Apple Seeds

 

It’s almost 2018! What?! How?! It is crazy how much time just passes us by in the blink of an eye.

What a year this has been! It’s been great for my family and me and I’m excited for what 2018 will bring.

Bearing Fruit, Growth, Flourishing, Motivation, Growing, Blogging,

The other day, I was eating an apple. It was so delicious, that  I ate another one. As I was cutting up my second apple, I noticed the seed; this small little seed. I looked at it, observed it and went about getting the rest of that apple in my belly.

It wasn’t until later, as I was doing things around the house, that I remembered how good that apple was. Then, the seed popped back into my head. I thought, wow, it is crazy how from that tiny little seed, came something so pretty and delicious.

I also thought about how crazy it is, that I’ve birthed two beautiful girls. I am fascinated by the fact that one small little organ inside of my body, can stretch and accommodate and house a tiny human being! God really didn’t leave out any details when He created us and molded us; to be able to do and create amazing things.

As I thought about the seed, I realized how we are very much like that apple seed. Many times in life, we undervalue and underestimate our talents and abilities. We think of our goals and we dream up dreams, but soon squash them because we tell ourselves, “I’ll never make it.” or “I can’t do that.” or “I’m not good enough.” or (insert your own excuse here).

We come up with excuse after excuse and we fail to see ourselves the way God sees us. When He thought us up and began to mold us, we were just tiny little seeds inside of our mother’s womb. However, He didn’t stop there, He knew that that tiny little seed would grow into something bigger, more beautiful, full of life and full of purpose.

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“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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As we grow up and learn the world and hear the whispers and lies of the enemy, of our “haters,” of the media, of growing up without a mother or father, we lose sight of who we were created to be. We begin to fall victim to the lies and start to conform to the shape of the box instead of thinking and growing outside of the box.

Imagine if someone saw that apple seed and just threw it away? They would have never known that out of something so small, would come a huge tree that bore these beautiful fruits. Someone saw those apple seeds and saw past their size. They had faith when they planted them, that something much better would come out.

They took the time to plant the seeds, and watered them daily. They were persistent and never gave up. It took time and effort, but the fruit…the end result, was worth it.

It takes nine months for us to go from an embryo to a fully developed baby. It takes 13 years for us to go through school. It takes 20+ years for us to become adults. It takes 4+ years to obtain a professional degree and it takes an apple tree 8+ years to grow and bear fruit from a seed.

And so, our own personal seeds (passions, goals, dreams) also need the persistence, the patience, the time and the right tools to grow. Because of the world we live in, it’s so easy for us to give up. It’s so easy for us to think we’ll never make it. It’s easy to quit and move on to what we think will make us happier; or we just settle for mediocrity.

As we grew up, school took effort. Growing up under our parents authority took effort; being obedient to them, their discipline, their advice etc. College took LOTS of effort but when we walked across that stage, it was worth all of those papers, midterms, finals and late nights of studying. We had something to show for ourselves and were proud that we did it, we made it, despite all of the obstacles and aggravations of college life. All of the seasons and ages and things we go through in life, take effort, persistence, tears, sweat, sleepless nights, but the fruits of our labor make it worth all the effort.

Going through 9 hours of labor for both of my kids… that’s what you call a “labor of love.” It wasn’t easy, but man holding them was worth all of, not just the hours of labor, but the months of holding them inside of me.

What I’m trying to get at is, if you have seeds in your hands, plant them. Cultivate them, water them, be persistent and patient and watch them sprout, bloom and grow. Don’t let fear or negative influences, self-doubt or lies stop you from flourishing.

Over time I have planted seeds, dreams and goals of mine, but have failed to water them daily, have failed at being persistent. One goal of Sam and mine that has finally bore fruit, is getting our songs out there. We did it, we’re being obedient to the Lord and have put them out there for the world to hear. It’s very vulnerable and scary, but seeing the fruits of our labor and walking in obedience has given us that extra push that we needed; a sense of accomplishment and the fear of what people might think or say is wearing off, bc those opinions don’t matter… God’s does!

In 2018, my resolution is to pick up that watering can and water my seeds (two of those seeds are my precious daughters), because I know that one day they’re going to bear many fruit. God has called us for so much more, but it’s up to us to put in the effort and water our God-sized dreams and goals.

