I wasn’t planning on doing a blogpost on my time at Hope Spoken a few weekends ago. Yet, here I am sitting in the sun-filled windowseat in our family room, peering out at a gorgeous Denver day doing exactly that.

Hope Spoken.

Yes it was.

Hope Spoken

This incredible weekend away, at a conference where I knew next to no one became one I will remember forever…because it reminded me how important it is to share our own stories.

I used to hate telling my testimony. I thought it was boring and incredibly lack-luster.

Hope Spoken

Yet, I now feel I have an interesting story to tell…because of all Christ has done in and through me and through our family. But I didn’t always feel like this.

Hope Spoken

I’d become a Christian at age 5 and have basically stayed strong in my faith my entire growing up. I’m not perfect, I’ve definitely made my mistakes, but all-in-all, I thought my story to be immensely boring.

Hope Spoken

This weekend away, I had the privilege of hearing so many stories…some incredibly difficult to listen to as my heart took on some of their pain as they spoke.

They were all offered redemption and grace and refinement…and have grown tremendously as they have grasped Him tightly.

One new friend mentioned how she wished she had a better story to tell. A story that showed how she had come back from rock bottom, one showing the goodness of God.

Hope Spoken

I understood where she was coming from, but I wanted to shake her and say, “That IS the goodness of God! He is SO good to have brought you through life WITHOUT such pain!” I refrained from said shaking and instead reminded her that He isn’t finished with her yet.

And realized I was speaking to myself as much as to her.

I thought about it all afternoon and while in our small group, the topic came up again. This time after a few hours mulling it over in my head, I had more to comment:

If you feel your story is boring, reach out to Him. Ask what you can learn from it. Or perhaps ask Him to prepare you for something bigger. Tell Him you want it. You crave it. Like Jabez, ask Him to expand your borders.

It was such great conversation as I realized so many of us who have walked the Christian life for a long time, feel this. Like we don’t have enough to share. Does that mean we don’t think He’s DONE enough?!

Please tell me no.

Oh goodness, how He’s done so much.

Hope Spoken

Whether you have a dramatic story or not…

Remember, your story IS important. It is YOUR story. And it’s not finished yet.

There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others.
Let people get inspired by how you deal with our imperfections.
{Unknown}

Hope Spoken

So take delight in the messes. The imperfections. Let Him teach and refine you.

Take purpose in the people He places into your life.

Hope Spoken

And smile at the fact that He’s not done.

God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out.
The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: ‘Use me.’
{Rick Warren}

Hope Spoken

He began a work, He will complete…we’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
{Jenny Simmons, from the song “Don’t Lose Heart“}

Hope Spoken

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easter egg ideas

Though it’s fun to simply go the store bought box route to dye eggs with the kids…{I’m gonna be honest} I’m kinda bored of it after years of doing the same thing.

Don’t you think I they’d love to try their hand in a little more creativity?

I know mine will freak out at these fun eggs…let these inspire you for prettier Easter baskets this year!

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easter eggs 10

{gold leaf easter eggs by sugar & charm}

easter eggs 9

{source unknown, but looks like plastic eggs with gold sparkles. yes please!}

easter eggs 8

{painterly pastel eggs by paper & stitch}

easter eggs 7

{water color eggs by spoon fork bacon}

easter eggs

{doilies as stencils by counting graces}

easter eggs 5

{paper napkin eggs by las recetas de la felicidad}

easter eggs 4

{diy golden eggs by stylizimo}

easter eggs 3

{white paint pen eggs by joy ever after}

easter egg ideas

{neon dip-dyed eggs by oh joy}

easter eggs 1

{silhouette easter eggs by dear lillie}

easter eggs ombre

{ombre eggs by Country Living}

easter eggs

{make your own perfect hue with mccormick}

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wait

I have to include one more because I can’t get over how cute they are…

easter egg ideas

{silhouette eggs by le papier studio}

Ok yes, so that makes 13 ideas, and I already had a silhouette idea on my list. But I just couldn’t handle how darling they look! Especially the one with the little girls.

Which is your favorite? Goodness, I’m going to need to buy a bunch more eggs…

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I had different plans for my life than being a mom {remember this post?}.

I majored in Art History in college and completely fell in love with traveling when I took a year off to go to Capernwray, a Bible School in England and traveled all over Europe with a handful of girlfriends.

All that travel and seeing things firsthand sealed the deal…I’d get my Doctorate and become a Curator of some amazing museum in Europe. Preferably Italy. Done.

Well, as you probably know {and sorry if I’m bursting your bubble here} but life doesn’t always turn out like you plan, or like it does in the movies.

Sometimes it ends up ten times better.

Ephesians 3:20-21

After graduation, I spent hours each day alone with God. Living in Seattle and working at a restaurant on the waterfront, I spent a lot of time walking the beach praying or would even take a ferry just to sit on the deck and read, coffee in hand.

The streets of Queen Anne became a place of peace and rest, as I parked my car blocks away from my favorite spots to sit and read my Bible, so I could wander through the beautiful old streets and enjoy God’s goodness and the beauty of all He’s created.

As I walked, I prayed, dreamed, and wondered what my future would hold.

Overlooking the Space Needle at Kerry Park or basking in the coziness of Parson’s Garden became a place where God spoke to me, impressed things upon my heart {see this post about my quiet time}.

seattle ferry

I always knew I wanted a life out of the ordinary. But I was searching for what that really meant.

I knew what I was passionate about and what my heart’s desires were. But was that truly God’s best for my life?

Could I actually embrace the idea that God’s plans for my life were so awe-inspiring and greater than I ever could imagine that I should fully and honestly give it all to Him?

