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November 2011
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January 2012

December 2011

Life Change & Heart Change

ChangeYourHeart

Do you want to change your life in 2012? Me too. Last year, this year, and every year. 

January 1st., 2011, from our headquarters at our favorite coffee shop, my best friend and I launched The Hot Mess Aversion Plan.

In 2010, we decided we wanted a different type of life in 2011:

  • Not a life lived in a hurry, but a life lived with exactly enough time to do what's most important.
  • Not a life lived with regrets, but a life lived without fear of failure.
  • Not a life lived in a desperate attempt to control the variables beyond our control, but a life left in submission to a God who is in control.

We decided to hold each other accountable to reading the Bible cover to cover in a year.
We vowed to find a way to work less, create more, and love better in 2011. 

It's been a year since that day.God who is always faithful answered our prayers, and we watched Him transform our lives just like we prayed that He would.

You Version Bible AppHere's how my life changed in 2011:

1. I quit my second job in retail. I now work four days a week instead of six.

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{Z Gallerie: My favorite store where I worked nights and weekends for 18 months}

2. I furnished my home.

*See key pieces added (couch and dining table), should anyone want to sit down on something other than the floor.

{Christmas 2010}

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Christmas 2011

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3. I write everyday.

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4. I lead a women's Bible study.

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5. I ruthlessly eliminated hurry.


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{My room circa 2010}

6. And I have extra time to live, learn, and serve in a community I love.

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Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously,
and He will give you everything you need.
{Matthew 6:33}

This girl was a mess in a dress, could not show up on time to save her life. I wore my busyness as a badge of honor. Now, I’m living a life that works. A life with exactly enough time to do what's most important. I read, write, run, and relax. And more importantly, I because I seek God first, trust Him to order my day, and I rest...I love and life better. 

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While reading straight through God's word this year, He showed me lies I was believing, hurts I was harboring, fears I was cultivating, and pride I was displaying.

It’s been three years since I moved to Denver. Three years of walking by faith; and at times toughing it out. And now, three years later…I’m living my dream again. And it's GLAM ON.

Reading the Bible in a year, is the single greatest thing I ever did for myself. Nothing I could say would do the experience justice. I’ve heard the Lord speak to my heart in ways I only hoped was possible.

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My encouragement today is…take this on...this year. Trust me, it’s going to be crazy…get ready! 

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If you take this on, I recommend three things to tee-up a win:

  1. A Daily Bible: They are available at any Christian bookstore. Here is the one we used: Change Your Life Bible. A Daily Bible has a chronological reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for every day of the year.
  2. A Friend: An reading partner to root for you, to hold you accountable, and to share life with you.
  3. Trust God and the process: Just keep going, don't stop reading, don't quit...and trust the process. There were mornings I missed my Jesus date. But that night or first thing in the next morning, I got right back at it and caught up. There were mornings I didn’t feel like I got much out of it. There were mornings I was over it...way over it. Be prepared for that, but those mornings will be few and far between. More often that not, fifteen minutes turned to thirty, which turned to an hour with the Word.

Disclaimer: I tried reading through the Bible twice before, and failed two years in a row without #1 and #2 above. I thought I could do it alone, and I didn't need a "special Bible." And the book of Leviticus was the end of me...twice. If Leviticus doesn't get you, the next book Numbers will. 

If you take this on, I promise you this: you will never be the same. Your life will not be the same. You will walk into 2013...changed.


Perfect Faith

   Maybe It's Not About the Happy Ending

This Christmas I was reminded of what it looks like to have perfect faith. Perfect faith is written into the Christmas story, and in some ways it's more encouraging than the actual birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Mary had perfect faith. Mary was favored by God more than any other woman. She was chosen to be the mother of God's son. And yet, there's a lot in her story that I tend to romanticize. An angel appeared to Mary, and said "the Lord is with you."
And here's what unfolded...
  1. She endured a pregnancy outside of marriage that could, and probably should, have resulted in her death.
  2. When she arrived in Bethlehem on a donkey ready to give birth, she was turned away at the inn. 
    If I were Mary, I'd be wondering why it was too much to ask for God to reserve a room?!
  3. After His birth, she was forced to flee her home for Egypt to protect Jesus from a jealous king seeking his death.
  4. Then she lived with the reality that every male child under two was slaughtered by the king in pursuit of her own son.
  5. 33 years later, she watched her son die the most brutal death imaginable.
If you're like me, you want everything to work out in life and also make sense along the way. But things didn't exactly "work out" for Mary the mother of God, or the Son of God Himself. Things worked out for the purpose of God's will.
 
As I go into 2012, and reflect on 2011, I need to reevaluate how I view the outstanding prayer requests in my life. I need to put those requests in the context of a perfect faith. I need to tell the Lord what Mary told Him, and what Jeremiah told Him. 
 
I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me according to Your will.
{Mary, Luke 1:38}
 
Andy Stanley put it this way: "Perfect faith does not move God. Perfect faith is the faith that moves us to trust God...when it doesn't seem like He's going to be moving."
 
Daily Grace #64. {Perfect Faith}
 
PAPER AND GLAM - Faith Necklace
 
Perfect faith says:
As for me, I am in your hands—do with me as you think best.
{Jeremiah 26:14}
 
The greatest meetings of heaven and earth were the birth of the Son of God...and His death. These two events took place in a barn and on a cross. And God...was there.  Christmas is not just a celebration of the birth of Jesus, it's also a celebration that "God is with us." No matter the circumstances or the disappointment, God is with us. He is with us: perfecting our faith, perfecting our love, and calling us into His perfect plan. It's not always the way we want it to look. It's better. It's the best plan. 
December's daily grace, in a perfect plan:
 
65. {Jingle Bells}

Paper and Glam Jingle Bells

66. (Decking the Halls}

Paper and Glam Deck the Halls

66. {Chocolate}

Paper and Glam Chocolate

67. {Communal Cookie Bakin}

Paper and Glam Communal Christmas Cookies

68. {Oh for Cute!}

Paper and Glam Christmas Onesies

69. {Love Wins: The Cookie Set}

Paper and Glam Love Wins Cookies

70. {In Style}

Paper and Glam December InStyle Magazine

71. {Santa Mary Jane's}

Paper and Glam Santa MaryJanes

72. {Finishing Strong}

Paper and Glam 365 Bible in One Year

73. {Pink Presents!}

Paper and Glam Pink and Black Presents by Juicy Couture

74. {Baking Christmas Cookies...Frosting and Sprinkles!}

Paper and Glam Christmas Cookies

75. {Cupcake Station}

Paper and Glam Cupcake Station

77. {Glittery Presents}

Paper and Glam Glitter Presents

78. {A Snack for Santa}

Paper and Glam Cookies for Santa

79. {Christmas Breakfast Pie}

Paper and Glam Breakfast Pie

80. {Christmas Day: Jammies, a fire, and a football game.}

Paper and Glam Jammies and a Fire

mad Hope,
Lisamarie 


A Love That Wins

"A Love that Wins" is a guest post I wrote for Dan Snyder's blog. It's about a community I love: New Denver Church. I know it's not great blog etiquette to publish a guest post, but since New Denver is such a big part of my life and my heart, can I have a hall pass for this one time?

Hope you're enjoying a cozy Christmas with family, friends, or a community you love. To my Denver fam....missin y'all!

From Dan Snyder's blog, A Love That Wins:

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When I think of my time at New Denver Church, I think of a collection of moments when I realize that Jesus Christ is exactly who He says He is. It's not because I finally grasped an abstract theological concept or heard an audible voice from the Lord. It's because everyday I have the privledge of sharing life with a group of people that love each other radically. They love how God intended us to love: selflessly, honestly, and faithfully.

God also intended us to live in community. He knew that in this life, there would be hurt, brokenness, and loss. He knew we're all broken people living in a broken world. He knew that we'd need an unfailing Love. Day in and day out, we'd need a Love that wins. 

New Denver is a community of people with a Love that wins. Dan said it best, "we’d do anything for each other." That means that if someone in our community is moving, or needs a ride to the airport, or prayer…then getting that person moved, to the airport, or just through the day is our collective priority. Through triumphant wins and bitter losses, we have a love that wins. We rally around each other, we cheer, we pray, and we believe in one another. No matter what's going on in our lives, we're grounded together in the family we've formed and the faith we profess. 

At New Denver, one of our pastors always closes Sunday service with, "If you're going through something, don't do it alone." But in life, aren't we always going through something? If it's a good something, you need a team to celebrate with! If it's a tough something, you need a team to stand next to you and help you press on. At New Denver, we don’t do life alone. We don't give each other the option of going it alone. We do life together.  All of it: bad days, bold moves, heavy burdens, empty bank accounts, broken bones, broken hearts, awkward moments….whatever, we’re in it together. We pray, we fast, we serve, we eat, we share life, and we just love each other. These people are some of the busiest people I know. We’re all chasing some big heavy dreams. But no one is ever, ever too busy to drop everything. It’s humbling. 

Early the year, I was having these daily headaches that made me feel completely overwhelmed. I’d be in my house doing something mundane like laundry, and it would strike. At 11 p.m., during one of these little episodes, I called Hilary. She answered and said, “tomorrow, let’s fast and pray.” We did, and since that day I haven’t had a panic a headache.

This Spring, in a freak occurence, I was sued for eviction in San Diego while living in Denver. At my hearing in San Diego, I testified with paystubs and proof that I’d been living in Denver for two and a half years. I lost that day in court. But all day texts of encouragement from our community were pouring into my phone saying, "we're waiting in Denver with hugs, rest in His embrace, and win or lose you are loved."

I was standing outside the courthouse in epic failure laughing and crying, because I realized that Jesus fought a frivolous lawsuit, too. He also lost…but ultimately, Love still won.

Paper and Glam - Love Wins from Starbucks

We all fail, but failure is momentary. A love that never fails…that’s eternal. It’s a love that wins.

You know that cliche saying, what would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Our version is, what would you do if you knew that despite failure, you'd have a community of people who'd love you all the same? 

Acceptance at New Denver is not based on performance, it's based on a standard of grace. That is a love that wins. That's a love that could change the world.

You come as you are,
and you stay as long as you can,
because we're all family here.

New Denver Church.