Category Archives: faith + god

Shop Small :: The Wooden Lane

Thank you, The Wooden Lane, for sponsoring this post, part of the 2017 Shop Small Spring series. I was selected for this opportunity by The Wooden Lane; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Shop Small

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
John 1:16 ESV

I needed this sign for my office. There are many blessings that come with a work-from-home job, but sometimes if I can be honest for a moment, it is lonely. It is taxing. It is hard. I am either frustrated because I cannot get a hold of somebody to move forward with my work or I cannot get myself motivated because of the household chores. You never “leave work” and the day is never “done”.

But this little beautiful reminder keeps me happy. Do not hear what I am not saying. I LOVE my job. I LOVE working from home. I LOVE the flexibility that it provides. I LOVE my coworkers, my company, and everything about it. But there are days that are hard just like any job and now I look up at my beautiful sign by The Wooden Lane and reminder myself “grace upon grace”. Give grace to others. Give grace to ourselves.

On more of a decor-side-of-things, I also just adore that this print is not in a stereotypical frame. It gives it so much character and it is printed in such great quality canvas. All of the shop owner, Rachel’s, items are handmade with wood with all the natural elements of wood, knots and all. I love that she chooses to let the natural beauty of the wood shine through and many of her items are distressed to give the appearance of age. And they are so well priced too!!

Her shop is packed full of gifts for spring birthdays, Mother’s Day gifts, or wedding gifts. If you hop over to her shop down and use the code “20off”, you can also received 20% off your entire order! How neat is that!?

Shop Small

Shop Small

Check out a little bit more about Rachel, the owner of The Wooden Lane:

How did you get your shop started?
I guess you could say it all started with a miter saw I received for Christmas in 2013. I’ve always loved design and diy projects so I quickly became obsessed with working on new ideas with wood. I realized I couldn’t constantly replace my old décor when I still loved it. So I started thinking on how I could turn it into a business. I read and studied everything I could about Etsy and eventually opened a shop in February of 2014.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
Balancing my time! I love what I do but at the same time, I’m not super woman…I still get tired and stressed at times while trying to be mom and housewife at the same time. When running a business from home, it’s hard to forget about it and take a break when I need to. My to-do list is always staring at me!

What is one thing unique about you?
I’m a homeschooling mom of 2… One is graduating this year! YAY!!!

What is the best part of owning a shop?
Freedom to work from home whenever I want to… because I love being home!

How did you get your shop name?
I don’t really have a very sweet story for that. It wasn’t my first choice actually! When you’re starting a shop on Etsy, the name has to be completely original. I thought some of my first choices were very original but ended up being taken already. After playing with many different words, I finally came up with one that no one had.

What is one way that you keep organized?
Lots of notes! I’m a bit old school when it comes to organization. I don’t use any fancy apps or computer software. I will use my “Notes” app in my phones and “Pinterest” for keeping up with ideas. I do my bookkeeping handwritten in a ledger. My big business brother thinks I’m ridiculous but that’s what I’m comfortable with. I have a notebook to keep up with orders and a dedicated work space for storing supplies.

How do you balance family life and work life?
As I said earlier, it’s a daily struggle! My husband helps me on the weekend with orders so I don’t get too overwhelmed during the week. My kids even help with cleaning and cooking! So we’re all in it together! I do try to shut down by a certain time in the evening so that both my mind and body can be there for my family.

5 Verses on Prayer

5 Verses on PRAYER

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

5 Verses on Joy

5 Verses on JOY

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

5 Verses on Grace

5 Verses on Grace

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-9

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:12-21

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6

5 Verses in the Midst of Change

5 Verses in the MIDST OF CHANGE

It is no surprise among my family and friends that I do not like change. Change itself is super good, but the unknown to me brings me a lot of anxiety and my need for control takes over. Having a baby has a lot of change that comes along with it. The unknown of when, how, and all of the other little details had me trying to control other things in my life that had nothing to do with the baby… just because I needed something to hold on to. I made lists for the house of to-do’s and acted like they were life or death situations and cleaned areas of our home that had NEVER been touched. I planned out our weekends down to the minute for weeks and many of other things.

It was really until the last month of pregnancy that I began to sit still in the midst of all of the change. I really felt the overwhelming desire not to control anything and let God be in control. These verses really helped me through those last few weeks.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:6-8

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

5 Verses for My Newborn

5 Verses for MY NEWBORN

For Their Salvation
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10

For Their Trust in the Lord
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

For Their Spirit to be Humble and Teachable
The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33

For Their Patience and Peace
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Romans 14:19

For Their Future
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

5 Verses on Patience

5 Verses on Patience

These past few weeks have been full of me needing loads of patience. Patience in the midst of feeling like this pregnancy would never end. Patience with people asking me the same questions over and over, like “are you ready?”, “tell him to hurry up already”, and “how are you feeling?”. Patience with each day as they started to get slower and slower. Patience with my body as it has prepared for birth.

I have been sitting in these verses and felt like I should share them with you this Friday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. Psalm 37: 7-9

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us Hebrews 12:1

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus Romans 15:5

Up, Up, and Away

A trip to Dallas is in the books. A leadership conference is over. A long weekend with friends all learning about how to be better church planters… done.

I had such a blessed weekend. As we flew back from Texas, I sat on the plane and stared out at the sunset. We had prayed for this. We had asked God for some deep connections and friendships. We found them in the most unexpected place.

Wrapping up the #a29dallas conference today. Learning so much about what it means to be and grow #healthyleaders within the church. #weareheights

Now I know that sounds just silly on the surface. You mean, I can find good Godly-centered friendships in church?! Who would have thought? Ha.

Honestly though, most of the people around us now on a daily basis are from a previous life. It is like cuddling up in your favorite sweatshirt from high school. The relationships were already there, just disconnected. Some friends from college, some from a previous church, some that was part of “our crew” years ago… It is truly amazing how I looked around the airplane and saw the faces of memories from the past and memories yet to come.

Traveling does something to my heart. Alone or with a large group. With my travel buddy (my husband) or a bunch of strangers. Traveling gets my heart going and feeling and loving in a way that I lose at home. It gets me out of my comfort zone a bit. It grants me reflection time, reading time, reviewing time. I spent more time with music and a book than normal, and I am surround by others that are going somewhere for something.

It is magical to me.

I have been thinking a lot about that since I have landed. How crazy is it that it took a trip across the country for me to realize how much God had blessed us with our friendships? What can I do to add that reflect and review time to my daily life?

Discipline.

I’m not really sure what this looks like yet, but I know that discipline is the answer.

Going into these wintery months I am going to strive for this discipline to take place. I will keep you updated.

savior + smartphone :: my devotionals

savior + smartphone -- my devotionals

I have spent my entire life attached to things. When I was a child, I was attached to my books. I always had a book and was always getting told pay attention to the world around me, look out the window in the car, be present. But I was in my book.

These days, it is my phone. I am always on my phone — sometimes reading a book, sometimes disappearing into my social media. Social media, and our smartphones, can be can be super destroying to relationship and our generation; however, I truly believe that they can be used as such a great tool as well.

This month I am really making an effort to make small footprints into my prayer time, reading time, studying time, time connecting with God. If I can hear the Lord better and understand more of what direction He wants me in, more of what He wants to me say and do, I am sure that I can reflect that better to make more footprints, deeper impressions in others lives.

My dilemma was down to this: What can I do to incorporate this in every moment of my life? How can I ensure it is not just 30 minutes in the morning or 10 sleepy minutes at night? Or the…I forgot, got busy, too tired, do it tomorrow situation that makes me feel bad?

My smartphone.

So with months of research and practice, I have compiled a list of how my smartphone and Savior connect daily, hourly, every moment for me.

1. SheReadsTruth app (free w/ in-app purchases)

I am completely hooked to SheReadsTruth. Their devotionals are so powerful, and this year they introduced a “read through the Bible in a year” program that I love! The app itself is free; however, the majority of their devotionals are a couple of bucks. But you can also view their devotionals on their website daily for free.

2. Prayer NB Lite app (free w/ in-app purchases)

I love my prayer notebook! It is something that I have always tried to do outside of my phone, in an actual journal, but I have always failed miserably. Prayer NB allows you type up your own prayers and store them underneath categories. You can come up with very personal prayers or sometimes, I look on the Internet and copy and paste more specific prayers related to scripture. You can set up reminders to take a moment and pray for your husband or children at a certain time each day and check them off when they are answered! For months, I have been praying the same prayer for our new home every morning, the family that lives there, the carpenters that built those walls. Each Sunday right before church, a short prayer for those friends that I have that are pastors and for their family. The opportunities are endless.

3. Bible+ app (free)

The Bible+ app is a super app! It is more than just the Bible and provides “outstanding commentaries, maps and dictionaries for an in-depth study experience”. Easy to take notes, bookmark, and highlight!

4. Evernote app (free)

The Evernote app has been designed for the business world. It’s a note taking application that is the place “to collect inspritational ideas, write words, and move your important documents from one place to another”. But I use it for everything. For blogging on the go, to remember things I do not want to forget — like quotes and groceries, to utilizing it as a Bible tool. I’m a huge note taker when it comes to learning, but writing in church during a sermon or even taking notes on a podcast about intentional living or scripture is difficult. I forget my pen, my handwriting is too sloppy, I just get distracted because I do not write fast. Enter Evernote. I can type some quick notes as I hear them on my phone or computer! I keep a running log of scriptures for certain things in one “note” while I can open up another “note” to write deeper on a quote or message I heard at church a few days earlier. It is the perfect tool.

5. Spotify app (free w/ in-app purchases)

I am also a big music person. I connect more and write more and reflect more when there are tunes in the background. Spotify is my go-to for music these days. Yes, I pay the $9.99 a month for no ads and other features, but it can definitely be utilized for free. Over Advent season I had my own playlists and borrow many from other major churhces, blogs, and even SheReadsTruth. Worshipping can be done in so many ways, but singing is definitely what makes me feel connected and in tune. Spotify is by far my choice for music listening.

Smartphones can be a wonderful tool to connect with our Savior. Some of these things I have to purposefully schedule into my day; some remind me

What devotional apps do you enjoy?

 

unfamiliar waters

The Future Is Bright Banner

Half way through the month, and I still do not see a habit forming. I felt discouraged the other day by it. That maybe I took on too much in the midst of so much change.

I typically deal well with organized change. Change that is made by somebody else’s decision. Change that is brought on by an organization or a business. Change that I cannot control, I handle quite well. I step back; I can clearly see the good of the change; I help be an supporter or a leader of the change even. I know from the moment that the change is announced that the change is out of my control and allow God to take control. This came from being with many organizations over the years that thrived on change. Four large-scale organizational changes in seven years with my previous employer broke me in, allowed me to accept, learn, and change quickly. Sink or swim. Accept the change or start struggling at my job.

Change that I can control though…I am a basket case. Change that I brought onto myself…I consistently wonder if I made the right choice. Was there something else that I could have done better or different in the change to make it easier?

I have mentioned a bit on my social medias that we moved Christmas week.

It seemed like a fantastic idea at first. We had all of this planned time off to pack and move and unpack. But as the move inched closer, there were little things that broke me. We couldn’t put up the Christmas tree. Our house was in boxes the weekend before the festivities. As presents were wrapped, they were organized in labeled brown, ugly boxes. As presents were unwrapped, they were also organized in mislabeled brown, ugly boxes to be opened at a to-be-determined date. Two days after Christmas we packed all of our belongings into a storage unit for hours. Those holidays we were off work was not spent with family and friends, but cleaning the floors and refrigerator and toilet. The holidays came and went and there was little rest, little reflection of the Gospel…just rush.

Once the year started, it hit me like a ton of bricks and once again God reminded me of His grace and forgiveness and love. But with two weeks of “investing” my January to Him, there are still things that remain unfamiliar waters, unfamiliar territory that remind me again and again that this is not a change that I can control. It makes me break because I am weak. But He allows me to return to Him daily, broken, to renew.

Lysa TerKeurst

Why is it that the unfamiliar waters sometimes points out our feelings of uncomfort? The grocery store. The ability to walk into the “my” grocery store and go straight to the milk without being disoriented. Knowing that I need to get the coffee before I pick up the sugar because that is how the store is laid out. The little things of comfort.

A home church. Exploring new churches, connecting in new ways, unveiling new friendships and community that God had in store for us…I was so excited. But when it was time to go to a new church, to find a new home, I was timid and afraid. I have overthought every service I have stepped in. I have looked to God for a big, flashing sign outside one of the hundreds of churches in town, telling us which one to go to. The unfamiliar waters.

My commute. Knowing which way is the best to go in the morning. Expecting the sudden stops in the midst of the city’s twists and turns. Anticipating a current arrival time based off of where you are on the highway at what time. The unfamiliar waters.

A coffee shop. Where to go with that pick atmosphere, with the sounds of brewing in the background, without the noisy teenagers in the corner goofing off, where I can work and get things done. Where I can walk in and there is always an available seat or couch. Where I can work through things with my photography. My blog. My faith. The unfamiliar waters.

A grocery store. A home church. My commute. A coffee shop. Three meaningless things, one more meaningful…but these are the the things that make our change seem real and rough. Something that I wish I could take a hold of and control to make things go better. To progress forward into comfort. To get that feeling of home again.

I think that my month of “investing” was placed at the perfect time though. It really has forced me into thinking more about how I can invest directly into the things that make me feel comfortable again. Once I find a grocery store that I like, maybe I could get to know one or two of the checkers, invest in them. Once I find a home church, dive deep and head first, without waiting to people to talk to us or invite us in. Redeeming my commute with more time invested into learning about the Lord. Investing into a local, small coffee shop to help their business and invest into the community even more. Change has helped me “invest”.

How is your month going? I would love to hear about it.

photo credit :: JimmyMarble

photo credit :: proverbs 31