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    Heartbeat Behind Honeycomb

    It’s been a year in the making, but I am so excited to finally share with you all the fruit of this vision the Lord so heavily put on my heart: The Honeycomb Collection. Earning its name from Proverbs 16:24, the heart of the collection beats to encourage women to speak words of life over one another, because scripture affirms that our speech and our thoughts should always be gracious (Col. 4:6), not just when we feel like it. Jesus knew how to impart grace when he spoke. Luke 4:22 says, “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” The power of life and death is in the tongue and we have chosen life (Prov. 18:21). As women, often times criticism comes quicker than compassion, yet the Word of God instructs us to live otherwise. Choosing grace can sometimes cost us that win in an argument, but when we lace our words with graciousness, we are promised healing: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:24).

    We have prayed over which words would be in the collection and God has made it abundantly clear: Choose Joy, Wonderfully Made, Loved, Delighted In, Saved by Grace, Freedom, Redeemed, Fearless, Be Brave, Peace, Hope, Dream, New Mercies. In addition to these 13 words, the collection also includes a Honeycomb charm. All of the words featured on our pieces are engraved in our own, talented, Maddie Holmes’ calligraphy handwriting. Each necklace will come accompanied by a Bible verse insert (doubly acting as a memory verse card)— assembling in its entirety to bring encouragement and to ultimately share the Gospel with others. Our hope is that each necklace becomes a conversation piece to wear or to gift to speak life and love over our sisters in her rejoicings or in her sufferings; both full of grace and truth! 

    Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness!”

    Proverbs 11:27 “Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold!”

    I confess that before the Lord got ahold of my heart, I was quicker to criticize, judge, gossip and tear down—which. is. ugly. I have also been on the receiving end of words that pierce your spirit. I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in the dabbling of both. But if you think holding a grudge tightly or letting un-forgiveness rule your life by tearing another down will bring you peace or healing, *spoiler alert* it won’t, and it will only bring further pain and damage. It can become a vicious cycle, if you give it enough room to sink its claws. Take this piece of advice I’ve heard before: Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off. The words that leave our mouths speak volumes of the condition of our hearts, making it so important for us to take a daily inventory of our sinful nature to our Lord Jesus Christ for help, grace, forgiveness, healing and fruit! I’ve been through some tough seasons in my life and have experienced the power behind both the constructive and destructive sides of words over my circumstances and me. It is vital for us to be surrounded by women who will speak life back into us—to revive you, reignite you, and to reenergize you when you are weary, not to tear you down.

    Romans 12: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all…If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink…Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”

    Some of my deepest desires as a mother raising a daughter are to show her the importance of being a woman of grace, strength and compassion. I pray that she will be confident in who God made her to be—wonderfully made in His image. I pray she will know the real meaning of love, identity, humility, forgiveness and kindness. I want to raise her on the Truth of what the Lord says about her and the promises in Scripture spoken over her life. Lord, help me because it is hard being a girl in this day in age.

     

    The commands of the Lord are not just mere suggestions for how to live—they’re set up for our protection and to further our freedom into an abundant, joyous life. Read this, though: freedom is not the absence of something, it is the presence of someone—Jesus. A dear friend of mine lost her husband a couple weeks ago. At his funeral, in regards to his legacy, he wanted us each to know and believe that every part of God’s Word is true. The challenge: Do you really believe this? Do you believe every single thing in God’s Word? Do you find it applicable to your day-to-day lives and relevant in all circumstances? 

    Do you believe there is freedom in Jesus?

    The older I get, the more I realize my daily need to cling, abide and anchor myself to my Savior, because my sinful nature is overwhelming apart from Him. I do not have the mercy gift on my own free will, but when I am walking with the Lord, the fruit of my life bears things that only come from the fruit of the Spirit: kindness, peace, patience, compassion, fullness of joy and love! Thank you, Lord—You really are the only good thing in me!

    Speaking words of grace and peace comes from truly knowing where your true identity lies. When we accept that we are daughters of the King, adopted and bought with a price, we will live a transformed life. With deep roots in this identity, we are free to be the hands, feet and mouth of Christ to others in our lives—a beautiful and undeserved responsibility.

