Love: Loving Yourself & Discovering Joy by Gigi Hahl

Love Part 3

My children screaming at one another does not bring me joy and unfortunately it is a sound that I hear daily. I used to envision myself ripping my ears from my head and throwing the bleeding ears to my children and yelling: “now I don’t have to hear you anymore!”—my kids would then be diagnosed with PTSD and probably taken from me, and I would have no ears. So, there goes that idea! I tend to be a bit dramatic, maybe that’s where my children get their histrionics. But I hear SO much more of their bickering since quitting my job after the birth of my fourth child. Having children brings out the best and worst in a person, or maybe that’s just me. I was starting to see more days with the worst person than the best.

Some moms are better at patience. Some moms are better at talking calmly to their kids and baking sweet treats and making crafts. But me, sometimes I would want to lock my kids in a closet and give them Benadryl and have them take a long nap—speaking in hyperbole here! I would never harm my children. I love my children. Very much. I love them so much that at every birth I would let go of some special part of myself—including valuable braincells. The other day when I went to buy sleds, I couldn’t think of the word sled. S-L-E-D, a four-letter word that is very simple, but I had to ask the cashier:
“Do you sell those things that kids ride in the snow with?”
The 17-year-old, looked at me with a dumbfounded look and said, “Sleds?”
“Oh yeah! That’s what their called!” I laughed back.

My brain is not what it used to be, and neither is any part of me. Some days I would daydream about the old me; living life to the fullest, laughing, telling jokes, and looking good. Some days I would long for a simpler time. My daydreams wouldn’t last long because I would be jolted back to reality by my two-year-old screaming at her older brother, “you’re not my BEST FRIEND! NO ONE is my BEST FRIEND!” I realized that I was becoming a new person and I had to stop pretending like I was going to get the old me back. This new person, I didn’t like too much. She didn’t have as much fun. This new person was very frustrated and controlling. I realized that either I needed to change my attitude or accept my new grumpy self.
I started to change my attitude.
I began by falling back in love with me and being grateful for what I had been given.

And thanks to Marie Kondo, I started asking myself what brings me joy? And not just regarding tidying up, but to experiences and everything else in life that matters. I decided that being a passive player in this game of life wasn’t cuttin’ it any longer. I needed to dive in. I needed to experience love and joy and not just watch from the sidelines. I wanted to live out my gratefulness by living life to the fullest, as cliché as it may sound.
So, what brings me joy?

Puzzles bring me joy! I love to solve puzzles and I love my introvert time. I love sitting at my counter for hours and days at a time and completing a puzzle. I am not able to do this as often as I like, but I love it.

Audiobooks and library apps bring me joy! I love listening to audiobooks. I never would have thought that I would love listening to books, but I do. I have finished ten books since January.

Swimming brings me joy! I decided that I needed to do something for a workout. I have always wanted to be able to swim laps as a cardio and lift weights to build muscle but just always came up with an excuse of why I couldn’t. SO, I signed up for an adult swim lesson. I was so scared at my first lesson. I was thinking about what other people would think of me, but to my surprise, no one was thinking about me. I love swimming! I had a minor setback last week but I’m okay. I went to practice what I had learned through lessons, and I panicked and couldn’t swim in the deep end. I kept telling myself that something was in the water like a shark, alligator, or a scary clown —I was the only one in the pool, it was six in the morning. The lifeguard just watched and said nothing. I did one quarter of a lap and then I did the walk of shame and left the pool. I was crippled by this irrational fear. This setback didn’t stop me, I went back two days later and swam in the deep end.

I started writing again and stopped caring about my missing braincells. I love to write and who cares if some people don’t want to read what I have to say. Writing brings me joy and gives me life.

