Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finding your time

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.  

One thing I struggle so desperately with - is finding time for myself. To be alone with God. I always feel like I'm doing 101 things and going atleast 500mph I think it's important to make time to be along with him. Let me tell you a little story.

It was almost a year ago I picked up a crochet hook and a ball of yarn and learned how to crochet. I remember how excited I was about it and how I picked up on it so incredibily fast, my momma was proud to say the least. Everytime I put that hook into the yarn I would feel at peace. It was my quiet time - I could focus my thoughts and just relax, I could talk to God. Then I stopped crocheting. I don't know why because it was something I enjoyed doing so much, but I did. Everyonce in a while I would look at my stash of yarn in the corner and long for it - but I felt I never had time anymore.

Which also lead me to not making time with God, because that was my time with him as well. Finally when I shut down my shop temporarily I picked my yarn back up & it felt right again. Sense then I have spent hours crocheting. I'd be lying if I said I'm always interacting with God while I'm crocheting - but most of the time I am. He brings me peace with a hook & yarn in hand. It's my time for myself & my time for him.

Now I make time for it, a lot of time. If I get the itch to crochet I do it. I don't think "I don't have time right now." because right now - time is something I do have, even if I have to make time for it.

How do you make time for yourself & for God?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Stepping Stones

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here. 

I watched, carefully, as Monster slipped from the rock he was standing on and began to fall. Instinctively I reached out for him, but stopped myself when I saw his hand shoot out in front to catch himself. It made a splash as it hit the water and he sunk up to his elbow, but he laughed and pulled himself back up to a standing position and then looked forward at the next rock.

"He can do this." I told myself. "He's learning."

Life is like a river. It's always flowing. Always changing. (I know, I know, "Thanks, Pocahontas.") But it's true. You never know what's going to happen next and it's just part of the experience of living when we fall in and have to pull ourselves back up to the safety of our own rock path that we're using to cross it.

The water turns and swirls with the paths of other people around us. It mingles with them and sometimes we can get close enough to share a few stones, but ultimately, we are the only ones that can walk on our path.

Some stones are slippery. Some wobbly. Some may disappear altogether when we put our full weight on them. Some are big and some are small. It's our choice where we put our foot. And it's our choice which direction to head.

God created the river and the stones themselves, but he gave us the will and agency to decide for ourselves which ones we will use. But don't forget, like me with Monster, he's standing on the other bank reaching out when you fall and eagerly waiting to congratulate you when you make it across, regardless of how many times you fell in and how wet you still are.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Personal growth

By Skye - Her blog is Neathering Our Fest. You can read more about her here. You can find all posts by Skye here.

i've been blogging for about two years now. i can't believe it has already been that long. it really feels like just yesterday i hit "publish" for the first time.

while having two years under my belt in no way makes me any sort of blogging expert or guru, i do feel like it gives me a little experience. i've had this list of things i have learned about myself since i started blogging in my inspiration journal for a few months now. i've been writing things down as i realized hey! this is a part of me that has grown since i started this - better write it down!

i never thought that blogging would contribute so greatly to my personal growth and i really wanted to document some of the things i have learned over the past year or so of blogging, since that is when i really started to take it seriously. and, i wanted to share a couple of them with you! :) because you know, we are friends and all. ;)

finding friends

when chris and i moved to louisiana, and for the first time in my entire life i lived more than 2 miles away from parents, friends, and most of my family, i had never felt so alone and so "de-friended" in my whole life. we have now lived here almost three years and i have made friends with a couple of people here and there but i still don't feel like i have really made the same sort of relationships as with those i knew from home.

of course, there is a huge lapse in time here - my friends from home i've known since i was in diapers, going through all of my school years, bad boyfriends, marriages, new lives and babies with. i had to learn to be realistic and come to terms with the fact that i probably won't ever have friends like that here because i haven't had 25 years of getting to know them. and that is okay.

friends 3
friends forever trinket bowl from say your piece

now. blogging has brought me friendships i never thought i would find. i am much closer to many of the friends i have made online in the last year than the friends i have made in west monroe. i'm still trying to adjust to the fact that when i talk about cassie, kelsey, kasey or kelly (hi - could i meet some people whose names DON'T start with a hard k sound? thanks) i have to explain that i met them through blogging. and of course that is when the weird looks and questions come out.

you made friends with someone online? how is that possible? you barely know them. they could be a total farce and try to kill you. you're weird.

