We GET to Make 45 Fruit Platters

Colour Conference 2016 is more than halfway over for our Australian gatherings and has 5 more conferences to go worldwide. Please pray for the growth, development and empowering of women across the globe as our team continues to minister and carry this cause. Everything about serving the women at these conferences changes some bit of you and also shows you just how much you have to change still.

I think some of the things I’m learning this week have been balancing trusting in the Lord for strength and waiting while you’re working your feet numb.

My schedule the last 8 days consisted of a few 12 hour days of serving, early mornings, having to look fresh 8 days in a row, an overnight film shoot for our Easter production as a college and about 45 fruit platters (I wish I was kidding).

Only about 17% of me telling you that was humble bragging and 25% of that was me reflecting, wondering what the hell was I thinking saying yes to all of that – the rest (58% for those who will be bothered by it not equaling 100%) was a reminder to myself that I prayed for this. I had to remind myself of that today.

I flipped back in my journal to a marked page at the beginning of February that read,
“You asked for this, you prayed for this – REST in the midst of giving your all. I asked to grow and be challenged. I asked to be challenged and to need to rely on my Saviour. I asked YOU to teach me faithfulness and allow me to tarry with You. Lord, I want to spend my time praising You in the waiting.”

I asked G-d at the beginning of this year to have a year that I look at and wonder how I’m going to do it all, and then get to the end of the year knowing I couldn’t have done it all except by G-d’s grace, provision, wisdom and favour.

And let me tell you, He hardly let me finish my sentence before giving me more of a year than I was expecting.

I ASKED for it but I still needed to work on my EXPECTATION.

So, let’s break this down – 17% Humble Brag

I was proud I made it through this haha, there were legitimate moments I was thinking I was going to drop (asleep) and moments where my brain would tell my body to do something and it just wasn’t having it. I grew my capacity beyond what I thought was possible and I firmly believe G-d carried me through a busy week. And I don’t feel bad for being proud that I drank enough water and said ‘no’ to other things so that I didn’t get sick halfway through.

25% reflection –

I pondered if I did the journey well… I wondered if I should have had more moments with Christ (the answer is yes) and if I should have had a better hold of my attitude (the answer is yes). I remember early into coming to Australia, one of the Team nights was led by Autumn Hardman and she spoke about preparing for the season. Her point was taking notice of what was coming and making sure that even if it’s a crazy season, you can make it if you know what’s coming. Thankfully with Colour they gave me dates to serve so I knew what was coming. I knew Easter was RIGHT after and that we’d be cramming to get everything done. I think I prepared ok, but after reflecting I could have done a few more things to ensure I ended better than I started.

(or I suppose I still could because I have three more full on days until breach (break on the beach))

58% – I prayed for this, and now I GET to do this.

I had a beautiful and short conversation with a friend over these last few days about the phrase, “We GET to do this”. It’s helped reform my thoughts on a lot of serving days where the work load doesn’t seem fair, the attitudes are off the wall, and on the days when it all seems a little bit ‘not my thing’.

We GET to do this.

We GET to serve.

I GET to be a part of Sisterhood and Colour Conference and Hillsong Church. I get to learn from people that I respect and love more each and every class I sit in with them. I get to be a part of a college that is literally training some of the future leaders of the world. Who the heck am I and how did I get here? How was I blessed enough to learn about Jesus from a young age and kept close enough to Him that even when life went sour I still heard Him loud enough to want to return?

I used to LOVE Philippians – I thought it was one of the kindest, most encouraging books in the Bible. I just re-read it and pray over my friends, classmates, ministers that I know so that they are covered with longevity and that they walk always with Christ. I love Philippians so much that I straight ignored Colossians. Haha. Dumb. I know.

In Colossians the other day I was wrecked again by what Christ has done for me,

“G-d made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, what was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross… Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of G-d. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in G-d. When Christ, who IS YOUR LIFE, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 2:13b-14; 3:1-4 (NIV)



I get to be a part of His plan and share in His glory.

