First Whirl at Video Blogging

Whew this is a big, big step for me. Let me know if this is something you enjoyed and you’d like to see more of or if you would just prefer written blogs. Thanks again for visiting my page! Continue reading “First Whirl at Video Blogging”

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What Have We Done With Love?

As marching and protesting roar ahead, my heart becomes heavy. The Bible prophesied that the world would eventually call good evil and evil good. With “Love Trumps Hate” signs plastered everywhere, I cannot help but finding that message to be an incredible misinterpretation of what true, God kind of love is. When I read in 1 Corinthians the definition of love, its characteristics seem to be noticeably absent from those who protest under a perceived banner of love in the past months. Continue reading “What Have We Done With Love?”

A Generous Heart

How are you spreading love and kindness this Christmas? One of the things I love most about this time of year is getting to express my heart to give. Giving gifts is a privilege, never a chore. It’s something I look forward to. (I keep a list throughout the year of things God puts on my heart for certain people) It’s a way to say, “hey, I’ve been thinking of you…I’ve been praying for God to show me the perfect gift for you…and guess what, He did! I’m so excited to give you this!”
 
A generous heart reflects the Father’s heart, and He gives good gifts to His children. How much more should we be excited to give to those we care about this Christmas? Freely you have received, freely give…not of necessity, not of obligation, but from a sweetly sincere, purest of pure expression of love.
 
I encourage you to slow down. Press the pause button on trying to have a picture perfect holiday and live in the moment. Moments are fleeting and ones you will someday look back and wish you had again. Be the kindness you want to see. Spread it generously.
-XOXO, Sydney

 

Delight-fall Flavors

Stepping out of a brisk fall breeze and into a warm kitchen bursting with scents of pumpkin, cinnamon and apples swirling through the air is nearly unbeatable this time of year. I crave that twinkle of excitement for fall and all that it encompasses…college football and tailgate food, pumpkins, apples, hay bales, the kaleidoscope colors of falling leaves and of course, comfort food. Today I’m getting in the fall spirit and sharing some of my favorite recipes for this time of year. So grab your fall decor, a warm drink in a cute mug, and glorious smelling candles and lets get baking! Continue reading “Delight-fall Flavors”

Only One Call Away

There are days when my legs can’t quite keep up with the speed of life – running full speed and never seemingly able to catch up. Summer is in full swing at the lake and Kirby and I have been busier than ever. We’ve been so blessed with full schedules, family and customers that we adore. Coming off of a marathon of late nights and early mornings with the wakeboard camp we host for 52 high-spirited kiddos, traveling, and lots of lessons, we were in for a day of rest…well, sort of rest – which has given me a moment to let my hands return comfortably to my keyboard to write.

Two things that have been impacting me greatly lately. The first being the story of Mary and Martha. Why? About two weeks ago, in the midst going nonstop and working to overcome some business challenges, I beat Kirby home and picked up fresh groceries, cleaned the house, did laundry, made dinner, and whipped up some breakfast burritos for him for the week in attempts to provide a welcoming, safe atmosphere of love and peace. When he arrived home we just sat on the couch and took a deep breath of relief. In that moment I had many tasks that remained unfinished. I nearly jumped off the couch and continued in busyness, but the second I considered getting up to keep “serving” him, the Lord reminded me about the story of Mary and Martha.

In the story, Jesus came to Mary and Martha’s home. Martha was busy serving as Jesus was a guest in her home. I imagine she was working hard to be a good hostess cooking, cleaning, and preparing. As she is rushing around to make everything just right she becomes frustrated with her sister who has not offered an ounce of help. (Has anyone been in Martha’s shoes before besides myself? Not necessarily with your sister, but with others?) So, what WAS Mary doing? She was sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing His word. Luke 10:40 says, “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore to help me.’

At this point in the story Jesus addresses Martha so softly, but also gives profound advice. Luke 10:41, “And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.’ [Timeout! This was totally me! Ok back to the story…] “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary chose the good part according to Jesus. She chose intimacy with Him. She chose to step away from her tasks to make herself available to HEAR His word. Martha’s heart was to honor Jesus by doing all of these things for Him, but neglected the opportunity to hear and sit in His presence.

In life I think we too often find ourselves choosing busyness over intimacy, myself included. I can imagine there are times where more than anything, God just wants a moment of intimacy with you.. It’s the same with our spouses. Too often we get so caught up in “doing” that we miss opportunities to sit at their feet.

The second thing that has impacted me is this story in Mark…

“And when evening was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land. And He saw them [the disciples] toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And He went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.” – Mark 6:47-51.

