Planning & Strategizing as an ENFP ~

This blog title is cracking me up right now because if you know anything about ENFPs, we are not planners or strategizers by nature.  However, we do need to step back from life at times and recenter ourselves to make sure we are moving in the right direction.  What does this look like for me?  Well, I am in casual clothes, surrounded by mess, with my planner open. I have resolved not to move from this spot until I have come up with a plan and a focus!

I love being an ENFP.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The only down side is that as an ENFP I have many different interests and ping-pong from one to next; often.  This is unfortunate because I never really feel like I am an achiever.  Remember that phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none?”  That’s how I feel right now.  For some of you making goals and plans comes effortlessly.  You actually thrive making lists and check boxes, but for me, that gives me a headache which makes me want to lie down and go to sleep.

If you saw me right now you would probably think I was being extremely unproductive and lazy. There are so many things to get done around the house, how could I be so selfish with my time.  At least this is what I think you would perceive.  I am feeling the guilt, but this is the only way for me to make any headway when it comes to thriving as an ENFP.

You see, I am a homeschool mom who is with my kids almost 24/7.  I spend a lot of my time with them doing our own thing that I forget to change it up and get out, meeting new people, experiencing new things. My kids are the exact opposite than me.  So they would rather stick with a routine, maybe even stay home.  There are many projects around our house that are on my mental “to do” list that seem to keep me to myself and are endless weekly tasks.   It’s like a rat race in my own home.  I am also a songwriter.  This has the tendency to become an introverted profession since it requires a lot of quiet, focused time to develop and refine a song.

So I have many things in my life where I am not thriving as an ENFP.  I need to balance those things with activities that bring me a lot of fulfillment and joy.   Hence, I will stay here, picketing my cause, until I can come up with a plan that will help me continue to be the person God has created me to be.  I don’t want to apologize for being who I am.  I want to use everything I have to bless others and to feel God’s pleasure.

Psalm139

Lara~

RESET

For the past couple of weeks I have been in a funk.  There are so many things in my life to be thankful for; however, I am finding myself melancholy most of the time.  It amazes me how our emotions can really take control of our minds and paralyze us.  Have you ever felt this way?  Instead of being proactive about my life’s situations, I have wanted to crawl back in bed and sleep.

I know this is not a healthy behavior and so I am wanting to get to the bottom of it!  Here are a few things I have been pondering lately that I wanted to share with you.

  1. I’ve allowed myself to get into unhealthy daily routines.  Instead of working out in the morning and taking a shower, I have instead scratched the working out part completely and waited until the middle of the day to get ready.  I have told myself and my husband that I am too tired in the mornings to work out and that our kids need me in the morning, hence I take care of their needs before my own.  This routined behavior has not been for my benefit or the benefit of my family.
  2. I’ve forgotten how I used to have fun before having kids.  This sounds awful I know, but it’s true.  I am 38 and my life has been consumed with meeting the needs of those around me instead of figuring out what I enjoy doing as well.  There was a day recently when I took my daughter out to have our nails manicured.  I NEVER do this!  It’s too much money. I could be using this money to buy clothes for the kids, etc.  But I have to tell you, it was a really nice experience.  We also took my husband out to go zip-lining for his birthday.  He asked me to go on it with him and the kids, but I chickened out and became the picture taking, items holding momma that watched from the sidelines, wishing I would have said yes.  I need to be more intentional about scheduling fun into my life.
  3. Water & Vitamins!  I didn’t realize how amazing water was until I found myself in the backseat of my car dizzy and dehydrated because I drank a huge cup of coffee and barely any water that day.  That one “little” episode cost my husband to come back to the church to drive me home, which put me in bed lethargic for three days!  That behavior cost me and my family a lot! I also had forgotten the importance of taking vitamins everyday.  Hey, I’m a busy homeschool mom, I don’t have time to remember everything on my “To Do” list!  Not a good enough answer!  When I was younger I didn’t need to think about taking vitamins.  The bouncing back rate was extremely high.  Now, I need to have a reality check. I am getting older.  My body is changing and it needs to be replenished with water and vitamins daily in order to function properly.
  4. Sleep.  Oh sleep, how I’ve longed to be in your arms all night long!  This has been a great struggle for me this past year.  Our sleeping environment is not the greatest right now.  Plus, again I’m not who I once was when I was in my 20s.  The biggest culprit for my sleep deprivation has been my cell phone.  If I can’t sleep, it’s like my phone is whispering into my ear, “Come check me out.  You can listen to podcasts, you can read the Bible, you can go on Facebook. I don’t care what you do as long as you look into my screen and wake up your brain!”  This bad habit has got to stop immediately!
  5. Spending more quality and quiet time with the Lord.  I do have times throughout the day when I am worshipping Him, reading His word, and praying, but I can do more.  I need to schedule alone times with God daily that are not on Periscope 😉  He is my Rock!  He is the manna I need in order to be nourished and refreshed.
  6. Lastly, trusting God COMPLETELY with EVERY detail of my life.  Ever time I do this, I feel His peace that surpasses all understanding.  Fear is a daily struggle for me that loves to come and torment my emotions, but trusting in God dispels ALL fear!

