It's important to do things that we love.
However, we must hold fast to the truth that in doing these things we may be pushing out the Great, the Best, the things that are meant for God. Everything we do, including our "good things" - such as enjoying our blessings - should still represent an out pour of love and appreciation for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I've been waking up to an app called First 5 recently. An app that allows you to set your alarm five minutes earlier each day to reflect on a bible verse or lesson from scripture and the quote below really grabbed me this morning. Recently Mr. Charming and I have made a more mental and spiritual effort to make more time in our evenings for things that connect us more to Jesus and less to things of this world.
We so often are guilty of entertaining ourselves with worldly distractions. Weekdays have looked like ys being tired from a long day of school and work, so we play on our phones or curl up with a movie and zone out after dinner.
While this doesn't seem "harmful" or "wrong", after a while you will start to feel the disconnect. From each other, from God. A hunger will creep in and an emptiness that only His word and presence can fill and everything but Him will lose it's luster. I don't know about you, but when I entertain myself with these "empty" things I feel anxious and hungry for something different, something more. It's important to stay focused on keeping your not only your relationship with God strong, but keeping true connections with your marriage and friends strong outside of technology and trivial entertainment.
I've listed a few ways we've managed to infuse more worship and more God into our evenings together. And I'd love to hear yours.
For those of you visiting for the first time Tickle Me Tuesday is a series I started years ago to reflect on the good that happened in the week. It's my Gratitude Journal if you will to keep life in perspective. :) I always invite readers to follow along too. I'm even of making this a link-up for other bloggers to join.
My List For This Week:
1 // I landed a position as a food reviewer for a major food app (specializing in curated collections such as gluten free, vegan, dairy free, etc.) - excited to start and make the official announcement!
2 // It's a rainy day today and I look forward to spending it working on my travel writing freelance project and my blog with a hot mug of peppermint and honey tea.
3 // My heart is happy for being able to catch up with so many of my girls this month. More on that below!
4 // Working a lot with Everlast and Evian this month <3 August brought to you by the letter E... Apparently ;) Click on their names to see what I'm doing with them.
5 // Mr. Charming was feeling under the weather this week, which boo for feeling bad, but yay that we got to spend an extra day together this week catching up on Tiny House Nation, Pretty Little Liars and Astronaut Wives Club! :)
Also, an update on my Social Challenge. For those of you following along know that in July I set a goal to disconnect more from social media and dive in to true social connection - the full post and my goals here - and I'm happy to report that I've stuck with it and it's been super rewarding.
In the last month I've had a coffee date with my Bible study leader and friend to catch up, threw a dinner party for my sister and her fiance, hosted a family birthday party for my husbands sister, had a phone date with my best friend, caught up with my mom and dad over the phone, spent a relaxing afternoon with a girlfriend, sent encouraging texts throughout the week to girls I haven't seen in a while, took a Holy Yoga class and met new people and reached out to fellow bloggers and Christian girls I've met online.
Coming up I've planned a phone date with my friend and Godson's mom, two more coffee dates this month and started a monthly poker night. The only thing I've yet to do is writing letters, but since I made more coffee and phone dates than planned, I'm not feeling bad about it.
I can honestly say I feel more balanced overall and plan to make these connections a more regular occurrence. God didn't put us all here to chat online and forget each other when we are busy. He put us here to love each other, love on each other and hold each other up when life gets messy. How can you know when someone needs you to lean on if you don't make it known that you are truly there for them?
Want to join along with Tickle Me Tuesday? Write it in your journal and if you're a blogger, write a post or share your list in the comments. Just five things that made you smile this week. If you post your list make sure to tag #TickleMeTuesday on social media.
Want to join along the social challenge? Pick up the phone, schedule a get together or coffee date and when you're chatting with or hanging with your friend(s) snap a photo, upload to Instagram and tag #NNSocialChallenge.
Wishing you all a beautiful week!
In celebration of #NationalSimplifyYourLifeWeek coming to a close - something has been weighing on me lately. I've always been one to have many irons in the fire. The busy, the different... it has always kept me motivated. It was exciting working on a film one day, performing in concert the next night and then having a span of days to work on a novel.
But as I grow, as a career woman, as a wife and as a future hopeful mother... I'm realizing the simplification is a much needed part of life. Of a balanced, God-led life.
All my life I've been a Jack of All Trades. But those of us that are, does that make us a master of none?
