Friday, February 17, 2012

People. I'm excited.

People. I'm excited.

In just 184 hours my husband, sister and I will be on the way to the happiest place on earth.

Yes, we are going to Walt Disney world.

I just needed to let you know.

I'm freaking out.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I love starting new journals for my prayers and devotions. For years, I would always try to get a medium to large sized journal...I don't know why exactly, it just felt more sturdy and legit. However, I would rarely finish these journals completely...because I would get tired of them, or feel like I was in a new season, and want to move on to something different.

But in December, Peter and I tried these slim moleskine journals, and oh my goodness, I love it. It's been just under two months, and I only have 3 pages left! Plus, it fits inside my bible, which makes for easy transportation.

I love writing out my prayers...I use a modified version of the ACTS prayer model, in addition to just writing out verses that stick out to me and things God says to me. It has been so wonderful to look back and see the victories God has given me throughout the pages of my journals--and I've had a prayer journal since I was about 13 or 14!

Do you have a particular type of journal you love? Do you write out your prayers?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

10 Truths About Being on Time

Ever had that day where you get up, look at your clock, and do a double take? 
"Oh snaaap. Does that really say a whole hour after when I meant to get up!?"

I've definitely done that.

I've also had those mornings full of the "one more thing" syndrome. You know, when you get up to make breakfast, and notice that old food in your fridge you meant to throw out a week ago, so you dump that in the garbage, and then it smells, so you take out the garbage and while you are out you may as well grab the mail, and oh, look! An invitation to a family party! Better put that on the calendar real quick so we don't forget, and then there is that email I need to read...and before you know it the time you planned on getting ready to go to work is gone and you're going to be 20 minutes late!?

Timeliness has been on my heart lately. God's shown me some truths about this that have radically changed my perspective and pushed me to pursue excellent timeliness. Honestly, I am so not perfect at this yet...but I've gotten a lot better in the past year and I plan to get even better in the future!

1. Timeliness gives honor. When I am on time, I give honor to those I am meeting. When I'm late, I'm dishonoring them--and that is a big deal in His eyes. In fact, giving honor is such a big deal, God made it a commandment to us: "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor" (Romans 12:10). I'm going to do everything I can to never think lightly of God and His commandments.

How is timeliness showing honor?  Being on time shows that I value you because it says, "Every minute with you is important to me." It also shows that I value your time, because it says, "Your time is important and I' respect that."

2. My reputation represents the reputation of Christ. I want to be known as someone who gives honor, because that is who Christ is. This applies in every situation. When you show up on time to that meeting at school or work, you tell the world that Christians are responsible, faithful people--and that knocks down one wall on their path to meeting the real Jesus. When you show up on time to teach Sunday School, that shows that you care about serving your body of Christ--like Jesus does.

3. I can't believe my excuses anymore. Another way timeliness represents Jesus it shows His nature--He is always on time. He is always ready. Yeah, yeah, He's omnipresent. But get this: Jesus has ALREADY given us the power to do EVERYTHING we need to live a Godly life and to do all He has called us to (2 Peter 1:3 and Philippians 2:13)! Through these verses, another life changing revelation is revealed: we no longer have any excuse for any behavior that doesn't line up with His kingdom. We have everything we need to live as He has called us to live--and that includes honoring others through timeliness. If we choose to believe our excuses--such and such came up, the roads were bad, my alarm didn't go off, today was busy, even something more legitimate-feeling like I have a disorder that makes it hard for me to be on time--then we are saying that the power of Christ is not enough to beat those circumstances.

Ok, Tori. Shut up. I don't want to believe you. The traffic being bad is not my fault! I hear you--God has been challenging me in this too...and I don't like it either, but it's truth, and through this truth we can be set free from tardiness into honoring timeliness!

So what do I do?

If I'm late because of a circumstance beyond my ability to discover, then the first time, I need to walk in grace for myself and apologize for it, not justify it with an excuse.

