( Brain Fog (DAY 513) }

photo(76)This week I’ve had really bad brain fog due to my health issues. I’ve tried to explain to people what this looks like but it’s hard…I’ll blame it on the brain fog. ;) Essentially my brain just doesn’t connect as fast as it usually does. It’s a bit unnerving to realize you’re saying something and it comes out totally different or you just forget mid sentence what you were saying…mid sentence!!! Another way it manifests is in the difficulty of connecting ideas and stringing them into words. Case in point: I wrote a whole other blog post and it just didn’t work.

There was a moment where I wanted to just forget about blogging this week and chalk it up to a bout of bad health but instead I decided that I needed to share these days as well as the other ones. I’m just one girl walking out this life with the rest of you and I have my challenging days as well.

Basically I’ve had some really hard things this last week in every sphere of my life and yet there has been beauty woven throughout.

(Delete, delete, delete. Think the You’ve Got Mail scene where Tom Hanks is writing the email to Meg Ryan’s character.)

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” I used to think that verse meant one or the other but I’ve come to realize they are usually intertwined, hand in hand. There was so many wonderful things this last week but there was also some very stressful and challenging ones as well. Neither stopped for the other but just mixed together. Life truly is bittersweet and I’m thankful.

“So this is the work I’m doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” ~Shauna Niequist

P.S. Someone invested in 15 of our kiddos in India and you can too! We still need school uniforms and supplies for 185 children! :) 

Posted on March 3, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Bloom Where You’re Planted (DAY 512) }

IMG_5181Dear little sister,

Sitting there the other day talking with you I was silently praying the whole time you talked.  You looked so gorgeous with your hair tumbling down in waves around you and your face upturned to the sun and I snapped a mental picture.  It was such an honor to hear your heart.  Thank you for letting me in.  At the time I wasn’t sure what I should say but driving home my thoughts finally started forming together into something more concrete like milk turning butter, taking its time.

I get it.  These teen years can be hard.  Add to that a crazy environment (and hormones if we’re talking real here) and it’s not hard to see why there’s frustration.  You don’t want to exchange pleasantries forever, you want the deep and real.  That’s a wonderful thing.  I promise you it’s out there.  Please don’t ever stop looking for that or desiring to be deep yourself.

High school ends.  Yes, I know it can feel like it never will but this too shall pass.  You don’t and shouldn’t have to be vulnerable with everyone but DO be vulnerable with people you trust.  The walls you do or don’t put up now will affect your life.  Sometimes it’s hard to spot the people to trust.  Believe me, I’ve not always been good at this myself.  The people to trust are the ones that always let you in and don’t let you down and if they do let you down (because people will let you down!) they know how to take responsibility and say I’m sorry.  Look for the people that are willing to cheer you on.  These are the people that challenge you but don’t compete with you.

Okay so this next one is really, really hard.  If it’s any comfort it’s hard for people no matter what age.  Be willing to stand alone.  Community is ridiculously important and you should seek it out.  Serve those around you and be willing to give of yourself to bless others.  But there will be times when you need to go against the flow.  There may be times when you don’t have a best friend and where things seem shallow and not worth your time.  There will be times when you’re surrounded by people and still feel alone.  I promise you you’re not.  While it’s not easy those are the best times to cuddle right up close to Jesus.  He wants to be your friend and he’s the best one to have.  He promises to never leave you or forsake you.  Take him up on that promise.  He always has your best in mind.  He loves you so much.  He will always let you in and never let you down!

What I want to tell you sounds so contradictory but here are the two phrases that came to mind.  The first is put your head down and work hard.  The other one is keep your chin up.  Obviously you can’t physically do both at the same time but the principles do actually work together.

What do I mean by put your head down and work hard?  Make the best use of this time.  Learn all you can.  Question, seek, and apply yourself to what you are doing.  Be the best you can be.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t play the “games” your peers are trying to play.  Take the masks off and live free.  Remember this too shall pass but the hard work you put in to the things that matter will not.  While they’re all talking about nonsense and wasting time you’ll be getting things done.

In that same breath let me say this though too.  When you decide not to compare yourself to others, make sure you don’t judge them for not being where you’re at.  Seek to be an influence for good and to help others even though it might not be the popular or easy thing.

And darling girl-woman keep your chin up.  Not in a haughty way but because you know you are loved by the King of the universe the one who gave his life for you.  You can walk confident knowing you are loved and valued.

All of what I’ve told you takes grace and He’s the source of that.  Press into Jesus beautiful lady.

If you ever need a big sister to talk to I’m here for you.  It’s a gift to listen to your growing soul and mind.  I’m so proud of you!  I love you dearly.

Hugs.  xxx

Posted on February 24, 2015 by | Comments { 3 }

{ Sweet boy (DAY 511) }

Oct 2011-2“…it’s about looking through our lives and recognizing the act of mothering everywhere we see it, and more than that, recognizing that when any of us mother–when we listen, nurture, nourish, protect– we’re doing sacred work.” Shauna Niequist

I’m not a mother so I can’t assume I know what it is like to be one but I do have a very special place in my heart for certain children in India.  They get the part of my heart that I like to call my “Mommy heart”.  To me mommy hearts can’t be explained they just happen.  Whether you’re a biological mother or not you can still have it.

Today is a day my mommy heart can’t forget nor do I ever want to.  Today marks two years of sweet Hosanna being with Jesus, dancing free.  I miss him even though I never got to meet him.  I’m so thankful for his life and that God allowed me to “meet” him and his story.  He may have only had 10 years on this earth but his impact and his story live on.

“I don’t know what date it is for you–what broke apart on that day, what was lost, what memories are pinned forever to that day on the calendar……….hold yourself open and tender to the memories for just a moment.  As one who grieves today, I grieve with you, for whatever you’ve lost, too, for what might have been.”  Shauna Niequist  (Both quotes are from her brilliant book Bittersweet.)

Posted on February 20, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ World changers (DAY 510) }

uniformproject2015AHHHHH I’m SO excited about this!!!!!! Guess what?! 200 more darling-orphans-no-longer-but-future-world-changers are going to be getting a new home.  Yep, that’s right a bunch of new homes are getting opened so that children who don’t have parents or a safe place can be loved and taken care of.

One of the most important things for changing these children’s lives is for them to get an education.  This literally gives them a future worth looking forward to instead of a life of slavery or extreme poverty.  It’s a chance for them to be teachers, lawyers, doctors, artists, or whatever else they are gifted in.  >Insert happy dance right here<

In order for each child to go to school it only costs $50.  Pretty crazy that you can change a life by such a simple act. I mean that’s worth investing in right! For the past couple of weeks I’ve been brainstorming with my friends in India and Warm Blankets about how we can connect you a little bit more to the sweet orphans in India.  We came up with something I think you will really love.  For every $50 dollars you invest in a a child’s future you will get a printed picture of that child and their name!

Here’s a little break down of supplies so you can see exactly how your gift will be used and how important it is. Without this these children can’t go to school…

Uniforms - 2 uniforms – 1 the colors for their school and 1 for Saturdays which is white – $30 for 2

Shoes and Socks – 1 pair of black shoes for Monday – Friday and 1 pair of white shoes for Saturday and 4 pairs of socks – $12 for 2 pairs

School Bag and Supplies – $8 for school bag and supplies (pen, pencil, eraser, sharpener)
TOTAL – $50 for one child

Psst- it’s also tax deductible. ;)

{Photo by F. Robert Openshaw}

Posted on February 17, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Hands & Tales (DAY 509) }

IMG_9000 IMG_8994Last year I had the immense pleasure of being able to host and finally meet my incredible friend Bronwen.  Her story is hands down one of the most amazing ones I have ever heard.  She may live on the other side of the world but she’s a world changer and her influence stretches far and wide! I love you Bronwen.  Thank you so much for answering these questions.

Who’s touched your life and why?

So many different people have touched my life, in such a variety of ways. I think mainly because I enter every day with eyes wide open & a heart expectant for delight. Nobody has touched my life the way my 3 daughters have – they’ve taught me to love and be loved, to willingly and lovingly sacrifice, to find joy in life – big & little things, to see God everywhere & in everyone. They’ve made me want to be a better woman – day after day after day…

Have you even shaken a famous hand? If so who?

Yes! Many. But a life highlight was meeting & shaking hands with Prince William – Duke of Cambridge at a Royal State Reception in April 2014. Actually, it was ON my 39th birthday! I had been invited by our States Premier and I had prayed that I would get to shake his hand. I believe there’s such power in touch & the touching of hands. I did get to & then I got to answer his questions about who I am and what I do and why I do it. It was a very special moment and memory.

What was one of the happiest days/moments of your life?

August 15th 1999. The day I entered a church hall as a messed-up drug addicted prostitute and left a new creation because I has made the life-transforming choice to give my heart to Jesus and He had forgiven my past, given me a brand new life and filled me with hope for the future. Literally, best decision I’ve ever made!

