Alchemy Flower Shop

One of my favorite projects from Interior Design school was probably the retail project at the very end of the program. We studied residential design for the first year, and tackled commercial design in the second year. When I was 15 my very first job was in a flower shop and I adored it. When I first started, I didn’t think of it any more than a job to make money and save for my future little green VW Buggy – but the longer I worked there and the more I learned about floral design, I saw myself becoming a florist professionally more and more! Now that I’m in Interior Design, I though it’d be ultra cool to design my own future flower shop! I have always loved the word “Alchemy” I don’t really know why… I like the shape my mouth makes when I say it and I enjoy hearing that word… it’s weird.

Alchemy [al•kuh•mee]

“A form of Renaissance chemistry concerned primarily on discovering a universal solvent and Elixir of Life. Or a magical process of transforming common forms into things of great value.”

My inspiration for my future flower shop was old English castles, waterfalls and redwood tree forests. I loved how these three things seemed to create the settling for a fairy tale! Essentially, I wanted Alchemy Florists to be a flower shop inspired by Mother Nature; bringing elements from the garden like fresh plants and running water, rough woods and a bright sky into the store. My goal would be to create a way to make floral arrangements a part of everyday life as well as make special events unique and brilliant. With the design of the flower shop, I  wanted to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor; allowing people to enjoy flowers and plants all year round! This is totally real dream of mine – I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve it, but who knows where life may take me.

img_0006Our assignment was to design a mall location store. The rest was only limited by our imagination. I was ecstatic! As my profs went through the requirements, guidelines and design rules I was already sketching my ideas down hoping to put them on paper before they got away! As soon as class ended, I felt like I was a racehorse bursting out of the gate – God was giving me so much inspiration! I thought this would be a fun project, also because I worked in a couple flower shops for several years. I knew things that worked, I remembered things that definitely did not work and there were design ideas I thought would’ve made work more efficient or practical – I was looking forward to developing, eliminating and creating a potential flower shop for myself in the future.

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Getting a floor plan down was the first step and envisioning what shoppers might see on the exterior.

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It was all coming together! I wanted the logo to be simple and organic.

alchemy-florists-logoAs part of the project we had to compile a complete specification sheet for our store including all of the materials and finishes, budget, floor Auto-CAD (ACAD) plans, electrical ACAD plans, + structural ACAD plans. There was a lot of work, but this was fun for me because I was a job that I related to and would want to work in myself! Below would be the exterior of the mall shop – it would be located on the corner which would allow shoppers to access from the side as well as the front. Along the hallway, there would be a window for convenient window shopping of fresh flowers and arrangements in the cooler.

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The ceiling of the flower shop, consists of LED light panels with a sky image. These lights would cast a soft glow through out the entire store to make it feel as it the shop was actually located outdoors. The suspended ceiling would have a pergola grid to hide the metal grid support system, which would enhance the indoor-outdoor experience.

alchemy-florist-4eIn the center of Alchemy Florists would be a fresh plant wall. The pillar would support plant life in the store without maintenance. The pillar offers privacy to the consultation and work areas in the back from shoppers passing by.

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The view of the front desk for floral wrapping, A water feature continues the indoor-outdoor experience and allows shoppers to hear the sound of running water as they walk past Alchemy Florists.

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A walk-in cooler allows shoppers to go in and pick the arrangement they want. Each floral design would sit on a stone Lazy-Susan which would allow them to view 360 degrees of the arrangement without needing to handle it. There would also be plants, gifts, and vases for shoppers to add to their order.

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Standing behind the front desk looking out into the flower shop.

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The consultation space for clients to meet one on one with the floral designers for custom work.

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The work center in the back. A large island with space to walk all the way around and full of storage areas underneath.

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The front shelf doubles as a storage shelf in the back to hold standard vases and designing materials. A large sink provides easy clean up and watering.

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The extra deep counters around the island provide practical work space for designers’ fresh flowers, cutting knives, floral waste, and finished design work.

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I really enjoyed this project! It took 100+ hours of design research, concept building, product searching, 3D computer modeling, Auto CAD drawings and photo shop to put the dream together but it was well worth it in the end! Maybe one day it will become real life!

 

 

 

 

-Stay Satisfied

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

Calming fears and clearing minds…

Ok so to bring you up to date: I moved back to Regina, Saskatchewan. I completed my Interior Design Practicum at Ambiente Interiors. I was not hired. I am currently jobless. You would think that I’d be more stressed about that last fact…. but I’m not… sooooo…? These past few months have been an absolute whirlwind! However, God speaks to us in the whisper of the wind and that has been SO incredible as I watch as God’s Hand molds my life day by day, everyday whispering, “Just watch and see what I am about to do…” I moved back to Regina at the end of April and began my internship shortly after coming home – it felt great to be working in the field that I love. Remember last summer, when I was working at the design store? I was usually on the sales floor helping clients with high end light fixtures and furniture, luxury plumbing fixtures like claw-foot bath tubs, solid marble sinks, and gold faucets, etc. My job last summer was really fun and I learned SO much. Working in the design store gave me knowledge about lighting, plumbing and furniture that I would never have gained at school. Ambiente Interiors was a completely different experience. I love, love, loved working at a design firm! Ambiente was right up my alley; a small, high end design firm that does both residential and commercial design across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. I worked with two other, wonderful designers and several tradesmen that were experts in their fields.

