Thursday, 30 October 2014

Love from NYC :: I did it.

On the 31st of January 2014 on my way to a New Years Eve party in Melbourne, I declared that I would go to New York City to write my book. And here I am eleven months later, sitting at Vancouver airport (surrounded with way too much luggage for my liking oh dear) shaking my head with amazement and thankfulness at what has just taken place. I actually did it. I rented an apartment and went to New York on my own and wrote my book. How crazy!
Like many people on New Year’s Eve, thoughts of expectation and anticipation of a brand new year filled my mind. All of a sudden I allowed myself to dream and thoughts possibility overwhelmed me. I love how God is always ready to stir up our dreams. All it takes is for us to stop, and dream and think, “what if….?!” So as I was dreaming, my mind began to expand and I thought, “I should just go somewhere for two months this year and write my book.” Not a bad idea right? Stirred with a passion so great I thought I might explode, I pulled over on the side of the street, grabbed my phone and began writing two emails. 
Thinking without limits allows us to dream. 

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it - what God has arranged for those who love him!” (1 Cor 2:9 Msg) 

In this place of dreaming, faith is easy and big dreams actually feel within reach. I thought “what the heck”,  bit the bullet and emailed the wonderful Lynette Lewis and Jen Ramos, two amazing women I had met in 2013 on a trip to New York. Their lives had inspired me so much so I thought I would connect with them and share my heart and let them know I might be coming to the city later in the year. Speaking out your dream is like sowing a seed. I believe those emails written in faith shifted my dream from ‘something in my head’ to ‘something that was actually happening!’. Here's a pic of the lovely Jen and I...
And spending some time with the beautiful Lynette...
And this is when my friend Nic came for a visit!
So with my own little ‘schedule and plan’ in place, I soon discovered that quick answers are not always God’s plan. (Ha!) So as the months went on I kept declaring anything can happen, telling people about this dream and speaking it out, and declaring it over myself. There were days where I openly said to The Lord, “um… okay… I’m not sure what the delay is here? I am not really hearing anything from you, so I guess I’m not supposed to go to New York.” But even on the days when I wasn’t sure, I always had a feeling deep in my gut, drawing me to there. So from January until August my declaration was that “somehow” I was going to New York for two months to write my book. 
So even though I was declaring in faith that anything could happen, many many things were taking my attention and causing me to worry. All of a sudden the initial joy of going on such a wild adventure was overtaken with fear and anxiety. Thoughts like “oh no, Nat you’re not going to make any friends. Where are you going to live? Your apartment is going to be miles from anywhere and it’s not going to be beautiful at all. Um, and how are you going to write a book?” 
What the heck?! Clearly these are lies. I am sure you have experienced something like this as you have stepped out in faith. How annoying is it?! But these lies were just confirmations I was on the right track, and if you are experiencing thoughts like this, then so are you!
So now I am looking back at what has taken place. Honestly my friends, it’s been the most extravagant, ridiculous adventure of my life and I can’t wait to share more of it with you as the weeks go on. I have written so much of the book “Anything Can Happen”, which is great, but as always God has gone above and beyond with friendships, my apartment, and more extravagant and fancy outings and experiences than I could ever have imagined in my lifetime.
So let me encourage you (and me too for this new season!) let’s stir it up and see these amazing dreams in our hearts come to pass!! Here are some things that helped me see my dream happen this year.

1. Understand the power of your declaration.

2. Keep the vision in front of you. (Hab 2:2)

3. Shift your thinking to the point where you believe anything can actually happen.  (Romans 12:2)

4. Take the limits off financially, mentally, emotionally, logistically, geographically and physically.

5. Have specific dreams and be specific with God in asking for them.

6. Picture it in your mind and keep seeing it until it comes to pass.

7. Expect crazy, ridiculous favour.

So be ready, things are shifting in your life and I am excited for you! Well my dear friends, my flight is boarding now so I am on the home stretch... just 20 hours to go lol!

Love you lots and have a beautiful day!

Love Nat xoxo

Friday, 17 October 2014

Love from NYC :: Generosity brings freedom.

Have you ever been so overwhelmed with thinking about something that you can't seem to think about anything else, no matter how hard you try? Well that happened to me last week. How crazzzzzy is that. I'm in New York on holiday, and I'm stressed, what the heck?! Anyway, I was. And it was like I was frozen in a thought pattern that I couldn't break free from. I was praying and asking the Lord to show me, but all the while I felt like it something I needed to learn for myself, and that it would be a life changing lesson. And it really was. 

