DANCING IN THE GREY #notwalkingaway

“I feel like everyone is so busy beating one another over the head with their minuscule black & white opinions and judgements, and I’m just over here dancing in the grey.” I irritatingly sputtered the words out to my husband a couple nights ago, during a heavy discussion steeped in wounds not yet healed and theology not yet set in stone.

my mind still lingers on those words… dancing in the grey.

some people are, for some reason, really, really afraid of the grey areas. but why is that? why is there so much defensiveness in the grey? perhaps the truth is that the people who seem to be so against me as a person, aren’t really against me, but a thought process that poses a threat to a false safety net of black & white beliefs filled with dangerous lies…

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and the lies say things, sometimes implicit, and sometimes truly explicit, like…

you can meet God where you’re at unless where you’re at doesn’t look like what I think it should.

and God is Love, but love isn’t what you think; it’s actually bigotry and anger and eternally torturing the conscious dead masses.

and if you can believe what you want, as long as you don’t believe anything differently from me because then you can’t be a Christian anymore.

and if you question the wrong thing, or grieve for too long, or miss too many Sundays, or are wounded too deeply to heal according to my timeline

well then you’re out.
you’re on the “slippery slope”.
you’ve found yourself on the “wide road”.
you’re “walking away”.
you become the “them” in the us vs them dialogue that has poisoned the people of the Way for far too long.

and what then?

I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure, because that’s where I currently am. I guess you go find your people, the people who are willing to create a space for you to meet with Jesus in the unique and glorious way that is yours alone to know and understand.

but I do know a few beautiful, solid truths, and one of them is this:

grey is made from black and white.

grey happens when black and white soften and make peace with one another’s existence in the universe.

when they recognize that they are both a part of this messy, terrifying, stunning world, and choose to blend into beauty instead of stoically creating a barrier of hostility.

when they discover the holiness in unity, and lose the individualistic pride of right vs wrong in every anthill.

grey is made from strands of black and white woven throughout everything, merging to create an acknowledgement of the complexity of life.

a dear dear friend of mine posted a brave thing just the other day. she claimed the grey and owned her suffering & anger in a moving, holy public display of humanity. and she posted #notwalkingaway with it.

there she was, claiming all the questions and woundedness and frustration as her own, making loud her anger at a God who seemed to fail her… and claiming Divine Love as her own, too.

that’s what grey looks like.

to dance in the grey is to accept the gift of humanity and divinity wrapped up all together in chaos and delivered in sorrow, somehow releasing from your lips a gasp of peace.

yeah, it’s a mystery.

but all the mystics will tell you that’s where the beauty lives.

dance in the grey, loves.

IOLA’S COZY BOHO NURSERY REVEAL

I’ll keep the words short & sweet on this post, because I want you to totally enjoy all the photos of our little Io’s nursery! ❤

we finally finished up her part of our bedroom, and I am just so in love with how sweet and cozy and homey it is. it makes my heart happy to see her little space, and anticipate how so soon, a little girl will be living in here with us!

cozy boho is a pretty good description of the feel of her nursery, I think. I wanted to create a space perfect for cuddling, with smart and beautiful storage, and a vibe that could both mesh with an adult bedroom while also growing with her (I think these pieces can all be easily transitioned to a big-girl room as she gets older!)

so come on in & cuddle up in Iola’s cozy boho nursery… shhh, baby’s sleeping 😉

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had to throw in a little bump picture because she’s gotten so big! (doctor estimates 7lb 3oz  & SUPER LONG at her due date!) so much for fearing having a teeny preemie! Continue reading “IOLA’S COZY BOHO NURSERY REVEAL”

10 REALLY SHALLOW REASONS I’M EXCITED TO NOT BE PREGNANT

besides the obvious (and totally NOT shallow) reason of having my baby girl in my arms as opposed to my stomach, there are lots of reasons I’m super pumped to no longer be pregnant.

several of them aren’t shallow at all. being a family of three, getting to know this amazing little person, seeing my husband become a father…

and while I know that motherhood isn’t all sunshine and roses (I’ve seen the contents of a diaper, y’all), there’s so much good about it!

but today…? I’m celebrating the shallow & silly reasons why I’m excited for the next stage in this journey 😉

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10 REALLY SHALLOW REASONS I’M EXCITED TO NOT BE PREGNANT Continue reading “10 REALLY SHALLOW REASONS I’M EXCITED TO NOT BE PREGNANT”

JESUS & A NEVER-RUNS-OUT, CONTROVERSIAL KIND OF LOVE

there are certain portions of scripture that never fail to take my breath away.
moments I read about that leave me shivering and goose-bumped at the beauty.
they’re the ones that stick with me and start to shape the rebuilding of my heart.

I love peeling open the pages of my Bible and finding Life and Love and Truth in there. the gospel of John calls Jesus Himself the Word, and I understand that with greater depth of feeling when it’s as though the words of Scripture absorb His presence. there’s a holiness in there, in that sacred space of sweet community with the Divine, that beckons off our shoes & calls us closer to a fuller and sweeter understanding.

one of those breathless moments of Divine presence happens in particular for me in John 8… and I really really want to share that moment with you because I think it’s crucial in our understanding of who this Jesus is.
what this Way is that we walk.
where our lives are meant to intersect and mesh.

because Jesus is never a neutral party. Jesus never compromises. Jesus is all-encompassing fullness and a great & holy force of grace. Jesus is always acting, always moving, always guiding.

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Jesus-love is a messy, holy, and yeah… controversial… kind of love.
and the breadth of it is wild & bold.
there’s enough for all of us & there will keep on being enough-
there is no shortage.
there is no scarcity. Continue reading “JESUS & A NEVER-RUNS-OUT, CONTROVERSIAL KIND OF LOVE”

MY DAILY ESSENTIAL OILS ROUTINE… AND WHY THEY’RE WORTH THE INVESTMENT (FROM A SKEPTIC)

yup, I’ll admit it, y’all…this is a totally, completely, 100% biased post (heehee!) but I’m not paid to write it… I just happen to love this topic! 😉

you see, in this house, essential oils are our jam- we use these bad boys for eeeeverything (and I mean everything.), and they’ve totally changed the game for us when it comes to overall wellness. I’m talking HUGE changes in our anxiety levels, easier & deeper sleep at night (for a gal with insomnia!), colds & sicknesses nipped in the bud, and better concentration & inspiration at both work and play.

even my super-skeptical hubby is a HUGE FAN of them now, and he uses them as much (if not more!!!) than I do. no, really. his peeps in the church band are always asking him why he smells so good! Haha!

it took me & J over a year to finally take the leap and join the Young Living team, and I seriously wish we’d done it sooner. he was skeptical of oils in general, and I was skeptical if it was worth the initial start-up cost of  $160 to purchase my starter kit.

we had SO MANY QUESTIONS.
how often would we actually use them?
would they actually work for us?
how quickly would we run out and have to re-stock… and how much money would that look like?
what would we even use them for- there’s so many, it’s overwhelming!
is it really worth the investment?

so we purchased one or two things here and there, and did lots of research, and slowly our eyes opened as we started to see the difference even just our three little bottles of essential oils were making.

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so, I’m no stranger to skepticism when it comes to essential oils! if that’s you- you’re in good company, my friend 🙂 in this post, I aim to help you work through some of that skepticism: I’ll share my daily oils routine, as well as some thoughts on WHY they work, and how, for us, they’ve become an invaluable part of our daily life… in just a few short weeks! Continue reading “MY DAILY ESSENTIAL OILS ROUTINE… AND WHY THEY’RE WORTH THE INVESTMENT (FROM A SKEPTIC)”

WHY MAKING YOUR HOUSE A HAVEN MAKES YOU A MORE GENEROUS PERSON

I don’t know about you, but my soul always feels a little more calm when my home feels like, well, home.

when I have that safe space that feels like a true haven from the chaos, everything seems a bit less daunting. when it’s clean, un-cluttered, and filled with the things (and people!) that bring me joy, it’s a space I want to be, a space I can be productive in, and a space that refreshes my spirit.

and shouldn’t that be how all homes are?!

it also makes me more ready to invite those into my home who are craving that same haven of peace and pause. having a true haven instead of simply a house or place to live, makes me not just a more refreshed person, but a more generous person. and that is something I desperately want to be.