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As you know, I went to Lakeland College, which is an NKBA accredited college in Vermillion, Alberta and at the end of the two year diploma program, students must complete a practicum with a qualifying design firm anywhere in Canada in order to graduate. So, I chose to work with Ambiente and they were gracious enough to accept me. The practicum experience for me, was phenomenal. It gave me the opportunity to stretch myself and see what I could do in the real world. I was excited to be working with professionals that had experience and knowledge in the field of work that I was pursuing. It is one thing to study interior design at school: in the studio and computer labs, however, it was so much more valuable for me to enforce what I had learned at school in current projects. I was excited for the opportunities I might get to prove myself that I am capable and good enough to succeed in Interior Design. I graduated my program with honors and I am proud of that. However, it’s one thing to earn an A+ on a project in school and an entirely different task to take a real client’s project and design something they are just as excited about as you are. You know what I’m saying? I was looking forward to real clients, with real limitations, real budgets, stubborn likes and dislikes, etc. While in school, my projects usually didn’t have any limitations as a project would have in real life. So you can see why I was nervous but also ecstatic to try myself out in a real project. While working with Ambiente Interiors, my employer took me along to site measurements, design showrooms, showed me current building projects, included me in most client consultations and product representative meetings, etc. She let me draw my own designs and pitch them to clients, she allowed me to pick materials and correspond with the clients and trades-workers directly! For me, that was huge! A lot of these things were taught while I was in classes, but to experience those things gave me the opportunity to ask questions that I would not have thought of in class. For example, in class we learned how to draw details of custom cabinetry but meeting the carpenter that was going to be building my design allowed me to ask him questions that I would not have thought of and also for him to ask me questions that I hadn’t considered either. It was an awesome learning curve. 0 to 100 so fast!Graduation

One thing that I loved about my boss including me in meetings with Ambiente’s trades-workers, was seeing how the designers collaborated with the people who would be producing the work – it was eye opening to me. Carpenters, metal-workers, contractors, designers, drafters, etc. we are all designers in some way. While working in my practicum, the biggest realization was how important teamwork is between everyone working on a project and how important it is to listen to everyone on your team and to keep constant communication with everyone. Ideas from all team members were valued equally in a project, and by listening to other members on our design team, the finished product was that much better and more unique than the original design. Simply because ideas were given the opportunity to bounce off other people and grow bigger and better! Experiences like that made me think a lot about how God wants to include us and use us in our relationship with Him. It’s not about living your life in a routine and sticking to what you know is safe, it’s about going out for Christ and being willing to bounce ideas off God and see where He will take you! I think some Christians slide into this comfortable bubble and become too content to do anything extra in their walk with the Lord. You know what I’m saying? For example, In a meeting I had with my boss and our carpenter, we were going over a design I had. Personally, I thought my idea was great and that it couldn’t get any better. I drew the design, made a 3D model to show how I wanted it to work, etc. But when I brought my design to the table in the meeting, my boss and our carpenter right away started making suggestions of how we could change it. I’ll confess that I got a little irritated at first because I thought they were trying to find flaws in my design. As I sat there watching as they looked over my design and hearing what they were saying, I felt a peace in my heart to just listen to what they were saying and try to see my project from their angle. As I listened, my boss had some very good points about possible flaws in the finished product, the carpenter suggest different turning mechanisms to make the design more functionable, etc. They were making it better. Much better. I believe God wants to do the same in our lives. He wants to take us further into Him. Much further. But only if we are willing to sit back and listen. Really listen.

GraduationMy employer at Ambiente Interiors gave me several projects to work on and allowed me to run with my own ideas. This was good for me. It was encouraging to be given opportunities to show what I can do and prove to myself that I can be successful in the work field. Learning how to collaborate with other designers and tradesmen was hard at first, but it got better. After I would finish a design concept, I would present it to the other designers I worked with, and they would show me where my design was strong, and where it could be even stronger. My ideas were always considered and explored, along with everyone else’s ideas. It built my confidence in my skills and abilities to suggest more ideas and put myself out there. Working with the design team at Ambiente Interiors was a huge blessing because the designers were able to explain things that I did not know, simply because there are things a person can only learn on the job through experience. My employer was a very patient and relaxed boss to work for; she was good at keeping a situation calm and talking through problems with clients and contractors. I saw the importance of listening before acting and how consistent communication is a needed skill in the industry. It was valuable for me to watch how conversations went around the design table and it was empowering to be accepted and welcomed to contribute when sitting around the design table. I appreciate everything that I learned and I hope to one day work for Ambiente Interiors again. I think the most phenomenal thing about my experience at Ambiente Interiors, was how it fell together. My position there was completely the hand of God – no body can take credit. While I was at school, I had been researching a custom home builder that I had heard a lot about. I researched their work and their staff, I followed their projects on social media, I was sold. This was the place I wanted to work. But God had other plans. For over a month, I had tried calling this company many times, but could never get through or further than leaving a message. Not going to lie, I was confused. At the time, this company seemed to be placed on my lap by Jesus, but it took a swift turn to the left and abruptly ended and I did not know what to do. It was nearing the end of my classes and I had still not nailed down a practicum placement. After being shut down by the previous company I was pursuing, I went back to the drawing board. “God I don’t really know what to say, I thought you were lining up that one placement for me perfectly! It was honestly seeming too good to be true! I have no idea where to look or where to start…” When God closes a door, He opens a window. I believe that statement whole-heartedly. 100%. I literally punched, “Interior Design Firm Regina” into Google and Ambiente popped up. From there, God played the cards and I watched in amazement as my practicum came together in a matter of two days.

I want to challenge you guys to live boldly and to allow God to grow your dreams and ideas. You may think you’ve got a sick plan figured out, but I’m living proof that God is 100% able to do so much more than all we could ever plan or imagine. If you are willing to hold on tight and be patient, I know that God wants to do something incredible with your life. Prayer and constant communication with Christ is your ultimate weapon in the battle of the unknown. Go for it guys – my practicum was too amazing – I can’t imagine what He’s going to do this summer!

 

 

 

– 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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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“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