Anyway, in the middle of an "oh my gosh why am I so overwhelmed" freak out moment, I suddenly felt prompted to bless someone with a gift. Don't you love how God pops these sneaky ideas in your head right at the pinnacle of crazy intense moments. He cracks me up! So, there I am with this extravagant idea running through my head, and for a split second I think about how much it will cost me... but then I think about God's generosity. Hello, how can I even compare?! He has blessed me with everything I have anyway, so who am I to hold back the blessing from someone else? Every time I think of his generosity like that it helps me not to hold my finances in my fist so tightly. So anyway, I decided to give and in that moment everything shifted.
Generosity always brings freedom. We can never lose by giving. Ever. Giving always wins. The enemy’s ploy is to keep us thinking small, feeling limited, fearful and living under an umbrella of lack. He comes to kill, steal and destroy, BUT Jesus comes to bring life and life in abundance. (John 10:10) 'But' is a small word, it's so powerful though. It means “to introduce a phrase or clause contrasting what has already been mentioned”. (Apple Dictionary). How amazing is that? And I love how it is used in this scripture. Every single thing God ever says is a "but" to whatever the enemy mentions. 

Are you facing something that is overwhelming you at the moment? Well, you're not alone my friend! Be encouraged right now wherever you are in the world, because God's word is truth and it always contrasts lies of fear and lack. We have access to his abundant blessings today, so let's relax in him, give extravagantly, and remember there is always more than enough. ;)

Have a beautiful day :)

Love Nat xoxo


Me standing outside Berklee in Boston where I studied ten years ago
(trying to hold in my squeals of excitement!)
 Exploring the Upper West Side.
 Beautiful street in the West Village.
 Conservatory Water at Central Park.
City skyline over Central Park South from Columbus Circle.

Have a great week friend! xx

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Love from NYC :: Just love.

Bonour! I hope you guys are well :) I'm sending you oodles of love from NYC today. What have you been up to this weekend? I was blessed to be able to serve at the New York City Rescue Mission with my dear friends on Saturday afternoon. Wow. What phenomenal people they are both working and attending there. My beautiful friend Jen asked me, and immediately I said yes. It was such wonderful to be able to serve this community in any way I could. Here we are ready to help!
I even had a little singalong with Antoine, (one of the incredible guys responsible for putting everything together) which was so special and fun. Singing along with him as he sang 'Lean on Me' and 'Stand By Me' and 'Amazing Grace'... my heart was almost bursting at the seams! What a wonderful surprise. We really have such a wonderful privilege to love and serve others don't we. You and me, we have soooo much love to give. And you know what, even if we gave all the love we thought we had in us, there would still be so much more left over. :)

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God... My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love. 
(1 John 4)

You don't even need to necessarily go to a rescue mission, even helping someone across the street or smiling as you pass them releases such life-changing love. Sometimes I think we are afraid to be friendly. What are we afraid of? Rejection? People are getting angry at us? Well you know what, if someone says they don't need our help, that's okay. Even in your trying you have released God's love on them anyway :) But honestly, every time I have tried it here in New York, offering a (very out of place and extreeeeemely random ha ha) smile on the subway, or stepping out to help someone, it's been such a beautiful experience. :) I pray you know you are are blessed today with the encouragement and boldness to love extravagantly! 
This is a little pic of me at Lincoln Centre the other day where I was privileged to witness Artist-in Residence, Lisa Batiashvili, rehearsing Brahms. Ah... be still my beating heart! 

So my friend, what are you dreaming for this week? Have you written it down? Well... if you haven't, write it down and I will agree with you in faith and we will believe it together! Have a great day...

Love you guys :)

Nat xo

Image 2 - Jen Ramos
Image 1,3 - Natalie Box

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Anything Can Happen ~ Book Sneak Peek { Keep focusing on it. }

Happy Tuesday or Wednesday wherever you are in the world! :) How's your week been? It's officially Fall in NYC and it's is so lovely. We have had a few warm days sprinkled in (which I love of course) but now I understand what locals say when they "love New York in the Fall". Beautiful sunny days, without the horrible humidity, but instead an edge of fresh, crisp air. I've been writing my little heart out... for those who don't know I am here in New York writing my book... "Anything Can Happen". It's coming along well but to be really honest with you, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed these past few weeks! Writing takes time and I really want to make sure I am getting God's heart as I write. The creative process is so beautiful, but it's so intricate; carefully crafting and piecing and weaving things together... and this takes time. So as much as I want to be productive, I want to make sure I am not rushing. But being the organised person I am, this can be difficult. (Maybe you can relate?!) When the creative flow is taking longer than planned, or other adventures and opportunities come up, I've had to really ask the Lord for his help and perspective.
Do you ever find you do that? You look at your schedule and then begin to feel totally overwhelmed when you realise you're running out of time or things are taking longer than expected? So I thought I would be honest and share my heart with you. Hopefully it brings encouragement to you to today. Out of a crazy, overwhelming day yesterday, came some beautiful inspiration for my book. Here's a little sneak peek. xo

