Kiwi Crate Family Brands >>

Nashville Girls’ Weekend with Tommy Nelson!

It’s been a little quiet around here for two reasons. The first is the fundraiser we launched over at the MOB Society last week as we make the move to becoming a nonprofit ministry! We’ve only just begun and it’s already very exciting, overwhelming, scary, and wonderful at the same time! If you’d like to read more, head over to the blog to hear our hearts!

The other reason has been travel, both with family and for blogging purposes! If you follow me on social media, you probably know I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Nashville!

I have been a part of the Tommy Nelson Mommies writing team for four years and they’ve been wanting to bring us all together for a while. It worked out for all of us except for two women to meet in Nashville this weekend and it was AMAZING.

Our weekend was jam-packed with goodness. We stayed at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland hotel…

TN Opryland

had a wonderful day of meetings at the Thomas Nelson headquarters {SO cool to be where all the book magic happens!}…

TN Thomas Nelson

TN Group at TN

ate the most wonderful food at places like Puckett’s Grocery and the Loveless Cafe…

and topped the whole weekend off with a night at the Grand Ole Opry AND a surprise backstage tour during the concert! Oh my word. This was incredible, especially since Vince Gill was playing and he did a song that is very near and dear to my heart {more on the Opry experience at a  later date}. A night I will not soon forget.

TN Vince Gill

But the weekend was really all about these beautiful women…

TN Johnny Rockets

Each of them beautiful in every way, I had the best time getting to know these ladies, laughing and crying and sharing and learning. Some were new friends, some I was so glad to reconnect with in person!


TN Party Car TN Group Jump

I just could not think of a better group with whom to talk faith, writing, and motherhood {and also jump and eat my way through Nashville}! I’m thankful we had the chance to hear each other’s hearts in person as well as hearing directly from the team we work with at Tommy Nelson. These people really love Jesus AND children’s books! They are so committed to bringing more resources to parents to help their children learn about God and His Word – and they are a TON of fun!

I loved being a part of the Tommy Nelson team before, but this weekend gave me an even greater appreciation for their dedication to strengthening the faith of our children through books. It’s an honor to have a small place amongst this wonderful group!

If you’re a blogger and want to sign up to get Tommy Nelson children’s books to review, just head over here to apply! LOTS of great books coming out for kids in the next few months!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Why I Need a Capsule Wardrobe

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

This post could also be titled, “Confessions of a Clothes Hoarder.”

I like clothes and fashion a lot. I see nothing wrong with that. Except that my closet is packed and it takes me forever to figure out what to wear.

Yes, I have been a clothes hoarder and I know I can’t be the only one.

I was first introduced to the idea of a capsule wardrobe with Hayley Morgan’s ebook, The No-Brainer Wardrobe, a few years back. I’ve always loved Hayley’s style, so I was very curious about the mindset and process behind her own wardrobe. This is what I learned about the value of a capsule wardrobe from Hayley:

“Every woman should be able to choose an outfit in much less than ten minutes regardless of her plans for the day, the state of the weather…or her laundry. Meaning, when your feet hit the floor in the morning–you should be thinking more about the delicious cup of coffee that awaits than whether you will look cute in your clothes.”

Yeah, my closet excess often hinders the getting-dressed process, but it had been over two years since I first read the book, and I hadn’t done anything about my hoarding. Then I got a little reminder jump-start form Caroline over at UnFancy, who says this about a capsule wardrobe:

“Simple definition? It’s a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.”

I loved this idea  - fewer, high quality pieces that can be mixed and matched –  but I was still hesitant to actually implement it because, well, I like clothes and I like lots of options.

My mentality has shifted in the last few months, however. I knew that I should be buying better quality basics and less of the cheap, trendy stuff. I knew I didn’t need the same shirt in five different colors. I knew I had a basic style I loved, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the things I wasn’t wearing…you know, just in case.

As I’ve added more fair trade accessories to my wardrobe, I’ve found myself grabbing the basics in my closet more and more often, gravitating to the same tops and bottoms in different combos, and then dressing them up with a fashionABLE scarf or a Root Collective necklace and flats. I realized I was basically dressing from a capsule wardrobe within my overstuffed closet, and it was time to just get rid of the excess.

Why I Need a Capsule Wardrobe

I need a capsule wardrobe because I need simple. I need less clutter. I need fewer decisions in my day. And I also need better. This clothes hoarder still loves clothes, and I tend to be an impulse buyer in the clothing department. Now I know I want well made, classic pieces that fit me and my lifestyle – and I don’t need to add lots of extras!

