April 24, 2015

How to be beautiful in one easy step!

I was in the kitchen, cleaning, when I heard Hannah say something I hope I will never forget. It wasn't so much the words I hope I don't forget; it was the utter amazement in her voice as she proclaimed her newest revelation.

She was watching Dragon Tales, and in this particular episode, she saw a caterpillar turn into a butterfly.  I heard her suck in her breath, and all excited, she cried, "Mom!  Look!!  I didn't know a caterpillar could turn into a butterfly! Oh, wow!!!"

As I walked into the living room, I saw she was enraptured by what she was witnessing on the television.  Her mouth was agape, and she said a couple more times, "Wow... wow..."

I couldn't help but giggle and smile at her and feel grateful for having been there to witness this moment when my little girl learned that caterpillars can turn into butterflies.

It was an awesome moment!

And then, I had a special moment of my own.  Watching Hannah, I thought, "Yes, God turns caterpillars into beautiful butterflies, my sweet girl," and I then heard the Holy Spirit say to me, "Yes, it's what I do with people, too."

My mouth fell open, and I whispered, "Wow... wow..."

You see, God's power transforms lives - a transformation much like a caterpillar makes upon becoming a butterfly.  When you give your life over to the one who created you, He takes you and makes you new!  #beautiful

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation: The old is gone; the new is here!"
  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I have some questions for you: what do you see when you look at yourself?  Do you see a new creation? Is what you see beautiful?  

Let me clarify something: I'm not talking about your physical appearance.  I'm asking about your spirit.  How do you see your SELF?

Apparently, many see themselves as - at best - average.  Check out this video my Sunday school teacher shared with us this past Sunday.  It's alarming, really.  Watch it. Then come back here. I'll wait ;-)

I don't know about you, but when I saw this video, I knew instantly I would choose to walk through the beautiful door if put in that situation.

You see, I don't THINK I'm beautiful. I know I am.  I may have been average when I was lost in my sin, but after coming to know Jesus and feeling the new creation that I am in Christ, I KNOW I am beautiful.  And it's not some temporary, fleeting knowledge.  No. It is my reality.  

"And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach."  (Colossians 1:21-22)

Don't get me wrong.  There are still days when I don't feel beautiful, but feelings are not truth.  And the truth is this: if you are a child of The Most High King, you are beautiful. Embrace it!  Speak that truth in His name when you hear the lies form the evil one telling you otherwise.


Do you have that confidence in your life?  Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?  If not, what are you waiting for?!  He wants to make you new.  Just let Him.

For information on how to become a new creation in Christ, read "The Roman Road to Salvation."

Today's forget-me-not:  If you are in Christ, you are a new creation.  You are beautiful.  Thank Him today for His precious gift of salvation!

April 17, 2015

sacrificing contentment for greater contentment

I have taught English in the same high school for twelve years. It is the only place I have ever taught. But last year, I felt the Lord prompting me to apply for a transfer to a high school closer to home. At the time, I was very eager for a change, so I did not hesitate to in for the transfer.  A few months later, I had a promising interview with the principal at that school, but I didn't get the job.

I was confused.  I really felt as if the Lord wanted me at that location. I wanted to be at that location! After I was denied, I blogged about my disappointment in a post I wrote entitled, "Preacher Say."  In that post, I came to this conclusion:
"God will not give you what you want until you come to a place in your life where what you want is what He wants."
Translation: I have to be content with my current situation [His current will for my life] before He will move me.  That is IF He wants to move me - which I believe He does.
In other words, I need to come to a place in my life where I accept my current position at my current location with my current student population and my current colleagues.
It was hard, but I strove to do that. I knew I was going to have to work at being happy with God's current plan for my life. I was going to have to stay put, so it became obvious what God wanted for me at that time: He wanted me to learn to be content in all things, at all times, and in all places. 

I knew the Lord wanted to move me to the other high school, but it became clear to me that He wasn't going to change my current situation until I learned the lesson of contentment!

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances...I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

So even though I was desperate for a change, I resolved to start this school year with renewed faith. After all, scripture said I could do all things through Him who gives me strength.  So every day I came to work, I went in as if working for the Lord. Everything felt good. The year was going well. I began to love my job anew! 

The transfer window opened again, and at first, I struggled with the decision of requesting another transfer to the high school closer home.  I was comfortable. My heart was once again at home with my current position unlike what it had been when I put in for a transfer the previous year.  I didn't want to do it, but I still believed God wanted to move me to this other school.  What was I going to do?!