I’ve heard this story many times and was always amazed that Jesus walked on the water and how He had made the storm stop. BUT it’s never stood out to me in the way that it has lately. It’s never occurred to me the fact that Jesus “would have passed by them”. Why?? He saw they were struggling, but the moment they cried out – He was there…consoling them and silencing their storm. How many times has your victory passed you by? Your healing? Your answer? Your provision? [This relates to the serving thing over and intimacy and hearing]

There is something to “calling out” to Jesus. I read in Luke 18:38 that Jesus almost passed by a blind beggar, but he called out to Him and was healed. Psalm 18:6 reflects the same value of calling out to the Lord. Our words are powerful, and I think we should be careful not to be passive in calling out to God and making ourselves available to Him to hear His word for our specific situation. For some reason I was mulling over all of this the other day while driving and I heard a song on the radio that had been on my Spotify for months, but this particular time I was hearing it differently. It was as though God was singing this song directly to me impressing on me the importance of this story even further. I encourage you to close your eyes (ignore the video) and let God minister to you through this song in the light of what I’ve been writing about. Superman’s got nothing on God. Until next time friends!

 

Caps and Gowns

As you may have noticed, I have been strangely absent from my blog the past weeks. Since I last wrote, there have been blogs partially written, but never finished.Today though, I write to you hours before my little brother’s high school graduation. Growing up, Richard was always my best friend and I could always count on him for late night Sonic runs, to be my tennis partner, and to always stick up for me. Tonight I’ll get to watch him walk across the stage as a high school graduate…the smart, witty, creative, kind man that he has become. I will refrain from being too sentimental because I know he would hate that, however, I wanted to write out a prayer of what I am speaking over his future. So, this is for you Richard.

God I thank you for the man Richard has become.Thank you for giving me the coolest brother I could ever ask for. He is a gift. Thank you that he reflects you. He reflects you in his sportsmanship on the soccer field and tennis court. In the way he values friendships. He reflects you in the way he leads with strength, integrity and confidence and determines his own path in life.

I pray Richard that you always keep your eyes on the Lord, never being swayed to follow a path that is wide and worn, but remaining on the narrow path God has created specifically for you.

I pray that you build solid friendships at Iowa State and be surrounded by friends that will constantly pull you higher and never drag you down. That they will be a support center to celebrate in your triumphs and build you up in your weaknesses. That you be a friend others desire to have…dependable, uplifting, and calling others to greatness.That you give honor where honor is due and operate in true humility.

I pray that you stand firm in your identity in Christ, not being moved to the right or left. That you are a light to those at college searching in vain to discover their own identity who may be trying to find it in the wrong places. I pray that you take refuge in God’s Word and are sensitive to His voice and leading. He will never lead you astray. He will never leave you. He will always be proud of you. You are always His number one.

I pray that you find balance. That you work hard, and are never entitled, but remain humble. I pray that your college years will be your best years so far. That you have eyes to see and ears to hear. I pray provision over your every need. That your school is paid for. That you shine – and that people wonder why things always work for you.

I pray that you have fun! That you always have your contagious laugh that you have when you think something is really funny. That you go to a ton of country concerts, play intramurals, that you study abroad and that you never regret freezing your face off at the ISU football games. That you go and not be afraid to pursue new opportunities and chase your dreams…to get off the dock of life. I pray that you be surrounded with a shield of favor. That no weapon formed against you shall prosper and no sickness shall come near you.

I pray that you grow closer to God than ever before and that because of Him you can pursue your future boldly and confidently. I pray that you are full of joy. Full of peace. Full of patience. Full of love. Full of compassion. I pray that you walk in Godly wisdom that’s beyond your years. That when you leave college you are more equipped and excited than ever before.

I’m so proud of the man you’ve become. I’m proud you’re my brother. You have a solid foundation in practical life knowledge that is absent in the lives of many today. I can count on you to fix, lift, or construct anything. I pray that you never take a day for granted. You are so capable. You make good decisions. You are trustworthy. You are healthy. You are strong. You are courageous. You are are kind. You are funny. You are selfless. You have a good heart. You are funny.  You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

I pray that whatever you do, you do it unto the Lord. I pray that God blesses whatever you set your hand unto. That you use your words to speak life and let God promote you. I pray that God will ignite and strengthen your passion for what He is calling you to, “that you prosper and be in health”. Make time to listen, make time to hear what God is speaking to you. May you never stop pursuing Him.

I pray that you won’t forget about your big sis and know that she is truly one of your biggest fans in life and always will be. I will always be cheering you on wherever life may take you. I love you!