My body brings me joy! I started looking in the mirror while I’m naked and telling myself: “This body is mine. It was a gift to me, and I love it.” This is not easy for me. Why is it so darn hard to look at myself naked and genuinely say “I love you”? Because when I look at my naked body, I immediately start to critique it. I say: “Look at those love handles! Say goodbye to ever wearing a two-piece swimsuit again, MY GOSH those stretch marks. Goodness, those nipples are different sizes, they don’t look anything like the original.” And this self-deprecating talk would continue until I verbally told myself to stop. My inner critique is a monster and not just about my outward appearance, but it has some nasty things to say about everything. How I parent. How I eat. How I work or not work. The best way for me to combat this is by telling myself: “This body is mine. It was a gift to me, and I love it”.

My body has birthed four beautiful children. Stretching and releasing with the marks to prove it. This body has gained weight and lost weight; it has been fit and been flabby. This body, my body is mine and I need to love it. I need to love it because I have four children that I am trying to teach how to love their bodies.

My family brings me joy. I enjoy them more. I stop what I am doing and play with them. I kiss them more and rub their heads. I talk longer and laugh louder. I am intentional but I am not perfect. I still have moments of crazy. But I am trying.

Lastly, God brings me joy! I started checking in with God more regularly. He is my ultimate sustainer and if I am not right with God, I quickly find myself losing patience quicker. It’s not just about reading my Bible, it’s more one-on-one talks and finding the time to just be with him and worship.
I desire to live a full life and experience joy! -Gigi Hahl

Meet Gigi: Jillian “GiGi” Hahl is a chauffeur, financial analyst, strategist, and storyteller, or as some call it SAHM (Stay At Home Mom). She lives in Denver, Colorado and enjoys learning anything new. She once had a cat named Kitty because the name slightly paid homage to one of her favorite movies Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She loves meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. You can find her at roaming the aisles of Costco on the first Sunday of the month.

Meet Gigi Hahl!

*Hey everyone, it’s me Liz again:). I’m so thankful for the beautiful and honest message that Gigi shared with us today! I know for my heart, it was encouraging! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to connect everyone with Gigi’s work and I can tell you, I’ve admired her writing and her mothering skills for the last several years! She’s the real deal ya’ll and what an honor it has been to have her as part of our blogging community:). P.S.-I too wish to roam the aisles of Costco with her:)!

Go The Extra Mile: Check out “Lean Back” from Capital City Music, one of my new favorite songs- so so good, so… listen all the way to the end. A great reminder of the love of Our Heavenly Father, and the joy and goodness we can experience in Him!


Love: Build Some Bridges

We started a mini-series on love last week (in honor of the month of love), and this week’s subject is very personal to me. So personal, that my husband and I sat down with our children in our living room a few weeks ago and began to have a deep talk about how our family will operate. Not just how we will operate for every day routines, but how we will choose to function when the world around us seems to do the opposite.

We will include others: We will look for outsiders. No matter where they come from, who their family is, what they look like, what they sound like…we will choose to be the first to reach out and connect with others. We will be inclusive and invite others to share life with us; no matter if they have little or lots, no matter if they talk differently, have different customs or traditions, we will include them, surround them, and share life with them.

We will love our neighbors: No matter if they have the same beliefs as we do, or if they disagree with us on many levels- we will try hard each day to demonstrate love.

We will build bridges to connect to others: Much like a bridge connects and extends, we will choose to connect to others and extend hope and love to them. We will build relationships that can connect others to the resources, inspiration, and relationships they need.

We will build bridges. We will build bridges. We will build bridges between us and not walls to divide.

Walls offer a false sense of security in which the builder imprisons and isolates themselves instead of keeping themselves safe. We will not build walls between ourselves or others – we will build bridges.

Why did I type it so many times? Because that’s how many times I said those words to our children. We needed them to know that being a part of this family means loving and serving others. Being a part of this family means protecting those who need protection, and providing support to those who have no one to support them. We had to stress the fact that there are so many in our own little world who don’t have a voice to be heard or an audience to cheer them on. We had to. In the middle of a tv program, we had to stop and talk about how we will choose to operate as a family. How we will love, who we will serve, and why it all matters.

