Thursday, March 10

fruits: self-control


"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22


"A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means.  This is an obvious lie.  Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is....  A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.  That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness.  They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in."  -C.S. Lewis

I'm a big fan of anything C.S. Lewis has ever said. And I like this one. 

Our desires can control every single aspect of our lives if we allow them to. If I asked you in what area you first think of needing self-control---I would be willing to bet you would say food. That's my first thought. Having self-control when it comes to our eating habits keeps us from making food an "idol," in a sense. On the other end, working out/dieting is an area that people struggle with. Self-control is so important when it comes to our body image, because if we aren't careful we will allow it to take over our thoughts... not leaving room for our relationship with God. What about television, the internet, books, magazines? What about blogs? What about Facebook? What about work? Self-control keeps us from bringing our job home and letting it interfere with our home life and our relationship with the Lord. 

The incredible gift of self-control keeps us from becoming so focused on something that it takes over our lives. I stumble daily, and spend too much time on Facebook or focus too much on making time for the gym. I check Twitter about 34 more times a day than I should. It's a constant battle to demonstrate self-control in so so many areas of my life. But I have been given the ability to do it. It's that just the coolest thing you've heard all day? 

Thank y'all for reading these posts and taking the time to leave such positive comments. This has been more for me than anything, but I hope it has reached someone. 

love always, 

Wednesday, March 9

fruits: gentleness


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

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Compassion. Caring. Meekness

Humility. Endurance. Grace. 

Mercy. Tenderness. 



love always, 

fruits: faithfulness


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

Certain Details

We know all about faithfulness, and can apply it differently to all of our lives. 

We are faithful {loyal, dedicated, devoted} to many things in our day to day. Faithful to our friends, to our families, to our education, to meetings and appointments, to work. 

We can be faithful to so many parts of our life. God wants our faithfulness, too. It is so easy to get caught up in everything else that is receiving our faithfulness and forget about the Giver. Let's not forget who gives us the ability to be faithful to so many different things, and let's give him the praise for it. Use your faithfulness to bring Him glory. 

love always, 

Tuesday, March 8

fruits: goodness


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

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This post has been a little delayed {my apologies} because it took me a while to really grasp what goodness truly means. I think this says it best, if we can see it in the right context. 

"So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At the right time, we will reap a harvest of benefit if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

I know that my problem is: I focus on the second half of that verse. "We will reap a harvest of benefit if we do not give up." Why is that the important part to me though, why can't the first part stand out to me more? Why I am attracted to receiving the benefits? I guess that's just because we are human, but that should not be our driving force behind doing good. That's just a promise of things to come, and shouldn't serve as a bribe. 

Now back to doing good: I really don't believe that doing good is an action. Yes, you have to do to be doing good for God's kingdom. But, I think it's more of what's in your heart that demonstrates goodness. Someone who is constantly doing and giving and and serving, but is doing so only for worldly attention and benefits doesn't necessarily have a heart of goodness do they? Those things are all fantastic and they are definitely serving a good purpose and helping others, but is that the goodness that the Lord is talking about? 

One of my twin sisters is an animal lover {to put it mildly.} About 5-6 years ago, she got two rabbits that lived together in our backyard for a long long time. Skittles was grey and white, huge, and was treated like a queen. Maegan took care of that rabbit like she was human. Skittles had several litters of babies before her husband, Thumper, passed away. You wanna talk about the cutest dang thing you've ever seen... just wait until you see 10 little white bunnies smaller than the palm of your hand bouncing around in the grass. It was precious. So needless to say, Skittles has been part of the family for a while. And we all loved her. 

But back to Maegan, she went out to that rabbit pen at least twice a day to check on those rabbits. Whether it was raining, snowing, dark, whatever. She was going to be sure they had food and water and that everything was okay. If she went to the grocery store with Mom, she was going to pick up a bag of carrots or lettuce so they would have a treat. What was she ever going to get in return from those rabbits? They aren't like a dog or cat, and don't really show much affection. {They are actually kind of mean. Skittles bit me more than I ever care to be bitten by a rabbit.}  But from the goodness in her heart, she took care of those rabbits for 5 plus years. Diligently and knowing she wasn't going to get anything in return except for the satisfaction of knowing they were taken care of. True goodness. 

Well Mom called me earlier and Skittles had died. And it broke my heart. Yea, it was rabbit. We've lost a lot of pets. Us country folk have a pretty hard time with dogs and cats, so I've gotten this phone call several times. But it was Maegan's rabbit, and knowing how much she genuinely cared for them made all of us hurt for her. The Lord knew what he was doing in allowing that rabbit to have a 6 year life. How many pet rabbits actually live that long? Not many. And He took her while Maegan was gone, because she would have found her on any other day. 

I don't know if the goodness part of the story comes through as clearly as it would if you knew Maegan. But I hope it does. She has a heart for doing good, just because. Which is how it should be. 