Read Colossians in the Message version… it talks about letting your prayers overflow with thankfulness – which is firmly where I’ve landed at the end of this very busy week. I’m overwhelmed with my schedule and all the more with HIS GRACE.

I’ll end with this, because it’s beautiful and true. You should read this out loud and literally FOR THE LOVE OF G-D don’t skip it just because it’s a large portion of scripture attached to a blog.

((I’ve been there… I’ve done it… No judgments but READ IT))

Photo Credit: Megan Russo
Thougths for the blog credit: Megan Russo

“David’s Praise
 I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King!
and I’ll bless your name into eternity.
I’ll bless you every day,
and keep it up from now to eternity.
God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
There are no boundaries to his greatness.
Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
each one tells stories of your mighty acts.
Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
I compose songs on your wonders.
Your marvelous doings are headline news;
I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.
The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.
God is all mercy and grace—
not quick to anger, is rich in love.
God is good to one and all;
everything he does is suffused with grace.
10-11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
your holy people bless you.
They talk about the glories of your rule,
they exclaim over your splendor,
12 Letting the world know of your power for good,
the lavish splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
you never get voted out of office.
God always does what he says,
and is gracious in everything he does.
14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.
15 All eyes are on you, expectant;
you give them their meals on time.
16 Generous to a fault,
you lavish your favor on all creatures.
17 Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all his works is love.
18 God’s there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.
19 He does what’s best for those who fear him—
hears them call out, and saves them.
20 God sticks by all who love him,
but it’s all over for those who don’t.
21 My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
Let everything living bless him,
bless his holy name from now to eternity!”
Psalms 145 (MSG)

Sometimes Our Regulars Pass Away…

((And Other Things You Probably Don’t Realize About Your Servers))

I didn’t really find it entirely appropriate to post this one while I was in Australia, because I have zero experience in food service there and I know everything is different. But I’m back in Oklahoma, USA for a while and around my old stomping grounds and meals so, please enjoy this #ThinkBackThursday and learn a little something about our Good Ol’ American Servers.

  • About 75-80% of the demographic of any given (American) restaurant are mothers. They’re working to support someone else’s dreams. Bless accordingly
  • Some of your servers just suck, they should find new jobs that they love. But you’re still in charge of how many bills they don’t have to stress about.
  • Our regulars pass away. We go through divorces, we have sick kids at home, our dog just got hit by a car, we have a tummy ache. We have BAD days… You do too. Our job just requires we don’t show it or you get ‘bad service’ and servers make less money.
  • Some servers are just awesome. They are people with big hearts and huge smiles. They pay attention to more details as they balance 5-7 tables and 10-30 or even up to 40-something drink refills. Chips. Fries. Crying kids. Deathly allergies. And they carry heavy trays. Show gratitude.
  • You didn’t like your server? They probably didn’t like you as a guest. But your attitude isn’t reviewed and put on a survey after the meal is over. If patience isn’t your strong suit- or even something you know what is please stay home. We don’t like serving you either.
  • We are here to SERVE you. You are a guest in our home… We didn’t sign our names in blood declaring that we are your servant until we have paid back whatever you think we owe. Don’t treat them like dirt. Some of the greatest people I know serve tables.
  • That girl with the black polo and brown hair? Her name is Cecilia. She told you at the beginning of the meal. That other girl with the black polo and brown hair? Her name is Mary Beth. You haven’t met her she was just dropping off your food. They aren’t the same people.
  • Servers are by no means uneducated and stuck in that job because they couldn’t find better. A LOT of servers I know are working their way through high school, college and even masters degrees and still working 25+ hours a week. Some people are literally addicted to bringing you silverware, smiling, and saying, “Welcome to _______! My name is ______ I’ll be doing my best to serve you today. Can I start you off with the most expensive drink on the menu and an appetizer that I won’t have to refill again and again?” (Paraphrased). They are good at what they do and they like it. And they’re smart.