You see, Love is an action and a choice and our choice is to build bridges relationally because that is what Love did for us; Love himself left heaven and embraced humanity. Love gave us direct access to mercy and grace and compassion and forgiveness and hope. Love built a bridge between the divine and the mortal. Love took on our brokenness and frailty and gave us strength and healing. Love lived, died, and came back to life so we could live and become bridge builders for those who need to experience unconditional love. Love builds bridges, love builds up people, love builds up communities.

My children know the message now. They see why we choose to make these statements and who our actions affect. They are growing up in a world that wants them to do the opposite. Our hope is that they will choose love and choose hope, no matter the cost. So that by doing so, others can feel accepted, embraced, remembered, supported, and above all else, loved.

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we want to be love to those in need today. Lord, so much of our culture pushes the image of isolation as a means for protection. So much of what we see or how we operate in society is to keep everyone at arms length and pretend to not see needs staring us in the face. Forgive us God, forgive me. Lord, help us today to open our eyes and hearts to those around us. Help us build each other up with our words and with our faith. We ask for You to show us opportunities where we can lavish love on others – whether they are in our home or miles away. Help us to live by the example You set for us. Lord, we want to live lives that honor You – lives that point directly back to the unconditional love that You alone provide for us. Today Lord, we desire to be living, breathing, bridge builders for all of those around us who need to feel connected to community. Thank You for reminding us today that Love will go out of its way to build a bridge relationally. Amen. Peace – liz

Go The Extra Mile: Today, Listen to this awesome anthem from Switchfoot about Love! It’s so good and will get stuck in your heart and mind!

Love: Small Actions

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!!! I wanted to be sure to send you this amazing message about love from my dear friend Melissa! In the next few posts you’re going to read about, you guessed it, LOVE. Not the commercialized version of love and gifts we see on the store shelves. No, I’m talking about the real deal- love in it’s greatest forms. So to kick-us off, I’ve invited Melissa to share her thoughts on love. I have long admired her wisdom and strength and heart of service. I know you will be inspired by her too. Friends, my hope is for each one of you to be encouraged, challenged, and active with the love you can share with this world! -Liz 

***

I was asked by Liz to be a guest blogger and she said I could talk about love. Now I thought that is going to be easy because love is an easy topic; there is so much to say about love. But after mulling it over several days, it feels that love is not so easy after all.

For those that know the Bible, there is a whole chapter dedicated to love. “Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 NLT). Phew! That was a mouthful. And if we were honest with ourselves, some days it feels like love is exhausting and love is overwhelming.

I want to show love; I really do. I repeat this scripture over and over in my head especially when I’m dealing with a difficult situation. I remind myself, “You must be kind. Stop wanting your own way. Please don’t get irritable!” I find myself busily putting little check marks on my love checklist ready to feel satisfied once I’ve marked every action complete in this love chapter. But before I know it, I have turned love into a task instead of a way of life.

The checklist doesn’t apply just in difficult situations though; unfortunately, the checklist has also applied in the purest of desires to find a way to change the world. State Farm has summed this up very well. Yes, you read that right, State Farm. About a year or so ago they aired a commercial titled “Following”. It begins with a man on the subway seeing a wall advertisement to adopt a pet. Immediately he turns to his side and sees a cute, little white dog that begins to follow him. The man’s computer screen displays an ad to help a veteran and then a tv to be a mentor to a child. The shot pans out to a following of vets, homeless people, children, and animals behind a weary man everywhere he goes. With the hand of a child on his shoulder, the man chooses to make one small decision to walk into a community mentoring center; and just like that the following is gone.