okay - so some of this is me projecting my feelings on to them because i still think it is a little weird and unnatural. but i've realized over the past year that friends come from anywhere. God orchestrates these relationships and chance meetings through millions of people online because there is a reason He wants me to know every person i've befriended online.

it might be weird to those that don't do this. but to me it is starting to be more natural. it also helps that, even though my husband might not know where you live or what your blog's name is, when i mention certain names he knows they are a friend i have made online. that helps.


one thing i have always always struggled with is what kind of timeline i operate on. if you give me a task, it is highly likely that i will get it done as soon as humanly possible. if you send me an email i will probably drop everything else and answer it right then. if you tweet me, you should expect a tweet back from me within 30 seconds to two minutes.

i love you more than twitter card from storey shop

i'm a crazy person. i know this. i've pretty much learned to accept that i don't like to leave things hanging, unanswered, or partially done. it literally KILLS me to leave a post in draft mode. physically ills me people. i have a problem. :) i also have a lot less unread emails in my inbox. but that is just how i operate.

i have had to acknowledge that the rest of the world very unlikely operates on this same timeline. just because someone doesn't immediately respond to me doesn't mean they don't care, are mad at me, read it and forgot about it, or just ignored me altogether. these are seriously all things that run through my head when i don't hear back from someone within a 24-hour period.

i remind myself (repeatedly in some cases) that it is okay if it takes me a day to answer an email, more then twelve seconds to respond to a tweet or a text, more than two weeks to paint a sign or (gasp) if i leave a post in draft until i get all the pictures edited.

it is okay. it is okay. it is okay.
{deep breath}

these are just two of the many things i have on my list but they are the most important two if you ask me. what are some things you have learned about yourself in your blogging journey?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Make A Memory.

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here. 

I was driving Bruiser to school this morning and started going over all the things I need to do today. I could feel myself getting tense and frustrated. The list kept growing:

• Laundry - Bruiser has no clean clothes for tomorrow.
• Dishes - Should have done them last night, darn sore throat.
• Bleach Bathrooms - Thank goodness nobody has been in my house this week. How embarrassing.
• Write Post - Why can't I get ahead on this? I'm always one step behind it seems.
• Wash Dog - Shoot, this has been needing to be done for almost a week now. Again, why am I always behind?
• Finish Design Proofs - I have so much that needs to be done here. Come on. Get with the program!
• Pay Bills - Not really an option if I like running water and the ease of electricity.
• Mow Grass - It's looking like the Serengeti out there. How is this not done yet?
• Organize Office - When did I become such a slob?
etc… etc… etc…
The drive to Bruiser's school is about 40 minutes. And the whole way there, I just kept adding to my list. By the time I dropped him off and waved goodbye, I was already exhausted and not feeling like doing anything. I just wanted to go home, sit, and do absolutely nothing because it all felt so overwhelming. I rolled my window down to get some fresh air in hopes that would help clear my mind and invigorate my body.

As I was thinking all this, I pulled around the schoolhouse corner and saw a man in a very nice business suit, carrying a briefcase, kneel down to tie a little girls shoe. He didn't plan it out quite right and ended up with mud all down his slacks. I heard this conversation while waiting for my turn at the stop sign:

"Daddy, your pants are all dirty now."
"Looks like you're right. I'll have to run home and change them really quick."
"But you'll be late for work."
"Not if I hurry. Besides tying you're shoe is more important. Now quick, run inside so you can see your friends."

I was almost at the stop sign by this point, so I watched in my rearview has he gave her a hug and then turned around and walked back the way they'd come.

It was in this instant that I did a quick inventory of my list I'd just made and realized that no where in there had I mentioned doing anything with my boys. No where had I planned something with them. Sure, I could probably get everything on my list checked off today, but does that make it a successful day? Is that what I want to remember? Is that what I want my children to deem success? No. Not at all. So I added one last thing to my list right as I turned the corner to the main road home:

• Make a memory - One really good memory with each boy, each day.
That's how I am going to mark my success from now on. Good memories with the people that matter most.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.  

One of my favorite seasons! :) One season that I totally embrace!

1. I get to watch God's beautiful creations come to life. Oh hands down this my favorite part. Getting to watch all of those beautiful flowers bloom, the grass turn green & the birds start to sing - it's perfection.

