Friday, August 31, 2012

Truth Be Told

Truth be told, I have done these. So have you. Don't lie.

Thanks Pinterest for all of these. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Lie About Endings

Throwing it back Thursday style. Here is one from Oct. 2011.

My dad said something really profound the other day. "You wanna hear a lie?" he asked. "All good things must come to an end."

I kinda stared at him for a minute waiting to hear the punchline. Then it sunk in. Deep down, way deeper than I know, there is a part of me that believes anything good has a shelf life.

If you are anything like me, and many of you are, you spend your days anxious without really knowing why. The other day I had absolutely no plans. Zero. Yes, it is shocking. But I woke up and got a bit frantic about my day. I tried to rush my kids through breakfast, and got annoyed when they took their time.

Impatience escalated when I found myself stuck behind a slow driver (remember that I didn't have to be anywhere at any particular time.) Finally I passed the guy, but I began to wonder as I felt the satisfaction of pulling in front of him..."Why am I in such a hurry?"

As you know I am quite fond of pondering. So, I started to really think about it. Eventually I admitted that I live my life with an underlying sense of panic and dread. Nothing manic or over-the-top. Just enough to keep my anxiety humming at a low level. Just enough to keep me tired and skeptical.

When my dad said people live believing that good things have to end, my emotions made a lot of sense. I keep waiting for something bad to happen. I discovered that I even interpreted scriptures this way. All those verses about not fearing, Him giving us strength, grace...they must be because horrible things are going to happen. Embarrassing to admit, but its true. 

We can't be healthy forever, someone must be on the verge of sickness.
Every marriage has their rough patches, I guess we are about due for one.
My life is so full of transitions, I can't put roots down...they will just be pulled up.
My times with Jesus have been so rich lately, better soak it up before I hit another desert.
I am going to risk, but I will brace for disappointment. Its just a part of the journey.
There are more valleys than mountain tops...

The past few months I have been going through life waiting for the bottom to drop out from under me. No wonder I am tired and restless deep inside. I have opted out of rest, trust and joy in God. Bummer.

Like I said earlier, most of you are like me. You say it is 'wisdom' but it is really doubt. You can't quite fill up emotionally, stress is easily triggered, and deep down you are waiting for your fears to happen. 

Lets trade our "bah humbug" for a "hallelujah".  See, the Kingdom never stops. The goodness and power of God never reaches it's maximum. We waste our time and energy waiting for 'the catch'. His goodness and promises don't come to an end. They are ETERNAL. He is ETERNAL. 

"...I've picked you. I haven't dropped you. Don't panic. 
I'm with you. 
There is no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. 
I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)

Monday, August 27, 2012

I May Not Have An Empire, But I Have A Place

I may not have an empire, but I have a place.

There is no bustle of activity centered around me. There is no long list of emails to return. There is no interview I had to turn down. Nothing I have ever created is on Pinterest.

Willow Creek isn't pursuing me for their Leadership Summit. Mom blogs aren't banging down my door for me to be a guest writer. 

The meals I spend hours preparing each week are tasted by three other people and are never featured on magazine covers. My house has not been photographed for a design blog. 

Some people have empires that are built around them. Empires of leadership. Empires of ministry. Empires of beauty, fitness and reality television. Empires of cuisine and free printable menu planners.

There is an empire for everything. 

Throughout history people have built empires. Their faces have been memorized and their stories read. 

I've never been the very best at anything & that's okay. I'm good at several things, average in most things and terrible at a couple things. (mostly things involving sports equipment)

I know there are a lot of books and podcasts to tell me how to be a more successful blogger or how to grow my social media presence. There are people to tell me that my poor grammar could cost me the ability to become a famous blogger. So, what? I have a 30 min window & I won't be able to catch it all. Just the way it is right now.

I know that everyone has a team that gets them to the top & Rome wasn't built in a day. But, I'm not so sure why I need to build Rome? Why can't I build Pisa? A place only known for having an accidentally flawed & crooked tower?