I always enjoyed exceeding at all that I do, but as I fall into new passions, as God opens new doors, He's shown me as I lean into Him more, that He can use some of them to work fluidly together.
Something I never experienced, but always so badly tried to, when I was trying to do it all on my own.
And that's exactly what I've been working on as of late. Spending quiet moments with my Father, praying on my purpose and I'm seeing how certain things He's brought me to start to cohesively exist while other passions fade away.
I've learned that sometimes we have talents or experiences that we hone and use for a period of time to strengthen us, to teach us or equip us for doors that will open later. Doors that we never expected we'd ever be standing in front of.
That's the beautiful journey of life. New places, new faces. New dreams, new goals. Ever changing. Ever growing.
Remember to always check in with you. Reevaluate your goals. Are they serving God? Are you joyful in your work? If the answer is no, start with small changes that will infuse these things into your routine.
How have you simplified your life this year? Now that we are halfway through 2015, what goals do you hope to accomplish by December?
This weeks Tickle Me Tuesday brought to you by an amazing weekend that left.me refreshed for my week.
My List For This Week:
1 // I've been spending so much time connecting to the blog community and have made so many new friends. I love my girls (and guys!) at the Peony Project, Blog Passion Project, Blog Love Project and Grow Your Blog. Such warm & wonderful communities.
2 // I accepted a new position as a part-time Copy Editor for a corporation in the Midwest & we get to work with clients such as Juilliard School & Estee Lauder. Music arts & beauty? A perfect fit!
3 // Took my little Charlie to the Petsmart Ice Cream social this past weekend where he made new friends and mama got coupons for the Pets Hotel for when Mr. Charming and I vacation! Score!
4 // I got 100% on my food allergy/intolerance test in class this week! Looking more and more forward to graduation and starting to gather all my branding materials to take on my first list of nutrition clients for Fall 2015! SO excited to help more people eat and feel better!!
5 // Mr. Charming and I invited our neighbors over this week - and have been watching more movies in the home theatre. Turbo was cute and Noah was beautiful.
Want to join along? Write it in your journal and if you're a blogger, write a post or share your list in the comments. Just five things that made you smile this week. If you post your list make sure to tag #TickleMeTuesday on social media.
Now that I have finally settled back into working from home full time again, I have gotten a better grasp on my weekly schedule, which means, Tickle Me Tuesdays returns again! I love this little post series. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me. I feel so much happier when I can reflect on little and big things that make me smile throughout the week and I encourage you all to try it yourselves this week.
Write it in your journal, if you're a blogger, write a post or share your list in the comments. Just five things that made you smile this week.
My List For This Week:
1 // Soon I will order my cap and diploma case for graduating as an Advanced Personal Nutritionist. This makes me beyond giddy & instead of the traditional "invite people to the graduation ceremony" I'm going to make it more of a "healthy dinner party soiree" Soiree's are the best.
2 // My body is becoming better acclimated to the pre-natal smoothie I'm taking for my fertility & MTHFR. It was a little rough at first and I pray my body continues to respond well!
3 // Though I was offered a major job this week, I declined due to knowing what I really want to be doing and where I think God would have me use my voice. I didn't feel like it was there. That was a big thing for me to do.
4 // I found a ton of new movies on Netflix I want to watch and bought a handful of new books. I love new, inspiring media. One new book being Russ Crandall's Paleo Takeout. SO excited to try some of his recipes.
5 // My fur babies. They are just so stinking cute & I love that I can work from home and give them love and attention throughout the day.
Share your week's "Tickle Me" moments!
Transitional seasons of our lives can be tricky waters to navigate. Sometimes you know their coming and you can feel them approaching, able to prepare as you wade in the waters. Other times its like a tidal wave that sweeps you up, steals your breath and throws you harshly onto the rocky shore to start again.
I'd say this week is a mix of both. And my emotions seem to ebb and flow like the tide that draws near and slips away. This week Runway will close it's doors for a while and while I know this means God's opening new doors for me, my career and my family,, some that I may have already stepped through, it's bittersweet. It's been a week of clinging to God through the emotional roller coaster of forging new paths, reaching for new dreams and trusting.
So much trusting.
There seems to be a sad trend in publishing right now, with Conde Nast losing Lucky and so many others being laid off, I pray we all find our way in the world of the written word. Some may argue that it's dying, but I don't believe that. I refuse to. Words can mean and do so much, that we just have to continue to work with the times. Print may be dying, but words, words can never. And I will continue to write in the mediums that are thriving, because writing makes me feel alive.
