The Artist

Life is the fuel for the thoughts and the feelings that constantly swirl and tumble throughout your mind and your heart and your soul day in and day out. Sometimes I wish I was more artistic. Artistic enough to capture the beauty and the feelings as they come and let them spill out of a paint brush and into reality on a canvas. But for me, this little space is my canvas and words are my medium. They don’t always spill out as fluid and beautiful as I imagine, but they are my best attempts to express the jumbled mix that happens between my heart and soul and mind.

There are so many moments in life where emotions well up and threaten to burst out of you. The only question will be how they will make their appearance. Everyone expresses their emotions in different ways, and that’s what makes relationships and community so interesting, and messy and beautiful.

I’m a word person. An introvert by nature, I need time with my thoughts. Time to craft exactly what I want to say. Time to edit and tweak and add in and throw out. But life moves a little quicker in real time and if the words aren’t captured in the moment experienced, their vibrancy starts to dull with time.

The art that can be captured in the every day is found in joy. The joy that I often bypass, and miss and grumble through because I’m too busy trying to find someone’s else’s definition of art and beauty and joy.

Even when life doesn’t look or feel like the typical beauty we crave, it’s there. The beauty is woven into the every day moments, the hard moments,  and the messy moments as our days are unfolding onto life’s canvas. We tip toe, burst, drag, and leap across the canvas, each looking different and beautiful in it’s own way.

We experience and express life in so many different ways, but the artist behind our lives remains the same.  The artist that fills our days with unexpected and messy and imperfect joys is the constant.  When the art gets too messy. When the art gets too hard. When the art feels overwhelming, the artist is there.

The artist is there to paint the unexpected miracle. The artist is there to paint joy in the sadness. The artist is there to to be present and constant. The artist is there to capture our heart and mind and soul.

Sometimes  life feels heavy, days are burdened with unknowns, and we feel at a standstill on our canvas. The artist is there. He is here. He is painting your days with purpose and weaving in unexpected joys. As He paints let us be hopeful, patient, and faithful.

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Jesus Makes All the Difference

When you start giving of yourself because of Jesus, it makes all the difference. Without Jesus you are drained. With Jesus, you are filled. When you give not because you expect anything in return, but because of Jesus, it makes all the difference.

Being a mama forces you to learn more about giving than you probably ever have before. If we’re being totally honest, there will be days when you will feel resentful for how much you have to give. You will be snappy, and harsh with your answers. Thank goodness for grace and thank goodness for Jesus.

Jesus makes all the difference.

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When we serve with Jesus in mind, the giving of ourselves to our children and others around us in need seems to change. It doesn’t always mean it will be easy, because it won’t, but it will be different.

Giving and serving with Jesus in mind allows us to give of ourselves and realize that we are working to build God’s kingdom. We are serving with a purpose. Not for the purpose of just pleasing ourselves and doing whatever makes us feel good, but building something that is beyond us.

When it’s easy to feel selfish, remember for whom you are building for. You are building for the Lord and investing in something that will last forever.

When it comes to giving, Jesus makes all the difference.

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Currently // 1/15/16

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Eating / Mexican food, salad, and cereal with almond milk have been a few favs recently. Dustin and I were also in Pittsburgh this week and ate at a place called Grit and Grace. The food combinations kind of made me feel like I was being served food from a Food Network competition. In other words, it was different, but so good!

Drinking / Water and ice automatically out of the fridge? Who knew we had it so good!

Practicing / Being a servant with a joyful heart.

Mastering / TBA, because I’m a work in progress.

Playing / Yesterday I played with the girls outside in the snow. I may have hit them both in the face with a snowball at some point. Parent of the year award right here!

Finishing / I’m ready to get back into a bit of a routine as far as working out goes, so I’m finishing up having ultra lazy, no workout mornings…don’t worry, I’m easing in again!

Reading/ I’m still making my way through the book, Anything. It is sooo good! I highly recommend it!

