Something new!

Something new! | Misselainious blogHello friends!  So you might have noticed that the categories have changed a bit on my blog.  They aren’t new but I’ve decided to take out a bunch of them and focus in on a few.  Honestly it’s kind of a scary decision for me but one I’ve been leaning towards for a while now.  It’s not that I don’t LOVE making things or putting together outfit posts but what I’ve realized is that what I care about most is encouraging you.

You all have been so amazing these past five (?!) years of blogging.  Thank you for sticking with me through quite a few ups, downs, and changes! :)  I hope this change will be the best one yet (and that maybe I’ll finally figure out what in the world I’m doing haha).

I’ve been brainstorming how I can encourage you a bit more easily and I’ve decided to try something entirely new to me.  It may take a little working out but I think it’s going to be a breath of fresh air.  That’s my hope anyways.  One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail.  I smile when Kathleen Kelly goes to her computer in the morning and waits for it to turn on as she narrates this scene, “I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail.”  While our mailboxes don’t talk to us anymore I want you to have that sweet feeling in the form of mail encouragement, from me to you.

Instead of doing a Wednesday post on here like I’ve been doing for the past six months I’m going to deliver it straight to you!  I want it to be a boost for your Wednesday, a little mid-week-pick-up email to brighten up your inbox.  So if you want to get those encouraging posts all you have to do is leave your email address in the comments below and I’ll make sure you get them!  Easy peasy.  I’m excited for you all to be a part of the original crew + I don’t want you to miss out, so make sure to leave your email below or sign up here!  Who doesn’t need a little more encouragement in their lives?!  I’m excited to send you mail on Wednesday!

xxx
Yours truly

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Posted on July 25, 2016 by | Comments { 8 }

Have a wonderful weekend!

Link love 7-8-16 | Misselainious blogJust some things around the web I’ve been watching, reading, or enjoying.  Have a wonderful weekend friends! :)

How smartphone light affects your brain and body.

This letter to young creatives was really encouraging. It’s worth the read!

Wow.  This is beautiful.

Artist transforms old ring boxes into detailed historical dioramas.

The “tricky people” concept.  Every kiddo in your life should be taught this.

What an interesting article.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!

This looks like an interesting salad.

This is a really neat idea for allowance.

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Posted on July 8, 2016 by | Comments { 6 }

East coast trip adventures

Visiting the east cost! | Misselainious blogHello friends! I recently got to go to Maryland to visit some of my family and I had the sweetest time! If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (@misselaini)  you’ve seen some snippets but I thought it would be fun to make a list here of my adventures so you can get a peek into my trip.  :)

*Flying in the second row with my parents.  (Thanks peanut allergy for the only good thing you give me: pre-boarding.)

*A hazy pink and purple sky with puffy clouds glowing with lightning (it looked like Tinkerbell was trying to talk and it was so pretty).

*Getting to meet my new handsome little nephew! (Hands down the best part of my trip.)

*Going to the Air and Space Museum and getting to see the Discovery space shuttle (I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut so I was in heaven).  Also astronaut suits cost $22 million…each.

*Seeing planes like the ones my grandpa worked on in WWII as well as seeing the Enola Gay which was sobering (the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan).

*Walking down brick sidewalks with people I love in a darling little town.

*A cute little soda pop shop and a candy shop that had candy “through the ages”!

*MY FAMILY! Just being with them and hanging out and laughing and having good conversations or watching TV or laughing at a documentary or running errands.  That is what made it all so sweet.

*A bunch of incredibly nice people throwing a shower for my new nephew that was  thoughtful and blessed our family so much.

*Fireflies! These are the most magical little bugs and they make me ridiculously happy.

*Finally getting to meet in person a lovely friend and her daughter who I’ve been friends with for 5 years because of this blog.

*Picking blueberries with sweet friends!

*Late breakfast times and late dinners where we all lingered around the table.

*Going to the Newseum (a news museum) and seeing the Pulitzer Prize winning photos.  They made me cry.

*The old architecture everywhere you go.

*Seeing a cardinal.  (I have this thing about birds.)

*Watching my dad and brother build a deck table while my mom, sis-in-law, the baby, and I all sat in the shade and ate snacks lol.

*Feeding my nephew his bottle and having him fall asleep on me…bliss. (Plus the way his tiny hand grabs onto your shirt. <3 )

*Celebrating Father’s Day with my dad and my brother (his first time!)

*My wonderful friends Rachel and Hannah driving *hours* to see me and spend some time having adventures (in the rain!) and eating at the yummiest taco place (Chaia for anyone that is wondering).

*Visiting the National Arboretum and seeing the bonsai exhibit (especially watching my dad enjoy this), the huge original columns from the Capitol, and taking pictures of my brother, sis-in-law, and nephew.

*Friends having us over for a tasty dinner and lots of laughs!

*The portrait museum and standing under a hotel awning while it poured buckets.

*Going to my first pro baseball game (in Baltimore) with my family on a perfect day.

*My suitcase making it home…not in one piece, the wheels were literally disintegrating and it’s duct taped but I’ve had that one for 18 years and it’s been to Greece, Dominican Republic, and alllll over the United States.  I’m kinda sad to see it go.)  :'(

There were sooooo many things that made this trip perfect (I could go on and on about it) but ultimately the best thing was being with some of my favorite people (my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew).  I’m so thankful for family!

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Posted on July 6, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

Freedom isn’t free

Memorial Day 2016 | Misselainious blogNot even two weeks ago I rose with a crowd of people in a stadium, put my hand over my heart, and listened as the Star-Spangled Banner was sung loud and clear.  In that moment the most delicious chills ran up and down my body.  The baseball stadium was located in Baltimore where the song was originally written.  It was a surreal moment.

I believe the reason though it impacted me so greatly was because I’d been walking around DC, my nation’s capitol, all week.  I’d seen the monuments rising tall.  It’s all quite thrilling.  More than that though as the song was sung I thought about all the people who have died to keep our country free.  Those brave men and women that fought for independence gave everything they had for the freedoms we enjoy today.  It’s a humbling reality.  Freedom isn’t free.

One of the things that I saw in a museum in DC was a map of the world showing the levels of freedom of speech in each country.  Honestly it was shocking.  Very few countries have the level of freedom the United States has.  Freedom isn’t free my friends.  People have fought for it and still do and hopefully will till the end of time.

There was an interactive wall at this same museum where anyone could write what they would give up to feel safe.  Some of the answers scared me.  Several people had said “everything.”  People gave their lives so that we could could have the freedoms we enjoy so please think about that today my fellow citizens as you party and watch fireworks.  Let’s not take our freedoms lightly.  Freedom isn’t free.

“Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

May we stay brave and free.   Happy 4th of July my friends!

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Posted on July 4, 2016 by | Comments { 2 }

Quotes!

“In an economy of grace, there is enough to go around. The Father’s love and generosity are not scarce. His table is brimming with luxurious fare." Michael S. Horton Quote“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” ~ Amelia Earhart

“To live will be an awfully big adventure.” ~ J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)

“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”  ~Oswald Chambers

“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.” ~ Ernest Boyer, Jr.

“We need more women who would rather be beautifully sacrificial than perfectly artificial.” ~ Ann Voskamp

“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.” ~ Martin Luther

“The problem is not that we are too active, but that we are recklessly frenetic.  We have grown accustomed to quick fixes and easy solutions.  We have grown accustomed to running sprints instead of training for the long-distance marathon.  We have plenty of energy.  The danger is that we will burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations.”  ~ Michael Horton

Posted on July 1, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

No or not yet

No or not yet | Misselainious blogWe were sitting in the sun drinking smoothies.  “I saw on social media the other day that someone was thanking God for answered prayers because they got a yes to what they wanted.  They didn’t even have to wait that long.”  “Funny how no one talks about all the times prayers get answered…with a no or not the way we want them to be fulfilled.”  We laughed.

Friends, I think this is an important topic.  I want us to have a conversation about prayer because it can be a tricky subject.  Have you been praying for something for a long time and not seen it get answered with a yes?  Are you discouraged because you feel like God isn’t listening?  Does prayer even matter?

First of all, YES! Prayer matters.  Prayer doesn’t have to be some big scary thing.  Prayer is the opportunity to talk to God about whatever is on your heart.  Prayer is an opportunity to thank Him for who He is and what he has done.  Prayer is also a time to acknowledge that he is God and we are not.

