July 31, 2014

Tomorrow is August... where are you giving??

Dear friends,

I told you I would get back to you on this, so here I am! Tomorrow is the first of August and our Creator's Challenge is about to kick off. {But those of you who think you aren't creators? Keep reading. I have something at the end JUST FOR YOU!} Have you found a charity you are working for? Truthfully, if you don't pick one now you might just fall aside come mid month. Sometimes you need to remind yourself what you are working for. Me?


I will be creating hats and scarves for the Bundle Up Club. I'm so excited to get started and have purchased some fun pretty yarn to do just that with. I know the girls don't count anything until it's in their hand, which I understand, but I can't wait until the end of the month to see how much I have to give them. It thrills me because everyone deserves to know they are important and worth the time to be invested in. That is the heart of the Bundle Up Club and I am proud and pleased to take part.

What?? You aren't a creator but still want to get involved? Well, let me tell you about another opportunity that has crossed paths with me recently. A dear friend lost her husband and friends of hers have gathered together donating some amazing items in an effort to raise some funds for her. Please go check out the online auction Love By Design. Like the page and then bid your little heart out. You'll not only be able to help a great family, you'll also receive something quite amazing in the end. The first post right now on the page explains all about the auction and how it will work, and there very well may be a Molly Poncho you can bid on as well. I'm just sayin'! The bidding starts tomorrow but only lasts until the 3rd. Don't procrastinate one this one!!

So, everyone!! Find your place, and let's get ready. Let's make August a time to reach out to others who need something you have to give! If we all do what we can we can do quite a bit!

I'll check in with you through the month. I can't WAIT to see what you do!

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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July 29, 2014

Passover Remembered (a poem by Alla Bozarth-Campbell)

{I read this and it pulled at me. I wanted to share it with you as well, with little commentary from me. So, without further ado...}

Pack nothing.
Bring only
your determination to serve
and your willingness to be free.

Don't wait for the bread to rise.
Take nourishment for the journey,
but eat standing, be ready
to move at a moment's notice.

Do not hesitate to leave
your old ways behind —
fear, silence, submission.

Only surrender to the need
of the time — to love
justice and walk humbly
with your God.

Do not take time
to explain to the neighbors.
Tell only a few trusted
friends and family members.

Then begin quickly,
before you have time
to sink back into
the old slavery.

Set out in the dark.
I will send fire
to warm and encourage you.
I will be with you in the fire
and I will be with you in the cloud.

You will learn to eat new food
and find refuge in new places.
I will give you dreams in the desert
to guide you safely to that place
you have not yet seen.
The stories you tell
one another around the fires
in the dark will make you
strong and wise.

Outsiders will attack you,
and some follow you,
and at times you will get weary
and turn on each other
from fear and fatigue and
blind forgetfulness.

You have been preparing
for this for hundreds of years.
I am sending you into the wilderness
to make a new way and to learn my ways
more deeply.

Some of you will be so changed
by weathers and wanderings
that even your closest friends
will have to learn your features
as though for the first time.

Some of you will not change at all.
Some will be abandoned
by your dearest loves
and misunderstood by those
who have known you since birth
and feel abandoned by you.
Some will find new friendships
in unlikely faces, and old friends
as faithful and true
as the pillar of God's flame.

Sing songs as you go,
and hold close together.
You may at times grow confused
and lose your way.
Continue to call each other
by the names I've given you,
to help remember who you are.
You will get where you are going
by remembering who you are.
Touch each other and keep telling the stories.

Make maps as you go
remembering the way back
from before you were born.

So you will be only the first
of many waves of deliverance on these desert seas.
It is the first of many beginnings —
your Paschaltide.

Remain true to this mystery.
Pass on the whole story.
Do not go back.
I am with you now
and I am waiting for you.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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July 28, 2014

Getting to your goal in a bazillion steps

Originally posted Jan 8, 2014 at live-brave.com.

