Like a tidal wave…

On July 30, my 3 year old son Elijah had 3 seizures, was admitted to pediatric ICU and stayed in the hospital for four days. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I think I cried a million tears and whispered just as many prayers. To say that it is traumatizing seeing your child hooked up to monitors and tubes and oxygen is a massive understatement.

Elijah's Miracle

To the glory and grace of God, they did not find anything life-threatening or of major concern. They actually don’t know why he had the seizures. This is both frustrating and comforting. It is comforting to know that they ruled out all the scary big things that every mother fears would happen to their child. The Lord spoke to my heart the other day saying that it was His miracle that the doctors did not find anything. It was His sparing of Elijah that we are on the other side of this with a different outcome than many parents endure. It is also frustrating that we don’t have answers because that leaves me battling the what-ifs…I catch myself with the feeling of walking on egg shells, as if it could happen at any moment again.

I’ve felt really numb over these past 10 days. It feels like I can’t get my brain back in “Erin mode.” I’m snippy. Melancholy. Blue. Emotional. Tearful. And in other moments I am thankful. Grateful. Feeling blessed. Enjoying life. It feels like I am trying to drink water from a fire hose. All the emotions and thoughts come rushing like a tidal wave over me. Its overwhelming, and I often feel like I am drowning. But I know that if I turn the hose off, I’ll dry up. My spiritual and physical life will bake and crack like the arid desert. And I will become hard and lifeless. Trauma does interesting things to the heart…it tenderizes us and then we are left to make something from what is left. When you’re already tender, the results can be devastating.

I’ve wondered a lot over the last week why this season is happening for us. Why did Elijah have seizures? Why is school so hard? Why does everything feel up in the air? Why does life feel so messy, broken, and confusing? Why all at once? Why are we depleted? I’ve attempted to find answers that comfort. Tried to find a possible reason to cling to so that it doesn’t hurt so badly. This video spoke to my heart so much. I don’t need to find an answer to rest my mind, to bring my heart comfort…that is not where its found. Its found in the Lord. In pressing into him. In giving him my heart and worries and fears and tension and cry out to him in my anguish. I want the Lord to use this incredibly hard and painful season to bring me to Him. Help me to find rest for my tired heart. To have the tidal wave of His joy and comfort over me. I want to be in over my head in Him.

xo

Celebrating #MyAmazingMom

This post is sponsored by World Market and Shutterfly. But, you guys must know by now that I am in serious love with World Market, so I wouldn’t share anything I wouldn’t recommend to my best friend. So there you go, you all are my BFFs ;)

Mother’s Day is coming and you know what that means…finding flowers, a card, or something that helps you convey how you feel about your mom (or some other special person you celebrate on Mother’s Day :) ). If you’re like me, you search high and low for something that says thank you.

But, I mean, what can say “thank you, mom, for raising me, wiping my butt, cleaning up after me, sitting up with me when I am sick, tolerating me when I was a solemn teenager, paying for college, a wedding, and the first 20 years of my life…” ???? ha!! My mom jokes that each generation “pays” for the previous generation’s parenting investment when they invest in their own kids. :) Amen, mama!

So how do you give a gift to the person who endured all that?? Well, nothing can compare with the sacrifice and joy of motherhood, BUT you can sure try with some personalized gifts from Shutterfly and some great Mother’s Day gift ideas from World Market! Did you know that they not only carry amazing stuff for your house, but they also have some gorgeous jewelry?? I have an…ahem…friend who spent far too much money on jewelry at World Market. ;) So just how do you create a memorable Mother’s Day? I thought it would be fun to show you how to create an amazing breakfast, a fun gift basket, and a homemade item for that special mom in your life! :)

#MyAmazingMom 1. Start with a simple idea.

No one likes pressure, amiright? One of the ways to make this a stress-free process is to start simple. Its much easier to build into the plan than to try and fit a million tiny details together all at once. So start with the food. Everyone likes food. :) I picked a delicious gluten free scone mix from World Market that baked up like little fluffy treats. The mix is SO easy! And I used my ceramic scone pan to make them into those cute triangle shapes!

