Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up

Happy Friday, folks! Stopping by to say hello and give you some fun things to look at/read/think about/try. You know the drill.

One of my favorite-ist blogs, A Beautiful Mess, bought, flipped (like hardcore), and donated a house to Habitat for Humanity. And let me tell you, it is a thing of beauty. They're sharing all their stunning before and afters, room-by-room, on their blog. Here's where you can find all of them. (Just to give you an idea of how much I love this blog, last night I had a dream about meeting Elsie (one of the sister bloggers) and I was super nervous and awkward. You guys, I am strange. Dreaming about meeting bloggers?! Seriously. I need to get out more.)

This book, Girls Like Us, is super duper good. Like doubly super duper. If you are interested at all in learning about human trafficking and sexual exploitation, start here! I will probably write more about it later, but just know this... you will not want to put this book down, as you read of true stories of girls and get a major education along the way. Get it here, or borrow it from your library, like I did (however, I will be purchasing it to reference, highlight, and share. It was just that good.) Also, check out my church's new anti-trafficking ministry, BASE.

This. Stuff. Yes, it looks like digested grass, but holy smokes is it delicious! You can get it at Trader Joe's for something like a couple bucks and it is like Indian heaven. Put it with some rice (or even pasta! I like Orzo) and some fish or chicken, and add spice as necessary. Easiest tastiest meal ever.

Welp, that's all I've got for you today. Go out there and enjoy the sunshine this weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Two Years Ago Today [On Taking Risks]

Two years ago today, a very nervous, very sweaty Loverboy asked me to go steady with him (well, those might not have been his exact words, but I'm allowed a bit of creative license, right?).

I remember feeling nervous, and a little sweaty myself (it WAS in the middle of July), and very unsure about this whole getting serious thing. But I also remember that I had just recently had a talk with a friend that if Brian would want to make our friendship more of a "relationship," that even if I wasn't sure, I would still say yes, just to give it a chance. I would say yes to see where it went, because I sure didn't want to regret saying no later and never knowing what could have been.


And I can say that 8 1/2 months of dating, 5 1/2 months of engagement, and 10 months of marriage later, I am SO glad that I said yes! I am so glad that I went out on a ledge and jumped, even when I wasn't 100% sure. I'm so glad that I tried something that was scary and unknown. I'm so glad that I took a risk.

Because yes, we could have totally not worked out, and that could have been heartbreaking. We could have awkwardly broken up two weeks later and had to go through the whole tell your friends and answer uncomfortable questions phase. We could have, but we didn't. And we would have never known if Loverboy hadn't taken the risk to ask, and if I hadn't taken the risk to say yes.

Now you may get the idea that this post is all about how you should go ask that girl out, or always say yes to some relationship proposal. But that is NOT the point of this post. (Phew!) The point is this—risks are so worth it. Because in the end, whether things end up like you hoped they would or not, you have learned something. You have relied on God as the only one who knows how this whole thing was going to end up, and your faith will be strengthened because of it.


So what risk can you take today? This week? This year? What is something that is a little outside of your comfort zone, that you aren't 100% sure about, that could end up awfully—but could also end of wonderfully—that you could do?

"To risk is to willingly place your life in the hand of an unseen God and an unknown future, then to watch him come through. He starts to get real when you live like that." —Jennie Allen's professor, from her book Anything.

So go out there and take a risk today. Who knows, it may lead you to a spouse who is altogether more than you dreamed of. ;)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Truth Before Me [With a Free Phone Background]

I forget very easily. I need reminders. Whether it be some profound truth I've learned, or an appointment I've made, I just don't remember on my own. So you better believe that my google calendar is stuffed to the gills and that my reminders app is constantly being updated. But what about those things that are deeper, that need to take root? How can I be reminding myself about those?

One way that I've found helpful is through visual reminders throughout my house—whether it be through sticky notes or index cards or pretty prints. I have a sticky note on my mirror that simply says "us>me" to remind me every morning that my marriage and the unity and team-ness of it is more important than my desires or opinions. I have a framed print in the sunroom that reads "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" (from The Nesting Place) to remind me that our home is a place of imperfection and grace, but can still hold beauty and meaning. 

These reminders of truth, they help me. They keep me centered on what is important and give me a framework for how I can be living my life. And while sticky notes and pretty prints are wonderful, one of the strongest visual reminders that I can give myself is my phone lock screen. I might see the sticky note 2 or 3 times in a day, whereas I'm looking at my phone all throughout the day. So I decided to make a little something pretty to remind myself of one of the most important truths in my life. One that I want to go deeper than anything else. 

Jesus loves me, this I know. In my heart, my bones, my soul.

I want this truth, that Jesus loves me, to truly be something that I know... deep down in my heart, my bones, my soul. I want it to inform everything that I do, say, think. I want it to drive my prayers, my decisions, my life. I want it to be what people know about me—that I know that I am deeply loved by my savior, my love, Jesus. 

And this truth before me, it will help sink that Jesus loves me just a little bit deeper. It will give me little reminders throughout the day that what I want, what I long for, is to know this truth deeper than I know or depend on anything else. So if you want to join me in this... this truth set constantly before me, download the background here.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rhinestone Jesus

Sometimes books change your life a little... here's one of those for me. I finished this book a couple months ago and am just now getting around to blogging about it. Oops. :) But obviously not for lack of really stinkin' amazingness!

In her book, Rhinestone Jesus, Kristen tells the story about how she and her family started a maternity home in Kenya after she visited one of the largest slums in the world for a Compassion Int'l blogging trip. The home is called Mercy House, is run by nationals, and houses pregnant teen girls who have experienced trauma and/or abuse. These babies would otherwise most likely die due to illegal abortion, malnutrition, or other poverty-related death. It's a beautiful ministry that God is using to bring young mamas in Kenya to Himself, and it all started because of a 'yes.'

Kristen talks about how God will use you, if only you say 'yes.' She shares about how non-inspiring and average her American family is, but by saying 'yes' to God they are experiencing a whole lot of Jesus and life change and radical stuff. And let me tell you, it's a pretty inspiring story and definitely makes you want to say 'yes' to God. It made me think... what is God asking me to say 'yes' to? What is He calling me to? What small steps is He asking me to take? How can I obey and follow Him in the here and now?

This book is definitely for you if you are feeling stuck, like there's not really anything in your life that is giving you a sense of purpose. It's for you if you're tired of the average American Christianity and want to actually do something with your faith. It's for you if you are passionate about your family following Jesus, together. It's for you if you need that extra little kick to do that thing you've been dreaming about for awhile. It's for you if sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough.

P.S. Kristen has a pretty sweet blog, called We Are THAT Family. You should probably check it out.

P.P.S. There's also a Fair Trade Friday Club with a bunch of AWESOME handmade products from all over the globe... all the proceeds going to supporting the artisans. 

P.P.P.S. You can read about another time a book changed my life a bit here.

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