2. Getting to do yard work and prop my feet up outside after I'm done. Not only do I love making the yard pretty - I love getting to put my feet up, grab my favorite drink, sit down next to the hubs & watch the kids play in the yard. It makes all the hard work - completely worth it.

3. Getting to enjoy the sunsets. I am obsessed with the sky and in the winter it is wayyy to cold most nights to get to go outside and just enjoy them. Spring means I get to take the time to enjoy something I find breathtaking.

4. Being outside in general. We are definitely outside people. My kids love the outdoors ever more than I do. Here is Texas spring is warm enough to play outside in shorts, heck even to work on my tan. ;) We have already begun playing outside more, taking walks and of course tanning - because I'm whitey mccgee and that's going to change this summer I tell ya!

5. Two special things happen in spring that I love. First - Jay's birthday. This year he wants to go to the zoo and sense it's the time of year where that is a perfect way to spend the day that's what we will be doing & we are all so excited about it. Yeah I love the zoo. #ifeellikeakidagain. Second - Easter. I love any holiday really but getting to celebrate Jesus Resurrecting and teaching my little tots about it - is the best part of it all.

So there is my five reasons I love spring! Tell me your favorite thing about spring!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I have scars

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.  

You see I have a lot of scars. I don't hide behind them. I embrace them because they are apart of who I am. See for yourself.

This scar - This one is a good memory. Hubby was chasing me through the house {yeah were five years old} and one of the boys toys that is made for riding just jumped right out in front of me ;) and I slammed right into it. I went down instantly but I couldn't help but laugh because we were having so much fun.

This scar - the one that I hated for so long. It goes right down the middle of my chest to my belly button. It's proof that I am a miracle. When I was two I had open heart surgery. I had been getting sick a lot for a long and the doctors just kept putting my parents off saying it was just a week immune system. Well, one night they weren't buying it and took me to ER. There they discovered the large whole in my heart and the doctors words were somewhere along the lines of - if you had waited any longer to bring her in she wouldn't be alive. Do you hear that - If they had waited any longer do you know how much more I value my life because of that.

These scars - they are carved {not literally} into my stomach. They are a blessing - they remind me that I carried two beautiful little boys in their.

I have a scar on my knee - I was doing flips on a trampoline and had tucked my legs in really tight and didn't let go in time. So when I slammed down into the trampoline my tooth went into my leg and tore up skin. Yes it was gross and yes it hurt like h e double hockey sticks.

This scar that you can't see is for the loss of my grandmother. This scar is for the loss of a very good friend. This scar is for witnessing violence. This scar is being burned by friends. This scar is loosing trust in people. This scar is knowing pain. This scar & this scar is when God almost took KJ home twice. But you can't see those ones. They are on my heart.

Embrace your scars even if you can't see them - they make you who you are, they make you stronger.

share with me one scar you have - visible or not.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A little piece of me {Guest post}

We have the wonderful Salena guest posting here again. She is such a pleasure to have on the blog and are so honored to have her here again today. You can see her first post here. Thanks Salena for being here today!

My name is Salena and I am the blogger behind  A Little Piece of Me.  I was born and raised in Hawaii on the island of O'ahu.  I'm wife to Rudy, mother of 6, and grandmother of 3.  I am a stay at home mommy to my 3 little girls and on my spare time, which is rare, I create handmade accessories which you can find at here.  I blog about everyday life, marriage, parenting, things I love, and everything in between and I am so happy to be blog swapping with Embrace Your Life today.

I have been blessed with many kids.  I have come to believe that it is God's way to teach me the lessons I need to learn and to keep me grounded.  Although being a mother is a very hard job, it keeps me focused on what is most important.  In the little everyday simple things such as watching my little ones sleep or being next to them when they are falling asleep and snuggling into my arms or into their comfy beds.  Watching them get so excited to just do a simple nature walk and collect things that God has created and come back home to make a collage.  It is through my kids that I have learned how to Embrace Life the most.  God has used situations with my kids whether joyful ones or the down right traumatizing ones to point me in the direction I need to go.  In all the joys and heartbreaks of being a mom, it brings me back to enjoying every detail that most people would not.

It's not about having money or having all the material things that some work so hard for.  It's about stopping, being still and listening to one another.  Engaging, making eye contact, being attentive to those around you.  Connecting to others and letting them know you are there for them and are truly listening and care about who they are inside.  Life in general distracts us and God uses the things in our life to wake us up and to focus on what's important.  He reminds us that there is a great life that he has given us if we look beyond the distractions.

What about  you, how are you Embracing Your Life?

Come visit me and say hello, I'd love to hear from you!!

xoxo, Salena

A Little Piece of Me
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Treasure These Moments

By Sarah - Her blog is The Fontenot Four You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Sarah here.  

Time is marching on.  It seems to be moving faster and faster these days.  I want desperately for it to slow down - at least for a little while.  Just to give me a chance to catch up and take a breath.  That's not really how it's working out though!

I have a daughter, Moira, who turned 8 a couple weeks ago.  She's such an amazing little girl.  She's funny.  She's super smart.  She's really an awesome kid.  She's still my little girl and she still looks like a little kid.

But she's growing up....too fast!

Yesterday, all the second grade classes participated in a "wax museum".  They were to choose a real person and do a biography of them.  Then they were to put a presentation of their character on a tri-fold board.  In addition, they'd be dressing up in character for the wax museum.  They had their presentations in their class in the morning.  In the evening, they went back and families were welcomed in to the school to walk the halls where all these characters would be in place as their wax figure.  

Moira chose to be Cleopatra.  I think she had a friend or two who had decided that's what they'd be, so that's what she wanted.  She and I had fun working on her presentation which, in my opinion, was a far bigger project than any I ever did in second grade!!  Wednesday morning, she got dressed in her costume and I did her make up.  Here is Moira as Cleopatra:

She's 8.

Friends, when I looked at her - and when I look at the pictures I took - my jaw hits the floor.  There isn't much of a hint of my little girl here!  Where did she go??  I have no clue, but I want her back!!  I'm not ready for this!

I thought to myself that I really need to do everything I can right now to embrace that 8 year old little girl and enjoy this time with her right now.  When I see girls who are a year or two older than her, I am struck by the physical differences in just that little age difference.  It is a sign of what's to come for us.  This is going to be huge when it happens for us.  It's one thing to watch your child grow up all this time, but that time of losing the "little kid" look in favor of a "young lady" look is not as far away as I would really like it to be!

I think this was a bit of a wake up call for me to just stop and treasure these moments we're in right now!

What are you being called to stop and treasure?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.   

I recently read a post that disturbed me on so many levels. But the main thing that that bothered me was how high this person's standards were for other people. I've learned not to set standards for people - I know that sounds bad. But really just think about that for a second.

When you don't have standards for other's you expect nothing in return. Your doing whatever for them because deep inside you genuinely want too, regardless of what they are going to do for you.

It makes me wonder if people stopped setting standards for others - how many people would actually do things for other people when they were getting nothing in return? How many people wouldn't be bothered or get their feelings hurt that they were getting nothing back? Can you imagine how beautiful that would be?

A world of people helping others because they just want to. A world of people helping others without the expectation of anything back for it. I used to have standards for people a long time ago, I will be the first to admit that. I assumed that because I was doing something for them, whatever it was that I should get something in return from them. I stopped doing this when I realized that I wasn't just helping because I wanted too - I was helping because I expected something in return and when I didn't get it I became disappointed and thought, that wasn't fair I helped them or I gave them something or whatever the case may be.

And one day about a year ago - it just hit me that.was.wrong. on all levels. If I'm helping someone, I want it to be from the bottom of my heart, I want it to be with no expectations, with no standards. I want to do it because I feel it's right in my heart.

If you didn't set standards for people - that they couldn't live up to, think of how easy it would be to love that person. I hate standards. Because standards lead people to believe they aren't good enough when they aren't lived up too. 

& Please don't mistake this - I know there are some people who need standards set for them because other wise they will literally do nothing, but many people don't - were only to give them a chance.

Today my challenge for you - Do something for someone without any expectation that you should get anything in return. Put standards aside and do something for someone because you know should do it. The feeling you have afterwards when you know you did it because you really just want to do it - it is undescribeable. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!!

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here.   

So today is the first day of Spring!! Thank. You. March… I have been waiting for you! 

I Love March!! It's by far, my favorite month. It's the beginning of Springtime and I know that all of my favorite things will be coming soon. The world will be beautiful again and the dark drab of winter is finally over! 
Oh March, I wait all year to see your sweet name posted at the top of my calendar. You are the beginning of Spring and the first glimpse of warmer weather, blooming flowers, and leaves on trees. Winter seems so dismal and then like the fantastic rising sun, you slowly appear and bring forth your warmth and glory.
I love to go for walks, I can just get lost and appreciate the first promises of Spring. It completely renews me to watch everything start to bloom. Between dead grass and empty, bare trees that are only bones left from Winter, the tiniest bright blooms and leaves are starting to sprout. The breeze is cool and the sun is warm, and soon enough, everything will be alive again.

