Category Archives: Friendship

I Want to be That Woman

Be a Light

James 3:13 “Who in your community is understanding and wise? Let his example, which is marked by wisdom and gentleness, blaze a trail for others.”

Her name flashed across my phone as a call coming in. I was in the middle of my Bible study and I couldn’t answer it right then. It was a bit unusual that I was getting a call from this friend so I made a mental note to touch base with her when I was done.

I sent her a text an hour or so later when I was getting ready to drive back home, she asked if I was free and her call came in a moment later.

“I knew if I called you, you would pray” she said as she poured out the incredibly difficult news she had received earlier that day.

My heart was breaking for her and I worried that I wouldn’t have the “right” words to say to her. “It’s too big Lord.”

And then I remembered something that we had talked about in Bible Study just an hour before. We were on our last week of studying the book Fervent. I had the incredible opportunity to lead the 12 week study and even wrote the outline that we used to do so. God was in all the details with that one and I can’t wait to tell you more in October!

But that day we had discussed relationships and how the enemy will often attack even our Christian relationships. If he can bring dissension, he will. He wants to see us broken and weak and alone.  We talked about how we can fight against that. What does it look like to be a light in our church and our community?

Then we read James 3: 13-18. I happened across the Voice version and loved what it said.  James 3:13 “Who in your community is understanding and wise? Let his example, which is marked by wisdom and gentleness, blaze a trail for others.”

That is who I want to be, I had shared. A woman who is understanding and wise. A woman who is marked by wisdom and gentleness. I want to blaze a trail for others.

I know that I am not all there yet, but I have hope in God’s ability to continue to restore and refine me. And in the doing so, I want to be able to share that hope with others.

So this morning, in the darkness of my living room, I knelt before my couch and I prayed. It is embarrassing to admit that it had been a long time since I had prayed like that, with that much fervency. Here I had been leading a study on fervent prayer and my own prayer life had waned a bit.

But it didn’t matter at that moment. What mattered is that I wanted to follow through on my promise to pray.

I spoke bold, miracle-pleading prayers.

I believe my God can answer those prayers in the way I would like. I also know He may not. So I prayed for peace and understanding. I prayed for this friend and her family and I knew that God WOULD be there with them through this season.

I can’t begin to speculate on the outcome, but I know without a doubt that God can and will be glorified through it all. I also prayed that I would have discernment and wisdom so that I could be the best support possible to my friend.

We were texting this morning a bit and she asked “how do always have the right thing to say?” I laughed to myself and then told her that every once and awhile I listen to God’s leading and I have that “right” thing to share. But the reality is that I am human too and it is also just as likely that I will get angry or frustrated and snap at my husband or kids, right after being fully filled with God’s wisdom.

I don’t get it right most of the time. But I still want to be THAT woman.

I want to blaze a trail for other women to follow.

I can’t do that on my own though, God must go before me. It is only through Him that I am able to be any hope to another. It is an honor and a privilege to walk out this faith journey and share it with others. I know what a mess I am most days and so if God can use me He can use any of us!

So walk with me won’t you? Blaze a trail of your own and be THAT woman to someone else! And if you would, please join me in praying for my friend. God knows who she is and what her specific need is. I will continue to pray for a miracle, trusting that God will be there regardless of the outcome.

An Unlikely Bunch – The Gift of Friendship

Gift of Friendship

I’ll just start out by being really honest with you. I didn’t want to be a part of their “group”. When Dominic “recommended” that I go to the new bible study meeting at church I was less than enthused.

There were several times over the course of the past 4 years that I wanted to participate in one of the bible studies, but there never seemed to be time. But now it was HIS idea so somehow it was a priority. And I didn’t want to go.

You see we were really struggling, no…I was really struggling. My attitude and behavior were less than ideal and I was creating waves in our marriage that were drowning us both. I needed something, I knew it…but I didn’t want it to be something he recommended. Admitting this was a good thing was also an admission that I needed help and I wasn’t ready for that.