I have a place and it isn't so bad. I have .0000000000000000012% of the blog world.
I have two pairs of little eyes that light up when I pull out a craft box.
I have a man who thinks everyone should take beauty advice from me because to him I am the most beautiful woman alive.
I have a scattering of people who would say I have impacted their lives.
I have a God who makes up for all of my lack. 

I may not have an empire, but I have a place. And that is alright with me.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Life Is Too Short For Bad Design

Isn't this a gorgeous spot? It is one of my favorite coffee shops in Seattle, and my friend who was there this afternoon sent me this pic. I miss it.

This isn't a design blog at all , but this space is so inspiring I have to talk about it. When I lived in Seattle I would sit here for hours and brilliant things would pop into my head. Well, brilliant for me anyway. That is what great spaces do. They inspire.

A few years ago I realized that life is too short to spend time in environments that don't inspire me. Even if I have to get really creative with budget and meager resources, it is worth it to make a space that invigorates me.

I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite sites for helping create fantastic environments.

Design Sponge  - This site has great pictures to get your mind going. They include DIY, videos & before & afters. Plus, they have really great city guides for where to shop.

Style By Emily Henderson - I love her style. She finds great vintage things from flea markets & craigslist. Plus, she is great at re-purposing items. I want her to come decorate my house.

Apartment Therapy - What isn't to love about this website? Great ideas for small spaces and small budgets.

Elle Decor - So, this isn't going to be the most budget friendly site. If you are looking for polished & super stylish'll love it.

Anthropologie - I could spend hours in their stores. I LOVE their spaces and the website is fun to browse.

Okay, those are my favorite places. Where do you go for design inspiration?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Skinny On Skinny Jeans

Throwback Thursday time. This skinny jean post is from January 2012. 

Love them or hate them, they are around to stay. I'm talking about skinny jeans people. Some of you have it in your mind that you will end up looking like an ice cream cone if you tried them on. But really everyone can wear them. 

If you are a guy, I am going to redirect you to The Woods Style. It is a fashion blog for dudes. If you are a lady...lets continue. 

This is NOT a skinny jean. It is a badly tapered jean.

THIS is a proper skinny jean.

Okay, lets get one thing straight. Skinny doesn't mean tight. Tight jeans don't look good on anyone. Skinny jeans are referring to the way jeans taper down the leg. Think Audrey Hepburn. I'm going to break it down really simply for you:

  • It doesn't matter what size you are, you can wear skinny jeans. If you aren't comfortable with the way larger hips look in them (I happen to think it looks fantastic, but that is just me) then you can go for a slim or straight fit. This basically means that instead narrowing between the knee and foot the cut will go straight down from the knee. It balances out curvy hips nicely & creates the same effect. Its also good if you feel you are too old for skinny jeans but want to get in on the trend.
  • If you have large thighs, get a dark wash. Fading or texture on the pant leg will only draw attention to the thighs.
  • We all love muffins, but not muffin least not on us. To avoid a spillage at the waist, the band should be about 1 or 1.5 inches below your belly button. You might be tempted to go for a higher waist as an effort to cover up any extra weight. BUT, if you do that then you push all your weight down under the waist band and create the belly bulge. After having two children I am prone to the belly buldge. Boo.
  • Proportion is everything. Really. Everything.
  • Here is a perfect way to wear a skinny jean if you want to minimize a tummy or hips. And this chic looks adorable!
    • If you tend to carry your weight in the middle then go for an A-line top that will create shape but still skim past your skin. 
    • Don't wear a tight top with skinny jeans. Personally, I wish women would skip tight tops all together, but really really skip it if you are wearing skinnies. It is just too much.
    • If you are not wanting to highlight your curves, opt for a cute tunic top. It covers the hips and exposes the narrowest part of your thigh. You can also hop on the boyfriend cardigan trend. Wearing one will cover hips & butt nicely. (If you have no idea what I am talking about click here. )
  • Shoes! Tuck your skinnies into boots. Wear them with heels or flats. It all works. 
    • One thing to note. If you are curvier, wearing flats will draw attention to your hips. If you don't want to show those darlings off, then go with a boot or bulkier heel to bring some proportion. 
  • Check your backside. Make sure the pair isn't giving you a wedgie. And make sure the pockets are centered in the middle of your butt to keep you from looking like you have a saggy behind. Don't get buttoned down pockets on skinnies. It ruins the silhouette.
Okay. That is skinny 101. You can get great skinnies pretty much everywhere these days. Target to Barneys. 

If you are curvier and a have trouble finding a flattering pair, I have found the perfect starting point. Check this out, Levi's Curve ID Skinny Jeans. They have 4 degrees of curve options and you can pick which shape fits you best. Then buy a pair of jeans cut for your curves. And they are a pretty good price. 

Most of my skinny jeans are from GAP and Urban Outfitters. If you have some serious money to spend you can get fantastic pairs from J Brand, Habitual, Hudson Jeans, Joe's Jeans, and Alice + Olivia. 

Now you can march boldly into the land of the skinnies. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Impoverished Confusion

impoverishedpast participle, past tense of im·pov·er·ish (Verb)

  1. Make (a person or area) poor: "they impoverish their people"; "impoverished farmers".
  2. Exhaust the strength, vitality, or natural fertility of: "the soil was impoverished by annual burning".

Noun:          1. The act of confusing.
                    2. The state of being confused
                    3. disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos
                    4. lack of clearness or distinctness
                    5. perplexity; bewilderment

I read this verse the other day and was immediately intrigued. What is impoverished confusion and why does it seem to be in opposition to living?

I chewed on the idea all day & jotted down realizations as they came to me. By 5pm I was well aware that my life was full of impoverished confusion. I was full of half-thought thoughts. Running around all day trying to clarify my goals as I went. 

There was chaos in my mind because I hadn't made the time to really process out all of my emotions and stored up ideas. I moved from one thing to the other without properly concluding my previous activity. My mind raced two different ways because I wasn't disciplined enough to master it. I was chaotic inside. 

I wasn't worried or anxious, but I was exhausted. I had no new and fresh ideas because I drained all my creativity with 20 projects that never went anywhere. There was nothing to show for all my energy. My days were not guided by any clear direction. It made me feel incapable.

I also realized that there are other areas of confusion that keep me weak and poor in spirit. Questions that have no answers. All the 'what ifs' and 'why nots'. I cannot answer any of them & yet I waste my mental power trying to solve them. I began to mistake vain imagination for daydreaming. 

Plotting out my response to situations I may never be in. In the end I am still left without answers. I am full of confusion not clarity. Impoverished confusion. 

What I need to do is leave it. Leave it behind & live. Deny the temptation to plot out all the possible scenarios. Embrace what is certain. Celebrate what I do accomplish not plan for 50 things I want to do someday. (thanks Pinterest) Hold on to what I DO know about God and His purposes. 

I need to leave my impoverished confusion & live.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I'm About To Straight Boss You Around

This is me & I am so in love. I'm not one to normally promote products, but there are two things you need to know about. Seriously. NEED to know. 

First, my very absolute most favoritest conference in the world is coming up. World Mandate is  Sept. 14-16. I think there are still some seats available which is lucky for you because you need to go. Check out World Mandate's website here.

Second, is the new Antioch Live album entitled 'Forever Sound'. It's a must buy. It is #3 on iTunes right now for a reason. I went old school with an actual CD, but you can find it on iTunes here.

Go there NOW (told you I was bossy today) and check it out. It is worth the time.

My favorite song is probably 'The One We Want'. Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wish This Was Me

By Joe Bradshaw

Forget Famous

I originally posted this in April of 2011, but it still rings true today. Happy Throwback Thursday.

Sitting in a field. Forgetting famous.

In true California fashion we headed to the beach this past Saturday. While we were driving there we passed a small law firm. You know, the kind you see in a free standing building with a few parking spaces allotted to it. Nothing fancy, just the average law firm. This thought crossed my mind "I wonder if they feel small."

There are so many TV shows about successful lawyers handling glamorous litigations. It seems like every day in the news you come across cases that will shape public policy. It has to make these family lawyers feel that their jobs are silly in comparison. Social security claims, writing wills, traffic injuries...small potatoes. I hoped that the few family lawyers who worked in that firm didn't feel all the things crossing through my mind. Small. No one wants to feel small.

Except that we do. We do feel small. We live in this mentality that if what we are doing doesn't seem mind blowing or book- writing interesting, then it isn't worth much. Our little minds get stuck in smallness. A spirit of smallness is daunting and discouraging. It breathes insignificance.

I give into a small spirit all the time. I get so locked in on a single days activity that I forget what it is building. Baby steps still go somewhere. I get obsessive about petty things. I give my energy and mental capacity to them. So much time wasted wondering why way more people follow Jady on twitter than me. I mean, they know both of us. Or how come someone asked the girl next to me for prayer when I was available too. Or getting hung up on small dramas within interpersonal relationships. I can't get big if I am stuck in small.

I hate that feeling. We all do. It holds us down and makes us feel silly if we try and act big. I feel stupid saying "I'm a writer." I haven't written a book or been published. I blog. No, not the blog that they make a movie out of like Julie & Julia. Just an everyday blog like everyone else my age.

We think that if we aren't the most acknowledged, the most famous or popular at what we do...then it is just a hobby. Junior varsity stuff. Some of the most powerful teachings I have heard aren't from mega church podcasts. They come from men and women who are giving their lives pastoring a small congregation. But they have put the same blood, sweat and tears into their calling. They have the same anointing. And, I would call you a liar to your face if you said they were "small" compared to the "big" guys.

You are still a teacher no matter if you teach at an elementary school or at Yale. A worship leader is a worship leader regardless if they have an album. Artist are artists even if their paintings are not insured. Famous doesn't make you who you are. Kim Kardashian is famous & I haven't a clue what she does. So, lets just throw famous out the window. And the spirit of smallness along with it. Sure, I may be a little tiny mustard seed, but I have a big God. And together we move mountains. Even if no one sees.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Need Your Help

Source: Pinterest

This funny thing happens to me every so often. I get the crazy urge to go somewhere. I would travel every few months if I could...but I can't. 

So, I'm taking this poster's advice. I am going to read something. A story that takes place somewhere interesting. It doesn't have to be exotic. 

I'm going to "go" somewhere via a novel. But which one??? That is where you come in. What are some of your favorite books? Leave your recommendations in the comments!

Thanks for my book vacation suggestions!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Our Seattle team circa 2008. Livin the dream...

"Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people."
-Nicholas Sparks

It really is true. It is less about what you do and more about who you do it with. I have been a part of some fantastic teams of people. Any accomplishment I may have is the result of living life side-by-side amazing friends.

Friends have kept my mind straight, my dreams advancing and my belly sore from laughing at the journey. Our roles and jobs come & go. Living life with the right people is make or break for me.

I'd rather  work the wrong job and have the right people around me than live the dream without the team.

So, to all my Lark & Bloom 'team', I celebrate you. Thanks for turning ordinary into extraordinary.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

5 Reasons Why RG3 & I Are Practically Twins

Happy Throwback Thursday everyone. This one takes us back to December 10, 2011.
Source: Pinterest

In case you missed it Robert Griffin III (aka RG3) won the Heisman tonight. My sweet little 5 yr old started sobbing when she heard the news. "I'm just SO happy!" she said. I couldn't agree more. Baylor is the best school ever & deserves a big win. But, I'm also happy that RG3 won because - he is basically my twin. Don't believe me? I have five reasons:

1. We both went to Baylor & studied Political Science. I am a Baylor alum. AND I studied Poli Sci. Same great taste, same interests...this is looking 'twin'ish to me. 

