Thrive!  When you think of the word THRIVE what comes to mind?  You might think of a flower in full bloom THRIVING because you have taken the time to nurture and care for it during the early stages.  You may think of an infant who is THRIVING because the parents are feeding, caring for and loving that child.  You may think of your financial investments THRIVING because you have carefully selected the appropriate accounts to invest in.  You may think of those relationships and friendships that you have that you have carefully invested Time and possible resources into that have THRIVED throughout the test of time.  There are many ways we see things THRIVING around us in our every day life.  It is easy to not stop and think about what went into someone THRIVING weather that be the day your child walks across the stage at the end of a high school career or the smiles that your parents or grandparents display at their 25th or 50th or 60th wedding anniversaries.  We see things and people THRIVE around us all the time!  Have you ever stopped to think about well how does one THRIVE when there is a sick child?  How does one THRIVE when they are faced with the word’s “You have Cancer”?  How does one THRIVE when the one they loved says “I don’t love you anymore?”  These are questions that many of us are faced with on a daily basis.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing how I have THRIVED through some pretty life shaking circumstances and how I came out stronger than I was when I went in!  Join me on this journey as we discover how to THRIVE through life!

The first journey I will take you on is through those awkward jr. high years.  Those years that for some you may want to forget and to NEVER EVER go back to again!  For others of you those were the “GOOD” days!  Those were the days that you LIVED for and LOVED!  For me those days were days that I was insecure, had low self esteem and didn’t have many friends.  As  a matter of fact I had braces, headgear, and didn’t have cool Guess jeans, I wore big glasses and had a short bobbed hair cut!  Image There was a boy who rode my bus and his name was Troy Sulfrunk!  He was plain mean!  Today we would call it bullying but he would call me “Vulture Monkey” and would draw pictures of what he thought that looked like.  In high school I finally got up the nerve to ask him why he continually called me that name and he could not tell me!  He said and I quote “If I told you, it would hurt your feelings!”  Well he had already hurt them enough what more was there left to hurt? I was able to THRIVE and not head down the path of self destruction because I knew WHOSE I was and continually listened to Christian music which encouraged me.  Now don’t get me wrong though I spent a lot of time in the counselors office or hanging out with teachers who encouraged me!  (that is a whole different post on how music as helped me thrive!)My parents had gotten divorced during the 5th and 6th grade summer.  We had moved to a new school and the 6th grade year is a hard time to readjust and make new friends.  I found 2 friends who walked through jr. high with me, John and Mary.Image

This was the 6th grade field trip to the Zoo and Mary is next to me on the left in the pink shirt.

 I also found a older wiser women to look up to and I had teachers who invested in me!  John and Mary were two friends who we would eat lunch together each day and John and I would go to church youth group each Friday night together with his family.  I was able to THRIVE despite the awkwardness of the jr. high years because of these two friends and because of my faith in Jesus.  These two friends were a blessing during the jr. high years.  As we went to high school, John got involved in band and Mary moved to a different school.  God brought other people in my life throughout high school to help me THRIVE!   My teachers invested in my by helping me with my math, or finding things that I was good at and affirming me of that.  This helped me THRIVE by building my self confidence in my ability to do and overcome my inability to believe in myself.  My last mentor, Kimberly Ann, she is a radio DJ for the Christian Radio Station in South Bend.  She helped me THRIVE throughout those awkward stages as she helped shape my faith and knowing that I AM A CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING!  In knowing that I am LOVED no matter what the world may say, that my father in heaven loves me more than I could ever know and He loves you too!  On Friday nights she would have “Request Hour” and I ALWAYS that I was cool when I got to hear my voice on the air!  One final note on my jr. high years, I went to Camp Adventure in North Webster for 3 summers!  That was the BEST week of the summer!  We were LOVED on!  Encouraged and taking out of the craziness of the jr. high “normal” world and brought into a week where we were shown unconditional love by people who gave up a week of their lives to invest into us!  Little did I know that despite the awkwardness that I went through in jr. high that God was sowing a seed to give me the passion to reach out to other jr. high kids.


“This post inspired by Casting Crowns’ new album “THRIVE” releasing on January 28th!”

Rest for the Weary!!

In Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST!”

When was the last time you took time out to rest in His presences?  These past two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to go to some good friends “Camp Parker”!  They have a really cool little underground house!  I’ve had the opportunity to stay there.  Its peaceful!  It reminds me of spending many summers at Camp Adventure, the place I felt closest to God.  Its a great place to go because I get to unplug from the cell phone world!  At first I was frustrated but I learned how much I needed that peace!  And granted I did not take the opportunity to lay out under the night sky, it is no doubt God who created the star lite sky!  Take time to rest!  We live in a day and age where we want it now but yet we are so desperate for the peace and quiet!  The few things I cherished over these past two weekends were the fellowship despite sinking chairs, amazingly yummy home cooked food and the bugs in the bathroom!  Yes, BUGS in the shower brought a smile to this face!   Why you ask because it brought back memories of camp!  The shower how ever was beautiful clean clear water bliss!  If you’ve been to Camp you know exactly what iron, rusty water I am talking about!  The other quirk that made me smile was to keep the shower temperature “normal” you had to have the sink water running too!  :-). Its the little things that make me smile!  So, I encourage you to make a way to find time to take rest!  Be blessed as you bless others!