Here I am, diving in to the capsule wardrobe world. I’m still hesitant to throw out or donate all the clothes that didn’t make my fall capsule wardrobe cut, so I’ve taken some advice from Caroline over at UnFancy, my other online capsule wardrobe mentor. When I cleaned out my closet, I made a donate pile and a “maybe” pile. The clothes I still like and that still fit that aren’t in my fall capsule – the maybe pile – are now in a storage tub in the basement. If I find that I “need” something from there, I can always go grab it. If, at the end of this fall, I find that I didn’t even miss those pieces, I can donate them!

In the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some tools that helped me create my capsule wardrobe, as well as the pieces I finally settled on! Everybody arrives at different pieces, a different number of pieces, and a different style, but I think these tools and this series will be of great value – accountability for me and hopefully some inspiration for you!

I’ll be explaining a lot more as we go, but if you have questions or ideas you’d like me to address in reference to a fall capsule wardrobe, let me know in the comments or at homewiththeboys at gmail dot com!

 

Have you attempted a capsule wardrobe? Do you need to try it?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Let Me Introduce You to My Hair’s Best Friend

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I have had more compliments on my hair in the last few weeks than I can remember in a long time. Not bragging, just stating the facts.

Curly Hair

While I’m flattered, I thought it time to reveal the real star behind these great locks. Let me introduce you to my hair’s best friend…

Hair's Best Friend

A curling wand. The Hot Tools HTBW1852 Curly-Q Tapered Nanoceramic Curling Iron, to be exact.

One of my best friends is a hair stylist and she knows the goods for getting great hair, so this was an amazing gift she gave me last year. My hair is stick straight and does not normally hold curl well, but with this curling wand, the style will last for a couple days, only needing a few touch-ups!

Curling Wand

The secret is the high heat, which also makes it slightly dangerous for a klutz like me. And that’s why you MUST wear the glove that comes with it. Just think of it as a nod to the late great Michael Jackson. You can even listen to a little “Thriller” while you curl if that floats your boat.

I would do a video, but I think I might kill myself trying to demonstrate this all. Or at least subject myself to serious burns. Pinterest has all sorts of more professional curling wand tutorials and I pinned some on my Style: Hair board. I leave the step-by-step videos to them. But rest assured that if I can do it, you can do it!

I can give you these few tips from my stylist best friend…

  • Spray your hair with a light hair spray before your curl, then section off the top and work on the bottom first.
  • Second or third day hair works GREAT for this.
  • Small sections of hair will give you tighter curls. Larger sections will give you loose waves. I go somewhere in-between usually.
  • Wrap the section of hair around the wand away from your face in the front. Further back in your hair, you can mix up the direction of wrapping.
  • Spray after your curl to set everything.
  • I shake my hair a little after I’m all done curling to give it a little more body.

My hubby loves the “beachy wave” look and I love how long it lasts – win-win! And it’s less than $35 for my hair’s best friend – worth every penny and more!

Have you tried a curling wand?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

It’s Freeing to Know Who You Are

This weekend I discovered the freedom of interacting with others when you know who you are.

Taking the StrengthsFinder test back in February opened my eyes to giftings I “kind of” knew were there from the Lord already, but I didn’t know how to name them. It was as if God called them out of me in a new way through that test and the study I did of my strengths in the time that followed.

This past weekend I attended the Declare Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Lord revealed an even greater blessing while there of walking in my strengths in community with other women, women who also know or are learning how God has made them and how He wants to use them for His kingdom.

God has built within me a strong desire and gift to connect with new people, to learn new things, and to communicate them with others. This is who I am.

At Declare, I had a chance to do ALL of these things and my heart leapt at each new opportunity to meet someone new, learn something new, or share what I know. I can see now how this has played out in previous experiences of mine, but this year felt different.  I felt more free, more bold, more connected with what He was bringing my way and why.

There are hundreds of personality tests and assessments out there to discover “who you are,” and it might be so overwhelming that you’re never touched one. But I’m asking you to reconsider.

In conversation after conversation with old friends and new friends this weekend, I heard women celebrating their God-given strengths and walking in wild obedience to do what He has asked them with those strengths.

Declare Heather Crystal

It looked like Crystal wildly obeying God’s call to share her love and gift for cultivating authentic community online to a room full of women.

It looked like Heather embracing her extroverted-awesome to emcee the conference with such humor, such life, such Jesus-love.

