Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Be You, Bravely | Melissa of Simply Sweet Melissa

Hello, hello everyone! I am delighted that today marks the return of the Be You, Bravely series! I started this series last summer as a way to feature women from all walks of life who are living bravely by embracing their unique seasons and talents as they move through life. Today I am happy to introduce Melissa of Simply Sweet Melissa. She is such a gem and a dear friend! Her heart is sweeter than tea (and her engagement pics are to DIE for). I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!
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Who are you, my dear?
Why hello! I'm Melissa and I blog over at Simply Sweet Melissa. Telling someone else about yourself can be kind of tricky especially if you feel like you are still trying to figure out all of the pieces that make you YOU. But I can tell you this: I'm a newly engaged gal living in the Queen City (also known as Charlotte, NC) with my future husband-to-be Will and our furbaby Miller. My love language is Acts of Service and in my free time you can catch me scrapbooking, scrolling through ETSY or cuddled up in my Snuggie on the couch watching the Hallmark channel. But above all, I'm just an ordinary girl, who knows God is in control and believes wholeheartedly that kindness is always fashionable.

What does it mean to be you, bravely?
Sheesh! Being brave to me can mean something as little as not running in the opposite direction out of fear when I see a spider or something as large as being able to ask for forgiveness when I know I'm in the wrong. But being ME bravely goes much deeper then those two examples. Being brave to me means letting go of trying to control your own life and letting God take the lead. It means worrying less and doing more. Being brave to me means being okay with who you are and accepting the fact that you will never be perfect. Bravery is a hard thing to master but with baby steps you can be you, bravely anytime you want to be! Even a quick search on Pinterest tells you to be brave ;-)



If you could have a heart-to-heart with younger you, what would you say?
I would first offer her a large glass of sweet tea to lighten the mood and then we would have a long conversation going over all of the times she didn't pay attention to those little "red flags". Younger me was oblivious to all sorts of things and when I look back over the year, I can't help but shake my head in disbelief that I didn't' see all the warning signs that eventually left me lost down the wrong road. My faith was weak, and my prayer life was usually nonexistent. I depended on others for love when I didn't even love myself.

It took a handful of years for me to finally understand the importance of self-love, and that if and only when I give everything over to God will I ever be truly happy. Sure, when you do that you might expect great things to happen and THEY WILL! However, we live in a imperfect world so don't go thinking that everything will be perfect or go as planned 100% of the time. To this day I struggle with this but have to remind myself daily that all things work on for God's glory not ours.




What is encouraging you this week?
Quality time spent with my fiance! Our work/life balance has been out of whack for some time now and with all of this wedding planning going on we have not had has much time to just rest and relax together. It's in those everyday moments that I am encouraged by Will and his love for me.

Just for fun, what are 3 must have's?
This is an easy question to answer! I can't go anywhere without ChapStick and currently I've been using the 'Classic Medicated' king. Works wonders on my dry lips and the smell reminds me of Rice Krispy Treats...ha! The second thing I must always have with me is my agenda/planner! I loved using the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley but I recently got the Lilly Pulitzer Medium Agenda because it easily fits in my purse and it's hard not to love all the colorful pages inside! And to be honest, I don't have just ONE planner/agenda that I use! Lastly, I can't leave the house without a set of pearl earrings. Whether i'm wearing them, have them stashed away in my handbag, or left in my car, I almost always have a pair with me!

I had a blast being a part of the Be You, Bravely series and am wishing upon a star for the day that I get to meet the sweet ole' Bailey Jean! I just love and adore the girl so much and am blessed to have her as a blogging friend!

Isn't Melissa great? Simply Sweet is a perfect fit for this gal! I can only hope to meet her in real life and hug her dear neck. Thanks for sharing, girl! And y'all have a happy Wednesday :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

An Inspired Life Giveaway!

