Sunday, 30 December 2012

What a Crazy Adventure this Past Year Has Been!

Never did I dream that almost a year ago when I felt a nudge to open my private, invitation only blog to public readers that I would have this kind of an adventure.
I had absolutely no idea how many amazing women there were blogging. 
I am SO thankful the Lord led me to blog publically, 
to be bold enough to share my faith online and allow me to make so many lifetime friends!!
I have felt so privileged to meet you guys in the last year, you are just plain amazing! 
I've been challenged in so many good ways by you all, 
you have helped me grow in my faith and love for the Lord 
and really loved on me in ways I have never experienced.

Not that I should have been surprised since one of my nearest and dearest friends and I met in a similar way nine years ago now. Erin & I really should work on explaining that story to you sweet friends this coming year ;) 

So before looking back at this amazing year, I just want to thank all of you for being on this adventure with me! Whatever that has looked like to each of you! I am so thankful for your precious friendship and wish to continue growing together. 

So go grab a cup of coffee as we look back on how the Lord has been at work in this blog over the last year! I am in awe at His faithfulness and goodness.

This was when my new blog was born, so its almost Happy Birthday time!! You can read about the start of All Glorious Within and the reason behind the name here. This was when I really began to share things on my heart, once I felt lead to do so.
The Lord radically altered my understanding of friendship at the beginning of last year, helping me really see how mutually satisfying friendships are such a gift from Him.
He also helped me gain a greater understanding in the importance of seeking my husband's counsel on things. 
I went to Phoenix for the first time and started taking pictures on my DSLR in manual (no looking back at all!).

I went through a phase of feeling overwhelmed by blogging numbers in February and discouraged, the Lord spoke to me a lot about identity in Him.
I also linked up for the first ever Girl Behind the Blog (I have made SO many blogging friends through this linkup, Ashley you have such a beautiful community on your blog girl!)
The theme of learning about friendship was continued and a perfect Valentine shared.

I also shared a little bit behind loving your husband all the days of your life, not just once you're married and shared some heart's desires.

I travelled to Tennesee for the first time for a wedding in March. Loved the warm weather break from the Midwest craziness.
I shared about how I saved my First Kiss for Marriage.
There were moments of desperation and not understanding God's plans.
I also wrote a letter to 17-year old me, I hope she listened ;)
And co-hosted the Spring Fling Swap with Erin!! 

I learned about running to Jesus a lot.

April found me discovering encouragement in surprising places once I started looking for it. Like here and here.
It saw me continuing to wrestle with several struggles going on in life. Learning about being honest about the sin each of us struggles with.
Realising that we can only shine for Jesus if we allow Him to work the painful refining process in our lives. Understanding that each of us has different talents and will be used in different ways.

I also wrote my first ever fashion post. Little did I know what I was getting into ;)

May brought the beginning of a new season for us, I contemplated dating once married.
I also turned twenty-five and found myself perhaps in a different place than I thought I would be several years ago. (And had the sweetest guest post written for my bday)
I learned about seeing joy in difficult situations.
And seriously worked through issues on why I was blogging in the first place here.

I wrote my first ever series on the power of words. Never before had I spent so much time researching and preparing posts. Wrestling with thoughts on how words spoken should be encouraging, uplifting, appropriate and understand the heart behind our words. 
They can be found here, here, here and here. The Lord has been working these issues into my heart continuously since. 
I continued to think about how I wanted others to see Him through me.
How things happen perfectly in His timing, whether I like that or not.
The Lord started to work contentment, regardless of my circumstances, into my heart.
I shared more about purity and waiting, a topic near and dear to my heart, with you guys. And also how I pursue Christ in the relationship status I find myself in.
This was also the month that I began praying the Lord would open the door for me to attend the Influence Conference.
Little did I know what He had in mind ;)

I found myself getting braver about sharing my love story and wrote about waiting on God in that area.
I shared my heart for Africa here and here. A passion I am still waiting to see how He will use it to this day. But also met some beautiful friends with the same passion (Katie, Elise, Wynne, Tara) and have been so encouraged seeing how the Lord has used their willing hearts to teach me how to follow Him with this passion.
I continued the long journey of learning about friendships and had a wonderful family vacation at the Lake.
The Lord also taught me a lot about having a quieter spirit.
We celebrated our two year anniversary and packed up our first official home to move once again.

