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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Steep

steep

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.

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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

Nap

Today, after I picked my daughter up from preschool, we came home for naps + quiet time. This is the usual for our daily routine – up, get ready, school drop off, play with Elijah at home, lunch, pick up sister, nap + quiet time. During this time, I usually do homework while Elijah sleeps and Jael paints or colors. This time, as I was reading, the cushion of the couch enveloped me. I swear the couch was out to sabotage my schoolwork time, but I went with it. After checking the clock, I dozed off.

Only ten minutes later, Jael was standing right in front of me…STARING.

“What’s up?” I groggily asked. She speedily said something about wanting to use a special straw from school and cleverly sped over wanting juice instead of water. So I told her she could have juice after Elijah woke up from his nap and they had their afternoon snack. I dozed off again, and what do you know…ten minutes later, the interrogator was back to staring at me.

Startled, I woke up and asked again, “What’s up?” She again explained the straw and juice situation. Again, I told her no and dozed off again. Well, third time’s the charm because this time she sat on the couch across from me and quietly waited and stared. I remember feeling a weird sense that I was being watched, but with my eyes closed and half awake, I wasn’t really paying attention. But finally, through a slit in my eyelids, I see this figure sitting across from me.

You know those dreams where you’re falling off something and you flinch in reaction and wake yourself up? That. Only this time, it was from the penetrating eyes of a five year old with a mad hankering for juice and a paper straw.

This time, admittedly with a little frustration dropped in, I said, “What’s up, Jael?” This time she just giggled and ran off. I mean…what?! I guess a nap was not in the plans for me today.

So now I am nursing an iced coffee and writing this story out to you all, which is probably boring you to tears right now.

Welcome to my mom life. Now pass the espresso shots.

Cultivating Thankfulness

This week, I shared my word of the year. One of the ways I want to infuse delight into my life is by digging into the Word more. I know in times that I am keeping my focus on the Lord, I feel lighter and have much more joy. But within digging into the Word, I was confused where to start. I’m wondering if you’ve ever felt the same? I feel like its an epidemic…most women I know have a hard time knowing just how to study the bible. Many of us rely on the studies of others to keep us in the Word, which is no problem at all (I love me a She Reads Truth study!!), but there is value in knowing how to study the bible yourself as well.

Thankfulness

I’ve been reading Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, and its ROCKING my WORLD. Its showing me how to slowly dig into the Bible and allow myself the space to try and figure it out. To try and listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading. Its been really wonderful. I started Isaiah this past week and its been really interesting working through it a couple chapters at a time.

I also have been inspired to start working on reorienting my heart towards delight. So, daily at the end of my study, I have been writing three things down. What I am:

  • Thankful for…
  • Praying for…
  • Prayers answered…

I have been inspired by things like 1000 Gifts, the prayer journal by ValMarie Paper, and a wise woman that I have known for a long time telling me not to just document in my journal the things I am praying for but to remember to document the prayers the Lord answers.

By making notice to the wonderful things in my life and writing these things down, I am learning to focus not on the negative, but on the blessings. I hope to maybe one day make a printable with these three things or maybe a small stapled notebook, but for now, I add it to my journal.

Tell me, what are some things you do to reorient your heart towards joy?

An Attitude of DELIGHT

I haven’t written about this yet because…well to be honest, I haven’t been doing a great job at it 20 days into the year, so I felt hypocritical to share. I know its dumb…we’re all hypocrites at some points… It isn’t easy admitting shortcomings, but hey…vulnerability is valuable.

I don’t delight. Really in very much. I’ve struggled with negativity a lot since becoming a mother about five years ago. With my daughter, I had lots of times where I didn’t know how to manage my own emotions. I felt frustrated that I wasn’t getting sleep. I felt very angry when she would cry all night. I would get impatient when she wouldn’t fall asleep for naps or eat the food I gave her. But she was a happy baby (and is a joyful and cheerful little girl!) and I only struggled in the moments that I didn’t know how to manage how I was feeling.

