Don’t forget to breath…

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4

It’s been a while… but that’s ok. I feel like everyone goes through those highs and lows in their relationship with God. I know God hasn’t left me, He never has, nor ever will. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6. There are times when I know I should be doing “better” in my walk with the Lord, if that makes sense. It’s funny, I always know when I am not spending enough time with Him, because He talks to me more – telling me to spend more time with Him. Those times when life gets a little out of whack and you aren’t spending enough time in prayer and aren’t submerging yourself in His Word as much as you should be? I don’t know how the Devil does it, he’s sneaky, one thing leads to another and all of a sudden I’m trying to think back to the last time I brought out my bible and just sat in the presence of Jesus. As discouraging as this can sound, I personally find it encouraging. Through it all, Jesus is always still waiting there to spend time with me; to talk to me, to read with me, to listen to me. In my imagination, I picture Jesus sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris in the summer time. Everything is colourful and full of life, He’s drinking an espresso and has an extra chair across from Him at a bright yellow wrought iron table. He’ll make eye contact with me, take a sip from a glass espresso mug and wave me over to be with Him. Always. It doesn’t change. He is always welcoming, always loving. Why is it so easy to drift away from this???

cafeThe other day I was reading in my devotional book. It has been the first time in longer than I’d like to admit. My devotional book is written in first person, as God speaking directly to the reader, “Seek My Face [God’s] and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible. “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” – Philippians 4:7 MSG. Let Me displace worry at the center of your being. I am like a supersaturated cloud, showering peace into the pool of your mind. My nature is to bless, and your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify My be receiving My blessings gratefully! I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied. When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life. I am still there, watching and waiting but you function as if you were alone. Actually, My light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me!”

“When You said, ‘Seek My face” my heart said to You, “Your face Lord, I will seek.” – Psalm 27:8

I continued to look at the book. I reread the words and felt so loved. This was the most gentle “I Told You So” and I realized how badly I had needed it. I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus at the bright yellow table in Paris. “I love you Payton. I will always love you, but I want you to love Me back in the same way.” He spoke softly and sipped His espresso.

“You will seek Me and you will find Me, when you seek Me with all of your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

The next day, God continued to show me His patience and love. My devotional said, “Come to Me with a thankful heart, so that you can enjoy My presence. This is the day that I have made. I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow. Search for all that I have prepared for you, anticipating abundant blessings and accepting difficulties as they come. I can weave miracles into the most mundane day if you keep your focus on Me. Come to Me with all of your needs, knowing that My glorious riches are a more-than-adequate supply. Stay in continual communication with Me, so that you can live above your circumstances even while you are in the midst of them. Present you requests to Me with thanksgiving, and My peace, which surpasses all understanding, this will guard your heart and mind.” I felt like God was walking with me, and reached down to grab my hand as we would walk together.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of the deer and helps me to climb the high places.” – Habakkuk 3:19

It is ultra cliche, but the importance of reading my Bible everyday has been refreshed in me. Staying in God’s Word and continually reading His love letter to us is vital to our walk with Him. I want to have feet that are able to climb the high places God may send me – but that will only happen if I spend time with God and allow Him to teach me and mould me so that when the time comes to climb high, I will be able to! If you’ve been feeling like you’re in a similar slump, I want to encourage you to grab your Bible and a coffee and go sit in a quiet room with lots of sunshine. Spend time with Jesus because He is already there waiting for you. God is patient and kind and softly nudges us to continue seeking Him. We are not perfect and the Lord knows that – so seek Him with all that your heart is able to!

 

 

 

 

-Stay Satisfied

Well Hello Las Vegas

Flying outI had never been to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA before. So when I found out that we would be going to Las Vegas and staying for a week to catch all of the design shows for our class trip; I was ecstatic! I knew there would be so much to do and see – so my friends and I immediately started planning and looking for things we all wanted to do and places we wanted to see in our free time.

One of the first places we went to was the Frank Gehry Building in downtown Vegas. Frank Gehry is a famous architect and interior designer from Canada! This building is known as the, “Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health” Frank Gehry’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, so this project became very personal to him. He designed the building as a metaphor to show what happens to the brain as it ages.

Frank Gerhy Building 3

The interior of the building looks just as warped at the exterior. There are 199 uniquely different exterior windows.

Frank Gerhy Building 2

All of the walls were constructed to reflect sounds perfectly and were coated in an incredibly delicate finish that would enhance the sound even more.

Frank Gerhy Building 1

Frank Gehry also designed all of the furniture in the structure. It was phenomenal to stand in this space and feel so tiny.

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We went to the 2016 IBS [International Builder’s Show] and saw so many incredible things!

IBS Sign

After grabbing much needed coffees we were off exploring the show!

Red Carpet

There was a pink oven and I died a little *Heart Eyes*

Pink Oven

A group of us ran into Mike Holmes at the show! Mike is one of my design hero’s – I love how his focus is about helping others when they cannot help themselves. Not only does he come in and repair the damage on their house, but he shows others how to prevent the same problem from happening to them! I hope when I’m the design field I can be helping and inspiring people just like he inspired me.

Mike Holmes

While exploring the furniture in the show we came across Vispring Luxury beds! This bed is the exact bed that Queen Victoria sleeps on, worth $40,000 USD *Scoop jaw off ground* Soooo you can imagine that I definitely laid in this bed for literally as long as possible. Wow…

Queen's Bed

After a couple design shows; learning about construction, surfaces, finishes and furniture we decided to explore the Strip!

New York, Las Vegas

The scale and proportion of everything was ridiculous…. I’m not kidding…

The Strip

The Mall

Of course we had to stop at the famous Vegas Sign and get a picture with it… it’s the rule…

The Vegas Sign

Another day we explored the Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas. I think this was definitely one of my highlights from the trip – I was wishing we had a full day here to simply hike and enjoy being outside the city where fresh air is actually existent…

Red Rock Canyon

Going to the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef was on the top of my To-Do list though – I had never been to an aquarium before, and this did not disappoint. I literally could have stood at the glass watching for hours.

Shark Aquarium

Of course there was more to see than just the dozens and dozens of sharks *wink* There was this guy! We’ll call him Leo the Lionfish

Lionfish

In the gift shop at the end of the shark aquarium, they had a bucket of sharks teeth from the sharks in their tanks!

Shark Teeth

I was able to check several things off my Bucket List while in Vegas, but one of the most exciting things to check off, was that I finally got to try Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses at the massive Hershey Store on the Strip!!!

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kiss

Zip Lining was another thing I got to check off my Bucket List! My friends and I zipped the old strip [Fremont Street] We went ten stories up and  were harnessed to a zip line at the Slotzilla platform from our back and soared a mile above the crowds below! Have you ever seen Divergent? Yeah – we zip lined like that *Happy Dance*

Zip Line

I will admit, I saw many beautiful things while in Las Vegas, but the famous Bellagio Fountains surpassed it all. These fountains took my breath away. I was so lucky to see them several times throughout our trip. I took this shot from the top of the Eiffel Tower in the Paris, Las Vegas hotel. From 460 feet above the Strip, it’s amazing

Bellagio Fountains

After all the craziness that happened each day – we were thankful to go back to a nice hotel and crash.

What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas

I could honestly show you a bazillion photos from Vegas. I enjoyed my time while I was there and who knows, I might end up there again one day.

Passport

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

A Prairie Home

One of my favorite assignments this year has been the sustainable house project we had in December. A young artsy couple was wanting to build their own custom home and we were the ones to design it. The couple wanted their new home to be as sustainable and as environmentally friendly as possible. They loved mid-century modern design and wanted a space where they could each be alone to paint, read, write, film, etc. The couple also loved hosting and having friends over. Both enjoyed being outside and having lots of natural light in the house. I wanted to design a house for them that was functional, beautiful, and sustainable with a small carbon footprint. I wanted them to have a space that allowed them to perfectly enjoy all of their favorite activities. They wanted the structure built by the lake in Alberta, Canada; so climate would definitely be an important factor. So I went out to the location to study the site. Sorry cows.

Location

In class we had been studying a lot about building orientation and how the sun might affect the structure. Passive solar design was something that would be important to implement into the house. Another thing to consider would be window locations. As I was writing this all down, I started to picture myself in this new home. What views would I like to see? Where is the sunrise and sunset exactly? I knew she loved the morning sun and watching the sunsets was important to her. After taking lots of photos of the location and writing jot notes as thoughts would pop into my mind I decided that I should probably come back later that evening to see where the sun would set. When I came back a couple hours later, I watched the sunset and found the perfect spot for the house. I wouldn’t have to rip out any trees, we would be able to construct around the existing vegetation. It would be perfectly sheltered by strong winds and still get the best views of both the sunrise and the sunsets. *Happy Dance* From here, I now had to start sketching, specifying certain products and materials. I already knew what view I wanted to draw for the clients. There was no way I going to leave that sunset unmentioned.

This is the material board I put together to represent the colours and textures for the overall space. For the flooring I decided to use a light grey poured concrete because it would be long lasting and would require very little maintenance. The roof would have FSC [Forest Stewardship Counsel] certified natural bamboo planks to bring a lighter feel to the space. The walls would all be finished with a 0 VOC white  paint from Benjamin Moore. The accent table tops would use a quartz material with grey veining. The Floating fireplace is made of recycled blackened steel that would burn bio-fuels [Gas that does not smell or smoke]. I wanted to focus on natural materials and organic textures which is why I chose to use Slatish Tiles. Slatish is a biodegradable material that is made to look like slate. I loved the rough look of the thin tile strips. The designer lamp and chair add sophistication to the space and the cow hide rug brings it back down to reality. Balance between perfection and imperfection was important because nothing in nature is perfect however, when we look at it as a whole; it appears perfect.

Material Board

The next step was to start working on the 1/4″ scale model. I rendered the floor plan that way it would be easier to read the spaces from above.

Floor Plan Rendering

  After the main floor, garden, and second story were rendered, it was time to construct the model.

House Collage

My favorite part was working on the rendering which would show off their new Living Room and the incredible views.

The pencil sketch was first – it is always important to decide where your shadows will be before you start your rendering. There is a lot to developing a rendering! Where is your light source coming from? What direction does the natural light come from? How does the light affect the room textures and furniture?