    Psalm 19:7-10 “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The rules of the Lord are true and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold; they are sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.”

    Our tendencies to utter harsh critiques, show lack of compassion, to fall in to temptation and engage in tearing another down are not in line with God’s will. The Bible says it is the foolish man who throws out harsh criticism, but it is the discernment of the wise that have kindness on their lips (Prov. 10:12-13). Lets show some humility that His ways are higher than our own (Is. 55:8-9).

    Will you join us in our campaign to encourage women to speak words of life over one another? We can’t wait to share more of our hearts with you in the coming weeks.

     

     

     

    Lord,

    Forgive us for the harsh criticism we have for others and for the leniency we’ve shown ourselves. We ask for more of you, Lord. We recognize that the enemy is sneaky, but not creative when it comes to targeting our sin triggers. We ask for discernment and wisdom in our conversations with others. God, we believe that Your Word is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating even to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow. We believe that it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart. Continue to refine us, strip away our layers of bitterness and shame, and change our hearts. When we speak, may words be given to us so that we will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel. God, we pray for our children, too. Stir up kindness and tenderheartedness in them. Cause them to be forgiving people as they have been forgiven. We never graduate from needing you, Lord Jesus.

    Amen

     

    Hurricane Harvey: Reflecting Back

    We've been a city on our knees these last few weeks since Hurricane Harvey for relief, hope and endurance -- especially as we now look to our Provider as the city begins its efforts to rebuild. As floodwaters recede, it’s stunning to see so much love and hope RISE! We have been so encouraged by the people within and around our community who are serving those in need of help. We've seen people rally behind one another—setting aside the politics, race, religion and rivalries-- to meet the needs of its people amidst terrible destruction and devastation. Romans 12:11 says to "never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." By serving the community, we are serving God. We pray that our zeal to help and serves others remains high throughout the coming weeks and months.

    It has been unreal to experience first hand what the Body of Christ looks like in action. What it looks like to bear one another’s burdens and to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” as it says in Romans 12. Personally, this storm and aftermath have affected us deeply. One of our closest and dearest friends lost everything. It takes its toll on you seeing the devastation caused in families around our city.

    As we navigate what's next for our friends and for our city, we ask God for His wisdom and strategy. We ask that He will carry our burdens, uncertainties and heartaches. We ask for discernment, endurance and tenacity to selflessly serve our community. God has made the people of Houston resilient, but we are desperate to be reminded that He works all things for His good (Romans 8:28).

    "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still." Psalm 107:28-29

    "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1-2

    “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

     Let us not forget that God is "our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble." Psalm 46:1

    It's been a gift for Ellis and I, as parents, to be able to bring our kids alongside and involve them in serving while they were out of school for two weeks. Their hearts are SO big and want to help in any way they can too! Seeing these kiddos hop into action and want to serve just brings me to tears-- they are learning to focus on others, the difference between wants and needs and what the most important things in life are!

     

    I’ve been personally transformed from the beautiful way the Lord uses pain, tragedy, loss, grief and suffering to get you to the end of yourself, where you being to humbly recognize the need for help, drawing you out of the crowd, stripping away broken parts of your life, refining you through horrific and difficult circumstances -- ultimately to bring you closer to Himself, restore your hurting soul, insert peace and make you more like Him. When you surrender, He WILL turn tragedy into triumph, brokenness into abundant wholeness, sadness into praise, your hurt into fullness of restoration and joy. Christ Jesus “majors” in carpentry – in building, construction (both old and new), AND reconstruction! No better one to ask for help as we rebuild hearts and lives of the people in this city! As the city beings to rebuild, we are corporately praying as a family and as a small business that it would be rebuilt on the rock-solid foundation of the never-shifting, never-crumbling, never-at-risk Lord God Almighty! Clinging to the truth of what God’s Word says. His providences and provision never cease, His promises always hold true, He our Refuge, our Shelter, He is the Rock Eternal and “underneath us are His everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

    "Praise be to the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

    Continue to pray alongside us for the healing and the rebuilding of our beloved city and state. 