A large portion of you won’t care about this splurb. And that’s ok. I’m really just ranting to my voice text and thinking as I drive my little self to Pryor, OK.

I’m blessed to know all the people that I do. I have been in food 8 1/2 years and this might just be a rant but you didn’t have to read it so get over it. Just thinking about some of these incredible people and some funny things I’ve learned over the years.

Y’all have a good day.

I GET to work now.

He’s Faithful To My Heart…

I began my Wednesday morning this week as per usual at Gloria Jeans with my housemate for our coffee, catch up and read up time. We had a great time. 

Fast forward to just shortly before chapel started around 11:45am… I get a text from my housemates asking if any of us could come home and help clean out the refrigerator because our landlords had popped in for a surprise ‘we’re-going-to-take-your-refrigerator’ party that they didn’t invite us to.

(It IS their refrigerator but notification to remove food and maybe not have just gone shopping and stocked up would have been lovely)

So there sat the refrigerated portion of my households food. No one knew what was going on or where we were going to put all of this food.

My brain immediately went reeling through all of my food safety training. I was mentally sorting out where we were going to fit all of the meat and spoilable things that really needed to be cold. Mostly I was pissed and shocked at our landlords lack of understanding for all of my food safety concerns for all of the waste that would soon become of our food if we didn’t get the proper air temperature control box device to monitor the longevity of our edibles.

(guys, wasted money on food and spoiled food gets under my skin #ChilisForLife)

So, I prayed, I vented to G-d and told Him how unpleased this situation left my heart feeling. I then texted my parents. I asked them to pray for wisdom, peace and a free refrigerator. I also prayed for these things. I fumed a little bit through chapel all whilst reminding my household that it would all be alright.

The ‘fix it’ mode that I was operating in blocked off my memory from memor’ing* a meeting that I had set up with a friend until he called me as I was walking home. I apologized and explained that we needed to reschedule because I needed to get a house jam sorted. He asked me what was up and I explained in less words the story that you just read. Without another breath he responded, ‘wait let me call my friend she had some extra refrigerators I’m sure she could get you one!’.


G-d what?

I know that I’ve heard that prayer works and I know that I even believe that prayer works but G-d, you aren’t messing around. Within the evening we picked up our new refrigerator.

The following day at Sisterhood I was reminded of a verse that in many seasons of my life I’ve held dearly:

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I got to experience the entirety of this verse within the time span of chapel. I threw it to G-d and He did not disappoint. One thing I keep coming back to is His faithfulness… Guys, it’s SO big!

The resounding sentence I’ve had stuck in my heart is that, I’ve never lived a day that the sun didn’t rise. If that isn’t a display of the faithfulness of G-d than you must be a scientist or some non-science (see what I did there?)

Point of the story: Pray, and watch to see what G-d does.  

Only Tools Don’t Exercise

Fitness has been pretty important to me since about 17 years old, at first it was the realization that I was (slowly) becoming an adult and with that I gained the ability to choose my diet and learn what different foods did and the benefit of them. As I learned more and more about food and exercising the health aspect caught my full attention. I want to do way too many things in my lifetime not to remain healthy and able to do so. I want to live long and have children later in life and be able to love them and live well with them. All of that aside when I was around 21 I got sad, probably depressed (knowing me that’s really hard to admit and see) a little sometimes as well and needed something to help.

Again, I found myself at the feet of fitness knowing that there was a chemical release of endorphins that were absolutely GREAT for the sad seasons.

Exercising is a funny word, it doesn’t just apply to fitness and working out but also academics. We do math exercises and reading exercises to develop a specific ability that we have (and you DO have it, it might be small right now but change is possible). We also do exercises to expand what we know. In our songwriting class this week we were given an exercise to write a song in a week. Not a huge deal but we are only allowed to work on it 10 minutes a day. Gasps, grumbles and questions rolled around the classroom as many students tried to find all the loopholes when finally one of my classmates said,

“I can’t write a song like that, it’s just not how I write”

Hmm, well… Good thing this is an exercise, good thing that it’s literally made to develop a skill you didn’t have before. I’ve seen a change in the structure of my muscles since I started working out, I’ve added more and more weight to what I do because as I exercise those muscles that just ‘don’t write songs that way’ I find this crazy truth that I LEARN how to write songs that way. I learn how to pick up more weight.

