April 19, 2013

4.7 // I can't solve the world's problems

//Confession: I can't solve the world's problems

In the wake of this week's tragedies--a bombing in Boston and an explosion in West, Texas--with so many innocent lives lost, it's tough to even sit down and write anything at all. I mean what can I say or do to encourage the victim's families or help the wounded survivors. I put off posting yesterday because I wasn't sure that anything I have to offer will make any difference at all.

Instead yesterday I prayed for my country, these hurting families, and the hearts of those watching from their living rooms. I cannot ignore or move forward pretending we aren't changed by these events. I cannot pretend I understand them.. I cannot say my prayers don't include questions. There are places in my heart that want to know why God doesn't stop this kind of thing. Despite those feelings I have to continue to trust that He is faithful and that He is good.

On Sunday, Diana talked about helping others and I can so relate to the feelings of wanting to fix everyone's problems and help those in need. Sometimes, so much so that I takeover and try to make things happen or resolve situations for others without even consulting God. I loved Diana's thoughts on the one; that even though we cannot rescue the innocent from harm, or give the lonely a home, or feed all the grumbling stomach's around us: we can help one. We can use our lives and do our best to touch and love the unloved, the hurting, and rejected.

When it comes to the people on the side of the road looking for some relief, I cannot offer money. In the city you can walk by ten homeless people easily, it would be financially impossible to offer all of them help. Instead, I like to make "manna bags" for those homeless I may pass in my car or on the street. Most of the toiletry items are from the dollar store, sold in packs of 3-5 or bought in bulk from Wal-mart. To me this is an affordable and practical means of offering love and help.

Manna Bags

Contents: water, sunblock, toothpaste, toothbrush, peanuts, cookies, crackers, wet wipes, soap

Contents: water, granola bar, wet wipes, tissues, swabs, crackers, soap, comb, lotion, sunblock

These of course are just example of some of the items I include but they are open to your personal interpretation. I also like to put verses of encouragement (click here for a printable version of five passages I include in my bags). Something hand written is also great to put in there.

For me, this is more than a "hand out", it is instead a way to make someone feel valued and thought about. Many of the people I work with that have been homeless have told me they feel dehumanized and shunned by the community they live in. No person deserves to feel invaluable. It takes little time for me to put these together but I believe and pray that the impact is greater than I know.

Maybe solving some of the world's problems begins with simple kindnesses, and genuine love for those we don't even know.// 

April 16, 2013

4.6 // I love Spring things [2]

// Confession: I love Spring things [2]

Season have always been a fascination of mine, which is sort of ironic considering I have lived in Florida my entire life, where season do not exist. Maybe that's the reason for my current infatuation with all things Spring. Six months of cold could also be a contributing factor.

This weeks favorites:

Flowering trees

Instead of green, I look up and see whites and pinks. It’s a lovely thing.

Longer days

Sun rises on my way to the gym, and stays up long enough for me to watch it set on walks with my pup at night. I love that.


I am no green thumb but during the temperature change and budding of new life around me, it’s difficult to not want to watch something grow.

Vitamin D

Yep, a bit of reading in the sunshine is just what the doctor order for me. I may not have a sandy beach anymore but the sun is enough to warm my heart and remind me of home.

What are your favorite things about Spring? I want to hear about them. Link up or comment to be eligible to win a Love Me Accessory or Scarf in the Spring giveaway!

Link Up

April 14, 2013

4.5 // I wish I could save the world [guest post]

Guest post by Diana Humphries

\\ Confession: I wish I could save the world.

Most of the time my head can't keep up with my heart's ideas. I wish I could be a super hero mixed with Peter Pan and a sprinkle of Princess dust. I want to save the world, feed the poor, and look pretty doing it.
I just want to make a difference in any and every way I can. I don't want to get to The Gates upstairs and have God ask me why I didn't help the people He placed around me. 

God has given me a heart for many things, especially the homeless.  When it comes to those in need of food and shelter I cannot help but wish I could magically solve their problems.

I'm realizing more and more that sometimes it's not about the 99 sheep but the 1 lost one. There's always debate about giving food or money to the people standing on street corners with signs that say "homeless please help". My heart breaks when I make eye contact and see the hurt in these individuals faces. 

Recently, I noticed a man in an old white van every day at the beach across the street from my house. After seeing him several days in a row I figured out that he lives in the van with his dog. He looks as though he hasn't showered in weeks, let alone been fed a good meal. I am beyond blessed to say that I honestly don't know what that feels like.  

This past Easter, my fiancé and I went for a walk on the beach in between our two family dinners--where we had way too much food--and saw him again. We decided to go back and make an "Easter Basket" for him. We filled it with muffins, ham, candy, water, drinks, dog treats (of course), and a few other goodies.
Dropping it off was the best part. He was tearful in his thank you. The smile he gave was unforgettable. Needless to say I've gone back a few times now with more homemade meals. 

I don't have a lot of money, not by a long stretch. Most of the time I'm barely making my bills. But I do trust that Jesus is ALWAYS faithful and ALWAYS good.  He has provided in ways I never thought possible, which in turn gives me opportunities to bless others in His name. I know that I cannot feed all the hungry people in this world but maybe for now it's just about this one. If Jesus went after one lost sheep, maybe that's what he wants me to do too. I guess that's the result of the prayer I've been praying the last couple years..."Jesus, break my heart for what breaks yours". 

I may not be able to save the world but I know a Man who came to die, and He did just that.//

Special thanks to my beautiful best friend and God-given sister, Diana, for sharing her heart. I am blessed to have a friend who loves, challenges, and encourages me daily--even from a distance.
Don't forget to link up or comment this Tuesday with Spring Things to be eligible for the giveaway, and come back for simple ways you can serve others on Thursday. Have a blessed week my friends! 

April 12, 2013

4.4// If I could make a living off of this I would [+Spring giveaway info]

// Confession: If I could make a living off of this I would

Some of you may know that since 2009 I had my own small business called Love Me Accessories, (which transitioned to Love Me Threads over the last year). Due to my contract as an Americorps VISTA, I have vowed to live in poverty for a year. With that, my little Etsy shop has been closed and my jewelry, scarves and fun creations are on hold.

Right before I closed up shop I got the joy of doing my first bridal party. It was so much fun working with Mychael. After a few emails and some ideas of what she was looking for I created two samples for her. The cluster style necklace she chose was stunning. Along with the bridal necklace, she wanted eight more small versions of the necklace for her bridesmaids as a surprise for them. They came out so beautifully and the bridal party was stunning so I had to share some of the photos from the fairy tale day. These gorgeous photos are by Tara Sproc.

Photo cred for all photos below: Tara Sproc

In my last blog I talked about having a spring giveaway in April and May. The giveaway will include a piece of jewelry and summer scarf by Love Me. All you have to do to be eligible for the giveaway is comment on a Spring Things blog with what you love about spring or Link up. I will choose one blogger who links up and one commenting friend! Want to see more of my goodies? Click here. 

I'm in no rush. Though I miss my little business some days, I'm okay with taking time to learn, grow and do other things. Who knows what the future holds, but I'm just fine with where God has me right now.

Wherever you are in life, be all there.//

April 9, 2013

4.3 // I love Spring things

//Confession: I love spring things.

Maybe it’s just me but I can’t help but love spring time. Warmer weather has makes me all kinds of happy.  Here are a few of my current irresistible spring pleasures.

White Shoes

I don’t care what kind... and I know they get dirty. I still love them.

My Porch Swing

Even if I still occasionally need a blanket. I love swinging in the breeze, chatting with God, and sipping on tea. 

Spring Cleaning

Yep, I’m that girl. It’s therapeutic packing up my winter clothes, organizing, and unpacking the spring/ summer goodies. I also enjoy cleaning my other house, with a juice cleanse. Fresh start; mind, body, & soul!


They make me want to play, I think it’s a childhood thing, I don’t know but I love them. 

What are your favorite things about Spring? I am hoping to get some of my blogging friends to join me in a little link up in months of April & May, posting your favorite spring things. Maybe it’s just one thing that caught your attention, or lots of things you can’t get enough of; I want to hear about them.

For my non-blogging friends, comment below! Share with friends, or grab a button and link up. {Any participants will be up for a special spring gift giveaway, more on that later this week}.

Link Up

Spring makes me feel generous ;) //

April 4, 2013

4.2 // I deserved the ticket

//Confession: I deserved the ticket.