As February slowly fades into a distant memory, so do the dreary, lazy thoughts of winter. March. Your very name demands that we stand up and pay attention. "Get up! Do something!" you scream. Even the earth is feeling better and begins to tilt it's shoulders toward the sun.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A couple of things

First - We are accepting sponsors for April! :) 
We will glady swap ads with you or for a low price you can have a larger ad on EYL.
Either way please e-mail us at is you are interested!

We are also accepting writers & guest posters! Want to write for EYL or do you have an inspirational or encouraging post or a post about embracing your life that you would like to share?! We would love to have you!
Shoot us an e-mail -

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Letting Go

By Skye - Her blog is Neathering Our Fest. You can read more about her here. You can find all posts by Skye here.

what are you holding on to that is keeping you from enjoying life?

i tend to on occasion sometimes... OK. i am a neat freak. i like for the laundry to be folded and put away as soon as the dryer goes off. i like to dry the dishes and put them away. i have to clean off the dining room table every day when get home from work. when we moved to louisiana, it took me approximately four days to unpack the entire house because i cannot stand to live out of boxes.

disorganization and general clutter gives me hives.

but when i decided to give this handmade business stuff a go, i had to learn how to let things go. my dining room table became my studio for painting and putting all the paint away every night just got to be a hassle. so i embraced the fact that this new adventure might mean a messy dining room table.

other things i have embraced in this process: piled up laundry, a few dishes left in the sink for more than twenty-four hours, and the remotes not put back in the remote basket after our nightly ritual of scrubs on netflix.

but when those former big things started to become little things, and when i quit worrying about the little things, i started to see some growth in my business. i started to realize that leaving a bowl in the sink would not be the end of the world. i started to focus more on things like building relationships with friends and people online and less on religiously sweeping up dog hair.

john 15: 1-2 says "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

doing dishes and laundry is necessary, yes, and i still sometimes have a mad frenzy to clean and get all the laundry done, but i have realized that God has helped ease some of my anxiety concerning these things so that i can focus on what His plans are for me.

letting go of these little things has led me to do some things i would have missed out on and meet some people i would have never crossed paths with. He has touched people through me because i sat down long enough to write a letter instead of wiping the counters down. His purpose for me is greater than having the best kept house in the world.

i didn't realize any of this until a few weeks ago when we went to visit some friends and they both commented on how much more relaxed i seemed. these friends understand my obsessive need to clean and organize so for them to notice it was pretty remarkable. i hadn't even seen it yet. but as soon as she said it, all the puzzle pieces came together.

i was more relaxed. i was more approachable. i was a little less anxious skye and a little more cool and awesome skye. i had really let go of things that were holding me back so i could grow in other, more important areas of my life. and even looking back over the few weeks since then, i've noticed changes. once i let go of those things, other things, like writing, designing, and painting, became more enjoyable and less of a burden.

so. what are you holding on to that is keeping you from enjoying life? it doesn't have to be housework. it could be anything from unresolved anger with someone to a constant struggle with making sure your kids are always perfect. let it gooooo. let God take those problems from you and open up a huge spot for Him in your life.

vine 2

take a deep breath and breathe God in. breathe all that unnecessary stuff you worry about out.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

You could be a black bird

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.    

"You could be a black bird on a country street, hiding from the world with a broken wing but you better believe - you gonna fly with me." -- You Gonna Fly by Keith Urban

This is one of my favorite songs. Specifically that line of the song, everytime I hear it I want to scream YES! So, that's what I'm reaching out to you today for. Something very dear to me is helping others, in any way I can. Weather it's a shoulder to cry on, writing e-mails back and forth, just listening or praying for them.

I'm writing this because this is one of the way's I believe in Embracing Life, by helping others. I want to help you. I believe this is one of the reasons that God made me compassionate and a great listener. Why he made me want to help people. I want you to fly with me.

So today I ask you - that if you need to talk, need advice, need a prayer, anything.. please leave a comment or e-mail me. in the title put Cassie so I know it's specifically for me.

Please don't hesitate. Whatever you talk to me about will never be shared, he also made me an excellent secret keeper. Hugs to you all.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Time to Smell The Flowers

By Sarah - Her blog is The Fontenot Four You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Sarah here.   