What is your greatest struggle right now?

Great question! I’m learning to find peace and contentment in all things & in every season, and in doing so it’s helping me to view “struggle” in a different way. As a way of helping me surrender and grow. So my greatest “struggle” right now doesn’t feel like a struggle anymore. It feels like part of the process. Fully and completely letting go of my past heart hurts and letting God speak faith and hope to my heart dreams.

When were you most scared?

Ha. Easily. Childbirth. I wasn’t afraid of being pregnant or of being a mum – in fact, it’s my greatest delight. But the actual childbirth part. It was only for my first one and after that I knew I could do it. I think I was afraid of the unknown – even though I knew I would be ok! I was born for it. I know that now. :)

What’s one of your biggest dreams?

To see my story become a film. A film of tragedy and triumph. A film full of hope. It will happen one day. I know that it will.

If you could give one piece of advice to those reading this what would it?

You matter. Yes, you! You are uniquely wired and gifted to play an irreplaceable role in history. You were born at this time for a purpose. I pray that you will find delight in discovering it and living your life fully & completely every day!

Hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did and if you’re not familiar with why I do these posts you can read about it hereIf you want to learn more about Bronwen, her story, and the her amazing foundation, Hope Foundation, you can click here!

Posted on February 10, 2015 by | Comments { 4 }

{ A message from India! (DAY 508) }

Hey everyone so I thought it would be fun for you to “meet” my friends in India!  This couple and their daughter are amazing and I love their hearts to serve children in India who are orphans.  I asked them if they would be willing to send a message to all of you who have so faithfully supported the children and they graciously obliged!  I hope this helps you know just how much you’re appreciated by all of us!

Also if you’re trying to watch this on your phone it won’t work…sorry about that but I didn’t know how to change that…

Posted on February 5, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ This is 40! (DAY 507) }

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetYou know I love numbers.  That’s why I keep numbering my posts despite the fact that I title them.  So of course I can’t let this day go by because TODAY IS MY SISTER’S 40th BIRTHDAY! I’m so thankful to have an older sister in my life.  She’s the sole reason I can pass any 80’s/90’s test floating around on Facebook even though I was just a kiddo at the time.  ;)  She’s also the reason I had the coolest birthday cakes ever!

More than that though she’s the most creative and resourceful woman I have ever met, keeps lists like a pro (just like our mom!), makes everything prettier, has a knack for reaching out to those most people pass over, writes very well, and so much more.  Oh and I love that she’s given me three nephews and one niece!

Happy birthday sis! I love you so much and I can’t wait to see what this year holds for you.  May it be filled with all of the very best kinds of things and people.  At least it’s not going to be filled with you, me, and mom wearing matching dresses.  It was a phase.  Things can only go up from there! ;)

Posted on February 3, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ Creating (DAY 506) }

photo(72)What if I chose to create for the sake of creating. Not to post it, show it, or share it. What if I didn’t write for an audience or design for others to see but just because I want to. What if I let my work be messy and imperfect because I’m learning instead of wondering what people will think. What if I created like God does? He creates just because he can and it brings him joy. The other day at the house in the woods I’m sitting on the rocks in some rare warm January sunshine and reading pages. Flipping though words I pause because something out of the corner of my eye demands it. Illuminated by the sun, minuscule leaves from the moss stretch their arms up and I can see them glowing green, a thing alive. And I cry because of the beauty and the wonder of it. Sure I’ve stopped to notice this insignificant foliage but what about the uncountable numbers of leaves and moss and flowers no one will ever see? For years now when I think about the concept of God creating just because he can I see a delicate little flower no more than three inches high standing with it’s face upturned taking in the Swiss alps. No one ever sees that particular flower and yet it blooms and God designed it and knows it exists. He creates things we don’t see and things we never will (think galaxies) just because he can and because creating is who he is and because he enjoys it. What if we did the same?

Of course God does share so much of his art with us. And we should share our art too. But sometimes I think we would be wise to let our hands and minds create and design just for him alone to see, something special and lovely to enjoy that’s just for you. Where no one is judging it or admiring it but your art is just being, because you wanted to make it.  I certainly haven’t reached this balance yet but I want 2015 to be the year that I create all sorts of things just because I can and not for the eyes of the public.  May this year be one of sowing and nurturing the space to design and produce.

Posted on January 27, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ Ordinary | Extraordinary (DAY 505) }

photo(71) photo(71) i.  Ordinary. Open groggy eyes and begin the day. Quite time with Jesus. Breakfast is always the same, two scrambled eggs with cooked red pepper, onions and meat. I shower, put on makeup, and pull on some clothes. Next come piano lessons. I sit and drive, sit and drive. I come home to a fading sun and teach one more lesson before helping mom in the kitchen with dinner and setting the table. Then I read for a while. Sleep comes as I go to bed and that’s a day.

ii.  Extraordinary. After a refreshing night’s sleep (I used to have insomnia) I gently wake up and curl down into snuggly blankets and soft sheets that compose my queen size bed. Uninterrupted time with the Lord of all Creation, the Prince of Heaven is mine to enjoy. Reaching for the book marked Bible, one that’s falling apart, I don’t have to worry about getting arrested for choosing to read it wherever and whenever I want. Pattering around the kitchen the aroma of farm fresh eggs and vegetables sautéed in butter and sprinkled with a taste of the sea to bring out flavor waft over my senses and when I’m done my belly is filled with a delicious breakfast. Turning on the shower hot water comes steaming out, luxury, and I didn’t have to boil this water or worry about it being contaminated. Walking over to my full closet an array of colors and textures are mine for the choosing. A skirt, sweatshirt, and my new crazy expensive boots that I won in a giveaway compromise my attire and I get in my car and drive to work. I don’t have to take a bus and instead of having a boring job I get to hear music played by little hands and watch as they concentrate while the sun bathes the room. Teaching is passing on knowledge and I get to make an impression on young minds. On my way home I see my favorite mountain ahead of me all dusted with snow and glowing pink as the sun laughs her way to to rest. Distracted by the glory I arrive home as quickly as possible to see set upon set of small clouds blushing. It’s breathtaking. I have a home to come back to. Later mom, my best friend, and I laugh in the kitchen as the dinner prep goes awry. Standing beside her cooking she’s really teaching me more about nurturing than just feeding our stomachs. We gather around a table filled with blessing, both the people and the dinner. We give thanks to the Creator because he sustains us. Following our meal and tea time I rest on the couch reading a gripping true story about a man who survived WWII. At the end of another day of grace I get to hear the ones I love tell me they love me. Another day has come and gone but it was anything but ordinary. Every moment I drew breath and breathed in and out was extraordinary.

iii.  Perspective. I just described for you the same day. I could have written a book for the extraordinary day…. How will you choose to see your life? Will you live an ordinary life or an extraordinary one? “It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season—like all the other seasons—is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them.” [The Lump of Coal | Lemony Snicket]

UPDATE!!!! $90,969.80  SO close to only having 9% to go….anyone want to tip it over? :) 

Posted on January 20, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ Miracles Happen (DAY 504) }

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with p5 presetThree years ago I didn’t own any boots.  It was right after my project had ended and the thought of buying something so expensive just got to me.  I hadn’t really spent money for over a year and knowing what I knew about orphans in India had changed everything.  So I started praying.  I wanted some riding boots but I couldn’t decide if I wanted brown or black and since I was already being choosy I prayed for real leather ones.  For a while I just prayed and waited and trusted that God was going to bring me boots.  Eventually I got a call from a friend who asked if I could pick up a box of hand me downs a friend from Texas had sent them.  After agreeing to do so I asked if I could pick through the box.  Lo and behold as I was going through the box I pulled out a pair of brown, real leather, riding boots  IN MY SIZE!!!  In the second box I found an identical pair but black.  Yes, God had certainly answered my prayer so specifically that I knew it was a miracle.

Fast forward to this fall.  Both pairs of my boots had started to leak and were really falling apart.  I looked for boots but every time I did I just felt this check that I was supposed to wait.  I enter a contest for boots and didn’t win.  Then three months after I had started praying I still didn’t have boots but I felt strongly that the Lord was going to bring me a pair.  Then an Anthropologie contest popped up on Instagram and I knew that I didn’t have much to loose except for followers and people’s opinions of me so I decided it was worth it.  I styled three different pictures and on the third one I got this reply: “Today is your fa-la-la-la-lucky day. We’d like to grant your #DearAnthro wish!….”  Let me also note that I got to pick out the boots I wanted and they were a gorgeous gift.  I still can’t believe they are mine!  The Lord knew I wanted quality over quantity and he was so gracious to give these to me.  Really it’s a miracle they granted my wish!  My friend texted me when I won and said, “Those boots cost more than both our closets combined haha!” That right there was just another reminder to me of a few things.  A: God can do anything.  B: God cares about seemingly insignificant details.  C:  God is lavish.

Posted on January 13, 2015 by | Comments { 10 }