The commercial wasn’t about getting rid of the weariness of love but rather show that one small action, turning a checklist into a lifestyle, can release that burden of love. Love does not place the responsibility of changing the world on your shoulders but rather it is allows Christ to use one small action from an honest heart to have a ripple effect in the world. There is no burden, no task, and no brownie points to be earned. Love is just love and oh how amazing love is. –Melissa

State Farm Commercial- “Following”

Melissa lives in Southern Colorado with her family. She is a Forensic Chemist by day, but she prefers to spend her free time riding elephants, swimming with the piranhas, and serving those in need:).

Funky Part 3: Get Out

When I was a teenager with a fresh drivers’ license, I would often ask my mom for the car keys and just drive around because I could. Not because I was going anywhere particular, but just because I wanted to explore. Growing up near the Front Range of Colorado, I was blessed to see the majestic Rocky Mountains in full view, right next to the spans of crops on the plains. And if your have ever been near my hometown, you also know there is a very pungent aroma that fills the air:). Many say its the smell of money, but the rest of us know its just the smell of manure:). But anyway…

My times of going for a drive were actually a means to explore and decompress; to put my thoughts in order and take some time to clear my head. This week as I was reflecting on this series of walking through seasons of feeling Funky, I was reminded of the beautiful effect getting out has on us.

You see, I often found myself driving to the nearby open fields in my hometown. Today, most of those fields are subdivisions, shopping centers, and gas stations (I see you Greeley, growing and industrializing:). But to me, those areas hold a special place of clarity and calmness. The open roads around them remind me of the times I would empty my mind as I drove around, thinking and praying.

Sometimes when we feel Funky, one of the best steps we can take to move forward is to get out into nature.

I recently read 2 different studies from Stanford University, that suggest getting out into nature provides great benefit for our mental well-being. A walk outside in a natural environment can help reduce our feelings of anxiety and internal negativity, and helps us to generally feel better.

Will our circumstances change immediately with a walk outside? No. Will our difficulties immediately vanish if we hug a tree? Nope. Can our outlook on life, as a whole, improve because we took time to get some fresh air, and submerge ourselves in the beauty of nature and in the faithfulness of God, Our Creator? Absolutely.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Friends, Nature itself was meant to draw us closer to Our Creator. The splendor of all that God has created and the beauty and majesty we find all around us are direct reminders of the majesty and might of our God. If He put so much detail into the very creation all around us, individual blades of grass, multiple varieties of each plant and crop and animal and insect, how much more detail has gone into the creation of our heart and minds? How much more care has He put forth for tending to our needs? I’ll tell you: a lot.

As you think over the Funky season you may be in or have previously experienced, remind yourself of this: Our God, Creator of all, has a beautifully tender way of speaking to us through the times we can pull away into the very nature He created for us. Reflect back even further: When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God came to walk in the garden(Genesis 3:8). He was looking for them there; He already knew where they were, yet He still went to meet them right where they were and showed them where they were physically and spiritually. Friend, Our Creator has that same amount of love towards us, to know exactly where we are, to come find us and meet us where we are in our time of need. No matter what kind of a Funk we find ourselves in.

I encourage you to go for a walk today; clear your mind and give God your thoughts and concerns. He will meet you there, and will renew your strength.

Let’s PrayDear Heavenly Father, Thank You for reminding us today that it’s ok to stop and get out for a moment. You are always willing to meet us, and listen to us. Lord, for these seasons in our lives that feel uncertain, we choose to trust that You will help us to clear out thoughts as we place our focus on You and Your faithful love and perfect strength. Lord, when we feel weak, help us to remember to run to meet You. When we feel faint of heart, help us to move closer towards You; to look around us and see Your peace sustaining us. Be it in a field, a forest, or a flower bed, help us to run into Your arms. Your hope and strength are real and just as You created the heavens and the earth and all that is within them, You created us and You know us better than we know ourselves. Lord, we lean into You today and hold tight to Your promise to renew our strength when we wait on You Thank You Lord for Your love and for reminders of renewal all around us in creation. Amen.