Also, what pairs well with scones? Coffee, of course! I picked World Market’s Mocha Java Blend to sip. :) For that coffee loving mom in your life (isn’t coffee the gasoline of moms??), you can start building off of this. I selected a Chemex Coffee Maker as a great gift. Its a unique and fun way to make seriously delicious coffee. See how we’re building off of the simple idea of scones and coffee?

#MyAmazingMom2. Add in accessories.

This is pretty much my favorite part. World Market has so many things that can enhance a table when serving up a fun breakfast. I’ve had my eye on a two-tiered tray for a while, so I grabbed it to put the scones on :) And who does a coffee service without a cute serving tray?! This apple green one was a no-brainer for me! Add in splashes of color, like these cute kitchen towels or some cute cloth napkins. I also love their lanterns and vases for those pretty blooms you’ll add to the table! :) Just think practical and then build on that. You need a tray for the scones, check. You need napkins, add cute ones, check. Need a butter dish to butter the scones, check. And on you go until you’ve got a great tablescape!

3. Add in your gift basket.

A gift basket for that coffee lover in your life is a great way to give them all the accessories needed for a delicious cuppa joe. Think about all the things that you love about coffee. A cute mug maybe? A delicious coffee blend? Syrups? Chocolate? (Yes, please.) Add in all of these things for a perfect coffee experience. And of course, World Market has your basket and fillers covered!

#MyAmazingMom4. Add a personal touch.

One of the great things about this Mother’s Day is World Market partnering with Shutterfly as a perfect way to personalize your Mother’s Day gift. For me, personalized gifts with pictures of my kiddos just tugs at my heart. A few of my favorites (which are featured in the pictures too!): this mug, this tumbler, these coasters, and this amazing collage frame. Shutterfly makes it super easy to personalize your gift. You can pull pictures from Facebook, Instagram, your computer, and more! I love the addition of my kiddos faces in little spots around the house!

#MyAmazingMom #MyAmazingMom5. Don’t forget something home made!

Do you remember when you were a kid and made a card covered in glue and cut outs of hearts and glitter? What mom doesn’t love a hand made gift from their child? Well, just because you’re an adult, does not mean this doesn’t still apply! I thought it would be amazing to add in a homemade coffee syrup to round out the gift basket. :) Its a simple recipe and World Market has most of the ingredients you need as well as a cute jar to put it in!


Brown Sugar Cinnamon Coffee Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean

Put water and brown sugar in pot on medium-high heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean to the pot and simmer for ten minutes. Allow to cool somewhat, remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean, and place in a cute jar! :) DONE!


#MyAmazingMom

There are so many ways to create a memorable gift and day for the mom you love, and I am so glad I got to do it with World Market and Shutterfly. :)

World Market and Shutterfly have partnered for this AMAZING giveaway in honor of Mother’s Day!! Enter Cost Plus World Market’s My Amazing Mom Sweepstakes for a chance to win a Mother’s Day Shopping Spree. GRAND PRIZE Package: $5,000 World Market gift card and a $1,000 credit at Shutterfly.com!! Sweepstakes ends 5/10/15.

#MyAmazingMom

Watching Disappointment

Its so hard to be disappointed. Learning the art of moving on is quite the challenge, but when you have to watch someone else do it, it can be downright excruciating. It feels unfair to see someone you love be let down. Its like a dagger to the heart. If I am disappointed, I can muster up my courage and forge forward. I’m in control of my feelings. [I’d like to think so.] But when I have to watch helplessly as someone I love goes through it, I feel as though I am a spectator on the sidelines unable to help.

Disappointment is a tricky thing because as Christians, we are supposed to be joyful, right? Thankful in all circumstances? So our disappointment can feel like a betrayal to our faith. It can feel like we are frauds in our claims that “God is in control.” That somehow we are supposed to buck up and carry on with a smile plastered to our faces, when we know that sorrow lurks just below the surface.

How do we find a balance? How can we be both disappointed, sad, angry, hurt, feel betrayed by God, and yet also rejoice in Him? How can we encourage others in their walk with Jesus when they are trudging the way of disappointment?

All I can say is I’m not sure.

