Celebrate Today

The Gift of Joy is Yours

the gift of today, celebrate today, choose joy today, embrace life, live, live freely, trishakeehn.com, joy, peace
The greatest gift I have been given today is J O Y. It is where we get our strength.

Not every day is a walk in the garden of roses. Sometimes it’s more like patches of thorns. But even then, it is a day the Lord has made. I have a choice to be glad in it. I can choose to have a good attitude through it. I make the choice to extend good things to someone else, no matter what has happened.

The enemy can change up the circumstances, but joy in the Lord is lasting. Defeat only comes when I hand over my joy to fickle situations. I choose to rise above everything that comes against me and keep my focus on the Lord’s unwavering goodness. Today, I have the gift of J O Y.

Even When…

Jesus is still there

In the story of those two men heading to Emmaus (Luke 24), Jesus walks up behind them on that dusty road and asks what the two are discussing.

“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” one of them says.

“What things?” Jesus asks. 

The men didn’t recognize this guest and go on to tell him about Jesus of Nazareth; his teaching and the powerful miracles he performed, the crucifixion three days ago and the wild stories about an empty tomb, though no one has seen Jesus.

Even when you walk away to wherever Emmaus is for you, a nightclub, the bar, another city, or in the middle of ‘nowhere’, Jesus isn’t far from you. He will meet you on that dusty road in the midst of your troubled heart and ask questions to help you sort out what doesn’t make sense.

We might look for Jesus in a moment of tragedy, an existential experience or at the crossroads in life but often don’t recognize His presence in the midst of our struggles. So you take a walk along a dusty road or have dinner with friends. Maybe you go back to work. When Jesus showed up after His resurrection, it was in these very common places for people.

where will this road lead you, dusty roads in life, our escape in life, Jesus asks us the tough questions, trishakeehn.com, will this satisfy youWe spend most of our lives escaping. We throw our hands up at our jobs, hurtful friends, and even our families. We run or keep it stuffed inside.

Eventually there will be questions. Jesus will ask you about where this road is leading and whether it’s enough to keep you satisfied. 

Consider it all joy when you go through trials of many kinds. (James 1:4)

Disappointment and defeat are the tools God uses to show you the way. Your difficulties are designed to produce perseverance and build up your faith.

Often we let the trials tear us down, though God means them for our good. Your trials grow you by developing character. We need to have enough courage to live in the struggles.

We’re not going to get to our destination any quicker by worrying, complaining or being frustrated.

When you place your joy in the source of your strength, Jesus, and not in the circumstance. you will survive and even thrive in the struggle. Even in the pain, these conflicts will be counted as your joy for what it is increasing in you, not decreasing.

Don’t let the defeat tear you down. God created you to go from strength to strength in these situations, not a mindset of struggle to struggle. 

Lastly, pay attention to your life, to the people, to the things that happen to you. This is how to experience Jesus. Don’t force it by reading into situations too much. Maybe just lean in with your ears when your thoughts want to speak. Or linger a little longer in a place of rest when reminders of the undone pull at your attention.

Here in the hard parts of life, beautiful and terrible things will happen. It’s easier to escape it, but don’t be afraid. Jesus is right there in your midst.

Travel Light If You Want To Go Far

traveling light, trishakeehn.comIf you want to go far, you’ve got to learn to travel light.

We all have baggage to some degree hanging around from the last journey. Part of you will want to stuff what’s familiar into your bags ‘just in case’.

But picking up the weight you had on the last trip will only be a burden on this road to where you’re heading now.

Where you’re going requires freedom to jump into new opportunities.

You need a clear mind and alertness to dodge the casualties up ahead.

A humble heart is your guide to accepting direction from those who’ve been on these roads before.

My best advice for those looking to travel far in life is to pack light.

Take off all your pride and selfishness, the envy and unforgiveness, and leave fear behind.

Love A Friend Today

love a friend, valentines day is for loving everyone, let someone know you love themGo next door and say hello.

Write a letter; “Hey friend, I want you to hear this from me… I’m a better person because of your beautiful soul in my life’.

Make a phone call and splurge on the anytime minutes just to share a breath together.

Find a cheap plane ticket, buy one and show up.

Open your heart to the possibilities of what love can do and wrap your arms around someone who means the world to you today.

There is only one thing we live for – to share with others the love of Christ. It’s the only thing that will bear fruit in our lives. And it will always leave the mark of God’s power.

You can only share the love that is in your heart so ask the Lord to draw you in a little closer and thrill your soul a little deeper with His love so that the overflow will spill out and flood the places you land. May the Lord infuse your words and actions with the expression of His grace today, and allow you to soak up the experience of it all.

It’s a great day to get up and step into the adventure of loving a friend lavishly!

