2018—The Year Of Laying Down My Plans

2018—The Year Of Laying Down My Plans

Hi friends! It’s been quite a while since I’ve sat down to write, but I wanted to take some time to share how 2018 went overall for me. Also, I wanted to share my truth statements for 2019, resources I’m loving, and some of my fav memories captured in photos.  I do warn you now that this is a lengthy one, but I hope it all encourages you. 🙂

2018 has been so very busy, so full of good things and new things.

Yet, the one word I would use to describe the past year is FRUSTRATION.

For the most part, the blessings were clouded by my own limited mindset. Peace was replaced many times by my need to make things happen, self-created pressure to do more, and frustration that things weren’t happening the way I thought they would. All of that means way too much self focus and not enough God focus. The things that equate to my way instead of His.

Don’t get me wrong, during it all  I grew spiritually, conquered lifelong fears, discovered a hidden skill and began to cultivate it, and loved my family and the Lord so well. Even as I type that sentence I feel encouraged because even in our “failing”, He is so faithful.

Last year was similar to walking on a tight rope. As we are trusting in Him on this faith journey of life we get across by simply placing one foot in front of the other. Each step we take with His grace, keeps us steady, we stay standing, we move forward. Yet most of us, if we are honest, continue to take life in our own hands, trying to figure out, strategize, hustle our way through. When we have a goal of going faster, we often lose our balance, our peace, our foundation and ultimately we fall. Only to get back up and try again. That was my 2018—trusting, failing, falling, back to trusting again. Repeat. Thus, frustration is the word.

Oddly enough, I have never been more sure of God’s hand on my life than I was last year. I have dreamed more last year than ever before—such profound dreams. Then waking, writing, and reflecting on each dream. I knew God was speaking and I wanted to make sure I was valuing and responding to His message. I love that the Lord will find a way to talk to us and if we listen, He keeps talking.

The amazing thing about the Father is that He doesn’t waste a thing. He uses everything, and I believe

He often frustrates our plans until we finally take on His.

I end 2018 laying down my plans, my idea of how things are supposed to be happening, and I start 2019 full of peace, trusting His ways.

I believe it’s so important to take time and reflect on your year, to get alone and quiet and let the Lord talk.

What is the word that describes your 2018? What are the truths He has dropped in your spirit to hold on to in 2019? What worked and what didn’t? What are the areas He wants you to focus on in the next year? What changes need to be made?

Each year I look over dreams I’ve had, words I’ve heard from the Lord, and I really reflect on how the last year went. Then I create a sheet of truths and reminders that I’ll stand on for the next season. I like to print them and put them in my planner or journal where I’ll see them often. I’ve found that when you’re in a negative funk, lacking inspiration or joy—it’s important to keep God’s truth in front of you. Speaking truth resets our minds and keeps us standing. These are my personal truths, but if they resonate with you, please feel free to print them.1

I also love to begin with a few scriptures as motivation for the new year-

So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises! Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. Hebrews 10:23 (TPT)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (MSG)

Here are some resources I am loving these days. Links are below the image.

  1. Gracelaced Devotional. 2. Wild + Free bundle 3. One Line a Day 4. Cultivate devotionals 5. Simple Abundance 6. Walk in Grace-Ephesians study

And last, some of my favorite memories within 2018– including massive home remodel, church expansion, watercolor painting, trips to Israel, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Oklahoma, Dallas, West Virginia, lots of beach time, camper life, and Coffee Waves love.

Cadence turns 6!

Cadence turns 6!

In the months leading up to Cadence’s sixth Birthday, we tried to nail down one theme, but she just couldn’t decide! Then it hit me,

“Who says you have to pick one theme for a party?”

So, I made it a mix of all her favorite things (well, besides ‘LOL Surprise’ because that’s just taking it too far)

Unicorns, flamingos, flowers, rainbows, and swans….with a lot of sparkle and pink of course!

Let me just say that morning parties are the way to go. There’s no turning back for me! I love that doughnuts, fruit, and kolaches is as basic as it can be for mornings!

Having a December Birthday is always tricky because we never know if the weather will be nice enough for us to have it outside. This year it was too chilly, so everything was in the house. I planned a few simple activities to keep a bunch of toddlers-kindergarteners busy—

Necklace making with beads, Unicorn slime, and Dress up.

