When Life’s a Beach, Go All-Inclusive

When Life’s a Beach, Go All-Inclusive

My husband and I first experienced an “all-inclusive resort” just last summer. At the time we planned the vaca, I was pregnant with our #5 and we decided to use some tax-refund money to enjoy a “just the two of us” few days before a crazy summer and then adding a baby to our crazy.

Just weeks before we were to go on that vacation, we miscarried our little guy and so the vacation became a beautiful place to grieve and to heal and to reconnect… just the two of us.

While we were there, we found out what some already know… All-inclusive is the bomb.com… and so we are currently enjoying a second round this year!

And, once again, as last year’s escape was a big breath of life while mourning the loss of our son, this year is a reprieve from some harsh realities of life on this planet. Life can be a bi*** for sure.

As we look around and see broken marriages every where – the Church not exempt – I am hit with the reality that this fun and relaxing vacation is that but also it is so much more. It is an investment into our marriage that is well worth any dollars spent.

As we look around and see people suffering from burn out and making horrible choices to deal with the stress, I am hit with the reality that embracing God’s commandment to “honor the Sabbath” has benefits far greater than getting a Sunday afternoon nap. Rest is a really big deal, y’all. And it’s commanded all over the place in the Bible.

Last year, we had summer plans that included lots of beach time – before we lost our baby. As we carried out those plans, in a season of grieving, I grabbed onto the phrase, “Life’s a Beach”. Because, frankly life was a bi*** but Jesus was bringing beauty from the ashes of our pain by giving us time at the beach. Kinda funny play on words.

So I’m thrilled to be on another vacation with my Beloved this year. I’m again remembering why “all-inclusive” is seriously the best invention ever. No purse, no wallet, no worries. No budgeting each days meals and fun drinks… it’s already taken care of… all we do is enjoy! We enjoy the rest. We enjoy the beach. We enjoy each other. And totally embrace the motto, that at least this week, Life’s a Beach!

cabo resort
Cabo, 2015

new dani whimsy

How to Find Rest When You’re Restless

How to Find Rest When You’re Restless

Last Friday, I wrote about the Lord leading me to “quit the scrolling” for a few days last week. (You can find it HERE) I talked a bit about this thing called REST… primarily the rest of the soul. For a few days there, I found a bit of rest for my soul, a reprieve from my restlessness on the inside but, as with most of us, I’m a work in progress and have wrestled again this week to find rest in my soul. In this season on my life, it seems to be something I’m having to be intentional about. I’m a firm believer in a living a lifestyle of rest. Sometimes, it comes easy to me. Other times, like now, I’m having to ‘be diligent to enter into that rest’.  (Hebrews 4:11 NKJV)

Here’s some truths I’m reminding myself about while in my process. Hopefully they will help you too!

I’m reminding myself that:

Rest is a promise. 

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (The Voice)

When we get caught in the weariness of life – whether it be physically, spiritually or emotionally, or all three – we can forget that this isn’t what Jesus has for us. Being weary, burdened and exhausted is not what He wants for us. He has promised something different and we can expect Him to fulfill His promise IF we will come.

Rest is not primarily external, but internal.

I love vacations – especially ones to the beach – and I think taking a “Sabbath” day each week is important. But even if we do set those times aside, if we don’t quiet our insides, those set aside times mean nothing. True rest only comes when we find peace on the inside… whether we are sitting on the beach or a mountainside or we are sitting in our vehicle in heavy traffic, or surrounded by crabby toddlers, or a noisy office place. Our outside circumstances can help bring inward peace, but it is not a guarantee. We have to be intentional.

If I’m not resting in Jesus, there’s a good chance I have a trust issue.

And the way to increase my trust in Him is to remind myself of His goodness and what He has done, in my life or others’ lives or even from the Scripture. God is faithful. He is good. He has done so many things in my life and the lives of those around me that prove His faithfulness and His goodness. Surrounding ourselves with people who will remind us of this when we are struggling to do so ourselves will be helpful too. Remembering WHO He is will always increase my trust and quiet my soul.

“He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises.” Romans 4:21 (NLT)

There is high value in sitting before the Lord.

The term ‘soaking’ became very popular in much of the Church world a couple decades or so ago. Basically quieting yourself, not doing all the talking in prayer but looking at it as a two-way conversation and leaving room for Holy Spirit to speak to you. There is value in time spent just sitting and listening. In the busy-ness of life, sometimes we don’t have 30 minutes or an hour or even 15 minutes but I’ve found if I will even sit before Him for 5 or 10 minutes, He will speak, He will quiet my soul. Those few moments are invaluable to the health and well-being of my soul.

These are just a few tips on finding rest when you’re in a state of un-rest. Now click PLAY on the video below and let Jesus quiet your heart today….

new dani whimsy

Quit the Scrolling

Quit the Scrolling

A week and a half ago, I felt the Lord whisper to me, “Set aside this next week for Me.” As He and I conversed about this, it wasn’t a full fast and week away from life that the Lord was calling me to, but a setting aside of a few things that are usually a huge part of my life.

My husband and I had already committed to a more strict eating plan for the week since we were actually not going to be traveling that week. Then, I felt like the Lord told me to, “Quit the scrolling” for a few days. This meant, no scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And I also felt I was to take a break from writing for Whimsy in My Cup for the week. A bit of a rest from my normal cyber world.

Even with these omissions from the week, it certainly wasn’t restful in the physical sense of the word. Our kids were out of school for a couple days, but one traveled to State basketball every day for three days. Which meant driving her the 15 minute drive to and from school a couple times a day at unknown hours – all dependent on how the team played and how slow the bus drove. 🙂 We put on a weekend teaching module which required much prep and a couple sessions of teaching from me.

No, this week of setting aside things didn’t mean a quiet and restful week but it meant being more intentional with my ‘freetime’ being focused on Him. And it resulted in a rest in my spirit and my soul.

Funny thing was, when He spoke to me so many days ago, I didn’t connect that, with the scheduled module, I would actually be teaching on rest last weekend. (I’m a little dense sometimes)  A lifestyle of rest is really important to me, yet over the last few months my insides have been anything but restful. I’ve told my husband and several others over the last months that, I feel restless in my soul. And, after several months of this, the Lord was about to bring rest for my soul. And it took me a whole week to put all the dots together. He was really speaking and doing something powerful.

Next Friday, I’m going to be getting a little more practical on why a lifestyle of rest is so important for us to embrace. I hope you will join me for part two of my thoughts on rest!

6 Reasons I Love the Holidays: Focus on Rest

6 Reasons I Love the Holidays: Focus on Rest

Rest. It’s a strong core value of mine, yet I sit here, with my head spinning on how not to do just that this morning. See, I had a babysitter lined up so I could do my thing – errands to run, blogs to write, books to be mailed out – but, I received a text this morning that my toddler’s babysitter cannot make it this morning due to sickness. As I’m mapping out how to do life with these changes, I hear the gentle whisper of Jesus, “Rest.”  But, as much as I preach it and usually live it, I find myself fighting against His call to rest this morning.

Many take a day off to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, whether it be on the actual Christmas Day or another, but it’s also important to weave rest into the busyness of the season. Take an afternoon to enjoy a movie with the kids. An hour to drive the town and look at Christmas lights with the family. A moment to put your feet up after baking or Christmas shopping all day. Quiet your physical body and your soul and rest, even for a few minutes.

“Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLV)

It’s a promise from Jesus, that if we come to Him, He will give us rest. This is a season centered on Jesus – even those who generally don’t give Him a second thought, often acknowledge that Christmas is a remembrance of His birth. So, as you center on Him, as you come to Him – find rest.

As we celebrate the next couple weeks – Christmas and then ringing in the New Year – let’s move forward being strengthened in our journey… strengthened because we found rest in Jesus this season.

“May you all continue the journey with your spirits strengthened by the grace of the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. [Amen]” Philippians 4:23 (The Voice)

Day 20: Offering Up My Laziness

Day 20: Offering Up My Laziness

Sometimes I don’t want to. I don’t want to get up off the couch. I don’t want to play “Dora” with my toddler. I don’t want to help with homework. I don’t want to cook dinner. I don’t want to fold the laundry. I don’t want to go to the grocery store. Sometimes I just don’t want to. Today is the offering up of laziness, procrastination, idleness.