So what about all those prayers that seem unanswered?  What about all the times the answer is no or not yet?  We don’t talk about that too much do we in Christian circles.  Yet we should.  Because there’s a lot of people walking around (myself included at times!) thinking that God doesn’t love us or that he’s not good because we didn’t get the “yes” we were looking for.  That’s a dangerous place to be.  Or maybe you’ve been told by people that it’s just because you don’t have enough faith.  LET ME STOP YOU RIGHT THERE.  It’s not about the amount of faith that makes your prayers effective.  It’s about the God we serve that makes them effective.  It’s not about the perfection or persuasion of our prayers it’s about the power of God.

Prayer changes us and makes us stronger even as we acknowledge our need.  Prayer reminds us of who God is.  Prayer helps us flex our trust muscles.

Just because your prayer isn’t getting answered the way you want doesn’t mean God doesn’t hear you or care.  He does hear you and he does care.  There are so many reasons God answers prayer with a “no” or “not yet”.  I was mulling this over in my head when it struck me like a ton of bricks.  The best answer to this is Jesus.  I think about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane pouring his soul out in agony asking the Father three times to give him another answer even though he knows what the answer will be.  He doesn’t want to go to the cross.  No one in their right mind would.  So he prays and he asks his Father for a different answer.  The answer from God to his Son is no.  The King of the universe kneels in a garden and asks for a yes but then willingly submits to the no because he cares more about his Father’s will than his own.  Words cannot express how grateful I am for that “no” because without that “no” I would be hopeless.  Without that “no” I don’t get the biggest and most important “yes” of my life from God.

Friends, I don’t know what prayers you’re praying that haven’t been answered with a yes.  Maybe you’ve given up on prayer altogether.  While sometimes prayers get answered with a no many times it’s just a “not yet”.  And if it is a definite no please remember that God is working for your good.  He can see the whole picture while we can only see a part.  My prayer for us today is that we would trust him with all the answers he gives knowing that he accepted the hardest “no” ever.  He went to the cross even though it cost him so much because he submitted to his Father’s will and wanted to have a relationship with us.  Regardless of the answer keep talking to Him because it’s always worth it.

(Need to hear more of the same?  Here’s a blog post I wrote a while ago about Stop Saying God is Good…)

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Posted on June 29, 2016 by | Comments { 2 }

DIY spray paint plant artwork

DIY spray paint plant artwork | Misselainious blogHello friends! This DIY spray paint plant artwork is sooooooo easy and fun!  If you have spray paint and some thick paper on hand it should only take you about ten minutes or less to make.  Sometimes you just need to change up the artwork in your frames and you don’t want to spend a fortune, so this is easy and will be one of a kind.

Step 1:  Cut your thick paper/card-stock (I used watercolor paper) to the size you’ll need to fit inside your frame.
Step 2:  Forage for some flowers and leaves in your yard.
Step 3:  Lay out some newspaper on the ground and place your piece of paper on top.
Step 4:  Press the flowers and leaves onto the paper (some of them you may want to put upside down so that they will lay a bit more flat).
Step 5:  Read the directions on your can of spray paint and then spray accordingly.
Step 6:  Once it is dry (mine only took about a minute) remove the flowers and leaves and write a favorite word or something you want to remember on the front with an ink pen or sharpie.  I did have to trace over my word several times because the paper/spray paint was so absorbent.  Now frame it and you’re done!

What word or phrase would you put on your piece?  Let me know in the comments below! :)  And if you try this tag me in it on Instagram so I can see.

Posted on June 27, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

Have a delightful weekend!

Link Love 6-24-16 | Misselainious blogHope you are all doing well! I’m certainly enjoying the fact that it’s summer!  Here’s some things I’ve picked up around the web lately that I wanted to share with you for link love. :)

My friend sent me this link and now I wish I lived close enough to visit this darling place.

Love this card (especially since I have so many long distance friendships).

Jane Austen lessons for all the single ladies.

What a fun idea for a care package!

Now this is my kind of tatoo. 😉

Fascinating article about art…

Haha too cute! (Also my favorite animal.)

Strangers asked to pose together…so beautiful.

God’s heart for the foreigner.

Posted on June 24, 2016 by | Comments { 2 }

She loved

Handmade Valentine's Day cards 2016 misselainious“For she loved much.”  I want to be a woman who loves much.  So often though I’m tripped up by looking at myself.  I flounder about wondering if small acts of love matter and then I realize I’m doing most of them for all the wrong reasons.  I was flipping through my Bible when I came across this story and it turned my heart over in wonder again at who we are and more importantly who Jesus is.

“Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’  And he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.'”  Luke 7:44-48

We clearly know from the story that this woman was a sinner.  She was messy.  So am I.  She sees Jesus though and her soul weeps out everything in it.  She doesn’t say a word but her actions scream love.  She wasn’t worried about what other people thought of her because she instinctively knew who Jesus was.  She wasn’t afraid of him and all she wanted to do was be near him and honor him in the best way she knew how, by giving herself.

And Jesus welcomes her just as she is.  He lets her touch him, he lets her kiss him.  How beautiful and mind boggling is that picture?  Here’s this woman who is unwelcome in that house but she comes anyway.  Here is Jesus disregarding the cultural norms and seeing who this woman truly is and turning to her with compassion.

Then he tells her what we all need and long to hear.  Her sins are forgiven.  Our sins are forgiven friends by the only one that can, Jesus.  What freedom that should bring to our hearts.  And because we’ve been forgiven much we can love much.  What a profound reality that Christ wants us to love much.  It makes me think of the verse in 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

      “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”    (Matthew 25:37-40)

When you think that the small things you’re doing in love don’t matter think again.  The small acts of love and embracing of others has great value.  May we never overlook the “least of these” because Jesus didn’t.  He didn’t overlook us and that should cause our hearts to rejoice and pour out everything we have for him and those he puts in our path.

Posted on June 22, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }

Looking ahead

Looking forward | Misselainious blogRecently during an evening with my parents and a couple I consider my second parents I asked them if they remembered learning to drive and what that was like.  We all started laughing hearing each others stories!  Even though I’ve known these four my whole life I’d never thought to ask that question but I’m glad I did because it was really humorous.  It was also insightful.

My mom’s parents weren’t even willing to teach her.  Instead her dad hired someone else to do it haha!  My dad’s older brother taught him on some back road and my dad almost gave him a heart attack from what I heard.  Someone else mentioned trying to learn on a gravel hill…stick shift.

I certainly remember learning to drive.  My dad took me to a parking lot and was very patient.  Then one day my mom just gave me the keys even though I’d barely driven and told me to drive home from piano lessons.  I thought she was joking but alas no.  So there I was on back winding roads trying not to kill us.  Now you see, I’d thoroughly read the pamphlet you have to read to pass drivers ed and it said you needed to check all your mirrors every few seconds.  Well I was obedient to that and it didn’t go very well.  I was having the hardest time staying in the middle of the road.  When I mentioned my frustration to the gal that lived with us she said something I’ll never forget. “Stop looking in the mirrors so frequently.  If you look straight ahead you’ll go straight.  Where you look, that’s where you’ll go.” Hello light bulb moment.

You see I was trying to drive by looking behind me in the mirrors.  But reading a pamphlet and driving are two different things.  What I really needed to do was focus on what was in front of me.  I needed to look at the road ahead of me and see where I wanted to be.

The same thing happened when I was learning to ride my bike.  I kept looking at the pedals.  Finally my brother and his friend (who were teaching me) figured out the problem and told me to look ahead.  That’s when I felt the rush that comes from the first hands-off-no-training-wheels-freedom of riding your bike all by yourself.  Again I needed to look ahead of me at where I wanted to go.

I think in life it can be so easy to look in the past.  Or you may be one of those people who can’t envision where you want to go.  Until we can look ahead and have a vision for something we want to accomplish, we will have a hard time getting there.  

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

It’s the middle of the year and many goals and visions have been cast off since January.  That’s okay.  It’s never to late to start looking ahead.  What goals do you need to refocus, scrap, adjust, plan, or surrender?  What do you want to accomplish in the next six months?  I hope today you can put aside the past six months and press on with new vigor and vision.  If you want to tell someone your goals leave a comment below and I’d love to hear about it.  Or if you’re struggling to figure out what your vision is let me know that too. :)  You’ve got this my friend!

{Photo by: Paige Whiting}

Posted on June 20, 2016 by | Comments { 0 }