To steal a line from The Sound of Music,

"Let's start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi"

Do, re, mi. Such singular small notes, and yet when combined with other small notes we get arias, million dollar songs, and so much more. When you combine those small notes the possibilities are endless. The same is true with A,B, and C. They give us a word, then a sentence, a paragraph, and a new novel.

Life is the same way.

taking steps

Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by where we want to go that we forget there are a bazillion little steps which will get us there. When I first began homeschooling my children I learned this lesson. As we began our schooling I panicked about teaching high school. I became scared of even beginning, but then I realized it would be best if we started where we were...with Kindergarten.

When I first began taekwondo twelve years later, I had to relearn the lesson. I wanted to be able to teach self-defense and protection, and I wanted to do it right then. When I realized that would not happen immediately because I had to be at a certain level to speak with authority, I nearly gave up. I was scared if I couldn't do it then, I would never be able to do it. When I realized that each step would prepare me I relaxed and began stepping. It was similar to my homeschooling lesson, yet slightly different.

Now, we can get overwhelmed with the bazillion number, and we can get frustrated that we have to relearn lessons but both of those truths are actually on our side.

As we take all the little steps between now and the realization of our dream so many things will happen. We will learn, and grow and become someone different. Each step will help us become the person who can handle doing what it is we dream of doing. We might even change course in the middle, and since we took small steps we have the ability to change course easily.

When we are given an opportunity to relearn a lesson it almost always goes deeper or changes a little in fashion. We learn it from a different perspective, or are shown something we completely missed the first time. It is never a wasted opportunity or a negative when we realize it is taking us in new directions.
What amazing opportunities we are given in our small steps and relearning.

Whatever it is you are setting out to do know that between here and there are a bazillion little steps. Enjoy each and every one because they are all amazing. And you will find yourself relearning a few things along the way. That is so much more than okay! It allows you to deepen and strengthen your understanding.

After fourteen years of homeschooling we have finished the last semester of our schooling. I am amazed at how far we have come. From A, B, C to American Government, Biology, and Chemistry. After two years of classes I have reached the beginning teaching level in taekwondo. From basic steps, blocks, and kicks to katas, self-defenses, and one steps. If it weren't for each step along the way I never would have gotten to this point.

The entire process can seem long and hard, but it is also wonderful and amazing filled with opportunities and blessings. Recognizing this will change how you see the journey towards your goal.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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July 26, 2014

Some days we're just Hobbits.

I sat and watched as Bilbo vacillated between listening to his heart and his fears. I watched as others told him he couldn't do it, and others still told him he could.

"I think there's more to this Hobbit than meets the eye." ~ Gandalf

I am a hobbit. It sounds ludicrous to say, but I think that is exactly who I am. This little hobbit who feels the call to do something, but is scared to death she wont be able to do it. It's easier to simply not even try.

And truth be told, I like my little home, books, and company which calls every now and then.

But I must drive those around me crazy. Those I give a peek into my heart when it's high and when it's low. Maybe I should have a different group of friends for each elevation for all our sanity.

Some days I believe I can do whatever I set my heart to.
Some days I think I don't have an ounce of talent in my little finger.
Some days the sun rises and my spirits soar.
Some days I can't fathom I have anything for the future.

I hate this about me, but I'm learning hating (even oneself) is not the way to make change happen.

My hope is this is not the end of the story. In fact, I know it's not. I believe that if I keep working and moving forward and pushing myself and letting others hold me up when I can't do it that eventually I will get to where I want to be. I will become the person God designed me to be. And when I get there I will be someone who can truly help others. I will be someone who can relate. I will be someone who gets it.
"I know you doubt me, I know you always have, and you're right. I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my arm chair, and my garden. See, that's where I belong; that's home, and that's why I came cause you don't have one.. a home. It was taken from you, but I will help you take it back if I can." ~ Bilbo
Some days we're just Hobbits. Struggling to become who we were designed to be. But there is a greater design we are a part of, one in which our connection with others matters. One where we can help one another, by reaching out with hand and heart.

