Monday, February 24, 2014

Frustration in Delays and Goals

What a cheerful way to title a post. I know, I know.

And I have no pictures? Blogger strike number two.

My, where to start? It's been over a week since my Valentines post. In the last week I have been nearly everywhere except for here on this blog. Well, not quite. =) 

This touring business has been pretty hectic these last ten days. I had such high hopes for all that I thought I could accomplish this month, and this past week, in particular, but I am realizing that even though I worked hard at it, I
A) didn't work hard enough
B) aimed way too high
C) totally underestimated the commitments I would have with our touring schedule

Ever been there, my friend? Sometimes I feel that this is the story of my life. 
Dream up grand, big ideas. Write lists that stretch for miles and miles with ambition and zeal and energy. Run into a totally different schedule than what I was planning and multiple unexpected delays, especially when on tour.
And then have a little mini crash with the dust of frustration billowing around me.

{just being honest here}

There's nothing quite so discouraging as missing most of your goals and having all that ambition come crashing to the ground.

All that said. There was no guest post. I have yet to experience the wonders of owning Lightroom. Three of the five books on my February reading list have been virtually untouched. There weren't even close to fifteen posts. And so on. 

Ah, I am so thankful that tomorrow (or next month, rather!) is a clean slate. I'm learning my lesson though and I won't allow myself to be so ambitious for next month either, because most of it will also be spent on the road. 

It's a hard thing to describe, this road life. I'm not really sure how to explain it but there is no such thing as schedule. There is no such thing as routine. Sometimes it feels like one huge jumble of instruments, siblings, belongings, and more towns, churches, and people than I can possibly remember or keep up with. I'm compiling a list of sarcastic comebacks to use on the next person who says to me "Oh, thats SO COOL that you get to spend the winter vacationing with your family down south!" Vacationing? Gracious-there may be many words to call my life but "vacation" is not it!

I also apologize that its taking so long for the upcoming posts I mentioned here. I haven't forgotten about them; they are both in the making and saved in drafts, but to make a long story short, the one post needs some pictures to accompany it and I can't take the pictures til I get home because some of the outfits I need for the pictures are at home (long explanation there!), and the other post ended up being way bigger than what I was thinking it would be so I'm attempting to break it down into a series-type deal and sort everything out into the proper order. And posts like that are HARD to do when internet time is limited to a quick, timed stop at Caribou, or hacking into the Lowes wifi for ten blessed minutes while brother dear is inside making a purchase and my minutes are ticking away. 

We are approaching our busiest stretch of all for this tour, so I will probably be absent even more. However, in the midst of everything else God has provided an exciting upcoming opportunity for me (stay tuned!) which will involve quite a bit of time in five different airports, so maybe during those amazing hours of solitude I will be able to cook up a whole storm of posts and be back to normal again! =)

In closing...I've been reading lately in the Old Testament, about the children of Israel and their journey to Canaan. What a challenge it has been to see the good in life, and to BELIEVE God's promises to us! 
I want to be like Caleb and Joshua who saw the grapes, and not the giants. They could have chosen to be distracted like the other ten spies and focused on the giants and the "impossibility" of conquering the mighty cities, but instead they saw the land for what it was-God's promised gift to them-and they choose to believe God's promise and GO FOR IT! That's what I want-to choose to see the GOOD in everything. I want to find joy  in seeing His hand working in my life, and in the lives of those around me. 

{even when we're stuck on a 45ft bus and this farm girl misses that good old farm air and Iowa snow like everything!}

Be blessed, friends! Let's go conquer those Canaanites! =)


Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

{don't get excited; these aren't mine. =)}

//Valentine's Day//

I've honestly never given this holiday very much thought. 
It's not that I have anything against the holiday. 
I've always know that Valentines meant love and roses, fun little notes, and an abundance of all things pink and red. 
I just never really cared about it for myself, personally. I never felt like I was lacking, or missing out, or anything like that.

In the last several days I've come across quite a few people talking about Valentine's Day. Specifically talking about how it can be a difficult holiday for single people.
This was revelation to me. Call me weird or whatever, but the thought never really occurred to me that single people might struggle on this day, with wishing for a special someone to love them. 

I've been realizing though that it is a major problem, apparently. From what I've been hearing from others, it sounds like there is a multitude of singles out there who get honestly depressed on this happy, lovely day called Valentines.

