Monday, 30 September 2013

31 Days to Figuring Out the Pieces.//Intro

{Image Via Much Love Illy - Used with Permission}

I've spent the last several months reading many encouraging books. Books containing topics that move my heart, move me to tears. They stir something deep within me, they fill an ache I didn't know existed. Some topics would potentially stir many people to tears, others perhaps were more specific to me as an individual. But all left me wanting more, more involvement on my part, more of the Lord opening doors allowing me to be a part of something bigger than just what is going on in front of me right now. 

You see I've spent a lot of time this past year feeling lost. Wrecked. Shattered to pieces in a good way. I have been learning so much in the process. There has been a lot of transition (we have moved 3 times in the last 12 months alone), we changed church communities and I have a different job. So pretty much everything we knew in life changed. We have had a lot of family coming and going this summer, lots of difficult personal challenges, lots of finding influence removed in some areas & many great refining moments during it all. 

There has been a significant amount of confusion. 
And I still haven't figured it all out.
Maybe not even a lot of it.

A sweet friend of mine challenged me a few weeks ago as we were talking on the phone. I was discussing some of these shattered emotions with her & she asked me why I was hiding my mess under the bed. Why I was waiting to be used by God until I had it all figured out. She challenged me to share through the mess, if I felt it was appropriate to share. 

So after prayer and much consideration, I pulled my box of unwritten posts out from under the bed where they have been gathering dust for the past year. I have grabbed my rainboots and decided to jump into the messy puddle with both feet. No toe dipping to test the waters first. 
Exploring the messy pieces of passions which the Lord stirs in my heart periodically.

This will be just me....sharing more than I possibly ever have before. 
Writing through this bizarre mess of interests the Lord has laid on my heart, trying to make sense of how the pieces all fit together. Because most of the time, I haven't got a clue what the bigger picture looks like.

I'm hoping you will join me during this series. Write a series of your own maybe, or leave me comments on your thoughts, or just pray for clarity for me sweet friends! 
It's about to get vulnerable over here. Very real and maybe very messy.
But in the process, I am hoping to uncover the pieces and the way some of them should fit together. 

 photo 31daysbutton200x200_zpsa214f9cb.jpg
This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests. 

To have these posts delivered directly to your inbox so you don't miss any, scroll up to find a place to enter your email address on the left sidebar. 

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What I didn't Expect.

So I may have briefly mentioned it before, but I am super stoked to be diving headfirst into the 31 Days series with the Nester which starts today! Lets pretend the post for this evening is finished already and saved, not really! 

But I will definitely write more on that later as I haven't yet finished the last touches on the first post and need to sit down and write ahead for a few days, something I am hoping to fit into my evening tonight! I also wanted to take this afternoon to share some beautiful things from this weekend before diving into one topic for the next month or so. 
Now I could have made this fit into my topic, are you intrigued yet as to what I am writing about? ;) 
But I wanted it to be separate as it totally fits in with today as I am home from our retreat, and feeling incredible despite the teary mess that happened last week over not being able to attend the Influence Conference this year. 

See what I wasn't expecting was that the Lord in His amazing goodness, would sort of allow me to do both. I was able to be fully present and serve over 300 students at a camp this weekend, and still follow the conference through instagram and twitter. At first I found it really hard to be on there as I could see all the things I was missing out on. But then on Friday I felt the urge to pray for the conference instead when I suddenly had 45 mins to sit while the baby I care for fell asleep in the grocery store parking lot. So I prayed, friends I stormed that throne room all weekend for both the conference and the students at the retreat we were at. I prayed with leaders at the retreat who needed encouragement with the students they were working with, opportunities to be more involved in this ministry.

I prayed for all you beautiful ladies who spoke at the conference and followed along as the Lord moved hearts in your sessions & workshops. I prayed for those of you I so desperately wanted to meet, that you would be so blessed by the women you came into contact with! I prayed for those of you who were feeling lonely, that a sweet sister in Christ would find you and spend time with you. And the Lord worked in my hearts friends, rather than feeling sad about not being there. I felt SO privileged to be able to pray for all of you and to see firsthand through social media how the Lord was at work. I was SO blessed by all your tweets and instagrams. 

Some of my favorite tweets:

the gospel should be infused into everything we do.

Strategy and the Gospel are linked. And the Gospel applies to all areas of our lives.

You can live in wholeness. And it only comes in Jesus.

We go astray when we add something else to the equation other than Jesus.

"Christ is in us, & that's the most humbling & empowering thing at the same time." -

When I feel myself strive, all I have to do is lock arms with Jesus and walk forward with him.

I came to for a lot of things, but God is giving me what I didn't even know I needed.

"My plan didn't work out - but God is STILL good."

“I don’t want to stand before God at the end of my days and say: It sounded so scary—so I didn’t.”

"God doesn't want to heal you to use you. He wants to heal you because He loves you."

Don't believe the lie that nobody is on your team.

"(the Proverbs 31 woman) doesn't live in a bubble. She lets The Lord mess her up." -

"influence comes from humble service"

I am so so thankful to all of you sweet friends for sharing these pearls of wisdom while you were at the conference, to those of us who were unable to be there! Thankyou from the bottom of our hearts!!!

I am so thankful for so many beautiful reminders! This weekend was incredibly powerful for me in healing my understanding of my completeness in Jesus Christ alone! To remember that He DOES have a plan and it is PERFECT!

I didn't even expect to take away anything but heartache at being unable to attend friends! But I got to be present through social media & the privilege of camping out before the Lord on your behalf! It is SO true, follow Him even when it hurts to not attend something!!

Praying that next year, part of following Him will involve attending the Conference again!
I want to hear how your experience of Influence was??

All Instagram Images belong to those mentioned above. No Copyright intended =)

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Friday, 27 September 2013

A Fall Tradition. Fun in the Orchard.

Well if you follow along on Instagram (@GloriousWithin), you will know that we went Apple Picking & to the Cider Mill last weekend. So far I have been 3 times in the last week and a half, might be one of my Fall favorite activities!! I couldn't resist sharing some of our pictures from that trip. It has become one of our Fall Traditions. 
(See Here for fun at the same place last year! And Scroll down for other images for our yearly apple picking visits)

I did have several other gorgeous shots, but I saved these as I begin brainstorming on embarking on the 31 Days journey starting next week
More to come on that soon! 

Outfit Stats: Shirt (Old Navy), Necklace (DazzleMeDeals), Jeans (Old Navy), Boots (TJMaxx, a few yrs ago) 

Just in case you were interested:

Any of you have any Fall Traditions? Anybody else planning on doing the 31 day challenge?
Last year I did 31 Days Of Thankfulness. 

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Let Me Tell You a Hair Secret.

I'm going to let you into a little secret today, but first do you notice anything different about my hair in the picture above? It looks ok right? Well here's the thing....
I haven't washed it in over a week now. At least not with shampoo. 

Let me explain, so I came across this post a few weeks ago now that suggested a 'no-poo' method for washing your hair. See regular shampoos actually strip your hair of all its natural oils. Which makes your hair produce even more oil to compensate, meaning that your hair feels greasy again faster and you need to wash it again sooner. Great for shampoo companies as you need to wash it more frequently over time but not so good for your hair. So I really wasn't sure about trying this, but apparently the past few months I have been into trying new things (getting my butt-kicked by Jillian Michaels again and even trying a body cleanse where I didn't eat sugar, dairy, gluten or processed foods for 2 weeks).

So we came home from a retreat just over a week ago and I had run out of shampoo. And I was feeling a little lazy and didn't want to run to the store just to get shampoo. 
So I decided I would give the baking soda/distilled white vinegar a try. And I wasn't that turned away by the results. (I bought a spray bottle for the vinegar solution & a squeeze bottle for the baking soda solution from the dollar store!)

I followed these instructions By Amanda over at Living in Another Language:

Baking Soda
Vinegar (White or Apple are fine)
Put one tablespoon of baking soda into a squeeze top bottle along with one cup of water. Shake until the baking soda is dissolved.
Combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake.
What you do: Thoroughly rinse your hair with water. Add the baking soda mixture to your roots and massage thoroughly. You’ll notice a slightly slimy feel…kind of like shampoo. The baking soda breaks up any sort of residue buildup you may have from hairspray or other hair products. Thoroughly rinse the baking soda out of your hair.
Then spray in the vinegar mix through the length of your hair, paying special attention to your ends. Keep it in your hair throughout your shower until you’re about to get out.  

Interesting right? Well I thought it was worth a try as if it works, it seemed like a super cheap and easy way to wash my hair. 
Friends, lets be honest. I am never going to be the girl that spends 30+ mins on her hair. I have tried, its just not going to happen over here. I definitely try to be more creative on how I fix my hair most days now so that it doesn't just look as though it is hanging from my poor head. But we are talking maybe 10 mins tops, and that might be on a Sunday morning.

So far it has been a week and it definitely feels less greasy and perhaps even shinier? I have been washing every 3 days so far, which is more than my usual every other with regular shampoo. I am hoping to increase the number of days in between washes which is the idea.  
I have noticed I need to be careful with the back section of my hair as it feels a little tacky, but I am sure this is a 'transition' thing as my hair learns to naturally oil itself again. 
There are some great tips in her follow-up post I may try this week as I make up a new solution (I may try 2 Tbsp Baking Soda this time for that tacky/waxy feel problem). 

I also love that after a workout, I don't feel like I need to wash my hair immediately after from the sweat!! Not sure if this is a change in the weather now Fall has finally kicked in or part of this change in hair washing. Guess I'll just have to wait and see, but either way I am loving that! You can even use cornstarch as dry shampoo, which I feel is needed the day immediately before the wash just to push it to 3 days in between.

And the Sunflower picture at the top was Day Six. 

So now that I am a week into this, I wanted to share what is going on hair-wise over here.

Have any of you guys tried this before? 

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Summer Photo Drop. [Blueberry Picking with the Sisters]

 Somewhere along the way we seemed to have created some family traditions. Like blueberry picking every summer. Remember that time we picked 25lbs!!!

This year I am super excited to have bought a tripod with my birthday amazon giftcard.
Meaning I can practice shots like these:

Do these thrill anyone else or just me???

That might have been the only Summer storm I loved. 
Usually you can find me burying my head underneath the covers shaking like a baby.

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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Letting go of the Good to Choose God's Best.

{Sweet Ladies Erin & Rachael}

So I have avoided writing about this topic because it has been heavy on my heart. Anyone else notice I do that a lot! Guess I like to finish processing before I write about things and make sure they are appropriate to share. 

I learned so much last year from the many sessions at the Influence Conference. I think it took me a full six months to process some of the information from the life tracks I attended. In making much of the gospel online and discretion in what to sharing when writing and when to remain silent. It was such an experience to be able to attend a blogging conference and I have many friendships that have continued to deepen as a result of attending. So I am so thankful the Lord opened the door for me to attend last year. 

This year however I battled with deciding whether to go. Last year I was drawn by several speakers who were going to be there and shared their heart for several topics and knew I would learn a lot from their wisdom. So once I started praying about going, I never had hesitations that going was the right decision with regard to what I would learn. 
But this year was different, while it still looked amazing and I knew I would learn from the sessions if I chose to go, my heart wasn't in it. I couldn't figure it out. It wasn't exciting me like the conference was last year. 
And don't hear me saying it was because it isn't good this year, because I have no doubt the Lord is going to do amazing things this upcoming weekend.
I just felt Him saying it wasn't for me this year.

{Erin, Kerrie & Julie

I had started saving to be able to go again this year after attending last year. So the money to attend was all saved and in a bank account. So I am not saying I am not attending based on a money issue at all. 
This was me prayerfully considering whether to go and I was getting a red light. 
You know those moments when you feel burdened about making a decision to do something. Your spirit is not at rest and you can't figure out why because the thing you are debating is good. Potentially really good.

None of this was making any sense until about a month or a little more ago. I was still going back and forth about whether the Lord was leading me to attend, whether He was calling me to attend a different conference or I should be asking about both. I have so many sweet friends who were amazing listeners and helped me figure out what I was hearing about this decision. Pointing me to truth and encouraging me to work through issues that arose as a result. 
Then a month ago, our church announces an opportunity to get involved with the high schoolers in our church. Something which has been on my heart for years is being involved in high school girls lives. But due to various reasons, the door has not been open for a while now for me to serve in this way. So our pastor announces this service trip, to be able to go on the high school retreat and serve in the kitchen. Getting to meet some of the students in the process, being able to serve and see whether the Lord is reopening this door. I even discussed this with our student worker, who informed me there is a huge need with the freshman girls. Friends, I could have cried! Because I finally have the time, there is a need and the opportunity to be involved. God is opening the door this time.

Here was the amazing part. The retreat is this upcoming weekend, the exact same time as the Influence Conference. And my heart jumped and leaped at the opportunity to explore the possibility of being involved with the freshman girls at our church. 
And I felt the Lord asking what my decision was. Did I want to go to something which was good or did I want to choose something He had that was potentially better? Something I had been waiting on for years! The other kicker, this weekend was fully funded....all I had to do was be willing to go. Compared to the cost of attending the conference in Indianapolis.

I was floored friends. Because while my heart is heavy that I won't be able to attend and hug some of the sweetest ladies I have ever met, I know I will be exactly where the Lord wants me. Getting grungy and sweaty alongside my husband in the depths of a kitchen while we serve the students in our community and explore the possibility of investing in their lives. 

So it saddens me that I won't be among those women gathering in Indianapolis this weekend to learn more about how to share Jesus with those we meet online. Know that I love each of you attending and will be praying the Lord works in your hearts this weekend as you open up to Him and what He wants to teach you. He is going to do incredible things through the leaders and community leaders who are all going with open willing hearts to love on you ladies and the fellowship you will have will be a blessing for long after the conference has finished and you return to your normal lives. 

I am praying that the Lord will open a door in the future to attend another conference. So who knows, maybe I will see you in Indianapolis next year? Maybe before....

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Monday, 23 September 2013

What Being a Nanny Has Taught My Messy Heart.

It is mid-morning and I had plans to run errands with a sweet toddler this morning. But since she is fast asleep in her crib and full of sniffles today, I am sitting on the couch writing instead. These thoughts are a follow-up of the post I wrote last week about my busy check list personality

I will forever be thankful that I have spent the first three years of our marriage being a nanny. It was not the profession for which I spent three years at school studying, but it was a door the Lord opened and the job He literally handed me when we first got married. He has also blessed me abundantly in ways I couldn't have imagined working in this area. I have learned so much about discipline & patience and how to love on kids, which hopefully someday I will be able to implement on our own children. 

One of the things I have learned in this job is how to enjoy the little moments. To really get down and play with the kids. Because they are only little for a sweet short season. Even when you are super frustrated and feel you have to give of yourself even more than feels physically possible, the season is gone before you know it. After changing families six months ago due to the kids entering school age and no longer being needed, I am even more aware of how short these pre-school years are.

The Lord has really given me a heart for these toddler/preschool years. They are so so precious, so hard and so rewarding at the same time. I have been learning how to take those slow child-paced walks, learning to stop and smell the flowers (literally). Seeing things for the first time as a blue-eyed child asks me a curious question. My days are filled with spontaneous kitchen dancing, lying in the park watching the clouds, chasing little blonde girls as they shriek to run the opposite way during a game of tag and all the mess in between (like diaper blowouts, cereal on the floor for the 7th time and cleaning up toys when we are done playing). It can be exhausting to continually teach them while they are so reliant on you for their every need. Obviously I am not yet a mommy, so these are my experiences from having them for only nine hours a day.
Lets just say, I think mommies are superheros in disguise. 

But all that to say it has been a true blessing to not be able to just run errands all day long  with two kids, I was hired to take care of them not run all my errands right? (I mentioned my Type A Personality right? The side of me that likes to be doing things!) 
So its been a refining process learning to slow down and love on them. 

Some days I wonder about the future children the Lord may bless us with (whatever that looks like). I wonder if these days are training ground for my messy heart in learning how to guide a young free-spirited heart who delights in taking their time, enjoying every moment, a carefree spirit. 
And I know my heart will be so much more prepared now, so I am forever thankful for these kids I get to practice and learn alongside. 
They show me grace daily as I learn and stumble along with them. 

The picture in this post is not of one of the girls I watch. I never post their pictures to protect their privacy.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Busy.

I have been battling a lot lately with an aspect of my personality. It's not actually a bad trait and can often be seen as a really good thing. In fact reading through Proverbs this morning, I realised it is considered wise at times. It allows me to be productive and to get things done.

You see I am a perfectionist at times, a Type-A personality. Well most of the time don't look at the insides of some of our closets. I like to make lots of lists just to be able to cross off items, I also feel like I haven't achieved my goals for the day if I don't make it through the entirety of a list I made. 

But that's just it. 
They are my own goals. 
No-one else put these expectations on me. 
Although I'm pretty sure the hubby may need dinner at some point and clean clothes. 

Some days when I made it through only a handful of items on my list, I feel like a failure.
But I'm the one telling myself that.
So I am learning to make fewer lists. Or at least to be more realistic with how much I feel should be done on a given day. For example, cleaning our entire apartment, doing multiple large loads of laundry, completing a craft project, going shopping for groceries and running several errands may be a little optimistic. 

So while this trait is something any employer might love....hey I'm the girl who loves to meet those deadlines, it doesn't always cultivate relationships well.
My sweet hubby is not very Type-A and being married has been a beautiful refining process for me. Learning that there are so many ways to do things, to enjoy life.
While running errands for me energizes as I can cross items off on my list (anyone else with me?), to him running errands is extremely draining.

So what I have been learning is that being busy/productive is not always what is best. 
Some days need to be full of grace and quality time with others cultivating relationship.

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Summer Photo Drop. [Meet Up With Brooke From Magnolia Grace]

I can't believe I am still sharing pictures from over a month ago friends! 
But I didn't want to not share these with you. I had the opportunity to meet up with Brooke from Magnolia Grace last month and we decided to go to the zoo together. 
She is just such an encouragement to be around! I am so thankful to have met her at Influence last year.
Not to mention she definitely drove a lot more than I did to spend time together. 
We will have to meet again a lot closer to her next time :) 

We had a great time, especially when we found Africa. Who knew it was in Ohio you guys! LOL
We also paid to go on this little train ride which would supposedly take us closer to the African animals which were all hanging out in the middle of an enclosure. Well, this train was SO SLOW you could practically see the grass growing the rocks next to it were faster. All this while we were super far away from the animals, then once we got near them it sped up to get back to the station.
Say what???? 
We were highly amused and laughed so hard at the craziest which was this lame train ride. 

Even the kid behind us is bored.

Looking for our next destination. 
I'm sure the poor guy who we asked to take this shot didn't know what was going on when we suddenly posed.

Any place that serves lemonade with an amazing straw like this is pretty great in my book.

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