretzels and cookie butter for dinner. Since I’m trying to cut back on cookie butter I decided to leave the pretzels at work…

So what did I do when I got home… I proceeded to eat like 10 of these guys
cookiesThese cookies are what cookie butter is made out of… And in the midst of chowing down on these wonderful little cookies I started to think…. “Huh I wonder if I should put some cookie butter on top of these…”

It was right then I realized I have a problem… I’m a cookie butter addict… But am I going to do anything to address this problem…. Nope, nothing at all!

 

Reasons

In 69 days I will get to see these crazy kidsIMG_4351So in honor of that I thought I would give you some reasons why my brothers are better than yours… So without further ado I bring you… 5 Reasons Why My Brothers Are Better Than Yours!

1. When asked to provide blog post inspiration they don’t disappoint…IMG_3358IMG_1341IMG_6007

2. Even though we are all grown-up they are still willing to play got-you-last even through our mom yelling “Someone is going to get hurt, or something is going to get broken,” and someone getting hurt or something getting broken. Along these same lines there is the always famous “I’m not touching you” game that surely still gets played every time we are together. Or the classic name calling… Bet your brothers never called you Stench… Oh the love!

3. They always text, call, or facetime me to keep me updated on their lives in general… Or like when they see my best friend out and about… Or when they facetime me to show me they are in socal at the ocean… IMG_05684. Despite the fact that I moved halfway across the country from them… They still love me!!bro kiss5. Last but not least… When you text them to remind them it’s talk like a Pirate Day they then flood your phone all day with pirate-y text messages… IMG_4766IMG_4767IMG_4768IMG_4769

My brother’s are the best! Bet your’s can’t top mine!

A little Dexter review

dexterNot going to lie… I am very sad this show is ending. 4 more episodes and then I’ll be left with re-runs…. I may shed a few tears… Who knows…

And now let me throw a little disclaimer: If you haven’t watched any of this season and are planning to you probably shouldn’t read any further. I’m not giving super big spoilers or anything but you may just want to experience it all for the first them when you watch it. With that said… let’s talk about this season!

It has been an intriguing season for sure! I go back and forth between liking Dr. Vogel and hating her. I can’t decide which. I’m also a little suspicious of her even when I like her. She adds a new dynamic that I think I like though. I for sure think she is crazy though.

The other thing that has been intriguing this season is the tension between Dexter the “human” and Dexter the “monster”. Throughout the seasons they have made him more and more “human”. And this season, especially with Dr. Vogel around, one minute you think he is going to toss all that progress out the window and the next he is fighting for it. So I’ve found myself getting bummed a couple of times when it seems He is tossing it all out the window, but they have redeemed it every time. But in thinking back on it now I like that they have that tension, even if I get sad sometimes lol.

I have never been as scared for Dexter to get caught as I was in this weeks episode. Up until this season there was no question about Him getting caught. Why would he get caught when you knew there were more seasons coming. But with this being the last season getting caught is one option for the ending. And with all the webs they have spun I was legitimately scared he was going to get caught last night as we were watching this weeks episode.

The writers have spun so many different webs this season. And up until this weeks episode it didn’t seem like they were bringing resolution to any of them. And with only 4 episodes left I’m not sure how they are going to bring it all back together. And I have no idea how it’s all going to end. It has kept me guessing for sure.

With all that said… I’m not sure how I want this series to end (not that what I want matters any to the writers). I definitely don’t want him to get caught. I don’t want him to get killed either. And fleeing leaves it too open for the series ending. I really want him to just live happily ever after and have none of those three options happen. But I read an interview with the writer about this season and the question of a happy ending was raised and he said something along the lines of Dexter is a serial killer and they only have a few endings and none of them are particularly happy. So I’m trying not to hold out hope for a happy ending so I don’t get crushed!

Have any of you been watching this season? What do you think of it? What do you think is going to happen in the end? What do you want to happen in the end?

My Love Runs Deep

I can’t count how many times I have professed my love for Texas here on the blog… I’ve done it a lot for sure!! Mostly because I just love Texas. It’s a wonderful place.

But this morning I was reminded of one of the few (and I mean very few) things that I don’t like… Cockroaches… Blech, I get the grossies just thinking about them. The little ones are gross but they are pretty easy to kill… The ones that get me… And send me running down the street away from them… Are the huge ones… The ones the size of Texas… Give me the willy nilly’s for sure!

This morning I had come down the stairs in the parking garage at work and walking down the hallway to the doors to go into the building… And I see something near my feet and I start trying to avoid it thinking it was a frog… And then I look down and realize it’s a roach the size of Texas running right at my feet… And I freaked… Jumped over it and ran to the doors and inside… Leaving Lynne behind asking what the heck it was… Not even caring there were people in the building looking at me like I was crazy since I just ran indoors shaking out the grossies… Blech! Took me a good five minutes to get my heart rate back down!

So Texas… My love for you runs deep…. But please please please keep the roaches away from me!