So. In light of that, I'm here today to offer a little love to all of y'all, whether you fall in the camp of "I wish had someone to love me and that I wasn't single!" or "I could care less about having a significant other". =)

Most of you reading this have family of some kind. Parents, siblings, cousins...something. Go out and love on them today. If you feel a lack of love in your life than I would say that the true reason is because you don't have much love going out. Don't focus on love coming in! Focus on being a giver. Consume yourself with loving on others and you will be amazed at how your whole perspective will change. If you actually stop and think about it you will realize that you are way more loved than most people in the world. There are orphans who would give anything to just have one parent to love them! There are soldiers who would love to be home with their family's but instead are spending today sacrificing for our freedom. There are abused children who don't even understand what true love is because of how they have been mistreated.

And you are complaining because you don't have a boyfriend today? Grow up, girl!

All of us have friends, too. (at least I hope so!) You have a friend who you know is going through a rough time in life right now? Why not send her flowers today? Stick in a note of encouragement with a scripture verse and let her know you're praying for her. Who says guys are the only ones who can give flowers? =) Think outside of the box! 

Even if you think that no one else loves you or cares about you today, let me tell you that JESUS DOES. His love far surpasses any other love you could imagine and it is the very best thing in the world to be His child and experience the fullness of that love for yourself. 

Spread the love around today!

Joy Killers Cd

.......goes to commenter #24, which is Luba!

Please drop me an email including your address at 
and I will get the cd in the mail to you. 

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and comments. It sounds like God wanted me to write that for a reason! I'm so thankful it was an encouragement.

also, this is random, but...if there are any people planning to come to our Sarasota concerts tonight or tomorrow night, the times are different from what I posted two weeks ago.
here are the updated times:
February 14th-Pinecraft Park-7:30pm
February 15th-Bethel Mennonite Church-6:00pm


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Is Something Stealing Your Joy?

Joy. I love that word. Joy is such a beautiful thing. It is such a perfect reflection of Jesus, I think, because it is so what He is about! To bring joy to our lives, most importantly through salvation, and then as we grow in our walk with Him.

Back in this post I mentioned about how the Lord had been working in my heart so greatly through the preaching at my church. I also promised that I'd be back to expound on that in several posts after we'd left on our tour. 
Finally, here is the first one, about a message entitled "Joy Killers". 

My pastor preached this message back in November of last year, at a time when my joy was, to be honest, very much lacking. I found myself discouraged and oh-so busy with so much. I felt mentally and physically overwhelmed and overloaded, and my joy bucket was running dry. 
God was so faithful to bring this message into my life on the very night I needed it most. 

I had gotten the message on cd so I pulled it out the other day and listened to it again as a "refresher" course, and also to jot down some notes to share here. 


Message Title:
{my personal additions are in italics}

The word JOY is mentioned 155 times in the Bible.

"And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH."
Nehemiah 8:9&10

Christians should be the ones modeling joy, because God has designed the Christian life to be an abundant life!
"He is come that we might have life, and life abundant."

People often use the phrase  “_______ takes my joy”, but Jesus says that NO MAN can take our joy from us. 
If joy is given by a man or by an earthly circumstance, than it can be TAKEN by a man or earthly circumstance. {think about that! so true!} 

True joy is only given by God. If God is our joy and our world, than our joy will not be taken from us when we go through difficult circumstances. 

1. a lack of devotional life
2. an unthankful spirit
3. dreaming outside of the will of God
4. comparing yourself with others
5. impure thoughts
6. unresolved conflict
7. failed relationships

I challenge you to look through that list of seven and ask the Lord "are any of these seven true in my life? Am I allowing my joy to be taken away and replaced by sin?" 

For myself, when I first heard this message, the Lord used it to immediately convict me about numbers one, two, and six. My devotional life had been majorly struggling, I was giving in to the spirit of unthankfulness, and unresolved conflict was what half of my trouble was about in the first place. 

People read our (my family & I's) blogs and tell us, "from everything that you say about your church, it sounds like a pretty amazing place." I can only nod in agreement because it is! 

But this is the thing-it isn't amazing because it is full of perfect people, or because our pastor is perfect, because we all know that nobody is perfect. We are all sinners, and we can't do anything amazing on our own strength. 
No, the reason it is such an amazing place is because, quite simply, God's Word is #1. 
God's Word is the base. It is the foundation. The messages preached are founded on and based right out of the Bible. I personally think the reason a lot of teaching and preaching is so unbiblical these days is because people are turning to books and websites and movements and organizations for the answers, instead of finding it all in the Word of God.


 But that's all more for another time. There's so much to say about just that last line above (and believe me, I will put it all into words and say it on here one of these days!) but I will save it for later. 

I have an extra cd of the whole message, "Joy Killers", that I would love to "gift" to one of you readers. If you're interested, just leave a comment with your first and last name and I will draw a winner on Monday.

Also I would love to hear other thoughts on this, or how the Lord may have convicted you in reading through those seven points. Take a minute to share in the comment box!