I hate that this is my answer. Because I want to say:

  • Something better will come along!
  • You were too good for that anyway!
  • Sometimes God closes doors so others can open!

And on I could go with the Christian-ese jargon that doesn’t help. As my BFF Brene Brown once said, “Rarely, if ever, does an empathic response begin with ‘at least…'” [This is an amazing video on the power of empathy.] “At least you have…” “At least you’re healthy.” “At least you have family that loves you.” Nope.

So I guess all I can do is to be there for that person. It feels hard for me to not jump in and take the pain away. To erase it all and give that person what I think they are truly deserving of. But that isn’t my choice. Nor am I in control of that. The painful part for me is having to witness their pain. To just be. Sit in the hole with them.

I can say with 100% certainty that it isn’t going to be easy. We’d rather fight for those we love, right? But what they need isn’t another upset person riding the emotion train with them. They need a passenger that will sit alongside them and be with them as they ride it. To be there when they’re ready to get off. To be there when they’re ready to buy another ticket to jump back on. So I am praying today that I can be that person. Be that passenger that loves and is there. xo

FEAR

This morning, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed while I sipped my coffee. My husband had graciously taken my daughter to school on his way to work and my son still slept soundly in his room. I was free to just relax. As I scrolled Instagram, my mind wandered to the events of the week. Starting an internship. Starting a new school term. Family in town from Northern California. My husband’s 32nd birthday. I sat there with anxiety pulsing through my veins. Its a familiar feeling, much like drinking too much coffee without the physical caffeine shakiness. So sitting and mindlessly scrolling social media is I’m assuming what you’d call a coping mechanism. Turn off brain. Look at pretty things. Not the healthiest thing, I guess. I scrolled and landed on a photo from Propel Women. The words punched me in the gut.

Does fear impact what type of leader you are? Is fear hindering you from pursuing your God-given passions, purpose, and potential? The best leaders stare fear, uncertainty, and discomfort in the face!

Propel Women Instagram

I started work as an intern therapist this week. I had back to back sessions, and I felt sick with fear and anxiety before I started. I was holding in tears and desperately trying to swallow the lump in my throat. FEAR. I believe because of our sin nature and the brokenness of this world, it is much easier to melt into fear or anxiety as a result of something seemingly scary. For me, it’s like putting on an old sweater. Familiar and known. But fear and anxiety doesn’t comfort. It gives the illusion of comfort because it deceives us into believing that we have control. If I worry or fret, somehow I’m thinking that will make a difference. And fear or anxiety digs a deeper hole into our heart, evicting trust and burrowing in for the long haul.

In my brain, I knew with certainty that God called me to be a therapist. But in my heart, the doubts rolled in like the tide, forcefully overtaking anything in its path. “They will surely find out I’m a fraud. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m going to mess this all up and embarrass myself. I’m not cut out for this. What were you thinking, God?!” It was as if I was lying on the beach as that tide rolled in, each wave beating over me, taking my breath and strength with each blow. But I was committed. I had signed my internship paperwork; I HAD to go in. So reluctantly, I did. I went in and sat and opened my ears and heart for those hurt, precious souls sitting in front of me. As I sat listening, each story carrying a weight of pain that almost seemed physically visible on the shoulders of the teller, I realized it wasn’t about me. It was about THEM.

By the third session, I suddenly became aware that the knot that had taken hold of my stomach and the anxiety coursing through my body had gone. Like a drained out kiddie pool, the power of that fear had deflated and lie limp before me. And in it’s place, I felt something different. A new lifeblood beating through my heart and body. LOVE. PEACE. COMFORT. And the Lord spoke softly but firmly to my heart, “You were made for this. Your calling as a therapist has been knit into you by Me. You were meant to do this.”

Following God’s call requires sacrifice. The kind that asks to lay down your fearful, shaky, anxious self. And its so much easier, so much more familiar to stay in the fear place. Its so much easier somehow to trust ourselves, the ones who will mess things up if we could, rather than the One we should be trusting. The One who knows what’s ahead on the path but promises to be right by our side with us.

