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. ❤

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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Six Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Six Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Hello everyone! How is your day going? I hope that you are doing well 💖

A few days ago, I realized that I was coming up on my six-month blogging journey mark! And not only that, but it has been about six months since I was called to serve the Lord in Guatemala one day. ❤

Six months ago today, I created this blog! And on January 1st, 2017 (six months and nearly a week ago today), the Lord placed this calling and desire on my heart: to do His good work in a country that I have quickly come to love. ❤

Before I go on to talking about my calling, I’d like to address my blogging halfway-to-my-anniversary. 🎉

Getting to be part of the blogging community has brought me so much joy. I’ve gotten to meet wonderful people all around the world, experience the creativity all of you display across your blogs, and I’ve gotten to write my own articles and posts, as well! It has had its highs and lows, but overall, having my own little spot on WordPress has been and continues to be such a blast. 💓 I love getting to further connect with all of you, and the support that we all show each other truly warms my heart. Thank you for sticking around my blog for all these months – I’ve loved every step of the way! And I’m looking forward to the next six months. 🙂

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Now, when it comes to my Guatemalan calling, I must say that it has been the craziest roller coaster of emotions in my life so far.

Learning about the country, delving deeper into my Spanish learning, and leaving all the details in the hands of my Lord has been an absolutely beautiful experience. The drive that I feel to do whatever I can to get me there in His timing leads me to tears sometimes. I really can’t fully describe the beauty of this calling, because to onlookers, it might look like it’s taking from my life more than it’s adding to it, but that isn’t the case at all. The positivity it has brought into my life has been powerful, but in the best way possible.

Related Post: Four Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

On the other hand, I have struggled with nervousness because I was recently hit with the realization that I might be living there one day for an extended amount of time. By being away from my home in the US and staying there, I wouldn’t get to be with my family and everything else I’ve called home my entire life. I hadn’t considered up until now the possibility of being so far from my family that my only way or contacting them would be to video call … and it broke my heart.

Going to Guatemala will definitely be surreal, and maybe painfully hard at times. But the One Who is guiding me is also taking care of me; I have nothing to fear. ❤️

In the next six months, I will be working at putting all of my trust in Him. It is not easy, but His Word reminds me of His constant faithfulness and love…

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” – Psalm 46:1-2

“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” – Nahum 1:7

“Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” – Psalm 32:7

Thank you so much for reading. I enjoyed sharing this post with you today 💛 Happy Thursday, y’all!

— Maggie

Becoming a Big Sister For the Fourth Time

Becoming a Big Sister For the Fourth Time

On Friday afternoon, I found out something that I’d really like to share with you guys!

My mom is going to have another baby. ❤

I wanted to write a post about this, not only to let you guys know, but also because … well … I have mixed feelings on it.

I wish I could say that I'm excited, and joyful, and really happy about this beautiful news … but because of some deep-rooted fears that I have, I feel way more worried than I do happy.

Here's why.

I'm scared that my mom will have to go through a lot of pain. When she had my little sister Elizabeth last summer, Elizabeth was born via c-section. It took my mom weeks to heal from that, and that time was hard on our whole family, especially me, as we did our best to take care of her and comfort her when she was hurting so much.

I'm scared that others will think we're weird. When people see big families, they tend to put them in a certain category, and that makes me feel so awkward.

I'm scared that others will think I'm a teen mom. I'm not usually the only one caring for Elizabeth when we're out and about, but when I do, people have gotten the wrong impression before. I love having younger siblings – especially babies! – but because I'm afraid of others' opinions, that has taken away my joy.

I'm looking forward to this baby. I can't wait to meet him or her … but that excitement is drowned out for the time being by the worries that are filling my heart.

It will take time to heal from how that hospital stay last June drained me. I'll have to write a post on that sometime soon. And it will take me time to learn that others' opinions aren't what matter. One day, I'll feel better about this, and over the next weeks and months, I will get to the point where I will eagerly anticipate the arrival of my new little sibling.

But for now … I am thinking things through. I am praying. I am giving myself room to heal.

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Throughout my mom's pregnancy, I will be writing more posts about how I'm feeling, how her pregnancy with Elizabeth went, and other life updates. I would deeply appreciate all of your encouragement, support, and prayers.

Thank you so much for reading. ❤

— Maggie