Fast forward two years, and my son is born. If I thought Jael was hard (which she wasn’t, she was normal), Elijah called my bet, raised me constant spitting up, tummy troubles, and a hundred times more crying. He gave me a run for my money. At night, I found myself sitting on a bouncy ball, sweating profusely, “shh-shh-ing” as loud as I could, praying to the heavens that he would fall asleep without upchucking his entire night bottle all over me and the already crusted carpet. He required much more food and feedings than Jael, wanted me to hold him more, and overall was much harder. Especially with a two year old who decided she didn’t want to nap anymore and adjusted to a new baby, well, like a two year old.

In processing life with two kids, I can honestly say that we’ve been in a crazy, tough, hard season since Elijah was born. But it has also been wonderful, fun, full of laughter and giggles, inspiring, and fulfilling season as well. But its been hard for me to see it. Call it pessimistic. Call it lazy. I may be letting myself get overwhelmed with emotions. Whatever it is…I’m hoping to make a stop to it this year.

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[art via Abigail and Whimsy on Etsy]

For 2014, I chose “simplify” as my word for the year. And boy did that happen! I made a decision to close my design business, moved into a simpler home, and changed my blog direction, among other things. I also chose to do a “30 before 30” list to bring more fun into my life and do things that I really always wanted to do.

For 2015, I have chosen the word: DELIGHT. I want to be intentional about choosing joy this year and delighting in my life. Just the past couple of days, I have gone outside every day with the kids and let them loose to play. How crazy am I that I didn’t do that much before?? I’ve been trying to be more attentive. Trying to laugh and smile more. My mom used to tell me, “Smile and the feelings will follow.” And y’all, its true.

And while life is still super crazy busy right now, I am learning that even when life is busy, the moments can be slowed down.

[Tweet “Even when life is busy, the moments can be slowed down.”]

So I have a mega long to-do list…I’m sitting outside in the sunshine reading for school (to-do) and watching my kids play and run around giggling. The moment is slow and yet I’m able to still do what I need to do. You see? Things like this have been helping me to really see the DELIGHT in my every day. I pray that this year’s word of the year is as successful as last year was. I pray the Lord invades my heart and permeates it with JOY. Won’t you join me? Let’s learn to love and delight in life like never before. It may change everything. xo

Forging Forward

better-ahead

The new year always brings the feeling of a fresh start. Everyone all over social media posts about their resolutions, feelings for the new year, sentiment for leaving the last behind, and everyone takes a much needed deep breath as the clock folds over like the cover of a fresh new journal that has 365 blank pages to fill.

I like the new year. Even though I’m not much for specific and strict resolutions, I tend to make some decisions to determine my heart for the upcoming year. It feels fresh, new, bright. However, right now, as I sit in my messy, kid-bombed living room, sniffling and trying to breathe from a cold, I can’t help but feel a smidge overwhelmed. When I think of 2015, I am filled with day-before-school excitement. This year is going to be wonderful, hard, messy, busy, exciting, and full of passion and dreams. But my mind also starts rapidly flipping through all the things that would be scribbled on this year’s to-do list: practicum for school, finding childcare for the kids while I do it, Jael turns FIVE, I turn THIRTY, trainings scheduled, Jael starts kindergarten…there are so many beautiful and scary milestones for this year.

I am ready and willing to set my feet and forge forward. But even though determination is the fuel for my feet, my mind and heart go along as hesitant travel companions. They are filled with doubts. They are filled with fears. They are filled with the hesitancies of a person who doesn’t 100% believe in herself. I’ve posted a couple times in the past few days about how I am feeling this way. Many of you echoed the same sentiment, many offered encouragements.

So as I sit here, considering the year, considering all your kind words, and thinking of all you women [and maybe men] out there feeling much like I am…the pull of excitement and drag of fear…I think about how we make a huge mistake when looking forward to the future all the time. Yes, it is good to make plans, budget, and dream. Do all those things in earnest.

But let’s not allow the dreams and hopes of what this year could be corrode the day-to-day that we live now. Let’s press onward for the prize to which we are called, yes. But let us also take each day at a time. Let those goals, hopes, and aspirations fragment into tiny bite-size pieces…you know the saying, “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” We don’t need to take the year as whole and freak out how we’re going to do it all. A book is written page by page. So let each day be the one page you focus on, pick up a pen, and start. xo