There's a lot of uncertainty and "don't knows" when things like this happen. And part of the roller coaster is when the enemy of doubt, of not trusting, tells me to be scared in these moments. But I'm loved by a bigger God, One who has bigger plans and I cling to His better and His future for me.
So I look to the blessings. I look the the fact I've had more hours this week to pour into joining with more female blog communities that love Jesus and love community like The Peony Project. I've been able to submit for multiple guest posting spots and sponsorships. I've been able to organize my office & spend time with family.
I am finishing up my Personal Nutrition program and have been accepted with a scholarship into the advanced program with an emphasis on Food Allergies, Digestive Disorders and Child and Pregnancy Care. I can feel the transition. I just have to hold on with faith.
There are other matters on my heart that are blooming and are being prayed on. I just need to remember, every day, every hour, every moment, to surrender and take His hand. Because when we're walking on rocky shores, it's the only way not to fall.
I always thought this was my story to write. That I could somehow create, maybe even manifest, all of my dreams. Ones that would inspire a glowing memoir, or at the very least a grand tale I could tell my grandchildren one day. Destined to orchestrate a song of songs that would write my legend. Dancing through scene by scene, directing my plot twists, character castings, even my leading man.
But then the Grand Author showed me years ago that it wasn't my story to write at all. That is was His. That I was the one cast. That each scene was unfolding just as He had written it ages ago. And that His son would be my true leading man. That He would be all of ours.
And it's been a story more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed of writing for myself. Because there have been surprises, twists and turns. Triumphs and meaningful hurts that I couldn't have, and probably wouldn't have, written into my own pages, and I would have been lead somewhere completely different than where I am at today.
And that thought is terrifying.
Living according to Mandi, I got some things right. But I got a lot wrong. Sometimes, people in my life ask for that girl back. And I feel like this probably happens to a lot of people who are changed. Who have been saved. In the beginning I got defensive. I resisted their resistance. But the more I looked upward, and trusted His pen over mine. I could breathe easier about those people in my life who I realized, if they truly wanted the best for me, they could let go of what I let go of in me, and accept me for the girl I was written to be.
I will still strive and wake to live my dreams, because I feel like, since I was just three years old, that he planted things within me I feel like I should be using. Talents, passions and dreams that just don't seem to let go of the deepest parts of me. And free will and all that, jazz. We have responsibility to keep moving forward. We are just blessed to have His strength on days we don't want to.
And I'm learning what that means on His terms now. For so many years I did what felt good to Mandi. When I wanted something I wanted to run at it at full force. I've grown up seeking the future. Always wanting to know what's next, always hungry to one-up my last accomplishment. My dad used to say (almost daily) "Mandi, you need to just slow down." or "Mandi, you just need to show patience". Now I hear that resonating Fatherly voice repeating those sentiments. Asking me to enjoy the NOW. Enjoy the wonderful, beautiful gift of now. And truth be told, it's a daily discipline for me.
But I believe it's that daily discipline, that daily connection that we work on that makes us the strong men and women we are. The strong, inspiring men and women we were written to be. And that's worth all the work it takes.
Since the inception of social media, the internet has become a flurry of everyone’s thoughts. Everyone’s feelings. The sometimes reckless emotions. Their shared moments. And most of the time, the moments we share with the world are our sparkly, happiest moments.
Last week in church our pastor spoke about detoxing our need to be like our neighbor. Always wanting for more, and how social media drives this to epic proportions. I encourage people to post positive, happy moments. I adore seeing my friends, family, acquaintances and though it’s not always easy, my enemies thrive. Succeed and have joy in this life.
I am really thinking about this this week as I travel. Mr. Charming and I have been planning this trip for almost 4 years now. We have been talking about fully experiencing the California Coast before we have littles. So, we saved and saved, and although I saw some work hiccups just as we were about to leave on this trip we invested so much into, I was reminded by my Father...
Joy comes in the morning. So I decided to trust, take the leap and take this adventure.
Along this trip I've experienced amazingly beautiful, wonderful things that we've always wanted to experience. We've seen beautiful, wonderful things we always wanted to see. And as we post our photos along the way, that’s been the shiny highlight reel that everyone has got to see in a 3 second flash as they scroll through social media.
If you are a follower of the blog, you will know some of my story. And time away from home isn't time away from struggles. Inflammation and hormonal issues can still cause me pain, making me not be able to enjoy the vegan lattes I like to enjoy when we travel, or most of the foods I planned on trying, like a Sensitive Sweets cupcake in Fountain Valley, or a gluten-free/dairy-free pizza slice at Fresh Brothers in Newport Beach. The same pain and hormonal imbalances can cause complications in moving forward with our Baby P plan, and having a body that wants to nap when you just want to keep exploring isn't all rainbows and unicorns. But these are my moments too. And I own them, and accept them, and thank God for even these. Because I believe He has a plan with it all.
I choose not to dwell on these moments anymore like I've done in my past. I have given them to a greater God, who has a plan and a purpose, and I will try to shine for Him. Through the shiny moments (where it’s easy to sparkle), and through the dark (where I need His hand to pull me from it all and dust me off a bit) and pray He keeps providing me a light to get back to the joy.
So keep sharing your smiles. Embrace your beautiful moments. Recognize where they came from and be thankful. With your whole heart, be thankful. And in those beautiful moments, when you stumble, or when something happens and it’s hard to let go of the perfect image you had for the moment, look up, take a deep breath, pray a thankful prayer and always remember…
Hope through Him is ever present, and joy comes in the morning.
Today was pretty awesome. I've been struggling a little this year with my true purpose. I know the things I'm good at. I know the things that I'm passionate about. I know the things that bring me joy. I know the things that entertain me. & then I know the path that can help others. Finding a way to blend, mix, merge and choose forks in my road is what trips me up sometimes.
I've been praying a lot lately on God's plan for me. And as an imperfect person of this world, sometimes I get impatient. Or I feel like I'm not measuring up. But then I dive back into the word, and I swim in his grace, and His love for us, and I remember, that I'm not called to be perfect. I'm called to be humble, obedient, and follow His path for me, the best way I know how. And if I stumble or take a wrong turn, I trust that if I call on Him, He will guide me back. That's been the hardest part for me to remember. Fearful of the misstep.
I've put my heart into this brand 110% this year, and I feel like it's a calling I never expected. I ADORE that I can connect with a beautiful community of women who share in my struggles, who share in my stories & tell me theirs. I love that my challenges forced me to take care of my body and the health of my family. And I love that I am blessed to be able to talk about my faith in this little space I've made, you've helped make. We've made. Together. And I can feel God's presence in it as it becomes more than I imagined.
While going through this journey, I put a hold on music & touring. For a while, I did. If you read my story, you will read when I started getting sick and it was at that time I stopped touring, stopped promoting, and nearly stopped recording.
It was just until this last year that I felt confident to go back into it. My record label welcomed me back with open arms (a blessing & a rarity in this crazy business) and we are writing again.
Which brings me to my news of today. Today I was offered my own 30 minute radio show by my label to take Nosh & Nurture to a whole new platform. I feel SO blessed to have another space to reach people about healthy and nurturing living, while featuring some of my favorite people in this community.
We are still in the verrrrrrrrrrry early stages of development, (day one), though I hope to launch by mid-summer once I complete my Personal Nutritionist Certification. I just wanted to share the news, because, awesome.
I hope you'll continue to take this journey with me. I love you all for being a part of this and I hope you'll continue to share your stories with me, because they inspire me. Everyday, they inspire me.
Today is the International Day Of Happiness and it has me reflecting on my own personal journey with what "happiness" is to me. As someone who always strived for "perfection", I use to shortchange myself on the happiness meter. I was of the mind-set, "when I have all my ducks in a row, I can be happy." When I get that vacation... I'll be happy. When I produce my next album... I'll be happy. When I finally meet the right guy... I'll be happy. When I can remodel my place... I'll be happy.
This is toxic. And it starves you of true, real, pure, joy.
I didn't learn about true joy, the kind of joy that comes from being content in the NOW until I was 30 years old. It was a process I began to work on at about 25, but it took the inspiration of Mr. Charming and my deep connection by being saved by Christ that I truly began to understand about CONTENTMENT over HAPPINESS. And JOY over PERFECTION.
This is such a big one. Especially for someone like me who strives daily to recover from anxiety. I noticed too, when I'm around negative people, they can zap our happiness, feeding into our self-doubt. Below I've made a list of ten ways to infuse joy into today, and into your everyday. Feel free to share, like & comment on how to you infuse happiness into your everyday.