Monday, August 24, 2015

First Love Fall

There is something grand about our God--He will use any moment to make a new beginning. He loves creating opportunities for us to start anew. Each year, each season, each month, each week--every morning, His mercies are new!

There is a hunger in my soul--I want to love God deeply, authentically, consistently. He has been stirring this in my heart. It’s not enough to just fit Him in. But honestly? I’m afraid. Afraid I’ll start this goal and drop it like so many others. I’m even afraid of the vulnerability it takes to share this publicly. It’s a risk to open this up and tell you about it.  Yet the treasure, that intimacy with God, is worth the seeking. And it’s worth sharing with you, in the hopes that my story will encourage you to pursue God more.

And that’s what I see, when I look around me--I see that I’m not the only one that wants this deeper relationship with God. We want to go back to that first love--that radical, life changing love where God is a fire in our soul. I believe that lifestyle is readily available to those who are willing to seek it relentlessly. Will you join me?

What better time to restart, than at the start of the fall season? Many already consider this the start of a new year with school starting and family schedules changing to fit new routines.

Will you join me to make a conscious effort this fall to tune in to Jesus first? To put His love first in our minds? To seek that first love, this fall? Honestly--what better time than your current now? His “restart” button is always accessible. His forgiveness is waiting to be accepted.

Will you join with me on this journey? Let’s make this our First Love Fall.

If you use instagram, I’ll be posting regularly there as I make this journey using the hashtag, #firstlovefall and I’d love to see you share your story with that hashtag, too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pruning

This week has been like a bag of BeanBoozled Jelly Bellies. You know those ones? With half great flavored and half ones like snot flavor? Every time I've reached in for the next thing, I've either been blessed with a great moment or shocked with a depressing or ugly one.

I had everything from a heart-shattering funeral to a two-hour long exciting meeting to a sickness that knocked me out cold for 36 hours, to a much-needed dinner out with my BFF, to adding about 100 things to my to do list, to a fun photoshoot on Saturday, to pulling together as much of the WorshipArts APEX prep as I can, to celebrating the amazing mothers in my life.

All this week. And all while my heart is processing grief in a way I never have before. I have empathized with people who’ve been grieving before, but I get it in a deeper way now that I just start crying in the middle of what’s supposed to be a happy moment, or my words come out sharp and shattered when I’m just trying to be kind. I know others are experiencing even deeper grief. I wasn’t even deeply connected to the amazing woman who passed away. But my community was. My family was. I’m feeling it like I was, too.

Yesterday I got to have a minute to do something I really love—arranging flowers. I picked out different kinds, some fresh and some store bought. I clipped them and thought through where each flower would land. It got messy, and sometimes the thorns on the roses hurt, but it was worth it to make something beautiful. As I was editing this picture and trying to decide what to say, I realized this week is really kind of like that... It's a pruning season.



My heart is trying to stay fully planted in each fruit of the Holy Spirit, but so many moments have shown the ugliness of my flesh. Those moments where I just want to be mean, but I need to choose to be vulnerable instead. Where I want to be selfish, but I need to put others first. I'm not succeeding. But I don't think I'm failing either--and even being able to say that is a sign of monumentous growth in me.

Maybe that's what Gods doing with me. He's clipping here and there, and while it's all still beautiful from His eyes, it's not quite there yet. Some of the my bruised and broken leaves are being removed. Maybe he'll use this to take my pieces and put them together into something beautiful that blesses His heart, and blesses His people.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Housemates!

Something pretty great has happened in the Webb world--my sister Emily has moved in with Peter and I! We are thrilled to have her joining our little home and it’s already been a blast. She’s taken the room I had originally planned to use as my Art Room/Office… but after being at our house almost a year and a half I really hadn’t taken much time to set it up or use it at all, so the space was open and we decided to go for it!

It’s been interesting to see the mixed responses I’ve gotten. A lot of people have been hesitant--for good reason. Taking in a housemate is a big deal and lots of people don’t mix well. The fact is though, there truly isn’t another person I’d feel more trusting and comfortable with living with us than my sister. We understand each other very well, her and Peter get along phenomenally, and she’s going to be giving us some very welcome help with WorshipArts, too!

The plan is she’ll be with us at the very least until the end of the summer. I wouldn't be surprised if she stays longer though--unless of course England or Canada or some other foreign land catches hold of her wanderlust. =)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Worship Faves Spring 2015

Lately I’ve been connecting to God through some pretty amazing worship songs. I’ve found lately that pretty much every morning, I wake up with a worship song running through my mind. It’s a really great way to start my day, and I try to play the song as soon as I can that morning whenever possible. God is so faithful--sometimes I feel like He’s building in “devo time” for me through this--like He’s saying, “Oh I know the perfect song to get Tori through today! I’ll play it right as she’s waking up!” ☺️

In this season, I’ve been putting these worship songs that have been encouraging me onto a YouTube playlist, and I thought you might love it, too! In case the videos go away or something, here is what’s currently on the list (though I plan to keep adding to it over the coming weeks):


Ever Be, by Kalley Heiligenthal, Bethel Music
My Savior's Coming, by Tyler Richardson
I've Got Joy, by Tyler Richardson
Only One, by Jaye Thomas, IHOP
I Will Follow, by Vertical Church
It Is Well, by Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music
You Know Me, by Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger & Bethel Music 
Take a Moment, by United Pursuit Band
Hope Is Erupting, by Citipointe Live
All My Worship, by Catherine Mullins
I Am Yours, by Jonas Park
I Am Not Alone, by Kari Jobe  
Worthy of It All, by David Brymer



Let me know what you love or discover from this list! =)

Friday, February 6, 2015

January Thoughts

I don’t know what it is about January and February for Peter and I. I always think in December that after the holidays things will start to settle down. They never do! These past 5 weeks always get packed to the fullest with gatherings, connecting with students, kicking off WorshipArts, reconnecting with friends, a few birthday gatherings, coffee or breakfast meetings with family and friends who I didn’t get to see over the holidays...the list goes on and on.