Our sacrifice is our fear. We need to wrap that wriggly monster up, force it into a box, and lay it at the foot of the cross where it will die. Some days, oh I hate to admit…some days I pick the box up and let that devil loose. I don’t know why I do it. Maybe I think that the fear monster has morphed into a puppy in that box. Maybe I second guess giving up that familiar “friend.”

Daily its a sacrifice to shove it back into the box again. To take the shaky steps to the altar and lay it down. Its a constant battle. A never ending war. But one I will never stop fighting. For the sake of those people who come to me for help. For the sake of the wars they are fighting, I will lay down my fear and run headlong into the battle field with love’s cry on my lips and peace in my heart.

Just wave your glittery wand, God.

I sat and wondered at my less than stellar transformation. I was still in a place I did not want to be. I mean, I had prayed that the Lord would change my heart. I had prayed that I would magically wake up one morning feeling all the joy and all the cheer and skip happily from my room to the kitchen. No thank you, I don’t need coffee; my happiness and joy is all I need for this fabulous morning.

Magic Wand

I wondered why I wasn’t suddenly full of all the positive emotions. If I prayed for happiness and joy in my marriage and life as a mother, why didn’t God just wave his sparkly wand and make it happen?

I often have felt like if I wanted God to change me, he would. That if I asked earnestly, he would just work his magic over night, and I would wake up the next morning a completely new person Freaky Friday style. But its never worked that way. And the hard realization has been:

I have to do work.

Ugh. More work?? Like I don’t already handle all the things and juggle all the kids and homework assignments and laundry and dishes and and and…now you’re telling me I have to do something??

I think Christians often believe that if we just pray really hard, God will make us good people, kind, generous, loving, patient…maybe if we go to church and read our Bibles and journal, we will be full of love and devotion and kindness. But it usually doesn’t work that way. I am not going to all of the sudden smile, nod, and kindly rub the shoulder of my tantrum-ing toddler. Nope. I wish it worked that way. I mean, raise your hand if you’ve prayed for patience and then it seems like all hell breaks loose and all the things that make you impatient seem to hold a town hall meeting to plan your destruction. Yes??

If we want people to know we are Christians by our love, then we have to be loving. We need to pray for the Lord to give us wisdom and help us to grow, but in that moment when your child has spilled all the leftover crumbs at the end of the cereal box on your freshly vacuumed floor and runs away screaming like an escaped mental patient…you have to stop. You have to take a deep breath. You have to pray for wisdom and for the Lord to help you.

When you’re fighting with your husband [or wife] and things seem to be all muddy and confusing and turning in circles and your just pissed. You’re just mad. You don’t want to see their side because did you see their side?? Obviously they’re wrong. You have to stop. You have to take a deep breath. You have to pray for wisdom and for the Lord to help you.

And guess what? Its not going to be easy. Changing patterns and growing and consciously deciding to be different is hard work. You’re going to mess up. You’re going to have days when you realize that you actually used your nice voice for most of the day. You’re going to have weeks where all it felt like you did was give consequences and the kids were….just no. You’re going to look back in a year and realize that the work is hard. The work is slow. The work is long.

But when you plant that seed in the beginning, that seed of kindness and patience, you’re going to work at it. You’re going to water and wait and its going to look like nothing is happening. Weeds are going to sprout up and you’re going to have to pull them. The sun is going to get hot and you’re going to have to protect the plant. But if I’ve learned anything from gardening, its this: you’re not going to have a harvest if you don’t do what it takes to get there. I can’t plant something and just leave it until it sprouts food. There is work to be done.

But friend, can I just say that the work needs to be done? It may be hard and you may want to rip that dang plant right out of the pot and throw it into the trash. But if you want to change, you have to endure it. You have to know that the end promises a sweetness that you’ll only know if you work through it.

So work it, girl [or dude]. Lets show the world what love can really look like. xo

Making House Home // #Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Minted, but all opinions and exclamations of praise are mine. :) I’d never steer you wrong, I only recommend products on this site that I truly believe in.

I’ve not been quiet about my love for decorating. I really love making my house a home. I love being able to find little things to add to my space. Whether its a big thing like a new coffee table or little things like a succulent on my side table or a throw pillow on the couch, I absolutely love finding something that just fits. Like it always was meant to be there.