I never want to be anywhere if I’m not teachable. I never want to roll up anywhere thinking my way is the only way. I actually think I still have a LOT to learn.

Something begins to happen when you work out though; you push yourself past the stresses of the day, past the overthinking and the limits that you allowed yourself to believe in. G-d has been constantly bringing up ‘Mental Blocks’ this semester. What I mean by this is, I’m reminded frequently of the power that the mind holds and when we allow a negative thought to solidify. Sometimes the thought isn’t even negative –sometimes it’s just limiting which is just as bad if you ask me. It’s baffling to me how much MORE I can accomplish with a simple “Laina, you’re almost there” that I either tell myself on my last 5 reps of a squat or that Krysia will remind me of as we are doing the last 30 sit ups. It’s releasing to believe that you can accomplish more.

When someone tells me I CAN write a song in 10 minutes a day for 7 days then all the sudden I push past the thoughts that I can’t. I firmly believe the mind is something to be trained just as much as the body. I, as a woman have the privilege of stereotypically being an over thinker – oh, and I fit it to a T. I’m currently on a 21 day fast of my thoughts, I’m fasting my overthinking and rewiring my mind to trust in peace and clarity and promises that I’ve already been given. I believe in mental healing as much as anything else. I think that pushing yourself develops that brain muscle that we all should probably take a little more time for. Even if it is something as simple as telling yourself that ‘G-d hasn’t given you the spirit or mindset of fear but of peace and love and a SOUND mind’ or remembering to ‘trust G-d with ALL of our hearts, lean not on our own understanding but in all our ways acknowledging Christ and HE will guide you’. Let your mind be at peace but always increasing.

This isn’t a fitness motivation post, although I do believe in treating your body well. This IS an exercise post though… work out… do the things that will develop your mind and the areas of your life that (suck) are underdeveloped. If you need a friend, find one. If you can’t find a friend, be a better friend (that one is for free). Invest enough in yourself to start breaking mental blocks that tell you, ‘you can’t’.

It’s a load of crap and all it takes to get over is a good work out session.

Do I Look Fat In This Dress? The Question You’ll Hear 500x Because We Hear it 5000x

So, I’ve realized a lot of things this week – and credit the majority of them to conversations with incredible people. I swear I’m never the wise one… I’m just one of the many who enjoy to regurgitate the wisdom in word form.

One of many of these lovely things that has been rolling around my heart and head this week has been body image. (Ewww, no one wants to talk about that!) But, it’s something I’ve battled with for ages and this week was dropped in my person-gut to talk about, because to my recollection I’ve never written about it.

How am I doing right now? I’m really good, I love eating, I love working out because I like to be strong and active, I love wearing hoodies and Nike shorts and I tolerate now more than ever wearing a dress occasionally. I have in the past been uncomfortable in every article of clothing I tried to wear out in public, I’ve had a mental mindset (and still do sometimes) that I’m actually bigger (weigh more, stomach sticks out farther, legs are fatter) than I am… I think there is a medical term for that but I don’t know what it is and I don’t think I’m a severe case to really even need to know. I chalk it up to being a woman. However, I know that those thoughts will come. IF nothing else then I can always tell when its that time of the month when I literally look the EXACT same as the day previous but I all the sudden feel like a beached whale in my t-shirt and wonder how I have friends. The thing is that I grew up with this, I walked through not eating and eating just to throw it up again – I went through being depressed and “not enough” and deciding to not eat AND go work out before. And even to this day, Satan is quite aware of me and how aware I am of me. He often whispers in a tone far too similar to mine, “Maybe lay off the Tim Tams… or all the food.” or “You should change, you look ridiculous”, or reminds me of all the crunches and leg lifts I haven’t done and how much it happens to be showing that day.

