Thursday, December 25, 2014

Jesus Is...Christmas

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: 
He is Christ The Lord." 
Luke 2:11

Sometimes you just need to talk a walk, listen to carols and build a cross to be reminded and thankful for a God who rebuilds

Last night night I tossed and turned like a little kid again
I looked at my alarm: 2:00am, 4:00am, then finally went off at 8:00am
It wasn't because the presents or the famous monkey bread my mom makes
(ok, maybe a little)
Christmas is a time to gather with family, share memories, and yes open gifts
It didn't snow, but the second best weather is cold and crisp

But my excitement was different this year because this year was different
Not because my older brother was home for the first time in 15 years
Or that my sister now has TWO adorable nephews
Or I live in Arizona now 
It was more than the physical presence of family that made Christmas different

Today we celebrate the most important part of God's ultimate Love Story to save the world!
I dont know about you, but to me thats worth being excited about!

"He comes vulnerable because He knows the only way to intimacy with you is through vulnerability with you. You cant get to intimacy except through the door of vulnerability. So God throws open the door of this world- and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants the unimaginable intimacy with you."
- Ann Voskamp 

It is almost midnight on Christmas day
The presents have all been opened, the candles have blown out
The last of the dessert is put away and the last Hallmark movie has been watched
I sit here with a nostalgic heart as I think about the past month leading up to Christmas and the excitement that builds during this magical, holiday season
I am listening to the last of the Christmas carols on the radio
It just seems like only yesterday I started listening to Christmas music
(Some people say October might be too early, but I say a month is to short)

But those nostalgic feelings and memories turn to feelings of Hope and Joy 
 I realized this past year I don't actually have to wait until Christmas to receive the gift of Christmas
We celebrate the birth of Jesus today but the gift that He brings is received all year

This past year I have opened myself up to letting Jesus take over
He has taken me on an adventure that excites me more everyday
The gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has romanced my soul into an intimacy I have never known
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has placed dreams and passions that have set my heart on fire 
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has given me endless amounts of Grace from my mistakes
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has shown Mercy in situations I labeled impossible
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has given me friends and family that have blessed me more than I deserve 
The Gift of Christmas 

Jesus has given me Salvation
The Gift of Christmas 

Jesus is... 
The gift of salvation 
The gift of Grace 
The gift of Love 
The gift of Blessings 
The Gift of Peace 
We can receive them every single day of the year 

As you take down your last bit of christmas decorations
As you begin to reschedule your work and school schedule 
As you begin to write your resolutions and To Do lists.. 
Peace is not ultimately a place
Peace is the ultimate Person

The gift of Christmas
The gift of Jesus 
You don't have to wait until next christmas to receive 
Receive it today and everyday 
The magic of Christmas truly lives in our hearts 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Infuse Your Dreams With Life

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for 
and assurance about what we do not see"
Hebrews 11:1

My ultimate goal is to create a life that allows me to always say "YES" when God calls
Yes, I can serve. Yes, I will give. Yes, I will GO. 

This is my 2015 vision board
As I have said many times in this blog, the past three years have been one big dreamfest, if you will
Once I let the Lord take over my plans, He has placed me on a path I never imagine
Then came AdvoCare which has expanded my visions and I realized I need to dream bigger!

The best part is that through dreaming big and allowing the Lord to fill His purpose
He is also changing me in the process
Changing me for His glory 
Changing me or more of preparing me for those dreams...His plans

And when I really think about my dreams, like REALLY think about them
Would I be ready for them?
Am I ready for them?

You see, the Lord knows my dreams
He knows exactly which ones He will fulfill now 
There are some that I see Him gradually beginning the process
Then there are ones I have no idea how He will ever prepare me 
Those are the ones He knows I will need some more time to prepare

That is where faith comes in
Faith He knows
Faith that He is working on my behalf
Faith that spending time will increase my hope
Faith that He will infuse my dreams with life 

Faith is having confidence in what we hope for
Confidence the Him
Confidence in our dreams and visions
Assurance that even though we don't see the Lord,
"He is working things out for the good of those who live Him"

