Wednesday, January 29, 2014

-She Who Is Brave-

I told myself if I ever did get a tattoo it would mean something. Like truly mean something. For the last two or so years I've played with the thought back and forth of getting one but nothing ever stuck. I'm a fickle person you know. I grow out of things and am constantly evolving. 
Ok that word makes me sound so much deeper than I am... Basically, I change my mind a lot.  

Knowing this about myself, I never could commit to a tattoo. Until last year when God started speaking the word--FREE--to me. And yes I know I've written about it a lot already, but when I first started hearing it, I didn't really get it. Like, "yeah the word free--great word. But what does it mean?"
"What does it meeeeaaaan?"

But the more I heard it, the more I began to get what it meant for me. And the more I walked through life these last few months, the more I really got it.  I had planned on getting this tattoo right after my half marathon this past November, but then we found out I was pregnant, and then we lost the baby. I don't think I really knew what the word meant for my life until I had to truly surrender to it all over again. 

To live free is to live brave. To take steps, chances and risks. To act, and to do, but to be still at the same time. To not worry, or rush, or stress. To do the things I've always wanted to do, but was afraid to because of fear of others, or fear of failing. To letting go of the flesh, and saying yes to the spirit and to faith, confidence, hope, strength and boldness.  

I love that to read it what it says, I have to hold my arm out. It makes me think of my arms open in surrender. It's how I want to live my complete surrender to Him. Because that is truly only where freedom can be found. 

Dress: c/o  RiffRaff 
Get it Here

"Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom"
2 Corinthians 3:17 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

-ANCHORED- An Online Women's Bible Study

It all started in Family Christian Bookstore a few weeks back. I went looking for a new devotion to start for the new year. As I stood there staring at all of the options without a clue where to start, I prayed. I knew what God had been speaking to me and I knew the direction He was leading me, but I had no idea that this devotion would be a part of that. I just wanted something good to read with my coffee in the morning. So I prayed for Him to direct me to which one. I was hoping one would just stick out in the sea of options.

Then I saw a title that caught my eye and picked it up ..."What Happens When Women Say to Yes to God" by Lysa Terkeurst. Skimmed the back, read the first page and knew it was the one. I started it the very next day and went through the first few days before God stopped me with the idea of sharing it with other women. I've been asked before about the different books and devotionals that I read and I love sharing about them. In fact it is one of my favorite things to do.

So one afternoon, I found myself posting a picture on instagram inviting women to join me in an online study group of it. I had no idea what it would take to start or how to start, or even what to call it but I knew God was telling me to do it. I stood there with my finger on "publish" about to post the picture and told Brandon "everything in me is telling me not to do it."

And he said; "Then that probably means you should"

He knows me well. I was warring with my flesh that said 1) I have to have every detail figured out BEFORE I start and 2) that no one would be interested in joining.

After the first day of putting my feelers into the instagram world, I had about 50 women interested. And then 100. And now we are somewhere around 300 women who've joined the study either through the WomenAnchored Instagram or Facebook page.

Y'all, I was seriously just hoping for like 5 women.
I mean it's amazing what happens when your obedient isn't it?

But then I needed a name...If you know me, you know I'm big on words, so I didn't take naming this group lightly. I remembered that over the month of December, while dealing with the loss of our baby, I just kept hearing the word Hope, and what it means to be truly ANCHORED in it. In His word, His truth. Because Lord knows my emotions were up and down during that time, but deep down inside, at the root of everything I knew, I clung to hope and I never lost sight of it. Or of His love & plans that He has for me.

So, -Women Anchored- was born.

I have no idea where this women's group will go or what will become of it, but I know that right now & today, it's a group of women committed to studying together, learning, growing, inspiring, connecting, encouraging and empowering one another to live a life Anchored...steady, strong, and firm in God's truth.

It's not too late for you to join if you'd like! We are just on day 4, but I post a new "note" with key points from the days devotional each day on the Women Anchored Facebook page. You can keep up that way, or get yourself the book. Either one is fine by me! I just ask that you join in! Give some input, meet other's all about growing together in Christ and connecting with one another! If you prefer to kinda sit on the back row, but still join, that's fine too! Just give me a little shout out somehow to let me know you're joining us and so that I can be praying for you :)

You can get the book on Amazon, download it on your iTunes, nook or kindle, or find it at Lifeway & Family Christian Bookstores. You can get the book itself if you like, but we are studying the actual "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" devotional, so make sure you get that one too.

Hope you'll join us! I honestly feel like this is a study and group that will change and empower so many women!