Pencil Sketch

Once you have developed your sketch and figured out what are where your light source affects the space: you can have at er and draw. *Happy Dance*

Final Rendering

In the end I was very excited with hose this project turned out. I had to deliver a detailed floor plan, mechanical plan, elevations and specifications. A material board, colour rendering, site orientation, concept statement and present it as a whole. It was a lot of work, but when your are happy with your finished product, it makes it all worth it.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”   – Luke 16:10 NLT

Guys always, always put your best into everything you do even if you do not think it’ll be worth it. It you can put your best into a small project – you will definitely put your best into a large project. If you give up on small goals, why would you go for large goals? Besides, you never know who is watching you…

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Go Ahead, Laugh!

LatteI was reminded of two very important things this week on living a happy life. I’m not kidding – this isn’t some garbage on breathing in and out and releasing “positive vibes”or whatever. God legitimately reminded me that laughter is one key to happiness in our short life but so is a consistent communication with Him. I mean, those two things aside from coffee. Coffee comes first. Obviously. *Wink* Speaking of, my coffee pot just beeped at me. Meaning it’s done brewing. Meaning go grab coffee and then continue reading cause I swear everything is better with coffee.

The only way to true happiness is to have a real and raw, genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Something amazing happens when we put all of our cares in His hands. Don’t picture it as a parent demanding the magnifying glass because you’ve been burning too many bugs and leaves. God is not this invisible person that wants to take away the things you enjoy. I heard a story once that put into perspective the way God wants to improve our lives – but only if we let Him. There was a little girl who had received a bracelet of pretty plastic pearls. To her, those artificial pearls were the real deal and more beautiful than anything she had ever seen. She wore them with every outfit, was diligent not to take them in the bathtub so they wouldn’t get wrecked; she even slept with them every night. Those beads never left her sight. Her Dad saw how much she adored those pearls and he decided that he would buy her a new bracelet made with real pearls. “I’m going to give these to her, but only when she is willing to give up the ones she has now” he told himself. He went out and bought the most beautiful pearls he could find. That night he asked his daughter, “Honey, can I have your pearls?” “Oh no Daddy, you can look at them but I must hold them.” So he looked, tucked her into bed and kissed her goodnight. For weeks he asked her every night before tucking her in, if he could have her pearls. Every night she responded the same way. Until one night she finally let her Daddy take her pearls, “Daddy, you always ask for my pearls. You must love them more than I do. So here, you can wear them.” He smiled and took her bracelet, got up and left the room. He returned with the real pearl bracelet he bought and watched her eyes light up. I see God the same way, He has something so much better to give us if we are willing to let go of the thing that we are so dearly holding onto. We need to be holding onto the Lord and only the Lord in order to have a happy life because when we are solely focused on living our life for God; everything else fades to the back.

I was talking with a couple friends the other day – I don’t know how we got on the topic but at one point in the conversation we were talking about keeping our eyes focused on Christ no matter what goes on in our lives. Whether it’s something as small and dumb as red cups or as horrifying as terrorist bombings; we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. “People keep focusing on the wrong things!” My friend started, “we keep looking at other people and what’s wrong with that person’s life. We get all caught up on the gong show going on in the rest of the world and we don’t realize that we are slowly becoming part of the gong show ourselves. It’s like, ok, think of a new driver. They are driving on the highway in the winter for the first time and everyone is telling them not to hit the ditch. The new driver is so focused on not hitting the ditch, that they’re going to hit the ditch because that is the thing they are constantly thinking about and looking over at.” I just sat there, kind of shocked at the simplicity of his metaphor that TOTALLY nailed the idea of keeping our eyes on Jesus. Think about Peter. Why did Peter sink?

“Jesus said, “Come!” and Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and went toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened and began to sink.” – Matthew 14: 29 & 30

Peter sank when he focused on the wind and waves. A driver will hit the ditch when they take their eyes off the road. We will sin and live a dull life for Christ when we take our eyes off Jesus. It’s as simple as that. The only way to keep our eyes focused on Christ in every situation is to be in continual communication with the Lord. I’m not kidding. When we are putting Jesus at the front of our mind I guarantee you will notice things in your day that you didn’t notice before. God looks after you. He does it in the smallest ways that you would normally brush over. I want to challenge you to start shooting small prayers to God. For one day thank Him for all the little positive things. Did you wake up feeling rested? “Thank you Jesus for a restful night and allowing me to feel refreshed this morning. Please help me today to be a light for you.” Did you get to work or school safe? “Thank you Jesus for protecting me when I go throughout my day; it is something that I take for granted. Please open my eyes to see the little things today.” Shoot God those small prayers all continually as you go throughout your day. You would send a quick text to your friend if you saw something that reminded you of them, so why not send God a quick message too? Even when difficult and frustrating things happen. Talk to God. For example, the other day a dude cut me off while I was driving. I was ticked and decided to tail gate him. As I rode his bumper I prayed, “Thank you Jesus for protecting me from an accident; that guy could’ve actually hit me instead of merely cutting me off.” (Ps, the irony is SO strong in this story because I’m dumb) Then God immediately told me to top tail gating him. I was slightly irritated. Ok God, I thanked you for allowing the truck to  cut me off in stead of hitting me, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be nice in return. “Fall back now.” God said again. So I did and as I fell back the truck slammed on his brakes for a pedestrian walking across the street. I would’ve slid into his bumper if I had not listened to God.