I knew I needed to write a new blog post, but I was stuck until I decided to be completely honest and transparent with where I am finding myself right now.  Today is a new day!  I made myself workout (I hated every minute of it), take a shower, had lots of water, and took my vitamins.  I do have a bag of caramel popcorn right beside me that I have been chomping on (baby steps), but I feel better moving a few steps forward in the right direction.

No matter where we are in life, there are times when we will somehow get into a rut like I have, not knowing how we got there or how to get out.  Thankfully, our lives are made up of seasons and marathons, not snow storms and sprints.  God is so gracious to give us do-overs every 24 hours to start again.  I am committed to moving myself in the right direction. Please hold me accountable.  If you are going through the same thing right now, you are not alone.  Please let me know and I will be praying for you, encouraging you to keep moving forward towards joy, peace, hope and love.

God Bless,

Lara

 

 

Finding Joy

Untitled design (1)

I have been asking this question at least once a day as my days commence into homeschooling, house cleaning, planning, working, and so on.  Yesterday, I knew I had to get some things done that really were not very fun.  I find that when I am doing the laundry, sweeping, dishes, picking up after the kids, cleaning dirty messes, mediating arguments, and working at my job, I begin to feel anger, frustration, anxiety, exhaustion, and defeat instead of happiness.

It seems that we are all living in a time where it is easy to be stressed out.  Stress for me at times, becomes a broken badge that I have a tendency to wear in hopes of receiving some kind of empathy and/or relief, whether it be at work, at school, in traffic, or at home. Happiness gets hidden away and I forget where I had placed it and so the stress cycle continues to press on, leading me down a darkened path.  Can you relate?

Is there a hope?  Will we be able to fight back stress and rediscover what makes us happy again?  I believe so.  The wise counsel of my husband whispered in my mind the other day, “Listen to music while you work.”  You see, he had discovered many years ago that I was much more efficient and happy when I turned on the stereo as I cleaned the house.  I didn’t make the correlation at first, but I have come to realize that his observations were correct.  Listening to music makes me so happy.  It helps brighten my day no matter what I am doing.  Music is one of the places happiness likes to reside for me in my life. What is it for you?  Where do you find your happiness?

Now, going to those places of happiness is a wonderful departure from stress.  However, our happiness doesn’t last long enough as we’d like it to because hard life situations and events continue to happen to everyone; everywhere.  So God comes in and offers us something even better than happiness.  What is it?  What could possibly be better than being happy?  Joy.  Joy, exceeds happiness and Joy only can come from a relationship with the Lord.   Joy embraces our souls no matter what goes on around us. This is what the Bible says about Joy:

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of any kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Even though it is important to stop and spend sometime in our days to do things that make us happy, it is important to remember where our constant source of joy comes from.  I know I need to remember this and pursue being in God’s Presence everyday.  I try to blend the two by listening to worship music.

I want to encourage all of us to ask God to fill us with His constant Joy, instead of always running after short-lived happiness.  Maybe you too can find a way to blend both like I do with worship music.

Be blessed.  “May the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the Power of the Holy Spirit.”

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

There Is Someone Who Knows ~

Today has been another random day for our family.  Do you ever have variables that just pop up out of no where throughout you day?  Well, they are frequent occurrences in my life.  Most of the time I am able to go with the flow, however by 4:00pm this mommy is pretty much done mentally and emotionally for the day.  Like today for example. lol!  Sometimes we can find ourselves down, frustrated, overwhelmed, overtired, and wanting a break.  Sometimes we feel alone and undervalued.  Sometimes we wonder if there is anyone who understands.