It is my joy and privilege to host today's giveaway! When I started the Savor Your Season series as part of the #write31days challenge, Katie of A Place to Dwell reached out to me, offering to let me read the e-book she wrote about what it means to live An Inspired Life.  Her heart on this subject has been so encouraging, spot on in the direction I was hoping to take my series, and full of wisdom/insight everyone could benefit from. When she offered to giveaway her e-book to one luck reader I was over the moon!

From the back of the book: 
"In every season of our lives, we can trust the One who's scripting the story. 
We can embrace each and every day with passion and purpose, with hope, 
and with open hearts and open hands. We can live inspired lives that glorify 
Him --lives full of joy, possibility, and creativity."

To enter the giveaway:
1. Follow @baileyjeanrobert and @aplacetodwell on Instagram.
2. Repost the above image on Instagram and tag the image with #bravelovegiveaway.
3. Tag two friends you think would be interested in the e-book in the caption of your image.

The giveaway runs through Sunday, November 2 at noon and a winner will be announced on Monday, November 3. You can enter once per day through Sunday. For extra entries, tweet about the giveaway with a link to this post, tagging @baileyjrobert and @aplacetodwell and #bravelovegiveaway.

Best of luck to you, dears!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Settling into This Season

You could say it was a bit ambitious to sign up for a second month-long blog challenge while in the middle of another. You could also say I should have known better than to trust my judgement when I was down for the count with a respiratory infection. What sounded like a good idea at 11:00pm on cold meds was probably not in fact the wisest choice. But I jumped in anyways. Eight days in and I floundered. The #write31days was right up my alley, and the topic of "Savoring Your Season" was one I have been eager to dive into. But somewhere along the way I had to sink into my own season. 


Four words why: grad school is hard.
Is that a given? Yes. 
Should I have been prepared for that? Yes.
Did it knock my feet out from under me? Yes.

My days are full to the brim, and I have been treading water trying to juggle too many balls. How did I do it in undergrad? Classes from 9-2, work from 2-5, church events from 6-9, rehearsal 10-midnight. Who? What? Why? HOW?! I can no longer keep the same schedule healthily, and two weeks ago everything came skidding to a halt. Anxiety weighed on my heart and sent it fluttering restlessly. Lightheaded and overwhelmed, I had to take a good look at my days and how I should be --or shouldn't be-- spending them.

The blog went on pause. I know, I'm being a little dramatic because it was only a week and a half, but after the momentum from the Blog-tember Challenge I wanted to keep things running and running fast. However, I couldn't keep up.

The topic that had been stirring on my heart and in my prayer life was now becoming a packaged product I was trying to toss out the door on time instead of letting it steep in my soul. This community, which is one of the most refreshing and life-giving parts of my week, cannot be carried out of a place of striving. I need rest. Badly. And I need grace. Oh Lord, let it be and amen!

You know, I don't know where this post is going, but I needed to put fingers to keys and try to sort out the mess in my head and in my heart. I love blogging and I love you all dearly; you don't know just how much you mean to me and how this community brightens my week. But something has to give in this season and for now it's my blog.

I still plan to write as often as possible, but it might be once a week. It could be five times a week, once a month, Sunday evenings, but who knows? It all depends. And that's okay. I am so thankful for the friendships that have been born out of this corner of the internet and I hope to continue to connect with you all as best I can! Instagram seems to be the easiest place these days. Follow me here: baileyjeanrobert.

So why share all this? I'm asking for prayer. I would love for you to partner with me in praying for my graduate program, that the atmosphere that weighs heavily on me during the day would be brightened and lightened with Christ's love, and that I could break old habits in order to seek spiritual and physical health. And let's pray for this community, that God would continue to be glorified as women (and men) encourage one another and support each other's stories/journeys as we share them.

Have a blessed day, y'all!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Introducing the Merry & Bright Gift Swap

Today we are taking a leap forward to celebrate an upcoming season. I've got the rest of this series in the works for next week, but today I wanted to introduce you to a project I've had under wraps for quite some time. 


It's time to announce the first annual Merry & Bright Gift Swap!

The holidays are a time especially set aside to rejoice together and to bless others, and I cannot think of a better place to launch this than in the growing blogging community. You ladies consistently knock my socks off with your beautiful hearts and how you encourage one another. Let's spread Christmas cheer together, shall we?

Really my heart behind this is to connect ladies (or anyone) who may or may not know one another so we can get into each other's worlds and send thoughtful gifts during the holiday craze. Who knows what sort of friendships may spark from this? I, for one, am excited to find out!

In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for an e-mail from me with your partner's contact info and fun facts. Everyone will be paired by November 22. Once you have your partner, take some time to get to know them! Swap e-mails, check out their photos, likes, dislikes, etc. so these gifts can be spot on and super thoughtful! The price range is $10-15, and you are welcome to spend more, but we ask that you do not spend less the minimum.

I am working on a button you can share on your blogs and social media to let your friends, family, readers, etc. know and welcome them into the exchange. The more we can bless the merrier! If anyone is spiffy in the button-making area and wants to help come up with it, that would be welcomed I've added the button slow and on my sidebar! ;) If you want to share about the gift swap, use the tag #merryandbrightGS on social media, and the quick-link to the form is http://tinyurl.com/merryandbrightGS.

Important dates to remember:
November 15: Submissions closed.
November 22: All partners assigned + notified.
December 15: Gifts in the mail.

>>>>>>>  SIGN UP HERE  <<<<<<<

I'm so looking forward to this! Let's make the first annual Merry & Bright Gift Swap one to remember! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask either in the comments or shoot me an e-mail to braveloveblog@gmail.com.


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Friday, October 10, 2014

A Brief Pause


If you haven't noticed, I may have skipped a day or two in the #write31days challenge. It looks like I'm taking my own medicine and getting a prayer answered in a way I didn't expect. When I started this, I asked for opportunities to savor my season, practical steps to take to be fully present and sink into where I'm at.

This week that has meant grad school comes first. It means taking care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually, and stepping back from the blog. I still plan to write through this topic, and I hope to contribute to the challenge a little each week, but for now I need to take a brief pause.

Thanks for understanding, y'all. Check back in next week ;)


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Search Out Your Season

Man, oh man. Never has it been so difficult to settle into my season than when I've decided to write about it. Every little thing triggers a dream or a hope or a plan set off far in the future, making my mind race with faraway thoughts. How can I savor today when I'm living for tomorrow? Tough question.

On Saturday, I touched on the idea of being aware of your season. Digging around in it to find the ups and downs, the ins and outs, both the highs and the lows. Feel it out, spread your arms wide and find the boundaries, the places where you feel you hit a wall and the places you are able to soar. All are important parts of this journey. 

One of the tools that has been most helpful to me in recent weeks is an e-book by Ashley Beaudin, 33 Questions to Ask Your Heart.  A few I had heard in another form or fashion, but many struck a new --and much needed-- cord. With her permission, I get to share a handful of these questions with you and give you a glimpse into where I find myself today.


3 of 33 Questions to Ask Your Heart

2. What gives you life + what takes life from you?
In my original notes about savoring your season, I said it was important to ask the question "what is encouraging you in this season?" and "what discourages you from savoring where you are?" The follow up was something like, "What steps can you actively take to pursue these things or release these things?" Ashley is spot on here.

In this season, being in community encourages me, but my lack of community can also be discouraging. I went from living deeply entrenched in Christ-centered community, meeting regularly with people who lived Acts 2:42-47 intentionally and creatively, to living alone in a new city with a new job and an entirely new routine. My community has shifted. In ways I am still searching for it. But it has been in these past three months that the blogging community has come to mean SO much to me, and I have found more support and sweetness there than I ever imagined. Here at OSU, I've found friendships through YoungLife and in the theatre department, even though something in my soul is still searching. God has been faithful and has provided along the way.

Blogging itself has been a sweet place that is so life giving, but when I start to strive and stress about statistics it can be very draining. On my drive home this weekend, I listened to podcasts from last year's Influence Conference and Hayley Morgan described striving as trying to pull the good things toward you by your own strength and in your own time, instead of walking with God in His will, peace, and time toward those things together. I have to do a heart check here. Being aware makes all the difference.

9. Is your heart thriving or is it wrestling?
Yikes. This is literally the heart check I have been avoiding. Or maybe the question I didn't know to ask. It is easy for me to proclaim a thriving season over my life, but sink back into the mess and let the days pass by. In some moments I feel like I am thriving, fully embracing the now and seeking Jesus in the moment, and in the next I will be wrapped up in a petty moment of frustration or concerned about something trivial. My heart is wrestling with the idea of savoring my season, and with my relationship with Jesus, because part of me is believing the lie that I should have this figured out by now.

Can I repeat that this is a LIE? I'm using one of those dangerous "should be" phrases that needs to be tossed out the window. I haven't missed the boat, and I haven't backtracked. I haven't disappointed Him beyond repair, and I haven't made such a misstep that all the previous work is discounted. I may be in the middle of a mess, but it's in the mess that He meets me. When I'm wrestling with my current situation, my job, my fears, my dreams even, it's okay. I don't have to have it all figured out or make it neat and tidy. Life doesn't work that way. It is okay --and it is powerful-- to see what is happening in my heart and confess that it feels more like wrestling than thriving. When I admit my weakness, He can make it into something beautiful. He can do that for you too, friend.

25. If you could sit down and be 100% honest, what would you say? What would you do? How would you feel?
This is one that is going straight into my journal in the morning. I have a lot of wrestling to do with the thoughts that rose to the surface when I read this question, and I need to hash them out with Jesus before brining them up here.

If you're looking for a place to start digging into your season, try some of these questions. Do a heart check. Ashley is a fire starter and a world-class encourager, and this book is one I will treasure (and return to) for years to come. According to her, "transformation starts at the table of honest conversations and hard questions." Let's pull up a chair together, and get to the heart of the matter.

Monday, October 6, 2014

On the Blog This Season

Last week I was nominated for the "Tour Through Blogland," and it gives me a little break to gather my thoughts for this week's series of Savor Your Season posts. It's also a chance for me to say hello and introduce myself to some of my new readers.

Who nominated me?

Lauren of Elle & Co. has become a sweet friend over the last few months, and I've had the joy of watching her encourage others and grow her business for God's glory. She is such a sweetheart! Her online library of printable goodies is a MUST-see, and subscribing might be the best decision you make all day. Thanks for the nomination, girl!


What am I working on?

In all my spare time --what is that again?-- I am participating in my second blogging challenge in a wrote, The Nester's #write31days, exploring the idea of what it means to "savor your season".  I've struggled with the idea of sinking in deep where I am, and I've spent far too much time wishing away today for a dream I think will happen tomorrow or two months from now. If you've been following along so far, thank you for your sweet support! If this is new to you, I hope you'll stick around.

I am also working on re-organizing my schedule (school work, blogging, teaching, etc.) to be more intentional and productive. I listened to a podcast from last year's Influence Conference about working in the margins, making time for your dreams even if it is 30 minutes a day, and I plan to.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

That is something I am still trying to establish. I know my voice is unique, but I want to make this space a special place for people to come to connect, to be encouraged, and to find community. Ask me this again at the start of 2015 ;) 

Why do I write/create what I do?