I don't know where you all live, but here in Charleston, SC the weather this week has been absolutely DIVINE!!  It has been gorgeous.  Seriously folks, spring is in the air!!!  I couldn't be happier to shake off the winter blahs!!
I am a creature of habit.  While I love it outside, I have a tendency to stick close to home.  I'm in a season of life where I'm so exhausted all the time.  Not looking for sympathy or saying "woe is me" or anything.  It just is what it is.  That said, I so need to get myself out of the house.
Spring is in the air that that means the beauty around me is going to be increasing tremendously in the next few weeks as everything begins to bloom.  I am already excited about the trees budding and blooming.  I want to get out in this beautiful weather - I do.  I think I may need for someone to force me out of the house though.
I was reminiscing about a time last year when I went out with a great friend of mine and we took pictures while wandering around downtown Charleston because the flowers were in full bloom and everything was just looking gorgeous.  These pics were taken on March 23rd of last year.  I nearly choked when I realized how long ago it was that we'd done that.
I need to grab my friend and get out there again this year and just embrace life and all this new Spring season has in store for me!
 If you're a little further north than I am, well, then just enjoy these pictures - your turn is coming soon.  Promise!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I was a little girl

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here.   

I was born in the 80's, mid 80's to be exact. I was raised in a very small mountain-town in northern Utah and I am an only child. Starting when I was VERY young I was always fascinated with art and building and designs of every style. I use to "read"  the local newspaper just so I could look at the ads, and I'd beg my mom to tell me stories she'd been told when she was little vs stories found in the hundreds of books that littered my bedroom floor. Anybody could read those, I could read those, to me, they weren't art. They were public domain and therefore, weren't that interesting. I remember sitting for HOURS listening to my grandpa tell stories, watching my mom sew, or my dad carve. 
It was all so incredible to me.

When you're a kid, everything seems so simple: your desires, hopes, dreams, everything. Yet it's surprising how true to you those things are. My grandpa, in all his wisdom, use to tell me "Pay attention to your childhood, whatever you're doing right now at 6, 7, or 8 years old is what you'll want to do when you're an adult." And I, in my I-know-everything adolescence thought, "Well that's not right. No kid is cutting people open, cause they want to be a doctor when they grow up." But, guess what, Grandpa was indeed right. When I was 8 years old, life was so simple, dreams were easy to make, and I had all the time in the world to explore who I was. As an adult, I'm afraid we hold back. We're too worried about what others will think or even worse, what they'll say.

This all came rushing back to me tonight, as I sit here looking at old pictures. When I was 8 years old I loved creating things. I use to walk around with my dad's camera and waste five or six rolls trying to get the perfect picture of a flower bud. I'd make cities in my sandbox, complete with irrigation systems and aqueducts, then let the water run through them and play with my army men like they were the villagers (I hated barbies as a kid, I know, I'm weird). I'd go through packs of sidewalk chalk like they were M&M's. When my cousins would visit, we'd make up plays complete with scripts and choreographed dance routines. Then we'd force the entire family to come watch us preform. I built forts, club houses, obstacle courses, lemonade stands, pine wood derby cars, and recreated theme park rides in my back yard (Ever see Split Infinity? I use to LOVE that show!!)

Now, twenty years later, I'm back doing all of those things. Sometimes for the boys, and sometimes, just for me. :) 

What were you doing when you were 6-10? What did you want to be? Do you still want to do those things? Still want to be those things?

Repost From My Blog.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Her story

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.   

"Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see? She is yearning For shelter and affection That she never found at home She is searching For a hero to ride in To ride in and save the day." Does anybody hear here by casting crowns.

You see them everyday. You watch them approach, head down, hair pillowed around their face or ball cap pulled low. As they pass they carefully look up and smile - just a sheepish smile, a shy one. That's when you see it, that tiny glimmer of possibility. That tiny moment of who they are inside. Have you ever stopped and wondered how they got there today? Why do they try and hide from the world? Why do they try to blend in and why is it when they smile their face holds hope?

They try and hide because they have seen things. They blend in because they never got the attention they were looking for so they are no longer seeking it. How they got where they are today, well it starts with a story...

She grew up in a violent home. Her parents went through a nasty divorce. Her mother re-married and six months later it turned into another violent home. The violence was never directed at her, except that one time but she doesn't talk about how scared she was, but witnessing the violence was bad enough. She grew up in a home where love didn't seem real. Family was just something you were in and freedom was the key to happiness.

