The post I thought I’d never publish:

Outfit details here

Holiday breaks do some great things for you, yes? I had Wednesday through the weekend off work, so I committed to taking a break from all things social media. You didn’t see any new blog posts, Instagram posts, etc, and that was purposeful.

This blogging space of mine has pushed and pulled me into a new person. I’ve stayed up many late nights (and early mornings!) writing, editing, emailing, publishing, scheduling social media, organizing future posts and dreaming for this space. It taught me so much discipline and brought me a lot of joy.

But during this four and a half day holiday break, when I let myself slow down for the first time in a long while, the questions I’ve kept locked in the back of my brain surfaced and were confirmed: I need a break.

After a lot of discussion with Jacob, I’m taking a sort of blogging “sabbatical.” For at least the month of January, I’m going to spend the hours I’m not working, volunteering for church or exercising doing things I love but often neglect for the sake of this blog. Remember my 10 Secret Dreams I published last month? I’m talking about those.

I’m talking about really sitting in Scripture with a mind that isn’t also tallying the tasks I need to do in the back closet. I’m talking about writing for the sake of being honest with my own heart in a way that doesn’t require publishing immediately. I’m talking about restringing my guitar and letting words marry a melody that makes my heart sing from its depths.

I’m letting myself remember I love to be creative, and that can look different every single day.

Friends, thank you for meeting me here. Thank you for encouraging me through all of the big steps in blogging and walking alongside of me through serious heart work. Thank you for cheering me on when I walked out onto new limbs and for coming back here so often. You guys are awesome. You are the reason I love this space so much and why it took me so long to admit I need this little break.

Thank YOU for reading, for commenting, for emailing, for sharing on your social media platforms and for being my cheerleader. I’m still yours.


It’s okay not to have babies

If we were 100% in charge of the timing, Jacob and I very clearly tell people we aren’t ready to have kids. But in all reality, I know we aren’t in charge of that timing, so I’ve been hesitant to write out this post in case the next week our entire reality changes. 😉

But it’s my blog, so I can do what I want here, and I want to document these feelings. We have several good friends who are expecting, for whom we are very excited, but it’s weird to be in that stage where now announcing babies is almost more typical than announcing engagements.

The more we talk about kids, though, and think about how much our lives would drastically change once we have them, we aren’t ready. We’ve been married for two years, but there’s still so much I have to learn about Jacob… not to mention how to love him and honor him and minister to him above anyone else on earth! I can’t imagine how complicated that gets when you throw kids into the mix – I don’t want our lives to become so focused on our children that we lose each other! Is that a normal fear to have?

It often feels like you’re supposed to go to college, get married, have babies, grow them up, send them to college, etc… those are just the steps you’re supposed to take. But they aren’t required and they definitely shouldn’t be rushed. I don’t want to live my life always looking to the next thing – I want to be happy with where I am now. God has given me so much, in such abundance… and most of which I don’t even appreciate fully.

But most importantly, and maybe even more truthfully, neither one of us feels the tug to have kids right now… and that’s enough reason not to. Granted, if tomorrow I found out I was pregnant, we would be excited and life would move forward in a drastically new way. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not wishing for that every day. We just aren’t there yet, and that’s okay.

So for those of you in similar places, it’s okay. If you aren’t sure about having kids, that’s okay. There’s no pressure – it isn’t something you just follow the crowd into doing. If you do want kids, that’s awesome, too. That’s the beauty about life – we can (mostly) go where we want to go, when we’re ready to try it. There may be obstacles, or giant mountains, blocking the way, but that’s part of the ride. Your adventure is yours. Don’t let anyone else pressure you to do something you aren’t interested in or ready to do.

What are your thoughts? If not about babies, do you feel pressured in another area of life? I hope these words today can give you strength to go where you feel lead, not where you feel pushed.

Let’s play catch up :)

Coffee Dates

So much has been going on lately, I felt the need to retreat back to the mindset that first created this blog. It was to keep people up to date with our lives. So for today, we are doing just that.  We can pretend we’re sitting across from each other with the drink of your choice (mine would be a half caramel, half vanilla latte.. yum!), while we get to catching up!

+ The past couple weeks I have felt overwhelmingly tired almost all the time. I think I had been going high speed for so long that once things finally slowed down, my body rebelled and now I can’t get myself back up to speed again. The nights are getting cooler and cooler (as are the days!), and we all know that signifies fall’s approach. Come September, we will be in full swing with youth group, high school small groups, our small group and the new Thursday night service our church is launching, so it’s about to get busy up in this house here. For now, I’m trying to soak up cuddly couch evenings, reading for fun lunch breaks and the general quietness before the craze strikes.
+ Speaking of reading for fun, I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter books. I started less than a week ago and I’m already into book three – you can blame the lack of blog posts on that and the fact my laptop died. Thankfully, we have a desktop, but after sitting at my desk all day long for work, the last thing I want to do afterwards is move to another desk to stare at another screen. I’ll get it all figured out soon enough, but for now I’m loving this flashback to my childhood.
+ To be honest, working from home has it’s good days and it’s very bad ones. There are many days I’m so thankful for the freedom that comes with working from home:  I have yet to wear heels since we moved, I can get more laundry done during the week, I can sleep in later than before, and I’m most definitely ready to go to our evening commitments most nights, since I’ve been cooped up all day. Unfortunately, though, there are a lot of rough days, too. Some days I can’t handle how cooped up I feel, or the fact I am by myself all day long. I’m such a people person, that is the biggest struggle for me.+ Working from home has also proven yet again that words of affirmation is my love language. With the days being so up and down emotionally/mentally for me, words of affirmation goes far to refresh my spirit. It’s funny, because I’ve noticed that what starts as a “horrible day” quickly changes when I get off the phone from hearing affirming words… it’s like I did a 180. Seeing that blatantly clear yesterday was a good reminder that, while it’s a fine love language and my natural bent, it isn’t where I need to base my worth or value as an employee (or person! or friend! or wife! fill in the blank here…).  I need to remember that I’m valued even when I don’t hear those words out loud. Shew, being an adult is hard sometimes!

+ I’ve been bringing some students with me to church for the last few weeks and they are getting baptized this Sunday! It has been so awesome to get to know those girls more on a personal, in-your-life kind of level and it’s so exciting to walk alongside of them as they discover more of who God is and what it looks like to follow him! You can say a prayer of praise for them today, and maybe also a prayer for continued wisdom and devotion to God. I am so encouraged by getting to see his tangible work in them.
+ I think I’ll actually be running a half marathon in October! I have a few running buddies here, one of whom will be running the race with me. I’m so proud of how much we are growing in discipline in our running and how much her friendship has been a blessing to me. Running is a great excuse to hang out with people, y’all!!
+ I’ve also been doing yoga since we moved, which is something I’ve always wanted to try, but didn’t know where to start. I have several yogi friends here who have scooped me right up and convinced me it’s awesome! I’ll be taking my last class covered by the Groupon I bought soon, so I’m on the hunt for a studio to join. Seeing as I work from home, all my friends in this city are from church! I’m hoping to join a studio to meet people outside of CrossWay and to connect with the community.
+ It seems like everyone is having babies. It’s so crazy that now having babies is almost as normal as getting engaged/married. No worries, friends, we are not having them anytime soon, if we can help it 😉
+ With this down time, I’ve had a lot of heavy topics swirling my mind. I have many blog post drafts about all of those thoughts, but they are taking some serious emotional effort to finish… So I’ve been taking my time. Sooner or later (read: next week), I’ll publish them and I’m very eager to hear your thoughts/opinions/commentary.
Okay, enough about me! What’s new with you? Also, what is your drink of choice? While I love my go-to drink, I could stand to try something new next time I’m at a coffee shop….

In Another Life I’d Be…

In another life, I’d be a rockstar. Every once in a while I daydream about singing for a living. Touring, getting all glammed up, recording in the studio and having a “fan club” (don’t judge). This usually gets stirred up whenever we watch The Voice, but I’ve even blogged about that secret dream before. It’s been deep inside me for a long time. But, then reality kicks in and I realize how hard it would be to have a family and deep community in that always-on-the-go lifestyle.

In another life, I’d be an explorer. The free spirit in me often gets stamped out by my type A personality, but it’s in there. Sometimes I dream about just taking off and backpacking through the world. Oh, the life of exploration – isn’t it enticing? Instead, we’re going to explore the 48 peaks in NH over 4000 ft. That’s the closest we can get for now ;).

In another life, I’d have taken my horse with me to college. There are days, especially early in the morning after a rain when the air feels cool and smells so clean, that just take me back to the days I’d spend at the barn growing up. I miss that life often. Sometimes I wish I had taken it more seriously and ridden for my college’s equestrian team. Of course, that means I wouldn’t have gone to Milligan, wouldn’t have met Jacob, and wouldn’t be in NH now… so I’m glad I didn’t. I love the way the Lord lead me to this life, but, you know, in another world.. 😉

In another world, I’d be a published author. No, my blog doesn’t count. I’d love to write a book. There is something about putting words on paper that helps me reach into the deepest parts of myself that I just can’t get anywhere else. Maybe some day this one will become a reality in this world. We shall see.

It blows my mind to sit down and think about all the paths that led me here to this point. So many things happened just at the right time to get me here. I could have chosen the paths above, and many more variations, but I’m here and I’m happy. I’m thankful for where I am – and how God has patiently walked me through my bad decisions in life, but also protected me from making more. He is good, and I’m ready and buckled in to see where he takes us in the years ahead.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. {Psalm 23}

Looking back at all the turns my life has taken, I’m thankful for where he has led me.

You Are More Than Your Sin

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sin. Every once in a while, I’ll think about things I’ve done and cringe… then cringe more when I remember other people witnessed me doing those things, heard about me doing them, or participated in them with me. These things are exactly what I try to block out and am tip-toeingly quiet about sharing with anyone.

While this past weekend away was refreshing, the car ride home with some new friends (and ladies my own age!) was tenfold. We shared what we are learning in our relationships with Christ now and, to say the least, they aren’t light things. God is getting involved with us, right to the nitty gritty things that make you feel downright mortified at the thought that God knows these things about you. The things you rarely share, because you feel so much shame and guilt inside just at the thought of it. The things Satan tells you make you worthless and undeserving of being rescued. The things that you wish you could do over, but can’t.

The more I’ve been thinking about those things, the more I’ve realized it’s Satan who is telling me I should be mortified. It’s him who’s telling me I’m unworthy of leading younger girls and being a wife and whatever else you can fill in the blank with. He’s telling me lies, and I’ve been believing him.

It struck me this weekend that those things I want to hide so much, they don’t define me. But you know what they do define? They allow others to see God in all his glory, his patience, his unstoppable love and his overflowing mercy. When I was in the middle of all of that sin, God loved me. He knew me, he knocked at my door waiting for me to turn to him. He spared his Son knowing that I would do those awful things – I would think those awful thoughts, I would choose popularity, pleasure, acceptance, and so much more before him, but he kept on knocking.

But the ugliness of that sin – yes, it is ugly – doesn’t stop there. Because God chose me in my weakness, that ugly sin shows the great, great glory of our King and our Savior. The ugliness of my sin shows how wide of a gap God chose to bridge with the sacrifice of Christ. The ugliness of our sin shows the great height, width, depth, and breadth of God’s love for all of us. So today I’m choosing to stop believing the lies that I am what I’ve done. Because God took what I’ve done, wiped it away, and loves me anyway. I am made new in the likeness of Christ, because he paid the price for those sins. And those very sins are what makes God’s story so beautiful.

So, friends, if you’re struggling with the things you have done and feeling the weight of those sins, remember the truth: your sin doesn’t define you, because Christ does. And your past sin that makes you ashamed – don’t let it. Don’t believe the lies that Satan is telling you. The ugliness of those sins does nothing more than show God in all of his glory, and Satan wants anything but that. Don’t believe him today.

Therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him as thus no longer. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [2 Corinthians 5:16-21]

I hope you can embrace those sweet words today, I’m working on it, too.

To him be the glory,

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Sometimes I just need to confess…

Sometimes I have thoughts that aren’t quite enough to flesh out into their own blog post, but they deserve to be recorded in some form or fashion. So here we go:

+ I walked past this house yesterday and just had to turn around to get a picture. I decided the parents in this house must be awesome.

+ I found my first few gray hairs a few months ago (I’m twenty-three) and I don’t pluck them out. I like to keep them because I’m absolutely behind Proverbs 16:31 (Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life). I’m proud of them, actually.

+ On Fridays I let myself work in my pajamas – it’s like a treat. And on Thursday nights I’m legitimately excited to sleep in and sip coffee while I wake up and get to work.

+ Our new car makes me feel like a million bucks even though it’s just a Honda Civic… I mean, come on, that’s the most practical and non-flashy car there is.

+ I get all my best ideas when I start washing my face before bed. It exhilarating, but also annoying because I can’t sit down and write the way I want to write.

+ I ran 5 miles last night for the first time since we moved!! It felt awesome, but I definitely started to feel it in the last quarter mile.

+ I made my first few sales in my new shop! I’m so excited to grow and water this little project of mine. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!

PS – Be sure to follow my new shop on Instagram @MagnoliaStreetShop for updates on new listings!