Declare Brooke Kate

It looked like Brooke + Stacey each sharing their own gracious, loving words about how to keep going and keep writing when the world seems to crumble around you complete with their own hard stories.Declare Stacey

It looked like Jessi holding on our hands and telling us she’s in the thick of it, too, and that’s ok because Jesus is enough to pull us through.

It looked like Lisa-Jo bravely telling her motherhood stories that made us all feel a little less alone and a lot more ready to fight for the things that matter to us, including our children.

Declare Sally

It looked like Sally and a lot of tears, understanding, prayer, healing between the two of us because she was willing to open her heart.

Declare Workout

It looked like Alisa leading us in a God-centered workout that brought us to throne of Jesus AND made me the good kind of sore for days following :)

It looked like the listening ears and wise words of Denise and Alia into the wee hours of the night, two women with very different strengths than me, but exactly what I needed to connect with at that moment.

It looked like so many other beautiful women saying, “Yes. THIS is who I am. THIS is what God wants me to do.” And every single woman’s wild obedience looked different and beautiful and free.

The first blogging conference I went to, I walked away wanting to be more like this woman or that blog. I hadn’t spent enough time asking God, “Who am I? What are the strengths you want me to use for You?” I spent years online trying to figure out how I “fit in.”

This year, I was so comfortable with me. And I felt so free. I led a session on affiliate marketing and I joked that it was the least “Jesus-y” session of the whole weekend. My session wasn’t about Jesus, but it was about using our strengths for Him. He gifted me in the area of connecting with people + businesses and sharing them with others, so I stepped out into this calling and LOVED it.

Instead of walking away from Declare wanting my blog to look more like this woman’s or my Instagram pictures to look more like that woman’s, I walked away ready to be me to the fullest, to fulfill MY place in His Kingdom.

Do you know how good that feels? I want you to know how good that feels. We all have different gifts but they are ALL important. The woman who listens well is just as gifted as the woman who speaks in front of thousands. But you have to know where your strengths lie if you’re going to embrace them and use them for His glory.

I don’t want to add another thing to anyone’s to-do list, but at least consider taking a personality or strengths-finding test today if you’re wrestling with your place in this world, in His Kingdom. And if you’ve taken these tests, find a way to use what what He has built inside you. Revisit those strengths often.

Because it’s freeing to know who you are and DO something for Him with it.

*****

My favorites for discovering more about your personality and strengths:

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Better Life Bags + What I Wore

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I took a little break from What I Wore posts but I’m thinking about bringing them back starting in August because I’m rethinking wardrobe and buying practices and I’d love to share more of that journey with you on a regular basis. I’m easing back in today with a business I’ve been giddy to share with you…

When the words ethical fashion and fair trade are mentioned, most people think of employment for men + women who wouldn’t regularly have jobs in OTHER countries. Rebecca Smith and her family saw a need for this kind of employment right here in the United States. Rebecca and her family live in a low-income area of Detroit. The unemployment rate is 20%. Jobs are scarce and many people in the community are first-generation immigrants with few connections to finding these jobs.

Better Life Bags logo

Rebecca and her company, Better Life Bags, are changing the outlook for many women in the Detroit area by renting out sewing machines, teaching sewing skills, and providing an income for these women to support their families. What Rebecca and her family are doing in Detroit is an amazing example of seeing and meeting a need right in her own community. We don’t have to travel far to make a big difference.

I adore Rebecca’s heart {and her cute family} and her mission…and then I saw the selection of bags made by the women of Better Life Bags and I just fell in love. While there are ready-to-ship bags in the Better Life store, the real fun and beauty is in the custom bags, where you pick the colors, fabric, and finishes!

I was looking for a bag to travel with – not too big, but able to hold my laptop, Day Designer, and a few other travel essentials. Rebecca pointed me towards the Brynnda and it is JUST PERFECT.

Meet my Brynnda…

Better Life Bags Brynnda

I knew two things when I was picking out the custom features of my bag:

  1. It had to include green somewhere.
  2. I wanted fabric that wouldn’t show dirt easily.

At first, I thought the pattern I chose was in black, but Rebecca clarified it was actually navy and I didn’t know if I would love it…but I do. I love it. It is like no other bag I have ever owned. The size is just what I wanted – big enough to travel with, but small enough to use every day.

Better Life Bags Brynnda Inside

The interior is a heavy-duty navy canvas which will hold up to my abuse very well and I’m SO glad there is a zippered interior pocket! The clasp on the outside is super strong, so I’m not worried about my bag accidentally falling open on an airplane! There is also a shallow pocket on the front {the green fabric is the top of that pocket} and a deep pocket on the back exterior of the bag – places for everything!

