Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Nativity Story App!

Since we are now really starting the Christmas season I wanted to share with you a fun new app available for kids to tell the nativity story!

INativity Story 1

I love finding new ways to teach the kids about the true meaning of Christmas. I downloaded this app onto my phone and one of the features that I loved was that it has a “Read to Me” and “Read by Myself” button. So the younger kids can just sit and listen to the story play if they don’t have someone to read it to them!

The story is filled with music and vintage pictures. It was made to feel like a pop-up-book and it really does a good job at that! There are spots in each scene that are interactive as well.

Nativity Story 2

Karlena (who is almost 3) got a little button happy while she was watching it and so for a younger child to fully experience the story, an older child or adult should help with making the pages turn etc. But she loved that the screen changed and the music that played in the background.

One of her favorite parts was that she could touch the picture of the “horsey” – which was really the donkey and make it move and make sounds. 🙂

What a perfect app to have on the go to remind your younger children about the real meaning of Christmas! 

About the app :: Aimed for kids ages 2-8, The Nativity Story app brings the Christmas story alive. Where will baby Jesus be born? At the market? At a restaurant? At the inn? Readers of this book app can follow Joseph and Mary on their search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Along the way they encounter a variety of colourful local people and animals. This is a fun and engaging way to share the original story of Christmas with the young generation and remind them what Christmas is all about.

Download here :: The Nativity Story – Popup Deluxe Edition for the iPad ($3.99) or The Nativity Story – Popup Mini Edition for the iPhone ($1.99)

FlyBy Promotions offered me this app to download for free for my honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own!

O The Blood….

“O The Blood”

This song has been playing over and over in my car and at work….

Earlier this week our oldest son learned that a young man from the town we used to live in was killed in a tragic auto accident. One that was completely avoidable but because of the carelessness of the other driver, 2 families lives may forever be changed.

It is so sad and so senseless.

It is in times like these that I want to understand the “whys” – want to see something positive in the situation.

And often times there isn’t an answer right away.

Maybe this accident, this loss, will bring some teenagers from the community to Christ.

Maybe it will bring the driver who caused it to a relationship with Christ.

We just can’t know – I can hope because at least there is something positive…

It is at times like this that the best we can do I think is cling to the promises.

This life is NOT the end.

Because of the blood of Christ, shed for us, a young life lost isn’t lost forever.

There is hope and power and grace in the blood.

Can you even comprehend that even in our darkest moments of sin – Christ chose to sacrifice His life for us so that this would not be the end of the story.

Praise God for that.

Please pray for the family of Peter Auch – may God cover them in His peace today.

Just in case the video doesn’t embed like it is supposed to here is a link to the song I was talking about!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC59rgmcu34.

Impact Opportunity – Sponsor a Family!!

Christmas tree

I know that I said I was only going to do 1 Impact Opportunity each month – but I have very good reason for doing this now! 🙂

Christmas is FAST approaching. With Thanksgiving next week stores have already begun posting their Black Friday sales, and their Black Friday Pre-sales and of course there is Small Business Saturday (which I love by the way) and Cyber Monday.

Plenty of opportunity to shop and get some great deals in the coming weeks.

I really like shopping for Christmas presents. I often help my mother-in-law pick out the gifts for our kids. She loves it because she doesn’t have to get out and try to pick something out and we both know the kids will love what they get! Win win.

But for some families this time of year is especially tough. All the ads on TV and in the paper can be a reminder of what they can’t do. Maybe it is a single mother doing her best to just work to pay the bills. Or a single income family with small children that struggle to keep food on the table, much less by the “extras” of Christmas.

There are so many families out there in need. Many of them in our own community.

And it can be easy to push that out of our minds. Yes maybe we buy a gift for the Angel Tree, or Toy for Tots…all great organizations and doing so much for others. Hear me on this – giving in that area IS important and so appreciated.

But this year I really had to ask myself if we were doing enough?