Remembering / To be present and enjoy the moments and phases of life you are in. This too shall pass, and the good often passes too quickly, so soak it up and don’t wish it away.

Wearing/ Boots and my Evys Tree sweater all day every day!

Cooking / Do egg and cheese bagels count as cooking? Because those have been tasting pretty good lately!

Working / Just the usual keeping children alive, fed and mostly happy!

Traveling / Dustin and I traveled to Pittsburgh this Monday to watch the Wizard of Oz! It was great, and he even surprised me with a spa package!

Wanting /  So thankful that Jia can be taking care of Helen in Uganda while we are in Ohio, but it would be pretty great if they could both be with us here!

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what we have been up to this last week. What is happening currently in your life!?

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Wear {7} // Capsule Wardrobe Accessorizing

While being back in Ohio for the holidays I’ve gotten away from my usual capsule wardrobe.  I’ve dug out packed away winter clothes and borrowed from what my sister has. One things I’ve been realizing though, is how much accessorizing can do for a capsule wardrobe!

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Recently, Megan, from New Eve Jewelry sent me a beautiful Many Waters Necklace  in black. Guys, I am in LOVE with this necklace! It is such a versatile statement piece and I have literally been wearing it with everything! You can dress it up or down and it makes any outfit look great. Date night? Check! Lounging around the house? Check! Running errands? Check!

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I’m learning that through choosing some great accessories that you love, that mean something too you, that are simple and beautiful, you can add versatility to your capsule wardrobe. I’m working to build a great base in clothing and then build my accessories. In the past I would normally focus more on the clothing. Now I want to be able to invest more in the accessories and support small businesses and women, and organizations that I love.  And besides, aren’t accessories fun?

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Megan has such a beautiful message behind her jewelry. She uses reclaimed items to make something beautiful and remind us that God makes all things new! 10% of your purchase goes to Feeding the Orphans and helps family in Ghana. Megan makes beautiful jewelry and has a beautiful heart! Go check out her Etsy shop and get a eye catching statement piece of your own!

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In Our Weakness // By His Grace

Maybe your new year didn’t start out exactly the way you would have liked. Maybe 2016 hasn’t gotten off to the best start. Maybe you are thinking you would like a re-do for the new year. Your resolutions and goals you set haven’t gotten much attention. Life isn’t all neat and orderly and the unexpected and messy happens.
The very, very good part about messy lives and ruined resolutions as that Jesus meets us in our hot mess ways and showers us with grace upon grace.

So my advice to you on this second Monday in January, is don’t give up. Just because things haven’t started out exactly as you had planned, don’t give up. Don’t let go of your word, your goals, your resolutions, your dreams, your hopes, and aspirations for the new year because you feel like you’ve already screwed it up. If you are anything like me, you’re going to screw it up at one time or another, and then probably again some more. But don’t give up.

 Grab hold of that life giving grace tightly and don’t let go. Use that grace to spur you on. Take that grace and run the race you are meant to in this next year. Whether that race keeps your right where you are, or takes you far away, don’t give up on it. Don’t let imperfection and fear stand in your way. Quiet the giants that stand in your way with grace.

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 So no matter how your new year started, embrace the every day mess and cling to the grace. In our weakness and our mess, His power is made known. Here’s to a 2016 where we make His power known.

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Currently // 1/8/16

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The last time I did a, Currently, post we were still in Uganda. This Friday you get an Ohio Currently!

Eating / Basically anything you can’t get in Uganda and more! Cheese, salad, and clementines are probably at the top of the list!

Drinking /Starbucks anyone?

Practicing / Working to think about how I can bless others with the talents, gifts and resources that I’ve been given and remember to count the ways that others are a blessing to me!

Mastering / While being home I’ve been getting pretty good at sleeping in and relaxing in the mornings…now I need to get back into a good early morning routine!