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I want not just my soul, but also my space, to be a welcoming retreat from the ache and wild of an insane world… not just for me, but for the friend who just got a dreaded phone call, the group of young girls searching for someone to take them seriously, the couple who can’t stop fighting, the one who doesn’t have family nearby and just needs some loving-on. I want people to step into my home (however small) and breathe the fresh air of belonging. Continue reading “WHY MAKING YOUR HOUSE A HAVEN MAKES YOU A MORE GENEROUS PERSON”

33 WEEKS PREGNANT & A VERY HONEST CONFESSION // THE BUMPDATE

so… the past two weeks have been a little wild. (what else is new, am I right?!)

in fact, a week and a half ago (at 31 weeks) I found myself in the hospital with several signs of preterm labor. talk about scary. thankfully, our little Io decided to stay put at least for a little while, and after some steroid shots and lots of precautions to ensure she’d be okay if she did happen to come early, we left the hospital with a baby still in my belly as opposed to our arms. (praise Jesus!)

however, we did learn some things about what exactly is going on in there with our little girl (who is perfectly healthy still!) and my crazy body.

the things we learned have required that I be on a modified bed rest until she makes her appearance. that means completely resting the pelvic area & keeping my heart rate down:

~relaxing on the sofa or bed while only getting up for food, water, bathroom, etc. 
~only 2-3 outings per week, and those outings must be low-key & completely non-strenuous.
~NO lifting
~eliminating anything/all situations which would cause my anxiety to spike

so, enjoy my bed-ridden bump picture and read on for the rest of what we learned 😉

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33 WEEK BUMPDATE Continue reading “33 WEEKS PREGNANT & A VERY HONEST CONFESSION // THE BUMPDATE”

JORDAN & AMANDA // MARRIED

to celebrate mailing out the images of this beautiful couple, here’s a blog post of some of my absolute favorites from their special day!!

there’s something uniquely special about getting to shoot a wedding for someone you know.

Amanda and I attended the same church for over a year, and in that time I had the great pleasure of getting to know her a bit. ❤ she is such a treasure! so when she got engaged, I was so happy for her, and thrilled to know there was this awesome guy with whom she’d get to spend the rest of her life.

I got these wonderful little sneak peeks throughout the whole planning process of just how lovely the day itself would be, but no amount of glimpses or glances did it justice. their day was BEAUTIFUL… and not just because of the gorgeous venue or the sweet and feminine color choices… but because Jordan & Amanda so obviously love one another in a genuine and real way.

they were so. much. fun. and so were their beautiful families and charming bridal party.

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A&J18.jpg Continue reading “JORDAN & AMANDA // MARRIED”

30 THINGS TO DO BEFORE AUTUMN IS OVER

fall is in full swing around here. ❤

and, as you, know, I could not possibly be happier! well… I guess I’d be happier if it didn’t include a nasty cold that is keeping me from all the autumn-y goodness out there. but somewhere in-between blowing my nose, editing wedding images, and sipping my tea, I decided that if I couldn’t be out there right now, I might as well be making plans to get the very most out of my limited fall days.

soooo… usually on thursdays I bring you three things, but today… I’m bringing you THIRTY things because a) I love you guys, and b) I’m stuck on the couch, so what else am I gonna do?

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30 things to do before autumn is over

1.) take a hike
2.) gather leaves from your neighborhood
3.) go to a pumpkin patch
4.) decorate/carve pumpkins
5.) have a baking day (try this yummy treat)
6.) make homemade apple cider Continue reading “30 THINGS TO DO BEFORE AUTUMN IS OVER”

HOW TO BREATHE FIRE: A GUIDE TO TAKING UP YOUR OWN SPACE IN THE WORLD // WORD ON WEDNESDAY

if you follow me on instagram (um, if you don’t you should. I’m so cool. 😉 ), you might know that one of my fave hashtags is #girlswhobreathefire.

the powerhouse of fire-breathing woman that is Glennon Doyle Melton gets it SO RIGHT in her new book Love Warrior (guys, I read half of that book in ONE DAY it is just so good.), and I almost burst into tears when I happened upon this on pinterest:

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see, I think a lot of us walk away from interactions with people where something just felt “off”, and often our reaction is this “was I not enough for them? am I not enough?”. my girl Shelby (read her blog here) cleared it up for me big-time.

it isn’t that you weren’t enough, sweet friend. it isn’t that you were “less than“. it’s that you were “more than”. you reached into a place with your words or actions where you began to take up your space, and they weren’t ready for it. they weren’t sure what to do with the depth of you.

and that’s okay. Continue reading “HOW TO BREATHE FIRE: A GUIDE TO TAKING UP YOUR OWN SPACE IN THE WORLD // WORD ON WEDNESDAY”