[ Andra’s Graduation ]

This lady is one of my best friends.
I remember running around when we were little, pretending to be princesses together with plastic crowns and way too much glitter On her graduation day, I was able to click the moment where she truly was a princess. My sister graduated this Spring 2017 and I was so lucky to capture a couple moments of her big day of success and celebration!
You are such a beautiful woman – Inside and Out

 


Her dress was absolutely breath taking – There was no other dress like hers that day ❤




One last walk past those old, locker filled hallways…

Having our brother as her grad escort was so much fun!

Seriously though… the details in this dress… her head band… earrings… lipstick…. She’s perfect ❤

I’m cheering you on lady as you approach this next exciting chapter ahead and all that God has in store for you!
Thanks for letting me run around taking photos of you like a crazy woman!

 

[ May • 2017]

 

 

 

 

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

You can only mold mud…

This past month God has been saying the same statement to me over and over. Every time I am praying – whether I’m asking for something, praying for someone or thanking Him for something else; He always says this single phrase that silences me. For example, the other day I was praying about an exam that I had that morning. It was a three hour exam that would be submitted to the NKBA design competition in October. They do it every year for students across Canada and the United States. The NKBA creates a kitchen design problem and students have three hours to come up with a design solution and draw a floor plan of their design. In their design they must include kitchen appliances made by the current sponsor of the competition. Students must fully dimension and note their floor plan and write a list of specifications that make their kitchen unique (like flooring, counter tops, style, etc.) and they have to either draw a perspective of the kitchen or draft an elevation of one of the kitchen walls. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot of work to manage in three hours – they go by fast! Anyways, I was praying and asking the Lord to give me peace and calmness during the exam and that He would give me a design right away for the space. “Payton, Look how far I have brought you.” I stopped. Here I was, preparing to write a three hour exam where I would design, dimension and spec a kitchen I had never seen before. “Two years ago, it took you three hours to sketch a picture of an existing kitchen. Look how far I have brought you, where you are not only going to design a kitchen from scratch, but you are also going to draw and render that kitchen in three short hours. Do you believe that I have looked out for you all this time and will continue to look out for you now?” Yes God.

“Go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.”

– Luke 8:39

I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with clay, or if you were the world’s best mud sculptor like I was when I was four… but you can only mold mud. You can’t mold clay when it is wet and soggy and too moist; it doesn’t old it’s form. You also cannot mold clay when it is rock solid, nor can you mold dirt. You can only mold mud because it has a perfect, thick consistency; it’s soft enough to alter and hard enough to hold it’s form. I learned that lesson the hard way when I had taken a pottery class a couple years ago. I wanted to make a mug – a coffee mug, obviously. Something easy and classic. The teacher told us to always keep our clay wet so that it wouldn’t dry out early, because once clay is dry there’s no going back. So I grabbed a bowl of water and had it next to me while I formed my mug. Wetting it down like, every thirty seconds…. you can probably see where this is going. At the end of the class I wasn’t quite done, so I spritzed it – just to make absolutely sure it wouldn’t dry out, put a bag over it and left. The next class I came back and my mug had morphed into this massive bowl that was too big to use even for soup. My mug was so wet it just kept spreading outward. It was ridiculous. My teacher laughed as she picked up my creation – literally dripping clay ooze from her fingers she carried my hard work to the side and left it there. “Grab another cube girl!” So I grabbed another block of clay and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t over water it… like I do with all of my plants… anyways… do you know what happened? It dried out. I came back the next day and my half done clay creation literally had cracks the Sahara Desert would find impressive! I sucked at this pottery thing… Recently, my failure in pottery made me think about how God works in our own life. We have to be mud and mold-able. Not too wet where we think we have all the answers and can do everything for ourselves but also not to dry where we don’t want God’s help and want to run our lives our own way. We need to have a balance of wet and dry. Wet enough for God to mold and thick enough that we can hold the form that God makes us.