Pumpkin 1The other day I was reading in my devotional book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, “You can live as close to Me as you chose. I set up no barriers between us; neither do I tear down any barriers that you put up. Seek to please Me above ll else As you journey through your day, there will be many choice points along your way. Most of the day’s decisions will be small ones you have to make quickly. You need some rule of thumb to help you make good choices. Many people’s decisions are a combination of their habitual responses and their desire to please themselves or others. This is not MY way for you. Strive to please Me in everything, not just in major decisions. This is possible only to the extent when you are living in close communication with Me. When My presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctively  what will please Me. Keeping your focus on Me is all you need to make the right choice.” I’ve also come to realize that when your focus is truly on the Lord and you want to live life for Him and with Him, you will find joy in all of the little things. I think that when we are trying to walk with God we will see the beauty in this world and appreciate the small things God has done – I also think we will be able to have true joy and laugh. Laugh at yourself. When that truck abruptly stopped and I stopped behind him; I laughed. I laughed at my own stupidity thinking that tail gating was a great idea to get back at the guy. People get so wound up and focused about “being taken seriously” that is sucks the fun out of life. That would be the second challenge to you; laugh more. Stop being so defensive. You’re quirky. They’re quirky. We’re all quirky and we are all going to laugh at and with other people for multiple reasons. So relax. The world is not going to end because you thought there was another stair and someone saw you take a ridiculously large step for nothing. Calm down. You’re life is not going to fall apart because someone caught you making a inexplicably stupid face for a snapchat. Laugh at yourself because you know full well that you’d be laughing at someone if the situation was reversed. Actually, super funny story, for Halloween a friend and I were carving pumpkins. I saw this super cute idea off pinterest. It was a pumpkin carved into a carousel. I thought to myself, “That is such a cute idea – I’m going to try it.” We started carving our pumpkins. His pumpkin was the fabulous classic face and mine was…. starting to lean. As he finished up his pumpkin I continued to hack mine. I told myself that it had to get worse before it got better; like cleaning a closet! He finished his pumpkin and it was so awesome! By this point my pumpkin was full of BBQ skewers to keep it from completely falling apart. “Payton, your pumpkin looks like a pintrosity…” I sat back, looked at the original photo I was trying to recreate and then at my…. mess. He began to laugh and then my other friends came to see what he was killing himself laughing at. They too began to laugh. My pumpkin was now leaning hard left and has serious issues. In that moment I could have gone into a sulk and refused to laugh at my failure or, to join in and laugh at myself. As I continued to stare at the poor, obliterated pumpkin I realized… it was too funny not to laugh at, and I would be laughing it were anyone else.

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I’m excited for all that God will do and open your eyes to when you chose to put Him first and continue choosing him and when we all learn to chill out and laugh. When we are with God through out our day in prayer and when we let those crazy sounds come out when we are laughing hard; I believe those two things…. a great coffee… those three things bring true happiness. Nuff said.

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

I’m willing to bet cash that you do the exact same…

Right now, in the celebration of October I’m drinking pumpkin flavoured coffee like every other white girl on the face of the earth. You might as well join the pumpkin trend and go make coffee for yourself because I’ve got my pot full of Autumn and I’m absolutely loving it! I’m gunna be brutally honest with you: I stress about future tasks that I have to deal with; I’m willing to bet cash that you do the exact same. In the summer I find this stress shrinks. It doesn’t totally go away but it definitely isn’t as noticeable compared to when I’m at school and actually have things pressing on me. As much as I love “To Do Lists” because of the motivation I get from them, they also give me an underlying stressful feeling. I get stressed thinking about all the things that I have to get done by a certain time, whether it be school work and studying or house cleaning or other random things that made it on to the list. Early last week when I was doing my devotions I knew that God was warning me about what was coming down the pipe. My teachers had been talking about a major assignment they were going to be giving us that would be due before the Thanks Giving break coming up. My teachers talking about an assignment coming up but not actually assigning it is equivalent to someone saying or texting you, “We need to talk.” Those four words might as well just be thrown into the group of four letter words… lets be honest. As you can imagine, everyone in my class was wondering what exactly this assignment would be if it applied to three of four of our instructors classes. This was going to be big. We could feel it. Jesus Calling the next morning wrote, “Trust Me and refuse to worry, for I am your strength and your Song. You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today’s tasks – or even tomorrow’s. So leave them in the future and bring yourself back to the present where you will find Me waiting for you.” I was in shock reading this. “Since I AM your strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I AM your song, I can give you joy as you work alongside Me.”

Field“Payton, you are freaking out internally about something that could be awesome. Why? You have no idea how much you could end up loving what’s coming up ahead but you are choosing to dread it right now. Stop. Shift yourself down into neutral and coast until you come up to the task. Like you just read, I will give you the strength, knowledge, creativity and joy to handle whatever your teachers will assign to you. Put your trust in me and together we can crush anything.” You know when you are chewing mint gum in the winter and take a deep breath in? You can feel the cool air inside of you in your lungs? It’s strangely refreshing. That’s how I felt. I felt like God forced a refreshing cool air inside of me. I had so much peace in that moment. I knew that whatever would assigned in the next couple of days might be tough but in the end it was going to be awesome. That made me excited. At the bottom of the devotional was Hebrews 10:23 and The Message puts it this way, “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” I thought that was incredible to be completely honest with you. Later that week I watched one of my all time favorite movies, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. I’m not even ashamed. It’s easily one of the most kid-ish movies you’ll even watch, but every time I see it; I love it. It’s one of the only movies I’ve ever watched where I’ve laughed hard and cried just as hard yet walked away happy. Maybe it’s because I see myself in both of the main characters; Mr. Magorium is ridiculous and loves to do whatever will put a smile on someone’s face even if it means making a fool out of himself. He enjoys new things and appreciated the little things in life like bubble wrap and coloured pens. He is incapable of boredom and is always up for a new adventure. I love him. When I’m 243 years old I want to be like him. Mahoney, on the other hand, is an awkward, insecure girl who isn’t quite sure where her life is going. She had dreams of becoming a composer and concert pianist but that dream hasn’t taken off and she feels stuck. I think if we’re continuing the brutally honest streak; we can all agree that we can often feel like Mahoney. Anyways, Mahoney works for Mr. Magorium and it’s obvious to see that they are more than just boss and employee but actually really good friends – despite the crazy age difference. One morning she is talking to Mr. Magorium about how she feels “stuck” with where she is at in life and this is how he responds:

It isn’t until near the end of the movie that Mahoney figures out how to use the Congreve Cube but she only figures it out when she is forced to be real and honest with herself and realizes what she is truly capable of. I think that’s another reason why I enjoy this movie so much. Think about all of the memorable characters in the Bible; who are the ones that stick out to you? Maybe Joseph, Moses, Noah, Gideon, Esther, Ruth, Peter, David the list is almost endless but all of them were, in their own unique ways, a Congreve Cube. They were simply blocks of wood that hadn’t found what they were capable of with God’s Strength and Song. Each and everyone became more than a block of wood when they but their trust in God and ran with whatever strength and song The Lord gave them! When Joseph was trusting the Lord and focusing on His strength instead of what he could do himself, God brought him up to the rank of Pharaoh. Noah was considered a fool but people obviously realized that he was a the wise one in the end! Moses was a coward until God got hold of him and used him to lead His people. Same goes for Gideon and all of the other Bible hero’s we can read about. The next day I was again encouraged by what God had to say during my devotions, “Open your mind and heart – your entire being – to receive My love in full measure. One of the Devil’s favourite deceptions is to undermine  your confidence in My unconditional love. Fight back against these lies. Do not let them go unchallenged. Draw near to Me and My Presence will envelop you in love.” The next day also ran off this fact, “I am with you and all around you; because I am infinite I am able to love you as if you and I were the only one in the universe.” The more I thought about it I realized that each and everyone of us are big blocks of wood that require faith and love. – just like Mr. Magorium mentioned. However, we don’t need just any faith an love; faith in the Lord and continual love for Him and from Him. With those two things we may find ourselves somewhere we’ve never imagined.

Mr. Magorium

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” {Matthew 6:34}

 

Sunflower 5Guys, God is perpetually with us and taking care of us. This is the most important fact of our existence. He is not limited by time or space; His Presence is a forever promise. We don’t need to fear the future because God is already there. Our future is in The Lord’s hands and we need to continually release it to Him day by day; moment by moment. I want you to go ahead and live this day abundantly seeing all there is to see and doing all there is to do! Don’t be stressed or worried about things that are around the corner! Leave them to God. He tells us that every new day is a glorious gift. There are very few people that know how to live within the confines of a single day. Everyone has a mental list of things that we need to do for tomorrow or next week or even next month! Yes, be a good steward and manage your time wisely but don’t confuse “good time management” with lack of trust in the Lord to handle things that are naturally out of our hands. God wants to help us keep our focus on Him in the now not us in the future. That is how we can live abundant and full lives in Christ. I’m encouraging you guys to have faith in Christ and to love Him just as He loves you!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful – I know that full well” Psalm 139:14}

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

So you’re not quite where you thought you’d be…

When you were little, you imagined yourself living in a mansion, with a Porsche, and a smokin hot spouse, making six digits in your dream career. No? Maybe you thought you’d marry a babe and move into the mountains and forests and explore the world; spending everything you had on the next adventure. Or maybe you’re one of those people that just wanna settle down with your hotty-Mchotty and have babies. I remember being ten years old and sitting around the kitchen table with my cousins, sipping chocolate milk and eating cheese puffs (don’t question the flavour combination) We would sit and talk with each other about what we thought we’d be doing when we were adults… “Yeah, I’ll probably go to school, graduate and make loads of cash right after that.” I remember saying confidently. “Oh yeah? What are you gunna drive?” my brother quizzed. “Psh! The car I’m gunna drive isn’t even made yet!” My cousin would blurt; spitting chewed cheese puffs everywhere. My other cousins claimed other life goals like getting married at 16 or having two wives cause he”just couldn’t pick” you know, the super realistic things. Anyways, obviously we look back and laugh at most – if not all of those options because none of us are anywhere near those goals. Truth be told, our plans are often quite different than what the Lord has up His sleeve. The things we long for, plan and try to do in our life don’t always line up with what God has in store for us.

“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” {Proverbs 20:24}

So, maybe you’re not quite where you thought you would be in life at this time. Maybe you don’t have the job title you’ve been striving for and you aren’t even close to making six digits… you may not even know what you want to be doing as a career! Or maybe you feel like you’ve been a student for centuries; you keep switching your major or starting classes and realizing that it’s not your forte so you drop them. At this point, maybe you feel like people are now making six digits off you from all the money you’ve been spending on classes, books, tutors, campus parking tickets and materials. Perhaps you aren’t married to a hot spouse with a couple beautiful children living in that awesome home with a cute backyard and a swing-set? Maybe you are currently dating someone and the relationship between you guys is simply coasting; nothing’s happening and it doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere. Or what if you have been trying to get with someone and they are tooootally missing the hints and everything is going over their head… On the other hand, you could be single right now and are possibly waiting to cross paths with another single babe. Who knows.

CowWhat ever you seem to be focusing on right now; whether it is a relationship, a job or career, classes or lessons or something else, I want you to put it in a mental box for a moment and listen to me. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to it. God tells us multiple times in His Word that we are to do everything in order to bring glory to Him. Seriously, 1 Corinthians 10: 31 says, “Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” In Colossians 3:17 we are told, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” and again in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” Right now, if you let yourself think about it, you probably have a lot of free time right now because you don’t have that thing you are working towards. I mean, once you get that thing, you’ll probably be really busy spending time with it, correct? If you get the job; you’ll be working harder to keep the job and hopefully move up the ranks. If you get the man or the girl, you’ll be wanting to spend a lot of time with him or her and potentially put a ring on it. Etc. It literally never stops – there is ALWAYS going to be something else that we are working towards. That’s just the way people work and operate. So hypothetically speaking, right now you most likely have the most time you ever will in your life. Don’t waste it. Don’t squander it. Do not try to fill the time with things that are of no value. Why don’t you use it for things that will be of value in the future? Earthly and Spiritually. How about developing yourself in different areas of your life? Perhaps that means learning new skills, developing new talents or improving a gift you already have. Or it could be other practical things like learning to cook or clean, reading more and watching less T.V. or doing more physical activities and working out? The self development list is one that could honestly go on and on… Why not build healthy friendships and see where they may go in time? Why not slowly learn in your work place and get a good handle on the job and get to know the people you work with? Why not spend time volunteering at your church and helping the people in the community around you? Why not spend more time hanging out with your family? I would encourage you to make a list; not a list of what you want your life to look like in the next five years or what qualities you want your life partner to have. A list of who YOU want to be and what you should be striving for in your own life. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated but I know there are qualities and characteristics we’ve always admired in other people and wished we were better at. Why not start working towards those qualities and characteristics? Instead of wishing you were good at the guitar, why don’t you pick it up and start working towards that wish? Instead of people telling you that you’re impatient, why not work in that area of your life? See what I’m saying?

Lake Edge  We need to learn to be content in each and every point of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are difficult times in life just as much – if not more than there are joyous times. Often I’ve been asked during a hard point in life, “Well, what do you think God is trying to teach you through this?” or even, “What did you do wrong for God to allow that to happen to you?” People… I’m only gunna say this once. Not everything that happens in a person’s life is punishment, or a lesson, or a mystical map to the key of happiness. Sometimes things just, happen. No rhyme or reason. You see, joblessness, singleness, homelessness or whatever “ness” you seem to be struggling with right now has happened to other people in this world and will continue to occur as long as time continues. What we need to be focusing on in those blessings and hardships is Christ and Christ alone. We also need to realize that all those things aren’t necessarily bad things at all!

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” {2 Corinthians 4:18}

I want to encourage you right now to fully embrace what is going on in your life. Maybe it’s a successful moment in your schooling or career – celebrate it! Or on the other hand maybe you are lonely and it feels like the number of people you can truly confide in are walking out the door left, right and center. Whether it be a good thing or a bad thing right now; you need to fully embrace it with The Lord. god’s promised us in His word, “He has not left me alone” – John 8:29. I believe that everything that comes our way in life is to make us stronger as a person but more importantly, it is to make us stronger in our relationship with God and to bring us closer to Him. Every scenario is meant to bring glory to Him. “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13. I know when I am going through something significant that stops me in my tracks, I have to pause and ask God what’s up. Sometimes He’ll tell me “Oh nothing Payton, keep going. I am with you.” Yet other times God says to me, “You handled that really bad. You need to fix it and ask me to work in this area of your life.” Sure, there are always life lessons in everything that happens in life. I won’t deny that. But I want you to know and understand that just because you aren’t where you thought you’d be in life RIGHT NOW, means that it’s because you’ve done something wrong or because God is punishing you. Often God withholds things in our life because He is refining them to make sure the situation will be good in His perfect and holy timing. Accept that.

