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Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Pride.

It’s a nasty thing. Pride keeps me from trying new things, meeting new people, and praying fresh prayers. I don’t want to look foolish or feel uncomfortable. I want people to think highly of me or more accurately, not find fault with me. So I try to be perfect. And fail miserably.

Within the last few years I’ve come to accept my shortcomings a little more. I know now that I’m missing out on fun adventures and amazing friendships. I’ve attempted to live a little bigger and give silliness a try once in a while. As I’ve grown older (and grayer), I’ve tried to see the world through new eyes. Instead of wasting time criticizing others’ looks and behavior, while trying to appear “exactly right,” I’m letting go of pride and embracing who God made me to be. Sometimes silly. Sometimes adventurous. Always less than perfect.

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I still fail. Often.

I still struggle with pride every. single. day.

But I will not give up. Life is too short to give in to an issue that has no place in my life. Or yours. Let go of pride and pick up your dancing shoes.

“Pride leads to destruction.
    A proud attitude brings ruin.” Proverbs 16:18 (ICB)

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I know I am a blessed woman. I’m so grateful for the many friends I’ve made throughout my life…the many places I’ve visited…the many opportunities I’ve had to travel, work, play, serve and enjoy life. I have thousands of pictures in my head of places I’ve been, people I’ve met, and memories I’ve made.

My view of my world includes:

  • That breathlessness in my chest when I walked up the steps to see the grassy field and ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field for the first time. I stood in quiet wonder as people swarmed in and out, beer and cotton candy vendors selling their wares. Definitely a forever picture.
  • The magnificence of El Capitan and Half Dome,Half_Dome_distance the gurgling waters of streams rolling through the forests, the blackened trunks of burnt pine trees, and the awe-inspiring heights of sequoia trees – all this kept me snapping almost 400 iPhone photos on my week’s vacation visiting my first national parks.
  • Looking out my plane window to see the Grand Canyon spread out in all its glory below me. What a great view I had from 15,000 feet! Couldn’t get a stamp for my new national park passbook, but I should did get a pretty good picture!Phoenix_race
  • The view of the finish line as I ran the last hundred yards of my half-marathon relay with my brother in Phoenix, holding hands over our heads as the emotion of the moment overwhelmed me.

Also:

  • My first glimpse of my nervous bridegroom waiting for me at the end of the church aisle.
  • Crying as I hold my first-born son in my arms after a very traumatic labor and delivery, his brown eyes staring up at me.
  • My throat closed with emotion as I hold my second-born son, after his non-emergency C-section turned into a few anxious moments….once again, looking into sleepy deep brown eyes.
  • Looking out over my classmates during our high school graduation in that little gym in Durand many years ago, excited to think that my life was about to change forever but having no idea how much.
  • The indescribable views from the top of the Arch in St. Louis, the pinnacle of the Washington Monument, the basket of a hot air balloon, the viewing platform at the summit of Pikes Peak and tramway ride up to the crest line of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico.Sean_strech
  • Some of my favorite moments are just normal, everyday sights…like looking out my kitchen window while I did the dishes, watching my kids play in our backyard. Or the misty view of David’s back as he heads off on one of his many trips to places around the world. Or recognizing Sean’s signature stretch before he steps into the batter’s box.Grandpa_boys_lawnmower Or looking through our bookcase for a naptime story. Or watching my dad take his grandkids for rides on the John Deere lawnmower.

But my favorite view and the one for which I’m most grateful is my view forward…into the continuing journey I have ahead of me. It isn’t always clear but I know it will be full of fun and adventure. I don’t regret any of my past experiences but I desire to be intentional in looking ahead…always onward!

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daily-routinesThere’s nothing inherently wrong with liking routine. In fact, most of us would be a whirling mass of chaos if we didn’t have a set routine to follow, for at least a portion of our day. As a list-maker (and follower), I need the day-to-day routines in order to function well. I wear a lot of different hats each day and without a set routine, I’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong supplies more often than not.

As a working woman, I get up early Monday through Friday to achieve as much as possible prior to heading to my job. I have a to-do list with me at all times and often type myself a quick reminder in my iPhone, if I’m without paper and pencil. (Oh yes – the pencil. The master tool of any list maker! I don’t have the confidence to write my calendar items in pen…though I have been known to complete a crossword puzzle in ink.)

Routine helps us complete our commitments…give us confidence that we are where we need to be…assists us in getting the most accomplished in the least amount of time. There are no surprises in routine.

BUT, routine can be a adventure-killer. Routine can become a fixed mindset, keeping you from enjoying the journey you take everyday. Routine can keep us from embracing the experience, discovering the treasures hidden in each day.