When we moved into our current house, my sweet friend Lindsay from Lindsay Letters gifted me a beautiful canvas as a welcome home gift. I picked this “Come Thou Fount” canvas because this house is our #blessinghouse. We prayed and came before the Lord for this house and he met us. And then exceeded our expectations.

We hung the canvas and yet the wall needs more. This canvas needs some companions! So my friends at Minted came to the rescue to help me out. [Check out below for your chance to WIN.] They have some wonderful artists making some beautiful artwork, and I was excited to find some pieces to add to our wall. I Photoshopped in some of the art just to play around with what it might look like in our home. Some things I love about the current trends of wall art is the mixture of words, abstract art, and still life paintings.

Minted Decor

I also love the fact that I can pick an art print by itself or for a bit more, I can add a frame. Their frames are SO cute! And then I don’t have to make a trip anywhere to find something to fit. I don’t know about you, but I am so incredibly busy and so finding the perfect frame to match a print is just something I’ll have to find time to do. Minted takes care of it all in one shopping experience.

Minted Decor

And go take a look at their wedding invitations and save the date cards…I mean, GORGEOUS. I wish I were getting married so I could use them. They have a wide selection of pretty much anything you’d need: invites, save the date cards, menus, place cards, engagement party invites…seriously everything!

Minted has so kindly offered a chance for my lovely readers to WIN $50 to get art or whatever you would like! Enter below for your chance to win $50 to Minted! So what do you think? I love all of these prints and wish I could get them all!! What prints would you get?

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Soapy soapy soapy… // #Giveaway

Whenever I wash my kids in the bath, I usually sing “soapy soapy soapy…” I’m not sure where it came from, but they giggle every time. So I keep doing it…naturally. ;)

Today I have a special treat to share with you guys. You all know that I am all for natural living, I’ve always wanted a farm, and have tried my hand at growing vegetables in our backyard. Well, my friend Erin is like the QUEEN of homesteading. She also makes the most amazing goat’s milk soap (and I may or may not be giving a bar away ;) ), and I’m excited to share about it with you today!

Firesky Farm is their family farm nestled on 7 acres in Chino Valley, which is about 20 miles north of Prescott (which is about 100 miles north of Phoenix :) ). They raise turkeys, chickens, ducks, dairy goats, and sheep for eggs, meat, milk, and make cheese and ice cream! They are also adding two piglets to their farm as well right before summer. Erin and her family have made the commitment to farming and love what it has done for their family life.

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Here is her story about her wonderful soap.

We have had dairy goats going on 3 years now and they are wonderful and amazing. I bought my first 2 mini dairy goats when my son refused to nurse any longer at 8 months. I knew cow milk was not a very good substitute for him and that started my complete adoration of goats and their wonderful healthy milk! Our herd consists of Nubian dairy goats. We have 7 does and one buck.

The process of soap starts early in the morning with milking the girls individually by hand while they each munch on their sweet treat. Goat milk has tons of beneficial skin properties. With all the extra milk, and all the chemicals inside products labeled “soap for kids,” I decided it was time to make the switch for good. I am a certified herbalist and with that knowledge and soap making resources, I have put together all of my soap recipes. There are no copycat recipes here — each recipe I mull over and calculate etc. I have bars specifically for sensitive skin, itchy skin, eczema, dry oily etc. Each bar contains over an ounce of goat milk straight from the girls. Its never heated or pasteurized but added in its raw state as to preserve all of the benefits. Each oil in the soap is sourced naturally, and each oil brings a different quality to the soap. Some oils add moisture, other hardness, bubbles, silkiness etc. So coming up with recipes is super fun!

Almost all the scents come from natural essential oils, which also bring in their wonderful healthy properties to the soap. If a fragrance oil is used, it is always non-GMO and phthalate free! All of the colors in my soaps come from completely natural and mostly herbal sources. I am very proud of my soaps! I really feel like I pour my heart and soul into them, I absolutely love making them, and I love being able to offer a product that is completely healthy, safe, and natural. My family has not used anything but goats milk soap for hair and body for over 6 months and we don’t plan on ever changing that! Everyone’s skin has greatly improved; we all have dry skin here, and this is the first winter we all didn’t have cracked and bloody knuckles.

