Monday Night Bible Study

I’m rarely plagued by loneliness. I can spend hours alone in my home and be perfectly content. In fact, the only time I ever experience loneliness is when I’m in a crowded room. It can be difficult for me to build connections with new people and even more difficult to sustain those connections.

As a person who enjoys lounging in my comfort zone, I’m tempted to avoid large group settings. Even so, I’ve always enjoyed attending the women’s Bible study at my church. There I am able to worship alongside a large group of women, and then we break up into small groups for discussion.

However, for almost two years, Monday night Bible study has conflicted with my school schedule. Even though I wasn’t able to attend the study, I continued to do the Bible study by myself. I believe time spent in the word of God will always be fruitful. I can say the Lord ministered to me in the comfort of my own room and that it was a necessary season.

This semester I no longer have class on Mondays, and I have been able to officially rejoin the group. This past Monday, we met in someone’s home to belatedly celebrate Valentine’s day. While eating spaghetti and lasagna, I witnessed the love of Christ in these women. We vary in age; some could be my sisters, mothers, or grandmothers. Some are single; others are married. Our group is composed of a stay at home mom, a surgical tech, a teacher, a nurse, an executive, a student, among many other occupations. God has also empowered each of these ladies with unique spiritual gifts. Some are listeners. Some serve.

For this reason, I wholeheartedly praise God for the diversity within the body of Christ.

Upon opening a valentine,  Colossians 3:14 was taped inside.

“Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Colossians 3:14-16

Nobody cares about your dreams…

“Nobody cares about your dreams as much as you do.” – Rachel Hollis

If you’ve read my blog post about podcasts I’m currently listening to, then you know Rachel Hollis is currently an influential figure in my life.

I recently pre-ordered her new book, Girl, Wash Your Face, and I cannot wait for it to arrive this February! Each chapter begins with a lie she once believed such as, “I’ll start tomorrow, I’m a bad mom, or I need a drink.”

Although Rachel and I are at completely different points in our lives, her quote about dreams resonated with me.

Her point is that we cannot depend on people out in the business world, our spouses, significant others, friends, or even our moms to love our dreams as much as we do. Don’t get her wrong, she encourages people to find support in others, but sometimes our dreams will cause us to walk alone.

My dream is to become a published author. I know that as I pursue this goal, there will be several close friends and family members that will have my back, but I’m also growing more and more aware that most of the physical work will be accomplished on my own.

Except, I’m never truly alone. I know my writing ability is a gift from God, and my confidence is in Him. This past summer, I recognized that when I’m prompted to speak, I regularly pull a Moses.

Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

How I love God’s response…

“So the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

If you know the whole story, Moses manages to squeeze in one more “send someone else,” and the Lord directs Aaron to help Moses.

I can definitely relate with Moses’ lack of confidence, but I’m also aware that God empowers and uses the weak.

xoxo

T. Shaw

P.S My posting schedule was supposed to be Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, but that lasted a week. I’ll be posting when I can.

 

 

 

Podcasts I’m currently listening to…

Happy Tuesday! Tomorrow is my 3rd wedding anniversary, and it is also the first day of Spring semester! I am SO ready to go back to school. Christmas break was slightly overrated. I got a Christmas cold, and then I got the flu. But I’m healthy now, and that’s all that matters! I’m also ready to have a routine again and see some sun. I’ve been inside way too much.

Anyway, I wanted to share with ya’ll what podcasts I’m currently listening to. I haven’t been listening to podcasts for very long, probably just this past year. Really, I’m always eager to learn about how different people do life, and podcasts are another way I can get inside some fascinating minds.

So, let’s begin!

1) Dais Podcast- Find Your Platform

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This podcast is hosted by the brilliant Rachel Hollis. I originally found Rachel on Instagram, because of my interest in adoption.
At that time, her and her husband were seeking to adopt a little girl to complete their family, and they will actually finalize the adoption next week! However, that is not what Dais is about. Although Rachel is a mom of four, she is also a CEO and an author. Her main goal is to empower women in life, but more specifically in business. Therefore, she introduces her listeners to “fellow business powerhouses” so that we can kick butt too! She talks about:

  • How to start your own business
  • How to grow your business
  • How to sell your product
  • How to balance work, life, and family
  • How to dress for the job
  • How to achieve a goal
  • How to ask for a raise/negotiate pay
  • How to get your book published

Let me emphasize, the advice she gives is tangible. She be breaking things down into bite size pieces for those of us with a lot of fears and a lot of excuses. I forgot to mention, I’ve never been interested in business (I blame the English major in me), but Rachel has me hooked, and she’s convinced me it might be nice to have money one day. 😉 Also, although this podcast is geared toward women, I wholeheartedly believe men can enjoy it too!