Buggy 1This past month has been a bit of a wake up call for me to see how much molding God has done in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have totally been too wet and too dry at different times in my life – I won’t tell you that I’m perfect and have it all together. But when God was telling me the other day, to look and see how far He has brought me, it made me smile. Guys there is SO much in our life that goes unnoticed. All those little things the Lord lines up for us, the things He protects us from, I could go on and on – but I think it is so important to look back and be able to say, “Wow God. I used to be there.” Que Drake: Started from the bottom now we’re here… ♩ ♪ ♫  As I went into my design exam that morning; after God showing me that He has fully equipped me with the abilities to crush this exam I had so much joy and an indescribable peace. It was unreal. Recently I’ve been hooked on listening to the Inception soundtrack song: Time. It’s beautiful and there’s a ten hour loop of the song on YouTube – I won’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the full ten hour loop, because it’s a little embarrassing. Anyways – I listened to this fabulous ten hour loop for my entire exam and it was so cool to listen how God used it. When the song is quiet and it’s mainly the strings playing or very soft piano God spoke to me and gave me inspiration. When the piano kicks up and the horns are in the background God steadied my hand and gave me speed to draft, draw and dimension. It was crazy. If you’ve ever seen the movie, I felt like Cobb at the end when they are getting off the plane and he’s looking around and everyone feels so boss and awesome. Throughout the exam God seemed to work with the music and motivated me. But the entire time I was working I can honestly tell you that I was not nervous. I was not stressed. In the moments where I was drawing blank, I shot up a quick prayer asking the Lord to guide me and then the music kicked up and He guided me. I’m actually listening to the loop right now and it’s incredible. Gah. All in all, the three hours ended and I can honestly tell you that I don’t know how I finished as much as I did, to the detail I did, in that time. When I would practice I always ran out of time, forgot simple things or wasn’t completely satisfied with my work when the timer went off. This one time – when it actually mattered; I finished, I was confident in my work and I was satisfied knowing that I did not complete that task on my own.

Buggy 2Guys, I don’t know what you’re going through right now. Maybe you are struggling to finish school. Look how far God has brought you. You are on the home stretch with finals! Go hard. Trust Him and finish strong! Maybe you are struggling at a job wondering if you’re in the right career? Look how far God has brought you. You are being challenged with something that a lot of other people right now WISHED they could be challenged with. Trust Him and power through! Maybe you are struggling in a relationship. Look how far God has brought you. There are so many things you can learn in a relationship with another person, but know that challenges in a relationship are not always a bad thing – sure they are not easy in the moment but they cause you and the person you’re with to come together and work it out and in doing so you become closer and stronger than you were before! Don’t back away from something difficult – because something great is on the other side. Maybe you are struggling because you are not in a relationship and wanting to be. Look haw far God has brought you. Just like there are many things you learn in a relationship, there are just as many – if not more things that a person learns by being single. Hold out for something great and believe that the Lord has someone in store for you! And while you are waiting, focus on being the person you are trying to find and develop yourself in areas you need to be strengthened. Maybe you are in pain physically. I don’t know what kind of pain you could be facing right now and I won’t tell you to suck it up but I will tell you that you are a Child of our God and He does not like to see you in pain either. Maybe the pain is from an accident where you could have died, or it could be the result of someone else – sometimes, looking back at how far God has brought us already can courage us to look forward and realize how much further our Father wants to bring us. Power on. Because He is most definitely with each and everyone of us.

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

I don’t know if it’s right – but it doesn’t feel wrong…

VW Bus BackSitting alone with God is such a wonderful thing. Actually taking those cliche moments to listen to the winds blowing through trees, to watch the colours in the sky change as the sun set or like last night; I was about to crash and noticed a bright green flicker from my bedroom window. I love the northern lights. It was actually on my bucket list to see them at one point. I may live in a classic, cute little down – but the view or the northern lights makes it unreal. I remember the most extraordinary time I saw the northern lights here; it was almost exactly a year ago – my friend and I decided we’d drive out of town into a random farmers field and sit in her car drinking coffee and watch this fantastic natural light show. It was one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had in my life. Breathtaking. They were so bright; literally casting shadows beneath us when we stood outside the car. Everywhere we looked was glowing green. The lights were directly above us in that field – I could see the beams overhead; shooting straight up and I could see each time they flickered and moved. They were so close I felt as if they were swirling around us at one point. I just remember not having words to say; pure amazement. I don’t know if it’s wrong to think this, but in those moments I believe God is displaying His beauty and creativity for me alone. I believe that while I was watching the northern lights from my window last night – God telling me that He loves me. He took the moment I couldn’t sleep to show me His simple greatness and beauty. I like those small gestures like a written note or a thinking of you text, or whatever – those little things that say hey “I enjoy you”. When I’m driving and God gives me a crazy awesome pink sunset, I like to think He made it specially for me. When I’m anxious and He lights up the sky with phenomenal moving lights, I like to think He’s giving me a moment to refocus on Him instead of what’s stressing me out. I hope you have moments like that too.