For the past several years we have sponsored a family in our local community. For us we just started by asking at our church if the staff knew of a family that was going to be struggling that Christmas.

I am guessing if you ask you will find there is a need.

Last year we set a budget, one that honestly was a little “safe”. I am not condemning that, just saying that this year it was put on my heart that maybe we needed to trust God and really give.

Dominic and I recently went to Virginia for a little vacation. A first for us really. We spent $700 on plane tickets at at least $300 on food etc….Just on us. It wasn’t a trip of necessity (although much appreciated), it was a splurge because we have been blessed this year.

On our flight home I got the email from our church secretary with the “wish list” for the family I had asked about this year. At the bottom of the list they wrote this...”This is our list but just know that you don’t have to get any of the items on here, we will be thankful to receive whatever God puts in your hearts. Our family is forever grateful for this blessing.”

That hit me like a ton of bricks.

We have so so much. It is embarrassing really. When I look around my house and see the used toys and thrown away food…..compared to so many we are rich and yet we always want more.

I shared the message with Dominic and he felt the same way. We started talking about what items we should get on the list and he said “Let’s just get them all!”

I get goosebumps even thinking about it! I was so excited!!

If we can spend $1000+ on a vacation, we needed to give and give big. This was our opportunity to pay forward all the blessings God has showered on us.

And added bonus, I got to do what I love and start shopping!!

The Fed Ex and UPS men must wonder what is going on with the stream of packages they have delivered this week.  The kids have had fun seeing what is coming and asking who it is for. And we get to show them that we can be a blessing because of God’s provisions.

Please understand this – I don’t want us to take ANY of the credit here!! This is ALL GOD. He made it possible for us to give big this year and I am just getting the pleasure of enjoying this process myself. I am giddy over the packages that are coming as well. Knowing that these gifts may be appreciated more than the gifts our own kids will get, just makes me smile.

I know some of you may be struggling yourself this year. Maybe you are that family in need. If so, I encourage you to reach out to your local church. There just may be someone hoping to find a family to sponsor as well.

And if you are walking in the land of plenty right now I am going to challenge you too. Look at what makes you “comfortable” and pray about God helping you get a little uncomfortable. I guarantee it will be worth it and He gets the glory!!

And with all these amazing sales coming up next week – now is the time to get shopping!! 🙂

I’ve Created a Little Monster

IMG_7502

Ok monster is a little harsh I know but I was having a hard time coming up with another title. 😉

She is so adorable isn’t she?

Karlena is a sweet and sassy almost 3 year old and she has been such a blessing to our family.

When she was a baby she slept really well early on. For some who don’t know, the first 6 months of her life Dominic and I lived in different states. He was here in MN for a new job and I was back at our old home with the kids until we sold out house.

I was nursing at the time and so during the week when Dominic wasn’t there I just let her co-sleep with me. She would wake to eat and we would both fall asleep right away. I can fall asleep FAST and so this worked really well for both of us.

When we all moved back together we transitioned her into a crib with little difficulty. She would even go in the crib awake and put herself to sleep.  When it came time to give her a “big-girl” bed, that too went amazingly well.

Now fast forward to about 6-8 months ago. I don’t remember the exact date but I do know Karlena got really sick for a couple of days. She had a really high fever and I didn’t want her to be alone….besides she was waking up every 1/2 hour and crying…so I went and slept in her twin bed with her.

And so it began….

A couple of nights like this during her sickness and it became a routine for her. She, like all our boys at this age, like to have someone else in their room with them.

So now, sometime between midnight and 4am, she inevitabily wake up crying out “mama”…..

I have tried just going in her room and rubbing her back until she sleeps again….but fights it, she wants me to lie down, and if I do she and I can be back to sleep in like 28 seconds.

So in the interest of maximizing my already limited sleep, I don’t fight it and just sleep with her every night at some point. I know…I KNOW!

Please don’t judge….I probably get less than 6 hrs of sleep most nights so every moment is precious to me. But now I can’t break the cycle either.

I tried letting her cry one night and after 20 minutes I caved.

I figure that in a few years she won’t want to be around me much less have me in her room…..I know this is short term.  But it isn’t ideal either.

So I am just curious if there are any other parents out there that have had this “problem” and what worked for you to change the pattern….or did you just ride it out??

And please be gentle….I know this isn’t one of my most proud parenting moments!! 🙂

Coming Home for Christmas – Review and Giveaway!!

Coming Home for Christmas

 

UPDATE!! Congratulations Joyce you are the winner of your very own copy of Coming Home for Christmas! I will be contacting you for your address and Flyby Promotions will be sending you your copy! 🙂

I LOVE Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and reflect on what a gift we have been given through God’s son. And then the decorating…oh how i LOVE the decorating!

But for some Christmas can be a difficult time – especially if there is a family strain in the mix.  Christmas time wasn’t always a time of celebration for our family. When Dominic and I were struggling in our marriage we weren’t the most fun to be around. I know that there were times our extended family “tolerated” us because we were related – not because we radiated love and kindness. 🙂

Thankfully things are different these days and our families enjoy spending time together. Christmas has become a time when we do return home. My brother and sister and I all live in different states with our families, and Christmas is the one time of year that we know we can all be together again at our parent’s home. We have a traditional Christmas dinner and watch the kids tear through the presents. It is always a wonderful time and I am so grateful for all God did in our families to restore what once was broken relationships!

Coming Home for Christmas” is a movie about two sisters, who have a strained relationship and haven’t spoken for 5 years, that come together to try and help save their parent’s struggling marriage. They seek the help of the new owner of their old family home so that they can surprise their parents with a old time family Christmas.

I don’t want to give all the twists and turns away in the movie but I will say that this is a clean and wholesome movie, and acceptable for the entire family. It can be hard to find quality movies available so I really appreciate that I was able to watch this with the kids present!

To see the official movie trailer – watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI5OSK0BAzw

If you want to purchase a copy for yourself they can be found at Walmart but I am also giving away 1 copy for one of my readers!!  To enter just leave a comment sharing your favorite Christmas movie. Additional entries given for sharing this post on FB and Twitter.  Just come back and leave a comment for each entry!

Please make sure you include your email address as well so I can contact you if you are the winner!

Giveaway ends Tuesday November 26th and is open to those in the US and Canada!

Disclosure: I received an email from Flyby Promotions with an offer to review a free copy of Coming Home for Christmas and one for giveaway in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own but I will only be sharing products here that I truly love and believe in!

Cara Box – Fall Style

Carabox

One of the blogs I read is Wifessionals. Kaitlyn is a beautiful new mama and started this exchange where 2 women were paired with one another and they sent each other a Cara Box.

In Kaitlyn’s words: It is a way to make friends, receive gifts and share encouragement.

So in early September we got our matches and set to getting to know the women we were paired with!

I sent my Cara box to another Kristin (even spelled the same!!). Kristin blogs over at A Slice of Mudpie.  It was so much fun getting to know her, reading about her adorable son and their many adventures. Hop on over to her blog to see what I sent to her! 🙂

I received my Cara Box from Kyetra. She blogs over at Sweet Tea and Lollipops! Kyetra and I were paired up a little late in the game because my initial partner had to drop out last minute because of family issues. But Kyetra emailed me a couple of times getting some info about me and she sent me a wonderful box!!

My favorite thing has to be the scarf. It is soft and rufflie (is that a word??) and works with so many things. LOVE LOVE it!!

She also sent me some Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix which is perfect for me to take with me to work, some yummy chocolates as a treat and some warm, fuzzy socks for these cold MN nights!

She also sent me this cool face mask, some lotion (which is already in my purse and missed the picture!!) and some lip moisturizer. And some thank you cards that look like little chalkboards. They are adorable!!

Let me tell you I was totally blessed by Kyetra’s gift. Thank you girl it is so appreciated!!

Oh and both Kristin and Kyetra are sponsoring an ornament exchange on their blogs – I LOVE those so if you are interested check them out and sign up soon!

If you haven’t ever participated in a Cara Box exchange before and are interested check out Kaitlyn’s blog because the Winter Box sign ups are in early December!!

The Condition of My Heart

Pyrite

When settlers came to America and started traveling West looking for gold many people were “fooled” by this mineral. Pyrite looks a lot like real gold but it isn’t the actual thing and is basically worthless.  So it was named “fools gold”.

Sometimes, when things look all nice and shiny on the outside of my life, I start to get lazy in the things that are important.

One of those things is time in God’s Word.

I have been participating in the Hello Mornings challenge and we recently just finished a 13 week study.  The past few weeks have been really busy here as we prepared for our vacation away and while I was reading the verses I was only doing it half-heartedly.

While we were on vacation I didn’t do a lot of praying and I basically skipped 4 mornings and didn’t even do my readings at all. I justified it because things were going really well. Dominic and I were getting along and having fun. I had this thing right??

But the condition of my heart, while maybe looking like the “real thing”, was really dark inside.

When things feel good on the surface I get a little self-righteous. I start to feel like I don’t desperately need God like I have, I put my needs before God’s needs, I put down my armor because I feel like I have the enemy beat and I am safe.

Funny how this past week we read these verses in Ephesians. Sad that I read them, but didn’t apply them to my own life.

Ephesians 6: 10-18

10 Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. 11 Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. 12 We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

13 And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. 14 Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, 15 and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. 16 Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. 17 Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed.

I believe in the presence of the enemy in this world. I have seen in my own life the times we have been under attack. When we are doing well, when we are making right choices and putting others needs before our own…we are a threat and the enemy will attack with full on vengeance.

And he attacks me at where he knows I am the most weak.

So here I am, after a week of fun with Dominic, and when we find ourselves back in the “reality” of work and family life, I start to let the little things annoy me.

We all have things that irritate us and most of the time I can let it go. When the condition of my heart is well, it is easy.

When I have stopped reading the Bible, stopped praying continuously, I start to hear those things that bother me louder and louder and my response to them changes.

So I found myself seeing only negative when my entire life is surrounded with the evidence of the positive.

And for a day I engaged in the enemy’s attack, allowing myself to behave in a self righteous way and I turned on Dominic. And in a way that is most damaging……with my words.  I said hurtful things to him because I was angry with myself and a mistake I had made. I wanted someone else to blame because I don’t own up to responsibility well. He was an easy target and he was the victim of my darts.

Words have a lasting impact.

I say things in “the moment” and don’t consider the long lasting impact or cost.

Have you found yourself there as well??

I messaged a few of my girlfriends and shared how ugly I had let myself be and that it hurt him….and now in a day of silence, because I wasn’t willing to own up to my part, we had gone from happy to hurting.

The disconect was real and it isn’t a fun place to be.

And I had caused it.

In my selfishness, I had placed a ugly strain on our marriage.

One of my girlfriends responded about having been there…and how these situations can reveal the condition of our hearts.

Yes that was it…..the condition of my heart was not that of gold. It isn’t easy to admit that I allowed myself to get to that point…again. But here I was.

I had not put on the full armor of God, not stayed alert and the enemy had attacked and I was an easy target. Oh me who has it all together who wants to look pretty on the outside, this Christian example! Ha!

So I do the only thing I know how to do….I run back to the Word. I place those truths in my heart and I pray. I ask for forgiveness and I pray for healing of the hurts I have caused with my words.

I don’t know where you find yourself this morning. Maybe you have hurt someone with your words, maybe you have felt the enemy’s attacks and have justified your behavior like I did.  There is One thing that will get the condition of your heart back into the right place.

That is Jesus.

Run to Him, read God’s Word and put on that armor because the attacks are real and they are many. Be fully prepared to stand your ground and know that if you are in the Word and praying – God IS with you.

I am standing with you there today friends….

Vacation to Virginia!

Dominic and I rarely take vacations on our own. And when I say rarely I mean like never. We have take vacations with family, and gone on a few work trips – but this was really a first for us where we planned a little getaway just us with really no “plans” but to visit his brother Ben and wife Mary and tour a little bit of Virginia.

We were fortunate that my parents agreed to come and be with the kids while we were gone. It is a lot to take on 4 kids, and our kids are a little wild and crazy – so we knew it would be a challenge but the kids had a wonderful time with their grandparents and it was nice to know they were in good hands!

Quarry

Look a quarry – 😉 Little inside joke from our flight into Dulles!

Ben and Mary live just outside of Washington DC so we had access to several places in and around DC. We had not taken time to do much research into where we wanted to go but we had been to DC over 10 years ago on a work trip and had seen all the monuments so we didn’t HAVE to see those this time.

When Ben and Mary picked us up we went to eat and then they took us to this grocery store called Lottie’s. They had a HUGE amount of different fruits and vegetables, fresh fish etc. Lots to just see and take in. But they brought home several fruits to try – one was this….

Exotic Fruit

Some friends on FB knew what this was right away – if you haven’t seen this picture yet any guesses on what it is??

We decided to take a little trip out to Baltimore on our first full day there and see the Baltimore Aquarium.

It was fantastic and one of my favorite days of the entire week.

Baltimore Aquarium

I took so many pictures – the jellyfish were my favorite though!

Jellyfish

We even got a picture with Ben in the background!

Museum with Ben

I asked friends on FB where they would recommend we eat in Baltimore and a few of my friends actually grew up there. Sarah recommended the Rusty Scupper and we could see it across the bay so because it was so nice outside we took a walk and worked up an appetite!

Rusty Scupper

The food was sooo good. They had this bread they brought to the table first that was the most amazing bread I have ever had. Seriously it was that good. Dominic and I both got one of their fresh fish choices and we weren’t disappointed! And we were seated right next to the windows so had an excellent view.

The next day Ben took us to the Air and Space Museum near their house.

ir and Space Museum

This was cool – not my favorite part of the trip but I can only look at planes for so long. 😉 The Space Shuttle Discovery was pretty cool though.

Space Shuttle Discovery

On Monday we took the bus and then the Metro into DC so that we could go to the Natural History Museum.

Natural History Museum

These museums are HUGE. There is so much to see and to read….we just couldn’t get through it all. I really enjoyed the Rocks and Minerals section. I took a bunch of pictures to share with Gabriel. He loves things like that and I thought we might be able to use them for a science fair project in the future!

Rocks at History Museum

We also saw the Hope Diamond….

Hope Diamond

We very quickly walked through the Bones and Mummy exhibits. But this swordfish was pretty awesome!

Swordfish

We decided  to head to Fogo De Chao for lunch.

Fogo

If you have never been there it is what I called a Meat restaurant. They have a salad bar but you really go there for the meat. And boy could Dominic and Ben eat. We were all so full when we left it was silly. Expensive, but an experience and a lot of fun!!

We decided we needed to walk off some of our lunch so we went over to the Natural Art Museum. When we got there we only had 20 minutes before they closed so we didn’t get to see much. I was less impressed with the artwork and more impressed by the architecture of the actual building. Beautiful!

Art Museum

We knew that Chinatown was supposed to be close so we started walking to try and find it. At this point my feet had reached their limit and I was getting tired so I was a little (ahem) crabby. Turns out Chinatown in DC is nothing like the Chinatown we saw in San Francisco so we walked through quickly and took the Metro home.

Tuesday was out last full day there and we went into DC early again so that I could see DeLonna in person again. I am SO glad that we got to connect again. It was so much fun being roomies at Allume but it was nice to see her in her element!

DeLonna

We had a quick lunch, found out where a good cupcake shop was and then walked to go explore the Botanical Gardens a little before she had to go to work.  Dominic and Ben ended up seeing more of the gardens than I did because DeLonna and I spent more of our time catching up and laughing!! 🙂

Botanical Gardens

But this was pretty cool – apparently they have been growing this since 2010 – lots of time to make it this beautiful!

It was much colder on Tuesday than it had been all week so spending a lot of time outside wasn’t an option. So we headed back to Ben and Mary’s house to relax a little before going to the ballet at the Kennedy Center!!

Ballet

When we first got to Virginia, we were talking about what we could do that was different and we saw that there was a new ballet opening on our last night there.  None of us had ever been to a ballet but we thought it could be fun so we got tickets!

It was really cool! The costumes were amazing and the dancers did a really good job. The only hard thing about a ballet is that there isn’t words…so if you don’t know the story it could be hard to follow. For the most part we knew what was going on but the storyline was modified a bit for dance so there are a few unanswered questions….but it is something I would do again!!

We got home pretty late on Tuesday night and had a mid-morning flight on Wednesday. It was a long day traveling home with layovers and then a 2hr drive from the airport to home. But it was a wonderful time away. We both feel blessed that we had the opportunity to do this together!

Next trip….somewhere warm! 🙂  What has been your favorite vacation away??

A Few Minor Changes

There are going to be a few changes here at The Riches of His Love….

Let me explain.

I started blogging on my other blog The Smith Family Journey in 2008 after a miscarriage, one that I wasn’t dealing well with and I used writing as a way to heal. Then I started posting updates about my family and it became a little online journal.  I didn’t have time to scrapbook and my blog allowed me the opportunity to post pictures and make memories for my family.

Every once and awhile I would post a review or a story about my faith walk.  Then last November when I was asked to be a part of the God Sized Dream Team I felt I needed a space that could be used just for my “faith stories”. And in December this blog was born!

I have had a hard time keeping up with 2 blogs over the past 11 months and my family blog has taken the worst of the neglect.  I have decided to stop posting there (for now) and make this space here my “home”.

That means that not only will I share stories about me here, I may from time to time share about my family updates as well.  I will also be doing some reviews and giveaways in the coming months as I have partnered with a publishing company that has lots of Christian books, movies etc. available for review.  I promise that anything I share is something I believe in and would feel comfortable sharing with my little children.  I also promise that this space won’t be overfilled with review posts.

Since 2008 I have made less than $100 in “blogging income”.  That is NOT why I blog! 🙂 I have signed up with several affiliate sites in the past and just got tired of having to try so hard to push a product for an $0.08 payout! 😉  So at this time there won’t be a lot of that here. But it is always fun to get something free for review – so that is likely the most of what I will share.

Finally as I mentioned before I am making a commitment here to share an “Impact Opportunity” with you around the first of each month.  I believe strongly in giving back and there are so many organizations and people that could use our help. I know you will be blessed by them as well

So if you have been with me awhile — I hope you will stay in spite of these changes. And if you are new here – Welcome!!  My family is one of the biggest reasons I have this space to begin with so I think it will be a good fit to combine the two spaces into one home.

An Introduction and a Thank You – Meet Holley Gerth!

Holley and I!

It is my huge honor to share with you a woman that is largely responsible for this space here. Holley Gerth is a writer and best-selling author and founder/creator of the God Sized Dream team that I have had the privilege to be a part of.

When I was chosen to be a part of the God Sized Dream Team (exactly 1 year ago today!!) I felt called to start this space here devoted to writing and sharing about my faith.  I have been blessed in abundance as a result of this GSD team and just thank Holley for allowing me to be a part of her dream chasers team.

At Allume Holley spoke at one of the breakout sessions about finding “Brand You”. She did an amazing job despite the sound difficulties they were having! There were a couple of things she said that really stuck with me….

“God doesn’t want the next “anybody”….He wants the uniquely created you!”

And “Our brands are NEVER about us. First God, then those we serve, then us”.

Don’t you just love that?!

In a world where the focus seems to be “What’s in it for me”, Holley reminds us that we need to be seeking what God’s plan for us is and how we can use our unique gifts for His glory!

She has such a heart for women, of encouragement, and I really wanted to share more of who she is with my readers because I know you are going to love her as well! So I asked her if I could do a little interview of sorts and she said yes!!

So grab yourself a cup of coffee, or hot chocolate if you are like me, find a comfy place to rest and get to know my dear friend and mentor.

To start tell us a little about yourself, your family, your favorite flavor of coffee!

Thanks so much for inviting me to hang out on your place today, Kristin! I’m a God-sized dreams girl who loves encouraging the hearts of women through words. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Mark, for thirteen years. The closest thing we’ve got to a kid is a beagle-basset named Katie {aka “The Beast”}. I drink my coffee without any cream or sugar and just about any flavor will do! A cupcake on the side is always a bonus.

Encouragement seems to be your super power – has this always come naturally or is it something that has developed over time?

I think the answer is “both.” Even back in Junior High I remember writing little notes to my friends like, “10 Things I Like About You.” My grandparents had a Christian bookstore and I would always come home from visiting them with cards and other kind of encouragement to share with my friends. As the years have gone by, God has helped me grow that gift and I’m so glad I get to use it to write books, blog, and serve as a life coach.

What led you to dream chasing?

A few years ago my friend Stephanie Bryant and I started (in)courage, a web site we said was like God’s beach house for women. We were both at DaySpring at the time and long story short, we watched God do the impossible. After experiencing that kind of adventure, I wanted more. There’s no better place to be than going where God wants you.

How has your vision of a God Sized Dream changed?

My husband and I have a verse sitting in our office that says “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (1 Thess. 4:11). I’ve realized that God-sized dreams are just as often found in the ordinary, unknown, and everyday as the moments when you may be in a position that’s more public. Ultimately all God-sized dreams are about this: loving Jesus, loving others, and loving yourself.

What is one piece of advice you would give to the dreamer that feels discouraged?

You don’t have to prove yourself. I spent years trying to gain approval and acceptance. No matter how much I did or what I accomplished, it never felt like enough. And God let it be that way for a purpose because he wanted me to come to a place of knowing I could never earn love—I could only receive it. Your dream is not about a destination. It’s about a relationship. And that’s just as real today as it will be on the day your dream comes true.

Tell me about becoming a life coach and what is one benefit that could be gained by working with a life coach?

I have a masters degree in counseling and worked briefly as a private practice counselor. While counseling is about the past and healing, life coaching is about the future and growth. I realized that was more of my sweet spot and became certified. Now I coach women all over the world. Life coaching is about moving forward and seeing tangible results in your life. But it also makes sure those results come from a place of encouragement, strength, and taking hold of who you really are and what God has for you.

Finally what’s next on the horizon for you and how can we be praying for you?!

What a sweet question! I have another book releasing next Spring called You’re Going to Be Okay. And I’m writing another one that will come out a year later. So I would appreciate prayers for the words I’m supposed to put on those pages. Also, no one has it all together and I struggle with days of discouragement, doubt, and feeling a bit drained just like everyone else. I’d love to have prayers that as I continue pouring out, God would also continue to fill me back up. And friends like you, Kristin, are a big part of that! Thank you!

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Isn’t she just awesome?? Holley has to be one of the most humble and caring people that I know. And today is an extra special day because it is her birthday!! So would you please stop on over at her place and give her some birthday love?! 🙂 Holley you are a blessing in so many ways – I am praying that God fills your cup to overflowing this year!

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