Love Written In the Trees

I know it’s not Majestic Marvel Monday, but this is one of my favorite pictures I’ve captured this year and it seems fitting. Perhaps, it’s the simplicity of the photo. Perhaps, it’s the shear reminder of His love. His beauty and love are everywhere. It’s even written in the trees. Don’t forget to open your eyes today and everyday, for that matter. What gifts of beauty has He blessed you with? Take a peek around. And remember, His love never changes. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Still, I Press On

So burned out and weary
this life looking dreary
Still, I press on.

Energy, it's lacking
the fatigue attacking
Still, I press on.

To-do's piling up
while emptying my cup
Still, I press on.

Day-to-day so routine
the season, in between
Still, I press on.

With my head in the race
continuing to pace
Still, I press on.

Endless tasks, there's no end
adulting, not my friend
Still, I press on.

Thoughts of getting a break
hoping, but a mistake
Still, I press on.

As the night settles in
day coming to an end
Still, I press on.

Time to sit and unwind
Nope! more needs done, I find
Still, I press on.

Then tomorrow, it dawns
and I wake with a yawn
Still, I press on.

Arising with the Son
this marathon to run
Still, I press on.

Remembering the prize
towards Him, I turn my eyes
Still, I press on.

Copyright © 2021 Aimee Phillippi

*This poem was inspired by the following verse I read last night: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:14

Clothe Yourselves in Patience

Being a type A person, patience is definitely not my strong suit. I’m a pretty impatient person (my husband would laugh, saying that ‘pretty impatient’ is an understatement). I truly don’t understand how those B types work. My younger brother, however, is a type B personality to a T-one of the most laid-back people I know. Here’s how we differ. When I was on the phone with him one night, he was sitting in the Walmart parking lot and he told me that my fifteen-year-old niece just came back to the car from shopping and had lost his debit card. In the most peaceful, nonchalant way, he tells her “well, Jordan, that’s why I didn’t want you to take my card” and then remaining completely calm and unhurried, tells me he’s going to have to go inside and look for it. There was not an ounce of anger or frustration in his bones. I laughed when I got off the phone with him, thinking wow, I so would not do that. I’d be kinda freaking out. My impatient self would have been in the store already frantically running all over the place looking for it. We are total opposites, as you can see. I am not patient like that, but I’m really trying.

It’s a weakness God has been working with me on for quite awhile now and I’m definitely seeing the fruit of it, just not as quickly as I’d like (haha). I really don’t like waiting, but it seems that the more I hate it, the longer I have to wait, because God is going to teach me this lesson. And it’s not so much about the actual wait, as it is my attitude in the waiting. That’s even more difficult. And as for learning this lesson, it’s just a matter of how long it will actually take due to my willingness. So, I try to roll with it and accept it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Since I’m more aware of my impatient nature than ever, I thought I’d dive into the Bible and see what He has to say about it. He tells us how to be patient. Here are 10 things we can learn about patience from His Word:

*Be patient in affliction

We will have trouble in this world, but He says to be patient in affliction, so when we are experiencing distress, we endure it and we accept it for the time being. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, or that it will last forever, but patiently accepting our suffering, will help us grow to be more like Him.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:12

*Be patient, bearing with one another in love

Be patient with family members, friends, the grocery store worker scanning groceries at a sloth’s pace, the guy flying past you on the road flipping the bird, the neighbor that drives you absolutely bonkers, your worst enemy. Let’s look at each person who crosses our paths, as there to teach and grow us. Be patient with everyone you come into contact with, so you can show the love of Christ. This will glorify Him and it will help us to live more peaceable lives.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2

*Love endures with patience

Love is an action and one way we can love on people, is to show patience. Patience isn’t needed when life is easy, it’s the stressful times and under some of the toughest circumstances, where we are given chances to show love by being tolerant. Let’s look at our stressful moments as opportunities to live more like Christ, rather than just struggles to wade through while getting to the other side.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. -1 Corinthians 13:4 (AMP)

*Wait patiently for Him

We quiet ourselves before the Lord, and in the waiting, we put every piece of ourselves and others into His care. Then without worry, we trust Him to move in His time.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways,when they carry out their wicked schemes. -Psalm 37:7

*Patience brings peace

Will you be a peace-maker or will you stir up strife? Will you put the fire out or will you fuel it? A calm attitude with self-restraint will help bring about peace, rather than stoke the flames.

Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace. -Proverbs 15:18

*We wait patiently in hope

I love how the amplified Bible translates Romans 8:25-we wait eagerly with composure-eagerly meaning we wait expectantly. And when we can’t see what’s ahead, we still hope with anticipation, while using self-control and not allowing our worry or emotions to run amuck.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure. -Romans 8:25 (AMP)

*Whoever is patient has great understanding

The wise are slow to anger and keep their emotions in check, showing self-control. Don’t be a fool and fly off the handle. Before I homeschooled, my daughter’s fourth grade teacher taught her something invaluable that I, in turn, learned as well. She taught her class a saying that she lives by and I just cherish this teaching! Whenever frustration, anger or impatience arises, let’s remind ourselves to: PAUSE*BREATH*LOVE.