Content with my current situation, I requested the transfer anyway.  Because more than being comfortable, I wanted to be in His will.  I laid my contentment on His alter and prayed, "I believe you want me elsewhere, and although it is scary to leave all I have ever known, Lord, I will do it if you want me to."

And you know what? I found out this week - I got the transfer!

It has been an amazing week!!!  At any time I get nervous about moving to my new school, God shows me how good and right this move is going to be in the long run.  I'll be pouring my efforts into a school my children will eventually attend - and that the children of many of my friends will eventually attend.  In addition to this blessed privilege, I'll be challenged to change my teaching style to meet the needs of a different student population.  I'll be able to grow as an educator in ways I would not be able to at my current location, and I'll be blessed to form more precious relationships with fellow educators.  

God knew I needed this before I did.  He prepared my heart for this and taught me something about contentment: it is yielding everything completely to His will - EVERYTHING.  This includes your current contentment.  And if you do this, sacrifice your current contentment for His will, you will find an even greater contentment.  With God, our sacrifices bring back great returns!

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  (Luke 6:38)

I can't even begin to express to you how excited I am to begin this new chapter of my life! Thank you, Jesus!!!

Today's forget-me-not: Be content and obedient in your current situation, and desire nothing else but what He puts on your current path.

April 10, 2015

The Color Run 2015

I did it again! No "oops" about it ;-)

For the second time, my daughter and I, along with some friends, ran in The Color Run - The Happiest 5K on the Planet!

Before the run! #nocoloryet
That morning, it was a bit cold.  This is why my daughter is all bundled up in the above pic. Because of the temperature, she was a bit moody at first, but she "warmed up" to the whole experience as soon as the sun came out.

I had a great time making memories with my big girl and our friends.  We took more pics than I could ever share on this blog!  However, there is one pic I absolutely MUST share! The Color Run photographers took a picture of Beth in mid-run, and when I saw it, I just fell in love with it!!!  

Intense concentration!  Future runner? 
When I saw that pic, this verse came to mind:

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I want my children to develop a love of being active. Hopefully that will translate into a love of running, but I'll settle for a love of fitness of any kind.  

I want them to also grow to understand the importance of friendship.  Developing healthy and fun relationships with others is one of the reasons we were put here on this planet. God wants us to enjoy each other.  I mean, Jesus had twelve friends with which he spent a lot of his time ;-) 

Besides, good friends are like family, and family is important.  You know they got your back if times get tough and you are ever in need. 

We had a great time with our friends; these ladies are like family to me!
Overall, we had a great time!  This is one of my favorite 5Ks to run/walk. I look forward to it every year.  Find out when it will be coming to a city near you, and sign up now!  I promise, you will not be disappointed!!

Memories were made in the three miles we experienced together...

Making our way to the finish line!
And this mommy and daughter had a great time!

Today's forget-me-not:  Consider what you want your children to value when they grow up, and start their training plan now!

April 3, 2015

a divine appointment

I did it! I ran my first 10K of 2015!

One of my new year's resolutions for this year is to run three 10Ks.  When I blogged about my resolutions back in December, I wrote, "I don't know why this is exactly, but I've recently had a desire to run some long distance races."

See, my desire to do this is particularly odd because of my reaction to running my first ever 10K race back in 2013 - the Atlanta Peachtree Roadrace.  Here is what I wrote after running that 6.2 miles:
I hate running 6 miles.  I just don't like it because I don't understand it, for ME.  Why run 6 miles when 3 miles give you the same high but a better sense of accomplishment?  Running 3 miles also gives me what I love most about running - time with myself and the metabolism to EAT!
But despite this response to my first 10K, I felt this irresistible desire to run a few races of greater distance in 2015.

So this past weekend, after a few months of training, my hubby and I set off to Berry College and both ran the 10K of the Berry Half/10K/5K race.

Now let me just say, I fell in love with this campus!  It is BEAUTIFUL, and the running course was almost entirely FLAT!!  This place is a runner's dream come true!!!  #illbeback

pic from anthrops lm
The above pic is of the trails at Berry College. I didn't see any deer, but isn't it just beautiful?!

As I ran through the beauty that is the campus of Berry College, I couldn't help but see the goodness of our Lord. How can you NOT think about your creator while running through all that artistry?! I couldn't help but reflect on His goodness to me. And then, it happened... I heard Him say, as close to audibly hearing His voice as I've ever heard Him, "I love you."

Tears were in my eyes that first mile as I thought about how blessed I was to be running on that campus.  Breathing in the crisp, fresh air...  Drinking in the vistas... I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Jesus for prompting me to want to run more 10Ks; because if He had not done so, I would not have gone to Berry College that day.  I would have never considered running in this particular race. I would have missed this time in God's beautiful creation. I would have missed hearing His sweet voice.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is he that takes refuge in the Lord." Psalm 34:8

That is how I felt in that moment: blessed.

Continuing on with the run, the reality that I was about to complete two 5Ks - something I would normally just do once in a single weekend - set in, and I felt a sense of dread.  Thankfully though, it was fleeting...

When you embark on a longer run, the only reassurance you have that you will make it to the finish line is found in your previous training.  You've put in the hours.  You've run the miles.  You have to bank on that.  You have to remember it.  And so you tell yourself after the "Ready. Set. Go!" - I can do this! You put your trust in the training. You trust.

And so I gave myself that mental pep talk when I hit mile two.  And I felt better.  And I again heard God's voice:

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me."  John 14:1

"Trust also in me..."

A wave of peace came over me at that point in my run.  I heard Him, again, so clearly: "Trust me." And instantly, I knew that I could.

I could trust in Him to help me finish my run. I could trust in Him to guide my family. I could trust in Him for our livelihood and our relationships and our everything!

I had an epiphany; I can do this more in my every day: trust.

I had an amazing time hearing from God on my first 10K run of this year.  I'm so glad I was obedient to the urging to take on the task of running a longer distance.  I can't wait to race another 10K and hear from God again!

Running Time 1:16:00  (a four minute improvement of my overall best 10K time)

Today's forget-me-not: He is good.  You are blessed.  Trust Him.

March 26, 2015

The Roman Road

One of the songs I enjoy on my running playlist is Jonathan Thulin's "Coat of Arms." It has a great tempo for when you are trying to pace yourself in a longer distance run.  But there's another reason I love this song. It really gets me thinking!  Here are some of the lyrics:
What do I stand for?
Am I left, am I right, am I up and down?
Am I east, am I west, do I wear the crown?
Is my creed worth dying for?
What do I live for?
Can you tell in my face what my heart beats for?
Do the words that I speak show it to the core?
Does my glow outshine the stars? Can you see my coat of arms?
Can you see my coat of arms?
I love the rhetorical questions!  The one that really inspires introspection in me is this one:

Is my creed worth dying for?

A creed is defined as a system, doctrine, or formula of religious belief, as of a denomination.  And this got me thinking... What about my - personal - creed?  Jamie's creed. What does Jamie believe? I instantly knew the answer.

Jamie believes the bible is God's holy, infallible, and inherent word. And while the whole bible is the foundation for who I am and how I conduct myself, there is one book within this book that sums up my theology well; it is the book of Romans. #myfavoritebookinthebible

Now, recently, I felt lead to write about my creed.  I just didn't know where to start. But after thinking about my favorite book of the bible in relation to answering the above question, "What does Jaime believe," I felt moved to write a found poem refashioning the words of the book of Romans to express my convictions.

Here it is, and I pray you enjoy it! :-)

"The Roman Road"

To the obedience that comes from faith
through Jesus Christ,
for all have sinned and fall short,
blessedness and righteousness.

Christ died for us,
the gift of God.
I a slave to sin,
but the Spirit is life and peace.

I speak the truth in Christ,
you confess and are saved.
God is irrevocable.

Love one another,
stop passing judgement,
bear with the failings of the weak,
greet one another with a holy kiss,
that all might believe and obey.

What is your personal creed?  Let me challenge you to find a way to express it, today.

Today's forget-me-not: Who I am, and what I live for. My creed.

March 20, 2015

my favorite superhero

Superheroes are defined as fictional characters (heroes) with extraordinary or superhuman powers. But I'm here today to tell you, not all superheroes are fictional.  I know one, personally, and she is my all time favorite! Her name is Dusty.

Christopher Reeves is often quoted as saying, "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."  

Dusty epitomizes those words, and that is just one of many reasons as to why she is my favorite superhero!

And yes, my favorite superhero is better than yours!  Here's why...

My superhero has a tremendous capacity for grace.  She favors everyone above herself.  Dusty seems to always be asking if YOU are comfortable or if YOU need or want something she could possibly help provide.  Her goodwill is given even when it isn't merited. Now THAT is a superpower! 

My superhero is true and honest.  You are never left wondering who she really is or what she is really thinking.  She is who she is, and there isn't a false bone in her body! 

She is loyal - willing to fight for those she loves, if you let her. As her friend, I know she would be by my side in an instant if I called upon her.  She would move heaven and earth for those she loves.

Her strength is amazing. Certainly, it is superhero, grade A, strength!  Despite recently having her world ripped out from beneath her, she carries on.  Daily, she finds the strength to make tough decisions that must be made. She finds the strength to greet each day with her infectious optimism. It is astounding to see!  Yet another superhuman power, to say the least!!

And the way she loves everyone around her, it is an inspiration. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it.  Her smiles. Her hugs! They are unlike any other!!  The genuine affection she exudes when she embraces you can leave you speechless.

That's my Dusty. The best superhero out there!

Dusty - Third place female overall at the CASA Superhero 5K
I had the pleasure of going on a road trip and staying overnight in a hotel (#girlsnightout) with Dusty and my running buddy, Jaimee, this past weekend.  It was a much needed night away for all of us! And I know Jaimee would agree with me when I say, we LOVED our time with Dusty.

Everything I said above about this girl is more than true. I could never write a blog post that would do her justice.  She's just that amazing.  I could go on and on about things she did this weekend that embody what I've described above.  Suffice it to say, she is my superhero, and I can only hope and pray you all have someone like her in your lives. 

I am blessed to call her friend and, now, fellow running buddy!  We had a great time at the 5K! Although my race time wasn't the greatest (38 mins - probably due to the distraction of 10K training), my time at the race with these lovely ladies was the greatest!

White Lighting (me), Purple Flash (Jaimee), and Fuchsia Storm (Dusty): we will meet and run again at The Color Run in a few weeks! I can't wait!!  (I love our running names!!! Thank you, Jaimee!) 

Running Buddies
Today's forget-me-not: Be a superhero!  Be gracious and true and honest and loyal. Be strong. Be an inspiration. 

February 27, 2015

What does spending time with Jesus look like?

For much of my Christian life (a total of twenty years this July), I have beat myself up - metaphorically speaking - over my inability to have a consistent quiet time with God.

I have tried to establish my quiet time in the morning right when I wake up; I have tried to have it right before I go to bed. For many reasons, neither time has proven to foster a regular devotional time with my Savior.

Now when I say "quiet time with God," I am talking about a designated time where it is just me, my bible, and my Jesus.  You might not think that should be so hard; however, for this busy working mom of two children, finding time for a "quiet" time has eluded me!  ;-)

But lately, God is showing me that time spent with Him can - and should - look like many different things!  In other words, I've been too narrow in constructing my definition of what consists of quality time with Jesus.

Now, don't get me wrong.  You can - and should - make time to be alone with God, reading your bible and praying for an undefined amount of time, but you shouldn't limit your time with God to moments like these.  Moments that, for some, can oftentimes be hard to come by and cause major self-esteem issues when day after day you fail to attain them! #me

Thankfully, God has lead me to a verse from His Word I have read a million times, but for whatever reason, now speaks to me a different truth upon reading it.  God knew I desperately needed to hear this at the start of 2015:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Do you see it?  These verses encourage the believer to have an ongoing relationship with Jesus, 24/7, so time spent with God should not be limited to a scheduled moment in solitude with the Savior because He doesn't mean for us to only communicate with Him to meet a daily appointment. Spending time with Jesus looks like many things because our minutes are filled with many different moments, and He wants to be a part of each one.

So if we are living the message found in 1 Thessalonians 5, some days may have moments where we are able to have a scheduled "quiet time" with God while others may not, but always, we should be in direct communication with our Lord.

So, time spent with Jesus can look like many things!

It looks like a person intently listening... to a song that elevates the Lord Jesus, all the while a slight smile on her face as her soul worships her Savior.

It looks like a runner with eyes fixed on the horizon... and all the while having an internal conversation with God about the day ahead or behind.

It looks like someone staring at her phone... and scrolling through BibleGateway or The Bible App and drinking in God's living Word while listening to what He has to say to her that day.

It looks like a person standing still and peering into a forest or gazing up into the sky - for just a minute or two...  in a spirit of thanksgiving to her Creator.

It's looks like a writer - or blogger - sitting at her computer and typing... all that God has shown her that day while listening to Him for direction and inspiration.

Jesus wants all these moments and more! Isn't that beautiful?!

Let me leave you with something my Pastor shared with us a few Sundays ago...

Revelation 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and he with Me."

This verse is typically used as an evangelistic tool to draw non-believers into a relationship with Jesus; however, in context, the verse is really a call to Christians.  Re-read it again; this time with YOU in mind.

Do you hear Him?  He's knocking.  Let's throw open every "door" we have and invite in Jesus.

What are some areas of your life where you can make space for Jesus?

Today's forget-me-not: Jesus wants to spend time with you - all the time. Share your every waking moment with Him - and then some.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.
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