Who are you reaching out to today? Because there is always someone who is where you were, or needs what you have found.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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July 23, 2014

Dear friend,

Are you having a hard time keeping up with all the things you want to do? I understand. I am right there with you. Some time seasons seem to flow better than others, don't they? I think the times when we get stuck, or feel as if we are stumbling, are generally times of growth though.

Like a child going through a growing phase suddenly trips going up the stairs, or simply walking down the hall? That's where we are right now. Stumbling our way down the hall trying to figure out how to get where we want to go. There's no shame in that. It's simply putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes picking ourselves up off the ground.

Laugh with me. Shake your head in disbelief. And send yourself love for trying something new, setting a goal even if you didn't follow through, and remember that it's all going to be okay.

keep trying

Don't let others tell you differently, either. There will be some who pretend they never fall. Or some who say the only way to go is their way. A couple who think their goals should be yours. And then the few who will find a problem with the way you are going, or where you are going, or how you picked yourself back up, and nothing you do is right. Regardless of where your heart is. They are all wrong. Can you believe they are wrong and you are right?

Because, sweet friend, this is your life and the Lord is giving you the strength to get back up, clearing your path as you walk, and giving you a place to rest when it is time for that. His love wraps around you, His song is sung over you, and your name is on His heart. He is the only one you need to worry yourself with.

So, sit down today with some paper. No, I'm serious. Even if you aren't a writer, do this. Sit down, make a list of all those amazing wonderful things you want to do. Set dates to some. Set priorities to all. Write down how you see your life, right now. What do you want your day to look like?

Now, that paper? Hold it as sacred in the sense that it is your dreams, but also hold it as temporary knowing that God may change things as you move forward. And that is more than okay.

Now, what steps are we going to take today to get where we want to be?

July 18, 2014


I haven't written for Five Minute Friday in... months. But this morning I saw the prompt and it hit a spot inside of me. I think it actually snuggled up in my brain and whispered yes.... now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bloom ~~~~~~~

I love to watch people become what they are meant to be. I love to watch people take a step into themselves. I love to see someone who is scared to death, but ready to take the jump because they know that is what they are supposed to do. Even if they don't know what comes next.

I have crossed paths with a multitude of people who encourage others to do these things. They give out tools, hold hands, share encouragement, and become cheerleaders.

I am not the same person I was four years ago, but I am still the same girl. Does this make sense? I have had so many who willingly walked along side me as I dug through the valley, hid in the holes, and now I am coming out into my own. I have learned to know who I am, accept who I have been, and decide who I am meant to be. Of course, always with the hand of the Lord on my back as my True Guide.

I believe I will not simply bloom once in this life time. Rather I will have different seasons, flower over and over, and continue growing from what I need, the removal of what is harmful, and space to breathe.

I have been struggling as I write this, a little more than five minutes and many deletions. The point I am trying to come to is what I want deeply is to be for others as so many have been for me. I want to help others bloom and become the beautiful expressions God created them to be.

I don't know how yet.
I don't know the details.

But I once heard we have to have a dream, one that seems big and wild. And I think this is mine.


I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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July 16, 2014

A Molly Poncho and a Challenge for us all.

This:  20140715_083501

was such fun to make. My inspiration actually came from this knit (I believe) poncho. When I shared the project on Ravelry I was informed it looked a lot like Buckster's Fall Poncho, and I so agreed! Look at this amazing pattern you can get if you knit! Doesn't it look like the one I linked to?? Yep! When I made mine I was determined to only use left over yarn I already had, and apparently my yarn is sometimes quite... bright. But you know, while this is a little outside of my normal wear, I think it will be a fun wear on days I need a little extra punch, and it's like wearing a cloud it's so comfortable! At the bottom of this post I will share how I put it together.