VW Bus SideIt’s so encouraging when you realize that God’s you Father and He wants to brighten your day simply because He can! My Dad has always done those little things to show our family he loves us whether it’s washing my car or watching cartoons with us, buying cellphone car gadgets and extra chargers cause he knows we lose them and break them. The next time you see something and it makes you look twice,  stop and enjoy it and believe that God did that specifically for you and you alone to enjoy in that moment. Maybe listening to birds sing together on a walk or that short cool breeze at the end of your run or that cloud to block the sun while you drive with the sunroof open. He cares about you because you are His and He wants to show you through the little things that He cares for you – not always just the big things that we continually pray for. I’ve been thinking a lot about graduating school and moving back to Saskatchewan; not gunna lie it’s a huge bitter sweet deal. There are several things that I am excited about and equally as many things that I am dreading. However, moments where God gives me peace in the simple things; I know that I purely need to trust in Him and know that if He cares enough about me to give me a sunset or northern lights; He most definitely cares even more about the bigger things going on. Whatever you’ve got on your mind right now, know that it’s ok to relax and allow your Father to take care of it. Rest in Him and take it one step at a time taking joy in the little things that He sends your way.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Jumping into darkness…

Red Rock StandI have no idea where I will be in my life in six months. I can’t decide whether or not I should love this feeling or dread it. I am a person that has always had a rough idea; a plan A and a backup plan B. For years I have always had a hunch on what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to go about doing something. I knew that when I finished high school I would go to Bible school on an island in BC. I knew that when I finished Bible school, my boss had a job for me to jump back into and I would work for a year. I knew after my gap year I would move away and go to school where I would study Interior Design. I know that when I finish school I am to go on a missions trip with my church to Brazil that God told me I would go on four years ago. As of now, I have less than two months left of school and there are 152 days until I fly to Brazil to share the gospel with the people there. So in roughly 175 days I’m clueless. Mmmmk I know I’m being dramatic about this – but still. After a student graduates, they are supposed to be grown up and ready to join the rest of the world and be responsible. That scares me.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this way in life. I know there are millions of people that have been in this situation too at some point in their life. Actually, at church the other day a friend of mine was speaking. She was a full time missionary to Africa; after living there for 39 years, the Lord called her to retire because He has new work for her here in Canada. Anyways, she was sharing about her experience in Africa and leaving for good, “You know those trapeze people in a circus? They are super high up on a small platform, they jump out into the darkness where they know a bar will swing just in time for them to grab onto and take them to the next platform. I feel like one of those people right now.  I feel like I have just jumped off my platform where I knew it was safe and what I was doing. Now I am flying in midair hoping for that bar to come my way. I have no idea what the bar looks like and I have no idea where it will take me. But I know it’s coming – and like the trapeze artist; I have to be ready and watching for it.” She took the words and feeling out of my body – that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like I’m bracing myself to jump into the darkness.

Red RockI’ve obviously been thinking about this for a little while now. I know this because God gave me a “Stop panicking letter” Seriously. He did. It was in my mailbox at church. A small note that read, “Psalm 32:8, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.'” Two minutes before I read His note, I was literally venting to a friend at church about my “problem”. I also had to laugh because I felt this note was God’s way of telling me to shut up. My devotional book the other day said something similar, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME! As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation. Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat! You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you; helping you carry your burdens.Keep your focus on My Presence in the present. Let the future unfold and worry about itself.”

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”    – Psalm 73:23

Guys, I have not figured out what will happen in a couple months… but I’m getting the feeling that God is wanting me to simply lean back and ride the river. I want to encourage you to do the same. School is coming to an end and maybe you’re in the same place as I am. Or things at work could be completely changing, or maybe you have to move and you have no idea who you will even be able to call “friends”. God says that He knows each and every one of our situations and He cares. He knows how they will pan out. Don’t stress. I’m going to try my best to let go and see what happens. Quite often, God has something much better planned than anything we could work up.

Red Rock Edge

 

– Stay Satisfied

Nothin to do but wait…

Silence is such a good thing – it allows you to filter out the voices and sounds that aren’t important. Do you ever do that? Go away where it’s quiet and simply enjoy the stillness? It’s been a little over two months since I last posted {sorry} but the stillness has been good for me. It allowed me to sit back and think about what is relevant in my life and what is not. It’s something that I like to do when everyone is stressing out about their New Year’s Eve plans. I guess there are just so many things that I put so much time, effort, worry and energy into that was never really worth it. Or things that I should have focused more on but missed the boat, you know? I am now in my last semester of Interior Design. I have come so far and I started to wonder what I was going to do next? I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! It’s so exciting and incredible to think how fast two years can go by!

