Thursday, 31 May 2012

Random Things.


I’m linking up with Sweet Nicole today for her ‘Speed date’link up
Awesome way to get to know a few really great bloggers out there.
So the idea is that I share some things that haven’t come up on my blog through my posts yet.
So I will give it a try anyway.



I am British. Although if you met me you probably wouldn’t be able to tell as I don’t have much of an accent anymore.

Some days I feel like Mary Poppins. Or a mother to 7-9 children.



I LOVE chocolate.

I moved around a lot growing up. I have lived in England, Europe, the Middle East and now the US. I have learned to see the current place I live as home. Maybe I’m just pretty adaptable =). The only country where it took me a long to settle was my 'home' country. Weird.

I gave my life to Jesus when I was 7 years old at a kid’s camp, where later I worked as a youth leader.

I played the flute for 9 yrs during school, taking some exams in it...then stopping when school finished.

I taught myself how to play piano in high school. 



I absolutely LOVE craft projects, scrapbooking, sewing, quilting, bead-making...you name it.

 My current project is making a Disney castle out of cardboard complete with Disney princess cut-out characters. This is done with a 4 yr-old don’t worry, not doing it by myself LOL =)

I never really did outgrow Disney and cheesy movies. Some of my favorite memories are sleepovers with girlfriends talking & hanging out.

I really dislike girl drama.



I met my husband when we both went to AWANA together. I liked the look of him the first time I saw him. I also introduced myself to him by walking up to him and standing on his feet. Apparently I scared him a little at the time.

After high school I didn’t know what I wanted to study at college, I took a gap year and interned with my youth group. During this time I discovered that I had a big heart for discipling younger girls! As well as a big heart for purity.

I got a purity ring from my parents after choosing to personally make a commitment to wait until marriage to give myself away to a guy. It was a plain band which my parents had engraved with ‘True Love Waits & the date I made the commitment.’ This ring became my husband’s wedding ring when we got married (his choice). 



When we were little, my sister and I spent a lot of time on boats. Our family owned a small sailboat where we used to spend summers and other vacations. We totally slept on it and bounced around in the cabin when the waters were rough.

I saved my first kiss for the altar as well, a decision that my hubby and I had made together after we officially started dating/courting. 

I went from having one sister to having 5 sisters once I got married. My sister is also soon to marry one of my hubby’s closest friends.

I have the cutest nephew ever! But don’t see him very often as he lives the other end of the country.

photo credit: My sister-in-Law


We live near my hubby’s crazy large extended family & I LOVE it so much!! They are all such wonderful people. 

Some days I don’t have the energy to do the laundry, cook dinner or make the bed....even though I wish I did. 

I am definitely a night owl. Once 10pm comes around, my brain usually comes up with TONS of fun projects or ideas and of course I want to start them right away!!

I always wish I had taken ballet or gymnastics when I was little.

I sometimes feel like Erin could have been my twin sister.



All of my best friends live in totally different cities to me. 

I broke my ankle on a trampoline when I was 18. Then went snowboarding for the first time 6 weeks after my cast came off. 

I may or may not have spoken to a celebrity about Christ while on a plane ride to LA. ;) Who knows.

I love to travel. One of my favorite memories is when the Lord called me to go on a mission trip to Africa 10 days before the trip was due to start. He opened all the doors for me to get the money & visas together in about 3 days. Which seemed impossible.


I Love sharing my heart about difficult life issues and feeling challenged by others about convictions and walking with the Lord.



I am super thankful for this crazy life the Lord has blessed me with.
There's many other things about me.
But for now, I will be done.
Any surprises for you guys?

Much Love,
L






This Little Momma

Pin It!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

[Letters on the Power of Words: Part 2] Venting.



Dear Younger Version of Myself,


In light of the content of the first part of this series on the power of words,
I wanted to take a moment to look at venting
(If you haven’t yet read part one about being an encourager with words....read it here.)



Venting is such a funny concept. 
I feel it is one that in the past I have used as an excuse for saying exactly what I what 
about a situation or a person, 
unfiltered and totally raw left open for the other person to process and interpret
I am beginning to feel the Lord changing my heart on this. 
Because the way I abused it in the past was far from how He would want me to use my words.
Speech is incredibly important
as I discussed in the last letter
And as much as we should seek to encourage others with our words, 
we do also get frustrated with things in life. 



