Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Hope. It's what we need.





This song speaks deep into the feelings I have about seeing this year end. Actually it's my go-to when I need a pick me up battling feeling overwhelmed. Which has been a few times this year if we are admitting things. 
I had to head back into the archives to even find out what my word was for 2013. And friends I had written some words that absolutely describe how this year has been for us. 


'...I decided on 'promise' for this year ahead as I feel there will be several big changes coming up for us. Definitely moving again (look out for that one soon),
 maybe job changes and other things.
So I feel that 'promise' will be a good reminder to hold onto God in all the change that is likely to be coming our way in the year ahead.'



Cue tears for this girl, this year has been crazy. Like an uphill battle in some ways. Just events which have left me feeling like I'm flat on my face with nothing but the Lord to hold onto in all the change. I don't know that I realised just how much of a reality those words I wrote last January would be lived out this year. Change is hard friends. Change is not always good. Change has seen me write words so brutally honest in my journals and dashboard that are full of emotion and words which I will probably never see published. They are far too raw and personal for me to be comfortable sharing that openly. There is a sacredness to them, and I will definitely be saving them for years to come to look back on and see the Lord's faithfulness.


I'm not super sad to be saying goodbye to 2013, in all honesty I am thankful for the growth which took place in her daily events, but would not wish to go back and live it again under any circumstances. 2013 was hard, a really hard year. It compares with one other year in my life under which I felt like things just wouldn't continue. Couldn't ever be the same again. 
I am certainly no longer the same girl that sat here and wrote those precious words almost 12 months ago. It's probably a good thing she didn't know what was coming. In some ways I feel the growth was so worth it, so worth the pain. 


I am not trying to tease with giving no details of what happened. I apologize if it seems that way, friends. This is more of a sigh of relief from my soul that hopefully 2014 will hold more joyful events than 2013. That heartache won't be as present, that as the scriptures tell us there is a season for everything, I am holding onto the hope that this year is a new season. A season of joy, hope, laughter and redemption. 


I am hoping to love better in general, to love deeply those around. To see others as our sweet Father sees them more than I currently do. To continue to lean on God for strength, worth and value. To remember that my identity is in Him alone. To be free from the opinions and comments of others. I crave hope just like everyone else. 


So for this year, this is the word I will hold onto......hope. 

There is always hope. 



Hope is what we crave, and that will never change
So I stand and wait
I need a drop of grace to carry me today,
A simple song to say
It's written on my soul:
Hope's what we crave

I won't turn to dust now
Let these tears rust now on my face
Give me the spark now
To believe
To see

(For King & Country)


I am hopeful that I will look back on this post a year from now and be able to see how that little word held huge meaning. How it carried us through into a different season. 


Have any of you decided to pick a word for this year? Have you looked back on this past year in light of a word that you picked last January? 

Much Love!  

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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas.



Sorry it took me a few days to write about our Christmas, we have just been enjoying a few days to ourselves. Working on projects that have sat for too long, watching movies and just being together. 
We had a pretty quiet Christmas Day which was exactly what we needed. It worked out perfectly in that way after going skiing at the beginning of the week. 
Just us enjoying each other's company on Christmas morning. Starting out the day slowly, taking it all in, reading the Scriptures together. Enjoying a small celebration together. 
Pretty perfect really. 


Probably much like the first Christmas was when I sat and thought about it. (little rabbit trail) 
Just Mary & Joseph and their sweet new baby. I wonder if they thought about how everything would change from that day on. How much that baby meant to the world, even if the world didn't recognize Him. 


In the afternoon we headed to my sister's house where we skyped my parents all together. Which was fun! Then the four of us headed to A's extended family Christmas celebration. So it was a great balance of our own family just being, and seeing the wider family and enjoying each other's company. 



I also got a fisheye lens for Christmas from my sweet hubby this year. So I had great fun playing with it all day. Now I just need to learn how to properly use it haha! 










Hope you guys had a great Christmas! White Elephant with 50+ people has to be one of my highlights. 

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Thursday, 26 December 2013

How our Christmas Week Started.




Merry Christmas Friends! 
Hope you had a great celebration and were able to take some time to step back and remember the hope we have in the birth of our Savior. 
We were blessed this year despite our change in plans which I shared about previously, just to spend time with our extended family and my sister & brother in law on Christmas day.
Today we also went with my hubby's cousins to watch the 2nd installment of the Hobbit.
God is good, even when plans change & things aren't as we thought they would be.

