Sunday, September 28, 2014

Twenty-Six on Twenty-Eight: The year I learned to listen.

Today's prompt: How have you changed in the past year?

Sorry, couldn't find link for this print :(

     I am a couple days late on this one, but I wanted to come back to it. I think it is so good to reflect over the years and see how God has worked in your life. There was a time in my life where I fought change; in fact I hated change and resisted it with every effort. Something as simple as inviting somebody new to our Thanksgiving dinner would throw me off and upset me. It's embarrassing to say that now, but it was very true up until recently.  I feel like I can now safely say that I have reached a point in my life where change is welcome and even encouraged. I have gone through enough of it during the past six years or so that I finally reached a point where I see the value in it. Change is vital to growth, this I now realize.

      At first glance, it would be easy to say that there has been no changes in the past year. Things pretty much look the same as they did last year. I live in the same house, have the same daily routines, and watch the same shows. Same old, same old. I get annoyed sometimes when people ask "what is new" because usually nothing is new.... it's the same. Yet, when I look a little closer and examine the crevasse's of my heart, I do notice settle changes. Maybe it's not in the big obvious things, like, whether I still like pb&j, but in the details and in the heart issues. There have been little things that probably aren't noticeable to the outside, but I see it and I know God sees it. This was the year I learned to listen and wait. 

       We, as a family, had a lot of questions on the table this year. Questions like: Am I going back to Kenya in the summer? Are we going to have another biological child? Are we still pursuing adoption/foster care? What do I do with these passions stirring in my heart? Those are all big questions; questions that life altering. I hate to say it, but normally I would have just figured it out on my own. I would have said "yes" to all of them and jumped in with reckless abandon. I mean, they are all great things so why wouldn't God want me/us to pursue all of them? Therein is where the issue lied. I never asked. Never. If it seemed like a good thing, then I always pushed after it, but something changed this year. You see, for the first time in my life, I asked.... I asked God what his plan was and what he wanted me to do. BUT not only did I ask, I LISTENED! When you ask, and he answers, and then you choose to listen, a funny thing happens. You find that there is immeasurable peace in the obeying. 

       I'll be honest, I got a lot of "no" and "just wait" this year from God. When we asked, "Lord, should we continue on the adoption/foster path?" he said, "not now". When we asked, "Lord, should we try for a third child?" he said, "no". When I cried out, "Lord, what do I do with all these passions stirring inside of me?" he said, "wait". Those are all hard answers. I asked them over and over again, hoping that the answer would change, but they never did. Yet, at the end of the day, when I finally gave into all the no's and waiting, I found such peace and comfort. No, none of those answers are what I wanted to hear, but I know that they are apart of His plan and that allows me to rest assured that he has something bigger and better than what I could ever imagine. There is a purpose to each and every one of his answers and for right now, I am just resting in his promises of faithfulness. While this season of waiting is hard and sometimes confusing, I'll just keep on trusting in good ol' Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you...". I am certainly glad somebody knows what's going on around here ;) For now, I will "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" Romans 12:12

Happy Sunday!





Thursday, September 25, 2014

Guest Blogger #2

Today, as I write this post on my dear friend, Elizabeth's blog, I am broken hearted.

I wish it were a cheerful post, but today, my heart is raw. But I think raw is authentic, which is truly my best side.

My name is Marianne. Ebeth and I went to Kenya together and God ordained us to be roommates. So grateful for that because this girl is in my life forever. :)

One of my identities lies in what I do for a living. I am a social worker. I work in an HIV clinic. I love my job. I love what I do. I feel like it is a mission of mine to represent Jesus in all aspects of my life.

Being a social worker in an HIV clinic, death always rears it's ugly head. I thought that with time, and experience, death gets easier. But, it doesn't.

Today, I found out one of my patients died. And it tore my heart open. It is tearing my heart as I type. This man had many complications, including cirrhosis and renal failure on top of the HIV diagnosis.

I remember I was at the front desk on my birthday. And I had a hat on all day that said happy birthday. He reached in his wallet, and gave me two dollars. I told him I could not and would not accept it. He said that  it was all he had and he would have given me $40 if he had it. He had no source of income. My heart melted. Because this man was willing to give me everything he had.

And I know that is the heart that people will miss. My coworkers and I grieved in our own way.

I started to feel bitterness seep its roots in my heart. I had to tell my dear friend and coworker Tolu, the bad news. And we shed tears together. And my brilliant prayer warrior said, "Let's pray."

And as we begged the Lord to hear our hearts cry, I started realizing where the bitterness was coming from. He shed light to the poison that was coursing through my veins.

I told him it was hard. I told him I wanted to shut everything out. And he consoled me. Helping me realize that I do not want a heart that never feels pain. Being numb is not the solution. And it further takes you away from feeling anything at all.

So I sat, with a torn piece of my heart, grateful for the sorrow. Grateful that I can feel. Grateful that he wired me to care about his children so much that the loss of one shakes up my world. I know where my client is. And he is at peace. Therefore, so am I.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Twentyfive: Guest Blogger

     Today I am so happy to introduce you to my childhood BFF, Heather. Heather blogs over at Icing On The Cake and makes me laugh with all her witty and insightful posts. Some of my earliest memories of our friendship is of Heather writing. She was an avid journaler and I remember looking at her lines and lines of neatly organized journals sitting on her closet shelf. I would be lying if I said that I never had the urge to peek inside of them, BUT I was a good friend and never gave into the temptation. Today she will be sharing about "Marital Myths" and I can say that after 7 years of marriage, she hit the nail on the head. Enjoy and happy reading!

Debunking the Marital* Myths**:

I recently watched a new movie called “They Came Together”. I wanted to see it because Amy Poehler stars in it and I think she is the best (think Parks and Recreation,Baby Mamma) The whole movie is a parody of every rom com out there. (thinkWhen Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Wedding Crashers) It mocks every chic flic that makes you think love happens because of “fate”, that when you have sex you naturally break all your vases and knock over all your books, and that New York City is the third party in your relationship. It was really funny. However I kept waiting for it to get real. But it never did. It continued on it’s parody the whole way through. I mean who doesn’t want a happily ever after, fairy tale type ending? I don’t want my entire relationship to be a cliché, alarmingly-happy, fake slap-stick-humor-type situation nor do I want it to be sad, realistic and dry. I think I want it to be exactly what it is which is beautiful and chaotic and ridiculous and surprising and life changing.

I have been married for just 18 months now. I am certainly no expert but I will share the myths we have encountered. I am so happy I took the risk to begin the adventure of marriage even with the misconceptions!

1.   We Will Be Rich
This is a myth my husband and I both bought into. I think we thought having two incomes would make us so much richer. WRONG. I didn’t stop to think about two phone bills or perhaps that both our cars should have insurance. I didn’t realize that he would want to blow all our money on food and I would want to blow it all on clothes.

2.   Being One Means Being The Same
Just because we are one does not mean we are the same. We still have different likes and dislikes. We are still individuals who are hopefully working towards being differentiated. It is okay that we experience God differently, that we clean differently and that we communicate differently.

3.   Where I Am Weak My Spouse Is Strong
My husband and I mistakenly had the notion that whatever chore we didn’t like doing, the other would probably love. For example, I hate taking out the trash and doing dishes. Scott loathes doing his laundry. Guess what we discovered according to our research findings? We both don’t like any of these chores. It’s okay. We don’t have to like them.

4.   We Will Memorize The Kama Sutra
We didn’t.

5.   All Decisions Are Easy
We had no idea that we would take an hour trying to pick out which movie to watch or that it would take us longer to decide on what to eat than the time spent actually eating.

6.   Every Night Is Date Night
This isn’t true. Just because we got married does not mean we retired from life as we know it. We still go to work and we still hang out with our friends and have obligations and commitments. We have learned we have to be intentional about pursing each other and it’s important to us to put a date night down on the calendar. I assume once we have kids we will have to become way more strategic!

7.   You Stop Caring
My husband and I care about each other more every day. I don’t know how this is possible but I’m so happy it is. With every passing day we become more securely attached to one another.

8.   My Spouse Knows All My Needs And Wants Because He Is An Undercover Psychic.
Neat thought. Not accurate.

9.   You Stop Falling In Love

My husband and I continue to fall in love with each other moment by moment, day by day, week by week and month by month. We love each other so much and I assume will continue to fall more madly in love with each other for the rest of our lives. This does not mean we don’t work at our marriage. It does not mean we just “let it happen” and hope for a mystical feeling to carry us away on a magical carpet ride into happily ever after. Every day we work at creating happily ever after. Our happily ever after doesn’t just appear in an out-of-control way. Rather we invest in it, we help it grow, and we are intentional with the way we nurture this stunning gift.

What about you? Did you have any misconceptions about how marriage would be before you said your vows?

*specifically faith based marriages, can also include those in long term committed relationships

** the above myths are taken from personal experience as well as from my clinical studies in Marriage and Family Therapy. This does not cover all the myths nor am I suggesting this was the reader’s experience verbatim

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Bucket List

Today's prompt: Your fall bucket list. What do you want to do before winter rolls around?

       Let's be honest, there is no fall in Houston, Texas. Actually, our winter is as close as we come to any sort of fall weather. It's hard for this Nebraska native to live in a land where there are no falls. The leaves don't change colors, they just fall off in a dried up, sad kind of state. The temps will fluctuate between the 80's and 90's from now and December, leaving me and this strange dilemma of sweating through wearing boots or forgoing them all together. Yet, I have vowed to celebrate my favorite season, despite the fact that it is no where to be found. 

        I have found when it comes to lists, of these sorts, it is always better to keep it sweet and simple. If I make it too long it will never happen and I will stare at my unfinished list in a depressed state. So, here is my happy little fall list:

1. Visit a pumpkin patch- duh!

2. Decorate my house for fall- DONE! Love checking stuff off my list!

3. Buy mums to place by my doorstep. 

4. Make an apple pie. 

5. Have a thankful heart.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Today's prompt: Introduce us to 5 blogs you read on the regular, and tell us why!

       Like I have said before, I have been out of the blogging world for about two years. There was a time where I would spend a good chunk of time reading these beautiful blogs, everyday. While I don't read them nearly as often as I used to, I still check-in to get caught up on these ladies lives (plus, I follow all of them on Instagram). They all lead different lives and have different talents and passions, but there is one binding theme through each of their blogs.... they love Jesus. What a wonderful platform they have with their blog and writing! I pray that mine too, will stand as a testament to Jesus love, grace, and forgiveness as each one of theirs does. 

WHATEVER - Meg is a Midwest girl, just like me! I like that about her. She is incredibly creative and has a passion for color. She has converted her gorgeous old home into a craft house, where she now hosts craft weekends. I am totally on the list for a craft weekend..... fingers crossed! She is an incredible mother and wife and is very real about her daily life. I think it is beautiful to see real moms sharing their joy and struggles with us. I love her!

UNDER THE SYCAMORE- You want to read a beautiful adoption story? Go check out Ashley's blog and read about the adoption of their beautiful daughter from China. I found her blog right when their sweet girl was coming home and immediately went back through her posts to read the whole story. I laughed, I cried, and I rejoiced as I read through her story. Beautiful! She is also incredibly creative and has a true talent in photography. She inspires me in so many ways.

SIMPLY SADIE JANE- This girl has an awesome weight loss story. Through clean eating and crossfit, she was able to lose a ton of weight. She is pure muscle and challenges me so much to become HEALTHY and STRONG. I have done her six week, at home, crossfit challenge multiple times and always love how toned I become. Check her out if you are looking to add a little fitness to your life.

ICING ON THE CAKE- This is my BFF, Heather. We have been friends since we were precious little 3rd graders. Her blog makes me laugh out loud in all it's wonderful quirkiness. Heather is real and speaks from her heart, but she is also studying to be a family therapist and brings a lot of her great knowledge into her posts. Check her out!

FULLY IN LOVE- Marianne was my rommie my first year in Kenya. She has a heart of GOLD! God is doing incredible things in and through this girl. I am so thankful for her friendship and I learn so many things from her. She will speak truth into your life!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Today's prompt: Be brave! Make a vlog!

Well, this has been quite the adventure, I must say! Putting myself in front of a camera alone, is quite a stretch for me, but I wanted to take the challenge. I was hoping it was going to be easy breezy, but it was NOT.AT.ALL. My phone was being difficult and so trying to film this thing was a challenge in and of itself (as you will see) and then trying to post the video..... Well, let's just say it took an hour. Alas, it is UP! Praise Jesus! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SIXTEEN: Ebeth Revealed

Today's prompt: "Most people don't know this but..."

       I like to think I am pretty much an open book when it comes to my life. I have vowed to be as authentic as possible, but I also have recognized that there are some things that need and should be kept personal. That being said, I will try to think of some things that aren't blatantly obvious to those who know me well. 
                                                                     ...... I hate washing dishes. I            
                                                                     mean, I don't even like taking 
                                                                     the dishes out of the sink and
                                                                     placing it in the dishwasher (where 
                                                                     all the actual washing is done).
                                                                     I have lovingly given that job to
                                                                     my hubby. 
                                                                    ..... I fervently believe that I was
                                                                    born in the wrong decade. From 
                                                                    where I am standing, the 50's seem
                                                                    like a much better fit. I love the old
                                                                    fashion traditions, and simplicity of
                                                                    it all. 
                                                                    ...... I looooove peanut butter. I eat at
                                                                    LEAST two tablespoons a day. Crunchy pb,
                                                                    thank you very much!
                                                                    ...... I started running at a very young age. I 
                                                                    think I was probably eight when I started 
                                                                    running with my Dad. Sadly, I have always been
                                                                    terribly slow. No matter how hard I train, I 
                                                                    always end up at the back of the pack. 
                                                                    ...... I was born in Seattle, WA but I have never
                                                                    been back since. It's on my bucket list (I don't 
                                                                    actually have a bucket list).
                                                                    ...... I become severely hostile when I am pregnant.
                                                                         My husband called me a "viper" through both of my                                                                                  pregnancies. What can I say? Hormones do crazy 

                                                                    ...... I love to read, but get waaay too caught up in 
                                                                    the books. It becomes really hard for me to put a 
                                                                    good book down and so I basically neglect all
                                                                    people and/or responsibilities around me.

                                                                    ...... I sincerely enjoy getting older. I do! I love 
                                                                    looking back on my life and seeing how I have 
                                                                    changed and grown, but I also get excited in 
                                                                    knowing that it will just continue with 
                                                                    each passing year. 

      So there you have it! I hope you learned something new about me and I look forward to reading everybody y'all's post at Brave Love

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fourteen: When and why?

Today's prompt: When did you start blogging and why?


A Selfless Love

As a new mom, I am learning what the term "selfless love" really means. As many current moms know, being a parent to a child is the most demanding and challenging task that one could take on. Life as you knew it is no longer a reality. Your life now consists of lack of sleep, little relaxation, and virtually NO personal time or space. This new creation needs every ounce of energy you could possibly muster and all the love that your heart can give.
Through this experience I have been given a small glimpse into the beauty of Christ's love for us. What an amazing love it is! Once my little Addi was born, I instantly knew that I would lay my own life down for her. She meant more to me than anything else that this world had to offer. Sound familiar? There is no way that I can say that I fully understand Christ's love for us, but I am blessed with a small understanding that I never knew before.

This is my diary of learning to love selflessly as well as my joys and struggles that life presents. Join me on this incredible journey called LIFE.
         This was my first post in 2010. Crazy to think that this blog has been apart of me for four years. I can't really remember why I started blogging. Yes, I wanted to share my life and I wanted to write, but I also think that I did it because it was "cool" at the time. I don't even know the girl who wrote this post four years ago. I have changed so much since typing my first words onto this blog. As I read through old posts, it can be tempting to hit the delete button on so many of the posts that I have written. I get embarrassed at some of the things I thought were worthy of writing about, but you know what? That's who I was and that's where I was in that point of my life. If nothing else, I hope this blog is a testament of what God in and through me; a road map through each stage of this great journey. 
        This is the first time I have used this space in a good two years. I burnt myself out trying to attain some sort of blog world status. I feel like I am now in a good place to restart this blogger journey. Not for the adoration of people reading it or to gain hundreds of followers because I am over all that nonsense. Instead, I hope it will be a place to write out His story and what he is doing in my life. If nobody ever reads my words than so be it, I am good with that. BUT if somebody stumbles across these electronic pages, I hope that they find Jesus here. May this space do nothing else other than point people to my Savior. It won't be perfect. I use punctuation wrong and sometimes I write about really dumb things, but it's His blog none the less.
       Lord, this is your space. Take it and use it as you will. Amen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

THIRTEEN: Relationship Status

Today's prompt: Your current relationship status. If dating/married, give us a glimpse of your story! If single, share about this special season.

      It was a busy week and I don't like busy weeks. I prefer the weeks that just roll by with our routines in place. Is that boring? It's sort of a comfort to me knowing that my evenings are just set aside for our family. We do the same things every night and I like it that way. Eat dinner, have a moment of down time, play outside, baths, books, and then bedtime. It's nice. Our nights were full this week and I felt like we were constantly being tossed from one thing to another. Today has been the first day all week where we have been allowed to resume our normal. I had missed this post yesterday, but I wanted to come back to it. When I looked ahead through all the prompts, this one got me really excited. I love to brag about this man in my life; he's amazing. He always jokes that I always talk him up so much that he'll never be able to live up to the standard I set. Not true. 

      I have known of Andy since we were little sixth graders at Sunrise Middle School. He was in the same pod but had different teachers. I remember him crossing through my math class to get to his science class. I don't know why I remember him, I certainly wasn't interested, but it must be one of those God things where he just prompts you to take notice. I can remember snippets of him through the next three years. Funny memories, like, how he wore these giant goggles over his glasses when he played basketball. My heart wasn't exactly swooning at that sight. Nope. He was pretty dorky and not even on my radar of boys that I would be interested in. Funny, because no boys were interested in me either and I am pretty sure I was just as dorky as he was, but somehow thought I was cooler. 

      Then 10th grade rolled around and suddenly I was chatting with Andy on MSN messenger. Do you guys remember that? I don't even remember one conversation on that silly thing, but apparently we talked. What is hilarious is that he was in my Spanish class, but beyond saying "hi", I am pretty sure we never said a word to each other. Yet, when Christmas rolled around, we were chatting on MSN and I got the sudden inclination to invite him to our Christmas Eve service that night. I still wasn't really interested and I don't really know what urged me to ask him (ummm... yes, i do. That was all God). He had never been to church in his life, but he came AND THEN he came over to our house afterwards and joined us for all our crazy Christmas traditions. I think one of the things that always surprised me most about myself, was that I was crazy shy especially around boys, but I never felt that way with Andy. There was nothing about him that made me nervous. He was calm and easy going and I never felt like I had to put on a show to impress him, although I probably still did. 

       From that point on, he was basically apart of the family. He started going to youth group with me and my friends and coming to church with my family. I was semi-interested in him by this point, but wasn't sold. While he was incredibly sweet and caring, I still wasn't attracted physically. So it's no surprise that when he broke his leg, playing soccer, I totally ditched him. I know.... so mature, but I did. I tried to cut off all contact with him and may have even been a little mean at times, but somehow he was always still around. My mother even kept inviting him over to our house. Yup, his mom would drive him out with that big ol' cast wrapped around his leg and he would sit in our sitting room. Oh, it made me so mad. I was, of course, forced to interact with him since there was no avoiding it.  He says he knew I didn't want him there, but it sure didn't stop him from coming out. He's funny like that.

         I kept this up all through our Junior year of high school and he did start to date another girl during that time. He still came over quite frequently and I think started to be somewhat friendly to him. He says that he still liked me through it all; I don't know why. I didn't deserve to be liked by somebody as sweet and caring as him, but that is one of his incredible qualities. Meanwhile, he had gotten all buff and muscular and updated his clothes. Once again, my maturity shines through as my interest got peaked. I noticed other girls noticing him and even my sister thought about asking him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. MY SISTER! That was the last straw! I remember walking into the school and Em mentioning that she was going to ask him. I am pretty sure I said, "Andy? No! I am going to ask him". I don't think I had any plans to ask him before that point, but that pretty much sealed the deal. 

        From that point on we were pretty much inseparable. We weren't dating, but I think it was because I had scared him a little after my whole avoidance episode. I guess I don't blame him, but I do remember being at a track meet and somebody asking my mom if one of her girls was going to marry that Andy Walters. I didn't say anything, but I remember thinking, " I am. I am going to marry Andy Walters". That's when I knew. I knew as a junior in high school that I was going to marry my high school sweetheart and he says he knew then too. The rest is history. We were dating by our senior year and got married seven years ago when we were Juniors in college. He was my first everything. The first boy I held hands with, my first date, my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first ..... well, you get the idea.

       It's such a beautiful thing, friends. I know without a doubt that God created that man for me. He compliments me in so many ways. My greatest weakness' are his greatest strengths. He is selfless through and through; it is one of my favorite qualities about him. I fail at selflessness so so often, but he gives me such an incredible picture of what a selfless love should look like; what Jesus love for us is like. He is as loyal as they come and I know, without a doubt, that he will always be by my side and on my side. He is my playmate, my helpmate, my best friend, my joy, my hope, my heart (second to Jesus, of course). He holds himself to standards that I see even other Christian men fall short at. I am so so proud to call him mine. I truly am. The past seven years have been a true blessing. We certainly have our moments when it's not wedded bliss, but overall it has been incredibly good. I hate parting with him in the mornings and I can't wait for him to get home in the evenings. I am so thankful.

         Can I just take a minute to talk to the single ladies who may be reading this. Don't settle. Don't do it. Wait for that perfect man that God has for you. I know some of you have gone through long seasons of singleness and are so ready to be married. I get that it's hard.... I do, but trust in his plan for your life. He is supreme in wisdom and knowledge and he doesn't ask us to walk through something without a purpose. He always has a plan and we can rest in knowing that it's a good one and it is perfect. Meanwhile, draw closer to Jesus and continue to fall in love with him. It will make your marriage that much stronger because you will have built a solid foundation to lay your marriage on. Once you find that man of your dreams, wait to have sex until you are married. Trust me, it's worth it. One of the best decisions we ever made. You can message me or whatever if you want to talk about it more. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TEN: 10 Things You Love About You

      Oh man, its been a long day. Really, this whole week has been a bit long and we are only half way through it. I am worn down and just want to go to sleep, but I am thankful for this space. It always feels good to write and so I write.

Today's prompt: List 10 things you love about yourself! Let's kick that negative self-talk outta here!

       This was a good one. I spend way too much time thinking about all my 
imperfections; they are always staring me in the face...... literally! God gave me so many uniquely wonderful qualities; let's focus on those for a minute.

1. my hair- It's red and I love it. It matches my feisty personality and sets me apart from the crowd. I've never disliked it, but I wasn't really all that crazy about it. I always felt like the boys didn't like me because my was red. My hair is also basically wire so any hair style I put into it will stay all. day. long. It's pretty awesome.... except when you really mess it up.
2. my creativity- I think this might be one of my most favorite things about myself. Creativity oozes out of me. I am always thinking of new projects I want to create or things I want to sew. I love that I can take decent pictures of my children; so thankful that they will be able to look back on pictures that really express who they are. God was good to me when he blessed me with the gift of creativity.
3. my eyes- I have these big blue round eyes and when I wear a blue shirt they POP. 
4. ability to bring people together- This is definitely a newer trait that I have developed. It all started after I returned from Kenya last year and became determined not to lose those new formed friendships. I am just thankful that all those wonderful new friends are willing to comply with the plans that I make. 
5. strength- I have been told that I am a very strong person. That can mean a couple different things and I probably fit into both categories. I am a very strong-willed person, no doubt, but I also have a lot of strength and courage. My strength has certainly been tested and I am sure there will be many more times where I will have to stand strong. My strength certainly comes from the Lord. Proverbs 18:10 says, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into and is safe"
6. love for this world- I never thought this would be something that would even be apart of me. It's just a testament to how God works. I love this world and the people living in it. I wish I had the finances to go on every single mission trip that is offered at my church. It's so easy to be scared of things we don't understand. I want to understand and know people and cultures. Praying that will be apart of my future.
7. tenacity- when it's time to get something done, I am all over it. I have a drive inside of me and once I get focused on something, there is no turning back.
8. deep thinker- I've learned over the past couple years that I am a deep thinker and a processor. I need to work through thoughts, questions, and experiences. You want a really dumb answer from me? Ask me a deep question and expect an answer in seconds. I need to really dig through the good and the bad things in this life. I think it's a great quality. When you allow me the time to process through my thoughts, I can usually give you something worth while.
9. loyalty- You become my friend and I'll never leave your side. We might not see each other or talk very often, but I will always be there for you.
10. Who I am in Christ- Oh man.... he has done a work in me. He has changed me, grown me, and stretched me. I see myself becoming more Christ-like and I am so so thankful for that. I have so so far to go, but he is constantly pulling me in and teaching me his ways. I love him. I do. I love him so much and I love who I am in him. He allows me to stumble and fall, mess it all up; then pulls me and forgives me and shows me grace. It's a beautiful thing.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NINE: Personality Types

Today's prompt: Let's talk personality types. Introverted? Extroverted? Unsure-troverted? If you know you Myers-Briggs type, share it! If not you can take this similar test and share your results.

     Interesting that this topic falls on a Tuesday because I feel my introvertedness pretty hard on these days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work at our church for Mother's Day Out and I come home absolutely whooped. It takes me a good hour, alone in my room, before I feel half way recharged. I basically turn on the TV the second we walk in the door and beg my children to give me some time. 

       Introverted it is! I loooove solace and alone time! I certainly don't get it very often, now that I have two kids, but I crave it and cherish the moments I do get alone. I used to be crazy introverted! Like, it was really hard for me to have any type of conversation with anybody I didn't know and if you were a boy..... forget about it! It has taken years and years of forcing myself to talk to people to get where I am today. Moving to Houston was so good for me because if I was going to make friends, I was going to have to open my mouth and make conversation. 

        I am also a reflector and deep thinker. I like to savor and chew on thoughts and experiences. I am still processing through my Kenya trip that was two months ago. While many people just speak their thoughts, I like to hold onto mine. Well, that's not totally true; sometimes my mouth can run a little too free. My Mom could probably attest to both, I suppose.  I got in trouble a lot for arguing and being sassy, but I also remember her saying, "Elizabeth, I can see your thoughts running through your head". I'm learning the balance.

Anyway, here is my results from the test I took:

      I feel like it sums me up pretty well! I have certainly had people think that I was arrogant and unfriendly because of my personality. I remember this girl in college being shocked at how friendly I actually was, once she got to know me. Apparently, I never said "hi" to her whole she was in my class. Truth be told, I didn't know she was even in my class and besides, she never made any attempt to greet me (why am I the bad guy?) 

       Here is the truth: I don't want or need a ton of friends and the ones who make it through are usually very genuine, down to earth people. I love authenticity.   However, just because I am introverted does not mean that I always want to be a homebody. I sincerely enjoy getting together with people that I love. Friendship is such a God given gift! I need friendship. 

     I've made this revelation that some people are, what I like to call "friend collectors". You merely give them a half smile and your their new friend. You both like pink and BOOM you are best friend. Jog on the same street? BOOM! You like her shirt? BOOM! Your kid wiped a booger on her kid? Boom! Now hear me, I am not bashing it. Infact, I wish I could be more like that, but intimacy is HUGE to me. I want to talk about real life issues and struggles, about passions and desires, hopes and fears. If we can't take off our masks and be real, then it's probably not going to work out. It's truly beautiful when you find those type of friends. Trust me. 

         Alright, I think that's enough about my introvertedness. I have had my hour alone in my room and now it's time to join the real world. 



Monday, September 8, 2014

EIGHT: Music Moves

Today's prompt: Music that moves you. Are you a Spotify addict or a Pandora guru? Tell us your favorite artists/stations!

           I can't just write about "music that moves you" because music, in general, moves me. Music is my heart language; my soul reflector. It defines eras of my life and envokes emotions that have long since past. It's how my heart worships. Music is apart of me , like the blood surging through my veins.  It's  joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, depth  and heights. You could map out my life through the storytelling of songs . 

          To say I like music would be such an understatement. Music has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember.  It was always playing when I was a girl. We had this giant tape player in our  basement and my Mom would always put a tape in as we were falling asleep. I fell asleep to music for a good eighteen years  and still do some nights. We cleaned to music, did homework to music, and celebrated to music. Like I said, it was on ALL. THE. TIME. 

        I remember when I got my first CD player. I was probably eleven or twelve and I found it on our Easter egg hunt. It was bright yellow and my pride and joy. From that point on there was no turning back. I discovered Classical music, Beetoven's Fur Elise and Vivaldi's Four Seasons. 

               Ok, so half this post just got deleted and I am not going to retype it all. Sorry. Such a bummer! I am just going to tell you what I am listening to these days and move on. 

artist. Rend Collective, Ellie Holcomb, Ben Rector, Jon Foreman, and All Sons and Daughters. James Taylor is always, always, always my fall favorite.

albums. Art of Celebration and Campfire by Rend Collective. As Sure As The Sun by Ellie Holcomb 

genres. Pretty much anything besides rap.

stations. See all the artists above :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Trenches

      Parenting is hard. Most overused and understated statement of the year. It is though... it's really hard. I stood in my dining room today with my hands clasped over my ears saying, "I can't, I can't.... I just can't". I felt like an eight year old little girl about ready to drop to the floor kicking and screaming in a tantrum. Just what we need around here is another person acting like a child. But y'all, sometimes I reach a point in my day where I just can't deal with it anymore. I can't deal with the constant neediness and "mom, mom, mom".  It wears me out and I reach a point where I almost feel overstimulated. You know, like, if I hear one more sound I might just rip my own ears off. Does anybody know what I am talking about?

      I need space and solitude; I am pretty sure that's the introvert in me. Unfortunately, introvertedness doesn't just disappear when a child arrives (it's probably made worse). I need time to unwind from the constant noise and chatter, but I feel guilty when I do. I feel guilty because I feel like I'm failing them. I should be better at this, you know? I should want to answer the million questions and take Brandly potty for the third time in 10 minutes. The truth is that some days I just want to hide in my room while the TV messes up their brain development (I mean can't they give us just one thing). 

        It's real and it's raw. I'll never pretend to be something I'm not. Instragram and Facebook may paint a pretty picture, but it's not real life. I guess I could have taken a picture of me with my ears clasped and eyes squeezed shut, but in those moments your just trying to make it through.

     So, here's to the mommies of real life, deep in the trenches. I feel your pain, struggles and insecurities. Take comfort in knowing there is one mommy who is right there with you and a Savior who is there to see you through! I'm sending out a metephorical "CHEERS" to you. So raise your sippy cups and drink to better and brighter days ahead!



Blog-tember: FIVE

Today's prompt: "I am passionate about _____________."

      I think that if you know me even a bit, you already know where my passion lies. It's part of what makes my heart beat and there is not a day that my mind doesn't turn towards it. It changed me forever and I will never see the world the same after experiencing it. Really, it's not even just one thing, but a group of things that have been wrapped up together in a beautiful package. 

Kenya. Africa. Missions. 

       Last year, I took my first mission trip to Kenya and my life did a 360 turn. You can't come back from that continent without being changed. You just can't. They are the most beautiful people and have the biggest hearts. Ugh, my words are going to fail me here. I wish I could hand you this tangible object and say, "Here, this is Kenya. This is Africa. This is my experience", but I can't. My words will fall short again and again and I think that's why I have stopped trying to explain it. 

      I think the only thing that will give you any idea of what it was like is to tell you what we all have said over and over again after returning home, "We went to be a blessing to them and we came back feeling that WE were the ones who had been blessed". It's a funny thing, you know? We as Americans think that we have everything to offer the rest of this world, but we are so blinded and so incredibly wrong. Yes, we have everything the world can hand us on a gold platter, but we have lost so much with all  those things. We have drowned ourselves in noise and distractions so much that we are missing out on the true blessings. You see, over there there are no TV's sitting in every single room, no smartphones and devices in everybody's hand. No, people sit around peeling potatoes and sorting beans while having real conversations. They talk and connect to one another and I have never been happier than when I am there. I don't miss all our American stuff for a second..... not one second.

       Go on a mission trip. Anywhere. Just do it. We gotta stop making excuses and allow ourselves to experience the world in a different way; experience Jesus in a different way. Let him change you, move you and take you to places within yourself you didn't know existed. Yes, he works in the U.S. too and can use you here, but there is just something uniquely special about experiencing the people he created in another part of this world. 

       I made my second trip to Kenya this summer and I'll go back every summer if the Lord allows it. It's just such a unique and special place. If you don't know, I serve at an orphanage called Little Eden in a small village called Cheese. Last year, I experienced Kenya with my church's mission team and this summer I had the great pleasure of serving with Mike and Sylvia Eden (who founded and run the children's home). You can read about last years trip here and here. I still haven't written about this year, but I'll get there. It takes along time for me to process through everything and like I said, it's really hard to put it into words. The pictures on this post are from my trip this year; consider it a sneak peek ;)