The next time, however, it is my fault (thankfully there is more grace--but we cannot let ourselves become accustomed to taking it for granted). Why is it your fault? Because you knew, and when you don't change, you chose to dishonor (ouuchh). We just need to take time and be honest with ourselves about what life looks like:
  • You know there is going to be traffic. Especially between 3:30 and 5 when people leave work and school. Plan extra time for it. 
  • Things get crazy in the morning, and the more kids you have, or the more you want to get ready, the more time it's going to take. It's not possible to pack 45 minutes of preparation into 15 minutes. Not wasting time is important, but there is actually a limit to how fast you can get ready. Give your self enough time. 
  • You can help those you depend on. I know a lot of people who depend on others for rides (I'm one of them actually!). If you need to be some where, you can use your time to help them get out the door. Especially if they repeatedly make you late, I challenge you to humbly approach them and ask what you can do to help them get out the door by X:XX time. Honor them even if they haven't gotten the timeliness revelation yet.
  • Something is going to come up every day. Now that I've told you, you know it. So you need to give yourself 10-15 minutes wiggle room between things. Worst case scenario? You wait in your car for 10-15 minutes and get to praise God that much more than you planned to that day. Win!

How do I make more time in my day?

From what I can tell, there are three ways you can "make more time" in your day.
  1. Get up earlier. I heard this awesome testimony from the leaders my church's welcoming ministry. They realized that being on time was essential for honoring guests and members of our church, so they did the "15-min earlier" strategy. Every Sunday, they set their alarm 15-minutes earlier (and actually got their butts out of bed then...which I seriously struggle with). It took them multiple weeks--four a believe--to get up early enough to have a stress-free morning and get to church on time. "An hour earlier??" You say? If that's what it takes, yes. You aren't going to be able to somehow "get ready faster" in the morning. You need to give yourself more time. (Side note: this may mean you have to go to bed earlier, too.) The best part of this story? Jesus has already given us what we need to do this. Have trouble falling asleep early? There is a verse for you to stand on. Struggle with getting up in the morning? Make a commitment to meet with God first--and then honor Him with your timeliness. (And coffee/tea, take a hot shower, put your alarm on the other side of the room...oh, and stand on this verse.)
  2. Say no. If you are constantly late and rushing everywhere, or staying up at all hours to finish your work, or stressing and double-booking yourself, you are doing too much. It's time to get out a pad of paper and actually write out all your commitments and how much time you honestly spend on them every week. Then determine if how you are spending your time lines up with your goals. If not, grab that Bible and worship music, listen to Jesus about what to take out of your life, and then, DO IT.
  3. Stay focused. Oh my goodness, this one is hard for me. That whole "one more thing" syndrome? Totally my battle every day. But you have to stay focused. Maybe setting a "refocus" alarm that goes off every 15 minutes would help you stay on task? Maybe blocking facebook for a week, or getting the discipline to only go on during a certain time of day?  Maybe a friend who keeps you accountable with this (Peter does it for me!)? 
There is a strategy for your victory, because God said we have everything we need to live a Godly life. If you want to read more, check out Psalm 15, which is all about the lifestyle that people who can enter God's presence have. Verse 4 directly applies to keeping our commitments. Also, Matthew 25 is a great example of what happens to those who don't plan and prepare--who make enough time to get ready.

Don't give up until you stand in your victory! Timeliness is something you can have in your life. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So Blessed

Today was such a good day!

Peter and I got to spend a little bit of time together this morning.
My devotion time was good!
I worked and actually felt like I accomplished a little bit (even though I have a crazy boatload of stuff to do yet).
I made dinner (shout out for NOT doing fast food! Score!).
I got to make this adorable jello jiggler treat for some of the WorshipArts students.
I was able to spend some time praying and drawing based from Psalm 19--I really love how it turned out too! Art with Jesus is the best.
I sang with one of the Horizon teams tonight. I love worshiping God with my voice!
I was blessed with a super edifying conversation with a woman of God I respect.

