Twinkle lights, eucalyptus, and tuscan-style chairs…
Simple & elegant with a sprinkle of fun details perfectly describe everything about Sarah & Daniel’s wedding. From Sarah’s dress to the gorgeous flowers (by Kinspoke) and the cake stands piled with donuts (Five-O Donut Co.).
It was an absolute honor to plan & coordinate this wedding. My personal photos are below. Wedding Photos (above) by Jeremy Rinehart.
Instead of making resolutions that will be forgotten by February, try asking God to give you a verse for the year. I’m amazed every time I do this that once again God knows what’s coming (go figure ;). This shapes my entire year, and I’m sharing how in this video.
I love me a good charcuterie board. And really who doesn’t? So this Christmas I planned a party with boards & platters scattered about the house. The dining table held the largest selection of meats and cheeses. And though this was a party meant for mingling, I left the chairs. Have a few morsels from one board, then move to a new table or chair! See the recipes below for a Smokey Old Fashioned and an Amarula Coffee – both are guaranteed to warm you up this winter.
Smokey Old Fashioned
1 tsp Smoked Maple syrup
Bourbon of choice (Michter’s is Josh’s choice)
1 dash of aromatic bitters
2 dashes citrus bitters
1 Filthy black cherry (NOT maraschino)
Stir the above ingredients until maple syrup dissolves. Then pour over a large ice cube and stir again.
Coffee with Amarula + homemade whipped cream
Brewed coffee (regular or decaf)
Amarula (It’s a South African cream liqueur)
cinnamon sugar in a salt shaker
1 c. Heavy whipping cream whipped until peaks form with 1 Tbsp Maple syrup
Mix the coffee and Amarula in a carafe to your preference. Try a ratio of 3 parts coffee to 1 part liqueur. Guests can pour their drink and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
*I forgot a picture of the dessert board but it held bite sized brownies and chocolates along with some cookies a guest brought. (You can see it on the table beneath the TV that showed photos from past Christmases).
Girls don’t exactly have a reputation for getting along well, but we need each other. Friends make up the support system that is necessary for living life well. In this month’s video I’m focusing on 3 things you can do to build and keep friendships with other women.
The story in Nehemiah 4 made a huge impact on me when I read it. As the Israelites are rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem after years of captivity it says they worked with one hand and held their weapon with the other in case of attack. As we do the work God has called us to, we must be like the Israelites, ready to fight when the enemy attacks.
What do you do when a friend is suffering? What should you say? Whether it’s a miscarriage, cancer, addiction, or depression it can be hard to know what to say and that often keeps us from reaching out. But there is one simple thing we all need…
I could come up with a lot of names for that first year of baby-raising. The year of no sleep. The year of caffeine. The year of hormones. The year of no time alone. The year of craziness. The year of depression. The year of joy. The year of I-must-be-insane-because-how-can-I-be-fine-one-minute-and-full-blown-angry-the-next?
Honestly, I wish we would call it “The Year of Grace”. Most moms don’t give themselves enough. They’re trying so hard to be super mom, they don’t realize their kids already think they are.
I was about three quarters of the way through our first year with baby #3 when I realized Josh and I were both yelling at our kids way too much. And then I started seeing our bad actions replicated by our children… that’s a yucky feeling.
I was carrying the weight of my guilt and making sure Josh saw our mistakes too. Doesn’t every husband want a wife to point out his flaws? I owned my share of the flaw, so I thought it was fine.
Over and over, I’d tell Josh we have to control our anger. What is happening to us? Why can’t we get it together? We need to do something about our parenting. Our parenting is the problem. How can we fix it? Read books and blogs and research. Try methods from this expert or that mom.
But in one moment of my desperate search, I stumbled upon this truth. If I take care of me, I’ll take care of my kids. If I make sure Lisa is okay, then my parenting will be okay. If Lisa is well, then my family will be well.