Go The Extra Mile: I’m taking it way back to 1912 with this incredible hymn “In The Garden” by Charles Austin Miles. Listen as “The Church Sisters” sing it. My only other favorite rendition of this personal favorite is when my mom and her sister sing it:).

Funky Part 2: Create

Hello everyone! I’m SO EXCITED to share this next post and introduce you to one of my mentors , Terry Murillo! I’ve been inspired and encouraged by Terry since I was 15 years old, and I am beyond thrilled to have her as a contributor in this series.

There is something special about hearing the point, “Create during Funky Seasons”, especially when it’s brought to us by someone who truly lives this message and speaks life to people daily. What’s even better? This message incorporates one of my favorite subjects- the creative arts! Enjoy!-liz

***

You Are Creative
Are you that person that is continually saying “I am not creative”?
I am here to encourage you otherwise.
In the book of Genesis, chapter one verses 1-27, we read how God is a creative God, and that we are made in His image.

His creativity doesn’t stop at creation week, nor is His technique limited to just verbal. In Jeremiah, He is a potter:

In Psalms, He is a knitter:


We must know full well that we have been given talents. Talents connect us to God, others and even ourselves.
I know we are not all artists, but I truly believe that we are all creative. I think the issue is we tend to confuse the word creative with artsy.

You see there are actually eight different ways we live out our creativity, they are known as Creative Intelligence:

Spatial– drawing, painting, web-design, cooking
Social– conversations, things that build relationship
Musical– concerts, karaoke, playing an instrument, dancing
Bodily– sports, any form of moving, reading body language
Logical– using numbers, schedules, budgets, apps
Intrapersonal– journaling, self-help books, meditation
Naturalistic– gardening, walks outside of a busy city, going barefoot, zoo’s, beaches
Verbal– story telling, essay writing, interviews, podcasts

God has given us all eight, just like we speak all five love languages, but there is one or two we tend to gravitate to more.

Let me tell you about my two friends; Risk and Routine.
Sometimes risk puts us in a rut and we need routine to get us out. But sometimes, routine puts us in a rut and we need risk to get us out.

What if in 2019 you choose to revisit an area you may have put on hold, due to routine?

In October, my mom sent me a picture of a sketch I did while studying fashion in high school. Little did she know, a few days prior the Lord was telling me to revisit my passion for fashion. I had done some t-shirt designs over the years that did pretty well so receiving that text was a confirmation to put a name on it and make it official. I designed a logo and announced a soft launch of WVN Apparel. A few weeks later I saw a contest requesting dress designs for the 2019 Dressember campaign. They are a non-profit organization fighting to end human trafficking. Without hesitation, I pulled out a sketch pad, drew out three ideas, took pictures of them and entered the contest. I didn’t even tell my family. On Christmas Eve I received an email, my dress made it to the top 4 and voters would determine the winner. Then on January 2nd I received the email that my dress had won by a wide margin. My dress will be available for purchase in the fall.

It’s a good thing our talents don’t have expiration dates.

Another option you can choose is to explore a totally uncomfortable creative outlet. I am choosing, bodily. I am being intentional about moving more and looking for creative outlets to do this.
Let’s say you choose music, start with listening to it more often, maybe explore a new genre, maybe make karaoke the end goal.

Or what if you choose to give to others the knowledge of your talents. My daughter Bethany is studying film and raising money to go to Spain this year to minister through the arts.

The idea is, whatever it is you choose to do, whether in a career/ministry or just for downtime, set out do it in a creative way. Begin each day asking the Lord for a dose of creativity.