A New Way of Seeing Things

One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things. – Henry Miller

The lacing of snow gracing all that is within sight is just stunning. Snowbound in Nashville, and temps in the teens/20’s, inspiration came knocking at my door, asking if I’d like to come out and play.

Just because something is here one day, it might not be the next. This heart inside is adorned only in the beauty of journeys we take. Friendship with ourselves is recognizing that I deserve to live this adventure. So I said ‘yes’ to the proposition of this mysterious guest and bundled up tightly. There were drifts, stacked by the foot, of snow to climb through; I don’t even own a pair of boots for crying out loud.

The streets were bare of human beings. Only the crunching of snow beneath my feet filled the hollow echoes in the atmosphere. I said, ‘hello’ just to hear the sound of something other than silence. Nothing moved. When the apocalypse happens, is this how it would feel to be on the outside?

Tony Robbins quote, expectation for appreciation, positive living, change your focus, change your thinking, trishakeehn.comThe cold was quite critical to me. The tips of fingers and toes were now numb, yet in this moment, I felt understood. My mind negotiated through the uneven terrain of contradictions I believe and buried wounds decaying inside.

There were times the heart had mistaken me for a distant friend and tried to slide through the conversation too fast, thinking I won’t notice the parts we were skirting.

So I circled the questions one more time. Secrets that had stayed concealed in the valleys between the words now started to surface.

 For fear of feeling like my soul had been dragged out here to suffer in the cold-hearted truth, I listened for the company of its own compassion to warm my thoughts again.

And in the stillness, I heard love. The Spirit gathered kindling within and lit the embers of a cozy fire. The Divine had awakened and came running to welcome me with it’s tender affection.

Peace and joy interrupted what pain I had stirred. The warmth of their embrace sheltered the vulnerabilities between us, as we shuffled through the snow together on the way back home.

Love your soul. When this mysterious guest of adventure shows up, often looking like a giddy child in the cold, I pray you’ll abandon what is comfortable and spring at the delight of awakening the Divine. May it unlock what is hidden deep within you and bloom into a beautiful, transparent life, laced with love.

Peace for the Holidays

In the quiet, in the stillness, in the chaos, in confusion… In the moment of my weakness, I know that you are God.

Tennessee hiking, Thanksgiving peaceSoaking up the Tennessee sun, I’ve spent the last few days in pure peace hiking in the hills and reflecting over the year. My soul is tender as I laugh out loud recalling some stories. Tears aren’t too far behind as my memory reaches the hard paragraphs too.
I recount the beautiful feet that have crossed my path since last Thanksgiving. No amount of verbs are suffice for how grateful I am to share even a sentence in some of their stories.

In this place of peace, there are no ‘to-do’ lists or tracking time; only grace, greater peace and love from the divine. The Spirit speaks in a language exclusive to the desires of the soul. My mind is at rest, waiting is my pleasure, listening has been my joy.

In the secret of His presence, I am restored.

What’s Your Success Based On

thomas edison quote, success, close to success, failuresAre the goals you’ve set about performance and validation or your personal progress to be a better version of yourself?
 
When you set up a life focused on impressing others, you’ll be tempted to determine your self-worth based on the attention. Eventually, you may find yourself frustrated by the fleeting, fickle feelings and label your life a failure. You cannot achieve success based on a forced ability to impress.
 
Focus on pursuing challenges that develop character and opportunities to learn and expand your expertise. Try something new. In the last year, I’ve taken classes in swing dance, hip hop dance and paddle boarding. I recently started studying ‘doodling’ (with purpose, instead of boredom). Chances are, you won’t see me on Dancing with the Stars or art on display in the Smithsonian. I do these things to stretch and grow God’s craftsmanship in me.
 
It’s okay to make mistakes. Open doors to make many more of them. Believe you have what it takes. Remind yourself that each stumble and fall is still another step forward from where you were.
So what does success look like for you? Don’t give up on yourself just because the world gives up on you. You’re so close… stand up and try again.

Live a Life of Bravery

The cautious do not live at all

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The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.

Forget yesterday, it has already forgotten you. And for heaven’s sake, don’t sweat the tomorrow you haven’t even met yet.

We only have one life to live, and the time is going to pass, regardless of whether or not you step out in faith and reach for those dreams.

Take A Vacation

Without leaving home

Sure you could be laying on the beach at some far-flung destination, not checking emails and sipping a cocktail at 2 p.m. rehearsing “I’m on vacation!” You don’t need to set an alarm to wake up and can follow all the whims in the world because time, my friend, is on your side.

