Keep Adventuring

Do you ever miss the adventurous ways of childhood?

When the tiny box of raisins was the best snack, getting to drink a can of coke was the greatest treat and imagination ruled everyday life?

And let’s be honest here… Bangs, hairbows, and hand-painted Christmas sweatshirts for a FREE Christmas photo shoot at the volunteer fire station in your community was COMPLETELY acceptable.

IMG_0391

I have become so nostalgic towards the ways of my childhood and the protection I experienced within it.

I grew up living around my cousins, with a big pasture, a fantastic pond, hay bales, and grandparents a mile down the road.  We had a donkey named Moe and my sisters, cousins, and I would feed him carrots with Italian salad dressing… I mean carrots aren’t good without it.  We would pretend we were at war and run through the fields.  Some days we were soldiers, other days we were pioneers, most days American girl dolls.  Whatever we ventured, the excitement was real.

Life was simple and life was easy.

Now, I am fresh out of college and it seems as if the pending question for all like me is

“So, what do you want to do with your life?”

Is it appropriate to respond “I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA”??

You know that scene of The Notebook? Where Allie is trying to decide between Noah and that other guy? Noah keeps yelling “What do you want?!”  and Allie bawling and screaming “I don’t know!”.

Allie’s response is the way my tummy reacts when people ask that question. Instant panic tummy… insert fake smile and answers.

When asked that question, I come up with all the answers I feel like the world expects of me.  I tell people what my major was and that I have considered a masters program.  I tell people that I am enjoying my current job and am interested to see where it will take me.

You know what I am really doing? Telling people what I think they want to hear and hiding my insecurity with REALLY bogus answers. 

I attend a bible study that is happening in my community. A friend, the sweetest Rachel I know, spoke up about feeling insecure and inadequate. She told the group that she had been praying and asking the Lord what He thought of those words.

His response… 

“When you live in Him, you live IN-security. When you live in Him, you live IN-adequacy.”

We are secure.  We are adequate. We are enough.

Last night, the question was asked and before I could think of the perfect response, I immediately responded how I felt… “I have no idea.” I said what I loved and I spoke the honest truth, and it felt AWESOME.

You know what was even more peaceful about confessing my unknown? The grace that was given as a response. My heart felt a weight lift off my chest.

In Him… I live IN-Security. 

Pride aside, insecurity aside, embarrassment aside, inadequacy aside… I have no idea what I want to do with my life. It scares me. It terrifies me.  Somedays, it paralyzes me.

But God does. God sees. God hears. God adventures with us in the unknown.

IMG_1358

My friend Kayla invited me to adventure with her Saturday.  It was a sporadic trip and full of fun.  We hiked up a big hill and ate granola bars, attempting to tap into our earthy side.

IMG_1328

We spent the morning in spontaneity and recognized the adventure that God really has for us.  We discovered it in the playful nature that was pulled out of us in the discovery of a playground and the determination to make it to the top of a stupid steep hill.

IMG_1342

We discovered joy in taking the risk of turning left instead of right and pursuing a path into the unknown.

Even if we aren’t on a spontaneous hiking day, we are exploring in life.

And when you adventure, you never know what can happen next.  That’s the beauty of not knowing what you are going to do for the rest of your life, it makes life one big, fat, terrifyingly, awesome adventure.

image

Keep adventuring. 

Cotton

There’s just something about a cotton field.

IMG_1203

I can’t explain what they do to me when I pass them driving down I-65 or when I visit my grandmother and see cotton fields for miles.  I even lived a whole summer in Lubbock, Texas, where trees don’t exist and neither does elevation of any sort, but the cotton, oh my, the cotton fields are endless.  It can make my whole heart and breath stop, just for a moment.  It’s as if it is trying to tell me something about life.

IMG_1214

still sing the cotton jingle, it really is the fabric of our lives. 

A few months back, my husband and I found a cotton field that was in a little town outside of Montgomery.  I loved it so much I made him pull over so I could just stand in it.

My man is always up for my craziness. 

image

The cotton was blooming at this point and my heart leapt.  It was so perfect, it was so ivory, it was breathtaking. 

My great-grandfather was a cotton farmer and an everything else farmer. He was a cotton farmer when cotton was King and he knew how to work the land. One Thanksgiving, he told his sons to harvest their cotton.  He was fearful of snow falling and killing the cotton crop.  All of his sons listened and harvested, except for one.