Little Josh and Hannah

While the kids and I were at the doctor’s getting a prescription this afternoon, there was a mom who was fighting (not literally) with her 3 year old son, trying to get him to behave so she could pick up her daughter’s medicine, but he wouldn’t have it.  I so wanted to save her from his fits and outbursts.  He kept saying, “I don’t like you!  I don’t like you!”  My heart broke for this mom.  Why?  Because I have been THAT mom before with unmanageable kids.  It is so embarrassing and degrading.  She tried her best, but eventually she had to take her kids out without achieving her goal, probably feeling like a failure and wondering how in the world she was going to find the time to get back over there to pick up her daughter’s medicine.  Being a mom is a very difficult job at times; so demanding, so draining, so all consuming.

Thankfully, there is a passage in the Bible that I remembered this evening that I wanted to share.  I wish I could share it with the mom at the doctors office.   I love this chapter in God’s Word because it reminds me I am not alone and that there is a God who loves me unconditionally and knows all about me.  I need to place His promise in my heart tonight and maybe you do to.  Hope this will be an encouragement to you as well.

Psalm 139

“O Lord, You have searched me and You know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all of my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.  You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful sunset parkfor me, to lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, ‘surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, ‘ even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.  For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with You!…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is anything that offends You and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Now, when people or (kids) say to us, “I don’t like you! I don’t like you!”  we will remember that God loves us and knows us deeply.  What a wonderful promise!!  You know what is funny?  As I finish writing this blog,  my kids have come in arguing and whining about each other.  Oh and now there is our dog, Molly.  God knows.  God knows.  What we are going through might feel like it will never end, but God knows and He will get us through it by covering us with His unfailing love.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Reflecting Back on 2014 ~

Well today is the last day of 2014! That is Crazy!! Have you been reflecting back on your year? What have been some good things? What have been some difficult things? Has God been faithful? What are your hopes for 2015? Are you excited? Are you fearful? Do you have any prayer requests you’d like to share?

For me:

Good things
– I got to minister with my dear friends, Brenda Yoder (http://www.brendayoder.com) & Krissy Nelson (http://www.notaloneministries.com) in Pensacola, Fl. even with a tornado in Louisiana and having to find a place to stay overnight in Ft. Lauderdale Texas (thank you Diana Thiessen!) God proved himself very faithful!
– We had a wonderful Women’s Retreat at our church and God broke through in so many ways and brought the ladies together and closer to the Lord’s Spirit.
– We had a great time in Boise visiting friends and family! Family is so important.
– The kids and I have survived the first half of our second year homeschooling. It has been quite the adventure full of ups and downs, successes and failures, and I wouldn’t change one thing!
– Our band “Not Just Sunday” had the chance to play out at some fun places together. We love gigging and rocking out! Hope to gig more together in the New Year Joshua Roosa, Brian Marriott, and Lee Lipsker!
– Went to a refreshing songwriter’s bootcamp led by Staci Frenes & Kenon Chen (http://www.kenonchen.com). God ordained that time for me. There were so many God moments that happened to me that I am so thankful for. I am planning to work with Kenon on recording at least one of my songs that I can’t wait to share with you. Looking forward to that in the new year.
– Read an amazing book by Staci Frenes (http://www.stacifrenes.com) called “Flourish.” It was so healing for me to read of another creative soul’s journey to accept her creativity and thrive in it for the glory of God! I am so inspired and determined to shine through the creativity God has given me to use. Each one of us are creative! We ALL can do something to reflect our Creator. I challenge you to not be afraid, but to do something creative. You won’t be disappointed. There is no right or wrong. Only you can express uniquely what you want to express. There is no one like you and there never will be.
– It was so much fun for me to share my music with my homeschool mommy friends this Christmas!! Barely any of them new I was a singer/songwriter. Most days are all about our kids. We sometimes dress up, but usually we are without makeup, wearing comfy clothes, and just surviving the variables of our days. So, it was a treat to share something that was dear to my heart with my dear friends. I will treasure that evening.
– I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas time!! I grew up singing in many Christmas productions and events. So this year I was able to be apart of quite a few and my heart was full!!

– Our church got through a very difficult season by the grace of God.  We are now hopeful for the future.

– My family has been healthy and has brought me much comfort this year.  I adore my husband Brian and our two kids, Hannah and Josh.  My extended family always has a special place in my heart and I pray for them everyday.

– God has helped us financially.

– Oh and one more thing, we were able to raise $1000.00 to send to our sponsored child in Uganda to save her working eye.  We are still waiting to hear how it went, but hopefully she will be able to see.  It amazed me how the people of God can come together to do great things!!

Difficult things:

– I had many times this year when I was challenged by the spirit of fear.  Fear has plagued my side of the family for generations.  I have the fear of flying, fearful dreams and nightmares, visions, and future worries, fear of failure, and it usually happens more and more when I am doing something for the Lord, but God’s Spirit has equipped me with His powerful gifts to fight back!   There is power speaking out the word of God.  There is power praying in the Spirit.  There is power calling on the name of Jesus!

– My grandmother has been suffering with alzheimer’s disease.  This has made me sad because my other grandmother suffered with it as well.  I wish I could see my grandparents, but we just live too far away.

– All of what our church has had to go through this year has weighed heavily on my heart and on our family.

– Homeschooling (enough said)

– Situations in our family’s life

– The pain in my shoulder, neck, and leg.  I haven’t been able to raise my right arm all of the way for over a year now.  I miss dancing like when I was young.

– watching friends and family going through very difficult situations

Has God been faithful?  YES!!!!  Through it all, God has been faithful.   I have learned how to rest in Him.  I have learned to give Him all of my fears and concerns and let go.  I have learned to pray in my Spiritual language given to me by the Holy Spirit that has strengthened my heart and has given me a focus and has revealed to me what to pray for.  When you give your life to Jesus, He gives you His Spirit to help you in all things and to comfort you.  I can tell you that it is completely true!  Now, I am human and still struggle.  God never promised to take us out of our problems.  He promised to help get us through them.  So I am clinging to that this year and for next year.  It also says in His word that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

My hopes for 2015 are to get closer to the heart of God and be more disciplined in spending time with Him and listening for His voice and direction.  I want to write more songs and continue ministering to others through singing and worship leading.  I want to teach my kids to love Jesus with all of their hearts and be little lights for Him wherever they go.  I want them to learn to be avid readers, good writers, get better at spelling and math.  I want to instill in them a love for learning!  I want to spend more time with Brian and invest in our friendship and love for one another.  I want to reach out to my family members more often through letters, emails, phone calls, instead of using Facebook to update them on the latest news.  I want my life to reflect God’s love in all that I say and all that I do through the grace and help of Jesus.  Lastly, that I will be equipped to conquer the fears that come to attack me and that God will surround me with His peace.

I don’t know if I’m excited.  I still face fear regularly.  That is a battle I fight everyday.  But, more often than not, I win.  So I am resting in the Lord’s love, His grace, mercy, and peace.  There is nothing better than to be a child of the Most High God.  He truly is a loving Father.

Prayer request: That our family will hold true to the promises of God and that we will walk daily in His ways.

Thank you friends for reading my posts and sharing your encouragements.  I pray God’s love and His blessing will accompany you into 2015.  If you are reading this and God is stirring your heart to want to have that loving relationship with Him too, all you have to do is believe that He sent Jesus to die for all of your sins, that He conquered the sting of death by raising from the dead, and ask Him to come into your heart to transform you into the person He has created you to be.  When you say that simple confession, You will be adopted into His family and will live eternally with Him, but not only that, He will send His Holy Spirit to live inside your heart and help you with everything life throws your way.  His grace and mercy will cover you daily and you will no longer be weighed down by guilt, shame, pride, lust, addiction, hate, fear, etc.  His love will make your heart whiter than snow.  Please contact me if you said that prayer and I will send you a bible and help you get started on your new journey with Your Creator!! = )

Lots of love to you all!

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

To Love or Not to Love ~

This week had been a difficult one for me.  I was fighting to get time to myself throughout it.  It was a fight because everytime I did something for me I got push back from something or someone.  The lowest point was when our dog, Molly ate an entire raw hide bone in 20 mins!!!  We had to take her to the vet, have them give her medicine that made her throw up.  Thankfully the bone came out and she was saved.  I was searching for something to satisfy me through tv, food, sugar, caffeine, sleep; nothing was meeting my need.  Finally, I took the time I had been using up doing all of the stuff listed above, to sit quietly in the darkness of my room and talk to God; my friend.  I told Him everything I was going through.  I’m still learning how to hear from Him, but it seemed like He suggested that I stop chasing after things that don’t last; only clutter my mind and body, and spend time being quiet; reading His Word again.

So this morning, I left my phone off, I didn’t turn on the tv, I took my Bible and journal outside, and sat in our backyard.  I asked Him what I should read and was directed to 1 Corinthians 13.  I rolled my eyes because I had read and practically memorized that chapter.  What could I possibly get out of reading it again?  It must have been my thoughts directing the answer to my question. However, I decided to do it anyway.

1 Corinthians 13 “…Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails…”

I then wrote out which ones I was struggling with:

* Doesn’t envy others accomplishments (like on Facebook or Twitter)

* Doesn’t brag or boast about my successes (like on Facebook or Twitter)

* Doesn’t think highly of myself

* Doesn’t talk down to others (like my children and husband)

* Is not selfish (especially at home)

* Doesn’t get angry easily  (at home with the kids)

After, I read 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.”

“Follow the way of love.”  That is where I was going wrong this week; I wasn’t following the way of love.  I was deferring to my own selfish desires.  Lastly, I read 1 Corinthians 13 again, but replaced the word “love” with the word “Jesus.”

“…Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind.  He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud.  He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs.  Jesus does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Jesus never fails…”

The result to my week of frustration?  I need to follow Jesus!  In order for me to change my behavior and be truly satisfied, I need to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  That is the only way I will be able to show this kind of love to others.  What a lesson.  Food for the soul.

Thank you Holy Spirit for directing me to this chapter in the bible.  I really needed to read it again.  And thank you for reminding me whose I am and who I need to follow.  I somehow forgot this week.

Here is a clip of a message from my friend, Krissy Nelson.  She talks about whose we are.  It is a wonderful reminder.

Love,

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Waiting On God ~

I’ve been on a learning curve with the Holy Spirit for the past 6 months.  He has been showing me over and over again that He is with me, His Presence can be tangibly felt, and that He has a purpose for my family and I.  Everyday I am challenged to spend time with Him, talk to Him, and wait on Him.  Some days are easier than others.  The less I spend quality time with Him, the more I feel anxiety and fear.  The more I spend quality time with Him (especially right when I wake up), the less I feel the need to control the day I am entering into.  He really helps bring me above my circumstances to a place that is practically untouchable.  I begin to crave more time with Him.  Why? Because it is the safest place to be.

Today I am filled with many emotions. Being emotional, I am finding out, has the tendency to bring me away from the security of God’s hand.  I asked the Holy Spirit what I was suppose to do and I heard Him say be quiet.  Be quiet.  Well, that does not come easy for this extreme extrovert.  Be quiet.  So I am writing instead.  ha!

He impressed upon me to spend more time studying the Bible, listening to worship music, watching my favorite Christian programs, reading uplifting books, filling my mind with good things rather than things that can take me off course.  This may sound extreme, but I serve an extreme God who actually communicates with me everyday.  Did you know that He wants to talk to you too!  I should write more about that topic sometime.  We have so many things swirling around us; fighting for our attention, that we need to be extreme when it comes to what we feed our minds, bodies, and souls.  I am not strong enough to let the stuff of this world go through one ear and out the other all the time.  Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy.  He will use whatever it takes inside the church and outside to do so.  Jesus is out to forgive, heal, and save.  He will use His people to do whatever it takes inside the church and outside to do so.  Who do you want to yield your life to?  I choose Jesus.

So even though being quiet is hard for me.  I trust the Holy Spirit.  He has earned my trust.  His ways are so much better than mine.  He knows what I need and because I am having more and more time with Him; I can hear His directions clearer.

I woke up today, not wanting to face it, and I said, “Holy Spirit I need You.”  I felt His Presence all over and knew I wasn’t going to have to face today alone.  It is already 10am and I am so glad He is right here with me.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes