Saturday, December 26, 2015

reading | watching | listening

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you purchase something through certain links I will receive a small commission.  Thank you for supporting the writing here at Beloved Nest. :)


Here's a quick little slice of random: 
what I'm reading, what I'm watching, and what I'm listening to....lately. 


// r e a d i n g //

Oh man. So many great books sitting on my nightstand just begging to be cracked open. Ever since attending Allume Conference, my "to read" list has gotten so long it's comical. And because I can't pick just one to read at a time, I end up reading about five at once.  

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch. I'm on the launch team for this book and I'm just getting started on it. After my two mission trips to Thailand, I have a new perspective on this subject, and I'm really excited to hear this mom's wisdom. (Available for pre-order here, with some extras included)

Simply Tuesday by Emily P Freeman. I love Emily Freeman and everything she writes. I'm not very far into it yet, but it's definitely making me rethink the small moments of my day. 

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. I recently bought several different books on writing and this was the first one I picked up. It's all underlined and highlighted and dog-eared. 

Moms On Call: Toddler BookMoms on Call books are my favorite parenting books, written by moms who are also Registered Nurses. They have a simple, common sense approach to help you understand how to parent with confidence, from new baby care all the way through handling your "threenager". (They have books for 0-6 months and 6-15 months as well.) These are all quick and easy reads that you can even use as a reference by topic without sitting down and reading cover to cover.


// w a t c h i n g //


In the name of transparency, I should let you know that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse currently rules our tv. But besides that, I have a handful of shows I like to keep up with right now. 

P.S., promise not to judge? kthanksbye.

Right now, like at this very moment, I'm watching The Family Stone which I watch every holiday season. It's sad and crass and funny and did I mention sad? And the acting is great. 

Fixer Upper: NEW SEASON! This might be my favorite show and by that I mean it IS my favorite show. Chip and Joanna = relationship/life/parent/career goals all piled into one. 

Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars (remember that promise that you made? Well you can go ahead and engage your non-judgement now). This show is just one big hot mess but Catherine & Sean Lowe are on it....as are Honey Boo Boo's parents. Enough said.

Jill and Jessa Counting On: I'm so intrigued by their family and how they are handling everything that's come their way lately. I'm especially appreciative of how open and vulnerable they are being on this spin-off, which I don't really remember seeing before.

Kate Bryan's hair tutorials (The Small Things Blog): honestly, I need help with my hair, and she knows what she's talking about. Just go watch and see. My hair thanks you Kate. 



// l i s t e n i n g // 

First, Christmas music, OF COURSE. I lovvve it so it's playing constantly, and even though Christmas is now over, I'll listen as long as the radio keeps playing it. Yep, I'm one of those people. :) (here's my favorite new song from this season - BREATHTAKING) 

Lauren Daigle: I only recently "discovered" her but she is probably my favorite singer. I have yet to hear a song of hers that I do not like. I especially love listening to her music for my quiet time. This is one of my favorites. 

Jamie Ivey's Happy Hour Podcast: She talks with a different woman every week about life, faith, books, favorites...anything that would come up during a normal girl chat. Fun!

North Point Community Church Podcast: I like hearing Andy Stanley's messages, and I just finished a great series called "Crazy Like Us" about generosity. 



I know that was a lot to take in, but I like to share what I love! As a complete aside, thin Oreo mint cookies are basically my new drug of choice and you should just avoid them at all costs (aka drop them in the mail to me). 

Hope you had a magical Christmas! We definitely did. 



xo, 
Shanna 



Monday, December 7, 2015

christmas traditions: tree hunting

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is to head to a local Christmas tree farm and pick out a tree. It's the cutest little family-owned farm, and we've been going there for the past few years. 



This year, Brandon brought along his handsaw instead of relying on the chainsaw at the farm because apparently "real men cut down their own trees." Okay, honey.

It was slim pickings at the farm even though we went earlier than we usually do. We walked all over the property, stopping every few feet. 



Brandon: "How about this one babe?" 
Me: "No, that side is all funky, and besides, it's not speaking to me."
Brandon: "Speaking to you? That's just weird."

Two minutes later.
Me: "Hey babe, this one is speaking to me! I love it!"
Brandon: "Too small."




Aven brought along her little Minnie ornament to help us "test" the tree we picked and make sure it was a good one. Just, adorable. I can't take it.

I also feel like I should document that Aven has started calling Brandon "babe" because that's what I call him. It is hysterical. Especially when she's looking for him and yells "baaaabe, are you?" 



