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Tuesday, April 30, 2013


 So, I know it's a liiiiitle bit early, as we're barely in Springtime over here where I live, but I just can't help being excited about Summer. Am I the only one looking forward to iced coffees, picnics, sunshine, and sundresses? I just had to ask a few of my sweet friends who just happen to currently be my sidebar sisters (some call 'em sponsors, I call 'em sisters!) and they shared some of their favorite Summertime things. What are you looking forward to as Summer soon approaches? Share with us in the comments below! And make sure to click on the links and get to know these fabulous ladies - we have 2 lovely blogs and one amazing shop featured below - such fun! 

             blog // facebook // pinterest /youtube 

1. Being off work! I'm a teacher, so a perk is being able to be a stay at home mommy a couple
months out of the year!
2. Pool time! I am a sun lover, which means laying out in the pool is a must when the crazy Missouri weather warms up!
3. More God one on ones. Having a more flexible summer schedule means I get some alone time with the Lord.



1. I will be visiting my stepson and his wife this summer in San Diego and their NEW BABY! Can't wait.
2. As part of that vacation my daughter and I will be meeting up with them at the Grand Canyon. First time for either of us to see it and it will be on her 20th birthday.
3. Continuing to find new and wonderful ways to grow my Lilla Rose business, including working with lovely folks like Erin!






For me, summer is all about relaxing and getting to spend some time outside without losing feeling in my toes. Winter is rough in New York (this year especially) so it'll just be nice to not have to drag a big coat everywhere. My favorite part of summer is reading outside on a lounge chair with a big iced coffee. (I drink iced coffee all year round so I can finally order it without getting an "are you serious?" look). Lastly, I'm looking forward to the sun being up when I leave for work and when I go home at night. It just puts me in a better mood when it's not dark out all the time! 


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Monday, April 29, 2013


Dear beautiful friend,

As you step out of bed this quiet, sunny Monday. 
As you brush your teeth and slip on your maxi skirt and favorite top.
As you clasp your golden necklace around your neck,
and spray that purple round bottle of perfume on your wrists.
As you pour your steamy coffee, adding a spoonful of sugar and a splash of cream.
As you walk down the sidewalk,
get into your little car,
walk into your office,
find a chair in the classroom,
sit down at your old desk in your room as the sun streams in,
maybe just pick up the baby and walk him to the couch,
or even pick up the paper and search for that elusive job.

As you sigh, wondering how you will weather the storm you're fighting.
As you breathe and try to calm your racing heart, 
wondering how you'll find peace in the anxiety.
As you smile, wondering how you deserve to be so happy. 
As you wipe away a tear, wondering how on earth you will withstand the pain.
As you shudder, wishing the guilt would just go away.
As you roll your eyes, mad at the world - bitterness running through your veins.
As you try and numb the pain, with shopping or alcohol or sex.

Whatever you face today, my friend.
Whatever you fight.
Whatever may confuse you, bring you down, 
weigh on your heart like a heavy burden, make you cry, 
cause you to smile and laugh and just feel crazy blessed,
and the thing that makes you just wanna give it all up.

Whatever your Monday looks like. Whatever looms ahead in your week...

I want you to know 6 things:

1. You are not alone.
2. You are very loved.
3. You have one wild and precious life. Use it wisely.
4. Jesus is there. Just ask Him to speak, to come. And hold onto those whispers.
5. You can hang on, He is there. He takes your darkness and He can make it light.
6. I promise, it's all going to be okay. 

You have a friend. 
Don't give up.

Love,
Me.

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Friday, April 26, 2013


Hey beauties! Advertising is open for May here at Sweetness Itself Blog! 

There's alot of fun going on here on this little blog. God is doing big things! I'm over at Quite Magazine every week as a contributing writer, working on my e-book that will be released this Summer, and being a part of the Influence Conference and preparing to be a community leader at the conference in September! 

I would love to work with you. Helping promote blogs and shops, and building community in this blog world by introducing amazing bloggers and shop owners like you to my precious, beautiful readers! That is my heart. And if you're interested, I'd love to have you here. Lots of different options are available, see below! A few as low as a LATTE! Have questions? Don't hesitate to email me - erin_sweetnessitself@hotmail.com 
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CURRENT STATS

Total Follower Reach: 5,760

Pageviews last month: 20,100 +
Google Friend Connect Followers: 1,121+
                                                                 Twitter: 1,320+                
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Pinterest: 920+
Hello Cotton: 167+ {featured on Lifestyle blogs of the day in June 2012}
Facebook: 395+ {posts are also shared with 1,000+ personal Facebook friends}
Bloglovin' - #15 of 248 in Christian blog category



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Thursday, April 25, 2013

I love these moments. These moments like right now. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes late at night. When the house is quiet. When my cup of tea is steaming. I take a deep breath and quiet my soul. Reading, writing.... writing to Him... prayers, like a letter. Fears, tears, hopes, dreams. Disappointments, things I don't "get". Life. Regrets. Heartache. And love. Oh, the love. The way He loves me... and how I will spend my forever, writing a love song for Him with my life... trying to love Him back. 'Cause He really deserves that. These moments are like dates to me. Not some regimented time I have to begrudgingly cross of my daily checklist. Not some rule I have to follow in order to be loved or accepted. Not some requirement so I'm looked at as a good girl. Just a romance. Just a love story. Mostly, I look forward to these times with a smile... in the way you look forward to a coffee date with the man you love with all your heart. Sometimes, it takes work and commitment - like every real relationship. But He's here and it's real. And I really really love my main man. Jesus.


I'm starting the She Reads Truth Bible reading plan today. We're reading through Hosea. It's gonna be really beautiful. Some precious friends of mine and women I admire so much write and run this amazing ministry. I'm often asked about what devotional type Bible reading plan I recommend - here it is. Join us. See more here: www.SheReadsTruth.com
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013


As I've said a million and a half times before, I am oh so thankful for you - our community, my friends and readers, your input, encouragement and the way we've built real sisterhood through this thing called blogging. And so I thought it might be fun to do a question and answer post! My sweet friend Nicole recently asked her readers if they had any questions for her, and I found it so fun to read her answers - on everything from fashion to beauty tips to relationships to her walk with God! I get lots of precious emails and sometimes I can't reply to all of them, so I thought this would be a fun way to answer questions you may have! 

So, my friends.... do you have any burning questions for me? 

Ask as many as you want in the comments below and in a few days I'll do my best to answer them in a post! :)


Love. 
Erin
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Monday, April 22, 2013


A few days ago, I felt led to share a confession on Instagram... Honestly, I was a little scared to press "publish" for fear of being too vulnerable and... well, real. It's hard to be real sometimes. But I really think we need to be....  

Confession time: I've really been struggling the past few days. With fear, doubt, not
understanding God's plan...in lots of areas of my life & those I love. Heavy hearted, overwhelmed, disappointed & down. Reminded tonight by a dear friend that "When the circumstances were the worst & miracles so unlikely, that was the perfect setting for Jesus to come through...otherwise it would be you."I just want to be real here for a minute - bloggers & social media can look so perfect because we only usually share the happy & good... & I want you to know that I struggle, we all struggle - & to encourage you if you're feeling down too. You're not alone & no one's life is perfect. As my friend also said, "The end of the story's already written. It turns out great." :)


Soon, lots of comments from precious souls said I was not alone. 

We are really not all that different. We're really the same, friends. 
We all struggle, we all have ups and downs, we all have unique heartaches and losses.
And we all have a God who cares.

My heart is so much lighter today, after a Sunday afternoon spent sipping coffee and chatting with an old friend in her backyard sunshine. 

Remember you are loved this week, dear one.
And you are not alone.
XO
Erin
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Saturday, April 20, 2013


Happy weekend, lovely friends!

 Today I get to introduce you to some special people and their amazing shoppe. You may have lately noticed the button on my sidebar with the cute iPhone case - this is a wonderful case shoppe, run by my precious cousin and his wife. The cases they offer are beautiful and unique, but even greater - the heart and purpose behind their shoppe is to invest in Bible school with a heart to work with and minister to at risk youth!

It is SO amazing to see what the Lord has done in my cousin's life over the past few years - he is a walking testimony of God's faithfulness and the power of the Gospel :) So precious and I'm excited for you to get to know him and read his story below.

Take a minute to get to know them, and visit the shoppe - you'll love the cases - they are so nice and affordable, and beyond that - purchasing a case supports my cousin's dream of ministering to young people who desperately need Jesus! 

 Shop:  DSW CASE SHOPPE  // Like on Facebook // Follow on Instagram 

We are the Wagner family! Donald, Daisy, Grace, Matthew, Thomas, and Lord willing more to come! Honestly, the only reason for our family’s existence and significance has nothing to with us at all; it is only by the amazing, saving Grace of our Lord and God Jesus the Christ! Statistically the world would say our family never stood any chance of sustainable life and unity, In Christ worldly statistics about sinners are pulverized by the “cure all” Gospel!  “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27b)


DSW Case Shoppe was created after long hours of brainstorming unique ideas to raise funding for the near purpose of theological training and to open the doors of the distant call to missions.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39)

 Have you ever wondered what an orphan thinks about when he or she lies on their bed in the lonely solitude of the night? I wonder if they cry themselves to sleep drowning in tears confused by a seemingly pointless life, or lie sleepless in dark anger because of the corrosive/internal shame of what has been done to them.  I wonder how many countless young and soon to be adults have fallen victim to the horrors of sin. Many children and young adults manifest these deep deficits of the heart in destructive, slow suicidal ways: drugs, alcohol, gangs, violence, insubordination, and at times quiet, introverted silence causing manifestations of anger and deep depression. But it doesn't stop there; the deficit of a heart is passed down through generations of children in broken families that then go on to more broken families. Is there hope? Does life have meaning? Am I significant? Will the pain ever end? Answer: YES, YES, YES, and YES!!!! I know the answer is YES because this was my life as child/young adult. There is not a logical, finite explanation as to why I am still alive today. After being abused as a child in the home I took up a 16 year drug addiction to anything that would fit in a syringe. My life was marked by violence, drug rehabilitation institutions, court ordered psychotherapy, and prison. I didn’t know at the time why my suicide attempts fell short and I would wake up in the emergency room once again. I couldn’t figure out why every time I hung the noose from the trusses in my grandmothers garage the knot just wasn’t right; another failed attempt. I know now why my life had to go on, it’s about Christ and His sovereign purpose! It’s about Christ and the eternal love He has for His people! The more my life is saturated with the scandal of the Gospel, the more my own life is eclipsed by the Lord’s beauty and majesty! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”(2 Corinthians 5:17) This isn’t poetry, it is the absolute truth and nothing less than the power of God to mend a broken heart, restore hope, and transform even the greatest of sinner such as myself.  
Our desire and heart is to communicate biblical truth to young adults and families about the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and current reign of Christ through full immersion discipleship. We seek to “lock hearts” with young adults in crisis and patiently present the power of the Holy Spirit through the investment of our lives into the lives of others and so gently leading them to the Word. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
 We noticed that cases in cell phone shops are typically dull and boring! So we thought we’d bring in outside opinion to offer cases more interesting, exciting and appealing. We spend a lot of time searching for cases to add to our Shoppe that we feel would express your style and uniqueness. We believe that is what makes DSW Case Shoppe unique. Most importantly is the cause! Not only are you getting a stylish phone case, but also sewing into the lives of at risk youth. Biblical training is required to work with such priceless souls!

If I had to pick three of my favorite phone cases… number one would be the chrome, 3D embossed Harley Davidson case because what guy doesn't like chrome and motorcycles! Number two I will give to my wife since she has better taste anyway, and that would have to be the Camellia Flower case which was first introduced to us by one of our foreign exchange students from China. Every time we see this particular case, our hearts are warmed because it reminds us of her and the special time our family and friends shared with her. And thirdly, we honestly feel that the cases we have are all truly unique… everything from throwback cassettes, gameboy’s and skateboard’s, Vans shoe tread, real bamboo, cases with kickstands and ATM holders, 3D cases, musical cases and beautiful rhinestone ones too.
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, comments or suggestions please feel free to contact us, we would love to hear from you! info@dswcaseshoppe.com
If you would like to contribute financially, the opportunity to purchase a unique case is available and we also have a general donate button on our About Me section.
Check out our website for all current inventory at www.dswcaseshoppe.com
Follow us on Facebook & Instagram for updates on new cases and special offers! Don’t forget to “Share” our page with friends and family, we would greatly appreciate it!


Thank you again and God bless each of you,
Donald Wagner & Family
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Wow, has it been a crazy week or what? With the world all heartbreaking and scary around us, I am reminded to look for the good. To search out the sweet blessings in our lives, and to thank God for them every day - as small as they may be. 

I have few words today, so pictures will speak for me. Sharing a few things I am thankful for (most photos from my Instagram feed) and after, sharing some precious #ThankfulSweetness posts from my amazing friends and readers. 

Sweet things I'm thankful for....


{A pedicure and catching up on Royal news} 

{Constantly working on and writing my eBook} 
{3 Generations on Mother's Day} 

 {Spending time with my dear college roommate, Heather who visited from Florida} 
 {Sunday hot mess hair, saved thanks to Suave dry shampoo} 





And your thankful hearts sharing... (click on photo to see larger image) 

Remember, if you look for the good - you will find it. 

Prayers & much love to you from me for your weekend.
XO
Erin
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hi precious friends!

Today I'm sharing one of my main passions, and it's something I haven't talked about much here on this little space. Listen in below and link up as well - The Girl Behind the Blog is the only linkup I do consistently because it's helped me build friendships and community in this blog world. I encourage you to join, and if you don't - I'd love it if you share some of your passions in my comments below... I love heart to hearts and sharing our passions. Love you all! Have a beautiful day :) 



5ohwifey
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I often chat about sexual purity and abstinence here on this little space. And while it's something so close to my heart that I believe in and am passionate about, I hope my readers know that "purity" does not equal "perfect". Sometimes, I receive questions and precious emails, full of despair and confusion - people like us who are not perfect, who make mistakes, and who feel dirty and alone. But God put this on my hear today: if you made a small (or really big) mis-step, if you did something you swore you'd never do, if you feel lost and alone, know there is hope. He can take your life and make it new. His blood washes our sin, white as snow. His love is bigger than anything we have done wrong, and His grace is an ocean... and we're all sinking, as the song says. 

I want you to remember that little truth today. And to start anew. If you've messed up in the area of purity, today is a new day. The Lord is all about new beginnings, fresh starts, second chances. Remember that. And know that we all fall and fail, but there is hope and forgiveness in Christ. The hope of that! 

This music video is one I just love, and if you are struggling with guilt, shame and feeling like you'll never be whole again - take a minute to watch it. And be encouraged. 



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Monday, April 15, 2013

As I prepared to publish this post, I heard the horrifying news about the Boston Marathon. Praying and heartbroken. Let's lift up the precious ones involved and know our God knows and hears, even when we don't understand. Someday, there will be no more pain and I'm thankful for that hope we have in Christ. Until then, let's stand together and love and pray and be there in heartbreaking times as these. Xo.


Photo via Quite Magazine 

_____________________


In light of what's happening, this seems insignificant, but it is important and I wanted to share with you the announcement from Influence Network about the Conference... We announced the workshops and I'm excited to share more about my little workshop. I'm so honored and thankful to be sharing my heart on this topic, because it's something I'm really passionate about. My heart is so for the single ladies, like myself, who are striving to honor God in this season - with all it's joys, challenges, and heartaches. Sometimes, single ladies can feel left out, singled out, alone in groups of women. The ladies who lead Influence Conference are so precious because they see this need and are sensitive to it. And I am passionate and excited to be there to encourage, love on and make sure nobody feels left out or alone in this. I'm already praying that the Lord uses our little chat to build community and encourage hearts.  I hope you can come, sisters. Email me if you have any questions about it, and please see the Influence Conference blog today for alot more info and a full list of workshops. Seriously, I wish I could take ALL of the workshops being taught - the women and the topics are so amazing and I respect and love them all much. 

See here for more: Influence Conference 2013 Workshops
About this workshop: 

"A heart to heart talk on the struggles, joys and opportunities of singleness. This workshop will be encouraging, empowering and honest- sharing the journey of walking with God as a single woman and making the most of the season! This workshop is for women in the season of waiting and singleness: drawing upon experiences and discussing heartaches involved in singleness, as well as talking about topics like: loneliness, trusting God, dating & frustrations in finding “Mr. Right”, practical opportunities we have as singles to serve God and do exciting things we could not do as married women, and really finding an encouraging community of women to embrace this season. This is a time for heart to heart conversation – where women can share what their specific struggles are, how they’ve conquered fears, healed from heartaches, and walk through this season with a joyful perspective – looking for the good in singleness. Ultimately, you will leave really encouraged and inspired to draw close to God, who is the ultimate lover of our souls, knowing that He is our ultimate fulfillment – whether the blessings of marriage and children come into our lives in the future or not." 


_______________

Prayers, love and hugs dear friends.
Turn to Jesus, He cares and He has a plan, amid all this craziness.

XO

Erin
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy Sunday, beauties :)

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I just love this blog community and the beautiful women in it. It's been such an encouragement to me personally, and I love being able to use my little blog to share amazing, unique, precious friends with you all. Today, you get to meet a true gem. I love her heart, really I do. And she has such an inspiring outlook.


 Get to know beautiful Rebecca of Caravan Sonnet! Stop by her blog, follow her, get to know her, and show her some love today! 
Hi y’all! My name is Rebecca and I blog over at Caravan Sonnet (www.caravansonnet.com)! I am thrilled to be here today sharing a little bit about my blog because I love finding others in bloggy world and would love to meet you! I am a thirty-something single gal who loves Jesus, life, and all things pretty! I am a southern gal who lives half of the year in the sweet south and spends the other half of the year in my favorite place on earth ~ upstate New York. I blog about a variety of different things but love to write about Jesus, thrifting, life as a single gal, and living a pretty life. I am also a former High School teacher so there are lots of stories about things I learned in the classroom because I truly learned more than I ever taught. My prayer of my blog is to create a community that celebrates the joy and promise of hope in everyday. My goal is to inspire and encourage readers through beauty, nature, life, love, health & wellness, teaching, fashion, and food. I love using my little corner of the bloggy world to document the things I love most in life. There are so many wonderful people who have fantastic blogs and I would love to connect with you! Please stop over and say "hi"!
5 Things about Rebecca 

(1)  I taught myself to write with both hands in my high school English class. I actually received a small scholarship for college because of it but can't write with my left hand anymore! Hahaha
(2)  I love live performances… Les Miserables (in London) is my favorite.
(3)I dream of traveling to New Zealand and Switzerland, and would love to be on the “Amazing Race”.
(4) Dealing with a life-changing diagnosis (now twice in my life) has taught me more about God’s mercy and Grace than anything else in life.
(5)  I am a deathly afraid of spiders.I am so terrified that there once was a LARGE spider outside of my apartment complex that I even called the apartment managers to come down and remove it. I was convinced it was a brown recluse (from thirty feet away!) Imagine my embarrassment when a young neighbor of mine came yelling across the parking lot that he had lost his toy spider.
Get to know Rebecca
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Friday, April 12, 2013

You know when life gets so crazy you kinda forget about your dreams? Tonight I finally opened the watercolor kit I got for Christmas. Painting and creating as the afternoon sunlight shone through my white eyelet curtains. Reminded today through the word of a dear friend that the Lord has not forgotten His promises. He cares. He has not forgotten me. And as I painted with free and very untrained strokes (first painting here, people, so a bit rough I know ;) I felt led to write these words as a reminder to you... 

You are precious in my eyes, and honored,
and I love you.
-Isaiah 43:4 

Have a very beautiful, and loved weekend, my friend.
I'm off to paint ... I think my eBook is going to include some watercolor prints.
Yes, it will. 

LOVE. 
XO
Erin
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

If I were to be honest with you, I would tell you that lately, my life has held a heck of a lotta crazy. With a bit of confusing, and more than a dash of overwhelming. But mostly, I've been up to my eyeballs in cough drops, tissues, and NyQuil. And in the midst of it all, there's been time to think. Especially from my perch this week on the couch. To think about life and love and where I'm going, and just the now. And you know, in my prayers and quiet moments of prayer, the Lord has been really speaking to me - in His still, small way - about my soul. About how I treat it, how I neglect it, and how sometimes, I abuse it. We as a culture tend to be so conscious about our bodies and our minds. We exercise and eat "clean", we try to get enough sleep and drink lots of water. We attend school and read books to stretch our minds. But what about our souls? My soul gets lost in the shuffle most days, and I want to change that. Yet, souls are tricky. They're that deep down place far beneath the surface of our outer clothing and skin and hair and bones. Our souls are intangible, really - we cannot see them. But oh, can we feel them. They are the basis, the core of who we are. And they will last far beyond these physical bodies. I remember a friend of mine used to say, "That was good for my soul" after a particularly refreshing walk in the park, a fulfilling and complete conversation with an old friend, or even a song heard on the radio. And you know, these past few days of confinement to the house in my "sicky" state, I am determined afresh to tend my soul. Like an invisible garden... which is oftentimes dying from lack of care, water, and good food. That's gotta change. I'm tired of neglecting my soul, my inner self, the part of me that only God sees - that holds all my hopes and dreams, pains and fears, faith and past. 

I don't think caring for your soul is just going to church or reading more Bible. Those things can be some of the best food, of course. But I think caring for our souls is so intricately tied to every part of our lives, really. Our souls are woven in and out of the fabric of the every day. So I want to start asking more purposefully, "Is this good for my soul?" And friend, I want you to ask too. Is the music you listen to good for your soul? Is it feeding you? Pushing you further, making you happier.. better? Are the words you read good for your soul? Do they send daggers of lust and discouragement to your heart or do they build you up in truth and strength? What about the images you view on the Internet? The websites you read, the blogs you visit? The TV shows you watch on Netflix every night after work? Are they feeding your soul, making you more beautiful inside? 

Something to think about. 

Today, I unexpectedly fed my soul. At the sea. And it felt good, healing, free. Watching the waves methodically yet freely play on the shore, dancing back and forth. The sun gleaming on the foamy water. A boat lazily passing by. Chatting with the ones I love. The soft, cool sea breeze. These things are good for my soul. 

                                                      You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor on Grooveshark


What are things that are good for your soul, friend?
For me, things like journaling and reading the She Reads Truth Plan.
Lemon tea with honey.
James Taylor music.
Cleaning my desk and lighting a candle, 
and then sitting down and writing a real letter to a friend.
Playing the piano, like I used to.
Reading the Psalms.
Talking a walk in the afternoon sunshine.
Eating a bowl of strawberries.
Mod-podging something, crafting something pretty.
Calling my grandma.
Blasting the country music radio and singing loud, alone in the car.
Making a healthy smoothie.
Watching an old romantic black and white movie.
Painting my nails red.
Maybe we can't always go to the beach or have some fabulous vacation, but those extravagant things are not what really truly feed our souls. 
Our souls are really fed by the simple things. By enjoying the small things.
By embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly - and giving it all to God,
who wraps us up in all our messiness and holds us close.
May your soul find rest in God alone this Thursday.
Love y'all.


"Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God, 
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; 

pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge." 
Psalm 62:5-8
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