I can be a bit overreactive and emotional if you couldn’t tell….

A small piece of me knew that if I didn’t go to this study, I may ruin future opportunities…so that first Monday I got in my car and drove to church. It is a 15 minute drive and I fought with God the entire way. “I DON’T want to be doing this Lord. I know that I need something, but I don’t want it to be the something he recommended. I know I am being terrible right now, so please Lord would you give me even one thing at this study tonight that I could take home with me?”

In my time of desperation, when I called out to God, He heard and He answered.

We are an unlikely bunch. The women in my bible study come from all different places. Some of us are mothers, others grandmas. Some of us are moms of teens and others MOPS. Each of us have a different story to tell. Hurts that have cut us deep and shaped who we are today. Struggles with finances and marriages and freedom from the lies of the enemy.

None of us the same and yet each of us are connected in unity with one goal in mind.

We are seeking a God that loves the very broken women that we are and we are working towards knowing Him more. Becoming a light to those around us, sharing our hurts and our hopes in order to lift one another up.

If you were there with us, you would be warmly welcomed. We don’t have all the answers so we search the God that does. We fail in our jobs and our homes and then we come and share our stories of imperfection. It is a safe place that we can be real and yet walk away lavished in the truth of who we are in Christ.

It was not at all what I expected and exactly what I needed.

I don’t know where you find yourself today. Maybe you have been hurt by the church, or by women…I know it happens and can I just say that I am sorry! I know that I have been that judgmental woman myself, believing that I wouldn’t fit in with “that group.” But boy when I prayed that simple prayer for God to give me one thing I could take home, He gave me an unlikely group of women that have become friends. And I am so grateful.

It is my prayer that we can continue to be that gift to more women that join us…that His love would spread into our homes and our workplaces and communities. That by gathering together as imperfect women, seeking God, we will be able to then be a blessing to someone else who really needs it.

I think that is exactly why God gave us friendships, and today I celebrate that!  Celebrating the friendships that give life today and celebrating the launch of this new book. The Gift of Friendship – Stories that Celebrate the Beauty of Shared Moments by Dawn Camp is available for sale now. A beautiful book filled with stories from women who are doing life with friends. The hard, the wonderful, the scary moments that happen in friendship are all shared in this book. A perfect gift for the friends in your life!

Unconventional Friendships – An (in)Courage Guest Post!

Incourage Friendship Post

Just under 6 short years ago a website was born who’s heart and mission it was to encourage women, gather them together, and equip them to serve well where God had planted them. That site is (in)courage and was one of the first community sites that I started reading after I started blogging myself.

Each morning a post would fill my inbox that gave me hope, brought me laughter and helped me feel like I wasn’t alone. You see making friends hasn’t ever been easy for me. I tend to isolate. And so having a little piece of friendship in my inbox each morning was such a  gift.

And so today it is with excitement and honor that I get to share a little of my journey to some “unconventional” friendships on the (in)courage site. I would love to have you join me there. While some of my dearest friendships have come in an unexpected way, it has reminded me that God can and will use any situation to gather His daughters together!

Because God knew my secret longings for friendship, and He provided it in the most unconventional way…(<====Click to Tweet)

And if you haven’t already been receiving the emails from (in)courage every day – sign up here so that you too can receive these free daily emails of encouragement in your inbox! You will be glad that you did! 🙂

When Laughter Lifts Spirits

Laughter

I had the joy of attending a baby shower yesterday for a sweet new mama. This is her first child and it can be scary. Several of us from our small group joined together to have this shower and it was such fun.

Nancy hosted and made the yummiest of treats. I ate 3 of her filo cups at the shower (I was trying to be super polite) …I could have had 50. They were THAT good. They were these little filo dough cups filled with cheese and mayo and bacon and tomato. YUM!!

I digress….

I had an idea for the cake and was scheduled to do the frosting and then my kids got the stomach flu (YUCK)…so my friend Steph offered to take care of it for me, which was such a blessing.

They did such a good job. It was so adorable! And their story about how it all came together (or almost didn’t) was HILARIOUS. I was laughing just hearing it.

I needed that laughter yesterday.

I said it before but I have found myself in a tough season. It has been a struggle and while I have felt God’s presence so clearly, it is still hard. I haven’t found myself laughing much, and sometimes it is just what we need.

We spent almost 3 hours laughing and sharing stories.

Joy, our youth pastor’s wife, shared the devotional and gave the best “10 things to do to go crazy” list. Dave Letterman doesn’t have anything on this woman. So so good. Everything was written to be sarcastic and we were roaring through it. Like “When you are feeling down about yourself, go onto Facebook and compare your life to all of the perfect people out there…” or “Apply every piece of advice someone give you to your life immediately.” (Don’t we all find ourselves doing these very things and then going crazy over it?!)

And then we just shared stories about our kids and life.

They weren’t the “bragging” kind of stories. No, these were the real life, it isn’t easy and we all make mistakes, kind of stories.

Laughter filled the room, time and time again.

And as the time was coming to the close my friend next to me said something to the effect of “this was so much fun. I just feel better about myself as a mom and feel like I can go home now and better deal with my life.”

Isn’t that what community should be about?

A gathering where our joys are multiplied, and our sorrows divided. (<====Click to Tweet)

If we leave a time like this feeling better about ourselves, it is so so worth it.

It wasn’t really about the food or the cake (although both were amazing), it was about shared heart-stories and women gathering to support and love one of their own.

I need more of that in my life.

I need to make it a priority to spend time with other women, in community. Because when I do I walk away with a lighter spirit and a song in my step.

Laughter truly is the best medicine!

Photo Credit: a4gpa

When Technology Connects

Map

I think I loved the idea of developing friendships, creating community even at a young age.

My parents would take us on travel adventures when I was little. Driving across the US in our van or VW bus, we filled our time with road games, latch-hook and Sesame Street song tapes.

When we would arrive at our destination, usually a campground, we would find the best spot and set up camp. Back in those days we camped in an actual tent, like on the ground. You know where bugs and bears can get you…ahh the good times! 😉 It was always fun and I have fond memories of those summers with my family.

Every once and awhile I would meet another girl my age who was out with her family. One year a girl from California parked next door. I say parked because her parents had a HUGE camper, and it even had a toilet inside. I was only slightly jealous.

She and I had fun exploring together and at the end of our stay we exchanged addresses and promised to write letters.  

The letters came frequently at first, but then as school got back in session, and life happened…well the letters stopped.

Today, because of the amazing technology we have, staying connected is so much easier.

I have marveled recently at how, through things like Voxer, women from all over the country have been able to develop friendships that will remain lifelong. A message, or a prayer can be shared in moments and suddenly they don’t feel so far away.

Some of my dearest friends are those that live the farthest from me.

A book launch originally connected us, and then emails, a sharing of life and laughter and even at times tears. We start our mornings with a greeting and prayer requests. These women have invested in me and I in them, in ways I could have never imagined even 10 years ago.

While technology can be, at times, a curse…today I see the blessings.

Because of technology, I now look at a map of the United States and realize that even though the States separate us, the gap doesn’t feel too big because with a touch of a button we can leave a vox, or send an email…and we stay connected.

How do you stay connected with technology? 

I’m sharing this story with this week’s community link-up at The High Calling. You can add your voice to the “Technology at Work” discussion here.

Photo Credit: Marxchivist

We All Need a Little of That!

Community

As many of you know just a little over a week ago I was surprised with a getaway birthday weekend to Houston. It was a weekend filled with love from my friends and family.

While Gindi and I shared a delicious BBQ chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (which by the way was YUM!!), we talked about this idea of community. On FB the night I found out about my surprise I posted a picture of my letter and this comment “To say that I am floored and overwhelmed and crazy excited all at once is an understatement….not exactly sure where I am headed on Saturday but the “three birthday bandits” have completely surprised me!”

130 people liked that post and I had over 40 comments…

I don’t say that to brag, it is a reflection of how much something like this would mean to so many people.

“Best present ever!!”, “I want to get kidnapped”, So fun, can’t wait to hear about it”…and on and on.

People, women especially, long for this type of community.

Maybe we don’t say it or admit it…but it is true. We love to feel loved. (<====Click to Tweet)

I think it is in our nature, it is how we were made. I know so many women who love big and love well. But this experience for me was proof that we all have a secret wish that someone would love on us in a HUGE way like I was.

And I don’t want it to end with me.

I realize that many of us might not be able to plan such an elaborate surprise like I received…but as Gindi and I talked I was challenged to think of ways that I might be able to love on others well, here in my own front yard.

Because we all need a little more of that, don’t we?

Of community, friendship, lavish and unconditional love?

This may mean that we have to step out in faith…and what if it isn’t well received? What if we put a Turquoise Table in the front yard in April, invite our neighbors over, and no one comes?

It could happen.

It probably won’t, but there is that risk.

But you know, I have found that by being willing to take the risk, the crazy leaps of faith…that I have been given back so much in return.

If I hadn’t been willing to open my heart to the idea of online friendships…well last weekend would have never happened. And what a blessing that was in my life.

I hope you can understand that I face these challenges with the same fear that I expect many of you are facing. We are in this together!!

That is why I felt like it was so important to write about this today. I often make decisions based on fear, especially fear of the unknown.

But when we see a need – how can we NOT respond?! Maybe your response isn’t with a surprise trip, but instead a call to a friend for a lunch date. A card in the mail to a neighbor or introducing yourself to a “stranger” at church.

The act itself doesn’t have to be monumental, but I am seeing that the small things can become monumental if we are invested in and working at community. (<====Click to Tweet)

So I come here willing. Prayerfully considering how this looks in my own life and open to being pushed to where I may feel uncomfortable…because if I can be the hands and feet of Christ here…who knows what might happen!

Photo Credit: Niall Kennedy

A Weekend Filled with Love

What a whirlwind weekend of fun I had. I still can’t believe that Gindi, Christine and Delonna wanted to do this for me and that they worked with Dominic to pull off such an amazing surprise!

I feel so blessed. The trip to Houston (once I knew where I was going…) was a long one. What is it about trips that once you start you just want to be there already and once you start the journey home you just want to be home?!

Birthday 22

I was greeted by Gindi with a sign that she and her kids made for me, a balloon and beautiful flowers! And there were chocolates all over my bed when I got to her house as well. I felt so loved.

Gindi is an amazing planner and gets joy out of party planning, and she had a packed but wonderful schedule planned for us. On Sunday morning we got up and all went to church. Her church had these beautiful stained glass windows and rich hardwood pews. Her pastor talked about not getting stuck (frozen) in our lives as Christians, but rather we need to go out and be a people of community, we are God’s chosen and we need to start sharing the joy of that message with others!

Birthday 23

After church we ran home to get ready for all of the fun of the afternoon. It started with brunch at Benjy’s. This place was so fun and we had a wonderful meal. Next we were off to do a little shopping (because of course!) and then on to a high tea at the St. Regis in Houston to celebrate Gindi’s nomination of one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Houston!

I knew she had been nominated, but was even more excited when I go to the actual award ceremony! I had the opportunity to meet her boss and co-workers, her best friend (in Houston) Mary, her mother-in-law and niece and her beautiful mother. Gindi’s mama was such a joy to visit with.

I had not ever had high tea before, but they served us 3 courses! This close after a full brunch…we ate and ate on Sunday! The first course was several different petite sandwiches, followed by a scone (which I hadn’t ever had before!) and then 3 desserts. While I am not a huge fan of tea, this experience was so nice and to be able to cheer Gindi on as she was called up front…priceless!

Birthday 24

After high tea we did a little more shopping and found some great clearance deals. And then onto another restaurant for dinner. As if we hadn’t eaten enough already! The waitress knew it was my birthday and brought the most decadent chocolate dessert as a treat for us to share. So wonderful!

Birthday 25

Monday was a bit more relaxed. Gindi had booked us a morning at the Trellis spa, and for my first real spa experience it was oh so good! We got swedish massages first and then pedicures. If money were not object, it would be lovely to visit there once a month to relax and de-stress.

We shared lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen, which was also new for me…I clearly don’t get out enough! (BBQ chicken pizza that was to die for!) And then some shoe shopping. (Because of course) And then we grabbed some groceries to prepare the treats for the Turquoise Table neighbors party she was hosting that night!

Birthday 26

Because we were home early we got to surprise the triplets and pick them up from school. I should have gotten a picture of their uniforms, because they were adorable. All the way home the talked about their day, what their favorite part was, what they learned. It is fun hearing it from 1 5-yr old, but 3?! I just giggled all the way home! 🙂

They quickly changed out of their uniforms and into  something that was more appropriate for the “Let it Snow” party Gindi was hosting at her turquoise table from 5-6. And of course, Frozen PJ’s and cowboy outfits were the perfect choice!

We made several treats for the party, Snowmen noses (carrots and dip), hot chocolate, frozen hearts (strawberries dipped in melted white chocolate), snow (popcorn) and ice treat (rice crispy bars with blue sprinkles on them!)

It was COLD (even for the Minnesotan) and so it was a smaller gathering than usual, but I got to meet a few of her neighbors and it was so much fun….which leads me to my next post that will be titled “Dear Dominic, We ARE Getting a Turquoise Table” (look for that later this week!) 😉

Birthday 21

After the gathering we all went out for Mexican food at Los Tios. A fun, kid-friendly restaurant where we ate AGAIN. I am going home today happy, blessed, full and 10 pounds heavier!

This morning we were up early, early and out the door by 6am. I should be home shortly after the kids get out of school and I can’t wait to see everyone! And kudos to Dominic who spent the weekend with not one but two kids barfing. 🙁

I know it wasn’t the weekend he had hoped for and he had to work from home yesterday to stay with Karlena who needed a little more time to recover. I can’t say that I am sorry I missed all of that…but it is no fun being a single parent during times like that! I am so blessed to have him as a husband.

I keep saying it, but this weekend was such a gift to me. It filled my spirit in so many ways and just getting to do life with Gindi for a couple of days was over the top. I wish that Delonna and Christine could have joined us in person (heck I wish all of you lovely friends could have joined us!!) but really it was just a time of so many great memories and such good food! 😉

I don’t feel like I deserve all of this, so I truly am just sitting back in awe of what God has done for me in these beautiful friends! Thank you so much girls, it was a weekend FULL of love!

What Your Heart Needs

Phone booth

I am not much of a phone call kind of girl. In fact they sometimes scare the daylights out of me. It is those awkward pauses that might happen and “what if I say something stupid” kind of fears.

I don’t enjoy having to call and order the pizza, in fact for years I refused to do it. (I know what am I 12?!) Calling clients is one of my biggest fears at work, when the reality is that most often I can answer any questions they have and our conversations usually end up just fine.

I guess it is something that has always caused me some sort of anxiety, so I just avoid it if I can. So let me apologize right now if you have ever called my house and I haven’t answered the call…. : /

But this weekend I got a voicemail from my friend Kami (this call I totally missed I swear!!) and I called her back and just had the most wonderful conversation with her.

We don’t see each other but maybe once a year, it isn’t often enough but it was so nice to just catch up and share life a little. To talk to another mom who gets where parenting isn’t usually glamorous or even wonderful. A friend who knows what it is like to have “that” child….you know the one that doesn’t listen and seems to like being naughty. 🙂

And when I got off that call my spirit felt lighter.

I didn’t even realize that I was feeling a little down, but that call lifted me and I am so grateful for it.

Some days we just need that pick me up don’t we?!

Maybe it is a call from a friend, or some retail therapy, even a good cup of coffee if you are into that sort of thing! 😉

If I have learned anything the past several years it is that life isn’t, and won’t, always be easy. I will get frustrated, feel lonely or angry and upset. I will feel misunderstood and left out.

So knowing that these days will come, what can we do to counteract it?

I find for me that I need to surround myself with truth.

The truth of God’s word, a favorite scripture taped to my mirror (Ephesians 3:20-21), or a devotional book filled with inspiring truths that encourage and offer hope.

My dear friend Holley Gerth has written a new devotional called “What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days.” And it releases TODAY!!

What Your Heat Needs

It is a beautiful book filled with 52 short devotionals. At the end of each day is a prayer and a space where you can write a reflection from the reading.

Holley is the real deal. She is a woman that writes from experience, someone who has been dealt the hard days, and walked through them with grace.

This doesn’t mean that she has enjoyed the process, or even always handled it well, who of us have right!?!

But as you read these devotionals you feel as though you are sitting across from a friend, pouring out your heart, and she understands all you are dealing with.

In her words “Acknowledging the hard parts of our lives doesn’t mean that we’re not grateful for the gifts God has given. We can thank him every day for the child he’s given us while also feeling exhausted when that same child gets on our last nerve….”

“God understands both”

God wants us to bring the good and the bad to Him. (<====Click to Tweet)

He knows there will be hard days, days when our hearts need a lift.

I am so grateful that He has called and gifted Holley with words of hope so that she could bring that message to us. This is a devotional that you will want to get and keep close by for those times when you need a reminder that you are not alone.

Thank you Holley for once again filling my home with words of light, His light that shines through you. I am so blessed to know you and honored to be able to help promote this newest book of yours!

I was graciously given a copy of Holley’s devotional from Revell Books to read and review as a part of a blog tour. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Phone Booth Photo Credit: Monica Arellano-Ongpin

On How I Write…Some Blog Hop Fun

I don’t participate in many blog hops, but when I got an email from sweet Jennifer over at A Girl on the Doorstep, I was honored that she asked me to join in so here I am! 🙂 Jennifer, if you don’t already know her, is a amazing writer and she recently released her new book “Nothing to Hold but Hope.”  Jennifer understands all too well the pain of infertility, stillbirth and loss and yet she has walked through those moments with faith. An inspiration for anyone going through a difficult situation. Thank you Jennifer for thinking of me to be a part of this blog hop!  ***An update this week and a prayer request. Last week Jennifer suddenly lost her step-father to a heart attack. It has been a huge blow to her and she wrote a beautiful post about how she is today. Would you please be in prayer for her and her mother as this is a time of incredible loss for their entire family!***

Writing

So for this challenge we were given 4 questions and then asked to share 3 more women who will be doing the same on their blogs next week. So first the questions and then the real fun will come! 😉

1.  What am I writing or working on?

When I first saw this question I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be doing this because I haven’t written a lot lately. No book on the horizon, no blog post gone viral…just me and my words here a few times a week.  But that is ok. I think at times I diminish what I do if it doesn’t seem “big” enough. But I was encouraged this past Sunday when one of the missionary families that our church supports came to speak. Sammy reminded us to be a light in the darkness. If we have a talent for speaking, speak light. If writing is our gift, be a light there. So while I don’t have anything really specific that I am working on, I hope that for the most part, the posts that you will find here are filled with hope and light!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While there are a TON of Christian writers out there, each of us offers a unique voice, a story that is each our own, don’t you think? While other woman may know the pain of infertility or miscarriage and can relate to that part of my story…we each experience it in a different way. Marriage is tough and I share my struggles here at times to offer hope (and as a “this is how NOT to do things” kind of perspective) 🙂  but no 2 couples go through the exact same struggles.  That is one thing I love about the blogging community. We find commonality and yet each of us, working at being that light, has a very personal twist on those similar themes. When I started blogging in 2008 I felt like I had finally found a place where I belonged! A place where I could be me, and yet find hope and encouragement from other women who had been there as well.

3. Why do I write what I write?

Typically I write as I feel God leads me. I share stories about marriage and parenting and my faith life and walk. My life hasn’t been easy. I have made a LOT of mistakes over the past almost 40 years, and yet God has been so faithful to me. I don’t want to keep quiet about that! I think that my mistakes and experiences can offer hope, because there is so much hope found through Christ. It isn’t anything that I have done, but rather the life changing work that has been done through me because I trusted God even the littlest bit to lead me down His path. I want other women who stop here to know that they are not alone! There is hope, even in the darkest of times. That they should seek after and follow their crazy God-sized dreams because it is worth it! I started blogging as a result of a miscarriage that I needed to process. For a time I thought I would make blogging my money-making career (insert snort) and I focused on trying to be the next “it” blogger. Today I write because God has given me the words to share about His redemption in my life. Hopefully my writing will be a reflection of His grace and mercy and bring Him glory. It is just so not about me…but about all God continues to do through me that I write today.

4. How does my writing process work?

Well if this were blogging 101 I would tell you that if you want to be a writer, you should write even when you don’t have the words. Just write. The reality for me is that I write when I feel inspired. I pray in the shower in the mornings and will listen for the Spirit’s leadings, sometimes I write as a result of that. Other times I will see or hear something and the idea for a post will come to mind. I have several from my vacation a few weeks ago. I haven’t written a single post but I have notes written in the Notes section of my phone. At the time writing the posts wasn’t possible, mostly because I didn’t want to take time away from my family, so I jot down notes or a theme and hopefully can write a post later. I usually try to write early in the mornings so I am not taking time away from other people/things…but there are times that I really feel like I just HAVE to write and those I will just do as soon as possible, regardless of the time of day. I am the kind of writer that, when I feel God’s leading, can write a fairly long post in less than 15 minutes. So if you stop here and it has been awhile since I have posted…well I am not “forcing” the words I am probably working through some things with God…learning a few heart lessons, and will share those as He leads!

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Ok so enough about me and now on to the really fun part!! I have been so blessed by blogging and the women I have met. They encourage and inspire, they “get” why I do this and it is my pleasure to introduce you to 3 women I have “met” because of blogging. Next week they are going to join in the fun and answer these questions themselves so please jump over and read those as well! I know you will love them like I do! 🙂

Sarah

I have been reading Sarah’s blog the longest. She writes at The Teacher’s Wife and has posts each week that focus on family, saving money and shopping with a budget etc. She is a SAHM to 2 adorable kiddos and is expecting another – her daughter is only 10 days older than my girl too!! I found Sarah’s site after she lost her precious son Andrew to stillbirth. He would be 5 this August. Sarah has such a wisdom and grace about her and even though she has faced incredible loss she has a strong faith. It is an honor to know her!

“Sarah is the wife of a handsome history teacher and mom to 5 children {Savannah is 3.5 yrs, Brady is 21 months, she has 2 babies waiting on her in heaven, and 1 more due to arrive in the fall}. When she’s not spending time with her kids and husband, she’s blogging, couponing, drinking Diet Coke, and eating chips and salsa with her girlfriends. She’s living out her lifelong dream of being a stay-at-home mom, but learning so much more from her kids than she could ever teach them. She is living one blessed life and thankful to for God’s daily dose of grace.”

 

Maria

Maria has been leaving me the sweetest, most encouraging comments over the past year here in my space. She is a natural encourager, she shares posts and tweets them. She is a woman that you want in her corner. I don’t write posts for the comments, but I can tell you that they are always such a blessing to me, it is affirming to know that someone else gets where you are coming from! 🙂 Maria has also been participating in Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart Encouragement Challenge this year  – run to her blog and check out more of her posts like this one! You will be blessed!

“Maria is an entrepreneur-project manager who delights in having creative fun with a team while making things happen efficiently. Her God-sized dream is about designing works of heART that touch, tickle and inspire. She has produced segments for TV and loves to play with technology in real life.

People will tell you the first thing they see in her is bubbly energy and enthusiasm. That’s true. Then they’ll likely shake their heads recalling how she’s also soft and gentle. Someone who’s easily moved to tears and laughs a whole lot too. Like Eric Liddell when she runs, she feels God’s pleasure and enjoys playing volleyball every week with the most awesome friends on earth.

She exists to bring joy to life. A woman of faith, Maria is the eternal optimist who loves people more than anything. And, oh yes, she’s all for sharing, On line and in real life!”

 

 Heather

My final introduction is fellow God-sized Dream Chaser Heather! Heather blogs over at 40YearWanderer. We are in an (in)courage group together for God-sized Dreamers and encouragement is her super-power! She recently started an online community to do just that. What a blessing to find such beautiful women online who want to pour into others! Head on over to her site and I know you will want to grab a cup of your favorite drink and stay awhile! 🙂

“Heather, self-appointed “Ellipses Queen”, is a Super Race-Runner after Jesus’ own heart. She loves to live #ALLIN for Him as a loved wife, proud mom, encourager to many, deep soul lover, big time laugher, and freelance writer. She is currently writing two books – an autobiographical devotional and a Q&A book, with a panel of nearly 50 people from around the globe, about how God and faith factor into our lives.

Heather writes at 40YearWanderer where she welcomes you to share soul-deep. She has wandered through a life full of some incredible {hard and wonderful!} things… all of which God has laid on her heart to share. She can also be found sharing whimsical funnies on Facebook. She’d love to connect with you!”

Please jump over and give all of these women some encouragement today, I know you will be blessed in return by each of them! 

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

Five Minute Friday – Mess

Broken heart

Today is the day the writers from all over the world come together for 5 minutes to write freely about one word. Then we link up over at Lisa Jo’s place to share in the fun – want to join us?!

Today’s prompt is MESS

Community can be a beautiful thing. God brings together people from different places and stages in life and amazing things can happen. I have seen it happen in my own life and marveled at how God made a way in all of it.

Sometimes community can hurt though. My heart is a bit of a mess right now over community that has hurt me. It stings when this kind of thing happens…when you feel betrayed.

But I have to remember that this is an attack.

The enemy wants nothing more than to steal and destroy those very things that bring us joy.  When we experience real community and God is given the glory, we shouldn’t be surprised when an attack comes out of the blue…unexpected.

It caught me a bit off guard really…thus the mess of a heart.

But a dear sister-friend reminded me that these kinds of things don’t define me. I can have what would be my normal reaction and run away from community…or I can have a God-reaction and find joy even in the mess of it all.

So I am seeking to find joy.

My heart hurts, but I am trusting God with this mess too. I am discovering that I can laugh because of Him. I can forgive because of Him, I can stop comparing and pointing fingers and just love because of Him.

In my broken but healing, mess of a heart, I say YES to God. Trusting that even in this He has a plan and a purpose. That this is a training ground for bigger things and it will all be ok. It won’t always be easy, but He has promised that He is with us even in the hurt.

5-minute-friday-1

Yesterday Kristen Welch’s new book was released “Rhinestone Jesus“. It is an amazing book and tells of her journey of saying yes to God even in the thick of her messy life…you will be transformed by her story of what God did next!

Photo Credit: Free Grunge Textures

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