Soul Reflections

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This morning I was rushed.

My kids attend two different schools which thankfully have different drop-off times, but it still makes for a hectic start of the day. Throughout the morning, I dashed back and forth trying to get ready between tending to the kiddos breakfast, untying double-knotted shoes, locating glasses, etc. Though interrupted several times, I managed to flat-iron my hair and apply my makeup in front of my huge bathroom mirror. But it wasn’t until things slowed down, that I saw it. The entire lower portion of the mirror was grimy—spotted with what I suspected to be a blend of toothpaste and water. Most likely my kids smacked their half-soaked toothbrush repeatedly on the sink, coating the mirror with murky dots.

But. . . it was there all morning. It could have been there since last night. I never noticed.

How come?

I was busy. In a hurry. It wasn’t until I took the time, that I noticed.

Which got me thinking.

What does the reflection of my soul look like? Am I spending enough time inspecting for cleanliness or am I too rushed to tend to the task? Is my soul spotted from the world’s residue and I just can’t see it when I’m in a hurried state?

I observed it takes diligence, but being protective over my heart is never wasted time. This includes time in prayer, reading my Bible, reflecting on His mercy and goodness. Yes, there may be a mountainous pile of laundry or an inbox full of unread emails screaming for my attention, but I can’t neglect what’s vital for the strengthening of my spirit.

Awhile back my husband asked me, “Why are you always go go go? Doesn’t that make you tired?” I thought about what he asked. And the answer was yes. I’d feel drained from the inside-out but resigned myself into accepting it. I mean, if I didn’t complete these tasks, they never got done. There’s only so many hours in a day, right?

But truth is, we make time for what we want to make time for. I’d discover that setting my alarm for an earlier time helped give me extra moments with Jesus before the rush of the morning sets in. If I cut back on social media, then I can use that time to pray. In the car on my way to the schools, I’d listen to worship music to direct my thoughts into a holy vein.

When I practice this way of life, it may still seem busy, but it’s peaceful. Do I have it all together? Ummm . . . no. But by His grace, I’m learning. Trusting. Seeking out His whispers in the chaos. Holding His hand through the riotous haze. So at the end of the day, the reflection of my soul doesn’t expose the world’s grime, but reveals His presence in my life.

*photo credit: Mike Wilson Unspash.com

 

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An Inconvenient Beauty Review

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Although I’m sad to see the Hawthorne House series come to a close, I have to happily admit that An Inconvenient Beauty is a breath-taking finale.

Here’s the blurb:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

My thoughts:

An Inconvenient Beauty drew me in with the lavish ballroom scenes, vast country estates, and charming characters. The story was seamlessly presented captivating my attention from page one.

From reading the previous books, I had a good idea of who Griffith, Duke of Riverton, was. Or so I thought! I loved finally seeing the world through his eyes and experiencing the honor and burden of being British nobility. He formulated plans for everything – including finding the perfect spouse. It was amusing to watch his life turn upside-down when Isabella Breckenridge stepped into London society.

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Bella was known for her beauty, but she desired to be admired for who she really was. I loved that about her. Though she was imprisoned by her uncle’s demands, her character still seemed to shine. The relationship between her and her cousin, Freddie, helped endear Bella more to me. She truly cared for others around her.

I enjoyed the chemistry between the two characters. It was interesting to watch the story unravel with twists and turns that kept me guessing how it would end. The author did a spectacular job crafting a beautiful story.

If this story intrigues you then click here to purchase!

 

*I was given a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own. 🙂

 

About the author:

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Kristi Ann Hunter 
graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at http://www.kristiannhunter.com.

Living Beyond “I can’t”

 

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The can’t can.

My dance instructor had it decorated in pinks and blues but my nine-year-old self saw the horrid thing as the black spot of my ballet class. If I, or any other classmate, would say “I can’t,” then we’d have to feed the can’t can a nickel. For every offense. Unfortunately, my tongue would spit those two words out faster than I could bend my legs for a demi-plié, and I’d have to shell out my allowance to cover my infractions. But over time, it trained me to be careful with both my thoughts and words. As much as I hated the can’t can, I had learned to appreciate its value. It kept me from placing limitations on myself.

There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.

I read this quote by Napoleon Hill today and was reminded of my daughter.

Yesterday, she was working on her journal for school. At the very bottom of the page, she was instructed to draw a picture about what she wrote. In the past, she’d become discouraged if she were to draw anything. She would’ve handed me the pencil and begged to work on something else.

But yesterday was different.

Determination filled her eyes, and she wielded her pen as a girl on a mission. I watched her take her time and sketch a picture of Larry the Cucumber—the subject of her journal entry. When she was finished she glanced up at me, joy illuminating her face, and declared, “I can do something!”

I hugged her tight and told her she can do many many things. I then quoted Philippians 4:13 which says – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

This happy event caused me to wonder. God said in that verse that we can do ALL things. And again, in Matthew 19:26, Jesus tells his disciples, “With God all things are possible.”

ALL.

Which brings me to the conclusion. . . if we have limitations, then we are the ones who established them. The walls of restriction were built with our own doubts, fears, and past regrets. Brick by brick until we’ve enclosed ourselves within its borders.

Fear is a major ally to crippling limitations. Some may be afraid of failure. Others may be scared of what others might say or think. Fear has several different avenues, but it will always land you on the street of disappointment. When you don’t follow the stirring in your heart, you’ll find yourself dissatisfied.

I think it’s time for many of us to break free. Banish the word can’t from our vocabulary and say what God says—can. We serve a limitless God who delights in taking us beyond the barriers. Let’s allow Him do it!

So that’s my word for today – boundless. Go forth and be awesome!