Better Life Bags All

Because I switch bags a lot during a week – gym bag, diaper bag, purse – I decided to get some matching nesting pouches as well! Aren’t they adorable?!

Better Life Bags Nesting Pouches

I’m currently using the small one for lip gloss and the medium one for the ridiculous array of pens I like to carry everywhere for my planner + Bible study. The reinforced leather bottom is so gorgeous and each pouch also has the same heavy-duty canvas as the interior of my bag.

Better Life Bags Styled

This gives you a better idea of how big the Brynnda is – such a great size! I’m wearing it here with my She Does Justice “Speak Life” shirt {designed with Jessi from Naptime Diaries}, Levi’s skinny jeans, The Root Collective pink striped peep toe flats, fashionABLE Teshome bracelets {and my Fitbit!}, and Johari Creations earrings!

I’m obviously head-over-heels about my new bags, but the best part of the whole package was this…

Better Life Bags Nadia

I know this post is about beautiful bags, but it is also about beautiful life change that happens when the bags are purchased. Nadia is just one of the women who are employed because of Better Life Bags, but hers is the tag and story I will carry with me.

Which bag and story will you carry? Find the Better Life Bag that fits your lifestyle and needs on their site! There are literally bags for everyone – diaper bags, camera bags, pouches, purses, phone cases, laptop sleeves, and more! Make your way over to Better Life Bags and create your own masterpiece to support the women of Detroit today!

UPDATE: Through the end of July, use the code ENJOYJULY to get 15% off your order! Expires at midnight, July 31, 2014!

Which Better Life Bag would you love to carry?

 

I received the Brynnda bag to review from Better Life Bags. I was not compensated in any way for this review and all opinions are 100% my own!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Spiritual Mothers + Messengers

I knew there was a reason I wasn’t able to write about the #SheSharesTruth topic of spiritual mothering yet. It’s because what He had on my heart for it was just perfectly in line with the Five Minute Friday word: messenger. So I’m combining the two…

It’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Messenger

And the #SheSharesTruth topic…

How is spiritual mothering already taking place in your community? Has a godly woman influenced you in your growth in the Gospel, or has mentoring a young believer impacted your life? How would you like to see Titus 2 shape your relationships moving forward?

*****

And go…

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. ~Titus 2:4-5

The call in Titus 2 to us as women is very clear. Older women are to teach the younger women, and not just older as in years, but further along the path, if even just by a little bit.

I have seen so many women floundering with no one leading or encouraging them in the ways of Christian womanhood. And I’ve heard lots of excuses from women why they aren’t being these mentors to younger women: work, too busy, not “good enough,” nobody wants to hear from me. Yes, they do, and knowing and experiencing all this makes me want to be a spiritual mother even more when the time is right.

Spiritual Mothers

We need messengers, ladies. Women who aren’t there just to say, “Cherish this time.” We need honest messengers of hope and Truth, women who have raised families well in the name of the Lord, not perfectly, but with His grace. Women who know the struggles of the daily motherhood grind and looked to the Lord to sustain them.

My heart is burdened to tell the next generation of women and moms that it is all worth it, but it is NOT easy and that is all the more reason we need Jesus. I love all the things Titus mentions – marriage and home and family – but I could not do a single one without the Spirit guiding me and giving me fresh strength when I’m all out.

I’m grateful for the honest spiritual mothers that have brought these messages to me – not sugarcoated with “You can do it!”, but rather messages full of understanding and the reminder to always look to Jesus to guide me and get me through one day at a time.

Wherever you are in your journey, FIND those messengers and BE those messengers, sisters. Spiritual mothering is a holy call.

Stop.

*****

Read the beautiful words of my fellow writers over at Five Minute Friday and She Reads Truth today!

How has spiritual mothering been important to you? If you don’t have a spiritual mother, what would you hope to gain from one?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Life-Giver {and a KraftyKash Sale!}

life-giving: imparting, or having the ability to impart, life or vitality

God built into all of us as women the ability to give life. When we talk about this in relation to motherhood, thoughts of pregnancy and childbirth come to mind. But the role of a woman as a life-giver goes far beyond those moments of waiting and labor, and most of the time, the life-giving has nothing to do with the physical act of birth at all. In the Five Aspects of Women, Barbara Mouser says:

“All of us are lifegivers. We have a created capacity in our bodies and in our spirits to give life, to nurture, to heal, to comfort, to encourage, to make things alive. Motherhood is important, but it is not the sum total of lifegiving.”