The next day, snow fell on their farm, killing the one crop that had not been harvested.  That plot of land where the untouched cotton was killed, was the same piece of land where the cotton gin resided.  The cotton was ready for harvest, neglected, and in an instant lost, all in the shadow of the gin. 

This cotton field though, the one I made my husband stop for, the one that stole my heart, well it sits next to an old abandoned church building.

IMG_1323

It got me thinking…

How many times are we stopping for the person thats life is blooming all sorts of ivory, but driving right passed the one’s that are picked over? All the ones that have been too tainted by the world?

Today, I went back to that cotton field, the one I stopped for when it was blooming.  The cotton was picked over, everything was brown and dead, and all you could see were little speckles of white scattered throughout the field.  My friend Nichole joined.  It was freezing, but we fought for exploration and adventure.  We ran through the field, we picked up old, leftover pieces of cotton, and at some points we simply stood there in complete awe of the work that had to have been done to that land; all that harvesting, all that labor.

IMG_1294

We walked around that church building and discovered floating pieces of cotton that had been pushed by the wind into little crevices of the church.

My Dad once asked our church family, “How many people will we lose in the shadow of the church?”

How many people have we missed? How many people were ready for a harvest in their life and we neglected them? All in the shadow of the Church.

IMG_1270

We see all the pain that this world offers.  We even try to fight what we see as sin. The news is slamming Christians.  They are bashing Christianity because the only venturing they see us doing is telling someone they are wrong in hopes that they will join us in a slam parade against others too.

Just like my Great-Grandfather was hurt to see all that cotton killed in the shadow of the gin, we Christians should be grieved at a world of people not receiving love in the shadow of the Church.  

There should be no leftovers, Jesus stopped for the one.

He stopped for the sick, the poor, the prostitutes…

Not because they were blooming, but because they had worth.  He turned from the tainted and saw the ivory within them.

Let’s start stopping for cotton fields, picking up the pieces, and rejoicing when that ivory bloom begins to blossom.

IMG_1218

Soon, I hope to share what God has in store for the Bell Family.  A big plan He has placed before us, full of adventure in loving His people.  Stay tuned and be sure to buy some Bell Blend 🙂

Generational Habits

Growing up, my mom would wake up hours before daylight to have her “coffee” time. I never understood why she would do it.  Was it really worth getting up 4 hours before you had to be anywhere? Did you HAVE to see the moon again? Must you always see the sunrise?

It literally never made sense to me. Everyday when I woke up, I would walk in the living room and there she was, wrapped up in her robe, religiously wearing her slippers (which she is very particular about), reading her bible, with a coffee cup in her hand. Side note: she only drinks from tiny coffee cups so that her coffee cup intake can be an absurd amount. She’s a wild one that Wendy.

Mom always claimed it was her alone time to become joyful before her babies woke up, which I always believed, she always gave the best hugs and had a lot of energy when we woke.   Today, we are all grown up, out from under her roof and payroll, and she’s still waking before the sun.

I always knew there was something more happening.

For 30 years now, my mom wakes before the sun to sit with Jesus.

It hit me today, this morning actually, when I willingly woke up at 5 am to sit with Jesus, that so much of what I have in this life is because of the fervent prayers of my mother. It is because she chose to wake up and sit with Him. Talk to Him. Ask of Him. Believe in Him.

She prayed for my sister when doctors told her she may never have children, two years later, my niece was born. 

She prayed for my Dad when the recession of ’09 hit him hard, he now sees the fruit of his labor.

She prayed for my sister to find peace after the loss of a close friend, She’s in her calm after the storm.

She prayed me through a season of anxiety and unknown, I’m walking a path of peace.

She prayed for all three of us (me and my sisters) to find Godly husbands, we are living in marital bliss.

DSC_3187

Today is Ash Wednesday.  Not everyone pursues the Lent season, but this year my husband and I are.  We are spending 40 days in fervent prayer over all that God places on our hearts.

 AND…There is this unbelievable desire to wake up every morning, drink Bell Blend and sit with Jesus. 

Today, I am thankful for generational habits and a Mom who never stops trusting drinking coffee with Jesus.

*You should wake up with Bell Blend too! You can buy it under the coffee shop tab :)*