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. -Proverbs 14:29

*Better a patient person than a warrior

Again, this is about having self-control. And for some of us that grew up fighting our way through life, this may be harder to do than others, especially if we’ve endured trauma. Letting anger take over though, will defeat us in the end. It is better to step back and show self-restraint, than soldier on.

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. -Proverbs 16:32

*As God’s Chosen people, clothe yourselves in patience

As believers in Jesus, we were chosen to glorify Him and so we need to suit up, wearing the traits he instructs us to put on-compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And if we struggle with some of these? He tells us in His Word that when we remain in the Vine, we will bear much fruit-these traits He calls us to clothe ourselves with. And all of these traits really work together. Being patient can be a humble act and a form of kindness. And in showing patience, a gentle answer or attitude can go a long way in keeping the peace. So, let’s become more like Him, by remaining in Him, and in doing so, we can fulfill the duty we’ve been given.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12

*Patience is better than pride

Pride causes more damage than good. Let’s therefore set aside our pride, ending matters before they start by patiently humbling ourselves.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. -Ecclesiastes 7:8

Freedom and Hope In Jesus

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -2 Corinthians 3:17

Held prisoner to memories, the torment of trauma had been weighing me down for far too long. The abandonment by my father and a nasty divorce from long ago had been surfacing a lot lately, after being triggered right before Christmas. Both last night and tonight, I was right smack dab in the middle of the trauma all over again and this boulder of pain felt like it was crushing my soul. After being stuck in this hopeless cycle of bondage, God moved a mountain.

He has recently been speaking to me about letting my father go, but the truth is, I hadn’t known how to completely do this. While I have done a ton of work on my dad and there have been layers of healing and forgiveness throughout the years, I was still experiencing the effects of this old trauma, and was struggling to fully forgive him. Each time I thought I had left the past behind, another trigger would smack me in the face and the wounds would spew, taking a week or more to move on with my life.

Yesterday, after communicating with my dad and having more hurt dug up, I was hanging by a thread. The trauma and pain were fresh again. Beyond weary, I had run out of steam to keep running the race and I didn’t know if my body could carry on. Looking at all that was on my plate for the evening, I thought I’d crumble, but I made a choice. I could have used a number of distractions to try to cover up the pain, but I reached for my Heavenly Father. Opening up His Word, I asked Him to speak to me and He spoke-Sing to the Lord. Not exactly what I expected hear, but it’s what He’s been telling me this past week-worship me in the wilderness. So, I did just that. I drew myself a bath, cranked my Worship Him in the Wilderness playlist found here and belted out songs, praising Him. That simple obedient act turned my night around. I was in a very dark place that could have spiraled down quickly, but He filled me up and lit me up. Shining hope, He brought light to my darkness. He showed me that He had this-that He had me. My Heavenly Father let me know that I could let go and trust Him with this suitcase of pain I had been lugging around for thirty-two years.

Then, tonight, the thoughts of my father returned and my heart throbbed again. The hopelessness was starting to settle in. Heading down that dark path of depression, the old wounds began crippling me. Knowing my warning signs, I had to act quick. I’ll admit, for years, distraction from the pain was my go-to-whether it be with food, my phone, sleep, work or binge watching shows. Thumbing through Hulu, I knew was the wrong choice, there was no relief there, so again, I drew myself a bath, turned on worship music and abided in Him. Tears streaming down my face, I sang and poured out my heart to Jesus. A few minutes later, I got on my knees and asked Him to break these chains as I handed Him my father and the situation. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I heard Him say “get up and walk”. Thinking, I’m in a bathtub, what does this mean? Did a miracle just happen? Yes, it sure did. That soul-crushing pain that had been bearing down heavily on my chest was suddenly lifted and I felt freedom.

This evening, He filled me with joy and broke chains that only He could break. I was depressed and had zero motivation to write before this happened, now here I am at my computer, telling my story. I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness in the last two days. What He’s taught me is that forgiveness is making a choice to release my father, then trusting Him to take care of what I can’t. It’s depending on God to carry the pain, resentment, and offenses, so I don’t have to carry it anymore. Forgiveness is choosing to trust that He will take care of the offender in His way, on His time, however He chooses. Do you trust me enough to set you free? This is what I heard Him asking me. Tonight, I made a choice to release my father to Him and I’m choosing trust.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:36

**an update after writing this post, He spoke again and confirmed the broken chains. While reading another’s blog, this verse spoke right to my heart:

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” -Psalm 116:7

Worship Him in the Wilderness Playlist

As January of the new year comes to an end (how is that even possible already?!), some of you may be feeling weary. Maybe the beginning of 2021 hasn’t lived up to what you had hoped. We can’t expect life to change drastically just because the numbers on our calendars have flipped. Life with this Covid stuff is hard and it may never be like it once was. Or maybe there are other challenges trying to snuff out your hope. Maybe you are walking in the wilderness, like I am right now, and have been for some time.

