Caps & Gowns

my hubby on his graduation day with our girls:)

We are in the thick of a season brightly colored with caps and gowns, tassels and cords. There will be pomp & circumstance a plenty as we are seated in stadiums, event centers, and auditoriums. Friends and family members shouting names and blasting airhorns, teachers and administrators clad in dress attire. You know who else will be there?

Graduates.

The tall kind, the small kind, the loud kind, the quiet kind. Every kind of graduate you can think of. The ones who were heavily involved in academics and athletics. The ones who were involved in the arts and clubs, and the ones who walked along the edge of the hallways, trying to blend in.

Graduation brings up so many amazing emotions, but it also makes me reflect on some parts in my own life’s story. I’ve shared it before but for those who are new to the blog – I didn’t wear a cap & gown until I was 35:). I didn’t walk across a stage in completion of a degree until I lived some life and birthed 3 babies:). I vividly remember the feeling of being told I was 1 credit short of graduating, just weeks before my actual high school graduation day. So trust me when I say I understand how it feels to come so close, only to realize you still have some work to do. Be it through summer school, or night school, correspondence courses, or a whole school year to make up for it. I’ve been there. In my case, I finished up a few months later, and my family threw me a great party to celebrate:). No stage or cap & gown, just documents to prove I met the necessary requirements.

In 2015, I did hear my name called while I was waiting in the wings- dressed in a purple cap & gown…and a bright yellow tassel:). That’s why when graduation season comes around, it means a lot to me. I like to spend time watching all the details unfold and the reactions on people faces. I like to see tears of joy and smiles beaming as names are called. I like to see families taking pics with their graduates as balloons fly in the air. I like to listen closely to valedictorian speeches and music played by the band. Why? Because it all matters. Those caps & gowns matter.

I see graduation as a huge accomplishment; so much studying and learning in just a short amount of time. I see every student – no matter at which age they graduate in life- with the potential to change their world, because they have an education. When I see students in caps and gowns, I see hope; I see persistence. I see individuals entering into a new phase of life- be it college, the workforce, the military, or whatever else comes next. I see dreams and goals starting all over again as grads deck themselves out in new attire for a new season.

As we enter into these next few weeks of seeing colorful balloons and confetti in our neighborhoods for these outstanding graduates, let’s remember to speak hope into their future.

Whatever path these graduates are taking, let’s encourage them to keep learning, to keep putting 100% into pursuing their passions and discovering their potential. Let’s celebrate the accomplishments and help them dream even bigger dreams while cheering them on from the sidelines. Let’s remind them that they can make their next season in life even more memorable and impactful with hard work and determination. Let’s hug them and high-five them at their ceremonies and parties. Let’s take lots of pics to remember the moment that they could finally say, “I did it!” and “On to bigger and better things!” all in one breath. Let’s write meaningful cards and stuff them full of wisdom (and maybe a gift!) for the journey ahead. Let’s bombard them with joy and hope and excitement because they worked so hard for these moments.

Let’s also show the students behind them that it can be done. That hard work and determination does pay off, and they are worth being celebrated. Not just for what they’ve done, but for who they are.

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, this season is so special. Lord, we get to celebrate so many wonderful people who are accomplishing great things. We get to celebrate with all of these amazing individuals and cheer them onto even greater things. As we prepare to celebrate with these graduates, Lord help us to speak life into dreams they still have. Help our words to be uplifting and encouraging, hopeful and heartfelt. We never know what they may have walked through to get to this point, and we want to bless them as they embark on new adventures ahead. Lord help us to also look for those who might be watching from afar instead participating in the ceremony- help us to come alongside them and encourage them to finish well and to dream again. For every graduate who might be leaving home to pursue a calling or degree they’ve planned for, we ask for You to protect them and guide them with wisdom and love. For all those joining the workforce we ask that You establish the work of their hands and that whatever they find to do, that they would do it with all their heart. For those entering into the military, we ask for Your peace and protection to surround them, and for their comrades to become a system of support and hope for them. For all those graduating and still trying to figure out what their next right step should be, help them to watch for the right doors of opportunity to open, and to know and trust that Your plans are greater. Lord, thank You for all the late nights of studying, for the friendships made and memories shared, for the lessons learned and the lessons still ahead. Thank You for these lives that will impact communities for good, and for legacies that impact generations to follow. Help us to celebrate well this season- amen.

Go The Extra Mile: Check out this song and begin to think of how you can dream alongside your grad! I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I LOVE THIS SOUNDTRACK! And I hope it encourages you today! Peace- liz:)

I Didn’t Forget You!

Hello and Happy Monday Tru*Lifer’s!!! It feels like forever since I last posted here, so up front- I am sorry it’s taken me so long to get new messages to you! I appreciate all of you, every single like, comment, share, encouragement and prayer and I am trying my hardest to get back into the writing rhythm after being on hiatus for literally the whole month of April.

I’m continuing the Funky Series, most recently with my own message for it, so check it out! I’ll also be bringing you new messages in the coming weeks, so STAY TUNED!