I pray you see yourself as creative, if you didn’t already. And if you did, I pray you stretch your creative intelligence. -T


Meet Terry: I was born in New Mexico, raised in Denver and my favorite place I have lived is Hawaii (duh):). If I had to pick just two action words to describe me they would be teacher & maker, actually my son chose them, but yeah very accurate. I have to work at shutting those off. This year marks 30 chapters into my forever love story with Johnny, whom I met in College. We are so proud of our 3 adult children, our daughter-in-love and future son-in-love. After 20 years of full-time ministry, God sent us to Hollywood 10 years ago. We run a production company and believe that Hollywood is a Ninevah, not Sodom & Gomorrah. After 27 years of homeschooling I am slowly coming into my next. Connect with our family on Instagram @terrylouise_ifyouplease and @socalmurillos.

The One and Only Terry!

It’s Liz again:), what an incredible message on how to create while in the midst of funky seasons! A huge THANK YOU to Terry for sharing with us today! I am personally challenged and inspired to try new creative mediums. What will you choose to try? What creative gifts do you feel rising to the surface? I hope you’ll share them with us in the comments below!

I also wanted to share an opportunity to empower someone to use and share their creative gifts. As Terry mentioned, her daughter Bethany is a college student and will be heading to Spain to minister through the creative arts. This is going to be such an amazing opportunity for her and her team! If you would like to invest in Bethany’s upcoming trip, please click here.

Thank you everyone for checking out the blog today! The encouragement from this series is gonna stick with us- I just know it! peace-liz

Go the Extra Mile: Check out this brilliant song that is a new fave of mine! I hope it encourages you today!

New Series: Funky

Hey everyone! As promised, the new series officially kicks off today! I’m excited to share this journey with you:). As I mentioned in the last post, the last few months of 2018 had me feeling like I was in a funk.

I knew that I couldn’t have been the only one experiencing this, and as it turns out, I wasn’t. In this new series, I want to offer us some hope – in the midst of the funk we may be feeling, we can place rhythms and routines into our life that help us stay connected in community, and more importantly, connected to Our Creator. We may be walking through seasons of feeling “off”, but we don’t have to navigate the journey by ourselves. In fact, we shouldn’t try to do it alone.

One routine I firmly believe in: Visiting Others. I know, it sounds too simple to start with just visiting an encouraing friend, but trust me. the power of a visit impacts further than we can imagine.

This past year was a learning year for me and my family. One constant that I can recall though: we had some great visits with friends:). Family and friends made their way to come see us and explore our new surroundings, and we were able to go visit friends and family and share in some deep conversations and of course…coffee:). Meals were prepared together, laughter and jokes filled rooms, hugs and more hugs filled the doorways. And in the midst of navigating the funkiness inside, I was reminded of the power of sharing time with others. Each visit uplifted us, encouraged us, and even challenged us to keep growing. Each visit also sent a message loud and clear- we had people who loved us and took time to share with us and even pray for us. Whether it was one hour or one week, we spent time visiting with each other and it was a blessing.

Friend, do you know that you are loved in the midst of your “off” seasons? You are. Do you know that spending time with those who love you can brighten your day and stir up hope in your heart? It can. You don’t have to try and navigate the difficult times alone- because when we make time to visit with life-giving people, the ones who get us and understand us, we can soak up the encouragement that God provides through our sweet time together. Does visiting people solve all of our issues? Nope. Will sharing time with others eliminate difficulty? Not at all. However, the encouragement we experience within those visits can refresh our spirits when we need it most.

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You see us and You know us-inside and out. All of our thoughts and experiences are before You. And in those times where our mind doesn’t quite know how to process the tough and funky spots we are navigating, we ask You to shine the light of Your Word into us so that we can see how to process and proceed. We thank You Lord, for surrounding us with Your love, and for placing us into our communities. We take comfort today as we remember that we are never alone on our journey of life. You promised to be with us, and You’ve surrounded us with others who want to encourage us and build us up. Thank You Lord for those times that we are able to spend with others, remembering Your truths and Your purposes for us. Thank You for providing us with times of refreshing when we need it God. We ask that You would help us to also be people that refresh those around us. You are so kind Lord, and we choose to remember Your goodness and faithfulness even in these funky seasons of life. Amen.