It’s funny, so often I think I’m an introvert, and then I look at my calendar. When I’ve had a week or two to decompress from work and life (like over Christmas), I jump into “MUST SEE THOSE PEOPLE I MISSED WHILE GONE (on break or a trip etc)” mode and schedule…..wait. Yep. Peter and I did TWENTY social events/coffee meet ups in 30 days. Which doesn’t include a few dates we took and the date time we need each week, or my work meetings, or WorshipArts meetings... Dear Lord. Overall, I do love it. But sometimes I forget to breathe!

Clearly I’m an extrovert in denial. I mean honestly. When I’m doing all of these things, what is the most common thought I have? “Oh, I still haven’t called/facetimed/had coffee with so-and-so or texted that person in weeks! I’m a terrible friend!”

Isn’t that wild? I really do think that so often. So often I’m attacked with the, “you aren’t a good enough friend to all the people that you love.” When I write it out, after looking at my calendar and counting all the things I did, it seems so ridiculous. But in the moment I’m so plagued with that guilt. You guys. I LOVE YOU ALL. I just have a lot of people to love…

And it’s also much harder for me to be a friend just for fun and companionship--I feel fueled from helping people tackle problems, pointing people to the truth, and encouraging them. When people are doing great in life, sometimes I feel like they don’t “need” me. That I’m not good at just…small talk or goofing off or surface distractions. I enjoy being intense about life, and if you just want to chill, maybe I’m not your best option? I do like to chill, but chilling for me is playing a game where we...beat a problem! Hahaha.

I guess the moral of this post is...take time to appreciate what you’re doing. If you’re like me and struggling with those “not good enough” thoughts, take a few minutes and look back. You’re probably doing a lot better than the lies in your head want you to believe. Keep moving ahead, making minor course adjustments….don’t let worry and fear stop you dead in your tracks.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

What I Learned in 2014

Last year, I lived my 25th trip around the sun, and finished it celebrating my 25th birthday. If I live to be 85, then 30% of my life is done. With that in mind, I asked God what He wanted me to do last year--what word He wanted me to focus on. I invested in a system called PowerSheets, an amazing planning tool for thinking through your life, getting vision for your goals, and then making time to pursue them. I imagined myself at 80 looking back on my life, and put the goals I’d need to reach that vision in my heart into words, and then turned those words to actions for each month. Quietly, the word “intentional” settled in my heart.

Last year, 2014, was a year of being intentional. In true Tori-fashion, I imagined an intentional 2014 being filled with accomplishing some big, grand goals: losing 30 lbs, running my first 5k, writing a blog post every day, planning meals each week and making them happen every day, getting enough sleep each night, spending many hours with the Lord each week, keeping a clean home and finishing some major home projects. I expected to mentor many young women, teach about relationships, paint every week and send hand-written cards to friends. I planned to work many hours furthering Christ’s kingdom at work, serve Peter with at least 5 hours at a week attending practices, and manage social media for WorshipArts, my church, and myself. I wanted to spend lots of time staying in touch with my girl friends, and make many handmade Christmas gifts. I would spend time with my husband, our friends, and our family. That would be a truly intentional, focused year! (Nevermind the fact all that stuff would probably take 30 hours a day...)

At the end of December, I was feeling downright discouraged. I really hadn’t done half of the things I had wanted. I know I had a lot I wanted to achieve, but had I really chosen laziness so often? Was I really not capable of achieving at least a little more? Had I thrown my “intentional” year out the window?

So I sat down and looked back. I looked at each month with my calendar, Instagram and Facebook open. I spent over five hours carefully looking over how I spent my time...and slowly, I realized: The Lord knew better. It wasn’t about an intense “intentionality” list. It was about intentionally believing truth.

Truth like Lara Casey says, “Done is better than perfect,” and "Progress not perfection." Truth like some months all I did was WorshipArts, and others I didn’t do any WA and instead I poured into tons of relationships. Or other months I traveled, and didn’t really connect with family too often--until the next few months, when I never left town but instead poured into family and into church.

Or this huge truth: I don’t need to beat myself up for my choices. Like I would do sometimes when I choose to spend evenings with Peter playing a video game, laughing and connecting with him after a long day, instead of getting more sleep or doing those chores I was behind on. Or I would when I wouldn’t write at all--because I was too busy helping getting information ready for the next season of WorshipArts, or a big church event, or I used up all my words with some great conversations with dear friends. Or when I only listened to worship music on the way to work that day, and didn’t do a longer devotional time (because my day was packed...serving people.)

Last year I started to genuinely learn how much I can actually do, and that it’s okay to just choose the ONE best thing for that moment. Because that’s really all we can do--one thing at a time.

After spending those hours pouring over my time, my heart lifted. I realized I had lived a very intentional year: I did the things God called me to do. I loved Him, and I served people.
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