I also wanted to shout out to all the mama’s out there, in any & every form – I hope your day was filled with joy and love and reminders of your amazing contributions to this world. I also want to let all those who are in the process of fostering and adoption, those who are in the process of fertility treatments, those who are single parents, those who have lost a mama or a child and are walking through grief, those who are separated from loved ones because of miles or decisions made…You are seen, you are remembered and we honor and admire you too. These kinds of days always come with a mixed bag of emotions and realities, but none the less, we honor and celebrate you, not just yesterday, but everyday.

All of you have been on my mind; every reader in every city and country represented, and I can’t wait to share more messages and thoughts with you, as well as share some amazing messages from dear friends! Stay tuned people- this summer is shaping up to be great!

peace-liz:)

Funky: Me Again

I was reminded a few weeks ago that I am getting back to my normal self:).
As I was making lunch for my family on the weekend, and decided to bake. It might not sound like a monumental moment for some, but for me it was huge.

I like to cook.
I like to bake.
I just hadn’t really been doing a whole lot of it since we moved.
There is something so therapeutic about combining ingredients and watching what they do when everything comes together. 

A little of this, a little of that, some time to rise, and some time to bake…voila! Fresh bread with an aroma that fills the house and heart.

mmm….so good!

Unless you’re on the Keto diet- then it’s probably torture;).

There was a beautiful rhythm that I felt in my kitchen that day as I mixed and kneaded; as I waited and waited again. It felt like me just being me. Not me trying to just make it through the day, or me just doing it as a “have- to”. It felt like I was remembering my name, remebering my heartbeat again, remembering my song. I felt like me – in the moment I was in, in the season I was in, in the atmosphere I was in.

Friends, some seasons in our lives, we will not feel quite like ourselves. We will feel like someone else trying to figure out who they are and how they got there. Sometimes in those funky seasons, we will need to listen to our heart and do what we know we should, so we can regain a sense of who we are, and who we have been called to be.

That day, for me, I needed to bake. Some days, I need to go on a walk around the block…or around Target:). I encourage you to go back and do what gives you life. Maybe your thing is running – Run until the rhythm of your feet matches the beat of your heart. Maybe your thing is going for a drive – fill up your tank and hit the road and enjoy the view in the process. Maybe your thing is writing – be intentional with your time and jot down your thoughts as the words flow out of you. Remember who you are. Remember who you are called to me.

For some of us, it may take a friend calling us and reminiscing about what we’ve done together that made us laugh. It may take some of us asking our friends for advice or for wisdom in these tough seasons. It’s ok, everyone’s season is so different and no one thing is going to work for everyone as we walk through these funky times.

The point is to keep breathing, keep living, keep walking, and keep reminding ourselves who we are. I love what the Psalmist David wrote:

 Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
you understand my thoughts from far away.
 You observe my travels and my rest;
you are aware of all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue,
you know all about it, Lord.
 You have encircled me;
you have placed your hand on me.
 This wondrous knowledge is beyond me.
It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.
 Where can I go to escape your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
 even there your hand will lead me;
your right hand will hold on to me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light around me will be night”—
 even the darkness is not dark to you.
The night shines like the day;
darkness and light are alike to you.
 For it was you who created my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.
Your works are wondrous,
and I know this very well.
 My bones were not hidden from you
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in your book and planned
before a single one of them began.
 God, how precious your thoughts are to me;
how vast their sum is!
 If I counted them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand;
when I wake up, I am still with you.
” Psalm 139:1-18 CSB

I’m confident that The One who knew us when we were formless, knows how to redirect us to the point where we remember our form and fortitude during funky seasons. And if you’ve been walking through some different and challenging seasons like me, I can assure you that taking time to turn our focus to Him is a great place to start.

Let’s pray friend: Dear Lord, in the midst of all that feels funky and uncertain, we choose today to put our focus on You- Our Creator, and Life-Giver. These season that we are walking through might seem difficult to navigate, but Lord, we’ve been reminded in Your Word today that You see everything God- nothing is too difficult for you. Lord, we ask You to take us into Your arms and remind us of who we are and who You created us to be. Remind us of the goodness that you’ve placed inside of us to share. Remind us of dreams we might be putting off because we don’t know where to begin. Remind us of the tender and loving care you took to create us and form every part of us inside and out, and how to return to Your loving embrace for strength and direction. You Lord, are Light and can help lead the way as we rediscover ourselves in You and how we are to live in these moments. We give you our time today Lord, speak to us and help us listen as we go about our day. Jesus, help our hearts to lean into all that You ask us to do as we spend time with You and as we get back to the rhythms that You created to sustain and support us. Thank You Lord for all that You are and for Your goodness in every season of this life. Amen

Peace-liz

Go The Extra Mile: Friend, on your drive today, or at your lunch break, take a few minutes to just listen and surrender with this song. I love this song, so much that we actually played it at our wedding ceremony years ago, but this version…it’s amazing. Check it out!