If you have loved ones graduating or entering a new chapter of life like Richard, I encourage you to speak life and blessing over their futures as well!

sydgrad

On the Road with Grace & Favor

Another week on our Florida exploration has gone by! This trip is going so fast! As you may have read, last Sunday was me and Kirby’s six months of marriage celebration. I’ve said it many times, but God couldn’t have placed together the pieces to that corner my life puzzle any better.

To celebrate, we hit up the church that our friends go to in Fort Myers.  We love the praise-giving, uplifting worship and the message really ministered to me personally. The pastor was teaching on the power and importance of teams and how we don’t always work with the people we necessarily want to or mesh best with, but gave advice to view people in light of who they are in Christ and their strengths versus stumbling over faults or weaknesses or the things that rub us the wrong way. While that may seem like obvious advice, that really helped me and my administrative, orderly, get things done right, by-the-book mindset.

After church we did some shopping around and took a day to just relax at the pool (surprisingly the first time we’ve had a chance to since we’ve been in Florida!). Side Note: It’s always funny coming inside in the evening and seeing every single spot you happened to miss with the sunscreen – this time it was my wrists (I know, so strange…haven’t figured that one out yet). We cleaned up and headed to the beach having a beautiful dinner beachside then cruised around looking for live music and watched the sunset (AND a proposal go down) on the boardwalk. Perfect night? I think yes.

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This week we had the most important meetings of our trip. God continues to give us favor everywhere we go. I can tell you that whatever God is calling you into, in His timing, when you go…He has been there long before, paving the way for you. It’s reassuring remembering the needs we have back home and knowing that God is already ahead of us making provision for them while we are down here, walking in the place and provision He has already made. How cool is that? I don’t think I can possibly praise and thank Him enough. I encourage you to thank Him for what He is already setting into motion for your future and not grow weary or discouraged!

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I also found out last week that my cousin, Alisha and her family were in Florida from Japan! Her husband, Michael is in the air force and they are here briefly visiting family. SO we connected with them and readily accepted their offer to go sailing with them and Michael’s family. We were heading to Orlando anyway, so stopping by on our way worked out s0 perfectly. Can I just say that sailing was one of the most relaxing experiences ever? Alisha and Michael are great mentors for Kirby and I and have amazing on-time words of wisdom. It was SUCH a fun, fun day. I highly recommend going sailing if you ever get the chance.

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The rest of our drive to Orlando consisted of chatting, looking up random facts about the Bermuda Triangle and Strawberry Festivals on Google, and singing to the radio. The next morning we woke up at 4:45am…Kirby graciously got me to the airport (with no coffee) on time for my flight back to Iowa for my uncle’s wedding. (Yay for weddings! Yay for love!) Security was extra long that morning surprisingly, so I made it on the tram and to my gate barely catching the end of my boarding group (whew). On my connection in Charlotte, I had a two hour layover, no data on my phone, no book, so I was just chilling and observing, waiting at my gate. The first thing I noticed was that literally everyone was on their phones. The second was that Charlotte had bathroom attendants welcoming you to the restroom…strange, yes – wonderful, absolutely!

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The third thing I witnessed twice. The first for the flight before mine, and the second was for my flight. I had a chance to chat with the attendants at the gate a bit – it was their first day and they were in training. In both instances were gentlemen that very loudly ridiculed said very rude comments regarding the way the attendants said the name of the destinations over the speaker. They even had the gumption to very loudly and publicly correct them as they boarded.

I wondered to myself why there is this entitled attitude present in our world today to ridicule and push others lower to elevate ourselves. Correction should be done in love (love, correction, love). It should also be done when there is a foundation built, where the person gives permission to speak into their life OR if there is not relationship present (like the instance at the airport), it can be done in a way that will save them face. I eventually built up the courage to explain to the man that this was her first day and I think we can give her a little grace. Not surprisingly, it went ignored. Today it’s so easy to spew and demand our way and opinions among others. Let’s instead be a light showing grace and mercy and positivity – lifting those around us up instead of using them to just propel ourselves higher. Yes?

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Anyway! I’m extremely excited to be in Iowa and be around family. I’ve missed them! I hung out with my sister and brother-in-law in Ames. I also got to accompany my sister to Iowa State and finally meet a sweet, sweet friend I’ve never officially gotten to meet before we headed across the state to the wedding (hey girl!). I’m off again Monday, flying back to Orlando to finish the final two weeks of our Florida excursion! I hope you stay tuned and have an absolutely fantastic week ahead! Love you all!