During my time in the Word this week, God clearly spoke. His words leapt off the page-worship me in the wilderness. Not only does He want us to come to Him on our knees in the wilderness, but He wants us to go deeper and worship Him in the struggles. This has not been a daily practice, but it’s a missing piece in my walk. Lifting my eyes towards Him in worship feeds my soul and fills me up when I am running on empty, those times when I need to serve my family but have nothing left to pour out. He will fill us, but we must let Him. In doing so, we can pour from The Living Water, rather than keep driving our parched selves in the middle of the wilderness.

One of my favorite avenues of worshiping our Heavenly Father is through music. Here is my Worship Him in the Wilderness playlist that helps to direct my heart towards Him:

  1. So Will I (100 Billion X)-Hillsong UNITED
  2. Give me Jesus-Jeremy Camp
  3. Great Are You Lord-one sonic society
  4. Touch the Sky-Hillsong UNITED
  5. First-Lauren Daigle
  6. God of Wonders-Mac Powell, Cliff Young & Danielle Young
  7. It is Well (Live)-Bethel Music & Kristine DiMarco
  8. Oceans-Hillsong UNITED
  9. Our God-Chris Tomlin
  10. Olorun Agbaye-You are Mighty (feat. Chandler Moore & O/B/A)-Nathanial Bassey
  11. Nobody Like You (Live)-Red Rocks Worship
  12. I Stand for You (New Version)-Tree63
  13. Lead Me to the Cross-Hillsong UNITED
  14. Eyes on You-Mosaic MSC
  15. Christ in Me–Jeremy Camp

Fresh Juice on Squeezin’ Lyme

*Fresh Juice on Squeezin’ Lyme will consist of post updates I will write on occasion regarding what I’m learning while battling persistent Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses.

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, -Psalm 103:2-4

Having health is an incredible blessing. As someone who lives with persistent Lyme disease along with other chronic illnesses that go hand in hand, I have my good days and I have my really, really terrible ones. (In a previous blog post here I shared my backstory and my journey of motherhood battling persistent Lyme disease) My quality of life has improved in the past few months, due to some new treatments. It has been such a long time coming-twenty-seven years long, and recently I’ve had more good days than bad, which I am so very thankful for. I still have to pace myself throughout each day, but I’m able to do much more than I was. When I am feeling well, I need to remember though, not to take those precious present moments for granted, because they aren’t guaranteed.

The other day, was a stark reminder that I am still living with these insidious illnesses. Not only are Lyme disease and these other conditions complex, Lyme is especially stealthy and symptoms will hit when I least expect them. Feeling like I had the full-blown flu and bedridden the majority of the day, I could hardly stand to be in my own body. It’s days such as these, that I can’t forget how truly blessed I am when the fatigue has subsided and hasn’t sucked everything from me and my joints aren’t aching constantly, when I can smile and laugh because I am able to live somewhat, rather than just survive. These aren’t illnesses for the faint of heart. Fighting persistent Lyme disease, along with other chronic conditions requires the endurance of a warrior, but more importantly, it requires God’s strength. Lyme disease is tricky to treat and often needs a multi-faceted approach.

Trying to describe life with Lyme to others who haven’t gone through it themselves, is an extremely difficult task. Just touching the surface of this illness, it would best be described as “pure suffering and misery”. To say the very least, it can be unbearable. It’s a kind of bodily torture where thoughts arise as to whether continuing to exist with these symptoms is even possible. The fatigue and weakness is incomprehensible to those who haven’t experienced it. The I-don’t-know-if-I-can-even-crawl-out-of-bed-the-few-feet-to-the-bathroom-and-back-to-bed, kind of fatigue and weakness, could be mentioned, but is an understatement. There have been days in the past, where help was needed and it seemed like death was sitting on my doorstep waiting to devour me. And on more than one occasion, I have actually thought I was dying. Those were the times I couldn’t fathom how anyone could continue to endure that amount of agony day after day and still be alive. While there are many other symptoms, fatigue and weakness are two of the biggest I’ve fought on a daily basis for as long as I can remember, until more recently.

I thank God for the new treatment regimen that has made my life and those around me a little easier. And while I don’t ever want to experience the debilitating symptoms I’ve gone through for years with these chronic illnesses, the really awful days do help me to remember that the present moment is just that-a present from My Father. Health is easy to overlook and not think twice about, until it’s gone. It’s those days though, when my symptoms let up and I feel healthier that I can see just how rich I am. To have health, is to live, not just survive. And that is a huge gift.

