August Twentieth, Two-Thousand Seventeen

August Twentieth, Two-Thousand Seventeen

Hi there, guys! I hope you’re all having a beautiful day. ๐Ÿ™‚ It has been a while since I did one of these life update/happenings posts, so that’s what I’ll be sharing today!

This afternoon, I went out with my mom and little siblings to go to our favorite mall, which is called Sugarloaf Mills! It had been years since we went, so I’m very happy we got to go back today.

Just like we did at Zoo Atlanta a couple months ago, my mom went around with Samuel and Elizabeth while Joshua and I went off together. I love having these types of outings with him, and today was great!

First, we browsed around Booksโ€ขAโ€ขMillion, which is the first store you come to from where we parked, then we headed to the back of the mall. We passed by this awesome larger-than-life Batman, and we had to take a selfie with it!

We also took a picture with Deadpool (which you can see to Joshua’s right), but I accidentally cut off the figure’s head in the pic! ๐Ÿ˜‚โค๏ธ

Once we were finished there (which was a music store, by the way), we went to Dave&Busters (a huge arcade) for Joshua to enjoy playing some games.

I followed him around and experimented with pictures, as I didn’t feel like spending money on arcade games today!

The picture above is of him playing one of his favorite games there. It’s a robot shooting game, so it wasn’t too graphic haha!

We looked around the prize shop, where he got some candy with the tickets he earned, and I got excited when I saw this pillow. Made me think of you, Beyoutiful!

With that, we headed back out to the mall.

We ended up passing by a store I forgot was there, called Earthbound. They have beautiful clothes, notebooks, room decor, etc. from all over the world, and I love looking around there! Many of the things were out of my buying range, but I didn’t mind. However …


When I found the section with things made in Guatemala, it was meant to be!! Both of these worry doll packages (which I’ll show you in a moment) were affordable and I’m so happy I got them!


GUYS!! I love them so much! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’• I’ve been eyeing Guatemalan worry dolls for months on Etsy, and what do you know, the Lord provided a little gift for me today. xx

Now, let’s talk about the wonderful food Joshua and I got:D

He and I both love pretzels (I love ’em more), and Auntie Anne’s has some of the best!! I got the sugar bites, and he got the pretzel hot dog bites.

Once we finished our treat, we walked over to my favorite thing to do at the mall – mini car racing!

Call me immature๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿผ but this race track is super fun – and affordable!!! I even won first place today which was AWESOME since I was the only girl racing ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ

We passed by Mom, Sam and Elizabeth after we left the racing place, so we talked to them for a few minutes. After discussing where we’d meet a little later in the afternoon, Joshua and I went to a store with lots of cool things from China – including katanas (pictured above), which J loved looking at haha!!

With that done, we went to the last store for the day, which was Bass Pro Shops. It was our first time there and MAN, was it huge!! Joshua loved looking around at the guns, bows, fishing poles … and I loved looking at these signs!

It’s so accurate, it hurts! ๐Ÿ˜‚

So you’ll have to tell me what YOU’VE been up to today, guys! Anything awesome or fun? Relaxing, even? (That’s the best type of weekend honestly haha) Definitely let me know in the comments below! ๐Ÿ’š Thanks for reading!

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Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivate is one of my favorite words. It is a beautiful way to describe keeping and nurturing plant life, but the way I love to use it most is in an analogy.

Have you ever heard those inspirational quotes that refer to our hearts as a garden?

We each have a garden within us.

It’s the place where we keep all of our best memories – and our worst nightmares; a place where we grow positive attitude attributes – as well as traits we wish we didn’t have. In our gardens, we cultivate beautiful things that add joy, love, and peace to our lives … and in that same garden is an assortment of weeds, plants we wish weren’t there anymore, dusty stones in that cobblestone path that has been the main walkway in our hearts for years. It’s different for each and every person; not one garden looks the same, and that’s okay! For just like we differ as people, what we cultivate in our hearts, minds, and souls is different, too.

I often ponder what is in the garden of my own heart. Seldom have I mentioned it, but I absolutely love analogies, parables, metaphors, and everything else that’s nice (haha) – really, I love comparing things with one another by using verbal illustrations to show how, even though two things are completely different, they are, in essence, the same. Even though I have come up with few unique analogies myself, I take to heart each and every one I come across that touches me. I enjoy reading, seeing and hearing what others have come up with, and I also love the wisdom found through parables in the Bible.

Jesus’ favorite way to teach was through parables. There are many to be found in the four epistles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and I love them all. Each one beautifully illustrates whatever point the Son of Man is making – which makes sense, for He has infinite knowledge, so He would be the One to come up with the perfect parable for each lesson, every single time, haha!

When I was pondering posts I’d enjoy writing last week, this was one of the title ideas that came to mind. That is, ‘Cultivating A Joyful Life.’ What exactly does that mean, you might wonder? I’m not even completely sure myself yet. But the aspects that I’ve thought over in the days since then have made extremely excited to write out this series, as it will be a great learning experience for me, and anyone else interested, as well.