As moms we work hard. The job includes being on call 24/7. As I’ve been doing this for over 17 years, I have my moments of slackness. I’ve had my moments of throwing my hands up and screaming “I can’t do this anymore.” Whatever ‘this’ is… because it certainly doesn’t mean I want to quit being a mom or a wife. I love that this. I think it’s the this of the hard work required. I want the position and reward of being called mama. But some days, some moments, I just feel like I can’t possibly fulfill the requirements of the role. Maybe you do too.

What to do in those moments? Offer it up to Jesus. And accept grace. Grace to either fulfill the required task in this moment. Supper does need to be on the table in 30 minutes because we have church in an hour. Help me, Jesus. Or accept the grace to let that task go for now. Because sometimes laziness just means I need rest. Sometimes, idleness means that that laundry should wait for the more important moment of snuggling and watching a movie with my toddler.

I don’t deny my laziness, procrastinating heart or that I can be prone to idleness… I offer it up to Jesus and let Him show me what’s really going on and then accept the grace to change… either my actions… or my mindset.

***This is Day 20 of “31 Days of Offering Up” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all the posts in order, please visit the overview page.***

Positioning Yourself for the Best Year Yet: Getting More Sleep

Positioning Yourself for the Best Year Yet: Getting More Sleep

(This is Day 2 of a 10 day series of Tips to Position Yourself for the Best Year Ever)

The second step to positioning ourselves for an amazing 2015 is…

Getting More Sleep

This isn’t going to happen easily. It’s not going to happen without first learning to say ‘no’ to the extra, stressful activities that don’t need to be cluttering up your life. And in some seasons, getting those recommended 8 hours just isn’t going to happen at all. But I think being aware of your sleep habits and then being intentional about what you do have control of, you can definitely make some steps towards the sleep your body so desperately needs.

A working mother with a small infant will most likely not have many nights where she gets to sleep the whole night through, but she does have control over that novel or internet game that she spends an extra hour indulging in at night that ends up cutting her night extra short. I also think that sometimes there’s somewhat of a sick pride in saying “I only got 4 hours of sleep last night” and that we like the sympathy that comes with this kind of martyrdom. We need to forsake this lie and start to take care of our bodies.  A very long season of late nights and early mornings with no lazy weekends will very soon take it’s toll and there is no glory in looking and feeling unhealthy and haggard.

Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, being intentional about finding a sleep schedule that fits your lifestyle is important to functioning well in life. Living on energy drinks or coffee works for a while but in the long run will do more damage than good. Let’s challenge ourselves to make adequate sleep a priority this year and I believe we will see ourselves more energized and focused while we are awake!

A Bubble of Peace

A Bubble of Peace

This is Day 12 of “31 Days of Whimsical Encounters” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all the posts in order, please visit the overview page.

I was with the Lord in a ‘bubble’, like a snow globe. The noise of the world was all around but we were oblivious and couldn’t hear a thing – in the protection of the bubble. Within the bubble, we were sitting in a garden – flowers everywhere. Instead of ‘snow’ there was glitter floating all around us. I saw music notes floating too. Like we were singing and the notes were becoming visible and filling the bubble. Such a peaceful place, within the noise and chaos of the world but, at the same time, separate from it.

unnamed-10

 

Trusting in the Unknown

Trusting in the Unknown

This is Day 9 of “31 Days of Whimsical Encounters” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all the posts in order, please visit the overview page.

bee on flower
**photo from pexels.com**

I was in a bed of flowers. But I was as small as a bumblebee. It felt like a scene out of Lord of the Rings or another fantasy where humans co-existed in a land of giants. I was sitting there on a flower petal, in a daze. I’m not really sure why but I felt only half awake. All of the sudden, a ‘being’ came and wrapped me up in, what seemed to me, a large lettuce leaf. It was some sort of greenery. I was then laid on a giant flying bug… like a dragonfly. I wondered if I should be afraid but deep down, I knew that what had control of my adventure right now could be trusted. I wasn’t sure what was happening, where I was or where I was going. But I knew I could trust.