As I feed and fill myself, I can feed and fill my kids. It’s kind of like breast-feeding. I have to take in sustenance to make milk for my baby. If I don’t get enough calories and water the milk will dry up, and I will have nothing to feed my child.
If I don’t feed myself I will dry up, and I will have nothing left to give my family.
This is where the grace comes in. At some point I recognized I was still in YEAR 1 with my baby. That first year is not easy. It’s freaking hard, and that’s OKAY. When I let go of the impossible standards I was holding onto for myself, my whole family benefitted from it. I had to allow for my flaws and Josh’s. Grace for myself and grace for my husband.
Breathe that in.
You have permission to be tired and grumpy with a messy house. You, also, have permission to get away and go be you – not mom or wife – just you. While you’re away don’t beat yourself up for all the things you’re doing wrong and don’t worry about the baby – he or she will live. Instead, focus on the things you’re doing right. And tell the guy you’re doing life with that you appreciate him too. Gratitude goes a long way in changing one’s attitude and outlook.
Gratitude and grace. Hm… that combination could change my whole life.
Here’s to you, sister! You’ve got this. You’re doing great. No one else expects the impossible from you, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. Your kids already think you’re super mom. Go feed yourself and be filled. Breathe in that grace, and extend it to others.
Like you might be doing the most important work in the world, but no one notices.
You could be raising the next great scientist, artist, human rights activist, or just decent human being that treats others with kindness. Lord knows we could use more of those (i.e. Charlottesville, Las Vegas, Orlando, [insert city of choice here]).
Here I am trying to raise those decent human beings. I’m trying my hardest, and it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. It, certainly, isn’t glamorous. This morning I cleaned pee off the floor RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TOILET. Take two more steps, kid! TWO!! You’re a dude. All you have to do is stand in front of the toilet and aim!
I am so immersed in feeding, wiping, cleaning, teaching, disciplining, I can hardly find myself in it all. Where is Lisa? Who is she? Have my duties so absorbed me that without them I am invisible?
I find myself searching for answers in wrong places that seem right… my job, my husband, my kids.
”Job, did I do well? Pay me what I’m worth. Give me the recognition I crave.”
”Husband, who am I? Tell me I’m valuable. Tell me I’m worth your time.”
”Kids, am I doing this right? It seems like this all-consuming role is my sole identity, yet I feel like I’m constantly failing.”
I know I am not alone in this. I am so sure of it. Our worth as women gets attacked over and over again in this world. In the workplace. On the Internet. Among friends. In our own minds. How do I battle this?
This week the unsettled feeling grew stronger, and I entered church Wednesday night with expectation. I desperately needed to meet with God. My feeble attempts to make time for Him at home had not been enough. It was during the song Reckless Love when the Holy Spirit so clearly spoke,
“You are priceless. I gave everything for you. I gave everything for you. I gave everything for you.“
My worth is not found in others’ approval of me. It is not in sweet accolades. It is not the number on my paycheck. It is not even in the words or actions of my husband and children.
My worth is found in One who is greater than I, and, yet, He gave everything for me. Sacrificing His very life that I may live. I have to meet with Him daily. I have to lean in and listen to His voice. The approval and recognition for which I long, flow freely from His mouth. And how much sweeter are those words when they come from someone who knows my very best and my very worst?
He has seen me parent well, and He has seen me yelling at my kids at 5:00 when I’m trying to make dinner and the baby is fussy and Josh still has another hour of work. And He says, “You are priceless.” He has seen me pull off a damn good event, problem-solving the heck out of a wedding, and he has seen me flub my way through stuff I know nothing about. He says, “You are priceless.” He has seen me display patience and kindness with my husband, and he has seen me be downright mean to the man I love. He says, “Daughter, you are priceless.”
It was in that moment of worship with tears streaming down my face that my soul found rest. In Him. I find rest. In Him I find my worth. And while that moment was transformative, the attacks will not stop. Daily, I enter a world that tells me a woman is worth nothing. Daily, I must meet with the One who tells me a woman is worth everything.