What desires has God placed on your heart? Chase after them. Pray and seek Him and wait patiently for the fruits.

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“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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And take delight in knowing that there’s beauty and joy in the journey; in growing; in learning, succeeding and failing.

NOT TODAY

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Life is an oxymoron. It’s rough, tough, crazy, wild, sad, lonely, discouraging. At the same time, it’s easy, fun, chill, happy, full of love, family, friends and laughter, encouraging and hopeful.

However, lately I have been feeling discouraged.  I hate discouragement!

I know that success doesn’t happen over night. It takes time, it takes hard work and it takes perseverance. The perseverance is the part that gets me.

I wrote a post not too long ago entitled “Don’t Be Cheap,” and while the particular example I spoke on was about fitness, it also applies to other areas of my life as well. Over the last few years, I’ve started out on a couple of ventures, only to give up half-way through, out of discouragement and feeling like I wasn’t any good at it; so why keep going?

Regardless of what it is, Sam was and always is in my corner. He told me recently that I keep starting things but never get anywhere with them. He didn’t say it in a mean or discouraging way, rather he wanted to encourage me to really stick to one and go after it. I gave a million excuses as to why I dropped it and moved on to another subject.  That was maybe two or three months ago, yet it has been replaying in my head.

For much of my life, I’ve struggled with insecurity.  Over the years, the insecurities have morphed and changed from one thing to another, and lately I’m insecure in my talents and abilities. One of them is, I fear that I’m not good enough in my writing and that’s why I hardly get any readers, and the book that I’m working on, won’t get picked up because it’ll suck…with thoughts and feelings like that, it’s easy to feel discouraged, right?

Oh, but then, I remember that there is a liar and he goes by the name of devil. The father of lies, and he’s been whispering in my ear telling me all these things. You’ll never be a good writer. Your blog sucks. Your book will suck. No one will read it, etc., etc. But no, not today Satan! NOT TODAY!

When we don’t give our worries/fears/anxieties to the Lord, it leaves room for the devil to stick his nose in our life and release feelings of insecurity, fear and doubt. He loves discouraging us and stopping us from reaching our full potential in whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish.

BUT, God wants us to be successful! He wants to see us flourish and go after our goals. He wants us to use our talents, our voices, our abilities to go out and do whatever it is we have set out to do. Sometimes we will fail, but we get back up and try again. Fail and try again. Fail and try again. Fail and try something new. Fail and change our approach. Fail and then finally succeed. Sometimes we succeed after the first try. The point is no matter how many times we fail or how long the journey takes, we will succeed.

I cannot allow the devil to have any wiggle room, and Jesus tells us that DAILY we must give Him ALL of our worries. I don’t do it daily and that’s when I feel the most discouraged, on the days when my hope and my trust hasn’t been put in the Lord.

So, I guess, what I’m trying to get at is that life truly is like a rollercoaster. BUT when we set our focus on allowing God to take full control, putting our faith and trust that He wants and knows what’s best for us, we will be more encouraged than discouraged to persevere. Honestly, there are always going to be people that are better at what we do than us, but we can’t let that stop us. I can’t let that stop me, because there is always room and time to grow and get better.

My friend, or anyone who is reading this, be encouraged. Persevere and trust that God’s got your back! He’ll always see us through as we keep pressing on, but if we give up we’ll never get anywhere and we’ll always have a cloud of discouragement over our heads.

“Tell the devil NO, NOT TODAY!”

Gotta be intentional

future-richWhen I was in middle school, I had already decided that I wanted to go into a career in medicine.

At first, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but when I found out that I’d have to sell my soul to years and years of school, I settled on becoming a nurse (don’t judge me ha).

Finally, graduation day came and I had that, “I’m finally an adult!” excitement in my head… that was 10 years ago!! What?! I still can’t believe I’ve been out of high school for a decade now… I still feel so young at heart! Where does the time go?!

Anyway, to make a long story short, four universities later, I ended up graduating with a degree in American Studies (to become a history teacher later on). I got pregnant with my first daughter during my last semester in college and my husband and I decided that I should be a stay at home mom and postpone continuing education.

So, how did I go from nursing to teaching? And why on earth did I go to FOUR different universities?! What the heck?! Who does that?! I guess I do… I did that.

