Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hard Conversations

I.Hate. Confrontation.

I have been the person who will dodge and stay away from it as much as possible. I am a people pleaser and physically get sick when I am not able to miss confrontation and it’s staring at me face to face.

My body, mind, and heart shut down. I am not able to communicate or even process. So frustrating to not be able to communicate what I was wanting or needing to say.

Running away is the safe route.

Not wanting to have to deal with these frustrations and lack of control, running was my choice. When a conversation got too hard, I would shut down and run. Always leaving things undone or worse than before.

I have lost a lot of time running.

When my parents divorced and I had no idea how to have the hard conversations with my mom. I ran. For several years there was very little conversation. It was too hard and I didn’t want to deal with it.

A friend and I had a very different vision and opinion about something very important. I had no idea how to navigate the conversations and couldn’t see a way to deal with the confrontations.

So I ran.

Do you see a common theme? I lost time and relationship because of not wanting to have the hard conversations.

I am thankful God has provided some guidance and wisdom to show me how to stop running when things get hard. I haven’t gotten it all right and still have moments where I want to at least sprint, but I give myself some grace.

I started wanting to fight for my relationships and watched how hard conversations would strengthen the relationships and that I was still able to stand afterwards.

Are you a runner? Do you run away from hard conversations?

Here are 3 things I hope will encourage you to slow down, stand and watch God empower you to fight for your relationships.

 Do you believe in what you’re fighting for?
If you have that in the forefront of your mind, it’s easier to remind yourself what’s important and you will do the hard work to fight for it. The friendships were important to me.

  It’s ok to agree to disagree
Sometimes there isn’t a right or wrong answer. You have to either find common ground or allow yourself to be ok if you disagree. I saying I repeat often to myself is. “I am only responsible for my response and my response is to respond to God.”

  Allow yourself time to process
A lot of times we speak out of anger, hurt, or frustration and don’t allow some time to reflect and figure out the heart of the issue. Take some time to gather your thoughts so that the other person can start to hear what you have to say.

There is no manual for these things but what I have seen and experienced is it’s moments that have stretched and grown me more than the easy moments.
I hope you’ll take courage the next time your faced with confrontation.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Silencing The Noise

What is your guilty pleasure? A pint of ice cream and movie marathon, shopping, or a day at the lake?

TV and people magazine are mine. Just like when I shared Tuesday that I love a good story, I love when a good story is playing in front of my eyes. I love chick flicks, action, and reality TV.

When one of my former roommates and I both had nowhere to be and we would order a pizza or Chinese takeout, position ourselves with one claiming one couch and one claiming the other, and melt away our worries by watching a move or our favorite Gilmore Girls episodes.

One summer after coming back from a youth trip, we both decided to cut off our cable. We both felt we needed more quiet space to invest in others and ourselves.

White Space.

I have used a lot of different things to crowd my heart and mind. Music, TV, relationships, and other things. These things aren't bad but when used to fill a void or not wanting to deal with life... they can be a distraction.

What I found when my roommate and I cut the cable off was exciting adventures of things we were able to do with our time. Investing in some teenage girls in our youth group, inviting people over for dinner, learning more who we are in bible studies, and much more.

Moments still arise where I feel I need a period of time to quiet the noise and back away from TV, social media, and other distractions.

White space creates a place for God to pursue me and gives me time to write, reflect, and invest in others.

Are you in need of some white space? I encourage you to check out Andy Stanley's series called Breathing Room. He gives such applicable advice and wisdom of how important this is and how we can achieve it.

I know we wont to get to the end of our lives and say, "I wish we would  have watched more TV!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Book That Changed My Life

I have always loved a good story. If you know me at all, that doesn't surprise you. I have been known to be able to make up a good story in a quick moment to calm a crying child, get my nephews to sleep, or late nights with friends or youth on overnight trips. It soon became known as "Breeze's Story Hour".

I have fond memories from an early age of being read or told stories from my parents and grandparents. I can still see the cover of the book my dad would read our favorite bible story from. It was about Samuel and when God was calling out his name.... "Samuel, Samuel". My dad's voice was what I knew God's voice must sound like.

My twin sister and I shared a room and would make up stories to tell each other as we were trying to go to sleep. Mine involved 10 kids getting lost in the grocery store and a family finding the California Raisins(which if you don't know what these are, you are really young!) in their kitchens dancing and singing.