I am so stinking blessed to be surrounded with His presence. Everything I get to do is focus on Jesus--blessing my husband, spending time with Him, my job, serving my husband with meals, making treats for my brothers & sister in Christ, art with Jesus, worshiping Him, being built up by another sister in Christ...even writing this is honoring the gifts He's given me and the desire in my heart to write!

I want to have this perspective even when my days aren't full of directly Christ-centered activities.

But I sure am overwhelmingly blessed in this season of my life. Seriously people. Focus on all God's given you--it does wonders for your attitude!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Peter and I celebrated our love for each other and our awesome marriage with a Valentine's Date tonight!

Chessex Megamat
I had been planning and plotting for over a month now to get Peter a chessex megamat. For those non-board-game-geeks out there, it is a blank grid mat that you can use special markers on to create your own board games (or use with complicated games that others have created). I got him a reversible one with square and hexagons and let me tell you--he was super surprised! I don't know how many times he said "This is the best thing you could get me!" I can't wait to see him relax and create all sorts of fun new board games in the coming months with it. It was a success, for sure!

Dinner at Martell's
Peter took me out to one of the Millennium Group restaurants we had never been to--Martell's! It was such a fun, romantic experience. The atmosphere was unique for Kalamazoo--actually, it reminded me a little bit of restaurants I went to in England. And let me tell you--the food was superb! I got the almond crusted walleye with creamy mashed potatoes and good. Tonight happened to be their new pastry chef's first night, and we got his amazing lemon cheesecake topped with strawberries. I'm salivating just remembering it! And kudos to the manger--he honored our 40% off coupon from seeing it on our phone, even though he didn't need to, saving us a trip back home to print it!

I love our conversations. We truly are best friends, and it was so much fun to talk about everything together, from the recent things we've seen on Facebook to politics, tax credits, the stock market, Dave Ramsey, our future house, our upcoming trips, and so much more.

The Castle Game
Then we came home and played The Castle together. I don't know what my problem is, but I do pretty good at staying neck and neck with him until about halfway through the game and then I just get stuck as he flies ahead. It was still a ton of fun though!

As I began writing this, he was sitting beside me strumming out unique and interesting melodies on the acoustic guitar, and now I believe he is dozing next to me. I am overcome with love...what an honor to be the wife to such a loving, fun, kind, handsome amazing man! I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with Peter Webb! Truly, God has blessed me more than I could ever deserve our earn. I love His extravagant favor and generosity! Thank you Lord for giving me such a blessed life.

What are you doing to celebrate life and love this week? What are you thankful for?

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Something is moving. Something is changing. It's Heaven on Earth, my friends--God's Kingdom on earth NOW as it is in even, as Jesus called us to pray!

I was brought to tears today when I was getting caught up on the WorshipArts devotional blog. I'm starting to tear up again as I write this. God stopped me in my tracks. This is not a job to take for granted or treat just as work. This is a true ministry and God is moving in powerful ways. People's lives are being changed--and God is using me, and especially my husband, as a venue to call people into deeper relationship with Him.

I almost didn't write this post. I don't want to toot our own horn. This isn't about us and "our" ministry. This is about what God is doing. Similar to Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:12 (Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart.), I want you to know this is coming from a sincere heart in awe of how God is moving.

WorshipArts focus is personal devotion this year. It's about cultivating a secret place with God through faithful and daily prayer, scripture reading, and worship. Check out what some of the students (ages 13-18, mind you!) have said:

"My bible reading went really well this last week. i had trouble putting my bible down! God really showed me how this week, through my bible reading, just how much he loves me. i mean, I've always known that God loves me, but i really never realized just how MUCH he loves me."

"For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am chasing after God, and he just might not be running away from me." 
"First off, I've been working on [reading the Bible & praying everyday for a week] for this week and even though I haven't done the full seven days yet I'm just going to say that I'm not stopping after seven days! It's been an eye opening experience for me. Just a week or two I was complaining that all I got from God was static, and then I started [reading and praying everyday]. For the past week I've been in between excited that God spoke to me, and trying not to freak out over what He told me." 
"I have applied the 7 days longer prayer time and woah God spoke in my life just because i have been making time for him. IT ROCKS to put it simply" 
"The deeper I let God fill me in my secret place with Jesus, is the more I am able to pour out...I'm definately not the woman I was before; but I'm also definately not the women whom I was born to be. But I know that the secret place with God is continuing to draw me closer."