After I completed all the required courses before applying into the nursing programs, I applied three times, at three different schools and they all rejected me. That was a pretty big blow to my self esteem, because it immediately made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or smart enough (which obviously wasn’t true). I cried A LOT.  My husband kept encouraging me and after praying for the next steps for me to take, I ended up going to a counselor at the fourth school, to talk about what I could do next and with all of the credits I accumulated at the three previous schools I went to.

Before going in, I had decided long before, that if nursing hadn’t worked out, I’d want to be a teacher.  So after speaking with the counselor and going through all of my options, I took a fast track to a degree that would help me become a teacher through continuing education post undergrad.  At this point in my life, I had already been in college for 5 years and was ready to get the heck out! It was one of the best decisions I had made and actually enjoyed my last two semesters at UNO. It really is such a great school and I kicked myself in the butt for not going there from the very beginning, it would’ve saved me two years and heartache.

However, every experience I’ve gone through in life has taught me so much and has helped me grow into the person I am today.  Rejection is such a tough pill for me to  swallow. I grew up feeling rejected, which is why after the third rejection, I felt like my life was over.  As I’ve grown up, I have realized that you cannot outgrow hurts in your life.  You’ve got to face them, work through them, and then move passed them. Grow from them and learn how to better deal with the obstacles that come your way.

Since I became a mom and my daughters are growing up, they watch me, and look up to me, I am more intentional with the things I say/don’t say.

Lately, my eldest says “but mom, I can’t!” I really loathe the word “can’t.”  I make sure to tell her that she can. I encourage her, explain to her how to work through her problem and when she succeeds, I tell her “see, I told you you could do it! great job!” When she doesn’t, I make sure to still encourage her and tell her to keep trying, I help her and make sure she knows that as long as she perseveres she will succeed.

My prayer for them is that they never have to feel rejected, or like they aren’t good enough.  They really do push me passed my limits and push me to be the best version of myself. I want them to be strong, compassionate, loving girls and women who don’t let fear or negative words affect who they are.  God’s plan for them is big, I know it. The same way that I know God’s plans for me and my family together, are big.

I’m excited to continue blogging and seeing where writing takes me.  I’ve stopped myself in the two years of not blogging out of fear of what people would think of me, but I guess there ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it!

To Be or Not to be… a freelance writer

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You figure that if you start a blog it’s because you like to write, right?  Well, at least that’s why I started my blog.  I like to write and also, because life as a wife and mom can give one some pretty great anecdotes to share with the world.  I started off this year with blogging about what God spoke into my heart and that I wanted to start blogging more this year.  So, it’s May and this is only my second blog post of 2017 and in the last, I believe TWO years.  I really have been trying (though not nearly as hard enough as I could/should) to keep up with the blog.  The reasons why I want to blog, are because I felt that it’s a good platform to share my heart with people and to be open and transparent about the things I go through in every area of my life. My hope is that through this blog, I can inspire and encourage.

Anyway, here’s the reason for this post and to try to find an answer for the title of this post.  At the beginning of the year, I got an itch to help our household out financially.  Not because I need or have to, but because I want to.  I want to have a side hustle that generates a good bit of extra income to help accomplish our goals as a family. I started thinking creatively, thought about starting an etsy shop, or picking back up on my photography, began selling things on varagesale (though it tends to aggravate me with people who end up backing out on a sale), so I’ve taken a break from that.  Then, a few days ago, as I was perusing pinterest on stay at home mom jobs, I came across freelance writing.  Sounds like a piece of cake, right? At least I thought so, but as I’ve been researching more about it, it’s kind of overwhelming.  I just signed up on a content mill, to get started and see what niche I can narrow down on.  There are so many helpful bloggers out there willing to share their experiences and how they’ve become successful.

I tend to doubt myself and my abilities a lot, but my husband is such a great encourager to me.  His words of encouragement resound in my mind as I continue to research more on sample writing, narrowing in on a niche, building a website, etc.  I’ve got a good bit of work ahead of me to get this thing going, but I’m going to try my hardest and push myself to give this a shot.  It inspired me to write this post, so that’s always a good thing!

If you’re a freelance writer who just so happened to stumble upon my blog, please message me with some helpful tips and suggestions! They will be greatly appreciated!