Shopping Lovelies

Black Friday’s come and gone.  Thanksgiving snuck past us and now we’re looking ahead to Christmas!  I don’t know about you, but I agonize over gifts.  I debate in my head over and over.  I  ponder what gift would be perfect and what they would like best.  I try to pick up hints in little conversations about favorite candy or movie or store.  A gift can show so much.  A gift can say: I know you. I see you. I love you.  –Powerful, powerful words that place so much value on someone.  Often, I wish I had an unlimited supply of gifts to give to people all the time.  Though, that’s when I have to remind myself that not everybody’s top love language is gifts and that thankfully there are other fun ones like words and time!  And, now, that you know my love for gifts and the love languages…we’ll get onto the fun part of this post.  I kept seeing all sorts of fun fair trade and gift idea posts so I figured I’d add a few of my favorites that I’ve gathered as well as my faves from those.  Maybe you need an idea or just like looking.  (in no particular order)

1. I LOVE the idea behind this Free2Work app.  I downloaded it and definitely feel like it’s going to become like Fooducate has for me…hello bar code scanning everything!

2. Adoption and adorable t-shirts…can we say yes please!? (Wild Olive)

3. Tukula (we grow). I love the name and the mission and the products.

4. Noonday Collection has some super fun accessories too.

5. 31 Bits is awesome and they even have a wedding line.

6. Gadanke has super fun journals and memory books.

7. Looking for fun shoes? Check out Sseko.

8. Unfortunately, you can only boycott winter so long before you give in and need a hat… (KrochetKids)

9. Buy freedom…not slavery (Not For Sale)

10. All sorts of fun jewelry here at The Leakay Collection.

11. You can find a ton of variety in gifts here at Yobel.

12. And here’s the Fair Trade website to help you out.

13. Looking for a super cute watch for an awesome cause? Then check out Hello-Somebody

14. This place makes me happy and I love their heart and vision. Mercy House Kenya

15. Don’t forget about Compassion and World Vision.  They’re great.

16. Not to mention all the amazing ministries and missionaries you can give to during this season…because while gifts are lovely…giving to empower people is even more beautiful (which is why most of the ones above are doing just that!).

So, there are a few!  I’m sure I missed lots of amazing ones so….

What would you add to the list? 

honey, it’s not a game

“Honey, it’s not a game.”

Remember that time you wanted to use Me as a genie in a bottle? Or you opened your bible up just itching to find the right verse to support your side? Or what about that prayer? Or your check list of “spiritual things” that you rush through to cross off? Am I scheduled into your life only when it’s convenient? Would you treat your father like that or a friend?  Would you manipulate them? Would you throw some acts of kindness their way only when you realize that you want them to do something? Oh you think that because this happens that you’re going to get that? You want a ten point list?  Are you more in love with the promises than you are with the Promiser?

No, it’s definitely not a game, babe.  BUT don’t you forget that I love you with an everlasting love.  Nothing, no nothing can separate you from My love. I’m slow to anger, but I will correct you for your good and we all know that sometimes people need a little correction.  Besides, some thing. Aren’t even about correction.  They’re about timing. It’s not about you and sorry…you can’t get that 10 point list of do this, get that.  So, engage. Don’t pull back. Throw up your hands, come running to Me. Cast all of those cares on Me.  Ask me.  I want to hear the desires of your heart. Let Me be in charge.  Let Me take care of you.  I’ve got your back.  It may not be a game where you get to move all the pieces, but thank goodness it’s not because you can rest assured and trust that I know much, much better than  you do. I’ve got all the puzzle pieces and I see the big picture. So, rest girl.  Enjoy. Trust. Hope. All those words that are hard especially in the hard.  I’m everything I’ve promised. Judge me faithful and remember.  Remember the times you’ve seen me come through for you.  You’re beautiful and I take great delight in you.  I rejoice over you with singing. You’re like a jewel in my crown.  Rest in the identity that I give you and stop trying to throw on others or find satisfaction in anything other than Me. You are SO loved.

what’s god reminding you lately?

*i started this post back on 5/29/2010 and just unearthed it from the drafts…i like where it led me and how differently it speaks to my situation now. god is so good at bringing a word at the right time to my heart. #wordsofaffirmationgirl


Dear baby,

I talked about you today and oh how my heart leapt.  I didn’t even expect to talk about you, but the conversation just flowed.  For one of the first times, I voiced out loud what I love about how God is weaving your story even right today.  Baby girl, baby boy. I don’t even know that, but I do know that whenever I play Amos Story or Come Home Beautiful and when I talk about orphan care and just random moments….I think of you.  See, I don’t know how God is going to write this story.  That’s one of the hardest things for me to trust.  To trust that He will weave it together.  I’m walking out that trust as best as I can and thankful for friends who remind me: “He will bring all your desires to fruition in His timing….as long as you hold fast.”  But, baby, I want you know that I’ve prayed for you over and over. I’ve known you’re going to be part of this family–whatever that looks like.  You already are in my heart.  You’re loved right now, this moment. I smile and laugh because I don’t even know if you’re born yet, but I know God knows.  He knows it all even when I don’t know.  He hears and loves you.  And one day. You’ll be “home.” We’ll sit on a bed and I’ll tell you about how long before anything was in line and when all seemed bleak, I still prayed for you and believed you’d be sitting right here snuggling with me.  I wanted you and loved you right now in this moment as a single girl not knowing what the future holds–not knowing if I’ll have a man by my side or if I can even have babies…before it all. I loved you. That’s what I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you that only God can put together a family like that.

You are loved, baby. So loved.

ponder in your heart

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:19

Oh, how my heart connects and resonates with this verse.  I ponder so much {sometimes too much}.  Yet, the God-stories keep brewing up in my heart.  Often, they need to be treasured and pondered before poured out.  God likes to move in a whirlwind to shake things up and fling wide His guiding hand.  I am grateful for movement, but my processing lag keeps piling up.  The words flitter on the edge of spilling out, but then I am speechless all at once.  I keep saying, “Lord, help my unbelief. I can believe BIG for others, but help me believe BIG for me too. Help me believe that You really do have a good plan when all seems lost.  Throw a few tangible love notes my way.”  Yet, I am thankful that He does move even when I’m still saying, “Wha?” When I can’t even finish my question before falling headlong into his doors flung wide open.  And as I so lovely just read, “Sometimes waiting takes a lot more effort than moving forward.”  So, here I fall forward in some areas and keep on in the hard of waiting in others. Faithfulness abounds and the hard will bring even more God-stories.

So, tell me…how are you doing? pondering anything in your heart? waiting? falling headlong forward fast? where are you at now? 

big love

“Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!”

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

The tears well up in my eyes as I savor the faces on a flat, lifeless piece of paper.  They capture my heart all over again.  I scrunch my eyes and cringe when I think about how time passes much too fast.  The heart connections held together over skype make me want to jump through the screen for a hug.  My heart bursts.  Sometimes I forget how much love expands.  The missing stays even if I run headlong into those I love because there are still the ones elsewhere.  I realize now that I’ve wanted to plant roots deep and to tether my heart to one place mostly because the missing wrecks my mascara.  Somehow, I naively think that I could still plant roots into one place except I’ve already learned how to love all over the world.  No matter what I do now, the fierce love for those too far to hug follows me around.  The leaving, the staying, the constant adjustment to change twists my heart.  Fear begs me to pull back and protect myself, but that’s no answer at all.  That’s missing out on the beautiful love. I’m learning to embrace the overwhelming, crushing, heart-aching love in the moment even though I know the missing will come.  Taking risks to enlarge my tent and spread my “home” wide with love.

Because, loving people is worth it.

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not what i thought


you’re not who I thought you were.

in a good, hard way

you show me

your ways are not mine

when I go knocking for ways to run

you slip in with your “not now, baby girl”

you gently pry my hands

so i can let go


lay down my “isaac”

to finally admit

God, I want this

but I want what You have more

even in the midst of learning to


you love me

you teach me how to soar

and be planted

all at once

because that’s beautiful

dreaming, hope, trust

with deep roots

right there in the breaking

i find you giving me the

yes, walk this way

but be prepared to


surrendering all

and remember

“i’m everything i promised

my faithfulness is true”


and this makes me think that maybe just maybe i’ve had hope all along.

and trust i’m choosing. over and over. trust that hope won’t disappoint.

hope in god. that is.







catching my heart: i’m learning to be my Father’s daughter

I wanted to find the words to my heart.  Thinking I would stumble upon a cute little post to send along its way in reply to an e-mail.  I wanted to share the twisting of emotions into words to glorify God and spur others toward raw, real, honest Love.   Instead, in the looking back, I found glimpses of what my heart needed to be reminded as well as my own raw, open wounds scattered along this journey.

I wince seeing my empty arms and empty bed still there tonight.

I thrash about overwhelmed by the waves when all I want to do is find rest.

I sigh as I still haven’t found anyone who knows how to hold my heart and feel like its only been crushed a bit more.

I feel the tears rush to my eyes as I now ask the question about home out loud instead of tentatively like before.

These mileposts along the journey show me something that I hadn’t expected.  Unlike before, now I’m learning to own my feelings while learning to tell all of my story. I’m learning to feel all the parts I hinted at, but adamantly avoided and “never went there” because I taught myself early on to be the “strong one” in order to survive.  I’m finally crying the tears for me.

I’m learning to be my Father’s daughter.