Do you ever look back at your year and think about all the things that happened that you planned vs. the things that happened that you didn’t know would happen? It’s really cool when you do! If you were to flip back on your facebook timeline or through your old Instagram posts, you’ll remember several things that happened last year. Maybe it was a spontaneous road trip, or a random party you went to. It could be starting school or a new job, meeting new friends or moving to new places. I’m sure you’re getting the idea. When I look back at my year I’m reminded of both fun memories and sad memories – none of which I’d change. But looking at them, and seeing how God connected one event to the other and had life continue on to the next, I realized that God’s plan is so wonderfully random. That sounds cliche, but you can’t avoid the obvious truth. Right now, the knowledge that God is quietly laying the next plank in the bridge ahead of me is incredibly calming. Today I was forced to remember that my plans and my timing are not the best. It felt like a gut punch.

IMG_5563In my course I have two years of studies and then a two month practicum. The studies are all at my school in Alberta but the practicum is completely up to us students and where we would potentially like to work as designers. I have had one place in mind ever since November. I wasn’t looking for it; it was as if God had plopped it on my lap and said “Go for it”. As I learned more about the business and research their company and what they do I was blown away by all of the connections there were. My dream in interior design would be to help families design and build their dream home that functions perfectly for them. I would love to build sustainable homes that will be a long lasting investment for each client. In the end the house would reflect their personality beautifully and that it would become a showstopper in their neighborhood – something that they could and would be proud of! I tried contacting this company recently and was having bad luck with trying to get a hold of the owner. A week later I tried calling again, and I was shut down. I was shocked. “God, I thought you were opening this door for me… what just happened?” He was silent.

“She will have no fear of bad news; her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” – Psalm 112:7

The week before, I had been talking to a friend about this dream job and how I was excited about this placement for my practicum even though I hadn’t actually scored the position yet. “So, why have you been putting off calling them if you’re so excited?” he asked me. “Because I’m scared.” I was scared about the possibility of being rejected. Ironically enough. It was sounding like such a wonderful place to work I was afraid of the thought that they might not accept me. After talking about it he finally said to me, “You need to stop being afraid and wanting full control of the situation. Go out on a limb! Listen, I have three questions for you: one, do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe that He has His best intentions for you? And do you think, that somehow, just maybe, God knows more than you do? If you said yes to all three of those, then you need to trust that God is gunna go ahead of you and work things out. You might get the job-  awesome. But you might not get the job. What then? You continue to trust Him. So tomorrow, you call them fully trusting that God is in complete control and be open to the chance that there might be a placement better for you than what you’ve found for yourself.” Boom. He knife of truthed me. So what did I do the next day? I shot a quick prayer to God asking that He would be in control of the situation. I called. Got rejected. Hung up. Dang it.

IMG_5752Sometimes what we plan for ourselves, is not awesome. We may think it’s awesome – but it’s actually not. At this point, I literally have no idea where I will go to complete my practicum. I’ve got nothing. You may not know what you’re doing either. It’s ok. I’m in the same boat. Maybe your situation is bigger than mine. You just got dumped by your girlfriend or boyfriend and you thought for sure you were going to get married. Your job just cut you loose due to the crashing economy. Maybe your situation is smaller than mine. You were hoping to buy this new guitar and found out they just sold the last one. I don’t know, maybe you wanted ice cream at McDonald’s and when you went to go get some, their ice cream machine was broken. Jokes on you for that one, cause it’s always broken. Anyways, what I’m trying to say, is that we all have let downs. That’s how life goes. I saw a quote the other day that said, “At 23: JK Rowling was broke, Tine Fey was working at the YMCA, Oprah had just been fired as a TV reporter, and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. It’s going to be ok.” All those hot shots were ordinary, infamous people too and they pulled through.

I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. I didn’t fail at this attempt for a practicum; I simply found one place that I won’t work. When I was shut down, I was upset. I was discouraged wondering what I would do next. I still don’t know what to do next but I do know that God must have somewhere in store for me that is going to be incredible and more awesome than I thought it would be. My friend text me that same day saying, “Hey Payton! I was reading, and Nehemiah 8:10 just made me think of you. You can see that the joy of the Lord is your strength – that is an awesome gift to have…” Once again, I sat there shocked. God spoke through my friend at the perfect time to encourage me. “Payton, you need to continue trusting me and relying on my strength. You will have joy when you let go of the things you are continually trying to do for yourself. It’s ok to walk through life without knowing your every move. Keep going.” So I want to pass it on to you. Right now, think about that thing in the back of your mind that you are trying to hold on to and control. Breath in and think about it. Do you know what? Let it go and allow God to take control of it. Breath out. Keep going. Keep breathing. He’s got this.

 

 

 

 

– 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