Have you ever had a moment when reading or hearing  scripture that makes you stop and say “Wait. What?” 
I remember the first time I heard the scripture that talks about Satan fighting Michael the arch angel for Mose’s body. 
“But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.””
Jude‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬
This happened again recently when I heard someone reading Exodus 14:14-15. 
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14:14 NIV
How many times have I heard this verse when I needed to be reminded that some times I just need to be still while I wait for God to work in a situation, in my heart. I’ve read the Exodus story many times, but while this verse always seems to pop out and is often used as an encouragement in many ways, I don’t think I ever stopped to consider the very next verse. 
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” Exodus 14:15 NIV
Wait? How can the very next verse be encouraging them to move when in the very sentence before Moses is telling them to be still? 
Another translation puts it this way: 
13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Exodus 14:13-15 ESV
Wait. It says “silent” not “still.” 
Being still and being silent can have two very different meanings. Yes being silent can mean being still in our spirit, but 
how often do we think we need to be still, to wait, when God is actually calling us to be silent while we move forward? 
How often does being still really mean being afraid to take a next step or feeling stuck? Are we paralyzed by fear and use the excuse that God is calling us to be still? 
There is a vast difference in being still and being silent. 
Too often I find myself struggling to remain silent when situations are frustrating me. I think most of us would rather voice our frustrations rather than be silent. At least that passes the time while we wait on God to do something about the situation that we are frustrated with. 
But where does that leave our faith? 
Faith is not passive. Faith is active. We can’t be still and move forward. But when we look at it as being silent? Well now that changes everything. 
We can move one step at a time while also being silent. It’s only when we are silent that we can hear the Holy Spirit’s voice directing our steps and fighting for us. When we silence our complaining and take the next step He calls us to, our faith continues to grow as we move one-step-at-a-time toward the purpose He created us for and He uses it all for His glory.  

My Journey with Bullet Journaling

I started a bullet journal in January instead of using a traditional planner this year. Yes, I know I’m a little late to the party on this, but that’s okay. I still use a calendar app on my phone so I get a ding to remind me of an appointment and also for shopping checklists but I find my brain needs an analog planner. There’s something about physically putting pen to paper that you don’t get with digital. I used the Erin Condren planner for a couple of years and while I liked it, I wanted just a bit more flexibility in how mine was set up. I searched and searched, but could never find one set up just like I wanted it to be.

I had read about bullet journaling but was a bit overwhelmed by it all. Then I read a blog post from The Lazy Genius that simplified it tremendously for me. I started from there and was basically using it just to list the tasks and errands I needed to run each day, and while I liked it, it wasn’t working as well as I had hoped.

I still need to see the entire month laid out so I draw one out every month.

I do like using a Future Log so I have more space to write what I know is ahead for the entire month.

In the beginning I just listed tasks and errands or appointments out day by day, but it wasn’t working for me as well as I hoped.

Then last week I saw a friend’s bullet journal & liked how she had hers set up. She sectioned hers off for different areas of her life. For some reason seeing hers caused something to click in my brain and give myself permissions to tweak mine that way. Having sections was the one thing I really liked about my Erin Condren planners, but it had 3 sections per day. After seeing my friend’s and how she had set up her sections weekly, I realized that’s how I needed to do mine!

I modified my bullet journal to work for the different areas I need using a weekly layout and am really liking it now. I know it will continue to evolve over time and I love the flexibility a bullet journal provides to do just that, evolve each week.

What do you use for a planner? Do you bullet journal? If you do, what all do you use your bullet journal for? I would love to hear!



I Was Anastasia

Possible Spoiler Alert

Is it possible to love and hate a book all at the same time?

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon is a beautifully written historical fiction novel about Princess Anastasia Romanov and Anna Andrews who claimed to be Princess Anastasia after the Romanov family was brutally executed in Russia.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I have always enjoyed learning about Russian history. Lawhon does go back and forth quite a bit in time instead of writing in a straight time line, but that did not bother me and really did seem to work in this novel.

I thought Lawhon did an excellent job of making you hopeful for one ending while giving you very small clues close to the end that maybe it wouldn’t turn out like you hope. But even when I read the ending I still found myself disappointed which is why I say I loved it and hated it all at the same time. I was still somehow hoping for the fairy tale ending even though I know the history and know that the way she ended it is the only way the story could have ended.

If you love historical fiction, especially ones about history of royalty, and don’t mind non-linear time lines, I think you will enjoy I Was Anastasia.


Listening to Lately

The first season of this podcast investigates the missing persons case of the young Georgia beauty queen and teacher Tara Grinstead who vanished in the fall of 2005. It hooks you in the first episode. You may catch yourself binge listening this podcast.
I’m late to the party on this one. I started listening to Kendra Adachi (aka The Lazy Genius) & reading her blog last fall. I want to be her friend or personal assistant. Either is fine. Except she doesn’t live in Alabama. Maybe a virtual assistant? Her post on doing a bullet journal sold me on trying a bullet journal this year. And her Instagram stories are great. I love how real she is.
Okay I’m a nerd. I love learning more about history but let’s face it. Most history books are snooze fests. I love a good history documentary though. And American History Tellers is like that. It dives deep into specific eras like the Cold War and you learn so much that you would never read or learn about in high school history.
Chatologie is a faith based podcast where Angie chats with various guests. I love the name but don’t think it’s shallow chatting with these guests. The conversations make you think.
This is a new podcast from two of my favorite podcasters Knox and Jamie from the Popcast. Think bible stories you heard growing up in church meets pop culture.
And of course the two podcasts that started it all for me, The Popcast & What Should I Read Next, are still the two I listen to religiously each week.

Her name is Elizabeth. And she prays.

She’s there almost every time I go to Walmart. An older lady, just sitting greeting each and every person.
Walmart isn’t my favorite place, but this one is convenient to the gym and the business I work for. I try to go early in the morning before it gets busy. She’s there every time I go on a weekday morning sitting on the bench near the shopping carts. Every time she greets you with a “Good morning. God bless you,” or “Have a great day. God bless you,” as you leave. And every time I think to myself that she must have the spiritual gift of encouragement.
I always speak politely to her and say good morning or thank you, but that’s all. I’m so task oriented my brain is focused on the task at hand. Get what I need to get and leave. I’ve wondered for over a year what her story is. Why does she sit there so many mornings greeting people? Where does she live? Is she not able to work?
The last time I went I wished I had stopped long enough to ask her. Something told me I should ask.
As I stopped by Walmart just after 7am on this cold January morning to pick up a few groceries, I knew I was supposed to ask her if she was there.
She was there. Sitting on the bench in the drafty entry way next to the shopping carts. Just like always.
“You’re here all the time,” I say to her.
“Yes I am. It’s part of my ministry. From 6-10 every morning Monday through Friday. I pray for each person that walks through these doors.”
I told her each time I’ve seen her I thought she had the gift of encouragement. You could tell she didn’t want to talk about herself. She just wanted to keep greeting each person and praying for them.
Her name is Elizabeth. And she prays.
I wonder how many people she’s greeted and prayed for over the many weeks and months she’s been sitting there and they’ve walked through the doors of Walmart. I’m thankful I have been one of them.