Summer is slowing fading away like a sweet distant memory. I welcome the change of pace with open arms. Fall is truthfully my favorite season. I savor the scent of the warm fall air and crisp leaves, wearing light flannel tops, and going to football games. There is something comforting and peaceful about it. I’m nearly ashamed to say that I actually miss the buzz of starting school. Continue reading “Letter to Me”
Kirby and I have been doing a lot of driving lately…which means I’ve had a lot of seat time in the Mustang to think. Sitting in the passenger seat I see buildings new and old, businesses, a farmer working his field, small towns, and people flash by. I can’t help but think about perspective. My sister, Celinda, is a very talented artist and instructor at Iowa State University’s College of Design. I greatly admire her pure heart and compassion for people. In receiving her Masters Degree a few years ago, she did a powerful thesis highlighting the very topic of perspective called “Tunnel Vision”. You can download and read it here.
In fact it’s her project that I have playing through my mind like a movie reel as we roll down the road. To paint a picture for you of what the project looked like (paint a picture…appropriate right?! Ha! Okayy…anyway haha) Imagine entering on the end of a rectangular shaped room. Down the middle of the room you see a pathway leading you to the end of the room and the end of your journey. There is a clear material draped from the ceiling to the floor lining the sides of your path representing windows. There are projections of Facebook, Instagram, email, Pinterest, YouTube videos, and games on the floor for the entirety of the path. Beyond the clear material on the sides of the path are paintings of the scenery Celinda often sees on her travels between Missouri and Iowa.
Do you see where I’m going with this? What made journeying through her project unique is that the person on this journey had a specific choice to make. Walking through, we could look up and out of the window to take in the sheer beauty in the paintings or we could choose to look down with tunnel vision at the media projected onto the ground. Take a moment to think about this…
What Celinda created was a brilliant illustration of tunnel vision and how she is sensing the Lord’s desire for us to bring what’s important back into perspective. We live in a world where we are driven with staying connected and staying busy on our phones. I ALWAYS have my phone on me and check it often…even if it didn’t buzz. The things we can accomplish from our cell phones and the technology of our world today is absolutely mind blowing. Technology has opened so many doors of opportunity for business, for ministry, for outreach, and so much more including enabling me to write this blog; however, it was never meant to be a source of identity…rather simply a tool.
Riding in the car seeing life passing by before my eyes, glancing down at my phone in my lap, and then turning to see Kirby flash a smile at me…gosh I just get emotional. I don’t want to be so consumed that I live my life through the lens of my phone and finally look up to see that I’m an old woman and have missed it. I want to see, to feel, to experience LIFE in 3D even if a single sole never knows about it. What we feel like is so important on the screens of our phones is temporary, but what is happening through the window of the car for example, is only for a moment. We will never get that moment back.
What’s really important here? Are we placing value on what’s really meaningful?What about the little moments we miss because we simply aren’t paying attention. We are present, but not really present. Social, but actually rather antisocial. We leave these moments browsing Facebook or Instagram and find that not only has significant time passed by, but also feeling dissatisfied. We live life passively, neglecting opportunities to be authentic and genuine.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” – Galatians 5:22
I needed to take a moment to remember that I have the fruit of the spirit within me, thus I have the self control to set my phone aside and not let my phone or work or whatever it may be control me. Time is so, sooo precious. I want to live with God’s lens of perspective for every moment, so I don’t miss a single thing. Let’s put life in proper perspective and value the things that God values. God’s lens makes things that we thought were so big and important seemingly insignificant in the light of eternity and His Word and His goodness. In thinking about your own life, is the lens in which you are perceiving life through right now going to produce the fulfilled, impactful, meaningful, significant life you have envisioned for yourself?
What does it mean to serve? Serving can be volunteering, but at it’s root, serving is giving. It’s giving your time, energy, focus, your talents, or maybe even giving up something else for someone. 4-H was a huge part of my life for 16 years and really helped shape me into a woman of character. One of 4-H’s main principles is to “give your hands to larger service”, so I found myself rooted in serving for the majority of my life.
Being honest here I did sometimes dread going or would rather spend the day relaxing, but once I got there I would get so fired up and excited I couldn’t imagine spending my day any other way. Now as a 24 year old woman, I’m realizing the depth of what serving really means. God is a giver. Not only has He given us everything, but He gave His only Son (John 3:13) and we as Christians have His giving nature within us.
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
We were created to be givers! Not only that, but serving allows us to step outside of ourselves and focus on the needs of others. It allows us to shift our focus away from the pressing needs in our life and help to relieve the needs of another. You are the blessing, the light, and maybe the answer someone is looking for. Jesus was a servant and demonstrated this. He washed the feet of his disciples. This was the lowest of jobs for a slave in that time. For Jesus to get on his knees and wash the (probably very dirty, very smelly) feet of his disciples was an act of service and humility that is hard to fathom for many of us. He even washed the feet of Judas, the man He knew would shortly betray Him for money. He exhibited a true servant heart and we should follow His example.
In thinking of serving, I wanted my very accomplished 15 year old cousin to share a little about what serving means to her. Hanna volunteers much of her time throughout the week in the midst of balancing excellent grades and a busy home schedule. What she shares here doesn’t even come close to telling all that she really does for others. Hanna’s heart to make others feel included at her age is very special. As someone who didn’t really feel included at her age, I greatly admire her heart to stand up and include those who would normally be overlooked. So I am so happy to now introduce to you Miss Hanna Peterson as she shares what serving means to her…
Hi, my name is Hanna. I am Sydney’s cousin, currently a freshman and am super excited to be writing something for her blog! I do a bunch of volunteer work…I would say I volunteer around six hours a week. I volunteer at the hospital close to me, I teach Sunday school class for kindergartners and first graders, and I help at the elementary school in my school district.
I love to volunteer. It takes a lot of time, but it’s totally worth it. It’s really cool to be able to have such a positive impact on my community. I love meeting new people and building special bonds with those I meet. One of my favorite experiences at the hospital was was getting to talk to an elderly man while we were waiting for his car. He told me all about his granddaughters and the trouble they get into. It put the biggest smile on his face sharing with me. I think it’s really important for everyone to get involved in some kind of volunteer work. It is a great and humbling experience.
Here are some ways you can get involved in your community:
- Find an organization you are passionate about
- Connect on their website
- Usually places who accept volunteers have a special volunteer tab (from my experience), with a form detailing what you can do and areas they need help in
- Start volunteering!!
I hope you all have enjoyed Hanna’s insight and hope that you too can find a way to bless others with your time, talents, abilities, and love. Have a wonderful week!
Being a newlywed, one of the most common questions Kirby and I get asked is, “So…how’s married life?” You would think by now that I would have some really profound answer conveying literally how amazing married life has been, but normally caught off guard, my typical response is simply, “Great!”. Every time when leaving these conversations, I mentally think of all of the wonderful things I could’ve said but didn’t. SO, today I give you all the tell-all about how married life has been! Continue reading “So…How’s Married Life?”
People are starving….starving for a love they’ve never known. Thirsty for life giving water. DESPERATE to have purpose. In a world that is becoming darker and darker, the light within Christians should be becoming brighter and brighter. Continue reading “Stepping Out”
When you are laying in bed thinking of tomorrow, what comes to mind? I see life in checklist form. I make a physical or mental list and stick to it. In fact, it actually really bothers me if I have outstanding items left unchecked at the end of the day. I’m task oriented, what can I say? Continue reading “Living a Present Life”