We absolutely love Erin’s soaps and are on our way to replacing our shampoo and body soap with her luxurious bars. You can shop her soaps online here, or enter the giveaway below to win two: a Spiced Amber Ale and Sunny Day! Seriously you guys, you WANT to win this one!! ;)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The words raced through my mind like stock stats in a marquee — fast and nonsensical. I rattled off anxious prayers to the Lord about my heart’s fears and desires. Nothing was coming out right. I found myself saying, “That sounded impatient…that’s not really what I meant,” or “I sound like a bratty child.” My pleas and words were coming out faster than I could think them and weren’t communicating the deepest parts of my heart. That’s what anxiety does, it butters everything up slick so its hard to grasp and slips out fast.

In a last ditch effort, I asked the Lord to speak to me in the Holy Yoga session I was driving to. I begged him to meet me, to show me himself, and my anxious heart pleaded for peace. I rushed into my yoga class a few minutes late and when I walked in, the instructor’s words wafted to me like a sweet aroma. God doesn’t waste time.

The words coming out of her mouth as I set up my mat were, “He who began a good work in You will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” [Phil 1:6]

Doubt tapped at the door to my heart and whispered, “That’s not God. He wouldn’t speak to you this quickly. Or at all, frankly.”

But the smile on my face pushed that gremlin away. I knew. I knew.

**********

Last week, I started Hebrews with IF:EQUIP. [You should join us.] I know the value of being in the Word consistently. To be honest, while it doesn’t make all my days glittery and sweet, it sets my heart in a posture of focus. Focused on the Lord. Focused on how I represent Him to the people around me, my friends, my husband, my kids.

And to be even more honest, reading the Word is the first thing to go when my to-do list gets long, my heart gets anxious, and I find myself busy with everything else. I may think that spending a few minutes in the Word in the morning [or in the quiet of lunchtime when the kids’ mouths are full] isn’t worth it because its not deep study…but as I take those few minutes here and there to soak my heart in scripture, its as if I am recalibrating myself.

I’m resetting my heart and in turn, I do believe God comes in and provides the peace and joy I need to take on that day. He makes me sensitive. He makes me aware.

**********

I was in child’s pose. The instructor was speaking blessing over us, speaking verses over us that cracked my core. You are not forgotten. God hears you. Those dreams he has dropped in your heart, he remembers them.

And the message I kept hearing was he hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t forgotten you.

The tears began to fall. Child’s pose is so vulnerable. Its a posture of worship but also one of surrender. I even tried to regain my composure…but nope. The tears were streaming and wouldn’t stop. The instructor even came by and did some touch yoga and it burst something open in me. My mat was soaked.

I was a mess. Never have I been so thankful to be a mess.

**********

Those fretful prayers I rapid fired to God…he still heard them. They didn’t make sense to me, and I was afraid that I wasn’t correctly communicating what I wanted to say. But God knew. And he took not only my yoga session but the rest of my day to remind me over and over and over that he hasn’t forgotten me.

Like when Tizrah Magazine posted this on Facebook:

When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing.
– Oswald Chambers

And the words in this Hillsong song:

prayerlikeincense

Friend, God hasn’t forgotten you. Don’t believe it when the enemy shouts it to you. Don’t let it in when the devil whispers it in your ear in the darkness of night. Don’t believe for one single second that you aren’t passionately and fiercely loved by the God who became dust to rescue your precious heart.

Need prayer? Please comment below [or email me], and I’d love to lift you up, sister. xo

When your faith shifts // Book Review

Two years ago this fall, I started grad school. Full of excitement, eagerness, and passion, I began, knowing that this experience at seminary would likely change me. Boy, was I not aware of the magnitude of that thought. Not only was it likely, but it completely changed me. My faith was challenged, I started learning new things that I had never considered before, and the stereotypical view of theology professors at seminary (that their one goal is to rip your theology apart) felt very real.