Go The Extra Mile: Friends, we are gonna talk more about sharing life with others in another installment of this series, so I encourage you, check back for the latest posts. In the meantime, check out this song as we kick-off the new series and be encouraged today!

peace-liz

New & New

I would say 2018 was the Year of the Father: in commercials and print, events in community (yay Olympics!) and in songs, in all forms of media, there were underlying messages of a supportive father who cared for his children. I truly believe this was a direct display and attention-getter of our Heavenly Father- He is always cheering for us, engaged and uplifting us, offering strength and even correction, tenderness and mercy, love and compassion, instruction and support.

Looking back at my 2018, a big portion of my year included a lot of new changes: New home, new church, new schools, new stores, new community, new routines, new atmospheric biome, *insert deep breath here*, new drs, new neighbors, new team, new sports, new, new, new, new, new. As I sit back and reflect on the year as whole, I also see a couple months that were clouded by this hovering “funk” (hint for our new series!). Times and seasons where I would normally be full of joy, excitement, and energy, that seemed cloudy, hazy, and even difficult to navigate. Not because of discontentment, or discouragement, but just because of learning how to process all this this “new” in a whole new way apart from what was familiar.

Time after time, I saw God faithfully step into the role of that Father, who was supportive, encouraging, instructional, and tenderly merciful through each step. For me, it truly was the Year of the Father.

“mercies”

You see, sometimes I think we are very good at doing so much in life and being busy with checklists and appointments and stuff, that we don’t slow down to process all the new information. Much like a computer needs to shut down and restart in order to update with the latest software, I needed to slow down and shut down the lies of the enemy in order to restart afresh and efficiently process my new life with Christ.

You may have already guessed it, my push-word for the New Year is : Slow.

While everyone else’s push-word may be a little more declarative or flashy, like, “Dominate, Radiate, Inspire, etc,…mine is declarative to me. My word reminds me that I have to make time for myself and for the things in this life that are priorities to me. Almost all of which are not things, but people, places, and designated rhythms and times. Slowing down enables me to savor each moment, each morsel, and each meaningful conversation. Slowing down my mind allows me to refocus on what is good and true. Becoming slower in speech allows me to connect more with those speaking to me, and allows me to listen better as well.

Friends, I’ve been a little too silent these past few weeks as I have been planning and preparing for this year on the blog, but please know that I haven’t been far removed in my thoughts towards you. I’ve been asking God what this year looks like for us in our messages, and who we (you and me) need to hear from. You’ll be excited to see some familiar guests on the blog in this new year, and I know you’ll enjoy hearing from the new faces and friends coming our way:).

So as we close up today, I want to begin our new year by asking you all to share your push-words for the new year. Share them in the comments, ask your friends to hop on and share too- because this new year will be so much better when we realize we are not traveling this faith journey alone.

Let’s Pray: God, I thank You that through every year of our lives, You are faithful. You have been faithful in the years behind us and you will be faithful in the years ahead. Help us to hold fast to the truth that You will never leave us or forsake us, but promise to be with us to the end of the age. We know that You are with us in the highs and lows of each season- You are present at every lesson learned, every victory, and every time we feel like we are completely blowing it. Lord, we dedicate this next year of our lives to You- all 525,600 minutes of it are Yours. Help us to grow together this year in our relationship with You and with others, so that we can make this world a better place. Amen.

peace-Liz

Go The Extra Mile: Check out this great song from one of my absolute favorite Switchfoot and be encouraged!

2019

Happy New Year Everyone!

I just had to encourage you that this new year will bring many wonderful things our way.

New chances for us to grow and develop. New adventures for us to embark on. And new opportunities to spend time with God.

New is new. New has never been done before. New is fresh and full of life. New…it’s sounds so good to me.

I wanted you to know that you are not alone as we say farewell to 2018 and as we embrace 2019. We’re in this together, you & me. And I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.