If this is a shock to you or not it’s the truth of some of my past and I think it’s important to let you know you aren’t the only one. It’s equally important for me to know I’m not the only one… I’ve been blessed with honest people and ones who’ve helped me though my mental battle (and continue to do so) I asked a BEAUTIFUL friend of mine to help me out this week. I’ve seen her walk through and change her attitude time and time again to health and not the disorder that plagues the minds of millions (men and women alike).

Allow me, if you will… and even if you wont I don’t care because you’re still reading… to share some thoughts from my friend:

I have struggled with my own perception of my body and what that means about my value as a human being basically my whole life. I almost developed an eating disorder in high school and was completely obsessed with what I ate and what I looked like. The amount of time I have wasted thinking about how I’d like to be skinnier or fretting over a wrinkle on my face is ridiculous. I could have been thinking about ways to better the lives of the people in my life; Or learning a language; Or reading about the world around me.

For me, the only way I can prevent going into obsessive mode is to just not entertain (more accurately: try not to entertain) the annoying thoughts that are always looking to creep into the forefront of my consciousness. Kick butt at the gym? Yes. But then don’t obsess over how I could have done better after the work out is over or wonder why I don’t look like Serena Williams. Eat healthy? Absolutely. But then don’t beat myself up for not eating whole organic foods for every single meal of my whole entire life. Wear makeup? If that’s you, then yes boo, get it. But I’ll try not to feel bad for not caring. Wear sunscreen? Um yes, wrinkles. Ain’t nobody got time for premature aging. But I really need to stop obsessing over my skin just because I don’t look as fresh as I did when I was 16. Aging is a privilege. I need to start seeing it that way.

Bodies are marvelous things. We should appreciate them and care for them as such. Me and my fellow women can grow little humans. I think that this ability is as equally amazing as it is totally weird. We can laugh, and hug, and dance, listen to and create music, and see and hold cute little baby ducks. And our bodies house our minds. And with our minds, humans have created the means to travel into outer space. OUTER SPACE! I want to use my brainpower for something better than worrying about the circumference of my waist.

Do I think it’s bad to try and look beautiful? I wish I didn’t even care. I wish that it were something that never even crossed my mind. Right now, that’s not the case. I’m fairly vain to be honest. But I’m trying to retrain my brain not to be; because there are better things I could be pondering.

I wish appearance didn’t hold as much power as it does in our society. I wish we could learn to see each other the way dogs see humans. Doesn’t matter if you’re overweight, short, white, skinny, purple, plagued by severe acne, or have the looks of Theo James (thank ya Jesus! [I’m aware that this is hypocritical]), dogs will love you any way you are as long as you’re kind. Dogs are cool.

Ugh, my friends… they’re the best.

What a beautiful thought – My mom always told me, “Pretty is as pretty DOES” I hope I DO pretty well. I hope that I am kind and love people regardless of what they look like.

Like I said, I’ve had support through this, she’s sat me down on more than one occasion to ask, “Laina, how are YOU REALLY?” It helps me to hear the questions and answer them out of my own head because like I said, Satan’s tone is all to similar to mine. I stand stronger when I stand with a friend. When I realized I wasn’t the only one and that I could talk though my life with people I found it so much easier to live.

Maybe you don’t deal with this at all… which is sick and I’m jealous. Or maybe you do, maybe you don’t want to talk to me but you need to talk to someone and thats totally fine. But, please DO talk to someone. I’ve now briefly shared that there is at least two other real human beings in the world who also are walking through or have walked through this so at the very least. Just know you aren’t alone. And, not sure why I needed to even get this out but there was no doubt I did. This is where I just expect Jesus to be Jesus because my thoughts are way too simple.

((well, that was different))