She doubts herself because she was doubted. She's afraid because she grew up afraid. She's paralyzed with fear at the raise of a voice, knowing any second, any wrong move and it could get bad, because that's all she ever knew. She doesn't want that for herself or for her family. 

How does she love with her whole heart? How does she even manage to get onto her kids? How does she even have hope for a marriage? How does she not crumple? How did she survive?

"I can count a million times People asking me how I Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me Can circumstances possibly Change who I forever am in You."
  Bring the rain by Mercy Me.

She knew she wanted a better life & that life started with God. She remember's standing over her first born's sons crib and thinking I want better for him & she prayed. She knew better starts and ends with God. She is who she is today because of her past. She learned from things she watched, she knew who she didn't want to be. She can forgive because that's what God puts on her heart to do. She can love because God loves her. She can discipline her children because she knows her kids need structure. She still has hope for marriage because when God is involved their is strength. She does crumple & when she does, she prays. She survived, because she is a survivalist - she knew there was a light at the end of that dark tunnel.

She embraces her life with a vengeance because at one point or another she hated it. She has a hard time accepting herself but she tries. She has a hard time loving herself but she pushes on. She has a hard time believing she can do anything but she walks forward. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A little rain

By Sarah - Her blog is The Fontenot Four You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Sarah here.  

When I think about the ebb and flow of life, I think to myself that it really isn't a beautiful picture all of the time.  There are storms in life.  Seasons of change.  Seasons of disappointment.  Seasons we just don't understand.  I thought to myself this morning "into each life a little rain must fall" and wondered to myself, "Who said that??"  Here was my answer:

The Rainy Day
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; 
It rains, and the wind is never weary; 
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall, 
But at every gust the dead leaves fall, 
And the day is dark and dreary. 

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; 
It rains, and the wind is never weary; 
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past, 
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, 
And the days are dark and dreary. 

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining; 
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; 
Thy fate is the common fate of all, 
Into each life some rain must fall, 
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

I thought to myself, well that isn't very uplifting at all.  But I thought a little more about it.  No, life isn't going to be all sunshine and lollipops.  For a lot of us there is a dark and dreary reality to our lives.  Maybe it's not the primary thing that people see.  Maybe we've got it hidden really well.  But for some of us, there is a sad and dark reality.  And I wonder, how can this possibly be a good thing??

When there is a little rain, if you will, in our lives, it makes us see things differently.  It changes our perspective.  Rain changes the landscape.  The colors are enhanced.  Things look more vivid.  We see things in a way that we don't ordinarily see them when the sun is shining.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

If there was no rain in our lives, then we would fail to grow.  We need the rain - unfortunately it comes with gales of wind, thunder, lightning, and storms - but we need it.  If we are to grow, then we need watered right where we are planted.  Sometimes God plants us right smack in a field of thorns, but He desires for us to learn and to grow and to see Him in it all.Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Sometimes we don't understand the purpose.  And it may not ever been known until you're through the storm and on the other side.  But it's there.  I'm not saying that these rainy seasons of our lives are going to be fun by any means.  However, rather than focusing on the rain during that season, try to focus on Him because He put you there in that moment for a reason.  While that season of rain may be longer than you feel like you can bear, just trust in Him.  He will lead you through it.   You will get to the other side.

Somehow, some way....if you can, during that stormy season, try to look for even the simplest things that speak of Him and His goodness.  It's there.  I can't say what it is for you, but I have been through some pretty serious storms - and I'm here to tell you that even in the midst of storms, there is much goodness - if you only take a moment to embrace the storm you are in and see for yourself.  It's there.  

I promise!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What I embrace

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here. 

So I fully planned on writing a post pouring a piece of my heart out about why I embrace life. In fact it's in my drafts right now. But I started thinking & when I start thinking it usually stops me from doing something. In this case it stopped me from publishing the post, because I'm sure it would ruffle a few feather's in my family. Maybe one day, but that day isn't today. So instead I'm going to tell you what I embrace in life.