I’ve enjoyed developing routines but I’ve totally embraced the wonder of new things, new places, new food, new people, and even new routines. Don’t allow yourself to get stale by doing the same thing over and over. It becomes mindless…our vision blurs…our ears tune out the voices around us…our feet become entrenched and that is when a routine becomes a rut. I would rather consider routine as a thin wire act – delicately balancing the new and the old, the sameness of routine blending with the excitement of discovery.

So put away your pencil, your list, your time piece and take a walk outside…spur of the moment, go off grid for an hour, change up your routine for a day. The freshness will blow those left over winter cobwebs right out and you’ll be able to enjoy the hope of spring with a fresh sense of adventure!

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I love that memories feature on Facebook. If you have a consistent social media presence, you know what I mean. It pops up in your notifications once a day, reminding you of what you posted on that date as far back as you’ve been on Facebook. I enjoy seeing what I’ve written throughout the years. It gives me perspective on what I was going through that day, or the events and activities I was a part of. Yesterday was a significant anniversary in the McGarvey family. It was seven years ago that we made a pretty big announcement.

The next step…

It’s now official.
What our family has known for certain for the last six months is now public knowledge.
The McGarveys are making a step of faith and joining with God in a new adventure.
God has somewhere else for us to be.
He’s preparing another church, another town, another home for us.
It’s all uncertainty and sadness and apprehension…yet, also excitement and joy and anticipation.
The Lord is for us – we are not afraid.
The Lord is for us – He has somewhere that He’d really like us to minister.
The Lord is for us – His plans are perfect for each of us.
So we wait, and listen, and pray.
We’d love for you to join us on this journey.
Maybe you can’t move with us – but through Facebook and other technology, we can keep you up-to-date on all that’s happening, or not.
We’d love to have you praying with us.
We’d like direction, guidance, wisdom, discernment for our decisions.
But then again, who wouldn’t?
Can’t wait to see what God has in store!

 

Golly! Look at my kids! So young… By the way – I still have that sweater and Don still wears that suit.

Hindsight – we were so excited, so sure we would be moving away, positive it wouldn’t be long before we’d be set up in a new church, confident in God’s provision and timing (but secretly hoping it would be very, very soon). My boys were still in high school so I was filled with mixed emotions. How could I tear them away from their friends or the only church they had ever known? How would David handle his senior year of high school in a different city? What if they hated it? We had many, many more questions than answers. And that turned out to be our new normal.

We started boxing up belongings – to get a head start on what we knew would be happening. We researched open churches across the country. Updated and sent out our resume. Regrettably, I even took Sean out of basketball for a year, because we were confident we would be moving away from Cedar Rapids and headed to our new church. Somewhere. Remember this sentence – God’s ways are not our ways – it’ll save you grief if you just believe it and live it and not argue about it.

We were right. The Lord was (and is) for us. He did have places for us to minister. We worked beside and made friends with wonderful people in many churches and ministries, yet never had a “place” we knew was for us.We learned some hard lessons, cried buckets, saw God’s provision every. single. day. We learned about faith, and trust, and pride. We received answers to prayers for direction, guidance, wisdom and discernment…but never for the one we really wanted. Where do you want us, Lord? Well, not until last August. When God’s sweet Spirit said…here. Here in Troy Mills. Until last summer, when a little church 25 minutes north of Cedar Rapids emailed and asked if “maybe you’d be interested in being our pastor.” For seven years, God was working on the people of that little church and really, really working on us. Preparing us for them, and them for us.

We absolutely love our little church. It is filled with wonderful, generous, kindhearted people who, for some reason, really like us. They work hard to reach out and serve their community. They are our friends and we treasure each and every time we are together. God has been so good to us. And I still have stuff boxed up. God put us exactly where we needed to be. And He’ll do the same for you. But it may not be easy. Actually, it definitely won’t be easy. But it’s worth it. It is so worth it.

 

 

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My definition of “Hard Things”:

  • It must cause you to make a decision you may never have made before.
  • It must move you outside a comfort zone, a rut or a routine.
  • It must cause your heart to flutter or better yet, race.
  • It must make you learn something new about yourself.

Some examples of “Hard Things”:

  • Getting a new job in a different field (or city or country) because it’s your passion and you’ve put it off long enough.
  • Taking a trip by yourself to a place you’ve never been but always wanted to go (may involve going through customs or a foreign language).
  • Adopting a healthier lifestyle and all the food choices, or workout commitments, which that entails.
  • Changing your “look” because, seriously, high school was like, 30 years ago.
  • Engaging someone new in a conversation about them (not you) and by conversation, I mean, they talk and you listen.
  • Volunteering somewhere you are not comfortable (cleaning pens at the animal shelter, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, serving meals to the homeless, teaching children Bible stories, changing dirty diapers in the church nursery, etc.).
  • Stretching your physical abilities until you have new physical abilities.

Please feel free to add more examples in the comments section.