Faith is not thinking God can, but knowing He will

I am working on your behalf
Bring me all your concerns, including your dreams
Talk with Me about everything,
Letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans
Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life,
gradually transforming them into reality
-Jesus Calling 

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Much to be Thankful for

My brother Jon, (far right) is home for the first time in 15 years for Thanksgiving
The four Christensen siblings together again!
Chris, Beth, Me, Jon and Beth's kids Hudson & Jace 

This year I am changed
I feel different than years past 
I know I am different
And not because I live in Arizona, but because thankfulness floods my heart, daily
That has not always been the case

I have learned that happiness is not found in things, status or comfort ood
I have learned that the only true fulfillment is my relationship with Christ 
Because of Him, I have chosen to chase my dreams over complacency  
Because of Him, I have chosen to seek joy over self pity and doubt 
Because of Him, I have so much HOPE about my future I get giddy
Because of Him, I have found more peace 
I am Thankful 

The only explanation is the fact that I have chosen to seek the Lord in my life more intentionally 
I have chosen Him to lead, to guide and move in my life than ever before
I chose Him and He has provided 
I am thankful 

I have been so overwhelmed where my life has gone, I catch myself saying "that is just crazy" 
When really it is just our God being who He is 

Loving my time with my sister! 

My life brings new challenges, blessings and adventures daily  
Sometimes I wonder how I deserved such a blessed life
Then I remember that we don't deserve anything in this life
He graciously sacrificed for us on the cross so we can receive Him 
I am thankful 

God graciously gives us His Grace daily
He deeply loves and always forgives us 
He wants a relationship with us still 
We don't deserve, but He gives
Because that is who He is
He is worth all our praise and thankfulness

The whole Christensen family 2014

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Living an answered prayer

I am sitting here at the gate ready to board my flight home
My heart is overflowing with joy 
As much as I found a home in Arizona, my heart longs to be home for the holidays
And as I sit here in Arizona, I realize this very experience is an answered prayer

The past couple years I felt a change in my heart
A small sense of longing to "go home" for the holidays
And not just an hour drive from Seattle 
Something deep inside me wanted to have that moment of "going home" 
I see now that God has been preparing me for THIS very holiday season
Finally, the season of "going home"

I sit here watching the sunrise over Phoenix at 7:30am
In just 3 hours I will be in the cold Seattle rain 
I will be home
My sister is picking me up with nephew Jace
My dad already has planned for us to tag our Christmas tree 
But not without stopping at Starbucks on our way

I will be home for a month
Come january I will be heading toward Arizona again
Down to my new home
Another transition for me
I already know that next holiday season will not be like this one
I will probably have to chose between coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas
Christmas will always win

It is apparent The Lord is in the business of change
Not for the better or for the worse
Just changing my life for His adventure  
Someday I will have my own house to decorate
My own tree to tag and cut down 
My own traditions to start 
Things I so desire

 My heart is longing for the unordinary, the radical, the uncomfortable life
My sense of adventure is high
I don't want a normal life compared to the society
I also desire to get married one day
I want to encourage and support my husband in his radical, 
unordinary, uncomfortable and adventurous life & big dreams 
I know the risks for these dreams are being away from family, even during the holidays
But living the unordinary journey of faith and having an adventurous Godly marriage is a risk I am willing to take

But right now my heart will fully enjoy being home for the holidays and all its nostalgic and joyful memories

All roads lead home for the holidays

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It feels like home to me

I have lived in Arizona for exactly four months
I miss my family
I miss my friends
I miss the cold weather in Washington
I miss my scarves, boots and sweaters
I miss the golden leaves
I miss my nephews more each day

Next week I will head to Enumclaw, WA for the holidays
Nothing brings more joy than being home for the holidays

But if I am honest, I will miss Arizona
I will miss my new friends
I will miss my church family
I will miss my Crossfit buddies 
I will miss holiday church activities
I will miss the crisp 70 degree weather 
I will miss Arizona because my heart has found a home

In the past four months my heart has found comfort in Arizona
The past four months I have cultivated a community that brings me joy
The past four months I have been on one big adventure that excites my soul
Arizona is home to me now 

I look back at my life and the old me would never leave Washington
The old me would never want to leave the comfort of her family to live in another state
The only explanation I can give is that when you surrender your life to The One who gave it to you, He gives you new confidence, places you in a new direction, a new adventure and gives you new dreams