A N Y T H I N G   C A N  H A P P E N 

{ Keep focusing on it. }

Yesterday I went to sit in Bryant Park to write. It's one of my favourite writing places, because every day they have live jazz. It's such a treat. However when I arrived I was a little bit shocked at what I saw. What was once a lush green patch of green grass, where thousands of locals and travellers normally sprawl in the sunshine, was now a construction site. How tragic! (I'm sure you can picture my face, being the lover of beauty I am. Everyone's going about their day, eating their lunch, chatting, and there's me, standing there like a goose, laptop in hand, with my mouth open as if to say, "um... people, do you guys mean to say you're okay with this?!") Then I realised what was going on. The winter ice skating rink. Ah huh. Adventure and fun was being prepared before my very eyes. But right now, in the 'in between' it was a big old mess. Now, looking back I can see such truth in that scene. Preparation for a new season always requires 'behind the scenes' work and is often messy, but it always ends in something beautiful. After this time of construction there will be a beautiful ice rink where thousands of people will come and skate with such joy.
Anyway, back to me standing there dazed with my laptop. The beautiful pianist continued to play, her gorgeous jazz standards flowing whimsically out into to the air, determined to be heard over the construction and drilling. I shrugged my shoulders and thought, "Well, the show must go on." So I found a table as close to the music as I could and plonked myself there. Have ever you been expecting one thing, but come across another? I was already feeling slightly discouraged that morning, and I when I arrived and saw this picture I felt like it was like a representation of how I was feeling inside. The scene was beautiful, the sun was shining, jazz music was playing, everyone was happy, but there was a loud banging sound intruding on this scene, distracting me from the beauty. 
But we can’t go by feelings can we? Feelings distract us from purpose and joy. So after about two hours of sulking and 'hoping' the discouragement would lift (when will I learn!), I simply asked the Lord to speak to me through his word, and he did. :) What a gift his word is. No matter what we are feeling or experiencing, the word of God cuts through it all and brings life changing hope. Reading his word awakens our spirit and shifts our thinking. It takes us up to where we are seated “heavenly places next to Jesus” bringing clarity and freedom. 
Declaring the word over ourselves in difficult situations is so powerful, because even if we can’t feel anything changing, it is. It’s alive, so the moment it comes out of our mouths it is operative, shifting and changing things. I love the Amplified version of Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power, making it active, operative, energizing, and effective.” Reading the word helps us lift our eyes and brings focus.
I’d asked God to speak to me, but my thoughts were still buzzing all over the place. Do you ever get that? So I stilled my mind, repositioned myself and listened for his voice. As soon as I did this, I heard him gently lead me to 2 Peter. My eyes almost popped out of my head when I read it! Have you ever come across piece of scripture you have never ever seen before? This was like water to my soul.

 "We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard - God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts.
(2 Peter 1:19-20 MSG)

How true this is. We can be sure of what we have seen and heard. What are the prophetic words and promises that have been confirmed to you? It's time to stir them up because his goodness and his promises are sure. Even now as you are reading these words he is awakening things in you. Immediately after I read this I felt encouraged and strengthened, and I pray you are too. The enemy of our souls is constantly trying to discourage us so we believe nothing will ever happen. But our God is bigger and with him anything can happen. 
So don't give up my friend, whatever the dream is, keep focusing on it. Keep it in front of you. We all have days of discouragement, but we are growing in strength and wisdom every single moment. We know what he has called us to, and it's glorious!

Let these words soak in today. "We couldn't be more sure of what we have seen and heard". We are sure of what he has promised us. And to him, our journey is just as beautiful as our destination. Every day of your life is part of a giant tapestry God is weaving. And he sees it it's fullness and it's gorgeous! 

Have a beautiful day knowing I love you heaps and am cheering you on :)

Love Nat xoxo

Images 1 & 2 via Pinterest

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Love from NYC :: Encouragement for you.

Hello my lovely friend, how are you? I'm sitting here in a little cafe in TriBeCa, and I just felt to encourage you. :) Wherever you are in the world, whatever time it is that you are reading these words, I want to let you know that you are amazing. I don't know if you've heard it lately, but you are doing a great job :) In all the different areas you are juggling, all the dreams, the hopes, the friendships, the responsibilities... in all these things you are sowing beautiful seeds that are reaping a rich and wonderful harvest. So whatever is on your mind today, know that it's precious to The Lord. It may be something you are excited about, or it might something you are worried about, but whatever it is, his promise to you today is this... 

"I will perfect that which concerns you" Psalm 138:8

What a beautiful promise to know that no matter what we go through, He is on our side. So be encouraged today my dear friend... YOU are doing a fabulous job! Look at all the things you are doing, and then turn around and see how far you've come :) I pray for surprise blessings and favour to come your way today, and that you'd be filled with the hope of a God who loves you and is cheering you on!

And I'm cheering you on too woo hoo!

Sending staccccckkkkks of love to from NYC... ;)

Nat xo

Photography: Image 1Image 2

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