But first, I want to challenge all you crocheters and knitters and quilters and crafters to a challenge.


In August my church puts on a Christmas in August event for families who have someone who is terminal and may not make it to the next Christmas. My heart goes out to these families, and I know this must be such a bittersweet event. I wish there was more that I could do for them, but it has inspired me to do something during this coming month of August.

My challenge, if you choose to accept, is to find a charity of any type and create what they collect. Make those items for the entire month of August, and then send them off to the charity. There are a lot of amazing charities which collect a variety of items which are handmade. I'm betting at least one of those popped into your head when I mentioned the challenge. Go for it. Send them a little bit of your heart and soul in the creations you make and they will share.

If you aren't familiar with any organizations which collect handmade items, then let me introduce you to the Bundle Up Club. You can "like" their Facebook page HERE, send in a donation rather than a creation HERE, and follow their blog HERE. The Bundle Up Club was started by two sweet girls who wanted to do something to help the homeless. They want people to know they are valued, loved, and worth the time invested in the creations they are making and collecting. I love their hearts and know this is only the beginning of two lives full of sharing, giving, and loving. They collect scarves, blankets, hats, and other handmade goods and if you contact them on their Facebook page they will let you know where to send the items you make.


the Molly Poncho.

Why Molly? Because as I was making it and watching the colors come together it reminded me of Molly Weasley's sweater from Harry Potter. The final result simply reminded my husband of a Mexican Poncho, which really I guess that's exactly what it is. As I said, this was my inspiration.


Using a G hook I made two rectangles approximately 33x16 each. I made a chain 33 inches long, which was a 121 stitch chain making the first row in both rectangles as sc row.

These are the different rows I used to create the look.

Row A: sc across
Row B: dc across
Row C. *sc, chain 3, skip a stitch*, end with sc
Row D: dc, *dc, chain 1,*  end with two dc
Row E: 2dc, *skip 3 stitch, 4 dc*, end with 2 dc
Row F: 2 dc, *skip 2 stitches, 2 dc, 2 dc*, end with 2 dc

Repeat between * * to work across the row.

I mixed these rows up in no particular order, with no planned repetition as I went. I used a variety of colors with little repetition there as well, simply choosing out of the stash I had, until both rectangles were 16 inches wide.

Then I sewed the end of one rectangle (a) to the bottom side of the other rectangle (b). Then I did the reverse sewing the end of b to the bottom side of a. You can seam them in whatever way you wish, slip stitch, sc, ect. What I did was take the yarn from finishing off each row and used it to tie the end to the edge, knotting the yarn, and then weaving in the remaining yarn. Once the ends are attached weave in all the remaining ends.

This created a poncho which was too big, which was my goal.

From this point I filled in at the neck. I first did some short rows in the "back" as you can see in this picture. It allowed the back to be higher than the front once I started the neck rounds, more like a sweater neckline than a poncho neckline.


After that when I went in rounds I would decrease stitches at the front V, and at each side of the short rows. I have no specific pattern for those, as I simply worked with each row to my best ability. I continued with the final round trying the poncho on each round until I had it at the size I felt was most comfortable.

This is a very freeform style of crochet, and I'm sorry I don't have more exact directions for you. If you give it a try though I would LOVE to see your result.

I would also LOVE to know which charity you send items to. I'll remind you of the challenge when August begins. I wanted to give you time to get your supplies and plans together before then.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
Facebook, Twitter, my email, or in the comment section.

July 15, 2014

What will you do with the responsibility your freedom gives you?

Most people who read this blog are probably from areas where their religious freedoms allow them to worship God with no recourse. Not all countries are like that, however. In a time where persecutions don't always make the evening news, the people who are suffering such need our prayers.