My favorite thing as a teacher has been reading aloud stories to my students. Picking the ones with meaning or a moral to learn.

Stories are food for my soul.

The other day I was rekindled with my long lost love of one of my favorite books that changed my life.

I read this book over 10 years ago and it was a huge turning point for me. Bruce gave me permission to not only dream big but that I was created with a God-given Dream. The book is written into two parts. First part is a parable about a boy named ordinary who lived in the land of familiar. Until one day a feather floats in and he knows it's his dream and he was meant for more.

The feather gave me a sense of hope and direction. 10 years later and I'm watching my dream become real. This feather has been a symbol of hope and knowing I was meant for more. This is why She Dreams Ministries uses a feather as their symbol.

What books have changed your life or perspective? Do you love storytelling or know someone who is? I would love to hear about them.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

When I Almost Let Fear Win

I might as well had been paralyzed.  I layed on that couch and I couldn't move. Sitting with my legs curled up and all was hidden underneath the blanket but my face. I needed to be able to see and hear. My body was turned so I could see the front door.


See I wasn't paralyzed physically. Nothing was wrong with my arms or legs. Even though my body felt like lead if I tried moving.

I was paralyzed by FEAR.

FEAR had sneaked in a small crevice of my mind and had spread like a disease. Out to kill me. Until it literally had camped out and overtaken my whole being. 

You may be wondering what I was waiting for and what had happened for me to get to this state.

I was waiting for something bad to happen.

The worse thing had happened in my life up to that point and it had opened the flood gates of a harsh world and busted my fairy tale bubble I was living in.  My parents had just divorced. For me this was devastating. My mind had a hard time processing and I started thinking irrationally. 

"If this could happen, then all these other things are possible. A stranger breaking into my house, a house fire, and other things I had never worried about."So I sat there night after night watching the door. It finally became too much.

I needed to feel SAFE.

When our worlds turn upside down. Whether through a break up, divorce, loss, or any other 
tragedy we find ourselves at our weakest. Satan knows this and will attack us while we are down.

When I am weak, He is STRONG.

After weeks of fearful nights, lots of tears, and knowing I needed to feel safe again...... I ran to my dad. He took me in and gave me a place to feel safe. He used encouraging words, reminding me of how BIG my God was, and making sure there were nightlights in the hallway.

I needed to feel SAFE.

Isn't that what our heavenly Father does? That in a broken world we can know to go to Him and give Him our fears and troubles.

My fears weren't fixed in one night. Sometimes they still pop out of no where. But I go to the place I can feel safe again. In the arms of Jesus.

Are you tired of carrying your fears and burdens? Let's start giving them to the one who wants to set us free!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

He Is Enough

My eyelids fluttered and opened as my alarm clock was going off. I was tired and my feet hadn't even hit the floor. 5 hours of sleep wasn't enough to feel refreshed.  I stumbled to the shower after I had gathered my things.

I knew I was going to need some warm water to help me feel refreshed. Clear up my clogged up brain and help me be ready for the tasks at hand. Today was the beginning of a weekend retreat for high school  girls. With being a table leader and giving a talk, it was going to require me to be on my A game.

Having just 5 hours of sleep wasn't the main reason I was tired. I had been pouring out everything in me in the last couple of weeks. Organizing and doing a women's conference, helping my family due to sickness, and my normal duties. Without time to recoup and restore, I was starting this week exhausted.

Physically, mentally, and spiritually!

Nothing. Left. To. Give.

Have you ever been so tired and overwhelmed that you felt like you had nothing left? 

What I found that day was that God knows how and when we need restoring. I thought I needed rest and a surge of energy. It never came. But what did come was God showing me He is enough.

When I am weak, He is strong.

Are you resting in Him today or trying to figure it out on your own?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Being Intentional With Friendships

Releasing a sigh of relief, we relaxed against the airplane seats. We had made it! Months of planning, excitement, and dodging obstacles of a winter storm, we were off on our girls trip. Heading south to warmer weather and sunny skies.

We had decided last fall that we needed a girls trip. We both love adventure and being single provides some advantages of flexible schedules. Not that you can’t travel when you’re married, but it requires a lot more planning and discussion between your spouse.