So.....in summary, we started Christmas week off with a ski trip. 
I can't believe this hottie chose me to spend winters with him for the rest of my life.











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Thursday, 19 December 2013

//When the Dream Flops//


I do realise it is no longer October, but in fact December. I am aware that this little series is supposed to be over as it was a 31 day series. However, friends this topic became close to my heart. An exploration if you like of figuring out the mess, or life in general. Finding purpose in what was going on behind the scenes. 


So the Lord has continued to speak into my heart on this topic. So I am checking in again with the final post I wrote as my thoughts were wrapping up, and it got left in a notebook once again and thrown into my bag never to be seen again until now


He totally orchestrated the timing of so many amazing things which could have been only the Holy Spirit wanting to speak to my messy soul. By encouraging me to seek what His plan could be for anyone's life really and also what that would mean to me personally. While no-one else may ever have read any of the content, it was so healing to write as I found truth so that I could look back on it and read what He was speaking into my life. To see how He had orchestrated little things to all line up, like receiving a book by one of my favorite authors to arrive on the day I started this journey. That book was full of truth and wonderful reminders of my worth and value coming from the Lord alone. So these are my final thoughts on what happens if you chase that dream and the dream flops?


Well quite simply, it isn't our job to make anyone receive something in a certain way. Whether our dream is to write and no-one reads what we wrote, or to paint and no-one wants to buy our artwork, or make music and no-one cares to listen. It is not our job to convince people they need to appreciate our gifts or fight for attention we feel our art deserves, it is just our job to offer it. (Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways) 


Our job is to just offer our gifts and talents regardless of the outcome. 


Isn't that kind of freeing in a way? Knowing that we don't control whether a dream works out or not. Because that isn't the point of offering the dream and trying to chase it providing it is in line with scripture. The point is to bring glory to God through whatever we do. And the rest is up to Him. We bring the simple offering, God does the miracle. 


Sometimes that might be above and beyond what we thought could possibly come from our dream. Other times it might still be for our good, but the dream may never happen for a reason unknown to us currently. 


'Now to the one who can do infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine according to the power that is working among us.'
(Ephesians 3:20)


 '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)


So in this current season of chasing a couple of dreams I have had for quite some time now, I am holding them loosely. Trusting that God just expects me to offer them up to Him and trust Him with the outcome. Knowing that whatever happens, He has my best interests in mind.


Have you ever chased a dream that you never saw any fruit from?

AllGloriousWithin
This post is still 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.
(I added several extra days to finish sharing truth I found along the way!)

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Monday, 16 December 2013

Plans Derailed with a Heart On Track.



Well I'm thinking its official. I don't know about where you guys live friends, but we have winter well and truly on our hands here as of this past weekend. About 4-5 inches of snow accumulated but that didn't stop us from still going on with our weekend plans. 
Whats a little snow right? Well if you know me at all, you know I am more of a summer flip-flops year round kind of girl, so I struggle with these Midwest winters a little. Well, at least once January/February time comes around. December still finds me enjoying the powder and finding it just whimsical and beautiful with all the Christmas decorations. Like today for instance, I wanted to turn into a road that was seemingly inaccessible with several inches of snow that the plows must have conveniently forgot about. 
I just gave it a little extra gas and committed to that road friend! Just like driving on sand I tell ya, with the rule of commit and don't second guess or that car is going to sink right in leaving you with wheels spinning all the brown slush underneath several feet into the air while you turn shades of roses. 


But weather aside, I totally apologize for being distant on this little space here.
Thing is that I have been praying big prayers, watching big answers and dreaming some big dreams. All the while having the Holy Spirit work on some deep dark corners of my heart and clean out some junk. So its been a ride I tell ya. 


I finally deposited my last check into my bank account today before being able to purchase my flights to Hope Spoken! Friends, this is huge! I went into planning on attending in total faith that somehow I would be able to raise the money through my little not-so-heard-of store (see here). And He provided! 
Of course now I have a familiar nudge about another event happening in June which I am praying about attending, more details on that in future. But it would be a dream come true to be able to set foot in that part of the world and meet a woman who has inspired me for years, ever since I was a young girl trusting the Lord to write a romance story in my own life someday. All the while watching my photography take off (another dream in the making), contemplating re branding this little space here and dreaming of a bigger online project that will take a bunch of planning before launching. So its a wild crazy but beautiful ride over here friends! 


Even though December can be one of those crazy busy seasons, I am glad that this year we have just decided to keep things simple. We have totally decorated minimally in our cute but small apartment. Kept the gifts to a minimum this year (I also started at the end of summer so we wouldn't be in panic mode with finding things for our loved ones and stretching our budget beyond reason), and decided that Christmas morning is just going to be us, in our little home as our own little family. And I like that. A whole lot.



This will be our fourth Christmas together as a married couple, but our first without going to spend it with family for the entire day. And friends, I'm excited! We had other plans which were totally derailed this year, but I'm seeing how better my focus is now I don't have to worry about travelling. The hubby and I have been reading through the She Reads Truth Advent plan every night and my heart is just bursting in the best possible way at the excitement of the upcoming celebration of the arrival of our Savior. 


So even if your plans aren't what you pictured for this year, remember that often times the Lord has different plans for us and that's totally ok. He always has our best interests in mind, and this year I am glad He made us slow down and really just focus on Him. Because isn't that the whole point. It really doesn't matter how pretty the house looks, how perfect the gifts are or how amazing the food tastes (although those are all great things). Its about that little baby and all He stands for. 


With all the love of this girl with a bursting heart in awe of grace. 



The day I finally get all my finances in place, this little piece of mail arrives. Lord, your fingerprints are ALL over this! 

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

//LAST CHANCE//

In case you missed the memo about the amazing sale going on this weekend you should check out the Handmade Fair I am a part of with some lovely ladies. 
There are some truly gorgeous things for sale, friends! 







 

I personally am selling all earrings for 50% off this weekend.
So grab your favorites fast, they are only $3.50 which makes them AMAZING stocking items. 



These ladies are incredibly talented, so please have a look at these items in these last few hours and grab them before they are gone! 
Use hashtag #buyhandmade









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Friday, 6 December 2013

The Handmade Fair. [aka Why I have been so busy Lately]



'Tis the season to be jolly.  
And also to panic about Christmas gifts, frantically try to find sales, and hope you find personal gifts in time. 
Well, we've got you covered.  
December 6, 7, & 8 is a weekend FULL of sales.  The Handmade Fair is back just in time for some Christmas shopping.  For one weekend only, these are some of the products that are going to be offered crazy on sale.  Didn't think you could afford handmade gifts for Christmas?  You can this year!  The shop will open 12:01 AM on December 6th, and anything you order will be shipped to you in time to give as a gift!  
While you're waiting, here's a sneak at a few of the items that will be included in the sale.  Be sure to check out some of the incredible shops that will be participating!






I am SO thrilled to be joining these talented ladies for this craft sale!! =) 
Why don't you head over and check our some of these amazing gifts which would be PERFECT for so many loved ones with Christmas coming up.....
Plus they are ALL on SALE!!! =)

Much LOVE from our Little family to Yours!! 






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Thursday, 5 December 2013

I'm already a dancer.


As I was scrolling through YouTube last night, I found myself watching hilarious videos, sentimental videos and just enjoying how beautiful life can be at times. I then watched a video where a chat show host had a little 3 year old girl who can dance (better than I could ever hope to - I might add) on her show. She asked the girl if she hoped to be a dancer when she grew up. The little girl looked puzzled and just simply said, I'm already a dancer. 


And right there it struck me. 


How often I am not childlike in using my gifts and talents. How I find any excuse to not call myself a photographer or an artist or a writer. Am I alone in this? 
I keep thinking well if I just get to this level, then I can call myself that. Or thinking that perhaps I need to be the best at something to have truly arrived, to truly be able to say that the Lord is using that gift in my life.


And that's so silly.     


Because the Lord uses our gifts in our brokenness. And praise Him for that. Because for most of us, we will never be the best at anything. And that's ok, because it shouldn't be our goal to aim to be the best. To compare our gifts to the gifts of others. We have all been given a different mix of talents. So we can't possibly expect to measure up to anyone else. 

We are just called to use our gifts to bring Him glory, to show others Him. If we are doing that, then we are totally an artist. Even if the art gallery never amounts to more than artwork on our own fridge. Our call is to faithful obedience, and the Giver takes care of the rest. So be encouraged if you feel you aren't getting results you are looking for, those aren't for us to worry about, just keeping doing whatever you have been gifted or called to. And if you have been blessed with a gifting, Praise God for using you! What grace that is! 


Trust the giver that He has a perfect beautiful plan for you even if you can't see it. And don't be discouraged friend! Keep shining for Him! 


With Love from the photographer. 


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Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Legacy for My Daughter.




I have been reading through a study which has been wrecking my life. I feel like if you talked with me on a regular basis you would probably tell me I say that about every book I read. Well honestly, in the past 6 or so months, it has been totally true. 
I feel like the Lord has just been speaking into my life from every direction through every book I have been reading, and it has been just incredible months of growth. Of seeing myself clearly, of seeing aspects of Him that I hadn't personally experienced even if I knew of them. 


While doing one of the latest one, we were given a question which I felt I just had so much to say, that I wanted to share some thoughts on here.
We were discussing insecurities, how to battle them and what kind of effect they have on others, specifically how we impact future generations. We were asked to share what kind of a legacy we would like to leave to women who come behind us. 
Oh friends, this topic stirs my heart like something else. I can't even describe. 
Maybe some day the Lord will give me a daughter to give this to. 



Sweet Girl,

I can even begin to explain how fast you are growing up, I'm sure you hear that so much from people older than you. But oh how I see how true it is, this world causes us to grow up so fast, to lose that child-like innocence so quickly. But with each passing day I pray that you are becoming as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. 


I have so many things I wish I could share with you. So many tears in your life I wish I could wipe away by sharing my short twenty-some limited years of wisdom through my own bad decisions and experiences that I pray you never have to walk through. 


I wish I could protect you sweet girl from a lot of things in this world, to wrap you up in my arms and tell you everything is really going to be ok even when you feel your entire world is crashing down and that no-one cares about you. Those moments when you feel as though life won't go on because of the loss of a friendship, or something that happened at school or a move in your life. You will be ok, Baby. 


Sweet one, it is so far from true that no-one cares about you! I pray that is a truth you really grasp at a young age, that you are never alone and that you are so loved by a Father who chose you to be in His family. He sees everything there is to know about you and still chooses your pretty little face. He wipes away all those smudges you have made and will continue to make as you figure out how to live life here on earth. All of us make mistakes sweetheart. 


If there's something I pray for you, it is this. I pray that you would be so completely head over heels in love with Jesus. Because girl, if you truly grasp that, you are further ahead than so many of those walking ahead of you. There is nothing He isn't capable of redeeming in your life. Those little things which seem so huge right now, those comments from those girls at school, those clothes or things that everyone has that you don't have, they aren't as big as you think they are. There will come a day after high school that you will wish you had spent more time on things that were of worth. Because there is nothing worse than seeing an adult still trying to live in junior high. And someday you will see just how silly it really is. 


I pray that you will be so encouraged and sure of your worth and value in the Lord, that you are a light to your generation. A one-in-a-million girl who is capable of doing big things for Jesus. A girl who others want to be around because of your joy and Christ-like spirit. I pray that you will be able to bring out the best in those around you and really love others for who they are. I pray that you will be the first to want to serve those around you, that you would be known for your love. I pray that you would shine radiantly because of your inner beauty and that will make you seem different baby. But that's really ok.  


Sweetheart, I know there will be things in your past that seem so huge that you question whether you will ever get past them. Baby, you will. With the help of our precious Jesus, you will! 

He will never leave you hanging girl, He is there for you whenever you cry out for Him. And know that He is in the business of redeeming your past. What was intended for evil can be used for such good! There are so many women who can testify to this truth. All of us are in need of His grace, none of us is perfect. Please don't ever forget that truth. Your mistakes and secrets are no bigger than anyone elses, even if you feel they are. 

Girl, I pray that you would know that God is ultimately in control of your life. And He won't let you down! Even when things feel like they are going far differently from the plan you set for your life when you graduate high school and start navigating life on your own, He is still in control. Thank Him for that, because we would make such a mess of it on our own. And often do when we try to do it our own way.


Every tear you shed, every broken heart you have to endure, He sees it all baby. And He will carry you through. I pray that you would know how precious you are to our Father. And that you know that every bad circumstance you have walked through, the pain inflicted through your choices or even through others, every unmet expectation you may have for yourself or for those around you, and every disappointment you have to experience in your life...I pray that you would throw yourself into the open arms of Jesus. He will use them to draw you to Him, and sweet girl there is no better picture of redemption than that. 


I love you so much! And I pray that you grow up to leave a better legacy that the broken one our culture has given to you. Remember that your value and security can only be found in our Father who gave you your identity in the first place. Never let anyone take it from you, and remember they can't without your permission. 



With all my love. 




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