Monday, January 26, 2015

real talk | my story is beautiful

this was originally a guest post on Allison's blog as part of her You Are Beautiful series. every single post in the series is superb & you can read them all here!

in 1988, there was a little girl born with blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a bouncy personality. as she began to grow, her hair darkened but she remained a little ball of energy. she would wake up with the sun & not slow down until it was dark. this earned her two nicknames - crack of dawn Robyn & Beebop.

this little girl loved to read & she would keep herself busy by setting up the playroom as a library and pretending to be the librarian. her family would even humor her & check out books. she loved playing outside, but she also loved reading. she loved the quiet.

as she entered middle school, she realized that not a lot of kids her age liked quiet. they loved to talk & they loved being around people all the time. she started to wonder if there was something wrong with her. she liked being around people, but she longed for time to herself. she started to feel like she didn't really fit in anywhere.

she had a handful of friends that were a lot like her & they understood. but she started to feel like most people didn't understand her. they viewed her as shy or weird because she would prefer to listen than to talk.

she loved observing others, taking things in, and reflecting on life. she loved analogies and the written word. she would rather read a book than watch a movie. she would rather write in her journal than go out with friends every night.

she started questioning why her personality was so different than other people. why couldn't she just fit in with other people? she wondered if she would ever feel normal or if she would feel awkward her entire life. she knew the Bible said that God created her in His image. but she wondered how that could be when Jesus drew people in, and all she seemed to do was push them away.

these questions stayed in the back of her mind as she continued to grow. she started college & she really started to take her faith as her own. she learned more about God, His character, His glory. she drew closer to him and those questions didn't seem as important anymore. she was starting to understand.

so God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

and God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.
Genesis 1:31

every single person was made in God's image, including her. this meant that every personality was a personality that God possesses. God is so very complex & that's why people are very complex. it didn't matter to her anymore if she didn't feel like she fit in with people. she realized that's not what she had wanted all along anyways.

she realized that her priority should be fitting in with God. her priority was cultivating a relationship with Him and drawing closer to Him. that's the only way she could become who she was created to be.

today she still loves to read & she still loves quiet. she realizes this is because she has a quiet soul. she no longer views this as a flaw, instead she allows it to let her thrive. she sees Jesus through her introverted personality. she understands His need to withdraw to the garden.

but she also understands that her personality doesn't define who she is. her worth and her value are found in Christ & Christ alone. whenever these questions surface, she brings them to the Lord. she looks to Him to define who she really is. and that makes all the difference.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Nesting Place | Myquillyn Smith

i received a complimentary copy of The Nesting Place for review purposes. regardless, all opinions are my own.

when Thomas & i were dating, he rented out the second room in his house and had a few different roommates. needless to say, the house was a lot different when two guys lived there verses how it is now that we are married & i moved in. 

we really didn't make a lot of changes, but the entire feel of the house is different now. it feels like a home. i am not a huge decorator, so i like to keep things more on the simple side. i don't really stick to a certain color scheme or decor theme. my style is very modge podge. i like the eccentricities & the randomness that makes everything feel a little more vintage. 

that's exactly the mindset behind The Nesting Place. it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. most of the time life is messy & that's okay. but you know what? we can choose to give up the illusion of perfection & embrace the beautiful in the mess! a cozy home is a house that is lived in and a house that is lived in will have some mess & imperfections.

this book talks about finding rest & contentment in your home. rest is my word for 2015 so it was refreshing to read all the things i have been mulling over lately! when we give up the need for perfection, we find rest. when we embrace our messes, we find rest. when we become content with imperfections, we find rest.

this book is so inspiring & so liberating! it will challenge you to look at your house differently & find inspiration from your limitations. it will challenge you to be content with the time & money that you have to spend on your house in the present. and it will free you to dream big dreams & take risks with your home.

this book gave me the push i needed to just try things in our home. if they don't work, then we can put things back to the way they were. no harm, no foul. but at least we tried! it also gave me confirmation on my goal to simplify & purge. although our house can get cramped with two people & a dog, i am determined to make it work for us in this season. here's to creating a cozy home!

have you read The Nesting Place? 
do you have any home projects planned for this year?

Monday, January 19, 2015

gatlinburg | ripley's aquarium

i am a HUGE animal person, but i have never really been into fish. once you've seen one fish swim around, you kinda get the jist right? WRONG! i love penguins & sharks, so i knew the aquarium would be fun, but what i didn't know was that i would have the time of my life, which i completely did! if you are ever in Gatlinburg, you need to go to the Ripley's aquarium of the smokies! and if you buy tickets online they are cheaper than at the gate! 

there was a lot of interaction at the Ripley's aquarium & so much personality in the animals! we spent a few hours there while we were in Gatlinburg at Christmas & i could have stayed all day! we got to pet stingrays & horseshoe crabs, go through the shark lagoon, crawl through the penguins & pop up into the Finding Nemo tanks! there were some creepy animals, some funky ones, and some awesome ones! but words could never do it justice, so just enjoy all of these pictures! :)

what's your favorite aquatic animal?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

passport to fun | Beijing

in December, passport to fun took us to Beijing, China! it actually worked out perfect that i planned our China date for December. i've been wanting to create a random Christmas tradition for our family of two for a while. so on Christmas Day when we didn't feel like eating leftovers, we got Chinese takeout on the way home & it was perfect!

it's actually funny because we didn't have a traditional Christmas dinner this year! my family does a Mexican themed Christmas dinner every year with stacked enchiladas. Thomas's family had a cajun themed dinner with Jambalaya this year. then we had Chinese takeout for our Christmas dinner. i actually prefer the variety because i don't like ham & my turkey quota for the year was met at Thanksgiving! 

we both got General Tso's chicken, egg rolls, and spring rolls! we ended up having so much food left over that it was a total of 5 meals! it came in handy because after all of the running around for Christmas get togethers, the last thing we wanted to do was cook!


i can't believe that we are finished with our year of passport to fun dates! it's been such a fun year getting creative & exploring different cultures! catch up on all of our 2014 passport to fun dates below!

January - Paris, France
February - Tokyo, Japan
March - Dublin, Ireland
April - Mexico City, Mexico
May - London, England
June - Rome, Italy
July - Ghanzi, Botswana
August - Bangkok, Thailand
September - Athens, Greece
October - Munich, Germany
November - Moscow, Russia
December - Beijing, China

what country do you want to travel to the most?

Monday, January 12, 2015

freebie | come to me printable

i have been brainstorming tangible ways to encourage Thomas during his search for a new job. this week is his last week & then it's off to a new adventure (he doesn't have another job lined up so we have no idea what this next adventure is yet). i chose REST as my word for 2015, and it's very fitting with the anxiety that goes into looking for & starting a new job. so i figured scripture would be the best encouragement of all, especially scripture that came straight from Jesus! i decided on Matthew 11:28 & made a fun print to give to Thomas! we have this displayed in our kitchen and when we see it each day we remember to rest in Jesus & bring our burdens to the Cross!

download this print here:
4x6 | 5x7 | 8x10

if you find yourself striving for true rest also, capture your moments on instagram & use the hashtag #findtruerest - i'd love to see your moments of rest in Jesus! :)

how do you find rest in the day to day?