Our trip to Orlando consisted of a Luke Bryan concert, full day at Disney, a day in our Pj’s reading and collaborating on some upcoming projects, and great food and conversation.

Our day at Disney was so much fun! A highlight of the day was walking from different countries and experiencing the different cultures at Epcot. We decided to capture this experience by taking photos at each location with us wearing hats that represented the country we were in. This became such a fun game of which hat we were going to use and laughed at the ones we found.

In France, we stopped at a bakery that we had been told we must visit. We were not disappointed. Who knew a sandwich and dessert could taste so good. It was a wonderful day with perfect weather, not too crowded, and reminded us of magical places and dreaming big.

What do you and your friends do together for fun?

Maybe you’re in a season and having a hard time finding a time to hangout with your friends. Whether due to your busy schedules, newly married, or raising kids. Maybe you have forgotten how crucial it is to have quality time with your friends and have fun.

We have taken some time to answer some questions that we hope will encourage you and give you some ideas in helping you invest in your friendships.

1. How do you  keep up with your friends?

My friends will tell you I am a terrible phone friend.  It is actually one of my goals this year to be better at catching up with friends on the phone!  I do make it a point to text friends often to say hi or to send them some encouragement.  And I do love the old school way of communicating, sending letters or cards in the mail!  I think the important thing is just to be proactive in keeping up with your friends!  I love how with many of my friends it doesn't matter how long it has been since we have chatted we pick up right where we left off! 

Friends that are close by I usually see every week. We also will text each other throughout
the week. These people are who I go to for advice and share my days with. The friends that
don't live close, I have to make sure and be more intentional at having "phone dates" and

catch up with each other. I love to talk on the phone but I know several of my friends have
families and sometimes it's hard to coordinate a phone call. My goal this year is to be with friends more face to face.

2. What is something we can do when we are so busy to make room for fun with friends?

Be intentional!  As women we are always juggling lots of plates.  Whether you are in college, working, single or married, we tend to over commit ourselves which lead to friends being put on the back burner.  We must be intention in making time for friends, in order to foster those relationships.  Set weekly or monthly dates and put them immediately in your calendar.  Set phone dates or Facetime dates.

I agree with Brooke. Be intentional. Sometimes you need to plan ahead and set some fun get togethers. A group of my close friends and I have set Memorial Day weekend as a beach trip for the past 10 years or more. Now that school gets out later, we choose to go in June. It's something we all look forward to. It doesn't have to be a long trip somewhere. Plan a evening to paint or do pottery together at a local shop.

3. What are some of your favorite girls nights out for you and your friends?

I L.O.V.E girls nights!  One of my very best friends and I have a weekly girls night to watch one of our favorite TV shows together.  I go to her house in my pjs and we set up shop in her
girls playroom and watch Scandal. It is one of my favorite traditions.  I love grabbing coffee
or dinner with friends.  Going to concerts, movie nights, are other fun outings I love to share with my friends.  Weekend getaways are a great way to connect with friends and explore and enjoy new places.

I love evenings when we cuddle up in blankets on the couch and talk. Eat junk food and share each other's dreams. Sometimes it's Zaxby's and watching one of our favorite shows. I also love movies and popcorn.

4. How do you encourage your friend's dreams and goals?

I think it is so important to invest in your friends enough to really know what it is that makes them come alive.  It is such a great feeling to have people get excited about the things that we are passionate about.  On those girls night mentioned above, take some time to really listen to what your friends goals and dreams are.  Then help them move toward them.  Encourage them, look for ways to challenge them to move toward the things they love!  Partner with them in making their dreams come true!

I absolutely love hearing about my friends dreams and plans. I love getting to be a part of encouraging them with my words, help, or time to see their dreams come alive. I am not the friends who is able to give good steps and ways necessarily to get the goals achieved but I love to encourage a long the way and remind them to dream big and positive feedback.

We hope you will be encouraged to be intentional with your friendships. Tribes are 
important and need quality time.

Please check out Brooke's blog  Everyday Blessings and follow her on Instagram 

Brooke resides in Hickory, NC but will always call Asheville, NC home.  She is a teacher who loves to travel, go to concerts and shop in her spare time.  Brooke is passionate about encouraging others through her blog, by sending cards and by making people smile!