Luckily, my theology professor didn’t rip my faith apart and leave me there. He challenged me, pushed me to think for myself, and in turn, guided me through the questions I had of my faith. I have about a year left to go, I no longer feel afraid to learn something I think I know isn’t completely true. I welcome what King David prayed in the Psalm 139:23-24:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

I don’t want to live life without changing. I want my faith to be a living, breathing thing in me – pitching and rolling, growing and stretching – something I am okay with learning about and not backing away from growth in fear.

Faith Shift book reveiw

Recently, I was able to review a book called Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart. Now I certainly didn’t believe my world was falling apart; I didn’t have the feeling that my faith was a lie. Not at all. But what seminary has done for me is open my eyes to the possibility that I don’t have it right. It has allowed me permission to ask tough questions. I love how Kathy Escobar, the author of Faith Shift, tells a story in the beginning of the book about a friend who admits, with shame on her face, that she is unsure about her faith. Here is what Kathy says,

I didn’t waste time trying to convince her that everything was going to be okay, even though I knew it would. I didn’t try to sell the Refuge [her church] as a place that could hold her evolving faith, even though I believed it could. I didn’t try to tell her God was far bigger than the boxes we were taught he lived in, even though I wanted to tell her story after story of people who were discovering freedom they have never known before in their faith. The best I could do in that moment was tell her what I always say when someone’s faith starts to unravel: “You’re not crazy, and you’re not alone.”

Kathy shares the pain of feeling lost in her faith. She understands. Isn’t that what we all need when asking the tough questions? Not a pat answer and a hug, but someone who says, “Whew. I get that. I’m with you. Lets do this together.”

She goes on in the book to explain her Faith Shift model, what she believes is a road map for what people go through when asking hard questions of their belief system. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you’re in this place, a place of shifting, I recommend this book as a hand to hold while walking that scary path.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I hope you hear my honesty and know that I would never give a false review. I only desire good things for you guys! :)

Indian-Inspired Decor // #BestExoticMarigold

This post is a sponsored post from World Market, but all opinions are mine. As many of you know, I am a MAJOR fan of World Market stuff and that’s why I love to promote them! :)

Best Exotic Marigold

One of the things I love about Indian culture are the bright and gorgeous patterns and colors that drape over everything. From rugs to wall tapestries, jewelry to clothing, Indian culture is dressed top to bottom with beauty. If you’re wanting to add Indian-Inspired Decor to your spaces, here’s how to do it easily, beautifully, and all from World Market.

Second Best Exotic Marigold

1. Start with a neutral base

With so many bright colors and patterns, it is a must to start with a neutral base. Whether you’re going for more light colors and want to start with a white or tan couch and tables or are striving for deep, rich tones and want to start with a midnight blue couch and oak or hickory tables, you want to start with a uniform base. Its not really ideal to have a patterned couch, patterned rugs, funky table, and then toss in all the bright colors and patterns you love. It will be pretty busy looking and very overwhelming. World Market has many wonderful options for neutral furniture! I love this Tribal Carved Coffee Table.

2. Build the room from big to small

Now that you have a neutral base for your couch and loveseat, its time to add in other big pieces to the room. Still sticking with the neutral theme for now, we want to build the room from the big pieces down to the small. Its important to do it this way when adding in the festive looks that India is known for because you don’t want to get to to the end of a room, have all your knick-knacks, art, and other decorative pieces and then suddenly have to somehow match in a colorful and patterned area rug. It would be much too difficult to do it that way. Start big and it will be much easier to find little pieces to fit in with the larger ones you’ve already put in. If you’re re-decorating an already pretty decorated room, try taking everything but the couches and tables out of the room. It will bring your room neutral and allow for you to only put in what you want.

I absolutely love tapestry-looking rugs [and am in LOVE with this one] and big quality pieces of furniture to compliment the seating. World Market carries some beautiful rug options and always has a great selection of bookshelves, room dividers, etc. to complete a room. So start there. Add a colorful trunk to hold your television instead of the standard media cabinet. Maybe you like all the furniture you have but just want some extras to add pops of color. Try this Elephant and Floral Motif Bookcase or this Painted Elephant Wood Cabinet. Have fun and don’t be afraid to add in bright things. That’s what makes Indian decor so beautiful!

3. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns

One of the things I love most about my current living room is that I have patterns, graphics, and all sorts of things that might otherwise “clash” but actually look really great together! Long gone are the days of one uniform patterned toss pillow on the couch. Welcome to the era of mix and match. It isn’t that difficult and if you play your cards right, a couple well placed patterned toss pillows and an ottoman can change your space!

First, pick a color scheme. You’ll be able to play with it a bit later, but try to find the color you want in your space. Lets go with turquoise. So find pillows or other textile items that have some texture to them. Don’t change the color just yet, just play with texture. Shiny, matte, knitted, silk, embroidered, print…there are endless options to the look of a textile with one color. Try this Blue Moon Button Ribbed Lumbar Pillow, this Aqua Tile Lumbar Pillow, or this Arctic Blue Cotton Herringbone Pillow. Okay, so after you have 2-3 items in that color (lets pretend we have two toss pillows and a blanket), think of a secondary color that is complimentary. Since we’re going with Indian-inspired, lets try lime green as our complimentary color. Now find a pillow with that complimentary color alone or paired with your primary color turquoise. Try this amazing Zebra Graphic Throw Pillow or this .Okay, now we’re stepping out of our comfort zone a little here, but find one more complimentary color to the two you’ve chosen. Lets pick yellow. Now find another pillow [like this Blue Diamond Throw Pillow or this Yellow and Green Geometric Tile Throw Pillow] in this color or paired with one of the other colors. Finally, try and find something that is way left field, and for our example I’m going to pick hot pink ;), and find something in your primary or secondary color with just a hint of this left field color. And if you’re really feeling daring, try to find something that is a mashup of all your colors. Something patchwork [like this Natural Patchwork Throw Pillow] or this Multicolored Knitted Sari Pouf [I LOVE] or even this Kantha Sari Patch Throw.

Have enough ideas? Remember to leave the tags on your textiles so that you can mix and match and return the things that don’t quite fit. Its a puzzle but such a fun one to try and work with!

4. Remember to think tall

Not only is it important to work from big to small, you also don’t want to neglect the space that sits between your shoulders and the ceiling! This is valuable and often wasted space in a home. The light fixtures that came with your home are often left where they are and the ceiling isn’t thought of as a decorate-able space [is that a word??]. One of the things I love doing is hanging plants from the ceiling in the corner or hanging lanterns. I also really love adding art all the way up to the ceiling to add height. With Indian-inspired decor, you could easily hang a beautiful tapestry [like this India Tapestry], a beautiful hanging lamp [like this crazy gorgeous Gold Lotus Hanging Pendant Lamp], or some brightly colored lanterns [like these beautiful Cool Multicolor Hanging Hurricane Lanterns or these amazing Warm Multicolor Hexagon Teardrop Hanging Lanterns]. Be creative in utilizing your space. Don’t overdo it, though. Just a couple things hanging in spots where you need room height is all it takes!

5. Its the little things

Lastly, you want to add in the little things that sort of finalize the design. I also like to go back to neutral or single colored items so-as not to overwhelm your space. Boxes, candles, picture frames, all of these things add persnality to your space without a lot of busyness for the eyes. Beautiful soap stone boxes [like this Hexagon Carved Soapstone Box], neutral wood colored candle sticks [like these Natural Wood Pillar Candleholder], a neutral lamp base [like this Jute Table Lamp Base], or picture frames [like this Whitewash Carved Rambagh Frame].

It takes only a few brightly colored changes to make your space into a gorgeous Indian-inspired space that will make everyone want to come over! All of the inspiration for this post came from the new movie The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in theaters March 6. When The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is full, Sonny decides to branch out to open another hotel but it turns out to be more time consuming than he bargained for. This fun romantic comedy is one that you do not want to miss!

GIVEAWAY: Of course, World Market is not going to let you get away without some amazing loot! Celebrate the upcoming film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (in theaters March 6), and enter for a chance to win a dream trip to India, FREE movies for a year and a $1,000 World Market Gift Card! Ends 3/27/15. Enter now: www.worldmarketsweepstakes.com.

Marigold Sweeps