"Prayer has brought so much peace and certainty in my life, during this past week or two. I used to struggle with prayer, I felt distant...listening to what God has to say, has helped me praise Him in spirit and in truth. Now I can hear. Words can't describe how much of a blessing it has been."
If you've been struggling with putting God first, stand in the power of these testimonies! These youth are winning battles and victories for God's kingdom and they are plowing the way for us to stand in greater victory in our own lives! Press in my friends, press in!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Living and Active

The Word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edge sword, dividing soul and Spirit. Living and you believe it? I had an awesome moment today where I was reminded yet again God's Word is powerful and so much more than a big book with lots of pages.

Peter and I both have loose, similar schedules for reading the Bible. It's a pretty cool, simple system that I should share with you at some point, and it provides stability and direction for our personal times of devotion. It also puts us on "the same page" so we can talk about what God has shown us later on in our day and week.

This morning Peter and I had a few moments together in the car before we began our day, and Peter popped in a podcast he had been chewing on this week to share with me.  Damon Thompson's passionate preaching boomed though on the topic of the fear of the Lord, and he went to this passage in scripture full of power and revelation. As he was sharing the verse, Peter mentioned to me that he had just stumbled upon the exact same passage before he had heard the message. Then, as I was listening, I realized I too had just read that part of scripture in the past weeks. As we were talking, we realized we had even highlighted some of the same verses.

And then it struck us--this wasn't even close to our reading schedule! Wow. How amazing is our God? Not only did he put time into our lives for us to be encouraged though the podcast together, but he worked in our hearts and led us to the same chapter on His own time. Then on top of that, to prove again to us that He is God, all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, He drew our hearts to the same verses as a confirmation that we both follow His leading and are in the correct place and season in our lives. Amazing.

So, what was the passage? 2 Corinthians 5:11-20.

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, 
we work hard to persuade others. 
God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.

Are we commending ourselves to you again? 
No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, 
so you can answer those who brag about 
having a spectacular ministry 
rather than having a sincere heart.

If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. 
And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.

Either way, Christ's love controls us. 
Since we believe that Christ died for all, 
we also believe that we have all died to our old life.

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. 
Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. 
At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. 
How differently we know him now!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. 
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, 
who brought us back to himself through Christ. 
And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, 
no longer counting people's sins against them. 
And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

So we are Christ's ambassadors; 
God is making his appeal through us. 
We speak for Christ when we plead, 
"Come back to God!"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Beautiful Surprise

For some reason, we struggle we getting to the grocery store. I really don't prefer to go on my own because I tend to deliberate over the prices for much too long and I get distracted with "oh, that would be nice"'s that I don't end up buying anyways. Peter doesn't like going because...well, it takes so long and he'd rather go buy in bulk do we can last a month anyways! =)

So last week we planned to go Monday, it was put off until Tuesday and that day filled up, so it skipped our insanely packed Wednesday and finally the deed settled on Thursday. (It truly is amazing how long you can stretch your food out with just two people!)

The one catch is I work all day Thursday--so my hero saved the day (and our pantry) and tackled the task. I was bragging on him at work to the other ladies (because it truly is a blessing to have a man willing to grocery shop now and then), simply thankful that I didn't have that chore to do. Work went on, and he called me on his way to pick me up. We talked as I finished closing up the office, thankful to be the best of friends. I didn't notice he had entered the building until he turned the corner, still on the phone--holding a gorgeous bouquet of a dozen pink roses!!! I was stunned and so blessed that he bought me flowers "just because." (And beautiful, amazing smelling ones to boot!)

Today, I am so thankful to have the best husband in the world standing by my side, doing life with me every day. What are you thankful for?
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