You don't always see the end but He guides you in the right direction
He starts opening your eyes to the brokenness of this world and your soul will break
You start longing for others to see themselves as Christ sees them
You start longing for purpose in your community, nation and world
Your eyes are open to the sinfulness of human kind (especially your own) 
and you question why people do what they do

But then you realize your own need for more of Jesus
More of His love, faithfulness, compassion and kindness towards others
People do not need more condemnation or judgement but more love and acceptance
You realize you have a lot of growing to do but are up for the challenge

This is what happened to me as the Lord sent me to Arizona
I still dont know why but I am thankful He did
I am learning everyday that life is a wonderful journey full of ups and downs,
lots of brokenness but also lots of joy
He has placed big dreams, desires and visions on my heart that I long to pursue
Not ones I ever dreamed of as a little girl
but better then I imagined

As I sit here in a Starbucks, listening to Christmas carols, excited about next week,
 I am thankful
I am thankful the Lord took me out of a life of just "existing" and into "living"
I am thankful He took me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown
I might not have a stable job, place to live in Arizona
The world might think I am crazy
But more than ever I know I am finally living
Living a life for Christ is the only way I know how to live
The only way I want to live

So, truly, there is nothing like being home for the holidays
I know I am blessed with this opportunity
I wont always have this time to be home for Thanksgiving til New Year 
I am going to soak up every ounce I can with my family in Washington
Enjoy time with my friends and our family traditions

But there is something exciting and hopeful knowing I will return to Arizona
My heart swings back and forth between the need for routine and the urge to GO
Arizona is just the beginning

"Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
Matthew 28:19

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Liebster Award!

Happy Thursday!

I was nominated by Sarah at Life With The Casterlines for the Liebster Award. In true Jessie fashion, I had no idea what that meant but after reading Sarah's blog it sounded like a fun idea to get to know more bloggers and share a little about myself. Thank you Sarah! 
The Liebster Award is for smaller blogs only (less than 200 followers) and is just a way for readers to discover up-and-coming blogs. Here are the rules:
  1. Post 11 random facts about yourself
  2. Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you
  3. Nominate bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to do the same
  4. Let the bloggers you have nominated know they have been nominated
Part One:
  1. I love Superman
  2. I am starting to love the Arizona desert
  3. I could eat breakfast food all day, everyday 
  4. #TeamEdward
  5. I love singing in the car and LOUD!
  6. I would rather be given roses than a new pair of shoes (unless they were Nikes) 
  7. I choose workout clothes over a dress any day
  8. I have ran three half marathons
  9. I secretly would love to be a country singer and live in Nashville 
  10. I am a hopeless romantic
  11. #11 is my all time favorite number because of Edgar Martinez (Seattle Mariner) 
Part Two:
  1. What is your favorite book? Circle Maker
  2. What inspired you to start blogging? The Lord was placing big dreams and passion on my heart I knew I needed to start documenting my new adventure! 
  3. If you could do anything right now, what would it be? I would love to travel around the nation and share my story, inspire & encourage women, volunteer at a non-profit/faith based organization. 
  4. What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves Me- Chris Tomlin 
  5. What are you reading right now? Only Believe by Danny & Diane McDaniel , the Bible 
  6. What career are you in, and do you like it? I am currently working from home with AdvoCare (health and wellness company) Loving the time freedom I have to volunteer and help others with their health and financial goals! 
  7. What is your favorite TV show? Greys Anatomy and The Bachelorette/Bachelor 
  8. What is one goal you hope to accomplish within the next year? I want to be a part of a non-profit, whether volunteering or working, helping children. 
  9. What is the best movie you’ve seen lately? Any Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel!
  10. What is one item on your Christmas wish-list? New shoes to workout in! 
  11. What do you love most about fall? If I was in Seattle I would say I love the cold weather clothes, the falling leaves, the changing leaves, and cuddling up to a hot drink from Starbucks. Now in Arizona the weather is a little a lot different but I am learning to appreciate the differences. But no matter where I am during the fall I always LOVE the comfort and beginning of football. Go Seahawks! 
Part three- For the bloggers I am nominating, here are your questions:
  1. What is one thing God is teaching you during this season? 
  2. If you could travel any where tomorrow, where would you go and why?
  3. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
  4. Team Edward or Team Jacob?
  5. What are you currently reading?
  6. What is your favorite time of year?
  7. What is one goal you hope to accomplish this next year?
  8. Where and who will you be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with?
  9. What inspired you to start blogging?
  10. Who inspires you the most in life right now?
  11. Who is your favorite author? 
I now nominate the following bloggers for the Liebster Award:
Amanda at Sweet Surrender
Sarah at Sarah's Roman Holiday 