Since April, I have been keeping up with my Making the Change series. At first, it was a weekly thing that I did, but now I do one at the end of most months. The day before I was going to make the first post public, I was really second-guessing myself on how well the series would be received. It was good for me to write that post, and I knew that it was quite possible that I could help others overcome whatever obstacles they’re facing … but I worried that people wouldn’t like me anymore because I would be revealing the fact that I was dealing with anger. Being so vulnerable and open frightened me, but I went ahead and posted it, and the response the series has gotten as a whole has blessed me so much!

Every one of you who has commented on the posts in my Making the Change series has truly added to my life and helped me to stay focused on fixing the behaviors that have bound me for too long. It hasn’t been easy at times, and I greatly appreciated everyone’s feedback, and hearing you guys’ stories blessed me, as well. โค

This series, Cultivating A Joyful Life, will be in some ways similar to Making the Change, but instead of looking to fixing specific behaviors, it will focus more on better understanding ourselves, on how we can be joyful and at peace with who we are, where we are, and also who we are with.

It’s a work in progress, but this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to continue with this series!

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Making the Change ~ Monthly Wrap-Up (July-August 2017)

Making the Change ~ Monthly Wrap-Up (July-August 2017)

Hi guys! I hope that you are all having a beautiful Wednesday so far. xx I woke up feeling not so great today, as I have a cold right now, and I broke my fever upon waking. I’m planning to take it easy today and catch up on the posts I’ve missed reading.

On that note, I’m now back to blogging! Click here to read yesterday’s post on why I’m back a week early, if you’d like.

When planning ahead for what I’d blog about upon my return to blogging, I went back and forth between wanting to do a Making the Change wrap-up post, and deciding against it. As I’d planned to originally come back in the first week of August, it didn’t seem right to do this post on the first Wednesday of the month, as I’ve been posting them on the final Wednesdays of the month. As fate would have it (although I personally believe this is by the Lord’s guidance), I’m back a week earlier than planned. It’s still July. ๐Ÿ˜‚ It’s the last Wednesday of the month. So, let’s get into this!

I have had lots of time recently to bond with my family. We’ve been playing games and having heartfelt conversations. I’ve also had more time spent in prayer, as my evenings as of late have been quite a bit quieter than they usually are, what with staying off of WordPress. Both of these paired together has caused me to notice that the Lord is calling me into a deeper relationship both with Him, as well as with each member of my family.

In June of 2016, I very much struggled to get used to having a new baby in the family, and this past April, my mom’s miscarriage really took a toll on my faith. I had drawn away from the Lord, sunken into myself, and crawled into a shell of what I thought was protection. When I realized that my self-inflicted hiding place was what was injuring the relationships and friendships I valued so much, the Lord was then able to lead me out.

He has taught me so much through what I continually thought was worthless pain. He continually uses each and every trouble I’ve ever found myself in for a good purpose – most especially for His glory. I am slowly finding it easier and easier to boast in my affliction, as Paul wrote in the Bible, for then the Lord’s grace may rest upon me.

I’m still a long way from where I want to be, but you know what? Maybe I’ll never get there … and maybe that’s okay. The Lord is directing and guiding my steps; He has my life in His hands. When I am willing, His strength is manifested in me, and I know that the changes I desire to see in my life will be here sooner than I realize. I’m taking it a day, a minute at a time, focusing on the good and forgiving myself for my downfalls.

It’s getting easier and easier to make this change. โค

The Past Month: July 2017

Improvements: I’ve been finding as many things as I can to do with Samuel. Playing pretend, doing Wii games … I’m pretty sure this was mentioned in the last ‘improvements’ section of the last wrap-up post, but I’ve come even farther from there. He and I have played pretend every day for the last week – a huge improvement from where we were not too long ago.

Next Time: I need to further accept mine and Joshua’s differences. As we’re in such difference places of maturity and in our walks in life and with the Lord, it’s hard, and often weighs heavy on my heart.

The Upcoming Month: August 2017

Focuses:

  • Forgiveness. Letting go of the past, and exhibiting grace to future faults I would have once struggled to forgive.
  • Having a servant’s heart. I want to put my desires consistently behind me and instead look to what my family needs.
  • Thinking before I speak. It is important that I put more thought into what I say before letting things I don’t mean slip past my lips.

Quotes and Bible Verses to Inspire:

“Forgiveness is a process. A choice you have to make over and over, every day, until you’re free of hurt.”

“The highest calling we’ll ever have is to be a servant of the Lord.” – Christine Caine

“When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right.”

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with one another, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” – {derived from} Ephesians 4:2

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Thank you so much for reading, guys. I hope that you all have a blessed rest of the week! How about you?

What do YOU desire to focus on in August?

— Maggie