     

     

     

    I had planned a trip to North Carolina with some friends for the same weekend Harvey hit the Gulf Coast. We’d had this trip in our calendar for months. When we caught wind that a hurricane was coming, I counted my blessings and completely underrated the potential this storm had. I was in middle school and high school when Hurricanes Rita and Ike were projected to cause major destruction in the Houston area— leaving me skeptical of the weatherman’s ability to legitimately assume nature’s thought process. Surely this wouldn’t be too bad.

    It’s an interesting thing when you’re far away when tragedy hits your home and community. You feel a sense of “survivor’s guilt” for not being available to help out. You feel this urgency to get back even though everyone else is telling you you’re better off being where you are. You want to see it for yourself because you can't fully comprehend everything you're seeing. You’re anxious to receive updates from friends and family. There’s sadness when you see the streets you grew up on and the streets you drive on daily in the news because they’re submerged in flood water. And just when you think there couldn’t be anymore emotion, you hear the Lord telling you to check your heart and motives for wanting to get back. Am I posting/helping/serving because I want to prove I’m sad/concerned or because I care about God’s people and how they can experience a merciful and loving Father in the midst of tragedy? I’d like to say the ladder was 100% my thought, but it wasn’t. The reality, as a friend of mine wisely challenged us with: The need of the person you are serving is infinitely more important than your need to feel useful. 

    1 Peter 1:12— "It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”


    On Labor Day, I had the opportunity to jump in with my church's efforts to help clean up devastated areas. It's a beautiful sight to see friends and strangers alike step up and get after it together. You've all heard it a million times that the city of Houston didn't just dip their toes in, they straight up cannon balled into relief efforts to get people back on their feet and into this new "normal." Prior to Harvey, we prayed often for opportunities to practice what we preach, for the church to truly know what it's like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And now we're witnessing His faithfulness through the selfless service of His people. 

    James 1:22, 27-- "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

    God is on the move in Houston.

     

     

    I was out of town visiting my parents when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston. I felt bittersweet about being gone. Relieved that I was safe and not trapped inside for days while rain overtook our city. On the other hand, I was desperate to be back in Houston to see if the news was accurately portraying what was happening. 

    Harvey brought devastation, destroyed homes, left people homeless and created chaos in already difficult times. In the midst of such turmoil, I find comfort knowing God is sovereign and that I will praise Him through this. 

    I wanted to show my support through serving. I have learned a lot about service and what it means to serve others with a pure heart. To give our time is to recognize that we are living for a greater purpose than our own selfish needs.

    This is a long road ahead, and there is a lot of work to be done. As I busy myself with my own plans and selfish desires I reflect back to Mark 10:45:

    "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

    I am constantly reflecting back on this verse as a reminder that I am called to serve others just as Jesus gave his life for us. 

     

     

     

    Lord,

    May we put our trust and hope in You alone-- not in ourselves, our circumstances or in the people around us. We pray for ENDURANCE as we run this race because we know it will be a while until it's over. These efforts of relief, rebuilding, and recovery are a marathon not a sprint! May we keep our eyes fixed on You (Psalm 27) in our greatest time of need and trust You in and out of the storm. We know You are faithful to strengthen the weary, give peace to the worried and bring hope to the hopeless. We are clinging to You to get us through! We ask for a deeper understanding of your love Lord, for an increase in patience, wisdom, grace, discernment and for a double portion of perseverance! Lord, may we never boast in ourselves, for we truly have nothing to offer. We are not in control of the weather as we have seen here in Houston. May we boast in you, the only Name that saves, the only Name that revives, rescues, for the desperate, the weak and the hurting.

    Amen

     

    Party Central: My Secrets, Soirée Go-To’s and Tips

    One of my absolute favorite things to do is host! Making the people I love feel special on a big day, anniversary, birthday or at a baby shower truly account for some of my happiest moments! If you’ve been following along, you know I don’t usually write about things like this, but over the years, we have been inundated with emails/texts/inquiries about vendors I use for parties I throw (especially the one’s we have thrown for our kiddos, as posted on insta). 

