Wind

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I overheard the following conversation this morning between two people at the office:

-“It was really beautiful this weekend.”

-“Yeah, it was kind of windy though.”

Life is perspective.

In high school I was on the mock trial team.  I was a lawyer, all four years, and enjoyed breaking down the case files and reading over the witness statements.  Now all were fake and written by law students, so every team had the same source material.  We’d conduct “trials” against each other (two matches, one prosecution and one defense) and be judged by a jury of lawyers from the county. You’d wonder how, if every team had the same material, we could develop any strategy.

Each team had lawyer advisers (our adviser one year turned into the current DA of the county next to ours).  We learned quickly that perspective is key.  Go to a crowded street corner and watch a car accident.  There may be twenty witnesses and each story will be different.  How did it start? How did it end? Who was at fault? Depending on your source of material it could be viewed twenty different ways.

A few years ago I got called to jury duty at federal court in Philadelphia.  I ended up chosen and served on a gun possession trial that lasted two days. It was immensely interesting to get in a jury room and listen to twelve different views and see how majorities would develop. We’d all heard the same witnesses and pulled different opinions.

This Sunday, our pastor delivered a message about Jesus and his final meal in the upper room.  He mentioned the observation given in the gospels that Jesus entered the meal In Full Knowledge of what was about to happen over the next few days.  Around him sat Peter, who would deny him and Judas who would betray.  The others would turn into cowards and stay silent. Twelve different viewpoints.

What did Jesus do?  He served.

It was a beautiful night for some.  For others, the beauty was lost.

We all choose how we see the world.  Our boys, Carter and Aiden, are prime examples of that. Aiden is the optimist. He lights up a room and can find joy in situations.  Carter is more serious, more emotional.  He’s like I was as a kid.  He’ll stay back and observe before jumping in and his opinions are passionate no matter right or wrong.

If you are like me, this new season is a time of reflection.  Fall leads to winter, the ending of summer and desolation of cold. Nights are longer. Time outside is now time inside.

I tend to take inventory in the fall.

Right now I’m feeling the gap and hanging on the expectancy of fulfillment. Maybe you are there with me, weeks and months of waiting, of work being done.  You are standing in the warehouse and God is putting you through whatever is needed so you can move forward. You want more. Your soul longs for meaning and greater things because the alternative is unfathomable.

You call out in the dark moments.  When the kids are in bed and you are in bed looking at the ceiling and wondering when tomorrow will be different, when you’ll love your circumstances. You may not find that love right now, no, but that is for a reason.

Because you are meant for something more. Your story is meant to change generations and impact those you love.  It is meant to change hearts.  This change is work.  Sleep and rest, sameness and routine are so tempting.

Erwin McManus, head of Mosaic in Los Angeles, said this in a message:

Some of you know way too much about your lives.

It is time to embrace the mystery, step into the challenge.

See the beauty and feel the push of the wind. Know your heart aches for something more and follow it, no matter the cost.

Because nothing changes if nothing changes.  And it is time to wake up.

 

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Everything Will be Okay

I sat on the bench at the playground as Carter ran around the various areas.  We had just finished baseball for the fall season. I watched other kids play, parents talk and teenagers throw football off to the side. It’s amazing how you can be lonely in the midst of a crowd.

I sent Val a message wondering where we fit in. Our story isn’t set yet.  Our roots aren’t in the dirt. We are different from so many of the other couples, ones that don’t consider Monday the worst day of the week.

We’re a work in progress, a life being written.

This morning I read an article about Micro Church.  It cited one in Brooklyn meeting in a storefront every week to share a meal, an interesting image so close to the massive Brooklyn Tabernacle. Two buildings for the same purpose. Two congregations existing on different paths.

Now is the perfect time to examine the journey.

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Later in the day we visited an orchard a few miles away.  The one we normally go to was closed. After having to pull over and GPS the address on my phone, we finally found it. A dirt road led up and across rolling hills.  Finally, we parked on a hilltop with fields and trees blazing with color all around us. The girl working the small shed where you paid said the pumpkins were up over a hill in the distance.

We kept walking and, when we crested that hill, I was struck by the beauty of the moment.

A constant breeze pushed us forward.  The gravel road paralleled a field of pumpkins to our left and apple trees to our right.  Carter ran ahead to find his pumpkin.  Val and Aiden walked together.  I snapped some pictures.

It was a reminder, the creator tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “If I can paint these hills and grow these apples, things are under control.  Every blade of grass in this field holds my fingerprint. The wind carries my song. If I care about this, how much more do I care about you? Everything will be okay.”

Life will be okay.

I stored the moment in my heart as you must do with all divine communication. Maybe Monday won’t be so bad after all.

~Matt

Picks of the Week- 9/29/2014

Scripture: This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33: 2-3

A verse from one of my favorite books of the Bible. In this day of information, there are still unsearchable things we need to find.

Book: The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible by Mark Batterson

Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. He is the author of The Circle Maker, a book that changed my prayer life forever.  This title is his newest release about miracles happening in everyday life.  I hesitate naturally when a church leader talks about prayer as they tend to veer towards God as a slot machine in the sky. Batterson does not do this. He supports his points with solid research, examples from real life, and Biblical backing.  Check out his titles here.

 

Website: Storyline Blog

I’ve posted about Donald Miller before and his site is his blog. His thoughts are fresh, open, and honest.  If you are looking to refine your story, visit and see what he has to say.

Family Activity: Pumpkin Patch

On Saturday, we spent a few hours at a local farm while Carter and Aiden played in a hay jump, corn maze, and playground. Fall is my favorite time of year for this very reason. We make it a yearly tradition to visit Linvilla Orchards, outside of Philadelphia, to experience all a farm in the fall has to offer.

Marriage Activity: Fresh Cider

When you are at the orchards, pick up some fresh cider. When you get home, put the kids to bed and warm it up. This will be cheaper than the Starbucks version and more romantic as you recover from chasing the kids around the farm.

Val’s Style Pick of the Week:

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Redken Powder Grip 03- Gives hair a modern matte finish with amazing texture and fullness, and adds grip to prep hair for long-lasting updos, or as Val says, “backcombing in a can.”

Val’s Bag of the Week:

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Thermal ToteA classic favorite! It’s great for taking lunch on the go. Whether you need to keep your food cool or warm, it does the job. Great for school or work lunch, or for taking to a ballgame. Also great as a baby bag to keep bottles cold. Measures approx: 9.5”H x 14”W x 4.5”D  I’ve personally taken one of these for lunch to work more than once and it is a perfect fit if you must share a refrigerator with other employees. You can find it here for $18.00. You can find other specials for September and the entire new catalog for the month at Val’s personal Thirty-One site.

 

Soundtrack Inspiration: We Rejoice by Elevation Worship

If you were to give me creative control over a worship song, it would probably end up like this.  I love the energy, flow, and message.  Enjoy it!

Picks of the Week-9/15/2014

Scripture: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

We live in a world where truth can seem subjective and, yet, we know the truth and it will always set you free.

Book: The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art by Erwin McManus

McManus is the pastor of Mosaic church in Los Angeles. Pick up his books if you can.  He’s a thinker and leader with a valuable voice for the church. You can find this new release here.

Worship Song:

Chris Tomlin has a new cd out this month.  We’ve seen him twice in concert and each experience has been an amazing encounter of worship.

Website: Side Hustle Nation.

Great resources for entrepreneurs starting their businesses while working full-time. I learn something with every visit.

Family Activity: The Beach

If you can swing it, head down for a beach weekend in September. The crowds have lessened and the weather is still warm enough to enjoy it. It is a great time to bring the kids and actually have space to walk around and see the sights.

Marriage Activity: Work it Out

With the passing of summer, this is the time to start into exercising. Find a sport and do it together.  Get outside and run, hit the playgrounds.  Make the most of the good weather. Set a goal and chase it down as a team.

Val’s Style Pick of the Week:

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Redken Strong Hold Anti-humidity Finishing Spray. This is the time of year where the wind and environment can impact hair.  This is a great product for anyone needing more control with their hair.

 

Val’s Bag of the Week:

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Littles Carry-All Caddy. Great choice for supplies, toys, or even a gift bag.  You can find it here for $12.00. You can find other specials for September and the entire new catalog for the month at Val’s personal Thirty-One site.

Picks of the Week 9/1/2014

Here’s a new feature we are kicking off tonight called Picks of the Week.  Once a week we will have a selection of things to try and check out including input from Val with a style selection and Thirty-One bag of the week. Let us know what you think!

Picks of the Week:

Scripture: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

I had to start at the beginning.  This is the verse that was the seed for this business and our family.  A great one to pray and consider as you go through this week.

Book: Manhood by Terry Crews.

I’ve posted about it already.  If you are a man looking for a man’s story of survival, read this book.  If you are woman looking to figure out your man, get this book.  Great stories of struggle and triumph. You can find it here.

Worship Song:

One of Val’s new favorites. Great motivation!

Website: RELEVANT Magazine. Love the articles and commentary.  Thought provoking and relevant material.

Family Activity: High school football game.

We live two minutes away from our local stadium.  There is nothing like stepping outside on a fall night to hear the band play and take in the crisp air.  Go check one out. Support the team. Buy the hot dogs, fries, and soda. Cheer with the families of the future sports stars playing on the field.

Marriage Activity: Pumpkin coffee.

The flavors of the season are out.  Grab a cup with your partner and take the time to talk and finish it around all those much cooler than you at the local coffee shop.

Val’s Style Pick of the Week:

Val’s style picks can all be found online, at her salon Blue Denim, or at your local salon.

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Redken Full Frame 07 Volumizing Mouse- You apply it to wet hair and can use it on curly or straight hair for volume that lasts all day.

Bag of the Week:

Val’s Bag of the Week can be found at the link in the description with many other selections on her Thirty-One website.

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This bag is part of the monthly special. Spend $35.00 and you get it for $15.00. You can find this and the new fall line up at Val’s personal Thirty-One site here.

Try these things out and tell us how it goes.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let us know.

~Matt and Val