If you choose to accept the award,  please come back and comment with your post link so we can all
get to know you better!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

November Wishes

Happy November! 

I have been listening to Christmas music since beginning of October 
But now it is TRULY the start of the holiday season- at least for me!
(cue Mariah Carey "I'll I Want For Christmas") 

This past weekend, I got to spend Halloween with my Arizona family
It was sure different to spend it in 80 degree weather than pouring down rain
But I am getting used to the fact everything is just hotter down here
I really do love Halloween but I love Thanksgiving & Christmas more 

My adorable nephews, sister and brother in law- Missed them this year!
I couldn't spend this holiday with my own nephews but thankfully I got to spend it with these cuties! 
I got super creative and was a Notre Dame football player - or something like that

 Before I share my November goals lets review my October wishes: 


1) Find a pumpkin patch!  FAIL- But I saw a bunch of cute pictures of them but never went to one. I think this was the first year I can think of I didnt go to one! Tradition will start up next year!

2) Day trip to Flagstaff, Arizona - Adding this to November wishes!

4) Help one person jumpstart their health 
and/or finance dreams through the vehicle of AdvoCare - I have THREE new people on their way to a healthier lifestyle, more energy and more control before the holiday season, starting with the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge! 

3)  Attend a high school football game- Didn't go to a game but I found some high schools around me and drive by during a game- not the same I know!

4) Workout 4x a week- Thank you Crossfit ARMS! 

5) Update my blog 2 or more times a week-
YES! Getting better every month- I think! 

6) Write five personal hand written letters - Wrote 3 though!


1) Focus on my eating more and fueling my body AFTER a workout
2) Find a NEW hiking trail 
3) Explore Sedona or Flagstaff
4) Research 3 non-profits and schedule a informational interview
5) Find a new holiday album  

Happy Holidays! 

Linking up with Melyssa at Nectar Collective

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lions and Tigers and...Coyotes, Oh My!

Besides the amazing sunsets, I heard Arizona has amazing hiking
I have not been yet because the weather has been so hot
However, with the weather cooling down and no Crossfit this morning I decided it was time

I pulled over to the side of the road along the first trail 
I got out of my car, my AdvoCare Spark in hand ready to take on the hike
Then I saw a dog run across the road
Wait.. thats not a dog.... 
You guys, it was a freaking coyote!

You better believe I got back in the car faster then you can blink
No way I was hiking that hill with a coyote on the lose!
So, I drove a couple miles away to another hiking trail
I saw more cars and more people along this hike so I figured it was safe
(aka coyote free) 

After halfway up the hill and after about 76476762 times of almost rolling my ankle,
I realized that my old nikes wont cut it
The rocks are brutal and everywhere and hiking boots are a must
I also realized that even though it is Oct. 30th it is still hot and I ran out of water
Oh, I have a lot to learn about hiking in Arizona

However, I now know all the hype on hiking in Arizona is true
In spite of almost becoming dehydrated, almost rolling my ankle and almost being attacked by a coyote (ok, might be exaggerating a bit)  it was still a beautiful and peaceful time 
I look forward to discovering many more hikes during my Arizona journey 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

I am learning...

I am learning... My body is stronger than I thought. 

 Christ has paid the price for you. So use your bodies in a way that honors God.

1 Corinthians 6:20

I strive to live a life that honors God, including taking care of my body by the way I eat and exercise. The AdvoCare products and lifestyle has helped me create a healthy mindset and lifestyle on fueling my body correctly. Which then has helped create a positive and enjoyable lifestyle for exercising.

