Tuesday, May 12, 2015

About being a bad mamma jamma...

I've always thought of myself as weak. Soft. Fragile. Delicate. Gentle. Tender. Feeble. Puny.
Both physically and emotionally. I don't think that about all girls, just myself.
And I don't know where it came from, but it's always been my deep hidden belief.

Through the years I've done a few tough things. I've tried to challenge myself when I could.
But I've always returned to the mindset of being weak.

Over the past few years, however, something has shifted.
I've finally started realizing that weak is a label I've put on myself, for far too many years. As I've stopped listening to my own voice and started paying more attention to God's voice, I've realized that He didn't design me (or you!) to be weak at all.

• I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works.

For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them (Ephesians 2:10).

(well, that sure doesn't sound weak, does it?!)

• I have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ.

… In whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ's faithfulness (Ephesians 3:12).

(bold and confident?! Well heck... that's not weak either.)

All these years I've ignored or been oblivious to what God has really said about me.
He has made me whole. Complete in Him. Strong. Courageous. Able. 
A bad mamma jamma.
(I might have made that part up. It's not exaaaactly a biblical term, but I'm pretty sure God agrees...)

Rise up. Embrace what God has truly given you.
Stop cowering and settling.
Be prepared to run life's race, trusting in Him, and you won't become weary.
Instead, He'll carry you on wings like an eagle.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Finally!! Chains of Hope!

I recently got to take a trip to Nicaragua again. It was such a blessing!!

I'm so happy to finally be able to offer Chains of Hope - a line of ethical jewelry created in Nicaragua, helping impoverished women and children.
I was able to train them how to make the jewelry and each piece was hand crafted there.
Each necklace and bracelet has a Guanacaste seed, native to Central America. It also has a shimmery pyrite, symbolizing Hope that shines even in the toughest times.


These are some of the most beautiful and hard-working people I've ever met. Their lives inspire me.

Each item you buy creates a link between you and the women and children.
It creates a link between our two worlds that seem so far apart.
It provides empowerment, dignity, pride, and love to people who could desperately use it.
Each purchase you make provides hope.

Click here for the necklace. ...... Click here for the bracelet.

We are SO EXCITED about this new line and can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

When God yells at you.

Have you ever had God yell at you?
It's a bit startling. It will stop you in your tracks. It's humbling. I can think of a handful of occasions when He yelled at me.
It's uncomfortable... and unavoidable.

So many people had asked about my journey to Nicaragua last year. Basically a random lady found me on the internet, and pestered me to go until I said yes. Click here to read the details of that.

When I agreed to go, I knew I needed to raise money. Fast.
By nature, I'm a very timid and reserved person.
In a matter of an hour one afternoon, I designed a new bracelet that says Fear Less. The message was mostly for me, but I listed it to sell to raise money for my mission trip.

Within a few days, I got an email from a lady named Kimberley, who had come across our bracelet listing on the internet. She knew that I was donating proceeds from that bracelet to help in Nicaragua, but had no idea that I was actually going.

"I ordered two Fear less Bracelets. One for myself and one for my son's girlfriend. Well, actually, she was my son's girlfriend when he lived. He has been gone four years now. It is a perfect choice for a gift for several reasons. You see she and my husband and I (and lots of other people from our church) traveled to Nicaragua to help with a mission that works with the "dumpground children." We have seen it - and it is hell on earth. Thank you for using part of the proceeds to serve God's children there.
Several weeks before he died he asked me to buy him Max Lucado's book Fearless. Which was odd, because he hated reading. He said the coaches were reading it so he wanted to as well. I am not sure how much he read...he did use "Fearless" as a meditation while running track for the two meets he was able to run before being diagnosed with a brain tumor his senior year. He was a boy with a lot of fears due to the abuse he experienced prior to us adopting him. He was an amazing, loving, forgiving, strong, sweet, boy who died "fearing less" thanks to his Heavenly Father. This is a phrase that has a lot of meaning to us. And it is a special reminder. Thank you.

My response after I wiped my tears and caught my breath:
"Hi Kimberly!

Your email stopped me in my busy little tracks. I, of course, tend to focus on the short term hustle and bustle. I'm running around like a mad woman, frazzled and stressed about my own little life. And this was exactly what I needed. It's easy to get caught up in jewelry orders and forget that there is a bigger purpose. So thank you!

I am going to Nicaragua with the team this year. We leave next week. I so appreciate you reaching out, listening to God's whisper to contact us."

And she replied:
"Wow! We are friends with almost all the people on your missions team! Richard from your team actually was my son's coach.
I almost never share our story so it is strange that I even emailed you some of the details. I guess I thought it would just go to so random big company...but I am glad you actually read it now. I am certain God wants us to be connected."

Readers, for nearly a year now I've been holding back publicly... wanting to wait until all the pieces fell together and then do some sort of "big reveal". In my simple mind, it seems like that would make the most sense. But it really feels like God is wanting me to share the story as it unfolds, open and raw. I don't know why. But I think I'm supposed to share the journey along the way, not just when I hit the destination (whatever that may be!)

I don't know the end result. I can't see the big picture. I don't understand the purpose of all this.
I've recently had the phrase Fear Less tattooed on my wrist so I can see it all the time.

Sometimes God is silent. Sometimes He pesters you. Sometimes he whispers.
But sometimes He yells.
And when He yells, there's no avoiding it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Being enough.

I haven't blogged in a while, and I'll be honest... life is kicking my butt lately.
I'm always struggling to find balance, and never feeling like I've figured it out. I don't think I'm alone in that.

Last week one day was particularly tough. I fought back tears just feeling like I need to be all things to all people, need to do more and do it efficiently, and no matter what I do... it's never enough.
I skipped my morning workout and drowned my sorrows in a peanut butter donut.
And strangely, it didn't help. Ha! I still felt like I just wasn't enough.

Then I found this image from my friend Liv Lane.

"You are enough. Not because you did or said or thought or bought or created something special, but just because you always were."


And then I read this:
“The world says, ‘Perform.’
Jesus says, ‘Rest’." - Timothy Keller

Why are we struggling so hard? Why do I push and strive and drive myself crazy, only to feel like I've failed? Why are we trying so hard to perform? Who do we think we'll impress? Is it necessary?

If you're struggling with this, I hope you can take time to breathe, rest, and realize that you are enough.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Reality ain't pretty.

I meet a lot of new people and the one comment I hear most often is "You're just so real!"
And I probably am. Embarrassingly painfully awkwardly ... real.

Last week The Man and I spent time in the Caribbean. Oh my goodness, it was so needed!
Endless naps, an abundance of rum punch, copious amounts of food, hours spent on beaches just watching people.... It was blissful. No internet access, just time to breathe.
Excessive laziness.
Tan skin, saltwater in my hair, flip flops, private islands. Vitamin D for days.

Then we came home. The first week back from vacation is always rough, isn't it? I think the week after vacation should just be like half workdays or something.
But we were thrown back into reality, full force.
My three businesses; Emma Creek Barn, Kansas Barn Sale, and The Rusted Chain all had mountains of work for me to tackle when I returned. Reality.
Stress and schedules and laundry and bickering. Reality.

Early in the week the school called to tell me The Baby had fallen, busted up his face pretty bad. I got him, took him in for stitches/glue, and spent hours taking care of him.
He stayed home the next day. Then went to school again, and the school called me... again... to tell me he'd fallen and busted it all open... again. Reality.

Yesterday I got news that my only brother (just 2 years older than me) had collapsed with a seizure, stopped breathing, and was being taken to the ER. Reality.
He's alive, undergoing a lot of tests today.

I don't tell you all this for sympathy. You have problems just as big as, or bigger than, mine. You need a vacation worse than I did. It's just that life isn't always beaches and rum punch.
It's not always rainbows and cupcakes. It's not always palm trees and pretty flowers. It's bumps and bruises, blood and needles, sleepy, overworked, tearful.

Life is gritty sometimes. But the grit creates appreciation and gratefulness. The grit adds strength and character.
The rough patches make the smooth patches seem so much better.
Reality ain't pretty. But it's real. And it's beautiful, if you intentionally look for the beauty.