F i n a l l y  we settled on one that didn't exactly "speak" to me, but it was the right size for our house and it wasn't ugly. So down it came.

And if you're wondering, yes, Brandon cut it down but had to borrow a better handsaw. :)





It sat bare for a few days before we adorned it with lights and ornaments. And I'm pretty sure we only use about 19% of our ornament stock....are we the only ones who have far more ornaments than will ever fit on a single tree?

What's your Christmas tree tradition? Real or fake? Cut your own or pre-cut? 


Oh, and we also left the farm with one more thing. 

This:


While we haven't officially committed to keeping her....she's still here. And she's been named. So there's that. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Mickey & Minnie Gift Roundup

*Affiliate links used in this post. Thank you for supporting the writing here at Beloved Nest!

Our girl is infatuated with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Infatuated, I tell you. No lie, the first word I hear when I lift her out of the crib every morning is "Mickey?" And while playing with her toys she randomly breaks out in a sing-song voice exclaiming, "Oh toooodles!" This is a real situation, people. It's as if they've cast a spell on her with their "Meeska-Mooska-Mickeeeey-Mouse!" chants. 

But who am I to keep a girl from her true love? So of course I've been searching for some cute (read: non-cheesy) Mickey and Minnie gifts for Christmas and her upcoming February birthday. And since I know a lot of you have little Mouse-lovers in your home too, I thought I would share my favorite finds with you.




o n e  //  Minnie Mouse Lights & Sounds Scooter
This is a touch too "grown" for my girl, but I love the three-wheel feature. Might be on the list for next Christmas.

t w o // Mickey Mouse Tee 
This is actually a boys tee but I bought it in Aven's size because it was too adorable to pass up. 

t h r e e // Mickey Mouse Chevron Sheet Set 
Seriously love this pattern and how it isn't overtly Mickey or cartoonish.

f o u r //  Delta Children Club Chair - Minnie Mouse 
We have one of these, and it's as cute as it looks in the picture. It's inflatable with a washable cover and is the perfect spot for Aven to hang out while she watches tv (can you guess her show of choice?), eats a snack, or reads books.  Sometimes I catch her turned around facing the back of the chair so she can "talk" to her friend Minnie or give her kisses. That alone is reason enough to own this chair. Just the sweetest thing you've ever seen. 



f i v e // Girls Minnie Mouse Pullover Shirt
Although this sweater is a few sizes too big for Aven right now, with that cute Minnie face I almost want to snag it now and hold on to it for later! 

s i x // Minnie Mouse Toddler Ballet Flats 
If we owned these, I guarantee you my child would insist on wearing them every day. 

s e v e n // Minnie Shopping Cart 
Aven is getting the CUTEST vintage-style kitchen for Christmas, so she would flip out over this shopping cart to use with her kitchen. 

e i g h t // My First Library: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
For every day leading up to Christmas, I'm going to have a book for her to open. This is a set of 12 books, so that covers about half the days! I'm excited to see my tiny bookworm's reaction to these. 

n i n e // Delta Children Mickey Mouse Easel (Double Sided)
We have an easel similar to this and it is one of her favorite things to play with, especially the chalkboard side since the cold weather is forcing us away from our beloved sidewalk chalk. 


As I wrap up this post, I am incredibly tempted to break out in the "Hot Dog" song and dance, but I will spare you. Just know that it's on repeat in my head right now (and always, actually). I'm sure you can relate! 

I hereby grant you permission to give in to the Mouse obsession. Welcome to the clubhouse


*Disclaimer: We received the Delta Children Club Chair for review as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scout program. All opinions are my own!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

adoption q+a with Jessica

I couldn't let November get away without a little tribute to the miracle and blessing that is adoption. 

November is National Adoption Month and November 9th was World Adoption Day. The significance of this recognition of adoption has grown in my heart over time, especially since my dear friend Jessica adopted her sweet little boy a year ago. 

I think we have a special opportunity to come alongside those who are called to adopt and to do the work with them. They need support and love, and that starts with a better understanding of adoption, from their point of view. So here is a little Q+A we put together, and we hope you will take a moment to hear the heart of an adoptive mom, through the struggles to the other side.

(P.S., how stinking cute is this duo??)


What do you wish people knew about the adoption process that they may not know?
It is hard. We aren't just sitting around waiting for a baby or going somewhere to pick one out (yes, people think that). There are HOURS of paperwork. Several home visits and interviews where a caseworker picks your life apart to be sure that you are fit to parent. There are state-mandated trainings, classes, and certifications before we can even have the chance to be selected by a birth mom. We spend HOURS making a perfect profile book to let birth moms know how much we would love the little person they are bringing into the world.  