The top 10 countries for persecution of Christians:
1. North Korea
2. Saudi Arabia
3. Afghanistan
4. Iraq
5. Somalia
6. Maldives
7. Mali
8. Iran
9. Yemen
10. Eritrea
(source: Open Doors World Watch List 2013)

What would it be like to live in a place where you are beaten, jailed, condemned and killed for your belief in Christ? I know so many of us have no idea. We live in a world that is not like that. We might think our culture is hostile to our belief system, but it is an innocent hostility at this point, whereas others live under the oppression which could cause fear and silence.

But so many don't stay silent. They still share the Gospel because they desire others to know the truth of God. They desire others to have the true freedom they have, even in the face of such persecution.

Gospel of Asia has missionaries living in six of the top forty countries for persecution. Not only can we pray specifically for these people, but we can support them as well. Please follow THIS LINK to learn more about both.

We have a freedom which brings with it a responsibility. Let us live that responsibility well.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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July 13, 2014

Which words abide where?

So, the words have been few here recently. I think it has a lot to do with deleting so many posts when I revamped the categories. I actually wanted to simply delete the entire blog, but I tried hard not to do that. The posts I did delete I realized were things that we now share on Facebook. Which made me stop and think... is Facebook now what blogs used to be?

I think maybe there is a big old yes as the answer to that question. But this leaves me with only more questions, like: should I still blog? would it be better just to share stuff at Facebook? what do I share here verses there? What happens when Facebook fades away? Where do my words fit anyway? Maybe... maybe just the journal.

And then I laugh, because I do this so often. I actually have deleted several blogs worth of posts in my past. *swish* Words gone to the neverlands of the internet only to be pulled back by occasional visits to the way back machine and really I don't do that a whole lot anymore.

I know why I do delete words though. I do. You see, those words that fill the posts here at this blog share a lot of heart felt thoughts, some things I really do want you to know, and some things I wish I could hide. These words are my heart in many instances, and that makes me vulnerable. When I first share them I feel brave and strong; after a bit of time I wonder what it was I was thinking. Why I thought it would be good to share some things, is beyond me. The goals which I dropped. The ideas I've quit. The words I have said. You see, I'm a talker. I talk big, but follow through can be a struggle. I state goals, and then question them. I make a decision, and then wonder if I was wrong. I mention my heart, and then feel stupid. And all of that is what these words hold for me some days. That's why I want to wipe them away and start over with a clean slate.

But what I am learning is the slate isn't ever really clean. What went before has made an impression, left a mark, created a scar, changed how things were and I can't pretend it all away.

What I can do is move forward from this moment, and friend that is hard. I all too often let what came before hold me back. How do I move forward anyway? I'm still learning the answer to that question, so I'm sorry if you were hoping I had it. I don't.

But each moment, every day, I am trying hard to do what it is I need to do, want to do, aspire to do. I am working to ignore the words in my brain which call me a big talker, quitter, and hypocrit and instead work towards who I want to be in all aspects. I can see some improvements, but it is a moment by moment struggle for me.

I think to what Paul said, "I don't do what I want to, but I do what I don't want to." Will it ever change? Will I ever be to the point where being who I am is being who I want to be? I don't know the answer to that either, because I'm certainly not there.

So, maybe moving forward is committing to the struggle I am in the middle of right now. Maybe it's not giving up despite the failures, despite the messes, despite what anyone else thinks. Maybe moving forward is being the best me in this messy moment anyway.


Does this answer the question to where should my words abide? Or which words should abide here? I'm not sure. I guess I will keep pushing through moving forward hoping to find the answer to that question through some trial and error, messy moments, and sweet spots.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
Facebook, Twitter, my email, or in the comment section.

July 8, 2014

4 unhealthy ways to behave in a relationship

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, when we are in a relationship our own mess gets in the way and makes it worse. We think we are doing everything possible for the good, but we end up stumbling and falling, and by the end of it all we question why we did what we did. Not until someone helps us see what we are doing will we be able to change it. I hope by looking at these four personality traits we will be able to see ourselves, and come to a healthier relationship with another person.

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