Friday, February 26, 2016

Paige's Picks and Weekend Links

Thought I'd share a few recommendations to get you through this final weekend of February!  If you are looking for a good read I cannot recommend this book fast enough: Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines!  Her writing is very poetic (it honestly took me a couple of chapters to get into the rhythm of it), but once I adjusted I was swept away.  Her story is so different from my own and yet so often I felt like she was writing my own journey.

Speaking of reading,  I'm currently devouring 4 books (so happy my love for reading has returned), and my go-to blog for all things books related is The Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Please go read her blog and if you read via kindle sign up for her Kindle sale recommendations that she emails to you each day.  I've gotten great deals on books like Scary Close by Donald Miller, Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman, and Liane Moriarty novels all because I get her daily email that let's me know when great books are having a Kindle sale!

And speaking of blog love, I need all of my Bachelor fans to go read Pinterest Told Me To Blog.  Her weekly Bachelor updates keep me laughing and I also love her fashion advice & clothing specials.  Trust me, this may be a new favorite blog for you!  Oh, and yes, I love Jesus and watch The Bachelor.

My other favorites lately include Amanda Cook's album Brave New World.  It's basically on repeat in my house right now.  Do yourself a favor and listen to it.

I'm also trying to cook through the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook.  It's going slowly, but I'm enjoying the process and it's giving me some guidance when I just don't know what to cook.  My family is big on breakfast for dinner, and we LOVED this recipe for Veggie Scramble.

Last but not least, did you hear that Noonday Collection just launched their new spring jewelry line?  I'm a big Noonday fan (Fashion plus empowering artisans worldwide is the winning combo for this girl), and I was invited to a special preview of the line - and oh my goodness!  Such gorgeous and beautiful pieces.  Currently, I basically wear these Metallic Pearl Earrings all day every day!  They go with just about everything!  And I have on my wish list the new Cityscape Necklace!

All right!  That's my round up for this week.  What is catching  your eye this week?  Or what would you like to know for next week?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Mean Girl Voice In Your Head

So last week, Haven had to wear pink on Wednesday to her school and all I could think about was Mean Girls...and specifically this scene:

And so this got me thinking about mean girl voices, and especially the mean girl voice that sometimes resides in my head.  You know the one: the one that says to fit in you should be something completely different than who you really are.  It's the one who reminds you of your awkwardness and who silences your voice ("Gretchen, stop trying to make Fetch happen.  It's not going to happen!").

I sat in a meeting this past week and throughout it's duration I had an inner dialogue with my mean girl voice.  I had ideas to offer but with each idea that popped into my mind, I could hear the mean girl pipe in with all the reasons why my opinion was not valid or stupid.  And at one point I realized that I literally had not offered a single opinion in the discussion when I was invited to that table because my opinions matter!

I'm still working on silencing the mean girl in my head, but I'm starting to discover that the only antidote is the love of God.  On the mornings when I've actually spent a little time receiving His love I am more confident that I belong at the table.  I'm more confident that the ideas and opinions that I have are of Him.  I can tell the mean girl to go sit at a different table and I can actually let MY voice be heard.

Look at what Paul has to say about this in Romans:

Romans 8:31-39The Message (MSG)

31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Did you get that?  Our mean girl voice (which is really the voice of the enemy) does not stand a chance when Christ is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us!

Let that sink in for a second.

Jesus has your back and it is His desire that the mean girl voice does not faze us.  Why?  Because of His love.

It's time friends that we let our voices be heard.  You have brilliant ideas.  You have opinions.  You have wisdom and passion and tables that you are invited to sit at.  Most importantly, you can hear the voice of God.  Please don't let the shouts of the mean girl get more air time in your mind than the whispers of the Father.  Believe that He loves you.  Trust that He is fighting for you.

And it IS wear pink or black or whatever you want with the knowledge that you are loved and there is nothing that can separate you from His love!