Playing / While the weather has been a little warmer than most Decembers in Ohio, we have tried to take advantage of this and get some use out of Grandma and Grandpa’s swing set!

Finishing / 2015 is finished! So in case you haven’t noticed, start dating things 2016!

Reading/ I’m still making my way through the book, Anything. It is sooo good! I highly recommend it!

Remembering / Spending time with family and friends and simply being with one another is so important. We often get in a mindset of doing, and can feel uncomfortable in just being. This little break at home has been mostly about being and less about doing.

Wearing/ #givemeallthesweaters

Cooking / Less cooking, more eating what’s in my parents fridge!

Working / Just the usual keeping children alive, fed and mostly happy!

Traveling / Dustin and I will be traveling to Pittsburgh next week as a late Christmas present. We get to go to the Wizard of Oz Broadway show, kid free!

Wanting /  We’ve gotten only a dusting of snow since being home, so for Gracie’s sake, one nice, packing snow snowfall would be nice before we leave!

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what we have been up to this last week. What is happening currently in your life!?

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Post Christmas. I can remember carefully hording my stash of Christmas present on the landing of the steps. I needed to keep my presents separate and safe from my siblings. My small mound would grow larger as I got rather spoiled between presents from my grandparents and parents and other relatives.

This Christmas the mound was much smaller, and that’s the way I like it! A few meaningful gifts that will be used and treasured is what I’m all about these days. The fact of the matter is that stuff is just STUFF! You can’t take it with you, so what the point in filling up a home with things that aren’t meaningful or useful? Can I get an Amen!?

So this year I asked for a few things that I really love and will really use. They are gifts that support shops and women that I admire. They are gifts that help draw me closer to God. They are gifts that are meaningful and appreciated.  So today I’m sharing a few of my favorite things!

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Emily Ley Simplified Planner

Last Christmas was the first year I asked for a Simplified Planner. I think it’s safe to say I’ve fallen in love! The colors, the layout, the inspirational quotes and room for everything I need has me sold!

EVY’s Tree Hoodie

It’s my first Evy’s Tree Hoodie and I may or may not have worn it for a week (perhaps two?) straight! They also have an awesome sale going on right, so hurry up and snag one for yourself!

Journaling Bible

I love seeing my Instagram feed full of beautifully colored and inspired Bible pages. Though I wouldn’t call myself an artist, I am excited to start decorating the pages of my new journaling Bible.

Adult Coloring Book

Adult coloring books are all the rage, and now I know why! I may not be the most artistic person, but I CAN color inside the lines…most of the time.

How about you? What are a few of your favorite things? Are they lovely? Are they useful? Are they personal? I want to hear!

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Get on Blessing // My Word for 2016

The holidays have come and gone. Twinkling lights are disappearing and the Christmas cookies are giving way to New Year’s resolutions made up of leafy greens.The New Year is all about a clean start. A time to focus on how we can better ourselves in the coming year.

But what if this year we focused a little more on others? On how we can use the gifts and the talents, and the resources that God has gifted us with and turn around and bless those around us. To bless family and strangers, friends and enemies, internet connections and neighbors right next door. What if we blessed others in big and small ways and then counted all the ways we have been blessed? What if we created a culture of blessings and thought more about others than ourselves? What if we treated others the way we wanted to be treated?

My word for the new year is BLESS. If I consciously work each day to bless those around, I am working to build up God’s kingdom. If I consciously give thanks for the blessings that He has given me, I am learning more about my Savior and working to build a relationship with Him.

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Will you join me? Will you work to bless those around you and count the blessings you’ve been given. I recently posted some of these thoughts on an instagram post @ohtinygifts and invited others to get in on blessings others. To encourage one another and spur each other on, anytime you post how you’ve been blessed or how you’ve blessed others, let’s use the hashtag #getonblessing. Let’s do it not to say, “Look at how great I am!”, but to inspire one another! So let’s be intentional. Let’s be a light. Let’s get on blessing!

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