I kind of feel like everyone should have to do this even to have a biological child, I mean it really makes you think. By the end of the process you are confident you can parent (or not). Many conversations that I have with people (friends and strangers) the underlying tone from them is that our adoption process was easier that their labor. Adoption is labor - hard work - just not a physical labor. It is a labor of the heart, emotions, and mind. 

What do you feel is the most common misconception about adoption? 
Not everyone who adopts is doing so because of fertility problems. To be honest, there is a high chance that Luke and I could have had a biological child with the help of science. We felt called to parent. We felt called to adoption. Some people are called, not "forced." I think some people assume "adoption was your second choice" or "you would have had biological children if you could." That is surely true for some, but not for all. 

How can we best support mamas (and families) going through the process?
Pray for them and let them know that you are doing so. Be upfront that you don't understand the process or are not educated on adoption. Don't pretend to know and understand if you don't actually know and understand. Be a listening ear, maybe even a shoulder to cry on, but you don't need to pretend to understand. 

Treat them as you would any other family that is expecting. Throw the baby showers, take meals after baby comes home, check on them to see how they are doing. For me, I had a hard time when I was setting up a nursery. MANY people treated it as if we didn't need new things or like it was silly to put energy into getting the perfect crib or artwork for the wall. They may not have meant it this way, but the way it came off was "you are getting someone else baby, the baby can use someone else's stuff." Don't get me wrong, I was open to borrowing and using hand-me-downs, I'm talking about the "nesting" that happens for pregnant women. It happens for us adoptive moms too!

As you walked through the waiting period of the adoption, what was the most comforting thing to hear? least comforting? 
Most comforting: success stories of other adoptive families. 
Least comforting: horror stories of legal messes with birth parents, birth parents changing their minds, birth families being "crazy." (Unfortunately we heard the horror stories more than the success stories) 

If you want to know more about someone's adoption story, what's the best way to initiate that dialogue?
I would say to be open and honest about where you are coming from personally like, "I don't know much about adoption, but I am interested to know more," or "How can I pray for you?"  It always made me feel better when people lead with where they were personally on the topic. For example, several times I had people say "did you know I was adopted?" When I answered "no" they would tell me their story. Then I felt comfortable sharing mine. 

What were your biggest obstacles and fears as you waited on David to come home? 
That he would be taken away. That his birth mom would change her mind, that his birth father would appear and take him, or that the legal system would fail us (our state laws protect birth parents well, but don't protect adoptive families until finalization). 

How did you pray through the waiting period? How can people best pray for adoptive families?
We prayed for the child that God would have us to parent, not just a child. We prayed that our hearts would release fears and worries into the hands of the One who is ultimately in control. 

Tell us about the day you got the call (or email) that you were chosen by his birth mom. 
First we got an email and all it stated was his race and gender. These emails were common when there was a new birth mom making an adoption plan, and we could respond yes or no. This particular email normal would have gotten a big fat "no" from us because of the lack of information. However, I had the flu and literally could not move off of the couch so we said yes to our profile being shown and I remember laying on the couch foggily praying "Jesus, if this is not our baby please don't let her (birth mom) pick us."

Next, we got a call that she had chosen us and wanted to meet us. We were thrilled and nervous. What if she didn't like us? What if she decided not to pick us after meeting us? What if we said the wrong thing? Funny thing is, when we met her she had the same fears. 

What's the one thing you wish you had known from the first day you began pursuing adoption? 
I wish I had known how intense and unfair the legal system can be for adoptive families. I wish I had believed how quickly a baby can come home (I just assumed it would be years, but it took months). I wish I had believed that it was all in God's timing. Like I said, I knew those things but I don't think that I believed them. 

Tell us a little about David and how he has changed your life.
Oh. My. Goodness. He is seriously the best. A part of me believes that God gives a little extra grace to babies born into the chaotic scene that is adoption. He transitioned into our family seamlessly. He is sweet, funny, spirited, and wild!  My eyes have been opened to the understanding that genetics don't make a family. 

Finally, what encouragement would you give to someone who is reading this and is considering adoption? 
1) Try not to let the money scare you. That seems to be the biggest barrier for people. God has a way of getting that part done. There are a ton of resources to be used to raise money! 
2) It is worth it. The pain, the stress, the money, the time - it's worth it. You won't regret it.