Just because. 

love always, 

Sunday, March 6

fruits: kindness


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

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Just one short kindness story that has truly touched me. 

I was at a laundromat in Fort Payne, AL this summer on a night off. Washing clothes, obviously. Reading a book. Writing some letters. Talking on the phone. The usual. 

We have to be back at camp by midnight, so I did a few things I needed to do early in the night and put off washing clothes until last. This might sound a little ridiculous/risky, but the crime rate in Fort Payne is really low. I never ever once felt uncomfortable, so before you judge me for being dumb--it isn't as bad as it sounds.

But anyway, this one night I was washing clothes and it was just me and one other lady in the laundromat. She was older, maybe mid-30's, hispanic, so beautiful. She finished her last load of clothes, folded them and took them to her car. I was alone, and I know she felt me get a little tense as she was leaving. 

It was around 10:30 at this point, and I still had about 45-50 minutes worth of dryer time left. She took all of her clothes out to her car, came back in and sat down beside me. We hadn't spoken the whole time we had been doing our laundry, something that I really regret now, but she started chatting. I knew she was done, so I was a little confused about what she was doing. And I guess she knew that, so she asked me about 5 minutes into our conversation if it would be okay if she stayed with me until my clothes were finished. 

I objected a few times, and finally said yes. So an hour later, after she had sat with me through drying and folding, I was done. She said she hoped I had a good night, and left. That was it. 

I was so struck by her kindness in that night that I don't think I will ever forget it. She probably had plenty of other things to be doing besides sitting with a stranger in a laundromat at 11:30 at night. But she stayed, simply out of kindness to be sure that I was okay. 

I am still so humbled by and thankful for that woman. Her kindness is something I won't ever be able to repay, but I am grateful for it. 

love always, 

Saturday, March 5

fruits: patience


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

Having patience when we know that it is for the good of others. 

Patience is hard. It's really hard. 

My first placement of student teaching {as you've heard a hundred times} was in a Daily Living Skills classroom. It was not until then, did I truly learn the meaning of patience. The first day of school, my incredible mentor teacher told me that the hardest thing I was going to have to do was to let the students do the work themselves. I kind of thought that was ridiculous--I want to be a teacher, of course I'm going to let them do it themselves. Well, she was right, and I was so very wrong. 

If they needed a chair moved to another table, my first instinct was to jump up and do it for them... so that we could move on with class and so they wouldn't have do it themselves. Mrs. Nic constantly had to say "No, Kelsie. Let them do it." For a child with Down Syndrome, moving that chair could take a solid 20 minutes. But even if it did, that was part of their learning experience. Realizing that they could do it on their own. Recognizing their achievements, and treating each achievement as if they had won an Olympic gold medal. And that's what we did. We waited and encouraged and guided while they moved that chair themselves. 

When we started cooking came the real test of my patience. Not because I got frustrated with them, but because I wanted to make things easier for them. I wanted them to be able to see the end product more quickly. I wanted them to be able to finish. But the end product isn't necessarily what is important. It's the things they accomplish along the way. It's the journey in getting to that end product. Even if it meant covering up that bowl of dough and starting over the next day. I had to continually remind myself that my patience would contribute to the betterment of their education. Increasing their world knowledge. Giving them the satisfaction of knowing they did it on their own. 

It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I thought it would be easy, and I was wrong. And the part that got me the most was that I thought I was looking out for their best interests in the beginning. It took me the longest to realize that my patience, even though it might mean they had to work through a difficult situation alone, was key to their independence. I longed to make things easier and "to help them," but that wasn't what was best for them.  

Patience got me through that semester. It taught me to look at the process, and appreciate the journey. It taught me how valuable independence is. It taught me that even though we have counted the same set of coins 7,235 times, it will be a moment I'll never forget on that 7,236th time. 

I'm so grateful for that lesson in patience. Patience comes in many forms, and shows itself in many situations. All of them may be different, but all of them will have an impact in our own lives and in the lives of those touched by our patience. 

love always, 

Thursday, March 3

fruits: peace


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

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Waiting for letters from graduate schools. Waiting to decide between graduate programs. Deciding what I want to do with the rest of my life. Accepting that God is in control. Not letting it ruin my semester. Just waiting for an answer. 


Trusting that everything that happens is for a reason. Everything. Accepting it. Moving on. Having peace with other people's decisions. 


Enjoying a moment of stillness throughout the day. Noticing it. Appreciating it. Praising God for it.  


love always, 

Wednesday, March 2

fruits: joy


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22
{read previous post if you haven't already}

I've been thinking all day about what joy means to me. It's kind of hard to say that I am ever full of joy while I'm just sitting around the house watching TV, and I would imagine you'd all agree with me. But there are plenty of things that happen each and every day that I find joy in. I feel true joy in success, whether it's success in school or after cleaning my house. I also get joy from beauty--from the sunset that painted the Starkville sky tonight while I learned to play tennis. Another one that I bet you will all agree with is the joy that comes with being loved. Being loved by our parents, by our friends, by strangers. Seeing a trend? 