I embrace:
  • Laundry - No matter how much I don't like it, it reminds me that we are blessed with clothes, that I take the time to make sure that my family has clean clothes..
  • Dishes - It means we have food to eat.
  • Vacuuming - It means we have home that is filled with four busy bodies that make messes. 
  • Laughing - It's the best medicine.
  • Kisses - You can never have too many.
  • Cuddles - because one day those cuddles will come to an end.
  • God - because we need and want him in our lives.
  • Tears - It reminds me that we all having feelings.
  • Sunshine - It reminds me that there is a light in the dark.
  • Rain - Makes for the perfect lazy day.
  • Wrestling - It reminds me that I have two boys that are already tough little guys. :)
  • Waking up - It reminds me that God has given me another day with my family.
  • Night time - As much as I don't like it, it reminds me that today is coming to an end and tomorrow is a new day.
  • Date nights - They keep your relationship alive.
  • Family days - Remind me to appreciate each one because we don't get enough of them.
  • Working - It reminds me I'm doing something I love.
  • Friendships - Remind me that someone cares about me as much as I do them.
  • Writing - It reminds me of my passion.
  • Love - Because I have so much of it in my heart to give
What in this life do you embrace?

Friday, March 9, 2012

First World Problems

By Sarah - Her blog is The Fontenot Four You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Sarah here.  

Last Saturday my husband, 7 year old daughter and myself went to a place called The Dream Center.  It's an  outreach of our church which exists to serve an impoverished part of town {we live in Charleston, SC}.  They offer people such services as a free clinic, "dream closet" {clothing donated to The Dream Center is handed out to people through this ministry}, a food pantry, a mentoring program, adopt a block, and so on.  On this day, many volunteers were participating in Cinderella Day.  Imagine not being able to attend your prom simply because you couldn't afford a dress or accessories.  Cinderella Day takes care of that for many of the young ladies in the community served by this outreach.  Take a look.

What my family participated in, however, was the adopt a block outreach.  We had never participated, but this is something I've been wanting to participate in for a while.  Everyone volunteering at The Dream Center that day assembled in the church before heading out to their assignments.  I met up with some women from our women's morning group and their families.  We headed out to a particular block consisting of a few short streets filled with dilapidated trailer homes.  They are situated so close to a freeway overpass and just on the other side of an embankment where the rail lines pass through.  I can't tell you how many times we've driven that overpass and seen these exact same homes and didn't give them a second thought.  That has all changed now.

Friends, I know there are times when I complain about things we don't have.  We live in an apartment, not a house.  The apartment is 2 bedrooms, not 3.  It's smaller than I'd like.  We deal with the noise of neighbors. We have a special needs child and have so many stresses related to that situation.  We don't have our other child enrolled in every after school program known to man.  I can't afford a box of k cups for my Keurig this week.  I don't have an iPhone.  I haven't had my hair cut in a few months.  We don't have a flat screen TV.  We live paycheck to paycheck a lot of the time because we're doing the Dave Ramsey way of trying to eliminate the debt from our life.  We've got problems.  Right?  Don't some of you have some of these problems too?

My eyes were opened last Saturday.  Now more than ever, I am taking the time to embrace my life because all of those problems I mentioned...yeah...the k cups...the TV...the iPhone???  Yeah, those problems are nothing compared to the problems faced by the people we visited on that day.  We talked with a very pregnant girl.  She seemed really young.  Not a teenager, but young.  This is her third child she's expecting.  Her home was so sad looking.  As I watched a 1 or 2 year old boy crawl up those rickety steps, dropping his sippy cup into the dirt, I couldn't help but think what if this was where WE lived.  The home was in such a state of  disrepair.  It was being renovated, although I'm not sure what all the entailed.  I don't imagine it was an extreme makeover enough to make the home "acceptable" by most people's standards.

I am embracing my life right now.  I have a roof over my head - even if it is an apartment and is smaller than I'd like.  I have a TV.  Three in fact.  And a laptop.  And a desktop.  And a kindle fire.  And 3 dvd players, 2 of which are also blu rays.  We have internet.  My husband has a respectable job.  My children are both being educated.  My k cup situation...maybe it'll be resolved on the next paycheck.  And, hey, I have a Keurig!  Sure, an iPhone would be nice, but I get by with what I have.  I have a special needs and medically fragile daughter who is alive.  I can say with almost absolute certainty that if she was born into the conditions we encountered, she would not be about to celebrate her 6th birthday in a couple months.

I am more grateful right now than ever for what we do have.  I want to do more to help this outreach.  I don't know what it will involve aside from this adopt a block once a month, but I want to do something.  Maybe embracing my own life means that I have to reach out and embrace someone else's because doing so themselves is just too difficult.