When I was struggling with the thought of never being able to be a mom, a friend told me "Jessica, remember you WILL be a parent someday." There were times I would literally say that to myself. Adoption was the way we felt God wanted to build our family. I look back now and can't imagine what our life would be like if we had not chosen to respond to the gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit into the journey of adoption. 



She's right - genetics don't build families, love does. Jessica, I am so grateful for your willingness and openness in letting us walk through your journey with you, even in this small way. I thank God for your friendship and for the gift of motherhood that has come into your life!

One of the best opportunities we have in aiding adoptive families is through funding. If you would like to learn more, visit adopttogether.org.


**Are you an adoptive mom or on your way to becoming one? I would love to hear your heart on these questions and gain even more insight into the world of adoption. Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

seeing myself with His kind eyes

On the evening Sara Hagerty addressed the 400 bloggers and writers at Allume Conference in Greenville, SC, I found myself on the hotel bathroom floor. 

Tears stung my eyes as weakness took over my body. I prayed over and over again because there was nothing else I could do. I was getting increasingly sicker and was caught in a cycle my body couldn't overcome on its own. Alone in a new city, away from all things familiar. And while I couldn't see it until later, God had something for me there on that floor. 

I missed Sara's message that night, but a week later I curled up on my couch at home to watch the recorded video of her talk. I wasn't in a conference room, but I found myself in a different kind of meeting. An intimate gathering, just Sara, the Lord, and myself. This time, truth stung my eyes, and I let the tears flow. 


I am fairly certain that God's message would have fallen on unprepared soil had I attended Sara's talk in Greenville feeling like my typical self with my normal complexion and regular appetite. I would have listened earnestly to her talk, nodded in agreement, scribbled down quotes in my notebook, and applauded as she exited the stage. Maybe I would have gotten her signature in my copy of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. But I'm not sure her words would have found their way in the maze from my head to my heart. 

My heart wasn't ready. 

The Lord was busy cultivating in me a new reliance on Him, as Father. 

The Allume Conference was such a unique experience for me. Prior to that first day, I knew no one there. I hesitantly roomed with two strangers who turned out to be completely delightful and sweet friends. I met and heard from handfuls of women who share my very heartbeat - a love for the Lord and a calling to use our words to further His Word. It was life-giving for me to be in that kind of sacred atmosphere for three days. 

I drove the three hours home from Greenville reflecting on why God would allow a debilitating illness in the midst of such a monumental weekend. I held on to the fact that I there was a reason, even if I couldn't see it yet. It took some time for me to feel like I had an answer to my question, but one thing I knew for sure all along: as depleted as my body felt, my soul was full

//

As a little girl, there was one person I always ran to with cuts, bruises, splinters, and skinned knees. When I fell chin-first (that's a special kind of skill) on the curb outside the gym at my elementary school, my mom didn't rush me to the nearest ER to assess the gash on my chin. Nope, we drove straight to Fire Station #3 where my dad was waiting to fix me up. As a firefighter and EMT, he always knew how to take whatever was broken and make it better. 

Now, twenty-something years later, I can't help but think: when was the last time I ran to my heavenly Father over my most recent fall? when did I last let Him assess the bruised and broken parts of me? when have I simply rested in his ability to make me whole? 

//

So that afternoon at home while my daughter napped and I listened to the recording of Sara's talk, her powerful words found ready ground. They burrowed deep deep deep into my heart, into places only recently revealed and softened by my reliance on God as my Father.  

Her message was simple but as personal as it gets: Who does God say I am? What does My Father whisper about me when it's just us together? I've never been bold enough to ask, but with Sara's urging I find myself inquiring with the trust of a child. Lord, who am I to You?

The answer? He's proud of me. He says I'm special. He says I'm His. He says I'm a good mama.  Even when I feel none of those things. He knows me best and yet He loves me best. 


He says He sees me

His sweet affirmation is the only one I need. I can rest there.

He knows me best and yet He loves me best. 


//

Unlike the first time Sara's words hung in the air, I wasn't sick on a floor crying over my ailment. This time I was on my couch, face full of tears, in awe of his overwhelming love for me despite my brokenness. 


He looks on us with a Father's eyes. Kind eyes. Forgiving eyes. The same adoration and immeasurable love I feel toward my own daughter, God feels for me, except His love is perfect in every way. His Father-love is fierce. Unending. God-sized. His adoration never lets up.

My motherhood -- my daily mothering -- is a mirror that reflects small fragments of His Fatherhood back to me so I can know Him better as Father. Whenever I steal a glance at that mirror, I'm reminded -- He's a good Father. 

One of my favorite verses comes to mind every night as I sing my daughter to sleep in the quiet of her room. "The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17. That is a picture of a Daddy's love. 


He knows YOU best and yet He loves YOU best. 



Lord, tell us again who we are to you. When we're feeling unloved, not enough, unseen, doubtful, broken, or unwanted -- tell us again how we're seen by you. Give us your kind Father eyes to see ourselves, and others, through. Remind us of our place in your heart as beloved daughters. 

You're a good, good Father. 




Oh, I've heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You're like.
But I've heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night.
And You tell me that You're pleased
And that I'm never alone.

You're a good, good Father.
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are.
And I'm loved by You.
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am.     

 Oh, and I've seen many searching 
For answers far and wide.
But I know we're all searching
For answers only You provide.
Because You know just what we need
Before we even say a word.

Because You are perfect in all of Your ways!
You are perfect in all of Your ways!
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us!

Oh, it's love so undeniable,
I can hardly speak.
Peace so unexplainable,
I can hardly think.
As You call me deeper still,
As You call me deeper still,
As You call me deeper still,


into love, love, love ...    




*Affiliate link used in this post. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2 1 m o n t h s { update }

Remember that time I wrote every day for 31 days straight and then took a two and a half week hiatus? Well, I'm back! Just needed some time to recoup. 

It has been a minute since I did an update on Aven. Well, it's been three months and in the life of a toddler, that's a chunk, so here we are talking about all things Aven. 




First, can I just say how much I love this age? She is totally my little sidekick. We go everywhere together and she's becoming such a helper with whatever I'm up to. 





She's also a talker, so we always have some kind of conversation going. When she talks she nods her head around like a teenager and it's hysterical. I am also loving the fact that I can actually reason with her and talk through things, and she understands me. It helps us avoid at least some meltdowns and tantrums. 

She's just becoming such a little person, and it's so fun to watch. 




C l o t h i n g
Aven wears 24 month/2T clothing for the most part. We do have some 3T stuff that she can already fit into (WHAT IN THE WORLD). Shoes - size 7. Diapers - size 5.

Nope, she's never been a small one, and that's fine by me. :)




R o u t i n e 
Not much has changed in this arena since I last updated at 18 months. She's up around 7a, eats breakfast pretty much right away, and the first thing out of her mouth every morning is "Mickey??" so we often start the day with an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 

Lunch around 12 and not long after is heading for a nap. Naptime is usually 1.5-2 hours. I always lay down with her initially, and sometimes I linger and nap with her because I know these days will be ending soon. 

After waking up, she eats an afternoon snack and watches tv for a bit. Dinner is between 6-6:30p and then she heads into what we lovingly call "crack mode." Basically she runs all over the house, using every last bit of energy stored up, and dances, sings, yells, throws her arms in the air and generally acts like a fool. It's hilarious. 

7:30p is bathtime (her favorite) and she's laying down by 8p. We just sing a few lullabies and then lay her down awake. She falls asleep almost immediately most nights. If she does cry, it's short-lived, because girlfriend is tired.





F a v o r i t e s 
As mentioned, Mickey and Minnie Mouse are the center of her universe right now. She is truly obsessed. She sometimes yells out "Oh tooooodlessss!" in the middle of playing with toys, and has the funniest granny-style dance moves to the opening song. So of course, we had to represent when Halloween rolled around. She was the cutest Mickey you have ever seen, minus the ears because this kid tolerates nothing on her head. Instead she got little mouse/pigtails. 

Her other favorite tv show is Sesame Street because of "Eh-mo."

Stuffed animals: Ella the Elephant, Blue the Doggie (she calls him "Bew"), Monk Monk, and Goat. Needs them all in her crib with her night. Not into baby dolls at all, but animals are apparently her jam.

Airplanes / Helicopters / Trains

Mickey Mouse.

Outdoors. If she's outside, she's happy. 

Pretend cell phones.

Yogurt dips. Puffs.

Bubbles / Balls / Books / Shoes / Coloring  

Did I mention Mickey Mouse? 








W o r d s  /  L e a r n i n g 
We are teaching her numbers, letters, colors, animal sounds, and shapes during playtime/bathtime/car rides.

Her vocabulary is really growing, and she'll put together two- or three- word sentences now, like "Aven eat" or "Mommy go upstairs."

She cannot say her L's. Instead she replaces it with a "y" sound. Which makes so many words just so stinking adorable, like "yeh-yow (yellow) or "yight" (light). This is my favorite thing, maybe ever??

She can count to 10 with help. She can recognize her name when spelled out, and can recognize almost all letters. We are starting to teach her the alphabet using foam letters during bathtime.

New animal sounds, of the nontraditional variety, because those are more fun: Deer: "grunt grunt" / Turtle: "wah wah wah wah" / Crab: clicking sound while making "pincher" fingers / Hippo: "chomp chomp". I have a video of some of these I'll post on Instagram later :)





P e r s o n a l i t y 
Friendly. Social. Talkative. Demanding. Opinionated. Joyful. Girly. Sensitive. Dramatic. Sweet.







Q u i r k s 
Hates to have her feet touched  //  Every time she sneezes she yells "tissuuuue!"  // Waves at literally everything  //  "Sniffs" every flower she sees, even pictures of flowers.  //  "Fake" sleeps, complete with little snores and whistling sounds that I can only assume were learned from cartoons // Is OBSESSED with order and organization (she will put things back, shut drawers, and close doors behind me all.day.long.)  // Boo-boos require ice, but not for the boo-boo, just for her to munch on.

Crazy kid. 







F i r s t s 
Library trip
Day trip to the mountains
Kiddie train ride
Encounter with chickens, goats, pigs, and horses
Learned to give "thumbs up!"
Potty *attempts*









Oh, Aven Harper. You make my heart sing and my face smile. I'm so proud to be your mom.  



Saturday, October 31, 2015

a state of the heart

I can't believe it's over! I'm so glad I decided to be a part of the #write31days challenge. It's been tough and revealing and heart-tilling. 

If you read even one of my Learning to Simplify posts - thank you. Without readers, I have no blog, and this has become such a special place to me. 

I've only begun learning how to simplify and what that truly means. For me, the investment is worth the reward. I know it will be an ongoing lesson and journey. 

Ultimately, through writing over the past month and carrying out these posts into my real life, I've learned that simplifying isn't a method or a technique or even a lifestyle. It's a state of the heart. When I begin there - in my own heart - and work outward, paring down to the essentials, non-negotiables, and life-givers, it can more easily infiltrate every facet of my life. 

And the truth is, only the Lord can completely clear out and clean up my heart. I can't do it because I'm a human and we hoard our junk. We let things pile up. We rarely deep clean. He knows my heart so well because he's the One who made it. I can safely let Him come in, dust, declutter, and organize. I can trust Him with that task. 

That's the kind of Simple I long for. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

revisiting the why

Why is decluttering even important? I first discussed this back at the very beginning of this writing challenge, which you can read here. Aren't we taught to value "more"? How often do we stop to evaluate whether or not constantly seeking more is serving us, the people we care about, and our God?

It's worth taking an appraisal of. 


1. Decluttering reveals. It unearths the state of our home, our hearts, and everything that lies between. You can't continue in ignorance once you've confronted the truth. You're forced to put everything in it's rightful place, or remove it from your life. This is the hard part, the fire.

2. Decluttering leaves behind only valuables, both material and intangible.  I do enjoy having a simple closet and I can appreciate an organized space, but even more so, I treasure newfound freedom, joy, and purpose. The invisible - this is where the beauty is found. 

Those treasures can't be defined until we have first worked through the reveal. They are equally important and necessary. 

I hope you take the time to find what you truly value, and let it take it's proper place in your life.


James 1:2-4, The Message: Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

my simple confession

When I first felt the Lord moving me towards a simpler life, I began small. It started behind my closet door, where I pared my wardrobe down to only my very favorite things. It was the perfect beginning to this new chapter in my book because it affirmed in me the desire for long term and deeper growth beyond my closet.

These past twenty-eight days were not intended for instruction or even motivation, although those would be wonderful byproducts. These posts were my confessional

Not a confession to you, and not even a confession to my Lord - He already knows the maze that's my heart. 

It's been my way of confronting myself and all of my junk. Over my last twenty-eight years I have accumulated all along the way and it was time to step back, evaluate, and clear out. 

Things are feeling lighter. There are less distractions. I can breathe deeper. 

This process of writing and editing and praying and pondering is always a mirror. It helps me see more clearly, reflecting everything back in truthful light. 

Thank you for helping me hold the mirror by simply reading and providing this safe space for me to declutter in pursuit of Him. 


If you've missed my previous posts in this series, you can click here.