I write because I believe everyone's story is a gift from the Creator (including mine, which took a lot longer to believe than you might think), and writing is both a retreat and an outlet that has brought me so much joy over the years. My little corner of the internet has been a safe place for me to explore and share what the Lord has been teaching me and doing in my life, from adventuring across the country to pursuing theatre in college and every little moment in between.  The friends made along the way have made it all the easier to share.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I am all over the place, and that is no exaggeration. As far as brainstorming and planning goes I have half a dozen different ways I gather ideas, work posts in pieces, banter about with others when I've got a spark. The past month and the month to come are very unique with the Blog-tember Challenge and #write31days, but they have highlighted the weaknesses and strengths of my system. I'm a girl who's ready to revamp.
Who am I nominating?

My nominations go out to three lovely gals I think you should all get to know: 
  • Ashley, the heart behind the Tuesday night #fireworkpeople Twitter chats and community.
  • Nicole, a gem of a friend (and future Influence Conf. roomie! Woohoo!).
  • Lauren, a gal as sweet as tea and bright as sunshine who spreads joy everywhere.  

Check these ladies out next week for their Tour Through Blogland (and forgive my scattered thoughts tonight! 100+ pages of reading and papers await me).

"Savor Your Season" continues tomorrow. Blessings, friends!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In Every Season

How about a late night anthem to finish out your weekend and launch you into the week ahead? I don't know about you, but as I think about the changing seasons, I want my prayer and praise to be the same. Our God is a faithful God no matter if you are in the desert or harvest seasons. He is our victory and our constant. He is worthy of our praise.



All of my life, in every season,
You are still God.
I have a reason to sing;
I have a reason to worship.
Desert Song, Hillsong Worship

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Seasons Come and Seasons Go

For today's post, I am sharing a season of yesteryear. For anyone struggling in a season of discouragement or discontent, may this encourage you that these seasons do shift. The point of this series is to dive deep into where we are, and I think it is healthy for our hearts and vital to our growth to acknowledge when times are difficult or confusing. Find your footing so we can begin the climb upward.


December 3, 2010 (my sophomore year at Baylor University):  

I want to live where there are seasons. Four distinct, separate, predictable seasons. Cold in the winter. Hot in the summer. Cool, musky, humid and wet in the spring. Chilly, crisp, windy, and golden in the fall. Give me snow fall, rain clouds, sun beams, and falling leaves. Winter, spring, summer, fall. I want to live somewhere with seasons.

Life is full of seasons, when you think about it. Not seasons recognized by weather changes (or a lack thereof), but seasons of living. Infancy, childhood, adolesence, young adulthood, adulthood, and so on. Daycare, preschool, elementary, middle school, high school, college, real world. Confusion, understanding, learning, completion. Singleness, dating, engagement, marriage. Harvest, desert, battle, and fire. Take your pick. We live in a world of seasons.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a timefor war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I've been feeling really confused about my season lately. I've felt lost and stagnate, stuck in a rut if you will. I felt without purpose or direction, turning in circles without moving at all.

But that's my season. My season is to be here, doing what I'm doing, learning what I can and using that to lead me to the next season, whatever it might be.

And I'm not the only one in a new or different season. It's been both interesting and hard to watch other people step into theirs. For some, it's flattering and warming, seeing light poured upon them and blessings, watching them flourish in their season, taking complete advantage of all that it gives. Others, the road has been more difficult, darker, tough to hash out. It is not an easy thing, watching someone stumble and suffer through a season. But every season has a reason. They really do.

This season means a lot. This season is more than one season. This season is fall, drawing near to winter. This season is exams; the semester is nearly over. This season is Christmas, celebrating the birth of our Savior. This season is waiting, being patient and with open ears. This season is decision making, following new paths. This season is learning about seasons, and finding a new excitement for each one to come. This season is my season.

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 Like I said, seasons change. Four years ago I had no idea how deep in my heart the idea of seasons and the desire for clarity would be rooted in my heart. I also had no clue about the adventure that lay ahead, the four distinct seasons I would celebrate in Seattle. I did not know that the Lord would radically change my heart and meet me in that place of despair. What I did know is that I had to be real with myself and what I was feeling. I had to put pen to paper, fingers to keys, and get out the thoughts swirling in my head. 