INSERT Crossfit- Since Rich Froning Jr. (the fittest man 4x) became an AdvoCare endorser and then seeing amazing results with my friends, I thought I would give it a try.  I found a Crossfit gym in Surprise that has been such a blessing. With the workouts being challenging, in a safe and effective way, combined with my AdvoCare Performance products, I see my body composition changing. I am also meeting some amazing new friends. WIN/WIN!

I am learning... God wants progress, not perfection

God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. 
No one can brag about earning it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 

 Sometimes I see the mistakes I made and it is hard for me to accept His Grace and His Mercy towards me. Lately, the enemy has done a good job at telling me that I don't have a purpose, my dreams will never happen, my mistakes are too big to overcome, and that my decision to move was wasted. In those moments, I have to intentionally stop what I am doing, be still and actively say to myself "I receive Your Grace. I receive Your Mercy."

I heard this on the radio, "You might be drowning in a certain situation, but you are not dead. You may have made a mistake, but you know Who the answer is."  I might not be in the perfect situation but I am breathing which means God still has a purpose to use me for His kingdom. 

I am learning... change is hard for me but necessary to move forward in life. 

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. 
He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose.
Romans 8:28 

I have been staying at a house since July. It has become my home away from home here in Arizona. I have created a morning, afternoon and nightly routine since being there. I like the TV at a certain volume level. I like the AC at a certain temperature. I like to go to bed at a certain time. I have my clothes in piles and drawers just the way I like it. I knew this time would come that I had to move out and I am thankful for the opportunity to live there. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who are allowing me to stay with them.

I am learning... this is just a season of my life. 

There is a time for everything. 
There’s a time for everything that is done on earth.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life is a series of seasons. Good, bad, waiting, running, beautiful, and just plan ugly. I know I am in another season of waiting. I find myself in such uncertain circumstances that sometimes the only thing I can do it trust God to get me through the next 2 minutes, He does, then I pray for 2 more, and He does. Minute by minute, day by day the Lord is carrying me through this season. A season of waiting and preparation, a season of transition.

The next couple months will be a series of transitions, but I know this isn't going to be for my whole life. I will settle down and create routine soon. I will start to see His plan unfold just the way He wants it. I will be running with the dreams He placed on my heart with abundance of the blessings I have harvested through the previous seasons. Then when He knows I am too comfortable, He will rock my world once again and a new season begins.

I am also learning...

I don't want a normal life but a beautiful, crazy and complicated one that serves and loves others

I want to create a life to be in a position to always say YES to God financially, physically and emotionally

I miss my family more every day

I want to write a book

Listening to Christmas music before Halloween calms me down

I miss the changing leaves and cold weather

How amazing and how much I love my church- City of Grace

Happiness is a choice you make daily

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sometimes it's OK...

Sometimes, it's ok...

to not go to bed before 10pm

to spend the evening at Starbucks...again 

to listen to Christmas music before Halloween

that your favorite jewelry consist of charity bands

to wear the same casual outfit you wore yesterday #noshame 

to listen to a song five times in a row-  "Mercy" By Matt Redman 

to miss HOME so much you ache- especially Seattle during football season! 

to have such big dreams you can not fathom how in the world they will ever be accomplished  

to look at apartments WAY above your price range just to see what it would be like to live in a penthouse

You know what else?
It is OK not to know what tomorrow will bring
It is OK not to know where you will be in ten years 
It is OK not to know who you will marry or your "life calling" 

It is OK 
You know why?

Because He does

The one who created you, designed you and directing you
You may not know where
He does
You may not understand why
He does

In fact, you don't need to know 
He designed us not to look into the future
He designed us to live intimately with Him today
In trust that He has tomorrow
And the next day 
and forever planned out

I think God knows that if He told me where I was going, I would try and beat Him there
And I would

Instead He passes by me just long enough 
And I get a glance of where He is going 
I don't see the whole path, I barely see Him somedays
But I feel Him 

That quick brush against my hand deep in my soul, softly directing me
That is all I need to trust Him

We don't know what our future holds, 
but we know Who holds our future
And that brings me peace and gives me hope
I am learning every day down in Arizona that it is OK not to know and to just trust 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 

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