May you have a blessed beginning to your New Year, and may this new year hold beautiful chances for change, and awesome adventures for growing in our love for God and others!

Peace-liz

Merry Christmas One & All!

Happy Christmas morning everyone! Wherever you find yourself today, please know that I am thankful for the gift of YOU!!!This year on the blog has been one of growth and I’ve been beyond blessed to share the journey with you.

May this Christmas be a reminder that you are seen, you are heard, and you are loved❤️.

From my family to yours, we wish you the most beautiful Christmas. May you gather with friends and family near and far, and may you take time to express your love and thankfulness for the gift of each other’s presence.

Today we are celebrating the gift of hope and peace eternal, all because of the gift of Jesus…a baby born for the salvation of all mankind.

Lots of love and peace to you blog family! -Liz, Josh, Lianna, Talia, & Toby Trujillo

“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Necessary Seasons: Spring

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Spring was always a weird season for me when I was young. On one hand, I was riding the high of Christmas break and on the other hand, I lamented going back to school for a whole semester with only the respite of spring break. I associated it with waiting for Summer, waiting to sleeping in seven days a week. Reflecting on that now, I realize I was hoping for what was to come.

One spring it was the excitement of buying a golf pass so my cousin and I could play at Lincoln Park and Tiara Rado every day. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t think we came anywhere near to playing every day… but it was a lot!

Another Spring, it was the excitement of going to Big Surf and going down the huge slide and spending 5 bucks at the arcade (I always played Battlezone)…

The week long trip to the Grand Mesa where we would fish at Waterdog or Sunset and hang out with cousins..

The back to school trip to Denver to buy school clothes (we were fancy like that)…

Playing paintball and immediately regretting that decision when I was hit point blank in the back (thanks Kenny)…

Spending the evening at Aladdin’s Castle for the all- you- can- play events that were held after Mesa Mall closed…

Seeing movies at the local theater at 1:00 a.m. because our friend worked there and was making sure the new movie was spliced together properly.

That is what the season of Spring reminds me of; it’s how all these things would capture my thoughts… and they all boiled down to one thing:

Hope.

Spring is Hope.

The hope of finishing the school year. The hope of a great time in the future… and Hope is what keeps me going when I feel like I have been waiting for the good things to come.

Spring is that time of year when everything is being prepared. The long winter is over and we need to get ready for the fruitful growing season.

Unfortunately, I often find myself being stuck-frozen in the winter; not fully grasping or comprehending something amazing God may have in store.

What future thing has us holding onto hope? Are we getting ready for it? Have we laid the groundwork for it to happen? Is it a hope in something temporal or eternal? Are we placing it in some “thing”, or does our hope have its basis in the One who is the origin of all things Good, True, and Holy?

In the bible there are so many places where the text reminds us to take action, to have hope, and to place that hope on the eternal rock:

 “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:25 NIV)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”     (1 Peter 1:3 NIV)

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

I love that.

Where do we find ourselves today?  Are we getting ready for goodness and holding tightly to hope? Where are we choosing to place our hope today?

 “And so, LORD, where do I put my HOPE? My only hope is in You.” (Psalms 39:7 NLT)

I couldn’t possibly know what you may be going through, but I do know that if it is a challenge like things have been in my life, we can hold onto hope together. Let’s remember that God works things together for the good, even if we can’t see it on this side of the veil. May we hope to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

-Josh

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Go The Extra Mile:It’s me (Liz) again:), I’m so thankful for Josh’s encouraging words today on the blog. Let me be really honest- I’m thankful for his words of wisdom and his joy daily. He was the perfect choice to tell us about Spring:). To end out today, Josh & I would love for you to check out “Hope Is What We Crave” by For King & Country! Not only is this song a great reminder that we do crave hope, but this awesome video was recorded in one of my favorite places- The Factory in Franklin, TN! Watch below and we hope you’ll find encouragement!