2. We both wore our hair in braids today.  Okay, his are cooler than mine I will admit. Mine was the kind of braid you do with your bangs when you are growing them out. None the less we rock the same hair. It's sorta like that language people say twins have with each other. We totally have that with our hair.

3. We both know what MAFU means. Jady was the chaplain for the Baylor football team for a few years in the mid 2000s. One day some of the team came for dinner after practice. Thank God Steph Keogh came to help me cook...never seen that much pasta in my life. MAFU is a term the team uses. They let us in on it. I'd tell you, but its kinda a family thing.

4. We both won prestigious awards while we were students at Baylor. Obviously, RG3 is a super famous Baylor bear. Tonight he won the Heisman. That's a fantastically outstanding accomplishment. What you may not know is that I won an award at Baylor too. My sophomore year I won "Baylor Beauty." It's a beauty pageant. But it involves competition and, I'm putting them in the same category. 

5. We have the same last name. Okay, what says 'twin' or 'family' like having the same last name? And we DO. We are both Griffins. Enough said.

See what I mean? It's like RG3 and I are twins or something...crazy the similarities. Anyway, congrats RG3 & Sic 'em bears!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Inconveniences & My Crisis Problem

I woke up today and checked Twitter like usual. ( Don't judge me people. You do it too.) What I saw changed my life. Okay, so it has been less than 24 hrs and that isn't enough time to give evidence of actual change. It made me want to change at least.

"Schedule your inconveniences, lest they become unexpected crises." 
 - @KurtMahler

Can I just say that I am the poster child for people who need to hear this? I don't schedule things like laundry, phone calls, or returning emails. Mostly because they don't seem like big daily events. However, they create crisis when I realize that people are coming over in 30 minutes and I still haven't unloaded my dishwasher. My days are too often derailed by panic over stupid things I should have done earlier in the day. 

This regular low-grade stress creates a chronic problem of a very frantic & hurried life. I'm over it.

I am really, really, really going to try to eliminate my last-minute crises by scheduling the little things I always put off. If I can actually follow the schedule I make I will indeed be a changed woman.

I'm curious. What inconveniences do you need to schedule to avoid unexpected crises?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Middle Of Nowhere Is Still Somewhere

This is where I have been...

You may have noticed my absence on the Internet this past week. We went on vacation to a friend's ranch & quickly discovered there was no Internet there. It was a painful detox, but I survived. 

Real country people would not think this ranch was in the middle of nowhere. A view from the air would show nearby neighbors & stores not too far away. It wasn't really the middle of nowhere. But it felt like it to me. 

Standing outside by myself one morning watching the horses, I found myself thinking about how isolated this ranch was. It seemed that I was unreachable there. Phone calls didn't go through, traffic didn't flow by, email didn't even work...I felt completely off the grid. The pasture in front of me contained only animals and grass. I watched a rabbit hop across the pasture for about five minutes. Literally, just stood there and watched it hop. Nothing else to do really. I was there. I was in 'nowhere'. 

Over the course of the week I discovered something. I discovered that 'nowhere' is still somewhere. 

There was beauty there even if I was the only one to witness it.
There was purpose there even if I was one of the few people to know of it's existence. 
The value of 'nowhere' didn't lay in it's fame, but in it's intimate hideness. 

This 'nowhere' had a story all it's own. A history and a community that understood it's richness. The number of people who knew about it had nothing to do with it's value. It wasn't second-class. It was perfect. It was rare. It was mine, all mine, for a week.

So, be encouraged. If you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, you are still somewhere. Somewhere that is full of beauty, purpose and value. It isn't an aimless place or a place God takes us while we wait in line for our big moment in the spotlight. 

It isn't a holding pattern. It is a deeply personal part of our story. Nowhere is a place for us to own. It is where we walk with God in the cool of the day. It is where our pulse slows back down and stress decompresses. Nowhere is a clean slate for God to build whatever He wants. 

So, kick back. Relax. Enjoy being in the middle of nowhere.