My birthday was an absolutely glorious day. It got up into the 80′s and there was a breeze to blow through your hair, birds singing and flowers blooming everywhere. It felt like all the world was delighting in the sunshine.
I spent the first part of my day chilling in the swing by the pool, soaking up the sunshine and reading a good book.
The leaves are starting to color the trees with various shades of green!
My mom and sisters and I celebrated with refreshing cold coffees…
And John and I had a little date at our favorite date place.. Chipotle! I had a buy one get one free which made it even more awesome.
My amazing friends in my lifegroup threw my a surprise party! It was so fun and there was so much delicious food.. and I felt so loved. Annnnd… I forgot to take any pics
The next day we had my family birthday party by the pool!
Grilled veggie burgers, blue bell ice cream, tres leches cake..
So thankful for warmness and sunshine and happiness and family and love.
My sisters gave me a Harry Potter birthday. Rachelle bought me Harry Potter’s wand while visiting Unviersal studios and the Harry Potter world.. ! And Sarah made this beautiful chest for me to store all the books in – and the fun little book, too!
My mom and John’s parents added a few more lovely collectible books to my shelf..
And last but not least.. everyone who gave to my charity:water birthday campaign, THANK YOU! It means the world to me! You are saving lives! Over 800 million people live without access to clean water. Millions of people die every day because of it. But we can make a difference! You can support my charity:water campaign by clicking HERE.
Peace and love, Bethany
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That’s all. -Oscar Wilde
Do you truly live, or do you just exist? I think it’s good to ask ourselves this question, and ask it regularly. I happen to be reading “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper and John and I are going through “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. The combination of those two books have made me think a lot. How am I living? Am I plodding through, consumed with what’s in front of me, with all the things that I’m not even going to be able to take with me after I die? Or am I passionately pursuing what God created me to do..? My purpose?
Yesterday my pastor said this, “There’s only two things you can take with you when you die. Your relationship with God, and your relationships with people.” And yet considering where I spend my time, how high do these two things rate on my list of importance? Higher than they used to, for sure. But are they #1 and #2? It’s easy to think so. But when I take a step back and look at how I ration my little bit of time allotted to me in this life, I’m not sure that they are #1 and #2 in my life. I don’t do this to discourage myself. But to change. To rearrange my time. To put purpose behind what I do.. behind who I am.
And so I am determined, to put my focus in the right place. First on my Savior, Jesus, secondly on the people around me. Friends and family, but also on the ones I don’t know; The people I meet at the grocery store, the people I welcome to church on Sundays. And I’m determined to branch out beyond that. To meet people that don’t generally (ever?) cross my path. To help at the soup kitchen, food pantry or somewhere like that. Because, that’s really all that matters, right? To let Christ live through me and touch those around me? When I think of how He lived, how He spent his time (because I honestly think how you spend your time shows exactly where your heart is and what is important to you) He divided it between time alone with God, time with his disciples, and the rest of the time was with people who had no “claim” on his attention. I want to be just like Him.
John Piper was saying in his book how we find our deepest satisfaction and joy when our passion is in doing what God created us specifically to do. That letting Him live His life through us, we will be the most happy that we ever could be. I think that’s why happiness escapes so many people. Including me. I’m a happy person. But I can say that I’ve struggled intensely at times to find true happiness. And I think it’s because our focus is backward. We go on an epic quest to figure out what makes us happy, what can I do to make ME happy, what are the things that make ME feel alive? Instead of asking God what makes HIM happy, what are the things that make HIS soul fed? If we start from that direction, we slip into the background, and it doesn’t matter so much anymore what makes us happy. And then comes the crazy part. When we don’t care anymore about what we want, and get totally consumed in what God wants, in living His life, then we are happier than anything in the world could make us. It’s a mystery.
There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. Psalm 43:4a
To purchase these photos in high resolution click HERE. 100% of the profits go to help people in need.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis
books! one of my new year’s goals was to read 52 books in 2012. that’s one a week. so far, i’m exactly on track. it’s week 8 and i just finished my 8th book. here’s what i’ve been reading since i last updated you guys.
The Return of the King. Being the third part of the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. i was reading through the entire Lord of the Rings series again, starting with The Hobbit. i had finished the other three last year so that’s why it looks like i was reading just the third. it was actually only the second time that i’ve read through the entire series. i don’t really have words to describe how wonderful they are. i’ve learned so much, been so inspired and my life has been changed by these books. and they’re the most incredible fantasy stories.. ever.
“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” ― C.S. Lewis
The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Sterns . do you ever feel like something big is missing in your life.. something important? if you want to be staggered out of inward focused christianity, this is the book for you. i listened to it on audiobook and it held me in rapt attention. and i cried. a lot. written by the president of World Vision, its about the bleeding world around us. and how we can change it.
Crazy Love by Francis Chan. this book is about love. God’s crazy, radical love for us. our love for him. and those around us. it’s one of the most beautiful pictures of what love really is that i’ve ever seen. and how to really love. radically. tangibly.
Take Your Best Shot by Austin Gutwein. if you don’t think there’s any way a 9 year old boy can change the world by shooting free throws, think again. it’s about the boy who started Hoops of Hope to raise money for orphans caused by the AIDS pandemic. it’s about how God wants to use you, in whatever it is you are passionate about, to make a difference in the world.
so. do you guys have any book recommendations for me? i still have 44 to go before the end of the year! what are some of your favorite books? the ones you could read over and over?
yes, i know that i missed week one. oh well. i’ll catch up with week two. i made a goal for 2012. to read a book a week. well, so far i’ve been exceeding that goal. which kinda is cool so if i get behind i’ll have a little extra room. enough said. here’s the books i’ve read since the new year so far.
book one: live like a jesus freak by dc talk
this book was really good for me. challenging. i call myself a jesus freak. but do i really live like one? the people who stories are scattered through this book did. and i can too. this book breaks down what it really means to live like one. radically. the way that changes the world. and the best part? you can, too.
book two: one thousand gifts by ann voskamp
this book changed my life already. literally. she finds purpose and joy and life in every moment of her life. the bad ones and the good ones alike. and so can i. the key? gratitude. it’s so simple. and yet i’ve already been seeing it change my life. thanking jesus for every moment, every little tiny thing. it changes you.
book three: god’s golden acre by dale le back
this book is a biography of the incredible real life woman named heather reynolds. someone who didn’t want to just live a normal life and turn her face from the pain and needs around her. she takes in kids whose parents have died of that horrible thing called aids. she also spends her life driving out in the mountains to help other families in need, bringing food, clothes, hope and love to people so desperately in need of them. people who don’t even have a chance to change their lives, no chance at a job. all they can do is survive. which is nearly impossible. this book shook my vision of reality.
book four: a million miles in a thousand years by donald miller
donald miller wrote this book on what he learned while editing his life to make a better story for a movie. it taught him a lot about real life. about writing our own story. not a book, not a movie, but what we do everyday, who we are. we do have control over our destiny, how we choose to live our life, live our story. and we can start writing a fresh story right now. you can, too.