2) The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

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Jamie Ivey is a Christian, wife, mom (she’s also adopted children), author, and Texan! Each week she interviews a new guest, and they somehow never disappoint. I say that because she has SO many episodes. You’d think there would have to be at least one dud. Jamie only interviews women, and as you could probably glean from the title, her show is meant to make you feel like you’re sitting around a table among friends. Every conversation includes God. Her atmosphere is chill and lighthearted, but every now and then you get those deep, serious conversations. Often her topics include:

  • God/faith/ministry
  • Marriage/family/parenting
  • Community
  • Adoption
  • Authors/books (She interviews quite a few authors)

She also may interview people you already know. She has interviewed Kathie Lee Gifford from Today, and Catherine Lowe from Sean Lowe’s season of The Bachelor. (Which may or may not be a good thing 😉)

3) After 10 with Dave & Joe

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This is a brand-new podcast started by my brother and his friend Dave! Although they have hit some bumps in the road, I especially recommend episode 2-goals. Beginnings are difficult. Even this blog can mess with my head sometimes, and I’ve already started to question whether I should be writing at all. But, this is NORMAL. It is scary to step outside of one’s comfort zone, and that is one of the issues addressed on episode 2. It is vital for people to go for things beyond their reach. Otherwise, we grow stagnant and crusty. Ha, what a visual. Although this podcast does not have a fixed direction yet, you can be sure Dave and Joe are gonna share matters close to their hearts.

That is all for today! I hope you all had a marvelous Tuesday.

If you have any podcast recommendations for me, please leave them in the comment section! 😊

Christmas Cold

Did Christmas make anyone else sick?! I consider myself a healthy person, but then I stray from routine, stay up a little later, and bam I’m in bed with a box of tissues. Oh well.

I had a very merry Christmas. My husband and I spent Christmas Eve with my side of the family, and then we drove to Nevada that night to spend Christmas with Danny’s parents, his sister and her husband, and our baby nephew Elijah. The time we have together is extremely valuable, because we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like.

Here’s a picture of the lovely bunch!

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Now that we all have Instagram, we get to share glimpses of our lives with those we love. However, as we all know, pictures never tell the full story, which is why the good Lord made captions. Just kidding. I think this is something we are all aware of by now, but what does that mean? How does that translate?

On Christmas Eve, I was at church and ran into one of my friend’s mom. She shared with me that this was the first Christmas all her children were married. Her home would be empty for the first time. However, she said this with a smile, because all of them would return to celebrate Christmas at her house.

I was immediately taken back to the year my brother got married to Rachel. I was twelve. They wed in October, and I can clearly visualize him coming home one day to collect his Christmas ornaments to take to his new apartment to put on his own tree. One that didn’t include me. I can’t express how hurtful that day was. I was still a kid, and I think that was the first time I realized my Christmases, my life, would look very different from then on.

As I was telling this story to my friend’s mom, she asked, “Is that the only sibling you have?”

Without even thinking, I said, “No. I have a sister, but she’s never lived with me. So, she’s didn’t have ornaments on our tree.”

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wished I could take them back. As if somehow, that would make them less true.

But I was immediately comforted by her response, “I understand; we have a blended family too.”

Truly, my family is blended so well that I don’t even remember we have different parents most of the time, but then I run into those small moments that remind me that I do. Christmas is a magical time, but it’s also a season that heightens our expectations and emotions. As friends post pictures of their Christmases, we can start to believe all sorts of different things.

This Christmas, I’m grateful for the family God gave me. He has blessed us through love, marriage, and even divorce. How great that I serve a God who “works all things together for the good of those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28.

Now that Christmas (Blogmas) is over, I’m not totally sure where this blog is headed, but stay tuned. I’ll be brainstorming the next couple of days and deciding which days of the week I’ll be posting.

Thank you to all of my readers! I so appreciate your encouragement and support.

xoxo

Blogmas Day 16: Immanuel; God with us

“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23

 

My maternal grandma passed away in July 2014.

Her name is Jennie. One of the reasons my family does not have a long list of Christmas traditions is because traditions weren’t important to her. She didn’t follow rules; she made them. All she cared about was that her family was together. She called us her people, and she was and is our matriarch.

Her home was the first built on her street. That’s where we gathered, underneath the loquat tree, eating watermelon and fresh bread from the San Antonio Bakery. Her laugh. How I miss it.

There are so many stories surrounding her to tell, but I have several cousins who can tell them better, using her voice. Frankly, there are some I just want to keep to myself.

Toward the end, her health declined, but her fiery spirit never faltered. She never stopped loving life, no matter how hard it got. There were so many scares, so many times the doctors told us to prepare ourselves for the worst, and then she’d get better and come home. Typical, so typical for her to even defy mortality.

Nonetheless, the day would come, and even though none of us were ready to say goodbye, she was. I don’t know how we all fit in that one room, beside her hospital bed, but we were all there. She spoke to each of us and told us to drink water.

The morning she died, as my brother and I were preparing to head to the hospital, we had worship music playing on Pandora, and the song “I’ll Fly Away” came on. I remember we just looked at each other and knew the Lord was preparing us for her flight.

That time in the hospital, I believe it was only two to three days, there were numerous tears, but there was also so much laughter. I remember thinking, what does everyone think of us? We are so loud next to this dying woman, but we got it from her.

However, when she told us she was ready, the room grew still. She closed her eyes and resolved as a morendo.

We called the nurse, and his name was Emmanuel.

My mom asked, “Sir, do you know what your name means?”

He answered, “Yes.”

There will be dark days, days of loss and grief. However, Christmas reminds me that God desires to have an intimate relationship with each of us. Where would I be without God’s presence in my life? I yearn for His company. It is something I both want and need.

Whenever I feel alone, I remember His promise: God with us.

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“I’ll Fly Away”

Some bright morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To that home on Gods celestial shore
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away