Sounds dreamy, right?trishakeehn.com, vacation, staycation, state of mind

Well here’s a super surprise for you… It’s all in your head. Even on your couch, you can keep the beachside mentality by reading an entire book in one setting or download tons of music, and not move until you get hungry for chocolate chip cookies and espresso.

Not convinced?

I grew up in a family where having a good time was priority. Sure we lived paycheck to paycheck, but we were also at the lakes every weekend and living a good life. This is where I learned how to enjoy every day and live like it’s vacay.

Here’s a 1-2-3 for how you can to.

One: Live like the days depend on your prayers.

One day over coffee with my mentor, she mentioned she doesn’t use an alarm to wake up for work. This prayer warrior divulged that several years prior, she asked God to get her up on time without an annoying alarm and she’s never had to hit snooze again.

Her daily discipline was inspiring to me so I prayed that bold prayer too. And God has yet to miss a morning of waking me up.

Sadly, we settle for much less than God wants to give. We’re taught in Sunday School that He has the whole world in His hands but we get on our knees and ask for a little patience. Pray for bigger and bolder moves. Petition for the impossibilities to be made possible. No matter how little or big it seems, just ask. Your faith and expectancy won’t appall a willing Father. In fact, it will bring Him honor.

Get smart with your schedule and stop working to live. If you want God to give you those exhilarating gifts of not knowing what’s coming next, leave room for the interruption. At the very least, unwind some tension in your life by freeing up time from the daunting list of to-do’s. Breathe in some flexibility so you can bend when the whims blow instead of breaking under frustration. 

No one wants to feel like it’s work to be around you. Let those closest to you feel a fresh breath of freedom in your company and use your brakes to develop some boundaries with the burdens. If you’ve already crossed the line by bringing home your complaints and unending emails, commit to change the course or it will impact your years to come.

Embrace the good and let go of the bad. Raise a glass to liberty and give the boot to negative nancies. Spend more time celebrating and less time stressing. Set yourself up for success by building a balanced life.

Two: Relish in Relationships

Focus on the quality of your hours alone with yourself. Spend time building a solid foundation in your heart for the future. A little loneliness goes a long way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant life. Sit with yourself and discover your worth.

Ask God to show you His supremacy in all things and teach you His sufficiency in the silence.

During the quiet hours, God’s still, small voice often breaks through the void and speaks the loudest.

Be intentional about taking this opportunity to get to know you. And take initiative with others. Dig into the pockets of your friendships and splurge on going deeper.

God has richly blessed me with homegrown girls who have weaved their way into my regular routine. But there was a day these warm hearts were few and far between and my soul ached for women I had never met. So I began advocating morning and night in prayer for specific friendships to join in my journey.

Today, I have more than I could have ever imagined and I’m madly in love with each of their raw emotions. God gave me the gifts and now I make it intentional to meet monthly, diving headfirst into the deep end of life as we wrestle through the wonders and worries together. Then I eagerly dig out my calendar to schedule when to do it all again.

People like to be pursued. I selfishly love their stories. Sometimes I wonder if my excitement over shared company is similar to what God feels when we come to Him spilling all our stories from the day.

Here’s the other thing I noticed. When there is nothing anchoring the heart for attention, I’m more apt to make small talk with anyone and everyone. You’re probably more carefree with your conversations over a campfire with a complete stranger than you are in your own coffee house, right?

One day I realized how ridiculous it is that I’m more shy in my community than I am willing to make connections in planes and trains on the first ticket out of here. I get so focused on what’s in front of me, it’s as if I pull a string on imaginary blinds and don’t want people peering in on my privacy.

Boldly embrace relationships. Commit to their hearts. It’s the silent cry your soul is longing for.

Three: Dream On.

Last lesson for living like you’re on vacation is to make your work work around your dreams. Live for what you love to do and let everything else fall around it. Let go of every limiting fear that says you can’t create the life you desire.

Reading and writing are bookends to my day. I spring out of bed in the early hours, eager to lift a finger on my dream. Then I make time in the middle to get paid for marketing, but it’s meager compared to the minutes I spend living my dream.

For me, there’s just something about learning new things that inspires a refreshing ‘ah ha’ moment like a much needed vacation. Regularly I run down the New York Times Bestseller list to discover new ‘must reads’ that have been reviewed and raved about. Then I click over to my library account and reserve a copy. Some books are only worth a browse, but the point is, fresh content is available to check out or download at your disposal.

Maybe taking a nosedive into literature hardly feels like a vacation to you (hey, there’s audio books and magazines too… just sayin’). Chances are your daydreams look a lot different than mine. But the point is, I’m giving you permission to pick something to splurge on and go for it! Sleep in. Dream on. Dream until your dreams come true. Mosey on into the next moment and be deliberate. Don’t just take a vacation. Live like you’re on one.