In the darkness of the night, Taylor Swift blasting, I sang along belting out as if I was singing at the Grammy’s.“Cuz I knew you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me now.  Flew me to places i'd never been... trouble! Trouble! Troubllllllllle!”  I approached the highway, and glanced in my rear view. And I saw them. Those lights you never want to see, blue and red, drawing closer to my rear.

Trouble. Crap. I’m in trouble.

I was speeding, I was sure of it (though not on purpose). I hadn’t been paying attention, which usually means I’m speeding. (Thanks for the lead foot dad.) I immediately regretted my nonchalant disregard for the obvious: a speed limit. My normal response would be tears. But this was one of those circumstances where I knew I was getting a ticket. This wasn’t going to be good.

The officer asked me, "do you know the speed limit on this road?"
My response: I’m gonna guess about 35?
His reply: Yes ma’am. You were going about 55.
My response: Wow, really? That’s unfortunate. I’m very sorry about that.
His reply: Yes ma’am, it is unfortunate, especially since we are doing speed enforcement this evening.

Everything he said indicated I was getting a ticket, and I knew it was deserved. I wasn’t going to try and fight it. I was going 20 miles over the speed limit at midnight; common sense tells me that’s breaking the law.

He came back, asked me for my current address and filled out what I assumed was the ticket. Then something very unexpected happened. The officer looked me in the eyes and said, “I am not going to give you a ticket this evening. You have a long drive home, just drive safe ma’am.”
I sort of stared at him for a second in shock. “Seriously? .... You just blessed me so much.” He laughed at me and nodded his head.

I drove away thanking God, but wondering what the heck just happened. I was in awe of how nice he was.  I tried to justify my actions, thinking, well I mean I really didn’t mean to speed. Regardless, I knew what I deserved.

When I really thought about it, it was grace at it's finest. Did I mention this was on Easter? That’s what really got me, it’s the perfect example of the cross. There are times in walking with God when my intention isn’t to sin but I find myself in a situation doing just that; going directly against what I know God desires for me. I know when I’m in the wrong.  But just like that officer, the cross gives me the second chance I don’t deserve.  Jesus walks up to me, looks me in the eyes and says I forgive you; you are free. Time and time and time again. The cross offers me unconditional grace. No tickets, no fees, no insurance increases. When my sinful nature takes over, I deserve punishment. The beauty of the cross is that if my heart is repentant, sin doesn’t win; grace wins. Everytime. Grace offers me an undeserved fresh start. It never ceases to amaze me.

 I saw grace in my rear view mirror.//

April 1, 2013

4.1 // It's possible to delight in depravity

// Confession: It's possible to delight in depravity.

Well, lent is over. 40 days later it's easy to sort of feel like, 'now what?' The reality is that I will go back to the things I gave up. So, the question becomes, what do I walk away from lent with? I don't want to just pat myself on the back and say congrats.

In my reflection I have realized a few things. The first is that "depravity" isn't all that bad, in fact I can honestly say I have been happier and more joyful in the last 40 days than I have been in a very long time. Without even being conscious of it I found myself laughing more, enjoying the little things, and overall having a more positive attitude. I wouldn't have guessed that joy would be a side effect of sacrifice.

That brings me to the second thing I realized, that when I willingly surrender things in my life I experience what it means to love God. I am called to serve God of course, but I am first called to love him. Any human relationship I experience requires compromise, sacrifice, and investment. The same goes for my relationship with God; lent for me was more than just a feeling of "duty", it was an act of love.

Loving someone, including God, shouldn't be a task on the to do list, or a feeling of obligation. It should bring me just as much happiness as laughing over Skype with my mom and dad, a date with Chase, or breakfast with my best friend. I love those people, I would do anything for them. That's what lent was for me, simply loving God. Depravity didn't make my life miserable; it made me happy. It was like sitting across from Jesus and just enjoying him. No obligations or expectations, just me and Him, being friends.

"We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with" //Jim Rohn

When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced. Relationships with people affect ways of thinking, self-esteem, and decision making. Being intentional about my relationship with God is so important. He can help me grow and hold me accountable, and press me towards stronger faith.

I walk away from lent with the realization that I want to just be in love with God. I don't want to feel like He is constantly looking for me to 'get better' but that He just wants to enjoy time together; to be my friend. I want my relationship with God to be based on delight not duty. I want to love Him like I do the people in my life, with an appreciation for who they are, and an excitement to know them better--not out of obligation but desire.

I want Jesus to be one of my 5 people.//