August found me learning a ton about where I find my worth and realising I had been believing lies about my identity, allowing other people to define me. 
I continued to hear the Lord talk to me about contentment in all kinds of settings and found the most precious bible study community.
I also began to develop a habit of thankfulness.

September was possibly my busiest month of the year. 
I confessed to you all about not being perfect, although it shouldn't have been a surprise ;)
Wrestled with thoughts on purity and media.
But the main reason I was so busy this month was because my sister got married and I was her maid of honor!! =) 
Then toured London (and here) before returning home.
Not to mention all of which took place the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

October was very post intense as I joined 800+ ladies and did a 31 days of Thankfulness series. 
I was thankful for seasons in life and how faithful God is. I shared thoughts on 1000 gifts by Ann Voskamp to explain my heart behind thankfulness as a habit. 
I was also inspired to share thoughts on God's love and quietness in busyness of life.
There was a journal giveaway as I shared more of our love story, or a small detail of it ;)
I stepped outside my comfort zone and started a fashion series called Pearls and Tunes.
The Lord also wrecked my life (in a good way) at the Influence Conference.
(here, herehere, and here)

November found me wrestling contentment and purity, along with battling loneliness.
I was invited to join the Kite Project which I am seriously excited about, and really think you should join too! 
And found myself so encouraged by some beautiful ladies who agreed to share their hearts with you guys in the Gloriously Encouraged series.

December found us crazy busy in real life with Christmas soon arriving, but I also wrestled with thoughts on chasing God given dreams in preparation for the Kite Project.
I also participated in my first ever craft fair and wrestled alongside everyone in the nation over the tragedy in CT.
I battled the busyness of the season and tried to keep my focus in the right place, oh and learned to ski in the process ;)

I really hope you will join me as this adventure continues in the new year and together we will see how the Lord is at work! 

 Much Love,

Covered in Grace

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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas Traditions: Stockings.

Since the girl behind the blog link ups, I have been thinking about Christmas traditions. 
Everyone has their own family traditions.
I love it! 
The past three Christmas celebrations since we got married have been spent with different groups of people. And one thing I have really enjoyed is seeing how each family does things differently on Christmas morning.
I'm so thankful for friends that let us be a part of their family for the day and allow us to intrude on their family traditions.
Especially since our own immediate families live on other continents. 
Although last year we did have both families in the states for Christmas, but that was not normal.

This year we did our stocking for each other first thing in the morning, hence the sleepy faces in that bottom right picture ;)

Our first married Christmas we waited until the afternoon/evening and spent some time alone opening stockings together. We were living with another family at the time.

Our Second Christmas found us hosting Christmas for my immediate family in our own home. 
So we had our first Christmas with me and my sis, A and my sis's fiance. Who became her husband in September (here).

So those have been our stocking traditions so far as a married couple. 

Some throwback Christmas fun may have found you looking at this.

And just in case you got to the bottom of my ramblings and wanted to know the history of the Christmas stocking (see here). 
Aren't you glad you read it all now ;)

Much Love!

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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Away in A Manger....

Merry Christmas lovely friends! 
Praying that each and every one of you is enjoying spending time with your family, celebrating the birth of our amazing Savior! 
May all of our hearts be so full with His love this year that it overflows to those around us.
I have been so blessed and challenged this year and look forward to all God has for each of us in the year to come. 

Much Love,

P.S. You should totally head over and check out Erin's Christmas surprise! Her angel voice is just amazing as she sings a wonderful carol here.

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

All is not calm, All is Bright.

As I bend down to pick up yet another scrap of wrapping paper left on the floor from a flurry of wrapping presents which just took place, I notice the needles underneath the Christmas tree that need sweeping once again. Then I think how the tree probably needs more water, and while I'm thinking about that I remember the presents which I should have wrapped first because I'm going to be seeing that particular family tomorrow.
Then while thinking about the presents that need wrapping my mind wanders to the list of gifts I still have yet to get, and remember that Christmas is only five days away. I ponder how before I know it we will be in the car on the way to a party and I won't have had time to wrap our white elephant gifts.

Evenings become filled with wrapping presents and food prep for parties, along with everyday meal prep that needs to take place. All the regular household chores still need doing and now there's Christmas decorations to be put up still or dust around.

At the beginning of December, we had wonderful plans of taking time out every evening to read an Advent plan together enjoying this season. Instead we almost collapse into bed ever night after another meeting or party and I barely have time to silently pray before I drift to sleep.

Sound familiar to anyone else? When did Christmas get so busy?
When did it become more important to make sure that Christmas cards get to people on time and no one gets offended because you forgot to give them a gift?
Why is it so hard to find time to do the most important thing? Quiet our hearts in preparation for the gift which was given to us thousands of years ago in the form of a baby wrapped in rags.

That first Christmas wasn't extravagant, it took place in a stable of all places. And after having just given birth, I'm pretty sure Mary wasn't concerned with hanging up their stockings, making sure her tree looked perfect or that a garland was hanging straight. Her heart was focused entirely on the gift she have just been given and her God-given role of caring for God's son.

I love the Christmas season, don't get me wrong. It does seem like such a magical beautiful time of year. It's cozy, beautiful and has the potential to be healing to the soul as we embrace the gift God gave to us two thousand years ago. But often I just feel tired and worn out from the necessary 'responsibilities' by the time Christmas day rolls around. A far cry from the point of the season.

Perhaps its time to refocus and realise what is truly important about Christmas. To invest more time in relationships than the materialism of the season.
Perhaps also to remember that if we do forget something or accidently offended someone in forgetting to do something, we have been given a gift.

We haven't failed if we can't do it all.
No matter how good or worthwhile something may seem.
We've only failed if we fail to see what is most important this season.


Much Love,

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Girl Behind The Blog: Christmas Traditions.


It's that time again! Seriously these past few months it feels like time has gone by SO quickly! 
I'm seriously feeling like dude, summer like just ended!! And Christmas is how many days away!!!

So today I am linking up with these lovely ladies, Ashley & Kerrie.
They are both awesome (I feel like they could be my big sisters haha!) and we are all talking about Christmas Traditions.
I totally think you guys should join us! 
Make your first vlog if you've never done one. Its fun! =) 
Be sure to head over and see some of the other videos.
The thumbnails alone are worth looking at them ;)

The Girl Behind The Blog- Holiday Traditions
Time limit: Vlogs should be 2-3 minutes long
Introduce yourself and your blog
Share with us your favorite holiday traditions

Did you link up? Leave me a comment and let me know =)

Much Love,

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Monday, 17 December 2012

That Time I learned how to Ski.

Hey from the Winter Wonderland!
I wasn't planning on posting but my muscles are super sore from skiing today and my sweet hubby is still going cause he's just a superhero or something =)
So today I got on skis for the first time.
I've been snowboarding before, but never skiing.
Just so happens that the hubby's family all know how to ski as his dad was an instructor.
So A is really good not only at skiing/snowboarding but at teaching it to.
He stuck with me on the bunny hill as I warmed up and learned how to not cross my skis ;)

So I thought I would take a few moments on my wonderful trip away, to share with you the gorgeous views.
And share my thankfulness for some time to ourselves, enjoying being together, away from jobs and with limited distractions.
I realise this does mean I am using the WiFi. But since he is skiing, we felt it was ok.

The stunning hubby and I about to take my first ski down the real slope.
This was after practicing on the bunny hill for a while.
I did wipe out after this picture, but thankfully it wasn't terrible.

Well that's all from me for now.
Maybe some more updates on our amazing trip when I get home.
We have a Jacuzzi in our suite! Amazing for those sore muscles, I tell ya!

Much Love,

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