I apologize for the rambling-I felt like I needed to post this today and I don't have time to comb over everything and say it as eloquently as I would like. (got a concert coming up in just a bit here!) Hopefully the Lord can use this to bless someone anyhow!

have a blessed weekend!

Friday, February 7, 2014

January Recap

(the following are just a few pictures from January/early February that I wanted to make sure I posted. For more pictures of our road life/etc lately, my sister and I have been posting over on our family blog)
smiles after a prayer meeting with this lovely group of ladies at the ReNew Hope prison crusade last week. We were disappointed to not be able to spend much time in the prisons like we had been planning on, but God blessed all the down time and we had some amazing worship/sharing/prayer time together with everyone so we were thankful for that.
Alli and these dear friends took me out for lunch for my birthday. #loveliness
meeting blog readers at our concerts has been so fun on this trip!
getting to spend some quality time (at a beautiful coffee shop) with two of our dearest friends was a huge highlight for Alli & I. These girls encourage and inspire me. its such fun to have these sister set friends! we made such memories there.
#epicBBCdiscussions #sketchywaiterguy #exorbitantamountsoflaughter #sharinggoalsandaspirationsforthenewyear 
we attended my cousin's wedding. after having long conversations about waiting on God's timing for Him to bring the right was super exciting to see God provide the perfect, godly wife for him. I'm so thrilled to see what all God is going to do with them as a team as they head for the mission field! 
and that's their first kiss above, fyi. pretty awesome. =)
meeting up with more blog readers..=)
blowing out some candles just cause its the fun birthday thing to do and my lovely aunt thought I should have some. =) #sosweet
the candles were stuck into a cookie on the plate but they kept toppling over so finally I just held them to blow them out. 
the cutest gift bag ever!
my fam threw a party for me early this week when we had a few days off at a guest house in Alabama.
whohoo!!! I've been wanting this cookbook FOREVER but have just been too stingy to buy it for myself.
my brothers got it for me. can anyone say they have good taste?
(they may or may not have had a little help from sister dear =))
the neatest thing was that they all signed it with a little message on the inside cover.
(forgive the fuzzy pictures, but the notes are too good not to post)
(there's a long story behind this nickname. but yes, he calls me "pudge")
love the humor here. =)
my family knows me-I love those practical, business type gifts like the above!!
{super fun card from my sista}
random picture with my "personality twin". This brother and I jibe, seriously. We see life through a very similar glass. =) 

And that's a bit of January!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rebecca||Sister Portraits&Humor

Sister darling is about to lose her first tooth, so portraits were in order, since we all know that losing that first tooth changes the "baby look" so much!
We found a little spare time at a park one day last week, when we were in Texas.
This post is a few of my favorites of the pictures I shot of her, and also a few of her most recent, original "one-liners".
{She's on a kick with wedding talk right now. we attended a number of weddings last year, and Alli & I have quite a few friends getting married this coming year, and so with hearing about these weddings, wedding stuff is her topic of choice. The rest of us find this highly amusing, especially when she randomly says things like the following:}
"So Chels, what are your wedding colors going to be?"
me: "um, I really haven't thought about that at all. I have no idea."
her: "Well, I know what MINE are going to be."
me: "indeed?"
her: "Yes. They are going to be lime green and pink."
me: "Oh, heavens..."
{I'm hoping her style changes..because that would be one wildly colorful wedding.
typical six-year old colors. =)}
{Alli & I were nearly rolling on the floor laughing at something funny that Rebecca had said. She looked at us quite seriously and said}
"Chels and Alli....pull yourselves together!"
{this was said to me last month}
"Chels, you are twenty-two...and that is OLD to not be married! You are just becoming an old maid!"
{I laughed and asked her how she knows what an old maid is}
" is a maid. that is old.
{profound. I told her that I am NOT old}
"Well, but you some sources."
{I'm thinking she meant to say "in some respects"...??}
{her comment about something sad we were talking about}
"Oh..that is just SOO tragicating!"
"Chels, you need to be praying for a sweet, orderly, responsible, kind man."
{I think this was supposed to be a reprimand for my messy bunk. I suppose if I got an "orderly" husband, I would then have a clean bunk?!}. 
"Can you please give me a 'preference' on this outfit? Cause Alli picked it and she...well, you know. Sometimes she just doesn't know."
{said to me one day after she had hurt herself}
"Chels, pain is shooting thru my arm alligator that's trying to bite me."
And...I just don't think you have any idea how much pain I'm going through right now."
Gracious, I had fun putting this post together and remembering all these funny moments.
 What a child she is. She is calm, laid-back, and chill. She takes life in stride and just enjoys it.
Even though she's basically my polar opposite, we get along famously and I love how she is so good at all the things that I'm not. Love her!