Mushroom

I want to encourage you guys to love life, to appreciate the small good things that God has blessed us with and to stop and praise Him in the difficult moments. Both of these things bring us closer to God. Both allow us to grow as a person. Both are just as much a part of life as the other. A friend shot me a text the other day; it was a hard day and I was struggling. I told him a couple of the things that were going on and he simply said to me, “You know, it’s normal to have ups and downs… Hang in there, Jesus is the ultimate comforter!” It wasn’t profound or earth shattering but it made me stop in the middle of what I was doing. It’s ok to be in a low time. It’s ok to not know or have your life planned out. It’s ok not to have your life completly figured out. It’s ok. I was so thankful for God to speak through my friend the way He did and tell me that it’s alright. I know that it’s ok for me and it most definitely is ok for you too. On a side note; I think we need to remember that we cannot compare our lives to the lives of others. You can’t compare your low moments to someone else’s Facebook timeline because people only post their highlights. You cannot think another person has a perfect life because their Instagram account portrays a beautiful life. Rarely do people showcase their imperfections, bad qualities and hard times. It’s the social media game that we need to be aware of. Keep your chin up and hang in there. He’ll bring you through whatever valley you might be in and God will celebrate with you on each and every high point you reach. Guaranteed. Keep your eyes off others and the things around you and solely focus on Him who can actually improve the situation.

 

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

I’ve jumped into a trust fall….. again…

It’s been an eventful month. I have a lot to fill you in on. Soooooo grab coffee and put on comfy pants, because those are important. Recently, I moved back to Alberta for school and I feel like my brain has been oozing outta my left ear. This past week I’ve constantly been relating myself to where I was this time of year, last year. Do you ever do that? Think to yourself, “Huh, this time last year I was {insert whatever you were doing}” I realized that I do that… like a lot… I’ve realized that this is the first time in years where I’m returning to something. I’m going somewhere I’ve been and where I know people and have friends. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Years ago I moved to British Columbia for bible school for a year. After that, I moved back to Saskatchewan for a year. Then I moved to Alberta to start more school. This year I’m moving back to Alberta. Don’t get me wrong – I love moving around and experiencing new things. I especially enjoy moving somewhere for a decent amount of time where I can actually meet friends and experience life. The only “problem” with that, was that I ended up making friends in every direction across the country and very few of them actually life close to me. So, to say the least, I am ecstatic to be returning to people and places that I enjoy! Although, now that I’m thinking about it; sometimes I think God allows us to go through a bit of a gong show to test us and see if we will chose to trust Him and sit back to watch Him drive.

Sunflower 1

I don’t know about you, but I like to do things. I love being busy and I adore having a list and a schedule – especially when it’s all in a cute day planner *wink* However, there are a lot of things that recently happened that I did not write in my day planner and would have rather tried to avoid entirely! They may not be as drastic as moving away or diving in to school, or starting a new job, or whatever, but they are the things that I believe God threw into my path to see how I’ll handle it. I’ll be the first one to confess that I’m usually the first person to go deer-in-the-head-lights and pull out my hair…. It may seem weird to make this comparison, but I think about the Joker in Batman: Dark Night. The Joker is talking to Harvey Dent; currently in the hospital. Harvey is angry at the Joker because of his “plan”. The Joker then begins to explain to Harvey that he doesn’t have plans. He just, does things, to well.. more or less, screw up the plans that others make. The Joker then begins to point out people that do have plans; the government, the police, etc. “You know what I noticed?” the Joker started, “No body panics when things go “according to plan” – even if the plan is horrifying! If tomorrow I said that something bad was going to happen; and it happens the next day, no one panics because “it was all according to the plan”. They knew it was going to happen.” That scene made me think about my life a lot. I am a planner. A massive planner. Not meaning I like to organize events, but I always like to know what is coming down the pipe. I hate surprises for that reason alone. Surprises are not in my plan, therefore I freak out. I know, it’s weird and unfortunate but I have TRIED to enjoy surprises and I can’t. I literally fake it until I make it. Anyways, when I thought about what the Joker said, I realized that this is the first time in years where I am returning to a familiar place. I know what to expect. I remember coaching myself on the drive back to Alberta, telling myself that this is going to be an awesome year because I already know the plan. It wasn’t until about a week ago when I finally noticed God tapping me on the shoulder. “Hey. Hey! Remember where you were this time last year?” God asked me. “Yeah, I was loving life and going to school for interior design!” “No, no, like, exactly this time last year.” I started thinking. This time last year, the last few weeks of summer were so hard because I had to say goodbye to so many wonderful friends. The first few weeks of September were incredibly difficult because I began to realize how lonely I was. This time last year I was depending on the Lord WAY more than I currently am. “Oh…” I started to think. “Yeeaaahhhh…” God replied.

Sunflower 2“Payton, I know you are excited about this year. I am happy that you are looking forward to returning to Alberta instead of jumping into a new pond like you have the past three years. But I’m not happy about your heart right now. You feel like you know the drill. You know you have friends here. You know you enjoy school. You know you have a great relationship with your teachers. You know you are going back to live with a wonderful family in a place you can truly call home. It’s because of all those things that you are not trusting Me with all your heart. It is because you think you don’t have to trust me about those things this year that you are leaning on your own understanding. You need to keep acknowledging ME in all things so that I can keep leading you. It was quite the tap on the shoulder. I don’t think I could ever express my life exactly a year ago to you. 365 days ago, I was once again moving somewhere I didn’t know. I was again going to be spending a lot of time with a lot of people I hadn’t met before. I didn’t know what the plan was. Que panic attack. Last year, was one of the biggest growing years in my relationship with my Saviour. I knew that God had called me to go to Alberta for interior design. I had no idea why or what it would be used for in the future but God asked me to simply trust Him with that year. So I began praying for someone that I could confide in. I remember praying, “God, I know that you are always with me. I know you understand me and that you care about me. You know my need for companionship and my desire to have a friend I can spend time with. Please send someone my way when I am in Alberta. Please bring a girl along that I can talk to and listen to, someone who I want to spend time with and someone that wants to spend time with me.” Then God gave me a vision. K, let me say first, that I’m not all into the weird signs, visions and dreams kinda thing. I usually think those things are a bit…. ummmm…. phoney and for show. You know? Where people act all “super spiritual” and whatnot, but this, for the first time in my life, I knew was a vision from the Lord. I knew God gave me a vision because it was a simple picture as an answer to what I had just prayed. In my vision, I saw a canyon; giant red rock that stretched high into the sky where a bright sun was blaring and where there were no clouds to provide shade. Running through the middle of  the canyon was a river. In a matter of minutes the river shrank and became a trickle then dried up. I saw a man sitting to the side. He was alone and sat against a rock and looked into the sky. As he looked, two ravens appeared; approached him and then flew away. I sat in my room and cried.

Sunflower 3

I cried because I knew the man was Elijah. Most of the people that know me, know that Elijah is my all time favorite bible character. I love him because he was real with God. He was sassy and failed a lot. Elijah was far from perfect, but he was extremely close with God. Ever since I was little, I’ve always asked God to give me a life like Elijah. Anyways, I knew that the image God gave me was directly from His Word in 1 Kings chapter 17. In verse 7 it says that the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. Prior to my first year of school, I felt the Lord had strengthen me in Him and helped me dig my roots deeper in Him. “Go away from here and live by the brook” God told Elijah. I knew that God was calling me to a new place just like God was calling Elijah. I understood that God had given me a summer to soak in as much as I could because I was going to be entering a drought. I had people all summer encouraging me and pushing me forward in my relationship with God and now I would be entering another place where I would not have those people to encourage me and push me. Verse 6 however, says that ravens brought Elijah food. I thought my “ravens” could possibly be my friends from home who could encourage me and push me to continue trusting the Lord, despite the long distance. My ravens could fly in and fly out – just like Elijah’s. I was encouraged and extremely discouraged at the same time. “God, you know I admire Elijah and his relationship with you, but is this really necessary?”

Sunflower 4

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

“Payton, did I leave Elijah by the river?” “…no” “No, I didn’t,” God said, “and I’m not going to leave you either. Trust Me; you have no idea what I’m going to do through you and you can’t imagine all the things you are going to learn; about yourself, in school, from others, but most importantly, from Me.” It wasn’t until a week or two later that I finally told God, “Ok. I know I need you. I’m so scared to face this year alone God. I’m terrified at the thought of sitting by that stream by myself, but I know that if this is what you have for me, I can’t stop it from happening but I also know that it will be good. I am ok to walk this year alone with you. I am ok to be alone. Please give me the courage to continue trusting you.” As the weeks went by in my first year of Interior Design school, I found the ravens that God had blessed me with. It wasn’t until after I submitted what I wanted to God that He sent two incredible girls into my life. Just like He sent ravens to help Elijah when he needed them. It was like the flick of a coin; I had to give up what I wanted before God gave Me what He was saving for me. You ladies have no idea how much of an answer to prayer you are in my life. Even now, while I’m thinking about it. That was never apart of my plan. It was apart of God’s plan. I always freak out when things don’t go according to MY plan – even though God’s plan is 100% better than anything we could ever come up with. He simply chooses to go about it in different ways. Guys, I want to encourage you and challenge you to put down the day planner and leave your schedule blank before the Lord. I challenge you to also give up what you’ve been wanting for so long. Be ok to accept what God has said and trust that He has something better than what you have written in your “day planner”. I had no idea that my last year would be so amazing, but it only got good when I put down my own will. God is only going to work for you when you stop working so hard for yourself. There is this one passage in Ephesians 3:20 & 21 that gets me excited, “Now to Him who is able to do far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams, according to the power that works within us, to God be the glory forever and ever.” This week God tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out that I haven’t quite been trusting Him with everything. I’m excited for all that He has in store for me this year. Who knows what I’ll do, or who I’ll meet or where I’ll go. I know that I need to continue trusting Him in all areas of my life and seek him in all things that come up! You haven’t got a clue where God will take you, or who He’ll introduce you to or what He will allow to cross your path. Even though we don’t know what God has scheduled in His day planner, I can guarantee you one thing – it’ll be incredible and no one could have predicted it! Go after it like gold!

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied