For the Heart at Christmas

It’s Christmas weekend! Have you finished all your shopping and made all your preparations? I hope you have just a wonderful and special weekend of savoring this season with your family and friends. I can’t wait for all of my siblings, nieces and nephews, and parents to all be together–it’s chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I wanted to leave you with some scriptures for this weekend as we celebrate the birth of Christ and remembering of all He has done for us. I hope these will touch your heart as you go about your weekend.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Merry Christmas! I am taking all of next week off from blogging but I will be back in the new year! Thank you so much for your support this year, it means so much to me!

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For the Thankful Heart

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends! Today I am sharing some scripture with you and giving thanks to the Lord for the blessings in my life. God is so good and it’s my prayer that you know that and Him. I am thankful for each of you who read these posts and support my blog. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

I am thankful for my parents–their love for each other, their love for God, and how they love their children. I am thankful for my sisters and my brother–they truly are my best friends and we love each other so much. I am thankful for my brothers-in-law–they are each different but they hold very special/specific places in our family and have been supportive in so many ways. I am thankful for my nephews and nieces–they have completely changed my life and have taught me so much about love. I am thankful for my extended family and opportunities to re-connect with cousins–they are some of the most special people in my life and I am so glad they are family.

Psalm 30: 4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.

I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for the ones who live far away and how wonderful it is to pick up right where we left off. It’s really hard to be so far from some friends–but I am thankful for times to be together. I am thankful for my local friends and how they are a part of every day life. I am thankful for friends to laugh with, cry with, pray with, celebrate with, travel with, and simply go through life with.

Psalm 1:9 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I am thankful for the small moments when I feel God’s presence. I am thankful for the big moments when God reminds me that He’s in control. I am thankful for the ways this year that God worked in my life and my family’s life. I am thankful that God never leaves me alone. I am thankful that God is so much more powerful and loving than I can ever fathom. I am thankful that God wants to know me.

Psalm 86:12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Your name forever.

I am thankful for technology and the abilities we have to work, create, and communicate through the internet and devices. I am thankful that technology connects us to people who live far away. I am thankful for work and the skills God has given me. I am thankful that God has called me to my specific field and that He sustains and directs me through my career.

Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to You; You are my God; I will extol You.

I am thankful for food. I am thankful for the ability to travel. I am thankful for Celiac Disease research. I am thankful for days that I can sleep in. I am thankful for safety. I am thankful for design and art. I am thankful for memories.

Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

What are you thankful for?

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For the Unseen Heart

Do you ever go through seasons of feeling alone or like no one understands what’s going on in your life? Do you ever feel like you’re living a double life–happy on the outside but inside you’re just aching and struggling? I have definitely been there and I know that there will probably be times like that off and on throughout life. But I also have encouragement to share about those particular times–and it’s SO good and it has helped me through so many different seasons of struggles! If you are having a day, month, or even year like this–I hope you can be comforted and know that you are seen!

First of all, Jesus understands. Jesus understands everything about you. Jesus understands everything about whatever is going on in your life. Jesus understands what it’s like to hurt and feel anguish.

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus knows you. Jesus knows you like no one else. Jesus knows your heart like no one else.

1 Samuel 16:7b For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Psalm 139:1 (but the whole Psalm is a song about how God knows you) O, Lord, you have searched me and known me!

Psalm 44:21 For he knows the secrets of the heart.

Jesus sees you. You are not hidden from God. He is with you and will always see you.

Psalm 38:9 O Lord, all my longing is before you, my sighing is not hidden from you.

Jesus can be trusted. Jesus can be trusted to hear your cries, anger, hurt, frustration, etc. Jesus can be trusted to carry your burdens. Jesus can be trusted to be the ONLY person you need to rely on during a tough time. Jesus is the only one you should be concerned about how He sees you.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sigh, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 26:2-3 Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test me heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

Secondly, you need people. You can’t get through an unseen time alone. We weren’t created to be like that.

It is OK to talk to people about what you’re going through. Be brave. Be vulnerable. Be transparent. I’m not saying that you have to tell anyone and everyone about everything in your life, but talk to those you trust the most. Talk to those who are going to lead you wisely. Don’t be afraid to share your heart with someone, if they are in your inner circle–they will understand and love you.

Your story might be able to help someone else. You never know what someone else might be going through and your experience might even be able to help someone else get through something unseen that they are dealing with.

But also, give others grace if they don’t know what’s going on in your life. Sometimes you can’t expect someone to understand what you’re going through. Do not feel anger or bitterness towards someone if they’re just not “getting” what you’re dealing with.

And lastly, rest well. You are not a robot and are not expected to deal with life without having some kind of response. Do not feel guilty in those moments when you know that you just need rest. Even Jesus was weary and needed to be alone and find rest. Jesus created rest and He will give us rest. Jesus commands us to rest.

John 4:6 Jesus therefore , being wearied with His journey, sat at the well and it was about the sixth hour.

Mark 6:32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Mark 2:27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Exodus 23:12 Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that you may be refreshed.

You are seen and you are deeply loved!

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Declare Conference Haul

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Declare Conference in Dallas, TX. Declare is a conference for Christian communicators and I learned so much! The conference was both challenging for my blogging life and for my spiritual life and I came away very encouraged. I also came away with a ton of loot, haha! Some of the things I brought home were given to me and some were things I purchased with my own money. I also have a couple of giveaways at the end of this post, so keep reading to find out how you can be eligible to enter!

Simply Bliss Boutique

I love this t-shirt! Simply Bliss Boutique had some of the cutest clothes and they are based in Texas. If you are in need of some items for fall, go check out their site!

Save the Storks

Save the Storks is one of the most amazing ministries I have ever heard of. The ministry was founded on love and continues to minister to any women. Save the Storks has several buses, nationwide, that reach out to women who are facing unplanned pregnancies, providing them with an ultrasound of their baby, and loving them through their next steps and decisions.

Embrace Grace

Embrace Grace is also another amazing ministry available to women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. “The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last place they are welcomed because of shame and guilt.” –Embrace Grace Website. I love this t-shirt for the simple design and the reminder that women can still be made whole in Christ–even in the midst of a very difficult situation.

Books

Deeper Waters: Immersed in the Life-Changing Truth of God’s Word by Denise Hughes. This book can be found here.

Submerged by Dani Pettrey. This book is part one of a novel series and it looks like it might be a fun read. I didn’t realize the titles of both of these books next to each other until after I took the photo–but the placement made me chuckle.

Make Your Mark: A 40-Day Devotional by Gateway Women. I love devotionals for specific challenges and I think this book will be a good one for me to read.

Thirty One Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and the Doer by Jenn Sprinkle and Kelly Rucker. I really like to read books about prayer because that is something that I’m always eager to improve. I like that this devotional is a challenge for a month and I’m excited to read this one too.

Cards by Andrea Howey and Co.

How adorable are these greeting cards!? Having cute cards on hand to send to someone for a special occasion or just because is something that I really like to do–and it makes me want to write more of them! If you would like to purchase some of these cards, visit Andrea’s website or check out her Instagram handle @andrearhowey.

Desert Creek Honey

The theme this year at Declare was “Sweet as Honey” and I thought it was really cute that we were also given honey bears. I can’t wait to use this honey during the colder/tea months. I also like that this honey is a local product of Texas–if you would like some, visit Desert Creek Honey’s website.

***Giveaway Items***

Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World by Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl. This book can be found here. I think we can all learn something about balancing life–can’t wait to read this!

Walk it Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time by Tricia Goyer. Tricia is going to be one of the key speakers at Declare next year and she has written over 70 books–wow!! This book can also be found here.

Now the fun part…

I have an extra copy of these two books (Oola and Walk it Out) and I would love to give one to you! I am only shipping to the United States at this time, so if you would like one of these– leave a comment in the Contact section of my blog and include your name, email address, mailing address, and which book you would like to receive. Your comment will be made private so your information will not be public online. I will let you know if you were the first to comment on each book and if you won the giveaway!

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Getting Ready for Declare 2017

In a couple of weeks, I will be going to a conference called Declare in Dallas, TX. I’m really excited about going to this conference because it is all about how to be a Christian, female communicator whether that be via blog, book, podcast, etc. I learned about Declare last year as the event was happening and knew that I had to try to go the next year. If you are going to Declare, I can’t wait to meet you!

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Here are just a few facts about me:

  1. I had the desire to begin blogging at the end of 2015 but began blogging seriously in February of 2016. Since then, my blog has been a fun space to write about things I am passionate about, as well as discuss some serious, real-life issues.
  2. One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:1, which says–
    “But now says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel’ Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
    And another scripture that always gives me purpose and direction, in any season of life, is Jeremiah 29:11-14 which says–
    For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”
  3. My passions are my family and friends, traveling, working full-time as a social worker, creating my own content for my blog, reading, and coffee–always.
  4. My favorite candy is Sour Patch Kids (I know, I’m a 12-year-old) and my favorite kind of food is Asian and/or Mexican.
  5. My happy place happens when I have the opportunity to take life at a slower pace, when I am with people I love, savoring and capturing memories, or just being anywhere on a beach.
  6. I am not currently working on any major projects, but I am always coming up with future ideas for blog posts and I hope to make some of them happen soon.
  7. My prayer for Declare is that my heart will be open to whatever God has planned for that week, that I would learn, that I would meet like-minded women, and that it will encourage my walk with the Lord.

See you at Declare 2017!! Learn more about the conference by following this link—Declare Conference.

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