I would encourage you to take a good look at your season. Then look back on seasons that have come and gone. Where have you fallen? Where have you risen? What has marked the changes? Answered prayers, major life changes, and the current desires of your heart are very telling. No matter which way they swing, remember there is a time for everything under Heaven. You are not alone here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Here & The Now

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work 
you've been given and then sink yourself into that. 
Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare 
yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility 
for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
Galatians 6:4-5, The Message Version

We will talk about comparing seasons later in the month, but today I want to center our hearts on our current season. Where you are right now. Your season is made up of many elements, as is mine. Sometimes they're social labels (single, engaged, married, etc) or job title (student, teacher, designer, engineer, unemployed, and so on). Location and living arrangements play a part, as well as physical, mental, and spiritual health.

For me it helps to write it out. When I find myself yearning for the next season, it's important to keep in mind all the details of my current life stage, the good and the bad, the enjoyable elements and the ones that weigh heavily on my chest. 

Bailey Jean: Twenty-three, single, graduate student. Three months into a post-Seattle routine, settling in after an adventure year. An apartment of my own to retreat to and decorate, the comfort and ease of being near campus. Pursuing theatre, in the thick of directing and Shakespeare classes. Growing social media and blogging presence, but the greatest blessing is the growing community. Slightly burnt out after a blogging challenge last month, but engaged in a second one. The oldest sister of three, but 5 hours from home. Volunteering with Young Life, engaging with the leaders and helping with YL college weekly, stage managing a show, searching for a home church and Bible study. Promises of new levels of intimacy with Jesus. Eager to simplify and celebrate life. Unhappy with physical health, determined to make changes. Poor self-control and discipline there.  
(I'll stop here. Goodness knows I could go on and on.)

Writing about my season turned into writing about my mind- and heart-state. They go hand in hand. The perspective with which you view your season makes all the difference. The first three labels I used are the areas in which I most struggle and that are most apparent in my season. 

My age and the assumptions people make about it, the weight I put on it and the expectations I have of what I "should" have done or be doing by now. My misconception and limited view of what others have already accomplished by this time. My worry about a lack of authority and other people's opinions of my work, calling, and plans.

My relationship status and the lies I have been believing about the weight it holds over my identity and worth. My desire to date and marry someday and the constant reminders that neither are in my immediate future. My tendency to compare and complain, or to cling to my desires instead of joyfully surrendering them (which is not the same as giving up on them, by the way). 

My job title or lack thereof. My place in school as a first year, a newbie, but as a college graduate with a degree in hand. My worry of becoming financially in dependent and debt free, eager to put down roots and cultivate a healthy work environment, and the realization that my first "real job" will be when I'm twenty-five. 

These three areas have the potential to be the most life-draining but also the most life-giving.

It is all about how I respond to these feelings and how surrendered each of these frustrations are at the feet of Jesus. I have to return to the scripture. "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given..." even if it is different than everyone else's, "and then sink yourself into that." Fully immerse, engage, and embrace it! 

"Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

To get anywhere with a map, you have to know where you're beginning. To fully embrace your season, you have to search it out and pinpoint your present place. On our map, X marks the spot where transformation begins. By the way, that day is today. That place is here and now. Get exited. I know I am.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why Savor Your Season?

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. There is something about the crisp weather that makes me linger a little bit longer, walk a little slower, and pay more attention to nature's subtle movements: the trees on my street's gradual shift from green to yellow, the ripple of the breeze in my scarf, and the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my boots. 

All my life I thought I knew the best of fall. I craved it each year and rejoiced when it appeared, assuming that I understood it's beauty and purpose. All of this changed when I moved to Seattle after graduation. Fall in that city was beyond anything I had ever experienced or imagined! The leaves were ten times bigger, the colors a hundred times brighter, and the moments shared with friends over hot cocoa and coffee eternally sweeter. I was baffled! My mind was blown! 