Hope your having a happy Sunday. The weather here in Texas has been gorgeous this weekend!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mia's 3rd Birthday- Sparkle & Shine.

We celebrated Mia's birthday at the end of November...right before all the craziness of December happened. Which is why I am just now getting around to sharing her day with y'all. I loved her theme. It was so fun to go off of her love for all things "glitter-ly." That girl loves all things that sparkle. Hence the theme: Sparkle & Shine.

I kept it simple so we just invited family. Which honestly with as many cousins as the kids have, it's the perfect built in party. Just the right amount of people.

I set up a little photo booth for the kids in the backyard. I found props in the Christmas section of Target. It was a kit perfect for Holiday parties, I just left out the Christmassy stuff. It had little mustaches and sparkly lips and glasses. It was so perfect for her party.

 I also found top hats for the boys from Target in the dollar spot. Originally they had red plain ribbon so I took it off and glued on white satin ribbon.  I found the gold backdrop at Party City and just hung a white sheet behind it on the fence. The tutus and dress up bar were borrowed from the girls room.

I made large glitter confetti circles for the table using card stock and a hole punch. The little flags on the powdered donuts were made with toothpicks and glitter washi tape. The cupcake toppers were from a bag of christmas colored poms I found at Hobby Lobby. Just hot glued the silver ones to toothpicks. The silver glitter star wands were from Target.  Pink polka dot treat cups, favor bags, paper straws and little milk bottles are from Shop Sweet Lulu.

It was all so easy and very laid back. We had a lot of fun and Mia really loved her party. In fact she said it was the best party ever. So basically when you're 3 year old tells you that, you know you did good. Cause obvi she's lived a long life and been to a lot of parties.


Still can't believe she's 3. Even though she now proclaims herself a "big girl," She will always be my little peanut. She is strong willed, free spirited, determined, loves makeup, and picks every outfit based on how well the dress or skirt twirls. She is feisty and hilarious.

I'm so thankful for our Mia Glory. Our sunshine girl.
Goodness I just love her so much.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Here's To 2013

2013 was so good to us. I felt like it was a year of reward. Of blessing. Of joy and happiness and memories. It was a year where we all grew closer together.  We planted a church, went on beach trips, Asher made a new best friend, Bella started kindergarten, my business grew, Brandon started working from home, I trained for and ran in my second half marathon, Mia went from being the baby of the family to a strong headed, hilarious little peanut.  
We found our groove as a family of 5. 

And as I look back on it all,  I would say that the "word" that weaved itself in and out of my heart and mind and spirit through every step was "FREE." 

God truly showed me what that word meant and what it looked like for me. I felt myself becoming more confident in who I was, and who He wanted me to be. Free from the fear of others, from failure, from the need for acceptance & validation.  Free from insecurities and fears. Free from the weight of the years before...from the struggles, the loss, the hurts and the battles fought. 
I felt this new, braver, stronger, bolder girl rise up. 

Then December happened. 
We found out we lost the baby. And one thing after the other seemed to hit me in dealing with that. Because when you lose a baby, those aren't just words. There are motions and actions and things you have to walk through that aren't fun. At all. Especially at Christmas. I found myself fighting harder than I ever have to find my joy. To choose it every single day. To look into my children's eyes and be all there. To smile and laugh and take in the moments. To sing out praises and thanksgiving in the middle of tears. 
But I did do all of those things...smiled, laughed, praised, thanked and I took it all in. Because I was determined to.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Galations 5:1

This verse was one God spoke loud and clear to my heart toward the end of last year. Today I was listening to a podcast and I heard it again. For some reason the second part was louder than it had been before. 

"Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." 

I have been set free. I am free. 

Now I have to stand firm in it. To not be shaken. To get back up and to keep going. 

I went running yesterday for the first time since November. I wondered what it would be like to run again. I worried that it would feel like starting all over.  But as my feet hit the sidewalk and the music filled my ears, it felt so familiar. It wasn't at all like starting over. It was just like starting from a different place than before. 

I've always been so aware of choices and the power we have to make everything change, or stay the same.  Instead of the fear of going backwards I'm lunging forward and asking God to show me how He wants to use all of this...use me. It is always my prayer that I can take what is in front of me and learn from it, grow and let it change me for the good. 

I have no idea what 2014 will hold, but I'm excited for it. And expectant. And completely open with a desire for Him to use me like never before. My prayer is for the boldness to keep standing firm in this freedom. To live in it. Be in it. dance in it. 

A sweet Goodbye to 2013... It was good to us. We cried a little but we laughed even more.  
I'm so ready for 2014.

Happy New Year Friends.