Monday, February 22, 2016

To Wait or Not To Wait - 60 ++ Seconds with Paige

So my 60+ seconds is more like 480 seconds this week (sorry about that), but I want to tell you a story and a simple lesson that guides my life when it comes to the issue of waiting.

Waiting 60 Seconds from Paige Allen on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Abide: 60+ Seconds with Paige

UMMM...How much do you love this freeze frame?!  If only I knew more about technology I'd make myself look better.  So my gift to you today is this ridiculous freeze frame & also a few thoughts about Abiding.

Abide from Paige Allen on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

For When You Pictured Your Life Differently

One of the aspects of living in Lubbock that most irks me is our dust storms that seemingly come from no where.  A couple of weeks ago we were greeted with one of these once again, and as I walked from my car to the coffee shop to meet my friend I found myself squinting and keeping my mouth shut so as not to get grit in my teeth.  I am happy to say I’ve learned over the years to stay away from lip gloss when a dust storm is looming…but I digress.

As I tried to tame my hair upon entering the coffee shop I was simultaneously searching the room for my friend whom I hadn’t really seen in a couple of months.  She used to be one of my college girls when Josh and I led that minstry, and I have a deep place in my heart for her – for all of those girls really – who are no longer girls but beautiful women in their late 20’s and early 30’s. 

I found her sitting in the corner with her trade mark smirk & I was genuinely delighted to see her.  In the 10 years that we’ve been friends she has seen heartache, joy, adventure, and uncertainty but I’m so proud of her – her tenacity to face adversity, her courage to pick herself up when she’s fallen, and her faith to continue to trust Him when the waves have crashed with intensity.

As she shared with me the latest portion of her journey she started to apologize for her life…her appearance…and her lack of “having it all togeher.”  At one point with tears in her eyes she said these words to me, “I thought after ten years I wouldn’t still be a mess.”

Don’t we all feel that way sometimes?  Like we should be more by now.  More mature, more loving, more together, just MORE?!  I knew exactly what she meant because although I’ve learned to stay away from comparing myself to others (most of the time), I’m often guilty of comparing my current life to the life I imagine I should be living…the life that surely God intended for me.

That MORE life where I’m a better version of myself.

I could hear the dust picking up outside.  The whirl of the wind – the elements that no doubt would leave me looking like a mess when I left.  And in the sound of the wind, I realized that my friend and I both had a more in our lives at that very moment.

Because she was more honest with me that day than in the 10 years I’ve known her.  As she laid out the tough reality of some areas of her life I couldn’t help but think of my own place right now that is more honest than it’s been in a long time.

In the last year I’ve been shaken.  Facades that once looked perfect crumbled and I had a choice to make – to keep smiling and pretend that the rubble wasn’t around my feet or to be honest about the shaking – to embrace it and be okay that the mess existed.

When shaking happens in our lives, we have a choice to make: to hide or ignore the shaking and hope life settles back to what we’ve always known, or we can allow the shaking to shed the false ideas of what should be and instead embrace the beauty of God’s goodness even in the midst of the trembling.

My friend’s beauty shined so bright as she honestly shared her heart, and I saw that in the wake of the shaking, although it hurts like hell at times, it always leaves behind what is true.

I’m ready for more of what is true.

I’m ready for more honest messes.

I’m ready for the God who embraces me in the midst of the rubble.

So forget the what ifs and embrace the right nows.

We hugged and promised to talk again soon and then I braced myself for the weather that was outside the doors.  But as I walked outside I was surprised that the dust had settled…and in it’s shadow was one of the most glorious sunsets I’ve seen.  I gasped, grabbed my camera, and heard Him whisper, “The beauty that follows the storm pierces hearts.”

My friend – her story – it’s so honest and raw that God’s goodness rises bright.  And this past year I’ve found that to be true in my own life as well.  In the dust we sometimes see His hand all the more clearly – the trace of His work is like a trace of artwork in the sand.

So bring on the dust storms and the sunsets that ensue.

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