I wrote about the life-giving aspect of women in a series several years ago and all of that still resonates deeply within me, maybe even more so this year as I am focusing on vitality. Not only do I want more life in my days for myself, I want to spread and speak more life to those around me.

Give life. Speak life. That’s the kind of mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend I want to be.

Let’s celebrate the life-giving ability of all women this Mother’s Day.

Life Givers

This gorgeous new leather dictionary cuff from KraftyKash is serving as my reminder that, when filled up with by the Holy Spirit, I can be a giver of life to those around me, especially my family, by the way I speak, act, serve, and love. I can’t believe she was able to find my word, but I also can because God makes things work just like that, doesn’t He?!

Life Giver Close

I love this cuff because it has meaning, but also because the leather and snaps are tough enough to stand up to life as a boy mom and the accents are very feminine! It is also has two snaps to make it adjustable for any wrist size! But the very best part about the work of Kashoan at KraftyKash is the personalization. You can choose just about any word that has great significance to you or the person you are giving it to and she will find it if it is out there!

This would be the PERFECT unique Mother’s Day present! And with that in mind, the vintage dictionary leather cuff, normally $30, is on sale for just $25 PLUS free shipping in the United States when you use the code homewiththeboys at checkout now through April 23, 2014! Go! Order one or two or ten now!

Who has been the biggest life-giver in your life? What word would you order for that person?

 

Thank you to Kashoan at KraftyKash for this beautiful cuff bracelet to review and the sale to share with you! I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

That Pesky Love Idol

I mentioned Jennifer Dukes Lee’s Love Idol back at the beginning of Lent. I had just started reading it and even the first few pages spoke to something I’ve struggled with, well, for all time. I like to be liked. I like to be heard. I wouldn’t always call myself a people-pleaser, but the applause and approval of other humans often edges out the approval of the only One who matters.

“I knew what the Bible said about me, but I measured my worth by other barometers – the mirror, report cards, and my performance among peers – even if it broke well-established moral rules.”

Reading Love Idol has been like therapy for me. With each chapter, I identify with another piece of Jennifer’s story – the striving for good grades, the saying “yes” so you don’t disappoint someone, being wrapped up in what others will think and riding the roller-coaster of their reactions.

“We ache to live our Christ identity more fully, instead of living a life yielded to our approval ratings. It is not a popularity contest. It is not a materialistic chase for medals, money, or Twitter @mentions.”

Unfortunately, the approval-seeking has been my default for so long. It’s a pesky love idol to shake. Pesky, but not impossible.

Preapproved Blog

As part of my Lenten journey this year, I gave up looking at my blog statistics. I did a lot more writing from the heart, not for numbers or comments. It felt a little bold and scary, but also felt like it was less about me.

“God’s Word compels us to choose the Holy Trinity, not the self-centric trio of Me, Myself, and I.”

Can I tell you what I love about Jennifer’s message so much?

Love Idol

It isn’t about denying any praise or compliments that come your way. It’s Jesus and our hearts. It’s about refocusing. And all of this leads to freedom. I need that daily. 

“When you and I no longer rely on praise or approval for our performance, we find new freedom: We can enjoy affirmation without craving it.”

The whole idea of being pre-approved? I’ve plastered those genius little signs on my computer, my bathroom wall, my planner. I can’t write anything that will make Jesus love me more or less. My appearance on any given day has no weight in His eyes. There is no planning or scheduling or working my way into a better place in heaven. I am and always have been pre-approved by Him.

“I yearn for us all to know the deep, deep love of Jesus – that it would be enough, that it always has been enough, and that it’s a love that can never be over matched by anything or anyone in this world.”

Love Idol is marked with many underlined passages and stars in the margins. It bears the soul of its writer in such a way that I felt as though we were confessing and story-sharing over coffee. It spurs me on in my desire to be less about me and ALL about Him. It will be in my nightstand for a long time as I continue to let go of my pesky love idol and hold tight to the love of my Savior.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you join the Love Idol Movement on Facebook! So inspiring!

 

I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own! All quotes are from the book!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Be Generous With Your Words

I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about how incredibly blessed I am by the amazing women God has put in my life. It really is like a dream. Women far and near who love and encourage and pray for me, each put there for a reason.

Being a “gifts” love language person, I want to buy them all beautiful, thoughtful gifts in appreciation for the ways they’ve spoke life and love into my world. Well, really, I’d like to fly us all to a private island for a week where we could laugh and cry and be refreshed. And eat anything we want. And not change any diapers. And get a tan. But those things kind of cost money…a lot of it…and that’s just not possible.

