Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Guest Post: The Fate of the Orphan

Editor's Note: Today I have a wonderful post for you written by my very new sister-in-law, Lana! Lana is passionate about orphan care and has gone on multiple trips to India to work with an orphanage there. She just got back from a trip to Mexico where she was better trained and equipped to love on these little ones—the least of these. Lana is sassy and always has a good come-back, but she is also caring and has a huge heart. I have so enjoyed getting to know Lana better over the last year or so—from sleeping in a twin bed when we first met, to thrifting and fighting over who gets the cute dress, I really do feel like she's a sister! Let's just say, I'll be one sad girl if God calls Lana to India long-term... Illinois is MUCH closer!

The Fate of the Orphan

A young girl taps at my arm, pleading with me to look her way. Without looking, I know her brightly colored dress is heavily worn and covered with dirt from life on the street. 

My eyes never shift from their forward gaze. She is persistent. Her dull brown eyes pierce through her unkept hair; locked on my face, searching for the slightest twitch or reaction. 

I know I cannot waver from my stone-like stature. 
//photo via Lana Douglas, 1987 Photography

This girl is most likely not begging for herself, but rather is forced to by her “owner” – for all intensive purposes, a pimp. Any money I give to her will only support his greed and cause more children to befall her dire fate. 

The seconds crawl by like hours. She continues to tap my elbow, motioning to her mouth to indicate that she is hungry and needs food.

Still, I do not flinch. Inside my resolve is crumbling. 

She is not just a faceless child as my exterior suggests. She is my sister, my daughter, the lost sheep, the innocent left unprotected.

With each touch of her tiny hand my heart fractures a little more – hers is the fate of the orphan.

At her final plea with no change in the indifferent statue, she moves on to the next rickshaw; hoping to pay her employer for what should have been freely provided. The moment she is out of reach the statue falls away.

I did not give her anything, but she still walked away with a part of my soul.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friends! It's Friday!! Here's a little bit about how I've been feeling lately...

& I think I need to do something about it. I feel like another season of art journaling may be coming up for me. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these pretties. [How can you not want to go grab a bunch of paper craft supplies and just go to town??]

//images via Pinterest. Want more? Check out my Art Journal Inspiration Board!

We just had our first week of Small Group with some church peeps and can I just say how sweet the time was? Our group is filled with some of the most authentic and passionate people I've met. I predict lots of amazing Wednesday nights in our future, filled with prayer, life-sharing, laughter, and some solidly good time in the Word together. Bring it on!

In Love.
Duh. I'm newly married. But would you just look at that face?? [I promise that at some point I'll stop bragging up my husband on here... maybe, possibly, ok—no promises. Sorry not sorry!]

Probably not a word, BUT, I did spend the last two days that I had off work vacuuming, doing laundry and dishes, grocery shopping, baking, and cleaning. I am woman, hear me roar!

Yeah, ok, some people wouldn't necessarily call trying out a new restaurant adventurous, but in my book, it definitely counts! Tonight the Mr. and I are going to head down to Minnehaha Falls and catch a bite to eat at the Sea Salt Eatery. Fresh seafood served outdoors?? Yes please!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On Being Married

In case ya' missed it around here [and are apparently living under a rock], I got married! On 9.13.14 loverboy and I vowed ourselves to each other. I know that this is an insignificant, tiny little detail for most of you, but it has completely and radically changed my life. I mean, I live with a boy. A BOY.

A boy who makes the bed differently than I do, sometimes doesn't realize the trail he leaves behind as he walks in the house with his shoes on, and whose idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon includes cheering on the Vikings. I now have to eat meat AND veggies at every dinner (thanks mother in law!), share my closet with another human being, and smell coffee every morning. Weird.

But don't get me wrong. It may be weird, but it's also awesome. I now have my own human heater on cold nights, heavy object lifter and too-high-to-reach retriever, and permanent partner in crime. I also get to enjoy the perks of having a live-in spider killer, breakfast-in-bed-maker, and chauffeur. Marriage kind of rocks. But the best part about all this is that these aren't the best things!

It reminds me of when I wrote this post about loving the Giver over the gifts. And now that I'm married I can most definitely say a hearty 'amen!' to that post in that, yes, I super duper appreciate all the things that my man does for me, but more than that, I love HIM. And I love him for him, not for all the perks (although dem perks be niiiiice].

So in the middle of this second week of marriage, I'm considering how much I love this man I've decided to hitch my wagon to for the rest of my life. And I'm considering how good my God is to give me such a great gift—a husband who is also an amazing gift-giver, who gives me himself every day. He's mine... and how lucky I am for that!

//photos via our amazingly talented photographer, Availeth Photography

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sneak Peak: Bedroom

I'm back! I'm back! And this is my very first time writing as Mrs. Heather Douglas. And boy, do I love the sound of that! The Mr. and I got back from our honeymoon on Friday and have hit the road running this weekend on getting our apartment put together! There's a lot still in process, but I wanted to give you just a little sneak peak into one of my favorite rooms of the house... our bedroom! 

We (well, let's be real, the bridesmaids and I) had made this ribbon as a backdrop to be hung from the arch we got married under, but it ended up being a bit too windy the day of our wedding. So instead, we hung it above where we sat at the reception and it was still perfect. As I was making it I was definitely envisioning it going over our bed after the wedding so I was so happy to see that it turned out!

We got this lovely brass headboard for just $25 on craigslist! I love the shine that it brings into the room and it goes great with the framed art above the bed!

This gem can be found at Hobby Lobby... which if you live in the cities... get excited... drumroll please... they are opening a location in Maple Grove! I almost peed in delight when the lady in Duluth told us (we snagged this puppy on our honeymoon). However, I think Loverboy might be a little frightened. For our bank account. It's kinda reasonable. [Kidding, hunnnyyy]. ;)

I just love this space! I love that there's a reminder of our wedding day right above our bed, and I just love how everything came together so nicely. Keep your eyes peeled for more sneak peaks and hopefully a room reveal or two in the near future!

P.S. Married life rocks! My champ of a husband just walked in the door with this. Parks and Rec and chinese take-out sounds pretty amazing right now! Peace out!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Guest Post: Expressions of Gratitude

Editor's Note: I am so grateful (hehe) to be bringing you a new guest post today! Since the wedding is right around the corner I thought I'd feature some lovely ladies that I think you should know. So without further ado, meet Tanya. Tanya and I met a couple years ago in beautiful Colorado during our training for Navigators Staff. She exudes peace and joy wherever she goes. Tanya lives in the Midwest with her husband, David, who is attending Medical School. Their life so far has been everything but what they have expected or even hoped. Tanya’s blog, Blissfully Sweet, is an avenue for her to express the joys of life happening now. There is joy in life. And it is meant to be shared and celebrated. 

Expressions of Gratitude

I first started blogging to document things I was grateful for. When I first started my journey to cultivating a heart of joy based on truth and thanksgiving, I had no idea what I would discover. I did not realize the darkness of my ungrateful heart and did not know the profound intimacy thanksgiving would create with my Savior.

I read books related to the topic of thanksgiving. Many of which challenged my thinking and increased my knowledge about the discipline. If you haven’t read 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp or Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, I suggest ordering either book now. Although these authors’ wisdom helped me grow in this area, the reflection of thanksgiving in the Spirit of Jesus is what made me choose to have gratitude in my life (because let’s face it, if we are not thankful, we are choosing to be ungrateful and discontent).

Jesus’ expressions of gratitude in the gospels provide practical application to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving.

Jesus expressed worship and awe.After the return of the 72 in Luke 10, "he [Jesus] rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you Father...’" Jesus was in awe of the Trinity’s work and his response was to thank the source.

Singing to the Lord is a wonderful aid in worshiping and expressing thankfulness. “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!” Psalm 147:7. Some of my favorite songs to sing are “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman, “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford, and “The House of God Forever” by Jon Foreman.

Jesus expressed trust and surrender to God’s will. Many of us are familiar with the story of Lazarus in John 11; how Jesus raised him from the dead. But what I have overlooked so many times is found in verse 41, “And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me.’ “ He expressed “thanks” before he commanded Lazarus to come out. How often do we give thanks as an afterthought?

Doesn’t the test of faith and act of surrendering to God’s will happen without knowing the outcome? Gratefully trust Him with all things.

“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

A great way to foster all things is to keep a journal of things to be thankful for.

Jesus expressed sacrifice and service. Knowingly at the end of Jesus’ life, in the midst of betrayal and a trial that would lead to his crucifixion, He gave thanks (Luke 22:17,19) at the Last Supper. He was grateful for the sacrifice he would make and the service he was sent to complete for our justification and salvation. We too can express gratitude and speak up, offering sacrifice and service for the sake of the gospel.

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.


“They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundance goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.”
Psalm 145:4, 6–7

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Excuses, Excuses [And a contest with a (possible) prize!!!]

You can definitely tell wedding time is approaching (NINE days, guys!) by the lack of blogposts around here. Especially any posts related to my super-excitement about apartment styling, decorating, projects, and more. Wanna know why? Because our apartment is an explosion right now. I'd love to say it looks even remotely like it did when we did the living room reveal but that would just be a flat-out lie. My steam has run out for the time being in regards to that place as wedding planning has budged in line to top priority and as I for some reason own a million and one things and just keep moving in more and more stuff [sorry loverboyyyyy... but thanks for putting up with all of it! <3].

So anyway, I thought I would just inform you all that there WILL be more [hopefully lots more] room reveals and house projects to come, it just might be a bit later than anticipated. Like picture after the wedding, honeymoon, and massive amounts of unpacking, cleaning, and organizing.

And yeah part of me feels a tiny twinge of guilt for hyping everything up and promising more soon, but then the rest of me remembers that this blog doesn't run my life, that real life is messy and unexpected and down-right tiring, and that sometimes I'd rather lounge on the couch with my sweetie watching Parks and Rec than unpack those 17 cardboard boxes staring us in the face. Yeah. Sounds about right.

So, until you get to see more pretty pics of our place and what we're doing around there, let me keep you entertained and inspired by some lovely bedroom spaces.The first person to comment as to what is in one of the pictures below that we own and have in our place WINS! Not sure what you win yet... maybe just the satisfaction of being a winner... or it could be a secret surprise. Prize TBD. Reeeallll enticing, I know. Get to it kiddos!

1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6

**UPDATE: We have a winner... Stacy Biesterveld! Congrats! Your prize is the knowledge that you are a winner and public recognition of such knowledge here! [and maybe a lil somthin-somethin coming your way... we'll see what happens with the craziness of life right now :)**
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