Simplicity & Changes for 2017

micah-6-8Looking ahead holds such hope and excitement, but before we talk about the New Year, we should take a moment to look back and be thankful for all God has done.

My word for 2016 was convergence, and the idea was to move toward a central goal or purpose. As I think back over all that God has done, I see how He guided, not as I expected, but oh so much better.

To read the full post and find a challenge for embracing simplicity in the New Year, click here and over to kristenhogrefe.com.

A website change in the New Year

One way I’m simplifying is to move all my posts to one website: kristenhogrefe.com. I love the journey we’ve taken here at ThinkTrueThoughts.com and the friends I’ve made along the way! Now, I’m just asking you to continue that journey with me at my main site.

The challenges, giveaways, and goodies you found at ThinkTrueThoughts.com aren’t going away! They’re just moving. If you subscribed, you will still receive the email newsletter; it will just have a different name.

I am so thankful for you, my friends! Wishing you all a blessed and simplified New Year!

~ Kristen

 

Advertisements

10 Thanksgiving Goals

Last weekend, I made the mistake of entering a craft store full of frantic, pre-Black-Friday-deal shoppers. A kind employee helped plow the aisle so I could reach the two items I needed, and after thanking her, I retreated to the check-out line as quickly as I could.

Sure, the ribbons, dizzying displays, and sparkling bows are pretty, but too many people get wrapped up in the “stuff” of celebrating and miss out on the gravy (i.e. the best part).

What don’t I want to miss this Thanksgiving holiday?

Here are my top 10 goals.

  1. Be thankful for what I have and content with what God’s given (easier said than done).
  2. Spend quality quiet time with God.
  3. Celebrate simply with my favorite people. Bring on the card tables and paper plates, both of which are niece and nephew friendly.
  4. Get on my hands and knees to play with my nieces and nephews who are growing up way too fast.
  5. Enjoy simple pleasures. For me, this might be a bonfire, a sunset, a hot Vanilla Chai tea, or a book next to a fireplace. (This Florida girl gets cold easily!)
  6. Prioritize my time to spend on “legacy” project work.
  7. Revisit my 2016 goals and start planning ahead for the New Year.
  8. Go running in the sunshine. If you don’t enjoy running, do whatever physical activity suits you; just don’t be a couch potato.
  9. Eat in moderation.
  10. Hope to do most of my Christmas shopping online and avoid crazy shoppers.

Ordinary Choices, Eternal Perspective

Perhaps you’re thinking: Kristen, that’s a nice list, but it’s not especially spiritual (minus the quality time with God part). I thought this blog was supposed to provide biblical perspective?

In one sense, I would agree with you. I haven’t listed my Bible study group, service projects, or outreach programs; and those activities certainly have their place.

However, I am becoming more and more convinced that when we seek to make God first in our lives, our ordinary choices take on an eternal significance. Let’s take another look at that list:

  1. Be thankful for what I have and content with what God’s given. Hebrews 13:5 (ESV) says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have …”
  2. Spend quality quiet time with God. Jesus modeled this habit, as recorded several times in the New Testament, when he rose early and spent time with the Father (Mark 1:35).
  3. Celebrate simply with my favorite people. Did not Jesus Himself enjoy time with his close friends, like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (John 12)? Remember also that He celebrated the Passover with his 12 disciples, not all of his followers.
  4. Get on my hands and knees to play with my nieces and nephews. Jesus welcomed little children to come to him (Matthew 19:14). Enough said.
  5. Enjoy simple pleasures. Mary could have spent all her time busily working in the kitchen with Martha, but she chose instead to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).
  6. Prioritize my time to spend on “legacy” project work. God has given each of His children gifts and abilities to use (I Corinthians 12). Whatever your gift, don’t waste it.
  7. Revisit my 2016 goals and start planning ahead for the New Year. James 4:14 reminds us that our time here is short. I want to spend my years well. Don’t you?
  8. Go running in the sunshine. Our bodies are God’s temple, and we need to take care of them (I Corinthians 6:19).
  9. Eat in moderation. Proverbs 25:16 advises, “Eat only as much as you need (NKJV).”
  10. Hope to do most of my Christmas shopping online and avoid crazy shoppers. If Amazon.com had been available in biblical times, the wise men might have purchased their gold, frankincense and myrrh online to save time and reach Bethlehem a few days sooner. It’s a theory anyway.

What are your Thanksgiving goals? I invite you to share in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kristen

 

Tweetables

Don’t get wrapped up in the “stuff” of celebrating and miss out on the gravy. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

10 Thanksgiving Goals – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

Olympic Dreams, Baby Steps

I always get excited about the Olympics and will probably watch more television this month than I will the rest of the year combined. After all, it’s not every day that I can watch our gymnast teams compete or Kerri Walsh Jennings and her new teammate take on the most intense volleyball players of the world.

As the athletes marched together opening night, their faces revealed so much. Some were screaming with excitement; others were almost bawling.

They’ve worked so hard for a chance at their Olympic dreams. We enjoy the privilege of watching them perform, but we don’t see the countless hours and early mornings that have led up to this moment. These athletes had to be intentional every day to take the steps and make the sacrifices necessary to reach this opportunity.

That made me think. What steps does God want each of us taking to reach the dreams He’s planted in our hearts?

#1: Desire God more

Wait a minute, Kristen. I thought you were going to talk about steps we can take to achieve our goals?

That’s right. If we’re God’s child, then should not He inspire our dreams? Who better to teach us and train us for the journey than the Dream-Giver Himself?

The only way we know God’s best plan for our lives is to spend more time with Him in prayer and in His Word. Seeking His will on a daily basis is essential for walking the path He wants us to travel.

He invites us to do just that.

‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

#2: Be willing to work hard

No one wakes up one day and accidentally becomes an Olympian. If we’re serious about achieving our goals, we need to roll up our sleeves and get busy.

Did you know God’s Word both commands and commends hard work?

Yes, God calls us to give our best.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might … (Ecclesiastes 9:10a NASB)

He also promises to reward our best.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV)

So why would we give anything less than our all?

#3: Do the next right thing

I’ve probably mentioned before that the next right thing is my daily motto. The reason is simple: I’ve learned that sometimes my long-term plans just don’t go as planned. I can’t control tomorrow, but I can focus on the task at hand.

You know what? That’s okay. Proverbs 16:9 explains why:

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. (NKJV)

I’d rather have God redirect my steps as He sees best than always get my own way.

Parting Challenge

Think about where you were four years ago and where you are now.

What have you done with the dreams God has given you? What baby steps can you take this week to work toward the goals He’s laid upon your heart?

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Olympic Dreams, Baby Steps – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

What are you doing with the dreams God’s given you? – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Book Drawing Winner!!

Congrats to Ashley for winning the random drawing for Little’s Know What You Believe. I also want to say a big thank you to all who posted comments and subscribed to my newsletter during the book giveaway. I appreciate you all!

 

Chasing your Dreams

207 - Copy

As a teenager, I always found it frustrating when people would tell me I could be anything I wanted to be, yet so often when I tried, I met with failure or rejection. You want to sing in that ensemble? Nice try, but maybe next time. You want to work here? Appreciate your time, but you don’t have the experience we want. (It’s a puzzle to me how people want teens to have experience, but where do they expect them to get it?)

Although I don’t agree with telling teens that if they dream to be the president, they can be (because quite frankly, the odds are not in their favor), I do stand behind the saying that we can be what we want to be. Yes, there are limitations, but oftentimes, they are the ones we place upon ourselves.

That said, our dreams are not going to magically appear. In fact, they probably won’t play out the way we expect them to.

What I have learned is that when you chase your dreams, you slowly start to achieve them.

***

I was not born a runner, and for certain reasons, thought I could never run (although I’ve always enjoyed being active).

Then one day, my twin brother Dave challenged me to do a 5K mud run with him. “But you have to at least run the mile first,” he told me.

It wasn’t pretty, but I determined to press on.

Flash forward a year. Today, I run about once a week, maybe more. Nothing impressive, but I’m much better than when I started. I’ve run two 5Ks, light years beyond my original expectations.

Dave seems to have higher goals for my speed and distance than I do, because he is always pushing me. To be faster. To go farther.

Some days, I don’t feel like it. Like the other day.

“Just leave me in the dust,” I wanted to tell him as he effortlessly circled back to check on me.

He grinned and shook his head. “You always run faster when you’re chasing me.”

He dared me to finish in 7:45. I told him I’d be glad for 8:00 minutes.

I finished in 7:40.

“See, you run faster when you’re chasing me.”

I hate that he is right almost all the time.

***

The Apostle Paul knew something about races. In I Corinthians 9:24, he wrote, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (ESV).

The prize Paul talks about is an eternal prize, one that is imperishable or won’t fade. It is sharing the gospel with others.

Whatever your dream is – whatever my dream is – we need to pursue it in light of eternity. In this race of life, we’re all running toward some goal (at least, we all should be).

Some days, we get tired and want to quit. Some days, we just don’t see that we’re getting where we want to be. We’re tempted to ask, “What’s the use?”

Just remember: We run faster – and grow closer to achieving our dreams – when we’re chasing them.

The question is: Are you up for the chase?

~ Kristen