    That being said, thanks for asking! I take NO credit for anything below—I attribute all the beautiful and appearance of “togetherness” to the Dream Team of party vendors and friends of mine. I highly recommend each of them for any soiree (especially for you Houston ladies).

     

    Hayley Hardcastle // HH Design House
    hayleyhardcastle.com | Hayley@hhdesignhouse.com | @hhdesignhouse
    Creative designer, visionary and calligrapher. Maker of all customized party-ware, custom napkins and cups, favor tags, cupcake toppers, yard signs, door signs, food tent cards, bunting banners, signage, custom coloring pages and crafts. Her abilities are endless! Most of what you see here is ordered from Hayley! 

     

    Emerson Sloan
    emersonsloan.com | Houston@emersonsloan.com | @emersonsloanparty
    Adorable, pre-made party décor and my favorite oversized balloons and tassels in the whole world!

    Tonia Lineberry // Sweet Stories Cake
    sweetstoriescake@yahoo.com | @sweetstoriescake1
    Insanely talented baker! She does it all—multi-tiered cakes, custom cookies, cupcakes, cookie favors and more!

    Lindsay Horton // Horton Thompson Floral Design
    houstonfloraldesign.com | Lindsay@houstonfloraldesign.com | @hortonthompson
    Stunning floral designs and centerpieces for any occasion! I use her for both personal and professional events!! 

    Wendi Schoffstall
    wendischoffstall@gmail.com | @wendischoffstall
    Incredible photographer of the details and happiest moments! Having photos of our family memories is one of the most important things to me—I’m fortunate to have Wendi to make sure my kiddos are well documented. She also makes amazing photo books of the party!

     

    I usually always have a face painter or balloon artist and a craft for the kids to do, too. My go-to’s are coloring, glitter, glue, stickers and props (on theme) for the kiddos to wear, but if you want to do something fun and different, cookie decorating is always a hit!

    Thank you so much for your comments and kind words about these fun events. I hope this has inspired and helped you as you plan your future parties! I really couldn’t pull it all off without these talented women! For my visual ladies, I’m sorry for the photo overload, but here are some party ideas and examples from the different ones we’ve thrown over the years!

     

    McKenzie’s 2nd Birthday

    McKenzie’s 3rd Birthday

     

    Noah's 4th Birthday

    Graham’s 1st Birthday

     

    McKenzie’s 4th Birthday

     

    Noah and Graham’s 2nd and 6th Combined Birthday

     

    (The bigger the mess, the bigger the fun...right?!)

     

    Happy planning!

    UNCOM(MEN)

    It’s Father’s Day Weekend and the mere thought of ‘fatherhood’ evokes so many emotions in me that it’s hard to communicate. I’m so excited to celebrate and honor the wondrous fathers in my life this weekend!

    Today, I stand immersed in blessings and in awe of the unshakable and Godly men that surround my children and I. Our legacy is one of valor, faith, family, character, nobility, fierce protectors, humility, and prayer warriors.  By the grace of God, my father is one of the most Godly, purpose-filled, devoted, loving and intentional men I know.  My two grandfathers have been an example to me as I’ve watched them devote their entire lives to serving the Lord, sacrificially love their families, conquer hardships, encourage constantly and pour in to each generation below them.  And now seeing Ellis, my husband, rise up these last 6 years and become the most selfless, wise, dedicated and tender father to our children, I have chills thinking about how undeservingly blessed I am.  It is nothing short of astounding how steadfast and dedicated these men are to their personal relationships with the Lord, first and foremost, and to their families.  I am thankful we have a heritage of Godly men who start their days on their knees in prayer and die to self daily to lead their homes as wise men “who build their house on the rock.”

    “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

     

    None of what I mentioned above, however, has come easily or without tremendous testing and momentous struggles. But even on their darkest days and in their toughest seasons, the men in my life have been examples of what it means to be Christ-like, humble and servant leaders; they’ve proclaimed the Gospel through thick and thin, clung to the promises of God’s Word, and run repeatedly to the foot of the cross for wisdom, guidance and encouragement.  They have demonstrated the power of true forgiveness and that love protects, love hopes, and love perseveres.  And for that, I am truly thankful.

    I specifically want to put the spotlight on Ellis today, to honor him as the leader of our family and the father of our three precious kiddos.  Ellis is a man firmly planted in the Lord and in his convictions—continuously “sowing seeds of peace” (James 3:18), fervently chasing after our God and living with a Kingdom-perspective in mind.  His inner strength, patience, integrity and knowing where his true identity lies give me, as his wife, and our children more security than I could ever imagine.  He isn’t easily swayed or tossed by the wind—the house may shake, but it does not come down!  Ellis’ mandate for his life is to live for the Lord’s honor and glory and not for his own.  It’s certainly not what is popular by the world’s standards of “strength,” but I have seen him love his enemies, pray for those who curse him, and bless those who seek to hurt him.  He does not repay evil for evil and he always says to me, “you will never regret responding in love.”  I have seen abundant blessings come upon Ellis from being obedient to what the Lord calls him to do—he knows our battle is not against flesh and blood. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still” (Exodus 14:14).  I am so blessed to live under the leadership of a man whose heart and soul is sown into the commandments and covenant promises of God’s Word. He has been supernaturally gifted with overwhelming amounts of peace, fruitfulness, patience, grace and mercy. Our children have seen him literally “build his house on the rock” and when the wind blows and the storms come, the house shakes, but it does not come down! He cherishes our family, pours into us and this speaks volumes to our children, too, and I am forever in awe of the man he continues to be! Through trials we are made stronger and certainly more purpose-filled as parents about raising a generation that can square off with the enemy and rise up to fulfill their magnificent callings and phenomenal purposes!

     

    “We will sing of the Lord’s great mercy forever and will proclaim His faithfulness from one generation to the next!” (Psalm 89:1)

     

    “Who am I, O Lord, and who is my family, that you have brought us this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18)

    After all our family has been through, we corporately stand in astonishment of what God has done! Our family has been refined through the fire and some days I can’t believe how far the Lord has brought us. It may not be where we want to be, but is it where we were? No! Praise the Lord for His unfailing love and His massive redemptive capabilities and restorative plans for our family. A city wasn’t built in a day! As much as we would want to, we cannot change the past, but we can change the present and the future. Directly affecting the legacy of our family and the generations to come. It is not easy, but I want to encourage you to stay the course, press in, and fight the good fight! Especially on the days that forgiveness feels like the hardest task. Family is always worth fighting for! Chasing and pursing after the Lord first and your family second bring abundant, indescribable and immeasurable blessings. Endure, persevere, abide, pray, humble yourselves and keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and the goodness of what He has done.

    “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” (Psalm 1:1-6)

    “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.” (Psalm 112:1-10)

     “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and His might, and the wonders that He has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” (Psalm 78)

    “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

    I know these are heavy topics, but felt called to share them with you today! God’s word tells us to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story!” (Psalm 107:1-2)

    But as much as I want to honor the fathers in my family today, all of the honor and glory is owed to our Heavenly Father, our Abba Father—the only One who is unchanging and dependable at all times.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and is the only One who commits and follows through on all of His promises.  He is the One that will never fail us, never leave us, and never forsake us.

    I know for some, Father’s Day can be a painful day, a deeply sad and tremendously difficult one. But let’s dive in and take a look at no matter how awesome or flawed your earthly father was (or is), not to lose heart, but to see what the Truth of God’s Word says about you!

    His love for YOU is “mightier than the waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:4)! He loves you fiercely and it never ceases! We are daughters (and sons) of the King, adopted and bought with a price, a precious child of God, royal heirs with a priceless inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-8)!

    I pray you take great hope and comfort, no matter the story of your earthly father, that your Heavenly Father created you in the Heavenlies and made you in His image to be fearfully, wonderfully and uniquely made.  I pray you put the truth of what God says about you over your circumstances.

    “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart!” (Jeremiah 1:4)

    “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
    You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
    You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
    Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
    You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalm 139: 1-5, 13-18)

    “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.” (Psalm 103: 11, 13, 17)

     I pray you honor the fathers in your life this weekend, but above all, give thanks for a perfect Heavenly Father who adores YOU! We all have so much to give thanks for! Because ultimately we serve a perfect and loving Heavenly Father who adores us, created us, delights over us, died for us, values us, protects us, heals us, restores us, has mighty plans and purposes for our lives!

    “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)

    Happy Father’s Day,

    May Have Mercy!

    I’m feeling a tad helpless, frenzied and busy beyond words today. Does anyone else feel like they’re having a hard time keeping their head above water this month? I don’t know what the deal is with the month of May, but it always, always, always catches me off guard. Every year. I mean we anticipate the craziness of December! But May sneaks up on us like a hungry lion! It's here before you know it, you’re in it’s jaws and the chaotic, hectic month is in full swing before you even realize you’re already behind. I thought I had the time management skill nailed down (thanks to my ICU nurse background), but I’m being proved wrong by May. I’m overscheduled, overbooked and so, so tired. My list is endless, tasks eternal, jobs ceaseless, kids activities never-ending. I need a nap. And a drink. And also a good laugh (or cry). Is that too much to ask for?! 

    While I write all of this, I have to reiterate: I’m thankful, but sinking. I have to make light of it before my head explodes. But spring at the Welker house has looked like running chaos: Noah and Graham’s birthdays and parties, school field days, sports, end of year parties, field trips, thank you notes, recitals, teacher gifts, practices, a trip to the ER, TODAY Show feature, Mother’s Day, bible studies, and an RN license renewals (just to name a few). I’m tired just thinking about it all, and I’m generally pretty high-energy! It’s been 31 days of complete disarray! May, have mercy!

     

    Don’t get me started with laundry, grocery shopping and cooking dinner. Who even has time for that? Between carpool, play dates, practices, appointments/check ups, and work meetings, it’s by the grace of God that anything gets done. My weeks as mom are filled to the brim, and there’s no exception to it at the office either. Our weeks look like scheduling sales and emails, and meetings with editors, producers and buyers. I love being a working mom and wife—I wouldn’t have it any other way, except for however it is in May. Let’s get real with ourselves and call it May Madness instead of March Madness!

     

    I honestly have to ask: how did people survive without iPhones? Praise hands up to the good Lord above for technology. Without it, I can’t even. I’m quite literally a mobile office—stirring the pot on the stove and answering emails or scheduling appointments and bathing the kids. I need a break, who’s with me?

    You could call me a passionate person—I put my whole heart into things, so when I feel like I’m doing less than that, it’s discouraging. Divided attention, spread too thin, feeling like I’m doing a poor job—get behind me Satan. Lord, I need thee every hour. I need all the grace in these busy seasons. My closest girlfriends have assured me I am not alone in this deep-end, so be encouraged—we’re all in the trenches together. 

    Here are my life hacks—without them I would be S.O.L:

    • Dry Shampoo
    • Amazon Prime
    • Workout clothes
    • Chocolate covered espresso beans
    • ‘New Morning Mercies’ by Paul David Tripp (I will recommend this daily devotional until I’m blue in the face—this was one of the books that truly changed my life. Click here to check it out!)
    • Worship music – my personal favorite right now is the Shane & Shane Psalms album. I put it on repeat throughout the day to set the tone for my heart and mind. (Click here to check it out!)
    • Scripture – I have these verses hanging next to my desk for good reason. In the midst of chaos and the hustle at GT, they provide peaceful, truth-filled reminders to me and my team.
      • “The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with His love.” Zephaniah 3:17
      • Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
      • “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7
      • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

    If you need one more example of how this month has gone for me, I’m writing this from the lobby of my daughter’s ‘closed curtain’ ballet class. We all deserve a medal for warring through May. Can I get an amen for June and sleeping in and staying in our PJ’s, and having nowhere to be? I haven’t signed the kids up for anything over the summer yet, but I love the thought of being at home with one another without an agenda.

    Hold your head up high, speak words of life and encourage one another, start your days off with prayer and scripture, give grace to yourself, and let’s finish this month with a bang! We. Can. Do this! (Sorry to get all enthusiastic on you—the former cheerleader in me defaults to encouragement. Sorry not sorry. Ha!)

    Let’s give thanks because these truly are the days!

     


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