Overall, it was such a fun, over the top girlie party. Apart from my son and a few of his friends who did their own thing which included super heroes and Paw Patrol. 🙂

We are so blessed to have such a loving community to do life with and get to watch each other’s babies grow up together. When everyone was gone and I looked around my wreck of a home, I was actually so full of gratitude instead of stress. And unlike times in the past, I felt no need to rush and do the dishes or start franticly cleaning right away. Instead, we relaxed, played with new toys, read new books and talked about our favorite parts of the party. Just trying to soak in these sweet moments, because they really are flying by.

Now, the next day, that’s a different story, the cleaning frenzy was on. I mean I can’t function in mess very long.

I overheard a few of her friends saying,

“This is the best party ever!”

and I watched Cadence smiling and giggling the entire time.

My momma heart is happy.

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A big thank you to my husband for making amazing lattes for all of the moms the entire party long! To Melissa for making the amazing cake + cupcakes!  Tina for getting her the most perfect unicorn dress and taking these amazing pictures! Lauren and Kaylx who came over early to make a balloon arch! And my mom for giving the most prized gift of them all–the ultimate, over the top LOL Surprise! ( I still don’t understand the fascination with those things!)  And to all the family and friends who came to be part of her special day. Thank you-We love you!

It really does take a village.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like sources for anything you see!

 

THEY WON’T EVEN REMEMBER

THEY WON’T EVEN REMEMBER

To be honest I used to be in that camp. The one that felt like traveling with children overseas was something people should wait to do until their kids are old enough.  This way, they could fully understand and remember the significance of it all. I would look at those brave, brave parents boarding flights with sometimes up to five littles and think “why dear Lord would they do that to themselves?”

That is until I had kids of my own. Funny how we all think we have it figured out until we have children.

When the opportunity arose for my husband and I to join a ministry called “Heart of David” on a trip to Israel to visit sights and join in on a worship event called “Awake Jerusalem”, I knew we should go. Going to Israel was always something we knew we wanted to do, and this special occasion was the ideal opportunity. The only problem was, we weren’t ok with leaving our kids behind for nearly two weeks. So, it was final, we decided to make this a family affair plus a nanny!

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Even though my children have flown more times than I can count, they have not done an overseas, 11hr flight. So, it was the flight and getting through security that I was most nervous about. To my surprise, they did amazing. Thank the Lord for games and movies on iPads! They did great resting on the plane and somehow loved the airplane meals.

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Once we arrived, we went directly into a tour and stayed super busy visiting various sights each day. Our kids were troopers, and did amazing within the tour. Our four-year-old, who still naps, fell asleep numerous times on the bus or at sights.  He would always wake up rested and ready to go explore. Kids are resilient and seem to have this mysterious never ending energy I would love to have some of.

You may still be thinking, “that’s great, but they still won’t remember”, and the thing is you are most likely correct. But, that’s not the main reason we brought them.

“Children learn more from what is caught than from what is taught.”

So many seeds were planted in their hearts on this trip.

My five year old daughter became more alive than ever in dance during times of worship. She watched with big eyes, as skilled young adults used dance to worship the Lord. Before long she joined right in.

 

Sure, they did lots of rock climbing on the Mount of Carmel, where Elijah called down fire, but they also sat down to sincerely worship along with the adults.

Sure, our son asked for snacks too many times on the Sea of Galilee boat ride, but he also stared out into the water and said, “this is where Jesus walked on water!”, contemplating how cool that was.

Sure, they enjoyed the hotel pool in Tel Aviv and swimming in the Mediterranean, but they also met another family from England and joined right in on their games. Just one of the numerous experiences that opened their eyes to other accents and cultures, giving them a better world view.

Sure, I didn’t like how muddy the water was at the Jordan River, but I let the kids get in anyway. They got an up-close view of numerous members of our team getting baptized.  This part must have been much more memorable to them than I thought, because they came home and starting baptizing each other in our swimming pool.

Sure, traveling with children isn’t glamorous or relaxing, but I am so glad I chose to do what truly accelerates our children’s faith most, and that is experiences that leave an imprint on their hearts forever.

I pray you too have the opportunity to go abroad on ministry trips as a family. I look forward to many more trips abroad with ours. This is just the beginning, and it was a great trip to really break them in, as well as open my eyes to the bigger purpose behind bringing kids into what you are passionate about.

I’ll end with a quote I just so happened to read this week from Jaime Ivey, that I couldn’t agree more with!

“We cannot teach our kids to give their lives away for the gospel when all they see is us giving away our lives for them.”

 

When I Get My Life Back

When I Get My Life Back

Over the years I often find myself thinking or saying,

When the kids are older…

When we get past this big event…

After this trip..

Once our remodeling is done…

I’ll get my life back.

When these things happen, that’s when I’ll find real peace, then I’ll be able to get things done, then there will be a sense of normalcy for once.

In the midst of the things that feel so messy and burdensome at times, I find myself complaining and longing for the finish line, rather than seeing the purpose within the process.

The thing is, the Lord gives us everything we need, not what we think we need, when we think we need it.

The bumpy, messy times within our journey of life are the very times He wants to use to grow our capacity for the more He has for us.

This summer the journey felt pretty rough. There wasn’t a sense of normacy to say the least and I found myself thinking, “when this all ends I’ll get my life back”.

Here’s a recap that really only scratches the surface : Two-week road trip, months of remodel within our home-including no shower/bath, living in our RV for weeks, and a cloud of uncertainty regarding our children’s next season of education—it wasn’t comfortable. On many occasions, I found myself venting to the Lord and finding myself at such an emotional low.

This may seem like real “first world problems”, but it doesn’t always take a tragic event to get us discouraged. Its very often the build up of many little things.

Yet, now that I look back over the past three months, I see the sweet memories made, the laughs, and all of the new experiences for our children. I look at our almost finished home and I’m full of gratitude. Within all the photos from the summer, I see beauty, family, and real life—I see it all as God does…now.

The Lord has really been challenging me to live with His perspective NOW, not in retrospect. Our Father’s perspective is so much higher, so optimistic, so big-picture. I want His perspective in the mundane times, and in the chaotic times.

Putting our life on hold, complaining, not running the race fully, and seeing burden more than blessings only keeps us going around the same mountain of discontentment.

I can’t help but think of the Israelites. We all know the story–the Israelites made what should have been a two-week journey into a 40-year journey and never made it to the promise land. Yet, all along the Lord’s presence and provision hovered over them in the form of a cloud. All they had to do was look up to where their help came from.  Instead, they traded God’s long term, all-encompassing perspective in for their immediate-right in front of them perspective.

Much like the Israelites we all want rescued, and set free. But the thing is, the Lord already died to give us that freedom. It’s already ours.

Have you ever tried to rescue someone from a negative situation, yet once you did, they fell back into bondage again? In the same way–

We are rescued, but if we don’t grab hold of God’s perspective, we’ll just fall back into the prison we came from.

Freedom is worth claiming, believing, and fighting to remain in.

Let’s determine today– no more believing lies, no more going around the same mountain. Freedom is here and it all starts with taking on God’s perspective now, not “when we get our lives back”.

On This Day- Hurricane Harvey

On This Day- Hurricane Harvey

On this very day last year Hurricane Harvey hit the town that has our hearts–Port Aransas, Texas. (as well as many other places in Texas who are just as important, but this post is about our personal story :).  This category four storm left behind complete devastation. The wave line in the photo below marks how high the standing water was when we arrived to see the damage. Due to water damage and mold, we were forced to gut everything and start over. The cost of new equipment and rebuild seemed so unattainable at the time. In the emotion of it all, we truly questioned whether it was worth it to spend so much to rebuild, not knowing how long it would take Port Aransas to be what it once was. But, we ultimately decided to try again because we love the people and the town and could not imagine not being part of it long term. With the love and support of family and community we were able to rebuild!

Today this shop is more beautiful than ever before. And truly, our amazing managers Matt and Sarah, along with our staff have poured their time and love into making this shop what it is today. They truly have a heart for the people of Port Aransas and it shows. With their help, we’ve had several record sales days and have regained our consistent business flow as if nothing ever happened!  We are thankful beyond words for the support we’ve been shown this year. Most of all thankful that our God restores all that is lost and makes it new again—even better than we could’ve imagined. 💕

For a more detailed version of this story as well as photos of the initial destruction and rebuild process, simply click the link to see my previous posts: “Unified Front: Hurricane update” and  “Coffee Waves Port Aransas Restored”

Oh and by the way, we went bright and Blue. ALL THINGS NEW. 🙂

 

Zion turns 4!

Zion turns 4!

My little guy is obsessed with bugs…well, bugs, Paw Patrol, and bacon that is. Those are his three main loves in life. So since he requested a bug themed party, that’s what I gave him. I do what any mother would do and first look on Pinterest, but this time there was nothing there of any help for me. I don’t really do characters or overly bright and busy parties, so I kind of put my own twist on it (as usual) and he loved it all the same!

Also, I basically only decorated one table and kept the party outside to minimize the mess. I’m super short on time, so I am just going to share the cute photos and details I can think of at the moment. Please let me know if I miss something that you’re curious about! 🙂

By the way, those little European looking trunks are his favorite because they are so comfortable. I think he looks super cute and true to his Greek genes! haha. When he’s older, he will probably not love me for it though 🙂 I order a few different colors them from Mini Boden each year.

On our outside patio table, I just free hand sketched some bugs on butcher paper with a white chalk marker to create a simple coloring table runner. Other than that, most natural looking cups, plates, and wooden forks were from Amazon. I used a bug stamp and brown party bags from Hobby Lobby to create treat bags. Inside the bags I put mini bug collecting jars, bug stamps, and stickers, and candy of course! I forgot to get a pic of those goodies 🙂

I have a bunch of white dishes I use for numerous occasions and used my own plants to add to the bug/outdoor vibe on the table. Oh, and those black cases of bugs are from a local shop and I put our own bugs he collected inside of them. I love how they have an antique feel since the cases were truly antique. The cake was Made by the talented Sheridan! It looks great and tasted amazing too! Thank you Sheridan!

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All party details aside, it was such a sweet time. Great swim weather, no mosquitos (thank the Lord), and lots of laughs. I am so beyond thankful for the community and family we are so blessed with. And more than that, I am so in love with this little blue eyed boy of ours. He’s a mommas boy and I love everything about the way God created him. He’ll always be mommas baby.

Things I’m loving right now

Things I’m loving right now

This post may seem a bit random, but I felt like mixing things up and sharing some lifestyle type posts, because, well, there’s a whole lot more to me than spiritual posts. Being a Pastor’s wife and co-leading our church and being a momma and wife are my main passions for sure. But, after that are a ton of other likes and passions that I enjoy sharing too. So, you’ll be seeing posts from me about my life in general–from watercolor, to mom-life, plant care, remodel projects, party detail and who knows what else. I hope you enjoy 🙂

So, today I thought I’d share some of the things I’m loving right now! I’ll share the product and let you know why I love it. All titles connect you to the source if you’re interested and nothing I mention is a sponsored item. They are all things I’m truly just into right now and you just might be too…

Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer

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I cannot tell you how much I love this product. That’s why it gets to be number one. Months ago, my hair was starting to feel super dry and even crunchy for whatever reason. So, I went on a search for a product that would help soften without it feeling like I had product in my hair. I Apply this after I wash my hair at night and let it air dry (because I have kids and I don’t have time for blow drying :)) But, very, very rarely I get enough motivation to blow dry my hair after washing. I brush the product through and it never fails to leave my hair so soft and takes away the dry. It also smells great and works as body lotion too. I use it on my kid’s hair after swimming and it helps keep their hair soft and detangled as well.

Patricia Nash Purse:

I’m officially out of the baby phase which means I do not need to pack a suitcase every time we leave the house! I can now enjoy a real purse because I can get by with just my phone, credit cards, and ID!!! That is worth celebrating guys… It’s the little things. I also love that it is real leather which means it will last forever and ever amen.

Coldbrew + almond milk:

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Maybe because our Coffee shop, Coffee Waves makes the best cold brew ever, and maybe because I’m kind of caffeine obsessed, but this is my go to coffee drink these days. Sometimes I mix it up and have an almond milk latte, but not often. Give me an iced, cold brew with a splash of almond milk and I’m a happy girl…and I like it as soon as I wake up too. If you truly love coffee, you’ll love it. Also, super low on calories—winning!

My herb garden:

I planted five different herbs in my back yard and I am loving the fact that I can go out and grab what I need at any time. I am also loving the process of drying or freezing them to preserve them, so that they don’t go to waste.

Juicing:

I juice for at least one meal a day lately which may seem crazy, but gosh it gives me so much energy. Here are a few of my favorite fruits and veggies to combine. If you look up all the health benefits of each of the veggies, turmeric, ground ginger, etc., they’ll surly convince you to give juicing a try!

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Bethel Kids Album: Bright ones

My kids have always loved the previous Bethel kids album, but we had kind of worn it to the ground. I for one, was ready to move on…thank goodness for this. They sing all the words and love the “Bright ones” song the most. Dance parties are a regular occurrence with this album and it’s so sweet hearing them sing truth.

And there you have it, what feels like the most random post I’ve ever posted. So, just what are you guys loving right now. Tell me all of the things!