This season I thought I knew, my expectations and experiences, became radically different when I followed the Lord's lead. The average became the adventure. The mundane became magnificent. Last fall was a season I will never forget.


We were created to ache for a different season

The desire is not discontentment, it's divinely inspired. Mandated, even. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we are told that God has put eternity in the hearts of man. Some versions even say that it is written on our hearts. That desire inside of you for the next, best thing is rooted in God's desire for you: that you would seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, chasing after the home awaiting us when we leave the temporary for the eternal. 

I have struggled with my future-minded nature for so long. Time after time I would catch myself wishing away today for tomorrow, or this week for the next, even the current year for the one to come. 

I had this mentality that "Life will finally start when [insert the next season here]". Life will finally start when.... I get to college, when I graduate, when I get married, when I have a steady job, on and on and on it goes.  I was ready to be established and to put down roots, functioning under the lie that I would only be happy and that I would only be able to fully serve the Lord if I had a home that was secure. 

Honestly, I still struggle with those thoughts. I have been in my current season for less than two months and I want to get the most out of it. Even when my dreams seem too big to fit in this time, or far off in the distance, I can cling to the promise that His timing is perfect and His seasons are purposeful.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds 
[a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working 
through the ages which nothing under the 
sun but God alone can satisfy]."
 Ecclesiastes 3:11, Amplified Version

I have spent more time wanting to BE somebody than to BE WITH the Somebody who can make my dreams come true. So as of right now, I am finished with taking my season for granted. I am determined to devour every second of it as though it were a gift from God because you know what, it is. Those things and places I'm yearning for are His love, mercy, grace, and the floor at His feet and a seat on His lap. Nothing else can fill that void. 

So let's do it. Let's savor our season. Let's get to the heart and the root of where we are, becoming aware of our heart ties and tendencies so we can better place them before the King. Won't you join me?

--------------A QUICK NOTE.
Have you noticed anything different about this site? ;) Brave Love got a makeover today and it is still in the finessing process, so please bear with the construction. ALSO, with the nature of this prompt, my posts will arrive at various times during the day. I want to spend time each day writing and reflecting, and though some posts will be written in advance others will make their way to the surface later in the afternoon. Thanks for the grace, y'all! So happy to have you along on this journey.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Savor Your Season || A 31 Day Writing Challenge

One challenge down, one to go! Yesterday marked the end of The Blog-tember Challenge, and today signals the beginning of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I hosted the former, a month-long blogging challenge which encouraged readers to write once a day on a provided topic. This go-around things are different. Myquillyn of The Nester has invited us into the challenge, and the goal is to write every day for thirty-one days on a specific subject. My topic: SAVOR YOUR SEASON.



It all started with a hashtag. In August I completed a summer-long cross-country move by planting roots in Oklahoma for grad school. Walking across campus I instantly began comparing buildings and the atmosphere to that of my alma mater, and caught myself in the moment. My season is new, my season is different, my season is unique. Grad school will not and should not be the same as undergrad. What would be the point? It was then that I decided I wanted to savor my season. As I began sharing about my days at OSU, I made a point to find moments and places to savor, to find the joy and blessing in along the way. It has done wonders for my outlook on life.

Therefore, when it came time to choose a topic for the #write31days challenge, it was a no-brainer. I do not pretend to be an expert at savoring my season --at enjoying and embracing my stage in life to the fullest-- but it is something I want to get better at. For the next thirty-one days, I will explore the topic and share my thoughts, as well as inspiration and encouragement for those looking to do the same. The Be You, Bravely series will pick back up, highlighting women who are savoring their seasons in unique and meaningful ways. Won't you join me?

Are any of you participating in the Write 31 Days challenge?
I would love to know so I can follow along!

THE INDEX:
Day 1: Savor Your Season
Day 2: Why Savor Your Season?
Day 3: The Here & The Now
Day 4: Seasons Come & Seasons Go
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