One “hard thing” I try to do periodically (and sorry, it never gets easier) – I play detective on myself. I ask myself questions like: Why do I choose “easy” when accomplishing something “hard” gives me such a rush? Why haven’t I learned a new skill or taken up a new hobby lately? Why do I sit back and allow others to experience inspiring adventures? Why do I get defensive when someone suggests a new perspective?

Therefore, my summer will be filled with “hard things” – saying “no” to sweet treats and beautiful carbs…hiking up and down hills until I’m sweaty and out of breath (and then doing it again)…carving out time to sit and listen to others (without giving advice or inserting my own story)…writing this blog (even when I don’t feel like it).

For some of you, my “hard things” may seem smooth and simple. And your “hard things” may appear effortless for me. I don’t have any problem speaking in front of groups of people, but others find it heartstoppingly difficult. I love learning stuff about technology – others would just as soon throw their computer against the wall.

The important thing is to make the decision and then follow through. And let’s encourage each other. If you’re attempting to accomplish something difficult, let’s hear about it. Either put it in the comments section of this blog, or on my Facebook post. Use the hashtag #DoHardThings and together we can all cheer you on.

BTW – there is a pretty good book entitled “Do Hard Things” written by a couple of homeschool kids a few years ago about teenagers rebelling against low expectations. I liked it. You may also.

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This is going to be a great summer! I’ve set some lofty goals, anticipating some pretty awesome results and all while enjoying my husband, my family and my friends. But it won’t be easy…because what’s the fun in that?

First, I’m joining with a long time girlfriend as we, once again, take control of ourselves and lose some extra poundage. We’ll be each other’s best cheerleader, motivator, inspiration and coach – all rolled into one dynamic package…actually two dynamic packages, I guess.It’s so easy to get off the path of healthy choices and slip down the slope into JunkFood Jungle. “But it tastes so good!” Yes, it does, but that momentary pleasure usually gives way a short time later to guilt, shame and condemnation – the Three Ugly Stepsisters. No thank you!

Bible_blogpostWe’re going to go through Donna Partow‘s “Becoming the Woman I Want to Be,” the book I used three years ago to get started on my 30-pound weight loss. Great time to crack it open again and get back on track… This isn’t solely about physical changes, but discovering a plan to renew myself spiritually and emotionally as well. Of course, today was the day my office served Panera for lunch and dropped a 25-box of chocolate cookies in the lunchroom. Great way to get started – No! No! No! I’m so weak – but so far, so good.

Another goal is getting back into the Word, regularly. I don’t know why this is a struggle for me, but I’m being vulnerable here…I love God’s Word but I can be easily distracted by louder, yet less important, things. So this summer – the Bible is the first thing I’ll read – even if it’s not until my lunch break.

I’m scheduled to backpack the Sierras with my older brother in early September so another goal is to get in hiking shape…which, I suspicion, is quite different from sidewalks-through-downtown-Cedar-Rapids walking. I’ve borrowed a couple of library books, researched hiking boots and proper backpacks, priced flights to Sacramento and prayed for wisdom on how to record this whole amazing journey without electronic gadgets.

Lastly, I’m going to attempt to blog throughout the summer – at least on Mondays and maybe more. You’ve been warned. You may want to set your own goal of getting off social media for a short time, or cutting back on unhealthy food choices, or spending more time playing (as opposed to working), or doing something you’ve put off because you never found the time to “git-r done.” Now’s the time – time to kickstart your summer.

This is going to be fun!

P.S. The following is one of many verses I meditate on as I train my spirit, soul and body to say “no” to temptation:

“Let your eyes look straight ahead,
Fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
And take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
Keep your foot from evil.”
Proverbs 4:25-27

 

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I took a new route today. And I’m better because of it.

Most of you know I try to walk every day over my lunch hour. Today I needed to run an errand on the other side of town, so I took the time and opportunity to walk a new path in a new park. The path was crushed gravel, and with our recent thaw, was more like mushy sand. But I enjoyed seeing new trees, discovering differences in the beauty of the same city I walk in every day.

The walking path at this particular park was a loop of about 1.2 miles…a nice length to get in a pretty quick two mile walk. But I found a fun bridge crossing a little stream, and a delightful grouping of machines for a healthy break in the middle. Even did about five push ups before continuing on my way.

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The air was chilly, the breeze brisk, but I enjoyed myself immensely because I was seeing and doing a new thing. The only ruts I was in today were the bicycle tire ruts through the mushy gravel.

It really doesn’t take much to get out of whatever routine you’ve allowed yourself to get stuck in. Make the choice to search out a different park or a new coffee shop. Change your purse, throw a funky scarf over your shoulder, select an old CD for the car, call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, visit a museum, take a new route to work or shopping…or here’s a real risk: try out a different grocery store and spend a little extra time discovering some new food to try.

You will never know what or who you could encounter if you never take the risk of getting off your beaten path and selecting a new way. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. His still, small voice is saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

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