What I do have is words. Words are free, but they carry so much value. When we want to bless others in big ways on a small budget, words are the way to go.

God laid it on my heart as I approached my 33rd birthday to be generous with my words. I started a list of the women who have blessed my life over the years and pretty soon I was at 33. Family, friends, mentors, colleagues. The list kept growing. And I started writing.

A few cards a day, with carefully chosen words, filling ME up with joy and gratitude and being sent on their way. Friends, I thought I was doing this because God wanted me to bless the women in my life, and I’m sure that was part of it, but He just heaped more blessings on me in the process. And I’m still going. This cheering on of others is addictive.

Notecards

The value of a cute notecard and stamp, when paired with a little time and an open, encouraging heart, multiplies infinitely in the hands of God. And when we are generous with our words and obedient to His calling to share, His timing is always perfect. I can’t even tell you the number of times a handwritten card has shown up in my mailbox with just the words I needed to hear on that very day. He is so good like that.

When you feel like you have much to be thankful for, but don’t have much to give, can I encourage you to be generous in the giving of encouraging words to those you love? Don’t hold back in speaking words of life to others. Tell them they matter to you and to God and you are giving them something worth more than anything money could buy.

Be Generous With Your Words

How do you give your words generously? Are an email or snail mail encourager? Which do you prefer to receive?

I love to use little blank notecards like the ones above, but my favorite cards in the WORLD to send are always from DaySpring. They are unique and sweet and faith-filled and I can always find one with just the right words. Now through June 30, 2014, all DaySpring boxed card sets {affiliate link} are buy two get one free with the code B2G1Cards at checkout! I especially love the Holley Gerth Heart to Heart boxed set!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

A Gift from the One Who Sees Me

In elementary school, the teacher would sit us all in a circle, criss-cross applesauce, for an ice-breaker activity.

“Think of a word to describe yourself that begins with the first letter of your first name.”

Ooh, how I loved these circle times. Exciting, excellent, enthusiastic! I even liked when the challenge varied a little bit. Favorite animal? Elephant! Place you want to visit? Europe!

“E” words were special to me from a young age. They felt like mine.

I spoke at my first conference this weekend – two sessions on finding freedom in healthy living at the Refresh My Heart conference – and loved every single minute. Lelia, the founder of the conference, put together an amazing weekend of Jesus and brave, inspiring women. I was so honored to be a part of it and found myself renewed as I left.

Over and over again, my fellow speakers shared stories of our God who sees and knows us better than anyone else has or ever will. Stories of God showing up and showing off His great love for us in ways only He can. The way He uses clouds and running and notebooks to say, “I see you. I love you.”

And then He showed up and showed off for me, right there in the middle of a general session.

A Gift from the One Who Sees Me

Michelle, Lelia’s sister, had been praying about a way to bless each of the ladies attending Refresh My Heart and this is what happened next… {in Lelia’s words}

She ordered wooden hearts and bought a wood burning kit. Michelle and our mom burned the edges of each heart. Then my sister found 60 words and was going to use each word twice, but my daughter Alyssa insisted that they find a word for each woman.

They found the words and Michelle began to engrave a word on each heart. Then she turned the hearts over and prayed about them for weeks about what name to put on what heart. She never flipped the hearts over to see what word was going with what name, not even on her own heart. She engraved a name on each heart then she placed it in a little box and they tied a ribbon around it.

She had no idea what I would be talking about and how well this went with my message, about how God sees us and how we need to believe what He thinks of us. 

After my message, I told everyone to open their boxes and see what God thinks about them…

One woman shouted, “No way!” Some smiled. Some laughed. Some cried. It was absolutely beautiful. Only God could do something like that. Something to let us know, “I see you.”

What a God!  

What a gift of time and love from Michelle and Alyssa to each of us women. I was moved even before I opened my box.  And then I did…

Gift From God

…and flipped over my heart…

Exquisite

Exquisite. An “e” word. Just for me. Because only He could know. My breath was taken away for a moment. And I was that little girl in elementary school again, treasuring a word that seemed to be just for me.

The Hubby would later tell me “exquisite” has always been one of his favorite words.

A sweet friend I met at the conference learned of my word and texted me the definition:

exquisite: of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence

He sees me. He thinks I’m exquisite. He knows just what I need right when I need it.

I may be turning 33 today, but inside, I am His little girl treasuring the “e” word He picked just for me.

What a God. What a gift.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook