Tag Archives: New Year

Live it Well


What does that mean? Live it well. What would that actually look like in real life, on a day to day basis? It’s a question I’ve been rolling around in my mind for several days. This past week while running errands I heard the song of this title by Switchfoot on the radio. It’s not the first time I’ve heard it, but this time, it riveted me, and I couldn’t help but think that maybe this needs to be my theme song for the new year.

I’m not typically one to have a theme for the year, or even any true resolutions. Yet something in the lyrics struck a chord inside me. A longing for the calling I’ve felt strongly yet somehow vaguely for so long. I don’t want to just go through this life one routine day after the next feeling like most things are going pretty well, but I’m still not really hitting the mark.

So this morning, in the midst of a quiet house, and the new beginnings of 2017, I sat down to ask the Lord about this question I just can’t quite seem to answer. What does living well look like for me? How do I actually do that?

I know my calling involves writing. Most of my writing happens in the privacy of my journal – a dialogue between me and God. It’s an untainted process. I don’t need to edit, I can just write the flow that He gives. But I also feel called as a messenger, which is why I started this blog in the first place. This blog is named Inspired Encouraged because that is my goal and heart’s desire – to inspire and encourage you as live out the story God has for your life. But more times than not, I overthink what I post on here, trying to figure out how to best serve all of you. I’ll never even meet many of you, yet I have held ideas about what your expectations and needs are, and I’ve worried whether I’m meeting them. I feel acutely that there is a purpose God wants to birth in each of your lives, and I’m burdened by trying to figure out how I can in some small way be a catalyst in that process. It’s not always a clear path though. I hesitate when I’m called to vulnerability. Will I be judged? Will you understand my true message? Will you hear God through me? Will you really know my heart?

As I came to the Lord this morning with this question about living well, and writing, and how I’m supposed to move forward, He did what I didn’t expect. He changed my perspective and He set me free in the process. In my next few posts I want to share more from my journal, and explain how God is unraveling this question for me. But for today, I pose the question to you. What does living well look like for your life? What next step is God calling you to this year? What would it mean to embrace the calling?

As you ponder those questions, listen to this song, Live it Well.

Happy New Year, Friends!


The Gift of 2014


As the first day of 2015 draws to a close, I’d like to share with you the miraculous blessing that 2014 has been for me. No year is perfect, and 2014 certainly had its share of trials as every year inevitably does, however, what stands out most to me about this past year is HEALTH! 2014 is the first full calendar year since 2004 that I have not suffered any symptoms of ulcerative colitis! PRAISE GOD!

The journey has not been easy, and I’m never fully assured that it’s over, but 16 months of remission after battling flares on and off for the better part of a decade is certainly reason for rejoicing! People always say that hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes that can be so frustrating. We wish we could see clearly as a situation unfolds, or better yet, before it is even upon us. Other times, only having clarity when looking back can be inspiring. We see that in our times of lacking faith and being consumed with worry and stress, that God really was working. It would be so much easier to see His hand in the thick of our struggles, but since that isn’t always possible, we need to document the times that our 20/20 hindsight clearly reveals His work. We need to document them so that we don’t forget the next time we’re in a dark place and we’re wondering if He’s there. We need to document them so that other people who are currently in that dark place can be encouraged that He’s with them too.

Sunrise From English Boom - Camano Island, WA by Chris Parmeter https://flic.kr/p/oj8QVL

Sunrise From English Boom – Camano Island, WA by Chris Parmeter

Two and half years ago I was in a hospital bed in the darkest pit I’ve ever been in. Treatment for my illness wasn’t working the way it had for previous flares, and I was facing some extremely scary medical decisions. I felt hopeless. I felt defeated. I felt afraid, and angry, and downright weary. The despair was a suffocating darkness. I shook with sobs, and knew they wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon. I willed myself out of bed, wheeled my IV pole across the room and behind the safety of the closed bathroom door. I didn’t want the nurse to see me so distraught – she’d surely call a social worker and then I’d have to talk to someone when all I really wanted to do was crawl inside myself. Completely depleted I sat on the shower seat, clinging to my IV pole for support, and weeping. “God, where are you? Why are you allowing this to happen? Are you really counting my tears? Do you even care? I feel forsaken. Please speak to me. Please give me peace. I need you!”


The silence was like a heavy weight, crushing my spirit. In that moment, I hit bottom. No more tricks up my sleeve. No energy to pursue a new avenue. No will to continue to fight. Complete despair.

About a week after I was discharged, my sister gave me a copy of Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall which outlines the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that I’ve been following for the last 2.5 years. When she gave me the book, she told me how she had heard about it. She had committed to help her best friend who had just started a new job and needed a “client” to train with. While helping her friend, she met her friend’s new manager. Her friend (who I’ve known since I was three!) was concerned and asked how I was doing, which sparked her manager to ask what was wrong. My sister explained that I was hospitalized for ulcerative colitis. The manager said she had previously suffered from Crohns, but had cured it using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. My sister, who is a doctor, was understandably skeptical. Yet, before she left that day, she asked again what the name of the book was, went home and looked it up on Amazon, and was blown away by the hundreds of reviews from people claiming that the diet had given them their lives back. She ordered it, and didn’t say a word about it to me until she actually placed the book in my hands. She told me she wasn’t offended if I decided not to follow what the book suggested and that she had been skeptical, but was impressed by what people had to say about it. She suggested I read some of the Amazon reviews and see what I thought. As you know, the rest is history!

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that the light bulb turned on and that 20/20 hindsight kicked in. You see, my sister didn’t come to visit me that horrible rock bottom day in the hospital. She didn’t come because she had a previous commitment to her friend; an appointment that had been scheduled prior to my even being admitted to the hospital. An appointment that overlapped the EXACT time I was locked in that bathroom asking God if He was really counting my tears. He may have been silent, but He wasn’t absent. Little did I know that in that very hour He was bringing the pieces together to lead me on a new path. He didn’t need to show me that He was there and working, but I’m so glad that He allowed me that glimpse. And I do believe it is just a glimpse of how He is working and present in our lives all the time.

As you know, my health and faith journeys since starting the diet haven’t been pothole free. But as I look back on 2014, I am so amazed, humbled, and thankful that I serve a merciful God. It has been a year of freedom and beautiful normalcy! What a gift! It’s not a diet, it’s not my will power, it’s Him! He deserves all the glory!

A new year brings new hopes, dreams, and goals, and if we’re honest, new worries and fears as well. I pray that in this coming year our faith will be strengthened and our hope and joy multiplied! “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Happy 2015!


I’d love to hear what 2014 has meant to you! Leave a comment and share your story!