Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Thank You Note to Taylor Swift

Disclaimer: If you are not a Taylor Swift fan bear with me through this post because it applies to all us ladies.
 I mean, I guess we can still be friends, but Taylor is pretty awesome & you should like her. (hehe)

So if you are a TSwift you were probably as excited as I was this Monday when the long anticipated music video for her song Bad Blood was released (It was first released on television Sunday night but hit the internet on Monday). The Swifter had been giving us little teasers for a while introducing the different characters making appearances in her music video. It built anticipation. It started conversations. It got  our attention.

I watched it.

I loved it.

It. was. wonderful... in an unexpected way.

Of course I knew what the song was about. I have listened to it, head banged to it, sang it way too loud, I got it. But when I saw the music video I loved it even more. Now don't make fun... I will explain why, but if I am honest I would have to admit that yes, I teared up. (I said don't laugh... that includes smirking)

Where did these tears come from? I will tell you. I am not promoting any kind of drama, but many times people associate drama with girls- and I will leave that there so I don't get off on a ranting session on that topic. Regardless of what causes "bad blood," we all have those experiences. We have situations that make us uncomfortable, feel unsafe, create lasting tension. We can all relate to the feeling that the world... or our world... is against us. It can feel like a fight. But what a relief when we have women who we know are on our team. Friends, family, mentors, role models who come to not just stand on the sidelines and cheer us on, but actually fight with us. We all need encouragement, but we also need people to fight through things with us. There are just some things that we can't defeat alone.

In the video you see all of that played out. You see young girls who are friends, but also women who are seasoned with experience come and fight along side Taylor. It just created for me the perfect picture of life and of what womanhood should look like. We have friends to defend us. To come rescue us in a room, full of people, where we feel so out of place. We have family who love us in a dangerous way. We have mentors who don't give up on us even when we want to give up. We have role models who inspire us along the way.

That is where the tears came from. They came from the beautiful idea that women fight with each other. We fight for each other. There are people on your team. So fight on! 

Thanks Taylor, for the reminder.

Watch Bad Blood here >>>



And let me know what you think here >>>


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This is Life

Life is beautiful. An amazing adventure given in moments to appreciate, savor, and love. In hearts surrendered to God life becomes a glorious unveiling of grace. Glimpses of the miraculous... days filled with goodness... seasons of quiet reflection and growth. This is a gift, this life we live, from the One who makes it all it's meant to be- and the absolute best it can be. (Taken from inspiration of the Mary & Martha Tree of Life bracelet)

I think we can often get disinterested and discouraged by "life." We get tired of the daily routines that are always the same, of the responsibilities that never go away, of all the work that never gets done. 

Is this really life?

I hate to disappoint you but yes, that is life. Or rather, that is a part of life. You see, I believe life is all determined by what you fill it with. It will have the routines, responsibilities, and the work, but put something else in there too. If life is what we choose to put in it, throw in some joy and love. Throw in some unexpected adventure. Hold it up with some authentic, deep, friendships. Add some dancing, some laughing, some quiet moments gazing at the sunset. Add it in! The beauty of your life is truly all up to you.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
Psalm 16:11


// THIS IS LIFE (some shots of my weekend)

Follow me on Instagram: @dalaynalanee

WHAT IS LIFE TO YOU?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hello Glory Hog

Don't you hate it when someone steals your thunder? 
You come up with a great idea at work and someone else gets the credit.
You create a new process and someone else gets recognized for it.
You do all the work and someone else gets noticed for it.

I have always been one to show love through acts of service, so when I was young I would love to do things for my mom around the house, so when she walked in she would be surprised by all the work that had been done. One thing that I often did was make her bed. She usually did that herself, but if she not, that meant that she had been rushing to work and didn't have time. So if that was the case, I would make her bed, trying to get all of the decorative pillows just right and the corners tucked just as she would. Of course my mom appreciated all that I did. But the one thing I usually did not get the credit for was making her bed. If my dad was home she would just assume he done the task, and would openly thank him for doing it (she probably thought if she was overly appreciative he would take the clue and make the bed for her more often). As a kid I tried to wait for my dad to fess up and admit he was not the mystery maid, but he would always take longer than I would like. As I grew up it became more of a joke that I made him look good rather than a battle for glory, but in the beginning it definitely was that, a glory battle.

Glory hogs... can't stand them.

However, many times we are the glory hogs. When we take the credit, or just withhold the credit from God, we are stealing His glory. Ouch. What does it look like to steal God's glory? Any time we don't give Him glory for what He has done, we are hogging the glory. I think if we were honest with ourselves we would realize if we don't brag on what God has done, maybe people will think we are the great one. Maybe they will think the blessing that follows our life is a result of our greatness and perfection. But NO, it is all because of God's greatness and perfection! He deserves the glory.

I challenge you today, and every day going forward, don't be a glory hog. Don't steal away God's glory. Tell your story to give Him glory. You see, God isn't like us. When someone tries to steal our glory we may correct them. We make sure everyone knows we are the deserving ones. But God doesn't do that. He won't fight to get His glory. He will simply work through other vessels that will bring Him glory. Even if the rocks have to cry out, God will get His glory. Present yourself as a vessel, a person, that God can receive glory from.

Read part 1 of "all to bring Him glory" here.





Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how all of creation gives glory to God. Creation's very presence points to His existence. Its beauty attributes to His mastery. Its design qualifies Him as perfection. Creation sings out her praises to the Creator. To stop and gaze at the magnificent sights is to gaze upon the glory of God.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display His craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
Psalms 19:1-2

You know, we too are God's creation. But I would venture to say not many would want to stop and gaze upon and marvel at the beauty of humanity. No, in fact, I would imagine we would be a sight that is quite terrifying. Sure, in many ways we are an amazing creation. Indeed, God stopped and marveled at us at one time (Genesis 1:31 Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good!). I would compare humanity in a sense to a wild tiger. To look at from a distance, wow! It is strong and beautiful outwardly. Its glaring focus as it finds prey. Its rich orange fur with bold black stripes. They truly are amazing creatures. But I wouldn't want to find myself encountering one. No matter the majestic appearance of the animal, it is unpredictably dangerous. 

Yes, I believe that would be a good correlation to the human race. Think of all that is happening in our country currently. It is ugly. It is hateful. It is such behavior to cause God to look upon it and say, "that's not my creation." You parents can relate. When your children act contrary to how you have raised them to act it is embarrassing. You are ashamed. You did not raise them to act that way. God did not create us to give glory to the darkness in the world, He created us to be the light of His glory and goodness. We have got to change.

We too are God's creation, and a creation should point to a Creator, but somehow our lives can appear exempt from any higher power than our own. As a part of creation our beauty should attribute to God's beauty, our design should demonstrate His perfection, we should sing out praise to our Master and Creator. We should radiate the glory of God. /// Can we live our lives all to bring Him glory? Can we unite ourselves with creation, join our voices, and give Him praise. Can we allow our very presence to prove God's existence?

The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours;
everything in the world is yours-- you created it all.
Psalms 89:11

I will be sharing more on how to live for His glory on Thursday, but I encourage you today to live a life that is beautiful to behold and that is unpredictably kind; one that is always giving praise to God.
Live to give Him glory.


Friday, May 8, 2015

THE MISTAKES I CHOSE TO KEEP

I am going to be very transparent today.
Maybe more so than I have ever been before on a blog

I am going to show you one of my paintings.
(Yes that was meant to be dramatic. You can laugh.)

I like what Scott Adams had to say about art: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." I am by no means an artist in the traditional sense of the word. I cannot draw. I can picture things in my mind, by translating that onto a canvas is another story. But the painting I will share with you is probably the closest I have come to making the translation from my mind to my canvas, so there has been progress! With that being said, I share this painting with you not to boast, clearly, but to share with you the inspiration behind it.


On the back of the canvas I wrote this well known passage:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT

On the right side of the painting it reads, Focus on the good, the beautiful, the lovely, and the truth. 

In a dim and bleak day we can still choose to see the good, the beautiful, the lovely, and the truth. There are a lot of things that can block that view. But as it is said, the light shines brightest in the darkness. Even in the midst of a bad day, a bad week, a bad season in life, we can see the light of day if we will look for it. Life may seem bland; maybe you would describe it as neutral. It may not be bad, but it isn't really good either. When you find yourself in that kind of state, take notice of the good. Take a look at the beautiful. Marvel at the lovely. Rejoice in the truth. It is there, you need only to find it.

This scripture is a wonderful reminder of this. To shine light into our darkness we must find the light and stay fixated on it. Often times I see things that are lovely but all too quickly forget its beauty. We choose our focus. We can focus on the bad, the dark, the ugly, the lies, or we can choose to let the good resonate in our minds and hearts. It takes training ourselves... or retraining ourselves, which is no easy task. We frequent the phrase "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." Sure it is difficult, but if we are consistent and persistent we can overcome the dark shadows that try to hang over us.

I encourage you to train and retrain your mind. Focus on what is true. Think only about what is honorable. Think about what is right. Meditate on the pure, the lovely, the admirable. Think about what is excellent and praise worthy. Then the light of Christ will shine upon you and the darkness must run and hide.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Making it.

I don't know how I am going to do all of this... Will this ever really happen?

With God. God help me. I can do all things through You.

This has been the conversation I have had with myself almost daily for the past couple of weeks. There has been so much going on in my family, in my personal life, and with my work... pretty much every aspect of life right now. It is amazing how it seems things hit us at once, but many times they do.

I refuse to be stressed. I refuse to be overwhelmed. I refuse to give up.

I am reminded that God never gives us more than we can handle. We can often use this as our encouragement; that no matter how hard things get we have to make it through because God wouldn't give us too much. And yet, He never intended for us to handle any of it alone. You see God doesn't give us too much to handle, because what we can't carry, He will. When you think of it that way, yes, there will be times we realize we are holding more of life than we can carry. God didn't overwhelm you. He never meant for you to carry it in the first place. He is waiting for you to let Him carry it.

I can do all things through Christ....

Through Christ. I can carry anything when Christ is supporting me. I can walk through the darkest of valleys, because Christ is with me. There is nothing I cannot do.... with Christ. You see, one will not work without the other. You cannot do all things without Christ. In fact, we would do good to take the notion that we cannot do anything without Christ. When we are working and living on God's strength, we will realize that even the most challenging times in life are the most fulfilling and miraculous.

I challenge you with this today:

Refuse to be stressed. Refuse to be overwhelmed. Refuse to give up.

Allow God to carry the load. Maybe you see your goals getting further and further away. Don't stop going after them. Never quit. For when you quit you have already lost.

I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Philippians 4:13 (The Message)






Monday, April 20, 2015

What Language Do YOU Speak?

Communication.
The thing we all do, but not many do well.

"As we have often heard, communication is a two way street, however we can often block the oncoming traffic... For communication to work we must keep both lanes open."

Build bridges not walls.

I am sharing a few thoughts on this topic over on the Kyrie Coffee blog today. I would love for you to click on over there and share your thoughts with the community there.