Watching the sunset in that one moment on the tennis court was quite possibly the most joyous that I have felt in a while, simply because I tried to focus on finding joy throughout the day. How easy it would have been to glance at the sunset, think "man, that's nice," and go on my merry way. But God gave us that sunset for us to marvel over, to bring us joy in His creation. Why? Because he wants us to have joy. And we can't find it on our own. 

What about our successes? I truly find joy in making a good grade on a test. Knowing I tried my hardest and that my hard work paid off. But I didn't do that on my own. God gives us the ability and the knowledge to be able to study, absorb information, and succeed in academics.  

I also played tennis for the very first time tonight with Martin. I wasn't terrible, and definitely improved over the short time that we played. That was awesome to me, and genuinely brought joy to my afternoon. I succeeded--and hopefully will continue to succeed--in hopes to learn more about the game of tennis. Coordination isn't my gift, but the Lord gives us the ability to be athletic, to play games, to exercise, to run, and to hit that yellow ball back and forth over a net. I couldn't do that on my own.

And the real question is--would it mean as much if I thought I could do it all on my own? Would I appreciate things as much if I thought it was all about me? If we thought a beautiful sunset happened by accident? I don't know about you, but I don't think I would. 

What about finding joy in being loved? That is yesterday's post in a nutshell.

Appreciating and acknowledging God's hand in our day to day is key to finding joy in our own lives. Recognizing the opportunities that he gives us to be joyful and embracing them. And what is better than spreading that joy to others? 

I hope you've have a great day. It's almost Fridayeve. 

love always, 

Tuesday, March 1

fruits: love

I would be willing to bet that a large majority of you have heard of the Fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 at one point in your life or another.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

The Lord is using this passage in Galatians to stress the importance of demonstrating these qualities in our own lives, and to help us remember that each of the qualities only comes from Him, and through Him living in us. Well, it's no surprise that trying to keep up with all nine of these super important qualities every single day gets a little exhausting and is impossible without help from the Big Guy. And I'm embarrassed to admit it, but most days living the Fruits of the Spirit is not the number one thing going on in my planner. I was thinking about it today though, and if our day to day was focused on doing our best to live out these nine qualities--think about the difference it would make. Be selfish for a second and just think about the difference it would make in your life alone. I know that I would be happier, more content, more fulfilled, more peaceful.. a little more of everything. Now think about how others would feel. If you loved one person a little more each day, showed joy, patience kindness, forgiveness, faithfulness or gentleness to one more person each day. Think about the impact that would make in their life. So worth it. 

The point: In all honesty, I'm more likely to try harder if I document it for y'all to read. And maybe, I can inspire a few of you to join me? Feel free to comment or post your own if you'd like, and feel free to not do either--but I hope it at least gets you thinking.

So.. I'm starting with day one. First fruit. Telling you a little bit about what it means to me, how I encounter it throughout my day, how it makes the world go 'round. 

o h s t l i n . s e -


There's a reason that love is the first fruit of the Spirit listed. It's the basis for everything that we do. And for the rest of the fruits. Not necessarily love your siblings, love your parents, love your boyfriend type love... although that is good and important in our lives. But that's easy. What about loving those that are hard to love? Those we don't want to love? Those we don't expect to have to love? What about them? 

I work at a daycare and have twelve 3-year olds in my class. Some of them are really cute, really well-behaved, really clean, easy to deal with, easy to clean up after, and easy to love. These are the ones I want to pick up and hug and cuddle and assign to be the "line leader" every day. These are the ones I want to show favoritism to. These are the ones that I hope my own kids are like one day.  

Then we have the kids that aren't the easiest. The whiners, the continual potty-goers, the bed-wetters, the snack-spillers, the "I wanted milk, not water" kids. It's so easy to gravitate towards the easy kids. But who do you think probably needs to be shown love the most? Who needs positive attention and praise? {I'm not in these homes, and don't know these people personally. This is a VERY general statement. Not directed towards anyone in particular or the children in my class} It's harder to tell these kids to come get in my lap. Harder to chose them first. Harder to hug them, rub their head or push them on the swing instead of sitting on my butt during recess. But that's what God calls us to do. He calls us to get up off the bench, and show that kid love even when we don't want to. Even when we know they won't be able to keep swinging because they're three and can't do it alone. That's what they need. That's the type love we're talking about. 

Genuinely loving someone, because you know it's what is best for them. It may be inconvenient or uncomfortable. It may be hard and may come at a bad time for you. But it brings joy to another person. They feel the love of the Lord through you. That's love. 

Showing love to someone on the street. Showing love to someone in your class that just seems to be having a tough day. Showing love to a stranger for no reason at all. It's important. And it is living out the Lord's purpose for our lives. 

So go out and show love to someone--anyone--tomorrow. I bet it'll be worth it. 

love always,