So let’s remind ourselves to live wisely and cherish each moment we do have, thanking Him for the present, because we will never have those same moments again.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. -Ephesians 5:15-16

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk, so I recently started something new on my blog called “Fuel Your Walk Fridays”. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or questions to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let these questions percolate in your mind:

In His Word, 1 Timothy 6:12 says to Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Living in a world fraught with unrest and strife, how will you continue to fight the good fight of faith? In your life, what does fighting the good fight look like to you? And in the midst of that fight, how will you be a light for others?

Copyright © 2021 Aimee Phillippi

My Go-to Playlist When I’m Needing Hope

There are days when life is just plain hard. It’s on those days, that listening to some specially selected Christian tunes helps me feel closer to God. I have a go-to playlist I repeatedly reach for when life is looking bleak or I’m riddled with anxiety. It draws me nearer to Him, giving me the boost I need. Do you have some favorites you listen to when life’s got you down or you can’t turn the worry off? (I’d love to here them! Please post your faves in the comments!) Here are the songs I crank up when I’m struggling and need to soak in His presence:

  1. I’ll Find You-Lecrae (feat. Tori Kelly)
  2. God Only Knows-For King and Country
  3. Wilderness (Acoustic)-Anna Byrd
  4. Fight for Me-GAWVI (feat. Lecrae)
  5. God so Good-Abundant Life Creative
  6. Fight On, Fighter-For King and Country
  7. Symphony-Switch
  8. Head Above Water-Avril Lavigne
  9. Give Me Jesus-Jeremy Camp
  10. I Will Fear No More-The Afters
  11. Every Little Thing-Hillsong Young & Free
  12. Count Me In-Switch

30 Ways to Embrace 2021 and Remain Hopeful

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, -Ecclesiastes 2:24

This year, more than ever, we need hope. Of course, Jesus, is the one we really need to hang onto and put our hope in. We can do other activities we enjoy to help brighten our days too. Here are some ways to help us embrace 2021 and remain hopeful:

1. Drink from the well that is Jesus

2. Pray fervently

3. Count your blessings

4. Take each day as it comes

5. Try something you’ve never done before

6. Remember God’s promises (here are a few to hold onto: Isaiah 49:13, Hebrews 13:5, Nahum 1:7, Deuteronomy 7:9, Isaiah 40:31)

7. Find something to laugh at each day

8. Seek out things that put a smile on your face

9. Help a friend in need

10. Look for ways to serve others

11. Love on people even when you don’t feel like it

12. Try a new recipe or create one

13. Memorize new verses

14. Rely on God for help

15. Make new memories

16. Create something every day (creativity can take many forms!)

17. Use your talents to bless someone

18. Gather songs that bring a sense of joy and hope, then create a 2021 playlist

19. Surrender every part of your life to God

20. Focus on the present

21. Snuggle an animal for comfort

22. Shift your perspective and focus on what you can do, as opposed to what you can’t

23. Come up with a bucket list for this year

24. Utilize technology to remain close to loved ones

25. Print out some of your favorite Bible verses and quotes, then post them throughout your house

26. Learn a new craft

27. Try Bible journaling

28. Ask God to help you choose one or two words to focus on this year that will help you become more like Him

29. Do everything as though you are doing it for the Lord

30. Make a list of books you would like to read this year, then cuddle up and choose one to read

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:17

21 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2021

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. -Psalm 71:14

It can be difficult to see the possibility of change and blessings in such dark times. Last year sure was a ride! And while the pandemic has turned our lives upside down, it doesn’t mean our future has to look bleak. What are you hopeful about this year? Here are 21 things I’m looking forward to in 2021:

  1. Drawing nearer to Jesus
  2. Finding creative ways to spend time with my family
  3. More game playing
  4. Growing closer to my husband
  5. New adventures
  6. Increasing my trust in God
  7. Coming up with fresh content for my blog
  8. Cooking with our girls
  9. Teachings from God
  10. Being more present
  11. Reading the entire Bible
  12. Writing more poems
  13. Capturing Alaska with my camera
  14. Observing Alaskan wildlife
  15. Catching fat salmon
  16. Writing my book
  17. Continuing to heal
  18. Finding other ways to serve God
  19. Canning salmon and veggies
  20. Moving to the beach
  21. Collecting seashells at the coast

Even when life hammers us, and we aren’t sure what blow we’ll take next, let’s continue to put our hope in Jesus. Let’s praise Him and enjoy what we have been given. Find and cherish the small joys. Sometimes it’s just a matter of wiping enough of the fog from our lens to clearly see all that we have to be grateful for and the opportunities that await us.

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. -Ecclesiastes 8:15