So should we bottle this up and pretent it doesn’t exsist?
Over time the Lord has been revealing to me that the answer is No. 


He always longs to hear the things on my heart
to hear what I am struggling with.
He knows me better than anyone else, for He made me. 
He knows my thoughts already and still chooses to love me.
 Read that again slowly....crazy isn’t it!



'You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;

    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;

    you are familiar with all my ways.'
(psalm 139:1-3)



How can we discern He wants to hear what is on our heart or what we are struggling with when He already knows those thoughts? We can discern this from verses which talk about His character and those which show His interest in us.



'For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth 
to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.'
(2 Chronicles 16:9)


By praying and sharing things with the Lord
we involve Him in what is occurring in our everyday life. 
We invite Him to become involved
Prayer changes us, not God. 
We need Him, not the other way around.



'God does not change. God is a perfect God, and does not need to change.'
(Malachi 3:6)
 
When we seek Him, He changes us. 
He changes our heart and therefore we are able to graciously love others and speak kind words about others. 
Even in hard situations. 



For a few years now (yes, I have struggled to learn this concept) the Lord has been impressing in my heart that He should be the first place I go when I am frustrated or hurt or just feel the need to vent.
Also to remember that feeling a need to vent is not ungodly.
Hurt and anger are not sinful emotions.
How we then act determines whether they have lead to sin or been used to refine our character.




‘For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven....... A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.’
(Ecclesiastes 3:1,7-8)



While we are called to Him first
we are also commanded by the bible to live in community with others.
This involves being genuine, sharing struggles and areas of weakness. 
This is where I feel ‘venting’ comes in.
 But with it a caution to talk with the purpose of useful discussion of situations and not just complaining to other people. 


Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, 
you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
 But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 
 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.’ 
(Galatians 6:1-2)



‘Only as I depend on and trust in and fully disclose to the One who knows 
anyway will I be able to discern when I’m fine-ing someone who deserves genuine. 
We don’t have to tell everyone how we are doing.
 In fact, that would be a problem all by itself,
 trying to be intimate and vulnerable with everyone. 
But it is important that we tell someone. 
A lot of my own heartache and struggles with the fake fine mask could be overcome 
if I simple allowed myself to be honest with God and trust Him to lead me in being vulnerable with people.’
~Emily Freeman, Grace for the Good girl, p.56



Personally I totally agree it would be inappropriate, and not encouraging to others, 
if I told everyone I met when I have an issue with someone. 
When I am struggling...I feel it is totally appropriate to share what is going on with a few wise trusted friends so that we can avoid the pitfalls of pride in conflict. 
Pretending everything is fine can also give us a false sense of self-righteousness.....
we feel our side of a conflict is the correct side and don’t have anyone else to correct or show us otherwise if we never share our struggles



These few trusted individuals in my life have been carefully selected. 
There is no point in going to someone who will always tell me what I want to hear
as nice as that can be. 
The ladies currently in my life are precious!! 
They are totally invaluable at praying for me, 
correcting my attitude when necessary, encouraging me and pointing me to Jesus



A would also like to add that tone is important in this kind of conversation
as it shares whether you are complaining about someone or sharing struggles and situations for the purpose of prayer, encouragement or correction/advice. 
(You should listen to him L, he is often the one you turn to for these conversations)




I realise giving someone that kind of access to your feelings and heart is very scary
It has definitely meant I have had to share some ugly sin about myself with someone else. 
But it has also corrected my view of myself and weakened my pride
which although painful is good.
It also continues to show me that I am never without need of my Saviour.
My sin highlights my need for grace.



For that, I am thankful.


Much Love,


L



hairband: SweetnessItself
earrings: f21 (a few seasons ago)
top: Plato's Closet
Belt: Aeropostale
Jeans: Aeropostale
Earrings: Birthday gift
flip-flops: Payless Shoes
Bag: American Eagle Outfitters


Pin It!

Friday, 25 May 2012

[Letters on the Power of Words: Part I] Being an Encouragement.


Dear Younger Version of Myself,

I feel the need to share with you things I wish you knew already....things that I had hoped wouldn't take you so long to learn. 
Things that even at an older age, you feel you havn't grasped well-enough & can't learn fast enough.
I decided to organise my thoughts into a little mini-series of letters as there was too much content for one letter....


'Did you know that, on average, each of us speaks about twenty-five thousand words daily?' 
~ C.J. Mahaney, Humility


That is quite an interesting, thought-provoking quote. The Lord has been drawing my attention lately to how important my words are. He has really been working in my heart showing me how my words are capable of doing so much good when I encourage. But equally so harmful when I use them carelessly.




As you can probably tell from the quote, I have been reading through the book Humility by C.J.Mahaney again. I read it once before quite a while ago, however I picked it up again recently and since have read it another three times. There is just so much to take in, anyone else do that with good books?
One of his chapters is all about the power of words, conversation skills....whether our speech is really in line with God's intended purpose for it or reflecting pride within ourselves.


I have found this super challenging! I've been really thinking about how my words affect those around me.




You know that old English Nursery Rhyme you've known since you were little, L:


'Sticks and stones
May break my bones
But words will never hurt me.
''
 

 Whoever wrote that phrase....totally got it wrong.
Because words totally hurt. They damage.
Some of the worst hurts in life so far have been the unkind words of another person.


'The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.' 
{Proverbs 18:21}


'Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear..'
{Ephesians 4:29}  


Isn't that challenging!!! 'Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth'
....no specific time and place mentioned. 
It doesn't say except when people frustrate you....
or except when the person you are talking about is not around
The Lord has been nudging me to really be careful with my words even in these situations.
Even when I am frustrated.
If I am talking with a friend about someone else (when an offense has happened),
 I have begun to ask myself how I would feel if that person could hear what I am saying.
Tearing someone down, even when they aren't there is far from edifying (encouraging)...
it shows my heart toward them is far from loving and could even taint my friend's opinion of the person. 


 

The Lord has just graciously been showing me that negative speech, which is so easy for all of us, is not in line with Ephesians 4:29
It is not edifying to the friend listening either to tear another person down.



This does not mean that the only words to ever come out of your mouth will be always polite or flattery. But also truth
I am learning you can talk truth without tearing someone down.
It requires a lot of heart checks and grace dispensing
(See later letter for further thoughts on this topic.)


 
As I drove to meet a dear friend last week for a lunch date
 (you havn't yet met this precious girl, L). 
I started to pray that the Lord would use me in our conversation
That He would show me what He longed for me to say or how to respond while talking. 
There was no previous conflict or anything.
 I just prayed that He would use that conversation to edify her and encourage her in her walk with Him. 
I have been learning to seek wisdom from the Lord in conversations on what the other person needs to hear.

 Do they need to be encouraged? 
Do they need me to just listen? (a skill I am desperately trying to be better at)  
Do they need to be helped practically? 
How would I best be able to do that? 
Do they need to be reminded of forgiveness?

I am still a novice at this. But I am so thankful the Lord has been teaching me how to be encouraging.
I have no idea if I was an encouragement in that situation with my precious friend over lunch. 
But I hope I allowed the Lord to work in some way.




Being an encouragement is something so close to my heart.
I long to encourage you with my words here also. 
My prayer for you is that these words would do just that.


Much Love,
L



P.S. Letter to come on venting next....










 

Pin It!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Meet & Tweet.

One of my favorite things about blogging is the community. Especially Twitter.
It's a fun way to make some new blogging friends and keep in touch.

Here's how this Meet & Tweet works...

HOST

This week's co-hosts are:
Courtney from Baxtron Life
Jess from Jess Is More
Kendall from Songbirds and Buttons
Helen from Eat.Enjoy.Live.
Christine from The DIY Dreamer
Jennifer from Mommy Huh 

The Rules
1. Mandatory you follow your hosts
{They are the first 8 in the linky.}

2. Follow at least 5 new people via Twitter
{Or more! Introduce yourself... Its a great way to make new friends!}

3. Tweet about the Meet & Tweet!
You can use "Meet new friends & gain new followers! Join the Meet & Tweet at @_laurahernandez aka Our Reflection blog. I did! http://our-reflection.blogspot.com/"

4. Spread the word!
The more the merrier! Grab a button and add it to
your blog, Tweet or Facebook about the link up.
Our Reflection
<div align="center"><a href="http://our-reflection.blogspot.com/" title="Our Reflection"><img src="http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g383/_laurahernandez/MeetTweet-2.jpg" alt="Our Reflection" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

One lucky link up person will WIN a FREE
solo guest post on Our Reflection blog!
Drum roll please....
Last weeks Meet & Tweet winner is Amanda from Royal Daughter Designs.
Congratulations!

Please link up your Twitter account, not your blog.

Want to be a future co-host?
Only requirement is your become an Our Reflection sponsor.
Email me at momsgonnasnap@gmail.com.

Pin It!

Monday, 21 May 2012

{On My Heart} Why I Blog.


I set out this afternoon to write a post about something the Lord has been teaching me for a few weeks now. 
I still hope to share that content with you later in the week.
However as I was rereading the material which had been heavily placed on my heart I felt myself drawn to an article written by Leslie Ludy on blogging.


You can read the article HERE. (see p.8)

In fact if you are in love with Jesus & a blogger, I recommend that you do.



There are a lot of personal details about my life which I do not share on my blog.
Over the past few months I have wondered if I should change this about my blogging style.
After reading this article I feel personally convicted that actually keeping some mystery about my dreams & identity is a good thing.
I don't want my blog to read like a personal diary.
I am certainly not perfect & I don't claim to be. That is not why I keep mystery about myself.
But there are some things which I should share with only the lover of my soul, and the husband He has provided me with.


While this might make me unpopular in the blogging world.....I feel the need to make that clear.

My goal for my blog is to share Jesus.
To share things He has been teaching me.
To edify.
To encourage you in your own journey with Him.


That's it.


If I am not blogging to bring attention to Him, then I have not achieved my goal.
My blog, like my life....
Should be more about Him, Less about me.


I do share a lot of pictures.
That's probably one of the first things people who know me have learned about me.

I Love photography.
A lot of my pictures on my blog are of me.
I'm not totally ok with this.
So it may change in future.
If I lived near a sister or Kindred Spirit, I would probably use pictures of her.
(I have not figured out what Lord is wanting me to change yet in this area)



I just want to make it clear that I am not trying to draw attention to myself through this.
That is not my goal. And please feel free to email me and tell me if you see this pattern in me.


 'Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.'
{1 Peter 3:3-4}



I have gone back and forth a little lately about how content I am with the way my blog may be portrayed.
As much as I don't want my blog to be known as an 'all about me' blog....I equally don't want to be known for 'fake preacher' blogging.
So I really want to make my heart clear.....
I share here what the Lord has been teaching me personally, in the hope that you would be encouraged (edified). 
So that together we may spur one another on in our mutual love for the Lord.


I want you guys to test everything I write again the Word of God.
I am an imperfect person sharing from a sinner's perspective.
So please do not take what I have to say as truth.
Test it against the only true truth we have, God's word.
 I get things wrong.
A lot.

But there is grace.
And I am thankful.



For now, I do not feel the Lord calling me to stop blogging.
But He has made it perfectly clear to me, that I need to not hold onto this should He ask me to stop completely.
If I feel that I am no longer on a good path with influence in the blogging world, I will make a quiet exit


I Love meeting all of you beautiful ladies, I never knew that there was such a community out there of godly women who encourage me & really spur me on in my pursuit of Christ.
As much as I value getting to know you all.
I need to make sure my heart is right before the Lord.
Always.


I have not been questioned by anyone or asked to reassess whether I should blog.
I just felt a nudge to share my heart for why I am doing this.
Once again to encourage you.
I don't keep up with all the comments posted on here, 
and I am truly sorry but I can't make a committment to do so.
I would love to be encouraging you personally & know how to be praying for you, so if that is the case feel free to email me.

But comments, followers & pageviews need to not be so heavy on my radar anymore.
For they are not helping me with what I am trying to accomplish.
So I am not trying to be rude if I don't reply to you.

Just email me instead.
Or add me on twitter.

Much Love In Christ Sisters,

L
 



Pin It!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Fashion Attempt two.


So I realise I totally said my other post was my one & only fashion post.
And seriously I meant it at the time.
But I couldn't ignore the response I had to that post.
There are definitely better bloggers out there just FYI, I'm not pretending to be amazing or anything in any form.
But maybe....and I still mean maybe....I will give this a try.
I don't promise to post regularly or to be particularly helpful with my wardrobe (a lot of my stuff came from different countries).
But I can offer some of my favorite outfits as I wear them (and remember to take pictures of them).
And I still reserve the right to change my mind. Again.
They currently feel a little bit too much 'me' for my liking.....so we shall see if I keep them or not.


My wonderful husband seems to enjoy taking pictures of me since I asked him to be my photographer for these.
I am not the best model lol. You should see our attempts at taking these......
He totally has to tell me how to stand.
But he is so sweet about it & really helpful!!!!
And takes really nice pictures.
We really do all have talents even if they are not what you expect.
However, I can check modelling off my list of possible talents LOL.




Hat: Plato's Closet find.
Shirt: England...but I know Old Navy has similar.
Necklace: My own creation.
Belt: Aeropostale.
Jeans: Aeropostale.
Shoes: Charlotte Russe.

 Much Love,
L

Pin It!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Joy in Storms.




The natural flow of life, 
the ups & downs
are all a wonderful part of what shapes us and moulds us. 


'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose.'
{Romans 8:28}


A wise pastor once told me, during a time of great difficulty in my life,
 to pray that God would make me content with the trials in my life.
For those trials although difficult, were teaching me and growing me SO much.
To really see those challenges as a refining process.
To understand that comfortable should not be my goal in life.


'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,  
whenever you face trials of many kinds,  
 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.   
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, 
not lacking anything.'
{James 1:2-4} 


This can be such a hard concept when you are are in the midst of struggles and difficult situations.
I was hurt this past week by the action of another. 
My natural reaction was to try and hurt them back.
But as I have continued to pray and release it to God, the feelings of anger & bitterness have disappeared instead of taking root.
I have been able to respond lovingly in several situations despite previously wanting to hurt them in response.


This could only have been the Lord in my life.


Even though nothing is resolved in this situation or even remotely close to how I wish it would be, I find myself seeing good. Seeing an awareness of how to truly love others and deal with conflict. I feel the Lord continually speaking to me about these things.


How to be genuine.
Speak truth in Love.
Pour myself out for others.
Even when the response hurts.


I am continually pointed back to the cross.
Then so thankful.


I have had my eyes opened to see how Christ loves me even when my responses to Him are hurtful.
How much He still loves me.
He never gives up on me.
He continues to care.
How He loves.


 'Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
 it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.....'
{1 Cor 13:4-8} 



My flesh hates this lesson because most of my life, I have graciously had friendship reciprocated.
Given love to others and had it given back.
And the older I get, the more I am learning this is a beautiful gift.
We can't control how people choose to treat us in return.




We shouldn't give love only to get it back in return.
This is a hard concept especially if like me, you like to be liked and treated nicely in return for love you give to others. 
But it's totally self-seeking to love in this way.
The only person I am truly loving in that situation is myself, because I want to be loved by others. That's my motivation for my actions.
Not genuine love for others.


I'm not saying we need to be doormats and continually hurt by friendships which are unhealthy. 
But we should really pray for those people. As well as keep our hearts open to relationship in the future should things be different
Continue to do whatever the Lord asks of us in order to pursue healthy relationship.
 Only with the Lord's help will this be possible.
Because it truly is SO hard.





May we continue to see our differences as beautiful expressions of God's grace rather than an excuse to not try and get along. 
Or conclude we are too different to make the effort.


I want to remember that although they are a sinner.
I am too.
That I am loved by God.
They are too.
And we are called to love as He does.


'Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. 
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  
This is how God showed his love among us: 
He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 
 This is love: not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, 
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.' 
{1 John 4:7-12}




I don't know the details of your life situations, just like there are only one or two who know the details of mine......but know that I am cheering you on in your trials, girls! 
If we were having an intimate conversation, I would encourage you to keep pursuing the Lord.
Keeping seeking for His heart for others! 
Keep wanting that sacrificial love for others, even when its hard.
 Keep wanting Christ to be known. 


Life is about more than comfort.
There is great joy to be found in seeing good in a storm.


 




 Much Love,
L
  



Photo credit: Louise Randall (unless otherwise stated) 
Pictures of me and my besties in college.

--------------------------------

I have decided to discontinue the {On My Heart} mondays series because with a few exceptions, 
most of my posts have taken on this tone.
So my whole blog is now sharing my heart & the things the Lord is teaching me.
Hope it encourages. 

Pin It!