Oh Lord, how I want to make an impact in the world for You that outlives myself, I prayed.

1 Samuel 12:16

A few weeks after that prayer arose upon my heart, one of my ferry trips across the water led me to Poulsbo to visit one of my best friends. I don’t remember how the conversation with her older sister began, but the fact that I had no desire to have children emerged. With eyes wide as saucers, she simply stated, “Wow. Your Christmases are going to be so boring.”

That silly little comment changed my life. It had me reeling for weeks as I realized the desires for my life were completely selfish.

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How was I praying to make an impact on the world, yet not searching for what God’s actual desire for me was?

Sure I could do great things for the Kingdom in the life I had planned out. Mighty things. And I may have. But it wasn’t about that.

There was nothing wrong in what I was dreaming to do…the problem laid in the fact I had made my own decision for Him, without much thought of actually consulting Him about it.

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Casablanca passed through my mind’s eye as I recalled the movie’s famous quote, “We’ll always have Paris.” I’ll always have a passion for art history and traveling the world. But I didn’t yet know it would be Africa I would be constantly traveling to, rather than my favorite European countries.

My prayer returned. Father, use me. Help me make an impact for the world that outlives myself.

Do you have a similar prayer? Does your heart cry out for more??

embrace silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… 
We need silence to be able to touch souls.
{Mother Teresa}

. . . . . . . . . . .

Does the idea of spending a time of silence with God completely terrify you? Or perhaps it simply has no pull, perhaps the concept just doesn’t appeal to you.

Think about this though…you have nothing to lose. Yet everything to gain.

. . . . . . . . . . .

“We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
{Diedrich Bonhoeffer}

want to delve further

{click here to download all three pages}

delve deeper - page 1

Remember, great things have never come from comfort zones. Don’t stay in yours.

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gold

easy ikea hack

I know you have them. Those amazingly inexpensive white frames from Ikea.

They’re tacked up all over our homes. They’re fantastic and simple and perfect for fun prints and kids art.

But I wanted to make them a little extra special for my new office. So I added a little gold.

ikea hack

Measuring in 2 inches, I made a mark with my pencil and wrapped painters tape over everything I didn’t want gold.

ikea hack

Make SURE you press those edges down firmly. Use your fingernail if you need to.

Then I simply did 2-3 light coats of the spray paint {my favorite is this one}.

ikea hack

{{ TIP }}

Make SURE you remove the tape while the paint is still wet. This will allow the tape to come cleanly off the frame…and not remove any of the gold.

Also, when tearing the tape off, make sure the tape stays straight. Do it carefully!

ikea hack

Isn’t sweet Abreham a fantastic artist? He drew this self portrait a few weeks ago. I just love it.

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Ok…want to see some more easy and inexpensive ways to add gold into your home?

What about some more sneak-peeks of our office redo?!

gold spray paint

I’ve been a little obsessed with my can of gold spray paint lately. Isn’t it funny how our tastes change?

I admit it. I’m LOVING gold in my interior. There. I said it.

before

I forgot to take a photo before I did my first coat of the top, but you get the idea of what this tape dispenser used to look like.

The kind every office building has in their copy room. One that every office supply store probably carries. Functional, yet super boooooring.

before

And this cute frame from Ikea needed a little something special.

before

after

What a little paint will do! Don’t they look fantastic?!

I especially love that the frame cost $3.99 and the tape dispenser was in a box in the basement {which equals free in my book}…suddenly they look like I dropped a bit more cash on them.

gold

Not sure if I’ll keep the washi tape on it or not. It’s been over a week and have already gone through a bunch because the kids have been asking {every five minutes} if they can use it for their art projects.

I’m a sucker for cute washi tape art projects…so of course I say yes {though I see my supply dwindling quickly}!

before

Back when Ben and I lived in San Antonio, he build houses on the side “for fun” and I got to stage the homes once they were ready to go on the market.

This thing {I say thing because I have no clue what it actually is for} was used in the powder bath and was stocked with towels, bath salts, and such.

before

But it is SO not my taste…yet.

before

after

gold

Ok seriously. Isn’t it pure perfection? I have no idea why I kept it for so long, lugging it through cross-country moves and all, when I didn’t even like it. But I’m thrilled that we did!

pink arrow

I’ll show more photos in our Office Redo Unveiling {coming soon, I promise}, but couldn’t resist giving this little taste. 

What do you think? Are you going to start spray painting things gold, too?

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{{ linking up to these fun parties }}

the gunny sack | design dining + diapers |

tulips and the penny trick

Today was one of my wake at 4am to work on my book days. Off I went to Starbucks for a fully-loaded latte and warm chocolate croissant. I love watching the sun rise through their windows, seeing the snowy mountains in the distance as I type.

It was such a gorgeous morning, I decided to treat myself to a couple bunches of fresh tulips on my way home and help get the kids out the door for school.

tulips penny trick

Oh how beautiful they are on our kitchen table…spring is here! And I love it.

What I don’t love though, is when tulips do this. They love the sun as much as I do and turn themselves toward the light {I could totally come up with a metaphor here}.

But instead, I’ll just give you my little trick to keep them standing tall and upright.

Ready? Here it is…

penny

A penny. Yep. I’m not sure how it works, obviously something about the copper. I’ve never googled around to figure out exactly how.

All I can tell you is it works.

tulip penny trick 1

A couple hours later, they looked like this…

tulips penny trick 2

Now, if I could only get them to grow in my own garden. Wish I didn’t have such a black thumb.

Happy Spring!

{update} if you follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen this…but the next morning, my tulips were even taller and straighter! This penny trick is amazing!

IMG_1281

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